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Dwight Howard Not as Dominant as Third Straight Defensive Player of the Year Award Suggests

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard won the 2010-11 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. Dwight has now won three consecutive DPoY awards, making it the first time any NBA player has done so since the award was introduced in 1982-83.

Howard led the NBA with 66 double-doubles, ranked second in rebounds (14.1 rpg) and fourth in blocks (2.38 bpg). Overall, his impact is hard to quantify into a single stat like P.E.R. because some aspects of defense just aren’t quantifiable. But the eyeball test tells us that Dwight is nothing short of a beast in the middle. His 3rd DPoY award is the 3rd most all-time, behind the four both Ben Wallace and Dikembe Mutombo won. And the way things are looking, Dwight might win five or six by the time his career is all said and done.

While the voting wasn’t unanimous, it was oblongly lopsided. Dwight received 585 points with 114 first-place votes out of a 120 possible. Five sportswriters gave him 2nd place votes and one inexplicably left him off of their ballot. While I won’t defend that one person, I will admit that there are some people, including myself, who don’t see Dwight as the bar-none best defensive player in the league.

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Gloria James Police Report

As LBS reported earlier, Gloria James, mother of NBA superstar LeBron James, was arrested Wednesday night for allegedly beating up a valet employee at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami.

LBS has obtained the official police report of the incident and it has some interesting details. The arrest was made at 5:15 AM on Thursday morning. We all know that unless you are going to work at that hour, nothing good can come of it.

The police report states that when the officer arrived on the scene, James’ SUV was trying to drive off. When he stopped the vehicle to question Gloria and her driver, they both refused to answer. Gloria also had “bloodshot eyes and a strong oder of alcohol on her breath.” However, she was just the passenger of the vehicle.

But all of this pales in comparison to the final line of the police report. It states that after Gloria James was taken in to custody, she refused to take photos, requested a phone call and was “released to Miami Heat Executive Mr. Steve Stowe.” Not even her own son came to pick her up? At this point, it is unclear if she even called LeBron or if her permitted phone call was made directly to the Miami Heat organization. But the simple fact that LeBron wouldn’t be the one picking her up if off-putting.

Below is a copy of the official police report.

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Can Lakers Finish First in West, NBA?

The San Antonio Spurs must be nervously checking their rear view mirrors like a speeding driver looking out for the Highway Patrol.

If you’re a Spurs fan, let me save you the double-take; the purple and gold lights are flashing and the Lakers sirens are blaring. The Los Angeles Lakers are right behind you with those obnoxious playoff flags slapping in the wind and Jack Nicholson is on the bullhorn, yelling “PULL OVER”.

As a Spurs fan, you’re probably getting that sinking feeling in your stomach right about now as your heart starts racing and your brain starts thinking a million thoughts. “If we had just won that one game … how did this happen … I didn’t even see them coming … can we still talk our way out of this? … do you think Kobe Bryant takes bribes? …”.

I know what it’s like — the Lakers passed up my Boston Celtics team bus a few miles back while we were stuck on the side of the road with a flat Rondo.  No one thought it was possible for the Lakers to surpass the Spurs a few weeks ago after they stumbled into All-Star Weekend. Now, they are just two and a half games out of first in the West. That’s what happens when you go 16-1 and the team in front of you falters to an 11-8 record in the same timespan.  Gone now are the worries about home court vs. the Spurs and the Celtics. What’s replaced them is more than hope; it’s a real tangible chance for Lakers to clinch the top seed overall and secure home court through the NBA Finals.

So, for those wondering, can the Lakers actually do what seemed impossible just a month ago? Here’s what each team has left on their remaining schedules:

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If Knicks Are Going to Fire Mike D’Antoni, They Should Fire Donnie Walsh First

New York, we have a problem.

As the New York Knicks’ star-studded spaceship comes tumbling back to Earth, Mike D’Antoni‘s seat is heating up as if he had been jettisoned from the cockpit to burn up in the atmosphere by himself.

While the Knicks load up on losses, the front office counts down the days until D’Antoni will inevitable be fired. The Knicks’ loss Monday night to the Boston Celtics dropped the Knicks to the 7th seed and sent their record crashing to .500. Now just 35-35 and sitting behind the 76ers in the East, New York looks worse than they did just a month ago. With no signs of a turnaround coming, the negative fan base is growing tired and frustrated by the New York minute. For all of this, their coach Mike D’Antoni, will unjustly shoulder the blame.

