WARRIORSI OŠIŠALI I TREĆEG OVNA, BARON ZABIO 33: Baron Davis #5 of the Golden State Warriors blocks the shot of Jerry Stackhouse #42 of the Dallas Mavericks in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2007 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena on April 29, 2007 in Oakland, California. Copyright 2007 NBAE (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Baron giving his best shot
A friend of mine called me Sunday morning and said, "I think Baron Davis could be the best athlete in the world."
After watching Davis dominate the Dallas Mavericks again in the Golden State Warriors' 103-99 win on Sunday, I think I might agree.
The guy is so strong, fast and under control that it's tough to imagine a better athlete in any sport. Think about it: Can you see him playing free safety in football? How much ground would he cover? What if he had played soccer his whole life -- how good would he be? Tennis? The guy would run down every ball and pound overheads off the court.
Fortunately for basketball fans, Baron chose hoops. What a joy it is to watch this guy play. He has unbelievable control of the ball, and he builds a head of steam and still is able to change directions going full speed in the lane.
Davis was so good Sunday that the Warriors pulled out a game they shouldn't have won. In fact, for the first time in the series, Dallas looked like it had control of the action. Avery Johnson had his squad playing a 3-2 zone almost the entire game, and it accomplished several things.
NAJBOLJE AKCIJE 9. DANA DOIGRAVANJA (30/04/07)..
One, it allowed DeSagana Diop to stay on the floor because he didn't have to play anyone one-on-one. Diop was a major factor as a defensive presence at the rim, blocking four shots. Two, the zone kept the pace of the game to the Mavs' liking, for the most part. Unlike Game 3 on Friday, Sunday's Game 4 was not a free for all -- at least until the final minutes. And three, the zone took defensive pressure off Dirk Nowitzki, who had been picked on in the man-to-man throughout the series.
Unfortunately for Dallas, Dirk couldn't take advantage of his defensive freedom by knocking down shots at the other end. Golden State continued to harass Nowitzki with its many athletes and switching defenses. Dirk normally feasts on smaller guards who switch onto him in pick-and-rolls, but Davis and Jason Richardson are big and strong enough to force him away from the hoop just a little bit outside his comfort zone. Nowitzki again looked hurried and off balance on his many wayward jumpers, and after getting to the rim in the first half several times, he spent most of the second half launching perimeter shots.
So now it's a 3-1 series lead for the Warriors, and the Mavericks have to win three in a row to avoid maybe the biggest upset in NBA playoff history. Phoenix pulled off the feat last season against the Lakers, and there's no reason why Dallas can't do the same thing.
One big difference? After the Suns lost a heartbreaker to L.A. in Game 4 last year, Steve Nash calmly went to the podium and congratulated Kobe Bryant, talked about how winning Game 5 would change the momentum and how his team could still come back and win the series. Nowitzki, on the other hand, told the Dallas Morning News on Saturday that if his team lost Game 4 "the season will be pretty much over." Not exactly what Dirk's teammates needed to hear from their leader.
BEAT THIS MAVS: BAY AREA LIVES FOR THIS TEAM..
I keep saying Dallas can come back and win the series, and after Sunday, I believe there's some basis for that prediction. The Mavs finally had the right plan to control the game, but the Warriors' athletes made enough big plays to win the game. In particular, Baron Davis -- the world's best athlete -- was ridiculously good. If he keeps playing like he has been, it may not matter what Dallas does. But if Davis cools off at all, the Mavs still can pull it off. The only question is whether or not Nowitzki believes it.
Evo tu pada kiša i gledamo neki film pa sam izmigoljio na mejl.
NAJBOLJE AKCIJE 8. DANA DOIGRAVANJA (28/04/07): Fisher-2-Giriček-4-FOURPOINT PLAY na broju 1, kometator CNN World Sporta je Giru zamijenio za Okura..
Košarku još uvijek nisam igrao ali zato svake večeri gledam playoff. Koji gušt, ne moram više skidat torrente ili čekat kasno u noć.
Kaj ima u Zagrebu nova, na haklu, ak opće ideš? Kasnije ti pošaljem dvije slike, jednu iz dvorane i jednu iz Central parka.
Ovi hakleri iz dvorane su jako dobri a u central parku igraju solidno. Izgleda da ću u Harlem, jer je tamo smještaj najjeftiniji.
Tek tolko, pozdrav!
(NOT JUST) BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Centar Denver Netsa Marcus Camby proglašen je za najboljeg obrambenog igrača NBA lige u ovoj sezoni. Camby je osvojio ovu nagradu s ukupno 431 bodom, a 70 glasača ga je postavilo na prvo mjesto svojih lista. Drugo i treće mjesto zauzeli su košarkaši San Antonio Spursa Bruce Bowen i Tim Duncan sa 206, odnosno 158 bodova. Sa 3.3 blokade po utakmici Camby je bio najbolji u ligi u toj kategoriji u sezoni 2006/07., a usto je imao i 11.7 skokova, te 1.2 osvojenih lopti. Camby je naziv "ministra obrane" preuzeo od Bena Wallacea koji je tu nagradu osvojio četiri puta u posljednjih pet godina.
NBA doigravanje: Miami na rubu ispadanja
Branitelji naslova NBA lige, Miami Heat nalaze se na rubu ispadanja već u prvom krugu doigravanja nakon što je Chicago upisao i treću pobjedu. Bullsi su na gostovanju u American Airlines Areni slavili 104:96 i u seriji na četiri pobjede vode 3:0.
Goste su do pobjede predvodili Ben Gordon (27 koševa), Luol Deng (24) i Kirk Hinrich (22 koša i 6 asistencija).
NAJBOLJE AKCIJE 7. DANA DOIGRAVANJA (28/04/07)..
"Pobjeda protiv aktualnih prvaka u njihovoj dvorani dokazuje da imamo kvalitetu. Ukoliko zadržimo ovaj ritam mogli bi daleko dogurati," kazao je Gordon. Miami je sredinom treće četvrtine imao 12 koševa prednosti (72:60), no nije uspio zadržati prednost i sada se našao u gotovo bezizlaznoj situaciji jer niti jedna momčad u povijesti NBA lige nije slavila u seriji u kojoj je gubila 0:3. Domaćine su predvodili Dwayne Wade (28) i Shaquille O'Neal (23 koša i 13 skokova). Četvrta utakmica je na rasporedu u nedjelju u Miamiju.
Novo iznenađenje(??!??) je priredio Golden State koji je u trećem susretu pobijedio Dallas 109:91 i poveo 2:1. Junak u pobjedi Warriorsa bio je Jason Richardson sa 30 koševa, dok je Baron Davis dodao 24 koša. Bila je to prva pobjeda Golden Statea na domaćem parketu u doigravanju nakon 13 godina. Dirk Nowitzki (20) i Josh Howard (20) predvodili su goste. Četvrta utakmica na rasporedu je u nedjelju ponovo u ORACLE Areni u Oaklandu.
MARCUS CAMBY TOP 10 DEFENSIVE PLAYS OF SEASON..
Do vodstva od 2:1 došao je i New Jersey koji je u Continental Airlines Arena porazio Toronto 102:89. Jason Kidd je ubilježio još jedan "triple-double", predvodio je momčad sa 16 koševa, 16 skokova i 19 asistencija, dok je Vince Carter ubacio 37 koševa. T.J. Ford je predvodio Toronto sa 27 koševa. Četvrta utakmica na rasporedu je u nedjelju u istoj dvorani.
GIRIČEK vs. McGRADY: u 3 utakmice serije Rockets vs Jazz Gira (with a little help from his teammates) je limitirao T-Maca na 37.7% šuta iz polja, te 27.8% šuta za tricu (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)..
NBA doigravanje: Phoenix i Utah poveli 2:0, Detroit - Orlando 3:0
U trećem susretu prvog kruga doigravanja NBA lige Utah Jazza je pobijedio Houston 81:67 i smanjio vodstvo Rocketsa na 2:1. Houston se dobro držao u prve dvije dionice, međutim sredinom treće četvrtine Utah sa plus tri bježi na 12 koševa viška i utakmica je bila prelomljena.
Najefikasniji igrači u pobjedi Utaha bili su Carlos Boozer (22 koša i 12 skokova), te Matt Harping (13 koševa i 7 skokova), dok je hrvatski reprezentativac Gordan Giriček za 23 minute postigao 10 koševa, šut 4-9, trice 2-2, uz 3 skoka i jednu asistenciju. Goste su predvodili Yao Ming (26 koševa i 14 skokova), te Tracy McGrady (24 koša). Četvrta utakmica na rasporedu je u subotu u Salt Lake Cityu.
NAJBOLJE AKCIJE 6. DANA DOIGRAVANJA..
Na 2:1 su smanjili i Los Angeles Lakersi protiv Phoenixa. U trećem susretu Lakersi su u Staples Centru slavili 95:89. Premda su Sunsi nakon prve četvrtine imali 14 koševa prednosti (31:17), domaćin je uspio nadoknaditi zaostatak i preokrenuti rezultat. Najbolji je, naravno, bio Kobe Bryant koji je ubacio 45 koševa, uz 6 skokova i 6 asistencija.
Za razliku od prva dva susreta Bryant je ovoga puta bio najbolji kada je to bilo i najpotrebnije - u zadnjoj četvrtini zabio je 15 koševa. Kwame Brown je dodao 19 koševa, a Lamar Odom 18 koševa i 16 skokova. Sunse su predvodili Amare Stoudemire (24 koša i 10 skokova) i Steve Nash (10 koševa i 13 asistencija). Četvrta utakmica je u Los Angelesu u nedjelju.
T-MAC FIRE INSIDE MIX by ProfeUP, FINLAND..
Jedina momčad koja je doigravanje otvorila sa tri pobjede su Detroit Pistonsi protiv Orlando Magica. U trećem susretu Detroit je slavio 93:77 i za prolazak u konferencijsko polufinale treba još jednu pobjedu.
U pobjedi Pistonsa petorica igrača su upisala dvoznamenkasti broj koševa, a najviše - Tayshaun Prince (23 koša, 7 skokova i 5 asistencija) i Chauncey Billups (21 koš, 6 skokova). Prvi strijelac Orlanda bio je Jameer Nelson (27 koševa). Četvrta utakmica je u subotu u Orlandu.
Nowitzki favorit za MVP-a sezone
Njemački košarkaš Dirk Nowitzki, koji je najzaslužniji za odlične rezultate Dallas Mavericksa, vjerojatno će biti proglašen najkorisnijim igračem NBA lige, objavila je danas novinska agencija DPA pozivajući se na rezultate ankete među NBA trenerima.
NAJBOLJE AKCIJE 5. DANA DOIGRAVANJA (26/04/07)..
U toj anketi Nowitzki je dobio 109 bodova, dok je na drugom mjestu Steve Nash iz Phoenix Sunsa (82 boda), koji je u prošle dvije sezone bio proglašavan najkorisnijim igračem NBA lige.
TOP 10 PLAYS OF THE WEEK 25 (2006/07)..
Dobitnik nagrade za najkorisnijeg igrača NBA lige bit će službeno objavljen početkom svibnja.
BEST SIXTH MAN: Phoenix Suns' Leandro Barbosa (REGULAR SEASON: 18.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 32.7 minutes per game), of Brazil, holds kisses his trophy after winning the NBA's Sixth Man Award prior to his team's Western Conference NBA basketball playoff game against the Los Angeles Lakers' Tuesday, April 24, 2007 at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix.
Sonics fire coach Bob Hill, remove Sund as general manager
Clay Bennett waited months to finally put his imprint on the basketball side of the Seattle SuperSonics.
Bennett, the Sonics' majority owner, did that on Tuesday by firing coach Bob Hill, as expected, and removing Rick Sund as general manager. But it came with little fanfare or explanation, and plenty of questions not involving the franchise's future in Seattle.
The overhaul of the Sonics' basketball operations was announced in a four-paragraph, 160-word release in the late afternoon. Bennett and team vice chairman Lenny Wilkens weren't made available for comment, and the brief announcement failed to give an explanation for the moves.
"Bob Hill and Rick Sund are fine individuals of excellent personal character and are basketball men through and through. They were both extremely helpful to us during this challenging year of transition. We are sincerely appreciative to them for their service and we wish them only the very best," Bennett said in the statement.
