Tag Archives: playoff basketball

Week In Review May 26th-June 1st, 2014

Here is (and I reserve the right to change my mind as much as Brett Favre) the last Week In Review, or at least for a while. The explanation is at the end of the article. The big question is whether or not hearing this now will make you skip to the end of the column, read it, and leave in tears and never come back. Or, maybe, you’ll skip the first part and leave in tears and never come back. Or, (and here’s what I’m hoping for) you’ll savor the last Week In Review that you’ll see for awhile, then get to the end, read the explanation and understand, and come back as soon as my next column gets posted. Yeah, you’re right, it’s definitely going to be the first option. Oh well, it was worth a shot. Hope you enjoy the column!

 

Monday, May 26th, 2014

 

Los Angeles beat Chicago 5-2 to come within one game of the Stanley Cup Finals. This is not good at all. Remember what I said last week about the Rangers? They’re worse than the two teams from the West so they need the series out West to go to seven bloody games so they can hopefully steal a couple of games against an exhausted team. That’s their only chance. Now, the best case scenario is Chicago winning twice before the Kings manage to finish them off. Why? Well, if Chicago wins three straight to get to the Finals, then they’ll be on a roll and very confident but if LA closes the Blackhawks out faster, then they’ll be reasonably rested. If LA wins in 7, then they’re tired, not confident, and drained—the best case scenario for the Rangers.

 

The Heat beat the Pacers 102-90 to take a 3-1 series lead, all but putting away Indiana. I was gonna think of something funny to write but then I realized that the Pacers are hilarious by themselves and that I don’t need to add anything to that. But seriously, Lance Stephenson. What an idiot! He insulted LeBron, making LeBron find his inner Marshawn Lynch and go BeastMode by exploding for a 32-10-5. Don’t be stupid. Never insult LeBron.

 

This is also big because for years LeBron was unable to find his inner fire and take over a series. The only hope for opposing teams is to leave him alone and hope that he doesn’t decide to win. If you light a fire under him and get him motivated, then he’s unstoppable. Remember the Heat-Celtics series from a couple of years ago? The Boston guys were talking trash the whole series with no response from LeBron. However, by Game 6, LeBron finally snapped and went for a 45-15-5 to essentially put the series away, before the Heat won Game 7. The lesson? Don’t mess with LeBron. Lance Stephenson doesn’t seem to realize this. I’d look a lot smarter if the Heat didn’t have a 3-1 series lead, but even if they didn’t, I would say this anyways: the Pacers have no shot after insulting LeBron.

 

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Oklahoma City beat the Spurs 105-92 to tie the series up at two. Westbrook had a game for the ages with a 40-5-10 with 5 steals. A stat that the world has been in awe of is that the last person to do that was MJ. Well, as I seem to be doing often, I’m going to tell you how stupid that is. Saying that an arbitrary baseline for a stat line suddenly becomes significant so that there’ll be a story doesn’t make the stat impressive.

 

While it may be true that the last person to notch a 40-5-10-5 was MJ, and getting a 40-5-10-5 is very impressive, being the last person since MJ isn’t. It was a very, very good game, but when you narrow the criteria down for an achievement so specifically, it’s nowhere near as amazing as the media will make it out to be.

 

You see, stats aren’t all that important because individually, they don’t say all that much. For instance, let’s say that someone scored 45 points. Your first thought would be “Wow!”. But that stat doesn’t tell the whole story. To score 45 points, the player took 50 shots and made 20 of them. Then it’s a lot less impressive. To properly figure out the meaning of stats, you have to take everything into account to make sure that the numbers aren’t messed up by something else.

 

The Rangers lost to the Canadiens 7-4. It was pretty bad. While it’s great that the Rangers fought back from a 4-1 deficit to tie it up at 4, it also seems pertinent that they let the Habs regain the lead and were unable to score again. Also, the biggest thing: Lundqvist played badly enough that he was pulled. If Lundqvist isn’t playing at an elite level then the Rangers won’t play very well either. This is not good.

 

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

 

Well, Chicago managed to beat Los Angeles in double OT, 5-4, to narrow the series deficit to 3-2. All good. Two reasons why I’m happy Chicago won: one, by winning, they’re extending the series and two, as I said earlier, this is what the Rangers need.

 

The Heat lost to the Pacers 93-90. So much for what I said earlier. LeBron didn’t show up tonight, merely getting a 7-2-4. However, if LeBron manages to rip off a legendary performance on Friday night then I knew it all along. Still, something important to note, the Pacers starters all played their best tonight and still only beat the Heat by 3. Paul George scored 37, David West got a 19-9, Hibbert finished with a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Indiana played its best tonight and only won by 3 at home. That, in addition to LeBron, is why I’m confident Miami will easily beat the Pacers.

 

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

 

The Spurs blew out the Thunder at home, 117-89, continuing this series’ tradition of the home team winning in a blowout. Serge Ibaka was a non-factor in this game, only scoring six points and grabbing two rebounds along with a couple of blocks. This is another series tradition: if Ibaka plays badly then the Thunder lose. In Games 1 and 2, Ibaka was hurt so the Thunder lost. Ibaka returned for Games 3 and 4 and, while he wasn’t great, he was adequate, so the Thunder won. In this game, Ibaka was complete crap so the Thunder lost again. I’m happy. I’m hoping for a Heat-Spurs rematch so I’m cheering for Miami and San Antonio.

Lundqvist got mad that I doubted him and decided to prove me wrong. He blocked every shot he faced (although there were only 18) and outdueled Tokarski (who wasn’t too shabby himself in stopping 31 out of 32 shots) 1-0 to send the Rangers to the STANLEY CUP FINAL!!!! WOOHOO!!!!! THIS IS AWESOME! YOUR MIND-VOICE IS PROBABLY SCREAMING RIGHT NOW. YOU JUST SMILED AND LAUGHED. UH OH. I THINK MY CAPS LOCK IS BROKEN. I’LL BE SCREAMING IN PERPETUITY. THIS IS NOT GOOD. I SHOULD PROBABLY GO GET IT FIXED. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE I CAN GET IT FIXED?

 

Friday, May 30th, 2014

 

Well, I managed to get it fixed, thankfully. If I hadn’t then I’d be in trouble. I can’t hand in HW in all caps. I can’t make review sheets for Finals while in all caps. It’d be like me screaming at them that the conjugation of tener is tengo, tienes, tiene, tenemos, and tienen! (By the way, I may or not be using this to help me study) I’d be kind of like a drill sergeant. Drop down and give me twenty! Hey, I’m pretty good at this. Anyways, back to the sports.

 

In hockey, the Blackhawks beat the Kings 4-3 to tie the series up at 3.This is going fantabulously (a combination of fabulous and fantastic. It’s a thing). Now the Kings need to pull out a Game 7 victory on the road for everything to be perfect. This is quite splendiferous. The Rangers made it in and all we need are the disheartened Kings. Los Angeles, New York stands behind you. Chicago should be scared. Although it’s the third best city in the country, when the top two cities team up against it, it’s going down. Number four is Boston and Miami probably rounds out the top five.

 

Miami closed out Indiana 117-92. LeBron rebounded from his crappy performance with 25 points and Bosh also has finally exorcised his demons against Miami, capping off a very good series with a 25-8. By the way, the Internet is hilarious. For instance, Lance Stephenson has given rise to a number of amusing GIFs. He lied down on the court and he blew in LeBron’s ear, lending good material to the enterprising photoshop wizards of the Internet. Much hilarity ensued. My two favorite pictures are as follows: First, with the lying down one.

 

 

And now for the blowing one.

 

Embedded image permalink

 

Speaking of 50 Cent, why haven’t the Mets signed him to a three year contract yet? In a related note, I hate being a Mets fan.

