The Moonball Blog

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Great Stuff!

I don't get any of this talk about how bad the 2007 playoffs are...double overtime in game one of a 3 game series. Great Stuff for SURE!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


So I know you all probably don't care, but I still have a team in this thing and it's been a frustrating experience this whole series. As much as I have loved this team over the current run, it's enervating to watch them play underneath their abilities when they think they are supposed to win. A few observations:

-Who cloned Chauncey Billups but left out the clutch gene? And where's the floor game? The lessons of Larry Brown? C'mon Mr. Big Shot, your free agent meter is running and you are coming up short. 22 turnovers and 16 assists in 4 games--who is that guy running my team?

-Daniel Gibson--a nice player, who knew? How can you not like his confidence? We'll see how he does back in the Motor. And I hate to say it, but 12 free throws?

-Maybe this has been covered before, but what's the deal with the Drew Gooden neck patch? What a dumbass.

-A less than stellar performance from Sheed, he has to be better.

-LeBron, wow. He sank some crazy shots tonight and was the man. I hate to think that he's arriving at the Pistons expense.

-And lastly, I predicted the Pistons run would end with a CWebb failure, but I guess I thought it would be a little more dramatic. I still think the Pistons will win the series (though I am by no means confident) but CWebb is moving (sort of) around the court with a Trident in his back. He is d-u-n, wow. He's somehow making Z look quick. The regular season resurgence was a ruse, Flip should give his minutes to Mad Max, and maybe bring him off the bench when Chauncey gets a rest and let the offense run through the high post. But that's pretty much all he has left. An ultimately unfulfilled career for a great talent.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Okay, two things about the Pistons/Cavs game on Thursday:

On PTI yesterday, Bob Ryan made the point that had Larry Bird or Michael Jordan made the incredible shot that turned out to be the game winner, it would be in the video pantheon by now. Word, what a shot.

Second, I'm tired of people whining about the no call on LeBron to end the game. Did he get fouled? Yes. Were there at least a dozen similar fouls that also went uncalled throughout the second half, on both sides? Also yes. What gets lost in the uproar over the non-call is that it was completely consistent with the way the rest of the game was called. Had they called it, it would have been the worst kind of bullshit NBA star call that tarnishes the league.

Even with the Pistons up 2-0, I don't like how the series is going so far. Reminds me too much of last year, where the Pistons played poorly against the Cavs and survived, but couldn't get back on track against Miami. Maybe I'll change my tune if they turn it around and get a game in Cleveland, but the same future seems likely for the Pistons against San Antonio.

Which leads me to the conclusion everyone else has made--that basketball wise, the best moments of the 2007 playoffs are behind us. They'll be remembered for the GS/Dallas series, the first four games of Phoenix/San Antonio, and the Stern traveshamockery of justice. I'm still loving seeing my boys play very meaningful games, but it seems like we lost something as a league this post-season.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A tale of two cities

I have often wondered as my Portland fandom took deeper roots, would there ever be a time where I would put the Blazers before the Celtics. In the Sheed/Sabonis years, there was no conflict: With the exception of 2001, Portland was good, Boston was not. So I could cheer whole heartedly for Portland without betraying the C's. During the era in which both teams have sucked, I was also able to easily straddle the gap between two allegiances, because neither team was remotely in the hunt for anything. . . anything but a lottery spot.

Ouch. I just had a pang of pain.

When your team sucked as bad as the Celtic did this past year, you expect you are gonna get one of the top picks. Sure history has shown the worst three teams often get bumped from the top three slots. The sad resignation with which I, like so many Celtics fans, hung the C's hopes on the possibility to snagging Oden. . . or at least Durant, makes me immediately resentful of the teams that would spoil my dreams.

Portland spoiled my dreams. I resent Portland.

Oden will completely reinvigorate the Trailblazer fanbase. Already eager to embrace Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, Oden is gonnna bring the wins and bigtime excitement that will have folks a buzz like it is 1977 all over again. Blazers will likely trade Zach in the next 3 months to a year, giving them brand new style and perhaps the brighest future in the League.

Celtics? I can hardly think about it.

I know I will enjoy watching Oden on the regular. But tonight's events leave me a bit confused.

Weed Blazin'

Yay for PDX. I'm so glad that the teams who tanked this year didn't get rewarded for it. Blaze crew looking good for years to come.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Next Big Thing

I woke up Friday morning thinking baseball and lost two of three to the Cubs.

We live looking forward. I like to hustle because life is short and sometimes another path seems enticing and worth a try. Trade one Reinsdorf for the other.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Prince

Davey referred to this TrueHoop post about Tayshaun in a comment below and I liked it so much I decided it needed a little highlighting. I've told everyone who would listen over the last few years that Tayshaun was my favorite basketball player, period, and he is already an all-timer for me, up there with Joe D. probably when all is said and done.

