Monday, May 23, 2011

Warriors Ownership is getting REAL

Lonely Island

Here on THE Nextians, we love The Lonely Island. It is our official music of The NBA Playoffs.
(GirlTalk is the official music of THE Nextians regular season)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Why The Bulls Won't Win

Playing your Karma Kards right is important to winning.  Former Warrior Owner Chris Cohan constantly messed with the Karma of the franchise and look at the hole the new ownership has got to climb their selves out of.

The basketball Karma gods tend to focus on the small things.  Russell Westbrook's constant scowl and frazzled attitude will most likely dismantle the Thunder's hopes to beat the Mavericks in the WCF, for example.

The Karma gods haven't struck down the Heat and probably won't.  They most likely understand why LBJ left Cleveland and appreciate the effort him and his Heat teammates are giving in the ECF.

So this song with Twista by Carlos Boozer is frightening.  First of all, he calls it the Bulls "Anthem". I wonder how Jerry Krause feels about that?  Boozer also secured the services of a PA announcer introducing which dude is singing. Wow.  CHECK IT OUT

Something tells me that the Karma gods won't take this over confident pile of garbage lightly.  Especially since Boozer is so bad at rapping/hip hopping.  I wish this wasn't the case, but I'm pretty sure the Heat will take out the Bulls in the ECF.  And that is painful to say.

Friday, May 20, 2011

What do the Thunder, Heatles and Bulls have in common?

D-Rose by Free Darko
 There is a common thread between the Thunder, the Heat and the Bulls this playoffs.  They are successful teams with ball dominators where assisting teammates is secondary to getting one's own shot.  The anti hand check rules of 2004 have made it easier for perimeter players penetrate the defense and score off the dribble or get fouled and score from the line. ESPN's Dean Oliver breaks down the revealing "points per assist" measure in world famous TrueHoop blog:

Both Henry Abbott and John Hollinger have written about Westbrook’s shoot-first mentality, but there's an interesting statistical story brewing that they didn’t capture. Oklahoma City led the NBA in total points scored per assist, with 5.23 points per assist. (It was 8.31 in Game 4.) This measure isn’t talked about much, but it is a reflection of teams that get their points off the dribble and at the foul line, not off a lot of kick-outs to shooters or dishes to big men around the basket.

The Thunder’s high value reflects a more individual and athletic game, something that is fair to say about how the Thunder play over good amounts of time. Not surprisingly, the star-driven system of the
Miami Heat came in second in this metric during the regular season. Both teams use their athleticism off the dribble to drive to the middle and get foul calls.

Can you guess who is at the bottom of the list? The Celtics and
Dallas Mavericks, two of the oldest teams in the league. 

Many will argue that the "Me First" 90's Association was difficult to watch at times.  There was a lot of "give Iverson a playmaker the ball, clear out, and watch him go to work".  The recent NBA Renaissance we are enjoying now came about when highly skilled and likable players committed to their teammates and played the game the way "it was supposed to be played" while not getting into too many shenanigans off court.

This brings me back to the 2004 anti hand check rule again.  Retrospectively, this is seen as a good thing because it promotes fan-friendly offense. Gone are the days of the defensive player legally landing forearm shivers on the ball handler preventing him from getting into the lane (it's amazing that Jordan did what he did in the world of legal hand checking).  Because of this, the new generation of insanely athletic and incredibly strong ball handlers has thrived. LeBron, Wade, Derrick Rose and Westbrook all utilize their skill/strength combo to get the job done off the dribble.  And something tells me that at least one of these teams will be in the NBA Finals this year.  This obviously isn't too difficult of a prediction to make.

Ask yourself what style of basketball have you truly enjoyed watching this post season?

The Heat are awesome in the open court but it's annoying to watch either LeBron or Wade not play off of each other more.  They do a lot of "OK, it's you're turn" and don't seem to play like a team for a good portion of the game.  The argument for LeBron and Wade playing this way is that they don't really have anyone else on their team.

