Posts Tagged ‘basketball’

3pt Play: As the Playoffs Roll On…

Posted: May 11, 2012 by dontbeskerritt in Must See TV, NBA
Tags: , , ,

Derek Fisher Likes What He Sees in this Lakers-Nuggets Series

Well, well, just a week ago the NBA Playoffs 1st Round had as much drama as an episode of favorite sports wives show: horrible and contrived.  But as we approach the weekend and the 2nd round of the playoffs, things are looking up, especially in the Western Conference.  The Nuggets have fought back to even the series with the Lakers at 3 games a piece, and the Grizzlies finally looked like they figured out how not to choke on big leads against the Clippers.  But I am going to hold off until those series wrap up this weekend.  But I will say this, when Javale McGee is outplaying Andrew Bynum consistently in the series, you know the Lakers have a problem.  Also, Chris Paul has ended the “best point guard in the league” argument with his playoff performance, but will it be enough?  The Grizzlies should be up 3-2 in the series instead of the other way around.  But enough of all that, lets look back (cringe) and look ahead (double cringe) at the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

The Moment When the Playoffs Became Anti-Climatic

1 Chicago Bulls vs 8 Philadelphia 76ers (Prediction – Bulls in 5, Actual – 76ers in 6): I asked 76ers fans on twitter before the playoffs if the team was even going to make it after a series of terrible performances.  A majority of fans replied back and said they would rather not make the playoffs than get swept in the first round.  This series is easily a lesson in playing to win the games, no matter how bad you think you team performs.

Now I’m not saying that the 76ers can make noise in the next round.  Heck, the Bulls almost (and probably should have) forced a Game 7 without Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.  But hey, if there is a favorable matchup in the next round, it’s playing the Celtics.

2 Miami Heat vs 7 New York Knicks (Prediction – Heat in 6, Actual – Heat in 5): A series that should have been way better than it turned out to be.  Part of it was Knicks injuries.  Most of it was flawed team construction on the Knicks part.  But can Miami get some credit for having the best talent on the court at all times.  Talent alone is going to get Miami to the Finals, unfortunately, but as we saw last year, talent is never enough.  Let’s see if the Heat can get that killer instinct playing in the rest of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

3 Indiana Pacers vs 6 Orlando Magic (Prediction – Pacers in 6, Actual – Pacers in 5): I don’t think I watched one minute of this series.   Roy Hibbert looked like he played well.  That’s all I got.

Good Defense Hawks

4 Boston Celtics vs 5 Atlanta Hawks (Prediction – Celtics in 7, Actual – Celtics in 6): How long do we have to go on with this Hawks team?  Can Josh Smith pull out a gun and get himself off the team?  Can Joe Johnson go somewhere and be Robin to someone else’s Batman because that is the role where he is best?  Why is Marvin Williams making so much money? The Hawks are just a better 2004-2008 Wizards team and I am tired of them taking playoff space.

So here is the next round.  Hopefully we hurry to the Boston-Miami Eastern Conference Finals that won’t be as good as it will be hyped.

2 Miami Heat vs 3 Indiana Pacers (Game 1, Sunday 3:30pm, ABC): We tweeted out earlier this week that Indiana has no chance vs Miami.  I hope Indiana channels their inner Miguel Cotto: perform well enough to give a good, respectable show, even blood up your opponent making him look mortal, but in the end the outcome is never in doubt.  I’m praying for that.  I don’t think we will get it. Heat in 5

4 Boston Celtics vs 8 Philadelphia 76ers (Game 1, Saturday 8pm, TNT): This was the prominent rivalry in the early days of the NBA up until the 1980s.  On Boston’s side you have names like Bill Russell, John Havlicek, Larry Bird, Dave Cowens, and Red Auerbach.  The Sixers had Wilt Chamberlain, Moses Malone, Dr. J, Andrew Toney, and Maurice Cheeks.  Yeah, those type of guys aren’t in this series, especially on the 76ers side.  Celtics with their experience should take this in 6.  But I am proud for Andre Iguodala getting Sixers fans off his back, at least for one night.

If this article wasn’t exciting for you, then you pretty much figured out the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

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"But Mike, Your Team Barely Got 7 Wins..."

And just like that, this shorten NBA season is over.

As I said earlier this week, this season turned out to be a lot better than I predicted.  This season turned into a memorable season, unfortunately, for the Charlotte Bobcats.  The franchise owned by the guy who led the greatest team of all time, the 1996 Bulls, finished with an all-time NBA worst .106 win percentage.  The Bobcats finished the season on a 23-game losing streak (how ironic, 23) which blew away another 16-game losing streak from earlier this season.  And it doesn’t look like it will get any better.

After hearing Larry Brown’s comments from earlier this week, and knowing how well Jordan does as a GM, I am not surprised the Bobcats are terrible.  But this bad?  I hope David Stern rigs the draft to ensure Anthony Davis doesn’t go to that cesspool.  In fact, can the Bobcats just give up their pick because no one deserve that punishment.  And I won’t punish you with more talk about losers.

There is no time to catch your breath before the playoffs; they start tomorrow with some excellent games.  Without further adieu, here is your NBA playoff preview, Mancave style

Eastern Conference:

#1 Chicago Bulls vs #8 Philadelphia 76ers (Game 1, Saturday 1pm, TNT): Evan Turner said that the 76ers matched up better with the Bulls than the Heat.  Hey Evan, just make sure you don’t get benched without a reason by Coach Doug Collins.  Also, this might be the last time Andre Iguodala can throw Lou Williams under the bus or pull out the chair under him since he will test free agency. Pick: Bulls in 5

#2 Miami Heat vs #7 New York Knicks (Game 1, Saturday 3:30pm, ABC): If Jeremy Lin was playing, I would give the Knicks a better chance to win.  But Carmelo Anthony is on the short list of guys in the league that can put his team on his back and win a series.  Unfortunately, 2 other guys on that list play for Miami. Pick: Heat in 6

#3 Indiana Pacers vs #6 Orlando Magic (Game 1, Saturday 7pm, ESPN): Ah, the go-old NBA TV series.  I want to root for the Magic just because I want them to show that they can win without Dwight Howard after all the hoopla this season.  But I ain’t stupid. Pick: Pacers in 6

#4 Boston Celtics vs #5 Atlanta Hawks (Game 1, Sunday 7pm, TNT): Remember when this season was hype as hell in 2008?  Yeah, the Hawks just never did get any better did they?  And the Celtics just got greyer. Pick: Celtics in 7

Western Conference

#1 San Antonio Spurs vs #8 Utah Jazz (Game 1, Sunday 1pm, ESPN): Apologies to faithful reader @NowByAP but if there was a channel below NBA TV this series would be on it.  Luckily for the Spurs, there’s no talk of them blowing this 1/8 matchup.  And it looks like this series will get love on TNT and ESPN. Pick: Spurs in 4

#2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #7 Dallas Mavericks (Game 1, Saturday 9:30pm, ESPN): This was the Western Conference Finals last year.  I think Dirk Nowitzki is still hungover from that Ace of Spades bottle in Miami last year. Pick: Thunder in 5

Who wants to face these guys in a series?

#3 Los Angeles Lakers vs #6 Denver Nuggets (Game 1, Sunday 3:30pm, ABC): Lakers, still the Kings of LA.  Don’t ever count out a team with 2 7-footers and a guy named Kobe Bean Bryant.  I will enjoy watching Javale McGee attempting to play defense in this series. Pick: Lakers in 6

#4 Memphis Grizzlies vs #5 Los Angeles Clippers (Game 1, Sunday 9:30pm, TNT): I know the Heat-Knicks is the sexier series, but I think this will easily be the best.  Memphis has done this before, but Chris Paul has a will to win like no one else.  Coaching (or lack thereof for the Clippers) will be a factor. Pick: Grizzlies in 7

Picture kind of says it all about Javale McGee's season this year

Bracket of Insanity

On Wednesday, I hope you caught part 1 of my bracket reveal when I showed my South and West Regions for the NCAA Tournament.  Today, I reveal my East and Midwest Regions leading up to an NCAA Champion.  Winners in bold:

East Region – 1ST ROUND

Yeah, Frank Martin is even scary when he smiles

1 Syracuse vs 16 UNC Asheville

I think all of Syracuse’s starters could go to class during the game and this will still be a breeze.

8 Kansas State vs 9 Southern Miss

I like seeing Frank Martin yell so I’m keeping the Wildcats around.  Also, Southern Miss barely got by East Carolina and lost to Marshall in their conference tournament.

5 Vanderbilt vs 12 Harvard

Harvard is gonna need some Linsanity to pull off the upset.  Mainly because the Crimson have no outside threat

4 Wisconsin vs 13 Montana

The boring Badgers will make the Grizzlies, and everyone who is watching, hibernate during this one.

6 Cincinnati vs 11 Texas

Texas only has one guy that can score (J’Covan Brown).  Cincinnati has 5 guys that can go without scoring.  Rick Barnes still coaches Texas though.  I’ll take Cincinnati.

3 Florida State vs 14 Saint Bonaventure

St. Bonaventure more than likely took my Drexel Dragon’s spot in the tournament.  So I gotta pick Florida State to wrap up the Bonnies.  And the Seminoles can (38.1% FG defense)

7 Gonzaga vs 10 West Virginia

I would say that this is a home game for the Mountaineers but since they don’t win in Pittsburgh very often, I got the Zags.

2 Ohio State vs 15 Loyola (MD)

Jimmy Patsos is a great guy.  If wins were determined by press conferences, Loyola would be in the Final Four.

2ND ROUND

Melo changed his game on the court, but he couldn't get to class

1 Syracuse vs 8 Kansas State

If only Fab Melo made it to class this would be an easier matchup for Syracuse.  Kansas State can rebound like crazy, which is the Orange’s weakness.  But Syracuse is too deep to get put out here.

4 Wisconsin vs 5 Vanderbilt

I’m not going to fall in love with Vandy’s late run.  Vandy has been a terrible Tournament team in the last couple of years.  Wisconsin is always solid in the tourney.  Jordan Taylor is going to carry the Badgers

3 Florida State vs 6 Cincinnati

The paint is not going to be for the faint of heart in this one.  The Seminoles D, combined with the Bearcats pension for droughts will make this is Florida State win.

2 Ohio State vs 7 Gonzaga

Sullinger has been awesome all year and it will continue as the Buckeys get to the Sweet 16

SWEET 16

1 Syracuse vs 4 Wisconsin

I actually was going to have Syracuse out early anyway even before Fab Melo went out.  As Bomani Jones says “zone is for cowards”.  That is a little extreme but this isn’t, Syracuse hasn’t gotten past the Sweet 16 since their National Championship.

2 Ohio State vs 3 Florida State

Florida State has the defense.  But can they score?  I can’t trust their offense to make it to the Final Four.

ELITE 8

2 Ohio State vs 4 Wisconsin

Rivalry game.  Throw out the records.  But I like Jordan Taylor over Jared Sullinger to come through in the clutch.  That’s just me.

Midwest Region – 1ST ROUND

This wrist can keep UNC from cutting down the nets

1 UNC vs 16 Vermont

The Catamounts have a history of tournament upsets.  I hope they have the DVDs of those games for the plane ride home after this one.

8 Creighton vs 9 Alabama

Classic underrated/overrated game: Creighton is underrated, Alabama is overrated.  Take the Blue Jays

5 Temple vs 12 South Florida

Man, South Florida is terrible on offense.  But they can definitely win this one with its defense.  Temple is lucky I lived in Philly so I am partial to them.

4 Michigan vs 13 Ohio

Michigan has to win a game in Columbus over an Ohio team, that where’s green.  Talk about rivals aligning.  Wolverines can handle it though.

6 San Diego State vs 11 NC State

Purely a bandwagon, everyone else is picking them pick.  But I do like C.J. Leslie for the Wolfpack

3 Georgetown vs 14 Belmont

I like things in 3’s.  I like triple-header NBA games, 3 blind mice, and Georgetown losing 3 straight times in the first round.  Georgetown needs to bring back some goon to the program.

