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

I’d like to issue a public apology

To the San Antonio Spurs. When I picked the Nuggets to knock you out, I did not realize that you were the best team in the league. I did not realize that you were great at all of the following:

Inside defense
Perimeter defense
Inside scoring
Perimeter scoring
Team defense
Passing
Hustle plays

I also did not realize that your point guard would be #3 in the playoffs in points in the paint, that your power forward would be #2, and that your coach could outcoach anyone in the league in his sleep right now. You’re well on your way to beating four of the hottest teams in the league without going to seven games in any of the four series.

Maybe you needed a little luck in getting Amare and Borris suspended for a game, but you were still 3-2 in games that those two played. Carmelo and Allen? Carlos and Deron? Tim and Tony are better than either combo, and their supporting cast is far greater.

It took me three series, but I finally caught on. If the great duos of the Jazz and Nuggets couldn’t touch you, and the great trio of the Suns couldn’t touch you, how is Cleveland’s one-man team going to win a game against you? They won’t.

June 10, 2007 Posted by | Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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

Conference Semis Preview

Well, its an hour into studying, and I have the notes that my professor posted on the internet nearly memorized. Those being the only notes that I have to study, I’m going to post for awhile and see if I still have them memorized when I’m done. On we go

1 Detroit vs. 5 Chicago

Chicago wins in 6

I could be stupid like a friend of mine, who will remain anonymous, and mulligan my pick after the shocking Game 1 loss, but I however, am not retarded. I don’t declare a series over based simply on Game 1. If you want to know any details on that series, see that blog I posted about it….or you can just wait and watch it all come true. heh

2 Cleveland vs. 6 New Jersey

Cleveland in 7

I couldn’t decide if I thought this series would go 5 or 7, because I couldn’t decide if New Jersey would steal one on the road. Then I remembered certain starter named Jason Kidd. Yes, he will….er…the nets will get one win on the road. I think the nets are to good to lose Game 6 at home, but Lebron is too good to lose Game 7 at home. However, we have all seen Lebron not only choke, but throw up in clutch situations *insert chuck yelling “Pass the ball! Pass the ball! Pass the ball! (repeat until play is over)*, so we know that NJ is capable of winning Game 7 on the road. I’m very not confidant about this series.

2 Phoenix vs 3 San Antonio

Phoenix wins in 7

Not much to say here that you would not have already read from Von. I continue to stick by my pick and am honestly even more confidant about this pick due to this stat here.

San Antonio 3-12 when their opponent scores over 100 points. Up until yesterdays game, they were 2-12, but they shattered Steve Nash’s nose and wouldnt let him play to squeak by with a win, lol. The suns average 110 points a game. Thats not only 100, thats solid over 100. The Spurs are not the type of team who likes to score 100 points a night. Tim Duncan himself admitted that in an interview after the game. “We’d rather play in the 90s, we’d rather play in the 80s,” he said. “That’s our type of game, but we’ve got a lot of guys who are shooting the ball really well. We’ve been moving the ball really well, and the points are going up on the board.” Your right, Timmy, but fortunately, Nash couldn’t play the last 2 minutes of the game….and you still only won by 5 points. Point being, you can’t count on the Spurs to score that many points all the time, and you can’t count on not having Nash in the game the last 1:30 all the time. Pheonix still wins this series.

5 Utah vs. 8 Golden State

Golden State wins in 6

This series is the one that interests me most. I’m not picking this series based on what I want to see, because I want to see it go to 7. Then Von and I could go watch Game 7. That’d be tight! But I also think that Golden State really can pull this off. Heres how…

Baron Davis. If this man continues is onslaught of basketball superiority, Williams and Fisher are not going to be stopping him. Some of the best defensive guards in the NBA didn’t do it, and we’ve seen how Utah has managed to falter down the stretch of the regular season, so can they keep playing well down the stretch of the post-season?

Transition Golden State can score in transition as good as anyone in the league. Carlos Boozer is a big man who can get back as good as any in the league and this could make the GS transition game a little more difficult, but I still think with Richardson and Jackson’s ability to run the floor, they should be able to get the job done.

Home court advantage. Yes, on paper, Utah has the home-court advantage, but I’m going to say right now that GS will not lose a game at home the entire rest of the season. I also think that they are good enough to steal one on the road. When they do this, they will win game 6 at home and win the series. If they are gonna steal one at home, tonights game will probably be it. If I was Kornheiser or Wilbon, I’d pick that game for my TV pick of the day.

Bottom line, this is going to be an outstanding series, but probably won’t be the best one we’ll see all year, simply because, if I’m right, Golden State will play Pheonix in the Western Conference Finals. Heh, this will be a basketball fans blessing from Heaven.

May 7, 2007 Posted by | Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, NBA, New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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: Later Rounds Preview

I figured I probably should do this before the second round was finished. Every one of these matchups has proven to be difficult to predict (at least, it seems like they will be). I’m already doubting my picks in all three series that have played a game so far, so I wouldn’t bet any money on these picks.

Because I know you all care, hoops and I could see the Utah/Golden State game 7 if it goes that far, so I’ll be rooting for that one to go the distance. You all should too because then you’d get a real, live game review. Continue reading

May 6, 2007 Posted by | Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, NBA, New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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