Saturday, December 1, 2007

Nawleans, baby

With my beloved Durant having to fight through the rigors of one of the 5 worst coaches in the league, I've replaced the Sonics with the Hornets (currently 11-6) as my team to watch anytime it's on League Pass.

They've just beaten Dallas (now 11-5) in OT.. Had a bit of a flashback in that Peja Stojakovic put up a great offensive game, reminding us that just 4 years ago that the best Euro in the league wasn't German. He's been a bit of a forgotten man due to his injuries and the general collapse that the Kings had in recent years, but his game isn't one that will diminish much with aging. Remember that in the Kings' prime, EVERYONE was raving about his Bird-like shooting percentages (48%fg, 43%3pt, 93%ft) as he tied for 2nd in the league in points per game (24.2). He's not done.

At the ever-important point, we've got Chris Paul: arguably the best young player at his position in the league, no offense to Deron Williams. The man is unselfish when necessary, can take over offensively at his whim, is not afraid of contact and is dangerous anytime he has the ball in his hands.

At the five, it's Tyson "The Bulls got rid of me to get Ben Wallace" Chandler, who is the second coming of Marcus Camby. He's got the same iffy offensive game coupled with monstrous defensive presence and rebounding numbers.

David West is a guy that I can't help but love. The man was basically a nonfactor his first couple years in the league.. then Chris Paul comes along and he decides that he can drop 25 and 17 every now and then, with the swagger of a Kobe or T-mac.

They're just very athletic and very fun. Along with Morris Peterson, their whole starting five is very competent, with four of them with the ability to take over any given game. Their team is built extremely well and has no real flaws other than a knack for injuries.. If I were a betting man I wouldn't have any trouble putting money on them against any team in the league. They're freakin scary :]

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

This sums up the 07-08 Sonics so far

tradebark: BUT
tradebark: PASS IT TO DAMIEN
arthurjsb21: hahahaha
tradebark: K ALL IN
arthurjsb21: hahahaha
tradebark: $#^@$%^EWEAWEAW

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

On Donaghy and the "Future of the NBA"

This whole scandal is getting more boring by the minute. I mean I realize it's the offseason so every NBA analyst/writer/blogger doesn't have a whole lot to write about other than the latest impending Team USA hip-thrust, but come onnnnnnnnnn..

Let's see what we've got so far

1. Tim Donaghy gets accused of point-shaving and possibly altering the overall outcome of games.

2. The mob is more than likely involved.

3. Donaghy has a "history" of gambling and a few notorious games under his belt (06-07 Game 3 Suns/Spurs and the Palace Brawl)

4. Journalists are milking the "is the league in trouble?" "will anyone ever trust the NBA again?" angle to DEATH.. Emphases placed on whether the league's future is at risk and the supposed problems of trust that it already had involving its fans.

Really, what the hell?

In the end, people are getting mad over strategic calls that Donaghy probably made in order to fix the over/under numbers for games he refereed.. Yes that sucks, yes it is clearly a problem the league has to deal with, but how do people honestly see this as THAT big of a deal in terms of game-to-game officiating?

How many times have you watched a game on TV and heard announcers talking about "make-up calls"? Where they obviously make a bad call on one end and call (or don't call) a cheap foul or travelling violation or defensive 3-second on the other end to "offset" it? In the end officials cover themselves because they are the ultimate arbiters for such calls in a given game.. A tiny shove is normally not called but is probably a foul under the rules, so a given referee could call it a foul at his/her discretion anytime. However it still boils down to being a bad call since they would likely be officiating outside of their normal patterns and potentially changing the outcome of the game.

How often have you seen officiating sensitive to outside factors? Such as flagrants being called if the hit player is injured or comes up fighting, but not if the player bounces back up without a word? Late whistles where fouls are called after the basket is missed?

How many times have technical fouls been called on coaches or players for yelling out an obscenity that just hit that official wrong? Yes the techs are often issued for a reason, but in the end they are complete judgement calls by the referee and have no true standards in the grand scheme of things--it is, by nature, the referee rolled up newspaper that can be used to whack the unruly dog. On the same note how many times have players and/or coaches been ejected via technicals for reasons not involving safety?

How many times has a player received key fouls from light contact and taken out of the game because of it? Or gotten away with a lot of contact and not? Players like Shaq complained endlessly about the physical abuse they received from game to game without getting calls; how different would the outcome of Shaq's prime be if he'd gotten say.. 30% more free throw attempts?

How many times have you seen Dwyane Wade shoot free throws? (had to throw it in there)

All of those things (especially Wade if you like the Mavs) are signs of bad officiating that are not only present in the league but are largely considered part of the game.. Every single one has, I'm certain, made an impact on the outcome of a game at some point in time, whether intentionally (Donaghy, Crawford, and that corpse they always put in Lakers games) or not..

.. And beyond the certainty that this scandal will probably improve officiating in those areas and more at least for the next couple years, I'm not sure I see why this is such a massive deal as far as the NBA's future is concerned. It's like you're telling me people put flies in my soup on purpose when there's like 50 of them in there already, and the soup still tastes good (or I wouldn't keep getting it!)..

Sunday, June 3, 2007

And just like that, I like LeBron :)

I'd like to mention that among my mess of predictions back in the day, I had the Suns and Cavs in the finals, with the Cavs winning their ECF in six games..

(And if not for those Suns suspensions I might've gotten it all right!)

That game 5 performance by LeBron James is, as a lot of people have mentioned, absolutely amazing. He basically scores every Cleveland point from the last part of regulation all the way through two overtimes, leading his team to the series-changing win.

Game 6 is something that won't be talked about as much but may say the most about that Cleveland team. They basically had little offensive production from LeBron until the third quarter, and yet they were right with the Pistons for most of the game (make that leading the Pistons).. And while everyone (myself included) feel that LeBron's supporting cast is barely good and certainly not great, they still showed enough to handle a fairly strong Pistons team, sans a godly LBJ performance.

Gary (who I have almost daily NBA conversations with, even though he thought Emeka Okafor was a better pick than Dwight Howard) feels that the difference maker for the Cavs ("x-factor") is none other than Larry Hughes. He feels that Hughes is the reason that Billups was essentially shut down all series, and that it has potential ramifications since San Antonio gets so much of its offense from Parker (and to a lesser extent Ginobili).

I don't necessarily feel that way, but I do think that the Cavs have a solid chance against the Spurs if only because San Antonio has a tendency to stagnate on the offensive end. In the Phoenix series, for instance, despite the fact that the Suns didn't really stop Duncan, the games never really got out of hand. You'd see the Spurs "controlling" both ends of the floor via excellent defense and a seemingly unstoppable Duncan.... and yet the San Antonio lead would be something like 6 or 7 points.

The issue is perhaps that while Duncan is a dominating post presence, he is not a dominant scorer.. In large part due to his shortcomings at the line. This is a guy that will annihilate anyone under single coverage, and makes the right pass when he is doubled.. But if he is fouled he shoots an abysmal percentage from the line.. Opponents can then use this as a means of cooling him down when he gets going.

Every analyst considers San Antonio the prohibitive favorite in the upcoming Finals, and with good reason. They're a more talented and experienced team collectively, have the more dominant post presence, and have home-court advantage.

But then people felt that way about the Mavericks last year.. and it's not too difficult to see LeBron doing what Wade did back then.. In fact it almost seems a certainty after his Game 5 performance.

Monday, May 28, 2007

On this whole LeBron James thing

Now, the media has been its usual self, jumping to conclusions about his heirness LBJ.

And while I am going to end up dying of trying to convince people that it's pretty unlikely LeBron will ever surpass Kobe (much less Jordan), this guy is getting a bit of a bad rap.

I've always been a guy who is unconvinced by close games as determinants of the better team. It no doubt suggests and supports it, but if you're telling me a 3-point win is as meaningful as a 10-point one, I'm not buying it.

Now, take a look at the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals:

Game 1- LeBron charges the lane and dishes to a wide-open Marshall, who misses the game-winning 3-pointer. LeBron is subsequently lambasted for his inability to put the team on his back when the game is on the line.

Game 2- Lebron charges the lane and takes a heavily contested shot (and is likely fouled on the play, but it is not called). The ball bounces to a wide-open Larry Hughes, who proceeds to miss his jump shot from 7 feet away.

Now, while LeBron's game 1 numbers were not impressive, his team still managed to be a wide-open 3 away from stealing one at Detroit. Give them that win and people would be claiming it a new era in the East, and perhaps in the NBA.

Moreover, game 2 could have been the exact same thing.

So why exactly are people being so critical? How are the Pistons being lauded for winning games that they SHOULD win, when they were an open 3 and 2 questionable late-game calls from losing home court advantage?

There's a lot to be said about how Cleveland could be trying harder and win those games, but that's just who they are. Despite who they are, they were 2 possessions in 2 games away from absolutely destroying the Detroit Pistons. Who is it that people should be worried about, really?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Oh my god

I'm from Bellingham, Washington so this comes as crazy news

#1 pick = Portland
#2 pick = Seattle


Friday, May 4, 2007

Interesting article

I just got back from Vegas for the past 5 days so I missed out on a lot of NBA action..

But GO WARRIORS!!!!!!!!!!! :D

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Day 6, 7, and 8 =[

Well I missed the last couple days worth of games, but some interesting developments :)

  • Orlando now down 0-3.. Detroit is really exposing Dwight for the raw offensive player he is
  • Houston put forth the ugliest game in the history of the playoffs vs Utah.. and sadly they kept it somewhat close anyway
  • Bulls 3-0 against the Heat.. Definitely not what I envisioned but I'm not complaining! Injuries and age catching up with Miami
  • Lakeshow predictably took game 3 to keep things interesting.. Kwame Brown of all people had a monster game, though the Suns looked absolutely terrible apart from the opening 3 minutes.
  • Jason Kidd just put up a MONSTER triple double of 16 pts, 16 reb, 19 ast.. to lead the Nets to a 2-1 series lead over Toronto. Wow?
  • Golden State absolutely annihilated Dallas. Mavs fans have to be worried.. Outplayed in game 1, held close before imploding in game 2 (with markedly Dallas-loving referees with their 40+ free throw attempts).. and a complete thrashing at Golden State in game 3.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Day 5!

The Spurs came back and won the game they absolutely needed. At one point they led by as many as 17, though Iverson got hot and kept it close towards the end.

Nene was absolutely meaty yet again; Denver's got to come away from the first two games feeling good about themselves.. They've been pushing the Spurs and exposing some serious weaknesses. Not to mention that despite a horrible shooting night from Iverson AND Melo, they were still a Camby missed dunk away from making this game turn out differently.

Golden State and Dallas coming riiiight up :)

  • MONTA ELLIS is going nuts on the Mavs! 10 points and counting and the first quarter isn't over!
  • Warriors finish the half on a 4-0 run to trail by two.
  • Shit hits the fan in the 3rd, with Baron picking up a couple of fouls, getting involved in a "fight" with Harris and Diop. Techs assigned to Davis, Jackson, and Diop. Bit more jawing and Baron gets tossed.
  • In the fourth Jackson picks up his second tech and takes his time leaving the game.
  • Mavs (obviously) win.
Now all things considered, the Warriors have to come out of this feeling pretty good. They did what they were supposed to do (steal 1 game on the road), and even during game 2 where Dallas was largely playing very well, they were well within striking distance throughout the game.

I predicted that Dallas would win, and I stand by that if only due to Golden State's maturity (or lack thereof).. but I do want this to go the distance since these games are very entertaining :)

I found it really weird that they didn't run any plays for Ellis after he exploded in the 1st quarter.. go figure though, huh?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

To prepare us for tomorrow's games

This is supposed to be an NBA blog, but since it's a related story, I've decided to make a little tangent.

Day 4 of the Playoffs!

