Sunday, 7 December 2008

Analysis:Pistons at Knicks

Today's game wasn't easy for pistons fans to watch. The side has so many flaws that add up to make a scenario I can only describe as disgusting. Serious problems need to be addressed if the pistons want anything other than cap space at the end of the season.

The pistons Iverson certainly isn't Allen Iverson. It leads me to believe the trade was solely for the purpose of salary, and not to give us the go-to scorer we have so desperately needed in the past. Today was a prime example of when Iverson should be set free, the start of the 4th quarter and the pistons are down double digits. The whole game we have lacked any form of production offensively and this should be the perfect situation for Iverson to take over. Instead Iverson happily passes the ball off whenever it enters his hands. Curry needs to find the purpose of him being here and use him effectively.

I have big beef with Michael Curry, who has not only failed to supply the defense he promised at the start of the year, but runs repetitively unproductive offensive plays, such as the ongoing baseline screens for Hamilton, started with him stationary, rather than allowing him to stay constantly moving, something that has irritated defenses for years. People are blaming Rip's noticable decline on the loss of Billups, but I point the finger at Curry, who hasn't been able to initiate Hamilton effectively with or without Iverson.

One repeating play Curry ran was a baseline screen, then a screen and roll on the ball. This was ran for Hamilton, Iverson, Bynum, Stuckey and Prince, inconsistent with the recipient of the screen and inconsistent with the point guard. All of the above players ran the point at some stage throughout the game, sometimes rotating to a different player each possession on three consecutive plays. A consistent point guard rotation is quite clearly needed if this team wants the success it's had in the past.

Rasheed Wallace, please get in the paint. A star big-man should bang down low for rebounds and dominate the paint, rather than hover around the three point line, hoisting up shot after contested shot without hesitation. I've said before, he can be a cancer to this team and although a dangerous weapon when playing to his potential, his negatives have simply too much effect on the team.

The Knicks killed us from downtown, not only due to bad perimeter defense, but also the lack of solid interior defense, players in the post often demanding double teams only to kick it out for impeccable New York ball movement to find the open man. Alot of the double teams can be blamed on D'antoni recognising Richardson's clear height advantage against Detroit's Dwarves in their backcourt. I know I may be placing a lot of the blame on Curry, but he was plain out-coached today.

Chris Duhon and David Lee ran the pick and roll perfectly, capitalising on every way the pistons attempted to deal with the play. Not only could they not contain Lee on the pick and roll, he also tore down 19 rebounds, making it more evident than ever how much Antonio McDyess is missed.

Like any other pistons fan, I was overly disappointed with this loss. Problems are clearly evident and if Detroit doesn't return to winning ways soon, fingers are going to be pointed. I have lost a lot of faith in Curry since October, who promised defense in the preseason but has only delivered ineffective offense and poor management of rotation.

A video to cheer up all pistons fans:

Live Game Notes: Pistons at Knicks

The 8-11 New York Knicks host a struggling 10-8 Pistons for the midday Sunday tip-off. Detroit is hoping for a win coming off a humiliating home loss to Philadelphia, while the Knicks look for a win at the garden to end their three game losing streak.

1st quarter:
  • Pistons wins the tip. Iverson passes to Hamilton only to turn it over out of bounds. Excellent start.
  • Lee's open 12 footer goes in and out
  • Hamilton is at the point, to Iverson to Wallace who misses in post
  • Quentin Richardson finds himself wide open, makes the 3
  • Hamilton drives, misses the layup, Harrington hits a 3 at the other end
  • Iverson runs a pick and roll with Wallace, misses the mid-range jumper
  • Duhon and Lee run a successful pick and roll, as Lee gets fouled at the rim
  • Prince is at the point for this possession, Hamilton runs off a low screen from Wallace, uses the switch then passes back to Prince who misses the corner three. Pointless offense.
  • Kwame Brown with a highlight block!
  • The pistons scoring troubles continue with Rip called for a charge on the fast break
  • Lee gives Richardson a ball screen, he bricks a three. Iverson dribbles inside, takes it back out, the ball ends up with Sheed, who bricks a three.
  • Kwame grabs a rebound, Rip drives and misses an off-balance shot. Credit to the New York defense.
  • Lee rebounds, accurate full court pass and the knicks score on the fast break
  • Detroit take a deeply needed timeout
  • Out the timeout AI uses a Wallace ball screen, dishes to Prince who bricks a jumper
  • Hamilton curls off a baseline screen, nice bounce pass to Rasheed who rolls to the basket
  • Wilson Chandler nothing but net on the three. Wallace takes another three, misses again
  • Prince falls over getting back leaving Chandler to drain the open shot. Knicks up 15-2
  • Hamilton clears out a Harrington but the refs say nothing, Prince nails a jumpshot
  • Hamilton finally finds sucess on a baseline screen from Wallace with a layup
  • Prince and Johnson run a pick and roll from the top, cause a switch, Lee plays great defense on Tay and forces a missed, contested shot
  • Duhon penetrates, pivots twice in the paint and makes a gorgeous scoop shot
  • Stuckey gets blocked at the basket, Lee misses a contested hook at the other end
  • Tayshaun Prince runs off a hamiltonesque baseline screen, gets the and-one in the paint
    Stuckey now at the point, the same baseline screens are repeated again, for both Hamilton and Prince, the ball gets to Johnson who barely hits the rim from mid-range
  • Wilson Chandler hits a nice off-balance shot over two defenders
  • Curry runs a high pick and roll resulting in a Prince miss
  • Chandler misses a 3, Stuckey drains from mid-range at the other end
  • David Lee already has 7 rebounds
  • More fast break points for the Knicks
  • Hamilton gets lucky on a long contested two
  • New York call a timeout up by 26-12. So far the pistons are playing just plain ugly
  • Stuckey the point guard now, a baseline screen for Rip, Maxiell then commits an illegal ball screen
  • Duhon and Lee run the pick and roll again, it works perfectly until Prince rejects him at the rim.
  • The quarter ends and Detroit have been completely outplayed by the Knicks. Their offense is unproductive and defense is below par

