Connect with us

Basketball

#FlashbackFriday: In Game Fans

Published

on

March 27th, 1998, an NBA record 62,046 fans watched Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls 89-74 win over the Atlanta Hawks. In a two year window, the Hawks used the Georgia Dome as a home arena while their current home, the State Farm Arena (formerly the Phillips Arena), was being constructed. Many assumed that it was going to be Jordan’s last trip to play the Hawks (they had no idea about the later Wizards run!), and a reported 8,000 people there couldn’t even see the floor. 8,000 tickets were for seats that had a good view of the large video screen, not the floor itself. Jordan had a magnificent 34 points, many were over the top of and around legendary rim Defender Dikembe Mutombo. Further, his airness held Steve Smith to just 11 (Smith averaged just over 20 ppg that season).

(Note: the second highest total was the earlier time Jordan came through Atlanta in the Georgia Dome that season, and just over 45,000 saw it in person)

If you’re really missing hoops like I am, here’s some Mike highlights from that game. The reverse finish at 5:00 is beautiful. The one at 7:05 is clearly a move Kobe studied. His dunk at 8:30 clearly had dudes scared.

Now, 22 years later, we are sitting with a very real chance at watching NBA games, like those 8,000 fans, only on screens. As life without basketball goes on, the reality seems more and more likely that if this season is salvaged, there will be a period of time where it is in empty arenas.

Currently, an average of 885,000 people watch a given nationally televised NBA game, and the largest arena seats just under 21,000. The vast majority of us watch games on TV, online, or some combination of the two. But what is evident in the clips above is how present the fans in an NBA game can be. Sure,  even the 62,000 person Georgia Dome is just a fraction of an audience of 885,000, but their presence is felt in the reactions to the game. Jordan baiting Smith into fouls draws audible boo’s, him being upset with a poor call on himself draws cheers.

LeBron James has come out again this week, on Dave McMenamin’s Road Trippin’ podcast, against the idea that NBA games would continue in front of fans.

“What is the word ‘sport’ without ‘fan?’ There’s no excitement. There’s no crying. There’s no joy. There’s no back-and forth. There’s no rhyme or reason that you want to go on the road and just dethrone the home team because of their fans and vice versa.” He would continue with “that’s what also brings out the competitive side of the players to know that you’re going on the road in a hostile environment and yes, you’re playing agains that opponent in front of you, but you really want to kick the fans’ a—too.”

LeBron has been the voice of NBA players for a long time, and it stands to reason that a lot of the league agrees with him. But if it’s the only option… Does that matter?

Even if the audiences were 62,000 people, the NBA misses the TV contract money and the 885,000 viewers much, much more. If they were going to get to or finish the NBA Finals before Labor Day Weekend next September, even with an abbreviated ending to the regular season they likely would have to begin playing before July 1st.  

And the southerner in me has to point out that if the games go later than that, the Lakers should discernably not be wearing their white alternates after Labor Day.

But on a more serious note, even the season ending on Labor Day has a serious impact on the next season. The NBA Finals participants would have roughly 2 months before the start of the next season as scheduled. All off season moves, training, and (perhaps most importantly) rest would have to happen in that condensed period. It would undoubtedly set up a hazardous 2020-2021 season, after one scared by injury. But, if they delayed the next season… we likely just push the problem back. Or, do teams have to play a ton of back to backs? Multiple four games in five nights? The difficulties continue with the longer the games get pushed.

The games will be different if not one person is in the stands, for sure. The energy in an NBA arena, especially a playoff or “playoff type” of game is palpable, and is a key part of the game.

But this season’s already been weird. We’ve already seen the game and season feel altered… so of course the ending will.

And as we’ve seen, fans will pay entry to watch on TV, so it’s not like no one would watch in an empty arena…

Ahem- sidebar; can we talk about allowing trash talk mics now?

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Basketball

Is The Brooklyn Nets’ Offense The New High Powered defense? by Chris Allen

Published

on

By

They say offense wins games and defense wins championships, but there’s a new Brooklyn Nets roster that might change this ancient philosophy in sports. The Nets are sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference.

I’ve been watching the revitalized Nets with James Harden’s addition in one of the biggest blockbuster trades this season. With the addition of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and now Harden, the Brooklyn Nets arguably have three of the top 7 most unguardable players in the league. This causes a nightmare for defenses. After all, you can’t double-team anybody because you’re going to leave another prolific scorer open. Blake Griffin’s addition to the roster will make it challenging for defenses to have a scheme other than one on one. 

With their lineup’s construction, no one would be surprised if they got a bucket on every offensive possession. It must be demoralizing from a defensive standpoint to try to do your best to contest a layup from Irving as he can put your best defender on skates. Or try and put an undersized defender on 7’0 Durant because your bigs don’t have the quickness and agility to stay with him. Last but not least, you have to try not to foul Harden, who recently hacked the officiating rule perfecting his step-back three. 

With the focus on those three, how are the rest of your team not subject to being a poster prop for the year’s dunk with DeAndre Jordan and Griffin. 

From a sport psychology standpoint, you can’t go an entire fourth quarter in a close competitive game when every possession they do some lack of a better term “2K Hall of Fame Shit” without losing your competitive edge. Essentially their offense is so good that it puts pressure on the opposition to defend them on the defensive side and attempt to keep up with them on the offensive side, adding more stress to each player on the opposite team to make a play to stay in the game. This allows the Nets to be essentially mediocre on defense, and if they get a stop or create turnovers, you not only lost possession, but you put the ball back into their hands which is what you don’t want to do late in the 4th quarter. 

At this point, the only thing that can stop the Nets is a COVID protocol or injury. If the Nets stay healthy and work together as a team, it’ll be a tough challenge for anybody in the West, let alone in the East, to take down such an offense of powerhouse. With Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni on the sidelines just inflating the offense, even more, this team is dangerous. 

Irving can drop 40 on any night; Harden can get as many four-point plays as he wants, and Durant receives the green light whenever he touches the ball. Even if they miss their shots, they still have pretty solid rebounders in Nicolas Claxton, Jordan, and Griffin to reset the offense. 

Let’s not forget that they still have one of the best three-point shooters in the league, Joe Harris, waiting on defenders to make a mistake the man almost can’t miss. If the Nets make it to the NBA finals, they could threaten the Los Angeles Lakers’ chances of repeating. Then again, I guess there’s only one way to determine if the offense can win you a championship. 

Continue Reading

Basketball

Five Players In The NBA That Can Finish Their Careers With Greater On-Court Legacies Than LeBron James by @ReelTPJ

Published

on

Five players in the league can finish their careers with more extraordinary court legacies than LeBron James. GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO, Zion Williamson, Luka Dončić, Ja Morant, and LaMelo Ball. Here’s why:

GOAT for GOAT LeBron can challenge any GOAT from Bill Russell, a pioneer amongst pioneers and leaders amongst leaders. To a GOAT such as Wilt Chamberlain, who stacked the numbers so high, not even James Harden iso’s in a Mike D’Antoni system could catch. To a GOAT such as Michael Jordan, the GOAT OF MY GOATS GOATS. It’s Mike. I’m from Chicago.

Off-the-court legacy, LeBron is tied with Jordan. Jordan is 50+ doing all this. LeBron is still in his 30s. LeBron’s done so much that I think it would be unfair to compare legacies. Michael Jordan is the precursor. So it’s hard to say LeBron can ever be better than him to those that love Mike. LeBron loves Mike.— That futuristic artificial intelligence Virtual Reality game of LeBron vs. MJ will be WILD in 2030.

LeBron’s current challengers, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant, can’t catch him. Period. They’re old. They teamed up to beat bro. PLUS health. — Steph is my guy. He’s the only unanimous MVP and probably will be until Zion wins his first ring in 2025.

After Steph, THERE IS nobody good enough heading into their prime to challenge Bron’s legacy ON THE COURT. This era, 2015-2035, will also be the age of technology and the “stat” era. 50 years from now, Bron will be the first of a new generation of GOATS. He’ll be top 5 in every statistical category. Before the True Shooting percentage nerds took over the game, LeBron accumulated a large part of those numbers before the stat era began.

Also, this is the dawn of a new century. Basketball has been around for 130 years at this point. Really in its most proper form since 1970.
So let’s get to why these guys can challenge LeBron’s legacy.

