Why You Should Be Watching The NBA Playoffs

James and Simmons
The NBA’s Past, LeBron James, and it’s Future, Ben Simmons

LeBron James. Ben Simmons. Joel Embiid.  James Harden.  Kevin Durant. Anthony Davis. Giannis Antetokounmpo. And that’s just to name a few. These athletes are why you and I should be watching every possible game of these 2018 NBA Playoffs.   And it’s just the first round.

Let’s start with LeBron.

How long has LeBron James been in the NBA?  Fifteen seasons?  Wow. But time is no factor because he says he’s like fine wine; he just keeps getting better with age. And to prove it, just look at his stats, which are staggering.

James has:

3 NBA Titles

3x NBA Finals MVP

3x NBA All-Star Game MVP

4x NBA MVP

14x NBA All-Star

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Yes, LeBron James is still the king of the NBA. And this year, King James is trying to lead his rag tag, bumbling, and sometimes blundering band of basketball bums to at least the Eastern Conference Finals. But it won’t be easy. The Cavaliers are in trouble because LeBron does not have a strong supporting cast. But then again, James has been to the finals with less talent.  So we’ll see.

But LeBron is at the end of the line in Cleveand. And Ben Simmons’  Hall of Fame career is just getting started. Could this be the passing of the torch?

Philly’s phenomenal young rookie, Ben Simmons, had a double double and was 3 assists shy of a triple double in Game 3 on the road in Miami. His partner in the prime of his life is Joel Embiid who returned from an eye injury wearing a mask and led the Sixers with 23 points and seven rebounds. Not too shabby for a seven footer who needed to knock the rust off. Philly won a rough, tough, physical game which was close through 3½ quarters. But the Sixers pulled away and put Miami away down the stretch and won by 20. It was an impressive team win to say the least.

So who ya got?  The Houston Rockets have James Harden who is trying to prove that he is indeed the League MVP and can lead his team to the Promised Land of an NBA Title.  But not so fast. The defending Champs, the Warriors still have something to say, and the upstart New Orleans Pelicans are leading favorite Portland 2-0, and they are winning Game 3 handedly. But don’t sleep on the Philadelphia 76ers.  Don’t do it. They’ve got their best player back and they’re playing their best ball, so the sky is the limit for this young talented team. I’m just saying.

To be the best you’ve got to beat the best.  What’s true in sports is also true in life. Living life involves tests and trials, and in order to come out on top, we’ll need to bring our best. But sometimes our “A” game isn’t quite enough. That’s why we need the help of Heaven. The enemy of our souls tries to throw everything he has at us in an effort to knock us off and knock us down and ultimately knock us out. 

But have no fear. This is The Year of Jubilee.  This is the year that God shows off and shows out and shows up for us. Believe you me.  God is at His best when we are at our worst.

 

Are The Cavaliers In Trouble?

Dallas Mavericks v Cleveland Cavaliers

Is this the end of an era? Is this the end of the line? Is this the end of the end of LeBron James’ dominance in Cleveland?  It just may be. Because the Cavaliers are in trouble.  LeBron is looking off, looking for answers from someone, somewhere that don’t seem to be coming.

All season long, Cleveland has struggled with roster moves after moving Kyrie Irving to Boston in the offseason. And the end result is this?  The end product of all of the tinkering and tempering and tampering with trades and acquisitions this season still seems to be a big question mark. In other words, there’s trouble in LeBron Land.

The Cleveland LeBron’s (aka the Cleveland Cavaliers) lost to the hungry, upstart Indiana Pacers AT HOME in Game one of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs. Cleveland looked absolutely apathetic and the home team got booed off of their own court. Now the Cavs are left with trying to figure it out and how to avoid disaster. So, is there trouble in LeBron Land? I’ll say.

But maybe this is just Game One. Maybe it’s just one game, right? I mean, every team is entitled to an off day, right? Maybe. But if the play of the supporting cast LeBron is stuck with is any indication of things to come, then LeBron will be saying goodbye, audios and Auf Wiedersehen to Cleveland in search of the next team he can take to the Promised Land of an NBA Title.

Teammates: From Good To Great

 

 girl teammates

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.

Proverbs 17:17, New Living Translation

I think I’m a good teammate.  Every job I’ve had, and every place I’ve worked, I’ve made friends and forged lasting friendships.  I currently have a friend at work that is going through a really difficult time.  As coworkers, we are also teammates. I like to think that I’m a good teammate, and I want to be a great teammate. But to go from good to great, first I have to be consistently good.

A good teammate is someone willing to get outside of personal thoughts and emotions, a friend who tries to understand, appreciate, and encourage other members of the team. “Basically, treating one’s teammates with consideration and respect is vital to being a good teammate,” said Britt Brewer, an associate professor of psychology and the men’s cross-country coach at Springfield College in Massachusetts.

I think I’m a good teammate because I show concern.  A friend at a previous job pulled me aside and told me this: “Do you know what your problem is? You care!”  There are subtle ways to communicate that you care: Cheer for your teammates, regardless of whether they’re fast or slow, veteran or neophyte, varsity or JV. Or rally the spirits of someone who’s had a bad performance. Share stories; listen to a teammate’s problems and worries. This is the key-concern. Are you concerned about the people you train and race with? Can they sense it, or do they sense something else?

I work with people who aren’t good teammates.  They aren’t good teammates because they don’t care.  A lack of concern can show up in many ways. At a certain point, seemingly harmless kidding can become cutting. Even encouragement can sound like criticism, as in, “Don’t let him beat you!” There are things a teammate does, intentionally or not, that disrupt team cohesion.

Consider this analogy about good teammates from a girls track team: “There’s plenty of competition against the other teams without creating more among our own runners,” says Wes Player, girls coach at Mead High School in Spokane, Washington. “If two girls on the same team are trying to beat each other in every race, it can wear them out emotionally.” This is probably the trickiest part of being a good teammate. You have to try to move yourself up in team standing. But you also have to support your teammates’ efforts to do the same thing. So remember the ultimate teammate rule: “God first; team second; yourself last.”

So be a good teammate. Runners need to remember that they are on the same team.  That’s the key. We are on the same team.  As believers, we are fighting the same foe: injustice, inequity, and inequality.  If we can remember that, and muster and marshal our efforts against our common enemy and not against each other, we as a team and as individuals will always have a shot at victory.

Be a consistently good teammate and work your way up to being a great teammate. How? Try these on for size:

 A GOOD Teammate…

* Makes newcomers feel welcome

* Cheers other players

* Attends team functions and social events

* Accepts the coach’s decisions

* Sends a note or gift to an upset teammate

* Develops team T-shirts, cheers, songs

* Joins group warm-ups, stretches, and cool downs

* Shows interest in teammates’ problems

* Organizes group runs during the off-season

* Sets a good example of right and wrong

* Is a friend