Saturday, December 5, 2009

Nets Get Their 1st Win of the Season

After starting the NBA season worse than any team in history, the 0-18 Nets got their 1st win with a 97-91 home victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. Courtney Lee came back to the starting lineup in a big way, scoring 27 points and getting 3 key steals. Brook Lopez continued his great season with 31 points and 14 rebounds. The Bobcats played their starters for almost the entire game, using only 3 players from off the bench, which only aided the Nets late surge.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

LeBron Not in Slam Dunk Contest?

LeBron James said today there was a 50-50 chance he would participate in this year's contest.

This is news because it had sounded like he was good to go this year. But it's hard to imagine him risk getting beat by a lesser-known player in the contest, especially after last summer's much ado about nothing over a summer-time dunk.

Brian Windhorst on Twitter

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rookies of the Month

Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks and Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings have been named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month, respectively.

Jennings leads all rookies in scoring (21.8 ppg), assists (5.7 apg) and three-point field goal percentage (.500). On Nov. 14, Jennings scored 55 points against the Warriors, the most points by a rookie since Earl Monroe netted 56 in 1968.

Evans ranks second among rookies in scoring (18.8 ppg) and leads first-year players in minutes (36.1 mpg). He also ranks second in steals (1.33 spg), fourth in assists (4.7 apg) and fifth in rebounds (5.0 rpg) among rookies


New Coach For the Nets

The New Jersey Nets have chosen general manager Kiki Vandeweghe as the replacement for fired coach Lawrence Frank.

Vandeweghe agreed to take over for the rest of the season after the Nets agreed to bring in longtime NBA coach Del Harris as Vandeweghe's virtual co-coach.

The Nets finalized the Vandeweghe-Harris plan Monday afternoon and

formally announced the move at a Tuesday morning news conf


Iverson Back to Philly?

The Sixers offered a one-year, non-guaranteed contract to Iverson on Tuesday, a source confirmed to ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher. Iverson has not yet accepted the deal, according to the source.


Iverson, his agent and business manager met with team president Ed Stefanski, coach Eddie Jordan and two other members of the organization Monday during the first formal meeting between the Sixers and their former MVP.

Iverson announced his retirement last week after an ill-fated stint with the Memphis Grizzlies. The 10-time All-Star was NBA MVP in 2001 when he led the Sixers to the NBA Finals.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

NBA Predictions: 2009-10

Eastern Conference

1: Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs spent their offseason getting King James a supporting cast that will motivate him to stay in Cleveland. I think it worked very well. Adding Shaquille O'Neal and Anthony Parker make their starting lineup one of the best in the league, and adding some punch to their bench by getting Jamario Moon and benching Ilgauskas for O'Neal, Cleveland is now probably the best team in the league

2: Boston Celtics: Although using the aging Rasheed Wallace to replace the up-and-coming Leon Powe, they also added swingman Marquis Daniels and forward Sheldon Williams to boost their bench a little bit. As long as Garnett stays healthy long enough to hold off Orlando, the Celtics should edge out the Magic for 2nd in the east

3: Orlando Magic: Although the Carter trade was a great trade for the Magic, gaining a 20 ppg scorer and Ryan Anderson, a young 6'10" forward who can shoot, they lost a young star in Courtney Lee and a solid point guard in Rafer Alston. However, the reason that Boston is better than them is because Carter can't play defense, and Hedo Turkoglu was almost as good offensively and better defensively, but the battle of Boston and Orlando will certainly be an interesting one

4: Detroit Pistons: Detroit had a huge offseason this year, signing Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, and got Ben Wallace and Chris Wilcox to replace Wallace. They have a versatile set of guys to give other teams headaches, and will push the top teams, but their lack of a true big man besides the aging Wallace will cause trouble and hurt their chances

5:Atlanta Hawks: Adding Jamal Crawford to the mix of Josh Smith, Joe Johnson, and Al Horford makes a deadly starting lineup for them, and their bench is solid as well. They won't beat the Magic, Celts, or Cavs, but with the great young team that they have, they will be dangerous in the future

6: Miami Heat: Beasley's troubles aside, the Heat have a strong supporting cast for their superstar that they want to keep, Dwyane Wade. But unlike the Cavs, they did not get enough support for Wade in the offseason, and thus Wade did not extend his contract. Look for them to push themselves because the Heat would fall apart without Wade

7: Chicago Bulls: Losing Gordon hit the Bulls hard, and the fact that they did not do anything about it is not good. Derrick Rose has proven he can lead this team, but Gordon helped in the clutch a lot, especially in the playoffs. They have a solid team, just the other teams in the east have more great players. In a few years, however, the Bulls will be a force to be reckoned with.

8: Toronto Raptors: Toronto replaced Parker with Turkoglu, a very smart move, but their backcourt is still pretty weak. A big reason that they will edge out Washington for the 8th spot is because their frontcourt is stacked. The frontcourt trio of Turkoglu, Chris Bosh and Andrea Barganani is tough to beat, but this team has been projected to do well in a weak division and not lived up to its expectations.

9: Washington Wizards: Flip Saunders has his work cut out for him given the Wizards reputation of losing, but he has a bunch of stars that makes this team a contender. Gilbert Arenas' injury was a huge reason for Washington's woes last year, but the entire team needs to help him out and step up their game in doing so

10: Indiana Pacers: Danny Granger needs help carrying this team. They have potential, and most of their team has not been in the league very long, but they can be good in the future. They could make a run for the playoffs, but they need big production from everyone else on their team.

11: Charlotte Bobcats: The reason that Indiana will end up beating the Bobcats is that Indiana's big star averages 25 ppg while Charlottes go-to guy, Gerald Wallace, averages around 16. Charlotte has more depth than Indiana, but they will not benefit from replaceing Emeka Okafor with Tyson Chandler. They have a bunch of solid players, but they just don't have enough to make a run yet

12: New Jersey Nets: Lawrence Frank has tried to start orienting the offense to showcase Brook Lopez, which could start an excellent duo of Devin Harris and Lopez and take some of the weight off of Harris' shoulders. They have a young group of guys that need to step up their game to help their team win, like Chris Douglas-Roberts, Bobby Simmons, Courtney Lee and especially Yi Jianlian. The Nets are one of the many teams in the league with a young team with great potential for future success, just they need to prove themselves

13: Philadelphia 76ers: The 6ers have the players to potentially take them far, but they do the best when 1 of their best players, Elton Brand, is injured. Brand is a great and experienced power forward. If he can produce and stay healthy the 6ers can be a solid team, but they definitely need some work

14: New York Knicks: The Knicks have 4 solid players and not much else. Al Harrington, the leading scorer, barely averages 20 points. Without Harrington, Double-Double Machine David Lee and guards Wilson Chandler and Nate Robinson, the Knicks would be nowhere.

15: Milwaukee Bucks: I know I sound like a broken record, but the Bucks are another team with one superstar who needs support from his young supporting cast that has huge potential. The problem is that Michael Redd is the only proven scorer much of his supporting cast are hyped-up players who have yet to elevate their game to the potential they are expected to get. Being in the toughest division in the east doesn't help much either

Cavs over Raptors (4)
Celtics over Bulls (5)
Magic over Heat (6)
Hawks over Pistons (7)
Cavs over Hawks (5)
Celtics over Magic (7)
Cavs over Celtics (7)

Western Conference
1: San Antonio Spurs: This is going to be one of the closest battles for top seed in history. 2 deep teams with playoff and championship experience fighting it out for top spot. With virtually equal talent in coaching and starters with LA, the best bench in basketball will propel the Spurs to the top of the Western Conference

2: Los Angeles Lakers: The reigning champs added Ron Artest to bolster their defense, but they did not resign Trevor Ariza to do so. Artest is older and more hotheaded, but his skills are still there. They have a balanced team and will go hard, but they will come up just short

3: Utah Jazz: If the team is healthy, and that's a big if, they could even contend with the Spurs of the Lakers, but their history of injuries makes that unlikely. They did not make any new acquisitions in the offseason, but if the Jazz are healthy then they are great just the way they are

4: Dallas Mavericks: The only reason they are 4th seed is because the top 3 seeds have to be division leaders. Shawn Marion will give assist-master Jason Kidd another all-star to pass to, and Drew Gooden and Erick Dampier will team up to make arguably the most formidable center duo in the league, and all this together gives the Mavericks a top flite starting lineup. What is also scary is that they have a great bench to back up their formidable starting lineup

5: New Orleans Hornets: Replacing Tyson Chandler with Emeka Okafor was a great decision for New Orleans. Not only is Okafor a proven scorer, shot-blocker and rebounder, but he will help James Posey on defense and help David West down low. The fast scoring machine of New Orleans now has a solid defense as well. And when a group of scorers is lead by Chris Paul, a scorer who also averages 11 assists, anything can happen

6: Phoenix Suns: A big reason that the Suns missed the playoffs last year was because they lost their go-to-guy, Amare Stoudemire. They did lose Shaq, but Amare should have no problem replacing him. There are a lot of good teams in the west, so Steve Nash will need to pass around to all the Suns' scorers, and this offense-only team needs to lockdown on D

7: Denver Nuggets: The team that challenged the Lakers did nothing to improve their already great team. Getting Ty Lawson from the draft was a good move, especially since Chauncey Billups isn't getting any younger. Carmelo Anthony is nearing his prime, as if he's not great already. They are another team that needs to stay away from injuries. To push further in ahead in the talented west, they need to produce like they did last year and need to keep NenĂª and Kenyon Martin healthy

8: Memphis Grizzlies: Putting Allen Iverson on the bench is not a good move, but it really would not make too much of a difference. Bench or not, AI will teach young guards OJ Mayo and Mike Conley jr what he knows and that could improve upon an already excetional guard trio. Their great draft brought in Sam Young and Hasheem Thabeet, who should fit in nicely with the rest of the team. The addition of Zach Randolph was smart because he will use his experience to help better Marc Gasol, Rudy Gay, Thabeet and Young. This is a great, up-and-coming team that could be on top in a few years

9: Portland Trailblazers: Brandon Roy, Rudy Fernandez and LaMarcus Aldridge form a strong and young big 3, but beyond that there really is not much else. Greg Oden was a disappointment, and the other good players that they have are very old. Andre Miller could teach Steve Blake a few things, and this team could really get going. But Oden is a huge factor in how this team fares throughout the season, because the blazers need a big man and he cannot get injured

10: Las Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin has a lot of talented big men in front of him, but he will definitely benefit from them by learning from them and soon become the starter here. They are no longer a doormat for the league and they could make a run for the eighth spot if Oden is injured and if Marcus Camby, Baron Davis, and Chris Kaman stay healthy

11: Golden State Warriors: The Warriors were hurt by Monta Ellis being injured for almost the entire year, and need him to if they want a chance at the playoffs, however unlikely that may be. They do have a solid team, but no men in the middle. They do need Ellis, yes, but the reason for their woes is because they do not have a true power forward and Andris Biedrins needs to improve, and fast

12: Oklahoma City Thunder: The youngest team in the league is definitely moving in the right direction. Jeff Green is adapting to his role as power forward and is becoming a Rashard Lewis type player, a decent-size guy who will give bigger, slower power forwards nightmares with his speed and versatile game. Nenad Krstic will have to be better than he ever has been without Jason Kidd giving him great passes. However, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Green give the young Thunder a sunny and bright future

13: Houston Rockets: Yao Ming out for the season spells trouble for Houston, who will also start the year without Tracy McGrady. They will be hampered by their lack of a center, and need Trevor Ariza, Luis Scola and Shane Battier to carry the team, but it's going to be a long season for the Rockets

14: Sacramento Kings: Kevin Martin is the lone star on this team, but there is some hope for the future. Spencer Hawes and Sean May make a talented tandem at center. Tyreke Evans was a great pick, and coupled with Beno Udrih makes a solid point guard duo as well. The problem is, right now the Kings are the worst team in a solid division, so they will have to wait a while to claim their throne

15: Minnesota Timberwolves: Al Jefforson is the entirety of the T-Wolves' team. They have a promising draft in Wayne Ellington and Johnny Flynn, but they just don't have the firepower to do anything in the west. They are young, however, and could have a good future, just there are so many holes to fill

Spurs over Grizzlies (5)
Lakers over Nuggets (6)
Suns over Jazz (7)
Hornets over Mavericks (7)
Spurs over Hornets (6)
Lakers over Suns (6)
Spurs over Lakers (7)

NBA Finals
Cavs over Spurs (7)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Mock Draft 1.0 (Picks 6-10)

By: Robert Kivell
6. Minnesota Timberwolves- Demar Derozan
(Needs: SG, C)

The T-Wolves could really use an upgrade at every position.  They made a big trade on draft day to get Kevin Love and Mike Miller for O.J. Mayo, but so far it is looking like the Grizzlies got the better end of the trade (when can you ever say that).  Minnesota could really use a 2-guard right here who can score points and compliment Sebastian Telfair in the backcourt.

7. Golden State Warriors- Jordan Hill
(Needs: PF, PG)

I think the Warriors could go two ways with this pick.  Monta Ellis is looking to be more of a shooting guard than a point guard, so it is possible the Warriors could take Brandon Jennings with this pick or Tyreke Evans if he is left.  They also need a big man to hold down the fort with Biendrins, so I like the Warriors to take Hill with this pick.  At this point in the draft, some would view the former Arizona Wildcat as a steal.

8. New York Knicks- Stephen Curry
(Needs: PG, C)

I don't know if Steph Curry is the best player left at this point in the draft, but I think he will be able to fit in nicely in the Knicks' run and gun offense.  Jennings could once again be a possible pick here, but if the Knicks are going to get "you know who" in 2010, Curry would make a better backcourt companion to LBJ than Jennings would.

9. Toronto Raptors- Gerald Henderson
(Needs: SG, C)

An aging Anthony Parker (33 years old) just will not cut it anymore for the Raptors.  Toronto has solid pieces to build around in Bosh, Calderon, and Bargnani, and Henderson would fit in nicely to round out the Rap's starting five.  If they could get their acts together, these guys should be able to make a run at one of the lower seeds in the playoffs next year.

10. Miluakee Bucks- Brandon Jennings
(Needs: PG, PF)

An absolute steal for the Bucks at number 10.  Jrue Holiday is a possible option here as is Dajuan Blair.  The Bucks have a lot of work to do, and Brandon Jennings could be a nice start for them.

Picks 11-15 will be coming later

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mock Draft 1.0 (Picks 1-5)

By: Robert Kivell
1. LA Clippers- Blake Griffin
(Needs: PF, SG)

Griffin is by far the best player in the draft and would fit right in in L.A.  With a starting lineup of Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Al Thorton, Blake Griffin, and Marcus Camby, the Clips could make a big improvement next year and hover around the .500 mark.

2. Memphis Grizzlies- Hasheem Thabeet
(Needs: C, PG)

The Grizzlies could go two ways with this pick.  They can select Thabeet or Rubio.  It's all going to depend on how much patience they are willing to have with Mike Conley Jr.  If they are ready to label him as a bust, Rubio is the pick.  If not, Thabeet is their guy.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder- James Harden
(Needs: C, SG)

I see Russel Westbrook as a better point guard in the future than as a shooting guard.  If Thabeet falls to three, he is their guy, but once he is gone I see them picking Harden.   I would not be surprised however if they trade this pick with someone who is interested in moving up to take Rubio because he won't be left after the Kings pick.

4. Sacramento Kings- Ricky Rubio
(Needs: PG, SF)

The transition from Mike Bibby to Beno Udrich has not gone so well.  If Rubio is left here at #4 it would be a blessing for last year's worst team in the NBA.  If not, they could take Tyreke Evans or Brandon Jennings here.

