A Quick One (while he’s away) pt. 3

Last night was such a treat. Sunday and Monday night provided us with two of the better games of the playoffs. For all the talk about how the Eastern Conference was better than the Western Conference, I don’t think I’m out of line to use the trash, disguised as playoff basketball, as a counter to those claims.

Eastern Conference basketball has been awful to watch, and this has been no aberration. It has been this way for years. Just rip the damn thing up and start over. Send Memphis to the east, realign the conferences, and have the playoff seeding 1-16. If it weren’t for the Spurs-Thunder and Blazers-Warriors series, this year’s playoffs would be a bigger flop than the most recent Fantastic Four movie.

A few quick thoughts before tonight’s game 5:

  • Game 4 was just as intense as I was hoping it would be. I’ve been to a couple of elimination games, both in the Oracle, and at Chesapeake Energy Arena, and Sunday’s game between Oklahoma City and San Antonio might have been the most intense basketball game I’ve attended in person. The folks in OKC finally understand how to be a fan base. For years they needed the P.A. announcer’s assistance to know when to get loud, when to cheer, and when to chant. I wasn’t even on the court and I was affected at how loud it was in the arena. The only time it got quiet was when Kawhi dunked on Steven Adams, and I may have been the only screaming at that point–that shit had me juiced. I will say this though, YMCA strikes me as a song you would play in the arena, when the game is secured, in the regular seasonnot in the 3rd quarter of a hotly contested playoff game.
  • The refs from Sunday should never be allowed to work a playoff game together again. They were horrible. If players can get their pay docked for conduct detrimental to the league, then the same should apply to referees. Danny Crawford (go figure) and his crew could not figure out how they wanted to call the game. They would let one thing go–like Kanter throwing elbows as he bullied his way into the paint, and then call a touch foul against the defender guarding him. It seemed like every other foul was a make up call, and it marred what otherwise was a beautiful game to watch in person. At least we can say it wasn’t one-sided; they were at least consistently bad for both teams. We’d have been better off if the refs were sent home, and the players called their own fouls.
  • Minus a couple of lulls, Game 4 was the best game I’ve seen  Thunder play. They were great on defense–especially down the stretch of that game. The Spurs were making tough shots, while the Thunder were consistently finding ways to get easy buckets. They had 23 assists compared to San Antonio’s 12. Both teams had 12 turnovers, and the Spurs were only outrebounded by 6 boards, but it felt like OKC was killing them on the glass. Stephen Adams has been the biggest X factor among the Thunder role players, notching a double-double in each of their wins, while only getting single digit field goal attempts in their losses. Every time the Thunder went to the Westbrook and Adams, good things happened.
  • Gregg Popovich will have some tinkering to do to counter the Thunder’s game 4 adjustments. The Steven Adams, Enes Kanter, Dion Waiters, Russ Westbrook, Kevin Durant line provided the most challenges for the Spurs, and makes me wonder why it took Billy Donovan so long to try this out. While I wouldn’t call for him to make this his starting lineup, there seems to be merit for using this crunch time lineup for what is now a 3 game series. There are scoring options at every position, and OKC’s height gives each Spurs defender something to worry about. For as skilled as the Spurs are, their front line is a little too small vs.teams like Cleveland and OKC;who pound them into submission on the glass, and their backcourt is too small when facing teams like Golden State and Oklahoma City (who also happen to be bigger than them in the paint as well). It just goes to show well how the Spurs execute on both ends of the floor. Even with the size mismatches (and disparity in quickness), it still takes playing a perfect game to beat them.
  • As much shit as I’ve talked about Durant trying to play the villain, and the depths of busterdom befallen the Thunder, you have to be a real hater not to dig what happened Sunday night. KD put up 41 on the NBA’s best defense while his moms (the real MVP) danced in her courtside seats. When he got hot in that 4th quarter (scoring 17 points and having some timely assists to boot) it was eerily similar to the game 4 of the 2012 series where no one could guard him, scoring 18 points in the 4th quarter. With the ascent of Russell Westbrook and his scoring histrionics, it can be easy to forget the former Longhorn is still capable of outbursts like these.
  • Game 5 will be just as much of a dogfight as the past 4 games, if not more. Neither team wants to be one game away from elimination. The Spurs bench and role players output has been matched, (if not surpassed) by the Thunder supporting cast. Oklahoma City is outrebounding San Antonio, and they are getting way more easy buckets than the Spurs. I’m not sure if the Spurs can recover from losing two games at home in a series. Tonight’s tickets will read game 5, but it may as well read game 7. History has shown that most teams that win game 5 of the best of 7 series (when tied 2-2) end up winning the series.

 

I may have already said this before, but I think the Curry injury has been one of the best subplots of the playoffs. His injury had many ramifications for not only the Warriors, but for everyone who, up until the injury, were playing for second place. Cleveland has been feasting on bad teams during the first two rounds, and they’ll probably sweep the winner of the Toronto-Miami series (especially if the Heat don’t have Whiteside). I can only hope that Miami will at least make the Cavs work for those 4 W’s.

Last night’s heroics by Curry ( 40 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists–17 points in OT) only proved why he is the unanimous MVP. But did anyone else see the game Draymond Green had? Not only did he fill the stat sheet, (21 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, and 7 blocks) but he also set the tone for the Warriors second half comeback.

The consecutive defensive sequences where he blocked first Plumlee, and then McCollum energized the team, and that was the point when I knew we were in for a #goodassgame. Make no mistake about it, last night’s game was the game of the year. With Curry’s status in limbo, Livingston getting ejected, and Portland having a chance to tie the series at home, those things only served to make things more lit.

Lastly, how beautiful was that inbounds play that Kerr and co. designed—the one to get the game tied at 3? Curry threw the pass before Harrison Barnes (maybe their  3rd best option to shoot a 3 pointer) had come off of screening Klay Thompson’s man. The Warriors’ floor spacing on that play was almost as gorgeous as the pass.

Though this series is pretty much over, I do not expect the Blazers to fold up like lawn furniture. They’ll take an L, but the Warriors are going to have to work for it. There is nothing to hang your head about Blazers fans. Everyone (including me and other contributors for this site) picked this year’s team to SUUUUUUUUCCCCKKKKK, and they didn’t. That is a win in itself.

Last night’s game proves why it is always more important to make the playoffs (with the possibility of getting bounced) than to tank and hope for lottery ping pong balls. You can’t put a price on experience. The guys in that Trailblazer locker room will never forget the growth they experienced this year–from making the playoffs, to bouncing the Clippers, to giving the Warriors all they can handle in the semi-finals, and this can only help them in aligning next season’s goals.

If you are a free agent frontcourt player looking to play a prominent role for a contender, you have to at least take a meeting with Portland right? The draft is always a crapshoot. You never know what the ping pong balls will reveal, and not all top 3 picks are can’t miss franchise players (Portlanders certainly knows this is true). The Blazers run this year proves that if you put in the work and try your best, you never know what can happen. Sure the Blazer improbable run was helped by collective slides by Houston, New Orleans, and Utah, and then again by the Clippers suffering major injuries to key players, but their hard work, focus, and belief in each other put them in a position to succeed. Blazers fans should be greeting them at the airport when they get back from Oakland after Wednesday’s game.

Enjoy tonight’s game.

 

Peace,

BM

thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

#thisagoodassgame #fullsass

 

Good Ass Games of the Week 5/8/16

Some quick thoughts before we get into this week’s slate of games:

  • Tomorrow’s Spurs-Thunder could have huge ramifications down the road for San Antonio. If they win, they go home with a 3-1 series lead and a chance to go for the juggular. I’m not liking the body language for KD or Russ during their pressers, and it seems as if everyone is pressing as the intensity ramps up. As the oldest team in the NBA, the Spurs need as much time off as possible, and with a team like Oklahoma City, you don’t want to ease up when they are on the ropes. I expected this to be a dogfight, but the Spurs could lose more than a game if they don’t take care of business. The Thunder will not give up, so it is important for San Antonio to keep their foot on the gas. I think the Spurs chances of winning the title decrease the longer this series lasts. All that being said, this is easily the best series of the four, with games 2 and 3 being nailbiters. I don’t expect tomorrow’s game to be any different.
  • San Antonio did catch a break (or did they?) with a Warriors loss tonight in Rip City.Lillard went illard and put up 40 points while “dropping” 10 dimes. I’m almost certain that Golden State will win the next two games convincingly, but the way the Warriors flexed the other night without Steph Curry…….. well let’s just say I was almost sure they could beat ANY team with or without him. Now I’m not so sure.
  • I been sleeping on  Jonas Valanciunas as a viable front court threat against the Miami Heat. The man has been cleaning up on the glass, and now with Whiteside’s health in doubt, the Rappers Raptors have a chance to ruin Amin Elhassin’s dream vacation on “Heat Island”.  Big ups to Dwyane Wade for reminding people (including me) why he’s a Hall of Famer (he still dirty as hell, but that didn’t stop John Stockton from getting inducted).
  • Tomorrow is most definitely a #pitinogame. By 5:00 in the evening tomorrow, there will only be 7 teams left in the playoffs. This is exactly why I wanted the Celtics to advance, because Cleveland has barely broken a sweat these first 3 games. People are pushing each other down to jump on the #Cavs’Dad’s bandwagon, but they are forgetting that a) Kyrie Irving is a shaving accident away from being on the IR, and b) the Cavs haven’t played anyone yet. They got the easiest draw out of anyone in the playoffs, and there were two teams that had much better records than they did. What sense does that make? I’m still in wait and see mode on them.

 

 

Good Ass Games of the Week:

 

Sunday

Cleveland vs. Atlanta   ABC  2:30 pm CT

San Antonio vs. Oklahoma City

 

Monday

Toronto vs. Miami  TNT 7:00 pm CT

Golden State vs. Portland TNT 9:30 CT

 

Tuesday

Oklahoma City vs. San Antonio TNT TBD

 

Wednesday

Miami vs. Toronto TNT 7:00 pm CT

Portland vs. Golden State 9:30 pm CT

 

 

Thursday to Saturday games are TBD–games are scheduled as necessary.

 

BM

Thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

#thisagoodassgame #fullsass

 

 

Good Ass Games of the Week

Sunday

Charlotte vs. Miami (in progress) ABC

Portland vs. Golden State (2:30 PM CT) ABC

Indiana vs. Toronto (7:30 PM CT) TNT

 

Monday

Atlanta vs. Cleveland (6:00 PM CT ) TNT

Oklahoma City vs. San Antonio (8:30 PM CT) TNT

 

Tuesday

Portland vs. Golden State (9:30 PM CT ) TNT

 

 

Wednesday

Atlanta vs. Cleveland (7:00 PM CT) TNT

 

Thursday

 

No games scheduled

 

Friday

Cleveland vs. Atlanta (6:00 PM CT) ESPN

San Antonio vs. Oklahoma City (8:30 PM CT) ESPN

 

Saturday

 

Golden State vs. Portland  (7:30 PM CT) ESPN

 

Round and Round, Round and Round

Saying Our Goodbyes

Let’s take a second to thank the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, and Los Angeles Clippers for participating in the 2015-2016 playoffs. Except for the Houston Rockets, everyone played hard. No one was surprised that these teams got bounced. Hey sometimes you’re the champs and sometimes you’re the chum.

Los Angeles Clippers v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Six

I gotta say tho, I have more respect for the Clippers (especially Austin Rivers) for not conceding game 6 on the road in Portland. It was enough of a performance to make me consider downgrading them from complete busters to simply busterish.

I have talked a lot of junk about Austin Rivers, but I think he passed some sort of threshold last night in that loss to the Blazers. I wonder if this will be the impetus for him crawling out of that bottom tier of players, and actually being a viable part of a winning team.

Looking Ahead

 

Even though both are Eastern Conference games, tomorrow’s Pacers-Raptors and Heat-Hornets contests are can’t miss. I’m not foolish enough to think a Raptors elimination will mean I won’t have to see Drake sitting court side at basketball games, rolling lint off his jeans. Homie will be anywhere there is a camera and some NBA. I’m still rooting for the Pacers to knock off Toronto. Indiana has some interesting layers on their squad, and a Heat-Pacers 2nd round would be intense.

Speaking of playoff intensity, last night’s 4th quarter of the Heat-Hornets game was one of the few legit highlights in this first round. Kemba and Dwyane Wade put their “teams on they back” and went to work. Wade had 10 4th quarter points, while Walker couldn’t be stopped (except for a last possession foul by Wade that didn’t get called), getting 11 of his 34 points in crunch time.

I for one am not looking forward to this Hawks-Cavs series starting this week. If I watch any of that series, it will be during the 4th quarter of each game. Bleh. With all the contact, whistles and play stoppage, that series will be as much fun as watching college wrestling. No thank you. I’ll watch as much as necessary to stay informed. I don’t know if the Hawks will even win one game this round.

The Warriors open up the second round against the “stop listening to they” Blazers. The steel and determination in Damien Lillard’s face  makes me a believer in Portland…….but not this year. If the Blazers management can actually make s series of sustainable decisions, I think they can bring a title to Rip City.

They really aren’t that far away. We’ll have plenty of time to dissect their off-season after the Dubs knock them out. Portland fans are playing with house money, and they’ll be happy if their Blazers Boyz get 2 wins (not all that unrealistic). I’m just excited to see Dame go to his hometown and put in some work in front of his people. This will be a fun series.

The real deal Holyfield will be the Thunder-Spurs series starting tonight at 7:30 (CST). I’ve lost a lot of sleep over this potential matchup. This reminds me too much of the 2012 standoff, where KD unleashed the beast four times in a row. The only thing keeping me from a full-blown panic attack is that the Thunder don’t have a James Harden to bring off the bench.

 

For the Spurs to win

 

Their vaunted defense will need to live up to its reputation. Kawhi Leonard is light years better than he was in 2012, when he first had to handle KD. Leonard’s offensive game  is almost enough to make the matchup at small forward a wash.

The bigger problem will be guarding Russell Westbrook. Danny Green and (ahem) Tony Parker can’t do it alone. It will take some team defending and help coming into the lane and forcing Westbrook to make last second decisions. There is no stopping Russ at this point–he’s Kobe 2.0 (except a less reluctant passer), and even though Tony Allen was credited with making Kobe work in the ’08 NBA Finals, that Celtics defense was on a string. The Spurs will have to be in constant communication, in order to keep the Thunder role players from getting involved offensively.

One way to do this will be to take care of the ball when they are on the other end of the court. The more the Spurs can keep OKC from getting easy baskets from fast breaks, the better.

Lastly, the Spurs bench will have to prove itself superior to Oklahoma City’s role players. Besides Dion Waiters and Enes Kanter, the Thunder will have trouble getting their own shots. Ibaka may have a 7/9 game with 16 points, 5 blocks, and 12 rebounds, one game, and then completely disappear behind the 3 point line the next. The Spurs have the better support group, and they can make OKC pay dearly every time Durant and Westbrook aren’t on the floor.

I think the Spurs can survive a game or two if KD and Russ both go nuclear (60-70 combined points),as long as no one else goes crazy. But a night where Kanter gets 18, Ibaka is getting 15, and Waiters is getting 14, means they are probably taking an L.

For the Thunder to win

 

They will need to resurrect the RUN OKC days. The Spurs are undoubtedly the oldest team in the playoffs. After every long rebound I would have the wings pushing up the court to see if any fast break opportunities can shake out. The Spurs are phenomenal at getting back on D, but you figure that somewhere down the line it may add to their wear and tear to the Spurs’ old legs. The biggest problem with this strategy though is that OKC’s bench is pretty thin. An uptempo game means more minutes for Cameron Payne and Kyle Singler. I don’t think that is a good thing, but they’ll need as many easy points as they can get.

The Thunder bigs will need to dominate the boards in order for them to have a chance in this series. There won’t be a ton of easy buckets on either end, which make Steven Adams, Ene Kanter, Serge Ibaka, and Nick Collison’s roles extremely important. One way to keep the Spurs from scoring is to outrebound them–especially on the offensive end.

Someone is going to have to help KD and Russ get buckets. The easiest way to spot someone who doesn’t get basketball is to hear them speak as if winning hinges on their superstar player(s). The locals (and the media) here in Oklahoma think that just because they have 2 of the best players in the world on their team that a win is pretty much guaranteed.

They actually think the Thunder were “struggling” this season. It is laughable. What they don’t understand, is that the reason the Warriors and Spurs have been thumping teams at a historic rate, is because they have two of the best benches in NBA history. Having Westbrook and Durant keeps a team in any game, but having dependable role players in a tightly contested, playoff game, is invaluable.

Someone (Waiters, Kanter, Ibaka) has to chip in at a consistent rate for the Thunder to even have a chance at upending the Spurs. Those Heat teams had great role players (Shane Battier, Mike Miller, Ray Allen, Udonis Hasleem), that ’08 Celts team had James Posey, Leon Powe, Tony Allen, and Sam Cassell.

The Thunder no longer haven’t had a big 3 since Harden moved to Houston, and their role players have been okay at best. I think we’ll have to see something extraordinary for them to beat the Spurs, but if they can somehow stretch it to 7 games, then the odds might be in their favor. I think the Thunder will give San Antonio all they can handle, but Spurs will win in six games.

 

BM

thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

#fullsass #thisagoodassgame

 

 

 

Moving Right Along

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Congratulations to the Golden State Warriors on their record-breaking evening. There is a reason only 2 teams in my lifetime have achieved 73 wins. Even the best of teams lose occasional back to back games, or they suffer letdowns to inferior teams. The Warriors only had a couple of losses that had nothing to do with scheduling or injury.

I would also like to take the time to celebrate the end of the Kobe Bryant’s playing career, a man who was the last link to the Lakers’ dynasty. I thought about watching his very last game, then decided I could be doing better things. Hitting the refresher on twitter each time brought me updates as he hit 30, then 40, then 50, then finally 60 points. The man chucked up 50 shots, but what surprised me is that he only had 45 points with about 5 minutes left. The man put on a show for his home crowd and I have to respect that.

I can’t say I agree with people’s G.O.A.T. assertion, or the revisionist history that does not include his sexual assault trial, or that he was such a terrible teammate that no one wanted to play with him; and that is the reason why he only has 5 rings instead of 11 (like say Bill Russell). Most Lakers fans are insufferable, but Kobe fans are twice as hard to talk sensibly with. I for one, am extremely happy that this farcical farewell tour is over with, and that I never have to see Kobe Bryant play on live television ever again.

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Unfortunately, I feel there is a good chance that this also the last season we’ll ever get to see Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Vince Carter, and Paul Pierce play meaningful games as well. I’m just happy they didn’t announce their intentions before the season was over also. It would have been an overload of goodbyes. I have to give Kobe credit though for him scoring 60 and leading the Lakers to an end of the season win. It does make for a good story, and I’m halfway sorry that I did not watch it as it unfolded. But then I think about it, and it makes me feel like the Jazz are some busters–proving to me they didn’t deserve to be in the playoffs anyway, if they can lose like they did last night.

 

PLAYOFFS!!!!!!!

First Round Matchups

 

West

Houston vs. Golden State
Man the Rockets were terrible this year and they managed to suck the joy out of basketball. Warriors in four
Dallas vs. Oklahoma City
I can see Dallas stealing one, maybe even two games out of this series. Give me OKC in 6
Memphis vs. San Antonio
You have to give credit to Dave Joerger and the Grizzlebees for hanging in their after losing Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, but they are just chum in the water. Spurs in 4
Portland vs. Clippers 
This will be the most entertaining matchup of the first round and will certainly have 2-3 “Good Ass Games” before Portland knocks them out in 7.

East

Miami vs. Charlotte
Best games in the east this round.
Detroit vs. Cleveland
I’m happy for Detroit basketball, but it should not take the Cavs more than 5 games to beat Detroit.
Indiana vs. Toronto
This series is going to ride the fine line of being competitive and downright ugly basketball. This sounds crazy but I’m going to take the naptown boys in 7.
Boston vs Atlanta
Will Boston become Al Horford’s next stop? The Celtics will have a two-week recruiting period to give him their pitch. Boston in 7.
Enjoy the first round because it’ll be over before you know it.
Peace,
BM

The Finish Line

Here we are at the finish line. If the season ended today, the first round would look like this:

Eastern Conference

Cleveland vs Indiana

Toronto vs. Detroit

Atlanta vs. Charlotte

Boston vs. Miami

Western Conference

Golden State vs. Utah (please Hoops Gods, for the love of everything sacred about basketball, don’t let the Rockets get in)

San Antonio vs. Dallas

Oklahoma City vs. Memphis

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Portland

Wednesday is the last day of the regular season. By Thursday the playoff matchups will be set, and by then it will be fairly easy to predict what the Finals matchup will look like. At this point, Golden State vs. Cleveland seems to be a forgone conclusion, but anything can happen in 2 months of playoff ball.

Spurs fans should pray that someone beats up, or knocks off the Warriors before a potential playoff meeting, because that is a really bad matchup for them. The length and athleticism on Golden State is just too much for San Antonio. Watching them play reminds me of the Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis fight. Lewis was too fast, too strong, for the past his prime Tyson.

The Warriors have a far superior backcourt, and the slim advantages that the Spurs have in depth and coaching aren’t enough to overcome that mismatch (Not to mention that Harrison Barnes is a huge x factor to plan against, Barnes is about to get PAID).

Despite the postseason outcome becoming fairly apparent way early in the season, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed what this year brought. The Timberwolves were a nice little story despite the Flip Saunders tragedy. Karl Anthony Towns is going to be a force to reckon with, and Andrew Wiggins can be the Kobe to his Shaquille (but without the fight for Alpha dog status). The Spurs had a very fun and memorable season and despite what happens going forward, it will be remembered as a success.

There was a lot of goofy shit that happened off the court that isn’t worth getting into, but it did affect the on the court product for the Lakers, Clippers, Sixers, the Cavaliers, and the Kings. People who expected the Pelicans and Bucks to improve upon last year’s success were disappointed.  Hopefully next year will be just as exciting on the court, but with less off the court b.s. My wish list? Alright, twist my arm.

  1. Shabazz  Muhammad to the Mavericks. I think he and  Rick Carlisle would be good for each other.
  2. Tom Thibodeau to Sacramento. All I want in this life is to see Ben Mclemore and “Boogie Down” Cousins to play for a real coach.That Kings team was too talented to not make the playoffs this year. #dysfunctionjunction
  3. Kevin Durant to Golden State and Harrison Barnes to Portland. Aren’t you just a little curious? Despite what people think, I’m not sure KD is obsessed with getting his touches. I bet he’d be satisfied with an 11 for 15 line and a legitimate chance at a chip. For some reason I think Barnes with Damien Lillard and C.J. McCollum would be a great trio to build around. All you would need to do was add a rim protector and suddenly they are a contender.
  4. Thomas Robinson to the Spurs. T-Rob has not gotten a fair shake in this league yet. I think Gregg Popovich could use a guy like that. Imagine Dejuan Blair, but with knees.
  5. Shelvin Mack and Gordon Heyward to Boston. I know it is unrealistic, but I can’t be the only one fantasizing about them reuniting with Brad Stevens. The “Salt Lake City Punks” would be crazy to give up Heyward. It is in Utah’s contract to always have a white superstar for their franchise, and Heyward is that face. gordon-hayward-nba-utah-jazz-golden-state-warriors5

If at least one of these things occurs, I will consider the 2017 season a success.

I’m not sure how many of you have subscribed to Shea Serrano‘s Basketball and (Other Things) Newsletter, but I would recommend you peep game. Last week’s “Assault on Precinct 1” issue was easily one of the funniest things I have come across this year. It was so good that it inspired me to do an ESPN REMIX using the exact same premise. You can’t be the “World Wide Leader” without having snitches, police, double agents, and confessions. So according to the format provided by Serrano, just who on ESPN is police?

Are Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith police?  Typically in comic books, graphic novels, Edgar Allen Poe short stories, movies and television shows, the police are depicted as inept, bumbling and comical—“so dumb that they have to be told to come out of the rain” as an English professor once told me. Bayless and Smith, if they are cops, would be likened to the Smitty and Hoppy characters from Sanford and Son. Bayless and Smith are mostly on some harmless buffonery in ESPN’s attempt to get ratings. I guess it works. People watch them and let themselves worked up. Do they mislead people to get ratings? Do they take quotes out of context and run with them? Oh you betcha. Do they say things they really don’t believe just to stir up controversy? Absolutely. They are definitely the “Po-Po.”

Is Bill Simmons the police? You ever see those cop shows, where there is a detective who always thinks he is the smartest guy in the room? You know– the cop who does things according to his rules, they call them “rogue cops.” That is Simmons. Simmons thought he was Dirty Harry, but went out more like Officer McNulty from the Wire.  Simmons got wind of the corruption in City Hall and threatened to expose it. Tired of the office politics at his particular station, Simmons goes rogue once too many times, and gets shown his walking papers. The police chief, John Skipper said “Gimme your badge Simmons. You’re done here. Consider yourself retired, you can cash in your pension at the district offices.” Then Simmons was like ” Fuck this department. You know where you would be without me? You’d still be showing Roy Firestone interviews on ESPN2, on the 4pm time slot, if it weren’t for my brilliant police work.” Then on his way out, he slams the office door so hard that the glass shatters everywhere. Skipper’s personal assistant immediately tries using his stack of paperwork for a dustpan as Simmons walked past him, but Skipper tells him to just leave it. Simmons then waits outside the station for his Uber before the scene cuts to a commercial. So yes. Bill Simmons was once police. Now he is not. He’s more like a private detective now.

Is Dan Lebatard the police? Yes, but in the way that David Simon was police. Simply putting reporting crime in hopes of weaving together a tale that will someday get him a tv deal.

Is Zach Lowe the police? No. Even in a fictional world, Zach Lowe is a reporter who just wants to do good work and go home to his family. He is thorough, and methodical and enjoys his job. He is a man above the corruption and politics. He usually asks the right questions that hint at plot twists, and reveals. In a police movie, he would be the reporter who got himself kidnapped because he got a little too close to the truth.

Is Jason Whitlock police? HA! Have you seen Jason Whitlock? He wouldn’t be able to pass the physical exam. If he were police, he’d be an extra on a Police Academy remake. That being said, Jason Whitlock has a reputation of being a hater, and a suspected snitch.

Is Adam Schefter police? Man. What do you think? Is there anybody on that staff with more eyes and ears on the streets than Adam Schefter? Schefter is the kind of cop whose motto is you are only as good of police as your informants.” Hell yeah he police.

Other notable ESPN police:

Amin Elhassan- Yes. A dirty one. Officer Friendly from Master P’s “I’m Bout it” movie. He is every black cop you’ve ever seen (on tv or in real life) who is an asshole for no reason at all. That being said, a great twitter follow. The man is such a fantastic shit to everyone (to be fair he’s bombarded with tons of idiotic tweets) that it is impossible to take your eyes off his timeline, but it may be better just to avoid this guy altogether if you to. 

David Jacoby –Maybe he is, or maybe he isn’t. But anybody who claims to love hip hop and says they don’t know about Nelly’s “Tip Drill” video, is in my mind suspect. “Pleasssssse. Check him for a wire or an ear piece.”

Notable Non-Police:

Jalen Rose– Just that dude from the neighborhood who knows everything that is going down before it even happens. Homie is like Huggy Bear from the Starsky and Hutch series. He may work with police, but he ain’t police. Also check out his autobiography, “Got to Give the People What They Want.” It is a pretty entertaining read. I’ll be doing a book review on it later this week on the site.

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Bomani Jones– HELLLLLLLLLLL NO!

jones

 

Big ups to Shea Serrano, one of my favorite writers right now, who I hope isn’t offended that I borrowed his format and ran with it. As a hip hop fan (whose book I will be purchasing this week sometime), I hope he thinks of this as someone freestyling over a beat he made hot, as opposed to straight biting his style (Call me crazy, but I think we may be able to get him on the Full Sass Podcast someday).

Good Ass Games of the Week are posted below, and remember folks, “Be careful out there.”

 

Peace,

BM

#fullsass #thisagoodassgame

thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

 

Good Ass Games of The Week:

 

Monday

Dallas-Utah 

Somebody has to play the Spurs, and somebody has to play the Warriors.  This game is basically flipping a coin to determine their team’s playoff fate.

Charlotte-Boston

Both teams are just jockeying for seedings, but no matter the result, it looks like those first round matchups out east are pretty much set.

 

“Tap That Vein” Tuesday

Memphis- Los Angeles Clippers 

This may be a preview. We may see these teams face off in the playoffs. This is like getting a first round bye for whoever gets to play Memphis. They got decimated with injuries this year and still made the playoffs. #respect

Oklahoma City- San Antonio

I doubt either team will play their starters, but it is always fun to watch the Spurs bench whup on the other teams’ reserve players.

 

Wednesday

Spurs-Dallas

Dallas will try to win this game and still may get blown out.

Memphis-Golden State (Good Ass Game of The Week)

This could be win number 73 or this could be win number 72. We’ll see how San Antonio plays things tonight against the Dubs.

 

END OF SEASON. NEXT WEEK: FULLSASS PLAYOFF PREVIEW

 

 

The Award Tour

We are 11 days away from the beginning of the second season. I’m not sure if you watched any ball last night, but Boston vs. Golden State was undoubtedly the Good Ass Game of the Week. Golden State finally got beat at home; losing for the first time in 55 games. Their last loss was January 27th, 2015, against the Bulls, in what happened to be the Good Ass Game of that particular Week. Both games were filled with careless turnovers for the team, and both ended with the team in disbelief as the buzzer ended. The real difference is that the Warriors were a question mark going into the playoffs. This year they are the exclamation point.

The Dubs are upstaging the rest of the league in a year where most contending teams are having banner years. Cleveland has a .711 winning percentage, and are the odds on favorite (except to Alex Knapp) to come out of the East, but no one is really taking them seriously to win the Finals.

The Spurs just won a franchise record 64 games, 38-0 at home, and have a .842 winning percentage, but are a full 4 games back of first place in the West. Toronto has a .671 winning percentage, and no one is confident they will beat the Cavs. While Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers are respectively winning 69 and 62 percent of their games, but both teams will need tons of help to have any remote chance of competing for a Western Conference title.

This is the last full week of games, so let’s hand out a few end of the year awards while we have a chance. I polled a few NBA outsiders, Fullsassers, and avid hoop heads for their opinions and insight. Here are the results.

 

The Drake Award is for the most sensitive light skinned player in the league. Also known as the Jerryd Bayless award, also known as the fake tough guy award.

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Nominees: 

Gerald Henderson for “always yelling at Meyers Leonard for being out of position”

Blake Griffin for breaking his hand over the equipment manager’s face over some jokes that cut too deep.

Austin Rivers for trying to always look hard when you know he is soft as “baby lotion”

Matt Barnes for driving to his ex wife’s crib and whupping Derek Fisher’s ass and giving inspiration to an ad lib in one of Kanye’s best songs in years.

Derek Fisher for getting his ass whupped for being a snake, then snitching on Matt Barnes to the cops. Ironically, this only led to further the perception that Derek Fisher was a snake, and a buster.

Winner: Biege Blake Griffin.

He took an L for going upside the Clippers equipment manager’s head, but the reason he did so, was because of some friendly ribbing. Matias Testi apparently kidded Griffin about the Clippers playing better without Blake, and this got Blake so heated that he punched his 5’9 homie in the restaurant, and then follwed him outside to give him a”two piece and a biscuit” for dessert. Whenever P.J Tucker and Zack Randolph got up on that ass, Blake somehow lost his nerve, but he got real froggy and leaped onto his buddy who apparently took things too far. Que lastima.

 

The Gin Baker All NBA Honors go to the players most likely to show up to a Sunday game hungover.

G  J.R. Smith –You know hit the big time when Miley Cyrus is asking what the post game plan is.

PF  Jahlil Okafor-Homie aint even old enough to drink, and he is trying to start real life fight clubs out in Philly and Boston. He must have grown up watching his pops play Urban Champion on the original NES game system. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if he should have been nominated for the “Drake Award” 

G  Ty Lawson for obvious reasons.

C  BOOGIE Cousins- This would explain why he’s so surly all the time.

SF  Nick Young- Oh man. If you thought he was getting it in while he was engaged to Iggy Azalea………well more on that later.

Aside Note: Don’t confuse any of these with the “Vin Baker’s Dozen” which was awarded to Jared Sullinger for gaining the most weight during the offseason. When I was watching the my first Celtics game of the season, I had to do a double take, because I thought that Glen “Big Baby” Davis had resigned on the team without me knowing it.

 

The “Seven Sloppy Seconds or Less” Award goes to the Los Angeles Clippers for acquiring Lance “Born Ready” Stephenson AND Josh Smith in the same off season. THEN getting rid of both of them during the trade deadline. Everyone on Earth thought this was a bad idea but Steve Ballmer and Glen Rivers.

How in the hell does that happen? Do they not have any friends in the league who they could have texted or called, just to throw the idea at them? I know when I’m considering doing something stupid, I at least have 3 or 4 friends who I can message and say “I’m thinking about hooking up with my ex-girlfriend this weekend–you know the one who was in the cult.” I know I’ll get some honest feedback within the next 20 minutes–something along the lines of “Are you that hard up, or are you just a masochist?” Baffling.

josh-smith

Honorable mention:

The Houston Rockets who took back Josh Smith during the trade deadline, after a weird and awkward goodbye last summer. Oh yeah. They also signed post-rehab Ty Lawson who they eventually let go during the trade deadline. I don’t know what the hell is going in Houston (But if you want to hear more about their miserable season, tune into Fullsass.com sometime this week to hear our Rockets roundtable, featuring Phillip Martin and Heath Hamilton).

 

The “Adrian Dantley Award” for worst mid season trade/acquisition goes to the Orlando Magic. They traded Tobias Harris for Ersan Illasova and Brandon Jennings. As per Full Sass NBA analayst, Alex Knapp: “Jennings numbers are slightly up compared to the 20 horrendous games he played for the Pistons earlier this season, and yet his numbers are still by far the worst of any season of his career. Illyasova’s numbers are down across the board except for rebounds. The Magic are 8-14 since the trade and dropped themselves out of playoff contention. Horrible trade both short term and long term. They made a mistake, akin to most sloppy seconds choices.”

Conversely, the Mark Aguirre Award  for best midseason acquisition goes to the Miami Heat. Dwyane Wade is going to make one hell of a front office member when his career is over. He already had convinced Lebron and Chris Bosh to take less money to come to his team and win. Now he talked Joe Johnson into coming down and joining forces with him in Miami.

They have the perfect pieces to beat Cleveland in the playoffs–even without Chris Bosh. Joe Johnson is a guy who may not be able to light it up like he used to, but he can still get you buckets in crunch time. They have the best chance out of any East team to knock off the Lebrons, which would essentially make the Western Conference Finals into the NBA Finals.

michael_beasley_blunt_marijuana

Honorable mention goes to the aformentioned Houston Rockets, who strangley enough, signed former (?) blunt rolling specialist Michael Beasley. He has been surprisingly great for them. He is scoring double figures and getting rebounds. Most importantly, he is taking nothing but good shots. Whatever happened to him in China, may have been for the best.

Perhaps Stephon Marbury took him took an opium den, and offered some kindly, sage advice. Even stranger, is the fact that Lance Stephenson is suddenly the best thing to happen to Memphis since the movie “Hustle and Flow” was in the movie theaters. I personally prefer Mystery Train by Jim Jarmusch, but hey, whatever is clever. I just something disconcerting about seeing mid 50’s white women chanting “Whup that trick” in the midst of a Grizzlies’ commercial timeout.

The “Vinny the Microwave” Award goes to co-winners Steph Curry and Klay Thompson who heat up faster than Nina Hartley, girl on girl scene on Pornhub (fittingly this duo’s nickname is the Splash Brothers). I’ve never seen so many games where a team can take a 10 point deficit, and create a 30 point swing in a mere 4 minutes of game time. Klay in particular, has been on a tear the last couple of weeks, scoring at least 30 points in 5 games last March (2 of them back to back 40 point games).  This race wasn’t even close. The best anyone else could come up with besides Dame Lillard, was Will Barton from the Denver Nuggets.

splash

The Drazen Petrovic goes to Nicolas Batum for best unheralded European player. He has started 66 games for the #mesoHornets this year, while averaging 15 points a game, and providing veteran leadership and perimeter defense. It is no accident that he replaces Lance Stephenson and suddenly Charlotte is back in the playoffs.

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Honorable Mentions go out to Rudy Gobert (a French DeAndre Jordan), Evan Fornier, Boris Diaw, ZaZa Pachulia, Ricky Rubio, Nikola Jokic, internet sensation and 9th wonder of the world, Boban Marjanovic,and especially Bucks point guard Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Bucks have been a disappointment this year, but the “Greek Freak” has been toiling away in near obscurity up in Milwaukee. I thought for sure this would be the year they took a step forward, but much like New Orleans, injuries and personnel changes hampered their growth. I like Jason Kidd taking a chance on this experiment of having Giannis play the point. We’re almost to the point where NBA basketball is positionless anyway.

 

The Charles Oakley Award for best enforcer goes to OKC’s Steven Adams. He is a dirty player, but he adds a toughness to a team that is a little soft. Outside of Adams, and Ibaka (who has gradually become a finesse player), the Thunder have no one on the roster to keep a team honest. No one is scared of Kyle Singler or Andre Roberson. He has a way of getting under a player’s skin, that I haven’t seen since Dennis Rodman was in his prime.

steven_adams_of_the_oklahoma_city_thunder_14785_9931

Having Adams on the team allows fake tough guys like Russell Westbrook to act an “ass” on the court without threat of retribution. Russ is amazing, but he can’t lose his shit every time he makes a basket, then get mad at Reggie Jackson because he wants to celebrate the moment.

Shit, I’d probably be the same way if I beat Westbrook in anything. When dudes wanna bring all that extra into anything, I’m gonna amp it up too. I don’t give a damn if its ping pong, Madden, or pickup basketball. I bet it feels damn good giving Westbrook an L.

Honorable mention goes to Andrew Bogut. Bogut doesn’t need to score to feel involved. He is a great high post passer, and sets effective screens. He isn’t afraid to mix it up down low either. It is a different game when he is not in the game. Festus Ezeli is an athletic guy who can explode to the basket and catch a lob or block a shot, and Marreesse Speights is a fantastic change up off the bench. Bogut brings a different dimension altogether, and part of the reason the Warriors lost Friday night, was because Bogut never came back from the rib injury he incurred.

Juwan Howard

The Juwann Howard “Damn you still be going to the Club at Your Age? ” Award goes to Nazr Mohammed, who talked someone into to paying him to sit on the bench and mentor some young folks. This award is for players you almost forgot were in the league. Sometimes this is because they are buried so far on the bench. Sometimes it is just because they play in places like Philadelphia or Brooklyn.

This could have also easily been named the Joel Anthony, the Prigioni, the Sciola, the Tayshuan, or the Kris Humphries, or the “Perk” award.

The “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe Award” for worst locker room presence in the NBA. Which D’Angelo Russell wins by a landslide. We could have easily said “J-Smoove”, or Lance Stephenson, but it is hard for me to recall an event so disruptive and destructive that did not involve Donald J. Sterling. Even Terrell Owens had at least a couple people who rode with him at his worst.

Twenty years ago, this would be called the Toni Braxton Award for the irreparable damage that her love triangle with Jason Kidd and Jim Jackson caused. The locker room tension forced a rebuilding period that put the 90’s Mavericks into a deeper hole that took half a decade to recover from. Russell is only 20, and this is the kind of stupid mistakes 20 year olds make when they are “playing around”,but this has huge ramifications on that locker room.

Even if the Lakers wanted to trade Russell, there is too much heat on the dude for another franchise to bring him into their locker room. The only way he’ll be able to get through this is to play hard, play well, and keep his nose clean for (at least) the rest of his rookie contract. This is the kind of mistake that can jeaopardize a player’s career.

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The other day on SportsNation, Spurs superfan Michelle Beadle was visibly upset because no one was taking Nick Young to task for “cheating” on Iggy Azalea. First of all, it isn’t like Nick Young was openly bragging about fooling around on his fiance (for all we know they may have some strange arrangement that no one is privy to). Russell can be heard asking Young probing questions to get him to admit to his actions.

Taping Young without his approval is the first offense. Secondly, you have to address why Russell would think it would be fly to share Nick Young’s private sex life with other people in the worst possibleway–on social media. If you don’t get that, then there is no understanding why this is such an egregious breach of trust.

Nick Young was secretly taped without his consent, and then that sensitive information was shared with the general public–information that could put his current relationship at risk. Now if you rode with Erin Andrews on her stalker case (which I’m sure Beadle did), then why can’t she understand why this is such a terrible thing to do to someone?

My last point, and this is still uncomfortable, is that Tony Parker had to endure a public divorce because his famous wife found inapropriate texts to his teammates’ wife. I didn’t even know who Michelle Beadle was back then, but I do wonder how she felt about that situation, and what she said publicly about our boy Tony. I’m not saying anything to disparage Tony, because that sounds like a terrible situation for everyone involved. Though I imagine that it raised some eyebrows in that locker room, and among the Spurs management.

 

People who argue that “Nick Young shouldn’t be cheating are missing the point altogether.


 

With the top standings pretty much set, the only games that matter outside of Golden State’s record (they must go 4-1 for the remainder of the season) pursuit are the ones involving middle tier teams.

The Warriors play the Spurs twice this week, and I seriously doubt the Spurs will even dress any of their starters. It hurts to see the Spurs concede that final home game against the Dubs on Sunday, because they could have the only undefeated home record in NBA history. But I get it.

Management planned ahead with the signings of Kevin Martin and Andre Miller for this 20 game stretch where players would need rest, but the team would still need wins. The Spurs understand something that Kerr said the other night; which is “records are made to be broken, while championships are forever.” The Spurs need a healthy backcourt if they are going to wear down the Warriors in the Conference Finals.

This week’s games are posted below in bold.

Peace,

BM

#fullsass #thisagoodassgame

thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

Monday

 

North Carolina vs. Villanova

 

“Tap that Vein Tuesday”

 

Detroit vs. Miami

 

Wednesday

 

Oklahoma City-Portland

Dallas-Houston

 

Thursday

 

San Antonio-Golden State 

 

Friday

 

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Utah

 

Saturday

 

Golden State-Memphis

Boston-Atlanta

 

Sunday

 

Golden State-San Antonio (Good Ass Game of the Week?)