Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kyrie Irving Drops 55 Points in the Cavaliers' Win

Tonight, the Cleveland Cavaliers clicked off their 8th straight win.  They beat the Portland Trail Blazers 99-94.  Kyrie Irving lifted his team with his crazy 55 points, and he also hit a game winning three.

A night after scoring 38 points to assist LeBron in winning against the Pistons game, Kyrie took over once again.  This is the type of performance many expected from the Cavaliers and Irving himself this year.  It seems since they shook things up with getting rid of Dion Waiters, they have found a new groove.

On their 8 game winning streak, Irving is averaging 28.375 PPG.  This is the exact production the Cavs need out of him in order to be one of the top teams in the East, and in the NBA.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

McDonald's All American Game Rosters Announced

The rosters for the McDonald's All American game rosters for this years game have been announced. The game features the top high school talent in the country including the #1 and #2 players Ben Simmons and Jaylen Brown.  The All-American game will be played in Chicago on April 1st.  View the rosters below:

#8 Notre Dame upsets #4 Duke 77-73

Notre Dame's Jerian Grant Grabs 1 of His 6 Rebounds
#8 Notre Dame defeated #4 Duke tonight 77-73.  The Irish moved to 8-1 in conference play with their win and continue to impress many.

After the first half Duke was up 39-36.  At that point it was evident the game was going to be a battle.

Coming out of the half both teams were trading bucket after bucket.  It seemed as neither team could miss.  But as all good things do, it came to an end.

After a few minutes, Duke went on a 9-0 run to push the lead to 60-51.  Their run was capped off by a putback dunk from the super freshman himself, Jahlil Okafor.

Around that same time Notre Dame senior Pat Connaughton fell over a Duke player and took a tough fall.  He ended up going to the locker room for a few minutes just to be checked out for injuries.

Once Connaughton returned to the game, Notre Dame made their run.  They went on a 10-0 run to make it a game again.  After they chipped their way back into the game, they the had to steal away the lead.  He ended up finishing with a nice double-double 13 points and 12 rebounds.

With about 20 seconds left, the Irish were up 76-72.  Duke had the ball and drove the lane, but Notre Dame blocked the shot and pushed the ball down the court and got to the line for game clinching free-throws.

Jerian Grant led the Irish back into the game tonight and flat out dominated.  He finished with 23 points, 12 assists, and 6 rebounds.

Duke's star freshman Jahlil Okafor also dominated tonight.  Although his team lost, he has nothing to be disappointed about.  He finished with 22 points and 17 rebounds and was there to score for his team almost every time they needed a bucket.

Tonight showed what the new ACC is truly like.  Top teams in the country are going to have to lose, only because they have to play other top teams.  The ACC is flat out loaded this year and games like this only build excitement for their conference tournament at the end of the year.  It also built excitement for Notre Dame's visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 7th.  Maybe then Duke will be able to knock off the Irish.  One thing's for sure, that game will be a real test of this year's Notre Dame team.

Rajon Rondo Slammed Home the Putback Dunk

During the Dallas Mavericks' 109-90 loss to Memphis last night, Rajon Rondo provided fans with a little surprise.  The crafty 6 foot guard slipped to the hoop at the perfect time to deliver a nice putback slam.  Rondo finished with 7 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Florida's Dorian Finney-Smith Posterizes His Defender on the Game Winning Dunk.

Last night the Florida Gators defeated Alabama 52-50.  So how did they pull it off?  Well, Dorian Finney-Smith's poster dunk with about 20 seconds left was the game winning basket.  Not only was it a clutch bucket, this was also a crazy dunk.

These were Finney-Smith's only 2 points in the whole game, but boy were they needed.  Florida moved to 11-9 with this win.  So far their season has been a huge disappointment.  They started off the season ranked, but it turns out they are no where near that feat.  And I don't see them beating Kentucky in the SEC tournament at the end of the season.  Unless a huge turnaround comes, I don't think the Gators are going to be playing in March this year.

Lineups for All-Star Weekend Festivities Announced

The participants for the NBA all-star weekend festivities have been announced.

