I’m usually excited during January to watch all the creative videos that teams’ PR departments/players come out with to get the fringe All-Star players some more votes for the mid season All-Star game, but this year has been pretty disappointing. Maybe with the lockout and shortened season most players are just focused on games or getting back in shape since they have a game seemingly every night, but c’mon guys, you gotta give us something better than DeAndre Jordan singing for votes. Last season there were two great All-Star promos with Kevin Love’s Numbers Fragrance and Rudy Gay’s Most Interesting Man in the NBA promo, but this season I haven’t seen any coming close to touching those two campaigns. Step up your game Houston, Kyle Lowry should be getting more votes than Rubio for christ sake! Or how about you Portland, why not get something going for the most underrated PF in the game, LaMarcus Aldridge! All that being said, I did find a professionally done video for Amar’e that came out a few days ago, but when I watched it, just like the Bargnani one I wrote about a little while back, I wasn’t even sure if the video left me thinking I should vote for him or go to Foot Locker. Andrea is now hurt so he definitely doesn’t deserve a spot if he ever even did, and Amar’e is playing like he’s allergic to the ball.
Monthly Archives: January 2012
Golden State Warriors “Live Forever”
Even if your not a Warriors fan, I bet you’ll find this video above pretty cool. It even gave me a few goosebumps along the way. If you didn’t like that one, maybe you’ll like the Kings version. A few days ago I wanted to write a state of the Warriors address, but in the end you can sum up this years team in two words, “very disappointing”. Also, if I put myself through evaluating all the players on the team, I might piss myself off too much, so here’s an abbreviated rant on what baffles me the most about this team. I never thought they’d be a playoff team this year with the second youngest roster in the NBA, which is why I didn’t put them on my list for our Western Conference predictions, but I thought they’d be better than they have been. They’ve had a few good wins here and there, but the bad so far has heavily outweighed the good. It’s becoming more and more apparent that Curry and Ellis aren’t that great of a pairing in the back-court together as neither seem to be all that consistent, and while one is doing damage the other seems to be standing around watching too much. Should we bring one of them in off the bench? Try it, why not for a game or two, because it’s not working as currently constructed.
The more glaring hole in the roster for the past four seasons though is their big men. David Lee can’t be their only inside presence on offense and defense, and every game it becomes more apparent. Kwame actually did look good for the seven games he played, which says a lot about our other options at center, but once he went down we were stuck with nothing at center. Why the owners decided to use the amnesty on Charlie Bell and his expiring contract instead of using it on the ever eroding “I don’t draw contact because I’m scared to shoot free throws” Biedrins will baffle me for years to come, but with Larry Riley as your GM, it’s about all you can expect. Seriously what was the point of bringing in Jerry West as an advisor if you were going to still let Riley make the final decisions with the personnel? The new owners promised change, yet stuck with a used car salesman in Riley who couldn’t sell Monta a moped. Ok Riley, I’ll give you Brandon Rush for Amundsen as a solid trade, but other than that, he’s made one mistake after another giving up assets for poo poo platters, and he IS the reason we might not have a first round draft pick if we are outside the top 7 picks in one of the deepest drafts in recent memory. Don’t be surprised if there’s a fire Larry Riley post highlighting his years of crapping on the Warriors roster before this season is over. I can’t stand anything about this guy anymore, his choices, his face, his voice. We went from “We Believe” under Chris Mullin as GM to “We’re picking between 7th and 10th in the draft every year, but are just good enough to never be in the top 3”. Well played Riley, well played.
Oh, there is a bright side to the big void in the middle. My new mancrush, 20-year-old Jeremy Tyler, has played some more minutes over the last few games, and looked pretty solid when he has been in the games. He’s made some mistakes, but definitely more controlled than let’s say Anthony Randolph’s type of mistakes. At least he showed he can hit a jumper and finish strong with a dunk which is more than Biedrins has done for at least three years. Also, the other rookie, Klay Thompson, after a rough start has looked like what everyone thought he’d be a versatile player that can defend and hit shots from all ranges. Same as Tyler, he makes mistakes, but let these kids grow since we aren’t going anywhere. It’s not much of a consolation considering the owner and coach promised the playoffs over the off-season, but both might have been foolish to make those predictions. Oh, and I do like how Mark Jackson has gotten them to play better defense, but maybe he needs to run some offensive practices too because they turn the ball over way too much. Yes, defense wins you games, but empty possessions where you don’t even get a shot up loses you as many games as not playing good defense.
