What up world! Welcome to a Friday the Thirteenth edition of The Blog About Nothing. This your main man EJ, and I’ve braved a rather dreary and foggy day in New York City to bring you this blog. This week I’ll talk a little more NBA Finals, why we shouldn’t buy into this Carmelo Anthony to the Heat crap, and I’ll give a little postscript of Croatia vs. Brazil. Let’s do this!!
The San Antonio Spurs have taken a 3-1 series lead over the Miami Heat. Game 5 will be on Sunday and in San Antonio. I know I said Spurs in 6 games last week, but the way they have been playing, Spurs in 5 looks like the end result for this series. I understand it’s not smart to count out the two time defending Champions but the Heat look like they don’t have it this year. Dwayne Wade is on the wrong side of 30, Chris Bosh has emerged into a great player but he’s not a game changer, and LeBron James can’t do it by himself. Is it just me or does LeBron look tired right now? He’s had to take on the weight of the team this season, and to me anyway, he appears to be worn down by it. That’s the problem with the Miami Heat though. The Heat rely on their Big Three to do everything, and they can’t. The supporting cast hasn’t been much help. Ray Allen is past his prime, as is Shane Battier. They haven’t gotten much from Mario Chalmers or Norris Cole. The Birdman gives them minutes but he’s not a point scorer, and while Rashard Lewis is a nice story, he’s not going to give you 18 points and 10 rebounds anytime soon. I should also mention that the Heat got nothing all season from Michael Beasley or Greg Oden. The Heat lack quality depth and it’s hurt them in this Series.
Depth has hurt the Heat and it has energized the Spurs. When Gregg Popovich won the Coach of the Year award, myself and my cohorts here at 7Poundbag had a roundtable debate and I was the only one in favor of Pop winning the award. Why? The Spurs didn’t win 62 games this season riding Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker. Pop rested those guys and rested them often. The team finished with the best record in the NBA because of contributions from Kawhi Leonard, Tiago Splitter, Patty Mills, Danny Green, Cory Joseph, Marco Belinelli, Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner and the rest of the cast. The Spurs are where they are because Pop has taught these guys to know what their roles are. The Spurs ask their rotation guys to do a little, while the Heat ask their Big Three to do everything. The way Pop went about this season, and this playoffs is why a perceived older team can go 62-20 and be one game away from winning an NBA title. A title that would be Pop’s and Duncan’s 5th title in the last 15 seasons. The Spurs have been a model of consistency, and my argument then, as it is now, is that Pop and company deserve every award possible because they know how to adapt and succeed.
This series isn’t over but it’s not looking good. The Heat got blown out in both of their games in Miami. The Spurs got off to hot starts, and shot the Heat out of the building. Now, I’m not going to say that being down 3-1 means that the Heat won’t come back and the Spurs won’t win, but upsets like that rarely happen in sports. Also, the way the Spurs have played all four of these games, does anyone really think the Heat will all of a sudden flip a switch and win three straight? I don’t see it. Game 5 is on Sunday, which means both sides have a few days of rest, but the Spurs at home, with the Trophy in the building, won’t blow it. Not this year.
So the Heat won’t defend their title. James, Wade, and Bosh made it to four straight NBA Finals, won two rings, do they break it all up? Unlikely. So do they go out there and add another big name and turn it to the Big Four? Also unlikely in my opinion. So unlikely that we need to take these Carmelo Anthony rumors that are out there, and dismiss them. Don’t get me wrong, it would be interesting to see Carmelo joining the crew in Miami but I can’t see these guys giving up the money to make it possible. According to some things I’ve seen, Carmelo can make close to $24 million next season if he returns to New York. If he leaves New York next season, and join another suitor with cap space, the amount he could make falls just under $20 million. In order to go to Miami, assuming that the Big Three all opt out of their deals and take about $13 million a season, or $7 million less than they are entitled to, Carmelo can pull down about $12 million (all my figures come from Amin Elhassan’s blog on ESPN).
LeBron makes a lot of money in endorsements, so I can see him taking less in order to keep what he has going but does Bosh give up less in what could be his last big deal? Will Wade give up less considering this contract will be his last big deal? Do Udonis Haslem agree to give up his near $5 million player option to take a vet minimum deal to make the numbers work? Finally, does Carmelo Anthony sacrifice being paid like a superstar just to be another guy in Miami? I just can’t see it because there are so many what if’s that are out there just to make this happen. So while Stephen A. Smith, Brian Windhorst, and what feels like every other NBA writer wants to push this story on us, I just can’t see Carmelo Anthony sacrificing so much to go to Miami.
The ring may be the thing, but if you tie all that money up in four guys, you’ll have absolutely nothing else to build a team around. What the Heat should take out of this Spurs series is that the Heat need a team, and not a collection of stars. LeBron and the guys should take less money, but instead of targeting another big name, the Heat need to target 3 or 4 more mid level guys, who are younger, who are consistent in what they do, and flesh out more of a rotation than what they already have. To go back to the point I made earlier in the blog, the problem with the Heat is that they don’t have a team. They can’t go 8 or 9 deep, and their stars are getting worn down. If Pat Riley pitches anything to his Big Three, it should be sacrifice for the greater good so I can build a team around you. Not to just add another star. Carmelo Anthony? Your talents alone won’t make this team better on South Beach.
Yesterday, marked the beginning of the World Cup and I for one couldn’t be more excited. If you haven’t read the World Cup predictions blog, I posted yesterday, I invite you to read it after you finish with this blog. I brought the heat with that one. I brought that fire, but one of my favorite’s to win didn’t bring it in the Cup opener yesterday. Brazil may have beaten Croatia 3-1, but they came out pretty flat. The eyes of their nation was on them, and many of the players looked scared out of their damn minds. Marcelo for example looked like he wanted to dig a hole and bury himself on the pitch. He looked scared during the National Anthem’s so it wasn’t too surprising he made a mental blunder in front of goal, and poked the ball past his own goal keeper. I would have wrung his neck if I was Julio Cesar. Croatia didn’t get one past him, but his own man did.
Luckily Neymar came to the rescue. The young Brazilian star scored 2 goals, to lead his team back in front. He found space through the middle and attacked the goal. Not going to say he was perfect though. He was lucky he wasn’t red carded in the 1st half, and he was the goal scorer on a dubious penalty awarded by the referee. In the second half Brazilian striker Fred received a slight shirt pull, and threw himself down. This was called a penalty. I’m not as outraged as some, because whether we like it or not diving is a part of the game. Fred took a chance. The game was tied 1-1 at the time, and he figured he’d get the call. He did. Neymar converted the penalty, although the Croatian goalkeeper did get a hand on the ball, and Oscar got the late goal to finish it off.
Brazil escaped but if I had to rate them I’d give them a 6 out of a 10. They passed the test, but they looked pretty ugly doing it. They’re going to have to play better against Cameroon and Mexico in order to get the fans believing that this is the year they will add a 6th star to their jersey and a 6th World Cup trophy to their collection.
I’m done. Can’t blog no more. Thanks for reading, and thank you for supporting www.7poundbag.com. We can’t do it without your support, and I’m thankful for anyone who reads this blog, likes our Facebook page, or even just clicks on the link and read these words. I’m an appreciative guy. I really am. So, until next week I wish you nothing but peace. One.
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