The NBA Playoffs Still Suck

warriorscavsI’d bet you any amount of money that Adam Silver is biting off his finger nails right now at the thought of the Warriors sweeping the Cavaliers right off of their own court. For all of you who haven’t been paying attention to basketball over the past month or so, the Warriors have still yet to lose a game in the playoffs, with a record of 15-0 and only one more win to go. The Cavs have been absolutely shocked with the amount of force that the Warriors have demonstrated upon them throughout the series. Not only that, but even Lebron James himself has said that “this is probably the most firepower he’s played against in his career” and that he gave that Game 3 loss “all that he had” (via BleacherReport). It’s hard to say exactly what I’m thinking, but to generalize, the Warriors might just sweep the Cavs Friday night in Cleveland.

However, this prediction is only possible if Adam Silver and the NBA don’t intervene. Let’s be honest for a second, Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals would have been completely different had Draymond Green not been suspended. Game 6 would have been different had the refs not called such awful fouls on Stephen Curry and the Warriors. That’s two games that could have been won by the Warriors that weren’t, due to some “controversial” calls/suspensions. I’m not a Warriors or Cavaliers fan, but I can admit that it was a little suspicious that as soon as the Warriors had a commanding 3-1 series lead, the calls all went in the direction of the Cavs. Now that the series is 3-0 in favor of the Warriors, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see some questionable calls throughout the rest of the series.

All that being said, I must admit the Warriors are playing some great basketball. Kevin Durant is redefining the debate between Michael Jordan and Lebron James as Durant has continuously shut down James and the Cavs’ momentum, dagger after dagger. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are doing great as well, filling in the few blanks that Durant misses. On the other hand, the Cavs played a poor Game 1 and 2, but showed great potential in Game 3, until Durant placed the knife right back into all Cavalier fans’ hearts. As the Warriors scored the final 11 points with no response from the Cavs to seal the Game 3 victory, the Cavs have very little hope for a good rest of the series.

If the Warriors actually sweep the Cavs, I’m going to be beyond upset, but not surprised. It already pains me to see Durant betray his former team and have huge success in the playoffs with the NBA’s bandwagon, but to see the Warriors not even lose one single game… that would kill me. It’s funny to compare the NBA playoffs with NHL playoffs and see how much more entertaining the NHL playoffs have been. With the Stanley Cup Final tied at two a piece, the NBA Finals could really take a page out of the NHL’s book. Let’s make the NBA playoffs fun again, without having Adam Silver rig the rest of the series.

 

Warriors Skip Past Cavs For Game 1 Victory

durantIn all honesty, I was not surprised by the result of Game 1. The Warriors were heading into the game undefeated in the Playoffs and on their own court (thanks to the toaster revolution). It would’ve been a huge blow if they had given the Cavs an upperhand in the series heading into Game 2.

 

Durant dominated the game with 38 points and 8 assists while Curry poured in 28 points with 10 assists as well. It was amazing to watch as Durant seemed to part the red sea almost every fast break. It just shows how much the NBA has changed when a Cleveland defender is more worried about a three-pointer than a wide-open dunk. Regardless, Durant put on a show for basketball fans Thursday night and it doesn’t seem like he’s going to be slowing down anytime soon.

On the other hand, Lebron James and the Cavs were not ready for the brand of basketball that the Warriors brought. James finished with 28 points and 8 assists and Irving was able to add just 24 points. Not only that, but the Cavs finished with 20 turnovers for the game which only increased the momentum for the Warriors.

It was a pretty lopsided Game 1, but in my opinion, I think things are going to be a lot different in Game 2. We know that this is the third consecutive year that the Warriors and Cavs have met in the NBA Finals, and this year could be the deciding factor for which superteam trumps all.

I have complete confidence that James will respond in Game 2 and lead the Cavs to a victory, ultimately tying the series heading back to Cleveland. Although the Cavs have been in a situation similar to the one they could be in they were to lose Game 2 (2016), I doubt the Cavs will let themselves fall behind two games again. Only time will tell, I just know that Sunday couldn’t come any faster!

 

Every End Has A New Beginning

File_000Hello all! Surprisingly, I will not be writing about the sports world today. Instead, I will be reviewing my high school career and previewing the next four years of my life. As today is the last day of school for me and my graduation is just five days away, I think it is appropriate for me to look back on the last four years that have made me the person that I am today. As I embark on my next journey, I must remember and thank the people that have helped me fall in love with what I love today. After all, if it wasn’t for all of these people, I would never have started this blog and began writing in general. Also, to avoid anything awkward, to anyone who reads this and is not mentioned in a positive way, I will say thank you now, because you definitely had a positive influence on my life. With all of that being said, I would like to thank the following people for their help in making me the Jack Phillips that writes before you this day…

My Parents: Mom and Dad, if it wasn’t for you, I would have never had the confidence to be myself and take chances throughout my life. You guys constantly worked with me, comparing right from wrong, lifting me up when I was happy, and picking me back up when I was down. You guys are the reason that I fell in love with sports in the first place. My love for baseball, hockey, football, and basketball all started with my mother and father. Whether it was my dad’s on the field coaching of these sports, playing catch with me everyday, and watching sports games with me, or my mom’s off the field coaching, showing me the right attitude to have in sports, or taking me to Bulls games every year, these two great people helped get me to where I am today. I will never be able to repay them for all they done, all I can say is thank you and just know that I will be forever in both of your debts for as long as I’m alive.

My Radio/Broadcasting Teacher: This man is the reason that I’m here writing about sports in the first place. This man is the reason that I am continuing my education in sports journalism at Marquette University. This man is the reason that I want to be a broadcaster and continue to improve myself each and every single day. He has taught me how to write news, how to create productions, and how to project my personality over the radio in an appropriate, yet entertaining way. If I had never had him as my Intro to Broadcasting teacher my Freshman year, then I would be going to a different college majoring in business (scary, I know). All in all, I am very thankful for this man because he has made me the young broadcaster that I am today. For that, I say thanks and wish him the best of luck in continuing to influence the young and hopeful broadcasters after me.

All of You: Thanks to everyone who has influenced me towards who I currently am (as I write this piece). Without all of the people that did the little things, then the big things may not have mattered as much as they did. I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Thanks for all the little things that you guys have done for me and I look towards your continuing support and admiration as an inspiration for my future endeavors.

I’ll be walking out of Glenbrook South High School today with four years of hard work under my belt. All of the memories that I’ve made are greatly appreciated and will never be forgotten, but I’m very excited to continue to make more over the next four years. As I walk into Milwaukee this upcoming August, I carry with me all of the knowledge and understanding that I have absorbed over the last 18 years. I will try to make the name Jack Phillips a brand, and it all starts with this blog. Continue to follow along and read the sports pieces, because without you guys, I’m just another excited fan with a computer.

2011: The Rise Of A Rose

droseOctober 4th, 1988: Derrick Martell Rose is born in the city of Chicago. Being the youngest brother of four, Derrick was heavily protected throughout his entire life. His older brothers: Dwayne, Reggie, and Alan, made sure that the rising star in basketball was always safe. The brothers truly were his “protectors” as they went to basketball practices with him and dropped him off and picked him up from school everyday. As Rose’s success continued to climb, the brothers’ protection only strengthened and tightened. It’s funny to think about all of this early life information about the 2011 MVP when at the time, no one knew how much potential this young man had. No one knew what he could and would become. Rose would eventually be an inspiration to all Chicago kids and lovers of basketball in general (including myself) due to all of the hardship that he had to go through to get to where he was. This piece is dedicated to all of those who truly love Derrick Rose as a man and as a player, and to show how remarkable his rise in basketball was to the league, to the world, and to the sport itself.

Coming out of Simeon Academy, Rose was clearly if not the best, one of the best point guards in the country, and his scholarship to Memphis was a testament to that. Rose stood (and still does to this day) at six feet and three inches, not very tall for a basketball player, but he had a 40 inch vertical. If you don’t believe me when I say that Rose had the best hops (jumping ability) in the nation, just watch this video (1:36-2:01). Please take in mind… HE WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL!! The point is, he was already such a talented basketball player at the age of 18 years old and everyone had such high hopes for the young man at such a young age. Eventually, Rose led Memphis to the National Championship where he and the Tigers lost to the Kansas Jayhawks. Although Rose’s one and done Freshman season didn’t end the way he wanted it to, his talent with the basketball eventually led him to the 2008 NBA draft, where he was drafted 1st overall by the Chicago Bulls. Rose was now heading back home to Chicago, his hometown city, where his career and his entire life would change forever.

Everyone knew that Derrick was special by the time he landed back in Chicago. Everyone understood that he was the Bulls’ future and that the franchise had to build around him in order to be a contender. Rose’s rookie year could not have gone any better in my opinion. Rose averaged 16.8 ppg along with 6.3 apg, eventually earning him Rookie of the Year (ROY) for the 2009 NBA season. Not only that, but the Bulls forced seven games against the defending champions (Boston Celtics) in a series that is regarded as one of the best playoff series of all time that even Kevin Harlan agrees with (52:33-52:41). The Bulls had missed the playoffs the year before, and their amazing 2009 playoff run proved that the Bulls were on the rise and looking to turn some heads over the next few seasons. The next year, the Bulls made the playoffs again but this time, against Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Obviously, the Bulls had an early exit as they were defeated in five games, but these two years of postseason behavior would prove to be worth it. The year was now 2011, and the young Rose would finally fulfill his destiny for his city.

Lots of things occurred during the 2010 NBA offseason. Lebron James took his talents to South Beach and created the “Big Three” with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, Kevin Durant earned a contract extension, and under the radar, some of the biggest transactions happened as well. The Bulls were unable to sign Lebron during the offseason, but they were able to sign a great power forward in Carlos Boozer and a great shooter in Kyle Korver. Along with developing players like C.J. Watson, Taj Gibson, and Omer Asik, Rose and the rest of the roster would flourish. Rose came out firing with his acrobatic finishes around the basket, his power driving through the lane, his exceptional court vision, and his all-around power when it came to slamming it down. Rose was the fan-favorite of 2011 and his play put the Bulls back on the map with the Lakers and Heat. His continuous success eventually landed Rose the league’s MVP of 2011 and the honor of calling himself the youngest MVP in NBA history. Although Rose won the MVP in 2011 and finished with season averages of 25.0 ppg along with 7.7 apg, his effort was no match for the superteam of the Miami Heat. The Bulls fell to James and the Heat in 5 games and Rose’s MVP year had come to an end, but his legacy is still here today.

Flashing forward to the current day, Rose is one of the biggest what-ifs in sports history. Rose eventually went on to tear his ACL in the 2012 playoffs along with three meniscus tears in the 2014, 2015, and 2017 seasons. Although the man has become very injury-prone, all fans of the NBA should give him respect for continuing to battle through the setbacks and play the game that he loves. Most players would call it a career after two major injuries, yet Rose continues to play through more than 4 major knee injuries (ankles, orbital fracture, etc.). Regardless, Rose is still relevant in the league and his career is still hopeful. That being said, I know that Rose will never be the same player that we all once knew from 2011, but I still have hope that he can guide another team to the playoffs and have success in this league.

Whether you agree with me or not is not important because everyone has their own opinions. I just hope that there are still fans of basketball that respect and care about Derrick Rose, because as a player and as a man, he was always very modest, humble, and caring. He is by far my favorite athlete of all time. If you don’t like him as a player, that’s perfectly fine, just don’t boo him when he comes back to Chicago (yes, I’m talking to you Bulls fans). You can joke all you want about his knees, but it will never get him to quit, and I think that the resilience he demonstrates is truly remarkable. 2011 was the year Derrick Rose stood by his name and rose to the top (funny, I know), but today, he still demonstrates his athleticism and quickness that we once saw barely six years ago. No matter how many more injuries the man suffers from, we will always remember the pure athleticism that once thrived within Derrick Rose. His play at 22 years old will forever be an inspiration to all lovers and players of basketball, and the year 2011 will always be remembered as the year that Derrick Rose brought Chicago Basketball back to life.