Smack / May 1, 2011 / 12:56 am

The Calm Before The Storm

LeBron James

LeBron covers Dime #47

Okay so the first round was great. EXTRA special. The Thunder kicked the diapers and didn’t even stumble. Chris Paul nearly changed the world by himself. And we saw Z-Bo go from that guy you completely avoid on the subway to the dude everyone wants to ball with. But starting today, things really get interesting. Oklahoma City opens the second round at home against the Grizzlies at 1 pm ET (ABC) followed at 3:30 pm ET with the Celtics and the Heat (ABC) … LeBron James has one thing to say for the haters: “That’s corny.” On the eve of another huge playoff tilt against the Celtics, reporters wanted to know just what happened last year when James and Cleveland fell apart against Boston. Did he quit? Cavs owner Dan Gilbert said he did. But LeBron said he didn’t understand that sentiment. The numbers certainly agree with him. But the theatrics? We’ll leave that up to interpretation. This year, he has the talent around him to finally beat Boston, but will it be enough? We doubt Dwyane Wade ever wears the color green again (12.8 points a game against Boston this year. Pathetic). Meanwhile, Chris Bosh can’t be looking forward to his matchup with Kevin Garnett. Just as it always does, it’ll come down to LeBron … But we like the tone being set by both teams. After hearing about James’ Philadelphia “breakfast,” Ray Allen said that against the Celtics, “You gotta have a big appetite, because we’re a smorgasbord.” … We aren’t sure how many are on our side, but the Thunder/Grizz series is our most anticipated. Why? These are two of the most exciting teams to watch in the NBA. At their core, both are unselfish and defense-obsessed, and play like they genuinely care and enjoy winning … Zach Randolph is the new Jimmer. So weird … Just two days away from their series opener, there were reports out of Los Angeles that said Kobe Bryant was still limping on that sprained ankle. Has it become a requirement of Kobe that he has to overcome some type of injury at this point in the season? If he wasn’t banged up, would they just make one up? Or hire Tonya Harding? Would they use the old “messed-up finger” thing, the fall-back option that has been working like gold for about three straight years? Dallas definitely doesn’t care one way or the other. They have more important things to worry about, like ridding themselves of a decade of doubters and the opinion that Dirk Nowitzki is the most “un-clutch” clutch player ever … Go ahead. Tell us we hate the Hawks. Tell us we never give them a chance. We aren’t the only ones who felt that way. We just don’t see this series lasting longer than five. By the way, the Hawks are saying Kirk Hinrich is doubtful for the series because of his hamstring strain he suffered in the clincher against Orlando … We mentioned yesterday that C.J. Watson sort of broke the “news” that Derrick Rose was named MVP. Check out Pooh’s hilarious response: “I didn’t say anything to him about that, but I’m happy that he’s doing that. It means a lot coming from him. C.J. knows a lot of people out here, a lot of famous people too. So watch that guy.” … Just a few nights after Dallas ended their season, the Blazers are already dealing with waves. First, there were reports they were thinking of offering Greg Oden $40 million over four years. Now it sounds like Brandon Roy wants his starting spot back. Now we love Roy as much as the next man. We blew him up when he had his Willis Reed thing going in the playoffs. But if that series showed us anything, it’s that his knees can’t hold up. In Games 3 and 4, Roy scored 40 points. In the other four games, he had only 16 … Indiana has made it clear they’ll make a decision on Larry Bird‘s future within the next 10 days. Here’s a thought: bring the legend back … Yesterday afternoon, some of the Dime fam checked out the Under Armour I-95 Elite Challenge, pitting the best of Baltimore against the best national talent. While everyone could play, we were especially excited to see one sophomore in particular. You’ve probably heard of him: Aquille Carr. While it was an All-Star game, so the intensity was on Rasheed-in-December-levels, and Carr missed most of the first half with an apparent ankle injury, the 5-6 guard had a five-minute run in the second half where he must’ve scored on six straight possessions, all right at the rim. He had one play where he had his defender sliding and swiping at air three different times before finishing with an insane three-point play … We’re out like keeping Aquille out of the paint.

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  • Bill

    X-factor = Bosh

    If he becomes soft like he usually does against KG, heat have no chance. If he plays tough inside out and boards they have a better than average chance.

    Wade, Bron gonna do their thing.
    Ray, Pierce gonna do their thing.

    Rondo gonna destroy Chalmers.

  • Young Gunner

    Somebody wanna explain to me the “Z-Bo is the new Jimmer” line. Oh and it wasnt Harding who clubbed Kerrigan. It was her ex. That’d be like hiring a hitman that ends up hiring another hitman. One more thing: statistically, Reed wasnt much of a factor when he came back to the court. NY was already leading at that point I believe

  • yves

    what the fuck is up with calling dirk the most un-clutch clutch player ?

    the mavs haven’t performed well in the PO’s in last years, but Dirk was ALWAYS present, which is more than you can say about his supporting cast

  • QQ

    Can feel the Z-Bo sentiment.

    Just years ago he was this talented knucklehead who polluted the Portland and New York locker rooms. He seems destined to be the guy that gives you stats but won’t ever lead you to winning games because of his attitude.

    We were all given a ‘FUCK YOU’ when that historic Grizzlies win happened.

    Just gotta give props to the man. He deserves it.

  • K Dizzle

    @ Young Gunner

    Free advice: If you don’t know about it, don’t speak on it…

    Reed’s most famous performance took place on May 8, 1970, during Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers in Madison Square Garden. Due to a severe thigh injury, a torn muscle that had previously kept him out of Game 6, he was considered unlikely to play in Game 7. Yet Reed surprised the fans by walking onto the court during warmups, prompting widespread applause. Starting the game, he scored the Knicks’ first two field goals on his first two shot attempts, his only points of the game. Reed’s performance inspired the Knicks, as teammate Walt “Clyde” Frazier went on to score 36 points. The Knicks won the game 113-99, giving New York City its first NBA title. The moment Reed walked onto the court was voted the greatest moment in the history of Madison Square Garden…

  • beiber newz

    QQ please dont say ALL OF US were shitting on randolph, because i wasn’t. in fact, i remember making a spirited comment on one blog in reference to how guys are looked at as “better” simply because the win more.

    i can guarentee z-bo is doing nuthin different in his game but the fact that he’s on a team that plays defense, has guys that are young and actually talented, then he gets more love.

    i made this comment in reference to guys who get drafted. gms look for guys in winning organizations over guys with more bball skill “1st”. talent comes second ( with potential being a critical variable)

    RANDOLPH PLAYS THE SMAE WAY. he is just winning. guys are dumb and blind. they listen to the media and basj guys who games get bashed. ala marbury. he was on the knicks. bad team so each bad game by the star player is magnified. marbury was in the wrong place at the wrong time and thus he is out the league. guarentee if he was leading a team like the rockets, at the time, he wuld still be playing.

    z-bo is the same player. as soon as guys get media-schlong out there ouths they will develop their own opiinons and see the truth.

    next up monta. as soon as his team is a winner he’ll be an allstar and all of a sudden the third best shooting guard, in the nba. buttt nooo. media rates him UNDER OLD ASSES LIKE RAY ALLEN AND GINOBILI becuz those guys win. lol

    its hilarious.

  • beiber newz

    at #3 yves..u haitian?

  • beiber newz

    post 6: they*, GMs*, SAME*, bash*, mouths*

  • yoda

    so, you are saying that kobe is faking injuries? or i got that wrong. at least we all saw when he rolled his ankle both times. and he kept playing, didn’t needed wheel chair to get him out of the court after which he came sprinting back to the game. what pierce did was an insult to the willis reed, because it was obvious that PP wanted to produce same effect. and if nothing else, kobe always says for his injured body parts that they are fine

  • onezero

    if kobe says his (insert body part) are fine that means he is faking injury and wants to act tough.

    if kobe says his (insert body part) are painful that means he is making excuses and wants sympathy

    so, if I were him I’d just give people the same answer as him;

    “NEXT QUESTION!”

