2014 NBA Finals

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by Jim Feist of VegasTopDogs.com

 Say, what happened to “Youth Must Be Served?” Last year a pair of veteran teams met in the NBA Finals, with Miami winning its second straight title in seven games against the aging Spurs. Lo and behold, the same team teams made it to the Conference Finals again, with the young Pacers and Thunder trying to break through. Two years ago it was supposed to be the time the kids stepped up in Oklahoma City stepped up. OKC came close, winning Game 1 of the Finals before Miami won four in a row. The previous year a younger Miami team came close, carving out a 2-1 series lead before collapsing, as it was those old fogies in Dallas who came away with the title – another veteran team winning the whole thing. You get the sense the NBA is suddenly an old man’s game. In fact veteran NBA teams have been on a roll, with the Celtics winning it all in 2008, the Lakers in 2009-10, the Mavericks in 2012 out of nowhere, and the Heat the last two years. This year young teams from Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington, Memphis and Golden State made the playoffs but are gone.

In 2012 the thirty-something Mavericks won it all as a No. 3 seed. Despite then 26-year old Jose Barea running all over the place, it was a veteran Dallas team behind then 33-year old Dirk Nowitzki, 34-year old Shawn Marion, Jason Terry and Peja Stojakovic (both 34) and 39-year old Jason Kidd. This year the NBA’s Final Four has a pair of young teams (Pacers and Thunder) against the old men of San Antonio and Miami. While the NBA is more of an athletic game, primed for young legs, the experience of the Mavericks certainly helped them two years ago and helped the Spurs plow their way to the No. 1 seed for the second season in a row. But at some point age can work against a team, breaking down from injuries. There really haven’t been many youthful teams winning the NBA title lately. The Celtics and Lakers were veteran teams that clashed in the Finals in 2008 and 2010. The experienced Lakers topped the young Orlando Magic in 2009, blowing out the kids in Game 1, 100-75. Prior to that veteran teams like the Spurs, Pistons and 2006 Miami Heat won titles. Ahh, the Miami Heat. They really aren’t that youthful, with LeBron James the only kid at age 29, and even he’s been in the league ten years. He’s also been in the NBA Finals in 2007 with Cleveland. Dwyane Wade (age 32) already has a ring with the 2006 Heat, a veteran team that also had Shaq, Antoine Walker and Gary Payton. One thing that stands out with the NBA’s Final Four of 2014 is defense.

The Thunder, Pacers, Spurs and Heat all finished in the Top 10 in the NBA during the regular season in either points allowed for field goal shooting defense. Oklahoma City was tops in the West in FG shooting defense, while the Pacers were best in the NBA. This shouldn’t surprise. Two years ago Miami was sixth in points allowed during the regular season, Dallas was 10th; Miami was second in field goal defense (.434%), while Dallas was 8th (.450%). The Western Conference Finals was a terrific clash of Youth vs. Experience. Oklahoma City has 25-year old 6-10 Kevin Durant and 25-year old Russell Westbrook (23.7 ppg), while the Spurs are filthy with age and talent. The Spurs have 38-year old Tim Duncan, 36-year old Manu Ginobili and 31-year old Tony Parker, though the Spurs rely heavily on their bench, which leads the league in scoring for the fifth straight season. So how did defending champion Miami do against the Best of the West? They got crushed by the Thunder (112-95) at home, won at OKC (103-81), got blown out at San Antonio (111-87) and won at home over the Spurs (113-101). Which shows how little stock you should put in regular season meetings, as situational factors and injuries come into play. Are the kids ready to take over? Or will we see another bunch of old men hoist the trophy?

Dominique Wilkins voices his displeasure about LeBron James and his monumental 61 point night.

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LeBron James set a career-high and Miami Heat franchise-high by lighting up the Bobcats for 61 points. James ripped apart the Bobcats with an awesome shooting effort knocking down threes, hitting jumpers from all over the court, shredding a defense, which is giving up only 97 a night to opponents on the season, and is holding opponents to ratty 44% shooting on a nightly basis.

Recently 80’s superstar Dominique Wilkins kind of dropped a bomb on LeBrons massive night, stating that he could have scored 40 points under the same conditions. The 54 year old Wilkins seems a little sensitive to me. Granted Wilkins gives rightful credit to LeBron for his

athleticism and skills, but making this statement is pure idiocy, and is only a soiled point to take a shot at one of the NBAs best players.

When Dominique was 39 years old, playing for his 5th team, he was scoring 5.0 ppg. And scored 12+ only 4 times on the year. So, let’s crush that concept of ‘Nique lighting up the Bobcats now at 54, can we? So why is Dominique going off on James’ night of significant explosion?

It kind of seems to me that “Nique is staying strong with his old school roots, that the NBA is a watered down product than it was in the 80’s when he was playing. And in some facets he is right. This generation of players, are given much more freedom to play than in the 80’s when players banged hard and less was called, hand checking was allowed, and teams like the Pistons slammed you repeatedly over and over throughout games.

But for Dominique to make the statement of eras is a stupid opinion. Wilkins was able to score, and he was a big scorer in the day, I had watched him light it up on more than one occasion. But, ‘Nique was not a good shooter. Let’s be completely honest here. For those who want to bang on LeBron not being able to shoot, are you kidding me? Those days are long gone, James can straight shoot the ball.

Ok, no more with that asinine moot point.

