Yet Again, LeBron James Comes Up Short

Yet again, LeBron James suffered another sour ending to the NBA Playoffs!

By Matt Noonan 

Remember when the “Broad Street Bullies” saved the National Hockey League from the Soviet Union in 1976? Well, doesn’t that particular game have some parallels to Sunday’s Game 6 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks?

I’d say, yes!

In case you don’t know, LeBron James and his Heat teammates came up short in this year’s NBA Finals. Yep, despite promising, “not one, not two, not three…” championships, the Heat found themselves in a position they weren’t used to, which is second place.

They didn’t win a championship and now, every NBA fan has more reasons to insult the leagues most hated squad. Although, this is what the basketball die-hard’s wanted, right? They wanted Miami to lose and Dallas to win, correct?

I know this is true because everyone jumped aboard the Mavericks bandwagon and cheered for Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler. In fact, some fans admitted that their blood was not red, but instead, blue and white. They also felt connected to the Mavericks because they wanted this group of “over the top” stars to beat Miami and well, that mission was accomplished.

Beating Miami was what everyone wanted. Seriously, did you want to watch James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh dance around the American Airlines Arena chanting, “We’re number one, we’re number one?” I doubt it.

Miami was labeled the “bad-boys” from day one of the ‘10-‘11 season, but now, they probably should receive a new name, “fakers.” They’re fake, non-believable and certainly, not that good. They may think that having a variety of talent on their side will result in championships galore, but really, it won’t. Instead, they need to improve mentally, physically and emotionally.

For starters, they may want to discover why James was star-struck in the Finals. Against the Mavericks, he averaged 17.8 points, 4.0 turnovers, 1.7 steals and 7.0 rebounds, as well as imploded in various fourth quarters. Yet, are those numbers that good? Seriously, besides 17-points, he failed offensively and defensively. So, if they do return to the Finals, James needs to stay focused.

Second, Miami needs more experience. Between James, Wade and Bosh, they need other experienced veterans who know how to win. Also, they need someone who can take the pressure off Wade, especially in the closing minutes. Players like Mike Bibby, Erik Dampier, Eddie House, Juwan Howard and Jamaal Magloire aren’t exactly true “studs.” Yes, all five of them have a boatload of NBA experience, but certainly, not enough. Had they been more vocal or stressed the importance of “team basketball,” they might have won this series, but again, that’s a thought.

Overall, these are just a few quick ideas on the Heat, but allow me to return to my original point, beating Miami and what exactly does that mean?

It’s a sweet feeling, especially as a basketball lover. I couldn’t be happier, but this also proves that James should never be in the same sentence with Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird or Magic Johnson. Those guys all won championships, as well a persevered over the years.

Also, Dallas’s win helped the city of Cleveland, as well as the people of Ohio rejoice in song and dance. Hey, I doubt everyone held hands and sang, “kumbaya,” but I am sure the Cavaliers are elated.

All in all, this win is special because it proved the point, you can’t buy championships. It’s going to be a long off-season for the men dressed in black and red, but in the end, I think it’s fair to say that everyone across the country and world will sleep much better knowing that once again, James choked.

Daily Noontime – May 23, 2011

Top of the morning to everyone and welcome to a brand new week of the Daily Noontime! Here is today’s headlines and news, so enjoy! 

Headlines: 

* Game 3 between the Bulls and Heat was yet another exciting one, but in the end, Miami beat Chicago. Also, Chris Bosh exploded for 30-points.

* The Vancouver Canucks are indeed one game away from the Stanley Cup Finals, but Sunday’s game also featured a highlight reel flip on the ice from Keith Ballard.

* With no NFL rules or statements in place, players are constantly getting in trouble due to the current lockout, which certainly troubles Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.

* According to the most recent report on 60 Minutes, Lance Armstrong apparently encouraged doping toward his teammates and closest friends.

* Steve Nash has helped support his Phoenix Sun’s general manager Rick Welts through a human rights video that is airing in New York these days.

*It was an exciting evening at Fenway Park on Sunday, as Tim Wakefield earned his first official win of the 2011 season.

Games to Watch: 

* Boston at Cleveland (MLB) – 7:00pm eastern

* Tampa Bay at Boston (NHL Playoffs) – 8:00pm eastern

* Seattle at Minnesota (MLB) – 8:10pm eastern

* Dallas at Oklahoma City (NBA Playoffs) – 9:00pm eastern

Video of the Day: 

Some Maryland fans were a tad bit excited after their Men’s Lacrosse team beat Syracuse, 6-5 in OT! 


NBA Eastern Conference Finals Preview: Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat

The "Stars" will be shinning brightly in the Eastern Conference Finals, but really, who has the edge in this series?

By Matt Noonan

So, it’s Chicago (1) vs. Miami (2), which I guess is what we all wanted, right?

Didn’t we want to see Derrick Rose challenge LeBron James and Dwyane Wade? I guess, but maybe, we all wanted to see Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen take on the Bulls?

Either way, this series features the best and second best in the Eastern Conference standings, so make sure to pay attention to this particular series, which should feature a great deal of fireworks, electricity and lots of highlight reel moments.

Continue reading

Noonan: Keys to Celtics Games 5 Victory Against Miami

Paul Pierce will need to be at the top of his game, especially he wants to play one more game in Boston!

By Matt Noonan 

It all comes down to one game and one game only, Game 5 between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.

This isn’t the NBA Finals or the game that will decide who gets to keep all the marbles, but instead, it’s that game, the one that will decide if the Heat will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since ‘06 or head back to the TD Garden for Game 6.

Deep down, LeBron James knows this is his game to win, although, he and his teammates know this one won’t be easy. The Heat labeled the Celtics “champions” prior to the first game of the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

So, they gave Boston a leg up, but did Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen embrace their opponent’s compliment? Probably not, but instead, took the court to conduct their business, but unfortunately, the age factor has caught up to them, as they are starring at a 3-1 series lead that favors Miami.

Shaquille O’Neal will most likely not play on Wednesday, as he aggravated his calf in Game 4; so don’t expect the Big Shamrock to lead Boston to victory. Rajon Rondo has a dislocated left elbow and Delonte West is beat up. Glen Davis is still attempting to find “himself” while Jeff Green continues to struggle.

Alright, let’s admit it, the Celtics are not who we thought they were, but instead, a group of athletes that are washed up, tired and ready to call it quits.

Really, how much gas is left in their tank? Do they have any drive left? What will it take for Boston to win?

A few ideas on how the Celtics can climb back into the series:

*Well, as I have mentioned previously, it all starts with defense. The old men struggle when it comes to chasing James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh around the court. In fact, James Jones and Mario Chalmers have run circles around the men dressed in Green and White too, which isn’t a lot of fun for Doc Rivers to watch. The Celtics defense needs to contain the Heat on offense, limit them to one shot, but also, secure rebounds too. Miami has taken advantage of Boston’s defense that doesn’t have a true center to snag offensive boards.

*In Game 4, the Celtics did not run their offense quite well, especially in the fourth quarter. The Celtics of old used to swing the ball around the perimeter to set up easy two-hand jams or two-pointers. The game of basketball has and will always be won in the paint, so watch for Boston to utilize Garnett, Davis and possibly, Jermaine O’Neal.

*Another thing the Celtics have to do is rebound. Miami has destroyed them on the boards, both on offense and defense, so the biggest thing they need to do is box-out their opponent.

* Also, can Rondo actually listen to Doc Rivers? It seems that according to sources, Rondo has decided to run the offense his own way at times and has totally ignored what Rivers draws up during timeouts. Perhaps Rondo can listen to Rivers, especially in a win-or-go home contest?

Game 5 will be played, but now the question is can the Celtics force a Game 6 in Boston? That question will be answered soon.

LeBron James is Officially One Win Away from beating Boston

James is officially one win away from actually beating Boston in the playoffs!

By Matt Noonan 

It maybe time to accept the fact that finally, yes finally, LeBron James will actually beat the Boston Celtics.

Monday’s Game 4 exhibited the fact that the Celtics are old, tired and washed up. They don’t have a true “sixth-man” and have relied way too much on Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, which leaves us to wonder, can this group of veterans comeback and win this series, despite trailing the Heat, 3-1? The task is a daunting one, but definitely something Doc Rivers and his team is ready to attempt, right?

Yet besides the ailing Celtics, the biggest question is will James actually beat the Celtics in the playoffs?

James has played in 80 playoff games since ‘06 and has won 49 of them, which includes Miami’s three most recent victories against Boston. Although against the Celtics, James has struggled immensely.

In ’08, James scored 45 points in 46 minutes in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals (practically a point a minute), but came up short in the closing seconds.

In ’10, James and the Cavaliers not only watched their exceptional season go down the drain, but also suffered another postseason loss to Boston in the semi-finals.

Now, one year removed from technically “quitting” against the Celtics, James is one win away from exercising all those demons that continuously haunt him at night. That’s right, he and his teammates, or should I say, the “modern day Big-3,” have the Celtics on the edge of the cliff and just need to push back at them, but, is James ready to actually knock off the Celtics? Can he finally do it?

He admitted prior to Game 1 that this series was “personal” and that he hated losing to Boston. Yes, the Celtics have had his number in the previous postseason meetings, but this year, James has been completely unstoppable and the reason for that is because he’s playing with another talented and possible first ballot hall of famer, Dwyane Wade. Between him and Wade, they have practically combined for roughly all of Miami’s points, as well as helped NBA fans understand that LeBron all along needed an additional “stud” to beat Boston in the playoffs.

James not only took his talents to Miami, but also his dunks too.

In Cleveland, James was always the focal point of the Cavaliers offense, which allowed coaches to draw up schemes that would force him to utilize his former teammates, such as Delonte West, Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison. Although, while James’s role players weren’t flashy, they did at times play a major part in scoring baskets and stealing the ball from their opponents, but again, they didn’t have the capability to compliment his efforts.

So, last July, James announced on national television that he was going to “take his talents to South Beach,” where he joined Wade and Chris Bosh to form the NBA’s newest “Big-3” tandem. Yet, while the three all-stars struggled out of the gates, they eventually worked out all the kinks and landed a second place spot in the Eastern Conference standings, as well as beat Philadelphia in round one of the playoffs, 4-1.

James knows deep down that Game 5 is his game. I’m sure, everyone in the Heat organization will say, “Go out there and make us proud,” but seriously, James wants this more than his teammates. Beating Boston could perhaps be what he needs to get over the hump and finally, yes finally, win a championship.

Game 5 will be exciting and while all Bostonians and New Englanders continue to keep their fingers crossed extra tightly for the Celtics to prevail with a win, they should at least honor the fact that they still have LeBron’s number. He may or may not beat Boston, but if he does, it might be time to possibly embrace the King himself and cheer him onto winning a championship. Although, if James does actually beat Boston, he’ll officially be added to that long list of sports stars who will never be embraced in the Hub.