2016-2017 Season Preview: Top 26 Storylines Part One

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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. 

 

 

 

 

 

REMATCH

Before I break down the NBA Finals rematch between the Cavs and the Warriors, I gotta give it up to the Oklahoma City Thunder. As busterish as they have become, they balled out this post-season.

Steven Adams may have been the biggest surprise. He went from role player to key player this year, and he may soon be the third most important player on this team. Like most people, it was easy to get blinded by the fast start of the Spurs and Warriors. Oklahoma City was a threat to both of those teams, but it was difficult to take the Thunder seriously because of the way they lost games to inferior teams in the regular season.

Even if Andre Roberson spends the summer taking 400 3 pointers a day, I don’t see him being more than a Thabo Sefalosha 2.0. They could use a consistent 3rd scorer, and they can bring Kanter and Waiters off the bench next year and be back in the Western Conference Finals next year (assuming Mike Conley doesn’t go to San Antonio).  But for real, I got a little bit more respect for the Thunder after this post-season.

 

Good Ass Games of the Week:

Cleveland vs. Golden State  Best of 7

Games 1,2,5,and 7 in Oakland

Games 3,4, and 6 in Cleveland

 

People are saying that these are the same teams from last year, except that Cleveland is healthy. This is true to some degree, but both teams are actually better than last year. Cleveland not only has a healthy Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, but they also have Channing Frye to bring off the bench as a 3 point threat. Now that Cleveland has these three weapons on offense, I’m going to ask this question: Who are they going to guard?

People assume that Game 1 of last year’s Finals would have automatically gone to Cleveland had Irving not been injured, but he was getting roasted on the other end of the court by Steph Curry. Kevin Love should send a Derek Jeter style gift basket to James Harden for taking attention away from his own poor defense. One could argue that they were better defensively up front last year when Love hurt his shoulder.

In order not to get swept in this series, Cleveland needs to do 3 basic things:

  1. Win the 3 point battle. Easier said than done right? Besides chasing the Dubs off the 3 point line and forcing them to take 2’s, Cleveland will need Channing Frye and J.R. Smith to stretch the Warrior D by continuing to hit from outside the arc. This would of course, open up the floor for Kyrie and Lebron to attack the rim and put the Warriors bigs in foul trouble.
  2. Force the Warriors to turn the ball over. The Cavs love to get out running in transition and get easy baskets (dunks). This is exactly how the Thunder pushed the Dubs to the brink of elimination. The Warriors can’t be casual with the ball like they were last round. Hopefully that was their wake up call.
  3. Get Big. Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love need to get double-digit boards every night if they hope to have a chance. Thompson’s effectiveness as a rim protector may be compromised if “Mo Buckets” Speights can get loose with his jump shot. I’m curious what counter will Tyronn Lue uses if this problem arises. Timofey Mosgov may or may not get some run this series.

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I’m interested how the cupcake opponents and long layoff will affect the Cavaliers. It is hard to simulate the kind of intensity that the Warriors had to muster to come out of the last round. I would not be surprised if the first half is won easily by the Warriors. I don’t see Game 1 being an overtime thriller like last year (I’m also the same guy who said Warriors in 5 last round). Also would anyone be surprised if Kevin Love or Kyrie Irving got injured and missed a game or two this series?

I think the Warriors will in this in 5 games, and I’m only saying 5 out of respect for Lebron James. They’ll win at least one at home in Cleveland.

 

BM

@clickpicka79

#thisagoodassgame #fullsass

thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

 

Everything We Could Have Asked For

This Western Conference Finals has given us drama, great soundbites, and (what do you know?) great action on the basketball court. This series has been the saving grace for this year’s playoffs. The Spurs-Thunder and Blazers-Warriors rounds had their moments, but this year’s Western Conference Finals has lived up to the hype that was percolating even as far back as last year (before Kevin Durant hurt his foot up in Oakland on the last possession in the first half of a regular season matchup).

I’ve spent most of the season bashing the Thunder for their histrionics, style of play, and lack of depth (for good reason), but they have been nothing short of impressive this postseason.

To many Thunder fans, the team fell into what felt like a mid-season swoon. This organization  faced some real life adversity;with deaths close to team members, front office heads and assistant coaches. Billy Donovan lost his best bench coach, Mo Cheeks (the Russ whisperer) to a hip surgery, during this difficult period (a lot of people are quick to praise Billy Donovan for making all the right moves. I agree that he has gotten better with his rotations and substitutions, but I also don’t think it is pure coincidence that Cheeks’ return had nothing to do with their success).

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Oklahoma City’s role players have really stepped up their games. Enes Kanter and Anthony Morrow have been put into situations where they can succeed (a product of good coaching). Dion Waiters has cut down on his bone headed plays. Kyle Singler is sitting on the bench where his ass belongs. The biggest leap, however; is Steven Adams’ sudden ascension as the third member of OKC’s “Big 3”.

Adams’ impact on the game has been the most  visible factor of this playoff run. Adams has influenced the rebound margins, defensive efficiency, and he is making a contribution on the offensive end; catching lobs, getting garbage buckets on offensive boards, and making nasty baseball passes for layups. When you think about all the front office moves made after the 2012 Finals run, (Perry Jones III, Jeremy Lamb, Mitch McGary, Kevin Martin) it may not be a stretch to think that the Adams draft pick (acquired in the James Harden trade) may have saved GM Sam Presti’s  job.

For the majority of this series, OKC has outplayed Golden State. Golden State’s role players have struggled this round–especially from the Oracle. The good news is that there is a game 7. Warriors blew game 1 with careless turnovers, and bad body language. People were shocked, but they deserved to lose that one. I didn’t care for their casual approach going into game 1, the way they played was disrespectful to the game, and the basketball gods made them pay for it.

The team returned to form in game 2, but they ran into a buzzsaw in games 3 and 4 (man those fans were loud).

The “Dray-gate” controversy and Warriors going back home with a 3-1 series deficit was exactly the type of drama this playoffs needed. Despite it being a “good ass game”, I knew there was no way they would lose in Oakland. draymond-green-030216-getty-ftrjpg_11yxu7bourk4613knzedu46jtp

Game 6 was going to be the true litmus test for both teams, with the Warriors facing an elimination game, on the road, in one of the most hostile environments in the NBA (Sorry Oakland, but the true Warriors fans have been consistently priced out ever since your team started winning again). Needless to say, game 6 delivered.

Klay Thompson put on one of the most memorable playoff performances I’ve seen that didn’t involve a certain young man from Akron, Ohio (no not Steph). The Warriors needed every one of the 41 points he put up, but the fact that he also played great defense, makes it even more impressive. He has been the playoff MVP for the Warriors this year.

The adage about road players not traveling well held true to form, as Klay Thompson, Steph Curry, and Draymond  Green did the heavy lifting. Andre Iguodala played timely defense, and had a clutch basketball to tie it up at 101-101. The reason I feel so confident about the Warriors wrapping it up tonight is that “No Buckets” Speights will turn into “Mo Buckets” Speights, Sean Livingston will contribute more offensively than he did on Saturday. I also think Harrison Barnes is going to show up. With the postseason Barnes is having, he may have cost his agent a family vacation in Rome this summer. I really thought he was going to make himself some money in April. I really wanted to see him take that leap this year (I’m sure I’m not the only one).

I think the game will be close until about the 4th quarter, and then the Warriors will go on a run to ice the game. I think the role players will be too much in this game. I knew the Thunder were in trouble during game 6 when they went to the half winning only by 5 points.

They’d dominated the entire half, and gotten the majority of the favorable calls, and still did not win. I would be incredibly shocked if the Warriors dropped this one tonight. Oklahoma City had their chance and they just couldn’t make it happen.

You can call it a meltdown, or you can say that Golden State was clutch. I’ll believe either narrative. No matter what happens tonight, I dare anyone to dispute that this series saved the NBA postseason this year.

A Quick One (while he’s away) pt. 3

Last night was such a treat. Sunday and Monday night provided us with two of the better games of the playoffs. For all the talk about how the Eastern Conference was better than the Western Conference, I don’t think I’m out of line to use the trash, disguised as playoff basketball, as a counter to those claims.

Eastern Conference basketball has been awful to watch, and this has been no aberration. It has been this way for years. Just rip the damn thing up and start over. Send Memphis to the east, realign the conferences, and have the playoff seeding 1-16. If it weren’t for the Spurs-Thunder and Blazers-Warriors series, this year’s playoffs would be a bigger flop than the most recent Fantastic Four movie.

A few quick thoughts before tonight’s game 5:

  • Game 4 was just as intense as I was hoping it would be. I’ve been to a couple of elimination games, both in the Oracle, and at Chesapeake Energy Arena, and Sunday’s game between Oklahoma City and San Antonio might have been the most intense basketball game I’ve attended in person. The folks in OKC finally understand how to be a fan base. For years they needed the P.A. announcer’s assistance to know when to get loud, when to cheer, and when to chant. I wasn’t even on the court and I was affected at how loud it was in the arena. The only time it got quiet was when Kawhi dunked on Steven Adams, and I may have been the only screaming at that point–that shit had me juiced. I will say this though, YMCA strikes me as a song you would play in the arena, when the game is secured, in the regular seasonnot in the 3rd quarter of a hotly contested playoff game.
  • The refs from Sunday should never be allowed to work a playoff game together again. They were horrible. If players can get their pay docked for conduct detrimental to the league, then the same should apply to referees. Danny Crawford (go figure) and his crew could not figure out how they wanted to call the game. They would let one thing go–like Kanter throwing elbows as he bullied his way into the paint, and then call a touch foul against the defender guarding him. It seemed like every other foul was a make up call, and it marred what otherwise was a beautiful game to watch in person. At least we can say it wasn’t one-sided; they were at least consistently bad for both teams. We’d have been better off if the refs were sent home, and the players called their own fouls.
  • Minus a couple of lulls, Game 4 was the best game I’ve seen  Thunder play. They were great on defense–especially down the stretch of that game. The Spurs were making tough shots, while the Thunder were consistently finding ways to get easy buckets. They had 23 assists compared to San Antonio’s 12. Both teams had 12 turnovers, and the Spurs were only outrebounded by 6 boards, but it felt like OKC was killing them on the glass. Stephen Adams has been the biggest X factor among the Thunder role players, notching a double-double in each of their wins, while only getting single digit field goal attempts in their losses. Every time the Thunder went to the Westbrook and Adams, good things happened.
  • Gregg Popovich will have some tinkering to do to counter the Thunder’s game 4 adjustments. The Steven Adams, Enes Kanter, Dion Waiters, Russ Westbrook, Kevin Durant line provided the most challenges for the Spurs, and makes me wonder why it took Billy Donovan so long to try this out. While I wouldn’t call for him to make this his starting lineup, there seems to be merit for using this crunch time lineup for what is now a 3 game series. There are scoring options at every position, and OKC’s height gives each Spurs defender something to worry about. For as skilled as the Spurs are, their front line is a little too small vs.teams like Cleveland and OKC;who pound them into submission on the glass, and their backcourt is too small when facing teams like Golden State and Oklahoma City (who also happen to be bigger than them in the paint as well). It just goes to show well how the Spurs execute on both ends of the floor. Even with the size mismatches (and disparity in quickness), it still takes playing a perfect game to beat them.
  • As much shit as I’ve talked about Durant trying to play the villain, and the depths of busterdom befallen the Thunder, you have to be a real hater not to dig what happened Sunday night. KD put up 41 on the NBA’s best defense while his moms (the real MVP) danced in her courtside seats. When he got hot in that 4th quarter (scoring 17 points and having some timely assists to boot) it was eerily similar to the game 4 of the 2012 series where no one could guard him, scoring 18 points in the 4th quarter. With the ascent of Russell Westbrook and his scoring histrionics, it can be easy to forget the former Longhorn is still capable of outbursts like these.
  • Game 5 will be just as much of a dogfight as the past 4 games, if not more. Neither team wants to be one game away from elimination. The Spurs bench and role players output has been matched, (if not surpassed) by the Thunder supporting cast. Oklahoma City is outrebounding San Antonio, and they are getting way more easy buckets than the Spurs. I’m not sure if the Spurs can recover from losing two games at home in a series. Tonight’s tickets will read game 5, but it may as well read game 7. History has shown that most teams that win game 5 of the best of 7 series (when tied 2-2) end up winning the series.

 

I may have already said this before, but I think the Curry injury has been one of the best subplots of the playoffs. His injury had many ramifications for not only the Warriors, but for everyone who, up until the injury, were playing for second place. Cleveland has been feasting on bad teams during the first two rounds, and they’ll probably sweep the winner of the Toronto-Miami series (especially if the Heat don’t have Whiteside). I can only hope that Miami will at least make the Cavs work for those 4 W’s.

Last night’s heroics by Curry ( 40 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists–17 points in OT) only proved why he is the unanimous MVP. But did anyone else see the game Draymond Green had? Not only did he fill the stat sheet, (21 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, and 7 blocks) but he also set the tone for the Warriors second half comeback.

The consecutive defensive sequences where he blocked first Plumlee, and then McCollum energized the team, and that was the point when I knew we were in for a #goodassgame. Make no mistake about it, last night’s game was the game of the year. With Curry’s status in limbo, Livingston getting ejected, and Portland having a chance to tie the series at home, those things only served to make things more lit.

Lastly, how beautiful was that inbounds play that Kerr and co. designed—the one to get the game tied at 3? Curry threw the pass before Harrison Barnes (maybe their  3rd best option to shoot a 3 pointer) had come off of screening Klay Thompson’s man. The Warriors’ floor spacing on that play was almost as gorgeous as the pass.

Though this series is pretty much over, I do not expect the Blazers to fold up like lawn furniture. They’ll take an L, but the Warriors are going to have to work for it. There is nothing to hang your head about Blazers fans. Everyone (including me and other contributors for this site) picked this year’s team to SUUUUUUUUCCCCKKKKK, and they didn’t. That is a win in itself.

Last night’s game proves why it is always more important to make the playoffs (with the possibility of getting bounced) than to tank and hope for lottery ping pong balls. You can’t put a price on experience. The guys in that Trailblazer locker room will never forget the growth they experienced this year–from making the playoffs, to bouncing the Clippers, to giving the Warriors all they can handle in the semi-finals, and this can only help them in aligning next season’s goals.

If you are a free agent frontcourt player looking to play a prominent role for a contender, you have to at least take a meeting with Portland right? The draft is always a crapshoot. You never know what the ping pong balls will reveal, and not all top 3 picks are can’t miss franchise players (Portlanders certainly knows this is true). The Blazers run this year proves that if you put in the work and try your best, you never know what can happen. Sure the Blazer improbable run was helped by collective slides by Houston, New Orleans, and Utah, and then again by the Clippers suffering major injuries to key players, but their hard work, focus, and belief in each other put them in a position to succeed. Blazers fans should be greeting them at the airport when they get back from Oakland after Wednesday’s game.

Enjoy tonight’s game.

 

Peace,

BM

thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

#thisagoodassgame #fullsass

 

Endgame Begins Now….

If I could have my way, the regular season would end today, and the playoffs would start next week. Last night’s “Good Ass Game of the Week” not only lived up to the hype, it obliterated any and all memory of this season’s good ass games.

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I was fortunate enough to not be in a public place and could scream as loud as I wanted after every made shot. There have been some good ass games this year (especially involving the Warriors), but none of them have matched the intensity, competitiveness, and drama as this one.

There was a major injury to the game’s best player at a key juncture. There was a halftime tirade by Draymond Green in the locker room. There was a mad surge at the very end of the game to even sniff a chance to foul and get possession back, but then Kevin Durant (after an incredible offensive night) threw the ball away at halfcourt instead of calling a timeout; after getting trapped in the backcourt. Then to compound things, KD fouled a 63 % shooting Andre Iguodala with 0.7 seconds left. Iggy had to hit 2 free throws and then the Warriors had to play defense in order to force overtime.

You knew once it got to OT, that it was pretty much over for the Thunder. You have to play perfectly in order to have a chance to beat the Warriors, and they’d given them new life. I thought if there was a game where it would be understandable for the Warriors to drop a road game–in a raucous Chesapeake Arena–then this would be it. It didn’t happen. Then to top it off, Curry hits and unbelievable jump shot (that everyone knew he was going to take) from 38 feet away from the basket, and iced the game. The playoffs came early, and if the NBA Final Four ended up being OKC-Golden State, and Toronto-Cleveland, I would not be disappointed (sorry Spurs fans–Andre Miller has no chance against Steph).

Well guess what hoop heads? They play again in Oakland on Thursday night. #goodassgamealert

By the way, if the season ended today, the same Western Conference teams that made the playoffs 2 years ago would be in again. This year proves that last year was in fact an aberration for the Pelicans, who definitely benefited from Durant’s season ending foot injury.

 

Monday

 

Oklahoma City-Sacramento

OKC takes off for the west coast after losing a heartbreaker of a game last night. Imagine playing that hard and that well, only to take an L. We know Russ and KD will show up for the game, but who else is gonna put in work? Sacramento may be able to sneak a W on the Thunder, if they come out #fullsass.

Indiana-Cleveland

This pick to click is on NBATV so I’ll only be able to watch the highlights of this one. Talk about getting schmoogled, League Pass is owned by the same company, Turner Sports, but you can’t watch anything on NBATV on League Pass. FOH!!!!

 

Tuesday

 

Portland-New York

Dame gets to take a huge bite of the big apple. I love when big name players go to MSG and turn it out. Don’t be surprised if “Dame Dolla” gets 46 in this one. Also, if you haven’t already done so, check out episode 9 of the Full Sass podcast on fullsass.com. Frequent contributor and Brooklyn resident,  Alex Knapp came on a gave some in depth analysis of the Blazers season. I expect to trade at least 20-30 text messages with him over the course of this game.

Orlando-Dallas

Craig Stein’s favorite team vs. his adopted babies. I like the Magic too. They really gave Golden State a run for their money up until this moment. Of course, the Mavericks are off limits this year due to area blackout, so I’ll be watching Sportscenter highlights at best. Needless to say, I’m definitely wavering on whether I want to get League Pass next year. The juice is almost not worth the squeeze.

 

Wednesday

 

Los Angeles Clippers- Oklahoma City

Russell Westbrook almost always goes HAM whenever he gets to play in front of his hometown peeps. To see him face off against Chris Paul is going to be a treat. Do yourself a favor and put money on the over for “number of scowls made after each whistle.”

Boston-Portland

Don’t look now, but Boston is in 3rd place in the east. If the season ended today, they would play the Pacers in what would probably be a 7 game series. Every hipster NBA writer would be drooling all over themselves, to wax poetically about the coaching minds of Brad Stevens and Frank Vogel.

 

Thursday 

 

Oklahoma City-Golden State (Good Ass Game of the Week)

If there were a way that someone could bottle up what it must have felt like for Steph to hit that cold blooded three, and rip the hearts out of everyone in that building, that person would be a trillionaire. I’ve seen some cold blooded shit in my lifetime, but it doesn’t get much nastier that shot. As soon as he launched it, you could tell it was good. You can’t manufacture the kind of confidence that the Warriors have right now.

 

Friday

 

Portland-Toronto

Flip a coin to determine which team is  the 2nd and 3rd best backcourts in the NBA. I’m happy that this an east coast game because I have plans later that night.

 

Saturday

 

Boston-Cleveland, San Antonio-Sacramento, Atliens-Clippers

Meh. So many things you could be doing other than watching these games. This is a good time to do those them.

 

Sunday

 

Portland-Detroit

 

“Please excuse this lame rhyme.

Don’t matter what the game time

Right around the same time

The 4th quarter is Dame time.”

 

~BMick tha Click picka, from his debut mixtape  “Tha Pick 2 CLick” 

 

Dallas-Denver

The Nuggets are my guilty pleasure. I still have yet to watch a full game, but I’m always checking for their highlights. HAHA get it? “High”lights. Nudge Nudge. Wink Wink. Sometimes these jokes just write themselves folks.

 

We are heading into March, which means that we have basically one month of regular season ball to go. Its only going to get more complicated from here on out. My advice is to avoid the NCAA tournament as much as possible, and save all that cache up for the NBA playoffs. You’ll thank me in April–unless of course, you live in a cold weather city–then you should probably stay indoors until Spring is officially here.

Have a great week.

 

Peace,

 

BM

#thisagoodassgame #fullsass

@clickpicka79

thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

 

Talking Turkey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, onto the pros:

 

Monday

Some good ass games to start the week with

New York-Miami

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

San Antonio- Phoenix

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

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

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

 

Tuesday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Level 4 “We’re Great” Spurs.

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

 

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

Wednesday

Cleveland-Toronto

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

Atlanta-Minnesota 

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

Sacramento-Milwaukee

The highlights alone will be worth watching.

Miami-Detroit

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

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

Can you say live tweet session? #FULLSASS

Thursday

This some good ass Turkey.

Friday

Sacramento vs. Minnesota

Some young talent in this one.

Golden State vs. Phoenix

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

Detroit vs. Oklahoma City

The return of Reggie.

 

Saturday

Atlanta vs. San Antonio  will be something like this.

Sunday

Minnesota-Los Angeles 

If you really need to tap that vein.

 

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Peace.

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Burnout

The REAL season starts in 3 weeks,on April 18th. If there is something time-sensitive that needs to be done, do it before then. Once the playoffs start, game over. That coupled with the approaching end of the school semester willtake up every little bit of my time for the next two months.

I’ve watched very little NBA over the past two weeks, partially due to exhaustion, but also because life has intervened. I’m gonna pull a Popovich and monitor my minutes over the next 3 weeks so that I’m fresh for the playoffs.

Last night’s Notre Dame and Kentucky game was easily the best college game that I watched this year. To be a Good Ass Game, does not only mean a competitive. A Good Ass Game is one that is played at a high level. Notre dame-Kentucky was a Good Ass Mutha#$%in’ Game. When you consider what was at stake, (trip to Final Four/Kentucky’s win streak) the intensity alone, made it worth watching. That might be the closest Kentucky will come to losing this year.

The Final Four should be a good one. For all the missed jump shots, bad fundamentals, and ugly officiating, watching the NCAA is still slightly better than standing on the gym sidelines waiting for next in pickup games.

Good Ass Games of the Week

Today

Memphis-San Antonio

Never fails to live up to the hype. Grizz haven’t been looking too hot of late, but don’t sleep on them. Just like you wouldn’t underestimate a real Grizzly Bear–unless its that indie rock band…those guys are soft as Charmin tissue paper.

Oklahoma City- Phoenix

It is Russell Westbrook’s team now in OKC.

Monday

The “tap that vein” game of the week goes to Phoenix-Portland.

Tuesday

Clippers-Warriors on that late night tip. I’m into it.

Wednesday

Clippers-Phoenix Phoenix gets to play LAC on a back-to-back.

Dallas-Oklahoma City

What looked like a grab bag of various Western Conference finalists, looks now to be only 3 realistic teams, Warriors, Grizzlies, and the Spurs. I’m not buying the hype on Houston. Dallas doesn’t look all that good anymore. OKC and Portland get a mulligan due to crippling injuries to key players. I doubt I’ll even watch this game this week.

Thursday

Phoenix-Golden State
Houston-Dallas

Sigh. Just wake me up when the playoffs start. Now we are just watching games to see who gets seeded where. This last month is basically the conference tournaments without all the hype and pageantry.

Friday

Oklahoma City-Memphis

Get your Ya-Ya’s out while you still can. Build as much relationship equity as you can because you never know when a game 7 will fall on a date night. Don’t waste it on a meaningless game in April.

Saturday

Golden-State-Dallas
New Orleans-Phoenix

OR

The NCAA Final Four.

I myself will be watching the college boys, but hey its your life. Do what you want.

Tip-off for the Michigan State-Louisville has already happened. I’m gonna lie on my bed and fall asleep to dudes bricking jump shots.

Peace

BM

@clickpicka79
bobbymickey@gmail.com
#thisagoodassgame