Thursday, May 28, 2009
The onion has a fascinating in-depth hard-hitting piece on how America rejects Turkoglu. I think this speaks volumes about the Cavs-Magic series. Clearly, a win for Orlando is bad for America and is basically a chance to let the Terrorists win. If Cleveland loses, its the equivalent of wrapping a fetus in an burnt American flag.
Cleveland is the epitome of Americana, and the whole country should stand behind the city!!! Any chance this patriotic dribble will influence this series?
And for those of you who are ready to point out that Ilguaskas, Varajao, and Pavolic are not from this country, I call you communists. Also, any one who says Delonte West can't speak english.......well, i cant argue with that.
Go Cavs and Go America!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
As if we couldn't feel any worse today about the loss last night, the NBA managed pour salt on our wounds:
Monday, May 25, 2009
"one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand... four one-thousand... ten one-thousand"
Howard is literally camped out in the lane to prevent LeBron and the guards from driving the lane... and this is a direct violation of the rules. The actual language of the rule is quite lengthy, but I counted at least 10 violations for Howard last night, and I wasn't even trying to count his OFFENSIVE three seconds violations.
There was one possession when Howard sat in the lane for the entire possession of the Cavs without even coming withing 5 feet of any defenders. This is not the reason the Cavs lost, but I wish the refs would at least enforce this rule which really isn't that subjective (in comparison to blocking and charging fouls). I also wish they would call Howard for his moving picks, and dirty picks where he throws elbows.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Nuggets-Lakers - The hope that the Nuggets frontcourt (Nene, Kenyon Martin, and Chris "Bird Man" Anderson) could outmuscle the Lakers frontcourt (Gasol, Bynum, Odom) is already over in my opinion. The Lakers were still able to push the Nuggets around, and outrebound them by a very healthy margin in game 1. The only reason the Nuggets stayed in the game is because Carmelo was on fire and the Nuggets were shooting very well. The Nuggets would have to shoot that well each night to have a chance. Long odds of that happening. However, one big area of improvement is available for the Nuggets: Coach George Karl. I have literally no idea what Anthony Carter was doing out there for the Nuggets. Yes, JR Smith was having an off-night. But Anthony Carter is a 6'2" PG. Why were the Nuggets playing 2 PGs deep in the 4th quarter? They also had Kleiza and Dohntay Jones available. I don't get it. Anthony Carter botched multiple plays, aside from the obvious awful inbounds pass that got stolen.
Knee-jerk prediction: Lakers in 6
Cavs-Magic: I am full of anger and sadness. I try to avoid writing about my own teams, but it is unavoidable in this situation. To state the defensive problems of the Cavs, here's an excerpt from Brian Windhorst, the Cavs beat writer:
It has been said often, and correctly, that the Magic are a "pick your poison" team. Well, you can't take both doses of poison and survive. The Cavs decided to let Dwight Howard go in this game and pinch the other guys instead. It worked well for awhile, LeBron James totally flustered Rafer Alston guarding him, Delonte West did a nice job on Hedo Turkoglu with help from frequent double teams and Rashard Lewis was sucked into playing 1-on-1 basketball. Sure, Dwight Howard was making a mockery of Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Ben Wallace and they weren't fouling him and letting him get great post position and allowing points in the paint like they were the Golden State Warriors. But the Cavs were up 15 in doing so because that was it Howard or bust.
Then when things got tight the Cavs abandoned that plan and went back to denying Howard with double teams. That's when Turkoglu, who was flat out great in running high pick-and-roll in the fourth quarter, and Lewis started killing them. Do you know what you call that sort of violent switching the game plan? Did someone say panic? Well it may not have been panic but in comparing it to how they played all year long it looked like it.
-Brian Windhorst, Cavaliers Reporter, The Plain DealerSo... what are the Cavs options? If anyone saw the game, only Z had little to moderate success at keeping Howard out of the lane on his own. Even then, I'm being optimistic. Wallace's bad back means he shouldn't be playing. He was terrible. Varejao and Joe Smith were also unable to do much, and that was with the refs ignoring a lot of fouls that I saw. Thus, there is no one on the Cavs that can keep Howard out of the lane (unlike the Celtics who had Perkins to do that job). Thus, the Cavs kept sending help from the PF position... which resulted in Rashard Lewis being open, which resulted in Rashard Lewis shooting 70% from the field, including the game-winner (which was without Howard in the game due to fouling out.