    2nd quarter:
  • Will Bynum plays great defense on Chris Duhon and forces a miss.
  • Tim Thomas drives for the three-point play
  • Good ball rotation from Detroit gives it to Bynum in the corner, to drive baseline and get the and-one. Bynum is playing like he wants it, and seems to be the only piston doing so
  • Harrington drives and makes a lefty layup
  • Curry now has Bynum at point guard, who gives it to iverson, AI dribbles out an unneccessary amount of the shotclock then gives it back to Bynum, who carries goin one on one, Detroit's 6th turnover already
  • Jeffries passes out the post to Duhon, nails the three
  • Bynum - Prince pick and roll, pass deflected out of bounds, more careless play
  • Richardson receives it in the post, spins his man and gets an easy layup
  • AI misses a reverse layup, a crazy full court pass is picked off, Bynum then drives for a nice layup, only to have it wipe off as Maxiell's called for offensive goaltending
  • Timeout, New York up 39-18. The pistons are awful at both ends of the court
  • Jeffries takes Iverson in the post, offensive foul
  • The pistons run a messy offense, Afflalo picks it up and drains the mid-range
  • Iverson is point guard now, Bynum curls off a baseline screen, another failed offense for coach Curry
  • Bynum drives, dishes to the open prince who makes the corner 3
  • Iverson's height is exploited by Richardson again, the double team comes and mechanicly efficient perimeter rotation finds an open Harrington who drains the three
  • Richarson exploits Bynum's lack of height this time, drawing the foul
  • Detroit timeout. 5:25 left, knicks up 46-24. It's rather humiliating for the pistons
  • An overhead shot of Donny Walsh in the crowd reminds me of alien.
  • Duhon and Lee run a pick and roll again, ball goes inside then back out, great perimeter rotation again ends in Richardson hitting a three
  • Sloppy piston play, down by 23
  • Duhon rebounds, to Lee, Lee to Richardson, knicks score a layup within 4 seconds of rebounding
  • AI drives and scores
  • Hamilton gets a technical
    Half time New York 65-43 Detroit

The first half was just plain ugly for pistons, they couldn't defend the Duhon-Lee pick and roll, D'antoni is clearly outcoaching Curry, who's simple and uneffective offense isn't producing a all.

3rd quarter:

  • Four minutes into the 3rd Detroit has cut the lead to 17
    Iverson off a screeen, drives and scores
    Prince steals and perhaps this shift in momentum can give Detroit a chance in the game.
  • Sheed misses a 3. PLEASE get into the paint.
  • Richardson exploits the Iverson mismatch in the post. The knicks are back in control again
  • I've lost interest in this game now, the pistons are being outplayed at both ends by the New York Knicks, and can't do anything about it
    Tim Thomas tries to post up Priince who rejects his jumpshot. Finally pistons fans have a reason to smile.
  • Sheed finally gets it in post and hits a fadeaway. Even though it went in, I still can't help get annoyed by Wallace. His go-to post move is a long fadeaway, and he constantly seems to be allergic to the paint
  • Stuckey looks to be hit, technical on Sheed
    Wilson Chandler scores on Hamilton, knicks up 17
    Stuckey at the point now, AI misses an off-balance three
  • Duhon drains a shot in AI's face. Ouch
  • Great ball rotation again by the knicks, ends in an easy dunk. this is painful to watch as a pistons fan
  • Iverson takes it one on one at the end of the shotclock, scores.
  • end of the 3rd, kicks up 81-63

4th quarter:

  • The pistons have no source of offense, but isn't this the excact reason they aquired Iverson? Trading for a go-to scorer then not letting him take over in crunch time defeats the entire objective of the trade.
  • Hermann drives and scores at the bucket
  • Afflalo scores and it's a 14 point game
  • Hamilton pushed Jeffries, picks up a 2nd tec. and he's gone. this game is begging for an Iverson takeover, PLEASE show us why we got you.
  • Hermann drives and gets the foul. Sometimes it seems he is the only guy on the roster bringing energy on a nightly basis
  • AI plays good, solid defense, denies Duhon the basket then strips him when he posts up
    Prince drives for the and-one in the paint. Is there a speck of hope for detroit?
  • Chandler misses off-balance, Hermann misses a wide open 3, offensive rebound. Iverson then misses and moans instead of geting on with it.
  • Charge on the knicks, 82-72 to New York, 9 minutes to go
    Iverson misses but Amir Johnson's tip falls
    Just when the pistons are given hope, Chandler scores the three point play.
  • Iverson goes off the dribble and passes out. Honestly, he looks too pass-happy. selfishness didn't bother you for the last 12 years, why change now when its needed?
  • Hermann misses a 3, down 11 now
  • Iverson now at point guard, splits 2 defenders and draws a foul
  • The Pistons play 24 seconds of solid defense only for the knicks to get an offensive rebound, Lee layup. Painful.
  • Afflalo in the corner, 4 point play!
  • New York are only up by 7. Chandler tries to take Hermann, who's an underated defender, causing a turnover
  • Timeout New York, 6 minutes to go
    AI the point guard, ball to Prince in the post, makes the hook shot in the paint
  • Excellent defense by Detroit, particularly Hermann, causes a shotclock violation.
  • Rasheed takes another 3! misses again!
    Richardson goes into the low post where he's used his size mismatch all day, draws the foul off Afflalo and gets the bucket
  • AI heads to the line, makes the pair and it's a 5 point game
    Richardson in the post again but a questionable travel is called. The pistons have a chance!
    Sweet AI crossover, only for him to miss an 18 footer
  • Duhon drives, finds Chandler in the corner, nails vital corner 3, bang!
  • Timeout pistons, 3:30 to go and down by 8
    AI drives off a screen, pass to prince who scores
  • Duhon-Lee pick and roll, the knicks score again
  • Hermann misses a driving scoop shot. Detroit play great D and cause another miss
  • Afflalo drives, scores at the rim. 6 point game!
  • Duhon penetrates, hits Chandler who misses a contested 3. Pronce misses a 3 then Duhon slows play down.
  • Duhon drives, pass to Lee, to Harrington, money on the 3! Dagger!
  • Knicks up 9, timeout Detroit, 1:21 to go
  • Sheed misses a 3! Afflalo misses 3, knicks finally rebound.
    duhon bounce passes out of a trap in the corner, Lee layup and game over.
    Duhon hits a 3 to nail in the coffin.

Ouch. More on this later.

Chiming in as the world passes by

I've been busy lately. The last game I took the time to sit down and watch, tip to buzzer was almost a month ago, so I have no first person opinions to share on the current happenings of the league.

The weekly shriek was a way for me to keep in touch with the league if I couldn't see any games for myself. Clearly this failed, so I'm abandoning this chain of posts and deleting the previous, giving this site a new look (I know it's not really a 'new look', I just wanted a reason to post a Michael Jackson picture).
I wanted to closely monitor the post-trade pistons, but the last game I watched was Iverson's Detroit debut. I'm doing live play by play game notes on the Pistons-Knicks game later today, and should hopefully give me an idea of how things are going in motown (apparently not very well).

This season I hoped to observe the MVP race closer than I have in the past. Respect to guys like Garnett, Williams, Duncan and Billups, but it's rather safe to say the top six candidates are LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Chris Bosh, then Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade. These six go head to head with another sixteen times this month, and I intend to see all sixteen of these games to getter a better grasp of who's legit.
Finally, I have a uniquely awful plan of an annual 'Race to the DPOY' post. More on this later.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

A Perception of the Present from a Piston Perspective

It's been over a week now since Allen Iverson was traded from the Denver nuggets, swapped with Chauncey Billups of the Detroit pistons. It is still very early days, and alot of people are over-analysing AI's first two games. In the last seven days, I've heard pistons fans say "2009 NBA champions!", "LeBron is coming to the Detroit!" and "we won't make the playoffs this year", this all after two games. People are jumping to conclusions far too soon with no sustainable proof or evidence to back up their case.

