First Impressions: This Week’s Good Ass Game Viewing Guide

If there were ever a year to get introduced to NBA League Pass, this is the year to do it. There are so many good players to watch on so many teams right now, and so little time. I don’t have internet at my apartment yet (we only get paid once a month in my school district), and the only time I can catch games is either at the bar, at work when I’m working late, or at the local Starbucks on their Wi-Fi. 17 more days of ducking and dodging, creeping and crawling, before I can start curling up in bed and falling asleep to west coast games.

The great thing about having that pass is that I can watch games retroactively. I’ve watched so many games retroactively that I no feel like less of a fan, and more like a university student doing homework. I can’t believe people get paid to just sit in dark rooms and watch film all day. There is an NBA Hardwoods Classic feature that lets you go back and watch classic games on there, but the best feature of all is the Condensed game; where you can watch what amounts to an extended highlights clip. This is the only way I can get through a Clippers or Rockets game, because their games take an extra hour because of all the whistles and flops.

A couple of weeks before the season started, a friend cautiously suggested that the Kings could make a run for that 8th seed in the West. I thought it was ludicrous because of the crazy front office situation, but I’ve watched at least a little of every Kings game so far, and they look good. Part of that has to do with Rajon Rondo. Anyone who has dated someone right out of a serious long term relationship, can understand that the Mavericks just ran into a buzzsaw. Here’s a guy whose formative NBA years were spent with one team–a team that won an NBA championship.

It wasn’t the best of endings, and before he even had a chance to process his feelings, he in another relationship with another team. This team thinks its found its point guard of the future, but Rondo I’m sure is looking at the roster thinking “I just left an old ass squad that is too slow to run with me, and I’m now I’m about to commit the remaining years of my prime to the same kind of team.”

Now Rondo is with an athletic team with the right mix of veterans and up and coming stars. That roster is loaded with talent, and is better than those Nuggets teams that George Karl was coaching with Carmelo. I slept on the Kings, but I’m sure taking them seriously now after watching their first 3 games of the season. They will be a hard team to blowout.

A few things crossed my mind during this week:

  • If there were an “NBA Face Time” team for guys whose play makes you want to punch them in the face, the Clippers would be well represented. It’d be like that one year where the entire starting five for the Pistons almost made the All-Star Team.
  • I should have studied the Milwaukee Bucks point guard situation more closely before I predicted they would be in Eastern Conference Finals. I’ve never been a fan of Jerryd Bayless (and not just because he’s light skinned). I guess if anyone is going to get the best out of that backcourt, it will be Jason Kidd. I do really like their uniforms though–they look pretty crispy.
  • New Orleans can’t afford to have too slow of a start out West. Their defense has not looked good in the first few games. After giving up 39 in the first quarter in their first game against Golden State, they gave up 40 to the Trailblazers (My boy C.J. had 22 of them in a 37 point effort). I feel like I have been saying this every year since 2008, but the West has only gotten better.
  • The Teen Wolves have been a fascinating story this year. Their season has an extra melancholic milieu to it with the passing of Flip Saunders. If Ricky Rubio can finally stay healthy, I think he can be the Spanish version of Tony Parker. I think Andrew Wiggins will be an All NBA defender within the next 3 years, and Karl Anthony Towns is my front runner for Rookie of the Year. What I really like about this roster is that they have KG, Tayshaun Prince, and Andre Miller in the locker room as player-coaches. This teams reminds me of the ’09 OKC squad that was right on the cusp of being in the playoffs. We’ll see what happens, but they may be a few off-season moves away from really giving teams some headaches next year.

Let’s get to these games:

“Tap that Vein” Tuesday

Atlanta-Miami (meh) Remember that condensed version mode? That’s how I’ll be watching this game.

Memphis-Sacramento Unfortunately our boy Boogie is on day-to-day status with an Achilles strain. The scrappy factor just went down a few notches because of that injury. Don’t rush back Boogie. WE NEED YOU THIS SEASON!!!!

Wednesday

Golden State-Los Angeles Clippers (GOOD ASS GAME OF THE WEEK)

Cancel. All. Your. Plans. This. Evening.

Thursday

OKC-Chicago Two rookie coaches from the college ranks facing each other for the first time. I like the depth of the Bulls this year. I watched them play Orlando the other night, and I couldn’t help but wonder how relaxed the atmosphere must have been at training camp this year. I don’t agree with the method, but a coaching change had to happen up in the Windy City. Thibs is a grinder, and that roster didn’t need that. Let’s talk about that backcourt for a minute. Jimmy Butler may be the best two way guard west of Lebron James, and Derrick Rose may be the perfect sidekick to Mr. Buckets (Yeah I said it).

Speaking of coaching changes, I realized last night that Billy D. may be the best coach that either Westbrook or Durant have ever had. That kinda makes me sad.

Friday

Houston-Sacramento Did you ever think that the Kings would be making the Good Ass Games list twice in a week?

Saturday

Minnesota-Chicago This will be a good gauge for the Teen Wolves. I’ll prolly be watching this one from a booth at Starbucks….grading papers or some shit to make me feel productive.

New Orleans-Dallas One of these two teams might miss the playoffs. For some reason this reminds me of the time I told my cousins that whoever won a fight between them could get next on the X-Box. Of course, I immediately felt bad afterwards and tried to play it off as a test of their character. By then it was too late, because one of them was crumpled into a ball after receiving a drop kick in the chest from his young brother. Needless to say neither of them were allowed to play the video games that day. #NONSEQUITUR 

Golden State-Sacramento 

This is gonna be an old fashioned ass whupping, but it’ll be way better than watching the snuff film that the will be the Clippers-Rockets game.

Sunday

Phoenix-Oklahoma City This game may get up into the 120’s. Running and Gunning. Gunning and Running.

Portland-Detroit if you really wanna tap that vein or avoid NFL (Is it the playoffs yet????).

Monday This will be the best day of the week for watching hoops.

Grizzlies-Clippers, Detroit-Golden State will be interesting (at this point I have to tune into every Dubs game just on principle). Ditto to the Spurs-Kings, and I must admit that I’m curious about that Hawks-Teen Wolves matchup.

Alright. Time to bounce before I burn up all of my planning period.

Peace.

BM

#thisagoodassgame

@clickpicka79

bobbymickey@gmail.com

Fullsass.com

2015-2016 Basketball Season Preview

The wait is almost over. It was a good ass off-season, but it is time to start cranking it back up. Hoops season is back, and I couldn’t be happier. Let’s skip the foreplay and talk about the upcoming season– my favorite story lines A to Z.

ADIDAS

You could put Damien Lillard, Andrew Wiggins, and James Khardasian Harden on a barnstorming tour with 2 scrubs and they’d run shit……that is until they ran into the top 3 Nike ballers and their 2 scrubs.

If you were ever thinking about buying some Adidas stock, now would be the time to do it before the season starts (It has risen 10 points since I first checked it in September). But before you do that, ask Ray J, Reggie Bush, Kris Humphries, Bruce Jenner, and Lamar Odom, how much better their lives are after getting involved with that family. 

BILLY DONOVAN

300.ButchPatrick.EddieMunster.tg.111110

I was a little skeptical about the Billy Donovan hire. A year before KD’s free agency seems like bad timing to try and shake things up. But after reading a couple of interviews, and after Monty Williams and Mo Cheeks were hired as assistant coaches, I feel a lot more optimistic about the Thunder’s upcoming season, and their chances of re-signing Kevin Durant. There will be a learning curve, but not nearly as steep as most first year head coaches.

He has all the tools (assuming his star players are healthy) to make the Western Conference Finals. Only a fool however; would try and compare his rookie season to Steve Kerr’s first year as coach. Kerr has been a GM, an announcer, and played for Lute Olson, Phil Jackson, and Gregg Popovich.  This is Donovan’s first season IN THE LEAGUE. It will take a series of fortunate bounces for Donovan to make it out of the West, and beat Lebron in the NBA Finals.

C. J. McCOLLUM

This is the year my man shows the world he was the player I thought he was way back when he was saucing up Duke in the first round of the NCAA tournament. 

 The dude can get buckets, and he will be asked to help out with the scoring load for the Trailblazers. When they let Wes Matthews go, I think the front office was banking on C.J. staying healthy (he hasn’t played a full season in 3 years counting his senior year at Lehigh) and taking his game to a higher level. This could be a fun backcourt to watch in years to come.

DURANT

That is right. KD is back and he says he is feeling fine. The playoffs are not the playoffs without KD playing involved. I had gotten so used to the Thunder making the post season, that it felt odd to not have them around. It shows how fast six years can go by.

The EASTERN CONFERENCE

Not quite as wack as last year, but still kind of an eye sore for the basketball purists. Fred Hoiberg will be a breath of fresh air in the Chicago locker room. The Heat will be competitive again (more on them later I promise) and the Celtics will look to improve on their season by actually being .500 again. Lebron will have to work for it a little bit more; meaning they may lose 3 more games in the post season than last year. Unless there is a catastrophic injury to LBJ, you can pretty much pencil them in for the Finals. You cannot say that about ANY team in the west.

FEAR THE DEER

150414_EYE_OldNewBucksLogo1.jpg.CROP.original-original

J-Kidd and the Milwaukee Bucks will push the Cavs to 6 games in the Eastern Conference Finals. Mark it! They are long, young, fast, and Jason Kidd, who was already a head coach on the court as a player, will be worth at least ten regular season wins alone.

The man is brilliant, and if you’ve ever wondered why people complain about Chris Paul as a leader, then go watch some old game footage of Kidd. Everyone who has ever played with Kidd talks about how great of a teammate and leader he was. As great of a player as Paul is, I’ve never once heard a teammate describe him as supportive. 

GRAYSON ALLEN

Yep. If you were worried that there wouldn’t be a white Duke player to root against this year, I just served you one up on a platter. Grayson kept the Dukies in last year’s national title game, with some tremendous energy off the bench. If you took Steve Wojciechowski’s antics and gave Ron Paulus hops, then you would have this guy. I actually like this cat. He plays hard. He works hard. He can bang on you if you sleep on him, and from every interview I’ve seen he seems like a great teammate. 

He does not strike me as someone who takes anything for granted. But yeah, fuck Duke. I’d be shocked if they won it all this year. Tyus Jones is in the pro’s now, and that guy was the best PG they’ve had since Jay Williams. Go ahead and pencil in another early round exit for the Blue Devils. Nothing makes me happier than typing those words.

HASSAN WHITESIDE

This cat is like Andrew Bynum without the knee injuries. Homie can ball, but dude is a little “Goof Troop.” His 2K rating will surely go up this year, because he when he is in the lineup, you can expect bro to put up a double double—and that is just in rebounds and blocks. He doesn’t even need to score to affect the game. That being said, he can just easily do something stupid to get himself taken out of the game. But if rebounding and defense get you aroused, then grab a Kleenex and tune in to Miami Heat games.

 INJURIES

Fuck Injuries. Let’s pray for a year without any major injuries to the superstar players. We already know the score concerning Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving, but last season was just ridiculous.  Can we at least have every team playing in the post season relatively healthy? I’ll sacrifice a bucket of chicken to the injury gods. I suggest that you all do the same.

JUSTICE WINSLOW

What the fuck? I started out writing a basketball preview column and it has turned into 2014 Duke Blue Devils tribute. I cannot believe that Winslow fell to the number 10 pick. Every team that had the 4-9 picks are going to be kicking themselves. Winslow is fast, he plays defense, and he is athletic. You want to know why Duke won it all last year? It was because of this guy.

Winslow should have been playing in New York or Charlotte. He is my preseason pick for Rookie Of the Year. As my mother used to say to me whenever I was one strike away from an epic ass whupping , “If you don’t believe me then just hide and watch.”

KRZYZEWSKI KANSAS BASKETBALL  

As in the state of Kansas. This year there will be three Kansas teams in the top 25, and two of them, Wichita State and University of Kansas, have legitimate chances of being in the Final Four (if they can somehow avoid being put in the same bracket). The Shockers bring back the best backcourt in the country with Fred VanFleet and Ron Baker (Baker played in the PanAm games up in Toronto this summer with my boy Keith “K-Freeze” Langford). They are also bringing on Connor Frankamp to help out with the ball handling duties (he can shoot too). They are poised for a deep run into the tourney this year.

As for the Jayhawks, well this is finally the year I’ve been waiting for when Frank Mason and Wayne Selden came onto the campus as freshmen.  They are finally mature enough to take the helm, and you know Perry Ellis is going to quietly get his 20 points and 8 rebounds during his senior campaign.

Devonte Graham has one more year of experience under his belt, and Svi Mykhailiuk will be ready to contribute more on the court as a super sophomore. Self has a rotation of big men (Chieck please!!!!) in the front court, and they have the depth to wear a team down.

With Hoiberg coaching the Bulls now, Self will have even less competition this year en route to his 13th straight Big 12 championship. Self’s stranglehold on the conference will end soon, now that UT has made a major upgrade, with Shaka Smart taking over for Rick Barnes.

 As for K-State? No one gives a shit about them. Although I’ll give them props for almost beating TCU the other night in football.

LEAGUE PASS

This is the year I finally get it. Fuck this streaming shit. “Ain’t nobody got time for dat”

METTA WORLD PEACE

The Panda King is back on the LOL Lakers who may not be so LOL this year. It is still a rebuilding year, but did you ever think you’d see the day where you’d feel less hatred for the Lakers locker room than the Clippers? More on those busters later. If you ever want to take a trip to the twilight zone, follow Ron –ahem Metta on Twitter. Dude is out there. He elbowed Harden in the head way before it was fashionable to even feel that way. Maybe homie is Meta.

NEW FACES, NEW LACES, BUT NOTHING REALLY CHANGES

Other than Oklahoma City, the same teams will be in the playoffs. It was much harder to talk myself into Utah and Quinn Snyder (fuck Mizzou), and Phoenix,than it was to talk myself out of Memphis’ old ass roster.

ONE LAST DANCE

We are on the cusp of a new age in San Antonio. The new big three for the Spurs going forward will be “Lamarcus!!!!”,  Kyle “Slo-Mo” Anderson, and Kawhi Leonard. I think this is the year where the Spurs may actually be “too old” to win the NBA title.  I’m not sure how much Parker has left in the tank, Duncan will be fine, but this is certainly Manu’s last year to play in the NBA. I still think the Spurs would have beaten the Clippers last year had they played Patty Mills more. They may need Patty and every other guard to chip in and lighten the load for Monsieur Parker.

PAUL PIERCE RETURNS HOME.

Jalen Rose correctly points out that this is the best roster that the LOL Clippers have ever had in the history of the franchise. 

You have a locker room filled with so many strong personalities that I think that this will be Doc Rivers finest job as a head coach, if he somehow gets this team to the NBA Finals (An NBA Finals that I will have no choice but to root for Lebron if the Clippers win the West–kind of like when I had to root for Chicago back in the late 90’s vs. Utah). I am extremely curious how things play out with Chris Paul, Josh Smith, Lance Stephenson,Glen “Big Baby” Davis, and Austin Rivers.

What is the over/under on how many times Paul Pierce utters the phrase  “Ya’ll childish” as he exits the locker room while shaking his head? Who will be the guy who gets cut by the team for breaking Austin Rivers’ jaw? Remember when the Wizards had Javale McGhee, Javaris Critendon, Deshawn Stevenson, and Gilbert Arenas on the same team? If managing that team was like handling nitro glycerin, this Clipper roster is like juggling grenades.

QUICKEN LOANS ARENA

I think the Cavs go at least 37-4 at home this year. There is talk about them being “angry”, more focused and all that nonsense. They can do all that, but it’s a long season. They should focus more on being healthy. It isn’t a matter of if Kyrie will hurt himself again, but when. They will be a more cohesive unit than they were last year heading into the playoffs, and I can’t expect Kevin Love to lay another egg this season (I mean for him at least—he still put up decent numbers).  They will figure it out. They would have to try to not make the Finals in that conference.

RICK CARLISLE

He is reason enough that the Mavericks will make the playoffs.  He is poised to win Coach of the Year honors for the roster he is working with this season. Like I said before, he is the second best coach in the league behind “Pops.”

SIDELINE REPORTING

Just isn’t the same without Craig Sager and those goofy ass suits. I miss that dude.  I hope he gets well soon.

sager

TY LAWSON

Ty

If the Spurs would have somehow gotten Lawson, this season would have been a wrap. Ty finally has something to work with, and he has a lot to prove to all his doubters. The Rockets are going to get up and down the court and will average at least 110 points a game. Rockets games will be easier to digest—well that is until the 4th quarter where Harden starts initiating the free throw contests. But the first 3 quarters will be good. Give me a Rockets vs. OKC/Golden State/ San Antonio any night of the week though.

UNDER ARMOUR

Check the stocks. Under Armour is killing the game right now. Shares are like 102 points the last time I checked. Steph Curry is winning on the court and off of it. Homie got a little piece of the action and has bought stake in the company (Getting a little bit of everything in today’s preview at zero to little cost).

