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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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Celtics dispose Bulls but check out Derrick Rose’s block! May 3, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Basketball, NBA.
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I was so excited by Manny Pacquiao’s 2 round demolition of Ricky Hatton that I almost forgot about game 7 between the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls, which I gushed about being possibly one of the best NBA playoff series of all time (and certainly the best first round series).

The Celtics and Bulls congratulate each other on a great series

The Celtics and Bulls congratulate each other on a great series

Celtics win!

Anyway, after 7 overtime periods in 6 games, in the end conventional wisdom prevailed and the Celtics knocked out the Bulls in Boston, 109-99. It was only the second game in the series where the final margin was more than 3 points (the other being game 3).

After all that drama in the first 6 games, everyone hoped for (but not really expected) an equally explosive finish, but it wasn’t to be.  The significant playoff experience the Celtics gained from last season’s championship run proved to be decisive, as Boston dominated the second quarter 29-11 (including a 22-2 run), taking a 13-point lead into the half and holding on the rest of the way for victory.

Game Analysis

There were several keys to game 7.  The Celtics obviously had the big-game experience from last year and the home court advantage, so the Bulls needed something special to pull out the upset.

I as said in my earlier post, the Bulls needed big games from Derrick Rose, Ben Gordon and John Salmons (or at least 2 out of the 3), and Brad Miller was the X-factor.  Looking at each of their performances in game 7, it’s easy to see why the Bulls lost.

Rose was solid, but not exceptional, scoring 18 points on 9-18 shooting and added 4 rebounds and 3 assists, with only 3 turnovers (low for him this series).  Notably, he didn’t get to the free-throw line even once.  However, Rose’s ‘average’ game was offset by Rajon Rondo’s struggles.  The player who dominated all series only scored 7 points on 2-8 shooting (plus 3-6 from the line) and had 4 turnovers, but he did have 11 assists and 5 rebounds.

Ben Gordon led the way with 33 points, but was an atrocious 7-23 from the field.  He did make up for it (a little) by hitting all 15 of his free throws.  Salmons was also disappointing, adding only 12 points on 3-12 shooting after playing hero in game 6 with 35 points.  As for the X-factor Brad Miller, only 9 points and 7 rebounds in 28 minutes.

The key for the Celtics, on the other hand, was bench play, which had been poor all series.  Luckily, they got that in game 7, with Eddie House breaking out with 16 points in 22 minutes without missing a shot (5-5 FGs including 4-4 from 3P and 2-2 FTs).  Big Brian Scalabrine also chipped in with 8 points including 2 three-pointers, but was the victim of another spectacular block by Derrick Rose.  See it again and again below!

By the way, Ray Allen top scored for the Celtics with 23 points (to follow up his 51 point effort in game 6) and Paul Pierce added 20 points and 9 rebounds.

What’s next

The Bulls can go home for the summer knowing that they gave last season’s defending champs all they could handle (despite them not having Kevin Garnett).  That will certainly give them a lot of confidence next season, as it did for the Atlanta Hawks when they took the Celtics to 7 games last season as the 8th seed and then finished this season as the 4th seed.

As for the Celtics, they move on to face the Orlando Magic in the second round.  The Magic came away with a shaky 6-game win in their first round series against the Philadelphia 76ers, and I think it will be a very interesting matchup.  Have the Celtics spent all of their energy on the Bulls or can they pull out another tough series?  Can anyone on the Celtics stop Dwight Howard?  I’ll have to think about these questions before I put down my picks for the second round.  Oh, and I forgot there’s still one series left – the Atlanta Hawks vs the Miami Heat.  I’m hoping for a Heat victory so we can see Lebron take on D-Wade!

My NBA Award Winners for 2008-2009! April 15, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Basketball, NBA.
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Okay – it’s that time of the year when everyone starts chucking their opinions on the NBA Regular Season Awards at each other.  With only a a game left in the season for most teams, here’s mine and why (and who I think WILL win).