Wilkins won a scoring title in his career, and 2 times scored a 57 points in a game, his personal best. But for someone who had no jump shot, he was a 31% shooter from deep, I’m not sold that he would have knocked down the shots LeBron did against the Bobcats.

It does at times seem like many of the 80s guys have some intense resentment against the kids playing today. When you look at numbers, when ‘Nique was playing, there were consistently a handful of guys scoring 25 PPG. Makes you wonder was the defense really that much better then, or were the players really that much more talented?

Of course there were the legends of the era, and they would have been able to more than handle their own in this generation of players, but again, lets be factual. This generation of players are faster, stronger, bigger than the old school guys
from the 80s.

Just like when we grew up watching Bird and Magic, we all knew for a fact that those guys from then were better than most of the great players from the 60s. There was no way Tom Heinsohn could match up with Bird.

You get what I’m saying here?

Seriously, there is no way Kiki Vandeweghe or Dale Ellis was scoring 25 in today’s NBA, they didn’t have the game that is needed for today’s game.

Unfortunately, it seems that Lebron cannot seem to get a break. People want to say he is not great because he didn’t win a title, he then goes and wins 2. Back to back, mind you. Now his 61 point performance is being picked apart.

‘Nique, your time is long gone, you were very good, but you were not even close to being as good as LeBron is.

Written by TonyK of VegasTopDogs.com

2013 NBA Preview and Predictions

NBA

We are getting all set for a new season of NBA basketball, three point shots, buzzer beaters, rim rocking dunks, and shake your head dimes. Making fans all over, like myself, get excited for the opening nights games, I always look forward to seeing what players step it up, and what ones don’t. <p> So with the season knocking on the doorstep, let’s take a gaze forward and take a look into the 2013 season ahead, and forecast where our teams may perhaps end up this season.  <p> Welcome back to the NBA!  <p> Eastern Conference <p> Atlantic        <p> Y-New York Knicks; Last season, 54-28; this year 56-26

X –Brooklyn Nets; Last season, 49-33; this year 53-29

X -Toronto Raptors; Last season, 34-48; this year 40-42

Boston Celtics; Last season, 41-40; this year 29-53

Philadelphia 76ers; Last season, 34-48; this year 24-58 <p> Central        <p> Y- Indiana Pacers; Last season, 49-32; this year 52-30

X –Chicago Bulls; Last season, 45-37; this year 51-31

X -Milwaukee Bucks; Last season, 38-44; this year 39-43

Detroit Pistons; Last season, 29-53; this year 30-52

Cleveland Cavaliers; Last season, 24-58; this year 26-56 <p> Southeast        <p> Z -Miami Heat; Last season, 66-16; this year 62-20

X -Atlanta Hawks; Last season, 44-38; this year 48-34

Washington Wizards; Last season, 29-53; this year 35-47

Charlotte Bobcats; Last season, 21-61; this year 26-56

Orlando Magic; Last season, 20-62; this year 25-57 <p> Western Conference  <p> Northwest    <p>    Z- Oklahoma City Thunder; Last season, 60-22; this year 60-22

X – Denver Nuggets; Last season, 57-25; this year 59-23

X – Minnesota Timberwolves; Last season, 31-51; this year 43-39

Portland Trailblazers; Last season, 33-49; this year 36-46

Utah Jazz; Last season, 43-39; this year 33-49 <p> Pacific        <p> Y – Los Angeles Clippers; Last season, 56-26; this year 60-22

X – Golden State Warriors; Last season, 47-35; this year 53-29

Los Angeles Lakers; Last season, 45-37; this year 41-41

Sacramento Kings; Last season, 28-54; this year 27-55

Phoenix Suns; Last season, 25-57; this year 20-62, <p>

Southwest     <p> Y- Houston Rockets; Last season, 45-37; this year 56-26

X – San Antonio Spurs; Last season, 58-24; this year 54-28

X – Memphis Grizzlies; Last season, 56-26; this year 51-31

New Orleans Hornets; Last season, 27-55; this year 33-49

Dallas Mavericks; Last season, 41-41; this year 25-57 <p>

Rookie of the Year 2013 Predictions <p> VICTOR OLADIPO (6-5, 220 lbs – Orlando Magic) <p>

– Honorable mention (in the race all year long)

Trey Burke (6-1, 190 lbs – Utah Jazz)

Ben McLemore (6-5, 200 lbs – Sacramento Kings)

C.J. McCollum (6-4, 200 lbs – Portland Trailblazers)

Nerlens Noel (7-0, 225 lbs – Philadelphia 76ers)

Otto Porter (6-9, 200 lbs- Washington Wizards)

<p>

Coach of the Year 2013

DOC RIVERS, Los Angeles Clippers

<p>

Defensive Player of the Year 2013

DWIGHT HOWARD, Houston Rockets

<p>

MVP of the Year 2013

LEBRON JAMES (6-9, 265 lbs – Miami Heat)

<p> – Honorable mention (in the race all year long)

Chris Paul (6-0, 195 lbs – Los Angeles Clippers)

Kevin Durant (6-10, 225 lbs – Oklahoma City Thunder)

James Harden (6-5, 220 lbs – Houston Rockets)

Carmelo Anthony (6-9, 235 lbs, New York Knicks)

Steph Curry (6-3, 185 lbs, Golden State Warriors)

<p>

EAST Champs 2013

Miami Heat over the New York Knicks

<p>

WEST Champs 2013

Los Angeles Clippers over the Denver Nuggets <p>

NBA CHAMPIONS 2013

MIAMI HEAT over the Los Angeles Clippers