He is symbolic of one of the things that I love about the Pistons team of the current effort: you can make an argument that any one of 4-5 guys is the most important on the team, that what they do is indispensable to the team. Tayshaun generally comes in 4th or 5th on that list, depending on the era (before this year, people would have pointed to Ben as completely necessary for success), but I think he's right up there, just because he can do basically anything on the floor.

So, to sum up, Tayshaun--he's the man. And the Pistons are a true team, filled with interlocking necessary parts. Now that fan favorite Phoenix is out of things, there's lots of room on the Detroit wagon, folks.

On another note, I didn't get this in in time, but I knew the Nets would lay an egg last night, what a stinker. Cleveland is a little better than people give them credit for and the Nets are not much after their big three, and sometimes it's only a big one. It will be interesting to see who is on that team next year. Sorry Abey baby.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bye Bye Bulls, Bye Bye Ben

An image from a better time for the other Mr. Wallace. I'm sure he'll find ways to spend his couple extra million dollars over the next few weeks, while he watches his former team and now masters vie for a championship.

Still, I have to hand it to the Bulls--they didn't lie down and die like I thought they would, after the Pistons tore their heart out in game 3. And the Pistons lack of focus is disturbing--they should have finished this series off a while ago.

Still, you take the wins when and where you can get them. This makes five straight conference finals; even with a watered down East, that's a major accomplishment in itself. A golden age of sorts, particularly if they can keep on rolling this year and get revenge on the Spurs in the Finals.
But first, LeBron, who scares me. He's tortured the Pistons the last couple of years.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I realize it's all been said by others by now, but man does this suck. I just hate that the Spurs' thuggery gets rewarded here. Yes, I know that Stoudamire and Diaw knew the rule, and that the Suns' assistant coaches should have done a better job keeping everyone on the bench. Still, wasn't Big Dick Bob in the game precisely to do something like this? Check in the game, give a hard foul to Nash and see what happens.

If the NBA really wants to encourage more flow to the league, this was the exact wrong move. Seriously, I can't think of any worse course of action the league could have taken.

Detroit Wins!

In the important sport, anyway.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Suns Also Rise. . . and other fun

Amazing victory for the Suns tonight. Brutal, physical game. Really emotional, with both teams seemingly struggling with composure. Steve Nash affirmed his two-time MVP status in major fashion. Despite a harassing, punishing Spurs defense and nearly as many turnovers as assists going into the fourth quarter, Nashty responded with untold valor. A crazy stop-on-a-dime fall-away in Bruce Bowen’s mug, and two consecutive CRAZY behind the back assists (one with the left hand, and one with the right, mind you) drove an improbable Suns comeback in San Antonio.

Unfortunately, if the NBA stays true to form, the Suns victory will be marred by the ensuing suspension of Amare Stoudamire and possibly Boris Diaw for leaving the bench after Robert Horry hip checked Steve Nash into the scorer’s table. Yeah, Bigshot Bob was getting as chippy too. Folks are testy on both teams, and the physical play will certainly continue.

Even if Amare has to sit one out (and assuming Diaw plays) the Suns still have some fire power for Game 5. Shawn Marion, who has been absent on offense perhaps in part because of his defensive assignment, could emerge as a key figure, as could James Jones. And whatever happens in Game 5, Amare will be back for 6.

This is a big time series.

Settin the Pace. Speaking of big time, this note from the AP Wire: Magic Johnson, the only player with more postseason triple-doubles than Kidd, was seated courtside. Johnson had 30 triple-doubles in the playoffs. Kidd had his 11th in Game 3. . . . Magic. Bow!

Greener than green? Speaking of one of the best players ever, Larry Bird supposedly smoked John Cougar Mellencamp under the table during his heyday in the eighties. McHale, also in the mix, has been questioned, and insists Mellencamp is talking tabacky, not the weed smoke. Well, we all know that the Chieftan Robert Parish liked to smoke the weed out. Was Larry a Weedblazer? One can only hope.

Monday, May 14, 2007

We aint dead yet!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

CWebb on Dan Patrick Show

Here's something HP asked to pass along. It's a Chris Webber radio interview. He talks about being back in Detroit and how they are respecting the Bulls, so as to kick some ass.

Here is a link to the interview

It will be interesting to see how the Pistons will deal with the excitement at the United Center, which was swirling during the Heat series. Bulls will need to start quickly, or it'll get awful quiet in there with the 2 game deficit looming. Thanks to Ironwood for the historical perspective on this rivalry.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

When the going gets tough...

A sportsman heads out to the movies

Or at least until a team doesn't get blown out. Go BULLS!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Both teams played hard, it was a good game

So, me and monkeyshoes never got cable. That means watching the Playoffs is either going to a smokey sports bar or a hot dog joint that leaves ones cloths smelling of hot dog. I share this only as to explain that I have seen only a smattering of games, and hardly any Eastern Conference. . . oh, but the games I have seen. . . .

