The Best NBA Game of Every Month This Season

Written by Heather McDevitt on .

Rose LeBron

The Monthly Special

The Best Game of Every Month this Season

The 2013-2014 NBA schedule was released last week and fans of the Association are in for a treat with numerous prime time games between All Stars from Opening Night right up until the playoff push. We broke down every schedule and have compiled a list of the best game in each month.  These are sure to be the games that will have Twitter buzzin’, jam-packed bars and the ticket prices inflated.

October

October 29 – Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat

TNT, 8 p.m.

Fans in Chicago haven’t seen their MVP point guard Derrick Rose compete since he went down with a torn ACL in a playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers on May 12, 2012.  All eyes will be on Rose to see how his game has been affected by the injury and if he can reach the All Star caliber expectations he has set for himself with his young star studded career.

But let’s not forget who is on the other side of the ball.  The Miami Heat will raise their 2013 NBA Championship banner and receive their rings prior to the game for the world to see.  LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have proven their skeptics wrong and are looking to write their names in the history books with a three-peat.

November

November 22- San Antonio at Memphis

ESPN, 8 p.m.

San Antonio is fresh off a discouraging game seven loss to the Miami Heat, but the Spurs will still be competitive this season despite their age.  Their experience, led by Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, along with the up and comers Tiago Splitter and Kawhi Leonard will help contribute to the Spurs’ win column. 

Memphis is looking to forget about their disappointing sweep against the Spurs and get revenge in the rematch of the 2013 Western Conference Finals.  It is their first time playing San Antonio in the season and fans in the FedExForum will surely be loud and boisterous.  Both teams will undoubtedly be battling all season long for supremacy in the Western Conference.

December

December 25- Oklahoma City at New York

ABC, 2:30 p.m.

A few blocks down from the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, Madison Square Garden will host the best game for the NBA Christmas Day lineup.  Carmelo Anthony has always stepped up in big games and delivered.  The Brooklyn Nets stole the spotlight in New York this offseason, and the Knicks will need to prove themselves to their city and across the country that they can make a legitimate playoff push in the East.

The Oklahoma City Thunder is no stranger to prime time games and will be led by Kevin Durant.  Durant and Anthony are destined for an epic shootout and whoever can get the most help from their bench will likely be the winners.  The Thunder is hoping to get back to the championship level they attained in the 2011 season after losing in the second round to the Memphis Grizzlies.

January

January 26 – Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics

ESPN, 6:30 p.m.

Paul Pierce and the Brooklyn Nets will travel to Boston where he will play the franchise that drafted him and he spent 15 years with. It will surely be an emotional day for Pierce as he takes the parquet floor of the TD Garden in an opposing jersey.  Anticipate a welcome and sympathetic Celtics crowd, which will be put through the ringer this season.  Rajon Rondo is on pace to be in uniform by January, a full calendar year after he tore his ACL, and will be the new face of the franchise going forward.

The Nets are looking to combine the powers of their new stars Pierce and Kevin Garnett with the incredible talent they already had in Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez to bring a championship to the borough of Brooklyn.  Look for Pierce to put on a show in his old stomping grounds.

February

February 19 – Houston Rockets at Los Angeles (Lakers)

ESPN, 10:30 p.m.

Dwight Howard was THE talk of the offseason and the Lakers threw everything but the kitchen sink to retain the superstar that averaged 17 points a game in the purple and gold.  Howard instead went to the Houston Rockets, where he will play alongside shooting guard James Harden.  The Rockets look good on paper, but must learn how to play as a cohesive unit if they want to be competing in June.

The Lakers definitely are not the same team that competed on the highest level just a few years back.  Although Howard was heavily criticized during his short career in LA, he did make the team better and was a huge presence on the boards with 10.8 rebounds a game.  Kobe Bryant will miss time with a torn Achilles tendon, but has already made an impressive recovery.  Safe to say this game is one that No. 24 is hoping to be ready for.

March

March 16 – Houston Rockets at Miami Heat

ABC, 3:30 p.m.

