Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Hornets Didn't Have it All Year


Last night the Hornets season finally ended. It was an injury ridden year where an expanded payroll disappointed everyone as they finished with the seventh seed in the West. Overall, the Hornets lacked the right amount of effort and luck to be successful in the post season.

I saw a major on and off switch with this team from the begging of the season. Some nights they'd come out and you think they looked great. Other nights you wondered why the off-season moves made this team worse than last years team.

I don't really have an answer to why they looked so good and so bad at times. Maybe they thought that because of last years successful season, this season would be given to them. They couldn't have been more wrong.

Basically I'm saying what Hornets247 was saying:
"I have a hard time blaming any one person in particular for this mess. Sure, it would help if George Shinn had deeper pockets. It would also be nice if Jeff Bower could undo some of the moves he did/didn't make so we'd have a deeper and more talented roster. It would be great if Byron had more coaching skills, if our players could stay healthy and productive, and if they consistently put forth maximum effort."

Another thing I don't get: why didn't most NBA experts realize that this teams depth wasn't superior to other contenders? I remember before this season started. Everyone was talking about the Hornets fighting for, or winning the West. They were said to have a deep team with multiple options. But, I see a bench that needs more firepower (come back Jannero Pargo!).

I know there are some moves that will happen this summer. If they're cap moves or moves to make the team better, we don't know. But I do know this team has to get a lot better. Don't even think about beating LA with these guys.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hawks-Heat Series Simply a Roller Coaster

Last night the Atlanta Hawks were able to ward off the Heat to tie their series at 2-2. It was a game of runs, their was never really a few solid minutes of back to back baskets.

Some of that was because of lots of fouls that ruined the flow of the game. But, I've noticed that these teams either play real well or real bad. There's not usually an alright with these teams. That's because of a combination of youth and lack of consistent talent.

That makes the key to this series execution. The team that is able to execute on both ends and be hot from the field will win this series. Usually it's the team that starts off hot first that looks the strongest for four quarters.

Sure, what I said here was kind of obvious. But I noticed how inconsistent these teams are. That's how a non-title contender will play. Fans of these teams should expect real solid play, or the turning of an on and off switch. It's the sad truth, but it's how the Heat and Hawks play.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Talk About Epic: Net Reaction to Bulls-Celtics Game 4

I saw this great game yesterday. It was game four of the Bulls-Celtics series in Chicago. When all was said and done, it ended up going to two overtimes, with the Bulls winning and nodding up the series at 2-2 with Boston.

Sometimes games are so great, it's hard to say tons about it except find the game tape. So, let's link to some other people who talked about this great game!

By The Horns: I’m telling you, there are three things I will probably never fully understand: How the ancient Egyptians built the Great Pyramid, why people get suckered into buying the Snuggie, and how Ben Gordon hits those crazy shots. I mean, they’re terrible, low-percentage attempts, the kind that take entire decades off the lives of coaches everywhere. AND HE HITS THEM.

Blog a Bull: With the help of some lucky shots on their end (John Salmons especially) and some lucky misses from the Celtics (Davis missing a couple gimmees, and going 4-16 overall.)

Chicago Bulls Blog: If you missed this one, pretend you didn’t.

There were 28 lead changes and 12 ties. And we thought that was special when we saw 26 lead changes and 17 ties in the Game 1 overtime opener when the Bulls won 105-103 in Boston.

Boston.com: The game turned into a battle of attrition, as Celtics Kendrick Perkins and Brian Scalabrine fouled out and Chicago's Brad Miller survived a flagrant foul call reversal early in the fourth quarter only to be disqualified in the first OT.

As in Game 1, when Pierce missed a potential tie-breaking foul shot in the final seconds of regulation, the Celtics controlled their fate in this game.

Ball Don't Lie: And while I could prattle on all day about the health and roster limitations that led to this, the bottom line through four games is that the Bulls and Celtics have afforded us a classic series thus far. And for anyone who doesn't think that a classic playoff pairing can't include a blowout like Thursday's Game 3, I'd direct you over to basketball-reference.com to look some of your favorite classics up.

