Tag Archives: Preview

2012 NBA Western Conference Rankings

My NBA Western Conference rankings will be far more idiosyncratic than most.  First of all, because they are made with absolutely no reference to the schedule, which by all accounts is extremely unfair.  Unlike normal years, not everyone plays the same teams the same number of times, at home and away.  I’m plenty nerdy, but not nerdy enough to weight all that. (Particularly since I can’t find a bookie willing to give season win totals this year.  Bah humbug!)

Second, because my rankings have almost nothing to do with who I think will win the Western Conference. Continue reading

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

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…

Pre-Game Jitters: Warriors at OKC Thunder

Warriors are +5.5 at OKC tonight. The key to this game, in my opinion, is the way Smart chooses to guard Russell Westbrook, who has emerged as a true beast. It seems obvious to me that Monta should be assigned to him, and Curry to the offensively challenged Sefelosha and Harden. The Thunder are unaccustomed to running their offense through their two-guards, and if they want to attack Curry in that matchup it would force their offense into an uncomfortable direction. And Curry on Westbrook would be a disaster. Immediate foul trouble. This is obvious, right? Unfortunately, nothing has been obvious to Coach Smart lately.                         Continue reading

Pre-Game Jitters: Warriors at Knicks

In case you don’t follow Marcus Thompson (or Feltbot) on Twitter, the news is in:  Monta Ellis was seen shooting before the game, and is apparently playing against the Knicks. (Nod to rggblog for the heads-up.)

Continue reading