It took a little longer than the Heat wanted but the NBA Finals are finally set. And it only took about 3 months to get through the rest of the playoffs. I really like a lot of the parts for the Pacers have but I was rooting for the Heat to win the Eastern Conference and to make the NBA Finals. I will also be pulling for the Heat to win the championship over the Spurs and my reason is pretty simple. I want to witness greatness. And LeBron James is greatness right now. I understand why people rooted against LeBron James his first season in Miami. The Decision left a lot of people sour on LeBron James and for good reason. But that was three years ago and since then LeBron has made the finals three times, won two MVPs, Finals MVP, and a gold medal in the Olympics. There really aren[‘t many reason not to root for LeBron James to win if you are a fan of greatness and that is what I am.
When I was younger Michael Jordan was not my favorite player. I actively rooted against MJ and the Bulls. I was a fan of every team they played against in the NBA Finals. I was so mad when they won 72 games and hated all of the role players who became stars thanks to MJ’s greatness. Looking back that was just dumb. By doing that I missed out on enjoying the greatness that was MJ. I should have been an active participate in what was the greatest basketball player of all time. Instead I am now left with memories of angst and heartache. I will not let that happen again. For anyone else who missed out on the greatest of MJ you now get a second chance. LeBron James is your second chance. Do screw this up simply because the popular thing to do is to hate on LeBron James and his disappearing hairline.
This Finals match up is the one it looked like we might have had last season until the Thunder decided they were having no part of that. This match up should involve a lot more offense and a lot prettier than the Eastern Conference Finals. The Spurs are not the defensive machine they were in the early part of their dynasty run. Over the last few seasons they have shifted their focus and system from one of defense to one that mimics the European style of basketball. That is great news for the Heat who just got done playing an ultra defensive and physical Pacers team. I expect to see the Heat offense return to the form it was during the 27 game winning streak and for their role players to perform a lot better.
My prediction is Heat in 6 and LeBron James captures back-to-back championships and back-to-back Finals MVP.
Follow me on twitter @craig_a_brenner
Well it is that time of year. The one where the NBA playoffs start and I remind you that you should be watching because the NBA playoffs are awesome. Now, I will concede that not every playoff series is created equally. So here is what you should and shouldn’t be watching during the 1st round of the NBA playoffs.
Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors:
If you aren’t watching this series then you are not doing a good job at living this thing called life. Stephen Curry is one of the most enjoyable players to watch in the NBA and he is going against the fastest paced team in the league. If the first game of this series is any indication then the rest of the series should prove to be very entertaining. And this series matches up some of the best uniforms in the NBA as well.
Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder:
The NBA Finals runner-ups and top team in the Western Conference taking on the 8 seed usually does not warrant much attention. There is one reason why this is different and that is James Harden. The Thunder made a very big trade right before the season started when they sent the NBA Sixth Man of the Year winner and budding superstar James Harden to the Houston Rockets. Harden immediately became borderline elite upon arriving in Houston and OKC didn’t miss a beat. The Rockets won’t challenge the Thunder in this series but the story lines alone are worth your eye balls.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat:
You have to watch and appreciate greatness and that is what the Miami Heat and LeBron James are. Just soak it in because it is awesome to witness something great.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs:
This series would have been awesome to watch about 4 years. Lakers are old and injured and will go quietly into that good night.
Chicago Bulls vs. Brooklyn Nets:
Aside from Deron Williams there isn’t much in this series worth wasting your time on. The Bulls are just not that much fun to watch without Derrick Rose.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Indiana Pacers:
I actually like the Pacers a lot but this series has pass all over it. I have always found it difficult to enjoy watching the Hawks play. It feels like I can tell that the guys playing the game want to be somewhere else even more than I do.
There is your nice and neat guide on what to watch and what to avoid during the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Follow me on twitter @craig_a_Brenner and email me at email@example.com
It really is the most wonderful time of the year. This is the day that March Madness kicks into full effect and work productivity around the national grows to a halt. It isn’t just college basketball that makes this time of very so much fun. The Chiefs off-season moves, Royals spring training optimism, Sporting KC starting their season and the NBA in full playoff push mode all add to the fun that is mid/late March in Kansas City.
