2014 NBA Playoffs: Has Anything Changed?

Photo : Getty

Photo : Getty

 

As I write about basketball, life, and faith on a regular basis, one would think that I would catch every moment of the NBA Playoffs. Unfortunately, with a hectic work schedule, I haven’t been able to catch much.  A few glimpses of the Spurs, the most fascinating team left in the playoffs, is about all I’ve been able to get.  As I was catching quick recaps, though, I was struck by the fact that the Miami Heat are once again on the verge of advancing to the Championship round.  And while I may get tired of hearing about LeBron James’ dominance, it gave me a sense that not much has changed in the NBA.  In fact, we can pretty much count on LeBron being in the finals.  So, as we prepare for Miami to close-out the Pacers and we watch the rest of the Western Conference Finals to see if the Spurs can return for a rematch with the Heat, please go back with me and consider some of the lessons we drew from last year’s NBA Finals and Semi-Finals:

Kevin Durant Shows Us How to Handle Criticism

Watching the NBA Conference Finals

Building a Legacy

Be Ready to Climb the Mountain

FAITH – It Never Changes

We could be looking at a rematch between the Heat and the Spurs, and while I didn’t have a chance to see it, I had a sense that the Heat were taking care of business.  In the same way, God is always taking care of business, whether we realize it or not.  It becomes so easy to get distracted and to focus on the wrong things in life.  We fret, we compare, and we complain.  We worry and we grow weary, but God’s love remains constant and God’s word never changes:

The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.  (Isaiah 40:7-8)

I’ll just leave it at that.  Life is complicated and we get caught up in a lot of different things, but take it to heart, that God is eternal.  That thought has helped me in recent days and I pray that it gives you comfort as well!

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Snaking the Ball Screen

Damian Lillard

grantland.com

Did you learn anything as the NBA Playoffs advanced to the Conference Finals?  Other than the fact that the seven-game format once again makes it very difficult for the lower seeds to advance, there probably wasn’t much there, but this old dog did pick up a trick or two.  I was reminded again how important it is to keep adjusting, to keep learning, and to keep improving.  The basic pick and roll is changing before our eyes.  I find myself once again learning to adjust as I watch the best players in the world and see the back and forth adjustments made by coaches to both utilize and stymie ball screens.  In many cases, it’s the game within the game right now and as I watched each series I learned a new technique called “snaking” a ball screen.  No more is it simply pick and roll or pop or accelerate.  Now we’re going to add snaking! Continue reading

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Pot and Basketball

espn.go.com

espn.go.com

As the second round of the NBA Playoffs continue, I wanted to take the opportunity to discuss Mitch McGary’s announcement that he would be leaving the University of Michigan to enter the NBA Draft.  After sitting out most of the season with a back injury, the sophomore quickly dispelled speculation by announcing that he was leaving for the pros rather than serve an NCAA suspension for having failed a random drug test that revealed he had smoked pot while sitting out the season (Read Dan Wetzel’s report Yahoo Sports). Continue reading

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