Find Erik’s published articles on thesportslovers.com ! As a matter of fact, forget that! They’re right here for you.

Bad Luck of the Irish.

Published March 21, 2012

James, Wade, and Bosh were painted in the eyes of critics all over the country as failures for failing to collect any jewelry for their performance in the NBA Finals. However, most of that pressure was probably because many fans have seen this story unfold in front of them before. Four years ago, it was the first season for a different Big 3, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, a combo that many fans thought was the best thing since sliced bread; and for a moment it was. They won a championship in their first season, just like everyone expected. However, the very next year, injuries already started to plague the Celtics; and instead of repeating, the shorthanded Celtics lost in the second round. After taking the Lakers to Game 7 in an NBA Finals loss in 2010, they slipped into the abyss of irrelevance, mediocrity, underachievement, and old age. The Celtics won’t even make the second round of the playoffs this year. Better yet, they may get swept!

The Boston Celtics are not a bad team, but they are no longer a good one. They’re now the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference and barely 500 at 23-21. They’re only 8-15 against 500 teams, which is one of the most important statistic categories in sports because usually the only teams you play in the playoffs are 500 teams. Kevin Garnett came to the Celtics with his reputation of being one of the league’s most elite rebounders and shot blockers. However, this season the Celtics average 38.09 rebounds a game (the league’s worst).

When the Big 3 assembled in 2008, they were the reason people wanted to watch the Boston Celtics. The third year point guard Rajon Rondo received little to no attention. Things have changed so much since 2008 that many now consider Rondo to be the best player on the team. Rondo’s an All-Star talent and deserves every bit of the spotlight, but isn’t it a bit ironic. Isn’t it a bit ironic that it used to seem like the Big 3 were making Rondo better, now it appears he’s the one making the veterans look good. The third time All-Star averages 10.3 assists per game this year, second in the NBA to Steve Nash (11.3) and his popularity grows every night with his heart and emotional style of play.

Nevertheless, Rondo isn’t enough nor is he the scorer the Celtics need to be elite again. So, what’s the answer for the storied franchise? Is it rebuilding time? Do they try to deal off the members of the Big 3 still under contract this summer? Age is more than just a number on the Celtics roster, and it’ll be years until an opportunity like they had in 2008 comes back around. Until then, I guess they’ll just have to trust the luck of the Irish.



“To Linfinity and Beyond!”

Published February 21, 2012

“To Lin-Finity and Beyond! All I do is Lin Lin Lin, no matter what! In it to Lin it!” Sports writers around the world have never had so much fun. Their nonstop play on words and Lin’s play on the court are stirring up a whirlwind of opinions, critiques, and attention to Madison Square Garden and their beloved Knickerbockers. Since Jeremy Lin’s been thrust into the starting lineup, the Knicks have won 7 of 9 games. This is the hottest the team has been all year.

Last night, Lin and New York fell to the New Jersey Nets as Deron Williams lit up the Knicks’ questionable defense with 38 points. Sunday night, after falling behind by 12 points in the third quarter, the Knicks pushed back into the game to eventually defeat the defending Champs by seven. Despite the reigning NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki’s season high 34 points, Jeremy Lin shut it down with 28 points and 14 assists; but how long can this “Lin-sane” era last? Did we see an end to it last night against the Nets?

I’d argue that the era will last for most (if not all) of the man’s career. It’s no doubt that injuries and other natural contingencies may hinder some of his career (like it does to most players), but most of his career will probably be stellar because Jeremy Lin is just that good.

Most of the elite players of yesterday and today needed some time to warm up to the NBA. Lin is one of few players who didn’t. Compare him to arguably the best point guard of all time, Magic Johnson, for instance. In his 8th NBA start, Lin made a season high 14 assists, something Magic didn’t do until his 75th start. In Lin’s 3rd start, he scored his career high of 38 points, a number that wasn’t a career high of Magic Johnsons until his 106th career start.

Jeremy Lin’s been putting up All-Star numbers on the court and an All-Star number of minutes in every sports show worldwide. If you’ve turned on ESPN in the past two weeks, they’ve either just talked about Lin, they’re about to talk about Lin, or they’re talking about Lin. Three weeks ago, no one (including myself) knew Jeremy Lin was ever born. Now he’s primetime. He’s big business. Asians overseas haven’t supported an NBA player this much since Yao Ming. The “Time to go Lin-sane” jersey has been a best-seller for over 3 weeks and it appears that sooner or later the word “win” will be officially replaced with “Lin.”

He may have come from what appears to be an unknown abyss of underachieving NBA potential talent, but I assure you Jeremy Lin is here to stay. Right now, it still feels like NBA fans are all having the same big, very intriguing dream. Fans of the Knickerbockers can only hope that dream isn’t beginning to turn into a nightmare with Carmelo Anthony’s return last night. Will the chemistry and ball rotation remain similar to what it was during New York’s “Lin streak”?

Carmelo told Stephen A. Smith he’s happy about the “Lin-sanity” because he feels like he’s a part of it; but something tells me “Melo-sanity” won’t be as fun.



Perkins vs. James.

Published  February 15, 2012

In the year 2012, if you’re a cool kid, you’re on twitter; and LeBron James is probably one of the coolest kids in the National Basketball Association. On the Monday of January 30th, LeBron, as well as many other NBA Stars, were quick to tweet their reactions to Blake Griffin’s instantly epic dunk over Kendrick Perkins. His tweet read, “Dunk of the Year!! @blakegriffin just dunked on Kendrick Perkins so hard!! Wow!! I guess I’m #2 now. Move over #6.” LeBron’s tweet, however, wasn’t a big deal until Kendrick Perkins made it one. Kendrick Perkins decided to retaliate with comments of his own in a radio interview with Jim Rome. This retaliation was probably not the best idea.

“At the end of the day, the guys who are playing for the right reasons who are trying to win championships are not worrying about one play,” says Perkins. Yet, LeBron never said he was worried about the play. It just appeared to get LeBron excited, which it should do because he loves the game. Comments like this are an easy way for Kendrick Perkins to place a bad taste for him in the mouth of many NBA players, especially the ones who tweeted about the play like LeBron did.

“You don’t see Kobe tweeting. You don’t see Michael Jordan tweeting. If you’re an elite player, plays like that don’t excite you,” Perkins continued. “Do your job. Worry about the Heat.”

The thing Kendrick Perkins doesn’t seem to understand is that by putting James in the same statement with arguably the greatest player to ever dribble a ball and the 5th All-Time Leading Scorer, he overshadows his attempted insult with an even bigger compliment. In addition, Jordan and Bryant didn’t even have a chance to use twitter in their prime because it didn’t exist. James responded, “For me, social media and Twitter is all about connecting with your fans.  I would never apologize for anything like that when I’m connecting with fans.”

James continued to silence Perkins saying, “I don’t think I was the only one that reacted to that unbelievable play by Blake, and that’s what it was all about, me acknowledging how great of a play it was. I can see why he felt embarrassed.” People will always support LeBron James more than they would support Kendrick Perkins in a situation like this. LeBron’s fan base is larger and more devoted. Perkins probably picked his battles unwisely. Yet, many basketball enthusiasts can appreciate the debacle because if the Thunder/Heat NBA Finals matchup that many have predicted does take place, it’ll make it all the more interesting.

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