as we wind thrown the Conference Finals (One game left in Miami) it seems that the East is up for grabs. I called Indiana and the Heat as the final two out in Yonkers, but this is unprecedented. How have the Indiana pacers pushed the heavily favored Heat to seven games? How is it possible James might LOSE before even getting another a shot at Pop in the Finals? there is SO much i want to talk about with this entry so i’ll start there.
Pretender to the Crown
James has played his heart out in these Eastern Finals, i’ll say that right now. This year, he has earned my respect as the most dominate player in hoop. He is the best in the world. there are caveats, of course, (Magic and Kobe were better at being the best when they had it and Michael was the pedigree, all three of which could hurt you in a myriad of ways while Bron is kind of a one trick pony) but he beat the Pacers by himself in game 5. that warrants a margin of ceding. That being said, he still might lose.
The pacers are not playing around. they are mean. they are hungry. They are tearing through the Heat like a ravenous pitbull on a junk yard tire. These are facts, events that have already occurred. see every odd numbered game in this series. if not for two games of overwhelming shine from the King himself, the Pacers would have won this in five. And that’s the rub. Seven is right around the corner and the help is gone. Sure, the Heat will rally and they might squeak out a hard earned win in a slugfest of a game seven but so might the Pacers. Either way, the “winner” has a date with a very well rested spurs and an overwhelmingly prepared Pop…
Spurs in four or five.
Because they got Pop. Give that man the time he has had to prepare and the Spurs are all but bullet proof. it’s a given he’ll out coach Spo, that dude is awful at his job by comparison, but it’s more than that. pop is intimidating with his sets. he plays people perfectly, like they’re finely tuned instruments. He makes gutsy calls all of the time and he’s usually right to do so. Sit your starters because the Heat are assholes and it’s just another game? sure. Everyone is upset it’s going to be a lopsided victory in favor of the heat? right. then the game starts and it’s decidedly not that. The Heat beat the Spurs, of course, by five. In Miami. against a team that was missing four of it’s five starters because coach told them to stay home. Gutsy call, that. unpopular call, that. Right call, that.
Best game of the year, right that.
The Kid is alright
as brilliant as LeBron has been in these playoffs, Paul George has been twice that. pay attention to the kid in yellow, yo. That Granger injury has opened up the floor tremendously for George and he’s responded in kind. Kid tore through the regular season like no one’s business and continued to carry these Pacers on his back. He’s lead by example on both ends of the floor, earning his first All-Star birth in year three of his career. He’s playing against the Super-Heat, in the Conference Finals, in the third year of his career.
George has been everywhere on the court. Leading scorer. Defensive stopper. Floor general. Motivator. Leader. and that’s the difference, i think, between the teams. Indiana has a leader. Miami does not. as hard as LeBron plays, everyone will delegate to his genius. as he wants it. but George isn’t that way. there is a system, one that George fits into. It’s never give the ball to the Kid and let him run wild. No, it’s give the ball to George and work it around for that shot. he can get his, yes, but he wants everyone else to get theirs, too.
LeBron IS an unselfish player but far too often he finds himself on the receiving end of mediocrity. his team has let him down, just like it did in Cleveland. it’s the opposite with George. His team has bolstered his already insane confidence. and they are reaping the benefits.
The Heat are the favorites to win the NBA title. sure, i get that. they’ve played fantastic team hoop as of late. It helps tremendously that they play is a horrifying weak east. it also helps that the most dominate player in the league plays on their team. The Heat have a good chance to repeat. If they played another team from the East. but that’s not the case. as it stands, they might get bounced pretty hard. They have, in their way, the Eastern Conference San Antonio Spurs.Danny Granger might be out but the Pacers found new life in their young phenom Paul George. If Paul Pierce is the Truth then this kid is Gospel. And he’ll only get better. but that’s not why the Pacers can put out the red hot Heat. no, that distinction belongs to the dominant presence in the post that is Roy Hibbert. Sure, he started slow but in the last series and a half, dude has been horrifying around the bucket. Melo said it himself, dude makes it difficult to penetrate. Bron might be big enough to get a sht at the cup but Wade? Chalmers? Cole? hell, Bosh? nah. Hibbert is going to deny the easy look and, at the very least, change those shots. Miami hasn’t faced a team with a center like this one yet. Beyond that, the match ups favor a defensive game and that has the Pacers on it all day. Miami might have a chance, a decent one to make it out of the East. it’ll be hard. It’ll be physical. it’ll be nasty. It’ll be some outstanding Basketball to watch.
Let’s say, best case scenario the Heat make it out in six. They WANT to see Memphis. that’s who they’d like. Miami matches up well with Memphis, on the wing. but, in the box, between Z-Bo and the Younger Gasol, there is a problem. 14 feet of it. If the Heat can;t run, and Memphis has systematically taken that away, they’ll be in trouble. Count of forty rebounds between the Two Towers but it doesn’t stop there. Mike Conley is playing like a man possessed. the dismissal of Gay has opened the floor and this kid’s game. he is the floor general and i have never seen him make better decisions on the court. Conley is better than every Point on threat Miami squad and he puts Defense first. Chalmers will be frustrated. he will miss shots. LeBron will try to take over taking shots away from his team. it’ll be rough. I’;m not even going to get into the excellent perimeter defenders in Allen and the wily vet, Prince. If Indiana was a fight, getting Memphis in the Finals would be an all out brawl. Bloody and vicious. even then, Miami might be able to pull this out in six or seven. but that’s the BEST case scenario for a repeat.More than likely, and much to the chagrin of King James, Miami will see the Spurs. This is a death sentence for an Title hopes the Heat have. to be blunt, they can;t match the Spurs. it’s not a thing that is even reasonable. The starting five for the Spurs is experienced and aggressive. they can play two ways; young and fast or cagey and slow. they’ve been to eight Conference Finals in sixteen years. never missed the playoffs. Their big three has One NBA MVP, Two Finals MVPs, a sixth man, and 11 titles between them. Three guys. Ginobli will cancel out Wade. Parker will outplay every Point guard on that Miami squad. Tim will embarrass Bosh, just like Dirk did two years ago.These are facts. LeBron will abuse Kawhi, sure, but Tiago will get the better of Anthony. Not enough? need more reasons? how about that bench?The Spurs bench is loaded to the gills. you HAVE to honor T-MAC. even at his advanced age, he’ll go off for 20 and 10. and think of his opposition. Ray Allen? nope. Rashard Lewis? you’re kidding. but let us continue. The human highlight real, Danny Green can stretch the floor AND throw it down your throat. not enough? Twin enforcers in Boris Diaw and Dejaun Blair get a fresh chance to bully the paint in brand new ways. coming off the bench makes sure they’re ready to punish. i got a few more to throw at you. the Red Mamba himself, Matt Bonner, ready to assassinate you with that deadly deep ball. He mutilated the Grizz last game with it. 56 percent as a team? 6 for 6 to start? really? and, of course, Gary Neal; the guy that damn near beat the Spurs by his lonesome when Pop kept HIS BEST PLAYERS, four of his five starters, at home. Miami one by five. against Neal and his his merry band of misfits. In Miami.But, more than any other reason Miami is in the sh*tter if they see San Antonio - Pop. Nuff said.If the king wants to keep his crown, he better find a way to inspire his Court to play like they deserve his rule because these last two series will test that benevolence.
News has come down that the Kings are going to stay. Bully day, indeed! Sacramento (my hometown) is just a titter with relief. There are new owners ready to take up the mantle, a plan to build a state of the art arena downtown (one the rivals Barclay in both advancement and pretension), and a brand new hope that the Kings will not suck. Hope springs eternal. I wanted to take a moment out of my relatively accurate Playoff calling to indulge these new events. Sorry Seattle, but f*ck you.
I bleed Purple and Gold, LAkergang till i die, but i can see why the Kings are vital to Sacramento. aside from all of the jobs that would be lost if the Maloofs got their way, the fact that the Kings are staying has forced the city to build a new arena. More than anything, we NEED this arena. In my time away from home, Sac has gone through a hipster Renaissance. Art and culture have taken hold downtown. Tons of clubs, fantastic restaurants, and underground clubs abound. we have become San Fransisco Jr. This is a fantastic thing. Building the arena downtown can only bolster our status. With the newest arena just across from the STATE CAPITOL, Sac would finally be on the map. we’d be able to draw attention to ourselves in a positive manner. Visitors would be able to take in all of this underground culture. Also, it would go a long way to bringing other sports franchises back to Sacramento.
These new owners know what they’re doing. They want to win and they want to win now. It is my understanding that the top three are billionaires. The front runner, or the face of the franchise, is going to be Vivek Ranadive. This is a man that understands owning a team is not a business, it’s a hobby. This is a Richer pass time and as such, you install people who know hat they are going. He’ll clean house and force a change in culture, one that is sorely needed. Hopefully, getting rid of Petrie and Smart is at the top of his list. While Petrie has done an admirable job, his ineptitude with the Maloofs has proved his sycophancy. Wee need someone to stand against bad management and Petrie is not that dude. Kieth Smart should never be a professional coach ever again. I can’t call the executive moves myself but i do have a few ideas about the roster.
Evans deserves a big contract but not a max one. He isn’t the future of the franchise but he can be a big piece for the future. if you can convince him to stay and develop a mid range jumper, he’s a weapon to be utilized. Late game situations, give the ball to Reke and watching him cause Havok. any other time, he’s an offensive liability, one that you tolerate because his tenacious D gives him leeway. truth be told, i’d use him as trade fodder toward the All Star break but that’s only if there isn’t any growth in his ability.
Build around Thomas
You need a lightning fast Point in this league now and Thomas is that. Jimmer has neither the ball handling skill or court vision to facilitate the Kings’ offense but Thomas has all of the requisite skill. Plus, in time, he can be good for 15 and 15. You need a coach that can bring the best out of him because, as a junior in the league, Thomas has the longevity to develop into something special. He is your floor general and leader. He is the Franchise. Bigs come and go but if you have an All Star Point, everyone on your team is better. Which leads me to my next point…
Look, the experiment is over. Cousins is immature and refuses to develop. sure, the potential is there, but when you have Thomson, Aldrich, and Patterson sharing that position, he’s unnecessary. Trade him for an athletic wing, someone who CAN score but is far more tenacious on the defensive end. Someone like Gerald Green or, hell, bring back Crash. Dude would be perfect or a blue collar, earn you wins on the back end, kind of guy. Hell, even Tyrus Thomas can be a nice piece. Plus, if you go for TT, you can get some nice picks and what not in return. Wither way, Cousins has got to go. He’s a poison to the locker room and a void on the court. Basketball is a team sport and Cousins wants to be a star. that sh*t doesn’t mix.
Hire a legitimate coach
Byron Scott is available. So is Jerry Sloan. these guys have a solid track record building teams around Point Guards. if you decide to make Thomas the franchise, and you should, These guys can help him become great. it’ll be a process, no doubt, but in the end, Contention. Spend the money, yo. invest in your squad. A team is only as good as the coach and you need a good coach to get the b est out of them. personally, i’d look at Scott. His schemes pushed the LAkers to their limit regularly and he’d be cheaper than Sloan.
Alice Even is highly attractive to me. It’s her eyes. They didn’t digitally match them so i got one blue and one green all movie. it was difficult for me not to lose my sh*t whenever she was on screen. also, this happened:
Star Trek II was actually a pretty legit flick. i enjoyed it from the outset to it’s climax. It seemed like there was too much story for the runtime, but everything pretty much ended neatly in a bow. there was no anticlimax, no sense of needing more movie to accommodate all of the plot lines. this one had a mission and it accomplished said goals perfectly. It’s been a long time since i’ve been satisfied with a film in it’s entirety. that in itself is enough for me to recommend seeing this one in Theaters, never mind the awesome CG, apt performances, and brilliant set pieces.
More than any other film coming out this Summer, Star Trek is a movie based on chemistry. The actors need to like each other for you to like them. The first Trek did a fantastic job of establishing that comradery, particularly between Spock and Kirk. that feeling of brotherhood carries over here perfectly, heightened by the inclusion of a brand new cast mate in Alice Eve, Though her part was relatively small and a whole lot superfluous, it was still refreshing to see her interact with the rest of the stars. she fit right into this illustrious fraternity.
As i stated before, Kirk and Spock were magnificent. Pine and Quinto rekindle that Bromance perfectly. you see it in the beginning in a subtle, but emotional manner as Pine’s Kirk disobeys the Prime Directive and again toward the end from Quinto’s Spock, in a surprisingly rampage-y manner, during the climax chase. you are really, really aware that these two guys care for each other greatly and that makes this movie work.
Zaldana’s Uhura is just as sassy and “black” as ever. honestly, i do enjoy her character a lot. she’s a nice contrast to the testosterone fueled shenanigans and spats between the Captain and his number 1, but this outing, Zaldana felt a bit… underused. There was never a point where i was rooting for her, nor was there a lull where i wasn’t. she seemed rather forced to me. that being said, Zaldana does a wonderful job of bringing the character to what little life the script allotted.
Pegg’s Scotty was outstanding again. dude is a scene stealer for real. Urban’s Bones is an outstanding character to experience as always. there’s this slathering in camp in his performance that just lifts the entire movie. Yelchin’s Checkov, although promoted in responsibility, lost a lot of face time on screen. this was a bit of a disappointment because i enjoy his neurotic take on the russian prodigy. Peter Weller, of Robocop fame, was kind of a Southern asshole while Cho’s Sulu made some waves on screen.
The draw, for me however, was Cumberbatch. This is a guy who can act. This is a guy who can take a character on per and give them true life. I never see him in the villainous role, though, so anti Sherlock was quite the draw. and, for the most part, he delivered. during the scenes where he had to be a voracious murderer, Cumberbatch’s Khan was brilliant. It was when we were expected to believe that there was an inkling of emotion, that he feels the same as we do, where the performance got a bit melodramatic. you’ll know it when you see it.Everything else was just brilliant. Make me froth for his portrayal of Smaug.
The direction was on point once again. Abrams is a rather skilled director, taking the vision he has and conveying that to the many actors, and personalities, on his sets. I don;t think i have ever seen an Abrams production that i didn’t like. i mean, there’s Lost, but that was more hype than actual disappointment. In a world where Snyder gets to touch Superman and Bay get Transformers, it’s a relief to know that Abrams gets to captain the Start trek (and Star Wars) ship. From the breathtaking long shots on Cronos to the epic dive of the Vengeance, Abrams has a goal and he deftly maneuvers the audience to that end.
Overall, i enjoyed this movie tremendously. There are a few nit-pick things here or there that kept me from giving it a resounding endorsement but, as far as summer blockbuster sequels go, this is the best one out so far. That being said, The Hangover 3 and Man of Steel are in the wings. this title might be lost soon enough.
First things first, Gwyneth Paltrow has finally won me over as Pepper. I was skeptical she could pull it off but this movie showcased her depth with the character perfectly. It helps tremendously that she looked like this for half her scenes.
Iron Man 3 has all of the pomp you’d expect from a Superhero Summer Blockbuster but none of the character. It’s definitely not as soul-less as Transformers 2 but it feels inferior to it’s predecessors, particularly following Whedon’s excellent Avengers outing. Since all of these flicks link up like Voltron and create this overarching narrative, you’d think there’d be a bit more development with Tony.
This was touched upon with his anxiety attacks but they never came at inopportune times. it was like, left to his own devices, perfectly safe and secure, he spazzes out. Never when mutant super-soldiers are burning their way through his suit. never when the only person he loves more than himself is injected with genetic recoding serums. When Tony is on, he’s Iron Man. You think having missiles fired into your living room would incite some sort of panic but nope. cool as a cucumber.
Suspending my disbelief with that noise,the movie itself was everything you’d expect from a summer outing. there were grandiose and over the top set pieces. the aforementioned home demolition was a sight but the House Party at the end? that was amazing. Tony jumping from armor to armor was Jarvis controlled his entire Armory was incredible. I enjoyed tremendously, Tony donning the Silver Centurion suit. my inner fanboy squeed like a chick in the throes of passion. Pepper in her Extremis underoos was also a treat. completely out of character but a delight, nonetheless. Rhodey was awesome, as always, and even The “Mandarin” was decent. The twist was a little… unfortunate but i liked the narcoleptic, drug addled thespian as a character overall.
The Extremis was never really elaborated on beyond it’s bare bone explanation in the beginning of the film. I found this to be rather cumbersome, particularly in regards to their recovery ability. Early on, there was an explosion at the Chinese Theater in LA that one of the superpowered soldiers walked away from but, a few scenes later, Tony killed one with a substantially smaller explosion. One of them even took a repulsar to the face at point blank range only to recover minutes later yet, the same guy gets a hole blasted in his chest with the UNI-Beam and dies? inconsistency, yo.
Killian was kind of ridiculous as the primary super villain. As a faceless mastermind, that Suit in the Shadows, he was fantastic. Every bit the charismatic, intelligent, and capable nemesis the Iron Man needs. Evil Tony Stark? Killian nailed that. and then he spit hot fire at Rhodey. at that point, i was done. Never used this ability ever again in the film either. just this one time. sh*t was ridiculous. Would have come in handy as an anti air offensive during the climax as all of those suits were flying about.
The acting was pretty legit. Downey’s Stark is going to be one hard act to follow if he decides not to re up. i mean, the guy IS Tony Stark. he’s not even acting. he’s just being himself, one hundred percent of the time. sh*t’s awesome. Cheadle’s Rhodes keeps chugging along in the same vein. he’s far more Tony’s equal in this outing and it’s a goddamn shame the two of them did not have more face time together. I’d love to see that dynamic explored further. Like, give Rhodey a War Machine movie and let Cheadle go to work. that’d be fun to watch. Or a buddy cop flick with the two of them. Lethal Weapon with Armored Suits. i can dig it!
Pepper is vexing in the sense that she, as a character, has grown considerably. this is no more apparent than in how Gwyneth is portrays her. but there are some scenes, particularly toward the end, where i just think, “This is not Victoria”. that can be direction, that can be script, i don’t know. Guy Pearce’s Killian is awesome, until he gets hammy. Which happens when he needs to be the most sinister, the most insidious. i mean, i touched on it before, but really” the n*gga turns into Godzilla and just puts his Miami Vice coat back on like it’s a f*cking Tuesday! If i have to look at it objectively, dude was phenomenal as Aldrich but, goddamn, shenanigans! like, the second half of that character, the second you find out he’s the antagonist, shenanigans.
Kingsley was awesome. Not going to get into the character too deep, but his performance was very refreshing. Didn’t care for the liberties taken with the “Mandarin” themselves, but, hey, re-imaginings are all the rage. Everyone else was kind of adequate. Wanted to see more of Szostak’s Brandt though. Those scars and that crazy made me smile. In my pants. Shame she “died” so quickly. Dale’s Savin was so-so. really wasn’t impressed with the character or his portrayal.
Overall, this was a serviceable film. It portrayed a singular, self contained story about hero versus villain. there was no growth or lessons learned by anyone here. Favreau’s outings always dealt with the human element of the characters. Stark had to reconcile his part in the torture and rape of worlds in the first. He then had to deal with the cost of being Iron Man and the looming death of his choices in the second. This one feels like, as hard as it tries, a missed mark. It came very naturally in the first two and never quite congeals in this third. As a fan of that over-arching narrative, i was disappointed the lack of development but, as a film, the effects and chemistry between actors is enough to keep your attention.
This is a fantastic ride with a soul-less ride, to be sure.
The season is over. the post season is starting. we’re two games into round 1 so it’s time i pitched in my two cents.
Earl Clark is the Future
Earl Clark is ridiculous. ridiculous. 25 years old. 6 foot, 10 inches tall. lengthy. lithe. Aggressive and overwhelmingly tenacious. Clark plays like he was raised in the Jordan era of hoop. kid is still raw, three year int the league on bad teams will do that, but he got his shot in LA. Playing along side the tenacious Vino has rubbed off. the kid has averaged 30 minutes a game this season, expanding his skill base while earning the trust of the hardened Bryant. That’s a difficult thing to achieve; Bryant trusting you with the ball as the clock winds down. Kid reminds me of LaMarcus Aldrige, who happens to be my favorite player in the league. Give him time, keeping him close to Coach Vino, and that kid will be absolutely great.
Paul George is the truth
PG will absolutely be the reason the Pacers are in the East Finals. there is no team built to stop these kids. none. Defense is paramount and they are playing that sh*t like their coach is named Pop. but it’s George making Vogel look like a savant. Kid took the summer real serious. Real. Serious. That loss to the Heat last year? Yeah, that made the kid hungry. like, starving so bad he’d cut off his own foot to stay the pangs hungry. This drive, lead him to the Most Improved Player award this season, a feat he accepted with all the grace and humility of a hard nosed competitor.
”I think I can play at an MVP level. I think that’s very much within reach,”
Kid is three years into the league. Three. and he’ll back it up. Unlike Hubbard, who signed that big ass contract and disappeared for most of the season, George has been right there. With DG out in the first five games, George was the King of Indiana and he treated his subjects well, thanks to a newfound diligence he attributed to the King of LA, the Ageless Vino, himself. During the summer, while training with Team USA, he George had this to say about his entire experience;
”It was huge. Me, growing up, idolizing guys like Kobe, watching his whole regimen, watching what time he got up to work out, watching what he was putting in his body. The younger guys, we was totally the opposite, so I had to kind of take notes and follow what they were doing.”
90’s hoop might not die off after all. Between this kid and Earl Clark, the future of hoop is looking a lot better.
Smitty is Number 6 of the year
Shoulda been J. Crawford but, you know, politics.
Breakups to Makeups
Mike Brown is the head coach of the Cavs for a second time. after such a messy divorce, it’s hard to think this will work effectively. besides, Brown is mediocre at best when it comes to calling plays. out of a time out, he’s awful. i wonder how long it will be before he alienates Kyrie? doesn’t matter, that kid has eyes for LA. it’ll be nice to see him in LAker gold soon.
KD is tired of being number 2
Yeah, good luck with that, yo. Particularly when the number two on YOUR team thinks he deserves the number one spot.
There are thirteen days left until the playoffs. thirteen and then some of the most explosive games in the last ten years will be played. The LAkers are hungry and desperate. with an eighth seed date with the Thunder or Spurs, their series should be fun to watch. Kobe is striking and threatening retirement. Win Now or lose arguably the greatest to play since his Airness. Miami is looking like a Dynasty right now behind the play of their benevolent, malevolent monarch, King James. Melo is playing like a guy who was last picked of his rookie class, to get that championship shine. yes, the Playoffs will be fantastic. so, before we elevate to those lofty heights, i wanted to take a minute to look back and address.
Kobe is the greatest player to step on the court, in the last twenty years
You can scream LeBron. pale comparison. You can call Carmelo. dude is a pure scorer, sure. You can even argue Durant, and i’d agree to an extent, but the kid is too young in the game. Kobe Bryant is the most complete, active player in this league. He means as much to this current generations of youngsters as Jordan did for him. true story. name another player who can match his skill set right now, at his size. The only one i can think of is Timmy D but his abilities have depleted. Kobe has been in the NBA for sixteen years. He’s still putting up 27 a game, while outperforming even his MVP season in efficiency. The fact that, so far into his career, we still consider him the third best player in the world is obscene.with that being said…
KOBE DON’T GO!
I am old enough to remember when Magic retired. sh*t broke my heart. i am old enough to remember when Jordan retired the first time. it broke everyone else’s heart, yo. Kobe is going to retire, soon, but next year is TOO soon. he’s got three more years in him. i ant to see those three years. i want him to move into the number three all time scorer position. and most of all, i want him to win number six. Kobe has been a LAker for as long as i can remember, a rarity in today’s league. When he goes, the nineties go with him. all that will be left is a bunch of fundamentally flawed, uber athletic assholes who refuse to develop a mid range jumper and think defense is only chase down blocks or the occasional steal. Basketball as i know it will die with Kobe Bryant’s retirement. Kobe, don’t go! please, man, please give me three more years of sound, grit-n-grind hoop! i’m not ready to concede the LeBron era just yet!
Miami might be serious
After that historic run, Miami is looking like a team ready to rampage through the playoffs. LeBron is carrying this squad into legitimacy, which i knew would happen. Getting that first ring is always the hardest but that sh*t is vindicating. After Jordan got his first, three-peat. after Kobe got his first, three-Peat. Timmy-D got his in a lockout season and followed it up with three more in seven years. Magic got his his rookies season on the way to four more and title of greatest LAker. LeBron is poised to be dominate for the next seven years, with an unheard of potential in regards to championship runs. It help tremendously that Wade is also playing like a man possessed and Bosh is more than just court decoration. I have Miami out of the east. you gotta. they’re there best out there. and depending on who they see in the Finals, number 2 of 8 might be a given this season.
Melo is doing it big right now
coming off an injury has done little to stay this cat’s championship appetite. He and Smitty went for 80 the other day and Carmelo has put up 40, alone, in the last three games. He’s got these Knick kids on an 11 game run, firmly staking their claim as number two in the East. It’s going to be an interesting situation if these cats see the Heat in the East Finals. They match up well and, while LeBron is a far more physical presence, i’d have to give Melo the edge as far as skill. he’ll sharp-shoot the Heat into oblivion given the chance. The Heat are going to have to play solid defense to stop this run, yo.
The West is still ridiculous
OKC is trying their best to shake that Finals collapse from last year. The Spurs are still sipping that youth elixir and find themselves atop the West rankings for a third straight year, even if they are without Manu for the foreseeable future. Denver is the consummate team, behind the play of their burgeoning superstar Ty Lawson, shaking all of those Iggy free agency rumors. The LAkers are showing flashses while the Clippers are starting to flicker. and then there’s Golden State. the dark horse. the team no one is talking about. the team that will upset someone in a few weeks. their defense and unselfish play have those kids in position to make some noise in the post season. once again, ever since Jordan retired, it’s the West on top.
Heaven help me, i am a fan of LeBron James again.
The Heat are playing winning basketball. Bosh looks like a man on the court as of late. His post play has been absolutely phenomenal. Wade has recaptured a bit of that 2006 form. He’s not dominating like he used to but it’s more than enough to befuddle hapless defenses league wide. Ray Allen has been in a slump, for sure, but shooters always shoot their way out of that. give him some time. Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole are combining to become one helluva point guard. Birdman has been a pretty acute acquisition, flustering offensive players around the bucket with a precision that earned him is over payed contract with Denver. Spo is as pitiful as ever but, with a 24 game win streak seemingly unbreakable if they get past the Spurs sunday, the Heat have been brilliant.
and if that team is brilliant, then Lebron is Stephen Hawking.