This game will mean so much for each team down the stretch of the NBA season.  The Rockets will be trying to prove their assembly of super stars can compete with the likes of the Heat’s Big Three.  Houston will likely be in a dogfight with Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Los Angeles (Clippers) for playoff position in March, and all the games at this point in the schedule will start to have much more significance.

This game will also be significant for Miami.  They will play eight games in 14 days leading up to this game in March, and will surely be hitting the rough stretch of the NBA season between All Star Weekend and the playoffs.  They must stay sharp and focused in March and April to protect their expected No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

April

April 2 – Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks

ESPN, 7:00 p.m.

The Battle of the Boroughs will have one final showdown in Manhattan before the playoffs begin. Although both teams are destined to make the Eastern Conference playoffs, this game will definitely have an impact on what seeds they end up with.  The Knicks and Nets split their series last season at 2-2, with exciting games that went down to the wire.

Teams usually will rest their star players the final week of the NBA season, about a week and a half after this game.  Watch for the final push and an entertaining game by both teams’ superstars in this matchup at the Garden.  This one might also decide final bragging rights in the Big Apple.

This guest post was contributed by Heather McDevitt -- she is a Boston Celtics fan with a BA Public Relations from Penn State. 

no comments

Looking Forward: How USA Basketball will still be dominant without LeBron

Written by Heather McDevitt on .

It has been less than a year since the United States men’s national basketball team was adorned with gold medals for their victory against Spain in the 2012 London Olympics finals.  In what should have been a quiet summer for Team USA, they have been making headlines for LeBron James seemingly ending his career with the team, with the recent announcement that he will not participate in 2014’s FIBA Basketball World Cup. He is likely also out of the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio de Janiero. James averaged 13.3 points per game in the London games and was named MVP in the London Games. He is the face of not only the NBA, but international basketball as well.

LeBron’s shoes are hard to fill, but many other players have stepped up into the spotlight.  The new era of USA Basketball will be headed by Kevin Durant.   Durant shined in the London games, averaging 19.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.  He also shot 52% from downtown, hitting 34 three-pointers in eight games.  Many fans questioned whether Durant would play in the world championship, so his commitment to the team gives them a go-to scorer that will put up big numbers to help the team excel.   "It's USA. That's it," Durant told USA TODAY Sports. "To play amongst the world and travel throughout this beautiful world and play basketball, you can't beat that. It's a great opportunity."

Another guy coming off a strong performance in the 2012 Olympics and will board a plane to Spain next summer is Kevin Love.  Love averaged 11.6 points, and led the team in rebounds at 7.6 per game in London.  Love’s presence on the boards was a key factor to Team USA’s success, especially against the height of Spain led by the Gasol brothers.  Although he sat out parts of the 2012-2013 NBA season, if he can stay healthy for the 2014 World Cup, there is no doubt he will be a superstar for the squad.

Kyrie Irving Team USA

Making a big splash in the team’s minicamp are power forward Anthony Davis and guard Kyrie Irving.  During Team USA’s internal scrimmage on July 26, Irving and Davis were excellent on offense, scoring 23 and 22 respectively.  Irving dished out seven assists, leading all players, and Davis picked up seven boards.  Although Davis and the Hornets had a disappointing rookie season, he has experience playing at the international level and has a gold medal with the 2012 team.  Irving has emerged as one of the most exciting point guards in the league.  He averaged 22.5 points last season and was named an All Star as only a sophomore to the association. With the acquisition of center Andrew Bynum and #1 pick Anthony Bennett in the 2013 NBA Draft, Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers have lofty expectations for the 2013-2014 NBA season.

A guy who has been projected to join Irving at the guard position is Stephen Curry.  Curry became a fan favorite in the 2013 NBA Playoffs where he averaged 23.4 points per game.  He is a sharpshooter from the three point line, and his 18 three pointers in his first four playoffs game is an NBA record.  He can change the pace of the game and has potential to be a top five point guard in the upcoming years. Paul George another player who emerged in the spotlight of the playoffs is expected to play for the United States.  George averaged 17.4 points in the regular season for the Indiana Pacers and 19.2 points in the 2013 playoffs.  He has proven to perform in the clutch, hitting a three-point field goal at the end of the fourth quarter in game one against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. His size, 6’8 feet and 220 pounds, is comparable to LeBron’s, and there is no doubt he would be a decent replacement in the small forward position for the United States.

