Loosely Connected Observations From The First Week of the Season

A few thoughts from the first week of NBA ball:

  • Looks like palming and traveling has gone the way of defensive 3 seconds.Maybe this is a way to amp up scoring–kind of like how NFL started making rules that only benefit offensive players.
  • Lakers-Rockets on opening night was fun. It reminded me of watching a Drew league game, or an All Star Game where everyone but James Harden had missed the bus, and they had  to suit up all the players who were in town just for the weekend festivities. I actually like this post Kobe era for the Lakers. Its pretty refreshing to see watch a Lakers game and not feel hate.
  • Watched the Kings-Spurs game from the other night. Ben Mclemore may have found his calling in the league as a scorer off the bench. It’s easy to forget that he is just a baby, but he has a lot of time to still hit his peak as a basketball player. I hope he finds a good team someday. Until then, Ben has to learn how to protect his cookies.
  • Speaking of the Spurs. I wasn’t very hype on them coming into the season, but they look really good. They have a nice balance of veteran leadership (a combined 14 championship rings on this roster) and some good young cats. I like what little I’ve seen of Latvian forward, Davis Bertrans, who has impressed me with his 3 point range. I’ve often talked shit about David Lee’s one on one defense, but he is actually a decent help defender. Also, I think he has a chip on his shoulder. After sitting the past 2 seasons, dude looks hungry. Kudos on the pickup Mr. Buford. Last but not least….Kawhi “frigging” Leonard!!!!!!! I cannot believe this is the same kid who found himself in a moment too big during the 2013 NBA Finals. He is ridiculously good right now.
  • Lakers-Pacers definitely was the Good Ass Game of the Week last week with their overtime affair (Those Pacers cheerleaders tho!!!! MPPPPHHHHHH), but one of my favorite moments last week was watching Damien Lillard and old Joe Jhnson go basket for basket in the 4th quarter of the Blazers vs. Jazz. Maybe we will get lucky and they face off in the first round of the playoffs. Although I gotta say, I’m not sold on Quinn Snyder as an NBA coach. He just seems too uptight. Maybe the Salt Lake City cuisine has him constipated.
  • Speaking of Lillard, Dame says he wants to win the MVP. I have mixed feelings on him publicly making this statement. On one hand, him winning MVP would obviously correlate with the Blazers having a great regular season. On the other hand, it sounds like Lillard worrying about something he cannot control. MVP is a subjective award. Saying at the beginning of the season that you want to win MVP is like a musician publicly saying that he wants the album he is working on to win a Grammy. Perhaps it is better to just do the best you can and let the product speak for itself.

 

We have some good ass games this week. If you have a way to watch them without accessing League Pass then you are already ahead of the game. I can’t believe that a mulit-billion dollar industry can’t find a way to hire people to fix their digital media site. It is befuddling and infuriating.

Demand for NBA is at an all time high. With so much interest in this year’s season, Adam Silver couldn’t have picked a worse time to drop the ball on that front. I hope they work this out soon, otherwise it will be a perpetually sour season for this hoops fan. I may abandon sportswatching altogether and just focus on being a normal human being. Or maybe I’ll just become a full fledged soccer guy. Chew on that reality for a minute.

 

Peace,

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 FullsassStudios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com. 

2016-2017 Season Preview: Top 26 Storylines Part One

[This preview also appears as a post on fullsass.com. What does Fullsass mean? Well check it out for yourself.] 

All Illustrations by Louis Eastman

We are only a few days away from the beginning of training camp, time to dust off the cobwebs and fire it back up. Although the biggest story of the off-season was the Kevin Durant free agency, there are plenty of other story lines to follow this year. I’ve listed (from A-Z ) the ones that I find the most compelling for the 2016-2017 season.

Amin Elhassan fullsizerender-4

ESPN’s most merciless twitter troll is a must follow this season.

Amin is great not only for his tendency to roast any unlucky soul stupid enough to tweet some dumb shit, but also for his great insight into how things operate behind the NBA scenes. Having worked in both the Knicks and Suns front office before his stop at ESPN, Elhassan is a wealth of insider knowledge.

What I love most about him is that he does not hold back in any of his funny–but often wickedly straight forward analysis. His creation of the #Pitino game is one the more underappreciated social media phenomenons you’ll experience during playoff elimination games. #Pitino game is just as a part of the playoff pageantry as TNT’s Gone Fishing segments, but more interactive and way more clever. 

