Category Archives: NBA

Christian Athlete of the Week: Elton Brand

Atlanta Hawks power forward Elton Brand has had a very long career in the NBA. He played college at Duke and was the number one overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls. He had two very successful seasons with the Bulls, averaging a double-double in both seasons. He then got traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2001 and ended up becoming the first Clipper to make the All-Star team since Danny Manning did it in 1994. In 2003, Brand received a big-money contract that kept him as a Clipper till 2008. During his time with the Clippers, he averaged at least 20 points a game for four straight seasons. His 2005-06 season was the best of his career. During that year, the New York native averaged 24.7 points, 10 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. The first seven seasons of Brand’s career were memorable, however, a ruptured left Achilles’ tendon in 2007 caused him to miss too many games and it affected the rest of his career. He would go on to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Dallas Mavericks and is now currently with the Atlanta Hawks, who were just beaten in Game Seven of the playoffs by the Indiana Pacers. Brand has become more of a bench player now, he averaged 5.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game this season and he only started 15 games.

Despite not being a superstar during the second half of his 14-year career, Brand has always been strong in his faith and believes that God bless him a lot considering the circumstances. Sure Brand has never been on a winning team and never won the MVP award on the court, but he was also regarded as a great role model off the court. Brand has always had a great relationship with his mother. Here’s what former Clippers chaplain Robert L. Cummings had to say about Elton Brand and his loving relationship with his mom.

You’ll see Elton give kisses to his mom, see the way he interacts with everybody, see her, and know this all comes from a strong Christian background and her love for him,” Cummings said. (Credit: The Gathering Place)

Elton Brand was raised by his single mother in New York and grew up in a Christian environment. He also started the Elton Brand Foundation in the spring of 2000. His foundation is an organization that provides support to worthy causes in Chicago, Illinois; Peekskill, New York; and Durham, North Carolina. His humble and quiet walk with God has definitely made an impact on the players around him. He doesn’t proclaim his love for Christ in a very annoying “I’m holier you thou” attitude and he’s been known to be one of the kindest and nicest players in the NBA. Hopefully Brand can bounce back next year and be a part of a championship winning team.


Kevin Durant Wins the NBA MVP

This year, the MVP race came down to two players: Kevin Durant and LeBron James. Durant emerged victorious, winning his first NBA MVP award. He also becomes the first player to win the NBA MVP and be the NBA’s leading scorer in the same season since Allen Iverson did it back in 2000-01. The 25-year-old small forward put up some big numbers for his Oklahoma City Thunder team, racking up 32 points, 5.5 assists and 7.4 rebounds per game this year. His 2,593 points scored this season is a career-high for him and he also led the Thunder to a 59-23 regular season record. I couldn’t be happier for this kind of player. This season was tremendous for the young star and hopefully he could top it off with an NBA championship title. I’m sure that he is more focused on this series with the L.A. Clippers, but for now he just has to enjoy this sweet moment. Congratulations Kevin Durant. You earned it. The Thunder will host the Clippers for Game Two at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday night.

Five Game Sevens

NBA history was made last Saturday when three Game Seven NBA playoff games were played on the same day. After today’s Game Sevens, the NBA postseason can move on to the second round: the conference semifinals. One of the biggest stories was the Washington Wizards advancing to the next round over the Chicago Bulls, winning their first playoff series since 2005 where they also beat the Chicago Bulls. This year, the Wizards defeated the Bulls’ squad 4-1 and were led by a young back court featuring John Wall and Bradley Beal. Wall has been great for this young and talented squad, he is 5th in both assists and steals per game this postseason. As for Bradley Beal, he averaged almost 20 points per game against the Bulls, including a game where he scored 26 points and pulled down 7 rebounds to help put the Wizards up 2-0 in the series. Speaking as a guy that was born in D.C., I can say that I am excited for their match-up with the 1-seed Indiana Pacers Monday night at 7 p.m.

John Wall averaged 18.8 points, 6.8 assists and 2.2 steals in the series win over the Chicago Bulls. Credit:
John Wall averaged 18.8 points, 6.8 assists and 2.2 steals in the series win over the Chicago Bulls.

As for the Oklahoma City Thunder, they finished out in fashion with a 120-109 rout over the Memphis Grizzlies in their Game 7 finale.  Kevin Durant may not have had the field goal percentage that he was looking for, but he is still putting up points this postseason with 29.9 per game so far. Then there is Russell Westbrook. Some people have judged him and saying that he was the problem with the Thunder’s struggles to close out. I was one of those people. Now, my confidence is regained in Westbrook after putting up a triple-double in the last game against Memphis. The young point guard finished the bout with 27 points, a career-high 16 assists and 10 rebounds. Westbrook also became just the second player in NBA history to record a triple-double in a Game 7 (Rajon Rondo did it first). Sure the Thunder were able to win without the Grizzlies’ top player Zach Randolph, but hey, a win is a win. Durant and Westbrook combined for 60 points and Oklahoma City shot 60.9 percent from the field as a team. Now they will have to put up those kind of numbers when they play the L.A. Clippers Monday night at 9:30 p.m. That should be an exciting series as well.

Kevin Durant took over the series against Memphis by averaging 29.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. Credit:
Kevin Durant took over the series against Memphis by averaging 29.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 blocks per game.

I was disappointed in the Houston Rockets this year. They had a lot of talent in James Harden and Dwight Howard, but they just couldn’t make it work against the Portland Trail Blazers. LaMarcus Aldridge and company closed out the series 4-2 when Damian Lillard knocked down a three-pointer at the buzzer (thanks to some horrible defense by Houston’s Chandler Parsons) to win the game 99-98. Lillard became the first player since John Stockton in 1997 to knock down the game-winning shot to win a series. You have to give a lot of props to last year’s Rookie-of-the-Year for being the big play-maker at point guard. As for Aldridge, he put up monster numbers in this series against Houston. He had back-to-back 40 point games in the first two games of the series (46 and 43 respectively). Then in the next two games, he recorded consecutive double-doubles and then in Game 6, he scored 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. He is third in the postseason in points per game with 29.8. LeBron James leads the postseason with 30 per game.

Lastly, there was San Antonio knocking off the Dallas Mavericks 119-96 and the Brooklyn Nets defeating the Toronto Raptors 104-103 in an overall thrilling series. Brooklyn will face the Miami Heat Tuesday at 7 p.m. while the Spurs will battle the Trail Blazers the same night at 9:30 p.m. The first round of the NBA playoffs was something to behold. A lot of Game Sevens and a whole lot of fun. This second round will prove to be more exciting with teams starting to lock on to that championship.

What’s Next for the Bobcats?

The Charlotte Bobcats became the first team kicked out of the NBA playoffs when they lost to the Miami Heat last night 109-98. The Heat swept the series and will face the winner of the Toronto/Brooklyn series. As for Charlotte, they ended the regular season with a 43-39 record, their first winning season since 2010 when they finished 44-38. So let’s see what the future holds for them next year.

The first thing that will happen to Charlotte is a name-change. After 10 years of being called the Bobcats, they will switch their mascot back to the Hornets, their original team name. The change will also come with a new logo and new uniforms. Will this result in a new winning-culture? Maybe. Back when they were called the Hornets, Charlotte’s team did pretty well for itself. Maybe going back to the old name will bring back some old school basketball that will lift the spirits of the players and fans.

Al Jefferson was a huge addition to the Bobcats team this year. He led the team in both points and rebounds. With him healthy next year, Charlotte will dominate the paint a lot better than they did this year. They were only 16th in rebounds, but their defense was better than expected, only allowing 97.1 points per game, which was 4th in the league.

In order to help grab more rebounds, the Bobcats need a good power forward to pair up with Jefferson down low. Josh McRoberts is obviously not the answer in Charlotte. Luckily for Charlotte, this year is full of great players to choose from. They could go after Jerami Grant from Syracuse, Cleanthony Early from Wichita State or maybe Jarnell Stokes from Tennessee. Since Charlotte did so well in the regular season, they won’t have the opportunity to draft a guy like Aaron Gordon from Arizona, Noah Vonleh from Indiana or Adreian Payne from Michigan State. However, there is a possibility that they could still be there. In other words, Charlotte has six great players to choose from this draft and can add depth to their front court.

The soon-to-be-called Hornets should be good with their back court for next year. Kemba Walker is slowly turning into the superstar that Charlotte needs, Gerald Henderson is an above average shooting guard that can put in some good effort every night and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is developing into a solid starter that can hold his own. Walker led his team in points during the series with Miami, averaging 19.5 points in four games and six assists per game as well. Veteran shooting guard Gary Neal also produced great numbers coming off the bench with 11.3 points and two rebounds per game. I see Charlotte moving into a good direction after the off-season. They’ve got a great coach in Steve Clifford and a solid starting lineup that now has playoff experience. I am optimistic for this team that is heading in the right direction as Hornets next year.

NBA Defensive Superstars

The NBA just announced that Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. That makes sense, since he was the cornerstone of a great defensive team that finished 1st in points allowed with just 91.8 per game. The Bulls also finished 10th in both rebounds and assists per game. As for Noah individually, he ended the regular season with 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. With those numbers, do you think he truly deserved the Defensive Player of the Year Award? Let’s look at some other guys that could have been deserving for their play this year.

DeAndre Jordan- The L.A. Clippers’ center had a career-defining year. He scored a career-high 10.4 points per game and led the NBA in rebounds with 13.6 per game and in field goal percentage with 67.6 percent. Not only that, but he also had a career-high 2.5 blocks per game, which was 3rd in the NBA. He also average a steal a game, which is pretty rare for a big guy like him. The Texas A&M product should get some high recognition for how he aided superstar teammates like Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. This astounding season should not be overlooked and the 25-year-old from Houston, Texas has plenty of years like this ahead.

Anthony Davis- In his second season in the NBA, the 21-year-old from Kentucky is already making noise. Davis finished first in the NBA with 2.8 blocks per game. He also started 66 games and averaged 35 minutes a game, showing that he is an integral part of the New Orleans franchise. His 20.8 points, 10 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game were also very impressive. I’m sure this guy will have a chance to win this award somewhere in the near future.

Paul Millsap- His first season at Atlanta will always be remembered as a memorable one. The former Utah Jazz power forward finished the regular season with a career-high 17.9 points, 3.1 assists and 6.4 defensive rebounds. The new Atlanta Hawk also made his first ever All-Star game appearance after 7 years in the league. He also averaged 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. He’s the only player in the NBA with numbers like that until you get to DeMarcus Cousins who averaged 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. For Millsap, you couldn’t have asked for more production in your first season with a new team.

Andre Drummond- Like Davis, Drummond is also a second-year player out of Connecticut and he has already made a big impact in the NBA. The center for the Detroit Pistons has been a force on the defensive side of the ball with 1.6 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. He also had a career-high 13.5 points and 13.2 rebounds per game this year. Although the Pistons had a terrible season, it should not overshadow Drummond’s efforts.

I guess the main reason why Noah ultimately won Defensive Player of the Year was because of his impact to the whole team. Chicago has one of the best defenses in the NBA, all because of him. Every night, Noah gives 100 percent effort and that’s why his Bulls are thriving even without scorers like Derrick Rose and Luol Deng. Some other players you could have thrown in the mix for this award could be Chris Paul (led the NBA in steals per game), Serge Ibaka, Paul George, but Noah definitely deserves this award. Now we wait for Rookie-of-the-Year and MVP (which should be Kevin Durant in my opinion).

