The Basketblog

Celebrating the love of the Game.

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.

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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

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

NJ/Toronto Game 6 Preview

As I sit here in school putting off doing something actually worthwhile, I’ve instead decided to write to you people. So, for the 2-5 of you who will actually read this, well, thanks for helping me procrastinate.

New Jersey ends the series tonight. They are at home. Jason Kidd is (Baron Davis excluded) playing better than anyone in the playoffs right now (seriously, his numbers make me ill http://www.nba.com/playerfile/jason_kidd/index.html?nav=page). Vince Carter, though a show-boater, is always capable of scoring 30 on any given night, especially with Jason Kidd getting him the ball. I know that Toronto has played a great series and honestly wouldn’t surprise me if they pull this one out and force a Game 7, but i think NJ will want to end it at home tonight badly enough to not allow that to happen.

I just had a really creepy picture of Jose Calderon that I was gonna post, but now I can’t find it. If you want to see it, just check for it in later blogs, regardless of if it pertains to the content of the blog.

May 4, 2007 Posted by | NBA, New Jersey Nets, Toronto Raptors | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A couple basketball news stories

From both the NBA and the NCAA:

Study shows racial bias by NBA refs.
NCAA rules committee approves longer 3-point line

Ok, I don’t buy all the talk that the NBA official story is completely illegitimate just because the researchers looked at box scores and not game tapes. They looked at enough box scores that the numbers they’d get would be accurate. If they find that officiating teams of 2 white and 1 black refs call more fouls on black players than teams of 2 black refs and 1 white ref (with teams of three refs of one color being more extreme), that is very likely legitimate.

However, I also don’t think that it is a big deal. The percentage was about 4%. A team of white refs calls 104 fouls on black players for every 100 fouls on white players. That is a difference; but sociological studies have consistently shown that some racial bias seeps into all Americans, with almost every study shows that the percentage of bias is greater than the 4% in this one. I have never noticed racial bias, and there’s always someone to jump on the racism story if there is even a hint of bias but that has never happened. Several players have even come out in defense of the officials since the report came out.

Four percent isn’t big enough to notice or big enough to do anything about. Since no one has noticed it until now, let’s just let it go.

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I think the three-point line lengthening is a great idea. The three-point shot right now is far too easy a shot. Based on point values, shooting 33% from behind the arc is the same as shooting 50% from inside it (10/30 threes = 30 points; 15/30 twos = 30 points). In 2006/07, well over 100 schools shot better than 33% from three-point range in Division I (led by Bradley, I might add). Fifteen teams shot at least 40%, which is comparable to 60% from two-point range.

How many teams, before the three-point line was added, shot 60% from the field? That never happened. Not many individual players even shot 60%, but it only takes a pretty good shooter to hit 40% from three-point range today. This last year, 38 players hit 60% from the field, so there should be about that many hitting 40% from three-point range. Since far more than 38 shoot that well, the three-point shot needs to be made more difficult. If you actually just play the percentages, it would be better to shoot nothing but threes than to shoot nothing but twos.

This move isn’t necessarily about opening up the court like some have claimed; it’s about keeping the game from becoming too easy.

May 3, 2007 Posted by | MVC, NBA, NCAA | , , , , , , | 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

NBA Playoffs: April 30

Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson were unstoppable all night long–no one on the Spurs’ roster could guard them. So somebody tell me–why were Steve Blake and JR Smith (who hadn’t hit a shot between them) taking the shots at the end of the game? There are some problems across the board if that’s happening. The coach should make sure that doesn’t happen; the stars should make sure they get the ball; the slumping players shouldn’t even think about shooting unless they absolutely have to (which they did not in any case). I like George Karl, but I’m starting to think that he’s a bad fit for this team.

Cleveland/Washington Series Recap
So Washington didn’t really have a chance in this one. I don’t think anyone who wasn’t on the Wizards’ roster really thought they did. I thought they could maybe steal a game or two if Jamison played well, but he had an incredible series (32/10) and they still got swept. I don’t know what more to say because there wasn’t much to learn about either team except that it’s tough to win without your stars.

I don’t have much tonight because I have to finish some homework, but I promise that soon I will give you a comparison of the stars of the 2003 draft class.

April 30, 2007 Posted by | Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, NBA, San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment