Tag Archives: Playoffs

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.

“Check”ing In On My Hockey Picks

Love that wordplay reference to my favorite move in hockey. Two weeks ago I weighed in my expert opinion on the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The logical thing would be to wait until tomorrow before revisiting my first round picks, but odds are hockey won’t even cross my mind for the next week at least. So, let’s get to it….

I went 3 for 4 in the West – or Campbell Conference, for the hockey purist. Even more impressive when you consider I picked the 1-4 seeds to advance. That’s really going out on a limb. I had the Canucks in 6, Sharks in 5, and Red Wings in 5. Instead, it was the Canucks in 7, Sharks in 6, and Red Wings in 4. The Orange County Ducks of Anaheim were the only higher seed to get bounced, losing to Nashville in 6.

In the East, I nailed the Capitals in 5. The Flyers took Game 7 instead of the Sabres, like I had so bravely predicted. Montreal will win tomorrow night as scheduled and the Penguins will take three extra games to dispose of Tampa rather than sweeping. I can’t wait to see how tomorrow unfolds so I can make my second round picks! Or can I…?

Changing of the Eras in the NBA?

I’ve watched as much as I could of these NBA playoffs so far, and with every lower seed playing the higher seed tough it got me thinking about the state of the NBA. Make no mistake, t’s in a great state right now as every team in the playoffs looks good even some of the lower seeds. In basketball we usually don’t see a ton of surprises, because you don’t surprise any team four times in a series. That’s what basketball has right over all the other sports, they always get the true champion, because no road traveled is easy. That’s not really the case in every other sport. Coming to conclusions like this makes it even tougher as a Warriors fan…

I guess the first question that popped into my head is this one of the last chances for the “older” teams to win a championship? Maybe not this year, but it’s coming. This year we have the traditional favorites that you can’t really bet against like the Lakers, Celtics, and Spurs, but how much longer can their reign last? Most of their top-tier stars are well into their 30’s, and these teams are all stumbling a little already in this first round. I’m not saying that I’ve counted these teams out already for this year or next, because that would be ridiculously short sighted. I do find myself having a hard time seeing them continue their dominance beyond this year especially last years finals pairing. The Lakers and Celtics will have some huge questions to answer at the conclusion of the season. Both are going to be praying that their coaches stay, and Phil has already said he believes there will be a long lockout which is a reason he wants to retire. Doc might be thinking the same thing. New coach and new system doesn’t usually equal championships, but you can teach an old dog new tricks every once in awhile. The Spurs are finding it impossible to have their big three healthy and together when it matters for the past few seasons. Maybe the lockout would help them since they wouldn’t have to play nearly as many games, keeping these older guys fresh without a long regular season might be to their advantage, but at the same time I don’t see that making up for slowly eroding skills. The NBA is an era league, that started way back with Bill Russell dominating. More recently, we went from the Bird-Magic era to the current Kobe-Duncan era, so are we heading into a new era? Oh my the possibilities that are coming to light are enticing.

The East is stacked with young superstar talent as we all know. The Bulls, Knicks, and Heat are sure to be battling it out for years to come barring injury of course. Nearly all the superstars on those teams have had previous playoff failures, so in my eyes these teams aren’t as inexperienced as some would have you believe. The West isn’t as clear cut as the East in terms of power, but the Grizzlies are the second youngest team in the league, and have showed promise against the Spurs just like the Thunder did with the Lakers last year as an 8 seed. OKC is the seeming favorite to be the heir apparent to the Western Conference Throne, and I can’t argue with that. A side note on the Sonics, why doesn’t every GM follow the blueprint that they used? Get a superstar, have cap space to spend on the other players, build through the draft, and boom, you have an elite team. The Clippers have a solid core with a superstar that can only get better, oops, I shouldn’t ever put the Clippers in a championship post… Anyways you get the point, and my question is who’s era is it going to belong to?

Color Me Purple The Nuggets are in the Playoffs

At the beginning of the season we made predictions on how we thought the Western Conference would shake out. By and I swung and missed on a few picks like the Clippers, Jazz, Warriors, and Rockets, but we were right about the easy picks aka the top 5 teams. I guess I did write that I wished I included Memphis on the predictions a month into the year, but that’s a moot point. Anyways, the season is nearing it’s end, and the playoff teams seem set, except for seeding. Seriously though, does it look like anyone will beat the Lakers in the west? I can’t say I feel like anyone will beat them, not even the Sonics who I feel like could beat them, but won’t. We all know deep down that the Lakers will be in the Finals no matter who they are matched up against in a week and a half.

