Tagged: nba

Team USA Olympic Opener

Team USA is going to square off against France tomorrow at 9:30AMET on NBC. Both teams are coming out of pool A and I couldn’t be more excited about the Team USA’s first Olympic game.

France’s starting lineup will most likely consist of Tony Parker at the point, Nicolas Batum at small forward, Boris Diaw at power forward, Kevin Seraphin at center, and Nando de Colo at the shooting guard position. De Colo will join the Spurs for the 2012-2013 season.

USA will most likely start Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Lebron James, and Tyson Chandler to open the game.

Although the US is undefeated against France in the Olympics, expect Tony Parker to put on his usual arrays of passes and court magic when scoring the ball. His pairing with Batum and Diaw ought to put on a entertaining show for at least the first two quarters until USA really turns it on. Team USA completely dominated their exhibition games leading up to the Olympics, with their closest game against Argentina resulted in a 8 point victory that saw Team USA leading by as much as 20 on two separate occasions.

Surprisingly, France did not qualify for the previous two summer Olympics, with their last appearance in the Sydney Olympics yielding a silver medal.

If France was also able to recruit a healthy Joakim Noah to play for them this season then I would have said that had a fighting chance at pulling this game out. However without a strong defensive presence on the inside (Seraphin plays for the Wizards) it’s hard to see France taking advantage of Team USA’s weakness in size.

These games are always fun to watch though because it’s like watching an All-Star game where the players actually play defence. The blow-outs are still pretty great to watch too because Anthony Davis doesn’t get any real playing time so those garbage minutes off the bench yield some pretty exciting plays.

Look forward to our post-game recap tomorrow!

Fantasy Season in a Nutshell: Who made it through the season?

This article will talk about the lucky few that made it through the draft and all the way to the end of my season. You can view my entire team roster from start to finish here

I like to think that I built my team around a solid core. I felt that I had a sizeable advantage in assists, rebounds, three’s, and points. I usually find that field goal percentages and free throw percentages can go either way, so I try to not focus too heavily on that aspect. My team wasn’t amazing in the field-goal percentage department but it also didn’t have anyone to sink my free throw percentages.

Of the 13 I drafted, 5 still remained in my final team. Those were:

Rudy Gay

Rudy Gay was absolutely essential to my team, his ability to do everything really kept my core from falling apart. He came back from a shoulder injury last season to be the primary scorer for the Memphis Grizzlies, and even meshed well with the return of Zach Randolph.  Although I was a little disappointed with his drop in free-throw and field goal percentages this season, his ability to score, shoot the three ball, rebound, and steal made him a fantastic compliment with my next player.

Jeff Teague

Jeff Teague was my primary source of steals throughout the entire season. Although for a point guard he doesn’t rack up that many assists he does play very consistently. Considering it’s only his second year playing for a slow offense like Atlanta it was nice to see him almost average a three a game and just below 2 steals a game. He was also able to throw in the occasional block which was very surprising to me. Throughout the season I found that I was able to beat many teams because of my team’s underrated ability to block. With Gay and Teague throwing in blocks here and there throughout the weeks, the addition of my next player rounded out my universal team.

Kris Humphries

I certainly don’t hate you because you were a massive rebounder. Even though your scoring average doesn’t suggest it you came through with a massive game whenever I needed it. It’s amazing how bad the New Jersey Nets were with only Deron Williams as the reliable scorer. Thankfully Humphries stepped into the role with a polished offensive game, and massive put-back dunks. Toss in those points and Kris Humphries should go, latest, in the 6th round.

Like I said my team didn’t stand out in the blocks category but it did manage to beat those that were merely “average” at it. My next player almost never got a block a game though.

Jose Calderon

He led the league in assist to turnover ratio for much of the early season, and boy was he a spark plug to my team. He doesn’t hurt your team in any categories and you almost find yourself wishing that he would shoot more. On some nights he would go off for 20+ points with a bunch of three’s and still get double digit rebounds. Those were the nights that I loved the Spaniard. I wish the Raptors would trade him to a team that truly had offensive weapons and his skills weren’t going to waste with this constantly rebuilding team. My next player did the smart thing and looked for a smarter team.

Chris Bosh

I should not have taken you in the 4th round. Yeah you quietly put together a solid season behind Dwyane Wade and Lebron James but you were absolutely in March. March is when I needed you and you couldn’t get a single game with double digit rebounds.  You scored in buckets but what I really need was consistency, without consistency I couldn’t play you when you’re going through a day-to-day injury. Without consistency, I just didn’t really feel proud of having you on my team, and without consistency I couldn’t get the same trade value for you because the other managers constantly say “well.. he had some bad games”

But you were still good. That’s how you made it this far.

Fantasy Basketball for Dummies: 13-16

Picks 1 through 3 can be found here, and 4-8 can be found here, 9-12 can be found here

#13- Dirk Nowitzki

45.7% FG, 87.8% FT, 1.3 3PG, 6.8 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.9 TO, 0.7 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 21.7 PPG

This season Nowitzki saw his numbers drop even more from last season. Always heralded for having a great all-around game, I had to take Nowitzki out my top ten this season because of his continually diminishing minutes. Drop-offs in FG% this season have shown how stagnant the Mavericks offense had become and that Nowtizki often had to force up shots to keep his team in the game.

Without a full steal or block per game it’s a good thing Nowitzki shot the three-ball well and still rebounded well. His free throw shooting is still one of huge strengths and should be something that you take advantage of when building your team. Nowitzki still keeps his turnovers low and throws in a couple of assists too. Continue reading

Fantasy Basketball for Dummies: Picks 9-12

Picks 1 through 3 can be found here, and 4-8 can be found here

#9- Deron Williams

40.7% FG, 84.3% FT, 2.1 3PG, 3.3 RPG, 8.8 APG, 4.0 TO,1.2 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 21.0 PPG

Deron Williams kills you in the stats he isn’t good at and he kills it in the stats he is good at. Since his days in Utah his field goal percentages have been absolutely terrible. Last season with New Jersey he averaged 34.9% shooting over twelve games. This year he averaged 40.7% over 55 games. An incomplete season and awful shooting on 17.5 attempts. He led the league in turnovers and to cap it all off he played a season low minutes since his rookie year.

Risky right? Continue reading

Yung Money’s Fantasy Season in a Nutshell: Draft Day to Runner-Up

In this year’s fantasy league I was one of 12 owners in a H2H 10 category league. Full of surprises this year from the get-go. I was originally projected for the 5th overall pick which was Derrick Rose. However, one of the bush league rookie fantasy team owners decided to take D-Rose for his first overall pick. (He was supposed to take CP3 with his 3rd overall pick and 4th was supposed to get K Love). As luck would have it, I ended up with Kevin Love who I loved building around as you’ll see from who I drafted.

You can find Durantin’s “Fantasy Season in a Nutshell”, here.

Continue reading

Fantasy Basketball for Dummies: Picks 4-8

Picks 1 through 3 can be found here

#4-Kevin Love

44.8 %FG, 82.4% FT, 1.9 3PG, 13.3 RPG, 2.0 APG, 2.3 TO, 0.9 SPG. 0.5 BPG, 26 PPG

This season, Kevin Love truly propelled himself onto the fantasy charts. It’s rare that you see a power-forward who can rebound as well as Dennis Rodman and shoot the three ball as well as Ray Allen. His high free throw numbers are a huge plus considering he’s a center. However his supporting stats are somewhat lacklustre. Not even a steal or block per game means that it will be difficult to build the supporting stats.

Continue reading

The End of the Dynasty?

Even after jumping to a big lead in the first half thanks in part to one Tony Parker, it just wasn’t to be for the Spurs last night. Rallying back from 18 points down, the Thunder defeated the Spurs 107-99 to advance to the finals. Full recap of last night’s game here.

To see off the Spurs, who ended the season losing 4 straight after winning 20 straight, here’s a video showing some of the best moments of coach Popovich courtesy of NBA.com.

Bonus:

While the Spurs and Thunder were battling it out on the court, things were also getting heated off the court as Ernie Johnson was spotted flipping out on one of his producers. Video evidence here:

However last night, after some counselling from Shaq, EJ and his producer made up and even shared what looks to be James Harden shaped cookies.

Western Conference Finals- Go Big or Go Home

The game had the premise for a good game after Westbrook drove into the lane, and made an open dunk, but that and a second quarter buzzer beater were the only memorable moments for the Thunder in the first half.

The Spurs came out hot and heavy this game. Jumping out to a 34-20 lead after the first quarter, the Spurs looked like the Spurs we expected. You could tell a good game was coming when Ginobili sank a quick 3 in the opening seconds of tip-off. This was followed by a flurry of points and assists from Tony Parker, Parker assisted or scored on 7 straight Spurs field goals and the result was 27 points.

Good to have you back Mr.Longoria Parker. He finished the first quarter with 17 points and 5 rebounds and absolutely dominated the OKC defense to start. By  halftime he had 21 points, 10 assists, 2 steals, and a single turnover. Whether he drove to the net, fed Tim Duncan for the mid-range, or found a guard for a three he did absolutely everything.

Calm, cool, and efficient basketball allowed the Spurs to take a commanding 14 point lead into the second quarter, and the offense stayed aggressive and pressured the Thunder’s defense. Led by Stephen Jackson’s 3 threes in the quarter the Spurs were absolutely monstrous from the three point line in the first half. Shooting 9-15  in the first half the rowdy OKC crowd was silenced as three after three found the bottom of the net.