Check around the net for more reactions to this game. I'm sure everyone will have lots to say about this one!

Photo link- where I got the picture at the top.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Shoe of the Week: Nike Hypermax

Disclaimer: I'm no full on sneaker head, but every week we're gettin our shoe on here! Each week I'll pick a shoe that I like, basketball, or normal. Get your new leather smell ready!
My favorite kicks are usually basketball-inspired. It's no different with the Hypermax. I really like that Nike went out and made an awesome looking shoe for four players who don't usually get their names on shoes (Pau Gasol, Jermaine O'Neal, David West and Carlos Boozer).

While it's hard to pick my favorite colorway, I'd say the Boozer inspired colors are the most versatile. Only people with some Laker clothes can match that Gasol colorway. They're nice, but I don't have tons of gold and purple to go with it.

If anyone's gotten a chance to rock these, let me know how they feel. Also, if you think I'm a dumbass for saying the Boozer colorway's the best, let's hear about which one you prefer. Thanks to Freshness for some info and picutres.

What shoes should I feature next week? Send suggestions here.

Site To Check Out: ProJoe Leagues

If you play basketball and like fantasy sports, look at ProJoe Leagues. It's a very different, intriguing approach to fantasy sports.

Here's what it's all about:

ProJoe Leagues is a way for athletes to track their team's stats online and then invite their teammates and friends to all create fantasy teams based on your team. It lets you see what it's like to be a Pro Athlete traded in Fantasy Teams on sites like ESPN.

Fantasy teams then pick a new team each week and however you and your teammates play determines which fantasy team wins that week. It's really fun and it makes playing on a team even more exciting and competitive!

ProJoe Leagues hosts all the major sports and stats. And in the upcoming months we'll allow teams to create custom sports and stats. We'll also be releasing an iPhone app at the end of the summer that'll help teams track their stats at the game and then immediately upload them.

In addition, we have a release coming out this month where rec teams can enter their game schedule and then automatically send evites to all players for upcoming games to see who can attend. This will be a big feature since most team managers have to do this themselves every week using evite.com. Now it'll just be done for them... plus it'll give fantasy teams insight into who they should and shouldn't pick each week in case someone will be out.


I like the idea and the fact that they're trying to innovate in the fantasy sports world. Check out ProJoe Leagues and support them!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

You Have to Feel Bad For Rip

It's been a tough year and a tough first round so far for the Pistons. Everyone knew that based on the effort the put out in the regular season, their chances of competing with the Cavs was slim.

They tried with some success in game three; they had their biggest lead of the series and actually lead for a large part of the 1st quarter. But some effort is not enough. They needed effort for 48 minutes.

Then I heard Richard Hamilton talking about it postgame. You can hear how badly he wants to just win a game. It makes me feel bad for the guy; he's a great competitor, but he needs the rest of his guys to go out there and play well also. I hope that sometime in the near future that competitors like Rip can do well and advance in the playoffs.

Here's his postgame comments:

Friday, April 24, 2009

Talk Around The Hardwood

Friday link time!

  • Intentional Foul. Rajon Rondo showing love for Red Bull.
  • Ridiculous Upside. You may not care about it, but we should all pay attention to the D-League Finals.
  • Basketball-Statistics. Predicting how good Stephen Curry will be in the NBA.
  • 3 Dot Blog. Talking about an NBA without six of the current squads.
  • Sporting News. The NBA's best clutch shooters, defenders and more.
  • Syracuse.com. Good links, etc. for some talk about the NBA's age requirement.
  • JSOnline. ABC's NBA broadcasts are doing better than last year? Come one, loyal NBA fans! Let's riot and take ABC games off the air! No, they are just annoying at times. I prefer hearing homers on league pass!
  • The Hoop Doctors. Some sick headphones designed by Iggy (Andre Iguodala) and Deron Williams.
Tonight there are three more games for your viewing pleasure. I will be tweeting some thoughts.

