Monday, May 30, 2005

Superstitious, Anyone?

"Where's my number three?"
Baseball is a funny game. I've been meaning to break up the string of posts focusing on baseball and today's Sox-Yankees game gave me the perfect excuse.

Now, before you scream, "Not Sox and Yanks!" know that I mean to go in a completely different direction. Something like "Brewer's young pitching staff" or "Don't look now, but Junior Griffey has driven in 24 runs this month." But alas, the best story came from the best rivalry. Coincidence? Probably not.

To read more, click on the "Superstitious, Anyone?" link on the right side of the page.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Best "Worst Thing for the NBA"

OK, enough already with the Suns lovefest. It's hard to turn on ESPN or visit a sports website without hearing about how it would be much better for the league if the Suns were going to make the finals instead of the Spurs. The common thinking is that the Suns are much more exciting to watch. I take issue with this entire argument.

First, what about the interest in having the best team in the Finals? Clearly, the Spurs play much better and more efficient basketball than the Suns. More importantly, the Spurs play a much more fundamentally sound game. If you want to watch a sort of acrobatic, run-the-floor ball with no defensive effort that makes a mockery of true basketball, you can just watch Streetball on ESPN2. The Spurs play the game the way it should be played, and it sends a much better message to youngsters out there that if you want to win, you need to be able to buckle down on D and focus on the little, basic aspects of the game. It may be more exciting, but in the end, run-n-gun with little discipline just doesn't win championships. Hopefully, this will sink in, and little kids will practice boxing out instead of dribbling the ball with their knees.

Beyond the interest in teaching the right lessons, what about the interest in having a team in the Finals that stars two international players (Duncan's not international, both people in the Virgin Islands are watching anyway). While Europe is already coming down with bad case of basketball fever, the outbreak has yet to reach Latin America. Manu is becoming a huge draw down there, though. Case in point: last night I was with a buddy whose uncle is from Argentina. He said that his uncle doesn't really know anything about basketball, but loves Manu and watches all his games down there. This is exactly what the NBA needs to help grow its product in Latin America, and an appearance by the best Latin American player in the league championships can only help improve the NBA's popularity in a potentially huge market.

Finally, why are the Spurs getting dumped on so much while everybody sweats the Pistons? Is their game prettier than the Spurs'? Certainly not. I'm not claiming the Spurs play pretty ball, but they play good, sound basketball, and serve as a reminder that fundamentals beat out glitz in the end.

Friday, May 27, 2005

When You Assume ...

Larry Brown could
cost the Pistons
a repeat title
We all know how the rest of the phrase goes. For some reason, the experts and pundits are all giving the next two games of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Pistons. Yes, assuming that Detroit will win their home games without even breaking a sweat. Am I missing something, or is this series far from over?

To read more on the Heat-Pistons series, click on the "When You Assume" link on the right side of the page.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Answer Man

Can he keep it up
in the road blacks?
A week ago, the D-Wade bandwagon was filled to capacity. Yesterday, people were breaking their ankles jumping off the train. The same ESPN writer who stated that Wade was better than LeBron wrote about how overhyped the Heat guard had become. My boys on PTI stated that he was no match for the Pistons' D. People were claiming the series was over. To call the media fickle would be the understatement of the century.

For more on this subject, click on the link titled "The Answer Man" on the right side of the page.

Monday, May 23, 2005

All Eyes On Shaq

The world's most valuable thigh
The Miami-Detroit series is moments away from tipoff and all eyes are on Shaquille O'Neal and his freakishly injured thigh. I was watching the game when he was dinged up at the end of the season and I never saw this coming. What looked like a bruise is now some weird blood calcification. When you see Craig Sager holding up the syringe from Requiem For A Dream and talking about pulling 100 cc's of blood out of his muscle ... yikes. If you believe the experts, Shaq needs to play great for Miami to win. That doesn't look likely.

Consider this Eastern Conference Finals central.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Nice D

The human layup drill
Things don't look good for the Suns. Despite the Spurs' obvious flaws (exposed by Seattle) and the supposed Duncan ankle injury, Phoenix got ran off its own court on Sunday. Unless Joe Johnson can get back in the lineup quickly, San Antonio can forget about the fact that Nash can't guard Parker, and Q can hit a few shots, this is going to be ugly.

