Sportige The Sports Know-It-All Fri, 22 May 2015 13:00:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 22 Best Memes of James Harden & the Houston Rockets Choking Against the Golden State Warriors Fri, 22 May 2015 13:00:43 +0000 More ]]> After the Golden State Warriors took a 2-0 lead in their playoff series against the Houston Rockets, the memes are celebrating James Harden choking on the final play with a turnover and non stop mentioning the curse of Lil B.

Yes, Harden, like Kevin Durant, is destined to end up without a title, if the Lil B curse is true. Maybe it was that curse making him turn the ball over on the final possession, with the Rockets down 99-98. Harden had about four seconds with two players open, but walked into a double team by Curry and Klay Thompson. It ended with the Warriors celebrating, Harden on the floor and later smashing decorations on his way to the locker room.

It was another fine shooting battle between Harden and Curry, and it came down to the Rockets once again letting the Warriors run away from them a bit too late. They came back, but there’s something wrong about being the chasers every time. But whatever we try to analyze in how this game went and developed, we always end up with the turnover in the final seconds.

The Rockets were close on both occasions, but some offensive and defensive meltdowns late in the game crushed their hopes of walking away with a win to take back home. Now they’re in the very difficult situation of coming back from 0-2 against a team that keeps finding something extra to create a tiebreaker, which might lead them to the NBA finals quicker than anyone thought.

Curry owning Harden Extra soft Curry Kid Face Sad Rockets Smiling Curry shooting Bye Felicia Cover your eyes Curse of Lil B Chocking 2 Like father, like daughter The curse is real More of the curse Kobe's face Rockets fans right now Chicken Curry No Pizza rolls Choke City Remove the curse Crying Harden Should have passed Seven Up Westbrook doesn't approve

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NBA Playoffs – Cavaliers vs Hawks Game 2 Predictions Fri, 22 May 2015 12:36:54 +0000 More ]]> Cavaliers vs Hawks

The Cleveland Cavaliers rely on LeBron James to keep on dominating and J.R. Smith to remain hot as they take on the Atlanta Hawks in game 2 of the Eastern conference finals, holding a 1-0 lead.

James scored 31 points, not letting a little tweaked ankle get in his way, although the Cavaliers do need from time to time for James to try and make it more about the team than just himself. The basketball becomes an isolation festival when he’s on the court, something James himself has acknowledged that he needs to cut down on, although it’s hard to do when a lot of the matchups you receive are favorable.

As good as J.R. Smith was in game 1 (28 points, that good), it might be a bit hurried to crown him with the kind of superlatives we’ve seen in the media this last couple of days. He’s not always this hot, and while it’s nice that he can carry the scoring load off the bench on his own, the Cavaliers do need a bit more from their second unit. Smith isn’t going to put up these kind of numbers every night.

Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver

The Hawks are having problems with their own bench. Dennis Schroder is struggling putting up the kind of numbers they need from him, while Mike Scott is more or less out of the rotation because his coach doesn’t think he can give them what they need in front of LeBron James. No Thabo Sefolosha, DeMarre Carroll might be injured and Paul Millsap can’t really slow down James. All the things that made the Hawks great in the regular season are much more difficult to tap into in a series.

A shooter that used to be reliable but has been struggling in the postseason is Kyle Korver. After a regular season of 12.1 points while shooting 49.2% from beyond the arc, Korver is limited to just 39.3% from the field and 35.6% from three. The percentages aren’t that terrible, but he’s hardly taking shots. Over the last five games, he’s taken more than five shots just once. The Hawks do make use of him as a decoy because of how dangerous he is, but they need to increase his volume on offense, which relies on his shooting quite a bit.

So is it a lost cause for the Hawks? Far from it, but they need to figure out a way and start running the floor. The Cavaliers’ defense has been difficult to handle for them and most teams in this postseason. Keeping this in a half court kind of look, against LeBron James who is defending a lot better than in the regular season, along with Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Timofey Mozgov locking down the paint, is a recipe for disaster.

Maybe it’s impossible to get into the finals without one single player who is a level about good. Three of the four teams in the conference finals have that kind of player, even if it disrupts the natural flow of things from time to time. The Hawks won’t win this series if it’s about trading shots and isolations against Smith and James. The Cavaliers? While their best basketball comes in short moments when James actually isn’t playing or forgets that he’s the number one player on the court, they’re probably more than thankful that he’s around to cover for almost everyone in little things he does on both ends of the floor, still doing it better than anyone else in the league.

