Oct 31, 2008

Knee Jerk Reactions + Week 9 Picks

Did you catch Oden last night? - Stretch

I would hope that by now, my friends would realize that if there is an NBA Basketball game on the television, I will be in front of it. Unless there's something else on. Anyway, here are a few of my knee jerk reactions to week 1 of NBA action.

- Maybe the Hawks aren't terrible. Maybe that bench can hold up for 82 games. Maybe we didn't win because it was a Magic team with no one to back up Jameer Nelson. Maybe Duncan is right. NAHHHHHHHHHHH.

- "You gotta be careful overreacting to one game" - Rick Carlisle, new coach of the Dallas Mavericks. Um, if your team goes 6-24 in the fourth quarter, when their problem since they MADE the finals has been closing out games/season, you may want to react.

- The Celtics are as good as advertised.

- Greg Oden (and by extension, the Trailblazers) are in trouble.

- The Rockets looked really good. REALLY GOOD, even with McGrady injured and watching alot of the game. They hung with a high scoring Mavs team, with Yao dropping 30, and Mr. Ron Artest dropping 29. He stays happy, they stay winning.

- The Lakers reupped with Bynum. They're convinced he's 100%. Looking at another young center with knee problems who they played opening night, I'm not convinced this was the best idea.

Finally, the List. The List is the teams that, when they come to town, I will do anything to acquire tickets to see these teams in person. ANYTHING.

1. Cavaliers - Duh. Look, if this is LeBron's big coming out year, I demand to see a game in person.

2. Hornets - Oh, what could have been...I read somewhere that the Human Ally-Oop Machine that is Chris Paul should have to play one exhibition game a year with Josh Smith and Joe Johnson, just so Atlanta fans have something more to cry about. I hate this.

3. Nuggets - Until they trade AI, my all-time favorite player.

4. New AI Team - Barring it is not Minnesota or Indiana, we're all good.

5. Memphis - They're young and look entertaining on paper.

6. Lakers - I want to see the Kobe show live. I admit it.

7. Celtics - Their first trip to Phillips this year is Wednesday, December 17. I already have a ticket. You should get one too, and see if Zaza bucks on KG again.

Those are my 7, with Miami as an alternate if AI doesn't get traded (he will). Without further ado, the hopefully triumphant return of the picks...home team, as always in bold.

Toronto/Buffalo (-5.5) over Jets

The Bills were exposed last week, look for them to bounce back at home.

Chicago (-12) over Detroit

I don't like this line, it feels way too high, but the Lions have been awful. And does ANYONE know how to spell that quarterback's name?

Cincy (+7.5) over Jacksonville

Have the Jags beat anyone this year by more than 7?

Cleveland (-1.5) over Baltimore

Joe Flacco on the road? Yes please.

Tennessee (-4.5) over Green Bay

The Titans have to lose eventually. Just not this week.

Tampa Bay (-9) over Kansas City

The Bucs should be ashamed at the meltdown against Dallas last week, and should get right against an awful Kansas City team. Sidenote: at this point, what do Marvin Lewis and Herm Edwards have to do to get fired? Admit to betting against their teams? Moon the owners box? I mean, I never wanna see a man lose his job, but when you are begging for it like these two...

Arizona (-3) over St. Louis

I dunno. I really don't. Why does someone have to win the NFC West? Weren't we all agreeing that the Rams were the worst team in football a few weeks back? Could one of these teams really win the West? Ugh.

Houston (+4.5) over Minnesota

Three straight road picks, and these games aren't even moderately interesting. One more week of byes, and then we're back to a full slate. Looking back on this, the only game I want to see so far is the Titans/Packers.

Miami (+3) over Denver

The bye week isn't going to help their defensive woes, as they lost their best corner Champ Bailey for some time in the Patriots game. Woah. Was that actual football talk and not just stupid jokes? Better keep moving.

Atlanta (-3) over Oakland

ALL THESE GAMES ARE AWFUL!!! And I just know I'm going to be sitting down, watching this nonsense.

Giants (-9) over Dallas

Brad Johnson. Giants pass rush. Brad Johnson. Giants pass rush. Brooks Bollinger!

Philly (-7) over Seattle

Dare I tease Giants/Eagles? I know that both teams are going to win, but my teases have been so bad I'm so gun shy...ah screw it. The OLASB, TEASE OF THE WEEK: Giants/Eagles. You're welcome, and I will accept 10% of your winnings.

Indy (-6) over New England

It's get right time in Indianapolis. They lose this one, kiss the playoffs goodbye, and get planning for next year.

Washington (-1.5) over Pittsburgh

I'm pretty torn here, since the Zorn era has gone fairly smoothly thus far, Campbell has looked good, and so has Portis. The Steelers have no running attack, and I like the Skins' passing defense. But the Steelers have been winning games weird all year...avoid at all costs. At least I will be.

Oct 28, 2008

NBA Season Preview


My NFL picks have been awful, and subsequently pulled down. Sorry. I don't want to think about how bad it's been for me. Though, someone has been enjoying my recent bout of bad luck; let's just say their name starts with a 'B' and ends in an 'ookie'. Ugh. Anyway, my favorite time of the year is here, and no, it's not the inevitable Bud Selig meltdown that reminds us that mental patients shouldn't run professional sports - it's basketball season!

Looking back at my predictions from last year, I didn't do TOO badly, so hopefully this short team by team breakdown holds up a little too.

Atlantic Division

Boston - The champs are back. They reloaded, kept KG and Pierce happy, and Ray Allen is too OCD not to be ready. They lose the pre-game Posey hugs, and held on to Cassell, but I still look for good things as they hang #17 tonight.

Philly - Ignore the fact that Elton Brand has looked slow in the preseason, that they can't run with him on the floor, and that he is coming off of a torn Achilles tendon. Focus on the Andres and Lou Williams to be the most exciting show in town, until the play in...

Toronto - Love the addition of Jermaine O'Neal, if indeed he has anything left in the tank. Will free up Bosh from playing in the middle, which he isn't that great at, and with Calderon at the point, they will be the 7-Seconds or less Raptors...or maybe 10-Turnover Toronto. We'll see.

New Jersey - Devin Harris will be an All Star in a few years, despite video evidence to the contrary. His supporting cast isn't terrible, and I'd put the over-under of games Vince tanks at 30 (take the over).

New York - Mike D'Antoni claims he loves the 'challenge' this Knicks roster presents to his style of coaching. If by 'challenge' he means that they couldn't possibly fit his system any worse, than this is a hell of a 'challenge'. At least he'll have comfortable evenings on his bed of money.

*Breaking News* - Eddy Curry is stunned not to be in rotation. Rest of the world is stunned he is stunned.

Central

Cleveland - What do you mean they signed Mo Williams? What do you mean this might mean LeBron will stop outside shooting? What do mean they are still the second best defensive team in the East?

Detroit - It hurts me to say it. We're officially on the downside of the 'cockiest guys who only won 1 ring' era. Billups seemed more than a little off as the season wore on, and Rasheed Wallace + new coach = lot's of great television.

Chicago - Derrick Rose looks good. Really good. That said, there is a logjam at the guard position, and if cooler heads prevail, it could be a decent running team. Why didn't D'Antoni take this job again? (Glances at aforementioned piles of money) Right...

Milwalkee - Richard Jefferson, come on down! Still don't like the guy, but I enjoy the addition of Scott Skiles on the bench for the defense, and Andrew Bogut might convince me he's not terrible.

Indiana - I was wrong about them last year, so maybe I'll be wrong this year. But, if I'm not, this team should play 0 nationally televised games. ZERO.

Southeast

Orlando - Dwight Howard has been found after vanishing in the medal rounds of the Olympics, we can all rest easy. I love their front court of DHow, Rashad "Wait, how big is my contract" Lewis and Hedo Turkaglu, and their big reserves ain't bad either. Too bad no one is backing up Jameer Nelson adequately. Huh. There's something I never thought I'd say.

Miami - Dwayne Wade effectively ruined the best thing I was ever going to write. I have been working on a DWade - Penny Hardaway piece since I started this stupid blog last year, and in one Olympics, he rendered it all moot. Their coach looks like Steve Pizzi.

Atlanta - Maybe the best starting 5 in the division. I mean that. They can play fast (Bibby, Smith), they can play half court (Johnson, Horford) and they can play adequately (Williams). The problem is you can't play just 5 players over 48 minutes.

Washington - Injury bug. I think the preseason stuff is going to put them in a hole that will be insurmountable once Caron and Agent Zero make it back.

Charlotte - Larry Brown baby. He hates young players and excels with vets who play defense. What about that roster made him think this was a good fit?

Eastern Conference Playoff Seeds

1. Boston
2. Cleveland
3. Orlando
4. Detroit
5. Philly
6. Toronto
7. Miami
8. Atlanta

Northwest

Utah - Williams getting hurt early won't matter as much as one would think; this is a veteran team that played lights out last year after getting Korver from the Sixers. If they can hold on to Boozer, and keep him happy, look for another deep run out of the most inappropriately nicknamed team in the NBA.

Portland - Holy crap. I guess the Tampa Bay Rays model of success can work in other sports (if you're really bad long enough, you will stockpile enough picks to be good). Without Greg Oden, the flirted with the playoffs, with him, they're on the third date with the playoffs. Count them in.

Denver - Count them out. Look, their defense wasn't as bad as everyone tried to make it seem (fastest pace in basketball = everyone is going to score, check their per-possession numbers), but moving your best two defensive pieces in Camby and Najara won't help things. AI might get moved this year again.

Seattle - I don't want to hear it. They never moved, they never adopted that ridiculous moniker, and they never robbed a historic NBA city of their team. My only regret is that I can't pick them last in this division because of...

Minnesota - Good God. I was right about them last year, and I'll be right again this year. ZERO times on my TV this year, God willing. In a related story, Kevin will not be able to make it to the ring ceremony in Boston tonight, but rest assured, his ring is in the mail.

Pacific

Lakers - Well, speaking of GMs on other teams deserving of playoff bonuses, Chris Wallace come on down! If you can convince Lamar into being happy coming off the bench (and you know Phil can), then this scary team just got scarier. By the way, Kobe Bryant is the best player in the world. There. I said it. Don't believe me? Look at how everyone else deferred to him during crunch time in the Gold Medal game this summer. Even Bron-Bron.

Pheonix - Old. Old old old. We buried the 'seven seconds or less' Suns last year, could this be the year we bury them altogether? Motivated Shaq, healthier Amare and Steve Nash bring this crew to the playoffs, but not much further. Oh, and Terry Porter's 'new, defensive minded approach'? I give it a month.

Clippers - I like the size inside with Kamen and Camby, but I don't like Baron Davis on the injured list. They don't play enough D as a team to make the playoffs, but maybe Baron getting hurt early will serve them down the stretch.

Golden State - Who's left? Baron bolted, Monta is suspended for 30 games, and Corey Maggette is their number 1 guy to start the year. I'll let that sink in for a while.

Sacremento - You can bet on NBA games in the Palms now!!! Except for Kings games. Which means you'll have to go elsewhere to bet against Kevin Martin and his team.

Southwest

New Orleans - Chris Paul might be my favorite player in the world right now, and not just because he's amazing in NBA 2K9. They lost some point guard depth with Pargo leaving, but things that keep Chris Paul on the floor aren't a bad thing. They're a good thing.

San Antonio - They are only here because I can't put the Rockets higher than 3rd. No Manu early means the Spurs will be leaning on Duncan a lot sooner than usual, and that adds to his opportunity to get burned out sooner. Plus, I still hate Tony Parker.

Houston - McGrady! Yao! Artest! Now there's three players you can win a lot of games with... too bad they've won a combined 1 playoff series...and that's from when Artest was with the Pacers. Plus, all the health issues between McGrady and Yao, I just don't like them to advance past round 1.

