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I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But... 
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
PeachyPete wrote:
I don't know about you guys, but this is always the most exciting part of the sports year for me. The NBA Playoffs get me all kinds of excited. There's no way around it - I cannot wait for Saturday (and especially Sunday).


It really is just a wonderful time.

PeachyPete wrote:
First things first - the Wizards got the 5 seed! It was probably strategic on Brooklyn's part to tank last night so they could match up with Toronto in the first round, but I'll take it. If we beat Chicago (yes, I know, that's unlikely), we get Indiana in the second round, which is an infinitely better matchup than Miami at this point. I know conventional wisdom would make you think the Wiz would have been better off going against the Raptors, but we were 1-3 against Toronto this year with our only win coming in OT. We were 2-1 against Chicago (although they did blow us out last week). Either way, this guy purchased his ticket for Game 3 last week, the day they went on sale. I'll be at the Verizon Center next Friday screaming my head off. That's exciting even if my squad probably isn't making it out of the first round.


That's spectacular news! We'll all be watching for you. At the very least we can hope for a fight to break out and you can go try to punch Noah in the nuts. I do think the Wiz are much friskier than people think, and the things Noah does well won't disrupt as much as against some teams. Also, the Bulls are built to beat teams like Miami and OKC, and if the Wiz stay balanced on offense, they have a chance. It does feel like Wall has made The Leap, and he can absolutely be the best player on the floor for a few of these games if everything is cooking. You think the Wiz crowd will be good? Best case scenario is obviously to split the first two, but if they're even after 4 games, all pressure is on Chicago. Could get interesting. Washington's unproven and could falter in all ways, but I'm hopeful.

PeachyPete wrote:
I also think Brooklyn's tank job last night had to do with the fact that they don't fear Miami AT ALL. I'm sure Pierce and Garnett have convinced everyone on that team that they're better than Miami, and they did sweep them in the regular season. It's almost like they intentionally are trying to matchup with the Heat. I don't think they'll beat them in a series, but I do think they'll give them a series.


Agreed on all counts. It can't be overstated how much Pierce and Garnett hate Miami. I think they can beat Miami, but it'll probably need to be in 6 if they're gonna do it -- and if they do they might lose the next round anyway, simply because they can't get up for anyone else as much as Miami. Regardless...

PeachyPete wrote:
I think Miami comes out of the East fairly easily at this point.


... I think you are correct in that it'd be really hard to wager on anyone else. That said, if you're anti-Miami, things shaped up perfectly: they get Brooklyn in the 2nd Round, who will tax them mentally, strain the defense, and show everyone how to beat them, even if they don't beat them. Then they get Indy/Chicago, either of which will absolutely beat them up physically even if they take the series in 5 or 6. So they get the mental wear-and-tear followed by the physical, only to face what will be their toughest opponent in the Finals.

Remember last year, when Miami was so, so good, and they still didn't sweep a series? I genuinely thought they'd go fo-fo-fo-fo, and they didn't come close. And they are simply not a better team this year, although Lebron might be better. I didn't know this until the past few days, but the last quarter of this season was the worst win-loss record of any stretch of any quarter-season of Lebron's career. I still think they're the favorite to win it all, especially given that the other favorites (SA and OKC) are teams they have already beaten in the Finals. But it will not be an easy road by any means, and the East will be harder than any they've faced. The biggest issue with this team since Lebron arrived is that they simply don't show up mentally every moment for every game. It nearly (perhaps should have) cost them in the Finals this year. If they try to play in a low gear in any round besides the first (and don't sleep on Charlotte, who will make them work for it), they can get beat, and if I'm a Miami fan I'm very worried that they expend everything before the Finals. Last year was a surprisingly great Finals, but this year I'd be shocked if Miami did anything close to coasting to a title.

Let me be clear: if I have to put all my money on one team? It's Miami no question. But if it's Miami or the field? Gotta say I feel strong about the field. Much as I hate to agree with Danno, the Spurs should have won that series in 6 last year. Miami can't count on those breaks again. Walter Ray and the Birdman are shells of themselves. And crazy as this is to say, they will miss Mike Miller -- they never replaced what he brought and I'm betting they'll regret it. The league still has depth and breadth issues, but things are on the upswing all-around, and Miami, besides Lebron, simply got worse this year.

PeachyPete wrote:
Hopefully the Pacers get their act together because they have the talent and experience to beat them, but I don't see how you could think that would happen at this point.


If the Pacers had not held on to the top spot, I'd be awfully tempted to pick the Bobcats to beat them. They are really, really bad right now, Paul George is apparently a sleazy asshole (seriously, you cheat on the daughter of Doc Rivers? Not smart... that man has sway), and Hibbert is a tool. They just seem to have bought their own hype even though they haven't really done anything. I kindof hate them now.

PeachyPete wrote:
Out West? My word, what an exciting bracket.


It's insane. There was no way the matchups could have been bad, but what we end up with is pretty great -- if Phoenix had gotten the last slot, I'd say every series could be a first-round upset. There's storylines going every direction. The Spurs are a wonder and a joy to watch, but great athleticism and shooting can still run them off their sets and hurt them on the other end, and OKC (obviously) and the Clippers are teams they want no part of, and they might face both. I've been saying for months that the Clippers with a healthy Reddick can beat anyone, and I still believe that. OKC has the MVP, one of the best second and definitely the best third banana in the game. They are a particular nightmare for San Antonio and Miami -- SA, again, because of the athleticism and Miami because Lebron can't guard both stars at the same time. Brooks is still in over his head with this team, but it might not matter. KD might just be too good this year.