7 St Mary’s vs 10 Purdue

In Robbie Hummel’s 10th season of eligibility (I kid), he’s made it through the year without major injury.  Matthew Dellavedova will celebrate by putting the Boilermakers out of the tournament

2 Kansas vs 15 Detroit

I don’t remember a 15 seed having a player that could match the best player on the 2 seed.  But after Ray McCallum/Thomas Robinson show, what else does Detroit have to throw against Kansas?

2ND ROUND

1 UNC vs 8 Creighton

This is why Creighton should be mad that it’s ranked 8.  Bring your abacus, calculator, fingers, and toes to keep count in this one.

4 Michigan vs 5 Temple

I think Michigan’s guards are better than Temple’s guards

11 NC State vs 14 Belmont

Belmont is really good.  They took Duke to the wire.  But I’m sticking with NC State in this one

2 Kansas vs 7 St Mary’s

St Mary’s doesn’t have an answer for DC’s own Thomas Robinson

SWEET 16

1 UNC vs 4 Michigan

Another abacus game.  Michigan better make every 3 they take if they want to win this one.

Plenty of wins, but no trophy for Coach Cal yet

2 Kansas vs 11 NC State

Kansas has overachieved all year.  I think NC State could soften them up for the fall in the Elite 8.

ELITE 8

1 UNC vs 2 Kansas

First good game in this region.  UNC can actually contain Thomas Robinson.  UNC may have too many horses for the Jayhawks.  But Kansas with a loss has nothing to hang their head about.

And now we are down to the…

FINAL 4

1 Kentucky vs 2 Missouri

This is the battle of which coach will screw up in the big game.  Despite all of his great squads, Calipari has never won a title.  I think he screws up here.  Missouri is a better Vanderbilt with their guards.  Kentucky won’t hit the 3’s to keep up.  Their youth will show up again, just like in the SEC Championship.  I’ll take Missouri.

1 UNC vs 4 Wisconsin

Wisconsin actually slowed down UNC when they played in Chapel Hill.  Won’t happen this time around.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

1 UNC vs 2 Missouri

There will be more scoring in the 1st half than the whole 2011 National Championship game combined.  But with all the parity in the NCAA these days, just fill out multiple brackets because it will take Tebow power to make this matchup occur.

Just remember, because I (and President Obama) picked UNC, stay far away from the Tar Heels!  That’s my best advice to you.  Good luck in all of your pools fellow Cavers.

 

This will be me by Saturday

LBC challenged me to put up my bracket for the 2012 Tournament.  Not wanting to look lik I don’t know what I’m talking about, I accepted his request.  I will unveil my entire bracket on Thursday, but today I reveal my South and West Regions with the winners of each region.  Thursday will be the East and Midwest, leading to my eventual National Champion.  I will also explain why I chose each winner.  But, none of this matters because I never won a pool in my life anyway.  So you probably should do the opposite of what I say. Winners in bold:

South Region – 1ST ROUND

1 Kentucky vs 16 Western Kentucky

Umm, the Hilltoppers had 28 turnovers vs Mississippi Valley State.  I didn’t even know that was a school.  Imagine what Kentucky will do.

8 Iowa State vs 9 UCONN

This will be a theme for my bracket.  Stay away from the Big East going deep this year.  UConn has the talent but they never feel like living up to it.  I gotta love the Mayor Fred Hoiberg and Royce White for the Cyclones

Do the Rams have another run?

5 Wichita State vs 12 VCU

You can pick against Shaka Smart in a tournament game if you want to.  I won’t be so bold.  But Wichita State is no cupcake.

4 Indiana vs 13 New Mexico State

I really wanted to pick NM State because their athleticism will give the Hoosiers problems.  But I think Indiana has enough offense to survive.

6 UNLV vs 11 Colorado

Love Colorado’s late season run, but I can’t pick against the Runnin’ Rebels.

