Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend Breakdown

Some links to get you past the Thanksgiving's a long one, so feel free to come back to finish up.

In no particular order:

*Although premature, you still have to weigh your loss if you're Cleveland. If LeBron James is leaving town, you HAVE to get something in return....So what will that be? TrueHoop's Henry Abbott and ESPN's David Thorpe make a few possible trade scenario's for the king.

*Thanks to Hayden for bringing this to my attention...A very unique coaching tactic this past week, in the college ranks. They decided to double team Stephen Curry, even without the ball, not letting him touch it the whole game, going 4 on 3 against the rest of the squad. Well, that didn't work at all.

*Ken Berger at, on LeBron's NYC visit, and a possible upcoming strike in the NBA.

*HoopsHype exclusive video interviews with OJ Mayo, and TJ Ford.

*Former NBA Coach Eric Mussleman; Comebacks Begin With Positive Energy. A great read, that really applies to everything in life. Stay positive, and good things happen. Also from Coach Mussleman, explaining that talent alone won't achieve greatness. If you're not as talented, you can still outwork your opponents.

*Two great LeBron commercials. The first from The Howeva Files; Lebron with this stupid hot chick, hilarious stuff. Second, from Ball Don't Lie, a more serious commercial from Nike.

*Some awful NBA stuff from the kings in that territory, Basketbawful. Ron Artest video blogging, and rapping? Just horrible...

*And, the number 1 pick of the 2009 NBA draft will be....Ricky Rubio of Spain?? If you didn't see this guy in the Olympics, you should really check him out. Just abnormally good and mature for his age, and should project very well in the NBA (if he can learn to play some defense and bulk up a bit).

*Saw this on; Allen Iverson skipped Practice and is now out of the starting lineup and fined. Practice?? We talkin bout practice...

*SLAM gives us 50 things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving

*Anytime Worldwide Wes is in the conversation, I'll be sure to post it. If you don't know who Worldwide Wes is, you're not 'in the know,' and need to get on top of it. Well, Uncle Wes is saying the Knicks are the favorites in the running for his buddy LBJ.

*Steven A Smith talkin Amare Stoudamire, his future free agency, and the Phoenix Suns.

*Finish off with some frequent updates on the Stephon Marbury situation in New York. It's getting old already, and Ken Berger from CBSSports says it should come to a conclusion soon.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Live From The Garden: Knicks -v-, Cavs

I thought it'd be a high scoring game tonight for the Cavs, since D'Antoni's offense features a ton of possessions, the Knicks were having 3 new players join the team, and LeBron wanted to show off in NYC. I also thought LeBron would lead the way, scoring 50 or more. I was right about the first, and for one of the best offenses in the league (#1 actually, on Monday) they hit their highest total of the season. LeBron was held to only 30 minutes, and when I say held, I mean he was held back from going out and doing more damage to the Knicks.

One of the highlights of the night was during the national anthem when I heard a few fans change the ending, from "Home, of the, brave;" It was, "Home of LeBron, James." Brilliant, really. Loved it. When they announced LeBron, half the place got up. If only it wasn't such a boring game...

So the first quarter starts and it was the Cavs jumping out to the early lead, led by James' 11 points. The tension was rising fast, as the calls were a little one-sided for the hyped up Cavs. Pretty easy proof of this with a horrible non-call on a LeBron James block. Should have been a goal-tend. Nate Robinson tried to get a little flashy and pull the New York fans back to the Knicks side with a bigggg dunk attempt over James, but the ball slipped and he couldn't finish. The first quarter ended with a hefty lead, but nothing close to whats to come. 34-21 Cavs after one.

Cavs started the second quarter with LeBron on the bench and took a big lead immediately, making it 42-22 with more than 10 minutes left in the quarter. The Knicks were slowing working in Al Harrington and Tim Thomas, while the third newbie Cuttino Mobley was still undergoing physicals and didn't dress. Harrington had a couple of nice plays (5), but finished with a lot more bad ones (11). Tim Thomas looked horrible on some plays, but finished with 16 points, hitting 4 from downtown and a couple of late 3's that...whatever, it was over. Late in the second, Nate Robinson took a nasty fall, and left the game with a strained groin. Groin injuries are no bueno. Losing Nate for any amount of time would be a huge blow for the Knicks, since he's been their most consistent player this year.

It got worse and worse, with the lead going up to 34 points. It was 95-66 after 3, and we didn't get to see LeBron for the rest of the night. He finished with a sweasy (so-easy) 26 points. The crowd wasn't into the game at all, and with good reason, it was over so quickly. On top of that, LeBron never went off, except for one dunk, but it was too little too late. The crowd wanted something to go bananas about, but it just got too boring, and then LeBron didn't even see any PT in the fourth.

As usual, it was a star studded night at the Garden, featuring Jay-Z and Beyonce, Spike Lee of course, some Jets getting a huge applause, and then Plaxico Burress and crew came on the big screen, with Plax pointing to his ring finger, and flashing two fingers up, implying that he's about to get a second ring. Cant' wait for the media to get a hold of that one, and start accusing Plaxico of predicting back to back championships. That's just one more thing LeBron gets to look forward to when he moves here in 2010!

The night didn't exactly go as planned, but it was fun nonetheless. Seeing LeBron in person is always exciting, and the Cavs have quickly turned into one of the most dominate teams int he league, probably only being topped by the Lakers and Celtics and not even by much.

CAVS 119, KNICKS 101

Lunch Break Special: Knicks -v- Cavs Preview

Tonight marks the first time when LeBron James comes to Madison Square Garden, with the Knicks actually having enough cap space to sign him in 2010. As of right now, it's not just LeBron, but thanks to Jalen Rose of ESPN, rumors are spreading that also Chris Bosh might come to New York in the same offseason. This is a dream beginning to come true for Knicks fans, who never thought that we would get away from the mess Isiah Thomas made.

The last 4 games LeBron played at the Garden, he averaged almost 37 points per game, the last one, going for 50 points (after telling Spike Lee in the front row that he'd do so). This marks the third year in a row where LeBron gets special NYC kicks made for the occasion. Last year he wore the Yankees-themed LeBron V's, with the Le-Bron Ja-mes chant written on the tongue (that I strongly urge New Yorkers to chant with me tonight).

More news from around the web on this game:

*Shaun Powell from Newsday is doing the same, and urging New Yorkers to give LeBron the warmest welcome imaginable.

*Frank Isola on LeBron's kicks, which you can get a sneak peak of, here at

*There's a chance that Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas don't suit up tonight (and even worse, that Zach Randolph gets shipped back to New York to put a temporary pause on our Coup de' James. Ken Berger, formally of Newsday, now at CBSsports has the story.

*Special thanks to my homey Hayden for bringing this Peter Vescey article to my attention. This is a great summary, breaking down the money situations for both Cleveland and New York, and how it relates to King James.

NY Media Urging Fans to Show LeBron The Love

Tuesday Wake n Break

*Orlando took an early lead over the Bucks with 10 points after the first quarter, expanding that on a big 4-point-play from JJ Redick (this guy is still in the league?). Some big 3-pointers from Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu, gave the Magic a 58-47 lead at the half, despite foul trouble from Dwight Howard, who had to leave the first half with 7 minutes remaining and already accumulating 3 fouls. Both the Magic and the Bucks had possible injuries, with Jameer Nelson and Andrew Bogut leaving in the second half, and not returning. More on those injuries should develop throughout the day. Richard Jefferson led the Bucks with 25 points, but more importantly with some big plays and buckets at the end, bringing the lead down to 3. But it wasn’t enough and usually isn’t when you’re going up against Dwight Howard getting 24 points, 13 rebounds and 6 blocks (!). Superman Duex really acted Shaq in this one, going a horrible 10-20 from the free throw line. I thought Dwight would get up to around 65-70% FT shooting, but thus far his Superman Duex nickname is looking pretty dead on. Magic 108, Bucks 101

*The game of the night was in Miami, with Dwayne Wade and Michael Beasley hosting the Rockets for a superstar showdown. Lot of action from Beasley in the first half, getting up 13 shots, hitting 6, but was held to only one more FG for the rest of the game, and only 14 points. Also in the first half 8 guys from Houston were able to get on the board, showing great ball movement and shooting over 50% total. Yao Ming finished the game with 28 points, 12 boards, 4 assists, shooting 10-11 from the line, but with zero blocks or steals. A 7-footer playing 35 minutes should really get at least one block or steal. D. Wade’s awful shooting night (7 for 23) didn’t help Miami, and Houston cruised to a victory. Rockets 107, Heat 98

*Another awful shooting night from the Sixers, shooting under 40% for the night. The Sixers lost to the Bobcats last night, which is totally unacceptable based on the preseason talk of them competing for a championship. It was decently close after the first half, with Yahoo having the score at 41-39 and ESPN having the score at 41-41 (interesting..). The real men of the night were DJ Augustin and Raymond Felton who are no doubt fighting to kept heir starting spots when Jason Richardson comes back from injury (also interesting…). Both guards went 8-11 from the field, finishing with 25 (DJ) and 23 (Raymond). Bobcats 93, Sixers 84

*It started off close in Utah, with the Jazz and Bulls each at 26 after the first quarter. It was all Derrick Rose for most of the first half, tearing the Jazz apart with 7 for 10 shooting, 4 assists, and 0 turnovers. Quite impressive for a young guard to have such a good ball-control in the first half, against the tough-guy Jazz, on their own court. Joakim Noah got the start today, presumably to go out after Mehmet Okur at the 3-point line (since Carlos Boozer joined Deron Williams on the bench with a quad injury). Well, that didn’t work very well, with Memet going for 16 in the first half, finishing with 26 overall. Drew Gooden had a matching 16 at the half, but only getting 2 points afterwards. The Jazz’ ball movement really outshined Derrick Rose and Co, going 30-18 overall in assists. Ridiculous ending to this game, with the lead changing back and forth, and coming down to one shot at the end… a Derrick Rose juke to get open and clang off the rim with only 2 seconds remaining. Wait for it....But Larry Hughes got the offensive rebound, got up in the air, and drained a long two-pointer to win the game at the buzzer. Larry Hughes! Congrats; You get 2 more minutes per game for your winning shot, then a trade after Hinrich comes back. Yay! Bulls 101, Jazz 100

*The San Antonio Spurs visited the Memphis grizzlies last night, looking like a matchup between old and young, this generation vs the future. San Antonio had good control over this game, despite leading at halftime by only 5. Roger Mason was bringing the rain from downtown, hitting 5 three pointers, finishing with 18 points total. OJ Mayo was shooting well, again playing 43 minutes (!), shooting the rock 21 times, hitting 10 of those. OJ finished with 26 points, hitting all 5 of his free throws. The rest of the team didn’t have a good shooting night, with the team finishing at 39%, led by Rudy Gay’s awful night, going 6 for 19. Tonight was Manu Ginobili’s debut for the season, and Coach Pop brought him off the bench, where he might or might not continue to do so when Tony Parker comes back. Manu came in and produced right away, scoring 11 points in 12 minutes (!). I actually considered at some point that the Spurs might not make the playoffs this year, but with Manu back earlier than expected, looking this good (3-4 from the field and 5-6 from the line), they not only look like a playoff team, but with a healthy Tony Parker should be a contender for a championship. For Memphis, it was nice to see young star OJ Mayo after the game, discussing the loss with maturity and addressing Tim Duncan as “Mr. Duncan” showing great respect for his elders and the game. Spurs 94, Grizz 81

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Breakdown

* and Power Rankings. Why do I get the feeling that the Celtics and Lakers will remain at the top two spots for the rest of the season?

*This guy's a Knick hater. Loves the moves. We're getting LeBron. These next two years don't matter. End of story.

*This awesome Flash Animation of D'Antoni's system. Pretty simple, it's either the pick n roll, or a backdoor cut. Just do it in 7 seconds or less, try hard, play (some) D, and have fun.

* psyched (!) for tomorrow's Knicks game against the Cavs. I'm urging all the Knick fans to join me in a Le-Bron Ja-mes (clap, clap, clapclapclap) chant. If the whole place starts doing it, then I'm pretty confident that could give us at least a .0001% better chance of landing LeBron, and that means it's worth it! Chris Sheridan at ESPN gives us a little preview of tomorrow night, where King James steps into his future Castle. Sweeeeeet.

*Eddie Jordan lost his team, and then his job. Can't blame Eddie for this; he's one of the best coaches in the league without a doubt. I've been saying it repeatedly, that the Gilbert Arenas signing and then the third surgery, killed the mood of this team. When you give someone $111 Million, you get excited, the city gets excited and everything gets on a little bit of a high. But what goes up, most come down, and this hit the ground in D.C. hard. Saw it coming, especially after two fourth quarter meltdowns, and then a ridiculous loss against the Knicks summer league team (with only 7 players). Eddie will get another job sooner,than later, perhaps even take PJ Carlismo's ex-job in Oklahoma City.

*Gotta love the leadership in Cleveland. It starts from the top, and when I say the top, I mean it really starts with the Spurs. Both Danny Ferry and Mike Brown have roots in San Antonio, and the tradition and mentality they brought with them translated into instant success in Cleveland (well, LeBron James helps too). Mike Brown created a 4-player committee for his team, replacing the more traditional captain or co-captains. I think it's brilliant and it really helps get key information to the coach from the players, and visa versa.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Live From The Garden: Knicks -v- Wizards

I won't be too hard on the Wizards fans, especially since my buddy Marcus came from DC to come to the game, but facts are facts...the Wiz basically just lost to the Knicks summer league team. Since the physicals for the trades are tomorrow, the Knicks were without their new teammates, but they still were able to pull out a victory against the lifeless Wizards.

The Knicks started the game with Chris Duhon and Nate Robinson in the backcourt, David Lee at center, with Wilson Chandler and Quentin Richardson at the wings. All 4 starters were forced to play more than 40 minutes each, as there was only 2 available players off the bench, in Grandpa Malik Rose and youngin Anthony Roberson, who wasn't very helpful, going 0-5 from downtown and 2-10 overall.

New York jumped out to an early lead, led mostly by Nate's speed and Duhon's ball control. From the beginning of the game, till the end, it was Antwan Jamison who was tearing apart the Knicks offense and scoring repeatedly in the paint. We'll get into that in more detail later. Quentin Richardson exploded early in the game, finishing with 18 points in the first quarter (!), giving the Knicks a 35-29 lead after one. We didn't see much of Andray Blatche in the first half, hopefully because he was benched for his awful play last night against Yao Ming in the final seconds of the game. It was Dominique Maguire who got extra minutes in the first half, really making the most out of them. The Wizards D really stepped up against Q, allowing him only 2 in the second quarter after exploding in the first. That kept the Wiz in the game, and went into the half only trailing by two, 60-58.

The third quarter started with Chris Duhon and Nate Robinson using speed and hitting big shots, extended the Knicks lead. Caron Butler wasn't impressive most of the game, lookign hesitant with the ball. Caron finished with 23 points, but wasn't very impressive from the floor, shooting 8 for 18. Something's wrong with Caron because he can dominate games like this with ease when his mind is right. It seemed as though every time Antwan Jamison got the ball, they were getting either points in the paint, or good ball movement out of the double team.

This is where we didn't understand what the Wizards were doing. The last two games the Wizards have played, it's fair to say they've given up towards the end, practically handing wins to opposing teams. Tonight it was more of the same, and for reasons we could not come close to figuring out, Antwan Jamison wasn't getting any touches down the stretch, still finishing with 29 points and 13 boards.

Between Quentin Richardson's best night of the season (maybe the last two seasons, finishing with 34 points (!), 7 from deep, and 12 rebounds), and the Wizards reluctance to get more touches to Antwan in the final quarter, the Wizards fell to a very embarrassing 1-9 against a Knicks team with only 7 players. It looks great for Knicks fans, who can see that D'Antoni's system and style of coaching is keeping the Knicks competitive almost every night.


Weekend Breakdown

*It was an exciting day in New York, and that usually generates excitement throughout the league. ESPN's Weekend Dime has some speculation that the Knicks are not just putting themselves in position to sign ONE major free agent, but possible two or three (see Steven A Smith video below as well). The Weekend Dime also has an interview with Robert Horry, more on Antonio McDyess and a claim that someone owes Paul Pierce six bucks!

*Sticking with the Knicks for a second...I love the moves, but I very much disagree with D'Antoni asking Steph if he wants to play last night, and then, telling the media it's Steph's fault because he said no. D'Antoni said he 30-35 minutes for Steph last night, but no one asked the right questions, which are: Will it just be one and done? Was that just a one-game bone being thrown? I don't think I would play if I was Steph, that's for sure, would you??

*HoopsHype on the rebirth of Shaq, discussing with long-time Phil Jackson confidant Tex Winter. Most people counted Pheonix out this year because of Shaq declining, but he's been able to bring out sum of that reserve superman-ness, and so far, very good.

*Well-known, long-time coach PJ Carlisimo got the boot today from the Head Coaching position of the Oklahoma City Thunder. What the heck was he supposed to do with this team?? Their best player, Kevin Durant, is still a 10-year-old at heart.

A few videos well worth watching:

*The most exciting game of the season went down in Toronto, where Vince Carter went nutso, again, in the place he's hated most. Must see TV

Steven A Smith on the Knicks

Rasheed Wallace, via Ball Don't Lie, on his Teammates nicknames

Friday, November 21, 2008


6pm, Final Update:

The Knicks just traded away their two best players and scorers, and I couldn't be any more excited.

It looks like the second deal will also go down today, clearing 27 Million off the books on the 2010 cap, paving the way to pick up one of the super free agents in 2010. While this team is surely not going to impress anyone in New York for probably two years, this gives us the best chance for a championship, since we weren't going to get one this year or next.

For more on the deal: TNT's David Aldridge. LA Times. Daily News.

Funny enough, my original Trade Machine post was the one that actually went down!

Have a great weekend, and, of course: LE-BRON JA-MES, CLAP, CLAP, CLAPCLAPCLAP


5:15pm Update:

We have confirmation on the second trade, via LA Times. Cuttino doesn't sound happy about the trade, but that didn't stop me from picking him up on my Fantasy team right away!! There's a hole at the 2 and Cuttino, it's waiting for you!


4:30pm Update:

Frank Isola, whom I'm sure you've seen on NBAtv and writes for the Daily news, reports that the Z-Bo for Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas trade is done (!!).


2pm Update:

It's a done deal. Crawford and Al Harrington are switching teams, a one for one trade. Here's how it looks in the Trade Machine. Here's ESPN's take on it.

However! There are Rumors that this is just the beginning of the trading for Donnie Walsh and the NY Knicks. We'll keep updating, so stay tuned!

I spoke with Ken Berger at Newsday, and he said it's a sad day for Jamal, who also had a blog at He really enjoyed NY, his fans, and the challenges that came along with playing here. Jamal, we still love you man! Business is business.


11am Update:

This is what the trade looks like so far in ESPN Trade Machine

What do you think??


10:30am Update:

Now there's talk of a three-way deal!

Newsday's Alan Hahn: The Knicks, Warriors and Clippers are talking about a three-way deal that would involve Jamal Crawford, Zach Randolph and Mardy Collins being sent in a cap-space clearing move that would bring in Tim Thomas, Cuttino Mobley and Al Harrington.



Thanks to Marcus for getting the early scoop on this.

The Knicks traded Jamal Crawford to the Warriors for Al Harrington. This gives the Knicks 10 Million less on the cap for the super free agent war of 2010.

I suppose the next move will be to use David Lee as trade bait to get rid of another 17 Million, Zach Randolph. Stick to the plan! We have LeBron, Amare, D.Wade, Dirk, and Bosh all free agents in 2010. Gotta score one of those....

Check out more from Alan Hahn at Newsday, or and leave comments here on what you think! The NY Post has Harrington coming for Malik Rose, but I don't think Donnie Nelson can do anything with Grandpa Malik.


Friday Wake n Break

*Two of the eastern contenders went up against each other last night, in the Celtics and Pistons. Pistons are coming off of back to back wins against two super hot teams (Lakers and Cavs). It was even after the first at 21, but the second quarter was a different story, led by a few Eddie House bombs, taking a halftime lead of 49-40. It was more of the same after the half, and Boston was up by 20 at the start of the 4th quarter. It’s become apparent that Allen Iverson and Rasheed Wallace have to play good games for the Pistons to beat the elite, and tonight they both got out played by their counterparts, Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett. Rondo especially, who finished with 18 points, 8 assists, 3 steals and only 2 turnovers. A win in this fashion against the Pistons is not something they’re used to. Rip Hamilton agrees, “Any time you lose to a team two times by over 20 points, that’s absolutely bananas because we don’t play like that.” Celtics 98, Pistons 80

*Shaq vs. Kobe, rematch number…nevermind. It’s more like Shaq vs Bynum at this point, considering Shaq and Kobe have nothing but love for each other (so it seems). The Lakers pulled a real Black Mamba move in the first three quarters, by slowing killing the Suns and going up 13 by the 4th, never trailing again. With the Lakers in a comfortable lead, and their outstanding bench play, they were able to limit Kobe’s minutes to 32, in a game where usually he plays around 40. The Lakers are rolling, and they’re so good you don’t know what kind of stats you’re going to get from the stars each night. Like tonight when Pau Gasol only got 4 points, but 9 assists (!). The real daggers throughout the night were Vlad Radmanovic’s 5-5 from downtown, always coming at the right moments to keep the Suns thinking they never had a chance. Shaq, how’s Kobe’s ass taste? Lakeshow 105, Suns 92

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday Breakdown

*The Playoff Odds on ESPN are out. If you need an explanation of how they work, click here. In a nutshell, its some fancy shmancy formulas to tell us who's going to the playoffs. In the East, it looks dead on, except i think Indiana will drop out. You can say the same for the West side, where I think it will stay the same, although San Antonio will replace Portland.

*There's been a lot of talk in the offseason about a "Train like a Pro" camp at the IMG Training Academy. 82games gives us the full story.

*Dime Magazine asks us, who's the ten fastest players in the NBA? I think Dwayne Wade and Devin Harris should be on this list. He is The Flash, right? Who do you think is the fastest in the NBA? I think I'm gonna go with AI, still!

*SLAM, breaks down the Cavs new offense. Le-Bron, Ja-mes, clap, clap, clap clap clap.

*Larry Hughes wants out of Chicago says the Chicago Tribune. Or he wants more minutes. This could be a good opportunity to get rid of the Zach Randolph contract. The Bulls clearly need an inside scoring presence, and with Drew Gooden's decent Defense, maybe he can pick up the slack for Z-Bo.

*Two really awesome articles on Magic Johnson. First, from ESPN, and then an exclusive interview over at FanHouse.