Here is my brainstorming of ideas:
1) Complicated rotation arrangement such that Lewis is never left open and the next closest player (either Mo, Delonte, or preferably LeBron) rotates to Lewis when Lewis's man leaves
2) Playing the following insane lineup (where LeBron and Varejao switch)
PF - LeBron vs. Lewis
SF - Varejao vs. Turkoglu
C - Z vs. Howard
SG - Delonte vs. Lee
PG - Mo vs. Alston
Maybe LeBron can move fast enough to cover Howard AND Lewis?
3) Playing the following even more insane lineup:
PF - LeBron vs. Lewis
SF - Delonte vs. Turkoglu
C - (Z or Varejao) vs. Howard
SG - (Sasha or T. Kinsey) vs. Lee
PG - Mo vs. Alston
This puts the fastest players on the court, aside from when Z is in. Delonte did well on Turkoglu last night, relatively speaking, despite giving up a lot of inches.
That's all I got. I'm angry. Not typing anymore. Hoping the cavs can still win in 7, but feeling very skeptical now.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Lakers v. Nuggets
1. Bynum in Cross Hairs
Scanning through the all of the previews the biggest mystery seems to be Andrew Bynum. When he's playing well he gives LA a needed interior defensive presence, dominates the interior offensively and frees up Gasol. When he's off he's somewhere between a non-entity and a foul machine.
2. Guarding Kobe
For those that have forgotten LA swept Denver in last year's playoffs. One of the main reason's was a complete and total lack of anyone that can guard Kobe. Nobody. They were throwing Martin and some fan from seat 3B at one point. Now Kobe hasn't exploded for a giant point output in awhile but given his free reign it'll be a mega-bust for the Lakers if he doesn't.
3. Melo Time to Shine
Somewhere along the way Carmelo Anthony seems to have fallen to second tier among the games young superstars. D-Wade, Lebron, heck Chris Paul have all had their playoffs moments...but not Carmelo. The equalizer to Kobe's offense is Melo's offense. Can he rekindle his NCAA glory days and put the Nuggets on his back? Can Melo put himself on (back?) the NBA superstar watch list?
Mighty Prediction: Lakers in 7
Cavs v. Magic
1. Z's Outside Shot/Lebron's Points in the Paint
These two issues are more inter-related than one would realize. When the L-Train penetrates the Cavs offense is nearly unstoppable and when he fails...it stalls out pretty bad. The interior of Orlando's D is manned by Dwight Howard...probably the one defensive force left in the playoffs that can counter Lebron. HOWEVER if Big Z can hit the outside shot, Howard will be forced away from the basket, and thereby leaving Orlando wide open to King James slash attack (which I believe is BBBABA)
2. Rafer Madness
Rafer Alston has done a yeoman's job in replacing all-star Jameer Nelson at the point. In Game 7 against the Celtics he hit the 3s and caused dribble penetration. With Alston hitting the 3, Orlando has 4 legitimate 3 point shooters - basically dooming any defensive efforts. Will Alston play the the part of random Cleveland Dream killer?
3. Superman at the Foul line?
To beat Orlando, Howard needs to limited by a single guy, Orlando needs to be cold from the offensive , or the Cavs have to put together the greatest defensive speed rotation seen to man. The most likely of these scenarios for Cavs success is keeping Howard away from the blocks with one man. The Cavs have waves of big bodies to foul Howard and if Cavs hit the panic button it might be Hack a Howard to the rescue
Mighty Prediction: Cavs in 7
To give a little love to the NHL.....
I'm (sadly) picking the Red Wings over Blackhawks. The Red Wings have too much experience and simply seem unstoppable this postseason. It'll be an important lesson for the Blackhawks to learn but as the Bulls learned sometimes experience is too much to overcome.
I'll also go with the Penguins over Hurricanes. Pittsburgh young team is experienced and clicking and hopefully a Stanley Cup rematch against the Red Wings will result in the Trophy being back in Super Mario's hands again.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Lakers Mystery Theater
While the reality finally hit as the Lakers dispatched the Rockets with relative ease....in Game 7...I'm left with a lot of questions about the Lakers . On paper there was no reason the series should have even been competitive. Yet here we were ....7 games. Why? Was it a question of the Lakers falling asleep at the switch and only trying when the Rockets threatened? Was it simply a uniquely bad matchup with a super speedy Brooks and a two headed monster of Artest/Battier on Kobe? Was Phil Jackson exposed as not the Zen Master thru his sticking with Fisher and other mishaps? Or is it simply a blip on the Lakers run to topping last year? Its rather a cop out but how the Lakers end the season will ultimately determine which interpretation will be deemed the "right one"
Celtics v. Magic
It's coventional wisdom in Cleveland that Orlando would be the tougher matchup for the Cavs. A tall big lineup full of 3 point shooters is exactly the wrong type of team for the Cavs to matchup on. Boston would provide worn down veterans that are rely on penetratio for success. All Boston had to do was win one more game in Boston. But they couldn't manage that. The Celtics engine ran dry somewhere around the 3rd quarter of Game 6 and simply was no match for the Magic in Game 7. While the plus side of the Celtics being eliminated is that we will finally figure outwhats actually wrong with KG, the downside is the Cavs face the Magic. Thanks a lot Celtics. Fuck you!
