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NBA: The Rise or Fall of the King

12 May 2010

The only series that anybody is talking about in the NBA play-offs is the Cleveland Cavaliers versus the Boston Celtics.  Arguably the best player currently in the NBA, Lebron James (aka The King or King James) plays for the Cavaliers (Cavs).  In game 5 of the 7 game series, Lebron James essentially choked, playing a terrible game.  This is bad for a couple reasons.  First, many expected the Cavs to run through the Celtics without much problem.  Second, Lebron has been seeking an NBA championship for some time, but has fell short thus far.  Further complicating matters is the fact that there are rampant trade rumors surrounding Lebron.  The buzz is that he’ll go to the Chicago Bulls.  If he tanks Thursday night in game 6, and the Celtics move to the Conference finals, it would paint Lebron and his time at Cleveland as a failure.  If the Cavs win, he could still achieve his goal of winning it all and would be the King in Cleveland.  In a side note, Michael Jordan, probably the best player to ever play the game, played for the Bulls, and is Lebron’s childhood idol (he even wears the same number, 23).  If Lebron went to Chicago, he would be in the shadow of his idol.
 
One Liner: “Do you think Lebron will end up the NBA’s Dan Marino?” (In reference to the fact that if Lebron doesn’t win a championship, he will be compared to the NFL’s Dan Marino, a quarter back that played for the Miami Dolphins that broke all sorts of records and was one of the game’s best players, but never won a championship)

The Basics

The NBA is divided into two Conferences, the Eastern and West conference.  Each conference has eight (8) teams vying for their respective championship in a best of seven series playoff.  The winners of the Conference finals meet in the NBA finals in June.   Much like baseball, no one really cares about the regular season unless it involves some traditional rivals (Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics is the current gold standard)
 
The NBA play offs continue, with the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. the Boston Celtics.  The winner will play the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals.  The winner of that match up will go to the NBA finals.  The Phoenix Suns, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Orlando Magic all advanced to the Conference finals without much trouble.  The Cleveland Cavaliers are having markedly more trouble.  As they say in sports, “That’s why they don’t play the game on paper.”

Terminology:

Conference: A group of teams, usually geographically associated.  In the case of the NBA, there are the Eastern and Western Conferences.

Triple Double: When a player achieves double digits in three of five statistical categories (points, assists, rebounds, blocked shots, and steals).  For example a player with, 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists in a single game would have attained triple double.

Rebound: After an attempted shot that does not go in the basket, the act of retrieving the ball after the miss is called rebounding.  The player that retrieves the ball gets a rebound in that statistic column.

Assist: When a player gives the basketball to another player who then immediately scores.

Fast break:  a play in basketball in which a team moves quickly down the court in an attempt to score before the opposing defense can get set up