Although I appreciate the amazing plays that Association MVP Derrick Rose can make while driving to the basket, I fault him for not fulfilling his PG duties and getting Boozer in a position to score 15 to 20 points a game (he's currently score 10.7 in 30 minutes this post season) let alone shoot just 41% from the field.  Without getting a confident and effective second offensive option involved I doubt that the Bulls will be able to take the title this year.

Russell Westbrook is having many articles written about his 40.6% from the field this playoffs while taking 22.11 attempts per game, a total of 12 more attempts through 9 games than super duper star Kevin Durant who's shooting 46.5%.  It's almost like he is in a battle to declare his #1 option supremacy instead of just trying to win the game.  The Dwight Howard-esq frustration on his face seems to be bubbling up inside and there doesn't seem to be any change in his style this post season.

With all of these guys, you know when the ISO set is coming and the "10 dribble-drive-pull up-shoot" sequence is coming.  You can just see it in their body language.  And it is my assertion that this type of basketball is not that fun to watch unless the only reason you watch is to catch the truly amazing play a few times per night.

Because of this I find myself gravitating towards rooting for the Grizzlies and their big man/any man approach.  For the Celtics and their Sebastian Pruiti approved offensive plays.  I even root for the Hawks while wondering if Josh Smiff is finally going to understand how awesome he could be if he just shot 5 feet from the hoop and stopped playing ISO (as he did in Game 4 vs. the Bulls).  I loved pulling for the Mavericks and their great ball movement leading to some sort of post season 3 point record sparked by Jason Terry and Peja Stojakovic just waiting on the weak side for their teammates to rotate the ball to them.  It honestly had nothing to do with beating the Lakers. Well, maybe that's not entirely true.

Although Westbrook and Rose are obviously The Now and The Next of our beloved Association, I hope that they either figure out how to balance their games more or I will just naturally gravitate towards not being much of a fan of their boring ball stopping yet sometimes flashy ESPN Highlight worthy play.

Russell Westbrook is Mad, Sad, then Happy

Guys with large egos make these types of poses

I won't do the normal blogger thing and call him the "C" word rhyming with "lazy" but Westbrook appears to be a little, how do you say, immature?  Up and down emotionally?  Not really one of the leaders of his team even though he's it's All Star Point Guard?  It seems to me that you really shouldn't be getting pissed about being taken out of a game with a few seconds left in the third quarter and then having people calm you down for the next half hour.

From The Oklahoman:
"Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook had an animated reaction when pulled from Game 2 with :28 remaining in the third quarter against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night. Westbrook did not play again and the reserve Eric Maynor finished out the Thunder's 106-100 victory inside American Airlines Center. Westbrook initially had an exchange with assistant coach Mark Bryant and fellow assistant Maurice Cheeks came over and had a heart-to-heart with the All-Star reserve. Thunder center Kendrick Perkins also took the 22-year-old Westbrook aside during the game and shared some encouragement. 'I had to let him know we're winning, everything's going good,' Perkins said. 'I think he's fine. I told him, 'Different guys will help at different times.' ' After the game ended, Westbrook was spotted dancing down the tunnel on the way back to the locker room."

This kid has come a long way from being a no-minute-getter as a UCLA Freshman, to being a lottery pick after his Sophomore year, to being an All-Star point guard in his third year in the Association. He has amazing gifts. But the Thunder will never reach their full potential without this guy eventually "getting it".  Benching him for the entire 4th Quarter was indeed a bold move by Thunder Coach Scotty Brooks, but it was the right one considering the way he was acting.

Hey, look at that!  A Thunder post without mentioning Kevin Durant!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Down 0-2, Make It Interesting

The Good Ole' Days
 As of this moment in time, both the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers are down 0-2 in their respective series.  Both teams are up there in age (except for Bynum and Rondo), are not playing well, and we may be witnessing an official changing of the guard in The Association.  I decided to pose a question to my fellow Nextians:

Who has a better chance to make their series interesting?  The Celtics or the Lakers?  Here is what these genius' said.

Of course, the trusty Bilbo "Burglar" Baggins chimed in first:
I hate betting against The Lakers, but I think they will drop Game 3 w/o Ron Ron. Unless Gasol and Odom have epic games, I find it hard to believe they will win in Dallas. Boston has a much better chance of winning at home, despite looking like they just woke up from a nap. Rondo needs to take advantage of the fact that Bibby is guarding him and
I could see LeBron settling for jumpers with Shaq filling the paint. He isn't the defensive stopper he once was, but he can still take up space and deliver hard fouls.

Overall I don't like either team's chances, but if the question is which team will make the series more interesting (not a sweep) than I'll go with Boston.

Bilbo Baggins
2x YeeBA Champion

Timmay (Czar of the MVM) decided to respond:
Bilbo...your signature is weak.  The Lakers are the champs until proven otherwise.  The Mavs, well...they are the Mavs and were the last team to take the first 2 on the road in a best of 7 and lose the series.  Go game 3!

BK kept it short and sweet, trying to wrap up his week at work:

Lakers. I think the heat are a better team than the mavs

Toomie (MVM) kept it even shorter as he had a tee time after work:

Timmay (MVM Czar) then made it all about betting:
I would love to say the Celtics because I put $100 on them to win the series, but I think age is catching up to them.  Their entire team is injured.  I hate the Lakers, but if they win Game 3, they are right back in it.

BK then responded a day later:
Can I take back my answer about the Lakers? I haven't watch Boston play too much this year but I get the sense they are old and the Heat are just hungrier. Its all about the matchups, I think everything is setting up to be the Heat's year and LeBron isn't going to back down.

Well, it seems to me as if "getting old" is a pervasive theme amongst THE Nextians who had time to respond on a Friday afternoon.  Although I do not agree and wonder if these guys actually watch the games, we all agree that this is the end of an era.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The "Weekly" Chat -- 2nd Round Playoffs Edition

Cam:  Hello Jamesbo/Thrilly-B.  I’m sure you are enjoying the heck out of this here second round.  It certainly is "Fan"tastic!  Aside from those nightmare inducing talking basketball commercials and the T-Mobile rapping Emo dude, what is intriguing you at the moment about the actual playing of basketball?  Both Dallas victories in Staples were something to behold. Kobe hasn't yet been able to produce his patented "Badger" playoff scowl.  Dirk dominates Game 1's close and the Mavs just out execute the defending chumps in Game 2.  Dirk doesn’t look too soft now, does he?

BibloI have learned over the years to never write off The Lakers after a Game 1 loss. But it is hard to ignore the fact that Pau Gasol is so crucial to their success that anything other than spectacular play from him will spell disaster for the reigning champs. With so much talent on each side, I think whoever makes fewer mistakes will win. The Lakers looked tuuuurrable the last 2 minutes of Game 1. Stupid fouls and turnovers against a solid veteran team like the Mavs is suicide. However, I have to think The Lakers will bounce back. This series is tough to call, but I give an edge to the team that has made it to The Finals 3 years in a row. Lakers in 7.

Nice "distressed" jeans, Mark.  Also, nice team. Seriously.
Cam:  I think you'll change your tune especially when you learn that Dallas won game two as well in Staples.  Did your TiVo miss that one?  Also, congrats on making it through a post concerning the Lakers without mentioning Kobe.  And enjoy the Artest clothesline on JJ Barea = one game suspension.  I also love the fact that you're making series' predictions even though I didn't ask for them.  Way to take some initiative, Burglar Baggins.
Cam:  The Grizz looked great in game 1 but then Durant held a team dinner serving James Harden and Eric Maynor some of KD Kool Aid and these two 2nd teamers combined to drop 36 in game 2.  Lithium was also added to Westbrook’s fruit punch causing him to thankfully only shoot 20 times instead of 30 thereby leading to a more efficient Thunder attack.

