Monday, July 16, 2007

What I Hope Happens on My Summer Vacation...

Aaaaaaand, we're back! I have no idea how long it has been since there was some original material, but, well...the fact that I can't even remember that far back probably isn't a good thing. Hopefully, this is the start of a nice, long streak of everyday posts, but we'll see. To be fair, the sporting world has been boring as hell lately, so it isn't as if there has been a plethora of material to talk about. That said, it is still inexcusable. I'd make a joke about some type of refund here, but I think that has already been done, and this is getting old anyways.

Since there isn't a damn thing going on, here is one man's wish list for the rest of summer...

I want... watch more tennis. The Federer/Nadal final at Wimbledon was riveting, and I don't even watch tennis. I think the last match I watched was like Federer/Roddick like a year ago when people were actually giving Roddick a chance (and before that, it was Michael Chang on, I loved Michael Chang. And Gladiators. And Wings. I can't believe there was a time in my life when USA was my favorite channel. Seems a little implausible, no?).

But back to Federer v. Nadal: That was just exciting TV. I don't really know what I am talking about, but Nadal seemed infinitely more exciting; it seemed like he wanted to obliterate every ball he hit and had no qualms trying to place the ball in improbably sports, which he did, like, most every time. Federer seemed like a stoic brick wall, even was he was smashing his racket and challenging balls even I could tell were out. It was just a perfect combination; I wanted it to last at least 45 more games.

I may be may off here, but it seemed kind of like Iverson vs. Duncan, which, if you think about it, would be a pretty fun one-on-one game to watch. And to keep the basketball analogy going, I love how tennis players can just stop a match for however long they feel like it and berate the ref (ump?) who sits in the little lifeguard tower (the NBA should definitely have one of those guys at center court). I kept expecting them to get a quick technical whenever they did this while their coach and their masseuse held them back....then I remembered that the NBA was over. 'Sheed should pick up tennis; he'd love the freedom.

But it makes me want to watch more tennis. I have no idea if there are any players outside of Federer and Nadal that can make a match that exciting, but I am willing to give it a try. And I'd love it if I had an American to cheer for. Right now, I am firmly entrenched in the Nadal Camp, but I'll gladly jump ship to a worthwhile American. Is Roddick my best bet?

...Tiger to come from behind in a major, preferably the British this week. It is really the only glaring hole in his resume, and I would like to see him amend it. It is a completely made up and arbitrary and contrived and idiotic hole in his resume, probably thought up by some screaming head who needed something to yell about on TV and I really just don't want to hear about it anymore. I really don't know how you can use it to discredit the guy.

Plus, it would help me win my argument that Tiger is the greatest athlete in the world right now, even better that Mr. Federer. Both of them seem to have one huge problem they need to tidy up before they basically perfect their craft. Federer needs to win on clay; Tiger needs a Major comeback win. That is what Skip Bayless tells me, anyways, and he is always right, because he yells the loudest.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Federer is slipping and Nadal is gaining (I am more than likely very, very wrong here) but when/if Nadal beats him on a surface other than clay and Tiger pulls off a comeback win? This completely made up, arbitrary, contrived argument is ova.

(Oh, and I am thrilled that the British is being held at Carnoustie this year. Van de Velde's six on eighteen is one of my favorite moments of all-time, sports or non-sports. I could watch that on a loop all day. I love how he takes it so seriously, like he is not screwing up at all, and then when he putts in to force a playoff- after heading into the hole with a freakin' 3 shot lead - he pumps his fist and screams like he just eagled to win the tourney. And I love him standing in the water with no socks or shoes on.)

...ESPN's "Who's Now" Contest to be changed. ESPN really dropped the ball on this one. Why only 32 athletes, which can only argued and debated over just the summer? Why not make it 128 entries? No, 256! A million! It is seriously an awesome debate, trying to decide who is the most "Now." Why can't it last for a whole year? I really don't get it, ESPN. You have an awesome host in Stu Scott (for real, he is so cutting edge), so why wouldn't you keep it going as long as possible? The ESPN brain trust had a good thing going, but it is only going to last until August? What the hell, ESPN? I don't want any more damn highlights! I don't want to see games and stuff....I want debate, and more of it! I feel cheated.

Screw the NCAA tournament; we need to get Jim Boehiem to rally for expansion, immediately. I don't know what Wilbon loves more, the "Who's Now" tourney or having Boehim on PTI to whin about only 64 teams getting in, so PTI can devote a whole day to this, with Stu Scott sitting in for Kornheiser! It's a win-win!

...the USA to dominate the Little League World Series. I want Team USA's cleanup hitter to have porkchop sideburns, a fu manchu, grab his cup more than A-Rod, chew and spit relentlessly and swing a bigger bat than Albert Pujols. I want just bomb after bomb; I want him to hit them so far that the little kids that scramble after the balls are exhausted by the time they get to them. I want Taiwan to demand to see a birth certificate.

I want a tall, lanky pitcher throwing "the equivalent" of a 137 major league fastball. I want a lead off hitter who can bunt a double. I want them all to have ridiculous celebrations and handshakes. I want stadiums to chant "U-S-A! U-S-A!"

I want them to capture the imagination of a country. get into baseball. I would like to use the US dominating the LLWS to spring board me back into loving baseball. I don't know why, but I just can't get into it. I really, really want to, but I just can't find the consistant motivation. Hopefully, an 11-year-old with three tattoos can do that for me.

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

...Team USA dominating at whatever tournament it is that they are playing in this summer. C'mon fellas, just put it all together. Dominate. Win going away. Play as a team, play like it is fun, play with some energy, play with some inspiration, play like you want to be there. Give us a reason to cheer for you, other than the fact that it says "USA" on the front of your jersies. Give us a little confidence for the Olympics.

Give us a reason to chant U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! I really, really just want to chant that a lot. blockbuster NBA trade. I don't even care who it is; the Ray Allen-to-Boston deal just didn't do it for me. Kobe to Memphis. KG to Golden St. If it could involve one side getting completely fleeced, that would be enjoyable, too.

Ideally, I'd like to see both Kobe and KG shipped to the East. I would love a more distributed balance of power. But I will take whatever I can get.

...something unpredictable, but insane, to happen. I don't know what...maybe like Gary Sheffield calling Joe Torre a racist or Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson both getting suspended...although if you though for about 30 seconds, you could come up with both those scenarios. I want a scandal that will creep into the headlines of the "regular" news, but not something as depressing as Mike Vick's dog-fighting ring.

Maybe Bonds breaking the record, then admitting he took steriods, while Selig is helpless to do anything about it. I want something soap opera-ish, that I can follow just a little too much for a month or two. Maybe Zach Randolph can do something at a strip club, I don't know. I just need something. learn how to use Ballhype. I have a vague idea how to use it, but I feel like my grandpa trying to figure out a DVD player. Someone just explain it to me. I don't get it. I am ashamed to admit it, but I don't get it. Help. Please.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Read the Rest After the Jump...

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Only NBA Draft Review That is Four Days Late and Doesn't Mention Either Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. Perfect.

Well, I'm a few days late to the party, but let's talk a little bit about the NBA Draft, anyways. Hey, July just started. What do you want to talk about? Baseball? (Just kiddin', baseball; we'll get around to you sooner or later.)

t things first: the three big trades.

Zach Randolph is a New York Knickerbocker. Say what you want about Isiah (like, for instance, that he can pinch your ass so hard that he will send you airborn, which is 100% true, by the way), but at least the man is consistent. I remember reading somewhere that Isiah's only thought process during a trade is, "Did I get the best player?" He certainly maintained that theme, If Eddie Curry was left-handed and didn't have a shaky ticker and liked strippers more, he'd be Zack Randolph, no? Isn't this the same as bringing in Stevie Franchise with Starbury already on the roster? Too bad they had to move Franchise in the deal; those four coulda filmed some Double Mint commercials for the Jumbotron or something. I have a sneaking suspicion that things absolutely explode in NY this year.

Jeff Green is Traded From One Green Team to Another Green Team. Hey, Brewer didn't go to Milwaukee; I need to get a lame pun in somewhere. I don't get why the Celtics just don't trade Paul Pierce. They aren't winning shit with Pierce & Allen, so what's the point? Why trade out of this draft, of all drafts? This trade does make both the Celtics and the Sonics about a hundred more times more interesting to watch next year, though, so that's something.

Also: the Celtics tanked for Ray Allen.

Brandan Wright taunts MJ; MJ immediately ships his ass to Golden St. I don't know which franchise won here - Golden St. loses a crucial part of the magical run to the second round last year, but gains the perfect big man for their style; Charlotte has a dude that they know they can get points out of every night, but they are paying a shit load for it - but I do know which player won: Brandan Wright. He gets to run around, guard no one and shoot lefty hooks in 80 degree weather instead of playing for UNC II.

Here's the big question: Why the hell does MJ even want to be a GM? Wouldn't he rather spend his time golfing, smoking cigars and grinding on his son's friends? I just don't get why a guy who has every conceivable luxury at his fingertips would spend his time trying to understand the salary cap and putting together a draft board, especially when he's terri
ble at it. If he likes the NBA that much, why not just crash "Inside the NBA" for weeks at a time? Him and Charles would be money.

