Thursday, April 30, 2009

Catching Up with the Eastern Conference

Let's take a look at what I missed in the Eastern Conference NBA Playoffs.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Detroit Pistons

Were there ever any doubts? The Cavs destroyed the Pistons and that's all you can say. The Pistons have nothing to look forward to except possibly retooling. Joe Dumars has a lot of work to do. My take on this series was 4-0 Cavaliers and I was right.

Orlando Magic vs. Philadelphia 76ers

This has been a series to watch. Everyone has been saying how much of a spaz Coach Van Gundy is and he's kinda of shown that. His team mimics him and they don't play up to their level of success that they had during the year. The Magic are up 3-2 but have to play game 6 without the suspended Dwight Howard. Yes, Howard should have been suspended because that was a big elbow that could have knocked Dalembert out if he would have been 4 inches closer. What will the Magic do tonight? The big dollar man, Rashard Lewis, has yet to show up and that's troubling. The Sixers have been led by Andre Miller and they have been close in several games. I expect this one to go to game 7. I picked the Magic to win this series 4-3, but I could see it going the other way.

Boston Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls

Talk about a series where neither team deserves to win. The Celtics are just being killed by injuries (KG, Powe) yet they keep playing championship ball. The Bulls are playing tough and they are being led by Ben Gordon (Flash Gordon music playing in the background). His strained hamstring is probably worse than most think, but he toughed it out and played the majority of game 5. He's been able to hit big shots and keep the Bulls in this series. A lot of the baby Bulls (Noah, Thomas, Rose) have stepped up large in this series. You gotta go with the Champions in this series, but the Bulls are right there. I picked the Celtics to win this series 4-3 and I expect it to finish that way. The game tonight will be very exciting.

Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat

After last nights game, I think I've finally gone from Dwayne Wade is a star to Dwayne Wade is an actor. Yes, he goes to the ground quicker than Steve Wojciehowski slaps the court in a Duke basketball game, but in the past I've always thought he was just creating that contact. After last nights, you can just tell he's a bad actor with a penchant for the flamboyant. He's the only reason the Heat are in this series, so why aren't the Hawks trying to take the ball out of his hands. As much as I like Chalmers, Beasley, and Haslem, they aren't going to beat you. Double Wade and get the ball out of his hands. The Hawks have been playing like the lower seed in this series and they are thisclose to being home. Joe Johnson seems to have found his groove (last night) but if Horford is as hurt as he showed last night, the Hawks would be in trouble in the 2nd round (if they make it). I picked the Hawks 4-3 for this series,.......and I'm sticking with them.

Catching Up with the Western Conference

Yes, it's been a few days since I talked about the NBA playoffs, but let's just catch up with the Western Conference since the first round is basically over.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Utah Jazz

Did we expect anything different? We knew that Kobe wasn't going to allow the Lakers to play around for too long. They are at home now and they should be watching the Nuggets play and they should be getting worried. The Lakers still haven't shown me their want to play defense. That may hurt them in the future. My take on the series was 4-1 Lakers, and it ended 4-1.

Denver Nuggets vs. New Orleans Hornets

I don't know how you lose a game by 58 when you have a chance to get back in your series and you are playing at home. I think the Hornets just quit. They lost all of their mojo in a year. Last nights game sealed. They at least made it a game but Melo finally gets to the 2nd round of the playoffs. My take on the series was 4-2 Nuggets, but it ended 4-1.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks

The Spurs are just old. I don't think that this is the end of an era, but the Spurs have to retool, somehow. Duncan needs a young beast in the paint like he was to David Robinson and some help on the wing (which I thought Udoka would be able to provide, but he hasn't done that yet). We'll see if Pop can do something to spruce up this team. Dallas was the better team in this series and they showed it. This is the scary team that may cause Denver some problems. My take on the series was 4-2 Mavericks, but it ended 4-1.

Portland Trailblazers vs. Houston Rockets

This is the most exciting series in the West. The Blazers are showing their youthful side as they seem to play every other game. They haven't been able to consistently win the matchups that they should win (LaMarcus Aldridge, that means you against Scola), but they are only down 3-2 and they get a chance to go into Houston tonight to try and even the series. The Rockets are playing extremely well, without T-Mac. They are one game away from getting out of the 1st round of the playoffs. That would be a success but again another knock on T-Mac since they would have done it without him. Yao is showing that he is the most consistent big man in the league and possibly the best. I had the Blazers winning this series 4-3, so the Blazers have a lot of work to do.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Eat Some Crow!!!

If you visit this site, you know that from time to time I get on my stat guy, NYSTOM about some of his information. Over the past few weeks, I have probably grilled him about his stats that he had Rajon Rondo so high on the MVP list.

Not only has NYSTOM sent me articles (one link here), but as I was watching the Celtics vs. Bulls today, Mike Brean had this to say: 'Paul Pierce called Rondo the Celtics MVP this year'. With the way that he is playing, he is keeping the Celtics just a step ahead of the Bulls and would be the MVP of this series if the Celtics win.

With all of that said, NYSTOM, I warmed up my crow and I am presently eating it. Thanks.

Friday, April 24, 2009

San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks

There's not much you can say that's good about this game unless you're a Mavs fan. For the Spurs, I just have the following: 16 - total number of Spurs points in the 1st quarter, 14 - total number of Spurs points in the 2nd quarter, 12 - total number of Spurs points in the 3rd quarter, 4 - total number of points by Tim Duncan, 12 - total number of points by Tony Parker, 0 - total number of points by Michael Finley, 2 - total number of points by Matt Bonner, and 7 - total number of points by Roger Mason. Coach Pop sat his starters mid way through the 3rd quarter and even he admitted that he this was one of the worst games that he's been a part of.

The Mavs came out with that energy from being home and feeling as though they can win this series. The surprise start of JJ Barea actually worked for the Mavs. He's been the only person that has seemed to bother Tony Parker so far in the playoffs. Barea ended the game with 13 pts and 7 asts. Dirk Nowitzki got his first 20 pt (7 rebs, 2 asts, 1 blk) game of the series and Josh Howard chipped in 17 pts (8 rebs, 2 stls, 2 blks). The Mavs rolled and the crowd loved it. The only thing missing was Erick Dampier knocking Tony Parker to the floor. That's what I was waiting for.

Key facts:

- Dirk is on. He's feeling it and he's hitting a lot of his shots. He's dangerous when he's like this and I think the Spurs are done.

- The Mavs and the Celtics both had 32 point leads at the same time last night.

- Gerald Green got his first extended meaningful minutes and twisted his ankle, what's up with that?

Mavs are up 2-1 and I think they go up 3-1 in the next game. Are the Spurs done or is it just me?

Boston Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls

Wow, talk about turnaround. The Boston Celtics finally showed up in this series. Paul Pierce came out smoking and hit his first 6 shots, ending the game with 24 pts. Rajon Rondo continued his stellar play this series with a 20 pts, 11 rebs, 6 asts, and 5 stls performance. The Celtics showed that they are the reigning champs and what that really means. They came out with that killer instinct and once they put their foot on the Bulls neck, they didn't let off. The crowd at the United Center came to party, but it sounded more like a funereal at the end.

The Bulls came out tight. After winning game 1, the Bulls probably succumbed to expectations. Many thought that the Celtics were a wounded aging team and the young upstart Bulls have a chance. The series was tied 1-1 and the Bulls were coming home on a night that Derrick Rose was given the Rookie of the Year award. After the tip off everything went terribly bad for the Bulls. The Bulls were led by Ben Gordon with an uninspiring 15 pts. The only plus out of this game was that Kirk Hinrich actually played well off the bench with 14 pts and 3 asts.

Key facts:

- I'm sorry Doc if you had been reading here and decided to give Perkins a few more touches. He played terribly last night and when given the opportunity he was allowing Noah to play him tough.

- Stephon Marbury played great last night. He played 24 minutes, shot 4 of 10 (yes, I can forgive that) and ended the game with 13 pts, 3 rebs, and 5 asts. This may be a the light that the Celtics needed to see from Marbury. He looked comfortable out there.

- It was great seeing Scalabrine on the floor last night, but what kind of headband was that? Did it have airbags or something?

This was a devastating loss for the Bulls. Can they bounce back and even the series or is it over for the Bulls and this season?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Orlando Magic vs. Philadelphia 76ers

I don't know if Stan Van Gundy is going to make it out of this series. His team continues to run up big leads (18pts in each game) and they lost the first one and were dangerously close to losing this one. The Magic had 6 players in double figures and were led by Courtney Lee (24 pts, 3 rebs, 1 ast, 3 stls). Lee continues to keep J.J. Redick on the Magic bench by his play. The rest of the Magic looked, again, like they were sleep walking. Turkoglu and Lewis both chipped in with 16 pts, but the Magic are in trouble. Dwight Howard got 11 pts and 10 rebs, but fouled out the night he was given the Defensive Player of the Year award.

The Sixers are playing with house money. They are playing loose, but last night they struggled a little. They start slow and get behind, and have been able to claw back out of the hole, but they can't keep playing like this. Andre Miller had a monster game with 30 pts, 7 rebs, 3 asts, and 2 stls, but between Louis Williams and Willie Green (a combined 3 of 15) the Sixers had no backcourt production. They have a nervous Magic team on the ropes and then they let them slip away and get this win.

Key facts:

- Donyell Marshall must have been packed up for the season after his performance in game 1. In game 2 he had none of those heroics and ended the game with 1 stl and 2 fouls.

- The Sixers had 12 pts from their bench, not going to win many games like that.

- Marcin Gortat got on the floor and gave the Magic some solid minutes as a backup, after roasting his coach, with 6 rebs, 1 stl, and 2 blks.

I still think that the Magic are in trouble. They aren't playing well and they are lucky that they aren't going against a veteran team that can take advantage of them. Who do you think takes the series lead in game 3?

Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat

D Wade finally showed up and he got some help from his teammates to knot this series at 1-1. Wade had 33 pts, 7 asts, 5 rebs, 1 stl, and 2 blks. More importantly he got 20 pts from Daequan Cook, 19 pts from Jermaine O'Neal, and 12 pts from the rook, Michael Beasley. The Heat seemed to control the tempo of this game and made it more of a half court game. They were able to play better defense against the Hawks and they pulled out this much needed win.

The Hawks did end up with 6 players in double figures, but they never really seemed into this game. They got down early and made a run late in the 3rd that cut it down to an 11 pt deficit. But Joe Johnson's foul trouble really hurt the Hawks. The Hawks were led by Mike Bibby (18 pts) and Josh Smith (17 pts). Flip Murray dropped in 15 pts from the bench and helped a late rally. The Hawks let an opportunity slip away from them. They are playing a one man team in the Heat and they are better than that team at almost every position. If they lose this series, they should look no further than this game.

Key facts:

- The Hawks have got to get out and run more. Their halfcourt sets are too predictable and they seem to bog down and not score at times. If they run, they are good.

- The Heat owe this win to Alonzo Mourning. Mourning addressed the team, and D Wade prior to the game and provided them with the inspiration that they needed.

Is this now a series or do you think the Hawks will pull this one out? I have a feeling that the Hawks win game 3 in Miami.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Help Me to Help You

Ok, I know that we all were young and dumb at some point in our lives and some of us can just drop the young part and keep the dumb. I have been following the NFL draft and all of the nausea inducing coverage for the past month for an event that will happen this weekend. With that said, I have a small problem here with some of the guys going into the draft.

Percy Harvin (WR from Florida) and Brandon Tate (WR from UNC) are among 2 athletes on a list that tested positive for marijuana. WTF?!?!? Guys, you are higher profile guys (both scheduled to go in the 1st or 2nd round on most mock drafts) and you are applying for a job with a major company. What are you thinking? Yes, these guys are young, but they have to have a parent, a sibling, an uncle/aunt/cousin/grandma/friend or someone telling them to keep their nose clean.

I mean these guys would take a shower, get a haircut, and brush your teeth before approaching Halle or Beyonce, so why not stay away from the ganja before the biggest interview of your life? The sad part is they know that they are going to be tested, it's common knowledge. You know when the NFL combine is, so why don't you for two months prior, just chill out? At the end of the day, this habit could negatively impact your money!!!!!

Yes, they are young and this may not hurt them as bad, but why take the chance?!?!? This goes into my Stupid Athletes Tricks file. If you guys need a mentor, just hit me up. For the money that you lost on smoking, you could have paid me about half and I would have gotten you right.

Why aren't all of the guys on the list publicized? Why not put the entire list out there? What were these kids (Harvin and Tate) thinking?

NBA Regular Season Awards

Rookie of the Year - Chicago Bulls - Derrick Rose
Coach of the Year - Cleveland Cavaliers - Mike Brown

Defensive Player of the Year - Orlando Magic - Dwight Howard

Sixth Man of the Year - Dallas Mavericks - Jason Terry
Most Valuable Player - Cleveland Cavaliers - LeBron James*
*that's my opinion, but I'm sure he'll win it.
Your thoughts?

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Utah Jazz

This game picked up where Game 1 ended. When will some defense be played in this series? The Lakers started off this game by shooting 63%. The only thing that makes that a little questionable is that the Jazz shot 60% from the floor. The Lakers were led by their big 2, Kobe (26 pts, 9 asts, 6 rebs) and Gasol (22 pts, 6 rebs, 2 blks), but they ended up with 7 players in double figures. Lamar Odom was the biggest part of that bench with 19 pts. The layups and dunks that the Lakers got early in this game was ridiculous. It's like a grown man playing against a 10 yr old.

The Jazz, just don't have it. As I watched this game, at no point did I say to myself, the Jazz have a chance. Deron Williams (35 pts, 9 asts, 4 rebs, 4 stls,2 blks) had another great game and Boozer (20 pts, 10 rebs, 2 stls) contributed too, but the Jazz really have no chance. Unless,....they just start beating people up. Most Jazz teams of the past (yes, Karl Malone and John Stockton are somewhere crying) would have NEVER let the Lakers get that many open looks in the paint without drawing blood. This team, by it's coach's admission isn't nasty enough. With Okur out, they can't stretch the floor and that really highlights the limitations of this team (no one outside of Korver or Williams can hit a 3) and makes it easy to guard them. I hope the Jazz have at least one win in them.

Key facts:

- Shannon Brown has taken Jordan Farmar's spot in the rotation. Brown contributed 12 pts off the bench and has played solidly on both sides of the ball. This may have been a steal for the Lakers.

- Kobe is still showing patience and this is doing nothing but helping the Lakers. As you watch the game, you can tell that Kobe could take over at any moment, but he waits patiently to do that. 7 Lakers in double digits shows how much he has bought in to trusting his teammates.

