The Basketblog

Celebrating the love of the Game.

NBA Season Preview

I had to wait a day to post this preview. I had to see for sure whether the Spurs are actually better than the Trail Blazers. Turns out, they are.

In fact, nearly all logic tells me that the Spurs are once again the best team in the league and will win the championship. Only I’m not going to pick them. I’m going to pick Phoenix. San Antonio might be the best team with the best coach, but they’re not going to have the fire that Phoenix will this year. Think about it: Steve Nash and Grant Hill both know they’re on the down side of their careers and may not have another chance. They’ve already talked about trading Amare Stoudemire or Shawn Marion; this might be the last year their core group is together. I think Stoudemire will be improved, and the veterans will not let them lose. They will upset the Spurs in the playoffs even though they’ll be the higher seed.

Continue reading

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October 31, 2007 Posted by | Atlanta Hawks, Big Ten, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, LA Lakers, NBA, New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Seattle Supersonics, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NBA Playoffs: May 9

Well, it’s pretty clear that this is going to be one heck of a series. Golden State has been great at home in the playoffs, as my esteemed colleague hoops has said. However, what he failed to note is that Utah’s home court has been even greater. They have now outscored their opponents at home by a combined score of 516-463 in five games compared to Golden State’s 323-276.

What he also failed to note is that Utah is a very, very good team. Now that Kirilenko is playing up to his old abilities, they may be, top to bottom, the best team in the league. Deron Williams has become a top-5 point guard, Derek Fisher is a tough guard with a lot of experience, Kirilenko is perhaps the best all-around player in the league, Boozer is becoming a star, and Okur is the best shooting big guy in the league. Every player coming off their bench can play–Ronnie Brewer and Dee Brown don’t play much, but they’ve both shown the ability to make some key plays in this series. In Williams, Millsap, Brown, and Brewer they have perhaps the best young corps of players in the league. The only thing that keeps them from being an elite team is their lack of a superstar. Dallas has Nowitski, San Antonio has Duncan, Phoenix has Nash, Houston has McGrady; but Boozer isn’t quite a superstar.

If Boozer could develop into a superstar, we could be talking about Utah as a contender for many years. He’s been getting 24/12 so far in the playoffs. If he can continue that throughout the playoffs, they can compete against either San Antonio or Phoenix–they are that good.

Here are some of my other thoughts from tonight: Continue reading

May 9, 2007 Posted by | Big Ten, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, NBA, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Game recap

Well, I was either fishing or cleaning fish during the Chicago/Detroit game, but I saw the score and the final 5 minutes or so and know that I didn’t miss much. Yes, I’ve probably missed my prediction on this series. Uh-oh!!

The GS/Utah game was one of the best NBA games I’ve seen all year. It probably comes right after the 2OT PHX/Dallas game a few months ago. After watching this game, I still like my pick of GS in 6. Heres why

1. I think that Utah did not like to play this style of basketball with GS. Jerry Sloan nearly admitted that in a post-game interview, but wouldn’t come out and actually say it. Its very similar to the SA/PHX game, except Tim Duncan openly admitted they didn’t like this style of play. One main reason that everyone said Utah would win (I used this as to why they could win) was because they would slow down or stop the GS transition game. Not they would keep up with it and play it with them. I can’t see Utah continuing to run this style all series and keep winning games. When you adjust your game to that of your opponents, its quite rare to come away with consistent wins.

2. The adjustments that Nellie is going to make. There were several things that I saw throughout the game that I think could have been done differently, both offensively and deffensively that could have exploited a few of Utah’s weaknesses. I’m more than sure if I saw them, Don Nelson saw them. He’ll get it fixed

3. Golden States ability to just keep fighting. No matter what the situation is, down 1 down 15 down 30, Golden State will give themselves a chance to win in the end. With these kind of runs and that much fight, I don’t think Utah is a good enough team to win 4 games at home that way. They nearly blew their first chance last night, but good ole Boozer grabbed 2 key offensive boards (see multiple blogs involving who wins games late and why. Also note that I told Von with 3 minutes left whoever gets OR and gets stops wins this game) which gave Utah more clock to burn and 4 more points. I believe they won by 4 points. I think that Golden State can put together enough runs to take a road win in game 2 or 5. When this happens, they will win game 6 at home.

People can feel free to come and congratulate me on my basketball knowledge when this happens, even though, yes, I picked Chicago.

May 8, 2007 Posted by | Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, NBA, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NBA Playoffs First Round Awards

Because completely pointless things like this are what I do.

MVP: Baron Davis
He was simply unstoppable. Dallas had no one on their roster who could contain his penetration, and he was so on fire from three-point range that Dallas couldn’t let him do that. He had a points/rebounds double-double twice, as a 6’3″ point guard. He increased his three-point shooting percentage from 30% to 46% from the regular season. When he was off the court, Golden State struggled; but when he was on, they controlled the best team in the league. Stephen Jackson might have starred at times, but they would have been swept without Davis.