RFP Of The Day: Chris Mills
It’s been a while since the last RFP of the Day post. Shoot, it’s been a while since my last post at all. But, as Chappy often says, life got in the way. Today he reminded me of an old story that brought back more than just that one memory. Former NBA player Chris Mills will always be a random remembered player as far as I’m concerned, but he’s probably forgotten by many. My first regular season Warriors game was Opening Night in 2000. Golden State was a good 6 years removed from being at all relevant, and I had just moved to San Francisco after 15 years of being a Sacramento Kings fan. But here I was, at the beginning of my career as a Warriors fan. The big theme of the year was a picture of two sets of eyes belonging to Antawn Jamison and Larry Hughes with the caption: “Think we’re on to something…” Well, who knows what that something was, but I was pretty excited to be in the O-rena that night. The Warriors were playing the Phoenix Suns, led by Oakland product Jason Kidd. He f*cked around and got a triple double. Danny Fortson made his Warriors debut to the tune of 18 points and 18 rebounds. Unfortunately, he suffered a season ending injury just 6 games into the season. What few people realize is that he was on his way to establishing himself as one of the game’s better big men. Not only did he notch a double double in all six games, he was averaging 16+ pts and 16+ rebounds per game. Anyway, the game naturally went down to the wire. Chris Mills had scored 16 points off the bench, and he proved to be the hero when he hit a buzzer-beating game winning three to lift the Warriors to a 96-94 win over the Suns. That’s the main thing I’ll always remember him for.
The more memorable story is the one Chappy brought up today. I can’t remember the year, but it the Warriors were hosting the Portland Trailblazers. If memory serves me correctly, it was a tie game when Rasheed Wallace hit a 19 foot jumper at the horn to give the Blazers the win. The Blazers of course celebrated like they won the NBA Championship, and I guess some of the fans didn’t appreciate it. On their way into the tunnel, many of the Blazers began exchanging words with the fans. All of a sudden, guys like Wallace and Zach Randolph were charging into the stands to fight some people. Looking at the roster of the Blazers at that time, I’m willing to bet Bonzi Wells and Ruben Patterson were in there too. Unlike a few years later when World Peace wreaked havoc on the Palace at Auburn Hills, Wallace and Randolph and company were restrained before they got too deep into the stands where they were trying to get. But you know who else took exception to the Blazers antics? Chris Mills. Rumor has it Mills went to the locker, grabbed a gun, and stormed outside to greet the Blazers team bus. Supposedly, there he stood, waving the gun around and barking at the players on the bus to get off and meet him. The bus had to sit and wait until Mills was calmed down enough to leave the scene. I’m not sure what ever happened with that, but I think Mills got away with it.
Raiders Go Defensive
After about 1,000 names were linked to the Raiders head coaching job since they let go of Hue Jackson, they decided to go with Dennis Allen, the former Broncos defensive coordinator. Was he on the so-called “short list” that Reggie Mackenzie had going into the process? Maybe, but based on all the people he talked to for the coaching vacancy, his list wasn’t that short to begin with. I can’t say I was getting very excited during the search since two or three names seemed to come out each day, and some were good names and some were Mike Tice that made me question whether our new GM knew what he was doing. This hiring does make sense on a few levels though, and I can see the now youngest coach in the NFL being successful if he can change a few things.
It’s tough for me to get overly excited about Allen, but taking a strength away from the division champion Broncos isn’t ever a bad thing. I don’t know too much about Allen, but I was a huge fan of the way the Broncos defense played last season, and they deserved as much or more credit than Tebow for thier team’s success. Allen worked under some solid coaches in Sean Payton, Jim Mora, and John Fox, so I feel like he’s going to know what he’s doing in his new role.
The hire also addresses their two biggest weaknesses from last season which were defense and discipline. It was their first defensive minded coaching hire since before I was alive. Reading that Broncos players Champ Bailey and Von Miller were very sad to him see go only makes me like the hire more. Players don’t react unless they actually have good things to say, and when they don’t, you’ll either hear crickets or comments like when Bob Geren was fired as the A’s manager. Champ Bailey even went as far as to say he’s one of the most intense coach’s he’s ever had over his long career also adding the Raiders will now be intense, hard nosed, and tough. Even without a defensive coordinator on the staff yet, the defense will improve by the subtraction of Chuck Bresnahan who never really deserved the DC job to begin with.
The Raiders were the most penalized team in NFL history that had no discipline on defense, and at times, on offense. They needed to hire a no nonsense type of guy to get this team caring about those game killing penalties that seemed to happen every drive. It’s also good they get the HC hired sooner than later so they can focus on the other coaching vacancies before all the good coordinators get snatched up. I’d love to see Del Rio as the DC, so let’s hope that’s the next announcement out of Oakland.
Doin Championship Lines
Chappy: You can’t get much better football than the game the Saints-49ers played last weekend. Through the craziness at the end of that game I almost forgot I even won money on my bet!
By: Broncos/Steelers, Niners/Saints!? What more could you ask for from January football!? It’s an exciting time to be a 49ers fan, and I’m crossing my finger Eli Manning reverts back to his overrated self for one game. Let’s go Niners!
Last week: Chap (2-2) By (2-2)
Playoffs: Chap (3-5) By (4-4)
Regular Season: Chap (50-35-4) By (27-20)
Baltimore @ New England (-7)
Chappy picks Baltimore (+7). You didn’t think a Raiders fan would actually pick the Pats did you? I can’t believe how much they’re showing the damn Walter Coleman overturned tuck rule game on ESPN lately, so very depressing… Anyways, it’s hard to feel overly confident picking the team that has players questioning their own QB, but I feel like the Ravens can hang with the Patriots who haven’t beaten a team with a winning record all season, well unless you count the 9-9 Broncos as a winning team. That stat alone makes me feel like Baltimore will cover the spread. The Pats defense isn’t as good as it showed last weekend, and Baltimore’s offense will do better against them than they did against Houston’s top 5 defense. Another thing that makes me feel like Baltimore will cover is Brady usually has bad games against the Ravens. For some reason this D has his number and forces him into bad decisions that he usually doesn’t make against other teams. The Patriots don’t have the receivers to stretch the field that they’ll need to keep the Ravens D off balance.
By picks Baltimore (+7). Remember the last team to come into Gillette Stadium and hand the Patriots an ass kicking in a playoff game? Yes, it was these Baltimore Ravens, and amazingly, that defense is still in tact and just as good if not better. I don’t know how many deals with the devils were done on that side of the ball, but these old guys can still play some really fantastic, smash mouth defense. Then again, this is Tom Brady we’re talking about, and if anyone would be unintimidated to face these wolves, it would be him. However the outcome, one thing’s for sure, these aren’t the Denver Broncos coming to town. I believe this game is going to get really ugly before it gets pretty, and while I still think the Brady Bunch pulls it off at home, it definitely will come down to the wire. Game winning field goal anyone?
New York Giants @ San Francisco (-2.5)
Chappy picks San Francisco (-2.5). Is it possible the Giants are overconfident against the 49ers? Is it possible that since the 49ers beat them in the regular season and that BOTH teams are playing better not just the Giants? Yes and yes. The Niners offense is not the Packers offense, yet they seem to be scoring more TD’s than field goals for the past few games. Maybe they finally figured out what to do in the red zone that they were sorely missing earlier in the season, because the scoreboard has reflected it. One of Alex Smith’s best games passing in the regular season was against the Giants, so I have no reservations against them put up 25+ points. If it’s truly a wet field, the Giants will have to play more zone, which they are not good at, and will help Alex a lot. Another thing is the 49ers defense. They HIT everyone hard. Every guy they knock out has to take some steam out of the other team like when Pierre Thomas was knocked out last weekend. The Aldon/Justin Smith combo is going to hit Eli a lot. I don’t see how they’ll be able to run the ball, when nobody runs on the 49ers.
By picks San Francisco (-2.5). Can’t believe the Niners are favored? Perhaps that’s a bad thing though. The Niners have played the underdog roll perfectly all season, and despite the second best record in the NFC, no one gave them a chance against the Saints last week. I must say, that game might have very well been the best game I’ve viewed in the history of my life. What a game, what a game. Anyway, I don’t need to get into this too much, I’m a homer, and I’m obviously confident in my Niners and feel they could take this thing the distance. The forecast calls for rain on Sunday, which will make the Giants even more one dimensional on offense, advantage us. I don’t want to speak to much on this game in fear of jinxing something, but Niners should win and cover, then hopefully ride that momentum towards a 6th franchise championship.
Jed York is Cool
So the exchange below happened to a friend of a friend, but when the email was forwarded on to me, I instantly thought it was post worthy. Oh, and this happened last night 1/18…
check this out. I had the coolest experience ever after work last night.
So I was just walking home from the bus after work tonight. Heading up Vallejo St. towards my apartment. This dark-haired guy in his early 30’s in a suit and his girl are up the street about 15 yards coming towards me. Got my 1980’s 49ers gold satin Starter jacket on.
I had worn it to work Monday, skipped wearing it Tuesday, then debated this morning whether to wear it again today. Kinda felt a little dorky, but I have been having way too much fun again being a Niner fan. So I chose to wear it again and stick out like a sore thumb in SF’s Financial District.
As we pass each other the guy turns and asks “Hey you going to the game Sunday?”. I take a couple steps and turn around, and say “You know I’m not sure, I went last Saturday (to the Niners epic win over the Saints) and it was incredible. I’m not sure, though – I don’t have tickets and need to get them.”
The guy pulls a pair of big, commemorative Niners tickets out of his suit pocket. I look up and realize it’s Jed York, the 49ers owner.
ME: “Jed?! No, I can’t believe it! Nice to meet you! How you doin’?!”
JED: “Nice to meet you, too. Love the jacket – love seeing that around town.”
ME: “You’ve got to be having so much fun right now, huh?”
JED: “Yep, it’s been incredible.”
ME: “I had such a good time at the game Saturday. Can’t believe this, you made my year, man – thanks so much.”
JED: “Absolutely, this is my wife Danielle by the way.”
ME: “So nice to meet you – I’m Marz Garcia. So, what are you doing here?”
JED: “We’re going to dinner at Firenze. Just heading over now.”
Firenze-by-Night is the most down-to-earth Italian place in North Beach. Great place, but nothing fancy. Real fun scene, though. Ferol and I just ate there a couple weeks ago. So cool that Jed would go there for dinner.
They were both so gracious and friendly – obviously I can’t be anything but a big fan at this point. Danielle got us a picture – attached.
Got home and checked and they’re 50-yard line seats. I could sell ’em for a couple thousand bucks but there is no chance. Called my buddy Carter who immediately booked his flight up from LA – and off we go on Sunday!
Needless to say, I am flying right now. One of those special moments when fate touches you. I feel so lucky.
The moral of the story: don’t be afraid to fly your colors!!
No One Man Should Have All That Pasta
I’m not sure if this was a Primo Pasta ad, or showing that Andrea likes pasta a lot, or an All-Star video similar to the ones they made in Minnesota for Love last season. Whatever the case I thought it was pretty funny spoofing the Kayne song. I haven’t seen Bargnani play much this year, but for some reason it’s hard for me to take him seriously as an all-star candidate. Yes, he scores a lot (22.5 ppg), but you almost have to be avoiding rebounds to only average 6.5 a game as a 7 footer playing over 35 minutes a game. Plus, someone has to score up there besides Derozan. I read a couple places that he’s “playing much more physically this year”, but wouldn’t that mean he’d have more than 0.7 blocks a game and said rebounds. I’d much rather see someone like Spencer Hawes, Greg Monroe, or even Roy Hibbert playing behind Howard in the All-Star game.
Doin Divisional Lines
Chappy: I can’t remember a first round of the playoffs that I did well in, and last week was no exception missing 3 of 4 picks. No big deal though, there’s plenty of time for redemption. Last weekend was somewhat boring for playoff football, but now it looks like we’re getting into the fun match ups. If you happened to miss Tebow’s pass to win it in overtime, here’s an awesome peanut remake of the play.
Last Week: By (2-2) Chap (1-3)
Regular Season: By (27-20) Chap (50-35-4)
New Orleans @ San Francisco (+3.5)
Chappy picks San Francisco (+3.5). I can’t really tell if I’m rooting for the 49ers to win or not. I have mixed emotions about them returning to glory while the Raiders continue to spiral in god knows what direction. That being said, if there’s a team that can slow Brees down, this is the team. I feel like the biggest match up of this game will be Sproles. If they stop him, they will be able to get the Saints off the field. If not, they might be in for the longest day their defense has seen in awhile. If there’s one thing I love about the Niners it’s their linebackers abilities, and Bowman and Willis will be able to cover Sproles and Graham. The 49ers are also coming in probably the healthiest they’ve been all season, which is another reason I’m taking them in this one.
By picks who else? SF (+3.5) Obviously I’m a homer on this one, but without sounding too bias, I’ll state some reasons as to why the Niners might be able to pull this off. #1 – We’re at home, we’ll have a blood thirsty crowd on our side, and I’m crossing my fingers it’s going to be windy/rainy as hell over here come Saturday. #2 – We have the best defense in the NFL, and if the old adage holds true, defense is supposed to win championships. I couldn’t agree more with what Chappy said above, and it’s the same thing I’ve been telling all my friends/family/co-workers all week, if we can contain Darren Sproles, we have a legitimate shot at slowing down the Saints offense. I believe the Niners front 7 will get to Brees before deeper routes can develop, and if his safety valve in Sproles is locked up, it changes the complexity of their entire offense. I don’t think the Saints score more than 20 against us. The question is, will we get 21 against them?
Denver @ New England (-13.5)
Chappy picks New England (-13.5). Did Tebow really win throwing the ball last weekend? Do the Patriots really have WR’s starting in their secondary? I can’t see Tebow winning two weeks in a row throwing the way he did at the end of the season, not that I couldn’t throw against the Pats secondary, but I see God ending his sons magic run this weekend. The Patriots were the first team to make the “blueprint” on how to force Tebow out of his comfort zone (making him roll to the left), and now they have Josh McDaniels on their coaching staff they’ll know even more ways to stop him. Not sure why Pittsburgh didn’t use that template, instead blitzing nearly every down, but that’s beside the point.
By picks Tebow (+13.5). What Tebow did to the Steelers THROUGH THE AIR last weekend was amazing. I never questioned his ability to rise to the occasion, and do whatever is asked of him, but he took it a step further with his uplifting performance last week. And it’s hard for me to think the magic ends here. Bare in mind that prior to Brady taking over the 2nd half of an earlier match up between these two this year, Tebow and the Broncos were dominating the Pats. Something fell apart for them, and Brady simply never released his hands from their throat. The difference this time is, Tebow can throw! New England’s defense couldn’t stop a leaky faucet from running, but now they have to play the pass too? The dynamic of this match up has completely swung, and when all else fails, how can you ever bet against God’s quarterback?
Houston @ Baltimore (-7.5)
Chappy picks Baltimore (-7.5). I don’t know many people that really think the Texans are going to win, but will they cover is the real question. I am nervous about relying on Joe “I’m feeling disrespected even though I haven’t done anything in the playoffs” Flacco to win by more than a TD, but Baltimore is the perfect type of team to face Houston in that they can shut down the run even as good as Arian Foster is. It will be tough for the Texans to score, and still being in their first franchise playoff run, I don’t see them coming out on top. If Baltimore loses, I may never pick them again in the playoffs… Their regular season match up was a long time ago, I don’t see that factoring in the equation much because they had Schaub still as their QB.
By picks Houston (+7.5). Yes, I’m picking three, count ’em three upsets this week. And yes, I’m not picking Houston to just cover, they’re going into Baltimore this weekend, and then flying back home to get ready to host the Broncos next week. That’s an A1 BOLD prediction for you! Really though, I like Arian Foster. A lot. And then there’s Ben Tate. When you have a line, and two backs like that, it puts a lot of pressure on a defense, albeit a great one. But this will be like a heavyweight fight, and what might be the difference in this game is who you trust more at quarterback. Oddly enough, I already like T.J. Yates better. Houston’s going to pound and pound away, then set up a big play action late to steal this game away.