The Bulls Must Make Big Offensive Adjustments

The Bulls suffered a blowout loss to the Celtics at home in game three. This happened mainly because they were never able to get comfortable on offense and score consistently. While it may be a sign of solid Celtic defense, it's more a sign of poorly designed and executed Bulls offense.

Sit, stand and brick. That's what could sum up how the Bulls offense usually works. When I watch their half court offense, I see either a one-on-one play, or a simple high pick and roll. There really isn't lots of movement off the ball. It makes for a very ugly half court team at times.

Chicago is a young team and they have a rookie coach, but that doesn't mean they have no basketball IQ to their names. There should be some more advanced plays in their playbook.

There are a few simple plays that could make their offense less of an ugly duckling. I would run Reggie Miller and Richard Hamilton style off the ball pick and rolls for Ben Gordon early. He can curl off of those picks for open jump shots. Also, I would run backdoor cuts for the big men early; try to get them easy buckets. If they promote any movement off the ball; they will put themselves in less of an offensive hole.

While that hole may have been there partially because of strong Celtic defense, but I don't care. I've noticed their lack of good offensive sets all series. Just move the ball! Also, note to Brad Miller, it's a pick and ROLL, not a pick and take a couple steps forward.

I look for a better offensive attack from the get go in game four. That offense will also lead to better defense, especially getting into the face of the Boston three point shooters.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Live Blog

This is where the live blog will be held, come back at 8 tonight!

Talk Around the Hardwood

Link time!

  • Of course, if you haven't heard, a kid by the name of Jeremy Tyler isn't going to play his senior year of high school basketball because he's going to Europe.
  • YouTube. Anderson Varejo imitating LeBron.
  • YouTube. Sorry for all the videos, but in honor of Derrick Rose winning the ROY, here are his top 10 plays of the 09 season.
  • CBS 4. FIU's contract with Isiah Thomas is worth 1.29 million in base compensation. Someone over at that school is smoking something.
  • SI. No Memo for game three of Lakers-Jazz tonight. Maybe they're nailing it in.
  • Ball in Europe. They also talk about the news I mentioned in the first link.
  • Roundball Mining Company. Denver is ballin, "What they are doing now in the first two games against the New Orleans Hornets series is almost too good to be true. Tonight the Nuggets actually implemented four different schemes, at least that I recognized, to slow down Chris Paul."
  • Celtics Hub. Talking about Paul Pierce and game three tonight, "There are all kinds of excuses trying to explain his lackluster performances. Personally I agree with our friends over at Celticsblog in not being worried at all about the Captain. The guy has had stretches like this all year where he looks off for a game or two. The guy however knows when to pick his spots."
  • Peachtree Hoops. Talking about game two of Hawks-Heat, "If the Hawks had actually won, you can't imagine the fun I would have had with the fact that an actual Hawk roamed the building for the first few minutes of the game. Instead, we lost and I watched Al Horford and Joe Johnson laugh and take serious interest in both the bird's abnormal presence and safety."

Make sure to come back at 8 pm Eastern time tonight for a live blog!

Live Blog Tonight!



I will be live blogging the Bulls-Celtics game tonight! Make sure you come back during the game!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Resilient Hornets Team Looks to Bounce Back in Game 2

By Ben York
Ben York is a freelance basketball columnist who also writes for Fanster.com, TalkHoops.net, The Hoop Doctors and is a contributor to NBATipoff.com

Denver beat the Hornets in almost every aspect of game 1 in their series. They out-rebounded, out-hustled, out-coached, and flat outplayed New Orleans. So why am I not hopping on their bandwagon?

The Hornets are the most resilient team in the league.

New Orleans has rarely played with their entire starting unit together on the court this season; yet, they still managed to win 49 games. Though Chris Paul has a lot to do with this, another reason they have been successful despite injuries is because of how hard Byron Scott has the entire team playing. The Hornets don't necessarily go very deep; Sean Marks is getting rotation minutes for crying out loud. However, the players that do get consistent minutes play their butts off every single night, including their motor and leader Chris Paul.

