Sunday, August 19, 2012

Monty Williams: Four More Years!

Monty Williams, happy! (from Fox Sports)
Monty Williams has agreed to a four year extension with the Hornets, according to

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

James Harden and Kevin Durant on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

James Harden and Kevin Durant are fresh off of a gold medal from the 2012 London Olympics. They sit down with Jimmy Fallon to discuss the tournament, Dwight Howard going to the Lakers and how they celebrated winning a medal. James Harden and Kevin Durant are great interviews in themselves, but together each of their personalities shine through brightly!

Here's part one of the interview:

In part two James Harden and Kevin Durant react to the Dwight Howard trade, which I found to be the most hilarious:

If you're on an opposing team, could you respond any better to the Dwightmare ending? Priceless moments courtesy of James Harden and Kevin Durant!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Argentina: How Can They Beat the US?

Andres Nocioni going for a layup. From NBC
Argentina is preparing for a rendezvous with the US in the semifinals. The US hasn't played super amazingly through the tournament, but they've gotten the wins and certainly deserve to be playing today. With all the firepower the US has, how can Argentina overthrow them (note that this isn't a knock against Argentina)?

Play hyperactive defense! Argentina needs to make the US work for every single shot they take. Crowd three point shooters, don't allow easy finishes in the paint and, above all, get back on D in transition! All of those actions are things teams should do every game, but when facing the US it's all the more imperative.

Why? Disrupting the US offense really throws off their whole game. Their defense and hustle on both ends will dissipate if the Argentinian defense stifles them.

Get some offense from the bench. The Argentinian bench is weak. That's probably their biggest weakness as a country (age not being far behind). If they can get 10-20 points from them, that'd be a huge boost for them. That will take a little pressure off of Ginobili, Scola and crew. It will allow them to put effort into defense and distributing the ball. It could open the game up more for them offensively too. Forcing the US to stay close to the Argentine perimeter players will keep the lanes open for cutters and Scola post ups.

While it will be no easy feat to get their bench to score 10-20 points on average, it will be crucial to them beating the US. Maybe two of their bench players can get hot from three, maybe they'll box out well and get some easy put backs. Whatever way the points come, points off the bench will be highly cherished for Argentina.

Give em a whole lotta Scola! Luis Scola is a terrific post scorer. He's dynamic, having multiple moves and counter moves, great footwork and a soft touch. Luis Scola is the type of player the US doesn't have. What should Luis Scola do? Be super aggressive, look to score, get the US bigs in foul trouble, hit the glass and give the US everything he's got.

Argentina needs to hit Luis Scola early and often. Establishing their dominance down low will not only give Argentina the pace they want, it will also give the whole Argentinian team confidence. Luis Scola can be the dominant force that gives Argentina the upset mindset. Argentina has beaten the US before, sure, but having a guy prove he's superior early certainly wouldn't hurt.

Is it likely that Argentina beats the US? The US is highly favored. How will the game go then? It's going to be a dog fight. Despite outlining keys to an Argentine win, a US win certainly seems inevitable. What can I say, I'm American! Argentina, don't listen to that last few sentences, go out and play your game. Anyone who totally counts Argentina out is kidding themselves! Expect a gritty, inspired showing from both the US and Argentina.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Kobe Bryant: Rough Start a Thing of the Past?

Image by Sergio Perez- Reuters, from NBC
Kobe Bryant had a rough start to the 2012 London Olympics. Kobe really couldn't get into an offensive flow. Forced shots, turnovers and frustration fouls were what stood out. It was continuing to go downhill yesterday in the first half against Australia. A travel here, a jump shot missed short there and Twitter was full of criticism. I remember one tweet saying, "GET KOBE OUT OF THERE." The way he was playing, it was hard to not see where that was coming from.

A little part of me knew that not only Kobe Bryant, but Team USA would have a blow-the-game-open stretch. Know this old adage: shooters keep shooting? Kobe Bryant stuck to his guns and started hitting his targets.

Kobe Bryant finished with 20 points, 18 of which came from the six three balls he hit. It was awesome to watch Kobe get really engaged, stealing the ball and heading down on offense to triple right in front of the USA's bench. The crowd chanted his name, Australia was sure it was over and the euphoria continued for at least a few minutes.

Not taking anything away from Kobe Bryant for finally knocking down shots, but Coach K and Team USA need to get Kobe a few different looks. I'd like to see Kobe come off of a backdoor cut for a layup, run Kobe through off the ball screens so he can catch and shot and maybe one or two isolation plays in the post. While Kobe can hit three's, there's no reason to expect six a game from the Black Mamba. That's crazy talk!

What Kobe needs are some easy off the ball inspired looks. Allow Kobe Bryant to work off the ball to get open and then once he's set and open, give him the ball so he can do the rest. Iso-Kobe style plays didn't work against Australia and they won't work often much, if ever. Kobe Bryant will be the best for Team USA if his scores come from ball movement. Take the ball from the top of the key, throw it to the left side, then hit Kobe as he cuts to the basket for a reverse lay in. These are the types of plays that not only make for great basketball, but they put Kobe Bryant in a position to score at a high percentage.

Kobe Bryant knows his start was weak. His frustration was clear even through the TV screen. Now Kobe's seen the ball go through the basket a few times. Let's hope that fuels him to be the amazing Kobe Bryant we know he can be!