Saturday, June 30, 2012

Knicks Free Agency

It's coming! At midnight on July 1st, which is tonight, NBA teams can start to sign free agents. Here is the complete list of free agents. I'm going to break down the needs and possible signings for our New York Knicks.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Knick Fans, PLEASE

I'm disgusted by the Knick fans at the draft and the stuff that they are saying after the draft. They're criticizing our second round pick because they've never read of him before. It's the 48th pick in the draft, the Knicks were never going to get a star player or even a player that will be expected to start this season. Kostas Papanikolaou was being booed before Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver finished saying "K."

Have some trust in this organization. The post-Isiah Thomas regime has not done anything completely and utterly insane yet. Yes, Amar'e and Chandler's contract are a bit inflated, but the team has tried to put the best team on the floor. If they think that this Greek player can help when he finally comes over from Olympiacos (most likely for the 2013-14 season), then wait and see.

He was being scouted by the San Antonio Spurs, which is a good sign. They seem like they can judge good foreign talent. It's not like Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are both All-Stars or anything. Furthermore, Papanikolaou was projected to be a late first rounder to an early second round pick, so the Knicks seemed to have stolen him at 48.

He's not terrible.

Not at all.

NBA Draft Recap 2012

Last night, the NBA Draft changed the direction of many franchises, while others basically did nothing for themselves.

I'm not going through every pick in the draft or even in the first round, but mostly what stood out to me.

Watch out for the Hornets. They now have a lineup of:
PG Austin Rivers/Eric Gordon (it depends which will play the point and the shooting guard position, but this is definitely their backcourt because Jarrett Jack is not better than either).
SG Rivers/Gordon
SF Al-Farouq Aminu (who isn't terrible)
PF Anthony Davis (major defensive presence, "wingspan wingspan wingspan"- Jay Bilas)
C Chris Kaman (they could re-sign him, but if not, they'll throw in Gustavo Ayon)

Obviously it's too early to expect much from them right now, but once they upgrade at the center position, they will be legitimate contenders. They have two young studs who will carry the franchise for years to come. Davis is expected to be a Kevin Garnett/Tim Duncan-like player, and Rivers can really create his own shot and get to the basket with ease. If they solidify the pieces around these two cornerstones, I see bright things in their future.

Well, the Charlotte Bobcats took the best player available in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Now to see if he fits in their system. But then again does anyone fit in Charlotte?

Washington took Bradley Beal to "fill to biggest position hole they have" (according to what I heard on ESPN before the draft). Their starting small forward is Trevor Ariza, that's a pretty big hole.

I correctly predicted Cleveland's pick of Dion Waiters. I expected them to swap with the Cats and get the #2 pick in order to steal Beal (nice rhyme eh?) from the Wizards. Once they knew Beal wasn't there, they stuck to the plan and got a shooter. Waiters has talent, give him a shot before you kill this move.

Joe Dumars violated the rule of drafting. Section 20 rule 1.09 in "Drafting for Dummies" clearly states, "Never shall thou select a center who cannot grab rebounds on the defensive end, never attempts to box out his opponent, and shoots TWENTY NINE PERCENT from the line at which one shoots free throws." Well, that's Andre Drummond. Everyone talks about his athleticism and potential, but look at this. Basically, he is a big, tall, athletic guy who doesn't know how to play basketball. Here's how he probably started playing in high school:

Math Teacher: Hey Andre, how tall are you?
Andre: I'm 6'8"
Math Teacher: I'm also the basketball coach here, you should try out!
Andre: What's basketball? I can't really, I'm on the raquetball team.
Math Teacher: You don't need to know what it is, just stand in that blue painted area, and swat the ball whenever you see it.
Andre: No problem!

Who shoots 29% from the free throw line? That's worse than Shaq's free throw numbers, who is regarded as a terrible free throw shooter, and even Diesel himself never shot less than 46.1% for a season. I know I mentioned Drummond as the best center prospect available earlier this week, but I'm totally recanting that mini-paragraph. I might even delete it from that post and wipe it from all of your minds. Okay, I'll just admit my lack of knowledge of how bad he is. The fact that he is from the same school as Hasheem Thabeet, is very troubling.

The Sixers added more depth with Maurice "Not Moe, Okay, Stop Calling Me Moe" Harkless and Arnett Moultrie. They keep adding productive players, but they really need to make a big trade to turn some of these guys into some star power. They will stay young and athletic, which will get them into the playoffs on a yearly basis, but that one star will put them over the top.

The Houston Rockets did well for themselves without getting Dwight Howard. They turned Samuel Dalembert and Chase Budinger into Jeremy Lamb (good shooter), Royce White (super athletic power forward who can play like an in-shape Boris Diaw, which by the way, is very good), and Terrence Jones (a great prospect at the PF position, and unlike Drummond, knows how to play). They'll be fun to watch next season.

Funny to see the Magic pick a center in Andre Nicholson. It looks like they want him to learn as much from Dwight as he can before Orlando rids themselves of Mr. Howard. Nicholson is a good shooter and he's Canadian, which means that Steve Nash is on his side. Okay, but in all seriousness, he plays a completely different style than Howard, so it will be interesting to see how these two work together during the season. Or at least over the next 5 days before Dwight goes to Brooklyn.

The Celtics were able to get Jared Sullinger after his free-fall. Sullinger is apparently undersized and unathletic. Whatever, he knows how to play the game of basketball. That basically means that if you combine Andre Drummond's body and Sullinger's knowledge, we would have a Hall of Famer here. He's always been able to overcome his physical limitations and dominate in the low post. His mid-range shooting is also good. He'll find a way to be productive. Fab Melo is also a big and tall guy who doesn't really know the game well. Though he still is more knowledgeable than Drummond. I've mentioned Drummond so many times, let's go ahead me fulfill my Drummond quota for the rest of this article. Drummond Drummond Drummond Drummond Drummond Drummond Drummond Drummond. I was allowed to say in 15 times max without getting myself into a legal mess. I'm just making stuff up. Okay, back to The Guy Named Melo Who Plays In The Same Divison As A Guy Commonly Referred To As Melo. He's a good shot blocker and with some development, I believe could be a decent starting center in this league.

The best part about the draft, by far, was David Stern. He successfully trolled the whole crowd last night. The Commish is great. I love him for that great performance. It was top notch stuff. I also have to applaud the crowd for continuing to boo him for all 30 picks. It was pretty entertaining.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

NFL Top 100 List

Everyone knows about the Top 100 Players of 2012 in the NFL list that was voted on by the players. I have a lot of issues with this list, and that's to be expected, so let's start with the top.

Tom Brady was ranked number 4 under (from first to third) Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Calvin Johnson. As a Jets fan, I'd put him above Johnson. I watch too much football and too much of the Patriots to ignore Brady's ability to completely shred defenses. While Calvin Johnson is beyond beastly, Tom Brady is a quarterback, and at the elite level that he plays at, a quarterback deserves to be ahead of a wide receiver at the same level. Generally I'm fine with the placement because it's arguable either way between the two of them.

Darelle Revis can be lower, but I guess his placement is fine. He's a great shutdown corner and (favoritism, but with merit) his ability is unmatched at his position. It wouldn't be an outrage if he was lower, but still in the top 10.

I personally think that Patrick Willis is a better linebacker than DeMarcus Ware, even though he remains the most underrated player in the league. I mean, yes he somehow ended up at number 10, but he doesn't get enough credit for just how amazing he really is. I would move him up to number 6 and drop Ware to 10.

Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are way too high. They are great and are both first-ballot Hall of Famers, but age has changed their games lately. The fact that they are at 16 and 20 respectively is bad. There are other players at their positions that are better than them (see: Troy Polamalu, Clay Matthews, James Harrison).

I find it funny that Jimmy Graham is 7 spots above Rob Gronkowski. I do agree, but I wasn't sure that everyone gave Graham the credit that he deserves.

Okay, now here's to the New York Giants part of this (don't worry, though I'm a Jets fan, I don't hate the Giants. Even though Giants fans are extremely annoying, I enjoy seeing the team do well). Jason Pierre-Paul is a complete joke at 24. Second year in the league, he has a lot of talent and skills, but there is no way that he is the 24th best player in the league. It's just crazy to think that he had one good year and the rest of the NFL players think this of him. He is not better than Julius Peppers who is two spots behind him. Will he deserve to be at 24 or higher in the future? Yes, he will because he has the skills to be, but not right now. I'd even take Justin Tuck above him, who in a criminal act is only 62nd. Teammate Chris Canty was asked on ESPN if he would rather have JPP or DeMarcus Ware, and in a terrible statement, he picked Pierre-Paul. That's why defensive tackles shouldn't speak words.

Victor Cruz is 39, I don't even know what to say. He was on the practice squad in 2010, and he thrived in the slot last year. Again, it's one year, give me a break with this one. Outside of Devin Hester and Jordy Nelson, I would put every wide receiver ahead of him.

Eli Manning at 31 is psychotic. Ben Roethlisberger is not better than him. Eli has led his team to 2 Super Bowls and is an elite quarterback. I'd put him at 4th best QB in the league, which in the current era of signal callers is no insult at all.

Cam Newton is not better than Matthew Stafford. Yet. Newton has the unmatched ability to be an elite quarterback, but I want to see him improve on his accuracy a little bit.

I love how Peyton Manning did not sniff the field in 2011, and he made the list at 50. I consider him the best QB in NFL history, (I kid you not) but his neck surgery is a major question mark this year and in his future. I'm not sure at all how he'll play with that issue. He's still Peyton Manning and his ability is unquestionable.

Nnamdi Asomugha was considered to be the second best cornerback in the NFL, and he still is a great shutdown cover corner. He can take any WR out of the game completely. Guess his spot on this list? 79. Humorous.

My biggest issue with this list is one of the newest New York Jets. Tim Tebow is on this list. He should not even be mentioned along with "Top 100" at all. If Cruz's spot was criminal, Tebow is Al Capone. I can even begin to describe the stupidity it takes to put Tim Tebow at the 95th best player in the NFL. He's a quarterback and he can't do the most basic of QB skills, throw the ball. He's terrible at throwing and out of the 1,696 players on NFL rosters, he is not 95th. Even Mark Sanchez, who I have the agony of watching every week, is light years ahead of Tebow in terms of being a quarterback. If this is about winning, Sanchez has been further than Tebow in the playoffs, twice. I feel bad for Tony Romo, who is 4 spots ahead of Tebow. Romo is the second most underrated QB in the league, and it must suck to be considered "4 players ahead of Tebow."

Where is Matt Schaub? Talk about getting no respect, he is a top 10 quarterback and certainly racks up the yards every year. He also carried my fantasy team to the playoffs before he got injured.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dewayne Wise is NOT Derek Jeter

Last night, this atrocity happened. I refer to this play as atrocious not because of anything that Dewayne Wise or the Yankees did while trying to create a new version of this famous play, it's because of the umpire.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dwight Howard to Follow in the Footsteps of Olajuwon?

I heard a couple days ago that the Houston Rockets were going to stockpile first round picks from other teams then use those picks to get Dwight Howard from the Magic. Well, it looks like this may be coming true. Today the Rockets were able to get the 18th pick in the 1st round from Minnesota in exchange for Chase Budinger and the draft rights to Lior Eliyahu. Being that the Rockets also own picks 14 and 16, they can most likely turn two of these teen picks into a top 10 pick. Once that happens, it's not impossible that Orlando would accept a top 10 pick, a mid first rounder and Luis Scola for Dwight Howard. 

Obviously, Dwight is not staying with the Magic for very long, so they really need to get him out and get something for him before he becomes a distraction for the team and also to avoid his trade value dropping due to injury. If they see something wrong with his back, they need to let him go before anyone sees him play with a bad back. 

The best part about all the wheeling and dealing that Houston is doing, is that they also plan to clear up enough room to join Howard and free agent point guard Deron Williams. Williams said that he only had two teams on his list: his home town Dallas Mavericks, and the Brooklyn Nets (WHY?); but he probably did not consider that he could play with Dwight in his home state. 

In my opinion, if the Houston Rockets can actually pull this off, they deserve a round of applause. If they already have a handshake deal in which Orlando agreed to give up Dwight if Houston somehow gets a high pick, then this will be a great deal for both sides. Giving up Dwight is never a great deal, but other than an aging Pau Gasol, there isn't much out there for the Magic. They can possibly grab a nice young player in the draft (Andre Drummond), maybe even a center to replace Howard (Andre Drummond). Maybe even a very unproven center with a lot of raw talent that can be a star if things fall into place for him (Andre Drummond). 

(Drummond isn't a sure thing, but he is the best prospect at the center position in this draft, and the Magic will definitely need one to replace that random Dwight Howard guy. I heard he was pretty good.)

For the Rockets, pulling off a near fire-sale to rebuild around Williams, Howard, and quite possibly (if they can keep him) Kevin Martin (who gets buckets. I mean BUCKETS), is a very good way to start. They were already in the playoff race pretty late in the year this year, so I expect at least a couple of first round wins from this team before they are able to grab some pieces around them. Once that happens, the Thunder won't be able to completely roll through the West as they would be doing otherwise for the next 10 years. 

From the side of the Timberwolves, they're still trying to figure it out, but with a healthy Ricky Rubio for this next year, they actually can sneak into the playoffs because Kevin Love is one of the best 5 players in this league. Essentially drafting a developing Budinger with an 18th pick is a good value for him. He's a good piece to have around for a young team on the rise and he's definitely getting better with more experience. 

So watch out Houston, you might need to clear out a space in your hearts for a new star center, Dwight Howard. 

You too Toronto, for this now means that you will get a washed up former MVP in about 10 years. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Weekly Awards 6/25/12

Best Player in Baseball- Mike Trout is unbelievable.
Youk Award- Yewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwk is on his way out of Bahhston, much to the delight of Bobby Valentine. He's looked terrible this year, but I expect him to pick it up in Chicago. He was really unhappy with the BoSawx, so his performance should definitely improve.
Impressive Minor Leaguer of the Week- Anthony Rizzo because he's on his way up this week (to face the Mets, of course). He's hit 23 homers with an OPS of 1.110 down in AAA. One thousand one hundred and ten. I'm not kidding. He's also batting .345. His only stint in the majors last year didn't go too well, but this first baseman has potential. It's scary.
Amar'e Stoudemire/Javale McGee Stupid Act of the Week- Fire extinguisher-puncher guy is back at it. The NBA is reviewing a situation in which he used a homophobic slur in a direct message to a fan on twitter. The fan told him to step up his game in the upcoming season, and Stoudemire decided to get angry and type out a direct message including this word. The fan then posted this to his timeline for the world to see. Sometimes, people's judgement can just be so bad.
Fix Your Bullpen- New York Mets
Stop Putting so Much Effort into a Backup- New York Jets. Tim Tebow can't throw, so my Jets better stop with this train wreck.
Skip Bayless Annoying Analyst Award- It's Skip Bayless
Best Player in Basketball- Lebron James obviously.
Birthday of the Day- My boy! Carlos Delgado!
Mike Trout Award- He's Mike Trout, he deserves a separate award.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

RA vs. CC

The matchup of the initials tonight on ESPN. While C.C. Sabathia is overrated (if you disagree, check this out) this will be a pretty good pitchers duel. Robert Allen Dickey is on a streak that has been touched by almost no one in MLB history, from Russ Ortiz to Sandy Koufax to Daniel Cabrera to Bob Gibson. Two straight one-hitters and every time he pitches, he seems to be setting a new record for insane dominance. As a Mets fan, it's so great to watch and it will be fun watching all the Yankee swings and misses tonight. I highly doubt he'll get to Orel Hershiser's scoreless inning streak of 59 (Dickey's at 42.2 now) but he might get close. The only thing that worries me is that the Yankees are a big home run hitting team, and one good swing could mean trouble for Dickey, but he's R.A. Dickey, he'll find a way around it.

Let's Go Mets.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

How Jerome Holtzman Singlehandedly Ruined Baseball: The Art of Closers

It's the Bottom of the 6th inning in a 2-2 game, and Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Joel Peralta has just loaded the bases against the Washington Nationals. Prior to 1969, Joe Maddon would bring in his best relief pitcher, Fernando Rodney, but since this is the closer era, Peralta is left in the game. Danny Espinosa is the next batter up, and he smacks a 2-run double to right field, and the Nats take the 4-2 lead. The Rays go on to lose the game 5-2.

Friday, June 22, 2012

NBA Finals Chronicles, Friday June 22

Well the series is over. I did my live blog last night so I don't have much else to say but congratulations to the Miami Heat.

In terms of the blog, now that the NBA season is over, there will be a major shift towards more baseball content very soon.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

NBA Finals Game 5 Live Blog

First time I'm doing this, going to talk about the game as it goes along. Refresh the page for updates.

1st Quarter

Only the pre-game intros and the Heat look focused and very psyched up. They are very excited to be in this position and they look ready. Time for the best game of LeBron's career!

How does the scoring in this game open up? LeBron James throwing down the hammer. Uh-oh, it looks like the Thunder are settling for jumpers early on, which is not what they should be doing.

Some really sloppy play so far, with a lot of turnovers from both sides and very inefficient execution in transition by both offenses.

A lot of fouls so far, and wow, Dwyane Wade now has two fouls, which usually means that he would take a seat, but Spoelstra sees his value and is keeping him on the floor. It's too early in the game to take him out, and it's very important for the Heat to get out to an early lead, and in order for that to happen, they need him instead of Mike Miller out on the floor.

Westbrook is really enjoying the pull-up jumper, and while that's alright with me, I'd rather see him attack and get to the rim more.

Here's James Harden. He misses the runner. What a surprise.

Now it really looks like the Thunder are trying the get inside the paint more, but I would like to see more inside passing to really get around the Heat defense.

Oh look, yet another reason why Kendrick Perkins shouldn't be in the starting lineup, he's getting killed by pump fakes, and when he is guarding Chris Bosh, he gets forced out onto the perimeter, where he is not comfortable at all. Hopefully after this timeout Brooks will sub in Nick Collison. Then promptly suspend Kendrick Perkins for being Kendrick Perkins. Maybe they should trade him to the Hornets, he and Rashard Lewis would make an amazing combo there, wouldn't you say?

Second time in this series that Russell Westbrook has gotten the ball stuck up in the rim, he's like the new Shaq, so many backboard issues.

James Harden scored!!!!!!!!

Two huge 3 pointers by Mike Miller, immediately followed by his eternally injured style of running. Then Norris Cole is picking up where he left off from the beginning of Game 4, which a 3 of his own.

Durant with a huge dunk to end the 1st quarter with the score: Heat 31, Thunder 26

2nd Quarter

Looks like Mike Miller is going to be the most prominent perimeter role player for Miami tonight.

Westbrook with a rare missed dunk, channeling his inner Game 4 Thabo Sefolosha.

Harden jacks up another 3, and it goes in and out. This guy's confidence must be non-existent at this point, he can't even hit good, wide open shots, he just got unlucky there.

Chris Bosh has stopped trying to be a jump shooter, and is playing like an actual big man right now. Basically, his mentality is, "I'm seven feet tall, stop me." So far, OKC has yet to accept that challenge.

Wade's third foul and he has to take a seat, but they lead by 12 do it isn't completely necessary for him to be on the floor.

Mike Miller is not 4 for 4 from downtown and all are very big buckets in this game. Great inside-outside play from LeBron, the Thunder have to spend some energy trying to take the inside away from him.

Well, Mike Miller picked up his third foul, and he wanted to stay in. Next possession, he got his fourth foul. See you late in the third Mike!

Shane Battier with a layup? WHAT?

The quarter ends with the Heat up 59-49, and while the Thunder are down by 10, they have shown the ability to make comebacks, so this should be a tight finish.

Only 15 points from LeBron so far, I see at least 20 more points in this game.

3rd Quarter

As soon as the second half starts, Durant knocks down a 3 to cut the lead to 7, they look serious and they want to cut into this lead.

Miami's 3 point shooters came out hot to start the half, with Chalmers and Battier hitting 3s to keep the momentum in the favor of their team.

Just so you know, Harden does have 8 points, but only 1 for 3 shooting, he's 6 for 6 on his free throws, so he's been much more aggressive.

Durant and Chalmers got into it a little before Papa Juwan Howard pulled Mario aside and gave him a stern talking to.

Battier for 3 again, plus falling down. Next possession by OKC, he picks up his fourth foul.

Four fouls on Kendrick Perkins and he is staying in the game, it seems that there is a reason why Brooks is leaving him in, he wants him to foul out so he won't complain about lack of playing time. As I was typing that, he got him fifth foul, but it would have been too obvious for Scott to keep him in, so he sat him down, he's probably going to stick him on LeBron so he gets kicked out. At least that's what he should be doing. Perk is so non-essential to this series.

They just called it a flagrant foul on Derek Fisher for trying to stop a layup by LeBron. That was a very bad call, there was nothing about that play that required a flagrant to be called. That was just stupid and Jeff Van Gundy agrees.

A bad possession by OKC cost them an opportunity to cut the lead, and they are now down by 19 with 3:54 left in the third. I don't care how good a team is at comebacks, this is impossible. This game is over.

LeBron seemed to call a huddle to gather the troops and keep them focused. James Harden looked up at the scoreboard with a very frustrated look on his face. The young guns of Oklahoma City see that the game is out of reach at this point, and hopefully they can use this experience in the future because everyone knows that they will be back in the finals.

Mike Miller is channeling his inner Reggie by hitting a 3 to put them up 25. LeBron is trying very hard to keep the rest of his team focused and not try to get too fancy with their game. He really is embracing the role of the leader on this team, and it's great to watch.

Miller just missed a 3! I don't understand, how did that happen, he's not 5 for 6 from behind the arc.

The Thunder's game seems to be: Bring ball upcourt, shoot 3, give up score, shoot contested 3, commit foul, shoot contested 3. That's not how they need to be doing it. What they should be doing is keep playing their game and hope that the Heat get too arrogant and somehow let this game slip away.

The third quarter ends with the remarkable score of 95-71 in favor of Miami. I can't even explain how that happened.

Just twelve minutes away from LeBron winning his first title and Finals MVP.

NBA Finals Chronicles, Thursday June 21

This could be it for these articles, but don't worry, I have a lot of exciting things planned for this blog.

What will happen tonight? It will be the end.

The Miami Heat will win the NBA championship on this the hottest day of the year so far (at least in New York). They will be partying all over the world after tonight.

I still feel that the Thunder have a better team than Miami, but OKC is inventing ways to lose. They outplay the Heat, make comebacks, and still, they are somehow down 1-3 in this series.

The Thunder only have 2 people that can consistently hit shots, in Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Their third option, James Harden has been up too late tending to the birds in his beard that he's been too tired to perform at all. Miami happens to have the Big 3, plus Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier along with them to put the ball in the basket. If Chalmers plays like he did in Game 4, then there is absolutely no way that the Heat lose. I do not expect anything from James Harden, but if he gets at least 20 points, I can see his team winning this game.

During this series, LeBron James has already proven that he is in fact the best player in the game of basketball. He does everything, and other than shooting jumpers, he does it better than Durant. Much like he did in Game 6 against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, Lebron knows that he has to win this game, and will come out on fire. During that game, he was extremely focused and had a very scary look on his face that said, "I'm going to score on you, and I don't care what you have to say about it. I will also put you on lockdown, and you won't score any points. See that painted area over there, I own it." He will do that again tonight. He wants it too much, and so does the rest of his team. He will most likely spend a lot of the game in the post, which is a part of his game that he developed over the summer, and he has the ability and the strength to be completely unstoppable down low, and he realizes this and will use it to his advantage.

While I think that they will lose, if the Thunder in fact pull this off, they do have a legitimate chance of winning the series in 7 games back in OKC.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

NBA Finals Chronicles, Wednesday June 20

That game was pretty amazing last night. It was the best basketball game that I have watched in a while. By the end of the game, the Heat are on the brink of the second championship in franchise history. Their 104-98 victory put them up 3-1 in the series. The Thunder really screwed themselves many times during the game and the way this game ended was bad.

OKC jumped out to a 17 point lead in the first quarter and they somehow gave most of it up my halftime. Russell Westbrook came out firing and was shooting aggressively and accurately. For the first time in this series, he stopped shooting mostly jumpers, he attacked the basket for the majority of his points. He still jacked up a couple of jump shots, but less than usual, and also, these shots actually went in this time.

Part of the reason why Miami was able to come back into the game was Norris Cole. Mr. Flat Top partied like it was 1999 at the end of the 1st and the beginning of the 2nd quarter when Erik Spoelstra decided that the deficit was so big that he was forced to bring Cole to jack up some 3-pointers. He scored 8 points int he 8 minutes that he was allowed on the floor, and when the Heat pulled it together with the help from his 2 3s, Spo pulled him right out of there. After the first, Miami was down 33-19 and was only down by 3 at the half.

Fast Forward to the end of the game. The game was very tight in the 4th quarter, and with 5:15 left, this happened. Lebron James got the largest recorded case of the cramps ever. He measured an 8.3 on the Cramp Richter Scale. He was out of the game until the 4:05 mark at which point he came back into the game.

With 2:50 left, he hit the biggest shot of his career. One-legged LeBron might just end up being his signature oment in his career. This is his flu game. All he needed was the wheelchair to go with it. He was limping when he came into the game, and with a minute left, he realized that it was stupid to keep playing. It was a 4-on-5 game with him dragging his leg all around the court.

Speaking of cramps, Russell Westbrook. I love him, and he played an amazing game last night. Had he not played the way that he did, this situation wouldn't have happened. With 17 seconds left, Miami had the ball with 1 second left on the shot clock when James Harden got tied up with Udonis Haslem and a jump ball was called. First of all, Harden should have left Haslem alone for a 24 second violation, but I can't blame him because he was just trying to make the best play. The NBA rule says that in a jump ball situation, if the offensive team retains possession, the shot clock continues or resets to 5 seconds, whichever is greater. Personally I think that this rule is stupid because it gives an extra 5 seconds to the offensive team after the defense had already shut them down for the 24 seconds. Miami won the tip and Russell Westbrook decided to foul Mario Chalmers when he got the ball. This is because he didn't see that the clock reset to 5, and his reaction at the 0:18 mark showed just how confused he was by this rule. According to ESPN's Ric Bucher, he heard Scott Brooks yell this rule out to his team, so it seems that Westbrook and Brooks just had a miscommunication. Westbrook had a historically great game, with 43 points on 20 of 32 shooting, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, but all of this may not be remembered because of 1 braincramp.

On a side note, this was the best part of the night.

Kevin Durant did not play a good game. He did in fact end with 28 points, but he needed to be more aggressive and more assertive. He did not act like the 3-time scoring champion. Russell Westbrook looked like the only guy on the team that wanted to win. I predicted that Durant would go off for 40 points because he knew the situation required for his team to come out with a win, and he is smart enough to know that he should be taking charge and doing most of the scoring. Well, I was wrong.

James Harden. That's all I'm going to say about him.

The Heat's Big 3 last night did not include Chris Bosh. For some reason, it was LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Mario Chalmers. It wasn't just 3 pointers, but he actually scored 25 points. He went 3 for 9 on 3s, and 9 for 15 overall. Yes, he scored 25 points and the only shots he missed were 3s. He actually attacked the basket and played like a slasher, just like Dwyane Wade. If he can play like this consistently, the Miami Heat are a very, very scary team.

I won't be surprised if the Oklahoma City Thunder win in Game 5, but I do think that the end is very near for them.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

NBA Finals Chronicles, Tuesday June 19

This Game 4 will prove to be the most important game of this series, because if the Thunder win, they have a legitimate chance to win this series. If they Heat win, the series is over. There have been 13 cases in which one team has been up 3-1 in a series, and not only has the losing team never won, there has never even been a Game 7 between the two teams. History is not on the side of the Thunder, and while history doesn't mean everything, the Miami is too good to drop 3 games in a row to any team if they indeed win tonight's game.

I expect a lot of Kevin Durant in this game. In order to stay out of foul trouble, he will most likely not guard Lebron for all 4 quarters. He will have a lot more energy on the offensive end, and he knows and everyone else on his team knows that this game is a must-win. Though I am not saying that this is the only way that his team can win, but I do think that Kevin Durant will take over and score at least 40 points. He will put the team on his back and score effortlessly. He is shooting 57% this series, so he is already scoring efficiently, but he will probably shoot a lot more.

Due to the fact the Durant will not guard LeBron during the whole game, Sefolosha will most likely be on James during the first 3 quarters before Durant takes over for him in the 4th. This forces Durant onto Wade, but the issue with that is that KD's length actually works against him in that situation. Wade is a tiny bit quicker than him, and that matchup won't work well. This means that the player that Durant will most likely guard is Chris Bosh. In this situation, Kevin would be playing the 4, meaning that OKC will be going small. Bad news for Kendrick Perkins, because he is already non-essential to this series, and in a small lineup, Ibaka will get the majority of the minutes.

Monday, June 18, 2012

NBA Chronicles, Monday June 18

Well, the Miami Heat pulled out a very nice win yesterday. The game seemed to swing in the Heat's favor when Durant got into some foul trouble late in the 3rd quarter, and for some reason Scott Brooks decided to sit down Russell Westbrook at the same time. During this period, the Thunder actually kept the lead that they had already built up, until the two stupid fouls on 3-point shooters that gift-wrapped 6 points for Miami. From that point on, the Heat seemed to take over the game. One of the reasons why this happened, James Harden. He has put in 2 bad games so far in the three games in this series and was very ineffective offensively last night.

The Heat shot 17% on shots outside of 10 feet last night, which shows that they got back to their strength, attacking the basket. If Miami can play like this for the rest for the series, combined with Harden's issues, then the end is very near for OKC.

More on this tomorrow.

Roger Clemens, Who Cares?

Honestly, I have no idea why the government decided to use so much money to try and prove that he and Barry Bonds lied. Guess how many guilty verdicts they got?


0 guilty verdicts.

This whole case doesn't matter, no one's opinion about him will ever change, so this whole trial was pointless

But hey, people are talking about it (or how dumb it is).