New York Giants @ Green Bay (-7.5)
Chappy picks Green Bay (-7.5). If this Giants win this game, maybe I’ll believe all that they’re the same as the 2007 team crap they keep shoving down my throat. Until then, you gotta roll with the champs. The Packers didn’t look as good without Greg Jennings on offense, but low and behold he’s back, so I see them getting back to their video game type numbers. Will Eli be able to keep up on the scoreboard? Yes, but I forsee a Charles Woodson or Nick Collins pick 6 at some point to cover that spread.
By picks Green Bay (-7.5). Yeah, yeah. We’re hearing it from every angle from the media. The Giants are clicking, and they’re resembling the 2007 playoff team that rode late momentum towards a championship upset. Except this is mother f**kin’ Aaron Rodgers. ‘Nuff said. Pack win, and win big.
Huge Group of Girls Vs. Sh** Nobody Says
I couldn’t decide between the two videos on which to post, so I just went with both. The girls one is pretty true if you’ve ever been to any bar scene anywhere. The shit nobody says wasn’t my favorite video in the world, but it did give me a few laughs with the lines; I’m glad I ate six Chalupas and We should move to Oakland.
Mark Davis Puts His Plan In Motion
So far, Mark Davis’s tenure as the Raiders owner has been a quite one. Many, including myself wondered how he’d run the Raiders once his father passed away. Today was really the first time he’d spoken publicly about the teams plans for the interim and the future. All in all I was impressed how he handled himself while answering questions about their future as well as the reasons he hired Reggie Mackenzie as the Raiders first ever GM even if he’s the only guy he interviewed for the job. Here’s the whole interview of the two new top dogs in the Raiders organization if you care.
One thing they left on the table which was never actually answering during the interview was why the decision was made to fire Hue Jackson. Yes they said it was Reggie Mackenzie’s choice and he wanted to start from stratch, but that wasn’t nearly as firm as when Al Davis would do his semi-annual firing (just ask Lane Kiffin or any ex-Raiders coach for that matter). Raiders fans may never know why he was fired for sure, but you have to bet that some of it had to do with the empty promises he consistently made throughout the season in a Rex Ryan like fashion including the whole building a bully angle, we’ll make the playoffs, less penalties, stopping the run, and the best trade of all-time quotes come to mind as well. The most troubling part about the firing was that he did seem to be liked by the players, and that’s something that’s hard to replace, but at the same time if you have the ears of the players why did they completely forget to show up in a few games!?! I always wondered why he didn’t request more help while handling personnel choices as the head coach/GM this year. I’m sure they would’ve gotten him someone to help out if he asked for it. Hue’s demise was for more than a few reasons. He never put Jason Campbell on the IR opening a spot for perhaps another linebacker or corner back not named Lito Sheppard that we desperately needed. Then there was the whole finishing the season losing four out of five, which could’ve easily been five of five since they played like crap in KC, but one team had to win that game.
Another thing I think that Mark Davis must’ve seen that I even noticed is that they changed a lot of their defensive and offensive philosophies once Al passed away. Would that piss his son off in a season supposedly dedicated to his father? Possibly, and the glaring change in philosophy was letting the defense play zone a lot for the last 12 games, and ultimately killed them in the Lions game when they have always been a man to man type team in the secondary. Should Jackson have been fired? There’s reasons for keeping him and letting him go. Keeping him would basically blame this past season of failures on injuries (justifiable), the defense, and spreading himself too thin playing GM and coach. The firing however shows that they are re-setting the franchise in Mark Davis’ vision of the franchise opposed to his fathers, which is something all Raiders fans might like to see after nearly a decade of losing somewhat like the Warriors tenure change. Although I don’t know a Raiders fan who honestly hated Al even in his bad years.
I think the most impressive part about all this movement in the front office is that Mark Davis consulted people he was close with, and came out with a clear vision that he would get his team into a better place to succeed not so much next year but in the future. No, he’s not a talent evaluator like Al Davis was, but he does clearly have a plan for the future. It all started with getting Reggie Mackenzie on board, and putting a staff together with that talent evaluating ability. Whether or not Reggie knows what he’s doing remains to be seen, but watching the Packers work their way to winning two Super Bowls while he was working for them, isn’t going to hurt. I thought Mackenzie was well spoken, and seemed to have a clear vision of how the organization should be run, so in the end I’m not that sad Hue is gone. If we could keep him on as the OC, I would love to see that happen, but I wouldn’t blame him for turning that job down. Should be interesting to see what’s next for them, but at the same time it’s kinda sad that the A’s, Raiders, and Warriors are all in constant re-build mode, because sadly the Raiders were pretty much the only successful team I’ve had the chance to root for lately…
The Most Entertaining Team in the NBA
At the beginning of the year, I figured a post with this title would be about the Lob City Clips or even perhaps the Miami Heatles, but for some reason that hasn’t been the case. Many of you, including myself, probably lost your free preview of the NBA league pass over the weekend. The first thing that popped into my head was, I can’t believe I watched at least part of every Timberwolves game for the first two weeks of the season, and might not get to see them again this year since I doubt they have very many nationally televised games. I even watched them over the Warriors on a few occasions, that’s how damn entertaining they were. Are they going to be a surprise playoff team? Probably not, but that’s not always why I watch hoops. Being a Warriors fan, I usually just want to be entertained since it’s not always in the cards that my team will win. Anyways, anytime the Wolves are on nationally, you can bet I’ll be watching. The longtime laughing stocks of the league actually have a solid core of players that are fun to watch with lots of story lines to go around.
