– According to an undisclosed AP source, Heat’ F LeBron James will be named the NBA MVP on Saturday, prior to Game 1 of their second round matchup with the Pacers. LBJ had what many consider his best NBA season, as he averaged 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists (making him only the fourth player with those totals in at least two different seasons), 1.9 steals and 0.8 blocks to go with a .531 FG%. James will become the eighth player to win the award at least three times, joining legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Moses Malone. While LeBron enters elite company, the big asterisk here is that every player on that list has won at least one NBA Championship.
“What I’m all about is team and ever since I was a kid, I was always taught it’s team first. My first time playing basketball, we went undefeated and won a championship and Frank Walker Sr. gave everyone on the team a MVP trophy. Right then and there, I knew that this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to see my teammates reap the benefits as well.”
– An attorney for Nuggets’ F Chris “Birdman” Andersen says he believes the allegations that led to a search of the Denver Nuggets player’s home this week involve a spurned female fan. Denver attorney M. Colin Bresee confirmed to The Associated Press a statement he gave to the Denver Post. In it, he says the woman asked Andersen for “financial remuneration” after travelling to Colorado last year. Bresee’s statement says he expects the investigation by the Douglas County sheriff’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit to take three weeks, and it will show no criminal wrongdoing by Andersen. Sheriff’s officials did not immediately return calls asking for comment about Bresee’s statement. But they confirm that the Crimes Against Children unit began investigating Andersen in February after a law enforcement tip from California.
– Flyers’ G Ilya Bryzgalov recently commented regarding the media’s negativity. He told a Russian newspaper,
“What I lived through this season I wouldn’t wish to an enemy. I need to keep working. I understand the fans. They paid their money and want the show. But many forget that we are not robots, but living people. We have feelings, worries.”
“I got very tired this season, to be honest. Now I know what it’s like to be a goaltender in Philadelphia. Maybe from the outside it looks like there’s nothing to it. You only realize it on your own.”
“It is difficult. My face is everywhere. Everyone is talking about me: ‘Bryzgalov played well.’ ‘Philadelphia won, but Bryz made a mistake again.’ ‘Yes, he wasn’t scored against but could have been.’”
“Who doesn’t make mistakes? How many [pucks] did I catch before then? But very few notice that. People are so concentrated on the negative that they only see the bad in me. But I think you need to be kinder to each other.”
Bryz posted a brutal .886 SV% during their first round win over the Penguins, but improved to .910 in the second round. The Devils, however, eliminated the Flyers in Game 5.
GM Paul Holmgren took exception to this and responded, saying,
“His job is to stop pucks and help us win games. It’s not Comedy Central.”
When asked whether or not Bryz lived up to the first year of his 9-year/$51M contract, Holmgren said,
“I’d probably say, no.”
– The Avalanche have signed G Sami Aittokallio, G Kieran Millan and G Kent Patterson to entry-level contract. Aittokallio, 19, was a 4th-round pick of the Avalanche in the 2010 draft. Millan just completed a four-year career at Boston University, where he is the career leader in victories, games played and saves. He was a 5th-round draft pick in 2009 for Colorado. Patterson played for the University of Minnesota, which earned a berth in the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four. Colorado chose him in the fourth round of the 2007 draft.