The Basketblog

Celebrating the love of the Game.

About the top-two picks going to the Northwest

I’m going to break my fast from posting for this. Ironically, I’ve been in Seattle and Portland the last few days.

At first I agreed with the thoughts that having Oden and Durant both going to the Northwest would be bad for the league because of the time difference. But as I thought about it, I don’t think that will be the case.

Does anyone ever complain that it’s bad for the league that Phoenix games start late? The Lakers are one of the glamorous teams in the league, but they play in the Pacific Time Zone. Golden State was the great story of the playoffs, but they play in the Pacific Time Zone. A few years ago the Sacramento Kings were the most fun team in the league to watch, but they were in the Pacific Time Zone. There has been talk of moving a franchise to Las Vegas, which is in the Pacific Time Zone. Why does the Pacific Time Zone not matter in any of those cases? Perhaps the reason that the biggest NBA markets are in the East is that the tv schedule favors them. Maybe the West will become so stacked that the NBA will change the schedule, which will in turn make the Western teams more popular. Maybe the Western teams aren’t as good for tv ratings, but the Kings, Warriors, Jazz, Suns, and Mavericks (in the Central Time Zone, but stick with me) have some of the best fans in the league. I think that giving the best players to the best fans will help the league more than giving the best players to the biggest markets.

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May 24, 2007 Posted by | Golden State Warriors, LA Lakers, NBA, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Seattle Supersonics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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: May 2

San Antonio/Denver Series Recap
Well, Carmelo Anthony played well in a playoffs series but is still out in five games. Each game someone else struggled, whether it was Iverson shooting below 30% or Smith throwing up bad shots or Nene getting into foul trouble. But that’s why the Spurs are great. If someone struggles, there is always someone else there to step up, and their defense keeps them in games even when everyone is struggling. Offense will come and go, but defense is always based on effort; you can always play well on defense.

Fortunately I have the solution that will get Denver into the second round and beyond: Jason Kapono. Denver has the inside presence with Nene and Anthony (on offense) and Camby (on defense). They have the ballhandling and passing with Iverson and Kapono. They were gelling and developing good chemistry at the end of the season. All they were missing was a good shooter, and Kapono is a great shooter. If Denver doesn’t get Jason Kapono in free agency, they aren’t trying hard enough.

Phoenix/LA Series Recap
The Lakers put up a pretty good fight–something you’d expect out of Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson. They certainly put up more of a fight than Orlando or Washington…or Miami. But they never really had a chance in this series; it’s good that they finally just let Phoenix advance.

I said that the Spurs could advance even when someone has a bad game. Well, that’s what the Suns did tonight. Steve Nash was not at his normal level for most of the game, but Phoenix still led throughout. That’s what it takes to contend for a title.

Unlike Denver, I have no solution for the Lakers. Their team just isn’t championship material at this point. There has been talk of Kevin Garnett coming in, but I don’t see that helping much. He’s just a rich man’s Lamar Odom. I guess Kobe and Garnett sounds a lot like Jordan and Pippen, but the Bulls always had other pieces. The Lakers have no one like a Ron Harper or a Dennis Rodman; unless the younger players like Luke Walton and Andrew Bynum/Kwame Brown develop quickly, or they add another role piece, the Lakers will not be a factor next year.

The Suns and Spurs, however, do not need any more pieces to win a championship. The winner of that series will win it all.

May 2, 2007 Posted by | Denver Nuggets, LA Lakers, NBA, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Preview of games tonight

Phoenix vs. Los Angeles

I hope that everyone can understand just how over this series is, and the game doesn’t start for another 12 1/2 hours. The only way this series is not done tonight is if Kobe drops 60. Otherwise, curtain call for LA. There really needs no more explaining.

Denver vs. San Antonio

As much as I hate to see it (because I really want to go watch Denver play in a few weeks), I don’t think that is going to happen. The several things that I mentioned that they need to do to win ball games late they have not done. Notice, they’ve lost three straight. They couldn’t get the job done in Denver, I have a hard time seeing them doing it in San Antonio. Obviously, they’ve done it once, and no team with AI and Melo would surprise me with a win. I don’t care who they are playing. I’m just saying that I see it as unlikely.

A correction on previous Yao Ming blog: No one could stop Yao when he learns to dunk. I didn’t give Yao enough credit for his weight. Did anyone else realize he weighs 310!!! Tim Duncan, who I still maintain would have one of if not the best chance to guard him, gives up 6 inches and 50 pounds!! Ya, I would take Yao over almost everyone in the league……if he learns to dunk the ball.

May 2, 2007 Posted by | Denver Nuggets, LA Lakers, NBA, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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

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

Kobe’s 65

Kobe scoring two of his 65

I know it’s chic to say that LeBron James or Dwyane Wade is going to be the best player of all-time, but how about waiting until they’re the best players of their time to start saying that? Kobe’s still more talented than LeBron and more clutch than Wade. On any given night, he can go for 50 without relying on the refs to give him 25 free throws. I’d like to see anyone else in the league go for 60 while shooting only 12 free throws.

LeBron and Wade are both great players, but they get the benefit of the calls from the refs more often than Kobe does, and neither has shown the ability to step down from the spotlight and make their teams better. LeBron occasionally steps down, but only when he’s quits caring enough to put forth the effort–and his team gets terrible when he does it.

Trade Kobe for LeBron or Wade, and I guarantee that Cleveland or Miami would at least make the finals.

March 17, 2007 Posted by | Cleveland Cavaliers, LA Lakers, Miami Heat, NBA | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment