Just another WordPress.com site

Archive for February, 2013

NBA 2nd Half Predictions

Washington Wizards v/s Miami Heat December 18, 2010

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison

http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithallison/

February 23, 2014

@nick_speed

1. The Golden State Warriors continue to play well, and make noise in the playoffs.

I am really impressed with the job Mark Jackson has done with this team. They are currently 32-23, and 6th in the Western Conference standings. Despite giving up 101.4 ppg, they are top 10 in the league in points pg, rebounds pg, and assists pg. Lead by Stephen Curry (21 ppg, 6.6 apg) and St. Louis native David Lee (19 ppg, 11 rpg), the Warriors are a solid, scrappy bunch. They are a matchup nightmare, and will scare a lot of teams come playoff time. Golden State is only 6 games behind the Clippers, who are in a current funk. I fully expect the Warriors to gain ground on “Lob City” and contend for the Pacific Division crown.

On Friday, Golden State picked up an impressive 107-101 OT victory over the Spurs. The Warriors surged ahead of San Antonio, outscoring them 40-22 in the 4 quarter and overtime. This was a team effort for Golden State, they got 46 points from their reserves lead by PG Jarrett Jack who scored 30 points. They also recieved a monster effort from their All Star David Lee who racked up 25 points and 22 rebounds.

One concern I do have with the Warriors is Andrew Bogut’s health. Once the postseason begins it will be imperative that Golden State has an established post presence. Injuries have derailed Bogut’s career some, but when healthy he can provide double digit rebounds, and a couple blocks per game.

2. Brad Beal will win Rookie of the Year.

Rookie Brad Beal, also a St. Louis native, had a rough start to his NBA career. He struggled with his shot, and hadn’t really found his niche with the Wizards. Since the new year however, the rookie has settled in and showed signs of promise. Last month he scored 22 points and his 1st game winner against the Oklahoma City Thunder. In his last 4 games he has averaged 20 ppg and 5 rpg, including an outstanding 17 & 12 performance in a win over the Denver Nuggets. The Wizards dealt away G Jordan Crawford to the Celtics, which will mean more scoring opportunities for Beal. He seems to be getting better as the season progresses, and I expect him to beat out Damian Lillard to become 2012-2013’s Rookie of the Year.

3. The Los Angeles Lakers will make the playoffs.

 The Lakers are currently 27-29 with 26 games remaining on the schedule. In order to make the playoffs, I would estimate they need to go at least 20-6 the rest of the way. It hasn’t been smooth sailing for LA this year, as they have been plagued with chemistry issues, coaching changes, and injuries. The Lakers have been slow to adjust to Mike D’Antoni’s system after Mike Brown was fired 5 games into the season. Jordan Hill is out for the year, and Pau Gasol is out for at least 4 more weeks. Add in Dwight Howard’s slow recovery from back surgery, while dealing with a bum shoulder has left LA’s front court very thin. At the end of the day, despite all of the problems this team has faced, they are simply too talented to miss the postseason. Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, and Steve Nash’s continuity will continue to grow as they adjust and adapt to one another.

The Utah Jazz and the Houston Rockets currently are sitting 7th and 8th in the Western Conference standings respectively. I wouldn’t put a whole lot of faith in either team down the stretch. Expect LA to leapfrog one of these teams and get to the postseason. Once the Lakers do make the playoffs, I don’t expect a deep run in the postseason. Lack of depth and athleticism will make it very difficult to keep up with the elite teams in the West. While any season without a championship is considered a failure in Lakerland, I think getting to the 2 round is a realistic goal for this team.

4. The Los Angeles Clippers will struggle in the 2nd half, and lose in the 1st round.

Speaking of LA… the city’s other team, the Clippers got off to a hot start to begin the year. They were running teams out of the gym on a nightly basis. In the month of December, the Clippers went undefeated, reeling off 16 straight victories. The team has cooled off a bit since then, and have shown signs of venerability. Don’t get me wrong, the Clippers have a really good team. Their athleticism is scary, and top to bottom they are one of the most talented teams in the league. However, I have 2 big concerns with the Clippers:

1. Blake Griffin: Griffin along with PG Chris Paul are the cornerstones of the LA Clippers franchise. My problem with Griffin is he looks exactly like he did last year. The great players like Kobe, LeBron, and Durant add something to their game each year to evolve their skill set. Griffin still has an inconsistent jumpshot, lacks a solid post game, and his one on one post defense is suspect. The Clippers will run into the same problems they had last postseason due to Griffin’s deficiencies on offense and defense.

2. Vinny Del Negro: At times this season, the Clippers look like they are playing a pick up game. The lack of creativity in play calling out of timeouts, out of bounds plays, and last second plays is baffling. Once the postseason begins, the Clippers will get out coached by the Scott Brooks’, Mark Jackson’s, and Gregg Popovich’s of the Western Conference. If the playoffs started today, the Clippers would face the Golden State Warriors.  The Clippers have struggled against the Warriors all season and are 0-4 against them. The Warriors cause the Clippers a lot of problems because they can match their athleticism and are a better rebounding team. Factor in Mark Jackson’s superior coaching ability, and you have a recipe for a 1st round upset.

5. LeBron will finish this season like the last (NBA MVP, Championship, and Finals MVP).

Just when you think LeBron is at his best, he just keeps getting better. He has followed up last year’s spectacular season, with yet another one.  James is averaging 27, 7, and 8 (career highs in assists and rebounds pg). During the month of February, LBJ became the 1st player in NBA history to record 30+ points while shooting at least 60% from the field in 6 straight games.  While I think Spurs PG Tony Parker should get a serious consideration for MVP, I think LeBron is the favorite to win the award. If LBJ does indeed win it for the 4th time in 5 years I think it becomes very possible he ties/surpasses Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record 6  Maurice Podoloff Trophies.

LeBron’s excellence on the court has the Miami Heat on track for a repeat of last year’s title run. Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh look as good as ever, and Ray Allen is starting adapt to the Heat’s system. Miami is currently on a 10 game winning streak, and sit atop the Eastern Conference standings at 39-14. Their road to capturing another championship will be more difficult than last year, especially once the postseason begins. However, I don’t think any team has a realistic chance of beating the Heat 4 times in a series.

If you’re not a LeBron fan, you have to respect him, for we are witnessing greatness…


#O_OClipOfTheDay

February 22, 2013

@nick_speed

This clip was from the 2006 Pro Bowl, featuring the late great Sean Taylor. He was 24 at the time of his death in November of 2007. He was selected to 2 Pro Bowls, and is the only player to be voted into the NFL’s All Star game posthumously (2007). Despite only 3 NFL seasons, Taylor was one of the most feared safeties in the NFL. His bone crushing hits earned him the nickname “Meast” (half-man, half-beast) among his Redskins teammates.

In the clip above, Bills punter Brian Moorman tries to take off for a 1st down. Sean Taylor hawks him down from about 20 yards away and drops a hammer to prevent the AFC from keeping the drive alive. This play will go down as one of the greatest in Pro Bowl history.


2-21 Daily O’s Podcast

February 21, 2013

@nick_speed / @allidoisowen

Yesterday’s Podcast featuring myself and fellow CBC alum Owen Shroyer. We talk some NHL, NBA, and NFL.


Just In Case You Forgot…

February 21, 2013

@nick_speed

robin

David Robinson’s stat line against the Clippers

71 points, (26-41FGs, 18-25 FTs) 10 Rebounds, 5 Assists, and 2 Blocks

Coming into this game David Robinson trailed Shaquille O’Neal by 33 points for the scoring title heading into the final game of the regular season. Not only did Robinson catch Shaq, he blew right past him, becoming the 1993 scoring champion (29.8 ppg). On April 24th, 1994, David Robinson accomplished a feat matched by only 4 others (Wilt Chamberlin, Elgin Baylor, David Thompson, and Kobe Bryant) in NBA history by scoring 70+ points in a single game. He obliterated every defender the LA Clippers threw at him, en route to a 71 point explosion.

Here is a look at the 1993-94 season and David’s sensational season:

  • David scored 20 or more points for 20 games straight during the 1993-94 season. Robinson started the scoring streak with 28 points against the Dallas Mavericks on 11/27/93 and scored 20+ for his 20th consecutive game at Golden State on 1/6/94 with 32 points.
  • David scored in single digits only twice the entire season and posted double figures the other 78 games.
  • The 29.8 points per game average was the highest of Robinson’s career for a single season.
  • David would follow-up the record breaking 1993-94 season by winning the NBA MVP the very next year.

When discussing the all time greats in NBA history, David Robinson’s greatness is often underated. Long before Tim Duncan became an anchor for the San Antionio Spurs fanchise, The Admiral dominated during a time when giants roamed the league. In an era of great centers like Shaq, Hakeem the Dream, Mutumbo, and Ewing, Robinson ranked among the NBA’s elite. Throughout his career, he has been nothing short of impressive:

  • Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2009
  • 2 -Time NBA Champion (1999, 2003)
  • NBA MVP (1995)
  • NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1992)
  • NBA Rookie of the Year (1990)
  • All-NBA First Team (1991, ’92, ’95, ’96)
  • All-NBA Second Team (1994, ’98)
  • All-NBA Third Team (1990, ’93, 2000, ’01)
  • All-Defensive First Team (1991, ’92, ’95, ’96)
  • All-Defensive Second Team (1990, ’93, ’94, ’98)
  • 10-time NBA All-Star
  • NBA Sportsmanship Award (2001)
  • 3-time Olympian (1988, ’92, ’96)
  • Led NBA in Rebounding (1990–91 season) – 13.0 rpg
  • Led NBA in Blocked Shots (1991–92 season) – 4.49 bpg
  • His 2,954 blocked shots are the most by any player wearing a San Antonio Spurs jersey
  • Elected to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2008
  • Ranked #25 in SLAM Magazines 2009 revision of the top 50 greatest players of all time