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NFL Rumors – Dallas Cowboys Shouldn’t Sign Ray Rice Fri, 22 May 2015 01:43:26 +0000 More ]]> Ray Rice

Being all about giving players second-chances this offseason, it’s not too much of a reach to imagine the Dallas Cowboys trying to sign Ray Rice, who is likely on his way to becoming cleared to play after a year removed from the league.

It seems every remotely competent running back is being put in a headline along with the Cowboys’ name, but considering how the NFL works, it makes sense. Dallas let DeMarco Murray go in free agency to the Philadelphia Eagles but didn’t get anyone suitable to replace him. Darren McFadden might an Arkansas player in his past, something that always works well for Jerry Jones, but it’s been a while since he’s been healthy or productive. The rest of the guys don’t sound too promising.

The Cowboys have four running backs but are working out some more. Ben Tate and former Cowboy Felix Jones at the moment, although it’s not quite clear if this is a list of candidates getting narrowed down to two guys or simply the beginning in a long list of running backs being paraded until they find someone they like. The Adrian Peterson thing isn’t happening.

So what about Rice? This is a guy that had four consecutive seasons of over 1000 yards (2009-2012) that included three Pro Bowls. Jones gave Greg Hardy a chance this offseason and also Josh Brent. Public scrutiny doesn’t really mean much to the Cowboys, who are under the biggest magnifying glass in the NFL from a media-fan perspective.

But it won’t be surprising if Rice isn’t worth the trouble, not even as a free agent. He had a terrible 2013 season (660 yards on 214 carries) and with one year of rust heading into 2015, despite the charges being dropped by a New Jersey judge, adding him doesn’t sound like such an attractive proposition. Even with the so-called best run blocking offensive line in the league.

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Top 10 Players With the Most All-NBA Teams Selections Thu, 21 May 2015 17:33:36 +0000 More ]]> With the 2015 All-NBA team selections out and about, Tim Duncan joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kobe Bryant as the only players with 15 selections all-time, more than any other NBA player, while Dirk Nowitzki completed the shortlist of three among the active players in the top 10.

10. Dirk Nowitzki – 12 Selections

Dirk Nowitzki

The 36 year old German has now completed 17 NBA seasons, all with the Dallas Mavericks. In 12 of them he has been selected to one of the three All-NBA teams. He made the first four times (2005-2007, 2009), second team five times (2002-2003, 2008, 2010-2011) and three times to the third team (2001, 2004, 2012). Nowitzki won the regular season MVP in 2007 and the Finals MVP in 2011.

9. Dolph Schayes – 12 Selections

Dolph Schayes

A huge part of the league’s early days, Schayes played his entire career (1948-1964) for one franchise: The Syracuse Nationals, later turning into the Philadelphia 76ers. Schayes was a six-time All-NBA first team selection (1952-1955, 1957-1958) and six times a second team selection (1950-1951, 1956, 1959-1961).

8. Hakeem Olajuwon – 12 Selections

Hakeem Olajuwon

Olajuwon, the number one draft pick in the famous class of 1984, spent 17 of his 18 NBA seasons with the Houston Rockets, winning two NBA championships with them, including one regular season MVP and two Finals MVP. He was a six-time first team selection (1987-1989, 1993-1994, 1997), three times in the second team (1986, 1990, 1996) and three times in the third team (1991, 1995, 1999). He spent his final season playing for the Toronto Raptors.

7. Jerry West – 12 Selections

Jerry West

The logo (although the NBA will never admit it), West played in the NBA from 1960 to 1974, all with the Los Angeles Lakers. A scoring champions in 1970, West was a 10-time first team selection (1962-1967, 1970-1973) and two more times selected to the second team (1968, 1969). He is the last player to win the Finals MVP for a losing team.

6. Bob Cousy – 12 Selections

Bob Cousy

Cousy played for the Boston Celtics from 1950 until 1963 before one final season in Cincinnati. He won the MVP once (1957) and made the All-NBA first team 10 times (1952-1961), twice more making the second team (1962, 1963). He won six NBA championship with the Celtics.

5. Shaquille O’Neal – 14 Selections

Shaquille O'Neal

Unlike most of the players on this list, Shaq got around, playing for six different NBA teams: The Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics. His career spanned 19 seasons, in which he won four NBA titles, three Finals MVPs, one regular season MVP and two scoring titles. He was a 8-time first team selection (1998, 2000-2006), twice in the second team (1995, 1999) and four times in the third team (1994, 1996-1997, 2009).