GIANNIS

Giannis is a 2X MVP and a DPOY through 8 seasons in the NBA. His numbers are still on par with last year’s. He continues to shine. BIGGEST QUESTION IS…… CAN HE WIN? I’m not sure. I hope he can. I think Giannis can win 5-7 rings if paired with the right guard. Imagine Ja and GIANNIS! OMG OMG OMG! One can dream, right? Still, Giannis has GOAT potential. He has everything you want in a player; he’s young, built like a horse (I’ve talked to him in person postgame), and he’s building his game out.
He’s a better player than LeBron was at this age. His offensive bag isn’t as big as LeBron, but LeBron isn’t 6’11 and built like Giannis.

ZION WILLIAMSON

ATHLETIC FREAK OF NATURE. LOOK AT THESE STATS OVER THE LAST 9 GAMES!

THIS MAN IS 20 YEARS OLD. This man’s numbers vs. LeBron’s are INSANE! Look at this:

These numbers are insane. Yes, this is an offensive generation, but who’s bodying Zion? Who’s FIGHTING ZION? In what era? WHO?

He made Tristan Thompson look like a child. SMH. And Thompson is a BIG dude who I’ve very rarely seen get abused like that. His play is Shaq-like. Plus, he’s averaging 26 points on 16 shots per game—less than Anthony Edwards. Edwards is averaging 16.8, and Zion’s played 21 games MORE than Anthony. TWENTY-ONE GAMES MORE!

LUKA Dončić

He’s MY SON. LUKKKKKKKKKAAAAAAAAAA! If he can win 3-4 rings, I think he can challenge LeBron’s legacy. He’ll have so many stats behind him. Currently, I think he has to develop his defensive game and learn to shoot and finish games better.

JA MORANT

Ja is the biggest X-Factor in the NBA. BUT he won’t be if he stays with the Memphis Grizzlies. Request a trade and LEAVE JA. LEAVE! No one wants to play for the Grizzlies.

LAMELO BALL

I told all of you, LeBron, and Kobe all in one. He’s only 19 years old! I think he has considerable potential and age for age. It’s a conversation, statistically!

LOOK:

So that’s the list! All legit arguments.

MY BAD: And I know I use to say Ben Simmons could challenge LeBron; he doesn’t have an offensive skillset when it comes to scoring. You have to do everything Bron does plus score to challenge him.

ALL STATS FROM BASKETBALL REFERENCE.

Continue Reading

Basketball

The Bulls Got Better by Pavy

Published

on

By

Suppose you follow me on Twitter; the war against the Chicago Bulls Twitter is well documented. Yes, I’m from Chicago, but I enjoy being right more than supporting my hometown teams. My main riff started in the Jim Boylen era when Bulls fans told me he was a God-awful coach. My whole point was that even though he wasn’t the best coach, he wasn’t as bad as people think. The talent on the roster just wasn’t up to where it should’ve been, and it didn’t matter who was coaching. That team wasn’t that good.

This season there has been a slight improvement. Primarily because of the play of Zach LaVine. He’s averaging 28.1 points this season, but what is most impressive is his percentages. He’s shooting 52% from the field while shooting 43% from a distance. Hitting the shots that he shoots, which usually have a substantial degree of difficulty, is INSANE efficiency. But then the trade deadline happened, and the Bulls did something that we rarely as an organization see them do. MAKE TRADES.

When I woke up Thursday morning, the group chat was already in shambles. It was at least 20 messages, and I was confused. Then I logged on Twitter to find out Nikola Vučević and Daniel Theis were the Bulls’ newest members. Both players make this team much better than when I laid my head down for some sleep. For one, they have two legitimate All-Stars. Something the Bulls haven’t had since I was 21. For context, I’ll be 30 in less than two months. Also, it shows the team, and most importantly, the fan base, they’re dedicated to winning. No, this move probably won’t put them in the Finals. They still might be a first-round exit, but at least it’s something to be excited about.

It’s been a long road for Bulls fans throughout the Gar Forman and John Paxson era. I honestly believe Derrick Rose getting hurt was the worst thing that could’ve happened, not precisely the roster decision they made. But regardless, it looks like the new regime has a vision, and they aren’t scared to take shots. The Bulls historically don’t trade that often. Especially not mid-season. The most significant mid-season acquisitions I can remember is probably Jalen Rose. All in all, I’m excited about Bulls fans and the city of Chicago to watch actual competitive basketball again.

Continue Reading

SLiC TV