5. Washington Wizards- Tyreke Evans
(Needs: PG, SG, C,)

The Wizards could really use a big man, but the quality of centers after Thabeet isn't good enough.  I like Evans to compliment Agent Zero in the Wiz's backcourt.

Picks 6-10 will be coming later.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Finals Predictions

By: Robert Kivell

Game 1

The Magic won't know what to expect, and the Lakers will.  I see the Lakers storming out of the gate in this one to take a double digit lead.  The Lakers will be able to maintain that lead throughout the game and win game 1 in a blowout.

Prediction: Lakers by 12 (Lakers lead 1-0)

Game 2

The Magic are going to come out firing three's to take a early double-digit lead, much like the Lakers in game 1.  However this time the trailing team won't fade away.  Lead by Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom, the Lakers will storm back to win in a close one.

Prediction: Lakers by 5 (Lakers lead 2-0)

Game 3

For the first time in the series the score is within ten at halftime.  The Magic are up a little despite shooting poorly from 3-pt range.  In a do or die situation in the second half, Dwight Howard takes over.  Superman is able to stay out of foul trouble and records a double-double in the third quarter alone.  Magic win by big, very big.

Prediction: Magic by 17 (Lakers lead 2-1)

Game 4

A tight one throughout.  Kobe Bryant cannot be stopped, but neither can the Magic's three point shooters.  Bryant matches Turkaglu, Lewis, and Alston shot for shot, and the Lakers win in a close one.

Prediction: Lakers by 3 (Lakers lead 3-1)

Game 5

Jameer Nelson returns to provide the Magic with a much needed lift.  Nelson scores 20 off the bench to propel the Magic to a road victory.  Meanwhile, Pietrus and Turkaglu hold Kobe to 30% shooting from the field.

Prediction: Magic by 7 (Lakers lead 3-2)

Game 6

Stan Van Gundy decides to reward Nelson for his outstanding game five performance by starting him over Rafer Alston.  Nelson has another gutty performance, but is overshadowed by Dwight Howard's dominance of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.  D-Howard puts up 40 and 20, forcing a game 7 in LA.

Prediction: Magic by 8 (Series tied 3-3)

Game 7

 The Magic get out to an early double digit lead, but the Laker deficit is trimmed to just a point at halftime.  

Stan Van Gundy throws and kicks multiple objects in the locker room to show his disgust to his team.  Stan the Man gives his boys one of the greatest pep talks of all time to get them ready for the second half.  Meanwhile, Phil Jackson is listening to music in his office while Kobe is getting his team ready for the second half.  Halftime result: Van Gundy over Kobe. 

 The Magic come out fired up and score three 3's to start the third.  The game goes back in forth for the rest of the quarter, but the Magic remain on top by double digits heading into the fourth.  Nicholson is starting to pull out his hair (or whatever of it is remaining), Shaq, who is in attendance, is smiling and thinking to himself (Hey Kobe, this is how my a** tastes), Lebron is smiling at home because if Kobe loses he can still say he is the best in the league, and Phil  Jackson has fallen asleep on the bench.  

Time for the fourth quarter, time for JJ Redick.  Two three's to start the fourth, and the Magic are up by 16.  It's over, right?  Wrong! The Lakers have Kobe Bryant.  They come all the way back to trail by 5 with 20 seconds left.  After hitting one of two free throws, the Magic lead by 6 with 17 seconds left.  Kobe dribbles the ball across half court, 14 seconds, puts a move on Pietrus, passes the ball to Shannon Brown?  Brown, as surprised as all of the fans throws up a three and drains it.  Magic by 3 with 8 seconds left.  Lewis is set to inbound the ball, but throws it right to Lamar Odom.  Odom has two options, go for the wide-open dunk with 6 seconds left to be down by one (DO IT!!!) or dribble out behind the three-point line and hope to get lucky.  On a sugar high from all of his candy he has eaten, Odom decides to do the smart thing, he puts up a layup.  Lakers down by one with 5 seconds left.

Magic inbound the ball to Lewis, who gets fouled by Gasol with 3 seconds left.  Gasol fouls out.  Lewis drains both foul shots, and runs back to his bench after the Lakers call time out.  Phil Jackson draws up the mastermind play that has worked every time he has called it over his career and made him the best coach in basketball (some would say).  Give the ball to Michael, I mean Kobe, and everyone clear out.

Fisher takes the ball out of bounds and gives it to Kobe.  3...2...1...he puts it up.  ITS GOOD.  WE'RE GOING TO OVERTIME. GREATEST COMEBACK OF ALL-TIME.  But wait why is Pietrus screaming at the ref and pointing at the three point line?  He is saying Kobe's foot was on the line.  The refs look into the monitor.  Pietrus was right.  Kobe's foot was on the line.  It is only a two. Orlando wins by one.  MAGIC WIN. MAGIC WIN.  

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Revised Playoff Brackets

Besides the Seed changes, there are some other slight changes I want to make

Eastern Conference Semis
Magic over Celtics (7)
As good as the Celtics are, the Magic are coming off of a 25-point win over Philly with Dwight Howard sitting on the bench.  With the injuries hitting the Celtics hard, they just cannot pull it off

Eastern Conference Finals
Cavs over Magic (5)
Yes, the Cavs do not have an answer for Dwight Howard, but LeBron James can score enough to offset that, and Illgauskas can slow Howard down enough to keep the burning hot Cavs rolling

NBA Finals
Lakers over Cavs (7)
Although the Cavs are on fire and the Lakers are stumbling, the Lakers swept the Cavs in double-digits during the season, including handing Cleveland their only home loss, which should not change for LA

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Playoff Bracket

Robert Kivell

Here is my predictions for May Madness in the NBA.

1st Round

(1) Cavs over (8) Pistons in four games.  

Too much Lebron in this series.  The Pistons were not that great after the Billups-Iverson trade this season, and I do not think they can scratch out a game against the Pistons without Iverson in the lineup.

(2) Celtics over (7) Bulls in six games.

The Bulls have been playing extremely well since the aquisitions of John Salmons and Brad Miller.  Similarly to the Hawks of last year, the Bulls have a young team that is very good at home.  I think the Bulls will give the Celts a little trouble, but in the end Boston will prevail.

(6) 76ers over (3) Magic in six games 

The Magic just are not playing playoff basketball right now.  Back to back losses to the lowly Knicks and Nets knocked them out of contention for the second spot in the East.  I like the sixers to catch Dwight Howard off guard and upset them in six games.

(4) Hawks over (5) Heat in seven games

Two words, home court.  The Hawks have been nearly unbeatable this year at home posting 30 wins at Phillips arena with one more to go.  The Tuesday matchup between these two teams should give us some insight into who will win the matchup next week.

(1) Lakers over (8) Jazz in five games

The Lakers are the better team here.  The Jazz are very good at home, so I think they can steal one on their home court, but this series is going to be won by the Lakers

(2) Nuggets over (7) Mavericks in five games

Like the Jazz, I think the Mavs can win one on their homecourt, but the Nuggets are clearly the better team.  The addition of Chauncey Billups earlier in the year has been the best move by a GM in the lasta 365 days.  Too much Billups and too much Melo in this series for Dirk and the Mavs to handle.

(3) Blazers over (6) Hornets in six games

Chris Paul is the best PG in the league, but his supporting cast is not as good as it was last year.  Tyson Chandler is banged up and David West is not the same.  James Posey was a nice addition to the rotation, but Brandon Roy and the Blazers have way too much depth.  

(5) San Antonio over (4) Rockets in six games

Even without Manu Ginobli I like the Spurs in this series.  Tony Parker can take over a game whenever he wants and Duncan will be able to neutralize Yao.  Although it would be comical if T-Mac's team finally won a playoff series without him, I do not see it happening.

Second Round

(1) Cavs over (4) Hawks in six games

Again I have two words to explain the outcome of a Hawks playoff series, home court.  The Hawks have given the Cavs fits in Atlanta this year winning their first meeting back in December and then losing by one in March.  The Cavs will win the first two games in this series, lose the next two, and then go on to win games five and six.

(2) Celtics over (6) Sixers in five games

The Celtics will have received a little scare from the Bulls and round one and will get straight to business in this series.  KG will be completely back in the rotation and the "Thad-less" Sixers will not have enough to overcome The Boston Three Party (and Rondo).

(1) Lakers over (5) Spurs in four games

Without Manu the Spurs cannot matchup against Kobe and the Lakers.  Bryant, Gasol, Odom, and Bynum will be too much for Parker and Duncan.  After somewhat of an upset in round one, the Spurs will fall quickly in round two.

(3) Blazers over (2) Nuggets in six games

Brandon Roy will lead the Blazers to their first Western Conference finals since the 90's and Clyde Drexler.  Greg Oden will score zero (0) points in this series, but Aldridge will be too much  of a presence in the frontcourt.  Denver falls in a tough series to the young, up and coming team in the West.

Conference Finals

(1) Cavaliers over (2) Celtics in five games

After today's 31 point beat down of the Celtics the Cavs proved that they are in fact the superior team.  Lebron James scores 30 a game in this series and the Cavs dominate KG, Pierce, and the Celtics en route to a four-one series win.

(3) Blazers over (1) Lakers in seven games

It all comes down to the last possession of game seven.  Blazers up by 1 with 15 seconds to go and the Lakers come up court.  10 seconds, 9, 8, 7, 6, Kobe drives, 5, 4, 3, puts up the layup, 2, its no good, 1, Bynum tips it up, 0, its good!!!! Lakers win!

Correction: (1) Lakers over (3) Blazers in seven games    [Gotcha at first didn't I]


Game 1: Cavs 98, Lakers 92
The Lakers Game Seven miracle did not last very long.  Lebron and the Cavs jumped out to a 14 point lead at halftime.  Kobe has a big second half to pull the Lakers within three late, but a three by Mo Williams pushes the Cavs up by 6 with 20 seconds to go and the Cavs go up 1-0.

Games 2: Cavs 101, Lakers 83
The Lakers worse lose all year was by seventeen to the Blazers.  The Cavs hope to one up the number of games the Blazers won against Kobe and the Lakers, and one up'ed them in this game.  Lebron goes for 40 10 and 8 and the Cavs dominate from the start

Game 3: Lakers 87, Cavs 86
The Lakers finally got to control the tempo and it paid off.  King James misses a three as time expires and the Lakers hold on to win a crucial, must-win game three

Game 4:  Cavs 99, Lakers 95
Things do not look too bright for the Lakers after Lebron James tears up Kobe for 55 points.  Bryant has a very good game too, 35 points and 10 rebounds, but the Lakers head back to Ohio down 3-1 knowing they must win three straight against a team that never lost more than two games all season if they want to be league champions.

Game 5: Lakers 101, Cavs 79
There is life for the Lakers.  Kobe comes out determined to shut down Lebron, and does.  James is held to 15 points, shooting only 25% from the field as the Lakers coast to a win on the Cavs home floor.

Game 6: Cavs 114, Lakers 88
Just like last year against the Celtics, the Lakers fall big in game six, this time losing by 26.  Lebron was back to his old self scoring 30 points and the Cavs are NBA CHAMPIONS.

MVP: Lebron James  

Playoff Brackets

By Josh Sperber

The seeds are basically set in stone, so NBA's version of March Madness can start

Eastern Conference
Cavs over Pistons (4)
Pistons are not great this year, the Cavs are on fire, and LeBron James will have an easy time on Rip, Prince or anyone the Pistons throw at him

Celtics over Bulls (5)
Shaky playoffs last year are gone, especially after clutch performances in the Eastern Conference and NBA finals.  A hobbling KG might hurt a bit, but the bulls have no answers for Pierce and Allen and Rondo should be able to keep Rose in check

Magic over 6ers (5)
Orlando may be on a downward spiral, but few centers in the game can play with Dwight Howard, who will outmuscle Dalembert.  With enough rest, Turkoglu will be back for the Playoffs, and even without him, Rashard Lewis will help out in scoring to combat Iguodala, but a healthy Turkoglu would seal the deal.

Heat over Hawks (6)
Two words, Dwyane Wade.  The size of Joe Johnson means nothing since Wade is a 6'3-6'5 superstar who can do it all.  Wade can come up big on either side of the court at any time. 

Cavs over Heat (5)
LeBron James can do whatever Wade can, but the King is bigger, stronger, and just as fast as (if not faster than) Wade.  The Cavs better bench will overpower the Heat's bench

Celtics over Magic (6)
Garnett will be able to slow Howard down enough so Pierce, Allen and Rondo can takeover.  Pierce and Allen are faster and more experienced in the playoffs than Turkoglu and Lewis in the playoffs, and Rondo will prove that he deserved the All-Star Game more than Nelson

Cavs over Celtics (7)
The Cavs are on fire right now, and the Celtics in last years playoffs were helped by James Posey, now a Hornet, because Posey slowed down LeBron enough so Pierce could lead the Celtics.  A sweet revenge will send LeBron to the Finals his 2nd time ever

Western Conference
Lakers over Jazz (4)
No team in the league has an answer for Kobe, except maybe the Cavs.  This will be a quick and easy series for LA

Nuggets over Mavs (5)
Billups has done a lot for Denver, and old Nets-Pistons playoff games were too long ago for Kidd to repeat his past success against Billups

Hornets over Rockets (7)
A gutsy pick, but Chandler can handle Yao, Posey can handle McGrady, but nobody can handle Paul.  Paul and West will be a formidable duo, and McGrady's playoff woes will continue

Spurs over Blazers (6)
Experience will be key here.  Oden is not yet good enough to handle Duncan, and the Spurs bench will help Duncan as Parker and Roy cancel each other out

Lakers over Spurs (6)
A typical Western Conference 2nd or 3rd round battle.  Again, Kobe will do what he does best to cancel out Duncan's dominance of Pao, and Odom will be too big for Bowen, Finley or Manu

Hornets over Nuggets (7)
Paul will use his age to his advantage as he runs circles around Billups.  Chandler will stop Camby, Posey will stop Melo, and West will beat Martin, that should be enough in this close series

Lakers over Hornets (5)
The Hornets will be too worn out to play with the best team in the NBA right now, Paul will take advantge of Fisher, but Kobe will make that meaningless

Lakers over Cavs (6)
The Cavs will be better than they showed in the Lakers double-digit season sweep of them, but Kobe will outplay LeBron and Kobe's better backup crew will prevail

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Better Luck Next Year

By Willie Stern
The New Jersey Nets enjoyed a successful season this year as they all but secured the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Devin Harris played like an MVP candidate, Vince Carter averaged over 20 PPG and Brook Lopez almost averaged a double double. The rebuilding process for the Nets has gone faster then expected and with a few good draft picks, they will contend next year in the Eastern Confrence. 

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Player Rankings - New Jersey Nets

By: Robert Kivell

New Jersey Nets

1. Devin Harris
2. Vince Carter
3. Brook Lopez
4. Yi Jianlian
5. Jarvis Hayes
6. Keyon Dooling
7. Bobby Simmons
8. Ryan Anderson
9. Josh Boone
10. Stromile Swift
11. Trenton Hassell
12. Sean Williams
13. Maurice Ager
14. Eduardo Najera
15. Chris Douglas-Roberts

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Western Conference Playoff Predictions

It's time for our Western Conference Playoff Predictions:

The Favorite:

1. L.A. Lakers

This isn't even a question. The Lakers are by far the best team in the West without Andrew Bynum and will be unstoppable when he comes back. They just have so many ways to beat you: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum down low, the outside shooting of Derek Fisher, Sasha Vujacic, and don't forget Lamar Odom.

The Next Tier:
2. San Antonio Spurs

It's the big three again. Parker, Ginobli, and Duncan. They just have so much experience and talent here. Look for a big second half for George Hill and Fabricio Oberto to help this team get the second seed in the West.

3. Denver Nuggets

You think the Pistons are having second thoughts about the Iverson-Billups trade right now? Nene, Carmelo, and Kenyon Martin are playing great and Chauncey Billups is just a great disher. This is a very dangerous team. They play the Celtics, Hawks, and Lakers this week. We should learn a lot about Denver this week.

They Could Win it if They Get Hot:

4. New Orleans Hornets

Tyson Chandler failing his physical may be a blessing in disguise for the Hornets. Paul, West, and Chandler can really carry this team. I look for the Hornets to capture last year's magic and take the fourth seed in the West.

5. Phoenix Suns

Even with Amare Stoudamire lost for the year, Alvin Gentry has got this team looking good. The first team since the Trail Blazers in the 91-92 season to score 140+ in three straight games. Look for the Suns to play like last year with Mike D'antoni and take the fifth seed.

6. Utah Jazz

My sleeper team of the West. They have been plagued my injuries early in the year and now are finding their stride. They've got so many stars here with Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur, Paul Millsap, Andrei Kirilenko, and Ronnie Brewer. I think that the Jazz can realy make a run late in the year.

Maybe Next Year:

7. Portland Trail Blazers

They've played well up to now, but I don't think that they can keep it up. Aldridge, Roy, and Rudy Fernandez are young. I think that next year these guys could be a real force in the West.

The End of a Good Run:
8. Dallas Mavericks.

This team is getting old (Kidd), Dirk Nowitzki is going to be a free agent in 2010, and no one else has stepped up. They had a nice run and could have kept it going longer without that horrible trade with the Nets for Jason Kidd. Nevertheless, the Rockets lost Tracy McGrady for the year and traded away Rafer Alston for basically nothing. Their only player is Yao and he is not assertive enough to carry the Rockets. In the end, the Mavs will edge out the T-Mac-less Rockets for the last spot

Friday, February 20, 2009

Player Rankings - Utah Jazz


1. Deron Williams
2. Carlos Boozer
3. Paul Millsap
4. Andrei Kirilenko
5. Mehmet Okur
6. Kyle Korver
7. Ronnie Brewer
8. C.J Miles
9. Matt Harpring
10. Morris Almond
11. Ronnie Price
12. Brevin Knight
13. Kosta Koufos
14. Jarron Collins
15. Kyrylo Fesenko

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Knicks-Thunder Trade

By: Robert Kivell

Knicks Get:
Chris Wilcox

Thunder Get:
Malik Rose

I like this trade for the Knicks too.  Wilcox is clearly the better and younger player, plus the Knicks are shedding salary on this one.  It's a shame that Tyson Chandler failed his physical because the Thunder looked fifty times better at this time yesterday than they do today.

Knicks-Bulls Trade

Knicks Get:
Larry Hughes

Bulls Get:
Jerome James
Anthony Roberson
Tim Thomas

I like this deal for the Knicks because they finally get rid of Jerome James and his awful contract and get a quality player too.  Roberson is never going to be that good and Thomas is getting old.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Player Rankings-Boston Celtics

By Adam Sperber


  1. Kevin Garnett
  2. Paul Pierce
  3. Ray Allen
  4. Rajon Rondo
  5. Kendrick Perkins
  6. Leon Powe
  7. Eddie House
  8. Glen Davis
  9. Brian Scalabrine
  10. Gabe Pruitt
  11. Bill Walker
  12. Patrick O'Bryant
  13. Tony Allen

Play For the Day

Kryptonite over Superman

Bulls-Kings Deal

By: Robert Kivell

In a three team, seven player deal, the Bulls and Kings (and blazers) have swapped some good players.  Here is the deal.

Bulls Get:
Brad Miller (from Sac)
John Salmons (from Sac)

Kings Get:
Andres Nocioni (from Chi)
Drew Gooden (from Chi)
Cedric Simmons (from Chi)
Ike Diogu (from Por)

Blazers Get:
Michael Ruffin (from Chi)

I like this deal for the Bulls as they get the best two players in this trade.  Salmons has the most talent out of all these players and Brad Miller is a good veteran to have down the stretch.  It doesn't look like the Bulls will get Amare anymore, but they definitely have a good shot at the eighth seed in the east.

Player Rankings- Miami Heat

By: Scott Matza


1. Dwayne Wade
2. Jermaine O'Neal
3. Mario Chalmers
4. Udonis Haslem
5. Michael Beasley
6. Jamario Moon
7. Daequan Cook
8. Joel Anthony
9. Dorell Wright
10. Yakhouba Diawara
11.Chris Quinn
12. Mark Blount
13. Jamaal Maglore

Monday, February 16, 2009

Player Rankings- New Orleans Hornets

By: Robert Kivell

Sorry for the inconsistency with these rankings lately. We will have at least two up today and try to have another two up tomorrow.

New Orleans Hornets

1. Chris Paul
2. David West
3. Peja Stojakovic
4. James Posey
5. Chris Wilcox
6. Joe Smith
7. Rasual Butler
8. Devin Brown
9. Morris Peterson
10. Hilton Armstrong
11. Julian Wright
12. Antonio Daniels
13. Melvin Ely
14. Sean Marks
15. Ryan Bowen

Sunday, February 15, 2009

All Star Weekend Reacations (Friday and Saturday)

By: Robert Kivell

Rookies vs. Sophomores Game

Maybe the best rookie-sophomore game ever.  Kevin Durant showed us that he should have been selected to play in the big game on Sunday.  Durant was clearly superior to everyone else on the court.  For a while it looked like the rooks were going to pull it out, but in the end the sophs pulled this one out.


