Clicks to Pick Week of 11/27/17

Monday

 

Cleveland at Philadelphia (Good Ass Game of The Week)

A lot of star power in this one. I think the 76ers can give them some run.

 

Tuesday

No Good Ass Games Scheduled

Wednesday 

 

No Good Ass Games Scheduled

 

Thursday

 

Milwaukee at Portland

Blazers fans are going to enjoy this one. Shout outs to Rob the Free Throw Guy. I always enjoyed his behind the basket antics– even if Wes Matthews wasn’t feeling it. I’d like to see a fake 30 for 30 short done on that cat. He was kind of a thing for a while.

 

Friday

 

San Antonio at Memphis

No Kawhi (bruised quad). No Conley (sore achilles). But maybe we’ll see a healthy Tony Parker in this one.

Minnesota at Oklahoma City

The last couple of games have been beautiful stretches of athletic basketball.

Saturday

 

New Orleans at Portland

Finally going to see down and watch the Blazers play this year. In an article this past week, Jusuf Nurkic was quoted as saying that he is the best big man in the league. I would like to believe that he was misquoted,  and that Sports Illustrated forgot to add “besides Joel Embiid and Demarcus Cousins,” in the text. Although I just looked up his salary for the year, and the Blazers are getting him for a steal (wish I could say the same for the Evan Turner and Allen Crabbe contracts).

Sunday

San Antonio at Oklahoma City

Spurs keep chugging along. Tony Parker is supposed to see some game action on Monday. Still no word on Kawhi Leonard yet; is it time for Spurs fans to panic? Hell no, but coach Popovich says he has never seen an injury quite like the one Kawhi currently has. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

profile pic b mick  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 Fullsass Studios. Follow him on twitter @goodassgame. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com. 

 

 

Clicks to Pick Week of 11/20/17

Monday

 

Los Angeles Clippers at New York    League Pass

Anytime you can catch a marquee game at Madison Square Garden with the Knicks feed, I suggest you do it. The commentary duo of Mike Breen and Clyde Frazier is unmatched.

Washington at Milwaukee                     League Pass

John Wall vs the Nigerian Natural #getsome

Oklahoma City at New Orleans            League Pass

New Orleans has been an entertaining team to watch, and they just got Rondo back. Ojo!!!!!!

Cleveland at Detroit                               League Pass

Detroit may be the biggest surprise of the season. I didn’t even have them making the playoffs, but they are off to a good start. They don’t have a single superstar on that team, but they are doing their thing. Stan Van Gundy might get Coach of the Year for his efforts with this squad. This feels like a trap game for the Lebrons.

Tuesday

No Good Ass Games Scheduled

 

Wednesday

Golden State at Oklahoma City (Good Ass Game of the Week)  ESPN

Great read by Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher about Seattle losing the Sonics and how that shaped Kevin Durant’s decision to eventually leave Oklahoma City.

San Antonio at New Orleans   

If you like watching big men who pass well, then this is the game for you.

Thursday

No Good Ass Games Scheduled

Friday

No Good Ass Games Scheduled

Saturday

 

New Orleans  at Golden State      League Pass

New Orleans will keep this close, but the Warriors offense is like a dormant herpes colony: You don’t know when it will erupt, but its an explosive display whenever it happens. Don’t get gassed up on last week’s game against Boston. They’d be lucky to win two games in a first to seven series.

Sunday

No Good Ass Games Scheduled

 

 

profile pic b mick  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 Fullsass Studios. Follow him on twitter @goodassgame. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com. 

 

Clicks to Pick week of 11/13/17

 

Monday

Cleveland at New York   League Pass or VIP Box

Lebron comes to Manhattan after sneak dissing the Knicks’ front office Saturday night, saying they should have taken Dennis Smith Jr.

Memphis at Milwaukee  League Pass or VIP Box

With the acquisition of Eric Bledsoe, the Bucks have gone from cute League Pass sensations to a legit concern for the rest of the Eastern Conference. It took Giannis 24 shots to get 28 points, but he affected Friday night’s game against the Spurs in so many ways. Also his breakaway 360 dunk was such a thing of beauty that it put me in tears.

Tuesday

No Good Ass NBA games on the docket, but the NCAA got some big time college games going if you’re bored. I won’t tell you who is playing because fuck the NCAA.

Wednesday

San Antonio at Minnesota League Pass or VIP Box

A team can only get so far with a bunch of role players and no superstar. Against the Bucks, they were within 2 points during the final 2 minutes of the ballgame and couldn’t get a bucket from anyone. Winning time is the point of the game where teams need their superstars to make plays, and this is where they miss Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker the most. The team just fell apart during the 4th quarter against Golden State a couple of weeks ago, but the good news is that the Calvary is on its way (right?).

Don’t panic Spurs fans. As of today, the Spurs are on pace to go 49-33 for the season, and that is without Kawhi or Tony. Everyone has raised their game over the off-season.

Pau Gasol and Lamarcus Aldridge seem a little more relaxed this season, and more comfortable in the system. Kyle Anderson has stepped up his level of play this season, and suddenly Danny Green has handles and a pull up jumper. Rudy Gay looks like he is fully healed from his Achilles injury.

Brandon Paul looks to be the second coming of Jonathan Simmons, and Bryn Forbes has become this season’s version of Cory Joseph. Dejounte Murray is playing exactly what you would expect of a second year point guard (which is inconsistent). It is a long season Spurs fans. You just gotta hang in there a little bit longer (right????).

Meanwhile, the Timberwolves are ranked 27th in the league in defensive rating after finishing 26th in the NBA last season. Surprisingly, it isn’t offense that is their biggest problem; something I would not have expected to see from a Tom Thibodeau coached squad.

 

Thursday

Golden State at Boston (Good Ass Game of the Week)   TNT

If you are wondering why the Warriors at times look so much more dominant this season compared to last year, consider their bench: Nick Young replaced Ian Clark. Omri Casspi replaced Matt  “The Barber” Barnes (because he be handing out fades), and Jordan Bell replaced James Michael McAdoo.

Friday

Oklahoma City at San Antonio     ESPN

The concerns that surrounded the Thunder going into this season are real. Their bench is thin. Billy Donovan has done nothing to distinguish himself as an elite NBA coach, and their three superstars have yet to find a rhythm. But you know what? It is still pretty early, and the Jazz just lost their best defensive player for 4-6 weeks. The Timberwolves, Grizzlies, and Blazers are falling back to earth themselves. Don’t bet on the Thunder missing the playoffs just yet folks.

New Orleans at Denver                   ESPN

Saturday

Golden State at Philadelphia  League Pass or VIP BOX

Joel Embiid had himself a rough week. Willie Cauley-Stein put the clamps on Embiid, and though he still got 22 points and 15 rebounds against “Trilly” Cauley, it didn’t come easy. Last night against the Warriors, Embiid scored 12 points on 11 shots, and had 7 turnovers;posting an overall minus nine (-9) for the evening. Still, both teams put on a passing clinic, and was one of the more entertaining blowouts, you’ll see 2 teams play in the NBA.

 

Sunday

No Good Ass Games on the Schedule

 

 

profile pic b mick  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 Fullsass Studios. Follow him on twitter @goodassgame. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com. 

Clicks to Pick Week of 10/15/17

*Illustration by Louis Eastman

 

Monday

 

No Good Ass Games Scheduled

 

Tuesday

 

Boston at Cleveland

Houston at Golden State

 

Wednesday

 

Philadelphia at Washington

 

Thursday

 

Clippers vs Lakers

 

Friday

Cleveland at Milwaukee

Boston at Philadelphia

 

Saturday

 

No Good Ass Games Scheduled

 

Sunday

 

Minnesota at Oklahoma City (Good Ass Game of The Week)

 

 

 

profile pic b mick  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 Fullsass Studios. Follow him on twitter @goodassgame. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com. 

Everything is All Love With Kool Bob: My Run at the Full Court 21 NYC

You don’t have to be a basketball aficionado to have heard of the renaissance man Bobbito Garcia, AKA Kool Bob Love, AKA Bobbito the Barber. Sneakerhead, hip hop journalist and Radio DJ, the man has starred in many a documentary, and by the way, was also a B-Boy in the Rock Steady Crew.

Bobbito is a New York legend, whose imprint is on many things, but the basketball world was where I had first heard of him. I first did my Googles on him about ten years ago, after watching the Gunnin’ For that No.1 Spot documentary where he emceed the first “Elite24” basketball game at Rucker Park. 

Earlier this year I came across the Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives documentary and it blew my mind to learn that Garcia played a pivotal role in breaking many of the hip hop acts that I still listen to today. Not too long after that I find out that he is DJ Cucumber Slice from the NBA Streets video games. Basically every hobby I’ve ever thought of having, this guy has been paid to do professionally.

Needless to say I rock with him and DJ Stretch Armstrong pretty heavy. I spent a great deal of time digging up old uploaded You Tube audio recordings of their WKCR show  from back in the day (one of the best is an episode from June of 1994 where they say that “Rockets fans can feel balls”), and of course I follow them both on Twitter.

I’d heard good things about Bobbito’s latest basketball documentary, Doin’ It in the Park and watching it got me so gassed up about hooping, that I signed myself up for his annual Full Court 21 tournament– even though I’ve been threatening to retire from playground ball for the last year or so. The dates of the tournament lined up perfectly with my visit to New York City, and though I doubted my chances of winning, I knew I had to at least compete in it. 

Continue reading

Clicks to Pick Week of 3/20/17

Monday

Golden State at Oklahoma City

Washington at Boston (Good Ass Game of The Week)

 

Tuesday

Milwaukee at Portland

 

Wednesday

No Good Ass Games Scheduled

 

Thursday

Los Angeles Clippers at Dallas

Memphis at San Antonio

 

Friday

No Good Ass Games Scheduled

 

Saturday

Washington at Cleveland

 

Sunday

Oklahoma City at Houston

 

 

 

Westwood HO!!!

Despite my phobia for driving cars and displeasure for sitting in traffic, I took two trips out to Los Angeles to attend 2 Men’s basketball games at Pauley Pavilion; the December 10th game against the Michigan Wolverines, and again on January 21st; about a month later.

Los Angeles is the kind of city where neighborhood proximity pretty much dictate one’s social habits. Nothing illustrates this more than the location of USC, a little private school across town that you may or may not have heard of. Let’s just say that there aren’t an abundance of BMW dealerships, jewelry shops and banks in the surrounding neighborhood. Once you step off campus at USC you’re officially back in the real world. Trojans students and faculty work in a cocoon are in a world unto themselves, while UCLA is like more of a vacuum.

UCLA, a public university; is its own ecosystem, nestled within the exclusive section of town that is Beverly Hills. Westwood has its own choices of movie theatres, eateries (shout out to Fatburger) and banks to the point where its possible that a UCLA student to live in seclusion in relation to the rest of Los Angeles.

I made some rookie mistakes my first go around as a driver there. I didn’t give myself enough leeway and made it to the campus at exactly 7:00 PM for a 7:00 PM tip-off.  After paying for parking and jogging to the arena–located in the middle of campus, I had to wait in a yet another long ass line to get inside the frigging building (Los Angelinos are notorious for showing up to sporting events late, and now I understand why).

I typically go to sporting events early because I like to vibe the place out and watch the players get loose for the game. Driving in traffic for two hours and still being late, I walked in Pauley Pavillion irritated; rushing to sit down in my ticket section. The “Oohs” and “Ahhs”of the crowd tormented me with each passing second. I finally sat down in the 200 section (great seats) with the score already 12-14 and four minutes having ran off the clock.

That lesson prepared me for the second time around. I arrived on campus 1.5 hours ahead of the 1 pm tip-off. I had enough time to park, walk over to Kinross to grab a Fatburger, and walk back to Pauley. With about 30 mins until tip-off, I was surprised to find lines of no more than eight people. This only further proved the theory about people in L.A. unable to get anywhere on time.

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You can feel the history within the  walls the very second that you enter Pauley Pavillion. Part of UCLA’s mystique is their long and storied history of producing champions and NBA players. You can’t talk about UCLA basketball without mentioning John Wooden, the legendary coach who went on to become one of the biggest ambassadors the game of basketball has ever had.

At UCLA, Wooden won 10 national titles–once with a run of 88 straight wins that lasted 3 seasons. Wooden, arguably the greatest college coach of all time, was known as much for his words of wisdom as he was for his coaching accomplishments. The man created what is known as the Pyramid of Success (there is model replica glass display in the arena concourse), a chain of philosophical guidelines that he used to help his players. John Wooden was just as much of an instructor as he was a coach. His approach to the game was for his young men to learn the game within the game. He insisted that the true opponent was an internal one and that the only result that mattered was that one played their personal best.

At the program’s peak, many legendary players passed through Westwood. Men such as Jamaal Wilkes, Kareem Abdul Jabbaar, Walt Hazzard, Marques Johnson, Bill Walton, Baron Davis, Gail Goodrich, Sydney Wicks, and Henry Bibby (father of future Wildcat great Mike Bibby) all won under the tutelage of John Wooden.

What I liked most about Pauley Pavillion was the way they’ve meticulously preserved remnants from each era of UCLA basketball. You’re just as likely to run into a banner commemorating Matt Barnes or Reggie Miller as you would a plaque with the image of Bill Walton or Lew Alcindor.

Both games I found myself swept up in the mirth and excitement. The arena is well lit with hardly a bad location among the 13,000 plus seats. The court sports a classically simple design, displaying the blue and gold UCLA letters in cursive at half court. There is a bigger than usual student section from both behind one of the baskets and along the sideline opposite the bench. The band loudly and proudly played the UCLA fight song and the crowd took direction from the cheer team U!!! C!!!! L!!!! A!!!!!!!

I’ve gone off before about how beautiful the UCLA cheerleaders are (they look like grown ass women. One pair of beauties passed me in the concourse at the Zona game. I geeked out for a brief second before I remembering that  I was 40 yrs old.), but what equally impresses me are the complexity of their routines. I suspect that these young ladies are dancing as if they are auditioning for the Lakers dance team (in L.A. you never know who could be in the stands). Makes you wonder what the future holds for some of these young ladies. I would believe any scenario thrown out there: Doctor, lawyer, NBA dancer, Playboy Bunny, reality housewife, porno star–the whole spectrum comes into play.

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UCLA fans, both young and old, proudly wore their blue and gold strolling the concourse, looking for the nearest restroom or vendor stand. I passed many older fans for whom it was obvious that they’d had season tickets for generations. Los Angeles is a huge city full of transplants so it shouldn’t have surprised me (but it did) to see so many Arizona and Michigan fans/alums in the crowd at these games. These fans would manage to find their voices during the other teams’ runs, but would always eventually get drowned out by the chorus of “UCLA” chants.

The game against Arizona was  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Day at UCLA, and he spoke to the crowd at halftime. Jabbar was honored for winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I got chills being in the same building as one of the greatest basketball champions of all time. He was greeted with applause as he was escorted to his courtside seat–everyone instinctively stood in reverence to such basketball royalty.

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Illustration by Louis Eastman

There has been a buzz surrounding the squad this year. They have been a top 10 team all season; which explains the electricity floating in the Westwood air–and its not just the drones and cell phone towers.

The team consistently won during Ben Howland era. UCLA went to three Final Fours under Howland and put a slew of pro players into the NBA, but even with future superstars like Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love, their wins were from a “grind it out,” Big East style of play. They weren’t exactly a fun team to watch.

This current outfit that head coach Steve Alford is in charge of handling is easily the most exciting team since the mid-90’s Tyus Edney/Ed Obannon/Toby Bailey Bruins teams.  The up and down style of play of those teams was frenetic and above the rim (they gave the Fab Five all they could handle during the 93 NCAA tournament). I imagine their exciting run would have been even longer had they given a scholarship to local high school phenom Paul Pierce rather than center Jelani McCoy (who to be fair wasn’t a bad player, but he was no Paul Pierce)–Pierce grew up in Inglewood and wanted to play for the Bruins (I just lost my mind for a second spacing out on a 1997 alternate reality with Paul Pierce catching oops from Baron Davis and vice versa. WOW!!!!!).

Aside Note: Speaking of Baron Davis, he was in attendance at the Michigan game. Bruins games have their own version of “celebrity row” with the arena cameras zooming in on the faces of Peter Dante and “Hills Street Blues” legend Mike Warren. I was secretly hoping to run into Jalen Rose at the game, but my tardiness erased any expectations that I had concerning the game. If he was there, I didn’t see him on the Jumbotron.

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at UCLA

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Coach Alford employs a run and gun system that emulates the Spurs and Warriors motion offenses. Seniors Isaac Hamilton and Bryce Alford (Steve’s son) anchor the team with their leadership while the youngsters, Aaron Holiday (brother of NBA guards Justin and Jrue) and freshman phenoms T.J. Leaf (who kind of reminds me of an 18 year old Nick Collison) and Lonzo Ball bring flash, height and speed for defenses to contend with. 

The team relies on defense and rebounding from big men, Ike Anigbogu, (had 4 really  impressive blocks in the Michigan game), and Thomas Welsh.

Pro scouts are drooling the most over Ball. When people say that he reminds them of Jason Kidd, I see it. He is a 6’6 light skinned point guard with incredible court vision. He is a better shooter than Jason Kidd was in college (he’s a threat to shoot it from nearly anywhere on the court), but I am not sure how the form on his shot will translate in the pros (perhaps he’ll find a shot doctor like Kawhi Leonard did in Chip Engelland).

The other night against Oregon, Ball hit a dagger three from deep behind the line that I’m almost certainly would have gotten blocked in the NBA. Though I wouldn’t get too caught up on his shooting form if I worked for any NBA team scouting him. Jason Kidd could barely shoot free throws when he first got to the league, but he ended his career in the top ten of all time 3 point shots made.

My only (albeit mild) critiques was that he tended to rely on his dribble too much sometimes and would get stuck in the air because he’d penetrated too far into the paint. Somehow he’d get bailed out with a spectacular pass to an open teammate, but again, the kind of passes that are spectacular in the college game become turnovers in the NBA against better athletes and defenders. He will be a lottery pick, as there is no reason for him to come back to school (other than playing with his younger brothers again). Any development he needs for the next level will have to be gained from on the job training.

UCLA is stacked with talent, but their perimeter defense is suspect. In their loss to Arizona,  the U of A guards, Kobi Simmons, Kadeem Allen and Allonzo Trier, got to the rack anytime they wanted AND when UCLA collapsed the paint, they kicked the ball out for someone to hit an open 3 pointer. Seven Wildcats players were in double figures and Kadeem Allen was only 1 point away from it being 8 players.

The Arizona game showed what can happen to the Bruins when they don’t make their 3 pointers and can’t get any points in the paint. I’m curious what happens in their rematch later this month (‘Zona may be the most balanced team in the county right now).

UCLA has the depth to go far in the tournament. They are fast and can get up and down the court, routinely scoring in the 100’s. Their downfall will be their defense however. At some  point this season the Bruins will need to make a crucial stop in a game. The question is will they be able to?

Either way, it is good to see UCLA basketball is exciting again. It is easy to be happy for these fans and I’m glad they have a reason to be excited. Nothing connects the fanbases of different eras more than winning and tradition, and you’ll find plenty of both at UCLA.

BM

profile pic b mick  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 Fullsass Studios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com.