This one is pretty much over. Call me when some blood is drawn or some heart is shown by the Jazz. What is your take on this one?

Portland Trailblazers vs. Houston Rockets

This may turn out to be the best series in the opening round of the playoffs. The Blazers were trying to bounce back from the butt whuppin they received in game 1. At least we we saw a better Blazers team last night. Brandon Roy went off for 42 pts (7 rebs, 1 ast, 1 blk) and LaMarcus Aldridge reminded us that he still has a mismatch over Luis Scola with 27 pts, 12 rebs, and 3 blks. The Blazers knew they had to win this game and it was pretty much even throughout with both teams making and giving up runs. Rudy Fernandez provided, as usual, a nice spark off the bench with 11 pts.

The Rockets were led, surprisingly by Aaron Brooks. Who would have thunk it? He had 27 pts in game one and 23 pts in this one. The smallish Brooks has shown a propensity to get to the rim at will and run this Rockets team. Yao Ming finally missed a few shots and ended with 11 pts (8 rebs) on 3-6 shooting. Von Wafer came off the bench with his best Vinnie 'The Microwave' Johnson impersonation with 21 pts. Artest hounded Roy a little bit but on the offensive side of the ball, he struggled with 19 pts (on 20 shots).

Key facts:

- On a sad note: Dikembe Mutumbo's knee just gave away and he fell to the ground. It looked eerily similar to Alonzo Mourning's injury that made him retire. Deke announced after the game that he was retiring and that this would be his last game. Big ups to the finger waving big man.

- LaMarcus Aldridge had his mojo back. He used every post move that he's ever learned to abuse Scola (at least this game). He finally got that jumper to go in too. That jumper makes him a hard cover because he has range to about 20 feet.

- Where did Von Wafer come from? I mean I remember him with the Lakers, but I didn't think this kid could play like this. He's quietly given the Rockets some punch off the bench. With a team that doesn't score a lot of points, his 15 or so a game are a lot (yes, he only had 6 pts in game 1, but towards the end of the season Wafer was ballin).

What do you think about this series? Is this going to be a good series? Can the Blazers win this one?

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Detroit Pistons

Well this game started the same way the last one ended, with the Cavs running out ahead. The Cavs showed us why they are the #1 team in the East. They had a 24 point lead at the end of the 3rd quarter and that's when it got scary. The Pistons' bench brought them back to within 7 points, but after Mike Brown re-inserted LeBron and the Cavs starts, they were able to seal the deal. LeBron had 29 pts, 13 rebs, and 6 asts. Mo Williams (21 pts, 7 asts, 2 rebs) and Delonte West (20 pts, 4 asts, 3 rebs) carried the load for the Cavs backcourt as the Cavs, for all intensive purposes, won this one easily.

The Pistons looked horriawful again. Only two starters scored in double figures, Rodney Stuckey (14 pts on 15 shots) and Richard Hamilton (17 pts on 16 shots), and the Detroit bigs, Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess (both with 8 points) looked like they were a step slow all game. I never thought that I'd say this, but this Detroit team needs to just forfeit the last two games of this series because it's over. I mean it's really over for this series and for the team next year. I guess the Pistons can continue to blame Allen Iverson for this one too?!?!

Key facts:

- You know it's bad when your back up center and starting power forward intentionally foul LeBron and he sends both of them stumbling away (one even went to the ground). Bill Lambier is crying somewhere today.

- The Cavs bench can't play like this again. Without that 24 point lead, this would have been an 'L'. You can't go scoreless for 9+ minutes and win too many games.

Can a team forfeit games in the playoffs? Should the Pistons? Do they even have a chance to make a game close? Do they get a win in Detroit as this series goes to game 3?

Monday, April 20, 2009

San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks

This game started the same way the last one did, the Spurs ran out to a big lead. It didn't end the same way. The Spurs ran out to an early lead, ignited by the French Assassin, Tony Parker (38 pts, 8 asts). Parker got into the paint and finished like he was a power forward or a center. As I would have predicted, the Spurs got several home cooking calls and really blew the Mavericks out of San Antonio. Tim Duncan chipped in a modest 13 pts, 11 rebs, and 5 asts, while the Red Rocket, Matt Bonner had a great game for the Spurs with 11 pts and 7 rebs. If hustle stats were official, Bonner would have been close to a triple double.

The Mavericks big three, Terry (16 pts), Jason Kidd (14 pts) and Dirk (14 pts) had a terrible game. Dirk, at least had an excuse for his game due to a jammed left thumb and a thigh bruise from Bruce Bowen's knee. Everyone else pretty much sucked too. Josh Howard did a great disappearing act from his game 1 performance and ended the game with 7 pts. I'm glad, and I think they are glad, that they won game 1. We'll see how good the Spurs are in Dallas.

Key facts:

- Drew Gooden had a good night. He had 13 pts off the bench and was a spark on offense for the Spurs. With Duncan's knees causing problems, this is a welcomed sight.

- Roger Mason Jr. continues to show up for the Spurs. He'll have to take and hit a few more shots for the Spurs to get deep in the playoffs.

- Brandon Bass continues to play well off the bench for the Mavericks. He ended with a quiet 8 pts, 3 rebs, 2 asts, 1 blk and 1 stl.

Okay, it's tied at 1-1. The Spurs bounced back, albeit with some home cooking (refs). We're heading to Dallas to see if the Mavericks can rebound. I still think the Spurs are in trouble in this series. What do you think?

Boston Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls

Well, I was right, at least sort of. Derrick Rose didn't have the same type of game that he had in Game 1 of this series, but he proved to me that the Celtics best chance at winning this series is if he gets hurt. That may sound a bit harsh, but no one on the Celtics team can guard him. The Bulls came out with a lot of fight in them and despite picking up two early fouls, Rose had a decent game (10pts, 7 asts, 6 rebs, 2 blks). The difference in this game was that Ben Gordon got 'en fuego'. He dropped 42 pts (not much else) and seemed to be on one of his famous 'you can't guard me' moments late in the game. Salmons (17 pts, 2 rebs, 2 asts, 1 blk) and Brad Miller (16 pts, 9 rebs, 2 asts, 1 blk) both paid dividends in this game and they really pushed the Celtics in this game.

The Celtics got lucky on this one. They had to be happy that Ray Allen was able to throw one or two in (30 pts, 3 rebs, 5 asts). Glen Davis chipped in a much needed 26 pts and 9 rebs. Paul Pierce doesn't seem to be in this series yet as he struggled and ended with 18 pts and 8 rebs. The Celtics may have won this game, but Rondo tweaked an ankle (I don't think he did he was just trying to sell a foul call, even 5 minutes after the play ended), Leon Powe got hurt, and the Celtics bench chipped in 9 points. That's usually the recipe for disaster. The Celtics tie up this series and head to Chitown for game 3.

Key facts:

- Joakim Noah must still think he's at Florida because he is playing ball. He's running the floor and finishing for the Bulls. He ended this game with another solid output with 13 pts, 8 rebs, 3 asts, 2 stls, and 4 blks.

- Rajon Rondo followed up his great Game 1 performance with a triple double: 19 pts, 12 rebs, 16 asts, 5 stls.