When Iverson arrived in Toronto on Wednesday, he was exhausted. He was then expected to start at the most important position on the floor leading a team built around chemistry who just lost their captain and court leader. The team then had to get back to Detroit to play against the current nba champions and best defense in the league within two days. Did you honestly expect that to end well?

The nba schedule has gifted Detroit with an impeccably timed west coast road trip, including Golden state, Phoenix and the L.A. lakers. Rodney Stuckey didn't make the flight with the rest of the team, putting Iverson as the consistent point guard for the trip. Any long term effects of the AI move shouldn't be judged until at least a month into the trade.
However, one big problem I do have with the currrent squad is their prevention of penetration. Friday night Harris got to the rim with ease, possibly because of Iverson's fatigue, or perhaps just his regular defensive principles. I love Iverson's attitude, but I dislike his mindset. To find success in this game, the heart has to go in at the defensive end first, placing offense as a second priority. Iverson certaintly has the speed, and should be athletically capable of staying in front of his man, it's just a case of his effort. We hear so much about his heart but until he learns to lock down his man, I will continue to doubt just how much AI wants it. Despite this, I have previously mentioned, it is still too early to pass concrete judgement on Iverson in Detroit, so I won't continue the argument on Iverson's defense until we can witness more evidence.

I have a serious bone to pick with Rasheed Wallace. I actually wish he didn't have the range which he does, then maybe we could see him physically work down low for his points, and play as a genuine big man. When the three is falling for him, it's fantastic, when it isn't, he becomes a cancer. The potential of Wallace's career is (was) phenominal, he has already achieved enough to be called a success, however it is possible for him to of accomplished so much more if it weren't for his paint allergy and charismatic yet dangerously unstable attitude.

The fact of the matter is, an nba championship cannot be won without a legitamate post player. Aside from Jordan's bulls, no nba team has won a championship over the past decade without a dominant big man. The spurs of '99 had the admiral, the lakers aquired Shaq and won three straight championships, one more when he left for Miami. Duncan led the spurs to the '03, '05 and '07 championships and Garnett was the foundation of the celtics' title last year. The 2004 pistons seem to be the only team to break the chain, and they still obeyed the guidlines more or less, going all the way thanks to all round intimidating defense, particulary that down low from Wallace and Wallace. Back then a guard would fear a drive into the paint, aware that an invasion of big Ben's territory would end in a painful and humiliating rejection.

In my opinion, Joe Dumars is the best GM in the NBA. I can't recall one mistake since the 2003 draft, and even without the Darko pick the pistons may never of traded for a then-hungry Sheed. Since the pistons took possession of Iverson's $21 million expiring salary, the names of alot of free agents have been thrown about, Boozer, Bosh and Stoudemire to name a few. I have doubts about how realistic the aquisition of these players are, however I do believe the pursuit of one of these may well be the long term motive in making the Iverson move.

The pistons now have a number of options. The current team is so versatile, with so many ways to break down a defense, perhaps a reason for Dumars to make the unlikely move of resigning AI at the end of this year, Iverson has already said he would take a pay cut for a shot at the championship. However, this could affect the growth of talented yet still developing Rodney Stuckey, indicating Iverson will most likely not return to the D. If Joe allows both Iverson and Wallace's contracts to expire, he then has a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a temptingly tasty free agent market. The core of the pistons is slowly but surely aging, and we may find out tommorow another move has been made, finding a whole new face in the D (Kaman's on the market, very unlikely but worth noting).

Joe Dumars knows what he's doing, any pistons fan with genuine knowledge of their team knows this. He's made risks in the past, and has most certaintly sampled the benefits of them. The future of Detroit is very unpredictable, with a lot of big decisions to be made, but as long as Dumars is in the driving seat, pistons fans have nothing to worry about.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Trade official, Iverson to the D

Wow. Just wow. I think I should mention that I am a pistons fan. I'm not dissapointed with this trade, just in disbelief. In my life I can name 2 times my jaw has actually dropped because I've been so shocked and one is when I heard this news.

Firstly, this is a very good trade for the nuggets. They get a hometown point guard who knows how to run a successful offense, as well as play acceptable defense, an uncommon thing in Denver. Cheik Samb is also involved, a young center with potential to contribute in the future. Before the trade it looked like the Nuggets were lottery bound. Now I'm not so sure.

This move is very interesting on Detroit's part. Billups was an integral piece of the team that he led to 6 straight conference finals, a record teams like New York and Charlotte would kill to have. McDyess is only involved for the numbers, so will most likely be waived and retained by the pistons in 30 days. Mr. Big Shot's contribution will be missed, he's one of the best point guards in the L that any team would love to have. Despite Cheik Samb's potential he was currently irrelevent to the pistons team.

So what do the pistons get out of this? Well on paper they have four 2-guards, 3 of them legitimate scorers. Stuckey can run the point efficiently (a lot of that can be down to the mentoring of Billups), but at heart is a Dwyane Wade-like shooting-guard. Hamilton has annually leads the pistons in ppg, the best off-ball scorer in the league runs off screens like no other. Arron Afflalo is a great defender but will probably get pushed out of the rotation completely because of this move. I haven't actually watched Iverson enough to know how snug he'll fit in the pistons jigsaw, but he may well be the missing piece. From what I know he needs the ball in his hands to score, obviously undersized for a 2 but never a true point.

It will be interesting to say the least to see what Michael Curry does with the rotation. Will Stuckey step up into starting at the point with AI at the 2 and Hamilton finishing off a 3 guard lineup? Prince will get abused on the Boards at the 4, unless the young Amir Johnson or Jason Maxiell steps into the starting lineup instead (unlikely but possible move to solve the rebound problem, Prince for Camby?). Another possiblity is keeping Johnson and Sheed as the starting frontcourt with Tay at the 3, then have a 3 guard rotation in the backcourt (the original plan for this season was Billups, Hamilton and Stuckey logging in at least 30 mpg). He may even just keep the regular positioning and straight up play Iverson in Billups' slot, out of position at the point.

Money plays a big part in this. Joe Dumars is, in my opinion, the best GM in the league. Iverson's $21 million contract comes off the books next off-season, whereas the Nuggets are now locked up until 2011 with Billups. Financially Dumars may of pulled off something special here. People may think Iverson's out the door next year, but if he's that desperate to get a championship, he'd re-sign with the pistons for a lower salary next season, who will be the only contender with cap-room (correct me if I'm wrong).

A lot questions arise from this trade. Will the pistons rotation go to a 3 guard lineup, or will they let AI run the point? Does this trade give Denver a legitimate shot at the playoffs? And are the pistons more or less of a contender with Iverson on their team? A lot of questions, but us pistons fans can just pray that Allen Iverson is our answer.

Trade: Billups and McDyess for Iverson

The Detroit Pistons have reportedly traded Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess for Allen Iverson.

Wow. I'll have more on this later.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Game Notes: Bobcats at Cavs

The Larry Brown era starts for Charlotte tonight as they play their first game of the season against the Cavaliers in Ohio. Cleveland play their first game at the home tonight, returning from an away loss to the defending champs.

