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by djp

Can Lebron James FINALLY get that monkey off his back??

May 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

A couple of days ago, I finally finished my first season with the Miami Heat on my NBA2K11 PS3 game. It was a huge relief coz playing 82 games where one 1 game takes about an 1 ½ hours to finish, takes alotta time. AND that’s not even including playoff games!!! But it was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to my next season. 

 

What was interesting about this season I played is that even though I played and won the NBA finals (obviously), the computer simulated the Dallas Mavericks to be my finals opponent. Yeah man, the Mavs!!! Not the Spurs or the back-toback defending champions the LA Lakers. In the REAL NBA playoffs, the Mavs knocked out the Lakers in the Western Conference semi-finals and just beat the Thunder 4-1 in the Western Conference Finals to progress to the NBA finals and in the East, the Heat did the same by beating the Chicago Bulls 4-1. IS THIS ALL A COINCIDENCE?? These 2 teams that featured in my game’s NBA finals are both in the real NBA finals?? Quite cool hey, n big ups to the guys that made the NBA2K11 game!!

 

I made a prediction a couple of weeks back as to who will be the 4 teams left to compete for a NBA title and I got it right.. Well technically I did:

 

http://blogs.sport24.co.za/djp/exciting-times-ahead-in-the-nba-playoffs

 

So now it’s only fair to predict who will be in the finals and who will win the NBA finals:

 

Western Conference finalist: Dallas Mavericks

 

I cant remember when last I saw a Mavericks team play this well in the playoffs. It’s almost like Dirk Nowitzki is upset with the NBA that he finished lower than expected in the regular season MVP voting. 

 Well, if there was a Playoffs MVP, Dirk would be easily the holder of it. It looks like making the NBA finals was just a bridge too far for the young Oklahoma City Thunder squad but the key word here is young!!! I couldn’t see them see them winning game 5 in Dallas but Kevin Durant & the rest of the Thunder should hold their heads high and be extremely proud of what’s they’ve achieved this season and maybe they can still surprise but I doubt that coz this team is on the rise.  

 

Eastern Conference finalist: Miami Heat

 

After losing game 1 so badly, few would’ve thought the Heat could do something NO ONE else in the league could do this season against the Bulls which was making them lose 4 games in a row and then ultimately the series. Chicago unfortunately, as brilliant of a season they’ve had so far, fell in the Thunder category in that their team and their star player still lacks a bit of playoff experience. Derrick Rose might’ve finished as the season’s MVP but Lebron James showed the whole world last night (and the whole series basically) that he’s still the same guy that won back-toback MVP’s before Rose did.

 

The NBA Finals

 

The Mavs and the Heat created a rematch of the 2006 NBA Finals, the only question is, will the result come out the same. 

 


After Dallas kicked out the lackluster defending champs, the sky is the limit for this team and they will that this could be their last chance of reaching the promise land and enjoy the milk & honey. Their evergreen superstar Dirk Nowitzki is on the wrong side of 30 and his sidekick, point guard Jason Kidd on the wrong side of 35. The obvious question is: Will they have enough in the tank to make one final push of winning the one thing that will make their hall of fame careers complete??

 

 

The Miami Heat on the other hand have 3 of the best NBA players on their roster and to make things worse, they’re all in the prime of their careers.

 

Throw in the fact that 2 of those 3 players’ names are Dwayne Wade and Lebron James and immediately you’ll start to realize the mammoth task NBA teams have to beat these guys and make no mistake, they are beatable but that will become more difficult the more time these guys play together.

 

 

Prediction: Unsure of who will have home court advantage, I think this series might go the distance of 7 games, but in my book there’s only one winner: The Miami Heat to win in 6 or 7 games and here’s why:

 

- The Heat is playing defense: Either the Mavs are unstoppable offensively or the teams they’ve played so far don’t like playing D but they will have a tough time to score against a Heat team who’s as good (if not better) defensively as they are offensively.

 

- Lebron is finally coming through in the clutch: Now he only needs to work on his post-up moves!! His clutch shortcomings have been well documented but in this playoffs series LBJ’s performances have been nothing but spectacular.

 

- It’s not the 2 and ½ men show anymore: Chris Bosh has come through some heavy criticism this season. He’s heard things like he’s too soft for forward, he’s a fake tough guy, he’s a 3rd wheel etc but through all of that, he’s actually the leading point getter for the Heat in the series against the Bulls.

 

 

- Role players are starting to play their roles better: Guys like Bibby, Haslem & Mike Miller have accepted their roles on this star studded team and they’re beginning to contribute & bring things to the table coach Spo asked of them: Play tough defense & hit the open shot. Yip, it’s that simple

 

- The Heat have the King: He may have gone from fan favorite to public enemy nr.1 with just one “decision” but even the haters can’t deny that Lebron James is still best player in the world when he steps onto a basketball court. Throw in the fact that he’s hungrier than ever for winning a title (with the help of his superfriends) and suddenly the Mavs will have to come face to face with a beast.

 

 

I hope none of the Mavericks staff reads this blog because even though I didn’t list their strengths, there’s no denying that they are playing awesome ball at the moment. Dirk can’t miss, they’ve stepped up on D, they’ve got a couple of big guys that can trouble the Heat, Jason Terry is a hall of famer sixth man (if there was ever such a thing) and lets not forget that they will be hurting from that ‘06 finals that they lost after leading that series. 

 

Im sure more people would like the Miami Heat to lose more rather than to see them win but I’m not one of them.

 For me it’s about the players not the team. I’m not gonna deny that Dirk is probably one of the best big men that could shoot the ball to have played this game, period and that I’ll give him his due. But Lebron & D-Wade are still my main men and that’s why I support them & therefore the team they’re playing for. GO HEAT!!!! 

 

I’m outy

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by djp

Players aplenty after the RWC

May 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

It’s very difficult for me decide whether the Stomers’ season so far have been blessed or cursed coz even though youngsters like Elstadt, Sadie, Fourie (Deon) & to a certain extend Lionel Cronje came through for us, we’ve also lost stalwarts like Burger, De Villiers, Louw (Pieter), Liebenberg, Fourie (Jaque) & Grant for certain periods during the Super rugby competition so far.

Ever the optimist, I’m leaning towards the “blessed” side but one has to wonder where we could’ve if we had a little more luck on the injury side. But on the other hand Darren, would the youngsters have had a chance to strut their stuff if the regulars were there??

That’s also more or less the same problem Bok coach P-Divvy finds himself with: Does he stick with the tried & tested or does he go for the younger (& some inform) players.

Smit or Bismark? Victor or Bekker? Alberts or Smith? Lambie or Steyn? Habana or Mvovo? Well it’s very obvious that we’ll have a squad of 30 players that will make any team (including the host NZ) jealous but you can’t play all 30 at the same time now can you? & there lies the pickle!! But once the RWC is over & disappointments or joys have been dealt with or celebrated, South Africa will be the cat that stole the cream when it comes to future prospects.

Sure New Zealand will continue to produce brilliant players, I mean they do have the help of rugby factories like Fiji, Tonga, Samoa. And Australia with backline stars like Genia, Cooper, O’Connor & Beale will be fun to watch for a couple of seasons but neither of two countries have the rugby talent we have and you damn right I’m bias but certainly not very far from the truth if you take a look at a potential future Bok team I drew up with the age of 28 the limit:

  1. Coenie: Learning his craft from the scrum master himself. Nuff said
  2. Bismark: Arguably the best hooker in the world and only 26 years old
  3. Jannie: Im sure another youngster would rock up somewhere but I like my tighthead experienced.
  4. Elstadt: Im sure Flip Van der Merwe would make an easy fit here too but I opt for Elstadt coz my nr.5 would be:
  5. Bekker: It is just a matter of time when he becomes the regular Bok 5
  6. Brussouw: Injuries aside, he’s still SA’s best out-n-out fetcher
  7. Alberts: I THINK this guy scored more tries for the Boks than Habana did last season, I could be wrong. But if I cant have Juan, I’ll take Willem
  8. Vermeulen: It’s just a matter of time Duane, just wish it was sooner rather than later. Best nr. 8 the last 2 seasons.
  9. Hougaard: I almost went for Super Sarel coz Hougaard plays more wing than he does scrummy. Consider yourself lucky I know what you can do Fransie!!
  10. Lambie: South Africa’s Dan Carter?? Hmm, not yet. But definitely the potential to be
  11. Basson: Has everything you want in a wing plus almost impossible to beat when competing in the air
  12. de Jongh: Yes, I know he’s a 13 but we all know he can slot in easily at 12 when required
  13. Sadie: I’m sorry, I just couldnt help myself
  14. Mvovo: Almost unstoppable at pace
  15. Taute: Wanted to go for Aplon, but Taute looks like he could be the real deal.

Now consider that the bench will consist of guys like Chilliboy, Van der Merwe, Jantjies, Sarel etc. how can we NOT be the envy of countries who will have the unfortunate job of taking us on??

Im sure that “older” guys like Beast, Morne & Spies wont give up there positions that easily even though the latter is trying his utmost to prove me wrong these days. But it is satisfying to know we’ll still be able to count on your Burgers, Smiths, Fouries, Pietersens, Aplons and even Francois Steyn for a couple of seasons.

Im sure that experienced campaigners like the legendary Smit & Matfield or Shalk & Juan, FdP & the centre combination of Jean & Jaque will be missed once they hang up their boots but it is comforting to know that there are 2 or 3 players in line to take over from them.

So all in all, we’re in a very good space for the present and future & it will just be up to whoever coaches the Boks to blend these players together into a formidable squad we all know the Springboks can be.

I’m outy.

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by djp

Time to strike the killer blow!!!

May 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

It’s one of those clichés that will never die in sports but saying the game against the Blues is A MUST WIN for the Stormers couldn’t be any further from the truth. The Sharks have played just as many games as us & just a point behind us, the Bulls are looking to be peaking at the right time and the date we have the Cheetahs in Bloem come 18 June will and should make any Stormers fan worry right now.

 

I say this because if one considers our opponents, past results, current form & where the last remaining 5 games of the Stormers are being played, then you can say that this weekend’s fixture is a huge game!! And should we win this game, it can not only put us back in the “win” category but also jumpstart a run that can carry us into the playoffs. But that’s easier said than done. The Stormers suffered their first back-to-back defeats of the season and both those defeats came against New Zealand opponents.

  Throw in the fact that we’ll be without one of our stars in Jaque Fourie, http://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/Super15/Fourie-set-to-miss-Blues-clash-20110515 and suddenly things are looking a bit stormy for the team from the Cape.

Some of the rugby experts said that it’s fatigue and maybe a bit of jetlag that were the culprits of the Stormers defeat and I understand why they can say that but I’m not gona blame our loss to the Chiefs solely on that. It may not look like it but this Stormers team is improving and I guess in a sense you have to make a couple of mistakes to improve & develop. In the game against the Crusaders, our captain’s decision making was found wanting and he admitted as much afterwards. But one aspect we’ll certainly need to improve is striking that killer blow, making your opponent eat grass and choke the life out of them while they’re doing so. I mean you’d expect a well defensive-structured side like the Stormers to win a game when they’re 20-3 at half time wouldn’t you?? The Killer blow dude!! Stormers, learn that sh#t asseblief!!!!

I haven’t lost faith in my team though and I feel that we can still go far in this competition if we go back to the basics and do what helped us win 6 games in a row. And that’s defense!! And playing against a team like the Blues, your defense will have to be firing on all cylinders. We’ve had some success in Auckland, so it can be done and it has to be done. 

We can’t rely on the Bulls & the Chiefs to do us any favors this weekend, even though wins for these 2 teams JUST this weekend wouldn’t hurt.

Speaking of other teams: Is it just me that missing a Stormers – Hurricanes fixture in this year’s Super rugby competition?? Coz if these 2 teams aren’t playing each other, it makes me wonder what OTHER teams aren’t playing each other either!! And what kind of a dumb@ss system would that be if that really is the case!!??

ANSWERS WOULD BE APPRECIATED PEOPLE!!!

On a side note: How bout them Cheetahs and Lions!!??

I didn’t watch either of the 2 games but im very happy for those two teams and suddenly rugby in the republic isn’t looking that bad now is it!!?? So like I said in a blog I wrote a couple of weeks back: Can we all just jump off the Boks-in-trouble-for-RWC bandwagon for a while!!?? http://blogs.sport24.co.za/djp/did-the-rugby-world-cup-start-already

I’m outy  

 

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by djp

Exciting times ahead in the NBA Playoffs

May 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Well, just days after the Dallas Mavericks pulled off the ALMOST impossible by sweeping the LA Lakers in one of the Western Conference semi finals, The Miami Heat with their Superfriends pulled off a win in Boston to take a commanding 3 – 1 lead back to Miami in the Eastern Conference semi finals. What’s going on in the NBA man!!??

 

Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls just beat future Hall of Famers like Kobe, Lebron & Howard to become the youngest ever regular season MVP at the tender age of 22!!!


 Just like I said he would: http://blogs.sport24.co.za/djp/the-nba-is-looking-rosey 

 

NBA powerhouses like the Spurs and Lakers were kicked to the curb,

  but more on that later on. Back to Derrick.


As amazing as he was during the regular season, the playoffs is a whole ‘nother beast. And even though he lead the Bulls to the most wins in the East during the regular season, up until yesterday, he was a Mexican standoff with the Atlanta Hawks, a team few expected would get out of the first round of Eastern conference playoffs. The Bulls will have to rely on the kid to get them to conference final and I don’t think he’s going to disappoint.