Some other loose ends...

--Do you think Jerry Krause was sitting back at the office, getting phone calls after every pick, sweating it out every time the phone rang (not because he was nervous, just because I bet he sweats a lot) and then being thrilled his man fell to No. 9? Then he flicks on ESPN just to see him shake hands with The Commish and is greeted by this:

How fast do you think he wanted to throw up? Instantly? Has any team ever had a faster case of buyer's remorse? I mean, good God, just look at Noah there. He seems like the kind of guy who does shit he thinks is hilarious but is willfully ignorant to the fact that everyone is laughing at him and not with him. Like, all the time. What a jackass. How fast til Stern has him killed?

All that aside...what is the point of that pick from Chicago? They needed another limited who can't score on that ro
ster? They drafted him so they could trade a guy they just signed last year? Which Paxson is running the Bulls again?

--When Jay Bilas was talking about Big Baby's weight problem, he said he was, and I'm paraphrasing here, a "weight loser, but had trouble keeping it off. He's much like Oprah in that regard." How long do you think he was waiting to say that? He had to be positively
agonizing while watching him drop to the second round. It was pretty funny, though - not nearly as funny as Mike Tirico made it out to be; seriously, Mike, calm down - but it was funny. Good one, Duke Boy.

--I am glad that Rod Thorn wasn't deterred by Sean Williams' minor indiscretion of getting kicked off his college team (to be honest, if I had to play with Jared Dudley, I would have been hittin' the pipe pretty hard, too). So, Rod, why exactly did you take Mr. Williams? "He's a player who had over 1200 on his college boards, so he's a guy who has a brain." Apparently, that's all it takes to get drafted by the Nets.

-- I love how Yi Jianlian is pulling a Steve Francis here, but since he isn't actually Steve Francis, no one is really making that big of a deal out of it. Yi is being a complete prima donna here and he actually has an entire government backing him up. Imagine if the US Senate was all for Steve Francis getting the hell out of Vancouver back in the day? Seriously, this tops all prima donna behavior before it - this is more extreme than Bryant or Elway or Drew. No one else has an entire government backing them.

And they don't even have a good reason, like, I don't know, he wants more playing time or he wants more money. He thinks he can't get marketed properly! How is this not prima donna material? Yi is the poster child with everything that is wrong with professional sports today.

-- The Blazers and the Suns seem to have different draft strategies, don't they? The Blazers will draft freaking anybody, they'll trade for your picks, they'll buy it off you...seriously, do you have a pick? The Blazers want it.

The Suns, on the other hand, hate the draft. Hey, Stern, if you're reading this, don't even give PHX a pick next year because they want nothing to do with it. They've sold a pick now four years running. So they are firmly entrenched in "win now" mode, right? So why the hell don't they trade for KG? All this three-way crap...why not cut to the chase and swap KG for Amare, straight up, win the next two titles, and then go back to actually drafting people, like everyone else?

Ballhype: hype it up!

Read the Rest After the Jump...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The NBA Draft is Tonight: Honk Honk!

Some things I want to see during tonight's NBA Draft, aside from gaudy suits, mother's weeping uncontrollably, and guys who have posses with more members than the franchise that just drafted them...

I want to see Kevin Durant go No. 1 overall, for a few reasons:

First, I can't think of anyone covering the draft for ESPN - all 20 of 'em - who wouldn't have a complete and utter breakdown live on TV. It would be akin to airing the apocalypse live, I think. You could be watching the draft on mute, and Stephen A. Smith would still find a way to shatter your speakers. This, it goes without saying, is something I would be interested in viewing (while munching on some Cheese Doodles, of course).

Second, it's the right pick, I'm pretty sure. I just think Durant is the best player in the draft, regardless of position. (and Hollinger is backing me up. I have no friggin' idea how he arrived at his conclusion, but 870.7 is really, really high. That article deserves its own post because of how phenomenal and ground-breaking it is; I don't think it is a stretch to say it could revolutionize the way NBA teams go about drafting.) I know centers are inherently more valuable, but aren't you supposed to take the best player? If you are, that's Durant.

The thing that seals the deal: Do you ever, ever see Oden putting a team on his shoulders and winning a Finals game? Or even a playoff game? I just don't. On a good team, he is one hell of a piece...but I think, eventually, Durant can do what LeBron did and single-handedly win a game or a series by himself.

And besides, if he goes No. 1, he can finally get a nickname: "Honk Honk." Man, that sounds dumb as hell, but I just want to call him Honk Honk, if only for a week. Hey, it is better than KD.

And speaking of nicknames, can Mr. Oden just go by "Hermey" from now on? Please? Oden has said over and over again that he wants to be a dentist. I am familiar with no one that comes close to matching Greg's affinity for the art of oral hygiene. (And the fact that Greg has a more deep-seated desire to adjust the headgear of unfortunate teenagers than he does to dominate a basketball game seems to be a fairly strong indicator, at least to me, that Durant is the pick. But that's just me.)

So: Honk Honk No. 1, followed by Hermey at the two spot. Three-year olds everywhere rejoice.

I want to see the Hawks screw this up. The whole thing, the third pick and the 11th. I really don't know how they could do it - you could easily make solid cases for Horford or Conley at three, and 11 is pretty much gravy - there is going to be a good PG sitting there. I want them to take, like...Yi at 3 and then follow that up with Josh McRoberts at 11, just because they promised him they would for no good reason. I'd gladly give them a standing round of applause for that. (No matter who they take, though, they are going to look sweet. Or, at the very least, successful. Baby steps, ATL, baby steps.)

Just thinking: If you were Mike Conley, would you want
any part of Atlanta? At all? Not only are you going to be compared to Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Raymond Felton, hell, even Brandon Roy for the rest of your life, but you are going to be expected to resurrect a franchise that is the poster child for NBA contraction. If I am Mike Conley, I make it abundantly clear that I will be pulling a Stevie Franchise if the Hawks draft me.

I want Joakim Noah to either go to the Grizz at No. 4 - because, really, who cares - or to plummet like the NBA's version of Brady Quinn. My dream scenario is that he is the last guy in the green room, he makes a jackass of himself in the process (wearing an outfit that is particularly douche-bagish) and then is drafted by someone where he promptly fades into Bolivian...someone like Sacramento, a KG-less Minny or Memphis. I really, really just never want to hear from him again. Really, who hasn't had enough of Joakim Noah? The sooner he goes away, the better.

I'd like to see Brandan Wright end up on the Bobcats. Raymond Felton, Sean May
and B Wright? In North Carolina? With MJ calling the shots (kinda)? Good God, they could snag Reyshawn Terry in Round 2, draft Wayne Ellington next year, hire Dean Smith to coach them. Then, halfway through some game late in the season, they can ditch their Bobcats threads for their old Tar Heel jerseys, a la the Ducks ditching their Team USA sweaters in favor of the classic Duck look. I really believe this could work.

(Unreal: I unwittingly stumble across
another dentist: Wolf "The Dentist" Stansson. "Team USA's going down, that's where you're going!")

I want to see Stuart Scott interview Yi Jianlian. I want Yi to cut his interpreter off halfway through his response and ask Stu, in perfect English, "Why do you talk like that? Do you expect me to believe that is the way you talk around the house, with your wife or your kids? Everyone knows it is a big act and you are a complete phony. I don't even speak English and I can tell. It isn't funny or engaging; as a matter of fact, it is really grating and makes an already difficult interview that much harder. Now, if you have a legitimate question, just ask it like a normal person and I'd be happy to answer it, but if you insist on speaking to me like that, I have better things to do. Thank you."

I want Jared Dudley to end up on the Spurs. That'd be absolutely perfect.

I would like to see Coach Bill Fuller draft a girl and then demand that Sacramento change its court's dimensions to 10 feet by 15 feet.

I want to see who the Lakers draft. I am
dying to see who they draft. I'd love to see them draft a couple of projects. Maybe take Daquean Cook in the first round (Isiah: "Get me Kupcheck on the line!") and then follow that up with Aaron Gray. That would delight me to no end. Maybe we could get a video from Kobe that is a whole minute long!

I want to see someone use a second round pick on Jared Jordan. Or maybe no one takes him, and the Cavs sign him. Yea, I'd like that better.

Finally, I would like to see an absurd trade. Just ridiculous, like the Hawks giving up both picks, Amare in Atlanta, KG in PHX, Kobe in Chicago, Gordon and Deng in LA....something kinda like this.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Read the Rest After the Jump...

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Live Blog: Cavs vs. Pistons, Eastern Conference Finals, Game 6

Sorry, I'm a little late to the party...I'm guessing I missed the Cavs open the game by throwing the ball into Big Z and Z responding with his obligatory awkward missed hook shot. I'm glad Cleveland has no problem wasting its first possession of each game.

This game is going to be a letdown and I am completely fine with that. There is no way on earth to possibly even come close to the game 5. All I want out of this game is a win; the final score could be 3-2 and I would be more than thrilled. Game 5 made the entire playoffs completely worthwhile and nothing else that happens from here on out can taint it.

All I want is a win, and I really don't care if it comes tonight or in Game 7, although it would be much, much better if it came tonight.

