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NBA Finals Storylines and Prediction: What Really Matters

2013-nba-finals-miami-heat-vs-san-antonio-spurs_51adb6d94ab2f-p

It’s finally here, the NBA Finals! After an excruciatingly long playoffs that started in April and saw great series like the Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers, the rise of Steph Curry and the dominating backcourt that was Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock of the Los Angeles Lakers (J/K), we finally made it.  The two best teams in the NBA tip off in what should be the best NBA Finals in the past 10 years sans Lakers vs Celtics in 2010.

We could go over the X’s and O’s, the pick and rolls, the rotation help defense but that shit is boring. Let’s take a look at the real storylines of the 2013 NBA Finals:

The Stars:

LeBron James – LeBron is obviously the best player in this series and the world and he can and will take over games whenever he pleases. He’s like Will Smith, whenever he wants to come back and dominate the box office – he will. Oops, just saw the news about “After Earth”…I guess that’s what happens when you’re in a M. Night Shyamalan movie and your characters name is Cypher Raige. Guess I’ll have to come up with something else to name my first born son.

On the other side, Tony Parker is playing like the best point guard in the NBA and Tim Duncan had to have visited Germany to inject his whole body with what Kobe did for his knee.  If Parker remains unguardable, the Heat are in for a long series. Duncan is a better matchup for Bosh than he was against Hibbert, but going up against the greatest power forward in the NBA is never an easy task.

Former Stars:

Dwayne Wade & Chris Bosh – Let’s face it, LeBron is the only legitimate superstar on Miami now. I’m not saying that DWade and Bosh can’t be huge factors in this series – – they will be — but, if you had to rely solely on those guys then Wade wouldn’t be able to carry them like in ’06 and Bosh would bring you back to the days when he was a Raptor and looked like he was adopted out of Jurassic Park.

boshraptor

Manu Ginobli – Manu is a shell of his old self as well. He’s still a high-energy player that comes through whenever you need him. If Ginobli outplays Wade this series, the Spurs will win. The only problem is Ginobli is falling apart faster than Rob Stark’s peace offering in Game of Thrones. #RedWedding.

Fans: 

You know you’re a Spurs fan when…

  • Your team always “plays the right way” since, apparently, they are the only ones in the NBA that actually do play the “right way”.
  • You say, “It’s not boring basketball, it’s beautiful basketball”. If anyone ever says that they are a soccer fan. They are really into passes and not seeing a score. (BTW, the Spurs are definitely not boring, they are fun to watch…wait, what’s happening to me?!)
  • You are the most annoying lady in the building. #SceamingSpursLady

You know you’re a Heat fan when…

  • You became a fan in the past 3 years and call everyone a “hater” because they don’t like LeBron and the new Flo-Rida CD.
  • You can’t point out Miami on a map.
  • You’re a lady that flips off opposing teams and was once wanted for her husband’s murder.
  • You look like this:
#Swag

#Swag

Coaches:

Gregg Popovich – Arguably the best active coach in the NBA and one of the greatest coaches of all-time and creator of the greatest sideline interviews. Ever.

I want to see Popovich on Christmas morning as a child. I bet he hated it.

Popovich can cement his legacy with a win over the Heat and it may be the end of his prolific career (Duncan’s as well).

Erik Spoelstra – Spoelstra is an underrated coach, if you can be one with four hall-of-famers on your team. He is only 42, has a championship under his belt, and has kept this team together through a lot of adversity. And he takes a shoulder bump like a champ. Out maneuvering and out-coaching Popovich might be an impossible task, but if he can match him and find ways for “The Others” to contribute, it will be his greatest achievement as a coach and cement his legacy as one of the best coaches in the NBA. No pressure, Spoel.

Red Mamba / Birdman – 

I could write a whole 250 page manifesto on whether to love or hate Matt “Faux Red Mamba” Bonner. KOBE HOW COULD YOU?! One day, when Kobe and I become BFF4L and he reads my columns, he’s gonna totally regret that move then we’ll live happily ever after! But until then, I hate you, Matt Bonner. It also doesn’t help that announcers have latched on to this great nickname and call him it at every opportune moment. These NBA Finals are gonna force me to drink more than I actually do. Oh well.

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The Birdman is scary. So scary that I picked him to be the #10 athlete I’d love to see chase down Beiber. But, like I said before I’m pretty sure they are best buds and that when this season is over Beiber will invite The Birdman into his entourage and have him featured on one of his songs. As Americans, we can only hope that Birdman the Rapper is featured as well and they have a rap battle. Mind = Blown. That would probably go down as the worst song ever made and it’d probably win a Grammy.

Prediction: 

This series is tough to predict. I usually go with the best player in the world, but the Spurs are a different beast. LeBron will put up his points, but after a week and half off and the greatest coach in the NBA has that much time to prepare for an opponent, he will shut down “The Others” and the Spurs will take this series and solidify some of the greatest careers in NBA history.

Even if you aren’t a fan of these teams, this series has a chance to be epic and will be a joy to watch the two best teams faceoff.

SPURS IN 6. 

Follow Lance the real “Red Mamba” Cartelli on Twitter!

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Predicting the New NFL Head Coaches in 2013

Black Monday or as black people would call it “Monday” has hit and (as of now) seven head coaches have been fired.  The Cardinals, Chargers, Browns, Bills, Bears, Eagles, and Chiefs have all relieved their head coaches of their duties.  The Jets, Panthers, and Jaguars could all potentially have open head coaching spots in the coming days as well.  I will now predict (incorrectly) who should be the successors for these teams.

Buffalo Bills:  The Bills are in a tough position seeing as they have to be in the same division as the New England Patriots.  The only way to beat this team is to outscore them.  Chan Gailey was outmatched and signing Ryan Fitzpatrick to a long-term deal ultimately led to his demise.  The Bills are talented on offense with a spread offense and one of the most exciting running backs in the league with CJ Spiller.  Atlanta Falcons Offensive Coordinator, Dirk Koetter, runs a spread offense with the Falcons and would benefit with having a guy like Spiller in the backfield.  The Bills could go with a defensive coach, but they will have to put up points in that division.

Chicago Bears:  Chicago won 10 games and still missed the playoffs after starting 7-1.  Injuries, a terrible offensive line, the least creative offensive play-calling in the NFL and Jay Cutler being Jay Cutler  led to their downfall.  The Bears should hire 49ers Offensive Coordinator, Greg Roman.  Roman runs one of the most creative offenses in the NFL, and will make this offense better in the running game and can create ways to get Brandon Marshall and their dynamic running backs the ball.

Arizona Cardinals:  Arizona is in shambles.  They have an awful offensive line, they started four QBs this year and don’t have a developmental guy or an established starter unless you believe in Kevin Kolb (-__-) and they are in arguably the hardest division in the NFL with the 49ers and Seahawks at the top, and the up-and-coming Rams coming up the rear.  The Cardinals do have a good defense and a likely successor in Defensive Coordinator, Ray Horton.  Horton allows the Cardinals to keep their defense in tact, but also do not have to start over from the ground up.  He will need a complete overhaul and an inspired hire on the offensive side of the ball.  Good luck, Ray.

San Diego Chargers:  The Chargers were a year too late on this one, but they finally gave the axe to Norv Turner and GM AJ Smith.  San Diego must rebuild their offensive line (we’re seeing a trend here) and figure out what is wrong with Philip Rivers.  What better coach to do that then Colts Offensive Coordinator/Interim Head Coach Bruce Arians?  Arians took over for Chuck Pagano after he was diagnosed with Leukemia and proceeded to lead this team to the #5 seed in the AFC after being the worst team in the NFL last year.  Arians also is the favorite to win Coach of the Year.  Any time you can hire the Coach of the Year that can build an offense behind a QB that has a lackluster offensive line, it is an absolute coup.

Cleveland Browns: The Browns are another team that is attractive to a prospective coach.  The Browns have a lot of skilled players, a sound defense, and a new owner that is willing to spend money to win.  They need a coach that can develop Brandon Weeden.  New Browns CEO Jeffrey Lurie goes back to the well and hired former Eagles Head Coach, Andy Reid.  Reid is arguably the second or third best coach on the market and just overstayed his welcome with the Eagles.  The Browns want to make a splash and the NFC North isn’t as good as it has been the best decade.

Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles have one of the most talented rosters on paper in the NFL, but games aren’t played on paper…sorry Philly!  Some bad QB and O-line play, and the defense giving up halfway through the year didn’t help a struggling coach who just lost his son in Training Camp.  The Eagles needed a culture change and new coach to get back on track in a very competitive division.  The Eagles go out and go after the biggest name in college and hire Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly.  Kelly has a lot of question marks coming into the NFL, but with the success of the Read-Option this past year, it gives Kelly more power to run his kind of offense.  The Eagles have talent all over on offense and will get back a lot of their injured players next year.  If Kelly’s offense works in the NFL, the Eagles could be dangerous next year.

Kansas City Chiefs:  Despite being the worst team in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs job is an attractive job.  The Chiefs have talent at almost every position, an established RB, pass rushers and a secondary to build around along with the #1 pick.  Chiefs GM, Scott Pioli, needs to get this team a starting QB and a Head Coach that can nurture a QB and be creative with the run game.  A recent Head Coach that has been able to do this was Jim Harbaugh, so a logical choice for the Chiefs is to hire Harbaugh’s successor, Stanford Head Coach David Shaw.

If the Panthers decide to can Ron Rivera, I think Chip Kelly fits their offense and Cam Newton to a T and that offense would be scary.

Do you agree or disagree with my predictions?  Let me know in the comments.

– Lance Cartelli

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