What this Season Could Have Been for the Chicago Bulls

With the Chicago Bulls vs Miami Heat second round NBA playoff series starting tonight, I cannot help but think about what this season could have been for the Bulls.

Thus far, the Miami Heat are looking like they’re in a good position to defend their championship title. LeBron James, who just earned his 4th MVP award, and the Heat will be rested and ready to face the Bulls after their first round sweep over the Milwaukee Bucks 

The Bulls, on the other hand, are coming off of their series against the Brooklyn Nets that went to 7 games.  As a result, they will be playing the Heat on one day of rest following their hard fought first round series.

If Derrick Rose had never torn his ACL about a year ago, I wonder what position the Bulls would be in right now?

Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Without Rose, the Bulls finished 5th in the Eastern Conference.  If Rose had never been injured, I believe that the Bulls would have been a very strong team this season.  They likely would have had more wins during the season which would have possibly given them a better seed and a different opponent for this round.

As long as everyone else on the Bulls had the same kind of season they had this year, I would even go as far as saying that I believe the Bulls could have been the strongest competition for the Heat (especially considering Russell Westbrook’s injury now). Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Kirk Hinrich, and Luol Deng have all had good seasons.

While I do think it would be nothing short of amazing if they win this series against the Heat, I am not completely counting the Bulls out.  They do have a steep up hill battle though.  They were the team that ended Miami’s streak earlier this season, but that was one game, not the four they need to win the series.

The Bulls do have some health problems besides Rose to worry about for the up coming games that will have a big impact on their ability to hang in their with the Heat. Luol Deng has been sick with something similar to the flu and had complications from a procedure at the hospital.  Kirk Hinrich is day-to-day because of a calf injury.  Also, Joakim Noah has had a consistent foot injury, plantar fasciitis, for much of the second half of the season.  Noah’s injury needs rest and he played a lot of minutes in the Bulls last two games, so that could be a concern moving forward.

Could Rose come back for this playoff series? Pretty much since the All-Start break, there has been questions about him returning. There was even talk yesterday about him playing the Miami Heat tonight. You never know, but I doubt he will play tonight or this series.  I think if he is going to play, it would have made a lot of sense for him to start by building up minutes or at least playing some in the Bulls first round series against the Nets.  Also, I cannot imagine that he would want his first game back to be against the Heat’s defense.  We will see though.  He has not said he will not play.  It would certainly be exciting to see how things go if he does play.

Although this could have been a completely different match up than it is, it’s not reality. I am still looking forward to watching this series.  Maybe there will be the chance next year to see how the Bulls with Rose match up with the Heat.

Until next time,

Hannah

Photo Credit

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Derrick_Rose_2.jpg

Home Runs

Yesterday, there were 50 home runs hit in the MLB. That’s a lot of baseballs going out of the park.

Although they don’t all involve actual home runs, here are a few “home run” performances in sports that have occurred lately.

Boston Celtics

The Celtics hit a “home run” tonight with a 92-86 win against the New York Knicks. This brings the series to 3-2.  Kevin Garnett had a fantastic game for the Celtics with 16 points, 18 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks. The Celtics looked like there season was going to be over soon when they went down 0-3 in the series, but the win tonight has made this quite the series.  We’ll see if the Celtics can hit another home run Friday in the next game which is in Boston.  A win on Friday would set them up for the potential to make history and hit a grand slam.

The Cleveland Indians

The Cleveland Indians contributed to the 50 home run total yesterday by hitting 7 in their 14-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. This was not the first “home run” of a game the Indians have had lately.  Following a 0-9 loss to the Royals on Sunday, they bounced back and beat them 10-3 in the second game of a double header.  They got another win against the Royals on Monday.  There streak continued tonight with a 6-0 win against the Phillies.

Stephen Curry

The NBA playoffs have started with many lopsided series, but Golden State and Denver have been exciting to watch.  One reason the series has been great is because of Steph Curry. The former Davidson College guard has had some great playoff games, including a 22-point third quarter in game 4 of the series.  He struggled a little bit in Golden State’s last game against Denver, but he is still averaging 24.8 points and 9.8 assists in his 5 playoff games.  This has helped Golden State to have a 3-2 lead and another chance to win the series tomorrow (Thursday, May 2) night.

Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Until next time,

Hannah

Photo Sources

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1a/Stephen_Curry_2.jpg

Can they Comeback?

One aspect of sports that I really enjoy are the comeback stories.  Sports create some circumstances that allow a person to overcome the odds and return to where they once were or even achieve more than they had before their comeback.  Yesterday, was the last day of the NBA regular season.  As the season concluded, the basketball world has presented several comeback stories that will be worth watching in the upcoming days, months and years.

Tracy McGrady

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Photo credit: Keith Allison

T-Mac was playing in China this season after not getting signed to an NBA team, but it is working out for him because he is making a NBA comeback to play for the San Antonio Spurs just in time for the playoffs.  He is eligible to play even though the Spurs signed him after the NBA trade deadline because he was not signed on another NBA team.

Will this comeback allow him to be on a team that wins his first playoffs series?  It looks like there is a decent chance.  I am just not sure how much playing time he will get or how much of an impact he will have on the Spurs.  I’ll be rooting for him to have a comeback though!

Kobe Bryant

Photo credit: Steve Lanctot

Photo credit: Steve Lanctot

One reason that Tracy McGrady may get his first play-off series win is that the Spurs will be playing an LA Lakers team without Kobe Bryant in the first round.

Kobe Bryant was in top form for almost the entire 2013 NBA regular season.  The LA Lakers made it to the playoffs this season largely because of Kobe’s contributions. Kobe tore his Achilles tendon last Friday and at best will not return to playing in basketball games for 6-9 months.  Other than this injury, not much else could stop Kobe this season.

Achilles are tough to come back from.  There is a lot that needs to happen correctly for a successful recovery before he can even start to prepare for basketball.

Only time will tell if Kobe can beat the odds, make a full comeback and try to get his 6th NBA championship.  It’s hard to doubt Kobe… he just had an amazing year in his 17th season in the NBA.

Phil Jackson

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Another big story in the NBA is that Phil Jackson wants to comeback to the game. This may have been expected because he tried to return to coaching earlier this season by reuniting with the Lakers when they were searching for a coach.  Interestingly, he is currently saying his return to the NBA may be in management, not coaching.

I think a lot of NBA teams would like to have Phil Jackson.  It will be interesting to see where he ends up if he has a comeback.

Until next time,

Hannah

Photo Sources

Keeping it in the Family

Sibling’s have a special connection.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to play with, or against, a sibling in a professional sport.  In honor of Siblings Day, these are some of my favorite siblings in sports right now.

Peyton and Eli Manning

The Manning brothers have won 3 combined Super Bowls.  Combined, they have also made 15 pro bowl appearances.  Although they compete against each other, they always seem to be very supportive of each other.  They can even be spotted working out at the same place in the off season.

They have also shown they have a great sense of humor…

Marc and Pau Gasol

The Gasol brothers have combined to have 5 All-Star game appearances in the NBA.  They have also come together to help Spain win two silver medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Venus and Serena Williams

For almost 15 years (Venus won 2 Grand Slams in 1999), the William sisters have dominated in women’s tennis.  They have won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles together and 3 Olympic gold medals in women’s doubles.  They have also won a combined 22 Grand Slam singles titles.

B.J. and Justin Upton

The Atlanta Braves signed the both Upton brothers this past off season.  So far, uniting the siblings is working well for Atlanta (and not so well for the Cubs).

Bob and Mike Bryan

The Bryan brothers have won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles together.  They also won the gold medal together in the 2012 Olympics. These twins even play music in a band together.

Until next time,

Hannah

It may still be cold outside, but the Heat have been HOT

The Miami Heat lost last night after a 27 game win streak.  While they fell short of breaking the NBA record of 33 games, it was incredibly impressive to have put together this win streak.  Before this streak if someone had told me the Heat (or any NBA team) won 27 straight games, I would have thought they were talking about a video game.

To put the length of the streak into perspective, here are some events that have happened since they last lost…

Feb. 3, 2013the Superbowl 

Feb. 11 — The Harlem Shake had approximately 12,000 versions on YouTube with over 44 million views.

The Heat made a funny version of the video…

And the Minnesota Timberwolves responded…

The Harlem Shake trend ended well before Miami’s win streak.

Feb. 23 — Denver Nuggets began their own impressive 15 game win streak that lasted exactly a month.

Photo Credit: Keith Allisonhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ty_Lawson_Nuggets.jpg

Photo Credit: Keith Allison

End of Feb. through beginning of MarchDennis Rodman Visited North Korea, and spent time watching basketball with Kim Jong Un.

Photo Credit: Walter Huang

Photo Credit: Walter Huang

Will Kobe be the next basketball player to visit North Korea?

March 3 — Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens agree on a new contract that makes Flacco the highest paid player in the NFL.

March 13 — Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected by the Catholic cardinals to be the new Pope.

Photo Credit: Roberto Stuckert Filho

Photo Credit: Roberto Stuckert Filho

March 18 Heat beat Boston Celtics in Boston, despite Jeff Green’s career-high 43 point effort.

Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Photo Credit: Keith Allison

March 21 — The NCAA men’s basketball tournament began, meaning that many NCAA basketball teams (including the UNC basketball team) played about half of their whole season, most of their conference games, and their entire conference tournament during the Heat’s streak.

March 25 — The Heat are still on their hot streak, but much of the mid-west and east coast were covered with snow.

March 27 — The Heat’s streak comes to an end after 51 days.

While they did not break the record, a lot has happened in the world since the Heat went on their win streak.  It will be interesting to see how they finish out the season.

Until next time,

Hannah

Photo sources:

Deadline Doldrums

Overview

Today was the NBA trade deadline.  While there were speculations that some prominent players in the NBA may be changing cities, 3 pm came and passed and not a whole lot happened.

The biggest news is not who was traded but the trades that did not happen.

Summary

Here are the facts:

Dwight Howard remains  the center for the L.A. Lakers.  Despite rumors of Howard going to the Brooklyn Nets or Dallas Mavericks, there was no trade which is consistent with what the Lakers organization has said all along about Howard.  He will finish out his one year contract and possibly be traded after the season.  Howard, who was traded to the Lakers this year from the Orlando Magic, has not had a seamless transition on his new team.  Although he is averaging 16.4 points and 11.8 rebounds in games this season (which is slightly lower than his career averages), his relationship with Kobe Bryant has not appeared to be perfect.  There were high expectations for the Lakers (only missed the playoffs two times in the last 20 years), but at the moment the playoffs are a long shot for this season.  We will find out after the season if Howard is a long-term player for the Lakers.  The team had a big win against Boston last night, so maybe things are looking up for Dwight and the Lakers.

Speaking of the Celtics, there were also rumors that Rajon Rondo, Boston’s point guard, might be traded.  Rondo was averaging career high 13.7 points and 11.1 assists before he tore his ACL the end of January.  There was a rumored Rondo and Howard trade, but none of this happened today.

Kris Humphries (also known as Kim Kardashian’s husband for 72 days), a power forward on the Brooklyn Nets, was also among those who were not traded.  While the Kardashian relationship did not make Humphries the most popular guy last year, he did average a respectable 13.8 points and 11 rebounds (pretty good for fantasy basketball).  This year he plays less time and averages are down to 6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.  Humphries’ rumored trade to the Atlanta Hawks did not happen. On a side note, this advertisement featuring Humphries is worth watching.

There were a few trades. As a result of a multi-player deal between the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic,  J.J. Redick will now be a member of the Bucks.  Also, the Boston Celtics traded for the Washington Wizards shooting guard, Jordan Crawford. Crawford was not fitting with the Wizards and the Celtics needed help in the guard positions.

Sources

http://www.nba.com/playerfile/dwight_howard/

http://www.nba.com/playerfile/rajon_rondo/

http://www.nba.com/playerfile/kris_humphries/

http://www.nbauniverse.com/teams/records_los_angeles_lakers.htm

Kobe Bryant Vs. LeBron James

Overview

There has been much debate concerning Michael Jordan’s statement last week that he would pick Kobe over LeBron because “five (championships) beats one every time I look at it.”

Kobe’s 5 championships trump LeBron’s one championship.  Kobe also backed up MJ’s statement by taking it to LeBron in the All-Star game over the weekend.  LeBron definitely holds his own in this dispute by having higher career averages in every major category (points, rebounds, assists, and steals).

Summary and Analysis

Kobe has played 16 seasons in the NBA.  In addition to 5 championships, Kobe has average 26.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.5 steals.  He also defended his case last Sunday  in the All-Star game, but then again, it was the All-Star game…

MJ made a bold statement choosing Kobe given that LeBron is averaging 27.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.7 steals in his career.   Also, the last couple weeks LeBron went on a run of scoring 30 points while shooting over 60% from the field 6 games in a row.  That’s something no one in NBA history has ever done. LeBron has won 1NBA championship and has played in the NBA for 9 years

LeBron also looked impressive against the LA Lakers last month.

Sources

http://www.nba.com/playerfile/kobe_bryant/

http://www.nba.com/playerfile/lebron_james/