Mock Draft Corrections

I’ve been reading a lot of mock’s today in anticipation to tonight’s events. Apparently my guesses are quite opposite as to what is going to really happen.

Supposedly the Kings are for sure going to take DeMarcus Cousins at 5. Which means that Golden State will probably take Monroe at 6.

Apart from that swap, the Pistons are apparently quite high on taking Ed Davis at 7. The Clippers then will probably not take Udoh, and most likely get Aminu since they traded Al Thornton last year and need a SF.

From there, the Jazz will probably take Luke Babbitt, as they have been high on him as a player that can play SG and SF, and a real system guy. Which means that they will probably make a big run at keeping Boozer this summer.

I think the Pacers still take Heyward, he’s a local guy, although they really need a PG, and could very likely trade their pick tonight for a proven PG.

According to sources also, the Hornets are big on Xavier Henry, with the almost certain departure of Chris Paul. Grizzlies then will probably take Patrick Patterson.

Raptors are not looking at Hassan Whiteside anymore, and Houston really would like Cole Aldrich to land there.

So with those changes, I mixed up my mock lottery one last time…

1. Wizards – G John Wall Kentucky

2. 76ers – G Evan Turner Ohio State

3. Nets – F Derrick Favors Georgia Tech

4. T-Wolves – F Wes Johnson Syracuse

5. Kings – C DeMarcus Cousins Kentucky

6. Warriers – F Greg Monroe Georgetown

7. Pistons – F Ed Davis North Carolina

8. Clippers – F Al-Farouq Aminu Wake Forest

9. Jazz – F Luke Babbitt Nevada

10. Pacers – F Gordon Heyward Butler

11. Hornets – G Xavier Henry Kansas

12. Grizzles – F Patrick Patterson Kentucky

13. Raptors – F Paul George Fresno State

14. Rockets – C Cole Aldrich Kansas

Probably once again not going to be accurate with what all will go down tonight, but that looks a lot more likely than my previous statements yesterday.

Enjoy the draft, should be plenty of drama.

And how about John Isner and Nicholas Mahut’s record breaking tennis match that just ended with Isner winning the final set 70-68. Isner is a Bulldog, so congrats to him. But congrats to both of them, that was a match that will never be surpassed.

GO DAWGS!

And Team USA’s drama filled game versus Algeria yesterday with Donavan scoring off a rebound in stoppage time, to bolster the team to win the Group, and will face Ghana in a very winnable match on Saturday.

USA!

-Enjoy the weekend, plenty of good things to watch.

-KP

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1st Round Mock Draft

With the NBA finals over, and the Lakers once again holding up a championship trophy, the attention of the NBA has now shifted to the new talent pool and this years draft.

One of the weaker drafts in recent memory, maybe only about five guys that are going to be all-star caliber players, there is a steep dropoff from the first I’d say 8 picks, and the rest of the prospects.

Most of what I’ve read have teams draft boards much different from each other. Some teams have certain players in their top 20, while on another team they might not crack the top 50.

My mock draft is going to be based on needs, and what I’ve read from teams plans, player evaluations, and needs.

This is surely going to be much different than what actually pans out tomorrow night because of trades and teams swapping and buying picks. I’d say I probably get about 6 of these 30 picks right, but hey thats life.

I’m only doing the first round….

