Friday, January 18, 2008


I won't be at home until Sunday night, so no new blog posts until Monday, or Sunday night at earliest. Sorry, but it's not too convenient for me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Kenyon Martin

I apologize that I missed this injury report, but I believe this uncommon injury is worthy of a post by itself. Kenyon Martin missed the loss in Atlanta yesterday due to a staph infection. The severity of the injury does not sound too serious since he may return as soon as tomorrow for the Nuggets' home game hosting Utah, but the body placement of the injury on the "buttock" was too much. This guy is another power forward from Denver with bad luck injuries, but this one is a little ridiculous. Denver must be the source of bad luck for big men. What goes around, comes around though as Marcus Camby has enjoyed some great injury-free seasons for the Nuggets, playing 70 games last season and having only missed one game in thirty-seven games this season. Kenyon Martin, you're the first player to get his own segment on my blog in its young history, Congrats!

HUGE Wednesday Night

Wednesday was a huge night for basketball in an early ending night. The last game that finished was in Milwaukee at 7:30 pm pacific time. A lot of blowouts tonight and not too much drama, but TONS of fantasy implications.

- The night started in Miami, where the Bulls were the visitors. Kirk Hinrich was out again (day-to-day) with back spasms, but the Bulls still spanked the Heat (126-96), who got a boost with the return of Shaq. He played fairly well too with 24 pts, 10 rebs, maybe his best performance of the young season actually. Thabo Sefolosha had a second straight start at SG, with Duhon at PG, and was more than solid in this one (17 pts, 6 rebs, 2 stls). The Heat looked like the team Pat Riley wanted on the court at the beginning of the season in terms of personnel, but were far from good. I think this team is honestly done. They're the worst team in the league. I don't hesitate to say that either for a team that's lost 11 straight. Being blown out at home by a team that's struggling itself is not the sign of a team that is ready to make a push. They're worse than the Knicks and the T-Wolves. At least the Knicks aren't afraid of making moves and losing money (because their pockets have no end, just terrible front office decisions) and the Wolves look like they have a future with their young talent. Miami has a 26 year old superstar, who might already be past his prime, although I don't believe so he has, but he will consider leaving Miami in two years. Miami has to look at its future and they need another big-time player alongside D-Wade. A lottery pick in this year's deeeep draft is the answer.

- Another blowout in the next one, this time in Toronto. This game was the biggest of the night though as far as I'm concerned. Sacramento got completely healthy. They lost by 25 (116-91), but Kevin Martin, Mike Bibby and Ron Artest were all in this game. All also came off the bench, in favor of John Salmons, Beno Udrih and Francisco Garcia. After a 25 point loss, I wouldn't be surprised if Reggie Theus inserted all three of his fragile stars in the next contest. My Bargnani watch has him with another terrible night - 7 pts, 6 rebs on 3-13 shooting in 26 imnutes. The Raps won again behind Chris Bosh again. Maybe he should make a video every couple of weeks promoting himself because it's working. He had 31 pts, 9 rebs on 11-12 FG shooting in this one. Oh yea, only Garcia scored double digits out of him, Beno and Salmons and he had only 10 pts. I think the early waiver wire pickups of Kings players is just about done. I will say that I believe Udrih has the most value of the three due to the many trade rumors surrounding him. Udrih has proven a more than capable starting PG this season.

- Even though I've been trying to give Charlotte their dap for being competitive, I forgot to mention that after their freak losses at PG, both have been re-inserted to the starting lineup. Charlotte is a good team though. They beat Orlando at home tonight, overcoming Dwight Howard's monstrous 20-20 game (24 pts, 21 boards). Gerald Wallace was huge again for the Cats with 36 pts, 14 rebs and 3 stls. He and J-Rich, 26 pts in this one, have been carrying the Cats along with Nazr Mohammed off the bench.

- Golden State in Indiana had to be the depressing game of the night. It was an exciting one as the Warriors usually make them, but they forced 24 TOs to lose in a huge lead in the 4th quarter. They were outscored 46-24 in the final frame and lost 125-117 overall. Fantasy implications aside, this game disgusted me to see a team with so much explosion and talent to have such polarizing qualities. The highs in their wins so so great, yet the losses seem so painful. With that said, the Pacers were missing Jamaal Tinsley in this one with Andre Owens starting again in his spot. Troy Murphy continues to come off the bench, while Jermaine O'Neal has been starting at the center spot.

