I want to apologise for my serious lack of blogging over the last month and a half + but, I’ve been trying to keep a very low profile as the playoffs approached, I felt that every time I commented a Laker fell with another injury. I was losing cash with my bets on the Lakers and started to bet blogging with friends and colleagues but once Kobe fell I was completely distraught and found myself drowning my sorrows by watching old 2010 NBA playoff games of the Lakers thrashing everyone.
I know you’re interested so here are some of the bets I lost.
Lakers not getting season swept by the Clippers:
Lakers finishing 6th in the West:
Lakers winning the 1st round of the playoffs:
Lakers beating Spurs in 6 games:
Lakers playing OKC in the Conference finals:
What I did get right was that the Lakers would beat both Houston and the GSW in their final two games to get a spot in the Playoffs.
So after all this I have to also add, “Could Kobe’s injury have happened at a worse time?”
OKC, think they have it bad – lol, they lost a person that was preventing their best player from touching the ball which is a blessing if you think about it. Any victory by the Lakers in the post season would be a hollow victory as it meant we would have to face the Spurs or Thunder with the most important figure of our team on the injured roster.
Did I expect us to win the series without Kobe? No
Did I expect us to compete without Kobe? Maybe
Did I expect Gasol, Metta, Nash, Howard + the rest of the Lakers to step up and fill the void? Maybe
What I found was another swept series that hurt terribly and was even more annoying as I watched Spurs run a route on a team that just had no life.
What do I want?
Cut: D’Antoni, Nash, Howard, Metta, Goudelock, Morris, Duhon
Keep: Kobe, Blake & maybe Gasol (you won’t get much for him he’s just so expensive).
I feel like so much opportunity in the off season for the Lakers to improve but it all needs to start by cutting the loose ends quickly.
Now onto my playoff breakdown:-
Ok, on to the Celtics v Knicks, I think that the Knicks dropped their last game to get Smith back for game 1 of their second round battle as he is facing suspension. I think it’s an extremely clever manoeuvre lol, but comes at a price as it may light a fire under the Celtics who look just old and slow against the Knicks front court.
Indiana v Atlanta, I really like both teams and I can’t really pick here although I fell that the Pacers are so much stronger a unit then the Hawks and if they get there motor rolling they have a far higher ceiling then the Hawks. But to give Hawks credit they are making a series of it finally. I think the Hawks are one of the easiest teams to look down on but they do what they can without a lesser squad.
Miami v Bucks, it was a great prediction by Jennings for a sweep in Miami (dummy).
Brooklyn v Bulls I have feeling that if Brooklyn gets the next game that Bulls will find it hard to close this out but if they do, then I would fully expect Rose to come back for game 1 of the 2nd round verse the Heat. I think Brook Lopez and Jo Johnson firing early with Williams and Wallace both wanting to win it, I also feel that without a pg that can run it out like K.H or D.R there is a gap on the setup of plays. Boozer & Noah are playing huge ball and I think no one makes playoff highlights like Taj.
OKC v Houston, I think Okc will have just enough to get past Houston but it won’t surprise me at all if the OKC franchise collapses without Westbrook. However, if they get through this will be what Durant needs to lay claim to the best player in the League.
GSW v Denver, I never thought that Denver would struggle so much but they seem to have worked it out in the last game by pressuring Curry to shoot only 1-7 from the 3pt line. A feet, that hasn’t happened since early October in the NBA regular season. If that continues then Denver could even this up and push a game 7. Lawson is playing incredible and is so fast and good with ball making the right play repeatedly. Miller deserves a lot of credit he has slotted in to the playoffs with not much pressure on his shoulders but hit a game winner and it a matchup nightmare for the GSW guards. Bogut is playing big man ball and has a few good facials on the Denver bigs but I think that he will become injured again maybe concussed from trying to do a cross over or something.
Clips v Grizz, I thought the Grizzlies would handle the Clippers but now I see that it’s a lot tougher with Paul flying around the court they lost today but I don’t think that Memphis can score 100+ in the next game to get this one out. I think Clippers will fire back, although they will need Griffin who went out injured maybe he might sit the bench???
I will not mention the other matchup but let’s just say we will see how the Spurs go in the next round.
Let me know your thoughts as always and I hope to chat with you all soon.
(If you are a Lakers fan I don’t know if you can read this blog today without tears potentially swelling up in your eyes).
I’ve completed a quick statistical breakdown of the Lakers Vs Utah, Dallas and the Rockets for the 7th & 8th spots in the west and I’ve come to the conclusion that if the Lakers don’t beat the Dallas Mavericks tomorrow, then the window and hopes of the Lakers making it to the playoffs is virtually closed.
Western Conference Standings as of the 2nd of April, 2013:-
W’s – L’s (percentage)
Houston 41 – 33 0.554
Utah 39 – 36 0.514 (they just beat Portland)
L.A. Lakers 38 – 36 0.514
Dallas 36 – 37 0.493
Lakers have lost the season series (2-1) with Utah and with how the tiebreaker system is designed in the NBA it would mean that if the two teams were to finish on an identical win/loss record the Jazz would get the go-ahead for the playoffs. So this means the Lakers need to win and maintain a one win gap over the Utah Jazz (which I just can’t see them doing if they don’t pull out a much needed win against Dallas tomorrow).
I have broken down the remaining schedule and I feel with exception of playing most of their games at home (which is the only place the Lakers have done well – L.A. has the toughest final 8 games remaining of any of the teams vying for 7th and 8th spot).
Game 1) – (H) L.A. Vs Dallas (2-1 game split in favour of L.A.)
Game 2) – (H) L.A. Vs Memphis (0-2 game split in favour of Memphis)
Game 3) – (A) L.A. Vs Clippers (0-3 game split in favour of Clippers)
Game 4) – (H) L.A. Vs Hornets (3-0 game split in favour of L.A.)
Game 5) – (A) L.A. Vs Portland (2-1 game split in favour of L.A.)
Game 6) – (H) L.A. Vs Warriors (2-1 game split in favour of L.A.)
Game 7) – (H) L.A. Vs Spurs (2-0 game split in favour of Spurs)
Game 8) – (H) L.A. Vs Rockets (2-1 game split in favour of Houston)
Dallas has won the last 6 out of 10 games and is 14-22 on the road, I feel if there was a team ready to shut out the Lakers or trying to make a statement for their own playoff push it would be the Mav’s. They would enjoy nothing more than knowing they could end the Lakers hopes for 2013 playoffs.
If the Laker’s lose, that means Dallas would tie them for 9th with LA in front on differential and Utah would move to a +2 game differential and that means the Lakers would need to win 3 of its remaining 7 just to jump in front of Utah – so you see how the noose looks like tightening around the necks of the Lakers if they fail to deliver.
The Lakers should compete in this game like it is there championship and make sure they put everything into getting this (W). I know it’s going to be tough with Nash potential out for the game as well as MWP and Hill. But they still have more than enough fire power to prevail.
Let me know your thoughts and vote on the poll to I want to see how many people out there have faith in LA???
The hottest topic I have found myself debating in recent weeks is, “who will be the MVP for 2013?”.
Today, all the readers are going to find out my own MVP top 10 list, NOTE:- this is based on the current season played and current rosters.
I will do my best to be impartial and yes, that means that Kobe isn’t a lock for the overall honour.
(How do I work out what an MVP is?) In my opinion the Most Valuable Player, is the one person that if removed from the line-up the team will cease to function (and by function I mean WIN).
So here we go: –
Pick Number – 10 – Marc Gasol (I describe to people that Marc is the Memphis Grizzlies with him in the line-up and healthy the Grizz seem to keep most teams to season lows, every time I watch him he moves so well off the ball that it’s everything he does that makes him my #10).
Pick Number – 9 – Carmelo Anthony (I see him as the most elite scorer in the NBA on par with Kobe and Durant. I just wish he had a better defensive team around him in Denver when he was younger to assist him to develop more crucial skills especially his perimeter defence !!! but still he is unstoppable offensively and one of the best in the East and has carried that Knicks team to one of the best starts they’ve had in years. Injuries and the losing stints that come with it have made me move him down the list).
Pick Number – 8 – Steph Curry (I rate him a touch better than the previous few names because his team is so young and he’s a born leader that dominates the attention of the defence, when he is out with injury Golden State has no hope, I do have issues with his shot selection and not getting the max out of his team mates considering he’s playing a PG/SG role, but you’ve got to love his 54 point game at MSG).
Pick Number – 7 – Paul Pierce (I hate Pierce and his Boston team but there is no denying what he brings each and every game to the Celtics with his spot up jay and his movement off the ball. I would have inserted Rondo higher in the list but due to injury it’s been Pierce that has picked up the slack and the way he leads Bradley, Green, Garnett and Terry has been really impressive).
