Monthly Archives: April 2011

NBA Playoffs Round 2 Preview: Lakers v. Mavs, Bulls v. Hawks, Celtics v. Heat, Thunder v. Grizzlies

One of the most intriguing NBA playoffs in recent memory didn’t disappoint in the first round.  Shockingly, the #1 seed San Antonio Spurs fell to the #8 Grizzlies.  But I don’t buy into the idea that this means the Grizzlies are now a better team than the Spurs.  Ginobili was playing with one arm, and Tim Duncan was probably only 80% coming off his late season ankle sprain. These sorts of unlucky injuries can mean everything in a playoff series. Remember Lebron on one arm?

The Atlanta Hawks also shocked the Orlando Magic.  Which shows conclusively that how a team plays down the stretch in the regular season means almost nothing.  Was there a worse team than the Hawks in the last month of the season?  I remember the Celtics were also horrible last year in March and April. And of course, the Lakers were 3-7 coming into these playoffs.

Round 2 begins tomorrow, and with it the promise of more intriguing matchups. Jump for the 411.                                                Continue reading

Thunder vs. Nuggets Post-Mortem

Well, I ate this bet.  And as always when I lose, whether it be in a poker hand, or a sports bet, or in a board game with my hated rival and best friend, the Supertrader, I do a post-mortem.  That’s how I get better at what I do.

So, here’s my list of reasons why my bet on the Nuggets was either a bad bet or a good bet:                                                                Continue reading

Smart is Out

Lacob’s axe has fallen on Keith Smart.  No surprise there, of course.  He never had a chance.  Lacob didn’t want him, and made absolutely sure that he couldn’t succeed by gutting his bench.

It will be interesting to see whether Lacob begins his coaching search before the NBA lockout.  Other teams, such as Houston, seem to be moving forward regardless.

It is difficult to overstate how important Lacob’s choice of coach will be for this Warriors team.  The wrong coach, like the frequently mentioned (and completely execrable) Mike Brown, would be disastrous.  The right coach, like Mike D’Antoni, could have added 10 wins to this season’s team, and would have next year’s team in contention, provided the Warriors pick up a difference-maker at center.

How I Know Joe Lacob Kept the Warriors Out of the Playoffs (Ch. 6) + Thunder v. Nuggets Game 2 Preview

From the Scott Ostler article on Don Nelson in today’s Chronicle:

Nelson says his plan for the 2010-11 season was to play David Lee at center, because he considers Lee a good power forward and an All-Star center.

“I told (management), ‘Look, I want (Anthony) Tolliver. I’m gonna need a power forward who can shoot.’ They wouldn’t give me Tolliver. He was pretty cheap (Tolliver signed with Minnesota for $2.2 million). I didn’t ask for much. That’s when I knew I was gone.”

Thunder v. Nuggets Update and Game 2 Preview:

I won my game 1 bet, getting +5.5.  They’re down to +4.5 in tonight’s game, and Afflalo is still out, but I’m still betting it. The Nuggets want this game.

Hoping for an adjustment on Durant.  Stop letting him go left and shoot over his right shoulder, for pete’s sake!  Nellie knew how to guard him: Push him right, and make him turn left shoulder.

For those looking for me to take back my evaluation of Westbrook, game 1 simply confirmed my opinion of him.  He got more shots for himself than all of his big men COMBINED.  A selfish gunner, with no vision or court sense.  Not a great point guard.

If Westbrook cools off, which his season averages suggest he will, the Thunder will struggle for scoring.  I sincerely doubt at the very least that he continues shooting 75% from three.

But if the Nuggets ever get Aaron Afflalo back healthy in time to make a difference in this series, Mr. Westbrook’s life could get very difficult indeed.

One thing I failed to take into account in this series: How much David Stern and the NBA want Durant to advance and become the new face of the NBA. We may have seen this in that ignored goaltending call late in game 1. (What are the chances that play was missed by 3 officials? What else could they have been looking at?)

I have a rule never to bet against David Stern, which I unwittingly violated with this pick. But in for a penny…

NBA Playoffs, Baby!: Thunder v. Nuggets Preview

I’ll be doing a lot of scouting in the first round of the NBA playoffs, but there’s only one matchup that piques my interest. Portland v. Dallas could turn into a competitive series, depending on Marcus Camby’s health. Well, no, it might not even depend on that. But I’m not interested in that series. I don’t like the Blazers at +180 because they have one of the worst playoff coaches in the league. And I’m not interested in the Mavs, because, well, they’re the Mavs. I like to watch Mark Cuban’s face when they lose.                                     Continue reading

2010-11 Golden State Warriors Final Grades

Monta Ellis: A+

A great scorer, yes, but this year he became so much more.  A great distributor, a great clutch closer, a great teammate. A team leader.  A superstar in the making.

A couple of years ago, I wrote that I believed that Monta had the makings of a supreme point guard, because his passes had laser-like accuracy: they always seemed to hit his man in the hands.  This opinion was scoffed at.  Well, in last night’s broadcast, we learned that Monta leads the entire NBA in shooting % by recipients of his passes.  Hmmm.         Continue reading

The Sins of the Past: Warriors 95 Lakers 87

The Sins of the Past.

Two power-forwards slugging it out with seven footers on defense.  The high post and high pick and roll drawing them out of the lane on offense.  A spread floor opening the lane for swooping drives.  The fear of swooping drives bringing on a hard rain of deadly three-pointers.  The fear of deadly three pointers creating space for the pick and roll. Unstoppable guards given free rein to create havoc. A long defensive three to switch onto the best scorer. The swarming help. The gang rebounding. The outlets. The devastating fast break.

The Sins of the Past.                                                            Continue reading

What If: Warriors 108 Blazers 87

If you want to know why the Warriors are not in the playoffs this year, you need look no further than their GM, Joe Lacob.

Continue reading

Work in Progress

There will be some changes to the appearance of FWB in the next few weeks. Some experimental, some permanent. The blog is a work in progress.

The primary aim of these changes is two-fold:

First, to make the comments section more easily readable and accessible. I don’t know about you, but I get a little lost sometimes with the amount of scrolling I have to do the way the comments section is set up now. We’re going to experiment with some ideas, like using a smaller font, boxing the comments, or numbering, “zebra”-ing, nesting, etc. Hopefully, we’ll come up with a format that readers like, and that enhances the discussion.

Second, to add some advertising to the site.  As I hope many of you have noticed, I have (to my own great surprise) put a lot of time and energy into building this blog over the last two years.  It’s been a labor of love, but unfortunately, much of the time and energy I have invested has come at the expense of my day job (or night job, as it were).  Since I am a working stiff, I can’t really justify continuing to invest so much time on this blog — as much as I enjoy it — without attempting to make some sort of business of it, however small.

So, while I am aware that adding advertising could potentially be annoying to my regular readers, I hope you won’t begrudge me for doing it.  It ain’t no easy thing, keeping the ever-ravenous Thaiblonde in ribeyes, black and blue.

Please feel free to offer up your input on any changes you see, or would like to see. I am collaborating with a friend on the design, so none of the changes will be chiseled in stone, everything can be modified.

As ever, thanks for reading!

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