4. Karl Malone – 14 Selections

Karl Malone

Malone played in the NBA for 19 years, 18 of them for the Utah Jazz. He’s twice won the regular season MVP award. Of his All-NBA selections, 11 were to the first team (1989-1999), two the second (1988, 2000) and one to the third (2001). He’s also the only player on this list without a NBA championship, twice losing in the finals.

3. Tim Duncan – 15 Selections

Tim Duncan

Duncan has been in the league since 1997 and still hasn’t had enough, playing all his 18 season for the Spurs. He’s a two-time regular season MVP and three times in the finals, winning five NBA championships in San Antonio. He’s a 10-time first team selection (1998-2005, 2007, 2013), three times in the second team (2006, 2008-2009) and twice in the third team (2010, 2015).

2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 15 Selections

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

The NBA’s all-time leader in points and also MVP awards (six), Abdul-Jabbar played in the league for 20 seasons. The first six in Milwaukee with the Bucks, and from 1975 he was a Laker, winning five titles, adding to his one with the Bucks. 10 Of his selections to the All-NBA teams were to the first (1971-1974, 1976-1977, 1980-1981, 1984, 1986) and five to the second (1970, 1978-1979, 1983, 1985).

1. Kobe Bryant – 15 Selections

Kobe Bryant

Like Duncan and Nowitzki who are on this list, Bryant is still active, although just barely, not playing a lot these last two years. Still, he has quite a record behind him in 19 NBA seasons, all with the Lakers, that include five NBA titles, two Finals MVPs, one regular season MVP and two scoring titles. He’s a 11-time first team selection (2002-2004, 2006-2013), twice to the second team (2000, 2001) and twice to the third team (1999, 2005).

Where’s Michael Jordan, you ask? Well, Jordan is just beneath the top 10 with 11 selections, 10 of them to the first team and just one to the second team. He had only 15 full NBA seasons, which explains it. And LeBron James? After only 12 seasons in the league, he’s up to 11 selections, nine of them on the first team. He’s getting close.

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11 Best Memes of LeBron James, J.R. Smith & the Cleveland Cavaliers Beating the Atlanta Hawks Thu, 21 May 2015 14:06:38 +0000 More ]]> When something everyone expects to happen does, the memes don’t get too creative, although J.R. Smith being just as good as LeBron James in the Cleveland Cavaliers game 1 win over the Atlanta Hawks was a bit surprising.

James led the team in scoring, but it was Smith who made the difference and built up the big lead the Cavaliers managed to hang on to while the Hawks slithered their way back. He made 8 three-pointers and continues to prove that in the right situation he’s one of the more dangerous and streaky scorers in the NBA.

Now everyone is talking about how the Hawks don’t belong this far in the playoffs. But that’s just being silly. They might not be the best team out there, but they did well enough in the regular season, in fact the best season in franchise history, to earn their spot in the conference finals. That fact that they’re inferior to the Cavaliers? That’s life, but doesn’t make them undeserving or something.

This is just game 1, and the Cavaliers are banged up quite badly (Love is out, Irving is questionable all the time), but the Hawks aren’t much better (DeMarre Carroll picked up an injury), which means it’s going to be quite the task trying to comeback from the opening loss.

Let's go Hawks Thompson vs Thompson Petting a Hawk J.R. Smith is on fire Carmelo be like Please forgive me Bow down See you in the playoffs Meanwhile in Miami Riding a so called Hawk J.R. Smith is on fire 2

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NBA Rumors – New York Knicks Might Draft D’Angelo Russell or Emmanuel Mudiay Thu, 21 May 2015 13:49:33 +0000 More ]]> Emmanul Mudiay, D'Angelo Russell

The New York Knicks, the worst team in the NBA last season, are obviously disappointed with getting just the number 4 pick in the 2015 draft via the lottery. But that doesn’t mean they’ll trade the pick. Not with two very talented point guards in D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay available.

The top 4 of the next draft is pretty much set. Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor will go 1-2, while Russell, coming out of Ohio State, and Mudiay, born in DR Congo but grew up in the United States since the age of 5 and was a high school star in Dallas. While originally committing to play for SMU, he eventually chose to play his basketball in China instead of college.

So the Timberwolves (#1) and Lakers (#2) will take the two big men. Then come the Philadelphia 76ers. Two years of abysmal tanking, and the Sixers still don’t have that number one pick they want so much. What are they going to do with the third overall in this one? Sam Hinkie can’t keep hoarding second round picks forever. At some point, his bosses would like to see wins and good players sticking around.

The Knicks might be in the same situation, although their tanking is a lot more recent. They are paying Phil Jackson $10 million a season, and that means they’re probably not going to be comfortable with someone taking his time, which means two or three years of piling draft picks while Carmelo Anthony is wasting away. Can they get proven talent to move them forward for the fourth overall pick?

That’s probably the first course of action they’ll pursue. Afterwards? Take a look at who is left, be it Russell or Mudiay and make their choice. There’s not a position the Knicks don’t need improving at, be it in the starting lineup (except for Anthony) and their depth, which means it’s a matter of taking the best possible player and not thinking about a specific need they have. They need everything.

Both players might become stars. Russell is the better shooter, Mudiay is probably a bit more mature in his basketball and thrives on attacking the basket. They can’t go wrong either way considering what they have. Mudiay is probably the better defender as well, and considering how poor the Knicks are in stopping teams, something the Sixers did pretty well last season, he might be a better fit in New York.

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NFL Rumors – New York Jets Sticking With Geno Smith as Their Starting Quarterback Thu, 21 May 2015 12:45:25 +0000 More ]]> Geno Smith

Despite a disappointing rookie season and an even worse second-year, Geno Smith is the starting quarterback for the New York Jets at the moment, not facing too impressive of a competition for the slot.

The Jets signed Ryan Fitzpatrick and also drafted Bryce Petty out of Baylor in the fourth round. Fitzpatrick is a decent enough starting quarterback, but not if you’re planning on winning more than 7-8 games a season at best. Petty isn’t someone who is looked upon as a guy who can lead a franchise one day, not right now, although there have been surprises.

So what’s left? Believing that Smith can turn things around, maybe not feeling pressure from Michael Vick behind his back, an attempt at quarterback competition and depth that didn’t work out last season. Smith started in 13 games and although his numbers (completion %, TD-INT, passer rating) improved on the individual level, the Jets’ offense looked abysmal most of the time, and getting a first down seemed difficult on too many occasions.

But Chan Gailey, the team’s offensive coordinator, isn’t leaving any room for doubt. Right now, as of the current state of affairs, it’s Smith who’ll be favored to come out of training camp as the starter. It might mean that there’s not a lot to expect out of the Jets next season, but maybe a new coach and offense will be just the thing for Smith, in what is probably the last chance for him to prove he can be a reliable starting quarterback in this league.

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NBA Rumors – Los Angeles Lakers Will Draft Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns Thu, 21 May 2015 12:33:46 +0000 More ]]> Jahlil Okafor, Karl-Anthony Towns

The genius coaching of Byron Scott has led another team to a high draft pick. The Los Angeles Lakers will be the second team picking in the 2015 NBA draft, which means taking one of the two big men the Minnesota Timberwolves don’t choose: Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns.

It’s that simple? Probably. It’s hard to find a mock draft that doesn’t put the two big men as the 1-2 combo we’re going to see. Towns is the favorite to land as the number one overall pick. Why? That’s just the buzz coming from the scouts and GM offices, who see him as a better overall prospect, especially on defense, and the guy with the better chances to be relevant and dominant for longer in the league.

But what about Okafor? Wasn’t he the “chosen one” of last year’s freshman class? Well, he started out that way, but deficiencies in his ability to defend (not something that cant be improved) and maybe a little tendency to bloat up, although his current slimmer physique is how NBA teams would like to see him enter the league. Offensively, at least right now, Okafor seems like the more NBA-ready player, or in the most plain term possible, he’ll be scoring more points next season than Towns.

Whoever it is, the Lakers have a nice young group of players to start thinking about as their future core, even though their enthusiasm over Jordan Clarkson, a player who is not a point guard in his essence and might have been putting up big numbers because of very favorable conditions is a bit out of place. It’s hard growing trees in the shade of the great Kobe Bryant, as the trio of Clarkson (who pretty much plays the same position as Bryant), Julius Randle and Okafor/Towns will find out.

Wouldn’t it be better for the Lakers to take a point guard like D’Angelo Russell out of Ohio State or Emmanuel Mudiay who played basketball in China instead of going to college? The NBA’s general manager book about draft picks tells them to always go for the big man who seems like the sure thing. Both Russell and Mudiay are risks at the moment. Okafor and Towns? Not as much. The prospect of landing flat on your face by making an unconventional pick is just too scary for a team that isn’t known for its patience and desire in a long, maybe healthier rebuilding process, which won’t be completed anyway until Kobe Bryant isn’t on the team anymore.

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NBA Playoffs – Game 2 Predictions (Rockets vs Warriors) Thu, 21 May 2015 12:30:37 +0000 More ]]> Rockets vs Warriors

The Golden State Warriors head into game 2 of their conference finals with the Houston Rockets leading 1-0, feeling confident about Stephen Curry not having a match on the other side, even when we’re talking about James Harden.

Curry outscored Harden, but that’s not the only thing. The Rockets need Harden to touch the ball and influence plays. The Warriors defense is ready for that, as we saw in their 9-0 run late in game 1 that opened up the nine point lead that won them the game. Curry? First of all, the Rockets don’t have anyone to guard him. And just him running around the arc and drawing attention to himself causes damage.

Are we going to see more small ball from both teams? A lot of it has to do with Dwight Howard, who is questionable for the game. His absence might mean a starting call up for Clint Capela, but it’s not like Capela is going to get Howard’s minutes. It means more time for Josh Smith at center and other lineup changes for the Rockets, who are already playing without Patrick Beverley and Donatas Motiejunas, both out for the rest of the playoffs.

James Harden

Back to Smith. He shot just 6-of-16 from the field, missing a lot of open shots from long range and midrange, with the Warriors more than happy to give him the space. Smith either has to make them pay for it like he did against the Los Angeles Clippers in the closing games of that series, or try to attack the basket more against guys like Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes when the Warriors are playing their own version of the small lineup.

The Rockets shot better from the field and beyond the arc than the Warriors, but turned the ball over more. Usually, points in the paint, especially when it’s just a 52-50 edge, don’t mean much, but maybe in order to try and change things up, McHale will tell his players to do more in an attempt to somehow change the Warriors defense, if it is McHale that decides these kinds of things.

Defensively, the Rockets might try to give Curry the Trevor Ariza treatment, although where does that leave Jason Terry is a different question. Harden and Terry weren’t able to keep up with the Warriors’ point guard and the league’s MVP, rarely getting in his way or making any sort of shot difficult for him. Maybe more minutes of Ariza on him can force the Warriors to go to Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, but if Ariza is guarding Curry, who is slowing down Thompson?

The Warriors have the matchup advantage, the superstar advantage and the coaching advantage. They’re healthier, and have the better bench. It’s not going to be an adjustment that turns this series into a different direction, but rather one or two players stepping up for more than one or two minutes. As far as different matchups and changes the Rockets have to offer, they’ll pretty soon find themselves realizing they’re being outplayed by a better team.

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NHL Playoffs – Tampa Bay Lightning Keep Scoring, New York Rangers Almost Match Thu, 21 May 2015 12:15:21 +0000 More ]]> Lightning beat Rangers

The weird streak of New York Rangers playoff games ending with just one goal of a difference continues, but there’s nothing to celebrate as the Tampa Bay Lightning take the lead in the series (2-1) following a 6-5 victory with another fantastic performance by Nikita Kucherov and more scoring from Tyler Johnson.

Kucherov, finishing with a goal and an assist, scored the overtime winning goal, his 7th of the postseason, a minute after Henrik Lundqvist pulled off a great save on the breakaway from J.T. Brown. Lundqvist made 34 saves on 40 shots, but with the game once again being in the kind of pace the Lightning constantly want to enforce, it was a matter of time until the Rangers wouldn’t be able to keep up.

The triplets of Johnson, Kucherov and Ondrej Palat (2 goals, 1 assist) continue to be the most fearsome group of scorers in this postseason. They have 25 goals between them and while the Rangers managed to hold on for the ride this time, it’s hard seeing them reaching the Stanley Cup for a second time if this kind of pace and hockey (getting outshot 40-28) continues.

We’ve got a pretty quick team, and they have a quick team. I don’t know how it looks to everybody else and I don’t know how it looks on TV, but when you’re standing there, it’s just, pardon the pun, it’s lightning fast. It’s just amazing how the skill level and the speed and how these guys can play the way they do at that high pace. It’s fun to watch our guys. They’ve impressed me for a long time, and now they’re impressing the world.

The Rangers jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period (Derick Brassard and Jesper Fast) but Steven Stamkos put the Lightning in the game, beginning a run of four straight goals until Fast scored his second to end the second period, and put the Rangers once more behind by one goal. Ryan McDonagh tied the game on the power play and Palat gave the Lightning another lead, but the Rangers once again hit late in a period, with Dan Boyle scoring with less than two minutes to go, sending the game to overtime.

But overtime was just more of the same. The Lightning speeding by and attacking wave after wave, line after line, keeping Lundqvist very busy; too busy. It wasn’t a very good performance for Ben Bishop with only 23 saves, but he has a much better, hungrier and productive offense to cover for him when he has days like these, in which he could use a little bit more focus.

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