3 Baylor vs 14 South Dakota State

Gotta love the nickname Jackrabbits.  But Perry Jones III will jack up SD State on Thursday

7 Notre Dame vs 10 Xavier

Watched a lot of A-10 ball this year.  You could argue that Xavier shouldn’t be in the tournament.  Zip’em up early

2 Duke vs 15 Lehigh

Duke always has to win in the 1st Round.  It’s in the Bible

2ND ROUND

1 Kentucky vs 8 Iowa State

The Mayor has no answers for the Unibrow

You can't tell me Jack Cooley isn't Harangody's long lost twin

4 Indiana vs 12 VCU

It would be sweet to see Kentucky vs Indiana.  That’s why I picked VCU so it would happen *shrugs*

3 Baylor vs 6 UNLV

Unfortunately Perry Jones jacked and ran and didn’t show up for the next game…as usual.

2 Duke vs 7 Notre Dame

Duke probably will actually win this game because Notre Dame doesn’t have the guard play to really break down Duke and Luke Harangody’s clone will not be enough for the Plumlee twins.  But I hate Duke so there.

SWEET 16

1 Kentucky vs 12 VCU

Calipari will have his team focused.  Kentucky won’t mess up just yet.

6 UNLV vs 7 Notre Dame

UNLV can make a deep run y’all, I’m letting you know right now…so you can avoid them.

ELITE 8

1 Kentucky vs 6 UNLV

I remember when UNLV crushed UNC.  I remember when Kentucky beat UNC by 1.  This has nothing to do with this game.  Just go with Kentucky.  Kentucky the South Region winner.

West Region – 1ST ROUND

1 Michigan State vs 16 LIU-Brooklyn

Love Michigan State this year, not bad for starting the year getting blown out on a boat

Will Barton is a DMV icon...but he won't go far8 Memphis vs 9 Saint Louis

Memphis is better than an 8th seed.  Too bad, cause they are only getting one win.  Don’t sleep on Saint Louis with Rick Majerus as their coach.

5 New Mexico vs 12 Long Beach State

To make me feel better about the Pitt loss earlier this year I will ride Long Beach State.  Casper Ware is scary good (see what I did there) and you need good guards in the tournament.

4 Louisville vs 13 Davidson

Stephan Curry ain’t walking through that door.  But maybe he left his ankles in the Davidson locker room.

6 Murray State vs 11 Colorado State

If you only have one loss on the year, I guess you gotta win at least one tourney game.

3 Marquette vs 14 BYU

God loves this matchup: Marquette better pray they don’t have as many turnovers as they had in their Big East Tournament game

7 Florida vs 10 Virginia

I would say this is an upset but Florida is not good.  So there’s that.

2 Missouri vs Norfolk State

At least the music will be good at the game.

2ND ROUND

1 Michigan State vs 8 Memphis

Again Memphis should have been a higher seed.  If you remember the UNC Washington game from last year, this game will be just like that.  Memphis is good but I trust Izzo’s squads

4 Louisville vs 12 Long Beach State

Louisville is the best Big East team in this tournament so I have them in the Sweet 16.  But they won’t get far.

I don't know when Frank Haith became a good coach, but he is hitting the right buttons this year

3 Marquette vs 6 Murray State

I had to really research this one.  So after flipping a coin…sike actually Marquette is 102nd in the country in rebounding, Murray State 237th.  So while both these teams can score, I trust Marquette to dominate the glass.

2 Missouri vs 10 Virginia

I’m a history geek so bear with me.  In WWII, the German attack was built on speed.  The Russians slowed the Germans down, eventually aggravating and stopping them.  Well that’s what Virginia wants to do to Missouri.  But you can’t stop the Tigers blitz

SWEET 16

1 Michigan State vs 4 Louisville

The sweet 16, where the Big East goes to die.  Michigan State will be prepared for Louisville’s pressure D.

2 Missouri vs 3 Marquette

My eyes might bleed in this game.  But Missouri is better.

ELITE 8

1 Michigan State vs 2 Missouri

Gotta love guard play and Missouri’s is playing excellent right now.  When all else fails trust the team with the better guards.

