Thursday, November 17, 2005

And They're Off! The 2005-2006 Season Begins...

It was an happy day in June when the San Antonio Spurs beat out the Detroit Pistons to run away with the 2004-2005 NBA Championships. There's no doubt they deserved it though...Tim Duncan, Tony Parker et al. played their hearts out and walked away with a convincing victory, and a big, flashy ring to add to their jewellery collections.

But that, as the saying goes, is ancient history. Welcome to the new season. We're talking new rookies, missing faces, and yes, the much-debated NBA dress-code.

Ahh the dress code. Hate it or love it, it's here to stay. Some players have voiced concerns that they shouldn't have to worry about how they dress's all about the game, right? As far as I'm concerned, the being a player in the NBA is a job just like any other, to which a certain code must be adhered to. Is it really too much to ask that when you're at a news conference for a game you just won, that you wear dress slacks and a nice shirt? We all know you're partial to your casual-tees-and-big-bling uniforms, but come on, show a little professionalism! It's not like you're being asked to wear a three-piece business suit when you go out cruising.

My theory is that these players are the ones that are slightly - how can I put this in a politically correct manner - fashion adverse. I mean, *shock*horror* how are they supposed to color co-ordinate shoes, slacks AND shirts?! My advice: spend a little bit of that horded-up multi-million dollar salary and hire a personal shopper/wardrobe assistant type person. Then again, it's not like you're vying for a place in GQ (you'd have a lot to contend with - see Tony Parker's recent GQ cover).

On to the actual game.
The season's just started, but it looks like it's going to be a good one. But then again, the Clippers, yes you read that right, THE CLIPPERS are in first place in the Western Conference, and I don't know how good a sign that is. The Clippers. Over the Spurs, the Mavs and the rest of the Western Conference is that possible?! Let's just pretend it's a lucky streak...the true abilities will soon be shown - I highly doubt that the Clips will be able to hang on to their no.1 place for long. That said, I'm not being a Clips-basher! I'm just calling it like I see it.

Official table of standings from the NBA website:

Enjoy the season, check back here soon for more random commentary! :)

Sunday, April 24, 2005

May The Best Man Win - Playoffs 2005

First of all, my apologies for not having had the time to post anything since February…you can blame the I.B. Diploma programme for that! But anyway, onto more important things.

Since the tip-off back in October, basketball fans across the world have been waiting for today…the first day of the NBA playoffs. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the playoffs have finally arrived! Yes, they have been a long time coming!
Regular favourites, and usually playoff-contending teams like the L.A. Lakers, Minnesota, Portland, New York and Orland have had less than stellar seasons…in fact they could be considered incredibly sub-par. Lucky for them they have an extended summer vacation, which they would be wise to use carefully to regenerate and regroup to become forces to contend with next season! On the flip side, teams like Washington and Memphis managed to claw their way into playoff positions.

Obviously the movements of Shaq to Miami and Steve Nash to Phoenix have created some kind of alternate universe which has lead to the Heat and Suns being the number one team in their respective divisions (although for the record it is Phoenix who has the advantage.) There are some other big contenders for the title – Detroit would dearly like a repeat of their almost-Lakers sweep last season (sorry Detroit fans, it’s not going to happen1), and TD is hungry to establish himself and score a ring (for his Spurs as well, I suppose). But honestly, after looking at the stat sheet, I am predicting a Miami-Phoenix finals…it will be a clash of the Titans (more so than any Lakers-Miami match, despite what a previous posting has said!), it will be a long drawn out series, that will probably go up to 7 games because neither team wants to get that close and lose out, but Miami will take it in the end. There’s just nothing you can do when Shaq is on your team, playing well, and WANTS to win (as opposed to last year, when it was obvious he didn’t really care anymore). Book it. Miami in 7!

Well the first round of the playoffs has begun, and here are the results from today, the first day:

Philly 85 Detroit 106
Houston 98 Dallas 86
Indiana 82 Boston 102
Sacto 82 Seattle 87

There you have it!

Oh and in case you were wondering about the team standings as they lie at the beginning of the playoffs, you may want to check out this link:

Last thing: go out right now and grab the latest issue of Slam mag (ish 88, with Vince on the cover). It's a great issue, and watch out, because Slam's Scoop Jackson is leaving for ESPN! His last editorial will be in ish 89...definitely not to be missed!

I promise more updates as the race for the Larry O’Brien trophy progresses!


Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Mailman Retires

After 19 Seasons in the L, and at age 41, The Mailman, Karl Malone has finally decided to call it quits. Ringless, but with a sure-fire hall-of-fame career.

Malone spent 18 seasons with the Utah Jazz. But after many near-misses, he took a severe pay cut, and transfered to the L.A. Lakers for $1.65 million, to try and capture that elusive chip. But it seems as though the fates were conspiring against him, for it was not to be. After pulling together through all the setbacks, the Lakers were destroyed in five games by the Detroit Pistons in the 2003-2004 finals.

After the season, Malone flirted with the idea of retirement, but thought "very seriously" about trying for the Larry O'Brien trophy one more time, this time with the San Antonio Spurs. But, he decided instead, to retire.

Malone retires with 36,928 carrer points, putting him second in the league's all-time scorer's list. That's one behind the showtime-era Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), but ahead between No.23 Michael Jordan (32,292) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419).

The Mailman will officially announce his retirement on Sunday, in Utah. No doubt with a ceremonial No.32 jersey being lifted into the rafters, to mark his impact on the game.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

1st February: Games and other news.

Games today:
1. Houston Rockets pick up the win over the Boston Celts, 97-94. Jon Barry scored 17 (15 in the 4th). Yao Ming gave up 23. Houston's 4th consecutive win in Boston. T-Mac is battling a sore back.

2. Philly 76ers beat the Indiana Pacers 89-88. Some last-minute heroics by Karl Korver, a 15 foot beauty with 6.5 seconds on the clock, clinched the win for Philly. A.I., back from a shoulder injury, threw up 27 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and dished out 8 assists.

3. The Atlanta Hawks beat out the Orlando Magic 79-80. Grant Hill's potentially game-winning jumper didn't quite hit the mark, hitting the rim twice before rolling off. Antoine Walker hit a 16-foot fadeaway with 2.3 remaining to lift Atlanta to a 1 point lead.

4. The hungry Grizzlies in Memphis stole a 98-91 win from the New Orleans Hornets.

5. San Antonio's Spurs got their road-trip off to a good start with a 103-84 win over Seattle's Supersonics. Manu Ginobilli scored 25 points, as 5 Spurs hit the double-figures. TD had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Tony Parker added 17 points. Supersonic star Ray Allen missed the game due to a viral infection.

6. L.A. Clippers aren't doing too bad this season...they're still facing relegation from the playoffs, but they secured a 96-89 home win over the New York Knicks.

In other news...Kobe Bryant is still out for the Lakers, due to a "very sprained ankle". He is expected to return in time for the NBA All Star Game, to be held on February 20th, in Denver.

Miami head coach Stan Van Gundy is tipped to coach the Eastern All Stars...lucky for Shaq. Van Gundy's Miami Heat are currently 32-13, heading the Eastern conference.

That's all folks!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Results - Christmas Day Clash of the Titans!

Well, David Stern gave NBA fans the world over the perfect Christmas gift this year - a double-header clash of the titans with Shaq's Miami Heat going up against what is now officially Kobe's Lakers. Whatever he had against his former team, the jolly giant looked past it and gave his fans in L.A. a special Christmas treat by handing out presents with his Shaq-A Clause organisation. Anyway. The main point was the game. Shaq took the court to roof-raising cheers from the admiring crowd at the Staples Center. Kobe Bryant's season high 42 points were not enough to rescuse the depleated Lakers from defeat at the hands of Shaq and Dwayne Wade. In a thrilling game that went into overtime, Dwayne Wade put up 29 points on the scoreboard as Shaq fouled out in the fourth quarter. In the end though, Kobe Bryant missed a potentially game-tying 3.pointer in overtime, and Miami was able to secure the 104-102 win. As for interaction between the players, Shaq and Kobe had a cold greeting mid-court before the game kicked-off. Each acknowledged the other with a quick nod, and Shaq went as far to give Kobe a pat on the back. With all Shaq's talk about his being a 'brick wall' to Kobe's 'Corvette' and that 'everyone knows what happens when a Corvette hits a brick wall' I was expecting slightly more than a very cold greeting. But after the Indiana-Detroit incident, everyone's been careful not to let situations exacerbate into those kinds of proportions. Yay. Good thing too or else Kobe would've been suspended, a luxury Lakers can hardly afford right now.

Um...I don't exactly know what happened with the Indiana-Detroit game...hopefully you all caught that anyway and don't need my play-for-play rundown!

Well, hope you all enjoyed the games...let the 2nd half off the season begin!


Saturday, December 18, 2004

Random Observations

Welcome to another edition of your favorite NBA commentary site, NBAdiaries! There have been some interesting goings on in the NBA since my last post.

Probably the most important big news is the 6 man trade between the Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets, which went down...well, today! In a strategic move, the Nets traded Alonzo Mourning, Eric Williams, Aaron Williams, and two future draft picks, to Toronto in return for five time All Star gard/foward, Vince Carter. Five guys for one? This Vince guy must be pretty amazing...who am I kidding?! This guy IS amazing! He's one of the NBA's most exciting players, thanks to the superlative dunks and moves he pulls on court. Last season, he averaged 22.5 points per game, as well as maintaining a .806 free throw percentage, and 4.80 rebounds per game. Not a bad stack of stats for someone who's been holed up in Toronto for his entire professional career! To cut a long story short, Vince is a hell of a baller who hasn't been able to fulfil his potential in Toronto. Now that he's in the Garden State with JKidd and Richard Jefferson, he should be able to bring his game to a whole new level and experience life playing with a championship-contending team! As the New Jersey management have so eloquently put it...START THE VIN-SANITY! indeed...

Vince Carter

As for Toronto...anyone who knows their basketball knows that Alonzo Mourning was part of the championship Chicago Bulls team back in 1992-1995. But, he succumbed to an ailing Kidney and left basketball during the 2002-2003 season. He joined the NJ Nets in 2003 upon his return, and has slowly brought some of his game back. But, he has been unable to get his game back to where it was before. Quite honestly, Toronto probably needed a center, and with the 6'10" Zo, they got one, even if he won't be putting that many points up on their scoreboard.

So. in games played yesterday (17th December), the NY Knicks upset the Philly 76ers 113-107 in an overtime; Indiana gave Vince Carter an upsetting departure by beating Toronto 89-85 in his last game there. In an exciting game, D.Wade and Shaq's Miami overwhelmed Melo's Nuggets 107-100 (more on this later; the T-Wolves crushed the LA Clippers 113-86 (but then that was to be expected!) and yes, unfortunately, the WIZARDS had their first win the Staples Center over the LA Lakers (120-116) in an overtime. Well...I guess you have to let the underdogs win some right?!

Speaking of the Miami Heat, I discovered something very interesting today. That, would be Miami's position in the L. As a matter of fact, Miami is leading the Eastern Division, (18-7, .720). Obviously Shaq's presence there is paying off big-time! Not to mention that he and D.Wade make a great combination. They are miles ahead of LeBron's Cleaveland, who are 14-9, .609, who in turn, are miles ahead of New York, 12-11, .522. The current standings for the East is:
3.New York
New Jersey

Shaq (Miami)

LeBron James (Cleaveland)

Afterthought: isn't it strange that last season's Eastern Conference Finalsts (Indiana and Detroit) and champion (Detroit) are being overshadowed by Cleaveland and Washington?!

In the West, Steve Nash is obviously working wonders in Phoenix, who are leading the conference, and leaguge, 20-3, .870. They're being tailed (but not too closely) by TD's San Antonio (19-5, .792).
Anyway, instead of me wasting my breath, I'll just give you the run-down.

2.San Antonio
7.LA Lakers
LA Clippers
Golden State
New Orleans

Steve Nash (Phoenix)

Kobe Bryant (LA Lakers)

Why are the Lakers being outranked by Seattle, and Phoenix, and SACTO?!? Come on guys! What is going on?!

Ok. Sorry. Momentary lapse into partiality is over.

