Tag: Portland Trail Blazers

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Sneaker Watch: Adidas Crazylight Boost

adidas-crazy-boost-light-01

Adidas have unveiled the new, amazing ‘Crazylight Boost’ sneaker for Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.

The new sneaker pays homage to the Blazers Point Guard, with the colourway of Purple, Red & Black nodding at Lillards College colours of Weber State and his NBA home of Portland. Lillard’s nickname of ‘DAME’ is also incorporated into the shoe with the ‘E’ in the name using the 3 stripes of Adidas. Neat.

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The Big Man Curse

The NBA big man. Such an integral piece to any team hoping to be competitive in a sport basically designed to favour those who are giants. But through my research i’ve found out that it doesn’t always work out that way. Being tall doesn’t neccessarily make you a force in the hoops world. In fact I think i’ve worked out the fomula. It did require a few explosions and probes but I promise no baller was hurt in the making of this post. (more…)



Playoffs

2014 NBA Playoff Race

 

With the 2013-14 NBA regular season coming to a close there are still a number of playoff spots up for grabs. Let’s take a look at the run home for those still with a shot at a post-season berth in both the Eastern and Western Conferences.

Eastern Conference

There are five teams who have clinched playoff spots in the east which leaves, realistically, five teams to fight for the remaining three spots.

6 – Washington Wizards 38 – 36

Run home – Boston, @NY Knicks, Chicago, Charlotte, @Orlando, Milwaukee, Miami, @Boston.

The Wizards have five home games and three on the road in their run towards the playoffs. Two of their eight games are against opposition who have a better record than themselves and with this is mind; we should see the Wizards in the post season for the first time since 2008 and with a decent sixth seed.

Prediction

43-39 .524. Playoff bound.

7 – Charlotte Bobcats 36 – 38

Run home – @Philadelphia, Orlando, @Cleveland, @Washington, @Boston, Philadelphia, @Atlanta, Chicago.

The Bobcats have five of their eight games on the road leading into the playoffs but the good news for Charlotte fans is that four of the five games are against teams with inferior records to their own. Of the three home games only Chicago have the superior record. The Bobcats should win five of their eight remaining games and clinch just their second playoff appearance since the team’s inception in the 2004-05 season.

Prediction

42-40 .512. Playoff bound.

8 – Atlanta Hawks 32 – 41

Run home – Chicago, Cleveland, @Indiana, Detroit, Boston, @Brooklyn, Miami, Charlotte, @Milwaukee.

The Hawks have the luxury of playing six of their remaining nine games on their home court but the problem lies with them having to face Chicago, Indiana, Brooklyn and Miami in their remaining games. The Hawks should win as many as they lose to finish the season, losing to the aforementioned teams whilst beating the hapless Bucks, Pistons and Boston during their run toward a post-season appearance, scraping in with the eighth seed.

Prediction

37-44 .451. Playoff bound.

9 – New York Knicks 32 – 43

Run home – Brooklyn, Washington, @Miami, @Toronto, Chicago, @Brooklyn, Toronto.

The Knicks season has been one of major disappointment and their slim hopes of making the playoffs aren’t looking good. Their run home consists of teams that all have a better record than themselves including the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets. It’s hard to see the Knicks winning too many of these games and they seem doomed to finish one of their most frustrating seasons on record with a failure to make the post-season.

Prediction

33-49 .402. Playoffs missed.

10 – Cleveland Cavaliers 30 – 45

Run home – @Orlando, @Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, @Milwaukee, Boston, Brooklyn.

The Cleveland Cavaliers started the season with high hopes but the reality has been far from flattering in Cleveland. Even after picking up Luol Deng the Cavs look very unlikely to see their season end in a playoff appearance. They have  three road games and four at home on their run home and despite having a decent chance at winning most of them their current record doesn’t have them in much of a commanding position. Its looks like the Cavaliers are destined for the post LeBron blues once again.

Prediction

34-48 .415. Playoffs missed.

 

Western Conference

The western conference playoff race is going to be an interesting one. With so many teams fighting for seeding and a few fighting to make the eight there are some key matchups in the coming days that could decide who makes the playoffs and who doesn’t. Let’s take a look at the run home for the west.

4 – Houston Rockets 49 – 24

Run home – @Toronto, OKC, @Lakers, @Denver, @Minnesota, New Orleans, San Antonio, @New Orleans.

The Rockets have a chance to land the four seed in the strong western conference and have a run home that should see them finish with a good record and a great chance at that seeding. They face only two teams who would be favoured to beat them in the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs in their final eight games and should they win six as predicted they will finish the season with a very respectable 55 wins.

Prediction

55-26 .671. Playoff bound.

5 – Portland Trail Blazers 49 – 27

Run home – Phoenix, New Orleans, Sacramento, @Utah, Golden State, Clippers.

Five home games and one road game against a less than stellar Utah Jazz should see the Trail Blazers win the majority of their remaining games. Two tough games against the Warriors and Clippers round out the regular season in Portland and despite the fact that they should start as under dogs in those particular games it’s a stern test prior to what should be their first playoff appearance since 2011. How far they can go in a stacked western conference in the post-season is debatable but it’s been a successful season for Portland.

Prediction

53-29 .646. Playoff bound.

6 – Golden State Warriors 46 – 28

Run home – @San Antonio, Sacramento, Utah, Denver, @Lakers, @Portland, Minnesota, @Denver.

The Warriors have been on a bit of a slide of late and it has put some question marks on their title aspirations but their run home should ensure they make the post-season. Home games against the likes of Sacramento, Utah, Denver and Minnesota should yield positive results with road games against the Spurs and Portland proving a challenge. All in all the Warriors have a good run into the playoffs.

Prediction

53-29 .646. Playoff bound.

7 – Memphis Grizzlies 44 – 30

Run home – @Minnesota, Denver, @San Antonio, Miami, Philadelphia, @Lakers, @Phoenix, Dallas.

The Grizzlies sit in a precarious position and with some big names to play on their run home it’s a distinct possibility they slip out of the playoffs. They play four games on the road and four at home. I see them splitting their remaining games with wins over the Timberwolves, Nuggets, 76ers and Lakers but the likes of Miami, San Antonio, Dallas and Phoenix will prove more challenging.

Prediction

48-34 .585. Playoff bound.

8 – Phoenix Suns 44 – 30

Run home – Clippers, @Portland, OKC, @New Orleans, @San Antonio, @Dallas, Memphis, @Sacramento.

The Phoenix Suns were supposed to be talking lottery about now, instead they find themselves fighting for a playoff spot in a strong western conference. Their run home is a tough one with five of eight games on the road and with teams like the Clippers, OKC, San Antonio and Dallas in their schedule it’s hard to see them making the post-season. A great effort to be where they are right now but I fear it will all be in vain.

Prediction

47-35 .573. Playoffs missed.

9 – Dallas Mavericks 44 – 31

Run home – @Clippers, @Lakers, @Sacramento, @Utah, San Antonio, Phoenix, @Memphis.

The Dallas Mavericks have to play all but two of their remaining games on the road, but thankfully for Mavs fans most are winnable. With the exception of the Clippers and Memphis it’s fair to say Dallas should be favoured to win against the Lakers, Kings and Jazz and their home game against Phoenix has to be a huge factor for both team’s playoff aspirations. I see the Mavs sneaking into seventh or eighth in the west.

Prediction

49-33 .596. Playoff bound.

 

 

 

 



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Coach-of-the-year award wide, wide open

When it comes to voting for the 2013-14 NBA Coach of the Year, I wish those ‘fortunate’ enough to be asked to fill out a ballot all the very best of luck.

Always a hotly contested award, this season has an even deeper field of worthy recipients, for which I personally struggle to nominate the one eventual winner.

Though there remain roughly 20 games left to play for each team in the regular season, it’s already evident that a number of coaches will be deserving of the accolade.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich has done a remarkable job of managing his roster through injures and advanced age, and once again has the Spurs positioned as one of the best teams in the West.

Image Courtesy of BallerBall.com

Image Courtesy of BallerBall.com

Pop’s use of his bench has once again been brilliant, and the Spurs propensity to move and share the ball is a credit to their coach. They’ll once again make the playoffs, and it would be a brave man that writes off their chances of making the Finals for the second year in a row.

At the beginning of the season, I struggled to see how the Phoenix Suns would win double figure games. They promptly achieved that feat in the opening month of the season. Egg meet face.

Ex-Suns guard Jeff Hornacek has done a wonderful job with the team, who compete every night, and despite lacking the elite-level talent of other teams, play with energy and hustle.

Though any young team should play with enthusiasm, the most surprising aspect of the Suns’ season is their intelligence. The team plays smart basketball, and full praise for that must go to their coach.

Chicago Bulls Tom Thibodeau has become a victim of his own success. It’s now simply a given that his teams will be outstanding defensively, hustle their butts off, and do their best of overcome their offensive limitations via solid teamwork. And do so in every single game.

Never mind the fact the Bulls are once again without their most talented player and only true creator, Derrick Rose. Never mind the fact that Chicago are currently third in the Eastern Conference. Never mind the fact that they are still beating the league’s best teams despite all evidence suggesting they shouldn’t be.

Image Courtesy of NBA.com

Image Courtesy of NBA.com

‘Thibs’ deserves way more recognition than he gets. The Bulls aren’t just staying afloat and competitive; they actually remain an upper echelon team. It’s an amazing achievement, which could see Thibs take home his second Coach of the Year award.

Not much was expected of the Dallas Mavericks at the start of the year, but via a resurgent Dirk Nowitzki, the surprisingly steady play of Monta Ellis, and the tactical brilliance of Rick Carlisle, the Mavs are right in the thick of the playoff hunt in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.

The Mavs execute extremely well, and though the players receive the ultimate kudos, Carlisle is the mastermind behind it all.

Erik Spoelstra is criminally underrated as a coach. I can only assume he doesn’t receive the respect he deserves because people believe that any coach should have success with the stars on Miami’s roster. While there is unquestionably some truth to that sentiment, ‘success’ is subjective until you actually win the title, something Spoelstra has now done twice.

It also shouldn’t be forgotten that handling egos is a difficult but vital aspect of NBA coaching, for talent alone doesn’t guarantee championships.

Image Courtesy of ESPN.com

Image Courtesy of ESPN.com

Yet even beyond the excellent man-management skills, Spoelstra has shown himself to be a great tactician. It was Spoelstra who implemented the offence which capitilises on LeBron James’ unique skill set. It was ‘Spo’ who refuses to give players traditional positions, but rather relies on a system that has constant movement and flexibility.

Miami’s smothering defense – particularly their half court press – is further proof that the Heat are a well coached side, of which Spolestra is the chief architect.

Scotty Brooks deserves credit for keeping the Oklahoma City Thunder at the top of the Western Conference standings, despite the fact he has been without the services of his second best player, Russell Westbrook, for large chunks of the season.

Brooks has made some subtle changes to OKC’s offense, however one feels that Kevin Durant will receive much of the kudos for keeping the Thunder rolling – rather than their coach – with KD’s sublime season probably having the averse effect of robbing Brooks of some votes.

Image Courtesy of BallerBall.com

Image Courtesy of BallerBall.com

That’s six coaches I’ve already named as potential recipients of the Coach of the Year award, yet it is far from an exhaustive list.

I could very easily be talked into Portland’s Terry Stotts, Indiana’s Frank Vogel, Los Angles’ Doc Rivers and Houston’s Kevin McHale being legitimate candidates as well.

Even the Charlotte Bobcats’ Steve Clifford has done a fantastic job reconfiguring the team around the offensive skills of Al Jefferson, and may be lucky enough to have the odd ballot with his name on it, yet I doubt he’ll actually take home the hardware.

Likewise, would anyone be really upset if Dwayne Casey’s effort in Toronto was recognised? The Warriors’ Mark Jackson? The Grizzlies’ David Joerger?

It’s a large field, and to those tasked with naming the NBA Coach of the Year, I don’t envy your job one little bit.



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Old Scores, New Glories

So last week I wrote over 6000 words for NBA Nation Australia’s Weekly Hoop Scoop piece and while it wasn’t a problem to do, it was very time consuming. With that in mind, I’ve decided to change up the weekly recap to a more streamlined one. There will be a highs and lows for each day as well as some highlights but gone is the recap of every single game. Hey, I need more time to drink beer you know!