Honorable mention: Jason Kidd and Carlos Boozer
LVP: Dirk Nowitski
His defensive numbers admittedly went up, but playing against a small, fast-paced team, that is to be expected. His offensive numbers all went way down though, especially his shooting percentages. His three-point percentage was half what it was during the regular season, and his overall shooting percentage was 12 points lower. He did not help matters by saying that the season was basically over if they lost game 4…which they did.

Best player on a losing team: Antawn Jamison
He had to be great to give his team a chance, but even that wasn’t enough to avoid the sweep. He averaged 12 points and 2 rebounds more than his season average during the series, including 38/11 in game 3.

Honorable mention: Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Tracy McGrady, and Josh Howard

Note–Five of the top six scorers in the first round were on losing teams (LeBron was the exception).

Best Coach: Don Nelson
It was unfair to Dallas that they had to face the coach that built them in the first round. Nelson was brilliant in getting those guys to play together and get the wild and crazy style to work. They harried Nowitski into a terrible series and came up with the big plays down the stretch in every game besides game 5. None of that would have happened without Don Nelson.

By the way, my dad is a history teacher at a local high school. The other history teacher at the school is the niece of Don Nelson.

Best team performance: Phoenix over Los Angeles 126-98 (game 2).
Phoenix was great everywhere in this game. They shot over 54% from the field and 42% from three-point range; all five scorers were in double figures, but Leandro Barbosa led them all with 26 points. Everyone on the roster scored at least 2 points. They only committed 8 turnovers and held Kobe Bryant to 15 points.

Honorable mention: Golden State over Dallas 111-86 (game 6), New Jersey over Toronto 102-81 (game 4), and Utah over Houston 81-67 (game 3)

Best individual performance: Jason Kidd (game 3)
There were several I wanted to give it to, but 16/19/16 was too incredible to pass up. As I mentioned, that has only been done twice before in NBA history, which was more rare than the other performances.

Honorable mention: Kobe Bryant (game 3), Steve Nash (game 4), Amare Stoudemire (game 4), and Baron Davis (game 1)

Here’s to more great performances in the second round!

May 6, 2007 Posted by | Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, LA Lakers, NBA, New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NBA Playoffs: May 3

Dallas/Golden State Series Recap
I think this says it all:

PWND

Just give the cat a bad hamstring and make sure the bear doesn’t call timeout even in the midst of an 18-0 run.

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It’s been overshadowed by other series (such as the Golden State series), but the Utah/Houston series has possibly been the best series of the first round. Each team has held serve on its home court so far, but Kirilenko and Okur are now playing well for Utah. They might be able to steal game 7 in Houston. Every basketball fan needs to watch that game to see who gets to lose to Golden State in the second round.

May 3, 2007 Posted by | Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, NBA, Utah Jazz | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Baron Davis

I would like to dedicate this blog to Baron Davis and his awesomness. This guy reminds me of a much larger and more talented scale me when I was a senior in high school. His team is very similar and plays very similar to how mine did, the only thing we don’t really have in common is I played in the middle of a 2-3 defense and got alot of rebounds; he plays out front of a match-up zone and gets alot of steals. But I’m not talking about stats or style of play; I’m referring to how he never ever quits in any game. He plays with so much passion and leadership! Due to this, I love to watch him play. Dallas has tried to close out on GS and seal up a game so many times, but this man just keeps coming and coming and coming. To quote Avery Johnson, “He’s a good player. He’s a strong-willed guy, but strong-willed guys can be beaten.” Heh, clearly not by this Mavericks team. Johnson went on to talk about how regardless of how Dallas has been trapping him, he manages to get out of it and make a play. I’v noticed that no matter how far down GS gets, Davis manages to make a few big plays in a row and put them back in the game. All it takes is about 3 good plays in a row and that GS crowd is going nuts. Thats tough to play in. That is mostly why I think that Dallas will win Game 5 at home, but GS takes it away in Game 6. If they gave away game balls in basketball at the end of a series, game ball goes to Baron Davis.

For those of you who can find the similarities between how I used to/still play and how Baron Davis plays, well, you have a good knowledge of the game of basketball. For those of you who can understand it like I do, you have a great one.

April 30, 2007 Posted by | Calvary Baptist, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, NBA | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Golden State vs. Dallas

So, this has been the best series of the year, thus far. Not because they have had the best games consistently (see San Antonio/Denver series), but because its one of the worst good teams in the NBA taking it straight at the best team in the NBA. No matter how far down these Warriors get, they just keep coming back. They’re like a fly at a barbecue: no matter how many times you swat at it, its still coming back unless you kill it. The only thing that I have against them is they sometimes allow to many offensive rebounds and I think sometimes they tend to get a little out of control. But coming from one who played on a team that loved to run and press and get up and down the floor, that is gonna happen, but that rarely acts as an Achilles’ Heel.

