Month: April 2013
So, I think it’s pretty well known around the United States and the world the Bobcats are the favorites to come out of the East…..uhhhhh anyways, here goes my predictions!
In the 1 vs. 8 match-up we feature the defending champs taking on a Milwaukee Bucks team lead by Brandon Jennings who said Milwaukee will win in SIX. Brandon, I’m sorry, but you just signed your death wish. As if Miami needed any more fuel headed into the playoffs other than losing the what could have been the longest win streak ever recorded, or defending the title. Milwaukee has some talent in Monta, Jennings & Ersan but simply put they have no chance to win the series and I’m not even giving them a game.
Series Prediction: Break out the broom, Miami 4-0 Sweep.
In the 2 vs. 7 match-up, New York vs. Boston, KG vs. Melo, LaLa tasting like honey-nut cheerios, this series has some bad blood between the two teams. The Knickerbockers, coming off a 54 win season and winning 16 of there last 18 games, are finally looking like they’re going to be full strength headed to the playoffs. Both Kenyon Martin and Tyson Chandler are both expected to be back for game one and that is great news for the Knicks seeing how they’ll both be checking KG at different points of the game and they can keep KG in check big-time. The Knicks shot and made the most three pointers in the entire NBA, so they’re going to need to continue to drain the three ball if they’re looking to make a deep run in the playoffs. For Boston, this could end quickly. The only advantage they have is there head coach in Doc Rivers and out of respect for Doc, I believe Boston may win a game or 2. No Rondo, KG struggling and outside of Pierce and Jeff Green, there isn’t much offense for the Celtics. If KG continues to struggle this series may be a real quick one; his struggles may lead to Jeff Green seeing more doubles and not letting him get anything going either.
Series Prediction: Knicks close it out in 5 at MSG 4-1.
In an intriguing match-up the Indiana Pacers(3) take on the Atlanta Hawks(6) who gave away the 5 seed on the last 2 days too the Bulls. Atlanta had actually taken the series in the regular season 2-1 but both wins for Atlanta had a healthy Lou Williams, who is now out for the season. Each team has 2 big guns; Indiana has David West and Paul George, potential most improved player in the NBA and Hot-Lanta has Josh Smith and Al Horford, who’s arguably been the best all around Center in the East this season. West has shown he can dominate Atlanta this season scoring 21+ and shooting 53 percent in the three games they’ve played head to head. Besides the big guns the Pacers have, I believe the 2nd ranked defense in the NBA they put forth will be too strong for a Hawks team that can go stagnant offensively often, especially if Smoove is trying to do it all himself in 1 on 1 sets. Jeff Teague has to make sure he keeps everything smooth, including Smoove, if Atlanta is going to win this series.
Series Prediction: Hawks will fight, but ultimately, Pacers in 6 POSSIBLY 7.
This last series, could potentially be a great 1st round series…that is if Joakim Noah can play. The Chicago Bulls, who stole the 5 seed the last day of the season are facing the 4 seeded Brooklyn Nets who are in there 1st playoff appearance ever as a team. The Bulls actually won the season series 2-1, winning in Brooklyn, but the Bulls learned they may be without there All-Star Joakim Noah. With Noah in the lineup, the Bulls are simply more physical than Brooklyn and between Noah, Boozer and Taj Gibson Brooklyn may not be able to handle all that physical play in a 7 game series. The Nets X-Factor has to be Joe Johnson, though. Joe, who made $19 Million this season has to perform like an all-star that he has been and claims to still be. Joe shot only 42 percent from the field and averaged below his career mark with only 16 points per game. With D-Will and Brook Lopez playing at extremely high levels on the offensive end, it’s important to shut down Johnson if you’re the Bulls so you don’t have 3 of Brooklyn’s players all dominating at once. On the flip side, Nate Rob, we’re going to need you little big fella. I can’t imagine this Bulls team being a playoff team without Nate Rob this year or any higher than the 8 seed. The Bulls have possessions on offense where they simply break down completely and Nate is the type of player that when things break down, he’ll make something happen. Especially if Jo isn’t in the lineup Nate will need to come up HUGE. But the Bulls have an X-Factor themselves and it’s second year player Jimmy Butler. in 20 starts this season, Butler has averaged 14 Points and 7 Rebounds while his shooting splits were 45 percent FG’s, 45 percent 3PT’s and 78 percent from the FT Line all while playing PLUS defense. Jimmy has been an excellent surprise for the Bulls and he most likely will draw the Joe Johnson and Deron Williams defensive assignments all through out the series and I expect him to perform excellently. With that being said, the series in my opinions lies on the tear in Joakim Noah’s foot.
Series Prediction: IF Joakim can play 30+ minutes a game – Chicago Bulls in 7.
If he cannot or if he doesn’t play, Brooklyn Nets in 5, possibly 6.
The NBA playoffs have finally arrived. The drama, the legacies, the stars are made here in the playoffs. The first round match-ups in the Western Conference are very intriguing. All match-ups have interesting story lines and even some connections and some good history between the teams.
The Oklahoma City Thunder (1) takes on the Houston Rockets (8) and right then and there the 1st thing you think is, James Harden, well at least I do. Now this series may end relatively fast but this is James Harden’s chance to maybe steal a game or two and show OKC’s management what they’re missing. OKC won the season series 2-1, with two 20+ point wins and one 3 point win for Houston at home. As I spoke about James Harden maybe putting the Rockets on his shoulders for a game or two, nobody on Houston can stop Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant. Jeremy Lin, a solid player, but he has no chance at staying in front of arguably the best Point Guard in the league right now. In 3 games vs. Houston, the Thunder have FIVE players averaging at least 16 points a game; Durant, Westbrook, Martin, Ibaka & Thabo Sefalosha. This Thunder team matches up well in every aspect against Houston, even with Thabo on Houston’s best player who can give Harden a headache with the type of defense he can play. There’s not much left to say other than the Rockets are going to regret not holding onto the seventh seed.
Series Prediction: 4-1 Oklahoma City Thunder.
An old rivalry comes back in the 2 vs. 7 match-up as the San Antonio Spurs (2) take on the Los Angeles Lakers (7). Both teams are a little banged up right now headed into the playoffs. The Lakers, as everyone and there mothers know, will be without the man they call Vino with a torn Achilles. Since Vino has gone down, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol & Steve Blake have stepped up very nicely. The Spurs on the other hand have been struggling ending the season going 3-7 down the stretch. But let’s not forget, that’s without Manu Ginobli those 10 games and also Parker and Duncan resting entire games down that stretch. What puts San Antonio over the edge in my eyes is having Manu Ginobli back. San Antonio was 45-15 with Manu in the rotation and in wins he shot 46% from the field as opposed to in losses, 36%. He’s also shot only 31% vs. the Lakers during the regular season so he’s going to need to step up for the Spurs to advance. The addition of T-Mac also helps give them a little depth in the back court; another veteran leader who will still be able to score the rock if given the chance. Dwight and Pau inside are the Lakers only hope. They have been playing well enough down the stretch of the regular season to make it work, but can they carry the load in a 7 game series? I don’t see it happening. Pop will make the correct moves late in games and Mike D will not and that could very well be the difference in the series.
Series Prediction: 4-2 San Antonio Spurs.
The 3 vs. 6 match-up is going to be very, very fun and I don’t see anyway around it. The Denver Nuggets, the 3 seed are matched up against the Golden State Warriors. This series will feature barely any offense and total lock down defense….said no one ever. The story lines in this series are excellent; how many points is each team going to score, how many 3’s per game are Curry and Thompson going to make, who’s going to be Denver’s go to guy at the end of games and shot clock situations, no way Denver loses at home..right? Outside of that, Denver is much better overall team 1-12. Denver has about a 9 guy lineup, even without Gallo, that can get 20+ minutes of burn a night and contribute at a very high level. It’s time for Andre Iguodala to rise to the occasion as being ‘the man’ in Denver. I understand there really isn’t a single star in Denver and they like it that way but come playoff time, you need that one player that shines above the rest to succeed and Iggy is there guy. He averaged 13/5/5 during the season and he needs to take his game to another level, not just scoring the ball, but in all fascists of the game. Now to the Warriors; who can win a game or two because of Steph and Klay single handily taking over games with there shooting but with Bogut not being healthy, I don’t think the Young Warriors stand much of a chance. Bogut’s only averaged 20 minutes per game this month and is shooting less than 30% from the field. With no inside presence next to David Lee, Denver might draw up a game plan to completely take Lee out of the game forcing Ezeli and Landry to really step up and score and I don’t think they have the offensive game to do so.
Series Prediction: 4-2 Denver Nuggets.
Finally, the last first round match-up of the Western Conference is between the 4 seeded Los Angeles Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies, the 5. The offensive and defensive match-ups are very intriguing in this series. LAC scores 101 points per game, 8th in the entire NBA and Memphis allowed the least amount of points per game in the entire NBA, the only team that allowed less than 90 (89.3). Memphis big key is there front court, arguably the best in the game right now with Z-Bo and Marc Gasol who averages about 30/20/5 per game. Offensively and defensively Gasol and Z-Bo can change games but the biggest key for a Grizzlies series win is Jerryd Bayless. In March he averaged almost 14 points per game and now that Rudy Gay is gone, that’s what they’re going to need from him this postseason coming off the bench as the 6th man. As for the Clippers, yeah they score a lot, yeah lob city is really fun to watch, but man do they struggle in the half court offense. It’s weird, they have the best floor general in the NBA at the helm in Chris Paul and a lot of the time they look lost on offense if they’re not on the fast break. I really like the Clippers depth and I like how they’ve already beaten Memphis in last years four versus five match-up, but Memphis defense may just be too strong if they slow the game down and keep it in the half court.
Series Prediction: 4-3 Memphis Grizzlies
It’s been 2 weeks and the New York Yankees are sitting 6-5 and it seems like all 5 members of the division will be a toss up all season. But like I expected, the pitching is the key to the 2013 Yankees season.
Yankees Starting Rotation
The top of the rotation; CC, Hiroki & Andy are flat out putting the league on notice that our 1-3 is one of the best in baseball. So far CC is 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA, 2 consecutive very nice outings after people saw him pitch 1 game and doubted him when they saw his velocity was down. CC is far from a his days in Cleveland as a power pitcher, I get it, but he’s got 2 great offspeed pitches and when he’s locating his FB’s it’s going to be a long day for opposing lineups. HIROK! Fresh off a 5 hit complete game shut out improving to 2-1 and a 2.87 ERA. Hiroki’s 38 and has been the Yanks most consistent pitcher the past season and change. With the combination of that 2 seem, Greg Maddux’esque and the amount of ground balls he gets he’s an incredibly tough pitcher to score runs against. The ageless wonder himself, has started masterfully. Who is that you may ask? Andrew Eugene Pettitte. In 2 starts he has himself a 2-0 record, 15 innings pitched and has given up a whopping 2 runs. But, the question of the Yankees staff lies in the back 2 rotation spots, Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes. Both guys haven’t performed well, Nova thinking he’s pitched well when he hasn’t and Phil is having a problem seemingly getting anyone out, giving up 17 hits in 7 innings pitched, noooooo bueno. But, if one of them continue pitching like that, the Yankees have a solution and that solution lies in the hands of David Phelps who pitched very nicely for the Yanks last year due to injury’s. He just posted a 4 inning 1 hit 6 strikeout outing in relief of Hughes. I can only imagine by Mid-May, David will be in the rotation if Hughes or Mr. Nova aren’t pitching well and I would be all in with that decision
Onto the Bullpen!
What do ya know, Moe has been Moe early on in the save chances he’s gotten and D-Rob has been back to his typical K per 9 numbers, 9 per 9. As of now, Boone is our lone Lefty but maybe we the re-signing or Rapada we may get back to the 2 lefty pen the Yankees need to have, especially with the way Joe has been using Boone early in games so far this season. I’ve actually been pretty impressed with our new acquisition, Shawn Kelley, he has a decent FB and his slider is devastating when it’s on. He may be our 7th inning guy this year, as opposed to Joba who has been, way below expectations early on this season.
The hitting that was expected to ‘Struggle’
No Granderson, Teixeria, Jeter, Russell Martin or A-Rod? No problem. The likes of Cervelli, Wells, Youkilis & Hafner will pick up the slack, duhhhhh. Yanks are 8th in Runs, 4th in Home-Runs & 3rd in total team Batting Average. Lead by the one we’d all thought would be leading in batting average after 11 games, Francisco Cervelli at .360 and has only struck out ONCE in 25 At-Bats. 2 Newbies in Hafner and Vernon Wells lead the team with 3 Home-runs along with 1 face everybody knows, Robinson Cano also with 3. Hafner, Youk, Wells, Boesch all hitting over .300 and Ovarbay right behind them at .280. The Yankees have been hitting well and I’m happy about it. I wasn’t sure about what guys like Wells and Pronk had left and so far through 11 games they’ve been excellent. The thought of the return of Jeter, Curtis & Teix makes me feel so optimistic about the success of the team, winning a pennant and going out with a bang in Moe’s final season.
Late Night Sports opinions back tonight for another blog. Tonight, I’m feelin, it’s time to finally revile some opinions for the best sport in the world, Baseball.
- In my honest, non bias opinion, I truly believe the Yankees will win 88+ games this season; they have GREAT pitching.
- I think the Nationals have the best team in baseball; ridiculous balance between how good both there pitching and lineup is.
- I think the Rangers & Angels are overrated and the Oakland A’s win the AL West in 2013.
- Troy Tulowitzki is the best SS in the game of baseball when healthy.
- Yoenis Cespedes will one day win an MVP award.
- Like Yoenis, so will Justin Upton, who might not be waiting long to win his as he’s tied for the Major League lead in Homer’s already this season with Michael Morse.
- Matt Harvey will be a 20 game winner in multiple seasons, might begin the trend this season.
- Craig Kimbrel is the best 9th inning guy we’ve seen in a while. Seeing how young he is and the rate he converts his saves, talk to me in 10 years when he’s in the top 5 of all time in saves.
- Roy Halladay is finished. I don’t see much quality pitching left in that arm of Doc’s.
- Carl Crawford is the real deal when he’s healthy, one of the top 2 or 3 best lead-off hitters the game offers.
- Jurickson Profar is a shortstop and that’s where I’d like to see him play in the future, he’s a stud.
- Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball with another campaign like the last 2 seasons he’s had.
- AL Surprise ( So Far ) – Chris Davis; .393 – 5 HR’s – 18 RBI’s
- NL Surprise ( So Far ) – John Buck; .375 – 5 HR’s – 15 RBI’s
- I really do think the Marlins have the chance at being the worst team in baseball history; Giancarlo is NEVER going to be pitched to – actually think a deal like Stanton for Profar could work out well for both sides.
- The Kansas City Royals are a playoff team is Eric Hosmer & Mike Moustakas perform well.
- David Price is pitching his final year in Tampa Bay.
- Jackie Bradley Jr. will be a future all-star CF.
- Jeff Samardzija can really pitch and in fact, help the Cubbies surprise some people this season – Cubs to win 77 games.
The Western conference has been very, very interesting all season to say the least. Here are some of my thoughts and opinions.
- My favorite to win the west has been the Denver Nuggets and they were the best team in the West until Gallo went down; I think they’re the 4th best in the West with no Gallo.
- The Warriors have the 2 best shooters in the league; Steph Curry & Klay Thompson – probably the smoothest shots along with lightning quick releases.
- O.J. Mayo over the past month has played himself out of an Eric Gordon type deal for 2014 with his poor play the past month & a half.
- LaMarcus Aldridge is the most underrated star not just in the West, but in the entire NBA.
