It wouldn’t be right if we didn’t start by saying congratulations the Super Bowl XLVII Champion Baltimore Ravens. I am even happier for Ray Lewis. Legend. Now that football is over we can turn our full attention to NBA hoops. As we slow down in the coming week for All-Star weekend, lets recap the first half of the season.
The New York Knicks Are Back
Led by Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith, the New York Knicks (32-17) are headed into the All-Star break sitting at number two in the Eastern Conference standings behind the Miami Heat (34-14). Under once interim head coach Mike Woodson, the team has never looked better. Not to mention Carmelo Anthony is playing out of his mind averaging just under 29 points and 6 rebounds a game. Some might say that we’ve seen this Melo before and we have but those teams never performed this well. The Knicks feature an aggressive offensive attack while displaying a much improved defensive game. They have silenced the critics, including myself. And what better way to silence the critics than to win, without Lin. Last summer the Knicks decided not to match Houston’s 25 million dollar offer for Mr. Jeremy Lin. The same offer I said they would regret in the long run. I was wrong. That could have been the single best thing the Knicks could have done. They went in a different direction when they picked up Jason Kidd. A guard who isn’t going to take shots away from Carmelo but one who will create shots for him. Good move, nobody can run the point like Jason Kidd can. Kidd recorded his 12,000th assist last week against the Minnesota Timberwolves. And lets not forget that he and Tyson Chandler are just over a year removed from the 2011 Champion Dallas Mavericks team who defeated the Heat four games to two. Who knows we may see a playoff rematch between the Knicks and the Heat in the coming months but one question still remains: Are the Knicks the team that can beat the Heat in seven games? It’s tough to say, but right now they hold a 2-0 lead in the season series with the Heat. The teams will meet two more times before the regular season comes to a close. Stay tuned.
Where to start. The L.A. Lakers are bad, real bad. Looking into the playoff race from the outside in, the Lakers currently hold the tenth spot in the Western Conference standings (24-28). The last time the Lakers were this bad (2006 Los Angeles Lakers) Kobe Bean Bryant was seeking a trade. But after speaking with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, Kobe seems to be patient at this point of the season and his career at large. Following the release of head coach Mike Brown just five games into the season, the Lakers have had to adjust to new coach Mike D’Antoni and his system. They have also hit an early case of the injury bug resulting in multiple key players going down. With Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, and Pau Gasol in and out of the starting lineup due to injury, Kobe has played different roles for the Lakers this season such as being the teams leading scorer, defensive stopper and facilitator. He has been trying new things like playing lock down defense and passing the ball. “I’m just trying to figure out a way to win ball games..” Bryant said. During the month of January, Kobe recorded 3 back-to-back double-digit point/assist games resulting in 3 consecutive wins for the Lakers. While Kobe’s assists may be a small victory for the Lakers, the fans have grown restless with the way the team has performed thus far. Especially following all of the anticipation that followed the teams new acquisitions. Newcomers Steve Nash (leg/back) and Dwight Howard (back) have been battling injuries throughout the first half of the season hurting the teams chances at building chemistry, costing them games. Maybe the decision to send Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia wasn’t quite worth it after all. Yea, Bynum may have had his fair share of injuries while he was a Laker but at least he could make a free throw; Something Dwight has never been able to do. Howard’s shooting this season has been abysmal, shooting (.494) percent from the free throw line. There have been various reports of Kobe Bryant calling out Dwight Howard on a number of topics including his poor play, toughness and his free throw shooting. “That will get better..he’s working on it” said Bryant. All things considered, I don’t believe we’ll be seeing the Lakers in the post season.
NBA’s Newest Star Kyrie Irving aka “Uncle Drew”
If Kyrie Irving and “Uncle Drew” are not a common names around your homes basketball conversation they very well should be. Meet Kyrie Irving. A 20-year-old star point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s 6’3″, slim and a nightmare to handle. Now meet Uncle Drew. He’s..older, some might say that his career as a basketball player is over but if you’ve seen him play you’d say he still got it in him. He’s known for embarrassing younger generation players at local courts across the country with his dazzling moves. Ironically they are the same person. Kyrie actually wrote, directed and acted in a Pepsi Max commercial as “Uncle Drew” See HERE. Kyrie Irving is not only a great player but an even better personality. After playing in just 9 games as a freshman at Duke, Irving decided to enter the NBA Draft where he was the unanimous number one pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He would go on to earn Rookie of the Year honors in his first season averaging almost 19 points 5 assists and 4 rebounds a game. At 20 years of age, Irving has shown great deal of maturity and leadership in becoming the Cavaliers leader and floor general. His scoring has gone up to 24 points a game and has scored 30 or more 10 different times this season with a career high of 41 points against the New York Knicks. This weekend, Kyrie will make his first appearance as an All-Star as a representative on the Eastern Conference team. Although the Cleveland Cavaliers have not been the most successful franchises of late, the future is looking all too bright and Kyrie Irving will take credit for that.
All-Star Weekend 2013 Houston
Next to the Super Bowl, the NBA All-Star game is the next big thing in the month of February. NBA All-Star weekend will be held in Houston Texas from Thursday February 14 – Sunday February 17 featuring an array of events including the Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, 2013 D-League All Star Game, NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm and finally NBA All-Star Game presented by Kia. The Eastern & Western Conference rosters were announced earlier last week. Sundays game between the East and West All-Star teams looks to be an exciting matchup. Be sure to tune into ESPN, TNT and NBA TV for live coverage of this years NBA All-Star Weekend. Look forward to an exciting weekend of basketball to come.