That’s That

Wow. Warriors in five games. If only somebody had warned us that the series would be over so qui— oh I did predict? Well I’ll be damned (feigns humility for brief second before continuing), maybe it was just a lucky guess. Or maybe it was just as simple as adding Kevin Durant and subtracting Harrison Barnes.

People forget that the Warriors came within a minute of repeating as champions last year with Harrison Barnes as their starting small forward no Andrew Bogut to clog the middle of the paint. Although the Warriors couldn’t quite replace Bogut this year, they made a significant upgrade at the 3 position. Golden State didn’t even need KD to perform as scintillating as he was against the Cavs, they just needed him to play better than Harrison Barnes (who may actually have turned out to be the biggest loser in this whole saga–you know if making 94 million dollars is considered losing).

Except for ill timed rashes of mental lapses, the Cavaliers actually played decent defense this series. While the occasional mental lapse may not hurt Lebron and co. against teams like Toronto, Indiana, or Boston, it only takes a couple of poor possessions for a 4 point deficit to become a double digit lead against the Warriors. The margin of error against them is extremely thin.

Lebron is the best basketball player I have ever seen, but he is a terrible general manager. Remember his first tour of duty with the Cavs when he said that forward J.J. Hickson was not an expendable piece around the trading deadline? Then shortly after that he had to have an over the hill Antawn Jamison on his squad. Right before he left Miami, he lobbied for the Heat to draft Shabazz Napier at the point guard position. This time around he leveraged his power to make Cleveland sign Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson to huge contracts.

Now Tristan Thompson (who only pulled down 8 rebounds last night) would probably have commanded that kind of money eventually, being one of the few legitimate 7-footers left in the league, but Kevin Love did not play like a max contract player in this series. In fact, we may have seen the last of Kevin Love in a Cavaliers uniform. In a must win game, the guy takes only eight shots–missing three free throws and scoring only 6 points in the process. His plus/minus ratio was a -23 when he was on the court, and only three of his ten rebounds were on the offensive glass.

J.R. Smith surprised me this series. He had two stinkers in games 1 and 2 in Oakland, but managed to rebound and play well the last 3 games. Last night he put in 25 points on 9 for 11 shooting.  Still, the Cavaliers are going to need more wing players who defend to even have a chance in next year’s Finals (against either Golden State or San Antonio).

Cleveland’s biggest personnel problems stem from having too many one way specialist on the court. Though Kyle Korver, Channing Frye, Richard Jefferson, and Kevin Love can add a little life to the offense, none of those guys can defend.

Isn’t it too bad that Andrew Wiggins begged for Cleveland to trade him because he didn’t think Lebron could help him be a better player? Wait. That’s not what happened? Oh well, its not like he was a wing who could score a little bit right? Oh he does have some offensive skills? Well, even if he can score, its not like he can defend. What’s that you say? He’s an elite defender at his position? Fuck outta here! I’m not tryna hear that. Lebron wouldn’t push for the team to trade a guy like that now would he? WOULD HE? Yea I didn’t think so either.

All you have to do is compare the Cavaliers’ bench production to the Warriors’ and you will see where this series was lost. 7 points from their bench last night and we didn’t see much of Channing Frye, or Derrick Williams. Backup point guard, Deron Williams, is beyond washed. I bet he gives his retirement papers to the league by Friday.

Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala played consistently well–better than anyone on Cleveland’s bench (Iguodala had a +60 rating for the entire Finals). Javale McGee had moderate success the first 2 games, and he and the rest of the second unit contributed just enough to make Cleveland feel it. Tyronn Lue had no one he could bring off the bench and have any kind of impact defensively. Lebron averaged 42 minutes a game this final round; logging 46 minutes total last night.

Kevin Durant put on such a beautiful display of dominance that Draymond Green’s own inconsistent performance was overshadowed; coming nowhere close to how he played in game 7 of last year’s instant classic.

 

It is understandable that many people found this season to be unsatisfactory. No one was able to match the beautiful basketball on display up in Oakland, and the only team that could come close to competing had its hopes dashed by an overzealous Georgian. Despite what you might hear, the Spurs were in fact, the second best team in the NBA. I don’t expect much to change for next year. Washington is two moves away from me taking them seriously, so they loom in the background as a potential troublemaker.

I’m extremely curious to see if a) the Celtics finally use their chess pieces to put a championship team together next season and b) who the Cavs bring back next year.

Outside of Lebron, I think everybody can be had at a price. As outstanding as Kyrie Irving is, I don’t think he is the right guy for the kind of offense that can beat Golden State. Before you start tweeting me, take a second and think about how much more deadly Kevin Love would be if Mike Conley or John Wall were running that offense. Kyrie doesn’t get his teammates involved easily, and typically passes when its his only option.

I’m sure second best doesn’t sit too well with James, so something will have to be done to at least give the appearance that maybe they can beat Golden State four times in a series.

We still don’t know if this is the beginning of a dominant era for the Warriors or just a vacuum, but we’ll soon find out this off-season. Shaun Livingston and Stephen Curry will be free agents and we’ll likely see a few new faces on the roster next season. The beauty of the off-season is that up until next season’s tip, all 30 teams have a legitimate chance at being champions. Maybe things won’t be as predictable as they were this season, but I highly doubt it.

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

Delayed Gratification

Before we get into this year’s highly anticipated NBA Finals. I’d like to give a shout out to the Boston Celtics and San Antonio for having successful seasons. Although I think the Celtics didn’t work hard enough to get Demarcus Cousins or Jimmy Butler on the team this year, I’m not so sure that would have been worth two more wins in this year’s conference finals. I am curious if they are going to run it back with the addition of another young lottery pick are trade their number one pick for some vet pieces to help Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say they overachieved this year with their current roster. Whatever Danny Ainge decides to do this off-season, it will be tough to mess this off-season up for the Celtics. They have a lot of good options.

The Spurs will have a challenging off-season themselves, as there are a few questions that must be answered for them to sustain their run of excellence for the next few seasons. Though it seems like Dejounte Murray is poised to be the point guard of the future, I think it would behoove the Spurs to sign a veteran to serve as a bridge for Murray era. There are a number of free agent point guards the Spurs could sign on the cheap who could help mentor the young prodigy as he grows into his role as a floor leader. I personally am rooting for a George Hill/Gregg Popovich reunion next season.

Jonathan Simmons may have played his last game in a Spurs uniform, as his payday is right down the road waiting for him once the free agency period starts. He is a restricted free agent, but if a team offers him a ton of money to go play for them, San Antonio might let him walk. This would be unfortunate because I’ve been one of Juice Man’s biggest fans and I’d love to see him back on the team. For what’s out there at the wing position, he could turn out to be a good investment.

I would be surprised if Patty Mills plays for the team next year. He is an unrestricted free agent and some marginal team is probably going to be foolish enough to drop some major dough on a player who isn’t good enough to be a starting point guard for a contending team. Kawhi’s injury in Game 1 last round turned the conference finals into a pre season tryouts. Spurs players were just playing for their jobs after it was clear they were not going to advance.

Looking down the road, the Spurs are going to need some young front court players as Lamarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol are clearly on the wrong side of their careers and can’t be depended on to carry a team if Leonard was unavailable for some reason. Kyle Anderson hasn’t improved all that much since he first got into the league three years ago, and it may be time to start looking for Danny Green’s eventual replacement. Green does some things well (like stopping 3-on-1 fast breaks)  and some things not so well (like dribbling). He is like that boyfriend some women have that does just enough to get dumped. She doesn’t break up with him, but she thinks about it seriously at least once every 3 months. 4 years later, both parties are wondering where this thing is going.

Outside of Kawhi and Murray, there are a lot of questions to be answered this off-season. A lot of critics think this is beginning of the end of the Spurs dynasty, but I think this is just a transition period. Either way, this off season will be the critical point we look back on five years from now when accessing the prime of Kawhi Leonard’s career.

 

FINALS PREDICTIONS

You must excuse me if I seem bored with the Cavs-Warriors threematch, but at this point it seems pretty anti-climatic. Besides the first 30 minutes of game 1 of Spurs-Warriors, there has been little doubt who would be in the NBA Finals. Neither team was tested on their way to the final round, and there was a part of me that was disappointed that Cleveland dropped a game against Boston. It would have been cool to see both teams head into the Finals 12-0. Alas, this is the best the 2017 season could give to us fans.

3 Keys to the series:

Draymond Green/ Andre Iguodala vs. Lebron

Lebron is going to get his no matter what, but Green and Iggy are going to have to figure out a way to slow him down, make him work for points, and not get into foul trouble. Refs tend to swallow their whistles when Lebron creates contact by dipping his shoulders into people’s chest and using his off-hand to push into guys. If there is a foul called, it’s usually on the defensive player somehow. Rasheed Wallace put it best when he said, “These guys (Kobe, Shaq, Lebron) are supposed to be the best right? So why do they need more help if they are so good?” That is exactly why I @bucks with Sheed even if he is fibbing about making up the phrase “Ball Don’t Lie”.

Role Players

We haven’t seen this kind of star power on both Finals teams since the 2013 and 2014 Spurs-Heat matchups, and before that, the Celtics-Lakers rivalry in the 80’s. However, anyone who knows anything about NBA basketball knows that its the how role players play that will determine who wins these playoff games.