Thursday Wake n Break

*The Hawks started off hot, winning their first 6 games, but fell extra hard when they lost their next 4. Finally a win, against a Wizards team totally drowning in sorrow since their $111 Million investment went back in for surgery. Josh Smith is still out, and also Al Horford missed this game with a sprained ankle. So it was Marvin Williams who stepped it up tonight, with 21 points, none more important than a 3 pointer to take the lead with 26 seconds left. It wasn’t so much the Hawks taking this one (although a Joe Johnson 3 off an inbounds play really hurt the Wiz), but the Wiz breaking down at the end and giving the game away. Both Nick Young and Juan Dixon took very bad shots with time left on the shot clock and down by 2. As much as I don’t like DeShawn Stevenson, he did have the hot hand, hitting a ridiculous long 2-pointer falling backward. Caron Butler had a great night, scoring 32 points on 12 for 21 shooting (including four 3-pointers), but it wasn’t enough and Atlanta gets the win. Hawks 91, Wizards 87

*Spurs went real deep into the bench, with everyone on the roster scoring except Kurt Thomas. That doesn’t mean they shot well, finishing at 38% from the field for the game. JR Smith another very slow night, but the starters really held it down. Denver’s defensive improvement since Chauncey Billups arrived has been nothing short of outstanding. With the wins, and impressive defense, we’re starting to forget they gave away former Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Camby. The Nuggets are now 5-1 with Chauncey on the team, and it looks like they’re getting better (especially on the defensive end) every game. Nuggets 91, Spurs 81

*Dwayne Wade is an absolute monster. 40 points, 11 assists, 5 blocks (!) tonight for Flash, with poster-like dunks. But it wasn’t enough to get the win, as Jose Calderon was back from his brief time on the injured list. The key to the win for the Raptors was the wing players, in Andrea Bargnani and Anthony Parker. Between the two of them, they went 8 for 9….from downtown (!), finishing with 25 and 19 respectively. Chris Bosh and Jermaine O’Neal also had big nights, with Bosh getting 15 points, 11 rebounds, and O’Neal besting him in both, with 16 points and 17 boards (!). Raptors 101, Heat 94

*The Cavs win streak ended at 8, and the Pistons won their second big game against another hot team (the first being the Lakers undefeated spoiler). LeBron James and Co had good control over the game in the first half, and then the Sixers really pulled ahead with a few big shots from Rasheed Wallace late in the fourth, outscoring the Cavs 30-29 in the final quarter. Allen Iverson led the Pistons with 23 points, 4 dimes and 4 steals and after a slow start, the AI-led Pistons are now 4-3. Pistons 96, Cavs 89

*Portland is really good, or maybe Chicago is really bad? Maybe both. This game was a textbook clinic. Portland dominated on both sides of the court, dictating the tempo on offense, and imposing their will on the defensive end of the court. At the end of the first half the score was 62-37 (!). I was hoping that at some point the Bulls would waive the white flag, or maybe one of the refs calls the fight. The lead in the 4th quarter went up to 41 points. The Bulls should be ashamed of their lack of effort, and this was awfully similar to some of the games we saw from the Knicks last year. Greg Oden played his first home game in the Rose Garden was warmly received, rewarding fans with not only a win but 11 and 10 in only 17 minutes. Blazers 116, Bulls 74

*Wait, the Kings beat the Hornets without their best scorer, and with Chris Paul getting 20 points, 15 dimes, and 4 steals? The Hornets had more rebounds, more blocks, more steals, same assists, and less turnovers, but still didn't win the game. The hot shooting of the Kings, let by John Salmons 29 points, got them their 5th win of the season, surprisingly matching the Hornets win total. This was supposedly to be an easy win for the Hornets, and this was a big surprise. Good win for the Kings, who really needed to make some noise before head coach Reggie Theus get the blame for this horribly put-together team. Kings 105, Hornets 96

*Same story with Randy Whitman, who will eventually take the blame for the Wolves putting together this ball club. Their backcourt is too small, their front court is too small, but when hot, they can shoot the lights out of the building like Mike Miller and Co. did tonight. Miller almost got a triple double with 10 points, 10 boards and 6 assists. Al Jefferson added 28 points and 8 boards, with Craig Smith stepping it up and adding 21 of his own. The Wolves haven’t won a game in 3 weeks, but with the Sixers coming into town, it was a good chance to get a win against a team still struggling to find an identity on the court. The Sixers just aren’t moving the ball well, and didn’t get into the passing lanes enough, letting Minnesota out-assist them 29 to 19. Elton Brand continues struggling from the floor, shooting 9 for 21, giving him his lowest FG% of his career at 43%, when his career average is over 50%. Wolves 102, Sixers 96

*It was looking good for the Thunder in the first half, but the second half, the Clippers came out and dominated, with Chris Kaman leading the way with 25 points, 14 boards, 6 assists (!) and 4 blocks (!). Cuttino Mobley was also on fire in the second half, hitting big shots to extend the lead, and getting a whopping 7 steals (!). This second half team was what Mike Dunleavy knew he could get out of his players eventually. If the Clippers can play like this night in and night out, they definitely should be contending for that 8 spot going into the playoffs. The Clips beat the Thunder 59-36 in the second half, giving OKC their 11th loss of the season (with only 1 win). Clippers 108, Thunder 88

*Dallas had control of their game the entire time, never giving up the lead after the first quarter. For Houston, Yao Ming sat the game out for precautionary reasons, after feeling slight pain in his surgically repaired foot. The big story/player of the night was definitely Jason Terry, going 13 for 21 from the floor, finishing with 31 points, with two points coming late in the fourth quarter, putting the final nail in the coffin. Much to most people’s surprise, T-Mac did make it to the game, after telling reporters a day earlier that he’s going to have to shut it down for a while. That was a pretty quick recovery. The Mavs improved their record to 5-7, but still haven’t been able to capture a win at home in front of their fans. Mavs 96, Rockets 86

*Utah continues to be a consistent and quiet winner. Has there been a more consistent competitive team over the past 15 to 20 years? No way. Richard Jefferson led the Bucks with 25 points, but CJ Miles matched that, and led his team to another win without Deron Williams. Congrats to former No 1 draft pick Andrew Bogut for pulling down 20 boards. If this guy could stay out of foul trouble who knows what his game could look like. But the defense of the Jazz really stepped it up, beating the Bucks on blocks 10-1 (!), 9 blocks coming off the bench by Andre Kirilenko and Paul Millsap. The smothering defense only allowed 18 points in the closing quarter. Carlos Boozer added 20 points and 11 boards, giving the Jazz their 8th win of the season, improving to 8-4. Jazz 105, Bucks 94

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday Breakdown

*Ballerblogger compiles all the links about the LeBron free agency talk. I think it's clear at this point that LeBron is going to leave Cleveland. He says he wants to go wherever he can win the most chips, but he has plenty of time left in his career after 2010. If i was a betting man, i'd bet he would leave Cleveland in a sign and trade, making sure Cleveland gets something in return so the entire city doesn't hate him (will be very interesting).

*NBA players fart too (Via Ball Don't Lie). That's what I call a bench warmer (too easy).

*Julius Hodge, X-NBA player, X-Gun Shot victim, blogging at HoopsHype on the NBA and on a mission to get a championship (albeit in Australia).

*Dime Mag giving us a list of the best Finals MVP performances. Second one down takes the cake, of course. Sheesh, what a line from Michael.

*Staying with Dime, McNabb playing hoops for Cuse!

*TrueHoop breakin down the 'many faces of Derrick Rose.'

Wednesday Wake n Break

Apologies to my followers for not posting a Wednesday Wake n Break. I was at an event, honoring Bill Tingling for his work on the Words of Bonds project. As Managing Director of Words of Bonds, it was my duty and honor to attend the event and see Bill get the TASC 2008 Excellence Award

Please check out

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Breakdown

Better late than never...some quick hits:

*Lil Weezy, breakin' it deezy at ESPN Magazine.

*Dime Mag, with the latest on the Nets move to Brooklyn (or lack of move).

*, via TrueHoop on Sam Cassell and his unusually large and consistently loud mouth.

*Real GM, bundling Chris Mullin and Monta Ellis into one package.

*Pete Newell passed way. Honestly, no clue who he was, but he was certainly loved because everyone and their grandmothers are writing about how important Pete was to the game, and to each individual. Forum Blue and Gold collected the info for us.

*Last but not least, Ball Don't Lie giving us...

5 Year Old Girl Basketball Star - Basketball Training

Tuesday Wake n Break

*It was a tight first half in Oklahoma City, where the Rockets and Thunder tied the score 19 times. The Rockets took a small lead into the half, 56-50, led by Luis Scola with 15 and Yao Ming filling up the box score with 8 points, 5 boards, 2 assists and 2 early blocks. Major blow #1 for the rockets came in the second quarter when T-Mac seemed to maybe re-injure his surgically repaired knee. The second half was more of the same. For the Thunder, Russell Westbrook is really playing well, and stealing some of Earl Watson’s minutes/responsibility. Watson played only 25 minutes, going 1-8, finishing with as many turnovers as points; 3 (ouch). Major blow #2 came as the game was winding down, when Ron Artest turned his ankle while driving to the hoop. Hopefully both T-Mac and Ron Ron recover quickly. Wins often speed up the process. Rockets 100, Thunder 89

*Amare Stoudamire had 15 points in the first half, and Phoenix led early on in Utah. The second half, the Jazz really stepped it up, and it was the rebounding and bench play that won it for them. The Jazz out-rebounded the Suns 47-26. Add to that the fact that the Jazz bench outscored the Suns bench 59-16 (!), and that’ll give you a win. Total team effort by the Jazz who had 6 players in double digits (4 of which came of the bench). Phoenix was a little slow coming off of the big win against Detroit, but that isn’t the worst excuse of the night. The worst excuse of the night goes to Steve Nash who says, “They’re a good running team at home and we’re not really a running team at the moment.” Yea, ok. Jazz 109, Suns 97

*Wasn’t a pretty game in Clipperdom last night, but that’s how the Spurs like it. If you limit the possessions, it really gives the advantage to San Antonio, since their defense and system is more mature than what the Clippers have right now (or maybe ever). The Spurs had an 11 point lead in the fourth, that was slowly being chipped at and then got tied on a big Cuttino Mobley 3-pointer. Tim Duncan had the big numbers, going for 20 points, 15 boards, and holding down the D with 6 blocks (!). But the real man of the night was Roger Mason Jr, getting 21, but no points more important that a 3-pointer to take the lead and win the game, only giving Baron Davis enough time to throw up a brick at the buzzer. Spurs 86, Clips 83

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Breakdown

*As usual, the Mondaily Power Rankings, both and has Cleveland as #1, much to the distaste of LA and Bostonites. rankings generally fluctuate a lot more, and that holds true this week as well. At, it's the bottom of the rankings that are a little surprising, with the Bucks making it to 17th in the league (no idea why), and the Nets moving up to 19th, after 3 brilliant Devin Harris 30 pointers in a row. An interesting note on OJ Mayo, Mayo's 210 points in his first 10 NBA games can be beat by only two active players: Shaq (238) and AI (224).

Forum Blue and Gold, telling Phil Jackson, it's time to change the mix.

*The circus is in town, so the Bulls are on the road. Blog-a-Bull's got some issues going into the tough road trip, especially the play of the bigs.

*InsideHoops with an exclusive Richard Jefferson interview. Not really sure why they made that move, considering the already have a pretty good wing man in Michael Redd, and clearly some front court issues. He was confused too, and wasn't too excited about leaving. Now, RJ's saying he was just homesick.

*Exclusive interviews with Randy Foye and Randy Wittman on HoopsHype. Props to them for asking the tough questions! Randy's been battling for more minutes, but he definitely says the right thing when talking about Wittman being in the hot seat.

*That Devin Harris for JKidd trade is looking pretty good for the Nets right now. Granted, they're still a free agent signing in 2010 to compete, but Harris is playing out of his mind right now. Three, 30 point games in a row...? Low turnovers, great %'s (especially free throws), moving the ball around, and court leadership. Dime Magazine says the Mavs would be better if they had Harris.

*Staying with Dime. I couldn't help myself but post this. (Not safe the for more traditional working environments). Huge Bobcats fan here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Breakin' Down the Fantasy Week

No 2-gamers or 5-gamers this week. Most teams have 3 games this week. The teams that have 4 are: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, LA, LA, Milkuakee, OKC, Portland, Sactown, Toronto, Utah and Washington.

Notes from around the league:

*Jason Richardson had a minor procedure that should keep him out this week.

*Michael Redd, Al Harrington, Shawn Marion (who did play yesterday), and Deron Williams are all considered Day-2-Day, so start at your own risk.

*Anderson Varejao has been getting a lot of minutes, but with Z and Big Ben both playing well, all three are sharing the Fantasy love.

*In Detroit, Tashawn Prince is playing a lot of the point-forward and that has increased his assist totals, and also averaging one 3-pointer a game.

*Because of the injuries to Manu and Tony Parker, George Hill and Roger Mason are both playing a lot of minutes.

*With Mike Dunleavy still out, the production has come from Marquis Daniels. He's very inconsistent, so it's a roll of the dice.

*Mo Evans and Marvin Williams are both getting increased minutes with Josh Smith out. Both are performing well and valuable in deep leagues.

*Rafer Alson was in danger of losing his job before the suspension. Now Aaron Brooks is starting 2 games, and has been playing well all season. Position battle to keep your eye on.

*In OKC, Russell Westbrook is playing a very mature game for his age. I suspect they'll give him a lot of run and let him learn, being the prospective point guard for that team in the future. That means good stats for the most part, but low FG% and high TO.

*No one really stepped up to take the center spot in Washington, so JaVale McGee's recent play has definitely earned him some run. Has been very good with FG% and Blocks, for his obvious gravity-defying abilities.

*Robin Lopez has taking the starting spot from Josh Boone while Boone is injured. After one spectacular game, he had a less than mediocre one.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Weekend Breakdown

A few links to get you by for the weekend:

*The people of Philadelphia just aren't feeling this team, reports SLAM online. They needed to get off to a hot start, and win the town over with the Elton Brand signing, but it didn't happen. They're looking to do okay, but Philadelphia was expecting more. After all, the focus for the fans went to Elton Brand, who isn't exactly up there with Allen Iverson on the excitement chart. Andre Iguodala was getting there, but he's been bashful this season, trying to fit in around Brand.

* breaks down the poor shooting of Allen Iverson. Last night was an exception, where he shot the ball abnormally well, and it lead to a victory of the undefeated Lakers. But this doesn't happen often on Iverson teams. What usually happens is Iverson is the center of the offense, and he forces the defense to get out of position, by using his speed to create chaos. That's how an "Iverson team" functions on offesnse, and either he doesn't understand Detroit doesn't' work like that, or Detroit is slowly adapting to play with Allen. It looks like a mix of both right now, with AI able to finish some plays, and also AI running frantic confusing the defense.

* nominates Jerry Sloan for President in 2012.

* blaming the Southwest Division for the Western Conference's fall from superiority. This is why you don't' change the seeding format when all of a sudden one conference is much better than the other. It will eventually balance out, since that makes some really good players want to play in a weaker conference, or Eastern teams making trades for stronger guys since the competition is weaker than normal.

*An article by Andrew Katz of Dime, detailing the sob sessions of Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton when they found out of the trade. I dunno, I just don't agree with NBA players letting everyone know about crying with another guy. I'm not saying don't do it, but damn, keep that close to the chest. Ya wussies.

*Another 'Garbage Time All-Stars' Comic Strip for Ball Don't Lie. This time with a clever comparison of Glibert Arenas and Josh Childress. Stillllll don't' think a big name player wouldn't enjoy more money, an easier schedule, and being the superstar of European basketball??

*TrueHoop writes about an interview with Shaquille O'Neal where he says with conviction that Phil Jackson was the mastermind between the Kobe/Shaq feuds that led to 3 championships. Makes sense I guess. Why didn't Phil, with his zen-like, peace making ways, put Kobe and Shaq in the same room and work it out? Not one time? Interesting...