 

Back in the West the 2nd semi final series is between 2 unknown playoff teams: the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzles with the series also tied at 2-2 with game 5 moving back in Thunder town, the safe bet will be on another young superstar, Kevin Durant and the Thunder to break the tie and take command of the series but I wouldn’t count out any team that beat the Spurs so easily in the first round.

 

Im an avid NBA follower and I can’t remember when last the playoffs was this open. At the start of 07/08 season the Celtics FINALLY got a big three they could brag about in Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett & Ray Allen A big three that was reminiscent of the 80’s when the Celtics ruled the East with Bird, McHale & Parish.


 

Then Kobe FINALLY got a sidekick in Pau Gasol he could count on 

and ever since then, these two teams ruled the NBA.. when it mattered most: Finals appearances.

 

But with the Lakers out of the playoffs and the Celtics on the verge of elimination, what team has the best chance to win the ultimate trophy one can win in professional basketball??

 

The candidates for the NBA finals:

 

In the East

 

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls are not the same team they were last season (..well duh..) and even though they’re star player (and the team itself) isn’t that experienced come playoff time than say the Celtics or Lakers, they should have enough to beat the Hawks and get to the Eastern conference finals. The Hawks have been the surprise team in the East in this season’s playoffs edition but the Bulls have been the more consistent team of the two.

 

However there is still the small matter of playing game 6 in the A T L so this home game for the Bulls was a must win for them and they did, thx to another great performance from Rose.

 

Series result: Bulls won game 5 but Hawks will win game 6. Bulls will then win game 7 and ultimately the series.

 

Miami Heat

The Heat did the hard yards Monday night by stealing a game in Boston to put them up 3 – 1 in the series with game 5 being played back in Miami.

  This Celtic team was also the same “bully” that dumped the Heat’s 2 superstars out of the playoffs last season: First it was Dwayne Wade’s Heat in the quarters, then Lebron’s THEN Cleveland Cavaliers in the semis. But this season the two superfriends combined powers and brought along another all star buddy in Chris Bosh to help them exorcist the demon that’s the Boston Celtics out of the playofffs.

 

But let’s not write these Boston bullies off just yet.. I mean they are the defending Eastern conference champions.

However with their influential point guard Rajon Rondo injured

(even though I have no doubt he’ll play) I think Lebron & Wade really want this more & they’ll play like that too.

 

Series result: Heat win game and advance to the conference final where they’ll meet the Bulls. What a series that will be!!

 

In the West

 

Memphis Grizzles / Oklahoma City Thunder

All of my basketball knowledge says go for the Thunder but my gut says the Grizzles are going to cause ANOTHER upset. Yes, the Thunder got the mini version of Wade & Lebron in Russel Westbrook & Kevin Durant.

  Yes, they’re playing game 5 at home but it took them 3 overtime periods to beat the Grizzles in Memphis to tie up the series 2-2 which shows they knew the importance of game 4. And even though it could inspire them to win game 5 and take control of the series, I think it just made the Grizzles that more hungrier and if Memphis can do it to a playoff powerhouse team like the Spurs, surely they can do it to an up-n-coming Thunder team.


 

Wow, this is actually a very tough call to make, so I’ll say this:

 

Series result: The team that wins game 5 will then eventually win the series and at the moment, I’m leaning towards the Grizzles.

 

Dallas Mavericks

Talk about surprise, no scratch that, talk about surprise for the last 5 or 6 seasons. I’m sorry to say and Mavs fans can hate me all they like but only they believed they could beat LA. But even the die hard fans didn’t expect a 4-0 sweep against the team that won back-to-back championships. 


It’s a brilliant achievement for a team who has a reputation for blowing up come playoff time (Mavs fans, you know what I’m talking about) and if they’re not going to win that elusive NBA title this season, I don’t think they’re gonna win it for a lot more seasons to come. We all saw what getting a year older can do to your team (just ask the Spurs, Lakers and Celtics) and with teams like Heat, the Bulls and the Thunder looking become the NBA’s new dynasty franchise, the time for the Mavs is now.

 

Series result: Just in case you don’t know by now: They’ve swept the Lakers and are waiting the winner of the Grizzles/Thunder series in the Western conference finals.

 

I wanted to continue predicting what will happen in the Conference finals and then the NBA final but I think too much can still happen before we get there. Lemme know who you think you’re 3 teams are going to be (with the Mavs being the 4th team – obviously).

 

I’m outy

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