NBA Roundup: We Welcome Our Spurs Overlords

I watch the NBA so you don't have to. Last night was one of those times and it's a good thing you didn't watch. With one half of the NBA Finals in place and the other up in the air, it's time for the little Playoff breakdown.

San Antonio vs. Utah

This series showed a lot of promise going in. The Jazz had been dominant at home. So too had the Spurs. The looked like they could match up pretty well, especially in the front court. Even though they were young, the Jazz looked as if they could make some noise, but no one really thought they could win the series. So once again, with a talented lot of players - Boozer and Williams in particular had an amazing series - Jerry Sloan can't get it done. It's a story that's happened over and over again. But of course, no one questions Sloan. No one calls him out for not coming up big when it counts. No one compares him to someone like Marty Schottenheimer. But I digress. The real story here is Tim Duncan and his continued brilliance. You can call out the Spurs for dirty players (Bowen) or cheap players (Manu), but you can't say a bad word about Duncan. He's been the best player in the NBA over the last decade and he's now well on his way to a fourth ring. It doesn't matter who comes out of the East, San Antonio is running on all cylinders now. Manu, Parker and Timmy D are just rolling over teams. Last night, Utah didn't even both to showing up, as I assume the network ratings will show us. It was an absolute beat down. Right now the Spurs are the favorite to win the 2007 NBA Finals. Also the 2008, and 2009, and 2010, etc.

Detroit vs. Cleveland

Cleveland comes back! LeBron is alive! The Eastern Conference Playoffs are exciting for once! Well until you remember that last year the Cavs went down 0-2 to Detroit, then won 3 in a row (including one in Detroit) and then proceeded to choke away the final two games of the series. Will this be a repeat of last season? If the Pistons decide to wake the fuck up, then yes. This series, thus far, has been decided by a few plays. It's tied up at 2-2, but each game could have gone either way. The Cavs could have already locked this up if LeBron showed up in Games 1 and 2. By that same token, if the 'Stons tried at all on the road, they could easily be up 3-1. The series breaker thus far has been Larry Hughes' injury. He had been playing terrible up until he broke his foot, but Mike Brown insisted on staying with him, because Mike Brown is an amazing head coach. Once Hughes went down, Gibson stepped up big. He became the player I've been saying he could be all season long. If Huges doesn't get hurt, Gibson doesn't see minutes, and Larry puts up a solid 5 points. Tonight's Game 5 should be an interesting one considering all the subplots that have come about over the last two games. Can the Pistons "flip the switch" and play solid ball again? Will Larry Hughes take up more of Gibson's minutes? Can LeBron keep it up and not just score, but get everyone else involved like he's been doing? Can the Cavs for the second year in a row steal a huge game on the road? I have a feeling that this series isn't going to come down to who shows up on a given night (LeBron or Chauncey or 'Sheed) but which coach implodes first. It's bound to happen. There's no way a series with "Mr. Potato Head" Mike Brown and Flip Saunders goes without some monumental coaching meltdown. It just can't. Look for that one coaching breakdown to be Hughes seeing at least 35 minutes tonight.

The Future!: An NBA Off-Season Preview

Yes, even though the NBA Playoffs are in full swing (and by full swing I mean hoping we avoid the inevitable train wreck that will be another Spurs/'Stons series) it wouldn't hurt to look into the future, into the off-season and some things that really need to be addressed.


This is first and foremost. Before they even look at the changing the "No Leaving The Bench" rule, the head office needs to do something about flopping in this league. It's gotten out of control. A lot of people are pointing at the foreign-born players, calling them soft, saying it has something to do with soccer or some such nonsense. But that’s not the case, flopping is across the board. It's not just foreign born players like Anderson and Manu (although he might be the king). It's Steve Nash. It's Dwayne Wade. It has become a viable defensive option. It has become a savvy offensive move. After Game 2 of the Detroit/Cleveland series, Rasheed called out Varejao for flopping. 'Sheed said that if he can get T'd up for just about everything he does, then floppers should be getting techs too. And he's right. When the post-season is all said and done, The Association needs to sit down and make this their first move. No more flopping.

Portland and The Mystery of The Number One Pick

Who do they take? Is it Oden or is it Durant? Big men win championships. Since Jordan retired for the second time, Shaq or Duncan has won all but one NBA Championship. So they go big, right? But what if history repeats itself? What if Oden is Sam Bowie to Durant's Jordan? As unlikely as that might be, it's really a win/win for the Trail Blazers. They're going to get a franchise guy no matter who they pick, but with a few moves, they could make an even bigger splash on draft day. Here's how: Atlanta lucked out and got both of the lottery picks they could have potentially lost. But with the No. 3 pick, they aren't going to get franchise-changing guy like Durant or Oden, so why not trade that pick and get a few things? This is where Portland comes in. They're trying to move Zach Randolph, so why not move him and Jarrett Jack to Atlanta for their No. 3? This gives Atlanta the big man they desperately need and a point guard (which they probably would have used their pick to draft). Meanwhile, Portland uses this No. 3 to draft Mike Conley Jr, thereby replacing Jack at the point. Atlanta gets a few parts they can definitely use (and still has a lottery pick), and Portland adds Colney and Oden to Aldridge and Roy, which gives them the scariest young core in the league. They really have to try and make this happen.

The Kobe Situation

ESPN's Ric Bucher has never said a bad word about Kobe Bryant. Seriously, look it up. I doubt you'll find one disparaging remark. He's now reporting that Kobe either wants Jerry West as his GM or he wants out of Los Angeles. Well played, Mamba. The only problem is that this is almost completely out of the Lakers' hands. The Logo stepped down as GM of the Grizz so he could retire. If he wants to go back to LA then he will, if he doesn't then he won't. On the other side of this is Kobe's trade demand, which is ridiculous. Not only would LA not trade him, they can't. There's no way. There's not one deal that any single team could offer that would be logical on the Lakers' behalf. I mean, think about it, what do you offer for the best basketball player on the planet? Even if they got a team's entire starting 5 they'd still be getting ten cents on the dollar. It's just an impossible deal to make, unless LA is fine with just cashing in their chips for the next decade. The other thing that makes this story so funny is Kobe bitching about the moves the front office has made. Sure, Mitch Kupchak hasn't been the greatest GM, but the worst move the Lake Show has made was trading away Shaq, and that was all Kobe. So basically look for Bucher to play this angle up, but nothing's going to come of it. You know, unless the Knicks offer LA their next 25 first rounders, which could actually happen.

Brown and Out

No matter how many more wins and how far the Cavs get this post season, it's clear they have to make some moves. They’re far from great and the East can’t stay this bad forever. They've got a lot of dead weight (see: Eric Snow), but they also don't really have any players they can package together and get someone like Shawn Marion or KG. One thing they can do, and have to do, is get rid of Mike Brown. My opinion on him went from "they can do better" to "dear God, he's killing this team" this post-season. There's no way a team with this kind of line-up, and no big guys to pound it in to the low post should be running half court sets like Brown has them using. They need to run. They need to open everything up. They need to get LeBron going in the open court. In Game 3, the Pistons couldn't guard LeBron in the transition. That's because no one can. He’s too big, he moves to quickly, he's too powerful. Yet Mike Brown refuses to use this to his advantage. Instead, when LeBron is hot, defenses run a zone or double/triple-team him, forcing someone else to beat them. It just doesn't work. I'm not saying they should be running and gunning like the Suns or the Dubs, but they really need to quicken the pace up, and Mike Brown isn't the one to do it. So for the sake of LeBron, Cleveland, and anyone who watches the NBA, the Cavs front office really has to get someone else in there.

NBA Roundup: LeBron Shows Up

Some people take the day off on Memorial Day, but not here at Forty Minutes of Hell. Hell 2 Da Naw! Especially when I get scheduled to work, get up at 8 and show up only to find the building locked and no one inside. Good times. ANYWAY, on to a playoff roundup.

San Antonio vs. Utah

If they were to give out the Rookie of the Year award after the playoffs would Brandon Roy still receive all but one vote? Deron Williams has been stellar in these playoffs. Boozer has still been Utah's go-to guy, but Williams was the real difference maker in Game 3. Home court has been huge so far in this series. Utah has been the best home team in the playoffs thus far. Meanwhile, the Spurs haven't lost to the Jazz at home since 1999. It looks as like this series is going to go to the team that steals one on the road. Obviously that's easier said than done. Even though Utah made the series at bit more interesting with a Game 3 win, the Spurs are still in control. No matter what happens, you can't count out the team that has Tim Duncan. Ever.

Detroit vs. Cleveland

In Games 1 and 2 Cleveland basically blew an opportunity to win one on the road. It was the lack of LeBron and the third quarter collapses that sent them down 0-2. In Game 3, at The Q, that all changed. LeBron showed up (finally) with a convincing 32 points, 9 dimes and 9 boards. The rest of the Cavs played well too, avoiding that funk they experienced coming out of the half. And even Mike Brown didn't fuck up, going to Gibson instead of the struggling Eric Snow and Damon Jones. On the other hand, Detroit continued to play lackluster ball, showing that they can only get up for a game when their backs are against the wall. Cleveland - amazingly - has gotten into Chauncey Billups' head playing aggressive D and not letting him get his shots. He had 2 points in the entire first half. If LeBron can keep up this level of play and get his team involved, they can definitely make a series of this. But if Cleveland falls back to their old ways and Detroit goes to 'Sheed early and often, this could be over in 5

Charlie Manuel is the WORST...PERSON...EVER...and Rod Barajas...I hate you.

No! Seriously! Charlie Manuel....why you such a re-re???

Please read this blog... and you will understand how I feel.

Though I didn't even see the game, I think last night's Phils game may be one of the worst games of baseball this year. Or maybe ever. Let's recap:

1) Re-re brings in Brett Myers even though the Phillies have a four run lead.

2) One of the Phils' many no-names (but I'm naming him anyways...Greg Dobbs) makes the kind of mistake Charlie Manuel would if he wasn't too fat and old to play baseball anymore.

3) Rod Barajas makes an elementary mistake at catcher...because he is a giant piece of mexican caca.

4) Ole Chuck and Rodrigo both get tossed...cause their little bitches (or, as the word of my night is dictating, vaginas).

5) The Fightins pull an 8-7 win out of their asses.

I hate this team. If they werent my baseball team, I would constantly ridicule them...which I pretty much already do. Manuel is legitimately retarded. He's from West Virginia, and can't speak English. I would take Lou Pinella any day, and even if Barry Bonds was a conditional part of the deal, I'd still do it in a heart beat. I just don't understand. Phillies, you have a good team of youngsters...but when you put in your shitty prospects like Jason Werth and have a sack of shit at catcher in Roderick, you lose. Or should lose. I have no idea how they won last night. Hopefully the Phanatic paid off the Ump.

Ok, seriously though. Fire Charlie Manuel, and I'd quit school now to manage. It'd be a good opportunity for me. And plus, I wouldn't represent the City of Brotherly Love as the City of Incestual Illeteracy. I loathe you Chaz, truly I do. Plus, your middle name is Fuqua, which is an insult to my heritage, and a funny name.

So please, let's make a deal. You bet me on when the Phils will fire Manuel, and I will take the matter what. Even if you say in an hour, I'll take it.

As I watch the MLB game tracker, I thought the Phils had wisened up and put Chirs Coste in, but no, its now the middle of the fourth and good ole' Roddy is behind the plate. I hate my life.

And hey! the most pressing question in my mind of this whole debacle is who the fuck is gonna close??? I really like our friends at the PA blogspot, who have nicknamed Clay Condrey 'Jars of Clay' Condrey. Please Brett, just beat your wife to get your arm back in shape and get your ass back in the bullpen.

Your adequately enraged Phillies Fan.

Ballpark Review part 1 of numerous!

[Editor's Note: Cleaned up because Quinn can't write]

Hello all,

I am in L.A. well actually the OC on business for the week but I am thinking of it as more of a baseball roadtrip, which rocks. Anyways I attended the Angels-Dodgers Crosstown Rival Weekend game on Saturday evening at Anaheim Stadium and I was pretty impressed with the park and the atmosphere.

Anaheim Stadium or the Big A, as its know because of the large red steel structure outside the right field wall. The structure no longer houses a score board nor faces the field due to the renovations on the stadium from when it housed the LA Rams. The Manager claims earthquake stability reasons?!? But it's still a cool defining feature of a stadium that is homey for its size.

I had to work until 4:45 and the game had an odd 6:05 start time which was never explained. Anyways I arrived at the gate around 5:35 with no tickets with a Dutch kid who was 23 and never been to America or a ball game. Now everything I had heard or read about Angels' game said "no tickets, no problem" but of course this was Angels/Dodgers and it was sold out. California has strict no scalping rules, so we wandered backwards from the main gate that has a great entrance (more later) into a parking lot that was surrounded by concrete walls which had loads of smoke rising from it and a constant stream of people coming from the gate. The other side of the wall contained a packed lot of coolers, grills, and rowdy 20 somethings tailgating up a storm. It was sweet! The Dutchman was amazed and impressed. There was a hot dog stand complete with hot dog guy in and Angels jersey that said "hot dog guy" across the shoulders. Tickets were scant but at the back corner after many "no's" and plentiful offers of beers to ease the pain we found a pair of tickets in left field along the third base line. They were front row of the upper deck and not a bad find for 20 bucks a pop.

Back to the stadium. The home plate entrance to the Big A is great, with two giant Angels' caps (New Era size 639 and a half) that bracket the front walkway which features a baseball diamond laid out in bricks which feature light up bases and pitcher's rubber as well as bricks at each positions (including the right handed batter's box for the DH) listing the starting player for each Opening Day from 1964 to 2007. Pretty cool. The inside is nice for a stadium with a capacity of 44,280. The interior of Anaheim Stadium was increased to 68,000 for the LA rams for like 6 years and then re-done in 1998 by the new cookie cutter "throwback" park architects KOH. The park looks good with sight lines to the San Fernando mountains and quite the display (on days when it isn't too smoggy) in center field. The fake rocks combined with waterfalls and a Corona Beach ad would be pretty cool if the rocks were A) real and B) they gave away passes to sit in the giant Corona Beach chairs every game. The large score board in right field is tall with grand stands above it reminiscent of PNC Park but just digital scores and no pitching info. The sight lines from most seats in the front few upper deck rows were good and seemed to be nice from all seats below there.

As for the crowd: they really brought it for this series! The Dodgers' fans showed up in full force and my accompanying Dutchman's first comment upon taking our seats was: "They let the reds and blues sit together? They would never ever allow that in futbal!" The game proved a perfect arena for some good natured yelling. [Editor's Note: COMANAYEEAAAHAAA!] It was a back-and-forth 3-2 game until the Angels blew it open in the bottom of the 7th with four hard earned runs. Hendericks pitched pretty well for the Dodgers and young Jared Weaver turned in an 8-inning gem for the Halos.

The Dodgers' fans made themselves known but Angels' fans fought back. There seemed to be strong contention added to the rivalry since the Angels' name change and neither side seemed to agree with the decision, as neither side wanted any association with the other. Though in true LA style the choosing sides was described to me as solely based on colors.

Me: "So is the Angels-Dodgers' rivalry a North/South or East/West thing?"
Guy Who Sold Me Tickets: "It's an East/West thing."
Guy's Friend: "No, it's a North/South thing."
Guy Who Sold Me Tickets: "Really it's all about color red or blue, just like everything in LA."
Me: "gangs?"
Guy Who Sold Me Tickets: "No just everything..."

So, I have no idea what the hell that meant.

Anyways the Dutchman's review of the game: "I liked the second half better." I have no idea what constitutes the second half of a game but the hollering did increase three-fold as the game went on and sweep possibilities were raised. The stadium was very nice and the crowd really cranked it up a notch. I was pretty impressed by a park which was a NFL field of 68,000 at one point. I would say it could make the top half of the MLB and top of the stadiums in baseball.

A few other points: [Editor's Note: Quinn's Audition for Zagat's]

Beer and food was not too impressive, but not cheap. The featured foods are California Pizza Kitchen and Panda Express. All the beer on tap I could find in the uppers was Bud Select @ 6.50 for 16 oz (boo), Corona bombers (22s) were available for 12 bucks and Bud and Bud Light aluminum bottles at 6.75. An all beef dog was 4 bucks and nachos were 6.

Tickets sound like they are available for all non-Dodgers and pennant race games at the door with reasonable gate prices for all tickets including field level. Around 29 bucks for baseline past the dugout and 12 bucks for uppers and bleachers. The Big A seems to have a great tail gate scene in the aforementioned concrete walled homeplate lot and behind center field where the over sized parking is.

Next: Chavez Ravine and some Dodger Dogs. See ya soon.

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Super Conference Finals Extravaganza!

So the Conference Finals are set. And to anyone thinking conspiracy theory in that Spurs/Suns series, seriously, think again. If the NBA and David Stern were to have their choice of teams in these Conference Finals, these two match-ups are probably the last thing they wanted to see. But here we are, we don't have a Suns/Warriors series. We don't have a Cavs/Bulls series. Though what we do have is four teams left fighting it out for one crown.

Western Conference: San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz

In theory this could have been a Suns vs. Warriors match-up that would have blown everyone away. It would have gone seven. The over/unders would have been set at 310. It would have been out of control. But that's in theory, and in reality that series never had a chance.

Say what you want about the Suns getting screwed over and how their Game 5 suspensions doomed their chances, but the fact of the matter is they had no chance. They had home court, and then blew Game 1 at home. They had all the calls in Game 5 (thanks to Steve Javie's predilection towards calling games against the home team) and lost. Then, in Game 6, with the return of Amare and Diaw, the Spurs shut them down. It was the Spurs’ series (controversial calls or not) for the entire way.

In the same way, the Jazz owned the Warriors. Golden State was the darling of the playoffs, having shocked the (non-NBA watching) World by dropping the Mavs. The Jazz, on the other hand, looked lucky to be in the Second Round because of the Rockets' choke job. But that wasn't the case. The Jazz made quick work of the Warriors, with an impressive with at Golden State, a win that seemed like an impossible task only two weeks prior.

These two teams match up very well. They are both tough and scrappy. Look for the battles inside (particularly Carlos Boozer and Tim Duncan) to be epic, as well as a great backcourt match-up. The difference maker in this series could very well come down to this Jazz team's inexperience. They've been playing over their heads so far this post season. Meanwhile the Spurs are made for this kind of series.

Prediction: San Antonio in 7.

Eastern Conference: Detroit Pistons vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

And in the J.V. bracket we have a rematch of a playoff series we saw last year. The difference this time around: no one seems to care. And I'm not talking about the fans; I'm talking about the players.

The Cavs slept walked through the first two rounds while the Pistons looked ever so dominant early in their last series, then forgot there were a few more games to play and almost let Chicago right back in the door.

Cleveland has had probably the easiest draw of any team in this year's NBA Playoffs. In Round One they brushed aside a decimated Wizards team. In Round Two they tried only slightly harder than Jason Kidd & The Underachievers to pull off the franchise's first Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 15 years.

Of course, this was not enough for the media who don't think LeBron is doing all that he can. They're prepping the kid to be the black A-Rod, calling out his heart and his play down the stretch. Wins aren't enough for LeBron apparently. Now he's got to get to The Finals while putting up 60-15-10 and sacrificing twelve people at every half time.

The Pistons looked fantastic for their first seven playoff games, not losing a game. Then they just decided to take the a few games off and before you knew it, the series was at 3-2 and the Bulls looked like they had at least an outside shot at pulling off the Never-before-done comeback down 0-3. Of course, Detroit quickly put and end to that, with a fairly decisive win at Chicago.

The Eastern Conference Finals' match-up couldn't be more different than that of its Western Conference counterpart. Where the Spurs and the Jazz just battled it out in their respective Second Round series for two weeks, the Cavs and the Pistons have looked like they're on vacation. They also don't match-up nearly as well head to head. The Pistons have a championship caliber team that is heading to their 5th consecutive Eastern Conference Finals. The Cavs are more-or-less a two man team: LeBron and whoever else decides to have a good night.