Buddy Hield

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Back in 2015 he simply slid into place. Buddy Buddy Buddy All up in my face.

Is Buddy Hield the Real Deal Holyfield? Inquiring minds want to know. It is a little too early to anoint him as the sidekick to Anthony Davis, but if Hield shoots as well as his reputation suggests, then this could be a good working relationship for the two. Hield wasn’t exactly a defensive stopper in college, but that hasn’t kept James Harden from receiving tons of (mostly deserved) accolades. He could be a nice small ball option for Pelican’s coach, Alvin Gentry, who is looking at a very thin back court-especially with Jrue Holiday absent from the team for personal reasons. 

Celtics Are Legit Contenders

Had the C’s managed to get Horford and Durant this off-season, you could have  penciled them in for the NBA Finals (and I doubt anyone one would have argued with you). As it stands, they only have two reliable scorers, Isiah Thomas and Horford (who has never averaged a 20 and 10 at any point in his career). Isiah Thomas is great at getting his own shot, but he isn’t much of a distributor.

Avery Bradley is an all NBA defender, but anything he gives you on offense is considered icing on the cake (Bruce Bowen 2.0?), and their outside shooting is too reliant upon Kelly Olynk shooting a high percentage. I think they are still two really good players away, or one superstar and a role player (probably a backup pg) away from being in the conversation to knock off the Lebrons for the Eastern Conference crown.

Draymond Green

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Steph Curry may be the league MVP, but I think the team MVP for the Golden State Warriors is Draymond Green. Klay Thompson, Curry, and Green are all irreplaceable, but the intangibles that Dray provide for that team are immeasurable. The league’s decision to suspend him changed the course of that series, as the Warriors were dead in the water after game 5. Regardless, had Dray kept his head, the hometown of Jive Ass Don King would still be without a title today. 

Had we laid money on “Finals player most likely to send pictures of their ding-dong to all their Snapchat followers”, most people would have place their bets on J.R. Smith. I think the public opinion of Draymond Green will be cemented for the rest of his career, according to how he performs both on and off the court this season. The Warriors need his fire, but he has to learn to harness it if they are going to get back to the Finals.

Everybody Eats This Season 

The NBA has never been a better league to play in. Owners are making money hand over fist. The league just signed a lucrative television deal that allows even scrubs *ahem* players like Matthew Dellavedova to cash in a meal ticket. Allen Crabbe made 70 million to stay in Portland.

The Grizzlies’ Mike Conley leveraged his way into a 153 million dollar contract and for a couple of months, was the highest paid player in league history. This year’s 90 million dollar salary cap is only going to get larger (reportedly $118 million next season), so dudes are about to get paid. Now that everybody is eating, let’s start taking bets on who will eat themselves out of the league.

Finals Rematch (Again)

We can just stop this right now huh? No need to even play the season out. Forget preseason. Let’s put it on simulation mode like NBA Live 95? Barring any major injuries, I don’t see how anyone out west beats Golden State, or anyone out east beating Lebron.

I’m looking forward to the rubber match between these two teams. Kevin Durant is going to be the deadliest 4th option you’ve ever seen in the NBA Finals. The running thread all season will be “If Lebron beats the GSW super team will he be the greatest?” or “Will this championship validate KD’s career even though he joined a super team?” I personally don’t blame Durant or the Warriors for signing him. I bet it sucks losing to Lebron, but I bet it sucks even more losing to him after getting spotted a 3-1 series lead. This is the best reoccurring story line since Lakers vs.Celtics last decade. Stay tuned.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Playing The Point 

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I’m not saying the Bucks will be in the Eastern Conference Finals. I’m not saying that I think they will get back in the playoffs. I’m not even saying they will be fun to watch, but there will be at least 20 nights this season where Giannis does something to make Sportscenter top 10 highlights. 

Harrison Barnes: The 94 Million Dollar Man

I personally think Barnes will do well in Dallas. The city has a way of being a decent stop for exorbitantly rich black athletes (if they perform decently ). Of course, you have to wonder what is considered reasonable expectations for a contract like the one Barnes signed. For what it is worth Mavs fans, he will be a better investment than Roy Tarpley, Cherokee Parks, Erick Dampier and Shawn Bradley all put together. He can’t be any worse………right?

