LeBron James still has at least eight or nine more seasons of good basketball in him. He started straight out of high school, and even though it took him 8 years to finally get an NBA Championship, he is the best active player in the NBA. But is he just good enough, does he have the athletic and mental strength to reach the heights of the all-time best? The issue is out there. The virtual head-to-head is perhaps as fascinating to the NBA fan as an impossible matchup between the 1992 Team USA Olympic Dream Team and it's 2012 London homologue. And yet, Micheal Jordan's resume is so much more impressive than that of LeBron. But the credentials, the rings, is not all there is to this comparison.For intance, Kobe Bryant has 5 NBA Championships, just one less than Jordan, and yet, it seems that James is so much closer to be in the same stratospheric league as Jordan than Bryant. Perhaps the issue at hand here is that James physicality is just something that we haven't seen yet in a basketball player. And perhaps that gives him an edge over the field. At 6 feet 8 inches tall, and weighting in 250 pounds, the 27-year-old James has an unique skill set. He can run just as fast as any point guard in the league, he has the mobility of a much smaller and agile player, he can jump as high as any center, and he can certainly shoot and defend like few others.
Now, joining Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade at the Miami Heat, LeBron James has managed to get a very good to seasons since he made the decision to leavel the Cleveland Cavaliers and take his talents to South Beach. James signed off a remarkable year earlier this month with an Olympic gold medal for Team USA. In the last 12 months James won his third league MVP, his first NBA championship and an NBA Finals MVP. But what has certainly sparked up the conversation lately has been the comments given by James teammate Dwayne Wade. "I don't know if (James) has the ability to surpass (Jordan) or not," said in an interview last week "That's yet to be seen. My version as LeBron being on par with Michael is this: They're both on the golf course. Michael's on the 18th hole.LeBron is somewhere on like the fourth hole. He's got a long way to go, but he's on par to get to the 18th hole." From a safe distance, it looks as if Wade's evaluation seems very fair based. James is young, his potential is still as important as his achievements. If he can continue building up around him in Miami, many good things are still to come. "He's now playing with that confidence, that swagger that you need, and he's right in the smack of his prime. We've all seen it from all the best players in this game, all the future Hall of Famers, that age -- 27, 28, 29 -- that's like the best years, and then after that if you stay healthy, then you have even more great years like a Michael Jordan, like a Kobe (Bryant) has had, when they reach their 30s." It seems as if only time will tell.
It really seems as if the Boston Celtics know exactly what it takes to keep the Miami Heat under the radar. The Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo had a triple-double and Kevin Garnet came in with 19 points, 7 boards and 3 assists to guide the Celtics on a 85-82 come from behind win against the Miami Heat. In clutch time, the Heat took their chances and went for a three-point shot that would have sent the game into overtime. But surprise, surprise, it wasn't Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh or LeBron James who took the shot, but Mike Miller who went for it and missed.There are a couple of ways we could look at this situation. The Miami Heat has made a multimillion-dollar investment in signing in three of the hottest players in the league early in the season. The renovated team that included players of the caliber of Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James had a bit of an extended break in period but once all the mechanisms were working together and things got oiled up, the Miami Heat was capable of impressive wins over the strongest teams in the nation, including a Christmas Day win over the defending champions the LA Lakers.But they have yet to know what it feels like to defeat the National Championship runner-up, the veteran-wise Boston Celtics. Here are the extra kicks: playing in the eastern conference the Celtics are expectedly the team that is going to dominate the Playoffs where they will probably face the Miami Heat (which is arguably the other strongest team in that conference). And that is where the situation takes an interesting turn.Take a look at this: The Boston Celtics have won 12 of the last 13 games against the Miami, that is including a 4-1 series victory in the first round of last year's playoffs. Yes that was before King James came over from Cleveland. But if you look back at that series you would realize that they then knocked LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers out in the next round. So sure, in the summer James made his move to Miami to join Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, but not muchas has changed: the Heat still haven't been able to beat Boston.Now, this is where it gets a bit scary for most Boston fans or at least those of us who have our high hopes, and made an early bet on the Celtics to go all the way: head coach Doc Rivers should really find a way to keep his squad healthy, as the Big Three, Paul Pierce, Ray Allan and Kevin Garnett, are all in the twilight of their careers and no matter how well they do in the regular season, it is all worthless if they are not as strong and as motivated as they are right now when the playoffs kickoff.This was enough for the Celtics two snap a two game loss streak and maintain their healthy record of not losing three consecutive games so far this season. The Celtics will now play the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday and hitting the road to play Golden State, Denver, Los Angeles Clippers and Utah this upcoming week.
