The NBA Finals might be weeks away, but a rematch of last year’s NBA semifinals matches familiar faces. Here are four things to ponder during the Celtics-Cavs series before — presumably — one team continues its advancement to the Finals.
Celtics vs. LeBron James
The most current concern in the city of Cleveland is if the elbow of reigning MVP LeBron James will be ready to go on Saturday night for Game 1. His elbow was tweaked as he came down on it after contesting the layup of Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. Thus far, LeBron says that he will be ready to go Saturday and is for the most part 100 percent. LeBron has had great person success this season and in the past against the Celtics. In four regular-season games this year, he averaged 36.5 points, 8.3 assists and 6.5 rebounds. This may be James' year to win it all as he is not only coming off one of his better statistical regular seasons, but has the players around him to take on anything the rest of the NBA decides to bring his way.
Cleveland’s new starting lineup and depth off the bench
The 2010 Cavaliers have been completely upgraded from the 2008 team that was defeated in the Eastern Conference Championship by the Celtics. Not only does the starting lineup come with a completely new look, but the firepower that the Cavs produce off the bench is what makes this year’s team heavily favored to make a championship appearance. The starting lineup now features Moe Williams, Anthony Parker, Antwan Jamison and Shaquille O'neal. One of the most productive benches in basketball includes Delonte West, Jamario Moon, Anderson Verejao and Zydrunas Illgauskas. The Cavs are twice improved over the 2008 team that the Celtics faced, while their depth off the bench gives them the firepower to play with any team they will face along the playoffs.
Cleveland holds home-court advantage as the No. 1 seed
This time two years ago when the two teams played, the Celtics had boasted the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference along with the claim to home-court advantage. 2010 is a different year as the Cavs hold home-court advantage throughout the entire playoffs. I’m sure the Cavs are more than happy to begin the Series in the "Q" rather than in the Celts "TD Gardens." This is one of the series’ more significant factors as the Cavaliers hold one of the NBA's best home records in the last two years.
Lack of production from Celtics bench
For what seems like the entire year, the Celtics have received no serious production from their bench players. To make matters worse, newly acquired Michael Finley and Nate Robinson have done nothing with the few minutes they've played this season. Proven veteran Rasheed Wallace, who was acquired with a large paycheck this summer, has struggled throughout the year to find his fit with the rest of the team. The "Big 3" (Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett) are going to need a helping hand from their teammates if they don't plan on watching the rest of the playoffs from their couch throughout May and June.
Prediction: Cavs win 4 games to 1
AFC North teams did a nice job overall in this year’s draft. Most teams addressed their main needs and picked up late round steals that very well could contribute next season. Here’s my breakdown of each team’s strongest picks as well as a final overall grade for their draft selections.
Get up-to-the-minute info on today's Opening Day festivities from our media partners at WCPO.com, including the latest weather forecast, traffic conditions, season preview and a poll asking what makes Opening Day so great.
Everyone’s heard of the “Madden Curse,” the seemingly inevitable downfall of any athlete who appears on the cover of EA Sports’ Madden-series video game. It’s the ultimate irony that the best player one season keeps having his next season ruined. How many years in a row can a new player be the best in the game?
CityBeat didn’t mean to contribute to the unfortunate weekend performances of the Bearcat and Bengal football teams when it put them on its Dec. 16 cover. All we were saying with our story, “Reversal of Fortune,” was that both teams’ great seasons meant even more success in the future. We didn’t mean to curse anyone. So we’re sorry if we did.
The story of Chris Henry had only recently become one of redemption. The oft-troubled wide receiver had by all accounts taken advantage of his last chance at a successful NFL career and become a responsible individual off the field. Henry died this morning due to injuries suffered during a car accident yesterday.
The details of the accident that resulted in the 26-year-old’s death are still being determined, but initial reports of a “domestic situation” make one believe that all was not as well in Henry’s private life as was displayed in a recent Enquirer story about Chris Henry the family man. Read the story of Henry’s renewed dedication to family here.
You know what’s funny? If you put UC’s skill players behind the Cleveland Browns’ offensive line, I guarantee they would score more than 7 points against the Bengals. That might not mean much about how crappy Cleveland is, but it means a lot that a collegiate defense will have to try to stop the Bearcats’ offensive collection of future pros this coming weekend.
With UC’s win over Illinois last Friday — which, at 49-36, was actually not very close at all — the Bearcats are set up for a season finale against Pitt for the Big East Championship. It kind of sucks that Pitt has already lost two games (one in the conference) and they have nearly as much to play for as UC, but whatever. Pitt’s current 5-1 Big East record will hold up if it beats UC, since the Bearcats’ lone loss would be the tiebreaker. Still, Pitt’s 19-16 loss to West Virginia last Saturday proves that it's a very beatable team.
University of Cincinnati football fans have enjoyed a couple of pretty great seasons the last two years. That’s partly why UC grad John Wise is in town during this homecoming weekend as part of his “One Great Season” project, a multi-media documentation of the 2009 college football season.
But although UC's recent success and 6-0 start this year is deserving of the recognition, Wise wouldn’t be here if he didn’t lose his job at WNBC-TV during the summer and choose a passion project over a job search. Wise, a 1994 UC graduate who's enjoyed a successful reporting career, decided to resurrect an idea he came up with back when he was in school at UC — to travel the country during an entire college football season, witnessing the year’s most intriguing games and its most historic programs.
The conclusion of Sunday’s Bengals win over Pittsburgh was both exciting and strange. It’s not very often you get to witness a last-second come-from-behind victory over a hated rival. Seeing it occur in your own stadium is even better. See you in Week 10 if you still matter, Stiller fans!
Upon hearing that the Eagles signed Michael Vick, I thought a few different things. Then I tried to put a filter on those thoughts, since I’m a Giants fan and might just think things because I've never liked the Eagles and never will.
Despite this, Donovan McNabb is one of those Derek Jeter types: a solid leader both off and on the field who still seems to be as much of a student of the game as he was during his first few years in the league. Even though you may hate the team he plays for, it is done begrudgingly because you know that the McNabbs and Jeters are the best of the best.
Like many Cincinnatians, I put patriotism in the reds. If you don’t love the Redlegs, according to the mantra of the city, you will be placed in the Dante’s layer of hell, which entails being eternally stuck in the mud and stung by wasps. But due to this phenomenon, attending a game at Great American Ball Park can feel like a revival, or an Obama speech.