Sunday, May 29, 2016

2010 NBA Draft Needs: Boston Celtics

There were times this past NBA season when the Boston Celtics just looked old. It was as if they rapidly aged right before our eyes. I can remember at the beginning of the season some people were talking about a 65 to 70 win season, they finished with just 50. The Celtics have been here before, watching a dynamic trio quickly age, with Robert Parish, Larry Bird, and Kevin McHale in the late 1980’s. The modern big three, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett are all over the age of 32. Add to that Rasheed Wallace at the age of 35 and you can see why the Celtics need someone who doesn’t remember what parachute pants are.

Celtics management needs to first of all decide whether they want to re-sign Ray Allen, who is a free agent after this season. This decision will greatly impact their needs on draft day. If they let Allen go the Celtics will need to pick up a shooter, possibly someone like an Avery Bradley out of Texas. They could also address the need for a shooter through free agency.

If Allen returns than the Celtics will probably need to address some need in the backcourt. This is where a player like Virginia Commonwealth University’s power forward Larry Sanders known for his shot blocking ability could come into play.

We haven’t even addressed the Celtics need for a back up point guard to give Rajon Rondo a breather from time to time. A player like Armon Johnson out of Nevada could fit the bill here.

Whatever the case may be the Celtics need to secure a good player that will actually stay on the roster and be able to contribute. With names like Gabe Pruitt, and J.R. Giddens littering recent drafts it is important that Boston manages to make the 19th pick count. Boston’s General Manger Danny Ainge might have to get creative to keep the team competitive in the near future. Only time will tell if he has the talent to make it happen.

Sources: 2009-2010 Celtics Roster

Tags:2010 NBA Draft Needs: Boston Celtics

2010 Multi-Cultural Festival for the Mid-Ohio Valley

Irish rock music. African drummers. Italian, Middle Eastern, and Indonesian dancers. Polish kielbasa. Asian puff bread. Cajun red beans & rice. And an all-American hot dog. Winthin Footsteps of each other! You can enjoy all this and more at The Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival at City Park in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Add in the Children’s hands-on art and craft activities from different countries, a kid’s Train ride and more and you’ve got a fun and fantastic weekend for the entire family.

Schedule of Events:

Date: Friday, June 18 till Sunday, June 20, 2010

Location: City Park, Parkersburg, WV

Directions: From I-77, take 7th Street Exit

From Rt. 50 , take 7th Street Exit

Parking: Available. Wheelchair accessable. Additional needs available

Opening Ceremonies: Friday 7:15 PM

Live Music and Entertainment All Day!

Admission: Free to the public. There is no admission fee.

Celebrate, perpetuate and preserve

Tags:2010 Multi-Cultural Festival for the Mid-Ohio Valley

2010 NBA Draft Lottery Has Surprise No. 1 Pick

The 2010 NBA Draft Lottery, which has been termed by some the “John Wall Lottery” took place this Tuesday the 18th at 8 p.m. in Secaucus, N.J. The lottery kicked off amidst great expectations from the NBA’s worst team, the New Jersey Nets, who fully expected to gain the rights to draft Kentucky phenom John Wall and contend to sign Lebron James in free agency this summer. Yet, as many know, even the best laid plans go awry and such was the case in New Jersey’s hopes to garner the number one overall pick.

In what was surprising night to the odds makers, New Jersey dropped to the #3 pick, despite their 25% chance of winning the lottery. The Philadelphia 76ers took the #2 spot despite a 5.3% chance and the Washington Wizards, with a menial 10.3% chance, won the rights to the coveted #1 overall pick.

The only question that remained was: Would the Wizards still take John Wall despite having All-Star Point Guard Gilbert Arenas on their roster? Team President Ernie Grunfeld went a long way to answering that question in his post-lottery comments: “We’re going to take the best player available, regardless of position,” he said. “This is a player that we intend to have with us for a long, long time. So whoever the best player we feel is available to us, that’s the one we’ll pick.” Asked whether he’s concerned about positional redundancy, Grunfeld simply said “No.”

Though John Wall’s status at #1 overall is all but certain, 13 other teams in the lottery have still yet to make their absolute decision for draft day. The result of this year’s deep, but relatively star-free draft, will be teams selecting according to their needs more than base talent. As Jeff Goodman put in his draft class preview, “The 2010 NBA draft may lack star power for the time being, but it’s deep and there are plenty of guys who will have lengthy and successful careers in the NBA.”