Big question marks remain with Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and James Harden.  As of right now they do not have plans to participate in the World Cup, but if they do become interested next summer there is no doubt room on the roster will be made for the gold medal winners.  Paul has come out in a statement saying he is leaning towards playing in the 2016 Rio Games, but the possibility of him playing in Spain is still in the air.

With the combination of veterans, young talent and an incredible coaching staff led by future Hall Of Famer Coach Mike Krzyzewski, the United States should be in contention for top spot in Spain next summer.  Although they are losing big names in LeBron, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and potentially Paul, the NBA still has a history of producing the world’s best basketball players, earning the gold medal 14 out of their 17 appearances in the Olympic Games.  Behind Durant, Love, and Irving, the team should continue to shine on the international level and show the world that they can still win without LeBron in the World Cup and eventually, the Olympics.

This guest post was contributed by Heather McDevitt -- she is a Boston Celtics fan with a BA Public Relations from Penn State. 

no comments

Where to now for Dwight Howard and does it matter?

Written by Mookie Schiralli on .

Dwight Howard Lakers Rockets

The hype surrounding Dwight Howard's place of employment -- both last summer and right now -- is blaring. The reality is though, it may prove to be entirely immaterial, as it was this past NBA season. 

This time last year the league's fans were abuzz with talk of a Lakers powerhouse, fronted by the backcourt of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, and the two-headed monster of Howard and Pau Gasol. Add in the likes of Metta World Peace and Antawn Jamison and there was definite reason for arousal in the Laker fanbase. 

Of course, we know how that all turned out. Showtime turned into Slowtime in Notime, with an early season disaster resulting in a coaching change and a season that never really got off the ground. Howard was targeted as one of the reasons for the downfall, with his inability to coexist with Bryant and Gasol, in addition to his lack of offensive variation identified as major weaknesses in a supposed superstar.

Now we see Howard looking for another change of scenery, in an apparent attempt to revive his mojo... to find himself a situation that fits his skillset. His rumoured move to the Houston Rockets would even cost him in the hip pocket, but when you've got as much cash as he does (he's looking at about $20m salary next season), does it really matter?

The other big suitor is the Dallas Mavericks. And don't forget that the Lakers want to keep him, going as far as billboards and full-page newspaper advertisements with their #StayD12 campaign. 

The big question is though, does it really matter?

Which one of those three teams will really have a shot at beating the Miami Heat next season? Perhaps the Oklahoma City Thunder? Or maybe the San Antonio Spurs or Indiana Pacers? Regardless, it is certainly worth checking the sports.bwin.com/en/nba odds though to take a chance!

With the likelihood of Kobe Bryant missing significant time through injury, a Rockets roster that basically is a great shooting guard in James Harden and a European big in Omer Asik (that combo sound familiar?), and a Mavericks roster that is made up of all of the flavours of the disjointed rainbow, there is little to say that any of Howard's likely destinations will challenge the illuminati for the trophy in 2014.

So why does everyone care? Because the hype machine says they should. The bigger questions should surround the tweaks made to the rosters of the big boys... and maybe even the next attempt at a superfriends situation in Brooklyn (with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce coming together). 

Does it really matter? Tell me.

no comments

Scottie Pippen in Nobu fight

Written by Mookie Schiralli on .

Scottie Pippen fight

Former NBA star Scottie Pippen has reportedly been involved in a fight outside of exclusive Japanese-fusion restaurant Nobu, in Malibu over the weekend. And it looks like he put the other guy in hospital.

The altercation occurred about 6:30 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot of Nobu restaurant, said Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. There was an argument between Pippen and the man, who was taken to a hospital with unspecified injuries, Whitmore said. His condition was not immediately available.

These days, Pippen works for the Chicago Bulls as an advisor.

no comments

NBA 2K14 vs NBA Live 14 - Preview

Written by Mookie Schiralli on .

NBA 2K14 cover

And then were two players back in the game.

Traditionally at A Stern Warning we've always brought you a preview of the battle for supremacy between the NBA 2K Sports franchise and the EA Sports NBA Live / NBA Elite offerings. Then we had a hiatius for a few years, as there simply was no battle, as EA fell out of the game.

This year, the promise is that NBA Live is making a reappearance in the NBA video games market, with the planned release of NBA Live 14. Of course, the saying "once bitten, twice shy" comes to mind here -- the team at EA has disappointed us one to many times. 

The last NBA Live series game that actually hit our shelves on full retail release was NBA Live '10 -- all the way back in late 2009. SInce then we've had a series of stops and starts as they attempted to rebrand the franchise as Elite 11 the following year (in an ill-fated move), before not even entering the market in the '12 series, and then cancelling the planned release of NBA Live '13, after deciding that the game was not up to scratch.

This time around, NBA Live is relying on rising star Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers as their cover boy. Let's just hope for his sake that the fabled NBA Live cover curse does not beset him!

Here's a quick teaser trailer of what EA has to offer. 

As you can see, the graphics and animations are quite smooth. NBA Live has gone for a streetball / And One style one-on-one battle in the trailer -- a very different approach to the traditional simulation style market they have always targeted in the past.

On the other side of the divide, the now dominant 2K Sports franchise has LeBron James as their cover boy, following on from the likes of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. They certainly are at the top of their game.

Check out these trailers to see what we have in store for NBA 2K14:

Both games will be released on the new generation consoles being the Sony Playstation 4 and the XBox One. It currently looks like neither will be available on the Wii U, nor is there talk of a handheld release. However 2K14 will be available on PC, XBox 360 and the PS3 (thanks to commenter heavenlyfathersblessings for pointing this out!).

As for how both of the titles will shape up against each other, we wait with baited breath. Both companies are developing these games for entirely new consoles, and as such, there is a great deal of risk for both. And of course, we still have the very real chance that the NBA Live drop will not happen at all. 

We will watch for future details and compare the features of both games as they become available.

Like us (below) on Facebook to keep up with all of the updates as they come!

Flashback: Iverson puts 45 on Ray Allen and Glenn Robinson

Written by Mookie Schiralli on .

Every so often I need to revisit some of the great players of recent times, just to remind myself how phenomenal these talents truly were. Guys like Shaquille O'Neal, Michael Jordan and even the likes of youthful Grant Hill and Penny Hardaway are all worth remembering for the unusual talents they exhibited for us on the basketball court.

Allen Iverson was one of those players who just defied logic in how much he got from so little. Perhaps no player has wrung so much ability out of their genetic gifts as the diminuitive Iverson. Watching the footage (below) of Iverson taking on the Milwaukee Bucks during the 1999/2000 NBA season, it's remarkable how quick he is on the court, how he gets to the rim and his absolute toughness under pressure.

In this game, of January 3, 2000, Iverson led the Philadelphia 76ers to an overtime victory over the Bucks, behind his 45 points, four rebounds and four assists. 

Playing against a Bucks team featuring Ray Allen, Glenn Robinson and Sam Cassell, it's easy to forget that AI was surrounded by the likes of Tyrone Hill, Eric Snow, Matt Geiger and George Lynch as his main means of support. He simply willed his teams to victory in Philly most of the time -- he took this squad to the second round of the playoffs, which is quite amazing, given the supporting cast he had on hand.

no comments

Tom Abercrombie heads to US for NBA trials

Written by Mookie Schiralli on .

Tom Abercrombie

New Zealand Breakers star swingman Tom Abercrombie is taking the first step in what he hopes will be his NBA journey. The athletic 25 year-old is making his way to Chicago where he will prepare himself for trials with several NBA clubs.

Abercrombie's Chicago-based agent has lined up mini-camp workouts with the Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks. Whilst there, the 6'6" Tall Black will have the opportunity to show off his skills, with a both short-term and longer-term view to making an impression with scouts in those franchises.

Strongly Oceania-focused San Antonio (with assistant coach Brett Brown, Australian players Patty Mills and Aron Baynes, and exec and former player, Kiwi Sean Marks on board) is always an intriguing destination for any Australian or New Zealand player. Oddly enough, Abercrombie notes that he has never met Marks before -- the big-daddy of all Kiwis in the NBA.

In addition to his mini-camps, the 2011 NBL Grand Final MVP will have the chance to represent the Phoenix Suns at the Las Vegas NBA Summer League. Whilst there, Abercrombie will have to prove that his athleticism -- which is extraordinary in the NBL -- is of a sufficient level to be an asset at an NBA level, in addition to showing that he has sufficient other skills in areas like shooting and ball-handling, to be a swingman in an NBA team.

This from NBA.com regarding Las Vegas Summer League:

The ninth NBA Summer League in Las Vegas tips off on Friday, July 12, and will conclude with a championship game on Monday, July 22. All participating teams will play a minimum of five games. After the conclusion of games on July 16, all teams will have completed three games and will be seeded for single-elimination tournament play that will lead to a champion being crowned on July 22.

Below is a complete list of teams that will participate in NBA Summer League 2013 (years participated):

Atlanta Hawks (2010-12)*
Charlotte Bobcats (2008, 2012)
Chicago Bulls (2005, 2009-12)*
Cleveland Cavaliers (2004-12)
Dallas Mavericks (2005-12)
Denver Nuggets (2004-12)*
Golden State Warriors (2005-12)*
L.A. Clippers (2005-12)*
L.A. Lakers (2007-12)*
Memphis Grizzlies (2007-12)*
Miami Heat (2010-12)*
Milwaukee Bucks (2007-12)*
Minnesota Timberwolves (2006-12)
NBA D-League Select (2009-12)
New Orleans Pelicans (2005-12)
New York Knicks (2005-12)*
Phoenix Suns (2004-12)
Portland Trail Blazers (2005-12)
Sacramento Kings (2005-12)
San Antonio Spurs (2007-12)*
Toronto Raptors (2008-12)
Washington Wizards (2004-12)

*Indicates 2012-13 NBA Playoff team.

Should Abercrombie make the unlikely immediate transition to an NBA team, or (contract permitting) is offered a substantial European contract, or an attractive NBA D-League offer, the Breakers need to think about how they will restructure their team, without such a key piece of their three-peat roster.

Check out video interviews with Abercrombie here:

In other interesting news mentioned by new Breakers coach Dean Vickerman, big man Alex Pledger will be working out with fellow One Management client Andrew Bogut in the off-season. This could be an ominous sign for Pledger's NBL opponents in 2013-14 and beyond.

no comments

LeBron blocks Splitter: what do you think? (And other NBA Finals stuff)

Written by Mookie Schiralli on .

Lebron James v Tiago Splitter block

Miami Heat hosting the San Antonio Spurs. Game 2. NBA Finals 2013. Fourth quarter, with the game already decided.

This happened.

What is your immediate reaction to this?

Sure, it's a solid and physically strong block by LeBron James. However, let's be serious here -- Tiago Splitter is not known as a big-time dunker in anyone's universe. Nor was this a game-changing play... it was already all but decided.

For these reasons, I don't particularly appreciate LeBron taking time to turn away from the play and facing the crowd in an arrogant stance. 

What do you think? Was this play significant enough for the attention it's getting from fans and the likes of ESPN?

----------------------

Speaking of ESPN, here's something for the Patty Mills fans amongst us. The always-awesome Henry Abbott at Truehoop conducted a pop quiz on a few Spurs players. Patty Cakes didn't particularly prove himself as a history buff in this piece -- but he continues to grow a legion of fans for just being an all-round cool guy.

http://m.espn.go.com/general/blogs/blogpost?blogname=truehoop&id=59485&src=desktop

-----------------------

The NBA is launching a Teammate of the Year Award. This looks like something that has Mills' name all over it. Anyone who has watched a Spurs game this season has seen Mills wildly flailing his towel around in support of his teammates, patting them on the back and escorting them into the locker room. He's just the type of guy that every team needs.

-----------------------

One last NBA Finals-related thing. I posted this animated GIF on Facebook, but for those that missed it, this is a cool comparison between the youthful Gregg Popovich, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili and their current "aged" selves. 

http://i.minus.com/ie2XlvbSSvYd4.gif

 

no comments

Andrew Gaze inducted into FIBA Hall of Fame

Written by Mookie Schiralli on .

Andrew Gaze FIBA Hall of Fame

Australian basketball legend Andrew Gaze has joined the likes of David Robinson and Teresa Edwards (USA), Zoran Slavnic (Serbia), Paula Gonclaves (Brazil) and Jean-Jacques Conceicao (Angola) as a 2013 player inductee into the FIBA Hall of Fame. He joins his father, Lindsay Gaze, as one of three Australians to be inducted to the Hall.

The press release from Basketball Australia lists the great man's outstanding career achievements:

Basketball Australia today congratulated Andrew Gaze AM on his induction to the FIBA Hall of Fame.

Gaze will be one of just twelve world class basketball personalities from 10 different countries to make up the 2013 Class that will be inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame on 19 June 2013.

One of the greats of Australian and international basketball, Gaze led the Australian Boomers to an astounding five Olympic Games – including as the flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the Australian Team Captain.

He was inducted into the Basketball Australia Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2005 after becoming a member of the Order of Australia in 2002.

Gaze joins his father Lindsay, the legendary NBL and Boomers coach, in the FIBA Hall of Fame as just the third Australian (along with Dr Al Ramsay).

A humbled Gaze said to be honoured by the game governing body and to be recognised alongside basketball’s greats was an amazing experience.

“I’ve been very fortunate throughout my career to be a part of this great game both here in Australia and on the international stage,” Gaze said.

“To be inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame is the highest honour in our sport and I feel truly humbled to join these amazing men and women who have served basketball so well.”

In a career spanning three decades, Gaze became an all-time great of the National Basketball League, winning 14 scoring titles and seven NBL MVPs to go with two NBL Championships.

Gaze was named NBL Rookie of the Year in 1984, going on to play all of his 612 games with the Melbourne Tigers, setting the all-time mark for points (18,908). 

On the international stage Gaze forged his reputation as one of Australia’s finest products, appearing at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games as a 19-year-old.

The Olympic Games and FIBA World Championships (4 – 1986, 1990, 1994 and 1998) weren’t Gaze’s only international foray, leading Seaton Hall University to the 1989 NCAA Championship game before stints in the NBA with the Washington Bullets (Wizards) and the San Antonio Spurs – winning the 1999 NBA title.

Chair of the Basketball Australia Board Scott Derwin praised Gaze’s contribution to basketball in Australia and internationally, congratulating him on the Hall of Fame accolade.

“Andrew is one of the icons of the game in Australia and around the world,” Derwin said.

“His contribution to basketball as a player is legendary, and now as a member of the Basketball Australia board, Andrew continues to devote himself to the game.

“We congratulate Andrew on becoming the third Australian to be inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame.”

Gaze has served on Basketball Australia Board since July 2008 and is currently Chair of the High Performance Commission. 

Andrew Gaze - Profile

NBL Career

  • 612 NBL Games for the Melbourne Tigers (1984-2005)
  • NBL Most Valuable Player: (7) 1991-1992, 1994-1998
  • NBL Scoring Title: (14) 1986, 1988-1989, 1991-2001
  • NBL Championship: (2) 1993, 1997
  • NBL All-time Leading Scorer: 18,908 points

Australian Boomers

  • Olympic Games: (5) 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000
  • FIBA World Championships: (4) 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998
  • Australian International Player of the Year: (6) 1990, 1994-1996, 1998, 2000
  • FIBA Greatest 50 Players (1991)
no comments

Grouping the NBL team names since 1990

Written by Mookie Schiralli on .

Can't Buy A Basket has put together a cool Venn Diagram of all of the NBL team names since 1990. 

Go to CBAB to get on some other great NBL gear.

no comments