- Where is Austin Powers? He's got to help Stephon Marbury find his mojo. He looks lost, but he has the skills that can help the Celtics. Last year we waited intently to see Rondo get his mojo and he finally did. The same thing needs to happen for Marbury for the Celtics to win.

- The Bulls team set a record for blocked shots during this game. As a team they had 14 blocked shots. Tyrus Thomas had 6 by himself.

- I know Kendrick Perkins doesn't scream consistency in the paint for the Celtics, but that's two good games for him and he only had 9 touches. He ended the game with 16 pts and 12 rebs. Doc, get this guy some more touches.

The Celtics still seem to be sleep walking, at least Paul Pierce is, but if they don't wake up soon, they will be home for good. Are the Bulls going up 2-1 in Chicago? Who is going to step up if Leon Powe is out for an extended period of time?

Denver Nuggets vs. New Orleans Hornets

The Nuggets started slow, but were up 8 at halftime. After that, the Nuggets started pouring it on. This was a big night for Chauncey Billups (36 pts, 8 asts, 2 stls, and a record setting 8 threes) as the Nuggets blew this open. J.R. Smith came off the bench with 19 pts and both Carmelo and Kleiza ended with 13 pts. The Nuggets also got great production from their bench with the aforementioned Kleiza and Smith, but also add Chris Andersen to that list (9pts, 4 blks).

The Hornets looked bad as they lost by 29. It seems that only Chris Paul (21 pts, 11 asts, 5 rebs) decided to show up and play. Tyson Chandler, by his own admission is 75% and he played like it. The rest of the Hornets just couldn't sustain a run to stay close to the Nuggets. Just chalk this one up to a bad game by most and an opportunity to get better.

Key facts:

- What's going on with Carmelo? He seemed rushed at the beginning of the game and had a terrible shooting night. It's almost like he was too geeked up to play.

- David West can't shoot 4 of 16 since he's the only big man of note for the Hornets.

- Dahntay Jones played decent defense, rather physical I might add, on Chris Paul. He seems to play that agitator role very well. He does this against both Paul and Deron Williams.

This is going to turn into a good series. Who do you think wins? What can you glean from the first game?

Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat

Surprise, the Hawks can play defense. The Hawks came out of the gate and ran. It seems like everyone on the roster scored for the Hawks. Josh Smith led the team with several dunks and a nice stat line (23 pts, 10 rebs, 2asts, 3 stls). Smith really got the Atlanta crowd in the game and at one point neither team could hear what was being said in their huddles during a timeout. The rest of the Hawks starting 5 also scored in double digits with Horford (14 pts, 9 rebs) and Johnson (15 pts, 5 rebs, 2 asts, 1 stl) leading the way. Their defense is what won the game for them.

The Miami heat have been a one man team and yesterday really highlighted that. The Heat only scored 64 points and Wade had 19 of those, on 21 shots. No one else even showed up, not even Michael Beasley who was the second leading scorer yesterday (10 pts, 10 rebs, 2 asts, 2 stls, 2 blks). The Heat really looked bad last night. Unless the Heat get someone (anyone) to show up, this is going to be a quick series.

Key facts:

- None. This was just a butt whuppin.

- I thought T. I. was in jail? How is he introducing the Hawks prior to the game? Is this a new work release program?

The Heat are in trouble. We know that the Hawks play great at home, but they showed me that they learned from that series with the Celtics last year. They are playing defense.

Orlando Magic vs. Philadelphia 76ers

The Orlando Magic had the look of running this score up on the Sixers, but then something went horribly wrong. Dwight Howard had a monster game with 31 pts, 16 rebs, 2 asts, and 2 blks, even going 9-12 from the free throw line. Courtney Lee also stepped up with 18 points, but the other two of the Big Three, Turkoglu and Lewis were no shows. Even with that the Magic went up 18 on the Sixers and maybe that was a bad thing. It looked as though the Magic thought that lead itself would just make the Sixers quit.

The Sixers stunk it up early but came back and won this one in the end. They were led by two great performances from Andre Iguodala (20 pts, 8 asts, 8 rebs) and Andre Miller (15 pts, 7 asts, 7 rebs). The performance of the night had to go to Donyell Marshall. After dusting off the moth balls, Marshall came on and hit 3 big threes for the Sixers. He ended up playing on 11 minutes but dropped 11 points. I will agree with Barkley that the jumper that won the game for the Sixers was a lucky shot, but sometimes it's better to be lucky rather than good.

Key facts:

- The Magic got 13 pts from their bench the entire night. That's not going to win you many games. Even scarier is Anthony Johnson had 9 of those 13.

- The Sixers are up for this one. They came out and started slow, but they never backed down to the Magic. Just imagine if this team still had a healthy Elton Brand.

Are the Magic going to be the first higher seed to go home? Can they get more out of their ailing stars in Turkoglu and Lewis? Can Howard continue to perform at the line like he did?

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Utah Jazz

After the Lakers watched the Cavaliers destroy the Pistons, I know that they wanted to come out and make a statement against the Jazz. Statement made. The Lakers came out with a balanced attack and went on to beat the Jazz. Derek Fisher picked up two early fouls and Shannon (no Van Gundy, not Chris Brown) Brown came in and played mostly mistake free ball. Between Brown (9 pts, 3 asts, 2 rebs, and 1 stl) and Trevor Ariza (21 pts, 4 rebs, 2 asts) all of the x-factors came through for the Lakers. Kobe had 24pts, and Gasol had 20 pts and 9 rebs (before fouling out) and the game never really seemed to be in reach for the Jazz after halftime. They got the lead down to 9 but never really threatened from there.

The Jazz came out and played horriawful. No, that's not really a word but it explains how they played. Boozer (27 pts, 9 rebs, 2 stls, 2 asts) and Williams (16 pts, 17 asts, 3 rebs) both had great stat lines, but that was it. The Jazz were down, made a run but couldn't get over the top. The second half of this game got a lot more physical than the first which is in the Jazz's favor. I don't know what they can do win this series, other than make it a slugfest.

Key facts:

- Kobe really let his team play and put up numbers and didn't force anything. When the Lakers are playing like this, it's dangerous.

- I loved Matt Harpring at Georgia Tech, but it seems as though his game is really just more of a hackman (I know that's harsh) with a jumper. Yes, he plays hard and you like to see that, but I expected more out of this guy.

Do the Jazz have a chance? Is this series going to become more of a fight than a basketball series from here on out?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

NFL Update

It seems as thought Torry Holt isn't out of a gig for a long time. He is in the midst of signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars and should be a great target for David Garrard since the Jags really don't have any receivers on their team. The Jags released (a nice way of saying cut) Matt Jones, Jerry Porter, and Reggie Williams, so if you can catch the ball and need a job, head on down to Jacksonville.

Portland Trailblazers vs. Houston Rockets

This was a butt whuppin from the beginning. The Rockets came out and shot 80% from the floor for almost an entire quarter. Yao Ming went 9-9 from the floor (24 pts, 9 rebs, and 2 blks) for the game and didn't attempt a shot in the 2nd half and didn't play in the 4th quarter. As I watched this game it really looked like a video game for a while because every shot that went up was going in. For a moment or two the Blazers were keeping up with them on made baskets, although that didn't last long. Aaron Brooks made the most of his first start in the playoffs and he dropped 27 pts, 7 asts, and 4 rebs. He was a blur on the court and made Steve Blake look like he was treading water. Artest (17 pts, 4 asts) and Luis Scola (19 pts, 8 rebs)chipped in with good games to make this laughable shortly after halftime.