The real reason for this post was that the Sportschump was very adamant that we were horribly wrong for leaving the Nuggets out of the playoff picture. They secured a spot a few days ago, and look like they should be the #5 seed. I’m sure he’d be the first to admit that Denver has made the playoffs in a different way than he or anyone expected (without Melo), but nonetheless he was right and I was wrong. The Nuggets have been a very interesting team this season since the Melo trade. It’s weird seeing a team actually use 10 of it’s players every night. Especially since all are getting significant minutes in a guess who’s playing tonight game of musical chairs. Karl goes with the hot hand. If you’re playing well, you play 40 minutes. If you struggle, you’re only playing 15-20. It’s something you rarely see in the NBA, which makes them the anti-big three. They are all about the team over the individual. It’s a good reason to root for them in the playoffs, but if they end up playing the Sonics in the first round I guess I won’t be on that bandwagon…

Doin Divisional Lines

0-2 on Saturday 2-0 on Sunday. I’ll take it since I hit one parlay at least. Wild card weekend is always fun, but the real matchups start in the Divisional round, and what better way to have it play out than two games with divisional rivals! Stat of the week for the divisional round. The home teams are 10-10 in the divisional round over the last five years. So, I guess I have to take two road teams this week to keep that trend going. I’m loving all the trash talking going on this week, which just gives us a few more things to watch over the weekend.

2-2 last week, not bad, but I could do better.  I do feel I deserve some bonus points for predicting the Seattle upset. Anyway, as Jay-Z would say “On to the next, on on to the next one”.

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh (-3)

Chappy picks Baltimore (+3). I’ve been leaning on the Ravens and Steelers all season with my picks, and have declared it the best division in football from time to time. It’s really a coin flip when these two teams hook up, because they are basically the same team built the same way. I honestly think the Steelers will win, but I usually pick this match up wrong, so this time I’m going with the team that’s getting points. The road team won both games this year when they matched up, so I’m hoping that trend continues with this pick. If Polamalu is the Steelers best player, and he isn’t 100% then I feel like it might be one of those injuries that makes him ineffective. Kind of like when Freeney was hurt in the Super Bowl last year. He was on the field, but not really there, which is a huge blow to the heart of the D. I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is the first time we see the new overtime rules tested.

By picks Baltimore (+3). This is the first of three tough match ups this weekend (not including the spread), can you guess which one is the odd game out?  Pittsburgh is a legit contender, and given the fact that they’re at home this weekend should be enough for me to pick them.  But there’s something I don’t like about the Steelers that I can’t quite get my finger on in this match up, and therefore I choose the Ravens.  Perhaps I just get the feeling Baltimore’s destined to make a trip to Texas come February, and I’ve done a pretty decent job with going with my gut instincts this season.  Also, I can’t root against a Harbaugh right now.

Green Bay @ Atlanta (-2.5)

Starks is the key on Saturday

Chappy picks Atlanta (-2.5). I think I’ll be rooting for the Packers in this one. Mostly because I’ve had a mini-mancrush on Rodgers for a while, but that doesn’t mean I think they will win. The Falcons are one of the few complete teams top to bottom. They might not be flashy or have a true identity like everybody wants them to have, but they get the job done. I think this is going to be a close game, and if the Falcons show any rust after having a week off, the Packers need to take advantage of it early. I still just can’t talk myself into Starks having two big games in a row out of nowhere. The Packers D has been great lately, but they haven’t faced as balanced of a team as Atlanta in a while. Turner’s running should neutralize Clay Matthews pass rush a little bit as the game goes along. The Falcons have given up 18 points or fewer and gotten two takeaways in all of their last four games. If they hold the Packers under 18 points, I see them winning.

By picks Atlanta (-2.5).  This is difficult pick for personal reasons.  I’m a huge Cal fan, as my girlfriend is an alumni, so Aaron Rodgers is among my favorite signal callers to cheer for, and aside from where he went to school, he throws a pretty ball, which I admire.  But for some reason, I’ve become a ginormous Matt Ryan supporter, and I can’t bail ship on him and the Falcons now.  Plus I still think the Falcons have too many weapons on offense to be contained over four quarters.  Atlanta in this one.

This isn't Qwest Field, Seattle.

Seattle @ Chicago (-10)

Chappy picks Seattle (+10). I can’t remember the last time I saw a double-digit line in the second round of the playoffs. I’m almost positive the Bears will win, because they know how to tackle better than the Saints, but feel like it will be somewhat close. The Bears like to keep games close with all those negative plays they rack up. Did you know that Forte and Cutler have combined for a whopping 134 negative plays!?! I didn’t until Skip Bayless just told me. The Seattle defense looked great against the Saints. I think they will look equally as good against a lesser offense. Take the points in this one even if you don’t really believe in Seattle.

