Thursday, December 31, 2009

Can The Lakers Maintain This Level Of Complacency?

The Lakers have showed early on this season that their talent level is no fluke. At 25-6, they've got the best record in the league (yes, they've only played 11 road games, but it's still impressive), but, if you ask me, they still haven't completely hit their stride. I'd say their defense is much improved (of course it can get even better yet) compared to this point last year and their offense is very close, but needs to be executed a bit better before the second season begins. While all of that sounds great, I've noticed a real rise in the Lakers complacency of late.

Take their last game against the Warriors for example. Kobe Bryant is a seasoned veteran, a legend, a special player with an amazing basketball IQ. He was frustrated with a non-foul call and got hit with a technical around the two minute mark in the fourth. The game was close at this point and even though the Lakers did pull it out eventually, things like this can't continue. While Kobe does have legit gripes at times, you can see that some of the calls he wants are not true fouls. They're, "I'm Kobe, call that," types of calls. I'm as big a Kobe fan as anybody, but if he wants to truly project maturity and a leadership role, he has to quite down a bit and complain only when it's needed (and in a kinder manner).

This goes for the whole Laker team, not just Kobe. The Lakers are second in the league in technicals with 43. They've played 31 games. That's about 1.4 T's per game. Phil Jackson knows that giving a free point away a game won't make beating the elite any easier. Nothing can be free, nothing can be easy. The Lakers have failed to cool down and let their game control the whistles instead of their mouths. That's not true title winning basketball. That's a factor that the opponents will key in on. They will find ways to irk the Lakers and that will lead to technicals. It must stop.

Since this is the same team that won it all last year (only one real change in Ron Artest), I'm confident that it will. But, one can't help but get mad that you've given up 43 possible free points. The goal is to give up nothing for free. Now the Lakers must set goals in order to make everything tough. Scoring needs to be as expensive as living in a five-star hotel all year, not a visit to Family Dollar. Got it, Lakers?


Photo by: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images, from ESPN

Monday, December 28, 2009

Listen To Me On A Celtics Podcast

I was interviewed on the Celtics Late Night Show very early this morning. Check it our here. Because of some technical difficulties, you should scroll through the first seven or so minutes of babble. For a podcast that's just started, you have to expect that a little.

The rest of the show without me is great also. Andrew from Howard The Dunk was interviewed and lots of insight was given by Nick and company. I had a lot of fun doing the show, thanks guys!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Links

7th Inning Sketch
82games

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays

Just wanted to wish all of you a happy holiday.

I know I've been inconsistent here on the site, but I've been going through a kind of tough time. I will be back, eventually. I don't know when I'll really start churning again, but it will happen.

Anyway, live it up this weekend! Check out this post I did on tomorrow's Celtic-Magic game while you're at it!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Did The Grizzlies Find The Antipathy of The Allen Iverson Experiment?

The Memphis Grizzlies have started to pick up their play of late. While they're only 6-4 in their last 10, the heart, effort and togetherness that they're playing with is impressive. On Sunday afternoon the Billups-less Nuggets came in and the Grizzlies had their way with them in the first half. Even though they let the Nuggets make a comeback, remember the Grizzlies are a young team. Still, they played slightly above their talent level, which is a must.

All of this makes me think that Lionel Hollins has enabled the Grizzlies to make a positive out of the Allen Iverson negative. AI came in, wasn't committed to the team's purpose and hurt the team early on (2-8 start). But the Grizzlies came out of that with their heads up. OJ Mayo talked to NBA TV back on December 8th and said that, after AI left, the team ended their huddles saying, "one team." They honestly are as close to that as ever. The cohesion is better than it's ever been, the ball moves around and they have picked their pace up nicely.

Zach Randolph actually looks like a team player. That wasn't written in many blogs in the past. He hustles for rebounds, passes the ball and works tremendously with Marc Gasol. Randolph still must learn when to reset the offense and when to attempt a put back, but he's progressed. If he can keep doing what he did against the Nuggets (monster stats: 32 points, 24 boards), then the Grizzlies will continue their move upward.

Looking ahead at their schedule, they might struggle some. They are a mediocre 4-10 on the road and a four-game road trip is on the horizon. If their new-found antipathy of the Allen Iverson Experiment persists at home and on the road, they can at least start to fill some seats in the FedEx Forum.

I'm not saying this is a playoff team, I'm only saying this team is a team on the rise. Potential is rich on this squad and though talent is not growing on trees, a good crop season is fast approaching.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Video: Magic Johnson Interviews Kobe

This is a preview of what will see during halftime of Lakers-Cavs on Christmas day:


Can't wait to see the rest!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Durant Won't Participate in Dunk Contest

Kevin Durant thinks he's a "high-flyer," and it means that he won't participate in the dunk contest this year. Durant says he's not even a very good dunker and doesn't make any good dunks in games. Durant says he rather have other stars be in the contest, like Nate Robinson or LeBron James.

"I don't jump high enough for those guys," Durant told ESPN. "Shannon Brown, LeBron [James], Rudy Gay, Dwight Howard, Nate Robinson, they're like all the way at the top of the mountain. I'm all the way at the bottom, trying to climb my way up."

It would be nice seeing him in a dunk contest, but it's his choice. 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Game To Catch Tonight: Magic-Heat

The Orlando Magic are facing the Miami Heat in Miami tonight. Miami has been disappointing so far. While Michael Beasley is beginning to come into his own on the offensive end, the pundits are realizing that this Heat team just isn't deep. They have some nice pieces around their anchor, Dwayne Wade, but are just not strong enough talent-wise. They remind me of the Hawks a few years before they got to where they are now (third in the East).

If the Heat can play like the Hawks tonight, they can take this game. Wade has to establish the Heat's offense early. His early scoring could force the defense to suck in on him which would help Wade dish the ball and build his teammates confidence and numbers as the game moves along. The Magic will be prepared for Wade. That's another reason why Wade must attempt to score early. He needs to observe and react accordingly to the defensive game plan SVG (Stan Van Gundy) will stack against him.

The Heat also must shoot the three well. 70% of their shots are jumpers and guys other than Wade (Daequan Cook off the bench, Mario Chalmers, and James Jones) must be confident and knock them down. That always seems to be a barometer of this team. Rightly so, seeing as the only guy you could consider an inside option is Jermaine O'Neal. Let's just say that's an option you don't want to rely on night to night.

The Orlando Magic cannot rely on the simple fact that they SHOULD win tonight. Coming off a win yesterday against Toronto, this team is doing so well and you'd think they could come in and win here. That's what Miami's hoping for. Just like I've said about the Celtics in the past, the top teams must keep intensity as a pillar and a constant if they want to be successful. Those teams that play with the same effort against everyone gain my respect.

As long as Wade is kept in check and the offensive flows decently, the Magic should have this one. They beat the Heat at every position except the shooting guard. Using simple basketball analysis, they are a better squad.

The Magic take this game in semi-close fashion. Miami might control the first half, but Orlando will really begin to churn once the second half rolls around. I'm hoping for another amazing Wade dunk!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Talk Around the Hardwood

Tonight's schedule is like a second Thanksgiving dinner. 12 games, not a ton of quality matchups, but enough to keep you switching the game you focus on all night long. I'm looking to see how Brandon Jennings fairs against the Lakers tonight and if Tracy McGrady will get some burn tonight since Trevor Ariza is back from suspension. Now let us link!

  • Slam Online. More LeBron-Kobe puppet action.
  • North Station Sports. Brian Scalabrine may not get off the bench, but he can attempt to sing Christmas carols.
  • The No Look Pass. A look at tanking in the NBA and if it really makes sense or not.
  • The Dream Shake. Some links concerning T-Mac's comeback and a great YouTube video I've never seen at the end.
  • The Painted Area. 2010 FIBA Worlds are closer than you think, here's a preview of who will be balling there.
  • Blazers Edge (via Cowbell Kingdom). If you scroll through the notes from Blazers Edge, you can see that Nate McMillan thinks very highly of Tyreke Evans (can you blame him?).
Check the Twitter for any of my thoughts as tonights games progress!

Monday, December 14, 2009

1 Game Suspension, Fine, What?

Talking about this elbow Trevor Ariza attempted to throw at Demar Derozan:



I initially thought he should only get a fine. But after hearing what The Basketball Jones had to say about it, I agree with them, he should get a game. Their point in this episode was ellaborated in a previous episode, but basically, they feel that even if the impact is weaker in some cases, it's the intent that should be looked at. Ariza didn't hit Derozan, but had he hit him, it would have been real evident. He intended to hurt him and that's doesn't jive in today's NBA.

What do you think about this situation? How should Ariza be dealt with?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Shoe of The Week: Zoom Kobe V

Nike officially unveiled the Zoom Kobe V this Tuesday. It has a similar look and weight to the Zoom Kobe IV, but this version is an ounce lighter (10.6 ounces per shoe) and further utilizes Nike technology (i.e. new, lighter Flywire).

This video I found on Nice Kicks further explains the shoes:


The engineering and work that went into these shoes is impressive. Nike has put tons of work into making sure these are the lightest basketball shoes ever. Another Kobe V thing to check out, this exclusive interview about the shoe on Complex.

I am thinking about getting some of these. Depending on the pricing, I want to see what the low, light basketball shoe is all about. I need the extra speed and want the edge and look. If I take the plunge, a in-depth review will follow.

These hit retail on January 16th. The price hasn't been announced as far as I know. It is available for purchase on NikeiD December 25th, though. The amount of customization possible with the iD is truly mind blowing. You can even mess around and make your own colorway here.

Will you be getting the Zoom Kobe V's?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Video: Top 10 Dunks Of The Week

NBA players dunk. We love that. Though LBJ's dunk should not be at number three, there are some real solid highlights here; enjoy:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Game To Catch Tonight: Celtics-Wizards

To say the least, the Wizards haven't lived up to expectations. At 7-12, it's time to put or shut up. The blogging world has noticed that the Wiz have struggled, the talk of breaking up the big three has been mentioned. Caron Butler was mentioned as the one who should be moved, but, the Wizards are still evaluating this team. Healthy for the most part now, they're still getting to know themselves, a new system and a new coach. Some mediocrity was OK initially, but, if they don't pick it up soon, someone will be moved or fired.

That's why tonight's game is important. We're about a fourth of the way through the season, Washington has home court and it's a nationally televised game (TNT, 8:00 PM Eastern time). Average fans will use this game to evaluate Gilbert Arenas health and effectiveness since his return from all of his injuries. Obviously this is only from a Wizards perspective, but the C's of course want to come in and take this game.

The concern here for Boston is that they don't play to their ability until the third quarter. I've seen plenty of Celtics games this year and they keep things close until the third quarter. Once that third Q comes around, this game could be done. But Doc Rivers goal is to put this team to bed as early as possible. That killer instinct against everyone has been weak. I want to see them play the purest basketball they can for 48 minutes.

Tonight will be an underdog victory. Arenas will recognize who he's playing and turn his offense up a little earlier. His late game execution and efficiency has been lacking, but I see it ending up differently tonight. The Celtics are due for a loss also, they've pulled off eight straight. Wizards take it close tonight!

Is Pau Gasol The Funniest In-Game Picture in the League?

There's an example from last night, but, usually when I see hilarious NBA pictures, Pau's in them. And I can't help but say that his pictures from games make me lol :) (usually). It's probably because he's not your typical big man, a Spanish seven footer with long hair, not your typical NBA player. Action shots are funny in general, but there's something about Pau that makes them special and I gave him his own post about it to acknowledge it (consider it more valuable than that cheap championship ring, Pau).

Which players take in-game pictures that make you lol :)? Let's hear it in the comments. If you have a favorite, we'd also love to see it!

Photo from: ESPN

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Talk Around the Hardwood

It's a nine game Wednesday and the crop of games is solid overall. The highlight is Jazz-Lakers. Over the last 10 games, these are the top hottest teams in the West (Denver tied Utah at 8-2) and I want to see how Utah plays against the defending champs. Before anyone catches that game, let us link.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Game To Catch Tonight: Suns-Mavs

Tonight's schedule is not too pretty. As I write this, some of the worse games of the night are just underway. The game to catch for sure is Suns-Mavs. These are two teams that have gotten to hot starts. Each of them came out a lot better than expected for sure. They seem to be both be struggling of late, but someone will start to get back on the right track tonight.

With the Mavs at home, I'll take them tonight. Dirk has been amazing this season and with the Suns lack of any D, especially for the unique big man that Dirk is, I don't see anything different happening tonight.