1st Quarter:

  • Cleveland start with a Ben Wallace turnover. He says he wants to get more involved in the offense but it doesn't look to be working.
  • Richardson misses, Bron goes one on one and loses the ball, Charlotte score on the fast break.
  • Slam from LeBron gets the crowd going. Okafor airballs on a fadeaway in the post.
  • Williams drives and finds Ilgauskas for the layup.
  • J-Rich misses a 3, offensive rebound for Okafor.
  • Rejection by Wallace!
  • Williams misses a 3. Felton misses a quick 2.
  • James misses from the low-post. He still hasn't developed a go-to post move.
  • Felton misses a layup. West gets fouled on the fast break. Richardson misses the contested 2.
  • Richardson fronts LeBron in the post, so an alley-oop's thrown but James gets called for basket interference, very good call, followed by LeBron's whining to the refs.
  • May gets 2 from the line, 5-7.
  • West runs a pick and roll with Wallace, doesn't succeed, pick and roll with Z, fails again, West bricks a long 2.
  • Gerald Wallace drains the baseline jumper.
  • James drives, kicks it out to West who knocks down the corner 3.
  • Richardson drives off a screen, draws help and kicks it out to Felton, money on the 3.
  • LeBron misses a contested shot, timeout Charlotte, 10-10, 5:09 to go.
  • Charlotte miss after the timeout, Szczerbiak called for a charge.
  • Another missed jumpshot for the bobcats, Gerald Wallace this time.
  • LeBron drives baseline and gets fouled, makes them both.
  • Pick and roll by the bobcats, the bounce pass in the lane stolen by LeBron who does an equally poor pass next possession, deflected out of bounds. Gibson nails a corner 3.
  • Another screen and roll by the bobcats, the screener isn't rolling to the basket though. Instead, rookie D.J. Augustin drives and scores at the rim. Finally some penetration from Charlotte.
  • 4 point play from Gibson!
  • Morrison makes a long 2. Why did he lose the caveman pornstar look?
  • Bron scores at the rim.
  • Another pick and roll for the bobcats, Varejao fouls.
  • Mo Williams scores a jumper off a Varejao screen.
  • Final possession, Augustin tries to take Williams one on one, fails, gives it to Morrison who unsuprisingly misses the off balance drifting 3. 25-16 to the cavs.

2nd Quarter:

  • Okafor goes against Varejao in the post, gets the shot off and Cleveland rookie Hickson's called for the goaltend.
  • Alot of pointless movement by the cavs results in a long missed 3 from williams, offensive rebound from Hickson who gets rejected by Okafor. Varejao tries a low-post move, fails to score.
  • Adam Morrison posts up and gets the and-one. Maybe it is too early to label him a flop.
  • Okafor rejects Hickson again, this time on a dunk.
  • Williams steals and scores on the fast break.
  • Augustin to Richardson, nails a corner 3.
  • Pick and roll by the cavs, thunderous dunk by Hickson, finally scores at the rim.
  • Charlotte miss a jumpshot, Gibson gets checked at the other end.
  • Timeout Cleveland.
  • Pavlovic misses in the lane.
  • Alot of passing around the perimeter from Charlotte, they seem to be allergic to the paint. Augustin finally drives, Williams calls the charge.
  • Williams makes another jumper.
  • The bobcats finally get into the paint and get monster-blocked by big Ben.
  • Pavlovic travels on a drive to the basket, next play Nazr Mohammed scores a jump-hook in low post.
  • Gibson drains the 2 point jumpshot off a screen, timeout Charlotte.
  • Out the timeout Gerald Wallace drives and misses. The bobcats are finding it impossible to get to the rim.
  • Alley-oop to Ben Wallace fails, only for James to get the and-one on the putback.
  • Mohammed scores at the rim, Cleveland turnover, Morrison bricks a 3 from the wing.
  • LeBron crossover, drives and Gerald Wallace fouls. He misses both free-throws, 38-28 cavs.
  • Mohammed airballs the jumper from the baseline.
  • A few unnecessary picks on the baseline from Cleveland, Gibson chooses to go one on one and scores from 19 feet.
  • West picks Felton's pocket, scores on the fast break.
  • Charlotte turnover, again. 42-28 to Cleveland with 2:59 to go, timeout Cleveland.
  • Gibson curls off a screen and knocks down the 3.
  • LeBron threads a bounce pass through two players to boobie who makes the layup.
  • Another missed jumper from charlotte, Ben Wallace rebounds.
  • It seems Charlotte are trying to lose. No penetration, contested jumpers and awful defense.
  • Morrison comes of a baseline screen, loses it, the ball's knocked out of play, bobcats ball.
  • Gerald Wallace gets it in the corner, drives and scores.
  • Ilgauskas blocked by Okafor in the post, West passes to LeBron who gets fouled before he can slam it down. Splits the free-throws.
  • Cavs go fullcourt, Felton gets all the way to the rim, picks up the foul and heads to the line for 2.
  • LeBron misses a lefty hook in the low post, he still can't consistently score down there.
  • 21.8 to go, 20 second taken by Mike Brown.
  • James dribbles down the clock, Williams sprints to give him a screen, James finds Daniel Gibson in the corner who knocks down ANOTHER 3. Cleveland making it rain from the outside.
  • Halftime, Charlotte 33-50 Cleveland. LeBron has 12, 6 & 6, and Gibson has 20. It's not like he's even a dominant scorer, Charlotte just aren't getting a hand in his face on his jumpshot.

3rd Quarter:

