NBA 07-08 Season Review and Headlines by LBJ 4 MVP
Ask yourself this question. What was the best time to be a basketball fan? Memories of the 80's and 90's with Michael, Isaiah, Larry, Magic, Payton to Kemp and early Stephon and Penny. It was the Fab Five, the rivalries of UNC and Duke, Syracuse and Georgetown. We fell in love with the game then. Now that we're past all of that, we have new memories coming up. Something that we will be able to tell our children. the golden age of Chris Paul's emergence, Kobe, LeBron and Duncan's dominance. The Celtics coming back, and the Heat falling back down. The many trade deadline deals that brought Shaq to Phoenix, J-Kidd to Dallas, and Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers. The tight race in the west and much more. What transpired this season truly was special. This is going back on the top headlines of the 2007-08 NBA Season.
The end of the 06-07 season had the phones lighting up with trade offers for Paul Pierce, especially after rumors that Paul Pierce was "Tired of losing and wanted out". The Celtics had a miserable 06-07 season. Negatives were coming up about Paul Pierce, He was selfish, he didn't play defense, he was a cancer. Then come in Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett, and that all stopped.
All of a sudden, Pierce is a great perimeter defender, he's passing the ball more, shooting it less and at a higher percentage. He's taking over games, hitting clutch free throw's. All of a sudden, the Celtics are winning game after game, after game. They end the season with the biggest single season turnaround ever. Basketball is back in Boston, and so is a championship. Banner 17 is to hang in the Garden, and deservedly so. Their suffocating defense and breathtaking offense brought them the championship. And who's the key? Most people say KG, but Paul Pierce stuck with the team through thick and thin and won the NBA Final's MVP. He is your key to Boston's success.
Think back to last summer. The days when Kobe Bryant demanded a trade and didn't want anything to do with the Lakers organization. Training Camp comes around and Kobe says he wants to be a Laker for life. Now look back to the trade deadline, Kobe is succeeding with the Lakers, putting up great numbers, but he's missing that second option that could turn the Lakers into a deadly team. Kwame Brown, for Pau Gasol. Kwame Brown, for Pau Gasol. The Lakers pulled off one of the biggest deals of the year, trading a "bust" in Kwame Brown for and all-star Paul Gasol.
When confronted with a double team last year, Kobe could pass to Smush Parker, Luke Walton or Kwame Brown. Now, when confronted with a double, he can pass it to Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Derek Fisher or Vladimir Radmonovic. Big difference, right? Well that second unit helped him carry the Lakers to the Finals, and although being beat in 6 games, Kobe grabbed the MVP and the respect of fans all around.
Guess Who's Back
The New Orleans Hornets are back. New Orleans was a city that didn't really care about basketball. Attendance was drastically low during the first two months of the season. But then the team went on a nine-game winning streak in January. The All-Star game was a success in February. The Hornets were at the top of the tight Western Conference through most of March. Suddenly, the Hornets are the hottest ticket in town, and the arena is selling out for games against the New York Knicks, and Memphis Grizzlies.
The big key to the New Orleans Hornets success...of course it's MVP candidate Chris Paul, one of the most entertaining players in the league. He had eleven games with at least 20 points, and 15 assists, while everyone else in the league combined only have 8 such games. There was many times the Hornets would be outplayed in the first three quarters, only to have CP3 take over the game in the fourth and end up winning the game. A three year vet, and already a serious MVP candidate. Just imagine what he can do next.
Dwight 'Superman' Howard sure did live up to his nickname. Dwight averaged 21 points and 14 rebounds. He was so close to becoming the first player ot average 20 and 15 in a season since Moses Malone did it in 1983. Dwight other accolades include eight 20-20 games, 69 double-doubles, and 267 dunks during an 82 game season ( 59 more than second-place finisher, Amare Stoudemire). Along with those impressive stat lines, Dwight led his Orlando Magic to its first division title since the Penny Hardaway era, and the third best record in the east, leading the league in rebounding while blocking 2.1 shots per game.
But of course, the main highlight of Dwight's 2008 season was the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest. Dwight walked around with an 'S' on his chest and took Shaq's nickname and donned it upon himself. That's right, in his fourth year in the league, Dwight Howard stole Shaq's nickname and threw down one of the most memorable dunks since VC in 2000. Dwight brought the Dunk Contest back.
22 in a row?
The Houston Rockets' run form January 29 to March 18 may have been the most entertaining thing to watch all year. Especially for Rockets fans. Looking back on the 22 game win streak, Yao went out 12 games in, and T-mac had to carry the team the rest of the way. Could he do it? Well, he won the next ten games. That 22 game win streak brought them from 10th in the West to 1st. Despite not getting out of the first round, the 22 game win streak the Rockets put together will be remembered as one of the best moments in Rocket history.
How do you bounce back from getting swept in the NBA Finals? How about leading the league in scoring, being named the Eastern Conference player twice in a six month season, is it racking up several 40 point games when everyone knows you're the guy that's going to shoot the ball. Maybe it's putting up seven triple-doubles, coming 0.1 rebounds per game short of becoming the only man to average 30-8-7 in a season besides the Big O, and MJ, becoming that leading scorer in Cavaliers franchise history, or leading a seriously flawed team to 45 wins? What if you did all that at the age if 23? All of those things are great, but without a ring, what does that all really mean?
So there you have it, there is my recap of the 07-08 season. Many things were left out (the tight western conference, The resurgence of Philadelphia, etc.). But no doubt, this was a memorable season in NBA History.