One of the coolest announcements was the Battle of the Game Changers.  John Wall and Stephen Curry are going to face off 1 v. 1 in a game of H-O-R-S-E.  Although at first this sounds like a lot of fun, there is no doubt Curry will win this competition.  He can shoot from all over the floor and is known for hitting wild shots.  On the other hand, Wall isn't known much as a shooter, but who knows maybe he will provide a pleasant surprise.

The lineup for the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest was also announced.  Milwuakee's Giannis Antetokounmpo, Minnesota's Zach Lavine, Brooklyn's Mason Plumlee and Orlando's Victor Oladipo will be this year's contestants.  Although this is a great line up, I think everyone wants to see John Wall try to defend his title from last year.  But on the bright side this begins Zach Lavine's domination of NBA contests.   Zach Lavine will win this years dunk contest hands down.  Watch him below and then try to argue that fact... you won't be able to.

The participants for the three point contest were also announced.  Atlanta's Kyle Korver, the Clipper's Josh Reddick, Portland's Wes Matthews, and Golden State's splash brothers of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will be this years contenders.  Unlike the other contests, there is no clear cut favorite in this one.  You can pick any one of these guys as your favorite and still have a great chance of winning it.  But wait, there is a sixth participant that is yet to be named.  Could it be Portland's Damian Lillard, or could it be San Antonio's reigning champion Marco Belinelli.  Whatever the case, this year's festivities are going to be a lot of fun.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Coach K Becomes Coach 1K

He finally got the weight off his shoulders.  He also did it under the bright lights of New York.  Duke's Coach K recorded his 1000th win yesterday against St. John's in the Madison Square Garden.  You really couldn't write that storyline any better.

#5 Duke ended up defeating St. John's 77-68.  Jahlil Okafor dominated once again with 17 points and 10 rebounds.  Tyus Jones also had a great game and helped Duke go on a 15-1 run to close out the game.  He had 11 points down the stretch to help pull off the late game comeback.

This win really solidifies Coach K as the best coach ever on the college level.  No one matches his level of class and level of excellence both on and off the court.  Congrats to Coach K and all of his staff over at Duke.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Brandon Jennings Throws Lob Off the Backboard, But May Be Hurt

Last night Brandon Jennings showed off his creative style of play.  While running the break with Andre Drummond he had no passing lane, therefore he created one.  When all options seemed closed, Jennings alley-ooped his teammate off the glass.

While the Pistons lost 101-86 to Milwaukee, there was still more bad news for the night.  Jennings went down with a leg injury in the third quarter, and it did not look good.  Today he will undergo tests to determine the injury.  All clues are hinting towards it being a torn Achilles tendon.  After the game Jennings went on Twitter in order to fill us in. 

Hopefully Jennings' injury is not to serious and he will be playing again soon.  That would be the best possible outcome for the streaking Pistons trying to make the playoffs.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2015 Hoophall Classic Review

This past weekend the top high school basketball talent in the country came together in Springfield, Massachusetts for the 2015 Hoophall Classic.  More than 54 teams from 20 states and 1 Canadian province came to play over the course of 5 days.  On day five, games were televised live on ESPNU and included many of the best games.  The 2015 Hoophall Classic also involved many players from the ESPN100 including 14 of the 25 top players in the ESPN 100.  The whole weekend was filled with exciting dunks, plays, and thrilling games.  Below we will provide recaps of the games and our picks of the best players from the tournament.

Archbishop Carroll High School (PA) vs. #22 Simeon High School (IL)
Saturday's third game was a matchup between #22 Simeon and Archbishop Carroll.  Carroll has a team led by the 22nd ranked senior Derrick Jones.  He ended up leading them to a 77-68 victory with his 31 point performance.  Simeon tried to counteract Archbishop Carroll's play, but fell short down the stretch.  Ed Morrow the 62nd ranked senior led Simeon with 16 points and 8 rebounds.  All in all, Carroll's Derrick Jones led them to a win over the 24th ranked team in the country to start the trend of upsets over the weekend.

#19 DeMatha Catholic High School (MD) vs. #4 Roselle Catholic High School
This matchup was primed to be a great one.  #19 DeMatha who is loaded with talent and led by their great coach Mike Jones, was ready to square off with #4 Roselle Catholic who has the #13 player in the country Isaiah Briscoe.  In the first half, DeMatha pounced on RC and took a commanding 39-22 lead into the locker room.  At the half Markelle Fultz had already scored 17 points and was ready to lead his team to the upset over the #4 team in the country.  The second half seemed to be played the same way as the first, DeMatha rolled right over Roselle Catholic.  They were led with their high energy defense which held Isaiah Briscoe to 20 points while shooting 8/16 from the field.  Roselle Catholic shot the ball at a dismal 33% from the field while having trouble breaking down DeMatha's defense.  Markelle Fultz finished with 25 points while sophomore teammate DJ Harvey added in 13 points to help knock off #4 Roselle Catholic in a dominating fashion.

#13 Adlai E. Stevenson High School (IL) vs. #1 Findlay College Prep (NV)
Jalen Brunson and Stevenson High School were dealt a bad hand of cards this weekend.  They were the ones who had to play the #1 team in the country Findlay Prep.  Right from the star Findlay proved they were the best team in the country with a 20-12 first quarter.  Through the middle section of the game they let Stevenson hang, but once again they took care of business in the fourth quarter.  They closed the game out with a dominant 27-13 fourth.  Findlay was led by Allonzo Trier (#17 in the ESPN100) who dominated with a 27 point performance.  Horace Spencer (#55 in the ESPN100) also had a huge game with 20 points and 15 rebounds.  On the other hand, Stevenson's Jalen Brunson (#23 in the ESPN100) finished with 26 points in his shortcoming against Findlay.  This game proved that not even one of the nation's top teams can play with Findlay Prep at this point, they are that good.

Putnam Vocational Technical Academy (MA) vs. #18 Corona Del Sol High School (AZ)
The #1 team from Massachusetts was faced with a tough task on Saturday night.  They had to play the 13th ranked team in the country and defend 6'10" freshman Marvin Bagley III.  Not only did Putnam keep up with them, they almost pulled off the upset.  Right from the tip it seemed like Putnam wanted the game more than Corona Del Sol.  They were diving on the floor for loose balls and pushing it up on the fast break every chance they got.  They were even able to find a way to slow down Corona's freshman phenom.  Putnam was led by junior standout Tyonne Malone who racked up  21 points.  In the late stages of the game it was evident Putnam had a chance to pull off the upset.  Then, the games was sent to overtime.  In overtime Corona Del Sol finished off their opponent with a 5-2 score in extra time.  They finished the game with a 60-57 victory.  Marvin Bagley III and Dane Kupier both led the team with 17 points.

Brewster Academy (NH) vs. Montverde Academy Prep (FL)
When fans strolled in Sunday morning they expected this game to be one of the best of the weekend.  Instead they got a 100-69 blowout win from Brewster.  Their confusion was this, Montverde Academy has a regular team, then this prep team.  Their regular team is ranked #2 in the country, yet the prep team is un-ranked.  So instead of seeing a matchup loaded with future college stars, they saw a one sided affair.  Brewster's backcourt absolutely dominated in this matchup.  Their backcourt is composed of some of the best guards in the country soon to be heading off to the top colleges in the country.  They were led by Jalen Adams (UConn), David Crisp (Washington), Donnovan Mitchell (Louisville), and Justin Simon (Arizona).  Playing in front of his home crowd, Massachusetts native Jalen Adams dominated with 23 points.  Multiple times the crowd let out "OOHH's" and "AHH's" as he glided across the court and simply dropped in bucket after bucket and dime after dime.  Jalen Adams is going to be a star at UConn next year for sure due to his full package of skills.  Brewster was also led by Donnovan Mitchell who finished with 20 points and several dunks and nice drives to the basket.  Overall, Brewster glided by Montverde Prep untested.

