Tag: Willis Reed

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Who are the best left handers in the history of the NBA?


In the NBA, left handers throw guys off. You have to close out on shooters differently, you need to expect different moves in the post, they want their passes in slightly different locations. You need to be able to do certain things with both hands to really thrive in the NBA, but we all have a dominant hand.

Who are the greatest left handers in the history of the NBA?

Dime Magazine has asked that question and come up with list of the top 10 lefties in NBA history. We’re not going to totally ruin the list — you should click the link — but here are their top 3 and it is all legendary big men.

1) Bill Russell. Pretty hard to argue this, and if you do he’ll show you his two handfuls of rings. Plus one. There were 11 rings, 12 NBA All-Star games, five league MVPs, a guy known as the game’s greatest shot blocker and paint defender who averaged 15.1 points per game scoring. He gets shafted in the GOAT conversation, but not when it comes to lefties.

2) Willis Reed. Another legendary big man of another era, an anchor and inspiration for a Knicks championship team. He had career averaged of 18.7 points per game (five seasons above 20 PPG) and 12.9 rebounds. He was a force of nature in the late 1960s/early 1970s. He was a seven-time All-Star, MVP, two-time finals MVP, Rookie of the Year and a guy deserving to be on the list.

3) David Robinson. The Admiral is another legendary big man, who averaged 21.1 percent shooting on 51.8 percent shooting for his career, plus averaged 10.6 rebounds and three blocked shots a game. He’s got two NBA championship rings, one NBA MVP and 10 All-Star appearances. He was the first foundation of the Spurs dynasty.

There are guards on the list, go check it out.

Legendary Game 7s: The Willis Reed game

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Maybe the most famous Game 7 of them all, with Willis Reed draging his leg out on the court for a few minutes and a couple of buckets to inspire the Knicks to an NBA title. (Not often I get to type “Knicks” and “NBA title” in the same sentence.)

Fun things to notice include Wilt Chamberlain’s terrible free throw shooting form in warmups and seeing Walt Frazier in action. Oh, and remembering the days when every man in the crowd at the game was basically wearing a tie.

New York celebrities form team to woo LeBron James


What do the New York Knicks have to offer LeBron James?

A roster of quality players ready to compete for a title once he signs? No. More money than any other team can offer? Nope, that’s Cleveland. The chance to occasionally escape the glare of the spotlight in the comforts of your hometown? No, kind of the opposite.

Celebrities? That New York has.

So the Knicks have formed a committee of celebrities to help woo LeBron James and other potential free agents interested in the Knicks, according to the New York Post (which got confirmation from the Knicks).

The committee includes Donald Trump, Chris Rock, John McEnroe, Whoopi Goldberg, Phil Simms and Knicks legend Willis Reed, among many others. Like Charlie Rose.

The Knicks deserve some credit. On the court the yare not winning, but Donnie Walsh has spent the last two years cleaning up the worst roster in the NBA — in terms of money paid per win — and getting it in a position to go after free agents and rebuild. Meanwhile they have put on a full court press off the court to highlight all their advantages.

They’ve done the best they could. It may not be enough, but it’s a good effort.

The five best NBA finals. Ever.


wreed.jpgWe are staring at another great one. Potentially. These 2010 Lakers and Celtics match up pretty evenly, both are championship tested; both have big stars and thrilling role players. This is going to be fun.

But can it match up to the all-time greats? The best finals series ever? That is one tall mountain to climb. I mean, just look at the competition, the five best NBA finals series ever:

1970, New York Knicks beat the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games

Everyone kept expecting the Lakers to break through with a title — they had the most talent in the league, but they kept losing to a better team in the Celtics. Now the LA stars were taking on another real team, this one from New York.

This series had a couple of legendary moments. First there was Game 3, where Knicks legend Dave DeBusschere hit what looked like the game winner with three-seconds to go, only to have Jerry West hit a three-quarter court shot to tie it. Maybe the greatest shot in NBA Finals history.

Then there was Game 7, when the Knicks lone star player Willis Reed was not expected to play. But he came out of the tunnel, fired up the fans, and played a few minutes of quality basketball where he fired up his team. And the Knicks won Game 7 and the title on that emotion.

