Tag Archives: Carmelo Anthony

Paul George Injury Leaves Questions in Eastern Conference

After Paul George suffered that devastating leg injury that will keep him out for next season, the Indiana Pacers lost a valuable member of their squad. Without George, there is little hope for the Pacers’ title hopes in 2015. Although this may not take them out of the postseason just yet, let’s look at some threatening teams in the Eastern Conference.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are a favorite simply because they have LeBron James. Not only that, but they also have an All-Star point guard in Kyrie Irving and a future superstar in Andrew Wiggins. However, their front court could be their ultimate downfall. The main reason why James was so successful in Miami was because he had Chris Bosh pulling in rebounds and giving him extra chances. Last year’s number one draft pick Anthony Bennett was a huge disappointment, but he is the best option for next season’s starting forward position. For center, they have Anderson Varejao and Brendan Haywood, but they are old veterans that can be reliable in all 82 games next season. Tristan Thompson would make a good fit at the power forward spot and Dion Waiters will make a great back-court player that could compliment both Irving and James. It’s mostly wait-and-see at this point for the Cavaliers.

LeBron James' return to Cleveland gives the Cavaliers the best chance for a title run next year. Credit: www.cleveland.com
LeBron James’ return to Cleveland gives the Cavaliers the best chance for a title run next year.
Credit: http://www.cleveland.com

The Chicago Bulls look to be the favorite in the East as well. They have an established coaching staff that knows how to win with low-caliber players, but this year, they get Derrick Rose back…again. If Rose can stay healthy, this Bulls team will be Cleveland’s main competition in the Central Division. They signed Pau Gasol in free agency and landed Doug McDermott in the NBA Draft. All of the pieces are there with Joakim Noah coming off a terrific year, winning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. Guys like Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler and Ronnie Brewer will also aid Rose in chasing that elusive NBA Finals, somewhere they haven’t been since Michael Jordan led the way many years ago.

Derrick Rose looks for a breakout year. The last time he played a full season, he won the MVP averaging 25 points, 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game. Credit: pagesix.com
Derrick Rose looks for a breakout year. The last time he played a full season, he won the MVP averaging 25 points, 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game.
Credit: pagesix.com

With the Pacers, Cavaliers and Bulls fighting for the Central Division, let’s take a look at some other potentially threatening teams in the East. The New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors will be battling for the Atlantic Division. Carmelo Anthony’s decision to return to New York will definitely give them a chance. Phil Jackson looks to make this team a consistent winner in the East and will have to go through the upstart Raptors in order to get there. The Raptors finished last season with the 3-seed in the East with a surprising 48-34 record. They did better than the Brooklyn Nets who landed a tight 44-38 finish. Coach Lionel Hollins will try to make his new Nets team a title contender this year. If he can’t get them that good in a short amount of time, the Knicks and Raptors will dominate this division.

The two most surprising teams last year were the Washington Wizards and the Charlotte Bobcats. Both finished with more than 42 wins, which is saying a lot for both of these franchises. The back-court combination of John Wall and Bradley Beal will definitely keep the Wizards in the championship race, but their front court will have to play consistently well in order to compete in the division. The Bobcats are now back to being called the Hornets and hopefully this rejuvenated team will make more surprises this year. With the Miami Heat losing some firepower because of the whole Decision 2.0 fiasco, the Southeast Division is wide open for the taking. Even the Atlanta Hawks are contenders after making the playoffs last year with a losing record. You can never count out everyone  in that division. Unless you’re the Orlando Magic.

The Eastern Conference will definitely be more interesting this year and a lot more competitive. Unfortunately for the Pacers, their chance at a title shot is dampened with the George injury. Hopefully they can learn some lessons from Chicago on how to make the playoffs without your superstar player.

Lord of the Two Rings: Return of the King

It’s official! LeBron James has decided to go back to his hometown and play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. A contract has not been presented yet, but James will probably get a max deal, making him the highest paid basketball player in the NBA. As for Chris Bosh, he will remain loyal with the Miami Heat and keep his talents in South Beach where he will just landed a 5-year deal worth over $116 million. Dwyane Wade is also a free agent and is probably going to stay in Miami as well. However, the Chicago Bulls have made a push to bring Wade back to his hometown. Everything will start falling into place once Carmelo Anthony makes up his mind on where he wants to play. He has narrowed his choices down to Chicago and staying in New York. Anthony is leaning towards the Knicks, but if Chicago is still a great place for Anthony to land. He will play for a championship-caliber team with a All-Star point guard in Derrick Rose and NBA-Defensive-Player-of-the-Year winner Joakim Noah. If the Bulls sign Wade, that could also attract Anthony to move west.

