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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 12 April 2013 at 5:25pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I think if JR Smith continues to do well, the Knicks have a chance to go deep in the playoffs.  They need him as a second scoring option to Melo.  Also, Tyson Chandler has to be healthy again.  The team has no more bigs left who aren't injuried.

Re the Lakers, they definitely to revamp the team and add players who can execute D'Antoni's offense.  Otherwise, what is the point of having him as coach?

Looks like Derrick Rose is going sit out the rest of the season and playoffs.  I am surprised the Bulls are not putting more pressure on him to return.

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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 13 April 2013 at 9:15am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

More bad news for the Lakers with Kobe out with a probable torn Achilles tendon.  Hopefully, Howard and the rest of the team can step up and get into the playoffs without him.  I actually think they can pull it off and may even win a couple of games after that.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 13 April 2013 at 11:13am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

At this point the Lakers' injury train is a little ridiculous... everyone in the starting five has now had a serious issue (even Metta, who seemed the healthiest, was expected to miss six or more weeks because of arthroscopic surgery but he manned up and came back in less than two.)  To me it is as illustrative of age as bad luck... all five (Kobe, Howard, Nash, MWP and even Gasol to a degree) had been pretty reliable and resilient in their careers, but all except Howard are now at that age where things tend to start going south.  Everybody just seems to have chosen this year to have it happen, which is the bad luck part.

Kobe's achilles injury is not to be taken lightly, either... the LA Times is saying it could take an entire season to rehab and at Kobe's age, it can be especially hard to heal.  Kobe's contract is up after next season, meaning it is possible he has played his last game as a Laker.  On the other hand, if anyone can come back, it's Kobe.  But his chances to overtake Jabbar for all-time scorer (which has been one of his stated goals) do diminish if he loses an entire season.  If the Lakers' team is terrible next season (which is possible without Kobe), one has to wonder how Kobe will feel about re-signing.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 13 April 2013 at 11:30am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Wilson, I've only seen the Knicks a couple times this year but they certainly are making noise without Stoudamire, Chandler, Martin, Camby and Wallace.  Smith appears to be having a career year, raising his rebounds and points significantly.  Melo is leading the league in scoring and just seems to have his mind right for once, talking about wanting to win and keeping the team happy.  I definitely see them making the eastern conference finals and having as good a shot versus Miami as any team in the west. 
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 13 April 2013 at 8:26pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

How much blame should a coach get for causing some of these injuries?  These guys are under tremendous pressure to win games.  People are already questioning D'Antoni's decision to play Kobe so much.  The Knicks coach Mike Woodson played Stoudamire too many minutes, which partially led to this problem with his "good" knee. Melo tried to get out of the game with Cleveland when he collapsed, but Woodson didn't listen to him.  The Spurs' Popovich knows how to take care of his players, resting them whenever he can.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 14 April 2013 at 12:43pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Kobe guaranteed the Lakers would make the playoffs and obviously felt pressure to make good on that promise, whatever the cost.  D'Antoni certainly can be second-guessed for allowing Kobe to pretty much play until he dropped.  But it's a tough call; Kobe has looked decent and has a history of toughness.  He had already quickly overcome what could have been a devastating ankle injury and we just tend to expect him to play through things and excel.  But D'Antoni's quote that Kobe "has earned the right to make that decision" sounded like such buck passing:  what is the value of a coach other than to make those big picture choices?  Many think Howard felt pressure and came back prematurely and it probably hampered his season, too.  The Lakers were so hyped, it makes sense that they buckled under the pressure to play, but who knows what might have been?  Maybe that's why the coaches make the big bucks (whether or not they deserve it!)

Boston has been resting Garnett and Pierce because they have that luxury having already clinched, though they are limping into the playoffs.  NY will be an interesting matchup in the first round.  I don't know them as well this year; Stoudamire has had injury issues for a while, though, so it may just be in his DNA.  Hopefully Melo can rest up for the next three.  Miami has been arguably resting LeBron and Wade, though they were starting to pour it on a bit during the streak.  San Antonio as you mentioned certainly has the rep for resting their veterans.  It looks like LA will face the Spurs if they get that far; without Kobe it could be pretty gruesome.

I wonder about Kobe.  Some expert on the radio said that 2/3rds of the players with achilles injuries at his age never regain their prior form and that 1/3rd of those players never even return.  Isiah Thomas had an achilles injury that ended his career at just shy of age 33.  It happened to Shaq (who was only briefly effective for Boston) when he tried to push it late in the season and wound up having his own career ending achilles injury.  Ironic that Kobe and Shaq could conceivably wind up in the same boat on that score. 

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Rick Senger
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Posted: 24 April 2013 at 12:55pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Knicks are destroying the Rondo-less Celtics.  Boston will win one at home but it's over, probably in 5.  Lakers' last chance is tonight... if they don't surprise the Spurs in game 2, I think it's over in 4 or 5, too.