*Last but certainly not least, a few super high quality links all from ex-NBA Coach Eric Musselman's blog. Making sure players know their roles. Holding every player to the same standard. Keys to offensive officiency, and using the Utah Jazz as the example.

Live From The Garden: Knicks -v- Thunder

Pretty empty walking into the Garden tonight. The New York fans can't be fooled, or teased that easily. We'll need some wins against some good teams, before getting our hopes up. So far, it's just been B-List teams we've beaten, and decent teams we've lost to. Sixers had some serious troubles, the Spurs were without TP and Manu, and Milwaukee just isn't that great of a team. So don't blame us for being pessimistic, we're just not convinced yet.

It was interesting and new to see the word "Thunder" on the scoreboard, as opposed boring and old PJ Carlesimo on the sidlines for Oklahoma City. The game started off frantic, the Knicks running up the court, and just draining shots. With 4 minutes left in the first quarter, the Knicks were already at 25 points. Zach Randolph got two quick fouls, both stupid fouls he shoud have avoided (illegal screens). That didn't stop the Knicks from finishing the first quarter with 37 points (wow), to the Thunder's 20.

The second quarter was more of the same, and the Knicks finished the first half leading by 24 points, 68-44. Nate Robinson was a huge lift off the bench, which seams to be the standard in New York, and had 13 points, 3 boards and 2 assists.

The last time I saw the Knicks with a big lead at the half, they stopped playing part of the third and fourth, and barely won in the end (Opening day against the Heat). That kind of momentum led to butt whoopings by the Sixers and Bucks. Unfortunately, much of the same happened tonight. The Knicks didn't keep the pressure on, got complacent, and let the Thunder back into the game, allowing 33 (!) points in the third quarter, and 29 in the fourth. The #4 pick in the 2008 draft, Rookie Russell Westbrook, was super impressive tonight, finishing with 19 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, on 50% FG and 6-7 Free Throw. He's got some good size, court vision, and can finish at the basket, so that should translate into a solid NBA point guard. The Thunder got the lead down to 7, but Jamal Crawford went one-on-one a few times in the row, sealing the deal.
Knicks 116, Thunder 106

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Wake n Break

*The new-look Nuggets went to Cleveland to face King James in his court. It was a high scoring first half, with a few thunderous dunks, mostly by LeBron, and one by Nene. Early in the second, the Cavs got some productive minutes from JJ Hickson. They were feeding him in the post, and it looks like this kid might have some game. At the end of the half it was Chauncey with the big stats, going 7/8 for from the field for 18, and for the Cavs, Mo Williams, his buddy in ‘real life’, with 16. The Cavs built a ton of momentum going in the fourth quarter, with a Boobie Gibson 3 pointer, and a long LeBron jumpshot in the final second of play. The Cavs bench held it down, and LeBron was able to get a long rest for the start of the fourth, only coming into the game with 4:30 remaining, and obviously a ton of energy. It didn’t matter much though, because the Nuggets just went cold in the fourth, concluding with Kenyon Martin acting like an idiot, throwing elbows around, and getting tossed. Cavs 110, Nuggets 99

*Dallas started the game strong, taking a 19-point lead. The Chicago crowd grew frustrated fast, and started boo’ing heavily. However, apparently that was all the gas Dallas had in the tank, because they didn’t do much after that. Larry Hughes made his presence felt immediately, with a key 3-pointer and steal, that started a 10-0 run, extended a lead for the Bulls. Ben Gordon’s shot was on tonight, and when his shot is on, they’re tough to beat. Benny G scored 35 pointes overall, going 12-21 from the field and 8-9 from the charity stripe. This is the fourth loss in a row for the Mavs, and that is sure to stir up some commotion in Cubanland. It already began, after the game: "It's disappointing. We desperately need a win. "I'm just surprised at our lack of fight. I don't know how else to put it."- Maverick’s Coach, Rick Carlisle Bulls 98, Mavs 91

*It wasn’t a pretty game in Golden State, with both teams combining for 33 turnovers, but it was a fun one. The first half ended with Biedrens already in a double double (he’s had one in every game thus far), and the Warriors had a 7 point lead at the half. Sheed and Ivo look like they’re having a good time together, especially when watching the interview with John Thompson on Inside the NBA, but it’s not translating into success on the court. The third quarter came around, and the Pistons started off from behind. But that’s when AI turned it up and gave Detroit a lead. Golden State didn’t stay down long, and took back lead after Rasheed Wallace tipped in a basket into his own bucket, and missed two crucial free throws. As usual, Rasheed lost his cool, but as usual, Rasheed took that energy and put it into two shots from deep, and a dunk to seal the deal. The win doesn’t change the fact that the Pistons don’t look good on the court, a majority of the time. The Pistons are used to slowing the game down a bit, and running sets on offense, but with AI, he causes chaos with the rock (which usually leads to good things). If and when they get on the same page, this team will be scary. But I’d put my money on ‘the when’ being too late to compete for a chip. Pistons 107, Warriors 102

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday Breakdown

*Looks like we have a favorite to be the next Lakers coach after Action Phil Jackson's had enough. It couldn't be a better choice, either. LA Times caught up with Byron Scott and he can't help but want that job. The guy has winner written all over him. The teams he took to the Finals in New Jersey definitely over-achieved. The Hornets are up and running immediately, contending for a title. His players love him, the Princeton offense is risk-free, he focuses on defense and never gets flustered. This guy is good, and he's going to be a coach in this league for a very long time.

*Greg Oden, on his blog about playing his first full game. So far his blog is very similar to his game on the court. Not impressive, and boring. This guy is a prime prospect for "we'll be talking about upside" the rest of his career. I honestly hope that doesn't happen, since he seems like a high-character player, but it's looking that way early on.

*Donnie Walsh is not getting enough heat about this Gallinari pick. Sixth pick in the draft, and we got a guy, who New York Post reports, might be done for the season. We passed up on guys like sharp-shooter Eric Gordon, D.J. Augustine (who Michael Jordan signed to his clothing company and clearly is going to replace Felton in the starting lineup) and two, I repeat, two 7-Footers with great hands who block shots, in the Lopez brothers. Donnie, yous got some splainin to do.

*Gilbert Arenas couldn't come up with something better than this for his Obama tattoo? Weak dude. I swear, to me it looks like, "In Between We Change." No?? Even if it's the other way. Change. We believe in? Thanks Yoda.

*Some really inspirational stuff from Jamal Crawford on his blog about the tough times, and how sweet it is to have some fun, win some games. You can tell he was super excited to get back to the blog to share that with his fans. Also talks about "Coach D," and a Stephon Marbury story of old.

*Saw this on TrueHoop, comparing the Ego's of Michael Jordan and PE Obama. Sheesh; guy has some rocks.

"Obama, who is not without an ego, regarded himself as just as gifted as his top strategists in the art and practice of politics. Patrick Gaspard, the campaign's political director, said that when, in early 2007, he interviewed for a job with Obama and Plouffe, Obama said that he liked being surrounded by people who expressed strong opinions, but he also said, 'I think that I'm a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that I'm gonna think I'm a better political director than my political director.' After Obama's first debate with McCain, on September 26th, Gaspard sent him an e-mail. 'You are more clutch than Michael Jordan,' he wrote. Obama replied, 'Just give me the ball.'"

*Also from TrueHoop, the following video for my fellow Knickerbocker fans:

Charlie Rose - A Conversation with Mike D'Antoni

Are you SURE it's a contest?

Brought to you by the Kung Fu Balla, D.A.

con·test n. 1. A struggle for superiority or victory between rivals

If there is one thing I don't understand about the NBA, it's how all the diva NBA players in their heads think they are the best dunkers in the NBA, but for some reason they won't have a show-down in the NBA slam dunk contest.