The consensus is most of the top 14 will draft players that can come in right away and contribute, here is a preview of who the top 14 will draft to improve their teams on June 24th:

14. Houston Rockets – Ed Davis (PF North Carolina)

Although the Rockets would prefer drafting Hassan Whiteside to fill their need at center, I expect him to be gone at this point. Thus, the Rockets will settle for Ed Davis, a talented young player who adds length to their roster and doesn’t have to start right away.

13. Toronto Raptors – Hassan Whiteside (C Marshall)

With Chris Bosh likely leaving for greener pastures the Toronto Raptors need to address their interior and Hassan Whiteside does that for them. Whiteside gives the Raptors the defensive presence they need and allows Bargnani to move to the PF position if desired to create further mismatches and play to Bargnani’s strengths.

12. Memphis Grizzlies – Donatas Motiejunas (PF/C International)

Assuming the Grizzlies retain Rudy Gay, which I expect them to, they have the chance to add needed depth to an already fantastic core of players. Motiejunas will not be expected to start and will be able to sit behind Hasheem Thabeet and Zach Randolph to further hone his skills.

11. New Orleans Hornets – Xavier Henry (SG Kansas)

The Hornets desperately need to add scoring threats to their SG and SF positions and Xavier Henry does just that for them. He isn’t projected to be a star per se, but he will do enough to pull some pressure off of Emeka Okafor and Chris Paul next season.

10. Indiana Pacers – Ekpe Udoh (PF Baylor)

With Roy Hibbert not progressing as quickly as the Indiana Pacers have hoped, I expect them to draft Udoh here to further bolster their interior rebounding and athleticism. Udoh brings a decent offensive game with some mid-level range and is a good fit here.

9. Utah Jazz – Cole Aldrich (C Kansas)

Cole Aldrich is the perfect fit for the Utah Jazz. He brings rebounding, toughness, a moderate offensive game and fits well into their mostly half-court offense. Once considered a top 5 pick, Aldrich has considerable talent and is a great bargain for Utah. Assuming the Jazz can’t afford to keep Carlos Boozer in the off-season Aldrich is at worst a good consolation prize.

8. L.A. Clippers – Patrick Patterson (PF Kentucky)

The Clippers greatest need is small forward, but the two best players at that position, Aminu and Johnson will be gone before they pick so they will revert to their second need, power forward. Patterson isn’t a star at the PF position but he is solid and will give the Clippers much more production at that position than Drew Gooden has.

7. Detroit Pistons – Greg Monroe (C Georgetown)

The Pistons need a center. Greg Monroe is their man. Since the Pistons don’t rely on scoring points via post-ups (ala Ben Wallace) Monroe is a great fit for them. His offensive game is limited, but he rebounds effectively, disrupts shots and runs the floor well. His game is a good match for the Piston’s style of play.

6. Golden State Warriors – Al-Farouq Aminu (SF Wake Forest)

Aminu has been projected as a SF in the NBA but can conceivably play both forwards positions well. Golden State needs length and rebounding to shore up their team and Aminu can bring that. With Corey Maggette losing several steps, the time for a replacement is now.

5. Sacramento Kings – Demarcus Cousins (C Kentucky)

Demarcus Cousins is a no-brainer pick for the Kings here. They desperately need a center who can present a challenge down low for opposing teams and Cousins fits that mold. Cousins can rebound, dominate the paint and has a solid offensive game to boot. His maturity has been questioned but he generally has shown to have a good head in tough situations and should be fine.

4. Minnesota Timberwolves – Wesley Johnson (SF Syracuse)

Wesley Johnson is an athletic scorer who wowed at Syracuse and should continue to do the same at Minnesota. With this young core, Johnson can really help this team win games right away with his offensive game. Great pick here for the Timberwolves.

3. New Jersey Nets – Derrick Favors (PF Georgia Tech)

Picking third overall could be a blessing for the Nets. Now they don’t have to worry about where to send All-Star PG Devin Harris after picking John Wall, this draft is all about need for the Nets and their greatest needs are at the forward positions. Favors has been compared by some to Chris Bosh and even if he doesn’t achieve that level of play he is still a great fit for the Nets, allowing them to move Yi Jianlian from the F spot where he is often overmatched.

2. Philadelphia 76ers – Evan Turner (SG Ohio State)

The 76ers may be preparing for a future without Andre Iguodala more than anything with this pick, but assuming he stays Turner is still a great player to have. Evan Turner has shown tremendous poise and scoring ability while at Ohio State and is as close to a no-miss pick as you can make.

1. Washington Wizards – John Wall (PG Kentucky)

If there ever was a can’t miss pick it is John Wall. Although the Wizards have Gilbert Arenas still under contract, they are passing up this great of a talent. John Wall will end up starting for them and being a solid point guard for years to come.


Henry Abbott Good luck at last for the Wizards- TrueHoop Blog

Jeff Goodman 2010 NBA draft class lacks stars, but not talent – CBK News FOX Sports

John Schuhmann Wizards’ future brightens; Nets’ bad luck continues

Tags:2010 NBA Draft Lottery Has Surprise No. 1 Pick

2010 Mock Draft 4.0

This is my 2010 NFL mock draft, version 4.0. To see the 3rd of my 4 mock drafts click this link. My current and last 2010 NFL mock draft is post Donovan McNabb trade and was updated on April 12th 2010. If you want to see my live blogging coverage of the 2010 NFL draft then click this link and save it.

1 Saint Louis Rams- Sam Bradford QB- Oklahoma

I had the Rams taking Suh in my previous two 2010 NFL mock drafts but I think Bradford will be the man. As you can read here franchise quarterbacks are too important to pass up on. Bradford is accurate but coming off an injury and also played in a gimmick offense which hurts college quarterbacks in the NFL. The Rams could still take Suh or try to trade down in hopes of having a rookie salary cap after the 2011 NFL strike. I didn’t have Bradford listed as the best quarterback in the draft but the Rams do.

2 Detroit Lions- Russell Okrung OT- Oklahoma State

The Lions need to protect their investment in Matthew Stafford and Okrung can help them do that. At 6ft 5 Okrung can add more weight and strength to help in the running game as well. Stafford has some quality targets but the Lions need to keep him healthy to find them on the field. Okrung is the best left tackle in the draft and he will help Stafford for years.

3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Ndamukong Suh DT- Nebraska

Look for the Bucs to try to trade down in order to save money but if they pick here in the 2010 NFL draft they will take Suh. I think either Suh or Joe Haden will be the best NFL player out of this draft and he will make the Bucs forget about Warren Sapp.

4 Washington Redskins- Bryan Bulaga, T, Iowa

Washington had the worst offensive line in football in 2009. If new coach Mike Shanahan and new QB McNabb are to flourish that has to be addressed here.

5 Kansas City Chiefs Jimmy Clausen QB-Notre Dame

The Chiefs have Matt Cassel but only under contract for one more year. Cassel is somewhat of a bust anyway and new offensive coordinator Charlie Weiss coaches Jimmy Clausen at Notre Dame. Clausen can step right in and know a good part of the Chiefs offense and shorten the learning curve.

6 Seattle Seahawks- Joe Haden CB-Florida

I think Joe Haden is one the best players in the 2010 NFL draft and the Seahawks will be thrilled to grab him here. Clausen could be a pick here but I think new Coach Pete Carroll will go DB. If Haden drops due to his slow speed in the 40 shown at the combine look for the Seahawks to go with an offensive lineman.

7 Cleveland Browns- Gerald McCoy DT-Oklahoma

If Bradford or Clausen slips this far then the Browns would take either of them. Failing that my 2010 NFL mock draft has the Browns going for McCoy as he is the best available player. The Browns could reach for Dez Bryant to give Seneca Wallace or Jake Delhomme a target but I don’t see that happening.

8 Oakland Raiders- Bruce Campbell OT- Maryland

The Raiders have lots of holes to fill but the offensive line can use the boost that Campbell can provide. A possible franchise left tackle like Campbell can’t be ignored here. Russell may be given one more year to prove he is a franchise quarterback and Campbell will help protect him

9 Buffalo Bills- Trent Williams OT- Oklahoma

I had Anthony Davis here but his stock fell due to attitude and weight issues. Williams can help a Bills offense under a good mind like Chan Gaily go far. Williams is a safe pick and could be a starter for the next ten years.

10 Jacksonville Jaguars Eric Berry S- Tennessee

If Berry falls this far then the Jaguars will snap him up rather quickly. Look for the Jags to hope Tebow falls to them in the second round.

