Damian Lillard is not a lot of things. He was not highly recruited out of high school and he was not a major college player. He’s not a 2014 FIBA World Cup winner, cialis or a 2016 NBA All Star. He’s not a member of Nike’s elite, order and he’s not Steph Curry or Kobe Bryant. So how is it possible that Damian Lillard is the talk of the NBA in early March, post trade deadline and headed into crunch time before the playoffs?
Because Portland. You might see a woman walking her turtle on a leash down Pearl St. and you might catch an angry Damian Lillard dropping 51 on Golden State. Where zip off cargo pants and gluten free bread reign supreme, and a carpet can be the grand marshal of a parade, the Blazers are overcoming meager expectations and audacious snubs to do their part to keep things weird in the NBA. I guess we shouldn’t even be that surprised.
So how did we get here? The Blazers weren’t supposed to be good. Lillard struggled down the stretch last season only to watch LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicholas Batum, Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez leave in free agency and trades. On draft night, the Blazers were poised to be absent of any big men this season and due to pay Lillard max money over the summer without the feeling that he had certain future All-Star potential.
But 2016 hasn’t gone as planned, in a good way. A rebuild turned resurgence when Gerald Henderson and Noah Vonleh headed West in the Nicholas Batum trade bolstering the Blazer bench. CJ McCollum has emerged as the NBA’s most improved player, Meyers Leonard plays with confidence behind the arc, and angry Damian Lillard has come to define clutch in a very raw Steph Curry kind of way, averaging 30 and 8 in the month of February. Instead of 30 wins and a front row seat at the Draft Lottery in June, the youthful, “long term potential” Blazers have 33 wins with 6 weeks left in the season, a firm grip on a playoff spot and a very heavy bandwagon.
And I totally get it. I might even join it. Next season when the Bulls streak of giving up 100 points has hit 50, you might see me in PDX Carpet Adidas, covering my compost pile, and pretending to know why they call it #RipCity. Regardless, it’s fair to say that things are staying weird in Portland for a while, and I’m not mad about it.
The reigning champion Golden State Warriors have been rolling through the NBA with a whole lot of wins. For much of this season, and the Warriors have been compared to the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls who also happened to have an incredible season during their reign as the champs. One could say the Warriors are running with the Bulls. Today, pharm the Warriors have the chance to tie the Chicago Bulls record of 44 straight wins at home.
The Warriors have won 43 straight home games, one win short of tying the Bulls' NBA record (March 1995-April 1996). pic.twitter.com/asyhoGfral
How do the Warriors compare to the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls? Through 59 games Golden State is sitting at 54-5 and the ’95-’96 Bulls were 53-6.
During the Bulls iconic season, they accomplished what no team had done before, or has been able to since, but the Warriors are knocking on their record-setting door.
Chicago won 18 games in a row during one stretch of the 1995-1996 season. They also led the league in scoring (105.2 points per game), ranked third in defense, lost just two home games all season and won more road games (33) than any team in NBA history. RESPECT. Come playoffs, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen lost just one game in their road to the finals and ended up beating the Seattle SuperSonics for the title.
This season, the Golden State Warriors started with a 24-0 run. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are hotter than hot and their team is in the hunt for a 73-win season.
So what do we think? Will the Warriors tie the Bulls record? It will be no easy feat as their opponent is the OKC Thunder – who just lost to Golden State by a mid-court, buzzer-beater in OT from Steph Curry in Oklahoma City. Let’s just say, tonight’s game will be entertaining to say the least (something Bulls fans aren’t currently able to enjoy). Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are thirsty for a win.
Despite all their success in the recent years, Steph Curry’s MVP award and countless three-pointers the Warriors don’t necessarily get the respect they deserve. None of the contestants on Jeopardy could identify the team from their logo…I say it adds more fuel to the Golden State fire.
The holidays are here and that means food, drugstore family and football. No wait, this is Christmas and that means food, family and BASKETBALL. It’s easy to get confused because Christmas is to the NBA what Thanksgiving is the NFL. An annual tradition that dates back to 1947 of all day basketball folly. In 2011, the slate of games grew to 5, tipping off at 11am, and has stayed as large and as long ever since.
This year we’re looking at anything and everything from coast to coast match ups, a Finals rematch (or preview), East vs. West face-offs, and a Staples Center showdown, all complete with the requisite NBA Christmas uniforms, which I am not mad about this year.
If you’re looking to pick and choose when to watch vs. when to eat, sleep or spend time with the fam, here’s the game by game rundown.
11am CT New Orleans at Miami
A match up of the somewhat surprisingly intriguing Heat vs. the under performing Pelicans. The Brow is always a fun watch and seeing him take on Hassan Whiteside in the paint shouldn’t disappoint. But New Orleans is ravaged by injuries and an inability to adjust to the new coaching staff. While I’m much more partial to New Orleans for eating, drinking and dancing, I’d pick Miami in this one.
