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

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 5

Houston/Utah Series Recap
Well, I’d write about how Utah won because Okur and Kirilenko finally broke through and got back to their old selves, but that’s what everyone else is saying about this series (that and McGrady fails to get out of the first round again; as mentioned here, players without college experience tend to struggle in the playoffs.), so I’ll give you something else: Utah won because they were clearly the better team.

Even despite Okur(their second-leading scorer)’s and Kirilenko’s terrible play at the beginning of the series, they still led at the half of every game and kept the games in Houston close. I know scores can be deceiving but all of Utah’s first three wins were by double digits; all of Houston’s wins were by single digits. Except for McGrady, Houston did not have a single player as good as his counterpart on Utah. Houston’s other star was predictable on offense and ineffective on defense, while Carlos Boozer was dominant. It’s to Houston’s credit that they did not lose this series earlier.

And Houston really needs to give the foul at the end. That’s just unexcusable.

Coming tomorrow: Later round previews and first round awards! You’re not going to want to miss this one.

May 5, 2007 Posted by | Houston Rockets, NBA, Utah Jazz | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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

Yao Ming

Ok, I guess I’m not entirely sure how accurate my opinion here can be just because I don’t watch Yao play alot, but still, I think this guy could be a Hall-of-Fame center. Not right now. He has an unlimited aresenal of post moves, like drop steps, jump hook, baby hook, reverse lay-ups, etc. But the one thing that he could do most often and easiest he doesn’t. The slam dunk. Its almost as if he’s afraid he’ll hurt the rim. Tonight, he started the game 1-8 from the field. I watched him miss several buckets from within 5 feet because he tried to just flip the ball into the basket. Instead of that, why does he not just explode as high as he can and stuff it on whoever is in his path! The man is 7’5″, this means he can reach far over 8-8 1/2′ high. He only needs to get 18-24″ off the ground and he’s at the rim. We all have seen how easily he can dunk and he could easily outjump Okur or Boozer whose guarding him. Watching him tonight, there is alot about Yao that I love. He runs the floor very well and loves to run straight down inside the charge-circle and start posting deep early. This is crucial to any great post player, and Yao does it to perfection. My only complaint is once he gets it that deep– dunk the freaking basketball! When Yao can do this, he will become an unstoppable force in the paint. I can think of no answer for him. He can run the floor way better than Shaq, and is to strong for guys built like Shaun Bradley. Tim Duncan is the best bet, but he gives up about 6″ to Yao, and this would make it very hard to stop him. When Yao learns to dunk the ball and use all that strength he has, we will see if he really can be the Hall of Fame center he has the potential to be.

April 30, 2007 Posted by | Houston Rockets, NBA, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Time to make fun of Yao

Mehmet Okur is 6-11 but only averaged .48 blocks per game this season. He has 8 blocks in three games defending 7-5 Yao Ming.

I like Yao and think he’s the best true center in the game right now, but that’s just embarrassing.

April 26, 2007 Posted by | Houston Rockets, NBA, Utah Jazz | , , , , , , , , | 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

NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Preview

Ok, so I had computer problems and wasn’t able to post this last night, ending my run for 40 blogs in 40 nights at 0. I also realized that there will be a time during the conference semis and conference finals that I won’t be able to post anything or even watch games. I guess I’ll have to make 40 posts in the next four weeks to make sure I get there.

I’ll be adding pictures and links and such to both of these previews eventually (“tonight”), but for now I just need to make more predictions before I see a second western game. Continue reading

April 22, 2007 Posted by | ACC, Big Ten, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, LA Lakers, NBA, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment