The Teen Wolves Take Manhattan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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!

jones

 

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

 

 

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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Easin’ into the Grind

I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to watch NBA this season. The number of games I want to catch up on are piling up. The bandwidth at my local Starbucks is weak, and I’m afraid that if I get internet at my house that I’ll become a hermit. By December, I’ll be a bit more adjusted, and will have caught my breath by winter break. I plan to devote at least 5-6 hours a day during this period to watching basketball. Only 4 more weeks until this is a reality. The marquee “Good Ass Game of the Week” matchups have been as good as advertised, but the biggest surprise to me is how much better ball is in the Eastern Conference. The quality of play is improved, and instead of 89-76 games, teams are actually scoring into the 100’s.

All that being said, I still fux with the Western Conference teams more heavily than the East–no doubt. Right now my favorite squads to watch are the Warriors (unreal the kind of ball they are playing. I don’t think an offense has generated this kind of round-the-league since the Showtime era Lakers), the Bulls (can actually stretch the floor with shooters), the Teen Wolves (could conceivably have two of the best 2 way players in the league someday with Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins–I’ve watched more games by them this year than I have in the entire KG “Big Ticket” era), Kings (those throwback powder blue jerseys are sick), and of course the Spurs.

This week Kawhi supplanted Kevin Durant as my favorite player in the NBA. Curry stays on at #2, while KD slips to three. Steph and KD are both electrifying to watch, but Leonard is slowly building up his case for being the best 2 way player in the game (after Lebron of course). But Lebron won’t be around forever, and we’re only 3-4 seasons away from Lebron’s body betraying him, making him merely great rather than otherworldly. Who’ll supplant Lebron? Well it could be any of these guys in no particular order:

Andrew Wiggins

Victor Oladipo

Jimmy Butler

Kawhi Leonard

Anthony Davis

Paul George

Anthony Towns

The NBA product is in good hands for the next 8-10 years. Let’s get to these games:

Monday

Portland-San Antonio 

This will be close for about 3 and a half quarters if we are lucky. Seriously though, if you like to watch good defenders, and you haven’t been watching Kawhi, do yourself a favor and peep. First hit is free, after that…….

OKC-Memphis

Always a good battle with these two teams. No Durant adds more pressure on the supporting cast to step it up, because you know Hustle Westbrook is going to fill the stat sheet.

“Tap That Vein” Tuesday

Minnesota-Miami 

Young guns. This will be a fun watch. I’m especially looking forward to the Towns-Whiteside face-off.

Toronto-Golden State

Warriors  gonna rock the “Throwbacks” that night. MMMMMPPPPPPPHHHHHHHH!!!!

[If College hoops gives you that buzz, then get on those Duke-Kentucky, Kansas-Michigan State games]

Wednesday

Sacramento-Atlanta

Even when the Kings get blown out, it lends for entertainment.

Dallas-Boston

This strikes me as the type of game one would live-tweet while watching.

Chicago-Phoenix

Suns just aren’t a hoops sexy team this year. It’ll still be a fun game though. Its good toe See Doug McDermott out on the court this year. Homie can ball.

Thursday

Sacramento-Miami

Cousins vs. Whiteside??? Insert “banging in the post” joke here. GO!!!

Milwaukee-Cleveland pt. Duex

The Bucks match up well with the Cavs. Imagine the length of Golden State without the outside shooting threats. That’s the Bucks.

Golden State vs. Lol Clippers “Good Ass Game of the Week”

Good night to make some chili on the crock pot, and stare at the computer (or tv) screen. Warriors have Bogut back for this one. I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I’d put money on Blake Griffin getting a tech this game.

Friday

Detroit-Minnesota 

Some young talent in this one. Andre Drummond vs. Karl Anthony Towns. Remember when they said big men in the post were a dying breed?

Spurs-New Orleans

To quote the great Jordan Paladino, “New Orleans is trash.” The only way I’ll be watching the Pelicans again this year is if they play a marquee  game. I know its early in the season, but not only do they not look like they’ve gotten better, but it seems like they regressed. Its pretty disappointing.

Clippers-Portland

Lillard against Chris Paul sounds slightly amusing. Its hard to watch the Trailblazers even with their sick back court. When Lillard and McCollum are off the floor, it feels like I’m watching a pickup game at the Lewis and Clark Recreation Center–especially with Plumlee, Leonard, and Connaughton on the team.