3-Pt Play: The Death of the Original Masked Man

Posted: March 7, 2012 by dontbeskerritt in NBA
Tags: , ,

I watched Kobe go Darkwing Duck on us on Tuesday with his black mask that he wears to protect his broken nose.  That’s when I thought about the original masked man (well maybe not original but the most famous one right now), Rip Hamilton.  Remember him?  Remember the guy who torched Kobe and the Lakers in the 2004 Finals.  Remember the shooting guard with the best mid-range game in the league for almost a decade?  Well I hope you do, cause that guys dead and the Heat are saying Amen (word to Kendrick Lamar).

Let's Get Dangerous

I remember when the Bulls signed Hamilton over the brief offseason in December.  Just to show you how much I don’t know about basketball, I thought that Hamilton could be enough to swing the inevitable Eastern Conference Finals between the Bulls and the Heat.  He would take the pressure off of Rose because he would kill the Heat in the mid-range, freeing up Rose to do what he does best; drive into the hole.  Well, for Hamilton’s first game, he scored a whopping 6 points vs the Lakers.  He’s only played 15 games after that…including the minute that he played Monday vs Pacers before leaving with a shoulder injury.  He’s scored 11.3 PPG this season, not even double of Ronnie Brewer’s output last season (6.2).  But the fact that Hamilton has played only 16 of 40 games is scaring Bulls fans.

Imagine if the Bulls got Nick Young over the summer instead of Rip?  While Young is definitely one of the simpler basketball minds in the game today, he can fill it up if he is focused.  Imagine him coming off the bench for this Bulls team to just shoot.  Imagine Tom Thibodeau digging into his but to play some defense and to actually pass the ball?  The Bulls could have a real life ex-factor for the playoffs, rather than the corpse of the masked man taking up space on the roster.  Two more points to score:

Blake Griffin – Overrated?: It’s going to be hard to articulate this because words like overrated are very dangerous to just throw around heedlessly.  So I’ll say this; I think I would take 4 other WESTERN Conference power forwards over Blake Griffin (Love, Nowitzki, Aldridge, Gasol, and I think a healthy Randolph is tied with Griffin).

If you look at Griffin’s numbers, he’s having a solid season.  He’s averaging 21 and 11 and shoots the ball over 50% from the field.  But you wonder about Griffin in the half-court.  He has a jumper but its inconsistent right now.  He is a terrible free-throw shooter; let’s just say that he barely shoots better from the free-throw line than he does from the field.  Because of those factors, sometimes he barely shows up in the 4th, especially during big games (4 points vs Minnesota on Monday, 4 in the 2nd half and OT of the Miami game on 1/11).  Granted he’s a 2nd year player refining his game.  So maybe I’m asking for the media to treat him as such, instead of some all-world power forward that he probably falls short of right now.  So maybe overhyped is the word, instead of overrated.

We Watch So You Don’t Have To – Wizards Update: This was going to be another Andray Blatche diss post, but after the Wizards great win on Wednesday over the Lakers, I had to give them some props.  On a night where John Wall only scored 4 points and Kobe Bryant scores 30, not only do the Wizards win, they score 106 points on the league’s 5th best defense.  The Wizards were down 20+ in the 3rd when they went on a 17-0 run, with Roger Mason, Nick Young, and Trevor Booker showing flashes of brilliance.  The Wizards bench outscored the Lakers bench, 55-21.  Nick Young had a career-high 6 assists (ha!).  Kevin Seraphin outscored Kobe 8-5 in the 4th.  Yup, the world is coming to an end.

As for the Lakers, on Sunday they looked like Western Conference contenders stifling the Heat.  Then they went on to lose to the Pistons and my Wizards on back-to-back nights.  What’s the problem?  Well, for one the Lakers have less road wins (6) than the Wizards have total wins (9).  On Wednesday, Kobe missed more shots (22) than the combined shots Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum took (19).  The Black Mamba turned into a Black hole.  But, it’s only March so the Lakers can figure out their 4th quarter offense (6-21 in the 4th vs Wizards).  But for one night in March, madness came in the form of a great Wizards win.