It isn’t crazy to expect big numbers from Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Steph Curry, but you never know what you are going to get from Kevin Love and Klay Thompson on the offensive end (although both can easily put up 40 points in the blink of the eye). The difference between the two players is that Love is an average defender at best, while Thompson is the best defensive 2 guard in the league. To think that both players are afterthoughts shows you how good both teams are.

Look for the Kardashian curse to rear its ugly head this series as Tristan Thompson should have a big series against this thin front court of Golden State–but he won’t. I can’t ever quantify these suspicions with anything but intuition, but wasn’t I right about James Harden swoon last year because he was dating Khloe? I’m just saying.

Golden State has the better bench of the two teams with guys like Javale McGee, Shaun Livingston, Andre Iguodala all making important contributions with the second unit. Ian Clark and Patrick McCaw can be counted on to steal some minutes at the guard spots. Don’t forget that Mike Brown (?) can always count on David West or Matt Barnes to provide some toughness whenever that is needed.

The Cavaliers have a lot of washed dudes coming off the bench, like old ass Kyle Korver, Deron Williams, Richard Jefferson, and Derrick Williams.

Defense

For all the talk about their offense, Warriors had one of the best defenses in the NBA this year. The Cavaliers? Not so much. There was even a time period where their defensive rating was 30th in the league. They haven’t exactly faced any offensive juggernauts this post season, so people have been tricked into thinking that they “flipped that switch.”

The Warriors are phenomenal at finding the “mouse in the house” and exposing it again and again. Outside of Tristan Thompson, Lebron James, and sometimes Iman Shumpert, is there anyone on that Cleveland roster that will scare the Warriors? J.R. Smith can bring it on  occasion, but he can just as easily space out at anytime. The rest of the team is compiled of average defenders. The Spurs were a top 5 team in defense and you saw what happened to them, and before you say “but Kawhi Leonard was hurt” please realize that it would have taken EVERYTHING to go right for the Spurs to even have a chance at winning last round.

People tend to think this has the makings of a classic, but I don’t see it. Star power aside for Cleveland, they are ill-equipped to deal with one of the best offenses in NBA history. Warriors in five, and the only reason I’m not predicting a sweep is out of respect to Lebron. I may sound as crazy as I did when I said the Spurs would beat Golden State last round, but you saw what happened that first 30 minutes before Kawhi got hurt (like what I did right there?). There could have been a number of reasons why San Antonio was dominating before that take down by Zaza, but before that infamous play, I wasn’t looking so crazy now was I? If both teams remain healthy the entire series, the Warriors will clinch it five games and it may not even be that close. And oh yeah, Draymond Green is going to win the Finals MVP, just like I predicted in the season preview.

Have a good week.

 

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. 

 

House Money (Tried to Told Ya’ll)

Didn’t I tell you the Rockets were busters? Didn’t I tell you that James Harden’s game is all smoke and mirrors? Didn’t I tell you that Tony Parker’s injury would be a blessing in disguise? I love to troll as much as the next man, but I don’t just be saying shit to hear myself talk. Ya’ll gon learn to start listening to me. As my dude Bomani Jones is fond of saying, “Listen to me now. Believe me later on.”

We got a game 7 in Boston on Monday between the Wizards and the Celtics. I would be shocked if the Celtics lose this game at home. Role players tend to not show up in elimination games on the road. John Wall and Bradley Beal are going to need help if they are going to advance to the next round. I’ll definitely be tuning in because a) its Monday and I don’t have anything better to do, and b) its game 7.  You really find out what these players are made of during the pressure packed situations. I love elimination games. Whoever wins this series will be lucky to get two wins against the Cavaliers.

 

The Warriors vs. Spurs Western Conference Finals may as well be the NBA Finals. Barring major injury to key contributors, whoever comes out of this round should be the clear-cut favorites against the Lebrons. People think this is dissing Lebron, but the beauty of basketball is that your weaknesses will get exposed. Everything comes out in the wash when you cut corners in hoop.

Cleveland has yet to play an offensively competent team in the playoffs and that trend will continue until they face the Warriors or Spurs. Cleveland statistically had one of the worst regular season defensive statistics of all the playoff teams. Luckily for the Cavs, playing in the east and having Lebron can cover up a lot of ugly blemishes. Lebron is like the most effective IG filter for any NBA team.

He has proved from time to time that he can drag the worst four scrubs ever assembled and still take them to the NBA Finals. Mad respect given, but to win in pro basketball the other players–four to nine–have to play well. You can’t convince me that the Warriors and Spurs aren’t stocked with superior role players in comparison to the Cavaliers. Go look it up if you don’t believe me, and after you do, I want you to make a list of all the players on Cleveland’s roster not named Lebron or Tristan who can defend their position well.