  • Start of the half Charlotte take, and miss, another baseline jumper.
  • LeBron takes what the anouncers call 'a healthy 3'. Wasn't healthy enough to go in.
  • West gets a nice steal on the other end, the alley-oop to James fails but Cleveland maintain possession and score.
  • Richardson hits a jumpshot at the other end, next play he drives inside and initiates contact, makes both free-throws.
  • LeBron curls off a screen, misses the runner only for Ben Wallace to make the putback.
  • Richardson drains a baseline 2.
  • James drives, hangs, Richardson goes for the block, instead fouls and knocks him to the floor.
  • Another missed bobcats jumpshot, LeBron drives through four bobcats and finishes with the left hand.
  • Foolish behind the back pass by James, stolen by Felton, Richardson scores on the fast break.
  • Full court pass to James, who gets fouled on the dunk attempt.
  • Charlotte miss a 2, rebound, Richardson drains a 3. 44-59.
  • West bricks the corner 3, Gerald Wallace hits the open 2.
  • Ilgauskas goes to the line, splits the free-throws. His head is as shiny as the buttocks of a donkey, reflecting off the sun on a Russian summer's day.
  • Richardson tries to curl off a baseline screen but West stays on him like glue. J-Rich tries to get to the rim, good D and a turnover.
  • Cavs take another jumpshot, miss. Gerald Wallace drives baseline on the fast break, gets the 3 point play.
  • Szczerbiak drives, kicks it out to Gibson who actually misses the open 3.
  • Okafor bricks it in the low-post, West gets blocked in the post at the other end.
  • Okafor's fouled, makes the pair and its a nine point game, 51-60.
  • James misses an ugly mid-range pull-up, offensive rebound, Gerald Wallace steals, Szczerbiak fouls and wallace makes 2 from the line.
  • Wallace is defending James, he runs a pick and roll with Varejao, Varejao kicks it out to the corner, ball rotates around the perimeter to Szczerbiak, who misses a 3.
  • Charlotte are finally managing to get to the basket, or atleast attempt to. Timeout Cleveland.
  • Moving screen set on the baseline by Gibson, Larry Brown misunderstands the call, jumps up and gets a technical. Confusing stuff. Gibson misses the free-throw.
  • Bobcats have the chance to make it a one possession game, instead an offensive foul is called on Okafor.
  • More Cleveland baseline screens, Gibson gets the ball, leaves his feet in an attempt to draw the foul, doesn't get it, lands and commits the travel. 2:49 to go, cavs 60-55 bobcats.
  • Timeout Charlotte. Cleveland are clearly the better team but Charlotte's coaching advantage is starting to show.
  • Out the timeout the bobcats run several unsuccessful screens and Felton airballs the mid-range jumpshot, good D from the cavs.
  • Cleveland get 2 from the line, Richardson spins to the hoop and scores.
  • Ilgauskas elbows Okafor in the face, offensive foul.
  • Gerald Wallace spins, loses it, gets it back and misses the layup.
  • West to Varejao to Z, makes the layup. Nice ball movement from Cleveland.
  • Richardson drives at Varejao, misses, West's fouled and heads to the line for 2.
  • Cavs go full court, the ball ends up with Morrison in the corner, fakes the 3, airballs the 2. Charlotte still have it, Richardson's fouled by West with 1 on the shotclock.
  • Mo Williams nails the 16 footer off an Ilgauskas screen.
  • Richardson can't create anything with the final possession, end of the quarter. 68-59 to Cleveland.

4th Quarter:

  • Ilgauskas starts the quarter hitting a 19 footer. Baseline jumper falls for Morrison at the other end.
  • Williams nails it from mid-range. Morrison puts up a hook shot from the baseline, misses.
  • Z's doubled in the post, good ball movement finds Williams open in the corner for 3, brick.
  • Augustin fakes his man, draws the foul. Makes both shots, 63-73
  • Good D from Charlotte, Ilgauskas misses the jumpshot, offensive board.
  • Williams alley-oop to Varejao, not quite as pretty as when its LeBron.
  • Cavs steal it, ugly shot by Gibson falls, 77-63 to Cleveland. Timeout bobcats.
  • Ilgauskas fouled on the drive.
  • Gerald Wallace drives, dishes to an open Richardson but a charge on Wallace.
  • Next play Wallace drives past Varejao, draws the foul.
  • James at the point, Williams curls of a baseline screen and nails it. The cavs are killing the bobcats from mid-range.
  • Richardson misses the circus shot, tipped out, 3-ball missed, knocked out of bounds and it's called Charlotte basketball.
  • Timeout Charlotte, down 65-81 with 6:41 to go.
  • LeBron slams it on Augustin, and the foul!
  • Bobcats offense has gone completely downhill now, Richardson settling for a contested 3. Brick.
  • Ilgauskas misses an open 3, the play by play announcer blames it on him having 'too much time'.
  • James spins in the lane and finishes with the left hand.
  • Augustin fouled, Wallace sends it into the stands after the whistle.
  • 5:12 left, no realistic chance for charlotte now, down 20.
  • Gibson fouled shooting the 3. I've only just realised he has the batman logo shaved into his head. Awsome.
  • Charlotte drive, miss, kicked out to Felton for 3, also a miss. It seems Charlotte are trying to miss.
  • Gibson's money from downtown. Game, set and match.
  • Final score: Charlotte Bobcats 79-96 Cleveland Cavaliers.

Not too much learnt from that game, Gibson can shoot, Cleveland can defend, and Adam Morrison, despite no longer possessing an incredible level of all-round sexiness, may not be a flop after all. Nothing new there.

LeBron quietly put up 22, 9 & 9. He wasn't involved in the game as much as usual, however he didn't really need to be, the way Gibson and Mo Williams stepped up offensively. Not really a challenge for the cavs, who took advantage of poor perimeter defense and prevented any form of penetration from the Bobcats.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Game Notes: Cavs at Celtics

IT'S BACK!!!!! WOO!!!!

Pre-game is quite emotional. seeing the faces of Paul, Ray and KG actually brought a tear to my eye. As expected, the cavs weren't present at the ring ceremony.

1st quarter:

  • LeBron starts fast paced, scored his first jumper then missed a wild driving layup and a contested 3 (taken within the first 8 seconds of the shotclock). I actually seen him take a defensive stance against Paul Pierce. It appears this season LeBron is serious.
  • Delonte West has new hair, and reminds me of an escaped Irish paedophile.
  • Mo Williams hits an early 3.
  • The Cavs are strugling to stop Pierce's penitration. he must have 2 layups and an and-one already.
  • My TV says it's 16-8 and says its 52-49. It's great to live in England.
  • Pierce gets another and-one. Perhaps LeBron is waiting until next season to start playing defense.
  • 3:09 left, Celtics over the foul limit already.
  • Leon Powe posts up Szczerbiak gets the celtic's 3rd and-one of the game.
  • Delonte West throws it into Varejao in the post. He passes it out and runs a pick and roll from the wing. The screen is unsuccessful, so the play is ran again, resulting in a turnover.
  • Varejo tries to defend KG, fails.
  • LeBron is very Trigger happy tonight, bricks a 17 footer.
  • LeBron runs the same Varejao play, and Varejao throws it into 4 celtics players
  • KG scores on varejo again.
  • The Varejao play actually works this time.
  • Pierce finishes the quarter draining a buzzer-beater in Bron's face. Ouch.
  • Cavs 28-22 Celtics.

2nd quarter:

  • Mike Brown's offensive schemes puzzle me. Boobie ran a circle from the left wing past the baseline through 3 cavs, not one setting a successful screen, Gibson then gets the ball at the elbow and puts up an off-balance, contested shot. Brick.
  • Szczerbiak passes out of bounds.
  • More offensive rebounds for the celtics. The cavs are lacking a dominant inside presence.
  • Ridiculous shot by Tony Allen, somehow scores.
  • Not exactly a coaching duel. The Cavs offense involves unneccessary plays without results, and the celtics offense seems basic, i.e. give KG the ball in the post and get out his way. I guess its fair to point out that both teams play top notch defense.
  • Varejao bricks the 15 footer. Why is he involved so much in this offense? He's a good offensive rebounder, but there running plays through him like he's Nowitzki or KG.
  • Gibson scores an interesting layup, 35-28, next play gets the and-one.
  • Cavs miss an open jumper from the elbow. Allen misses the long 2. Not the best of games offensively.
  • KG and Ben Wallace (no he isn't dead) checks in.
  • Cleveland somehow up 41-30 with 5:30 left.
  • Bron checks in.
  • Ben Wallace attemps to dribble, resulting in a turnover and fast break points.
  • Bron takes ANOTHER ill advised shot, and misses. He's playing awful so far, but it seems like he's a ticking time bomb. It's only a matter of time before he explodes.
  • LeBron dribbles out the majority of the shotclock but can't create anything. Credit to the celtics D, shotclock against the cavs.
  • Williams misses an ill advised 3. pierce misses an open 3. Cavs get a turnover on the fast break. Rondo crosses up his man and gets contact at the rim.
  • Cleveland still winning 42-36, 3:10 left.
  • Cavs screen down for Szczerbiak, who runs a high pik and roll with Ilgauskas, the defense rotates well but Z absorbs the contact from Perkins and goes to the line.
  • Wallace blocks a garnett jumpshot, only for pierce to drain his and beat the shotclock.
  • West to Bron alley oop when pierce got caught ball watching. this was rather tasty.
  • Alllen scores. West scores. 48-40 to the cavs.
  • Beautifil move to the basket by rondo.
  • Bron gets the foul, seems to be moaning about something. He has unbelievable talent, but I can't help dislike him.
  • Last minute, Gibson dribbles out the clock, passes to Szerbiack who misses a constested three. KG misses the 3 at the buzzer. The cavs offense is ugly, but they end the half up 50-43

3rd quarter:

  • Imagine if Kendick Perkins could shoot from mid-range. The celtics have one play that involves the ball in his hands at the elbow waiting for some off ball movement. As this occurs, his defender stands under the rim. I remember this happening countless times in the playoffs. Pierce scores an open three at the end of this play, so I guess it works anyway.
  • ANOTHER bad shot selection from LeBron.
  • and again.
  • Allen sinks a 3. West misses one. West then misses a 18 footer on the fast break.
  • Celtics within one now, 51-52. About time. Timeout Cleveland.
  • Z screens down for James, who bounce passes to Ilgauskas' knees. Turnover.
  • Rondo scores at the basket again.
  • Hard foul on Rondo this time. He puts the celtics up 53-52.
  • LeBron, do you have any consideration for how stupid or ridiculous a shot is? I thought you'd stop taking them kind if shots this year. Guess I was wrong.
  • Ilgauskas slips on a post move, but manages to flip it in. Next possession he tries another post up against KG. Travel.
  • Travel on Garnett, quite suprising.
  • Williams scores a 3, cavs up 2.
  • Cleveland turnover.Boston score.
  • James scores on Pierce. 59-59
  • Very accurate pass from Szczerbiak to Ray Allen.
  • I miss a play finding out if I'm spelling Szczerbiak's name right.
  • Hilarious 1 on 1 move by Varejao.
  • James Drains a bad shot now.
  • It's 3 am.
  • I go brush my teeth during the break. I hear the english commentator try to explain what a shooting guard is; 'the 2 guard is the one taking a jumpshot.' I express my disgust for this nation's lack of interest for the sport. I eventually realise I'm talking in the present tense.
  • A missed free throw was on course to land safely in Szczerbiak's hands, when stat-whore LeBron jumps in front of him and takes the rebound for himself.
  • 3 from Pierce then a 2 from pierce.
  • Szczerbiak misses an open 3, and chooses to not jump on his jumpshot.
  • Cavs are over the limit and Powe makes it 65-63 with a minute left.
  • This celtics lead has been inevitable all game.
  • The cavs seem futile against the Celtics Defense.
  • It seems that ticking time-bomb isn't going off tonight.
  • The celtics defense is now destroying the cavs.
  • end of the 3rd, 67-63

At the quarter break we get a glimse of the upcoming english TV schedule. Detroit @ San Antonio. No wonder this country loves this sport so much.

4th quarter:

  • Pierce hits a layup over LBJ.
  • Tony Allen and-one.
  • It's just occured to me that I haven't decided who I want to win.
  • Cavs miss a 3.
  • Another and-one by Tony Allen, both very nice moves.
  • Ugly shot from Pavlovic. It's a 6 point game but there's no way the Cavs will win this game.
  • LEON POWE!!!!
  • That was worth a rewind.
  • LEON POWE!!!!!!!!!! FACIAL ON WEST. We're aloud a temporary break from the absolute boredom of this game.
  • Powe calls a charge on defense.
  • 7:26 left, celtics up 8 and KG checks in for Powe.
  • Nice move by Mo Williams in the fast break, driving and dishing to Varejao for an and-one.
  • Good D on KG by Varejao and the entire cavs team, shotclock on the celtics.
  • James gets it in the post, doubled, takes it out to 3, uses a Varejo screen and gets to the basket, missing a layup contested by 3 different celtics.
  • Beautiful dunk by the celtics mascot over some cheerleaders and a baseball player. I know this isn't important, but the basketball's getting boring.
  • Rondo's playing very well. 82-76.
  • James misses another 3, Varejao gets another offensive rebound.
  • 4:00 remaining and a 4 point game, a bogus charge called on Ilgauskas.
  • The balls bounces of Varejao out of bounds.
  • Why does he have that hair? Does he try to look stupid?
  • The refs actually call a travel on LeBron James. Hopefully a sign of things to come.
  • Cavs run a high pick and roll and Ilgauskas Bricks from 20 feet.
  • Allen blocked in the post, Williams to LeBron for a thunderous dunk.
  • Garnett swishes the baseline jumper, 85-80 to the celtics.
  • 1:30 to go, KG goes 1 of 2 from the line. Not on form tonight.
  • Williams three! 83-86
  • Pierce spins on James, dumps it into the post, airball with no foul, cavs have possession with 50 seconds left!
  • James uses an Ilgauskas screen and misses the drifting bank shot in the lane!
  • Celtics ball with 30 seconds left! I've overused the exclaimation mark!
  • Timeout Boston. 14 second shotclock differential.
  • Pierce misses a fadeaway over Varejao, timeout Cleveland.
  • Expecting a LeBron James isolation out of the timeout.
  • Mike Brown suprises us all with a LeBron James isolation out of the timeout.
  • He drives and gets fouled, goes to the line for 2.
  • I have a strange feeling he'll miss them both.
  • He misses the first!
  • Scoores the second. 84-86
  • Powe dunks on Varejao, and the foul!!!
  • Game over.
  • There's actually 4.8 seconds left with LeBron at the line. He misses the first, makes the second again.
  • Last play of the game; Varejao attempts , and misses, an open 3. Pointless, but slight comedic value.
  • Final Score: Cleveland Cavaliers 85 - 90 Boston Celtics

First game of the season and it doesn't really tell us that much. The celtics are still serious, I've overrated LeBron, and I most certaintly won't be getting up tommorrow.

Milwaukee lost to the bulls tonight. The boxscore says Jefferson went 5-17 from the field, and top pick Rose went 3-9 from the field for 11 points along with 9 assists and 4 turnovers. He had a better night than LeBron.