1. Wizards – John Wall G Kentucky

2. 76ers – Evan Turner G Ohio State

3. Nets – Derrick Favors F Georgia Tech

4. T-Wolves – Wes Johnson F Syracuse

5. Kings – Greg Monroe F Georgetown

6. Warriors – DeMarcus Cousins C Kentucky

7. Pistons – Al-Farouq Aminu F Wake Forest

8. Clippers – Ekpe Udoh F Baylor

9. Jazz – Ed Davis F North Carolina

10. Pacers – Gordon Heyward F Butler

11. Hornets – Patrick Patterson F Kentucky

12. Grizzlies – Paul George F Fresno State

13. Raptors – Hassan Whiteside C Marshall

14. Rockets – Cole Aldrich C Kansas

15. Bucks – Luke Babbitt F Nevada

16. T-Wolves – Xavier Henry G Kansas

17. Bulls – Larry Sanders F VCU

18. Thunder – Avery Bradley G Texas

19. Celtics – Eric Bledsoe G Kentucky

20. Spurs – Solomon Alabi C Florida State

21. Thunder – Daniel Orton C Kentucky

22. Blazers – Kevin Saraphin F France

23. T-Wolves –  Damion James F Texas

24. Hawks – Lance Stephensen G Cincinnati

25. Grizzlies –  Jordan Crawford G Xavier

26. Thunder – Quincy Pondexter F Washington

27. Nets – Dominique Jones G South Florida

28. Grizzlies – Elliot Williams G Memphis

29. Magic – Terrico White G Mississippi

30. Wizards – Craig Brackins F Iowa State

Probably not a lot of players you may have heard of before. A lot of older players in this years draft, mostly after all the one-and-dones. Some of these guys will have good pro careers, but a lot of teams, mostly playoff teams, are going to try to get rid of some of these picks to try to save some money for veteran free agents, in which we could see the entire landscape of the NBA be changed with just a few players switching teams.

Boston is getting older and their window is closing. Lakers still have a couple more years but need some bench. The Cavs don’t even have a pick after the trades they made and are trying to buy into the draft. There may be teams such as the Suns, Mavericks, Nuggets, Heat, Chicago that may try to move up in the draft, possibly getting picks from the Thunder, T-Wolves, or Grizzles, who all have multiple first round picks.

All this being said, 60 young men will have the chance of their lifetime tomorrow night. What they do with it, we can only wait and see. There is some serious talent at the top of this group, but towards the middle of the first round it drops off tremendously. Who will be the steal of this years draft? Which 4 year player will get the opportunity to play big minutes and perform? Which teams will screw themselves by taking a headcase? This is the beauty of the draft, you can scout all you want, but there is no exact science, you can never know how a 20 year old is going to react to a professional basketball career. Should be an interesting night, with many moves as teams prepare for the future.

Coverage starts at  7 on ESPN.

Enjoy

-KP

And it all comes down to one….

For those of you not planning on watching tonight’s Game 7, you are a fool.

As many predicted, the NBA championship will be decided by one game. In a much anticipated series against the two most storied franchises in NBA history, the final game of the season will determine who calls themselves World Champions.

Will Kobe and the Lakers make it two years in a row? Or will the Big 4 make it twice in three years?

Most of tonight’s game will be determined by the effectiveness of Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Rasheed Wallace filling in for injured Kendrick Perkins. Losing Perk is a huge deficit to much of what the Celtics like to do defensively. He is a large body and takes up a lot of space in the paint, as well as being an adequate defender against both Bynum and Gasol, and a very important rebounder. My guess is that Doc Rivers starts Davis. His contributions during Game 4 were a huge difference in the game, and Wallace’s back is ailing and hasn’t been playing more than around twenty minutes per game in the series.

Big Baby is drooling over the opportunity…

Davis said in the offseason that he may pursue a pro football career after he becomes an NBA All-star. I don’t know if that’s a reasonable goal, but a big time performance stepping in tonight will help his career path tenfold.

Aside from a contribution from Davis and Wallace, the Big 4 (Allen, Garnett, Pierce, and Rondo) are going to have to play their best collective game of the series. A veteran team, their defensive intensity must be high, and offensive efficiency at the max.

In closeout games, Kobe Bryant is a man among boys. He’s the best player on the planet, and can carry the Lakers to a title, but he’s going to need some help. Who is it going to come from? Pau Gasol looked lost in Game 5, but has played fairly well the rest of the series. Lamar Odom has been up and down, much like the season where he has become a barometer for the team’s success. Derek Fisher has been on every championship team with Kobe and knows what it takes to win, but how effective will he be? Bynum’s beat up, can he provide some offense?

Artest is an idiot, I would not even ever pass him the ball if I were Kobe. Missing two free throws in the stretch run of the 4th quarter comeback in Game 5 denied the chance of Kobe to win the game for them. And his flop when Rondo, who is easily 100 pounds lighter than him, pushed him with one hand, was an absolute joke. The guy is a moron, and does not deserve to be an NBA champion.

As much as I hate the guy, I think he will get a ring. The Lakers are too good at home, and Kobe is the best player in the world. Phil Jackson is the best playoff coach in our era, albeit he has had arguably the two best players in the last 20 years.

