Monthly Archives: April 2010

LeBron crowned MVP for second consecutive season

LeBron is the 10th player in NBA history to win back-to-back MVP Awards.

LeBron James has parlayed his historic season into a second-consecutive MVP Award, according to multiple reports Friday afternoon.

James reportedly won in a landslide, receiving 109 of 121 first place votes to finish well ahead of runner-up Kobe Bryant.  Kevin Durant, ToTheTin’s pick for MVP, finished a distant third in the voting.

The 25 year-old James averaged 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and a career-high 8.6 assists this season while leading the Cavs to the best record in the NBA.  He shot over 50 percent from the field for the first time in his career and is expected to be named to the NBA’s all-defensive team early in May.

LeBron’s shooting numbers from 3-point range and the foul line declined slightly this year, but his understanding of the game continued to grow.  His assist numbers are a reflection on his unselfishness and the improvement of his supporting cast–it certainly makes more sense to pass the ball to Anthony Parker than to the dreadful Sasha Pavlovic.

The next step towards enhancing his legacy among the pantheon of NBA greats: Win a title for poor Cleveland already.

According to reports, James will receive the award Sunday at the University of Akron.  The Cavs host the Celtics Saturday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Playoff previews coming this evening here on ToTheTin.

Atlanta Hawks: Dumbest team alive

Woodson witnessed his team self-destruct in the closing minutes of Game 5 against the Bucks. (Reuters Photo/Pic via AJC.com)

The Atlanta Hawks figured to have an easy time against a vastly undermanned Milwaukee Bucks squad. Suddenly, the Hawks are on the verge of being eliminated from the playoffs and poised to descend into basketball hell.

The Bucks used a 14-0 run in the final minutes of Game 5 to beat the Hawks and take a commanding 3-2 lead in the series.

The Hawks are one of the more talented teams in the entire NBA, but also one of the dumbest. Their collective basketball IQ is similar to Vince Young’s wonderlic score.

Watching the Hawks attempt to score in crunch time is absolutely painful. The ball usually ends up in the hand’s of Joe Johnson or Jamal Crawford, leading to 15 seconds of jab-stepping, dribbling, and a long jump shot. The Hawks don’t bother to set screens or move, they just play isolation basketball and hope for the best.

Then there is Josh Smith. He makes a couple “Oh my God” plays during every game, only to disappear for long stretches. He pouts when he doesn’t get the ball, complains when he is called for fouls, and loses interest in competing.

The Bucks are playing without their best player and relying on 76 year-old Kurt Thomas to hold down the paint. Brandon Jennings has dominated the Hawks’ guards, journeyman John Salmons has been brilliant, and goofy Ersan Ilyasova has even had his moments.

The Bucks certainly deserve credit, but much of their success has been because of the Hawks’ inability to play intelligent basketball.

Jennings has had tons of open looks throughout the series. The Hawks aren’t running at him to get the ball out of his hands or taking advantage of his tiny frame on the defensive end. Since exploiting the Bucks interior defense early in Game 1, the Hawks haven’t gotten the ball inside consistently–that would require actually making entry passes.

Mike Woodson has made matters worse by failing to make adjustments.

Woodson will most likely be the scapegoat for the Hawks’ failures, even if they manage to escape the first round. Although the Hawks have reversed their fortunes under his direction, there have been no talks to renew his contract, which expires after the season. He was on the hot seat last year and has clashed with Josh Smith, who could soon become the face of the franchise.

Johnson, the current face of the franchise, is an unrestricted free agent and probably won’t be back. The Hawks haven’t drawn well despite their success, and aren’t in a position to spend any money in the offseason.

It’s now or never–or at least not for a long, long time.

This is Marlon Byrd’s behind-the-back catch

Marlon Bryd has been one of the few bright spots for the Cubs this season. He made one of the most ridiculous–and lucky–catches you will ever see during Wednesday’s game against the Nationals.

Meanwhile, those nasty Nats are two games over .500. Who would have thought?

Iowa State makes bold decision, hires former star Hoiberg as coach

Even if he fails to resurrect ISU's basketball program, Hoiberg will always have a special place in the hearts of Cyclone fans. (Pic via blackchristiannews.com)

Iowa State University’s decision to hire a former star player with absolutely no coaching experience might seem like a reach to outside observers. But upon further review, the appointment of Fred Hoiberg as Men’s Basketball coach could prove to be the saving grace for a program that has been near the doormat of the Big 12 for the last several years.

Hoiberg’s relationship with Ames and the Iowa State community will be his greatest asset. He starred in both football and basketball at Ames High before beginning his playing days with the Cyclones. Hoiberg built his legend from the moment he stepped on the court in Hilton Coliseum. He spent four glorious years with the Cyclones and received a write-in vote in an Ames mayoral election, earning him the nickname “The Mayor.”

After a ten-year pro career and a four-year stint in the Minnesota Timberwolves front office, the Mayor is coming home–to a rundown shanty with no furnishings.

Ever since Larry Eustachy got caught partying with coeds, ISU’s program has been decimated by player defections. It began in the Wayne Morgan era, when mysterious tactics lured talented ballers like Mike Taylor and Tasheed Carr to Ames. They didn’t last long.

Greg McDermott was hired to restore stability within the program. He did anything but, watching numerous role players transfer, along with the mega-talented Wes (formerly Wesley) Johnson.

McDermott is gone, along with NBA prospects Craig Brackins and Marcus Gilstrap. Center Justin Hamilton announced he was transfer to a school closer to his native Utah, then promptly enrolled at LSU.

Hoiberg received a five-year contract and presumably is on a long, long leash. Without any tangible coaching experience, he will have to learn on the job. That shouldn’t be a problem.

The most important part of college basketball is recruiting. Hoiberg is well-respected in the basketball community and should have plenty of connections. He has the experience to identify talent. Assuming he has a personality, he should be able to convince a fair amount of decent players to come to Ames.

Iowa State A.D. Jamie Pollard deserves credit for going out on a limb. Iowa State needed to make a move to return to basketball relevance.

It won’t be long before the magic returns to Hilton.

Celtics send Heat home for the summer

Aside from the dynamic Dwayne Wade, and the Miami Heat have without a doubt the worst roster in the NBA.  The Celtics have four legitimate NBA scorers and a solid supporting cast.

D Wade couldn’t do enough to prevent the Heat from being eliminated by a balanced Celtics attack Tuesday night in Boston.

Ray Allen scored 24 points, Paul Pierce 21, and Rajon Rondo 16 along with eight rebounds and 12 assists for the C’s.  Wade scored 31, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out 10 assists for the Heat.  Wade and Mario Chalmers scored 51 of Miami’s 86 points.

The Celtics led by 21 points at one point and were never really threatened.  In a game largely forgotten thanks to NBA TV and Cavs-Bulls Lakers-Thunder on the schedule, the Heat’s role players were once again M.I.A.

Michael Beasley and Jermaine O’Neal were just awful.  Beasley scored two points in 13 minutes.  O’Neal scored seven points in 26 minutes, hitting on 3-of-10 from the field.

Beasley’s role remains undefined.  He is extremely talented on the offensive end and generally appears to be playing hard, but tends to drift unless he gets the ball.  Wade tends to dominate the ball, making Beasley a spot-up shooter.  The Heat should explore a two-man game, assuming of course that Wade returns to Miami next year.

Don’t count on it.

The Celtics looked great against Miami, but now the real test begins.

This is Bango the Bucks mascot pulling off a ridiculous dunk

Imagine dressing up in a giant reindeer costume, climbing up a 20-foot step ladder, then launching yourself into a flip straight downwards with aspirations of dunking a basketball on the way down. Personally, I would be scared out of my mind. Bango the mascot has pulled this type of thing off before, and he did so again Monday night at halftime of the Bucks’ win over the Hawks.

I would love to see an NBA player dress up in a costume for the dunk contest. Just picture Dwight Howard dressed up like Big Bird trying to dunk a 12-foot hoop–talk about bringing excitement back to the dunk contest.

Highlights of Mavs’ Game 5 win over Spurs

There was a Caron Butler sighting Tuesday night in Dallas.  Butler erupted for 35 points as the Mavs rolled to a 103-81 win over the disinterested Spurs.

Game 6 is Thursday night on TNT.