Dallas - Wait, did this division send 4 teams to the dance last year? Look for Mark Cuban to look more and more disheveled as he realizes he gave away a future All Star for a Hall of Famer past his prime, who's style of play is diametrically opposed to Dirk Nowitzki's.

Memphis - O.J. Mayo! Marc Gasol! Mike Conley Jr.! Maybe in a few years fellas, until then, enjoy getting to see most of the U.S. on the company dime.

Western Conference Playoff Seeds

1. Lakers
2. Hornets
3. Utah
4. Spurs
5. Pheonix
6. Houston
7. Portland
8. Clippers

Hardware Picks

ROY - Michael Beasley; runner-up - O.J. Mayo
Defensive Player of the Year - Kevin Garnett; runner-up - Marcus Camby
Coach of the Year - Nate McMilllian; runner-up - Jerry Sloan
MVP - LeBron James; runner-up - Chris Paul

Really, Really Cool


Remember when MTV stood for Music Television, and not, 'Soulless, talentless wanna-be whore of the month showcase'? Well, so do they. At least, on the interwebs.

MTV Music

Their whole music video archive on the internet. Thank you very much. And now, some De La Soul.

Oct 21, 2008

Straight Cash Homey

Are the Pats back?

Oct 15, 2008

Hustle

Devin Harris. NBA Starter. Racer X. Some European dude. Game to 2.



In a completely related story, I cannot WAIT for the NBA season to tip off.

Oct 14, 2008

Make a Grown Man Cry...

I was pretty upset when they fired Tommy Bowden...I mean, not as upset as this guy, but upset.

Oct 6, 2008

Aftermath

"Damn Palmer, you look beat the f*** up."

Me:0 New York: 1

Well played rotten apple. Well played.

Oct 3, 2008

Homecoming + Week 4 & Week 5 Picks

First things first: last week was such a weird sports week, I actually wrote 4 different lead ins to last week's picks. The first one was about USC losing to the Beavers, and the last one was me depressingly mashing keys after Georgia pooped the bed against Alabama. In my zeal to capture EXACTLY what was going on around me, I forgot to list my picks. Whoops. Here they are. Or were. Or whatever.

Broncos (-9) over Kansas City
Browns (+3.5) over Bengals
Texans (+7.5) over Jags
Jets (-1) over Cards
49ers (+6) over Saints
Carolina (-7.5) over Falcons
Titans (-3) over Vikings
Packers (+1.5) over Bucs
Bills (-8) over Rams
Chargers (-7) over Raiders
Redskins (+11) over Cowboys
Eagles (-3) over Bears
Ravens (+5.5) over Steelers

So, last week I went 9-4, putting me at 28-15-1 for the season. Not horrible, by any stretch.

This week, I'm writing amidst homecoming activities at Columbia University in the City of New York. Once upon a time, I asked some adult why everyday wasn't Christmas, and I was given some dismissive answer that adults give little kids they want to go away. But, as I sit here cursing all major and minor deities, I can honestly say I know why every day isn't homecoming. Good. God.

Oh, and as for reflections on the current sports world? A picture is worth 3 words. And those words are, "The Cubs Suck."


Anyway, here be this week's picks. As always, home teams are in bold.

Texans (+3.5) over Indy
Titans(-3) over B'More
Skins (+6) over Eagles
Chargers (-6.5) over Fins
Falcons (+7) over Packers (I know, I know, just bear with me)
Chi-Town (-3.5) over Former Matt Millen employers
Giants (-7.5) over Seahawks
Panthers (-9.5) over Chiefs
Broncos (-3) over Bucs
Niners (+3.5) over Pats
Cowboys (-1,000) over Bengals (Obviously, I'm kidding, the line is only 17. But, wouldn't you at least think about the thousand? BTW, two-team-tease of the week: Cowboys/Chargers. You're welcome)
Bills (+1) over Cards
Jags (-4.5) over Steelers
Vikes (+3.5) over Saints

Last Week: 9-4
Season: 28-15-1


Oh, and GO LIONS!