2014 NBA Playoff Match-Ups

The NBA playoffs are finally here! This is where the games really matter. The 1-seeds are the Indiana Pacers for the East and San Antonio Spurs for the West. Miami just dropped down to a 2-seed after losing three games in a row to end the regular season. Oklahoma City fell three games behind San Antonio, but they did end the season with a 112-111 win over the Detroit Pistons last night where Kevin Durant went off for 42 points. Speaking of 42, that’s how many consecutive games Durant scored 25 points or more. That streak is longer than what Michael Jordan did in that magical 1986-87 season. The small forward’s streak ended at Sacramento on April 8th where he scored only 23 points in the 107-92 win. Durant also wins the NBA scoring title for the 4th time, averaging 32 points per game. He also finished with 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game, leading the Thunder to a 59-23 record with Russell Westbrook gone most of the season. Look for Durant to finally win that coveted NBA MVP award that has eluded him so many times. The Thunder will play the Memphis Grizzlies this Saturday in the first round of the playoffs at 9:30 P.M.

This year, the Memphis Grizzlies did pretty well under first-year head coach David Joerger. His Grizzlie’s squad ended up 3rd in points allowed, making them one of the most underrated defenses in the league. The team finished 50-32 and ended the regular season on a 5-game winning streak (tied with Portland Trail Blazers). Their last game was a 106-105 overtime victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Zach Randolph finished the game with 27 points and 14 rebounds, his 47th double-double of the season. The big power forward averaged a double-double in the regular season with 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Look for him to step up big in the upcoming game against the Thunder.

Randolph leads his team in both points and rebounds. Credit:
Randolph leads his team in both points and rebounds.

Staying in the West, San Antonio finished the season with the best record in the NBA at 62-20. Gregg Popovich’s squad led the league in assists with 25.2 per game and ranked 6th in both points scored and points allowed. With Tim Duncan dominating inside and Tony Parker running the offense, there is no telling how far they could go this year. Their first test will be Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks on Easter Sunday at 1:00 P.M.

The other 1-seed, Indiana, finished the season on a high note, winning their last two games of the season and landed a 56-26 record. Their defense has been the talk of the NBA. They are 2nd in points allowed per game and are 8th in rebounds per game. The addition of injury-prone Andrew Bynum actually worked out pretty well in their favor. They were able to put big-man Roy Hibbert on the bench and still produce great numbers with Bynum snagging 9.5 rebounds a game. Speaking of Hibbert, he only missed one game this entire season and was very productive with 10.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. The Pacers will play the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday at 9 P.M. They are expected to easily win this series, seeing that the Hawks are the only team in the playoffs with a losing record of 38-44.

Hibbert finished 4th in the NBA in blocks per game. Credit:
Hibbert finished 4th in the NBA in blocks per game.

I thought that the biggest surprises this year were the Washington Wizards and the Charlotte Bobcats. Both of these teams were horrible last year (none of these two teams had more than 30 wins in 2012-13). Led by point guard John Wall, the Wizards have a 5-seed and a 44-38 record. They will play against the Chicago Bulls, who have won 8 of their last 10 games. As for the Bobcats, Al Jefferson has been a great addition to this club. He has led the team in points (21.8) and rebounds (10.8) and has provided veteran leadership for this team. After putting up solid numbers in Boston, Minnesota and Utah, the 6’10 center might have finally found a home in North Carolina. His Bobcats squad will play the Miami Heat on Easter Sunday at 3:30 P.M. The last time Jefferson played against the Heat, he put up monster numbers with 38 points and 19 rebounds in the 124-107 loss back on March 3rd. He will have to elevate the play of his team around him if they want to defeat the NBA Final-favorites.

Jefferson finished this season with 21.8 points per game which is the second highest average in his career. Credit:
Jefferson finished this season with 21.8 points per game which is the second highest average in his career.

As for the other playoff match-ups, the Los Angeles Clippers will play the Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets will square off against the Portland Trail Blazers and the surging Toronto Raptors will take on the Brooklyn Nets, a team that has struggled to beat opponents within its own conference. In the NBA, there’s always at least one upset. This year, I can’t truly predict who will rise and who will fall, but I will promise you this: it will be a fantastic playoff run this year.

