The In-Jury’s Out: Kobe Bryant & Derrick Rose

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Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose are two of the most exciting players the NBA has to offer. Kobe has been the face of the NBA for years, especially  after  Michael Jordan retired. Rose is a rising star in the place where Jordan made basketball relevant,  Chicago. However, these stars have been dealt tough obstacles to overcome in their careers with brutal injuries. Kobe, on the back end of his career, suffered a torn  Achilles injury at the end of last season. Rose, whose career is blossoming, tore his ACL in a playoff game two seasons ago and had to miss the entire 2012-13 season. Without these superstars, their teams are helpless and irrelevant. Without these superstars, the NBA is without two key franchises to its growing brand.

Two seasons ago Rose and the Bulls were positioned to challenge the Miami Heat when Rose injured himself in the first round of the playoffs against the 76ers. Last year, to the dismay of all NBA and Bulls fans, Rose sat out the entire year including the playoffs. The team still had Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, but no one ever could take it  seriously as a contender. The Bulls  even matched up against the Heat in the playoffs and stole Game 1 in Miami, before they proceeded to be eliminated. You know you have come to desperate measures when the most exciting guy on your team is 5 foot 7 and that’s being generous. Nate Robinson provided a spark for the Bulls, but a spark that size is not a good recipe for success.

With Rose returning this year, the excitement and expectations are back in Chicago. Through ten games, they are 6-4 and have handed the Pacers their only loss of the season. However, Rose has struggled a bit and seems rusty. This is nothing surprising, given the injury he endured, and he should become stronger as the season progresses along. Rose wasn’t built in a day. He has hit a game winning shot against the Knicks and made some explosive plays that would make Wyle E. Coyote say, “Wow! That’s explosive.” His athleticism is unprecedented for a point guard and his ability to attack the hoop is a spectacle to watch. The Heat and Pacers should take notice.rose2

Bryant tore his Achilles tendon last year, and then tore all hope from every Laker fan. Since the Kobe-Shaq era ended, there has arguably been no player more important to his team’s success then Bryant. He is the brains, heart and courage of the team as he leads his players down the purple and yellow brick road. Just like the Bulls last year, the Lakers — barely — made the playoffs, but no one could even consider picking them to advance without the Black Mamba. The San Antonio Spurs swept the Lakers like a pushbroom after a garage sale.  Dwight Howard is no Kobe, not even close.

Even with Dwight, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash, the Lakers looked like a lottery team without Kobe. We all know how determined Kobe is to return quickly this year. He has been able to overcome injuries throughout his career like he was a Terminator Machine. Entering his 18th season, Kobe faces his most serious injury ever, and many experts out there are saying he is done and will never be the same. Maybe this is a reality Laker fans must face. Maybe not. The Laker organization has money saved up to rake in some top free agents next season.  Names like LeBron and Carmelo Anthony come to mind. Before this bridge gets crossed, it must be seen how Kobe plays when he returns. And his team desperately needs him.

The Lakers version of Robinson this year has been Steve Blake. Or as they call him, the “White Mamba.” The White Mamba has hit a game-winning three pointer on the road against theRockets this year, but more often than not, the Lakers have been mediocre and inconsistent. They have indeed shown glimpses of greatness from a bunch of young talent, but they seem to only play like this against lowly teams. Their leading scorer is averaging 13 points a game. Kobe can put that up in a quarter, maybe half a quarter.

The Los Angeles Lakers are very important to the NBA. Having won 16 titles, the NBA does well when the Lakers are doing well. The Lakers cannot do well without Kobe. It’s like watching the Dark Knight without seeing Batman in any of the movie. It is like trying to win in chess without your queen. Having a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich is not the same without the Peanut Butter. And the Lakers as just a jelly sandwich are going nowhere. Soggy. Kobe’s team needs him, and he needs his team. The Lakers and the NBA anxiously anticipate the Mamba’s return, and hope he can overcome the toughest injury out there to flourish again on the court.

Kobe BryantThe Lakers and Bulls are more than capable of challenging for a championship this year. Most would agree that Bulls roster is more primed for a playoff run, but if Lakers can get healthy, you never know. The West is very much up for grabs. The success of the Bulls and Lakers fortunately and unfortunately is highly dependent on one player. With  Rose, the Bulls have shown this year that they are a force to be reckoned with even a matador would be scared of. Without him, there is no optimism or chance in Chicago. In LA, a new era of mediocrity is moving in quickly, with Kobe  as the last hope to restore some order to Staples Center. The Lakers without Kobe are only a contender for a lottery pick.

It remains to be seen if the Bulls and Rose bloom throughout the year, prepping for a playoff run to challenge the Heat and Pacers. If Rose does not return to form, it will  surely be only a two-team race to the NBA Finals. The Lakers need to hang in there until Kobe gets back. Even at this stage of his career, I am very confident Kobe can resume playing at a high level. How high? This is the most important question of the year. The Lakers, the NBA and this NBA fan are hoping the Black Mamba has some venom left.

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NBA First Week Insights & Surprises

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The Cover 4.com presents you with NBA First Week Insights & Surprises! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @thecover4 or facebook at theCo VerFour

Aaaannnndddd they’re off! The 2013-14 NBA season has officially tipped off, which means it’s time to see which teams actually took advantage of its resources and built a team worthy of the right to hoist that beautiful championship banner on opening day next year. And my, oh my has this been a start few saw coming.

  1. Michael Carter-Williams is out here letting people know that he’s not to be taken lightly. I loved this kid’s game at Syracuse last year, but was afraid that his tall, lanky frame would not be properly utilized and possibly start warming the bench like Shaun Livingston. However, MCW has shown that his skills are transferable by nearly posting a remarkable quadruple-double against the defending champs (22 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds, 9 steals, 1 turnover). Do not let the baby face fool you; this guy is the real deal like Holyfield. MCW is only the second rookie in NBA history to be awarded conference Player of the Week honors in the first week of the season (Shaq is the other). The only question is, will MCW have a Jeremy Lin effect and plateau before his prime? Or will he become a first-ballot Hall of Famer? Hmmmm…
  2. Russell Westbrook has found his way back into the lineup a month after surgery. Personally, as a man who has been through MANY knee surgeries in my playing career, I don’t think it’s a good look for Westbrook to return so soon. I love Westbrook, and I want to see him play at his highest level. But I know that his body and trainers unfortunately have a more impactful influence over him than I do. But for the sake of my 2k team, I pray that he doesn’t make it any worse.
  3. While we’re talking about injuries, D errick Rose is starting off slow. I guess it is to be expected after being MIA for an entire season, but the optimism still has the best of many of us and just know that his 10-game winning streak isn’t too far away.
  4. The Brooklyn Nets…well, I’m not going to say much on them because I didn’t really expect much out of them to start with. They have some of my favorite players from back in the day, however, their prime was also back in the day. I just don’t see it happening for this squad. They offered a lot of hope for the BX, but I guess we’ll just have to see how this pans out.
  5. The Suns have new jerseys! And that may be the reason why even though they are placed in last in the NBA 2k14 power rankings, they are starting off with a splash of hope. Gerald Green has finally found a system that loves him running alongside Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic. Miles Plumlee has been posting double-double averages. I’m not going to lie, I never really thought too highly of biggest brother Plumlee from the jump, but man is he giving me something to watch.
  6. Not a surprise, but the Wizards are poopsauce.
  7. Eg-Zah-Vi-Air Henry is putting on a little coming out show of his own in LA. It’s almost making me think that the Lakers have a shot at making the playoffs. Hahahaha, MAYBE! But one thing I will say, it’s time for the great Steve Nash to join the coaching staff. His game has noticeably slowed down, and he know where near as witty with the ball as he used to be. I don’t know, Tony, this one isn’t looking too good though.
  8. Toronto’s Very Own, Anthony Bennett has still yet to make a basket through four games. I thought No. 1 draft picks are supposed to show up and show out? Cleveland can’t take any more disappointments. Get it together, man!

