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Sports Then and Now



NBA’s 70-Point Club 6

Posted on March 06, 2014 by Scott Huntington

LeBron James’ recent offensive performance scoring 61 points against the Charlotte Bobcats makes him the 64th player to score at least 60 points in NBA history. It seems almost impossible to beat that record, or to top James’ sheer brilliance of mixing skill with durability and consistency throughout a single game. However, five players have surpassed that feat and propelled themselves into one of the most exclusive groups in sports: the 70-point club.

Wilt Chamberlain

wilt

Without a doubt, the king of single-game scoring is Chamberlain. The Lakers legend scored at least 70 points in a single game six times, which is easily the most ever. Chamberlain also holds the overall record for points in a game, with 100 for the Philadelphia Warriors against the New York Knicks in a 169-147 victory in 1962. The 100-point performance shattered the previous record, which Chamberlain had set less than three months earlier, of 78 points. Perhaps the most impressive part of his 100-point record was the fact that Chamberlain made 28 of 32 free throws as a .511 free-throw percentage shooter. Chamberlain would also score 70, 72, and 73 points in NBA games.

Kobe Bryant

kobe

Another Lakers great scored the second most points in a single NBA game ever. Bryant was simply unstoppable in his 81-point performance that lifted the Lakers over the Toronto Raptors in 2006. On his own, Bryant outscored the entire Raptors team 55-41 in the second half. The Raptors would have needed a Columbia utility vehicle in order to stop Bryant in the final 24 minutes of that game. Bryant shot the ball relatively few times considering his 81 points. He made 28 of 46 from the floor and added 18 points via free throws. Read the rest of this entry →

Win Or Bust: Will The Miami Heat Seal Their Legacy With A Three-peat? 1

Posted on January 17, 2014 by Kimberly Baker
Will Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade be able to lead the Miami Heat to a third straight title?

Will Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade be able to lead the Miami Heat to a third straight title?

The Miami Heat are in a position to prove the world that they are one of the all-time greatest teams in NBA history. By pulling off a three-peat, they will join the ranks of the Minneapolis Lakers of the 1950s, the Boston Celtics of 1960’s, the Chicago Bulls of the 1990s, and the Los Angeles Lakers of the 2000’s.

While many NBA betting odds makers believe that the Heat are poised to win this year because of their accomplishments in the last two seasons, it should be remembered that winning three straight championships is not easy. Just ask Hakeem Olajuwon, Isaiah Thomas, and Magic Johnson, among others. They won back to back championships only to fail in their quest to win the third one. Read the rest of this entry →

Miami Heat Are Great, But Not GREAT 2

Posted on May 26, 2013 by Dean Hybl
1973-Knicks

The 1973 New York Knicks featured six future Hall of Fame players as well as one player (can you recognize him in this photo?) who would go on to become a HOF coach.

There has been quite a bit of discussion in recent weeks regarding how the current Miami Heat compare to some of the great teams in NBA history.

A pair of Hall of Famers and former New York Knicks stars Walt Frazier and Earl “The Pearl” Monroe have especially been criticized for daring to suggest that while the Heat are an excellent team, they have no business being considered among the great teams in NBA history.

It seems popular in our current society to think that whatever is happening now is “bigger”, “better” and “greater” than anything that could have ever happened in the “old days”. To today’s 20-somethings, NBA history means acknowledging that there was indeed a league before LeBron James and past stars like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are better known as television pitch-men than for anything they ever did on the court.

To the current generation, the standard for a “great” team has been a squad with two or three legitimate All-Stars and then a collection of solid role players.  That model actually dates all the way back to the Chicago Bulls teams of the 1990s when Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant (for the first three)/Dennis Rodman (for the last three) and a bunch of guys who made occasional contributions and filled specific roles won six titles.