This week has been an extremely hard one for Bulls fans, me included. Unless you have been living under a rock or have just come out of a coma then you know Derrick Rose has injured his other knee and its put a bit of a dampener on things for fans of Chi town basketball. I wrote a few words immediately following the injury if you’re interested in them, here’s a link – http://nbanationaustralia.com/2013/11/23/so-now-we-wait/

Anyway, what’s done is done regarding the former MVP and it’s time to move on, so welcome back to the week that was in the NBA for NBA Nation Australia, or as I’m calling it, Old Scores, New Glories.

Monday 18th November

The Highs

There were three games on the schedule to start the week with the best performance coming from the Los Angeles Lakers Jordan Hill, career highs in points and rebounds and a win over the Detroit Pistons. Hill had 24 points on 11 of 16 from the field and 17 rebounds. Talk about a much improved player so far this year!

Rudy Gay has been having a year to forget so far but was actually very good for the Raptors in their loss to Portland. He had 30 points on 12 of 27 from the field, which for him is a very high percentage this year, he also grabbed 10 boards and hit the shot to take the game into overtime.

Nic Batum continues to impress this season as he had 24 points including 5 of 8 from downtown in that same game for Portland.

Zach Randolph was huge for Memphis in their win over the Sacramento Kings. He scored 22 points on 9 of 12 shooting from the field, including 9 in the fourth period, and grabbed 10 boards.

The Lows

Robin Lopez contributed very little for Portland in their win over the Kings. He played 24 minutes, shot 1 of 2 from the field for his 6 points and grabbed 5 boards before he fouled out of the game. His plus minus was -7, which was the worst on the Trail Blazers roster for the game.

The Detroit Pistons bench, minus the efforts of Rodney Stuckey who had 16 points, could only manage a paltry 4 points for the entire game.

Highlights

Tuesday 19th November

The Highs

Kevin Durant had 38 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s win over the Denver Nuggets. His partner in crime, Russell Westbrook added 30 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists proving that OKC have one of the best one-two punches in the league.

#MontaHaveItAll. I’m sure we’re all well aware of the player Monta Ellis once was but are we all aware of the player he’s becoming? Ellis is becoming an efficient shooting, defensively adept and a real team player in Dallas and he was great for the Mavs in their win over Philadelphia. He had 24 points on 7 of 14 from the field, 10 assists and 4 rebounds.

Z Bo done it again on Tuesday with his 26 points on 10 of 16 from the field, 15 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in the Grizzlies big win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Lows

The Bulls Bobcats game. Not one for the faint of heart or casual viewer. Both teams shot the ball at less than 37% in a total snooze fest of a game. Kemba Walker shot 3 of 14 for his 8 points in the contest and Derrick Rose 4 of 13 for his 12 points.

The Brooklyn Nets continue to be a major disappointment. Paul Pierce shot 2 of 12, Joe Johnson 4 of 12 and the team shot 36.5% for the game. Going nowhere fast!

Wilson Chandler’s 3 for 12 from the field, 8 points in Denver’s loss to OKC wasn’t particularly pretty.

Highlights

Wednesday 20th November 

The Highs

DeMarcus Cousins is looking like he may have gotten a handle on his erratic behaviour, not to mention his inconsistent play. He was sensational for the Kings in their win over the Phoenix Suns. He had 27 points on 9 of 18 from the field, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks.

The Washington Wizards pulled off an upset win over the Minnesota Timberwolves and it was John Wall who led the way with 14 points, 5 rebounds and he tied his career high with 16 dimes. Kevin Love was good for Minnesota in the loss as he put up 25 points and grabbed 11 boards.

Terrence Jones was great for Houston in their big win over the Boston Celtics. He scored 24 points on an amazing 10 of 12 from the field. He added 9 rebounds and 2 blocks in the 109-85 win.

The Lows

The Boston Celtics lost by 24 points to the Houston Rockets, shot the ball at 32.3% from the field and 35% from downtown and just thoroughly embarrassed themselves. Avery Bradley was 5 for 22 from the field in the game and had a shocking plus minus of -36.

The Atlanta Hawks starting five were out scored by their bench in the loss to the Miami Heat 46-42. The Hawks never really looked like a chance of downing the defending champions as they went down 104-88.

Ben McLemore shot 5 of 13 from the field in the Kings win over the Suns. 38.5% from the field for the game with no assists. Hes also shooting 37.6% on the year and averaging only 0.8 assists per game. Inefficient and not much vision.

Highlights

Thursday 21st November

The Highs

Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki are proving to be quite the combination. They combined for 72 points in Dallas’ 123-120 win over Houston. Ellis had 37 points on 13 of 18 from the field with 8 dimes whilst Dirk had 35 points on 13 of 20 from the field and 7 boards.

Paul George’s MVP caliber season continues as he put up 35 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in the Pacers dramatic overtime win over the New York Knicks. He shot the ball at 12 for 26 from the field and had 5 steals to boot.

Anthony Davis has been nothing short of a revelation this season and his fine form was once again on display as the Pelicans downed Utah 105-98. Davis had 22 points on 9 of 12 from the field, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 8 blocks.

Dwight Howard showed off some of his low post moves in Houston’s loss to Dallas. He was a perfect 8 for 8 from the field at one point before finishing with 33 points on 12 of 16 from the field and 9 of 13 from the free throw line with 11 rebounds.

The Lows

Paul Pierce had just 12 points on 3 of 11 shooting in the Nets loss to Charlotte. He is now averaging 37.8% from the field for the season. Could be time to farewell the NBA if this keeps up.

The Cleveland Cavaliers starting line-up. Whilst Kyrie Irving scored 28 points, the other four starters only managed to score 7 points in the game. If they have any hopes of making the playoffs they will need this to improve out of sight.

The Orlando Magic bench was poor in their loss to the Miami Heat. They only managed 14 points for the game, despite four of them playing 15 minutes or more.

Another poor shooting night for Rudy Gay, 6 for 16 from the field. Becoming all too familiar really.

The Utah Jazz. Do I need to say anymore?

