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Lebron and Kobe

LeBron James scores a triple-double over Kobe Bryant on Christmas Day.

LeBron James got the gift he wanted for Christmas – Kobe Bryant.  Lebron and the Miami Heat trounced Kobe and his LA Lakers, 96-80, on Christmas Day at the Staples Center, Los Angeles. The game was overly hyped because of the Heat’s Big Three playing against the NBA’s defending champion for the first time in the season.

LeBron was all over the court with his 31st career triple double – 27 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists – to win his personal battle with Kobe.  Kobe managed only 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists in a losing effort.  King James hit a season high 5-of-6 three pointers in toying the Lakers defense.

 

Kobe was the focused of the Heat’s defense all throughout of the game. Dwyane Wade made life miserable for the Laker’s MVP with his defensive game.  James also had his moments guarding Kobe.  The Heat clamped down on the Lakers with its defense forcing 12 turnovers on a 40.5% field goal.

LeBron and Kobe had words for each other in the closing minutes of the game. But in the end, it was LeBron who won again in front of 18,997  Laker fans. James and his former Cavaliers team won in last year’s Christmas game against the Lakers.

King James was in total control of the game as he patiently set plays for teammates, crashing the board for rebounds, disrupting Lakers plays, and picking up some steals.  He outplayed the Black Mamba on Christmas Day with the world watching them.

Chris Bosh had 24 points and 13 rebounds to dominate the middle for the Heat.  Wade added 18 points and  six assists despite a nagging sore knee. Reserve pointguard Mario Chalmers contributed 13 points to the Heat’s 14th win in 15 games.  According to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, this is one of their best offensive and poise game of the season.  The Heat was in chaos at the start of the season after trying to figure out their rhythm with the new team and superstars.

This win gave the Heat a reason to celebrate and for other teams to be wary of.  As long as Lebron, Bosh, and Wade are in sync offensively and defensively, the Heat is hard to beat.  However, the season is still young and teams try to pick their games up.  Expect everyone to gang up on the Heat and their Big Three.

Kobe and Co. are expected to pour out their frustrations on their next game against the San Antonio Spurs on December 28.  The league-leading Spurs is a tough nut to crack.

James got what he wanted for Christmas Day.

 

Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
Video courtesy of NBA.com
Lebron, Wade and Kobe

Kobe plays against the duo of LeBron and Wade on Christmas Day.

It will be mayhem on Christmas Day when two of NBA’s superstars battle each other for bragging rights as the best player of their contemporary time.  This is not all about the LA Lakers and Miami Heat.  It will be a battle in the hardcourt of the game’s two superstars.  This is not yet the All Star Weekend.

Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have faced each other before but this time it will have a different theme. LeBron joined the Dwayne Wade’s Miami Heat together with All Star Chris Bosh last summer to form one of NBA’s greatest triumvirate.  Kobe is after his sixth championship title and another chance to score his second 3-peat title with the Lakers.

I feel that all the hype of this game is focus on both Kobe and LeBron. What will be the basis for this rivalry to determine its winner?  Individual performances on this Christmas day game?  Nah.. It will be dynasty versus the new kids on the block.  Let me give you my own assessment of the upcoming game.

The Miami Heat is loaded with talents in all cylinders.  LA Lakers is full of seasoned and championship-laden veterans in its roster.  It will be a battle of youth and experience.

With the Heat’s Big Three of LeBron, Wade, and Bosh that gives a lot of offensive punch the Lakers will try to handle.  Miami’s complementary players are also so deep in all positions with a combination of youth and veterans.

Carlos Arroyo, Eddie House, and Mario Chalmers will have a tough time against the veteran Derek Fisher but will have their match in the Laker’s Steve Blake.  However, Dwayne Wade is still a questionable starter at the two-guard spot with a sore left knee.  Kobe and Wade had two epic games between them last NBA season. Wade’s injury gives the Lakers a sigh of relief as wherein the Heat will lost a 23.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, and 4.3 apg contributions from one of their cornerstone player.

In the frontline, Miami has a huge and tall lineup in the veteran Zydrunas Ilgauskas, former All-Stars Jamaal Magloire and Juwan Howard, Erick Dampier, and Joel Anthony in the center spot.  The Lakers will anchor its middle with All-Star Pau Gasol, Olympian Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum, and veteran Theo Ratliff.  All-Star Chris Bosh is a lot of girth to handle in the four spot with veteran Joe Smith to play some minutes.  The Lakers’ frontline will have their hands full in keeping the Heat from crashing the offensive board.

But the most hype part of the match will be the individual performances of LeBron and Kobe.  It will be a battle of power and finesse.  MVP against MVP. A championship contender against a championship-experienced playmaker. The Laker’s Zen Guru, Phil Jackson, I think will put all the defensive stops on LeBron by clamping him down with seasoned defensive stalwarts RonRon Artest and Matt Barnes.  The Heat ‘s Erik Spoelstra will put LeBron on the defensive end.  The recently activated Mike Miller will also share the spotlight in guarding Kobe.

The Lakers will put more pressure on the Heat to put the ball on LeBron’s hands.  They can disrupt the Heat’s offensive by letting LeBron go to the basket on his own and leave his teammates out of the play.  LeBron is a ballhog that thrives on his own free basketball will.  Expect that physical plays will be given to James by the Lakers’ veterans.  The more physicality he will gets, the more he changes his game. However, if he will create shot opportunities for his teammates that will give the Lakers a lot of problems to contend with.  The Heat has a lot of shooters to knock down the threes from downtown – James Jones, House, and Miller.

The Heat is scorching hot right now winning 14 of its last 15 games. They are on the up trend gaining confidence and rhythm on their game.  After taking early loses in the opening games of the season, the Heat were able to play as what everyone expect from them after the blockbuster signing of their Big Three.  The Lakers is coming from a Milwaukee beating that snaps their 5-game winning streak.  What made things worst for the Lakers was the ejection of Bryant with 2:07 to play.

I feel that the team who can dictate the tempo of the game on both ends of the court will win the Christmas Day match.  But the real winner on this day will be the fans watching four NBA superstars battling each other on Christmas.

Pacquiao vs Mosley Fight

Pacquiao and Mosley will fight in May 7 at MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas.

Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and Shane Mosley will square off on May 7, 2011 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas according to Top Rank honcho Bob Arum.  The fight will be at the welterweight level of 147 pounds.

Mosley was chosen among three boxers that also include lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez and welterweight champion Andre Berto. The proposed fight, according to Arum, was presented to Pacquiao, his trainer Freddie Roach, and Top Rank matchmaker Bruce Trampler.

At first, Roach is not amenable with Pacquiao-Mosley fight because he sees it as a ‘no-contest’ fight.  According to Arum, coach Roach made a change of heart after spending sometime with Pacquiao and Arum in the Philippines. The decision to fight Mosley might have been resolve during Pacquiao’s birthday bash in his hometown General Santos City.

In the boxing industry, many believed that the best choice for Pacquiao’s next fight among the three contenders is with Marquez.  The fight will be another trilogy in Pacquiao’s fight history.  In their first fight in 2004, both fighters had a draw after an explosive and bloody fight.  In the 2008 rematch, Pacquiao earned a narrow split decision over Marquez.  A third fight could be a fitting finish to their slug fest.

However, everybody wants to have Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. slug it out to settle who is the rightful pound-for-pound champion.  Many attempts for a blockbuster fight between the two champions fizzled out because of indecisions on both camps to accept the fight proposals.

Currently, Mayweather is facing four counts of felony charges committed in a domestic violence last September.   His new brush with the law has given Mayweather another problem to settle first and rule out a possible blockbuster fight with the 8-time world champion Manny Pacquiao.

 

Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic will depend more on Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson after blockbuster trades.

Orlando Magic mystified the NBA by trading two of its All-Star players in two blockbuster trades involving eight players and two other teams.  All-Star forwards Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis were traded in favor of Wizard’s Gilbert Arenas and Sun’s Jason Richardson to give coach Stan Van Gundy NBA’s most guard-loaded team.

Orlando has now one of the most lethal backcourt with the addition of Arenas and Richardson.  It has already All-Star Jameer Nelson, backup PG Chris Duhon and Jason Williams, and combo-guard J.J. Reddick.

However, what concerns Orlando is its undersized frontline at the four position surrounding All-Star center Dwight Howard.  Part of the trade also involves returning-Magic Hedo Turkoglo, a vital clog in Orlando’s 2009 Finals championship run.  The 6-10 Turkoglo is somewhat a “three guy” and a liability in the four spot to go against other NBA teams hulking power forwards.  The remaining big men for the Magic are undersized center/power forwards Ryan Anderson, Malik Allen, rookie Daniel Orton and Earl Clark.

My big question is why did the Magic change its magic potion with its previous lineup that give them a 16-9 record in the East.  Losing five of their six last games doesn’t warrant to press the panic button.  Howard is playing an MVP-like season with his 21.5 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks stats in the season.  Howard was given a one-on-one training with Hall of Famer center Hakeem Olajuwon in the offseason to give him additional repertoire of moves in his arsenal.

Rashard Lewis has his worst production in his 12 years NBA experience.  In the current season, he is only averaging 12.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per games on a .412 field goal percentage.   The Magic’s starting power forward has been declining since his transfer from the defunct Seattle Supersonics.  Lewis is a little soft in the four spot with his lean frame.  He is a bit more of a small forward with his size.  His transfer to the  Washington Wizard will give the much needed scoring punch the Wizards look for.  The Wizards have a dynamic two-guard combo rotation with No. 1 pick John Wall and Kirk Heinrich.

Vince Carter will fit well with Phoenix’s run-and-gun style anchored with Stave Nash playing style.  He is averaging 15.1 points and still a threat in the open court.  However, Carter will jockey position with another mirror-image player in Grant Hill.  The combination of Nash, Hill, and Carter is very explosive in the offensive end.  Still, I think they will be more of a liability in the defensive end because of age and injuries.

 

NBA 2011 All Star Weekend

Watch live NBA 2011 All Star Weekend!

Watch and Experience the 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend at Staples Center, Los Angeles, California on February 18-20, 2011.

Vote for your favorite NBA players who will play at the 2011 NBA All-Star Games.

 

Sebastian Vettel

Will Sebastian Vettel captures more F1 championships?

Newly-crowned F1 champion Sebastian Vettel is expected to win more F1 champions according to three-time F1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart.  Stewart made the comments based on Vettel’s sterling performance in the 2010 Formula 1 season.

Red Bull’s Vettel made the trick of becoming the youngest F1 champion, at age 23, with a superb driving in the season-ending 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.  He snatched the F1 crown from championship-points leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.  Vettel has only three years of F1 experience and this made Sir Jackie to predict multiple crowns for the young German driver.

“Sebastian Vettel will certainly be a multiple world champion,” he said in a recent interview with the Daily Mail. “He is hugely talented, has great ability and magnificent focus. We know that because in order to win it this year he had to win the last race.

“He was fortunate that people like Alonso didn’t get higher up in the standings before the last few races but he is a winner and we will definitely see more from him.”

Red Bull’s boss Christian Horner agrees with the assessment of the three-time F1 champion.  He believes that Vettel has the talent and youth to bring more championships to himself and Red Bull.

“Sebastian will only continue to get better,” he said. “He is still very young, he is still young and learning. He is immensely fast, very intelligent and he has a lot of years ahead of him.”

Yao Ming Injury

Is Yao Ming on the brink of retirement?

Yao Ming is out of the current NBA season.  The Rockets bid for a playoff slot is now in jeopardy after Yao has been diagnose with a stress fracture in his left ankle.  The 30-year old Chinese star ‘s recent injury raises questions on his future basketball career.  It also give the Houston Rockets a lot of things to think about their team and its chances of getting into the playoff.

Yao underwent a reconstructive surgery on the same left foot that sideline him for the whole NBA season last year.  Many NBA executives questioned his ability to play a full NBA game with his 7-foot-6 frame and 310 pounds body.  The Rocket superstar has various injuries that led to miss him 173 regular games.

Yao is in his final contract year with the Rockets that will pay him $17.7 million this season.  An NBA lockout  looming next July could put himself and the Rockets in the bargaining table whether he will be resigned for another contract or leave him for other NBA teams.  The extent of his new injury will determine his new contract value and future basketball career.

Will this be Yao’s farewell season?  Stay tuned for more basketball news on Yao’s career.

 

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