Saturday, May 31, 2008

Some Quick Thoughts

- Congrats to the Lakers and Celtics on making the Finals. Frankly, I don't see the Lakers losing. I watched both teams, and the Celtics didn't seem to be as cohesive a team as the Lakers. The Pistons could have easily taken that series if they had not thrown away so many chances in the fourth period. The Lakers won't do that. Unless the Celtics step it up (or the Lakers step it down), I don't see this going any further than 5 games. Unless...

- Here's something no one has been talking about: Kobe's finger. We all know that it's injured and will require surgery in the offseason. But this is the tricky part: it's been fine so far, but it's a pretty serious injury. I've already stated that I think the Celtics are a dirty team. Translation: all it would take is one dirty shot to Kobe's finger to make him much less effective. His finger could fall off and he would still play, but, if it gets worse, it'll be hard to hit a shot. That would make it a much more difficult series for LA. Could they still win? Yeah...after all, they have Gasol in the middle, as well as Odom (who will give them at least 2 good games in the Finals), Fisher (a veteran guy with experience), and some athletic guys who can get hot from time to time (Walton, Farmar, Vujacic). I don't think anything will happen, but I'm just saying that its a possibility.

- I'm not a Celtics fan (obviously), but even I'm getting a little frustrated with seeing Garnett take a bunch of off-balance jump shots. He almost killed Boston in the fourth period of a couple of close games due to his inability to drive to the hoop. He can do it...I know he can. He's incredibly athletic and ridiculously competitive. I just don't understand his shot selection.

- Wings are up 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Finals, with Game 5 being played in Detroit on Monday The Penguins have played well (their defense in particular has looked a lot better the past two games), but I just don't think they can win the next game in Detroit. Stranger things have happened, but I just don't see it. However, they have a great young team that will be competitive for years to come. They're going to be a lot of fun to watch.

Back to basketball.

- I was going to say something about the end of Game 4 of the Lakers/Spurs series, but I didn't get around to writing. But now I am. Foul or no foul? I agree with the no-call, but that's because I hate the idea of an offensive player launching themselves into a defender for the sake of drawing a foul call. I've seen the replay a thousand times, and that's what it look like happened on the play. After not getting the call, Barry then threw up one of the ugliest shot attempts I have ever seen. If he would have just concentrated on getting into position to get a good shot, he would have had a much better chance to win the game. As it was, by not getting the call, he basically threw away the game. Would other players have gotten that call? Perhaps...but there would have been people complaining either way. This way, people say, "Where were the refs? That's a foul, and should've been called." If a foul had been called, people would have said, "Refs should not decide the outcome of the game." It's a lose/lose situation.

- The refs will be calling fouls on floppers next year. While I like the idea, I can't see it working, and think it will be scrapped. How subjective is a call like that? Will one ref be seen to favor a certain team if he calls less flopping calls against them? Much like the "technical foul on a player complaining to a ref" call, I think this will be called way too often during the first half of the season, and disappear somewhere after the All Star Break.

Have you seen the new Indiana Jones movie yet?

-Dusty

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pucks, Playoffs and Potential

Earlier I likened Crosby taking the Penguins to the Finals so soon to Durant taking the Sonics to the Finals. I should have looked no further than last season’s NBA Finals for a better comparison. Crosby plays LeBron James as the face of the franchise leading his team to the Finals. Everyone knew it would come but no one knew it would be so soon, Crosby’s third season and LeBron’s fourth. Too bad they meet up with the wily veteran team also known as the Wings/Spurs. Many want to see the young gun win to signify a new era in the sport but, deep down most know the vets will prevail.


I also agree with you on the cheap shot. A shot at any player’s head is not “fair game”. Add to the fact the guy was just coming back from a concussion. If a guy has a bad leg and you take a shot at him, ok its part of the game. Head shots in any sport should not be tolerated.

A las, right on schedule was Mr. Odom with a 2-11 shooting night with 7 points and 5 turnovers. Even on a bad offensive night he had 11 boards, 6 assists and a steal. That’s how much talent he has. This is the same guy that went fourth in a draft only behind Elton Brand, Steve Francis and Baron Davis (Random note: Ginobili was the 57th pick in that draft, Wally Szczerbiak was the 6th. Ha!) Each has had their injury woes but Brand, Francis and Davis have a combined seven All-Star appearances compared to Odom’s zero. I predict another lackluster performance in a Game 4 loss to the Spurs and then something along the lines of 22 points, 14 boards, 4 assists, 3 blocks in a Game 5 win. I just don’t get him. Something else interesting to think about: A presumably healthy Andrew Bynum comes back next season. Because of Bynum’s talent and the fact that he plays a premium position, this bumps Odom to 4th option. Does he become the best 4th option in the league on a scary team or sulk as the 4th option destroying a potentially scary team until he is moved for pennies on the dollar to help team chemistry? I’m not so sure option #2 doesn’t happen.

You’re right about KG and Maxiell. KG could have blocked Lindsey Hunter and he’d still be popping his jersey. Maxiell does the dirty work without a word. I really like his game. I liked his game in college but I didn’t know if he’d be tall enough but his energy and strength will keep him in the league for a long time. McDyess is playing hard too: I forget he wasn’t on that championship team so he has something to play for. I think it was Jeff Van Gundy who pointed out that McDyess was on the same career path as KG and Sheed before injuries took their toll. I forgot he was averaging 20-10 in that brutal Western Conference in the late 90’s before knee injuries hit him.