Iggy’s back  

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No I am not talking about the Nick Young’s ex fiancee’s booty (although it makes for an interesting google search #therabbithole). If Andre Iguodala is unhealthy, forget about the Warriors getting a chip for Kevin Durant. Iggy is one of their best defenders, and he was the guy who guarded both Durant and Lebron down the stretch of last year’s playoffs. By the time games 6 and 7 of the Finals came around, he was gassed (who is to say that a healthy Iggy doesn’t try and dunk the ball on that infamous Lebron chase down block?). 

Now that Durant is a teammate, there is no one in the west (outside of Kawhi Leonard) to push him defensively. Theoretically, he should be fresh for his Finals dance with Lebron. Then again, 30-year-old backs are more fickle than 23-year-old girlfriends. You never know how things will flare up from night to night. 

 

The 3 J’s (reboot)

My dude Joakim Noah is back in his hometown playing for the Knicks. No matter how he does on the floor, homie is going to be slaying it off the court. It is good to see Jeff Hornacek get another head coaching shot. He got a raw deal in Phoenix. Robert Sarver pulled the old bait and switch with Hornacek. The Suns front office didn’t bring back key players, but kept expecting the same results . It was unfair to everyone involved; Hornacek, the players, the fans, and League Pass subscribers who were unexpectedly treated to a near playoff run in 2014.

As for Phil, no one could figure out why the hell he hired Derek Fisher; but he corrected that mistake by firing D-Fish midway through the season. This is his third and most pivotal season as Knicks GM, because if they suck again this year, it will be tough to lure free agents to sign with the club next season. 

Are they going to make the playoffs? Maybe, if 40 wins is enough to get in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Courtney Lee was a good pickup, and Derrick Rose may be able to add some punch if he can find the basketball court, and stay out of the criminal court. Rose thinks they have a super team in New York, but kind of like the word consent,there may be some confusion as to what the definition of a super team is.

40 wins for this roster would be the equivalent of making the Finals. I’d play with them on NBA2K, because you don’t really need subs on a video game, but in real life, their bench is thin. Pencil them in for 30 wins.

Klay “ I’m Not Sacrificing Shit” Thompson

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I’ll fight anyone who says he isn’t the best 2 guard in the league. He may not be able to attack the rim like Demar Derozan (apparently the 46th best player in the NBA), but the man is the best defensive 2 guard; and his shot is wet. He is Ron Harper with a knock down J. Klay Thompson only benefits from the arrival of Kevin Durant.

TO BE CONTINUED:

 

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!

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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

 

 

Finallly!!!!!!

For all intents and purposes, the playoffs started on Wednesday when Oklahoma City needed a win over the Teen Wolves, and a loss by New Orleans to sneak into the playoffs. For as much hype (and deservedly so) as the Russell Westbrook show was generating, the Thunder were still losing–despite Westbrook’s Herculean numbers during this past month (He was named the Western Conference Player of the month for his efforts). He was getting 54 points and the team was still putting up L’s.

I’m actually happy that the Pellies got in this year(thanks to this shot of course). I just couldn’t bear the thought of watching OKC in the playoffs without my boy KD.

For all those people who are sad about not getting to watch Russ in the playoffs, imagine an NBA where all of the playoff teams get to borrow one player from each lottery bound team for the first round in exchange for their first round pick. It’d be like the waiver wire in order of worst team seeding. How crazy would that be? just a drunken thought I had late one night.

Speaking of playoff seeding, what about that crock of shit brewing out in the Eastern Conference? Cleveland’s Bitch asses would be a 7th seed in the West. With Thabo Sefelosha’s leg injury affecting what will be Atlanta’s perimeter defense, the Cavs have a relatively easier path to the NBA Finals. It’s crap. This is like the winner of the NIT tournament getting to play the winner of the Final Four for the National championship. It’s bollocks.

With the playoff series being a best of 7, this column becomes almost obsolete this time of year. I’ll cut it short and give you the clicks to pick for the first round.

This Round’s Good Ass Series of Good ASS Games:

Houston vs. Dallas

The I-45 beatdown. Houston has Harden (probably the Leagues’ MVP–though I agree with J.R. Smith that Lebron should probably win every year) and they finally got D-12 healthy, but Dallas has the 2nd best coach in the NBA. I’m going to say the Mavericks take this in 7 games.

Portland vs. Memphis

Both teams are pretty banged up right now. I think this will be a series of close games–albeit ulgy ones. I’ll probably watch every game this series, but only in the 4th quarter, unless I get some kind of Good Ass Game alert telling me to tune in for an early edition of “Illard Time.”