Most Valuable Player (MVP): Lebron James

lebron-mvp

It's time for King James to land his first MVP award

Everybody has their own criteria for judging the MVP award.  I tend to take a global approach that considers, among other things, the player’s statistics, his team’s record, the player’s value to his team, at the same time comparing them to the previous year.  With that in mind, it’s a no-brainer that the award goes to Lebron James.  His overall stats (28.4ppg, 7.6rpg, 7.2apg, 1.7spg, 1.1bpg) may appear to be down a little compared to last year, but per minute he’s doing roughly the same, if not better.  On top of that the Cavs are one of the closest things you can get in the NBA to a ‘One Man Team’ and they improved from 45-37 last season to at least 66 wins this season en route to the best record in the NBA.  I love Dwayne Wade‘s play this year and he’s statistically the closest to Lebron, but when you factor in the team records it’s not even close.  As for Kobe Bryant, I know many people still consider him to be the best player (I don’t) in the NBA, but as history shows, that alone is not enough to get the MVP, especially when he won it the year before.   Lebron has him on each of the criteria I mentioned above.

Lebron James WILL win, no doubt about it.  The only question is whether it will be unanimous, and I say no.

Rookie of the Year: Derrick Rose

During the pre-season, Derrick Rose showed a bit of flair and potential but I don’t think anyone expected him to be this good, this fast.  Every time I watch a highlight reel containing his moves, whether it’s breaking down the defense with his crossovers or on the break, I just shake my head.  Rose averaged 16.8ppg and 6.3apg and 3.9rpg this season – not many rookies in recent years can put up those types of numbers – and he’s only going to get better.  If he improves his defense and jumpshot, he’ll be rivalling Chris Paul as the best PG in the league in a few years.  Not to say Rose hasn’t had any competition this year.  I’m sure there will be voters going for Brook Lopez and OJ Mayo but unlike those players, Rose is heading to the playoffs.

Derrick Rose WILL win, but he’ll be splitting votes with Lopez and Mayo, and maybe even guys like Russell Westbrook and Rudy Fernandez.  Throw in Greg Oden and you’ve got a one of the most intimidating All-Rookie Team in years.

Most Improved Player (MIP): Kevin Durant

kevin-durant-mip

Kevin Durant MIP?

First let me make it clear that I would like nothing more than for Danny Granger to win this award.  That being said, Kevin Durant is most deserving in my opinion.  Granger and Durant, together with Devin Harris, make this one of the more compelling awards to be decided this season.  Some may also rank Brandon Roy in the mix (but not me – if you take a look at his stats they have not changed much from last season). Let’s compare.

Last season, Danny Granger averaged 19.6ppg, 6.1rpg, 2.1apg, 1.2spg and 1.0blg.  This season, 25.7ppg, 5.0rpg, 2.7apg, 1.0spg and 1.4blg.  His shooting percentages and minutes have remained similar (a little higher in FT% only), but he has played about 13 games less this season than last, when he appeared in 80 games.  Indiana was 36-46 last season, a record they will duplicate provided they win their final regular-season game against the Bucks.  Granger’s numbers have perhaps been helped by the departure of Jermaine O’Neal and the absence of Mike Dunleavy, elevating him to All-Star status for the first time in his career.  However, on paper at least, Granger’s improvements appear largely confined to his scoring average and perhaps maturity down the stretch (as evident from the several big shots he hit throughout the season).

Now Devin Harris.  Last season in his 25 games as a Net (after the trade from Dallas) he averaged 15.4ppg, 6.5apg, 3.2rpg and 1.4spg.  This season he has averaged 21.3ppg, 6.9apg, 3.3rpg and 1.7spg while shooting roughly the same percentages (albeit a dip in 3P%).  The Nets are 34-47 with one game to go and will miss the playoffs.  If they lose their final game their record will be the same as last season’s.  Like Granger, Harris’s improvements on paper are predominantly in the scoring column.  Some say he has overtaken Vince Carter as the leader of the team, but I’m not sure everyone agrees.

Lastly, Kevin Durant.  Last season’s Rookie of the Year averaged 20.3ppg, 4.4rpg and 2.4apg, whereas this year he has upped his stats to 25.3ppg, 6.5rpg and 2.8apg, while shooting significantly better from the field (0.430 to 0.475) and in particular from 3-point range (0.288 to 0.419).  Meanwhile, the team most expected to come dead last (Oklahoma City Thunder) has gone 22-59 with one game to go.  Not very impressive but then you remember that they went 20-62 last season (as the Seattle Supersonics) and came dead last in the West, whereas this season there are a couple of teams worse than them (Clippers and Kings).  Taking all of that into consideration, I believe Durant is slightly more deserving than Granger and Harris, and thus SHOULD win the award.