Speaking of winners, can we give props to Dell Curry? The guy had a very solid NBA career, married a beautiful and smart woman, and has two sons in the NBA. One of them is coming off of an NBA title, and the other played 4 years at Duke and just got a legit contract with the Kings. #Winning.

VUJACIC

Yes Sasha Vujacic is still in the league, and may be playing with the New York Knicks this season. Need I say more?

WILLIE CAULEY STEIN

The best player to come out of the state of Kansas in a very, very long time. He has height, lateral quickness, defense, and ups. He will get 8 points a game just from Rondo throwing him oops all season. Imagine if you could  let  Tyson Chandler play defense out on the perimeter. Exactly!!!

 

XAVIER (As in David West’s alma mater)

 I’ve always thought D. West would be the perfect Spur, and he will prove his worth on this roster. He is a true professional. After seeing him beat up on San Antonio throughout the years, it is cool to see him on the side of the good guys. I want so badly to pencil them in for the Finals. I just don’t know if they enough backcourt depth to make it happen. 

david_west_jersey_swap___san_antonio_spurs_by_newtdesigns-d90cjzf

YOUNG GUNS

New stars are good for the league. I’ve already talked about some of this year’s rookies, but the Teen Wolves will be the most fun 20 win team you’ve ever seen. They will compete, but they still not quite there yet. Kevin Garnett in that locker room will be nothing but an asset.

He’s already teaching those Youngbloods what it means to be a professional. They would make a great NBA Jam team. Wiggins, Lavine, and Shabazz Mahummud would be a fun trio to run with (Rubio as the alternate). They are not too far away from being where OKC was back in ’08-10. They just have to be smart (don’t laugh its possible—anything is possible) with personnel moves the next 3 years.

Utah has a decent core coming back. Going up to Salt Lake City is no longer an easy W. They are going to make teams earn it. I like Heyward. Trey Burke still has yet to hit his full potential, Rudy Gobert aint no punk, and we still don’t know where Dante Exum will be as a player. If they were in the Eastern Conference, I could be talked into them making the playoffs.

ZAZA PACHULIA, DERON WILLIAMS and WESLEY MATTHEWS

The three biggest additions to the Dallas Mavericks, and they will still make the playoffs. I rest my case.

 BM

 

West Standings (in no particular order)

Oklahoma City (if healthy)

Houston

Golden State

San Antonio

Memphis

Los Angeles Clippers

Dallas

New Orleans

 

East standings (in no particular)

Cleveland

Indiana

Heat

Atlanta

Boston

Chicago

Milwaukee

Detroit

 

Eastern Conference Finals

Cleveland vs. Milwaukee (Cleveland wins 4-2)

 

Western Conference Finals

Golden State vs. Oklahoma City (if healthy)

NBA FINALS

Oklahoma City (if healthy) vs. Cleveland (Cleveland wins 4-3)

#THISAGOODASSGAME

@CLICKPICKA79

bobbymickey@gmail.com

When Good Becomes Great

Besides this Clippers-Spurs Series, and this classic playoff finish, this first round has been a dud. With so many things happening since my last post, one week has felt like three.

Scott Brooks got fired and replaced by Billy Donovan. This seems like incredibly poor timing to hire a rookie coach who has never even worked in the NBA level to take this playoff team to a championship in his first couple of years. I think Billy Donovan will do fine in the NBA, but I don’t see how he is the answer to what has been plaguing Team OKC. Maybe I’m wrong, I just feel that organization isn’t on the level with their players, or the fans.

The best Jayhawk to come out of the 90’s has lived up to his nickname, trolling the Raptors fans, and handling up on the court as well. A dude like Pierce in the locker room is exactly what the Wizards needed.

Big ups to maybe the best Jayhawk to come through Lawrence, for winning Rookie of the Year, Mr. Andrew Wiggins

Just a good week altogether for Kansas fans as it has also been reported that Chieck Diallo, the #7th ranked player in this year’s recruiting class. Bill Self also picked up the #21th ranked player in Carlton Bragg. I’m sure expectations will be high in the Land of Rock Chalk, but what else is new?

Good Ass Series of the Week

Game 7 Spurs-Clippers This is going to be intense. #HEROBALL

Memphis-Golden State

Tough break for Mike Conley and the Grizzlebies. They were really starting to gel. I think Warriors smoke em in 5 games.

Chicago-Cleveland

This series will remind you of the first love you ever experienced. Sometimes there were really beautiful moments, and sometimes things were just as ugly. But the most memorable part was how intense it all was. This will be a draining series, no matter who comes out ahead. Bulls in six. Side Note: Wouldn’t it be crazy if Cleveland somehow plays better without kevin Love pouting on the sidelines, and the Cavs went all the way to the Finals? That wouldn’t look good at all during contract negotiations would it?

Hawks-Wizards will remind you of that rebound person after breaking up with that first love.
There may be some things that are unappealing going into this series, but it’ll still be pretty damn fun if you don’t take it too seriously. I feel like this one takes a full 2 weeks to settle. Hawks in 7.

Houston-Los Angeles games would take 4 hours complete. Just pray that Spurs win. If you think watching West Coast games are bad now, just imagine if the longest free throw contest in history
begins next week. As the great Jalen Rose says, “NOT GONNA BE ABLE TO DO IT!!!!”

Peace.

BM
bobbyickey@gmail.com
#thisagoodassgame
@clickpicka79

In Russ They Trust

Well homie did it again, this time posting a 30,11, and 17 (dimes!!!!) stat line. Oh and by the way, he also got 4 steals and a block. “Hustle” Westbrook collected his 5th triple-double in 6 games, and pretty much cemented himself into “must trust Russ” status.

Remember last year when KD was going fed on the “Real MVP” campaign. This run by Westbrook parallels that shit. Westbrook is averaging 34.3 points, 10.2 rebounds and 11.4 assists since the All-Star break. If you can’t enjoy this run for what it is, then maybe basketball ain’t the sport for you. Maybe you should find the closest private school, and start hanging with “Lax” bros.

Last week was a great week for Good Ass Games, possibly the best week of Good Ass Games thus far in the season. Some players really took it to another level. Some guys like Hassan Whiteside are doing it on the low key, while guys like Steph Curry continue to blow up the highlight reel.

We have 21 games left in the regular season, and it is a shame that we have to choose between seeing Anthony Davis, or KD and Russ in the playoffs. “Lil Brow Wow” had a nasty line in his return. Somehow his 39, 13, and eight blocks got overshadowed by everything else that happened the night he played.

Ideally this will be the time that all the teams get their best pieces back, and we see everyone healthy for the playoffs. If Oklahoma City somehow gets Durant healthy for the playoffs, they will be the scariest 8 seed in NBA history. They have been fighting for the playoff lives since December, and now they have as solid (or better) of a bench as they have ever had. Watch out……..

Good ASS GAMES OF THE WEEK

Monday

Golden State vs. Phoenix

This would have been a much better game two months ago, but I’m not sure how much worse the Suns are than with Dragic, and Isiah Thomas. Sometimes there is a such thing as having too many cooks in the kitchen. I still expect the Warriors to show out tomorrow night at home in the Oracle. Man I love the Bay area.

Memphis-Chicago

Two of the best frontcourts face off in this one. The Gasol brothers are going to go at it like it is driveway basketball. I’m into it.

Tuesday

San Antonio faces off against the Raptors in this “Tap that Vein Tuesday” showdown. Spurs are starting to get healthy again, and it has been easy to overlook them. Kawhi and his big paws are causing problems for teams as well.

But seriously, think about all the things a guy like Kawhi can do with hands that big. He could work in a hospital delivery room as a baby catcher. He could work for the police department and rescue cats out of trees. I’m sure he could be a hell of a bass player, if he wanted to be. If Kawhi were a super hero, his powers would be to enlargen his hands and smack fools in the face, like Dave Grohl in that Foo Fighters video
.

Wednesday

Houston vs. Portland

Someday people will say things like “Can you believe that Westbrook, Durant, and James Harden once all played on the same team/ How did they not win a championship together?” A damn shame about Wes Matthews’ Achilles heel tear. Tough break all around. Get well soon Wesley.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Oklahoma City

If boths teams were all full strenght, this night would get the ringing “Good Ass Game of The Week” endorsement. It will still be worth your time though. CP3 vs. Russ. MMMMMMPPPHHHHHHH!

Thursday

Cleveland vs. San Antonio

Cleveland has the offense to win some games out east, but their defense is not championship caliber. It is too bad their only formidable opponent is Atlanta–who by the way, worked the Cavs last Friday.

Friday

Do you really want to give up date night for Clippers-Mavericks or Atlanta-Phoenix? I’m honestly kind of feeling the Minnesota-Oklahoma City game. A WIGGINS!!!!!

Saturday

Just. Don’t.

Sunday

Clippers-Rockets

If you like flopping, then this will be the game for you. Otherwise peep the Bulls-Thunder which would have won the Good ASS Game of The Week, had Lebron and Harden not gone into overtime last Sunday.

Buster(s) of the Week:

I never liked the University of Oklahoma and my visits to Norman were always mixed at best. Now I understand why. Sigma Alpha Epsilon basically confirmed what I’d always suspected about the culture down on I-35. So thanks bros. I appreciate your honesty. I’m sure I’ll see you on TV at the Thunder games, sitting courtside with your daddys’ tickets.

Big Up(s) of the Week:

goes to the man, Craig Sager and them awful suits for beating Luekemia. Homie got a rousing ovation from the Chicago fans, and a pretty sweet jacket on top of that from Benny the Bull.

Another shout out goes out to Jason Richardson who did some damage against the Thunder (29 points on 8-19 shooting). I had no idea he was out of the leauge. Apparently he has been trying to come back from injury since 2013. Big ups J-Rich! You know us old guys are rooting for you man. Keep doing what you doing.

Enjoy these Good Ass Games, and peep some college ball if the weather is too bad for you to be outside with your loved ones.

Peace.

BM

@clickpicka79
bobbymickey@gmail.com
#THISAGOODASSGAME

A Brief Intermission

I skipped All-Star Break to heal my bones and mind, and to catch my breath. While some of you were oohing and ahhing over Zach Lavine, and Victor Oladipo, I was drinking Brass Monkeys in the warm air of the Big Easy. The time off gave me a time to reflect on the first half of the season, and look ahead to the trade deadline and rest of the regular season. The playoffs start in less than two months, and the line between the contenders and pretenders is quite blurry.

I’m curious as to where Amar’e Stoudemire ends up after his buyout with the Knicks. Sometime last week I had a dream that he was in talks with the Golden State Warriors (to the point of even hearing the over the phone negotiations between Steve Kerr and Amar’e–a little weird to say the least).

What will the Thunder do to nail down a rotation to get them through this stretch run. They haven’t had a consistent starting nine all season, and the backup point guard has yet to play well enough to justify his demands to be a starter for a contending team.

Phoenix is not better this year much to my chagrin–I’m not ever sure if they are as fun as last year’s squad. Will their penchant for losing close games come back to haunt them down the stretch? Do the Pelicans have enough help for Anthony Davis to get New Orleans to the playoffs?

Before we get to the second half of the season’s Good Ass games, let us reexamine the season preview where I made some bold, and not so smart predictions.

First thing off the bet, I was incredibly wrong about the Atlanta Hawks. Not only did I not think they would be worth watching this year, I didn’t even think they would be legitimately good. Big ups to Al Horford, who made his team a contender instead of going elsewhere in pursuit of that “Chip.”

I also did not think Memphis was going to be as lucky with health as they have been. Besides Vince Carter (who is 63 and still suiting up occasionally) there have not been any lingering injuries to this team. I thought for sure Zak Randolph would miss some significant time. How could I have known they’d finally trade Tayshuan Prince for Jeff Green?

I was also wrong about the Timberwolves being a fun team to watch this year. I should have said they would be a fun team to play with on NBA2k15. Shabazz Muhammad is better this year, and Zach Lavine gives Wolves’ fans something to talk about near the water cooler.

Andrew Wiggins is making me look somewhat respectable by pretty much locking up the ROY award. Other than that, things are still as bleak in the “land of 1,000 lakes” as ever. I was expecting this year to finally be the year Ricky Rubio stayed healthy. WRONG!!!!

I knew that Steve Kerr would be great for the Dub’s, but I’d have had to been smoking some super-duper headbanger boogie herb to have foreseen what is going down in Oaksterdam.

Here is what I had for the standings during the season’s preview:

Eastern Conference
1. Cleveland
2. Wizards
3. Raptors
4. Chicago
5. Miami
6. Charlotte
7. Milwaukee
8. Atlanta

Western Conference

1. Clippers
2. OKC
3. Spurs
4. Mavericks
5. Warriors
6. Phoenix
7. Portland
8. Houston

Here is what the standings really look like as of today February 15, 2015

Western Conference

1. Golden State
2. Memphis
3. Portland
4. Houston
5. Dallas
6. Los Angeles Clippers
7. San Antonio
8. Phoenix

Eastern Conference

1. Atlanta
2. Toronto
3. Chicago
4. Washington
5. Cleveland
6. Milwaukee
7. Charlotte
8. Miami

With the right stroke of luck, Detroit could easily steal a spot from Miami or Charlotte. Other than that, I feel pretty good about my early assessment of the East, although based on the way Cleveland and Atlanta are playing, I think those are the two teams most likely to meet in the Eastern Conference Finals.

As for the West, I don’t think the standings matter. There are no cupcakes to face in any round for a team to face.

So about these Good Ass Games:

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

NO GAMES SCHEDULED

Thursday

Starting the second half off right with two Marquee games

Oklahoma City-Dallas, and San Antonio-Los Angeles. After a whole week of not watching any hoop, I’ll be well rested and chomping at the bit. As my boy Busta used to say, “Gimme some MORE”

Friday

Toronto vs. Atlanta for the “tap that vein opener” and Golden State vs. San Antonio. Remember that time “Pops” rested his starters and the Warriors still got beat? Yeah I’m sure Golden State remembers that too.

Saturday

Don’t plan your night around this, but Chicago-Phoenix will be a fun watch. If its between watching this and having some “relations”, I wouldn’t begrudge you missing this one. Especially if that someone looks half as good as this young lady. Klay be getting buckets!!!

Sunday

You got all day to clean house, cut the yard, do laundry, or whatever. Get that stuff done so you can watch the Portland-Memphis game. If you miss it, you’ll feel like the guy I saw down at Mardi Gras wearing an Austin Rivers jersey. He certainly would have gotten the Buster of The Week Award had it not been for the Penn State Student section.

This is exactly why they should have had their football program taken away. It didn’t take them long to get back on their high horses after the whole culture of “Ninny Lions” enabled a monster to repeatedly rape disadvantage little boys.

Pedo State, you guys are the true definition of Busters and the only Busters bigger than the JoePa defenders are the people who believe that taking money and paying players is a ‘crime’ significantly worse than allowing school facilities to be used as a grooming stable to RAPE LITTLE BOYS!!!. Find a mirror and look into it Happy Valley Alum. You guys are suckers! I’m out.

Peace.

BM
@clickpicka79
bobbymickey@gmail.com

Basketball is my Girlfriend

It is what it is. I’ve missed my window for finding something warm to curl up with for this winter, but at least basketball season coincides with this time of the year. I’ll never be lonely as long as I got hoop on my mind, though the springtime will be a different issue, as the warm weather and hormones work in tandem to create a need that basketball alone can’t satiate.

In college there was this young lady in my linguistics class that I became acquainted with. She was tall, brunette and besides a little bit of acne, she was gorgeous. She worked as a volleyball coach at a local high school, and she also happened to love basketball. We got along swimmingly despite her being a Duke fan. One particular Thursday night in the midst of the playoffs, we had a date planned. I realized early that afternoon that the Rockets (back when they had T-Mac) were playing and there was no way I could miss it.

She wasn’t old enough to get into the bars, so I had a dilemma on my hands. This wouldn’t be the first (nor the last)time I’d break a date in favor of watching basketball. I called her up about 4:55 and was setting her up to let her down, when she suggested I come to her dorm room and watch the game. Problem solved.

Later that night, while watching what was a blowout game, we made a bet about the 2001 Blue Devils roster. I knew I was right and could have easily bet something a little less innocuous than a back rub, but anything more than that seemed icky (Things that are great independently don’t always mix so well).

So we checked the internet, and of course I was right (I think the bet was if Chris Duhon played on that championship team). I got a fantastic back massage (which is way rarer than good sex), while the Rockets beat down the Mavericks, and then later……well let’s just say it got a little warm in that single dorm room.

I was too young then to know that I was experiencing joy in its purest form, but I knew that moment was a pretty special one. If something like that happened to me now at 35 (soon to be 36) I’d probably lock that down with the quickness. But I was a young cat, and I had a lot of places to visit, and things to do. She had no intention of ever leaving Texas I think– I don’t know it was never that serious–we were on that casual tip. She did hit me up about a year and a half later.

I was living in Austin and was about to leave Texas forever in less than a week. Now that I think about it, I should have hooked up with her one last time before I left the state. She was a fun gal. But most importantly, she understood that basketball was my girlfriend and she was just my mistress. She knew how to give, and she knew how to share. And if you understand those principles in life, then you understand basketball.

Enough reminiscing, let’s talk about these Good Ass Games of the Week:

Monday

Spurs-Portland These aren’t the same fresh faces that got swept in the playoffs last year. The Spurs are a little banged up and Portland has looked pretty good so far this year. If this gets out of hand late int he third or early in the fourth quarter, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Popovich pull the starters. San Antonio has a week of tough opponents ahead of them.

Tuesday

Golden State vs. Memphis This would be THE GOOD ASS GAME OF THE WEEK if not for Thursday night’s game. With no Bogut, or David Lee, the match up plays into the Grizzlies’ hands. Bogut and Lee are both big men who can force Z-Bo and Gasol out of the paint, and open up the floor. Plus that is more fouls to use against the Memphis big men. Tony Allen vs. the Splash Brothers will be a fun thing to watch too. I hope these two teams face each other in the playoffs with healthy rosters.

OKC-SAC later night. As of tonight, Sacramento is half a game out of eighth place and they just fired their head coach Mike Malone. Maybe Shaq can provide some insight on TNT this week.

Wednesday

Memphis vs. San Antonio Griz on the second end of a back-to back. Don’t read too much into this one, because the Spurs may just run them out the building. San Antonio has been spanking them ever since Memphis knocked them out of the playoffs a couple of years ago.

Milwaukee vs. Phoenix as a backup plan. Phoenix has not looked anywhere as good as last year. The way the roster is set up now, I don’t think they have enough to make a deep run into the playoffs if they somehow sneak in. They may need to make a trade. Ryan Anderson would be a perfect fit on that squad. Brooklyn is also trying to get rid of some salary too, if the Suns are serious about this year, they need to get on the phone and make a move.

Something I heard from Jalen Rose a couple of weeks ago that I totally agree with, is that they don’t seem to have a leader. After watching a few of their games this week, I’m almost completely sure that this is going to have to be Eric Bledsoe’s team. If they go into the playoffs with no one who can take the big shot at the end, this will end up looking like the Blazers of yesteryear (1999-2000 was a fun team but whose team was it?). Stay tuned.

Thursday

Oklahoma City goes to Golden State. This is will probably go down as one of top ten Good Ass Games of the Year. Last year this happened,

Believe me when I say this game will be worth breaking a date for.

Friday

Chicago-Memphis will be a dogfight. The only thing standing between me and this game will be Dave Chappelle at the Brady Theater. I can’t lose! The show starts at 7:00, so maybe I can catch the 4th qtr of this one (unless by chance we catch one of those marathon affairs that he is known for).

Portland-San Antonio also in the early round of games. Two games in one week almost guarantees this game will be a tight affair. I expect a physical game and lots of loud “GO SPURS Go” chants. If I had a mistress, we’d definitely be having a basketball threesome at AT&T Center. If that gal starts actin’ up I’ll just take her friend!

What’s the Word?? LAL? More like LOL!!!!! Oklahoma City goes to Los Angeles to play the Lakers. The Thunder have pretty much owned the Lakers since the days when KD and Russ were just neophytes and were susceptible to Pau Gasol put backs during that 2010 run. Russ loves going back to L.A. and going HAM for his hometown folk. Hustle Westbrook gets no less than 38 points this game because the Lakers have no one who can stop him. If you like Laker beatdowns, and seeing Kobe getting pissed off and barking at his teammates, then this is the game for you.

Saturday

Spurs-Mavericks I was so hype for this game until I realized that the Spurs were also playing the Friday night before. This is a classic “Popovich sits the starters” game. I was even thinking about buying tickets for this one too. WOMP WOMP WOMP!

If you have nothing better to do on a Saturday night, you can peep Bucks-Clippers, or Phoenix-New Orleans, but honestly this may be one of those nights to take one your less interesting chicks on a date. You can even take them to a bar where the game will be on with no sound. You can halfway listen to your date and occasionally glance at the score on the television. Everyone wins!!!

Sunday

Lakers-Kings and Pelicans-Thunder are worth stopping in on if and only if “Lil Brow Wow” and “Boogie Down Productions” are playing for their respective teams. If not, then take Saturday night’s date to brunch, drop her off at her crib and then get some rest for Monday. With the holidays approaching, you can get away with not calling her for a while, but the great weekend you shared will still be fresh in her mind. Hell, keep it on ice til New Year’s and I guarantee the champagne won’t be the only thing to get popped on Dec. 31st. Trust me on this, I’m a doctor.

Before I go, big shout out to “Maple Jordan”, Andrew Wiggins for winning “Rookie of the Month.” Keep it up young man, and you’ll make the both of us look good (forget what I said about the T-cubs–I did say A-Wiggs would get the ROY award or at least share it with Jabari. And don’t say they don’t give it to players on losing teams. The Sixers tanked last year and they still gave the award to Michael Carter-Williams). Until next week, I’m OUT!!!!

BM
@clickpicka79
bobbymickey@gmail.com
#thisagoodassgame

“A Quick One While He’s Away!”

Yo Peep!

This one is a going to be a real quickie–the Spurs play the Clippers at 9:30. I just finished watching the Cleveland-New Orleans game in which Cavs finally reached .500 for their Win-Loss record. Bron-Bron vs. Lil Brow Wow was all that it was cracked up to be. Lebron put in some work with 32 points, 12 Rebs, and 10 Assists on 9/17 shooting. He had way more help than Anthony Davis–a force of nature (27 points, 14 points, 4 assists,4 steals, and 3 blocks)– with Kyrie Irving (who went HAM down the stretch of 18 points on 18 shots, finishing with 32 points on 21 shots, and 9 assists) and Kevin Love’s very efficient 22 points (7-13 shooting, 6-9 from three pointers).

Besides Ryan Anderson, the Pelicans don’t have anyone. Austin Rivers plays like a Buster! Tryeke Evans is a poor man’s Lance Stephenson. Jrue Holiday is decent, but he probably shouldn’t be starting. Eric Gordon is in the graveyard of players Bill Simmons thought was going to be raw. They suck. It’s depressing to watch them down the stretch of games. FREE ANTHONY DAVIS! Run BROW RUN! Go to New York and play for Phil, or go to Washington and play with KD, but don’t stay in New Orleans longer than this contract. Just ask Kevin Love what happens when you sign an extension with a bad team without doing your homework.

That being said, I’m going to have to watch more of the Pelicans in order to get my Anthony Davis fix. This dude is like Tim Duncan but with handles, and Kobe’s explosiveness.

Speaking of teams I’m going to watch more than I originally expected, I kind of like the Kings. I feel like they are a superstar away from being legitimate playoff contenders. They have a good core of veterans in the locker room with Carl Landry, Ramon Sessions, and Reggie Evans. Enough has been said of the effect this summer had on “Boogie Down Productions.” He has been killing it. I wonder what would have to be done to make a Rondo for Rudy Gay trade work.

Last night’s game between the Suns and Warriors played out as exactly as I figured it would. The game was a sluggish one–the refs threw the game out of rhythm with a high number of whistles early on. The Warriors shot well enough to start, but were spent by the end of the game. You could tell that the back-to-back games had taken away their legs. They were also without Splash Brother Klay who was nursing a sprained wrist. Phoenix ran away with it around the 9 minute mark of the 4th quarter.

Good Ass Games of the week:

Spurs-Clippers in about 15 minutes….hopefully they won’t wear those ugly ass jerseys that were worn on Saturday. Them shits were “muy muy feo!”

Tuesday
Hornets vs. Trailblazers Two nasty backcourts going head-to-head.
Spurs vs. Golden State You know Popovich will be sitting some starters–but at least Kyle Anderson will get some minutes.

Wednesday
Houston vs. Minnesota Wiggins and Zach Lavine make a pact to try to get on the cover of “Slam” Magazine by dunking on Dwight Howard.

Lakers-Pelicans Would have been great to see Randle v.s Davis matchup.
Denver vs. Portland The matchup for nastiest backcourts continues with Wesley Matthews-Damien Lillard vs. Arron AfflaloI-Ty Lawson. If I were a person visiting Colorado for an indefinite amount of time, I know I would be at this game.