The Nuggets haven't exactly been known around the league as being a physical team, but the addition of Chauncey Billups has added another dimension of toughness. Dahntay Jones is another player who has seemingly stepped up his defense to match the Hornets intensity while guarding Chris Paul. Said Paul in this preview,“I’m smart enough to realize if we both get ejected, or something like that, he’s done his job. I’m more focused about what we’re doing rather than what he’s doing.” In order for a team to be resilient, they have to be focused on what they are doing, not what their opponents are doing; and the Hornets certainly are.

This type of physical play has faced the Hornets and Paul all year, and they've responded successfully each time. Paul had an okay game (for his standards) in game 1 (21 points, 11 assists) but he'll need to step it up even further to get a win in Denver tonight. Again, resiliency has been the crutch that New Orleans has been able to rely on when faced with challenges (as they've been all year long).

Now, with the Hornets as healthy as they've been all year, look for them to get their groove back and really take it to Denver tonight and in games 3&4 in New Orleans. I guarantee Billups won't hit 8 three's on a consistent basis, and Chris Paul will respond to adversity with a win.

I'm Sorry If You're a Pistons Fan

The Pistons lost again to the Cavs last night. They are now down 2-0 in the series and on their way to getting swept by the Cavs.

It has been one hell of a bad season for them. They finished under .500 and never really had any momentum this season. Honestly, if I was a Pistons fan, I would want this season to end as quick as possible.

For one thing, we know they aren't going to win a thing this year. If they got one win over the Cavs, I'd call that a tremendous accomplishment for this team. That's how bad they've gotten.

Also, we know that tons of cap is coming off of the books this summer. Next year they can clear space, develop some of those young guys they and get a lottery pick. Prepare for a team that can't make the playoffs, Detroit.

Don't cry Detroit, but your team sucks. Next year they won't make the playoffs (unless they spend money this off season) and they are basically waiting to be great again until 2010. Deal with it, better times will come soon enough.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dampier wants Tony Parker on his Back?

Don't get confused reading that headline, it's kind of true.

"Every time he drives the lane, we have to put him on his back," Dampier said. "The first foul has to tell him he's in for a long night.

"My first foul Thursday night is going to put him on his back. I guarantee it."

That's what I like to hear from a player. You have to foul guys hard and not allow them to make any easy shots. That is what the playoffs are all about.

On the other hand, I wouldn't mess with Tony Parker. He can light you up for tons of points, messing with him may not be so smart. But I like his poise and his attitude towards hard, playoff fouls.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Talk Around The Hardwood

It's day three of the playoffs, let's link!

  • Blaze of Love. Why Nate McMillan should have gotten more coach of the year love, "The guy coaching the youngest team in the NBA who just led his team to an extra 13 wins this year deserves some serious recognition. Let me say those two things again, a 13 WIN DIFFERENCE and YOUNGEST TEAM in the NBA."
  • Cleveland Scene. Buy Larry Hughes house. I'm sure it's perfect for the recession.
  • Quite to the Contrary. A KG ad that tries to remind you how much of a competitor the guy is.
  • Detroit Free Press. Michael Curry may not be the brightest coach Detroit "I think we can win this series.”
  • Ticket News. NBA fine in terms of sales, "an average of 17,520 fans per game, the year ranks third all-time".
  • YouTube. Anthony Johnson dunk on someone! This would be a poster, too bad no kid wants Anthony hanging in his or her room.
  • Pounding the Rock. Good idea for the Spurs, "We need at least one perimeter player that can play defense at all times. That means we must start Bowen and bench Mace. Finley's awful as a bench player and the Mavs don't really start an explosive shooting guard anyway, so I'd move Fin to the two and have some decent size out there."
  • At The Hive. You have to be scared when the issues they present in this post cause them to think that the Hornets could be swept (if the issues aren't resolved).
Of course, I will again be tweeting some thoughts on tonight's games. Can't wait for the action!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Some Thoughts on the 1st Day of the Playoffs

With four games yesterday, the playoffs started with a couple good games. Here's some thoughts from what I saw:

Bulls vs. Celtics
  • Wow. What a big win. I really like the way the young guys came out for Chicago, they were great.
  • Here's my thoughts on Ray Allen's performance.
  • This loss will probably be good for the C's in the long run. They will look much better in game 2, I'll put my money on that.
  • I know I haven't talked much about Derrick Rose on this site, but it's now time to start. He is a player you have to love, even if you're not a Bulls fan. The way he plays and also the way you never see his facial expression change lets you know how special he is. I am now on his bandwagon now for sure.
Do I even need to say anything about Cavs-Pistons? Hell no!

