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Basketball at it's Finest. Also, other stuff. Sometimes.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Madness- The Beginning

So now that I have a respectable spot to post my dominant NBA knowledge (, I haven't forgotten Ball Above All, NO. Screw it, I still like having somewhere to put the crazines I fall across every day, right? So not only will I link stuff like my earth shattering Kobe Expose' here, I'll make GUARANTEED, or your money back), with other nonense, or make yu think with news that needs to been seen to be believed. Keep pushin', Monday is just one day....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Saving The Skyhook - We're Really Doin' It!

Soooooo....what's new, y'all? Nothing much here...just WRITING FOR A REAL SITE NOW. Yeah, Yours Truly has been invited to participate in Fansided's In FACT,  my latest thoughts on why teams like OKC and Dallas have a 0% chance of winning a championship this year is up right this very second. I'll still be here doin' what I do, but...not as much doing, I guess. I know it's not big time, but it's on a bigger stage, so come and comment, critique, and show support! As always, catch me on Facebook and on Twitter, @SnottieDrippen.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

24 Hour Twitter Chatter -or- Blogger Blogging Bloggers

Great NBA holiday weekend, with a slew of entertaining games headlined the Kobe vs Monta shoot-out on Friday and 2 exhilarating Los Angeles Clippers games. Blake Griffin exploded in record fashion on MLK Day, but more impressively, Zach Harper kept's Daily Dime Live going for over 12 friggin; hours! I could hardly keep up with all the NBA (and other weird) goodness flying around Twitter, but I tried. Click on the names to take you to these dope Twitter pages. Let's go...

Blake Griffin was an EXTREMELY hot topic, and with good reason; he led his Clips to a HUGE wins over the Lakers on Friday, then dropped a Scud-Missiled sized gem of a game on the over-matched  Indiana Pacers.
"He gave us 40-something and I'm gonna shake his hand and thank him? Nah, I'm good."

  • Zach McCann looks at the roller coaster that the Orlando Magic season has been- canceled games, viral domination, roster shuffles, it's a wacky ride.
  • "How is this a FOUL!?!?"
  • J.E. Sheets from The Basketball Jones swings back through with word of a little Boston Bravado. Celts Big Baby and KG sound alot like the Rasheed/McDyess Pistons when dissecting their coverage of Dwight Howard. I'm pretty sure this is the 1st time in print history the word "finesse" has been used to describe Dwight Howard's game.
  • My man JR. at has a different angle on Big Baby's comments- basically, Baby needs to zip his lip and play his role. Either way you look at it, Boston has dominated Orlando in the wins column lately, but Howard DID go for 33 pts and 13 boards, so maybe Big Baby Davis and Garnett might wanna tone down the "handling Howard" talk.

Mayor Campbell and his Brain Trust.

Questions or comments? Wanna tell me how much I suck? Hire me to pen your memoirs? Hit me here or on Twitter @SnottieDrippen.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Superstar Status: The Elite 9

OK, this post mutated as I got into it. I started off bemoaning the label of "Superstar" being attached to every NBA player who averaged over 19 ppg, and gettin' my "ornery old man" on about how there are fewer and fewer true superstars in the League. I texted my boy Jake,"Look at the '91 All Star game roster n tell me how many superstars you see." I counted 7. Off the top of my head, I figured that, by the standards we've seen in the past, there'd be only 4, maybe 5 today, with 2 on the same team. I did some digging, had it out with my Brain Trust, and I admit, was pleasantly surprised to pluck out almost double that many superstars in the current constellation of NBA players. 
and THAT'S where we begin. Superstars? Sure, there are 28 All-Stars every year, and every team has it's player or 2 (or 3, if you're in South Beach) who is THEIR star, at least in his respective fan-base. But SUPER? I mean, there's only one Superman. Tecmo Bowl was ok, but Super Tecmo Bowl was where it took off. College bowl games are fun, but there's only one SUPER Bowl. Mario? Plumber who likes spaghetti. SUPER Mario? Bad-ass. So what separates the All-Stars from the ultra-elite superstars? How many legit superstars are in the league right now? I think we can agree that LeBron James and Kobe Bean make the cut. Dwyane Wade? Certainly. Here's where it gets murky. So I took it upon myself to use the most stringent, scientific, meticulous (meaning I arged and shouted back and forth with my boy Dun for an 35 minutes) to come up with the criteria to delineate the really good from the great. So we agree that, to be a superstar, a baller HAS to meet 5 bulletpoints:
  1. Show marked improvement over the course of their formative years
  2. Elevate their team's play
  3. Be able to take over a game, changing the momentum to win it
  4. Their team is appreciably worse without them (meaning, you replace them with an average dude at their position, their team is looking at the lottery).
  5. The eye test, the “It” factor, air of confidence, whatever you want to call it. If someone who doesn't necessarily watch the NBA watches a superstar in a game, he just knows,”That guy is good. Really good.”
Basically, a true superstar's GM is only going to consider trading him for another true superstar (unless he's Billy King or David Kahn; then he'll give up his Lambourgini player for two 2nd round picks, $3,00, and a pack of Newports). This isn't about rings, scoring average, or hype, this is about the players who, through a combination of dominating talent and sheer will, can turn a franchise around. Who are the bonafide superstar's in the league today?
  • LeBron James/Dwayne Wade, Miami Heat- 2 unstoppable scorers, 2 willing passers, both have led their teams deep into the playoffs, each individually capable of destroying the opposition. While LBJ is more physically dominating, Wade's display of a steely will and relentlessness is superior to LBJ's sometime-passivity in the big spots. Say what you will about LeBron's puzzling PR moves over the last 7months, but the Cavs dismal season without him highlight his superpowers.
  • Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers- Right now, LBJ and Wade are his physical superiors due to their relative youth, but Kobe's competitive fire and on-court IQ are on another level. While he may be a cornball off the court, Kobe's ability to beat you in any way necessary (15 boards in game 7 is insane) makes him NBA royalty.
  • Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic- We get it. He's a shaky free throw shooter, his offensive repertoire is still in it's infancy, and his recent rash of techs is calling into question his focus. But MAN, he can play some defense. To witness his claim on superstardom, go no further than Orlando's decimation of the Charlotte Bobcats in last year's playoffs. While foul trouble had Dwight sitting for long stretches, when he was in he bullied the Cats into submission with smothering D. Even though Orlando inexplicably goes long stretches without getting him touches (show me another top-notch player who get's only 10.2 shots a game, like Howard got last year), Howard controls games with tight D and efficient scoring.

  • Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs- His time is winding down, but Tim Duncan is still, at 34, an upper echelon PF. Don't let the career low numbers (about 14 points, 9 boards, and 2 blocks in less than 30 mpg)this year fool you, Coach Pop realizes the end of Tim's time is near and is asking him to do less to squeeze every last year of productivity he can out of Big Fundamental. Younger, flashier power forwards are out there, but think about it, future nonwithstanding, you don't think Pat Riley would jump at the chance to swap Duncan and and Bosh? Jerry Sloan wouldn't ship Al Jefferson out in a heartbeat for TD? He's scoring less, but he's proven he can imprint a game by defending the rim and controlling the boards. Superstar certified.
  • Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls/Chris Paul, N.O. Hornets/ Deron Williams, Utah Jazz
    Here's where I almost lost a homie. D. Will and CP3 have been The Standards at point guard for the last 5 years; tough, efficient, and have shown that they can beat teams with the pass or shouldering the scoring load. I had them tabbed as superstars- they hit all 5 of the criteria dead-on. Rose, though...Naaaaah. My buddy Dun disagreed; more accurately, he stated,”You high.” Words were exchanged, family members defamed, guns drawn. But I can now admit I was wrong; Improvement? Scoring up by 4 points every year since his robust 16.8 ppg, dimes up to 8 a game, with almost 5 boards to boot. No question he's elevated this team's play, as evidenced by the epic 1st round match-up the Bulls and Celtics waged back in '09, Rose's rookie season. Game domination? Just last night, he willed his team to a win over the Heat, hitting more than a couple eye-popping plays down the stretch. (the left-to-right-cross-floater-combo he hit Chalmers off with was Mortal Kombat“Fatality” level sick). Without him, the Bulls would be, in a word, putrid; there'd be bo one to get Boozer the ball, and they'd challenge the Nets and Cavs for a spot on the bottom of the barrel. Finally, just watching him handle the rock, watch him setting up his man with the slow dribble, like a coiled spring, you just KNOW he's about to do something that you probably are going to shout about (Click the link, please. He ducks so he DOESN'T hit his head on the BACKBOARD. Click it). So yeah. Any bias I had about his youth is blown away.
  • Kevin Durant, OKC Thunder-The “KD is a lock for MVP” talk after he shot the world's eye's out at the FIBA Games this summer was a little overblown; he faltered a bit out of the gate this season, Russell Westbrook has been astronomical, and the Thunder took a while to hit their stride. SOMEHOW, my colleague Dun was of the mind that, while Rose was elite, KD was merely “a good scorer who got the refs in his pocket”. My rebuttal? “You high.” Durant's a force to be reckoned with; vast improvement, takes his team on his back, devastating scorer who has no problem diming, and with a team literally built around his talents, he's vital to his teams success. As far as presence, he's like a not-dorky Tim Duncan; quiet and seems humble, but really in tune with his team.
And that's IT. Those are the league superstars. Amare' Stoudemire? Has the “swagger”, scores like nobody's business, doing a bang-up job as Da Man in NY, but does too many dumb things at bad spots, is too caught up in his numbers, and really, besides scoring, isn't a complete player. Steve Nash? A Picasso of passing, but a Dagwood Bumstead of defense, we're learning that maybe he needed Amare' more than vice versa. Joe Johnson? Please. Next....Chris Bosh? After his “chill” comment and the whining travesty he pulled about his “widdle ankle boo-boo”, I'm not sure he's even star status. Carmelo Anthony? BREATH-TAKING scorer, but too much of a volume shooter; like Amare', if he's your best player, no way you're winning a 'ship. And as much as it hurt leaving Blake Griffin off of the SUPERstar list, I need to see it for more than 40 games; he's already ahead of the rest of the pretenders in my mind.

That's what I think, any opinions? Questions? Tell me I stink? Hit me, here or on Twitter, SnottieDrippen.

Friday, January 14, 2011

24 Hour Twitter Stuff: Bloggers Blogging Bloggers

The Heat, REELING. OKC going in on Orlando (Dwight did his part this time, they're still a work in progress...). I refuse to talk about The Guy in Denver, not gonna happen. But there was plenty to talk about in the NBA. Here's a veritable smorgasborg of NBA blogger-writer goodness...

 "Now, LeBron is embracing his villainous stature like he gets nourishment from eating babies, stomping on puppies and masturbating to I Hate Orphans Quarterly. We see the change right before our very eyes. It didn’t start with The Decision or whatever the hell he was doing during the 2010 playoffs against the Celtics. It began the night he went to Cleveland and tried to put out the inferno by using Chevron With Techron."

Reminds me of when Hulk Kogan broke the hearts of millions of young Hulkamanics and went with the dark 12 O'clock stubble. Embrace the evil, LBJ.

    Yup. "Dead Bird".
  • Zach and Raul Takahashi of HotHotHoops watched the Clippers dismantling of the Heat and formulated the Nickame of the Decade. Thanks for your crappy play,  Carlos "Dead Bird" Arroyo.

  • Scott Schoeder at NBA Fanhouse let's us know about Joe Alexander, a favorite around these parts, is wrecking shop in the D-League and biding his time until a call up. 20-11 and almost 4 dimes a game, while settling in to a better fit at power forward? Yeah, he'll be back in the L.