The rest of the live blog will be, as always, after the jump.

First Quarter

From what I can tell, the Pistons got off to a quick start but the Cavs D has gotten them back into it somewhat. LeBron is still without a field goal attempt.

I don't think the Cavs have gotten a stop since I turned in the TV. Cripes, fellas. At least they are scoring at the other end - Larry Hughes already has a pair of threes, and Sasha is being aggressive. Z, of course, has a tip in, two missed hook shots and 97 dribbles taken. 15-14 Cleveland in the early going.

Rip drills a three...he is so good at his midrange game I am always stunned when he hits a three. I feel like he isn't strong enough to get it there or something.

Billups hits a three to push the lead to 4....the pace of this gme is out of control. Compared to the first 5 games, this is Suns/Warriors on HGH. Back after the break.

Sasha off to a quick start. I was one game early on that "Sasha will do awesome" prediction.

Christopher Webber picks up a technical for...I am nut entirely sure. I think he was yelling at someone on the Cavs. Make that a double tech; the refs hit Sasha with one, too. Oh! Webber just two hand shoved Andy (I have no idea how to type "Varejao" with any type of consistency, so it is Andy from here on out.) in the chest. What a duchebag (I also do not know how to spell that). LeBron hits the free throw to tie it at 19.

matt said...

There ya are.

The Cavs are playing a little too much show time no look crap for the crowd. Dudes- just play your ugly ass usual style b-ball. That's what got you here.

No joke. The pace of this game is weird; I have no idea where it came from. It'll settle down eventually...I think both teams are just ramped up; Detroit is playing for their lives and Cleveland is a game away from the Finals. Hard to blame either of them, really. Cavs up one as we head to commercial. Just over two minutes left.

LeBron with his FIFTH assist so far; he finds Andy cutting down the middle. 22-21, Cavs.

The Pistons spring a quick trap on Hughes and he is completely baffled by it. Jump ball. Bobbie is in the game, just let him bring it up instead of Mr. Casual. Honestly, if Larry Hughes raced Chauncey Billups...would that be the least exciting thing ever? Both those guys show about as much enthusiasm as

Oh, Andy with a nice finish and draws a second foul on Webber. Nazr Mohammed checks in and has his shot imeediately blocked; guess he is a little rusty since he's only played four minutes the entire post season. Next possession for the Pistons: Del Fino picks up the offensive foul. Man, Flip...Mohommed AND Delfino? I guess he is just saying "Screw it, it doesn't matter who we play, this game is getting decide in the fourth."

Mohammed fouls Boobie on a three with 2.2 second left. Man, Nazr is screwing up. I like when he's in. Boobie makes 2 of 3 and the Cavs end the first up, 27-21. 27! Good God, Cleveland, you are an offensive juggernaut.

Second Quarter

LeBron seemed oddly fired up that quarter...not screaming and stuff, but his passes had a little extra flair, making them no looks, jump passes....not that I am complaining; you might never hear my criticize the man ever again. I have become oddly defensive of LeBron after his game 5 performance, especially in response to any idiot who says "Well, hey, that's what happens when he plays hard!" Bullshit. He could play that hard for his entire career - hell, anyone could - and never see a performance like that. That was other wordly. Even things I bashed him for - like not playing hard or always seeming interested - I can't criticize him for anymore. I just can't. I'm too in awe.

The buzzer is malfunctioning, so we are treated to Craig Sager with an airhorn. That sounds like a terrific name for a blog, doesn't it? "Craig Sager's Airhorn." I like it.

The Cavs and Pistons players are all just chilling on the scorer's table while LeBron munches on his nails. I don't mind the nailbiting habit that much, but how the hell does he have any nails left to chew? He does it every single game...he had to have finished with the fingernail ages ago, I'm sure by now he is down to the skin and I wouldn't be stunned if he was gnawing on bone by this point. Maybe his nails regenerate faster than everyone else's though, like John Lock's finger on Lost. That would make sense to me.

Marv asks if this feels like a rain delay. Point 23 says yes. Back when the quarter starts.

Steve Kerr is talking about LeBron's dominance, and I am paraphrasing: "You see him dominate and forget he is only 22..he makes you forget that he is doing it against some of the greatest athletes in the world." As he is saying this, the camera pans to Donyell Marshall and Chris Webber, shattering any believability that statement had.

This delay is taking forever, we are on our third commercial break. Who does the delay hurt more? Well, the Cavs were on some kind of a run, so any momentum they had was killed, so probably them. But here is my thinking: this break is at least as long as a halftime, so this is going to trick the Cavs into thinking the third quarter is about to start. So they will suck in the second, then play great in the third, which they think is the fourth, and play even better in the fourth, which they think is overtime.

They are scrambling all over the place looking for clocks and horns and stuff...why the hell don't they have backup equipment like, under the scorer's table? I think they've settled on shot clocks in the corner, three different people have stop watches for time, and someone gets an airhorn for the buzzer. Good God, I have come up with better schemes in the driveway when I was 11.

Marv: "Do you feel like you are watching a Peter Sellers movie?" I have no idea who that is. Anyone?

The PA guy is counting down the shot clock in some deep, disembodied voice from the future. Whenever he says 10 seconds, everyone starts speeding up, like when the music stats going faster on Mario Brothers. Sleep Marshall seems OK with it, though: he sticks a three to push the lead to nine, 30-21.

Sheed hits a bucket at the same time as a defensive three seconds, and if they happen at the same time, you count he bucket. I did not know that.

Hunter picks up the foul as LeBron drives, who is about the fifth different Piston to guard him. Why not just pick two and have BOTH of them guard him? One doesn't seem to work to good, does it Flip?

LeBron picks off a pass and gets out in transition...Sheed AND Hunter foul him, but somehow the refs call neither.

This game has such a weird feel to it, with The Voice counting down and no clocks feels like an open gym or something, but really, it is the most important game of the NBA season.

Andy steals a pass in the paint, ignores LeBron who is begging for a outlet pass, goes coast to coast - going behind the back at half court, mind you - and then, and you are not going to believe this, he throws up the ugliest layup of the Second Season which, shockingly, misses badly. Surprising; ee usually pulls that one off. Cavs up 4.

Sheed hits a jumper and is fouled. He has nine points already and is playing really well. Damnit.

Oh, Good God, I can't breathe. Boobie goes flying into the paint, makes the bucket and is fouled, but he is laying on the ground, writing in pain.

Oh, OK, he's fine...he's just a little dramatic. I can live with that as long as it leads to three-point plays.

Gibson fouls Rip in the act of shooting. That is like the fourth time that has happened already and Gibson gives opponents, on average 2.1 three point play attempts per game in games in which he plays at least 12 minutes*. That isn't good, Boobie.

*I made that statistic up.

I'm gonna agree with Doug Collins here: LeBron has been out a while, and considering he slept in until 2 pm yesterday and there was a half hour delay already this game, does he really need the rest? The Pistons have it within 2 and the Cavs offense look atrociously disjointed.

Bron checks back in as we go to commercial.

Sheed is killing it. He follows up his own airball with a dunk in which he did his best to rip the rim off. He is keeping the Pistons in this game.

Rip spends the entire time LeBron is at the line bitching to Eddie Rush, who then waits about 4 seconds before calling a bullshit foul on Boobie in favor of Rip. That is bullshit. Either way, Rip makes both. Pistons down two, 41-39.

Rip scores over Gibson again. He has 16, but a quite cuz I didn't even think he was in double figures yet. Game tied at 41 as my man Boobie gimps off the court. Just under 4 minutes left.

LeBron grabs a defensive board, works his way up court, and then explodes to the rim. I love when he does that. He knocks down both freebies. He has only shot twice and all his points are from the FT line.

Pistons up one with just under two minutes left; a patented Chauncey Billups "turnover-bad shot-turnover" would be really nice right now.

Oh, man. LeBron comes over from the week side and rejects Rip's shot with his elbow. Damn, Rip. Rip then commits a stupid foul, his third of the game. I'm calling it now: he is gonna get throw outta this game. He already has one tech and he is bitching non-stop. If the Cavs go on some kind of a run, he's gonna snap.

Tied at 48 at the end of the first half. That first half blog was a disjointed as the first half; the game just had a really goofy feeling to it. I don't know if it was because the teams were a little out of it, playing different styles, or because there are no clocks and God is counting down the shot's just weird. We'll try better in the second half.

Third Quarter

Alright, we've said it every game so far: let's see what the Cavs do in the third quarter. I'm hopeful.

Z misses to start the half. Ha. You can only laugh at that. It works like one outta twenty times.

Hey! The clocks are working! Apparently, LeBron was pretty pissed they weren't working. Uh oh, Detroit. Bron Bron is angry. Gooden knocks down that baseline J: Good sign. Billups answers with a step back J: bad sign.

Rip scores in transition, but he is bitching again...he's been a pretty big punk right now.

Sasha musta got jacked in the side of the head, because he is holding his ear and silently screaming. Mike Brown tells him to suck it up and leaves him in. Sasha responds by driving into three guys and committing an offensive foul. Some good did come of it, though: he kneed Webber in the nuts and he is on the ground holding his balls. I was not aware he had any.

