and then there was 5?

We are almost finished with the 2nd round with only a game 7 left to play between the Celtics and Sixers. Boston should have taken care of business early but couldn’t blowing a huge lead in game 4 and then not showing up for game 6. Going in I thought they would have a great shot at the Finals if they could finish off Philly quickly, now even if they win they will be old and banged up bad. Peirce knee, Allen ankle and Bradley is done for year. The Heat will have an advantage getting 4 days rest before game one of the East Finals. Garnett has been the C’s best shooter and that is saying something. I expect the Celtics to win game 7 and move on but the fact they let Philly hang around will have really cost them in the long run.

 

Miami finished off Indy last night moving on, Indy had a great chance to pull off the upset but they got away from their game plan. In the first 3 games they pounded the ball into the post slowed the game down and produced 2 wins. In the last 3 games they stayed out on the perimeter and it cost them. Miami had no answer for Hibbert and West even last night Indy raced out to a big lead and their front court was 12-14 from the field. Then all the sudden we are seeing 3’s with 15 seconds left on the shot clock. The Pacers needed Hibbert to have at least 17 attempts instead he had 8, really? If they tried to slow it down and play in the post we might be talking about game 7 instead.

 

Miami is so dangerous in transition and the long rebounds produced by all the jumpers allowed Miami to run in the last 3 games and that’s what the Heat do best. I think all the trash talking and physical play really fired up Lebron and Wade they were absolutely terrific in the last 3 games averaging 65 points per game between them but if Miami wants to win a title they can’t continue down this path. Bosh needs to get healthy and they need more production out of other players.

 

If Boston beats Philly they provide several matchup problems for Miami, Rondo is too quick for Chalmers and if they slide wade over to that matchup they could expose him to foul troubles. If Bosh doesn’t come back Garnett will eat up the trio of Anthony, Turiaf and Haslem. The problem Boston has is their health, with Pierces knee problems he will have a tough time staying with James. It’s up to James to come up big something he has consistently failed to do thru out his career.

 

It’s hard to place blame on James especially when you look at what he has done in his career. The 25 straight points to beat the Pistons, The 41 pt 22 RB game 7 in Boston, or the way he dominated the Bulls last year, but I can’t get his failure to get involved in the 4Q in the finals last year out of my head. Until he actually wins something he will always be this generations Wilt. A freak of nature with all the ability in the world but someone who has come up short in his quest of what he covets most.

 

I think the Heat will win no matter which team they play but it won’t be easy if it’s Boston.

 

Moving West we have a great matchup. The Thunder and Spurs are talented deep teams probably the two best teams in the league this year. You have Duncan looking for his 5th Ring, and Durant looking for his 1st. The Spurs have the best record and are the model of consistency they have only 1 loss in like last 30 games. Tim Duncan is a Legend. Let me throw something out there, did you know in the Tim Duncan era the Spurs have a winning % of .703 That is the best for any team in any of the 4 major sports leagues!! He has 4 titles with little to no fanfare, the man is a BEAST!!! The rest POP gave him in the regular season is really showing right now he has been fantastic this postseason.

 

I had a debate with a friend earlier this year about whether or not Parker and Manu deserve HOF credit I think they do, they have won 3 titles and when healthy two of the most efficient players in the NBA. With Duncan now 38 and playing reduced minutes the Spurs are now Tony Parkers team and he needs to really play well for them to beat OKC. The bench will be productive and they will play great team D but Parker is the key. He runs the offense and affects the game on so many levels. He will need help keeping Westbrook out of the lane but the way the Spurs help his Offense will be a bigger indicator of who moves on.

 

For OKC the youth movement is over, they have been together for 3 years and this is their 2nd straight conference finals appearance. Durant can score from anywhere, Westbrook is a blur and gets to the rim with ease and Hardin is special as well. They get good D from Ibaka, Perkins and Collison and Coach Scott Brooks has instilled the right attitude for this team. If they stay together there is a possibility for the next NBA Dynasty. They are all under 24 and will continue to get better that’s a scary thought for the rest of the NBA.

 

I love about every guy on both of these teams (except Perkins) and I can’t wait to see it my heart wants one more for Timmy but my head tells me the run the Spurs are on is coming to an end and for the Thunder the time is now.