- The battle of the two New York teams - well, the Nets will be in New York shortly enough - swung in favor of the Knicks, who are playing surprisingly well lately. This time, even on the road as they went in and took the game in the Meadowlands. Jason Kidd had 10 assts in the 1st quarter, but finished with only 17 (only 17 assists... only Jason Kidd can put the word "only" in front of 17 assists). The Nets played well, but couldn't keep the score going with the Knicks because of their unproductive bench (13 pts total, 9 from Bostjian Nachbar). Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph led the way for New York, 35 pts, 8 assts and 24 pts, 11 rebs respectively.

- Portland visited the C's in a matchup of the hottest young team in the league and a team who might be reeling... at a record of 30-6. The Celtics did win this one behind Ray Allen's 35 pts, but missed Rajon Rondo, who missed another game. Portland and Boston both played like a couple of really good teams in this league, but Boston pulled it out at home in the end.

- Another blowout occurred in New Orleans. This one wasn't surprising though as the Hornets took advantage of having a young, unexperienced Sonics team at home. Earl Watson started at PG and played like a starter in this one with 17 pts, 11 assts in the 31 point loss. The Hornets got a big boost off the bench in this one as no starter played over 30 minutes with the exception of Tyson Chandler (36 minutes - 14 pts, 21 rebs). They got 52 of their 123 pts off the bench. I always thought they had talent off the bench, the starters were just playing at such a high level that Byron Scott wasn't letting him reserves get a rhythm in games. This is gonna be a huge boost in the long run for the talented and young Hornets team.

- The last game of the night was in Milwaukee, where the Bucks beat the Hawks. Mo Williams was replaced in the starting lineup by Royal Ivey. I don't think Mo's issues to be a big one and would expect him to return their next contest. The final score in this one was 87-80. I wasn't real excited that this was how the NBA night ended, but Andrew Bogut did have 21 pts, 10 rebs to lead the Bucks to a win.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


There were eight games tonight, but I'm going to start with something I missed last night during the Laker/Sonic game. Chris Wilcox returned to the Sonics' lineup after a a brief absence of games. He came off the bench to score 12 pts and grab 9 boards, which is pretty much along his averages of 13 and 8, but he did it in only 16 minutes. It's probably safe to say that he'll be back in the starting lineup in their next game on Wednesday in New Orleans so play him like you normally would and expect for him to get his minutes. There was also news about Nene's absence from the Nuggets, which was not immediately released. Apparently, he had to get a testicular tumor removed. At this point it's unclear whether or not the tumor was cancerous, but it's understood that the tumor was found early so everything sounds good for Nene right now, as good as a tumor could sound anyways. Hopefully he's doing fine though and his luck changes. At this point in the his career, he has not had very good luck with his health and injuries, but hopefully this incident marks a turn for him

- Kirk Hinrich missed the Bulls game in Orlando tonight due to back spasms. It was a game-time decision so you couldn't really have expected it at all. He didn't miss much though except his team getting completely dominated. The Magic only led by 5 at the half, but once the Bulls scored only 10 pts in the 3rd quarter, the game might as well have been over. Ironically enough, Joakim Noah, the rookie Bull who was suspended by his own teammates had the best stats in this game with 12 pts and 11 rebs, albeit some was in garbage time in the fourth quarter. The Magic continue to start Mo Evans, but Keith Bogans is playing almost the same number of minutes (24 for Mo, 22 for Keith) while having better production in this game (Mo's 9 pts compared with 15 for Keith). This battle will be interesting to keep an eye on, but it's starting to look like a platoon situation at the 2-guard for Orlando and I own Mo, the starter, but I wouldn't be confident owning either depending on how the situation looks in the near future.

- Denver visited the southeast tonight to meet a half-empty gym in Atlanta. Honestly, Seattle and New Orleans have attendance and property issues, but Atlanta's gotta be in that top five for teams that need to switch cities (Memphis is probably in there as well). Anyways, in the game Atlanta actually played very well, basically keeping the lead for the whole game until the fourth when Denver threatened for a while. The final score was 104-93. I mentioned Nene before and there's obviously no foreseeable timetable for his return to the court as his condition is not completely clear yet. Joe Johnson and Carmelo Anthony were on fire in the 1st half. Joe had 17 at the half, but finished with only 22, while Melo kept his hot shooting throughout, finishing with 36 pts and 11 rebs.

- New York is starting to show some life after their unexpected blowout of the Pistons. They won again at home tonight (and MSG is barely a home court for NY considering how many boos are heard throughout games) against a solid Wizards team. Antonio Daniels sat out this game with Roger Mason Jr. starting in his stead. Daniels missed this game due to knee soreness, which was the same injury that kept him out in December so keep an eye on his condition because this is a sign that he may not be 100%. He's considered day-to-day so it's difficult to say whether or not you should start him, but the more important thing is to make sure he's healthy because he's got a great situation starting at PG with Arenas potentially out for the rest of the season. Mason had 20 pts on 8-14 shooting. For the Knicks, Fred Jones has been starting at the point since Stephon Marbury had been sidelined with an ankle injury. It's unsure whether or not Marbury will require surgery, but if that is the case he would miss an extended period of time and it's time to drop him. I would drop him even if he opts out of surgery, although that would make no sense considering the Knicks' standing right now, because of Nate Robinson's emergence in the offense and the fact that just about no Knick is ownable for an extended period of time without frustration.

- As I suspected, the Pistons would play strong at home after an eye-opened in New York. They beat Toronto handily at home by 14 pts although it wasn't the freight-train like performance I was expecting. Andrea Bargnani was held scoreless in this one, as I will continue to note his struggles. He had great expectations coming into this season after a great finish to his rookie campaign. It doesn't make any sense, but his performance thus far would define a "sophomore slump". Meanwhile, Rip had 39 pts in this one to lead Detroit to the win.

- Houston played tonight... You would think that would begin a section about the Sixer@Rocket game, but no. It's my way of introducing the Cavs in Memphis, which was a thrilling OT game that involved Lebron and Juan Carlos Navarro at the end of regulation. Lebron put the Cavs up 3 pts toward the end of regulation before Navarro sent the game to extras with a long range bomb. Lebron James scored 42 pts in regulation and finished the game with half a hundo. He took over the game down the stretch and had the sick line to show for it - 50 pts, 8 rebs, 9 asts, 6 treys, 3 stls and all those pts on 18-28 from the field. No other player in the NBA is capable of those numbers on a given night but Lebron, he's in the company of one when it comes to filling a stat sheet. Navarro had 26 off the bench and Rudy Gay had 30 (all in regulation) to lead the Grizzlies. The final score was 132-124 OT.

- The home team, Golden State, won in Minnesota tonight in rather unspectacular fashion. Games in Minnesota are generally just that though. Ryan Gomes was my most recent hot pickup. He had 15 pts and 5 rebs in this one, while Antoine Walker got a shot from the past, scoring 26 pts and grabbing 10 rebs off the bench. It wasn't enough though, as Golden State got the win with captain Jack and Baron leading the way. Baron had 22 pts, 9 asts and 5 stls, while Jack added 21 pts.

- Philly visited the Rockets tonight, which was actually a good game in its own right, although it wasn't really close until the fourth. Houston doesn't seem to be holding leads too well recently, losing in the fourth to New Orleans, and getting outscored 37-22 in this one. Houston fans believe that trading Tracy McGrady would be better for the team, but that clearly would not be the case. These games would be finished by a player who can dominate like McGrady and once he returns, the Rockets will be a better team. The Rockets really should have won this game. All the starters played well, except for Chuck Hayes, who got less minutes than Luis Scola and Scola was in the game at the end (17 mins to 22 mins). Yao led the way with 25 pts on 8-11 shooting. The Sixers were led by Andre Miller, who the Rockets didn't have an answer for in the fourth. He finished with 26 pts, 5 rebs, 6 assts.

- In LA, the other Hollywood team was in command for most of the night. They kept Steve Nash and Phoenix at bay, while scoring efficiently themselves. Cassell had a game that made him look 28, instead of 38 (even though literally he probably looked the same, the guy doesn't age, and that is not a compliment). He finished the game with 32 pts, 6 rebs, 7 assts on 15-21 shooting. On the Suns' side, most eyes should have been on Boris Diaw, who's been horrendous overall this season, but had a great game in his 2nd start in place of Grant Hill, who will be out another 2-3 weeks still. Diaw was pretty quiet tonight however (7 pts, 6 assts in 37 minutes), burning owners who picked him up speculating his value for the next 10 games or so. I personally don't trust Boris Diaw. Even though the word around the league is that this guy's got good character, I just don't think he plays well with Amare in there at center or has the mental/physical toughness/athleticism to play at the level he did in that contract season.

NCAAB Thoughts

With the tournament "approaching", I started thinking about possible draft implications for the next NBA season. There's quite a buzz around the top tier freshmen from the class of '07. I agree that this is the year in which the talent maybe match that '03 draft, or going on potential, it may be even stronger. Let's not forget about the older guys though. Dynamic youngsters like Derrick Rose, OJ Mayo and Kevin Love are somehow overshadowing the guys who are going are also going to be in the '08 draft and are potential All-Americans when this college season is said and done. Guys like Darren Collison, Roy Hibbert and Chris Lofton (who's having a down season I admit) are probably going to be dropped in the upcoming draft lower than when they might normally be drafted because these younger guys have more "potential" and are the flashier pick. More than likely though, UCLA and Memphis will be very close to the final weekend in the tournament, but it won't be because of Derrick Rose and Kevin Love, although both players are incredibly dynamic and have shown that they make their teammates better and their teams great, it will be more due to the experienced play of Chris Douglas-Roberts and Joey Dorsey, or the leadership of upperclassmen Josh Shipp and Darren Collison. Don't get me wrong, I was one of the more excited guys coming into the college season to see the talents of Michael Beasley and Eric Gordon, but I just want to give recognition where its due. The guys we've watched for the past couple of seasons are still there and playing strong basketball. Here's my bias working... How could I write about college basketball and not mention UNC? Well, here's my bold prediction of the year. This team has an opportunity to win two national titles in a row. I know it sounds ridiculous to predict something like this, considering Florida just finished a repeat and the depth of college basketball today, but considering the amount of talent Carolina possesses and the projected depth in the '08 draft, I believe UNC will retain its 3 top talents for another season, Tyler Hansbrough (a project 4 year player in college since he arrived at Chapel Hill), Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington (both of whom are amazing talents, but are sophomores in a year of freshman and are arguably undersized at their positions for the next level). All three will continue to mature together and as the #1 team in the country already, they would only get better with another season under Roy Williams, who is also one of the best coaches in the country. After these three guys, they still have a ridiculously deep roster, of which no contributing players are seniors. If UNC does happen to win the title this season and Hansbrough wins the Naismith player of the year, which he's got to be the front-runner for at this point in the season, I can't possibly imagine Tyler leaving on a higher note from college and couldn't see him returning even though he'd still only be a borderline lottery pick. I don't know if they could replace a piece as big as he's been to the program, but there's no doubt UNC is in good shape. With all this said, there's still about half of the 2007-08 season left and I'm sure March Madness will be as exciting as its ever been. Is there a better month for sports than March? You get great playoff basketball (college football could learn a thing or two from this), the rumblings of the NFL draft and the start to the MLB season, which needs to do something about steroids because Congress doesn't really "eff" around, for lack of a better term, but that's a different story.

Monday, January 14, 2008

2nd Half of Monday Night

- San Antonio played a relatively quiet home game, which is how they prefer to do everything...quiet. Samuel Dalembert (12 pts, 20 rebs, 3 blks) has been on a tear lately for the Sixers so keep plugging him if you've got him and Tim Duncan (18 pts, 16 rebs, 6 assts, 2 blks) has been doing the same for the Spurs.

- Utah beat Milwaukee in a battle of disappointing teams on the season. Utah's found a bit of spark, however, winning their last four games while getting healthy in the process. Michael Redd is back in the starting lineup to stay so don't worry anymore about his status and drop most Bucks from your team because if they aren't starting, they aren't going to be solid fantasy contributors. Andrew Bogut (23 pts, 10 rebs) and Deron Williams (33 pts, 10 assts, 4 stls) were the most productive in this game.

- The Lakers played there first game without breakout center Andrew Bynum, out with the knee injury, in Seattle. It was learned today that Bynum will be sidelined for at least 8 weeks. The game itself was a good one, high scoring and drama in the end. Here's my diary of the play at the end of regulation and OT.

Who better to play in this than Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. The superstar of Now head-to-head with the Future. Kobe put LA up 1 with 1:25 left with a 3, 113-112. After Luke Walton hit 2 FTs (coming in shooting 63%, figures he made two), Kevin Durant worked his magic, hitting a three to match Kobe and tie the game at 115 off a hand off pass from Luke Ridnour. Kobe and Durant both got a possession after the Durant three, Kobe missing a trey and Durant shooting (and missing) a premature jumper to keep 5.8 on the clock for a Laker possession. Kobe would get one more chance...slapped away! Jeff Green launched the ball into into the stands. OT in Seattle! By the way, I'm facing in Kobe in my main league this week and he's got 42 thus far... I'd be dreaming if I don't think he's going to score again.
Well, not OT gets started, 5:00 on the clock. The tip goes to the Lakers. The Sonics score first, however, on a Nick Collison tip-in. PJ Carlesimo decides to go with Luke Ridnour over Earl Watson down the stretch , interesting, but even though he penetrated and controlled the game well, I don't believe that either PG has a definitive upper hand in the rotation. Seattle's getting some good rolls in the 1st few possessions of OT. Kurt Thomas just put in another Ridnour miss, 121-117 (LAL scored 2 on Kwame Brown FTs). Wow, after a couple Kurt Thomas missed FTs, Kobe puts in a ridiculous hanging 10 footer. Kobe comes down and hits another jumper to tie the game (121-121). WOW, just flipped to Mavs @ Kings. Terry ties the game at 120 with just seconds left and John Salmons puts it away off the glass!! Kings win at HOME and Arco Arena just went crazy!! Crazy ending to an average night. Back to the Laker game, Laker ball with 1:01 on the clock. Green on Kobe, passes and Odom bricks a trey attempt. Sonic ball, Durant with it and Kwame defending and misses short. The Lakers now have the ball with 20 seconds left. Kobe gets the ball easily with Jeff Green on him, 18 footer GOOD! Green was backtracking and was one-on-one. Durant and the Sonics will have one more shot to tie or win with 4.3 seconds left. Kobe is on KD with the foul to give and Kobe gives it. 3.7 left now, Szczerbiak to pass in...and needs a timeout. The ball came into Kurt Thomas, who passes to Nick Collison and misses from the baseline! LAKERS WIN! Kobe does it again, not much else to say.

- Kevin Martin came off the bench for in his second consecutive game after returning from his groin injury. Once again he didn't look like he missed a beat after being out for 5-6 weeks as he went for 39 pts on 14-16 shooting. The man has only missed 4 total shots in his 2 games back, that's crazy. Josh Howard also returned in this one after missing a game with unknown reasons. I don't have much else to say, but wow... these last two games were crazy. Hope you enjoyed my reactions to the Laker game, but the Kings finish was even better albeit in regulation.

The Rest of Monday's News and Notes

Here's (hopefully) a quick rundown of what I noticed in tonight's games:

- I could've actually watched part of the Denver@Charlotte game, but then I would have been pissed I didn't get to see the end of it, 116-119 - Cats with the win. It looked like a great game with Charlotte playing another great team tough. These Bobcats are for real IMHO and they're only a season away from making the playoffs (assuming they re-sign franchise big man Emeka Okafor to a reasonable contract - reasonable = not Dwight Howard money). 40 pt games seem to be a nightly theme recently and tonight was no exception. In this first game of the night, Gerald Wallace went for 40, but not lacking the other cats either with 8 boards, 5 dimes and 4 in the B/S department. He's no slouch when it comes to producing. Camby's ridiculous 20-23-6 were no match - in the game that is, I'm sure fantasy owners weren't complaining about Camby's line tonight.

- The C's lost again at home, this time to a different southeast division team, the Washington Wizards. Boston's streak of being seemingly unbeatable wasn't going to last, but I'm going to argue that these losses are good for them. They aren't getting blown out and these are low scoring contests, which means that the C's are still playing great defense and with great intensity. It's just a factor of the bench on a cold streak and some late game situations not going their way. I don't believe they have anything to worry about. The PGA tour are going to get their numbers every night (in close games anyway) and if the rest of the team is getting a bit cold, that's to be expected. It's not time to panic yet - they are 30-5 afterall. As for owning Celtic players, I wasn't a fan of any of them outside of the musketeers to begin with. Rondo is as streaky as they come and he wasn't effective tonight. Pick your spots if you're going to start Celtics without the initials PP, RA and KG.

- Portland lost a heartbreaking thriller yesterday afternoon to Toronto, but demolished tonight's Atlantic division foe, the New Jersey Nets. They got a lift since Steve Blake returned after missing only one game. He only had 5 pts in the game, but they don't rely on Blake for much other than managing the game while he's in there and hitting some open shots. This Blazer team is young and deep with talent. I can see them tailing off at some point this season, but if they don't it will be because of the poised play and leadership of sophomore guard Brandon Roy. The kid is as calm as they come and he controls the game whenever he's on the court. Very few players do this. I don't like his fantasy game much for H2H because he doesn't do anything fantastic, but he doesn't hurt you either.

That was the 1st half of the night. I will post the 2nd half of the games once they are finished.

Monday's BIG Game

There were 7 games tonight, a relatively quiet night for the NBA, so I'll go ahead and discuss some of my thoughts during my brother's junior high basketball game (idea by Tibs). I will post my NBA games in the next entry.

I drove my brother, Mason, to his basketball game at Taylor Middle School (TMS), which was at 5:55 pm (pacific time). I got there after only seeing one of his games before this one (an away game about a week ago) so I wasn't that sure what to expect. I did remember this little Asian kid (about 4'4", no joke - remember, my brother's in seventh grade) on his team who dominated with the ball in his hands. The kid had handles (even though he's so short, I don't understand how he gets the ball between his legs for crossovers), getting into the paint at will and was a creator for his teammates every play. He played the entire game, taking the ball up every time. Anyway, onto this game I just saw. The beginning of the game was horrendous, unwatchable really. The home team, TMS, couldn't buy a basket in the 1st quarter (they play 4 quarters, 9 minutes in each quarter). This is no exaggeration either, they went to score a total of zero points in the first frame as their opponents were on fire to score 15 pts. So, 15-0 after one and I'm just thinking about how much my ass hurt sitting on the old wooden bleachers. Well, at least it can't get any worse, right? I mean, you can't actually score less than zero points in a game. Thankfully it did get better, TMS got on the board in the second with a couple of free throws by their big man in the middle off an offensive rebound (I didn't say it was pretty). The away team (I'll just call them "them" from here on out) was basically cruising throughout the game until mid-way through the third quarter. It was then, when "they" went on a cold streak and a few possessions went TMS's way. They got a couple of steals (one by my bro) and a finally started getting on the glass (my bro part of that as well). They hit some jumpers en route to only a 19-13 deficit going into the last quarter. By the way, if you were wondering about the midget extraordinaire, he was doing his thing getting into the lane at will, but no layups were falling, no teammates were finishing and no calls were going the right way. So begins the fourth quarter and until now, the crowd didn't have much to root for, although middle school students are real obnoxiously loud, but I realized there are a few things that get a crowd riled up. A bad call against the home team, an opposing player complaining about every call and being a complete douchebag (difficult to comprehend adults getting mad at a little kid pre-puberty, but I found that it is possible) and that player eventually feeling the karma. If you couldn't guess, these crowd-pleasers were in full effect. My brother got taken out of the game at the 5:33 mark in the fourth quarter, which was fine since he wasn't really in the game (0-1 shooting, 4 rebs and 2 stls). The score was getting pretty close at that point, shortcake hit a three and made a reverse layup to bring the score to 21-18. Then the dwarf got smacked, he was driving the lane when #3 on "them" basically leveled him with the body. The parents didn't think much of it, but then the kid got irate at the call. Until now, the kid had been complaining about a lot of calls too, but now the game was actually close. Little Asian boy missed both free throws to the dismay of the parents watching, but on the very next drive, blondey (#3) drove the lane and was tripped down to the ground by one TMS's bigs. This got the entire place going (all 50 parents and peer students in the gym) and the home crowd was cheering the cheap shot. I almost started laughing at the irony behind parents rooting for an injury to a little kid, but I didn't. "He" hit one of two free throws to bring the game 22-18. He also eventually put away the game at the end with 2 more free throws, but that was the end of the scoring. Final score: 24-18, "them". Even though my brother didn't play that well or intense, the game was decent and I wasn't disappointed i went.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tiebreaker on Sunday

Coming into Sunday, I was tied in my main league 5-5-1 and we happen to be the 3rd and 4th place teams at this moment. That made today huge for positioning in that league. Oh yea, there were a couple of football games on TV as well.

I'll start with San Diego visiting the defending champs in Indianapolis because this game was awesome. It had all the drama you would want from a playoff game. It went back and forth all game. Peyton Manning completed his first 14 passes, trying to do his best to impersonate Tom Brady's all-world performance last night. That was the pinnacle of his afternoon though because he threw picks on the Colts' next two possessions. San Diego had the lead in the second half after losing both starting halfback, LaDainian Tomlinson, AND starting quarterback, Philip Rivers, who had 3 touchdowns before he went down. Antonio Gates played the game, but had a small role in the air game, finishing with only 2 catches for 28 yards. Billy Volek of all people played hero for the Chargers on the last drive of the game after the Colts failed to score with 2:01 left in the game. Volek drove the Chargers down the field and scored the gamewinning TD himself. He finished the game with 3 rushes for -1 yard and the touchdown that sent the defending champion Colts home early. This brings the AFC championship matchup to New England, where the Chargers will try to continue their postseason to Arizona.

There were some basketball games during the NFL playoffs too.

The first was in Canada, where the still streaking Trailblazers visited the Raptors. The Raptors won the thriller in double OT. Chris Bosh is showing why he will be an all-star, coming off his 40 pt performance in this one to score 38, grab 14 boards and block 3 shots. Three Raptors played 50+ minutes in this one and Andrea Bargnani was not one of them. In fact, he started at center only to total 15 minutes in this game. Needless to say, Sam Mitchell does not trust the sophomore center fully yet and you shouldn't either. He's a very streaky contributor and if you don't have to start him in your daily transaction league, you shouldn't. On the Blazer side of the ball, Steve Blake missed this game as expected with his calf injury. Jarret Jack started in his place and had 12 pts, but only shot 4-16 from the field.

Although I'm a Chicago guy and love the Bulls, this Bulls blowout was awesome, selfishly speaking. The Bulls got destroyed by the Hawks, who had been reeling after their over-.500 start to the season. Joe Johnson was the story in this one, going for 37 pts, 9 rebs and 5-6 from three point range. He was utterly unstoppable. On the Bulls side, at least they got some help back with Luol Deng coming off the bench in this one. He returned to the lineup after a three game hiatus to score 28 pts in 30 minutes. I would expect him to be back in the starting lineup in the Bulls next game, with Andres Nocioni returning to his normal role off the bench. Funny tidbit in this game, Joakim Noah, the Bulls rookie out of Florida, was suspended unanimously by his peers. As my blogs continue, I will more and more begin to reveal the teams and players I root for and the ones I despise. Noah is one of those players that when the Bulls drafted, I almost stopped rooting for my hometown team. I stomached it when Chicago drafted 3 Dukies in a relatively short timespan in Jay Williams, Chris Duhon and Luol Deng, but the fact that they would draft a Gator like Noah made me sick to my stomach. Anyways, this might be bad for Chicago in the long haul, but this story made me smile a bit even amidst the Bulls woes this season.

The divisional game of the day was in Houston, between the Hornets and the Rockets. This one was pretty exciting down the stretch as Yao Ming tried to keep Chris Paul and David West down during the fourth quarter. However, Paul worked his magic again when it mattered most, hitting crazy jumpers and finding David West again and again. Houston just couldn't keep up with them. They outscored the Rockets 29-19 in the final frame with CP3 and D-West leading the way. I picked up Luis Scola for a spot start in this one and he was below average, but 6 pts, 7 rebs and 2 stls could've been worse. With T-Mac returning any day now, I wouldn't trust any Rockets off the bench for production and only Yao, McGrady and Rafer Alston (perhaps Shane Battier, I do have him on my team) are the only full-time ownable Rockets. New Orleans looks ready to take that next step to become one of the elite teams in the league with their bench starting to produce like they are capable of doing.

The other divisional playoff game was a battle between NFC East rivals, New York at Dallas. This game was pretty good too with a slightly different storyline. New York was able to hold on late in the fourth quarter, while the home team was unable to complete a late game comeback. Interestingly enough, both home teams won yesterday and both away teams pulled out upsets today. The Giants played well and they are hot and confident. After that near defeat of New England to close the regular season, the G-Men might be looking at a rematch if they can close their Cinderella story at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. This game will have a ton of storylines. I have no doubt that the press will be talking about Eli getting farther in the playoffs than Peyton and that Brett Favre will be the focal point of an article somewhere as well. I'm sure there will also be critics also attacking Tony Romo after this one. For the second consecutive postseason, he has had the ball in his hands with the game on the line and he is now 0-2 in these contests. Whether or not distractions in the form of Jessica Simpson had something to do with his mindset, people will ask questions about his leadership and mental toughness. Romo's a great player already and he will be just fine next season, but IMHO he needs to understand that if he is to get a new girlfriend, it needs to be in the offseason so there is at least fewer distractions at the time. This is only good advice if he's looking to become a championship caliber quarterback, which he's not yet. If I were him I wouldn't be able to say no to Carrie Underwood or Jessica Simpson either though. I don't think the women are the distraction for Romo as much as it is the media surrounding Dallas, which is the biggest market for the NFL, and their ridiculous coverage of his private life. These playoffs have had a lot of surprises already and there will be more to come before there are 2 teams heading to Arizona for the 2008 Super Bowl.

The Pistons got destroyed. Not only are these words not frequently spoken in the current state of the NBA, it's even more ridiculous that the loss came from the New York Knicks, who are THE dysfunctional team of professional sports. This being said, I'm sure whoever Detroit has next on the schedule needs to watch out (Toronto at the Palace of Auburn Hills). I don't think Chris Bosh will continue his scoring tear, at least not in this one. Detroit is one of those teams that don't take losing well. I'm sure this was just a lapse in concentration because Detroit probably doesn't prepare the strongest against a team like New York, but they will come out tough and strong against Toronto. All this being said, Detroit was losing by 29 before the 4th quarter began and Flip Saunders started the frame with all bench players with Isiah Thomas following suit quickly after. No starters returned to the game. The game couldn't have gone better for me with my opponent owning a player from each team, Rip Hamilton and Eddy Curry. Curry wasn't one of the chief contributors from New York, finishing with only 7 pts, 6 rebs and 0-4 from the FT line. Rip was even worse on the Pistons' side finishing with only 3 pts on 1-7 shooting. The final score was 89-65 (64 pts is the franchise low for pts scored for the Pistons and the franchise low for the Knicks for pts allowed).

- Golden State and Indiana play on the local FSN-Bay Area network, but since they show hockey once in a while and they own exclusive rights to Warrior contests, there isn't an alternate way to watch the game. That's one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen. If I'm mistaken in my reasoning here and there is a way to watch the game in situations as this, please let me kno. The game was put on after the hockey game concluded at the 5:00 (or so) mark in the 3rd quarter. The Warriors played pretty bad in this one, but they kept it close the whole way with great energy off the offensive glass. Monta Ellis and Baron Davis kept the Warriors in it until they finally took their first lead of the game toward the end of the 3rd quarter. The game was a great one that went down to

- Early in the 2nd half in LA, the Lakers held their breath for their big man in the middle, Andrew Bynum. He came down awkwardly and clutched his knee and needed help to the locker room. He didn't look to put any pressure on his leg. I'm sure more will come out on this in the near future. The game in question was controlled by the hometown Lakers for most of the game. In the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies made their run and went back and forth with the Lakers, probably not a coincidence that they made a run after Bynum was out of the game. However, Kobe started taking over the game in the fourth in a way that everyone is used to, hitting clutch free throws and throwing his body into the lane. The Lakers went up 3 on a couple of Kobe free throws (he was 14-15 from the line) with 40 seconds left when Rudy Gay hit a huge 3 to tie. The next possession Kwame Brown was fouled going for a dunk. Kwame, who was in the game for Andrew Bynum after the injury, had been 0-2 in the game and only 11-29 on the season (37.9%). Kwame made 1-2 and it proved to be the gamewinner. The Lakers are now at 6 wins in a row. If Bynum is to miss an extended period of time, which it looks like he will, Kwame will be the starting center and Kobe will probably look to score more. Bynum owners can only hold their breath since the young center was starting to become one of the elite. For Memphis, they played competitively again, but it doesn't matter. They're still young and if Kyle Lowry's name was Kobe Bryant, he probably would have been shooting free throws to try to win the game after he drove the lane right into Kwame Brown's body. Pau Gasol and Mike Miller led the way for the Grizz, while Rudy Gay had another off night. The Grizzlies are definitely up and coming, but this season is not their time.