1:30pm CT Chicago at OKC
The NBA so wanted Derrick Rose vs. Russell Westbrook to mean what it used to. Unfortunately three knee surgeries has taken its toll on one much more than the other. Despite this, the Bulls beat the Thunder earlier in the season behind a great game from Rose, who has since lost his facemask, the height of his hair, and his shot. Both teams are playing under new head coaches who made the jump from college ball, but OKC is surging, while the Bulls count their lucky playoffs stars that they’re in the East. I want to take the Bulls to turn it around and bring this one home because they always seem to surprise me on Christmas but without Joakim Noah, I have little faith this holiday season.
4pm CT Cleveland at Golden State
Get out the eggnog early because this is going to be good. You can call it a Finals rematch or a Finals preview, but the top teams in each conference are at full strength with Cleveland seeing the return of Kyrie Irving this week, and they’re about to go at it. Golden State boasts one of the best crowds in the NBA, who have been getting to games an hour early just see Steph Curry warm up. And Lebron, well he’s mad. Golden State makes history with every win so I’m picking the Warriors, if only to hope for a Riley Curry sighting at the post game press conference.
7:00pm CT San Antonio at Houston
Eat dinner quickly so you can be on the couch for an in-state battle of two completely opposite teams. The Spurs quietly have the second best record in the NBA with only two less wins than the Warriors. Pop is still sitting during games since it’s not April, and Kawhi Leonard shows us nightly how much bigger, stronger and faster he is than other top shooting guards in the league. He’ll face another one in James Harden on Friday, but Harden’s Rockets have not done anything quietly this season. Already working with an interim head coach and Dwight Howard trade rumors, the Rockets have been incredibly mediorcre so far, and outright bad at times. They are however coming off of a 3 game win streak and have the talent to put on a show at home. But if NBA fans know one thing, it’s to never bet against the Spurs.
9:00pm CT Los Angeles at Los Angeles
Many family Christmas gatherings may be able to relate to this match up – two passive aggressive siblings, living under the same roof, cut from the same cloth, with so little in common on any level. On one end of the floor, the Lakers are a mess. In the midst of the Kobe retirement tour, they boast two young stars in the making in Randle and Russell, who go in and out of the lineup for no apparent reason. Kobe may score 34 points, or he may have 3 or 4 air balls. Meanwhile, the Clippers are as good as they’ve ever been, but it doesn’t look to be good enough. Their team is filled with controversial players who have never made it quite as far as they should have, and it doesn’t look like they ever will after the first few months of the season. Kobe will be looking to go out with a bang in his 16th Christmas game, but I’d still take the Clippers to use the holiday to get their season back on track, as they continue to chase the shadow of the Warriors.
And that’s a wrap on Santa’s gift to all NBA fans this year. Wishing you a very merry NBA Christmas, from our SDI family to yours!
Steph Curry is off to a crazy hot ridiculous monster unreal start. This dude is averaging 36 points, and 5 rebounds, discount and 6 assists. With 148 total points through Monday, sickness only Michael Jordan has ever scored more points in 4 games. After a prolific MVP season, Steph has somehow come back even better and more confident. He’s clearly demonstrating that he’s the top shot-maker in the league and making noise that he’s the best player in the world.
So far this season, Curry has hit shots from literally everywhere, including 95% of free throws and 52% from 3. As twitter was quick to point out on Monday, he could have gone 0-88 in his next game and still have a higher 3 point percentage than James Harden. If you’re so inclined, there are a lot more crazy stats, shot charts, and videos you can watch here.
If not, this tweet pretty much sums it up:
Steph Curry just hit a 3 from behind your stove. No, I don’t know how he got in your house, no, he wasn’t open, yes, he splashed it
The Warriors won 67 games last year before joining the elite ranks of the NBA as the 10th team to win the Championship in the last 35 years. Could they challenge the 1995-96 Bulls team that won 72? If Curry keeps playing like he drank Michael’s Secret Stuff, it’s likely, and it’s also fun to make ridiculous predictions in the beginning of November, and throw in Space Jam references. Curry will probably come back to earth at some point but his earth is not the same as yours, James Harden’s or Derrick Rose’s (sorry). For now, we can all just sit back and enjoy Steph Curry’s incredible, not human, and historic start to the season.
And if he wasn’t already SO likable, last weekend Curry took a break from being on another planet to take his 4 month old daughter Ryan to get iced up at Piercing Pagoda in the mall.
Tell me…What’s a magazine spread without Joakim Noah’s illustrious locks? Absolutely nothing. The Bulls’ center recently lost his messy bun for the March edition of GQ magazine.