If the Celtics can defend and rebound, run the fast break and have crisp and efficient offensive sets, they’ve got a chance. They have got to tell themselves that if Kobe gets 50 and the rest of the team gets 30, they give themselves a chance to win the game.

If the Lakers can get two or three other contributions besides Kobe, they’ve got to think they’ve got a good shot at winning the game.

It comes down to which team can do what they do the best.

So who do you take? Phil Jackson, who has 10 titles as a coach, or Doc Rivers, who has one?

I predicted before the series started that the Lakers would win in 6. Although its come down to a seventh and final game, I think the Lakers still win, as much as I would hate to see Artest win a title. Kobe deserves it. But so do the Celtics, beating the Cavaliers and Magic, who had the first and third best regular season records.

As a (wannabe) sportswriter/analyst, I hope my prediction is right. As a fan, I hope I’m wrong. I want KG to get another ring, I don’t like the Lakers, but I sure do respect them.

Will Kobe make it 5, and another MVP trophy?

Let’s hope for a good game. It’s a head on collision with the best team being crowned.

Enjoy

-KP

A Must Win for the Celtics

The Lakers came out strong in Game 1 sending a message to their foe. We are the world champions until someone beats us, and you’re not going to beat us. The Celtics got the message in Game 2, especially Ray Allen. Eight three-pointers is an NBA playoff record, as well as starting the game making seven in a row. Add that to Rondo’s triple double, and the Celtics tied the series and a game a piece.

Headed back to Boston, much as expected, Kevin Garnett, who played horribly in the first two games, came out firing, giving the Celtics an early lead. But the Lakers once again put their foot down in the series that looks like it may just be flip-flopping games. Despite good play from Rondo again, Allen, who had 32 to go along with his eight threes in the previous game, went 0-13 and missing all eight three point attempts. Not gonna win with production like that. Kobe once again showed why he is the player he is, scoring in opportune times, and playing sensational defense. The Lakers took back the game that the Celtics stole from them, leaving the Celtics against the ropes. Good things its in Boston.

The key for the Celtics has got to be Paul Pierce. Ron Artest is making his money in this series alone, holding Pierce to under 16 points per game, and shooting a low percentage for the former finals MVP. If he can get it going, it will open up Allen for more threes, and also allow Rondo to have more space to operate. Rondo has been playing very impressive, leaving the defense on their toes at all times by keeping them off balance, pushing the ball on the break, rebounding with the bigs, and showing he can make an open jump shot. Much improved jump shot I might add.

Garnett has also got to get it going, as with Lamar Odom for the Lakers. When Odom plays well, it usually results in success. His uncanny ability to cause mismatches by taking larger defenders off the dribble, and posting up smaller ones. A 6’10” forward who can handle the ball like a point guard, shoot like a wing, and post up like a big man, is a nightmare for any defender. When he has it on he’s effective, when he’s not he tends to hide.

My prediction is that the Celtics veterans come out firing again, and sustain it throughout the game, realizing that going down 3-1 would be an almost certain end to their season. If history holds true, the Lakers will win this series, as I predicted. But history shows, in the finals 2-3-2 homecourt format, in a series where it is tied 1-1 after the second game, the winner of game three has a record of 10-0. Doesn’t sound good for the Celtics, but if they can win tonight, they can at least tie the series and put some momentum back in their favor, as game 5 is also in Boston.

We’ve seen what Rondo can do. We’ve seen what Ray Allen can do. And at times we’ve seen what Kevin Garnett can do. Can Paul Pierce add some scoring and structure to the offense? Can they put it all together at the same time? I think they can. They’re a great team. They just need to all be on the floor at the same time, and play at a high level. Which brings me to my next point.

Aside from my disgust of high school basketball referees, and the SEC referee crews that have done some of the UGA football games the past couple years, this has got to be the worst officiating I’ve seen on this level. For some reason, the referees in this series have been awful. They seem overmatched by the stardom and the level of play. Which blows my mind, because there are 82 games for each team in the regular season, so certainly they have had some practice seeing these teams play. The only thing they’ve been consistent with is being equally bad towards each team. Both coaches have criticized the referees, as well as probably all the players. I hope that they can correct some of these blown calls by not trying to control the games and let the players play. These are the best players in the game today, on the biggest stage, with everything at stake. Let them show us what they can do. I don’t wanna see Big Baby guarding Bynum because Garnett and Perkins are both out midway through the second quarter with three fouls each. And I most certainly don’t want to see Jordan Farmar or Sasha Vujacic ever in the game instead of Kobe.

Let the players play.

Celtics win in a close one. Piece bounces back, Kobe has a big one, but Boston finds a way to pull it out behind their home fans.

In other news…

It looks like Michigan State coach Tom Izzo is close to taking the vacant Cleveland Cavaliers job. Izzo has led the Spartans to six Final Fours, and one National Championship during his tenure at the school. Reports say the Cavs offer could be over $6 a year.

Avery Johnson and the New Jersey Nets have reached an agreement for the former Mavericks head coach to take the same title in Jersey. The Hawks were making a series run at him, but in my opinion he was a lot like Mike Woodson, and we all know where that got us.

Game’s on, game’s on.

Celtics find a way to win, Paul Pierce bounces back although Kobe continues to impress.

Enjoy

-KP

Greatest Coach Of All Time Ailing

In saddening news today, former UCLA coach John Wooden, has been reported to be in “grave condition”. At 99, Wooden has been in and out of the hospital the past couple years from minor setbacks, and been limited by the use of a wheelchair recently. This doesn’t sound so minor.

Family members and UCLA staff did not comment on the situation, hinting that this may be the end of the road.

Under Wooden, the Bruins won 10 national championships, winning seven in a row from 1967-1973. They had four undefeated seasons, going 30-0 in ’64, ’67, ’72, and ’73. In his final season, they once again hoisted up the trophy, beating Kentucky in the final of ’75.

Wooden is one of only three people to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a coach and a player. Some of the greatest players in college basketball have been coached by him, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcinder) and Bill Walton.

Alcinder thanks Wooden after one of 10 championships

He has been one of the most influential people in southern California, leading a movement of basketball greatness and ripening the talent from the area. Although he stopped coaching 35 years ago, his influence can be seen throughout the region, and in basketball in general.

The NCAA has honored him by naming the Most Outstanding Player the “Wooden Award”, easily one of the highest honors in the game today.

Prayers go out to him and his family, as the basketball world has lost one of the greatest coaches and person that we have been blessed with having.

Although he is “resting in the hospital” “recovering from dehydration”, signs point to it coming to an end. As the legend rests, let us remind ourselves the true greatness in the realm in which he ruled for almost twenty years.

He is a great coach, and a great man. Let us thank him for all he has done.

Today is a sad day.

-KP

Kobe Gets One for Every Finger

NBA finals start tonight. Lakers versus Celtics.

For the 12th time these two teams will meet to win the NBA’s most coveted accomplishment. The Celtics are 9-2 in rivalry’s history, and this is the second time in three years they have met (could very possibly three in a row if Garnett wasn’t injured last postseason).

The Celtics won in six games two years ago, and I think it will go to six games this years as well, except the Lakers on top. They’re practically the same teams from two years ago and the Celtics won, how could the Lakers be that much better in such a short period of time, you may be asking yourself. Let’s look.

Guards – Although Rajon Rondo has made a serious run to the top of the point guard ladder, Kobe is too good. Ray Allen is getting old, and has lost a step, which means that Rondo will probably have to guard Kobe, and vise versa. This puts a lot of pressure on Rondo to perform; guarding the best player in the league (sorry LeBron, and as much as a I don’t like Kobe, there isn’t really that much of an argument), as well as handling the ball and setting up the offense, is a big task. As much as he’s gotten better, it’s going to be tough to do in a best of seven series, and when the player you’re guarding is Kobe. Allen may be able to stay with him for the first half of the game, but when Kobe takes over, it really doesn’t matter who is guarding him, ask Bruce Bowen, or Grant Hill. Derek Fisher will be able to chase Ray Allen around and off the screens, and Allen will probably get his 15 a game. He’s just too old to take over games like he used to be able to. The other Allen, Tony that is, may be able to run around with Kobe for a little bit of the game too. He made a big impact in the series against Cleveland, and if you take your eyes off him like the Magic did (sorry Mickael Pietrus), he’ll make you pay.

As much as I’m ready for Rondo to become a superstar, number 24 is not going to let it happen. Advantage – Lakers, obviously
Forwards – Here is where it gets interesting. Both teams have all-stars are both starting forward positions. Is Artest going to be able to slow down Pierce? We saw what he could do two years ago, dropping 30 a game and leading the Celtics to the series victory. Can Garnett defend smartly and not get in foul trouble against Pau Gasol, who is arguably the most complete big man in the game today? It’s going to be quite a battle down low. Both teams have made it to the finals by being better defensively that their opponents, as well as being tall teams. How will Gasol be able to perform with the lengthy and former Defensive Player of the Year Garnett all over him? How will Pierce respond to Artest’s comments about shutting him down? I think it’s going to be pretty even up front, mostly because the better offensive player of the two is going to be guarded by the other team’s better defender, and personally I think Garnett is a better scorer than Artest. Garnett is very scrappy, and Artest prides himself on his defense, willing to go to any length to see how big Pierce’s dick is:

Moral of the story, there is no advantage, until you bring in Lamar Odom, but that’s another topic. Advantage – Even

Center – Andrew Bynum vs Kendrick Perkins. Both these guys are huge, topping seven feet and 275 pounds. Who is going to show they’ve matured the most in their short careers? Honestly, I believe Perkins is the best defensive center in the game today. He knows his role, and he’s good at it. Neither of these teams need their centers to score, although they would certainly take it if it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the offense. Perkins will get his points by getting put backs and easy lay-ups. Bynum will probably get a few more shots, but he’s banged up, still recovering from the knee injury that has plagued him in the past. Bynum didn’t play two years ago because of the same problem, it will be interesting to see how far he has come and if he can show he can be the defensive force he needs to be. Perkins understands his role, while Bynum is still trying to find out what kind of player will make him successful in this league.

Long story short, Perkins’ defense is better than Bynum taking up space. Advantage – Celtics

Bench – I already mentioned Tony Allen previously, but the real topic of this subsection, Lamar Odom. Will he step up? Will Garnett, Davis, and Wallace eliminate his impact? The thing about both of these teams is they have very short benches, only playing around 8 players. The Celtics bench is definitely deeper, but the Lakers have the better player coming off their bench. Odom is a match-up nightmare, which is exactly why Phil loves bringing him off the bench. Left-handed, 6’10”, handles it well, passes is well, shoots it form three, and can post up smaller defenders, he will bring an uptempo style to a team that usually likes to slow it down. Odom is a play maker, and helps get the Lakers over the hump, and if you watch any of their games, you usually see him in at the end of the game. It’s not who starts a game, but who finishes. Thats what I’ve always said.

While the Celtics bring more players than can impact the game, Lamar Odom is the key to the Lakers’ success. Advantage – LA

Coach – Obviously this isn’t much of an argument. The titles of this post is Kobe Gets One for Every Finger, Phil already does, but on both hands. 6 with the Bulls and Jordan, 4 with the Lakers, and also one with the Knicks as a player, he’s going to have to find somewhere to put all these things. Or get his boss’ daughter to pop out one of his offspring. Jackson is a great coach, obviously, but Doc Rivers isn’t too shabby either, winning the title two years ago. Although he’s a former Hawks great, he’s not going to be great enough to get his team to play well enough each night to beat those damn Lakers.

Advantage  –  Guess?

You didn’t have to read any of this to know who I think is going to win this series, but it’s pretty evident that these teams match up quite well actually. It should be a very entertaining series, especially since both city’s fans are probably the two best in the league, giving the home team a big advantage.

The history, tradition, rivalry.

Verdict:

Lakers in 6, as much as I hate to say it.

Game’s on in two hours, enjoy.

-KP

Memorial Day Edition

I’d like to extend my gratitude towards every single military veteran and active duty member for their sacrifices that allow us to live the life of freedom. The military sometimes gets some heat in today’s news, especially with the fronts we’re facing today, but without their bravery we would not be able to do the everyday things we enjoy, like wasting time reading things like this on the internet, or even freely walking down the street without fearing your life. So thank you to all of those willing to fight for our freedom. Remember our fallen heros, for they are the reason we are here today. God Bless America!

In honor of today’s events, I wanted to see what players in the NBA were ever in the services. I found a very inspiring story of one man,  once was a star on the court, who has hung up the sneakers and put on his war boots.

Not too shabby of a basketball player, James throws down a dunk

Tim James, a former high school standout from south Florida, played his college ball at Miami, he was drafted by the Heat in the first round in 1999. His career was not an exciting one however, only averaging a little over a point per game in the 43 games he appeared in with the Heat, Charlotte, and Philly.

After struggling to make a name for himself in the states, he headed overseas to compete in Turkey and Japan. Now he’s in Iraq. Not fighting for wins on the court, but fighting for freedom in the desert. Struggling to find his true calling, James joined the U.S. Army, leaving behind the lavish life of an star basketball player, to the grit and grind of war overseas.

“I think of myself as a patriot, I wanted to give back to a country that gave so much to me,” explains James.

Not everyone will serve their country in their lifetime, but today we can remember and show our appreciation to those that do. Not only is this a wonderful story, it shows that the NBA today is not just full of a bunch of thugs, and young men making everything be about money and fame. Although his story is rare, James should be a role model to young people today.

Former star on the court, now a star in our hearts, truly a great man

Tim James, U.S. Army serviceman may not be the James we’re used to hearing in today’s news, but even today LeBron can take the backseat in the news as we observe this Memorial Day holiday.

Basketball was first in James’ life journey, but it was a little different for one of the most decorated big man in the history of the NBA. David Robinson, the Admiral, spent his college career playing for the Naval Academy, where he was awarded numerous prestigious honors including the Naismith and Wooden Awards for college basketball’s most outstanding player.

Drafted by the Spurs 1989, Robinson did not immediately report to the team, after finishing his obligation to the Naval service. Leading one the best turnarounds in NBA history, Robinson earned Rookie of the Year honors in his first campaign with the San Antonio. In 1992, he was part of the U.S. men’s basketball gold medal team, famously dubbed as the Dream Team, featured by Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, and other greats. Three seasons later, the Admiral was voted the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, but it was until 1999 that he obtained his greatest basketball goal.

After drafting future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan the season before, the Spurs won the NBA title, beating the Knicks in five games. In 2003, they battled the Nets in six games to win their second title in four years. After the second championship banner was hung, Robinson also hung it up, announcing his retirement from the league.

Despite averaging over 20 points per game, 10 rebounds per game, being one of only four players to ever record a quadruple-double, being named one of 50 Greatest Players in Basketball History, being a college and NBA MVP, a two-time NBA champion, and a gold medal winner, the 10 time all-star stays humble. Although he never served in active duty, Robinson stays close to his roots, aiding the Navy in recruitment as well as serving in a reserve role in the service.

Two rings, and many other awards, his greatest life accomplishment is serving his country

Robinson has always been known as one of the most well respected players in league history, and it is well deserved. Proof again that there are great people that play the game of basketball, albeit few. The NBA has benefitted greatly from having great men such as Robinson and James, bringing good publicity as well as good feelings across the league.

The NFL has also had a history of  military men choosing to pursue football after serving their country. Many of us have heard Pat Tillman’s story, as well as the tradition of the service academies college football programs providing entertainment in friendly on field battles. A rich pipeline of servicemen coming from these academies have made it in the NFL, which does nothing but help promote the greatness of these men.

As you can see, there is more to life than sports, and that is why we celebrate the lives of those individuals that allow us to have the opportunities to enjoy the sports we love. Once again, thank you to all of those sacrificing your lives for mine. I have an immensely great sense of gratitude to those brave enough to fight for our freedom. Today is the day that we celebrate them, but we should remind ourselves everyday of the courage and strength they display.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. For all of you that have family members who serve or have served for our country, remember them, thank them, cherish them, and love them. Never take life for granted, as many of our loved ones have had theirs taken in pursuit of happiness for others.

NBA finals preview coming soon….

Happy Memorial Day!

-KP

Trick Shot Artest

With less than a minute left in the pivotal game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, Ron Artest took a jumper from the top of the key that missed, the Lakers got the rebound and set up for another shot when Artest got the ball again and launched up an inadvertent 3 that also missed (one of the worst shots I’ve ever seen in such an important moment in time). Down 3 with about 30 seconds to go, the Suns took a series of 3 pointers finalized by a made bank shot from about 5 feet behind the line by Jason Richardson. 3.5 seconds left, Lakers in bound from the sideline. Everyone in the stands knows who’s getting the ball. They inbound to Kobe, who throws up a 3 and leaves it way short, only to be followed by an offensive rebound put back by an unlikely hero, Artest.