Yes, I know it’s still early in the game, and there’s a whole lot of season left, but I am anticipating this being a GREAT year for the NBA, pending all these injuries slowing down. So, CHEERS to Mr. Carter-Williams on an amazing start to your NBA career, you have a bright future my friend. And the rest of you guys…get your shit together! PEACE!

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NBA 2013-2014 Season Preview

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The Cover 4.com presents you with NBA 2013-2014 Season Preview! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @thecover4 or facebook at theCo VerFour

THE DAY IS FINALLY NEAR! Second only to my birthday, and slightly more exciting than Christmas; the Rose is finally surfacing out the concrete, and boy isn’t it a beautiful sight? Of course, it’s only right that I start the first topic of discussion for the season with Chicago’s hometown hero, Mr. MVP himself, Derrick Rose. Not only am I excited about his return, but every NBA advocate is eager to see what a season-and-a-half long rehab session can do to a player. So far in the preseason, Rose has not lost a step, in fact, he’s taken control of the floor as if he never left. And I’m going to go ahead and throw this out there. Michael Jordan missed an entire season as well; granted he wasn’t injured, but a season-long absence by a superstar is nothing foreign to the Bulls. What impresses me most is how Rose has gone as far as to share advice with the second best point guard in the league in suggesting that Thunder guard Russell Westbrook not rush to get back on the floor and to properly rehabilitate his injury.

Season Superlatives:

Most Valuable Player LeBron James (MIA)

  • Only reason why I say this is because LBJ is feeling himself, and rightfully so. Don’t expect to see him post 34 points per game (even though he is capable of doing so), but do expect him to fully utilize the new talents of Michael Beasley in his effort at his third title. But I’m letting you know right now, my mans D-Rose will NOT be “giving” anything to him. October 29 will be a dogfight. Rose is showing the league that he’s back and LBJ is growing hungrier to surpass Jordan.

Rookie of the Year – Victor Oladipo (ORL)

  • Let me tell you something about this 21-year-old stand-out stunner. After coming off a PHENOMENAL summer league season he continues to make sure his name Oladipo is no longer considered foreign with his preseason play. This kid is explosive when driving to the paint, as well as a real threat from the arc. How many rookies can you consider to be multidimensional? Even LeBron had to work on his shot when he entered the league. He’s already averaging six, four and two. No, not six points, six BOARDS, four assists and two steals each game. This guy’s hustle is exactly the spark that will make an immediate impact on any team.

Most likely to NOT Succeed – Utah Jazz

  • Plain and simple: I just don’t see it happening there. They’re too unstable at this point. They couldn’t do it with Deron Williams, so naturally, I don’t see Trey Burke staying much longer than three or four years.

Most likely to Lose Your Money in a Bet – OKC Thunder

  • I’m a believer that Kevin Durant is the most lethal threat in the league, and with Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Jackson as their x-factors, the Thunder WILL be a contender…however, what’s a contender without the their oxygen tank? After last year’s playoff performance, it has been proven that Westbrook is the fuel that keeps this car going. KD just isn’t the same flamethrower without his igniter. Now, for the love of all NBA 2K14 games and tournaments that I will be participating in this season, I REALLY hope that I am wrong. But Westbrook has proven to be such an intricate piece to this puzzle that it will be nearly impossible to replace him.

The Zero to Hero Award – GoldenState Warriors

  • With the most impressive addition of Andre Igoudala in their front court and Andrew Bogut in the back, I see these guys being not-so-silent killers of the NBA. This summer, Poppa Thompson was very active in the mentoring and developing of his young offspring, Klay. With Igoudala in the lineup, the Warriors now have four potential/future all-stars in Iggy, Thompson, Steph Curry and Harrison Barnes bringing some serious energy off the bench, the Warriors will rise this year and present themselves as one of the top contenders if all goes right.