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw ESPN’s experts poll in which Granger came out on top in the MIP category, edging Devis Harris 5 votes to 4.  Durant and Roy were equal third with 2 votes apiece, along with Nene and Thaddeus Young.  I have a feeling this has something to do with Granger’s offensive explosion in the remaining games of the season, whereas Harris’s and Durant’s performances have dipped.  Nevertheless, I predict that Devin Harris WILL win the award based on his early season heorics that shocked a lot of people.  Even though I don’t agree with it, I read elsewhere that people are reluctant to vote for Durant because they expect a played of his calibre to improve this much in his second season.  Still, I’m hoping for a Granger victory!

Sixth Man of the Year: Jason Terry

To be honest I haven’t paid much attention to this award, but no matter which way you look at it, Jason Terry is the clear winner.  Manu Ginobili has been in and out of the line up all season with injuries, and even though I like the way he has carried himself in a diminished role, Lamar Odom played lots of games as a starter (32) this year.  That just about leaves one guy, Terry, who averaged 19.5ppg and 3.4apg while coming off the bench in 62 out of 73 games.

Jason Terry WILL win and it will be a big win.

Defensive Player of the Year: Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard

Superman to win DPY

This is another easy category because Dwight Howard has simply been a defensive monster all season, leading the league in both blocked shots (2.9) and rebounds (13.9) while averaging close to a steal per game.  That doesn’t take into account how many shots he changed in games or how many times he forced teams to take outside shots than drive it into the lane.  Historically, there have been much more impressive numbers, but the talent is spread out so evenly that these stats are about as impressive as you’ll get these days.  His nearest rivals are the usual wing players such as Ron Artest, Shane Battier and Kobe Bryant, or perennial contenders such as Kevin Garnett.  I’ve even read about support in this category for Dwayne Wade and Lebron James, but I consider these more token votes for acknowledging the strides these players have made defensively rather than genuine votes.

Dwight Howard WILL win easily.

Coach of the Year (COY): Rick Adelman

Probably the hardest to predict out of all the categories this year (and in most years).  How much of a team’s success can you attribute to a head coach?  I mean, look at Mike Brown, coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Most people rip his coaching abilities and pin the team’s success all on Lebron, but shouldn’t he at least get some credit for leading the team to the best record in the NBA?  After all, isn’t the measuring stick for COY usually the team with the best record?  Or do you give the award to someone like Stan Van Gundy, who led his team (Orlando Magic) to new heights?  Or perhaps coaches like Greg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs), Rick Adelman (Houston Rockets) or Jerry Sloan (Utah Jazz), who did commendable jobs in the face of serious injury concerns all season?  I don’t know, and I’m sure everyone has their own set of criteria.

Anyway, I’m going to go toss a coin and say Rick Adelman, though I think Mike Brown WILL win.  The Rockets are, amazingly, 53-28 with a game to go, despite basically spending half a season with half a healthy Tracy McGrady, plus injuries problems to Ron Artest (who missed 13 games) and Shane Battier (who missed 22 games).  Even more amazingly, I could have just as easily said Greg Popovich, whose team (the Spurs) have the exact same record as the Rockets and spent half the season without Ginobili and a clearly less than 100% Tim Duncan.

So those are my winners and predictions.  What are yours?

Thoughts on NBA All-Star Friday and Saturday February 15, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Basketball, NBA.
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nate

This year’s All-Star Weekend had a new event, some new contestants, still a lot of hype compared to substance.  Still, it’s been a decent show thus far.  My predictions so far have been a little…um, off.

Here’s what I thought of things so far.

Rookie Challenge: Despite one of the best rookie teams I’ve ever seen, the Rookies still got smoked by the Sophmores for the 7th consecutive year (!).  The final score was 122-116 and it was better than previous years for 2 main reasons: (1) the players actually took the game a little more seriously than before, and tried to win the game rather than just settle for different alley-oops all night.  (2) Kevin Durant, record 46 points, ’nuff said. 

I guess no matter how good the Rookies are, that one year difference in experience cannot be understated.  Plus game MVP Kevin Durant.  He really deserves to be in the proper game on Sunday.  As for my prediction, I said a Rookie win (which was wrong) but I got the MVP (Kevin Durant) right at least.

D-League All-Star Game: This was surprisingly good.  Entertaining and the players have skills.  Just shows there are plenty of good ballers out there who don’t have a multi-million dollar contract.  If they really want a competitive game, they should pitch the NBA Rookies against these guys rather than the Sophmores.  Both sides would be playing their butts off – one side to prove they belong, the other side to save face.  But I can’t see it happening – it would be just too embarrassing if the young NBA stars lost, and they wouldn’t want to risk injuries to either side in games like these.

H-O-R-S-E: Well, this went better than I expected, but also had the same problems I expected.  They idea was right – 3 players, outdoor courts, etc, but they got a little too excited for their own good, picking shots that they had no chance of making, which got plain silly at times.  The highlight was OJ Mayo’s shot from the stands that did go in.  After Kevin Durant got serious, it was all over, raining threes from all over the court.  That made it a little conventional but it got the job done.  I pretty much just described the problem with this contest: if they go for too much, nothing will go in and it gets silly; but if they go for the conventional shots, they go in, but it becomes too boring.  The key to making this work is to strike a fine balance between the two extremes.  Nevertheless, I hope they bring it back next year.  By the way, I picked OJ Mayo to win.

Haier Shooting Stars: One of the more boring events of the night.  As I expected, it all came down to who could hit the half-court shot first.  In this year’s case, it was Team Detroit.  I had picked Thunder Dan and Team Phoenix to win (wong again!).  It’s nice to get NBA legends and WNBA players involved, but I would not be surprised if they decided to scrap this one in a couple of years.  Not many people would be complaining.

Skills Challenge: Another one of those contests where things are getting a little old, but this year was a little different because of Derrick Rose.  Everyone wanted to see what the kid had.  Rose won the contest in the final against Devin Harris, and punctuated the victory with a vicious two handed, double-pump reverse jam.  The thing is, Rose looked like he was strolling in the park as he went through those obstacles, and he still torched everyone!  I had wanted Rose to win but I thought he would be too inexperienced, so I picked Tony Parker.  But man, Derrick Rose is going to be a superstar in a couple of years.  Anyone that has seen him in the open court should feel the same way.  He probably should be in the next Slam Dunk Contest too.

3-Point Shootout: Usually one of my favourite events of the night, but this year’s contest was a snoozer won by Daequan Cook (who I considered a ‘dark horse’) in a shootout against Rashard Lewis.  Everyone was just off tonight.  I think the highest score was 17 (okay it was 19)?  It wasn’t pretty.  Bring back the Ray Allens, Pejas and Dirks and we’ll have a real contest.  I picked the 2-time defending champion Kapono who was surprisingly very average all the way through.  But I did get one prediction right: Danny Granger (who I was rooting for) got eliminated in the first round!

They should revamp the shootout by bringing in NBA legends and former winners like Mark Price, Larry Bird, Craig Hodges, Reggie Miller, Steve Kerr, Jeff Hornacek, etc.  That would be interesting – to see if the old guys still have it.  It could get very ugly though when we see they don’t…

Slam Dunk Contest: Okay, the big one.  These days, it never lives up to expectations.  Former champ Nate Robinson beat the defending champion Dwight Howard by jumping over him (ala Vince Carter over Frederic Weis in the Olmpics), but Rudy Fernandez (the man I picked) probably deserved to be in the final more than either of them (but he got screwed by the judges).  There are two major problems with the contest nowadays: (1) people are getting too good at dunking, so we’ve just about seen everything before; and (2) the NBA Slam Dunk Contest has become more about creative gimmicks than creative dunks.

JR Smith’s dunks were okay – nothing to make the fans leap out of their seats.  He went for more power than creativity and that was fine, but as a last-minute replacement I think he did fine.  Rudy Fernandez got snubbed badly.  The same dunk that Andre Iguodala got screwed on when Nate Robinson last won (the off the back of the backboard one) was the same dunk that screwed Rudy.  Do the judges know how hard that dunk is?  The behind the back toss dunk was also pretty impressive.

On the other hand, what the finalists Robinson and Howard aimed for were gimmicks.  Howard got into the same Superman attire thing (last year was good, this year…not so good) – this time he changed in a phone booth, big deal.  He also dunked on a 12 foot ring especially brought in.  I think I know why David Stern was against it before.  It was boring.  The guy is 7-foot with ultra long arms.  It’s like a someone 6 foot dunking on a 10 foot ring.  Five foot nine (if that) Nate Robinson with short arms dunking on a 10 foot ring was much more impressive – or least it looked that way.  Howard’s best dunk of the night actually involved no gimmicks – just an awesome, side of the backboard toss and a one handed catch and throwdown from outside the key.  Nate went for the green Knicks jersey (kryptonite to Howard’s Superman, get it?) and jumped over Superman to win it.  That was a sick dunk, no doubt about it.  But his earlier dunk where he just stepped on the back of Wilson Chandler was pretty lame.  I mean, stepping off someone’s back is like stepping on a chair – doesn’t it make it easier to dunk?  The only person that should have been commended was poor Chandler who probably got his back broken.

Enough complaining.  It was still alright.  Looking forward to an awesome All-Star game.

NBA All-Star Weekend Predictions for All Events February 13, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Basketball, Indiana Pacers, NBA.
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allstar

The NBA All-Star Weekend 2009 in Phoenix is almost upon us.  I’ve already discussed who I think (or thought at the time) should have been named All-Stars.  Here are my final predictions for each of the main events (not including the celebrity game and D-League stuff).

H-O-R-S-E Contest

Contestants: Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City), Joe Johnson (Atlanta), OJ Mayo (Memphis)

Rules: Everyone should know the rules of HORSE.  Players have to make the same shot as the player ahead of them or they get a letter.  When they spell all the letters of HORSE, they’re out.  Last man standing wins.

Prediction: A little unpredictable, being the first one and all.  I’m going to have to go with OJ Mayo to take it out with an array of dazzling shots and trick lay-ups (no dunks allowed).

Haier Shooting Stars Contest

Contestants:

Thunder Dan is back

Thunder Dan is back!

San Antonio: Tim Duncan, David Robinson and Becky Hammon
Detroit: Arron Afflalo, Bill Laimbeer and Katie Smith
Los Angeles: Derek Fisher, Michael Cooper and Lisa Leslie
Phoenix: Leandro Barbosa, Dan Majerle and Tangela Smith

Rules: The teams have to make a variety of shots from all over the court, including: (1) 10-foot bank shot from the right; (2) 15-foot jumper from the left; (3) NBA 3-pointer from the top; (4), 18-foot shot from the right; (5) NBA 3-pointer from the left; (6) Half-court shot

Prediction: These things usually just come down to who can make the lucky half-court shot first, so it’s almost impossible to predict.  If Tony Parker was playing I’d say San Antonio, but since he’s not, I’d have to go with the home team, Phoenix – can’t go wrong with Thunder Dan Majerle!

T-Mobile Rookie Challenge (Rookies/Sophmores Game)

Contestants:

Rookies: Michael Beasley (Miami), Rudy Fernandez (Portland), Marc Gasol (Memphis), Eric Gordon (LA Clippers), Brook Lopez (New Jersey), OJ Mayo (Memphis), Greg Oden (Portland), Derrick Rose (Chicago), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City)

Sophmores: Aaron Brooks (Houston), Wilson Chandler (New York), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City), Jeff Green (Oklahoma City), Al Horford (Atlanta), Luis Scola (Houston), Al Thornton (LA Clippers), Rodney Stuckey (Pistons), Thaddeus Young (Philadelphia)

durant

Durant looks to dominate the Rookies

Rules: Two 20-minute halves, fouls kept but no player can foul out.  2-minute overtime periods if necessary.

Prediction: The Sophmores have won 6 years in a row, but if you take a look at the ridiculous Rookie roster, it’s hard to go against them.  Can you imagine Rose and Westbrook slashing all over the court, OJ Mayo swishing jumpers from everywhere, Eric Gordon raining threes, Fernandez alley-ooping and Gasol, Lopez, Oden and Beasley anchoring the paint without being able to foul out?  It’s going to be a sick game.  Kevin Durant and Rodney Stuckey will dominate for the Sophmores, but I’ll have to go with the Rookies in an upset in a high scoring affair (win by roughly 5-10 points).  Kevin Durant to be named MVP in a losing effort!

