Monday, April 30, 2007

Playoff Musings: Spurs v. Nuggets

I absolutely hate it when Robert Horry does this. The man simply doesn't miss from beyond the arc when there's less than a minute left in a game. He'll still have teams signing him to 10-day playoff contracts when he's 87 and sitting in a wheelchair. Guy just doesn't miss in clutch moments - ever. Both myself and Dwyermaker believe he is the greatest clutch shooter in NBA history. Better than Jordan, better than Mr. NBA Logo Jerry West.

That aside, I hate watching the Spurs. They whine constantly and bitch over every call that doesn't go their way. It would have been fun to see Joey Crawford ref this series just to see how many Spurs he could eject from every game.

Meanwhile, Denver is toast. They lost both of their home games and AI can't seem to hit a layup anymore. I really thought this could be a good series, but now I think the Spurs take it in 5. Perhaps a full year of Melo and AI together next season will produce something better.


Playoff Musings: Rockets v. Jazz

Even though AK-47 went crazy in this game (a total of 8 pts!), his incredible outburst wasn't enough to lead the Jazz to victory. T-Mac did his best Steve Nash impersonation by dishing out 16 assists. He also scored 26 pts. Yao had an off night, but was money down the stretch at the free throw line. The man is one hell of a free throw shooter. If Shaq had ever had Yao's touch, he would have gone for 50 a game in his prime. Mehmet Okur, who is best known for playing against himself in a pickup game for a Turkish fruit drink, didn't do his job for the Jazz, scoring only 9 pts. Although the back and forth nature of this matchup would make you think it's a good series, it really hasn't been all that great. Both teams have had totally shabby performances by key players on the road and that 67 point stink bomb the Rockets threw up in Game 3 was a crime against humanity. Plus, a series where it goes exactly according to plan, where the home team wins every game, just isn't exciting.


Kobe over Jordan? Please... Why Even Look Past McGrady?

Now, I must say I hate making arguments like this when one guy's team is doing well and everyone is pulling for him and another guy is now setting up tee times. But, for Kobe I will make an exception. I think it is interesting how similar Kobe is to mafia kingpin John Gotti, the "Teflon Don." No matter what he does he stays out of jail, keeps selling jerseys (suggesting many people somehow still like him), people keep calling him a winner and the best player in the NBA and blaming everything on his supporting cast, Phil Jackson, Sammy the Bull, etc.

First of all, I don't think you can judge Kobe's career based on when he was playing with Shaq, who was probably the most dominating force in the history of the NBA. I think to accurately judge Kobe as a player you have to look at what he's done without Shaq. The interesting thing is how similarly it parallels T-Mac's career. First year without Shaq: Kobe did not make the playoffs with past All-Star Odom and future All-Star Caron Butler (a better supporting cast than McGrady's had until the past two years). Second year: Lakers went way up in the first round (3-1 to the Suns) as a serious underdog then got run out of the playoffs - eerily similar to T-Mac with Orlando against Detroit.

Then this year, the Lakers are getting so embarassed by the Suns that I am seriously concerned about Lamar Odom's mental health. And I can't blame him. Besides the personal issues Odom's been going through, NOBODY seems to appreciate what a truly great player he is. Odom is a Top 20 player in the league and he's stuck playing with an absolute cancer in Kobe. Also, has anyone else noticed what's happened with Caron Butler since he left the Lakers? He was an All-Star this year and that's while playing with Arenas who isn't excatly a pass first guard! So everyone is making the argument that Kobe has had no supporting players since Shaq even though the Lakers got 2 All-Stars in Butler and Odom to play with him and he simply ruined their games.

I haven't seen anyone receive this many excuses since the mentally disabled kid in my 1st grade class. It just boggles the mind especially because there is no indication that Kobe is anything other than an egomaniac with all the charisma of Barry Bonds. And yes I am a SF Giants fan, but it just hasn't been the same since they signed Bonds and had to dump Will Clark and Robbie Thompson. And yes, I realize by the numbers that makes zero sense... That being said, Lakers fans kill me because a number of them are also serious Dodgers fans who can never understand how Giants fans can root for the Giants with Bonds on the team... ummm, hello?! I'll take steroids allegations over rape allegations any day and I would hope everyone else would too... it is kind of sick how the media can't get over steroids in sports, but Kobe's rape charge was yesterday's news once he hit a fall-away jumper... bizarre.

That being said, I don't think there's any way that you can argue Kobe's career has been more impressive than McGrady's if you factor in Kobe playing with Shaq. Not to mention the fact that you have to mark Kobe down for the elbows, the attitude, the criminal charges, and for breaking up one of the great basketball dynasties. Would McGrady have won those same 3 championships in Kobe's place? Absolutely. Would he have let his ego break up a 3-time Championship team? Hell no. Factor that in and I say McGrady over Kobe any day of the week...


Playoff Musings: Cavs v. Wizards

I don't know anyone who watched this game. No one needed to watch it in order to know what happened. The Cavs won 97-90, knocking the Wizards out of the playoffs and more importantly, covering the spread (Thanks to Big Z for hitting that garbage time shot). I watched nothing but the highlights of this series, but I have the sense that this was the least convincing sweep in NBA history. The Wizards are AWFUL because they don't have Caron Butler and Agent Zero, and yet all the games were fairly close. Perhaps the Cavs didn't want to tip their hand too early, or perhaps they just aren't very good. Guess we'll find out in the second round.

Giants Report: Hitters needed

The Giants pitching staff, including Noah Lowry (above), needs some help. They need someone on the team to hit a ball besides Barry Bonds. So far this season, the Giants have the 5th best pitching staff in the majors - with a 3.44 ERA. Yet their record is 12-11.

The reason why this is happening is because the Giants have scored the 4th fewest runs in the majors. If you take Bonds out of the lineup (he's hitting over .360 with 8 home runs), the Giants are hitting an anemic .241 as a team. This should come as no surprise to anyone who saw the Giants lose a bunch of one-run games in the last few days. The best question to ask is why in hell is anyone even pitching to Bonds at this point? Some people think he's the early NL MVP favorite, since the Giants would probably be in the tank without him.

Of course, having a good pitching staff doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be a good team. Our boys across the bay in Oakland have the 2nd best team ERA in the majors at 3.16, but are below .500 with a record of 12-13.


You won't be seeing this at Vick's house anymore (we hope)

As many of you probably know, Michael Vick has been involved in the dog fighting circuit for quite some time now. But after the NFL Draft, and meeting with the Commish, Vick has stated that he's ready to change his life. While I'm glad that Vick has decided to change his life, and I'm sure his dogs are too, do we really think it will actually happen? He's done a lot of less than wonderful things lately, and he has the added disadvantage of having a completely psychotic brother.

We wish you well Mike, but even if you turn your life around, you better get Atlanta into the playoffs again. Nothing helps heal your image faster than winning, and nothing destroys it faster than losing while having illegal dog fights in your backyard.


Playoff Musings: Hyper-Edition

I'm back from a weekend of getting worked by the waves at Pacifica. And yes, they were absolutely as big as the one in this picture. Except maybe not.

So here's the playoff breakdown, with tonight's matchups up first:

Rockets v. Jazz: It's all tied up at 2-2, and the ghosts of never getting out of the first round are starting to haunt McGrady. This series definitely has the "it's goin' 7" kind of feel to it, since both teams seem to be totally incapable of winning on the road. Although McGrady has that Gorilla on his back, I think Yao will help him get through the series in 7.

Nuggets v. Spurs: The Nuggets better show up tonight. They looked like they had the potential to pull a "Warriors" after Game 1, but since then they've flamed out. AI also hasn't been at his best in the series so far. I say really hope the Nuggets win tonight before going out in 6.

Cavs v. Wizards: What? This series is still on? Is it actually being broadcasted? Who cares. Cavs finish the deal tonight as no one (not even Wizards fans) watch.

Suns v. Lakers: Who was that guy posing as Kwame Brown in Game 3? He decided not to show up for Game 4. Meanwhile, Steve Nash decided to show up, big time. He dished out 23 assists to let the Kobe Show know that the series ain't going 7 games this year. Suns should wrap this thing up neatly in Game 5.

Warriors v. Mavs: We've already written a lot about this series. It is what it is. The Mavs 67 win season was apparently smoke and mirrors. Dirk doesn't deserve the MVP and Mark Cuban is in a world of hurt. Excellent.

Nets v. Raps: Oh those crafty Nets. Lull you to sleep all year, then BAM! They punch you in the gut in the playoffs. Looks like the Raps were a bit overrated this year, and it looks like it'll be a little while longer before we see more of them and Bosh in a notable TV time slot. I feel bad for Raps fans. VC is a vile human being. The Raps and their fans deserved revenge, and it doesn't look like they're going to get it.

Heat v. Chicago: Yikes. The Heat got real old real fast. Shaq will certainly be remembered for winning an NBA title without Kobe, but he'll also be remembered for throwing up this stink bomb of a playoff performance. D-Wade unfortunately wasn't himself for the series, and I think he came to realize after the game that he's probably not going to win any more championships during his career. Hey, it's still one more than Barkley. Meanwhile the Bulls are now hitting their stride and we get what probably should have been the Eastern Conference Finals matchup in Round 2. The Young Bulls and Ben Wallace go up against the grizzled Pistons. Should be one heck of a series.

Pistons v. Magic: Dwight Howard, start working on that jumper. The Magic weren't horrible in this series, but it didn't really matter as they got swept. Howard meanwhile is starting to look like he's reached his peak, which is not a good sign if you're the Magic. He's young of course, but he needs more moves and needs a jumper REAL BAD. Grant Hill also might be retiring and Jameer Nelson shouldn't be a starting point guard in the NBA. The Pistons better be prepared for Round 2, because the Bulls are quite an upgrade from the Magic.


The Future Of The Eagles?

I've been out of pocket for the past few days covering the Penn Relays, so this comes a few days late...

You gotta hand it to the Eagles. At least they have some cahones.

It may be pure stupidity on their part to draft quarterback Kevin Kolb with their first pick of the draft (in the second round), but it was definately gutsy.

Why not just slap Donovan McNabb in the face and say, "We think you're injury prone and will be out of the league in the next three years. We have to start preparing for the future now."

I have absolutely no problem with the Eagles drafting a quarterback. I thought it was something they needed to do at some point. Just not with the first pick in the second round, especially on a guy who would probably still be available in the third or fourth rounds.

Kolb was a solid QB for Houston last year, breaking almost every passing and offensive record the Cougars had. He completed 61.5 percent of his passes, throwing for 12,964 yards and 106 touchdowns (including rushing TDs). And he was a four-year starter for the Cougars, which says a lot.

Eagles coach Andy Reid said after the Patriots (my new archnemisis) took Miami safety Brandon Meriweather in the first round, they decided to trade down and go with the highest player on their board. Are you telling me that out of all the players available in the draft, Kevin Kolb was No. 3 on your board behind Meriweather and Texas safety Michael Griffin?

Out of all the needs the Eagles have (short yardage running back, linebacker, safety), a QB was the next best thing available? Why not draft a Brian Leonard (RB, Rutgers) or Michael Bush (RB, Louisville) or something other than a quarterback.

The Eagles should have been drafting for next year, not five years down the road.

I guess all this really means is bye-bye Kelly Holcomb.

Draft Notes
How 'Bout Them ... Cleveland Browns?
The Dog Pound may have had the best first round in years, managing to land not only the top offensive tackle in the draft (Wicsonsin's Joe Thomas), but one of the top quarterbacks, too (Notre Dame's Brady Quinn).

And how about the front office calling Quinn on Friday and telling him that they were not going to take him with the third pick. That's a class act.

Quinn did have the moment of the draft when the camera was on him as the Dolphins selected Ohio State's Ted Ginn, Jr (and how about Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron announcing his pick to the fans. I was waiting for them to start tossing dead fish at him). As Brady mouthed "that was surprising," everyone knew he was going to be in for the long haul.

But it all worked out for golden boy. He ended up going to the Browns, his hometown team, anyway. And he did handle all the media pressure very well for a kid just coming out of college.

Now, the only thing he has to learn is to not chew gum while going on to the stage to get his jersey and hat. Didn't they teach that to him in elementary school?

Are Wide Receivers Worthless now?
Randy Moss goes from Oakland to New England for a fourth-round pick. Darrell Jackson moves from Seattle to San Francisco for a fourth-round pick.

Why not just trade them for cases of beer? At least you can have an immediate impact there.

Just Cancel the NFL Season and Give the Pats the Superbowl
Not only do the Patriots have one of the top three quartebacks in the league, Tom Brady. Not only do they have one of the most gifted coaches in the the league, Bill Belichick. Not only do they have one of the most up-and-coming RBs in the league, Laurence Maroney. But now they have one of the most formidable linebacking corps in the league, Adelius Thomas, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrable and Roosevelt Colvin. And one of the most dangerous wide receiving corps in the league, Randy Moss, Donte Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney.

All I can say is that I'm glad New England's in the AFC.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Warriors... Best Playoff Performance Ever?

I don't think anything could be sweeter for Warriors fans after the big win Sunday night than watching Charles Barkley sitting there wearing a Dirk "Luftball" Nowitzki jersey looking like he needs an extended Vegas weekend where he drops another $5 million dollars at the MGM Grand blackjack tables. I think TNT should make Charles wear that Nowitzki jersey for all of next year if he wants to keep his job after his horrible analysis during this series... And what is it with this anger directed towards the Bay Area? What is there to dislike? The open-minded, generally friendly populous, the beautiful scenery, excellent restaurants (and you know Barkley likes to eat...), or the thriving nightlife??? It just defies explanation...

As for the game, can you remember anyone throwing up more airballs and bricks in a single game than Nowitzki did on Sunday night? That's our league MVP??? If anything I think the NBA needs to delay the voting on that award until after the Finals. Everyone knows the NBA is all about what happens in the Playoffs so why vote on the MVP before the season's over? If this performance doesn't change that, assuming "Luftball" wins the award, I don't know what it would take... maybe giving the award to Kobe right before he takes a post-season trip to a resort spa in Colorado...

We also have to thank the Mavs fan who called us "the most ignorant basketball fan[s] in the history of the game" in response to our pre-Game 1 prediction that the Warriors would win this series. I think the series has spoken for itself on that end... sometimes I read that post when I'm feeling a little down... I thank you "anonymous"!

Also, as many of the Mavs fans so kindly pointed out before the series, how could we expect the Warriors to beat a team that won 67 games in the regular season and was supposedly one of the best teams in NBA history? So where does that leave the Warriors at this point? If you were making that argument before this series would that not mean that the Warriors are playing some of the best basketball ever? There was nothing to suggest that the Mavs were anything but the Real Deal during the regular season and now they are just facing a better team... hands down. You have to consider where this Warriors performance ranks against some of the great playoff series performances of all time...


Friday, April 27, 2007

Buy your Warriors Conference Finals Tix!!!

My bad, I have to apologize for my prediction before game 3 where I said that the Warriors would win by 10 and feed off the Oakland Coliseum Arena crowd. I should never underestimate my team and I promise I will not do it again. Instead the Warriors fed off the Arena crowd and won by 18!!! I came into the playoffs saying that the Warriors would win in 7 and gain respect. I must re-assess and say that this series will be over in 6 and the Warriors will AT THE VERY LEAST get through the second round against Houston as well. There is no way that the Warriors are losing at the Arena. I am so confident about this that, as my previous Warriors Madlibs column stated, if they do lose the series to the Mavs I will re-enact the opening Martin Sheen scene in Apocalypse Now outside the Oakland Arena where Sheen goes crazy while The End plays by the Doors. I consider it a performance art piece, but to each his/her own...

That being said, a couple notes on tonight's game. First of all, in the Mavs favor, I have to say that if the entire NBA were being re-drafted I would take Josh Howard in my Top 10. At the same time, if there were a single NBA player least equipped to "handle" himself in prison, I would have to go with Devin Harris, hands down... and that's not a good thing to have as your starting point guard in a winner-takes-all playoff battle. Let's just say if the Mavs can somehow obtain Acie Law out of Texas A&M in the draft this summer, there's your championship Mark Cuban.

Also have to love David Stern being at the game in Oakland tonight although I got a little concerned because he has a nose for trouble like a veteran Drug Enforcement Agent. Does anyone remember when he just "happened" to be sitting about 4 rows deep during the Knick-Bulls melee in about '94. Had me worried, but I think the only catastrophe tonight was the demise of a 67 win basketball team. Phew! While I do love David Stern, I have to say I really love the Knicks fans that show up to the Garden at every NBA draft just to boo Stern when he walks out every year. It's like the NBA version of the Rocky-Drago showdown... beautiful.

One other quick NBA note, did anyone else catch the difference between the Heat and Warriors fans when ESPN switched between the two games? My god, the Heat were down 5 points with 2 minutes left and the ball and you would have thought that it was the middle of the regular season and they were down 20. Unreal! You could actually hear Dwayne Wade's tears hit the court thinking about the prospect of having to play in that city for another 5 years. My solution for David Stern is to impose $1 margarita nights for every home game in Miami during the Playoffs. Give them a few margaritas, tell them to root for the Heat, and trust me, there will be fireworks!


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Giants Report: Blood Feud

Ray Durham got the huge hit for the Giants tonight in the 8th inning as they went on to beat the Dodgers 5-4. The Giants have now won 8 straight and are tied for the lead in the NL West. This team is impossible to figure out. Since starting out 1-5, they've been taking the teams from their division out to the woodshed and beating the crap out of them. Pretty much everyone in baseball picked the Giants to finish last in the NL West, but last place teams don't win 8 straight games.

Playoff Musings: Suns v. Lakers

The Lakers absolutely had to win this game tonight and they managed to do it. The Suns got off to a blistering start, and looked like they were going to wipe the Lakers out quickly, but then they got strangely disinterested for the rest of the night. Kobe finally got some help from his supporting cast, as Kwame Brown went for 19 and Odom for 18. The refs were also pretty kind to the Lakers, because you can't have Kobe Bryant getting swept in the first round.

If I'm Phoenix, I'm not real worried. The Lakers played about the best possible game they're capable of playing. Meanwhile Phoenix was pretty dreadful in the second half and still managed to tie this game up with about 2 minutes to go. Phoenix even made some late defensive stops, they just couldn't convert on the offensive end. Also, anyone who thinks Kwame Brown is going to go for 19 again is crazy.

Playoff Musings: Rockets v. Jazz

If I were a betting man and I am this is the game I would have did bet on. Utah has been excellent at home this year and despite the Rockets hot start in the series, we all have to remember that McGrady has never gotten out of the first round of the playoffs. But I don't think any of us expected this, an 81-67 beatdown. The Jazz made the Rockets look terrible tonight. Carlos Boozer had another big game with 22 pts and 12 boards, but it was Utah's bench that made the difference tonight. The Jazz bench went for 33 while the Rockets bench pulled the old goose egg. Oh yeah, AK-47 sucked again as usual.

This series is far from over, I just wish there was more offense.

Playoff Musings: Pistons v. Magic

There were some questions about whether or not the Pistons had the killer instinct. They had lost their last six playoff Game 3's when up 2-0 in a series. Although they started slow, the Pistons revved it up and made the Magic look like what they are - the worst team in the playoffs. No need to watch Game 4, as the Pistons will sweep the Magic out of the playoffs.

Movie Quote Warrior-libs...

Because of the Warriors current success, which by the numbers could only happen another 3-4 times in most of our lifetimes, I think all of us Warriors fans can admit we're a little giddy, perhaps bordering on delirium... So naturally, I thought to myself, what if we inserted our love of the Warriors into various movie quotes and scenes? Consider it post-Modern blogging... I think the results speak for themselves...

- Non-Warriors fan: Wow, you were a Golden State Warriors fan for the past 13 years? Were you in the sh!t?
- Warriors fan: yeah, I was in the sh!t...

A Few Good Men:
- "Our creed, sir, is Warriors, God, Country!"

- Warriors fan: Do you want the truth?!
Mavs fan: I want the truth!
Warriors fan: You can't handle the truth! (that the Warriors are going to beat the Mavs in 7)

Coming to America:
- "I love the Warriors and if loving the Warriors is wrong, I don't wanna be right!"
- "I believe the Warriors are our future, teach them well, let them lead the way..."
- "Sexual Chocolate!"

Apocalypse Now
- this will be a performance piece I will perform outside the Oakland Coliseum Arena if the Warriors lose the series to the Mavs where I re-enact the scene in which Martin Sheen gets blacked-out drunk, cuts his hand open with a knife and rolls around in his own blood, buck-naked while blasting The End by the Doors... should be fun.


Special editor's note: We're holding you to that last one Dwyermaker

Champagnegate: Royals repay Hunter

This afternoon, while playing against the KC Royals, Torii Hunter got beaned in the mouth by Zack Grienke. I realize this isn't Torii Hunter in the picture, but I'm sure Hunter felt pretty much the same way as Sosa did when he got beaned today (dazed and confused). I think we can all assume that the Royals were not so happy about having to give back those bottles of champagne.

Needless to say, I don't think the Royals will be on Hunter's gift list anymore.

Giants Report: Blood Feud

Barry Bonds hit home run number 741 Wednesday night as the Giants won their seventh straight by beating the hated Dodgers 6-4. After a hideous start, the Giants are now on fire. Bonds, meanwhile, may be the hottest player in the game not named A-Rod. He's hitting .346, with 7 home runs, 15 RBIs and has a slugging percentage of .808.