This event was okay.  I was expected a lot out of this event, but not much came out of it.  Johnson, Mayo, and Durant all hit some nice shots, but at the end of the hour I was a little bored.  Maybe next year instead of a playing HORSE, they should have a big game of knock out (like 15 people).  That would be cool.

Haier Shooting Stars

Why is this even an event?

Skills Challenge

I think that the players in this event were a little too nonchalant.  Derrick Rose's dunk at the end was exciting, but that was it.  I would have liked the players to have taken this event a little more seriously though.

Three Point Contest

Daquan Cook? Really? This is always one of my favorite events of the weekend.  The scores were a little bit low, but I enjoyed the playoff between Cook an Lewis in the end.  Too bad Lewis only got 7, so there wasn't really any suspense.

Slam Dunk Contest

The right man won.  Here is how I would have rated each dunk.

J.R. Smith
43, 43

Rudy Fernandez
42, 45 (If he got it earlier I would have given it a 50)

Dwight Howard
47, 48, 50, 43

Nate Robinson
45, 45, 45, 50

That last dunk was crazy.  Imagine trying to dunk over a 7-footer.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Team on the Rise

By: Robert Kivell
That team on the rise is the Atlanta Hawks.  Currently 31-21, the Hawks are fourth place in the East.  They just beat the Pistons, who are 5th place in the East, and have won 4 out of 5 with their only loss coming to the Clippers because of an absence of both their starting guards.  Last year at the all-star break, the Hawks were 22-28.  One might wonder why a team that lost a very good player in Josh Chlidress would be 8 games better 50 games in than they were a year ago.  The answer to that question is that their young talent is getting better.

At the core of the Atlanta team is four young studs and one solid veteran.  All four young talents are having excellent years, and lately Marvin Williams has showed his scoring potential (recent 29 and 23 point performances).  In addition to their young guns improving, Mike Bibby is having one of his best seasons in a long time.  Bibby is a big part of the Hawks success and deserving of his spot in the 3-point contest on Saturday.  

I can say that I was one of the few who saw the potential in this team.  I am a Hawks fan and at the beginning of the season predicted them to win 46 wins (They are actually on pace for 49).  Some "basketball experts" had the Hawks finishing 12th in the conference (John Hollinger; His system is flawless. He also had Philly 3rd and Toronto 6th)   Atlanta has 3 players participating in 4 events this all-star weekend.  Atlanta is finally getting some of the recognition they deserve.

After the break, the Hawks will travel to L.A. for a match up with probably the best team in the league. The Hawks have been dominant so far this year at home, but not the greatest team on the road.  I see the Hawks taking a big step forward on the 17th, and beating L.A. led by Joe Johnson.  

It will be interesting to see whether or not the Hawks will continue to progress in the second half of the season.  As an optimistic fan, I see them finishing with 48-49 wins, the fourth seed, a victory over the Pistons/Sixers/Heat, and pushing Cleveland or Boston to the limit in the second round (possibly winning).  The Hawks are a team to watch out for.

All-Star Activities: The Preview

Josh Sperber

All-star weekend is fun to watch even without the main event: the All-Star game.  Here are the three most exciting events to entertain NBA fans in the waiting game for the all-star game, or a whole weekend.

A spinoff of the classic backyard game that is going big into its inaugural all-star weekend. Headed by three of the NBA's youngest, and exciting stars, Kevin Durant, O.J. Mayo, and Joe Johnson, this is sure to be a very interesting game as these three stars are known to create and make amazing shots, the point of this game.  It is tough to predict a winner, since all of these stars can do it all, however, few in the league can compete with Durant in this category, so he is my pick.

3-Point Shootout: 
An all-star weekend classic returns, and with a field with all competitors averaging over .400 3pt.%.  The reigning champ Jason Kapono will be challenged by all-star Danny Granger, as well as Roger Mason, Mike Bibby, Daquaen Cook, and Rashard Lewis.  It is easy to pick Kapono to win his third consecutive title, after tying a record en route to his victory last year, but Roger Mason leads all competitors with .450 3pt.%, and Kapono is not nearly as hot as Mason.  My pick: Roger Mason.  

Slam Dunk Contest: 
What everyone has been waiting for, the Slam-Dunk favorite of the all-star game, where high-flying stars defy gravity to excite the multitude of viewers.  Dwight Howard is looking to win his second straight, but Rudy Fernandez, Nate Robinson, and J.R. Smith look to stop him. Fernandez may be loved by fans, and J.R. Smith was great in 2005 and Nate Robinson won the 2005 contest, "Superman" Howard will find another way to pick up another dunk contest, whether or not he has the superman outfit.  

Play For the Day

This one is a personal favorite

Player Rankings- Oklahoma City Thunder

By: Robert Kivell

klahoma City Thunder
1. Kevin Durant
2. Jeff Green
3. Russell Westbrook
4. Chris Wilcox
5. Nick Collison
6. Nenad Kristic
7. Earl Watson
8. Desmond Mason
9. Joe Smith
10. Damien Wilkins
11. Robert Swift
12. Kyle Weaver
13. Chucky Atkins
14. Mouhamed Sene
15. D.J. White
Tomorrow: Miami Heat