PeachyPete wrote:
the Warriors


I agree that they have been a disappointment. You mentioned Bogut, and if he were healthy I think they could have flipped the script in the postseason, but now it's hard to see how that can happen. Curry is one of my three favorite players to watch, no question. And I'm hoping for multiple fights in this series. But it is way less intriguing without the big dude in there, and this has to be considered a regression year for them overall, although Curry definitely took a step up.

The NBA has many issues (starting with the fact that the Suns, not in the playoffs, WOULD BE THE #3 SEED IN THE EAST!!), but man oh man is this an exciting playoff year. This has been a quiet thread this year, but I'm excited to dig into this stuff with you fellas! Now where the hell is Eduardo?


Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:27 pm
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Shade2 wrote:
You think the Wiz crowd will be good? Best case scenario is obviously to split the first two, but if they're even after 4 games, all pressure is on Chicago. Could get interesting. Washington's unproven and could falter in all ways, but I'm hopeful.


Man, I hope so. I think they will be unless we get straight up blown out in Games 1 & 2. I don't see that happening, Chicago being such a defensive team and all. It's our first playoff game in 6 years, so DC better show up for this one. This is a team of likeable guys that seem to genuinely enjoy playing together. I don't see what's not to get behind. Oh yeah, Randy Wittman is one of the worst coaches ever. That's right. I know we won't fire him after making the playoffs, but I sure wish we would. He's abysmal.

I think Ariza has a chance to have a big series if they let Dunleavy guard him. They can only put Butler on one of the Ariza/Beal wings, and Beal's better off the dribble, so I imagine he has to be on him. There's no reason Trevor can't torch Dunleavy. He's been really good this season, and Mike is...slightly challenged defensively. Gortat and Nene should be able to hold their own down low, and if Wall plays well and Ariza does too, I think we have a decent shot. Of course, they could also fold under the pressure, especially with so little playoff experience. Also, Ariza hasn't exactly been great against them this season, so there's that.

Shade2 wrote:
If the Pacers had not held on to the top spot, I'd be awfully tempted to pick the Bobcats to beat them. They are really, really bad right now, Paul George is apparently a sleazy asshole (seriously, you cheat on the daughter of Doc Rivers? Not smart... that man has sway), and Hibbert is a tool. They just seem to have bought their own hype even though they haven't really done anything. I kindof hate them now.


So true. They've gone from an underdog squad everyone was pulling for to a team full a douchebags that are virtually impossible to root for. Like you said, they seem to have bought into their own hype despite not actually accomplishing much of anything in the grand scheme of things. Oh, and they signed Andrew Bynum which is instantly worth -32,587,904,879 karma points.

Shade2 wrote:
OKC has the MVP, one of the best second and definitely the best third banana in the game. They are a particular nightmare for San Antonio and Miami -- SA, again, because of the athleticism and Miami because Lebron can't guard both stars at the same time. Brooks is still in over his head with this team, but it might not matter. KD might just be too good this year.


All of that is why I'm picking them to win it all this year.

For one, I'm with you on your Miami thoughts. I don't see them losing in the East, but you're right - Brooklyn and Indiana/Chicago are going to be 2 tough series both mentally and physically. Miami, assuming they make the Finals, will come in more taxed than they have the past few years, and, as you said, the dropoff in how good they are from last year to this year is fairly significant.

Added to that, the gap between Durant and Lebron, which was very obviously large 2 years ago in the Finals, has closed significantly. Durant's been otherworldly this year, and right now I'm not so sure he isn't straight up better than Bron. Even if you want to take Lebron (perfectly valid, btw), they're equals now. They weren't two years ago. The Wade/Bosh vs. Westbrook/Ibaka debate isn't even a debate anymore. OKC wins in a landslide. Wade and Bosh are both still very good, but those other two guys are better and hungrier. Neither team has a whole lot outside of their stars, but I do think OKC has a slight edge there too. Reggie Jackson is better than anyone coming off of Miami's bench at this point.

Shade2 wrote:
I agree that they have been a disappointment. You mentioned Bogut, and if he were healthy I think they could have flipped the script in the postseason, but now it's hard to see how that can happen. Curry is one of my three favorite players to watch, no question. And I'm hoping for multiple fights in this series. But it is way less intriguing without the big dude in there, and this has to be considered a regression year for them overall, although Curry definitely took a step up.


And Klay already called Blake out publically! It'll still be a good series, but it would take a small miracle for the Warriors to beat them. Still, we know Curry has something up his sleeve (and I agree, so fun to watch), and the Warriors have enough firepower to pull out a few games.

Shade2 wrote:
The NBA has many issues (starting with the fact that the Suns, not in the playoffs, WOULD BE THE #3 SEED IN THE EAST!!), but man oh man is this an exciting playoff year. This has been a quiet thread this year, but I'm excited to dig into this stuff with you fellas! Now where the hell is Eduardo?