Secondary intriguing game of the night is Kings-Hornets. This is a game of teams that when I think of them, I think of potential. Since the firing of Coach Scott in New Orleans, the team looks like it's caught a spark and I haven't seen how good they are with CP3 back yet. The Kings are another surprising team and Tyreke Evans is crazy fun to watch. Here's to hoping this game stays close.

Make the most of tonight's overall weak schedule. I will tweet some thoughts on the games (hopefully)!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Video: Andre Iguodala Is Feeling It

This shot didn't count, but you know you're having a good night when this goes in:

Talk Around the Hardwood

Four games on this Monday night, the highlights of it being the return of AI and Utah trying to protect their fort against the Spurs. Check the twitter for any of my live thoughts on tonight's games. Let's link!

3 Questions About the Sixers

The Sixers haven't performed to expectations so far this season. With about a forth of the season behind them, Philly is a miserable 5-15, 14th in the East, only better than the New Jersey Nets. Now they've brought back former Sixer Allen Iverson, but is this team even a playoff team with him? Let's address what's wrong with this team.

1. Uhhh, who plays defense?

This Sixer team is not a good enough defensive team to win consistently (could say the same about their offense, but their D is awful). When you think of the Sixers, which current player do you think of for any of his defensive attributes? The only one I think is Samuel Dalembert and his ability to block shots. While that does some things for the team, really that's the only defensive skill that sticks out about their whole roster (OK, since he gets 2.05 steals a game right now, Andre Iguodala gets a mention). They are a soft, weak team on defense.

2. Who is the guy who takes the last shot?

With Iverson now in the mix, that question doesn't have a clear answer. It will probably change from game to game. When Iverson is scoring with ease and has it going, it will be him. When Iguodala is the main scorer, it will be him. What will be interesting to watch is when both guys are off, though it will only be occasional, we'll see who takes the shot. Eddie Jordan will have to mull that over, but both guys are solid players in the clutch.

3. Is this the right way for Philly to go?

From a managerial standpoint, the Iverson move defined some goals for the team this season. Obviously, they want to fill seats, but this move shows that the Sixers want to start putting some wins on the board now. I know it's early and tanking is wrong, but I wouldn't blame the Sixers for doing it a bit with the team they've got. Maybe injuries have hurt them a bit, the new system is tough for them, but even I expected more so far. A semi-rebuilding direction might be the right way for the future, but hey, they see a team that can maybe make the second round here. Sixer fans have to learn to be content with that for now.

This team could find a better swagger with Iverson though. If the AI signing works perfectly, the Sixers will find a way into the 5-8 area in the East.

Tonight at 7 PM Eastern, the Iverson journey begins. Best case scenario, it brings fire to this team that carries them back in to the playoffs and out of the early doldrums that has been their season. If it doesn't, the Sixer management may begin to see that more rebuilding may be necessary.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Video: Tim Donaghy on 60 Minutes

60 Minutes had a very entertaining segment on Tim Donaghy that is definitely work watching:


Big thanks to 3030FM!

Basketball Blogs Speak: Greg Oden Out For The Year


Greg Oden is out for yet again another season. After he fractured his left patella, the team announced that he's likely out for the season. Tons of great writing out there about this, we're gonna link to some of the best of it (would be more links if Blazersedge didn't grab everything you need, but there's a few others).

  • Blazersedge. Very good reaction posts, included videos and quotes from players and management. Great stuff.
  • Beyond the Beat. Oden's injury could have been prevented last season.
  • Hardwood Paroxysm. Matt Moore talks about a post from Daily Thunder on how this and other injuries doesn't really make KD the real right choice or the better player back in that draft when Oden went #1. Important read for Blazers fans, especially the ones who are now pessimistic.

Please get better Greg! I'm looking for 82 great games next season. I can feel it!

Blazers fans have to continue with their heads up. They've got a healthy amount of injuries now, but nothing should stop a team with Brandon Roy, Lamarcus Aldridge and Andre Miller from doing something in the playoffs. Maybe it won't be as amazing as what it could have been, but the Blazers still have a working team that should get some wins.

Photo by: Bruce Ely AP Photo/The Oregonian
Found on: ESPN

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Video: Cavs Play Football In Practice

LeBron throws in a full court shot with a football at the end. All I can say is WOW.


Merci beaucoup, Ball Don't Lie.