Break out the Brooms


Brooms

NBA teams work so hard to get to the playoffs. Think about it, you have the full offseason of training, preparing your mind and body for the grind of an 82-game season.

Couple that with a grueling 2-week training camp and you quickly realize that being in the NBA is more than just showing up and playing the game. There’s practice, film sessions, shootarounds, individual workouts with coaches, and traveling from city to city. These are just a few of the things that contribute to the daily grind of an NBA season.

Its hard work!

So when that 82-game marathon comes to an end, its got to be an accomplishment to get into that 16 team race for the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

But as we all know, there’s only 1 winner at the end. 15-teams are going home disappointed. So imagine the disappointment of those teams who didn’t even get a chance to taste a playoff victory.

Yep, you just got SWEPT!

Houston and Boston were barely able to avoid the broom, but the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks were not as fortunate.

For the Lakers, the season couldn’t come to an end any sooner. A season that started with so much promise and championship aspirations, quickly turned into a disaster. Coaching changes, injuries, player turmoil…you name it, the Lakers had it. Now they literally limp into the offseason with tons of questions and uncertainty. Will they amnesty Kobe? Is Dwight Howard coming back? Does Laker nation even want this guy back?

For the Bucks, other than Brandon Jennings, no one thought they had a chance vs the Miami Heat. I think they were just happy to be there. They got a chance to experience the playoffs and hopefully this beatdown will spur the young guys to improve their games. A nice season for them, but they’re not close to contending.

Regardless of the storylines, both teams got the broom treatment. So In honor of the Lakers and Bucks getting swept unceremoniously out of the playoffs, Tragic Johnson would like to dedicate to them the Broom Dance….take it away Turbo!

– N.D. Face

Deron Williams is AWOL


Brooklyn-

Hey everybody, I really need your help. An all-star point guard is missing and I’m hoping you all can help me find him.

His name is Deron. He’s 6’3″ 209lbs, kinda stocky, wears #8, and is really light-skinned. Have you seen him?

He plays for the Brooklyn Nets and was last seen getting worked by little Nate “The Great” Robinson and shooting 2 for 11 down the stretch in that epic, triple overtime game. Have any idea where he is?

Nets fans have been wondering where their $100 million PG has been all season. After game 1 of their series with the Bulls, it looked like D-Will had returned. He even did a reverse dunk to show everyone he was healthy.

And like that (poof) he was gone like Keyser Soze…

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Since that brilliant 1st game, Brooklyn is -28 with D-Will on the floor. He shot 60% from the floor in game 1,but has only shot 35% since. D-Will, where are you bruh???

Brooklyn is home tonight, down 3-1 in their series facing elimination by the D-Rose-less Bulls. I’ve never seen a team make as many excuses as this Nets team. When is the franchise player going to finally step up and play like a franchise player?

The great ones always find a way to get it done. The great ones seem to always hit the big shot. The great ones rarely complain about coaching schemes and opposing defenses.

To play on the famous phrase that Uncle Ben told Peter Parker in Spiderman “with max contract comes max responsibility”.

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It amazes me how players want that max deal, want the endorsements, want to be the face of a franchise, but don’t want the pressure and responsibility that comes with it (see Dwight Howard).

I will be tuned in to see if D-Will shows up and accepts the challenge of leading his team. I’m sure everyone at the Barclays Center will have their eyes open, searching and hoping for the return of their beloved all-star point guard.

He better show up or he’ll be “gone fishing” with Kenny and Chuck.

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– N.D. Face

Fast Break Offense


We are working on some really cool content for the upcoming weeks, our interns have been up all night doing the research for those posts.  Yet I did not want to leave our loyal readers hanging until those posts are ready for release.  Here are a few bite-sized paragraphs about recent basketball news items.

1. Applause for J.R. Smith for putting Jason Terry (the JET) on his back.  Additionally, I think that the league was overly punitive for suspending Smith for one additional game.  The last time that we saw the JET spread out on the floor it was because King James made him kneel before the throne.  If you don’t know what I am talking about, please check out N.D. Face’s brilliant review of the NBA season’s Top 10 dunks in the Jalapenos section.