Home court advantage is really taking on a new meaning this postseason. I believe the Detroit-Boston series is the first this postseason where each team one at least one road game. Fans in your corner can’t count for that much and as you said, poor officiating can only do so much. I have no idea what the deal is but I am not a fan of it. The NBA: Where Home Cookin’ Happens?

Don’t sleep on Beasley. Everyone went nuts over what Durant did, and Beasley bested him still. Beasley averaged more points, rebounds and shot considerably better from the field than Durant. He also did so with worse teammates than Durant. He has a scary inside-outside game and plays little defense, much like Durant. All most people said was that Durant needed was a NBA ready body and he would dominate. Beasley has a NBA ready body. I’m not ready to put him in the Hall of Fame just yet, but I do think he will be a great player. With OJ Mayo going up the draft boards, it’s not out of the question that Beasley and Durant both end up on the Sonics.

Can you blame Vince Young? Making millions of dollars and becoming a hero in Tennessee while becoming the face of franchise gets boring. He’d much rather take suspect pictures with a plethora of shirtless males.
Photobucket
Now that’s fun.

-Tyler

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Good Night for Detroit

The Wings are looking pretty impressive in taking a 2-0 series lead and shutting out the Penguins so far in the series. Osgood has looked good, but the defense has looked incredible. They clean up the rebounds nicely, and they haven't allowed Pittsburgh a whole lot of quality shots.
This could turn into a whole different series when it shifts to Pittsburgh, though, where the Penguins have yet to lose in the postseason. They haven't really been on the same page for these first two games, so we'll see if they can get it together in Game 3. I'm still thinking this series will go at least 5 games.

I know that hockey is a rough sport. I know that there are a lot of hits. However, I think that Roberts should be suspended for Game 3 for his hit on Franzen. We all know that Franzen has been out since Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals with a concussion. This game was his first game back since then. And what happens? In the third period, Roberts skated right at Franzen and punched him in the side of the head. That's not a clean hit: that's a cheap shot, and he should be punished for it. However, he wasn't even called for a penalty in the game.

The Pistons turned it up a notch at the end of the game and tied the series at 2. Billups hit a three-pointer with about 3 minutes to go to make it a six point game. From that point on, the Pistons absolutely dominated the Celtics on defense, and hit pretty much every shot they attempted at the offensive end. The final score was 94-75, but it was really a much closer game than that. Detroit has a pretty tall order in front of them, needing to take another game in Boston to win the series. If they play like they did tonight, they can do it...but it won't be easy.

How about Maxiell's block on Garnett's dunk? If it was the other way around, Garnett would've been pounding his chest and preening over Maxiell. This time? Maxiell just got back on offense. What a massive game from him and McDyess.

Can someone please explain to me the huge difference in games played on different courts? It can't all be officiating...so what is it? Surely these men who are being paid a ridiculous amount of money aren't that psyched out by playing on another team's court...are they? I'm just having a hard time understanding how teams can win by a healthy margin on their own court, only to be manhandled when they play somewhere else. The Lakers killed the Spurs in Game 2 in LA, only to get blown out in Game 3 in San Antonio. It has happened way too often in the playoffs, and I've yet to hear a good explanation.
What'd you say about Odom not bringing it for seven games? What if he remembers to bring it for 3 games? I still don't know how he doesn't get it. He has so much talent, yet he prefers to be the third scoring option. How's that for shying away from pressure?

I'm not sure what the Bulls will do with the first pick. I'm thinking Rose, but everyone else is saying Beasley. Here's the thing: I'm not really too big on Beasley. I caught a couple of his games this year, and, while I can see that he has talent, I was never really blown away by him. He seems to be a product of the hype machine (much like Greg Oden). The talk of how great he is eclipses his actual talent. He'll probably be a solid player, but I don't see him as a dominant force. I might be wrong, but I don't think I am.
I'm with you on Rose, though. A good point guard needs more than a year in college to hone his game. Any other position can come straight out and be effective, but there needs to be more basketball IQ learned for the point guard position than for any of the other ones. He'll pick it up along the way, but he'll be in his third year before he starts to catch on.

Vince Young almost retired after his first year because it "wasn't fun anymore". Wow.

-Dusty

Saturday, May 24, 2008

More, More, More!

I’m actually not opposed to hockey; it’s just one of those things I think is ten times better to watch in person than on television. Maybe I’ll give some of the Stanley Cup a try until I remember Crosby is a millionaire at the same age I am, and go cry in a corner a little bit.

I agree that Matt Ryan got about 34.5 million dollars than I think he deserves. I’m on record that he will be a bust and this only adds to the intrigue. However I don’t know if a scale like the NBA is the answer. The NFL is a much more violent sport than the NBA and the chances of a career ending injury are 33-143,000 times more likely in the NFL than NBA. Maybe I made that statistic up, yet I digress. The Player’s Union would never go to a scale like the NBA, no matter how much sense it makes. If the Falcons want to throw an insane amount of money at a nice enough guy just to finish ushering the Vick Era out, then so be it. Let them flounder in mediocrity. I am a little surprised player’s spoke out publicly against the contract as I thought the #2 rule in the league was not to mention another player and his money situation. The #1 rule being if you see Pacman Jones, anywhere doing anything at anytime, get the hell out of Dodge.