Clips have handled Memphis well, though they practically blew it the other night until Paul bailed them out with the final 8 points and his heroic last second circus shot.  I'm curious how Memphis responds. 

Golden State stole game two at Denver despite losing David Lee for the playoffs.  This may be a good series as favorite Denver's defense is surely suspect... you just can't give up 131 points in a playoff game. 

Miami and OKC are taking care of business... can anyone prevent them from a rematch of last year?  New York may challenge Miami... not sure anyone can stop OKC (Clips seem too green, Spurs seem too grey, but we'll see.)
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Glenn Brown
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Posted: 24 April 2013 at 2:53pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

@Rick...your thoughts re Kobe's return are not far off the mark at all.  It is a potentially devastating injury for a player his age, with the mileage on his legs.  It's easy to get caught up in the "If anyone can do it, it's Kobe" rhetoric but in reality...he conceivably may have played his last game when he blew out his Achilles.  
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 26 April 2013 at 12:40pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

It's easy to get caught up in the "If anyone can do it, it's Kobe" rhetoric
*****
I'm guilty of that this year. 

I've said at 34 Kobe was playing harder and better than any 34 year old I've ever seen, and that he had a shot at catching Kareem.  But the calendar catches us all.  Kobe's comment on both his ankle and achilles injuries was the same... they occurred as the result of normal physical actions he's previously taken thousands of times without incident.  The ankle was arguably because of a dirty play by his opponent, and Kobe did come back ridiculously fast from it.  But maybe that rapid return indirectly contributed to the achilles tear as the muscles, joints and connective tissues of those two seem related.  I'm no doctor, but it certainly seems like maybe Kobe's body never quite got the chance to get over the first injury, which may have led to the second.

In the moment, we start to think certain players are cheating father time, but the reality is, all the abuse ultimately catches us all.  For a guy most famous for being a slow white guy with an incredible shooting touch and gorgeous passes, Larry Bird played a crazy bruising style where he scrapped relentlessly for rebounds and regularly jumped into the stands and had more floor burns than anybody.  I loved it and at the time it just seemed like he was a little hungrier and tougher, but it probably wound up costing him two or three seasons at the end when his back and joints just gave out early because of all the abuse he caused himself.  The same with McHale, who in 1985 played much of the season with a stress fracture.  McHale had his best season in 86-87, but I think the body has a memory and that early abuse contributed to his premature degeneration.

Some players like Jordan seem to defy time, and considering his slashing style when he first came in the league, it's amazing he lasted as long as he did.  Still, people forget Jordan retired twice in the middle of his career which gave his body a chance to recover.  Also, his style of play drastically altered in the second half of his career when he perfected the fadeaway and learned how to pace himself.  He was always, always ultra-competitive but he learned to save his physicality and hard drives for key moments.  He also surrounded himself with a good supporting cast and learned to use them.  A lot of the longest lived players like Kareem and Robert Parish were known for their ability to pick their spots.  They weren't dogging it, but they conserved their energy for the right time.  That's something Kobe has never been known to do and as tough as he is, there will come a time (it it now?) when the abuse catches up. 
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 26 April 2013 at 2:42pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

After all my ink spilled above about the wear and tear of the NBA, the most resilient player in the league, Russell Westbrook, is now out indefinitely with a torn meniscus in his knee and pending surgery.  He has never missed a start in his whole career and had the longest active streak in the league, 394 consecutive games, which now comes to an end.  OKC is trying to put a good face on it, but this is as devastating as it gets.  The Spurs now have a much better look at the finals, as do the Clips.
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 29 April 2013 at 6:38pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I am giving up my dreams of someday becoming a sports writer.  I thought the Lakers had a good shot at beating the Spurs.

Reggie Miller was doing the play by play for the final game of the series.  He commented that Dwight Howard should not be given a max contract. His reasoning is that he has a major weakness in his game namely his free throwing.  You can't rely on him to win close games in the final minutes unless the NBA changes its rules on fouling.  What do you guys think?
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 29 April 2013 at 7:17pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Reggie Miller was doing the play by play for the final game of the series.  He commented that Dwight Howard should not be given a max contract. His reasoning is that he has a major weakness in his game namely his free throwing.  You can't rely on him to win close games in the final minutes unless the NBA changes its rules on fouling.  What do you guys think?

********

There are reasons not to give Dwight Howard a max deal but it ain't because of his free throw shooting! 

Players who couldn't shoot FTs who were worth as much as anyone could pay them:  Shaq, Wilt and Bill Russell! (10 MVP awards and 17 championships between them!!)  I rest my case. 

Howards problems in that last game included getting two dumb technicals and kicked out....only scoring on two buckets....having 5 turnovers in only 21 minutes of play.  Bad, bad, bad!!!!
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