Smith threw the elbow at the JET to protect himself from the same fate that Russell Westbrook just suffered.  Russell Westbrook was injured by an overly eager Patrick Beverley who was trying to steal the ball from him when Westbrook was obviously getting ready to call a live ball timeout.  To be clear, Beverley did not do anything dirty.  However, it is a law of nature in basketball that an overly eager defender will keep reaching until you either embarrass him or knock him flat on his backside.  Westbrook did not respect the law of nature and Beverley felt comfortable reaching all afternoon until the injury.  Smith was not going to make that same mistake.  I think that you will see a more subdued Jason Terry in his defense against J.R. Smith in Game 5.  Smith’s move was a tough old school move and it was reminiscent of the 1990s Knicks with Mason, Larry Johnson and Patrick Ewing.   JET, you reach and I teach.

2. Krypto-Nate Robinson Hurts Gotham Basketball Nets

It was amazing to watch Nate Robinson have a 23 point quarter against the Brooklyn Nets.  Some of the basketball community may be surprised by his end of game heroics, but those who have been watching him know to expect these eruptions from him.  Nate Robinson is on his 5th team in 8 years. I hope that he has found a home in Chicago.  He is a fan favorite and is instant offense off of the bench.  He has the same inability to distinguish a good shot from a bad one that I wrote about in last week’s post about J.R. Smith.  At $1.1 million per year, he is a steal.  Robinson also forms a part of the infantry of Seattle talent that has marched into the baller universe.  Robinson is one of several current NBA players from Seattle – Jamal Crawford, Spencer Hawes, Brandon Roy, Martell Webster, Terrance Williams and Jason Terry.  In fact, MaxPreps website listed Seattle as the 7th best city for basketball talent in the country, ahead of Atlanta, Dallas and Houston.  Who knew, right?

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3. Horrible Bosses

Is Cleveland management that unimaginative that the best candidate that they could find for their head coaching vacancy was Mike Brown?  Didn’t they fire Brown once before?

The answer to both questions is YES!!  Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert did, in fact, fire him in 2010.  I wish my graphic design skills were better because I would superimpose Dan Gilbert’s face over Colin Farrell’s face in the above picture.  This would be like a reunion between Isiah Thomas and the NY Knicks.  Mike Brown and his GM’s inability to surround LeBron James with talent was the proximate cause of “The Decision.” Is Dan Gilbert looking for the “The Decision” Part Deux from his young and gifted point, Kyrie Irving?  Mike Brown might bring this to pass as well.

Cleveland fans, it has been a horrible twenty years with The Shot (Basketball Jesus against the Cavaliers in 1989), The Decision (LeBron James versus the City of Cleveland in 2010) and now the Reunion (Mike Brown comes home).  I hope that you can stomach the next few years of Mike Brown’s excuses in press conferences and marquee free agents refusing Cleveland’s advances in favor of other teams.

-GPABaller

Throwback Thursday


On the website for Ad Age, I read a statistic that I found eye-popping.  In 2011, there were 46 companies worldwide that each spent over $1 Billion dollars on marketing.  Did you imagine that so many companies have spent that much money to find ways to influence you to buy their particular product or service?  This statistic got me thinking about those companies over the years that have figured the exact way to speak to the basketball loving consumers like us.  Those companies are the inspiration for this week’s Throwback Thursday.  I have decided to list my 3 favorite commercials from companies speaking to the basketball world.

1.  Basketball Jesus’ Frozen Moment.  This one still gives me goosebumps.

2. Children of the 1980s simply know this one as the “Sprite Commercial”

3. Freestyle (Lamar Odom, Vince Carter, Rasheed Wallace, etc.)

Stay Thirsty, my friends.

-GPABaller

 

 

NBA Top 10 Dunks 2012-13


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At the end of every regular season, the NBA releases their end of the season Top 10’s.

Top 10 dunks, assists, buzzer-beaters, blocks, JaVale McGee screw-ups….Ok, there’s no list for Javale, but I’m REALLY hoping someone creates one.

There’s a Top 10 video for pretty much everything. I always love the Top 10 Dunks. Usually, there really isn’t much debate. We know from watching highlights on tv and from perusing through YouTube, which dunks were the best from the season. Which is why I was extremely disappointed in the NBA list posted on YouTube a few days ago.

Watch for yourself…..

Not a bad list, but definitely not great. There were some glaring omissions.

Whoever chose these dunks must’ve had a hot date that night and needed to get out of the editing room ASAP. The two Blake dunks were his weakest dunks all season. An off the backboard dunk? Really? WEAK!

The one with the Crawford pass should be on the best assist list, not the best dunks list. WEAK!