The Suns' over/under in Vegas to start the season was 19. 19! They almost won 50 games! Hornacek should win coach of the year, and I truly hope the basketball gods smile upon them and give them a top 3 pick. Great season and they very well could have been the 6 seed if Bledsoe never went down. The question for them is - do you try to move Bledsoe or Dragic with some combination of their slew of first rounders in the draft for someone like Kevin Love? Tough decisions for them this offseason, for sure.

And yeah, Ed needs to get his Trinidadian and Tobagian ass back in here!


Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:30 pm
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
PeachyPete wrote:
I think Ariza has a chance to have a big series if they let Dunleavy guard him. They can only put Butler on one of the Ariza/Beal wings, and Beal's better off the dribble, so I imagine he has to be on him. There's no reason Trevor can't torch Dunleavy.


Forgot about Ariza; that's very true. Just corner 3's from Ariza might be enough, and like you said, he'll smoke Dunleavy if they leave him on him.

PeachyPete wrote:
Oh, and they signed Andrew Bynum which is instantly worth -32,587,904,879 karma points.


Ha. I lolled.

PeachyPete wrote:
All of that is why I'm picking them to win it all this year.

For one, I'm with you on your Miami thoughts. I don't see them losing in the East, but you're right - Brooklyn and Indiana/Chicago are going to be 2 tough series both mentally and physically. Miami, assuming they make the Finals, will come in more taxed than they have the past few years, and, as you said, the dropoff in how good they are from last year to this year is fairly significant.

Added to that, the gap between Durant and Lebron, which was very obviously large 2 years ago in the Finals, has closed significantly. Durant's been otherworldly this year, and right now I'm not so sure he isn't straight up better than Bron. Even if you want to take Lebron (perfectly valid, btw), they're equals now. They weren't two years ago. The Wade/Bosh vs. Westbrook/Ibaka debate isn't even a debate anymore. OKC wins in a landslide. Wade and Bosh are both still very good, but those other two guys are better and hungrier. Neither team has a whole lot outside of their stars, but I do think OKC has a slight edge there too. Reggie Jackson is better than anyone coming off of Miami's bench at this point.


Yep. And although no one will like this, will anyone be surprised if the nearly-40 Derek Fisher has a few big shots? As you said, the OKC big 3 just trounces Miami's 3 at this point, even if you give Bron a big edge (which you really shouldn't right now).

PeachyPete wrote:
The Suns' over/under in Vegas to start the season was 19. 19! They almost won 50 games! Hornacek should win coach of the year, and I truly hope the basketball gods smile upon them and give them a top 3 pick. Great season and they very well could have been the 6 seed if Bledsoe never went down. The question for them is - do you try to move Bledsoe or Dragic with some combination of their slew of first rounders in the draft for someone like Kevin Love? Tough decisions for them this offseason, for sure.


Yep yep yep. RC Buford was on Zach Lowe's podcast this week and made a great point about how the West stays so far ahead: the nearly-playoff teams out West are so much better but often get better draft picks (and often spend them more wisely) than their East counterparts. I agree that The Horny One needs to win Coach of the Year, playoffs notwithstanding. Big questions, as you said, because they did legitimately overachieve. Here's where I again shed a single tear for the nearly-happened deal to send KG from Minny to Phoenix to team with Nash -- obviously I'll take the Boston run, but man oh man would that have been fun. I'm with you on Love, that'd be a great destination for all involved (except for Minny, but things never work out for Minny, so).

Also, I haven't followed non-contenders as much this year, but... did you guys all know that Ricky Rubio is a DPoY candidate this year? I keep reading this and it blows my mind! Don't get me wrong, I like the kid a lot and wish him well, I just didn't know he was thought of that way. Good on him! How is that team not in the playoffs?!?!


Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:56 pm
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
PeachyPete wrote:
The Suns' over/under in Vegas to start the season was 19. 19! They almost won 50 games! Hornacek should win coach of the year, and I truly hope the basketball gods smile upon them and give them a top 3 pick


You know, this might sound crazy, but this is that 0.5% of the time where I think fixing the Draft might be okay. Don't reward the tankers with high picks. The Suns actually gave their season ticket holders something to cheer about this season.

As for Kevin Love, I have to wonder how much of the TWolves' failure to make the playoffs in ANY of his first six seasons is due to shitty management and how much is due to the idea that Love might not be a great leader to build a team around. The numbers are there and then some, sure, but can he make other players better, like LeBron was able to do with limited success in Cleveland? I certainly hope he can because I'd rather my Bulls wait on him than blow things up for Melo. But we have a well-established philosophy and strong coach there. Could you start from the ground-up with Love as your centerpiece?

Shade2 wrote:
I agree that The Horny One needs to win Coach of the Year, playoffs notwithstanding


Ha. I LOLed at this.

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Fri Apr 18, 2014 3:21 pm
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
KWRoss wrote:
You know, this might sound crazy, but this is that 0.5% of the time where I think fixing the Draft might be okay. Don't reward the tankers with high picks. The Suns actually gave their season ticket holders something to cheer about this season.


The draft is always fixed, at least the top 3. Remember when the Cleveland kid won? Simmons has been on this (as have others, probably), but wouldn't it be the least shocking thing for Bucks to get #1 (gotta treat the new owners right), Jazz #2 (Jabari is SLC will be catapulted to superstar status rather quickly, in terms of fame), and #3? The Lakers. Because Kobe/LA.