The Spurs got embarrassed for the second straight game, yet I still can’t give up on them. Giving up a 20 point in the third quarter of Game 1 and now losing by 30 points in Game 2? Is the Spurs age finally catching up to them? I still say no. Well except for Robert Horry. His age caught up with him, passed and then lapped him again. I see the Spurs winning Game 3 and possibly 4 at home and then we have another best of three series. As I stated earlier, I won’t bet against the Spurs in a best of three against anyone. Also, I don’t understand Lamar Odom and frankly I’m tired of trying. In Game 1 he looked lost and shot only 3-12. In Game 2 he looked like the player he was supposed to be his entire career: A 6’10 guy with excellent ball handling skills who can do just about anything he wants on the court. If he plays like he did last night, with 20 points, 12 boards and 4 blocks, for the rest of the series, the Lakers will win easily. He is the one guy the Spurs have no one for. Bowen’s too old, Udoka’s too small, yet Duncan or Oberto are too slow. He could have his way every single night, but I don’t trust him. I still think the Spurs win because Odom won’t bring it for 7 games.

Boston’s home invincibility is gone and we all know they are still terrible on the road. KG and Pierce are playing well enough but the rest of the guys, led by the corpse of Ray Allen, really have to pick it up: Especially against a team of the Piston’s caliber. We’ll see if his 25 points in Game 2 was a fluke, or if it’s enough to get Allen back on the right track. If Detroit can take Game 3 at home in a convincing win, this series could be over. I just can’t Boston winning this series. Thinking back, it rarely works then three or more stars get together (Barkley/Hakeem/Drexler and Kobe/Shaq/Malone/Payton) but have three second banana’s ever worked together to win a championship?

How about the Bulls getting the #1 pick just after D’Antoni turned them down for more money in New York? The Bulls could go with the hometown kid in Derrick Rose, and they probably will, but doesn’t Beasley make much more sense? Put an offensive threat like him at power forward and a defense-hustle guy at center with Noah and you’re set. It’s working with the Hornets with Chandler and West but the Bulls have no point guard like Chris Paul and that’s where Rose comes in. Rose is good and all, but when’s the last time a point guard with one year of college succeeded in the NBA? Stephon Marbury is the only one I can think of. Gilbert Arenas I guess but he’s not really a point guard. The position is so difficult to grasp that I don’t know if I’d be so willing to hand it over to a guy with one year of experience. Being in his hometown will only help if he’s a success, if not they could be the first to turn on him. I’m curious to see how this plays out.

A las! No 19 game losing streak for us….not yet at least. We beat the Padres last night with 12 K’s in 6 innings from our boy Edinson. I’m truly ecstatic because this is the first ace we’ve had since Jose Rijo (EDIT: I looked it up and Rijo’s best season was a 15-6 year with a 2.51 ERA. This tripled my excitement for the Edinson Era). I still wonder how we got him from Texas so easily though. We gave up Josh Hamilton, who is doing great, but a franchise pitcher beats a great centerfielder any day of the week. I’m just waiting for Jeremy Schapp’s Outside the Lines “Breaking News” story. The one that “reveals” Volquez is actually 36 and was born a woman. Nothing would surprise me at this point. By the way, I vote everyone call him Edinson instead of shortening it to Ed. Say Ed Volquez aloud and tell me you don’t think serial killer.

The Brewers were worrying me until I heard about Gagne’s injury. Now I’m back on board. Wait for the 12 game winning streak, it’s going to come.

-Tyler

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Apologies and Playoffs

First, an apology (and explanation) as to my disappearance:
I'm sorry I went missing for almost a week while the NBA playoffs featured two Game 7's (one of which featured a fantastic scoring duel) and the teams that will be fighting for the Stanley Cup were decided. It was a terrible week to disappear.
However, I think I have a fairly good reason. I just started a new job. Apparently, the job description is this: stare at a computer screen for hours on end and navigate a line through the scenery. Granted, it's kind of cool (like a video game), but, after staring at a computer screen for 7 hours a day, I haven't felt like sitting at home and staring at it for longer. My eyes are not as buggy now as they were, so I should be back in the swing of things.

Now...hockey.
The Wings really showed up at the exact moment everyone was questioning them. They were up 3-0, before dropping 2 straight, making it a 3-2 series with Game 6 in Dallas. The Stars seemed to have momentum, while the Wings were still missing their playoff scoring leader (Franzen). They went into Dallas and dominated the first two periods on their way to a 4-1 win. A great sign of things to come.
I predicted a Detroit/Pittsburgh Finals, so I'm not surprised by the match-up. It should be a great series. I think the Penguins have better individual talent, but the Wings are a better overall team. I see the Wings winning, but wouldn't be surprised to see it go 6 or 7 games. The Penguins have a good team, but I feel like they're still another year or two away from winning it all.
My thoughts on Crosby? He's good...in fact, he's fantastic. His stickhandling ability is amazing. He's a great passer, too. He's one of those rare players that can have a profound effect on the game without ever scoring a goal. He also plays through pain. However (as Philly fans will point out), he's also a bit of a flopper, and, due to his already lofty stature in the league (he's definitely become the face of the NHL at this point), he gets the benefit of the calls. He also can't grow a beard to save his life, so that takes off some points.
With as good as Crosby is right now, I think Malkin is a better player at this point. He definitely seems to be the better scorer...he's pretty much a maniac around the net. You can't teach intensity like that. Because of their differing styles of play, it's tough to compare the two. Watch out for Malkin, though...he's a beast, and he'll be a difference maker in the Finals.
You really need to try out hockey, at least for a little bit.

NBA time.
Lakers took Game 1. That's not surprising. The Spurs had a pretty tough series (then slept on the plane after it was over), while the Lakers have been resting and practicing for the past week. The only thing that surprised me was that it was as close as it was. I thought the Lakers would win by at least 12 points. This will be an interesting series that I don't see lasting less than 6 games. While I think a Hornets/Lakers match-up would be funner to watch, this series will be entertaining. I'll take the Lakers in 7. (If the Spurs win this thing, please remind me to stop picking against them.)

