A few games in…

So, about a week ago, I wrote a blog that I thought would forecast my picks
for the NBA Playoffs. Boy was I way off. It’s a good thing a lot of these
series aren’t one & done, or there would be quite a few teams that are on
the outside looking in. I’m gonna get into as much of this chaotic
basketball as possible, & I’m also gonna talk about a topic that will kinda
overlap itself when it comes to a “star” vs. a “superstar” along with
winning vs. knowing how to lose in order to win. The Indiana Pacers…you
gotta think this process through better. If you were gonna play flat, then
the best time to do this was in the beginning of the season. Do opposite of
what the Sixers did, because we mostly knew with them that their start was
phenomenal, but then when those 26 games started to add up, it was evident
that they were certainly lottery bound. The Pacers had one thing on their
agenda…get the number one seed. There are two questions that come to
mind. Would they have played better if it was against the New York Knicks
(had they worked harder for the 8th seed)? If the Pacers had played a
little more relaxed towards the end of the season, would they have been
able to match-up better with the Charlotte Bobcats? Inquiring minds want to
know. I think the Pacers are literally playing for their season. That team
will literally blow up if they don’t have any sort of a breakout season or
come back & win 3 games to prove that they don’t deserve to be this far
behind the eight ball. Before I go any further, I must give credit to Mike
Conley for earning Sportsman of the year award for the Grizzles (the first
player to receive the award for Memphis). Back to Indiana…their coach is
NOW on the hot seat that quick. It’s amazing how a team can go from being
most likely to have a good future ahead to being on the hot seat in a
matter of games. The fingers oddly aren’t pointing his direction…they’re
facing Roy Hibbert. The gentle giant is having an impact on the game, but
not in the way he wants to. There’s more conversation about him AFTER the
buzzer than during the game on the court. The interesting part is how there
was all of this fuss & uproar about him deserving to be an All-Star. I will
say that during that point of the season, he certainly did. As of now, he’s
been playing some extremely sloppy basketball. I think it’s harder for the
Pacers nation as a whole. They’re trying to stand tall & true behind their
team. Honestly, the same can be said for my Rockets. They’re down 0-2 to
the Blazers heading back to Portland. There’s a task all in itself. Game 3
is tonight, & I think the key player that has to wake up is James Harden.
He’s a good player & has skills, but he’s exposed when it comes to him
having a dry offensive game along with playing NO defense. People say
whatever they want about Dwight Howard, but he’s a defensive player who
goes out there & does what he’s capable of doing. I think no one looks for
him to play the way he does. He doesn’t have to start another all-star game
or be on a “fan’s” list for making the all-star ballot, because he will get
in based on his effort on the court. The comments of him being soft doesn’t
seem to show, & that’s just how I’ll leave it. Now, in both of these
series, I don’t want to take any credit from the Blazers & Hawks. What
everyone isn’t thinking about is that the Hawks are playing without Al
Horford. Think if he was in the lineup able to give 15-20 minutes in his
position. Paul Milsap stepped up & became an All-Star for the Hawks in the
place of him being out, which is a way of them getting on the map (or
rather staying on the map). The Blazers…two words…LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE.
This guy can play. Mr. Aldridge has been going out night after night doing
the simple things that matter the most. I also must say that their role
players have been coming with their work gear on ready to win. The Rockets
have no role players as far as I’m concerned. They seem to wanna play when
it suits them, & it’s being exposed. Jeremy Lin…I’m calling you out. At
one time, you were the man & the name that would be the big it factor.
Watching the Rockets play like this makes you wonder if Harden should have
stayed in OKC. Speaking of the Thunder…another match-up nightmare. Some
teams just match up differently. You honestly can’t control that
whatsoever. It’s either gonna be Durant running & taking charge, or
Westbrook thinking he’s the man forgetting that he’s playing alongside a
player who has won the scoring title 3 of the last 4 years if I’m not
mistaken. When the game matters most, Westbrook needs to distribute and
(not defer) go to Durant & let him light the Grizzlies up. On the same
token, however (and I talked about this in a sports group on FB), the match
ups in this series are what mostly affects how it will possibly
deteriorate. No one on that court can check Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, &
I’ll even go Mike Conley (WHEW! Thought I wouldn’t blend him in there).
Westbrook, Perkins, & Ibaka ALL have their hands full checking these
players. The shocking part is that the Thunder have only won one game
against the Grizzlies. That’s a creepy stat in my opinion. This goes back
to my initial statement about how certain teams just dominate or own other
teams. The Clippers series is one worth talking about. Before it started,
Klay Thompson from the Warriors wanted to talk about how Blake Griffin was
a bull in a China shop. I wonder if Thompson would make that same statement
about LeBron James, because the same kinda applies to him if you wanna be
honest about it. Anyways, Griffin got in foul trouble & had a soft-spoken
game for game 1. Games 2 & 3, he went out & just scored & did what he does
best…play basketball. I’m gonna jump into the topic of players being a
“star” compared to a “superstar”. Griffin is certainly a “superstar”. The
difference between a star & a superstar is that a star has be built around
& a superstar can be built around, but he can also make the players around
him better. The perfect example is Michael Jordan. He knows how to make
players around him GREAT. Even Jason Kidd when he was a point guard with
the Nets, he knew how to make players better. They didn’t think about how
they were gonna get the ball, because the ball would get to them. It was a
matter of what they would do with it once they got it. LeBron has that
problem slightly. This kinda goes into topic number three. He is a talented
player. We always hear the statement of him being the best player in the
world (debatable solely because we don’t see every player worldwide play).
Still, to this day, I wonder why they call it World Championship (random
thought I know). I’m being difficult and picking, but LeBron is a
superstar, but his problem is that he doesn’t know how to put on his cape
and say that he’s ready to take on the responsibility of being the
superstar. When the Bulls or Lakers lost a game, MJ & Kobe would easily
stand there & say that they messed up on a closing or key play. LeBron, on
the other hand, is so worried about his image & reputation if the game is
blown. Thinking back to when Wade won his championship w/o LeBron & w/
Shaq, Wade was real good at saying I messed up & I didn’t finish out the
game. The thing was when the games didn’t go well, he would feel like he
has the responsibility on his shoulders. LeBron hasn’t been able to learn
how to take on that feat yet. It has nothing to do with having a killer
instinct, because scoring game winners was second nature for Reggie Miller.
He was a star that was forced to be a superstar at times, because the
offense literally ran through him. He didn’t have but so many players to
defer to. Rik Smits & the Davis brothers were able to be enforcers where
possible, but when it was on the line, it came back to Reggie. I haven’t
spoken much on the other series, because they’re still early, but these
series are very interesting. Oh, wait…I totally forgot about the Wizards
& Bulls match-up. This is far from a rivalry, but Chicago is literally
playing behind the 8 ball. Bad enough they lost their first two games in
Chicago. The Wizards have quite a bit of leverage. Those are all of the
series I wanted to go into. I guess the series will get more interesting as
the playoffs roll along. Thank goodness the playoffs are money-bound & you
have to win 4 games out of 7, or quite a few teams would either be home, or
on the way home. The stars & superstars madness is almost as bad as
comparing a quarterback to an “elite” quarterback. Of course, we’re not
here to talk football, because I will have plenty of time to talk about
that excitement. Based on the Super Bowl, I’m sticking to my guns of
purchasing an Xbox One when I have the funds to do so. And my personal
favorite…having that winning mindset & understanding that losing comes w/
the territory is important. As always, I hope you enjoyed reading this just
as I’ve enjoyed writing it. More thoughts in store. Take care & BT signing
out.

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