Shame on you NBA editors, you must do better. So lets remove the 2 Blake dunks, T-Ross was nice but its gotta go too, and Henderson’s was a throw-in. That’s NOT a dunk!

So here are the Tragic Johnson Replacement Dunks:

Kobe on Josh Smith: Really NBA, this wasn’t top 10 worthy???

JR Smith – How does this not get into the top 10? This was nasty!

T-Ross – I know this dunk didn’t count, but I don’t care. Horrible call by the ref, disgusting dunk by Ross

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – My personal favorite dunk of the year, other than LeBron murdering Jet. This one here is just stank. Dropstep on a big man…ugghhh! This wasn’t top 10 worthy ?!?!?

Let us know what you think about our replacements and if there’s one you think we missed, let us know in the comments section.

– N.D. Face

Hip Hop Crooners II


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My partner in crime, GPA Baller, did a post on the Hip Hop artists who push the boundaries of the music. He focused on Mos Def.

But when it comes to pushing the envelope past the point of no return, is there anyone more out there than 3000 (ICE COLD!)?

Starting with Southernplayalistic on through Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, Dre and Big Boi have really showed us that there’s more to the art form than spittin’ lyrics over dope beats.

Dre threw some people off with the singing, but Love Below still gets heavy rotation in my music collection.

So today, we present to you a song that we both love and hope you will too…

– N.D. Face

Tragic Johnson Milestone


So I get up this morning to check on the blog and I see that we are up to 100 subscribers!

Woohoo!!! Its time to celebrate!!! But how can we celebrate hitting this milestone?

I got it!

Gatorade dump, classic way to celebrate a moment of this magnitude….

Ouch….ok put the Gatorade away!

Lets try some champagne!!! That’s how the big timers do it….

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Ummmm…no that won’t work either.

Ok here we go, perfect way to Celebrate….drop the track DJ!

Thank you all for following and sharing what Tragic Johnson has to say.

And with that, we get back to work!

– N.D. Face

Hoop Dreams Deflated


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Ever hear the expression that you have to beat the best to be best?  Once upon a time, LeBron James was a precocious talent from basketball netherworld Akron, Ohio and looking to establish himself as the unrivaled #1 high school player in the nation.  To do that, LeBron first had to dethrone NYC native Lenny Cooke.  As King James, LeBron has gotten the chance to write his own story.  This new documentary recently shown at the Tribeca Film Festival tells us the untold story of that gifted player whose name was removed from the marquee when King James arrived.

I can’t wait to see this.-GPABaller

Basketball Doppelgangers


It is being reported by numerous media outlets that J.R. Smith has been named this year’s Sixth Man of the Year award winner.  It is well deserved.  Coach Mike Woodson should also win an award for finding a way to bring some discipline to Smith’s immense talent.  Coach George Karl in Denver and Byron Scott in New Orleans often seemed exasperated by Smith’s shot selection and mental lapses during key moments of games.  Smith was a much hyped prospect who went straight to the league from high school.  Unfortunately, the job of teaching Smith how to play within an offense that did not revolve around him fell to Scott first and then Karl.  Personally, I thought that his signing in NY was only wise because his contract is modest, but he has proven himself as a dependable component of the Knickerbockers’ arsenal this year.  Smith’s play can be best described using the words of New York Yankees’ legend, Yogi Berra, it is “déjà vu all over again.”
Tragic Johnson fans, please forgive me because I know that I am a few months late for Doppelganger Week, but I have to speak my mind about this close resemblance.  Smith reminds me a great deal of another rugged jump shooting guard from the pantheon of New York Knicks’ greats, John Starks.  Much like his contemporary Notorious B.I.G., Starks went from “ashy to nasty to classy” in his move from a grocery store to Oklahoma to the starting guard in Madison Square Garden often going chest to chest with Reggie Miller and Basketball Jesus, Michael Jordan.  I just want to point out that Starks was brave enough to tug on Basketball Jesus’ robe with The Dunk in 1994 and live to tell about it. N.D. Face, MJ!!
Smith and Starks share the same initials.  Both wore single digits.  Both are volatile.  Starks won 6th Man of the Year in 1997.  Both won it in the 9th years of their professional careers.  The NY Knicks were the 3rd seed in the 1997 playoffs in the year of Starks’ victory and the Knicks are the 2nd seed this year.  Both players hit free throws and three pointers with the same degree of accuracy.  Both players have the skills to shoot you into a game or put the game beyond reach with their inability to put a safety on their trigger fingers on cold shooting nights.  Knicks fans, I must remind of you Starks robbing Patrick Ewing of his only chance for a championship ring when Basketball Jesus was on sabbatical in Birmingham playing baseball.  Starks shot 0-for-11 from the 3 point line and 2-for-18 overall in Game 7 of the 1994 NBA Finals and would still be firing bricks at the rim now if the officials had not brought the game to a close.  Smith has not had a similar career defining playoff moment yet, but this year he will get his chance.
While Smith has been a much needed spark off the bench when Carmelo rests and has filled the scoring void left by Amar’e Stoudamire’s absence, there will undoubtedly be a moment during these playoffs when Knicks fans will go hoarse screaming at their televisions and begging for Coach Woodson to take Smith out of the game.  Somewhere, I know Starks will be smiling and thinking, I used to frustrate my fan base in the same way.
-GPABaller

