words // Nick Engvall
Last night the United States received word from President Obama that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. Without getting into the politics of it all, as the news spread it quickly became a part of the sports world. Specifically, the New York Mets and Phillies game at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia where fans began to patriotically chant, “U-S-A…U-S-A,” louder and louder as the news spread throughout the stadium. For those watching the moment was powerful, regardless of beliefs. According to ESPN for example, Pedro Beato, who was a freshman in high school in New York during 9/11, was informed of the news just before entering the game and pitching 3 scoreless innings.
However, in that same stadium almost a year ago today was one of the most controversial sports moments in recent history. A 17-year old fan, who had gotten onto the field illegally, was tasered by by a Philadelphia police officer. The debate on right or wrong went on for weeks, and really came to no conclusion, simply because it’s all a matter of opinion. However, whether things have become tighter with security in sports since the horrific events of September 11, 2001, is not debatable. Everything has become a little closer watched and bit less convenient, sporting events are no exception.
Today, after last night’s news, the NBA announced that security for the remaining playoff games would once again be elevated to another level. For the first time, the use of metal detectors at the doors will be mandatory as fans head into the stadiums. Beginning tonight in Chicago, as the Bulls host the Atlanta Hawks, and for the remainder of the playoffs, fans will be at the mercy of the wand when trying to support their team.
While increased security does add a sense of safety for some, it also increases the level of concern for others. For those headed to any of the remaining NBA Playoff games, and potentially games further down the road, heightened security will likely be the norm from now on. Whether that’s good or bad is definitely debatable.
Kevin Durant in the Zoom KD III, blocks the shot of J.R. Smith in the Air Max LeBron 8 V 2.
words // Nick Engvall
As if 41 points wasn’t enough to prove himself as the Thunder’s superhero, Kevin Durant saved the day with a blocked shot on last second J.R. Smith’s 3-point attempt. The 41 points may have matched Durant’s career best in the playoffs but the performance was bigger than just the box score for the Oklahoma City Thunder. KD stepped up more than ever before to carry his team, and should have the rest of the Western Conference aware that the road to the NBA Finals will be making its way through in Oklahoma City.
Durant wasn’t the only one with last second heroics yesterday though. The San Antonio Spurs, on the verge of being upset by the Memphis Grizzlies, needed a 3-pointer from Gary Neal to send game 5 of the series into overtime. In overtime the Spurs shut down the Grizzlies, and now trail 3-2.
The Miami Heat moved passed the 76ers with a 97-91 victory. For Miami, it was a the balanced attack that has been expected from the “Big 3” all season that led them to the win. LeBron James had 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists. Dwyane Wade added 26 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists. Chris Bosh added 22 points and 11 rebounds as the Heat moved on to the second round.
Kendrick Perkins throws one down in the adidas Pro Model.
Jrue Holiday in the adidas adiZero Crazy Light.
Dwyane Wade in the Jordan Fly Wade.
LeBron James in the Nike LeBron 8 V3 and Evan Turner in the Li-Ning Defend.
Mario Chalmers in the adidas adiZero Crazy Light.
Manu Ginobli in the Nike Air Max Fly By.
Tim Duncan in the adidas Bounce Commander.
Tony Parker in the Nike Zoom Brave IV.
Raymond Felton in the adidas adiPURE.
Mike Conley shoots a jumper in the adiZero Crazy Light.
words // Nick Engvall
It seemed the Nuggets were going to make a quick exit from this year’s NBA Playoffs after losing 3 straight against Oklahoma City but Monday, Ty Lawson, wearing the Zoom Flight Five, Jason Kidd’s former signature sneaker named after his jersey number (also Lawson’s number in college at UNC) and obviously a favorite for Lawson who has multiple Nike ID colorways, as seen throughout this year’s Sneaker Watch coverage, dropped in a career playoff-high of 27 points. The Nuggets defeated the Thunder to stay alive for another game against Oklahoma City Wednesday.
Memphis, behind 15 points from Mike Conley and 11 from O.J. Mayo continue to roll surprisingly right through the San Antonio Spurs. The Grizzlies are now up 3-1 in the series after a 104-86 blowout of San Antonio.
Dallas also moved one game closer to the second round of the playoffs with a victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Dirk led the team with 25 points, while Tyson Chandler grabbed 20 rebounds and Jason Kidd dished out 14 assists.
Check out the latest Sneaker Watch coverage courtesy of ESPN below.
Russell Westbrook soaring in the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse PE.
Kevin Durant drives to the hoop in the Nike Zoom KD III.
