Sunday, April 18, 2010

2010 NBA Playoffs - Eastern Conference Recap

Caavaliers vs. Bulls (Cavs 1 - 0)

Well, LeBron promised the Bulls a different kind of animal during these playoffs, but I think he was really referring to himself. What the Bulls saw was vintage Shaq (only for a short period of time, 24 mins). Shaq stole the show early as he showed all of us that you can turn back the hands of time, at least for a while. Shaq said he went on the 'Uncle Jerome' diet which dropped him 20 lbs, and he looked good running up and down the court. The rest of the Cavs contributed, with Mo Williams leading the pack (of everyone not named LBJ) with 19pts and 10 asts. The Cavs did make several lapses and allowed the Bulls back in this game late, but they were able to finally close the door.

Celtics vs. Heat (Celtics 1 - 0)

This turned out about how many of us thought it would. The Heat ran out to an early lead but the Celtics finally decided to play some basketball in teh 4th quarter. Wade pretty much had his way for 3 quarters of the game, doing what ever he wanted and keeping his teammates involved. Things got a little chippy between the two teams when Paul Pierce was bumped near the Heat bench and seemed to hurt his shoulder. KG came over to check on his fallen teammate and Quentin Richardson said he was coming over to take the ball out of bounds. KG shot Q an elbow and then another elbow shortly thereafter. This ended up being a a lot of pushing and shoving but KG was thrown out of the game and could face a suspension. That would really change the playoffs for the Celtics. One good thing for the Celtics was the game Tony Allen played. He played pretty good defense on Wade, but he also was able to put up 14 points.

Hawks vs. Bucks (Hawks 1 - 0)

Well, this started off as a blowout of monumental purposes. Then Brandon Jennings, well actually Jennings kept the Bucks in this game then entire time but couldn't get any helop from his teammates until it was too late. Jennings ended the game with 34 pts, two short of tying the rookie playoff record set by Derrick Rose last year against the Celtics. The Hawks were hitting from everywhere and everyone contributed, in the first half. At halftime Jennings was single handedly keeping the Bucks within 20 (yes, 20). Jennings had 20 pts and no one else on his team had more than 4 pts. The Bucks were able to get back in the game by getting some stops and finally John Salmons was able to contribute, but in the end the Hawks and a surprising performance by Mike Bibby got the win.

Nuggets vs. Jazz (Nuggets 1 - 0)

I don't know who to feel sorry for here. The Nuggets are without their head coach, and the Jazz lost Memhet Okur in the 1st quarter of this game to a possible achilles tendon tears/rupture. The one thing I do know is that the Jazz started strong with CJ Miles setting the tone with a dunk early in the game, but the Jazz ran out of gas and able bodies at the end. The Nuggets seemed to not really want to play in the first half last night. The Jazz hit them in the mouth and they just seemed to be ok with it. In the 3rd, Melo woke up and decided that he needed to start scoring. Melo ended the game with 42 and the Nuggets rolled to a 1-0 series lead. The Jazz are really in trouble, I mean really.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Who ya got? NBA Playoffs 2010 - Western Conference

Well, the regular season is done and there’s nothing left to do but look at the playoff brackets and dream. The season seemed to end on a sour note with a lot of teams experiencing injuries to their important players on their team. Other teams may have over thought this thing and rested some of their key players while at the same time enduring a small losing streak here and there. We’re going to take a look at the playoffs and see where it takes us.

Western Conference – Round 1

Lakers vs. Thunder

Not too many teams have looked as out of sync as the Lakers as of late. With Kobe ailing (where are his legs?), Fisher injured, Vujacic injured, Bynum returning (hopefully) from injury, and Farmar with a hammy that could go at any time, the Lakers are playing the part of the wounded hero. We all know that the Lakers were the odds on favorite with the addition of Artest, but now, not so much. Kobe looks like he needed the 2 game break he got at the end of the season, but the Lakers just aren’t plain playing well. We know that Kobe should be able to turn it on, but the big question is whether Bynum can come back and play decent ball and whether the other injuries are going to hurt the Lakers. We’ll see.

The Thunder come in as one of the darling teams in the NBA. By that I mean they weren’t supposed to be here. They were the young team with a lot of talent, but they played ahead of their curve. Kevin Durant has been the catalyst for them by scoring at will, but this team also has Jeff Green (a do it all forward), Russell Westbrook (a good on the ball defender), and a host of guys willing to play their roles. Phil Jackson has already started working the refs in his favor, evidenced by his $35K fine for what he said about the refs giving Durant all the calls. This is the big stage for the Thunder, their opportunity to shock the world. As healthy as they are and as hungry as they are, they have more than a fighting chance.

