The Trilogy: NBA Finals


If you’re looking for a 3-part series, you usually look for movie trilogies. The public perception says the first movie is usually the classic. The second movie is generally harder to top than the first one. And the third movie is the wild card (you’re not sure what you’re going to get). From what I experienced, the first movie is the best, the second movie is a let down, and the third movie is slightly better than the second one. Personally, I enjoyed The Matrix trilogy but others may differ. Lord Of The Rings is another iconic trilogy that people celebrated. Those movies gives you a beginning, middle, and ending.

With that being said, it’s hard to find a good trilogy these days, but we might finally get one starting June 1st. This will be the 3rd consecutive meeting between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers with enormous anticipation. 

In the first matchup in 2015, the Golden State Warriors won their first NBA Title in over 40 years, beating Cleveland in 6 games. The Cleveland Cavaliers and their fans felt that the loss was a fluke because Kevin Love was out for the postseason with a shoulder injury that occurred in the first round and Kyrie Irving injured his knee in game one of the NBA Finals. Even though LeBron James was without his All-Star teammates, he still put on an outstanding performance and kept the series interesting. 

In last year NBA Finals matchup, the Cleveland Cavaliers won their first NBA championship by edging out the Warriors in 7 games and also coming back from a 3 games to 1 deficit. The Golden State Warriors and their fans would say if it wasn’t for Draymond Green being suspended for game five or Andrew Bogut getting hurt, the Warriors would’ve been back to back defending champs. 

You can make excuses for both teams if you choose to but the fact of the matter is that we will finally get to see a “winner take all” meeting in this long awaited rubber match. What makes this main event still admirable is the additional on Kevin Durant to the Warriors last July. He is the ultimate x-factor in this series and also has the most pressure to win. The Warriors won 73 regular season games last season and are proven champions without him. If Golden State falls short for the second consecutive year, majority of the heat will be on Durant just because of his “power-shifting” free agency decision last summer. Anything less than holding up the Larry O’Brien trophy this season will leave a stain on his legacy.

In which seems to be a conclusive matchup between these two teams, this is projected to be the best series yet. There are no injuries. No one is on track of being suspended. Each team is coming into the series well rested. All we can hope for at this point is for the series to live up to the hype. We’ll get to see a healthy Kyrie Irving against a healthy Stephen Curry. We’ll witness Kevin Durant to try to get over the hump against LeBron James. The 3 point shooting of the Cavs will be tested by the Splash Brothers of the Dubs. JR Smith will probably be JR Smith, and Draymond Green’s antics may appear once or twice. And Kevin Love would want to have a better NBA Finals performance than last year. 

The series will come down to a few things. Whoever team’s role players can step up on the road will have a big advantage. We expect the stars to perform to a high level, but when you can get consistent productivity from a JaVale McGee and David West or Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye, it will take some of the burden off the starters and make them less fatigued.

Another factor is 3 point shooting. Whichever team is hitting from behind the hot consistently will make it tough for the opponent to stay in the game. The Warriors have better long distance shooters, but the Cavaliers have plenty of long range depth.

My last key point is turnovers. Golden State’s only moderate weakness is being too careless with the basketball at times (that was one of the main reasons Cleveland was able to come back last year). The Cavs will continue to make them pay if that trend continues. If the Warriors can hold on to the ball, then the Cavaliers might have their hands full. 

Both teams come into the NBA Finals on dominant stretches. Golden State is undefeated in postseason play thus far and Cleveland only suffered one loss. The Warriors are the favorite in this series. Get your popcorn ready because part 3 should be rewarding for the average NBA fan.

Warriors in 6.

JGOOD

2017 NBA All-Star Weekend


February is one of my favorite months for sports because of the Super Bowl, pitchers in MLB report to spring training, college basketball is starting to get down to the wire, and NBA All-Star Weekend. This year, the festive event will take place in New Orleans. I took a trip to New Orleans in May of 2015, and that was one of the best experiences of my life. The culture in “NOLA” is truly one of a kind. The original destination was Charlotte, but due to anti-gay laws within the state, the NBA elected to change locations. The NBA just hosted the All-Star Game New Orleans in 2014.

