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Posts from the ‘Playoffs’ Category

NBA Finals: four adjustments Cleveland must make to win game 3 at home.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are down 0-2 in the Finals after being blown out in back to back games at Oracle Arena. The defending champions have a chance to regroup and win game 3 on their home court in Cleveland, however, achieving that will require a few adjustments from the Cavaliers.

The Warriors are seemingly an insurmountable force on offense, but their defense can be exploited in certain areas as well as in the paint. The first half of game 2 was close as LeBron James was attacking the rim with reckless abandon, no defenders on the Golden State crew could handle what James was dishing out.

Here we look at four factors that would give Cleveland the edge:

KYRIE IRVING MUST SHINE

Irving struggled in the first two games in Oakland despite averaging 21.5 points per game. His defense was limited and could not slow down Steph Curry at crucial junctures throughout the game. Kyrie will have to score over 30 points and start setting up his teammates on the offensive end.

Irving only combined for 9 assists in two games, until Kyrie creates some offense and starts making defensive plays against Curry, the Cavaliers will continue to struggle at home. The All-Star point guard might have to explode for 40-points as he did in last year’s Finals, which will give LeBron some relief on the offensive side.

 

CAVS MUST WIN THE BATTLE OF THE BOARDS

Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love must win this battle. Offensive rebounds are also imperative to the team’s success on offense as it will keep plays alive, making it difficult for Draymond Green and Kevin Durant to push the ball up the court.

Golden State is winning the total rebounding match 103-100, the Cavaliers will need to dominate the boards going forward in order to limit the Warriors scoring spurts in transition. The Warriors are virtually unstoppable in transition, Cleveland’s best strategy would be to win the rebound battle and force Golden State to run half court plays in a set offense.

Golden State Warriors v Cleveland Cavaliers

SUPPORTING CAST MUST HELP OUT

J.R Smith has scored a total of three points in two games while Kyle Korver has put up 8 points. The two sharpshooters have been non-existent and will have to produce in game 3 to equal what Klay Thompson and Green are producing on the offensive side.

The Cavaliers bench will have to step up their game as well, Deron Williams has offered no relief at the point guard position for Irving. Role players usually perform better at home and feed off their crowd for energy, that might improve their performances in games 3 and 4.

2016 NBA Finals - Game Six

THE 40 POINT CLUB

The king of Akron is performing at a high level and is averaging a triple-double with 28.5 PPG, 13.0 RPG and 11.0 APG. Despite his great performances in both games, the Cavaliers were still outmatched and blown out by an average of 20-points.

In order to beat these Warriors, James must score more and enter the realm of 40 or more points. As we witnessed in last year’s Finals, LeBron went on a tear in back to back 40-point performances that led his team to victory. James will need a few ‘Jordanesque’ scoring games to match Golden State’s high-powered offense.

LeBron must take the reigns and score at will as he did in the first half of game 2 and continue that for four quarters. The team will also have to take care of the basketball and limit turnovers throughout for Cleveland to tie up the series.

 

Game 3 will commence tonight; 9:00 PM at the Quicken Loans Arena.

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The BIG3 American League brings 3-on-3 basketball to the national stage

Allen Iverson and Chauncey Billups along with Jason Williams and Mike Bibby are all making a comeback this summer. Not to the NBA, but to the new 3-on-3 basketball league that will air exclusively on Fox Sports 1 in June.

The impetus behind this new project has been spearheaded by hip-hop legend and Hollywood actor Ice Cube. His idea came to fruition back in January when the announcement was officially made.

The new 3-on-3 professional basketball league will bring NBA legends and former players who will participate in a touring league that will last ten weeks. The BIG3 league will have eight teams comprised of five players coupled with a head coach for each roster.

The league will be managed by the players and the appointed Commissioner Roger Mason Jr. a former player in the NBA. Of course, these players are not in the prime of their careers but are competitive none the less. The game format of 3-on-3 is designed for excitement and fierce competition between the former marquee names.

Kenyon Martin, Jermaine O’Neal, and Rashard Lewis will be playing in this tournament. The coaches also add an element of intrigue as NBA legends Gary Payton and Julius “Dr.J” Erving will be calling plays on the sidelines.

Now that we have highlighted the caliber of players that will be participating, let us have a look at how the game will be played and what rules apply.

RULES OF 3 ON 3:

  • The standard two and three point shots are intact.
  • A half court game is implemented.
  • There will be a 4-point shot on the court highlighted as a 4″ circle.
  • The first team to 60 points wins / Halftime occurs when a team scores 30 points.
  • Personal fouls result in team fouls, no foul out rule.
  • A defensive three-second rule does not apply.