Pick Number – 6 – Ty Lawson (Watch a nuggets game if you don’t why this guy is my #6 – this kid is an animal on the break and he gets that whole Nuggets team moving for the entire time he’s out on the floor. The Nuggets are not even close to the same team when he’s not there but they still can survive hence, why I didn’t move Ty higher than the 6th spot also).
Pick Number – 5 – Kevin Durant (If Kevin Durant doesn’t suit up then OKC can only beat Detroit, Charlotte and Phoenix on a consistent basis – yes I know, that’s a really big statement but they rely so much on him and this kid delivers every night on the floor. I do have one issue with OKC and Durant, I feel that Westbrook is gradually taking more of the reigns from KD and in doing so the team isn’t as productive as when he controls the ball and gets good touches).
Pick Number – 4 – Kobe Bryant ( I would have put Kobe at #1 if the guys team would win more, the only reason the games are even close or watchable at times (YEAH I SAID IT) is because he puts more effort into competing then the entire Lakers team).
Pick Number – 3 – Lebron James (The guy is good not great just good – he couldn’t do it without Wade or Bosh). Hence, this is why he isn’t #1 on this list and a 23 game winning streak means nothing when it only gets you tied with Spurs for the overall best record in the NBA. Excuse the pun but they are heating up.
Pick Number – 2 – Tony Parker (If the Spurs didn’t dominate a few games recently with Parker out due to injury, then I would have kept Parker at the #1 spot. I guess I have to give credit to Popovich’s for his coaching and keeping the spurs ahead of everyone. NOTE: – I found out that Popovich’s of Serbian background.
And my pick for the 2013 MVP – and the overall #1 spot in the NBA is, Chris Paul.
When Chris Paul is on the court the Clippers are the fastest and most elite team in the NBA. This season when he got injured the slump that ensued was impossible to watch. I can’t accept anyone saying that Lebron deserves #1 as Miami and the rest of the heat are able to still function and possibly win even without Lebron in uniform but the Clips have seriously no hope. You can’t replace what he does and you can’t teach it to someone else.
Paul’s nickname should be “Control King” he runs every set so perfectly and his attention to detail is impeccable his vision is Johnson-esk and his speed and movement is up there with Rose, Wall, Rondo and Westbrook. He has the clutch shooting down of Kobe and I believe that he will be at a new level come to the playoffs.
I do hope that the LA V LA thing doesn’t happen in the first round of the playoffs but in one of the later rounds because Kobe just has a habit of finding that next level so easy also and watching them go head to head would incredible.
As always drop me your top 10 or what you believe I got wrong in the comments… Love to hear from you.
What a tremendously entertaining run by my beloved LA Lakers team to get back into the eighth seed in the Western Conference!!!!
The NBA fans from around the world have seen the latest resurgence of form by the LA Lakers, as they hunt for an eighth seed or better position for the Western Conference NBA playoffs.
This resurgence of form I believe all started with a twenty five point comeback victory over the New Orleans Hornets, who will soon be rebranded to the new name of the ‘New Orleans Pelicans’, (what an absolutely terrible name) but losing a twenty five point lead I’d change my name also.
Next, we witnessed one of the most entertaining games of the season when the Lakers had another comeback win, this time in ‘overtime’ against the Toronto Raptors. (Raptors fans must seriously hate the Lakers especially since that night in 2006 when Kobe made it rain eighty one times) so mean, so very mean.
Tonight the ‘Rose-less’ Chicago Bulls was hit by a nine point haymaker as the Lakers led by Howard (who grabbed 26 rebounds) provided a domination on both ends of the floor that gave the Lakers a +3 game swing and the eighth spot in the west.
What does this all mean?
The Lakers have a chance at the Playoffs baby and they can potentially eye that 6th spot for a chance to face Memphis in the first round!!!!
As always let me know your thoughts people.
I’m one of those NBA fans that each and every year the All-Star break comes around, I get excited and wait eagerly with anticipation to catch a glimpse of the next up an coming Jordan or Carter dunk or to see the next up and coming Bird or Peja three point winner. Even though Irving and Ross did well, the rest of the events and participants have been in my opinion boring and if anything completely disappointing and it’s made me think about how they could improve this event to at least make it more exciting for the fans to watch.
(Oh yeah, the coach has thought it through – now picture this!)
(*) To avoid watching people miss-dunk for 10mins and create a boring atmosphere full of disappointment, each team should supply one person to participate in the Slam-Dunk Comp and that person participating should provide a video of that one completed team winning dunk.
Each team‘s contestants should be announced exactly one month prior to the All Star weekend via online or via NBA Action – also at this time a live vote-line should be established.
