The Finish Line
Here we are at the finish line. If the season ended today, the first round would look like this:
Cleveland vs Indiana
Toronto vs. Detroit
Atlanta vs. Charlotte
Boston vs. Miami
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.
- Shabazz Muhammad to the Mavericks. I think he and Rick Carlisle would be good for each other.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.”
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.
Bomani Jones– HELLLLLLLLLLL NO!
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.”
Good Ass Games of The Week:
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.