Kid is shooting his highest field goal percentage, ever. last i check, it was in the low to mid sixties. yo, entire teams LUST to shoot that well from the floor. there were a few games sprinkled in this year where he literally missed one or two shots. shenanigans! how do you shoot ninety percent from the field, yo? what kind of tomfoolery is that? which leads me to my next point; efficiency. LeBron’s efficiency, the rate he takes good shots, is through the roof. In the last six minutes of that C’s challenge, Bron personally facilitated the last fifteen points of offense. and i say facilitated because he didn’t score fifteen. he scored eight and assisted for seven in the game that will forever be known as “The Assassination of Jason Terry”.
The Jet was shot out of the sky.
Rallying from a deficit in the hostile Garden, against a Rondo less but still very resurgent Celtics team, Bron took control late. he imposed himself on those final twelve minutes. Weathering a 43 point outburst by the cagey Jeff Green, the King put on his crown and lead his court to victory. Then the streak continued. Onto his abandoned Cleveland and rallying from 27 down, James pout the Heat on his back once again and, in an OT victory, showed what he is made off.
The Heat are at Kobe and counting.
LeBron is playing the player i thought he would be when i saw him embarrass the Kings way back in 2003. Even is he did run away from the Celtics to South Beach, this LeBron is the dominate, aggressive, floor general the Heat need to win. He is the glue to this squad right now and they’re playing outstanding hoop because of it. Keep in mind, this is coming of leading the USA to Gold not seven months ago.this is coming off winning his first NBA title* not even a year ago. The first one is always the hardest but i called it back then, LeBron will play the best basketball of his career after this first title. and he has been. and he has his team in the position to repeat. i still don;t think they have enough to beat a veteran western conference team (Pop, Timmy D and their Spurs will give the Heat a run for their money if they meat in the Finals) but they’ll murder the East, handily.
Just as Jason Terry.
I had a fantastic f*cking time with this flick. Fan-goddamn-tastic. I’ve seen a lot of three star reviews for this movie, and in all truthfulness, it is just that’ a really good but not exceptional film. the thing it, it’s not for a lack of trying.
Right off the bat, you’re charmed by Franco and his egotistical take on Oz. He is an absolute scoundrel, someone you do NOT take home to mother, but he’s completely honest about it. Honorable rogue is the best way to describe him and he plays that up to a perfect pitch. You see him, Oz, not so much evolve into a better man but slowly accept that the greatness he wants is already there, he just needs to stop trying so hard to achieve it. that’s a hard thing to convey as an actor; that slow self-understanding. At it’s core, this is the tale of a man, beaten down by life on earth, doing extraordinary things in Oz, only after accepting his true strengths and very real weaknesses. James Franco is definitely the draw here.
Mila Kunis as the love struck Theodora was a delight but for different reasons. Mila is one of the greatest actresses of my generation, true story. but in this flick, she’s all ham. to call her performance campy would be an understatement but it fits, particularly after she transforms into her green face. true story, even when trying to make her scary and scarred through makeup, Mila is still the hottest woman in this flick. Her story as Theodora is a tragic one, and if you can get through the stink of the cheese, it’s also a very human tale. a lonely, beautiful young girl is swept of her feet by a handsome, charming, older man from out of town. futures were imagined but hopes were dashed upon perceived betrayal. People say money is the root of all evil. in this tale, it’s love that plants those trees.
Joey King’s China Girl kept breaking my heart, man. Over and over, i could feel my heart sink. chick just kept getting sh*tted on in life but she kept trucking, kept fighting. When she got her gift in the end, i damn near stated bawling. true story. i was sitting behind a gay couple and they turned around to make sure i was OK. hilarity. it’s a rare thing for me to react to, well, anything that profoundly. Forrest Gump and Monster’s Inc are really the only movies where i openly shed tears. China Girl’s narrative was definitely one of those rare occasions. if you’re not moved by her story, you’re a monster. and that’s coming from a monster.
Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz were both outstanding in their respective roles as Glenda and Evanora. Rachel was particularly sinister as the original wicked witch. Little surprised by how ruthless this chick was. testament to her acting prowess. Braff was a delight as Finley, a little known character that act’s as Jimminy Cricket to Oz’s Pinocchio. Bill Cobbs and Tony Cox were underutilized in this film considerable. Their characters, Master Tinkerer and Knook, were instrumental in Oz’s sacking of Emerald City and they just kind of… never were around. The Master Tinkerer in particular. i felt his screen time warranted more than the meager 10 he accrued in the film’s last 40. Overall, the cast was amazing and well put together. there was a lot of chemistry between the main characters, particularly Braff and Franco, giving them something tangible to play off of and it shows in this movie. Even with all of the camp, Franco’s straight man is more than enough to ground you in the surreality of Oz.
