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

 

 

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Talking Turkey

It was a good ass week for hoops last week. The Warriors somehow managed to wow me again, Kentucky hit the nation with the nastiest 1-2 combo I’ve seen since Lennox Lewis was boxing, and the NBA Rookie of the Year award has become a two person race.

I peeped the Champions Classic on Tuesday night and was rather impressed with what I saw. It was a basically a pair of Wackarnold’s All American games. After watching the Kentucky-Duke game, the KU-Sparty game was a serious letdown.

Bill Self still loves to keep his best shooters on the bench and clog the lanes with big men. I don’t understand why Brannen Greene (as of now suspended for 6 games) or Svi Mykhailiuk are not on the floor at all times to keep defenses honest.

If I’m playing Kansas I’ll take my chances with Frank Mason, Devonte Graham, and Wayne Selden shooting from behind the arc. Perry Ellis is a good shooter, but you are doing teams a favor by having him 18-25 feet away from the basket. Maybe he does become a Lamarcus Aldridge clone on the next level, but he is not there yet.

Big ups to Denzel Valentine (triple double), who was the only redeeming aspect of that game. Shit was weaker than a Drake diss record.

Kentucky continues to be a professional basketball camp. If I was an 17 year old stud about to choose a college, the only thing that would keep me from signing with the UK would be their historic legacy of racism. But a night on the town with Ashley Judd’s old ass may be enough to sway a brutha. Speaking inf Kentucky players, peep this article by former national (and NBA )champion Nazr Mohammed.

The Kentucky backcourt of Tyler Ulis ,and Jamal Murray is the best in the country (no disrespect to Ron Baker and Fred Van Fleet).

Speaking of that Duke-Kentucky game, I’ve figured out the formula for the Dukies winning a title. Last year’s title game was easily the blackest roster I’ve seen since I’ve been a hoops fan. Anytime they have had more than four white guys getting major minutes, you can pretty much pencil them in as first weekend flame out.

Grayson Allen had a good weekend up in New York, but you saw what happened on Tuesday when he played against future professionals (2-11 with 6 pts). I saw Bobby Hurley play at Duke, and Allen is no Bobby Hurley. I’d say he’s a “Wojo” with hops and a better shot (no disrespect to “Wojo” or to short white guys—some of my best friends are short and white).

And before you say something about the 2010-2011 team, when they beat Butler; that was a down year for college hoops.

Watching college hoops reminded me of why I prefer NBA ball though. College hoops is so sloppy, coach dominated, and frankly, just an inferior product. The gap between college hoop and pro ball is huge. I basically watch for scouting purposes alone. If you wanted to put money on how many college games I’ll watch this year, I’d bet -25. Call your bookie now.

Now, onto the pros:

 

Monday

Some good ass games to start the week with

New York-Miami

The hype on Kristaps Porzingis is getting loud. Playing in a buzz heavy city like New York lends favor for a guy like Porzingis. I hope Justice Winslow is using this as fuel to show out against the Knickerbockers. The media is dying to give Porzingis a nickname and they are reaching. Frankly his last name alone is better than “KP” (there is already a KD why add confusion?), “The Zinger”, or “Rook.” Its much easier for me to yell “Porzingis” when homie is going Fed in a big game. Reminds me of basketball bromance with Sabonis. The syllables just roll off the tongue.

San Antonio- Phoenix

Any other year, the Spurs would be number one option, but with League Pass, the urgency isn’t as strong. I can’t say enough about how much I want to see how they match up with the Dubs. More on them later though.

Sacramento vs. Charlotte will be worth checking out. Rondo is putting up triple doubles faster than you can say Russell Westbrook. I still fux with Rondo, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

This Detroit-Milwaukee game is the perfect example of why I love the condensed game feature on NBA league pass. It’ll be interesting, but not exactly beautiful. Kind of like “ugly” women in New York–still exotic enough to make it worth checking out.

 

Tuesday

Chicago-Portland will be the best game of the night, but the Golden State-Lakers game will be the best blow out game you’ve ever seen.

Speaking of the Warriors, Last Week’s Good Ass Game of the Week, lived up to the hype. Even though Golden State was down, they never panicked. Draymond Green’s three at the end of the 3rd period may as well have been the game winner. His reaction after he hit it, just showed how much swag they have right now.

I love how confident they are. Last year they thought they were good, but this year they know they are good. It is making all the difference in the way they prepare for games.

In Phil Jackson’s “Eleven Rings” (a great read), he talks about the 5 stages of tribal culture.

Level 1 is “All Life Sucks.” The best example of this are franchises like the Kings, and the 76ers.

Level 2 is “My life Sucks” This would be the Clippers right up to the point of them drafting “Beige” Griffin.

Level 3 is “I’m great and your’re not.” Kobe era Lakers without Phil.

Level 4 “We’re Great” Spurs.

Level 5 “Life is Great.” Innocent Wonderment. Talk is about infinite potential and making history. The tribe is in competition with what is possible, not another tribe. Think the 72 win Bulls.

 

Level 5 is where the Warriors are right now. They know they are special, and young enough to enjoy the newness of it all. They are having fun, which makes it fun to watch them. I haven’t seen this kind of buzz surrounding a team’s offense since the showtime Lakers. It is fitting that they can tie the record for best start to a season by beating them on Tuesday.

Wednesday

Cleveland-Toronto

I hope this is a second round matchup in the playoffs.

Atlanta-Minnesota 

Trust me. By the way. I love me some Karl Anthony Towns. He plays D, he has a good post game, and he can pass. I’m just sayin’

Sacramento-Milwaukee

The highlights alone will be worth watching.

Miami-Detroit

Hassan Whiteside will be the starting big man for the Eastern Conference All Stars.

Dallas-San Antonio (GOOD ASS GAME OF THE WEEK)

Can you say live tweet session? #FULLSASS

Thursday

This some good ass Turkey.

Friday

Sacramento vs. Minnesota

Some young talent in this one.

Golden State vs. Phoenix

Suns will hang with them for about 2 -3 quarters before Dubs run away from them. Records will be broken.

Detroit vs. Oklahoma City

The return of Reggie.

 

Saturday

Atlanta vs. San Antonio  will be something like this.

Sunday

Minnesota-Los Angeles 

If you really need to tap that vein.

 

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Peace.

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