11 Denver Broncos- Rolando McClain ILB- Alabama

Denver needs linebacker help in a big way and McClain can provide it with the 11th pick in the 2010 NFL draft. Most 2010 NFL mock drafts I have seen share my opinion on this pick. McClain has revealed that he has Crohn’s disease but I don’t think it will hurt his draft status.

12 Miami Dolphins-Brandon Graham OLB-Michigan

The Dolphins need a wide receiver but won’t pick anyone other than Bryant here, so will address their linebackers. Graham will make a solid addition to a unit getting younger and better.

13San Francisco 49ers-Anthony Davis OT-Rutgers

With 2 number one picks the team could package them to move up to grab somebody they really like, but I don’t think so. Anthony Davis is my pick for the 49ers in this 2010 NFL mock draft. Davis has weight and possible attitude issues but I think he makes sense here.

14 Seattle Seahawks- Derrick Morgan DE-Georgia Tech

With Patrick Kerney’s retirement from a bad defensive line, Morgan makes the most sense here. Morgan will start right away and help a less than average Seahawk’s defense.

15 New York Giants-Brandon Spikes LB-Florida

The Giants could go for Dez Bryant if he falls this far but he won’t Spikes will help shore up a Giants defense that fell to average in 2009.

16 Tennessee Titans- Dan Williams D-Tennessee

Dan Williams adds some much needed depth and pop to the Titans defensive line. It won’t hurt that he is a local player who played college ball in the state.

17 San Francisco 49ers C.J. RB-Clemson

Gore has battled injuries and is approaching old age for a running back. Spiller is the best back in the 2010 NFL draft and will add to an improving 49er’s offense.

18 Pittsburgh Steelers- Taylor Mays FS- Southern California

If an elite offensive tackle falls this far (yeah right) the Steelers will pounce on him. But I my 2010 NFL mock, Taylor Mays is the right pick for the Steelers. Their secondary sucks and Mays brings some young blood into the mix.

19 Atlanta Falcons Dez Bryant WR-Oklahoma State

Bryant’s off the field issues and his dislike for slant patters will drop him, if he falls this far the Falcons won’t turn down adding a nice weapon for Matt Ryan.

20 Houston Texans- Jahvid Best RB-California

Yeah I know the Texans have other needs but their running game has been their downfall on offense. I think they go RB here and Best is the best (pun intended) on the board. The team could go offensive line at this pick though.

21 Cincinnati Bengals- Earl Thomas S-Texas

The Bengals addressed their wide receiver issue with Antonio Bryant and now Thomas will try to shore up a suspect secondary for the Bengals. I wouldn’t be shocked however if the Bengals went for a running back here, if they love one that is available.

22 New England Patriots-Jason Pierre-Paul, DE/OLB**, South Florida

Jason Pierre-Paul can be a beast in the right defense and if he falls this far the Patriots will grab him up and turn him loose.

23 Green Bay Packers- Charles Brown OT-USC

Brown will help keep the big nasties away from Aaron Rodgers and let the Packers build that great offense up some more.

24 Philadelphia Eagles- Mike Iupati G-Idaho

This could be a reach but the Eagles have an explosive offense in place that can only get better with some line help. The Eagles could well go after a running back here but I think that will come later in the 2010 NFL draft.

25 Baltimore Ravens- Golden Tate WR-Notre Dame

The Ravens did resign Derrick Mason and traded for Anquan Boldin but Tate makes sense here. Wide receivers tend to be non factors as rookies and Tate could be a backup for a year then replace Mason when he retires, which will be soon.

26 Arizona Cardinals-Sean Weatherspoon LB- Missouri

The Cardinals need some linebacking help and I think Weatherspoon can do the job here.

27 Dallas Cowboys- Dallas Cowboys Vladimir Ducasse OG-U-Mass

The Cowboys offensive line has had some issues and Ducasse can help out here pretty quickly.

28 San Diego Chargers- Ryan Matthews RB- Fresno State

Matthews is a must pick here as the Chargers are replacing LaDainian Tomlinson and possibly Darren Sproles.

29 New York Jets- Brandon LaFell WR-LSU

LaFell gives Mark Sanchez a tall fluid target and one more weapon for a Jets offense that needs them desperately.

