The 35/55 Rule : A Guest Post by Alex Knapp

Let’s get one thing straight. I’m a Portland Trail Blazer fan. I WANT them to win.
I’m not going to hide my bias or pretend I don’t care about the outcome of a game, or even the ten thousand variables that went into said outcome of that game (if a Pat Connaughton flaps his wings).
In fact, I’m going to use this bias and knowledge of the team to better inform my predictions of their success this season. After all, this is the team I read about and watch the most – shouldn’t I be relatively knowledgeable about them? And aren’t I capable as a rational human to formulate thoughts that aren’t only purely based out of emotional feelings towards the success of the team?
“THE BLAZERS ARE THE BEST CUZ I LIKE THEM A LOT.” – dumb fan with zero basketball knowledge or insight
Therefore, I wrote in my previous guest post – and will continue to believe that they win less than 27.5 games this season (the Vegas over/under).

Now we are 5 games into the season and the Blazers are 3-2. Fans are scoffing at the 27.5 win line, with most eyeing a 35-40 win season, and the select few who wear Rose city colored glasses lamenting an 8th seeded playoff berth – “Listen, CJ is a top 5 SG in the league and Ed Davis is a skinny Z-bo. WE ARE GETTING THE 8th SEED!”

Yet, I’m holding strong.

I don’t think the Blazers have the horses to consistently put up enough points in the stacked west. I think our team is made up of unproven, slightly above average – mismatched  pieces, with horrible perimeter defense from our starting guards, and a general lack of rim protection behind that. I think we lose a lot of close 4th quarter games, and are always at risk of blowing a big lead that we get early in the game. Make no mistake, this team is lottery bound. AND THAT’S OKAY!!!!! 

Now that we’ve got that out of the way…to why we are actually here….

The 35/55 rule.
I’ve developed a simple theory/mathematical equation to predict the probability of the Blazers success this season. By keying in on a few simple box scores numbers, I believe I could successfully tell you the outcome of a game, without having the final score revealed to me.

This theory revolves around the scoring of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Separately and in conjunction.
Why? because their scoring is the single most consistent thing about this team, or at least fans of them winning hope it is.
It’s also the greatest predictor of our offense putting up enough numbers to be even competitive in any game.
The difference between Aminu putting in 6 and 18 points essentially has no baring on whether we win or lose.
Ed Davis playing solid defense and snagging 12 rebounds isn’t a strong enough correlation to us winning games.

Simply put no one else on this team impacts the game enough to make a difference – other than Dame and CJ’s scoring output.

So let’s look at some numbers:

Game 1:  37 + 21  = 58  = W
Game 2:  16 + 24  = 40  = L
Game 3:  15 + 23  = 38  = L
Game 4:  18 + 34  = 52  = W
Game 5:  27 + 35  = 62  = W

Are we noticing a trend…..?

It’s really simple guys, the first column is CJ’s points that game, the second column is Dame’s points that game, and the third column is their combined points.

Each time one of them scores close to 35 points, and combined they score close to 55, they win.
Each they don’t do both of those things, they lose.

Let’s take a second look with everything labeled:

               CJ     Dame     Both   Outcome
Game 1:  37  +   21      = 58     = W
Game 2:  16  +   24      = 40     = L
Game 3:  15  +   23      = 38     = L
Game 4:  18  +   34      = 52     = W

Game 5:  27  +   35      = 62     = W

My prediction : They will continue to win whenever the 35/55 rule is reached, and will continue to lose every game it’s not.
Now this isn’t an exact science, if Henderson comes back and puts up big numbers or Aminu gets hot and puts in 25+ one game (allowing CJ to take a night off), then those nights the rule won’t be reached and the Blazers might get the Win. I hope they do.
However, I truly think around 85% of games this year (70 games) will fall under the 35/55 rule, and it will become the easiest predictor of success for the Blazers this season.

This is also why I believe Lillard has a punchers chance of the Points Per Game title.
He will need to average close to 28 ppg if this team is going to win any where close to 30 games.
Take a gander at the box scores every night and do the math in your head…you’ll start to see I’m right. I’ll post another update to this rule every 20 games or so just to show the progress.

Alex Knapp is a Portlander living in Brooklyn, New York for the past 7 years.
A filmmaker and actor currently working in HR to pay the bills, Alex is an avid NBA basketball fan who likely has an opinion on every team and every player, seriously – try him. 
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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

Just the Tip

Things are starting to get pretty interesting out on the roundball court. There were some good ass games this past week. The Cavaliers-Lakers game was weirdly entertaining. It felt like I was watching a really fun pickup game. Nothing was at stake, it was just a regular season team between two losing teams. It was cool just watching Kobe and Lebron interact throughout the affair–laughing and joking during timeouts and in less active transitional periods.

Clippers-Blazers won the “Good Ass Game of the Week” award by default, barely beating out Phoenix-Cleveland from Tuesday night’s slate of games.

I got a chance yesterday to watch some college hoops, and though Duke-Louisville let me down, I was certainly impressed with Jahlil Okafor’s game. He dominated the post in the second half of that game yesterday, with most of his scoring coming after the half. He has great footwork and soft hands. He is clearly the first pick in next year’s draft. I think Montrezl Harrell can carve himself a niche in the league too. Bro just looks built to ball.

Kansas-Iowa State was a great affair, and the cyclone fans were HYPE!!! during last night’s engagement. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was about as loud and adverse and atmosphere that a team can go into. Kansas played sloppily and the Hoibergs made them pay with every mistake.

Their guard play was pretty phenomenal, Naz Long put up 20 points and had 5 boards. 6 Iowa State players hit double figures in scoring. Even after the Jayhawks scored, the Cyclones were already pushing the ball up the court with crisp outlet passes–rather than trying to dribble the length of the floor.

They are a good passing team, and should be respected. Fred Hoiberg is legit, and he’ll be bringing his boys to Lawrence the first week of February, in a can’t miss affair.

Good Ass Games of the Week:

Monday

What better way to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther (the) King than by watching bruthas make millions of dollars for playing the most beautiful game ever created.

It would be dismissive of me not to include a couple of Eastern Conference teams on this slate, both Detroit and Atlanta have been playing great ball of late. Atlanta has won 12 straight and has a 10-3 record against the West this year. They are legit. I was one last year who was kind of skeptical of what “good” meant in the east, but the Hawks are the real deal.

Their games are fun to watch too. They pass the ball as well as the Spurs, Warriors, and Phoenix Suns. They have some ballers in Paul Milsap (who I thought the Thunder should have made a run at years ago), Al Horford, Kyle Korver (the 50-50-90 club????), and Jeff Teague have made it impossible for me to ignore their ballclub. ATLIENS, I stand corrected.

Denver-Golden State Speaking of balling, Golden State smacked Houston on the second end of back-to-back games. 131-106.

Dallas-Memphis If Mike Conley played in the Eastern Conference, he’d be a sure fire All-Star. Unfortunately the West is loaded right now. How do you sort that out? Kobe will probably get voted in since its his last productive year, which takes up another guard spot. We’ll see. The Grizzlies backcourt matches up well with the Mavericks’ Ellis and Rondo.

Sacramento-Portland will be highly competitive, and might be better than the Chicago-Cleveland game that night. Neither the Cavs or Bulls are playing all that well of late (the last 5-7 games).

Tuesday
Thunder-Heat Thing were turnt up in OKC on Friday. Durant shot 14-18 and scored 36. Westbrook had an insane stat line of 17 points, 17 assists , and 15 rebounds.

They are poised to make a run soon, and it looks like Dion Waiters may be a good fit after all. Word on the street is that “Perk” and Reggie Jackson will be the next pieces moved. Does this mean Brooklyn is willing to part with Brook Lopez for a big man, a draft pick and a little Reggie thrown in for good measure? Stay tuned.

Wednesday

Toronto-Memphis I’ve always wondered what a fight between a Grizzly Bear and a dinosaur would look like.

Houston-Golden State
Yes. Please.

Portland-Phoenix Oh so much good ass basketball this week.

Lakers-Pellies Only if you are desperate.

Oklahoma City-Washington
Worth checking out only because the game is in D.C.

KD goes HOME.

Thursday

Spurs-Bulls
There are going to be some sick dimes thrown in this game. If you like big men who know how to pass, don’t put an ad out on Craigslist, just tune in to this game. Trust me. I was a doctor for Halloween once.

Friday

Happy Hour can’t get here soon enough with this Oklahoma City-Atlanta game to kick off the weekend.

Houston-Phoenix will be a game that gets into high 100’s for both teams. Sacramento will get slapped by Golden State. In case you forgot about this game

‘Nuff Said.

Saturday

Wizards-Blazers. The best matchup of backcourts you will see that night.

Sunday
HEY! DO I HAVE THE HANGOVER CURE FOR YOU!!!!!!!

Oklahoma City-Cleveland
Clippers-Suns

What else you gonna do, watch the NFL PRO BOWL?

BUSTER OF THE WEEK AWARD:

Oh it pains me so much to do this. This is a man’s whose career I have followed since he was running the show in Las Vegas. I watched him with the Knicks and Blazers, and enjoyed his voice as a basketball analyst for CBS and TNT.

My man Greg Anthony got busted Friday night on charges of soliciting a prostitute when he was in D.C. He was supposed to call the Maryland-Michigan State game and decided to see more than the usual tourist sights. CBS has suspended him for the rest of the year, and so has Turner Broadcasting. The only way this story can get worse is if Marion Barry and Rob Ford were hiding in his bedroom with cocaine and a videotape.

Now I don’t know what happened. Apparently he just picked the wrong day to get a pro.There was a sting operation by the police. We still don’t know if she was a streetwalker or an escort, but I figured my man had more game than that. I’m not one to judge.

Things happen, and I’ve been to Amsterdam so you can probably guess what my opinion is on prostitution. I guess the law is the law. It’s terrible news though, this man’s career is in jeopardy because he is accused of trying to purchase sex. Maybe my sympathies are in the wrong place, but I feel for him. It can all be taken away so easily.

Enjoy this week’s slate of games, and remember to make good choices. As these NFL Playoffs have shown, there is a very thin margin of error that separates the winning and losing locker rooms.

PEACE.
BM

#THISAGOODASSGAME
@clickpicka79
bobbymickey@gmail.com

Just Ain’t Fair No More [Originally posted on sportsblog.com 1/27/14]

he Jayhawks are gelling. They are finally learning how to play with each other; figuring out each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They look good. Just ask Trent Johnson how good this team is. It almost isn’t fun anymore; waiting in anticipation for the next opponent in hopes that they will give Kansas a legitimate challenge (kind of like when the US basketball team goes to the Olympics). This is not the same team that lost to San Diego State a few weeks ago. Watching this team play is like watching the old 90’s Cowboys every Sunday. It didn’t matter who the opponent was–I just wanted to see my favorite players–and see them play well. I’m sure the Iowa State, Baylor, and Oklahoma State rematches will be competitive, but please,just wake me when the Big 12 tournament starts.

Big ups of the week go to:

Andrew Wiggins did his thing on Saturday with 27 points 5 boards and 5 assists on 8-13 shooting, but a big UP has to go to Naadir Tharpe for his line on Saturday. Zero turnovers, with 0-0 shooting, 1 steal and 4 assists in 20 minutes of play. He is playing like the point guard everyone was hoping he’d become. Aaron Miles should be proud of dude. I can’t wait to see him next year when he is a senior.

Kevin Durant, the SLIM REAPER.

I missed the majority of his 41 points tonight (including the 13 4th quarter points he put in to help the Thunder rally against the Hawks), but I did catch the last two minutes of the game. The game winner had me krunk to say the least. As of tonight, his 30 points or more streak is at 11 games. Until he cools off, KD is must see TV status. He plays Miami and Lebron on Wednesday night.
LAMARCUS vs. the Nuggets on Thursday night. 44 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists. Thursday night’s performance was a thing of beauty.

While I’m talking about the Blazers, big ups to my boy CJ McCollum. I’ve been openly rooting for his success since he put it on Duke a couple of years ago in the NCAA’s. There are few things that make me more satisfied than knowing about this point guard out of Lehigh well before “Mr. Book of Basketball” Bill Simmons. Do ya thang CJ!

I’ll be the first to admit that I couldn’t stand the guy when he played at Florida, but I do love Joakim Noah’s love for the game. His willingness to express his fire and enthusiasm for the game of basketball is almost worth grinding out a Bulls game vs. an eastern conference opponent. I do hope he gets to play for a contender again. The man is real unique individual and what he brings to the NBA can’t be easily replaced.

It’s becoming ridiculous this sickness I have. Not only must I watch every single intriguing basketball matchup from now to the rest of the season, but now I’m compelled to write as many of my thoughts down as possible. I go to sleep thinking about the things that I have to do in order to afford myself time to watch games. I wake up in the morning with the same thoughts. My housemates think its funny–albeit peculiar–this sickness that I’m afflicted with. I could fall asleep to a CD filled with only the squeaking of sneakers on a gym floor, the sound of a dribbling basketball, and an occasional yell of “pick left”. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one out there who has caught this “bug” I’d like to throw one last big UP’s out to my newest homey (and future road dog) Sam. It’s been great getting to talk, watch and play ball with you man. Can’t wait to catch a Blazers (or Warriors) game with you in the future.

Another great week of sports to come. Enjoy.