It was a key win for No.5 Texas that needed to digest losing the first place in the AP poll on Monday because of the setback, suffered on Saturday, against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.Putting things back in place was the premise for the Texas Longhorns on Tuesday night, when they received the Iowa State Cyclones, as they looked to recover from the weekend defeat against the Nebraska Cornhuskers by 70-67, which cost them the first place in the AP poll. Finding themselves as No. 5 on Monday was a hard knock for the Longhorns, but they knew that there was no reason to look back as there is still way to go.Jordan Hamilton also wanted to focus in the present and leave behind a two-game shooting slump, reason why he spent extra time in the gym in an effort to get his shot back. And you know what they say: hard work is the key to success, phrase that Hamilton was about to experience with his 20 points against the Cyclones. The contender for Big 12 of the year also contributed to the victory with eight rebounds and one steal.For his teammate Tristan Thompson "Jordan came out with sparks flying," he said in reference to Hamilton's performance, which included consecutive 3-pointers in just 30 seconds during the second half, giving Texas a 19 point lead that left the Cyclones without options for a come from behind win.This was something that Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg had very clear and described as "a battle you can't win when you get down 20." He felt the game was lost early in the second half, when they allowed the nine point difference to turn into 20 in less than four minutes.
Thompson also played a big role in the 76-53 home win, as he was the top performer for Texas with 17 points, 14 rebounds, two assists and three blocks, recording a double-digit point game for the sixth time in his career. Not to forget that for the ninth time in the season he led the team in rebounds.As for the Cyclones this defeat by 23 points represented their fourth blowout loss of the season, which also extended their losing streak to 10 games. Looking at the Big 12 standings Iowa State's loss against Texas wasn't hard to predict, as they occupy the last place in the Conference with a 1-12 record and 14-14 overall. This made things easier for the Longhorns to beat the 18 point spread.Against Texas and for the 13th time in the season Diante Garrett led Iowa State in points with 16 that night, accounting 30.1% of the Cyclone's points. He has been pretty consistent in the last eight games where he has finished with straight double-digit points, but the team as a whole is his antithesis.With only three games left in the tournament the Cyclones can only wish for putting and end to their 11 loss streak and finish the season with a winning record. As for Texas, leader of the Big 12, it's almost time to start thinking about March Madness.Both of them will play this coming Saturday, February 26. Texas will do so on the road against the Colorado Buffaloes, and Iowa State will receive the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
For residents and visitors of Scottsdale, make sure to get out and get involved in this year's March Madness. March Madness is really heating up and watching the excitement with like minded sports fans always enhances the enjoyment. Here are just a few of the hot spots where you can go to share the thrill of the season.Four Peaks Brewery : This is a terrific experience for beer enthusiasts and sports fans alike. Four Peaks takes pride in their on-site brewery, which has produced a number of award winning brews since they opened their doors. Four Peaks has two locations, a fun and historic environment, relaxed atmosphere and tasty food. It's a good choice for watching the final four excitement while sampling some of the most unique and enjoyable brews. 15730 N.
Pima Rd., Scottsdale.Zipps Sports Grille: With various Valley locations - and each one differing as to its favorite pick, no matter where you go they still offer the same delicious homemade menu and large selection of your favorite libations served by a very friendly crew. You can watch the game on H.D. flat screen TV's, or play a game of pool or shuffleboard in your Neighborhood Sports Grill. Remember to bring your friends along or if you like, make new ones at a Zipps location near you. Check their website for the various locations.Blue 32: Here's another place where you can enjoy your favorite team on one of their 28 flat screen hi-def televisions. Relax and enjoy a tasty burger or some spicy wings. The friendly staff there prides themselves on preparing quality food and ensuring that their visitors have a fantastic dining experience. 7293 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale.Arcadia Tavern: Even though it's only been open for about two years, Arcadia Tavern can host March Madness like any of the more seasoned taverns.
The bar has twenty-four, 50-inch flat screen TVs surrounding it. The all day special on Saturday, is bottled beer for half price. They serve delicious wings which you can order in a number of ways: tavern-style, with cayenne pepper sauce, with sweet citrus teriyaki or with southwest honey chipotle. By the way, if you can't find a babysitter just bring the kids with you. There are Xbox and Wii stations set up to keep the wee one entertained so the grown-ups can unwind. 4801 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix.