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.

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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 Officials

If there’s anything to bring me back from a long hiatus, it’s a good scandal. Or, in this case, a very bad one.

I’m a little late on this one, so I have no new opinions to share with you. Read these articles. My first thought when I heard the news was, “Heh, that’s not surprising.” Then, like the articles mention, I started wondering who it was. There was no surprise for me. I thought maybe I was just cynical because I played and now semi-coach in a league with poor officials. Surely most NBA fans trusted their officials. After all, they’re the best officials in the world, right?

Maybe not. Maybe I was right in calling the NBA the “most corrupt professional sports league” (in the US anyway) . So what if baseball and football allow their players to cheat? At least of both teams are cheating, neither has an advantage. When the officials cheat, one team gets a clear advantage and the league becomes corrupt. When the officials are bad, one team tends to get an advantage and the league becomes corrupt. I’ve seen high school games decided by the refs before, but I always thought maybe I was imagining that in the NBA some teams could be advantaged by the officials.

Another article to read. I was stunned to find that I never posted anything about Game 3 of the Suns/Spurs series. If I recall correctly, I was actually too ticked off at the time to write anything about it. That article mentions that the worst no-call was not Donaghy’s fault, but it fails to mention that the worst call was made by Donaghy. Remember the foul drawn by Ginobili that was called a couple seconds late by the official in the worst position? I remember complaining loudly (to myself) that someone else should have overruled him on it. There are already a ton of videos on Youtube claiming to be proof that Donaghy bet on some particular game, and most of them are probably crap. This one, however, is worth a look (note, however, that not all the calls were made by Donaghy):

I’m somewhat of a Suns fan myself, so I can guess how they feel about this. They could argue that they were legitimately screwed in Game 5, they were screwed by Nash’s injury in Game 1, and now they can argue that they were screwed in Game 3 as well. A win in any of those games, and the series would have gone to Game 7 in Phoenix. Even if it’s never proven whether he bet on this game, this situation is bad for Phoenix and bad for the NBA. I know I’m going to question the officials every time there’s a questionable game, and now I know I won’t be the only one.

July 25, 2007 Posted by | NBA, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs | , , , , , , , | 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

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 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

Two comments on the Denver/San Antonio Series

Here’s a stat I never want to see again: San Antonio’s bench scoring vs. Denver’s. Statistics are often deceptive, and this is the king of deceptive statistics. Just think about it: Denver wants to get 30 out of Anthony and 30 out of Iverson. They also would like 15 out of Camby and 15 out of Nene. Throw in 10 for Steve Blake and add up the totals: 100. Unless Denver is averaging 130 points per game, they don’t really want the bench scoring 30. As I mentioned earlier, Denver’s starters all played at least 37 minutes in game 1. The entire series, no Nuggets player has played fewer than 35 minutes. Meanwhile, the Spurs have Manu Ginobili and Robbert Horry coming off their bench. Why don’t we start looking at starters’ scoring and wonder why the Nuggets haven’t swept the Spurs because of their huge advantage in that area?

As mentioned here first, JR Smith was playing really poorly, especially at the end of the game. Maybe George Karl read my blog before deciding to bench him. It would have been better if he had coached Smith rather than benching him, but maybe he has tried to coach him with no success before. If Denver doesn’t win now though, I’m blaming Karl. You can’t bench a guy who was one of your key players all year (and whom you brought in just to take pressure off of Anthony in the playoffs) without having an effect on the series. If you’re not going to win without him, you might as well try to play with him.

May 2, 2007 Posted by | Denver Nuggets, NBA, San Antonio Spurs | , , , , , , , , , | 1 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