Tag: sports

The Houston Rockets Championship window is closing

With the Golden State Warriors era of basketball running amuck on the league, the difficulty to win a championship for any team is tough especially for the Houston Rockets.

Winning against a team with 5 all-stars, in a 7-game series, is not only a daunting task but an impossible one for many teams. With Demarcus Cousins set to return on Friday against the Clippers, The Warriors now have 6 all-stars playing on their team.

Organizations around the league were forced to adapt to playing against Golden State’s brand of basketball. The three-point shot has evolved, becoming the most valuable way of scoring in today’s era of basketball. Post ups and Mid-range shooting are a thing of the past.

The Houston Rockets were one of the organizations who had to adopt a new style of basketball centered around 3 point shooting. Houston’s offense is the closest to the Warriors and even the Rockets couldn’t beat them in the Western Conference finals.

Last year, the Houston Rockets were only one game away from reaching the NBA Finals. But when Chris Paul went down with a hamstring injury, all hope was lost for the Rockets.

Chris Paul has been plagued with injuries playing in only 26 games this season. With the recent news that Clint Capela is out for 4-6 weeks with a thumb injury, James Harden is forced to carry the load for this team.

Chris Paul and Clint Capela are key pieces to the Rockets’ success. This team will go far as these two players go. If they can’t stay healthy or consistent, the Rockets will not be in contention for winning the championship this year.

The best shot the Rockets had to win a title was last season. It seems that the Rockets hasn’t mentally recovered from the western conference finals and free agency.

Chris Paul isn’t getting any younger and there are signs showing that father time is catching up to him. The Rockets are a struggling team this season. They had stretches where they were extremely bad, then they played good, and then bad again.

This team simply can’t stay consistent. If you can’t stay consistent in a Western Conference of the Warriors, Thunder, Nuggets, and Trail Blazers, you are bound to end up at the bottom of the pack.

 

With last night’s loss to the Nets, James Harden scored 58 points and the team attempted an unbelievable 70 three-pointers only making 23 of them. This raises concerns of if this team is even on the same page as they were up against the Nets late in the fourth quarter until giving up three straight 3 pointers from Spencer Dinwiddie to force overtime.

We have seen this same situation a couple weeks back against the Dallas Mavericks as rookie Luka Doncic capped off a comeback scoring 11 points in the final minutes of the game to defeat the Rockets.

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Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara makes young fans Christmas dream come true!

It was something unusual from a truly unusual person. Zdeno Chara is not just a casual hockey player, he is not only future NHL Hall of famer, or a former Stanley Cup winner. Chara has a big heart and is always ready to offer his everything in order to help the Bruins community.

One hockey fan wrote in November to Bruins fan page in Chara’s home Slovakia. It was a Dad of a young 10-year-old hockey player. Young guy was dreaming of one thing – being as good as Zdeno Chara one day, defenseman is his biggest idol.

Christmas was around the corner and the young guy asked his dad for a simple thing, yet very difficult to obtain. He wanted something with Zdeno Chara, maybe even the most little stuff on Earth with a signature of Big Zee. Dad knew it was going to be very, very tough to fulfil this dream, but eventually he has done it!

Sorry for spoiler, but you can sense the meaning of this great story right from the start and it was not to disappoint one big dream of the little man from Eastern Slovakia. Bruins fan page was there to provide help and wrote an email to Zdeno Chara.

His team was so kind that they responded within half-hour! They asked for the young guy’s address and name. One week before Christmas, Dad received a very nice notice from the post office, it was something from Boston, MA United States.

Zdeno Chara provided the young kid with four signed cards with his own signature and special greetings for the young boy. The promising hockey player could not believe it, he truly thought it was a Christmas miracle and he still thinks it.

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Now this young boy in Slovakia can continue to practice, play hockey and work hard knowing that there is someone, who knows him, and it’s no one bigger than Zdeno Chara (and that is true!). Nice gesture from Big Zee to find a little bit of his time to sign and sends some piece of papers, which mean a world to someone else.

The Best Center in College Basketball: Breaking Down Bol Bol’s Game

Bol Bol is taking college basketball by storm, leading the Oregon Ducks to a 9-4 record.

Bol is a freakish 7’2, 234lb athletic player. His ability to space the floor, and be a consistent scorer is helping Oregon to a winning record. Along with his freakish stature, Bol has a 7’6 wingspan which helps him defend and block shots.

Bol is currently averaging 21 points, 9.6 Rebs and 2.7 blocks on 56% shooting from the field and an unbelievable 52% from 3.

Bol’s strength lies in his ability to score, defend, rebound, and block shots. He can do a lot of damage anywhere on the court. His ability to space the floor will make him a valuable asset for any team come the 2019 NBA Draft.

Bol’s most underrated skill is his IQ, he knows how to be an efficient scorer, as well as a smart defender. These skills will translate well in the NBA.

Bol’s weaknesses stem from his skinny stature. Ultimately, he needs to bulk up and work on being a force down low. Bol has a tendency to get knocked out of place by stronger opponents. Also, he isn’t the best screener and he isn’t keen on setting picks and rolling to the basket much.

Bol has to work on being a force as a big man, he sometimes looks for the jump shot rather than taking his opponent inside. His inability to do this is due to his lack of strength as he doesn’t feel enthusiastic about playing inside. He is very raw in this area, and to be a great center in the NBA, he must develop a consistent inside game.

He also isn’t the best decision maker as he currently averages more turnovers at 2.0 a game than assists at 1 a game. Sometimes when he is given the ball, he would look to dribble and go for a midrange shot rather than looking for a better shot.

The biggest question with Bol’s game is his heart to play. Does he really want it? He doesn’t always hustle and is sometimes the last man up the court in offensive and defensive possessions. Bol doesn’t always box out players and plays at one speed. He isn’t the toughest player at this point in his career, and that will get exposed at the NBA level if he doesn’t show the willingness to do the little things on the court.

Overall Bol’s value will lie on his defensive and offensive abilities. He is a remarkable athlete but needs to get stronger if he wants to play at the next level. Bol is a point guard’s dream, he is the ideal stretch big that NBA teams want.

Bol’s upside is unclear at this point, as it seems this may be the peak of his game. His work ethic and ability to play consistent minutes in the NBA will determine how better he will get.

Bol Bol may find more playing time at the power forward position more than the center position in the NBA, as his ability to stretch the floor will be a huge asset to teams.

Bol is the son of Manute Bol, who is famous for playing for the Washington Bullets in the late 1980s. Manute was 7’7 with an 8’6 wingspan but struggled to find consistent play timing.

Bol has a lot of the skills that Manute had but better. Bol is a better offensive player at this stage then his father was.

Bol has drawn comparisons to New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis. They both are similar in their strengths and weaknesses going into the draft. The biggest question with Porzingis was his strength, toughness, and feel for the game. Bol has similar question marks at this point in his college career.

Krejci still got it. How should the Bruins handle him with Bergeron back?

What have been a great sort of solution in the last 7 games for the Bruins might be a huge upcoming problem. David Krejci is back in his prime form we can say. So far this season a Czech center collected 30 points throughout 35 games with the Bruins.

His recent bettered play was mainly producted by his role with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. Krejci rides an eight-game point streak, in which he recorded 5 goals and added 6 helpers. Before entering this succesful stretch Krejci had just two goals in his first 28 games this year, he added five tallies in the mean time.

Krejci scored last night against the Anaheim Ducks as well. Since Bruce Cassidy decided to resolve his team´s production with promoting Krejci to the top line, there has been no game without at least one of those guys recorded a point. Just once happened, that all those three players had a point, that was in the loss against the Sabres last Sunday, when Pastrnak went pointless.

That time, before the game against Toronto, the Bruins needed an offensive spark. Second line was not productive and Marchand with Pastrnak seemed lost without Bergeron. When Jake DeBrusk, stable partner for David Krejci, went out, head coach Bruce Cassidy did not hesitate a second, Krejci was centering Marchand and Pastrnak ever since.

Important question for the Bruins

Until now, that trio has received just the praise from everyone and nothing else. But there is one “problem”. Patrice Bergeron might be coming back to the line-up soon, and I mean really soon, maybe even tomorrow when the Bruins host the Predators. And the question is… What to do now?

Logically fans and media would assume that Bergeron will come back to center David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, don’t forget their terrific chemistry from before Bergeron went out this year and last season as well. But there is one even more important thing we got to know.

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Krejci has at least a point in 8 straight games, Marchand in 7 and Pastrnak has points in 7 out of his last 8 games

Chemistry is not the most important thing in hockey and even if Krejci has not played a lot throughout his career with Marchand for example, when you put together quality guys, they ought to deliver quality results.

So should the Bruins keep current top line together and play Bergeron as a center between… Backes and Nordstrom? Or play Krejci on bottom lines and get Bergeron back to his usual position? Those are some very tough and intriguing questions for Bruce Cassidy and his coaching staff.

Maybe try to play Bergeron between Heinen and Donato as these two have ton of potential? Certainly Patrice Bergeron is better player than David Krejci, but Krejci has started to deliver with quality recipients, he needs to have better wingers than Nordstrom or Heinen (with all due respect, they are not better than Pastrnak or Marchand). Whether you go this way or that way, it’s always 50-50.

One thing might be very clear – doing an experiment for four or five games (at least until Jake DeBrusk comes back) with still not reaching midway point of the year (game number 41 is beyond Winter Classic against Calgary at TD Garden) would definitely not hurt. Until trade deadline there is a wide try-out period for the Bruins. They need to try to do everything possible to make a huge, huge run starting in March.

Discussing Erik Karlsson’s his time in San Jose so far, will he stay with the Sharks?

One of the most trickiest question heading out of this NHL season will feature Erik Karlsson and his future. Well, this same exact question mattered last year as well. Then he was finally traded to San Jose from Ottawa, but that might not be the end of whole saga.

Erik Karlsson has found his stride with the Sharks after early struggles, one would say. After being miserable in his first few games at the Bay, Karlsson is looking more like Karlsson again. In 37 games this year Swedish defenseman recorded two goals and 24 assists for 26 points including a 8-game point streak featuring 10 assists.

What about his future? Dan Rosen from nhl.com does not think Karlsson will be in San Jose at the beginning of the 2019-2020 NHL season. It is clear that the Sharks are all in this year. They were in the same situation last season, but after adding guy like Erik Karlsson, that´s definitely a huge kind of boost a team can get.

Tough time for Karlsson to focus on hockey

Whatever happens during current year, Erik Karlsson will be unrestricted free agent next July. If he does not resign with the Sharks, may the sweepstakes begin. And those one would be huge. Someone would surely overpay for such a brilliant defenseman. It is very important to see whether Karlsson will win the Stanley Cup or not next June. If he will, he can choose anybody who will offer him the largest amount of money. Otherwise he has to take Cup contenders in his considerations.

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After challenging summer with moving from Ottawa, probably another one is ahead for Erik Karlsson. The pressure mounted on him is momentarily enormous. A 28-years old guy from Landsbro in Sweden is a cool one to easily handle all of this. Two-time Norris Trophy winner is far away from adding his third award this season, but that might be the question for upcoming seasons.

San Jose on the other hand will try to keep him within their roster. Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Erik Karlsson, all of these important guys will become UFAs and many important young weapons like Timo Meier, who is having an outstanding campaign, or Kevin Labanc, will be RFAs pending extensions too. Is sure looks like Karlsson´s spell in San Jose will be just a short one. But hey, nothing is sure in this league.

Are The Brooklyn Nets Future Championship Contenders?

The Brooklyn Nets currently sit at the 9th seed in the Eastern Conference, winning 8 of their last 10 games and are 16-19 on the season. The Nets are quietly sneaking up into playoff contention in the east.

The Nets had impressive wins over the 76ers, Raptors, and the Lakers in their 10 game stretch. The play of D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Jarrett Allen have been key to the Nets’ success.

“I still think the defense can be better,” said Kenny Atkinson, Nets Head Coach. “we are in an “ok” place, not a “great” place.”

The Nets currently rank 19th in team defense per game. They are falling below average in this category. This has been a weak spot for the Nets all season as they haven’t figured it out defensively yet.

Their bench production has also been something to take note of, including the impressive play by their 2018 2nd round pick, Rodions Kurucs, who is averaging 10 Points and 3.4 rebounds in the month of December.

“We play like a team, we support each other, we got each other’s back,” said Kurucs after defeating the Phoenix Suns on Sunday afternoon, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. “We are helping each other, we are pushing each other.”

The Nets have been turning heads as they’re not far from being in the playoffs. Right now, they are currently behind the Detroit Pistons for the 8th seed. But if the Nets keep up their level of play, they may surprise everyone and grab the 6th seed.

The Nets are only a couple of years away from being true championship contenders, and it may come as a surprise due to their lack of draft picks and activity in the free agency.

Through the years, they were able to draft diamond in the rough players. After trading multiple draft picks for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett back in 2013, they quietly were able to build a team of quality hard-working players during the aftermath of that trade.

The Nets traded their franchise center in Brook Lopez for a young and promising guard in D’Angelo Russell. They drafted Caris Levert, Rodions Kurucs, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Jarrett Allen. They all proved to be productive players on the team.

The Nets are still missing something, and that is a franchise player. The Nets need a go-to scorer to compliment D’Angelo Russell and Caris Levert. Luckily, the Nets will have their draft pick this year as well as money to spend in the 2019 NBA Free Agency.

With names such as Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Demarcus Cousins, Kawhi Leonard, and Kevin Durant testing the free agency waters, the Nets wouldn’t look like a bad option if they are able to contend in the east this year.

The development of D’Angelo Russell is crucial to the Nets’ future. Right now, he isn’t a consistent scorer to be a franchise player. He is still extremely young, 22 Years old, so he will have more time to develop.

Russell is averaging 17.5 points and 6.3 assists while shooting 41% from the field and 36% from 3pt land. These are promising numbers from Russell, but if he wants to take that leap to stardom, he is going to have to be a consistent scorer in the league.

Early Top 5 NBA MVP Candidates

The NBA season has been full of surprises, we have seen the rise of the Denver Nuggets and the fall of the Houston Rockets. Questions remain with all the surprises in the NBA, who will be the MVP this season?

The NBA MVP race has been interesting this season. We have seen remarkable plays and emergence of many players. Here are the 5 players who are the top candidates to win MVP this season:

5. Anthony Davis

Team: New Orleans Pelicans
Record: 14-15
Stats: 27.4 Points 12.2 Rebounds 4.8 Assists 2.8 Blocks

Anthony Davis has been an MVP caliber player for the past four seasons, but his team hasn’t produced the wins for Davis to be a serious candidate. Davis is doing it all for the Pelicans this season. He is producing on both sides of the court, offense, and defense.

The Pelicans are 4-6 in their last 10 games falling to the 10th seed in the Western Conference. For Davis to win MVP this season, his team has to start winning. Davis has MVP caliber stats but unfortunately is not winning games to back up his case for MVP.

Davis does have a decent supporting cast to pull out wins but the Pels haven’t found a way to win games consistently. The Pelicans as a team rank 2nd in both points per game and assists per game. The offense is there for the Pelicans but they must be consistent on this end and also on the defensive end.

4. Stephen Curry

Team: Golden State Warriors
Record: 19-9
Stats: 30.1 Points 5.8 Assists 5.2 Rebounds 1.1 Steals

Stephen Curry is always an MVP candidate every year since 2015. His tremendous shooting ability, playmaking, and overall offensive abilities have helped lead the Warriors to a winning culture.

Curry is currently having a 50/50/90 season. The last person to achieve this historic stat for a season is his coach Steve Kerr in the 1995-1996 season with the Chicago Bulls. Curry is shooting 51% from the field, 50% from the 3, and 93% from the free throw line. These historic shooting numbers from Curry will help elevate his case for MVP this season.

Curry’s MVP case might be tarnished due to early season injuries as well as being on a super team with Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.

Curry is having a historic season and is easily the best player on the Warriors. He will have plenty of nods to be in the MVP conversation this year.

3. Kawhi Leonard

Team: Toronto Raptors
Record: 22-7
Stats: 26.1 Points 3 Assists 8.3 Rebounds 1.9 Steals

The Toronto Raptors are currently the best team in the NBA, holding the best record in the league. This is in large part due to the remarkable play by Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard is the best player on the raptors and affects the floor both on offense and defense. With the help of Kyle Lowry, Danny Green and Serge Ibaka, the Raptors may find themselves in the NBA Finals in June.

After his dramatic departure from San Antonio during the offseason, Leonard is reminding everyone that he is a Top 5 player in the league.

With the Raptors rolling this season, Leonard is a top MVP candidate this year.

2. Lebron James

Team: Los Angeles Lakers
Record: 17-10
Stats: 28.3 Points 7.1 Assists 7 Rebounds 1.3 Steals

A 33-year-old Lebron James is leading the Lakers to a 5th seed in the Brutal Western Conference. James is averaging close to a triple-double and producing wins for this Lakers roster whose next best player is Kyle Kuzma.

James is on a tear this season and has been the sole reason this Laker team is winning games. He has the best chance to take the MVP trophy home this season if he continues to produce more wins for his team. He has played in every single game this season and it seems like he is getting better with age.

The Lakers have won 7 games in their last 10 games. James continues to exceed expectations year in and year out as he is leading this team who has struggled the past 5 years to the playoffs. The Lakers are 1.5 games behind from being the number one seed in the conference. With how the Lakers are playing, they might be the first seed by Christmas.

James is leading the Lakers in Points, Rebounds and assists for the Lakers. His Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is the highest on the team at 27.4. Next highest is Kyle Kuzma at 16.1 PER.

1. Giannis Antentokoumpo

Team: Milwaukee Bucks
Record: 18-8
Stats: 26.5 Points 13.3 Rebounds 6 Assists 1.3 Blocks

Giannis Antentokoumpo is doing everything for the Bucks, scoring, grabbing rebounds, playing defense, dishing out assists. 2019 is the year of the Greek Freak as he has lifted the Bucks to the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference.

Giannis is the best player in the Eastern Conference. He is a nightmare for any team. Giannis hasn’t quite figured out his shooting ability in the NBA yet, only shooting 11% but is still finding a way to score buckets and be a force in the league.

The Bucks are a scary team to face as they currently rank 1st as a team in points per game and rebound per game. They also rank 4th in assists per game being one of the more unselfish teams in the league.

Giannis is leading the team in Points, Rebounds, assists and steals basically every statistical category other than blocks which Brook Lopez currently leads the team in.

Giannis is 4th in PER, ranking only behind Steph Curry, Boban Marjanovic and Anthony Davis.

The Bucks are a difficult and scary team to face this season and that is due to the rise of Giannis Antentokoumpo. Giannis has the best chance to win MVP this year as he doing everything and winning with the Bucks.