Since the conclusion of the Boston Celtics’ season the hype from veteran reporters and bloggers alike has been to blow up the Celtics by trading Kevin Garnett and either waiving, trading or using the amnesty clause to remove Paul Pierce from the team. The thought process being that by trading Garnett and Pierce the Celtics would receive younger players who in return would fill the rebounding and scoring void needed to pave the way to the Celtics 18th NBA title.
There has been speculation, none of which has been corroborated by the Celtics organization, that in February the Celtics rejected offers for both players. The Los Angeles Clippers supposedly offered center DeAndre Jordan and point guard Eric Bledsoe for Kevin Garnett and the Brooklyn Nets presented the Celtics with an offer of forward Kris Humphries, guard MarShon Brooks and a first round pick for Pierce. More recently, it was reported that the Clippers would like to give the Celtics Matt Barnes and Carron Butler for Pierce.
The Golden State Warriors have tied their NBA playoff series 2-2 with the veteran San Antonio Spurs winning game four in overtime 97-87. Both teams have won games on the opponents’ home court. There is no question this playoff series is in the mode of ready, set, go! How did this unlikely Warriors team get on the Mark?
When the Golden State Warriors organization’s top brass made the decision to interview Mark Jackson for their head coaching vacancy they stepped out of the preverbal box. They interviewed a very good and knowledgeable ABC-NBA prime time analyst who was one of the best assist men in NBA history, but he had no resume as a coach at the high school, college or NBA level. Mark Jackson had no major coaching experience.
Mark Jackson is an ordained minister who along with his wife is a pastor of a congregation. Not your normal prerequisite qualification for a head coach in the NBA.
The Chicago Bulls trail two games to one in their uphill playoff battle against the top-seeded Miami Heat. If the Bulls want to extend the series beyond five games, Monday’s Game 4 at the United Center becomes a must-win.
Beating Miami is always going to take a healthy dose of luck, but the Bulls can maximize their chances by following this formula:
1. Play smart
The action after the whistle has gotten more attention in this series than what’s actually happening while the game clock is running. The Bulls have instigated much of that chippiness—witness Nazr Mohammed’s Game 3 ejection—and the refs will be watching the home team for any opportunity to assess a technical on Monday.
Tom Thibodeau will need to preach “do as I say, not as I do” after getting slapped with a fine for complaining about the officiating, but somebody has to convince the Bulls to keep their cool. Physical play is one thing, but all the pushing and shoving in dead-ball situations only serves to shorten an already thin Chicago bench.
2. Don’t get beaten by the supporting cast
You didn't have to be Nostradamus to predict this one.
LeBron James, NBA Most Valuable Player.
The most gifted player of his generation picked up the MVP award for the fourth time, joining Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russel and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players who have won the award at least four times. That is some elite company James has now surrounded himself with, and he is more than worthy of being compared to the very best to have ever played the game. The most frightening thing for everybody is James is only 28 years old and is just entering the prime of his physical prowess so there is a real possibility he could get even better.
A man destined for greatness from the very outset of his journey.
The Chicago Bulls survived a Game 7 on the road to advance in the Eastern Conference playoffs and face the top-seeded Miami Heat. The injury-ravaged Bulls don’t look likely to pose much of a threat to the prohibitive championship favorites, but that doesn’t mean the series won’t be worth watching.
When Derrick Rose returns to Chicago’s lineup next season (barring a miraculous change of heart in the next week), the Bulls will be the Heat’s toughest competition in the East. With that future in mind, here are some issues to keep an eye on as Miami’s run to a presumed coronation continues:
1. Can Carlos Boozer keep up his high level of play?
For the first prolonged stretch since joining the Bulls, Carlos Boozer looked like his old All-Star self in the series win over Brooklyn. Boozer’s offensive aggressiveness and hard work on the glass gave Reggie Evans and company fits for seven games.