Attention #Heat and #Pacers – 2 is better than 1, no #Bull

paul george dunks on lebronLast night we witnessed two elite NBA teams treat a meaningless regular season game like it was Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Although no team was eliminated from title contention last night the intensity and rough play indicate that health not talent may go along way in determining who the next Eastern Conference Champion.

After being eliminated from the playoffs last year the Pacers were on a mission to beat the heat by securing home court. And with only a handful of games remaining they are very close to attaining their goal. Although being the top seed certainly has its advantage, there road to the title will a tad more difficult than two defending NBA Champions.

The Pacers clearly began this season with the end in mind, believing that the outcome ofbullsvspacers Game 7 would be different on their home court. However, it appears they may have forgotten that there is a Eastern Conference Semifinals and the team that may be waiting is the Joakim Noah and the Rose-less Chicago Bulls. Both the Heat and Pacers have struggled against the Bulls and their battles dwade kneeshas left its fare share of bumps and bruises. Although a win seems certain, whoever survives the seven game  battle royal with the Bulls will enter the Eastern Conference Finals wounded, scarred, and vulnerable due to exhaustion and fatigue.

Since both the Pacers and Heat are far too prideful to tank, ask yourself which road to the conference final would you prefer? Facing the rough andpacersvsheat tumble Bulls? Or making quick work of young and inexperienced Washington Wizards and the Toronto Raptors? Although the Pacers may have won the battle, did they compromise their title hopes along the way? It takes 16 wins to be crowned an NBA Champion, and this year the two seed may provide the better route. Did the Heat win in a losing effort? Only time will tell. Stay tuned…I know I will.


Hoops Hardwood & Gridiron Dilemmas 03/11 by eat drink sleep sports | Sports Podcasts


G8t Listen: 32 Teams 32 Blueprints for success  Which #NFL team has won #NFLFreeAgency so far?? Wats wrong with the #IndianaPacers? Should #JoelEmbiid miss #MarchMadness? Tune in4 that and more

Hoops Hardwood & Gridiron Dilemmas 03/11 by eat drink sleep sports | Sports Podcasts.

Blueprint to a NBA Championship – Spurs stability vs Heats star power

miami heat earned not givenAfter the Miami Heat assembled their big three many franchises believed that the way to win a NBA title is by signing big name free agents and teetering on the verge of luxury tax disaster in order to be crowned as NBA Champions.

Several teams foolishly followed suit assembling their own versions of the big three but none of those teams are in the conference championship fighting for an opportunity to dethrone the reigning NBA Champion Heat.

Big market teams like the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and the Los Angeles Los Angeles Lakers $100 Million RosterLakers led by their billionaire owners foolishly thought that they would simply write a blank check and the 2013 NBA Championship would be theirs for the taking.

As these owners get a strong dose of humility while in luxury tax purgatory small market franchises continue to thrive despite building a title contender on a budget. The San Antonio Spurs continue to be the standard for small market franchises who refuse to overpay players and rely on superb scouting and player development programs.

Although small market teams like the Indiana Pacers and the Memphis Grizzles will never win a popularity contest or ever attract big name free agents one thing is certain, these teams will likely find themselves in the conference finals for decades too come.

Since the San Antonio Spurs will be returning to the NBA Finals for the first time sincesan antonio spurs dynasty 2007 the table it set for a clash for the ages. If the Heat duplicate their  impressive performance in Game 3 its very likely that the Heat will clinch the east.

If the Heat and Spurs clash the game as well as how to construct a NBA Championship will be on the line. Both formulas have resulted in NBA Championship but which style will win in the end.

nba big three eraThe Heat big three which was assembled via the free agency and the decision. And the Spurs wise three which was constructed through the NBA Draft. Which big three take its place as one of the best of all-time? Coach Pop, the Big Fundamental and his crew or The King and his court? Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark


Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 3 PM EST. Subscribe to podcast

NBA Coaching Carousel – Hired. Fired. Then hired again. When will the vicious cycle end?

nba coaching carouselAt the end of every NBA season the coaching firing squad ensues and the franchises who failed to live up to expectation find themselves back at the drawing board searching for a new coach to excite a fan base and make their perspective franchise relevant once again.

