Tag Archives: orlando magic

Trading Weekend…

Wall Street is closed on the weekends, but there were some major trades being made in the sports world over the weekend. The two biggest trades were undoubtedly the Magic getting Gilbert (a long time favorite of mine) from the Wizards, as well as Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, and Earl Clark from the Suns. My first reaction to the trade when I saw it flash up on the bottom line on TV was, what an upgrade! They got rid of Rashard, Pietrus and Vince, which is a win my book regardless of who came in. Nothing against Vince or Rashard, but if the Magic really want to be serious contenders they needed to get rid of both of them for the simple reason that they always choke in the playoffs. Here’s a reminder of how they felt last year about the Hedoless team. (NJ and Toronto fans nodding in agreement) Second, they got rid of Michael (I step out of bounds twice a game) Pietrus. I’m not positive how Air France has done this year since I really don’t follow the Magic that closely, but Pietrus is a guy that frustrated me when he was in a Warriors uniform. I can only assume that those are the same type of sentiments that Magic fans have about him, but maybe not. All in all it was like the how the A’s finally rid themselves of Jack Cust. Addition by subtraction.

How will this new look Eastern Conference beast be with all the new parts? I really can’t say for sure that they will be better than the old group, but since they are taking in veterans that have played in multiple systems, I’m sure integrating them into the game plan won’t take as long as many expect. I also believe that Hedo and Arenas want to prove that they are good again, and will have plenty of reasons now that they will be playing for a winning team. I’m sure both want to revive their image, and winning cures that quickly just look at Vick! A lot of people seemed shocked that they’d blow up their team like this with only a quarter of the season gone by, but my thinking is that all of this seeming panic goes back to the summer of Lebron. The Magic are about to find themselves in a similar situation that Cleveland faced last year with Dwight’s contract expiring in 2012. Feels like a do or die move to try and get a championship. If you are the Magic, you definitely should be scared that if they don’t get a championship in the next two years then their chances to re-sign Dwight will be nearly impossible as he looks to take his talents away from central Florida. They already have experience losing a once in a lifetime center seeing Shaq flee to LA. Centers don’t grow on trees as we’ve seen with guys like Oden and Bynum never really making it to their potential level or staying healthy for that matter. The Magic are now deep into the luxury tax, but it will only be worth it if they can appease their big man to stay, and a championship might be the only way to do that. I hope it works out for them, unless of course Dwight has an aching to come to Golden State! Then I wouldn’t mind watching his “Decision” from the Epcot Center.

Zack Greinke was the other big trade of the weekend. I love reading how the Royals got a good deal out of it. Really!?! You can already tell?!? They traded away their best player and have improved greatly?!? I guess they are like the A’s, but simply never win. The Royals have one of the youngest roster known to man. Aside from Vin Mazzaro who the A’s just traded to them, I don’t really recognize many names. I guess they could be like the Padres and sneak up on everyone, but that’s a laughable statement in itself. If they are a contender in two years I will gladly eat those words. I’d put the chances of them getting a Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Grady Seizmore type haul at 1%.  Personally, I thought the best part about this trade was that the Rangers didn’t end up with Greinke. He was supposedly their second target after they failed to get Cliff Lee. Now it looks like the A’s are still the only team that’s really improved in the AL West, which makes me that much happier. The Brewers get what they were desperately missing with Greinke’s consistent pitching, even if last year he wasn’t as great. Can you blame him? I’d have a hard time getting fired up for starts if I was on the Royals. I think he’s going to tear through the NL lineups and might be somewhat like Halladay was last year for the Phillies, although there’s a huge difference between the AL East and the AL Central. I actually picked the Brewers to win the NL Central last year, maybe I just picked them one year too early! Now that they’ll have Yorvani Gallardo and hopefully a healthy Chris Capuano, so there’s no reason to count this team out. Their young core can put up runs, but now they some pitching to match that powerful lineup. If they can find a way to bridge the gap between their new starters and the Axeman I will be saying I told you so 8 months from now when they are in the playoffs!

Advertisements

Suns Are Keeping Me Interested

A couple weeks ago, I wrote how the playoffs have been a snoozefest, and was hoping the Conference Finals would bring a little drama. So far, not so much. After watching about two and a half quarters of the Boston-Orlando game 3 Saturday, it was clear that the Magic didn’t have any Chris Angel in them. It felt like they didn’t even care that they were losing. I guess they decided that they only wanted to sweep or be swept, and as AP wrote, they don’t have a backbone and would rather be at Disneyland. Superman disappeared, and looked powerless against a big baby. Pretty much the whole team decided to lay down, even Jameer, who I always thought was a gamer. Vince was probably the only one that looked like he was even trying to compete, and that’s a really bad sign for a team, when he looks like the only guy that cares!! I think we can safely say Rondo is Boston’s best player now, and will give any opposing guard fits on offense and defense. All those other guys they have aren’t too shabby themselves, and know what their roles are. I’m hoping that the Celtics can wrap it up in game four so they have plenty of time to rest before the finals. They should give the Lakers one tough battle in a wet dream matchup for the NBA with Lebron out of the picture (here’s to hoping that will jinx the Lakers with that comment).

The Suns are who I’ve been pulling for all along, and tonight, they at least showed that they weren’t going to lay down to an obviously better Lakers team. The thing I found so strange about this game is I thought that Phoenix’s bench would be the reason they’d win a game. This wasn’t the case, as the bench was held to minimal production, and if it weren’t for Amare getting back into his game (42 points, 11 rebounds), the sun would’ve set on their season tonight. Robin Lopez played well, and on this rare occasion the Lakers bigs weren’t the story of the night.  I’m not sure if the Suns really won this game as much as the Lakers lost it. Odom, who had huge games in the first two made his usual disappearing act following a couple big performances. Hopefully that will last for a couple games. Bynum was just a big guy handing out fouls as offensive players streaked by him to the rim. Fischer might have been their third best player on the court. I don’t think I’ve said that about him since he was on the Jazz! Kobe will always be Kobe, and just missed a triple double by a rebound. Doug Collins and Marv Alberts seemed to think that the zone D the Suns were playing was slowing Kobe down, but they must not have looked at his stat line (36pts, 9 rebs, 11 assists).

All in all, this game has me feeling like the Suns have a good shot to even this series up on Tuesday. I still wouldn’t bet on them to win, but the most promising part about tonight’s game is that they didn’t really play their best. Nash wasn’t spectacular, their bench didn’t help out, they shot the three ball horribly, and the barometer of the Suns success, J-Rich, didn’t score 20! Looking down the need to do list before the game, I figured they would need to do a combo of all of these things for them to win, and even though none of them panned out, they still pulled out victory. I think the real question now becomes is Amare satisfied with putting up his one big game or will he come back for more? If he is done, the Suns will have a tough road ahead. If he isn’t, we could be in for a great series! I hope tonight doesn’t make him feel like he showed us he can do it, and he disappears like he did in LA for the first two games. The Suns won’t win another game if that’s the case. I’m hoping he wasn’t just “lucky” tonight!


Lakers – Celtics Inevitable

We’re only one game into each series. Technically, game one isn’t even over in Los Angeles, but watching Jason Richardson and Louis Amundson fight with each other for a rebound en route to a 26 point deficit five minutes into the fourth doesn’t really spark much optimism. The Lakers are headed to dominant defeat of the Suns in the opening game of the Western Conference Finals, and we all know what happened in the first game of the Boston-Orlando series. The Conference Finals look like nothing more than a formality at this point. Sure, a lot of people are convinced that the Magic made proper adjustments in the second half against the Celtics and appear poised to strike back in game two, but I’m not convinced. Granted, I didn’t catch game one due to my watching the Amgen Tour of California ride down the Auburn streets that I used to stomp on in my younger days, but it’s clear the Magic just can’t  match up with a more driven Celtics team. Everyone thinks the Magic will adjust their game plan, but what’s to say the Celtics won’t. The Big Three know that the window is closing; meanwhile, Rajon Rondo is busy establishing himself as one of the premier players in the league. I’ll be the first to admit I was a huge Rondo doubter coming out of Kentucky. I thought he’d be nothing more than a role player at best. But four years later, I’m ready to give the kid his due. I’m sorry, but 29, 18, and 13 in any game, let alone a pivotal postseason game, is enough to convince me that he’s for real. I was all but ready to post about Rondo last Sunday had it not been for Dallas Braden’s perfect game. As stacked as the Magic are, they simply won’t be able to outlast the Celtics this time.

Back to the West Coast, it seemed like Phoenix would at least be able to hang with the Lake Show. After watching this debacle tonight, I’m not so sure. The Suns have the same problem they seem to have every year. They’re talented, they can run, and they have plenty of firepower, but they just don’t have the drive and competitiveness. The Lakers are simply to big and even too fast. There’s no debating that Amare Stoudamire is a beast down low, but no combination of Suns can stop the trio of Gasol, Bynum, and Odom. It might be a different game in Phoenix, but they’ll likely be down 0-2, so they’ll be lucky to head back to Southern California with anything better than a 3-1 deficit. Thus, it seems pretty much inevitable that we’re going to see a Boston-LA rematch of the 2008 NBA Finals. Boston got the best of LA last time, but the Lakers are clearly better. Can we really say the same about the Celtics? I’m not so sure.


The NBA Playoffs, Where is the Drama?

I’ve really been trying to get into the NBA playoffs this year, and have enjoyed some of the games/series. This past round however should be called The NBA, Where Blowouts Happen. There’s been an amazing lack of drama that the NBA thrives on, which has had me hitting the snooze button on lots of games. And by snooze, I mean, change the channel for 10-15 minutes, and check back. Once I check back, and see its still a blowout, I’ll jump back to baseball or golf and not look back. It’s sad the playoffs have been losing out in the channel surfing rotation, because most years it doesn’t. It’s going to be tough, but Im going to try to pull together a few things that are intriguing me in the 2010 Playoffs. Continue reading


Doin NBA Power Rankings

Thank you Fanhouse! You’ve given me the inspiration to do some power rankings. I couldn’t believe what their power rankings looked like, I mean really!?! I’m as big of a Laker hater there is out there, but putting the Mavs at numero uno over the Cavs and the Lake show is a little bold!! I’m not sure what Brett over at Fanhouse is smoking, but I need to get some! Anyways, here’s how I see the top 16 teams in the league at this point in the season.

#1 Los Angeles Lakers – They don’t have the best record in the league, but having Kobe sit out for a little will help them. Not missing a beat in the win column keeps them atop these rankings. They will most likely cruise to the Western Conference finals before they are truly tested. John Canzano at the Oregonian might have convinced me that they could be tested by the Blazers in the first round, but I won’t get my hopes up at this point of an early Lake Show exit.

#2 Cleveland Cavaliers – Best record in the league, and a very close 2nd to the champs. Is it a big deal that Shaq is out? No, but in case anyone forgot, they have Lebron. You could put him on the Bucks right now, and get through the first couple playoff rounds, so I’m not buying that the loss of the Diesel is that big of a deal at this point. If he ends up missing more time than expected, that might be another story. Lebron is playing in a different league than everyone else, he doesn’t need Shaq.

#3 Orlando Magic – Vince looks like he finally is fitting in, and the Magic are playing their best basketball of the year. If they keep playing like they have, they could be just as scary as Cleveland in the Eastern Conference. Stan Van Gundy reminds me of Rex Ryan in the NFL. He’s a little unpredictable and unstable, but if you were caught in a fight you would gladly take them on your side.

Continue reading


Doin NBA Power Rankings

Surprisingly we haven’t done any power rankings for hoops this year, so we were about due for this post! We’re approaching the halfway point in the season, and this is how we think the top 16 looks as of today.

1. Los Angeles Lakers – As negative as we are about the Lakers on Doin Work, we respect them. Aside from losing to their freeway rivals Wednesday, the Lake Show still have the best record in the league, and only have 7 losses on the season. I watch them more than I want to, and they’ve had a few injuries, but if Kobe is in the lineup they seem to find a way to win. Their defense might be a concern going forward, but when Ron and Pau are both healthy and back in the lineup they should be solid in the defensive department again. Bynum has been stepping up in a major way.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers – I’m not really sure how the Cavs lost to Charlotte, but other than that mini-speed bump they’ve been very consistent since destroying the Lakers on Christmas. I have a feeling that Nike could get their lame MVPuppet match up this year. It’s sad that I think beginning to be less of a Lebron fan because of those commercials!

3. Boston Celtics – No contending team outside of Portland has more injuries to key guys than the Celtics. Even without Rondo, KG, and Pierce they somehow beat a Toronto team that is playing surprisingly well lately. I guess it’s not a surprise for the leagues oldest team is having injury problems. I’m sure they’re just hoping that they are healthy at the right time.

4. Dallas Mavericks – If the playoffs started today, the Mavs would have the #2 seed. I was actually surprised to see this, but it’s true! Cuban has reigned over the Mavs for a decade now, and seems like he’s pushing the right buttons with his squad this year. They may have stunk up the court against the Lakers, but they beat all the teams they are supposed to and are deeper than I imagined they would be.

5. Orlando Magic – Matt Barnes has been playing some great ball since being put in the starting rotation. Unfortunately for the Magic, he has been their best player as of late and they don’t look like a very deep team anymore. Coach Van Gundy thinks they are in a rut, and it seems like he’s right as they’ve lost three straight. If guys don’t know their roles on the team, it always leads to unhappy players…

6. Denver Nuggets – I’m not sure how the Nuggets are hanging onto their division lead, but they are without Chauncey and Melo. The refs gave them a gift of a foul against the Warriors. They better watch out though, because the Blazers are closing in fast, and have overcome many more injuries than these Nuggets.

7. Portland Trailblazers – Can you say enough good things about Brandon Roy. He’s the ultimate team player. He didn’t have huge stats in the beginning of the year because the team didn’t need him as much. Now that 80% of the team is on the IR he’s playing with D-Leaguers and still has this Blazers team hunting down Denver for the division lead. Roy put up a stinker against the Clips, but if Kobe gets a pass, so does he!

8. Phoenix Suns – This might be too high for the Suns, but screw it. They have beat the best in the league and seem to lose to the worst. I really don’t know what to make of them, since they are so inconsistent, but as long as Nash is running the show they will win. If Richardson can get a little bit more consistent, I like where this team is going.

9. San Antonio Spurs – The Spurs started off the year slow, but as is the case every year, they’re right in the thick of things now. Winners of 12 of their last 15, the Spurs haven’t been flashy, but rank second in the league in FG% and third in 3PT%. Tim Duncan is averaging nearly 20 and 10.

10. Atlanta Hawks – The Hawks have stumbled as of late, dropping 5 of their last 7, but they have plenty of talent to carry them into the playoffs. With Josh Smith continuing to mature with each game, and Jamal Crawford finding his stride as a bench player, they simply need to keep pace in the top half of the Eastern Conference standings and they can be a dangerous playoff team once again.

11. Utah Jazz – It’d be easy to chalk up the Jazz’ early struggles to injuries, but they haven’t really had many. Carlos Boozer has played all 35 games, while Deron Williams and Mehmet Okur have missed a combined 7 games. As long as Williams’ wrist injury doesn’t linger all season long, Utah should find themselves right in the thick of the playoff race.

12. Houston Rockets – The Rockets have been proving doubters wrong all season so far, and despite their current three game losing streak, they’re sitting pretty at 20-16. Those three losses have come at the hands of the Hornets, Lakers, and Suns, all on the road. They’ve been beating the teams they’re supposed to. In this league, if you do that, you’ll find yourself in playing in the postseason. Houston currently sits in the 7th spot, but only by a half a game. In fact, only 3 games separate them from the 12th spot right now.

13. Oklahoma City Thunder – A trendy preseason pick to make the playoffs, the Sonics have not disappointed. Kevin Durant has carried the load, leading the team in scoring, rebounding, steals, and blocks. Their 19-16 record is impressive enough, but what really stands out is their 10-8 record on the road. The only teams in the West with worse home records are Minnesota and Golden State. It’s too bad they’re in OKC, as I’m sure the Seattle fans would provide them a much better home court advantage.

14. Miami Heat – The Heat were hot, no pun intended, to start the season but have since cooled off. Nonetheless, they’re still lingering around the .500 mark, which historically would get you in the playoffs in the East. Dwyane Wade should also garner some MVP attention should Miami finish in the top half of the standings. He’s averaging 27 pts, 5 reb, and 6 ast per game.

15. New Orleans Hornets – Riding a four game win streak, the Hornets are now over .500 for the first time this season at 17-16. That’s not good enough for the playoffs in the Western Conference, but with Chris Paul back healthy, they’ve got to like their chances to pass up Houston and/or Oklahoma City before the season ends.

16. Toronto Raptors – Let’s face it, this could be any team here at #16. The Raptors haven’t exactly impressed this season, but they’re still right in the thick of things. The Chris Bosh farewell tour is going strong. Now, if only Jose Calderon could regain his form, Toronto could have a good shot at knocking off a higher seed in the first round of the playoffs. I wouldn’t count on it though.


Thanksgiving Games of the Day

Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions, 9:30am PST

Sentiment for dropping the Lions from the annual Thursday docket has reached an all-time high this year, but personally, I think the Lions are a Thanksgiving Day tradition. They are the tryptophan to my NFL turkey. It’s just too bad they always play the FIRST game. At any rate, today’s game should be somewhat interesting, as Matthew Stafford will take to a national stage against a division rival. Today we’ll see if the Lions are headed in the right direction, or simply mired in another aimless so-called rebuilding phase. If only they had Mel Gray!

Oakland Raiders @ Dallas Cowboys, 1:15pm PST

Many are predicting this game to be an equally bad trouncing as the first game. However, the Raiders placed a little bit of hope in NFL fans’ minds with last weekend’s upset over the Bengals. Oakland is out to prove they are a new team with Bruce Gradkowski at the helm. Meanwhile, Dallas is out to prove, yet again, that they are a legitimate contender this season. Either way, today we’ll find out exactly who these two teams are.

New York Giants @ Denver Broncos, 5:20pm PST

About a month ago, it looked like we’d have a rare big game on Thanksgiving Day. Thanks to the Broncos, losers of four straight, this is no longer true. Instead, the Giants and Broncos will play with a large part of their season on the line. The winner will remain in the playoff hunt, while the loser, presumably Denver, will suffer a devastating loss that would likely kill any hopes for momentum down the stretch run of the season.

Orlando Magic @ Atlanta Hawks, 5pm PST

Atlanta owns the best record in the East, thanks to the spectacular play of Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Al Horford, and Jamal Crawford. Orlando has had an equally impressive start while adjusting to the reinsertion of Rashard Lewis into the lineup. Three of the five best teams in the East reside in this Southeast Division, so tonight’s game will be a key step forward for the winner of this game in controlling the division – for the time being.

Chicago Bulls @ Utah Jazz, 7:30pm PST

Chicago and Utah are two teams sort of teetering on the balance between good teams and contenders. They both feature superstar point guards in Derrick Rose and Deron Williams, along with rising stars down low in Joakim Noah and Paul Millsap. With the Bulls sitting at 6-7 and the Jazz an even .500 at 7-7, both teams will be fighting hard to pull this win out and stay above the .500 mark.

Portland University @ UCLA, 7:30pm PST

There’s plenty of college hoops action today, but given our West Coast bias, this is the game of the day. Portland has become an unlikely threat to challenge Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference. On the other side, UCLA is unranked, due in part to a season opening loss to Cal State Fullerton. They rebounded with wins over Cal State Bakersfield and Pepperdine. Tonight will be UCLA’s final tuneup before a showdown with #1 Kansas two Sundays from now.


Trick or Treat in the NBA Tonight

I know, Halloween’s passed, but the picture just made me think about what’s going on tonight. ESPN has a great doubleheader on: Atlanta @ Boston and Los Angeles @ Denver. Sounds like a great night right? Nope, those are the only treats. The rest of the lineup is one big trick. Here are the games, ranked in order of least bad to worst.

Portland @ New Orleans – Our panel was in agreement that this is at least one of the two next best games.  Taking away some of the appeal is New Orleans’ disappointing start, capped by the firing of Byron Scott this week. Nonetheless, Chris Paul battling it out with Brandon Roy is still plenty reason to watch this one.

New Jersey @ Orlando – I must be on my own here, because everyone else ranked this game in the top three, but I couldn’t feel more different. Yes, Orlando is the defending conference champion. Yes, Vince Carter will be going up against his old team, but his old team is 0-8 and Devin Harris isn’t playing. Lopez vs. Howard should provide some highlights though.

Utah @ Philadelphia – This game actually had the same average ranking as the Warriors – Knicks, but I’ll list it first since one of us had it as their #1 game. I’m not sure who it was, or why they chose it, but it surely won’t be for the Carlos Boozer – Elton Brand fall from grace Duke matchup.

Golden State @ New York – East meets West in this matchup of teams that play in Top 5 basketball markets, but continue to make more headlines for disasters than winning ballgames. The only silver lining to this game will be the stat sheet after the game. Both sides will take turns letting each other score, so there’ll be plenty of points, but expect to see a healthy dose of turnovers and three point attempts as well!

Houston @ Sacramento – I ranked this game the highest, and I’m not being a homer. Believe it or not, this is the only other game where both teams are .500 or better. Many expected Houston to struggle without anyone good playing, but they’re off to a 5-3 start. Meanwhile, the Kings were the hands down favorite to be the worst team in the NBA this year, but since losing Kevin Martin, have rattled off three straight and sit at 4-4. Now, I’ll admit the action on the court isn’t the most enticing, but watching Tyreke Evans is a treat. He’s just now starting to realize that without K-Mart, this is his team. It’s a good thing Houston has guys like Ariza and Battier to throw at him after Brooks and Lowery give up.

Dallas @ Minnesota – The Mavericks look they might have one last good run in them this year. They’ve got plenty of weapons, but it’s unclear whether they have the depth to make a postseason run. We won’t find out tonight, as the Mavs’ reserves are sure to get plenty of garbage time minutes in the second half.

Toronto @ LA Clippers – It’s amazing how the Clippers can turn anybody off. It doesn’t matter who they’re playing, they’d still end up here at the bottom. Celtics – Clippers? Nah, blowout. Grizzlies – Clippers? Nah, garbage teams. It’s really a lose-lose. Even with Chris Bosh coming to town, and the Raptors figuring to be in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff picture this year, watching anyone play the Clippers sounds undesirable.


RFP of the Day: Dennis Scott

Dennis Scott may not be the most random or forgotten player there is.  He spent his first seven seasons with the Orlando Magic, who in the later stages of his run, went to the NBA Finals with Shaquille O’Neal.  Scott is somewhat responsible for changing the game in my opinion.  With Shaq garnering extra attention in the paint, Scott began roaming the three point line waiting for outlet passes to jack up threes.  Today, too many players play by the same strategy.  Even my game in the West Sacramento men’s league has been inspired by Scott.  In 95-96, he set a then NBA record for 3-pointers in a season.  He also broke the single game record at the time in April of that year with 11.  After stops in the twilight of his career in Dallas, Phoenix, New York, Minnesota, and Vancouver, Scott finished with a career average of 12.9 points per game.  He also made 1,214 three pointers on just under 40% shooting from beyond the arc.

What made me a fan of Dennis Scott was his personality on the court.  While so many players were all business on the court during the early 90s, Dennis was always hamming it up.  I already gave him credit once for “changing the game” so I won’t do that here, but you get the idea.  I also was a huge fan of Georgia Tech hoops in his day, when he played in the same backcourt with Kenny Anderson.  Dennis Scott was the 4th overall pick in the 1990 Draft, which is heralded by many as the greatest RFP Draft class in NBA history.  The list includes such phenomenal RFPs as Kendall Gill, Felton Spencer, Willie Burton, Rumeal Robinson, Alec Kessler, Travis Mays, Loy Vaught, and Duane Causwell.   That’s only from the first 18 picks too.  Honestly, you should check it out.  So anyway, here’s to Dennis Scott, the Doin Work RFP of the Day.


No More Magic

Stan Van Gundy watches his season come to and end during Game 5

Yes, I’m writing off the Orlando Magic. If you’ll recall, I wrote them off before the NBA Finals started. I felt that they lacked the mental toughness to pick themselves up off the mat after any knockout blows delivered by the Lakers.  So far, I’ve been right.  The Magic have played a surprisingly solid series, with the exception of game 1, but all they have to show for it is a 3-1 deficit.  Any hope of having the slightest chance to make a series of this went away quicker than a Jameer Nelson closeout in game 4.  The question now, isn’t whether the Lakers will win the series, but rather when.  I’m pretty confident it’s going to be tonight.  As much as I would love to see the Magic push this series back to Los Angeles, it’s not happening.  Orlando knows it has no chance of winning this series anymore.  Although I’m a fan of guys like Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, Mickael Pietrus, Jameer Nelson, Rafer Alston, etc… I’m not expecting anything beyond a lay down and fold effort tonight.  Typically, this is where a team that’s down comes out and gives it everything they’ve got just to live to see another day.  Not this team.  You’ll see.  They know if they pulled out a win tonight, they’ll be rewarded with an all-expenses paid trip to Los Angeles to get dismantled in front of a hostile Staples Center crowd.  They know they’re better off suffering a scrappy 7 point loss on their home floor then going back to LA to get blown out by 30.  Well, it’s tipoff time.  Don’t say I didn’t call it.


The Kobe-Lebron Wet Dream

It’s no secret the NBA and its allies are praying for a Kobe-Lebron showdown in the Finals.  I won’t lie, it’s a dream matchup that I too would love to see.  BUT…. why is the NBA the only league that allows such public advances on its preferred matchups???  MLB and the NFL both sit back and wait and let the teams on the field decide.  Last year we were force-fed Lakers-Celtics propaganda and that happened.  Shouldn’t a league that has a reputation for possibly manipulating outcomes make an effort to hold back on this sort of stuff?  Sure, it’s the advertisers who are driving this, but we all know where the league stands on it.  Despite being an acclaimed Laker disliker – I don’t quite hate them – this is the first round of conference finals in a long time that I’ve been impartial to who wins each series.  I love being able to sit back and enjoy playoff basketball without living and dying with the outcome.  It’s great being able to watch Kobe, Lebron, Hedo, Carmelo, or the referees step up and take over a game down the stretch.  However, I have a natural propensity to pull for the underdog.  While Orlando and Denver may not be underdogs on the court, they most certainly are in the corporate world.  (Side note: yet another puppet commercial runs as I type this)

So, unfortunately, my impartiality is quickly fading.  I hope they can pull it off.  Will they?  OR, is the NBA in fact UNSTOPPABLE!