After going an excruciating 133 days deprived from nba basketball, our pain is put to rest tonight as the defending champion the Boston celtics take on the Cleveland cavaliers. This is the one nationally televised game this week, and i still haven't got myself league pass. Also tonight, top pick Derrick Rose makes his debut in the league against Scott Skiles' bucks, and the blazers take on the lakers. Here's to a jolly good season.

The Perception of the Point Guard

Due to my age, I am unfortunate enough to have never witnessed Magic run the showtime lakers. I have never experienced the sight of Stockton play for the jazz. The only spectacular feat of Zeke I've witnessed is the absolute destruction of the Knicks. I will not be able to participate in the best point guard of all time argument. I can, however, tell you the best point guards playing in the NBA today.

What exactly is the purpose of a Point guard? Is it really such a significant role? An ideal Point guard is designed to take care of the ball, score when necessary, and hit the open man. The point guard determines how the offense plays out, and every possession goes through him. Without a legitimate Point Guard, a team is nothing. Look at last year's playoffs, where the only teams with a point guard issue were the Nuggets, Celtics and Cavaliers. The nuggets were the only team to get swept in the postseason, the celtics team had 3 hall of fame candidates, and the cavs have a player in contention for the greatest of all time. Even the 8th seed Atlanta couldn't make the playoffs until aquiring Mike Bibby. The '08 celtics and Jordan's bulls are probably the only teams in nba history to win a championship without a genuine Point Guard.

I rank the nba's best point guards based on efficiency, value to their team, and ability to win.
#10 Andre Miller
Andre Miller is very underrated. Last season he put up 17 & 7, as well as leading the sixers to 2 playoff wins against the pistons. Whilst he was in Denver he made the playoffs every season, and never had a losing record. 2 years after the AI trade, the nuggets are actually regretting trading Miller for one of the greatest scorers of all time.

#9 Jose Calderon

Jose Calderon put on an All-Star performance last season, averaging 11 points and 8 assists in 30 Minutes per game. As well as that, he shot 52% from the field, 43% from downtown, and led the league in assist to turnover ratio, with an astonishing 5.83 to 1 average. After finally getting rid of T.J. Ford, Calderon is now in the driving seat for the raptors. Much of the raptors success this season depends largely on the performance of Calderon, who's expected to repeat his efficient performance of last year.

#8Baron Davis

3rd of may 2007, Baron Davis finishes with 20, 10 & 6 in the biggest upset in playoff history. 2 years on Baron's left his warriors and the fast paced offense he ran to go play for Los Angeles. Baron's a superb player who is (was) extremely valuable to the warriors, and that amazing upset wouldn't of happened without him, but he does have his weaker attributes, and things such as his defense can let him down. This season the warriors will suffer without him as their triggerman.

#7 Jason Kidd
Once the best in the league, mister triple-double is now aproaching the end of his career. He's not nearly as good as he used to be, but Kidd is still relevent, racking up 9.9 assists per game last season. Rick Carlisle has promised to play more of a Jason Kidd style game in '09, and we can expect Kidd to stay one of the top tier point guards for a few more years at least.
#6 Gilbert Arenas

The definition of a 'pure point guard' can be argued, but one thing we can be certain of is that the term doesn't apply to agent zero. A point guard needs to find the balance on offense, knowing when to score and when to make the pass. Gil most definitely doesn't pass as much as he should, but he's a phenomenal scorer, the reason I place him on this list. In his last 2 healthy season he's averaged over 29 ppg, the only point guard of this era to do so. His selfishness almost defeats the object of a point guard, but his magnificent scoring ability is extraordinary. If he can consistently stay healthy and not be so selfish, I honestly believe in the not to distant future the wizards can make a run at the title.

#5 Tony Parker

Tony Parker is a great slasher, good distributor, and the envy of every man. He exploited Cleveland's lack of a quality PG in the '07 finals, taking home the MVP due to this. The spurs multiple titles can be partially credited to him, and he is an integral piece of the spurs dynasty. Despite this, he's not nearly as important to the team as Ginobli or Duncan, he operates as a 3rd offensive option and wouldn't excel nearly as much on a weaker team as a primary weapon.

#4 Chauncey Billups

Some may disagree with Billups being this high, but I can assure you that he's a top 5 PG. Regularly one of the best in assists per turnovers every year, and the vital captain of the piston's consistently efficient offense. The finals MVP has made a name for himself as a good defensive player, and even a mentor, spending a big majority of last season helping the development of the promising rookie combo guard Rodney Stuckey. Billups has fantastic chemistry with the rest of the pistons and plays a crucial role in their success.

#3 Deron Williams

Deron is everything you want in a Point guard. He can score in a variety of ways, distribute the ball beautifully, play defense, and run the pick and roll immensely. Last season he averaged career highs in points (18.8) and assists (8.8) whilst leading the Jazz to 54 wins. All of this and he's still only 24 years old.

#2 Steve Nash

Steve Nash is a unique point guard. He has remarkable court vision and runs the fast break better than any other player in the league. Since moving to Phoenix he's averaged 11.2 assists and 17.5 points, with over 54 wins each season he's spent in Arizona. Steve knows how to win games, and the last time his team won less than 50 was 8 years ago. A magnificent offensive player, but Steve's found out time and time again that it's defense that wins championships. even without a ring, his career will still be legendary, and will unquestionably go down in the hall of fame.

#1 Chris Paul

Chris Paul is the best point guard in the league. I find it incredible how a 6 foot 23 year old can be such an amazing player. He is a perfect model point guard. He has an endless scoring arsenal, a brilliant leader, plays well under pressure, and always hits the open man. On top of this, CP3 executes the pick and roll to perfection, scoring off it on an amazingly consistent basis. He can get to the rack and score, or draw help and hit Stojakovic for the open 3. If they double the big man, Chris is at the rack getting the and-one, or swishing the mid-range jumper. They double Paul and he hits West at the basket, or if he rolls out for the automatic 15 footer. If the defense switches, he'll cross up a big man, using his combination of handles and speed to exploit the advantage. This is why I feel the lakers may not be returning to the finals this season, as we seen against the celtics, the lakers struggle against pick and roll teams.
Chris excels defensively too. He led the league in steals this season, earning All-defensive team honors. On D, Paul doesn't just gamble and playing the passing lanes, but straight up locks down his man.

Chris is an extremely talented player, he possesses abnormal basketball skill, combined with a ridiculous level of intelligence for his age. Throughout his career Chris will excel and most definitely achieve success.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

One Last Batch of NBA Predictions (awards)

MVP:LeBron James

6th man: Lamar Odom

Rookie of the year: Greg Oden

Coach of the Year: Phil Jackson

Defensive player: Ron Artest

Most Improved: Gerald Wallace

Some More 2008-09 NBA Predictions

The other half of my impeccable, astonishingly accurate 2009 predictions.