Blazers vs. Rockets
  • WTF? I really thought the Blazers would come out and show the national crowd how good they were. Guess I was wrong.
  • I was wrong about game 1, but I'm thinking they will make a come back in game 2. They did have jitters, they actually showed a sign of youth for once.
  • They really need to try different things with Yao. Maybe front him, play some zone, change it up all the time.
Today will be another day of four games. Make sure you tune in starting at 3! I will once again be tweeting some thoughts during the games.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Playoff Update

Today is of course the first day of the playoffs. Half of today's action is done and the second half starts up in about half an hour.

Just wanted to remind readers that I will be tweeting some thoughts during the games. I will back come tomorrow with some thoughts on what I saw as well.

PLAYOFFS!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

4 Things To Forget About the Regular Season

Now that the regular season's over, let's talk about what to forget about the 08-09 season.

4. Regular season awards. Everyone's making predictions on how wins this and who wins that; let's forget all of that. All that matters now is who wins a ring, all that other stuff is meaningless.

3. The Raptors, Clippers, etc. I don't even want to think about these teams until a couple days after the finals end. They sucked and that's it. Hopefully the bottom of the league can improve as much as possible to make the league more and more competitive.

2. The Blazers are too young. As Tas Melas said yesterday on the Basketball Jones, this team doesn't play like they're young. They execute every time the lights are on and Brandon Roy never disappoints. Don't call them young, call them experienced youth.

1. Allen Iverson's year. Talk about a disappointment. This is one the best scorers to play the game and he has had one year to forget. I still think he's got something in the tank and want to be positive about what he can bring to the table next year.

Now that I did my little rant, what disappointed you this year?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Debating Which 1st Round Playoff Series Will be Most Entertaining

So, it's FINALLY playoff time!!! All the match ups are now set and the first round kicks off Saturday. So, which playoff series is worth watching?

Of all the first round series, the Portland-Houston series will probably be the most fun to watch (of first round series only). These teams are going to go at it: the Rose Garden will be rocking; Brandon Roy and Lamarcus Aldridge will face off against Yao, Artest and crew.

This is the match up that I feel could go six or seven games. Both teams are real solid, they play well on both ends, are well coached and make for a very fun game. I can't predict a winner here, that's why I like it the most.

I would like to say Portland can win because they have home court advantage, but then I think of how hard Houston fights at times and how it doesn't matter where they are playing. When I think of how dominant Yao can be on offense for them, I like Houston. I'm torn on this series.

So, the Blazers-Rockets series looks like the most entertaining first round series. What series do you think will be the most entertaining?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Vote for you MVNT (Most Valuable NBA Twitterer)!

With tons of end of the season award posts going around, I thought I'd make one of my own. MVNT is the most valuable NBA twitterer. It has to be someone playing the NBA now and of course they have to be on Twitter.

You don't have to have a great team to win this award; it's about who tweets the best. Who replies to the fans the most, who gives away the most cool stuff. So look to the far right of the site and cast your vote!

Talk Around The Hardwood

Sorry for the limited amount of posts this week! Let's link!

