Tag Archives: Manu Ginobli

Olympic Men’s Basketball: Medal Round Preview

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Will LeBron James (pictured above) lead Team USA to gold? Our very own Nick Craddock weighs in.

By Nick Craddock

The preliminary round of the London 2012 edition of the men’s basketball competition concluded Monday and we’ve learned (or merely confirmed) that the United States, which is escaping the group stage unscathed, is still the team to beat for the gold medal.

After the United States, the question of which team poses the biggest threat to the heavy favorites remains unclear. While the aforementioned question does not yield a definitive answer, what is clear heading into the medal round, which begins Wednesday, is that a handful of teams from the chasing pack can challenge LeBron James and Co. on a great day for American opponents or a bad day for the Americans when it comes to their own execution.

In a single-elimination format, anything could happen for these teams still vying for Olympic success: Continue reading

Food for Thought 5-29-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Manu Ginobli (pictured above) stole the show in Game 1. Will OKC slow down the streaking Spurs tonight?

By Josh Kramer

Continue to doubt the Spurs.  I know that I have.  19 victories in a row is no fluke.  Not to mention that nine of them have occurred during playoff basketball.  Through three quarters on Sunday night, it looked as if the Thunder were on their way to making a major statement, and negating San Antonio’s home-court advantage.  Instead, San Antonio came out firing on all cylinders in the fourth court, denying OKC a major opportunity.  Sunday was as prime example of why no game is every over until the final horn sounds.  Now history is against the Thunder who lost in the conference finals last year as well.

First of all, winners of Game 1 in the conference finals have gone on to win the series 80% of the time.  Secondly, San Antonio became the fourth team in NBA history to start the playoffs with nine straight victories.  All of the previous three advanced to the NBA finals with two taking home the championship.  Thirdly, the Thunder outplayed the Spurs for well over three/fourths of the game and still lost.  Scott Brooks has to be scratching his head still as to what happened late Sunday night.

Manu Ginobli was the difference maker as he has been for the better part of a decade now.  How many players can come off the bench and influence a playoff basketball game the way he can?  Not many, though James Harden, OKC’s bench star, can really play.  Also, OKC has to find a way to get some point production out of their bigs.  The Spurs cleaned up in the paint, outscoring the Thunder 50 to 26.

Despite all of my rambling, I still like the Thunder to take this series in the end.  There is something about this young and exciting group out of OKC that has really caught my eye.  The “Big Three” of Durant, Westbrook, and Harden will not be denied two years in a row.  They are far too good and determined to let that happen.  Look for an inspired effort tonight from Russell Westbrook after a less than stellar Game 1 performance.  The majority of the country wants a Thunder versus Heat finals matchup.  With a victory tonight, the Thunder will really increase the likelihood of this dream matchup coming to fruition. Continue reading

Dream matchup before dream matchup

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The point guard matchup in the Western Conference finals between Russell Westbrook (pictured above) and Tony Parker should be one for the ages.

By Josh Kramer

Let’s not beat around the bush. The Western Conference semifinals were a major bust.  The city of Los Angeles (Clippers and Lakers) was entirely overmatched and mustered up one total victory.  Now, the matchup everyone has been waiting for in the Wild Wild West is set.  Who isn’t excited for the Spurs/Thunder showdown set to start on Sunday?

Not only did the supposedly “over the hill” San Antonio Spurs tie for the best record in the NBA, they also have won 18 straight games.  The Oklahoma City Thunder are coming off an emphatic thrashing of the Los Angeles Lakers.  OKC has been the favorite all year long out West, and lived up to the part until the final couple of weeks of the season when San Antonio leapfrogged them for the number one seed.  So despite San Antonio possessing the number one seed and cruising through the first two rounds, all records get tossed out the window.  The score is 0 to 0 come Sunday.

Not only did the Spurs and Thunder finish 2nd and 3rd in the NBA in terms of scoring offense this season, they also finished 16th and 17th in terms of scoring defense.  These teams put up frighteningly similar statistics during the course of the 66 game shortened season.  Can you say seven game series?

Flip a coin on what “Big Three” is better.  On one hand, San Antonio has the old-school trifecta featuring Parker, Duncan, and Ginobli.  On the other hand, OKC has a terrific trio in Westbrook, Durant, and Harden.  This series will start and end at the point guard position though. Tony Parker versus Russell Westbrook. Continue reading

NBA Mid-Season Awards

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Chris Paul (pictured above) has made "Lob City" possible and turned the Clippers into a contender. He is also Wesley Kaminsky's pick for the MVP thus far.

By Wesley Kaminsky

With half of the condensed season done, the NBA world has seen everything from the Clippers becoming relevant to the legend of Jeremy Lin, also known as “Linsanity.” For NBA fanatics, this season has been fantastic, as there are games on every night. With a much-needed All-Star break coming up for the players, who is making the biggest impact this season? Here are my mid-season awards.

MVP: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers:

Look, the obvious choice for the MVP award this season is LeBron James, who has been simply sensational from Day 1. He’s averaging 27.6 points, 8 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game. He’s also on the team that has the best record in basketball. Having said that, he doesn’t get my vote. Chris Paul does. Paul inherited a 32-50 Clipper team and has turned them into a contender. At 20-11, the Clippers are sitting atop the Pacific Division, with Paul averaging 19.2 points and 8.6 assists per game. He has been the catalyst all season long and is the main reason why the Clippers are for once relevant. I continue to try to make my case that on a team that features both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, neither of them should win the MVP award. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 1-2-2012

Photo courtesy of sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Can Dirk Nowitzki (pictured above) get the Mavericks back on track this week?

By Josh Kramer

Happy New Year to all!  2011 has finally come to a close.  And boy was it a busy year in the wide world of sports.  In the words of the greatest rapper of our generation (Jay-Z), “On to the Next One.”  2012 will for sure be a memorable one with so much going on as we enter the first week.  Plus, the word CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) has officially become a foreign term again in that no major sports agreements are expiring in the near future.  Here are the events to keep an eye on this week.

5.  The Miami Heat finally appear to be the “Unstoppable Force” that many envisioned a year ago.  LeBron, Dwyane, and the “MonStars” are now 5 and 0 and straight cruising (they defeated the Bobcats by 39 yesterday).  It is so nice to have the NBA back.  What would SportsCenter be without a highlight featuring Blake Griffin and the newly formed “Lob City” on a nightly basis?  Though there are many great games this week, my eyes are fixed in on a showdown in San Antonio.

Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs:  Many of you are probably questioning my choice for the “NBA Game of the Week.”  Why would anyone in their right mind choose a game that features teams with a combined record of 4 and 4?  A matchup that pits the teams that occupy the cellar and the first place spot in the Southwest division?  Well its simple frankly.  This is the “Battle of Texas.”  The Mavericks and Spurs have been perennial contenders for some time now and are two teams commonly vying for the Western Conference Championship. Continue reading

“NBA Playoff Preview”

As I predicted in the preseason, I am taking Kobe, Phil, and the Lakers to complete the 3-peat with another amazing playoff run. Will this be the end of the line for Phil Jackson?

The grueling 82 game regular season is finally over and playoff time is upon us.  Most casual fans do not invest a heavy interest in the regular season, but come playoff time, the NBA takes center stage.  There is no questioning the effort of these amazing basketball players at this time of year.  It is all or nothing.  This is where the men are separated from the boys.  As promised, I am going to provide my predictions on how this year’s postseason will play out. Continue reading

“Food for Thought 3-22-11”

Cincinnati Bengal's wide receiver has talked trash to Raven's Safety Tom Zbikowski (pictured above, left) via Twitter about a possible boxing match between the two NFL players. Does Chad Ochocino really want to get in the ring with that guy?

It is another Tuesday.  Which means it is time for some “Food for Thought.”  These are the topics in sports that have really caught my attention in the past 24 hours.  Items that must be discussed.  So let’s jump right into it. Continue reading