The contest used to be exactly what it states, a contest, the goal of which was to be the called the best dunker in the NBA. Dominique Wilkins participated in 5 of them, Shawn Kemp did 4 of them, and Jordan did 3 of them.

The three best dunkers in the NBA today, Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James have competed in a total of 2 contests. Who knows their reasons; injury risk, wanting to give younger guys a chance, too scared of losing. Regardless, they need to overcome these reasons while they are all still in their prime and put on a show for NBA fans.

Today, the contest is pointless; the participants don't act like they care. How could they care with Kobe sitting on the sidelines at the NBA all star game? The contestants all know that Kobe could take a ball, while wearing his suit and holding his video camera, and do 360 windmill dunk that would instantly proclaim him slam dunk champion.

Kobe, Vince, Lebron--grow up and get over your fear of looking stupid on national TV. Put on the contest that will go down in history. Do it now, because in a few years your dunks won't be as good, and you'll just be a retired player on the sidelines talking about how you thought you were the best dunker of your era.

Here's a few oldie but goodies for your enjoyment:

Thursday Wake n Break

Thanks to Smuve J for helping out with this morning's Wake n Break!

*The 76ers ended their 3-game slide tonight behind the leadership of Elton Brand. He scored a season-high 25 with 8 boards and 3 blocks. From the beginning of the game the 6ers set a tone, scoring 26 and allowing only 13 in the first quarter. The Raptors came back in the second with 32, but by the 4th this game was pretty much over. The Andre bros. both scored 18. Chris Bosh was exceptional with 30 and 12, while Jermaine O'Neal added 19 and 11. Jose Calderon injured his hamstring, and was a non-factor. Hope to see more games frmo Brand like this one. Philadelphia 106, Toronto 96

*The Hawks finally got L #1. Their first L this year, came at the hands of their final L last year. Again, it was another dramatic loss, with Paul Pierce nailing a long 2 at the buzzer. The big-3 in Boston had fairly solid games, while Pierce had 34, obviously his most importtant bucket at the end, sending the Hawks home with the Boston crowd going nuts. Al Horford couldn't replicate his last night's performance against KG and co, but the Hawks received major contributions off the bench from Maurice Evans and Flip Murray, scoring 13 and 14 points respectively. Both teams now have 1 loss and each time they play, we're sure to get an exciting matchup. Boston 103, Atlanta 102

*Vince Carter stopped crying long enough to score a game-high 28. This was all to no avail, though is was a superb individual performance. A great team always beats a great individual. The Pacers had 6 players in double-figures, with TJ Ford really taking advantage of Devin Harris in street clothes, going for 18 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds and 3 steals. Inidiana got their 3rd win in a row, handing the Nets their 5th loss. Indiana 98, New Jersey 87

*The Lakers remain the only undefeated team in the league. The rest of the NBA should be extremely worried. The Lakers made it to the Finals last season, and now Bynum is healthy and Odom is coming off the bench! This is a much better team than last years, and they obviously are hungry. It's not like they were playing the Thunder. This is the Hornets, and a team who many call a contender for the Finals. Yes, the Lakers never trailed at any point. The Hornets only scored 30 points in the first half, only to step it up big time in teh fourth (32 points) but by then it was too late. The Lakers balanced their attacked, 5 players scored in double-digits with Kobe and D-Fish leading the way with 20 each. CP3 put his team on his back again, scoring 30, dishing 13 and pulling down 7. Lakers win in extremely convincing fashion, leading by as much as 23. LA Lakers 93, New Orleans 86

*Miami and Portland are two young teams with a lot of talent. Brandon Roy is a very talented player, but he isn't D-Wade. Youth often means inexperience, and the Heat showed that with a season-high 17 turnovers. Wade continues his prolific scoring streak putting up 36, many of his points coming as the team needed them in the 4th. Only problem is that the Blazers were a little better, with Rudy Fernandez coming off the bench and scoring 25. Rudy hit a beautiful spin move jump shot to spread the lead, only to be followed by a D.Wade dunk like i've never seen from him. This was very LeBron-like, dunking it on 3 Blazer players (!). However, when they got to the other side of the court, Steve Blake nailed a 3 to finsih it up. Oh, and there was a Greg Oden sighting, and he didn't get hurt, but he also wasn't very productive pulling down 2 boards and getting his first 3 points in the league. Portland 104, Miami 96

*This is going to be an extremely difficult season for the Spurs. Manu and Parker are out, and there is nobody who can score the basketball. The Spurs started out well, scoring 43 and allowing 31 in the first half. But the tale of the tape is always what happens down the stretch. They only scored 35 in the second half while the Bucks picked up the pace, scoring 51. Timmy and Michael Finley did all they could, scoring 24 and 19 respectively, but you are not going to beat many teams scoring only 18, 16 and 19 in each quarter as a team. Richard Jefferson lead the Bucks with 19. Milwaukee 82, Spurs 78

*With the games that Bosh and Brand had, you wouldnt' think someone else would trump them in such a ridiculous fashion. Dwight Howard got his first triple-double of is career tonight, but not the way you are thinking. Howard had 30 points, 19 rebounds and 10 blocks (!!!). Can someone please call animal control and tell the that a monster is on the loose? Howard's monster night didn't stop the Magic from sharing the ball, with every starter scoring in double-figures. Jeff Green led the Thunder with 25. They went down, didn't have a chance since their best player was in street clothes, nursing a sore left ankle. Magic 109, Thunder 92

*Let's congratulate the Wizards, they finally got their first win of the season against a very stubborn Jazz team. Caron and Twan were two major reasons the Wiz pulled this one out, but the contributions of rookie JaVale McGee could not be overlooked. He scored 13 while pulling down 11 and blocking 3. McGee also made it extremely difficult for Carlos Boozer to do anything. This was a close one throughout, but Juan Dixon and Twan hit big 3's late in the game to seal it for the Wiz. Washington 95, Utah 87

*The Knicks accomplished a feat last night that they have never done in the history of the franchise, make 19 3's. This lead to the team scoring 132, with Chandler and Crawford combining for 52. The Knicks shot 59% from the field, and 56% from 3-point land (!!). Add to that the fact that they went 100% from the free throw line, and tis might be the best shooting game I've seen in a decade. Nasty Nate went 8 for 8, and 5 for 5 from the stripe. Wilson Chandler was under the weather, but still managed to go 11 for 12 and put up 27. It would have been even better if the game was in the Garden, the TRUE Knick fans deserved to see this in person. The Grizz got good games from Gay Rudy, Miracle Whip and the other Gasol, but no one could stop that scoring spree. New York 132, Memphis 103

*When the Clippers put it all together, they will be a really good team. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be anytime soon. Beno Udrih exploded tonight, finally getting into the swing of things after missing training camp, and finally earning some of that contract he signed. He had 30 points, and only 1 turnover, and no Kevin Martin to help with the scoring. Al Thornton had 20 for the Clips, and BD had some good stats, but went 4-15 from the field, making it tough for the Clips to stay in the game. Is all okay in Clipland? Reports of B. Diddy and Big Dunleavy not being on the same page are floating around. Good ol' Hollywood drama. Sacramento 103, LA Clippers 98

*I wonder how long Terry Porter (or Steve Kerr) is going to last in Phoenix. They're not doing too poorly, but a coach needs to utilize the strengths of their team. This is not a defensive team. A team with Steve Nash will never be a defensive team. Unfortunately for the Suns, they played one of the better defensive teams in the league in the Rockets. They were in control for the whole game, led by T-Mac with 27. Congrats to Shaq, who passes Steve Havlicek on the all-time scoring list. There was a mini-brawl at the end of the 3rd quarter, almost got very ugly. Matt Barnes put a forearm shiver into Rafer Alston while he was setting a pick, leading to a T-Mac 3. Alston did not appreciate that and the madness ensued. Both Barnes and Alston were ejected from the game. The Suns wish that everyone on the Rockets could get thrown out, then maybe they could have had a chance. Rockets 94, Suns 82

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday Breakdown

*Basketball Prospectus digs deep into Ron Artest. Breakin' down his offense, defense, and more.