Why the moves were made is easier to decipher. The Sonics just finished a 31-51 season, their worst since ending the 1985-86 season with an identical mark. Only three times in the Sonics' 40-year history have they finished with a worse record.
Sund, with one year remaining on his contract, will remain with the franchise as a consultant. Hill's contract was set to expire in June. Both were brought in by the previous ownership group.
Now Bennett and Wilkens get to shape the Sonics' basketball operations how they want. Their parameters for finding a new general manager and coach are among the lingering questions.
Wilkens, the Hall of Fame coach, is likely to be rumored for both positions, but has reiterated a lack of interest in returning to coaching.
The duo's biggest challenge may be finding a staff willing to endure a lame-duck season in Seattle, before the franchise potentially moves.
NAJBOLJE AKCIJE 4. DANA DOIGRAVANJA (2006/07)..
Last week, Bennett announced the team likely would not play in Seattle after the 2007-08 season following the Washington state Legislature's decision not to consider plans for a new $500 million arena in suburban Renton. Bennett asked for $278 million in King County tax revenues to help pay for the new arena.
If Bennett doesn't get an agreement for a new arena in the Seattle area by Oct. 31, his $350 million purchase agreement allows him to move the team -- most likely to Oklahoma City. Bennett's ownership group bought the Sonics and the WNBA Seattle Storm last July.
"While there is uncertainty as to the future physical location of our franchise, our commitment to creating a culture of competitive excellence for this organization is unwavering," Bennett said. "We absolutely aspire to win championships."
Hill and Sund didn't return phone messages seeking comment.
Hill's efforts to impress Bennett failed largely because of debilitating injuries. Robert Swift, expected to be Seattle's starting center, was lost for the season during an October exhibition game. Leading scorer Ray Allen was bothered by bone spurs in his ankles for much of the season and missed the final 16 games after opting for surgery. Rashard Lewis, who can become a free agent, was out 22 games with a hand injury.
Hill, who previously coached in New York, Indiana and most successfully in San Antonio, took over for Bob Weiss in the middle of last season and went 22-30 in his first pro head coaching job since 1996. Seattle closed last season 14-11 after Sund made moves to acquire Earl Watson and Chris Wilcox, earning Hill a contract extension and bolstering hopes for this season.
But there was little carry-over and the Sonics finished with the fifth-worst record in the NBA, losing 22 games by six points or less. Seattle also had a franchise record 15-game road losing streak that stretched from Thanksgiving to nearly Valentine's Day.
Sund, who began his NBA management career in the mid-1970s with the Milwaukee Bucks, was hired in 2001, and criticized in recent seasons for drafting unproven teenage centers three straight seasons, two with lottery picks.
MJ - BEFORE THE LEGEND UNC MIX..
Whoever replaces Hill will become Seattle's third coach since Nate McMillan left for Portland after the 2004-05 season. Experienced options are available, including former Sacramento coach Rick Adelman, former Sonics assistant and Minnesota coach Dwane Casey and former Milwaukee coach Terry Porter.
Even Sonics players felt moves were coming.
"I think this team is going to make a lot of changes," Watson said last month about his future. "One thing I've learned about the NBA is you can't comment about what-ifs."
COACH OF THE YEAR: Mitchell je dobio 389 bodova od 128 sportskih novinara koji dodjeljuju trofej "Red Auerbach", drugo mjesto je sa 301 bodom osvojio trener prvaka skupine Northwest Jerry Sloan, a treće trener momčadi s najboljim omjerom u osnovnom dijelu sezone Dallas Mavericksa Avery Johnson sa 268. Raptorsi su pod Mitchellovim vodstvom ostvarili čak 20 pobjeda više nego prošle sezone. (HINA)
Sam Mitchell’s Road to Success
The question brought a smile to the mug of Sam Mitchell, the Minnesota Timberwolves' 26-year-old rookie.
"Interest in cycling?" Mitchell said, with an air of surprise. He referred to an entry in his media guide profile that apparently had caught more than one reporter's eye. "I don't know where they got that," said Mitchell. "I like to ride, but I'm not a fanatic about it."
Perhaps the cycling reference was an analogy for Mitchell's journey to the National Basketball Association. A few NBA players seem to arrive on the scene in stretch limousines, and others figuratively cruise into basketball's big show in flashy sports cars.
But the league isn't restricted to big wheelers. There are several cyclists, like Mitchell: fluid, efficient, determined players whose trip takes longer but offers a better view of where one's been and where one's headed. For Mitchell, his ride included a Tour de France and a trek over the winding hills of the Continental Basketball Association, the quiet backroads of pro hoops and hopes.
You know how Michael Jordan always flaps his tongue like a Labrador? Mitchell's tongue was probably dragging, but in fatigue instead of finesse, after his four years of pedaling from Oshkosh to Rapid City to France. Then last summer the opportunity arrived, and so did Mitchell. When Minnesota and his former CBA coach Bill Musselman invited the 6-foot-7 forward to free agent camp, Mitchell finally had his wheels to the NBA.
"I'm pleased all my efforts finally paid off, and I was glad when it was over and I made the team," Mitchell said. "But I felt like I should have been in the league a long time ago. Things don't always work out, and it took me four years. A lot of times I could have quit, but any time the odds are against you, it makes you feel good when you reach your goal."
Odds? You want some long odds? How about being cut from his high school basketball team before eventually making it as a senior and blossoming? How about getting only NCAA I-AA experience at Mercer University, a scholarly place that's more a ticket to an M.B.A., not the NBA?
Mitchell was a talented prep athlete in Columbus, Ga. — it's just that his talent originally was funneled into football and track. "Really, my first love was football," the former tight end and safety explained. "I started as a sophomore on the varsity at a school in the top high school division, and if you know anything about Georgia, you know it's a football state."
Mitchell the sprinter/hurdler also showed promise. He even ran in the Georgia state track meet as a freshman in a 220-yard dash against that Herschel Walker kid from Wrightsville.
By the time he was a college senior, Mitchell had emerged as a prominent scorer. His 25 ppg average ranked him ninth nationally in the NCAA and helped him become the school's all-time leading scorer (1,986 points). He was tabbed conference Player of the Year after he led Mercer to the TAAC postseason tournament title and a berth in the 1985 NCAA Tournament. He enhanced his NBA chances by earning MVP honors in the postseason Portsmouth Invitational, a national showcase of senior talent.
Mitchell was drafted in round three (54th overall) by the Houston Rockets. In his old sport, a third-round NFL pick would have been a near guarantee of survival, but in the NBA, where only a couple dozen rookies gain a spot, his challenge was clear. Mitchell lasted to the final cut on a strong Houston team but was released. Yet his passion for basketball and his dream of the NBA remained alive, and he made the decision to try, try again.
"You always have times when you think about doing something else," Mitchell said of his post-college pursuit. "But it always came back to me wanting to play basketball."
NAJBOLJE AKCIJE 3. DANA DOIGRAVANJA (2006/07)..
Next stop, Oshkosh and the Wisconsin Flyers of the CBA. "There's good and bad in everything in life, and most cases it's just what you make of it," Mitchell said of the CBA. "I just tried to make the best of it. I made some good friends there, but the CBA is not the kind of place you want to stay very long. You're just there trying to get to the NBA."
For 13 games at the tail end of 1985-86 and 1986-87, Mitchell played pro basketball at Oshkosh, the home of overalls and underdogs. Mitchell said his trade from the lowly Flyers to Musselman's Rapid City Club in 1987 "at the time saved my career. I was averaging 20 ppg on a real poor team and NBA scouts aren't really interested in looking at guys on losing teams. So going from one of the worst to one of the best definitely helped."
Mitchell's 20 ppg average in the playoffs helped Musselman and Rapid City claim the 1987 championship. But there was no strong NBA interest in Mitchell in that pre-expansion season, so when an offer came to play professionally in France, with a much higher salary than the CBA, Mitchell traded Mount Rushmore for the Eiffel Tower.
"At the time I wanted to do something different," Mitchell said. "I'm married, and I felt I had a responsibility to my family to make more money. It was a big adjustment because I didn't speak the language at first, but I got a tutor and also went to school. It was a really good experience."
Mitchell finished third in scoring in France's top league last winter at 28.5 ppg, and when a Timberwolves scout expressed interest, he accepted a tryout invitation to bid for a spot with his former coach. "I knew what (Musselman) expects, so I felt like it was an advantage," Mitchell said.
In a Musselman system that stresses defense, hustle and intensity, Mitchell fit in. He won a roster spot and quickly gained the respect of his teammates for his drive. He spent much of the first half of the season as starting center despite his obvious height disadvantage.
"If I ever went to war, I'd want him on my team," said Tod Murphy, another free agent who made the team and battled the red turf of the NBA front line. "He's a 6-7 guy in there playing power forward and at times this year played center for us. That type of player and that type of attitude, a guy who goes out and does whatever he's asked, is the kind of guy you want to be surrounded by. Sam's kind of on a mission to prove to the NBA he deserves to be here. He felt he should have been here a long time ago — now he's finally getting the chance and taking advantage of it."
Mitchell is averaging 14.6 points and 6.4 rebounds while logging about 33.6 minutes per game. His season highs in the first half of 1989-90 are 31 points against Seattle, 12 rebounds against Indiana and 53 minutes in the overtime game against Indiana.
"I'm enjoying myself," Mitchell said of his first year in the NBA. "You have your ups and downs, and you'd like to play well every night, but that's part of being a professional. I'm just thankful for a chance to be able to play."
Mitchell has another motivation that adds perspective to his high-profile profession. He joined a college teammate in volunteering to work at the Special Olympics, and his experience prompted him to pursue a special education major at Mercer. "I started working a lot with the athletes and gained a lot of respect for them," he said. "You think you've got problems, and you see these people who really have problems, but they never complain. So now I think of all the kids I used to work with — just trying to walk or brushing their teeth was a major thing. You don't forget about people like that. That helps keep things in perspective."
THE SUCCESOR: YAO MING & HAKEEM OLAJUWON (link by Tomislav Pakrac/Superkošarka). Keep in mind this video is NOT meant to say that Yao = Hakeem. That's retarded. It's just meant to represent SOME similarities in their games, despite the fact that they're very different physically. Hakeem was recently quoted as saying he wants to work with Yao next summer if their schedules allow it and that was basically my inspiration for the video. I hope you like it..
Mitchell said he'd like to pursue a teaching and coaching career after his playing days. "I don't think I need a job that pays a lot of money," he said. "I'll just be happy doing something I enjoy. You may not make a big difference, but maybe you can make a small difference."
Since teaching, like NBA basketball, relies on both ability and credibility, look for Sam Mitchell the teacher to make a big difference if he sets his mind to it.
(Feb. 18, 1990)
I just wanted to say one thing before 1st game of series: Go Warriors!!!
Marjan Crnogaj a.k.a. Muraya
..AND THEY CAME TO PLAY!!! Radi se o ekskluzivnom djeliću jučerašnjeg Nellyjevog motivacijskog materijala. Unfortunately, Nellie je danas izgubio najuvjeljivijeg dvojnika..
We've taken away Mavs homecourt advantage! Can anyone say SWEEP???
Loved the endless hustle by the Ws tonight. BD was awesome and the swarming defense was something I haven't seen in awhile. Matt Barnes with some timely offensive rebounds, Stephen Jackson hitting the 3s,
JRich with that great block to redeem himself losing the ball and Harrington with the hustle. We didn't let Dirk get in a groove and we forced the Mavs to run. And the Ws out ran them! This was one of the more exciting games I've seen in awhile. LOVE IT!!
NAJBOLJE AKCIJE 2. DANA DOIGRAVANJA (23/04/07)..
Baron and Barnes were on. Dirk came up small. And Devin Harris showed the nation what a little girl he is. Go W's!!!!!!!!! !!!!!
This is such a great way for the Warriors to begin. Again, they are not getting enough credit for what they are doing. It seems that the media just can't accept that this is now a good team. The Warriors showed them off once again and I think we will continue to do so. GO WARRIORS!
NBA LIFE - BARON DAVIS: Baron Davis doing some pranks at local McDonalds, prije nego što je Mavsima zagorčao život (33p/14s/8s/3uk.lo./šut:11-20). Link by Tomislav Pakrac (magazin "Superkošarka")..