The Best White Guy in the NBA (Kevin Love). What’s not to like about Love and his energy for the game. Even his All-Star pitch last season was funny. Last year for some ungodly reason he didn’t even crack the starting lineup while posting double doubles nightly for the first part of the season. Luckily that was quickly corrected, and we got to see this beast do his 110% effort thing from the opening tip.
The Highly Entertaining First Year Euro Player (Ricky Rubio). I remember ripping him pretty good a few times in our e-mail chains dating back through the last couple of years he stayed over in Spain. We’ve probably had at least 100 e-mails back and forth arguing about whether he’d play here or not. It seemed unfathomable how his game would translate to the NBA when he was sitting at something like 6 PPG and 4 APG last season and only coming off the bench in SPAIN, but after seeing him play these two NBA league pass filled weeks, I’m fully sold on his prospects to be the next Steve Nash. It’s been funny to watch him bounce passes off teammates faces when they weren’t ready to catch one of his fancy passes. He is truly a wizard with the ball in his hands.
My College Player Mancrush from Last Season (Derrick Williams). I still don’t see how this guy doesn’t end up being a stud in the league for a long time. He’s shown a few flashes here and there already, but hasn’t really played a ton of minutes to showcase all his talents. Maybe now that Beasley’s hurt he’ll earn a spot in the starting rotation. I pretty much fell for him during the Pac-10 tournament last year, and will stick by him until he turns into a bigtime player.
Super Talented Headcases (Anthony Randolph and Michael Beasley). Anyone out there that’s played fantasy hoops or been a Warriors fan knows how frustrating it is to watch or have Anthony Randolph on your team. He makes a great block and rebound then dribbles down the court faster than everyone only to throw it out of bounds. You see the good stuff and think this guy could be great, but then he inexplicably does stupid things that he should’ve learned during High School. Beasley’s idiocy has been well chronic(led). You never know what you’re going to get from either guy from a production standpoint, but when they seem to care their potential seems limitless.
Major Draft Bust (Darko Milicic). The man infamously picked in front of Melo, Wade, and Bosh. The funny part about him though, is he might actually have a better career than 2007 #1 pick, Greg Oden! After landing on his fifth team in nine seasons, he actually played decent in Minnesota last season, and parlayed that into a 4 year $20M contract that I thought was atrocious at the time, but if there’s one thing you can’t teach it’s 7 feet, and as much as I hated the Warriors signing Kwame, a 7-footer does make a difference in the paint.
Even More White Guys (JJ Barea, Brian Cardinal, Luke Ridnour, and Brad Miller). Honestly, I can’t remember a team with seven of it’s twelve roster spots going to five white guys and two white Euro guys. Well, at least in my existence I’m sure there were plenty in the peach picker basket days. In fact, I’m struggling to think of a roster with more than three white guys on the team…
NFL Playoff Week 1 Recap
I was actually in town for the first weekend in about a month, and I took full advantage by catching all four playoff games this weekend. We might as well start with Tebow. Arguably the most anticipated game of the weekend, it certainly lived up to the hype – as did Tebow. Once again, he, at times, looked like one of the worst quarterbacks I’ve ever seen. But he actually made a few more big plays than he usually does, especially with his arm. With the odds stacked against Denver late in the game, it looked like the Steelers got it together just in time to steal the game. They forced overtime, but Tebow magic struck again, on the first play of the extra session no less. Tebow’s long TD pass to Thomas clinched a Broncos win and set up a 2nd round showdown with the Patriots at Foxboro next weekend.
The Giants had an even stronger showing today. Atlanta got on the board early with a safety and took a 2-0 lead. Shockingly, those were the only points the Falcons would score all day. The Giants played surprisingly good ball on both sides and dominated from beginning to end. It was a disappointing finish to the season for the Falcons, and I’m thanking my lucky stars that Michael Turner and Julio Jones waited until the fantasy season was over to put up lackluster numbers.
The Saints did what everyone expected and lit up the scoreboard en route to a matchup with San Francisco next weekend. The Lions hung around longer than expected – long enough for me to think they had a chance. But, in the second half, Detroit stopped scoring and the Saints kept, well, marching in.. to the endzone. I can’t wait to watch Brees and co. take on the NFC’s best defense.
The Houston Texans took advantage of their first ever postseason by disposing of the Bengals. Andy Dalton played pretty well, but appeared to come a bit unraveled toward the end of the game. The other young quarterback, TJ Yates, however, never wavered, and the Texans ran away with it in the second half. It’s amazing to think the team could lose their top two quarterbacks and still find themselves in the second round of the playoffs. It’s too bad they have to go into Baltimore, but they may be able to grind one out in what should be a low-scoring affair.
Worst of 2011
It’s always funny to see what was and wasn’t a big deal over the year. This song covers most things I can think of, at least for the bad of 2011. I have to admit this guys flowing abilities are pretty solid in a Weird Al type way…
Doin Wild Lines
Chappy: Well, the regular season sure didn’t end the way I’d hoped it would for the Raiders, but honestly I wasn’t too surprised as they came up short in way too many games, and probably didn’t deserve to win the West just like the Broncos didn’t either. This was by far my best regular season of betting since we’ve been keeping track of our records, so hopefully it keeps on going in the playoffs as well where everyone has to just win baby!
By: I really wish I could have joined Chappy for these picks more consistently this season, but unfortunately work got in the way. We all have our own burdens. Anyway, Chappy’s been quite impressive in terms of his overall record, which more than carries the load for both of us. I hope my last minute playoff run can beef up my season record. To the lines!
Last week: Chap (4-2)
Overall: Chap (50-35-4) By (27-20)
Cincinnati @ Houston (-3).
Chappy picks Cincy (+3). This might be the most balanced match up of the weekend, and by that I mean these teams are very well balanced in that they don’t do anything poorly. Solid defenses, solid running games, and solid special teams. The X-factor all year for Cincy has been Dalton though. He doesn’t look like a rookie anymore, and is showing that he should be highly considered for the rookie of the year by leading this team that nobody gave a chance to the playoffs. Not sure why, but I see Cincy taking it to Arian Foster by putting 9 in the box and doubling Andre Johnson with the remaining two guys and daring Yates to do something. TJ Yates hasn’t shown me anything to think he can pull out this win, even at home against a team with the same amount of playoff experience as them.
By picks Cincinnati (+3). Congratulations to the Houston Texans, they finally did it. All those past seasons of invalid hype has culminated to this, their first post season appearance in franchise history. Unfortunately for them, it won’t get past Saturday. In any other season in which Cam Newton wasn’t a rookie, Andy Dalton would be the best first year player, and despite his recent bout with the flu, I trust him tossing it to A.J. Green over T.J. Yates tossing it to Andre Johnson and his gimp leg. The Bengals are balanced on both sides of the ball, and if they can contain Arian Foster, they should be able to pull off the mild upset.
Detroit @ New Orleans (-11.5)
Chappy picks Detroit (+11.5). I’m not going to say the Lions will win, but if there’s one lesson we’ve learned from them is that this team is never out of a game. Teams that score a lot in the 4th quarter tend to cover spreads quite often. The Stafford-Megatron connection has been huge these last few weeks (pretty much won me a fantasy playoffs), and I don’t see the Saints being able to stop it enough to cover this spread. Brees and Stafford will both get theirs against not so great defenses. I’d almost say the surer bet in this game is the over on points even with it being at 59.5!
By picks Detroit (+11.5). First of all, let me state that I was pro Detroit Lions before the season began, and although there are some class act players in this organization, it only takes a few bad apples to ruin the bunch. In every national televised game featuring the Lions this season, there have been breakouts of temper tantrums similar to that of a child, a disgusting sight to see from a large, grown man. Anyway, I’m not as big a fan now. As much as Drew Brees has been lights out throwing the ball as of late, 11.5 points is hard to cover in a playoff game, especially against another high scoring dome team. Saints win by 7.
Atlanta @ NY Giants (-3)
Chappy picks Atlanta (+3). A lot of people are saying that the Giants are making a run like they did in 2007, but I don’t buy it. That year was ridiculously lucky, and I think they had a better all around team then especially in the running game. I feel like this is finally the time for Matt Ryan to get a playoff win. The Giants secondary isn’t as good as Roddy White and Julio Jones are, and the routes they often run are short ones that will negate some of that Giants pass rush. I still never understood why a team with a worse record should ever have a home playoff game, but whatever it seems to happen every year now…
By picks NY Giants (-3). Is it time to jump back on that Matty Ice bandwagon? Not quite. As much as I like Atlanta and the makeup of their team, I just feel like the Giants are clicking on all cylinders now. Victor Cruz might be the most explosive player in the game right now and I predict a big game from him, in fact more specifically, a game changing play from him. Plus it’s tough for a dome team to travel on the road to cold climates come January and try to steal one from a veteran team.
Pittsburgh @ Denver (+8.5)
Chappy picks Denver (+8.5). I’m not sold on Denver winning this game, but the way Rothlisberger has played the last few weeks I wouldn’t be shocked if he throws a few picks to the ball hawking Denver defense that will keep it close. Tebow should have more opportunities to make plays throwing the ball since Clarke is out for this game. That being said, he probably won’t throw that much regardless of who is in the secondary no matter how much Elway wants him to throw. Win or lose, I bet all we hear about next week is what happened in this game to Tebow…
By picks Denver (+8.5). I’m not making this pick for the spread, I actually think Tim Tebow can pull this off. The Broncos have lost three straight and only deserve to be in the post season because the Chargers and Raiders ended up being greater disappointments. But this is a new stage, and even more so, this is Tebow Time. Denver’s defense is good enough to keep the game close late, and if that’s the case, Tebow and company pull it off. If you don’t think so, you’re obviously not a person of faith.
The Few Things I Remember From This New Year’s Weekend
My body came back yesterday, but I think my head just finally returned from Tahoe this evening. It was a blurry three days up at the cabin, but I managed to sprinkle in some sports here and there. The majority of it came on Saturday morning/afternoon, as it was do or die for not only the Oakland Raiders, but also the West Sac Narwhals (you guessed it, my fantasy team). Here’s the recap of my weekend in sports…
Boring Morning Games – The scores may look close, but the 49ers-Rams and Jets-Dolphins definitely didn’t feel as close as your average 34-27 or 19-17 games. Neither had much meaning, other than the Jets being able to make a small claim toward a playoff berth. The Niners were also able to sew up a bye in the first round. The fantasy relevance was limited, with only Steven Jackson struggling to muster up 9 points. The Rams did a good job of wiping points away from my opponent though, putting up 17 against his 49ers Defense. I’d have much rather been watching the Lions-Packers. I opted to start Matthew Stafford for just the second time this season. The only other time was during Tom Brady’s bye week, and he turned in a dismal 12 point performance. Who would’ve thought, though, that it’d be the other Matt throwing for 6 TDs. But, when you’re in Northern California, you can’t expect to see any other NFC games while the 49ers are playing. Maybe I was just bored waiting for the game of the year….
Oakland Raiders Can End 9 Year Playoff Drought – The scenarios were many, but one was simple. Beat the Chargers, and get a Denver loss at the hands of Kyle Orton and the Kansas City Chiefs, and they’re in. Beating the Chargers isn’t usually a doable task, but Oakland beat them in pretty convincing fashion in front of a national Thursday night NFL Network stage IN San Diego. Throw in Orton’s return to Denver (he HAS to light it up against his old team, right?), and I was feeling like the chances were good. The Chiefs took care of business, even if Orton didn’t light it up. A 7-3 ballgame seemed like the perfect setup for the Raiders to get in. Ultimately, though, a porous defense and untimely turnovers – both Raiders staples this season – squandered away a golden opportunity. Oakland will miss the playoffs yet again, and Denver backs into the playoffs, riding a 6-22, 60 yard, 1 interception, and a fumble lost game by Tim Tebow. Sounds to me like a perfect script for a Denver upset against Pittsburgh next weekend. Too bad I wasn’t still 10 minutes from Nevada anymore!
Demarcus Cousins Demanded Trade From Sacramento Kings – This one caught me way off guard. I read the news on my phone, and quite frankly, I was many sheets to the wind at this point. The headlines, though, were crystal clear….
“Demarcus Cousins DEMANDS Trade”
“Demarcus Cousins SENT HOME For Good”
“Demarcus Cousins Has Played His LAST GAME In Sacramento”
By the time I got caught up on all the news, it was over. I just watched the Kings lose to the Grizzlies, but Cousins was back out there as if nothing ever happened. Albeit he came off the bench and played just 22 minutes, it’s amazing enough that he saw the floor at all. He struggled offensively, just 4 points on 1-5 shooting; but he grabbed 8 rebounds, including a game-high 6 offensive boards. I’m hoping it gets more back to normal in the next few games. Here’s a BIG reason why… Tonight, I was officially SOLD on Jimmer Fredette as an effective NBA player. He CAN get his shot off. He CAN create off the dribble. He CAN shoot 3’s from NBA range. OK, I suppose no one ever doubted the last one. Well to make up for that one, I’ll add that he CAN pass. Like Tyreke Evans, no one will ever be sold on him being an NBA point guard, but he can find the open man like one. So maybe two of those guys in the backcourt can equal one point guard. They’ve got another guy who can light it up with the best of them too in Marcus Thornton. If only they had a tall, quick, athletic, passing big man to round it out. Oh wait, they DO. It appears they’re on the brink of trading him though. If they end up shipping Cousins away, we’ll know it had to have been bad, because he’s a once in a decade talent, like a second coming of Chris Webber. Unfortunately, it took Webber a trade or two to really find his groove. Cousins has lasted longer in Sac than C-Webb did in Golden State, but it feels eerily similar. Who knows, maybe Demarcus gets reunited with John Wall in Washington for a few years, then he spends his prime in Oakland for the Warriors.
One Last Thought – Were there ANY College Football Bowl Games on New Year’s Day? I thought New Year’s Day was supposed to be about Bowl Games…? I swear, when I was a kid, roughly 6 of the best 7 of all 15 bowl games were on New Year’s Day. If I remember my weekend correctly (which I certainly don’t), NONE of the 35 Bowls were played on Sunday. What the HELL?! Oh well, Sunday was for BBQing. I broke out my new smoker and probably served up the best trio of Tri-Tip, Pork Loin, and Smoked Salmon this side of the Rocky Mountains. Yeah, I said smoked Tri-Tip… It’s California. I can’t find a brisket to save my life out here. One day, smoked Tri-Tip is gonna be a nationwide phenomenon though. It’s gonna be the Tim Tebow of barbeque… no one thinks it can be that good, but all it does it WIN.