*The long-awaited Power Rankings, by John Hollinger, who I guess is some sort of Math genius on the side. Inventor of the PER rating. While most power rankings are a matter of opinion, John takes any and all opinion out, leaving it up to the numbers. A few things jump out, one especially, that the Knicks are ranked 25th and there are 9 teams, with worse records (!), ranked ahead of them. You can say, well, that's why the stats don't mean anything. Or you can say, well, that's why those close wins and no defense don't mean much in the long run.

*A bunch of fantastic finds on True Hoop, including some funny math, where Kill + Mode = Cheese (?) and Baron Davis, Chris Bosh...doing skits. Okayyy. Little too much time on your hands fellas. Well, for CB, I guess keep doing what your doing, cause it's working. Total beast this year. MVP material and stats. Too bad he's north of the border, or he could have a chance of winning it.

*The fact that LeBron James jumped from (almost) the free throw line last night, made it look so easy, and no one is talking about it, is beyond me. Ball Don't Lie has the super slow motion for ya.

*Staying with Ball Don't Lie, an exclusive Interview with Brandon Roy.

*Last but not least, HOW THE HELL DID STEPHON MARBURY MAKE IT TO THE ALL-STAR BALLOT?? This leads me to ask, did anyone proofread this? I mean, come on. No one read it after some computer auto-generated it and said, "Maybe Steph shouldn't be on here?"

What do you guys think? Any other weird inclusions, or even better, who got snubbed from the ballot??

Wednesday Wake n Break

*The Knicks tried to make it 3 in a row, going 5-2 overall, but couldn’t pull it out against the Spurs in San Antonio. It wasn’t a pretty game, with both teams struggling to create offense in the first half, the score was 41-38. Jamal Crawford picked things up, going 6-8 from downtown, and David Lee finally saw some light in D’Antoni’s offense getting 15 points. Crawford’s scoring spree, and D.Lee’s flurry late in the game, still wasn’t enough to stop a Spurs team struggling to find an identity after losing Tony Parker to injury. Roger Mason was having difficulty leading the offense, and had to force himself to shoot the ball instead of running off the ball to catch and shoot. However, the elder statesmen, Bruce Bowen and Mike Finley stepped it up in the fourth and hit some key buckets. The big story was the Spurs defense in the fourth, not allowing the Knicks to score until 5:02 into the quarter. Spurs 92, Knicks 80

*Denver is undefeated since they picked up Chauncey (3-0). You can see they are distributing the ball more efficiently, by looking at how spread out the scoring was, with five guys in double figures (and one assist to Nene that shook the stadium). None of the five to score 10 or more was JR Smith. What happened to this guy? He was supposed to explode in the absence of Iverson, but for the third game, a very poor outing. Tonight he had his worst game, getting 3 points on 7 shots. Charlotte is finally getting some production from the third pick of the 2006 draft, A-Mo (formally known as Adam Morrison). His 16 points, and Jason Richardson’s 27, wasn’t enough to get a win in Charlotte against the up and coming Nuggets. Nuggets 88, Bobcats 80

*The Atlanta Hawks are 6-0! Only two undefeated teams left, the Hawks and Lakers. Is that a finals prediction for anyone?? The Hawks did it again tonight, this time without leading shot blocker, and defensive animal Josh Smith. But that was okay, since Al Horford, who many say should have won the Rookie of the Year award last year, stepped it up big time with 27 points, 17 boards, and 6 blocks! Joe Johnson wasn’t feeling it tonight, going 4 for 16, but Mike Bibby and Mo Evans took care of it, hitting 14 of 27 shots, netting 49 between the two of them. Now that Drew Gooden is out, the Bulls front court is once again a total mess. I’m still mad that John Paxson didn’t sell high on some of the assets he had, when he had a chance for KG or maybe even Kobe. Hawks 113, Bulls 108

*In 3 of the last 4 games, LeBron James has scored 41 points (!). LeBron hit another 3 pointer, and hit 8 of 10 foul shots, shutting up the critics who said those flaws in his game are hindering his superstar success. This was also Mo Williams first time playing his old team, and he enjoyed the win even more so because of it. At the interview after the game, LeBron says, “It doesn’t matter. It’s just one of those nights, again, whenever I get the ball, wherever I get the ball, it’s gonna go in. When I’m in the zone like that; no matter where I catch it.” Damn, that’s gangster. Cavs 99, Bucks 93

*The featured game on NBAtv tonight was Lakers vs. Mavericks in Dallas, where Kobe has been known to go off for crazy amounts of points. Only now, you can see Kobe is reserving himself, making sure he defers to his teammates and gets them involved throughout the game. It seemed as though the Mavs had good control over this game, but when the fourth quarter came, it turned into Lakers domination and they went +10 for the fourth. JKidd done did it again, with Triple-Double #101 (wow). But as usual, in a big game, it was Dirk disappearing again, finishing with 14 points on 5 for 17 shooting. Gerald Green looked great tonight, but was in and out of the game due to a bloody lip, and some foul trouble. If he stayed in, and continued playing like he did in the first, the outcome could have been different. He played some great D on Kobe, and hit a few shots that looked promising for this traveling NBA player. Lakers 106, Mavs 90

*I’m definitely worried about the Sixers. They had a huge game from Andre Miller, EB got 6 blocks, but once again the Sixers fell short, and by a lot. Elton Brand still hasn’t gotten into offensive rhythm, and I don’t see it happening until they get some shooters around him. It might not have mattered anyway, since the Jazz were playing great without Deron Williams, and now they have him back. He didn’t do much scoring-wise, but helped the team with 9 assists in limited (31) minutes. Kirilenko and Milsap came up big off the bench, each getting 16 points on great %’s (14-20), and outscoring the Sixers bench 38-12 (!). Jazz 93, Sixers 80

*It didn’t take long for AI to get back into true warrior form. He showed why pound-for-pound he is still the best player in the league (maybe best ever), scoring 30 with 9 dimes and 7 boards. Sacramento was without their leading scorer Kevin Martin, but still took the early lead, scoring 31 in the first quarter against Detroit’s 18. But in typical Detroit fashion, they stepped it up in the fourth quarter and outscored the Kings 25 to 15. T-Prince had a active game adding 27 and 11. Rip struggle most of the game, shooting 4-16, but finished with 17 and 4. Sacramento had a overall good game from every player, Spencer Hawes led the team in scoring off the bench with 19 and 6, and Jason Thomspon another strong rookie outing, getting 15 and 9 as a starter. Detroit improves to 5-2 getting their first win with AI, but they’ll have to beat a team better than the Kings without their best player, in order to stop the early criticism. Pistons 100, Kings 92

*This was a Don Nelson type of game, high-scoring with very little regard for defense. But sometimes your best defense is a good offense! Al Jefferson showed some defensive pride last night, getting 4 blocks to add to his 25 points and 12 boards. Someone invited Ronny Turiaf to the block party, and he got 3 of his own. This game came down to the last minutes, with the Warriors coming from behind to make things interesting. With 7 minutes left in the game the Wolves had a 10 point lead, but that wasn’t enough. The Warriors came back and tied the game 106-106 with .22 seconds left in the game to take the Wolves to overtime. The extra period belonged to Stephen Jackson, scoring 6 of his 30 points in OT, while the Wolves couldn’t get at bucket until 1:05 left in the game. The Warriors win while the Wolves continue their slide and make it 6 losses in a row after their promising opening day win. The Wolves are having some serious lineup issues, not sure who should be starting or sitting, and tonight only made it more complex with the bench outscoring their starters to 61-49 (!). Warriors 113, T-Wolves 110