  • Dunks by Dre

    I am no big fan of Kobe, and I agree that there’s been too much emphasizing on his injuries. But come on, I’m sure most of us wouldn’t even want to go to work if we were that banged up. While he shows up every night.

  • Follow thru

    @6, agree with you, winning cures everything. Zach answered all those who questioned his rep and lately, even his contract extension. But his game is still the same – his situation is better now.

    Ultimately, a baller is measured by what he does in the playoffs.

  • QQ

    ‘QQ please dont say ALL OF US were shitting on randolph, because i wasn’t. in fact, i remember making a spirited comment on one blog in reference to how guys are looked at as “better” simply because the win more. ‘

    Uhhh…… Congrats?

    And don’t be a shithead and cry about winning players getting all the love.

    That’s professional sports. Winning has always been, and will always be a big part of sports.

  • north

    Do us all a favor and have someone copy edit this crap before you post it online.

  • the truth

    Biebz is correct

  • Young Gunner

    @K Dizzle:

    Well thanks for the correction but I said “statistically”. They still couldve lost that game though

  • onezero

    unlike AI, Z bo actually manage to succeed at Griz

  • doc

    Z-bo a beast.He whored Timmy the whole series.I think KD to much though.But Battier will have some vet tricks.And Tony Allen will fuck him and Westbrook up.That series gonna be nice.Miami and Boston can go either way.Its all up to Bron.Either he plays aggresive as ever and has a fuck u mentality to the C’s and MIA trashes them.Or he plays tentative and Wade gets sucked into trying to prove he can cook Boston by himself and they get trashed with Bron on the bench biting his nails.Bosh probaly play the same regardless.Looking like he trying but KG making him look like he should be playing for the Lynx with Maya Moore.

  • Nola

    man these dime smack’s are terrible as of late…

    russell westbrook’s taking too many jumpshots

    zbo=6 of last 10 seasons with 20 and 10. i just dont understand why people have never liked him until now even if he didnt win in the playoffs. dirk doesnt win in the playoffs either… nor does monta ellis…

    kobe never complains of his injuries. it’s all media made bullshit. and then people blame kobe for being a faker or making excuses.

  • K Dizzle

    Memphis is lookin scary right now….OKC lookin shell-shocked and the crowd is non-existant….
    This ain’t the Nuggets no more.

  • beiber newz

    at number 13.

    not when analyzing a players skill level. maybe worth however in the case of what you were referring to in your rebuttal.
    but not overall talent. some great players even roll players are hidden in bad organizations.

  • Follow thru

    Memphis just outclassing okc.

  • Big Island

    I didn’t give ZBo credit at all. I always said that even though he got numbers, the 20/10 every night, that they were hollow numbers and didn’t really do much. I have to eat shit and give him his props now though.

    Dirk is clutch, dude can ball. Quit hating on the guy.

    I (full fledged Kobe hater) got into the Kobe injury argument with my buddy (Kobe dick rider who denies he is a Kobe dick rider) and he says that the media always blows it out of proportion. I said he was a wheelchair ride away from being PP. I said he was milking it by hobbling around on crutches. He said he was listening to the doctors and staying off of it. Me – Why didn’t he get the MRI or x-ray then? Him – Because he’s not really hurt. We went around in circles for 20 minutes before we just quit. Dick Rider vs Hater. Fuck Kobe. There.

  • Big Island

    Also, to any UFC fans, last nights fights were badass (except for the GSP/Shields fight).

  • UncheckedAggression

    It’s nice seeing the Grizz follow up their beat-down of the Spurs with a beat-down of the Thunder. I really hope they can keep this up. Stern can’t be too happy though…

    And I wonder how many games like this before people get really concerned about the Heat.

  • Badger

    You know the Celtics fans are going to blame the loss on the refs ejecting Pierce — even JVG said the refs ruined the finish — even though Boston was already down by 12 in the 4th quarter when it happened, and Pierce should have kept his mouth shut knowing he already had one technical.

