Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ray Allen B3TZ

Indiana vs. Miami

The Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers are all tied up at two games apiece in the Eastern conference finals and I for one couldn't be more surprised.  The Pacers don't have a marquee player and only one dominant performance (game 2 by Roy Hibbert) that really stands out.  Because I'm not a hater I have to give them credit for getting further than anyone anticipated.  That being said I blame the current Heat situation on Ray Allen. His inconsistent shooting and uncharacteristic turnovers have plagued Miami in both of their losses.  I believe Allen will turn things around in game 5 however.  He's a champion and a clutch player when it counts.  The Heat need him now so he'll step big.  Miami will win in a rout with a solid contribution from Jesus Shuttlesworth and good game from Chris Bosh.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Money Doesn't Make You Popular

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the greatest boxer of his generation and the highest grossing athlete on the planet.  Without question his skills are extra ordinary and his flamboyant lifestyle has been well documented.  Whether it's eating with 24 karat cutlery, sporting $3,000,000 cuff links, or traveling with an entourage and $1,000,000 in cash everyone knows Floyd is all about money.  The thing you may not know is all of the accolades, accomplishments, earning potential, and athletic superiority doesn't make him the least bit popular.

According to Sports Illustrated Floyd Mayweather Jr. made $30,000,000 more than the 2nd highest paid athlete (LeBron James), but he did it with no endorsements.  If the statement is true that is a startling fact.  Companies ask you to endorse their product because they know people are drawn to your persona and the positive effects that come with your name and fame.  If you have no endorsements that means there is an extremely negative connotation associated with you and people don't really like you.

Sure they are impressed with what you can do on the court or in the ring, but that's where it ends.  The pay-per-view numbers for a Floyd Mayweather fight boggle the mind.  Millions of viewers tune in to watch him cave someone's face in with straight rights, but after the fight they want nothing to do with him.  Conversely other athlete are able to cash in on their celebrity status because they have likable qualities.  Even those athletes that find themselves in hot water at some point in their career (Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods) can eventually win back the public's sentiment.  Floyd Mayweather Jr. has no ability to do that.

As you all know I'm a big Mayweather fan, but I must admit I was shocked to find out he makes no endorsement revenue.  Perhaps that says more about him than all the negative publicity, ridiculous tweets, and character bashing stories combined.  Good thing he's a hell of a fighter.  If he had to make money based on his public persona there's a good chance he'd be broke.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Extended Weekend Observations

For years basketball aficionado's have been begging for LeBron James to develop a low post game.  The 4 time MVP embraced the challenge and went to work with Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon.  The results weren't visibly evident until game 3 of the 2013 Eastern conference finals against the Pacers and Paul George.  LeBron simply abused George with with post moves reminiscent of Kevin McHale.  Careful what you wish for, now the world's best player has no weaknesses. 

The San Antonio Spurs showed there's no substitute for a sound plan that seasoned veterans can execute.  The Memphis Grizzlies barely put up a fight as Tim Duncan and Tony Parker brought out the brooms on Monday taking the Western conference finals in four straight games.  At least Quincy Pondexter came to play.  I'm still looking for Zach Randolph and Mike Conley as they were completely MIA for the close out game.  They embarrassed me in my B3TZ game, cost me money, and cost me credibility.  I hope they never get back to the conference finals (not really, but I am a little bitter they went out the way they did).  They don't deserve all the praise that was bestowed on them so early if they're not even going to show up and save face.  Here are some observations over the long extended weekend.

Brittney Griner came out dunking on fools (twice) in her WNBA debut.  It appears she will become the WNBA version of Shaq.  I don't think they are ready for dominance.

After losing 8 of their last 10 games the Seattle Mariners have sent second baseman Dustin Ackley and catcher Jesus Montero to the minors.  I can't tell if this is an improvement or an acknowledgement that management was wrong about these can't miss prospects.

The elements are becoming a factor at Roland Garros.  So far the favorites have been able to adjust, but I've got a feeling the extensive rain could have an adverse affect on who will ultimately win the French Open.  Stay tuned.

Can anyone tell me who won the Indy 500 on Sunday?  Although it's considered one of the world's greatest sporting events I don't know a single person that watches it.  Not saying the race doesn't warrant more attention, but it seems to be at a crossroads as far as popularity is concerned.

