Saturday, April 30, 2011

Second Round Preview

I hope you're not coming here for any predictions.

The first round of the playoffs told you all you needed to know about why I refuse to make any.

The games are simply unpredictable.

Bless anyone who tries to make a living betting on these games!

They are stressful enough with nothing at stake.

Every first-round series was incredible, as far as the quality of play, and this round looks to be even better.

Each series is full of intrigue, and it is impossible to pick a winner or pick the series which will be the most competitive or the most entertaining.

But we'll have the answer to every question in two weeks.


More and more, Erik Spoelstra is proving that he is not a championship coach.

He did a much better job driving the Chevy he had last year than the Cadillac he has now.

This series may tell us all we need to know about him.

If Miami goes down in six games, it might be time for Pat Riley to start searching his coaching database to bring in a winner.

Rajon Rondo finally revealed what was obvious when watching him play at the end of the season, that he wasn't 100 percent.

He was better against New York in the first round but still didn't look all the way back yet.

Hopefully, another week off did the trick.

Boston is the favorite in the East until they are eliminated from the playoffs.


This series is another real treat.

Dirk Nowitzki versus Kobe Bryant, two of the greatest players of their era, for the first time ever in the playoffs.

And don't forget about Rick Carlisle against Phil Jackson.

Carlisle has been on the doorstep for several years now but has never broken through.

This is another opportunity.

I remember watching the last time Dallas and Los Angeles met in the playoffs in 1988.

Anything close to that battle would be unbelievable.


The injury to Kirk Hinrich is the perfect example of why you develop your bench by giving them consistent playing time during the season, an area Larry Drew failed miserably in this season.

As I said before, I'm down with the Jeff Teague Movement.

But I'd feel a lot better about him had Drew played him consistently during the season and in the first round against Orlando.

And there's no guarantee Drew will play him against Chicago.

I would take Atlanta's talent over Chicago's talent every day of the week, but Drew hasn't used that talent right all season long.

So there's no reason to think he'll get it right now.

At the same time, Atlanta is a smart team seasoned with valuable playoff experience; and Drew deserves credit for that.

Chicago's half-court offense was a mess against Indiana, meaning Derrick Rose had to walk on water to win the series.

More miracles will be required unless Chicago's supporting cast steps up.


The Memphis-Oklahoma City games were some of the most entertaining, hardest-fought games of the regular season.

Kevin Durant versus Tony Allen was worth the price of admission alone.

This series is literally a blank slate. There's almost nothing to go by.

Kendrick Perkins didn't play in the one game they played after the trade deadline, so it's hard to tell what will happen without seeing Memphis go against Oklahoma City's full rotation.

One thing for sure is that this is a bad matchup for Russell Westbrook.

He is a high-turnover point guard going against a turnover-forcing defense, a formula for disaster.

But Mike Conley could come out and have more costly turnovers than Westbrook.

That's just how unpredictable the games are, and they have always been that way.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

George Karl's Fatal Flaw

When Denver traded Carmelo Anthony to New York, I refused to write them off and at the same time described George Karl as an "outstanding" coach.

After learning more about him and watching his playoff performance against Oklahoma City, I'm going to have to downgrade him from outstanding to good.


The answer can be best summarized by the following statistics from the Oklahoma City series: Al Harrington (14 minutes per game), Timofey Mozgov (0 minutes per game).

That tells you all you need to know about George Karl and why he is 20 games below .500 in the playoffs.

He doesn't believe in the defending the paint, which is incredible when you consider his coaching history.

Of all people, George Karl should know how important it is to have a seven-footer in the lane who can block shots.

And two shot-blockers are even better.

Yet here we are, 17 years after Dikembe Mutombo swatted his Sonics, with the best record in the NBA, out of the playoffs in the first round; and George Karl is still fooling around with Al Harrington at power forward.

Harrington, never known for his defense, didn't record a single block in the series, averaged 1.2 defensive rebounds and was pretty much a non-factor in the lane defensively.