Bringing it back to this series for a second, the only chance that the Spurs has is through in-game adjustments and timely substitutions. Jonathan Simmons has proven he belongs on the court, and Gregg Popovich will have no choice but to give Dejounte Murray some run against the tall guards of Golden State.

Throw out what happened in the regular season, as these are two different teams from what you saw before April began. The biggest problem the Spurs face is the incredible amount of length and quickness they have to throw at San Antonio. Matt Barnes, Andre Iguodala, and Shaun Livingston all can come off the bench and disrupt an offense with their defensive versatility.

Spurs can take advantage of their mismatch in the paint with Pau Gasol and Lamarcus Aldridge if they can somehow get the ball across the court, and keep their entry passes from getting intercepted or tipped away (thus creating transition opportunities for the Warriors and igniting their offense). Spurs fans know that David West isn’t the defender he once was, but look for Javale McGee to continue to impact the game with his presence in the paint, rebounding, and athleticism.

The play of Patty Mills, Manu Ginobili, Kyle Anderson, Jonathan Simmons and Dejounte Murray–San Antonio’s ballhandlers not named Kawhi– will determine if these games are close nail biter endings or blowout losses. If the Spurs can slow the tempo down, attack the paint, and get Kevin Durant and Draymond Green in foul trouble, this could be a troublesome affair for the Warriors.

On defense, the Spurs will have to run the Warriors off the three-point line and control the boards. The Warriors feast off of open threes and transition points, so it will be important for San Antonio to not hoist jump shots early in the shot clock, and not turn the ball over.

Lebron couldn’t beat the Warriors by himself in 2015, so don’t expect a hobbled Kawhi Leonard to carry the San Antonio to finals alone. Aldridge and Gasol are going to have to chip in on the boards and points in the paint . I’m not sure what we can realistically expect David Lee and Dewayne Dedmon to contribute. Dedmon (with his stone hands) has played himself into Pop’s doghouse and Lee had serious issues on defense last round. If Dedmon can’t catch passes, then he will need to play smart defense and rebound to stay on the court. Lee could be a good piece on the offensive end, but better believe that the Warriors will go at him when he gets back on D. Golden State loves finding the mismatches and attacking it. #mouseinthehouse

This may sound obvious, but the Spurs will have to play their best team ball of the season to even have a chance at winning this series. By Game 4, both coaching staffs will have a clear idea on which lineups and matchups work most effectively, and the real chess game will begin. Popovich has to use all his chess pieces effectively in order to advance to the NBA Finals, so keep an eye on the role players in this series.

The margin of error is very small, and though San Antonio has proven they are talented and fearless, the biggest hurdle they will face is a mental one.The discipline and focus that it takes to beat these Warriors four times in seven games is what will determine who wins. The Spurs must stick to their game plan, value every possession, and take smart shots. The Warriors will penalize them on the other end every time they turn the ball over, take a bad shot, or forget how to set screens and make the extra pass.

At this point, San Antonio is playing with house money. Having won 60 plus wins and advanced to the Western Conference Finals only a year removed from Tim Duncan’s retirement, this season is already a success for them. They are also huge underdogs. They will be facing tremendously less pressure than veteran players like Zaza Pachulia, Matt Barnes, Javale McGee, Kevin Durant, and David West (who knows how many seasons he has left in him). Pressure does funny things to people, don’t discount that element this round.

As much as I want to say Spurs in six games, there are just too many unknowns. I still can’t pick them to——— nah you know what? Fuck it. Spurs in six. I’m putting 100 dollars on San Antonio and in a week and a half, I’m collecting 900 dollars. If you like watching exceptional basketball execution, then I suggest that you watch every minute of this series. Get your bets in before 2:00 pm today because Los Spurs are going to shock the world!

Buen Provecho

 

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. 

Observations From a Dimly Lit Living Room

Are you entertained? Well neither am I honestly. The Eastern Conference playoff has been as trash as I thought it would be. The Cavs look like they are going to sweep their way to the Finals and everyone is going fight to suck the media teat of Lebron James when they haven’t even had to break a sweat yet. I can’t wait til they get exposed in the NBA Finals. For all the Lebron dominance talk, he’d be lucky to get a top four seed if they had to go through the teams out west. #fraudulent

Let us pour one out for veteran Tony Parker as his career might have come to an end this week on a not so freak accident. You know it’s a bad injury if someone gets hurt on a non-contact injury. It happened to Kobe. I remember when Vinny Testaverde ruptured his Achilles back in ’99 for the Jets, and you knew from the look on Parker’s face that his season was over.