Guest Appearance on Daily O’s

February 19, 2013

Made an appearance on the homie Owen Shroyer ‘s show, Daily O’s. Check me out…

We cover Rams football, NBA, NCAA, and more


Young cut loose by Rams

titus-young

February 16, 2013

@nick_speed

It was good while it lasted? A few days after the Rams signed young WR Titus Young, he was dismissed from the team. While I didn’t expect for Young to be the 2nd coming of Torry Holt, I felt he could have been productive. He could have easily been one of the Rams top 3 receivers if he had remained on the team.

The fact that Fisher dismissed Young just as soon as he picked him up puzzles me. Though he wasn’t exactly a model citizen in Detroit, the 4 TDs he scored this past season would rank him 2nd among Rams WRs. The Rams aren’t exactly stacked at receiver either, and could use a solid WR like Young in their receiving corp. Not to mention, Young and Austin Pettis have the Boise State connection.

Lets take a look at the Rams current WRs:

2012 Stats

Danny Amendola: 66 catches, 666 yards, and 3 TDs

Chris Givens: 42 catches, 698 yards, and 3 TDs

Brandon Gibson: 51 catches, 691 yards, and 5 TDs

Brian Quick: 11 catches, 156 yards, and 2 TDs

Steve Smith: 14 catches, 131 yards

As you can see, the Rams could use some better production in the passing game. When you look at the current list of free agent WRs there are some attractive names out there. Mike Wallace, Wes Welker, Greg Jennings, Josh Cribbs, Randy Moss, and  Braylon Edwards. I personally think St. Louis should take a look at Mike Wallace, Percy Harvin, and Ramses Barden.

Out of all the big name free agents, Mike Wallace has the most upside. He will come with a price tag, but I think he’s worth the gamble. Wallace had down year in 2012, but has averaged at least 8 TDs for the past 3 years and has 17.5 yards per catch for his career.

Rick Spielman, GM of the Minnesota Vikings has stated that the team has no interest in trading WR Percy Harvin despite several rumors that Harvin is on the trade block. If Harvin does become available however, I think the Rams should made an effort to acquire his services. Despite Harvin’s durability issues, when healthy, he can immediately impact the Rams passing attack and return game. Percy Harvin has more kickoff/punt return TDs since 2009 (5), than the entire Rams team (1).

Former New York Giants WR Ramses Barden is an under the radar FA I think the Rams should look into. At 6’6 224 pounds, Barden could be at the very least a goal line threat for St. Louis.  He showed flashes of production last year, like his 9 catch, 138 yard outburst against the Panthers in Week 3.

Bottom line, the Rams need more weapons for Sam Bradford. The defense has been solid, but in order to take the next step, St. Louis needs more consistency on offense. The NFC West is all of a sudden one of the best divisions in football with heavyweights like the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. The Rams have their work cut out for them in 2013. They need to start putting points on the board if they want to have any shot at making the playoffs next year.


Duke Stands Firm At Cameron Indoor

photos

February 14, 2013

@nick_speed

Yesterday the Blue Devils gave Coach K a present on his 66th birthday. Duke rallied from a 10 point deficit in the 1st half to beat their arch rivals, the Tar Heels, 73-68. This was another epic battle between Duke/North Carolina, as the two teams scratched, clawed, and fought for every possession. This Duke victory gives Coach K a 38-37 all time record against the Tar Heels. Mason Plumlee and the Blue Devils struggled in the 1st half, Plumlee was only 3 for 8  and was frustrated by great defense from James McAdoo.

Duke came back strong in the 2nd half however, lead surprisingly by backup guard Tyler Thornton. Thornton only finished with 9 points, but 2 of his 3 3 pointers came during a Blue Devil run that gave them a lead they would not relinquish.

“It’s just the heart and the will to want to win,” Thornton said. “Especially coming down the stretch, you’ve got to go all out and leave it on the floor, and I think we did that.”

In the 2nd half Duke shot 52% from the field. They had 4 starters in double figures, lead by Mason Plumlee and Quinn Cook who both scored 18 points. This marks 6 straight wins for the Blue Devils after getting blown out by Miami back in January. They also have won 6 of the last 8 against North Carolina. Up next for Duke is the Maryland Terrapins, whom Duke defeated 84-64 (Jan. 26) to begin their current 6 game win streak.