Life Center Academy (NJ) vs. Orangeville Prep (Ontario)
Thon Maker was the talk of the Hoophall Classic coming into his game on Sunday.  The 7'0" big finished with 23 points, yet his performance was very disappointing.  It seemed the hype surrounding him was just to much.  There was no way Thon Maker could actually be that good.  He helped prove that point in Orangeville's 64-50 loss.  Maker was not all that impressive.  He did not finish around the hoop, rebound, or defend that well in the early stages of the game.  He was also pushed around in the paint numerous times.  It was not until late in the game that he seemed to play up to a little of his hype.  On the other hand, Life Center Academy's back court of Malik Ellenson and Traci Carter came into the game with no hype.  Yet, they were they ones who shone brightly.  Ellenson dominated in the first half with 19 points to help boost his team to an early 34-14 lead.  He ended up finishing with 28 points total.  Throughout the game, Carter proved the steadier guard and racked up 18 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds.  Life Center Academy taught Thon Maker and crew a valuable lesson this weekend; talk is cheap.  Instead of feeling intimidation from one of the nation's top prospects, they came out and attacked them in order to achieve a 64-50 win.

Our Savior New American (NY) vs. Huntington St. Joseph Prep (WV)
Although this matchup was close at first, Huntington Prep took control of the game as it moved along.  Both sides of this matchup were loaded with talent though.  Check Diallo (#7 in the ESPN100), Damon Wilson (#73 in the ESPN 100), and Davon Dillard were ready to face off with Huntington Prep's Thomas Bryant (#22 in the ESPN 100), Ted Kapita (#40 in the ESPN100), and Miles Bridges (#7 in the junior class).  Although this matchup was loaded with notable names, it was the little guy that pushed Huntington Prep to victory.  Junior guard Curtis Jones scored 28 points on 7-10 three point shooting.  It seemed any shot he threw up had a chance to go through the hoop, even when he had a defender draped all over him.  Jones, only ranked 53rd in the Junior class definitely raised his stock with his performance in this game.  He did it in front of the nation's top college coaches and scouts like Kentucky's John Calapari. Although New American came up short, 76-57, their star Check Diallo still shined brightly.  He finished with 24 points and 9 rebounds.  His high motor play was put on display during this game as he was the first player to get up and down the floor every time, and he also put on a show with his display of dunks.  Coming out of halftime, Huntington Prep pushed their lead to a commanding 40-26 in order to runaway to their Hoophall win.  Overall, they shot the lights out and ultimately outplayed their opponent.  

#19 St. Anthony High School (NJ) vs. Constitution High School (PA)
Coach Bob Hurley's legendary St. Anthony Friars' kicked off Monday's full slate of games with a thriller.  After the first quarter, Hurley's squad was up 18-17, and after the 2nd 29-27.  At halftime it was evident that this game was going to be decided in the final minutes or even seconds.  That exact thing did happen.  With just seconds left, Constitution was down 57-56 and had the ball.  Their 6'7" swingman Ahmad Gilbert pushed the ball up the court and heaved up a prayer right in front of the hoop.  His shot bounced out of the hoop and fell short from delivering an upset over St. Anthony's.  Gilbert finished the game with a dominating 27 points.  After the game he and Bob Hurley exchanged a lengthy talk that seemed to be light hearted and positive for the young stud heading to play college ball at George Mason next year.   St. Anthony's scoring load was spread out between Markis McDuffie (Wichita State Commit) with 12 points, RJ Cole had 12, and Jagan Mosely added in 15.  A classic game by St. Anthony's; their scoring load spread out evenly between all their stars.  Although Constitution put up a fight, #19 St. Anthony escaped to a 57-56 victory.

#3 Wheeler High School (GA) vs. #10 Bishop O'Dowd High School (CA)
This was easily the most exciting matchup of the weekend.  The #2 player in the country, Jaylen Brown, versus the #5 player in the country, Ivan Rabb.  From the tip off, Brown dominated.  In the first half he had 19 points to give his team a 38-37 lead going into the half.  He seemed to score the ball every way you can.  Outside, inside, midrange, dunks, and even shots over defenders.  Not only did he score the ball though, he also grabbed rebounds to help his team out.  His teammate Shembari Phillips also had something to add.  The Tennessee commit drove the lane on a fast break and delivered the dunk of the weekend.  Phillips leaped off the floor like it was a springboard and launched over the defender to deliver a poster dunk for the ages.  This dunk sparked the Wheeler team on a mini run to extend their lead.  After halftime, Bishop O'Dowd seemed to play a better and cleaner game.  Ivan Rabb, who was unusually quiet in the first half, picked up pace in the later stages of the game to lead his team to a 79-70 win.  He finished the game with 24 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 blocks.  His teammate Paris Austin also delivered a great game to help push their team to victory.  He finished with 18 points and helped create open looks for teammates all night long.  In the second half, Wheeler's offense slowed down and they stopped pushing the ball on the break.  Although their offense slowed down, breakout Cameron Jordan did not.  He finished with 14 points, but showed many that he deserves more attention when it comes to college scholarships.  On the other hand, Jaylen Brown did slow down a little.  Down the stretch he did not execute at the same rate he was earlier on in the game.  Although they lost the game, Brown still was happy with his performance.  He finished with 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.  This matchup between top ten teams and top five players lived up to the hype and proved to be one of the most entertaining games of the weekend.

#6 Oak Hill Academy (VA) vs. #11 Villa Angela St. Joseph (OH)
St. Joseph's got out to an early 23-16 lead over the #6 team in the country in Oak Hill.  Before the game their coach Babe Kwasniak wondered if they could even play with the Warriors of Oak Hill.  Not only did they play with them, they gave them a run for their money.  Carlton Bragg of St. Joe's played a great game along with fellow big Dereck Pardon.  Bragg (Kansas) and Pardon (Northwestern) dominated in the paint in the early half of the game.  But as the game went on they were slowed down.  Togther, they only scored 4 points in the fourth quarter.  While they struggled, Oak Hill's Dwayne Bacon dominated.  He single handily brought his team to victory.  It seemed every shot he threw up would fall down, no matter how far away from the hoop he was.  Bacon finished with 33 points and 8 rebounds.  Not only did he dominate at Hoophall, he also dominated at the Bass Pro Shops invitational over the weekend to lead Oak Hill to the title of that tournament.  I guess you could say it was a pretty good weekend for the Florida State commit.  Although St. Joe's gave Oak Hill a game, in the end they came up short.  Bragg finished with 23 points and also showed off his passing ability.  Pardon finished with 15 points.  Villa Angela St. Joseph found out that they can play with the nation's best on Monday, but they now want to find out they can beat the nation's best.  But for now Oak Hill says until next time with their 76-72 victory.

#2 Montverde Academy (FL) vs. Bishop Gorman High School (NV)
This game was full of promise before it started.  The top player in the country, Ben Simmons was ready to face off with the #9 player, Chase Jeter, and the #10 player Stephen Zimmerman.  The first half of this game was unexpectedly sloppy.  Combined both teams committed 29 turnovers in the first half.  Usually we see players slipping on the sticker at half court, not slipping the ball through their hands.  Montverde went into the locker room up 5 points, but blasted out of the half and ended up wining 76-57.  Ben Simmons dominated the game with his scoring, passing, and even just his presence.  He finished with 36 points and 9 rebounds, and received a standing ovation when he came to the bench at the end of the game.  Although you would expect the same big performance from Gorman's top players, you won't find it.  Jeter and Zimmerman were held to a combined 14 points.  Instead, it was sophomore guard Charles O'Bannon Jr. that played a great game.  He finished with 22 points in their losing effort.  Although the play in the second half was cleaned up, it was still not too enjoyable.  The only thing that was, was Ben Simmon's controlling performance.

Annnddd that's a wrap on our recap of the games.  But we've decided to provide you with three more pieces.  An all tournament team, a mixtape, and a prediction for the top players in the 2015 class.

Buzzer Beater Basketball's Hoophall First Team
1. Ben Simmons  G/F  Montverde Academy  36 points and 9 rebounds
2. Jaylen Brown  G/F  Wheeler High School  31 points and 12 rebounds
3. Dwayne Bacon  G   Oak Hill Academy      33 points and 8 rebounds
4. Allonzo Trier      G  Findlay Prep                27 points
5. Horace Spencer  F   Findlay Prep                20 points and 15 rebounds

Buzzer Beater Basketball's Hoophall Second Team
1. Jalen Adams      G      Brewster Academy          23 points
2. Malik Ellenson  G/F   Life Center Academy      28 points
3. Traci Carter       G      Life Center Academy      18 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds
4. Ivan Rabb          F/C   Bishop O'Dowd               24 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 blocks
5. Check Diallo     F/C   OSNA High School         24 points and 9 rebounds

