Mikan Drill – 29 April 2011

  1. Chauncey re-signs with the Knicks.  You can breathe a sigh of relief, NY fans.
  2. Iron Man Andre, spending his holidays in Compton eating burgers.
  3. Kevin Durant.  You freak.
  4. Missed the Patty Mills feature on ESPN? Check it out here.
  5. Ron Ron keeps changing shoe companies.
  6. In case you missed it; MJ, a year later.  Maybe not such a bad GM… although we’ll reserve judgement on that one.
  7. Trying to use basketball to fight violent crime in the UK.
  8. Fresh off a killer 4th quarter vs Memphis, Tony Parker talks about France’s national team.
  9. Oh Zo, if only you were still ballin.
  10. David Falk.  If you’ve been an NBA fan for a while, you know the name.  Read the story.
  11. The greatest story ever told.  Bird/Magic.
  12. We feel so bad about Nash. He deserves a ring, deserves to have someone seriously hurt Richardson, deserves to not have his soon to be ex wife spilling all of their history and story out on to TV through the Real Housewives… Spurs, get Nash.  Now.
  13. Hoopseak takes on The Last Season.
  14. Douby in China.  Yes, you need to know more.
  15. Not to keep coming back to the SA-MEM game, but notice how many minutes Tiago finally received?
  16. Dwight for MVP? Ethan!
  17. BADASS.  He really became a bit Jordan-esque in his attitude as he grew older, right?
  18. Where for art thou, Iggy?
  19. What you know about Purple Nurples?

Mikan Drill – 11 August 2010

  1. The NBA heads to London.
  2. Ricky Grace, the basketball legend, is to be inducted into the NBL hall of fame.  Via A Stern Warning.
  3. The NBA is losing money?  That’s bad news for fans…
    “If the NBA owners and player’s union don’t reach an agreement with the collective bargaining agreement that expires after next season, the NBA could lockout on July 1st, 2011. Insiders and experts are anticipating a lock-out which would delay training camps and possibly the season.”
  4. Must be because of contracts
  5. Who wants to go to the Basketball Australia Hall of Fame Dinner?  On hand will be Ricky Grace, Patty Mills, Andrew Gaze, and the Australian Men, Women and Wheelchair teams.
  6. The Dream Team is cheaper than before.
    The average 2009-10 NBA salary for the 15 players now on the roster is about $5.8 million, just 30% above the average annual salary of all NBA players. There’s never been a gap that small in the eight other major international events that featured NBA stars. The next-cheapest team was in 2002, when the average salary was 56% above the league average. That team came in sixth place.  The 1992 Dream Team’s average NBA salary was about $3 million, more than triple the league average. Via Wall Street Journal.
  7. Social change through hoops.
  8. DO.  NOT.  MISS.  THIS
  9. Games to watch out for in the next NBA season.
  10. Isaiah Thomas as a Knicks consultant.  Lots of buzz and discussion about this controversial re-hiring.
  11. Speaking of which, buried among the bad blood there is still love for Thomas.
  12. Scottie Pippen will be inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame this month.  Guess who’s introducing him?  Now there’s a speech to look out for.
  13. Rasheed is retiring.  Could he be the most underrated PF in history?
  14. No.  I refuse to post this link.  It’s just trash gossip, with no real impact on the game we love.  Nope.  Will not.  Cleveland will win a championship before I post this link.  (Sorry Dan Gilbert.)  No No No.  Dammit.
  15. Kevin McHale had a temper.  Via Basketbawful.

Mikan Drill – 3 August 2010

  1. Aleks Maric will be playing for Australia at the World Championships.  Wait, who?
  2. Don’t wear a Heats jersey in Cleveland.  Just sayin.
  3. Big Yao said he’ll retire after this year.  The Dream Shake analyses what impact he’ll have this next season.
  4. We loved Brian Grant’s heart.  Looks like it’s as big as ever.
  5. Say you have Kirk Hinrich on your team.  What position would you place him in?  Nice run-through by Truth About It.
  6. Thanks for the heads up from one of our readers.  The Wollongong Hawks have just launched their Hawks History site.  Great to see Aussie Hoops slowly getting their pride and passion back.
  7. Is Shaq still relevant in the NBA?
    “He is a nomad, a hired bazooka who had to win on his terms. He left the Wild West because a young gunner was encroaching on his territory. When he teamed up with Wade, even though Shaq was the lesser player, he established himself as the center of attention. Even the act of bestowing Wade with his nickname, Flash, indicated who would be running South Beach. If language is the way that man exerts some measure of control over the universe he perceives, there are few stronger acts of control than that of naming. When Wade had outgrown the nickname and become his own man, with a NBA Finals MVP as proof, it was time for Shaq to mosey on down the road.” From Hoopspeak.
  8. The Team USA Select Team has been chosen.  (Say Team again.)  This is the Team (sorry) that will be suiting up against Team (not on purpose) USA in anticipation of the World Championships.  Team.
  9. Bargnani says he doesn’t feel like he’s at 100% yet.  That’s awesome for Raptor fans.
  10. Oh Ron Ron.  Peep this great interview on ESPN.

