LeBron James: A performance for the ages

After the Cavs were blown off the floor in game four, I along with the rest of the country had pronounced them dead. I had begun to write LeBron’s eulogy, complete with a bevy of excuses and narcissistic one-liners that he would have loved. I popped “The Godfather” in the DVD player and was prepared to watch it six times in succession as a tribute to LBJ’s willpower and mental fortitude. I even sent flowers to LeBron’s mom and step-dad, Delonte West.

The series was all but over. You could see it in the body language of every Cavs player. They were ready to throw in the towel and fire up the old LeBron excuse train. But then, the King finally lived up to his name. Kyrie got the party started with a tremendous individual performance in game five, and LeBron finally woke up and remembered that he is the single most unguardable player in the history of basketball.

No one, not even Air Jordan himself, has ever had a performance quite like King James had in these finals. I mean the guy led both teams in points, assists, rebounds, steals, and blocks for the series for christ’s sake.

He carried the Cavs and the city of Cleveland to their first title in 52 years, and he did it against a team that was destined to be one of, if not thee greatest team of all-time. Of course, the epic comeback would not have been possible without one of the biggest collapses in the history of modern athletics. The Warriors were completely out of sync down the stretch last night, hoisting up horrible shots and hoping that Steph or Klay (The Trash Bros) would bail them out with a late prayer. Their third best player in Draymond Green outplayed both Steph and Klay for most of the series, and that can’t be the case if you want to beat a player of Bron Bron’s caliber on the big stage.

As much as I hate to say it, if LeBron cracked under pressure like Steph did in this series, the media would be absolutely DESTROYING him right now. That’s the price you pay when you build yourself up as one of the biggest front runners of all-time. When you lose, the blame falls squarely on your broad, freakishly muscular shoulders. But when you win, and dominate the way that LeBron did in this series, then all of the praise and credit if yours and yours alone.

Whatever narrative you want to write about LeBron and his career is now open for debate. The comparisons between he and Jordan that seemed all but dead just a few short months ago are now back on the table. That’s how impressive LBJ’s finals were.

So where does LeBron go from here? He did what he set out to do and won a championship for his city, and he did so as the best player on the floor by  wide, wide margin. Why stay? Cleveland is a dump to begin with and I’ve got to imagine that it’s burned to the ground after last night’s celebrations. Whatever he does, his legacy is now set in stone.

I hate you LeBron James, and I always will. Your pompous, self-absorbed demeanor will never allow me to truly respect your greatness. But finally, I can say without sarcasm, that I truly, truly respect you.

PS- Someone check on J.R. Smith. Like right now.

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1. Red Sox:

* Red Sox announcers have to call out Jackie Bradley for dogging it out of the batter’s box on his triple

* Rusney Castillo and Panda have a combined 14 at bats at $29mm

* Possible All Stars, Steven Wright, Jackie Bradley, Mookie Betts and Bogaerts make a combined $2.3mm

* Average by month – June .278 / May .305 / April .281

2. Red Sox stuff:

* George Scott and Mike Greenwell had 38 triples Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Sox Comps / Lacrosse Rich / Cam Shows Jumbo Joe »

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There has been a lot of talk about two players The Celtics could target during the offseason.  Those two players are Harrison Barnes and Kevin Love.  Their is a great possibility that one if not both of these two could end up in Boston, and it feels like there is mixed emotions regarding these two players.

Kevin Love

Kevin Love is having one of the worst Finals ever, and it looks much worse since he is making nearly 20 million dollars this season.  Love is averaging 7 points a game and has shot .369 in this seasons finals, and besides game 1 when he grabbed 13 rebounds he has been pretty much invisible on the glass.  Oh, he also sat out that game because of a “concussion” which I think was an excuse for Tyronn Lue to sit him down.  Love is not a tough basketball player and comes up small in big games.  With this being said I would still be open to the fact of him in Boston.  Given it’s the right deal and The Celtics don’t have to give up much then go get him.  If you bring Love into Boston he instantly becomes the best player on the team.