For all thoughts on Spurs-Suns, click on the comments link.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


The Wily One
It felt wrong covering every other series and neglecting the Sonics and Spurs. Maybe its because this one has never really been in doubt, despite Seattle's valiant homestand over the weekend. The Sonics have too many injuries and the Spurs get too many calls for Seattle to win. Nevertheless, we should still have a place reserved to chat about the happenings of the series. So there you go.

How good is Dwyane Wade?

D-Wade's stock is soaring
Everywhere you look, there's a story about Dwyane Wade, proclaiming him as the best player in the playoffs. Or the best swingman in the game. Or the best player under 25. You get the idea. Wade has taken a great second season to the next level with a string of outstanding playoff performances. But while there is no doubt that he's playing at an amazing level and that he's turned out to be better than anyone (except for me ... no seriously) thought he'd ever be, but is he really THIS good? "The real MVP of the Miami Heat" good? "Better than T-Mac and Kobe" good? "The player that should have been taken #1 instead of LeBron" good?

I say no.

*For the rest of this entry, click on the link "How good is Dwyane Wade?" on the right side of the screen.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Foster: Australian for AWESOME

Air Foster
The 2005 postseason may not feature a more improbable performance than the 15 points, 20 rebounds (10 offensive), 2 blocks, and 2 steals thrown up by Jeff Foster tonight. This is a guy about which I recently said "can't be on the court, ever" if the Pacers wanted to win and the source of an outstanding, "Foster: Australian for terrible" joke that I beat into the ground in short order. And here he is, spurring an incredible upset victory over the defending world champs. Just another example of why you can't count out this Indiana team.

(Consider this entry the thread for all things Pistons-Pacers.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

An MVP Performance

Now there's an MVP
I'll be the first to admit that I doubted the validity of a member of the Suns winning the MVP Award. Despite those 62 wins and all of the exciting basketball, it seemed too hard to pinpoint any one person as being responsible for the success. Now I have to change course. After watching Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals last night, it became obvious that Phoenix may indeed possess the most valuable player in the league. A force so dominant that he creates mismatches on every possession, causes coaches to lose sleep, and makes the game as easy as can be for his teammates. My apologies, city of Phoenix!

It takes a lot for me to admit when I'm wrong, but 40 points and 16 boards will do it. When you see a guy come out the day after the MVP is announced and absolutely dominate the game on both ends of the floor - getting to the line, dunking in traffic, hitting a myriad of 15-footers, jumping over teammates to block shots, and snaring every rebound in sight - you know you are seeing something special. You are seeing a team's franchise player prove to the world why he's the MVP of the league.

Oh wait ... that was Amare Stoudemire, not Steve Nash. My bad.

Monday, May 09, 2005


MVP of the First Round
The first round of the NBA Playoffs are officially in the books and we're down to eight teams. Unfortunately, the entertainment value is about to go way down. With the exception of an exciting Mavs-Suns series, we are probably looking at three blowouts. The Heat are on their way to crushing the Wizards, the Sonics have like four players left to try to prevent a sweep at the hand of the Spurs, and even if the Pacers make it competitive against the Pistons, it's going to be ugly.

That said, I'm still going to talk about it.

*To read the rest of this entry, click on the "comment" link below or the "Semi-Entertaining" link on the right side of the page.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Marred by the Refs

The NBA Playoffs should be entertaining and exhilarating. Well, at least for an NBA fan they should be. Instead, the games are being ruined by absolutely horrific officiating. Seemingly every call is wrong and it feels as if every game is being decided by blown calls. Can't the league find anybody with decent eyesight? The Rockets are now down 3-2 thanks to two ridiculous calls late in the game. The first was a hack by Josh Howard that knocked the ball of T-Mac's fingertips. The refs gave the ball to the Mavs. This NEVER happens. If they didn't want to call a cheap foul, then they just call it out off the fouling player. Horrible call that took the game out of the players' hands. Then tonight, Michael Finley was allowed to strip the ball from Jon Barry (on an eerily similar play to the T-Mac non-foul) while standing squarely out of bounds. It wasn't even close. With Phoenix racking up points and Detroit trying to defend its title and Miami riding Wade and Shaq ... I mean, this should be great. Instead, every game sucks because the refs have no idea what they are doing. Much more of this and I'm boycotting. (Okay, I don't mean that, but you get the idea.)