Will the Los Angeles Lakers make it all the way to the National Basketball Association (NBA) finals? Leading their western conference semi-final match up against the Denver Nuggets 2-1, it seems Lebron James and company are well on track. Game 1 saw the Lakers dominate the Nuggets who are coming off two playoff series matches that stretched all the way to game sevens. Fatigue was a factor in the Nuggets loss in the first game but game 2 was a closer match with LA’s Anthony Davis saving the Lakers with a game-winning three-point shot.
Game 3 went in favor of the Nuggets as it seems head coach Mike Malone is able to adjust and play his cards well. Will the game 3 win tilt the series in favor of the Nuggets? I personally assess that Los Angeles will take game 4 and will try not to allow Denver to get closer to avoid becoming its third playoff game 7 victim.
The tandem of Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic is a good match for the pair of James and Davis. The series will boil down to which supporting cast will provide better contributions to their team’s cause. I believe the Lakers have more playoff experience in the likes of Dwight Howard, Javale McGee, Rajon Rondo, and Danny Green. The Nuggets can lean on veteran Paul Millsap but the rest of the bench are relatively young and not as grizzled as their Lakers counterparts.
It seems like King James’ talents will once again take him to the championship round where they would face the winner of the Miami Heat – Boston Celtics pairing in the East.
Heat over Celtics 3-1
And when a Herro comes along … Miami Heat rookie Tyler Herro rocked the Boston Celtics with a playoff-high 37 points Wednesday in leading the Heat over the Celtics to take a commanding 3-1 lead in their east finals match. The Heat, flourishing under the leadership of All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, has put up a team that is underrated but with a hard-working blue-collar attitude beefed up by the late acquisitions of veterans Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala.
Head coach Erik Spoelstra, with some insights from NBA great Pat Riley, has whipped the team up in shape to complement the two stars. Point guard Goran Dragic is having an outstanding season while Herro has been a constant supply of points off the bench.
If the Heat faces the Lakers in the finals, it would be a great match up. I think coach Spoe would know how to best contain The King has played for the Heat for four seasons. The obvious first man to pick on James would be Crowder with Iguodala backing him up. I expect Adebayo and Davis to go head-on against each other in this series.
Hold on to your seats basketball fans. Things are expected to get more exciting in the next few weeks.
More on the PBA Bubble
So now that our very own Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) has drafted a plan for a one conference bubble season in Clark Pampanga, who do we feel is going to dominate the All Filipino Conference?
With Junemar Fajardo’s season in question, will the Beermen continue their reign? I believe with the Kraken shelved due to injury, it’s open season for the PBA crown this year. San Miguel is still competitive with the core of Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot, Terrence Romeo, Arwind Santos, and Moala Tautuaa. That is still a solid six-man core that has championship experience.
Teams that could give the Beermen a run for the trophy are the souped-up Talk n Text Katropa and Barangay Ginebra. Let’s check on both teams to assess their depth and competitiveness.
They still have Asia’s best point guard in the line up so any team led by Jason Castro is definitely going to be an instant contender. Backstopping Castro in the starting unit would be Gilas veterans RR Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Bobby Ray Parks, and new acquisition Poy Erram.
That’s another solid five that can make it all the way. A key loss in TnTs’ rotation is the recent retirement of former Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Kelly Williams who left due to unknown reasons then later posted his retirement in social media. They still do have Jay Washington as a major back up in the 4 or 5 spot to spell Erram and Rosario some precious minutes. Ryan Reyes can provide veteran stability in the backcourt. The TnT youngsters in Kib Montalbo and Val Chauca will have to prove themselves in camp to earn their spurs. Almond Vosotros and Samboy De Leon will be out there to provide quality minutes. Head coach Mark Dickel has the materials to win it all this season.
With 7’0 center Greg Slaughter deciding not to renew his contract with Ginebra, the Barangay have suddenly become smaller. They still have veteran 6’8 Gilas power forward Japheth Aguilar who will most likely spend the majority of his time playing center but they suddenly look thin at the post. This development would, however, mean more minutes for Art Dela Cruz Jr and possibly rookie Arvin Tolentino. Both players are stretch 4’s that could open the floor out for the likes of LA Tenorio, Stanley Pringle, and Scottie Thompson to drive and go at will.
It has been quite a while now and local fans can’t wait to cheer for their hardcourt heroes. I’m eagerly awaiting for the resumption of the PBA on the second week of October. Just a few more days, folks.
(The writer is a senior leader in the Business Process Outsourcing industry managing Philippine countryside operations)