Just like the series in the West, this one could go either way, but for completely different reasons. I'm not sure which version of which team is going to show up on a given night. Will it be the business-like Pistons crushing the Cavs? Will LeBron step up and take it to an overconfident Detroit team? We could have a seven-game showdown. Or we can have a Cavs-Nets-like series that Sir Charles can only describe as 'turr-a-bull'. Hopefully it's the former.

Prediction: Detroit in 6.

Enjoy Life

Sunil Gulati you get a reprieve, thank you for not being an idiot. Bob Bradley deserved the job and only an idiot wouldn't have hired him. I'm removing my threat against your life. Your welcome enjoy your time at the USSF.

Sevilla vs Espanyol: Unemployment Afternoon

While waiting for my drug test to clear (*hope they don't test for crystal meth*), I have tons and tons of free time. Today I watched the UEFA Cup Final between Sevilla and Espanyol. I expected absolutely nothing out of this game because Sevilla beat Espanyol in La Liga 3 weeks ago but I was plesantly suprised. The game had great drama and tension eventhough the outcome went the way I thought. Instead of recaping the game I'm going to give you, the loyal soccer fan, a update on which players you can tell your friends about and sound smart before they break bigger on the European scene.

1. Dani Alves. If you know anything about world soccer you know that Dani Alves is at the top of every big clubs wish list. Alves is by far the best right back in the entire world. He can play farther up the park on the wing but Alves really shines as a full back. Blinding pace and a great attacking mindset make him an unstoppable force for Sevilla.

2. Javi Navarro. Navarro is the anchor of the Sevilla back-line. He plays very similar to John Terry but with much more pace. Also he is a great passer from the center-back position and is the ignition to the Sevilla attack.

3. Ivan De La Pena. De La Pena is the player that the media claimed Juan Roman Riquelme to be when he played at Villareal. Completely orchestrates the Espanyol attack and could possibly be the long ball passer in the world. Tremendous player but is perhaps too old to become a force on the European scene again.

4. Iraizoz. Best goalkeeper in the UEFA Cup and a complete unknown playing at Espanyol. Mark my words, you will see this man in net for a Champions League winning team in his lifetime. Should be in the Spanish National Team squad for the EURO qualifiers in the summer.

So next time one of your friends brings up a big name on the summer transfer market bring up one of these guys. At least you will sound smarter than saying something about that unknown guy David Villa at Valencia. These guys are going to be the real impact players on the European scene.

Toronto FC: Bringing Real Fans to the MLS

Toronto is one of the worlds most beautiful cities and a place I once wish to live. Between the Maple Leafs and Raptors you have two of the most passionate fan-bases in their respective sports. Now the fans of my favorite MLS club, Toronto FC, is bringing a little slice of actual support to the MLS. Doing what I usually do during the week, wataching full games on, I have come to realize that BMO Field is going to be a fortress in the upcoming years.

If you want to see quality MLS atmosphere watch Toronto FC play at home. This is the perfect place to debut David Beckham in league competition. Watch and learn every other MLS fanbase(except Chicago).

Dear Suns, Step Ya Game Up

Listen, I like the Suns. I like their style of play. I like that Steve Nash plays the point like it should be played. I like watching Amare Stoudemire. More than that I like the fact that a good friend of mine (and Suns fan) has the lone dream of opening up a restaurant in the greater Phoenix area just to serve a dish called "Calamari Stoudemire". I told her she can't unless she serves it with a "Shawn Marion-era Sauce".

With that said, the Suns and their fans need to stop whining. The Spurs play tough D. That's how they've been the best professional team on the planet over the last decade. That's why they win championships. That and the fact that Tim Duncan has been the best player in the NBA over the last 10 years.

Bruce Bowen is a dirty player. Manu Ginobili is a flop artist. But, then again, Raja can play just as dirty as Bowen, and Nash flops all the time (case in point on the 'Bowen knee to his junk' play).

Amare was the first to run his mouth, but now the Suns fans won't shut up. Complaining isn't going to stop the Spurs from being physical. The only way to stop them is to play just as physical. Put it right back in their face. But because the Suns are a Dirk level of soft, the just cried instead of Man-ing up.

Big Shot Bob is going to sit for two for the body check on Nash. Reasonable. Also, Diaw and Stoudemire are going to sit for one because of some rule put into place in the mid-90s to clamp down on the thuggish Knicks and Heat teams of that time (Thanks, Pat Riley!). A case can be made for Amare to sit, it all depends on how you interpret the rule. But Diaw should be playing in Game 5.

Now, this video has started circulating on The Interwebs, and Suns fans are pointing out that The Stone Buddha might have broken this rule too. Some are saying that is Amare and Diaw are sitting, than so should Timmy D. Fact of the matter is that there was no altercation, there was no fight, and Duncan took a step onto the floor. Not a suspendable offense.

So we head into Game 5. The Suns without their best player in Amare and without the always solid Boris Diaw. The Spurs without Big Shot Bob. I'd say the Spurs got out ahead in this one.

On paper this looks like The End for the Suns. What they really need to do to win this series is step up. They need to stop talking and step up their collective game. They need to stop waiting for the refs to bail them out and go at the Spurs harder. And if this doesn't happen, they'll be sitting at home bitching about the calls all summer just like the Mavs did all last summer.

Does Jason Think He Is Alive: Xavier McDaniel Edition

Let me preface this article by stating that this will be the start of a series of columns based on the idea if I believe a former athlete is dead. Of course, each article will end with me finding out that just because a person hasn't been on TV while I've been watching isn't, in fact, dead.

I am completely sure, without a shadow of a doubt, that former Celtic Xavier McDaniel died in like 2001. When I was a kid the X=Man was the biggest douchebag on a teamful of douchebags, the 1991-1992 New York Knicks. God I hated them and there high top fades and shitty non-nike shoes. I loved watching the C's play them and Larry Legend getting up in the ass. The bridge is over, the bridge over ah ah.

Well turns out Xavier McDaniel didn't die at all. He is enjoying life in Scotsdale, AZ with his wife of 59 years, Betsy. His youngest son Eldrick is the third-best realtor is the Southwest Region of Tampa (STAY AWAY FROM THE WESTSIDE!!!!). X-Man's hobbies now include collecting those pins that old dudes put on hats from the Franco-Prussian War and gardening. Take it from me all dudes love gardening.

Welcome to J-Town.

Deja(zz) Vu

Yeah. That's awful. I know. But in the last few minutes of last night's Jazz/Warriors show down, I saw something that looked very familiar.

Not Baron's open ice check of Derek Fisher, but J-Rich's "No showboating in our house" hack on Okur. It's really all how you look at it. Mehmet shouldn't have been looking to throw it down up big that late. But then J-Rich probably shouldn't have tried to tear Okur's head off. Either way, I'm sure Jazz fans were pissed. I'm also sure they don't remember this.

That's Utah's (steroid user) Rafael Araujo with an unnecessarily hard foul on Marvin Williams, late in a game, up HUGE. Classy. After he gets ejected - as he should have been - the Utah fans give Hafa a standing-O. Classier. And accompanying this video is some fantastic commentary by a Jazz fan that overlooks Araujo's foul almost entirely and also includes some great racist comments. Top notch.

Sure, several players on the Dubs have been ejected in this post season for losing their cool. But that's by no means a reason to root for the Jazz. There's never a reason to do that.

Is Bruce Bowen a dirty player?


I'm glad we could clear that up for everyone involved. Now let's all look at this picture:

Check it out! That asshole can waterski!

The 80 Million Dollar Man

I thought I would be the one to write the West Ham stays up on a dramatic win at Old Trafford article because Freshman and Brendan might just put up the lyrics to "Forever Blowing Bubbles". This season in the English Premiership has been dominated by the individual performance. Cristiano Ronaldo being the difference between Manchester United and Chelsea, Didier Drogba being the difference between Chelsea as the number 2 team or Chelsea as the number 5 team, and Carlos Tevez keeping West Ham in the Prem. Today's goal by Tevez was everything that English football is about drama, passion, and brilliant skill.

West Ham earned their spot in the Prem next year. 4 straight wins to finish out the season makes the drop avoidale the stuff of legends. I unfortunately, will never get this experience being a Chelsea fan. We are eventually going to have a problem with relegation but we aren't going to have a chance if Roman and his checkbook leave. Freshman and Brendan got a chance to prove their loyalty to West Ham this year. They had to live through a coaching change mid-season, Javier Mascherano, and an ownership change. You guys got the opportunity to bleed Blue and whatever the fuck you guys call that Red Shit on your jerseys.

The money that is going to come in from the inevitable Tevez transfer should be enough to get West Ham through another year or two of top-flight football. I hope Chelsea isn't the team to steal Tevez from his rightful place in world football.

P.S. There is a story that is very soccer-centric that involves Freshman, Me, and the Chicken and Cheese but at this point my sleep schedule and body are too fucked up to tell it.

Nine Minutes Of Heaven

Do you like tall Asians? And basketball? And Chinese power-ballads or even Bon Jovi? Of course you do, which is why you need to watch this nine minute long video clip of Yi Jianlian. Seriously, it's fantastic.

My favorite parts are around the 2:00 mark the random 'highlight' of Yi being fouled and then falling over. Then around the 4:30 mark, the clip holds on a picture of Yi staring blankly ahead for far too long. The editing on this is just too good.

Yi Jianlian Mix

Alex Ferguson, I Am Not Afraid Of You And Will Beat Your Ass

Before we jump into the meat of this post, I thought I'd run down why its been so long since I posted. In the last week, I have worked sixteen straight hours at the bar, co-wrote a play in which Grant had to utter the line "Sit down or I will skull-fuck your leukemia out of remission," and gone a full 72 hours without showering or changing underwear.
I came out of my sleepless, drunken, sleepless weekend (and by weekend, I mean the time from last Thursday until about 4:15 today when I finally got in the shower) to find out that Alex Ferguson decided that he'd had enough of those Hammers and wanted to rest his stars for the Chelsea game so he could bring out the full squad for the season finale with West Ham. I am completely okay with this. I just hope Cristiano Ronaldo runs full tilt into a goalpost and permanently loses his sense of balance.
I don't really see what Sir Alex is doing here. He claims it's to avoid some possible embarrassment, but would losing to West Ham be any more or less embarrassing at this point in the season than losing to, say, Fulham? And do you really think Man U would even bother to roll out the A-team for a season-ending game against a sixteenth place team? I think I'm too angry to discuss this coherently.
The main source of my anger comes from the little schoolgirls that run Fulham, Charlton, Sheffield United and Wigan. Let it go. Minus Fulham, you are horrible, horrible football clubs. Spend the money you're spending on high-priced attorneys on decent players, for Christ's sake. Where's the outcry over FIFA waiving the no-more-than-two-clubs-a-year rule for Javier Mascherano? It seems you don't really care about the integrity of the game and its rules as long as it doesn't mess with those TV-money checks that roll in once a year. Your problem is not two Argentinians who brought in illegally by previous management, it's the fact that you are very, very bad at your jobs. You smell and I hate you. At least someone in Watford's management team had the class to go down like reasonable human beings.
Apparently I can't discuss this rationally either. Therefore, I will give you the following video to the greatest metal song ever recorded. Both B. and I are in agreement that it's the real-life "Stonehenge."Here you are.

Memories of Last Summer: World Cup 2006

I was watching some saved videos on my computer today and came across my favorite video package, the U2 World Cup 2006 ABC video. Last year's World Cup for American viewers was marred by many different atrocities; Dave O'Brien, endless Bono commercials, and shitty SportsCenter highlights. ABC though on the last day of the World Cup brought it together with the greatest piece of sports and music blended together with the post-World Cup U2 "One" video.

To tell a little bit of a story and give some background about this video package and entire World Cup, me and Freshman watched the final while he was skipping out on a delivery from Meal's Delivered. I was firmly behind France due to the fact that I was fed up with the Italian National Team cheating their way to the final. Freshman was of the same mindset that Italy couldn't win for the good of football. Also I was getting the chance to see one of my footballing heroes lace it for the last time, Zidane, this game meant alot to me. What followed is the most crazy final in the history of football with Zidane getting sent off for the "headbutt heard around the world".

Last summer to me was the summer of the World Cup. I watched every single match off of DVR and had the pleasure of watching the USA's opening match with Brendan and Freshman. Decked out in a DeMarcus Beasley USA jersey I skipped out of work early and got home to watch us play the team from my ethnic background the Czech Republic. Within five minutes I was screaming at the TV with my head in the ground after a goal by the Czech Republic. At the end of the game it was decided that I couldn't watch the Italy game with everyone at the bar because of the racial slurs I had slung at Eddie Pope. I have never been more excited than when Christian Zaccardo scored an own goal and let the US back into the game. I ran around the shitty 353 screaming and jumping up and down kissing the badge on my jersey like I was Brian McBride. This video sums up everything that World Cup was about to a t and shows that if an american company cares about the "World's Game" they can make something decent.

Wow I can't believe that was a year ago.......

It's Algonquin For 'The Good Land'

It's only the first week in May, and there's a hell of a lot of baseball to play, but something interesting has happened: The Milwaukee Brewers have the best record in baseball. A team that went 75-87 last season and finished 4th in the abysmal NL Central division is playing the best baseball in the league.

This seems to be a trend in the Majors over the last few years. A perennial cellar dweller makes a few moves in the off season, or finally gets everyone on the same page, or possibly makes a deal with Beelzebub and completely turns the team around. Early in the 2007 season, this year’s team seems to be the Brewers. The real question is: what have they done to turn team around? What's around this season that has the team at 18-9 when they've had one .500 season since 1993?

It's not the five players they have batting above the .300 mark. It's not the solid pitching staff they've put together or the fact that Francisco Cordero has been absolutely shut down giving up only two hits in 12 appearances this season. It's not even the fact that they have Tony Gwynn AND Cecil Fielder's sons. No, the transformation of the 2007 Brewers goes back to something that happened in 2006.

On July 27, 2006 the Brewers gave the public a sneak peak at their attack plan for the following season. On that fateful day, we were all introduced El Picante, that racing Chorizo. Following his one-day appearance, El Picante was put away in a bunker one and a half miles below the Earth's surface for protection, not unlike the vice president.

Once the 2007 season rolled around, El was unleashed on Major League Baseball when he was made a permanent fixture of the famed Sausage Races. Now the Brewers are in first place in the NL Central, have the best record in baseball, and look to destroy all that lay in their path.

And for this, they have one spicy sausage to thank. Chorizo for President! Chorizo on Mount Rushmore! A Chorizo for every man, woman, and child in America! El Picante, the racing Chorizo for MVP, I say! But alas, the biases of those who vote for the MVP would never put a sausage into office. I wish that someday soon, we can all live together, dogs and cats, man and sausage, monkey and robot, in harmony.

Kaka: Zidane Version 2.0

After watching AC Milan absolutely destroy Manchester United today I have come to the conclusion that we are in the era of Kaka. The Brazilian playmaker perplexed and confused the depleted United backline. Nemanja Vidic came into the game with a bit of a knock and Kaka decided to make a fool out of him. The first goal of the game was everything that Kaka brings to the table; a laser shot, movement around the backline like a striker, and vision to see runs before they happen.

Coming into the game I was buying the lobbying of the English press that Cristiano Ronaldo was the best player in world. He has streamlined his game and used his incredible ball skills to become the best player in the Premiership. The way that Ronaldo has lifted a United team that doesn't appear on paper to have the talent is nothing short of amazing. Ronaldo has had a hell of a year and deserves consideration for European Footballer of the Year and for FIFA World Player of the Year.

Kaka, on the other hand, is quickly approaching that next stratosphere of reputation. He has been the best player in the Serie A this season giving Milan a bite and imagination in attack. His Champions League form has been other worldly scoring 10 goals from the midfield. Without Kaka, AC Milan couldn't possibly be in the position they are now. In two weeks, Milan gets to avenge the most embarassing loss in club history against Liverpool. As a Chelsea fan I have every ounce of support thrown behind AC Milan. Kaka is going to get his chance to shine in the biggest stage in European club football. Can he pull off a Zidane-style moment in front of the world? Yes he can and I think he will.

Sabres vs Rangers Game 5

I've been watching ungodly amounts of the NHL playoffs in the Trainspotting set I'm currently living in. The best matchup, thus far, has been the New York Rangers vs the Buffalo Sabres. Everything that an NHL series needs to have has been here; two awesome goaltenders, an aging star showing why he is going to the Hall of Fame, and a team/city desperate for a title. Jagr's play for the Rangers has been in one word: impressive. He is playing like its 1997 and he and Henrik Lundqvist have completely carried the Rangers into this series. On the other side of the series Buffalo, the best team in the NHL, has played their usual brand of impressive hockey. Ryan Miller, the goalie of the Sabres, has been outstanding.

Tonights game was another great one but the Sabres managed to get screwed on a goal not being allowed. With Miller pulled the Sabres whip a puck in at Lundqvist and the puck after the third or fourth replay is shown to clearly go in. Every Sabres fan remembers the Stars series where they had a goal disallowed in the Cup Final. How any sports fan that has waited years for his team to win a championship should be rooting for the Sabres?

I think I have a new role in life and that is to get people to watch the NHL and the MLS. The NHL playoffs have been really the best playoffs I have watched since the early 90's. Gary Bettman despite acting like a bumbling idiot has brought the sport back from the death.

P.S. I don't want to talk about the Chelsea-Liverpool game today. All I'm saying is that I'm very close to boarding a plane to London to save my team from a Portugese egomaniac. Mourinho your days are numbered.

So I haven't written in quite some time, but I decided to try a serious focus. By the way, I should be drafting my resume right now, but the summer in Oakland is so nice that it makes me want to do anything BUT work. Damn, I need to get on that... Motivation...motivation...

But anyways, B, as usual, has motivated me into caring about the NBA playoffs this year. And holy crap are they proving to be not just watchable, but something I actually want to watch. Which brings me, finally, to the subject of my post: Dead horses.

Though you may have believed that, its not true, I will not be talking about dead horses, but I did just read a very funny Klosterman article in which he incorporates a dead horse joke into his article...Read his new book. Its excellent.

OK! Seriously now. Gilbert Arenas and Baron Davis. In my mind, two of the most fun to watch players in the league, and they have been for a while. I mean, who doesn't enjoy a quality shot? Or, in a past life, a good hibachi? And who can't respect a man whose trademark is a beard that would give Grizzly Adams a run for his money? But, currently, one man is wishing he could play golf (but can't because he most likely still can't walk...), and one man is looking to lead his team to the biggest victory since the playoffs went to a seven game series. This is not fair...but I can deal with it. Mainly because I love underdogs.

Being a Philadelphia sports fan, I am constantly shit on. Whether its the Phillies missing the playoffs by one game last season, or the Eagles having the most illogical draft this year, I find myself consistently in the position of rooting for the underdog. This is why I am praying that by about 12:30 PM Eastern time tonight, the Warriors will have beaten the Almighty Mavericks.

It sucks to be the Wizards, and though I like LeBron, the Wizards were arguably a better team this year. I hate it when a team goes down to injury, and the Wizards this year were a prime example of that. Without Arenas or Caron Butler, the Wizards relied on ahh...umm...uhh...Antwan Jamison to carry them? Tell me you don't hate your life? Tell me?

Because the Wizards are now gone, and being that Cleveland will forever be known as the Mistake on the Lake, I now look to mighty Baron to keep hope alive. AI and the Nuggets will soon be gone, and if the Warriors lose I will rapidly lose interest in the playoffs. And by that I mean unless I'm at Gene's Place and the game is on, I will not watch them. I know I will be rooting for Tyrus Thomas and Ben Gordon to beat the piss out of the Detroit Technical Fouls...we will have to see.

Please enjoy the game tonight, I know I will.

P.S. I'm going to my first Pirates game of the season tonight, and Tony Armas is starting. I really hope that Ted Lilly and the $10 Million a year Chicago Illogical-Decisions don't embarrass us. (Don't you like my team Nicknaming System?) But nonetheless I get a free coin for going to the game. Hazah.



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