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Friday, April 29, 2011


Sadly, April 30 will mark the first day off in the NBA playoffs since April 16th, With only opening round series remaining to be decided , lets took a look back at whats gone on so far....

1. Have Closer, will travel- Denver, Portland, and Indiana all can make cases they could have won their series or at least extended them all to game 6 or 7. Indiana can even make the case that they outplayed chicago for 3.5 plus games....The problem with all 3 of these teams, no one to close the show in the 4th quarter. Brandon Roy's brilliant 4th quarter in game 4 aside, none of these teams had the ability to finish games. Denver, had leads in  4th quarter every game except for game two....Indiana led going into the fourth in games 1, 2, and 3...But the NBA is still a stars league, you can have all the gallinaris, millers, grangers you want, give me a Durant, Nowitzki, or a Rose surrounded by guys who understand their roles and coaches who know how to get their star player the ball.  The Grizzlies have to show they can close. they have outplayed Spurs for more than 75% of this series and truthfully , series should be over. How will they respond?

2. The Lakers are still the Best Closeout Team on the Road- In order to beat the Lakers, you have stockpile your wins early in the series. No one in the NBA is better after Game 4 than the Lakers especially on the road. I know it gets tired but its the truth, they can flip the switch (especially on D) better than anyone. Kobe 24 isn't Kobe 8 but he is still capable of game turning plays (The Okafor Dunk) and big shots on demand.. The new development of Bynum as a go-to offensive threat is a scary proposition

3. Say what you want about the Kendrick Perkins trade-  But at least Danny Ainge didnt cut his entire rotation, which is what Otis Smith did when he pulled off the Arenas-Lewis trade and the Carter-Richardson trade.  Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis were over-the-hill and overpaid respectively, but had to be respected enough to open things up for D12.  Pietrus was a very good wing defender and deadly from the corner on 3's and Gortat was Magic's remaining size. Hedo and Gil Arenas made Magic just another team in the East and the Hawks picked them off. If you are Dwight Howard, those moves have to be in back of your mind as you creep toward free agency and you wonder does SVG survive?

4.  You may be tired of the Hype--- But Miami vs Boston should be a classic. Now i know in my playoff predictions, i had Heat in 5. But the combination the ease that Boston dispatched New York and the still suspect end of game execuion of the Heat, bother me if I am a Heat fan. A now rested Boston team which like LA can still flip the switch and they execute in half court as well as anyone which serves them well in what should be 7 close games. I am going to hold with the Heat but make it 7 instead of 5. I have a feeling Wade or James has one magical game and Bosh has been steady. Heat will hold serve at home to win series but doesnt bode well for Conference Finals

5.  Watch this Space- Russell Westbrook believe he should be option 1 and it will be demise of Thunder. Game 4 vs. Denver, Westbrook shoots 30 times, Durant shoots 18 times. Thunder lose and there are several dirty looks shot his way by Durant and teammates. Game 5 with Thunder down 9, Durant takes over the final stretch while Westbrook looks mildly interested. There is an undercurrent growing in OKC over whether Westbrook is truly the right type of sidekick for Durant and there have been times when the two have seem disconnected. While its obvious who is Option 1, Option 2 doesnt always understand that and its a problem.

6. Even as a Bulls fan, I hope this is wrong- Atlanta vs Chicago has the potentially to be one of the uglier first conference semifinals of all time. both won their series mainly on the defensive end and except for the Bulls game 5, rely on a lot of isolation sets for Rose, Crawford, and Johnson which can make for some bad offensive possessions. The Hawks are as inconsistant as team, not just game to game , but literally by the minute. This series could be a repeat of Orlando's thrashing of Atlanta last year, it could be the Heat vs Hawks series in '09 which was a 7 -game series that featured 7 double digit differences.  I am picking Chicago in 6 but have a sneaking suspicion I will be wrong and this series is a sweep or 5. The maddening nature of the Hawks will be on full display.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Happy 4-20 Day (and not for that reason lol).   25 years ago today, The legend of MJ was born with a 63rd point tour de force in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference 1st round vs Boston. The Bulls lost that day (Orlando Woolridge, please pass the ball!) but the sporting world was put on alert that the new sheriff was in town. On the heels of Carmelo's 42-17-5 vs Boston in Game 2. Let's take a look back at some other great playoff performances











Tuesday, April 19, 2011


15 years has passed since the NBA released the 50 greatest of all time list........ Since then league has had several Hall of Famers enter the league...So here is the activity....Recreate the list in 2012, take off and put on whoever you like!!

