2009 Lakers Rockets Playoff Matchup

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Lakers Rockets 2009

2009 Lakers Rockets Playoff Matchup

In 2009 the Lakers were thought to be the team to beat. They had won over 60 games and were second only to the Cleveland Cavaliers in total wins in the NBA that year. It was thought little stood in their way between the start of the playoffs and an NBA finals appearance against the winner of the eastern conference. The experts were wrong. The Lakers Rockets playoff match up proved to be a great series and almost sent the Lakers home for the summer.

The 2009 Rockets were not considered favorites in the playoffs, in fact many thought the Lakers would beat them in five games. The Rockets were without the oft injured Tracy Mcgrady for the whole series and lost Yao Ming after game three of the series. After Yao Ming was injured many thought the series was all but over, they were in for a surprise.

Even though they were down 2-1 when they lost their superstar center, the Rockets were able to extend the series to seven games. Ron Artest was key to helping the Houston Rockets stay in this series. He played defense against anybody he was asked to cover and scored when he had to. Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest seemed to have a rivalry going on with each other during the series. The Lakers Rockets series kept NBA fans nationwide glued to their television sets waiting to see who would prevail. Many fans couldn’t believe the fight that the Rockets put up without two of their superstars.

While the series ended in game seven with a 19 point Lakers victory, many people gained a great deal of respect for the game Houston Rockets and for their superstar Ron Artest who had a never say die attitude and played hard until the very end. It seems that Ron Artest grew fond of the Lakers and Kobe Bryant during their series, as he went on to sign with the Lakers during the free agency period in the summer of 2010.

Analysis: When is a deal not a deal? When it's a DUMP!

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Lebron

The Bucks traded their best player, Richard Jefferson, for a trio of decent but not winning players. The Milwaukee Bucks have sent a message to their fans—“We lost with Richard Jefferson. We lost paying the NBA Luxury tax for being over 71.5 million. So this year don’t bother watching us. We are going to save money and dump the 2009-10 season.”

Like all the NBA teams that are dumping payroll this year and next, the excuse is that “we are preparing to make a big splash in the free agent market in 2010.” Don’t believe that for a second. No major free agent is going to go to Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland (if LeBron leaves), Washington, Oklahoma City, or any other of the cold weather and traditionally mediocre teams in the league.

The reason that teams get away with these half-truths is that all sports fans are gullible. As a Cavs and Cubs fan, I include myself in that group. We all believe that all we need is one more really good player to bring a title to our long suffering team.

There are several BIG names in the 2010 free agent pool. But the pool is not nearly as deep as it looks.

CLE – LeBron James

The future of the Cavs begins and ends with James. If he leaves, it ends for sure. No free agent would ever come to Cleveland except to play with LeBron. There is a 33% chance that LeBron will stay in Cleveland. I believe it will depend on what the Cavs do this off season. If not, he is bound for Orlando, LA, NY, or maybe even San Antonio.

Miami – Dwayne Wade (Player option)

Wade is the most valuable PG available in the next 2 years. He will likely move to a contender. The Bucks fans don’t have to worry. No way will Wade or any other big time FA go there.

Bos – Paul Pierce (Early Termination Option ETO)

The BIG 2.5 (Ray Allen is only half) is getting older. We saw this year how important the loss of Kevin Garnett was. If Pierce leaves, the Celts are the 4th or 5th best team in the East. The team will do whatever it takes to keep him. Allen will also be unrestricted in 2010 and will likely be allowed to leave.

Hou – Yao Ming (ETO)

Since a group of Chinese businessmen bought into the Cavs, there have been rumors of Yao going to Cleveland to join LeBron. Don’t bet on it. Yao may well take a hike if the team loses more of his support. Ron Artest is a free agent this year, and Tracy McGrady is a free agent in 2010. If they both stay and the Rockets bring in someone else, he will likely stay. The problem that the team faces is that Yao is the only young C in the pool. He will receive a lot of offers.

ATL – Joe Johnson

There is no way that a team that is young and building is going to let a scorer go. Johnson will be super-glued to the Hawks roster. With the Hawks coming along nicely, he won’t leave.

Milw – Michael Redd

Redd will likely put his house up for sale this year because the housing market is down. That should give him plenty of time to sell the house prior to him leaving the Bucks. He is the one player that might go home to Cleveland but only if LeBron is there. Since Redd is a SG, he is not exactly what the Cavs need the most.

There are a lot of other players including Amare Stoudemire (ETO Suns) who is an oldie but goodie.

Most teams are using the 2010 season of LeBron as an excuse to lose now and save money. But we all get lied to a lot, so why the NBA team owners be any different.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NBA,Trades,free agent,LeBron,Dwayne,Wade,Pierce,Allen,Ming,Yao,Redd,Stoudemire,Bucks,Jefferson,Cavs,Rockets,Celtics,Lakers,Magic,Knicks,Spurs

What a Sports weekend!

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Boston falls to Orlando: I predicted this when Boston had a 3-2 lead in the series. One reaction I could not resist is that the team is not built around the Big 3—it is built around the Big 2.5. Without Kevin Garnett, the team is way too limited offensively and has a huge hole in the d as well. The team is aging and already in salary cap hell. There isn’t any way out of that for the Celts. They will get old together. If, and it is not a given, KG comes back at or close to 100%, they will be in the playoffs for another year or two. But they will not be able to get to the finals again without finding a mid range exception superstar. Orlando and Cleveland are likely to be playing in the East finals for the next several years as long as they are healthy.

LA handles the upstart Rockets easily in game 7: The Lakers jumped off to a quick start against Houston in game 7 and never looked back. The bad sign for them is that the Rockets forced them to game 7 without their superstar center Yao Ming and his backup. The Lakers should have been able to handle the Rockets in 5 or 6 games after Yao went down in game 3. The Nuggets are well rested and hungry for an appearance in the finals. I think it will be another 7 game series but home court should give LA the series. If, however, the Nuggets can steal game 1 because the Lakers have not recovered from the Rocket series, the Nuggets will win the series.

A lot of good hockey is going to waste: The conference semifinal series were outstanding. But due to bad scheduling, the two game 7s were on at the same time. That has to change if the NHL is ever going to get to the next level in fan support.

The even greater problem is that only two games of the conference final series are being shown on NBC. The rest are on Verses. The two potential game 7 match-ups in the conference finals will both be on Verses. No matter how much money the channel is paying them the NHL has to get a deal with a REAL network that is an over the air or at least first level network on cable. Otherwise the league and the new stars will be a very closely held secret between a few great fans.

Detroit vs. Chicago: The Redwings looked very strong in the game 1 win over Chicago 5-2. This should be a good series but Detroit has too much for the upstart Blackhawks. Detroit wins the series in 5 games.

Pittsburgh vs. Carolina: The Hurricanes will have to play better hockey in game one than they have in their two previous series if they expect to have a chance against the Penguins. Given the offense of the Pens, Cam Ward, the Carolina goalie, will be a busy guy. Pittsburgh wins in 6 games.

Watch out for Mine That Bird in the Belmont: Rachel Alexandra won the Preakness by less than a length. MTB was coming up fast from the rear of the pack. The gelding made up 3 plus lengths from the top of th backstretch to the finish line. Had the Belmont been the length of the Belmont, MTB would have won. MTB got forced to the outside by traffic or he might have won this race. Rachel Alexandra is an outstanding horse but she struggled a bit toward the end of the Preakness. It will be interesting to see if she is entered in the Belmont.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NBA,NBA Playoffs,NHL,NHL Playoffs,Boston,Celtics,Magic,Lakers,Rockets,Redwings,Blackhawks,Penguins,Mine That Bird,Rachel Alexandra,Preakness,Belmont,NBC,Verses
  • Author:
  • Published: May 14th, 2009
  • Category: NBA Basketball
  • Comments: Comments Off on NBA Playoffs—What have we learned?

NBA Playoffs—What have we learned?

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Bulldoz

Here comes Lebron and the Cavs!

We would like to thank the Hawks for participating in the playoffs. Please pick up your parting gifts as you leave the arena: The Cavs are serious! The Cavs are undefeated in the playoffs so far. They are disposing of the undermanned competition by an average of nearly 20 points a game. This team for the first time in franchise history looks like it has no intention of taking a game off let alone allowing a team to beat it in Cleveland.

The team seems to be totally focused on winning and that focus is provided by Lebron James. He has the will to win regardless of the situation and has willed the team to comebacks against some of the best teams in the league during the regular season. Now, he and his mates are making playoff teams look like the Washington Generals against the Globetrotters.

Don’t expect them to get pressed by any team until the finals.

Boston is struggling with the Magic: This version of the Celtics is a shadow of the team that won the championship last year. They are hurt and seem to be using that as an excuse to explain losses to an inferior Magic team. The Celts were lucky to win Game 4 and that luck will not continue. The Magic will win the series as soon as they begin to remember to get the ball to their superstar Dwight Howard in the last few minutes of a game. Magic win in 7 games.

