Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Will the Lakers and Heat Meet in the 2013 NBA Finals?

LeBron James and Kobe Bryant seemed to get along fine at the 2012 Olympics, helping Team USA secure gold in men's basketball. They probably won't be as chummy once the 2012/13 NBA season starts.

After struggling during the 2012 postseason - getting manhandled by the Oklahoma City thunder in the second round, the Los Angeles Lakers made some pretty big moves during the offseason, adding Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to their lineup.

"Well, it looks like Superman has found a home," Bryant posted on his Facebook page after Howard was picked up. "I wish nothing but the best for Big Bynum. I hope he follows what was a great season last year with an even better one next year. I know LA is excited about the deal and rightfully so. The Lakers landed a piece that will hopefully carry the franchise long after I'm gone. I have spoken to Dwight Howard already and we are locked and loaded to bring back the title."

Obviously, Kobe and the Lakers want to add a few more championships to their impressive collection, and I wouldn't be surprised if they earn a spot in the NBA Finals.

However, the Heat have also been busy during the offseason, and the addition of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis to their lineup gives them more than enough firepower to deal with any team that dares to oppose them.

While I'm pretty confident the Heat will make their way to the 2013 NBA Finals, the Lakers will have a much tougher path. The Western Conference is still the dominant conference in the NBA, and the Lakers will have to go through powerhouses like the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs on their way to the finals.

Even though some basketball fans thought that LeBron's move to Miami would be bad for the NBA, it's actually had the opposite effect. The Heat's constant efforts to sign the very best players in the league, has forced other teams to do the same.

I know it's a little early for predictions, but I think the NBA is about to have one of its best seasons in a while.

David is a Miami Heat fan that has followed the team for 16 years. Follow him on twitter @davidkingwriter.
 
Sources:
ESPN.com, "Sources: Dwight Howard to Lakers"

Earthquakes Snap Sounders’ Unbeaten Streak

The Seattle Sounders FC tried to bounce right back from their devastating US Open Cup Finals loss to Sporting Kansas City, but they ran into more problems against the San Jose Earthquakes, losing their Aug. 11 encounter. With the loss the Sounders' six-game unbeaten streak (MLS) came to an abrupt end.

"We've played a lot of games," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters after the match. "At the end of the day, I'm proud of what we did and proud of our ability to come back. There were times when we gave up territorially a little bit more than we would have liked, but at the end when you look at good, clean chances, we had as many as San Jose did."

Fortunately for the Sounders, they still get to hold on to the third spot in the MLS Western Conference table, but they're now tied with Real Salt Lake.

Both offenses struggled throughout the match, but the Earthquakes finally opened up the scoreboard in the 71st minute, when Simon Dawkins fired a shot past Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.

However, the Sounders evened things up at the end of regulation, thanks to Fredy Montero, who headed in a goal, a few minutes after coming in as a substitute for Andy Rose.

Unfortunately for the Sounders, they gave up another goal shortly after. Steven Lenhart capitalized on a corner kick, nodding the match-winning goal past Gspurning. For the Sounders it was one of their toughest losses of the season, as it looked like momentum was starting to shift in their favor when Lenhart secured the win for San Jose.

"I don't know - I have no words for what happened this week," Gspurning said after the match. "Losing two times in one week is not normal, but from the performance we can keep our head up high. We had two targets and we didn't reach both, so we have to speak about this, but in the end we can't change anything."
The Sounders will now get some much needed rest before hosting the Vancouver Whitecaps on Aug. 18.

David has been a fan of the Seattle Sounders for the past 3 years. Follow him on twitter @davidkingwriter.
 
Sources:
Jeremiah Oshan, "San Jose Earthquakes Vs. Seattle Sounders: Highlights, Stats, Quotes"

Sunday, October 26, 2014

LeBron James Talks About 2012/13 NBA Season

After leading the Miami Heat to their second NBA title in franchise history, LeBron James didn't exactly take a break. Instead, "King James" lead Team USA to a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics, displaying his leadership abilities throughout the tournament.

With the Olympics behind him, LeBron can now shift his focus towards the 2012/13 NBA season. Teams like the Los Angeles Lakers have already made some big moves during the offseason, adding Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to their lineup. And it's safe to say the road to a second consecutive NBA title won't be an easy one.

However, LeBron seems really confident in himself and his teammates, and he doesn't seem overly concerned about the changes going on in the league right now.

"I want that feeling again," LeBron said during a recent interview with ESPN. "That champagne bash, the confetti, it was very quick. It didn't last long, and I want that feeling again. I look forward to the next challenge, and us trying to defend our crown."

The Heat have also made some changes of their own during the offseason, signing Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. Both are reliable scorers, and they'll make opposing teams think twice about double-teaming Miami's "big three."

Even though the Heat will get some serious competition from teams like the Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, and Oklahoma City Thunder, they're still the favorites going into the 2012/13 NBA season.

Unfortunately for LeBron, regardless of his accomplishments, his critics aren't likely to go away anytime soon.

"I don't even get involved with that anymore," James added. "I don't look for it. I don't shy away from it. I just kind of roll with what's going on. For me, it started before last season, I came in with a different mindset and a different attitude and it didn't matter if you believed in me or not, I was still going to be how I was and stay true to who I was and who I am. And that's all that matters."

David is a Miami Heat fan that has followed the team for 16 years. Follow him on twitter @davidkingwriter.
 
Sources:
ESPN.com, "LeBron James eyes Rio Games"

Seattle Sounders Hand Chivas USA 6-2 Thrashing

Fredy Montero put on a remarkable performance on Aug. 25, propelling the Seattle Sounders FC to a 6-2 win against Chivas USA.

With the win, the Sounders are now tied with Real Salt Lake for the second spot in the MLS Western Conference table. They're now trailing the first place San Jose Earthquakes by only seven points.

"We knew it was going to be a strange game just because of where they are at on the standings," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters after the match. "We knew that we would have to take some risks and go forward, and one thing we talked about was the desire to go forward; we knew it was going to present us opportunities, which it did."

Sounders midfielder Brad Evans opened up the scoreboard early in the match, firing one past Dan Kennedy inside the box. Montero doubled the Sounders' advantage in the 27th minute, capitalizing on a well-played pass by Mauro Rosales. Montero struck again in the 34th minute, chipping in another nice pass from Rosales.

Fortunately for Chivas, they were awarded with a penalty kick shortly after, when Seattle defender Adam Johansson was called for a hand ball inside the box. Juan Agudelo converted on the ensuing kick, firing up Chivas' offense.

"The Goats" cut the Sounders' lead to a goal early in the second half, thanks to Miller Bolanos, who fired a shot past Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning in the 64th minute. However, Montero was far from done, and he redoubled the Sounder's lead three minutes later, once again making the most of a Rosales assist.

Sammy Ochoa added to the scoreboard in the 80th minute, and Ante Jazic' own-goal gave them a four goal lead in stoppage time.

Given Seattle's struggles early on in the 2012 MLS season, it's easy to appreciate how well they're playing right now. With their offense firing on all cylinders, the Sounders are once again establishing themselves as one of the best teams in the MLS.

I really like the chemistry between Montero and Rosales right now, and that can only lead to good things in the future.

The Sounders might have failed in their quest to become the first team to win four consecutive US Open Cup titles, but I have a feeling they'll make some history when the MLS Cup rolls around.

Their next game will be in Trinidad against Caledonia AIA on Aug.30. It'll be the second leg of their first round series in the 2012/13 CONCACAF Champions League.

Follow me on twitter @davidkingwriter.
 
Sources:
Joshua Mayers, "Fredy Montero: 'We have a really good team. We have players…'"