Happy New Year! It is good to be back stateside. Thanks to Aaron Ross, Alex Knapp, Devon Singrey and Jordan Paladino for filling in while I was away on a well needed vacation. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever come back, but Craig Stein and Lou Eastman hired a team of retired military vets (some would call them mercenaries) to drag me from the deepest jungles of Bermuda. When they told me how much money the Full Sass offices spent on the operation, I had no choice but to return.
One of the few advantages of being tied up in an abandoned meat locker is that it affords you a lot of time to think. 2016 was a great reminder to just how flimsy life is. I’ve known this for quite a while; and sometimes it is easy to forget, but I remember now. At this point in our lives, nothing can be taken for granted. It is Full Sass or nothing from here on out.
Even though I haven’t been writing, I still kept loose tabs on hoops, and even managed to watch a few games on some illegal pirated streams. Unfortunately, I did hit a 2 week dead spot where I didn’t watch any games. I’ll admit that it hurt a little. I missed it.
The good news is that it is only January and we still have five months of basketball left. Even if I did miss out on a #GoodAssGame on Christmas Day, there isn’t much is there to glean from watching the Cavs-Warriors in December other than the Warriors got beaten badly on the defensive glass. I will be updating the site regularly, with an occasional guest post from the (un)usual suspects (The upside to NBA League Pass being so shitty this year is that I have not gotten to watch as many games this year, which may help keep me fresh for April and May when the real season starts).
We have a lot of season left and next week I will revisit which pre-season story lines I thought were the most interesting. Despite my reservations I’m excited to be back and writing about hoops again. We’ll finish the season (undoubtedly the final season of my beloved blog) strong and build some momentum for the untitled book looming on the horizon. But for today we’ll explore this week’s Clicks to Pick.
Clicks to Pick January 2nd to January 8th
Oklahoma City at Milwaukee
Mr. Antetokounmpo (I will refrain from further using the popularized nickname “Greek Freak”, as I’ve realized it low-key discredits the man’s Nigerian heritage.) has done exactly what I thought he would, and Jabari Parker has been quietly impressive in his sophomore season. They are a superstar ballhandler/shooter away from making some serious noise in the east.
Mr. Triple Double himself, Russell Westbrook has forced himself into the MVP discussion with his play, as OKC would be a lottery pick without number zero running the point for their team. It should be an exciting game full of highlights.
Minnesota at Philadelphia (Good Ass Game of the Weak)
Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins reunite for an evening of contested jump shots and breakaway dunks. I would understand if you chose to just watch the 9 minute Youtube highlight clips rather than the entire game. Philly without Joel is BOO BOO!!!!! and from all the re-tweeted highlights and Vines, you would think Minnesota was actually winning games instead of sitting at 11-23 and hovering near the bottom of the west.
Utah at Boston
Outside of Isiah Thomas, Boston is not a fun team to watch. But this will be competitive. I suggest you tune in for the second half when its 55-57 with 8:32 left in the 3rd quarter, and you’ve already done whatever last-minute thing that came up after you got home from work.
Memphis at Los Angeles Lakers
After a hot start, the Laker babies fell back to earth and started losing the games they were supposed to lose (and a few they should have easily won). In their defense, they have suffered some injuries to their two main ball handlers, Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell. This game intrigues me because I want to see how the Lakers will respond to the physical play of the Grizzlebees. Julius Randle and Zach Randolph might get into a tangle. Stay tuned.
Toronto vs San Antonio
Raptors games play out a lot like their team ambassador, Drake, and his mix tapes. Both get lots of hype from the press and fans, but when I watch a game or listen to Drake’s music I only think “is this it?” Thankfully Kawhi is can’t miss TV. Every night he does something incredible. He is quietly turning into something special.
Portland at Golden State
Alex Knapp predicted that the Blazers would regress this year and the only surprise to me is that no one else saw this coming. They had a bad free agency and in the West if you are not getting better, then it means you are getting worse. The Trailblazers did not get better going into this season therefore…………..
Miami at Sacramento
Boogie Cousins vs Hassan Whiteside. Observe with caution. It might get ugly.
Milwaukee at New York
This may be the best game of the night. Knicks games tend to be competitive f0r 3 quarters until they start making dumb plays. I did notice the other night against Houston that Coach Hornack started Derek Rose and Brandon Jennings in the backcourt. I hear Rondo may need a job soon, they should pick him up off waivers to run the second unit. They aren’t in a position to turn their nose up at any discarded players. Jokes aside, they are hovering around .500 which in New York is the equivalent of having the league’s best record and being in first place. EVERYTHING IS A BIGGER DEAL IN THE BIG APPLE!!!
Oklahoma City-Houston (Good Ass Game of The Week)
Former teammates James Harden and Russell Westbrook have been flat-out balling of late–with both of them putting up video game numbers. I think there is something to this, with hand checking rules being interpreted the way they are today, and with officials not calling traveling or palming, the offense have unfair advantages.
This reminds me of how the NFL instituted rules to help offenses put up points or how the MLB umpires just suddenly stopped calling high strikes in the 90’s, even though the official strike zone is from the armpits to the knees.
I personally don’t give a shit, but if traveling and palming is in the official rule book as violations, then they should be called as such. Otherwise just eliminate them if they no longer help the game. It just seems silly, almost as silly as Marijuana laws, but not quite.
Clippers at Kings
This is a match up of Godzilla vs. Mothra proportions with DeAndre Jordan vs. Boogie Cousins. Expect a lot of bad body language, cursing, and ball sweat in this game. I wouldn’t plan a Friday night around it or anything, but if you find yourself with nothing else to do, throw it on.
Utah at Minnesota
Utah has gone from chic League Pass geekdom to legitimate playoff contender. They wouldn’t beat the top 3 seeds in a seven game series, but they must be taken seriously on any given night. There are many whispers around the league that Gobert would be the leading candidate for the Defensive Player of the Year and they haven’t been at full strength all year.
Charlotte at San Antonio
Charlotte may be the most innocuous number four seed in recent memory. They might be able to take one game from the Cavaliers. Don’t put money on that, but if you do don’t blame me for losing your money. #triedtotoldyou.
No Good Ass Games on the schedule for today. Read a book. Garden. Go for a run in the Greenbelt, but whatever you do, don’t watch the NFL WIld Card games. You’ll want those lost hours of your weekend back. There are so many other things you can be doing. Trust me, if there is one thing last year taught me, is that “Life is too short.”
Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found recording podcasts with Craig Stein at FullsassStudios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org