Monday, June 2, 2008

Lakers and Celtics- It's About Time

One of the reasons the NBA is so popular today is because of these two dominant franchises. Together, they have won the championship 30 times out of 61 seasons. After this year, it will be 31 out of 62, exactly half of the time. The Boston Celtics hold a record 16 championships, while the Lakers are in second with 14. The Lakers have been to the Finals a record 29 times, while the Celtics have won their Conference title a second best 20 times. Many legendary players of the past wore the Celtics Green and the Lakers Gold: George Mikan, Bob Cousy, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Robert Parish, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kevin McHale... With such talented players meeting in the Finals 10 years, many individual rivalries have begun:

Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain were the most dominant big men of their time, if not of all time. Watching these two go at it in the post must have been quite a treat. Too bad Wilt only played on the Lakers for one year before Bill retired.

The great Magic-Bird rivalry. These two hall-of-famers popularized the NBA and made the Finals a must-watch. Between the two of them, they won 8 chamiponships in 9 years.

Although not so much a rivalry...yet, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett are no doubt the leaders of their teams. They alone have willed their teammates to play their hardest and make it this far. Both have something to prove in this series. Kobe has to show that he can win a ring without Shaq at his side, and Kevin has to prove that he can win a ring at all. The 2008 Finals will be one for the history books, as I'm sure it'll end in an exciting Game 7. I can't wait for Thursday.

As a side note, this is also another chance for Phil Jackson to surpass Red Auerbach as the coach with the most championships. They are currently tied at 9. The good news is that Phil currently holds the record for the best playoff winning percentage, having won over 70% so far.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lakers Update

So far, the Lakers have been cruising through the playoffs. After sweeping the high-scoring Denver Nuggets, they fended off the aggressive Utah Jazz. They are now making the defending champ Spurs look like a team of old men, as they have extended their lead in the series to 3-1 after stealing a game in San Antonio. With a team composed of 10 men over the age of 30, the Spurs are highly experienced, but they simply cannot keep up with the more fast-paced Laker team. Nevertheless, the Lakers will have to play their hardest on Thursday, as the Spurs have been known to make great comebacks. I had personally thought that they would lose to the young Hornets team, but they proved me wrong.
Although Charles Barkley credits Manu Ginobli as the best player on the Spurs, Tim Duncan has proven that he is still the team's most dominant player. So far, he has averaged 23 points and 18 rebounds per game. He has taken full advantage of Pau's soft defense and dominated the post in the last 4 games. In 2 games, he has had a 20-20, outhustling both Odom and Gasol. Every time he misses, Tim seems to get his own rebound and tip the ball back in. The Lakers have absolutely no answer for him under the basket. On the other hand, LA has Kobe. This year's MVP has averaged 27 points per game in this series. What's even more amazing is that he has taken only 6 free throws, so almost all of those 27 points have come from field goals. And on top of that, he's been guarded by one of the best defensive players in the league, Bruce Bowen.
If the Spurs are going to stretch this series out any more, they are going to need more offense from Ginobli. Sasha has played amazing defense on him so far, as Manu has averaged a mere 8 points in his team's 3 losses. On another note, Jordan Farmar has finally emerged after a horrifying Utah series. And Trevor Ariza is finally back after breaking his foot 4 months ago. I would definitely like to see more minutes for the defensive Ariza in place of the turnover-prone Luke Walton.
Here's to an easy victory for LA in Game 5 and a long 7-game series in the East!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

First Mailday

I just got a couple of Bynum cards in the mail today. I ordered them online for prices that were much more reasonable than my card shops.
The first was this gold medallion parallel from 2006-07 Fleer Ultra. Although not numbered, it's a really nice looking addition to my collection.

