Apr 30, 2009


*Lazy Blogger Note - the draft diary is coming, I'm running into some formatting issues, but it's coming. I think. I hope.*

Welcome to the best first round of the NBA playoffs possibly in history, and definatly in recent memory. As the Hawks have pushed the Heat to the brink (and I might have figured out an in for tickets to the Highlight Factory), I thought I'd touch on my favorite subplots thus far:

5. Teams Openly Quitting on Coaches
Hornets and Jazz, come on down! Jerry Sloan has historically grated on teams over the course of a season, and this year appears to be no different. He disarmed AK-47, and those first two games were a portrait of a team that hates their coach. At least he was able to rally the troops in game 3, before falling in 5 like I said they would. And at least they didn't poop on their fans like the New Orleans Hornets. 58 points? 58 freaking points?!? I happened to be watching this monstrosity, and while I like watching history in action, I have no desire to watch a snuff film.

4. The Return of the 15-Second Rule
The rule that truly defines the playoffs. "Thou shalt not allow thy whistle to decide the game within the last 15 seconds." While the officiating has been wholly and completely inexcusable, the fact that they let Brad Miller side-slam Ray Allen, and then let Rondo knock his teeth out. Speaking of the C's point guard...

3. The Emergence of the Playoff Hero
Most years, this subplot would be, "The Securing of the Too Big Contract Next Year", but in our current economic climate, this will have to do. Players like Ray Allen, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant have all reminded us why they earn their money in May. But, we've also gotten to bear witness to the emergence of players who we either didn't expect, or had convinced ourselves that they would never 'get it': Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, Ben Gordon, Derrick Rose, Josh Smith, Brandon Roy, Dwight Howard's elbow...lot of stepping up so far.

2. The Old School Series
This Hawks/Heat series has been a throwback for various reasons, cheif among them the physicality displayed by both squads. I don;t know how I feel about the prospect of WAY too much Zaza in Game 6, but I can't knock either team for playing their butts off. Except for when the Heat got out of the way to let Josh try that ridiculous dunk.

1. The Amazing
This is where amazing happens. Hokey ending, maybe, but you could play a black and white film of me making toast, set it to that music, and I'd tear up.

Apr 25, 2009

Pre-Draft Thoughts

Division by Division, thoughts on the off-season so far...

NFC South
- Might as well start at home. Falcons picked up T. Gonzalez earlier this week...and I have no jokes. A draft pick is nothing more than a lottery ticket, and this guy is a proven commodity. Think about it this way naysayers...with the second round pick in 2010, the Atlanta Falcons picked a 10-time Pro Bowl tight end.

- Tampa Bay...what can be said about the Bucs that hasn't already been said about Afghanistan: bombed out and depleted.

- The Panthers re-signed Jake Delhomme to a long term deal after that playoff debacle. Carolina fans, there's always room on our bandwagon if you want to cheer for a winning team this year.

NFC East
- So, who's going to be catching balls in New York this year? Plaxico Burress is done there, and Toomer is done too. Wait, is that? It is! My God, that's Chad Ochocinco's music...trust me Giant fans, by November, you'll be missing Plax.

- Apparently the Eagles have been positioning themselves to pick up Boldin from the Cards. I have nothing nice to say, so I'll just say that the last time they picked up a disgruntled receiver it didn't go so well (see also, the AFC East portion of this post).

- Skins broke the bank to get Haynesworth, and their quarterback wants out if they draft another Q. Ladies and gentlemen, the THIRD most dysfunctional team in this division.

- Cowboys are banking on Roy Williams to be a big playmaker, and making the fans (and stat book) forget about T.O. Lions fans, can you tell us how that's gonna go?

NFC North
- The real losers in the Jay Cutler sweepstakes? The Viking fans. You mean to tell me what you are all happy with the 'upgrade' under center of Sage "I stupidly scrambled against the Colts, and lost the game, but thanks for overlooking that" Rosenfels?

- Oh, and Cutler? Your prize for being such a tremendous baby? A prize winning defense...and no more Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal to throw to.

- Mr. Stafford, don't listen to anything Daunte is telling you. I know it SEEMS like he's a vet trying to help, but he really just wants to start longer.