Nene in the adidas adiPURE gives Nick Collison an uncomfortable moment.
J.R. Smith excited to see another game, wearing the Nike Zoom Kobe VI iD.
Shawn Marion shoots a runner in the lane wearing the Nike Air Max Fly By.
Jason Terry testing to find the sock capacity of the Reebok Zig Slash.
Manu Ginobli shoots a jumper in the Air Max Fly By.
Tony Allen with a nice miadidas colorway of the adidas adiZero Rose.
Mike Conley dribbles wearing the adidas adiZero Crazy Light.
O.J. Mayo with a slam dunk wearing the Nike Hyperdunk 2010.
Dwyane Wade drives wearing the Jordan Fly Wade.
words // Nick Engvall
Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, and the rest of the Miami Heat put on a display that reminded the fans, and more specifically the Philadelphia 76ers, why there was so much talk in the pre-season about how good this team can really be. The Heat held the 76ers to just 31 points in the first half and dominated the entire game to give them a 2-0 advantage in the series.
In Chicago, it wasn’t as cut and dry for the Bulls, who struggled a bit in the first half. After trailing the Indiana Pacers by 9 points at half time, the Bulls, behind 36 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists from Derrick Rose, came back to defeat the Pacers 96-90.
Both of the Best-of-7 matchups will switch venues for Game 3 later this week. The Bulls will head to Indiana where they split the regular season series with the Pacers, each team winning once. Miami will head to Philadelphia, where the “Big 3” and the Heat got their first win of the season back in October.
Check out the latest Sneaker Watch coverage below courtesy of ESPN.
Another look at Dwyane Wade wearing the Jordan Fly Wade.
LeBron James goes up for a dunk in the Nike LeBron 8 PS.
Jrue Holiday controls the ball wearing the adidas adiZero Crazy Light.
Evan Turner drives to the basket in the Li-Ning Defend.
Elton Brand in his latest signature model from Converse, the EB3.
Chris Bosh trying to prove he is a real tough guy in the Nike Hyperdunk 2010.
Andre Iguodala in the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse.
A.J. Price looks to score in the Nike Zoom Kobe VI.
Danny Granger switched from the Air Max Fly By to the Hyperdunk 2010 for Game 2.
Carlos Boozer posts up wearing his player exclusive Hyperdunk 2010.
Derrick Rose sets up the offense wearing the adiZero Crazy Light.
Another look at Rose in the adidas Crazy Light and adiZero Speedwrap ankle brace.
A rivalry for the ages, the Lakers and the Celtics have more history between each other than some of us do with our own family. In the NBA Finals at that.
What started in the late 50’s, has now spanned over 50 years to become one of the most recognized and watched rivalries in all of sports. Overall, the Boston Celtics have dominated the rivalry, winning 9 championships in the 11 times they’ve met the Lakers in the Finals.
The only time the Los Angeles Lakers have found success against the Boston Celtics was in the eighties when Magic Johnson was running the show. The rivalry might have taken a short hiatus during the nineties, but with both of these teams returning to the upper echelons of basketball in the last few years, the rivalry has been brought back into the forefront of sports.
In 2008 the Lakers, after steam-rolling through the playoffs, looked to continue that momentum as they made their way to Boston. The Celtics had been an early favorite to win the title during the regular season but found the competition in the post season tougher than anticipated. The Celtics went seven games in their playoff match-ups against the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers, as well as a six game series against the Detroit Pistons.
Despite the Lakers being favorites, the Celtics used their experience, and the coming of age of point guard Rajon Rondo, to their advantage. While the doubters expected their age to leave them tired against the younger Lakers team, Boston used their experience to lead them to their 17th NBA Championship.
Needless to say, the Lakers will have bit of a chip on their shoulder when these teams take the court on Thursday night. Add that to the fact that they are the defending champs and it’s an equation for a team, and more specifically their leader, Kobe Bryant, who does not want to lose.
In two meetings this season, the Lakers and the Celtics each walked away from the other team’s home court with a one point victory. Not much to give either team an advantage this season, mentally or otherwise.
The one thing that gives the Celtics an edge, is that they are the underdog.
The Celtics were supposed to be old. Yet, here they are in the NBA Finals again, despite having to go through LeBron James and the Cavs, and Dwight Howard and the Magic to get here.
Just like in 2008, they are supposed to be tired. An assumption that only only plays to the Celtics favor, and if the Lakers fall into that assumption, than it will only take a little luck of the Irish to land Boston their 18th World Championship.
images via yahoo