Series Roundup – I want an upset, I’m thinking it’ll be an upset, but then reality sets in. Prediction: Lakers in 7.

Nuggets vs. Jazz

The Nuggets come into the playoffs struggling also. They can at least attribute their struggles to their coach being out fighting cancer. This team is too talented to not be at the least in the Western Conference Finals. It’s the same crew with Billups, Melo, and Nene. Add to them, the speedy Ty Lawson, the never gun shy J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin (recovering from a knee injury), and the crowd favorite, the Bird Man. I think the window for these Nuggets is closing and that may add some pressure to the expectations that many have as the team that can dethrone the Lakers in the West. Now is the time to step it up Denver.

The Jazz are suffering from their own pains. Carlos Boozer went down with an oblique strain that will probably not get better during the playoffs and Andrei Kirilenko’s calf isn’t allowing him to play. The Jazz still have Paul Milsap who can produce like Boozer, but they really need AK. I like the fact that Deron Williams has played well of late and he in his own groove. The Jazz always play a physical game and that may be to their benefit against a Nuggets team that doesn’t have their enforcer (Martin) really ready to step up to the plate. Look for CJ Miles to play an important role in this series if the Jazz are to win.

Series Roundup – Can I just watch the first game to see who wins to pick this series? Denver has home court, but something is telling me to pick the Jazz.

Prediction: Nuggets in 6.

Mavericks vs. Spurs

This will be interesting. The Mavericks have played some of the best basketball since the All-Star break. Caron Butler is starting to find his way in this rotation, Haywood is giving them a much needed offensive presence in the paint, Kidd looks 30 again, Shawn Marion playing good defense, and you still got Dirk. I didn’t even mention Jason Terry, who is quietly the compass for this team. As he goes, so go the Mavericks. The Mavericks were supposed to end up around the 4th seed but they have used defense to help them get to that second spot in the West. The Spurs have really been a thorn in the Mavericks side in the past and this year, I think the Mavericks are ready.

The Spurs have been battling injuries coming into this game. George Hill sprained an ankle and may not be able to come back for the 1st round of the playoffs, Tony Parker is coming back from an injury, Tim Duncan is fighting off father time and bad knees, and we all know that Ginobili is one falling down awkward shot from being out of the series. I am surprised that Richard Jefferson hasn’t been more of a force with this team, but he is starting to come on now that Ginobili is back. DeJuan Blair has been some beef that has been welcomed by everyone, but specifically Tim Duncan. This team is solid as they always are and they are playing well at this juncture.

Series Roundup – This is going to come down to defense for the Mavericks. Can they stop this Spurs team when they need to and can they keep Ginobili from going bonkers? The Spurs get older each year, but like wine they seem to get better with age. Prediction: Mavericks in 6.

Suns vs. Trial Blazers

That’s Amar’e!!! Talk about someone who has done the most with what he has and has thereby increased (well, he’s getting a max deal regardless next year) his value, Stoudamire has caught fire since playing his way into shape. He has led the Suns on a streak that has gotten the Suns to the #3 spot in the West. Steve Nash and Grant Hill look at least 3 years younger and the Suns have enjoyed getting Barbosa back from a wrist injury. The only downside is that they are going to lose their big man, Robin Lopez for at least the first round and possibly the entire playoffs. He’s not spectacular but he does have a good motor and plays well next to Amar’e. Replacing him is one of the Collins twins (are they both still in the league?), but I hope that we’ll see more Channing Frye or even a sighting of Earl Clark (where has he been?).

Let me get myself together for a second (grabs rabbit feet, lucky charms, the Bible, some holy water, brought in my pet unicorn, caught a falling star, threw about $20 in a wishing well, and grabbed some horse shoes), the Blazers lost another player to injury. Brandon Roy tore his meniscus and will have surgery and will miss at least the 1st round of the playoffs. The Blazers have lost at least 300+ games due to injury. Even with all of that the Blazers have performed this year and are the #6 seed in the West. Nate McMillan should have some COY votes strictly on that alone. The Blazers are a balanced squad and they can play defense with the best of them. They were able to shut Kobe down towards the later part of the season with Batum and Webster taking turns. They will struggle to score a lot without Roy, but don’t’ count these Blazers out just yet. Look for the veteran big men Camby and (gulp) Howard to play a big role in their success.

Series Roundup – Can anyone stop the Suns from rolling? I expect the Blazers to slow this thing down and make the Suns play half court or it’s over. Prediction: Suns in 6.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Who ya got? NBA Playoffs 2010 – Eastern Conference

Well, the regular season is done and there’s nothing left to do but look at the playoff brackets and dream. The season seemed to end on a sour note with a lot of teams experiencing injuries to their important players on their team. Other teams may have over thought this thing and rested some of their key players while at the same time enduring a small losing streak here and there. We’re going to take a look at the playoffs and see where it takes us.

