Friday, April 15, 2011

NBA Playoff Preview: Western Style

Click here for Part I

Before I begin the preview of the best conference of the NBA, let us deal with a team that is not in the playoffs. That team will be the Houston Rockets, who missed out of the playoff for the western conference; simple because there were eight better teams ahead of them. If they were in the Eastern Conference, they will be the sixth seed and playing against Boston in first round; who knows it might be Houston winning that series. Everyone knows; they will be screwed out of something at least once in their lives. With the sore loser out of the way, not let us go to the hardest and deepest conference in the NBA.
San Antonio v. Memphis:  All right, San Antonio fans you own the Los Angeles Clippers a favor for beating Memphis the other night and as a result playing Memphis in the first round. If Memphis would have won that game, the Spurs will get a tougher opponent in New Orleans Hornets. This series is youth verse experience, in which to me experience will win out, even though the experience team is dealing with injury issues. It doesn’t matter; the Spurs should win this series in five games.
Los Angeles v. New Orleans: While a match-up against San Antonio would have been much better for New Orleans than against the Lakers. The Lakers are much deeper team and more experience, and how awesome the game between Sacramento and LA the other night and the much need win they got. As they wanted no part of Portland, at least the Lakers will have a much better time this round. Lakers in five games.
Dallas v. Portland: Is it funny that so many teams were whatever it takes to avoid playing against one team. That team is Portland Trail Blazers, one reason is that this team is much better after trading for Gerald Wallace and makes it easier for Brandon Roy. As for Dallas, they are the most disrespected 50-plus win team in the league. To most, people this dangerous series, as one team being underappreciated against one being over hyped. Sadly, this is a toss-up and either team could win it but I will go with Dallas in seven grueling games.
Oklahoma City v. Denver:  This series is about two teams who change themselves after making a trade in the middle of the season and the success could be determined after the outcome of the series. Thunder top two players in Kelvin Durant and Russell Westbrook had improve since they time playing for Team USA in the World Championships, but made big strides after they traded for Kendrick Perkins. This trade had made them bigger, stronger, and tougher against teams like the Lakers, Spurs, and every team in the Eastern Conference. As for Denver, they had become a more athletic team since trading away Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. While they had shredded away their experience, this Denver team is more entertaining and has a last shooter by committee. Denver is dangerous, but Oklahoma City is a team on a mission; I am taking the Thunder in six games.
The predictions are in, and the games will start. I hope that I do better here, than I did in the NCAA Tournament. Enjoy the playoffs everyone as this could be the last NBA playoffs for quite a while.      

Thursday, April 14, 2011

NBA Playoffs Preview: Eastern Style

As the regular season finally closed and players who did not make it to the post season are cleaning out their lockers, here comes two months of natural fulfillment and enjoy. There will be vast amounts of bandwagon fans cheering for teams who did not care about during the season. Sixteen teams will play for the Larry O'Brien Trophy, but only five teams have a realistic chance of winning it all. As for me, I favor the NHL playoffs over the NBA version, but the NBA will have higher television ratings long as it is the Heat and Lakers finals. Let the games began, and let the team X all day statuses on Facebook and Twitter flow like water.

Chicago v. Indiana: This series could be the quickest series in the first round. Good news for us is that Derrick Rose's MVP ceremony would not be as awkward as the 2006-2007 MVP winner but it is sad that Stan Van Gundy declared the MVP race over weeks ago. This series should be a sweep for Chicago, me and most people who watch the NBA will be shocked if the series go past five games.

Miami v. Philadelphia: Contrary to popular belief, seeking the path of least resistance is harder than finding a path of success. As for Miami who wanted to win multiple championship, will their first playoff test in the first round. Philly is a tough team who are built the same way as the Heat, some believed that they are happy to be there and will bow out to the Heat. I am doubt that will be the case, although the talent levels are vastly different; it will be a fun series and the Sixers have a good chance to win two of their home games. That mean the Heat should win this series in six games.

Boston v. New York:  This will be a great series. A team that built over time verses a team that built overnight. Today like the day after the trade, and I still disagree with whole deal. The Knicks will not win a championship this year, in fact, after they made the Carmelo Anthony trade, the Knicks only move up one playoff spot. The only redeeming feature of this trade and the dumb Boston trade is that the Knicks will push this series to a seventh game. The Celtics will win in seven games.

Orlando v. Atlanta: One of these days’ people will finally tuned out Stan Van Gundy and realized he and this Orlando Magic team are overrated. Like the creators of Disney movies, they make sure the good guy get some type of lucky break, and for this Magic team their break in the first round is the Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta is an athletic team who can run up and down the court and will give the Magic problems, but it should not be a problem in the short term the long term is another story. Magic will win this series in seven games. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Remembering Manny

Yesterday, Tampa Bay Rays outfield and designated hitter Manny Ramirez retired from Major League Baseball. He decided to retired because he received word that he fail a drug test for performance enhancing drugs for a second time. According MLB drug rules a second offensive is an automatic 100 game suspension, in which Ramirez decided it was not worth missing most of the season for and retire. If he wanted to return to MLB, he had to serve the suspension first and at his age of 38, I highly doubt it he will serve it and a team wants to sign him for 62 games. Yes, today is the day of baseball mourning, as baseball may not return to the level fun loving enjoyment we all viewed when he was playing.
To me is a Hall of Famer not by numbers alone, which they are impressive by any means, but how he made two teams enjoyable to watch again. After spending eight years in Cleveland, he went to Boston to play for the Red Sox; a team where its fan base were annoying and its teams was okay but like any other team. At his time in Boston his antics along with David Ortiz, Jonny Damon, and Pedro Martinez had made the Red Sox’ games enjoyable to watch for those who are outside of Red Sox nation. Sadly, Ramirez’s antics had him forcibly put out of Boston for Los Angeles. He made the Dodgers franchise relevant again, and people wanted to watch the Dodgers again. At his time there, fans made a section just for him called “Mannywood” it was fun until he broke MLB’s drug policy. That slowly was the start of the end of Ramirez career, but the whole drug thing should be look at for a spot at the Hall of Fame, not the deciding factor.
With the numbers in hand, Ramirez made the baseball fun again in Boston and Los Angeles. Besides how many Red Sox players who are in the Hall of Fame won a World Series with the Red Sox; how about none.  With 556 home runs, over 2500 hits, and a World Series ring with a team whom many thought will never win a World Series in their lifetime, to me that is a Hall of Famer; regardless of what any snobbish Hall of Fame voter may think. Unlike the other great home run hitters that appear in our lifetime, Ramirez did not make us feel sad or disgusted in cheering for them, he made us enjoy the game of baseball again. There will never be another Manny Ramirez in baseball in our lifetime or even in our children lifetime, and that is sad to think about it. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Fantasy Basketball

This basketball season I choose to take part in a fantasy league and I love it. Why you asked, well outside of the greatest act of divine intervention I am going to win the league. In fact I am starting to love fantasy basketball over football; and all of this is because I am having better luck with basketball than football. Unlike basketball, football is a control game, with coaches controlling who will play and when. This is a problem with fantasy players since the football season is much shorter than basketball. Also there is the high risk of serve injury and scrambling for useful players. Fantasy football is one the highest stress fantasy games similar to joining a NCAA Tournament pool, where knowledge can be a handicap. As for basketball, it seen much easier and less stressful; a top of that the five best players will be on the court at the same. Mostly importantly you must have knowledge to in order to be successful in fantasy basketball. I will do this again next year.