Highlights

Friday 22nd November

The Highs

Only two games played today, the Denver Nuggets beat the Chicago Bulls and were led by the play of Jordan Hamilton who had 17 points on 6 of 12 from the field and 6 rebounds.

The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-91. Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 28 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists while shooting 10 of 19 from the field.

The Lows

Luol Deng managed to grab 13 boards in the Bulls loss to Denver but he struggled to score, shooting just 3 of 18 from the field. A game to forget for Deng.

JJ Reddick shot 3 for 11 from the field for his 8 points in the Clippers loss to OKC.

Highlights

Saturday 23rd November

The Highs

Pau Gasol had 24 points on 11 of 19 shooting as the Los Angeles Lakers took out the victory against the Golden State Warriors. Gasol also added 10 rebounds and 3 assists in the win. Vintage Pau.

Caron Butler dropped 38 points including 4 of 8 from long range in the Bucks loss to the 76ers.

Spencer Hawes is having an unbelievable season so far and he was big for Philly in their win over Milwaukee. He scored 25 points, including the game tying three to take the game into overtime, 12 rebounds and 2 assists.

Kevin Love played just 28 minutes in Minnesota’s win over Brooklyn but he was big in those minutes. he had 17 points on 5 of 11 from the field and 16 boards.

The Portland Trail Blazers. They won their ninth straight with a victory over the Chicago Bulls.

The Lows

Derrick Rose, Andre Iguodala and Marc Gasol all left their games with serious injuries and all three of them are listed as out indefinitely for their teams. The Rose injury was especially bad considering he was only eleven games into his return from a torn ACL.

There were some other ordinary performances throughout the league but the real low was the injuries to the three big name players. A sad day in the NBA.

Highlights

Sunday 24th November

The Highs

The Portland Trail Blazers won their tenth straight with a win over the Golden State Warriors and it was LaMarcus Aldridge who led the way with 30 points and 21 rebounds.

Roy Hibbert’s 27 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocks ensured the Pacers would continue on their winning ways.

John Wall had 31 points on 10 of 18 from the field and 7 assists as the Wizards downed the hapless Knicks.

Leading candidate for Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams scored 29 points in the 76ers loss to Indiana. He shot 11 for 21 from the field and added 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 7 steals.

DeMarcus Cousins had 23 points, 19 rebounds and 7 assists in Sacramento’s loss to the Clippers.

The Lows

The Sacramento Kings only had three players score in double figures in their loss to the Clippers.

The New York Knicks. Yes they really are 3-9 this season.

JJ Barea shot 1 of 10 from the field and had only 1 assist in 18 minutes of court time in Minnesota’s loss to Houston.

The Milwaukee Bucks dropped to 2-10 for the season with a loss to the Bobcats. They shot a paltry 35.3% in the game and only one player scored more than 10 points in the loss.

Highlights



Image courtesy of @iropp on Twitter.

So, Now We Wait

Image courtesy of @iropp on Twitter.

Image courtesy of @iropp on Twitter.

Derrick Rose left the court with an apparent knee injury in today’s 98-95 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland. The injury was to his right knee (his left knee is the surgically repaired one) and although the prognosis isn’t known until an MRI is performed tomorrow, the injury, which was a non contact one, looked to be serious. 

They say writing and creativity is cathartic, hence my reason for these words. It’s not always fun being a sports fan, you have the highs and the lows but ultimately, like anything you love, you endure. I remember the feeling I had when Derrick Rose went down in that playoff game with the ACL tear and it wasn’t a good feeling but it was better than how I currently feel.

Sure, there’s still a reason to be optimistic, the injury he received today has not been confirmed as anything serious, yet I feel as though it’s somehow worse being on the back of the first one.

Having to come back from a second serious knee injury would undoubtedly see Rose return a different player. We haven’t really had the chance to see exactly how he’s come back from the first knee injury, being only 11 games into the season, yet here we are discussing the possibility of another one.

The first and most unfortunate thing that comes to mind so soon after the loss to Portland and the departure of Rose with the injury, is the long list of blown out knees that have derailed many an NBA players career. Portland themselves have had a few of their own guys have these issues, Brandon Roy and Greg Oden come to mind.

The worst part about this though, for me, is that we have seen what Derrick Rose is capable of, the Rookie of the Year award, the MVP, the big time explosive games that he’s played in in the past and should we never get to see Rose perform like that again it would be more than sad for many a Bulls fan and many fans of the game in general.

Rose will have an MRI tomorrow in Los Angeles and there will be thousands of people, if not millions that are praying the result of that will be a positive one, myself included. In the mean time we wait, ponder and hope. Welcome to the world of being an avid sports fan. I guess tomorrows another day but just how bright it is depends.

 

 

 

 



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Portland Off to a Hot Start

DameROMFebNEWS

It’s amazing what a good bench can do for a basketball team. It’s all well and good to want to talk about stars on a basketball team but often it’s the bench players, role players, hustle players that add that missing link that can turn an average team into a good one.

The Portland Trail Blazers have gotten off to a phenomenal start this season and whilst it’s early days the improvement that their new bench additions have provided is proof that there is more to winning than just having a good starting five.

Portland does have a good starting five, Damian Lillard is a future star, LaMarcus Aldridge is one of better shooting big men in the league, he can play the four and the five as well. Nic Batum is as versatile a player as you’ll find, they have a genuine centre in Robin Lopez and Wesley Matthews is a solid shooting guard who can create his own shot.

Their starting line-up was never the problem though last season; it was the complete lack of depth and talent in the second five that was the biggest issue for them. This season though, the Trail Blazers are off to a 9-2 start and lead the Northwest Division over the more fancied Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves and their bench has been a major factor in the hot start.

The off season additions of C.J. McCollum, Robin Lopez, Dorell Wright, Mo Williams, Thomas Robinson, Allen Crabbe and Earl Watson have given the Trail Blazers much needed depth to take the next step.

Portland’s new look roster is one with a huge offensive presence. They are averaging 104.6 points per game this season which is good for eighth in the league right now and is an extra 7.1 points per game compared with last season. Their offensive rating, courtesy of basketball reference, is 110.6 which is third in the league, again this is a big step up from last season’s 105.8 (15th).