You know why I can't find many other cool stuff? Because, everyone wants to be boring and write end of the season award posts! That's boring!! Come on blogosphere!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Thoughts on a Closing Celtic Window

Without KG, no elite Celtic team should lose to the Cavs by 31. KG or not. So that got me thinking about how close the window is to shutting. See my fantastic bulleted thoughts:
  • 99. When you add up the age of the Big Three, that's what you get. An average age of 33. That means the window after this year is pretty slim.
  • I don't care how a player may be different, everyone will deteriorate as they age. Same applies to these three. Hopefully they won't look like Shaq did when he was 35+ (in Miami before he found the fountain of youth).
  • Behind the Big Three, they are truly a team that would go under .500. Rondo, Big Baby, and Perk, those are the best young players behind the vets. That's scary Boston, scary.
  • After this season, I would really consider a move to bring in younger talent. I would want to see just how far they can get this year and if it's not a title; they must get younger.
  • While Danny Ainge made great moves for a title one year, they are really not long term big winners. They will take their elite status now, but in a couple of years they could be missing the playoffs again.
  • I know 2010 hype is bad, but that will be a big summer for the future of this team. They need more stars, youth is a requirement.
Sure, some of these thoughts are scary, but aren't you feeling the same way, C's fans? What is the future beyond what the Celtics have now?

Friday, April 10, 2009

5 Reasons National NBA Games Are Annoying

Last night TNT had their usual Thursday double header. While ESPN and TNT do solid jobs of covering games, some of what they do really annoys me.

5. Pre-game shows. Why say some of the things you're going to say at halftime before the game? Sure, whoever they have will predict the winners and talk about recent NBA news. But, the only thing I really get out of the pre-game is a few laughs (from TNT only) and maybe some good info from David Aldrige. Stop stalling before the first game!

4. Only using mundane stats. Guys like Doug Collins and Hubie Brown may be smart people; but they have never acknowledged any new age, advanced basketball statistics. How about points per 100 possessions, eFG percentage, or shooting details (percentage of jumpers, close shots, dunks, etc.)? I want to hear some more unique and different stats put into their brodcasts.

3. Blowouts in the first game. Can you put on a close game for us East coast people please? A lot of the early games I've seen haven't been real close this year (think the recent Cavs-Magic game and the Mavs-Suns game). I know that a close game is never a guarantee, but just making them entertaining for three quarters would be a step up.

2. No love for bad teams. Just because a team has a bad record, doesn't mean they don't compete (Thunder). I wish they could give every team in the league just one national game a year. Not doing so is a sign of disrespect, no matter how bad a team may be.

1. Announcers go totally off topic. We all know there is a tendency for the guys calling the game to go way off topic. The ABC Sunday crew strikes me as one. There is basketball being played, pay attention to that, damn it! I don't want to hear about what you did last night before the game! Just call it right!

What/who do you hate in the national TV coverage of the NBA? Let's hear your voice!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

NBA TV Hates the Thunder!

Come on NBA TV, you suck! Are the Thunder deserving of 556 losses! Kevin Durant is crying in the background! Just because they're young doesn't mean they loss hundreds of games in a season! Btw, that's not photo shopped!

If you want proof, go to the end of this video:

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Talk Around The Hardwood

Finally NBA action for the new week starts tonight!! Let's link:

  • The Hoop Doctors. Top Ten Signs You Might Not Be A Great NBA General Manager. Number 1 is a classic.
  • Rotoworld. So it sounds like Roger Mason will be inserted into the starting five to replace Manu.
  • The Racquet. The Calipari Effect-will have a big part in determining where some of the best HS prospects go.
  • SI. Talking Oden vs. Durant (right now, it's obviously Durant for me).
  • Hoops World. What went wrong with the Wizards and how to fix it.
  • Fan House (they got it from Truehoop). Jannero Pargo does an impersonation of Kobe, probably wishes he stayed in the NBA.
  • Blaze of Love. Kellex responds to my earlier link to SI, "Don't we all agree that Kevin Durant will play in All-Star games and be in MVP conversations for years to come? And Oden, will hopefully just be a key piece on a team striving to win multiple NBA Championships?"
  • The Puns are Starting to Bore Me. Making the case for Dwight Howard as this years Magic leader.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Adiós, Manu!

So, after the Spurs have stayed a float despite many injuries this season, they received a major blow today. Manu Ginobili is out for the season, including the playoffs (full details here).

