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Posts Tagged ‘Eastern Conference’

The pre-game pose possibilities are both endless and terrifying.

The pre-game pose possibilities are both endless and terrifying.

It’s been a wild week in the NBA; so wild that it woke a sleeping Fennis from his summer’s slumber. “Zzzzzzzz…Huh? Shaq MMA fight?…Zzzzzzzzzz…Uh what? Fab Oberto a Piston?…grgh…Zzzzzzzzzzzz.”

What woke me for good was the sound of the giant, Shaquille O’Neal, fee-fi-fo-fumming his way from Phoenix to Cleveland in exchange for Big Ben, Little Sasha, and the 46th pick in a draft stocked with five quality players. In other words, Phoenix gave Shaq away for free. And why wouldn’t they? Big Grumpitude had his moments (most of them were in the All-Star Game), but ultimately failed to help the Suns rise. He is paid too large a sum of money to simply tear a team apart with menopause.

He will probably do well in Cleveland and likely be the piece that elevates them to the top of the East again. The over/under is three minutes on how long before Shaq uses his pairing with Lebron to call out Championship Kobe. When a Shaq puppet appears slanderously rapping about Kobe having small genitalia I won’t have to say I told you so. You’ll just know, and we’ll nod at each other.

Ben Wallace will retire to Phoenix just like many an old Jew. Did you ever think Ben Wallace would be compared to an old Jew when he was a 6’7″ center putting up Hakeem-like board and blocks numbers as the top defender in the league? When Big Ben and Shaq were battling down low late in the 2004-2006 playoffs, did you ever think they would both be involved in a two-team salary dump?

For Shaq, this is his last chance. For Wallace, it’s just his way out. A playmaking sharp-shooter like Sasha Pavlovic actually might thrive in Phoenix, but that’s a story for another post. You can expect that post approximately…never. If you’re even interested in that post I want you to leave this site forever.

Look at Kobe all pretending not to listen.

Look at Kobe all pretending not to listen.

Posted by BA Brokeass

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The Finals, finally. Get your last basketball fix until Summer League starts up in a few weeks.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS VS. ORLANDO MAGIC

Only one of you gets to taste gold this time.

Only one of you gets to taste gold this time.

DUBBS:  Well, here we are folks.  The beginning of the end of another long season.  It all comes down to this, the matchup everyone’s been talking about the entire year:  Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers versus Lebron James and the Cleveland – wait, what?  THE ORLANDO MAGIC ARE IN THE FINALS?!?!  How the hell did that happen?  Somebody fucked up!  Does David Stern know about this?  He is going to have somebody killed.  Seriously, Jewish Steel In The Finals of Chaos.  What happens now?  What about the the Kobe vs. Lebron Vitamin Water ads?  And those awful puppet commercials they keep trying to force us into finding funny?  WHO WILL SAVE THE RACIST PUPPET COMMERCIALS?!

BROKEASS: That awful puppet looks as much like Dwight as it does Lebron. That’s about poor puppetry. And you know I have no tolerance for poor puppetry. I also have no tolerance for how long these damn playoffs run. I can’t even remember what they’re fighting about anymore. I don’t want this series to be played. I want them to shake hands and call it a draw. Just give the championship ring to Lebron so he can stop pouting and shake somebody’s hand already.

DUBBS:  You are racist because you think all Black puppets look alike.  This series is going to be fun.  Because it’s unpredictable.  Everything was so predetermined for the Finals.  Then Orlando won and suddenly it wasn’t.  The matchups in this series are funkier than expected.  Two very different teams are facing off.  And we don’t have to listen to the announcers go on and on about Kobe and Lebron every minute of every game.  This series could be a blowout or it could go seven.  I have no idea.  You need to get excited again.  To flip the script on Steph’s sage words – You’re caught up in life.  You need to get caught up in basketball.

BROKEASS:  You wouldn’t know fun if it sucked you off at an amusement park. I’m caught up in a playoffs as old as time. Orlando making it to the Finals would’ve been exciting a month ago. Now, they’re just one of the last two teams awake. All the champion wins is the right to turn off the lights.

DUBBS:  A month ago, Orlando couldn’t have made it to the Finals.  That Magic team and this current Magic team are very different.  This is a team that has become who they are during the playoffs;  really, only a couple of weeks ago during the Boston series.  A young team coming into their own versus a veteran team expected to be there.  A young superstar trying to emerge as a dominant force and win his first championship versus an aging superstar trying to cement his rep as one of the greatest to ever play the game.  If this doesn’t wake you up, I think it’s time for me to trace my penis on your forehead.

BROKEASS:  I’m awake! I’m awake! Put your marker away. You could draw any penis, why does it have to be a self-portrait? The Lakers are awake, too. That Houston series guaranteed LA wouldn’t be sleepwalking through any more of the playoffs. Not discounting the Magic, LA is better. In retrospect, Orlando had clear advantages in the previous three rounds. Advantages that favored their best players. This time, far less so. Their positional advantages are no longer aligned with their positional strengths. If both teams play to the level of expectation, the Lakers will win.

DUBBS:  But who knows what the expectations are for Orlando?  The goalposts have shifted several times for them throughout the Playoffs.  They could show up with a Just Happy To Be Here vibe and get stomped.  Or they could show up and work hard and beat a team NOBODY’s giving them a chance to beat, just like last round.

BROKEASS: Is Orlando really better than we expected? Or are Cleveland and Boston worse? LA can’t be faulted for not exceeding expectations when expectations were for them to be fighting for a championship in June. They are. No one thought that Orlando would get this far and no one thinks they will win it. Sooner or later the critics will probably be right. This isn’t a challenge to the Magic’s resolve. They are the worse team in the series. If Dwight goes off like he did in the Conference Finals, sure, anything could happen. But the Lakers are younger, bigger, and healthier on the block than the Cavs.  If Boston could curtail him, he will be truncated by LA. There’s a subtle difference. Orlando needs to pick a point guard before anybody starts worrying about them.

DUBBS:  They need to stick with Rafer because he got them there and you don’t switch your lineup all around headed into the Finals.  Rafer seems to be developing a taste for the big moments.  And there’s no bigger moment than the NBA Finals.  If Jameer is healthy and not too rusty (which is a big if), bring him in as a backup.  But let Rafer lead the team.  Still sort of a scary thought.  That thing we complained about each round?  That Dwight Howard should be unstoppable but wasn’t?  Well, he is now.  Dwight Howard is a man. Andrew Bynum is a boy.  Pau Gasol is an old Spanish woman.  And Lamar Odom is a Diabetic coma waiting to happen.  Magic Shooters stay hot.  Dwight manhandles.  Stan Van keeps his cool (ha) and triumphs.  Orlando in 7. Magic Fan, I’m with you!

BROKEASS: Not even Mighty Dwight can steal a rebound from LO on a Skittles buzz. Odom, Gasol, and Ariza counterpoint Lewis, Turkoglu, and Pietrus (that’s right, a Mickael Pietrus reference before a series. You growing up, Barefoot!) better than any team in the league. And Kobe hasn’t even been mentioned yet! I’ll give Counrtney Lee more credit than we have in previous rounds. But donning that mask will be the only thing that prevents Kobe from breaking his face. A rookie standing between Black Mamba and a Shaq-less championship? As the kids say, laugh out loud. I agree with you about Skip and think, no matter how you slice it, point guard is an advantage the Magic hold. It’s an important one, and coupled with this coming-of-age big man you keep talking about, worth about two games. Lakers in 6. Countless LA douchebags, I’m siding with you.

Every one of our predictions, even the ones we disagreed on, have come true. The Finals will be no different.

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Stan Van Gundy was just as shocked as the rest of us.

Stan Van Gundy was just as shocked as the rest of us.

When an underdog defies all odds by beating an overwhelming favorite, we tend to say that no one thought it could be done. This is slightly inaccurate. No one, except the team itself, thought it could be done. In the case of the Orlando Magic, the superlative may actually be true.

Orlando is thinking long and hard about returning injured point guard Jameer Nelson to the lineup far ahead of schedule. They are referring to Nelson’s ailment as a “season-ending shoulder injury.” That is another slight inaccuracy. Yes, Nelson has been debilitated with a shoulder injury. But the season-ending part was the result of a timing-optional surgery the team chose for mid-season because serious title contention was a longshot.

Surprising EVERYONE, they made it to the final two teams. Their ultimate opponent is the Los Angeles Lakers and that only adds to the desire to test Jameer. He was the Magic’s best player in two close victories over LA, dropping 27 and 28 on the defenseless Lakers.

I am sure Jameer Nelson is pushing hard for this. In sports, the only thing harder than losing is watching your team win without you. Jameer has discovered a deeper ring of hell: Watching your team win with Rafer Alston instead of you.

I don’t know if it’s impressive that Orlando has beaten everyone’s expectations or depressing that the best team in the East gave up on their season in February. I guess I’m just happy we don’t have to endure any more of those puppet commercials.

Jameer Nelson has a case of the "Rafer Alston stole my position" blues.

Jameer Nelson has a case of the "Rafer Alston is stealing my championship" blues.

Posted by BA Brokeass

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Wally, you have lost your hugging priveleges.

Wally, you have lost your hugging privileges.

Game 5 started like most of the others: Cleveland went all in, building an insurmountable lead. Quarters 2 & 3 similarly followed series suit as Orlando surmounted the insurmountable lead. The final quarter has been the wild card in this series and last night was no different. Only Lebron, with his season on the line, decided to go it alone rather than leave anything to chance. 12 DIY minutes later, Lebron had his victory. Afterward, his teammates touted his greatness. His fourth quarter play clearly acknowledged their weaknesses.

This was the most Jordanesque game Lebron James has ever played. His stats were ridiculous (37, 14, 12), but that’s not what I mean. This was the game where he stopped seeing his teammates as partners and started seeing them as parts. Cleveland’s first 29 points of the final quarter were either scored or assisted by James. All the little Cavlings had to do was not fuck up. Mo hit a couple set shots. Boobie did too. Bronny took care of the rest. Playmaker, slasher, post-up man, head coach. Mike Brown stood on the sidelines looking like George Karl doing his impersonation of Doc Rivers.

This transformation may have occurred too late, though. Cleveland has yet to win in Orlando this season. Lebron needs to prove he can draw as much inspiration from boos as cheers. His greatest weakness seems to be that he likes being liked too much. Popularity matters to him. Game 6 will be the first test of whether he’s ready to be hated. Because Orlando’s fans will be cheering a trip to the Finals unless Lebron silences them. That starts with quieting his teammates.

Posted by BA Brokeass

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Mo Williams is reasonably confident his team can do it.

Mo Williams is somewhat confident his team can do it.

Guarantee we’re going to win the series? Yeah, yeah. We are down 2-1. But there is nobody on this team and definitely not myself that says we are not going to win this series. Yeah, it is going to be tough. We know that. We get this game tomorrow, go home, still got home-court advantage. We don’t see ourselves losing two out of three at home.” — Mo Williams, inspiring very little confidence in his team.

Nothing like posing a guarantee as a question. Athlete interviews have become as calculated and uninspired as math tests. These men are trained to say nothing. Just ask Lebron. He won’t tell you, because he has been trained to say nothing. Mo not only says plenty, he says it poorly. Read sentence four: “But there is nobody on this team and definitely not myself that says we are not going to win this series.” Decontextualized, with only a few word omissions and no shift in sequence, this sentence can read, “There is nobody on this team and we are not going to win this series.” Even quoted word-for-word, with context, the sentence reeks of self-doubt. This guarantee should make Orlando more confident than ever.

And how about that last sentence: “We don’t see ourselves losing two out of three at home.” Mo Williams and his positive visualizations don’t see Cleveland losing a total of three out of four home games to the Orlando Magic. We are talking about a team that has lost three out of 47 home games this season. And the best Mo Williams can come up with is that he doesn’t see it happening a couple more times.

Usually guarantees are intended to rally the troops. Clearly, this time, Mo Williams was tricked into making one because he recently had his small brain jarred loose by an Anthony Johnson elbow. Guarantees often come from swelled heads. Apparently swelled faces do the trick, as well.

Screw that tissue! Get me a reporter!

"What happened? Did I make the All-Star team?"

Posted by BA Brokeass

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Lebron’s winning shot from Game 2 of Cleveland-Orlando has been shown more times than Paris Hilton’s hoo-ha. If you’ve been under a rock (or in Paris Hilton’s hoo-ha), check it out:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Huge shot, no question. Was it Jordanesque? It depends which Jordan we are talking about. It was reminiscent of the shot referred to (creatively) as “The Shot.” But that predates Jordan’s first championship by two seasons. In the time between “The Shot” and “The Ring,” MJ went from winning games to playing like a winner. Lebron will learn the difference eventually.

The #23 that won all those ‘ships could’ve hit that 23-footer, but he wouldn’t have had to. Because he would never let a 23-point home-court lead evaporate. And if, miraculously, he did blow that lead, after sinking the game-winner he wouldn’t look shocked by it. Even if he was stunned, he wouldn’t then run around like a crazed puppy/Glen Davis. He would pump the fist, nod to Oakley for setting the screen, and walk off the court. Same as any shot (minus the walking off the court part).

The first two games of this series really call into question the season-long lovefest between Lebron and his Cavlings. Chemistry is an important quality to find in balanced teams. Our recently deceased Pistons were friends and equal partners in success. San Antonio was the best squad of the decade thanks to a proportional attack. Most teams aren’t built that evenly. Jordan’s teammates feared him like the devil. Kobe Bryant, despite all his posturing, hates every person on the planet. KG makes his teammates cry. They are all champions.

Thanks to a decided lack of adversity during the regular season and first two playoffs rounds, Lebron has been allowed to act as benevolent king. Heading to Orlando at the disadvantage, we will now see if he can rule with an iron fist. All signs point to no. Cleveland didn’t defeat the Magic, Lebron did. A killer makes sure everyone recognizes that. He definitely doesn’t celebrate alongside the punks that almost blew it for him. My father never gave me a hug after bailing me out of a pickle. And he is required to love me.

After blowing two massive leads, someone needs to yell at these Cavaliers. At this point the King’s verbal wrath will do more damage than good. Game 3 could end up Cleveland vs. Orlando and a Delonte West pout session. Lebron has coddled these fools for too long and now he’s worried about upsetting his friends. What he doesn’t yet realize is that friendships are for the offseason (and gay poses are for the championship trophy presentation). The season, and especially the playoffs, are a struggle. If it doesn’t feel like all work, you’re probably not trying hard enough.

The Original 23 never had that problem. And he didn’t need to be called King for everyone to know he ruled the game. The Current 23, “King” James, can’t even keep his own house in order. For all his greatness, Lebron still has a few lessons to learn.

Hugs are for the mediocre.

Lesson 1: Hugs are for the mediocre.

Posted by BA Brokeass

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That’s how the game started. After halftime, the rest of Orlando’s players showed up. Late in the game, Delonte West literally started to disappear. And by the end of the night, Lebron was pretending to be injured. Magic 1, Cavaliers 0, despite 49 on 66% shooting from Lebro-dog and a 15 point halftime lead for Cleveland. Credit due to Orlando, but I’m sticking with my prediction: Cavs in 4.

This sleeper hold explains Clevelands second half performance in Game 1.

This sleeper hold explains Cleveland's second half performance in Game 1.

Posted by BA Brokeass

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