The Trail Blazers offense is so successful, in part, because of their three point shooting prowess. They are currently shooting 42% from behind the arc as a team, fourth in the NBA and have connected on 100 treys so far this season, third in the NBA. Some of the aforementioned bench players are responsible for such a high percentage of threes being made. Dorell Wright is currently 12 for 27, 44.4% and Mo Williams has added nine treys to start the season.

The Trail Blazers still have C.J. McCollum to return to the line-up and considering he shot an amazing 51.6% from long range as a senior in college it’s safe to say the Blazers can only get better offensively from long range.

Portland are proving to be a great three point shooting team thus far but it’s also their perimeter defense that is playing a part in their early success. They lead the NBA in opponents three point field goal percentage, at 29%. This kind of perimeter defense combined with such hot long range shooting and overall depth is proving to be the catalyst for winning ball games for the Trail Blazers.

The season is young and Portland are yet to face some of the upper tier teams in the NBA so there is no certainty of them making that next step and playing post season basketball but the phenomenal start could very well be the beginning of something for this youthful, talented team. Whatever does happen, it’s been an exciting and memorable start to the season and I for one have enjoyed the ride so far.



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Weekly Hoop Scoop #2

So last week’s edition of the weekly hoop scoop was M.I.A due to some much deserved, OK, maybe just needed, holiday time for myself and now that I’m back in the realm of weekly drudgery, a few kilos heavier and with an even bigger drinking habit than before I left, I felt it was time to get back to informing our loyal readers with all that’s been happening in the world of the NBA.

There’s been a veritable plethora of action as per usual this week so welcome back to the Weekly Hoop Scoop at NBA Nation Australia.

Monday November 11th

San Antonio Spurs 120 – New York Knicks 89.

The New York Knicks horror start continued when they were blown out by last year’s NBA finalists the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs were led by the stellar three point shooting of Danny Green and by the ever improving Kawhi Leonard. Green had 24 points and went 6 of 9 from the behind the arc and Leonard added 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting.

The Knicks shooting was abysmal, 37.8% from the field and 27.3% from three point range. Carmelo Anthony had 18 points and 8 rebounds but it was nowhere near enough to keep the Knicks in the game. The pressure mounts for Coach Mike Woodson.

Oklahoma City Thunder 106 – Washington Wizards 105.

OKC and the Wizards fought out a memorable clash in Oklahoma City. The Thunder got the win in overtime thanks to superstar Kevin Durant’s 33 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists, including a game tying 3 point shot in regular time and the go ahead free throws to win in overtime. The game was a fierce battle which included a heated exchange between Russell Westbrook and Nene which ended with both players being ejected. Westbrook might want to hit the weight room or try pushing someone more akin to his own size next time, I don’t think Nene moved at all!

Bradley Beal was superb for the visiting Wizards scoring a career high 34 points, which included 6 of 8 shooting from behind the arc. John Wall had a particularly frustrating night shooting just 3 of 13 from the field.

Phoenix Suns 101 – New Orleans Pelicans 94.

Markieff Morris and Eric Bledsoe continued their scintillating, early season form as the Phoenix Suns brought up win number five for the season over the New Orleans Pelicans. Morris had 23 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks on 9 of 12 shooting and Bledsoe had 24 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds as he continues to flourish in his new role out of the shadow of Chris Paul.

The Pelicans were led by the play of big man Jason Smith as he scored 22 points and grabbed 8 boards. They dropped to a 3-4 record after the loss.

Minnesota Timberwolves 113 – Los Angeles Lakers 90.

The ‘Dwightmare’ may be over but the nightmare continues for the Lakers. They lost to Minnesota after having won the last 22 times against the Timberwolves. Minnesota were led by the maestro, Ricky Rubio. Rubio registered a triple double with 12 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds on 5 of 9 shooting and had a +/- of +27 for the game. Kevin Love added 25 points and Kevin Martin, who looks to have found a suitable home in Minnesota added 27.

The Lakers are a mess; they shot 38% from the field and 55.6% from the line, were out rebounded and only had three players with double figure points and not one player score more than 19 for the game. Next seasons draft is shaping up as a very important one for this proud franchise.

Tuesday November 12th

Chicago Bulls 96 – Cleveland Cavaliers 81.

The Chicago Bulls started the season with very high expectations and so far, its safe to say they have been way below them. They may have got the win against their Central Division rivals today but it came at the cost of an injury to Derrick Rose.

The Bulls were led by the one player who has been phenomenal for them so far this season, Carlos Boozer. Boozer is probably the most unheralded of the Bulls starting five but has produced so far this season when others have not. He had 17 points on 7 of 11 shooting, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in the victory.

The game was billed as a matchup between two of the NBA’s best point guards, Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving, two stars who hadn’t played each other in a game before but neither point guard played well in the contest.

Derrick Rose left the game with a strained hamstring as his horror start to the season continues.

Atlanta Hawks 103 – Charlotte Bobcats 94.

The Atlanta Hawks got the win on the road against the Bobcats thanks to the play of big man Al Horford and some great fourth quarter shooting from Cartier Martin. Horford had 24 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists and shot 9 of 15 from the field whilst Martin added 16 points including three triples in the final term to help the Hawks secure the win.

The Bobcats dropped to a 3-4 record and a 2-2 home record with the loss. Josh McRoberts led them with 19 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists.

Indiana Pacers 95 – Memphis Grizzlies 79.

The hottest team in the NBA right now continued to sizzle with a win over the Memphis Grizzlies to take them to a league best 8-0 start for the season. Lance Stephenson registered his first career triple double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists and Paul George added 23 points on 9 of 16 shooting with a +/- of +24 for the game.

The Pacers are the first team since 2000 to start 8-0 and the 18th in NBA history to achieve the feat.

The Grizzlies Marc Gasol top scored for the visiting team with 15 points as the Grizz drop to 3-4 for the season.

San Antonio Spurs 109 – Philadelphia 76ers 85.

Danny Green continues to shine, he drained 5 of 7 threes as the San Antonio Spurs made light work of the 76ers. Green top scored for San Antonio with 18 points and added 7 rebounds and 3 assists.

