Tag Archives: bosh

Breakfast: Whoops.

Chicago's Jimmy Butler celebrates during a timeout. His 17 points helped Chicago to a 101-97 victory (Rob Grabowski/USATodaySports)

Chicago’s Jimmy Butler celebrates during a timeout. His 17 points helped Chicago to a 101-97 victory (Rob Grabowski/USATodaySports)

Wow, my bad.

I don’t usually put a curse on these type of things, that is, unless I’m making a monetary wager. BUT I DIDN’T. Actually, TheOrangeWedge has a guy for sports betting, but we’ll get to that another time.

The record still stands. Did Jerry West pop a bottle of champagne? I’d love to say yes, but we’ll never know for sure.

The Bull’s physical brand of basketball was enough to hold off the Heat as the Bulls ended the streak last night with a 101-97 victory.

The Heat didn’t win 27 games in dominating fashion. In fact, eleven of those wins needed fourth quarter comebacks to keep the streak going. Tight games in Sacramento, then Orlando, then Boston will have LeBron and Co. battle-tested come June.

But do they even need it? The way they’ve been playing, it would be lucrative to think that anyone could beat the Heat once, let alone four times in seven games.

In the late game, my Brooklyn Nets looked in fine form without “Iso” Joe Johnson for a second game. Johnson is suffering from a quad bruise, and his absence allows for two developments. First, Deron Williams, on what look like his healthiest metatarsals in years, was allowed to be more aggressive to the basket. The second is that without Johnson, the Nets are bigger, tougher, and more active in the post. Last night was all about the latter, as the Nets looked great on the road, winning 111-97 in Portland.

The difference maker for Brookyln was Reggie Evans, who finished with a career high 26 rebounds to match a career-high 22 points. Evans was a monster, working all his post moves and getting putbacks all night long.

The Nets are now just 2.5 games back of both Indiana and the Knicks for the 2nd best record in the Eastern Conference. Last night’s win has to provide some motivation as they move to 4-1 on their current 8 game road trip.

As for the Blazers, last night may have effectively ended their season. Rip City has been fighting for the 8th seed in the West, but now trails 10th place Dallas by two full games. Late in the fourth quarter, Blazers coach Terry Stotts emptied his bench, a sign that fans may want to watch the Sweet 16 for potential lottery picks.

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Dinner: Oh, What Could Have Been

The Big Three were almost Windy City bound.

The Big Three were almost Windy City bound.

Tonight, maybe as you’re reading this, the Heat will be cruising past the Bulls in Chicago for a 28th consecutive win. They’ve looked like basketball Gods as certain points during their pursuit of 33; heating up at the right moments and almost toying with lesser teams. But lets, for a moment, take a time machine trip back to 2010. The summer of 2010 to be specific, one of the most dramatic times for the NBA in which there was no basketball involved.

Take a look, if you will, at this video,  where Chicago is LeBron’s destination of choice according to oddsmakers. Miami comes in at a risky 15-2.

This was, of course, before the rumored-then-confirmed meeting between the Big Three in which they decided where they would play.

After the meeting, it seemed pretty clear that Bosh and LeBron were set on joining Wade in Miami, leaving the other potential suitors to scramble for deals on players like Amare, Carlos Boozer and Joe Johnson.

So what happened? Was it something Chicago said?

Of the Big Three as we know it, it was Wade who was most inclined to become a Bull. And at first it seemed he was actually going there. But as we learned it articles like this one, D-Wade didn’t feel like Chicago honored it’s former players enough. Loyalty is imporant to Wade, one of the qualities that sets him apart from many modern athletes. And the Heat are considered one of the more tight-knit organizations in sports (see: Erik Spoeltra), making Chicago an even tougher sell in comparison to South Beach.

But it almost happened. Almost!

Throw it in NBA history as one of the greatest “What-if” scenarios, but Wade and Co.’s unwillingness to join D-Rose and dominate the basketball universe has to raise some eyebrows, right?

Will this be a defining mark on the career of Derrick Rose? His inability to recruit? It has been suggested, but recruiting doesn’t seem like something Rose is into. Especially now, with the battle he’s currently fighting inside his own head. Let’s get this guy on the court in an NBA game before he hits the phones looking for teammates.

Will the Heat keep it going to 34? It’s hard to say. But wether you’re a basketball fan or not, you have to apprecaite the difficulty and the grind that this has been. And when you see them play, with their elite spacing and movement, and releentless tenacity on defense, think about how rare this is, and how close it could have been to something completely different. See you for Breakfast.

 

Breakfast: March Madness, February Frustration

I don't' know what to believe anymore (CHUCK BURTON / AP)

I don’t’ know what to believe anymore (CHUCK BURTON / AP)

It’s February 24th, and that means next month is March. Yes, the Madness will be right on schedule, but before we get there, we have to clear the air on this 2012-13 season. And by all means, it hasn’t been pretty. The talent level in college basketball has waned somewhat in the past 5 years or so, but not all will view this as a negative. Some years we have teams that are clearly better than the rest, and we’re forced to drag our feet through January and February, waiting for a conclusion we all saw coming. If you can predict how the last month of this season is going to unfold, well, you’re a very special boy.

While conference play still has a few weeks left, experts have already begun to speculate which teams will top each bracket. As of right now, Joe Lunardi’s four number one seeds are Indiana, Duke, Florida, and Gonzaga. That’s right, Gonzaga.

But my problem isn’t with Gonzaga. Well, it kind of is. My problem is that the only true top seed on that list is Indiana.

When the entire nation is as wide open as it is right now, it clouds the radar pretty effectively. Teams play well, then play bad, we can’t get a true measure of a team’s potential.

Would this be a bad time to mention the Miami Hurricanes? This is where I’m going with this one. This Hurricanes team can take the floor against any roster in the nation. Truthfully, yesterday would have been better to be so brash, before they lost by 15 at Wake Forest. But this is still a dangerous team, and despite the loss Saturday, still deserving of a number one seed.

Miami was by no means undefeated coming into yesterday’s upset (we’ll get to that later). But it was their first loss in ACC play, which I consider to be far more meaningful. My one problem with RPI, and measuring a team’s season, is that it doesn’t taken into account a season’s worth of growth. Teams get stronger as the season progresses, and a ranking system that reflects that would certainly help. Gonzaga’s top 3 RPI wins (Oklahoma, Kansas St, OK St.) all came in 2012. Do they really help a team in March? Miami has 5 ACC road wins thus far in 2013, including at UNC and ranked NC State. If they go into Duke next Saturday and silence the Cameron Crazies, Miami can officially win anywhere.

When I look for net-cutting candidates, I look at the close games in hostile environments like those Miami has played in. Tourney games always play close, and the experience of this team is one of their strengths. Speaking of experience, did I mention there were 6 seniors on this team? Duke has 4; Gonzaga, Indiana and Florida all have 3. Does this really matter? I’d like to think so. But it’s these particular seniors on this particular Miami team that I like. Let me direct your attention to this story.

TL;DR: Chris Bosh was at Miami playing with some of the players. Canes coach Larranaga asked Bosh how they were, and he said they didn’t work hard enough. Larranaga then took Bosh to the players where he spoke to them and called out their work ethic.

This was in summer 2011, right after Bosh and the Heat lost in the Finals to Dallas. There are 6 seniors on this team who remember that talk, and who know that Saturday’s performance was not good enough.

It’s still too early to predict the top seeds, and so much can change between now and Selection Sunday. Do the Canes still have a shot despite their loss? Is Gonzaga a legitimate contender? Send me your thoughts @TheOrangeWedge.