Chicago-Golden State “Good Ass Game of the Week PART 2”

Last February’s affair was one of the “Good Ass Games of the Year” in my book. I have three words for you: HIGH LEVEL BASKETBALL. Plus two of my favorite college players from back in the day are now coaching against each other. That is correct, I am old enough to have seen the “The Mayor” play in college. #DON”THATECUZYOULATE

Saturday

Sacramento-Orlando

This week definitely has some bite to it. Good ass games every single night. Orlando is pesky. Scott Skiles knows how to get the young bucks fired up to play. Its the veterans who get tired of his overbearing style though. This is the perfect situation for him. In 4 years, maybe not. He is like the Buck Showalter of NBA coaches.

Memphis-San Antonio

Memphis looks a step behind this year. I’d be shocked if this were a double overtime affair like last season. Then again, so was this shot.

Sunday

Definitely the kind of setting that would precipitate a live-tweet session.

Big Ups of the Week to the person who designed this year’s Mavs’ jerseys. Those are the best looking ones I’ve seen in al the years they been rocking them shits.

I wish I could say the same for the Thunder jerseys. HELL NAW!!!

They would get the Buster of the Week Award in a regular week, but last week’s events (the bombings in Lebanon, and the shootings in Paris), have me thinking more sobering thoughts. In order for a tragedy of last week’s magnitude to occur, it takes multiple parties have to be complicit.

I’m not naive enough to think that international conflict can be avoided. Its unavoidable. But the fact that people can’t go to a movie, or see their favorite band without fear of being shot in a public place is discomforting. We have to figure out a way to be better people towards each other. There’s no way around it.

One minute you are ordering a dish in French for the first time, and in the next breath, there can be bullets whizzing by your head.Life really is that fragile.

#shoothoopsnotpeople

Peace.

BM

#thisagoodassgame # fullsass

@clickpicka79

Fullsass.com

bobbymickey@gmail.com

Basketball is my Girlfriend

It is what it is. I’ve missed my window for finding something warm to curl up with for this winter, but at least basketball season coincides with this time of the year. I’ll never be lonely as long as I got hoop on my mind, though the springtime will be a different issue, as the warm weather and hormones work in tandem to create a need that basketball alone can’t satiate.

In college there was this young lady in my linguistics class that I became acquainted with. She was tall, brunette and besides a little bit of acne, she was gorgeous. She worked as a volleyball coach at a local high school, and she also happened to love basketball. We got along swimmingly despite her being a Duke fan. One particular Thursday night in the midst of the playoffs, we had a date planned. I realized early that afternoon that the Rockets (back when they had T-Mac) were playing and there was no way I could miss it.

She wasn’t old enough to get into the bars, so I had a dilemma on my hands. This wouldn’t be the first (nor the last)time I’d break a date in favor of watching basketball. I called her up about 4:55 and was setting her up to let her down, when she suggested I come to her dorm room and watch the game. Problem solved.

Later that night, while watching what was a blowout game, we made a bet about the 2001 Blue Devils roster. I knew I was right and could have easily bet something a little less innocuous than a back rub, but anything more than that seemed icky (Things that are great independently don’t always mix so well).

So we checked the internet, and of course I was right (I think the bet was if Chris Duhon played on that championship team). I got a fantastic back massage (which is way rarer than good sex), while the Rockets beat down the Mavericks, and then later……well let’s just say it got a little warm in that single dorm room.

I was too young then to know that I was experiencing joy in its purest form, but I knew that moment was a pretty special one. If something like that happened to me now at 35 (soon to be 36) I’d probably lock that down with the quickness. But I was a young cat, and I had a lot of places to visit, and things to do. She had no intention of ever leaving Texas I think– I don’t know it was never that serious–we were on that casual tip. She did hit me up about a year and a half later.

I was living in Austin and was about to leave Texas forever in less than a week. Now that I think about it, I should have hooked up with her one last time before I left the state. She was a fun gal. But most importantly, she understood that basketball was my girlfriend and she was just my mistress. She knew how to give, and she knew how to share. And if you understand those principles in life, then you understand basketball.

Enough reminiscing, let’s talk about these Good Ass Games of the Week:

Monday

Spurs-Portland These aren’t the same fresh faces that got swept in the playoffs last year. The Spurs are a little banged up and Portland has looked pretty good so far this year. If this gets out of hand late int he third or early in the fourth quarter, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Popovich pull the starters. San Antonio has a week of tough opponents ahead of them.

Tuesday

Golden State vs. Memphis This would be THE GOOD ASS GAME OF THE WEEK if not for Thursday night’s game. With no Bogut, or David Lee, the match up plays into the Grizzlies’ hands. Bogut and Lee are both big men who can force Z-Bo and Gasol out of the paint, and open up the floor. Plus that is more fouls to use against the Memphis big men. Tony Allen vs. the Splash Brothers will be a fun thing to watch too. I hope these two teams face each other in the playoffs with healthy rosters.

OKC-SAC later night. As of tonight, Sacramento is half a game out of eighth place and they just fired their head coach Mike Malone. Maybe Shaq can provide some insight on TNT this week.

Wednesday

Memphis vs. San Antonio Griz on the second end of a back-to back. Don’t read too much into this one, because the Spurs may just run them out the building. San Antonio has been spanking them ever since Memphis knocked them out of the playoffs a couple of years ago.

Milwaukee vs. Phoenix as a backup plan. Phoenix has not looked anywhere as good as last year. The way the roster is set up now, I don’t think they have enough to make a deep run into the playoffs if they somehow sneak in. They may need to make a trade. Ryan Anderson would be a perfect fit on that squad. Brooklyn is also trying to get rid of some salary too, if the Suns are serious about this year, they need to get on the phone and make a move.

Something I heard from Jalen Rose a couple of weeks ago that I totally agree with, is that they don’t seem to have a leader. After watching a few of their games this week, I’m almost completely sure that this is going to have to be Eric Bledsoe’s team. If they go into the playoffs with no one who can take the big shot at the end, this will end up looking like the Blazers of yesteryear (1999-2000 was a fun team but whose team was it?). Stay tuned.

Thursday

Oklahoma City goes to Golden State. This is will probably go down as one of top ten Good Ass Games of the Year. Last year this happened,

Believe me when I say this game will be worth breaking a date for.

Friday

Chicago-Memphis will be a dogfight. The only thing standing between me and this game will be Dave Chappelle at the Brady Theater. I can’t lose! The show starts at 7:00, so maybe I can catch the 4th qtr of this one (unless by chance we catch one of those marathon affairs that he is known for).

Portland-San Antonio also in the early round of games. Two games in one week almost guarantees this game will be a tight affair. I expect a physical game and lots of loud “GO SPURS Go” chants. If I had a mistress, we’d definitely be having a basketball threesome at AT&T Center. If that gal starts actin’ up I’ll just take her friend!

What’s the Word?? LAL? More like LOL!!!!! Oklahoma City goes to Los Angeles to play the Lakers. The Thunder have pretty much owned the Lakers since the days when KD and Russ were just neophytes and were susceptible to Pau Gasol put backs during that 2010 run. Russ loves going back to L.A. and going HAM for his hometown folk. Hustle Westbrook gets no less than 38 points this game because the Lakers have no one who can stop him. If you like Laker beatdowns, and seeing Kobe getting pissed off and barking at his teammates, then this is the game for you.

Saturday

Spurs-Mavericks I was so hype for this game until I realized that the Spurs were also playing the Friday night before. This is a classic “Popovich sits the starters” game. I was even thinking about buying tickets for this one too. WOMP WOMP WOMP!

If you have nothing better to do on a Saturday night, you can peep Bucks-Clippers, or Phoenix-New Orleans, but honestly this may be one of those nights to take one your less interesting chicks on a date. You can even take them to a bar where the game will be on with no sound. You can halfway listen to your date and occasionally glance at the score on the television. Everyone wins!!!

Sunday

Lakers-Kings and Pelicans-Thunder are worth stopping in on if and only if “Lil Brow Wow” and “Boogie Down Productions” are playing for their respective teams. If not, then take Saturday night’s date to brunch, drop her off at her crib and then get some rest for Monday. With the holidays approaching, you can get away with not calling her for a while, but the great weekend you shared will still be fresh in her mind. Hell, keep it on ice til New Year’s and I guarantee the champagne won’t be the only thing to get popped on Dec. 31st. Trust me on this, I’m a doctor.

Before I go, big shout out to “Maple Jordan”, Andrew Wiggins for winning “Rookie of the Month.” Keep it up young man, and you’ll make the both of us look good (forget what I said about the T-cubs–I did say A-Wiggs would get the ROY award or at least share it with Jabari. And don’t say they don’t give it to players on losing teams. The Sixers tanked last year and they still gave the award to Michael Carter-Williams). Until next week, I’m OUT!!!!

BM
@clickpicka79
bobbymickey@gmail.com
#thisagoodassgame