I was also not surprised to see Boston take Game 1. After all, they were at home. It also takes the Pistons a little bit to get back into "game mode", especially since their series ended a month or so ago. I fully expect to see a fired up Pistons team come in for Game 2. It'll be close, and I can see Boston pulling out a win. After that, I see the Pistons winning the next 4, taking the series in 6. Aside from Game 7 of the Cleveland series, no one on Boston has shown me much of anything. Garnett showed me that he still isn't ready to step up and be The Man. He'll have a game here or there, but, aside from Game 1 of this series, his line has looked something like 14/7/5. That's fine for a role player, but they didn't bring Garnett in to be a role player.
Pierce is good for an explosion every now and then, but I'm still not sold on him as an all-around player. I know he has the talent, but he doesn't always seem to have the motivation (or something).
Ray Allen is ridiculously old. He's also playing on the knees that (apparently) belonged to an 80-year-old woman. If his jump shot isn't falling, he's nothing more than an old person standing around, hoping no one notices he can't really play anymore.
In the meantime, if Detroit kicks it into gear (which isn't always a given), they're capable of beating anyone in the league. That includes Boston, who lost everything they found during the course of the year. Oh, they can still yell and pound their chests after a big play, but seem to have lost a bit of the swagger they had throughout the year (if that makes any sense). Unless they can get it together, they'll lose. Even if they do get it together, they'll still lose if Detroit gets motivated.

Baseball? Yeah...baseball.
The Tigers have won two in a row, leading me to say (yet again), "Perhaps the explosive offense in these wins is enough to get them going. Once they get going, no one will stop them!" That may well be the case, but I've already said that a number of times this season. Where are they now? At the bottom of the division. Here's the thing: they have enough talent to get out of the cellar...they just have to put it together and keep it together consistently. If they can do this, it spells big trouble for the rest of the league. If they can't do this...well, that's a lot of money right down the drain.
Willis is coming back, though, and he's headed to the bullpen. I hope he works out there, because we could use the help. If he does well, and Rodney and Zumaya come back throwing heat, it could be a great bullpen. That's a lot of if's, I know, but it could happen. However, that's a ton of money to be sitting in the bullpen. Oh well...

The Reds have now lost 2 straight. The beginning of their 19 game slide, or a mere blip on the radar?
I'm a big Volquez fan. I've seen all but one of his starts, and he has looked fantastic. Everyone was talking about Cueto earlier in the season, but I knew that Volquez was the guy. If you remember, I was talking about him during Spring Training. He's my favorite new pitcher. If I had the money, I might even thinking about buying a Volquez jersey. I'm drinking the Kool-Aid...I'm all in. I expect great things from Volquez. Also, his first name is Endinson, and that's pretty cool.

The Brewers have leapfrogged the Reds in the division, but they're still within earshot of the cellar. Are you questioning your preseason pick as much as I am?

I'm a little upset about the release of Odell Thurman. I understand the zero tolerance stuff, but hasn't he served his time? If there's one place the Bengals could use all the help they can get, it's at the linebacker position. Why not see how he does in preseason before cutting him? As far as I know, he hasn't got in any more trouble. It just seems a little strange.

How about the contract Matt Ryan got? $34.5 million in guaranteed money before he even steps foot on a field. That's crazy. What happens if he's a bust? That's a ton of money down the drain, which makes it even harder for a bad team to get better. Me and my brother were talking about this today, and we thought that the NFL should take a lesson from the NBA and have structured rookie contract amounts, depending on the position they play and where they're drafted. That will end the holdouts and the ridiculous amounts of guaranteed cash they're throwing out. Granted, it would be tough to get that passed by the Players Union, but there is a possibility. Thoughts?

Boxing? Not so much. I watch it if it's on, but I've never been a huge fan. Sorry.

-Dusty

Monday, May 19, 2008

Some of this. Some of that.

Just a few more random thoughts

-Three of my final four NBA teams (I had Utah over LA. I didn’t get the memo that Boozer was going to start absolutely sucking) are still alive. I went with the Spurs in the beginning and I’ll stick with them. The Spurs-Lakers should be a series for the ages with two of the best ever going at it to cement their legacies. The Lakers are playing some good ball and I’m tempted to pick them but I’ll stick with my pre-playoffs pick of San Antonio.

-Great year from the Hornets. They lost a Game 7 to one of the more playoff tested teams in recent memory. No shame in that. If they can upgrade from Mo Pete as the starting 2 guard and work on a getting a consistent bench, watch out.

-Boston and Detroit is the series everyone wanted to see as soon as the ink of the KG deal dried. I still think it should be a phenomenal series even with the Celtics road woes. I pray for a Boston-San Antonio Finals matchup to keep my picks alive but the Celt’s are looking nothing like the team they fielded in the regular season. Apparently Joe Johnson let the cat out of the bag that Ray Allen is old, can’t guard anyone and is strictly a spot up shooter. Who does he guard on the Pistons? Chasing Hamilton around screens will have him dead by halftime of Game One and a healthy Billups will destroy him. Hell, a 75 percent Billups will destroy him.

-What a Game 7 duo between LeBron and Pierce. I’ve argued for years how underrated Pierce is and I’m glad he finally showed it on a big stage. If only LeBron realized he could score 45 every single game if he wanted too sooner.

-Note to the Cavaliers: Everyone NOT named LeBron and Delonte` can go. Coaching staff included.

-I was fairly content with the season the Magic had this year and our future but I read an article that absolutely shattered any hope I had. Basically it pointed out that the only person on our team we can expect internal development out of is Dwight Howard. And the knock with him is he’s too nice of a guy to develop the killer instinct he needs. Similar to David Robinson: A nice guy with great talent, but if he is your best player, your ceiling is limited. Turkoglu will never play better than he did this season and trading him wouldn’t be a bad idea. Rashard Lewis made 14 million dollars this year and he was our third leading scorer. Jameer Nelson will start a 5 year extension this season and it’s obvious he is not starting pg material yet. Our backcourt is terrible and will get worse with the likely departure of starter Maurice Evans. Blechk.

-Volquez is 7-1 and leads the majors in ERA. The Reds have won 6 of their last 7. I’m enjoying this while I can, because it’s only a matter of time before the 19 game losing streak that leads to us taking the rest of the season off and inevitably trading Griffey and Dunn, calling up Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey and preparing for the future.

-Giambi wears gold thongs. He makes 23 million dollars this season. I don’t even have a joke.

-Bengals released Odell Thurman today. A good move if we are going to start cracking down on our “Zero Tolerance” Policy. The timing is confusing though. We stuck with him as he was suspended for two entire regular seasons. He gets reinstated and misses some practices because of the death of his grandmother, who raised him, and we cut him? There has got to be more to the story. Something isn’t adding up.

-Not a hockey fan but I am curious about the Stanley Cup Finals. I know you’re stoked because the Red Wings are in it, but they are facing the future of the sport in Crosby and the Penguins. Who do you think will win? Keep homerism to a limit. Also, how good is Crosby? I have a friend from the Pittsburgh area and he’s been telling me how good Crosby is and is going to be. This is his third year and he is in the Finals. I can only imagine how crazy people would go if Kevin Durant had the Sonics in the Finals two years from now. Is the hype worth believing? Are you worried?

-Tyler

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Back from a bit of a hiatus

Sorry about the delay. I just got back from Macon, Georgia and the tornado that decided to visit while I was home. My thoughts and prayers are with the families who were affected by it.

Ahhh, the Magic. A great season has come to an end. While I’m not surprised that the Pistons beat us, I am surprised in the way they did it. Last year they swept us in the way a #1 seed should to a #8 seed. They were obviously better and we were just happy to be there. This year, it appeared they were a little worse and we were miles better. I expected us to win at least 2, if not 3 or 4 games. All we managed was one. We turned the ball over entirely too much. In Game 5 alone we turned the ball over on one fourth of our possessions. One fourth! Props to Detroit for a well played series but we hurt ourselves. We do have a good core but it’s obvious we need a rebounder/enforcer, a true point guard and a solid starting two guard. Still I’m happy with the season and have faith in Stan Van Gundy to improve the team.

The Celtics won at home tonight. Surprise surprise! Bill Simmons' wrote a good article today about the struggles with the Celt’s. It really is crazy how quickly a team with such wily veterans seems to lose confidence on the road. Posey appears to be the only one bringing it every night because he knows his role. Everyone else is clueless from game to game. I can absolutely see the dirty team in the Celts. As I said they are full of vets. KG, Pierce, Allen, PJ Brown, Cassell, Posey, Scalabrine…well maybe not Scalabrine, but all these guys are veteran guys who know about playing grimy. If they have to put an elbow in a guys gut, they’ll do it without remorse. And as veterans they will usually get the benefit of the whistle as I’ll discuss in a minute.

I still think the Spurs will win the series. The next game is in San Antonio and I think the Spurs will bounce back from the thrashing they got in Game 5. I know Game 7 is in New Orleans but I refuse to bet against the Spurs in any Game 7. The officiating siding towards the Spurs thing goes back to the veterans thing. A star and a veteran will get the benefit of every call. The Spurs have Duncan, Ginobli and Parker, three stars who are playoff veterans. That and a coach that knows how to work the referees and media and there you have it. The Hornets have one star in Paul, and this is his first playoffs. They have a little playoff experience on the team but not nearly as much as the Spurs. It’s not fair but it’s the way it goes and I honestly don’t see it changing.

Kobe’s playing well so I don’t think his back is a major issue. That said I see the Laker’s taking the next two games. If I’m Jerry Sloan I send Antoine “Big Dog” Carr in there to whack his low lumbar region. Are Antoine and his goggles still under contract with the Jazz? Does anyone know?

After further review, I think Matt Walsh and Brian McNamee are the same exact person. I wonder if they text each other when their 15 minutes is about to run out with suggestions of how to keep it going.
“U should tell ‘em u got mo info. Ttyl ~B-Mac: Sent 9:47 pm”

Eric. Gagne. You. Have. Got . To. Be. Kidding. Me. The man is single handedly killing my preseason prediction. The Brewers are four games out of first place. Gagne has blown 5 games. That is not a coincidence. He has an ERA over 6, he must be stopped. This upsets me more than the Red’s sucking because I actually thought Gagne had a chance. I am ecstatic about Volquez though. 6-1 with an ERA a little over one. In his only loss he struck out 9 and gave up 2 runs: only we didn’t score any. However he’s our only starter with a record over .500. Sigh.

The Royals of all teams seem to have the Tiger’s number. They are still in last place. Verlander is sucking, and that’s being kind. Gave up hope yet?

Up to 14 counts of perjury on Bonds and I still don’t think he sees a day in jail. Do you buy the collusion to keep Bonds out of baseball though?

You a boxing fan?

-Tyler

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

In Annoyance of Matt Walsh

Sorry about your Magic. They played hard, with the last couple of games going down to the wire. If they keep their core in tact, they could be a scary team in the near future.
For now, the spotlight belongs to the Pistons. I worry a little about how the layoff will affect them. The Cavs-Celtics series will be going a minimum of 6 games, which means the Eastern Conference Finals won't be starting for about another week. With that much time off, they could lose a little bit of their fire.
That much time off should give Billups a chance to recover a bit, so that will be good. I think it could be a very good series.
Speaking of which...
I know the Celtics can win this series. I know the Celtics should win this series. I know the Celtics have home court advantage throughout the playoffs. Now, with that being said...
Don't they have to win at least one game on the road, if only for themselves? What happened to this team? They have yet to win a single road game during the playoffs...and they played the Hawks! They're currently playing a Cavs team featuring an ice cold LeBron. This is the team that many people figured to sweep through the first two rounds.
And it's not just the record. They're getting pounded on the road. The difference between their home game and away game is astounding. How do you account for that?
If LeBron gets going and they steal game 5, the Celtics are in big trouble. Heck, if LeBron gets going and the Celtics win game 5, there could still be some trouble.
How does KG not get whistled for a foul when he threw two elbows into the stomach of LeBron? That was about as blatant a foul as I had seen in a while. I watched a number of Celtics games this year, and they always seemed to be a pretty dirty team. Thoughts?

The Spurs have gone into halftime with a three point lead over the Hornets. The Spurs are playing better in this game than in the other games in New Orleans. Their defense is starting to click, and their scorers are starting to score. If New Orleans wins this game, I see them winning the series. If they lose this game? It'll be extremely tough for a team this young to win a deciding game in San Antonio. I'm rooting for a Hornets win and a down-to-the-wire game 7.
And I would like to make a comment about the Spurs' win in game 4. The Hornets couldn't make a shot to save their lives, so they would've lost that game regardless. However, that does not excuse the officiating. I watched Hornets player go up for a shot, get mugged, and no whistle was blown. On the other side, a Spurs player would go up, have a shot cleanly blocked, and a whistle would be blown. This kind of thing happened so many times during the course of the game that I lost track. It was laughably bad. They need to fix that. It's the playoffs...there's no excuse for one-sided officiating.

The LA-Utah series is getting interesting. Not only did Utah tie up the series at 2, but they beat LA in an overtime game in which LA had the momentum going in. Add that to the fact that Kobe tweaked his back, and they could be in trouble. We'll see what happens in game 5, but the chips are starting to fall in Utah's favor.

Here's a question for you: who is a bigger jackass than Matt Walsh? A couple of months ago, he was saying stuff like, "The NFL hasn't contacted me about the Spygate tapes because I have information that could damage the reputation of the league", and "I won't talk to the NFL until I make sure that no one will come after me for my comments." And what does he come out with? Tapes of stuff that everyone knows about already. All the talk about taping the walkthrough of the Rams before the Super Bowl? Non-existent...or, at the very least, they're in the hands of a man who may or may not be a hobo. And, after hearing about it, the walkthrough thing doesn't sound like as big a deal as it did before.
Here's what he reminds me of: the kid who goes to tell on his sibling, only to find out that the parents already know, so he says something to make it sound worse.

-Mom, Billy was out in the garden, and...
-I already know. Your father and I have punished him already.
-But...but...he did something worse than that.
-Really? How much worse?
-Ummmm...a lot worse. I know things that I can tell you, but you might not want to know them.
-Of course I want to know them. Tell me.
-No...I have to make sure that I'll be safe. But it will forever change the way you look at Billy.

The parents find out later (in this case, through video evidence) that Billy didn't actually do anything worse than the initial offense. In fact, in light of the new information, Billy's first offense doesn't even look as bad as it did originally. Good job, Walsh...you're on the same level as a tattletale kid.
After reading all about what Matt Walsh had to say, he is my least favorite person in the world right now. After trying to act like he had information that could forever damage the reputation of the NFL, it turns out that he had nothing new. Nothing big. He just wanted his 15 minutes.
So congratulation Matt Walsh, for making me dislike you more than so many others who are so deserving.

Here's another charge, Barry Bonds...

-Dusty

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I See Your Homer, and Raise You Speculation

Before you accuse me of blatant homerism (for which I may be guilty), allow me to say that I have always hated the cause and effect argument in sports. For instance, you say that the shot should not have counted, and the Magic should have gone into the fourth period with a 1 point lead. Okay..I see your point. But here's something that barely anyone is mentioning: do you really think that there would have been that much ball movement if the clock had been moving? The majority of basketball players are conscious of a clock winding down at the end of a period. If the clock was under 2 seconds, there's no way the ball goes back to Billups The shot is taken, right then and there. Does he make it? I don't know...but a shot would have been taken regardless. It wouldn't have been a three pointer, but it still would've given Detroit the lead.
Maybe it's the homer in me coming out. I don't know. But to say that play would have unfolded exactly as it did is foolishness.
I would like to say that I like how Van Gundy didn't harp on that in his post-game press conference. He made mention of it, then moved on. He didn't blame the loss on that call. Also, you gotta love that mustache. I missed that guy.
One more thing on this: Detroit got killed last night, and Billups injured himself. They say he should be back for Game 4, but how effective do you think he'll be? Could this be a way for the basketball gods to even things out? Just a thought.

If Bron Bron doesn't kick it into gear soon, this series is over. If he does kick it into gear, the Celtics are in trouble. This is the problem, though: the Celtics have a good defense. But, as they showed against the Hawks, they have trouble with fast, athletic guys. LeBron is fast and athletic...but name me one more guy on the Cavs that fits that description? Delonte West? Maybe...but he's not really scaring anybody. As long as no one else on that team beats them, they can focus all their attention on LeBron. When the entire Celtics defense is focused on shutting down one man, it's tough to win. Someone needs to step up in Game 3, and send it back to Boston a 2-2 series.

San Antonio is up on New Orleans after 3. Paul is having a MASSIVE game, but Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili finally showed up (even if Duncan still hasn't). If the Spurs get going, they can be trouble. I still see the Hornets taking the series, though.

The Papelbon story goes like this: I was watching The Best Damn Sports Show Period, and Papelbon was on, doing an interview. I just couldn't even stand to listen to him. Just an obnoxious person, all the way around.

Wilson's dead, Tyler. I suppose there's a way they could splice him into the movie (Tim Allen has no doubt looked into this after seeing Fred Astaire dance with a vacuum cleaner), but I don't think it's happening.

I don't know why, but I kinda like Kobe. I can't help it. And even I can't shake this Kobe MVP thing. I understand the logic (the best player on the best team), but it just seems like the wrong year. He started the year demanding a trade and calling his owner an idiot. He said terrible things about some of his teammates. He benefited greatly from one of the most lopsided trades in the history of the league. I know he's good, and I know that most years, he's a pretty safe pick. But this year? No...not this year. Not with the performances turned in by LeBron James and Chris Paul.
I see your points. I really do. I even reconsidered for a couple of minutes. But, in the end, I just can't go along with it.

San Antonio is pulling away. They may make a series of this.

-Dusty

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The NBA: Where cheating the Magic happens

The botched call in the Magic/Piston game was bogus and to borrow from TO, unfair, just unfair, but it was NOT the reason we lost that game. We lost because we could not hold onto the ball to save our lives but to think the call didn’t help Detroit at least a little is homerism. Going into the fourth quarter of an away playoff game with ANY lead is big. It was especially big in our situation. That Detroit crowd is something else when they are going and our run at the end of the third had them hushed. Our team already lets any call against them get to our head, nonetheless a call that could be considered home cooking. Not saying we would have won, if it had been properly called but if it happened to the Lakers or someone like that, Phil Jackson would still be complaining.

I am really not sold on this Celtics team. The Hawks showed that an athletic team could beat them. The Cavs aren’t really that athletic top to bottom but they have one of the best athletes the world has ever seen in Wally Szczerbiak…I mean LeBron James. I cant be the only person that gets those two confused. If the Celtics couldn’t cover Joe Johnson, what are they going to do with LeBron James? He went 2-16 and they STILL almost won. I think if the Cavs win Game 2 in Boston, they have a great chance of taking the series.

The Hornets look awesome but I refuse to count out the Spurs at any costs. If they win Game 3, they are back in it, no questions asked. If they somehow win Game 4, the pressure us shifted back to NO and the series becomes a best of 3. I’ll take the Spurs over any other team in the league in a best of 3 series.

I missed the Papelbon story. Fill me in. I want to hate him too!

I’ll go see the Tim Allen movie if Wilson from Home Improvement is in it and hides his face behind some nunchuks or something in every scene.

I disagree with Johnson being let go and D’Antoni on the verge of being let walk, only because those teams appear to have no replacements set up. Both teams run specific systems that work for them because of they way they are built and I don’t know if you can hire any coach to go in and make it work. I feel they both should have at least gotten a full year with the new squad but that’s just me. I think the Suns should trade D’Antoni and cash to the Mavs for the rights to Avery Johnson, Avery Johnson’s translator and a future first round pick.

Normally I’d say yes, the Kobe pick is the Scorsese treatment but I had a long conversation with a friend of mine who is an avid Kobe supporter. I still believe that Chris Paul should have won it but I do see Kobe’s side a little better. His main argument is that Paul’s supporting cast is being portrayed as worse than it is and he’s right. West is an All-Star and is making a name for himself with the playoffs. Stojakovic and Bonzi Wells both have extensive playoff experience. Tyson Chandler knows his role and performs it well and Byron Scott is no slouch of a coach. My friend also argued that sans-Gasol, the Laker’s roster is the same as it was last year when they snuck in the playoffs. Odom shows flashes as he always has, Bynum looked good but he was competing for time with Kwame Brown. All he had to do was catch the ball and it’d be an improvement on Kwame’s skills. Luke Walton still has no discernable NBA skills, other that genetics. Jordan Farmar is the same as he was last year, only now he has Derek Fisher to play with as opposed to Smush Freakin’ Parker. The argument that won me over was the whole “Has Kobe really changed?” thing. I asked him of Kobe joking around with his teammates was real or a gimmick and he told me this. For the first time, this roster is completely Kobe-Era. What I mean is that other than the Fisher signing, there were no holdovers from the Kobe-Shaq era where Kobe was viewed as an outcast. He was an 18 year old on a team with personalities like Shaq, Nick Van Exel and even Eddie Jones. He was an introvert and therefore ostracized. Now this team is his. He doesn’t have to hold his tongue in front of the wily veterans: He is the wily veteran. The joking Kobe has been there all along, but now he has peers and friends as opposed to just coworkers.

-Tyler

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Basketball, basketball...

Finals are done, so my excuse for slacking is gone. However, I just started a new job, so I can blame that for a while.