NFC West
- The less said the better. At least Arizona is going to break up one of the greatest receiving tandems in memory. For only a second rounder you say? Fantastic.

- Is Jim Mora Jr. a head coach again? Really? REALLY? REALLY???

AFC South
- Tony Dungy may have stepped down, but at least the Colts have a strong new head coach in place in Peyton Manning...I mean, old what's his face.

- Vince Young: Career Backup? Not looking so hot for players in the best National Title game in the last 20 years. I'm looking at you too Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and LenDale White.

- The Jags signed Torry Holt, which sounds like an amazing idea. He's going to help open up that passing attack, and now we'll see what a full Jags team can do. What do you mean it's not 1998?

AFC East
- I feel REALLY BAD for the Bills; first they bring in T.O., who will have to adjust to being the number 2 receiver for the first time since he played with Jerry, and then they lose their running back for doing some stupid ish. I'm sorry. For allegedly doing some stupid ish.

- Tom Brady's coming back.

- I'll be interested to see what the Jets do this draft, rumors have them moving up to take a certain USC quarterback (and those guys have done SO WELL in recent years...)

AFC North
- Steelers have changed nothing from a lucky team that got hot at the right time last year. But, they do get two full draft classes in training camp, considering the kids they got last year did NOTHING.

- FIRE MARVIN LEWIS. There, I said it.

- Ravens are apparently also in the running in the Boldin sweepstakes. B'More has the structure to keep him in line, but does Ozzie Newsome pull the trigger? I love the draft.

- The Browns? NEXT QUESTION.

AFC West
- A healthy Chargers team means scary things for the rest of the NFL.

- God Bless the Cheifs, may they finish a this century best 9-7 due to their generosity of handing us TGon. Oh, and for giving me Herm Edwards all year on ESPN. Amen.

- Josh McDaniels is either a genius or and idiot. Either way, he's going to be starting Kyle Orton, so you know to which I'm leaning.

See you back in this space later on for the 2009 Draft Running Diary!!!

Apr 23, 2009

The Playoffs

Or whatever.

Look, there were initially only three series I was intrigued by: Trailblazers/Rockets, Spurs/Mavs, and Hawks/Heat. One of those three is too close to home (literally and figuratively) for me to be logical about (the refs stole Game 2! I'm getting Heat/Mavs flashbacks!!!) , and the other two weren't enough to garner me writing about the whole playoffs. But, since we're here now, I'll update my thoughts, with predictions.

Lakers over Utah in 5 - It's tough to win in a building that houses the most offensive fans in sport, so I'll say the Lakers split in Salt Lake, and close out in Staples.

Cavs over Detroit in 4 - Get your brooms out...with potential challengers falling by the wayside, Bron-Bron and company will send an early message.

Nuggets over NO in 5 - Apparently, Chauncy Billups used a time machine, and got himself from 2004.

Chicago over Boston in 6 - No way the kids win a Game 7 in Boston...look for Kevin Garnett to actually explode during game five on the bench.

San Antonio over Dallas in 7 - Instant classic series. I don't feel remotely good about taking the Spurs here, but who guards Tony Parker? Jason Kidd couldn't stop Tony Schalub.

Orlando over Philly in 6 - Nice show in Game 1 Sixers, let's see you keep it up with that HUGE liability (financially, and in a basketball sense) at center

Portland over Houston in 6 - No Deke? NO WIN!!!

Atlanta over Miami in 6 - My twitter is being used to vent my frustrations. Last night:
Big Poppa Stern, I stand in obvious awe of your greatness, and I know you want Wade/LeBron in round 2, but c'mon man...
You can follow the rest of my thoughts doled out in 140 character increments by following me.. (http://twitter.com/dpalm66)

I just plugged my twitter. I'll now light myself on fire.

But before that, I figured out how to blog on this thing from my phone. So look for the Draft Preview tomorrow, and my annual running draft Saturday. (Last year) (Year before that)

Get as excited as me. Now.

Apr 9, 2009

Previewing the East

Welcome to your annual Eastern Conference Playoff preview, and since for the first time in the oughts (that's this millennium to you double-zero preferring folks), the East has secured a winning record against the West, I get to stop calling it the LEastern Conference. Good for you fellas.

On to the playoff picture:

8. Detroit Pistons
Apparently, whether they want it or not. At the time of this writing, it doesn't look like the Bobcats are going to finish the push to catch them, and since the Bucks vanished since beating the Celtics 10 games back (including a home loss to the current number 4 seed last night), it looks like the Stones are going to be backing into the playoffs. And they are going to run into the 'we've got home court all the way through, and the best player in the league' buzz saw that is that Cavs. G'night Dumars and co.

7. Chicago Bulls
Sure, they currently hold the same record as the woe-begotten Pistons, but a head-to-head edge gives them the seeding advantage...and what an advantage it is. Instead of facing the Boy who would be King in round 1, they get the Boston Retirees. I thought that they would have enough to repeat, or at least be feisty in these playoffs, but between the injury to KG and the wear and tear on the remaining big two, look for Derrick Rose and the Baby Bulls (are they still really that young?) to put up more than a good fight, and if they can steal one in Boston, pull of the upset.

6. Philidelphia 76ers
What? Despite the Elton Brand experiment going awry (I told you so!), Andre Miller, AI 2.0, and company have somehow snuck into the playoffs. The less said the better. I am literally in shock.

5. Miami Heat
Dwayne Wade has sufficiently erased any hope that he is the second coming of Penny Hardaway, cementing himself possibly as the Karl Malone of this current generation; destined to toil away, and always fall short of the transcendent player of his time.

4. Atlanta Hawks
Home playoff series baby. After having to wait 10 years between playoff appearances last time, the denizens of the Highlight Factory are headed to their second straight postseason. What's more is that they are going to have a home playoff series. That's right, a home series for one of the NBA's best home teams (29-10). The only thing I would ask for now is a healthy Marvin Williams. Oh, and tickets. So if you have either of those, holla at ya boy. I'll hook you up with a shirt. Or something.

3. Orlando Magic
And now we separate the weak from the chaff. The men from the boys. The effeminate from the possibly Canadian (do I have to capitalize that? *looks it up* dammit). The real beauty of the Boston meltdown? They've positioned the Magic to be within striking distance of the 2-seed as we head to the stretch run, and I think they'll push for it, not because of a match-up issue, but just to assert their dominance in this new East.

2. Boston Celtics
This is a rough one. Fresh off of last years dismissal (yeah, I said it) of the rest of the Association, they are in one of the worst positions heading into the Second Season. Not only did their title-quest last year leave everyone else in the League hating their guts, but they lost their emotional center when KG went down in a very fishy, worse-than-they're-saying non-contact injury. My love of hyphenation notwithstanding, I don't think these guys have it in them to get out of the first round with either the 76ers or the Bulls waiting, and smelling older blood in the water. It is every generations intent to replace what has come before, and it looks like their time is now.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers
And here we are. 2009. The final coronation of LeBron James. Feels about right, doesn't it? I know that the 2008 Olympics showed that all the other players consider Kobe to be the best, but I think that the combination of a year of non-stop ball, plus picking up workout habits from the rest of the the Redeem Team, minus hosting the ESPYS has really pushed him ahead of the Mamba in that respect. These guys aren't losing at home (boasting a 38-1 home tally to date), and look for the intensity inside Quicken Loans Arena to be stepped up in the post season. Once they secure home court all the way, go ahead and get the crown ready: King James, indeed.

Apr 8, 2009

Here I Come...

What's that on the side bar? A countdown? But, to what? To my triumphant return to New York City?

Yes, please.

I have a long and storied history with that town that kicked off with my recruiting trip my senior year of high school. But, the real highlights wouldn't start pouring in until I drove up with my dad in the the fall of 2003 with all my worldly possessions in a rented mini-van.

The city would soon become the place where we (this is the royal we; I am not claiming to have been involved in all of this, nor would I want to call out any friends) figured out how to beer-bong jager, smoked cigars on the steps as the sun rose over Low Library, sat in the dark and listened to the worst music ever, played duck duck goose at Barnard, continued a legacy at Cannon's, threw things out of the ninth floor window in Carmen, came to Sunday practice directly from the hospital, raced to make the late bus to practice, snuck over 140 cans of Country Club malt liquor into Carmen via luggage, enjoyed a delicious mix of protein shake and 151 at the Spring Concert, found giant sombreros, made fun of Bob Shoop, keg bowled late night, used the bus ride to share stories, played way too much NCAA 2003 in room 911, keg raced, enjoyed more than a few street fairs, went to the top of Rockefeller plaza, had the best recruitment event ever at the Times Square Hooters, IMed with people who lived down the hall, yelled at the Statue of Liberty, put a keg (and a couch, and a table, and a person) through the wall at ZBT, got to know the Manhattan College baseball team, tricked recruits into committing, enjoyed Delirious with Ward, watched the West End turn into whatever it is now, played Fifa all summer, invented SunBeams, fell down the steps after morning runs in the winter, sat on those same steps when it warmed up, loved 40s on 40, got thrown out of more places than we'd care to admit, beat Brown at Brown, closed out Cannon's with Parents Night...and survived.

I can't wait to get back up there.

Oh, and I really wanna see my little brother graduate too. That should be cool. If I live that long.

Apr 7, 2009


Well, that didn't go as planned. My bracket didn't exactly hold up under the rigors of, well, actual basketball.

But, I am willing to admit when I'm wrong, and I have to tip my cap to Brandon Bowser, winner of the second annual OLASB Bracket Challenge. That's right, King of the Koopas knows more than just how to run spot routes (42 yards on the hash [Rashad Biggers edit: Don't drift!!!] ), he actually knows his sports too, though you wouldn't know it if you watched me beat his head in on Madden.

The OLASB prize committee of one will be in contact with this year's winner, but you can all be winners and [shameless plug] purchase some OLASB merchandise using the easy-to-find store below! [/shameless plug]

Nothing major in sports happening, but my NBA Second Season preview is coming soon, as is my take on the NFL offseason as we head to draft day. And, of course, my obligatory YouTube video of the day. Which is, in a word: AWESOME.

Apr 2, 2009

My Apologies

I realize my diligence regarding this blog has been...lax as of late. I've been in a weird head space recently, doing a lot of reading and introspection, trying to better myself as a person, you know, growing up and stuff. And, I found, when dealing with the ultimate fixer upper (me), much of my brain is taken up and leaves no room for sports. However, now that I've stopped engaging in such futile activities as improving mysekf, I can now focus more on this here blog...so without further ado...


And what a time to come back! April baby! Final Four! Opening Day! Wrestlemania (kidding. Kind of.)! NBA Playoff push!

What a great tourny we got this year! The first weekend made me look like a genius, while the subsequent one made me look...well, like myself! Just like every year, my bracket is shot, but we've been left with some VERY interesting match ups in this Final Four. Is it picks you want?

UNC over Nova
I heard so much nonsense heading into last weekend about how if Hansborough played well, UNC would beat Oklahoma and Blake Griffin that I was tempted to Phil Leotardo myself under a car. Does anyone who has been watching any basketball over the last year actually think that this kid is the engine of that team? Ty Lawson's bouncing back from a toe injury and playing as well as he has makes him a lock for the Lottery come draft time, while that OTHER guy's ceiling is in the late thirties. If he wanted big money, he should have come out last year.

UConn over Michigan State
I was wrong. Way wrong. I thought UConn losing a top-flight swing player would matter. I thought Thabeet was too nice to truly lead this squad. I thought everyone would notice (and care about) just how dirty the last 10 years have been in Storrs have been. I thought that Jim Calhoun's deal with the devil was up in 2009. Look, you live and you learn. Going in, I had a real good feeling that this was the most flawed number 1 seed. But I tell you what I know now: there is no way a team plays a championship game essentially at home. The world doesn't work that way. Plus, I like screwing with Nufer.

As far as Opening Day goes...well, here comes the dog days of summer. Which means to me is NFL Draft, NFL players being idiots in the offseason, NBA Finals in June, the ESPYS (kidding again), minicamps, training camps, and college football is that much closer.

Quickie NBA Finals preview: Cavs over Lakers in 6. Book it now.

We're back here at OLASB, and better than ever. Get ready to get the sports, get the insight, and get the funny on a much more regular basis.

Get on board.