Utah’s victory over Golden Tech tonight was amazing. For such a high scoring affair, the defense was phenomenal. Kirilenko seemed as if he planned to blocked every Steven Jackson shot in the paint. Jason Richardson was battling Carlos Boozer for position in insane fashion. GState swarmed the post on an entry pass, forcing the game to the perimeter. Utah was able to stop the Warriors in the half court. . . but the game hardly ever played at that pace. Until the final few possessions. Sloan’s tradition trumps Nelson’s chicanery.

Strangely, I found myself cheering for the Jazz. Sloan has really grown on me in the post Stockton-Malone era. And I really love Deron Williams and Kirilenko, plus I gotta pull for two-time Weedblazer Boozer. All those dudes were huge in Game 1. Williams is fearless. I guess we should have known. But he has taken his game to an elite level in just his second year playing point guard, and I, for one, am blown away. He can score in so many ways, and yet his value is not based on his scoring, but rather his control of the floor. Lethal combo.

I love watching Kirilenko getting some post-season shine. As much as his lack of offensive production has been confounding, his game is so multi-faceted that he has nonetheless offers the Jazz a supreme wildcard as these playoffs progress.

On the Warriors side, what a run! They almost had this game. I continue to be so impressed by Jackson, Richardson and Davis. All three guys are playing at their highest levels. I love to watch Davis draw fouls; you can tell he and Paul Pierce are friends. In the pinch me, I’m dreaming category, Matt Barnes continues to look great. A scrap-master supreme, with an aggressive jumper and feel for the pass, he is the Nellie proto-type point forward. He is the first guy down court on almost every GState break out, either looking for a dunk or a cutter for a dunk. Tenacious.

Young blood in the 2nd Round in the West. I love this game.

p.s. though I have yet to see the Pistons this post season, I have much love for CWebb and Sheed, and those fellas are getting it done!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Now, Baseball, that's a sport for me

This from the Boston Globe:

The Red Sox have beer available in their clubhouse, but Francona said he didn't think the team needed to reconsider that in light of the recent drunken-driving death of St. Louis Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock. ``We've talked to the team before, that if it's abused it will be taken away,'' Francona said. ``But it hasn't been. I don't think we need to be reactionary here because we've been diligent and respectful in how we've handled it in the past.''

Center of yesterday? (I got doubts about Yao)

The focus is all on McGrady and Van Gundy, but what's up with the Booze-hound dominating Yao?

Boozer is a year younger and several inches shorter than the center-of-tomorrow, and yet Boozer's play inside decided the series. Yao's scoring is obviously not the issue, and he is a pretty damn good shot blocker. But he is a poor rebounder, and hardly the physical presense in the paint he needs to be to justify his lack of foot speed. I had expected more.

Still just 26, Yao still has plenty of time to raise his game. But his inability to control Utah's front court is an ominous sign that Yao's ceiling may be lower than his massive frame suggests.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Back in the day

A nice recap of the first Bulls/Pistons rivalry, from a Piston perspective, of course. My favorite quote:

Laimbeer: "Aside from winning the NBA championships, the biggest thing for me was finally clearing that obstacle with Boston. We didn't give Chicago a thought. But keeping the Bulls down was a good task. It was fun. Chicago thought they were a pretty good team, but they whined and cried so much that you had to shut them up. You couldn't pick up a newspaper without hearing them whining and crying, so you knew you were getting in their heads. But what bothered me most was how they went into the newspapers and called us all kinds of names, personal names, like portraying us as bad guys. But time has proven that our team never had any issues with the law or any issues with the league. They did.

"By the time they finally broke through and beat us, we were done. It was fun keeping them down, though, for as long as we did. It was clear that Michael Jordan was a great player and his time was coming. But we enjoyed keeping them down -- very much so."

As nice as the game was yesterday, I'm hoping it wasn't fool's gold. Chicago's not that bad and Detroit's not that good. I hope the Pistons don't get it in their head it's going to be that easy.

Perhaps more importantly, the Red Wings are up 3-2 in their series against a really tough team from San Jose. I'm proud of them.


Friday, May 04, 2007


Let's see...who is out of the Playoffs?
Dirk, Shaq & Wade, Kobe, Carmelo, Iverson, Arenas.

Who never made the Playoffs?
Pierce, O'Neal, and for season after season, Garnett.

I'll take Hinrich, Deng, Noc, Gordon and Wallace.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Stephen Jackson is one funny man...

He may crazy as can be, but at least he has a good sense of humor. Can't wait to see what happens tonight!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Duke loves cheaters

Sure there are the big headlines about the Dukie business school cheats. But cheatin appears to be a way of life for the Dukies.

I point this out only to under score every instance of Duke cheating with one of those unbelievable charge calls. Cheaters!

ps Game 6 in Oaktown will be MADNESSSSSSSSS!

pps If any of you Moonballers have yet to watch the RR&B Ricky Davis video, do it now!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day

Castro was a no show.

Only 150,000...yes, 150,000 in Chicago.

Warriors 64 Mavericks 67 8:19, 3rd