NBA Playoff Preview – Western Conference 2013


nba-playoffs-logoWe previously previewed the Eastern Conference 1st round match-ups. Unfortunately, there really wasn’t much to get excited about. I’m tuned in to Knicks/Celtics today, but everything else is borderline watchable at best.

But now we look at the Western Conference. When I think about all of the match-ups and storylines out west, I can’t help but be giddy with anticipation…

woooo

As we stated in the Eastern post, no one has time to watch all of these games, so we must be selective. So lets take a look at the West.

We have the Kobe-less Lakers trying to make a stand for their fallen leader vs the Spurs….I know, corny right? But the match-up is intriguing because I want to see if Dwight Howard plays more aggressive with The Mamba sidelined. He’s already getting back to his goofy ways, doing a 300 parody of a pre-game speech on the last day of the season. Ray Lewis, he is not. But he seems more at ease, which is a plus if you’re a Laker fan.

Gasol had 2 triple-doubles in his last 3 games. Which makes you wonder, what in the hell was D’Antoni thinking not starting Gasol earlier in the season? Had he played more through Gasol and Howard earlier, he might not have needed to use Kobe as much as he did late. Everyone is jumping on this match-up. I’ll watch it, but it’s not must-see tv for me. If the Spurs are healthy, I really don’t think they’ll have huge problems dispatching of the Lake Show

The Houston/OKC match-up peeks my interest because of the James Harden dynamic. I still maintain they traded the wrong guard. Had it been me, Westbrook would’ve been shipped out. Go do your Baby Kobe thing elsewhere and build around your superstars who love to share. Harden is one of those rare scorers who can give you 30+ points and still share the ball with his teammates. He’s such a willing passer, I think he and Durant’s games suited each other so much better. But what do I know? I’m just a guy with a blog searching for more readers.

The series will be entertaining because of the style, but I don’t see it being a prolonged affair.

So what series am I saying you should watch?

Best series to watch in the West? Warriors vs Nuggets & Grizzlies vs Clippers

The Steph Curry vs Ty Lawson pg match-up has the potential to be a classic. Two high-octane offenses going at it. I’m thinking this series could be similar to those Phoenix/Dallas series of the mid 2000’s. I can’t wait to watch these teams go full throttle, up and down the court. The questions I have are will anyone play defense? And in a tight game, who does Denver go to for a big basket. We know who Golden State is going to, but Denver has done it by committee all season. I’m wondering who will step up and take on the role of closer for them. David Lee vs Kenneth Faried will also play a major role.

In the end, I think Denver has too much depth and Golden State just inst ready to make that move just yet.

My Pick: Nuggets in 6

Before Memphis traded Rudy Gay, I really thought they were a contender. As a Heat fan, that was the only team out West who somewhat worried me. Z-Bo and Gasol are two of the best bigs in the league. Not overly athletic, but both are extremely skilled and physical. Contrast that with the Clippers and their ridiculously athletic duo of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

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These two teams played an incredibly physical series last year and there’s no love lost between Z-Bo and Griffin.

I need to see if Griffin’s game has progressed past the monster dunks. Do I love the dunks? Of course! But to truly be an elite player I want to see him grow offensively.

Should be a great, old school battle, but I think the Clippers and CP3 find a way to pull it out.

My Pick: Clippers in 7

In the other Western Conference series:

Thunder in 5 over the Rockets

Spurs in 5 over the Lakers

–  N.D. face