 

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

 

Wow that was an epic game. OKC was up seven at the half but after a 37-20 3rd quarter, San Antonio pulled away to enter the 4th with a ten point lead. Then the Thunder mount a ferocious comeback to take the lead, 99-97 with 32 seconds left. Naturally, Manu Ginobili hits a three to take back the lead, 100-99 with 27 seconds left. Then the Thunder foul Ginobili but Manu misses the second free throw! Westbrook gets fouled and nails both free throws to tie the game up at 101 before it goes to overtime after Manu misses a jumper. Then Tim Duncan turned back the clock and outscores OKC by himself, 7-6, in overtime, to finish with a monstrous double-double with a 19-15 and putting away the Thunder. What a game. And I’m so excited for the Heat-Spurs matchup. I think I may even have a column about it in me, although it’d come out on Friday, after Game 1, so my prediction wouldn’t be as trustworthy. Actually, that’s a good thing for me: it’s a lot less likely that I make a stupid prediction that I come to regret and that people will point at for years as proof that I know nothing about basketball (which may or may not be true actually).

 

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

 

Woohoo!!! Sports finally is working out the way I wanted it to!!! And no, I’m not talking about its abs. I got the Finals matchup I wanted, with the Heat and Spurs both advancing. Now, if you’ll remember, (and if you don’t, you might want to consult your local physician for a serious potential case of amnesia) earlier this week I talked about the best possible way for the series in the West to end for the Rangers. Remember? Chicago wins two straight before losing Game 7 at home? Yup, it happened exactly as I wanted it, if not better. The winners of the games happened the way I wanted, which is nice. Still, the Hockey Gods smiled upon me and gave me more than I had ever dreamed of. They sent a couple of games to OT (including Game 7) just to drain the Kings even more. What could be better?

 

For the actual game, the Kings won 5-4 in OT, capping a tiring run. They’ve played the maximum amount of games so far, 21, and a bunch of those games have gone into OT. How tired must they be? Of course, the Rangers played twenty, so I guess that’s not much of an advantage. Oh well.

 

That’s all for this week. Hope you enjoyed and I’ll see you guys later!

 

Wait a second, about this column, it’s tough to do. There’s not nearly enough fun stuff to talk about for every day normally, especially when, in a couple of weeks, all there is for a couple of months is baseball. Ugh. (By the way, some time during the summer I’m going to write a column about why I hate baseball. I can probably get a couple of thousand words out of that.) It was fun during the playoffs with nonstop action and lots of important games, but I think I’m going to shelve it for the time being.

 

However, I’ll still be writing, a lot, just not in the Week In Review format. I’ll find other things to talk about, and hopefully I’ll be able to say more about these more interesting topics. If people send in enough emails asking questions, then I can have a fantasy baseball article. In fact, send in emails with whatever you want to talk about and I can have a mailbag, in which I answer questions and comments from my readers.

 

In happier news, I can’t wait until Thursday! Here’s to a Finals for the ages!

Oh, and to all of you guys who skipped the whole article that I spent my time on, even though you probably can’t read this through your tears, screw you.

 

Damn it, I’m alienating my whole readership. I had better end this article ASAP. Bye!

 

Advertisements

Week In Review: May 12th-May 18th 2014

So I’m going to be starting a weekly post called, imaginatively, The Week in Review. Every week I’ll talk about what happened in the world of sports, maybe add in some analysis, try (and probably fail) to be funny, and just try and talk about something fun and new. As I’m trying this out for the first time, I need feedback. If you’d prefer to have it posted once a day as a “Day in Review” column because you can’t bear to wait a week to hear from me (no need to flatter me), then just comment and let me know. In fact, I’m leaning towards a daily post, to push me towards either side, shoot me an email or comment. Thanks!