As much as this hurts; this team didn't have a great chance for a title run this year. With Manu; at best they are a team that gets to the Western conference finals. Even that would be a surprise to me. As much as it hurts me to say this, they're too old. Bowen is becoming more irrelevant by the day, Jacque Vaughn is still in the NBA and, ultimately, the window is closing more and more every year.

Looking at it from a management stand point, it would make me want to get the scouts out there working their asses off. They need more hidden gems like Parker and Ginobili. If they don't add more talent that can have a role in their rotation, we'll be talking about a Spurs team struggling to make the playoffs in a few years.

R.C. Buford is to good to let that happen. Pop is to good. As many haters at this team has, any true spectator of the game has to respect what this organization has done. They have had contenders and title winners more than any team in the past 13 years or so.

I'm no expert scout, but I know there will always be talent out there. Europe, the D-League, the Spurs will need to look everywhere. If not, people will look down on a glorified organization that let Tim's last years be a step back.

Talk Around The Hardwood

No game tonight, NCAA tourney, let's link!

  • Fox Sports. Talking MJ, "With those variables arrayed against their better judgment, a generation of impressionable basketball-playing hotshots misinterpreted style for style of play. They noticed the mind-blowing acrobatics without understanding the fierce nature of the acrobat."
  • YouTube, via Bullets Forever. Nick Young, JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche make a pretty cool vid.
  • Canis Hoopus. There's a reason tickets are $5, Wolves fans. Can you believe that Billups hasn't gotten a dunk in almost five years? He finally got one in Minnesota though.
  • DraftExpress. Good look at the guys in the McDonald's All American game.
  • The Dream Shake. Making the case for Rudy Tomjanovich to be in the Hall of Fame.
  • Mobile Tech Review. NBA app out for the G1 (also iPod touch, iPhone now).

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Is the Nugget Bench Formidable?

The Denver Nuggets have finally hit their stride of late. While some would argue their schedule has been easy of late; wins are wins and they've put six into a streak. So that got me thinking: with the Nuggets recent improvement in bench play, is their bench a threat for the playoffs?

The answer is kind of complicated. Yes, part of their bench can certainly pose a threat. The bad thing is, part of that threat is pretty streaky. I'm talking about JR Smith. Sure, he has the ability to get really hot and light the opponent up, but, he also can be cold and lose almost all of his value.

To prove my point about JR, over the last two games, he's been shooting three's at about 56%. Looking at two random games back in January, he only shot 46% (and on less attempts, which makes for less of an offensive contribution). So, you can never count on JR to score 20+. He may do it, but don't rely on it come the second round of the playoffs.

The rest of their bench is stacked with hustle guys, not a lot of offense, but enough to get by at times. You have Birdman and Balkman for D and hustle, Anthony Carter as your all around solid floor leader and JR as your scorer.

I am leaving one guy out, Linas Kleiza. I don't know if it's a confidence thing or what, but he has really lost his touch. When confident, he's a great shooter and a solid slasher and all around player. Until he starts being affective in terms of making shots, George Karl might hesitate to put him in.

So, really I see the Nugget bench being fine to get through the first round. But after that, other teams are likely to have more depth and scoring off the bench. That could pose a problem for them in the long run. Hopefully, Bird's D will translate to more Nuggets offense come playoff time.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Awesome Kevin Durant Interview

Here's an interview where Durant talks Thunder ball:



Check Twitter for my thoughts on tonight's games!

When Losses Are Good

Last night the Cavs lost a game they should have won against the Wizards. The Cavs really didn't play well all game and they deserved to lose. This is a great teaching opportunity for the coaches. That's why some losses are good and some wins are bad.

Examples of good losses: Cavs lost to Wizards; Lakers fall to the Bobcats.

Why they're good: While any loss isn't good, coaches get to tell you what went wrong. In the Cavs case, they just didn't get up for the game. This will help the coaches figure out when they need to pick up their intensity and keep the Cavs focused on winning games they're supposed to win. It's all a build up to being a title contender.