The top two vote getters are announced at the All-Star game (Day 1) and on (Day 2) all the videos of the dunks that were submitted and some that failed are shown so people see what went into it, the effort and commitment by the players.
The two winners are pulled aside on (Day 2) and asked to complete one more dunk each that will be shown at the half time intermission on (Day 3). Also on (Day2) an open court Jam session is setup for all 29 contestants to just dunk in a relaxed competition free environment where we get to see people dunk and attempt dunks etc.
(Day 3) at the half time intermission to the main All-Star game we play the two winning dunks by video and the players from the All-Star game vote on this by show of hands or by those point charts as to the winning dunk.
(How cool would that be?)
We all love the notion of the best three-point shooter but, I think we should change that title to encompass just, ‘the best shooter in the NBA’ and here is my re-vamp for the three point comp.
(*) Again all teams hold an in-house shooting competition, where each player from each NBA team is asked to shoot from eight spots marked out on the floor. Five of the spots are the regular three-point comp shooting positions and the remaining three are from the free throw line and elbow positions.
The contestants are asked to take ten shots from each spot on the floor and the best result by an individual from each team is put forth by video to the NBA.com website. On (Day 1) the best five contestants are shown at the intermission to the Rookie game and they will compete at a shootout on (Day 2).
(Day 2) has videos of some of the best and worst shooters displayed and funny moments prepared in a montage. The players from All-Star game have their videos shown and the best shooter from both East & West teams will get to donate money to their favourite charity.
A statistic breakdown of the team with the best shooting percentage will be announced and they too get to donate money to their favourite team’s charity.
The best two shooters from the five have a show down at the end of (Day 2) from the eight spots on the floor with the winner on the night crowned best shooter of the NBA. The two shooters will also have two magic spots on the court marked out – these could be at the halfway or it could be right under the ring (these positions could be voted on by the fans) the player that makes shots from this spot will receive additional bonus points.
I feel in having each player compete in this format will allow for the best shooter to reach the final and this will spark way more interest and allow for the public to get involved.
These are my suggestions for how the NBA could shake it up – What are your thoughts?
I’ve been emailed a lot about which NBA teams did I think are currently playing the best? and also, what are the positives and negatives of these leading teams? So, to be fair, I’ve tried to be as unbiased as possible… (Yes people, that means no Lakers talk for this post).
(Spurs) (38W-11L) (10-0)
(Plus): The Spurs when they move the ball quickly looking for that extra pass and play off Parker through Duncan they have shown that they are virtually unstoppable.
(Minus): Everyone from the Spurs management, Popvich and the players has commented that the health of the team is there only real concern. There biggest test will come having to play the next 9 games on a shortened timetable with little rest for the All-Star Weekend in between.
Nuggets (30W-18L) (8-2)
(Plus): The Nuggets speed and bench have been nothing short of awesome and at this moment in time, I feel they are the only team that could compete with the Spurs in a seven game series (I wouldn’t say they could win it, but they’d definitely compete). Andre Miller is the key to the bench being so productive and Gallinari has been making really tough shots scoring at 20+ppg.
(Minus): Commentators and opposing coaches have stated that the lack of a go-to superstar will prevent this team from succeeding in these playoffs. I feel it’s the fact that when they aren’t pushing the ball on offense they look a little lost. They are successful at home (in altitude) but how will they play on the road? The next 10 games will let us see.
Heat (30W-14L) (7-3)
(Plus): They have James, Wade & Bosh who generally seem to work so well together you forget other players are even on this team. The benches depth with Lewis, Allen & Miller (who are all proven scorers and playing up to expectations) have been critical for the Heat escaping some narrow losses. They have no fear in playing small against big line-ups and are a match up nightmare for most teams. They are the second best scoring unit in the NBA with an Offensive rating of 109.1.
(Minus): The Heat is now 0-5 vs the Knicks, Pacers & Bulls this season and these teams are scoring on them with ease (they are eleventh in the NBA in defence) and I don’t think Anderson is bringing the same passion he had in Denver to block-up the middle. I would like to see how they play the next ten of their away games, as they are 5-5 of the last ten on the road.
Knicks (30W-15L) (7-3)
(Plus): They have a very healthy Mello, Stoudamire and Chandler, the fact that Stoud is playing so well with glimpses of his athleticism and dominance in the paint is such a blessing for this unit. There second unit is efficient and play with enthusiasm this is especially the case when you watch Smith who should be a finalist for the sixth man of the year.
(Minus): This team has some woeful perimeter defence and at times you feel like they aren’t a good matchup for a younger more athletic team, the best examples of this were the two Houston beat downs they copped.
Thunder (35W-12L) (6-4)
(Plus): Durant is the most efficient he’s ever been and the team works so well offensively, you just can’t wait to see what they come up with next when they run the floor. The team’s interior defence has improved and they are getting more rebounds at a better rate.
(Minus): Westbrook is slumping offensively and has shown to be extremely inefficient, this was evident when he was cooked in that unbelievable game vs Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving. The Thunder showed what happens when you get tired on defence and fail to close down on your defensive assignments. It’s not often the Thunder don’t have the best PG on the floor and it was amazing to see Westbrook out paced.
Warrirors (30W-17L) (7-3)
(Plus): This team is invincible when they move the ball quickly to a set for shooting Thompson or Curry (They are both two of the most efficient scorers in the league). Their movement and passing to both wings on any given set gives them an advantage as they spread the court so well and have so many offensive options. Getting Bogut back from Injury and Lee being a double-double machine means this team is playing with some of the best confidence in the league. I am really curious to see how they’d go against a fully fit Spurs or Heat unit.
(Minus): When the key scorers aren’t producing at a high rate this team looks like they get overwhelmed and decision making becomes a problem, this then leads to the Warriors collapsing defensively (it’s odd but true have a look at there FG% when when it’s under .400 vs points allowed. I have seen several games where it was apparent that the Warrior’s just live too much behind jump shots and have no intent on attacking the basket. I really hope Bogut can help them change this as they are really exciting to watch when in full flight.
Bulls (29W-18L) (7-3)
(Plus): This team’s ability to win on the road (7-3) and it’s being done without Rose????
It’s just mind boggling to think how good they could be if Rose was back and healthy. It’s a testament to their defence, which is one of the best in the NBA. They should also thank Robinson who has been a leader from the PG/SG position and playing efficient basketball. He’s been doing so well, that the league recognised his efforts and granted him player of the week honours, for his output over the last three games.
(Minus): Rose still not being back and the Bulls next five games are against the Celtics, Jazz, Nuggets, Pacers and Spurs. Four of those games are on the road and not many teams have a good history playing .500+ teams on the road back to back.
Let me know your thoughts?
A short blog today, I just wanted to give a quick synopsis of what I’ve seen from the Lakers.
It’s a long way to go to the eighth spot in the Western Conference – but, did we all love watching the last two Laker games; #1 Vs. Utah and then #2 Vs. OKC???
(I don’t care if you’re not a Lakers fan those two games they played were awesome).
As a diehard Laker fan, I had tears swelling up in my eyes, I was so proud and so happy it’s like someone (coach, owner or fans) finally managed to get the message through to Kobe and the rest of the team. They realised that a change in team strategy needed to occur if the team was planning on being a winning unit and making any kind of run for the play-offs.
What’s changed in these last two games?
1) Kobe didn’t take a 3 in both games (his 3P% has slipped to 0.352).
2) Kobe had 14APG (his APG average is 5.1 for this season) – that’s the most he’s assisted since 2002 against Washington, where he got 15. So two games back to back with 14 each means he’s getting everyone involved and they are scoring when they move the ball.
3) Kobe was 7-10 & 8-12 from the field, meaning he was selective and extremely efficient when he decided to pull the trigger.
4) Kobe had 9RPG (his RPG average is 5.0) – that’s the best back to back night he’s had since very early this season.
There were also other factors like:-
5) Gasol playing off the bench with a +/- stat of +25. Before these games he was averaging -3. Starting off the bench gives Gasol a softer defence to play against it also allows him to be a little fresher even though he’s still getting the same minutes.
6) Nash, Metta and Clark contributing like starters should with increased scoring efficiency and rebounding, this turnaround in performance is fantastic.
7) The Lakers beat two teams who have above .500 in the win column and who are in the same conference. One of those teams is the number 1 team in the conference and in the NBA.
What I saw straight from the tip-off verse the Jazz was, “Kobe Bryant brought a different style of game strategy” (NBA.com) it’s the best and only way to describe what happened on the court. Kobe changed his launch from anywhere jump shot game, to a ‘pass to an open player’ distributor game. He was one short of a triple-double and killed the defense with unexpected movement off and on the ball. The Thunder and Jazz were frequently calling timeouts having to consider new rotations and assignments on the fly. This was to deal with the fact that leaving Kobe open might be the best option? Confusing I know!
Let me know your thoughts.