If this was a heavyweight fight the Blazers got hit with every combination and power punch that the Rockets had. The only good thing, is that they didn't knocked out. They lost on a TKO, but never lost a tooth or got their mouthpiece knocked out. No one played well for the Blazers except Greg Oden (15 pts, 5 rebs, and 1 blk). Roy had 21 pts, but he took 23 shots. Although this was a huge loss, I think the Blazers now understand what it takes to win in the playoffs. I'm betting that this series gets a lot tighter.

Key facts:

- What are these old guys drinking? Dikembe Mutumbo looked like a spry 37 year old last night. He ended the game with 9 rebs and no points, but he helped that Rockets bench get stops against the Blazers.

- The Rockets finally cooled off and hit only 59% of their shots for the game. Can they keep that up? If Battier, Wafer, and Hayes hit 5 shots between them, I think that puts the Rockets easily over the 60% for the game. When's the last time that happened in the playoffs? (Stat guy, can you work on this?!?!?)

We definitely saw the Rockets red glare in this game, but can they replicate this performance again? I think the Blazers bounce back. What do you think?

San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks

Wow, all I can say is that the Spurs played the game the way they wanted and got all of the calls and lost at home. The Spurs came out hitting on all cylinders. Tim Duncan looked like the rest really helped his knees and he was hitting his patented bank shot. Tony Parker was getting to the rim and the Spurs were able to get Nowitzki in foul trouble and things didn't look good for Spurs. This looked like the Spurs would just pile it on. Duncan ended the game with 27 pts and 9 rebs, while he got help from Tony Parker (24 pts, 8 asts, 4 rebs) and Mike Finley (perfect from 3 land for 19 pts and 4 rebs).

At that point in the game when all hope was slowly going out the door, enter JJ Barea. Barea was able to get to the lane and hit shots and was the spark plug that turned the game around for the Mavericks. He only had 13 pts and 3 asts, but they were big for this team. Josh Howard had a great game with 25 pts, 4 rebs, and 3 asts. Dirk had a rough game as he got in foul trouble early, but I noticed two things. Dirk whines way too much and he was able to collect himself after some dubious calls went against him (attn NBA refs: You can call a foul on Bruce Bowen, really). Dirk ended with 19pts, 8 rebs, and 2 asts. Please continue to run that isolation play for Dirk at the foul line, that's money.

Key facts:

- Jason Kidd really doesn't have to score too much for this Mavericks team to win, and that's probably a good thing. He ended the game with 4 pts, 8 rebs, 5 asts, and 2 stls.

- The player of the game for the Mavs was Erick Dampier, yes Dampier. He quietly played Duncan tough (yes Duncan had 27 pts, but it didn't seem like that at the end of the game) and he had his own double double, 10 pts , 11 rebs, 1 blk, and ONLY 1 TO.

- The player of the game for the Spurs was Roger Mason Jr. I knew this kid could shoot when I watched him at Virginia, but he needed to go to the right team and guess what, he did. He hit some tough 3's last night to keep giving the Spurs their lead or to catch back up to the Mavs. He ended with 13 pts, 5 rebs, and 4 asts.

I know it's one game, but I think the Spurs are in trouble. They don't have Manu over there on the bench to come in and save them anymore.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Detroit Pistons

(Let me start this by saying that I didn't watch this game due to spending some time with the wife).

The Cavaliers showed how impressive they can be. LeBron led the Cavs with 38 pts, 8 rebs, and 7 asts, but he also got balance from the rest of his team as they beat the Pistons. Delonte West, Mo Williams, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas all chipped in with 12 points. The Cavaliers won this game by taking the ball to the rack. They attempted 27 free throws (making 23). It wasn't pretty, but it was a win.

The Pistons didn't show up and basically after LeBron hit that 3 pointer from half court prior to halftime, the game was over. Rodney Stuckey led the Pistons with 20 pts and 4 asts, but outside of that, not too much help from anyone else. Rip had 15, Rasheed had 13, and McDyess had 10. How do you explain that the only big from Detroit that even attempted a free throw was Kwame Brown (1 of 2 from the line). Seems like the Piston bigs enjoyed shooting jumpers all day long. I guess they can blame this one on Iverson too?

Key facts:

- Can someone please find Tayshaun Prince? He has been a ghost as of late and the Pistons need him in order to give the Cavs a run for their money.

- Curry has got to go to his bench a little more, especially if the starters aren't getting the job done. I expect him to play Maxiell, Johnson, and Herrmann more in game #2.

The Cavs seem to be on their way to sweeping the Pistons. Joe Dumars should already be starting to revamp this team over the summer.

Are the Pistons done? Are the Cavs the juggernaut that we thought they'd be? Is this series over? When are the Bad Boys coming back?

Boston Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls

Well, TD Banknorth Garden was alive today, but it ended with a performance from a rookie that turned the tide against the Boston Celtics. The Celtics, without KG, started their first round playoff series with a lose to the Bulls. The Bulls came out with no hesitation and went at the Celtics from the get go. Derrick Rose led the bulls with a career high 36 points (he tied a record that had been set by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar by most points scored for a rookie in their first playoff game) and 11 asts. Joakim Noah (11 pts and 17 rebs, finishing with his left hand in traffic) and Tyrus Thomas (16 pts, 6 rebs, and 3 blks) both had great games for the Bulls as they surprised the Celtics.

The Celtics came out a little tentative and never seemed to really get it going until the second half. The Bulls were up 9 at halftime, but the Celtics fought back to make this a close one. Rajon Rondo seemed to almost match Derrick Rose with his 29 points, 7 asts, and 9 rebs. At one point it seemed like those two were the only people on the floor. Paul Pierce caught fire late and ended the game with 23 pts and 7 rebs. Kendrick Perkins had 14 pts and 8 rebs, but it seemed like the Celtics should have gone to him more, because the Bulls couldn't handle his size in the paint.

Key facts:

- The Celtics let this one get away from them with both Pierce and Allen having shots to win the game (missed free throw and missed jumper).

- Derrick Rose won't have another game like he did today, but it was a joy to watch.

- Ray Allen won't have another game like he did today going 1 of 12 from the field.
The Celtics should be a little nervous, but it's just one game (on their home floor) that they lost. Again, the Celtics let this one get away from them. They have to play better next game. If they go down 0-2, I think my prediction goes into the tank.

What did you think about this game? How was Derrick Rose's performance? Where are the rest of the Celtics? Are the Celtics in trouble already?

Friday, April 17, 2009

What Would You Do?

No, this isn't a snippet from that show on ABC, but a real life situation. I personally am a golf addict. I love the game and it's something that I can't explain. In the past I have played football and basketball and NEVER thought I'd be interested in playing golf because it's sooooo boring. Once I started playing, I got hooked. So, for those of you who are into the game, you know how hard it is to be consistent and make those shots you see the pros make on TV. With that said if you've ever played, you've scattered a few balls and made some wayward shots that hit some houses, cars, pools (I did that once), hotels, and even in some cases people. I know that people on the golf course don't try and hit people or things* (unless it's a group in front of you that is holding up play on each and every hole while they are on pace to shoot 120), but I was reading an interesting story.