Eastern Conference – Round 1

Cavaliers vs. Bulls

Part of me says the Bulls should have lost their last two to get a chance at this draft (I think they would have swapped that pick anyway), but they won out and earned the 8th spot and a chance to be bludgeoned by the Cavs. Derrick Rose looks like he’s in a nice groove right now (39 pts, 27 pts in the last two) with his jumper (never thought I’d say that). We know he can get to the rim, but he’s starting to consistently hit his jumper which makes him oh so dangerous. The Bulls are playing well as a team despite the fact that their GM and coach want to enter the Octagon.

The Cavaliers have limped along lately while sitting LeBron for several minor ailments (I can’t believe the league is getting involved with this). Despite the fact that one voter might not vote LBJ as the MVP, he’s gotten some rest while giving others some time to play. The Cavaliers also get back a fit and trim (and I expect focused) Shaq. A lot of people are saying that it’s going to be hard for the Cavaliers to get Shaq back into the mix since he’s been out for over a month. I say hogwash!!! Shaq and Jamison are going to put this team into the Eastern Conference Finals (yes, and LeBron too). This is what Shaq promised right, a for a Ring for the King. That quest starts now.

Series Roundup – Too much LBJ and too much Cavs. I expect this to be a little chippy, but a Cavaliers series victory. Prediction: Cavs in 5.

Celtics vs. Heat

This ought to be a good series. The Celtics struggled to turn on the switch to get the 4th seed. At times they looked like the old team that they are. I think all of Boston hopes that they are in fact sandbagging the rest of the league and they are ready for, dare I say it, a Championship run. The Big Three are two years older from the last time they won and their window is closing fast. I will say this, Paul Pierce and KG have started playing some good basketball lately. KG is looking like that knee is back and he’s no longer laboring to get up and down the floor. The Celtics are only going to be as good as their bench. Rasheed Wallace has got to start taking more shots in the paint than out, and somebody playing guard (off the bench) has got to score on a consistent basis. So if you are Nate Robinson, Michael Finley, Tony Allen, or Marquis Daniels, now is the time to step up.

The Heat have gotten here on the shoulders of Dwayne Wade, period. I don’t think that many realize how good this guy is and how much he has to carry EVERY game for them to compete. Wade is the only consistent threat that the Celtics need to worry about. Cut off the head and the rest of the snake dies, right. With all of that said, Jermaine O’Neal has rested the last few games and he was playing pretty well, so that will help against the Celtics front line, but I am expecting big things out of Michael Beasley. We know Haslem can handle his own and we know that Jamaal Magloire is done (about 2 years ago actually), but Beasley is the key to this series for the Heat. He’s got to be able to take good shots and make them. He stretches the floor for the Heat and could bring Garnett out to the wing so that he’s not able to help with the rebounding. Outside of that, the Heat would need a barrage of 3’s from Cook and Richardson.

Series Roundup – I actually think the old guard gets out of the 1st round. I’m not to inclined to think that the Heat can pull it off. They have a chance, but if the key to the series is Michael Beasley, that may be too much to overcome. Prediction: Celtics in 6.

Magic vs. Bobcats

Congratulations to Michael Jordan for getting HIS team to the playoffs. Now, you get the Magic. The Bobcats have played great defense all year and that’s probably the only thing that they can attribute their rise to the playoffs. Larry Brown knows how to teach defense. On the offensive side of the ball, Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson lead this team in shots taken and made (not a surprise, eh), but it seems to work. The Bobcats’ big men (Ratliff, Chandler, Diop, and Mohammed) can defend, rebound, and run the floor, while their guards seem to be pretty much interchangeable (Felton, Hughes, Wallace, and Augustin). In all, they are a solid team that probably won’t scare many people on paper.

The Magic come in to this series pretty much rolling. Dwight Howard is playing some of his best ball and Vince Carter is trying to forget how to shoot 3 pointers and instead is making his way to the basket. We know Van Gundy will have his team focused and ready to play. Carter’s rise seems to be taking some of the luster off of Rashard Lewis and it’s shown all year long. I expect Matt Barnes to get in Stephen Jackson’s shorts (this may get a little feisty) and the Magic bench to perform like they have all year long with Redick, Pietrus, and Jason Williams leading the way.

Series Roundup – This is going to come down to defense. We know that the Magic can afford to get into a knock’em out drag’em out type of game, but in the end, I think the Magic just have that much better of a bench. The Magic have to keep pace with the Cavs. Prediction: Magic in 5.