How strong is LeBron? He drives and has Prince hanging all over him, but still manages to score. Prince has to weight, what, 190, 200 ounces? What a beast.

Offensive foul on Webber, who heads right to the locker room to get the sand out of his (expletive deleted). Is there medical treatment for that? Like, besides crying?

You know how Varejao is awesome at drawing charges? Like he gets one, two, sometimes three a game? Sasha is the exact opposite. Once he starts moving, he refuses to stop no matter what gets in his way, even Chris Webber's nuts. He just got his second offensive foul in the last two minutes.

How the hell does Z get so many offensive rebounds? I get that he's huge and all, but he can't jump OR move...just get in front of him and it is all yours. Either way, Cleveland takes the lead, 58-56.

LeBron misses a pull up three...which if he would have made would have blown the roof off the Q. They are cheering consistently, you can hear some noise...but they are dying for a reason to lose their minds. Bron almost gave it to them.

My little comment notifier just started working again; let's catch up on some comments...
#4 said...

i love bron because he isnt forcing anything right now....most players coming off of a tremendous game might force some bad shots, unnecessary shots....but he has the intelligence that they are playing fine without him needing to do the same time, if it comes to it, he will take over...hes doing what he needs win and not trying to be the next MJ...i respect the shit outta that.....

He used to get hammered for that, but as soon as they win this series, every basketball mind in the world will praise the hell outta him for "playing the right way." I love it.
matt said...

Allright #4! WOOOO!

Weird 2nd Q, the clock delay made it like a third Q for the Cavs. That sucks. BUT- tied without LBJ even trying yet. That's gotta be a good sign.

As a fan I really hat this clock thing- it must be bizarre as hell for the players. It has even taken the crowd out. They NEED to fix this.

LBJ is about to go off now that all the clocks are fixed. Just you watch.

Drew Gooden with a ludacris hook shot...his elbow wasn't even bent. And, of course, it was on the baseline. How ya like me know, Nick Collison?

Man, the Pistons are killing the Cavs on the offensive glass. They are getting two and three chances each possession, but it doesn't really matter because they are playing Lindsey Hunter and Dale Davis, who, as you know, suck at shooting.

Boobie! My man drills a three from the corner. Cavs take the lead, 65-63.

Boobie realy has a sense of the moment, doesn't he? Throw out the 21-point performance, and just concentrate on WHEN he was scoring...they might not have been buzzer beaters, but most of his threes come at really, really ideal times for Cleveland. Love it.

Varejao just shot a three from the corner. You read that correctly. The shot clock wasn't even at 0. What the hell. It would be better if he just threw it out of bounds, at least that way the Cavs could set up their D. What the hell.

Damon Jones misses a three at the nice if he made one of those every once in a while. Cavs up a point as we start the fourth. Sweaty palms

Fourth Quarter

I love Boobie. He just splashed a three with a hand in his face, no hesitation. Dude has some cajones. His mentality is friggin' perfect. Cavs up.

Lindsey Hunter and Flip Murray currently in Detroit's back court. Advantage: Cleveland.

Boobie with another three! Are you kidding me? We'll leave this one to Boobie's Moms...
Mrs. Gibson said...



If there was ever any doubt, LeBron James officially owns Cleveland. He comes out of nowhere for a steal, goes the length of the court and then lays it in with Lindsey Hunter hanging all over them. He capped it off by popping off the ground and pointing to the crowd with both hands as the place exploded. Never mind how dumb Lindsey Hunter is - seriously, he had no chance of stopping LeBron there - how great was the reaction? Perfect.

Boobie again for three! I can't even believe I am seeing this. What a fuckin stud. The Q is losing its damn mind. Cavs up 12!

Hamilton gets his fourth foul, reaching in on LeBron...they gotta get him off him, he isn't even that good off a defender and he is their only consistent scoring threat at the moment. You know what? Leave Rip on LeBron. Good call.

If LeBron scores here, this place is gonna explode. I mean, Boobie just drew a blocking call on Prince - who is sucking hard core, by the way - and the place lost it. If King James does something, the roof will blow off.

>blockquote>#4 said...

if you were an nba player wouildnt you celebrate with the crowd like that on a regular basis?
Oh, I would live for the fans. My go-to move would be the Iverson hand-to-the-ear, I-can't-hear-you, but I'd also point like a maniac, and if I hit a three in the corner, I'd slap five with the entire front row on my way back down the court. After big wins, I' be on the scorer's table like MJ, just screaming at the crowd.

Which is why LeBron's celebration was so perfect. He pointed to the entire city, and considering what that town as been through in its sporting history, that was no small gesture. He owns that city.

Oh, wow: Sheed gets called for an offensive foul on Varejao and then runs down the court screaming, somehow avoiding a T. I have no idea how, because even I hear him scream "That's fucking bullshit!"

Ah, there we go: Sheed gets called for another foul, fouls out, and then proceeds to lose his gah-damn mind. Didn't see that one coming.

Man, it took him forever to leave the court...he just flipped out. The entire Detroit bench was holding him back, he was yelling, pointing...he just lost it. It was awesome. Cavs up 83-69 with just under 8 to go.

Steve Kerr: "I think what you are seeing here is the end of an era." Well put, Mr. Kerr, well put.

Damon Jones misses ANOTHER three. Listen, I understand why he is in there, but with Boobie on fire and Sleepy Marshall out there, what's the point, really? He can't gaurd anyone...get Hughes out there

Boobie with his fifth three! There aren't enough exclamation points on my keyboard right now. What a freakin' stud.

matt said...

I don't know how I feel about this forever being known as "The Boobie Game".

Aww... fuck it. I'm good.

Oh, I can live with that. I am thrilled with that. The more help LeBron has, the better.

Hey, Damon Jones scored a layup! He looked really weird doing it, like he hadn't practiced one in a few years, which he probably hasn't. Cavs up 15. I really can't believe this.

Daniel Gibson - probably the smallest dude on the court - drops a tear drop over Tayshaun Prince. He has 31! This is unreal.

Flip Murray draws a foul on LeBron, his first. I can't believe Flip Murray is in with four minutes left. A Cleveland cast-off is getting crunch time minutes in the Eastern Conference Finals. Unreal.

Rip fouls out and is surprisingly subdued. If that woulda happened a few minutes ago, he probably woulda snapped, but he seems resigned to defeat, which is probably the right mind set.

This game is over. The Pistons have stopped trying to come back (I know this because Damon Jones got into the paint again, finding Andy for a wide open lay up). Cavs up 16 with two minutes left.

LeBron ices it with a fade away. Perfect.

I want to see LeBron run around with Boobie sitting on his shoulders.

LeBron launches the ball into the rafters, and this game is a wrap. Cleveland is going to the Finals, and there is no way I can possibly describe the emotion, so I'm not even going to try.

Cleveland is in the Finals.

Read the Rest After the Jump...

Friday, June 01, 2007

Trying to Put LeBron's Game 5 Into Some Type of Context

Words are not going to do it justice. The numbers, incredible as they are, do not do it justice. LeBron's Game 5 performance was just something you had to experience first hand. No secondary source could possibly come close to conveying what LeBron James did in Detroit last night.

It was that profound.

I am tripping all over myself trying to find the right superlatives to describe K
ing James' domiance, and I suspect I am not the only one finding it damn near impossible to boil it down to one definitive phrase. It was that monumental.

One thing I won't say - and I pray to God no one else does, either - is "finally." Bron has been criticized - and I wholeheartedly include myself in this category - of not living up to his potential; in this series alone he's been hammered for everything from his decision making to the way he plays in the third quarter to his overall output.

But his Game 5 performance was more than anyone has a right to expect from any player, ever. Much, much more. In any scout or coach's most far-flung scenarios, in their wildest dreams, no player at any point in basketball history should have that type of effort expected of him.

That performance was not something you expect, let alone think possible. The only appropriate response is to marvel and talk about it in hushed, reverent tones.

LeBron exceeded every single-game expectation anyone in their right mind could possibly have set for him. He annihilated it.

Where it ranks in the pantheon of all-time great individual performances in the history of the NBA is up to much wiser people than me; I just haven't been around long enough to make a fair assessment.

The one statement I can make with absolute conviction, though, is this: What LeBron did last night was the greatest performance in the post-MJ era and the second-place finisher is so distant that it isn't worth mentioning.

25 straight points to end a game? 29 of the last 30? That is so good it is absurd. That is a different sport. And every basket was bigger than the one before it. If he wasn't taking the lead, then he was tying the game or he was cutting a deficit or he was pushing the lead to two possessions. Every single time LeBron scored, it was a must have bucket. His team needed him to do it on his own more times than is even fair and he delivered every single time.

The only game I can think of off the top of my head that I could compare it to would be the Lakers coming back from 15 down to knock off the Blazers in the Western Conference Finals. But I'll take this game over that one in a heart beat. I would much rather watch a game where it was back-and-forth with multiple lead changes and huge bucket after huge bucket - by both teams - than a game in which you could say one team just choked the game away. Throw in that performance for the ages, and its a walk.