Sixers rookie Michael Carter-Williams fell back to earth as he shot 2 of 11 for the game and Evan Turner top scored for Philly with 20 points on just 9 of 21 shooting.

San Antonio led for the entire game apart from a brief period where they were down by one point but they were quick to regain the lead and take a fairly easy victory.

Boston Celtics 120 – Orlando Magic 105.

The Boston Celtics had a fairly convincing win against the Orlando Magic at the The Garden in Boston. Avery Bradley top scored for the Celtics with 24 points on 10 of 15 from the field and Jordan Crawford had 16 points, 10 assists and 5 rebounds. Boston shot a phenomenal 60% from the field for the game and 41.7% from three point range and only turned the ball over 13 times in the win.

The Magic’s Nikola Vucevic had 15 points and 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals in the loss as the Magic’s record dropped to 3-5 for the season.

Houston Rockets 110 – Toronto Raptors 104.

The Houston Rockets took out a thriller at the Toyota Center in Houston as they defeated the Toronto Raptors in double overtime. James Harden missed a shot to win the game in regulation which sent the game into overtime where it was Rudy Gay who had the final shot for Toronto to send it to double OT, where James Harden took over to close it out for the Rockets.

The Rockets were led by the trio of Jeremy Lin, Dwight Howard and James Harden. Lin had 31 points on 10 of 17 from the field, Howard had 18 points and 24 rebounds and Harden had 26 points and 10 dimes in the game.

The Raptors shot the ball poorly at 33.3% for the game and Rudy Gay, whilst he had 29 points went 11 for 37 from the field.

Denver Nuggets 100 – Utah Jazz 81.

The hapless Utah Jazz are still winless this season as they fell to the Denver Nuggets at home. They have now started the season 0-8 and things are looking decidedly glum in Utah. The Nuggets were led by Ty Lawson’s 17 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds. J.J Hickson had a huge dunk over Marvin Williams which pretty much sums up just how much every team is abusing the Jazz so far this season.

Utah shot 40.3% from the field and an abysmal 17.6% from behind the arc, were out rebounded 52-35 and the question still remains as to when they will get their maiden win this season.

Portland Trail Blazers 109 – Detroit Pistons 103.

Portland registered its third straight victory with a win over the Pistons at home. Their three point shooting continues to impress as they went 11 for 23 from behind the arc. Last year’s Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard had 25 points including 5 of 8 from three, 5 rebounds and 4 assists for the game.

Detroit’s ball control was excellent throughout the game as they only turned the ball over 8 times but struggled with their shooting, 46.2% from the field and 21.4% from three point territory. Brandon Jennings top scored with 28 points and Andre Drummond added 16 points and 16 rebounds.

Los Angeles Clippers 109 –Minnesota Timberwolves 107.

The Los Angeles Clippers won a tight one at Staples against the Minnesota Timberwolves in a game where two of the games best power forwards, Blake Griffin and Kevin Love went at it. Griffin had 25 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists for the game whilst Kevin Love had 23 points including 4 of 8 from long range, 19 rebounds and 7 assists but missed a tip in to tie the game and send it to overtime.

Jamal Crawford added 18 points on 7 of 11 shooting for the Clippers whose record improves to 5-3 as the Timberwolves record drops to the same mark, 5-3.

Wednesday November 13th

Miami Heat 118 – Milwaukee Bucks 95.

The Bucks were never in the contest against the Heat as LeBron James dropped 33 points on 13 of 21 shooting, including 4 of 7 from long range.

The Bucks defensive efforts were all but in vain as Miami shot 58.2% from the field, 52.2% from behind the arc, turned the ball over only 13 times, in fact the box score really doesn’t do the Bucks any favours, the only major statistical category they bettered Miami in was steals, 10-9.

A rout if there ever was one.

Dallas Mavericks 105 – Washington Wizards.

Dirk Nowitzki passed Jerry West on the NBA’s All Time Scoring list as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Washington Wizards courtesy of a big second quarter where they outscored the Wizards 28-15.

Nowitzki had 19 points which took him to 16th in career scoring in the NBA, surpassing Jerry West’s 25,192 points. He also had 8 rebounds and 2 assists in the contest.

The Wizards Trevor Ariza had a game high 27 points on 10 of 17 shooting including five treys.

Golden State Warriors 113 – Detroit Pistons 95.

The Golden State Warriors got the jump out of the gate, basically winning the game in the first quarter thanks to a 35-16 start. Steph Curry led the Warriors with 25 points on 7 of 10 shooting with 8 assists and 2 rebounds. Jermaine O’Neal turned back the clock with his performance, scoring 17 points on 7 of 8 shooting with 6 rebounds.

Golden State shot 60% from the field, 50% from three point range, were +9 in rebounds, +12 in assists but turned the ball over 23 times.

Detroit shot just 16.7% from three point range, 3 for 18 for the game.

Los Angeles Lakers 116 – New Orleans Pelicans 95.

Jordan Hill had a night to remember for the Lakers as he posted 21 points on 7 of 12 shooting, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals as the Lakers got a big win over the visiting New Orleans Pelicans.

The Lakers were very efficient in the win; shooting 55.7% from the field, 55% from behind the arc and 81% from the charity stripe.

The game will be best remembered for Xavier Henry’s huge dunk over rookie big man Jeff Withey. Henry completely posterised Withey as he attempted to take the charge under the basket. Check it out here – http://nbanationaustralia.com/2013/11/13/put-it-on-a-poster-lakers-xavier-henrys-gigantic-slam-video/

Jrue Holiday continued his shooting woes for the new season going 2 for 11 in the loss.

Thursday November 14th

Orlando Magic 94 – Milwaukee Bucks 91.

The Orlando Magic rallied back after a slow start to get a victory over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks. The Magic were led by Aaron Afflalo who scored 36 points on 11 of 15 shooting with an amazing 8 treys. He also had 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals in the huge performance.

The Bucks had the better of things early on and took the lead into the break but the Magic came home strong and took the win in a close fought affair.

O.J Mayo top scored for the Bucks with 25 points and Khris Middleton added 19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.

Philadelphia 76ers 123 – Houston Rockets 117.

A bruised left foot was the catalyst for keeping both James Harden and Michael Carter-Williams out of the game and the loss of Harden proved to be too much for the Rockets as they went down to the surprisingly good Philadelphia team.

