Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Game 4 Roundup: Orlando is for real, muppets be damned.

Orlando is the better team. That's it. If you haven't realized it by now, if you haven't seen that in every game Cleveland has little to no answer for their 3 point shooting, Dwight's interior presence, and their defensive intensity on everyone not named Lebron, then I don't have much to say to you. Remember that the Cavs, if not for a miraculous shot by King James, would be home RIGHT NOW. The series would be over. If Cleveland wants to do anything with this series, they will have to take it one game at a time, and support their leader. We have seen this time and time again as NBA fans. One man does not a championship win. Michael didn't win a thing before Pippen and Grant go there. Kobe WON'T win another ring until Gasol and his supporting cast play better. Ditto for Lebron. Sadly, Mo Williams is not Scottie Pippen, and this series has illustrated that painfully. Even with his increased output last night (18 points), he had NO POINTS in the 4th Quarter or OT. Maybe he will keep himself from being baited into making silly statements to the media next time.
On top of that, Orlando hit 44.7% of their 3's (17-38), had more assists and blocks, and hit exactly 50% of the shots they took. Even with Cleveland outrebounding them, making less turnovers, and doubling the amount of steals Orlando had (5), Orlando was able to pull this out due to some clutch free throw shooting by Dwight and some good defense/non-calls on Lebron's drives to the basket.
I predict that Cleveland wins game 5 at home off of favorable calls and pure emotion. Lebron's supporting cast comes through for the first time this series (good bench production, finally!) and Lebron puts in another monster game to push it back to Orlando. As good as Orlando is, their emotions sometimes gets the best of them, especially on the road when calls aren't as likely to be in their favor. They can't expect their bench to perform like that away from Amway arena. Skip (Rafer Alston) won't have 26 points on 10-14 shooting in Cleveland, and Pietrus won't outscore the entire Cleveland bench. I also think that Dwight will probably get his 7th technical at some point. Though when I look at the replays of his 6th, I strongly feel he wasn't taunting, but simply celebrating a big play. Hopefully the League rescinds that one. Either way, I am excited at the thought that if Cleveland comes back and somehow wins this thing, Lebron will continue to create and increase his legend. Orlando wins? Then Dwight Howard moves from being a very good big man into the best big man in the league. My prediction: Orlando in 6 and the end of a very expensive Nike marketing campaign.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I LOVE this game.

Before the League took a stance against Hip Hop music used in Promos and at the All Star Game. Yes, Kanye, what you are currently doing is not Hip Hop.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Slam Online comment

Following this play:

Someone made this comment:

Anton Posted: May.23 at 6:04 pm
“Samuel said to all the people, ‘You see him whom Yahweh has chosen, that there is none like him among all the people?’ All the people shouted, and said, ” Long live the king!”
Samuel 10:24

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Some thoughts on the Conference Finals, Game 1

Looking Westward:

The Lakers escaped with that Game 1 win because Denver didn't execute on the Defensive or Offensive end when they were supposed to late in the game. The first mistake was the silly foul on Kobe by Kenyon Martin with less then a minute left, he should have just played good defense. The second mistake (one I am still shaking my head at) is the inability to inbound the ball. There is no reason that the team shouldn't have broken their set and scrambled to get free when they realized it was going to be a problem getting the ball inbounds, its called adaptation. Absolutely NO REASON why someone shouldn't have sprinted into the backcourt to receive the inbounds pass, inexcusable. Ditto for Denver having one of the shorter players on the team inbound the ball. It should have been a big man, especially after seeing that 6'9 Lamar Odom was guarding the inbounder. On the good side for Denver, they know deep down they can beat this team and they were allowed 
to be physical with this Laker team. They also got a wonderful effort from Carmelo Anthony, who admirably took it upon himself to defend Kobe during the game. I still see this series going to the Lakers, but Denver certainly can make it interesting. 6 or 7 games, especially if Denver can somehow win tonight in Game 2. Also, Nene and Kenyon Martin are making the Laker's front line look Charmin Ultra soft. I haven't seen a grown man dunk on lesser men since that Church league game where Spudd Webb showed up and killed my team (another blog post for another time). Nene looked around in the first half after booming a couple times and realized that he was the only true big man on the floor and proceeded to have his way. Hiliarous.

On the East Coast side of things, I must say I am
 surprised Orlando took Game 1 in Cleveland. Looking at the game a second time though, some things jumped out at me:

Cleveland looked downright tired in the second half. I have a feeling this is conditioning based and has to do with the fact that they were probably a little out of game shape after sitting at home 9 days, practices or not. You just can't simulate these late game energy sapping situations, and it cost them the game. Lebron was actually so exhausted he cramped up to the point of not being able to walk off the floor, something I have never seen from him. Dehydration probably played a role. He also didn't deliver in the clutch the way an MVP should have (I know I'm getting email from people for that one). Missed freethrows, losing the ball in the air when he drove to the basket were pretty uncharacteristic for him, (well maybe losing the ball was.)  Orlando played pretty well. Dwight Howard HAS to learn how to stay out of foul trouble. If he had just not left his feet on his sixth foul while standing straight up, maybe he is in the game at the end. Hedo played like a beast as well, hitting open and contested jumpers. That is when he is at his most dangerous, when he is able to use his shot making ability to keep the defender honest and drive to the basket. Rashard Lewis was a big key for Orlando as well, hitting the big 3 and playing solid defense. Same to Rafer Alston (Skip from here on out) he played a solid game and contributed by hitting some open 3's, which is something Orlando has to do if they take this series. I still call Cleveland in 6 or 7, but if Orlando keeps shooting and doesn't mess stuff up at the end of games (I'm looking at YOU, Stan Van Gundy!) then we might have to swap out that Lebron puppet for a Rashard Lewis puppet in those Nike Commercials.