The Sixth-Man – Harrison Barnes (GS)

  • It is almost a sure thing that with Iggy moving into the lineup, Barnes will move into the sixth-man spot, and I believe it for the best. Barnes’ explosiveness and energy will allow the Warriors to compete the entire 48 minutes. Watch him work!

Most Likely to Be Named Top Dawg – The Heat versus The Field

  • As much as I hate to admit it, there aren’t many teams capable of doing what the Heat have the potential of doing. Making the finals three times in a row is a pretty remarkable feat, especially when your star player is at the pique of his prime. Don’t discount the improvements that Chicago, Indiana and Brooklyn have made, but the Heat have something that other teams are still building on: CHEMISTRY! This bulls eye that is on the backs of the Heat organization is going to cause what I believe to be a chemical combustion that will lead to a phenomenal season, and likely a third consecutive ring for LBJ and his troops.

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Dominique Wilkins: The Human Highlight Film

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The Cover 4.com presents you with Dominique Wilkins: The Human Highlight Film! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @thecover4 or facebook at theCo VerFour

A lot of people hear the name Dominique Wilkins and only remember how he was the most forceful, powerful and flashy dunker the game will probably not see again for quite some time. But what many fans seem to forget is that you can’t score 26,668 some odd points off of dunks in a 17-year career (12 of which were with Atlanta Hawks). For those of you like myself who need a picture drawn…that’s 13,334 tomahawks and windmills in total which equals NINE dunks a game for 17 years straight. He’s strong, but nobody’s THAT strong.

Now, for a little history lesson. Did you know Wilkins was born in France? After his family moved back to the States, he then moved to North Carolina despite his mother’s objection so that he could help support his family. He was discovered playing at the Bridge Street Recreational Center by then-Washington (N.C.) High School coach Dave Smith who offered Wilkins a place to stay under the conditions that he’d come play for his team  the following season. I know you’re thinking, “that’s definitely NOT legal,” but that goes to show how the off-the-court game has changed so much in the last 30-plus years. But that’s a story for another article (stay tuned 😉 ). The two years he spent at Washington led to back-to-back state titles while DW put up 29 points and 16 rebounds a game. Say WHAT?!

It was at this time that Wilkins became known as the nation’s most valuable natural talent, and colleges were ready to put up a serious fight for him. The University of Georgia proved to be victorious in this fight, which had been considered a long shot or a no shot. Some of the Washington town-folk responded by breaking windows in his mother’s house and spilling paint on the car they claimed had been purchased for her by Georgia officials. Dominique’s mother, Mrs. Gertrude Baker (she had remarried), said she had bought the car from a Washington automobile dealer, and had gotten it cheaply because of her son’s fame.

While at Georgia, Wilkins became known as the most exciting athlete in college sports averaging 21.6 points a game over his three-year collegiate career (Note that I said ATHLETE, not dunker). Wilkins gained notoriety for having a hunger for the ball. Not just hustle plays such as diving for loose balls, but also having a remarkable awareness for where the ball is going to drop after a shot. You have this guy who stands approximately 6 foot 8I as one of the hardest workers in the game. The highlight film wasn’t only made in the front-court, but bringing a vicious “MUST WIN” loose ball mentality every time down the court is not only intimidating but also arguably the most valuable tool in having a strong playoff contender. With that, I now must mention the 54 points he dropped in ‘86 against Larry Bird, Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics. Once again, 27 dunks on that team is pretty close to impossible (please refer to video).

(1986) 54 Points against the Boston Celtics

SEC Player of the Year. Nine-time NBA All-Star. Four-time All-NBA Second Team. Two-time All-NBA Third Team. NBA First Teamer. NBA Scoring Champ. NBA All-Rookie Team. Two-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest Champ. Euroleague Champ. Euroleague MVP. Greek Cup Champ. Greek Cup MVP.

