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NBA nba finals

Jim Mancari, SNYNets.com

On Monday, Jason Kidd decided to call it quits after a 19-year career that saw him make 10 All-Star Teams and five All-NBA First Teams. He won an NBA championship as a member of the Dallas Mavericks and retires third on the list of all-time three-point shot makers?trailing just Reggie Miller (second) and Ray Allen (first).

Tags: Brooklyn Nets, dallas mavericks, ESPN, Jason Kidd, jason kidd retires, kidd, kidd retires, knicks, NBA, nba fan, nba finals, Nets, new jersey nets, New York Knicks
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I've posted stuff from a great site that my boy Dan runs called Westcheddar. Dan is a proud new pappa, his son was born on his birthday. But this dedicated blogger interviewed us seemingly from the delivery room. Check it out and congrats again Dan, enjoy fatherhood.

"...The NBA Finals start tonight, featuring one of the greatest sports rivalries of all time, Lakers vs. Celtics. ?If you?re my age, you grew up watching these two teams duke it out in the 80?s. ?And just two years ago, they faced off in the NBA Finals, with the Celtics coming out on top. ?But it should be noted that the Lakers are the defending champions (they beat the Magic last year), so it should be an interesting series to say the least. ?I?m excited, so I called on my Westcheddar hoops analysts who previewed the season back in ?09 (all White Plains guys), Tommy Dee of The Knicks Blog, coach Johnny Halas from Amherst College, and coach Brian Duignan from Mamaroneck, to take a look back at this year?s playoffs and give us the inside scoop on what to expect in the Finals. ?These are the guys you want sitting next to you at the bar watching the game.

IP: ?So boys, what did you think of the playoffs thus far? ?Amazing? ?Boring? ?Fun to watch?

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I really thought that this series was going to be a good one.? The Lakers had a tough series with Denver.? The Magic handled the Cavs in the Eastern Conference finals.? The Lakers looked as though they could be beaten.? The Magic looked like a team of destiny.? With the NBA season coming to a close last night, reality set in for me.

Even though game one was more of a fluke than otherwise, that Laker blowout told everyone one thing.? The Lakers were clearly the better team.... and that was not even close.? To win this series, the Lakers would have had to let down a bit and the Magic would have had to play mistake free basketball.? Losing the series 4-1, the Magic played nowhere near mistake free hoops.? Countless brutal turnovers by Jameer Nelson and Rafer Alston had me scratching my head.? There were passes that Nelson threw in this series where he would jump in the air, toss the ball in a seemingly random direction, and hope that there was a teammate in that vicinity.? A lot of those passes did not end up being turnovers because Nelson (and Alston too) was lucky enough to have teammates in the area.? However, for a three point shooting team, those poor passes were effectively turnovers.? Three point shooters have their feet set beyond the arc awaiting passes.? When the shooter has to move from that spot, his rhythm is disrupted and his window of opportunity closes.? Overall, the Magic had poor PG play this series.? Where was Anthony Johnson when they needed him?

The Lakers smothered Dwight Howard this series with their length.? Howard, aside from game 4, was not a dominant force in this series.? Speaking of Dwight Howard, I love his game and if I could start a team with any two mega-stars, it would be LeBron and Howard.? But this guy has to learn how to shoot free-throws.? That game 4 loss will forever be remembered as the game that Howard could not seal the deal with 1 of 2 free throws with 11 seconds left on the clock.? Howard will develop his offensive game and will be a champion in his career, but he has to? learn how to hit his free throws.? The Lakers were too good for him to miss that many.

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I am not sure about everyone else, but I think this will be a good NBA Finals between the Magic and the Lakers. While I think the Lakers will win it, I think the series will be closer than most think. The Magic are resilient, perhaps the most resilient team in the NBA this year. As we saw in both the Boston and Cleveland series, the Magic have a knack for clawing their way back into games thanks in part to the 3 point line and to Dwight Howard.

Phil Jackson has stated that he has nobody that can defend Dwight Howard. He mentioned both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum as players that will get Howard as their defensive task. Both of those players are long, so Jackson believes that they might be able to slow the big man down. More importantly, Jackson believes, and I agree, that the Lakers have the length to defend the perimeter. Players like Turkoglu and Lewis will have players like Ariza, Gasol, and Odom putting their hands up to defend against the 3 point ball.

Look for Trevor Ariza to further establish himself this series as he will likely have to defend Hedo Turkoglu or Lewis. Despite that length, I will be intrigued to see how the Orlando shooters perform. They are a sharpshooting team, no question about it. One problem they will face is that the Lakers do not plan on double-teaming Howard in the paint. That means that the Magic shooters will not be wide open to spot up from beyond the arc.

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Unfortunately, I know what's going to happen.

NBA officials for Game 3 are going to see that 38-10 differential and call things much more closely, if not more in favor of the Lakers, so that they can make ratings this a series.

And I'm begging them not to.

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