Thursday

Chicago-Toronto Worth checking out for sure. There is a very strong possibility these two teams meet in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Friday
“Hey! Hey! It’s the Weekend babayyyyyy!!!” I’ve crossed the threshold now where if a girl ain’t down with hoop, then she ain’t down with me. It’s almost winter time and I’m already prepared to hunker down with some crock pot chili (or pot roast) and geek out on roundball for the next 6 months. There just isn’t enough time in the world for a high maintenance girlfriend and basketball. She be like “Ugh Sports. What’s so great about basketball Bobby?”
and I’ll say ” Look baby if you really want me to pay more attention, learn how to jump 12 feet in the air off one leg and dunk a basketball. Then I’d never take my eyes off you again girl. Can you do that for me? Didn’t think so. Next!”

Charlotte-Phoenix Damn. It gets no easier for Stephenson and Walker this week. Quite the gauntlet for the Charlotte backcourt.

Spurs-Lakers I’m not much into watching ass whuppings, but for some reason it gives me great pleasure to watch the “Lake-Show” go up in flames. It’s like going to a Siegfried and Roy show knowing that someone is going to get eaten. I haven’t been disappointed yet with the Lakers this season.

Minnesota-New Orleans In my best Drake voice, “Anthony Davis!!! A-Wiggins!!!!”

Saturday
Charlotte-Golden State Damn. No breaks for Charlotte this road trip. At all.
Phoenix vs. Clippers Who does Beige–I mean Blake Griffin punch this night? I’ll give you 2-1 odds on the Morris brothers and 3-1 on p.J. Tucker. This plot alone makes them game a must watch.

Sunday
Golden State-Lakers Kobe gets hurt trying to keep up with young bucks. I’m guessing its just a hamstring pull. He’ll be day to day for the next 5-7 games.

It’s exactly 9:48 pm and the Spurs-Clippers game is already underway. It’s deep into the first quarter–but you know what? It figures. I’ve never been good at quickies.

Run That Shit Back!

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We back! The NBA pre-season is upon us, which means we are only 2 and a half weeks away from the ball being thrown up for realsssssssss.

I can sum up this upcoming season by grouping the teams into four categories of watchability:

a) “Don’t Waste my Time”

b) “I’ll watch depending on they are playing”

c) “Oooh they playing tonight? Let me see what I got going on.”

d) “Cancel all my plans. I’m staying in tonight.”

Basically teams fall into these categories by whether they got better, got worse, or stayed the same. Some teams were so wack last year they couldn’t help but improve. Others thought (rightly or wrongly) that no changes needed to be made. Let’s get to it, this thing is already going to be long enough.

As much as I love hoop, I will not spend too much time in front of the tube watching the following teams:

Celtics, Lakers, Pacers, Nets, Utah and the Atlanta Hawks.

As a certain social philosopher likes to say, “NOT GONNA BE ABLE TO DO IT!” Not interested, not even a little bit.

How many uncontested layups will the Los Angeles Lakers give up this year? I’m willing to bet anyone that the Lakers will finish in the bottom five in defensive field goal percentage.
Kobe Bryant, Carlos Boozer, Steve Nash, Jeremy Lin, Swaggy P………if Jordan hill is your best option on defense…should I even continue?

Let’s just hope Jack Nicholson has low expectations this year, because I’d hate to see the old man blow a gasket after seeing his beloved Lake show give up bucket after 4th quarter bucket. Good luck Byron Scott. Lakers need to be in rebuild mode. Talk about being in denial. The Lakers will be right back in the lottery. Mark my words.
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With the loss of Lance Stephenson, I had Indiana being in the lottery even BEFORE Paul George got himself fucked up during the FIBA scrimmages.

I like what Danny Ainge is doing out in Boston, but it will be a couple more years before I can be excited about sitting down to a Celtics game. We’re just not there yet.

Even if the Nets were good, it would be hard for me to support anything Russian owned while that shit is going on in the Ukraine.

UTAH???psssttttttt just change your team mascot already. Saying there is Jazz in Utah is like saying there are good looking women in Maine. I’m sure at one time or another both have existed in each state, but neither are home grown products. If I knew anything about Utah other than Mormons, reformed Mormons, the X-games, and weed, I could come up with something clever–but I can’t. Let’s just move on.

I HAVE A DREAM…….that someday Al Horford will play for a legitimate NBA contender. Go to Chicago Al!!! Team back up with Joakim Noah, I swear I won’t root against you two this time.

DEPENDS ON WHO THEY PLAY

Memphis, Houston, Pelicans, Pistons, Bulls (without D. Rose), Orlando, Denver, Milwaukee, Philly, Knicks, Miami

After a couple of years of squeaking into the playoffs, I think this is the year Memphis finally misses the cut. Phoenix is better, and the Grizzlies are older. I think the injury bug will hit a couple of key veterans. The Grindhouse will not be rocking next April if my suspicions are correct.

I don’t find James Harden or Dwight Howard the least bit of entertaining to watch. I can’t stand Patrick Beverly, and if I wanted to watch someone shoot 30 free throws I’d go to the YMCA and volunteer.

Other than Kid Rock, Jalen Rose, and Eminem, no one outside of the state of Michigan is interested in watching Detroit basketball.

The “Brow” is almost intriguing enough to tune in, but the rest of his team is garbage. Next!

Orlando almost has enough pieces to warrant more than a peek in at their games. One more year of the lottery should get them in position to contend for a playoff spot next year.

Denver has the “Manimal”, and a nasty backcourt of Arron Afflalo and Ty Lawson. But really that is about it. But props to Brian Shaw for smashing on Madonna (a remarkable feat that doesn’t get enough attention) in her prime.

Will Jason Kidd be the first NBA player-coach to suit up since Dave Cowens? I think they the pieces to grab that 8th playoff spot. The Eastern conference is wack as hell, and both New York teams will be in the toilet (more on the Knicks in a second) this year. Someone has to grab that last spot–it may as well be them. Peep the roster if you don’t believe me.
Gonna see a lot of this this year
I’m not even remotely interested in Philadelphia until they get completely healthy.

All the players on the Knicks I wanna see play are deep on the bench. I just don’t see how that roster can make the playoffs–even in the East. I’m not entirely sold on D-Fish as a head coach–at least right now. I believe he will have a pretty big learning curve. I think they will miss the playoffs, but just barely. Also Amar’e Stoudemire makes the most money on the team this year, and may actually play the least amount of minutes.

Do you remember when Chris Bosh was the best player on his team in Toronto? Well if you don’t, then this Heat team will remind you of what that was like. Chris Bosh is going to put up some numbers this year, and the Heat will not be as bad as you think. Don’t be surprised if they play Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals.

OOOOOHHHH THEY PLAYING?

Clippers, Bulls (with a healthy D. Rose), Raptors, Cleveland, Mavericks, Wizards, Hornets

These teams I wouldn’t exactly drop everything I’m doing, but I could be talked into meeting someone at the bar to watch any combination of these teams playing each other.

The Clippers were one of those teams that didn’t do much to get better or worse, but besides Jamal Crawford and Chris Paul, there aren’t any other guys who can create their own shot. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan will be better this year, but barring a mid-season trade (and injuries to OKC and San Antonio), I don’t see how they make it out of the west. I do think they will have the best regular season record and will get home court in the playoffs, but that guarantees little against the Spurs and Thunder.

Bulls are deep this year. I’m salivating on watching Noah and Gasol run that Hi-Lo in the post. The Bulls have Mike Dunleavy, Taj Gibson, Aaron Brooks, Doug McDermott and Kirk Hinrich as good role players. I would pencil them as Eastern Conference champs were it not for a few lingering questions.

1) Is the Curse of Michael Jordan real?

Ever since the Jerry’s ran off Phil, Scottie and MJ, the Bulls have had nothing but bad luck. Eddie Curry…..trading Lamarcus Aldridge for Tyrus Thomas, the Jay Williams motorcycle accident, Derrick Rose getting hurt during garbage time of a playoff game—-oh wait that isn’t bad luck— those are the result of bad decisions aren’t they?

2) Will Tom Thibadeau finally learn from the Spurs model and figure out a way to spell his starters so the team can be fresh for the playoffs? Thibs just has a way of grinding his players down. I feel like this is an under reported item concerning his coaching style.

3) The big question of course is will Derrick Rose make it to the All-Star break? He is the difference between them getting knocked out in the first round, and them losing to the Spurs in the finals.

Raptors made no significant changes, which was a good decision. They re-signed Kyle Lowry, which is almost like getting a big name free agent. They could should easily win Atlantic division this year.

