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. 

No Disrespect (Snub Hub)

The NBA All Star rosters are in and the league got it right for the most part. The biggest omissions that I saw were Rudy Gobert (who is in the running for Defensive Player of the Year), Dame Lillard (again), Mike Conley, and Joel Embiid.

With the point guard logjam out west, it is understandable how Lillard and Conley got left out. Portland is languishing in the bottom sector of the Western Conference, so it is no surprise that he got snubbed. Conley, the Memphis guard; although not a sexy name, is one the best pure point guards in the NBA. He might also be the most underrated. Outside of Steph Curry and Chris Paul, I can’t think of a better guy to run a starting unit.

The most egregious snub in my opinion was Philadelphia big man (and former Jayhawks great) Joel Embiid.  Geniuses like ESPN’s Zach Lowe (this is why the media shouldn’t be allowed to vote on ANYTHING) wants to penalize Embiid for being on a 28 minute(s) restriction and reward guys who play MORE minutes, even though Embiid is averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks on a 25 minutes per game average. Now compare that with Paul Millsap (no disrespect) who averages 17.6 points, and 8 rebounds and plays about 34 minutes a game. Millsap made it, but Embiid did not.

gain, no disrespect, but ain’t nobody pulling up League Pass to watch Paul Millsap make putback layups!!!! Its a joke and exactly the reason I don’t take anything about All-Star Weekend seriously. That will be a good weekend to finish up any of the five books I’ve been reading for the last few months. Anyway, here are the Clicks to Picks for the week:

 

Monday (Good Ass Game of the Week)

Sacramento at Philadelphia

Boogie vs. “The Process”  Nuff said.

 

Tuesday 

Oklahoma City at San Antonio

No Enes Kanter may be the difference between OKC making the playoffs and Russ being in the studio at ESPN hating on the dudes still playing.

 

Wednesday (Good Ass Game of the Weak)

Philadelphia at Dallas

The “Embiidst Mode” show makes it way down to Dallas, TX against the lowly Mavericks. If you consider the draft picks the Mavs have had since they blew up their championship team, and the lottery picks that are in the league now, it makes you wonder just how much good it does to make the playoffs if you are just going to get knocked out in the 1st round.

Thursday 

Groundhog’s Day. No Good Ass Games Scheduled. Speaking of Groundhog’s Day, if you fuck with Bill Murray, you may like the latest podcast over at Fullsass.com where we spend a whole hour ranking our favorite Bill Murray movies. I hope it is as fun to listen to as it was to record.

Friday

Memphis at Oklahoma City

The Grizzlebees have been fun to watch this season and I predict that whoever draws them in the first round of the playoffs will not be advancing very far thereafter. I’m convinced they would be a top 2 seed in the east. Here is an idea: give Vancouver and Seattle franchises again, move them out east, and let the chaos begin. I’d much rather see this than a team in London or Mexico (no disrespect).

Saturday

No Good Ass Games Scheduled

Sunday

Portland at Oklahoma City

Technically its a decent ass game, but I’d recommend you find something better to do. Bake a cake, spend some time with your loved ones, create a painting, but don’t spend all day watching television. I won’t be watching the Super Bowl, but I think Patriots win (ugh!!) easily 45-17. Have a good week and be safe.

 

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 FullsassStudios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

 

 

Clicks to Pick Week of 1/23/17

I’m currently in Los Angeles doing more research for the “Good Ass Book to be named Later.” Part of that involved attending last night’s UCLA-Arizona game at Pauley Pavilion.

Next week’s column will be back in full, but until then, the “Clicks to Pick”:

 

Monday

Houston at Milwaukee

Oklahoma City at Utah

 

Tuesday

Los Angeles Clippers at Philadelphia

San Antonio at Toronto

 

Wednesday

Houston at Boston (Good Ass Game of The Week)

Philadelphia at Milwaukee

Toronto at Memphis

 

“Tap That  Vein” Thursday

Los Angeles at Utah

 

Friday

Houston at Philadelphia

 

Saturday

Boston at Milwaukee

Memphis at Utah

Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State

 

Sunday

Golden State at Portland

 

 

 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 FullsassStudios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

YFWION?