Tony Wroten, in his first career start, registered a triple double for Philly with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists whilst James Anderson added a career high 36 points on 12 of 16 shooting.

The Rockets Jeremy Lin scored 34 points and dished out 12 assists but it wasn’t to be enough to beat the underdog 76ers.

Charlotte Bobcats 89 – Boston Celtics 83.

The Charlotte Bobcats biggest off season signing Al Jefferson led them to a victory over the Boston Celtics at The Garden in Boston. Jefferson scored 22 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and had 3 assists and 2 blocks in the victory.

The expectation of both teams at the commencement of the season was quite low and whilst they have both exceeded expectations so far this game wasn’t one for the casual fan. Both teams shot the ball poorly, below 40% as the low score line suggests.

Jordan Crawford and Jeff Green were the only Celtics to score more than 10 points in the game.

Toronto Raptors 103 – Memphis Grizzlies 87.

The Memphis Grizzlies disappointing start to their 2013/14 NBA campaign continues as they lost to the Toronto Raptors at home in Memphis. The Raptors ball control, (13 turnovers) and defense, they kept the Grizzlies to 42.7% shooting, were the main reasons behind the surprise win for Toronto.

Rudy Gay led the charge with 23 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists but his shooting woes continue as he shot 5 of 18 from the field and his field goal percentage sits at 36.5% for the season so far.

The Grizzlies won the battle in the paint by outscoring Toronto 36-24 but their 17 turnovers and overall shooting percentage cost them the game.

Minnesota Timberwolves 124 – Cleveland Cavaliers 95.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are beginning to look like the real deal this season. Led by the stellar play of stars Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio they completely blew out the Cleveland Cavaliers to take their record to 6-3 this season.

All five of their starters scored in double figures for the game with Kevin Love leading the way with his 33 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists whilst Corey Brewer added 27 points and Ricky Rubio had 16 assists.

The Cavaliers, a team that many people were banking on having a big season, have started poorly and drop to 3-6 for the season. Kyrie Irving led them with 20 points in the loss.

New York Knicks 95 – Atlanta Hawks 91.

The New York Knicks won for the fifth straight time against the Hawks with Carmelo Anthony and Andrea Bargnani leading the way. Anthony, playing in the power forward position for the first time this season scored 25 points and Bargnani continued his surprising recent form by adding 20 points and 11 rebounds on 8 of 15 shooting.

The Hawks were led by Jeff Teague with 25 points but lost their first game at home for the season and drop to 4-4 for the year.

San Antonio 92 – Washington Wizards 79.

The Spurs have always been a team that doesn’t garner too much mainstream media attention in the regular season and this continues to be the same as they racked up their eighth win of the season against the Washington Wizards.

San Antonio had it all their own way as they led the contest from start to finish and never looked in any serious trouble. Their brand of team basketball was reflected in the box scores as they had six players score in double figures.

8-1 on the season and 4-0 at home, you know this team will be as dangerous as ever come the post season.

The Wizards however are a team that’s struggling to find their rhythm and they drop to 2-6 for the year.

Denver Nuggets 111 – Los Angeles Lakers 99.

Kenneth Faried may have been the target of many a trade rumour recently but he hasn’t let it affect his game. He scored 23 points on 8 of 13 shooting and grabbed 13 boards to lead the Denver Nuggets to a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Nuggets led the game from start to finish and despite having the inferior record to the Lakers, they had things mostly their own way. Timofey Mosgov had 23 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks in the win.

Jordan Hill continues to impress for a Laker team that’s in fairly unfamiliar territory as they struggle to keep close to .500 this year.

Utah Jazz 111 – New Orleans Pelicans 105.

It was bound to happen eventually. The Utah Jazz registered their first win of the season in their ninth attempt with a victory over the Pelicans.

Gordon Hayward has been putting up some huge numbers but to no avail as the Jazz have been on the losing end of things until now. Hayward scored 27 points and dished out 10 dimes in the win and his season averages stand at 20.3 ppg, 6 rpg and 5 apg.

The Pelicans Anthony Davis continued his break out season with 29 points and 15 rebounds but the Pelicans drop to 3-6 for the season.

Portland Trail Blazers 90 – Phoenix Suns 89.

A late layup basket by Damian Lillard sealed a close fought win for the Portland Trail Blazers over the Phoenix Suns at the Moda Center in Portland.

The Blazers were led by the play of big man Robin Lopez who had 13 points and 15 rebounds in the win. Thomas Robinson top scored for Portland off the bench with 15 points as he attempts to find his way in what has been a fairly underwhelming NBA career to date.

The Suns Eric Bledsoe was their best on court, scoring 23 points with 6 assists and 3 rebounds.

Sacramento Kings 107 – Brooklyn Nets 86.

The Brooklyn Nets, the super-rich, fully stacked, albeit long in tooth team with a payroll bigger than most countries GDP have endured a more than disappointing start to this season and the disappointment continued with a blowout loss to the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings were led by the play of Marcus Thornton with 24 points and Greivis Vasquez with 17 points and 12 assists.

Brooklyn shot the ball woefully at 37.8% from the field and 23.1% from behind the arc. They fall to 2-5 for the season and a certain Russian billionaire is undoubtedly fuming at his lack of return on his big investment so far this year.

Los Angeles Clippers 111 – Oklahoma City Thunder 103.

The Clippers got the win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in a controversial game where both Matt Barnes and Serge Ibaka were ejected.

The ejections came after a scuffle that occurred in the dying seconds of the second quarter. Ibaka became tangled up with Blake Griffin, a player with which he has some history with, and pushed him off before Matt Barnes took offense at Ibaka and shoved him. The ensuing scuffle, or lack of, caused the ejection of both players.

The Clippers would go on to win the game led by Griffin’s 22 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists. Chris Paul had 16 assists in the game and he continues to lead the league in dimes.

Kevin Durant had 33 points, 6 rebounds and 10 assists in the loss between two of the western conference’s better teams.

Friday November 15th

Houston Rockets 109 – New York Knicks 106.