30 Minnesota Vikings Brian Price DT-UCLA

The two Williams boys are getting long in the tooth and adding Price to a good D line rotation could make them the best in the NFL. Even if people really believe Brett Favre is retired for real, I don’t expect qb to be a priority. However the Vikes could go for a CB here.

31 Indianapolis Colts-Chad Jones S-LSU

The Colts can use a playmaker who can hit in their secondary since Sanders is hurt all the time. Jones is a good fit here for the Colts in my 2010 NFL mock draft.

32 New Orleans Saints- Greg Hardy DE-Ole Miss

Hardy on a nice Saints defensive line rotation can only make this improving defense, better.

Thanks for reading my updated first round 2010 NFL mock draft. To see many other great mocks check out the websites listed in the sources below. See the 2nd round my my 2010 mock draft here.

Sources for great Mock Drafts

Interview with Walter from mock draft database

Tags:2010 Mock Draft 4.0

2010 NBA Playoff Power Rankings

After 1,230 regular season games only 16 teams remain standing. The NBA playoffs begin this weekend and over the next two months those 16 teams will compete for the coveted Larry O’Brien Trophy. The team that wins 16 games will win the NBA Championship. Here is a ranking of the 16 playoff teams based on the likelihood of becoming the 2009-2010 NBA Champions.

NBA Championship Contenders-One of These Three Teams Will Win the Larry O’Brien Trophy

Rank 1: Los Angeles Lakers (Record: 57-25, West’s First Seed)
The defending NBA Champion Lakers were inconsistent throughout the regular season. Once the playoffs begin their focus and consistency will improve. Whether or not it improves enough for them to repeat remains to be seen; but until someone beats Kobe, Phil, and company in a seven-game series the Lakers will remain the champions.

Rank 2: Cleveland Cavaliers (Record: 61-21, East’s First Seed)
The Cavaliers once again have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. LeBron and the Cavs are hoping that Shaquille O’Neal and Antawn Jamison will be difference-makers this postseason.

Rank 3: Orlando Magic (Record: 59-23, East’s Second Seed)
The Magic look to make it to the NBA Finals for the second consecutive season and they hope the results will be different this time around.

Possible Conference Finalists

Rank 4: San Antonio Spurs (Record: 50-32, West’s Seventh Seed)
The Spur’s will open the playoffs on the road against the same team that eliminated them in the first round of last year’s playoffs, the Mavericks. If this veteran squad makes it out of the first round and remains healthy they will be a team to be reckoned with.

Rank 5: Atlanta Hawks (Record: 53-29, East’s Third Seed)
The Hawks have improved and matured right before our eyes. But have they grown enough to get by either the Cavaliers or Magic?

Rank 6: Dallas Mavericks (Record: 55-27, West’s Second Seed)
The Mavericks open the playoffs against their intrastate rivals the San Antonio Spurs. The winner of this matchup will probably meet the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.

Everyone Else

Rank 7: Phoenix Suns (Record: 54-28, West’s Third Seed)
The Suns drew the hobbled Trail Blazers and should run by them in the first round.

Rank 8: Miami Heat (Record: 47-35, East’s Fifth Seed)
Dwyane Wade has carried the Miami Heat all season long. If he carries them past the Celtics the stage will be set for the first playoff meeting between LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Rank 9: Denver Nuggets (Record: 53-29, West’s Fourth Seed)
With George Karl on the bench the Nuggets will have a chance to make it to the Western Conference Finals; without him they could possibly lose to the Jazz in the first round.

Rank 10: Utah Jazz (Record: 53-29, West’s Fifth Seed)
With Carlos Boozer the Jazz can beat the Nuggets; without him they have no chance.

Rank 11: Boston Celtics (Record: 50-32, East’s Fourth Seed)
The Celtics will open the first round against Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat. If they survive that series LeBron James and the Cavaliers will be awaiting them.

Rank 12: Milwaukee Bucks (Record: 46-36, East’s Sixth Seed)

The Bucks return to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Without Andrew Bogut to patrol the paint their chances of escaping the Hawks are slim at best.

Rank 13: Portland Trail Blazers (Record: 50-32, West’s Sixth Seed)
The Trail Blazers have survived multiple injuries this season. But losing Brandon Roy may be just a little too much to overcome.

Rank 14: Charlotte Bobcats (Record: 44-38, East’s Seventh Seed)
The Bobcats will make their first playoff appearance against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Magic.

Rank 15: Chicago Bulls (Record: 41-41, East’s Eighth Seed)
The Bulls earned the right to play the Cavaliers in the first round by winning their final three games. Those may be their last wins of the 2009-2010 season.

Rank 16: Oklahoma City Thunder (Record: 50-32, West’s Eighth Seed)
Oklahoma City fans will get their first taste of the NBA playoffs. The Thunder will host at least two playoff games and with a lot of luck maybe more.

Information from’s 2010 NBA Playoff Match ups was used for this article.

Tags:2010 NBA Playoff Power Rankings

2010 NBA Draft Order Set After 2010 NBA Lottery

The 2010 NBA Draft order has been set after completion of the NBA Draft Lottery. The first pick in the 2010 NBA Draft order belongs to Washington. The Philadelphia 76ers now have the second pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, and it will be New Jersey Nets that picks third. The rest of the draft order fell into place based on the 2009-2010 NBA regular season record, and it will be interesting to see if a number of trades take place now that the order is set. Could it lead to LeBron James going to one of the teams that select a specific player No. 1 overall? That is for another day, but for at least right now, we now have the first official 2010 NBA Draft order completed.

There were a number of draft choices that had already been traded prior to the 2010 NBA Draft Lottery, and that is taken into account with the updated list of the first round draft order below. The future of many NBA teams was tonight, and now the best thing to look forward to in the offseason will now be the NBA Draft this summer. Some of the top drafting teams are hoping to acquire LeBron James, but for everyone else, it’s time to get those mock draft boards ready to for execution on June 24th.

NBA Draft Schedule

Current 2010 NBA Draft Order (5/18/2010)

1. Washington
2. Philadelphia
3. New Jersey
4. Minnesota
5. Sacramento
6. Golden State
7. Detroit
8. L.A. Clippers
9. Utah
10. Indiana
11. New Orleans
12. Memphis
13. Toronto
14. Houston
15. Milwaukee
16. Minnesota
17. Chicago
18. Miami
19. Boston
20. San Antonio
21. Oklahoma City
22. Portland
23. Minnesota
24. Atlanta
25. Memphis
26. Oklahoma City
27. New Jersey
28. Memphis
29. Orlando
30. Washington


Tags:2010 NBA Draft Order Set After 2010 NBA Lottery

2010 NBA Playoffs: Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Phoenix Suns

Both the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns have won eight of their first 10 NBA playoff games. The Lakers defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 4-2 in the first round and then swept the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference Semifinals. The Phoenix Suns won their first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers in six games and in the second round they dispatched the San Antonio Spurs in just four games. By virtue of sweeping their second-round opponents both the Lakers and Suns earned a week to rest and prepare. Each team should expect the others “A” game in Game 1 of the 2010 NBA Western Conference Finals. The team that gets four wins will move on to play the Eastern Conference Champion in the 2010 NBA Finals.

2010 NBA Western Conference Finals Schedule

Game 1: Monday, May 17, Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers, 6 p.m. PDT
Game 2: Wednesday, May 19, Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers, 6 p.m. PDT
Game 3: Sunday, May 23, Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns, 5:30 p.m. PDT
Game 4: Tuesday, May 25, Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns, 6 p.m. PDT
Game 5: Thursday, May 27, Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers, 6 p.m. PDT (if necessary)
Game 6: Saturday, May 29, Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns, 5:30 p.m. PDT (if necessary)
Game 7: Monday, May 31, Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers, 6 p.m. PDT (if necessary)

After missing the playoffs last season the Phoenix Suns stand between the Lakers and their third consecutive trip to the NBA Finals. In order to derail the defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers the Suns will need to push the tempo and make a high percentage of their three-pointers. At 105.8 points per game Phoenix has the highest playoff scoring average of the remaining playoff teams. After 10 playoff games they are making 10 threes per game and shooting an amazing 41.7% (playoff leaders) beyond the arc. If the Suns can maintain this type of production from three-point land and play at their preferred pace they will make this an extremely competitive and interesting series.

For the Suns to really have a shot at defeating the Lakers they will have to find a way to compete with the Lakers’ twin towers Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. The Suns, like the Utah Jazz before them, do not have enough big bodies to contend with the length of the Lakers’ frontline. The likely return of Robin Lopez to Phoenix’s lineup will be helpful. But he has not played since March 26th so it unlikely that he will have much of an impact on the series. If the Lakers exploit their size advantage inside this will be a difficult series for the Phoenix Suns.

If the Suns pack the paint to limit the effectiveness of Bynum and Gasol that will leave plenty of open space for a rested Kobe Bryant to simply pick and choose how to attack their defense. Phoenix will throw Grant Hill, Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley, and anyone else they can at Bryant to try to slow him down. But Bryant has seen a multitude of defenses throughout his career and will find a way to exploit the weaknesses in whatever defensive schemes the Suns throw at him.

Just four wins separate the Los Angeles Lakers from the 2010 NBA Finals. If the Lakers control the tempo they will secure those four wins. The first step in controlling the tempo will be for the Lakers to limit their ill-advised three-point attempts. Missed threes rebound long and will allow Steve Nash and the Suns to push the ball down the court quickly. Secondly, the Lakers will need to find a way to make Steve Nash pick up his dribble. If Nash is allowed to dribble the basketball all over the court he will make plays for his teammates and get them open looks. To limit the Suns’ transition opportunities the Lakers must be judicious in their shot selection.

Another key for the Lakers will be their ability to stay attached to the Suns’ three-point shooters, particularly Jason Richardson. During the playoffs Richardson is shooting an incredible 51.5% beyond the three-point arc while leading the Suns in scoring with 21.9 points per game. Throughout the playoffs the Lakers have held their opponents to 32.3% on three-pointers. During the regular season they held Richardson to 8.8 points per game and 14.3% on threes. If the Lakers consistently challenge Phoenix’s three-point shooters they will limit the Suns’ offensive efficiency and control the series.

Prediction: Lakers 4-1

Information from’s 2010 NBA Playoffs-Conference Finals-Suns vs. Lakers, 2009-10 Postseason NBA Team Stats, and Jason Richardson Stats.

Tags:2010 NBA Playoffs: Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Phoenix Suns

2010 NBA Opening Night Schedule

The 2010-2011 NBA season begins on Tuesday, October 26. An exciting TNT doubleheader highlights the three-game Opening Night schedule. Each game features a team that made it to the Conference Finals last season and last season’s NBA finalists anchor the TNT doubleheader.

Miami Heat at Boston Celtics, 7:30 PM ET on TNT
Opening Night 2010 will tip-off with TNT covering the much-anticipated debut of the Miami Heat All-Star Trio. The new-look Heat, led by Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, will visit the Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics at TD Garden in the season’s first game.

Both teams will debut new additions in this rematch of last season’s first-round playoff matchup. The Heat added Bosh and James to a team already featuring Dwyane Wade to form an all-star trio. The Celtics added two former Heat centers, Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal, to fortify their frontline.

Game 1 of the NBA Opening Night Schedule is a precursor to the drama and intrigue the full NBA season will bring; and it is fitting that it tips-off TNT’s season-long NBA coverage.

Phoenix Suns at Portland Trail Blazers, 10:00 PM ET
Another rematch from the 2010 NBA Playoffs is part of the NBA Opening Night Schedule. In the second game of the night, Brandon Roy and the Portland Trail Blazers will host Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns at the Rose Garden.

The Suns will begin life without Amar’e Stoudemire against the same team they eliminated from the playoffs last season. While the Trail Blazers will continue to wonder when, or if, the Greg Oden era will begin.

Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers, 10:30 PM ET on TNT
The two-time defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers will host the Houston Rockets at the Staples Center in Game 2 of TNT’s opening night doubleheader. TNT’s coverage will include the ring ceremony prior to tip-off.

This matchup will mark the return of Rockets center Yao Ming, who will be playing in his first game since injuring his left foot in Game 3 of the 2009 Western Conference Semifinals against these same Lakers.

Back then, Ron Artest was one of Yao’s teammates. Artest, who is now a Laker, had a brilliant performance in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics and is one of the major reasons the Lakers are the team hosting a ring ceremony on opening night.

NBA Opening Night, just like the rest of the NBA season that will follow, will be filled with drama, intrigue, and rematches.

More coverage of the 2010-2011 NBA Schedule:

2010-2011 NBA Schedule Heat at Lakers on Christmas Day
2010-2011 NBA Schedule Lakers and Celtics Host Opening Night

Information from’s Scores and Schedule was used for this article.

Tags:2010 NBA Opening Night Schedule

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