Sunday, June 17, 2012

NBA Finals Chronicles, Sunday June 17

Okay, Game 3 tonight and this is a very important game in this series. Usually, when a series is tied at 1, Game 3 proves to be a very pivotal in determining the winner of the series. I expect the Thunder to take at least one of the game in South Beach, and this will be the one. Unfortunately, they are not making the right move and starting James Harden for some extra offense at the beginning of the game so that they don't get off to such a bad start. Despite this, I feel that OKC will find a way to not fall into an early hole because if they do, they do not have a chance to beat the Heat who were 28-5 at home during the regular season. Scott Brooks may sub in Harden faster than usual if his team gets down by a little bit, but I see all of the right moves being made in this game.

Westbrook will probably make the only adjustment that he needs to, run the offense better. I do not think that he should stop shooting completely, but he needs to play and shoot more in the flow of the offense.

The Thunder shall come away with the win here.

Unless LeBron runs the Kobe System (to dominate)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

NBA Finals Chronicles, Saturday June 16

Since there was no game yesterday nor is there a game tonight, I'm going to spend this post criticizing the format of the series. The 2-3-2 system does not work at all. 2-2-1-1-1 is more fair to both teams. With the current situation in this series, being tied 1-1, the road team has the advantage. By taking one game in OKC, Miami has the opportunity to close out the series at home in 5 games. The home team has won the middle 3 games only twice since this format was adopted, but it is expected that the Heat will win 2 out of 3. They are pretty good at home, but it is hard to beat a team 3 times in a row, so they will most likely take 2 games. Now, going into Game 6, the Heat will be leading 3 games to 2, putting an enormous amount of pressure on the Thunder to win 2 games in a row. The point of home court advantage is to reward one team for having a better record, but all the road team needs to do is steal Games 1 or 2, and that changes everything. This format is not helping anyone, and the 2-2-1-1-1 format is a much better way to do things

Friday, June 15, 2012

NBA Finals Chronicles, Friday June 15

Turns out that the Thunder started off the games even worse than they had started Game 1. They were down 18-2 and dug themselves into a gigantic hole, which they eventually came back from, but the lead was too much for them to ever tie the game or take the lead. It was a coast-to-coast victory for the Heat, who got a major boost from one Mr. Shane Battier. Serge Ibaka enjoys roaming around down low ready to erase someone's attack on the basket with a block. He is not used to closing out on a three-point shooter, allowing for a lot of open looks for Battier.

There seems to be a lot of hate for Russell Westbrook today. Most of this criticism is centered around the fact that Westbrook does not play like a traditional point guard and does not spend a lot of his time setting up for his teammates. My feelings are a bit different, that's just not his game. I do feel however, that he needs to stop jacking up shots for no reason. He is very good at creating his own shot, and can create for teammates when he really needs to, but in the 1st quarter yesterday, he didn't create anything. He repeatedly brought the ball to the frontcourt to simply take a quick jumper early in the shot clock. That is not what he needs to be doing. He started off the game 0-for-7 and that was very costly for his team. He played well afterwards, but his tendency to put up ill-advised shots helped OKC fall into the big 16 point deficit to start off the game.

Chris Bosh was a big factor during this game. His 16 points were nice for Miami to have, but it was his 15 rebounds that really swung this game in the favor of the Heat. After the 5 boards that he grabbed in game 1, his rebounding ability gave the Heat more offensive opportunities, and allowed them, to score on the fastbreak off of defensive rebounds.

Dwyane Wade played much better than he did on Tuesday. His ability to attack the basket gave more opportunities to the perimeter shooter of Miami. He actually looked like Dwyane Wade instead of the bootleg Wade clone that we all saw in Game 1.

That foul at the end of the game, was in fact a foul, but you cannot blame that missed call for the Thunder losing the game. They did it to themselves by falling behind so early, and it's unfortunate that they wasted such a great comeback.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

NBA Finals Chronicles, Thursday June 14

My predictions for tonight's matchup, I say that the Thunder will win, but it will be a closer game than Game 1. The Heat will start strong and will get out to an early lead, but not by much. It will be somewhere around a 3 point game at halftime and then OKC will pull away from there. I do expect more minutes form James Harden and for him top play better, meaning that there will be less Derek Fisher, because Thabo Sefolosha is essential in this series.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

NBA Finals Chronicles, Wednesday June 13

Wow, that was a great game last night from the Thunder. The game started off with the momentum in the favor of Miami, with a couple of 3s by Shane Battier. The Heat dominated the first quarter and were up by 7 going into halftime. LeBron James was hitting shots and the team, other than Dwyane Wade (more on that later), looked to be clicking. But, just when you count out OKC, the thunder starts rolling. They were able to erase a 13 point deficit and end the 3rd quarter with a 1 point lead, which they never gave up. The Thunder have now made a comeback victory from at least 13 points down in every series in this postseason. The reason why the Thunder won is because they are younger and deeper than the Miami Heat. The Heat only used 8 players, and 2 of those bench players only played a combined 12 minutes. The Thunder had an 8-man rotation outside of Cook's 3 minutes. The Heat just looked tired and worn out by the end of the game. LeBron had a great game, but he put the team on his back  for so long that he couldn't even help at a certain point. With the Thunder putting Thabo Sefolosha on him in the 4th quarter, he just did not have the strength to get by him with consistency. That's not a knock on James, it's a result of the fact that he does not get much offensive help and he has to expend so much energy defensively. Outside of the fact that the Heat role players did not help him at all in the second half, the other two members of the Big 3 did not play up to their standards. The Heat got a combined 29 points from Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Bosh did not even attempt a single layup during the game, and he spent his time on the floor camping out of the perimeter, which is okay, but he really needs to get down low more. The Heat only had 40 points in the paint while the Thunder had 56, a big difference. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were able to attack the basket effectively, more effectively than the Heat were able to. Nick Collison gave OKC a big boost off the bench with 8 points, 10 rebounds, and infinite energy. He took a lot of Perkins's minutes, which is a trend that I expect to continue during this series. A lot has been made about the Miami Heat's ability to score in transition, but were outscored 24-4 in the transition game. The Thunder's ability to attack the basket and to run the floor effectively spells great doom for the Miami Heat in this series.

Now it's time for the attack on Dwyane Wade. He has not played well at all since the end of the Indiana series. In the first halves of games against Boston, he was consistently ineffective. He eventually ended up with decent numbers, but by hitting very difficult shots in the second half. The Heat need him to start off stronger. By starting off the games slowly, this causes LeBron James to need to shoulder the bulk of the load for the team and get tired by the end of the game. He didn't even play well in the second half yesterday. He ended the game with 19 points on 7 of 19 shooting, which is not at all what the Heat need from him. He wasn't able to create shots for himself, and even the shots that he did hit were tough contested and fading shots.

This is the worst part of the game for the Heat. The Beard, aka James Harden. He was non-existent last night, meaning that the Thunder beat the Heat by 11 points, without a good game from Harden. He only played 22 minutes and scored just 5 points. A lot more will be expected from him for the rest of the series, and he most likely will deliver. This is a bad sign for Miami, because a better James Harden means more points on the board for OKC, and that doesn't help the Heat's cause at all.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

NBA Finals Chronicles, Tuesday June 12

Here comes the prediction train. I addressed yesterday how good this series will be and here is what will happen. It is well known that the strength of the best players on the Heat, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, is  driving to the basket. Against the Boston Celtics, they could get to the hoop very easily because the Celtics lack a great shot blocker in the middle. Stiemsma and Garnett are no slouches, but Serge Ibaka is the best shot blocker in the NBA. The inside pressure of the Thunder bigs will force the Heat away from the paint, taking away one of the things that they do best. This, is why Chris Bosh is such a major key to this series. Being a jump-shooting forward, his shots will keep Ibaka on the perimeter, and he can't live up to the Iblocka nickname. Obviously Bosh is not going to hit three 3-pointers like in Game 7 against Boston, but the Heat need him not only to hit shots, but to be used as a decoy to keep Ibaka out of the painted area. Notice the fact that I have yet to mention Kendrick Perkins. This is because Perkins is such an offensive liability, that Scott Brooks will be better off using him very sporadically. With Perk on the floor, the Thunder will be playing 4-on-5 offensively, which against the Miami Heat is not something that any team wants to do. The Heat put too many points on the board to play shorthanded in the halfcourt offense. In place of Perkins, there may be a lot of Nick Collison during this series, and sometimes he may switch positions with Ibaka to keep Serge in the paint. Another line-up tweak that the Thunder can make, is to go small, with Durant playing the 4 and Ibaka playing the 5. This is yet another way to keep Ibaka in the paint, mainly because the centers of Miami are not offensive threats at all. Defensively, OKC may use a lot of Sefolosha on James when they go small, which should be very often. Do not expect to see 48 minutes of head-to-head Durant on James because that will not happen. On the other side however, because LeBron is an All-World defender, he will guard Durant for the majority of the series. Westbrook and Harden will both have pretty good defenders on them, but it looks like Westbrook can wear out Chalmers after a while, and take over later in the game. No matter what the situation is, smart play from Westbrook will give the Thunder a much better chance at winning. If he does not try to take over all by himself, which is something that he tried to do against San Antonio, and passes in the right spots, then he will be a big factor in the favor of the Thunder.
A part of this series that should not be understated, is the home-court advantage of the former Seattle Supersonics. The crowd at the Chesapeake Energy Arena is very electric. They give a true advantage to their team, unlike the often quiet Miami Heat fans. The fact that role players tend to play better at home seems to swing this series in the favor of the Thunder. Obviously at some point this series, there will be a LeBron takeover game in which he cannot be stopped. The Heat will win that game, but other than that, the Thunder are a better team collectively. The 2-3-2 format is an advantage to the Thunder because it is very rare for the home team to sweep the middle 3 games. It is because of this that I say, drum roll please:

Oklahoma City Thunder Win In 6 Games

Monday, June 11, 2012

NBA Finals Chronicles, Monday June 11

I'm back and I'm waiting. I'm basically foaming at the mouth waiting for this series to start. It should be a completely incredible series filled with jump-out-of-your-seat dunks and other super athletic plays, Kendrick Perkins complaining, the Heat complaining, Perkins having a stare-down with either LeBron or Wade, and overall great basketball and entertainment. My predictions for the series will come tomorrow, but I just wanted to get out there that I can't wait for this series. I'm so excited