Harrison Barnes 

Being a Duke fan it pains me to say this, but I do like Harrison Barnes as a player.  Barnes is only averaging 9 points in the finals.  He is only shooting .361 from the field.  However I’d be willing to bet he plays well tonight, he seems to play well when his team needs him the most.  Yes I know, Barnes has shot 2 for 22 in the last 2 games, but as any basketball player knows it only takes seeing a couple to go in to get in a rhythm.  I compare Barnes to a James Harden type player, when you took Harden out of OKC he thrived, I think the same can be done with Barnes.  Would love to see him in Boston, however DO NOT give him a max deal.

 

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Ramirez misses 24% of pitches he swings at. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Last summer, more than a few Red Sox fans were more worried about Hanley Ramirez’s lackluster season in left field than they were about his mediocre season at the plate. This year, Hanley looks as though he was born to play first base, relieving pressure that surrounded that decision at the end of spring training.

However, Ramirez is beginning to worry casual fans and fanatics alike due to his hitting woes. Multiple articles have been published highlighting his struggles, including one from Matt Collins from Over the Monster, who writes: “The defense has been great, but it doesn’t mean a ton if the offense continues to struggle like this…we may be seeing a new Hanley Ramirez, and it’s not one any of us wanted to see”.

Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reported on the seventh, three figures that may be the main factors behind Ramirez’s “decline”. As he puts it: “His 52.5 percent ground-ball rate represents a career worst. He’s striking out more than ever (20.7 percent), and when he does take the bat off his shoulder, he’s swinging and missing 24 percent of the time — a drastic increase for a player who has never had a rate in excess of 19 percent”.

Certainly, Hanley has no room to breathe in Boston, and if he wishes to win the affection of the media circus that surrounds his baseball team, then the production has to increase quickly. Ramirez did smash a home run against the Orioles this past week, snapping a long ball drought that was well over a month long, and upping his total to five on the season.

If hearing that Hanley Ramirez only has five home runs at this point in the year didn’t make you cringe a little, then I’m not sure what will.

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Top 10: NBA Nicknames

June 17, 2016 at 4:38pm in Featured, NBA, Opinion, Top Story
top 10

With LeBron (King James) and Kyrie (Uncle Drew) pushing Steph and Klay (The Splash Bros) to a game 7 last night, I wanted to get into some of my favorite NBA nicknames of all-time. This list isn’t necessarily a list compiled of the greatest players, but rather ones who’s nicknames fit them like a glove. Here we go.

10.) Kevin Garnett- “The Big Ticket”

Back in 1995 when Kevin Garnett broke into the league, Minnesota wasn’t exactly the most sought out destination to take in an NBA game. In fact, before KG arrived, the Timberwolves had never won more than 29 games in a season. Garnett quickly helped to change the fortunes of the franchise, thus earning the “Big Ticket” nickname in the process. The young, skinny phenom was the biggest ticket in town, and he was the ONLY reason to come out to a Timberwolves game 90’s.

9.) Kobe Bryant- “The Black Mamba”

Only Kobe could give himself his own nickname and actually have it stick. The black mamba is the second largest venomous snake in the world and it is also the fastest. In his prime, Kobe exemplified all the qualities of this deadly reptile. He was cerebral, fast, and could strike at any moment.

8.) Allen Iverson- “The Answer”

When AI first came into the league in ’96, he surprisingly donned only one tattoo. The tattoo was a bulldog with the words “The Answer” etched above it. The number one pick was exactly the answer that basketball fans of a different breed were looking for. He didn’t conform to the cookie-cutter image that most players were forced to portray in the mid-90’s, and people either loved him or hated him for it. AI wore baggy clothes, spoke his mind, and constantly walked the line between edgy and insane. He truly was “The Answer” for the city of Philadelphia, as he helped to turn the team into a contender and eventually led them to an NBA finals appearance in 2001.

7.) Dominique Wilkins- “The Human Highlight Film”

Dominique will go down as one of greatest dunkers to ever lace them up, so this nickname fits him to a T. Anytime he stepped foot on a court, you knew that Dominique was going to do something special. He had a way of making a dunk look effortless and violent all in one amazing, jaw-dropping package. “The Human Highlight Film” provided us with a reel of dunks and athletic plays that we will be watching for years and years to come.

6.) Paul Pierce- “The Truth”

I may be showing my bias here, but Paul Pierce and “The Truth” nickname just does it for me. I grew up watching Pierce carry the Celtics on his back through the late 90’s and 2000’s until KG and Ray finally arrived to help take the load off. He actually earned the nickname from none other than Shaquille O’Neal after torching the Lakers for 42 points on 13-19 shooting. As Shaq famously said “My name is Shaquille O’Neal and Paul Pierce is the motherfucking truth. Quote me on that and don’t take nothing out. I knew he could play, but I didn’t know he could play like this. Paul Pierce is The Truth”.

5.) Pete Maravich- “Pistol Pete”

Pistol Pete was Steph Curry before Steph Curry. His handle was untouchable, his court vision was unparalleled, and he could shoot the lights out from anywhere on the court. If the three point line existed during Pistol Pete’s era, we would remember him as the greatest shot maker in the history of the game. When he got going in transition, it was as if he had been shot out of a pistol.

4.) Karl Malone- “The Mailman”

Karl Malone was know as “The Mailman” because he always delivered (except for championships) for his team. He was a rebounding machine, and he and John Stockton were virtually unstoppable in the pick and roll. Growing up I knew two things: The real mailman was going to bring me my SI for Kids every month, and the Karl Malone mailman was going for 20 and 10 every time he stepped on the court.

3.) Julius Erving- “Dr. J”

Julius Erving was one of the smoothest athletes in the history of sports. Everything about his game seemed so effortless. From his ability to glide down the court it what seemed like three giant steps, to his unreal leaping talent that helped him to glide through the air and throw down some of the most legendary dunks in NBA history. He was known as “The Doctor” because his dismantling of opponents was like an operation. He’d put you under, and before you know it, you’d wake up and it’s all over.

2.) Earvin Johnson- “Magic Johnson”

Earvin Johnson was simply…magic. Never before had we seen a ‘6″8 point guard who could do literally everything on a basketball court. His height, vision, passing prowess, and basketball IQ helped make him one of the greatest players in NBA history. Much like an audience at a magic show, fans oohed and awed at Magic’s unreal talents as he led the Showtime Lakers to five championships.

1.) Glen Davis- “Big Baby”

The reason why Big Baby comes in at number one on this list is because his nickname has become his actual identity. He looks like a big baby, he whines and cries like a big baby, and his play at times is reminiscent of an infant who doesn’t quite have fully developed motor skills. I remember watching KG berate Big Baby on the bench and bringing him to tears when they both played for the C’s. Big Baby couldn’t hold back his tears, and in that moment, he was no longer Glen Davis. He was now Big Baby.

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1. Red Sox:

* 8-11 last 19

* Red Sox rotation with Steven Wright backed out – 5.21 ERA

2. Patriots kickers who led the league in scoring:

* Gostkowski = 2008 / 2012 / 2013 / 2014 / 2015

* Vinatieri – 2004

* Franklin – 1986

* Smith – 1979 / 1980

* Cappelletti – 1961 / 1963 / 1964 / 1965 / 1966 Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten – Sox Fading, Pats Kicking, Price Leads in one Category »

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1. Red Sox:

* Bogaerts average by month – .290 / .395 / .400

* Season 38% over – on pace for 94 wins

* 12-12 over the last 24 games

2. MLB Draft:

* Red Sox 4th round pick from Arizona Bobby Dalbec is a stud – threw 129 pitches to beat Mississippi State Friday and then hit a towering home run on Saturday Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Miami Punks, MLB Draft and Buttermaker! »

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