“The most important lay-up in my career,” states Artest who was 1-8 from the field.

The devastated Suns look to bounce back after tying the series on their home floor in game 4, with game 6  in Phoenix Saturday night.

In other news…

Atlanta Hawks owner Michael Gearon is the latest to be fined by the NBA for talk about trying to sign LeBron James. Gearon joins Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, and Suns GM Steve Kerr who were also fined for their comments about the superstar free-agent-to-be. League rules state that you cannot express interest in a player until the free agency period starts, which is July 1.

Speaking of LeBron James, a statement was released that the Cavaliers forward, Heat guard Dwayne Wade, Toronto forward Chris Bosh, and Hawks guard Joe Johnson, will be meeting with each other about their futures before signing where they please.Wade explains “”A lot of decisions (will be based on) what other players are willing to do and what other guys want to do. So it’s not just a ‘me’ situation here. We all have to look and see what each other is thinking.”

Read more:

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/report_wade_james_johnson_will_meet_Zwd4kQarERK0aGkil7rYAJ#ixzz0pFzPr4Bo

Fighting their way back from being down 3-0 to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Orlando Magic have forced a game 6 to try to tie the series at 3 games a piece. Tonight’s game will be in Boston, where the Magic were able to take game 4 earlier this week. Kendrick Perkins will be able to play tonight after having one of his technical rescinded by the league office. League playoff rules include an automatic one game suspension for any player that receives 7 technical fouls. Perkins was ejected in game 5 for getting two technicals. Sources say that Glen Davis is also cleared to play after this play which made him look like a drunk “Big Baby”:

The coaching carousel continues to be at the forefront of NBA news with 6 teams, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans Hornets, and New Jersey Nets. The Philadelphia 76ers hired TNT analyst and former Wizards coach Doug Collins earlier this week. The hottest candidates are Mavericks assistant Duane Casey, (the Hawks “favorite”), Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau (offered by the Hornets, could land in Chicago), TNT analyst Mark Jackson (one of the best PG in the history of the NBA), former Mavericks head coach Avery Johnson (from New Orleans, Hawks like him, Bulls like him), former Oklahoma, Indiana head coach and current Milwaukee Bucks assistant Kelvin Sampson (rumored to be on the Cavs list), former Hornets head coach Byron Scott, Jazz assistant Tyron Corbin, and Blazers assistant Monty Williams. With free agency just around the corner, and many of these teams trying to land one of the big name players, coaching hires should start picking up fairly quickly. And just imagine what the buzz around Phil Jackson would become when the Suns beat the Lakers.

Exciting times ahead, ECF game 6 tonight, WCF game 6 tomorrow night, draft June 24th.

I’m predicting Boston’s veterans put their foot down tonight and say enough is enough and they close out the series. The Suns will pick up right where they left off coming back to the desert and forcing game 7 in LA. John Wall still goes number 1.

One more note in coaching, who the hell is gonna wanna hire this guy

uhh... what do you mean the isolation for Joe didn't work?

-KP

Amare’ Answers

After a combined 41 points and 9 rebounds in the first two games of the Western Conference Finals, Amare’ Stoudemire responded to his critics with a 42 point and 11 rebound performance as the Suns win game 3 at home.

Stoudemire was too much for Bynum and the rest of the Lakers

Despite another 30+ performance by Kobe, the Suns now look to tie the series Tuesday night in Phoenix. Steve Nash had solid game, controlling the tempo while dishing out 15 assists while only turning the ball over once, as well as adding 17 points. Robin Lopez played a surprising game, playing in his 3rd playoff game in his young career, adding in 20 points and playing solid defense.

Part of the Suns success can be attributed by the switch to a 2-3 defense, allowing defenders to hand off Kobe and not allowing him to totally take over the game. The Lakers didn’t shoot the 3 well either, going 9 of 32 behind the arc. The Suns attacked early and got Andrew Bynum into foul trouble, as well as fouling out Lamar Odom midway through the 4th quarter. Lopez, who missed 20+ games at the end of the season with a bulging disk in his back, took some minutes from struggling backup center Channing Frye, who has missed all 18 threes he’s shot this series, after shooting close to 44% during the regular season, while keeping the defense honest to allow Stoudemire to operate.

With Bynum and Odom in foul trouble most of the game, Pau Gasol could not contain the quicker and more athletic Stoudemire, who scored inside on drives as well as making a few 12 to 15 footers. He also got to the line 18 times.

Set to become a free agent in the summer and having subpar performances in the previous two games, Stoudemire showed why he is one of the most skilled and dominant post players in the game today. He is going to have to continue playing at a high level in order for the Suns to upset the defending world champs and get to the finals for the first time since 1993 with Charles Barkley and co.

Although the Suns played primarily zone defense in the win, it is almost certain that mastermind Phil Jackson will devise a plan to exploit the holes needed to breakdown a zone. That being said, the Suns are not going to be able to win a series against the bigger Lakers sitting in a zone. It’s just not going to happen. Championship level teams have to prove that you can defend one on one and play good man defense with rotations and rebounding.

I predict Stoudemire comes out with the energy and will to win in game 4 and Kobe has another 30+ point game, but the Suns find a way to pull it out. Lopez stepped in tonight, as well as Jason Richardson contributing good three-point shooting and 19 points. The Suns have to have Nash and Stoudemire play the way they did tonight, as well as Richardson and someone else step up and contribute.

Whoever it is, if Amare’ plays at the level he did tonight, the Suns are going to be tough to beat.

It’s heating up in Phoenix.

-KP

Meet Mikhail Prokhorov

Russian billionaire approved earlier this month as owner of the Nets

In a fascinating article by probably the best basketball writer Bill Simmons, we get a view of the interesting and not-so ordinary life of the Russian billionaire who recently became majority owner of the New Jersey Nets.

One of the most obscure things you may notice as he reads the paper at his desk, he has no computer. He has no e-mail, no twitter, no facebook. He hates the Internet. Without all the information at his disposal, you may wonder how he obtained such wealth.

A lot of luck, and good timing. As the article explains, he made most of his money investing money into the Russian government in the early ’90s, as well cashing in huge sells as part owner of some the world’s largest aluminum and gold companies.

Apart from being an elite investor, Prokhorov also ” [owns] his own media company; two banks and an insurance company; enough real estate that nobody can keep track of everything; and a website called Snob that celebrates rich Russians and their lifestyles.”

As the article notes, his wealth and story are a little fishy. The 6 foot 6 inch self-made billionaire is not married, except for the 48 hour marriage to win a bet with a friend. He explains that he loves women, but hasn’t found one beautiful who cooks well enough for him.

He sounds a bit stubborn, but here’s a chance for a good cook to live the life of riches.

“60 Minutes” had a special with him a few weeks ago in which he takes cameras behind the scenes into his illustrious life. A 200-foot yacht, which he says he doesn’t even know where it is at the moment, a multi-million dollar mansion outside of Moscow, and dozens of others luxury items you acquire when you shit out Benjamins.

Simmons offers insight into the nontraditional, and 2nd wealthiest man in Russia, but I’m more interested in his plans with the Nets.

The planned move to Brooklyn will most likely take place summer 2013, so he’s got some time to assemble a squad worthy of being “an international franchise” as he calls it.

Simmons prediction is quite interesting. It is well noted that Prokhorov owned international powerhouse CSKA Moscow, the former team of Andrei Kirilenko. AK-47 (my favorite nickname in the NBA), has a large contract that the Jazz would love to get off their books. Simmons says the Nets acquire him this summer, to make some cap room for the prize of next summer’s free agency class, Carmelo Anthony. Adding him to a roster of this year’s lottery pick, probably Georgia Tech PF Derrick Favors, another lottery pick next year, and emerging star Brook Lopez.

So what does all this mean?

The Nets, who will probably go by another name with the move to Brooklyn, with Prokhorov’s global influence, will be a force to be wrecking with in a couple years. After a 12-70 record last season, the only way to go is up, and Prokhorov is in no rush.

I personally find the guy fascinating, as does Bill Simmons, here is the link again if you didn’t see it before.

Definitely check it out

It’s a little lengthy, but Prokhorov is worth your time. As Simmons calls him the Mutant Russian Mark Cuban, he may become not only one of the richest people in the world, but also one of the most popular.

-KP