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In the midst of the NBA playoffs, the Warriors have beaten the Houston Rockets twice; once in which Stephen Curry played only 20 minutes, lit up the scoring, then got hurt and sat for the rest of the rout(game). In the 2nd match up, Curry didn't play due to injury...opening up tremendous opportunities for Houston. Didn't pan out though as the Golden State Warriors won again, even without Curry. Of course there could be a variety of reasons for the results...but one suggestion is that James Harden's defense is simply not that stellar. Below a video of some of his shining moments on defense: "Great Moments in James Harden Defensive History" on espn.go.com
Admittedly I'm a basketball junkie. Its nice to have an outlet like this section of DR.com. I can rip off a quick piece without the need to create my own blog, be an editor, research, write, rewrite, edit, find and place pictures, and spend an enormous amount of time on each piece. This is easier, quicker. Thanks, Don. But I found this article, "Kevin Love: Overrated, Underrated, or Properly Rated?" about the ongoing Kevin Love trade, written by Bill Simmons to include a wonderful piece that completely captures the unique basketball brilliance that made Barkley one of the signature players of the NBA. Simmons is the editor of Grantland a repository of smart and clever writers about sports. Simmon's expertise is basketball. He is an unabashed junkie, a fan, a Boston Celtics homer, and combines love of the game with research and wonderful writing. In the above referenced article he strives to dissect the Kevin Love trade to Cleveland matching Love up with LeBron James. Its a high risk trade on behalf of both teams. Cleveland is giving up someone who could develop into an all-time all star, Andrew Wiggins before he ever plays a game in the NBA. Love is a current star, but is not an all-time transcendent player. Wiggins might develop into one of those unique players. Wiggins almost assuredly couldn't pair with LeBron at this point and contribute the strengths that Love can provide right now. The trade offers drama and its consequences or who made out best won't be decided for years to come. Meanwhile matching Love with Lebron today creates the possibility of an instant top of the line contender for NBA championship honors for next season and possibly a couple of seasons. Simmons' articles often include long discourses on NBA history and various stars. He has an inimitable style of writing with catchy phrases and thoughts. I thought he hit a home run in this one especially as he compared Love to Barkley when Barkley was traded in his prime. Simmons acknowledges Love is no Barkley and here are his thoughts on "Sir Charles" when he was at his best...... (my bolding of certain lines below) I agree with Simmons. During Barkley's early years in Philadelphia I often purchased packages of games to the Wizards/Bullets. The Bullets and 76ers played often. Barkley was a magical player with a magical dimension. Nobody has played quite like him before or since. When Barkley grabbed a rebound on the defensive side and turned to race down the court on a drive, the seas would part. No player would dare to get in his way. No player has had so much bulk, racing at so much speed, hell bent toward the basket. I sat in the stands and wanted to get out of the way. He was SCARY. Scary good and talented. But forget what I write. Reread Simmons above. "Barkley a tornado with legs"....."F---this I'm getting out of the way" That is exactly as I recall him. Never seen anything like it, before or since.
If you have followed local sports for a fairly long time the name Steve Francis rings a bell. He grew up in this area, played 2 years of excellent JR college basketball and then one marvelous season at the University of MD, 1998-99 Following that season he was the 2nd choice in the NBA draft. He had several excellent seasons and then slowly succumbed to injuries and personal issues. At one point though probably stretching from that season at MD through about 5 years in the pros he was simply one of the more exciting dynamic basketball players or more narrowly guards in the NBA and the world. His athleticism was extraordinary and his game was accomplished Problems in his life emerged. He somewhat disappeared from public view. Here is his recent revelatory story of his life from selling drugs in his youth in Takoma Park to college, the NBA, and his life afterwards. It is remarkable: "I Got a Story To Tell" by Steve Francis on playerstribune.com
Olajuwon had just absolutely great moves as a center. Great moves and they were so much quicker than anyone defending him. Here is video of when he crushed...just demolished David Robinson in a playoff match. Probably the best "moves" of any notable center, ever: ....and you have to listen to Robinson speaking of the match up.....