Other Random Monday Thoughts
- I'm actually enjoying the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Wings v. Hawks have the great theme of the proven champions versus the hungry new faces (hmm haven't we seen this story line before with Bulls v. Celtics). Hopefully this time the young guns trump experience
- One of the unfortunate necessities of the 24-7-365 sports world is the ubiquitous rankings. The latest and obviously completely accourate (he said with snark) ranking of College Football is out on ESPN, SI, and Bob's Big Blog of Knowledge. While these rankings actually matter in that they'll influence the preseason rankings which in turn will affect the ability to move up the ranking. However here's a few teams from the usual suspects that will bear watching....
V-Tech - While the Big 10 is crapped on in the land, the ACC isn't even given the time of day to be crapped on. That could change as V-Tech has the two of the higher profile non-BCS schedules in the land with games against Alabama (in Atlanta) and against Nebraska. Victories over an SEC and Big 12 teams with name recognition could result in the Hokies jumping in the Mythical BCS chase
Oregon - Somehow put on its schedule the top mid-major teams of Boise State and Utah. Add in a home game against USC and Oregon could leverage the high profile games to Championship contender status.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
If you couldn't watch the video, the announcer, Kevin Harlan, screams out that "LeBron James... with no regard for human life!!" This is from the Cavs-Boston 2008 Playoff series. It's such a preposterous quote that I thought it was unique to LeBron James. I was wrong. Apparently, it's this announcer's attempt at creating a tagline.
Here's a video of Kobe "with no regard for human life!"
The more I watch the videos, the more I like the tagline actually. I guess this is somehow more PC than saying, "LeBron just KILLED EVERYONE!" I was trying to think of other situations where saying "no regard for human life" could work, but it seems rather unlikely, as it sounds like you are trying to just hurt the other person. Maybe it would work well as a substitute for saying "checkmate" in Chess, though you may sound a bit cocky.
Anyway, here are some of my thoughts on the NBA Playoffs thus far:
1) I'm writing this as the Lakers are up 19 points in the 1st half against the Rockets. Phil Jackson has already played Jordan Farmar as much as Derrick Fisher. The Farmer minutes have been much better for the Lakers. The reason I am writing on this is because Fisher is too slow to keep up with Houston's quick PG Aaron Brooks. Fisher put up a preposterous, team-worst, -27 in only 19 minutes in game 4... the lesson is that Fisher's suspension for Game 3 (which the Lakers dominated) was actually a blessing. At least the whole league now knows the Lakers weakness (quick PGs). Of the remaining teams though, only Boston (Rondo) would qualify in my mind for exploiting that weakness. Of course, the Lakers still have to take care of business.
2) The Nuggets are certainly playing well, as they are up 3-1 against Dallas. However, I'm reluctant to jump on their bandwagon since they played an injured Hornets team and Dallas has had Josh Howard in and out of the lineup. Granted, I can see how their strengths (big-men, Carmelo, Billups) could result in a Finals-appearance, but I'm not sold yet.
3) I kept thinking Boston would be an easy elimination without KG and Powe. The Celtics, who are now up 3 games to 2, are still very tough even without the big men. Big Baby Davis has been incredible (even w/o that buzzer beater in Game 4). It will be interesting to see who survives the Celtics-Magic series. I still am of the opinion that the Cavs have the most trouble with the Magic, but Boston will not be easy to eliminate, as I originally believed when Powe & KG went down with injuries.
Monday, May 11, 2009
It was a weekend of beat downs in the NBA, so who had the big ones?
1. Lebron simply beat the snot of the Hawks on Saturday. I'm pretty sure on Saturday Lebron was 7 feet tall and consumed the Hawks with lightning bolts from his ass. Coach of the Hawks, Mike Woodson, was reduced to stammering and sighing as by the fourth quarter his team had thrown in the towel, raised the white flag, and assumed the position of obedience. It was the best performance of the 2009 playoffs from the league MVP that has scored 108 points in 108 minutes. The Cavs competition to date has been light and the Cavs struggled mightily against whoever their next foe is in the regular season but at the moment its stream roll city.
2. #2 on the Beat down list is Dallas. First apparently Dirk's girlfriend gets arrested for international espionage (note might have been a different crime) and then the refs apparently ate their whistle in the waning seconds of the game to seal a Denver 3-0 lead. Denver with the Bird Man, Nene, and Kenyan Martin seem to have the size to compete with anyone at the moment. Its not often that the #2 team in conference was under-rated - but its looking like thats the case with the Nuggets.
3. Lakers - yes they Lakers blew game 5 but without Yao Houston efforts ultimately seemed doomed. I'm not sure what the Lakers' problem is. Boredom? Soft in the middle? Aging back court? Zen Master losing his touch? I don't have the first clue. But they will win the series. Its just going to take a few more games.
4. Orlando/Boston - No beat downs here. Or at least consistent. Orlando certainly seemed to have the series in hand until it let GLEN DAVIS to make this an extended series. Is Game 5 in Boston a must win for the Celtics? I dunno. Good thing I get paid for that kind of crack analysis
Friday, May 08, 2009
I think how one reacts to the steroid scandal depends on answers to the following questions:
1. Is it ok for an athlete to take - for lack of a better term - "unnatural" products that artifically boost their ability to compete in their sport?
- If the answer is no, we stop here. The fan who thinks that steroids are ok in a vacuum will obviously not care about this issue in any capacity, except to get upset about the fact that it is an issue.
- if the answer is yes, we move on.
2. Is the steroid-taking athlete excused from culpability because the use of steroids was (or is) widespread?
- This is the meat of the issue for MJ, I think. It's the "if everyone else was doing it, why can't I?" defense. But it also reflects a question about the impact of a player's use on the game in general, i.e. if stats were inflated across the board, and if the foundation of the game for 10 or 15 years was in part reliant upon steroids, then the playing field was more or less evened by the widespread use.
3. Whatever the answer to #2, is the use of steroids a problem because of the statistical-historical impact on baseball?
- Those who say "no" often argue that players throughout history have sought illegal edges, and that we don't know what guys in past generations might have been taking, so we can't assume that they were clean and that it's only current players who are dirty.
- Those who say yes respond to the opposing argument generally with the notion that - unlike this era - there is not evidence to support widespread cheatng in past eras, and so it is unfair to assume that the sins of today are equivalent to the sins of yesterday.
4. Is the use of steroids excused because of management complicity?
- I don't know anyone who argues this outright, but many argue that players cannot be solely blamed for the steroid scandal. In any event, once you get to this question, you've already concluded that steroids is an issue and that someone must take the blame.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Manny Ramirez has been suspended 50 games for use of a banned substance, which the report is saying was not steroids.
I think its a little karma-esque, since I heard reports all morning how awesome the Dodgers are because they are 13-0 at home, and then a few hours later, this happens.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Monday, May 04, 2009
Cavs v. Hawks
For a second consecutive series the Hawks showed played with outstanding putridity. No different than last year's Boston 7 game series, the Hawks this year sometimes showed up, played D and therefore dominated the Miami Dwayne Wades. However for 3 games they simply decided not to try and therefore got blown out. Will Atlanta actually stay focused and play D every game? Magic Eight ball says unlikely. Keep an eye on Al Horford's gimpy ankle.
Cavs in 5
Celtics v. Magic
Fatigue and injuries are probably the theme of this series. The Magic are down Jameer Nelson and now Courtney Lee. Turkoglu isn't himself. On the other hand the Celtics are down to only 3 Big Men and all their stars averaged 40 minutes+ a game given the number of OTs. Fatigue has to be creeping into the aging stars. Can Allan and Pierce someone up the energy for another dramatic series? Magic Eight ball says....no
Orlando in 6
Nuggets v. Mavs
Both of those teams breezed into the second round. Whether this was because of inferior competition or the teams finally put it together remains to be seen. The key matchup in this series is Martin and Anderson's D on Dirk. Dirk needs to have a super human series for the Mavs to advance especially with Howard at less than 100%.
Nuggets in 6
Lakers v. Rockets
Oddly enough I think of all teams out West the Rockets matchup best with the predicted Western Conference Champs. Defense on big men isn't exactly the Lakers forte and the Rockets have multiple people they can throw at Kobe. My eyes are on Adelman v. Jackson as they rekindle their hate-hate relationship for Kings v. Lakers series gone by. I also wonder if the refs will make sure the Lakers win this series also.
Lakers in 6
Friday, May 01, 2009
Consider this an open thread with possible topics: 1) Bulls v. Celtics - super awesome series or serious hazard due to its coronary risks (I think I almost blew a fuse when Noah dunked the ball over Pierce) 2) Ron Artest leads a team to victory (really? what?) 3) Crosby v. Ovechkin Fight to the Death (apparently Pittsburgh and DC hate each other...who knew?)