It goes without saying that this is the defining moment, so far, of young LeBron's career (it really is hard sometimes to keep in mind that he is just 22 years old), but can you ever imagine him topping this? For that matter, can you imagine anyone topping this? I am sure his career will have accomplishments that mean more in the grand scheme of things - championships, MVPs - but as far as single games go, I can't even fathom what the man would have to do to top this.

LeBron's career still has miles to go. But if this game isn't leading of his
Sports Century twenty years from now...well, I can't wait to see the game that tops it.

Have you ever seen a guy just take the ball like that and score every single time with no regard for his teammates or the other team? I haven't. Truly, I haven't.

Drew Gooden tried to say that he was"Video Game James" because only a player made out of pixels could possibly pull off what LeBron did Thursday night. But there is no way Drew - or anyone else for that matter - ever did anything that impressive even in a video game. Thoes types of shots? Step backs? Behind the back pull ups? Fade away threes over two defenders? On that stage, with that much pressure, getting that much help from his teammates? And throw in the clutch defensive plays, his effort on the glass and his seven assists and there is just no way. No way. LeBron James is better than a video game.

This was one of those games where you will always remember where you were when you were watching it. You were acutely aware you were watching history being made as you were watching. How many games can you say that about? I'm going to be honest: that's a first for me.

And if you didn't see it live, I am sorry, but TiVo or a tape-recording or even an ESPN Classic replay is not going to capture it. I'm not being a snob or a prick; this was that surreal to watch live. If you were unlucky enough to miss it, well...I really don't know what to tell you.

You missed out on the greatest basketball performance I have ever seen in my life.

Read the Rest After the Jump...

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Live Blog: Cavs vs. Pistons, Eastern Conference Finals, Game 5

Some questions heading into tonight's game...

Can LeBron do it on the road? He was unreal in Cleveland, but his performances in Detroit have been lackluster. Something clicked, though, in Cleveland. I think we are in good hands.

Where is his help coming from? It is almost expected that Boobie Gibson is going to play well...who else will step up? I'm saying 17 from Sasha.

Will Chauncey play well? I think him and Rip are both going to have good games, but I think the Detroit bigs will struggle. I don't know why.

Was this one of the funniest things I've ever read? From Simmons basketball blog, but ironically, not from Simmons himself:

I thoroughly enjoyed this e-mail from Rob in Kailua, Hawaii: "I've been noticing that during the Detroit-Cleveland series Gooden and Rasheed get into arguments or little scuffles at least 2-3 times a game. Is there a history there? My theory is that Gooden's little patch of hair on his neck used to be the little patch of hair missing from Rasheed's head. Drew must have won some epic battle and now wears that patch as a medal of honor. That's the only logical explanation for such a ridiculous hairdo right?"
That is something I wish I had thought of; I'm jealous. I LOL'd on that one. I also like that epic battles that are rewarded with medals of honor are quite commonplace in Hawaii.

Alright, let's get to the game. As always, see you after the jump.

What a lucky break that the Eastern Conference Finals ends up on TNT. I hope this thing goes 7 for just that reason. Did ESPN outbid TNT for this? Was this a conscious decision on their part? Either way, it worked out; the Western Conference Finals was excruciating while the Eastern Conference finals have only been mildly antagonizing. Nice work, TNT.

Reggie in the booth, which is fine, I guess. But why does TNT need to screw with the Big 3?

TNT opens with "Go Getter" which is awesome because I am guessing whoever greenlighted that idea has no idea what "trap" means. (It means selling drugs, doesn't it?)

Cleveland opens by throwing the ball into Big Z, which they do every single damn time. And as pointed out astutely by Steve Kerr, it never works. Ever. This is like a running team opening up a game by giving it to its RB for a one yard loss even though the entire stadium knows it coming. Except the Cavs have no intention of ever, ever going to Z with any type of consistency.

Uh oh, Detroit: the Cavs post LeBron up and he hits a fallaway J over Prince. If LeBron is hitting jumpers, forget about it. Game ova.
#4 said...
i think the biggest x-factor in this game is Prince. If he plays well (the little things, steals, oboards, big shots during a run) the pistons team will play better as a whole, giving chauncey a chance to get out of his josh robinson v. the juniata eagles choke performance. however, in both piston wins, prince scored a combined 9 points. this is just a gut feeling...

go bron!
Prince's biggest contribution will come on the defensive end, making Bron Bron work. And Susquehanna sucks (full disclosure: #4 is a college teammate of mine...there may be an inside reference or two. Just so you know.) But yes, Go Bron!

Larry Hughes with back to back threes! Who the hell saw that coming? As long as the floor is being spread though, the Cavs are in business. Doesn't matter where it comes from.

The score is tied at 7, but I don't know how because a flood has been been declared and the National Weather Service saw fit to black out the game for a minute to let me know, yet there is not a drop of rain outside. Thank you for nothing, Weather Service.

Chauncey is killing it: hitting a three, getting to the rim, finding people. He killed it in the first half in Game 4, though. Let's see it in the second half, Mr Big Shot. 13-12, Detroit.

Pizza is here. Back after the break.

Detroit is up 19-14...what happened? I ran to get a pizza (there's a place 29 steps from my front door; I counted...not good, not good).
matt said...
I think Reggie is getting a lot better, sorta fitting in even. He was awkward as hell at first, but now he doesn't seem to mind getting laughed at so much. Or at least he hides it better.
Oh, yea: Reggie is good; I like him - he's not Magic, that's for sure. I just don't get why such a successful show has a "more the merrier" mentality. Those three are perfect. I wish they'd just let it be.
#4 said...
whenever a commentator says gravy twice in 10 seconds without any mention of Thanksgiving dinner, i am embarrased for him
Anytime Stu Scott talks, I am embarrassed for him. Yes, that was an unprovoked shot at Stu Scott. But more importantly: mmmmmm, gravy.

Bron drains a pull up in transition; love to see him hitting the J. Its only gonna make the drive that much more effective.

Chauncey comes off a ball screen and throws himself into the defender stepping out. That's a bullshit call. Flopping has become an epidemic in the NBA and that's one of the biggest areas where it has taken off. I freakin' hate that call.

Sleepy Marshall misses a three and Rip sneaks out in transition for an easy deuce. Second time he's done that. 24-19, just under three left in the first. Cavs need a little run.

Oh, he got that off! LeBron has a pretty baseline shot waved off because of an alleged shot clock violation. Very close. Mike Brown reacted thusly:

Hunter drives and finds, the Pistons are shredding the Cavs perimeter defense. Hunter follows up a nice play by blowing a transition layup. Thanks for evening that out, Linds.

Ah, Mike Brown musta read some Point 23. Chauncey is out, so he brings in Damon Jones who thanks his coach by drilling a corner three.

Oh! McDyess drills Varejao as he is going up for a lay up and Bron Bron flips out. He ran from sideline to sideline (actually hopping over Varajao, who was still laying prone on the floor; I love Bron's priorities: screw helping up my teammate laying on the floor, let's chest bump the guy who did it!) and tried to get to McDyess. Who knows if he was really gonna do anything, but still, LOVE the emotion. He got a tech for his troubles, but completely worth it. Anything that shows LeBron is fired up is a good thing.

Wow: the refs throw McDyess out. It was a tough hit, but jeez, an ejection? I dunno about that, but I'll take it. The good news: Weber will get more time. The bad news: so will Jason Maxiell.

Bron might be a little too fired up: he airballs a three and the crowd loves it.

I HATE the "DeeeeTROIT! Baaaas-ket-BAAAALL!" guy. Hate him. As far as I am concerned, he's an absolute asshole for starting that shit. He should be fined and/or beaten.

29-23 after a chippy first half. Back after the break. 'Preciate the comments; keep 'em coming.

What're your thoughts on this new Heineken mini-keg thing? What's in there, like a six pack? Is that really worth it? And what a freakin' scumbag that guy is for taking the dudes lil' keg and claiming its his own. I bet he's related to the
"DeeeeTROIT! Baaaas-ket-BAAAALL!" Guy.
#4 said...
it's pathetic how you cann't foul hard anymore. it removes so much of a competitive spirit. rediculous!
It really is. Those kind of rules really tamper with the competive spirit of the game, I think. I mean, you can't drill someone like that, obviously, but if you do, you shouldn't get ejected. Hey, I'll take it though.

What do you think McDyess is doing right now? Hanging out with a ball boy? Do you think he'll ask everyone what is going on when they come in from halftime? Is he the only one in the locker room right now? Who would be in there with him when they could be out watching the game live? I wish I knew these things.

Hunter breezes by Damon Jones for 2. Can Damon Jones guard anyone? Name one player currently in the NBA you think Damon Jones could stop 3 times out of 10. And Mark Madsen would definitely score 5 times. At least.

Boobie has been awfully quiet. Last couple of games he has been aggressive as hell. It's not that he isn't scoring or whatever, he's not attacking. He's just another dude out there right now. That can't be the case, Boobie, flash a little bit of the Game 4 brilliance.

(You see what I did there? "Boobie" and "flash" in the same sentence. Ninth graders, please feel free to giggle.)

Webber tried something that I think was inspired by The Dream Shake, but it was incredibly uncoordinated and did not work at all. Stons up 8. I'm scared.

There's Boobie! Gibson comes off the pick and roll and actually attacks the rim, drawing a foul on Sheed.

We can all agree that Chris Weber is incredibly slow and disjointed right? Like when he moves, it looks painful and it makes YOU wince? Well, he just blew by Z. I mean, left Z in the dust. Not even close. Good God, Z, bend your knees or something.

Boobie finds Gooden for a short J and then Hughes comes up with a steal and finds Sasha in transition. Cavs cut it to 4. Phew. I was scared that was gonna go the other way.
Coach Gordan Bombay said...
in response to what mcdyess is doing in the locker room. one thing comes to mind....

Dean Portman after he was ejected . . . .
I love it. Mighty Ducks references will always win you points around here. Wonder if Flip Saunders threw a cardboard cut out of himself into a fire barrel before the game to motivate his team?

37-33 with just under 7 minutes to go...both teams have a shot to crack 50 in the first half. Probably won't happen, but jeez, after games 1-4, I feel like I am watching Suns/Warriors.

The Pistons are KILLING the Cavs in transition. Might be time to sit Z down for a breather. Or maybe get LeBron back in, he's only been out the entire second quarter.

And the "I bash them and they do something good" trend continues: Bron feeds Z who now has a chance for a three point play, which he converts.

Actually, I take that back; leave Z in. Detroit is depleted inside with Dean Portman ejected. Even if the Cavs give up some points in transition, let's wear them down on the inside. No one is winning this game in the first half; let's win it through attrition. I am glad I just talked myself into that strategy.

I can't believe this is a four point game. How does Detroit not come out fired up and try to bury Cleveland early? Play with a little more spark? What the hell are these guys thinking? I'd love to get inside their collective mindset. Ilgauskus has scored 7 in a row, by the way, further proof that I have no idea what the hell I'm talking about.

Cavs within 2, but Gooden picks up a cheap third foul. Can someone hold him down and shave that damn hair patch off the back of his head? I can't stand that thing. What do you think the barber's reaction was when he told him that's what he wanted?

Wow. Maxiell tried to tip dunk a missed Billups' three...he caught it in mid-air, but then as he went to dunk it, it went flying outta his hand. Kinda like in NBA Jam (Tournament Edition, of course) when your guy goes to dunk, but gets stripped before he takes off and then you have to watch your guy fly through the air without the ball. Good thing he missed, though, cuz The Palace would have gotten really loud and made it hard for the Cavs to concentrate.

Bron drives by four Pistons, scores and gets fouled to pull the game within a point. Honestly, four guys touched him. Oh, and then he finds Varejao with a pretty pass in transition. Cavs up one, 47-46. The Cavs are an offensive juggernaut.

Sager brings us back from commercial by explaining how the Cavs are going to try to not suck this third quarter. There are two guys in this tiny room on a computer, putting together a film or something that the Cavs will then use at halftime to ensure they do not suck in the third quarter, and Sager busts in on them, live. The two guys were supposed to be "working furiously," according to Sager, but I swear I saw the guys Buddy List up on the side of his computer. Those two weren't doing shit. No wonder the Cavs blow coming out of halftime. Those two guys are in a chat room! Anyone else see that?

Uh oh. Billups is starting to post up Boobie. He elevates over him, no sweat. Boobie really can't guard anyone in the post. Detroit is the first to fitty, 50-49. Seems to have motivated Boobie a little bit, though, he drives by Billups and draws a foul.

Marv informs us that Daniel Gibson is called "Boobie" because his mom thought he was too soft as a kid. Jeez, mom, what'd you call your other kids, Vag?

I was typing so I didn't see, and I am probably hallucinating, but I think Scott Pollard was just in. Can anyone confirm that?

Bron misses a tough shot in the lane to end the half. But the fact that Cleveland is only down one is stunning, at least to me, all things considered. As long as they don't turn in their usual third-quarter performance (C'mon Jimmy and Jason! Get off AIM and do something! We're all counting on you!) they should be OK.

Oh, Webber says "hopefully the Cavs will quit floppin'." Thems is fightin' words! I love how Webber is now the picture of toughness, like he is so above that. Shut the hell up, Webber. And why didn't Sags follow up on that? Isn't that what he is there for? To ask annoyingly long questions?

Back after halftime. I'm gonna IM Jimmy and and Jason and see what the second half game plan is.

Second half about to get underway. I am not remotely nervous. I am 100% confident the Cavs are going to win and I have no idea why. I have never had this feeling, ever, watching the Cavs play. I do not consider this a good thing at all.

Hey #4: Who plays worse coming out of halftime, the Cavs or our alma mater, circa 05-06?

If Bron attacks the way he did last third quarter, things will be fine. The ball just wouldn't drop for him. Ideally, I'd love to see him and Boobie get out in transition once or twice, get moving to get things started.

Or a Chauncey Billups three without passing. Either/or.

Gooden with a nice follow of a LeBron missed J keeps it within 3. I'll take it. The Cavs don't have to play awesome in the third, they just gotta keep it close.

Prince drills a wide open three to push it to an 8 point lead. Son of a bitch.

Tapping out rebounds has really reached new proportions. Gooden could have easily grabbed that last rebound, but instead he tried to tap it out, screwed it up, the Pistons got it instead and Prince drains a momentum three. Hey, if you can't get to a ball, by all means, tip it with one hand, give your squad another crack at it. But if you can grab it, you should probably just grab the damn ball.

Chris Paul in attendance...what's the connection there? Is he from Detroit? If not, who's he there to see play? And unless the game is in LA or NY, quit panning for celebs. It's sad, really. Kid Rock does not count.

Z draws a foul on Webber. This is like watching an oak tree post up a telephone pole. Good God, fellas.

The Cavs just submitted the ugliest possession of the playoffs. It involved someone dribbling of their foot (probably Hughes), Hughes pivoting nineteen times to find someone to pass to, big Z falling over and then Sasha, who is not helping me on my pregame pick, jacking a three from the right side in which his chest was facing the opposite basket. As head coach, Mike Brown's official response was to make a face like he was going to puke. Oh, wait, he always makes that face.

Man, there is just a lid on the rim for LeBron in the third. He does draw a fourth foul on Webber, though. Hey, he made a free throw! Make that two! LeBron can score in the third. I had no idea.

Rip drives and draws a foul on Z, pushes the lead to 65-58. Cavs can't let it get any higher than that.

Pavlovic drills a three. It really is uncanny: I say someone sucks, they step up.

Ah! Hughes misses LeBron by a half-second on an oop. Man, he threw that shit pretty hard off the backboard. Kerr sums it up nicely: "You can play a guy at point guard, doesn't mean he is one." I concur. Where's Boobie? I wish Flip would play Lindsey Hunter so we can put in our good offensive players who can't guard a soul.

Z picks up his fourth foul on a bullshit illegal screen call and heads to the bench. Least the Cavs can run now.

Gooden picks up an illegal D call...he looked like a catcher caught in a run down between second and third. Just make up your mind.

LeBron catches the ball on the wing, stares down the D for more then a few seconds, dribbles roughly 13 times and then scores on Prince when Detroit decides they'd rather not double team, even though Bronny was begging them to. Bron ties it on the next play at 65, finding Varejao cutting down the middle. This third quarter doesn't suck! I couldn't be more excited.

Sweet Jeebus, Tayshaun. Dude drives from the left side, went baseline, reversed it, stretched his arms out to 11 feet, and hammered it. Varejao was good enough to answer by throwing his layup attempt off the bottom of the rim. He's clutch like that. Or, as Steve Kerr would say, "unskilled." Yep. 70-65, (kinda) Bad Boys.

Boobie! God, I fuckin' love him. He drills a three to end the quarter and ties it up at 70 to end the third.

I am now officially nervous all hell.
matt said...
Okay, I haven't been reading along, but I'm sure you've noted that this 3rd isn't awful. And Danny G has the snake eyes and cold smile of a born killer. Love that guy.
Boobie really does have a great disposition, doesn't he? He has that little half-smile with his tongue kinda stickin' out...He looks like he is havin' a grand time riping your heart out. I love it.

Prince fouls Hughes on a three. Why was Larry shooting, you may be wondering? Because LeBron is on the bench, which raises the obvious question, WHY THE FUCK IS LEBRON ON THE BENCH IN THE FOURTH QUARTER!?!?! Larry misses two freebies outta three. Of course he does. Cavs up, 73-70.

Seriously, we're almost under 10. Why is LeBron not in? I can't wait to hear Mike Brown defend this with a half hour anwer after the game.

Gibson banks home a tough shot, and I couldn't agree more with
Mrs. Gibson said...
Well put, moms, well put.

Hell is watching Chris Webber play Ilgauskus one on one. I want to gouge my eyes out with a spoon. Cleveland up one, 75-74.

Hey, it took Mike Brown until the 8:34 mark, but LeBron checks back in. Mike Brown is playing this game like a chess match.

Z scores to push the Cavs lead to 3. Oh, and when I said "chess" earlier," I meant "checkers." My bad, my bad.

Back-to-back buckets from Z after Varejao sets a pick for Ilgauskus. They Cavs should sign some more guys with harder names to type.

LeBron alters Rip's shot at one end, grabs the rebounds, methodically works his way to the top of they key and sticks a J. I'm a fan. Cavs up 3, 81-78.

