Postseason

Czar’s Playoff Preview

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

EASTERN CONFERENCE ROUND 1

Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)

#8 ATLANTA HAWKS VS. #1 INDIANA PACERS

I’m not sure there’s been a conference number one seed that’s slipped so far in hoopheads’ expectations as this Pacers team. After stumbling to the finish line, many fear their slump will continue into the postseason. But do the 38-44 Hawks have enough talent to best this Indiana roster even if the Pacers play subpar basketball?

 

#7 CHARLOTTE BOBCATS VS. #2 MIAMI HEAT

The Bobcats finished with the second-best record in franchise history. But they haven’t beat the three-peat seeking Heat since LeBron moved to Miami. Will Charlotte’s post-monster Al Jefferson overmatch Miami’s bigs down low and force them to alter their lock-down defense? Will D. Wade’s knees hold up in his fourth run at the Finals with the new Big 3?

 

Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images#6 BROOKLYN NETS VS. #3 TORONTO RAPTORS

Do the young and playoff-inexperienced Toronto squad have the savvy to upend the veteran Brooklyn side? Has first-year coach Jason Kidd’s team gelled enough to make a deep run in the Eastern Conference? This first-round series could boil down to the backcourt battle between Williams/Livingston vs. DeRozan/Lowry.

 

#5 WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. #4 CHICAGO BULLS

The upstart Wizards team is looking to win their first playoff series in 9 years. After losing Derrick Rose (again) for the year and trading away the versatile Luol Deng, can coach Thibodeau’s defensive schemes slow down the explosive backcourt of Wall and Beal?

 

 Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images-19APR2014WESTERN CONFERENCE ROUND 1

 

#8 DALLAS MAVERICKS VS. #1 SAN ANTONIO SPURS

Is there any fathomable scenario in which Dirk & friends take down this machine-like, multi-style Spurs team? Outside of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili, who in the Black & Silver will step up big for coach Pop this postseason?

 

#7 MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES VS. #2 OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

Soon-to-be named 2014 NBA MVP Kevin Durant will try to avenge last year’s 4-1 playoff loss to the Griz. Can Memphis’ experienced and rugged core group slow down PG Westbrook and thus the Thunder offense?

 

Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images#6 GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS VS. #3 LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

The league’s most lethal shooter aka Steph Curry will try to bomb the Warriors past their in-state rivals. Will MVP-candidate Black Griffin silence all the haters on the Dubs?

 

#5 PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS VS. #4 HOUSTON ROCKETS

This will be a matchup of dynamic duos: Harden and Howard vs. Lillard and Aldridge. Which team will perform better at both ends of the court? Will Linsanity get a chance to shine or will Patrick Beverly play the majority of minutes at the 1-guard?

Ukraine and the Czar

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Ukraine and the Czar

Monday, February 10th, 2014

After the World Cup draw in Barcelona, Spain I traveled to Kiev for the 2014 Ukraine Cup. Prior to the championship game on Sunday I ran a coaching clinic with four of my assistants, and we had about 160 attendees. Then we watched Budivelnik beat Donetsk for the Ukraine Cup title!

WEB-Czar in UKR2-Oleksiy Naumov-9FEB2014

Photo courtesy of Oleksiy Naumov.

Ukraine and the Czar

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Anti-government protests in Ukraine intensified over the weekend. Thousands of people who oppose the protests converged on their tent camp in Kiev’s Independence Square. And hundreds of security forces gathered in the area. Though the demonstrations have been confined to a relatively small location downtown, the congestion has altered traffic patterns so it takes much longer to get around central Kiev. And the protests forced us to use a different hotel as our headquarters.

WEB-Protests

Ukraine and the Czar

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014