The NBA All Star Game is only a couple of weeks away, and twitter is abuzz with corny gimmicks to help fans vote on who they want to see in the game. For some reason it took a really long time for the league to figure out that the average NBA fan doesnn’t know shit about the game (Shout out to the people still voting for Yao Ming). As much as I like Zaza Pachulia, there is no way he should be playing on All Star Weekend (neither should Dwayne Wade and his 18.8 pts a game scoring average).

You know who the best gauge for determining who deserves to be an All-Star? OTHER PLAYERS. Forget the fans and forget the media (seriously why are they the ones who vote on all the awards?). All awards and all-star selection should be determined by the league’s players and coaches.

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There are certain players who are balling out right now; making their games week to week Must See TV. I wanted to take the time to honor those in what will forever be named the “You Fux Wit Em Or NAH?” All Star teams. Here they are:

 

“Yea. I Fux Wit Em”

 

Isaiah Thomas 

I can’t tell you how boring Celtics games would be without this guy. They have no real playmakers that can consistently handle the ball and he has been carrying this team down the stretch of games, getting them buckets whenever the team needs one. Thomas had two monster 4th quarters this week against Washington and Atlanta. He is averaging almost 29 points a game and has had two 40 point games already this season. I fux with him. Just not before the 4th quarter. I can’t stomach a full game of the Celtics. Too much of a grind.

Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo

These two have been a dynamic duo this season and Bucks games have been more entertaining than expected because of them. Giannis is a sure-fire All Star this year, and Parker has recovered nicely from the season ending injury that he suffered his rookie year. I tried to told ya’ll at the beginning of the year that G stands Giannis.

Brandon Jennings

Something that has been lost amidst the Derek Rose drama is that the Knicks just may be better when Brandon Jennings is running the show in New York. His handles are better, his shot is much better, and he is a better passer. The ball does not move as well with Rose on the floor. Jennings has been a tad inconsistent, but then again so has his minutes. I seriously believe that Jeff Hornacek just isn’t using the Compton product as efficiently as he should be.

This year’s Spurs Roster

I’m not just saying this because I’m a Spurs fan. I don’t care how far in the playoffs they go, I love this current team. It is good to see David Lee prove to the rest of the league that he can still play. It is refreshing to be able to root for Pau Gasol–a player who would have been one of my favorites back in the late 2000’s had he not played for the Kobe era Lakers. Duane Dedmon has been better than anyone expected, and Davis Bertans has been a lovely surprise (we know at least one Latvian player will be in the playoffs this year). With Jonathan Simmons,  Patty Mills, and Manu Ginobili leading the second unit, the Spurs quietly have one of the best benches in the league.

Memphis Grizzlebees

Like I said before, I’ve been trying to write off Memphis for years, but they keep coming back as strong as ever. I’m sure you can think of 150 million arguments to counter with, but Mike Conley remains one of the most underrated point guards in the NBA. Outside of Chris Paul, I don’t think there is anyone who runs an offense and controls the tempo better.

Utah Jazz

A little goes a long way with this team. I wouldn’t advise anyone to watch more than one Jazz game per week, but they are pretty entertaining. Rudy Gobert is probably the Defensive Play of the Year. Gordon Heyward is living up to the hype, and Rodney Hood is an unsung assassin with a pure shooting touch. Also, they have the most awkwardly amusing fancams (known in my household as “Dab”cam) in the league.

 

Nah. I don’t Fuck wit those cats

 

Russell Westbrook and James Harden

People are tripping over themselves to rave about the once Illustrious Triple Double stat. Whatever. It’s basically a meaningless stat at this point. Sure these two fill up the stats sheet and it looks good on paper, but considering their usage rate (both avg between five and six turnovers a game), the stats aren’t as impressive when you watch these two point guards play for yourself. I’m just not into one-on-five basketball. Its sooooooooooooo 1990’s.

 

Demarcus Cousins

I used to fuck with this cat til he decided to sign a massive extension with the Sacramento Kings. I’ve defended him in the past, and he is still an enormous talent; however I can’t cape for him any longer. His decision to stay in Cowtown can’t be defended. If he wants to sit around and look sour because management won’t put a team around him, that is on him. He and Carmelo would rather count chips rather than count rings. I mean……..I guess.

Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers

Ugh. Years from now when they put up a Lebron James statue and talk about how incredible he was (probably the very same experts who shit on him for half of his career), I hope “they” don’t forget that Lebron played in the inferior Eastern Conference his entire career and had what equated to a three round bye from the year 2013 to the present. The drop off in competition from #1 to #8 is astounding. Watching Lebron in the playoffs against all these scrubs is almost as fun as watching pickup games at the neighborhood YMCA. No gracias.

Timberwolves’ Games 

If you are reading the box scores and suspect you are missing out, it only takes a few minutes of watching a T-wolves game to realize you are not. Aside from some Iso-jumpers and breakaway dunks, there isn’t much joy to be found in watching their games. It isn’t that they are bad (at 14-27, they are only 3.5 games from being an 8th seed), they are just too young. They find new ways to lose close games every week because they don’t know how to win on the NBA level yet. It also doesn’t help that on damn near every play, you can hear their coach barking like circus seal, and it doesn’t stop until the game is over. But enjoy those Andre Wiggins, Karl Anthony Towns and Zach Lavine highlights. Maybe one day they will all win together, but as I’ve said before, Minnesota will find a way to fuck this up.

The Toronto Rappers

This unwatchable team is the  Eastern Conference’s version of the Portland Trailblazers. It is painful enough watching these guys toss around  the basketball 16 seconds before a Kyle Lowry or Demar Derozan shot attempt. The real insult to injury is when a certain corny ass rapper sporting a Doris Burke sweatshirt and a toothpick is given a microphone to add stale commentary and lame jokes. Ease back bruv. I’m good on them.

Portland Trailblazers

Speaking of scrub ass teams. Call me when Paul Allen signs some talent to help out Dame Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Two-on-five basketball is only slightly better than one-on-five.

 

This week’s Clicks to Pick:

Monday

Cleveland at Golden State (Good Ass Game of the Week)

Lebron says the “Warriors are a really great team, but they are not our rivals.” We return to the scene of this block, and the beginning of the “Warriors blew a 3-1 Finals lead” meme.

Philadelphia at Milwaukee

Two of the best players from Africa square off here on Martin Luther “The King” Day in Giannis Antetokounmpo (The Nigerian ‘Nique) and Joel Embiid (The Carnival from Cameroon). Joel Embiid is a cat I definitely fuck with, and the 76ers are creeping into “I fux wit that team on a weekly basis” territory.

“Tap That Vein” Tuesday

Minnesota at San Antonio

A team I don’t fux wit vs. a team I fux with heavily. To quote Big Boi, “Somethings gotta giiivvveeee.”

Wednesday

Milwaukee at Houston

So many people are admitting their shock at James Harden’s production this season, but what is shocking to me that people are surprised. Two things happened to James that helped him from last season to this one: 1) he got rid of the dead weight that was Dwight Howard and the Kardashian clan and 2) he benefitted from the #D’Antoni effect.

What is the D’Antoni effect? Well ask players like Steve Nash ( back to back MVP’s), Jeremy Lin (the Linsanity season and the millions that followed can be directly linked to Mike D’Antoni–I mean has Lin been worth a damn since Mike D?) Chris Duhon, Raymond Felton and every other point guard who had inflated stats playing for the guy.

Oklahoma City at Golden State

This is a great week for Good Ass Games. Only two days removed from Cavs-Warriors, we get Warriors-Thunder, or as the media would rather call it, Russ vs. KD: part deux. The Warriors are only fun to watch when there is something at stake (real or imagined). Tune in.

“Tap That Vein Twice” Thursday

Minnesota at Los Angeles Clippers

ummmmmmmmm. I guess. Sometimes you gotta take the ugly girl home and be okay with it (just don’t let your roommates find out)

Friday

Portland at Philadelphia

This could either be a blowout, or this could be a good ass game that comes down to Lillard Time. Either way, I wonder if Alex Knapp is considering taking the train ride into Philly to watch this game. I wouldn’t blame him if he did.

Utah at Dallas

It is easy to sleep on the Mavericks, but one must keep in mind that they haven’t been healthy all year-long. Remember this for when they get on a roll in March and everyone starts writing their “Break up the Mavs” takes on why they are all of a sudden a dangerous team.

Saturday

San Antonio at Cleveland 

The NBA week is too good to us this week. This is the first marquee matchup for Los Spurs since the first game of the season. I’m really curious how this will go. Tristan Thompson will be hell to reckon with, and I worry if anyone will show up besides Kawhi Leonard and the coaching staff.

Portland at Boston (4th quarter only)

What a weekend to be a New Englander. You got the Steelers in town for the AFC championship game and this game the night before. “Illard vs. IT” If you aren’t a Celtics or Blazers fan, I suggest you don’t watch the whole thing. With the exception of some C.J. McCollum jumpers those first 3 quarters might be brutal.

Sunday

NFC and AFC Championship Games (No Good Ass Basketball Scheduled)

If it’s not a Steelers-Packers or Patriots-Packers rematch, I can guarantee you that I will be skipping the Super Bowl for something more productive. I still can’t believe the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff collectively blew that Packers game yesterday. I blame Jerry Jones for being impossible to work with, but I also blame myself even more for thinking Jason Garrett might be a better coach than I’ve been giving him credit for. Nah bro. He’s properly rated. Homie got outmatched by Mike McCarthy. GRRRRRRRRR!!!! I fucking hate football.

 

Have a good holiday.

 

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 FullsassStudios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

Are We There Yet?

Here are the top 8 teams in each conference with about 5 weeks left in the first half of the season:

West: 1. Golden State Warriors  (31-6)  2.San Antonio Spurs (29-7) 3. Houston Rockets (29-9) 4. LA Clippers (22-14) 5. Utah Jazz (22-15) 6. Memphis Grizzlies (23-16) 7. Oklahoma City Thunder (21-16) 8. Portland Trailblazers (16-22)

East: 1. Cleveland Cavaliers (27-8) 2. Toronto Raptors (24-11)  3. Boston Celtics (22-14) 4. Atlanta Hawks (20-16) 5. Charlotte Hornets  (20-17) 6. Milwaukee Bucks (18-17) 7. Indiana Pacers (19-18) 8. Chicago Bulls (18-18)

We’re barely a quarter of the way through the season and barring any major injuries the plot is already set for how things are going to play out.

The Contenders are Golden State, and Cleveland (who by the way just traded some dead weight in exchange for sharpshooter Kyle Korver–anyone remember when Mike Miller joined the Heat?????). The Spurs are too good to be pretenders, but too inconsistent to to contenders, but as of today their bench is better than Golden State’s. They are on the bubble because you know, anything can happen.

The Pretenders are Houston, Toronto, LA Clippers, and Boston. These teams all have good records and are beating the teams they are supposed to, but you can’t find a strain of weed strong enough to make me believe they can beat the Warriors or Cavs in a seven game series.

The rest of the league falls into either into the “they aight” category or they fall into the Basura Division. Utah, Charlotte, Atlanta, Milwaukee, OKC, and Indiana are “aight” and the rest of teams in the NBA are straight up trash (sorry Blazers fans–records lie when you are good, but they be telling the truth when you are bad).

Now that we are all caught up, let’s talk about this week’s Clicks to Picks.

 

“Tap That Vein” Monday

Dallas at Minnesota

If you have no desire to watch the NCAA title game, then flip on over to the Timberwolves-Mavericks game. Every week I become less of a fan of Tom Thibodeau than the week before. Dude has no flex to him at all. I bet he is the type of dude who wakes up at exactly the same time every morning for breakfast, uses precisely same amount of butter on his toast and the meticulously spoons the same amount of brown sugar into his oatmeal before taking a sip from his glass of orange, and opening the local newspaper to read the obituaries. If his sadistic coaching strategy indirectly leads to a career threatening injury to Zach Lavine, Karl Anthony Towns, or Andrew Wiggins, I will never forgive him. Anyway, this a matchup of two last place teams in the west with identical 11-25 records. The bottom of the west is trash though that both teams are only 4.5 games from the 8th seed. Moving on…..

Tuesday

Cleveland at Utah

Utah gives the elite teams good run. It feels like the media has their mind made up to give the DPOY award to Jazz center Rudy Gobert. I’m still not convinced that Quinn Snyder is a good coach (this might be a case of a team’s winning record being deceptive) and despite giving up only 95 points a game, the Jazz only score 99 a game. I think this game may be an educational one.

Charlotte at Houston

People are hype on Houston right now because they score a lot of points and James Harden is balling out of control. They still give up 106 points a game on average, and I’m not ready to take them seriously yet. If they can somehow pick up a package from Atlanta that will net them Tiago Splitter and Paul Milsap, that will be enough to change my tune.

Milwaukee at San Antonio (Good Ass Game of the Week)

I’m not sure if we are there yet, but Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker are dangerously close to becoming “Must See” TV. I really enjoy watching this collection of Bucks play. Even though they only win every other game, even their losses are entertaining ones. Anything outside the scope of watching this game does not exist.

Wednesday

Memphis at Oklahoma City

The Grizzlebees showed me something on Friday. I go into every season thinking they’ll finally succumb to old age and injuries, but even when they do they fight through it. No matter what, they make teams beat them. I admire this core group of Tony Allen, Mike Conley, Z-Bo, Gasol, and now even Vince. They will be a memorable group even if they’ll never win a title together. Despite the ludicrous video game production that Russ is putting up, by the end of games he is tired. Factor in that he has no one else on that team to take the big shots during winning time, and you see why its surprising to see the Thunder in 6th place. This team would be the 1993 Dallas Mavericks if not for Russell Westbrook.

Thursday

Los Angeles at San Antonio

I like the idea of the Baby Lake Pageant more than the pageant itself. Some nights they are fun to watch and other nights I can’t turn the stream to their games off fast enough. Sometimes it just depends on who they play as well. I don’t need much of an excuse to watch the Spurs play so this is right up my alley.

Detroit at Golden State

Golden State’s Achilles heel is their bench and unless they secure more help for their starters, they will fall short of an NBA title. Cleveland trading away Mo Williams and Mike Dunleavy for Kyle “frigging” Korver just cemented their status as best team in the NBA. I think they’d beat Golden State in five games if the Finals started today with their current rosters. Detroit has been doo-doo all year but they can still sneak into the post-season. There are at least four teams in the East worse than they are, and they’d actually be the number 8 seed out west.

Friday

Memphis at Houston

What a better way to end the week than by cooking a pot of chili and baking some spooned cornbread right before what will certainly be an exciting game. Memphis is going to want to slow the game down and Houston will want to speed it up. Someone might even punch team designated fucboi Patrick Beverly in his ugly mouth. You don’t want to miss that do you? I thought not.

 

Cleveland at Sacramento

This can game can go in either two directions: Cavs blow the Kings out, and Demarcus gets ejected for pouting in the third quarter after running up and down the court all night–not getting any calls from the refs. Or the team plays one of its most focused games and rides a raucous crowd to a feel good home victory. The Kings are a very frustrating team to follow because they should be a good organization. No one in the front office knows what the fuck they are doing, and that instability trickles down to the players. There is no team philosophy and the pieces on that team don’t fit. The city of Sacramento is depressing enough on its own. Having an incompetent franchise in the capital of California only adds to the absurdity of that state.

Saturday

DATE NIGHT!!! (No Good Ass Games Scheduled for Saturday)

Sunday

NFL Playoffs. Watch basketball at your own risk. (No Good Ass Games Scheduled for Sunday)

 

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 FullsassStudios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

Reset

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

 

Monday

 

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.

 

Tuesday

 

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.

 

Wednesday

 

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!!!

Thursday

 

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.

 

Friday

king-kong-vs-godzilla-image-8

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.

 

Saturday

 

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.

Sunday

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.”

 

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 FullsassStudios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com