Sheed stuffed LeBron. Did not see that one coming at all. I really don't know how that could ever happen, I mean LeBron is so strong and everythi - oh, it was because Sheed just grabbed his left hand and didn't come anywhere near the ball. I see.

But it got the crowd into it, and Detroit is a little fired up, and Rip hits two FTs to take a one-point lead. Sweaty palms.

Rip just absolutely lost Boobie coming off a couple of screens and then passes to Sheed, who draws the foul. Man, Boobie had no freakin' idea where Rip was. Completely turned him around. Rip must practice that. Sheed knocks down 2; Pistons up 3. Need a bucket here, fellas.

No dice. Boobie misses a three and Rip nails a J at the other end. Cavs down 5. I have a sick, sick feeling right now. 3:47 left.

Son of a bitch. Sasha gets trapped and just throws the ball into the air. Gibson picks up his fifth because he can't guard anyone in the post. Man, you can just feel this one slipping away. Rip makes it a three possession game, 88-81.

I love how now all the Pistons are standing and clapping, once they think they are gonna win. They really are too cool for school.

Oh, Bron. Blows by Rip, draws the foul and scored. Can he make it a three-point play? No, but Sasha semi-redeems himself by grabbing an offensive board. Gooden will be at the line for two with a chance to cut it to three after this word from your local sponsor.

I would like to see a stat that shows the percentage of the time that players actually complete the three-point play. I feel like LeBron would rank remarkably low on this list, even though he probably leads the league in attempts. He misses that "and one" free throw all the time.

Eric Snow checking into the game. Gooden misses the first, makes the second.

Bron sticks a three. Cavs within one. Billups turns it over, LeBron snags it and Sheed has to foul him to prevent an easy dunk. Those are the two most common things in this series: Chauncey committing a turnover and LeBron doing clutch shit. (Did I say LeBron and clutch? He just missed both freebies. Daaaagger.)

Ah, blown chances. Gooden misses a five footer for the lead. Pistons ball, up 1, 54 seconds left. I'm gonna go puke.
nick collison said...
i told you i was better than drew gooden
Let's not get crazy here, Nick.

Varajao strips Sheed out of bounds and the refs award the Cavs the ball for no reason at all. Sheed actually has a right now flip out this time.

Oh my Lord. LeBron just annihilated the rim, but Chauncey sticks a dagger three to put the Pistons up 2. Oh, Mr. Big Shot.

My hands are shaking, I can't feel my legs, and I'm going cross eyed.

Wonder if Marshall will be in the game? I'm curious to see if the Cavs go big or small here?

I don't even know, but LeBron just blew by Prince like he wasn't there and dunks it. How can you get to the rim that easily this late in a game?

9.5 ticks left. I am shaking uncontrollably; I can barely type.

Billups misses a three to end the game! OT! He walks off with that shitty smile on his face, though, so I guess he's fine with it. Hey, as long as it don't bother him, don't bother me none. Snow gave him all kinda room, though. You knew he was pulling up there, too. Good things Chauncey kinda lost it there. My hands won't stop shaking.

Normally I'd say the home team is favored in OT, especially in the playoffs, but I think the Cavs have a slight advantage here, mainly because no one is coming close to stopping Bron.
#4 said...
i'm freaking out
You ain't the only one. I need one of Rip Hamiltons Nasal Oxygen Providers; I can barely breathe. My hands are still shaking.

Winner of the next 5 minutes wins this series? Fair statement?

Cavs control the tip and LeBron goes right to work. Refs hit Tayshaun with a foul and he is freaking out about it, and he might have a case, but the ball went right back to Bron and he woulda scored anyways. As it is, he hits both and the Cavs are up 2 and I am still freaking out.

Wonder if the Pistons will go zone here since LeBron is getting to the rim at will. Looks like it. What a huge play. Pavlovic gets called for an offensive foul; coulda been Webber's sixth. It was the right call, though. Damnit.
matt said...


Eric Snow is A-OK, man.

I'm gonna have a heart attack
Get in line; I'm next. And Snow has come up with some huge defensive plays in the last two games, especially late in games. Well, that's the only time he plays, but still. He's like a defensive Robert Horry.

LeBron has like 75 dunks in the last three minutes. He gets another one to tie it at 75. The rim is petrified of Bron Bron at this point.

Gooden fouls out and Varajao has to play. In this shoot-out, I don't like it. Sheed makes one, Detroit up 1 with 3 to go.

LeBron gets to the rim AGAIN. The Pistons D is useless right now; Sheed is forced to foul. Bron copies Sheed's strategy and only makes one of two. Tie game.

Wallace misses, Chris Webber of all people somehow ends up with a long rebound, and Wallace misses again. James misses at the other end, mainly because, as Kerr points out, they don't have to guard Snow OR Varejao.

Cavs get another stop, call timeout. Tie game, 1:37 left. I am seeing three TVs right now.
chris webber said...

i told you i dont flop, im not a hypocrit, i swear
I still hate you.

See Damon Jones flipping out on the Cav bench? That's me, except not even close.

Oh, Detroit is gonna be pissed. Looked like Bron pushed off Chauncey to get the ball, then may have gotten bailed out on the drive. The King gets up gingerly, too. Well, Billups flopped...but James may have gotten a star call on the drive. Looked like he tripped of his own accord. Regardless, he makes both. Cavs +2, 1:15 left.

LeBron forces Tayshaun into throwing the ball into the back court. Tay was trying to body him up, but he may as well have been shouldering a brick wall; that was one of the more futile things I have ever seen, Tayshaun trying to bang with LeBron. Really, Tayshaun? Seriously?

Man, what a fuckin' shot, LeBron. Off balance, fading, over two guys. Cavs up 4. Bron smiles as he runs back own court. Man...what a fuckin' shot. I wish I could provide better analysis than that, but...Man, what a fuckin' shot.

Marv informs us that Bron has Cleveland's last 16 points. Good God. Detroit is doing everything in its power to stop him - he is routinely scoring on three or four guys - and they just can't.

Sheed makes two free throws. 30 ticks left. Will the Pistons foul here? Probably not, but I think I'd rather have LeBron shooting two at the line than hanging from the rim, which is where he has spent the entire overtime period.

Coach Mike burns Cleveland's final time out. I agree with the TNT crew: bad use of a time out there. What, is Mike Brown drawing up a play? Just get it to LeBron and get the hell out of the way. Seems to be working so far.

Oh my. LeBron with an airball. Did not see that coming. Gotta do it on the defensive end here, fellas. Good thing you called that time out, Mike.

6.6 seconds. Crowd Billups here. DO NOT let him pull up for three. Atta boy, Eric. Snow fouls Billups on the drive; he'll go to the line for two. If this goes to two OTs, I will not make it. My heart just isn't that strong. Hell, Secretariat's heart isn't that strong.

Billups makes the first. 100-99.

Makes the second. Damn.

Coulda used that TO, eh, Coach Brown?

Either way, double OT. I'm a dead man.

100-100. This is like a freakin movie.

Collins just referred to an old playoff game that the Pistons lost as "the Brian Scalibrine game." I'm pretty sure that is not what that game is called. Someone look that up.

LeBron with a step back to give him 41. This is unreal. This is MJ/Bird/Magic/Kobe level stuff. 102-100.

Ah man. Boobie just fouled out. Guess it is for the best since Snow is a better defender and the only person shooting is LeBron anyways.

What the hell just happened? Pavlovic inexplicably decides to force the issue, misses terribly - twice! - and the Pistons go to the other end and tie it. Pavlovic misses the next time down the court, too! What the hell, Sasha! That very well could be this game's turning point! What the hell was he doing?!?!

Rip scores over Damon Jones who is on the court for no good reason and Pavlovic misses again. 104-102, Pistons. Three possessions in a row, Sasha? You take the Pistons to cover?

LeBron with a huge steal to keep it close - the man is doing everything - but this end-game lineup really needs to be explained to me. I'm baffled.

Bron goes behind his back at the top of the key and sticks it to tie the game. This is ridiculous. Tie game. 1:35 left.

Webber hits a bullshit shot, gets a bullshit continuation call on Z, Z fouls out and Webber nods his head and curls his lips like he always does this. He is the biggest choke artist of my generation and he's nodding his head like this is routine for him. Go fuck yourself, Webber. I hate you.

Damon Jones is chatting up Webber while The Big Choke Artist waits at the line. I think Damon's asking him, "Hey, do you have any idea why the hell I'm in? Yea, me either." Webber hits it to put them up three.

James answers with a ludacris three. Comes off the pick and roll at the top off the key, somehow turns the corner - barely - then elevates over two guys from the wing and buries it. Kerr finally said it: "This is Jordanesque." Game tied at 107.

Varejao can't get a shot off from a foot in front of the rim; 24 second shot clock violation. Damnit.

29 seconds left, Pistons ball. Damon Jones is mercifully out of the game...Varejao rejects Sheed! Unreal. Timeout, Cleveland. 11.4 seconds left. Game tied at 107. I will not make it.

LeBron! I don't know what else to say...I'm...I'm just speechless...LeBron all the way to the rim. Cavs up 2. Pistons ball in the front court. 2.2 seconds left. Plese, oh please, guard the three point line...Mr Big Shot misses at the buzzer! Varajo got a tiny, tiny piece of Billups' runner, I think, may have altered it, but this thing is over. Unreal.

Bron is with Sager. He looks exhausted. He said that on his game-winner, he went a little earlier than he wanted to because he saw an opening. Smart man.

Sager: "Did you know you were this good?"

Bron: "No." Don't worry about it, Bron, no one did.

48 points, 51 minutes. Something like 29 of the final 30 points. Every single big shot imaginable.

This is one of those games where you always remember where you were.

I was kind of on the tail end of the Jordan era as far as really appreciating what he was doing as he was doing it, so I have no problem saying it: this is the greatest performance of my generation.

I am losing my mind right now and I am sure that I am forgetting some of the other great performances of the last few playoffs, but that is the best I can put this thing into context. Highlights won't do this game justice, full game replays won't, either. You had to be watching this thing live to fully appreciate it. Seeing this game live was surreal. I've never watched anything quite like it.

All I can do is shake my head and marvel at the dominance, skill - hell, the art of it.

I am going to try to put this thing into context tomorrow, but right now I am going to lie down before I actually do have a heart attack.

See you Saturday.

Read the Rest After the Jump...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Guest Post: Everyone in Los Angeles Just Calm Down!

So: Kobe wants to be traded. Didn't see that one coming.

Personally, I have no idea what to make of this. He seemed serious - the "No, bro" comment was probably the greatest thing he ever said - but then he backed off, like, 24 minutes later and said he'd chill if they fired the dude who blamed the whole Shaq fiasco on him (so...everyone?).

The big question is, What happens now? Do the Lakers trade the most unstoppable player alive? Do they trade everyone else? Do they even have a plan?

Maybe more importantly: what
should the Lake Show do?

We haven't had a guest column around here in quite some time. In fact, as far as I can tell, this would be the first one since the first one. So I asked my boy, whom
we'll refer to as The Commish (probably because he runs our fantasy football league with an iron fist; he even enacted a Personal Code of Conduct Policy, just like the real NFL), to step in and set the record straight and he graciously accepted.

No one I have ever talked to knows the Lakers better. Honestly, he got that NBA Ticket package just so he could stay up until 4 am watching the Lakers host the Hawks. That is credibility enough for me.

I asked him to simply give his take on just what KB24 might really be up to and what he'd like to see his squad do this off-season. His words are after the jump.

(While we are here: if anyone would ever like to write a guest post, just let me know. Doesn't matter if you have a blog or not. If there is something you'd like to write about and there are too many words in your head to relegate it to the comments section, just get ahold of me, and we'll set it up. Don't be shy.)

“Kobe Bryant demands to be traded from the Los Angeles Lakers” is what you will see scrolling across your screen today, but don’t let ESPN fool you with their headlines and reports. Look past the Stephen A. Smith interview and focus more on the Dan Patrick interview that took place after Kobe spoke with Smith (and Phil Jackson for that matter), and you will see how he backs off his demands and reveals what his real agenda is:

Agenda # 1: Win, and win now (make a significant trade and hire Jerry West).

Kobe realizes that he’s an old 28, having logged 9,000 more minutes than Michael Jordan did at the same point in his career. Everyone’s saying, “Why’s he making demands through the media?” Although it makes him look extremely selfish (he is), it also puts immense pressure on the Lakers front office to make a significant move this off-season, and ultimately, the pressure he’s applied is going to result in big trade this summer (not involving him) and Jerry West’s return.

Kobe took things to another level on Wednesday with his trade demands, a level that I’m completely stunned, embarrassed, and disappointed in as a loyal fan of his. He bluffed this afternoon, and he couldn’t even hold his bluff for one interview, let alone two hours.

Kobe knows he’s not being traded; it’s just not a realistic option with $88 million remaining on his contract, a no trade clause, and an additional $13 million hit on the team that he’s traded too for enacting the clause. L.A. is tinsel town, glamour and glitz, and a town full of stars where he shines brightest amongst them all. He’s a moneymaker, Jerry Buss is a businessman, and Lakers fans would not ever forgive Buss for trading away two of their favorite players of all time (Bryant, O’Neal).

Let’s say the Lakers would try to trade him; who would be the takers? There would be many, but wherever Bryant ended up, he would be in the same or a worse situation than he is now because the Lakers would require too much in return. It’s quite simple: Kobe Bryant is the most un-tradable player in the NBA.

Kobe’s message was sent loud and clear in the post-game interview at the conclusion of the Suns series, his exit interview in L.A., and remarks he made about Jerry West’s return through the media this past week. But enough is enough, he’s said what he wants, and now it’s time to give the Lakers front office an opportunity to make something happen.

Agenda # 2: Kobe Bryant hates losing, and he can’t stand not being the center of attention, especially around playoff time. The only thing I’m surprised about is that Jim Gray was not involved in this media parade by the Kobester. Kobe and Gray want to be like Ali and Cosell were back in the day, at least I once thought that. Expect a Kobe/Gray interview in the upcoming days.

But anyways, for a prime example of my point, let’s go back to a night in 2003 when the NBA was holding its annual draft. Remember, this was supposed to be Lebron and Carmelo’s night, but who stole the show? Kobe announced, through Grey, that he would opt of his contract after the 2003-04 season in order to test the free agent market.

Agenda # 3: Kobe wanted his name removed from orchestrating Shaquille O’Neal’s exit from L.A. He hates the fact that he’s associated with the one thing that people will not stop talking about, how he “forced” Shaq out, and he was clearly out to set the record straight with his remarks about how Buss told him Shaq would not be-resigned.

So what do the Lakers do now? We’ve already established the fact that Kobe’s going to return next season, but remember, he has a clause in his contract where he can opt of his two seasons from now. The Lakers don’t have two seasons to appease Kobe, they have one, because if things don’t go right starting right now, it’s going to get awfully ugly and a trade will be the Lakers only option.

Make the following moves and you’ll see a smile on the Kobester’s face (and he just might still be playing around this time next year instead of waking up at 4:30 am to workout):

Off-season move # 1: Bring back “The Logo” as a consultant.

Off-season move # 2: Re-sign Luke Walton, Ronnie Turiaf, and Chris Mihm.

Off-season move # 3: Release Smush Parker, and do not trade Lamar Odom.

Off-season move # 4: Sign a veteran point guard to a mid-level exception to compete with Jordan Farmar, or package Farmar in a trade to acquire a veteran point guard.

Before we get to the most important move of all, let’s make some trade rules:

1. Do not give up a plethora of young talent for a player like Jason Kidd. Kidd better not come to L.A, because if he does, the Lakers have made a huge mistake. Thorn insists that Bynum be included in the package and that’s something the Lakers should definitely not do when considering they’ll be getting a 34 year-old point guard in return with two or three years left in him.

2. As tempting as it might be, do not package Odom, Bynum, and a draft pick for Kevin Garnett.

And now for the grand daddy move of them all:

Off-season move # 5: Trade for Jermaine O’Neal. The Lakers could give the Pacers: Andrew Bynum, Kwame Brown (due $9.1 million next year, contract expires in 2008; a key piece in this trade but he could possibly undergo reconstructive ankle surgery, Lakers fans better hope not), a first round pick this year (19th overall), and whatever other filler is needed to match salaries (i.e. Cook $3.5 million over the next three years), FOR Jermaine O’Neal. I believe that’s a deal that puts the Lakers right back in the thick of things in the West.

The O’Neal trade scenario is far better than Kidd’s because you know your going to have O’Neal (28 years old) and Kobe (also 28) paired together for a number of years. Whereas with Kidd, it’s a two year plan (three at the most), and if it doesn’t work out right away, there’s going to be a ton of repercussions that’s going to result in a complete overhaul of the roster. If the Lakers give up Bynum, they must get an inside presence in return that’s going to be around for awhile. Think about it, three or four years from now Bynum’s going to be a really, really good player in this league; and if the Lakers trade him for Kidd and don’t win a championship, how bad of a deal is that going to turn out to be when Kidd is on the couch and Bynum is just entering his prime?

If the Lakers do trade for O’Neal, they’ll have a starting lineup that consists of Bryant, O’Neal, Farmar (or a veteran signee), Odom, and Walton (must re-sign him this off-season). They could then sign a veteran free agent point guard to the mid-level exception (5 years, 30 million) or trade for one this off-season, and all of the sudden they have a team that could not only win now, but for four of five years down the line.

Don’t be fooled by the panic attack the media wants to thrust on Laker fans. The pieces are somewhat in place on this team, but Kobe and Laker fans also need to realize this isn’t fantasy basketball; you can’t just trade for Garnett, trade for Ron Artest, and sign Chauncey Billups.

Sometimes all it takes is one simple move to turn a mediocre team into a team that could realistically contend for a title. Plug an All-Star like Jermaine O’Neal into this lineup with the best player in the league in Kobe Bryant, an all around player in Lamar Odom, a nice role player in Luke Walton, and an athletic point guard like Jordan Farmar or a veteran signee; and all of the sudden you’ve got a starting lineup that is talented, experienced, young, and ready to contend.

Read the Rest After the Jump...