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10 Things I Loved About the 2011 NBA Playoffs June 14, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Basketball, Indiana Pacers, NBA, Sport.
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Ahh…it’s finally all over. The Dallas Mavericks just defeated the Miami Heat in 6 games to capture the 2011 NBA Championship in what has been the most enjoyable NBA Playoffs in recent memory. Dirk Nowitzki was named Finals MVP, elevating the big silky German to all-time great status and denying Miami’s much-maligned ‘Big Three’ of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh a chance at a title in their first year together. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

Here are the 10 things that I thought made these Playoffs one of the best ever.

(to read on, click on ‘more…’)

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How I would have judged the 2011 NBA Dunk Contest February 21, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Basketball, NBA, Sport.
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Source: theprovince.com

By now everyone knows that Blake Griffin won the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.  But did he deserve to win it over the likes of JaVale McGee, DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka, each of whom threw down some excellent dunks of their own?

Here’s how I would have judged each dunk from the the dunk comp yesterday.

(to read on and see each dunk, click on ‘more…’)

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Thoughts on Bieber winning Celeb MVP, Griffin Dunk Comp February 20, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Basketball, NBA, Sport.
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2011 Getty Images

I was pretty excited for this year’s NBA All Star Weekend, even though not a single player from my Indiana Pacers made any of the events (I thought at least one of Paul George, Darren Collison or Tyler Hansbrough would have made the Rookie/Sophomore game).  The reason?  Blake Griffin.

For those who don’t follow the NBA, Griffin is this year’s lock for Rookie of the Year — a 6’10”, 251 pound freak of nature that jumps and dunks over everything in sight.  He was actually drafted last year but missed the entire season with a broken kneecap.  Now he’s back and wrecking havoc on the league.  Here’s a video of some of his dunks.  Remember that he has only played in 56 games in his entire NBA career so far.

The other reason is because I wanted to see teen hearthrob Justin Bieber (generously listed at 5’5″) play in the celeb game — not because I’m a fan of the kid, but because I was genuinely fascinated by whether he’ll embarrass himself in front of his millions of adoring fans.

Here’s a video of Bieber tearing up the court in a Proactiv commercial.  I’m not kidding.

Well, I can honestly say I did not come away disappointed.  Bieber’s boxscore was uninspiring (8 points on 3-11 shooting, with 4 assists and 2 rebounds) and his team lost 54-49, but he still managed to win the Celeb game MVP because it’s an award voted by the fans.  The highlight of the night was when the Biebs was rejected by Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen while going up for a jumpshot.  Bieber elevated and tried to shoot but Scottie swung his arm out at about chest level and smacked the crap out of the shot.  Hilarious.  Scottie was even congratulated by former Pacer Jalen Rose for the fantastic rejection.

On the other hand, Griffin participated in the Slam Dunk Contest today as part of All-Star Saturday.  He already played in the Rookie/Sophomore game the day before and will be a reserve in the proper All-Star Game tomorrow.  Given that they were win LA given his popularity, Griffin was a heavy favourite to win the comp, where the final round is voted by the fans.  His opponents were relatively unheralded — JaVale McGee (Washington), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto) and Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City) — but Griffin’s presence alone was enough to make this the most anticipated Dunk Comp since Vince Carter brought the house down with some of his classic dunks (since then it’s been a bit of a farce as the comps have focused more on style than substance).

As expected, Griffin won the comp (against McGee in the final), and while he may have deserved it overall, he probably didn’t even have one of the best 3 dunks of the night.  Each of McGee, DeRozan and Ibaka had some sick jams that didn’t get the respect or scores they deserved, while Griffin had a bit of hometown judging to help him out.

That’s not to say Griffin didn’t have some amazing dunks.  His first one of the night was an example of how freakishly athletic he is — a twisting 360 degree two-handed slam with the ball brought back behind his head.  His second dunk of the first round saw a teammate toss the ball off the backboard support — he caught it in mid-air and windmilled it through.

In the second round, he threw the ball off the backboard and went up so high that he dunked his entire forearm through the hoop ala Vince Carter — but this was more impressive because it was off the backboard, he went up higher, and there was a lot more power (so much so that he had a welt on his arm from it).

