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Around the NBA: A New Kevin Durant?

 

Last Thursday the starters for the upcoming NBA All-Star game were announced. No Celtics crack the starting five (4 should be named reserves this Thursday as I pointed out last week as I picked all 24). The Eastern Conference will trot out Derrick Rose (Bulls), Dwyane Wade (Heat), LeBron James (Heat), Amar’e Stoudemire (Knicks), and Dwight Howard (Magic). I can’t make a solid argument against any of those selections.

The West counters with Chris Paul (Hornets), Kobe Bryant (Lakers), Carmelo Anthony (Nuggets), Kevin Durant (Thunder), and Yao Ming (Rockets). Of course David Stern will replace Yao, who played 5 total games. The other 4 starters clearly all deserve to be there.

Kobe received over 2.3 million votes. Crazy. There are a lot of front-runners in the world. And before anyone says, “I can’t believe you don’t think Kobe should be an All-Star!” Relax. He does. My point is I’m shocked he is the most popular player. Colorado. The self-gratifying documentary he did with Spike Lee. I don’t know, maybe it’s the Celtics fan in me. I know Kobe is one of the greatest players ever, I know he should be starting in the All-Star game, but I am surprised that many people like him.

One guy Kobe will be playing with in a few weeks is the NBA’s scoring leader, Kevin Durant. What do we know about Kevin Durant? He’s in his 4th year with the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise (rookie year in Seattle). He played 1 season at Texas. He scored 30.1 points per game last season to lead the league. Prior to this year his points and rebounding numbers increased in each season. He’s 6’9’’ and real thin. He can score just about anywhere on the floor. And he was the leader in the 2010 Gold Medal Winning World Championships Team.

Did we know he doesn’t take crap from anyone? I would say before yesterday’s loss to the Heat, 108-103, we weren’t sure. Yes he is a confident player, but that characteristic was always tagged with “quiet.” He has a quiet confidence. Well against Miami he made his voice heard, both during the game and after.

Apparently Chris Bosh fouled James Harden on a play, and Durant tried telling Harden to just dunk on Bosh next time. Bosh said that wouldn’t happen, Durant said it would happen, and back and forth it went until both players were T’d up. It’s only the second technical foul called on Kevin Durant all season, and the first has since been rescinded.

But the talk did not stop on the floor. In the post game press conference, Durant followed it up by saying Bosh is one the league’s many “fake tough guys.” Durant also said he’s not going to Bosh’s comments slide, especially in OKC. I love it. All championship teams throughout the years have had some kind of swagger. They don’t need to get T’d up all the time to prove, but you know its there. Before yesterday’s game I knew a lot about Kevin Durant the player. The talent was always good enough to be a champion. Now the personality matches to achieve the next level of success. And the fact that he called out one of the stars on the Heat, well that looks good too.

-You’re Fired! The Indiana Pacers have canned former Celtics head coach Jim O’Brien after a 17-27 start to the season. I picked the Pacers to make the playoffs at the start of the year, and early on it appeared as though they would likely the 7th or 8th seed. However a 4-13 stretch in their last 17 now has the team 2 games back of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Assistant Frank Vogel has been named the interim coach.

Larry Bird wants to see more of the young guys on the court. It really can’t hurt. Keep an eye on Paul George and Lance Stephenson going forward.

-20 Straight?!? The Cleveland Cavaliers have lost their last 20 games. They are currently 8-39 on the season. They finished last year 61-21. If they ran the table this year they would be 43-39, 18 games worse than a year ago… and that’s if they win out! Their .170 winning percentage makes Sacramento and Minnesota blush.

LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Delonte West, and Big Z OUT; Ramon Sessions, Manny Harris, Joey Graham, Ryan Hollins IN. Don’t forget an Mike Brown for Byron Scott coach change and… you got what will be the worst drop off in wins in league history. And the kicker there’s not even a Tim Duncan, LeBron James, Derrick Rose like player in the draft. Rough stuff.

But can the Raptors catch them? Toronto has lost 11 straight.

Next week on Around the NBA I will examine the All-Star selections and tell you where they went wrong… Enjoy the week in the NBA.

  • JP-

    Gotta feel bad for Cleveland. I love KD's comments on Bosh, they are so, so true.

  • Berkcelt

    When I hear Durant's comment about Bosh, it's like someone threw a pipe wrench into the gears of my brain. I want to roll with it, but the gears don't and it hurts a little to think about it. I mean, don't you have to project the appearance or some sort of false reproduction of toughness to be called out like that? It's like saying Phil Jackson is fake humble.

  • SteveB

    Instead of the Big 3 in Miami shouldn't people call them the Big 2.5. Bosh was a very good player on a terrible team. Join the club. He is no where near being a top player in the league. Joining the Heat is not going to validate him as a great player either. Again, very good player, not elite. He's not only "fake tough" but he complained when he got hurt that guys shouldn't be diving for loose balls if other players were around. Not worth hitting another player in the leg by hustling for that loose ball.

    • someguyinsac

      To me they'll always be the 3 Me-egos and nothing more.

      • JP-

        I agree, Bosh isn't a superstar, never was, most likely never will be. He was the face of a bad franchise. A bit like Danny Granger or Gerald Wallace, although Bosh is a bit better than them.

  • Jamie

    All the blame can't go on Jim O'Brien for the Pacers bad record. We all love Larry but their roster when you look at it is not very good. Granger is a good player but most of their team seems made up of role players or guys who have more of a role then they would on other NBA teams (ie McRoberts goes from starter to inactive for several games to starter). How does that happen?!

    • JP-

      On paper the Pacers roster isn't terrible. Granger, Hibbert, and Collison are all really good NBA players, Brandon Rush is decent off the bench, and Dunleavy is a great shooter. For some reason this pacers team's offense was fairly stagnant, which makes no sense if you look at the talent.

  • lkk23

    the heat play cleveland tonight, imagine if the heat were the team they finally win against? and its in cleveland tonight. i doubt it will happen but it would be soo sweet if it did, lol..a couple of their game they were in it right up until the end of the game, maybe tonight they will finish them off!!!

    • SteveB

      I would donate money to any cause that could help the Cavs beat the Heat. I don't see it ever happening and really worry one of these games is going to turn ugly. It would have already happened if they had an enforcer on the court but they don't have that type of guy. Picture Charles Oakley type player or even crazy Ron Artest going nuts. That would be must see TV.

    • lkk23

      scratch that, they play in miami tonight.

  • What More Can I Say?

    I still don't understand why people hate the HEAT? Persoanlly, I am glad Cleveland has lost like 40 in a row…That owner is 2 faced punk who will never turn a profit in the NBA world ever again.

    Plus the HEAT can't see the C's. Not this year, with that team.

    • NHBluesMan

      i've come to grips with the decision of the Miami 2 + Christina, but what bugs me more are the fans. They think that because they have those 3 guys that they'll automatically win the championship every year until LeBron turns 70. News flash Miami- 15>3, the Celtics are a better all around TEAM than the Heat will ever have. C's are the team to beat in the East, and now that Perk is back and Delonte is on his way to a full recovery the C's first place standing in the East isn't going anywhere (baring a serious injury to one of the Big 4).

      • What More Can I Say?

        Now see…I can get with that. All the experts that think the Heat are so great have already swallowed a reality pill. They are good…don't get me wrong…I just don't see how they will even beat Orlando in the Offs…let alone the C's!

        • JP-

          If the Celtics are healthy for the postseason, there is no team in the east that can match their size, even Orlando with D12.

          • NHBluesMan

            I'd say Orlando has the LEAST chance of matching with the C's because they don't have a legit back-up for D12 anymore. I know that Chicago, Miami and Orlando could put up a fight, but against a healthy Celtics team, NONE of them could win out in a seven game series

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