Salutes to Tony though for showing that just because you are washed, doesn’t mean you can’t still be effective when your team really needs it. Seeing him rupture his quad though put a scare in me, because I definitely don’t want to go out like that. I’d rather walk away knowing I had a little left in the tank than to be carried off the pickup courts. Besides, I don’t have insurance. I can’t afford to miss work because I got hurt playing a basketball game. Tony Parker’s injury only further reinforces the fact that I need to retire from full court ball soon because I’m almost 40, and there is no doubt in my mind that I’m washed.

But before we write off the Spurs, the Tony Parker injury may actually be a blessing in disguise. Tony was on the verge of getting his fruit cocktail taken from him the deeper the Spurs went into the playoffs. It was no secret that he was becoming a defensive liability, and his presence on the court was creating some mismatches in the Rockets favor (so what do you think was going to happen if/when they faced the Warriors?).

Although I wouldn’t wish injury to anyone (outside of Lebron, Grayson Allen, Gerald Henderson or Dahntay Jones), this is good for the Spurs because Gregg Popovich can’t lean on Parker for heavy minutes down the stretch. Pops has to go to the more inexperienced, but more athletic guards on the bench. Jonathan Simmons, Dejounte Murray, Kyle Anderson, and Manu Ginobili match up way better with the long Warriors guards than Patty Mills or Parker. They may actually have a chance now to win a couple of games in the Western Conference Finals.

As for the Rockets, just when I was ready to think better of James Harden, he goes and does James Harden things. He just can’t help himself. He is unequivocally a crybaby ass #Buster who would rather play to the refs than play legit basketball. He’s like the guy you play in pickup ball who calls fouls about a half second after they realize they are going to miss a layup. Dude is all smoke and mirrors. I respect nothing about his basketball game. And to all you trolls and haters who flooded my phone with text messages because you’d written the Spurs off after that abysmal game one, go eat a d**k in the design in the Rockets logo.

Rockets are still garbage, and watching this series only reminded me of why I stopped watching Rockets games in the first place. They are fucking annoying! I don’t know how Patrick Beverley made it this far in life being the asshole he is. I bet his parents wanted to choke him as a teenager. Look at this childhood picture.pb_2

That is the face of a sneaky-as-fuck kid. I bet his parents had at least three conversations with him about how stealing from your family is wrong. Beverley and Harden alone are enough to want to throw a shoe at the television, but then Sam Dekker’s image comes onto the screen and I immediately want to mush his entitled face into a brick wall. I’m going to enjoy watching them get sent fishing.

Congratulations to the Toronto Rappers Raptors for having another wonderfully mediocre season. By 5:00 pm eastern time they will be swept and planning their summer vacations to Greece, Libya, and Croatia. Their “superstars” Demar Derozan and Kyle Lowry are actually just really good players who need a real superstar to lead their team to a Finals appearance. I still think Demar is the second best shooting guard in the league, but remember when people were trying to say Kyle Lowry was a top 3 point guard in the east? NOT  SO FAST MY FRIEND!!!

Utah-Golden State has shaken out exactly as I expected. Utah has competed, but there is only so much you can do against the Warriors. They are stacked. You’d have to go all the way back to the 80’s Lakers and Celtics teams to see a time when four superstars played on the same team. This Warriors team isn’t even humming yet and teams can’t keep up with them. Just you wait. That first quarter in the final game of the Blazers series was just a little taste of what they are capable of doing. In the meantime, its been fun making “Quin Snyder looks like someone who jerks off with Icy Hot” jokes (shout out to Aaron McGruder). Their off-season will be starting around Tuesday morning at 12:01 CST. daria-screen-1-499x380

As for the Boston-Washington series, its been ugly, but it’s also been heated. Some writers have even gone as far to say that this series has a 90’s feel to it. When two sneaky dirty teams face off in the playoffs, some fuck shit is bound to pop off. And wherever there is fuckshit happening, you best believe the fuck boys are in the vicinity. I actually gained a little respect for Kelly Oubre, even though his reaction was a typical emo light-skinned guy reaction. Had he been smarter about it, he would just given Kelly Olynyck a nice elbow to the grill gut when no one was looking (if you’re gonna get suspended you may as well get your money’s worth).

Olynck has become Frank Brickowski 2.0, hiding behind his Opie Cunningham. friendly Canadian neighbor facade, but is one of the dirtiest players in the NBA. Its hard rooting FOR the Cleveland Cavaliers, but there is a small part of me that will enjoy them exposing the Boston Celtics’ flaws next round (sorry Mikey)–mostly because I’m mad that Danny Ainge didn’t try to make a run at the Eastern Conference title this year (Jimmy Butler or Paul George would have been the needle mover they needed to knock off Lebron). You can talk all you want about not mortgaging the future by trying to win a title this year, but the truth is you never know what is going to happen down the road. Who would have thought we’d see Harden, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka playing in the playoffs but on four different teams?

Celtics-Cavs and Spurs-Warriors is probably the best scenario we could have imagined for the Conference Finals. Enjoy this week of hoop!

BM

 

[Update at 1:17 pm] Whoops! Almost forgot to shout out the dudes over at TRUEHOOP who’ve undergone some massive changes over at the four lettered network. I’m very happy that Big Wos and Amin are still on the air keeping it street. #Respect

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. 

ROUND 2: FIGHT!

Some thoughts on the first round before we advance to the conference semi-finals:

  1. Even though the Jazz have a game 7 in L.A. this afternoon, I think this series ended Friday night when Utah couldn’t take game 6 at home. I partly blame Quinn Snyder for that loss. I don’t know what the man has against Boris Diaw, but he has not played him very much this round. Diaw has performed fairly well despite his diminished role. Friday night he logged 14 minutes scoring 5 points, grabbing 2 boards, 1 assist, and plus 13 +/- ratio. His passes were crisp, his screens were solid, and he was constantly moving without the ball–always in the right place at the right time. Quinn Snyder insisted on playing the inexperienced Brazilian guard Roger Neto, who took a series of bad shots during crunch time that contributed to the 11 point deficit that the Jazz faced down the stretch (his +/- ratio was a negative 10). Shelvin Mack never saw the court, and neither did Dante Exum. The Jazz lost by 5 last night. I’m putting it on wax now: when they look back to see why they lost the series, you can point to Quinn Snyder’s weird substitute patterns. Oh well, I’m looking forward to a Clippers-Warriors 2nd round because there will be a lot of shit talking as the Clippers get beat in five. It could been you Utah fans, losing in maybe six.
  2. There is still a little room to jump on the Mike Conley bandwagon, but we don’t know how long there will be seats available. He had a hell of a series, and after all the think pieces that have been and will be written, we can finally say that Mike Conley is no longer underrated.
  3. Tony Parker is still washed, but he may have enough juice to get the Spurs to the Western Conference Finals. That game 6 performance in Memphis was vintage Tony. Much respect to the OG Frenchman.

 

Thoughts on the Second Round

  • Don’t get caught up in the hype of the Lebron vs. Drake subplot in the Cavaliers-Raptors series. That one is going to be a snoozer. Toronto will be lucky to win one game next round. I am actually rooting for a Cleveland sweep simply because it means less screen time for Wheelchair Jimmy— at least until the Warriors make the Finals, and of course he’ll be all up in the mix like he was there from day one. #nonewfriends
  • We might actually see some fisticuffs with the Celtics-Wizards series. John Wall has already shown the world what he is capable of this playoffs. The problem is that no one could sit through and entire game of an Atlanta Hawks game without thinking “people still play basketball this way?” This series will be much better for basketball purists as the highlight matchup of John Wall/Bradley Beal vs Isaiah Thomas/Avery Bradley will be scintillating at times. The biggest question for the clash of backcourts is “who is Isaiah Thomas going to guard?” #mouseinthehouse Thomas may get 20-30 points, but he may also give up 50 too. Celtics have a slight advantage with their overall depth, and I think this will make the difference as they beat the Wiz in 6 games, although I’d almost talked myself into Wizards in 7.
  • There is a hint of 1995 in the air with this Rockets-Spurs series. Just like in ’95, both teams have legitimate MVP candidates, but unfortunately, no one will know who won the award until late June. Spurs can breath of sigh of relief after surviving the Grizzlebies, but the Rockets provide a different kind of challenge. The Rockets’ style of play creates a ton of possessions, so expect a lot of substitutions and a lot of fouls. The Rockets aren’t known for their defensive prowess, but they do have a couple of good defenders on the team (Trevor Ariza and Pat Beverley), and they have some good rebounding forwards in Nene and Clint Capela. I think this is the perfect kind of series for Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, and David Lee to shine. You know Kawhi is going to get his, but the role players on the Spurs will have an easier time scoring on this Rockets unit than last series. Also, I’m not sure James Harden’s ankle is completely healthy. I’m taking San Antonio in six out of respect, although my gut says it will only take five games.

Enjoy the semi-finals.

 

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. 

The Finish Line

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

Eastern Conference

Cleveland vs Indiana

Toronto vs. Detroit

Atlanta vs. Charlotte

Boston vs. Miami

Western Conference

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

San Antonio vs. Dallas

Oklahoma City vs. Memphis

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Portland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other notable ESPN police:

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

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

Notable Non-Police:

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

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Bomani Jones– HELLLLLLLLLLL NO!

jones

 

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

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

 

Peace,

BM

#fullsass #thisagoodassgame

thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

 

Good Ass Games of The Week:

 

Monday

Dallas-Utah 

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

Charlotte-Boston

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

 

“Tap That Vein” Tuesday

Memphis- Los Angeles Clippers 

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

Oklahoma City- San Antonio

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

 

Wednesday

Spurs-Dallas

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

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

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

 

END OF SEASON. NEXT WEEK: FULLSASS PLAYOFF PREVIEW

 

 

Week of Beatdowns


MMMMPPPHHHHHH.

That’s all I say when I was watching Kansas get that ass torn up against Kentucky. The Wildcats made the Jayhawks look like Tweety Birds. Bill himself “tawt he taw a putty tat” and realized he needed something stronger, after that game was over.

My goodness. You can learn a lot from a blowout, and in what equated to be a glorified McDonald’s All American game, there was so much to watch. Make no mistake about it folks, that was an NBA tryout camp. And if you didn’t go to Duke, Michigan State, Kansas, or Kentucky, then that meant you are not a projected lottery pick.

In a match up of what some call “stacked vs. stacked”, Kentucky’s stacked is significantly bustier. Tuesday night’s game was like watching four Beverly Hills Housewives comparing boob jobs. The rich just get richer.

When the #5 team in the country cannot get within 32 points of the #1 team in the country, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the field. Coaches, scale back the expectations, dial down the criticism, and just trust the process of learning. Think of yourselves as teachers (but paid really well) and help these young men become better ballplayers and sportsmen.

Use the film sessions as good teaching opportunities, and focus on specific and immediate goals for the season. Develop the chemistry through team building, win your conference, and gain an At Large- Bid for your school. But most of all, just have fun and enjoy the ride……………… because there is no way in hell that John Calipari can mess this up for Kentucky.

It is absolutely crazy how good they are. Calipari is the dude you sometimes play in XBOX who likes to jack with the slider ratings, and create his own players for his favorite team. But Calipari is gangsta with it,

Cuz this ain’t no game. This is real life. Tuesday looked like a Seniors vs. Freshman high school scrimmage. Once again, Kansas is the #5 team in the country. Sometimes the season lines up when you know that it can be anyone’s “chip”, and sometimes you are pretty sure who the top 5 teams are, and out of that pool–it’s anybody’s title. Well last night may as well have been the national title game. Because you can almost put to rest the notion of Kentucky more than three times this year (if at all).

If your goal as college basketball fan is to see your favorite team win it all this year (and that team is not Kentucky), then don’t even bother watching hoops this year. “Ya Playin Ya Self” like Jeru The Damaja says.

If you lived through the 90-91 UNLV, ’91-92 Duke, 92-93 Michigan, 96-98 Kentucky Wildcats, or even arguably the 94 Arkansas era, then you recognize a juggernaut when you see one. Think about every team that I just mentioned, besides the star players can you name more than one of the role or bench players? The scary part of this team is that even their 12th guy could start at any other school in the country.

KU fans can take solace in the fact that this year’s uniforms are sicccckkkkkkkkk. They are so nice.

I like the new modern cut of the sleeves with classic striped trim. The classic lettering and Jayhawk on the belt of the shorts is a nice touch too. Big ups to whoever designed this year’s uniforms.

Also I’m feeling the Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk era. This boy is going to be good. He is going to be the basketball czar of Lawrence when its all said and done. I will be shocked if he doesn’t win a ton of Big-12 award nominations by the end of his hoops career at KU. He may even be “Fred Hoiberg” good. The kid can shoot and was not scared—not even a little bit.

This week saw a lot of blowout games. I realized after my last post that I’d forgotten to include last night’s Portland-Chicago on my list of “Good ASS Games” of the Week. How could I forget about Bulls vs. Blazers game? The match-up that has historically brought us “The Jordan Shrug” and the Bulls-vs-Blazers video game was on I didn’t put it on the list of Good ASS Games? Amateur move right?

Maybe not. Bulls got smacked on which in turn made the Easter Conference 1-11 for the week against Western Conference games. Portland whupped that ass, and I knew that Dallas was going to go HAM on that Lakers defense. Byron Scott’s crew gave up more booty than Kim Khardasian–letting Dallas score 140 Friday night. One Hundred and FORTY POINTS, WHAT THE FUCK???

Even in the 1980’s when teams had trouble playing defense—the slightest move could create a wardrobe malfunction of epic proportions (Why do you think Dyan Cannon has seats so close to the action?)— you rarely saw one team score that many points on the road. 8 Mavericks players scored double figures last night. Crazy.