ABC is giving the best gift a TV station could to sports/basketball fans the world over this Christmas. What is that gift I hear you scream? A Christmas Day double feature - meaning two head-to-head games back-to-back! First up is the Pistons vs. the Pacers, and this time, Indiana has the home-court advantage. This could be interesting seeing how the last time these two teams played each other, the game was called and numerous players were suspended for varying amounts of time (see previous post)! The second game is the one I'm more excited about! The big dawg is coming home for Christmas: read, Shaq's Miami Heat are being hosted by Kobe's Lakers at Staples Center! This should be a very interesting match...Kobe's going all out to prove that the Mitch Kupchak and the rest of the Lakers organization made the right choice by trading Shaq to keep him; Shaq's out to prove that trading him was indeed, 'the stupidest move in sports history'! Watch out! For more on this feud and the expectations for the Christmas Day game, check out the following sites. - The Salt Lake Tribune - The Arizona Republic - Click and Roll

Well, that's about it for today! Keep watching the game!
Oh, and if you can, go pick up the December/January issue of Inside Stuff, it's got a good article about the "high flyers" of the NBA (i.e. Kobe, Vince, LeBron and Tracy), as well as a list of "the illest dunks of all time". To quote from the cover, "Bring in da noise, bring in da DUNK!"


Friday, November 19, 2004

Games: 19th November 2004

Talk about a fighting finish! The intense rivalry between the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons, which was exacerbated during last season's Eastern Conference Finals, reached a boiling point today, when Detroit hosted Indiana at The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan. Both teams took the court while the booing and jeering of the crowd filled the arena. And that was only the beginning. The Detroit "fans" soon got ruly, throwing things at the players - verbal abuse, and even objects such as water bottles. Eventually it got so bad, that the players and fans actually came to blows with each other. Notably, Ron Artest, known as much for his off court conduct as for his on-court, landed a punch on a fan who decided to pick a fight with him. But enough from me, I'll let you read the whole story for yourself, straight from the NBA site.

"Stephen Jackson made quite a first impression on the overheated rivalry between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons. Jackson delivered knockout punches of all kinds as the Pacers brawled with fans in the stands and on the court after a 97-82 victory over the Pistons, a game that was called with 45 seconds to play. In one of the craziest melees in NBA history, Jackson, Ron Artest and Jermaine O'Neal all delivered haymakers to unruly Pistons fans, who showed the worst side of their behavior by throwing everything from plastic bottles to chairs at members of the Pacers. The Pacers fought back - literally. Several went into the stands to accost fans who had thrown things. Jackson climbed into the seats and landed a roundhouse right that floored a fan who had thrown a plastic beer bottle at Artest, hitting him in the face. Fans continued to throw things and verbally accost members of the Pacers. Several came onto the court and one took a fighting stance against Artest, who dropped him with a punch. O'Neal ran over and floored another fan with a righthanded blow. Fighting with each other minutes earlier, the Pacers and Pistons quickly teamed up to fight off the fans. Referees called the game, which forced the Pacers to make their way through a gauntlet of angry fans who continued to throw objects despite pleas from Pistons coach Larry Brown. Players and team officials were showered with beer, soda and popcorn. Acquired in the offseason, Jackson is new to this rivalry, which peaked with the Pistons defeating the Pacers in six physical games in last season's Eastern Conference finals. He scored 13 points, including a dagger 3-pointer and dunk less than 40 seconds apart that ended a rally by the Pistons and gave the Pacers a 93-79 lead with 3:52 to play."
Quite the game, I imagine! Beer, soda and popcorn?! Come on guys, is that how you treat the hometown heroes?!

Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal, and Detroit's Ben Wallace, before the game got called.

Ron Artest in the middle of the brawl.

Indiana coach Rick Carlisle, and ref keep Indiana's Ron Artest and Detroit's Ben Wallace apart during the fight.

In other news...
Lakers lost to the Suns today...Amare Stoudamire is really hitting his stride in his third year! 33 points and 14 rebounds! wooo! Kobe Bryant had a triple-double: 20 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists. Too bad they couldn't make use of that! Final score: 107-102.

Shaq's Miami Heat went up against the Jazz. Some great plays, particularly some at-the-line heroics from Dwayne Wade, who had a career high 39 points! Shaq had 22 points, 11 rebounds, and was only 2-10 from the line.

Dwayne Wade celebrating after his game-winning shot.

Melo's Nuggets were 99-81 against the Chicago Bulls.
Mavericks 103-101 against the Knicks.
Spurs 92-84 against the Celts.

That's it for today!