Geez, good ol Charles keeps saying that the reason the Mavs didnt win was because they didn't put their regular season starting lineup in as starters tonight and Diop and Dampier would have scored and rebounded over our "midgets". YEAH RIGHT. Those "midgets" would have ran circles around stonefooted Damp and whoever else the Mavs threw at us. Can someone tell me whether it's Sir Charles' ass or mouth talking?
TRUE Golden State Warriors FANS
DOIGRAVANJE 1. DAN: BULLSI PREDVOĐENI DENGOM (33P, ŠUT 14-22) NADTRČALI PRVAKE, NETSI ZAUSTAVILI BOSHA (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)
LUOL DENG: A Bulls star is born
The Miami Heat kept coming for these Chicago Bulls, for a title that the champs were desperately trying to hold onto, and perhaps the time had passed for Luol Deng to be that deferring, developing star. The big noise tumbled down into the United Center in Game 1, and before everyone's eyes, Deng had demonstrated the disposition to dominate.
Something's clicked, someone's blossomed, and there were Deng's 33 points rising over everyone in the Bulls' 96-91 victory over the Heat on Saturday. He had a terrific season for Chicago, a breakthrough to be sure, but no one could be completely convinced of his climb closer to greatness until he had made his move in these playoffs.
This season, it won't be enough to just challenge Miami in the opening round. It won't be enough to hang with Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade in these Eastern Conference playoffs. They're still going to get bigger and better performances out of Shaq and Wade, but Deng is the reason to believe in the Bulls. As much as any player in these playoffs, he can transform his standing in stature. Here's his and these Bulls' chance to elevate into the elite.
The Heat are validation for these Bulls, a threshold that Chicago needs to cross to push past potential, past possibility, and into actual accomplishment.
O'Neal was busy blaming the officials, insisting after fouling out that, "I was derailed by Eddie Rush," but Deng derailed Miami. Deep down, Shaq knows it, too. The Heat played poorly, deserving the fate of going down 1-0 in the best-of-seven series.
When Game 1 was gone, Wade called Deng "one of the best finishers in the game," and that's a truth that Deng had strled to show Miami in the regular season. But in the final, frantic minutes Saturday, Wade tried to further his legacy as the sport's greatest finisher, but he couldn't deliver a three-pointer with 11 seconds left to make it 94-94.
For most of the game, Wade strled to find space and his shot, especially with that long-armed rookie, Thabo Sefolosha, chasing him everywhere. Wade is still fighting his way back from a separated shoulder, playing with that protective sleeve, and the worst part of his return to the playoffs wasn't with the ball. It was Deng with the ball.
The Bulls understood that they had to make Wade work on Deng, and they were relentless in running the Heat's star through Chicago's muscle. To test that shoulder, the Bulls constantly ran him through screens.
NAJBOLJE AKCIJE 1. DANA DOIGRAVANJA (22/04/07)..
"D-Wade is real tough when he doesn't have to play much defense," said Ben Gordon, who had 24 points and 11 assists. "That way, he can save it for offense."
So, Shaq had 19 points but fouled out with 3:19 left in the game. Besides ripping Rush – guaranteeing himself a league fine – he had insisted that Chicago "had a lot of help out there. … The inconsistency is just very frustrating."
Did he think the Bulls were good actors?
"Yeah," he said.
So far, Deng is playing the part of an NBA star. As Miami coach Pat Riley said, "He had a monster game. Anytime they needed something, he was making jumpers or slashing."
Deng didn't go chasing his 14-for-22 shooting performance, instead finding his makes and misses in the flow without forcing himself onto the game. That's part of the maturity of these Bulls, the reason they can take the Heat out now. Nevertheless, this promises to be a long series. Shaq has bounce, and Wade's nine points in the fourth quarter exhibited evidence that he's finding his way back from injury. But what Chicago keeps challenging Miami with are these fearless and ferocious young players, bringing to these playoffs a resoluteness that this is the time for them.
Most of all, this is the truth for Deng. All season, he had shown distinct development. He stopped shooting three-pointers and stuck to a mid-range game and to taking the ball to the rim. Thus, his field-goal percentage rose from 46 percent to almost 52 percent this year by playing a tight, efficient brand of ball.
Three years ago, he was a kid coming out of Duke, a 19-year-old still learning the game. Things have changed.
"He has come a long ways in the past year," Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich said. "You know that Luol's ceiling was really high. He's young, and he wants to be good."
VINCE CARTER TOP 10 PLAYS (2006/07 SEASON)..
This was one of those afternoons when the acumen of general manger John Paxson illuminated the United Center. There had been discussions of including Deng in a trade to Memphis for Pau Gasol earlier in the season, but Paxson didn't dare do it. He believed his young forward was on the cusp of becoming a cornerstone star for this franchise, and suddenly, with the defending champs here, with the big noise tumbling down in the playoffs, it's happening before everyone's eyes.
THE WARRIORS TRAILER: THEY ARE FROM CONEY ISLAND..THEY'VE GOT ONE WAY OUT, THEY'VE GOT ONE CHANCE, THEY'VE GOT ONE NIGHT..
Playoff viewer's guide
It will be tough to beat the drama of last year's NBA playoffs, but there will be plenty to watch for as the postseason gets under way on Saturday. Here are 10 things I've got my eye on as the race for the Larry O'Brien trophy begins.
1. The pressure on T-Mac. Hard enough as it is to believe, Tracy McGrady has never won a single playoff round in his NBA career. Coming off what might have been his best season ever – and with his Houston Rockets owning home-court advantage over a strling Utah Jazz team – T-Mac has to get past the first round this year. No player in the league is facing more pressure. If he fails to lead Houston to victory over the Jazz, McGrady's legacy will continue to be an inauspicious one: "Best player to have never won a playoff series."
2. The teacher vs. the pupil. How much fun will it be watching Avery Johnson and Don Nelson go at it? Johnson spent a year as an assistant under Nellie in Dallas and clearly saw the game differently than his boss. His emphasis on defense was a dramatic change in philosophy for the Dallas Mavericks once he took over, but Nelson and his Golden State Warriors will provide a huge first-round challenge. No coach can distort a game plan and control the flow of action better than Nellie, who will play a small lineup and challenge Johnson's defensive strategy. Nelson's small-ball style may keep Erick Dampier and DeSagana Diop off the floor, and that dramatically damages Johnson's preferred plan of protecting the rim. If that happens, the game will be played at a fast pace, which is to Golden State's advantage.
3. LeBron trying to take the next step. Perhaps the expectations have always been too high, but LeBron James is supposed to elevate his team and turn it into a championship contender. The Cleveland Cavaliers have an easy path to the East finals, needing only to beat the depleted Washington Wizards and then either the New Jersey Nets or Toronto Raptors to get there. All eyes will be on James, who had a relatively disappointing regular season until the final six weeks of play. He needs to seize the opportunity, lead the Cavs to the conference finals and show the world that he's closer to being the next Michael Jordan than the next Vince Carter.
4. Kobe's supporting cast. Speaking of the next Jordan, Kobe Bryant is the closest thing we'll ever see to M.J. In fact, this season Kobe was M.J. – as in his ability to adapt to his surroundings by giving his team what it needed on a particular night. Score 50 to win this game? Done. Need 10 assists instead? You got it. The Los Angeles Lakers know that the best way to beat the Phoenix Suns is for Kobe to pound the ball inside rather than fire away from the perimeter. That plan almost worked last year, when L.A. took the Suns to seven games. But will Andrew Bynum, Kwame Brown, Lamar Odom and Luke Walton offer enough support for Kobe? We'll find out.
TOP 10 PLAYS OF WEEK 24 (2006/07)..
5. Mavs and Suns meeting great expectations. Neither franchise has ever won the championship, but both are in position to do so. Expectations are to the point that anything less than a title will be considered a failure. It's possible that the San Antonio Spurs will sneak in and deny both Dallas and Phoenix of their goal. The pressure is on for both of these clubs, and given the incredible strength of the Western Conference, getting to the NBA finals will be an incredibly difficult challenge.
6. Chicago getting past the first round. Unlike the Mavs and Suns, the Chicago Bulls are in a position where winning one round would be enough to please their fans. Chicago hasn't won a playoff series since Jordan's final season with the team in 1998. The Bulls' loss to New Jersey on the final day of the season meant a first-round matchup with the Miami Heat, the defending champs. Chicago will have a tough task on its hands, trying to slow down Dwyane Wade and speeding up Shaquille O'Neal. It's actually been a good matchup the last couple of seasons for the Bulls, but now is the time for them to take the next step – to get beyond the first round and establish itself as a title contender in the coming years.
7. Wade's health. His shoulder – and his game – didn't look right the last two weeks of the season. But there may not be a more resilient player in the league. If Wade can elevate his game, and Shaq can stay out of foul trouble and control the paint, then Miami can gather momentum and make a serious run to defend its crown. Look for Chicago to put Wade through the ringer at both ends of the floor. Scott Skiles will make sure he doesn't get many easy hoops at the rim, and he'll make sure Wade has to defend the screen and roll as often as possible. This could be a test of wills – or at least a test of Wade's shoulder.
8. Flip Saunder's pursuit for redemption. A year ago, the Detroit Pistons flopped in the East finals and seemed to come apart after Ben Wallace openly questioned Saunders' coaching style. The incident led to Wallace's departure from the team, and now Detroit has Chris Webber manning the post. The result is a more well-rounded offensive club, one that boasts five skill players in the starting lineup. The Pistons are the East favorites, and anything less than a trip to the NBA finals would be considered a failure, particularly for Saunders. Perhaps no coach in the league is facing more pressure.
9. Utah's search for its lost mojo. A month ago, the Jazz were one of the best teams in the league. But after fading down the stretch and losing seven of its last 11, Utah now looks like it will be lucky to survive its first-round series with Houston. In fact, the Jazz have to go on the road to start the series against the Rockets thanks to the late fade. For Utah to bounce back, it has to play with great energy, confidence and purpose – something we haven't seen much of lately. If not, this wonderful turnaround season for the franchise will go down the drain.
AKO STE SLUČAJNO ZABORAVILI "SHAQ ATTACK" JE U SEZONI 1989/90 NASTUPAO U ISTOM DRESU KAO I NAŠ JUČERAŠNJI GOST, MAHMOUD ABDUL-RAUF a.k.a. CHRIS JACKSON..
10. The team to beat … San Antonio? As usual, the Spurs have been lying in the weeds. While the focus has been on the Mavericks and Suns for most of the season, San Antonio has quietly put together a great season of its own. In fact, this looks a lot like the squad that won the NBA title in both 2003 and 2005. Tim Duncan is playing at his highest level in years, Manu Ginobili has looked unguardable and the Spurs' defense is the best in the league. It's possible that all of this talk about Dallas and Phoenix will go down the tubes, and that the championship will once again belong to San Antonio.
MAHMOUD'S EXTRAORDINARY SHOOTING TALENT - EXHIBIT 1 vs JAZZ (1994.)
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (born Chris Wayne Jackson on March 9, 1969 in Gulfport, Mississippi) is an American former professional basketball player.
Abdul-Rauf changed his name in 1991 upon his conversion to Islam. After a record-setting college career at Louisiana State University, he was selected with the third pick in the 1990 NBA Draft by the Denver Nets. He played with Denver until 1995, and was a key player on that team, winning the Most Improved Player award in 1993. Abdul-Rauf later went on to play for the Sacramento Kings and later the Vancouver Grizzlies.
He led the league in free throw percentage in 1994 and 1996, narrowly missing (for one missed free throw) the NBA all-time record for free-throw percentage in a single season in 1993-94 (he went 219-229 from the line for a 0.956 percentage as opposed to Calvin Murphy's 0.958 (206-215) all-time record dating back to 1980-81).
After leaving the NBA he played professional basketball in Europe, retiring at the end of 2004-05 season. For the season 2006-07 he came out of retirement for the third time in his career to play for Aris Thessaloniki.
Abdul-Rauf overcame the challenge of Tourette syndrome to have an athletic career.
MAHMOUD'S EXTRAORDINARY SHOOTING TALENT - EXHIBIT 2 vs BULLS (1996.)
Since retiring from NBA, he has built a mosque in his home town of Gulfport, Mississippi, and has become an Imam. He transformed property that had been a crack-house into the mosque as a symbol of his mission to mobilize the neighborhood to rid itself of drugs and crime.
National anthem controversy
Abdul-Rauf is perhaps best known for the controversy created when he refused to stand for "the Star-Spangled Banner" before games, stating that the flag was a "symbol of oppression" and that the United States had a long "history of tyranny". He said that standing to the national anthem would therefore conflict with his Islamic beliefs.
On March 12, 1996 the NBA suspended Abdul-Rauf for his refusal to stand, but the suspension lasted only one game. Two days later, the league was able to work out a compromise with him, whereby he would stand during the playing of the national anthem but could close his eyes and look downward. He usually silently recited a Muslim prayer during this time.
MAHMOUD'S EXTRAORDINARY SHOOTING TALENT - EXHIBIT 3 vs WARRIORS (1998.)
In an apparent publicity stunt gone wrong linked to this controversy, four employees of Denver's KBPI were charged with misdemeanor offenses related to entering a Colorado mosque and playing "the Star-Spangled Banner" on a bugle and trumpet, in a provocative response to Abdul-Rauf's refusal to stand for the national anthem.
WHOA NELLIE..NIJE LI TO IME ALBUMA NELLY FURTADO?? PRIJE OVE USPJEŠNICE NELLYE JE SNIMIO I RUN TMC (1989-91), TE POINT-SPREE LINEUP (1994.)..(Copyright 2007 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images))
NAKON ŠTO SU OD POČETKA OŽUJKA NAPRAVILI 16W-7L (69.5%)..
Warriors end 13-year playoff drought
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - After 12 straight seasons without a postseason appearance, the Golden State Warriors snapped the streak on the final day of the regular season. And on the road, no less.
NBA TO BE OR NOT TO BE: J-RICH & WARRIORS ARE ALMOSTTT THERE - IN THE PROMISED LAND OF PLAY-OFFS, AFTER PORTLAND..
Last call: Key games in the regular season finale
Think you know who’s facing who in this year’s NBA playoffs?
You could wake up tomorrow with a radically different reality staring you in the face.
While you could identify 15 of the league’s 16 postseason participants on the morning of the regular season finale, only two first-round matchups are set in stone: the San Antonio Spurs will play the Denver Nets and the Houston Rockets will host the Northwest Division champion Utah Jazz.
That means there are a lot of teams playing to win tonight.
Here’s a quick run-down of the meaningful games so that you know who’s playing for keeps.
The top six seeds in the West are set, with three teams playing for the final two spots: the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers.
The Lakers are in the playoffs, but could drop from No. 7 to No. 8 if they lose and the Warriors win. Finishing seventh in the West means a battle with the Phoenix Suns, while dropping one spot means they face the Dallas Mavericks. Choose your poison.
The Lakers wrap up the season against the Sacramento Kings at Arco Arena. They’re are 2-1 against the Kings this season and won their earlier game in Sacramento. Tonight’s tip is at 10 p.m. ET.
Golden State is also on the road, facing the Portland Trail Blazers. It’s also a 10 p.m. tip from the Rose Garden. The teams have split the season series so far, but the Blazers won by 19 points when the Warriors visited Oregon in March.
NAJBOLJE NOĆAŠNJE AKCIJE (18/04/07)..
The Warriors control their own destiny – win and they’re in. As noted above, they can also climb to seventh spot. They’ll finish out of the picture if they lose and the Clippers win.
The Clippers are on the outside looking in, but at least they’re playing at home. The Clips and New Orleans Hornets tip off at 10:30 p.m. ET from the Staples Center, meaning L.A. should know in the fourth quarter whether they still have a shot at the postseason.
The Clippers are 2-1 against New Orleans this year but the Hornets pulled out a 3-point win last week in Oklahoma City.
The only spots already determined are No. 1 (Detroit Pistons), No. 3 (Toronto Raptors) and No. 4 (Miami Heat).
That means we don’t have a clue who’s playing who in the playoffs until tonight’s action wraps up. On the positive side, we at least know the eight teams who’ll battle for conference supremacy in the postseason. Here’s a capsule of the positioning battles going on tonight.
The Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers are in a dogfight in the Central Division standings. Winner finishes second and takes on the No. 7 seed, loser drops to the No. 5 slot and opens against the defending champs.
The Bulls hold the tiebreaker, so they’ll finish second with a win over the New Jersey Nets no matter what Cleveland does. The Cavs host the Milwaukee Bucks and need help from New Jersey to have a shot at the second seed.
Adding intrigue to the clashes is the fact that the Nets have a lot to play for, while the Bucks do not.Chicago and New Jersey tip off from the Continental Airlines Arena at 7:30 p.m. ET, while Milwaukee and Cleveland tip off at Quicken Loans Arena a half-hour earlier.
The Nets can jump to the No. 6 spot with a win combined with a Washington Wizards loss. Such a jump would mean a first-round date with the Raptors as opposed to the second-place finisher in the Central.
The Wizards can finish sixth, seventh or eighth in the East, just to complicate things. Washington tips off against the Indiana Pacers at 8 p.m. from Conseco Fieldhouse.
The shorthanded Wizards are slumping, but so are the Pacers – and Washington's posted a pair of lopsided wins over Indiana already this season. A win in Indiana paired with a Nets loss restores the Wizards to the sixth spot.
MA KAKAV IVERSON: GALIS vs. JUGOPLASTIKA 1989. (38 POINTS)..
The Wizards drop to eighth in the East, however, if they lose and the Orlando Magic beat the Heat at home tonight. The tip from Amway Arena is early – 7 p.m. ET.
Miami head coach Pat Riley has already given indications that he’ll rest his stars, giving Orlando hope that they can avoid the Pistons in the first round. Also giving the Magic hope is their perfect 3-0 record against their state rivals this season.
CROAT IN NEW YORK: NE DAM SVOJE STARBURYCE..
jučer sam napokon uspio nabavity starburyce, digo sam se u 9 sam da stignem na vrijeme i ugrabim broj - i jesam!! A sad ti saljem neke slike.
NAJBOLJE NOĆAŠNJE AKCIJE (17/04/07)..
Što se tiče nba već mi je zlo jer imam tri kanala na kojima se stalno vrti, čekam playoff i nadam se da će Golden State ipak ući.
LeBRON JAMES MIX by YINKA DARE..
Ak sam ti poslo neku istu sorry jer šaljem još nekima pa ne znam što sam već poslo.
DA SPURS BEST KEPT SECRET - JAMES WHITE IS ALIVE!! Definitivno spada u kategoriju u članku ispod, u dresu Spursa je za sada zabilježio 55min/12s/23p, što bi na bazi od 40 minuta bilo 16.7p/8.7s (Copyright 2007 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images))..
BREAKOUT CANDIDATES FOR NEXT SEASON
If there’s one thing we’ve learned this year it’s that the NBA is taking on a new persona. It’s a quicker, faster, more athletic game these days. Think about two of the biggest breakout players this year: Monta Ellis and Leandro Barbosa. The common link? Both operate at a different speed than the rest of the players on the court. Another breakout player, Al Jefferson, toned down and added some quickness, then promptly dominated the league once he earned a starting gig.
Meanwhile, slower big men such as Chris Kaman (bust), Zydrunas Illgauskus (bust) and Brad Miller (bust) have been left behind in the dust. Truthfully, this change has been in motion for quite some time. We just didn’t get to see the full effects of it until this season. Now that the change has taken place, fantasy leaguers need to place a premium on quick guards like Barbosa, athletic swingmen like Andre Iguodala, and athletic power forwards that can run the court such as Chris Bosh and Al Jefferson. So, we’ve learned that the NBA is a quicker and more athletic league than ever before. Who benefits? More importantly, who are the breakout candidates for next year based on what we have learned this year?
JAMES WHITE by SUNDAZEFOSHO..
Chuck Hayes, PF, HOU: Who would’ve thought that it would be the 6-6 Chuck Hayes acting as Yao Ming’s sidekick in the Houston frontcourt? Don’t lie, you thought it was going to be Stromile Swift, didn’t you? Hayes may be short in stature, but he more than makes up for his lack of height with his aggressiveness and quickness. Always jumping on the loose ball, Hayes is the perfect compliment to Yao on both the offensive and defensive end. It’s the toughness and physicality he brings to the table that has coach Jeff Van Gundy loving this duo in the post. As long as Van Gundy is around, you can bank on seeing Hayes next to Yao in the starting lineup. If you’re not sold on Hayes from a statistical standpoint, check out his averages since the All-Star break: 7.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 23.4 minutes per game. I figure next year he starts seeing 25-30 minutes per contest where he should be able to put up around eight points, nine boards and 1.5 steals a game.
Renaldo Balkman, SF, NYK: Blasted for the Balkman selection on draft day, Isiah Thomas may end up with the last laugh. This dude is all over the court every night and he’s earning cred with Knicks and fantasy fans alike. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up being a big time star over in Madison Square Garden for years to come. He fits the mold of the long, athletic swingman that can run the court and bring excitement to the game. Over his last 11 games, Balkman is averaging 10.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks in 27.1 minutes per game. If you like steals and blocks, and who doesn’t, Balkman could be your steal at the end of the draft.
NAJBOLJE JUČERAŠNJE AKCIJE (14/04/07)..
Rajon Rondo, PG, BOS: Bill Simmons was right about Rajon Rondo. He just had the wrong year. Boston wasn’t ready to turn the court over to the rookie this year, but after seeing him blow by defenders and create steals like a madman, they’ll be ready next year. He, like Barbosa and Ellis, plays at a different speed than the rest of the players on the court. If only he could shoot, we’d be talking about a fully-fledged fantasy stud. In any case, expect the Celtics to give Rondo the keys to the bus in 2007-08 and expect to find yourself a nice point guard towards the end of your fantasy draft. Just take a look at what this kid is doing with extended minutes in April: 12.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.6 steals in 35.8 minutes per game! Love it.
Devin Harris, PG, DAL: Much like Rondo, Devin Harris is a lightning quick point guard that isn’t a tremendous shooter. He’s not as electrifying as Rondo, nor does he posses the same ball-distribution skills, but he’s similar nonetheless. I’m convinced that Harris would have busted out this year if it hadn’t been for the inconsistent minutes he’s seen all season long. Recently, though, Harris has given us a taste of what life might be like with extended minutes. Since the All-Star break he’s averaged 10.5 points, 3.6 assists and 1.4 steals in 27.3 minutes per contest. If Dallas ever decides to commit 30-plus minutes to him (which they should next season), we’ll be looking at a prime breakout candidate.
MYREE BOWDEN IN THE NCAA DUNK CONTEST by SUNDAZEFOSHO: 6'1'' Myree blessed witn un incredible 45 inch vertical leap is considered to be one of TOP 3 DUNKERS NOT IN THE NBA...
Anderson Varejao, PF/C, CLE: Though he’s not as athletic as the rest of the players named on this list, Anderson Varejao is a red power forward type that is quicker than most of his counterparts at the same position. He’s always moving at full-steam and is relentless on the glass and on the defensive end. There are plenty of teams that will come calling for his services when he becomes a free agent at season’s end, and it should be interesting to see where he lands. I’ve got to think he’ll get paid, and end up in a situation where he can be a full-time starter. He’s shown quite a bit this season, especially as a starter where he’s averaged 12.0 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 0.8 blocks in 35.2 minutes per game. That type of production will be extremely valuable when it the pickings get slim in the later rounds next year.
Travis Outlaw, SF/PF, POR: My love for Outlaw has been well documented, but I feel that I must include him in this section. Fact is, he may have more upside than anyone else on this list. He hasn’t played much this season, but when he has, he’s shown the ability that most scouts rave about. Finally getting 30 minutes per night in the month of April, Outlaw has averaged 13.2 points, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks per game over his last five. I’d love to see what this kid can do with consistent playing time over the course of a full season. Hopefully, we’ll be getting that chance next season.
Others worth mentioning in this category: Walter Hermann, PF, CHA, Tarence Kinsey, SG/SF, MEM...
PETAK 13TH U ATLANTI, GA: Shelden je morao zanemariti pozive svoje drage Candace jer je na rasporedu bilo večernje druženje s Wizardsima. Atlanta na 29-50, definitivno u kombinacijama za Oden lottery card. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)..
LIGA ZA PRVAKA: CIBONA I ZADAR (HRT2, 16.55) IGRAJU DERBI 5. KOLA
Aco u Zagrebu ide po naslov prvaka
Dugo nismo čekali neki ligaški susret Cibone i Zadra kao ovaj današnji u Zagrebu (17 sati). Ozračje je zakuhao Aleksandar Petrović preuzevši Zadar. Elokventni Aco napada, katkad i podbada, u svom stilu, pa se može očekivati više elektriciteta u zraku nego kada su Zadar u Zagrebu vodili Popović ili Jugo.
Zadrani su ove sezone bili neuspješni gosti, no onda je Petrović stvari pomaknuo s mrtve točke. Najprije su pobijedili Zagreb u Trnskom, a onda i Split na Gripama. Stoga je razigravač Rok Stipčević prenio novinarima:
In the most recent issue of ESPN the Magazine, there's a neat little item about how former Duke player/current Atlanta Hawks forward Shelden Williams (three double-doubles this season and 28 rebounds in the month of February!) is dating Tennessee star Candace Parker. (Link by Tomislav Pakrac, magazin Superkošarka)..
Na programu NBA lige bila su samo dva susreta. Los Angeles Clippersi su u gradskom obračunu kao gosti slavili protiv Lakersa 118:110, dok je Cleveland bez većih problema porazio New Jersey 94:76.
Premda je Kobe Bryant po deveti put ove sezone ubacio 50 i više koševa Los Angeles Lakersi su u svom Staples Centru izgubili od Clippersa. Bryant je utakmicu zaključio sa 50 koševa i 9 skokova, međutim u posljednjim minutama utakmice promašio je nekoliko otvorenih šuteva što je na koncu i presudilo.
NAJBOLJE JUČERAŠNJE AKCIJE (13/04/07)..
"Kobe je odigrao briljantnih 48 minuta, međutim na koncu je ostao bez goriva," kazao je trener Lakersa, Phil Jackson. Osim Bryanta dvoznamenkasti broj koševa u redovima Lakersa upisali su Smush Parker (19) i Maurice Evans (11). Bio je to 39. poraz Lakersa ove sezone uz 40. pobjeda i trenutačno drže sedmu poziciju na Zapadu. Stepenicu ispod njih su Clippersi sa 38 pobjeda i 40 poraza. Najzaslužniji za trijumf u Staples Centru bili su Corey Maggette (39) i Elton Brand (32).
U drugom dvoboju večeri Cleveland je u Quicken Loans Areni porazio Netse 94:76. Ključnim se pokazala treća dionica igre koju su Cavsi dobili sa 17 koševa razlike (36:19). Junak u 47. pobjedi Clevelanda ove sezone (32 poraza) bio je ponovo LeBron James koji je ubacio 35 koševa, uz 8 skokova i 4 asistencije.
VINCE CARTER RARE MIX by SUNDAZEFOSHO..
Solidan je bio i Larry Hughes sa 19 koševa i 6 asistencija. Ovom pobjedom Cavaliersi su ostali u igri za drugu poziciju na Istoku. Goste, koji još uvijek nisu osigurali plasman u doigravanje, predvodili su Vince Carter (26 koševa), Mikki Moore (11 koševa) i Jason Kidd (8 koševa, 11 skokova i 8 asistencija).
ROY ABOUT TO BECOME R.O.Y. (Copyright 2007 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images))..
Košarkaši Utah Jazza odavno su osigurali naslov pobjednika skupine Northwest NBA lige, ali u posljednje vrijeme igraju vrlo loše, te bi im se vrlo lako moglo dogoditi da izgube prednost domaćeg terena protiv Houston Rocketsa u prvom krugu doigravanja. Utah je u srijedu navečer izgubio sa 106-115 od Denver Netsa što mu je peti poraz u nizu, te sada imaju dvije pobjede i utakmicu manje od Houstona.
S druge strane, Netsi su upisali sedmu uzastopnu pobjedu, te s velikim samopouzdanjem gledaju prema doigravanju i vjerojatnom sudaru sa San Antonio Spursima. Pobjedu Denveru u Salt Lake Cityu donijeli su Carmelo Anthony sa 32 koša i Allen Iverson sa 22 poena i 12 asistencija. Najbolji kod Jazza bio je Matt Harpring sa 31 ubačajem, dok naš Gordan Giriček nije ulazio u igru.
NAJBOLJE NOĆAŠNJE AKCIJE (12/04/07)..
Detroit Pistonsi i teoretski su osigurali prvo mjesto na Istoku uoči doigravanja 104-99 pobjedom protiv Orlando Magica. Chauncey Billups (28) najbolji kod Pistonsa, a Grant Hill (22) kod Magica. Kako sada stvari stoje, Pistonsi i Magic mogli bi se ponovno sresti u prvom krugu doigravanja.
Iako su osigurali najbolji omjer u ligi nakon osnovnog dijela sezone i što su na gostovanju kod Minnesota Timberwolvesa igrali bez četiri standardna člana prve petorke Dallas Mavericksi upisali su novu uvjerljivu pobjedu sa 105-88. Austin Croshere (19) najbolje je iskoristio odmor Nowitzkog, Stackhousea, Harrisa i Dampiera, dok je kod domaćih, koji su igrali bez ozlijeđenog Kevina Garnetta, najbolji bio Justin Reed (17).
Phoenix Sunsi zadržali su dvije utakmice prednosti u odnosu na San Antonio Spurse u borbi za drugo mjesto na Zapadu 109-91 pobjedom protiv Seattle SuperSonicsa. Shawn Marion (24, 10 skokova) bio je prvo ime domaćih, a Rashard Lewis (30) gostiju.
San Antonio Spursi su zahvaljujući odličnoj igri Tima Duncana u posljednjoj četvrtini svladali Sacramento Kingse sa 109-100. Duncan (26, 13 skokova) je postigao 13 koševa u posljednjih 12 minuta, te tako anulirao odličnu igru Mikea Bibbyja (22) i Francisca Garcije (22).
FOOT LOCKER DUNK CONTEST: Mike Conley Sr. did sick dunks..link by Catinelli
Prošlogodišnji prvak Miami Heat osigurao je naslov prvaka skupine Southeast 85-82 pobjedom protiv Washington Wizardsa. Pobjedu je sačuvao Alonzo Mourning koji je 7.8 sekundi prije kraja kod rezultata 84-82 blokirao šut Antonija Danielsa za tricu. Antoine Walker (19) predvodio je Heat, a Brendan Haywood (14, 10 skokova) Wizardse.
OD KUD SAM JA OSVANUO: Rafael Araujo, Jazz (Copyright 2007 NBAE/Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)..
PORTSMOUTH INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT
Portsmouth's top prospects
There were no first-round picks in Virginia for the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, and the glow of good NCAA tournament performances kept possible second-round choices (such as Ohio State's Ron Lewis) away for the weekend. Still, for the discriminating eye, Portsmouth is a stop on the pre-NBA draft tour where players can work themselves into draft consideration and European contracts.
The biggest surprise of the PIT had to be Wright State's 5-foot-11 guard Dashaun Wood, a late invitee to Portsmouth who turned out to be the tournament MVP. Scouts loved his quickness and playmaking ability, which he needed to show after shouldering so much of a scoring burden in lifting his college team to an improbable NCAA tournament bid.
Wood is assured an invitation to the NBA's pre-draft camp on June 4-8 in Orlando, where as one Eastern Conference scout said, "It will be good to watch him play against some better competition."
Jamaal Tatum of Southern Illinois, a 6-2 guard, made the all-tournament team, too. "Tatum might be the best on-ball defender in the U.S.," the same Eastern Conference scout said.
DraftExpress.com reported that guard Zabian Dowdell of Virginia Tech told a teammate that he didn't play on the final day because of back spasms. However, one league source was under the impression that he simply left Portsmouth after three days of productive play, unwilling to risk a poor performance on the final days. Nevertheless, Dowdell goes to Orlando with a solid standing as a potential second-round draft pick.
NAJBOLJE NOĆAŠNJE AKCIJE (11/04/07)..
Ryvon Covile of Detroit-Mercy impressed people with his penchant for rebounding the ball. At 6-9 and 243 pounds, he delivered some legitimacy to his 10.6 rebounds per game last season. "Maybe a little (Jazz rookie) Paul Millsap in there," one Western Conference official said, "but not as good offensively. But the kid is all over the boards."
From the scouting reports of a handful of scouts polled on Monday, here are some names who impressed:
Brandon Wallace, 6-9, South Carolina
Anthony Tolliver, 6-9, Creighton
Carl Landry, 6-7, Purdue
Dustin Salisbery, 6-3, Temple
Russell Carter, 6-4, Notre Dame
TOP 10 BLOOPERS DUNKS IN THE DUNK CONTEST..
Several scouts were hoping that 6-11 Darryl Watkins of Syracuse would display a deeper desire to honor his size and skills, but they largely left disappointed.
As one East team scout said of Watkins, "He's talented, but still very inconsistent. He (frustrates people) watching him, because he just doesn't come to play."
SADRŽAJ III BROJA:
6 SREDIŠNJI INTERVJU Marko Tomas
10 HRVATSKO PRVENSTVO Zakuhao hrvatski lonac
15 KARIJERE NAKON KOŠARKE Aramis Naglić
18 A-1 LIDERI Jere Macura
20 STRANCI U HRVATSKOJ Carl English
24 INTERVJU Goran Vrbanc
30 OLD STARS Damir Šolman
33 POWERADE A-1 Duo i pratnja
34 KUP RUŽICE MEGLAJ RIMAC Osladile se Gospićanke
36 ŽENSKA KOŠARKA Marina Mazić
38 WABA F4 CSKA ispred HR predstavnica
40 NLB LIGA Repriza prošlogodišnjeg finala
44 BRATSKA VEZA Trojica braće Modrić
NAJBOLJE NOĆAŠNJE AKCIJE (10/04/07)..
48 A-2 LIGA Rasplet u drugom razredu
50 PREDSTAVLJAMO Rekord tim Oriovac
53 OLD STARS Damir Voloder
56 PREDSTAVLJAMO KK Zabok Zaboky
57 NBA Pred doigravanjem
58 NBA PRIČE Igrači protiv vlasnika
62 HR NADE Toni Prostran
66 HR NADE Marko Radić i Marijo Hajdić
70 EUROLIGA Tko će u Atenu
72 PRAVILA IGRE Tučnjava
73 KOŠARKA U SUSJEDSTVU Hercegovački klubovi u vrhu
76 HR GASTARBAJTERI Baždarić i Stojić
80 KOŠARKA I MLADI Kako to rade Ameri
FINALE EUROBASKETA 1987. U GRČKOJ: 40 POENA GALISA SSSR-U..
82 PREDSTAVLJAMO KK Županja
83 KOŠARKA I INTERNET Klubovi iz prvog razreda
84 KOŠARKA I ZDRAVLJE Bandaže
85 KORISNE VJEŽBE Unaprijedite rad nogu
86 NIŽE LIGE Tablice
87 KOŠARKA I MLADI BCAA
88 KOŠARKA I NAVIJANJE Zmajčice
KNICKS LEGEND: WALT FRAZIER..
Evo da ti se malo javim.
Manhattan je ludilo, neću ti pričat jer to trebaš vidit uživo.
Bio sam u stevu & barryju koji prodaje starbury robu. Potpuno ludilo, grabarija. Ljudi kupuju po pet pari tenisica, marka se čini ok, majice su jako dobre, htio sam jedne niske šuze iz prošle sezone al ih više nemaju, a od Starbury 2 linije nema mi broja pa ću malo pričekat.
JANA U MADISONU!!!
Marbury je potpisivo autograme u nedjelju baš kad sam došao tako da nisam stigo na to. Šteta.
NAJBOLJE NOĆAŠNJE AKCIJE (09/04/07)..
Bio sam danas u NBA store-u i ok je al jako skup a ima stvarno sve od nba robe.
Gledo sam juče NCAA finale i mogu ti reć da to ameri stvarno vole više od nba-a. Imam karte za Phillu u srijedu i Minesottu u petak i nisu baš bile jeftine, a jedva sam do njih došao jer je dvorana rasprodana zbog kraja sezone.
Eto tolko, javim ti se nakon tekmi. Ne vraćam se više u Hrvatsku.:)
NIKE HOOPS SUMMIT 2007: PATRICK PATTERSON GETS A HUGE REJECTION..