Playstation Skills Challenge

Contestants: Devin Harris (New Jersey), Tony Parker (San Antonio), Derrick Rose (Chicago), Mo Williams (Cleveland).  NB: Williams replaced the injured Jameer Nelson.

Rules: Players are timed on an obstacle course that tests their dribbling, passing and shooting.  The two players with the fastest times in the first round battle again in the final.

Prediction: I would love to see Derrick Rose win but maybe another year – Tony Parker Longoria to take it out in the final against Devin Harris.

Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout

Contestants: Mike Bibby (Atlanta), Daequan Cook (Miami), Danny Granger (Indiana), Jason Kapono (Toronto), Rashard Lewis (Orlando), Roger Mason (San Antonio)

Rules: Players have 60 seconds to shoot 5 racks of 5 balls from 5 spots around the 3-point line.  Each ball is worth 1 point with the exception of the money ball in each rack, which is worth 2.  The top 3 scores from the first round battle it out again in the final.

Prediction: I want Danny Granger to win something for Indiana (but in his first practice he only got 15) but would be happy if he makes it past the first round.  The favourite still has to be 2-time defending champion Jason Kapono, so conventional wisdom tells me to go with him.  But I expect Roger Mason and Daequan Cook to give him a run for his money and wouldn’t be surprised if Kapono chokes and someone else takes it from under him.

Sprite Slam Dunk Contest

rudy-fer

Rudy Fernandez was selected by the fans

Contestants: Rudy Fernandez (Portland), Dwight Howard (Orlando), Nate Robinson (New York), JR Smith (Denver).  NB: Smith replaces the injured Rudy Gay.

Rules: Each contestant performs 2 dunks in the first round and the 2 with the highest scores battle it out in the final.  In the event of a tie there will be a dunk off!  Each contestant has 2 minutes to complete a dunk, and the first made dunk will be the one that counts.  The first round is judged by judges but the final round combines the scores of judges and voting on NBA.com and text messaging.

Prediction: I originally went with the injured Rudy Gay, so now I have changed my vote to Rudy Fernandez.  I just can’t see Dwight Howard repeating as it’s tough to outdo what he did last year.  This really isn’t a big man’s contest.  I expect the creative highlights to come from Fernandez and Smith with Nate Robinson missing a few.  Regardless of the outcome, I just hope it can be as entertaining as last year.

All-Star Game

Contestants:

East: Allen Iverson (Detroit), Dwayne Wade (Miami), Lebron James (Cleveland), Kevin Garnett (Boston), Dwight Howard (Orlando), Joe Johnson (Atlanta), Ray Allen (Boston), Danny Granger (Indiana), Paul Pierce (Boston), Mo Williams (Cleveland), Devin Harris (Orlando), Rashard Lewis (Orlando).  Coach: Mike Brown (Cleveland).  NB: Allen replaced the injured Jameer Nelson and Williams replaced the injured Chris Bosh.

West: Kobe Bryant (LA Lakers), Chris Paul (New Orleans), Tim Duncan (San Antonio), Amare Stoudemire (Phoenix), Yao Ming (Houston), Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas), Shaquille O’Neal (Phoenix), Brandon Roy (Portland), Chauncey Billups (Denver), Pau Gasol (LA Lakers), David West (New Orleans), Tony Parker (San Antonio).  Coach: Phil Jackson (LA Lakers).

Rules: No need to explain.

wade

Can Wade win MVP?

Prediction: The more I think about it, the more I think the West should win.  I mean, just take a look at the line-ups.  I know the coaches don’t do much but Mike Brown is not the guy you would want at the helm if the game got tight.  The last 3 years the winners have alternated conferences: 2006 East, 2007 West, 2008 East.  Aren’t the West due this year?

However, I must stick with my original prediction.  The Eastern Conference Team to down the Western Conference Team in a tight, see-sawing contest with a final margin of less than 7 points.  Danny Granger for MVP!  Just kidding.  Dwayne Wade to win MVP by dominating down the stretch to prove that he is well and truly back.  I’m also expecting Dwight Howard to have a monster game.

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