KWRoss wrote:
As for Kevin Love, I have to wonder how much of the TWolves' failure to make the playoffs in ANY of his first six seasons is due to shitty management and how much is due to the idea that Love might not be a great leader to build a team around. The numbers are there and then some, sure, but can he make other players better, like LeBron was able to do with limited success in Cleveland? I certainly hope he can because I'd rather my Bulls wait on him than blow things up for Melo. But we have a well-established philosophy and strong coach there. Could you start from the ground-up with Love as your centerpiece?


I don't think you can overrate the fact that they play out West. Not only do they have a record that would be about #4 in the East, they earned that record playing 52 of 82 games against Western foes.

Is Love a centerpiece? That depends on how you define it, I think. He's a top-10 player, I believe, but you need a top-5 guy in this league to legitimately compete for a ring (or be San Antonio... Indy is not a ring contender unless George is playing top-5 level). Love's not quite there, but neither was Dirk at this stage (and Dirk is still better right now... Love's style of play should age very well). I also don't think you can overstate the fact that he's played in Minny, on bad teams, for mostly terrible or disinterested coaches. He does seem tuned out and ready to be gone, but we'll see.


Sat Apr 19, 2014 11:12 am
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Shade2 wrote:
KWRoss wrote:
As for Kevin Love, I have to wonder how much of the TWolves' failure to make the playoffs in ANY of his first six seasons is due to shitty management and how much is due to the idea that Love might not be a great leader to build a team around. The numbers are there and then some, sure, but can he make other players better, like LeBron was able to do with limited success in Cleveland? I certainly hope he can because I'd rather my Bulls wait on him than blow things up for Melo. But we have a well-established philosophy and strong coach there. Could you start from the ground-up with Love as your centerpiece?


I don't think you can overrate the fact that they play out West. Not only do they have a record that would be about #4 in the East, they earned that record playing 52 of 82 games against Western foes.

Is Love a centerpiece? That depends on how you define it, I think. He's a top-10 player, I believe, but you need a top-5 guy in this league to legitimately compete for a ring (or be San Antonio... Indy is not a ring contender unless George is playing top-5 level). Love's not quite there, but neither was Dirk at this stage (and Dirk is still better right now... Love's style of play should age very well). I also don't think you can overstate the fact that he's played in Minny, on bad teams, for mostly terrible or disinterested coaches. He does seem tuned out and ready to be gone, but we'll see.


Love is tough to evaluate because the case for him being a legit superstar or an empty numbers guy can be made convincingly in both directions. I tend to agree with Shade - he's a top 10 guy not quite capable of leading a team to anything big just yet. He's still only 25, so any team who gives him a huge contract whenever he finally forces his way out of Minnesota is not only improving, but getting the prime of a guy who just threw up 26, 12, and 4 a night. He's a good three point shooter (not a great one), but I do feel like he has Rasheed Wallace syndrome a bit. Almost 7 threes a game is way too many for a guy as offensively gifted as him.

It's troubling that he's never had a team make the playoffs, but it's probably fair to say 40-42 out West this year is equivalent to about the 5 or 6 seed in the East. Still, in order to be a good team you have to be able to beat other good teams, so it's fair to criticize. I think it's mostly making a mountain out of a molehill, though. I mean, Minnesota is a terribly run franchise, with bad coaching, and a history of losing. Also: It's Minnesota! No one wants to live there! It's fucking freezing during basketball season!

My biggest criticism of him is that he's sort of the big man version of Harden. His teams are usually excellent offensivly and abysmal defensively. I do think Love cares about defense more than Harden (who doesn't even pretend to try), he's just not very good at it. His incredible rebounding numbers make up for that some (although he's a much better offensive rebounder than defensive one), but the overall numbers show a guy who, even when surrounded by quality defenders, really hurts the overall team defense. With a few more years experience and a better team/coaching situation, I think that's something we'll see largely go by the wayside.

Really, he just needs to get the hell out of Minnesota and play for a more relevant team with a solid front office and coaching staff that can build a team around him that will hide his weaknesses.


Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:29 am
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Thoughts on the playoffs so far?

Really quick, since I just typed a novel about a guy we won't see play for 6 months:

- The Wiz!!!! They can win this series, for sure. I'm not the first to say it, but Chicago has NO ONE they can go to at the end of games. Noah's no-show was legitimately shocking, though. I suspect they grind one out tonight to even the series.

- OKC is in for a real series. People are kind of sleeping on the Grizz. They've been incredible since Gasol came back and they've obviously been really good for the past few years. They're a tough out and not someone I'd want to face in Round 1 if I'm an OKC fan.

- Hated seeing GS roll over last night and be content with the split. They're still in solid shape going forward, but I always hate seeing teams not even try to stick the dagger in. They just completely no-showed last night and it was pathetic.

- The Pacers. Oof. I think they still win the series, but I can't say I'm not starting to get a little excited about the Wiz possible facing them in the next round. At this point, I have a tough time seeing them beating us or the Bulls.

- Josh McRoberts! Sooooo, was he channeling Jesus on Sunday, or The Winter Solider? I can't decide, but that was pretty awesome.

- Aldridge and Lillard. My goodness, fellas.

- Spurs-Mavs is fun, even if Dallas might not win a game.


Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:42 am
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
PeachyPete wrote:
The Wiz!!!! They can win this series, for sure. I'm not the first to say it, but Chicago has NO ONE they can go to at the end of games. Noah's no-show was legitimately shocking, though. I suspect they grind one out tonight to even the series.


Welp, gotta hope that A) Rose comes back next season and conserves his energy a little... okay, a lot, or B) Carmelo takes significantly less money to join the Bulls and have a shot at a title.

PeachyPete wrote:
The Pacers. Oof. I think they still win the series, but I can't say I'm not starting to get a little excited about the Wiz possible facing them in the next round. At this point, I have a tough time seeing them beating us or the Bulls.


Any team should be salivating to face these guys right now. They're the most mentally weak excuse for a 1-seed I've ever seen in my life. How did all this happen, where a solid all-around group of players suddenly develops the yips? Bill Simmons talked about this in his famous Levels of Losing column, calling it "The Goose-Maverick Tailspin," but in that case, he's referring to baseball teams who collapse in the final month of a season.

Roy Hibbert in particular... come on man, you're 7-foot-motherfucking-2! And a multiple-time All-Star!

PeachyPete wrote:
Aldridge and Lillard. My goodness, fellas.


These guys are so money. The sky's the limit for the Blazers. Although they did benefit from a really sketchy call that fouled Dwight Howard out of the game.

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Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:49 pm
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
The Wiz committed felony larceny by winning that game last night. The more I watch this series, the more I realize we're just straight up better than this version of the Bulls. We're now 4-1 against them this season, with the only loss coming without Nene.

Last night mostly highlighted how much Chicago really, really misses Rose (or someone like Melo) to close out games. You can see the makings of a great team there, they just need a superstar to place around those guys. As much as I love my team being up 2-0, I also miss Rose because they'd be a legit threat to Miami with him.

KWRoss wrote:
PeachyPete wrote:
The Pacers. Oof. I think they still win the series, but I can't say I'm not starting to get a little excited about the Wiz possible facing them in the next round. At this point, I have a tough time seeing them beating us or the Bulls.


Any team should be salivating to face these guys right now. They're the most mentally weak excuse for a 1-seed I've ever seen in my life. How did all this happen, where a solid all-around group of players suddenly develops the yips? Bill Simmons talked about this in his famous Levels of Losing column, calling it "The Goose-Maverick Tailspin," but in that case, he's referring to baseball teams who collapse in the final month of a season.

Roy Hibbert in particular... come on man, you're 7-foot-motherfucking-2! And a multiple-time All-Star!


It's really baffling. They pulled away from Atlanta in the second half last night, and maybe that flips the switch for them. Barkley made a few great points about them last night after the Wiz game. He said when George hit that 3 at the end of the third quarter and Indiana's entire bench ran over to him, it showed how not ready they are for the playoffs. As the 1 seed there's no reason to be celebrating an end of quarter 3 against the 8 seed. They should be wiping the floor with an under .500 team, and instead they're tied at a game apiece and heading to Atlanta. He also said (or maybe it was Kenny)they're playing "get out of the first round" basketball, as opposed to championship basketball. And it's true. They just don't look like a team that's ready to play great basketball for the next month and a half.

Also, more the Shade's earlier point about George - he was fantastic last night, and his team won easily. He's right about them being a contender when George is playing at that level. The problem is he's not quite capable of doing it on a nightly basis, and that's what they need.

Serious question that I'm both terrified of and excited by: Can the Wizards make the East Finals? I guess we have to see how the Pacers play over the next few games, but there's no reason we shouldn't win the Bulls series at this point, and the Pacers have been pretty damn bad lately. It's certainly not as insane as it should sound, right? The fact that Simmons predicted this to happen last week boggles my mind.


Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:07 am
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
PeachyPete wrote:
Serious question that I'm both terrified of and excited by: Can the Wizards make the East Finals? I guess we have to see how the Pacers play over the next few games, but there's no reason we shouldn't win the Bulls series at this point, and the Pacers have been pretty damn bad lately. It's certainly not as insane as it should sound, right? The fact that Simmons predicted this to happen last week boggles my mind.


Damn right they can. Can't remember whether Kenny or Charles said this, but the Wizards' entire starting lineup can score with consistency, and even the least talented offensive player among them (Trevor Ariza) is a really good 3-point shooter. In a sense, they did get a lucky draw; their first round opponent has the league's worst offense and no reliable closer, and the second round opponent will either be sub-.500 (Atlanta) or mentally soft (Indiana). But you play who you play. Ultimately, a ECF clash with the Heat won't last more than 5 games, but just getting to that point is far beyond what any sensible basketball fan would have expected from the Wizards back in November.

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Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:21 am
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Don't have as much time as I need, but:

--The Wiz. Well, tonight's performance from Indy will be telling, but if it is anything less than dominant, there's no way you could favor them by very much in the next round. As far as Chicago does, it seems like announcers and such are almost casually making the point that Washington has more talent. They do, and in droves, and in this sport that matters. The Bulls are working hard, but they don't have a playoff gear and they can't score. Brooklyn, again, was idiotic to try to avoid them (although I do still think they mostly just wanted to play the Heat sooner).

--The Rockets. Mostly I'm with Petey that Harden's offense just about eclipses his lack of caring on the other end, but here it is simply killing Houston, especially when he isn't dominant on offense. I think Zach Lowe made this point from game 1... Harden drives on Matthews, makes a nice dunk, poses and then jaws all the way down the floor, then promptly lets Matthews gets an easy cut for a layup, which is worth the same as that cool dunk. It's one thing to generally not care about defense, it's another to NEVER be able to get yourself hyped to even try. Now he's acting fairly bitchy to reporters and repeatedly stressing that the TEAM needs to get better at D -- that's true, but leaders gotta lead, and sometimes that means taking ownership. Well see. Meanwhile...

--The Blazers. Holy hell, Batman. When did Aldridge become the best player of all time? Seriously though, it's two games, but he might have really arrived. And I'm sure I'm not alone in that I'd vote Lillard for President right now. Think that kid couldn't stare down Putin? Even when his shot is off like last night, he's getting good assists and nailing clutch FTs. An absolute stud.

--The Mavs. Or rather, Dirk and Carlisle. They should be up 2-0, but the real storyline is that they're showing the league the exact way to beat the Spurs. I've thought this for years, but Carlisle is clearly the #2 coach in the game right now, right? Guys like Thibs and Doc have their strengths, but Carlisle puts it all together. And I heard some jackass Sportscenter guy laughing at Carlisle's comment that Pop is Coach of the Century because "I guess Carlisle never heard of Phil Jackson." Umm... no. Pop's the best there has ever been. Phil's the best manager of stars, maybe, but Pop is better at everything else. Than everyone. If you gave him the current Sixers roster and a week to prepare, could he win 2 of 7 games against the Heat? I'd love to see him try.

--Bobcats. Well, they'd be beating Indy probably. The Heat are trying to win in low gear, but they just can't do that this year. The Bobcats have the 2nd best player in that series, but other than that? Almost no other player with 2-way talent. the Notorious MKG is a stud, but other than that... oy. They're dependent on Gerald Henderson! The next few rounds are going to be very interesting for Miami.

All in all... what a start. I love this game! And I didn't even talk about Warriors-Clips or OKC-Memphis! The only thing terrible about these playoffs is that the Miami-Charlotte series somehow only gets 3 games in in a week. oy.


Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:07 pm
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Looks like Donald Sterling has fucked the Clippers' chances.

my finals prediction: Miami over Memphis


Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:15 pm
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
I typed a lengthy response to Shade's last post on Friday, only to have it vanish mysteriously into the internet netherworld when I hit the "submit" button. I'm not about to retype it, but, as always, I mostly agree with him.

And here is my obligatory "the Wiz are up 3-1" excitment. Sucks they lost the game I went to, but at least they were close to dominant yesterday minus Nene. We're winning this series because we're flat out better than the Bulls, something I didn't think was the case a week ago.

calvero wrote:
Looks like Donald Sterling has fucked the Clippers' chances.

my finals prediction: Miami over Memphis


Sterling sucks and Adam Silver should drop the hammer on him to the furthest extent possible (and I think he will). I'm not sure how far that will extend. Me being no legal expert and just a regular guy with an opinion, I can't see how they can force him to sell the team if he doesn't want to. Maybe there's something that allows them to do that, but I don't know of it. He should be suspended for a long, long time, though. And heavily fined. And be forced to have only white players for the next decade, which would essentially force him to sell the team. As Barkley pointed out on Inside the NBA yesterday, because of who Sterling is (and it not being a one time thing), this is the kind of real, impactful racism that makes the use of racial slurs feel almost insignificant.

More than anything, I feel really bad for the players and Doc Rivers. Those guys have a legitimate shot at a title, and then this bomb drops. I wouldn't read too much into yesterday's game (GS needed it to save their season), but the Clips certainly weren't ready to play. It's not only a huge distraction, but it's the kind of soul-sucking morale killer that's tough to recover from. It's just terrible for those guys, who, as many have said, have done nothing wrong. Their pregame display was wonderful, and hopefully their crowd comes out and supports them tomororw night, while also showing their disapproval of their owner.


Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:42 pm
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Quote:
However, Silver’s hands are somewhat tied — he can only do so much.

What he can do will not be enough for some people.

Silver is limited by the NBA’s constitution, which is a private document. What has leaked out from people who have seen it paints a picture that ties Silver’s hands.

• He can’t force Sterling to sell. Essentially the league constitution says the league can only sell a team out from under an owner if said owner is not meeting his financial obligations (not paying his bills) and that is not an issue. Blake Griffin’s checks are clearing. What’s more, Sterling’s style — with his real estate holdings, with everything — is to buy and keep, not sell.

Maybe the other owners could try to force the issue saying, “We no longer want Sterling as a business partner” legal argument, but the very litigious Sterling likely would fight that. And it would get ugly. Or, uglier. And it would drag the issue out for years.

There has been talk the league could force him to hand over the team to his estranged wife as part of joint property laws… but she is her own piece of work. In some of the housing discrimination cases against Sterling it was learned she posed as a government health inspector to gain access to apartments. She was part of the problem.

• Silver can only fine Sterling up to $1 million. That’s the maximum, according to multiple reports. Sterling is worth $1.9 billion dollars according to Forbes, a $1 million fine to him is about the equivalent of you or I getting a parking ticket. It’s annoying, we don’t want to write the check, but it’s not that steep a hit.

• Suspension — this is the hammer Silver really can wield. He can suspend Sterling from any contact with the team or interacting with the front office, keep him from attending games. This would be the biggest blow — for Sterling games are a social, “kiss the ring” kind of event where the people around him gather to enjoy “his team” and “his games.” He basks in the celebrity of it. Take that away and it is more of a blow than any fine would be.

