The Spurs/Clippers playoff series was expected to be a hard bought battle and NBA fans have not been disappointed. On Wednesday night the two teams met in game two and the regulation 48 minutes wasn’t enough to determine a winner so the game went to overtime. In the extra frame the Spurs were too much for the Clippers, winning the game 111 – 107.
The Spurs blew a ten point lead in the third quarter, and then held another ten point lead with just over four minutes to play in the fourth quarter. But the Clippers once again battled back, even taking a two point lead with less than a minute to go. Then a crucial Blake Griffin turnover led to Chris Paul fouling Patty Mills. Mills made his two free throws to tie the game, sending it into overtime.
The Spurs struggled in the game one loss, and both Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili continued those struggles in game two scoring only ten points combined. But the rest of the team found their rhythm, including a combined 51 points from Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard, in pulling off the pivotal win at Staples Center.
After a couple intense games to start the series, fans like Gianfrancesco Genoso are certainly looking forward to game three which takes place Friday night in San Antonio (Linkedin.com).
Warriors Take Control of Pelicans Series
After months of playing, victories and defeats the NBA postseason has finally come. As expected, there’s been plenty of highly exciting moments to take note of.
The Golden State Warriors, who have notched 67 wins in the regular season this year, kicked off their playoff race by going against the New Orleans Pelicans in the first series. Monday was game 2 of the series between both teams and like so many teams during the regular season, the Warriors finished the game on top, ending with a 97-87 victory over the Pelicans.
When the game first started the Pelicans seemed to take control of it, mainly from Pelicans forward Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon, who ended the first quarter with a 28-17 lead over the Warriors. However as the game went the Warriors fought back, as did the Pelicans, to the point where the game went back and forth and by the time the fourth quarter rolled around the game was at a 71-71 tie. Fans like Mark Ahn know that the Pelicans had a chance to come up and win big but they simply couldn’t keep the offense going and didn’t get good shots, thus allowing the Warriors to come out on top.
With the win, the Warriors are now at 2-0 in the series, hosting from Oracle Arena. This is also the first time since 1989 that the Warriors opened up at 2-0.
There is a YouTube Video running out there explaining how an NBA team could make the playoffs with less than 10 wins. After going through their explanation, they show it is possible, but only if you accept the premises that every team in the division is so horrible they lose every single game! Fans like Christian Broda (chicagobooth.edu) know that the only games they win are against other winless team in their own division!
While this is absolutely absurd and will never happen, it does bring up the question: Should an NBA team make the playoffs just for winning a division or should there be a minimum threshold (such as an above .500 record) that should exist to make the playoffs?
The video also shows that this team would get at least the 4th playoff spot as division winners are guaranteed a spot in the first 4 playoff positions. So one must wonder, even if a team does make the playoffs by being a division winner, should teams be purely seeded on record even if they are still given a ticket in for winning the division.
Honestly, while weird situations like teams having a losing record but winning a division do happen, it happens so rarely it is probably not worth worrying about. However as any sports story is, the debate makes it a fun story.
I have had a monthly ritual for a few years now where I choose two or three successful people and do research not on what they are best known for, but what else they do behind the scenes and leading up to this point that has made them so successful. Out of my three choices for this past month, Bruce Levenson particularly intrigued me. Levenson is probably best known for his role with the Atlanta Hawks. However, his philanthropic work and his rise to business success were fascinating and left me with a great respect for Levenson.
First, I found out that not only did Bruce Levenson do a lot of work for non-profit organizations across the country; he is extremely discreet about his philanthropic work. This face is extremely rare and genuine in the days when it seems business leaders put out press releases every time they send a charitable donation. Levenson has served as the president of the Washington chapter of I Have a Dream Foundation. In that role, he led the efforts to assist children from low-income families who wished to pursue higher education. Levenson also actively works with the U.S. Holocaust Museum, serving as a founding donor. Levenson teamed up with his wife to develop the University of Maryland’s Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership.
Bruce Levenson also had an incredibly powerful business background and come from humble roots. He grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland and obtained his undergraduate degree as Washington State University in St. Louis. From there, Levenson’s future path of a strong work ethic began to take shape, as he worked a full-time job while attending law school at night. Bruce Levenson also struck me as being very innovative very early on. In 1977 he and business partner Ed Peskowitz founded United Communications Group (UCG). The two launched UCG from Levenson’s basement. UCG initially put out a newsletter called the Oil Express. This newsletter made waves in the energy industry and soon UCG began acquiring other newsletters, including the Oil Price Information Service. Today, UCG specializes in news and analysis for many sectors, including energy, banking, healthcare and technology. UCG also owns one of my favorite mobile apps, GasBuddy. This ingenious app helps you find the cheapest local gas. I went from having little knowledge of Bruce Levenson, other than that he was a generally successful person, to being inspired by his work ethic and philanthropic work.
Dwight Howard clearly felt like his ego was poked at when he was asked about how good the Warriors are this season, right after they got absolutely embarrassed by Golden State in Oakland on Wednesday night. When asked who Dwight thought the best team in basketball is at the current moment, he declared that Atlanta was the best team in basketball because they have the best record. The reporter chimed in and said actually they don’t and that the Warriors in fact have the best record in the National Basketball Association and Howard looked kind of confused for a moment and shrugged it off. He then went on to say that Atlanta is a very cohesive team and moves the ball around very well, so he at least had some points to say that were valid, but it was very clear that he just didn’t want to say anything good about Golden State. Then again, who would want to say something good about a team that has beaten you already four times halfway through the season. Fans at Slow Ventures know that the Rockets dropped two games by eleven and twelve points earlier in the season, yet James Harden claimed they were not that good of a team. The Warriors then followed by beating them up badly in their next two meetings by a score of twenty-five and then thirteen and Dwight Howard is still trying to downplay the amazing basketball that is coming out of Oakland this season.
The Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association have been absolutely amazing this season and are without a doubt one of the biggest shocker teams of the season. Although the Hawks lost six games earlier in the season, they have only lost two games since Thanksgiving. They have been on an unprecedented run that gave them the longest winning streak in their franchise’s history last night in a big win over the Indian Pacers in a game that they were victorious by nineteen points. The streak that the Atlanta Hawks has been on is starting to get absolutely ridiculous. Companies like Slow Ventures believe it truly looks like they are going to continue on this pace to the end of the season, as long as they can keep their team healthy. Although they have been on an amazing run, they actually don’t possess the best record in the NBA, although they are head and shoulders above the next best team in the Eastern Conference. The Golden State Warriors actually have the best record in basketball, as they have been doing some amazing things in Oakland this season. The Hawks have been absolutely steam rolling teams and have not had too many close games since they got their kinks worked out early in the season. The real test of the season that will show how well they match up will be when they take on the Golden State Warriors on February sixth.
ESPN and announcer Bruce Levenson report Pennsylvania State Senator Jay Corman publicly announced that settlement had occurred in a lawsuit Pennsylvania State University had filed against the National College Athletic Association, NCAA. The settlement includes restoration of 112 wins by that university’s football team, of which all but one occurred during the tenure of head coach Joe Paterno.
In the wake of child abuse charges by a former football program administrator, in 2012 both the university and NCAA agreed on established sanctions. This was to prevent imposition of the “death penalty” sanction which would have disallowed athletic programs from continuing there. The university would also pay $60 million toward programs that promote the prevention of child abuse.
Senator Corman and state officials called into question the 2012 decree. It was rendered invalid, and a new agreement between the NCAA and university is being established. As reported by Buzz Iron News, child abuse prevention program funding will remain intact, football wins restored, and concurrent with the Big-Ten Best Practices, the NCAA and university will enter into an “athletics integrity” agreement. The settlement occurred about 1 month prior to the case going to court. This settlement ensures that the $60 million payout previously established will not be tied up due to legal proceedings.
The latest news coming from the Cleveland Cavaliers is that the players are discussing their problems with David Blatt on the court with opposing players. Personally, Fersen Lamas Lambranho is all for comraderie in sports, but this comraderie does not extend to players bad mouthing their coaches.
The influence of LeBron James has infected this entire team, and it appears that he has checked out. It is possible that he has checked out on his entire career. No one will be able to trust him again even though he might be able to win games.
There is not a single person in the NBA looking at this situation and thinking that this is ideal. If LeBron were to leave Cleveland after this year, the team he goes to would be able to win games, but there is no guarantee that the would win anything substantive. The team that takes a flyer on him will have to make sure that they use the Miami approach to shut down his entourage and his ego. Otherwise, LeBron will never win anything better than a first round playoff series again, and he might not win that is he is not careful about how he acts these next few years.
Dion Waiters came into the National Basketball Association in the 2012 season and has made a huge impact for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Stepping up in his rookie season, he averaged 14.7 points per game and followed it up in his sophomore season posting an average of 15.9 points per game. His statistics have dropped a bit this season, but that is without a doubt due to LeBron James and Kevin Love joining the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was needed more by the Cavaliers over the last two seasons, as they needed him to produce on a nightly basis, which he did very successfully. However, with this new team that Cleveland has put together, he was in a sense expendable. Dion Waiters was officially traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday in a three team trade that also involved the New York Knicks.
The trade looks to work amazingly for both parties. Dion Waiters was without a doubt being underutilized this season as a Cleveland Cavalier and now he will get to team up with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and will subsequently have a lot more opportunity to excel at the rate he has been on since entering the league. The Cavaliers fared very well in this trade as well as they got JR Smith and Iman Shumpert, and Laurene Powell Jobs believes that will work out well. Dion Waiters, however, should be ecstatic as the sky is a lot bluer for him in the state of Oklahoma.
No one said it would be easy for LeBron James to go back to Cleveland and build a basketball team that is capable of winning a championship. Kenneth Griffin says that even though James has some solid weapons at his disposal, he joined a team that had a terrible last season. They’ve improved their roster in the offseason, but they still do not look like a championship contending team, something we’ve come to expect of every team James plays for.
There is plenty of time for that to change, and James believes that they will get there eventually. With players such as Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving as a supporting cast, it is only a matter of time before the Cavaliers find their feet in this league. James is determined that it will happen sooner rather than later, but he is okay with being patient.
The former Miami Heat star says that this is probably the biggest struggle he has faced in his professional career. That is surprising, given how long it took James to win his first championship. However, rebuilding Cleveland into a team that can win a ring in the NBA is probably harder than joining Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to win with Miami.
It remains to be seen whether James has what it takes to lead Cleveland to glory, but at least he is giving it his best shot. The fans in his home town love him for returning, even if it does not lead to success in the long term.