The best “Good ASS Game of The Week” was the Cavs-Spurs of course. I wasn’t sure what to expect once I read that the Spurs had a four hour flight delay on their way into Cleveland. I feel like that evened the odds a little bit for Wednesday night’s game. To be honest I wasn’t all that impressed with the Cavaliers. Lebron left behind a better supporting cast to baby-sit a bunch of kids in Ohio.

There are some awesome locker room vets on that team with Shawn Marion and Mike Miller, and James Jones. But they are too old to play the kind of minutes the Cavs need. Lebron is already talking about needing less playing time in order to be fresh for the playoffs. Even when they play bad teams they aren’t blowing them out. If Lebron has to laboriously lead them to the playoffs, it will be an early to playoff exit for Lebron and company. Their defense is no where good enough to get them to the promised land.

It was a Good Ass Game though, it felt like a playoff game in its intensity, but the Spurs superior bench was the difference I think. Notice how Ray Allen still hasn’t made his decision on coming back this year? I bet he’s watching the Cavs right now and is like “NAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH”. By the way–how about that Foot Locker commercial with Derrick Rose and Tim Duncan? Brilliant! I stood up and clapped when I saw that thing.

On to the “Good ASS Games” of next Week.

You’re fucking up if you don’t watch that Memphis-Clippers tomorrow night at 6pm ET. This may be the point where Blake Griffin finally tees off on somebody. I’m imagining the horror in his eyes when he gets hyphy with Zach Randolph and then realizes it was the worst mistake he could have ever made. I just don’t know if he is about that life.

Portland-Boston is worth peepin’ with Lillard and Rondo facing off at the point. I’ll probably watch most of this one then flip to the Grizzlies game(which is on at the same time). I could take or leave the rest of the games that night–depends on how bad I’m jonesin’ for some hoop.

Monday
This is a trap! Take the night off and do something productive. Read a book, go to an open mic, or baste a turkey, but don’t sit around all night and watch hoop.

Clippers play Charlotte after what will be an emotional night in Memphis. Chris Paul comes home to Carolina, and plays in front of family and MJ. Maybe it will be a good game, maybe CP-3 goes HAM for Thanksgiving Week, but maybe it would be best to do something else. It’s a long season, don’t waste a night on a back-to-back game of middle of the pack teams. But if you don’t have anything better to do, then all means peep game.

Tuesday

Golden-State vs. Miami

I would be way more excited if Lebron were still in Miami. The Heat would be about as good as the Denver Nuggets if they played in the Western Conference. This could be a fun game though and certainly worth checking out at least until Sacramento-New Orleans comes on.

Wednesday

I’ll probably toggle between Washington-Cleveland, and Portland-Charlotte that night. I’m all in on the Mavs-Knicks game. That should be entertaining too. You know Phil Jackson can’t wait to unload J.R. Smith onto some poor sap. My guess is that Phil’s brother-in-law loses a bet to him and has to take on his salary in an uneven trade that gives the Knicks the Lakers’ lottery pick for next year. Speaking of the Lakers, I will definitely tune in to watch the Grizzlies maul them at home. Can’t Wait!!

Thursday

All food and no games makes Bobby a fat boy. All food and no games makes Bobby fat boy. All food and no games makes Bobby a fat boy.All food and no games makes Bobby a fat boy.All food and no games makes Bobby a fat boy.All food and no games makes Bobby a fat boy.
All food and no games makes Bobby a fat boy.All food and no games makes Bobby a fat boy.

(BLACK) Friday

MMMPHHHH! So Many GOOD ASS GAMES THO!!!

Chicago-Boston What do you know? Bulls players are getting hurt. Fuck.

Golden State-Charlotte I’m sure there is at least one Davidson alum who will especially interested in this game right?

Clippers-Houston
Dwight Howard-DeAndre Jordan?? It’s gonna be a krunk night in Houston–one thing is certain, this one is sure to be a long ass game.

Dallas-Toronto OooWWWWEEEEEEEEE!!!!
Definitely gonna be a good ass game.

How about closing out the night withMemphis-Portland?
We are going to find out just how good these teams really are. I’m excited for the PG and PF match ups– this could be a grimy one. Just warning you.

What better way to finish the weekend but with Spurs-Celtics in an early Sunday afternoon affair. It’s worth it alone for the Rondo vs. Tony Parker match up–two of the illest around.

Houston and Dallas face off tonight. Definitely worth checking out if you got the time.

Hope your Turkey Day is filled with warmth and mirth. I feel for Lakers’ Wayne Ellington who just recently lost his father. It is never easy losing a family member, but having it happen this close to the holidays makes it even tougher. Best wishes for that man and his family.

Happy Thanksgiving to every one out there. We have a lot to be thankful for as Americans. I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to play this.

BM
@clickpicka79
#itsagoodassgame