  • the cynic

    Z-Bo cheer leading squad is out today. Am I the only one that remembers that 3 years ago Zach Randolph was a Corey Maggette black esque black hole. I’m not taking a shot at Randolph, I just want to put into perspective, that Z-BO basketball game has matured a lot in the last 2 years. He has always been a beast, but now he is a beast that thinks on and hopefully off the court.

    I’m not surprised Memphis dominated OKC, I thought Griz were probably a distant 3rd best team in the West coming into the playoffs. Of course I was wrong, they’re definitively #2

  • Big Island

    Cynic – nobody has ever been a black hole like Maggette. Not even dudes at the park can compete with him. I still crack up at the “Bad Porn” name someone on Dime gave him years ago.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @cynic — That’s the thing, though: Z-Bo wasn’t any more of a “black hole” then that he is now. Since his 3rd year in the League he’s always averaged somewhere between 1.5-2.5 assists per game, his turnovers have been in the 2-3 per game range, and he’s shot 45-50% from the floor. He isn’t playing any differently; he’s just on a better team and people are just now staring to realize how good he is. But he’s ALWAYS been this good.

  • follow thru

    westbrook missed out a lot of drives at the basket.

    memphis just playing together and just winning playoff basketball where it’s supposed to be won – at the low block.

    boston miami will all boil down as to which bench shows up. james jones lifted them today.

  • control

    ZBo still a black hole. The guy only passes when he HAS to, the guy has NEVER looked for his pass in his life. It’s funny, when he gets the ball, the rest of his teammates except for Marc Gasol just lay back and let Fat do his thing.

    Griz are doing so exceptional because pretty much everyone, from the coach to the bench players have picked up their game. Marc is looking better than Bynum, Tony Allen is a completely different player than the one who went around injuring himself on dead plays, and Conley is looking like a real point guard. It’s crazy.

    Ibaka will be an all star next year. That kid is killin git out there. Is it just me or does Perk seem to really kill OKC sometimes?

    After watching both games today, I have to say that the NBA needs a whole new set of refs. I don’t think I’ve seen a more pussier brand of basketball than the current shit out there. Flipping between hockey and basketball, and you see shit go down EVERY WHISTLE in hockey that would have suspensions being handed out. PP is the fakest tough guy in the world, but his little “face rub” is really a double tech? Jermaine’s bump into James Jones is a FLAGRANT? After watching those games and seeing how many lame, no touch fouls there were…makes me feel like waxing my chest hair and taking estrogen pills or something. If there was ever a way for a man to grow a vagina, it would be watching the nba in it’s current form right now.

  • the cynic

    @Austin

    I disagree the numbers definitely indicate much smarter decision making by Z-Bo now compared to when he first became an impact player. His FG% is career high(better shot selection), his turnovers are at a career low, and his assist at career high. The amount of games he has played the last 2 years even suggest he is working harder off the court. You could say that his numbers aren’t that far off his career numbers, but that emphasizes his greater attention to detail. Z-Bo from 3 years ago couldn’t handle the weight he has carried this postseason. He plays like he cares(defensive rotation by Z-BO!) and it never looked like that was the case before

  • Tha Boddy “Bin Laden epic defeat”

    Enjoy HELL Bin Laden!!!

  • http://www.dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @cynic — The numbers are so close, however, that they don’t necessarily reflect something as significant as “He’s making smarter decisions” or “He’s playing like he cares.”
    Zach’s FG percentage is the highest since his 2nd pro season by like 1.2 percent. He tied his career-high in assists this season, and his turnovers are the lowest by like 0.1 or 0.2 per game. His numbers are pretty much the same, and his game has not changed that much offensively. He’s been putting up around 20 points, 11 boards, 2 assists, 2 turnovers while shooting 46-50% for years now.
    Now I will say that he’s playing better defense, which usually happens when you’re on a good team with a shot at making some noise in the playoffs.