In this Week in Review, I’ll cover the Spurs continuing dominance in the playoffs, LeBron James living up to the title of MVP with some help from a resurrected Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant calling out Pau Gasol, Jonathan Vilma suing Commissioner Roger Goodell, and my highlight and lowlight/highlight of the week.
Spurs Look Unstoppable
The San Antonio Spurs have won 18 games in a row, and yet all the attention seems to be focused on the Heat, the Lakers, and the Thunder, but I’m sure that’s perfectly fine with Greg Popovich and the Spurs. They’re without a doubt the deepest team in the league. They haven’t sustained any major injuries, which have plagued them in the past seasons. Tony Parker is playing the best basketball in his career. They’ve also had an easy playoff schedule, going through a young Jazz team that’s a few seasons and one superstar away from being a contender. They also went through a Clipper team that was plagued by injuries to Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Caron Butler, so they haven’t truly been tested yet. That will change in the next round where they’ll face the winner of Los Angeles vs. Oklahoma City. Would be great to see a Tony Parker vs. Russell Westbrook match up.
James and Wade vs. the Indiana Pacers
After losing two straight games to the Pacers, it looked like the Heat were in panic mode. Bosh is out for the series, Mike Miller looked to be in constant pain with his back issues, and Dwyane Wade was a shell of himself after a disappointing Game 3 performance which was highlighted by his bench altercation with Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra. Wade couldn’t afford a similar performance in Game 4. James, who’s been playing well in this series, had to go into Cleveland mode and a deliver a stat stuffing game. Luckily for the Heat, both Wade and James more than delivered. James and Wade combined for 70 of Miami’s 101 points, including 38 in a row. LeBron may have delivered his best statistical performance ever, with 40 points, 18 rebounds, and 9 assists, with one of those as my highlight of the week. Dwyane was too shabby either, with 30 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Even though the Heat have reclaimed control of the series, this series is far from over. The Pacers made a huge mistake by relying too much on their 3 point shooting and not giving the ball more to Roy Hibbert and David West, especially West, since he has a huge mismatch with Shane Battier guarding him. It will also be interesting to see if James can keep this effort up, playing 40+ minute basketball, and with Bosh still out, who knows how much gas LeBron has left in the tank.
Lakers Basically Gift Wrapping This Series to the Thunder
This series could easily be 3-1 Lakers, but it seems like the Lakers just imploded in the fourth quarter of Games 2 and 4. After blowing a double digit lead against the Thunder, the Lakers had the ball with the game tied 98-98 with 47 seconds left. Kobe Bryant was double teamed, so he passed it to a wide open Pau Gasol. Gasol, instead of shooting a 17 foot shot or going to the basket, elected to pass the ball across the key, but was snagged by Kevin Durant who then went on to hit the game clinching 3 pointer, which led the Thunder to a 103-100 win. After the game, Bryant called out Gasol for his passiveness, stating “Pau’s got to be more assertive. When he catches the ball, he’s looking to pass.” While I have no problem with Kobe criticizing Gasol for that last play, Kobe should probably looked at himself to blame for the Game 4 loss as well. Bryant only went 2-10 in that 4th quarter. The Lakers decided to go away from their bigs, Bynum going 1-2, and Gasol not shooting the ball once in the 4th. We all know that Bryant is the Lakers’ closer, but some the shots he took in that game were just ridiculous. Bryant needs to take his foot off the pedal and pass the ball to Bynum and Gasol. If the Lakers don’t take advantage of their front court, then the Thunder will end the series tonight at Oklahoma City. One other quick note, I love Steve Blake, but the guy can’t guard Russell Westbrook, and I don’t think that anyone on that team can, especially since their best defender, Metta World Peace, has to focus on Kevin Durant.
Vilma Fights Back Against the NFL
Well I guess this is one way we’ll see all the evidence the NFL has against Jonathan Vilma over ‘Bounty Gate’. Vilma filed a defamation lawsuit against NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell, claiming that Goodell made false statements to tarnish Vilma’s character and prevent him from earning a living in the NFL. Goodell suspended Vilma for one season without pay, claiming that he was the team leader in the bounty program, citing two incidents where Vilma apparently offered $10,000 to the player who took out Arizona Quarterback Kurt Warner and Minnesota Vinking Quarterback Brett Farve. Now, will Vilma win his lawsuit? I highly doubt it. But maybe Vilma doesn’t care about winning his lawsuit. I think all he’s looking out of this is all the evidence that NFL has on him that hasn’t been brought to the public. As of right now, it all seems to be hearsay.
Highlight of the Week
Lowlight/Highlight of the Week
As I just finished writing this article, I found out the Stan Van Gundy has been fired. Guess Dwight got what he wanted. Poor Stan, getting run out by not one, but two teams. Maybe Stan should stay away from Florida.