- DeMarcus Cousins has top 10 talent in the entire NBA if he can mature and grow up.
- Russell Westbrook, in 2012-2013, is a top 5 player in the NBA.
- LA Lakers are the most overrated tea, ever. At the same token, if they get into the playoffs, they could easily make a playoff run..
- Omer Asik was the most underrated pickup for a West coast team this past off-season.
- Ricky Rubio is the funnest player to watch, IMO. May be the best passer in the NBA already just 2 years into his career.
- Now that Denver is no longer my favorite out of the West, I’m picking OKC to the finals.
- Grizzlies are a better overall team without Rudy Gay, but they lost the guy they can go to late in game’s for the last possession; something Rudy has been very good at with Memphis.
- I think Portland’s young core 3 of Aldridge, Lillard & Batum is as good as anyone’s in the entire Western Conference.
- Anthony Davis will be the best rebounder in the league 4-5 years down the line.
- If the Clippers knew how to run a half court offense, they’d be the best team in the entire NBA.
- Utah needs to keep Millsap & Kanter, get rid of Big Al Jeff and Derrick Favors.
- Tim Duncan is a top 5 MVP candidate; the ageless wonder has been marvelous this season.
- Against popular belief, especially this season, Dwight Howard is still the best center in the league; dude avgs. 17 & 12 find another center averaging that.
- I thought Michael Beasley going to Phoenix was the perfect fit and I thought he was going to have a break out season.
- I consider Andre Miller a Hall of Fame candidate.
- My 2012-2013 NBA Champion does not reside in the Western Conference.
On the night the National Championship was played, Congrats too Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinal, it seems fair I put in some input on the past season and the future..
- Just to make sure everyone is aware; Coach K is the BEST coach in college basketball, period.
- Peyton Siva is entirely overrated as a college Point Guard, he had some heart yes, but as a Point Guard; in his Sophomore – Senior years he avg. 5.5 assists per game and 3 turnovers per game. Doesn’t even make it up with his scoring, less than 10 a game.
- Trey Burke reminds me of Allen Iverson; not as good of a scorer as AI was but a better passer than AI.
- Erick Green of Virgina Tech was the best scorer in the NCAA in ’12-’13
- Kelly Olynyk is the most NBA ready big man in the NCAA’s, his post game is serious.
- I think Shane Larkin is strictly a college star and it won’t translate to the pros.
- Out of all the freshman in the country this season, I think UNLV’s Anthony Bennett has the potential to be a star at the next level. One issue he has is he becomes a ghost in games every so often.
- Most overrated player in ’12-’13 – I think it was a tie between UNC’s James Michael McAdoo & Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams
- Most Underrated player in ’12-’13 – I think it was a tie between Temple’s Khalif Wyatt & Notre Dame’s Jack Cooley
- I think USC’s hire of Andy Enfield is way to premature, yeah he did a nice job and his FGCU won 2 tourney games but that’s the only thing he’s been a part of.
- DJ Stephens, the 6’5 forward out of Memphis is the most athletic college basketball player I’ve ever seen play.
- In my opinion I think Mitch McGeary could turn out to be the best NBA player our of the players we saw during the National Championship tonight; could turn out and have a very similar career to Golden State’s David Lee.
- Nerlens Noel, who will more than likely be pick number 1, has a horrible offensive game.
- NC State was most underachieving team during the regular season; New Mexico was the most underachieving during the NCAA Tourney.
- Georgetown & Gonzaga were tied for the most overachieving teams in the Nation; Marquette was the most overachieving in the Tourney.
- Grambling State was the worst team in NCAA history; 0-28.
- Scott Wood, Seth Curry & Nik Stauskas are the 3 best shooters in college basketball.
- Roy Williams is a much better recruiter than he is a coach as is John Calipari.
- Brad Stevens is the future face of college basketball head coaching.
- Matthew Dellavedova will succeed in the NBA, even if he’s not drafted he will make his way onto a team because of his great work ethic.
That’s it for the College basketball opinions for this evening. Leave comments and let me know what you think!