Mikan Drill – 23 June 2010

  1. Celebrating “White Chocolate”.
    “Partly due to his flashy style, and partially due to his white skin, Jason Williams quickly ascended the scale of the NBA’s most marketable players. Soon, he was endorsing major products and appearing on the cover of magazines. Maybe it was too much too soon for a country boy, or maybe it was because he never earned all the shine he was receiving, but either way, after three seasons of dazzling play highlighted by hundreds of turnovers and a field goal percentage in the 30s, White Chocolate began chaffing at all the attention, and was shipped out of California, sent to the Memphis Grizzlies for the steady but unspectacular Mike Bibby.” SLAM Magazine.
  2. It’s been a HUGE month for Ron Artest.  Is he the people’s champ?  K1x has thought so for a long time
  3. John Wall Porn.  Yeah, we said it.
    “There are quite a few Wizards fans who have spent the past weeks thrilling themselves with videos and photos featuring the amazing basketball feats of John Wall. At least one blogger has started referring to this genre as ‘John Wall Porn.’” DC Sports Blog.
  4. Dallas is frustrated.  Plenty of monetary investment, plenty of court hours, plenty of passion from players and fans alike.  So what does this team need to get them that elusive championship?  A low-post player.  And that doesn’t mean Dirk.
    “It’s way too late in Nowitzki’s career to think he’s all of a sudden going to develop a low-post, back-to-the basket game. He’s talked about adding that dimension to his arsenal for years, but while he shoots far less 3-pointers than he used to, and he does attack the basket with success, the offense doesn’t run through him in the fashion it would if he played a more traditional power forward/center position.” ESPNDallas.
  5. The community power of basketball.
    “It’s a way to connect with the kids, said Eddie Odney, 32, a Dorchester police officer who was slam-dunking every chance he got. Sports bring everyone together. It gives the kids a chance to see we’re human, too.”

Lakers grind out game 7 win over Celtics, crowned NBA Champs 2010

The LA Lakers are one hell of a team. And that’s how they won game seven against the Boston Celtics….as a TEAM. Early on, it looked grim for the Lakers. The media and every basketball expert had already handed the Lakers the 2009-2010 Championship, even before the ball went in the air for the opening tap. Only 3 teams in 64 years have managed to win a game 7 on the road in an NBA Finals. The Celtics were up against it, but it didn’t look that way early on.

With Kendrick Perkins out of the starting lineup with a season-ending knee injury, Rasheed Wallace stepped in and took it to the Lakers in the first half with a series of post moves that looked like someone had wound the clock back to 2001. Kevin Garnett looked strong, Ray Allen hit threes and Big Baby Davis stepped in and made shots. But for the Lakers, Kobe Bryant shot terribly, Andrew Bynum was playing on one leg and the bench wasn’t contributing on the offensive end. And strangely, the Lakers seemed surprised that the Celtics, after 105 games since they started their 2009-10 campaign…weren’t going to just bend over for the Lakers? Um….what Celtics team do you think you are playing, LA?

The second half started the same and with Rajon Rondo’s lay-up with 8:23 left in the third, Boston were up 49-36. But LA would string together a handful of baskets, with some clutch play by Lamar Odom, the ever-dependable Pau Gasol and even Kobe Bryant would hit only his 3r d& 4thfield goals of the evening to bring the score to 57-53 at the end of the third. Even though they were still being outlplayed by this tough Celtics squad, the LA crowd were energised enough for the Lakers team to ride that momentum into fourth where it was a completely different game.

The Celtics were scoreless for the first 3 minutes of the fourth quarter and following three free-throws from Kobe and a three-point play from Ron Artest, the Lakers had tied the game up at 61-61 and you could feel the pounding the Lakers were taking had ceased. Ray Allen would hit a series of free throws to push it to 64-61, but then with 6:11 left in the game, Derek Fisher, clutch as always, nailed a high-arcing three-pointer to tie it back up 64-64. The LA crowd went crazy, and the Lakers would go on a 12-6 run courtesy of Bryant and Gasol. Gasol’s layup with 1:30 left gave the Lakers a 76-70 edge and a Boston timeout.

Straight out of the time-out, Rasheed Wallace hit a three. Then at the end of the shot-clock, Artest hit a three for the Lakers. 9 seconds into the next Boston possession, Ray Allen nailed a three-pointer. Two possessions later, Rasheed Wallace would collect his 6thfoul and send Kobe Bryant to the free throw line where he’d make both and give the Lakers an 81-76 lead.

With 16 second left in the 2009-10 season, Rajon Rondo would get the offensive rebound off a Ray Allen missed three pointer, dribble out to the corner next to the Lakers bench and nail a three to make it a 2 point game, 81-79. Sacha Vujacic would then be sent to the line, and hit possibly the two biggest free throws of his career to seal the 83-79 victory.

The Lakers have won their 16thNBA Championship of all time, and they did it as a team. Fisher, Odom, Vujacic, Brown, Odom, Gasol, Farmer, Walton, Mbenga, Bynum, Powell and Bryant. All of them at some stage over the last few weeks have stepped up and made a difference. And especially in game 7, where Kobe shot a dismal 6-24 from the field, he needed his team more than ever and they all contributed. Kobe would still finish with 23 points and an impressive 15 rebounds, but Pau Gasol (19 points & 18 rebounds), Ron Artest (20 points) and Derek Fisher (10 points) all featured heavily to help Bryant win his 5th NBA Championship and coach Phil Jackson’s 11th coaching championship. For Kobe, this was the toughest of any of the Championships he’s been a part of, and for coach Phil Jackson, this victory will only make his summer even more interesting as he grapples with the option to return to the Lakers.

We are all very lucky…we’ve just witnessed something that has happened now 4 times in 30 years.  And between the two most successful franchises in NBA history, no less.  Congratulations to the LA Lakers, the 2009-10 NBA CHAMPIONS!