When looking at our three local college basketball teams they all have completely different expectations for what they can accomplish during this year’s NCAA Tournament. For KU they carry the high expectations that fall on their shoulders every year. Another year and another number 1 seed for the Jayhawks and a date at Sprint Center to play in front of a home crowd. This KU team is not as good as the previous three KU teams but the great news for the 2013 Jayhawks is they don’t have to beat those teams. They only have to beat this year’s teams in their bracket. Whether KU faces VCU or Michigan it will be a fun game to watch and KU would have earned their spot in the Elite 8.
For the K-State Wildcats they are playing with house money at this point. They achieved at a level this season that many did not expect them to and they find themselves in what is considered a weaker bracket. Best part for KSU is they get to play in KC in front of a large contingent of Wildcat fans. The bad part for KSU is they have to play a winner of the play in game, which leaves them little time for preparation. I am not too worried about the lack of scouting time for the Wildcats mainly because with the motion offense they run it tends to not matter how well you have scouted the other team’s defense. It is about executing your offense and getting the ball into the hands of the open shooter.
The MU Tigers find themselves in a position where no one really knows what the hell could happen with them. I would not be shocked if the Tigers either blew out Colorado State, got blown out, or had a lead and end up blowing the lead and the game late. I would be shocked if they won a close game in the closing minutes. If MU makes it passed Colorado State they get a rematch vs. Louisville that is likely to have the same result as the first meeting. A season that started with so much promise for MU is setting up to end with a massive disappointment.
Follow me on twitter @craig_a_brenner and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Between back flips and dunks there has been a lot of talk around KU their pursuit of a 9th consecutive Big 12 conference title. After the double OT victory at Oklahoma State I sent out a tweet about Elijah Johnson’s desire to flex his bicep and gloat after the win. Over the next hour I engaged in a fun discussion with many KU on Twitter about how classy of a move this was by Mr. Johnson. Then the topic came up again after the OT win by KU at Iowa State when Elijah Johnson dunked with the game well in hand and the clock winding down. The talk of what is classy to do in victory is now one of the more discussed topics in the Big 12 and we have a back flip to thank for it.
Normally I would have no issue with anything that Elijah Johnson did after or during these games. If you don’t like the way that someone gloats or celebrates when the win then get better and win the game so they have nothing to gloat about. My problem comes from the comments that Travis Relaford made last week before the OK. State game. Relaford was asked about the two back flips that OSU freshman Marcus Smart did on the court after the Pokes won at Allen Field House. Relafrod said that if KU were to win at OSU that you wouldn’t see them doing back flips because winning games is what they do at KU. My problem is after you say something like that you should go back it up and when you win the game not make a huge deal of it. When you make comments like Relaford did and then you and your fellow teammates act that way after a win you open yourself up to criticism.
Like I said earlier I am one who has no problem with running up the score and/or dunking when you are up by a lot. Once again if you don’t like then get better and stop it from happening. I know things are a little different when it comes to the college games opposed to the pro game but the premise should not alter that much. Maybe I am being too simplistic about and being too harsh in holding this actions and words against college athletes. But when you open the door to your house you can’t be mad when someone decides to stroll in and look at all of your stuff.
Follow me on twitter @craig_a_Brenner
We are a mere few days away from Valentine’s Day so now seemed like a perfect time to start going all Oprah and hand out some Valentine’s to those who need it most. AND YOU GET A VALENTINE! AND YOU GET A VALENTINE!
The KU senior point guard needs a Valentine to help cure his case of the blues. The last month has not been all too kind to the lead guard for the Jayhawks. Things went from bad to worse after the losses to Oklahoma State and TCU when Bill Self called him out for being soft. The happiest person after KU’s win of K-State has to be Mr. Johnson. If anything it means people will stop talking about his horrible play for a little bit. Although back up point guard Naadir Tharpe played really well in the victory. Well here is hoping you get a few days a peace and a box of chocolates to cure your blues.
Being in sole possession of first place in the Big 12 was fun while it lasted. I mean you got a whole 48 hours to enjoy it. That is a lot longer than TCU will ever have in first place in the Big 12. Ever. The good thing for KSU after getting rolled at Allen Field House is they are still tied for first place in the conference. The bad news is that Oklahoma State looks to be in a really good position to track down the pack for first place.
If Royals fans could send a Valentine’s Day card to Luke you know Hochevar I am sure it would read “Roses are red, violets are blue. Please let this team before you screw up what looks like a promising season.”
How can this man be this crusty and seem to hate everything in the world already this season. I mean pitchers and catchers just reported like 56 hours ago or something. Lighten up Ned and enjoy some heart shaped chocolate and a nice card.
MU Road Games:
They should make sure the airplane, hotels, go bags, and visiting team’s locker rooms are littered with Valentine’s Day cards for the Tigers. They need something to fix what is ailing them in road games.
Email me at email@example.com and follow me on twitter @craig_a_brenner
Was it just me or was this weekend a little crazier than most when it comes to the sports world? Here are a few of the things that I learned from this past weekend of this thing we call sports.
Manti Te’o is naïve or at least he wants you to believe so. This story keeps getting stranger and stranger then when you think it can’t get any stranger it does. I am not going to go into all of the sorted details and different twists and turns of Manti Te’o and his fake dead girlfriend here. But I will say for me it is a story I find myself wanting to know more and more about simply out of curiosity to see the end game. This story is not over by a long shot and the one thing the truth has on its side is time.
So apparently the Harbaugh family is good at coaching football. The NFL conference title weekend has produced a Super Bowl match of Ravens head coach John Harbaugh vs. his brother 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh. This is a good story now but with a two-week build up to the Super Bowl I imagine it will get really old really quick. I enjoy both the Harbaugh boys and their respective teams.
I also learned that apparently Bill Belichick has not mastered the art of being a gracious loser. After New England Patriots 28-13 loss in the AFC Title game to the Ravens the Hoodie refused to do an interview with the CBS sideline reporter. This isn’t the first time Belichick has been less than stellar in defeat. You would think since he hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 2004 that losing would be old hat to him by now. LeBron James was ripped up and down in 2009 after his Cavs team lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Orlando Magic and he didn’t stay on the court to congratulate the opposing team. I guess when you have already won a few rings then you can be a poor sport in losing. If you are a poor loser then they call you an intense competitor and talk about how Michael Jordan would have done the same.
Speaking of the Super Bowl teams did you notice the starting QBs for both teams? In case you did not notice them I will point out that they are both QBs the Kansas City Chiefs had a chance to draft and did not. In 2008 the Chiefs had two first round picks and took Glenn Dorsey (#5) and Branden Albert (#15) while the Ravens drafted Joe Flacco with the 18th overall selection. In the Chiefs defense when you have Brodie Croyle as your QB there was no need for Flacco. In the 2011 draft the Chiefs decided to address the WR position by using the 26th overall pick in the first round on the talented yet very raw Jonathan Baldwin. Ten picks later the 49ers traded up to draft Colin Kaepernick. This is just two of the many examples of the Chiefs failure to grasp how important the QB position is in the NFL.
One thing I know no one noticed this weekend was that Oklahoma City Thunder Forward Kevin Durant is pretty good at this basketball thing. Over his last five games the Durantula has dropped 36.6 pts, 5.4 Rbs, 4.2 ast, & 1.8 stl. Friday night he scored career high 52 points and went 21-21 from the free throw line in an overtime win vs. the Dallas Mavericks. In his next game vs. the Nuggets last night he made 18 straight free throws before missing. That is 39 straight makes from the line for those that weren’t keeping track at home. If you are looking for an NBA to latch onto you should make it the OKC Thunder. There are many things to love about this team and not much to hate. The team is 5 hours down the highway and Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are will worth the cost to drive down there and watch them play.
Follow me on twitter @craig_a_Brenner and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org