Western Conference:
  1. L.A. Lakers
  2. New Orleans
  3. Houston
  4. Utah
  5. San Antonio
  6. Dallas
  7. Phoenix
  8. Portland
  9. L.A. Clippers
  10. Denver
  11. Golden State
  12. Sacramento
  13. Memphis
  14. Minnesota
  15. Oklahoma City

I went for the obvious choice at #1 as it's quite hard to find fault in the lakers team. A solid point, the best player in the league (I will adress this issue in time), two quality small-forwards, one coming off the bench, one of the best international players in the league at power-forward, with a young, improving center returning from surgery. This season Los Angeles are most certaintly the favorites.

Chris Paul is the best point guard in the NBA, possibly the world. Peja Stojakovic is one of the best pure shooters in the league, Tyson Chandler is one of the best rebounders in the league, James Posey is one of the best defenders in the league, and David West is one of the best Power-Forwards in the league. New Orleans is one of the best teams in the league, and will be a serious contender for the title this season.

I know what is destined for Houston. We all know what will happen to Houston. It is almost guaranteed their star players will sit out a portion of the season with injury of some sort. But despite this, I can't help place them 3rd, due to the huge amount of talent on this team.

Utah should win there division again this season, locking up the fourth seed. Their young star point guard Deron Williams is still improving, but this may be the last season we see Boozer in a Jazz jersey.

San Antonio are irritatingly consistent, and will be a title threat yet again this year. The core ages, and Horry's left, but you can count on them being a serious contender come playoffs.

Dallas now have a new head coach and a full season with Jason Kidd. An optimist can see a title run but a realist settles for 45-50 wins.

I just don't see it happening for Phoenix. They still have Nash, who we can count on for another consistent season, and Amare will demonstrate his pure beastliness, but even with Terry Porter, I don't feel it's possible to play an acceptable standard of defense with their offensive system.

On paper, Portland are frightening. They're young and dangerous, will most definately make the playoffs. That said, I do feel some are jumping the gun a little, as the blazers won't be a legitimate threat in the west for a few years.

This offseason the Clippers lost their star player, aquired a star player, and received a DPOY for free. In the east, they're a lock for the playoffs. In the west, they're back to the draft.

I honestly feel bad for the nuggets. It seems that George Karl genuinely finds it impossible to make his team play defense. They gave away their only defensive player for free. I believe with this current squad the nuggets will not make the playoffs.

Any belief left in the Bay area? They're a fast-break team without a fast-break point guard. That''s like a vegetarian steakhouse, or a strip club without the half-naked whores. It just doesn't work.

The Kings are actually a good team, but won't even sniff the postseason in this conference.

Adding O.J. Mayo, Hamed Haddadi and Marc Gasol obviously helps, but the Grizz will be back to the draft come June.

Adding Kevin Love, Rodney Carney and Mike Miller obviously helps, but the Twolves will be back to the draft come June.

Adding Joe Smith, Desmond Mason and Russell
Westbrook obviously helps, but the Thunder will be back to the draft come June. Honestly, I'm too lazy to write anything remotely interesting about these last 3 teams.

So there's my predictions for the western conference. As always, I leave you with a smile.

My 2008-09 NBA predictions

Impeccably timed, here are my 2009 NBA predictions. If I'm right, I will gloat incredibly in May. If I'm wrong, I'll bury this post and go hide with Osama Bin Laden in his secret pink and yellow cave, never to be seen again.

Eastern Conference:

  1. Detroit
  2. Boston
  3. Cleveland
  4. Orlando
  5. Philadelphia
  6. Toronto
  7. Atlanta
  8. Washington
  9. Milwaukee
  10. Indiana
  11. Chicago
  12. Miami
  13. Charlotte
  14. New Jersey
  15. New York

I didn't want to put the (my) pistons top. The last 3 conference-finals losses beg me to surrender to reality and accept that Detroit are no longer the best team in the east, a title that I'd be foolish to take away from the Celtics. But it seems false hope has got the better of me, and I genuinely believe that they can finally pull it off this year. The core of Billups, Hamilton, Prince and Wallace are still together, and now have Amir Johnson stepping into the starting lineup, a young, athletic, defensively solid player who can most likely maintain an important role with the starters, nothing major expected of him, just tear down the boards and play solid D. The bench consists of 3 players capable of starting on most other teams, and starring on some lottery bound, McDyess, Stuckey and Maxiell. The team's topped off with rookie coach Michael Curry, a defensive minded motivator, exactly what the team needs.

As for Boston, I can't take anything away from them. All due respect for them winning it all last year, they truly were the best team in the league and deserved that seventeenth banner. This season their core's basically the same, they have a legitimate chance of a repeat, and nobody would be surprised if their fingers are twice as shiny come next summer.

Cleveland are the final eastern conference team with a realistic goal of a title. Obviously, any team with LeBron James is a contender, and with offensive help arriving in the form of Mo Williams, Clevelanders can finally have realistic hope for a sports championship (then have their dreams shattered in summer 2010, but that's another story). Mo and LeBron both like creating for themselves offensively, and it should be interesting to see whether or not they can click well enough to make a productive offense.

Orlando will easily win there division, however I can't see them progressing any further than that. Once Turkoglu's contract expires, the magic will surely not be able to make any substantial offer after the ludicrous contract given to Lewis, and taking another step back in the process.

The Sixers are a threat. They have alot of youth (Iguodala, Young, Williams) and a veteran point guard, add to that a consistent 20 & 10 All-Star, you have a 50+ win team.

Adding Jermaine O'neal to the Raps should only make the team better, and with Calderon running the point paired with an All-Star year from Chris Bosh, a 50 win season should be on the cards.

The Hawks are young, constantly improving, and a dangerous team people may be sleeping on. Not good enough to compete with the above six but should make the playoffs.

Back in the 2007 season, I remember Washington being top of the east, and Detroit's biggest threat in the conference. A few injuries later and you have yet another first round loss to the Cavs. With Arenas now sitting out the start of the season, Washington's future doesn't look to bright. Playoffs are a strong possibility, but I wouldn't be surprised if I see them in the lottery, not based on lack of a talented team, but the fact they can't last a year without injuries.

Milwaukee, like Atlanta are also a young side, now with the addition of Jefferson. Out of all the remaining teams, they have the most potential. I wouldn't be surprised if they made the playoffs.

Indiana finally have Jermaine O'Neal off their backs, and pick up a decent point guard because of it. Not in my eyes a playoff team, but could make some impact in time.

Chicago. 49 wins, to 33 wins, to #1 pick to what I predict is another lottery. Unless Derrick Rose does something special, it will take even more time for the bulls to get back to winning ways again.

i have a bright future in Wade and Beasley, and have Marion wanting to prove something this year as well. Other than that, the Heat don't have much else. If all else fails, they'll still have good old fashioned sex appeal.

Appointing Larry Brown head coach is a great move for the Bobcats, and because of this I may regret ranking them this low. As well as that, Adam Morrison is magnificently beautiful.

2010 is getting closer and closer for the Nets. Until then, they can enjoy multiple trips to the lottery.

If you aren't familiar with New York Knicks basketball, this clip just about sums it up.

I pretty much stated the obvious there, but that's my Eastern Conference predictions.