Sunday, January 27, 2008

CAVS BEAT LAKERS!
The Cleveland
Cavaliers beat the LA Lakers 98-95. This was a great game, I saw some really bad possessions for the Lakers in crunch time. A key shot for LeBron late was an easy shot because Kobe played terrible defense against him. When the Lakers got a steal off of that Cavs turnover, they could have pulled it out and gotten a higher percentage shot. The Cavs did play great defense, but the Lakers could have used more common sense to get better shots. Zydrunas Ilgauskaa fouled out in the early part of the 4th quarter, LA should have taken advantage of that by working the ball down low.

This is the best defensive game I have seen the Cavs play this season. They played defense when it counted and that's why they won. Fans shouldn't have been disappointed with the combined scoring of KB24 and LJ at 74. Kobe played a better game from the field in the first half, but had to be the aggressor in the second half. LJ played a very strong game and got to the basket at will because of the Lakers lack luster defense.

The Cavs just might have turned the corner on their season now. With eight of their last 10 games in the wins column, Mike Brown (head coach) cannot be disappointed.
Photo by: Ric Francis/AP Photo

Monday, January 21, 2008

WIZARDS BEAT MAVERICKS 102-84!
The Wizards have been a pleasant surprise this season and beat the Mavericks at home 102-84. Washington seems to have come to play against the best teams, they beat the Celtics two times and now have swept the Mavericks (in regular season play). The game was pretty close in the first half, but the Wizards were too hot to handle. DeShawn Stevenson made some incredible three pointers and finished 2-3 from downtown. The Mavericks were also a little careless with the ball, a direct result of the activity of Caron Butler and they let the Wizards score fast break points off of those turnovers.

Butler deserves some type of award for his great play so far this season. I wouldn't go as far as most improved play of the year, but he's pretty close to it. The Wiz are also doing great right now. This is the first time they are five games over .500 and they should be proud.

Dallas could have stayed close, had they figured out Butler defensively. His tactic seems to be surprising you from behind for a steal and then driving down low for a layup. The Mavs players have got to take a look at the scouting report. It should say: watch out for Butler on offense, he gets a couple steals per game. Once they realize that, maybe they won't be swept by this team.
Photo by:
Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP Photo
MORE BAD NEWS FOR THE LAKERS, TREVOR ARIZA FRACTURES BONE IN HIS RIGHT FOOT!
I thought losing Andrew Bynum would be the worst of it, but now an up and coming bench player is hurt as well. Trevor Ariza, who came over in a deal with the Magic this season, hurt his foot in practice on Sunday.
"He got tangled up with Lamar," Coach Phil Jackson said a few minutes after Ariza left practice for X-rays at Centinela Hospital Medical Center.

I feel bad for all of the Lakers involved in this situation, but you have to really feel for Kobe. After he thought management had really messed things up for good, the Lakers held the top spot in the West (at a time). It seemed to me that Ariza and Bryant worked well on offense together. Kobe could find him for alley-oops and Ariza's superb athleticism enabled him to finish them with ease. Now the team seems very much injury prone again and it came at the worst time. The road looks bumpy for the Lakers, but I expect a last season run once they are a healthy team again.

I wish all of my readers a happy Martin Luther King Jr. day. Without him, things would be truly different in the world today.
Quote taken from
L.A. Times story.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

SUNS BEAT NETS!
The Phoenix Suns grooved to a 116-92 home win against the Nets. The Suns really clicked offensively tonight, although I thought the Nets helped them, by allowing 17 of the Suns 48 boards to come on the offensive end. Boris Diaw and Amare Stoudamire were both very active on the offensive glass, and finished with about 88% of the Suns offensive rebounds. The Nets were hanging around throughout most of the third quarter, at one point cutting the lead down to nine. At that point, Amare posterized Nets rookie Sean Williams for a dunk, plus the foul.

To the Nets defense, they are coming off of an overtime loss against the Clippers. The Nets big three (Carter, Kidd, and Jefferson) all logged in 129 minutes combined. Looking forward, the Nets need to be able to perform well on back-to-backs, especially when competing against the West. This was the last games for the Suns without Grant Hill (if he comes back when expected) and I think this team has learned a lot from his absence. Boris Diaw needs to be told again and again not to differ to his teammates and shoot the ball. Maybe getting another shot to start (while Hill is injured) will increase his confidence level, and with a little assistance from the Suns coaching staff, take him to the next level.

