The Moonball Blog

Friday, April 30, 2010

Richardson and Suns too much

Well, dang, Portland's ride is over. Josh Simison, myself and another Mike where at the Rose Garden as the final chapter of the Blazers season was writ. The crowd was great. Sad to see the tema lose, but fully appreciative of the way this year's squad battled through injuries.

Phoenix played a great series. Richardson was unguardable. The Suns bench is an attack unit, on both ends. I cannot say enough about Jared Dudley.
What a gritty player. Suns will push San Antonio hard.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Trouble Catching the Playoffs? - There's an App for That - Duh

Last year I bought cable for NBA playoffs, and then it took me 6 months of watching commercials and mind garbage before getting fed up and canceling -- so I chose not to go there this year. But I wanted to follow the playoffs somehow. So when the first round started, I downloaded the NBA Gametime App for iPhone for $2.99. I love it.

On the free lite version, you can get realtime schedules and scores, which is nice. But with the full version, you get internet-style play-by-play and radio broadcasts from both markets. I love listening to games on the radio -- it hearkens back to when I was a kid listening to the St. Louis Blues hockey on the radio under my bed (I'd always fall asleep during the 2nd Zamboni).

Nowadays I can listen to NBA at night if there's a good game, and the phone will recharge by my bed from now until June. Late games aren't such a drag for midwesterners this way either. This playoffs I have enjoyed the radio stylings of Portland, Utah, Denver, Dallas, San Antone, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Milwaukee and ATL sprinkled in when I have a few minutes cooking dinner or whatever. If you don't like the announcer, you can switch to the other feed.

Last night's Milwaukee ATL tilt was fun because Milwaukee's announcer was practically out of his seat with excitement, then I'd lose the feed for a minute and switch over to ATL, where the announcer was relaying the events in a tone reserved for reading instruction-manuals, with the cold inevitability of a Titanic closing on an iceberg. As the final minutes unfolded last night, he knew the ship was going down.

JLev has pointed out that I probably spent my cable savings on beer, catching a few must-watch games at the bar. That may be true, but the iPhone app radio connection has been a fun new way to take it all in. There are also video recaps in the morning for the bus ride to work. So far, the data plan doesn't spoil me as much as a cable plan, I guess. For anyone else that has trouble catching the playoffs, I'd recommend it. (Tonight though, I plan to seek out a Black Butte Porter and some TNT for those Game 6s!)

The other Brandon is the real ROY

WTF! Milwaukee in a stunner. Brandon Jennings continues to amaze, as does the the very clutch John Salmons. Both Jennings and Salmons played exceptional defense. Mbah-Moute was battling and Kurt Thomas was laying serious wood. I am gald Boston did not draw Milwaukee. If they had Bogut, there would be some serious talk of an Eastern Conference run. I am glad the C's drew Miami.

Then again, the Hawks played a big role in their own demise. Joe Johnson fouled out with several minutes to play in the most important game thus far this season, and then Josh Smith took a 3. As has been discussed on this blog and almost everywhere else, one sign of Smith's huge improvement this season was he had stopped taking stupid threes. Oh well.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The picture is getting clearer

Boston, Cleveland, Utah, LA and Phoenix took their game 5 and are now done or knocking on the door to done. Even though OKC and Portland have two wins, the road ahead is steep.

We shall learn something about Atlanta handles the pressure of an up and coming opponent playing with nothing to lose. Not as fun as it seemed in 2008, hey Hawks?

Dallas and San Antonio is a crazyville series. I have no idea what will happen, but my gut says Spurs hold on, even if the have to go back to Dallas to win in 7.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Great weekend with some big time Game 5's looming

Thought I would get a quick post up before tonight's main event get's underway. Despite some lopsided scores, Sunday had some great ball.

LeBron. Sorry HP. At least you know what being on the winning end is like from the Jordan era. King James is in search and destroy mode. Even with the sensational play of Noah and the force that is Derrick Rose, the Bulls provide no contest.

DWade exploded in what could be his last home game as a HEAT. After listening to the press going on for several days that he was slowing down in 4th quarters, Wade did what superstars do. Remarkable. Funny thing is that with better FT shooting and less turnovers, C's would have won anyways. Done in 5. Miami better get Wade some help.

You know I love him, so this is truer than true: Sheed has played like crap this year. He can redeem himself with a big moment or three in a playoff run, but his matador defense is earning him much pine. Luckily Glenn Davis is performing big. Same with wild man Tony Allen. Who knew. He and Finley give Boston all the depth they need if Ray, Rondo and Paul stay healthy.

One of the most exciting moments in the Game today is when Deron Williams starts using that high dribble as he accelerates up court. That dude is amazing. The whole Utah squad is playing outstanding team basketball, but maestro Williams is the cat guiding the injury riddled Jazz past Denver. Carmelo has been awesome, but Nene and JR Smith have played miserably.