How long a suspension is the question. Through these playoffs for sure (which may not last that long for the Clippers, as distracted as they were Sunday). All of next season seems more reasonable … if Silver can do it. We don’t know what limits there could be on a suspension in the private constitution, but none have been mentioned.

A suspension and fine will not make everyone happy — it does not seem enough for a history of racist issues. This is why David Stern should have dealt with the issue when he could, when he had more serious public offenses that were clearly actionable grounds by the league. But he didn’t, there wasn’t an outcry from the other owners to act. He was seen as the bad owner of a bad team, everyone just ignored him and Stern swept the issues under the rug.

Now it falls to Silver, and the case is based on the audiotape of a private conversation — something not admissible in a court of law (Sterling did not consent to be taped). Combine that with Sterling being very litigious and you have Silver stuck in a spot where no matter what he does some people will be unhappy with him. He has to come down as hard as he can, and even that will have some saying it’s not enough and possibly prompting a lawsuit against him from the other side.


http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nbc-yahoo ... 8-nba.html


Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:16 pm
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Luckily, I have off work on Mondays, so I watched several hours of this story go through the rounds on ESPN. First Take, Numbers Never Lie, PTI, etc. Clearly this is a legal hurdle that will take an incredibly long time to fight, but what the league, players, and owners can do in the meantime is make it as uncomfortable as possible for this bigot to continue owning a team. Many sponsors have already suspended or outright pulled their support from the Clippers. Free agents can refuse to go there as long as he owns the team, and ditto for draftees. Fans can keep showing up with thousands of signs slamming Sterling. Or they can just stop going altogether. As for the owners, if they all decide "we no longer want to do business with you," how would he feel being part of a fraternity that no longer wants him?

It's too bad this has cast such a pall over an awesome first round, as it's been one of the most unpredictable I've ever seen.

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Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:20 pm
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Adam Silver just dropped the fucking hammer!


Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:14 pm
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Hell yeah. Now we need three-quarters of the owners to do the right thing. I know some of them might think, "Oh my God. Losing your team over private comments? I can't sign off on this because the same thing could happen to me," but this is a special case. The NBA's action is based not just on this one incident, but decades' worth of behavior. So finish the job, guys.

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Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:57 pm
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Regarding Sterling/Silver (teehee): The Commish did what he needed to do. Some have speculated that he originally planned on an indefinite suspension but went all the way when he heard of the players' plan to walk off the court after tipoff. I don't buy that, simply because I bought Silver's lawyer-y brand of outrage during the presser. He seemed genuinely upset and angered in a way that no one in his position, in any sport, has really been ever able to muster. Yes, he showed he's a player's commish, but he's really the people's. I don't think this had anything to do with why he did what he did, but if he wants to raise the age restriction, give us the Draft Wheel or make other major changes? He just bought himself some juice to do so, and some grace to go against the grain. I know this has been said roughly a zillion times in the past few days, but he handled the moment beautifully. My cap is tipped.

Regarding the rest of the playoffs... wowza. You couldn't make this stuff up. And unlike the NCAA tourney, there won't be a drama letdown as teams get eliminated -- the nature of a series and the chess games that they become are just too intriguing for true basketball junkies. Rooting for Atlanta for the sake of Indy's collapse tonight, partially because the Wiz will mop the floor with them and have more time to prepare for Miami. Although that's not a done deal: Miami can be beat, by either potential opponent. Probably not, but it could happen. I'm with the Wiz as long as they're in it at this point -- Petey, are the bandwagoners angering you? They're just a really talented team who have maximized each guy. You kindof want them to be like the Spurs and let other teams overpay Gortat/Ariza, but man do those guys look good right now. If Ariza is shooting well and scoring efficiently and Gortat is effective at both ends? They can beat anyone, anywhere. It's almost unreal how quickly the future has brightened for them regardless of how this year's playoffs turns out.

Memphis-OKC is kinda ugly compared to Spurs-Mavs, but it's awfully fun to watch. Neither coach really deserves to keep his job, but Brooks has to be out if they lose this series, right? He's pretty much aggressively bad at this point. And while I wish we didn't have to go there, the Westbrook thing is a thing now, and I want to say that it's increasingly obvious it's not going to work long-term. On the other hand, part of me wonders if it can work in the tournament-style of an NBA playoffs? That's the only reason I'm rooting for OKC, to see them match up against a better coach who will exploit the things they do wrong more.

Clips-Warriors can't escape the Sterling drama, but it's been a good series and hard-fought. I love me some Jeff VanGundy, but it's becoming hilarious (in a literal sense) to listen to him defend his boy Mark Jackson. As Simmons wrote, I don't begrudge him -- they're legitimately friends, what's he supposed to do? -- but it does account for the only moments of a game where he sounds out-of-touch.

The Blazers are damn good. They're winning in 6. Again, Lillard for President.


Thu May 01, 2014 12:11 pm
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Shade2 wrote:
Regarding Sterling/Silver (teehee): The Commish did what he needed to do. Some have speculated that he originally planned on an indefinite suspension but went all the way when he heard of the players' plan to walk off the court after tipoff. I don't buy that, simply because I bought Silver's lawyer-y brand of outrage during the presser. He seemed genuinely upset and angered in a way that no one in his position, in any sport, has really been ever able to muster. Yes, he showed he's a player's commish, but he's really the people's. I don't think this had anything to do with why he did what he did, but if he wants to raise the age restriction, give us the Draft Wheel or make other major changes? He just bought himself some juice to do so, and some grace to go against the grain. I know this has been said roughly a zillion times in the past few days, but he handled the moment beautifully. My cap is tipped.