Amare Stoudamire played a really solid game, and lead the Suns with 28 points and nine boards, about 80% of those on those offensive end. I have to point out again that if the Nets continue to play their lack luster zone against the Suns, they will get killed on the offensive glass. There was a possession coming out of a timeout, when the Nets really played superb defense. They showed a little press and made the Suns work hard for what turned out to be a really bad shot. Shawn Marion was one of two with a double-double and finished with 16 points and 11 boards. It is really fun to see the great communication between Marion and Nash for some great alley-oop passes. As a huge fan of the Suns run and gun style, that is my favorite part of their collaborative game.
Photo by:
Paul Connors/AP Photo

Saturday, January 19, 2008

PREDICT WHO WILL TONIGHT'S NBA GAMES WITH ME ON PICKTASTIC!
I found this great web site called www.picktastic.com and they have a great system for you to see how accurate your sports picks are. With most of the major sports listed, you get to choose who you think will win a certain game and earn points for picking the right team. I love this idea because it keeps a track record on where I think the NBA is going. If you would like to add me to your friends list, my user name is gotdogs2. You can find me in 6th place on the
NBA Weekly Leaderboard, or just take my username.

I encourage any big sports fans to get out and test your knowledge. I am pretty surprised by one of my two losses so far on picktastic. The Kings beat the Pistons 100-93 for one of my two picks that were wrong. I think now I am going to factor in that the Kings currently have momentum because of Bibby and Artest being back and healthy.

Friday, January 18, 2008

RAPTORS BEAT HAWKS 89-78!
In what looked like it could have been a close game, the Raptors ended up pulling away and beat the Hawks 89-78. This is an important win for the Raptors, who (although I think they are better than the Hawks) are close to the Hawks in the minor league (Eastern conference without Orlando, Boston and Detroit) playoff run.

In this game we saw some things we don't see in many games. Hawks guard Anthony Johnson was called for a flagrant 2 for elbowing Jose Calderon in the head. I know he let his emotions get the best of him, but Johnson is a veteran guard and expect him to handle this professionally. I also wouldn't be very surprised to see the NBA fine or suspend Johnson (most likely a fine, though). Two players stood out to me on the defensive end for both teams: the always exciting Josh Smith and the up and coming Jamario Moon. I think these players and one other (the Bobcats Gerald Wallace) are a part of an exclusive defensive group. They can get up high for seemingly impossible boards and come from the other side of court for a block (well, almost). I thought Moon helped seal the game down the stretch, but Smith's defense was more unbelievable. Sometimes he would get called for fouls, but the blocks were great regardless.


Chris Bosh led the way for the Raptors with 22 points and 6 boards. When he laid in an assist from Moon, that was one part of what stopped a comeback from the Hawks. Bosh did well as always, but I just hope his commercial can help him get into the All-Star game. Here's the video:

Jamario Moon
provided the much needed defensive help, and finished with 7 points and 4 steals. Without Moon, the game would have been a lot closer. It would have been very entertaining, if he would have guarded Josh Smith; I mean who wouldn't love to see two defensive generals go at each other? Anthony Parker provided momentum at the end of the third quarter with some threes, and finished with 15 points and 2 boards. He was a big part of 17-4 third quarter run for the Raptors. He and Joe Johnson both hit some very tough threes.

Josh Smith did it all for the Hawks and finished with 22 points, 7 boards, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Although Smith has a better offensive game than Moon, it's the hustle points that count in my opinion and Smith beat Moon overall. Smith should have tried to give Joe Johnson more help in the second half, because only 2 of his 22 points came in the second half.
Photo by: Ron Turenne

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

DON'T FORGET TO PARTICIPATE IN MY FIRST LIVE BLOG TOMORROW!
Wednesday night at 7:30 PM Eastern time, I am going to try out a new feature that you can be a part of as well. The Blazers will be visiting the Boston Celtics at this time, and I will be watching the game and blogging about it at the same time. You can join in and comment, answer polls, and see what I think about what's going on in the NBA. Not around at that time? A replay will be up, so you can see what I thought about the game, as it happened.

Are you a little forgetful? Here's where to sign up for an email reminder about the live blog:


HOPE TO HEAR FROM YOU ON WEDNESDAY!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

HEAT AND HAWKS TO REPLAY 51.9 SECONDS OF A GAME!
Everyone has taken note of the fact the NBA looked at this game protest, and granted it. There was an error with how many fouls Shaquille O'Neal had when they said he was fouled out. Turns out, he only had five fouls to his name.

I like what Hawks owner Michael Gearon Jr. said of the situation, "We're human. We make mistakes. There certainly wasn't anything malicious about it. We have one of the most senior scoring staffs in the league. They're good. It happened. There's not much we can do about it."

I agree strongly with what he said, but have some questions about how the re-play would work. Do the people who bought tickets to the game before, get to see the re-take? Would anyone go to see only 51.9 seconds of a game? I'll answer that, in this case I wouldn't want to go see the game, unless they paid me too. One of these teams is the biggest disappoint so far this season (the Heat), and although the Hawks are impressing me by scrapping into the minor league (or wait, is that the Eastern conference of the NBA?) playoffs, they are still a few years off from being a contender. As an NBA fanatic, I would love to go see the game, but not this little re-take.

Quotes used in this story are from the Associated Press.