People are hype about Cleveland, (and the should be), but why aren’t people also acknowledging that besides their “Big 3”, Cleveland still has a number of questions. Just how much better is Lebron’s supporting cast in Cleveland than the one he left in South Beach? Was James Jones ever that good?
He old and Cleveland is COLD.

I could write that sentence again in regards to Mike Miller and Shawn Marion. All three of these guys are in their mid thirties and have had the luxury of playing in warmer climates for most of their careers. Sure the game is played indoors, but that has to have some affect on your psyche–especially in a shit hole town like Cleveland. It aint ‘Zona or Texas or Florida.

How many games will Kyrie Irving play this year? He hasn’t played a full season of basketball since he was in high school. I’m not saying he’s bad, I’m just suggesting he might be a little frail. I’m not judging (I’m someone who gets hurt playing everything). But we can’t pretend like Irving is a guy you can pencil in to be healthy at the end of the year. Perhaps this wouldn’t be that big of an issue had Cleveland not wasted that pick on Anthony Bennett.

They opted instead for Victor Oladipo, but who is to say they wouldn’t have had to trade him for Kevin Love (imagine what an addition that would have been for Minnesota)? regardless Lebron not only has his consistently monster numbers, but will earn the MVP because everyone else’s stats will inflate because of his presence on the court (especially the Wins column).

Dallas as a team that would drop in the west, but I took a look at the roster and realized that Raymond Felton was indeed NOT the starting point guard for the Mavericks (the Jeopardy answer would be “Who is Jameer Nelson?”). I like their squad, and as I have said before, Rick Carlisle is the 2nd best coach in the NBA. Nothing could surprise me concerning the Mavericks–including another Finals run.

I like the Wizards running the same team back with the addition of Paul Pierce. He will be a great presence for them in the locker room. They are a dangerous team that has a top five backcourt. They could easily be in the Eastern Conference Finals as well.

Lance Stephenson was a great pickup for the Hornets (feels so right doesn’t it? I miss calling them that). Charlotte will be more entertaining to watch this year, but they will still get bounced in the first or second round.

“Alright stop what you doing cuz I’m about to ruin……”

You know what it is….every day I will circle the games these teams are playing and will make damn sure I get to watch them–even if its on replay.

Golden State made a controversial move in ousting Mark Jackson, but they couldn’t have made a less controversial hire in Steve Kerr. I think he will fit in fine with the front office, and will be a breath of fresh air for the franchise, believe it or not. Their season depends on how many games they can squeeze out of their front court players, David Lee and Andrew Bogut.

I’m also curious as to how well Harrison Barnes is integrated into the playing rotation. They need him to play as well as he did during the 2012 playoff run, if the Warriors are to take that next step. Continuity is a huge factor every year, and no major moves were made this off-season. The core remains intact with a couple of key additions in their back court. The Splash Brothers will actually get some rest if Leandro Barbosa, Shaun Livingston, and Brandon Rush can contribute off the bench.

Super Bowl champion Head Coach Jimmy Johnson used to say, “If you are not getting better, then you are getting worse.” This adage pretty much sums up what the Thunder did this off-season. They wasted this summer’s draft picks, lost their best perimeter defender in Thabo Sefalosha, and only managed to sign Anthony Morrow. That being said, the still have two of the best five players in the NBA. That alone will be good enough to get them to the Western Conference Finals. Steven Adams will be starting at center no later than the All Star Break.

Portland didn’t do much to improve either. Then again, any off-season moves to be made on that roster would’ve had negligible results (Is the difference between a 7 seed and a 5 seed in the west worth messing up team chemistry?) Portland’s bench is better based on another year’s experience for Thomas Robinson and C.J. McCollum.

Phoenix will for sure be in the playoffs. They re-signed Eric Bledsoe, bringing back the nastiest back court duo west of San Antonio and east of Nevada. They managed to draft Tyler Ennis, T.J Warren, and acquired Isiah Thomas. The Morris twins re-upped and so did P.J. Tucker’s drunk driving ass. They won’t be sneaking up on no one this year. They ready. Fools are gonna get banged on when they play the Suns.

The T-Cubs will be the newest fun team to watch this year. It is too bad Rick Adelman won’t be around to coach this team. I think this is the second coming of the Baby Bulls, and early 2000’s Sacramento Kings. Rubio finally has some guys to run with him. Look at who the Timberwolves have: Zach Levine, Shabazz Muhammad, Glenn Robinson III, Corey Brewer, Mo Williams, and my boy A. WIGGINSSSS!!!

Last year, the Wolves were 3rd ppg, 6th in rpg, 5th assist, 26th in points allowed. If they can even get into the top 20 in team defense, I think they can contend for a playoff spot until the final week of the regular season. I’m excited to see this team play. Andrew Wiggins wins Rookie of the Year award (even if he has to share it with Jabari Parker–I think getting shunned by the Cavs/Lebron will be the best thing to ever happen for his career–this is the chip on the shoulder he needed).

You know who didn’t have to do a damn thing this year? The NBA (World?) champion Spurs re-signed their role players and drafted triple-double machine, 6’9 PG Kyle Anderson from UCLA. I see this being a quiet title defense for the Spurs. Everyone is going bananas over the revamped Cavaliers, when the Spurs dismantled a team that currently looked better than what Cleveland is running out onto the court. I see the Spurs just chilling in the cut until their “Rodeo trip” and then landing a #3 seed in the playoffs. Health is the biggest factor for them. Their bench players will play just as big a role (probably a bigger role) as last year’s title run.

Anyway, enough with all the formalities. Time to put my name on the line.

MVP Lebron (of course)

Co-Rookies of the Year
Andrew Wiggins/Jabari Parker

Eastern Conference
1. Cleveland
2. Wizards
3. Raptors
4. Chicago
5. Miami
6. Charlotte
7. Milwaukee
8. Atlanta

Western Conference

1. Clippers
2. OKC
3. Spurs
4. Mavericks
5. Warriors
6. Phoenix
7. Portland
8. Houston

Western Conference Finals

Spurs over Oklahoma City (again)

Eastern Conference Finals

Cleveland over Washington

NBA Finals

Spurs over Cleveland to defend their title and shut down any remaining naysayers. Cleveland isn’t ready yet. This year will be a toss up in the East, but by 2015, it will be Cleveland and then everyone else. As evidenced by all the hype surrounding his return to Ohio, this is still Lebron’s league.

Community Quick Hits [originally posted on sportsblog.com 11/24/13]

Random basketball thoughts from last week:

1) Indiana’s Paul George must have been inspired by Larry “Legend” the other night against the Knicks. Certain players know how to really dial it up whenever they are playing Madison Square Garden. Anytime Jordan played there you knew he was going for 30 points (at least). Kobe was the same way. If Kevin Durant or Steph Curry go to MSG to play, I’m going to at least look and see if the game is televised. It may be time to add Paul George to the list.

What he did down the stretch of the 4th quarter and in OT against the Knicks was reminiscent of the way superstars take over the game. He played D on Carmelo Anthony and still managed to make tough shots down the stretch. It was pretty hype. I’m all in on the Pacers if they get more bench help. Injuries aside, I’m saying it’s going to be a Pacers-Spurs finals.

2) Most blowouts are boring to watch, but a KU blowout is still pretty fun. Friday night’s game against Towson was exactly the kind of game you want to see if you are a Jayhawks fan. They didn’t play down to the competition. They came out aggressive and when the opportunity arrived they went for the jugular and put the game out of reach.

I don’t expect many teams to lay down for the Jayhawks. In fact, with all the scouts and hoopla surrounding the team, they will probably get teams’ best shot. If I were a junior or senior, I would want to ball out and leave something for the NBA scouts to remember about me. I don’t expect many more blowouts like the one they had against Towson where the game was over 10 minutes in. On a video game you can hit reset or turn the game off. In real life you just have to take the ass whupping. Scouts take note of how well players respond when getting blown out like that–whether a player crumpled up like a folding chair and mailed it in, or if they left it all on the court.

John Wooden used to say that when you are playing basketball, you are not playing against an opponent. You are playing against your best self. I like the way the Jayhawks went into that game aggressive and never let off the gas. That’s the way championship teams approach things every night.

Towson didn’t play particularly well. Everyone seemed to be looking for their own shot instead of moving the ball and moving without the the ball. Towson started out like 1 for 7 in the first half and for every miss, the Jayhawks took the long rebound and pushed it for a fast break. I was hoping that they would hit a 100, but I knew that Towson would probably score more than 16 in the second half.

3) Joel Embiid probably won’t be around for long if he keeps playing like he has been. His numbers have been nice, but you have to watch him play to get the full gist of how good he can be. He flashed some serious signs of basketball brilliance in both games this week.

Against Iona he showed how athletic and graceful he is, impressing me with how fluid his movements were. Against Towson, he made me squeal with a couple of beautiful Duncan-esque outlet passes. Right now on some mock drafts, he is listed as high as #7.

4) Andrew Wiggins made an excellent decision in coming here to Lawrence. Had he gone to FSU, he’d be in the ACC with Jabari Parker. Though this sounds titillating to have that matchup twice in one year (assuming KU and Duke don’t face each other again in the tourney), he’d be playing on a mid-tier team in a stacked ACC.

Could you imagine Wiggins playing for Kenutcky? The Wildcats already have spacing issues with their difficulties hitting the deep shot. Wiggins would have just added to that. Randle commands a lot of space in the paint and there would be little left for Wiggins to work with. How would they have found enough shots for everybody?

Without Wiggins, this would be a pretty memorable team. With Wiggins, this team has a chance to be one of the all time greats. I’m not just talking about KU history either. I think that (injuries withstanding) people will reflect on this team like they talk about 1990 UNLV, the Fab Five Michigan squads, ’91 Duke, and ’06-07 Florida teams with Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer and Al Horford.

It is a long season which makes this talk sound a little crazy. The question becomes will this be one of the best NCAA teams of all time, or will they be one of the best NCAA teams to not win it all? I would hate to one day write a “lovable losers” essay about this team.

Bring on the Demon Deacons!

A Hard 86 [Originally posted on sportsblog.com 12/25/13]

The knock on my door at 9 AM surprised me because I went to bed with the notion that a visit to the Allen Fieldhouse would not be in order for Saturday’s game against Georgetown. I had imbibed a bit too much the night before at a happy hour that ran way longer than an hour. I fell asleep that night okay with just watching the game on the big screen.

Although the front of the jerseys said Georgetown, with Otto Porter gone, I was unable to identify any of the names on the back of the jerseys. They weren’t even ranked. But I knew that a John Thompson III coached team would compete, and I didn’t fight it when my buddy expressed his desire to still attempt to make it into the fieldhouse. As it turned out, we got really lucky and ran into a fair scalper who offered us the best deal I’ve ever gotten scalping Jayhawks tickets (floor seats for 90 bucks).

I’m hoping that I’ll be as fortunate come January 18th against the Oklahoma State Cowboys.I’m definitely looking for the same guy next time.

One of the cool things about KU games is that fans have such access to the players. There isn’t a bad seat inside the venue and before games fans line up alongside a taped area near the locker room corridor. Fans hang out there and then cheer the guys on as they run onto the court. It’s a pretty cool thing to see, unfortunately my brain wasn’t working properly (it rarely does before 1:30 pm but I was especially scrambled from the activities the night before) and instead of capturing them jogging out of the locker room I got footage of this .

At first glance Georgetown come off as very intimidating. They only have 3 players on the whole roster who are listed under 6’5. Seeing this I immediately knew that it was going to be a physical game. We were about to see the Jayhawks be tested by these tough looking east coast boys.

The Hoyas have the make up of an NIT bound team bound for sure, but they made Kansas earn every single bucket they got. There were not many transition points for the Jayhawks and the Hoyas used nearly every single foul they had. 3 players fouled out for the game and 2 other guys had 4 fouls. The Hoyas even snuck in a cheap shot on Perry Ellis and knocked him out of the game.

Eventually things got chippy enough to where Wiggins got into some smack talking with one of their players and immediately hit a 3 on the ensuing possession (something tells me Wiggins isn’t the kind of player you want to piss off). We all knew that the Jayhawks were talented, but this game would tell us if they were tough. That was a question I hadn’t thought to ask before this Georgetown game.

Kansas was up the whole first half but it always felt closer than an 8 point game. Besides Markel Starks (19 points) and D’Vauntes Smith Rivera (12), no one in the Hoyas lineup was a legitimate scoring threat (most of their first half points seemed to come on free throws). Toughness was the only thing that Georgetown had going for it. They stepped onto the court as if the Lawrence faithful were just another hostile Big East crowd, unfazed and ready to see if the Jayhawks could be punked.

I think this was the kind of game that Tarik Black thrives in. He was not phased at all by the amount of contact going on. The refs let a lot of pushing and physical stuff go on and Tarik seemed in his element, putting up some good numbers and making some noteworthy plays–including a sick block that led to a fast break and alley-oop on the other end of the court (5 for 5 17 points 6 rebs and 2 blks).

The Jayhawks put up 86 points on the Georgetown boys but there were not any easy baskets. As badly as Georgetown got beat, there was no reason for them to hang their heads. They played hard. KU just had a much better team.

Other notes from Saturday’s game:

Bill Self has some serious swagger. I was impressed with the way he and Coach Thompson eschewed the businesslike handshake in favor of the more familiar and less formal “brutha” embrace. I bet Bill goes to bed at night smirking before he falls asleep, then wakes up with that same smirk, thinking, “I’m Bill Self and I coach the Kansas Jayhawks.” It must be a pretty baller reality for old Bill.

Andrew Wiggins only had 12 points the other day. 10 of them came in the 2nd half. He only had 1 rebound for the whole game, but he did have 3 steals and 4 assists. Not a great line but its still a treat to get to watch him play in person. People say he’s too calm, but I’d rather have that than a hot head like J.R. Smith. I don’t buy the whole “we need to see more fire” theory so many people have. That steadiness is going to be important come tournament time. Do what you do Andrew.

I’m officially starting the “Feed Embiid” campaign. This guy is not only my favorite player on this year’s team. He’s one of my favorite big men of all time. By the time he leaves he’ll be mentioned in the same breath as Nick Collison and Julian Wright when it’s all said and done. He had 12 first half points and would have had more had it not been for Tarik Black going so hard in the paint in the 2nd half.

Speaking of big men, I wonder how differently things would be for Tim Duncan had he come up in this era? He was the last of the big men to stay all 4 years. Shane Battier did, but he was nowhere the prospect that TD was, despite winning Player of the Year. Would Duncan stay all four years in this era? Who knows? But seeing Embiid play makes me wonder how good he would be if he did stay in school an extra 3 years. Of course why not get the on the job training for millions of dollars if you are as good as he is. He will go into the league and immediately start. If you were a techie nerd and some firm offered to develop your software skills and pay you for it, you wouldn’t say ‘nah I’m good, being poor and having fun in college, going to classes and studying.” It does make you wonder though.

During a crucial stretch in the 2nd half we were told by an usher that we needed to sit down because we were obstructing people’s view. I wanted to say “tell them they need to be standing up” . I thought I was at a Jayhawks game, not at a dog show. I’ve been to NBA games where the fans didn’t sit for entire halves of play, and this usher is telling me to sit down? What is UP WITH THAT? I never thought I would encounter this at Allen Fieldhouse.

We spotted some former Jayhawks at the game Saturday, sitting behind the team bench. Travis Releford was there, sitting beside Aaron Miles and Wayne Simien. I randomly saw Tim Hardaway (yes that one) sitting in front of me and my buddy. What was he doing in Lawrence? Is he a scout now or something? I had seen him earlier and thought I was just being racist (Not all bald black guys look alike Mick.), but sure enough we realized it was him.
Not sure what to make of this photo here.

Collison and Hinrich are two of my favorite players, but the other side of me wonders if there is another message behind this “team photo”. I’m sure it’s harmless but it’s definitely one of those things that make you go hmmmmmmmmm.
That loss to Colorado doesn’t look so bad now. Colorado put up a fight against Oklahoma State and only lost by a couple of buckets (5 points). They are currently ranked number 20 in the country.

UCLA vs. Duke was interesting the first half. Kyle Anderson looks like he will be fun to watch in the NBA as a 6’8 point guard. He almost had a triple double in the first half, but neither he nor the rest of the tea played particularly well during the 2nd half. Zach Lavine looked good too and Bryce Alford looks like Steve Novak 2.0 (for better or worse). Their defense is terrible though. I could see them winning it all in the NIT or getting knocked out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It does make me want to watch them play Arizona on January 9th.

Happy holidays to all you readers and non-readers out there. It’s time for me to sit down and watch KD go HAM against the Knicks in MSG (As of me posting this he’s 6 for his first 7 shots. If this Clippers-Warriors matchup tonight is half as entertaining as I think it will be, then we are in for a treat.

Peace.