Mozgov playing center next to Chris Andersen would have been much more formidable, even assuming Mozgov went scoreless the entire series.

Harrington over Mozgov is basically a choice of three-point shooting over interior defense, a losing strategy if ever I saw one.

But this plays right into Karl's coaching philosophy, where he doesn't believe you need a seven-footer to win it all and also seems to have a lack of respect for non-scoring big men.

He asked who the seven-footers were for Detroit and Chicago when they won titles in the '80s and '90s, implying that they didn't have one; and you don't need one to win it all.

For the record, James Edwards was the seven-footer for Detroit; and it was Bill Cartwright for Chicago.

Luc Longley was the seven-footer during Chicago's second title run.

While neither could shoot the three like Al Harrington, each was effective at clogging up the lane and preventing easy buckets in the paint.

Longley is clearly the weakest of the bunch, but I'd take him over Al Harrington every day of the week and five times on Sunday when I need someone to stop Russell Westbrook from getting an uncontested layup or someone to secure a defensive rebound.

I'd also take Timofey Mozgov.

And unless George Karl wants to keep reliving "Mount" Mutombo nightmares from '94, he should start taking Mozgov as well, or anybody else who can defend the paint like Serge Ibaka did last night in a scene which looked too much like '94 all over again.

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Thoughts From Around The Web

The first order of business is to clear up one thing: the definition of small ball.

Charlie at the Roundball Mining Company described Denver's lineup featuring Ty Lawson and Raymond Felton as "small ball."

I often write about small ball, so I have to define what I mean to avoid confusion with his words here.

Just to be clear, when I use the term "small ball" I am referring only to the power forward and center positions and not any others.

I'm not talking about point guard, shooting guard or small forward or anything else, only power forward and center.

That crucial point must be made to stay on the same page.

Is the difference between regular-season and playoff basketball a myth or a reality?

Rob Mahoney thinks it is a myth. Zach Lowe thinks it is a reality.

You can put me squarely in the reality camp, and anyone who's watched the playoffs so far should agree.

Tom Ziller thinks we can't judge NBA coaches.

The guys over at ESPN fully disagree. They spent an entire section judging some coaches and their performances so far.

While he doesn't think you can judge coaches, Ziller had no problem judging general manager David Kahn and comparing him to an avocado.

Finally, I'm all for giving credit where credit is due; but Sebastian Pruiti gave credit where none was due.

Pruiti tries to credit Tom Thibodeau for Derrick Rose's game-winner at the end of Game 3 in Indiana, writing that Thibodeau had Rose penetrate to the side of the floor where his two best shooters were.

It would have been a great story, if only it were true.

Watching the play, you can clearly see that the play was supposed to go to the opposite side, where Chicago's worst shooters were.

But Roy Hibbert jumped out and blocked Derrick Rose's path.

That forced Rose to improvise, and that improvisation led Rose to the side of the court where his best shooters were, not Tom Thibodeau.

Tom Thibodeau didn't make the play. Derrick Rose did.

But don't let the facts get in the way of a good story.

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

NBA Picks: Listen And Learn

Boy, did I get burned on some of my picks this year!

It was excruciating to watch as one team after another that I picked to do well performed below expectations.

At the same time, it was a valuable learning experience, one which I would like to pass along to all interested parties.

The most valuable lesson of all: consider the coach in your team evaluation!

My old method of analyzing a team was to look at the talent on the roster, see how much is there and how well it fits into traditional roles and positions and estimate a win total, with little or no regard for who the coach was.

But it's the coach who decides that Anthony Randolph doesn't deserve any playing time, who thinks Anthony Tolliver should be his first big man off the bench and who doesn't play Jeff Teague and goes with a seven-man rotation on the second night of a back-to-back.

The coach leads the team, evaluates the roster, sets the rotation, designs the plays, orchestrates the defense, hands out minutes, calls the timeouts, sets the strategies, approves the trades, guides the film sessions and everything else.

In short, the coach is everything!

You can have the most talented roster in the world and have them all fit perfectly together, but if the coach doesn't put the right players in the game at the right times, with a game-plan and a philosophy which produces wins, then it isn't worth a wooden nickel.

Whenever I write that certain things will happen, I feel a responsibility to explain things when they don't.

Even though all of the teams won more games than they did the year before, my expectations were much higher; so this is a look at the teams and what happened during the season to cause them to lose more games than what the talent on their rosters said they should have, with win improvement over the prior season in parentheses.


I take full responsibility for this one.

I knew this pick was in trouble from the moment I saw Detroit play its first preseason game against Miami and knew it minutes into the game.

The season-ending injury to Jonas Jerebko didn't help a team so thin up front.

But the bigger problems were a lack of early-season passion from Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince and disastrous coaching by John Kuester.

I had to dedicate two sections to Greg Monroe and his limited playing time by the end of November, and Kuester's rotation only got more puzzling from there, with players moving in and out of the lineup for no apparent reason even when they were playing well.

They gave New Jersey the first game of the season with a fourth-quarter meltdown and blew a 21-point lead to Chicago two games later.

A season which could have and should have started 2-1, maybe 3-0, started 0-3; and that pretty much set the tone for the season.

I could have never known that Hamilton and Prince would lie down and not compete like they did, but the failure evaluate John Kuester was all my fault.


Jonny Flynn's injury was the main factor in Minnesota's poor season.

Luke Ridnour doesn't have the athleticism to consistently beat his man off the dribble on offense or keep his man in front of him on defense.

This created a domino effect which hurt Minnesota on both sides of the ball.

A healthy Jonny Flynn, not the one we saw this season, gives Minnesota an advantage on almost every offensive possession because someone would be open on almost every play, either Flynn after he beats his man off the dribble or a teammate after a defender comes over to help after Flynn has gotten by his man.

That would then make the team virtually unstoppable with Flynn's court vision and passing ability and all of the weapons that they have.

It was a vision which never materialized due to Flynn being less than 100 percent.

Minnesota battled crucial injuries all season long, but once the team got relatively healthy, the real culprit came to light: Kurt Rambis.

There isn't nearly enough room in this section to fully detail all of the mistakes Kurt Rambis made this season, so I'll stick to one or two key ones and move on.

Rambis's offense is built to the weaknesses and not the strengths of his players.

Rambis has an offense which requires big men to handle and make decisions with the basketball and doesn't allow the point guard to freelance and improvise very much.

The problem is Darko Milicic, Kevin Love and Michael Beasley aren't very good at making decisions with the basketball; and freelancing and improvising are two of the things Flynn and Ridnour do best.

Rambis's rotation made you wonder what he was thinking, and his refusal to keep a shot-blocker on the floor at all times hurt Minnesota's defense as much as fouls and the turnovers caused by his sophisticated offense.

It wouldn't be fair to say Rambis will never succeed as a coach in the NBA, but he has a very long way to go.


Los Angeles is another team which got derailed by injuries.

Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman and Randy Foye all missed significant time during the season.

Even with all of the injuries, it could still be said that Los Angeles played above expectations. But, in true Hollywood fashion, they did it in a way which wasn't expected.

In all of my writings, not one time did I mention the name DeAndre Jordan.

But his improvement and interior defense were huge factors in the team's turnaround.

I did evaluate Vinny Del Negro, and, appropriately, he was the only coach who didn't let me down, until they traded Baron Davis.


Jim O'Brien made me regret that I ever thought he was even a decent coach.

From benching TJ Ford, Paul George and Tyler Hansbrough to playing Danny Granger at power forward, O'Brien made more embarrassing moves than I care to remember.

He was rightfully fired during the season and replaced by Frank Vogel.

Vogel corrected every mistake except the TJ Ford one, but I've covered that so completely that there is no need to detail it any further here.

No injuries, just one poor coaching move after another continues to hurt this team.


There is a noticeable theme developing here: injuries and bad coaching.

And Golden State had a little too much of both this season.

There were times this year when Keith Smart had me so irate that I wished Golden State would hire me for an hour, so I could fire him myself!

He played Monta Ellis way too many minutes, had too many Don Nelson, small-ball tendencies; failed to utilize a bench which was good enough to be utilized and was highly unfair to rookies Jeremy Lin and Ekpe Udoh.

It took Smart until the last few games of the season to stop playing Vladimir Radmanovic off the bench at power forward and play Lou Amundson there instead, but he should have realized the need to do that after the game against Utah at the end of January, at the latest.

Non-starters Reggie Williams, Lin, Udoh and Amundson can all play; so Smart's limited confidence in them makes you question his ability to evaluate talent and his commitment to the winning philosophy of using a strong bench to keep the starters fresh.

And Lin and Udoh were treated like unwanted step-children, yanked from games for the slightest of errors while the veterans could make multiple mistakes without consequence.

For Lin, the benching might last weeks and include a trip to the development league.

Smart made almost as many mistakes as Kurt Rambis and most definitely held Golden State back this year.

And he most definitely makes you question whether he can win consistently in the NBA.

You live, and you learn.

And going into next season, you can bet that the coaches will be analyzed as thoroughly and completely as the rosters and the individual matchups on the court.

It is a process I already started going into this year's playoffs.

And if you are wise, you will do the same thing too.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

TJ Ford: Closer

Remain calm!: That is what I have to keep telling myself!

Because you have no idea how irate I am over the lack of playing time TJ Ford has received lately!

And as I watch Darren Collison and Indiana melt down in the final minutes of the fourth quarter in game after game, the fury increases immeasurably and takes complete control of my emotions!

I've written about this a thousand times and said it a thousand different ways!

And still, nobody seems to be listening!

But they say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that action speaks louder than words.

And if a picture is worth a thousand words, then moving pictures must be worth quite a bit more, right?

So here is TJ Ford (according to Larry Bird and Frank Vogel, the fourth-best point guard on the team), in moving pictures, in action, closing out the Lakers in Los Angeles back in November (:30) with beautiful, flawless execution.

It is precisely what Indiana needed at the end of the regular season and what they needed against Chicago in the playoffs.

It is also what Philadelphia needs, and a few other teams.

Ford would be a perfect fit for Philadelphia, even though he is only the fourth-best point guard on Indiana's roster.

It would be a little too much to ask Ford to come in and save Indiana now, since he has barely played, and unrealistic considering how little Bird and Vogel think of him.

But teams around the NBA in need of a top-flight point guard should be giving Ford a call as soon as the Chicago series is over.

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Saturday, April 16, 2011


This would be a good time to point out that this is a regular season power poll and is not meant to indicate in any way what will happen in the playoffs.

The Final Power Poll will be released after the NBA Finals, and that will show who ultimately ended up being the best team in the NBA, with the rest of the top-10 teams in some order.

Looking at our last power poll, those same Chicago Bulls are still the most impressive team around.

They swept Miami and crushed Boston on their way to securing the best record in the association, rising from fifth in the playoff push poll.

Boston fell the furthest during that time.

They were second in the last poll and are now in sixth.

And Denver and Portland made their way into the top 10 after not being ranked there since the first power poll in November for Denver, and not at all for Portland, quite an accomplishment for one team which had to take in so many new players so late in the season and another which battled injuries to key players all season long.

As far as the playoffs, I won't be making any predictions.

The officiating is too inconsistent, and so are the coaches.

I'll just watch and enjoy.

(1.) Chicago (62-20)
(2.) San Antonio (61-21)
(3.) Miami (58-24)
(4.) Los Angeles (57-25)
(5.) Dallas (57-25)
(6.) Boston (56-26)
(7.) Oklahoma City (55-27)
(8.) Orlando (52-30)
(9.) Denver (50-32)
(10.) Portland (48-34)


Congratulations to the Minnesota Timberwolves!

They managed to go on a 15-game losing streak to end the season and secure their most important victory of the season, a win over Cleveland for the worst record in the NBA, giving themselves the best chance of getting the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft.

Kurt Rambis deserves almost all of the credit, or blame.

Looking at the rest of the bottom 10, 80 percent of the teams are the same teams who were here in the first poll back in November, with Cleveland and Toronto moving in and Philadelphia and Houston moving out.

Other than teams changing places here and there throughout the season, nothing changed among the bottom teams.

They were more or less here at the beginning, here in the middle; and they are here at the end.

(1.) Minnesota (17-65)
(2.) Cleveland (19-63)
(3.) Toronto (22-60)
(4.) Washington (23-59)
(5.) New Jersey (24-58)
(6.) Sacramento (24-58)
(7.) Detroit (30-52)
(8.) Los Angeles (32-50)
(9.) Charlotte (34-48)
(10.) Milwaukee (35-47)

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Playoff Primer

Everything which happened during the regular season was nothing more than a setup to get us to this moment.

Now the fun begins. And there are a few things to point out, for starters.

The injuries to Arron Afflalo and Timofey Mozgov are really going to hurt Denver.

Denver's depth and low-post defense will be severely impacted in any games those two miss.

The worst coaches who made the playoffs are Larry Drew, Mike D'Antoni and Stan Van Gundy, with Frank Vogel coming dangerously close to joining that group.

The Atlanta and Orlando series will come down to which coach screws up his team less than the other.

Good luck with trying to figure that one out.

Is it now safe to say that New Orleans should have never traded Marcus Thornton, Jerryd Bayless and Peja Stojakovic?

And now that we've seen Thornton in Sacramento, Bayless in Toronto and Stojakovic in Dallas is it easier to understand how New Orleans got off to an 11-1 start?

And why they have struggled since?

Miami played its best game of the season against Boston this past Sunday.

They moved the ball like a championship team.

Finally, Boston better hope whatever is wrong with Rajon Rondo gets fixed before the playoffs start; or they might not make it out of the first round.

New York has the team in place to be very dangerous right now.

Ronny Turiaf, Shelden Williams and, to a lesser extent, Jared Jeffries give New York all the center they need.

They may not provide much offense, but when you have Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups you don't need much offense from the center position.

All you need are some nice screens, some safe passes and an offensive rebound every now and then.

New York has the parts, but it is highly doubtful that Mike "small ball" D'Antoni will put them in the right positions to win.

I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if D'Antoni started Andy Rautins at center for the series.

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I learned a lot in my first year covering the NBA.

I was way too cocky when I started HBIQ.

Not only did I want to tell you which rookies would be great in the NBA, I wanted to tell you which ones would be terrible as well.

And Derrick Favors, Cole Aldrich and Ed Davis were pegged as the three rookies who would do nothing in the NBA.

Right or wrong, it should have never been written.

Anyone can do almost anything they put their mind to, and I should have never written these guys off without giving them a chance to make it in the association.

Since that time, I've been able to put together a full view of what it takes to succeed in the NBA (which goes far beyond what can be learned from viewing college highlights, games and statistics) and follow it up with a look at some late bloomers to stop fans from freaking out when their prized rookies don't look to be panning out early on.

Needless to say, we've come a long way. So let's take a look at some rookies and how they did in their first year on the NBA stage.

John Wall, Washington: Wall has a long way to go.

He plays bad defense, can't run a team, can't shoot and is more out of control than Russell Westbrook.

Like many young point guards, you wonder if he'll ever get it. And right when you think he never will you look up, and he's there.

Evan Turner, Philadelphia: Turner is ahead of almost all of the rookies because he is contributing to a playoff team.

He got off to a slow start but was able to turn the corner mid-way through the season and show the all-around skills which made him the second pick.

His jumper has to get better going into next season.

Wes Johnson, Minnesota: He shot Minnesota out of as many games as he shot them into with his questionable shot selection.

Johnson has the same issue now that he had coming in, the inability to put the ball on the floor and drive to the rim for easy dunks and layups. Without any dribble-penetration moves, he was forced to rely only on his outside shot, which was streaky at best.

Otherwise, he showed a good floor game with lots of versatility.

DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento: You could say that Cousins lived up to everything people who said he was the top player in the draft thought he would.

His remarkable passing ability was a sight to behold, and his jumper rained down on opponents from coast to coast.

He was a tough-guy who led Sacramento to big wins over some the league's top teams and gave the team hope for the future as a key building block.

Cousins had a nice rookie season.

Ekpe Udoh, Golden State: Udoh had his breakout game in a home win over Chicago, where his defense on Carlos Boozer helped turn the game in Golden State's favor.

He missed the start of the season with a wrist injury but came on as the season went along. He learned to pass the ball without turning it over and is getting more and more comfortable with his outside shot and making moves in the post.

Udoh is turning out to be a nice pick.

Greg Monroe, Detroit: Monroe showed no signs of being soft in his first season in Detroit, one of the concerns about him coming in.

And his motor looked fine.

As he got more comfortable and more playing time, he started making the shots around the rim that he used to miss and developed into a consistent big man.

There are still more aspects of his game which haven't been shown which should come out in due time.

Al-Farouq Aminu, Los Angeles: The best thing you can say about Aminu is that he no longer looks lost.

Some time in March, things just started to click for him; and you could start to see the No. 8 pick coming out.

At one point it was looking like the Clippers were going to have a hole to fill at small forward in the off-season, but he (or Jamario Moon) may be the one to fill it.

Gordon Hayward, Utah: G-Time saved his best for last, scoring a career-high 34 points on the last day of the season.

But it was his game against Kobe Bryant in a win at Los Angeles a week earlier which signaled his official arrival to the NBA.

His official HBIQ arrival came in a blowout loss at New Orleans in mid-December. That was where he showed he could play NBA defense and showed flashes of the game that became more consistent late in the season.

Hayward has serious game and skills and knows what he has to work on to get better.

Paul George, Indiana: George is another guy who is well ahead of the other rookies due to him contributing to a winning team, or at least a playoff team.

Indiana has been a winning team since he recently moved into the starting lineup.

Sometimes, a rookie is going to be a rookie. But you can see that Indiana has something in Paul George.

Ed Davis, Toronto: Oops!

It looks like this guy can play after all. He has a knack for hitting the offensive glass and for scoring in general, even without many post moves.

His defense leaves a lot to be desired and should be the thing looked to improve on heading into next season.

Larry Sanders, Milwaukee: Sanders is another guy who is as green as his uniform.

But when you tune in to Milwaukee games, you hear phrases like "unlimited potential" thrown around quite often when Sanders is mentioned by the team broadcasters, the words reported back from the coaches.

Sanders is a legit 6-11 and with Andrew Bogut can provide the scary type of interior defense which wins a lot of important games.

He has a good offensive game too, with much more versatility than you would expect from a guy his size.

Luke Babbitt, Portland: Like Anthony Randolph, Babbitt is another highly-talented player wasting away at the end of someone's bench for no good reason.

Portland had plenty of opportunity to work him in early in the season when the team was struggling to find something which worked.

The only reasons I'm not absolutely killing Nate McMillan for this poor coaching decision are because the team is winning and because the guys ahead of Babbitt played relatively well in the end.

Still, there is no excuse for limited amount of playing time Babbitt averaged.

Eric Bledsoe, Los Angeles: With Blake Griffin getting all of the headlines, it's hard for many other Clippers to get any love.

Bledsoe had a strong start to his rookie season but fizzled out at the end.

He has tremendous speed and can do a lot of things, but his defense needs work.

The rookie wall may be the best way to explain what happened.

Trevor Booker, Washington: This was part of my learning experience, tweeners.

At 6-7, Booker is just going to have a hard time matching up against some power forwards.

But he can play and more than hold his own against them all.

With powerful, high-flying dunks and a well-rounded game, Booker was a bright spot for Washington before he got injured.

He is one of the many pieces Washington now has in place for what looks like a bright future.

Landry Fields, New York: The final draftee putting in work for a playoff team.

Fields was rolling before New York traded for Carmelo Anthony. Since then he has sort of gotten lost.

He can beat you in many different ways and is a nice complement to a cast of stars.

New York had a lot of big games this year, and Fields showed up for most of them, contributing in ways which don't usually generate a lot of headlines but are no less important to winning.

Jeremy Lin, Golden State: Lin had early trouble stepping up to the big stage of the NBA but eventually settled in offensively.

His defense was there all along, and he should have received more playing time for his defense alone.

In the season finale against Portland, Lin showed every aspect of his game; and there are plenty of them.

More than anything, he is a playmaker. And he is a point guard.

His jumper has to be improved along with his ability to finish with his left hand.

But Lin is a baller.

I've learned the secret of some NBA coaches: wait until the last game of the season and see what the rookies can do.

It's a shame because these guys can play and should have gotten minutes a long time ago.

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Score One For The Kobe-Haters

Henry Abbott and his legion of Kobe-hating followers had to wake up Wednesday feeling pretty good.

That's because the night before the man they love to hate, Kobe Bryant, found himself in a true clutch situation and failed to deliver a win for the Los Angeles Lakers.

I don't want to hear anything about what Bryant, or anyone else, does in a five-point game with five minutes to go.

That's not clutch to me.

But having the ball with a chance to take the lead in the final 10 seconds is, and that is the exact situation Bryant found himself in on Tuesday night.

He turned the ball over, and Los Angeles lost the game.

The next day, Abbott posted a Twitter message from someone giving him props for getting it right about Bryant in the clutch, someone who obviously paid no attention to the fact that Abbott's lengthy diatribe had absolutely zero information in it about how Bryant performs in the final 10 seconds in game-winning situations, one of the many objections I had to the piece when it first came out.

TNT brought us closer to the real truth about Kobe Bryant in crunch time when, before the Los Angeles game at Miami, they displayed a stat which showed Bryant was 35% (.349, 22-63) on go-ahead shots in the final 30 seconds since 2003-04, a few points higher than the .313 Bryant shot over the course of his entire career when tied or down by one or two in the final 24 seconds, the key stat Abbott used for his piece.

But we still don't know what percentage Bryant shoots on go-ahead shots in the final 10 seconds, broken down by year and opponent.

And as long as that information is kept secret, Abbott and the Kobe-Haters will continue to score points whenever Bryant fails in the clutch.

And I'm sure that is fine by them.

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cool Michael Jordan Highlight Reel

I'm always on the lookout for cool highlight reels to look at.

I found a new one featuring Michael Jordan a few weeks ago.

It features most of the footage you would expect in any good Jordan highlight: the shot at North Carolina, the press conference with Dean Smith to announce he was going pro, David Stern announcing his name at the draft, the shot over Craig Ehlo, the one over Bryon Russell, the threes on Portland, him crying over the trophy one year and on the court another, baseball, the comeback, the 45.

There is no "switch of hands" though.

It has the dunks he did when he was younger that he never did anymore after he got a few years in and shows the young Jordan with hair before he went with the bald look and shows the classic fashion, the gold necklace, the way he looked in his uniform and of course the shoes, all of which made him so popular in the '80s.

It starts off to "Mama Said Knock You Out" by Uncle L and ends with a style I really can't describe but which sounds appropriately dramatic for the situation, swan song type stuff peaking at just the right time as the video ends.

It sounds like something off of Titanic.

You might also enjoy this Scottie Pippen highlight reel I posted before. It is a lot more serious, basketball type stuff and also features some footage from the Game 5 classic against New York in 1993.

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Monta Ellis: Shining Star

I wrote an article on Monta Ellis and the Golden State Warriors and had it published on Yahoo!.

It goes over some of his electrifying moments from the season and talks about how he is one of the best players in the NBA and also touches on what could be a bright future for Golden State.

I'm looking for other outlets to bring more exposure to my feature stories in an attempt to one day get paid to do this.


Note: The Ellis article was completed and submitted for publication on March 28, 2011.

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