The Teen Wolves Take Manhattan

I got chills walking up 8th avenue, and it wasn’t from the wind tunnels created by the Manhattan skyscrapers. Midtown was lit up with lights, traffic, and people; and Madison Square Garden was draped in a uniformly Knickerbocker blue and orange. Rightly or wrongly, New York City has been widely regarded as the “Mecca of basketball” and it would be disingenuous of me to write a book about basketball without attending a Knicks game.

Madison Square Garden has had its share of historical events. Moments from the 94 NHL Finals commemorate and decorate the arena walls. The once mighty Big East capped every regular season with a conference tournament; providing countless college basketball memories that held as much desperate intensity as the NCAA tournament. It never dawned on me that events like George Harrison’s Concert For Bangladesh, or the famed 9/11 music benefit took place at MSG.

The Garden’s luxurious and clean interior  (and ticket prices) evokes the decor of a high-end hotel. I did not see one piece of litter on its grounds (inside or out) and the staff was extremely courteous and polite. From a visual aspect, there is not a bad seat in the building, however; the seating areas are super cramped. There is zero leg room and I had no where to even put my jacket and notebook.  Lack of comfort aside; my seats were fine (I was fortuitously sandwiched between two attractive women–one an older Italian and the other a younger Eastern European) and I could see the whole court from the 200 level.

New Yorkers are not an easily impressed lot, so it was no surprise that the player introductions were such an elaborate production. A Knicks game is no different from any event you’ll see on Broadway. I can imagine the Knicks’ marketing department faces a pressure that can only be matched in cities like Chicago, Miami, and  Los Angeles where the game is only part of the entertainment package.

I’ve never attended an NBA game where the team was so generous with their team swag. They must’ve busted out the  T-shirt cannons every other full timeout. It was like they couldn’t give those t-shirts away fast enough. “You get a t-shirt! You get a t-shirt! YOU get a t-shirt!” It was kinda fun.

I especially liked the reoccurring Celebrity Row bit that happened at every timeout. This particular Friday night was a bit celebrity starved because they best “celebs” they could find were former Giants punter Sean Landetta (who got the second loudest applause), actors Ansel Elgert and Juan long,  Larry Wilmore, and Joe Budden (who got the loudest applause).

There was even a program on a Jumbotron where you could see who’d be performing during each timeout. I’d seen the Knicks City Dancers on television, but they were even more mesmerizing to watch in person. The dance choreographer put together some great numbers that were executed to perfection. I couldn’t help but think that having Knicks Dancer/choreographer on one’s resume has a certain cache attached to it (which then made me wonder if being an  In Living Color Fly Girl was something you did right before becoming a Laker cheerleader or vice versa but I digress). As of today, I will anoint the KCD’s as the best dance team in the NBA.

My only complaint was the halftime “entertainment” of musician Theo Katzman and his equally boring bandmates. Katzman’s uncle must have greased Knicks owner James Dolan’s palms, because I don’t see how someone could have sat through an audition by Theo without recognizing its  wackness. I took the opportunity to walk the arena concourse during his set.


The game itself was fun. Minnesota was in town and they have a few interesting players, but their roster shows very little direction as to what their goals are for the team. There were a ton of people ready to pencil them in for that 8th seed in the west just because the team had hired Tom Thibodeau. People are looking for all sort of excuse for why Minnesota isn’t playing well. My opinion is that Thibs was a bad fit and the team just isn’t that good.

I gotta say, I’m still not sold on coach Thibs as a head coach. It feels like he didn’t learn a thing from his stint in Chicago, and I’m worried that his style will grind down the bodies of  Andrew Wiggins, Karl Anthony-Towns, and company the same way he did to the Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and Luol Deng Bulls teams (look at the time on the clock during this infamous ACL injury).

For some reason, no one batted an eye when Timberwolves owner gave Thibodeau boatloads of money to be a head coach and GM (pretty sure Jeff Van Gundy, a proven teacher and ambassador for the sport, was available), even though he’s never had any front office experience. Now if a player has a problem with Thibs the coach, they  have to deal with Thibs the GM to resolve it. This misfire by Taylor may set the Timberwolves franchise back 3-5 years and undo all the progress that Flip Saunders worked so hard to create within the organization.

I can’t imagine going to work and having to hear his voice and see his face for the majority of the day. The guy barks non-stop and he has the perpetual expression of someone who hasn’t had a bowel movement in so long that their colon leapt into their upper stomach and just stayed there. He probably belongs in the college game as a head coach–though I wouldn’t send my kid to go to his school and be yelled at by him.

Minnesota needs to figure out what they want to do going forward. Zach Lavine is showing some promise, but he relies too much on his (erratic) 3 point shooting, and his decision-making is questionable at best (the only player he creates shots for is himself). It was smart to put Lavine at shooting guard position because he doesn’t have to facilitate the offense– but he isn’t that great of a shooter yet. I was big on him getting traded until I noticed his 2.24 million dollar salary– a steal for a player with his athleticism.

The biggest problem is that Minnesota has no veteran role players who can contribute on a larger scale. That is fine if they want to do just develop the young guys they already have, but to hear the way Thibs screams at them, you would think they wanna make a run at the playoffs. If that is indeed the case, they will need to make a trade (and that may not even be enough to make the top 8 in the west).

Ricky Rubio clearly needs out of Minneapolis, and Minnesota needs to move on from the Spanish point guard. Its been seven years since the 2009 draft and it is time to recognize Rubio for the kind of player he really is. He is Rajon Rondo light. He plays decent defense and is a good distributor, but he still can’t shoot, and he doesn’t finish at the rim consistently. I think the Timberwolves should see if Philly will bite on a trade for Nerlens Noel (a defensive big who doesn’t need to score), Ersan Iylasova, and Gerald Henderson. Maybe it takes Minnesota throwing in Brandon Rush and Jordan Hill (and a draft pick swap) to make it work, but it wouldn’t hurt to try.

At this point they need to see if Kris Dunn can play or not (He has a Chauncey Billups kind of swag about him–he has played okay in what little run he has gotten and he seems to be soaking in all the lessons the league has to offer a rookie) , and why waste a year with him on the bench, if  the team won’t make the playoffs anyway? If they don’t trade Rubio and he walks away for nothing, then they start next year with the same questions at the PG position possibly wasting another year from your superstar player’s careers. A Rubio trade would benefit both parties, T-Wolves get something in return and Rubio gets out of town. If he doesn’t like where he ends up, he can just play the year out before signing with Golden State next season as Steph Curry’s backup (imagine them on the court at the same time late in quarters).

The next 10 games for Minnesota may decide if they make a trade, or stand pat with what they have. If they go less than .500 over the next couple of weeks, you will probably see a deal made. Either way, it is already clear to me that they don’t have the horses to make a playoff run, and I doubt even a trade would be enough to make it a reality. I think every move made by the coach/front office should be made with next year in mind. Unfortunately I suspect that this collection of young talent will go the way of the “3 J’s” Dallas Mavericks and the 2011-2013 “RunOKC” Thunder.


The Knickerbockers have not made much progress from last season to this season. The Knicks won the game despite having poor floor spacing, terrible ball movement, and more bad shots than good shots. They have an okay nucleus of players that are just enough to get butts in the seats, but offensively they are an eyesore. I kept looking over in Phil Jackson’s direction trying to guess what he thought of such a putrid display.

I’m surprised Jeff Hornacek hasn’t explored the possibility of a Brandon Jennings and Derrick Rose backcourt. The team looked much better offensively when Jennings (who is a really fun player to watch in person) was on the floor, as he is a better shooter and distributor than (the not as explosive as he used to be) Rose; whose jump shot is still broke.

For all the crap that critics like to give Phil Jackson, the current personnel of this team may be best suited for the Triangle. Running P/R plays for Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony may work, but it doesn’t mean its the best option. This team has no clearly defined identity and the Triangle may be the best remedy for such an assortment of good, but not great players. My biggest disappointment from the game I attended was that Jeff Hornacek let the players like Kyle O’ Quinn and Brandon Jennings cool down on the bench after having really productive first halves. Jennings never got back in rhythm but O’Quinn managed to come back in at the right time and give the Knicks what they needed to win the game by grabbing timely rebounds and making big shots.

When I first sat down to my seat, I was concerned that the crowd would be your typical NBA crowd in a tourist city. For many fanbases, the diehard fans  get priced out of games, and this affects the fervency of the atmosphere. In other words, I though the crowd was lame. But then something happened, every time there was a hustle play, or the Knicks managed to get a 50-50 ball, or a big defensive stop, the crowd would roar in a way I’d only seen at Kansas Jayhawks home games. The fans cheered excitedly when they were supposed to and occasionally got super loud.

The familiar chants of “DEFENSE” in unison with the house organ took me back to the 90’s when I was a kid watching Knicks games on television. It gave me goosebumps. It sucks that they are so bad, because Knicks fans deserve a winning team and the NBA is a better league when the Knicks are relevant.

Win or lose, New York City fans really care about their teams (well maybe not the Nets, but I think they should be moved to Seattle). Knicks fans were constantly trolling anyone who made the mistake of wearing their Timberwolves gear (the best insult I heard was “your mother is a really nice woman………but your grandmother is a filthy whore.” This was a TIMBERWOLVES game!!).

As crass as they can be, I enjoy their passion and enthusiasm. Attending Knicks and Mets games have provided me with the type of special experiences that I haven’t felt in many places here in the U.S.A. (I’m convinced that New York is the last American city that I can see myself living) There is an authenticity to the NYC sporting events that is unique to only NYC. You never forget where you are the whole time you are at the Garden. It is one of the few arenas left in the league where the event itself takes a backseat to the arena.


 profile pic b mick  Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found recording podcasts with Craig Stein at FullsassStudios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to

’93 Til………….

1993-1994 was a weird sports year for me. Fresh off a 2nd consecutive Super Bowl win, Jerry Jones lost his mind and started the downward spiral that we now call the Dallas Cowboys.

The Texas Rangers were just exciting enough to grab fans’ attention, but not quite good enough to make it pay off.

The Dallas Mavericks were awful, and it wasn’t until we finally got cable at  our house, that I was able to see the other options out there. To give you a sense of how pathetic the Quinn Buckner  run Mavs were, the Cowboys won more games than they did that season.

My mother and I moved to Dallas from the suburbs, and one of the few perks of that move was that we finally got cable (and free pay-per-view, but that is a tale for another site). Now I could not only watch the national games on NBC, but if I wished I could watch WGN (home of the “GOAT” Michael Jeffrey Jordan), and now I could watch ESPN highlights of other teams.

The Suns were fun to watch back then, but the Knicks had a particular appeal to me as well. My dislike for MJ and my respect for Pat Riley forced me to take notice of a budding rivalry growing between the two teams. When I watched the ’92 Eastern Conference Finals,


it was the first time basketball had gotten my hyped about a matchup that wasn’t Cowboys-Niners. I liked that there was an actual team that would stand up to the Bulls and not be intimidated by his “airness.”

The 92 Knicks pushed the Bulls to the brink before they got their asses handed to them in game 6 of the ECF. The Bulls of course went on to beat the Suns in the Finals.

Xavier McDaniel had a cool name and looked cool, and the Knicks jerseys were dope (I also always wanted this T-shirt). I could fuck with these cats.

Now what did I know about basektball back then? Barely anything at all. But I couldn’t stand Jordan. He traveled and refs never called him for it. He was constantly palming the ball, and if you breathed on him, you got called for a foul.

Loving that era of Knicks basketball is akin to thinking about the girls I dated when I was a teenager. I didn’t know anything about romance, love, or basketball. I just went with what felt good (and what was convenient).

Knicks presented an alternative to what everyone else liked, so I went with it. There is no way I’d watch a team like that these days (Grit N’ Grind Grizz maybe the closest thing we have to those Knicks squads).

Compared to the free flowing movement, and teamball played in today’s era, those Knicks teams played mud ball. They were tough, physical, but watching them score was like trying to “squeeze blood from a turnip.”

Much like the Grit N’ Grind Grizzlies though, there were some characters on those squads. Even though I grew up loving the 80’s Hurricanes, Charlie Ward was a dude I respected, because he’d won a Heisman at Florida State, and he’d always given the Hurricanes the fits. The fact that he also was good enough to play professional basketball was very impressive (he, Bobby Sura, and Sam Cassell were the first 3 guard backcourt I’d ever seen).

Anthony Mason (R.I.P.) was like a left-handed poor man’s Boris Diaw, who always had a fresh cut. He was a big man who could handle the rock, was a great passer, and a good finisher at the rim.


John Starks had a bad ass commercial that will forever be a bond for me and my little brother. There was also of course this dunk that will forever be in the playoff pantheon of dunks.

A lot of people dug Patrick Ewing, but I was more into Oakley as a player. I’m not sure if I ever forgave him for not yamming that botched finger roll against the Pacers that would have given them a chance for the Conference title in 1995. Ewing was finesse, but Oakly was a rock, and the team enforcer.

Offensively he didn’t do a whole lot, but he was an underrated passer, and a pretty decent rebounder (though let’s be honest I didn’t know shit about rebounding back then).  What I liked most about Oakley though was that no one fucked with him. 2684052-9996374918-charl

The look on his face was enough of a veiled threat that only the biggest and baddest would dare to take him on. This of course was great theater to 15 year old me.

Greg Anthony, star point guard of the UNLV Running Rebels, was my dude. I feel like he didn’t get enough run in New York, but I suspect that it may have been because he was a defensive liablity. When he moved west to Portland, I instantly tuned into more Trailblazers games.

Another reason to root for the Knicks was that at one point, they had at least 3 former Dallas Mavericks on their squad: Derek Harper, Rolando Blackmon, Herb Williams, and even James Donaldson had a cup of coffee and an “Everything” bagel with Whitefish there in New York.

Of that group, Harper was the only one to really contribute anything offensively. “Ro” at this point was too old to get major run, although Herb Williams was decent enough to give 6 fouls as a big man (and as a teenager became code for scoring bud–like “Hey did ya’ll invite Herb Williams to come play pickup with us?”).

Poor Charles Smith will always be known for getting his cookies taken from him.

I was never what you would call a Knicks fan, but I rooted for them. In the summer of 1994, I was either watching a Knicks game, or a New York Rangers game, and I thought it was cool that the city of New York (which back then was still a bit of an absraction that I would never fully comprehend until my first visit there in 2000) could get two major championships within a week’s time span.

I was too removed to be more than mildly disappointed after each playoff loss (always under the weirdest circumstances too, remember this?). By the time they got to the post-lockout Finals, I was barely into sports at all (I affectionately call this period my “foggy” years).

NBA basketball is always more exciting when the Knicks are relevant, and its imperative that I visit Madison Square Garden for a Knicks game sometime in the near future.

The future is bright for Knicks fans. They seem to be moving int he right direction, and believe it or not, I trust in Phil. I hope they make the playoffs this year, and I hope they finally become serious contenders within the next 3-4 years. masonriley1

Though the 90’s Knicks never won a title, the fact that Pat Riley was able to build something worth rooting for is a testament to how brilliant he is. That team was not very talented at all, but everyone knew their role and worked with the skill set they posessed.

Pat Riley went from “Showtime Lakers” to the bruising style of basketball that epitomized what people thought of New York. Riley just worked with what he had, and it is no accident that the Van Gundy brothers (who worked with Riley) are renowned for their ability to get their teams to overachieve.

Only a fool would call them losers. They got the most out of their abilities and pushed every team they played to the brink. Knicks fans should be proud of those teams despite their perennial disappointing endings. They never laid down, and they always fought to the very end; which is all you can ever ask of any team that you root for.





Week of Beatdowns


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.

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.


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.


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!!


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


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?

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.



And just like that, the season is here. What a treat opening night was. The Spurs get their rings and eek out a one point victory against the Mavs in what definitely was a “Good Ass Game.” Both teams a little sluggish early on (My boy Boris A.K.A. “the Big Pastry” looked especially out of sync), but by the 3rd quarter they were grooving. For a brief second I wondered if the Mavs were going to ride Dirk’s hot hand all the way to a “W”, and they even had the final shot at the end.

Somehow they managed not to exploit the switch on the pick and roll, which left Danny Green guarding Dirk for about 5-7 seconds. Chandler Parsons chucked it up for one of his 8 misses (2-10 for the whole game) and the Spurs escaped what could have easily been an opening night defeat. Now I may be giving the Mavs too much credit here (San Antonio is a little banged up and missing their Finals MVP–Kawhi Leonard– with an eye infection), but this could easily be a Western Conference Finals preview–don’t sleep on that Rick Carlisle and Dirk tandem.
Kiss the Rings BITCH!!