But is it all D’Antoni’s fault? Not all of it, no. To a degree, he has been responsible for their recent losses. His style of coaching and play calling doesn’t necessarily demand defense and plays into the laziness of his current roster on that end of the floor. But the roster he has to deal with — that’s not his fault; he can’t coach up a team that isn’t willing to be coached.

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Rajon Rondo’s Production Is Always Bad In March

The Boston Celtics seem to be slipping back into their 2009-10 form as of late. They dropped what should have been a “gimme” game in New Jersey Tuesday night and have now lost three of their last four to some mediocre teams (New Jersey Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers).

Some have begun to question the Kendrick Perkins trade in terms of defensive production. Zach Lowe of SI.com does a good job of explaining the numbers in terms of the Celtics’ defensive woes since Perkins was traded. As Zach stated, the Perkins trade has hurt Boston a little bit but nothing is for sure due to all of the external factors.

One of those factors has been the obvious struggles of Rajon Rondo. For the season, Rondo has been the catalyst of the Boston Celtics, sparking them on both ends of the floor with averages of 10.5 points, 11.7 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 49% shooting. However, since the Kendrick Perkins trade, his averages have dropped to 8.2 points, 9.5 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and a deplorable 39.7% shooting. If we look at his numbers of the last four games, it’s even worse (7.3 points, 6.5 assists and 29% shooting). Rondo’s struggles are a hindrance to the team and some have questioned if the trade of his best friend, Kendrick Perkins, has some how dampened his production this season.

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Kobe Bryant and the Duality of Basketball

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the story of Kobe’s late-night shoot around after the Lakers lost to the Heat. You couldn’t have possibly missed the tweets, the pictures, videos or the chatter. It even received 24/7 news coverage from ESPN, from Stuart Scott’s endorsement to ticker headliners and all the PR spin they could pack in between. Kobe stole the show last night as his legend rose from the ashes of defeat to drown out the shine of Miami’s feeble flame. This isn’t about the loss or extra practice or how Kobe is as hard on himself as his critics; this was Kobe embracing the opportunity to win the other game of basketball.

Kobe went ballistic to start the Miami game, hitting his first four shots. That was both a gift and a curse. L.A. raced out to an early lead but Kobe had flicked on his mental green light. This game was about to turn into the bar scene from Desperado and Kobe was carrying the leaded guitar case.

Only, he was shooting blanks.

Kobe finished out the game with 24 points on 8 of 21 shooting. He managed to score just six points in the final five minutes on 2 for 6 shooting to “klose” out the game. Every single one of his shots long and difficult threes, most of them coming much too early in the shot clock. A lot of the credit on Kobe’s misses has to be given to Dwyane Wade for his masterful defense, but Kobe was stuck in hero mode and was determined to go down shooting. When he finally did drive, he tried to force the issue, going 1-on-2 against LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. The result? Two turnovers.

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Blake Griffin Is Severely Underpaid by Nike in His Shoe Deal

When Blake Griffin was drafted number one overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers, he signed a reported 2-year shoe endorsement deal with Nike for $400,000/year.

To the average person, that’s nearly 10 years worth of salary or one year’s worth of free Nike products. To us fans, that seems like an incredible deal, one that we would sign in a heartbeat. But in the world of NBA mega-endorsements and multi-million dollar deals, Blake Griffin is severely underpaid. With his hype and fame skyrocketing higher and higher with each and every dunk, Blake’s value-to-cost ratio is growing.

Looking at the last few draft classes, here are a few examples of shoe endorsement deals for top flight rookies:

Player, Company, Draft year, Position, Contract

Kevin Durant/Nike – 2007, #2 pick, 7-years, $60 million
O.J. Mayo/Nike - 2008, #3 pick, $400,000 per year
Derrick Rose/Adidas – 2008, #1 pick,  $1 million per year
Michael Beasley/Adidas – 2008, #2 pick, $650,000 per year
Blake Griffin/Nike – 2009, #1 pick, $400,000 per year
Brandon Jennings/UnderArmor – 2009, #10 pick, 2-years $2 million
John Wall/Reebok – 2009, #1 pick, 5-years, $25 million

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