Hawks vs. Bucks

I love big Bucks and I can not lie!!! That has to be a funny tag line that doesn’t seem to get too old. The Bucks have been a Scott Skiles team all year long. Remember his days in Chicago when that team played defense, executed on offense and made you lose the game? Well, this Bucks team has done just that. They have played defense and kept themselves in games, but with the addition of John Salmons the Bucks have found a scorer to help Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut. Jennings has surprised many as a rookie (by NBA standards) pg leading his team to the playoffs. Bogut had finally started showing why the Bucks extended him to big money last summer before suffering a terrible elbow/wrist injury toward the end of the season. Ersan Ilyasova has stepped up his game and hopefully they won’t miss Bogut that much. People forgot about Jerry Stackhouse, but I expect him to make some waves for the Bucks coming off the bench.

The Hawks are like the ugly step child. I mean they should be considered one of the elite teams in the East, but for some reason people just talk about the Celtics, Cavs, and Magic. The Hawks have yet again, played well this season. Joe Johnson is leading this team along with Al Horford and they win. When you throw in Mike Bibby, who is playing pretty well and actually hitting 3’s, Josh Smith, and the 6th Man of the Year, Jamal Crawford, this team is stacked. Crawford gives them a scorer off the bench who is a big upgrade over former-Hawk Flip Murray. I think everyone wanted this team to play the Celtics in the first round again.

Series Roundup – The Bucks will miss Bogut and I’m not sure that they can afford to get into a shoot out with this Atlanta team. The Hawks frontline is going to be too much for the Bucks. Prediction: Hawks in 5.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Catching Up - Bigtime!!!!!

Ok, it’s been a long while but here we go:


My Duke Blue Devils won the NCAA tournament. It’s about time. No the program wasn’t going downhill, but they needed this win badly. I’m looking for a repeat. Yes, a repeat next year. Can anyone touch the ACC? I mean really?


Donovan McNabb – Traded to the Redskins. Redskin Nation should be VERY excited about this, BUT (and you know it’s bad when you throw a but in there) if the Redskins don’t get an offensive line, it ain’t gonna matter who they put back there. They have a trio of running backs and a good QB, let’s protect them, please!!!!!!

Carlos Rodgers – Sad story. Rogers was the 2nd pick in the 2003 NFL Draft and really didn’t pan out. He ended up getting hooked on drugs. He had a signing bonus of $9.1M but a US District Judge sided with the Detroit Lions and Rodgers has to repay $6.1M of that signing bonus. We know this is money they aren’t going to get (I’m assuming that Rodgers is broke), so it’s just another sad story.


LeBron – IS THE MAN. Bron has all but tied up his second MVP, and the Cavs are just waiting for the playoffs to start. I hope that the Cavs don’t get Boston in the 1st or 2nd round because I actually see a fight happening. Write it down, let it marinate. How many of you have LeBron and Kobe battling for the title? Still on track.

Chris Bosh – Wow, a broken face/nose with the playoffs in sight. You could have heard the cheering from Chicago when this happened. No, no one wanted to see him hurt, but this makes the Bulls chances of making the playoffs/getting slaughtered by the Cavs much more than just a dream. Bosh, take the rest of the year off and come to Chicago as a free agent next year.

Charlotte Bobcats – You know that this is a dangerous team, right? They seem to be clicking on all cylinders and they’re actually playing good basketball right now. I’m not sure that I want to see them in the 1st round if I’m any team in the East.

Milwaukee Bucks – Heart broken. Can you deal with this? You’ve been playing great ball and then your center (who’s actually played ball after signing that big extension last year) goes down for 6 weeks. The Bucks were going to be a tough out in the 1st round also, but maybe not so much with Bogut out.

NYSTOM – More stuff coming from him.


Baseball season is upon us. We here at MeltingPotThoughts are trying earnestly to bring in an MLB correspondent. JL, if you read this, we need you man. Bring your knowledge to the table. We’re begging, well not begging, but we’re asking very nicely. I promise to stop bugging you when you agree to come on board.


Return of the Tiger – Well, he’s back. Tiger is teeing off tomorrow at Augusta at 1:47pm (EST). I’ll bet you every one of Tiger’s women and detractors are going to be watching him to see how he performs. I for one hope he destroys the field. Yes, destroys the field. Nothing like taking any confidence that anyone has developed since he’s been on his self induced hiatus. Go Tiger!!!!!


Bernard Hopkins vs. Roy Jones Jr. – What year is this? When are these old men going to get it in their heads that they need to start doing something else besides box each other? This is akin to Grandpa fighting Col. Stinkmeaner from the Boondocks. I personally didn’t see the fight, but all reports say that the WINNER of the fight was really starting to look into retirement. That should tell you something.