Grizzlebees in 6 games.

New Orleans vs. Golden State

This might be the quickest ending of the series, but I firmly believe that every game will be hotly contested, except for that last home game in Oakland, that will just get out of hand. It will be the most entertaining series north of Clippers-Spurs–but we’ll get to that later.

Golden State in five games.

Los Angeles vs. San Antonio [Good Ass Games of the week]

People are talking about the mine field that the Spurs have ahead of them just because they did not get the 2nd seed. It is as if they haven’t seen the pitfalls that await every team in the second round. the only team San Antonio should have been worried about facing in the first round was Memphis–who will beat teams up even if they don’t beat them. Otherwise its evenly matched. No one has an easy path to finals, no matter where they are seeded.

Besides, I think the Clippers are vastly ovverated. J.J. Redick is having the best season of his career, and the big three for LAC is formidable, but who is going to come off the bench for them besides Jamal Crawford?

I’ve got the Spurs in 6, and it may not even that close. I think every game will be competitive though. This kind of reminds me of that series back in the day when Spurs played against Chris Paul when he was a Hornet. I don’t know why. It just does.

“Tap that Vein” Series

Bucks vs. Bulls

I know my boy Mikey will be watching his C’s play, but if I’m going to spend any of my free time watching an Eastern Conference game, it will probably be this Bulls-Bucks series. It’s kind of like when you are walking down the street and you see two homeless people arguing in an alley. You should probably be doing something better with your life, but curiosity got the best of you for a moment. Then the reality of the ugliness becomes too much to bear, and you remember that list of unfulfilled goals you still have remaining. Fuck the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

Buster of the Week Award goes to:

Aaron Hernandez. Mr. Husky himself got life in prison with no chance of parole for the murder of Odin Lloyd.
He was accused of some other filthy shit, but wasn’t on trial for those other grizzly acts. The dude pissed away millions of dollars on some bullshit. If you ask me, all they had to do was pull out the tape of his touchdown celebrations to convince me that he did it.

Look at it. It is almost as if he is snitching on himself. And they say Richard Sherman is a thug. For the record, Ray Lewis was convicted of obstruction of justice, not MURDER. There is a difference, as Aaron Hernandez can attest to.

Big Ups of the Week goes to:

Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans for giving the nation of taste of what is in store for the next few years. Someday this may be Lil Brow Wow’s league.

Enjoy the first round. See you in a week or two.

Peace.

BM
@clickpicka79
#thisagoodassgame

Stretch Run

We’re down to the endgame of the regular season. The teams in the bottom half of each conference are jockeying for position. If the playoffs were to start today, the first round would look like this:

Boston vs. Atlanta

Cleveland vs. Miami

Toronto vs. Milwaukee

Chicago vs. Washington

Portland vs. Los Angeles

Houston vs. San Antonio

Golden State vs. Oklahoma City

Memphis vs. Dallas

Charlotte, Indiana, and Brooklyn are fighting it out with Boston, Milwaukee, and Miami for those last three spots. A well timed winning/losing streak will certainly affect which team will get knocked out in the first round, and which team will be opening envelopes at this year’s Lottery telecast.

The Western Conference teams are scrapping for spots as well. Dallas seems to be trending downward, while Phoenix and New Orleans can’t seem to get out of their own way. I personally haven’t enjoyed watching the Mavericks as much during the second half of the season. Something is wrong, and I’m not astute enough to figure it out.

If they don’t get it together though they won’t have to worry about facing Memphis in the first round, it will be Oklahoma City or New Orleans in their place. Speaking of Memphis, I think the key to anyone’s sustained playoff run is to avoid the Grizzlies in the first round. They are the kind of team where even if they don’t beat you, they will beat you up enough to where the next round is that much tougher on teams’ bodies. I like the Spurs chances of a deep run if they can maintain a 6 seed or higher.

From what I have heard, last week’s Good Ass Game of the Week was the ATLiens vs. the Thunder. This is exactly why I MUST get NBA League Pass next year.

Monday: Night off for “National Puppy Day”

Tuesday: Golden State-Portland Lamenting the fact that I can no longer send “Wesley!!!!” texts to my Portland homies.

San Antonio-Dallas [note: already played. Dallas won 101-94]

As opposed to the Mavs who are trending downward, the Spurs seem to be gelling at the perfect time. It is no accident that their success has been tied to Kawhi being healthy. I hear they have all kinds of nicknames for him down in San Antonio. “Kingslayer” is one of them. The “Claw” is another one. I was thinking Dr. Kawhi would be ill (because you know with hands that big he should be a doctor—or a masseuse). If you wanted to get on that Inspector Gadget tip, he could be “Dr. Claw.”

Wednesday

Houston-New Orleans M-V-P M-V-P M-V-P!!!!

Oklahoma City-San Antonio The playoffs won’t feel the same without my favorite NBA player in it. It’ll be interesting to see what the Thunder do without Durant.I hope this isn’t a sneak peek of what is to come for the franchise.

Cavaliers-Grizzlies Probably the Good Ass Game of the Week.

Thursday

NCAA sweet sixteen. I know I bag on the NCAA games this year, but if you were to watch, this is the round to do so—especially Thursday night.

Wichita State-Notre Dame

Wisconsin-UNC

Arizona-Xavier

Kentucky-West Virginia

Friday

Dallas-San Antonio

Run it back.

Memphis-Golden State Can there be a Better Good Ass Game of the Week?

Portland-Phoenix

Saturday NCAA’s Elite Eight?

Sunday

Oklahoma City vs. Phoenix
Memphis vs. San Antonio

Starting to feel like the playoffs.

Big Ups Of the Week to the Wichita State Shockers for proving me right about them. I been saying for a minute that they had the best backcourt in the country. I also remember saying that they would have beaten KU last year (when both teams had even bigger star power), and that if Fred Van Fleet were running point for them last year they’d have won it all (they’d be final four if they had both Van Fleet and Ron Baker). Most Jayhawk fans were shocked about the outcome, but this guy was not.

Buster of the Week Award goes to my little brother for picking the Iowa State Cyclones to win it all in one of his brackets. Even though it would be sweet to see the Shockers turn the tables on the Kentucky Wildcats, I don’t see anyone ending this historic run for “Cadillac” Calipari.

See you next week.

BM
@clickpicka79
#thisagoodassgame

Represent

Congratulations. If you are reading this post then that means you are alive (or dreaming that you’re alive and reading this).

Fuck February. Last month saw us lose Dr. Spock, former Blazer great, Jerome Kersey, and as of yesterday, Anthony Mason. My man Mason played shut down D, had sick handles for a man his size, and had a low key good jumper. His game posessed an ugly beauty; one that neophytes like me could appreciate. Mason wasn’t the best. Nor was his game the prettiest, but the man embraced what he had and made a career for himself.

To me, Mason embodied the whole 1990’s New York Knick ethos. You can say a lot about those teams. They were marginally talented, they were bullies, and their games were generally an eyesore (especially compared to today’s game), but those Knicks teams had heart. They got every ounce of production possible out each other, and went as a team with marginal offensive talent can go. Hell they almost won a championship. Big ups to #14.

Good ASS Games of the Week:

Monday

Monday is a “tap that vein” kind of night.

Phoenix vs. Miami is marginally entertaining, and New Orleans-Dallas has real playoff implications. Maybe even “Lil Brow Wow” will be ready to play again (So many injuries to so many superstars this year).

Tuesday

Houston-Atlanta just may be the “Good Ass Game of the Week” . Houston ain’t messing around. I almost want to say they are more entertaining without old Dwight manning the 5 position.

Wednesday

Memphis-Houston

Catching Houston on a back-to-back may be the best thing for the “Grizzlebees”. Memphis hasn’t looked all that great post All-Star Break.

Portland-LA Clippers will be good. “Video Game” Dame (Big ups to Mikey!) had a yawner of a game the last time he faced off against Chris Paul. I’m sure he is chomping at the bit to get another shot at the “point God”

Thursday

Oklahoma City-Chicago Does anyone really believe that D. Rose will be healthy enough to play in the playoffs? Not I says the Mick.

Dallas-Portland I remember a certain basketball blogger getting hella krunk about a certain team from Texas acquiring a certain guard from the University of Kentucky. Well, I stand by what I said–even if Rondo hasn’t played all that well. But Dallas fans may have to face the fact that 2012 Rondo may not be walking through that locker room door, and that’s okay.

Friday

Cancel your plans on Friday, or bring them along for the ride, because the two best Eastern Conference teams face off. Cleveland-Atlanta give us a little taste of what early May brings out of the east. I NEVER get excited about games played in the EST, but if you were to stop in any game in that time zone, this is the one to cancel a date for.