Besides Kyrie Irving’s belief that the world is flat, the most intriguing headline of the weekend is Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook reuniting as teammates. Their brotherly friendship has been derailed since KD’s departure to Golden State. The two has yet attempted to patch things up so that should make way for an interesting interaction in the locker room. 

The events for Saturday includes the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, JBL Three-Point Contest, and the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest. I’m picking Isaiah Thomas for the Skills Challenge, Nick Young for the Three-Point Contest, and Glenn Robinson III for the Slam Dunk Contest.

As for the NBA All-Star Game itself, I have Anthony Davis as the MVP. With that being said, I hope all the events live up to the hype! 
JGOOD

Decisions, Decisions


We all make decisions in life. Some minor. Some major. Some might only effect yourself and some could impact others. Sometimes it can take days, weeks, months, or even years to decide OR it could take a split second. Regardless of the decisions that you make, just make sure you’re happy about it and can live with it. 

With all that being said, I’m sure the whole United States and parts of the world has heard about Kevin Durant’s career decision. The reactions have been mixed to say the least. He’s been called “weak”, a “coward”, and names far more vulgar than you can imagine. I’ve seen videos of Kevin Durant jerseys and shirts being set on fire and even obliterated with automatic weapons. I can’t say that this is the worst I’ve seen from a decision like this because LeBron’s choice had a similar impact in the city of Cleveland in 2010. 

I was one of the people who got on LeBron for leaving to form the big 3 in Miami. I felt like he ran from the challenge to make his life easier. I thought he lied to the city by promising them a title but bolted. The fact that he went on live TV to announce his decision wasn’t right. It was just unacceptable.

However, now I understand. If LeBron didn’t leave he wouldn’t have learned how to win. Playing with a proven winner like Dwyane Wade molded him. I don’t believe he would have the mental tools to bring a championship to Cleveland. Also, he was already getting criticized for not winning so he put himself in position to win multiple titles and that’s what he did. The same thing applies for Kevin Durant. He spent 8 years with the Thunder  organization (first year as the Supersonics) and only been to the NBA Finals once. When the Heat formed the big 3, Durant mentioned on Twitter that he didn’t understand why you need to team up with other stars. At the time, Kevin thought he would win a championship soon. When you keep losing year after year (meaning not winning a  championship), it will take a toll on you.

Kevin Durant went to the Golden State Warriors because playing with great teammates makes his job easier and he will have the chance to win multiple rings. People are stunned that he joined the team that eliminated him. In my opinion, I don’t think he thought of it in that way. I believe that this team gave him the best chance to win. The guy was already criticizing for losing (like LeBron was). If he chose any other team, he would’ve felt backlash as well (except maybe the Celtics). If he stayed in Oklahoma City and never won a championship, he would’ve been like Karl Malone or Charles Barkley: to win MVP, a Olympic gold medal, but no NBA championship. We always like to compare the great players to Michael Jordan. We know that Michael wouldn’t want to join the competition (he would want to beat them), but we have to realize and accept that KD or LeBron are not MJ.

He made the choice for himself and now he’s has to live with it. More pressure is on him to win and win now. To join the team that had the best regular season record in league history, winning is the only thing that’s acceptable. He can’t please everybody and I think he understands that, and everyone is not going to understand his decision either. At the end of the day, he made a life decision just like the rest of us.

JGOOD

Upcoming Events: 2016 Summer


First off, I want to congratulate the Cleveland Cavaliers on winning their first NBA Title. It has been 52 years since the city of Cleveland has last won a major sports championship.

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Also, I want to congratulate Chile on winning Copa America. I’m shocked that Argentina couldn’t get it done. I’m even mkr surprised that Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international competition. Personally, I hope he reconsiders and continue to play. Argentina will need him in the 2018 World Cup.

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With that being said, here are some things to look forward to:

Euro Cup 2016: Now

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We are currently down to the last 8 teams in this exciting event. Germany has always been a strong team but France and Italy has been exceptionally well. I can’t wait to see how this plays out.

NBA Free Agency: July 1st

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Free agents can’t actually sign until July 10th but they can come to verbal agreements as soon as the first of the month. Headlining this free agency class is former league MVP Kevin Durant.

MLB Home Run Derby/All-Star Game: July 8-12th

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We are in the prime months of Major League Baseball. The Home Run Derby will showcase the league’s biggest bats while the All-star Game will display the season’s best players.

NFL Training Camp: Second Half of July

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Amazing how quickly the NFL season is approaching. Before you know it, it will be week one and I’ll be finalizing my fantasy football lineups. Hopefully, no major injuries in the next couple of months.

Olympics: August 5th

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I’ve waited 4 years for the return of the World’s biggest sporting competition. I’m most looking forward to USA Men’s Basketball, Swimming, Track and Field, and Water Polo.

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JGOOD

History In The Making (On Father’s Day)


On this Father’s Day (Happy Father’s Day!), this game 7 of the NBA Finals will not only end the 2015-16 NBA season, but we will see history in the making not matter who wins tonight.

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For the city of Cleveland, this could end the misery of not winning a championship in over 50 years by any of the major franchises. As a Chicago Bulls fan, I despise the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James (however, I do have respect for his greatness and his abilities). As for Cleveland, the city with a bunch of factories according to Joakim Noah, I feel bad for. Chicago Cubs fans might be the only ones suffering more than Cleveland so I get it.

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For the Bay Area, this would cap off a season that could never be duplicated. This is the first team ever to win 73 games and only have single-digit losses. Also, this was the first time in league history that a player was named MVP by an unanimous vote. And to defeat the Cavaliers for a second straight year with Cleveland having a healthy team this time around, will solidify their place as one of the greatest teams ever. The Golden State Warriors backs are against the wall dealing with injuries of their own and losing back to games for the second time all year (Oklahoma City Thunder series). If they lose, it would be an epic collapse and one of the biggest disappointments in league history. What will the defending champs do?

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Nevertheless, we will see an entertaining game tonight on this Father’s Day. Once again, Happy Father’s Day!

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JGOOD

Where Is The (Kevin) Love?


The man that was traded for the NBA 2014 number one overall pick and the same man who was a double double machine in Minnesota, is now starting to be questioned if he can coexist with the other 2 of the big 3 in Cleveland with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Initially we all thought, including LeBron, that Kevin Love would be the missing piece for the city of Cleveland to end it’s drought of winning a championship. Kevin Love’s ability to rebound, stretch the floor with his perimeter shooting, and his fastbreak starting ability convinced LeBron and the Cavaliers to trade away Andrew Wiggins. What wasn’t taken into account was Love’s inability to defend, especially against the pick and roll and help side defense.

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Kevin Love signed a 5 hear, $110 million deal over the summer. While Irving was out at the beginning of the season, LeBron emphasized that Love would be the focal point of the offense. Last year, Kevin would look misplaced and lost within the system with James and Irving on the court. Once Kyrie returned in December, much of the same continued. When Cleveland initially made the trade, they promised Kevin that he would receive his (max) contract. I’m starting to think they just gave him his money based on that reason alone, and not because they wanted to use him long term (at this point). At times, the team would take him out during the 4th quarter of his defensive deficiencies. If you can’t play in the 4th because of that or the inability to hit free throws (other players qualify here), then you don’t deserve a max contact in my opinion (don’t you agree?). And if you don’t deserve a max contract but is currently under a max contract, then you’re overrated. Being teamed up with LeBron has exposed Kevin Love’s flaws on the national stage. When he was in Minnesota, Ricky Rubio was always hurt so Kevin did everything. Love has 11 20-point-20-rebound games in his career. None of them has happened since joining the Cavaliers. I’m convinced to say that he is the most overrated player in the NBA at the moment. Not taking away from what he’s excellent at but when you’re on the same team as LeBron and you’re outcasted and isolated by your own teammates and in the middle of trade rumors, then you wonder why Minnesota gave him a 4 year contract extension instead of a max contract the first time around. There’s no love in Minnesota. There’s starting to have no love in Cleveland. So my question is where is the love?

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JGOOD

The People’s Champ


Not to be confused with former WWE Superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (even though that was my favorite wrestler growing up)
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Who would’ve ever thought we would see a player like Stephen Curry in our generation? Think about it… the players in the NBA today compared to when I was a kid growing up are more athletic, but not as fundamentally sound, or have the overall IQ. Anthony Davis is a freak of nature but you don’t see the post game foot work like Kevin Garnett or banking in 15 footers like Tim Duncan (yet). James Harden took Manu Ginobili’s Euro Step to another level but the man can’t defend a parked car with a boot attached to the front left rim. LeBron James and Kevin Durant are once in a lifetime type of players. There’s no one with LeBron’s size and strength combination. There’s no one with Durant’s height, wingspan, and to be a pure shooter. Russell Westbrook’s athleticism attributes are not even comparable to any one (Derrick Rose before the injuries). Usually NBA Superstars have something or multiple abilities about them that you just can’t teach… that basically the average person doesn’t possess. Curry, on the other hand, is different.
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Steph Curry doesn’t have the power and speed combination of LeBron. He doesn’t have the athletic makeup of Westbrook. He doesn’t have the height and wingspan of Durant. He’s not the fastest or strongest player at his position and definitely not the most explosive. What separates him is the fact that he’s a perfectionist with a legendary work ethic. His ability to exceed expectations and raise his game to new heights are due to the long hours of commitment that he has produced. I watched him at Davidson and became a fan during his junior year when his school made some noise in the middle of March Madness. Davidson ousted Gonzaga, dropped Roy Hibbert, Jeff Green, and the rest of Georgetown, stomped Wisconsin, and was 2 points shy of reaching the Final Four after a loss to a deep Kansas team featuring Mario Chalmers. The man used to be double and triple teamed on a regular and was still scoring at will. He’s been doing this at every level. Scouts were saying that his game wouldn’t translate to the next level. They also said he wasn’t a true point guard. The fact that he’s doing whatever he wants in the NBA is beyond remarkable.
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Another crucial point that needs to be made is that anybody can be just like him. The average person doesn’t have to jump the highest or run the fastest or become the strongest to have the same skill set of Stephen Curry. You’ve seen an abundance of kids practicing their ball handling or shooting all over social media because of what Curry can do. Mark Jackson said that Curry’s style of play is hurting the game… and I would have to disagree. Yes, Curry shoots a lot of 3’s in transitions but, those are good shots for him. And of course they teach you the opposite during basketball practice. The thing is when you’re that good of a shooter and you’re in rhythm, those are good shots. Also, the fact that he can freeze the defense and space the floor in transition is a bonus. Even with his high volume shots behind the arc, kids looking up to him are starting to become more fundamental, and watching the Golden State Warriors team in general are exposing them to selfless basketball (along with San Antonio).
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The scary thing that I didn’t even mention yet is that Steph is getting better. Initially, ankle injuries delayed his growth in his first couple of seasons. However, once he was finally healthy, you started to see the birth of a superstar. He shattered the record for most 3 pointers in a season 3 years ago and has beaten his own record every year (currently on pace to beat it again). The Carolina protégé is on pace to have a higher scoring efficiency than Wilt Chamberlain and is scoring more points in the paint than Blake Griffin and LeBron James… Let that sink in… ESPN has ranked him the 4th best point guard of all time behind Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, and John Stockton. Initially I thought it was too early to have him in the conversation but when you’re constantly watch him perform, it’s hard to overlook his greatness. I still don’t know how I feel about him ranked higher than Isaiah Thomas, Steve Nash, and Jason Kidd (all 3 of them are above extraordinary), but all I can do is sit back and appreciate the baby face assassin take over the league. LeBron used to lead the league in all star votes, effortlessly, for the past decade. Now, Stephen Curry is trumping him and the separation between LeBron and whoever’s next isn’t wide. Eventually, you would have seen the transition of dethroning the king because of father time… and if it was to be this soon, nobody expected it to be the current reigning MVP… except the MVP himself.
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Steph Curry is a special player and you shouldn’t take what we are witnessing for granted. A couple of years ago, he was just known for being a great shooter. Since then, he has won an MVP and a NBA Title, and is currently on pace to winning back to back MVPs (like Jordan 96,97) with the leagues best record. He has become a hero to the Bay Area and now is becoming a global icon. There’s not too many people who doesn’t discredits any of his accomplishments. The sky is truly the limit for him. Personally, I can’t wait to see what’s next from number 30… He still has a long career ahead of him, but in the present, he is the people’s champ.
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JGOOD