Where we at?

You're a Magic fan...how do you feel about the botched clock at the end of the third period? Being a Pistons fan myself, I'm a little biased, and don't really think it matters that much. They say the game is won or lost over the course of the entire game, and that a bad call here or there does not lose the game. I usually agree with that statement, and I certainly agree with it here. It wasn't even at the end of regulation...it was a shot at the end of the third period that put the Pistons up one point heading into the fourth. I've heard this from all sides. What's your take?
It looks like the Pistons are fired up and ready to play. Look out below. If they play this hard for the rest of the playoffs, they'll make it to the Finals.

The Cavs/Celtics series could be fairly interesting. The Celtics only won by 4 tonight, at home, against a struggling LeBron. Pierce and Allen struggled for the Celtics, but, if LeBron gets going, they could make a series out of this. If the Cavs steal a game in Boston, we'll see a lot of nervous fans, especially after seeing their road performances against a less-than-stellar Hawks team.

We'll see what happens when the series moves to San Antonio, but the Hornets have looked pretty dominant against the Spurs so far. Their defense has really clamped down on the Spurs offense, while Chris Paul has been running loose against their defense. The most surprising thing to me is that they've done it for two straight games. Popovich is extremely good at making changes in the middle of a game. If he has an entire day to prepare for a team and knows what they're going to do? He's close to unstoppable. But these Hornets are executing perfectly and blowing the Spurs out of the water. Like I said, we'll see what happens when it shifts back to San Antonio, but the Hornets are looking in control of this series.

Quick basketball break: Jonathan Papelbon seems like a complete tool. Thoughts?

I'd really like to see Utah beat the Lakers. If it's happening, they'll have to win it in 6. I can't see Utah winning if it goes 7 games...with Game 7 being played in the Civic Center. I think Utah can do it, but it will be hard. We'll see what happens for Game 3 in Utah.
Regardless of who wins this series, I still see New Orleans beating them.

Tim Allen is in a movie about mixed martial arts. I don't think he's a fighter, but this still seems wrong to me.

Looks like D'Antoni is all but gone. Avery Johnson is already gone. How do you feel about all this? How do you feel about teams firing their coaches that have led them (consistently) into the playoffs? The Suns have not made it to the Finals under D'Antoni...but they've been beaten by the Spurs. There's no shame in that. The Mavs got beat last year in the first round (ouch), and again in the first round this year (but their team wasn't all that great this year).
And what is the one thing both of those coaches have in common? Both of the GM's made trades to help them in the playoffs...only to see their trades not work out like they thought they would. Shaq didn't fit into the Suns' system. Ditto Kidd for the Mavs. At this point in his career, Shaq needs a team that will feed it to him down low. He also needs to learn to be happy with 12/8 a game. Kidd works best when his team is running. They were bad fits with the teams, with the GM's saying, "Hey...I know this isn't your system, but make it work, anyway."
I know they have their problems, but would you fire either of those guys after what they've done? What if another coach comes in and destroys the team. It certainly wouldn't be the first time that's happened.

Kobe as MVP. Scorsese treatment?

-Dusty

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What the Mavs and Suns should do...because I have a blog and people should listen to me!

The window for the Suns is almost closed but I can’t shut it just yet. They have a great PG that even in old age will make his teammates better. They also have Amare` Stoudemire and if he plays the way he did after the Shaq deal for 82 games they will be in the playoff mix. Grant Hill and Shaq are on contract for one more year so I think they make one last run with D’Antoni on board. This year they have the Hawks first round pick as well as their own pick. This is the year they need to keep those picks. In the past they have traded Rajon Rondo and Luol Deng among others. If this year doesn’t work out, they still have Amare’, Barbosa, Diaw as well as the two first round picks for the future. Not bad.

The Mavs too have a predicament. No coach. Their second best player just shot himself in the foot, which might explain his terrible playoff performance. The Jason Kidd experiment has one year left but I believe with the right coach, Kidd can be utilized correctly. If not, after next year they have Kidd and his 19 million dollars off the cap and with an owner like Cuban, free agents will come. Hopefully they let Brandon Bass go because I’d like to see him suit up for the Magic.

Our “Ace” Aaron Harang is 1-4. Johnny Cueto and Bronson Arroyo are 1-3. I’ve got hope for Cueto. Wish I could say the same for Bronson Arroyo. The real Corey Patterson showed up and is batting .214 now. On the bright side, Volquez is 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 29 innings and Cordero hasn’t blown a save yet. Votto is living up to expectations and Keppinger has been a pleasant surprise. Hopefully we can bide some time until Harang turns it around and Jay Bruce is called up and puts Patterson on the bench where I think he will be more successful.

I like the Brohm pick for the Pack just because I think he will be a solid quarterback in this league. Hindsight says it would have been better for the Pack to take a position of more need than quarterback and maybe get a QB later on (Maybe a guy like, I don’t know, Andre` Woodson?). The Flynn pick is a little confusing but as a 7th rounder there’s no guarantee he will even make the squad. I feel pretty good about the Bengal’s draft for now. We got a solid linebacker in Rivers at a position where we were decimated by injuries last year. Adding back Odell Thurman without his partner in crime Chris Henry will help I pray. I really like the Sims pick because of where we got him and I love the Mario Urrutia pick. I watched him at Louisville and with some coaching and hard work, he could be great. 6’6 receivers with a 35 inch vertical don’t grow on trees. The Shirley pick concerns me because he is the classic talented head case and I think we have enough of those but I feel good about our draft so far.

-Tyler