Now back to LeBron. James is the franchise-leader in points, free-throws made, and steals. He just needs to make 32 three-pointers and he will have the franchise record for that as well. He will also have the opportunity to play with something he has never had in his NBA career: a really talented All-Star point guard. Kyrie Irving has emerged as the leader of the Cavaliers since James left town. Now James won’t have the pressure to carry the team on his back like he did back when he first played with Cleveland. Irving will provide that All-Star power and the play-making ability to compliment James’ style. Not only that, but James will also get to play with rookie sensation Andrew Wiggins. The first-overall pick in this year’s draft will learn from LeBron up close and personal. It’s likely that the two players will share a bond on the court that will help develop the young star into one of the best rookies in the league. James will serve as a mentor for the young Wiggins, but he’ll do more than mentor him; he’ll show him how it’s done.

I think everyone in Cleveland now forgives LeBron for The Decision back in 2010 and now Cavaliers’ fans will have something to cheer about this season. Home games are going to be sold out, jerseys are going to be dug out of the trash can and Johnny Football will be closer to his new friend. The Heisman-winning quarterback will be playing for the Cleveland Browns this year and Manziel will definitely bring some excitement to the city. With both him and LeBron, a little hope has been poured into Cleveland. Now we’ll wait and see if LeBron can bring a title to his hometown.

Kevin Durant Scores Career-High 54 points

Kevin Durant is one of my favorite players in the NBA, so to see him go off against the Golden State Warriors last Friday night was a dream come true. The six-foot-nine small forward cashed in a career-high 54 points in a 127-121 win over the Warriors. It was a game that had shootout written all over it. The Splash Bros were knocking down threes all night and the Oklahoma City Thunder kept feeding the ball to their scoring machine, who ended up finishing with the most points he’s ever scored in a single game. The University of Texas product had more field goals made (19) than the rest of the Thunder team combined (18). Some may call it being a ball hawk, but I call it putting the team on your back and winning a tight Western Conference game.

“As the leader of this team, my main objective is to serve my teammates and some nights I have to put it up,” said Durant of his big-time performance. (Credit: nba.com)

Durant was 7-8 in the first quarter and finished the first half 11-14 with 29 points. Some players in the NBA are lucky enough to get those kind of stats in a single game! Durant also finished the game with four rebounds and six assists and shot 68 percent from the field (19-28). The last player to put up numbers like that in a single game was when Michael Jordan did it back on April 3rd, 1988. On top of that, Kevin Durant is leading the NBA in scoring with 30.6 points per game (Carmelo Anthony is 2nd with 26.1). Durant won the NBA scoring title three times in a row from 2010-2012 and it would have been four times in a row if it wasn’t for Carmelo Anthony’s MVP-like performance last year. Durant could easily win it for the fourth time in his career and he’s only 25 years old. The Oklahoma City Thunder is also 3rd in the Western Conference Standings with a 30-10 record and they’re doing it without Russell Westbrook who’s still out with a right knee injury. Could this finally be  the year where Kevin Durant wins the MVP award? Think about it, if you take Kevin Durant away from that team, the Thunder would be an average squad that would be fighting for the playoffs every year. Oklahoma City is a championship contender because of this guy. The Washington D.C. native has always finished second and he’s sick and tired of it. He was the 2nd overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft (he would win Rookie-of-the-Year that season), he finished 2nd in the league for the scoring title last season (he was behind Anthony by .6 points per game and he had a better field goal percentage than him), and he lost to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the 2012 NBA Finals (that’s when James won his first championship). This year, the Thunder could make it all the way. They would have to go through teams like the Portland Trailblazers, the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Clippers, or the San Antonio Spurs to do it, but they can pull it off. Scott Brooks is a fantastic coach and Russell Westbrook is expected to return before the playoffs start. There’s no doubt in my mind that LeBron James is the best player in the NBA right now, but if Durant could get that championship win under his belt, he’ll start making people think twice.