Tag Archive | "LeBron James"

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Taking a look at this year’s NBA Finals

Posted on 12 June 2012 by Christopher Cook

Two years ago at the FIBA World Championship, Kevin Durant put the rest of the world on notice. Durant finished as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player with an average of 22.8 points per game including a masterful championship game against the host country Turkey. He carried a USA team filled with some of the best young talent in the NBA to their first FIBA World Championship since 1994.

Durant and the World Championship team, labeled the “B Team” by many, earned an automatic bid to the World Championship when LeBron James and the 2008 US men’s basketball team took gold at the Summer Olympics. Team USA rolled through the tournament going 8-0 and outscoring their opponents by an average of 27.9 points per game. The 2008 team was filled with the NBA’s most established stars. LeBron was second on the team in scoring with 15.5 points per game behind Miami Heat teammate Dwyane Wade.

On Tuesday night in game one of the 2012 NBA Finals, Durant and LeBron will again be on the biggest stage. For LeBron, it will be his third Finals appearance. As a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron was swept in 2007 by the San Antonio Spurs. Last year, after joining the Heat, LeBron again lost in the Finals to the Dallas Mavericks. Durant will be making his first appearance in an NBA Finals game after starting his career with a record of 37-117 in his first two seasons.

The Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder are reminiscent of those 2008 and 2010 US national teams. The Miami Heat, filled with the established stars of Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, look a lot like that 2008 Olympic team. The Oklahoma City Thunder, constructed with some of the top young talent like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka, take a similar form to the 2010 World Championship team. Both teams were dominant, but one constantly overshadowed the other in the spotlight.

When these two teams face off in the Finals, either LeBron James or Kevin Durant will get their first championship ring, the ultimate measure of a great player. The world will not only be watching the Miami Heat versus the Oklahoma City Thunder for the ultimate prize in professional basketball, but they will also be seeing LeBron James versus Kevin Durant for the right to be called the best player in the NBA. Whether or not that topic is up for debate by NBA fans doesn’t matter. That is how most of the world will look at the result of this series.

Both teams and both players finished up remarkable regular seasons. The Heat winning 46 games and the Thunder winning 47. LeBron James averaging 27 points per game and Durant 28.

The Thunder are on the rise. Whether or not they win this series, the 2011-2012 season will have been a success for them. In the Western Conference Finals, they fell to an 0-2 deficit to what looked to be the best team in the NBA. They climbed out of the hole and won four straight to advance to the Finals.

The Heat, in their current incarnation, are in their second season together, but it is considered by many as a last ditch effort. If the “Big 3″ do not find a way to win a championship this year, the media explosion that will follow will likely lead to some changes somewhere in the organization. It could be Spoelstra that is ousted. It could be Bosh.

In their two meetings against each other this season, the Heat and Thunder split the series. On March 25, the Thunder beat the visiting Heat 103-87. Durant led the way with 28 points, but it was Ibaka, Perkins and Harden who made the difference and combined for 54 points. In that game, Miami got just 26 points from everyone outside of their big three. On April 4, the Heat beat the Thunder in Miami 98-93. Durant and Westbrook combined for 58 points and the rest of the team added 35.

The Thunder need to find a way to get Perkins and Ibaka involved to win this series. Much like the Indiana Pacers, the frontcourt of the Thunder will be their biggest advantage. When David West and Roy Hibbert weren’t able to leave their mark on the game, the Pacers faltered against the Miami Heat. The Thunder cannot make the same mistake. The decision-making of Russell Westbrook will be the ultimate deciding factor for the Thunder. If he plays with the flow of the game and takes what the Heat give him, the Thunder will beat the Miami Heat. If he forces shots, the story will be different.

The Heat are a very different kind of team. They need big games from Wade and LeBron to succeed. At any point in time, Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers or Shane Battier can land a barrage of three-pointers, but that really isn’t a consistent option for the Heat. Their greatest strength is their fast break game with Wade and LeBron running the floor and making highlight plays. The key to a Heat victory will be their ability to score out of half-court sets when they can’t pull away from the young Thunder in transition.

Their one game advantage in their regular season record earned the Thunder home court advantage in the Finals. The Oklahoma City crowd has been huge in the playoffs, providing energy for their young players to feed on. This advantage heavily tips the scale in favor of the Thunder. Since 1985, the NBA Finals has been a 2-3-2 format, with the home team playing the first and last two games of the series on their home court. In the last ten years, only three teams have won the NBA championship without home court advantage. One of those teams was Dwyane Wade and the 2006 Miami Heat. Of the three teams who failed to win the NBA championship with home court advantage, the 2011 Miami Heat are the most recent. Home court advantage is everything in the NBA Finals.

With Bosh returning to the line-up, both teams are at full strength. Just four more wins to immortality. Durant and LeBron both know what it is like to win at an international level. The burning question is which one will be able to get their first Larry O’Brien trophy. That one point and that one win will be the difference between a champion and a loser.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 28 May 2012 by WNST Staff

Honorable Mention: Boxing-Antonio Tarver vs. Lateef Kayode (Saturday 9pm from Carson, CA live on Showtime), Gabriel Rosado vs. Joel Julio (Friday 9pm from Bethlehem, PA live on NBC Sports Network); WNBA: Minnesota Lynx @ Washington Mystics (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet); Pro Lacrosse: MLL Chesapeake Bayhawks @ Denver Outlaws (Saturday 9pm from Denver live on ESPN3.com)

10. Zac Brown Band (Thursday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Capital Jazz Fest feat. Indie.Arie, Bill Cosby (Friday-Sunday Merriweather Post Pavilion); Radiohead (Sunday 7:30pm Verizon Center); Miranda Lambert/Jerrod Niemann (Sunday 4pm Jiffy Lube Live);  City and Colour (Wednesday 7pm Rams Head Live); Smile Empty Soul (Saturday 5pm Recher Theatre); Crossfade (Monday 7pm Baltimore Soundstage); Dandy Warhols (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club); The Used (Wednesday 7:30pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Victor Wooten (Thursday 8pm Howard Theatre); Dr. John (Friday 7:30pm Birchmere); Rhett Miller (Monday 8pm Jammin Java)

I’d watch ZBB do just about anything, but this was as good as anything I’ve seen them do…

My favorite tune from Thom Yorke and the boys?

For more traditional country folk, I sorta dig this Jerrod Niemann tune…

I wish I didn’t have to admit to digging this tune…

9. Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival (Saturday & Sunday 12pm Oregon Ridge); Guy Torry (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Corey Holcomb (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); “Man on a Ledge” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Glenn Clark’s first ever “Hogfest” (Saturday)

That’s right. For the first time in my (still?) young life, I will be roasting a pig Saturday. It’s all thanks in part to ABC Rental Store in Rosedale. A talented young man I listen to on the radio is always talking to me about them. I think his show is called “The Reality Check.” I PRAY my results make me as happy as George W. Bush…

Also, I will be hosting a qualifier for the Olympic KanJam team Saturday (more on Twitter @OlympicKanJam). I expect the day to look much like this…

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The Friday Conversation-a fictional chat between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant

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The Friday Conversation-a fictional chat between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant

Posted on 18 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 15 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: WNBA-Chicago Sky @ Washington Mystics (Saturday 7pm Verizon Center); Mixed Martial Arts: UFC on FUEL TV 3-”Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung vs. Dustin Poirier (Tuesday 8pm from Patriot Center live on FUEL TV); Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Final-Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier (Saturday 10pm from San Jose live on Showtime); Bellator Fighting Championships 69 (Friday 8pm from Lake Charles, LA live on MTV2); Golf: PGA Tour HP Byron Nelson Championship (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on CBS. All golf from Irving, TX), LPGA Tour Sybase Match Play Championship (Thursday & Friday 6:30pm Saturday 3pm Sunday 4pm from Gladstone, NJ live on Golf Channel); Pro Lacrosse: MLL Chesapeake Bayhawks @ Hamilton Nationals (Friday 11am from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada live on ESPN3.com); Tennis: ATP Tour & WTA Tour Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Tuesday-Saturday 6am Sunday 7:30am from Rome live on Tennis Channel); Women’s College Lacrosse: NCAA Tournament-Loyola @ Maryland (Saturday 12pm Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex)

10. Infieldfest feat. Maroon 5, Wiz Khalifa, Little Big Town, The Darkness (Saturday 11am Pimlico Race Course); New Edition (Sunday 7pm 1st Mariner Arena); Black Keys/Arctic Monkeys (Friday 6:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), Lucinda Williams/Drive-By Truckers (Saturday 6:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), Lady Antebellum/Darius Rucker (Sunday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Styx/REO Speedwagon/Ted Nugent (Friday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); Buckcherry/Foxy Shazam (Thursday 7:30pm Power Plant Live), Mr. Greengenes (Friday 8pm Power Plant Live); 2 Skinnee J’s/All Mighty Senators (Friday 8pm Rams Head Live); Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage, Thursday 8pm Howard Theatre); Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club), SOJA (Friday 7pm Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club); Fishbone (Thursday 7pm State Theatre); Less Than Jake/Ballyhoo! (Friday 8pm Rock N Roll Hotel); Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival feat. Jonny Lang, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Big Head Todd and the Monsters (Saturday & Sunday Sandy Point State Park); Justin Jones & The Driving Rain (Monday 7pm Ottobar); Night of 1000 Dylans (Friday 7:30pm Creative Alliance); Tenacious D “Rize of the Fenix” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

Totally underrated Black Keys tune? “I Got Mine.” See you at MPP Friday night…

If Maroon 5 promised to not play a song they’ve released in the last 10 years I’d be excited to see them Saturday. But if they did nothing but tunes from “Songs About Jane” I would be in…

If you haven’t seen Darius Rucker play country music, you’re going to have to trust me. He kicks a little ass…

I’m hoping Justin Jones will stop by the studio Monday. He’s quite talented…

9. Brian Regan (Friday & Saturday Warner Theatre); John Henton (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Bobby Slayton (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); “The Dictator” (Wednesday), “Battleship” and “Crooked Arrows” (Friday) open in theaters; “The Grey” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Preakness Crab Derby (Thursday 12pm Lexington Market); Preakness Frog Hop (Wednesday 12pm Patterson Park)

Crab races? Okay I guess. MUCH more kickass? PIG races.

And as far as the frog hop goes, I think you already know which frog I’ll be pulling for…

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No LeBron, No Bosh, Wade Hurt for Heat in Loss to Wizards

Posted on 22 April 2012 by WNST Staff

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I Answer Your Questions About Ravens CB’s, Mark Reynolds, More

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I Answer Your Questions About Ravens CB’s, Mark Reynolds, More

Posted on 17 April 2012 by Glenn Clark

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Future Terps to Play in Capital Classic

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Future Terps to Play in Capital Classic

Posted on 02 April 2012 by WNST Staff

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MobTown MidWeek Over/Under

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MobTown MidWeek Over/Under

Posted on 07 March 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

It’s the middle of the week. Are you over or under the proverbial hump? Here’s a little hump-day inspired food for thought:

 

1. Number of Terps wins in the ACC Tournament…+/- 0.5

 

2. Number of Terrell Stoglin points in the ACC Tournament… +/- 30

 

3. Number of Kendall Marshall Assists in the ACC Tournament… +/- 24

 

4. Number of UConn wins in the Big East Tournament…+/- 3.5

 

5. Number of ACC teams in the NCAA Tournament… +/- 4.5

 

6. Number of Big East teams in the NCAA Tournament… +/- 7.5

 

7. Number of Big Ten teams in the NCAA Tournament… +/- 6.5

 

8. Number of Peyton Manning games in 2012… +/- 12

 

9. Number of Peyton Manning TD passes in 2012… +/- 30

 

10. Number of games Gregg Williams will be suspended over “Bounty-Gate”… +/- 12.5

 

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The Reality Check Starting Nine Athletes From Other Sports

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The Reality Check Starting Nine Athletes From Other Sports

Posted on 15 February 2012 by Glenn Clark

Our second edition of “The Starting Nine (Ten)” Wednesday centered around the subject “What starting nine would you put together if you could only use athletes from other sports?”

That’s the only set-up I’m giving you. But we want to give you the chance to vote on whose team would win single game. Let us know!

Glenn Clark’s Nine…

Catcher-Martin Brodeur

First Base-LeBron James

Second Base-Ray Rice

Shortstop-Jon “Bones” Jones

Third Base-Tim Howard

Outfield-Novak Djokovic

Outfield-Ed Reed

Outfield-Blake Griffin

Designated Hitter-Bubba Watson

Pitcher-Drew Brees


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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Athletes Needing a Championship for Validation

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Athletes Needing a Championship for Validation

Posted on 07 February 2012 by Luke Jones

In honor of Giants quarterback Eli Manning winning a second Super Bowl to solidify his status among the NFL’s elite signal callers, this week’s Tuesday Top 7 looks at the athletes needing to win a championship to validate their greatness.

Any athlete who has already won a championship was not eligible for the list, so suggesting that Tiger Woods needs to win another major or Tom Brady must secure a fourth Super Bowl — and first after the Patriots’ cheating scandal — does not work. Luke Jones stuck to athletes in team sports while Drew Forrester considered those who participate in team or individual sports.

Luke Jones’ Top 7 (listen to his explanation HERE)

7) Tony Romo
Romo

6) Steve Nash
Nash

5) Michael Vick
Vick

4) Carmelo Anthony
Melo

3) Philip Rivers
Rivers

2) Alexander Ovechkin
Ovie

1) LeBron James
James

Drew Forrester’s Top 7 … (listen to his explanation HERE)

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