Archive for April, 2009

As many of y’all know, the 2009 NFL Draft is this Saturday (about damn time), and my Green Bay Packers have the 9th overall pick, which I’m not happy about. Mainly because the defense was so horrible all season, that I would’ve preferred they tank it to get a higher pick, but it’s all good.

Please, please, please, Ted Thompson. Make up for drafting Justin Harrell, and pick O-Sack-Po.

Please, please, please, Ted Thompson. Make up for drafting Justin Harrell, and pick "O-Sack-Po".

Dear Ted Thompson, DRAFT BRIAN ORAKPO. Mr. Orakpo is a sack artist. And I’m not only saying that because I’m a Longhorns fan, it’s true. Even though he only recorded 22 sacks throughout his college career, 11 of them came in his senior season, playing for the Longhorns. He’s also an injury risk, but a freak of nature physically, proving it with his performance at the NFL Combine. This 6’3″, 260+ pound, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, runs a 4.6, benches 515 pounds, and squats 600. But the part I would focus on is the ability to play both DE and OLB. The Packers fired their entire defensive staff this off-season, and hired former Houston Texans Head Coach, Dom Capers (a hire I wasn’t a big fan of, but I’ll give him the chance). Capers instantly brought in his own staff, and also changed the defense from a 4-3, to a 3-4, like many other teams have been doing.

I love that Green Bay is switching to a 3-4, but I’m skeptical at the fact that Aaron Kampman can play OLB, but I think he can thrive at the position. With Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk, Kampman and Orakpo solidify a defense, that just couldn’t get after the quarterback in ’08. Even though I keep hearing that B.J. Raji is the ideal pick, since he would play the nose tackle in a 3-4, like he did in college, I just don’t trust him. Mostly because of the positive drug test at the NFL Combine, but that report has been ruled false today, thanks to SI.com. If that is the case, then I wouldn’t hate it if Ted Thompson drafted him, but as of right now, if he’s available, the Packers should select one Brian Orakpo, from the University of Texas.


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This isn’t going to be one of my best blogs, since I’m pressed for time and still completely frustrated. I’ve been delaying the inevitable, not wanting to write this blog and discuss my frustrations with what happened on Saturday night. How the Spurs blew an 11-point lead after the 1st quarter is beyond me. This game looked to be under wrap, and then suddenly Dallas made a comeback and the Spurs started playing from behind.

Mike Finley couldnt miss from beyond the arc, but his defense struggled all night.

Mike Finley couldn't miss from beyond the arc, but his defense struggled all night.

There is one aspect of Saturday’s game that leaves room for hope. The Spurs live and die by the 3-point line, and shot 79% (11-14) from three! Isn’t it ironic when the Spurs were in a shooting slump toward the end of the season, they kept jacking up 3’s to solve the problem? But when they were on fire from downtown, they only shot it 14 times. The biggest problem the Spurs had was defense. J.J. Barea got into the paint at will, and when he missed, Erick Dampier was their to clean up the mess. Josh Howard played like a man possessed, despite the ankle injury, and Brandon Bass put up 14 points in 18 minutes…BRANDON BASS. Seriously, I know he’s a former SEC Player of the Year, but that was just ridiculous.

I don’t want to write much on Game 1, since so much has already been said by many different outlets (48MoH, ESPN, whatever you like to read), so this is more of what to do for Game 2.

First of all, I hate J.J. Barea. I know he’s a native Puerto Rican, but I absolutely hate him, even though we share the same birthday and nationality (it’s a Dallas thing – screw Dallas). It just looks like he loves to torch the Spurs constantly. The only thing that can stop him is by clogging the paint with Drew Gooden and Tim Duncan, and when one of them needs rest, Kurt Thomas. But Matt-f**king-Bonner needs to stay off the damn floor, especially in crunch time. He doesn’t defend well, he’s in a shooting slump, and he slows down the entire team. I’m sick of the “Red Rocket”, even though I never got on his bandwagon to begin with.

The more we see Matt Bonner on the bench, the more we see Gooden & Thomas on the floor...and thats a good thing.

The more we see Matt Bonner on the bench, the more we see Gooden & Thomas on the floor...and that's a good thing.

An interesting solution is to bring Bonner on in a Steve Kerr type of role, which I’m all for, except for the part where if Bonner gets flustered, and decides to drive into the paint and throw up one of his “wicked awesome” floaters. Please Matt, stop it. Shoot 3’s and go balls out on defense as much as you can, even if it the Spurs get burned. I’d prefer to see you hustle your ass off trying, even if you fail, then to see you get repeatedly burned.

Also, as many are saying, why can’t we put George Hill all over J.J. Barea? He’s done a good job in the past, at stealing his “Lucky Charms” – yes, that’s a short joke and I don’t care.

In all I just want to finish on this point. If the Spurs defense cannot play to its potential, they have no chance at winning. No matter how good their shooting is, they have no chance. If Pop can get the Spurs to play “Spurs basketball”, where defense comes first, then whatever happens on offense, happens. Remember when noted defensive specialist, Ime Udoka, played 38 minutes against New Orleans, and actually produced? Then why the hell did he only play 16 minutes against Dallas? If the Spurs lose tonight, a 1st Round exit will be all but inevitable. And there is no one to blame, except for Coach Pop.

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Let The Games Begin!

The 2009 NBA Playoffs are already underway, and it’s been a good start. The Bulls pulled off a thriller in overtime against the Celtics, in Boston, and the Cavs completely throttled the Pistons in Game 1, 102-84. I’ll be back later tonight or tomorrow, to post a recap of Game 1 between the Spurs and Mavericks, and hopefully have something good to say about the Yankees and Indians game tomorrow, since Fausto Carmona & Company are just drubbing the Yankees right now, 20-2 (and the game is only in the 6th inning).

I’ll leave you all with this – the official NBA Playoffs commercial, courtesy of YouTube & NBA.com

Go Spurs Go!

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Since the playoffs start on Saturday, I thought it would be best if I got my predictions on every match-up, posted on the blog before hand. I will post my predictions, by the round, as the playoffs advance all the way to the NBA Finals. Let’s start in the East.


(1) Cleveland Cavaliers v.s. (8) Detroit Pistons

These two teams have had great battles in the past couple seasons, but this series will be short and sweet. The older, short-handed Pistons have no chance to beat Cleveland. Stuckey is just barely getting his feet wet with playoff experience, RIP Hamilton has had his problems all season long, and Rasheed Wallace isn’t getting any younger.

But Im The Answer! You cant bench me!

But I'm "The Answer"! You can't bench me!

 Not to mention the Pistons are without Allen Iverson for the post-season, and Cleveland has only loss twice (really only once) at home, while they have home court advantage? Detroit will be lucky to even get a win in this series.


Prediction: Cleveland wins series in 4 games

(2) Boston Celtics v.s. (7) Chicago Bulls

The Celtics seem to have endured a roller coaster of a season, and today it really took a hit. This morning, Doc Rivers had confirmed that Kevin Garnett would “probably” miss the entire playoffs, with his lingering knee injury…a crushing blow to the organizations chances to repeat as champions in 2009.

KG, getting his cheerleading moves down.

KG, getting his cheerleading moves down.

 Then this afternoon, the news broke that Danny Ainge had suffered a mild heart attack, but I’m glad to say that he’s doing well this evening. Anything is possible, but these “baby Bulls” have no chance to beat Boston in a 7-game series. Chicago has barely any experience playing in the playoffs and rookie head coach, Vinny Del Negro, doesn’t help their cause at all.


Prediction: Boston wins series in 6 games

(3) Orlando Magic v.s. (6) Philadelphia 76ers

It’s been a disappointing season for the Sixers. You never want your team to play better, because of an injury, which was the case when Philly loss Elton Brand for the season. Even though Andre Iguodala picked up the slack and played great, he can only take the Sixers so far. Orlando is a threat to Cleveland and Boston, but when Jameer Nelson was out for the rest of the season, the front office pulled off a great trade to bring in Rafer Alston. Also with the play of Courtney Lee, the Magic haven’t lost a step. Orlando still needs Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, and Mickael Pietrus to stay healthy, if they want to make a deep run in the playoffs.

Prediction: Orlando wins series in 6 games

(4) Atlanta Hawks v.s. (5) Miami Heat

The Hawks took the Celtics all the way to the 7th game last season, only to come up short in Boston. Now, Atlanta has proven they’re among the best in the East, and have the daunting task of facing Dwyane Wade and the Heat in Round 1. The play of Josh Smith is going to be crucial, if Atlanta plans to advance to the 2nd round. Miami would have a better shot to win this series, if they had home court advantage, but the play of their front court will be the X-Factor in bringing a second championship to South Beach.

Prediction: Miami wins series in 7 games


(1) Los Angeles Lakers v.s. (8) Utah Jazz

The reigning MVP, Kobe Bryant, is back in the spotlight, after being slaughtered by the Celtics in last year’s finals. But now the excuse of not having Andrew Bynum, isn’t serviceable, as Bynum is healthy and playing great.

Just keep saying it, Theres no place like home.

Just keep saying it, "There's no place like home".

 The bigger question in this series, is can Utah be as good of a road team, as they are at home? No. But if they can steal one away at Staples Center, Utah could give the Lakers a run for their money.


Prediction: Los Angeles wins series in 5 games

(2) Denver Nuggets v.s. (7) New Orleans Hornets

As much hell as the Nuggets were given this off-season, for trading Marcus Camby to the Clippers, for practically nothing, management made up for it by trading Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups – a move that’s paid off tremendous dividends. If only George Karl could understand that playing J.R. Smith, consistently, gives them the best chance to win. New Orleans is a different animal. The Spurs completely shot their psyche, in the overtime thriller on the last game of the season, forcing them to the 7th seed. Now the Chris Paul led Hornets, have to prove how mentally tough they are, if they plan on getting pass ‘Melo and the boys. This matchup will come down to coaching – George Karl versus Byron Scott.

Prediction: Denver wins series in 7 games

(3) San Antonio Spurs v.s. (6) Dallas Mavericks

Speaking of a roller coaster, the Spurs have been all over the theme park, and maybe thrown up a time or two. Ginobili, Parker, and Duncan have all missed time this season. Roger Mason has been inconsistent but clutch, along with Michael Finley. George Hill, the once promising rookie, doesn’t even get off the bench anymore. The mid-season signing of Drew Gooden has helped, but he still needs more time…the only thing going for the Spurs in this series, is Tony Parker likes to torch Jason Kidd, after the Spurs tried signing him, after the 2003 season. Dallas has their own issues to worry about. Josh Howard has finally come back from injury, only to have re-injured his ankle last night against Houston. And Dallas needs their perimeter shooting to be effective, if they want a shot at winning this series, especially since they don’t have home court. The I-35 rivalry is back in full swing for 2009.

Prediction: San Antonio wins series in 5 games

(4) Portland Trail Blazers v.s. (5) Houston Rockets


Hey Houston, at least hes not around to bring down the team anymore.

Hey Houston, at least he's not around to bring down the team anymore.

Portland’s young guns are coming into the playoffs soaring, and are the popular upset pick to beat the Lakers in the second round…assuming they get that far. Houston, ironically has their best shot to escape the first round, now that they’re without T-Mac. But let’s face it, Tracy McGrady is half the player he used to be, and might as well face the facts that his career is on the brink. This Houston squad is extremely talented, and Rick Adelman is the perfect coach to take Houston a long way. Both teams have their injury concerns in the front court (Houston with Yao’s foot problems, Greg Oden with his entire body), but this should be a great series, regardless of the outcome.




Prediction: Portland wins series in 7 games

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As I’ve stated before, I am a diehard Yankees fan. When this off-season came around, I was excited about seeing what new free agents the organization was going to sign, even if it meant bidding against ourselves and overpaying. I had just one wish – do not sign A.J. Burnett. I followed him in Florida, when he was a possible future Yankee the first time around, but as the injuries piled up, the rebellion against the organization, and the inconsistency continued, the idea of seeing him in pinstripes was a complete turnoff.

Then Toronto decided to bite the bullet, by signing him to a 5 year deal during the ’05 Winter Meetings, hoping that the tandem of him and Roy Halladay would revive the organization. It wouldn’t take long for the signing to seem like a mistake. Already a Tommy John surgery victim, Burnett had to start off the season on the DL, after scar tissue from the surgery, had broken off inside his pitching arm. Even though he finished 2006 with a record of 10-8, and an E.R.A of under 4, he spent almost three months of the season on the disabled list. 2007 was more of the same, missing 48 games, going 10-8 with an E.R.A of 3.75. Suddenly (in a contract year) the real pitcher in Burnett came out. Though the Blue Jays were never in contention for long, Burnett had a fantastic 2008 season, leading the A.L. in strikeouts (231 K’s in 221 1/3 innings), and going 18-10, I was still skeptical.

One season doesn’t make a pitcher, but teams are so desperate in the MLB to improve quickly, they’ll do whatever it takes. As part of “Yankee Universe”, I’ve endured enough pitching frustration with Jaret Wright, Kevin Brown and most notably, Carl Pavano…the last thing I wanted to see was A.J. Burnett wearing pinstripes, for the fear of seeing a lovely asterisk next to his name on the roster, signaling he’s on the disabled list. CC Sabathia and Derek Lowe was all I wanted. Two great pitchers, one in his prime and the other a workhorse, day in and day out (not to mention, a cheaper option than Burnett). As quickly as the thought came of seeing Lowe in the Bronx, it was gone after signing a 4-year deal with the Braves. The second coming of Carl Pavano was approaching, and I couldn’t have been more angered with the organization for not getting a deal done with Lowe.




Burnett is 2-0, after taking a no-hitter into the 7th inning, against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Burnett is 2-0, after taking a no-hitter into the 7th inning, against the Tampa Bay Rays.

I am happy to say, after two starts, A.J. Burnett has been nothing short of magnificent, and I couldn’t be happier to see him in a Yankee uniform. Even though this is a perfect sample of over-reacting (something Yankee fans and the media have become famous for), I feel that A.J. is the real deal. He’s pitched 13.1 innings, has 15 strikeouts, and the most important stat – only 2 walks on the season. Walks are always important in baseball, but I emphasize it even more on Burnett, because of tonight’s performance. This is the same pitcher who threw a no-hitter against the Padres in 2001, but walked 9 batters in the game. It’s still early, and I’ll still worry every 5th day when he takes the mound, but as of right now, A.J. Burnett is the best acquisition of the off-season (no offense, Nick Swisher).

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After reading what the basketball “experts” had to say, regarding the 2008-09 MVP, I decided to join in on the fun.

Your 2008-2009 NBA MVP is:

The man is having one of the best statistical years of his short career. Not to mention that his team has clinched the best record in the league. I can’t even begin to put his season into words, just because of how spectacular he’s been. Last year, all that was mentioned was how LeBron is not a spectacular shooter, and even less spectacular from beyond the arch. This year, he’s having his best year in Field Goal percentage (49%), best year in Free Throw percentage (78%), and second best year in 3pt percentage (34%). He’s second in the league in points per game with 28.4, while averaging 7.6 rebounds and 7.2 assist per contest! Basically, LeBron is a triple-double waiting to happen on a nightly basis.

There’s been a lot of talk about how great Dwyane Wade’s season has been, and that everything he’s done in Miami should count for something. I agree that he should be in consideration, but not to be the winner. Wade may lead the league in scoring, but he also leads the league in another nasty category – turnovers. He may be having the best year of his career from the 3pt line (32%), but he really has nothing else going for him, besides the fact that he’s played the most regular season games this year (79), then ever before, in his short six year career.

The most overused argument, when determining the MVP is, take (insert candidates name here) out of (what ever team he plays for here), and see how good they’ll be then. What if we reverse the whip? Granted the Cavaliers are a better team, but this is more of an accurate assessment. Take a look at Cleveland with LeBron – the #1 seed in the East, and the best record in the NBA. What about Miami with Wade? The Heat are 4 games above .500, and in the 5th seed in the East – basically a mediocre team.

It doesn’t matter anymore what the fans or media think, it’s all in the hands of the voters. And if LeBron James is not the regular season MVP, it will be one of the biggest travesties in the leagues history. I am a witness, and hopefully they’ve witnessed the greatness that is LeBron James too.

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