1998 Finals, Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz in six games

Michael Jordan’s greatest moment. Which is saying something. But in capping off the second of the two Bulls three-peats Chicago had to beat the best team they had faced in the finals. That Jazz team had Karl Malone and John Stockton at their peaks.

The Jazz won game one, the Bulls Game 2 and then Chicago had a defensive game for the ages in Game 3, holding the Jazz to 56 points. For the game.

But it was the final 30 seconds of Game 6 that had Jordan leaving on top. The Bulls were down one point. First Jordan made a blind-side steal on Malone in the post. Then he made the one of the signature shots of his career — the cross-over (and push off) on Byron Russell, followed by the pure jumper that won the game. And the series. The perfect shot that capped of Jordan’s career.

1976 NBA finals, Boston Celtics defeat the Phoenix Suns in six games

Can one game propel an NBA finals into the best five ever? It can when you are talking about the best game ever.

Game five is legendary. It had been a dramatic game that was tied 95-95 at the end of regulation. Then at 101-101 at the end of the first overtime. In the second overtime the Celtics had a three-point lead late (remember, this was before the three-point shot) and it looked like a win. But then a Suns jumper by Dick Van Arsdale makes it a one-point game again.

Then on the inbound Paul Westphal steals the ball from John Havlicek, and the Suns have life. Curtis Perry missed a jumper but the rebound is taped back out to Perry who doesn’t miss twice. Suns 110-109.  But Havlicek is not to be outdone. He gets the ball with five seconds to go and drives down the left hand side and puts up an off-balance runner that falls as time ticks off the clock. Celtics win 111-110, fans storm the court. It’s all over…

Except it’s not. The referees know there should be one second left on the clock. They pull the Celtics out of the locker room for a final play. The Suns have to go the length of the court in one second to get a game winner. But then in a moment of veteran savvy Westphal calls a timeout, when the Suns have none. It’s a technical foul — and Boston hits the free throw to go up 112-110 — but the Suns get to take the ball out at half court.

Gar Heard hit the turn-around jumper near the elbow to tie the game again and send it to a third overtime. Just go watch the shots yourself.

The Celtics won the third overtime handily, and won the series in six. But Game 5 alone made this an all-time great.

1969 Finals, Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games

Lakers fans, you may not want to read this one or compare it to 2010.

The Lakers had the big-name stars in their prime: Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor. The Celtics had stars like Bill Russell — who was the player coach — and Sam Jones, but they were both injured. The Celtics were considered too old. They had finished fourth in the East, then surprised everyone in the playoffs.

Game 1 saw Jerry West just go off, to the tune of 53 points. Havlicek answered with 43 in Game 2. Game 4 had Don Nelson (yes, that Don Nelson) hit the game winner on a shot that hit the back of the rim as time expired, go straight up higher than the backboard, then fall back through. We had ourselves a shootout, a series that went seven games.

That Game 7 was in the Fabulous Forum, and no home team had ever lost a Game 7 in NBA finals history. Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke had balloons put in the rafters to fall when the game was over, because he was sure of victory. What he did was motivate the Celtics, who were angered by the balloons (not as much as West, however) and Boston hit 8 of their first 10 shots and went on to win the title. The balloons never came down.

It was the Celtics 11th title in 13 years. It was also the last one for that dynasty.

1984/1985 NBA Finals, combined, Boston and Los Angeles (Celtics won 1984, Lakers won 1985)

Two different years, but it’s hard not to think of them together, the same way it is hard not to think of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird separately. This was the two titles that may have been their peak.

The Celtics beat the Lakers in 1984 in a physical, hard-fought seven game series. Kevin McHale turned the emotion of this series when he clotheslined Kurt Rambis. That came in Game 4, which was an epic overtime battle that became one of the defining moments of the Bird-era Celtics. It was one of the best Finals games, ever. Boston had to go seven but won a series that validated Bird and his legend and finally gave him a win over Magic in a big game.

Then 1985 it was Magic’s turn. It didn’t look that way at the start, with Boston winning Game 1 in what became known as the Memorial Day Massacre, a 148-114 thrashing of the Lakers. It was so bad Kareem Abdul-Jabbar apologized to his teammates afterward. And while Magic was Magic in 1985 the Lakers were still Kareem’s team and he took over. He scored 29 in the deciding Game 6 and was the series MVP.