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar*

Charles Barkley*
Rick Barry*
Elgin Baylor*
Dave Bing*
Larry Bird*

Wilt Chamberlain*
Bob Cousy*
Dave Cowens*


Clyde Drexler*

Julius Erving*
Patrick Ewing*

Walt Frazier*

George Gervin*

John Havlicek*
Elvin Hayes*


Michael Jordan
Magic Johnson*
Michael Jordan*


Jerry Lucas*

Karl Malone
Moses Malone*
Pete Maravich*
Kevin McHale*
George Mikan*
Earl Monroe*


Shaquille O'Neal
Hakeem Olajuwon*


Bob Pettit*
Scottie Pippen

Willis Reed*
Oscar Robertson*
David Robinson*
Bill Russell*

John Stockton*

Isiah Thomas*

Wes Unseld*

Bill Walton*
Jerry West*
Lenny Wilkens*
James Worthy*
DOMINIQUE WILKINS (should have made it first time IMO)

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Let the real season !  Forget "The Decision"...Sorry Blake and John, your time will come.....A sincere "Wish you were here" to old favorites Utah and Phoenix.....Its time for big-boy ball...So let's break it down.....Round -by- Round. Would I take these pick to Vegas? Absolutely not.....Is there a good chance I will be wrong? Maybe. And that's the beauty of the NBA Playoffs, its best of seven. The best team truly wins (well maybe except the 2002 Kings and 2006 Mavericks....) No Cinderellas, No Mid-majors, No One Shining Moments, No Flukes....With all due respect to March Madness, this is the true madness... 2 months of high intensity, high pressure games....As Bart Scott said,  "Can't Wait"


8 INDIANA VS 1 CHICAGO-  Chicago Wins  4-0.  The meteoric rise to the top of the Bulls continues with a sweep of the young Pacers.Should be MVP D-Rose overpowers Darren Collison and the gang mentality on the defensive end is too much for Indiana. Conseco Fieldhouse's college like atmosphere will make games 3 and 4 interesting but its not enough as the Bulls make light work of Indiana.

5 ATLANTA VS 4 ORLANDO- Orlando Wins  4-1.  Despite the Hawks taking 3 of 4 in the regular season against the Magic, I can't shake last years destruction by the Magic in round 2 vs ATL. One year has nothing to do with the next but Atlanta looked uninterested down the stretch and D12 is still a hellacious matchup for an undersized ATL frontline. Hinrich should be able to do a better job on Jameer Nelson than Bibby would have but Orlando's firepower and D12 are too much

7 PHILADELPHIA VS 2 MIAMI- Miami wins 4-1.  Doug Collins has done a great job in turning around a team that looked dead after a 3-13 start. Sixers are athletic and play great team defense but none of that can hide the fact that they cant score. Miami for all the issues gets a favorable matchup against a team that they handled in the regular season. The Heat roll in this series

6 NEW YORK VS 3 BOSTON- Boston wins 4-2.  The much talked about Kendrick Perkins trade does not rear its ugly head....yet.  The most hyped first round series goes to the Celtics who are able to grind out the Knicks at home and tough enough to get one in MSG.  The Melo-Amare duo will keep every game close in what will be an entertaining series which should feature at least one near scuffle. In the end, Boston's experience wins out


8 MEMPHIS VS 1 SAN ANTONIO- San Antonio wins 4-2.  The Grizzlies tank job to get to the Spurs combined with a banged up SA team makes this series competitive. Z-Bo and Gasol are a handful for the Spurs front court but Tony Parker has a similar advantage over Mike Conley. Rudy Gay might have made the Grizz an interesting pick but his absence finally shows up and Spurs with a little more effort than what we think win the series

5 DENVER VS 4 OKLAHOMA CITY-  OKLAHOMA CITY WINS  4-2.  This is the NBA equivalent of two really good mid majors. The Post -Melo Nuggets have been one of the better stories in 2nd half the season while the Thunder continue to push for elite status. The difference in this series is the bigger OKC guard of Westbrook, Harden, and Sefalosha punishing the smaller Nuggets backcourt while the lack of Melo comes to bear in close games. I will take OKC.

7 NEW ORLEANS VS 2 LOS ANGELES-  Los Angeles wins 4-0.  Bynum's knee and a sluggish finish has everyone up and arms. Relax, the Lake Show get a nice appetizer in the Hornets without David West and Marcus Thornton (traded to Kings). The wear and tear is evident on CP3 from carrying the franchise and they just are not good enough. Light work for the Lakers

6 PORTLAND VS 3 DALLAS-  Portland wins 4-2.  Dirk, Poor Dirk...Since the 2006 Collapse in the Finals and the 2007 upset by Golden State, the first round has always been a difficult task for the Mavs. The weight of expectations again proves to be too much as they take on an athletic and deep Blazers team. The Blazers throw multiple bodies at Dirk and ugly up the game. Portland, who also has had its first round issue advances which could begin the end of the Mavericks as you know them


4 ORLANDO VS 1 CHICAGO-  Chicago wins 4-3.  Styles make championship boxing matches and Styles makes series. Orlando and Chicago are perfect compliments to each other. Orlando's spread the floor-shoot the 3- dump to Howard offense vs the constricting, agressive Bulls defense. Rose and Howard cancel each other out which leaves it to the supporting pieces. This is where the trade hurts Orlando. Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis were Bull-killers even when bad, not having is difference. The Bulls win all 4 in the UC to advance

3 BOSTON vs 2 MIAMI-  Miami wins 4-1.  A long drawn out series  with New York combined with the Heat having gained their sea legs towards end of season is bad news for the C's. With no Perkins, and the corpses of the Oneals as subsitute, Wade and James drive to hoop with no fear. The Heat are able to speed the game and Boston's age shows. Miami wins this surprisingly easy


4 OKLAHOMA CITY VS 1 SAN ANTONIO-  Oklahoma City wins 4-3.  The old dogs have one last trick up their sleeve as they take advantage of the Thunder's eagerness to run. However, the Spurs don't have an answer for 2-Time Scoring Champ Kevin Durant who is tall for Jefferson, too quick for Bonner and McDyess. Sefalosha and Harden are able to contain Manu and OKC wins Game 7 in SA in a mild surprise to advance.

6 PORTLAND VS 1 LOS ANGELES- Los Angeles wins 4-2.  Portland has a team built to give the Lakers trouble with their athleticism, depth, and toughness. A healthier Bynum along with Odom and Gasol are still a huge advantage over Portland and no one in the league is better in closeout games on the road than Kobe. In an exciting series, Lakers kick it up another level to finish off Portland


2 MIAMI VS 1 CHICAGO- Chicago wins 4-3. Bulls fans will remember 1998 win the Larry Bird coached Pacers gave the MJ title teams the toughest series in the dynasty years. In that series, the home team won every game. Homecourt advantage is the only thing that seperates these two in a back and forth series. The young Bulls are extremely tough to beat in the UC and that overcomes their relative lack of experience. Deng is able to hold his own against LBJ and Rose is the difference in what will be several close games.


4 OKLAHOMA CITY VS 1 LOS ANGELES- Los Angeles wins 4-2. Just not quite ready , OKC. Championship experience, Kobe staring down the barrel of history and the skill of Odom and Gasol push the Lakers through in six. Durant starts to solve the puzzle that has been Artest at times and Westbrook continues to run circles around Fisher/Blake/Brown but in the end, beating LA in Staples Center is too much to ask of the young Thunder


1 LOS ANGELES VS 1 CHICAGO- Los Angles wins 4-3.  20 years ago, the Chicago Bulls defeated the Lakers for title #1. It was the passing of torch officially from Magic to MJ. Unfortunately, Kobe is not so willing a participant in torch passing. The lack of experience appears just one time in the playoffs and that would be in Game 7. Every ounce of my heart and basketball brains wants me to be able to pick this Bulls team. The best record, the MVP, the great team D, the feel-good story it would be about how to build a champion. That being said, I just can't pick against Kobe and Phil while they are holding the 'ship.  As stated before, no one is better in a closeout situation on the road than Kobe..The Bulls are far from overmatched and will lead this series more than once but in the end the championship mettle of two of the greatest of all time is just enough to give Phil a fourth 3 peat, and Kobe a second three peat to match MJ.