Even though I'm a huge Bonds fan, I know he used steroids. But this year is interesting. We have to assume he's not using steroids because MLB is testing more vigorously for that now. Which begs the question: What is he on? Maybe nothing, maybe HGH. I don't really know and I don't really care. It's entertainment, and I am entertained.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Playoff Musings: Cavs v. Wizards

Huh? What? These guys played tonight? The Cavs pretty much sleepwalked through this game, as they barely came out on top 109-102. No one is paying attention to this series because everyone knows the Cavs will advance. The Cavs better start playing a little harder in the next round though. Everyone thinks you can just pencil them into the Eastern Conference Finals, but if they keep playing like they did tonight, I don't see it happening.

Warriors lose... Stern to Prescribe Xanax

Our good bud Dwyermaker is posting on the Warriors defeat tonight:

Yes, the Warriors lost on Wednesday night, albeit not in a complete landslide as many had expected, with the Warriors leading even into the 3rd quarter. Unfortunately, BDizzle and Stephen Jackson got tossed, but the Warriors still kept it a game into the 4th quarter. Have to say that Reggie Miller and the rest of the announcers created unnecessary drama over Jackson's slow exit suggesting that it should result in a suspension. Please... if Jackson gets anything more than a heightened fine it is a travesty and more of a reflection on Jackson's reputation and the goal of the modern NBA to completely sedate their players.

Is there any question that this was a boring regular season short of a couple exciting (Warriors') games to make the playoffs at the end? The league's crackdown on laughing and clapping at referees, suspensions for technical fouls, and calling ticky-tack flagrant fouls has turned players into emotionless drones and the quality and excitement of play has been reflected, especially during the regular season. Fortunately, the competition in the playoffs picks up and the NBA finally becomes watchable. The NBA front office and referees have to understand that emotions run high both in victory and defeat and this is something to be celebrated, not shunned. Just because David Stern may need his daily dose of Xanax to get through the day does not mean he needs to kill the emotions of the playoffs for everyone else.

In summary, Free Mumia... I mean Stephen Jackson... and the Warriors will rebound in game 3, feed off the emotion at the Oakland Coliseum Arena (to hell with Oracle and all companies that pay to have arenas named after them... doesn't that give us all less of a reason to use their products???) and the Warriors will win by 10 in Game 3.


Special editor's note: Anyone else think Reggie Miller was beyond dreadful for this game? His worst line had to be "when the Warriors are in them, they give them trouble." I'd have some trouble too if the Warriors were in me. I hope Awful Announcing captured some of Miller's incredible work.

Playoff Musings: Spurs v. Nuggets

After being down for most of the game, Denver made a spirited comeback in the 4th quarter. But it wasn't enough as San Antonio held on for dear life and won 97-88. While a lot of people will say, hey, the Spurs finally woke up and now they're going to breeze through this series - I wouldn't go that far. While Duncan - pictured here on a bizarre ice throne - played well (22 pts), Iverson and Anthony both had off nights. This series is far from over.

Here we go again

Game 2 of the epic first round matchup of THE CITY v. Mavs begins shortly. As you may remember, we picked The City to win this in 7. After the Warriors won Game 1, we started to feel a little better about our insane pick. We also feel good because the boys over at Stephen Jackson's Gun Rack, who have done a phenomenal job so far in handicapping these NBA playoffs, have made the Warriors their pick of the night. We know Stephen Jackson will bring his A-game, and probably his piece as well.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Giants Report: Blood Feud

Everyone says that Yanks/Red Sox is the best rivalry in baseball. That's certainly true for the present day. But historically the blood feud between the Giants and Dodgers is the best rivalry in baseball history. It dates all the way back to their days in New York together and it hasn't eased up at all since they came west. We hate them and they hate us. Tonight in Round 1, the Giants won 5-3, making today the best day in the history of the world. The Giants are also heating up. After having won 6 in a row their record now stands at 10-8.

Playoff Musings: Suns v. Lakers

Remember this guy? Yep, it's Jalen Rose. It's kind of hard to find an action shot of him on the internet in a Suns uniform because he never plays. Well, tonight he played a lot, because the Suns absolutely destroyed the Lakers 126-98. This game was over before halftime. Even better for the Suns, Steve Nash only played 24 minutes. They need him to be fresh for the next round. Meanwhile, Leandro Barbosa is proving that even though he won 6th man of the year, he could be starting for 75% of the teams in the league. He was 11-18 from the floor for 26 pts. Kobe Bryant tweaked his ankle tonight, but it doesn't really matter whether he can play again or not. This isn't like last year's matchup. The Lakers have no chance in this series.

Playoff Musings: Heat v. Bulls

Ben Gordon did the heavy lifting tonight as the Bulls made it clear that the Miami Heat don't belong in the same gym as they do. Gordon had 27 pts, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Shaq, meanwhile, was horrible, going 6-14 from the floor. Looks like all that whining after Game 1 didn't help that much.

While the series is heading back to Miami, the Heat don't look real good and Chicago looks like want revenge for last year.

Playoff Musings: Raps v. Nets

I might have NBA TV as part of my cable, but I'm not really sure. Either way, I only saw the last minute of this game, which the Raps managed to win 89-83 to tie up the series at 1-1. Bosh had 25 pts and 13 boards, while Anthony Parker (who I vaguely remember from Bradley) had 26 pts.

It's apparent that the NBA doesn't really think much of the Raps by putting them on NBA TV. I'm not a Raps fan, but that's probably because they're never on TV. You'd think they'd want more people watching a young star like Bosh. But that makes too much sense.

Sam Mitchell also won coach of the year today, which is funny, because not all that long ago he was probably one of the worst coaches in the league. Whatever.

Champagnegate: Michael Wilbon openly challenges sports blogs

This story was first reported by The Cheater's Guide to Baseball Blog which found out that Torii Hunter violated an obscure MLB rule. And now MLB authorities are getting invloved. It seems that Hunter recently sent the KC Royals four bottles of Dom Perignon to fulfill a promise he made after the Royals swept the Tigers late last season that helped give the Twins the division title. This is illegal under MLB rules and carries a hefty penalty.

The rule (21-b.) states, "Any player or person connected with a Club who shall offer or give any gift or reward to a player or person connected with another Club for services rendered ... in defeating or attempting to defeat a competing Club ... shall be declared ineligible for not less than three years."

What's even more hilarious is that the rule is apparently posted just a few feet from manager Ron Gardenhire's door.

The Royals, who haven't tasted champagne in a long time, unfortunately hadn't opened the bottles yet and have agreed to return them.

On PTI, meanwhile, Michael Wilbon (feel free to email him) went on a rant about The Cheater's Guide to Baseball Blog for discovering Hunter's miscue, saying "Whoever this person or people are, they're worse than the PETA people. They should be banned from America right now." I'm sure PETA feels a lot better now, seeing as they're no longer #1 on Wilbon's enemies list. Wilbon also told the sports blogging community to "bring it on."

Wilbon's ranting aside, it's good to see MLB flexing it's muscles and preventing horrible things like this from happening, you know, because there's absolutely nothing else wrong with baseball right now.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Why A-Rod is playing so well

Up until this April, we haven't really seen much of this version of A-Rod with the Yankees (except for the 2005 season). The truly dialed-in hitter that puts up insane stats. But there's a reason for this. A-Rod seems adverse to playing at his peak on a winning team. With the exception of his 2005 and 2000 campaigns, he only seems to be capable of putting up crazy numbers when the team he's on stinks.

If you don't believe me, check out his stats on Baseball Reference. His best years, with the exception of 2005 and 2000, have all come on fairly mediocre to horrible teams.