 

Monday, May 12th, 2014

 

The Nets lost after a late three by Chris Bosh, eventually falling to the Heat, 102-96 to go down in their series, 3-1. With the series heading back to South Beach, it seems as though it’s increasingly probable that the Nets will lose. This sucks for a number of people. First, it sucks for all the Nets fans (like me) who’ll be pissed that the Nets are eliminated. Two, it sucks for everyone in the world who’ll have to deal with bandwagon Heat fans crowing about their team’s success saying stupid things like “Wow, LeBron is so good! I’m so happy we drafted him in 2010”. Do us all a favor and shut up. Please. Now. Despite all this annoyingness (annoyingty? annoyingosity?) the person who this sucks for most is Billy King. Why? Well, when Billy King tells Prokhorov that he wasted about 180 million dollars for a second round playoff exit imagine how Prokhorov’s reaction. In the understatement of the year, I don’t think Prokhorov will be too happy with him.

 

Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cavs, fired Mike Brown. This shouldn’t be a big deal—after all, coach firings are common in the NBA. Still, it’s highly amusing. Why? Well, in 2010, when the Cavs were trying to convince LeBron to stay, they fired his coach. Evidently, that didn’t work out too well. Guess who the coach was? You got it! Mike Brown. So the Cavs fired a coach, rehired him 3 years later, and then fired him AGAIN a year after that! That’s impressively incompetent. Maybe that’s why LeBron didn’t come back: he didn’t want to play for a bunch of idiots. This reminds me of Ted Stepien, another Cavs owner, who was historically incompetent (if you take out the second comma the sentence still works). He traded away so many first-rounders in the early eighties that two crazy things happened: First, the NBA had to institute a rule that prevented teams from trading away first-rounders in consecutive years which was fittingly named “The Stepien Rule”. Second, no one wanted to buy the Cavs because they were so bereft of assets so the NBA had to give them extra first-rounders just so someone would buy them. Gilbert isn’t on that level yet, but it seems as though he’s doing his best to get there. Speaking of which, they should make a Hall of Fame for horrible owners. The charter members would be Stepien, Donald Sterling, Harry Frazee, Jeffrey Loria, Jerry Jones, Dan Snyder, and James Dolan.

 

Just like many teams, the problem with many teams isn’t that their players or front office suck, it’s the fact that their owners are thrifty, stupid, heavy-handed, or any number of other bad adjectives. And, that’s the problem with sports today: you can fire a bad GM, you can buyout a bad player, and you can ditch a bad coach, but you can’t get rid of a bad owner. Knicks fans, for instance, are probably jealous of the Clips fans as they managed to get rid of their horrible owner and are now set for a fresh start. I feel like some enterprising Knicks fan will try and frame Dolan for being racist or the like, just to get rid of him. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2014 New York Knicks!

 

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

 

The Rangers closed out the Penguins tonight in Pittsburgh. I’m a Rangers fan and watched a large chunk of the game and it just seemed like the Rangers were always in the Penguins’ zone, constantly firing away shots at Andrey-Fleury while Lundqvist just sat in his goal and rubbed the posts. Other than a couple of instances when Lundqvist made some nice saves, it seemed to me (admittedly, an uneducated fan) like the Rangers dominated. While I’m pleased that the Rangers advanced, it’s too bad for Crosby and Andrey-Fleury as it means that they’ll receive all the blame while everyone conveniently forgets that the Penguins won the Cup in 2009.

 

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

 

For once, the referees seemed honest and fair. In the Nets-Heat game, Game 5, near the end of the game, Paul Pierce knocked the ball out of bounds. This would seem like a straightforward call, except that LeBron clearly smacked Pierce’s hand to force him to knock the ball out. After a replay, It became clear that LeBron had fouled The Truth, except since the call had already been made, it was going to be Heat ball. What did the officials do? For the first time in forever (cue up Frozen music) the officials actually did the decent thing. They called it out on LeBron so Brooklyn could get the ball. Of course, people whined about the officiating after the game anyways. Obviously it was the refs’ fault! It was their fault that Joe Johnson couldn’t get a shot off at the end of the game. Duh.

 

Whiny Nets fans (I am a Nets fan, but I like to think of myself as not being whiny) complained because they lost 96-94, and therefore the series 4-1. Somehow I doubt that Nets fans would have complained had they won the series. Oh well.

 

The Spurs eliminated the Blazers in 5 games after winning 104-82. With the ease that the Heat have dispatched their opponents and the Spurs getting on a roll, it seems as though they’re on a collision course for a rematch in the Finals. If they did, that would be in the running to be one of the greatest Finals ever (in my not-so-humble opinion).

 

On one side, you have the Heat, aiming for a three-peat and to ensure that LeBron returns while on the other side, you have the Spurs, hoping to avenge their loss in last year’s Finals to Miami and trying to get Duncan a 5th ring, which would push him even higher up the ranks of the All-Time-Team. There’s so much at stake in a Spurs-Heat Finals and I hope we get to see it.

 

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

 

The Thunder ousted the Clippers 104-98 while the Pacers finished off the Wizards, 93-80, concluding the second round of the playoffs. Kind of a bummer. After the best first round EVER, the second round following up is a dud. The Basketball Gods giveth and they taketh away. At least we should be headed for (hopefully) another incredible round. Spurs-OKC is the matchup of old vs. new and athleticism vs. experience. The Thunder will try and run San Antonio off the floor while the Spurs will attempt to force OKC into making mistakes. For the Heat-Pacers matchup—wait, scratch that. To make it more exciting: for Heat-Pacers III: the Quest for the Three-Peat, is should also be great. A matchup between two teams who genuinely dislike each other (a rarity these days), between the #1 defense and the #1 offense, and between the two-time defending champions and the team designed specifically to beat them should be fabulous. The amount of good basketball and matchups that we’re about to witness is astounding. It should be an incredible round. I can’t wait. Of course, notice all the should-bes in that paragraph? Yeah, well, I hope I didn’t jinx anything by talking about how awesome everything should be (damn it! I did it again). The Basketball Gods are fickle and they must be appeased. Anyone know where to find a sacrificial lamb?

 

Friday, May 16th, 2014

 

            So I have a problem: nothing particularly interesting happened today. There were 15 baseball games, nothing particularly interesting. No basketball games. The draft hype has mostly dried up. There was a hockey game, between Anaheim and LA, a game 7, in which LA won 6-2. It also was Teemu Selanne’s last game, but there isn’t much to write about that either. Damn it! Well, there’s not much to talk about now, so I’m going to cheat and write about something that’s been irking me for awhile but I haven’t had a chance to talk about (and hey, it’s not cheating if I make the rules). Michael Sam. He and his story have been pored over time and time again. However, with all the talk about why teams would be apprehensive about drafting him because, for instance, he would be a distraction due to the immense following he would receive, there’s been surprisingly little about the most obvious thing of all.

           

            Sam is a 7th round draft pick. Most 7th rounders get cut quickly, and even id they don’t, they rarely (if ever) get anywhere in the NFL. However, if the Rams cut Sam (as they would for many 7th rounders), the media backlash would be enormous. It wouldn’t matter that, as a 7th round pick, the odds were stacked against him in the first place. Rather, everything would be turned into how the Rams are homophobes. Maybe it’s that (please don’t hate me for saying this) possibly (I’m begging you) that perhaps (I swear I’m not homophobic) Sam isn’t all that great of a football player (compared to most NFL-ers) and that’s why he’s cut. Let’s try not to make it into a bigger deal than it is. Of course, there’s no chance of that happening nowadays since everyone is so desperate for stories, which is too bad.

 

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

 

The sports media is stupid. I log onto Facebook today, and what do I see under “Trending”? I see that Lance Stephenson (a crazy guy on all accounts, by the way) said that he hopes Dwayne Wade’s knee “flares up”. Intrigued, I click on the link, and find out to my surprise that he didn’t say that at all (or at least not in the way it was made it out to be)! What did he say? He said that he was hoping be aggressive enough to take advantage of Wade’s injuries, and that, by running, he was hoping that his knee would flare up. Well, that’s a far cry from what was reported. In fact, it’s laudable that Stephenson is a competitor and aims to take advantage of the Heat’s weaknesses when he can. Would you rather have him bring a band-aid and give Wade a boo-boo kiss? It seems as though that’s what people want.