The second is a refractor jersey card numbered to 199. It's from Bowman Sterling, a nice high-end product that costs well over $50/pack. It's kind of sad, but my favorite part about this card is how shiny it is.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

So Close

Today, I happened to come across an extremely cheap price for Andrew Bynum's rookie blue xfractor from 2005-06 topps chrome on ebay. It was priced at less than $50, a great deal since it books at 100 and it's only numbered out of 90. Plus, it was still inside its original boxtopper casing. I was just about to bid on it, when another person beat me to the punch. I was so mad at myself for not being quicker. It would have been a great addition to my meager pc. The worst part is that the person who bought it is obviously hoarding all of them. His photobucket shows that he already owns over 5 of them, and he just added one more. He's selling them for over $300 each, out of my price range. With so few remaining, the chances of me being able to buy one for a reasonable price is slim to none. I still can't believe it. And it was such a beautiful card! I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

First Bynum

I just got back from the hobby shop. I found a huge box of 25 cent cards, and after an hour of rummaging, I managed to find one base card of Andrew Bynum. It's not much, but it's the first part of my Bynum pc. I just hope his surgery goes well, or else these cards will quickly drop in value.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bynum PC and Lakers' Progress

After a lot of thought, I finally decided to start a PC on Andrew Bynum. Drew has come out this year with amazing improvement, and proven himself to be one of the best centers in the league. His scoring, rebounding, and shot-blocking capabilities make him an essential ingredient to the Lakers lineup. It's such a shame he only got to play during a small part of the season and none of the playoffs. This young allstar-to-be will probably become another Abdul-Jabbar in the years to come, and eventually lead his team to many victories. That's why I decided to start collecting as many cards of him as possible, staring with his rookies. His 2005-06 Topps Chrome cards are fairly cheap right now. I can probably secure the base, refractor (/999), and black refractor (/399) for around $50. The gold refractor (/99) and xfractor (/90) will be harder, as they combine for close to $500. I'll be spending quite some time on ebay, waiting for cheap prices...

In other news... the Lakers are doing pretty well right now. They managed to survive their home games against the jazz and go up 2-0 before losing in Utah (no surprise there). Hopefully they can steal a game in Salt Lake City before heading back home, to win the series 4-1. The key will be beating out the Jazz early on and getting some valuable rest before taking on either the hornets or spurs (both difficult teams). The only problem is the Lakers' failure to outrebound the likes of Okur and Boozer. These two players have consistently beaten Odom and Gasol on the glass, oftentimes getting 2nd chance opportunities. I was outraged on Friday night when Boozer missed his 2nd free throw, but managed to get his own rebound and slam it home for a 3-point play. And with Fisher guarding Deron Williams, he's often in foul trouble, leaving the job to Jordan Farmar. I loved Jordan during the regular season, but he's been practically nonexistent in this 2nd round series. He can never get a good look with the allstar-caliber Williams defending him, and he's proven to be ineffective at guarding the bulkier and stronger point guard on the other end of the floor. Fisher's gonna have to manage to guard Deron without fouling or this series will be a long one.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Some Retail Boxes

I stopped by Target and picked up a few boxes of retail. They were so cheap that I couldn't resist. My first box was the Rookie Box Set from Upper Deck. I've been meaning buy it for a while since it's only $10 and features all 30 of the best American rookies of 07-08. I can't complain about getting all 4 of my favorite rookies: Oden, Durant, Thornton, and Horford.

I also bought a box of Bowman Draft Picks and Stars. Unfortunately, I had absolutely no success. My only two pulls (if you can consider them pulls) were a base rookie of Morris Almond and a Chrome Rookie of Josh McRoberts, both numbered out of 2999. *sigh* That's what I get for going with retail.

My last box was a blaster of Fleer 2007-08. With 22 packs, you've gotta get something, right? Wrong. I got a few rookies and inserts, but nothing special. The rookies came in a variety of designs: Regular, 86-87, and Rookie Sensations. I managed to collect the Big Three of this year's draft.

There were also some Decades of Excellence inserts featuring Larry Bird, MJ, Tim Duncan, and D Wade.

Overall, a pathetic pull. If only hobby boxes weren't so expensive!
By the way, Kobe was just officially named MVP!!! And by a surprisingly large margin of 216 points over CP3.