Jo-No certainly looks sharp in his notch lapel Southwick tuxedo, treatment Tommy Hilfiger bow-tie and Adidas Sneakers.
Noah tells GQ that his on-the-court style is ‘being the villain.’
“When you look at the people all the way at the top of the arena, and they look so small, right? And they’re just jumping up and down, being like, ‘F— you!’—there’s nothing better than that.” He says.
I must say, Jo-No represents Chicago well. How did Jo-No prepare for his GQ debut? Why, Tequila of course!
“I was a little nervous. So I actually had a couple of tequila shots, and it helped me out so much.” Noah tells GQ.
James Harden, Steph Curry and Kenneth Faried also fabulously graced the GQ spread. Check out the photos here!
James Hardens (Houston Rockets) rocks a Shawl Collar Ralph Lauren tux, a Tom Ford bow tie and J. Press Nike Sneakers. You already know that the spread wouldn’t have been complete if he didn’t mention his beard!
“In the beginning, it was just kind of like I was bored. But now…somebody asked me, ‘What would happen if you shaved your beard?’ I was like, ‘I think my powers would be gone.’ ” He says.
Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors) sports a double breasted Ermenegildo Zegna tuxedo, a Ferrell Reed necktie, and Under Amour sneakers.
Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets) looks swag-ulous (swag+fabulous) in his peak lapel Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo, Alexander Olch bow tie and Adidas sneakers. The Manimal says that his shoulder length dreads can make him “half man, half lion.”
NBA starts selling Jason Collins Jersey
On Sunday, Jason Collins became the first openly gay player in the four major professional sports leagues. The NBA recently started selling number 98 jerseys in order to commemorate the significant occurrence. Collins plans to wear the number as a tribute to Matthew Shepard. Shepard was a University of Wyoming student that was brutally murdered in 1998 because he as gay.
While Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban does not view Collins’ comeback as a big deal, it is evident that he broke many barriers when signing a 10-day contract with the New York Nets.
Kobe Bryant recently weighed in on Collins’ impact before the game.
“His impact [Sunday night] is greater than what people think…You look at it from the context of having the first openly gay player. But they missed the domino effect that it has way beyond sports.” (Yahoo Sports) Well said, Kobe!
The Nets ended up snagging a win from the Lakers (108-102). Jason Collins played about 11 minutes with two rebounds and one steal.
“I know that I can play in the NBA and it felt good to be out there tonight,” Collins said. “Conditioning-wise, I felt good. I don’t think I got tired. It was a lot of fun to get back out on the court and set screens, hard fouls. Didn’t take any charges tonight — that’ll change. I’ll get in position next time. As far as basketball timing, it’s going to take at least a couple of practices.” (ESPN)
Serge Ibaka at the Pros for Africa Charity Gala
Serge Ibaka recently attended a charity gala for pros for Africa, and looked fab in a burgundy Phenom 247 suit. Pros For Africa (PFA) is a volunteer led, non-profit organization that is based in Oklahoma city. PFA’s ultimate goal is to spread volunteer efforts throughout the continent of Africa.
The Thunder power forward is currently averaging 15.7 points per game on 56.7 percent shooting. Fellow OKC player, Kevin Durant, recently spoke wonders about him.
“I really watched him grow as a man and definitely as a basketball player. He’s grown leaps and bounds,” Durant said. “He works extremely hard. It’s gratifying to see how hard he works. We’re just happy to be around him. I’m glad he’s on our team because he’s intimidating.” (Bleacher Report).
I’m sure that LeBron James’ nose can attest to the ‘intimidating’ aspect of Durant’s statement. During last week’s game against the Miami Heat Ibaka injured LeBron’s nose while trying to block a dunk. The Heat ended up winning (103-81), but LeBron’s nose didn’t.
Rajon Rondo’s Game Bow Tie
Rajon Rondo is probably one of the best bow tie rockers in the league (it’s a tie between him and D. Wade). The Boston point guard styled his bow tie with a fabulous color block sweater. Who knew casual could be so dapper?
Rondo never skips out on style…but he recently skipped a game without permission.
Instead of accompanying his team from LA to Sacramento on Saturday, Rondo stayed in Los Angeles. Saturday was his 28th birthday, so I am sure that had a lot to do with his decision to stay in LA. Although he wasn’t going to play, he is under scrutiny.
“We already talked about it,” Rondo told the Boston Herald before Monday’s game against the Utah Jazz. “There’s nothing to talk about.”
The Celtics ended up losing against the Jazz (98-110). Rondo scored 18 points with 10 assists.
That’s it for Now Divas! I will be back next week to keep you fabulously posted with the NBA’s Hottest Fashion and Gossip.