Almost to help drive this point home, A-Rod has exploded offensively this month while the Yanks have been falling into the toilet and are now 4th in the AL East after they lost to the Devil Rays Monday night (a game in which A-Rod hit 2 home runs).

Is it sheer coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.

Playoff Musings: Rockets v. Jazz

As everyone knows by now, AK-47 followed up Game 1 by crying about his lack of playing time. In Game 1 he played only 16 minutes and scored just 2 pts. So how did he follow up that impressive performance? By scoring ZERO points in 18 minutes tonight. Wow. I didn't think it was possible for him to play any worse tonight than he did in Game 1, but he managed to do it. Sloan might just want to bench him for the rest of the series. At the rate AK-47 is going, he might start scoring baskets for the Rockets in Game 3.

AK-47 wasn't the only one on Utah to throw up a stinker either. Okur went for only 4 pts. Two starters going for a combined 4 points. Not going to win a lot of games when that happens. Carlos Boozer did his best with 41 pts, but it wasn't enough as McGrady went for 31 and Yao went for 27. The Rockets won 98-90.

Playoff Musings: Pistons v. Magic

Dwight Howard may be able to kiss the rim, but he did nothing tonight (8 pts) as the Pistons waxed the Magic 98-90 and it wasn't even that close. The Pistons starting 5 all played well. The only thing that kept the game from being a total blowout was Hedo Turkoglu and Grant Hill's bionic ankle. Remember when Hill was really good? Seems like a century ago.

Jumping For Joy: Phillies Have A Winning Streak

That's right folks. The Phillies have won three in a row (cue scene from Major League here). Mr. "We're the team to beat" (see above) nearly hit for the cycle, going 4-for-5 with a lead-off home run, triple and two singles.
And the $24 million-man, otherwise known as Adam Eaton, pitched a half-decent game for a change. He threw 6 innings, giving up four runs while walking three and striking out seven ... yes that's 7 K's.
And next the Phils get the Washington Nationals. Can you say 6 in a row?
Ok. I won't jump that far ahead. But it's good to see the bats finally coming alive as the Phils knocked the Astros' pitching staff around for 20 hits.
Could this be the turning point?
To be continued...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Is having the #1 pick in the NFL Draft actually worth it?

There's a great article by Daniel Brown from Sunday's San Jose Mercury News that looks at whether or not having the first pick in the NFL Draft actually makes economic sense for teams. This year, here in the Bay Area, the Raiders have the 1st pick and the 49ers have the 11th pick. The 1st pick in this year's draft is expected to get an estimated $30 million guaranteed while the 11th pick would get in the $10-12 million range. This thus begs the question: Is the #1 pick really worth three times as much as the #11 pick?

Two economists say no. Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago and Cade Massey, formerly of Duke, but now at Yale, insist the top pick is usually a burden for teams. An expensive mistake (see Detroit Lions) can cripple a franchise for years. Massey said that the "sweet-spot" of the draft comes late in the first round and early second round.

There's certainly plenty of data to back it up. Peyton Manning is the only #1 pick after 1997 to play in a Super Bowl.

Teams have also done historically well by trading down. The best recent example is the San Diego Chargers who traded away Eli Manning to the Giants and picked up Philip Rivers and Nate Kaeding in that draft, as well as a 2005 first-round pick that they used on Shawne Merriman.

If you want to read the actual study by Thaler and Massey, here is a link for it.

Also, let's take a look at how recent #1 picks stack up against #11 picks.

Year ---- #1 pick
2006 ---- Mario Williams
2005 ---- Alex Smith
2004 ---- Eli Manning
2003 ---- Carson Palmer
2002 ---- David Carr
2001 ---- Michael Vick
2000 ---- Courtney Brown
1999 ---- Tim Couch
1998 ---- Peyton Manning
1997 ---- Orlando Pace

Year ---- #11 pick
2006 ---- Jay Cutler
2005 ---- DeMarcus Ware
2004 ---- Ben Roethlisberger
2003 ---- Marcus Trufant
2002 ---- Dwight Freeney
2001 ---- Dan Morgan
2000 ---- Ron Dayne
1999 ---- Duante Culpepper
1998 ---- Tra Thomas
1997 ---- Michael Booker

Let the debate begin.

It's always good when the Yanks get swept

The Red Sox did some historic work today as they tied a major league record with 4 consecutive home runs in a row. Dice-K got roughed up, but the Yankees pitching staff got abused. Even this early in the season, it's more than apparent that if the Yankees want to reach the postseason, they better get some pitching, and they better get it soon. I hear Roger Clemens is available.

Warriors haters can suck it.

We got a ton of crap for picking the Warriors in 7 earlier this week. Well, we're feeling a little better about our pick today. The City took it to the Mavs for 4 quarters, while Don Nelson pretty convincingly outcoached Avery Johnson as the Warriors won 97-85. Bizarre call by Johnson to alter the starting lineup of the league's best team, but he must have felt he needed to do something different because of that 0-3 regular season record against the Warriors. Dirk Nowitzki did his usual A-Rod in the postseason impersonation, while Josh Howard wasn't all that great either. Meanwhile Baron Davis, the key to the series, was unreal. He went for 33 pts, 14 boards, 8 assists and 3 steals (because no one on the Mavs can guard him). We're also really glad that Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy don't play for us anymore. Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington are working out much better.

Some people will say, whatever, it's one game and point to the fact that Stack, Dirk and Howard had off games. True. But so did J-Rich, Monta Ellis and Harrington. And Biedrins was a non-factor. The Warriors didn't exactly play the game of their lives but won, and that should scare the Mavericks the most.

Outside of the Bay Area, pretty much no one in the mainstream media (except for Simmons), gave the Warriors much of a chance. Well, it might be time for people to rethink their thoughts on this series. The Warriors may not win the series, but they're not going away any time soon.


Liveblog: Warriors v. Mavs Game 1

1st quarter
6:50 - Total brickfest to start out tonight, no one can hit anything.
6:53 - Both teams are starting out small, which I think helps the Warriors. Hopefully they'll eventually hit their strides and we'll see some more scoring.
6:55 - Josh Howard gets the home call when he flops on an Al Harrington backdown. Oh that's right, Dick Bavetta is reffing this game. Guess we should call it now for the Mavs.
6:57 - Terry hammers J-Rich. Hard foul. Think the Mavs are a little angry that for the last few days some people have been saying they could fall to the Warriors in this series? I say yes.
7:00 - Matt Barnes is sporting a ridiculous new haircut, which I love. He looks like one of those guys from the Mad Max movies.
7:04 - Dick Bavetta makes a HORRIBLE call on J-Rich when Harris essentially runs into him and flops. That was just an atrocious call. J-Rich responds by burying a three and then punching Dick Bavetta in the face.
7:08 - Warriors made a nice little run and are up by a few.
7:15 - Warriors up 23-17 after one quarter. Warriors look pretty good and are definitely playing with fire.

2nd quarter
7:20 - Mavs instantly go on a 6-0 run and we're all tied up again. We're finally starting to see some Diop here. The chessmatch begins. Wonder how long before Nelson brings Biedrins in.
7:25 - Warriors instead bring Ellis back in. Trying to kill them with speed and it seems to be working as the Warriors go up by 5.
7:27 - Diop gets his 3rd foul when Jackson drives to the hoop. This could be of some trouble for the Mavs, since they've played better when Diop is in there.
7:30 - Davis gets poked in the eye on a drive to the basket. If the Warriors lose Davis, who is incredibly injury prone, at any point in this series, they have literally no chance. They have a negative chance of winning the series if that's even possible.
7:35 Our buddy Dwyermaker chimes in - Did you see Dampier sitting on the bench looking like he was going to kill somebody? As if he hasn't already proven to everyone that the Mavs way overpaid for him and the Warriors made a slick move not trying to sign him when he was a free agent. Someone needs to explain to me how Howard is still making $1.6 million per season and able to play with Dampier making about $10 million per year...
7:41 - Frenetic pace to this game as Howard nearly does a flip after dunking. Probably worthy of a tech, but whatever, this game has picked up and although sort of sloppy, it's just brimming with energy. These guys are fighting hard and it's only Game 1. I wonder why we don't see this kind of intensity in the regular season? Oh wait, I know why.
7:47 - The Warriors really need this game as a confidence booster. They're playing well, but if they lose this game, they might not play with the same fire in upcoming games.
7:48 - Game is tied at half and Nowitzki has sucked a huge one in the first half, missing 37 makeable shots. Strangely the score is 38-38 at the end of the first half, didn't expect that.

HALFTIME - Barkley makes a good point at half. Why did the Mavs change their starting lineup when facing a #8 seed? Because they went 0-3 this year against the Warriors Charles.

3rd quarter
8:11 - Baron Davis leads the Warriors with 11 rebounds. That's not exactly a good stat. The Warriors need to do a better job rebounding.
8:12 - But if they start burying threes like Stephen Jackson did, then they don't really need to rebound.
8:14 - Starting to agree with Barkley now as the Warriors go on a mini-run. Why exactly did AJ change the starting lineup and why did he start that same lineup in the second half? This lineup isn't working so well.
8:20 - So Diop comes in and all of a sudden the Mavs are up by 1. Hey Avery, I think I'm seeing a trend here.
8:22 - The refs seem to feel the same way as I do, when Diop pushes Biedrins in the back and then follows it up with a layup. Clear offensive foul but no call.
8:25 - We're starting to see the Warriors weakness in this series, they aren't doing well with rebounding. But Diop just picked up his 4th foul. Please get Dampier in there. He moves like a slug.
8:31 - Mavs go on a little run but the Warriors just won't go away as Davis buries a 3 with almost no time remaining on the shot clock to tie it up.
8:32 - Dwyermaker thinks Barnes's haircut makes him look a little like Sanjaya. I still say Mad Max extra. Those tattoos make him too badass to be a Sanjaya clone.
8:35 - A shot of Cuban looking seriously concerned as the Warriors go up by 2. Classic. Davis then buries a long range 3. That's right Cuban, you're team isn't having a an easy time. And Davis buries another 3 as time runs out! Warriors up by six with a quarter to go. Suck it Cuban!

4th quarter
8:47 - Regardless of who wins this game, the Warriors have proved they can definitely hang with the Mavs. Avery Johnson has also proved he's not quite as good a coach as I thought he was. Keep Diop in there for crying out loud Avery!
8:50 - Baron Davis comes back in, hopefully for the rest of this game. He's been having one hell of a game.
8:54 - The Czar tells us that the Warriors have earned the Mavs respect tonight. Yes, yes they have.
8:57 - Nowitzki bricks another shot, he's been putrid this game. The Warriors have to win this game. Nowitzki won't be this bad all series.
9:03 - In case anyone can't tell, Baron Davis is the key to the Warriors doing well in this series. Harris can't guard him one-on-one because he's too small and Devean George can't guard him one-on-one because he's too slow. And they can't pull Howard off of J-Rich or Jackson. And Jason Terry isn't really a great defender.
9:08 - Warriors up 10. HUGE.
9:10 - J-Rich loses the ball, then gets a huge block on Harris. Just a great play, the kind you don't see in the regular season. Barnes then decides not to let the clock run down and jacks up a 3, but buries it. Good thing you made that shot Barnes, I would have killed you if you didn't make that.
9:15 - Davis buries a game ending 3, which is only fitting. 33 pts, 14 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals. Dominating performance.
9:20 - Cuban can suck it. Warriors win. And yes, we called this one.

Playoff Musings: Spurs v. Nuggets

The Nuggets have managed to hang on in what I think most people would consider somewhat of an upset. Carmelo and AI were in excellent form. In the regular season they averaged a combined 55 points per game. Tonight they went for 61. Those six points made all the difference. Oh and Nene (Nene? What the hell?) had a monster night. This looks like it could be a pretty good series. The Phoenix Suns are pleased.


Giants Report: Hey, we're suddenly not that bad

The Giants kept their winning ways going as they swept the Diamondbacks and crawled above the .500 mark for the first time all season. They've now won 5 straight. Bonds also remained hot, hitting his 740th dinger today. The Giants are an interesting team. Since Bonds joined them way back in 1993, they've averaged nearly 90 wins a year. They're picked to finish last almost every year in the NL West and yet they somehow find a way to hang tough (this is almost always because of Bonds and because the NL West usually sucks). I expect the same thing again this year.


Join us for Warriors v. Mavs liveblog tonight

Go ahead and join us tonight as we liveblog the Warriors/Mavs game. I'm already on record as picking the Warriors in 7. Let's see how that works out.


Playoff Musings: Suns v. Lakers

The Phoenix Suns played like a Championship-caliber team today - which doesn't necessarily mean they played well. They weren't very good in the first half, but when they needed to, they managed to turn it on and they played good defense in the second half, particularly against Kobe Bryant. This is what championship-caliber teams do. They win even when they aren't at their best and they make defense stops when they need to. Today the Suns did that. Leandro Barbosa - The Brazilian Blur - was outstanding, scoring 26 points.


Playoff Musings: Cavs v. Wizards

The Global Icon and his boys made quick work of the Wizards today. Since Caron Butler and Agent Zero aren't playing because of injuries, this series will be over fast. There is no reason to watch this series at all. You should just pencil the Cavs into the second round now.


Warriors Begin the Trek to the Promised Land

We have a guest poster today who is a bigtime Warriors fan. He brings the pain on the Mavs and Mark Cuban. He also explains how the Warriors are the "Borat" of the NBA Playoffs. Read on if you dare.....

If the West Coast Kid's comments haven't inspired enough naysaying and general rage at the idea that the Warriors are going to take it to the Mavs beginning tonight, I invite you to read on and suggest having a small dog or other domesticated animal of choice near by so that you can kick it at the end of this column.

As a disclaimer: I am and always have been a biased Warriors fan... and yes, in the past this has clouded my judgment and perhaps led to some poor choices that have both impacted my financial situation and general self-respect. That being said, I fully believe as both the Warriors have grown and improved, so has my own ability to predict the outcome of sporting events.

That being said, I fully believe the Warriors can and will win this series with the Mavs and I am particularly confident in Game 1 tonight. Let's just say, if I weren't already 6 figures in debt because of various questionable decisions about continuing my education I would be making a little trip to Vegas to enjoy all the anti-Warriors sentiment flowing into my bank account. Speaking of which, here's how you know you are a die hard Warriors fan. I was in Vegas for the NBA All-Star weekend for a bachelor party and the highlight of the weekend for me was making 2 dollar horse-racing bets at the MGM Grand Sports Book next to Chris Gatling (former Warrior power forward from the early 90's). I was so stoked that one of my friends (Lakers fan) half-jokingly asked me later if I got Gatling's digits. A little pathetic? For sure. But undeniably awesome if you ever were at a Warriors game in the early 90's and saw Gatling throw down on Manute Bol from just inside the free-throw line with 15,000 Warriors fans in going completely insane? No doubt.

As for the game tonight, one thing that kills me about the comments we've seen so far is that everyone keeps asking how we can possibly question the strength of a team with one of the best records in the history of the NBA. First of all, if you stretch out the last 22 games of the Warriors season when everyone was finally getting healthy and gelling together, the Warriors won 17 of them. You stretch that over a season and that's not that far off from what the Mavs did and this is the team the Mavs are going to have to play in the first round. Who cares what happened the first 60 games of the season with injuries and two different starters not even on the squad? And if you do care so much about those regular season games when the Mavs were so dominant, guess what? The Mavs did not beat the Warriors once! So essentially, any argument that you should pay attention to the regular season falls completely on its face because the Mavs did not beat the Warriors once in the regular season. Do I care that the Mavericks went 4-0 against Team A or B? Hell no. Did they beat the team (Warriors) that's in front of them right now? No - even when both teams were at approx full strength (before the Jackson/Harrington Trade which increased the Warriors playoff level potential exponentially) AT DALLAS earlier in the season.

Plus, have you watched Dallas in the playoffs the last couple years? It's all about whining to the refs about calls they didn't get, Nowitzki freaking out on his own teammates, calls that Wade got in the finals, and fines on Mark Cuban for telling it like it is. Please. Teams do not win Championships like that. If Cuban were smart he would sit at home, shut up, and stop being a distraction to his team, his coach, the refs, and everyone trying to watch the game. Cuban needs to realize nobody really cares about him. He's become a Jerry Springer-esque side-show over the past few years. Someone you really could care less about, but that you just can't take your eyes off of and can't help talking about. That's it really. If Cuban were to die tomorrow, nobody would truly care any more about him than if it were the poor transvestite who came out to her/his life-long love last week on Springer. The only difference is that 100 million people have seen Cuban make a fool of himself for 3 years and have become attached to him because the TV cameras have yet to stop rolling. I have not seen the Mavs in a serious situation in the Playoffs and thought to myself, wow, they handle themselves like Champions. Like the Spurs the last decade, like the Bulls did, like Miami last year. Not to mention the fact that once you get passed Nowitski and Howard and you look at that roster, you're telling me that that is a championship team? I just don't see it.

Then you have the Warriors, one of the hottest teams in the league with a young, hungry core of players and some solid vets willing to do whatever it takes to win, as they've shown over the past two months. Plus, they have a saavy, experienced coach whose style exactly fits this late 2000's (meaning 2005-2010) NBA game.

These two teams remind me of a couple of movies. The Mavs are the Peter Jackson's King Kong of the playoffs. Critics love them, it's a long epic designed for the long-haul, but for some reason that you just can't put on paper it comes up short and leaves you feeling a little cheated. The Warriors are the Borat of the playoffs. Nobody gives them enough credit, even the studios don't put them in enough theaters because of the controvery but everyone loves them, they still pull through and make a killing. Plus you have the threat of hookers and lawsuits (see Stephen Jackson) and you know we'll pull out a bag of our own poo if things don't go right.

I rest my case.


UPDATE: Thanks to the anonymous poster who informed us that we previously had "late 2000's NBA game." But that meant in the 2005-2010 range. And yes, with some luck, Don Nelson will still be coaching in 2907.

Helping you double your paycheck through the NBA playoffs

If you need help in deciphering who is going to win each day's NBA playoff games because you're a degenerate gambler like me, let me guide you to the guys over at Stephen Jackson's Gun Rack who are putting up some great info about the matchups. These guys know what they're doing, because they made me a little richer on Saturday thanks to the Houston game.

We'll also be rooting like hell for Stephen later today, as he attempts to help the Warriors beat the Mavs.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Giants Report: They were Barry, Barry good today

Barry Bonds went yard today for the 739th time today as the Giants got their 4th straight win, beating the Diamondbacks 1-0. Barry Zito also finally looked like he might be worth at least a fraction of his insane $126 million contract, throwing 7 and 1/3 innings of scoreless ball. While A-Rod is definitely hot right now, so is Bonds. So far in April, Bonds is hitting .349 with 5 home runs and 11 RBIs. Unless lightning strikes him, he's going to break Aaron's record by mid-summer. As a Giants fan, I'm super excited, because let's be honest, we're not exactly going to win the World Series this year. Bonds breaking the record and us defending him will be our highlight this year.


Playoff Musings: Rockets v. Jazz

Strange game tonight. T-Mac and the Rockets went AWOL in the first half (33 points) before turning it on in the second half (51 points). Meanwhile Utah was decent in the first half (42 points), before crapping the bed in second half (33 points). By the way, what the hell has happened to AK-47? He used to be a huge fantasy basketball staple, now he seems totally lost on the court. He's awful. Maybe he should finally take advantage of that groupie allowance his wife has given him. It might clear his head.


Playoff Musings: Pistons v. Magic

I'm going to be honest with you, I didn't watch this game, but I did find this bizarre cartoon of Rasheed Wallace. The Pistons won as expected. Rip and Mr. Big Shot both scored 22 points. The Magic are kicking themselves because they missed 438 free throws. Gotta work on that boys.


Playoff Musings: Heat v. Bulls

Although the Heat didn't stink nearly as bad as Kazaam, they still lost to the Bulls today. Shaq tried to take a couple of charges for the first time in forever, and was called for blocking fouls both times. This looks like it's going to be a chippy series and the refs are calling it pretty tight. This would normally be good news for the Heat, since even breathing on D-Wade generally results in a foul. But D-Wade just isn't himself right now, which is totally understandable. And how about that Tyrus Thomas sequence in the third quarter? Blocking Gary Payton, followed by blocking Antoine tippy toes Walker and finishing off the alley-oop at the other end. If Thomas can learn how to shoot at all and can increase his basketball IQ, he might be pretty good some day.


Playoff Musings: Raps v. Nets

Vince Carter, better known for attending graduation ceremonies than hitting game winning shots, laid an egg today against his former team (5-19; 16 points). Unfortunately for the Raps, Richard Jefferson and Jason Kidd did not. Jefferson scored 28 and Kidd had 15 points and 10 assists. Chris Bosh led the Raps with 22.


"He Behaved Like A Gentleman"

Boston Celtics guard Sebastian Telfair was arrested early Friday morning on a gun possession charge after police stopped him for going 77 mph in a 45-zone in Yonkers, N.Y.
Where did they find the gun? In a pillowcase in his SUV that he claimed was his girlfriend's (you have to then wonder why she has a gun in her pillowcase).
The 21-year-old said he mistakenly took the wrong bag when leaving her place for the team's roadtrip, (What exactly did he wear on the trip then - a halter top with 5-inch heels?)
But it's ok. At least he was polite and cooperative during the exchange, according to Westchester County police. That makes up for the fact that he had a gun in a pillowcase in his car. IN A PILLOWCASE!! Gotta give the situation points for creativity.

This Is Why The NHL Playoffs Are Better

You ever see something like that happen before an NBA playoff game? I didn't think so.

The actions of Minnesota's Derek Boogaard and Anaheim's George Parros before game 5 of their playoff series, is a fitting example of why the NHL playoffs are much more exciting than the NBA playoffs (or that hockey players are just psycho). Either way, with the NBA playoffs set to begin tonight and the NHL postseason already in full swing, it's time to explain why the hockey playoffs are better than their basketball counterparts.