His final dunk brought everyone to his feet even before he attempted it — they drove a car out onto the court and had a gospel choir singing at halfcourt.  Griffin took a run up and leaped over the hood of the car, just as Baron Davis passed him the ball through the car’s sun roof.  Griffin caught the ball in mid-air and slammed it down two-handed.  To be honest, that description made the dunk sound better than it really was.  It was, after all, a jump over the hood of the car (as opposed to the top of it), though the presentation deserved props as did the fact that it was a potentially dangerous attempt by someone who just recovered from a broken kneecap.

Griffin got scores of 49 and 46 for his first two dunks, which I believe were about right — only if they scored the dunks of his opponents with as much generosity. If they did, I don’t think Griffin would have made the second round (more on this in my next post) — actually, you could even make an argument that Griffin was the fourth-best dunker in that first round.

Griffin’s two dunks in the secound round were not scored as the result was decided by fan voting (he got 68% of the vote to edge out McGee), though I believe he deserved the nod — only because McGee’s second dunk was a run-of-the-mill (if you can call it that) off the backboard, one-handed slam.  If he left one of his spectacular first round dunks for the second round, I believe he should have won it.

Anyway, here are the highlights.

More to come.

Anything to avoid writing February 16, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Blogging, Misc, NBA, Novel, On Writing.
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Only recently have I come to appreciate just how hard it is to be a ‘writer’.

Sure, it’s fun to ramble on and write on this blog with no regard for what is ‘good writing’, but when it comes to the serious stuff (such as my dorment novels or proper articles), I have a real talent for avoiding it.  Make no mistake — I want to write.  That’s why I quit my old profession and began this path.  I have absolutely no doubt about that.  But somehow, I just keep finding new ways to stop myself from getting down to business (as I like to call it).

Perhaps it’s the fear of failure.  Or maybe it’s the fear of getting started (after all, it is extremely daunting).  Or maybe I’m just a lazy bum.

Lately I’ve been coming up with all sorts of excuses for not working on my ‘serious’ writing.  It’s the holidays.  My folks are in town.  I have video games I haven’t played yet.  I need to finish reading books X, Y and Z.  There are movies I need to see, preferably before the Oscars.  I should watch more live basketball on NBA League Pass.  I should learn about the stock market.  The foreign exchange market.  Enter competitions.  The house needs new furniture (which is true).  I should write a blog post about not writing.

One of my many New Year’s resolutions was to read (books) and write (books) an hour a day.  Two-plus months in, and still nothing.  I have been reading more than an hour a day the last few days, but only because it’s Anne Frank’s diary and it’s bloody brilliant.  But writing?  No. Not as such.  Almost makes me wish I could be locked away somewhere like Anne where it’s so boring that there’s nothing to do but write.

Over this break, I’ve sunk to a new low — exercise (the only thing worse is cleaning up the house).  I tell myself it’s to keep fit, but it’s really just another excuse.  And as a result, I’ve been exercising a lot.  More than I ever did than when I had (or could afford) a gym membership.  Maybe it will get me physically prepared for all the gruelling writing sessions ahead…

Bieber to take on Costanza at 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend! February 2, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Basketball, NBA.
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The NBA All-Star Celebrity Game which will take place in LA this year is going to be a cracker.

Forget about Hall-of-Famers Scottie Pippen and Bill Walton playing — they have just announced that teen heart throb Justin Bieber (who may or may not have hit puberty recently) is attending, along with my favourite TV star Jason Alexander (aka George Costanza from Seinfeld).

Bieber, despite his diminutive size, actually appears to be a pretty good little baller.  Check out the videos below.  The first one is him playing one-on-one against Usher, who looks like he absolutely tanked it against his protege.  The second is more believable and shows a young(er) Bieber playing in a tournament.

As for Costanza, from what I remember from Seinfeld he was a bit of a ‘chucker’.  I wonder if he trained with shoes from the clip below.

The thought of a Bieber vs Costanza duel makes this year’s All-Star Weekend a must watch.

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