And the 2nd round begins

Ok so we have concluded the 1st round of the NBA playoffs, no real surprises, Philly got by a banged up Bulls squad but with all the injuries, that was the most likely scenario.

The Lakers got pushed but that was more due to lack of effort from Bynum and Gasol, Kobe calling them out was absolutely the right thing to do. L.A gets OKC next and they will be an underdog and cant afford to give away games due to lack of effort. If they go down 0-2 on the road thing could get ugly real quick. Bynum just has surly demeanor at time and still doesn’t seem to get it, make no mistake the man can play but I just don’t see a consistent passion for the game and that bothers me. I think OKC should have no trouble advancing but I think Kobe and co can get at least 2 games. The Metta World Peace- James Hardin aspect of this series will be fun.

San Antonio gets the most rest and then a banged up Clippers team that was pushed to the brink by Memphis, I thought going in that Memphis had an advantage with their size but it was the Clippers quickness and Memphis lack of 3 point shooting that was the difference. Spurs are a different story, they are deep and rested and have 3 HOF’s along with a HOF coach all ready to go. It would shock me if this series goes deep, I think Chris Paul and Toney Parker is a great matchup but the Spurs are too good defensively and have too many options in the half court game for the Clippers to stop.

The Heat won the 1st game of their series with Indiana, but I think the Pacers showed why they are for real, not a lot of people are familiar with these Pacers, but I like them a lot. I said in previous post that they will be a tough out, they are long and athletic and get good production from the bench. Lebron won his 3rd MVP then dominated the 4th Q in game one, Bosh is out for now so the Heat will need James and Wade to play the way they can to control this series, the Pacers are not gona continue to get 1-11 from their stud Danny Granger so I can see them winning at least 2 games and possibly pushing the Heat to 7, The Heat are good but they will struggle to rebound in this series and will need more production from Miller, Battier, Haslem and Turiaf.

The Celtics get the good fortune of the D Rose injury and take on Philly and as game 1 showed this will probably be a real ugly series. Pierce has a bulky knee and Allen is still working into shape and while the C’s should handle Philly relatively easy they will need to find ways to keep KG off the floor. If Garnett continues to play 35+ minutes every game and this series has any length, he might be spent when it comes time to play the Heat. Then again the way the big men on the boston bench have played I don’t see how you could rest KG unless they build some big leads we will see.

where u cant smell the rose

So with just over a minute left in the 1st game of the Chicago-Philly 1st round series the NBA and all its fans were dealt a huge blow. Super-star and reigning NBA MVP derrick Rose blew out his ACL and will miss the rest of the playoffs. This is huge, Chicago is a really good team but when Rose is healthy they are a great team and could have won it all. As a fan we miss out on what could be a couple classic series with Chicago vs Boston and then Miami and then Possibly OKC/Spurs/Lakers, and that sucks plain and simple.

Losing rose hurts the NBA and the city of Chicago and i feel bad. what i dont want but will be discussed to no end is to hear about why he was in the game, its the playoffs and anything can happen, a 10 point lead while secure still could be blown. the other thing is people want to start blaming injuries on the condensed schedule, thats bullshit, Rose missed 27 games and has been nicked up all year it was a freak injury that happens all the time in the NBA, has nothing to do with the schedule.

The Bulls were 18-9 with out Rose, they are well coached and play great D so not all is lost they can still make a run but taking the crown is now highly unlikely. Deng Noah and boozer will need to step up, Lucas played really well in roses abscense so i can see them making it a series with the Celts if they get passed the Hawks.

The Rose injury is actually great for the celtics and bad for the Heat, The Celtics give the heat headaches with their play in the paint and they could actually beat the heat so the C’s have an opening to the eastern conference finals now can they beat the Heat 4x it will be hard but they can.

As for the Heat they stomped the Knicks, they forced a ton of turnovers and got to the line with ease, the game was over by the half with Lebron taking over in the last 5 minutes of the 1st half. The Knicks lost Iman Shumpert which is huge he is only a rookie but he is their best defender on the perimiter and in iso situations so that is going to hurt, i thought they could push the Heat to 6 but losing Shumpert will probably derail that thought as D-Wade now will have to work less to get his buckets. No way Melo shoots that poorly again but Lebron is on a mission, i cant see him choking in the 1st round.

The Thunder got pushed to the brink last night by the Champs but found a way to win, people tend to forget Durant is only 23 but he keeps getting better and this team is going to be good for a real long time. Its refreshing to see a superstar like him, he carries himself the right way and is a humble guy who is always giving credit for his team mates, Durant may have hit the game winner but the plays that stood out for me were a westbrook steal where he had a clear dunk but gave it up for Durant, who was struggling from the field, that got him going. the other was the 3 at half buzzer for Ibaka, with out that this was a different game. The Mavericks are a veteran team and will be  a tough out but the Thunder should handle them and winning a game when they didnt play their best is a good start.

I said in a previous post the Magic could still out of the 1st round with out dwight i dont think its likley but they showed us how it could happen with a gritty road win last night, J richardson hit a go ahead 3 late and the Pacers turned it over a couple times, this will be a long tight series.

Playoffs are here

 

So the Playoffs start on Saturday and it should be exciting, there are so many questions that need to be answered and a bevy of teams who could take home the crown. No one would be shocked to see any of the following teams win it all, Spurs, Heat, Thunder, Bulls, Celtics, Mavericks, and Lakers. Now that’s parity!!

 

Let’s start in the East.

 

Can Lebron make his MVP regular season translate to the Playoff’s? say what you want but he was absolutely brilliant against the Bulls last year even if he checked out in Dallas series, he will need to put it together for all 4 rounds if he wants the illusive ring. It will not be easy he will likely face a quality opponent in every round starting with the surprisingly defensive New York Knicks.

 

Speaking of the Knicks has any one player meant more to a team than Tyson Chandler, He has brought an intensity to the back end that has made the Knicks a top 5 defensive team, the Knicks have had a rollercoaster season, Linsanity, quitting on Dantoni, Amare’s personal/back issues and Melo finally becoming Melo again, They play D have knock down shooters and one of the Greatest offensive players in the league and remember last time there was a strike shorten season what happened they rode an 8 seed to the finals beating the Heat in the 1st round. Can history repeat itself?

 

The Celtics are playing well and Playoffs is their time to shine. Even thou they won their division the Hawks have a better record and will get home advantage and that could be huge Boston is great at home and soso on road. Doc has done a great job doling out the minutes and keeping Garnet Fresh, Rondo will be the key but the real question will be whether or not Ray Allen can play well and if he can get back into the starting lineup during crunch time after being supplanted by Avery Bradley. Ray is ultimate professional and has handled the demotion with grace but the C’s need him if they plan on making another run.

 

The Pacers enter the playoffs as a 3 seed and will take on a howardless Magic team, can Orlando pull it together for Van Gundy and show the NBA they really don’t need Dwight to be competitive, They have shooters and they may pull off the upset but I really dig Indy. They have length and grit play well on the back end and will be a tough out for Miami in the 2nd round provided they both get there. This might be the year Danny Granger becomes a household name.

 

The Bulls are in as the 1 seed and have been solid all season even with their superstar missing more than 35 games, I worry a little about their chemistry but as always Tom T has them playing great D and that always translates into success in the postseason when possession totals are lower and buckets are a premium. Rip was added to this team to give them a veteran presence but I have heard all his RA RA this is how it is done has not gone over well in the locker room but he will have to be a factor if they want to win a title…..oh ya D Rose has to stay healthy and that’s a big IF.

And now for the West

 

The Spurs faltered last year in the 1st round after having a great season, this year I think will be different. Pops has sat his guys a lot hell he benched Parker, Duncan and Manu when they were on an 11 game win streak early in the season. They are deep and well rested and they have that Championship Pedigree, The bench has been great and with the stars rested they could be real dangerous. They will get LA/Memphis winner in 2nd round and if Memphis they will be out for revenge.

 

Speaking of Memphis they are again that team no one wants to play, The difference this year is now they have a healthy Rudy Gay, I remember people saying last year that they were better without him and that’s just crazy, he is extremely efficient and helps this team immensely, they should be favored over the clips based on front court alone, Griffin is a terrific scorer but he is a horrible post defender and ZEBO/Gasol will eat him alive for buckets whenever needed. Chris Paul deserves some MVP votes and has been a terrific playoff performer but Memphis decided advantage in experience and depth and that will be the difference, sorry for every one hoping for an LA/LA matchup that could only happen if both teams make it to the conference finals.

 

It looks like the Defending champs will get the Thunder in the 1st round, Ha! Who says the regular season doesn’t mean that much, Denver still has 2 games to play but they play the Thunder without Hardin and probably resting guys because they are locked into the 2 while Dallas has ATL who is still fighting to lock up home court in 1st round. Dallas really misses Chandler and while I won’t count them out for a run it’s not likely they will get past the Thunder. James Hardin concussion will be a big deal he has till Saturday to get ready but if he can’t go it will be a giant concern for Scotty Brooks. I really like the Thunder to move on no matter what too much Durant/Westbrook.

 

The Lakers will be without the player formerly known as Artest for the 1st 6 games of their series with Denver but the real question is how they will defend the high paced offense of the nuggets, LA will have a front court advantage and they have Kob so they can slow it down but Denver will try and run and if they create turnovers it could be a long series for the Lakers. Ramon Sessions will have to play great and be efficient, you know what your gona get from Kobe, Pau and Bynum but who else will show up, Can Matt Barnes be an effective perimeter defender? I just don’t know this could be your upset special of the 1st round.

 

Every series should be competitive and anything can happen it’s gona be a fantastic and intriguing 10 weeks!!!

 

Ill try and repost after every round or sooner!!!!

Peyton

So Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning divorce is finally official, the press conference was emotional but understandable. Peyton is a champion and a competitor and wants to WIN. The Colts can no longer offer him that opportunity, all the big contracts have limited the team in other areas and they need to start over. Between Manning, Clark,Wayne,Mathis and Freeney the colts would have been paying over 70 million combined he needs to start somewhere new.

I love great QB play and Manning has been terrific throughout his career. I always hope guys can finish their career where they started like Marino or Elway but that’s not the nature of the game any longer. Guys always end up going somewhere else, it happened to Montana it happened to Favre and its happening now to Manning. Now we just need to see if Manning can be the guy he was. If he can some franchise is going to go from the dog house to the pent house, now don’t get me wrong I’m not putting that team in the super bowl that would be dumb but they will definitely be good.

All the talk is that Manning wants to stay in the AFC so he doesn’t have to compete with Eli which is strange, I have to question that because I would think he would want to prove himself even more now. Eli went to Old Miss because his dad went there. Peyton went to Tennessee because he was worried about being in the shadow of his legendary father. Maybe because Peyton was so good Eli knew he would always be in his brother’s shadow not his fathers. But what about now, Eli has 2 rings and 2 SB MVP’s Peyton has 1 ring and a lot of postseason let down. Eli has been Clutch Peyton has not. Even the Super bowl Peyton won he didn’t play that great then again the bears D were pretty stout at that point. But Eli has gotten the best of Brady something Peyton has struggled with for his whole career.

If I was Peyton I would want to be in the best situation possible, to me that would be Houston, Its in his old division, they have a great back and a great WR along with a very strong defense. Denver is in and they may be a good fit they have a ton of cap space and a strong young defense. I see no way he goes to Washington but Arizona is interesting. They also have good young nucleolus and good coaching. Then there is Miami, they have a ton of space and an absolute need for Peyton but their front office is so unstable I can’t really see Peyton wanting to be there. This process will move quickly and should be completed in the next couple weeks and where ever he lands it will change the landscape of the NFL.

bounty gate

The whole bounty scandal thing is not shocking, bounty’s and players paying each other has been happening for ages. Greg Williams and the Saints are going to be punished because Roger want to protect the sanctity of the shield. It sucks for them because they got caught, some one snitched them out. There are unwritten laws for the locker room and by divulging this information to the league those laws were violated.

I don’t want to here about the beating Brett Favre took in the 2009 NFC championship game. Every time any qb in the NFL drops back to throw a pass he has eleven guys ready to rip his head off. To say oh I can see a point where the saints or Redskins or any other team Williams has coached were trying to hurt someone is ridiculous. Football is a violent game and hitting people hard is what causes fumbles and turnovers so it’s the defenders job to play like that.