  • Get Banged On's Chris with video that teaches an important lesson: you make him angry, and Blake Griffin will find you...THERE WILL BE DUNKS.
Finally, The Basketball Jones blogger J.E.Skeets linked one of the dumbest things I've ever seen. 1st Mike Tyson (sorry Iron Mike). Then Stephon Marbury. The Game. Now Gucci Mane gets a $%#$ ICE CREAM CONE tatted on his face. Look at that picture. Lightning bolts. Ice cream. a healthy scoop of WTF. From this small sample of entertainers/athletes, I'm deducing "face tattoo = cry for attention/slide into insanity".

Questions or comments? Wanna tell me how much I suck? Hire me to pen your memoirs? Hit me here or on Twitter @SnottieDrippen.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Clip Show: A New Beginning (?)

Questions or comments? Wanna tell me how much I suck? Hire me to pen your memoirs? Hit me here or on Twitter @SnottieDrippen.

"Tech. No taunting."
David and Goliath. Washington Generals and the Globetrotters. The bullies from Kobra Kai versus Daniel-Son. The Fratellis vs the Goonies. You can use any imagery you want, but that fact is, the Miami Heat, winners of 9 straight and 20 of their last 21  games, rolled into Los Angeles to play the young buck Clippers with their chest puffed out, and left with their hat in their hands and their egos bruised, the result of a rousing 111-106 Clips victory. Miami's Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh had the pedigree: 17 All Star games, 2 MVPs, a Finals MVP, 1 Larry O'Brien trophy, a shot at a historic road win streak,  and a foolish nickname (LeBron, "Heatles" is a terrible, terrible idea); all the The Clips have is a FIBA World Games medal and a couple of Rookie-Of-The-Month accolades on it's mantel. But from the opening tip, you just FELT a shift. Watching the Clips fly around the court like attack dogs (ok, attack labradors, but still), seeing the young legs of the Heat 3 get overwhelmed in the opening minutes by the young-ER legs of the Clip 5- the box score is going to show Blake Griffin's collossal 24 point, 14 rebound, 6 assist line and Eric Gordon's 26-5-6 as the big story, but best believe that Eric Bledsoe, Al-Farouq Aminu and DeAndre Jordan's speed, energy and D off the bench were JUST as vital- it was enthralling. As long as I can remember, the Clips have been, in a word, pathetic. Even the blip in the early 2000s when Lamar Odom, Darius Miles, and Q Richardson were clowning, dunking, and ignoring their coach had an air of desperate optimism, like a drowning man clutching at straws and convincing himself that they'd float him to shore. Even earlier this year through all the hullaballoo of  Blake literally exploding  in Mosgov the Knick's face, we glossed over the fact that they LOST the game. But the electricity tonight was different; the Clips didn't win because of a flukey shot, or with the other team losing a Big Gun in the 1st quarter to injury. The Clippers stood and stared down the same juggernaut that had steamrolled Lakers in the same building about a week ago. Blake Griffin bullied through a defense that refused to give up the adrenaline-pumping dunk,  3 or 4 non-calls, and a suprisingly mouthy Mario Chalmers (Yeah. You read that. Mario Chalmers). Baron Davis shot waaaaay to much, but you can't hate on 20 points, 9 dimes, and 2 incredibly clutch buckets in the 4th. Boom Dizzle alternately set up Blake n' Co., scored off of crafty drives and long Js, and tried to gack the game up with "hero mode" pull ups and blown lay-ups. Eric Gordon picked his spots, running through and shooting over Wade when it counted. Bledsoe (4 dimes, 2 steals, sblocks(!), a steal, 2 points)  was everywhere, dropping dimes and bringing the crowd to a roar when he chased doen Chalmers LBJ-style to wipe out a fastbreak, and by stuffing a loafing LBJ lay-up attempt straight up. DeAndre Jordan was hit with foul trouble, but in his 25 minutes he was pivotal to clogging the middle on D and keeping Bosh in check until the Heat were playing catch-up. Aminu continued to fill in the gaps and give Clip fans hope for the future; 4-4 for 9 points and a 2 critical blocks.
 In the big scheme of things, I know, this is just one game in the doldrums of the season; when we look in the history book, there won't be an asterisks. But seeing this young team that was such a disheveled mess as they stumbled to 1-12, then 5-21, take the big blows of the Miami Triumvirate (Wade, Bron, and Bosh combined for a staggering 84) and actually make the plays to win. It wasn't always beautiful backetball, but their youthful energy and all-out effort showed glimpses of a talented team under the recent ineptitude.It was obvious the Heat were in foreign territory down 9 late in the 4th; Wade shot a 3 off of the SIDE of the backboard, and Bosh inexplicably channeled his inner Jesus Shuttlesworth, jacking up 2 horrible 3s in the closing minutes. When Griffin threw down a thunderous baseline dunk off of a slick Baron drop-off, then stared down Mario Chalmers through the howl of the delerious Clip crowd, even though there was still a few minutes in this tight game, you knew it was over. Daniel-son had Crane-Kicked the blond jerk. THe Goonies had found Chester Copperpot's gold. It's only one game, but history shows that sometimes it just takes one game to turn a season from a lost cause to something to pull for. Now if only Donald Sterling would get lost in quicksand or struck by a meteor, the Clips faithful could really havr reason for hope in the years to come. Never know, it MAY happen; like that one dude said: Karma is a....ah forget it. BEAT. THE. HEAT.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rebirth Of Turk

 Questions or comments? Wanna tell me how much I suck? Hire me to pen your memoirs? Hit me here or on Twitter @SnottieDrippen.

Wha..Do the Homie? Nah...
 Ah, 2009. Memory's are hazy, but those were good times. Jamie Foxxx was blaming it on the Goose, Soulja Boy was idiotically begging to be kissed via telephone, and the Orlando Magic looked primed to be NBA bullies for years to come. After toppling the LeBron-led Cavs powerhouse, they battled the powerful Lakers admirably well before falling in the Finals. In the future, who could deal with their Mad Scientist line-up??? Dang, interchangable 6'10" forwards who could beat you off the bounce or stroke it from 3? A 7' beast of a center who ran like a guard and pummeled rims and shots with equal ferocity? A Mighty Mite PG with ice in his veins? "Man, as long as they grow together and add a real 2, these guys are trouble". And Hedo Turkoglu was the straw that stirred it; post up buckets, dimes, long treys, easy oops to Dwight Howard, he was the Do-It-All MC for these upstarts. The bad thing? He knew it. Never mind that the Magic system and this system ONLY was the one place that he would max out his good-at-alot-excel-at-nothing skillset. Hell, if Jerome James could parlay 12.5 ppg and fake hustle during a playoff run  into a $30 million contract, Hedo's 16-5-5 line was about to get him PAID. The cliched "it's a business" was bandied around by both sides and the Hedo was packing his bags (to be fair, who would TURN DOWN 56 mil?). And BOY, would they all be sorry.

Toronto was supposed to be on the CUSP in '09-'10: a veritable United Nations of talent from around the world, a statistically dominant power forward in Chris Bosh,  Uber-Euro wunderkind Andrea Bargnani, a front office not afraid to spend the cheese. Turk & Co. killed all that optimism right off the bat, playing uninspired, disjointed, defenseless ball, with Big Money Turk being a main culprit. Out of shape? Check. Disinterested? Check. Sulky? Uh-huh. Silly stuff like his his "stomach bug" party night drew hate, both sports AND legitimate, from even the biggest Raps supporters (PLEASE, read that Eric Wright diatribe. My blood got angered just reading it. Fantastic stuff). Portland breathed a sigh of relief for missing on him. So he was done, right? Washed up? Doomed to attempt to rejuvenate his career in Phoenix with Nash, while the Magic kept trying to convince themselves that Vince "pinata" Carter was a championship difference maker? He spent the summer trading nasty barbs with Toronto management, and was embarrassingly pathetic this season in Phoenix. Nash was the ball handler supreme, Jason Richardson was the designated scorer, Jared Dudley and Channing Frye the 3 point aces, Hakim Warrick was the nonrebounding power forward; Turk was QUADRUPLY useless.  The "if he only had stayed with the Magic" tsk-tskers were out in full force.

