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NBA League sources have confirmed that the Boston Celtics are willing to consider trades involving either Ray Allen or Rajon Rondo, 2 of the key stars who helped bring an NBA championship back to Boston in 2008. Allen has an expiring $20 million contract at the end of the 2009-2010 NBA season, and the Celtics seem reluctant to give Rondo the lucrative, long-term deal that he seeks. While the 34-year Allen is in the twilight of his career, the 24-year old Rondo has emerged as a big-game player, averaging 11.9 points, 8.2 assists and 5.2 rebounds during the regualr season. Rondo also had 3 triple-doubles in the playoffs this past season.
While Celtics GM Danny Ainge and Pistons GM Joe Dumars never actually spoke about this proposed trade, NBA league sources have reported that low-level executives from the Celtics and Pistons discussed a trade that would have sent Allen and Rondo to the Celtics for Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey. The trade makes little sense for the Pistons (unloading 3 of their 4 best players for 1 old guy and 1 young guy), and reports have it that the Pistons exec immediately rejected the deal.
It should be interesting to see if the Celtics make a move this off-season. Without Kevin Garnett much of the season, the Celtics weaknesses were exposed as the Chicago Bulls took them to the brink of elimination with a grueling 7-game series in the 1st round of the playoffs. It seems clear that Ainge is trying to make some productive moves now to better his ball club before it’s too late.
Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic will take on Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals tonight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in 6 games of the 2008 NBA Finals last year. For the Magic, this is their 1st trip to the NBA Finals since they were swept in 1995.
Looking at historical numbers, the Lakers clearly have the edge – 14 titles with 61 finals games wins along the way. The Magic have yet to win a trophy let alone win an NBA Finals game. Lakers head coach Phil Jackson has 9 championship rings. Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy only has 1 and that came as an assistant coach.
On the other hand, the Magic defeated the Lakers in both meetings during the 2008-9 NBA schedule. In the 2008-9 NBA playoffs schedule, the Magics knocked off the defending champion Celtics and then ousted the NBA’s best team – the Cleveland Cavaliers in just 6 games. If not for Lebron James’ mireaculous game-winning 3-point heave with 1 second left on the clock in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference, the Magic would have likely swept the Cavs out of the playoffs. The Magic are no pushover, and Howards and Co. are looking to make a statement against the Lakers in this NBA Finals.
It should be a fun series to watch. And while we won’t get the Kobe – Lebron match-up that the NBA wanted, we still get Howard v. Kobe. We’ll keep you posted how it all shakes out.
The NBA Conference Finals are finally set – the Denver Nuggets (Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups) v. the Los Angeles Lakers (Kobe Bryant) and the Orlando Magic (Dwight Howard) v. the Cleveland Cavaliers (Lebron James).
Both Game 7’s on Sunday were disappointing lopsided victories for the Lakers and Magic. The Lakers rushed out to a 51-31 halftime lead and never let off the gas pedal, cruising to a 89-70 win. Pau Gasol had a monster double-double – 21 points and 18 boards, while Kobe Bryant scored 14 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 5 assists.
The Magic led the Celtics by 7 at halftime and 5 at the end of the 3 quarters, and most felt that the final collapse would occur in the 4th quarter as it had so many times this post-season. The Magic, however, answered the call, crushing the Celtics 35-21 in the 4th quarter to run away with a 101-82 victory in Boston. Hedo Turkoglu knocked in 25 points, while Dwight Howard finished with 12 points and 16 rebounds. Ray Allen led the Celtics with 23 points, while Rajon Rondo had a solid game with 10 points, 10 assists and 6 boards. But Paul Pierce only scored 16 points and Glen “Big Baby” Davis socred 13 points and grabbed only 4 rebounds.
The Nuggets play against the Lakers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday night at 9PM Eastern Standard Time. The game will be televised on ESPN. The Magic play against the Cavaliers at the Quicken Loans Center in Cleveland on Wednesday night at 8:30PM Eastern Standard Time. The game will be televised on TNT.
While the action on the NBA hardcourt has been great during the 2008-9 NBA playoffs, some off-court actions are taking center stage these days.
First – Mark Cuban – After the Denver Nuggets defeated the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday with a controversial no-foul-call finish, a fan reportedly called the Nuggets a bunch of “thugs”. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban then looked at the mother (Lydia Moore) of Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin and told her “that includes your son.” For an owner of a professional sports team to make a comment like this to a fan is a joke. Cuban did later apologive to Martin’s mother in a post on his blog, but he did not attempt to apologize to her or to Martin during Monday night’s Mavs win over the Nuggets in Dallas. In his “An Apology to Kenyon Martin’s Mom” post, Cuban did say that he should not have made those comments to Martin’s mother, but that the whole thing has gotten blown out of proportion. Whatever…
Second – Glen “Big Baby” Davis – After Davis hit the game-winning jumper in Sunday’s 95-94 Celtics win over the Magic, Davis started celebrating and didn’t see a 12-year old standing near his courtside seats right on the court. As Davis ran towards the Celtics bench, he bumped the young fan in the back and as the boy took a half step back his hat fell off. The Boy’s father – Ernest Provetti – wrote a letter to the NBA demanding an apology from Davis and the Celtics. Provett stated that Davis had “no regard for fans’ personal safety”. Davis had this to say about the incident: “If I’ve hurt anybody or I’ve done any harm to anybody, please forgive me because my intentions were just harmless. Davis went on to say that if he knew that he had bumped the young man, he would have gone up to him and tried to apologize to him or make him feel better. Guess what Mr. Provetti – when you sit in courtside seats, there is a good chance that a player could fall into your seats at some poitn during the game going after a loose ball or trying to make a play. If you are worried that you or your son might get injured in those courtside seats – don’t sit there! Plain and simple.
Third – Carmelo Anthony – His girlfriend – La La Vazquez – was caight on video struggling with an arena security guard during Game 4 of the Mavericks-Nuggets series in Dallas. It is believed that the altercation started when Vazquez started fighting with nearby rowdy Mavs fans. Vazquez was escorted from her seat. Check out the Vazquez video here and no word yet on whether or not she will be allowed to enter the arena if the Nuggets have to return for a Game 6 in Dallas.
Both the Lakers and Celtics answered the call on Wednesday night in the 2nd game of their respective 2nd round match-ups.
The Lakers defeated the Rockets 111-98 behind Kobe Bryant’s 40 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. The game was over-shadowed by the altercation between Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest when it appeared that Bryant elbowed Artest’s neck. We’ll keep you posted how it all shakes out and if any suspensions will be issued by the NBA. The Lakers visit the Rockets in Houston for Game 3 on Friday night.
The Celtics defeated the Magic 112-94 behind Eddie House’s 31 points off the bench and Rajon Rondo’s huge night – 15 points, 11 rebounds and 18 assists. The Celtics visit the Magic in Orlando for Game 3 on Friday night.
The pressure is on the Celtics and Lakers tonight:
On Monday night, both NBA road teams pulled off impressive road wins.
The Orlando Magic defeated the Boston Celtics 95-90 at the TD Banknorth Garden, paced by Dwight Howard’s 16 points and 3 rebounds.
The Houston Rockets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 100-92 at the Staples Center, paced by Yao Ming’s 28 points and 10 rebounds.
Both series resume tonight and it is almost a must-win scenario for each of the Celtics and Lakers. We’ll keep you posted here with the latest scores and details for each series.
The West is all set; the East still has 2 Games 7’s this weekend before we know who the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic will face in the next round.
Here’s how the west will play out:
Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers – Monday, May 4th and Wednesday, May 6th at Staples Center. The Lakers won the season series 4-0.
Dallas Mavericks at Denver Nuggets – Sunday, May 3rd and Tuesday, May 5th at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won the season series 4-0.
In the East, the Cavaliers and Magic have already advanced.
Game 7 of the Chicago Bulls – Boston Celtics series is Saturday night at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston. If the Celtics win, they will host the Magic on Monday, May 4th. If the Bulls win, the Magic will host the Bulls on Monday, May 4th in Orlando.
Game 7 of the Atlanta Hawks – Miami Heat series is Sunday at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta. The Cleveland Cavaliers will host the winner of that series on Tuesday night at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
While I normally think Bill Simmons is pretty funny, you have to take your hometown cap off when you watch Rajon Rondo’s foul on Brad Miller at the end of the 1st OT session in Boston last night. Gimme a break. If you don’t make a play on the ball, it is a flagrant foul, plain and simple. No question about this one. Even thug Jalen Rose thought it was a flagrant foul as he stated on Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio. I just hope the Bulls win Thursday night to send this back to Boston for a 7th and deciding game on Saturday night…