Dallas-Golden State will be good too–if the Mavs don’t get blown out that is.

Saturday

Memphis-New Orleans will be an excellent “tap the vein” game, but I’d advise you to change whatever plans you made for Friday and move them to Saturday. Get your drink on, get your think on, or get your dance on. You have all of April to watch the Grizzlebees mangle the Pelicans.

Sunday

Toronto vs. Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City continues to be plagued by injuries, but they still keep fighting. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Clippers-Warriors on that matinee tip.

Chicago-San Antonio Remember that acronym NUTS, Never Underestimate The Spurs?
Well Never Underestimate The Bulls either. This will be a fun one.

BUSTER(s) OF THE WEEK AWARD

Any coach in the Big 12 not named Bill Self. Old Self is cementing his rightful place in Springfield, Massachusetts with every consecutive conference title he grabs. If there were a year, that his streak were more vulnerable, I can’t recall off the top of my head. The Iowa State Hoibergs had a perfect opportunity to snatch at least a share of first place and lost consecutive games this week.

The poor Longhorn faithful down in Austin have a politician posing as a coach, as the Horns continue to underachieve. Whenever I watch KU-UT games I imagine Nick Collison and Kevin Durant sitting on a couch in front of a television. Durant is hype the whole time because it looks like UT will finally get the best of the Jayhawks, and the whole time Collison is confidently thinking, “Rick Barnes is going to find a way to lose this game to Bill Self.”

It matters not though, who wins this conference because the UK Cats are kings this year. I’m not even all that interested in the tournament this year. I’d rather Kentucky take on the best 6 teams and play them on a neutral court, on some heavyweight title (or video game bosses) shit. There will be no reason to watch the NCAA tournament at all, except to see who will get drafted where in the NBA. Which I guess is reason enough isn’t it?

Well congratulations on still being alive. Can’t take anything for granted in this day and age. I hope we can do this again next week.

Peace.

BM

@clickpicka79
bobbymickey@gmail.com
#thisagoodassgame

Turning the Thing Around (again)

Two Friday nights ago, while scouring the internet for new and exciting content, I discovered that the Mavericks were playing the Lakers just four train stops from my mother’s house. I debated whether or not to go, but then figured it couldn’t hurt to at least see if I could get in the building for less than 30 bucks.

I was hoping to find a ticket for 20, but ran upon a deal I couldn’t pass on– an upper terrace seat (worth 70 dollars) for 30 dollars. Some scalpers were trying to get rid of $30.00 face value seats for up to 200 dollars. I just kept walking.

I hadn’t been to a Mavericks game since they’d played in the old Reunion Arena, back when Ross Perot Jr. owned the team (coincidentally, the first basketball game I ever attended was with my father was the 1984 playoff game against the Lakers–the only won they won that series).

By the time that Mark Cuban bought the Mavericks fifteen years ago, I was no longer living in Dallas. The Mavericks were a joke of a franchise, and the punchline of many jokes. Even people in Dallas took the time to ask the query, “Who’ll win more games this year, the Cowboys or the Mavs?”

Their ineptness led to my detachment (why in the hell would I invest my joy into a bad product?) and my detachment led me to watch other teams in the NBA, and not become a homer for any team (I think it worked out for the best).

Mark Cuban is not only one of the best owners in sports, he is also a glaring example of how one person can change the culture of a whole city. The city of Dallas doesn’t suck as much as it did when I was growing up there, and I’m sure Mark Cuban has at least a little bit to do with that.

Ever since Cuban bought the Mavericks, the city of Dallas has gotten a new basketball arena (they share the venue with the hockey team), a light rail that runs towards the outskirts of the city, and a massive growth of skyscrapers and condominiums downtown.

All that can’t be accredited to Cuban’s purchase of the Mavericks, but you also can’t tell me that the success of the franchise over the past 15 years has nothing to do with the city’s economic growth.

One of the things that makes Mark Cuban one of the best owners in sports, is that the man has attention for details. The American Airlines Center is one of the nicest venues you could ever attend an event.

It feels like a luxury hotel with a basketball court and stadium seating. Everything is immaculate, and state of the art. You will not find a single piece of trash lying on the ground, or in the arena.

The arena staff I encountered were all courteous and professional. I’ve even heard visiting players like Shaquille O’Neal say that the visiting locker room at the AAC is one of the most hospitable stops in the NBA–with a post game spread that resembles a luxury cruise buffet.

Pregame was pretty hype. The Mavs’ announcer worked hard to keep all the fans engaged. The Mavs were introduced to “Eminence Front” by the Who and fans got into that (I’m a little shocked that no rapper has ever sampled that intro and spit bars to it–I’m sure its a hard sample to clear). There were cool graphics up on the Jumbotron, and the two massive scoreboards.

The game didn’t live up to the hype though. It was the day after Christmas, and it seemed like everyone was hungover; including the fans who could barely muster any audible advantage for the home town Mavs.

Kobe sat on the bench wearing a really nice black suit (another reason why the 200 dollar asking price was laughable), and the flow of the game was really klunky. There were a lot of “Sportscenter” worthy moments, with lobs and deep 3 pointers, but the flow was just off. Both teams were in the 70’s at one point into the 4th quarter.

On balance it was still fun. Mark Cuban understands that NBA games are a product, and everything revolving around the team shapes the perception of the product. The Mavs’ drum line, the dancers, the DJ, the PA guy, and arena staff are as part of the product as the basketball team.

Mark Cuban’s comprehensive approach to handling the team (from hiring the right coach and general manager to the way he takes care of his players) is why he is one of the most innovative owners to ever buy a sports team.

Major League Baseball made a serious mistake by not selling Cuban one of their franchises. Cuban is one of the reasons why the NBA is such a progressive sport, especially compared to the NFL and MLB.

Even the most casual of fan can have a good time at an NBA game, and the reason is because the NBA is always looking forward, not in the past like baseball–a sport steeped in archaic rituals and traditions.

If you haven’t figured out what separates good franchises from bad ones, don’t focus solely on the players. Go directly to the ownership group, then look at who gets hired for drafting and personnel decisions, then watch their track records with head coaches.

In any successful organization, it all starts at the top. Being a great leader/supervisor/coach means having the confidence to hire smart people to work on your staff and allowing them to do their jobs. This is what separates the bad, mediocre, and good from the great.

Big shout out to Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks arena staff, and all those Mavs’ fans out there who stuck with the team even when they were the laughingstock of the league. The NBA is more fun to watch now that they are good again.

These games tho:

Monday

Wizards-Pelicans
Anthony Davis continues to have insane stat lines and the Wizards continue to have entertaining games against the West. I’ll check out this game until the Los Angeles “Cakeshow” rolls into Portland and the Thunder-Warriors Part Duex commence. I feel confident that this will be the Good Ass Game of the Week.

Tap that Vein Tuesday begins and ends with Cavs-Rockets. Tuesday would be a good night to rest up if you were recovering from a hernia surgery. As the cops used to say back in the day, “Move along now. Nothing to see here.”

Wednesday

The LOL Lakers versus the Clippers. It is always fun to watch the Lakers lose to their housemates.

Thursday
Miami vs. Portland You sure you’re recovered from that hernia surgery? “Tap that Vein Tuesday” has now become “Tap that Vein Thursday”

Friday

A slew of Good Ass Games. The Grizzlies beefy front line are going to put a hurting on Anthony Davis and the Pelicans.

Bulls-Wizards give us a playoff preview of could only be a handful of possible interesting match ups in the East. I’ll tune in until the Phoenix-San Antonio and Cleveland-Golden State games begin.

“Psssst. Take you out on Friday? Nah baby, I need to be in bed recovering from hernia surgery (wink.wink.) The doc says I should do nothing that doesn’t involve lying in bed and watching hoops.

Saturday

Dallas vs. Los Angeles Clippers Battle of two of the best point guards in the West. Can’t wait!

Sunday
Grizzlies-Suns
Cleveland-Sacramento
Portland-LOL Lakers

“Oh baby. You’ll never believe this. Doctor says I can do non-basketball related things again. It’s a Festivus Miracle! We should go out and celebrate. You should grab your wallet in case I somehow lose mine. Grab your keys too, doctor says I can’t drive.”

Buster(s) of the Week award goes to:

The New York Police Department for showing mad disrespect to the city’s mayor, police commissioner, and the families of Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, by turning their back on the mayor during his eulogy for both slain officers. #Maddisrespectful.

These men have to understand that they are supposed to be the pillars of our society. It doesn’t make poor or citizens of color feel any less distrust towards the police. I don’t see any good coming out of this situation and their behavior. It just isn’t right.

Enjoy the games and don’t be foolish with ya money!!!

Peace.

BM

@clickpicka79
bobbymickey@gmail.com