"You never left my heart."
But the Basketball Gods smile on the game; against all odds,  Zombie Turk has been resurrected in Orlando.  We all know where the story is at now, but it's a very, very rare thing that we're seeing in Orlando: a professional athlete leaving a situation, flaming out elsewhere, then actually coming "home" to success. Have we EVER seen it before? Steve Francis tried going back to Houston after his humbling turn with the Knicks. Um, that didn't work too well.  And honestly, how refreshing is it for a front office bigwig like Magic GM Otis Smith to not only admit making a mistake, but actually move to RECTIFY it?? As absolutely pathetic as Turk looked  with the Suns (again, to be fair, it's nigh-impossible to replace the preposterous Amare' Stoudemire production, but 9 ppg and 4 rpg for 10 mil a season really sucks), he's looked equally as good with the Magic. The 12.5 ppg isn't eye popping, but his 6.5 apg  and 5.3 rpg are both career highs. More important than all the numbers though, is his energy, his confidence, and his playmaking. He was Pouty in Toronto, Lost in PHX, now he's Turk in Orlando. That's what makes basketball so confoundingly hard to project; raw numbers, even advanced stats, don't necessarily tell the story. Anyone can take an average player and find statistics somewhere that make him seem like garbage, or like the Second Coming in disguise. A good team isn't just the talents of the players, it's a synergistic thing, where 2+3 isn't always 5; it might equal 7 ('04 Pistons), or it might equal 3 ('04 Lakers, Vince Carter). Turk is what he is, a tall, unathletic dude with a good feel for the game, no fear of the clutch who's the perfect 2nd or 3rd banana. Yeah, he was a cry-baby in Toronto and looked like a bum in Phoenix, but now back in Orlando, he's once again Turk the Jerk, nailing step back Js and flipping 13 foot high passes for Dwight Howard to lunch on, smiling like a madman the whole time. For fans of good basketball, it was kinda sad playing "what-if" when he left, and it's just as exciting watching Turk and Dwight re-develop that chemistry they had in The Good Old Days. We don't know if we can call it redemption; let's see how the next few years go. Personally, I'm just glad to see Vince Carter let off the hook of being a key peice on a good team, now he can return to the random 38 point explosion and extra-lacksadaisical play in games that don't matter. The NBA- Where Prodigal sons happen.

Oh, and this is what's tough about blogging; I'm finishing this,doing a lil more research, and find  articles in the same vein by better, smarter writers. Dang. Great reads, shout out to Kelly Dwyer at Yahoo's Ball Don't Lie and  Rob Mahoney at NY Times Off The Dribble blog, you guys get outta my head.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lazy Sunday

If some dude from Noballistan came to the US for the 1st time on a cargo ship on Thursday and spent the last of his village's meager cash in a sports bar all weekend watching the NBA action for the 1st time, he'd be hooked for life. Sure the league is different from when alot of us came up in the '80s and '90s. But like Rick Pitino ranted- MJ, Karl Malone, and Pig Miller ain't comin' through that door. That doesn't mean some entertaining basketball isn't happening. Some poor fools don't understand: "Psssh, basketball is a buncha undisciplined thugs runnin' around bein' selfish with their bling and their FUBU and the rap-hop music." This weekend was a perfect example; if you caught the games this weekend, even as a casual fan and you still talk down about the L and where it's going, then you also kick puppies and push little old ladies trying to cross the street into traffic. I mean, check it:

  • THere's an ongoing discussion about the existence of a "hot hand" ; Wesley Matthews single-handedly shut all that talk down with evidence pointing to a resounding "Hell YES there is." Matthews' 5-of-5 3-pointers in the 1st quarter, 7 for 8 from deep for the half on his way to hanging 36 points on the hapless T'Wolves as the Blazers slapped Minnesota down 108-98 on Friday. The Wolves may be not-good, but man, they provide some enjoyable games, like the Washington Generals for the Globetrotters. K-Love put up 30/19, LaMarcus Aldridge kept pouring it on with 28/10 (since the New Year, he's been a monster; 27.8 and 11.6 on 52% shooting in 5 games),  but Matthews shooting display early was electric. No hot hand, my @&^$.
  • Yeah. THIS guy.
  • Also on Friday, we got to see Luke Harangody pull a Rudy-type coming out party. He's from Indiana, he went to Notre Dame, he's a Celtic; the only way he could be a more stereotypical white baller was if he....well, there's no way he could be. But dude put up numbers in college and has been warming the pine behind the 31 feet of Center/PF ahead of him on the depth chart. KG get's hurt? No prob, Luke to the rescue; for almost 27 minutes he was poppin' J's, beating up shots, crashing the boards like the over-hustler you HATE when you play pick-up (aka "Gettin' his Tyler Hansborough on") on his way to career highs 17 points, 11 boards, and 2 blocks in the Celts 122-102 drubbing of Toronto. Throw in 4 dimes and I thought Tommy Heinsohnn was gonna have a cranial explosion. No matter what sport, it's dope seeing the end-of-bench guy come up big, even in a "meaningless" January game.
    and he turned into an action figure mid-air.
  • Saturday was Manna from Basketball Fan heaven; Durantula put on a 40 point display while OKC busted the Griz, Rose had a dazzling 36 (NO one is better at beating not only his man, but any and all help D, to the hole) and Boozer showed off that devastating J for stretches in CHI's subduing of the Celts, and Millsap put a cheat-code in in the 4th, scoring 23 points in the 4th and overtime while the Jazz beat up Houston 103-99, and Hedo Turkoglu again proved the Hot Hand theory in another way, he hit the Dime Zone; every pass added to his 17 assist total while the Magic were winning their 9th straight, 117-107 over the Mavs with Invisible Dirk.
  • And Sunday...Man, Sunday. Miami Heat. THIS is what fans dreamed of and haters feared. Portland as a team played together, smart team ball, LaMarcus Aldridge dominated Bosh with 31, Nicolas Batum played inspired D on LBJ for stretches while giving a bonus 22 points, Patty Mills excited off the bench. If you say that Portland held anyone named Bosh, Wade, or LeBron to 11 points, I'd say that Portland coasted to a W. But NOPE. LBJ's 44, Wades 34, and Boshosaurus' 18 (he DID shoot like crap, but we all realize he's not on the Big 2's level now, right?), simply overpowered Portland. THe Heat are rampaging; 95.5% winning percentage, giving it to the L anyway they want it, via "grind-it-out" (against Milwaukee) or steamroll blow-outs (the Lakers got the business, smacked 'em by 16). I STILL think the lack of size is gonna bite them in the Joel Anthony sooner or later, but right now, we fans should just relax and marvel at what we're seeing...
There's absolutely no point to this post except to celebrate how awesome the NBA is.Forget the dumb Melo soap opera, and don't look ahead to the dreaded Lock Out. Play-offs? Don't worry about it...just wait for the next game, enjoy, then repeat.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Quick Hitters

First things 1st, a huge, LOUD shout-out to Zach Harper, AKA "DDL ALL DAY", of, he showed love and gave Ball Above All tremendous props during a live ESPN event a couple of days ago. He makes blogging look easy, which I'm realizing is the hardest feat of all.  So I finally get to catch a breath; since the Clips/Utah game on the 28th, it's been go-go-go-go; eating, driving, eating, laughing with fam, eating. Eating. But I kept one eye on the games, or on the articles and blogs about games, and I got to say that this has been ONE AMAZINGLY entertaining season. See, I watch the NB to see really fast, extremely tall cats try and dunk over, break the ankles of, or shoot the eyes out of other behemoths, and for the storylines: think of it as the male version of soap operas. This season hasn't disappointed. I mean:

  • What's wrong with Chris Paul? I've watched when his games were televised, and the 1st 2 weeks of the season, he was like a dribbling Napoleon; no matter if he was one of the smaller dudes on the court, just the way he carried himself said I'm Gonna Beat You. Now? I was blown away to see that he was the leader in PER. Beckley Mason of HoopSpeak has a smart analysis that explains why numbers can be deceiving. Is this a case of efficient < raw dominance? I remember a couple of years ago, before I had NBA League Pass, when you saw Hornets highlights, you saw Paul as a whirling dervish who alternately overpowered, out-quicked, and simply flummoxed defenders with sleight-of-hand. He was just BETTER. Now, according to Beckley:
              "Perhaps some of this has to do with the six footer’s ongoing recovery from his 2009 knee injury. Paul, who claims to be healthy, seems to lack his typical burst in the open court, though in the half court his strength and explosive lateral quickness still allow him to penetrate nearly at will. That is, in short distances, Paul remains elite, though his full court sprint is no longer as impressive.
   And though Paul is producing more efficiently than ever before, he’s also producing less. His point per game average of 16.5 is Paul’s lowest since his rookie season, and his assists per game are under 10 for the first time since 2007."
DEFINITELY worth watching. IS this a Melo case; he's trying, but not TRYING trying? Naaaah...

"Pau...tired. Pau...sleeeep."
Speaking of which...What's going on with Pau Gasol? For stretches last season and early on this year, Pau wore the crown of BBMITG (Best Big Man In The Game) quite easily; for all of Dwights breathtaking physical dominance and the volleyball spike-blocks, Pau was a consummate craftman with a veritable tool chest to work with. Now, as I've mentioned before, he's all but invisible for games at a time, and  even die-hard Laker lovers are questioning his seemingly untouchable All-Star status (thanks, Darius Soriano). Personally, as much as I admire his game, his marked decline in production and his horrible neckbeard should make him an observer during All Star weekend, maybe Kobe's Bag Caddie.

"Sup. Where my money."
Sports is all about controlled struggle and conflict, and elite athletes perform against the opposition walking a line between agression and anger all the time. Sometimes that boils over in negative ways, with teammates slugging teammates. In baseball, in college, in football, in soccer. Sometimes, like at Kansas, they mix it up. The point is, it happens. So when 2 young NBA players like Tony Allen and OJ Mayo get amped up and a scuffle ensues, why the outrage? Gambling, girls, playing time, missed assignments; no matter the reason, it IS part of - not just their world - the world in general. I'm not condoning the fight, but at the same time, I think banning gambling, even a partial ban like Ken Berger of CBSSports suggests, is NOT the answer (although the esteemed writers at CBSSports alternatives to Bourre' had me rolling). Let's stop the knee jerk reactions and admit that no matter the situation, Charles Oakley's bullyfoot handling of Tyrone Hill back in 2001 is awesome.

"Tall enough. Now lemme see your teeth."

On a serious note, when will David Stern shut down Donald Sterling's foolishness? Heckling your own players is bad enough, but add in the litany of gross, racist, and bizarre behavior compiled here, and doesn't SOMETHING have to be done? I understand that courts need undeniable evidence, but as the caretaker of a multi-billion dollar sport, doesn't the onus fall on Stern to protect the image of the NBA, not just from the players bad behavior, but owner malfeasance (we're looking at you, Marge Schott)? And as this thoughtful Jemele Hill piece from a while back asks, where is the PLAYER outrage? We can't move forward as a country if we turn a blind eye to such blatant ignorance.

 Oh, yeah. The Miami "debacle"? Um...never mind. Heat are on....FIRE right now. Bosh been killin', Wade been killin', LBJ, he's got the top billin'. I guess we all should apologize to Spolestra. Still not sold on the "legit" contender noise, the bench is suspect, but DANG, they run deadly breaks and are showing defensive chops. Stay tuned....

What are some of the stories that get you pumped in the L right now? Hit me here, on Facebook, or on Twitter! (james2477911)