The Lakers seem to take games off: How else can you explain the Lakers losing to Houston in Game 4 even though the Rockets are missing their biggest piece? The Lakers looked like a team that expected the Rockets to give up after C Yao Ming went down with a foot injury in Game 3.

Kobe Bryant doesn’t seem to have the ability that Lebron does to keep the team focused. In addition, Andrew Bynum struggled while Yao was on the floor. Even in game 4, the shadow of Yao seemed to be effective against Bynum. Bynum recovered in game 5 and helped the Lakers take a 3-2 advantage in the series.

Now that Yao is out for the rest of the playoffs, the Lakers will win the series. Had he been healthy, the Lakers would have gone down in 6 games. However, the Lakers will have to get focused in a hurry if they are going to get to the finals. They are probably the deepest team in the league but they had better take Denver more seriously than they have Houston. The Nuggets will not be an easy out.

Owner Mark “the punk” Cuban is going to blow up the Mavs: Look for a lot of changes in Dallas after the season. They are not competitive now and need to upgrade their team overall. The bench has been particularly unproductive in the playoffs this season except for Jason Terry. The trade for Jason Kidd was like throwing a piece of spaghetti against a wall to see if it’s done. It has not worked out like the Mavs thought.

It looks like Erick Dampier got old all of a sudden. The Mavs have tried to shake up the starting lineup without much success. Look for a lot of changes in Mav Land. Unfortunately, the exit of Cuban will not be among them.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NBA Playoffs,NBA,Cavilers,Celtics,Lakers,Nuggets,Magic,Cuban,Maverics,Rockets,Yao Ming,Lebron James,Kobe Bryant,Bynum,Kidd,Howard,Terry

The NBA Playoffs are rounding first and staggering toward second.

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nba

By Bill Smith

The first round of the NBA playoffs is complete—FINALLY! At one time the first round of the playoffs was the best of 5. The league decided that didn’t provide enough money so that round was changed to best of 7 like the rest.

Eastern Conference

For a long time, the Western Conference has been dominant. That could be changing soon. The Suns are setting. San Antonio is a shadow of its former greatness. In the East, Chicago, Miami, Orlando, and Atlanta are all on the rise.

8 Detroit vs 1 Cleveland

Fortunately the Cavs were kind to the Pistons. It hurts less when you pull the bandage off quickly. The Cavs sat watching Atlanta and Miami slug it out. The Cavs move on and the Pistons will rebuild. They have been competitive for a long time. That time is over. They need to rebuild or face falling to the top of the draft. I predict ping pong balls in their future.

7 Chicago vs 2 Boston

Of all the series in the first round, this is the only one that we could have enjoyed seeing more games. I’m not sure that either team could have survived another game of tackle basketball. Boston limps away to fall in the next round. Chicago is young and this tough series will provide the equivalent of 2 or 3 series of playoff experience . They both will be back next season but the Celtics are on the down elevator because of age and the Bulls are rising.

6 Philadelphia vs 3 Orlando

This was a warm up for the Magic facing the Celtics. The Magic have enough stars to give any team trouble—even the Cavs. The 76ers are treading water. The were 40-42 last season and 41-41 this year. They are going to have to shake things up in order to improve beyond the 40 to 45 win season level.

5 Miami vs 4 Atlanta

Atlanta has grown into a really good team. The team improved by 10 wins this year. The series win over Miami was their first since 1999. To move beyond the second round in the future they will need another piece or 2. Miami is a tough out. They improved by 28 games this season and are coming back from the dead zone of the NBA. They have a way to go, but they are getting better.

Western Conference

LA is the cream of the conference but they can’t look back too often. It is not the same old teams that are chasing them but a new group that could ultimately be more dangerous.

8 Utah vs 1 LA

If Utah ever learns to win consistently away from the friendly confines, it will be dangerous. They seem to play a lot tougher at home. Utah is trying to rebuild on the fly and lost ground this season falling from 54-28 to 48-34 and 3rd place in the division. LA has all the pieces in place now. The team is totally different with Andrew Bynum in the lineup when he is 100%..

7 New Orleans vs 2 Denver

Denver showed its speed against an over maned opponent and won the series 4-1. The Hornets fell from 1st in the Southwest to 4th and just made the playoffs. Chris Paul needs more help. Denver is coming on fast. They won the Northwest and are going to be a tack in the sneaker of the West for a while.

