Yankees On a Roll

The Yankees are finally receiving consistent pitching, allowing them to win 6 of their last 8 games. While few of our key hitters are doing well with runners in scoring position, it hasn’t mattered as of late. Hiroki Kuroda has had a few good/great starts in a row (one-hitter through 7 today against Mets), CC Sabathia is as consistent as ever, and Ivan Nova’s most recent outing was outstanding. Meanwhile, Andy Pettitte is shockingly mowing them down – I have to admit, I was very against his comeback.* The only guy who is sub-par right now is really just Phil Hughes. I like where this is going, and with Brett Gardner returning soon, it will only get better. Just imagine how well we’d be doing if my guys Michael Pineda and Mariano Rivera weren’t out for the year!

*Pettitte isn’t the only guy having a fantastic comeback year. Adam Dunn has returned to form for the White Sox. His secret? He’s started taking batting practice. Wait…what? You mean that whole time last year that you were having the worst season in MLB history, you weren’t even practicing?! Well, hell, maybe that explains it you idiot.



…just when we all wrote off the Heat as finished (admit it – you did too), they come back with a monster game and demolish the Celtics to send the series to Game 7. LeBron quieted all the critics with a beastly, essential 45 points. I was hardly exaggerating when I told my dad earlier in the day that LBJ needed 50 for the Heat to win. You just have to wonder about a team that  is so inconsistent – a tale of two teams, really. The Heat can look unstoppable or completely confused and out of sync. Also, the Celtics were completely “brick” all night long. KG couldn’t even put in shots from point blank range. Because of Miami’s inconsistency and the Celtics’ surprisingly terrible shooting night, we can’t rule out the Celtics for a Game 7 win in Miami like we ruled out the Heat for a win tonight. The Celtics have too much on the line (a potential breakup of the big 3) and too much heart to come out with a dud in Game 7. Meanwhile, the Thunder are smiling to themselves as they get another day to rest and watch their future opponent…

LeBron reminded us all of his endless list of skills in Game 6. He had been putting up great numbers, but fans were starting to wonder if he could still dominate and take over games as he did in the past.

Notes from the Heat/Celtics Series

One big three has the image, the other has the heart. Can you guess which is which?

I’ve heard so much chatter about the Heat and Celtics. So much. Most of it is generic, baseless, or exaggerated. Here are a couple of notes that actually stuck with me, several being from Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless of ESPN’s First Take.

– The Heat have no excuse. As long as they two of the top 5 players in the world, the Heat should be capable of winning without Chris Bosh. And I’m not exempting the Knicks from this truth either – the Knicks have no excuses either (the injuries of Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert, and Baron Davis are not valid).

– LeBron, while he hasn’t been terrible in the clutch, has been insufficient. As has Wade. LeBron James averages around 28 points per game. He should thus average around 7 points per quarter. But because he is a superstar, and superstars produce most during the fourth quarter, he needs to be scoring 8 to 10 points in the fourth quarter (at least!) for me to be satisfied. He has failed to do so. Sure, he’s hit some big shots and neglected to completely disappear in the fourth like last year, but it has become abundantly clear that he doesn’t possess the so-called “clutch gene.” As for Wade, he seems to have lost his clutch mojo. I know he has it in him, because I’ve seen him devastate teams in the last 2 minutes. But he’s missed late shot after late shot, recently. As one friend poignantly put, “He’s spending too much time around LeBron.”

– Just like everyone else, I am surprised at how much Kevin Garnett has left in the tank. From his authoritative dunk last night, to his sweet midrange jumper that continues to be effective, Kevin has really impressed me. My favorite thing I’ve seen him do, though, is something most people probably didn’t see. In the last minutes of the game last night, the Celtics were huddling up, and Mickael Pietrus wasn’t putting his hand in all the way. KG grabbed his arm and stuck Pietrus’s hand into the huddle with everybody elses’ hands. To me, this encapsulates why the Celtics have a 3-2 lead on the Heat. While the Heat go back to its bench as individuals, and stars like Dwyane Wade spat with the coach Spoelstra, the Celtics come closer together with every huddle and Doc Rivers pep talk. I’ve come to respect the Celtics a lot during this series, and that’s coming from a Knicks fan.

– Eric Spoelstra is just a terrible coach. I want to root for him, because he never played basketball professionally and has worked his way up from being a lowly video guy for the Heat, but he simply has no command over his team. His decision not to play Chris Bosh in the final minutes of Game 5 is a perfect example. He reasoned that “it wouldn’t be fair to Chris” to put him is such a pressurized situation. Are you serious?! The man is exactly that: a man. He can handle it, especially considering the gobs of money he makes and his passion for the game of basketball. Could you ever picture Red Auerbach sitting Willis Reed or Phil Jackson sitting MJ because of a lack of fairness?! Obviously, Bosh is no Willis or MJ, but you get the point.

– The Heat have no cohesion or bench play to speak of. The role players for the Heat simply look confused. During the last plays of the game, they’re not evenly spaced or set up to help their leaders close out. They play hot potato with the ball until someone throws up a desperation shot. The bench play is just so sporadic; you can get a three or two here from Shane Battier, and a hustle play there from Norris Cole, but none of them can give you a solid effort through the whole game. The most telling statistic from Game 5 was that not a single person was in double figures outside of LeBron and D-Wade. To me, Mario Chalmers has let the Heat down. He’s probably the only guy outside of the big three that could potentially put up double figures, but he gives them a measly 9 points. On the other side, the Celtics routinely have a guy or two step up. From Keyon Dooling (an underrated guard whom I’ve always liked) to Mickael Pietrus to the impressive Greg Stiemsma, the Celtics’ bench almost always shows up.


I sound like just another person who hates the Heat, who has been waiting for this day to just leap on the Heat after picking them to win it all. But can you blame us haters? I feel completely justified in hating the Heat, considering that they’re against everything I stand for: taking shortcuts, Hollywood superficiality, arrogance. Let this be a lesson to all – taking shortcuts never works, and giant conglomerates such as the Heat’s big three are not a good recipe for successful teams or even good basketball. The Celtics’s big three has succeeded because of the fire in their collective belly and their will to win, unlike the Heat. Hopefully the Heat will be disbanded after their imminent Game 6 loss, and the league will start to move away from these powerhouses that teams are trending toward (trade Carmelo, anyone?).

The Decline of Potential Contributors

Jamal Crawford is just one player who the league seems to have decided to shun...even though he has several more effective years left in him (he's only 32 years old).

The Celtics got a much needed win last night because they finally got help from their bench. Marquis Daniels stepped up big. Which reminded me of a phenomenon that I’ve discovered in the last year  or so: the NBA decides when a player starts to decline, not when he does.

I’ve liked Marquis Daniels since he was coming up with Josh Howard in Dallas. If I coached, I would play Marquis much more. Speaking of Howard, what happened to him? He is suddenly irrelevant, getting unsubstantial minutes in Utah. He was the toast of Dallas just a few years ago. I guess going to Washington corrupted him. Nobody goes through Washington without losing a bit of their soul; Mike Bibby, Kirk Hinrich, you name it.  They all saw a major downsizing in minutes once coming out of the Wizards franchise…

It’s weird how the league basically decides when guys are done. No matter how much someone has left in the tank, the forces of supply and demand in the NBA labor market just tell guys that they are no longer going to receive big minutes. Jamal Crawford, for example, saw his minutes slashed this year. To me, he seems completely fine and should’ve continued to receive starter’s minutes. But the league has decided that Jamal Crawford will play a diminishing role from here on out. Other guys like Crawford ad Josh Howard are Richard Hamilton and Corey Maggette (there are more that I’m struggling to think of). These guys can still play at a very high level, if you ask me.

Maybe someday I’ll be an NBA scout so I can prevent these guys from being faded out too early…

Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington: A Parallel

What was on your mind last night? I was noticing last night how two good friends have had parallel careers. Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington are best buds, but are also very similar players and have experienced very interesting careers. I’m hoping you weren’t thinking about this too, because one person thinking about the comparison is weird enough.

Harrington and Jackson even played together in Golden State (left and center, respectively), pictured here with scrub Brendan Wright.

Both guys are dynamic offensive players. They’re big, so they can post anyone up, but they’ve also got the slashing  and ball-handling ability of many guards and the shooting ability of many small forwards. They’ve basically got it all offensively, and in their primes it was fun to watch them play. Both are fairly athletic and solid defensive players. In sum, they’re both guys that you want to be your second or third option. If they’re your first option, like Al Harrington was for the Knicks a few years ago, your team sucks. But as sidekicks, these guys were the best in the business. So why does nobody ever want them?

Both Jackson and Harrington have played for a lot of teams. For Jackson, the Nets, Spurs, Hawks, Pacers, Warriors, Bobcats, Bucks, and Spurs again. For him, the reason nobody wants him is obvious: he’s absolutely insane. This is the man who incited the Malice at the Palace, and has failed to coexist with many-a-coach. Harrington, meanwhile, is more difficult to explain. He’s been with the Pacers, Hawks, Pacers, Warriors, Knicks, and Nuggets (6 stints, as compared to Jackson’s 8). I guess his somewhat off-putting scalp wrinkles are to blame. But there is a larger reason for the expendability of both Harrington and Jackson: they’re tweeners. Neither is a bonafide star, nor a hustle guy who serves as the emotional heart of his team. So, when a team wants to make a trade for a star without giving up its top player or its valuable role players, they almost always throw the Al Harringtons and Stephen Jacksons of the world into the deal.

I have questions about the work ethic of both these guys – can you see either of them really working on their games during the summer? At this point, they’re both carrying around a bit of extra weight. Still, I like both a lot. I’ve actually met Al Harrington, and he’s a really nice guy. They worked together to form Protege, a clothing and sneaker line, that offered sweet basketball kicks at low prices that we normal folk can actually afford (unlike $200 Jordans). How bad can these two possibly be?

The league seems to have decided that their times are coming to an end, with each seeing his minutes fall in the last couple of seasons. Still, Harrington had a surprisingly productive season with Denver and Jackson is playing well for a championship contender. I know it’s kind of random and weird to be writing so much about two B level players and paralleling their careers, but these guys are under-appreciated and I think they’re cool (I bought their Protege sneakers), so deal with it.

Here’s a convenient highlight video of both guys. I turns out that there are freaks out there that do weird stuff like this, just like me… Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington Mix

Jackson and Harrington are similar players, have had similarly hectic careers, and are good friends. They even started a clothing and sneaker line, Protege, together.

Beat the Heat

At this point, I don’t even care who wins it all. Just not the Heat. Can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m actually rooting for the Celtics. To all my fellow die-hard Knicks fans out there, I’m sorry. The Heat are just too, too annoying. It’s all theatrics with them – I feel like the entire team sees the game as a performance on stage. They’re so Hollywood it’s unbelievable. Take, for example, LeBron’s mouth guard with the number XVI monogrammed into it (the number of games it takes to win a championship). Besides the fact that it makes him look like a homeless person, it’s also just so flashy and unnecessary.

I would love to see the Thunder make a comeback in this series. The Spurs are not as unlikable as the Heat, but they are so boring it’s painful. They go out on the court with the precision of a brain surgeon but the personality of a linen closet. Tim Duncan has to be one of my least favorite players ever, Manu Ginobli is a pure pest that thrives off of pure garbage shots, and Tony Parker is French (enough said). Besides my distaste for San Antonio, OKC is also my back-up team. My dad and I have decided that if the Knicks were to ever hire Isiah Thomas again, we’re jumping ship and becoming Thunder fans. Our hearts could not bear the pain of watching meddling James Dolan making such a colossal error (again).

I know the Celtics aren’t getting back into this series. Like Mike Francesa said today, they put up the performance of a lifetime last night, and still lost. Not a good sign. I feel bad because they deserved that game, no doubt about it, and the Heat stole it from them.

In conclusion, the Heat are headed to the Finals. All I need is someone to beat them in the Finals. But is it too much to ask for that team to be the Thunder?

Tim Duncan. He is the most interesting man in the world. Wait, scratch that, I meant least.

Hubie Brown

Hubie Brown may well be the worst sports commentator ever. The man states the obvious on a consistent basis and sets records for redundancy. Listening to him is over the river and through the woods – you have no idea where he is headed. Here is a sample of something Hubie might say: “The Boston Celtics are happy with their performance today. I will tell you why they are happy with their performance. They are happy with the performance because they scored more points in the painted area today than the other team. If you are a team in the National Basketball Association, that will always be your goal because when you shoot from closer in, your shots have a greater chance of going in and subsequently you will have a better chance to win the game.” As you can see, it’s two steps forward, one step back with him, with no real destination. My dad and I have an incredible impression of him – we might just have to record it for the blog. For now, here’s a video of Hubie struggling to say the “lull you to sleep” and a decent impression of Hubie (not as good as ours, though).

This face simply says, "I just pooped in my pants, and I'm mad at myself because I didn't see it coming."

Hubie Brown is an Incomprehensible Fool

Hubie Brown Impression

1st & 10

I was just watching 1st and 10 with Stephen A Smith and Skip Bayless. They treat each other horribly, and it’s a joy to watch. They hate each other because they are the exact same person: passionate, aggressive, abrasive. I completely understand why some people hate them both; they are so obnoxious and brash in their delivery that they threaten to ruin their own points. I’ve realized, though, that I usually agree with at least one of them. They are both very knowledgeable and think more deeply than most commentators these days. For example, Skip Bayless once said, “You’re going to think I’m crazy, but Dwyane Wade is the best player in the league.” Believe it or not, I totally agree with him. Wade is one of the most elusive, crafty slashers I’ve ever seen, he play’s very aggressive defense, he can knock down the mid range jumper, and above all, he’s a leader. Some might say Kobe, but Kobe has shown an unparalleled selfishness time and time again. Wade is always willing to defer to LeBron when necessary (even though D-Wade’s a better closer), while Bryant puts up massive numbers because he trys to be a one man show. I have no doubt that if Wade wanted to, he could put up the same, if not better numbers than Kobe given the same supporting cast. As for LeBron, the man cannot finish games and he relies on the fact that he is an athletic beast. If you put Wade in LeBron’s body, he’d be the best NBA player ever.

This picture pretty much sums it up. I sympathize with host Jay Crawford.

Here is a hilarious clip of Stephen A Smith absolutely verbally destroying Kwame Brown.

Stephen A Smith is hilarious

NBA Playoffs

The NBA playoffs are a joy to watch, not just because of the fantastic level of play, but because of how well run they are. The schedule is flawless; until the Finals, there is literally a game every single night. Right now, it’s alternating between the Eastern series and the Western series, and I feel like a kid in a candy store. There seems to be an endless supply of games – I don’t know what I’ll do when the playoffs end. I guess I’ll head to bed around 7 pm, when the games usually start.

Good to be back.


Giants’ Season Looking Ominous

Eli Manning and Coach Tom Coughlin are in for a long season...

I’m not feeling too good about this season for the Giants. It’s never a good sign when two former Giants head to our rivals (Plaxico to the Jets, Steve Smith to the Eagles). Even if Shaun O’Hara and Rich Seubert weren’t worth the money, Kevin Boss was worth it. I just have so many questions:

  1. How will Eli play, after such a poor season? Whether Giants fans want to admit it or not, Eli never truly got it going last year, and that was with a solid offensive line. I question Eli’s abilities.
  2. How will Ahmad Bradshaw fare? Even if he stops fumbling (big if), he doesn’t have a great offensive line anymore.
  3. Who will replace Steve Smith as our slot receiver and Kevin Boss as our blocking tight end? I have no issues with Nicks or Mario Manningham; I’m a huge fan of both, in fact. But they’re explosive deep threats, not first-down scorers. Meanwhile, Boss may not have been a huge part of the receiving game, but the guy can block. Is Travis Beckham a worthy starter? I don’t think so. Also, everybody’s talking about some third-round TE rookie…not going to win us playoff games.
  4. How will our defense hold up? Our defense killed us last year, especially down the stretch. Justin Tuck has never been the same since his Superbowl season, and Osi Umenyiora is fading, both in legs and attitude. Prince Amuknamara is not going to help anymore, being on the sideline with a broken foot. Our secondary is about the only part of the team that is looking bright, with Terrell Thomas and Antrel Rolle. Secondaries are not typically exciting.

The Giants are getting doubted by everyone, and hope to play with a chip on their collective shoulder. There are plenty of good reasons why people are doubtful though – only time will tell. At least there’s going to be a season!