Saturday, December 27, 2008

My All-Star Picks for 09!

I have made my selections for the 2009 All-Star game.

For the West: Amare Stoudemire, Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Brandon Roy, and Al Jefferson.
For the East: LeBron James, Danny Granger, Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, and Dwight Howard.

I like Amare because he has played consistent ball in Phoenix and consistency is the biggest issue with this team.

Timmy D has kept the Spurs going strong, despite tough times with injuries earlier in the season.

Kobe, of course, because he has the best team in the West on his back. He also has got good fan vote to get him in.

Roy has been incredible this year, those games were he's taken over have shown his greatness to be at an All-Star level.

Al won't start because Yao dominates the Chinese vote; but if you look at what he puts up, he's got to be considered.

Carmelo Anthony is also likely to steal away a spot on the team because he is popular. There are probably one or two more players who get in because they're liked.

LeBron is the MVP right now, his team is doing great and he's performed at an All-Star level.

Granger probably won't start, but taking a leadership role and meeting those expectations has shown he can really play in this league.

Rondo has shown tremendous improvement this year and I am amazed at his progress.

DWade is back and better than ever; his team may not be tremendous, but he's been great and he's got the fan vote on his side as well.

What can I say about D12. Leading the league in double-doubles, dominating games, showing offensive skills; this is what I wanted to see out of him.

Allen Iverson is a candidate to steal a starting spot away from one of these players. He's got tremendous fan favor, look out Rondo!

I am looking forward to this game, it should be a good one. Let's hear who you think should make the starting lineups in the comments.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cavs Beat Thunder!

The Cavs pulled out a road win against the Oklahoma City Thunder, 102-91. Big whoop, they beat a terrible team. No, I thought the Thunder put up a good fight for three quarters. Both teams shot well, Cleveland is just better in 48 minutes.

A lot of people feel that the Thunder are the laughing stock of the league, but they've got a nice young core. I am a huge fan of this big three: Westbrook, Durant and Green. To be honest, I like Westbrook the most out of all of these guys. He's not the most complete player (his shot needs some work), but he's quick and he knows how to run a team. I'm really impressed with how he can back up his speed with powerful throw downs. Durant is great, I just want to see him be a more efficient scorer. He has to put a lot of shots to score big and as he progresses, I expect him to take better shots. Green is a beast. He hit some really tough shots tonight and he can bring the rim down.

One good thing about the terrible record the Thunder have: they're the front runners for the top pick in the draft. If they could add a guy like Black Griffin to the mix, they'd be scary. They'd have just about every position covered. I like the future prospects for this team, we'll have to see how far they get in a couple years.

The Cavs played as you would expect; great outing, although not their best defensive outing. All that matters is that they got the W.

Photo by: Layne Murdoch

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lakers Lose 2nd In A Row!

The LA Lakers came up short, losing 106-103 to the Magic. The Lakers are not playing well on either end. On offense, it was basically Kobe and DFish. They combined for 68 points and were two of three players in double figures (Pau chipped in with 11). On defense, they allowed too many threes and Nelson pretty much had his way.

The LA offense was the worst I've seen it this season. Kobe shot about 36% of all Laker shots. He had to shot too many times to get a season high 41. While it's an individual high, it's really a team low. Forgeting about Kobe, why was DFish the second option? I know Pau didn't play well and Bynum had foul trouble, but come on. That's where Odom has to come in and take some of the load offensively. The offense did seem stagnant also, but when the goal is to feed one player I can see why that might happen.

I expect a lot more out of LA. If they can't play better in Memphis, Phil Jackson should make them run until there legs don't work anymore.

The Magic should be happy. Jameer Nelson has been tremendous of late and the whole team played with a nice bounce to their step. If they keep this up they can cement themselves as the fourth best team in the league.

Photo by: Reinhold Matay

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Knicks Beat Pistons!

The Knicks pulled out a surprising win against Detroit 104-92. I was watching the first half of this game and I was thinking, what the hell is wrong with the Pistons? The Knicks were moving the ball around, getting open threes, layups, just blowing them out in the first half. I knew that in the second half the Pistons would make a run. They did, they got it down to five, but Wilson Chandler hit a big three that allowed them to relax a little bit.

Chris Duhon had another big game for the Knicks. He played all 48 minutes and kept the team in order on offense. He has blossomed under D'Antoni's system and I thought he would be a great pickup from Chicago. His partner in crime, David Lee also came up big. Even though he fumbled some passes down the stretch, he had 19 boards. You don't pull down that many boards because the ball comes your way. He boxed out and made many hustle plays.

Now, those Pistons. The team doesn't look good. The body language isn't there, Rip is obviously frustrated. I was behind the Michael Curry decision for head coach, but I'm not so sure about it now. This team doesn't look like a team that's hungry, a team that wants to win.

Rip was also thrown out of the game. He got his first T when he was complaining about a call that was wrong, but the refs didn't see it. Then, in a sign of frustration he pushed Jared Jefferies after a foul was already called. That resulted in an automatic T, he was gone. I do understand some of Rip's problems. He doesn't feel comfortable not having a pure point to run the offense. I also don't think he loves to play a more up tempo style. If I'm Joe Dumars, I would seriously consider the market value of Hamilton. Even if they're only going to keep AI for this season, Rip just needs to change his attitude. There are other points guards you can play with, Rip (other than Billups).

There are problems in Detroit, but maybe they'll have to put up with it for a while. This team will not win a title. Dumars probably knows that, he's planning to get some young talent (maybe in 2010?). Will Sheed retire soon? There are too many questions in Detroit.

Photo by: Kathy Willens

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Lakers Lose On Murphy Tip In!

The Lakers took their first loss on the road, 118-117 to the Pacers. LA looked like they had them on their heels, ending the third on a 17-0 run. Then, the Pacers picked up some momentum and a couple minutes into the fourth Phil Jackson called timeout. Kobe and the rest of the starting five came in to pick up the slack. They didn't do a great job. The Pacers played nice defense down the stretch, which enabled them to get transition baskets.

I didn't love how the Lakers attacked offensively. Early, I thought Kobe sensed the LA offense was kind of stagnant and he seemed to be in attack mode more than I've seen him yet this season. He put up 21 shots on the night, making 10. When Kobe did go out the second unit was terrific on both ends. I don't know why LA couldn't pull it out, but they were due for a loss.

I also feel that LA is so good it might hurt them. They have the ability to play and crush lesser teams like the Pacers, but how will they stay interested after they've already gone 14-1 going into this game? It's a challenge Phil Jackson and his coaching staff are going to have to fight hard if they want to win another title.

Indy has got to be happy. They played well enough to stay with LA and got a lucky game winning shot. For a team that will fight to make the playoffs, that's a great accomplishment. They're still on the outside looking in, but if they can get more confidence and wins like this, they'll be around the eight spot in the East. Chicago and Miami look to be the biggest threats, unless Philly doesn't get their act together.

Photo by: Darron Cummings