Buzzer Beater Basketball's Hoophall Third Team
1. Curtis Jones               G   Huntington Prep                28 points 7-10 3pt
2. Donnovan Mitchell   G   Brewster Academy            20 points
3. Jalen Brunson            G   Stevenson High School     26 points
4. Ahmad Gilbert           F   Constitution High School  27 points
5. Charles O'Bannon     G   Bishop Gorman                  22 points

Buzzer Beater Basketball's Hoophall Classic Mixtape

Are Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb Going to Team Up in College?
After Monday's game between #2 Jaylen Brown and #5 Ivan Rabb, the two met on the set of ESPNU.  There they sat down and were interviewed by their crew of guys.  But after they went upstairs at Springfield College and talked privately.  Now hmmmm... What could two top players be talking about up there?  Well Brown has offers from Kansas, Kentucky, and UCLA.  Wait, so does Ivan Rabb.  So maybe these two were talking about a possible college duo of Brow and Rabb at those respective schools.  Later that night, Brown posted a picture of him and Rabb on his Instagram.  Maybe this is just an overreaction to two high school players hanging out, or maybe its a future duo just like Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor formed at Duke this year.  Only time will tell, as these top prospects aren't expected to commit until springtime.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Adidas Reveals the D Lillard 1

Adidas recently announced there newest shoe.  Damian Lillard has achieved the status of having his own signature shoe.  The D Lillard 1 will release on February 6 at $105.  View images of the new shoes below:


Victor Oladipo Crushed the 360 Slam Dunk

Watch Victor Oladipo kill the 360 slam from last night's affair against the Houston Rockets.  Oladipo finished with 32 points in the Magic's 120-113 win.

DeMar DeRozan Returns in Stlye

The Toronto Raptors' all star DeMar DeRozan returned to their line up last night to play the Philadelphia 76ers.  They ended up winning 100-84 over the dismal Sixers.  DeMar DeRozan had missed their previous 21 games due to a torn groin.  During that stretch Toronto went 12-9 compared to their 14-3 record before his injury.  That proves the point, the Raptors need DeRozan in their line up.

In his return last night he scored 20 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists in only 29 minutes of play. After the game DeRozan said he didn't expect to feel as good as he did out there last night.

After the game his backcourt mate Kyle Lowry was exhilarated to have his companion back.  Even DeRozan said they are like "an old married couple."  Hopefully this old couple can storm their way back up the top of the Eastern Conference, but still play with their young flare and style.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mo Williams is the First Player to Score 50+ Points This Year

Last night, the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Indiana Pacers 110-101.  The T-Wolves had a 41 point fourth quarter that boosted them to a comeback win.

Mo Williams snapped Minnesota's 15 game losing streak with the NBA's best scoring game this season.  He scored 52 points and hit 6 three pointers.  Williams is the only player to score 50 points all season.

Both Carmelo Anthony and Pau Gasol had previously scored 46 points, which was the single game high before last night.  Doesn't it seem kind of odd that Mo Williams is the first player to score 50 points this season?  Maybe he will start a domino fall of 50 point scorers this year.  If you made me guess who came next, I would predict James Harden.

What's harder to believe though, Mo Williams is the first 50 point scorer of the season, or the fact he set the single game scoring record for the Wolves?  Yes, Mo Williams holds the record for the most points scored in one game for them... not Kevin Garnett, Stephon Marbury, or even Kevin Love.  Maybe Andrew Wiggins will have something to say about that in the coming years.

Dunks of the Night 1/13/15

Last night both K.J. McDaniels and Cliff Alexander submitted their idea for the dunk of the year. 

McDaniels drove baseline and double pumped, after going over a defender and finally slammed home the dunk.
Cliff Alexander definitely has the better dunk out of these two though.  Alexander just flat out jumps over the defender and extends to rip the ball through the rim.
Last, but not least; Malik Monk.  Although Monk's dunk was not last night, it still deserves a mention.  In a world where it takes a few days for a high school video to blow up, we will count this as one of today's dunks.  Also because this may be the best poster dunk of the year in high school basketball.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Kevin Garnett Headbuts Howard, and Harden Torches the Nets

Last night was a very typical Rockets and Nets game.  Kevin Garnett was crazy as always, and James Harden torched opponents over and over again.

Early in the first quarter, Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard got into a little scuffle... to say the least.  After pushing each other around a little bit, KG finished business with a headbutt delivered to Dwight Howard's head.  After the game, KG decided to announce that he will be retiring and pursuing a career in the WWE.

The Rockets jumped out to an early lead and never seemed to lose their stride.  Houston ended up beating the Nets 113-99.  They were led by James Harden who dropped 30 points and 6 assists. 

Harden's play this season has led the Rockets to a 27-11 record, which gives them the 3rd seed in the West.  He is averaging 26.9 PPG this season and is basically unstoppable.  Not only is he scoring the ball, he is also 11th in the league in assists averaging 6.6 APG. 
With their new addition of Josh Smith, the Rockets have gone on a 4 game winning streak and have won all of the games by double digits.  The Rockets will certainly be contending when it comes playoff time in the West, but will Harden get the support he needs?  This month will be a good test for them as they play the Thunder, Mavericks, Suns, and Warriors twice.
Last night really ended up being a typical game for both teams.  The Nets continued their losing ways, but also revieced great play from Mason Plumlee again.  He scored a career high 24 points last night and also grabbed 10 boards.  For the Rockets, Harden dominated and Dwight Howard was a bonehead once again. Lastly, we can't wait for KG's debut in the WWE.

Jeff Green Trade Was Finalized

The Boston Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies, and New Orleans Pelicans have finalized their 3-team trade.

Boston Receives:
Tayshaun Prince (Grizzlies)
Austin Rivers (Pelicans)
Future 1st Round Pick (Grizzlies)

Memphis Receives:
Russ Smith (Pelicans)
Jeff Green (Celtics)

New Orleans Receives
Quincy Pondexter (Memphis)
Future 2nd Round Pick (Memphis)

So let's break this down team by team...

Boston once again hoards another draft pick.  Over the next 4 years, they are projected to have 14 first-round picks and 13 second-round picks.  They also freed up a lot of cap space with $7.7 Million expiring contract Prince has this year.  Lastly, they are expected to flip Austin Rivers to the Clippers so he can play under his dad, Doc Rivers in LA.  Once again they will probably get another draft pick in that trade.

Memphis picked up a valuable asset in this trade.  When he tries, Jeff Green can be one of the most dominant players in the league.  But that is the problem... Green rarely gives his full effort.  Hopefully he will be influenced to play hard when he joins a winning culture in Memphis.  His scoring will be very helpful in a loaded Western conference this year.

The Pelicans did not receive much in this trade, but they were the glue to the deal. They finally got rid of Austin Rivers who never panned out for them.  Hopefully with this trade a new spark will light under him and he can play up to his expected potential.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Rutgers Upsets #4 Wisconsin, But Struggles to Rush the Court

Yesterday, Rutgers upset #4 Wisconsin 67-62.

On a night when Rutgers won their 1st game over a top 5 ranked opponent in program history, everything went right besides one thing.  Their fans failed to rush the court as normal fan sections do.  Instead of a huge mob on the court, barely any fans rushed the court.  Its alright though, this being their first huge upset they still need to practice rushing the court.

Frank Kaminsky did not play for Wisconsin due to a concussion he suffered the other night.  Without their best player, the Badgers failed to step up. Their coach, Bo Ryan, was disappointed in his team after the game for not performing well without Kaminsky.
While Wisconsin searched for scoring, Nigel Hayes and Sam Dekker did their part.  Hayes had 15 points and 10 rebounds while Dekker also had 15 points.
For Rutgers it was Myles Mack who scored 21 points and Kadeem Jack who added in 20 points.
Although it may be tough to suffer another loss, it may end up helping Wisconsin on the long run.  The Badgers will have to play without Kaminsky in the future, wether it's injury or foul trouble, so it is best they learn how to now.  On the other hand, it was a historic night for Rutgers.  They have adjusted well coming into the BIG 10 and continue to shock many teams and fans.  It will be interesting to see if they can upset any other teams in one of the nation's top conferences this year.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Brandon Jennings and the Pistons Have Reversed the Curse

Last night, Brandon Jennings scored a game wining layup to beat the Spurs 105-104 with 0.1 seconds left in the game.  The Spurs had the ball and a 1 point lead with eight seconds left, but then turned it over which led to Jennings' bucket.

Detorit rallied in the third quarter on a 23-11 run. They overcame an 18 point deficit to grab the lead.  The Spurs simply handed this game to the red hot Pistons.

Since releasing Josh Smith, Detroit is 6-0.  It seems they have truly reversed the curse he had cast on them.  The Pistons seem to have found a new team identity that may be able to lead to long term success.

Jennings' game winning layup boosted Detroit on a night their big men carried the team.  Andre Drummond finished with 20 points and 17 rebounds.  Their other big, Greg Monroe, ended the night with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Detroit is now 11-23, only 3.5 games behind the 8th spot in the East.  With their new found success the Pistons have great potential to make a run for a playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Huge Deal Including OKC, Cleveland, and New York

New York's Favorite
Backcourt is off to Cleveland
Perhaps the biggest trade of the year in the NBA has occurred tonight.  The Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and New York Knicks have reached terms on a 3 team blockbuster deal.

The Knicks have sent Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith to Cleveland, the Thunder sent a protected 2015 first-round pick and Lance Thomas to New York, and Cleveland sent Alex Kirk and Lou Amundson to New York, while Dion Waiters is on his way to play in Oklahoma.

So wait, why did the Knicks do this deal? They got absolutely nothing in return for Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith.  Hold on though, the deal is not that simple.  With their trade the Knicks have cleared cap room for the upcoming offseason.  In the summer they will have $28M in order to build a team around Carmelo Anthony.  They will also have a top draft pick as they are a dismal 5-32 so far this season.

Both the Cavaliers and Thunder make out like bandits in this deal too.  Both teams were expected to be the best teams in their respective conferences, but injuries and the need for adjustments have plagued both teams so far.

Cleveland receives a great scorer in J.R. Smith who is always ready to explode for a big night.  They also get Iman Shumpert who will serve not only as an offensive threat, but also will play a role on defense.  Maybe getting Dion Waiters out of town is the shake up or spark the Cavs need to start playing up to their potential.  One thing is for sure, Cleveland now has some explosive bench scoring and lots of potential in a young Shumpert.

Dion Waiters, who is averaging 10.5 PPG in 23.8 minutes per contest this season, is now heading to Oklahoma.  The 4th pick of the 2012 Draft will serve as instant offense alongside one of the league's best duo's of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.  The Thunder will now have an increased scoring load in order to help them chase a higher seed for the Western Conference playoffs.

Not only is today's trade possibly the biggest of the year, it may also be the best.  Every team benefited from the deal, not just one.  Time will only tell us who the real winner of the trade is though.  Maybe the Knicks will build a championship caliber team through free agency, or maybe the Cavs' and Thunder's new players will be able to lead them to a championship.

Archie Goodwin Crushes the Dunk Over Jonas Valanciunas

Last night Archie Goodwin demolished the Raptors' Jonas Valanciunas with this poster dunk.  Right away it sent soundwaves over social media as it could be the best dunk of the year.  It's no surprise this dunk comes from a game in which two of the most entertaining teams in the NBA squared off.  Phoenix ended up beating the Raptors 125-109 and the highflying Goodwin finished with 12 points.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Jimmy Butler Delivers the Dunk of the Night Over the Nuggets

Last night, the Chicago Bulls and Denver Nuggets faced off in a New Years Day matchup.  Jimmy Butler led the bulls with 26 points to lead them to a 106-101 win.  Although Butler played great it was the Bulls defense that stole the show.  They had 18 blocks ... 18!  Even though the Nuggets had a hard time getting their shots off, Kenneth Faried still had a monster game with 18 points and 19 rebounds.

Jimmy Butler had fans in awe when he threw down an alley-oop from Derrick Rose late in the fourth quarter.  Butler has been playing great all season and continues to produce exciting plays just like this.