Of course the “big three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are the latest and greatest example of this strategy for building a team. Since their celebrated move to Miami in 2010 this group has led the Heat to a pair of appearances in the NBA Finals and the 2012 title. This season the Heat won 37 of their final 39 games, including 27 straight, and appear poised for another title run. Read the rest of this entry →

NBA Preview: Why Even Play The Regular Season? 0

Posted on October 29, 2012 by Dean Hybl

The Miami Heat are one of only eight franchises that have won the NBA Championship during the 28 year reign of Commissioner David Stern.

As the 2012-2013 NBA season begins in earnest this week, you have to wonder why they are even bothering playing the 82 game regular season. In the 28 seasons since David Stern became NBA Commissioner in 1984, only eight franchises have won the NBA Championship and given the continued stockpiling of talent by the most dominant franchises it seems highly unlikely that the monopoly will be broken this season.

In fact, on paper it looks like you can pencil in the defending champion Miami Heat and perennial champion Los Angeles Lakers for a star studded championship series.

Of course we all know that you don’t play the games on paper, but in a sports world where achieving parity and creating a competitive balance that provides every team and their fan base legitimate hope that they can win a title has generally become the norm, Stern and the NBA have gone in the exact opposite direction.

Not only does the NBA rank dead last in the percentage of franchises that have won a championship in the last 28 years with just 27%, compared to 43.8% for the NFL, 50% for the NHL and 60% for MLB, but they also are easily last in the total number of franchises that have even simply made it to the finals. Since 1984, 60% of NBA teams (18 of 30) have reached the finals. The NHL has the next lowest percentage at 73.3%, followed by the NFL at 78.1% and MLB at 80%.

What is quite amazing about those statistics is that the NBA continues to be able to convince cities across the country to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on new facilities and fans to shell out thousands of dollars on season tickets even when there is little chance their team will ever have a chance at significant, or long-term, success.

In 2010 the Orlando Magic opened a new arena at a cost of about $480 million with the Magic contributing about $50 million and the remainder being financed through public funding. Read the rest of this entry →

“The Decision” Is Not the Only Reason for the NBA’s Success 21

Posted on July 08, 2011 by A.J. Foss

The Miami Heat were must-see TV this year, but there were many other teams that NBA fans tuned in to watch.

It has now been one year since “The Decision”, the infamous one-hour show on ESPN where LeBron James announced that he would be “taking my talents to South Beach” to join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami to play for the Heat.

According to some members of the media, it was this one hour that was the sole reason for the NBA to have their best season since Michael Jordan and the Bulls in the late 1990s.

But in my opinion, the league had been gaining momentum in the previous few years prior to “The Decision”.

The NBA’s resurgence really began during the 2007-08 season when the league’s two most legendary franchises, the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, returned to championship prominence and ended up meeting in the Finals.

Ratings for that year’s playoffs and NBA Finals increased significantly from the year before where ratings for the NBA Finals reached an all-time low when the San Antonio Spurs swept the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Celtics and the Lakers have remained title contenders in the three seasons after their meeting in the 2008 Finals as Los Angeles would go on to win the next two NBA championships, including a seven-game series win over the Celtics in 2010. Read the rest of this entry →

Heat is Really On LeBron and Miami 11

Posted on June 10, 2011 by Dean Hybl

It isn't yet clear how the 2011 Finals will impact LeBron's legacy.

From the day he announced that he was leaving Cleveland and taking his talents to South Beach, LeBron James has been under a media microscope that judges his legacy from game to game. Now after consecutive sub-par performances and with the Miami Heat trailing the Dallas Mavericks three games to two, it really is time for James to determine how people will look at him for years to come.

When James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade teamed up to form the “Big Three”, they talked about winning multiple championships and many across the league predicted a dynasty in the making.

However, many, including myself, also thought it would take the Heat a couple years to get comfortable playing together and finding the right supporting cast and that Boston and the Lakers would have one more championship battle before the dawning of the Heat Era.

That Miami dispatched of both the Celtics and the Chicago Bulls so easily in the Eastern Conference playoffs made us forget just how hard it is to get over the hump and win that first NBA Championship. Read the rest of this entry →

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