Tag Archives: Western Conference

Shaq puts the KiBosh on Miami big man

Photo courtesy of youvalley.com. Shaquille O'Neal (pictured above) is already making his voice heard from the broadcast booth as expected.

By Nick Craddock

Shaquille O’Neal may have retired, but he’s still making headlines off the court. In a TV gig as an NBA analyst for Turner Sports, Shaq gave viewers their daily dose of scrutiny directed at the oft-vilified Miami Heat.

Chris Bosh, considered by many to be the weakest (and, on occasion, weeping) link of the Miami’s “Big Three,” found himself in O’Neal’s crosshairs; Shaq Fu questioned whether Miami had a “Big Three,” but instead only a “Big Two” — LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.

Evidently, this was a gibe at Bosh, and, well, I’m siding with the Diesel in this debate. Continue reading

“Grizzlies or Thunder?”

Sunday afternoon will be a big day for the Oklahoma City Thunder as they look to advance to their first conference finals since 1996 (they were the SuperSonics then). Expect Kevin Durant (pictured above) to play a large role.

The Memphis Grizzlies continue to shock the world with their never say die mentality.  They went into halftime staring elimination in the face.  Memphis had the look of a deer in headlights.  Down by 10 with 24 minutes of basketball to go.  Randolph, Mayo, Conley and Co decided that the ball was not going to strike midnight yet on the current Memphis magical ride.  And they made sure it didn’t. Continue reading

“Food for Thought 5-3-11”

Regardless of your opinion on Memphis power forward Zach Randolph (pictured above) off the court, you have to give the man props on his playoff performance thus far.

Over the past 24 hours, lots of news has happened both inside and outside of the sporting realm.  Here are the main sporting items that have been on my mind.

Zach Randolph:  Looking Like A Hall of Famer? Continue reading

“Get the Man a Cape”

Dwight Howard (pictured above) has put on 2 consecutive Superman like performances in the early going of the postseason. Can he continue on his recent tear and lead the Magic back to the NBA Finals?

It appears Superman has officially landed in Florida.  And no I am not talking about Clark Kent or any of the Miami Heat terrific trifecta.  I am talking about none other than the man people have referred to as “Superman” for years now. Continue reading

“Are the West’s 5-8 that Great?”

Allan Houston (pictured above) played a key role in helping lead the 8th seeded New York Knicks to the 1999 NBA Finals. Do not expect the Memphis Grizzlies, despite a big time win today, to roll all the way to the Finals. But the Western Conferences 5 through 8 teams are pretty solid.

2 shockers already on this first Sunday of the NBA Playoffs.  The top 2 seeds in the Western Conference went down at home.  Could the Spurs and Lakers legitimately lose these series and turn the NBA Playoffs into April/May Madness?  It would be totally awesome with a capital A, but it will not happen. 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

“NBA Night Tonight?”

The loss of San Antonio's leader, Tim Duncan (pictured above) could allow the Lakers to catch the Spurs for the 1 seed in the West. Either way, San Antonio will not make a deep run in the playoffs without the rock of their franchise at full strength.

Over the past couple of weeks, it has become very easy to forget about all other sports outside of NCAA Basketball.  This year’s version of March Madness has been absolutely phenomenal, and we are all extremely excited to see what happens in Houston this weekend.  Today though, Major League Baseball has opened up in a big way.  6 games will be played when all is said and done.  Granted the weather is still in the 30s in Cincinnati, where the Reds are currently taking on the Brewers.

People need to realize though that College Basketball is not the only game in town.  The NBA season is coming down to the final stretch before the playoffs, with much left to be decided.  Plus, tonight features two mega matchups.  So after you watch your respective MLB teams open up the season, tune in to one of the two insanely good matchups the NBA has this evening.  Sorry to my Giants and Dodgers fans.  As the only night game, you will have to make a decision, but for the rest of the country, watching the NBA Action is a no brainer. Continue reading

“Mavs Get Stronger”

Corey Brewer (pictured above) won 2 National Championship while at Florida. Now he finally has the chance to play on a winner in the NBA.

It would be easy to write about the ongoing saga that is the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement tussle.  But I am not going to.  In all honesty, it is pretty boring and depressing all at the same time.  We want football.  It is as simple as that.  I pray that we will be watching the NFL come Sunday in early September. Continue reading

“Food for Thought on 12-8-10”

Kansas Junior, Marcus Morris (pictured above), has turned into one of the most talented forwards in the country. Could he lead Kansas to a Big 12 Championship and a run to the Final Four?

Due to popular demand, I am going to bring back the “Food for Thought” concept and make this more of a weekly type of ordeal.  People want to hear my thoughts on the various topics going on in the always busy, wide world of sports, and this is a way for me to do that on a weekly basis.

So here are some of the main topics making headlines and my incite on them:

-The “Old School” Texas basketball squads are not looking so old.

Is anybody else amazed by the red-hot starts of both the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks?  Both of these teams that many called “too old” at the beginning of the season sport the League’s two best records.  The Spurs  are a formidable squad that has 5 players averaging 11 or more points a game.  This team is full of experience, deep, and led by one of the best coaches in the NBA.  And then you have the Mark Cuban squad out of Dallas.  The Mavs have now won 10 straight games and are just blowing away the competition.  Dallas also plays a great brand of team basketball and is being led by arguably the game’s greatest shooting 7 footer ever, in Dirk Nowitzki.  Nobody talked about either of these team’s as contenders in the Western Conference.  It appears the Wild Wild West will have to go through Texas come playoff time.

-“Pistol” Pete Sampras has lost his bling.

Pete Sampras was possibly the most consistent player ever to play on the men’s professional tennis tour and arguably the greatest of all time.  He was an amazing champion who sported the greatest 2nd serve of all time and had the innate ability to stay cool during even the most pressure filled situations.  Well this situation is something he is not accustomed too.  Between moving houses, he stored many of his tennis trophies and memorabilia at a Los Angeles Public Storage Facility.  Pete always was good at taking care of business on his own during his phenomenal career.  He was not only a great player on the court, but he was a great person off of it.  This incident demonstrates to Pete why he played an individual sport where he only needed to depend on himself.  It is hard to trust in others for anybody, but I am sure Sampras will have a very hard time after this unfortunate occurrence to trust anybody.  I really hope his trophies and various memorabilia are found in the near future.

-Dave Wannstedt bids adieu to Panther Nation.

Can anybody really say that they did not see this coming?  The man with maybe the best mustache in College Football spent 6 years in Panther Nation.  And nearly every year started with high expectations and ended with some sort of downer.  This was supposed to be the year for Pittsburgh.  The Big East was way down.  Their rival Cincinnati was going through a major coaching transition.  And  the Panthers were extremely talented with the likes of Dion Lewis, Jon Baldwin, and Greg Romeus.  Instead, Pitt opened up the year with a very disappointing loss to Utah. And never really got it all together, finishing at 7 and 5. Plus they failed to nab the Big East’s automatic BCS Bowl bid.  So although Pitt finally won a share of the Big East Championship this year, it was not good enough to get into the BCS Bowl.  Wannstedt seems like a good guy.  But boy does he struggle to win big games.  And in the highly competitive and intense atmosphere that is College Football, the difference between a good coach and a great coach is the ability to win big games.  Some guys have it.  Some guys do not.  Here is a final though on this topic.  Could anybody see Bengal’s current coach Marvin Lewis on the Pitt sidelines next September?  Weirder things have happened.

-It is Rock Chalk Time as the beat goes on in Lawrence.

And the beat goes on for the Jayhawks.  Sure this team started out the year ranked in the Top 10.  But last year was “the year” in Lawrence.  And with the departures of Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich, and Xavier Henry, nobody was expecting this team to be a Final Four Contender.   This team looks to have the potential to be the real deal.  Sure they have only played one real quality opponent.  Sure they struggled to victories over UCLA and Arizona.  But the Jayhawks are now 8 and 0, with a great opportunity to start conference play undefeated.  Plus they dominated a solid Memphis team on national television last evening.  This team plays phenomenally disciplined on the offensive end of the court.  They lead the country in assists per game and field goal percentage.  You know Bill Self has to be happy at the high percentage his team shoots from the floor and the way that they share the ball.  Marcus Morris has developed into one of the best forwards in the country and is extremely versatile.  The Morris twins remind me of the Lopez twins out of Stanford.  Could this team make some noise come March?  That is yet to be determined, but you better believe that these guys will contend with Kansas State for the Big 12 Title.

So there you have my “Food for Thought” on this Wednesday afternoon.  There is so much going on and I was only able to touch on a few things here.  If you want to hear my thoughts on anything else going on in the sporting world, please comment below and I will be sure to reply.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Weekly Nickel”

One of the NBA's All Time Greatest Coaches, Jerry Sloan (pictured above), has the Jazz at the top of the West. Are the Jazz a real deal contender?

The College Football regular season is all but finished.  People got their dream BCS National Championship which will pit Auburn versus Oregon.  Also, people got to see the Steelers go to work last evening and they once again showed America that all they do is “Win, Win, Win, Win.”  So I will admit, this week will be a little weird without a full slate of College Football games.  It is the first time since early September actually.

But here is a look into the excitement in store for this upcoming week.

5.  In the NHL, the season is slightly past the quarter marker, and the League’s two best players seem to be leading their teams to an epic Eastern Conference Finals Showdown.  Tune in this week and watch Pittsburgh and Washington continue to ride their stars toward deep playoff runs.

4.  Jayson Werth has signed with the Nationals.  Lance Berkman will return to the NL Central, but this time as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Captain will remain in the Pinstripes for at least 3 more years.  And the Red Sox are on the cusp of a major deal.  Could Adrian Gonzalez land in Boston?  This will be a huge pickup for the Bo Sox and really aid in picking up their offensive production.  The million dollar question still remains though.  Where is Cliff Lee, Mr. October himself, going to end up?  Also there is a guy named Carl Crawford that can run a little bit who is available out of Tampa.

3.  College Basketball is starting to heat up as teams continue to prep for big time conference play.  There are a good few major non conference matchups.  Here is a closer look.

Tuesday:

Memphis at Kansas:  This duel between top 20 foes should be very exciting.  In this rematch of the National Title Game of a few years ago, each squad looks to make a major statement and pick up a big time non conference win.  It is a shame that Kansas Freshman phenom Josh Selby will not be eligible for this one.

Michigan State at Syracuse:  A matchup between two of College Basketball perennial forces.  Two programs that have really been at the forefront of the game for the past decade.  Also, these are two programs led by two of the best coaches in America.  Which squad will come out victorious as each not only fights for a big non conference win and to maintain their top ten ranking, but each are looking to make a statement about their conference.  This game should help in the debate about which conference is the best in America, the Big Ten, or the Big East.

Wednesday:

Notre Dame vs Kentucky:  What a game this should be.  Notre Dame has been a pleasant surprise so far and looks to maintain their undefeated record vs their first ranked opponent of the season.  Sadly for the Fighting Irish, they get to take on a Kentucky team that is coming off a heartbreaking loss at the hands of the Tar Heels.  This should be a very high scoring affair between two teams that can really put the ball in the basket.

Thursday:

Butler at Xavier:  A matchup between the two top “Mid Major” programs in America.  So what if both teams are off to a slower start out of the gates than most expected.  Both teams always find a way to sneak into March, and I expect nothing different this year.  Also last year, Butler beat the Musketeers on one of the most controversial calls I have ever witnessed in my life.  Will the Muskies have lady luck on their side this time and pick up a much-needed non conference victory over a solid opponent?  The home court advantage could really help XU in this one.

Saturday:

Tennessee at Pittsburgh:  A game that pits two top 20, undefeated squads.  The Vols have looked awesome thus far and already have knocked off a top 10 Big East foe this year.  Freshman, Tobias Harris, and seasoned vet Scotty Hopson have been simply awesome in the early going.  Can Pittsburgh continue to ride their very experienced group and amazing rebounding ability to another big time non conference victory?  This game should be close from start to finish.

2.  The NBA Bus rolls on.  The Knicks are over 500 and have won 4 straight games.  Plus the team that was “too old,” San Antonio, sports the League’s best record.  It is the NBA and you got to love it.

Some of the marquee matchups for the week.

Monday:

Oklahoma City at Chicago:  Two of the League’s best teams go to war in the Windy City.  Who is a better young point guard, Russell Westbrook or Derrick Rose?  Take your pick because both guys are capable of taking over a ball game at any time.

Wednesday:

Miami at Utah:  The South Beach Show travels to Utah to take on a surprise Utah team that is really showing the power of team basketball.  Jerry Sloan is one of the League’s all time great coaches, and this year, he is putting on one of his best performances. 

Thursday:

Orlando at Portland:  Yes, I realize that Portland is under 500, but they are always dangerous.  The year is still young, and Portland could really gain some confidence in knocking off the team sporting the 2nd best record in the Eastern Conference.

Friday:

Los Angeles Lakers at Chicago:  It is always fun to watch two first place teams get together.  Neither of these teams are off to as stellar of a start as expected, but both are definite contenders in their respective conferences.  Look for Kobe to provide some fireworks in this one.

Atlanta at San Antonio:  Can the talented boys out of ATL show the “old men” of San Antonio a lesson?  San Antonio has been outstanding all season and are really a remarkable story.

Orlando at Utah:  Two of the League’s best go to battle in Salt Lake City.  This is a definite game that I would love to tune in and watch.  Could this be a possible preview of the Finals?

Saturday:

Utah at Dallas:  Both of these mainstays in the West continue to win each and every  year.  It never gets old watching two of the best and most consistent franchises in basketball go head to head.

1.  We enter Week 14 of the NFL Season.  Real football weather is here.  And all teams are getting ready for the stretch run.  Next week’s lineup features two great matchups. 

New England at Chicago:  Two of the best teams meet at Soldier Field.  I will tell you that I would much rather watch this one from the couch.  It will be bitterly cold.

Kansas City at San Diego:  The amazing AFC West race continues.  Can the Chargers rebound and pick up a must win vs KC?

So there you have events to look for regarding the sporting stratosphere for this week.  Make sure to take it all in.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze