Tag:playoffs
Posted on: June 23, 2010 12:12 am
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Let Me Put the MJ vs Kobe Argument to Rest

If you're a sports enthusiast like me, you are probably sick and tired of hearing all the sports radio talk comparing Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. It feels like I'm driving down the road and seeing a bunch of sports radio hosts holding "please help me" signs. We're enering into a dry area of sports talk and it's quite obvious they're desperate for a controversial topic which isn't even controversial at all. Michael Jordan is the best player of all time (well, for all the old timers, I'll put it as he's the best guard of all time) and there is no question about it. After reading this, I'm certain you will agree with me.
The biggest argument Bryant supporters have is that he is creeping up on Jordan's title total and that is it. It's also a lame argument because if we want to compare the Bulls best player during their championship run to the Lakers best player their first three, well, Kobe isn't even in the argument. We would be comparing Jordan to Shaquille O'Neal. People want to compare Jordan's partner in crime, Scottie Pippen, to Kobe's partner in crime, Shaquille O'Neal, when in fact, it was the other way around. Kobe was "Robin" to O'Neal who was "Batman". Really, we should be comparing Jordan to O'Neal as to who was the better player for their team for the first three titles for each team. O'Neal did a good job matching Jordan with three title MVP's. Bryant had zero. So did Scottie Pippen.
If we want to blindly include the first three titles into the equation and pretend Bryant was the primary player, than the argument turns to another point. When Scottie Pippen didn't have Jordan, he didn't win any titles at all. He had one deep run with the Blazers, but besides that didn't do much at all. He played six seasons post-Jordan and almost two seasons without Jordan in between the Bulls two three-peats. The Bulls only played ten playoff games and even though Pippen had higher than average season totals, his playoff totals dropped dramatically. He couldn't handle the pressure without Jordan and his self-benching during the final seconds of a playoff game exemplified the fact that Pippen wasn't good enough to lead the Bulls anywhere. O'Neal went to Miami and won a title with Dwayne Wade.
Let's put the titles to the side for now and discuss the raw data, the statistics. Michael Jordan in every important stat kept in basketball is better than Kobe Bryant and he was always the Bulls focal point while Bryant had one of the best centers to ever play the game as the focal point for the Lakers. Michael Jordan was 50% shooter as a guard and as the main player on his team. That is a truly amazing number that nobody appreciates enough. Kobe Bryant can make his next 1,500 shots in a row and still would not have a better shooting percentage than Michael Jordan. Yes, Jordan wasn't the greatest three point shooter ever, but he didn't have to because his presence allowed his teammates to get open shots. According to stats, Jordan was also a better passer and team player since he averaged more assists per game tha Kobe. Yes, it's a small margin, but yet another better stat as well.
Who pounded the boards better? Oh, that would be Jordan too. Again, a slight margin, but still better. Turnovers can win games and Jordan was not only better at stealing the ball, but also turned over the ball less. Remember, Jordan was the Bulls focal point his entire career while Bryant was a second option for the majority of his first seven years of his career.
People want to agrue that Kobe was a young kid his first two years so they shouldn't really count. With that, we would have to discount Jordan of his final two years with the Washington Wizards and even without the Jordan discount, his numbers are still better. That also opens up the LeBron James argument as James without any doubt started his career with far less talent than Bryant ever did and put up phenomenal numbers.
Let's talk playoffs now. Let me put it in a different perspective for you. Bryant has played 19 MORE playoff games than Jordan (198-179) and he has 125 less rebounds, 67 less assists, 98 less steals, and all the while Jordan outscores Bryant by almost eight points per game.
Those were all statistical differences which were close in comparison to the intangible differences that Jordan humiliates Bryant in. Jordan was the best leader I've ever seen on the basketball court. I was never at any practice, but there many reports of Jordan being harsh on his teammates when he thought they weren't practicing hard enough. There were reports that he slapped his teammates. Mike Greenberg form "Mike & Mike" on ESPN in the morning can attest to this. Jordan's demand for excellence can probably attribute to the fact that no player left the Bulls and put up better numbers than he did with Jordan. I can't say Bryant doesn't do this, but I can say with the media being more and more involved with sports teams, no report even close to Jordan types have been reported since his retirement.
People can question Jordan's first retirement, but no other player in any sport in Jordan's stature had to endure what he did with his father's horrific murder. It was very sad to see Jordan retire, but I couldn't blame him. Jordan reached the pinnacle of his life while his father was alive so what was there to accomplish after his death? I could only imagine the pride Jordan's father had for him. It is the ultimate dream of any father to see his son be the best and Jordan did just that three years in a row. He didn't quit, he took a break to reflect on life. People respected his decision and rightfully so. When Jordan realized that basketball (and sports in general) was the ultimate release from the pain inside, he proved again he was the best player in the best league on the planet. Bryant, on the other hand, essentially quit on his team. He asked to be traded publicly. Something a true leader would never do, speak out to the media about team issues. Name a time when Jordan ever did that. Again, Bryant quit, and was never traded because the team never traded him. It wasn't because he had second thoughts, it was because they wouldn't trade him.
This past NBA season/NBA Finals, could be easily compared to the baseball movie "Mr. Destiny" for Kobe Bryant. If the Lakers lost to the Celtics, which went to a very close game seven, Bryant would have been one of the biggest choke artists of all time. He had a John Starks like performance in game seven. In all honesty, an inexcusable performance. Remember, Jordan never went to a game seven.
Posted on: June 23, 2010 12:12 am
 

Let Me Put the MJ vs Kobe Argument to Rest

If you're a sports enthusiast like me, you are probably sick and tired of hearing all the sports radio talk comparing Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. It feels like I'm driving down the road and seeing a bunch of sports radio hosts holding "please help me" signs. We're enering into a dry area of sports talk and it's quite obvious they're desperate for a controversial topic which isn't even controversial at all. Michael Jordan is the best player of all time (well, for all the old timers, I'll put it as he's the best guard of all time) and there is no question about it. After reading this, I'm certain you will agree with me.
The biggest argument Bryant supporters have is that he is creeping up on Jordan's title total and that is it. It's also a lame argument because if we want to compare the Bulls best player during their championship run to the Lakers best player their first three, well, Kobe isn't even in the argument. We would be comparing Jordan to Shaquille O'Neal. People want to compare Jordan's partner in crime, Scottie Pippen, to Kobe's partner in crime, Shaquille O'Neal, when in fact, it was the other way around. Kobe was "Robin" to O'Neal who was "Batman". Really, we should be comparing Jordan to O'Neal as to who was the better player for their team for the first three titles for each team. O'Neal did a good job matching Jordan with three title MVP's. Bryant had zero. So did Scottie Pippen.
If we want to blindly include the first three titles into the equation and pretend Bryant was the primary player, than the argument turns to another point. When Scottie Pippen didn't have Jordan, he didn't win any titles at all. He had one deep run with the Blazers, but besides that didn't do much at all. He played six seasons post-Jordan and almost two seasons without Jordan in between the Bulls two three-peats. The Bulls only played ten playoff games and even though Pippen had higher than average season totals, his playoff totals dropped dramatically. He couldn't handle the pressure without Jordan and his self-benching during the final seconds of a playoff game exemplified the fact that Pippen wasn't good enough to lead the Bulls anywhere. O'Neal went to Miami and won a title with Dwayne Wade.
Let's put the titles to the side for now and discuss the raw data, the statistics. Michael Jordan in every important stat kept in basketball is better than Kobe Bryant and he was always the Bulls focal point while Bryant had one of the best centers to ever play the game as the focal point for the Lakers. Michael Jordan was 50% shooter as a guard and as the main player on his team. That is a truly amazing number that nobody appreciates enough. Kobe Bryant can make his next 1,500 shots in a row and still would not have a better shooting percentage than Michael Jordan. Yes, Jordan wasn't the greatest three point shooter ever, but he didn't have to because his presence allowed his teammates to get open shots. According to stats, Jordan was also a better passer and team player since he averaged more assists per game tha Kobe. Yes, it's a small margin, but yet another better stat as well.
Who pounded the boards better? Oh, that would be Jordan too. Again, a slight margin, but still better. Turnovers can win games and Jordan was not only better at stealing the ball, but also turned over the ball less. Remember, Jordan was the Bulls focal point his entire career while Bryant was a second option for the majority of his first seven years of his career.
People want to agrue that Kobe was a young kid his first two years so they shouldn't really count. With that, we would have to discount Jordan of his final two years with the Washington Wizards and even without the Jordan discount, his numbers are still better. That also opens up the LeBron James argument as James without any doubt started his career with far less talent than Bryant ever did and put up phenomenal numbers.
Let's talk playoffs now. Let me put it in a different perspective for you. Bryant has played 19 MORE playoff games than Jordan (198-179) and he has 125 less rebounds, 67 less assists, 98 less steals, and all the while Jordan outscores Bryant by almost eight points per game.
Those were all statistical differences which were close in comparison to the intangible differences that Jordan humiliates Bryant in. Jordan was the best leader I've ever seen on the basketball court. I was never at any practice, but there many reports of Jordan being harsh on his teammates when he thought they weren't practicing hard enough. There were reports that he slapped his teammates. Mike Greenberg form "Mike & Mike" on ESPN in the morning can attest to this. Jordan's demand for excellence can probably attribute to the fact that no player left the Bulls and put up better numbers than he did with Jordan. I can't say Bryant doesn't do this, but I can say with the media being more and more involved with sports teams, no report even close to Jordan types have been reported since his retirement.
People can question Jordan's first retirement, but no other player in any sport in Jordan's stature had to endure what he did with his father's horrific murder. It was very sad to see Jordan retire, but I couldn't blame him. Jordan reached the pinnacle of his life while his father was alive so what was there to accomplish after his death? I could only imagine the pride Jordan's father had for him. It is the ultimate dream of any father to see his son be the best and Jordan did just that three years in a row. He didn't quit, he took a break to reflect on life. People respected his decision and rightfully so. When Jordan realized that basketball (and sports in general) was the ultimate release from the pain inside, he proved again he was the best player in the best league on the planet. Bryant, on the other hand, essentially quit on his team. He asked to be traded publicly. Something a true leader would never do, speak out to the media about team issues. Name a time when Jordan ever did that. Again, Bryant quit, and was never traded because the team never traded him. It wasn't because he had second thoughts, it was because they wouldn't trade him.
This past NBA season/NBA Finals, could be easily compared to the baseball movie "Mr. Destiny" for Kobe Bryant. If the Lakers lost to the Celtics, which went to a very close game seven, Bryant would have been one of the biggest choke artists of all time. He had a John Starks like performance in game seven. In all honesty, an inexcusable performance. Remember, Jordan never went to a game seven.
Posted on: January 15, 2010 11:40 pm
 

Playoffs- Divisional Round

Last Week- 2-2
Prediction: Bengals 20, Jets 13. Actual Score- Jets 24, Bengals 14. I thought the Bengals went to sleep on purpose in Week 17, but they apparently went into hibernation until next year.
Prediction: Cowboys 27, Eagles 17. Actual Score- Cowboys 34, Eagles 14. Was close and predicted a rather easy Cowboys victory.
Prediction: Ravens 23, Patriots 17- Actual Score- Ravens 33, Patriots 14. I thought the Ravens could win with the run game and they did with the first play. The Patriots looked very old and senile without Wes Welker.
Prediction: Packers 30, Cardinals 21. Actual Score- Cardinals 51, Packers 45. This wild west shootout ended in dramatic fashion. Too bad fans will forget because of all the missed penalties on both sides of the ball.

Now for the Divisional Round:

Cardinals @ Saints (-7)
A rather surprising spread favoring the Saints who are a three game skid ever since talking about going undefeated. Drew Brees is a true leader, though, and will have his team refocused on the ultimate prize. The Saints defense will have to play the way it did early in the season when they were making big plays.
Anquon Boldin is questionable but it's uncertain how big a factor that is after the way Early Doucet played last week. Of course, that's an exaggeration, they need Boldin in every game. Kurt Warner played at a level rarely seen in any game last week and it is impossible for him to do the same against the Saints. The Cardinals could get an early lead, but the Saints have proved several time during the season they can overcome big leads.
A key match up to look for is Jeremy Shockey versus the Cardinals linebackers. Coach Payton will find ways for mismatches and Shockey will be the guy for them.
My Prediction: This will be another shoot out, but not as bad as last week's game. There will actually be some defense in this one. Saints 35, Cardinals 31.

Ravens @ Colts (-6)
It will be interesting how the Colts fans treat their home team after they had to watch one of the worst decisions in any sport, in my opinion. If there is any team that deserves to lose, it's the Colts. They have a histroy of losing playoff games when they rest players. They not only rested their players this year, they quit on making history in Week 16 by killing their own undefeated season, and then came back the next week and made sure their key players made receptions for history. A still angry crowd could deflate the Colts.
Ray Rice had a huge week last week against the Patriots. The Colts will have to contain him and make Joe Flacco make plays against them.
The key match up will be LT Jared Gaither versus Dwight Freeney. Freeney looked like a man against boys against the Jets in the first half of the forfeited game. Gaither will have to help make Flacco comfortable. The Colts will key on the run and Flacco will need time to make the plays to win the game.
My Prediction: The Colts will not be greeted well from the start, but a score or two will win back their fans. The Ravens will play this close, but will fade in the second half. Colts 31, Ravens 17.

Cowboys @ Vikings (-2.5)
Brett Favre will finally get hs chance to prove he was the right man for the job. His recent post season past does not help him. There are many worthless stats in this game with Favre 0-3 vs Cowboys in playoffs and the Cowboys last road playoff win was in 1992 being the most talked about. That was the past and these are two very different teams.
Adrian Peterson will have to come out of his shell and get 100 plus yards for the Vikings to win. Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins have played very well lately and should be able to limit Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin from making big plays.
The key match ups will be for both QBs. The Vikings LT Bryant McKinnie will have to keep DeMarcus Ware off of Favre for success, and the Cowboys LT Flozell Adams will have to contain Jared Allen so the red hot Tony Romo isn't pressured into mistakes.
My Prediction: I think both teams will limit the RBs and it will be up to the QBs to win the game. Favre could revert to the guy who forces plays to win. Ware and Anthony Spencer will put the pressure on and Favre will once again, turn the ball over too many times. Cowboys 24, Vikings 17.

Jets @ Chargers (-7)
This game looks like a blow out in the making but the Jets are the team that won't go away. The Jets will have to control the ball to win this game, and again, have their running game will have to help prevent this game by putting it on Mark Sanchez's shoulders.
Expect Darrelle Revis to lock down Vincent Jackson. Malcom Floyd has done well all season and Antonio Gates and other WRs give Philip Rivers big targets to throw to. LaDainian Tomlinson has been injured the last few playoffs so it will be interesting to see how he does during the game.
My Prediction: I just think the Chargers outmatch the Jets and will be able to move the ball a lot better than the Jets with their veteran QB. Chargers 27, Jets 13.
Posted on: January 8, 2010 12:27 pm
 

Playoffs- Wild Card Round

New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5)
This is the first of three Week 17 rematches. The Jets crushed the Bengals last week, but the Bengals didn't have much to play for and their effort was questionable. I think Darrelle Revis, possible defensive player of the year, will again lock down Chad Ochocinco who is banged up. The big question will be whether Laveranues Coles and Andre Caldwell can step up. Cedric Benson was out last week and will be back and he will also have to carry the load against the league's number one rated defense.
For the Jets, it will be how much weight will be on Mark Sanchez's shoulders. Can Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene continue to pound the rock and move the chains? If they can't and have to throw the ball, Sanchez could struggle against one of the better CB tandems in the league.
My Prediction: I think the Bengals will force Sanchez to beat them and he will make too many mistakes on the road again. Bengals 20, Jets 13

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (-4)
The last time these two teams met three times was back in 1995. The Cowboys won 30-11 in the playoffs after splitting the regular season meetings. The last time the Cowboys swept a division rivalry and met them in the playoffs was in 2007 and they lost to the New York Giants who went on to win the super bowl. It's never easy to beat a team three times in the NFL and the Cowboys will have to win two in a row in back to back weeks. The Eagles had a lot to gain last week (the number two seed and a bye) and were shut out. The Cowboys ran all over the Eagles and shut down their explosive offense. The interestingmatch up will be the Eagles DeSean Jackson versus Terence Newman. Jackson quickly made bulletin board quotes despite getting getting shut out last week. There were deep opportunities that were missed last week.
The question for the Cowboys will be how will they react to an Eagles score and possibly being down? They have shut out their last two opponents and a score could deflate them. How will they bounce back? Blame each other or press on? The other question will be the Cowboys finishing drives. After a great start this season, the Cowboys have lost their offensive identity. They can't finish drives in the end zone and last week, with a 7-0 lead, turned the ball over in the red zone. They cannot afford those mistakes in the playoffs, especially with the weight of 13 straight seasons without a playoff win on their shoulder. Tony Romo will need to continue to play mistake free.
My Prediction: Brian Westbrook for the Eagles hasn't looked the same and he will hurt as he always gave the Cowboys problems. The Cowboys will stop the big plays from killing them. Cowboys 27, Eagles 17.

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots (-3)
This will be the secon d meeting between the two and the first came down to the wire. The Patriots pulled out victorious, but will be without their outstanding WR Wes Welker. Welker was the key guy that moved the chains. He took care of the middle of the field while Randy Moss concentrated on the outside. Rookie Julian Edelman will have to fill Welkers shoes. The Ravens Ray Rice and Willis McGahee are a great tandem and could have a big day against the aging Patriots defense. The big match up will be how Randy Moss versus Ravens pass coverage. If the Ravens can keep Moss from having a big day, Tom Brady will have to trust other targets he isn't used to in the playoffs. 
The Patriots will have to contain Rice and McGahee to be able to win. 
My Prediction: The loss of Wes Welker will be big and if the Ravens can grab an early lead, the running game will help them keep it. Ravens 23, Patriots 17. 

Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals (PK)
This last Week 17 rematch isn't exactly a rematch since the Cardinals didn't even try. The Cardinals did leave Anquon Boldin in too long and he injured his knee which looks to limit his ability this week. The Packers have been one of the hottest teams in the NFC and Aaron Rodgers has been taking a lot less sacks. It also helps that Ryan Grant has found his ways again. 
The best match up of the week will be Larry Fitzgerald versus Charles Woodson. If Woodson can clamp down Fitzgerald, it could be a very long day for Cardinals fans just like it was last week. 
With Boldin injured, the Cardinals running game with Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower will have to run the ball well. The two, however, have combined for nine fumbles. They will be facing the leagues number two defense.
My Prediction: I think the team that wins the turnover battle will win the game. The Cradinals will be the team that turns it over. Packers 30, Cardinals 21.  
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com