In the Lakers case, they were out worked for a large part of the game. Then they can work on defense rebounding and getting into the triangle more in practice. It also allows the coaching staff to see what match ups fluster their team and plan on how to combat those difficulties.

Also something that occasionally happens are bad wins, or games that you shouldn't win. I think of the Celtics recent win over the Bobcats in double overtime. Sure, the C's are the obvious favorite, but they were able to win by turning the switch on and coming back. They didn't play like they wanted to win for 48 minutes. True champions need to play that way all game, every game.

So, if you're looking at last nights scores and you're a torn Cavs fan, don't hold you head to low. While they should've won, the regular season is all a learning process and they will learn more about themselves after every game.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Talk Around The Hardwood

Sorry for the inconsistency of the talk this week, but I've got it today!

  • Timberwolves. You have to love this campaign to get Kevin Love the ROY.
  • YouTube. Having fun with Charles and the Big Cactus.
  • Rufus on Fire. On last nights tough, double OT loss, "Raymond Felton cannot take 20 shots. I'm sorry, but you're the SEVENTH BEST SCORING OPTION on this team, and that's if we count Cartier Martin behind you, and if we assume you should be ahead of Dontell Jefferson. You are not a hero for taking tough shots, Raymond. You're hurting the team when you do that."
  • Liberty Ballers. "Thad's injury hurts; there's no question about that. But don't proclaim the season over just yet. If the Sixers can somehow manage to get the fifth seed and weather the storm until Thad is able to return, watch out. This team has shown that they can go into any building, and beat any team, on any given night -- playoffs included.
  • Bleacher Report. The five biggest injuries that will affect the playoffs the most.
  • Daily Thunder. On Russell Westbrook, "Russell is going to help the Thunder win games. He’s going to likely be an All-Star in the future. But his contributions will (hopefully) always be non-traditional. He gets out of the logical/rational realm and into an emotional game. He’s got a chance to be special not because of his raw contributions to a box score, but because of his innate sense of play-making."

My All Twitter Team

So with this NBA Twitter craze continuing to hit the players, I thought I'd pick a squad of all Twitter users!

PG: the_real_nash. I'm trying to build a team to win today. Nash can get us there now.
SG: jrich23. I know what you're thinking, TWO Suns! Well, this team is not going to have many more, at best one more.
SF: paulpierce34. He will be our go to scorer in the clutch, plus he'll give out tickets to all the Twitter All Star fans.
PF: chrisbosh. He'd be perfect in a run and gun with the other players, plus we can thrown down to him in the post, half court style.
C: THE_REAL_SHAQ. I considered, dwight_howard, but Shaq's a better Twitterer. Plus, he's found the fountain of youth this year.

If I had a couple bench guys, I'd go with t_time24 for energy and dgranger33 for more scoring.

If you could pick 7 NBA twitterer's for a team, who would you pick?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A New Way to Defend the Spurs?

The Thunder have upset the Spurs twice this season, I think there might be a key to what they do defensively. In the two games the Thunder have won, the Spurs shot about 24% from the three point line. The Spurs take jumpers 72% of the time, teams should clog the perimeter. Then, the Spurs can't get their role players involved and must penetrate or throw down to Tim Duncan.

Besides Tim Duncan, do the Spurs have a legitimate back to the basket scorer? I guess Drew Gooden can get you solid post offense, but other than that, they mostly have jump shooters. You also have guys who penetrate in like Parker and Ginobili. You need long, quick guys to defend them, but you know they're going to get their points eventually.

So, I'd approach it this way: never help off of the shooters, never double in the post (unless you have limited size) and make the Spurs big three score. If you can stop the Roger Mason's, the Bonner's, the Finley's for 3/4 of the game, they won't have much rhythm and could be ineffective if given chances to score. The Spurs three headed monster may be great, but if you take away the role players, the big three can't win a majority of games by themselves.

In a best of seven playoff series, a driving, big three offensive powered Spurs team is the team that is the most beatable. Take notes, lower level Western conference teams!

How would you defend the Spurs?