Bilbo: Memphis is a fun team to root for, and I’d love to see a possible Gasol vs Gasol match up in the next round, but I have my doubts that a team that relies so heavily on Zach Randolph so much can ever make it to the WCF. I just can’t see them getting past such a talented team like OKC. If Ibaka is seriously hurt, that obviously changes things, but getting past an aging Spurs team is one thing (Attn: Laker fans..this is your team in 3 years!), but getting past Durant and Co. when they are clicking is too difficult as was evident in Game 2. This series will come to who controls the paint. If Thunder can hold their own, their offense will tip the series in their favor. OKC in 6.
Pau is sad that Marc is now better
Cam:  And how old and slow do them Celtics look?  Wade & Co. seem to just be playing harder and faster.  As the Sportsdouche and Brian Windhorst said, this is Wade's team now as all LeBron is good for is setting hard picks (hilarious).  Boston just can't seem to get over the Perkin's trade and the things that they used to do well (playing harder and tougher) aren't happening.

BilboI’m pissed off at The Celtics. I really expected a tough, physical series between these two squads, and so far the only beef was from Paul Pierce, the least intimidating player in the NBA. I’m sure they really miss Perkins right now, because he would have knocked down D-Wade at least once a game. Who would of thought that it was him and not Garnett who defined the Celtics as a tough as nails team? They just haven’t been the same since the trade and I can’t see getting back on track against Los Tres Culos. Speaking of the Heat, I don’t think they’ve had to break a sweat at all through the first 2 rounds. Do we have to wait until the next round for Thibodeau to attack their weaknesses? Of course the way Chicago is playing I think The Heat could sleepwalk through the The East and face the winner of the Lakers/OKC series. While I wish this would go 7, I’m picking the Heat in 5.

Cam:  I'm finding it hard to enjoy the Bulls right now.  D-Rose isn't shooting the ball well and it seems as if they aren't playing to their full potential.  Although I think they'll get by the Hawks after ATL stealing Game 1 in Chi-town, they better be ready for 'dem Heat when they get through this series.  Thibbs might find a way to slow down Wade n' Co. but if they don't tighten up their offense (paging: Carlos Boozer) then they are going to have trouble hanging with Mike Miller and his teammates.

BilboHow about them Hawks?? The perennial underachievers are suddenly a scary team. The talent has been there but consistency has always been lacking. I wasn’t sure if their round 1 victory was more The Magic playing crappy or if this team was legit. After the Game 1 beat down against The Jordans, it’s hard not to take them seriously. I feel like Chicago will come out on top, but it always looks like Derrick Rose is one drive away from a serious injury. But I’ll stick with the new NBA darling and say the Bulls in 6.

Cam: I like all of your predictions but the Lakers one.  Of course, you wrote your thoughts before their Game 2 loss so I'll cut you some slack.  But if you had to say, who was the hottest actress sitting in the front row at Staples?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Celtics GM Danny Ainge Is Stunned

I love this picture to no end.  The Heatles are playing tough and with athleticism.  The Celtics are playing detached, whiny, and sloppy.  All the while Celtics GM Danny Ainge is coming to realize that he made the worst trade deadline move for a contending team in the history of the Association.  This look?  Priceless.

Thanks to Deadspin for finding this HD Quality screenshot somewhere on the internets.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Paul Pierce Gets Tossed

PP was just plain mad. His Celtics didn't come out to play the Heatles in Game 1 and frustration does eventually boil over to where you lean extra hard into a screen on Dwyane Wade. Going 6-14 from the field for 19 points and 4 turnovers won't get the job done either. After Pierce took off he avoided speaking to the press (doesn't he get fined for that?) and Boston Globe writer Dan Shaughnessy calls him out:

"We thought we were over this stuff with Pierce. He is 33 years old. He’s been in the NBA since 1998. He was MVP of the Finals in 2008, for gosh sakes. What’s the excuse for losing his cool twice in the fourth quarter of a game against a team that’s always waiting to choke if you can keep things close?"

Get in your wheelchair to regain your powers and see you in Game 2, Truth.