Love Minnesota baseball, and Irish Rugby.
As the Los Angeles Clippers head home to the Staples Center after splitting the first two games of their Western Conference Quarterfinals series in Memphis, they have much to consider.
In reality they were very fortunate to split the series in Memphis after the grizzlies largely outplayed them in both games. Only a historically amazing comeback (from 27 down at one point) could rescue them from the unwanted fate of being down 2-0 in a seven-game series.
Anyone who watched any of the first three quarters can tell you the Clippers did not deserve to win that game. If you only got to see the fourth quarter you missed much of the poor play displayed by DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin and the majority of the Clipper team.
Game 2 wasn't much better. It was as if they played the first quarter like the fourth quarter of Game 1, then reverted back to their first three quarters of lackluster play.
With all that being said, the Clippers have at least five major adjustments to make before they take the court for their first home playoff game under Vinny Del Negro on Saturday afternoon.
1. Rebound the ball on the defensive end.
2. Cut down on turnovers.
3. Get Randy Foye going.
4. For Chris Paul, less is more.
5. Small Forward production.
With just over one minute left to go in Game One of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, what seemed like an easy win for the top-seeded Chicago Bulls became a heartbreaking loss. Reigning MVP Derrick Rose charged into the paint of Chicago’s United Center.
Coming off a screen from Joakim Noah, Rose dribbled around Philadelphia center Spencer Hawes and leapt into the air, intending to dazzle Bulls fans with one of the breathtaking, gravity-defying scoring drives that earned him fans across the country. Instead, he released the ball in midair and crash-landed awkwardly on his left knee.
People who regularly watch Rose, a man known for his fierce competitiveness and his reckless style of play, know that Rose gets knocked down regularly.
Instead of getting up and dusting himself off Rose lay on his home floor in pain. The whole situation was just surreal, a nightmare of epic proportions. Countless players go down with serious knee injuries every year, yet somehow we never expect it to happen to the superstars. All of a sudden there he was, Derrick Rose, Chi-town’s answer to the LeBron James and Paul Pierce led Eastern Conference superstars was rolling on the floor grabbing his knee.
The most amazing part is that it indeed did happen. Derrick Rose tore the ACL of his left knee and is scheduled to miss the entire 2012 playoffs, as well as a significant part of the offseason. Repairing a knee that has suffered such great damage will take a tremendous amount of determination and willpower. The silver lining in this situation is that if anyone can come back from such an injury, it is Rose who has youth, as well as an incredible work ethic on his side.
Nevertheless, even if Rose eventually returns to the NBA, his situation will be much different than it was this year. All of god's given gifts his speed and jumping ability will all be reduced. By how much, we will not know until we see him play again. What we do know is that the post 2012 Derrick Rose will be very different from the Derrick Rose we have become accustomed to seeing. Will he be a decent player? Maybe. Will he play a significant role on a title contender? Perhaps. Will he ever regain his superstar status? Probably not.
The Minnesota Timberwolves' Ricky Rubio has been one of the most talked about players in the NBA this season.
I personally have said from the start that he doesn't need to be Chris Paul in order to validate his draft selection.
His duty is to pass the ball, not score, and so far he has exceeded those expectations by drilling a jumper every once in a while.
Here are five early signs that the 6'4'' Spaniard can exceed everyone's expectations and become a superstar in the association.
His vision is unparalleled for a rookie, and with a young team in Minnesota, expect this trait to only get stronger.
Decision Making -
His feel and comfort for the pace of the NBA game is impressive thanks to the smart choice he makes on the court.
His tough play on both sides of the ball must inspire his teammates to bring their A-games too.
As he and his teammates play together more, his leadership is sure to only get stronger.
Ability to score -
He's put up 16 three-point attempts this season, and he's drilled exactly half of them. That's pretty solid considering everyone thought he'd be a Rondo-like shooter.