NBA Regular Season Closing Shop

The NBA regular season is drawing to a close soon with April 16th being the last day and the last chance for NBA teams to fight for playoff position. So far, the Western Conference is looking dominant while the Eastern Conference has only the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers to worry about. I’ll throw in the Toronto Raptors in there as well since they have had a surprisingly well season and the Chicago Bulls are keeping pace without Derrick Rose. As of right now, the Western Conference has nine teams with winning records while the East has only six. Let’s look at some of the recent stories that has been happening in the NBA so far.

Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder put an end to the San Antonio Spurs’ winning streak last night with a 106-94 victory. The Spurs had won 19 games prior to this defeat and Kevin Durant continued his own streak of 39 games with 25 points or more. We have not seen scoring outbursts like this since Michael Jordan did it back in 1986-1987 when he went 40 straight games. This win also proved Oklahoma City’s dominance in the West. With the win, they swept the San Antonio Spurs in their regular season match-ups. There are just eight games left for the Thunder this season, so they can easily catch up to the Spurs for the best in the West. Oklahoma City is only three games behind the Spurs for the 1-seed in the playoffs, so watch out for that as the season rolls along.

The teams with the longest winning streak as of right now are the Miami Heat and the Portland Trail Blazers with four wins in a row. The Heat are coming off a blowout win against the Milwaukee Buck 96-77 without Ray Allen and Dwyane Wade. LeBron James had about average numbers: 17 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds. However, the Miami Heat won their 30th game at home this season, marking the seventh time in franchise history that they have won that many. As for the Portland Trail Blazers, they defeated the L.A. Lakers 124-112 last Tuesday. Lamarcus Aldridge went off in that victory with 31 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists. Nick Young of the Lakers went off as well, scoring 40 points in the losing effort. With his contract expiring after this season, he will be looking for a team that will better utilize his talents. Going back to the Trail Blazers, point guard Damian Lillard became the first player in franchise history to make 200 3-pointers in a season when he connected with 8:07 left in the first quarter. With him and Aldridge running the show in Portland, look for them to make a deep run in the playoffs as a 5-seed behind Houston.

Dirk Nowitzki has the Dallas Mavericks moving in the right direction after a critical win against the Los Angeles Clippers. Credit:
Dirk Nowitzki has the Dallas Mavericks moving in the right direction after a critical win against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Another Western Conference match-up that was intriguing last night was the Dallas Mavericks and the L.A. Clippers. Despite Blake Griffin pulling off his first triple-double of the season and his fourth of his career (25 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists), the Mavericks defeated the Clippers 113-107 behind Dirk Nowitzki’s 26 points and 11 rebounds. The ageless wonder shot 10-18 from the field and nailed 4 out of 7 three-pointers. This win helped Dallas move into a 7-seed in the Western Conference playoffs ahead of the 44-31 Memphis Grizzlies. The Mavs avoided getting swept by the Clippers for the first time since 1993-94 and will use that momentum to carry them for the rest of the regular season. Even with the loss, the Clippers still retain the 3-seed with an impressive 54-23 record.

I’m sure more great games will follow as the regular season dwindles down. Players might go off for amazing scoring outbursts and teams might find a way to sneak into the playoffs (like what the Washington Wizards and the Charlotte Bobcats are doing right now). Keep watching the NBA, because things are going to get interesting very soon.

Christian Athlete of the Week: Jeremy Lin

Mostly everyone knows that Houston Rockets’ point guard Jeremy Lin is already a Christian. He professed his faith back during the  2011-12 season when he played for the New York Knicks. Back then, he was known as Linsanity for putting up improbable numbers during the Knicks’ winning streaks. Now, the 25-year-old Harvard grad is on a 47-22 Houston Rockets team that is 4th in the Western Conference standings. They are currently on a three-game winning streak and in those three wins, the Rockets scored 118 points or more. This is one of the most explosive offenses in the NBA with James Harden and Dwight Howard leading the way. Lin hasn’t had a spectacular season statistically (he’s averaging 12.4 points and 4.2 assists a game this season), but he’s not exactly worried about keeping track of how well he plays. Lin is more focused on how he glorifies God on and off the court.