  1. The Intensity Level Is So Much Higher In The NHL: I'll give you that NBA players pick up the level of their play once they hit the playoffs, but it still doesn't come close to hockey. If you sat down and watched a full NHL playoff game - only if you can find Versus or TSN on your cable lineup - you would be entertained for the entire 60 minutes (or more, depending on how many overtimes are needed). Players go to another place in the hockey playoffs as exhibited by the Rangers' sweep of Thrashers and now Calgary's attempt at an upset over top-seeded Detroit in the Western Conference. And where else would you see a fight break out in the warm-up skate. Every game feels like the movie Slapshot - if you haven't seen it, go rent it.
  2. The NBA Playoffs Take Way Too Long To Play: The Toronto/New Jersey series is one of four playoff series that start tonight. If it goes the entire seven-game series, do you know how long it will take to finish? 15 days. 15 DAYS!!! Are you kidding me. Do teams really need three days off in between games? Come on. Some of these teams play four games a week. Now they want to make them play only seven over a two-week span? The Rangers/Thrashers series, if it made it past four games, would have had two sets of back-to-back games. The Senators and Penguins played a back-to-back set, too. If hockey can do it, why can't basketball? It just makes it drag on and on for what seems like forever.
  3. The First Round Actually Matters: Last year in the NHL playoffs, all four lower seeds in the Western Conference advanced to the second round. The Edmonton Oilers, as an No. 8 seed, made it all the way to the stanley cup finals. They lost to Carolina, but still, the fact that an eight seed made it that far, shows that in the NHL, anyone can really beat anyone. In the NBA, is there really any doubt that Phoenix, Dallas and San Antonio will advance to the second round in the west? Or that Cleveland and Detroit will make minced meat out of Washington and Orlando, respectively? The chance of the upset is so much greater in the NHL.
  4. Refs Actually Physically Get Involved In Hockey: When a fight breaks out in any NHL game, it is the refs, or really the linesmens' jobs, to break it up after the two battlers have settled down. They actually get in there and physically pull them apart and then escort them to the penalty box. In the NBA, the likes of Joey Crawford throw out T's like it's yesterday's trash and challenge such dangerous guys as Tim Duncan to fights (Had to take my cheap shot at him).
  5. Is There Really Another Trophy Cooler Than The Stanley Cup? You can't sit there and tell me that the NBA championship trophy, or the Vince Lombardi trophy, or the World Series trophy is better than the Stanley Cup. You don't even refer to it as a tropy ... it's just the cup. And is there a more honorable sports moment than watching the winning team skate around the ice with Lord Stanley's cup, each passing it off to another teammate. Tell me you didn't get chills when Ray Bourque finally hoisted the cup when he won it with Colorado in 2001 (or for us Philly fans, when Rod Brind'amour got to do it with Carolina last year). Then each player gets to take the cup with them for a day, wherever they want. If I had my chance, I'm taking it to Atlantic City and using it as my chip holder at the blackjack table.
  6. Is There Really Anything Cooler Than The Playoff Hockey Beard? What other sport encourages obscene facial hair? Some of these guys start to look like Tom Hanks from Castaway more than actual hockey players. It may not be around as much as it used to, but the superstition of not shaving until you've won a playoff round is still one of the best things about the NHL playoffs. Let's see Kobe Bryant, Shaq or LeBron go an entire round without shaving. Or better yet, Steve Nash. He'll look like Cousin It from The Adams Family before all was said and done.

Celebrate the Sharks victory by renting a mascot!

The Sharks finished off the Nashville Predators Friday night to advance to the second round of the NHL playoffs. All I know is that despite the fact that the Sharks had the lower seed (#5) and the Preds had a regular season record advantage of 3-1, the Sharks were expected to absolutely kill the Predators. Why, I'm not sure, because I don't watch any hockey. But the Sharks definitely did what they were told to do quickly and efficiently. I'm told Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton played well this series, so I'll go with that. And just in case you want Sharkie (pictured above) to come over and celebrate with you because you have an uncontrollable furry fetish that number again is (408) 999-5788.

If you're nice to him, he may even do a great Planet Earth imitation.


Friday, April 20, 2007

This one hurts

Tonight the Phils and Tom Gordon - who is featured prominently in a novel by Stephen King - blew a winnable game to the Cincinnati Reds. The Phils are an absolute train wreck right now, which I'm sure PB will describe in detail soon enough. Ken Griffey Jr. doesn't appear to have played tonight, I'm assuming because he spontaneously combusted.

Get Clemens on the phone now!

Usually when you hype something up too much, it winds up sucking something fierce. But sometimes, the hype is justified. Tonight it was definitely justified. The Red Sox managed to get past A-Rod's two-homer game by destroying the Yankees bullpen and Mariano Rivera. And what's this? Rivera is 1-2 this season with an 8.44 ERA and has blown saves in two straight appearances? This isn't going to continue, right? I'm not going to say the Yankees are in a lot of trouble right now, but, uh, they're in some trouble. With the exception of Andy Pettitte, the Yankees pitching is awful and if Rivera can't right the ship, this team isn't going to go very far in the postseason, if they even make it (which i think they will as a wild card). I realize it's only April, but I think the Yankees need to sign Clemens pretty soon.

Why you don't want to be an Illinois taxpayer

As most people know by now, the US Olympic Committee selected Chicago as its applicant city for the 2016 Games. Both of us spent a lot of time in Chicago during the process leading up to the selection of Chicago. And from what we know, Chicago should consider itself lucky if it doesn't get the Olympic Games (which it admittedly is not expected to get).

While the Tribune ran a story at the beginning of the month looking at the economic impact of the Olympics, we decided to dig back even further into the past for an article a buddy of ours wrote a year before the Trib's version, even though it didn't appear on the Web until May 2006. It speaks in greater detail about how Atlanta buried some building costs in order to say they turned a profit.

Although Mayor Daley has claimed that Illinois taxpayers won't have much to worry about, recent history suggests otherwise. British taxpayers were recently informed that the bill for the 2012 Games jumped from an original estimate of $6 billion to $18 billion. When you combine that with the fact that Chicago has a history of screwing taxpayers royally, see Soldier Field ($660 million dollar reconstruction costs - 2/3 of which were paid for by taxpayers) and Millenium Park (which went more than $300 million over budget), it doesn't look good for Chicago if they get the Games.

One also has to remember that Soldier Field (seating about 62,000) is not capable of holding an Olympic capacity crowd. So a completely new stadium would have to be built or Memorial Stadium at UIUC would need to be upgraded even further than currently planned (which might not be such a bad thing).

Getting smacked by the public after being linked on Deadspin

Well today was a big day for us. We got linked on Deadspin. Then we got killed for picking the Warriors over the Mavs, even though a few posts before this I picked the Mavs to win the series. Look, I'm a Warriors fan, which makes me delusional already. I know Foyle sucks, and I know our defense is terrible (although despite what stats say, I still think our defense is better than Phoenix's, which I realize isn't saying much). We're not asking for much here on the West Coast. Hell I'd be entertained with a Mavs in 6 series. I'm just glad my Warriors have finally made the playoffs. The last time they were in the playoffs I hadn't even reached puberty yet which i'm still waiting for by the way.


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