Then the Thunder flipped the switch. Hoollyyyy did they flip it. Durant came at the Spurs with a vengeance, big shot after big three the Thunder had cut the lead down to a single point going into the fourth. He would finish the game with 34 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, a steal, 2 blocks, 4 three’s, and only 2 turnovers. Monster.

But the second half was all about the Thunder. Outscoring the Spurs by 14 points in the 3rd quarter they entered the 4th quarter with a 14 point lead. The Spurs just couldn’t buy a basket in the third quarter. Parker would only score 2 points in the 3rd quarter and the entire script of the game just flipped.

Open looks weren’t falling, offensive rebounds were going the wrong way, and playing against Kevin Durant and James Harden doesn’t make it any easier.

Derek Fisher was amazing in the final quarter too, now that he’s no longer with the Lakers he can actually shoot the ball and boy did he shoot it. he scored some much needed baskets to keep the Spurs down.

The Thunder crowd was absolutely wild, for most of the game I couldn’t even hear the commentators, just “OKC! OKC! OKC!”. Rallying from 18 down the young Thunder are no longer inexperienced because the young Thunder are headed to the NBA finals.

Pregame Hoop Hopes: Bring the Thunder!

It’s a must win for the Spurs.

Entering Game 2 of the Western conference finals the Spurs looked on top of the world. They had a 20 game win streak going that carried over from the regular season, and convincing wins over the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers made the Spurs the favorite to take it all.

3 games later and their victory parade looks further than ever before for. The Spurs have dropped 3 games straight to the rising Thunder and are on the verge of elimination.

Poor play from Tony Parker, mainly because of the re-assignment of the Thunder’s Thabo Sefolosha on defense, has left the Spurs offence stagnant at many times. It was a beauty to watch the Spurs on offence during the Jazz and Clippers series. The ball was constantly swinging setting up open looks for every single Spurs player. Arguably the greatest strength of the Spurs was their depth, having reliable scorers like Gary Neal, Danny Green, and Tiago Splitter come off the bench meant that the offense was constantly pushing the ball.

However, against the Thunder, the Spurs have forgotten the patient playoff brand of basketball they were known for. Without those extra passes open looks can’t be created and those reliable scorers find themselves forcing the ball to create their own shots.

Trade deadline pick-up, Stephen Jackson, has been magnificent during the playoffs, drilling clutch three’s and doing all he can to contain Kevin Durant. On the other end, Kevin Durant and James Harden have been impossible to contain and at times they seem to score at will. While Russell Westbrook is playing mediocre basketball it is scary to think what will happen when they all line-up to have box-score breaking stat lines.

Meet James Harden, clutch 3-point shooter, skilled ball-handler, building.

Two weeks ago the Spurs were ready to sweep the Thunder, and to many it seemed like a reality. Presently, it seems like the Spurs might be looking at an early exit.

Here’s what I hope happens today

  • Spurs win, please?
  • Get a body on Ibaka! He can nail that mid-range jumper easily.
  • Perkins isn’t the point-guard with 4 minutes remaining
  • Spurs bench has to be the reliable Spurs bench, not the disappearing act they’ve been for the past 2 games.
  • Westbrook’s postgame shirt doesn’t contain more than 17 colours.

Luck of the Irish? Nope.

If your playoff bracket said that the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Boston Celtics would be playing each other in the NBA Finals at the start of the Playoffs.. you’re a dirty fucking liar!

After Derrick Rose went down with a torn ACL in the first round it seemed like the Miami Heat had a clear path all the way up to the Finals. No one thought that the Celtics of all teams would be the team to put the Heat up against the wall.

The revived play of the Kevin “The Big Ticket” Garnett has fueled the Celtics back into relevance and the magical play of Rajon Rondo has left the Heat defense scratching their heads.

The Celtics were supposed to be too old, too tired, and just out of gas going into the playoffs. Coming in at the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics drew the Atlanta Hawks as their first opponent. Unsurprisingly they knocked off the Hawks in 6 (cause they’re the Hawks) and advanced to play the 76’s, who were fresh off a series victory over the top seeded Chicago Bulls.

Their series against the Sixers went to 7 games and by the end of it we were really wondering, “You can’t even beat the Sixers in convincing a fashion? Wait till you have to play the Heat!”. Entering the Conference Finals everything seemed to be going according to the script. Miami won both games at home, then Boston won game 3.

“Lucky win, the Celtics are too proud to get swept, they’re done after that.”

Then they won Game 4 in overtime.

Then they won Game 5, in Miami, by 4 points.

If my addition is correct that would put the Boston Celtics up 3-2… oh and check it out they’re back at home too!. That my friends, is what they call a convincing lead. The Celtics can closeout the Heat with a win on Thursday. If they play the gritty basketball that they’ve played all season then it looks like the Celtics may still have one more in the tank.