“I’m still learning to be selfless and submit myself to God and give the game up to Him,” Lin said. “It’s a challenge, but thankfully I’m learning more and more.” (Credit:

Check out this video I found about Jeremy Lin’s faith and his rise to “Linsanity”

As you can see, Lin has become a pioneer for all of sports. He is now on a team that is poised to win a NBA championship in the near future. What Lin is probably more proud of is his walk with Christ and the relationship he has with the Father.


Christian Athlete of the Week: Caron Butler

Caron Butler has been known to be a journeyman in the NBA. He has played for seven different NBA teams since being selected as the 10th overall pick by the Miami Heat in 2002. Butler now plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder after playing for the Milwaukee Bucks earlier this year. Despite moving from team to team, the small forward from the University of Connecticut has averaged 15.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in his career. However, Butler’s journey before he played basketball is more amazing in itself. As a small boy living in Racine, Wisconsin, Butler looked up to his two uncles. His mother was a single parent and was working two jobs at the time and so his uncles were the only father figures he had around at the time, but they were not exactly good examples. Both were drug dealers and got their nephew into the business when he was only 11 years old. From there, Butler got arrested 15 times before he turned 15. While he was serving his last sentence at a juvenile institution, Butler fell in love with two things: basketball and Jesus Christ.

“My grandmother told me to pick up a bible and just believe in God,” he said. “God can hinder all obstacles that you’re going through. And my mother staying in my corner, because a lot of parents, when kids fail, give up on them. A lot of the people that I was incarcerated with didn’t have visitors, but my mother was always there, sometimes twice a day, uplifting my spirits and telling me to stay positive. And I think that really showed me how much she cared and believed in me. She believed in me more than I believed in myself.” (Credit:

Butler went on to say that basketball was his ticket out to living on the streets. He started playing so well that he got noticed by Jim Calhoun of the UConn Huskies. In his freshman year, he led his team in both points and rebounds. Then in his sophomore season, he was named co-Big East Player of the Year. Butler was able to accomplish all of these tasks by making God the father-figure in his life that he desperately needed.

“God puts stuff in front of you for a reason,” he said. “He put His hands on my life and said, ‘I’m going to touch you so that you can touch others.”

And he has. Butler donated $200,000 to four local charities in his hometown of Racine back in 2012. He also created a youth basketball league to show other kids that basketball can get you out of the life of a drug dealer. God has shown through Caron Butler’s life that he can take anyone off the streets and make them into a great example of God’s grace and mercy.

Christian Athlete of the Week: Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry is the most valuable player on the Golden State Warriors’ team. He leads them in points with 23.9 per game and assists with 8.9 per game. He also has the Warriors in second place in the Pacific division behind the phenomenal L.A. Clippers. He’s just coming off his third triple-double of the season against the New York Knicks (27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists). What I like most about this three-point shooter specialist is that he serves someone greater than he is. Yes, Curry is also a Christian. His faith was first noted back when he played for Davidson in college. He would write on his shoes a reference to Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” In an article written by Rick Reilly, the sports writer indicated that Steph Curry recently went on a mission trip to Africa with his wife, Ayesha, to hang up anti-malaria nets. He included in the article that Curry is a very selfless person. The 25-year-old All-Star is a firm believer in the Lord and wants to do everything in His name. But don’t just take my word for it. I’ll let Curry himself tell you here in this video:

Curry made the big transition of believing in God because his parents did to believing in God because he wanted to. Accepting Jesus into your heart is a personal choice that you yourself had to make. Curry made this choice when he was in middle school and now God has blessed him with the ability to shoot the ball as good as anyone! The Golden State point guard also has many charity foundations that help support people in poor communities. You can get more information about them here at his website:

All in all, this superstar player has impacted the lives of many people on and off the court. His dedication to succeed has definitely paid off as he holds the record for most three pointers made in a single season. He shows that if you work hard in life with Jesus by your side, you can do all things through Him who gives you the strength to do it.