Chicago-Miami game 2 is in progress
  • Shaq is being very aggressive early.. but a few calls not going his way leaves him with very little actual production
  • Miami is getting absolutely wrecked by long rebounds.. Makes me wonder why the heck they are collapsing so much in the paint when the Bulls don't even have a post presence or much penetration..
  • Bulls just lucked out to end the quarter, extending their lead to 10 off of a Wade turnover (and a subsequent Nocioni 3)
  • Wade's definitely not looking 100%. Seems to be avoiding contact from what I can see, and the Bulls are taking advantage.
  • Kapono making a difference in the 2nd quarter, stretching out the Chicago D and making them hesitant to double.
  • Why is the NBA so backwards? I have league pass but no NBA TV.. So I don't get to watch Toronto-New Jersey.. Weak sauce.
  • So Jersey loses in a fairly close game. Boki had a chance to send it into OT but missed an open 3.
  • Chicago gets hot and just plows Miami from beyond the arc. Big loser of this game has to be Wade.. So many plays where he would have finished and gotten 2-3 points but instead kick it out to an inferior player for a miss :( Too tentative.. Wasted a great effort by Shaq.
  • After the first quarter, Lakers are looking good. Kobe has played pretty much perfectly, with Odom and Walton getting touches. I keep waiting to see the Suns just go nuts on them but it seems the Lakers are doing a decent job at slowing the pace.
  • The fact that the Suns lead is a testament to the kind of difference Amare makes in situations like this.. The man is an automatic 2 points if the catches near the rim; they just didn't have that threat last year.
  • BARBOSA!!!!!!!!
  • BARBOSA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • So yeah, Barbosa ate the Lakers again. This series really looks like a goner the way he's playing. Bell seems to have gotten injured landing on a Referee's foot....Ugh. As if I needed another reason to hate retarded NBA referees.

If Nellie says so..

Nellie took it a step further just a little while ago on the Dan Patrick Show. Nellie: "There's a better chance of us being struck by lightning than of us winning tomorrow night." Surely, Nellie must have seen the forecast. Severe weather is headed our way. Better duck."
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Good ol' old school mind games..

The man is probably right though, I can't imagine Dallas letting this slip away.

One scary thing about the Rockets

Is that they are the nightmare team to play against if the game is close with the clock winding down in the fourth.

Games like that typically boil down to a lot of burning the block in the halfcourt.. Which isn't the strong suit of teams like the Suns or Mavericks.. Who are both excellent at the line but lack that "must-foul" post player and ultimately will end up jacking up a jump shot.

The Heat and Spurs have obvious issues since their go-to post players are questionable free throw shooters to say the least. The Pistons do have Rasheed, but more often than not it's "Mr. Big Shot" or Rip Hamilton with the ball in that situation.

The Rockets have a beefy center that shoots 60% from the field and 86% from the line.. and one of the most clutch players in the league right next to him.


Yao Ming is just absolutely punishing the Jazz. T-Mac is being his usual unstoppable self in the playoffs. Utah would be dangerous if they could just get a go-to wing guy.. Still, I can't imagine that Houston will sweep a Sloan team :)

Magic lost which is a bit predictable. My man Grant Hill did drop 21 though! CCCCHAYEA

Dwight didn't score much but honestly I'm not too surprised. He's incredibly raw offensively and on the typical night gets points only when he catches deep in the paint. By the way, in my dream scenario Chauncey Billups signs with the Magic in free agency next season.... eeee

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Playoffs Day 1 & 2

I was out of town and missed all of Saturday's games..

Magic did better than I thought they would; I really hope that Grant Hill decides to turn it on and destroy everyone for a game or two, just to show he can.

Bulls beat Heat, yawn! :)

Raptors really needed that win.. Young team losing home court advantage.. and that eminently questionable coach.. Blah. By the way, does Sam Mitchell deserve Coach of the Year really? I mean isn't it a crock of shit that he's going to win it despite being psychotic over the last few years? I mean didn't he assault one of his players or something? Is it really his coaching getting them wins or the fact that Chris Bosh is getting better and they surrounded him with 3 new solid guys (Bargnani/Calderon/Garbajosa)? Give Bryan Colangelo exec of the year and call it a day. JVG has my vote!

Day 2 is in progress but I was able to watch most of em

  • Cavs vs Wizards was a yawner.. I wonder how many Wizards fans were hoping for that LeBron ankle sprain? Seriously though, without LBJ that series might actually be close, haha.
  • Kobe went NUTS in the 2nd quarter against Phoenix.. but then Barbosa just went apeshit on the Lakers in the 2nd half.. And the Suns could/should have won by a lot more had their shots been falling.
  • Nene is meaty. If Iverson gets his shot going this series could get REALLY fun.. But man I can't get over how Nene is just bulldozing through Duncan and Elson; I guess I (along with everyone else) just forgot about how scary he was before the injury. Go Nuggets! :P
  • Nuggets win because Nene is a beast eee :) I really hate referees though. I mean in one stretch with ~2 minutes left Tony Parker drove to the lane and either got a layup or got fouled every time.. Iverson does the same thing on the other end and doesn't get the call. Not saying the refs are favoring Parker, but they generally favor the losing team. It's just so blah and yet so accepted since it happens evvvveerrryyy time..
  • Warriors-Mavs first quarter is fun stuff. Nellie has some nice ideas :) Matt Barnes is really making a difference.. Too bad Ellis sits for him!!
  • I would never have expected the halftime score to be 38-38 for the Mavs and Warriors.. I'm just happy Warriors are hanging in there :) They're missing a lot of easy shots and not getting a whole lot of calls going their way.
  • Baron Davis just ATE the Mavericks in the 3rd. GS leads by 6 after 3!
  • Warriors stun the Mavs!!
All of my dream playoff scenarios are shaping up! Warriors gave the Mavericks fits.. Just amazing how many *competent* players are on the floor at once for that team.. I love the constant cuts, the sharp passes, the ability for each player on the floor to go 1 on 1 against anyone.. Simply fun to watch!

Dirk seemed really frustrated; it seems that the big guards are able to frustrate him enough to keep him in jump-shooting mode.. Devin Harris though was getting to the lane at will; I'm really surprised Ellis didn't step up and do the same on the other end of the floor, but Baron handled it nicely.

Alright let's get this show on the road!

My magnificent playoff predictions (Made before the playoffs began although posted a couple days late!):

Detroit vs Orlando - I am the biggest Grant Hill fanboy ever, which is why Orlando takes a game in this series. Otherwise, Orlando is too turnover prone to be dangerous to Detroit, and Dwight is still too raw to carry the team (even though I have a feeling he's gonna put up some monster numbers). Detroit in 5.

Miami vs Chicago - This is the super popular "upset" pick.. Miami didn't get a whole lot of respect despite the ring last year, but the bigger reason is that this series wasn't so easy for the Heat last year, and this time around Wade is hurt.. not even taking into account Chicago's growth and (overrated) free-agent pickup Big Ben. Chicago in 6 for me.

Toronto vs New Jersey - Now I don't watch too many Raptors or Nets games but my gut tells me that the refs are gonna decide this series and Kidd/Carter are going to get a whole lot more calls than Bosh. I like Calderon too, solid guy.. and Bargnani is a stud, but the team just seems too young to take out the Nets. Bearing in mind the Nets took the Pistons to 7 games last year. They take it here I think! Nets in 7.

Cleveland vs Washington - Really a shame that the injuries hit Washington so badly. Was a fun series last year and I really think that at full health it favored the Wizards... But they're basically taking a lottery team into this series and it's going to show. I'll give them a game out of pity. Cavs in 5.

Dallas vs Golden State - I talked about how I'm a huge Hill fan... Well, I'm also a huge Monta Ellis fan. He quieted down a bit towards the end of the year since Baron/Richardson got it going, but whatever I think he's the truth. People talk a lot about how GS beat Dallas in the regular season (3-0, although Avery didn't play anyone in the last game), but in the end Dallas is just too deep and too flexible. I'm looking for the Warriors to make this really fun to watch though. I'll say Dallas in 6 but I really want 7.

Houston vs Utah - Now this is just a great series to watch. Solid basketball all around.. Coaches that are super experienced in the playoffs and know how to win with their respective styles. It's Utah's misfortune that Houston's best players are impossible covers for their personnel.. Yao is too much of a monster lately and the Jazz have always had issues with wing players (hello overrated AK47). Rockets in 6.

San Antonio vs Denver - If there is an upset I am rooting for, it's this one. I firmly believe that Tim Duncan is the greatest PF to ever play the game, but I also firmly believe that the Spurs "dynasty" needs to end SOON. If I am faced with another Pistons-Spurs final (a rehash of that dreadful Rockets-Knicks of years ago) I might cry. Spurs are meaty but Denver has Nene. Still, hard to bet against their level of consistency and experience. Spurs in 6.

Phoenix vs Lakers - Suns are my pick to win it all. Leandro Barbosa is an absolute monster this year (look at his offensive numbers.. We're talking about a guy whose output is rivaling Tony Parker's.. and he plays behind Steve Nash!). Amare is gonna make a huge difference since the Lakers can't cover him. Nash actually deserved the MVP this year and it's ironic that he probably won't get it.. This team is just too good 1-6 for anyone to beat. Suns in 5.