I peeped the majority of the disastrous Lakers-Rockets game. If you like watching isolation sets and one on one ball, then this was the game for you (38 combined assists for both teams). Besides James Harden, the Rockets have no one who can consistently create points for the team. The only excitement throughout the game was the weird 5 minute stretch where Dwight and Kobe had a tiff, and then Julius Randle (get well soon man) broke his leg on a freak play. It was not the kind of game that left me with swooning with excitement.

One bright spot was seeing my man Tarik Black out there on the court in an NBA uniform. I think he will add a little class to that Houston Rockets locker room. Dude is seriously one of my favorite players to come out of Lawrence in a long time. With his positive outlook and great work ethic, he should never have trouble finding work in the league. Big Ups!

There are going to be some good ass games this week tho:

OKC vs. Portland (Illard vs. Westbrook)
Washington vs. Miami
Milwaukee vs. Charlotte
Lakers vs. Phoenix (I forgot how much I enjoy watching the Lakers lose. I find Kobe at this point in his career as entertaining as Barry Bonds’ own “%&$@ it” period near the end of his own career. I like that brutal honesty. I think its good for the game–keeps all these yahoo media types on their toes.

Golden State vs Sacramento
OKC vs. Clippers (Thunder will go 0-2 to begin the season but Russell Westbrook will have a combined 75 points for both nights)

Cleveland vs. Chicago Possibly a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals
Golden State vs. Portland (two of the best backcourts in the NBA facing off)
Dallas vs. New Orleans (Can there be too much hype surrounding Anthony Davis at this point?)

Memphis vs. Charlotte (Grimey!!!)
Chicago vs. Minnesota (I get headaches from watching Minnesota homegames–not from the players–but because that court is so damn ugly)

Lakers vs. Golden State (#asswhupping)

Charlotte vs. New York Knicks (Two of Brooklyn’s finest coming home. No way in hell I miss this one)

Milwaukee vs. Washington (why not?)

Free Trial with NBA League Pass so I will be on that tip. This is the year I finally purchase it for real. It is going to be hard keeping a girlfriend who doesn’t like hoop. She better be damn interesting–that’s all I’m saying.

Not a Fluke

Man I tried to told ya’ll.

The Heat have the best player, but the Spurs have the best team from top to bottom.
If the Heat didn’t have Lebron, they would be the Raptors, a good but not great team with mediocre subs. Ray allen has played well considering his age, and Wade got off to a good start in the series. But really, besides Lebron (who is still getting his numbers and deserves none of the blame for the way this is going) there is no one to be afraid of on this team. This might as well be 2007 when Lebron played with Cleveland.

IF you want to know why the last two games have been such a shift in dynamics, then look no further than Kawhi Leonard’s stats in games 3 and 4. Leonard had 20 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks last night. In game 3 he shot 10-13 with 29 points (3-6 from downtown).

I also like to point out my man Boris “Le Grand Croissant” Diaw, who racked up 9 assists in game 4. He is a tough match up, because he can handle the rock, can back you down, and he is an exquisite passer. The Spurs are in another gear with him in the game.

The Heat did manage to get more bench production from their group, but its almost too little too late. Game 5 in San Antonio will be closer than you think, but that arena is going to be rocking. After what happened to the Spurs last year, you know they are out for blood. You could tell the players were mad that they even lost game 2. This should have been a sweep.

OFF Season Noise

How about that Derik Fisher signing? 25 million for 5 years to a first year coach. Wow. I think if there were any situation that could be more perfect to fall into for a first year coaching gig this is it. Forget the fact that this is better than any contract the “Fish” got as a player. He gets to have Phil as a coaching mentor, and boss. The on the job training he will get will be tremendous. It will be a tough couple of years. The Knicks have a few bad contracts on the books still and no draft picks for a while. But who knows who will sign with them after 2016. I’ll be keeping tabs on that situation.

Someone told me that an old Mizzou coach just moved to Salt Lake City.

As much as I bag on Cleveland, Mark Jackson would be a great hire for a franchise that has shown that it has no plan whatsoever. Then again, why would a coach want to work for a franchise like that?

Carmelo the “ballstopper” to the Heat? Yeah good luck with that. Call me when they sign some decent bench players on the cheap. So much for the Greg Oden and Michael Beasley contributions. Honestly I’m tired of watching basketball this year. I want to spend the next months playing it instead of streaming it on my computer. Put them away Spurs. I don’t need any distractions. It’ll be tough enough to find a way to watch the World Cup.