Birdman B3TZ

Indiana vs. Miami

The 2013 series between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers is starting to look a lot like the 2012 series.  The Pacers surprised the Heat early, but can't maintain that level of intensity.  Miami has made the necessary adjustments and now the series looks like a blow out.  So long as Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem can hit enough shots to keep the Pacers honest there's really no chance Indiana can make this series interesting.  Roy Hibbert dominated in game 2 then fell asleep in game 3.  Without him contributing in a major way the next few games will be lopsided.  To make matters worse the "Birdman" has yet to miss a field goal.  With that kind of productoin from a role player this series is about to get ugly.  Look for LeBron to do his thing and the Heat will win by a comfortable margin.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mike Conley B3TZ

Memphis vs. San Antonio

The San Antonio Spurs and The Memphis Grizzlies have played two overtime games in their best of seven series, but Memphis has absolutely nothing to show for all their hard work.  As close as they've battled the 4 time NBA champs they find themselves down 0-3 with no chance of advancing to the NBA finals.  What they lacked in experience they certainly made up for in hustle and heart.  That being said I think Memphis has one more hay maker left.  One more game where they leave it all out on the court and will their team to victory.  Look for Zach Randolph and Mike Conley to have big games tonight.  No one wants to get swept if they can help it.  The pride factor alone can usually get you one game.  The Griz are good enough to sneak one out.

Friday, May 24, 2013

LeBron James B3TZ

Miami vs Indiana

The Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers had a dramatic finish to their 1st game, but all the talk was about coaching decisions.  The media and critics have raked Frank Vogel over the coals for not having Roy Hibbert in at the end of the game, but that doesn't mean it was a mistake.  The logic was sound, they just got beat by a better team and a player that is unstoppable when he makes up his mind to do something.  In addition Paul George was playing out of his mind and they were lucky to even be in that position.  Tonight will be much less drama filled as the Miami Heat have taken the Pacers best shot and weathered the storm.  Now it's back to business as usual.  The Heat are too talented and too focused on establishing their legacy.  They won't let the Pacers stand in their way.  Look for LeBron & Co. to turn up the intensity and blow out the Pacers in the 4th quarter.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tequila Is Bad For You (Ask Josh Portis)

Can one shot of tequila on May 5th really ruin the rest of your life?  In the case of former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Josh Portis the answer is yes.  Portis was waived yesterday after being arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.  It's hard to believe that a celebration for El Cinco De Mayo can have such long lasting implications.  It's apparent the organization was out to make a statement.

After hearing the news that pass rusher Bruce "The Kraken" Irvin has been suspended for the first 4 games of the season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy the Seahawks couldn't stand anymore negative publicity.  Someone had to be the fall guy and that guy was Josh Portis.  I'm not condoning his behavior and certainly Portis was on a short lease after past indiscretions, but he is the victim of circumstance in this example. 

If his name was Russell Wilson or Earl Thomas this case would be a non issue, but Portis is far from being a franchise player.  Clearly Pete Carroll and the Seahawks brain trust decided he was expendable and not a crucial part of the team's future success.  I'm not sold on Brady Quinn or Josh Johnson as back up QB's, but I don't question the decisions the coach makes.  In Pete we trust so I'll have to live with it.

Someday Josh Portis will have to sit down and tell his kids and grandchildren how he blew an opportunity to win a Super Bowl and pursue an NFL career because of a lapse in judgement.  There may still be an opportunity for him to catch on with another NFL team, but most likely Portis is going to end up in the CFL at best.  Saskatchewan or Winnipeg isn't the same as Seattle, but for now it's probably the best option he has.  Jose Cuervo strikes again!  The moral of the story is when you're future can be jeopardized always error on the side of caution.  Josh Portis has learned this lesson the hard way.  

Chris Bosh B3TZ

Indiana vs Miami

When the Indiana Pacers take on the Miami Heat tonight most people think is the start of their ending.  I must admit I fall into that category.  The Pacers have overachieved this season getting to the conference finals and the team should be proud of themselves.  Without perennial all star Danny Granger they were able to defy the odds and get past New York.  The MoHeatos are a different story though.  It's to the point where we're surprised if they lose a game much less a series.  Teams try to be physical or intimidate the Heat with rough play, but the outcome is always the same.  In the end there's too much LeBron James, D Wade, and Chris Bosh.  The opening game of this series will be a blow out with Bosh putting up big numbers.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Legacy Of Tim Duncan

It is my prediction that "The Big Fundamental" will make the NBA finals this year.  Although Timmy has had an illustrious career most experts (myself included) thought his days of playing for championships were over.  To every one's surprise he has found a way to re-invent himself and stay relevant in his 16th season.  Without question Tim Duncan is the best power forward in the history of basketball, but where does he rank among the all time greats?  As a basketball purist here is my assessment:

1.  Kareem
2.  Wilt
3.  Magic
4.  Russell
5.  Jordan
6.  Bird
7.  Shaq
8.  Hakeem
9.  Kobe
10.  Timmy D

Tim Duncan has accomplished everything you can ask for in a top 10 player.  The only reason he's not more of a household name is because he plays in San Antonio.  He doesn't get the exposure of a LeBron James or a Blake Griffin, but at this point his resume is twice as impressive.  If he played for the Bulls or the Knicks things would be different.  Ironically, the fact he has played his whole career in San Antonio is a blessing.  He doesn't have the temperament or personality to deal with the media scrutiny and exploitation.  The island kid is more at home with less attention.  He won't win the championship this year (Miami is a lock), but the mere fact he's led his team back to the chip speaks for itself.  With Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony left on the outside looking in there's definitely something to be said for playing within yourself and trusting your teammates (can't believe I just said that).  Tim Duncan is a first ballot Hall of Famer and a top 10 player.  Your thoughts?

Tony Parker B3TZ

Memphis vs. San Antonio

The Memphis Grizzlies and the San Antonio Spurs played several tight games during the regular season, but as you can see the playoff intensity has turned up a few notches and the results aren't the same.  Although it's only been one game the Memphis Grizzlies clearly look like a team that's in way over their head.  That's to be expected when you make your first appearance in a conference finals.  It takes a second to learn how to win at that level.  Zach Randolph will have a bounce back game and Mike Conley will settle his nerves, but the Spurs are in their comfort zone and the eventual outcome is a mere formality.  The Spurs will win game 2 easily behind the the stellar play of Tony and Timmy.  The NBA finals are in their sights so they will keep their eyes on the prize.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekend Observations

Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony were unable to carry their respective teams to the conference finals. This has prompted several experts to question whether these two players can be considered franchise players.  It goes without saying the league's top two scorers can put the ball in the basket, but do they lack leadership and the intangibles to get their team over the hump?  Do they need a complimentary all star to alleviate some of the pressure?  Personally I think the criticism is overstated.  KD and Carmelo are both top 5 players and their teams would be sub .500 without their contributions.  There's no shame in losing when you consistently drop 35-40 points in the playoffs and the rest of your teammates give you little or no support.  Recent history has shown us the new blueprint for success in the NBA is collaborating with other great players.  Boston and Miami have both won championships with this philosophy and there's no reason to think the trend will change.  Gone are the days of one dominant player leading his team to the Larry O'Brien trophy.  Cut KD and Carmelo some slack.  Their time will come.  Once the Heat are dismantled.  Here are some observations over the weekend.

Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams are still on fire headed into the French open.  Both Nadal and Williams added the 2013 Italian Open title to their resume.  I'm almost ready to pick them against the field at Roland Garros.

Bruce Irvin has been suspended for the first 4 games of the season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.  With little or no margin for error when it comes to out dueling the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC West title this is not good news.  Should I be concerned with the number of Seahawks being suspended for drugs in the past 3 years?

The Los Angeles Angels (17-27) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (17-25) are proving that the amount of money you spend is not always an effective barometer in determining who will have a successful baseball season.  Then again The Yankees are in 1st place and clearly have the highest payroll.  It's hard to figure out baseball economics.

The San Antonio Spurs beat the snot piss out of the Memphis Grizzlies yesterday and look well on their way to returning to the NBA finals.  What does this say about the great Tim Duncan?  More on this tomorrow.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

New York B3TZ

New York vs. Indiana

The New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers are slugging it out to see who will face the Miami Heat in the Eastern conference finals.  The Knicks have been a streaky bunch riding on the coat tails of Carmelo Anthony. As he goes so go the the Knicks.  Their success or failure depends on his ability to make tough shots.  The Pacers on the other hand are relying on team ball.  Everyone has an important role to play and no one individual is going to step up and take over the game.  By the time you reach a game 6 of the conference semis you need that kind of player to get over the hump.  I expect Mr. Anthony to come out with guns blazing and lead his team to victory.  See you Monday night at the Garden.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Why Does C.R.E.A.M. No Longer Apply?

The NBA owners voted 22-8 in favor of the keeping the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento.  I would love to see who voted in favor and who voted against relocation.  Of course I have my suspicions.  I'm sure all the small market teams sided with Sac Town.  I'm sure the old guard that doesn't like to be pushed around voted for the Kings to stay put.  I'm sure the owners that want to atone for their ruthless behavior in other facets of their life voted to help out the little guy.  Whatever the case may be one thing is for sure, DAVID STERN IS IN COMPLETE CONTROL OF THE NBA AND HIS PERSONAL AGENDA ALWAYS TAKES PRECEDENCE!

How else can you explain a room full of well educated, wealthy, innovative businessmen rejecting a deal for more money in a better location?  Anybody that has taken the most basic of business classes knows about the net present value of money and how important location, location, location is.  It defies logic to think there's a plausible explanation for their decision other than "we're rich and we can do what we want."

There are very few examples in America where overpaying for something doesn't get you what you want.  In a capitalistic society the goal is always to make as much profit as the market will bear.  If someone wants to pay $100,000 for a Kia Sportage let them do it.  It's their money and their choice.  This exclusive club of billionaires known as the NBA refuses to let the free market dictate the rules.  In short their wishes (or that of their fearless leader) supersede the laws of economics.

I have to admit the latest decision has me somewhat defeated as a 206 sports fan.  If you can't pay hundreds of millions more than a garbage franchise is really worth what hope is there for getting a basketball team to return to the Emerald City?  David Stern has shown his power is greater than the all mighty dollar and his ultimate infinite power can't be questioned.  Until Lord David retires Seattle has no chance of getting an NBA franchise.  Your thoughts?

Tim Duncan B3TZ

Golden St. vs. San Antonio

The Golden St. Warriors have given the San Antonio Spurs all they can handle for 5 games, but now their backs are against the wall.  The upstart Warriors face elimination against the 4 time NBA champions tonight and that's a scary place to be.  This is when all of that experience and wisdom I mentioned a few games ago comes into play.  The Spurs have savvy veterans that know the importance of close out games and the ability to execute when it really counts.  Conversely the Warriors have a "what me worry" attitude when it comes to this series and plenty of shooters to back up that philosophy.  It was difficult enough trying to guard Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, but now Harrison Barnes has stepped up and become a factor in the offense. If the Warriors continue to play like they have nothing to lose this series will go back to San Antonio for a game 7.  I think Golden St. will win a close one, maybe even an overtime game.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Kevin Durant B3TZ

Memphis vs. Oklahoma City

When the Oklahoma City Thunder take on the Memphis Grizzlies tonight they find themselves in unfamiliar territory.  The Thunder find themselves in an elimination game for the first time since the 2012 NBA finals.  Although Kevin Durant has played out of his mind this series his teammates have let him down on numerous occasions.  It is evident the loss of Russell Westbrook was more damaging than originally anticipated.  Still the task at hand is not insurmountable.  The Grizzlies have a habit of letting their opponents back into a series when they have a chance to close them out.  We'll see if Zach Randolph and Mike Conley have enough fire power to wrap things up.  I don't think the Thunder will go lightly into that dark night so look for the Durantula to come out with guns blazing.  The Thunder will win by a comfortable margin at home.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Maple Leaf Madness

One of the most wonderful things about sports is just when you think you've seen it all something amazing happens you've never seen before.  I thought I'd seen a team choke and fall apart in every way possible, but the Toronto Maple Leafs proved me wrong last night.  The Leafs gave up 3 goals in the 3rd period and 2 goals in the final 90 seconds of regulation in their 5-4 loss to the Boston Bruins in overtime.  You don't have to be a die hard hockey fan to realize that should never happen in a playoff game.  Although the Bruins are the defending Stanley Cup Champions (you never underestimate the heart of a champion) this has got to be one of the greatest comebacks in the history of team sports.

I watched Portland blow a 12 point lead in the 4th quarter against the Lakers (I was on the Laker side of that debacle), Bill Buckner let a ball go between his legs (I was on the Mets side of that debacle), and Reggie Miller score 8 points in 6 seconds against the Knicks (I was indifferent about the outcome), but I've never seen anything quite like this.  Individual collapses are hard to quantify so you have to exclude those (Greg Norman at the Masters) and closers and kickers are infamous for ruining people's lives so Scott Norwood and Jose Mesa are off the hook.  The Maple Leafs collapse is probably the worst I've seen in the last 25 years.

I wonder how the work day is going in Toronto.  Is everybody in a grumpy mood?  Did everyone call in sick?  Can the Maple Leaf fans be consoled in any way, shape, form, or fashion?  As a die hard sports fan I can only imagine the emotions these guys are going through.  It will be difficult (if not impossible) to pick up the pieces and move forward.  Fans take these losses hard and looking on the bright side just isn't an option when your heart has been ripped out of your chest.  When the Sonics lost in 94' it took me 2 full years to recover.  It may take the fans in Toronto even longer to get over this.  Sports is not life, but the outcome of a game can certainly effect how you approach it.  Time heals all things, but the Maple Leaf loss will linger with Toronto fans for a while.  If you know any Maple Leaf fans send them a get well soon card.  It's the right thing to do. 

Pacer B3TZ

New York vs. Indiana

You can tell the series between the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers is getting serious because the finger pointing and the name calling has begun.  Although the Pacers and the Knicks have a history of bad blood and dramatic finishes the name calling and finger pointing is in the New York locker room.  Tyson Chandler recently went public with his displeasure on how the offense was doing and that criticism seemed to rub Carmelo Anthony the wrong way.  The last thing you need when you're trying to win a 7 game series is dissension among your own teammates.  It is clear Chandler has forgotten how the Knicks got this far in the first place.  Give Carmelo the ball and get out of the way.  All the other offensive sets are useless at this point in the season.  On the other hand Indiana has been flying under the radar with their cast of relative unknowns that play well as a cohesive unit.  Everyone seems to understand and accept their roles.  Not sure how long that formula can last, but for now it seems to be effective against the one man gang.  Look for New York to stumble tonight as Indiana pulls out a close one at home.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekend Observations

On Saturday I got the chance to attend my first Seattle Sounders game live and in person.  The weather was fantastic and the view from the box seats was phenomenal.  The Sounders smashed San Jose 4-0 and the crowd was euphoric.  I wouldn't say I'm the world's biggest soccer fan, but I certainly enjoyed myself.  Of course it would be unrealistic to expect this kind of outcome every time I go, but for my first experience you can't beat those kind of results.  I felt bad for the San Jose goalie though.  Not sure his teammates talked to him on the flight back.  He gave up some pretty weak goals.  Now I can add soccer analyst to my resume.  Here are some observations over the weekend. 

As if Tiger Woods needed more motivation on his quest to redeem himself and silence critics Sergio Garcia decided to go running off at the mouth giving him a target to take his frustration out on.  Tiger finished like a champion winning the Players Championship (fitting name) while the pretender Garcia finished with a quadruple double bogey.  If you're going to attack the athlete of the decade don't come to the gunfight with a Swiss Army knife. Garcia should put himself on punishment for that move.

Chris Hansen is throwing so much money at the Maloofs to purchase the Sacramento Kings it defies logic.  If he actually pulls this off they will name schools and streets after him in the 206 and erect a 50 foot statue in front of the new arena.  I don't want to jinx this whole thing or get too excited, but whatever the outcome is believe me I will have A LOT to say when the time comes.

Steph Curry needs to get with Nike and have special shoes made for those tooth pick ankles of his.  During the playoffs he's moved up a few notches on the all star list occasionally drifting over into the superstar realm.  It would be a shame to see his career not reach it's full potential due to nagging injuries.  Hopefully this can be prevented in the future and we'll see young Curry put up huge numbers when it counts.

Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal continued their early season dominance and are considered the favorites to win the French open.  If they can stay healthy and navigate the red clay it could be a long year for their competitors.  For any of you that read my article about Serena never winning another major please disregard everything I said.

MoHeato B3TZ

Miami vs. Chicago

There is no love lost between the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls.  The Bulls think of themselves as a blue collar team more about substance than style while the Heat are the epitome of flash and glitter.  So far the series has had its share of physical play, but Miami isn't backing down.  The defending champs have held up rather nicely and not allowed Chicago to get under their skin.  The Heat know the key to winning another championship is getting rest while the other teams have to play 6 or 7 games.  It is imperative to knock out the Bulls as quickly as possible so don't be surprised to see LeBron and the MoHeatos take care of business in game 4.  Letting Chicago stick around and gain confidence is a mistake they can't afford to make.  Joakim Noah and Nate Robinson will do their best to keep it close, but they will come up just a little bit short.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Grizzlies B3TZ

Memphis vs Oklahoma City

The Memphis Grizzlies and the Oklahoma City Thunder are in the middle of a very exciting series.  Kevin Durant put the Thunder on his back and carried them through the first round, but he needs help.  Even the best players in the league (LeBron, Carmelo) could use a little assistance from their teammates every once in a while.  With the absence of Russell Westbrook it is essential that Kevin Martin step up and contribute more than he has to this point.  Meanwhile Memphis finds themselves in a great position to advance to the next round if they can continue to take advantage of the size disparity up front.  Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are the keys to the Grizzlies success.  Ultimately I think the Thunder will win in 7, but they need game 3 to get their confidence back.  OKC will win by a slight margin.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Bay Area B3TZ

Golden St. vs San Antonio

In the NBA playoffs experience and wisdom usually out trumps youth and athleticism, but right now Golden St. is the exception to the rule.  When the Warriors take on the San Antonio Spurs tonight they are riding a wave of momentum.  The young upstarts pushed the 4 time champions to double overtime in game one and took home court advantage winning game two.  Steph Curry and Klay Thompson look mature beyond their years while Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan are starting to look their age.  I still think the Spurs will ultimately win the series, but it will go seven games.  Golden St. wins game 3 feeding off the energy of the home crowd and then things will get real interesting.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

It's Not Baseball Season Yet

When I'm watching SportsCenter or surfing the web for insightful articles I've noticed I don't pay much attention to baseball stories.  I take in a few scores and glance over the standings, but nothing major.  Right now it's all about playoff hoop.  Whether it's LeBron James and D Wade, Nate Robinson, Carmelo Anthony, or Kevin Durant playing at a high level the NBA title is on the line and these players have my undivided attention.  Although it's almost 1/4 of the way into the season I can't really say I'm all that interested in curveballs and sliders.  Is this a sign that baseball is losing its popularity?

Yes and no.  Since the BALCO scandal major league baseball has been on a crusade to clean up the game and in doing so the production has fallen off dramatically.  No more seasons with multiple 60+ home run guys and power pitchers in their mid 40's.  Instead they have tried to replenish the game with up and coming stars they would love to pass the torch to.  Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Miguel Cabrera, and the great Robinson Cano are all on the cusp of becoming household names, but they're not quite there yet.  Subsequently the game lacks star power and the long ball at the same time which makes the games somewhat boring until after the all star break when the outcome is more significant.

Truth be told the baseball season is too long to follow from opening day unless you live in a city with World Series aspirations.  Unlike football season (which trumps everything from beginning to end) the overlap baseball has with the NBA finals is too much to overcome.  Talk to me again around the mid July and I'll have much more to say about RBI's, RISP's, and ERA's, but for now I'm just a somewhat curious observer.  Your thoughts.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

LeBron B3TZ

Miami vs. Chicago

The Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls are not equals, but Chi Town seems to have the formula for defeating the defending champs.  After halting the Heats winning streak earlier this year the Bulls pulled off a stunning upset in game one of their best of seven series.  Nate Robinson continues to amaze and Joakim Noah has the heart of a warrior.  He is definitely a true teammate and someone you'd want to go to war with.  That being said the Bulls are playing the MoHeatos and there's just no beating them in a 7 game series this year.  LeBron, D Wade, Chris Bosh, and Ray Allen were all embarrassed by their play on Monday and will atone for their loss.  Look for the MVP to turn up the intensity and steamroll the pesky Bulls team.  Unless Nate the Great has another miracle left this game won't be close.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why Pihil Jackson Will End Up In The Big Apple Next Year

As some of you might recall I wrote a blog at the beginning of the baskeball season giving 5 reasons Phil Jackson would coach the Los Angeles Lakers this season.  Although my logic was sound I didn't anticipate how deep rooted the discord between Jackson and owner Jim Buss really was.  At the end of the day it was ego that kept him from returning to the Lakers one more time.  Now Phil is in demand once again.  Rumors have swirled that Jackson has been contacted about the Brooklyn Nets coaching vacany.  It's an attractive coaching gig, but maybe not the one Phil ultimately ends up with.  I have a sneaking suspicion if the Knicks don't advance past the 2nd round New York's other team may come calling.  Here are 5 reasons Phil Jackson will coach in New York next year.

1.  Phil is ancy.  If the winningest coach is NBA history says he wants to coach again it would only make sense for all teams with a vacancy to inquire about his interest in coaching their team.

2.  The Laker debacle.  It serves to reason that teams around the league saw what happened to the Los Angeles Lakers after they passed on his services and won't make the same mistake given the opportunity to sign the Hall of Fame coach.

3.  Phil likes superstars.  Although Phil Jackson has an impressive coaching resume let us not forget he wasn't exactly turning water into wine in Chicago or Los Angeles.  He's coached 3 of the 50 greatest player in NBA history and Kobe Bryant, who if they did the list today would certainly make the cut.  The Knicks have Carmelo Anthony and the Nets have Deron Williams and Brook Lopez.  It's not like he'd be trying to take the Minnesota Timberwolves to a NBA title.

4.  Billionaire owners have Egos.  Both James Dolan and Mikhail Prokhorov have shown in the past they are not afraid to spend money and the salary cap doesn't include coaching salaries.  Either owner would undoubtedly overpay for his services if he said he was interested in the job.

5.  There's no place like New York.  Phil has roots in the city that never sleeps winning a championship with the Knicks in 73' and relishes the opportunity to be the center of attention and the topic of conversation.  There's no place on planet Earth where he would get more media coverage than coaching in the Big Apple.

Brooklyn is the front runner to land Phil Jackson next season, but if he can stay patient for a few weeks his options could increase dramatically.  I think the Knicks are a better fit for Jackson, but the timing is delicate.  Anyways it goes he will be coaching in New York next year.

New York B3TZ

New York vs Indiana

The New York Knicks knew they would be in for a battle against the Indiana Pacers and game one proved that from the start.  The Pacers jumped on the Knicks and never looked back behind the scoring of Paul George and the physical play of David West.  These two teams have a storied history, but Reggie Miller and John Starks are not walking through that door.  Instead it will be Carmelo Anthony and Roy Hibbert that will decide this series.  The league's best scorer will need to get back to business if he intends to carry the Knicks to the next round and Hibbert needs to establish his defensive presence in the paint if the Pacers want to pull off the upset.  This series may go seven, but the Knicks will win game two beefore they head to Indiana.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Weekend Observations

I'm up here in Canada right now and most of the sports talk is about hockey.  As you well know I basically took the year off with regards to the NHL schedule because the lock out went on so long I completely lost interest plus they only played like 14 games this season.  The Canucks are down 0-3 to the San Jose Sharks so it looks like I can keep the riot gear in the closet for another year.  I also heard CFL training camp is right around the corner.  With all the talk of Tim Tebow possibly heading north to resume his professional football career I asked a few natives what they thought of the idea.  To my surprise Tebowmania is not an experiment they want to embark on.  The CFL may be one step below the NFL, but even CFL fans would prefer a quarterback who can actually throw the football.  Ouch!!  Here are some observations over the weekend.

Floyd Mayweather continued his dominance in the ring Saturday and with no one on the horizon to challenge his greatness he will end his career undefeated and wealthy.  Wish I had something more interesting to say on the subject.

Kevin Durant is getting tired of people questioning whether or not he can carry the Oklahoma City Thunder on his back in the absence of Russell Westbrook.  He even had Royce White taking cheap shots at him via twitter.  Instead of lashing out at a flight fearing D-league player KD simply went out and scored 35 while hitting the game winning shot to beat Memphis.  Classy and talented is a great combination.

R.A. Dickey got shelled by the Seattle Mariners on Saturday for 7 runs in 6 innings including 3 home runs.  Last year's NL Cy Young winner has struggled early with a 2-5 record and a 5.36 ERA.  Perhaps playing in Canada and eating cheese Kurds on a regular basis is affecting the spin of his knuckleball.

Don't be surprised to see Phil Jackson in New York next year.  Notice I didn't say where in New York right?  More on this tomorrow. 

Spurs B3TZ

Golden St. vs San Antonio

When the Golden St. Warriors take on the San Antonio Spurs tonight there will be no time to celebrate their surprise win over Denver in the 1st round.  That series is in the past and now they have to look forward to the task of trying to defeat Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker.  Unfortunately for Golden St. the Spurs see blood in the water with a depleted Oklahoma City Thunder team and they realize this is their last best chance to get back to the finals.  The Warriors have a punchers chance with lights out shooters like Steph Curry Jarrett Jack, and Klay Thompson, but in the end it will be the experience and interior presence of the Spurs that leads the to victory.  San Antonio wins game one easy sending an early message to Golden St in the form of a lopsided beatdown. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Nate Robinson B3TZ

Brooklyn vs. Chicago

The Brooklyn Nets and the Chicago Bulls has been an exciting series.  With the deciding game 7 tonight the pressure is squarely on the shoulders of Deron Williams.  Williams has shown flashes of brilliance, but hasn't shown the consistency of a supersatar.  Perhaps playing in New York and living up to that massive contract he signed in the offseason has overwhelmed him.  Fortunately Brook Lopez has stepped up and established himself asd one of the elite big men in the game.  I'm sure the Nets are glad they didn't trade him for Dwight Howard right about now.  On the other side of the ledger the Bulls are a M.A.S.H. unit searching for answers on the offensive side of the court.  Nate the Great has bailed them out a few times, but he's not the player you should be depending on to go for 25+ every night.  He's much much better if his role is complementary or instant offense off the bench.  When he has to be "the guy" his shot selection becomes suspect and the rest of his teammates struggle to find a rythym.  That being said anything can happen in a game 7 and I'm sure Nate will go out swinging.  In the end however the Nets will win at home and advance to the next round.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Clipper B3TZ

Los Angeles vs. Memphis

When the Los Angeles Clippers take on the Memphis Grizzlies tonight the status of Blake Griffin is a game time decision.  Griffin turned his ankle before game 5 and ended up with a measly 4 points.  The Clippers had a difficult enough time beating the Grizzlies at full strength so game 6 will definitely be a struggle.  Zach Randolph has proven to be more than the Clips can handle and Chris Paul seems to be the only one playing with a sense of urgency.  If the Clippers have any chance at winning tonight they will need a big game from Jamal Crawford off the bench.  Even if he gives them the spark they need I don't think it will be enough to beat Memphis at home.  The Grizzlies will win a close one and advance to the next round.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

California B3TZ

Golden St vs. Denver

When Golden St. takes on the Denver Nuggets tonight at home the Warriors have a chance to win a playoff series for the first time in 6 years.  Steph Curry and Jarrett Jack have provided instant offense while Harrison Barnes has been a pleasant surprise off the bench.  Give the Nuggets credit for taking care of business at home and forcing a game 6.  Andre Iguodala finally came out of his shell and the Nuggets team as a whole found a way to scrape out a win.  That will not be the case on the road however.  Mark Jackson will find a way to make the necessary adjustments and in the end star power will prevail.  Steph Curry will have a big game, but Denver will go out swinging.  The Warriors win a close one.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New York Knick B3TZ

Boston vs. New York

Make no mistake about it, the series between the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics is not close.  Boston threw a mini haymaker on Sunday making shots that are out of their comfort zone to scrape out a victory in Boston.  The series has been extended, but the outcome is inevitable.  They gave Carmelo Anthony an opportunity to go home, get some rest, sleep in his own bed, and order a #47 from Chao's take out whenever he pleases.   Trust me the 2013 NBA MVP is ready to wipe this series off the books and wait for the winner of the Brooklyn/Nate Robinson series.  This game will not be close.  Carmelo will become intoxicated off the New York crowd.  He will score many points and Josh Smith will atone for his immature antics from two games ago.  Any other outcome is way off the grid and somewhat delusional.  If John McEnroe and Spike Lee are in the same building giving it all of their energy you're in trouble!  Knicks in a rout.