By picks Chicago (-10). Giving up ten points in a divisional playoff game is tough, but two reasons why I think the Bears cover are:  A)  Seattle isn’t going to sneak up on anybody now and B)  They won’t have the twelfth man behind them in this one, which was a huge advantage for them last week.  In fact, being that they’re going to be playing out in the cold, I give Seattle little chance to crack double digits in points here.  Chicago big.

New York Jets @ New England (-9)

BB vs RR

Chappy picks New England (-9). Did I already say I loved the trash talking going on this week? Okay, just checking. Cromartie said he hates Tom Brady. When asked about it again he didn’t pull a Lebron and take back what he said, he re-enforced it saying he’s hated him since 2006. I guess I just like to throw in Lebron jabs where I can. Anyways, this game is the one I’m least looking forward to. Actually, I’m not really that excited about the Sunday slate overall, but hopefully I’m pleasantly surprised with some good football. This game should be cool if you’re a Patriots fan. Belichick always has his guys ready, and with an extra week they probably have a brand new playbook. Brady knows how to score points on the Jets, and with them missing their talented safety Jim Leonard, the Patriots will be hitting their tight ends all game long. The only way the Jets stay close enough to pull out a miracle is if they dominate the time of possession. I’m thinking a 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 ratio in their favor is their only hope.

By picks N.Y. (+9). Not sure why New England’s giving up nine here, are the Jets that bad?  Would the odd makers give the Colts nine.  Anyway, enough with the talk, let’s get it on!  I can’t wait for this game to start.  I do feel an upset brewing though, the Jets may talk a big game, but they’re also in a position where they have nothing to lose.  No one expects them to win, I mean they’re nine-point dogs for crying out loud.  Rex Ryan will motivate these guys come Sunday and at the very least they’ll cover.

MLB Playoff Gloating, and Some Old Wounds

Rangers and Giants World Series

Did you seriously think I couldn't out coach Girardi!?! What planet are you on?

Is it really going to happen? The two teams I wanted to win could be squaring off in the World Series. I’m always a fan of the underdog, so usually my teams get knocked out just after I decide to root for them. Naturally, it makes me not care much who wins the championship when the teams I don’t care about are in the final series. This year has been different though, and the teams that I’m rooting for, for some reason, are actually winning. It’s like when I get excited seeing one of my bets at halftime correct, only to see said team fail to cover. Maybe, because neither series is over, especially the Giants and Phillies because it’s only a 2-1 series lead, and the Phillies have the pitching and hitting to come back. Plus the Giants seem to have a hard time closing out their opponent, (see the regular season against the Padres). The only reason I feel like that series is a done deal is because my 80 year old grandpa said to me over the phone last night that the Giants would win the WS. Sure, he’s been a big Giants fan his whole life, but MCeezy will vouch for him that if he says it, it will come true! It’s one heart attack win after another for the Giants all season long, so I hope grandpa didn’t jinx them. In the other league, my ALCS prediction was spot on. It’s been awhile since I was able to gloat about a prediction, so here it goes with the things I was right about! The Rangers made the Yankees look old, check. They scored every way imaginable while running all over Posada, check. Ron Washington out coached Joe Girardi by not over managing and getting his players motivated, check. The only thing I didn’t predict was how good the Rangers pitchers would be, and honestly aside from the bullpen meltdown in game 1, they dominated the best hitting lineup in the league. Now that the Rangers are up 3-1 I feel comfortable saying they will be in the World Series. Even if the Yankees somehow shake it off, and win the next two games they will have to face Cliff Lee in game 7. I’d say that means series over anyway you look at it.

Kirk Gibson Still Grinds My Gears

It’s been 22 years since Kirk broke my heart as a young baseball fan with his gimp pinch hit home run off the A’s unstoppable Eckersly. At seven years old, I didn’t think I’d hate his name still 22 years later, but reading about him selling off that historic pinch hit bat making me relive that experience yet again filled me with that same hatred. It’s bad enough they show his fist pumps around the bases every month or two during the season, but having to read about the intricacies of the bat and jersey made me throw up in my mouth a little. Here’s what Gibson said that made me relive one of my worst childhood sports moments,

If you look at the handle on the end of that bat, there’s an ‘x’ because it was a reject. I really only got it because it was so light, I was hurt, so I started to get that ready,” he said. “The cleat marks at the head of the bat where I hit my shoes, there’s indentations at the beginning of the bat. At the end of the bat, it was so deep, there’s really deep indentations, the red ink from the foul balls I hit is on it. You can actually see the spot where I made contact with the ball. It’s preserved very well.”

I can take a little solace in the fact that he is a dick, and many people don’t like him, but it just reminds me that some things you never really get over. I guess holding grudges is part of being a fan. Devastating moment #2 was probably the “Tuck Rule.”

Who Thinks the Rangers Can Win? THIS GUY!

Even though I had my doubts when the Rangers drew the Rays in the first round, they still came through. For some reason I like the Rangers chances even more against the all mighty Yankees than I did against the Rays. Back in September when the Rangers swept the Yankees, I started to believe in them, and wrote a little about why. In that series they were without Josh Hamilton, and the Yankees were without A-Rod, so I figure those two injuries evened each other out lineup wise. What they got from that series more than anything was some extra confidence that they belong with the best. The Rangers have a swagger to them, there’s no way around it, and they’ve been that way all year. I know I brought this up in an older post, but I remember one game back in June when Ian Kinsler was yelling at the Angels players after the game in Arlington to get off their field. I thought it was kind of stupid since they played each other the next day, but it speaks volumes about this team’s mentality, and how together they are. I mean, how many teams would do a separate ginger ale celebration because one of their players is an addict? How many teams survive a manager’s dirty drug test? How many teams would have survived a bankruptcy during a season seeing guys that played in Texas eight years ago, still not being paid what was owed to them? Not many can go through that much turmoil in the workplace, but I think all those outside distractions just made them closer. They don’t roll over like the Twins did when things went wrong, they just move on to the next pitch. Continue reading

Let’s Hear It For The Boys!

I’m not the biggest baseball fan in the world, but I am a huge Giants fan!  So if you, by chance, were wondering why I haven’t posted anything about Lincecum’s masterful Game 1, Cain’s solid outing in Game 2, the near carbon-copy of Lincecum’s aforementioned performance by Jonathan Sanchez in Game 3, and now Bumgarner’s impressive night on the road in a close out game, a game which started as Bobby Cox’s potential finale’ … quite simply put, I wasn’t trying to jinx my boys.

Now that the NLDS is over with, and I must say, it was an exciting one at that, with each game being decided by controversial calls and a single run,  but as I was saying, now that it’s over with, I can finally give my boys some praise!  If pitching wins in the playoffs, I have to like our chances at a pennant, period.  Between our four starters, the Giants gave up three earned runs.  Do the math, three earned runs, four games.  That is lights out pitching.  Lincecum highlighted the series with a brilliant, dazzling playoff debut, in a pressure packed environment in which every pitch was magnified.  One hanging slider, one mistake, and the Giants lose.  Lincecum wouldn’t allow it, possibly dialing up the best pitching performance of the post season thus far.  I know, I’m biased, but Roy Halladay had four runs to lean against, Timmy didn’t.  And Timmy rung up 14 batters … I’m just saying.

Matt Cain followed it up, by going 7 & 1/3, only giving up an unearned run.  Although not as flashy as Lincecum, or Sanchez, Cain delivers in workman like fashion, but all that matters is, he gets results.  Unfortunately Romo ruined his playoff debut.  And how about Jonathan Sanchez?  Called upon to right the ship that was capsizing after taking a major hit, because the Giants blew a three run lead late in Game 2, losing in the 11th … but Sanchez delivered the goods.  Unfortunately Romo ruined his playoff debut.  Finally Bumgarner.  How cool is this cat?  The Braves were a desperate team swinging desperate bats, and despite some fireworks early for the Braves, Bumgarner never flinched.  He stayed calm, cool and collective, and gave us 6 & 1/3 of solid pitching. 

Onto Buster “NL ROY” Posey!  He hit .375, and outplayed his ROY counter part in every facet of the game, but what impressed me most about Posey, his ability to lead.  Name another first year catcher who can command the respect of such a mighty pitching staff?  But when anyone of the studs on the mound lost control, it was Posey who got them back.  Posey made all the right plays, even the ones that shouldn’t have counted, and he called the right games. 

I can go on and on about the Giants.  B-Willy, who resembles Jean-Claude Van Damme’s best friend in Bloodsport, and pitches as intimidating as he looks.  Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross, etc.  Euphoric is the word that best describes my feelings right now.  I’m on cloud nine, a natural high, whatever it is, I’m enjoying every bit of it … at least for the next few days.  Then my mind is on Philly.  Tough task ahead.  But these Giants are not done. Regardless of how the rest of the post season turns out for the Giants, this year’s rendition of the team is by far, my all-time favorite.  Never have we had a group of players who the fans can connect to so easily, never have we had a team, that I feel, genuinely cares about us just the same.  Never have we had a team that genuinely cares for each other for Christ’s sake!  Bonds, Kent.  Do you see the emotion these Giants let loose every time one of them comes through for each other!?  It literally made my eyes tear to see Lincecum do the Jordan fist pump in the dug out after Huff tied the game in the top of the 9th in Game 3.  Then Freddy Sanchez ,with his slide into home plate right into a jumping fist pump of his own, after scoring the go ahead run off a Conrad error!  It’s our team, it’s like rooting for the boys, it’s our city, who is yearning for a winner, it’s how we got here, it’s how we get it done, the torture, and it’s how we wear our emotions on our sleeves.  There’s a certain magic in the air surrounding these Giants, the city, the fans right now.  I’m just happy to be a part of it.

Texas Rangers Aren’t Fading For Once…

The Rangers have gotten a ton of play on the MLB network over the past month or so. I can’t remember seeing more of their games on TV at any point in my life. They’ve earned those televised games, as they are the clearly the class of the AL West, and playing as good as any team in the league right now. They usually fade during July and August when their home field turns into a launching pad, but not this year. I was hoping for an implosion from them, so maybe the A’s would be able to sneak into the playoffs, but that’s like hoping for the Raiders to show up in back to back games. Once again, I’m starting to wonder if the A’s are cursed. Not because of the numerous injuries they suffered for a third straight year, but because we let Ron Washington go. I’d much rather have Washington as the manger over Geren, but Beane was very pro Geren, so we’re stuck with the schlep. Until A’s fortunes change, I think we are still under The Curse of the Wash. Normally I’d root against the AL West winner if it wasn’t the A’s, but I found myself pulling for the Rangers to succeed this postseason.

The Rangers sweep over the Yankees showed us exactly what they’ve been doing well all year long. Come from behind to win. They came back to win two of the three games, and even made one of those comebacks while Rivera was on the mound. That kind of win can’t be understated when it comes playoff time, and just knowing that they have already beaten up the most dominant closer of all time is a feather in the cap. They also had their ace (Cliff Lee) back on the hill to close out the sweep. It was his first start in two weeks. He showed how healthy he was shutting the Yankees down for 8 innings giving up only one run. It’s only the second time all season the Yankees got swept! What made this even more impressive was that they didn’t need their MVP candidate Josh Hamilton, who is still out with a bruised up ribcage. There’s no rush to get Hamilton back, since they do have a commanding lead in the West (8 ½ games). Now that the Yankees and Rays starting to come back to earth a little, does this give the Twins and Rangers an edge? I’d probably put both of them above the TB and NY on power rankings if I made them right this moment. I’m already envisioning an ALCS matchup between Minnesota and Texas. Maybe that’s a little presumptuous, but if Morneau and Hamilton come back healthy, who’s to say that these two teams are the favorites to make it to the ALCS?

Another thing I’ve noticed about this Rangers team is their swagger factor. It’s crazy how together these guys are. Early in the season after they took out the Angels in the opener of a series in June, right after the final out of the game was recorded Ian Kinsler was out there yelling for them to “get off our field”, as the Angels were heading to the showers. At the time I thought Kinsler was just being the dickhead he is, but now months later I think it was a statement of things to come. It was like they finally believed in themselves before anyone else did, and knew they weren’t going to have a collapse when the weather got hot. They were no longer going to be a pushover and would play every game hard, just the way Wash would’ve played. They were paying attention to more details than they used to, even doing the small ball stuff that wins games utilizing their speed in Bobon and Andrus. We will see if they can continue their good play through the last 19 games. I don’t see any reason for them to slow down since they don’t have the division locked up yet, but they are in as good of a position possible for a solid postseason run, and can let guys like Josh Hamilton and Cliff Lee take some extra rest if it’s needed. I’m glad my prediction of who would win the AL West is working out thus far!

Rondon’t You Wish Your Point Guard Was Hot Like Me?

Looks like he's holding a peach.

Ladies and gentlemen, if I were to ask you who the MVP of the 2010 NBA Playoffs would be heading into the Conference Finals, who would you assume?

  • Kobe Bryant?  Good choice, he’s definitely in the discussion, but no.
  • LeBron James?  Numbers wise, perhaps, but he won’t be getting any more numbers anytime soon now will he?
  • Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade?  You kidding me –

People, the answer is RAJON RONDO.  Yes, I didn’t stutter.  Rajon Rondo.  The BEST point guard in the NBA now.  He’s moved up big-time.  Move over Deron Williams, move over Chris Paul, move over Steve Nash.  Rondo is top dog.

It’s amazing how the point guard nobody wanted two years ago is now the man in Boston.  When the Celtics won it all in 2008, Rondo’s job was to not mess up.  Now Rondo carries this team on his wide-set shoulders, and because of him, and the newly re-established defensive team prowess, the Celtics strike fear into their opponents.  If the Lakers win tonight, I can’t help but think they’ll be paying attention to Boston in their rear-view mirror, because they must know they’ll be in for a real fight.  Things ’bout to get physical real soon for them.

But back to Rondo, because he’s quickly developed into one of my favorite players in the league, if not the favorite behind Stephen Curry.  No one controls a team like Rondo, and all of a sudden he’s hitting free-throws and jump shots.  If you think about it, those two things were the only holes in his game, and it seems he’s got them plugged now.  What that means is, he’s essentially perfect on the floor.  He’s unguardable, and he’s a defensive menace, as he led the league in steals this season.

Lastly, Rondo is doing this during money time.  You create your legacy during the post-season, and right now he’s finally garnering a lot of the attention he deserves.  I was a Rondo critic, but now he’s turned me.  As Magic Johnson’s been saying during this post-season, there’s no longer a “Big Three” in Boston.  It’s now the “Big One, and the Little Three.”  The Celtics leave their future in good hands once Pierce, Garnett and Allen retire.  Very good, huge hands.


A big game one victory for the Suns, the whole team must have let out a nice collective exhale. They’ve been dominated by the Spurs for too many years for me to want to remember. The year of the bloody Nash nose, coupled with the Amare suspension gave me flashbacks to Game 6 of 2002 series in Sacramento against the Lakers. We won’t go there, we just can’t, it’s too painful. Jason Richardson seems to be the Suns barometer on whether they will win or not. Continue reading

Grant Hill Drinks Sprite!


It’s just impossible to not root for the guy!

Screw the Subway and Atkins diets, I’m going straight for Sprite!

Doin NBA Playoff Predictions

Yes, the playoffs are here, and whether your team made it or not probably changes your excitement level for the whole extravaganza. We are doing our second installment of predictions, we already put our baseball picks for the season up, and now it’s time predict how the NBA playoffs will play out. It’s about as competitive of a league as any I can remember,at least in the west, so this should be a great playoff run.

Western Conference Quarter Finals

By:  Dallas Mavericks in 6, Phoenix in 4, and Utah in 7, OKC Thunder in 6, what?  Yes, I said it.  Phil Jackson’s comments on Durantula was just the edge Durant needed to pull off the upset.  Kobe has not been himself from the second-half of the season going forward, and despite L.A. having a huge advantage in the paint, their Achilles heel has always been good point guards.  Russell Westbrook will give them fits.

Chappy: L.A. Lakers in 6, Dallas Mavericks in 7, Phoenix Suns in 5, Utah Jazz in 7 – It’s amazing how balanced the West is. Every team won 50 games, and it’s tough pick against anyone even the 8th seeded Thunder… The Suns got an easy draw playing the depleted Blazers. The best two series in the first round will be Dallas vs. SA, and Denver vs. Utah. I actually think that the Nuggets will win, but I want to try and jinx the Mormons…

MCeezy: L.A. Lakers in 5, San Antonio Spurs in 7, Phoenix Suns in 6, Denver Nuggets in 7 – I like what’s going on with Phil Jackson and Kevin Durant, because a driven KD could push the series to the limit. The Mavs are stacked, but full of mismatched pieces; SA on the other hand has that familiarity as a unit that plays such a huge role in playoff series. Everyone’s writing off the Blazers without Roy, and rightfully so, but Portland is still good enough to keep it interesting. Denver having home court against Utah will make the difference, plain and simple.

Western Conference Semi-Finals

By: Utah in 6, and Phoenix in 7 –  I wouldn’t be surprised if Dallas defeats Phoenix though, as both teams are stacked.  I just like Steve Nash a lot, and so I chose Phoenix.

Chappy: LA Lakers in 6, Phoenix Suns in 7 – I’d be really happy if I was wrong and the Jazz upset the Lakers, and I fully believe it’s possible the way the Lakers played down the stretch, but still don’t see it happening. The Suns are my darkhorse this year. Since they decided to start playing a little defense, they’ve looked like champions. Is Amare playing for a new contract? Maybe, and if they get this far he may as well opt out of that last year on his contract, because he will get paid somewhere!

MCeezy: L.A. Lakers in 6, Phoenix Suns in 6 – As much as I don’t want to agree with Chappy here, I don’t see it playing out any other way. The Lakers will be ready for the Nuggets this time, and now that Ron Artest is thrown into the mix, there’ll be so much emotional volatility on the floor that hijinx will certainly ensue. Phoenix vs. San Antonio is going to be a last man standing match. In the second round, I’m willing to bet injuries are going to be the deciding factor – and I’m betting it’ll be on the Spurs’ side. Steve Nash has to be thinking this is his last shot.

Western Conference Champions

Have you heard?!? Grant Hill still drinks Sprite!

By: Phoenix in 6, what!?!  Yes, finally Steve Nash gets the trip he deserves to the 2010 NBA Finals.  Too bad it’s as far as he gets this season 😦

Chappy: Phoenix Suns in 7 – I’m going to be completely wrong on this, but I’m really hoping that the 8 seconds or less pace of play can actually bring home a championship. I guess it’s the inner Warriors fan in me, that just wants to see it happen. Besides, who else in the league deserves a championship more than the most ridiculous man in the world. Nash will have more than one 20 assist game if they do make it this far. I bet he’d trade all those MVP awards in for one championship!

MCeezy: L.A. Lakers in 6 – I’d love to be wrong on this, but Phoenix vs. L.A. is one of those matchups where the former team is never going to get over the hump. If they’re going to, it will be the result of Nash having the series of a lifetime. Despite his multiple MVP awards, we don’t often mention his name in the same breath as the Kobes and Lebrons. This postseason will go a long way in defining his legacy. ….Assuming they do, in fact, make it this far.

Eastern Conference Quarter Finals

By: Cleveland in 4, Orlando in 6, Atlanta in 4 – (No Bogut out in Milwaukee), Miami (Yes Miami) over Boston in 6.  Dwayne Wade is playing at that level again, and we all know how he gets, when he’s at “that” level.

Chappy: Cleveland Cavaliers in 5, Orlando Magic in 7, Atlanta Hawks in 5, Miami Heat in 7 – I really want to pick Charlotte. Especially since SJax lead the W’s to a playoff upset of their own, but I think the Magic will be too much for them. Pierce will need to have a huge series if Boston has any hope. I’m hoping D-Wade is just too much and he takes over the series because nobody can guard him. Who knows, Sheed might even tip a few in for them. I’d love to see Lebron vs. Wade in the second round. The Hawks will take advantage of their deer in the headlights opponent.

MCeezy: Cleveland Cavaliers in 5, Orlando Magic in 5, Atlanta Hawks in 6, Boston Celtics in 5 – Chicago always plays the Cavs close, but Cleveland is going to be too driven to let up against the Bulls. I’d love to have seen the Bobcats draw someone like the Cavs or Celtics, because then they could really embrace the underdog role and play inspired ball a la the 2007 Warriors. Instead, they’ll relax and subsequently get eliminated by Dwight Howard and Co. The Bucks are far from playoff tested, but they’ll find a way to steal a game or two from Atlanta. Everyone expects a long series from Boston and Miami, but Dwyane Wade is going to be held to 35ppg while the rest of the Heat are held in check.

Eastern Conference Semi-Finals

By: Cleveland in 7, Orlando in 6 –  I love Josh Smith so much, but he can’t match up against LeBron alone.  No one can, and as good as the Hawks are, LeBron is that much better.  Dwight Howard will ultimately be too much in the battle of Florida.

Chappy: Cleveland Cavaliers in 6, Atlanta in 7 – I REALLY like the Hawks this year, and hope they can put together a solid run in the playoffs. They along with the Magic are probably the most complete teams in the eastern conference. I’ll find it funny if my prediction works out, because the only real reason the Cavs got Shaq was to have someone to guard Dwight, and I don’t even have them in the conference championship!

MCeezy: Cleveland Cavaliers in 6, Atlanta in 6 – These two series are nearly impossible to predict. You never know what you’re going to get with Boston, and you could say the same about Orlando, although they did dominate the season series against the Hawks. Some how, some way, though, you don’t see a whole lot of repeat series from year to year in the NBA. It’s amazing how we get new matchups each postseason. Instead of Cavs-Magic, it’ll be the Hawks’ turn to to stand on the brink of the NBA Finals.

Eastern Conference Champions

By: LeBron in 6 – The Cavs will exact revenge against everyone’s favorite pick in Orlando.  I know there are a lot of similarities in how Cleveland entered this season’s playoffs to last season’s, but the differences will be the turning point.  Shaq & Antawn.

Chappy: Cleveland Cavaliers in 6 – Atlanta might be a more complete team, but there’s just no way to knock Lebron out this year. He’s somehow better than last year, and will average a triple double in the series if that’s what it takes. If the Lakers get knocked out like I predicted, the NBA will force the refs to get the Cavs in the finals. Look for a poorly officiated series, and Lebron to finally get the cockiness that Jordan had. He’s already molding that arrogance if you haven’t noticed!

MCeezy: Cleveland Cavaliers in 5 – Just can’t see the Hawks hanging in a series this big. They will have flown under the radar to this point – first taking on the Bucks in front of 30,000 or so viewers. Then, their matchup with the Magic will play second fiddle to a Cavs-Celtics series. They’ll be thrust into the spotlight and forced to try to stop Lebron from getting to Kobe.

NBA Champions

Is this just an extension of Larry Johnson's Grandmama?

By: LeBron James. It’s simply his time.

Chappy: Phoenix Suns in 6 – I don’t really think they will win it all, but I’d love to see a winner come out that wasn’t Lebron or Kobe. I’d also like to see Lebron latch onto another team for next year, which would in turn make the current Cavs team into a 7th or 8th seed next season. Reiterating a previous point, I really would like to see the Suns win to prove that the Warriors playing the style can get it done in the playoffs. Plus, how can you root against Grant Hill and Nash getting a title!?!

MCeezy: Utah Jazz in 4 – How did we get here? you’re asking yourself. When was the last time I hit a 14 team parlay? Never. So why should I expect to predict correctly the first 14 series? Therefore, although the Jazz don’t get out of the first round in my scenario, I’m predicting that Jerry Sloan coaches his heart out to win that elusive NBA title and perhaps the respect of my grandfather, Roy, UT resident Jack Christensen; who adamantly maintains that Jerry Sloan has been the one thing holding the Jazz back all these years.

Milwaukee We Have A Big Problem!

All I can say is, this clip below is not for the faint of heart. It gave me the O face with the taste of something sour mixed in. Bogut flopping flat on his arm might give me more nightmares than this chick.This pretty much kills the Bucks chances at making any kind of impact in the playoffs. Bogut finally played like he was worthy of that #1 overall selection, and now has this devastating setback. They are now a one and done team. Salmons can only do so much…

Easter, Be Thankful

MVP?  Yes.  Finals?  If no Bobcats.

LeBron James is the clear-cut favorite to win the 2009-2010 MVP award.  There’s even talks of a “unanimous” vote –

As much as I am pro-LeBron, I am not sold on Cleveland walking right into the 2010 NBA Finals.  That’s fool’s gold, and I’ve been down that road before, in fact, just last season.  Yes, the acquisition of Antawn Jamison definitely helps the cause, but we can’t just disregard Orlando as if they do not exist, and even Boston to a certain extent.

But, this post is not even about that.  Being that it’s Easter, I feel it is a time to be grateful for certain things.  Wait, or is that Thanksgiving?  Either way, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers need to send the Toronto Raptors a “Thank You” card.  Why you ask?  Simple, Toronto had a mini-melt down in the latter stages of March and let a hobbled Chicago Bulls team back into the playoff hunt.  More so, Toronto slipped into the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, and allowed the Charlotte Bobcats to move up to the seventh seed.  Why is that significant?  Does everyone remember what happened in the 2007 NBA Playoffs?  Only the greatest upset in NBA Playoff history, that’s what happened!

The Dallas Mavericks boasted the best record in the NBA in 2006-2007 (67-15) and the league’s MVP (Dirk), they were the odds on favorite to represent the West in the 2007 NBA Finals (along with San Antonio) but there was just one problem.  Those pesky Warriors.  Golden State owned the Mavericks that season, sweeping the season series 4-0, including a win on the Warriors 81st game of the season in which Dallas chose to rest their stars.  Big mistake.  We all know what ensued, no need to write about it, but here, a visual reminder:

Now here Cleveland sits, all indications point to an improved team from a season ago, with the best record in the NBA yet again, but – what is their record against the upstart Bobcats?  1-3 with their only win coming on Halloween last year, the first week of the season.  Being that I’m from San Francisco, I haven’t had an opportunity to actually watch any of those games, but the highlights on ESPN’s Sportscenter showed Cleveland’s inability to handle the match-up with Charlotte.  Sound familiar Dallas/Golden State fans.  Guess what?  Stephen Jackson is in the middle of all this again!

(Beware Charlotte fans, don’t invest in S-Jack.)

Anyway, as I said at the top of this post, it’s a time of the year to appreciate things, and the Cleveland Cavs needs to appreciate the fact that they currently won’t have to face the Charlotte Bobcats in the first round.  No monumental upset this time around.  Thank you Toronto.