Wednesday, April 28, 2010
*Or not. Fuck that guy. And poor Craig Ehlo. I'm still convinced Jordan kicked him in the face when they show MJ's celebration from the angle they always show it from.
Finally, the Cavs beat the Bulls in the playoffs. That's one monkey off their backs; up next, the Boston Celtics, who the Cavs have actually beaten in the playoffs (essentially ending Larry Bird's career with a 122-104 blowout of the C's in Game 7 of the 1992 Eastern Conference semis). Before we get to that scintillating showdown, however, I just wanted to reflect on some miscellaneous thoughts about the series that just was:
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
I know what you're saying. "No shit." I'm sure anyone watching a Cavs game has at one point felt exasperation when LeBron holds the ball for ten seconds and then shoots a fade-away three. We all know he can't be stopped when he decides to go to the basket, and even if he is, good things still come out of it.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Thank you, OKC, for reminding me how rough things could be for my beloved Cavaliers. Sure, they lost to the Bulls by 2 on the road, but the Lakers got smoked. That score doesn't really indicate how bad this game was.
The starters for both teams were pulled for the fourth quarter, which is insane to see in a playoff game. I'm sure it's happened in 1 vs. 8 blowouts before, but I seriously doubt it was the 8-seed blowing out the 1-seed in any of those other games.
Kobe Bryant, who was actually in the conversation for best player in the league at some point in his overrated career, put up a whopping 12 points and didn't play a minute in the fourth. How does a "killer" like "Black Mamba" (which he totally ripped off from Kill Bill 2 and never credited, which is fucking low, Kobe) let this happen? Isn't he the most competitive player in the league?
Of course, it's not like he had much help. Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum led the Lakers with 13, but Gasol was terrible, grabbing only 4 rebounds. The Lakers as a whole gave a pathetic effort in the rebound department (not to mention every other department of the game), as evidenced most egregiously by a series in the 3rd quarter where Russell Westbrook took and missed a poorly conceived pull-up jumper, chased down his own rebound ALL THE WAY ON THE BASELINE, AFTER IT HIT THE FLOOR (!!!), and passed to Nenad Krstic (who converted a 3-point play).
I know I lambasted the Cavs for their performance in Game 3 on Thursday night, but at least they had enough heart to fight back from a 21-point deficit in the 3rd and put themselves in position to win the game. The Lakers just rolled over, and I can only hope that the Thunder win Game 5 in LA and really put the pressure on. We'll see how much "heart of a champion" is left in Kobe and the gang, or if they're the soft cowards they looked like in OKC on Saturday night.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
While perusing the results of the Browns day three draft, I found myself Googling each selection (since ESPN offers some pretty weak analysis). I looked up safety Larry Asante on CBS Sportsline and learned he is a converted linebacker who started his career at a junior college before landing in Nebraska (the Browns certainly do seem to value run-support ability in their safeties). Then I looked up wide receiver Carlton Mitchell out of South Florida, and the number two result was something called carltonmitchell.net.
I was blown away. How awesome is it that our 6th round pick has his own website? And that the main page of that site is a chart explaining how by the year 2021 he will be the second best receiver in the NFL (and will be the best from 2015 to 2018).
Now I know Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert and Eric Mangini probably scouted Mitchell and did all the work necessary to make sure he was a good fit for the team, but I like to hope that they went to his website, looked at that chart, and decided they had to take the league's number one receiver (circa 2015).
Welcome to Cleveland, Carlton. You are my new favorite rookie.
Over at Football Outsiders, they have a study up on the value of college running backs that involves a lot of stats and numbers that I do not understand at all. The part that caught my eye, however, was when they translated their mumbo-jumbo stats into ratings ranging from +3 to -3 that project a running back's future success in the NFL.
Friday, April 23, 2010
In case you haven't been following the MLB season closely yet, the Houston Astros are pretty terrible. They currently sit at 5-10 (which actually isn't that bad considering they started 0-8), and their 41 runs scored are 13 less than the next fewest total in the National League (Pittsburgh's 54).
All of this was more or less expected coming into the season. The shocking thing is that the Astros' leader in home runs and RBI is none other than former Indians fourth outfielder Jay-Mike himself, Jason Michaels!
Michaels has the amazing line of .286 BA, 2 HR, 5 RBI, .286 OBP (a walk is the pussy way on-base to Jay-Mike), .786 slugging, and 1.071 OPS. Granted, he has done all of this damage in only 14 at-bats, and I'm sure his numbers are going to come down to his usual replacement-player level, but let's ride this thing while we can. Jay-Mike for MVP!
Like any draft, the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft was full of surprises, head-scratchers, and potential home runs. Of course, it's pretty hard to evaluate how well a team has done less than six hours from when they made their selection, but I think you can judge how they did based purely on a value scale. One thing this first round showed more than most (I assume, but that could just be the recency effect wreaking havoc on my mind) is how one team's move can affect pretty much every other selection in the round.
That's the text I received at 9:51 Thursday night from my pal Chad while I was at work. The dreams of an undefeated postseason were dashed; the one-seed Cavs had been defeated by the eight-seed Bulls.
As soon as I digested the weight of those words "No," "more," "fo" (although it would have been a lot cooler if Chad had written "No mo fo fo fo fo," but I digress), I was awash with a rage that surprised me, a desire to bite the brim of my filthy Ohio State hat quelled only by my intense fear of whatever germs may be crawling on it. I wanted to scream nonsensical slurs at the Japanese executives going about their business around me, and pull the hair of my female co-worker. I wanted to shit on the president's desk, and then wipe my ass with the picture of his daughter (I'm guessing). Someone had to pay for this smear on the city of Cleveland and their basketball team, but my senses got the better of me and instead of essentially resigning from my job in the worst manner possible, I just punched my gut until I felt like I was going to cough up blood. The pain soothed my rage, and I began to reason through what had transpired.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
I meant to include this in my playoff thoughts, but I forgot. If you don't listen to Bill Simmons's podcast, he had an interview last Friday with Kevin McHale that was awesome. (You can listen to it here, which, if you really love me, you will do RIGHT NOW.) The Rick Mahorn story is worth it alone (although I can feel bad about laughing at Mahorn's expense considering his recent troubles), but McHale also describes Bill Laimbeer as a guy you couldn't see get hit enough, which is great. I came away with two major lessons from the interview: 1.) McHale probably kept his job in Minnesota for so long because he is just about the nicest guy ever; and 2.) the 1980s Boston Celtics liked to drink beer and fight almost as much as they liked to play basketball. If, after listening to the interview, you still don't believe McHale is great, then watch this:
As each playoff series shifts venues, I thought it would be a good time to look back on what transpired in the first two games and to look forward to what to expect in the lower seeds' home arenas. For those of you wondering when I'm going to get back to my Season In Review series, I can only say in good time. With the playoffs starting and the NFL draft going down, I felt there were more pressing issues at hand. Also, I'm growing a playoff beard for the Cavs, but it's not quite ready to be revealed to the world. Maybe it will be after they finish off the Bulls, so look forward to that!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
It's NFL Draft week, and while we all wait to hear the next crazy rumor out of Berea (the Browns are going to trade their entire draft for Sam Bradford; no wait, they're going to take Jimmy Clausen; no wait, they're going to trade down and take Colt McCoy in the middle of the first round; no wait, they're going to trade their number one for Big Ben; etc.), I figured I'd let you know exactly what's going to happen with the 3rd Annual (sort of) Diminishing Skills Mock Draft (you can read the first two here and here, but I must warn you, their accuracy may make your head explode). Just as with my killer weekly NFL picks--and Starting Lineup's decision to produce the pictured product--these are 100% correct.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
While the Eastern Conference is looking like it's going to be chalk throughout each of the first round matchups, the West projects to be a bit more interesting. With each team winning at least 50 games during the regular season, this year's field ranks as one of the deepest in league history, and should provide tight, prolonged series across the board.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Pistons; they lack a focused organizational mandate like the Pacers (although I suppose it could be argued that Indiana's mandate is to collect white guys); and they have a large amount of cap space this summer that is most likely going to be squandered, like the Wizards.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Welcome back for part 3 of my epic NBA season-in-review. Today we look at the Washington Wizards, the first team in the series with cap flexibility, but with an outlook for the future just as depressing as the Pistons or Pacers. I'm not all that happy with how the Detroit and Indiana pieces turned out, so I'm going to make the unprecedented move of changing the format of these things midstream. Now, instead of two sections of large blocks of text that you probably don't even read, I'm going to break things down into smaller categories including pre-season expectations, reality (what actually happened during the season), and the outlook going forward. Enjoy.