Well said on all accounts. The Adam Silver era is off to a tremendous start, both on the court and off. It's the best pro sports league in America, and it really isn't even close. Football is more popular, but there's so many safety issues that are changing the way the game is played, that it's only a matter of time before it sees a decline. I don't follow hockey, but it seems like it's in good shape, but in terms of competing with the 3 big sports in the country, it's never really recovered from the strike (in 2004, I think?) that mostly relegated it to a niche sport. And baseball, well, it's baseball. It just doesn't have the same appeal to younger generations.

Shade2 wrote:
Petey, are the bandwagoners angering you? They're just a really talented team who have maximized each guy. You kindof want them to be like the Spurs and let other teams overpay Gortat/Ariza, but man do those guys look good right now. If Ariza is shooting well and scoring efficiently and Gortat is effective at both ends? They can beat anyone, anywhere. It's almost unreal how quickly the future has brightened for them regardless of how this year's playoffs turns out.


Glad to hear you've come aboard the bandwagon! And no, not one single bandwagoner angers me. We're the Wizards! We've had a bandwagon for all of 2 minutes, I can't start getting mad at folks just yet. We've been so bad for virtually my entire life (they've won one second round game in my 32 years on Earth...in 1982 when I was about a month old) that I'm all for everyone jumping on when the opportunity presents itself. It's the kind of team I'd be rooting for in these playoffs if they were from another city. They play team ball, are fun to watch, and don't have many weaknesses. Seeing Beal breakout the way he has is the best part for me. He was treading water most of the season, but he's been amazing so far in the playoffs. He cares defensively and is a much better playmaker than he gets credit for. He's also nailing some big time shots. I love the kid's game and I haven't seen him shrink away from any big moments.

The impending free agency of Ariza and Gortat is the real worry. I was convinced Ernie was going to overpay both guys this summer and continue our trek towards mediocrity, but then these playoffs happened, and we've seemingly made a leap. It's hard to justify not bringing those guys back at this point, especially if we make the ECF. I was skeptical of Ariza when we traded for him, but he's been nothing but positive for us. He plays the shit out of his role, has all kinds of experience, and really doesn't hurt us in any way. We did just give Martell Webster a decent contract last offseason, and drafted Otto, but I don't see any way around letting Trevor go outside of another team giving him a insane offer. He's just been too big for us. We basically have to keep Gortat. We traded our first round pick this year for him (and Okafor, who's seemingly done), and we have no one to replace him. He's been solid all year, and while I think he's a soft finisher at times, he's a quality center in the NBA. Given what we have behind him, Nene's injury history, and the inability to replace him in the draft, I don't see any way around bringing him back.

You just can't justify letting 40% of your starting 5 walk if you make the Eastern Conference Finals. If I had to choose one, I think I'd take Gortat just because Ariza's skill set is easier to replace than a quality big man. Ariza is a better overall player, though.

Shade2 wrote:
Memphis-OKC is kinda ugly compared to Spurs-Mavs, but it's awfully fun to watch. Neither coach really deserves to keep his job, but Brooks has to be out if they lose this series, right? He's pretty much aggressively bad at this point. And while I wish we didn't have to go there, the Westbrook thing is a thing now, and I want to say that it's increasingly obvious it's not going to work long-term. On the other hand, part of me wonders if it can work in the tournament-style of an NBA playoffs? That's the only reason I'm rooting for OKC, to see them match up against a better coach who will exploit the things they do wrong more.


Durant and Westbrook each need their own team. It just isn't going to work, and we have years and years of evidence proving that. It's the same narrative with them every postseason - Westbrook is too selfish, Durant isn't demanding enough, etc., etc., etc. I know they're both still young, but they aren't really that young in terms of NBA years. If they haven't figured out how to play together by now, it's probably not happening.

Durant is also from DC (or the suburbs of DC), is a free agent in 2 years, and we suddenly have a young, playoff tested squad. It'll never happen, but a guy can dream.

Scott Brooks is up there with Mike Brown as the worst coach ever to luck into a great player (or players). I mean, Mike Brown is still getting head coaching jobs because Lebron carried him for a few years. Brooks might be headed for something similar, possibly as soon as tomorrow.


Thu May 01, 2014 2:00 pm
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Time to play amateur GM..... How about Westbrook to Boston for Rajon Rondo? Makes sense for both teams; one gets a dynamic scorer who can easily put a young team into the playoffs in a weak East, and the other gets a great distributor with lesser scoring ability but not enough to disrupt KD. Hell, KD coming to DC is a dream come true, but would he and John Wall run into the same problems?

Also, I too am rooting for the Wizards now. People keep telling me "sorry about your Bulls" like they expect me to be sad. Why? They're undermanned and severely offensively challenged. I knew they weren't going to compete for a title anyway. I also have a soft spot for Portland because that's where my parents lived for a few years after they got married. Plus, Lillard and Alridge, ya'll. That's as good a dynamic duo as it gets right now.

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Thu May 01, 2014 2:39 pm
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