For all the readers, enjoy the coupon!

Just print it out and take into any Footlocker store over the next 6 days and enjoy 30% off clothing and sneakers. Some exclusions apply. Save some money!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bring on the Conference Finals! And then there were four....

Some random thoughts:

Was anyone surprised the Lakers ran over the Rockets in LA for Game 7? I felt that this was a game that the Lakers would assert themselves and their superstars would play like superstars and get those types of calls. Rockets just didn't have the firepower to overcome. And you know what? I couldn't be prouder of that team. They had more heart this series then any other team in the League. I challenge anyone to point out another team the past 10 years that could lose not one but both their superstars and still push the Championship favorites to 7 games. Gutsy stuff. Sadly, I can't help but think that this series would be over sooner if Tracy McGrady was playing. Good to know that he finally got out of the 1st round though.

The real shocker for me was seeing Orlando (Orlando?!) go into Boston and run them off their own court. Live by the 3, die by the 3, and boy, was Orlando living! Not much you can do when they are hitting contested and uncontested threes and jumpers. Boston also played with the heart of the champion this series, especially considering no one in their right mind even picked them to get o the conference finals. They just ran out of gas, and didn't have their emotional leader in KG. Hope this isn't the last we see of them. So now we have Orlando and Cleveland, I'm picking Cleveland in 6, 5 if they really get going. Looking at the matchups makes me think that Orlando's chances are directly predicated on how they defend Lebron's supporting cast, foul trouble and dominant play from Howard, and how well Orlando shoots at home and on the road. I'd love to see the series go 7 because as great as Lebron is, he gets better when he is challenged and the stakes are higher.

In the West, I see the Lakers taking the series but dealing with some serious heat from Denver. I find it completely possible that Denver wins this series if a perfect storm forms. That Perfect Storm would take several ingredients: Denver shoots the ball incredibly well. LA plays like they played against Houston. Denver is able to defend Kobe Bryant and turn him into a volume shooter. Denver is able to take 1 or 2 on LA's floor. If these things happen, we may have a next generation finals matchup between Melo and Lebron, and the Kobe naysaying chatter will only grow louder.

Either way, I'm happy that the Playoffs are progressing and hope that the good basketball continues.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Rockets-Lakers Game 1 notes and observations

The Rockets surprised many in the Basketball community by taking game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals Last Night on LA's Home Floor, but, if one looks at certain trends and team makeup, this should not be surprising to anyone and may hint on some surprising future events.

Some things I noticed from last night:

1) The Lakers have not faced a team this Playoffs who play them defensively the way these Rockets do. The Rocket's D is predicated on body to body contact. Not only are you going to get your shot challenged, you are going to feel a body on you before you even elevate to shoot. This can be extremely frustrated, especially if fouls are not called and Kobe is not able to take advantage of the defender's closeness at the free throw line.

2) The Lakers have no answer for Yao Ming. Even when Yao was doubled last night (few and far between) he was skilled enough to either turn and shoot over both the defenders or pass to a wide open shooter who could pull up and make the Lakers pay. He also played like a MAN after getting bumped knee to knee with Kobe Bryant. As soon as he went down, I sat up and visions of the Lakers sweeping the Rockets immediately after they inbounded the ball after his injury. But, Yao stopped before going into the locker room, stretched in the hallway, talked down his trainer, and walked back out and hit 2 jumpers and 4 freethrows to put this game away. He gave the Rockets an emotional lift and set the tone for toughness for the series, something I never thought I would be attributing to him.

3) The Rockets didn't do their customary lay down in the 4th quarter. This is the first game of 2008-2009 season/playoffs that the Rockets have beaten the Lakers on any court. This is extremely surprising, as some people were calling for 4 close Laker wins and a sweep. The Rockets were able to shake off what had previously happened, go into LA, and take an 8 point victory.

4) The Lakers have no answer for Aaron Brooks. He shows the uncanny ability to go by almost any Laker on the floor, getting into the key and causing havoc with his layups or kickouts. If the Lakers can't figure out a way to neutralize his speed, this could be a wild series.

5) The Rockets have not one, but 2 better then average Kobe Bryant defenders. A unique advantage the Rockets have over any other team facing the Lakers is that they are able to put 2 very good defenders who have already had exceptional defensive games against Kobe. Monday that defense was on display, as Kobe had 32 points on 31 shots. He went 3-5 while Artest was guarding him, and 8-22 when Shane Battier was in front of him. Houston loves this, as it throws the Lakers out of sync and causes Kobe to shoot more. Both Shane Battier and Ron Artest also openly welcome the challenge of defending Kobe, which I am sure irks Kobe.

6) The Lakers still almost won, even though they played badly. This is still one of the top 3 teams in basketball, make no mistake. They have the ability to take the next 4 and make this blog post irrelevant. BUT, they are certainly not in a good position right now, with Houston at worst taking a split back home to Texas. We will see if the Lakers can rebound tonight.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Track your lost Smartphone!! Useful App (For FREE!!)

If you own a smartphone, then I am sure you know the panic of not knowing where it is/having it stolen. One of the beauties of the WinMo platform is that there is no limit to the type and function an app can have. One of my recently discovered programs is Smartphone Tracker. You install it on your phone, your phone gets lost or stolen, you text something to the phone, and the phone responds by email/text with it's current GPS coordinates/ google map location! And if it isn't able to get a GPS lock, it will relay the nearest cellular tower info to give you a general idea of where it is. Fantastic!!

Check it out HERE.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Happy Sabbath!

That's all I have to say. Just got a new blog program for my phone and I wanted to try it out.

-2 Cor 12:9