Heres the other aspect of this. How many breakdowns are these Mavericks gonna have? Not just defensively, but offensively! I mean, they are just completely missing defensive assignments and giving up easy lay-ups and sometimes fouls to go with it. They are not taking care of the basketball and not executing the offense we’ve seen all year. This is not the 67 win Dallas Mavericks team.

As this game continues to close. and Dallas continues to just look worse and worse, I realize how GS completely changed one of the things that I said I feared of them. I said they don’t play lock-up defense to close games. They have held Dallas to just 4 points in the final 3 minutes I believe, while scoring 16 points of their own. This is why they will go on to win this game. On the flip side, this is also why they did not go on to win Game 2. I know I had picked Dallas in 7 and do kind of want that to happen (only to watch PHX beat them as I’ve called since November), I’d also like to see GS win this series. Although, hold on, Dirk has hit two miracle threes and has 3.2 seconds to do it again…….STOLEN INBOUND PASS!!! wow!

As we stare at a stunned Mark Cuban, lets recap what we’ve figured out here. First of all, I really wish I’d given Don Nelson more credit and Dirk less credit than I did. I knew that Nellie knew how to coach against the Mavs, but I didn’t know that he could do this to them. I thought that Dallas was to good, to deep, and too experienced to lose this series. But these Warriors to not quit!! They have been down in these games repeatedly and every single time, they make runs to pull themselves back into this game. They are one of the two most fun teams to watch in the league. Possible second only to PHX.

Charles Barkley= greatest addition to the sports broadcasting world ever! All who disagree are ignorant fiends!

April 29, 2007 Posted by | Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, NBA | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NBA Playoffs: April 27

Oh man, I love David Stern. He’s getting interviewed and being asked a dozen questions about conspiracies and controversies and basically says “shut up and let the viewers watch the game.” I also love the Golden State crowd. Anyone could win in front of that crowd. Local teams always do well at the IHSA state tournament, and I believe it’s because they have the biggest crowds. Rarely are they good enough to finish as high as they do; it’s just built-in home-court advantage.

“My grandma said she was gonna whoop me if I got kicked out again.” Bang. Too bad Ron Artest doesn’t have a grandma like that. By the way, have you ever seen a game when so many incredible shots went in for one team? The Warriors weren’t just beating up on the Mavericks, they were doing it in style!

Hey, quick poll: When’s the last time you saw a stat line as good as Jason Kidd’s 16/16/19? You can’t count the Kirilenko stat lines I posted the other day. I can’t ever remember seeing a triple-double that pretty. The only other two players to get a 15/15/15 in the playoffs were Wilt Chamberlain and a guy nicknamed “Fat.” That’s great company if I’ve ever seen it.

I didn’t think Wade would be good enough to take Miami to a series win, but I didn’t realize he’d be this ineffective. It’s almost sad. I can’t help but feel that this was the last year the Heat would be great. In hindsight, Wade should have just gotten surgery.

I’ve got to give a shout out to my boy Marcus Camby. Apparently the voters for Defensive Player of the Year read my blog. In that case, MVP ought to be either Nash or Kobe.

April 27, 2007 Posted by | Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, IHSA, Miami Heat, NBA, New Jersey Nets, Sacramento Kings | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NBA Playoffs: April 26

A note on my previous blog: I posted it before the Dallas game was over, so I did not realize that Stephen Jackson would also give the league a chance to help a star franchise out. I still say Dallas in 7.

I’m going to go ahead and take a mulligan on my Detroit pick. They have and will continue to beat Orlando easily. I figured they’d be disinterested for at least a couple games instead of getting it over with as soon as possible in order to go home and rest. And I don’t usually talk about what the commentators point out first, but I can’t let this go: Why wouldn’t Orlando play J.J. Redick? They have no shooting on the court and Detroit is making them pay by packing in the defense. The inexperience argument doesn’t work because the rest of Orlando is inexperienced as well. All I know is that what Orlando is doing now isn’t working and they need a change.

What genius at TNT decided it would be a good idea to show the score of the game not being shown once every half hour and only have it on the screen for 5 seconds? That’s reason #247 why college basketball is better than pro basketball. The thing is, I don’t really care because I’m not interested in following the game in case it gets close. As long as I see the final score, I don’t care if I missed the entire game.

Kobe needs to score. That’s my opinion on the over-debated topic of the week. If he doesn’t get 40, they have a 0% chance of winning, and he needs to get 50 to give them a 50% chance. He has 20 at the half tonight, so the Lakers are on pace to have a chance.

April 26, 2007 Posted by | Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, LA Lakers, NBA, Orlando Magic | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NBA Playoffs: April 24

I’d like to start off by saying that only one team I picked to win a series has lost a game so far, and I said it would take Dallas 7 games to beat Golden State. In fact, only one series hasn’t gone the way I’ve expected it to so far, but I’ll get to that later.

There haven’t been any real close games so far, but there have been enough good ones that I expect this year to be almost as good as last year. Continue reading

April 24, 2007 Posted by | Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, LA Lakers, Miami Heat, NBA, New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment