Saturday, March 31, 2007

It's a classic

Phoebe and I watched a somewhat cheesy but awesome commemorative dvd of the pistons 2004 championship season recently, and one thing stood out. Even though that was only 3 seasons ago, there are only 5 current pistons who were on that team! (Billups, Hamilton, Sheed, Tayshaun, and Lindsey "I said Whaaat?" Hunter). The other 7 on the roster were Ben Wallace (Bulls), Darko Milicis (Magic), Memet Okur (Jazz), Mike James (Timberwolves), Corliss Williamson (Kings), Elden Campbell (retired) and "Dunkin" Darvin Ham, who, Wikipedia tells me, was last seen playing in the Phillipines, for a team called the Talk 'N Text Phone Pals. The other teams in the "Fiesta Conference" are equally strange-sounding sponsored teams that actually sound like they should be fantasy baseball teams in one of our leagues: San Miguel Beermen, Sta. Lucia Realtors, and the Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants. I'd love to have courtside seats for Phone Pals vs. Juicy Giants. That's not supposed to be ironic, either -- I actually mean that would be awesome!!

Friday, March 30, 2007


The blasketblog officially becomes open to posts about BASEBALL tomorrow, Saturday, at 12:00 EST.

The name of the blog will REMAIN THE SAME in spite of the confusion that might cause. It just will.

Please let peops such as Greg Ferguson and Dan Van Auken know about this fact in case they want to post. But don't just invite everyone you know, willy-nilly, because they might be nerds.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


I am amazed that Jake didn't post anything about 'sheed's shot in the pistons game a couple of nights ago. Not hearing anything has made me worried that Jake was dead.

Apparently, he claimed that he called glass on the shot, but then admitted that he hadn't.


I am amazed that Jake didn't post anything about 'sheed's shot in the pistons game a couple of nights ago. Not hearing anything has made me worried that Jake was dead.

Apparently, he claimed that he called glass on the shot, but then admitted that he hadn't.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Scattered thoughts in the desert

Driving back from Vegas today, we listened to an awesome Warriors game on the radio. I often catch 15 minutes of a game on the radio while I'm driving, but it's been a long time since I listened to a complete game from starting lineups to victory on the AM band. Probably since MIDDLE SCHOOL, when I would listen to untelevised Michigan Basketball road games. Which brings me to point #2 -- During Ohio State's first half struggle against Tennesse, Phoebe and I were eating at the Wolfgang Puck restaurant in the MGM Grand. It took me more than 1/2 of dinner to make a comfortable ID, but after eavesdropping marginally, I was sure that we were sitting next to Brian Ellerbee, who coached Michigan between Steve Fisher and the just-fired Tommy Amaker. That was crazy!! We said hello, and he was really nice, and also pretty funny. During the second half of the OSU/TENN game, Phoebe and I were playing a one-table $60 sit-and-go tournament, and the game was so crazy that it literally stopped the dealer's action several times. Also, partially because it's the current home state of Scott (who I majorly disappointed by forgetting to initiate a sweet16 email pool), I put $10 on Tennessee with a +4 spread. So I was sad to see them lose, but happy to see them cover the spread. The other Big 10 news is that the season-long Flip-Saunders-to-Minnesota rumors were finally publicly killed by Saunders, and lo and behold, the very next day the Gophers bring Tubby Smith on board. Damn. Couldn't Michigan have figured out how to land Tubby? That would have been very slick. I mean, re-uniting Tubby & Tayshaun in the same state? According to a Q&A on Tay's website, they talk about once or twice per month. They could have saved on some phone bills and just had lunch at Zingerman's. So who will U of M get to bring their program out of the 10-year wreckage? Who knows. I googled my Elementary School classmate, Lavell Blanchard, whose U of M career I barely watched (because, for quite obvious reasons, I was at Columbia the entire time), and saw that he had (what might have been) his first NBA contract last fall, for 2 weeks with the Raptors, but was cut before the season started. In 1st grade I was pretty sure that Lavell would make the NBA. I guess I was finally right, but not really. This is a guy who won "gatorade national high school player of the year" in 1999. Who else won that? LeBron, Dwight Howard, Kobe, Marbury, Webber. Not too many people win that award and don't make it. I always wonder what he could have done with different coaching (Sorry Brian Ellerbee, my new friend!) But Lavell has a European career -- this year playing in France for the first time, which is interesting, because my last memory of Lavell as a peer (as opposed to a basketball player) is sitting next to him in french class in middle school. I think that the class was having trouble with "de" vs. "du" -- I bet he's pretty much got that one cleared up by now. But seriously, if Chris Webber can come back to the Pistons, so can Lavell. Come on, Joe Dumars -- I know you've got a Ronald "Super Dupe" Dupree-type roster spot for a real Michigan Man!!!! In other Pistons news, I think Lindsey "I said Whaaat?'" Hunter is due to return from his 10-game diet-pill suspension. I have given Lindsey his new nickname because when he found out about the suspension, he told the AP: "I said, 'Whaaat?'"" ... NBA FINALS NOTICE: Lindsey Hunter should be able to pester Steve Nash to a somewhat significant degree. Some time a few weeks ago, on-air, Steve Kerr (definitely improvising with this comment) called Lindsey the best on-ball defender of all time. Marv Albert gave Kerr a chance to walk the comment down to a lesser one, like, 'best on-ball defender in the game today', or 'best on-ball defender that Kerr played against', but Steve just kind of repeated it, and seemed stunned that he was actually failing to think of someone more deserving. ALSO -- other local news -- Gilbert Arenas' baby son was born in Walnut Creek, CA, recently. In fact, on exactly the same day that Phoebe and I went to Restoration Hardware in Walnut Creek and bought a Bocce Ball set. This would not make for much news, except for the fact that we had never been to Walnut Creek before, and probably never will again. Just think, if one of us had tripped over a display of sink faucets and ended up in the emergency room, we could have seen Gilbert there, with newborn Alijah Amani Arenas, who Gil has already nicknamed "TRIPLE-A" ....
"I said, 'Whaaat?'"

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The question at the top

One of the best things about the current season is that there is no clear frontrunner for the title. The Mavs and the Suns both have incredible records, but the Spurs with their recent winning streak are just as credible, and it makes sense to worry about the Jazz, Pistons, Rockets, and even the Heat as title contenders. I exclude the Cavs because I won't believe they can take the Pistons in a playoff series until I see it. In any case, the winner of the West will be ravaged by a difficult playoff schedule - two or three rounds of cutthroat games against evenly matched teams - whereas the East winner could have it comparatively easy.

Imagine this scenario: Phoenix defeats the Nuggets, the Spurs, and the Mavs to face the Pistons in the finals, who went through Orlando, Chicago, and Cleveland. The Suns could easily play 20 playoff games by that point as compared to Detroit's 15, with far fewer off-days and far more left on the court. Who would you favor?

Friday, March 16, 2007


I am glad to see folks back in the blogosphere...

(1) I wish that I could say my absence was due to anticipation for a sweet professional basketball playoffs. I was anticipating basketball playoffs to be sweet, but of the undergraduate sort - and I was severely disappointed yesterday. Onto the pros.

(2) I really like the way that the East is shaping up. First, the team that comes out of the East WILL have a chance of winning. And perhaps it will not be the PISTONS. Jake mentioned one potential first round matchup whose repercussions will send shockwaves all the way to Berkley, but I think that MIAMI/WASHINGTON and more importantly BULLS/RAPTORS both are extremely sweet first round matchups. I hope it sticks this way.

(3) I DO NOT like the way the West is shaping up. The first round is going to be stupid. There are 4 good teams in the west, but they are easily ranked in order (as was apparent by Suns/Mavs game on Wednesday). At this point I predict NO 7 game series in the West and NO upsets. I may back down on that later

(4) College basketball starts again in 1.5 hours. Yesterday, Ben e-mailed me something about PENN and I assumed that it had to do with COLLEGE BASKETBALL PENN (who at the time I received the e-mail had just tied Texas A and M). It did not.

(5) Who is Linas Klieza?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Big Picture In Berkeley

The guys that we play poker with relentlessly trash the Warriors. The fact that if the playoffs begun at the crack of Midnight tonight, Bay Area time, the Warriors would face off against the Mavericks, is somehow only greater evidence to these guys that the Warriors will crash and burn for the 13th straight non-playoff season. Phoebe has taken $20 bets against a few of these guys, confident that with the AS YET UNDEFEATED starting line-up of Baron Davis / Jason Richardson / Stephen Jackson / Al Harrington / Andris Biii-e-driiiiins staying at least remotely healthy, we can keep pace ahead of the clearly imploding Sacramento Wife-Beaters, Los Angeles Tendon-Tearers, and Minnesota Loserwolves...It is a really awesome year for basketball if the first round of the playoffs features MAVS/WARRIORS and PISTONS/KNICKS.

Here is something wild. The Warriors lead the NBA in steals per game, blocks per game, AND points-off-turnovers per game, and yet STILL defensively allow the highest number of points of any team in the league. Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson bring a little more defense now that they're both back on the floor, but that's a really astounding stat, even taking into account their cracked-out version of Phoenix's constant run.

When we were watching the Cavs/Pistons OT match-up last week, the Cleveland hometown announcers had a pretty funny moment -- at one point they were incredulous that Varejao was called for a blocking foul on a fairly pivotal play. It was a somewhat close call -- the ref could have called Rip Hamilton for a charge, but on the slow motion replay, it was really obvious that Varejao was not planted. In fact, his entire body was in motion, one foot was off of the ground, and the foot that was on the ground was sort of sliding laterally. Upon seeing this one foot, dubiously "planted", so to speak, the Cavs tv guys say: "Come on!!! He had one foot down!" (as if that makes the case for charging). And then added something to the effect of, "I'm really surprised to see the refs call this one against Andy. I mean, this is the guy that leads in the NBA in charges!" Now, wouldn't we agree that it's possible that Andy leads the NBA in charges taken AND blocking fouls?? I don't think that he does, but certainly someone who takes a lot of charges is going to get called for a fair number of blocks as well. That's the nature of "falling down when someone bumps into you (or your personal space) in a basketball game."

Also, two amazing SHEEDbits as of late. One, while he was suspended from the game against the Clippers, he's not even allowed to be at the arena, and the game was not televised at all, so he had to keep up with his own team by checking the score on the internet on his phone. Two, he has started referring to David Stern as "Napoleon." Brilliant.

Letter from Brooklyn

The blasketball channels have been quiet lately; I presume this is because everyone is so excited about the playoffs that they cannot stop jumping up and down long enough to write in a silly old blog.

The Cavs are HAWT. Seven straight - against good teams AND bad! I was genuinely concerned after the huge victories over Toronto, Houston, and Detroit that they could blow it against inferior competition, which is so their style. But no. Now they have a short stretch of difficult games coming up, namely the Jazz and the Mavs. These are home games, though, which gives me some confidence that they might win one. That would be fine. The Pistons are bound to lose at least once, if not three times, against the quartet of Western juggernauts coming up.

The quest for parity between the East and West has seen real progress lately. The Cavs, Bulls, and Pistons have emerged as the frontrunners, and all now have 40 wins. Of course, there's no chance of any of them catching or even getting close to the Mavs or Suns, but they now have comparable records to the Rockets and are not far behind the Jazz. Even the Spurs, winners of 13 straight, have only five more wins than the Pistons. Good "stuff"!

The bottom of the playoff picture remains ugly. The Knicks, Magic, and Nets are jockeying for the 7 and 8 spots in the east. That's three teams who are poised to win about 37 games, and two of them will make the playoffs. The situation isn't much better in the West, where Golden State and (my least favorite team in the NBA) Denver will likely get in. I'm definitely pulling for GS after a) they traded their team to Indy in exchange for Indy's team and b) they beat the Mavericks (?!), their likely first-round foes.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

A night watching Blasketball

Cavs 62 vs. Raptor 52; Halftime

Why does Lebron James take the technical FTs for the Cavs? There are like a MILLION players on the caveliers who are better FT shooters.

The announcers on the broadcast I am watching lauded Mike Brown for this decision, saying something along the lines of "If Lebron James wants to be the leader of the team and take the FTs, Mike Brown should let him be the leader". I might be wrong - but I think a leader should make his teammates feel necessary - acknowledges how they are a TEAM and that other members of the team also have blasketball skills which in some cases surpass your own. It would be so easy for Lebron to say, "Sasha -we need to you take these FTs."**

However, the Cavs ARE winning. And playing well. The Raptors are also playing well. One thing which is nice is that both teams are deep and their benches are playing well. Chris Bosh is ugly and powerful. As a resident of Baltimore, I am happy to see Juan Dixon doing well (his Aunt is the mayor of my fair city). I am looking forward to the rest of this game.

**As I write this I realize that all I have learned about leadership in basketball comes from the movie Hoosiers. Maybe Mike Brown should get ejected from the game so that Lebron James' alcoholic dad can regain his confidence.

Knicks 62 Hawks 71 Start of 4th Quarter
This game is infuriating (not unlike the Heat/Cavs game from last weekend). The teams are both playing like they are under water. Everything is slow and awkward. Occasionally - OCCASIONALLY - when the Hawks have the ball they make a series Harlem Globetrotter like passes. That is fun.

It's not quite right to describe the Knicks as playing lazy. After every shot they miss, the team hustles. They make a million offensive rebounds. They defend strongly during the inbound pass. However, when it comes to hustling on NORMAL offense and NORMAL defense, the Knicks kind of stand around.

Pistons 46 Grizzlies 48 Almost half time
Memphis is so bad. Why aren't the Pistons winning?

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Nowitzki dream

I dreamt I was on the Cavs, and we were off to a sizeable first quarter lead against the Mavs. Despite our advantage, we were freaked out and pretty much expecting to get rolled over at any second.

Suddenly I looked over, and a bald Dirk Nowitzki was on a fast break. He missed a dunk, but as I watched him I had the distinct sensation that it would be a bad idea to guard him, because he was so aggressive and big that I could get physically hurt. It was as though he were an allosaurus out there on the court. Sure, I'd played against Dwyane Wade and Kevin Garnett and they were talented, but they wouldn't injure me.

This may have been a premonition. I'm very worried about tonight. At the same time, the Cavs have a tendency to rise to good competition, as evidenced in last year's playoffs as well as this year's superb record against the West. That is the only reason I'm going to watch the game at all, but if it starts to get ugly like game #1 against the Suns, I will hide under the covers.