Yeah, this man was way more than a dunker.  Wilkins is a great candidate for being considered one of the best natural talent contenders of all-time. The man, the multi-faceted killer, the muscle, the HOF great, the legendary Human Highlight Film.

Cheers to Dominique Wilkins!!!

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MLB Playoffs:One and Done

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The Cover 4.com presents you with the MLB Playoffs:One and Done! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @thecover4 or facebook at theCo VerFour

The Wild in the WIldCard

The purpose of the playoffs is to provide a forum to establish the best team of the best teams over a course of a year.  As in most sports, there is a regular season to weed out the poor teams and isolate the good teams. In football, they play once a week in a 16 game season. In the NBA, they play three or four times a week in an 82 game season. In baseball, teams play six or seven times a week in a 162 game season. Why do they play that many games? Maybe it is less grueling on the body so they can afford to play almost every day, unlike basketball and especially football. So, if that many games are laid out to determine the best teams over such a large sample size, you would think baseball would have the largest and longest size for their playoffs amongst the main sports. Right? Nope.  It’s laughable. And for the Rangers, Reds, and the Indians, they receive the short end of the stick.

With baseball’s new Wild Card format, they have baseball teams competing in a one, yes I repeat, ONE game playoff to determine who moves on and who is gone. After six long moths of regular season games traveling around the country, they the new format dictates that their postseason fate is determined by one game. Last time I checked my math, this ratio of regular season games to playoff games here is preposterous, and it has me burning more than a summer in Death Valley.

world-series-trophy-rangers-cardinals-baseballBaseball, and Bud Selig especially, thought they would make baseball more meaningful in September by adding an extra playoff spot for a competing team. Instead of three division winners and a wildcard in each league, the new format as of last season includes the three division winners and two wildcard spots. The two wildcard teams however, who have experienced all the twists and turns of a 162 game season, then compete in one solitary game to determine who will play the division winner with the best record in baseball as the true wildcard representative. Give me a break! And I’m not talking about a Kit Kat. How can baseball think this is fair? No wonder Bud Selig recently announced his retirement at the end of next season. No wonder the ratings are down.

In a sport where one pitcher can determine the whole outcome of a game, to have one sudden death game be played is ludicrous. Baseball has the least amount of teams make the playoffs compared to hockey, basketball, and football. How can they truly justify the existence of such a short element in their post-season. A broken clock is right twice a day, but it does not mean that this is the best clock in a clock store. This is the World Series we are talking about, not March Madness, or a clock store.

In basketball, they have 16 teams make the playoffs and every series is best 4 out of 7. Even hockey partakes in this same format. They play half the games baseball does. And in basketball, sure winning game 1 is a good start to winning a series, but not every team that wins game 1 wins the series. This year and last year’s NBA Finals, LeBron James and the Miami Heat lost game 1 both times before moving on to win the series. If it was the baseball wildcard playoff, LeBron would still be known as the “Ringless King.” The reason this does not happen in basketball is because in a competitive sport where parody exists everywhere, the better team is determined over a larger sample sizes. It is not football, and you cannot fairly outline a system where one game determines who wins and goes home after such a long quantitative regular season.

NASCAR races do not determine the winner after 5 laps. Tennis matches do not play best 3 out of 5 games in a set to see who wins the whole match. Majors in Golf are not determined by two round tournaments or 9 hole matches. Soccer matches do not play twenty-minute games in the World Cup. I can go on and one with examples to illustrate my point, but it will not change the format that exists in baseball.  Otherwise, this article would have only been one paragraph long.

Going into the final weekend of the regular season, the National League Wildcard matchup was clear-cut and the American League Wildcard reminded me of the BCS System. The Cardinals, Pirates, and Reds had an exciting battle throughout the final months of the season. The Cardinals, class personified, took the NL Central Crown and the Reds and Pirates battled off for the Wild Card Spot. The Pirates with the better record held the home field and predictably defended their turf, winning 6-2 the re-emerging of Francisco Liriano. Pittsburgh postseason baseball has not taken place since 1992, and this victory against the Reds was a fantastic emotional watch. However, if I am a Reds advocate, I played 82 home games during the regular season to prepare me for the playoffs, qualified for the playoffs, and I do not get even one home playoff game? This is blatantly out of bounds, unnecessary, and insulting. Make it two out of three. Do something Bud. Even the WNBA plays two out of three throughout the playoffs. You cannot justify playing that many regular season games to only have one game determine a team’s fate. Not to this baseball fan. Sorry Reds fans, looks like you had to walk the plank.

In the American League, the Wild Card Playoff berths resembled a hybrid of a Presidential Election Race and the BCS Bowl system. Chaotic, confusing, and most importantly, unfair. If two teams are supposed to play in a one-game playoff for the final wildcard spot, what happens when there is a tie for these final two spots? Well, I guess you can say baseball got its wish. The Rangers and the Rays tied for the second Wild Card spot, while the Indians finished first for the top spot. There were ten different cluttered scenarios that could have happened on the final day of the season. Hypothetically if this happens; then this is the result. In the end, there was a one-game playoff for the one-game playoff, furthering the ridiculousness of this new system.

8811b8d4321303213f0f6a7067001791The Tampa Bay Rays threw their ace David Price against the Texas Rangers in Arlington. And the Rangers pitcher was Yu Darvish, their best pitcher, naturally right? No, incorrect. Martin Perez who? Why, because Yu pitched on the final day of the season to secure their playoff “berth.” Baseball features a dynamic where a pitcher can impact a game more than any player on the field. This is why they typically pitch once every five games. The format did not even allow a team to have their best pitcher throw one pitch. How can this format truly determine the best team? It is very unfair and cruel. Sorry Rangers, you just got stung. By the Rays and more importantly, baseball’s misconception of balance. And what the playoffs represent.

The Rays got to throw their ace against the Rangers and they won. Then they advanced to the real wildcard playoff against the Indians, where they showcased Alex Cobb. Their number two starter Matt Moore could not pitch because he pitched on the final day of the regular season, but is scheduled to start Game 1 against the Red Sox on Friday in the ALDS. And the Indians were unable to throw their hottest pitcher in Ubaldo Jimenez. They had to pitch rookie Danny Salazar. He gave up a couple runs, but the story of the game was that the Indians stranded baserunners left and right. The Indians outhit the Rays but lost 4-0. In a long series, they could have won 4-1 and outhit them every game. We will never know. Neither will the Indians nor their fans. Cleveland sports will have to continue to suffer because of this stupid format. One off-night after a ten game winning streak sends a team home with no second, third or fourth chance.

In the end, the best team is determined in the League Championship Series and World Series. Why? Because it is a best-out-of-seven series. All pitchers can be used, and all assets and liabilities can be used and exposed. But in getting to these final four teams, injustice is incurred along the way. Basketball playoffs take almost two months, where baseball’s takes place in one month, and Baseball plays twice as many games in the regular season. Now I’m no math teacher, but something does not add up. Here is a quick solution: Cut out the final month of the regular season and make the playoffs longer. Simple, make it a 130 game season and make more playoff games.

Yasiel-PuigC’mon baseball! Show us you can adapt. Football adopted its new overtime system because its previous format created a scenario where one team potentially did not get a fair chance. They realized a problem existed and rectified it. Baseball is moving slowly with updates in instant replay because baseball is America’s pastime. Change is hard for them, and the changes they do make are also unfair. They have the All-Star Game winner’s league get home-field advantage in the World Series. There are so many elements of this sport that I love that are broken. Baseball needs to strongly look at itself in the mirror, put on the eye black, and re-evaluate its playoff system, especially the Wild Card format. They are not only robbing the teams, but the fans as well. We all want you to succeed baseball, but you are making it very hard on yourself.

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September 26, 2013

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NBA Greatest Moments:Jordan & the Jazz

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Now, I’m a Bulls lover, and a Michael Jordan enthusiast, however whether you share the passion, I’m sure we can all agree that when MJ announced his retirement, we knew basketball wouldn’t be the same. And this final shot proved to really let that thought fester and force us to never forget his legacy on the game.

On this day, the Utah Jazz had the Delta Center PACKED to capacity, and everyone knew the ball would end up in Jordan’s hands to do what he does best in the final seconds of close games ─ win the game. Chicago believed in him and trusted him, and the Bulls’ bench knew this decision was a no-brainer. He was the NBA’s worst-kept secret, however nobody could find a way to contain him. (This is why he is considered G.O.A.T.).

What was special about this play is that no plays needed to be called. All Jordan needed was the ball and some time to do his thing. You would’ve thought the Jazz would have already learned that when the game is on the line, and there’s more pressure on him than the deepest depths of the Pacific Ocean, that’s when His Royal Airness comes out of hibernation.

Michael-Jordan-going-1-on-1-against-Bryon-RussellWith the Bulls behind by three points in the final minute or so of Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, MJ scores on a drive to the basket. In the immediate following play, MJ rips up Karl Malone and brings the ball back downcourt. Now, don’t get me wrong, Bryon Russell is one of the greatest defensive players of ALL time (at least to me he is), but Super Michael made it seem like Russell was taking a lesson from the Gods. With a beautiful pullback (and possible slight push), MJ knocks down the game-winning 20-footer with 5.2 seconds remaining to give the Bulls an 87-86 win to cap off the repeat of the 3-peat!

MJ had done it. Finishing with 45 points, he takes home his sixth MVP award in eight years and leaves us with the most beautiful goodbye letter with this final shot. “Let’s face it, we all hopped on Michael’s back. He just carried us,” Bulls sharpshooter Steve Kerr recalls. “That guy is just ridiculous. He is so good it’s scary.”

Psh…YEA, HE IS!!

“As soon as Russell reached, he gave me a clear lane. I made my initial drive, and he bit on it, and I stopped, pulled up and I had an easy jump shot,” Jordan said. “I had a great look, and it went in. Once it went in I knew from that point on, we’ve been hanging around long enough, it was the game-winning basket, and it was a matter of playing solid defense. Our defense has held us strong all series, we wouldn’t be in this scenario without the defense. All we had to do was play defense for 5.8 seconds, and I knew we could do that.”

Said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, “You can’t afford to give them second chances, with Michael Jordan out there, he was going to make the plays, he was able to do that and you live with that.”

Cheers to the greatest memory of the great Michael Jordan and his final shot…in a Bulls jersey.

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The Betting Corner: NBA Finals Game 7 Jun 20, 2013

San Antonio Spurs @ Miami Heat 9PM (ET) ABC

(Series Tied 3-3)

San-Antonio-Spurs-VS-Miami-Heat-Wallpaper-HD-2013As a sports fan, today is the day that we all look forward to: a winner take all, Game 7 finals game. Nothing is more thrilling, exciting, nerve-wracking, and heart clenching than the last game of the season for all the marbles. At the end of today, we will have a NBA Champion.

After one of the best playoff games in recent history, it is now or never for the aging Spurs and the Heat. Tim Duncan dominated the first half of Game Six with 25 points but was held to just 5 in the third quarter by a stingy Miami defense. Lebron James played like a man possessed in the fourth quarter and overtime.

In today’s matchup, the major factor will be the coaches. Let’s be honest and admit that in the NBA coaches aren’t as important than in other sports- except for today. Spoelstra and Popovich have been in a chess match all series long. With a majority of the population questioning Popovich’s decision making in the fourth quarter, it is now or never for the Spurs.

Miami must be able to get points from Wade and the role players. Bosh, who has taken a beating all playoff long, must play even better than he did last game. Lebron James will not be stopped and will continue to dominant the game.

For the Spurs, Manu Ginobili is the key. After being inserted into the starting lineup for Game 5, Ginobili flat out balled. In Game 6, he was the worst player on the court posting a -21 +/- and finishing with 8 turnovers.

NBA Finals Game 7 Prediction: Spurs +6

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James Kaikis/Alex Plumb
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TheCover4.com is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site of any kind. We are simply here to provide information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.

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The Betting Corner: NBA Finals Game 6 Jun 18, 2013

San Antonio Spurs @ Miami Heat 9PM (ET) ABC

(San Antonio Leads 3-2)

945206_10151571486403463_897263452_nWith the Spurs on the cusp of finals glory, the Miami Heat must pull out all the stops if they want to send this series to a game 7. Currently the Heat are an astonishing 7-0 on games after a loss. Lebron and Co. seem to know how to get it done when its all on the line. The real question though is if the Heat can win back to back games, something they haven’t done this postseason.Although these stats look very good from afar, don’t count out the veteran Spurs. With the insert of Ginobili into the starting lineup, the Spurs have add the extra offensive spark they need to keep the Heat guessing on defense. If the Heat want to tie up the series they must play with the same physical pressure and heart as they did in game 4 otherwise the Spurs franchise will be a perfect 5-0 in the NBA finals. For the Spurs, keep the offensive pressure up for 4 qtrs with Green, Parker, and Ginobili as well as find a way to limit the big 3 to mediocre performances. Finally, this game will come down to, as it has every game in this series, defensive intensity and “superstar” play. With the current trend pointing to Miami now and the 7-0 post loss stat, I am going against my typical behavior and reflecting back on games 1 and 2 where the high spread favored the dog and taking the points.

Play:
Spurs +7.5
__________________________________________________________________________

Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Alex Plumb
Sports Activist for The Cover 4
http://www.facebook.com/thecover4
http://www.twitter.com/thecover4

TheCover4.com is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site of any kind. We are simply here to provide information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.

All information regarding gambling is intended to be purely educational from an academic perspective, and not to actually encourage gambling.  We are in no way condoning gambling and are not affiliated with any and all casinos/sports books mentioned.

The Betting Corner: NBA Finals Game 5 Jun 16, 2013

Miami Heat @ San Antonio Spurs 8PM (ET) ABC

(Series Tied 2-2)

nba_u_heatspurs_ESPNNow that the first four games have been played with no team breaking away in this series, we are down to a best of 3. With the resurgence of Dwayne Wade playing like the old “flash” again, the Spurs must now find an answer to this new threat. Based of the current trend we are seeing in this series spurs-heat-spurs-heat, the ball is now in San Antonio’s court to make a move. A loss for either team could prove to be the series but especially for Miami, where they lost in a game 5 two seasons ago to Dallas, and then ultimately lost the series. In a must win for both teams, two questions must be answered:  Which supposed slump or injury plays a factor more? Which Dwade and Tony Parker are we going to get in this game? After debating which way I wanted to go in this one, this stat is what persuaded me decide on my pick. In game 5s, in the NBA finals, the Spurs are 2-0 in the big 3 era. Since the same players for the most part who played in those series still play for the Spurs currently, as well as the trend say San Antonio, ill take the points at home in this one.

Play:
Spurs +2
__________________________________________________________________________

Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Alex Plumb
Sports Activist for The Cover 4
http://www.facebook.com/thecover4
http://www.twitter.com/thecover4

TheCover4.com is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site of any kind. We are simply here to provide information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.

All information regarding gambling is intended to be purely educational from an academic perspective, and not to actually encourage gambling.  We are in no way condoning gambling and are not affiliated with any and all casinos/sports books mentioned.

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