Bill Murray, who is a golf fanatic and great comedian, was playing in the Outback Pro-Am at the TPC Tampa Bay and hooked a tee shot off of the 9th tee across the street and hit a woman who happened to be in her own yard. Gail DiMaggio was hit in the head by the ball and the paramedics were called, as she was rushed to the hospital. Not only was this caught by a TV camera but the Tour officials and NBC both notified Murray of the accident. Murray didn't finish his round, but DiMaggio seemed okay, just a little dazed from the hit.

So the question of the day: What would you do? You have a millionaire that has plunked you on the head, he has acknowledge that he did it, it was caught on tape, and there were witnesses. How much money is this worth? Remember, we live in a very litigious society that happens to be in a depression. Did Gail DiMaggio just hit the lottery?

What would you do? Would you get an attorney or would you get some golf equipment?
*Just a note to those people that read this and live on a golf course. If someone hits your house with a golf ball and you live right on the golf course, you have NO reason to be mad at them. Stay in your house and call your realtor if you're that upset.

NBA Playoffs - Western Conference First Round

We already talked about the Eastern Conference First Round matchups, so let's get to the West. This year, we had a run for the best record in the NBA between the Lakers and the Cavs, but the Lakers came up a little short. They'll have to be happy with being the #1 seed in the West.

Los Angeles Lakes vs. Utah Jazz

The Lakers have played ball all year long, and then the moment that almost had people jumping off bridges, Andrew Bynum tore up his knee. Everyone in La La Land remember how the Celtics just out manned the Lakers last year in the Finals and there was worry to go around. A few weeks ago, Bynum returned and showed us all why the Lakers didn't trade him for Jason Kidd. With Bynum ready to go, the Lakers look headed for a showdown with the Cavaliers. They should have any problems in the playoffs.

The Jazz kind of limped in to the playoffs and they are looking great at home, but they can't win on the road. With Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, this team should be picking and rolling their way to the conference finals, but they meet the Lakers in round 1. The rest of the Jazz team is actually good and part of me could say that the Jazz could (I'm not saying will), but they could give the Lakers problems in the first round. There are Jazz fans out there that have to have hope (Eric, that's for you), but in the end, the Jazz shouldn't pack for anything longer than a first round playoff series.

Series Winner - Lakers 4-1

Denver Nuggets vs. New Orleans Hornets

Denver comes into this series riding high. After acquiring Chauncey Billups and getting Kenyon Martin back in the fold, the Nuggets are ready. They have a point guard that can get the ball to their scorers (Melo, JR Smith, and Nene) and this team finally decided to play some defense. I know a lot of people want to give George Karl a lot of credit, but I think that Billups should get as much as Karl. This is a scary Nuggets team.

The Hornets are winning despite all of their issues. They have lost both Tyson Chandler and David West for extended periods of time during the season. West has returned and is playing well, but Chandler is just coming back and by his own admission, his toe is about 70%. That does not bode well for a team that isn't as deep as they were last year and is facing a stacked Nuggets team that can score. Chris Paul will again have to carry this team if they are going to make it past the first round.

Series Winner - Nuggets 4-2

San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks

The Spurs come in hoping that Tim Duncan's knees aren't sore. He has played through pain over the last few games of the season, but the Spurs will need him to win this series. Tony Parker has carried the Spurs for the majority of the year and should have garnered some MVP votes in my estimation. This is the same crew, minus Ginobli (out for the season), and a little older. It's time for the Spurs to restock this team on the wings. They will struggle in this first round.

The Mavericks are balling a little bit. Jason Kidd looks like he's found the 'Fountain of Youth' and Dirk is getting back into that form that had him in line for an MVP a few years ago. Josh Howard is stepping up and they are getting production, or at least defense from their bench. They've been somewhat under the radar for the entire year. Look for Jason Terry to have a big series for the Mavs.

Series Winner - Mavericks 4-2

Portland Trailblazers vs. Houston Rockets

The Trailblazers are led by do everything Brandon Roy, but they are a deep team. I mean real deep. This team can play 10 players each game and the guys coming off the bench are just as good as the starters. LaMarcus Aldridge (don't the Bulls wish they would have kept him instead of Tyrus Thomas?), Greg Oden, Rudy Fernandez, Travis Outlaw, and crew will definitely cause the Rockets problems during this series. They have enough big bodies to play Yao and enough young guys to run and score.

The Houston Rockets made it this far without Tracy McGrady and not many people thought they would. Yao has stepped up and more importantly hasn't gotten hurt this year. When you add that to a behaving Ron Artest, and a surprising supporting cast in Aaron Brooks, Chuck Hayes, Carl Landry, and Kyle Lowry, you see how the Rockets were able to overcome the loss of McGrady. I think this will be the stage where the Rockets realize that they need that go to scorer and I don't see Artest being that guy on a night in night out basis. This will definitely be an exciting series.

Series Winner - Trailblazers 4-3

What's your take? Who are you rooting for? Can the Jazz give the Lakers any problems?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

NBA Playoffs - Eastern Conference First Round

Well, it begins on Saturday. The NBA Playoffs are finally here and I'm excited. You get the 40 games in 40 nights on TNT and playoff basketball on the weekends on ESPN and ABC. There goes my golf outings for the next few months. Let's take a look at the match ups for the Eastern Conference.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Detroit Pistons

No one wanted to play the Cavaliers. They have played about as good as a team can play this entire season. They have home court advantage throughout the playoffs. First up for them the Detroit Pistons. The Cavs are led by the MVP of the league (yes, I'm giving him that honor now) in LeBron James. The difference between this team and last years Cavs teams is that this team can score. The addition of Mo Williams has helped tremendously. Not only does Williams allow James to play off the ball, Williams has been a knock down shooter and he's been good on defense too. Mike Brown has this team playing as a TEAM which is evident by the closeness and the antics on the sidelines before, during, and after games.

The Deeetroit Pistons are in trouble. They have been in a free fall since they traded away Chaunsey Billups and got Allen Iverson. A lot of people have blamed this on Iverson, but there have been other factors that have led to their downfall. They have a rookie coach who is having a hard time balancing egos within the team. They have been hit with injuries that they haven't had in past years, and it's just not that cohesive unit that we were used to over the past years. The Pistons limp into the playoffs with Iverson benched (on the playoff roster though), Rasheed Wallace a tech away from being suspended again, and their team not having an identity. Antonio McDyess has quietly played well this season, but it just seems all for naught.

Series Winner - Cavaliers 4-0

Orlando Magic vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Orlando comes in at a somewhat awkward moment. They were able to snatch the #2 seed from the Celtics, but they come into this series with one of their top players Hedo Turkoglu having back problems. The Magic have been playing well as of late and Dwight Howard (the Defensive Player of the Year, yes, I'll give him that award now). The Magic are unbeatable if they are hitting their 3's from Turkoglu and (Rashard) Lewis. The Magic are deep and they have found a way to play defense. How Rafer Alston plays will dictate how quickly the Magic win this series.

The Sixers come into this series with an injury issue also. Thaddeus Young tweaked an ankle that may become an issue. The Sixers are young and athletic and they are led by a point guard in Andre Miller that knows how to control the tempo of a game and run this team. Andre Iguodala is the scoring treat that everyone is scared off and he's backed by Young, Dalembert, Williams and a young big in Mareese Speights. I look for this series to be very intertaining.

