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8.11.2004

the last few weeks have been a blur...

with my big move finally in the works, this blog has suffered through it's longest drought to date. my journey back to school includes a trans-pacific relocation that separates me from loved ones and introduces me to new challenges...

it may take a bit of time, but i'll be back.

until then, check out the sportsguy as he spends the offseason sorting out the best sports movies of all time!

6.16.2004

it's a well-known fact that i hate the lakers, but it's also clear that i thought they would lift the larry o'brien trophy this year. the fact of the matter is, LA did roll--roll over and play dead, that is. perhaps fittingly, today, the lake show capped a weak finals run with what was arguably the worst performance from a team on the ropes...

with aretha franklin playing the fat lady and shaquille o'neal running into foul trouble early on, somehow you just knew detroit was going to get it done. facing an outclassed lakers side, the once-anemic pistons offense shot close to 60% from the field in the first half. soon enough (okay, actually just minutes into the second half), larry brown had phil jackson and company singing dido's tune (white flag). game over. detroit rock city!

some final thoughts...clockwork was huge--as in 18 points, 22 boards large. with big ben picking up all the laker bricks in the third quarter, doc rivers couldn't help but remember dennis rodman. then again, the worm never scored 18 points in the nba finals (or so at least i think)...chauncey was deserving as the series' best player. not since joe d had the finals mvp been absent from the all-star festivities. i just hope mr. billups doesn't pull a bibby-sized letdown next year...

now if only my cable provider carried coverage of euro 2004...

6.15.2004

just when i was getting all giddy about my recent gmail account, yahoo introduces upgrades to it's mail system. if you haven't already heard--go check your yahoo mail account right now! i wonder when microsoft will follow suit...

speaking of gmail, i was on www.gmailswap.com today looking for good deals on the additional invites i received (hmm, i guess they were affected by yahoo's slick move). a ride on a porsche? a basketball autographed by kobe bryant?!? amazing what people would give for a loaded email account.

and before i get some sleep, can i just say that the pistons are for real? it's been an amazing nba finals--hopefully game 5 will live up to it's billing. maybe the lakers can pull a yahoo-size comeback and make something of the series...

euro2004...euro2004...euro2004...



not so hot..mailyahoo(!) indeed'sup G?

good, better, best?


6.10.2004

i know i said something about how special the nba finals would be, but i wasn't prepared for this!

detroit is for real... had the pistons held on to their three point lead, i believe they would have won the series. while the ride remains rough, los angeles is ready to show the world what tupac already knew--'california knows how to party.' now i'm no fan of showtime, but the playoff script's hollywood feel seems to foreshadow a laker climax (damn!).

with that, i'll be out of commission for the next few days since i'm off to singapore with my family to celebrate my mum's birthday...

enjoy the weekend!




6.06.2004

tomorrow's the big day!

on to the lowdown...

los angelesdetroit

overview

once again, it's been a ridiculous road to the nba finals. out west, the lakers woke up just in time to defuse a rocket launch in houston and send a message to the french in san antonio (sacre bleu!). by the time the conference finals rolled in, los angeles met a minnesota team led by the imposing kevin garnett. but while the mvp can arguably play all five positions, he absolutely can't bring the ball up and post up on the same possession for 48 minutes of a 7 game series. and so for the fourth time in the last six years, cali hosts the nba finals.

over at the eastern conference, detroit put milwaukee away early only to go the distance against new jersey in the second round. the resulting conference final matchup against indiana not only added an extra layer to pink floyd's wall, it also cost the third little piggy his home. ironically, this didn't stop 4,406,000 households from tuning in. i love this game.

the road to hell is paved with good intentions. let the games begin...

guard play gary payton meet chauncey billups...
gp understandably had a weak statistical season, but there's simply no excuse for his lousy playoff run so far. exposed as an aging superstar who can no longer shoot, pass, or (gasp) defend against the likes of stevie franchise, tony parker and darrick martin(!), payton needs to recapture his game in a bad way. he's worn out his welcome in la and though he plays frodo to sam cassell's gollum in his quest for the ring, gary wants teams to show him the money in 2k5. in a one-on-one matchup against chauncey, he may just get his. but for a guy whose strength lies in the low-post, motown is not the place to be.

on the other hand billups' game has evolved since his erratic beantown, rockies, and twin cities days. his shooting percentage may be in jason kidd territory, but this kid can definitely score. long considered a shoot-first, pass-second point guard, chauncey can drop 30 on any given night. before rip hamilton emerged as the team's hired gun in the playoffs, it was billups who scored 18.2ppg against the bucks and dropped 28 and 31 against the nets. he's done some damage against la in the past and i expect him to blow up more than once before the series is over.

size-wise, both players match up well. payton will be hard-pressed to get to his comfort zone down low in the flow of the laker offense. i have a feeling that he'll finally get one good playoff game in, but on the whole, he'll be doing what he's done of late. that is, put up prayers from mid range out to the three-point land. billups directs the pistons offense. regardless of whether he's 1-10 or 10-20 from the field, he'll play 35-40 minutes a game, guaranteed. what do you expect? mike james isn't exactly playing like derek fisher lately...

philadelphia connection kobe and rip...
motown philly's back again! much has been written about kobe bryant and richard hamilton's historical high school battles. it's great that these two have played against each other in the past, but it must be remembered that with familiarty, comes contempt. an nba final hasn't had a two-guard matchup like this since mj met clyde the glide. unfortunately, we could very well see a similar result--one man may emerge head and shoulders above the other.

rip is not only clutch, he's a winner. he runs like forest gump and scores like 'a young reggie miller.' he has a chance to become a great player before he's done. on the other hand, kobe's a great player already--and he's not yet done. sure rip will run circles around the laker d, but as good a defender as kobe is, i doubt phil will have him expending his energy chasing hamilton off screens like a headless chicken. point being, bryant will have the energy to produce. and if he does get tired, his unparalleled competitive juices will be a source of second, third, and fourth wind.

rip will get his 15-20 points. he could even bust out a game or two of 30 points against the lake show. kobe can start the first half with two points and end the game with 50. hamilton is deserving of all the recent props, but we can't sleep on bryant. not when the championship is on the line. number 8 could get his first nba finals mvp award right here. right now.

3 is the magic number devean george and tayshaun prince...
both guys are athletic. both guys can hit the three. both guys can defend. both guys can disappear for stretches on offense. but only one guy has a 7 foot 2 inch wingspan.

even though the lakers look like big-time favorites to win the trophy on paper, this forward matchup could provide the key to the series. if tayshaun can pretend that the pistons are still in milwaukee, then he could easily let the folks in detroit forget about carmelo and remember the bad boys. against the bucks, this prince was fresh--averaging 17.4ppg, 7.6rpg, 3.2apg, 1.2spg, and 2.2bpg! if he can be the third (or even second!) scorer on an offensively-challenged pistons squad, detroit might just have enough defensive might to swing the tide.

defensively, george and prince may be better off guarding hamilton and bryant instead of mimicking each other's game. whoever can step up defensively without sacrificing much of his offensive output will do wonders for his team. tayshaun hasn't done lately, but i'm still taking him over devean...but only by a small margin.

down low karl and rasheed...
i'm not a fan of karl malone's game. but after seeing him manhandle maurice taylor, tim duncan and kevin garnett, i have to give props to the old man. his vertical looks shot, but his defense remains strong. he's like solid oak when he gets down low--face guarding kg and td as if his ten-wheeler's life depended on it.

rasheed's was born a laker mismatch. long, lean, and confident, he could be automatic from the block and three-point land. if robert horry or horace grant still served as shaq's wingmen, i could see wallace going for 20-30 all day, everday. matched up against karl, we're looking at a very different story.

on a bum leg, wallace dropped 12.8ppg against jermaine o'neal's bum knee. he has to do more against malone if the pistons stand a chance in this series. many argue that defense wins games, but how can you win if you don't score? detroit's main scoring options outside of rasheed are rip, chauncey, and tayshaun--all perimeter players who can slash through the lane from time to time. in all likelihood, the pistons need to establish some sort of post game in order to be competitive. that's how it works on the playstation 2 and that's how it should be once the games begin.

a clockwork diesel shaq and big ben...
a few years ago, after ben wallace rose out of obscurity to become an all-world defensive player, shaquille o'neal suggested that nobody could hold him down--not even big ben. of course, this was said under the context of bling bling so few refuted the diesel's claim.

to this day, two years removed from his last championship, few men can stand in shaq's way. after all, the man stands 7'2 and weighs 340lbs. he may not be as dominant as he once was, but he will always be big. no, make that--huge...

shaq hasn't had a 30-20 performance in the playoffs this year so many choose to omit the word 'dominant' from describing his game. unfortunately for detroit, if o'neal gets the right amount of touches from gp, kobe, and karl--this could be where the streak ends. even if clockwork lets his hair down and goes with the fro, shaq should have no problem shooting over the smaller wallace. on defense, big daddy needs to do little against big ben and this amount of energy saved, could go a long long way on the offensive end.

in short, while i think it's kobe's time to win an individual award this side of eagle court, colorado, shaq isn't going down without a fight.

intangibles the coaches and the bench...
larry brown's a smart guy. by now, i'm sure he has a plan--which if followed accordingly--could result in a lot cars being burned all over detroit. he's been here before and he knows what needs to be done. as for phil jackson, he's been here so often that red auerbach's beginning to hate him. on occasion, the lakers have ditched the triangle and that alone, is a testament to jackson's growing maturity. as good as the coaches are however, this is the nba--a place where talent reigns supreme and coaches take the fall. brown might come up with a backdoor cut intended for rip, but rasheed could just as easily take the trey for all the marbles instead.

bench-wise, detroit has security in numbers: corliss, mehmet, elden, mike, lindsay, darvin, darko(!?!). okur and campbell provide extra bodies and fouls against shaq, while corliss and mike bring inside/outside scoring pop off the bench. if it were a question of quantity over quality, then detroit wins hands down. but while los angeles appears relatively thin in terms of roster management, one of the subs always seems to step up--dfish, kareem, slava, luke.

a good bench gets you to the finals, but a great performance from a substitute wins you the game. john paxson did it for chicago. robert horry did it for the lakers. as did vinnie johnson for detroit and steve kerr for san antonio/chicago. who's going to provide that spark off the bench from the pistons?

my take as if it matters much...
lakers in 6.

...they're just too talented, cocky, and good not to win.

6.03.2004

was it just me, or did they really play 'welcome to the jungle' just before the pistons manhandled the pacers in the fourth quarter of their game six showdown? then again, i also think i saw kid rock chilling in the front row... with all the carnage they were throwing up at the palace, i wouldn't be surprised if my mind was playing tricks on me...

speaking of tricks, it's la versus detroit come sunday. and to think i came up with my bracket in 15 minutes--i hope to spend more time than that when i look into the finals matchup real soon... i know many people are disappointed out there, but i have a strange feeling that we're in for something special this year. in this day of old school and retro, this throwback series might just be what the nba needs...

5.26.2004

much has happened of late...i'm not quite sure how this blog fits in with everything, but for now, it remains afloat...

...my playoff bracket looks like money this year. lakers-wolves out west and pistons-pacers over in the east. as much as i despise the lake show, it looks like they might just pull it off. if my predictions hold, then shaq will meet clockwork in what should be the most interesting finals matchup since mj faced off with charles...

but enough thinking ahead...tomorrow's game three detroit-indy matchup should be brutal. while i fully expect rasheed's game to finally catch up with his mouth, i don't think the pacers will go down without a fight. ron-ron hasn't shown up yet, but i truly believe that al harrington is the x-factor. practically invisible since the boston series, big al may have scored 14 points in the game 1 victory, but another 0 for 4 performance just isn't going to cut it.

rip's taking reggie's "he reminds me of a young reggie miller" remark to heart. it's time for indy to show that they have something in their chests as well...



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