Dallas and San Antonio looked a bit like NY and Miami in the mid 90's.

Final note on OKC and the Lakers: Any of you see how PISSED Magic Johnson was describing the Lakers' woes at halftime of the Boston-Miami game. HI-larious! He through Artest under the bus while waxing on about Ariza. Love it! Go Thunder!

Go Blazers!

Go Celts!

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Where's the most intense playoff action right now?

You don't see this in an NBA game...

Lower Seeds Sneakin' Up

The East is going as scripted, so far. But the West -- nothing is given, especially after this weekend. The lower seeds are up 10-6 so far. Who else wants to see an all-upset first round?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Royfriend’s Back and your gonna be on trouble

Brandon Roy’s miraculous return to the court today completely changed the composition of the series. No more clamping down on Miller and Aldridge when BRoy is on the floor. LaMarcus had a huge game in his own right, but Brandon impacts the game by just be in uniform. Phoenix is a really good team, but aside from six quarters in Game 2 and 3, Portland has been able to dictate pace against the high flying Suns all season long. Roy’s return opens up Portland’s offense in ways the Suns cannot resolve. Nic Batum, who is coming on like a hurricane, seems to have recovered fro his strained shoulder. I think Portland is taking this one.

And how bout Durantula and the OKC kids beating up on the suddenly vulnerable Lakers? The Kobster is old and injured! I love it! Lakers may still pull this out, but the reign of the spoiled rotten prince seems to be drawing to a close. Meanwhile, in walks Kevin Durant. . .

Orlando is rolling. Right now they seem to be the team to beat. Atlanta would do well to snap out of whatever fog lead to the Game 3 let down. Giving this resilient Bucks team life is a dangerous prospect for an Atlanta team still more associated with potential than success.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

3-0 and clear seas ahead

Watch out now. Boston seems to have found a grove. Pauly P and Ray-Ray are filling it up, and the defense looks tight. Glenn Davis and Tony Allen are bringing tremendous energy off the bench. The KG era Celts have never had a 3-0 playoff series. Guys are healthy.

Let's go Bulls!

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Friday, April 23, 2010

LOVE Stacey King!

Unbelievable move by Deng. We'll see how Sunday goes but its not a series until someone loses at home.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How Did Korver and Co. Take it to Denver?

Some good first round action so far -- The Jazz took a lesson from the Blazers victory Sunday, and scrubs ruled - and showed that team basketball isn't about big names -- except Deron Williams, Deron Williams, Deron Williams, who scored huge points, and most importantly got everyone else involved, dishing for swishes from Korver, and hooking up dunks for Fasenko - the Ukraine Train!

Lots of whistles and Denver's bad decisions and occasional indifference cost them the game. Things broke just right for Utah in their game two victory, however....and it was still close. If Utah wants to stay in it, they had better make the most of their homecourt advantage these next two games. But I think we'll see the Nugs bounce back now that Utah's got their attention. I'm not sure either of these teams can beat the Lakers, who appear likely to come out of their 1-8 unscathed. The Lake show should have adequate time to flip the switch in these first two rounds. A healthy Bynum is helping a lot, and their size will be too tough for OKC to overcome, even though OKC's center by committee is doing better than expected, and Durant's length is helping.

I would love to see BRoy come back to test the Lakers. Unfortunately, Portland came back to Earth last night against the fast-paced Suns. What really struck me was watching the Suns' scrambling defense. The Suns did well on the perimeter and Amundson's a hustler. J-Rich came up big with some threes.

I'm excited to see the game go back to PDX, but Batum's shoulder injury is a big concern. The Blazers are deep, but without the magical ability to grow new appendages or players, they might find themselves a little too thin. Outside of my Blazer allegiance, I'm thrilled the Suns are still where they are after being at risk of irrelevancy after the previous few years' playoff losses.

Kelly Dwyer had an interesting article about KG calling him a lion in winter-- maybe he's reading into things. But it's interesting to consider the man with the spinning baseline fadeaway fading away. By accident, I happened on Youtube highlights of Wolves vs. Kings game 7 the other night, and it was an interesting reminder of what an amazing player he has been. Speaking of flipping the switch, I'm hoping the regular season has been a restful prelude, and the Celts with Sheed and KG will finish warmups against the Heat in Round 1 and make for a great series in Round 2, Celts vs. the Bulls all over again, right?...or do y'all think LeBron and Co. will advance?

Mavs Spurs 2 tonight!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Playoff Time

After months of radio silence resulting in most part from being so befuddled by the poor play of the Celtics, I am moved to post by the great drama that is about to unfold. The first 82 is fun for highlights, big nights and Moonball stats. Now the games all count.