Series Winner - Magic 4-3

Boston Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls

The big news about this series is who isn't playing, KG. Garnett has been hobbled by a knee and it looks as thought he may miss the entire playoffs. With that said, Glen Davis and Leon Powe are going to have to step up. This Celtics team still has Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, so they may be wounded, but they are still dangerous. The Celtics have the pleasure of playing without Garnett for the last 22 games, so they are at least used to that. The question becomes can their bench perform when the pressure is on. I think they get out of the first round, but going much further is a stretch.

The Bulls find themselves surging into the playoffs. They were in the 8th spot a few weeks ago but have since moved into the 6th spot and find themselves facing the wounded champs from last year. The Bulls are on a roll with their bigs, Thomas, Noah, and Miller giving them quality minutes in the post and on the boards. Ben Gordon is still hitting those shots from deep, but the heart of this team is their starting rookie point guard, Derek Rose (Rookie of the Year). This will be Rose's first foray into the playoffs and although he has played well his rookie season this is a step up. The scary part is that he may handle it like he has his rookie season.

Series Winner - Celtics 4-3

Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat

The Hawks probably wanted to be in the 6th spot to face the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs so that they could avenge themselves, but instead they get a very dangerous squad in the Heat. The Hawks are led by Joe Johnson and have a group of young ballers in Bibby, Williams, Smith, and Horford. The Hawks are still a dangerous team because any one of their starters can go for 20 on any night. When they decide to play defense, they are extremely hard to beat.

I would have never expected the Heat to make it this high in the Eastern conference after they went through all of the changes during this off season and season (trading Marion for O'Neal and Moon). This team has found a way, well actually a Wade to make noise in the East. D wade has done his best to carry this team with several dramatic performances over the year. The addition of Moon and O'Neal gave the Heat a post presence and Moon was able to do some of the things Marion did. Rookie, Michael Beasley has been on again off again, but now is his time to step up in the playoffs.

Series Winner - Hawks 4-3

What do you think about the match ups? Do you see any surprises in the first round?

Catching Up

It's been a long day today. A lot going on. Let's see what happened:
Boston Celtics - Well it seems that KG is REALLY hurt and won't play during the playoffs. This is a major blow to the Celtics championship aspirations. Without KG, the Celtics just don't have the depth to get past the Cavs. They might have some problems with a young and energetic Bulls team (my father-in-law already called about the Bulls winning at least 2 games in this series). Although there is hope that KG might play, he hasn't been ruled out and we know as the playoffs start, KG will get that itch.
Boston Celtics - With the news about KG being broadcast this morning, Danny Ainge went and had a (minor) heart attack. Well, some may say that's a cruel joke, but Danny Ainge DID have a heart attack today. I hope he is resting now, they say that he'll recover and be ok. Get yourself checked out. If you haven't seen a doctor in a while (men are stubborn), go and see one.

Football - John Madden is turning in his microphone and retiring from football announcing. No more 'Boom', 'Bam', or 'Turducken'. We all must truly pause for a moment to let this sink in. Madden has been the face of football announcing for years and he is a Super Bowl winning coach (Superbowl 11). The game just wasn't a game unless Madden was announcing it, even though he had to travel by bus due to his fear of flying. John, we will miss you.
Football - Former running back, Travis Henry (yes he of the many kids, about 11 at the present time) has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute. Two other charges are going to be dropped, but Henry is facing a mandatory 10 years to life in prison AND a $4M fine. Talk about piling it on. His kids are the ones that really lose out on this.

Duke/Michgan/Everyone - Ok, we all know I'm a Duke homer, but what is all this fuss over a kid who hasn't played football in 4 years? Paulus turned out to be a decent point guard, but who thinks that he can just come back and pick up a football and act likehe hasn't missed a beat? I certainly don't. Even Duke offered him a chance to play football but only as a wide receiver. Michigan has supposedly offered this kid a scholarship to play football this year for them. What are people drinking? I wish Paulus well, but go work on your game for the NBA draft.

Did I miss anything? What else, of note, happened today?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Aaron Rodgers, Watch Your Back

It seems as though former Duke point guard Greg Paulus has tried out for the Green Bay Packers. Talk about a lucky strike. Paulus was recruited, most notably, by Notre Dame coming out of high school as a college quarterback but Paulus chose to play basketball for Duke University. Paulus put up gaudy numbers at Christian Brothers Academy, 11,763 career passing yards and 152 touchdowns. Those numbers helped him become a Gatorade football player of the year. Paulus was an admirable point guard for the Blue Devils, while averaging 11.5 pts and 3.4 asts a game. He lost his starting job this year to Nolan Smith, but became an intricate part of the Blue Devils' bench.

We'll see if anything happens on the football front. Paulus has 5 other brothers, all of them football players. His younger brother Mike Paulus is a quarterback at hated rival, North Carolina.

Poll - NBA Championship

While you're here, take a look at the site and also let me know 'who ya wit?' Who do you have winning the 2009 NBA Championship? I'll be posting the match ups for the playoffs shortly.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Chicago Update

Somewhere my father-in-law is sitting back and enjoying a nice cold beverage. It seems that Chicago sports are in for a rebound of sorts. Isn't it like this every year? I told him don't get too happy and because we know what happens each year.

The Bears made the big trade for Jay Cutler, a big deal that they had to do. With that said there are a few things the Bears need, mainly someone to protect Cutler. Orlando Pace was a good pickup but he has two years tops left in the league. The Bears have made some other off season pickups on the offensive line, but the next issue becomes, who will Cutler throw to? Rashied Davis is the only receiver on the squad with more than 5 years experience and Devin Hester is the only other option. Cutler will love Greg Olsen. With all of this going on the offensive side of the ball, the Bears defense has to start playing like they used to play. All in all Bears training camp ought to provide some winning expectations this year.

The Bulls have made it to the playoffs and are now only trying to figure out their seed, 6 or 7. They are looking at a playoff match up against either the Magic or the Celtics. The Bulls have been able to make this late run with their $70M guy hurt (Luol Deng) while their other $70M guy (well that's what Ben Gordon wanted) is helping lead the way. They are getting great play from the Rookie of the Year (if Rose doesn't win we should get a recount) and Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah act as thought they know how to play basketball (finally). The Bulls get to bring Kirk Hinrich and Brad Miller off the bench. Maybe Paxson can swing another deal to bring the Bulls another talent like John Salmons. I give the Bulls at least one win in their first round of the NBA playoffs. At least they made the playoffs.

The Cubs, well, they are the Cubs. They have a loaded roster (as usual) and high expectations (when will someone not pick the Cubs to win it all?). The Cubs are 5-2 and 1 game behind the Cardinals. They look good, so maybe this is the year? I guess we'll see.

The White Sox are 4-3 and leading the AL Central. They have all the same suspects including Ozzie. Expectations are high and at least early on the White Sox looks to be in contention. Can we get an all Chicago World Series?


Well, we're getting close to the end of the season but I am still trying to get NYSTOM to redo his formula on the NBA MVP. I looked at this last list and yes, I have been on him about having Rajon Rondo so high, but I think the biggest omission has me nodding my head. Take a look at the list and tell me who's not there. (Hum your best Final Jeopardy music here). Got the answer yet? Take some more time.

Ok, by now you should have seen it. I have only one question, why is D Wade not even on the list? That's it,...can't say anything else.

Is NYSTOM crazy? Am I crazy? I thing that the formula HAS to be changed, before we go big time.