Nike Hoops Summit:
USA 100, World 80
World 13 16 26 25 -- 80
USA 24 22 26 28 -- 100
WORLD -- Nicholas Batum 9-13 2-2 23, Casspi 4-9 6-9 14, Aleksandrov 6-14 2-2 14, Ajinca 3-5 3-3 9, Koponen 2-4 2-2 7, Chen 0-2 0-0 0, Ugrinoski 0-0 0-0 0, Dedovic 0-6 1-2 1, Alabi 1-8 3-4 5, Preldzic 2-6 2-2 7, Richards 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 27-69 21-26 80.
NAJBOLJE NOĆAŠNJE AKCIJE (08/04/07)..
USA -- O.J. Mayo 6-12 6-6 20, Singler 3-5 1-2 8, Love 5-9 2-2 13, Beasley 3-15 2-6 8, Rose 4-5 0-0 8, Flynn 0-3 2-2 2, Bayless 5-10 4-7 15, Smith 2-8 0-0 4, Greene 4-10 2-2 10, Patterson 6-9 0-0 12. Totals 38-86 19-27 100.
Halftime -- USA 46-29. Three-Point Goals -- World 5-20 (Batum 3-5, Casspi 0-2, Aleksandrov 0-2, Ajinca 0-1, Koponen 1-3, Chen 0-1, Dedovic 0-2, Preldzic 1-4), USA 5-20 (Singler 1-3, Love 1-1, Beasley 0-2, Rose 0-1, Mayo 2-5, Flynn 0-1, Bayless 1-3, Smith 0-2, Greene 0-2).
UNHUMAN HIGHLIGHT FILM: TOO SICK DERRICK ROSE MIX..
Rebounds -- World 40 (Aleksandrov 14), USA 55 (Beasley 9). Assists -- World 13 (Koponen 6), USA 23 (Flynn 10). Total Fouls -- World 22, USA 26. Fouled Out -- USA, Love. Technical Fouls -- none. A -- 5,870.
ALEKSANDAR UGRINOSKI, HRVATSKA: Ove godine ću i ja biti na ekranu, a evo kako je izgledalo prošlogodišnje izdanje Nike Hoops World Teama..
10th Annual Nike Hoop Summit
USA Basketball announced on Feb. 13 that Memphis recruit Derrick Rose (Simeon Vocational / Chicago, Ill.) was one of 10 players named to the USA Basketball Junior National Select Team that will compete in the 10th Annual 2007 Nike Hoop Summit.
Joining Rose on the 2007 USA Team are high school standouts: Jerryd Bayless (St. Mary's H.S. / Phoenix, Az.); Michael Beasley (Notre Dame Prep / Frederick, Md.); Jonny Flynn (Niagara Falls H.S. / Niagara Falls, N.Y.); Donté Greene (Towson Catholic H.S. / Baltimore, Md.); Kevin Love (Lake Oswego H.S. / Lake Oswego, Ore.); O.J. Mayo (Huntington H.S. / Huntington, W.Va.); Patrick Patterson (Huntington H.S. / Huntington, W.Va.); Kyle Singler (South Medford H.S. / Medford, Ore.); and Nolan Smith (Oak Hill Academy, Va. / Upper Marlboro, Md.).
NAJBOLJE NOĆAŠNJE AKCIJE (07/04/07)..
Named head coach of the 2007 USA Team was Pat Fitterer (Eisenhower High School / Yakima, Wash.). Fitterer served as the assistant coach for last year's victorious USA Hoop Summit Team and as the head coach of the USA White Team that captured gold at the 2005 Youth Development Festival. Tagged as assistant coach was Douglas Mitchell (North Central High School / Indianapolis, Ind.), who also served as Fitterer's assistant coach for the 2005 USA White Team and as an assistant for the USA North Team at the 2003 Youth Development Festival. The coach and player selections were made by the USA Basketball Men's Junior Development Committee and approved by the USA Basketball Executive Committee.
Featuring 11 players from 10 countries across four continents, the World roster includes four guards, Nihad Djedovic (FC Barcelona / Bosnia), Chen Jianghua (Guangdong Tigers / China), Aleksandar Ugrinoski (Arkadia Traiskirchen, Austria / Croatia) and Petteri Koponen (Honka Espoo / Finland); five forwards Omri Caspi (Hapoel Galil Elyon / Israel), Alexis Wangmene Mang-Ikri (Blair Academy, N. J. / Cameroon), Nicholas Batum (Le Mans / France), Emir Preldzic (Ljublijana / Slovenia) and Nemanja Aleksandrov (Crvena Zvedna / Serbia); center Giorgi Shermadini (Maccabi Tbilisi / Georgia) and forward/center Alexis Ajinca (Pau-Orthez / France).
NBA LEGEND SHAWN KEMP TOP 10 CAREER DUNKS..
The World Team at Nike Hoop Summit 2007 will be coached, for the third time, by respected Australian national coach Rob Beveridge, whose career highlights include leading Australia to the gold medal at the 2003 FIBA Junior World Championship.
NASLOVNICA NOVE SUPERKOŠARKE OČIGLEDNO JE POSTALA PRETIJESNA:
The Best Basketball Player You’ve Never Heard Of
Lang Whitaker tells you why 16-year-old Ricky Rubio might be the best player in the world not in the NBA
I'm going to ask you guys to do something I don’t ask of you very often: I want you to trust me. Because I’m about to tell you all about the best player in the world that most of you know nothing about.
It was nearly a year ago, and I was in Miami for game three through five of the NBA Finals. Miami is one of my favorite cities to visit, for the weather and the scenery and the beaches, but after a week there even I was getting kind of punchy. I knew I’d been there too long when Sekou Smith and I found ourselves using a free night to go see “Nacho Libre,” and we actually thought it was funny.
To fill all the down time, a lot of mingling goes on between all the journalists, and one night I found myself chatting with a bunch of writers from overseas. I bumped into a buddy from Spain, and he pulled me aside and gave me two words: Ricky Rubio.
Ricky Rubio, I was told, was the truth. He was a tall, lanky point guard logging serious minutes for DKV Juventut in Spain’s top-flight ACB league. He could run a team, he could pass, he could rebound, he could score, he could play defense.
And he was 15 years old. Playing each game against guys twice his age.
That night I called SLAM’s then-editor-in-chief Ryan Jones and mentioned the kid’s name, and we agreed to keep an eye on him.
PETE MARAVICH 68 POINT PERFORMANCE..
About a month later, after I escaped from Miami, I got an email from one of my hombres in Spain. In the final game of the Under-16 World Championships against Russia, Ricky had led Spain to a win in double-OT, including a Sheed-esque half-court shot to send the game to OT.
Oh, and his numbers for that game? 51 points, 24 rebounds, 12 steals and 7 assists.
Meanwhile, I was furious. Here we’d found the next big thing, and he was going to get his own name out there before we could find him.
Ricky’s name started popping up on the internet from time to time, youtube videos starting appearing and in the NBA.com General Manager poll, at least one GM picked the 15-year-old Ricky as the best international player in the world not in the NBA.
Back in December I ran into an NBA GM that I know at a bar in Manhattan, and after we chatted for a minute I said, “Hey, do you know about Ricky Rubio?” He smiled and quickly said, “Nope.” (If he really hadn’t known, he would’ve said, Who?)
HOTLINK1: JASON HART, CLIPPERS
All this time, I was terrified to mention his name to anyone, particularly my friends at ESPN or SI, because with their unlimited resources they’d be able to go see him play immediately.
What they wouldn’t be able to do, however, was spend time with Ricky. Between his team (DKV Joventut) and Ricky’s parents, everyone was looking out for Ricky by not allowing him to speak to the media or do any photo shoots, which would be a problem if we wanted to get him in SLAM.
So, since back in September, I’ve been quietly pushing behind the scenes to make this story happen. This process included a series of intercontinental phone calls and emails and negotiations, before we finally got the word in January: Ricky’s parents had decided that Ricky was not going to do any photo shoots or interviews until he turned 18.
Well, except for one: SLAM Magazine.
(You guys always put stuff in the comments section about how much fun my job sounds when I’m getting to travel all over the place, and for the most part it is a lot of fun. The part of my job you don’t see is the behind-the-scenes stuff I go through to make things happen. That part is completely not fun. I always compare it to being the guy in the circus who spins the plates, meaning I generally have about five or six things I’m working on simultaneously. And if I don’t keep all the projects going, they’re likely to crash and shatter. Ricky was a plate I had to work on for a long, long while.)
I came back to the SLAM Dome after All-Star in Vegas completely exhausted, but two days later I was on a flight to Barcelona. Got there on a Friday morning and spent all day Friday in my hotel room at my favorite hotel in the world, Hotel Omm, resting and watching the Canal+ Futbol channel on my projection screen TV. (For what it’s worth, I’ve stayed in hotels all over the world, from one-star to five-stars, and for my money it doesn’t get any better than Hotel Omm.)
DENNIS JOHNSON CAREER RETROSPECTIVE..
Saturday morning I got up and ate breakfast and…I waited. The Barcelona-based photographer we’d hired was calling me, asking what time we were going to meet up with Ricky. I didn’t know. My guy who kind of served as a fixer in all of this wasn’t returning my voicemails or text messages, and I started fearing the worst: That we were going to be stood up, that nothing was going to work out. I was trying to figure out in my how I was going to explain to my boss that I’d flown all the way to Barcelona and spent four nights in a hotel for nothing.
Then my phone rang. We were all good.
(Also, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to divulge who I worked with to help us make this story happen, because of several reasons, but let me here give a huge thanks to my people in Barcelona, Madrid and Spain who helped pull this together for us. Wouldn’t have happened without you, and you guys know who you are. Muchos gracias, mi amigos.)
A few hours later, I was walking into the Rubio family’s apartment in El Masnou, a quiet suburb a few minutes north of Barcelona along the coast. The entire family was there: Ricky, his brother Marc, their little sister, their parents; also there was their three-week old puppy, Chucky. Everyone was speaking Catalan, occasionally veering into Spanish. I speak conversational Spanish, enough to figure out what was being said and to communicate with everyone. Ricky’s mom went and made us all coffee, which she served in little espresso cups on a big tray. I felt like the third Rubio brother. We shot a ton of photos and all sat around and talked for a while.
HOTLINK 2: NBA 2 LAS VEGAS??
From there we piled into a couple of cars and drove to El Prat, a town on the other side of Barcelona, to see Ricky’s older brother Marc play. El Prat is home to DKV Joventut’s third-division team, and they were playing Muro, a third-division team from the Canary Islands. Ricky was playing with Joventut the next morning, so he stayed behind in El Masnou to rest up.
The third-division game was played in a small gym, almost like a high school gym, which was full of fans. We settled into the bleachers and just before tipoff Joventut head coach Aito — who used to coach Barcelona and is something of a legend in Spain — walked in and sat right in front of me. I was sitting next to Ricky’s Mom, and wearing a baseball cap which immediately tagged me as an American. Aito gave me the once-over a few times. I was battling jetlag and had to grab a Coke at one point, and while I was in the lobby I bumped into Rudy Fernandez, a swingman for Joventut and one of the top prospects in Europe, there to see some of his friends who play for Muro. El Prat hung tough but eventually lost, and the action wasn’t bad. It wasn’t great, either, but it was comparable to mid-level U.S. college ball.
Early the next morning, my guys showed up and took me over to Badalona, the suburb of Barcelona where Joventut is based. Joventut plays in the Pavello Olimpic de Badalona, the same arena where Magic, Michael and Larry won the gold back in 1992. On this rain Sunday morning, they were playing against Pamesa Valencia.
There’s a lot more about Ricky the basketball player in the SLAM article, but I will say here that he was better than I expected, and I was already expecting something pretty amazing. He can defend, he can pass, he can run a team, he can rebound. The only thing Ricky didn’t do was score, but he only took four shots in the game I went to — someone told me that when Ricky’s playing with Joventut, he doesn’t really try to score because of “the hierarchy of the team.”
NAJBOLJIH 10 AKCIJA XXII TJEDNA SEZONE 2006/07..
The game tipped off and minutes later Ricky checked in. The lead went back and forth, and Joventut would pull ahead whenver Ricky was in the game, but Joventut eventually lost.
How does Ricky play? Well, he’s 6-4 but plays longer. He’s not a speedster, but he’s fast enough. He made a crazy bounce pass off a dribble that made me gasp. An NBA scout saw Ricky play earlier this season and tabbed him the next Pistol Pete, but I think that’s mostly because of the way he looks, with his shaggy hair and prominent nose. I was really reluctant to come up with a comparison for Ricky, because he’s still so young, but the player he most reminded me of?
Yes, I said it. In a way I hate to say it, but it’s true. I’ve tried to think of any other comparison I could, but it’s Magic.
The best thing I can tell you to do is to watch this video. There’s a lot of Ricky on YouTube now, but this clip shows how great he is at everything other than scoring. Ricky’s the one handling the ball most of the time and wearing, of course, number 32:
(By the way, that video is from a Joventut preseason game last fall, against an ACB team full of guys in their 20s and 30s. And Ricky was 15 years old at the time.)
HOT LINK 3: NBA.COM DANCE TEAM BRACKET
You’re going to hear a lot more about Ricky in the years to come. He recently signed a four-year extension with Joventut, which will keep him with La Penya (The Club) until he’s 20. Until then they’ll continue to protect him and keep him from getting too big for his britches.
I do know this, and I say this without any hesitation: Ricky could play in the NBA right now. You know how most kids look a little bit awkward when they’re playing basketball, like they don’t quite fit into their body? Well, there’s none of that with Ricky. He’s smooth, he’s confident, he knows when and where to deliver the ball every time down.
I was almost hoping Ricky would be a little disappointing, so I could say that yes, he is good, but he isn’t that good. But as soon as I saw him play, I knew the hardest part of the story would be capturing precisely how good Ricky is. We hear so much about these prospects in Europe that now it’s become almost normal to believe that somebody can play even when nobody’s seen them play. I saw a couple of the top Euro prospects play while I was in Spain, but Ricky was hands down better than any of them. His shooting is his obvious weak point, as his jumper was pretty inconsistent. But he can score (don’t forget that 51 point championship game), and his jumper can be honed over the next four years. What he excels at are the things you can’t teach.
(How about this: A decade from now I’ll gladly put my Ricky ravings up against Chad Ford’s Darko droolings, after both have had a players chance to establish themselves in the NBA, and we’ll see who was closer to the truth. Chad, you in? Let’s podcast this bet!)
RICKY RUBIO (16): STEALS IT FROM WILL BYNUM, AND SCORES A BUCKET..
Ricky did a lot of little things in the game that, as a basketball geek, blew me away. There was one play where he snagged a loose ball (he leads the ACB in steals, by the way) and took off toward the basket down the left sideline. He had a defender on his tail, so Ricky made a right turn near the free throw line and headed across the court. One of his teammates stepped up to the opposite elbow of the free throw line to provide a pick. Ricky saw the guy step up and instead of just running around the pick, he took two steps away from the pick so that the guy setting the pick was at a more severe position to both him and his defender. When he slashed back and finally got to the pick, the defender was a step slow and at the perfect angle and got flattened. I’m not sure if he was somehow taught how to read developing picks and adjust the angles accordingly, but it was phenomenal.
The thing that finally clinched it for me was when I was talking to someone who knows Ricky well. They told me that they’d once asked Ricky what his favorite NBA move was. LeBron’s fadeaway? D-Wade’s crossover?
Nope. Ricky said his favorite move was the way that Steve Nash, when he’s using a pick on his left-hand side, generally takes one extra dribble with his left hand in order to create more space for himself. Seriously. 16 years old!
About that tag line on this post proclaiming Ricky’s greatness: Is Ricky really better than Greg Oden or Kevin Durant? Good question, and there’s no easy answer because it’s like comparing an apple to an orange to a peach. They’re three completely different players who each have completely different games. Right now the college guys are more developed scoring the ball and have bodies that are more NBA-ready. But Ricky’s getting there. If Ricky was in this summer’s Draft I’d take either Oden or Durant ahead of them. Four years from now when Ricky’s 20? It’s going to be a much harder decision to make.
Right now, Ricky is an incredible basketball player. Assuming he continues to develop at anything resembling the same rate, Ricky Rubio is going to be one of the great ones.
MARKOTA vs. MORRISON: Šveđo je taman na vrijeme zbrisao iz alergičnih krajeva SAD, ali NBA doček mu je nažalost priredio uvijek raspoloženi Maceo Baston (Copyright 2007 NBAE (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Tulsa listed as the worst place to live with spring allergies in the USA
NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - For allergy sufferers, the arrival of spring is always unpleasant, but if you live in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this could be a particularly miserable season.
Tulsa was listed as the most challenging place to live with spring allergies in the United States, according to a new ranking by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
The study looked at data from 320 metro areas across the country. The south ruled the top spots with Dallas-Fort Worth in Texas, Fort Myers in Florida, San Antonio in Texas, and Tucson in Arizona rounding up the top five.
Dr. Rollie Rhodes of the Eastern Oklahoma Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic in Tulsa was not surprised by the city's poor showing.
"Since the middle of February -- since we've had a milder winter than usual -- we've had increasing numbers of people coming in. It's been more active this spring than usual," Rhodes said in an interview.
The longer allergy season doesn't help.
"What used to be a six to eight week season is now eight to 12 weeks," said AAFA spokesman Angel Waldron.
The AAFA's 2007 spring ranking is based on scientific analysis of pollen data, the number of allergy medications used per patient and the number of allergy specialists per patient.
NAJBOLJE NOĆAŠNJE AKCIJE (04/05/2007)..
According to the foundation, allergies (hay fever) are the fifth leading chronic disease, costing an estimated $7 billion a year in medication costs, office visits and lost work days.
Rhodes emphasized the need for allergy sufferers to take their medicine early. Once the symptoms become severe, the allergy becomes harder to treat.
"You need to attend to it and not wait until, 'I can't stand it anymore,"' Rhodes said.
But access may be a challenge for many sufferers, said Waldron. In areas where specialists are not in abundance, waiting periods for a consultation could take up to six weeks.
For many of the cities on the list, Waldron said there are not enough allergy specialists to support the population, or that the doctors are clustered in a large care center in one part of the city, making access difficult for those living in the suburbs or rural areas.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, which came ninth on the list, 11 of the 13 specialists worked out of one office, Waldron noted as an example.
"Any city on our ranking is a challenging place. The misconception is that number 100 is a good place," said Waldron, adding that allergy suffers have taken drastic measures like moving to Alaska or North Dakota.
"That's our million dollar question: 'Where should I move to escape my allergies?'," she said.
CROATIAN BASKETBALL: CIBONA vs. SPLIT 04/04/07 (6MIN/95MB): Nakon Zadranina Englisha danas mi je izuzetna čast na ovim blog prostorima predstaviti znamenitog "snajperistu" Splita Larrya Ayusa. Ukratko: DA, bolji je pure shooter od Olivera, trust me.
A complete list of the 100 most challenging cities is listed on www.allergycapitals.com
SEVENT HEAVEN: SEDMA UZASTOPNA NCAA TITULA NCAA KOŠARKAŠICA TENNESSEEA, PREDVOĐENIH ANTHONYEVOM SESTRICOM CANDACE..
CLEVELAND – In Pat Summitt's mind, the wait didn't make Tennessee's seventh title any more special than the others.
But from a women's basketball standpoint, the Lady Vols' 59-46 win over Rutgers on Tuesday meant plenty. It meant that after eight years of first-time champs (Purdue, Notre Dame, Baylor, Maryland) and four-time champs (Connecticut in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004), that things were back to normal.
That Tennessee was queen again.
Next season will open with the Lady Vols almost certainly the No. 1 team in the land and favorite to win an eighth title. If nothing else, this year's title means UConn still can't catch Tennessee, even if the Huskies win their first championship in four years (and No. 6 overall).
Surely this one must be especially sweet for Summitt, right?
"Actually, no. And I'm just being honest with you," Summitt said. "This is not about winning No. 7. This is about this team winning their first."
Fair enough. But even though Final Four Most Outstanding Player Candace Parker was all of 11 months old when Summitt won her first, it's clear that Summitt has won so many titles that winning the elusive No. 7 came almost naturally, despite the time that had passed since No. 6.
"It's different for me now," Summitt said. "And all I can tell you [is] it was like another game. When I came here today it wasn't like we were playing for a national championship; we went through our same routine."
The scary thing for the rest of the women's basketball world is that the "same routine" is, again, a championship routine.
Parker is the reason why. She made just five of 15 shots Tuesday, contributing to the worst two-game shooting performance by a team in Final Four history (by a champion or a runner-up). But she can play whatever position is needed. She can elevate above everyone else on the floor. And she calmly drained six straight free throws down the stretch to ice the game.
NAJBOLJE NOĆAŠNJE AKCIJE (04/04/07)..
"She makes everyone else better," Summitt said. "You've got a Candace Parker, you've got a chance to win a national championship."
Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer, foiled in a bid for her first national title in 36 years of coaching, offered even more praise.
"You are witnessing the best player in the world," Stringer said. "There's nobody that comes close to her."
That's a scary thought because Parker could have two more chances to win additional titles before she moves on to dominate the WNBA or an overseas league, two more chances to remind casual fans that she's much, much more than the girl who won the high school dunk contest.
If Parker can lead Tennessee to a championship by winning games in which the Lady Vols shot 27 and 34 percent, respectively, imagine what she can do with one or two more years under Summitt's tutelage. And what could happen if the Lady Vols actually played, well, up to their offensive potential.
And how Parker and her teammates could play with the monkey – eight years without a championship – off their collective backs.
"Candace will be better next year because Candace is very serious about her game," Summitt said. "And she's constantly working on it. And that's why this team sat here tonight and won the national championship, because of their dedication in the offseason."
That's Summitt. She never stops coaching. She knows that, at this time last year, most everyone was saying Maryland would be the team to beat in 2006-07, with all of its top players back from a championship team. But the Terps lost this year in the second round.
It's hard to imagine the same fate befalling Tennessee. Its three all-tournament team members – Parker, center Nicky Anosike and sharpshooter Shannon Bobbitt – all return next season.
While Summitt said she didn't know if any team would ever be able to win three straight titles again as Tennessee did from 1996 to 1998 (and Connecticut from 2002 to 2004), one can't help but do the math. Two more years of Candace Parker. Two more years until Summitt probably reaches 1,000 career wins (she needs 54).
10 NAJBOLJIH ALLEY-OOPOVA MJESECA OŽUJKA 2007.
Two more titles in a row isn't out of reach. Because just as it was from the late '80s and through the '90s, Tennessee is back at the summit again.
The Lady Vols are something special.
By Jeremy Stone
NAISMITH MEMORIAL BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES SEVEN MEMBERS OF THE CLASS OF 2007
Holder of 9 NBA Championship Rings, Two International Coaches, Inspirational NCAA Championship Team, Leader of WNBA Dynasty, Five Time Final Four Coach and First Referee Since 1995 Comprise Elite Group.
SPRINGFIELD, MA - Phil Jackson, who led the Lakers and Bulls to a record nine NBA titles, the 1966 NCAA Champions from Texas Western, University of North Carolina Coach Roy Williams, four time WNBA Championship coach Van Chancellor, referee Mendy Rudolph and international coaches Pedro Ferrandiz and Mirko Novosel were announced today as the newest members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2007. The announcement was made today in Atlanta, Georgia, site of the 2007 NCAA Men's Final Four.
Jackson and Texas Western were elected in their first year of consideration for election into the Hall of Fame. Novosel, Rudolph and Williams were first-time Finalists this year who had previously been reviewed by Screening Committees. Chancellor and Ferrandiz had been named Finalists in prior years.
To be elected a Finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Class of 2007 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Mass. September 6-8, 2007. Tickets to the 2007 Enshrinement Gala and Induction Celebration are on-sale now and available by calling the Hall of Fame at (413) 781-6500. Additional Enshrinement Weekend information can also be found at www.hoophall.com.
PHIL JACKSON TEACHES TRIANGLE..