Franchises invest millions of dollars to unearth hidden gems in remote countries all over the country but for some reason these same franchises fail to invest the same time in searching for their next coach instead selecting one from the Fired Basketball Coaches Association, ‘FBCA’.

Although a few fired coaches have won NBA Championships in their second stint, Doc Rivers and Rich Carlisle, its time for NBA tom thibodeau jeff van gundyfront offices to finally think outside of the box. All eight of the teams remaining in the playoffs took the road less traveled hiring long time assistants, ex-video recorders, and an ex-commentator.

When the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat hired a longtime video recorder as its erik spoelstra miami video recordernext coach Erik Spoelstra was a great unknown. However, in only three short seasons he won nearly 400 game as well as a NBA title.

When pundits were calling for a big name hire for the Chicago Bulls and the Indiana Pacers these franchises did entertain anyone from the ‘F.B.C.A’ and instead hired long time assistants Frank Vogel and Tom Thibodeau who have been home run hires.

As the NBA coaching carousel continues prominent names like Scott Skiles, Byron Scott, Mike Dunleavy, and Nate McMillian will continue to be mentioned as top candidates  nba coaching vacancywhile little known assistants may the one to lead your franchise back to prominence. Six NBA franchises must find their next leader, will they go with the popular big name hire? Or will they venture down the road less traveled? Stay tuned… I know I will.

Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 PM EST

NBA Playoffs: Previewing Sunday’s Match-ups

nba playoffs 2013After 82 games of no defense and little effort on the court, effort returns with everything now on the line and with each team dreaming of hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy as NBA Champions. Although the Miami Heat are the prohibitive favorite the NBA Title will not be gift wrapped and handed to them with a bow on a silver platter.

The fortunate 16 teams who have made it to the postseason all are vulnerable and enter the playoffs not completely at full strength.

Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks

The Heat’s first round tussle with the Milwaukee Bucks may not be the cake walk that many expect. The Bucks led by scorers Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis will build a tent in the lane and fire from long-range with abandonment. The Heat will have several of their shots swatted by defensive player of the year candidate Larry Sanders who gave the Heat fits in the regular season. miami heat big three championship ringsAlthough I do believe the Bucks have the talent to steal a game at home, many will not be surprised if the Heat use Jennings comments of beating the defending champions in six games as fuel to send a message to the rest of the teams in the playoffs.

Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks

The Indiana Pacers limp into the playoffs on a three game losing streak without their full paul george tyler hanborough indiana pacerscomplement of players. With only two players under long-term contracts the Atlanta Hawks play each game trying to impress future suitors and also to change the mind of Hawks ownership to offer them a long-term contract. During the regular season the teams have split their match-ups but the Pacers were clearly the more talented team. Although the Hawks will not be swept the Pacer will be prime for an upset if their All-Star forward Paul George does not get out of his regular season scoring funk.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs

At the start of the 2012 season each of these teams were projected by many to be thedwight howard air balls free throw prohibitive favorite to challenge the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Western Conference title. Both of these aging franchise have been riddled with the injury bug and enter the playoff a shell of the team that many expected them to be. Tony Parker is hobbling on one leg and Steve Nash continues to make fans forget that he collected two MVPs in his career. This game will ultimately be won or loss in the paint. Does Tim Duncan have enough spring in his legs to thwart the Kobe-less Lakers and their twin towers. Dwight Howard‘s inability to hit free throws in the clutch combined with Kawhi Leonard and their bench will be the Spurs saving grace .

Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

james harden fear the beardJames Harden returns to him home stomping ground poised to remind the Thunder front office that they made a huge mistake in trading him. The Thunders duo of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant should be enough to take down the Rockets lone star. Although the Houston Rockets are capable of scoring points in bunches their inability to make defensive stops will be their downfall. Expect Westbrook to do lay up drill against the Rockets and live at the free throw line when they decide to foul.

Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 PM EST & Sat 1030 AM EST

NBA Title Hopes – 1 Ankle and 3 knees will be the deciding factor

injury bug hits NBA title contendersWhen NBA fans and pundits began to discuss title contenders and pretenders the key element often overlooked during these debates is the hated injury bug. The injury bug has already crippled the title hopes of the Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics whose point guards Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose tore their ACLs. Although each of these teams title hopes were dealt a serious blow their playoff chances were unaffected.

As the NBA enters its stretch run the injury bug has begun to rear its ugly head yet again and even the reigning NBA Champion Miami Heat have felt the brunt of its harshlebron james hurts knee sting. Currently on a franchise record 16 game winning streak Heat fans all held their breath when Lebron James twisted his knee, however fans all breathed a sigh of relief when x-rays came back negative. Although no NBA team has ever been considered unbeatable James injury is reminder of how quickly fortunes can change.

Since James was fortunate enough to avoid an injury scare it appears that the carmelo anthony injures kneefranchises that poses the biggest threat to the Heat winning another NBA title were not so fortunate. The New York Knicks who are a close second in the Eastern Conference behind the Heat is currently without their All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony who twisted his knee two nights ago in a freak accident against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Although the Knicks won the game their chances of securing home court throughout the playoffs were dealt a serious blow with the Indiana Pacers a game and a 1/2 behind them.

However, the Pacers also a star to injury, Danny Granger who is out yet again for an danny granger reinjures kneeindefinite period of time due his surgically reconstructed knee swelling up after playing extended minutes against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.

In the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs who have the best record in the NBA lost All-NBA point guard Tony Parker for a month due to a sprained ankle. Although the Spurs record tony parker sprains anklewill lead one to believe that they won’t miss a beat in Parker’s absence their title hope rest on the ankle of the diminutive French point guard who was playing at an elite level.

As the NBA Playoffs grows near the title hopes of the Spurs, Knicks, Heat, and Pacers can all change due to an errand pass or a wet floor. Despite injury scares by their franchise players each of these teams have continued to persevere even when their stars were not 100 percent. So the next time you discuss title contenders, do what bookies in Vegas do, check the injury report and hope that your favorite team makes it through a meaningless regular season game unscathed. Stay tuned… I know I will. – A. Denmark (@eatdrkslpsprtz2)

NBA Game of the week <Pacers vs. Heat, March 10th>

Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 EST & Sat 1030 EST

Countdown to the inevitable NBA final four – Heat, Pacers, Thunder, and Spurs

nba title contendersThe NBA Trade Deadline came and went with teams exchanging insignificant pieces that will ultimately make little difference come playoff time.

Too the many fans  who are resistant of the inevitable truth you are in luck, you have 42 more games to accept the reality that many have been unable to stomach. Due to father time and Carmelo Anthony‘s 1-on-5 philosophy the New York Knicks will not reach the promise land. Despite having an excess of All-Stars the Los Angeles Lakers will continue to garner more headlines than wins thanks Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard‘s love affair. The Memphis Grizzlies lack of scoring and the Los Angeles Clippers bad luck with injuries and inconsistent play will be their Achilles heel that will ultimately result in an early playoff exit.

In the Eastern Conference the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers have separated themselves from the pack by dominating their peers in impressive fashion and are on adanny granger and lebron james colliion course. The Heats big three: Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and Lebron James are all playing the best basketball of their careers and are currently on a 10 game win streak. Not to be outdone the Pacers are on a 7 game winning streak of their own, and welcome former leading scorer Danny Granger back into the fold. The battle between these two proud organizations promises to be a good one and their next regular season match up on March 6th will be must see tv.

kawhi leonard and tony parkerFor the many who have prematurely crowned the Heat as champions would be wise to consider that team from the Alamo, the San Antonio Spurs who have the best record in the NBA. Tony Parker is playing out of his mind and Coach Greg Popovich has done a masterful job managing the minutes of his veterans while also grooming the future of the franchise, Kawhi Leonard. 

The jury is still out on the Oklahoma City Thunder who have shown glimpses of dominance due to the play of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. However, the play of Serge Ibaka leaves a lot more to be desired, and if the Thunder intend to make it to the NBA Finals the front line will have to make opponents think twice before they decide to venture into the lane.

Unlike college basketball where match ups are littered with surprises in the NBA upsets ussell westbrook oklahoma city thunderand Cinderella stories are few and far between. Although the road to the conference championships will not be an easy one but let’s all be clear that the Spurs, Thunder, Pacers, and Heat are virtual locks to reach the conference finals. For those of you in denial you have 42 games to accept the obvious. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark

Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google