The movie itself is absolutely lovely. Raimi has a way with camera angles and cinematography which carries over into this film. I didn’t the “historical footage” filter he used while Franco was still on earth but i understand why. Added another layer to the experience, even if i felt like i was watching poop on reels. Oz itself is very reminiscent of Burton’s take on Wonderland. In fact, i’d go so far as to say this was Raimi’s best impersonation OF a Burton flick. I can totally see Johnny Depp as that rapscallion Oz and the immortal Helena Carter playing the hell out of Evanora. Mila would probably come through far more sinister as Theodora to boot. or even Mia Wasikowska! i think she could have been a brilliant Theodora. but that’s all just wishful thinking. With the exception of a few pacing problems, Raimi did a fantastic job with this movie.
Disney did this one justice. i’m pretty sure MGM has rights to Dorothy and co. so we won’t be seeing a Raimi adaptation of the entire Oz universe which is a shame. i think, if Raimi was allowed to create an inclusive Oz universe like Jackson did with LOTOR, it’s be a pretty amazing experience. here’s hoping execs see reason and not dollar signs. See this movie! it’s not the greatest of flicks but as far as the opening shot for that mad summer rush, it’s bloody brilliant. the performances are there, the film is shot beautifully, and you might be surprised by a few scenes. i was. completely worth the 13 dollars!
Who is the best player to ever play the game? Most would say Michael Jordan, and they’d be right. but i want to make the argument that Magic was just as profound a player a Michael. For me, it was Magic. It has to be. If i were to start a franchise from scratch, i’d pick Magic over Michael, all day. Michael, for all of his highlight plays and championship runs, didn’t do it for seven years. He struggled in purgatory during the 80s, playing like Afro Kobe. Greatness, true enough, but individual greatness. Michael was never known as a teammate, but a fierce competitor. And that’s why the Bulls waited nearly a decade for a title.
Magic? he stepped onto the NBA court, into an NBA title. his rookie season, he won the highest Basketball accolade possible. he won Finals MVP. a rookie in the NBA, in the biggest game of of his life, Magic played every position on the court. and he did all of this, coming off beating Larry Legend in the NCAA finals little over a year before! That college game is STILL, some 30+ years later, the highest rated college Final in the history of sports.Taller than Jordan. As quick as Steve Nash. Handles like Steve Francis. Finishing at the bucket like LeBron. You’re not suppose to move like that. not at that size. not at that position. it’s unfair for the other team but it’s Magic for the league.
You put Magic on the LAkers, and a dynasty happens immediately. You put Jordan on the Bulls, and you have the best show in sports. Jordan didn’t start winning until he adjusted his game to play more like Johnson. and that’s the rub. You play like Magic, you win titles. Kobe learned that. LeBron learned that. Westbrook needs to learn that if the Thunder want to win. and, for me, that’s where it starts. you find a point guard and build your team around them. Shooting Guards are fantastic scorers. Small Forwards are outstanding everymen. Power Forwards play a brutal, physical game. Centers can dominate every minute of a season. but, if you want all of these players, these individuals with individual talents to mesh, it starts at the point. and Magic is the greatest Point to ever step on the court.
Finals record 84 assists? in six games? that’s literally 28 points a game. On passes. those are points GIVEN to his teammates BY Magic. He did that. AND he threw in 18 points a game himself. Cat facilitated 46 points of pure offense on his own. plus, just cuz he could, another 7 rebounds a game. all of that, from one player, his fifth year in the NBA, in ONE Finals series, against Bird’s C’s. That sh*t is Magic, yo. Jordan? he’ll get you that 46 on his own. but he’ll do it at the sacrifice of his team. You don’t average 30 points a game for an entire career AND dish for 11 assists. Jordan put it best himself; He was the best One-on-One player in the NBA but Magic was the best TEAM player. and Basketball is a TEAM sport.
for the record, Jordan’s overall offense was around 42 points a game, counting points and assists. Magic’s overall numbers? 41.5. Magic also pulled down one extra rebound a game. Dominance, yo. in two very different ways, but dominance all the same.
Give me Magic to start my franchise over Jordan, any day of the week. That’s the problem with the NBA right now; It’s not about Magic anymore. It’s all Jordan brand. That individual supremacy, that one-on-one dominance. the NBA is filled with so many Answers and Iso-Joes.The beauty in basketball is when the ball moves. that passing, that ballet of bodies and athleticism. That’s what makes hoop so special. Magic was maestro of all that. Jordan couldn’t run an offense like Magic. LeBron chooses not to. Kobe can’t. Durant can’t. but these guys are considered the best in this era. all because Jordan dominated the game as an individual, like no one before him.
Except for Magic, who dominated the game as a teammate, like no one before him. and probably no one after.