PHIL JACKSON - Coach, has been at the helm of not one, but two of the great dynasties in NBA history. A native of North Dakota, where he also starred in college before playing professionally for the Knicks and Nets, Jackson coached the Chicago Bulls to six NBA Championships (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998) and the Los Angeles Lakers to three straight titles (2000, 2001, 2002). His nine Championships tie him with the legendary Red Auerbach, and he was the fastest coach in NBA history to reach 900 wins. Under Jackson the Chicago Bulls posted the best regular season record in NBA history at 72-10, and was the NBA Coach of the Year in 1996. Jackson also claimed a CBA title and coach of the year honors with Albany in 1984, and was a player on the NBA Champion New York Knicks in 1973.
MARVIN "Mendy" RUDOLPH - Referee, officiated 2,112 NBA games in his career, a record at the time of his retirement. Born in Philadelphia, PA, Rudolph was considered one of the greatest officials of all time, and was selected to referee eight NBA All Star Games and at least one NBA Finals game for 22 consecutive seasons - including the 1961 Finals, when along with Earl Strom, he officiated all seven games, the only time in NBA history the same officials worked an entire Finals series. As the NBA Head of Officials, Rudolph wrote the NBA Official's Manual and Case Book, and was widely respected by fellow officials, coaches, players and members of the media. Mr. Rudolph passed away in 1979 at the age of 53.
GLORY ROAD MOTION PICTURE TRAILER..
TEXAS WESTERN - Team, the 1966 NCAA National Champions, became the first team in NCAA history to win a title with five starting African-American players, beating an all-white Kentucky squad in the Championship game. Regarded by many as a key turning point in integration and increased equality in athletics, the highly publicized and inspirational Championship game also capped an amazing 28-1 season for Texas Western, led by Bobby Joe Hill and David Lattin. Coached by Hall of Famer Don Haskins, this true 'team' was comprised of African-American and white players, with seven different players leading the team in scoring. In 2006, forty years after the Miners captured the national title, their story was made into a major motion picture, Glory Road, the team visited the White House and was honored at halftime of the 2006 NCAA Men's Championship Game.
ROY WILLIAMS - Coach, a native of Asheville, NC, is the third coach in history to lead two schools to an NCAA National Championship game, and has led both Kansas and North Carolina to a total of five Final Fours (1991, 1993, 2002, 2003, 2005), three national title games (1991, 2003, 2005), and won an NCAA Championship with North Carolina in 2005. Williams also played on the freshman team at North Carolina and was an assistant in Chapel Hill before accepting the head coaching job at Kansas in 1988. His teams have made 18 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, winning at least one tournament game in each. Williams is a six-time National Coach of the Year, and in his 18+ years of coaching he has become the fastest coach ever to reach the 500 win mark.
NAJBOLJIH 10 NBA AKCIJA ZA MJESEC OŽUJAK 2007.
VAN CHANCELLOR - Coach (Finalist in 2005, 2006), a native of Louisville, Mississippi, led the Houston Comets to four straight WNBA Championships (1997-2000) and won 439 games as the Head Women's Coach at Ole Miss (1978-1997). Chancellor coached the undefeated United States gold medal team at the 2004 Olympic Games, and has a spotless 38-0 record in international competition. In leading the Comets to a 211-111 record (1997-2006), Chancellor has been named WNBA coach of the year three times (1997, 1998, 1999). In addition, the 1998 Comets hold the record for the highest winning percentage in the history of NBA and WNBA basketball (27-3, .900 winning percentage). Chancellor was named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year three times (1987, 1990, 1992).
PEDRO FERRANDIZ - Coach (Finalist in 2001, 2003, 2006) a native of Alicante, Spain, is considered one of the greatest coaches in European history and has compiled an overall coaching record of 437-90 while leading Real Madrid to a record 12 Spanish League titles, 11 Spanish Cup titles, and four European Cup championships. He recorded three undefeated Spanish League seasons and was known for bringing the concept of the "fast break" to the European game. Along with Cesare Rubini, Ferrandiz founded the World Association of Basketball Coaches and served as the organization's first president. He is the recipient of the Olympic Order from the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland, the only such basketball coach in history to earn the award (1977). He was honored by the Central Board of FIBA and conceded Order of Merit (2000). Ferrandiz has also been awarded the Blue Cross of Mention in Sport (2002).
MIRKO NOVOSEL - Coach, born June 30, 1938 in Zagreb, led the Yugoslavian team to the 1980 Olympic gold medal, 1976 silver medal and a bronze in 1984. Novosel also coached the Yugoslavian national team to a silver medal at the World Championships of Basketball in 1974. While coaching on the professional level in Europe, Novosel led Cibona to three national titles, a record seven Yugo-Cups, two Cup of Cup titles and captured the Cup of Champions in 1985. Novosel was named European Coach of the Year in 1985 and is one of only four coaches to win 3 or more Olympic medals.
GREG ODEN, OHIO STATE: Nakon 22 uzastopne pobjede i prije odlaska u profesionalce, svjestan je da ga 40 minuta dijeli od dosega karijere. Među TV-navijačima Ohio Statea noćas će biti i nekadašnji Buckeyesi Scoonie Penn & Michael Redd..
(35-3) vs. (34-5)
ATLANTA (AP) - Now we'll see who's really No. 1.
Florida, the top overall seed in the NCAA tournament, and Ohio State, which finished the regular season as the top-ranked team, rolled into Monday night's championship game.
After a tournament filled with nail-biters, Saturday night's games were downright pedestrian. Ohio State (35-3) beat Georgetown 67-60 despite more foul trouble from Greg Oden. Florida (34-5) romped to a 76-66 victory over UCLA in a rematch of last year's title game that wasn't any closer than the original.
It will be a title game rematch of sorts. The Buckeyes and Gators met for a title in January -- only it was on grass, not hardwood. The gridiron Gators won that one in an upset, beating Ohio State 41-14 and making Florida the first school to hold titles in football and men's basketball at the same time.
Now Florida is looking to add to its title collection. But the Buckeyes might want a little revenge for their football brethren. Yes, that was Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel sitting in the front row Saturday night with his Florida counterpart Urban Meyer across the way.
Florida is trying to become the first team since Duke in 1992 to repeat, and the first ever to do it with the same starting lineup.
"They're a very, very good team," Florida coach Billy Donovan said of Ohio State. "We got a chance to play them in December. It was a game where I think our team and their team have gotten better and improved as season has gone on."
The teams met in Gainesville in December, and it was barely a contest. Florida routed the Buckeyes 86-60, embarrassing them in every facet of the game. It was only Oden's fifth game back after offseason wrist surgery, and the Gators ran him off the floor. He couldn't keep up with Joakim Noah or a gimpy Al Horford and finished with almost as many fouls (four) as he did points (seven) and rebounds (six).
NAJBOLJE NOĆAŠNJE AKCIJE (02/04/07)..
Monday night's game is sure to be different.
The Buckeyes haven't lost since Jan. 9 at Wisconsin, a streak of 22 straight. But they've looked vulnerable in the NCAA tournament, and Florida will be their biggest test.
The Gators, meanwhile, seem to be playing their best. Again. They've won nine in a row and have allowed only two teams to score more than 70 during that stretch.
The Oden-Horford matchup is the most intriguing. Oden has come a long way in the last three months, and it's only been in the last few weeks that his full array of skills has been on display. He leads the Buckeyes in scoring and rebounding, and was named an All-American.
Horford gives up two inches and 35 pounds to the 7-footer, but the bigger the game, the bigger Horford plays. Though he only had nine points Saturday night, he had 17 rebounds -- the very margin by which Florida outrebounded UCLA (43-26).
Still, the championship game will likely come down to guard play.
Florida's Lee Humphrey has a knack for hitting big shots, and he scored all but two of his 14 points against UCLA from long range. Taurean Green strled with his shot, hitting only 2-of-9, but he is able to go off at any time.
Mike Conley Jr. is overshadowed by Oden, his high school teammate and childhood buddy. But he is arguably the most valuable of Ohio State's "Thad Five" right now. He's carried the team in their last two games, and he was the reason Ohio State didn't self-destruct when Oden went out Saturday night.
U.S. PLES SA ZVIJEZDAMA: CLYDE DREXLER & ELENA GRINENKO..
Jamar Butler is a steady shooter, and Ron Lewis is the reason the Buckeyes even got this far. It was his long 3-pointer that forced overtime against Xavier in the second round.
This is the Buckeyes' first trip to the title game since they played in three straight from 1960-62. They won the title in 1960 and were runners-up the next two years.
DARE TO DREAM: "Critics can talk all they want, but we're goin 'to the playoffs," says Jax (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)..
Warriors, come out and play
How can they be so bad one game and so good the next?
That's the question I asked myself after watching the Golden State Warriors take apart Phoenix at Oracle Arena on Thursday night in a game Golden State desperately needed to win to stay in the playoff hunt.
Three days after being booed off the floor by the home crowd in a 37-point loss to San Antonio, the Warriors looked unbeatable against the Suns. They exploded out of the gates for 45 first-quarter points, continued their blistering pace for two quarters and then withstood a late Phoenix rally to win 124-119. The victory pulled Golden State within one game of the Clippers for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoff race.
INCREDIBLE BUZZER BEATER (KAKAV KRUMPIR) by CoolWallpapers: KK Vinodol - KK Opatija 04.02.07 Druga juniorska liga primorsko goranske županije. Place: Crikvenica, Croatia..Muraya's comment: ovo dečke iz KK Vinodola stavlja u youtube.ligu s Planinićem..ne tim nego ovim, Sheedom, te Jordanom Snipesom..
If you were at the game – or watching it on TV – you had to wonder why the Warriors can't play that way more often. They are a very talented team with the kind of versatile, athletic players Don Nelson loves. They have a terrific point guard in Baron Davis, who is one of the most difficult players to defend in the NBA. They are capable of playing an attacking, ball-hawking defense. (The Warriors lead the NBA in steals and are third in blocked shots.) And they play in front of one of the most loyal fan bases in the league – a knowledgeable, rowdy bunch that is desperate to see its team make the playoffs for the first time in 13 years.
Golden State also has one of the game's best tacticians in Nelson, who made the key strategic move in Thursday's game by benching regular starter Andris Biedrins in favor of Monta Ellis. The move was classic Nellie. When in doubt, go small. And when further in doubt, go smaller. The Warriors' lineup was straight out of the old 6-foot-5 and under league, and it allowed the team to basically "out Phoenix" the Suns. Golden State was quicker, faster and more explosive than the league's highest-scoring team, and it was in control from the outset.
So why can't the Warriors do that to more teams? Granted, Phoenix plays the frenetic style Golden State loves, so the Warriors were in their element Thursday. But with the talent Nelson has and his ability to manipulate lineups and expose matchups, one would think that Golden State would be better than its 34-39 record.
2007 NCAA SLAM DUNK CONTEST VIDEO..Muraya's comment: možda nije kao prošlogodišnje, ali je siguran znak da je March Madness bio i ostao u zraku. James White je još u NBA/Spurs, svi van na ples!!
The issue is consistency. The Warriors have been up and down all season, partly due to the midseason trade that brought Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington to the Bay Area in January. It's difficult to manage a major personnel change on the fly, and it has taken some time for Golden State to jell after the shakeup. The Warriors lost 14 of their first 21 games after the trade, and Nelson was so dispirited after a blowout loss in Chicago in late February that he essentially threw in the towel.
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Total of 18 Croatian players were selected
on NBA Draft throughout the last 30 years
1972 Kresimir Cosic C Portland 10 144
1973 Kresimir Cosic C L.A. Lakers 5 84
1986 Drazen Petrovic SG Portland 3 60
1987 Franjo Arapovic C Atlanta 7 159
1989 Dino Radja PF Boston 2 40
1990 Toni Kukoc F Chicago 2 29
1991 Zan Tabak C Houston 2 51
1998 Bruno Sundov C Dallas 2 35
1999 Gordan Giricek SG Dallas 2 40
2000 Dalibor Bagaric C Chicago 1 24
2000 Josip Sesar SG Seattle 2 47
2002 Mario Kasun C L.A. Clippers 2 41
2003 Zoran Planinic PG New Jersey 1 22
2005 Roko Ukic PG Toronto 2 41
2006 Damir Markota PF Milwaukee 2 59
2007 Stanko Barac C Indiana 2 39
2008 Ante Tomic PF Utah 2 44
2011 Bojan Bogdanovic G/F New Jersey 2 31
2012 Tomislav Zubcic F Toronto 2 56
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