6 Dallas vs 3 San Antonio

This was one series I missed on. San Antonio looked older and slower than ever. Dallas survived but will be hard pressed to win in round 2 against Denver.

5 Houston vs 4 Portland

Portland put up a good fight but the combination of lack of experience in the playoffs and exhaustion from the late season drive to get into the post season took a toll on them. They will get better and stronger. Houston has the best chance to beat LA in the west. Houston took the Lakers in game 1 in LA and stole home court advantage.

Dikembe Mutombo has announced his retirement from the NBA. With all bad news about rich athletes acting badly, Mutombo was a star on and off the court. He gave his team, the fans, and the game all he had to give. He also gave his time and money to his homeland. His foundation was a gift of health to his people.

MISSION STATEMENT

The Dikembe Mutombo Foundation is dedicated to improving the health, education and quality of life for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Foundation strives to accomplish this goal through an emphasis on primary health care and disease prevention, the promotion of health policy, health research and increased access to health care education for the people of the Congo.

Nothing else needs to be said. We will miss him.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: NBA Playoffs,nba,Lakers,Jazz,Hornets,Nuggets,Cavilers,Maverics,Trail Blazers,Rockets,Spurs,Pistons,Bulls,Celtics,76ers,Magic,Heat,Hawks,Mutombo
  • Author:
  • Published: Apr 17th, 2009
  • Category: NBA Basketball
  • Comments: Comments Off on The NBA Playoffs are set!

The NBA Playoffs are set!

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Fryingpan Sports

The NBA Playoffs are set!

nba

By Bill Smith

The NBA playoff match-ups are set but this edition won’t be similar to previous years. Seldom has home court advantage meant as much. Here are some things to watch for in the first round series.

Eastern Conference

8 Detroit vs 1 Cleveland

In the past, the Pistons would have been able to out-physical the Cavs. But the Pistons are not the team that pushed their way past the NBA Eastern conference in the past. The Cavs will win in 5 or 6 games. While the Pistons are no longer as physical, the series will turn into tackle basketball when they get behind.

7 Chicago vs 2 Boston

Danger Celtics! Danger! Yesterday, the Celtics head coach Doc Rivers announced that Kevin Garnett will probably miss the playoffs. If the Celtics had Garnett, this would be no contest. Chicago’s core talent is young, hungry and dangerous. Since the Celtics have had several weeks to adjust to the loss of KG, Boston wins in 6 or 7. But the Celts will have to spend so much energy winning the first round match up that they will be twice as vulnerable in round 2.

6 Philadelphia vs 3 Orlando

The 76ers may have exhausted themselves getting into the playoffs and getting high enough to avoid Boston and Cleveland. They will play hard but don’t have nearly enough to beat Orlando. This year, Philly will be lucky to win a single game. That may not be the case in the future. Look for Dwight Howard to have a really big series.

5 Miami vs 4 Atlanta

This is going to be the closest series of the 4 in the East. Atlanta has home court and that will probably save them. If the Heat is going to win, PG Dwayne Wade has to do more distributing than scoring. He will need at least 10 assists a game to get the Heat into round 2.

Western Conference

8 Utah vs 1 LA

At one time Utah looked like more of a threat to LA than they do now. After going 15 out of 16, the Jazz stumbled down the stretch and ended up in 8th. That is their ticket out of the playoffs. The Jazz will be tough at home but are unable to beat a good team let alone a very good team like the Lakers on the road. LA in 5.

7 Charlotte vs 2 Denver

The Nuggets were a surprise 2 seed. They have home court and blinding speed and will survive to round 2 for the first time in over a decade.

6 Dallas vs 3 San Antonio

IF the Spurs were younger and healthier, they would be a threat to the Lakers. But since the team lost Manu Ginobilli for the season and with Tim Duncan suffering from sore knees, the Spurs are a shadow of what they were when they beat the Cavs in the finals. Fortunately for them, they have the Mavs in round 1. The Spurs will take a fleet of ambulances into round 2 but run out of gas there.

5 Houston vs 4 Portland

Of all the series, this should be the most interesting to watch. The Blazers put on an all out blitz to get home court in round 1. This version of the team is new to the playoffs but if they haven’t burned out with their flurry of wins in the final weeks of the regular season, they will get past the Rockets and into the next round. Portland is not dangerous now, but if Oden can stay healthy, the team has enough talent to be a real threat in the near future.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

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