 

The Rangers demolished the Canadiens 7-2 in the opening game of their series to take a 1-0 lead. The Rangers are 4-0 since Martin St. Louis’ mother died. It seems as though a tragedy often brings a team closer together and propels them to new heights. Wait, let’s not give any ideas to Prokhorov to have someone… ‘disappear’ to try and get Brooklyn to go further next year.

 

Apparently Mike Dunleavy is in the running for the next Knicks head coaching job. (This is so laughable that I don’t even need to make a joke about it. Nah, never mind I can’t resist) Why wouldn’t you want to hire someone with a career winning percentage of .461 (although that’s two points off from getting into the playoffs in the crappy Eastern Conference), who led the Jail Blazers, and who was so bad that the Clippers fired him in 2010 so they could hire Vinny Del Negro, of all people. If you’re bad enough at coaching that Vinny Del Negro is considered an improvement over you, you probably shouldn’t be coaching in the NBA.

 

California Chrome won the 139th Preakness Stakes to win the second leg of the Triple Crown. To be the first horse in 36 years, since 1978, to win the triple crown of horse racing, he needs to win at Belmont in three weeks. Miguel Cabrera, in the meantime, is probably feeling betrayed. He captured the Triple Crown in 2012 after no one had done it in 45 years, an impressive feat. But now, the next time that anyone (or any horse) comes close to equaling his achievement, he’s ignored thanks to the present day ten second attention—hey look! A squirrel! Wait, what was I saying?

 

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

 

            Indiana beat Miami 107-96, an impressive victory. Although their lows were lower and their highs not as high, the Pacers seem to be a little like the Spurs as they’re recovering from a slow start and rounding into form, about to unleash some great basketball on unsuspecting foes like Shaq during the Lakers’ three-peat. Of course, the Spurs were consistently great all year while the Pacers were complete and utter crap for three months straight, but still.

 

            I also find it amusing how some entity on Facebook (I forgot who) posted something about how the Heat have never lost a series in which they lost the first game. This so-called ‘fact’ is ludicrous for a couple of reasons. First, the Heat have played just thirteen series since LeBron and Bosh joined Wade in Miami, and in those thirteen series, the Heat have lost the first game of the series four times (after Game 1 of this series, five times). So because, in four chances, one thing happened all four times, suddenly the Heat are unbeatable if they lose the first game of the series? Also, in those thirteen series the Heat are 12-1. So it’s not that the Heat are unbeatable when they lose the first game, rather, they’re nearly unbeatable overall. Yet another example of sports media being foolish, uneducated, or both.

 

            The Hawks easily dispatched the Kings 3-1. Wait, what? Atlanta and Sacramento aren’t in the playoffs! And this is basketball! This must a record for a low scoring game! Wait a second… Oh… It’s the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings. Whoops! Speaking of which, I think there should be a rule that no name is allowed to be used by more than one team. This is a great idea on a number of levels. First, there’ll be a lot less confusion. Second, as more and more teams are started throughout sports, you’ll eventually see games in which the Minnesota Pipers take on the Dallas Chaparrals. Actually, those two teams actually played each other in the ABA. Yet another reason why the ABA failed as a league. Who wants to see teams with boring names? That’s another problem with the WNBA: teams with names like Dream and Sky (just scroll through the WNBA team names, there’s nothing more pathetically funny). Who wants to see the WNBA when there are 120 combined points, about two recognizable stars, and not high quality basketball, even without most of its good players heading to China to play there? Stern never gave up and admitted that it was a lost cause—hopefully Silver will, especially as he showed that he can make the right decision with Donald Sterling. He showed that he’ll act proactively in removing a cancerous drain on the league, maybe he can get rid of another one. WNBA fans, sorry for offending all eight of you.