Lakers vs OKC: The Lake Show stumbled across the finish due in large part to an injured Kobster. Though by all right they are favorites, the Thunder are a tough draw for several reasons. L.A.s greatest weakness is at the point, where Fisher is some five years removed from being able to stay in front quick point guards; Russell Westbrook is as quick as they come. Jeff Green is going to mess with Lamar Odom. The Thunder have many ways to score in the half court. Zen master Phil overplayed his hand when he started talking about Durant. In an NBA playoff series where the teams are relatively equal, the team with the best player wins. Kobster is still hurt, and Durant is now angry.

Dallas vs San Antonio: Looks like wrong place at the wrong time for a surging Dallas team. The Spurs are no longer a contender in my mind, but something tells me in the quest for one more shot at the gusto, Timmy’s team will beat Dirk’s. Dallas has no one to check Ginobili. I am sure that Dirk and Kidd will go nuts. Popavich’s team always seems to take away looks from the Jason Terry’s and Caron Butler’s of the world, and Duncan will clown the otherwise formidable duo of Haywood and Dampier. Truth is, I would be happy to see both these teams lose.

Phoenix vs Portland: Nice match-up. The Suns have been playing as well as anyone. The back to back blowouts road wins over Denver and Utah were scary. Amare! The Suns bench is hitting on all cylinders, and those suckers D. Then there is P-Town. Of course, I am very sad that super hero Brandon Roy will be watching from the sidelines. But Portland don’t quit. Old friend Marcus Camby and LaMarcus Aldridge is an ill front line. Andre Miller will pick up Roy’s scoring, and with Batum, Webster, and Fernandez, Portland has the perimeter covered I Roy’s absence. I see Phoenix advancing in a highly contested, highlight extravaganza.

Denver vs Utah: If Boozer is not 100%, Denver in a walk. Maybe it was the hot Suns, but Utah’s showing in a home game that would have given them the 3 seed, but Utah looked listless against the Phoenix attack. Utah is great at home, and mediocre on the road. That was a must win they lost. As good as Deron Williams is, Utah is a soft defensive team that will lose without the Booze-hound’s offensive punch. Bad formula vs the high scoring Nugs. Denver has stumbled since KMart’s injury and coach Karl’s absence. Martin is back, and when he leads the defensive charge, Denver is tough to beat. Melo is going to go crazy. So is Billups, Nene and the mercurial JR Smith. Over in 5.

Cleveland vs. Chicago: LeBron is not losing in the first round. That said, this might not be easy for the Cavs. Derrick Rose is a problem for everybody. Deng has tools to “guard” LeBron at least until he fouls out. Joakim Noah is an emerging force. Chicago has enough depth. Cleveland will certainly win the first two handily. Even with a nicked up Jamison and without Shaq, Cleveland has a tight squad built for a Finals run. LeBron is playing the game at its highest level with one goal in mind. His intensity alone could mean 4 and done. But if Chicago can win Game 3, we might have a dog fight. . . which, of course would be incredible because LeBron is not losing in the first round.

Orlando vs. Charlotte: The Magic are steam rolling right now, and the Bobcats are going to get flattened. I love what Stephen Jackson has brought to this team. Gerald Wallace is a freak of nature. Larry Brown has got his team over-achieving. Thing is that Dwight Howard is a titan, and the Bobcats are all mortals. Simply no contest. And I ain’t saying other Magic won’t go banan. I think this one is a blow out fest in Mickey’s House, and two grinders in North Carolina. End result: 4 and done.

Atlanta vs Milwaukee: This would have been a hell of a series with Bogut healthy. Of course, if Bogut had not gotten hurt, the Bucks would be upsetting Boston in the First Round. Without the big Aussie, Hotlanta’s brilliant front line will overwhelm the gritty crew from Foam Town. Al Horford, Josh Smith and Marvin Williams are as good as the League has to offer. Rebounders, defenders, shot blockers, all with the ability to score the basketball. Ill. Then we get to Joe Johnson and sixth man of the year Jamal Crawford, a duo that can post 50 on any given night. Brandon Jennings, John Salmons, Carlos Delfino and all of Skile’s crew are going to battle til the end, but that could be 4 or 5 games.

Boston vs Miami: I shudder to think what will transpire. The best player rule gives Miami the unquestioned edge. Boston’s shitty (I mean super shitty) home play could easily send the series back to Miami with the Heat in charge. Nothing that has happened in the past 3 months suggests that Boston is up for the down stroke. Luckily, Miami is not that good. Rondo will be able to run wild on the Heat, and despite Wade’s overall advantage, Ray Allen has bene playing great basketball since the All-Star break. The questions for Boston involve KG and Pauly P: Are they still game changers? Can they will a win? Can they will four wins?

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Sports Fantasy versus Sci-Fi Fantasy

Here's a proposal for the next one of us to be married, re-committed or whatever else ceremony.
I call Elton Brand, or maybe Phil Jackson.

How about you?