It is official. The Minnesota Timberwolves are getting their point guard, Ricky Rubio, back tonight against the Mavericks. Rubio has been sidelined since last year when he went down with a torn ACL trying to guard Kobe Bryant in a game. Even though Rubio was taken out early, he still finished second in votes for Rookie of the Year behind Kyrie Irving. He will not start tonight, but everyone will be curious to see if he still has the same skill level as he did before the injury.
Here is the video of the injury:
It is unbelievable where both of these teams stand currently. The New York Knicks currently have a hold of first place in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 16-5. That includes two blowout victories against the defending NBA Champions Miami Heat. Carmelo Anthony has really stepped up into an MVP candidate and Jason Kidd has shown that no matter the age, he is still a force to be reckoned with.
The Lakers have been a mess all season. From firing head coach Mike Brown five games into the season to loss of point guard Steve Nash to the lack of winning from this team, nothing seems to be going right. Dwight Howard can’t make a free throw if you paid him and head coach Mike D’Antoni might be in over his head. Superstar Kobe Bryant is known for being confident, but has lately seemed deflated.
However, Kobe has done some incredible things in the Garden. He is one of those players who loves having the spotlight on him. So what happens tonight? Do the Lakers come in and dominate MSG like they know they can do or do the Knicks beat another power house team and cement their place in the NBA? I have no idea what will happen tonight, but it will interesting. I predict the Lakers to squeak by just because of how good Kobe has been in the Garden and they need a win so badly. East Coast vs. West Coast- who you takin?
Who can forget the Dwight Howard saga? He was the most talked about player since I don’t even remember. It wasn’t just that he is one of the best centers in the league, but the constant drama surrounding him. He made it very clear just how unhappy he was in Orlando. Not the nicest thing to do considering he was adored by the city, but okay they weren’t giving you a championship caliber team to play with. We all get it. He was such a diva that he said that he would only go to Brooklyn. So where did Dwight end up?
Well, finally after months and months of speculation and rumors, the superstar made his way to the Los Angeles Lakers. Not quite Brooklyn, but it is definitely an upgrade from Orlando (talent-wise that is). However, the Lakers have a losing record and Howard has come under fire recently for his horrendous foul shooting. Sounds like another famous big man that once wore yellow and purple….
On a side note, happy birthday Dwight Howard!
The Lakers started the season 1-4. In order to fix this, Jerry Buss fired head coach Mike Brown. It was sad, but we all saw it coming. Brown’s coaching never quite fit the Los Angeles Lakers. The NBA was buzzing about who would coach Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. Naturally, everyone assumed the “Zen Master” Phil Jackson would make his return to Los Angeles. It only made sense, he has a great relationship with Kobe and had a new big man to work with, Dwight Howard. There were so many rumors that it was Jackson’s job for the taking. It seemed like we were going to see a reunion, but the Lakers shocked everyone. They instead hired former New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni was recovering from knee surgery that he had in the offseason allowing assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff to coach a few games in the interim. This is how the Lakers have done under each coach:
It doesn’t sound like the Lakers are responding too week to D’Antoni’s coaching. To be fair, Dwight Howard has come under fire recently for missing countless free throw attempts. One bright spot of the season thus far has been Kobe Bryant being the youngest player to reach 30,000 points. However, no one will ever forget that Mike D’Antoni was chosen over Phil Jackson for a head coaching position.
They fired a coach last week and have now made their decision on a new one. Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni has coaching experience, most recently with the Phoenix Suns and the New York Knicks. He has never won a title, but he is a former Coach of the Year. As he embarks on taking over in Los Angeles, just how much pressure is on him?
A lot. Luckily for D’Antoni, he has worked in a highly stressful environment in New York City. If you can handle New York media, you can pretty much work anywhere. The media constantly put a wedge between D’Antoni and superstar Carmelo Anthony. This is what SUPPOSEDLY led to his firing, but in case anyone forgot, there is an even bigger star in Los Angeles. So, if D’Antoni does not lead this team to a championship, will he be considered a failure?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. The NBA has created an atmosphere that if you do not win right away, there is something wrong. Don’t believe me? How many people said that a Miami Heat led by Lebron James failed because they did not win the title. They made it to the finals, but did not bring home the title. It took an entire year for Lebron to get some of the critics off his back when he got to hoist the trophy up and people still doubt his talent.
D’Antoni is a great coach and no one will take that from him, but if he does not take his team all the way he is a failure. Everyone will say, well if they would have hired Phil, then they would have gotten there. One problem. The Lakers have some serious competition in the West, namely the Oklahoma City Thunder. Even if they get into the finals, they will still have to face the Heat who look to be the favorite to win the Eastern Championship again.
My conclusion is that no matter what D’Antoni does, he will be criticized. If this team ever hits a skid, which it naturally will, people will be ready to say that if Phil was coaching they would be winning. It is easy to speculate, but slumps happen regardless of who is coaching. I do not predict the Lakers to win it all or even win the Western Conference. I am still picking a rematch of last year’s matchup.