2009 NBA Draft - Who's in, Who's out

It's been a week or so since the North Carolina Tarheels won the NCAA tournament and with that comes the next step, who's going pro? We're going to take a look at the small list of players that have already put their name in (and those that haven't) for the 2009 NBA Draft and we'll also look at my take on each player. Let's take a look at that list:

Blake Griffin - Oklahoma
If he isn't the #1 pick of the draft, I think that the team that passes on him should fold. Griffin has a complete game for a big man. He can take you off the dribble, he can post you up, he can hit a mid range jumper, and he rebounds very well. He also has an NBA body already. All I can say is imagine LeBron's body and this kid is close.

Draft Decision: Great decision for Griffin

DeJuan Blair - Pittsburgh
A bit undersized at power forward in the NBA, but Blair used his size and girth to help Pittsburgh make their run in the NCAA tournament. He's a old school type of player who uses his body to get rebounds. He has a few offensive moves that work in the paint and is pretty nimble for someone his size. My issues with Blair are, is he athletic enough, and what up with the weight? Now don't get me wrong, the kid can play, but I don't see the agility of someone that matches his body size already in the league (Glen Davis) and I'm a big guy, but is Blair going to balloon up when he gets in the league?

Draft Decision: Good decision for Blair

Chase Budinger - Univ. of Arizona
Well, maybe the second time is the charm. Budinger is entering his name in the draft for the 2nd time which means he's in for good this time. Budinger didn't have a good season at Arizona this year but stepped up his performance in the tournament. During the housing that Arizona received by Louisville, Budinger seemed to be the only Wildcat that could score or do anything against that team. I don't think that he can stop anyone in the league, but he can score and has some size. He's also a little more athletic than I thought, so that should help him too.

Draft Decision: Good decision for Budinger (How much better was he going to get next year?)

Earl Clark - LouisvilleThis kid is versatile and big. Two things that often mean, 'you gettin paid' when it comes to the NBA draft. The big thing is will he be motivated to play? Clark will have to impress during workouts and interviews, but I think that he'll be in the lottery.
Draft Decision: Good decision for Clark (Gotta impress during workouts. He could benefit by going back to Louisville and dominating next year, but why take the chance?)

Nick Calathes - Florida
I like this kid. He's a point guard/shooting guard with a high basketball IQ. That means that he knows what to do with the ball, whether that's passing or shooting. He is a little small and would have to play point in the NBA. I think he becomes a defensive liability when that happens, but his positives may outweigh that negative. Kids that 'know' how to play the game make it somewhere.

Draft Decision: So-so. He's a heady player who probably won't get better with another year in college. He should get drafted and be able to stick on someone's roster.

Dwayne Collins - Miami
I'm always concerned when I see kids that aren't the leaders on their team opting in for the draft. In this case, Collins has said that he isn't hiring an agent and he's just going to get more information on what he needs to do with his game. Good decision.

Draft Decision: Good decision for Collins IF his intent is getting the scouts feedback on his game.

Brandon Costner - NC State
This kid was a darling his freshman year. This year he disappointed a little or maybe the league figured him out. He doesn't have a true position (pf vs. sf) so he's got to show that he can guard bigger people or prove that he's athletic enough to play and guard out on the wing. I hope he doesn't sign with an agent.

Draft Decision: Stay in school.

Eric Devendorf - Syracuse
The troubled past may scare some people off, but the kid can play basketball. He's an undersized shooting guard so he'd probably have to prove he can play point. He has a little moxy to him and he won't step down from a challenge. When he gets on a roll, he can drain the 3.

Draft Decision: There are just other guards in this draft that I'd take over him. He probably needs to return to school and see if he can run point a little, which will be hard if Jonny Flynn stays.

Tyreke Evans - Memphis
His stock really went up during the tournament. He showed that he could run a team and when the opportunity presented itself, he could score the rock. He'll have to work on his jumpshot and work on decision making. He has the body already and that uncanny ability to get into the lane.

Draft Decision: Good decision for Evans.

DeMar DeRozan - USC
Talk about another player whose stock rose during the tournament. DeRozan didn't play well earlier in the season but during the tournament he was one of USC's best players. If he gets a consistent jumpshot, wow!!

Draft Decision: Good decision for DeRozan

Devan Downey - South Carolina
Who?!?!? And he's how tall (5'9")?? No Earl Boykins comparisons here.

Draft Decision: Stay in school.

Jonny Flynn - Syracuse
I like this kid. There's something about him that makes you want to watch him and hope that he wins. The kid runs a team well, can get to the rack when he needs to and he's a good kid. The only question is his jumpshot, but he seemed to make the ones that his team needed him to make. If he shows teams that he can hit the 3 on a consistent basis, he's going to be taken pretty early in the draft.

Draft Decision: Good decision for Flynn. He's hired an agent so there's no coming back now.

Roderick Flemings - Hawaii

Draft Decision: Go back to school.

James Harden - Arizona State

This guy reminds me of Eddie Jones when he was at Temple. Don't know why, but that's what I see when I watched him play. He is a scorer and he normally gets the job done. He had a terrible tournament, but I think he bounces back in workouts. He's too talented.

Draft Decision: Good decision for Harden

Jordan Hill - Arizona
This is the guy who made that Arizona squad work. He hustled and got rebounds for that team to give those shooters another shot. I like that he's worked on his offensive game and he should be able to continue that in the NBA next year.
Draft Decision: Good decision for Hill.

James Johnson - Wake Forest
Yes, he broke my heart by beating Duke on that last second play, but I still like his game. He's a forward that can play either power or small and reminds me of a poor man's David West. Good scoring stroke and he can rebound well. I didn't realize that he is 22 years old, so he needs to get into the NBA before he's older than some of the 3rd year pros.

Draft Decision: Good decision for Johnson.

Jodie Meeks - Kentucky
The kid broke a record at Kentucky by scoring 54 points in a game. That's a great accomplishment, but that's about it. He's an undersized two guard who can score and you can find that in the second round every year.

Draft Decision: Maybe go back for one more year at Kentucky. He's got Calipari coming in and maybe that'll help him.

Jeff Teague - Wake Forest
This kid rocked at the beginning of the year, but seemed to hit a wall late as his Wake Forest team struggled. After his terrible tournament, the shine has worn off. He's best served returning to Wake for one more year.

Draft Decision: Go back to school.

Greivis Vasquez - Maryland
This kid put Maryland back on the map after a decent start but then lagging middle of the season for the Terps. He was a triple double waiting to happen each time he stepped on the floor late in the season. Gary Williams seemed to trust him more then. In my mind, he's more of a forward, but he doesn't have that size. He'd get killed playing point in the league and he's not enough of a scorer to play two guard. That's the only quandry with this kid. He can play on and off the ball. He has that attitude, which may get out of hand at times, but still, I think a good kid.

Draft Decision: Good decision for Vasquez. Work on shooting a better percentage in workouts.
Out of the draft:

Trevor Booker - Clemson
Jerome Jordan - Tulsa

JaJuan Johnson - Purdue (He'll be a beast next year)

Kyle Singler - Duke (R-E-B-O-U-N-D, and yes I know you need more help than what you've had in the past years)

Ed Davis - UNC (He'll be a beast next year, and could be #1 pick next year)

Patrick Christopher - California

Evan Turner - Ohio State

This is my take and NO I didn't list everyone that's going pro, just a small sample. What do you think of this post? Any one got information about other kids going pro, if so hit me up.