In Goodell’s new NFL he is trying to limit the violence and that should be applauded its always sad when you here about some old timer (50’s for NFL PLAYERS) that cant move around because of all the trama his body took when he was playing. Look Football players know what they sign up for its part of their life and it’s the price they pay for the chance to live like kings and support their families. Goodell has instituted policies that limit hits to the head and harming players in defensless positions and it will help going forward.

What player safety is really about is greed, by moving the kick off up and instituting all the penalties and fines that come with big hits the NFL is making the games safer to the players so they can extend the league to an 18 game season which equals more money for the owners. The NFL is already the most lucrative sport in the US maybe the world and the TV deals coming up will just make it richer. We are moving towards having games 4 days per week and every team will be in a primetime game.

So the Saints got caught up in bounty gate when it really shouldn’t matter. The punishment will be harsh but it wont stop this from continuing to happen. Sean Peyton was aware of it but didn’t do anything why should he? Its probably been around in every locker room he has ever been in. the cart off part is definitely harsh but guys get paid to make plays and them betting each other on who will make the most or the biggest will always be part of the game.

THE PLAYOFF’S ARE HERE!!!! kinda

 

The BCS is dead well kind of, after the completion of the 2014 college football season the current BCS contract will have run its course and a new playoff model will be put in place. This is what the college football world needs. For too long we have been waiting on computers and college coaches with agendas to determine who gets a chance to play for the title. A playoff system is only fair.

As constituted right now, the 4 conference champs rated highest in the polls will play head to head with the two highest ranking teams playing home games and the a neutral site NC game to be played somewhere around New Years day. What isn’t determined is if its all conferences or just BCS conferences, I don’t really know if that matters because all the small programs that have been top 5 teams in the last 10 years have basically moved to BCS conferences or will have by the end of the current BCS contract.

This will make for fantastic football mid December in stead of meaningless bowl games. Yes there will still be like 100 bowl games but there are only 3 games that really matter. This year would have pitted Wisconsin @ LSU and Oregon at Oklahoma State, could you imagine? But what does this scenario leave out? Oh yea are eventual national champion Alabama. Whatever I don’t care two teams that play in the same conference should not play for the title, Bama had a chance to win its conference and blew it by missing field goals.

The onus should be put on winning a conference championship to get to a playoff if you don’t win you go to a minor bowl game plain and simple. Conferences continue to get deeper and tougher to win, and I can envision teams winning conferences with 2 losses and still making the playoffs. That’s where the rankings still come into play. If Uconn wins the big east at 8-4 and Nebraska wins the Big 10 at 8-4 but the big ten is a tougher conference they will be higher in the polls and go in over Uconn. That makes sense. It will definitely be tough for a Big East team to make it to the playoffs unless they go undefeated. The conference is that weak.

All this being said one change you may see is more teams lowering their strength of schedule, why play more tough games if all you need to do is win your conference, why would LSU schedule Oregon when they already play a tough SEC schedule and no matter what if they win SEC title game they will be in the playoffs.

This also lets us knock off pretenders as well we have seen every year that teams from outside the SEC usually are over matched when they play in the NC game now those teams will have to play a really tough opponent to even get in the game and with the conference championship games in the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 16, SEC and ACC you will now have to play 2 tough games to get to that point so for all intensive purposes its really a ten team playoff. Unless of course there is an upset, like say this year because of USC’s probation a 6-6 UCLA team got to play Oregon for the pac 16 title and if they had won some how they would have been left out of the playoffs, hell if UCLA beat Oregon the Ducks couldn’t even argue that they deserved to be in the playoffs anyways.

I really love it, conference championship games carry so much more meaning now and that 4 team playoff that follows will for sure be some excellent football. I mean could you imagine the game between the Cowboys and Ducks this year it would have been like 92-87 lol, but OSU would have gotten an opportunity to try that offense out against a stout SEC defense. Coaches are probably going to hate this because now you have to win 3 more games to win the NC but no one will be able to say it wasn’t earned or someone shouldn’t have been there and that’s what we want that’s what we need.

 

2015 cant come soon enough.