The league’s version is similar to the traditional three on three basketball game with a few variations to enhance the excitement for fans. The launching day of the BIG3 League will be on June 25th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

The inaugural day will showcase four games that will segway into a nationwide tour through Los Angeles and Seattle as well as Charlotte to name a few. The championship game will be played in Las Vegas on August 26th at the T-Mobile Arena which will culminate a 10-week tour of fierce basketball action.

Success of the BIG3 League will depend on the ratings it produces, fans will have to support this new brand of entertainment and patronize the games as well. Ticket sales and viewership will determine whether or not this concept will have longevity.

If the league can eventually attract the likes of Kobe Bryant or Kevin Garnett that would further legitimize the tournament. If retired legends of the NBA start signing up to play in the future that would provide a major incentive for others to follow suit.

The timing of this tournament could not be more fitting, sports fans will be occupied with an event that begins right after the NBA Finals and will end before the start of another football season in the NFL.

The eight team rosters and coaches can be seen in depth on the BIG3 official site where you can also book your game tickets.

NBA: top 5 most dominant runs in playoff history

In light of the recent dominance from the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden state Warriors, we look at the most successful playoff runs in NBA history.

No team in NBA history has been able to stay perfect during a playoff run to a championship however, some teams have come close.

The 2017 playoffs have two teams capable of running the table to the NBA Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors both halfway there with an 8-0 record in the playoffs in their respective conferences so far.

The Cavaliers will have a much easier opponent in the Eastern Conference Finals, whether it is the Boston Celtics or the Washington Wizards, as both squads lack the experience and talent to overcome the Cavs and LeBron James, who is performing at an all-time level in these playoffs.

The Warriors will face sterner resistance from either the San Antonio Spurs or the Houston Rockets.

Both teams have a chance to enter the Finals with (12-0) record and solidify their excellence in playoff history, here is a look at five teams who achieved the best records in the postseason:

5) 1986-87 LOS ANGELES LAKERS

PLAYOFF FORMAT: 5-7-7-7

PLAYOFF RECORD: 15-3

Led by Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the Lakers ran through the 1987 Western Conference, sweeping the Denver Nuggets in the first round, then defeating the Golden State Warriors in five games in the second round. T

heir success continued by sweeping the Seattle Supersonics in the conference finals to set the stage for a clash with Larry Bird and his Boston Celtics in the Finals. The Lakers defeated their bitter rivals 4-2 and completed one of the most dominant runs in playoff history.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings

 4) 1988-89 DETROIT PISTONS

PLAYOFF FORMAT: 5-7-7-7

PLAYOFF RECORD: 15-2

The year of the Bad Boys, Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars led the rough and intimidating Pistons to one of the best streaks in American sports. They only lost two games in the Eastern Conference Finals to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, Detroit dismantled all their other opponents in four games including the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals.

Detroit Pistons pose for a team photo

3) 1990-91 CHICAGO BULLS 

PLAYOFF FORMAT: 5-7-7-7

PLAYOFF RECORD: 15-2

The first of six championships for the Bulls, Michael Jordan was a man possessed during the ’91 playoffs and was determined to lead the franchise to its first title. The Bulls swept the New York Knicks in the first round, handled the Philadelphia 76ers in five games then swept the Pistons in the conference finals.

Chicago met the Lakers and Magic in the Finals and easily dispatched the older team in five games to claim their first championship in franchise history.

Chicago Bulls:Horace Grant and Michael Jordan

2) 1982-83 PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

PLAYOFF FORMAT: 3-7-7-7

PLAYOFF RECORD: 12-1

The opening round of NBA playoffs during the 1980’s was a best of three series. The 76ers were a juggernaut first seed in the East and earned a first-round bye at the time. Julius (Dr.J) Erving and Moses Malone led their team to a sweep of the Knicks in the semifinals, afterward defeating the Milwaukee Bucks (4-1) in the conference finals.

The 83′ showdown it was called, Philadelphia obliterated the Lakers in four games and avenged their two previous losses to Los Angeles in the championship round.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Philadelphia 76ers, 1983 NBA Finals

2000-01 LOS ANGELES LAKERS 

PLAYOFF FORMAT: 5-7-7-7

PLAYOFF RECORD: 15-1

Considered the best one-two punch in league history at the time, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were in their prime and ready to wreak havoc on the rest of the NBA. The Laker swept all their Western Conference opponents to reach the Finals with an (11-0) record.

The 76ers and Allen Iverson were standing in the way of a perfect post-season for the Lakers, Shaq and Kobe took over the series but could not end on a perfect note, Los Angeles lost the opening game at home (107-101) in overtime off a 48-point performance from Allen Iverson. The Lakers won every game after that to win back-to-back titles.

Kobe Bryant talks with Shaquille O''Neal.

If the Cavaliers and Warriors meet in the finals, there is zero chance that either team could sweep the other. The story line could shape up into two super teams meeting in the NBA Finals for a trilogy with perfect (12-0) records coming out of their conferences.