Carmelo Anthony dropped 45 points and grabbed 10 boards, Andrea Bargnani bested Dwight Howard and kept him to just 7 points on 1 of 5 shooting but it wasn’t enough to see the New York Knicks get the win at Madison Square Garden.

The Rockets won a hard fought battle thanks in most part to the play of James Harden, who scored 36 points and added 9 boards for the Rockets.

Howard was disappointing in a matchup which for all intents and purposes looked to be one that favoured him. He did well on the glass grabbing 15 rebounds but will need to have more of an impact offensively should the Rockets look to be a serious contender come playoff time.

The Knicks fell to 3-5 for the season and the pressure of playing in New York City just never goes away, especially when they’re losing more than they’re winning.

Golden State Warriors 116 – Oklahoma City Thunder 115.

The Oklahoma City Thunder lost their second game in two days with a close loss to the Warriors on the road in Oakland.

Golden State were led by the stellar play of sharp shooter Klay Thompson who scored 27 points on 10 of 15 shooting including 6 three pointers. His partner in crime Steph Curry added 4 threes of his own and 22 points.

The Warriors ball control was excellent as they only turned the ball over 7 times in the contest and shot the lights out from long range hitting 60.9% of three pointers.

OKC were led by Russell Westbrook’s 31 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists.

Saturday November 16th

Chicago Bulls 96 – Toronto Raptors 80.

The Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose sat out this one due to a strained hamstring and the Bulls looked none the worse for it as they completely dominated the Toronto Raptors on the road. All five of the Bulls starters scored in double figures for the game as they kept the Raptors to 35.4% shooting.

Luol Deng led the Bulls with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists and an impressive +/- of +24.

DeMar DeRozan dropped 37 points and Rudy Gay added 20 points but the other ten players to see court time for the Raptors could only manage a combined 23 points, a truly forgettable game for Toronto fans.

Indiana Pacers 104 – Milwaukee Bucks 77.

The difference in class was more than apparent in this game between the undefeated Pacers and the 2-5 Bucks.

The Pacers made easy work of Milwaukee and were led by the play of big man Roy Hibbert who scored 24 points, grabbed 10 boards and blocked a phenomenal 8 shots on the game. Hibbert is now averaging 4.78 blocks per game and whilst its early days that number would be good enough for fourth all time for a single season in NBA history.

Paul George added 22 points for the Pacers in the win but it was the defensive efforts for Indiana which kept the Bucks to 34.1% shooting that led them to such a blowout win.

Atlanta Hawks 113 – Philadelphia 76ers 103.

Jeff Teague scored a career high 33 points to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 113 -103 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Teague shot 10 of 16, grabbed 4 rebounds and dished out 10 assists in the win. DeMarre Carroll added 21 points and Al Horford 20.

Evan Turner continued his great season by top scoring for the 76ers with 27 but it wasn’t enough as Philly drops to 5-5 for the season.

Portland Trail Blazers 109 – Boston Celtics 96.

The Portland Trail Blazers won their fifth straight game when they defeated the Boston Celtics at The Garden in Boston. They take their season record to a surprising 7-2.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with 27 points and 12 boards. Nicolas Batum added 18 points including four treys and Mo Williams had 18 on 8 of 13 shooting.

The Celtics Jared Sullinger had 26 points in the loss on 11 of 18 shooting but the Celtics were badly beaten on the glass being out rebounded 47-34.

Charlotte Bobcats 86 – Cleveland Cavaliers 80.

The Bobcats, led by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist defeated the Cavaliers on the road to take their season record to 5-4. Kidd-Gilchrist had 16 points and 8 rebounds in the win which was the Cavaliers the first home loss this season.

Charlotte had five players score in double figures in the game.

Cleveland who were led by Kyrie Irving, 18 points and 10 assists, drop to a disappointing 3-7 for the year.

Miami Heat 110 – Dallas Mavericks 104.

LeBron James scored a season high 39 points as the Heat won a hard fought battle over the Dallas Mavericks in Miami. James shot 14 of 18, grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 4 dimes in the win.

Both teams shot over 50% in what was a very entertaining clash. Dallas suffered with their ball control as they turned it over 24 times in the game.

Dirk Nowitzki had 28 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in the loss and Monta Ellis added 20 points.

Denver Nuggets 117 – Minnesota Timberwolves 113.

Expectations for the Nuggets weren’t exactly sky high this season for most pundits, but they continue to play hard and sit at 4-4 after a good win against the Minnesota Timberwolves at home in the Pepsi Center.

Kenneth Faried led the way with 16 points and 10 rebounds and Wilson Chandler in his second game back scored 19 points including 3 of 4 from long range.

Kevin Love’s big numbers were once again on display as he put up 28 points on 10 of 20 shooting with 10 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks but the Timberwolves drop to 6-4.

Brooklyn Nets 100 – Phoenix Suns 98.

Joe Johnson was responsible for Brooklyn escaping with a last second win over the Phoenix Suns. Johnson hit a floater with 30 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime and then with the clock winding down in the overtime period he hit a buzzer beater to win the game for the Nets.

Despite hitting two very important shots Johnson didn’t have the best of games shooting just 6 of 19 for the game. Big man Brook Lopez was Brooklyn’s best with 27 points and 7 rebounds.

The Suns who were led by Goran Dragic’s 19 points drop to 5-4 on the season while the Nets improve to 3-5.

San Antonio Spurs 91 – Utah Jazz 82.

The Utah Jazz started their game against the Spurs with a 29-16 run in the first quarter but the Spurs were good enough to weather the storm and when it really counted they made their move, outscoring the Jazz 31-15 in the fourth.

Tony Parker led the Spurs with 22 points and 6 assists as they improved to 9-1 on the season.

The Jazz drop to 1-9 for the season and it seems the lottery is their final destination this season. Derrick Favors scored 20 points and grabbed 18 boards in the loss but the Jazz shot a woeful 38.5% from the field.

Memphis Grizzlies 89 – Los Angeles Lakers 86.

The Grizzlies and the Lakers were two teams desperate for a win coming in to this one but it was Memphis who took out the win in a tight one in Los Angeles.

Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with 28 points including 14 in the final term. Marc Gasol added 18 points for Memphis in the win but it was the play of Z Bo that will be remembered as the catalyst for the victory.

Jodie Meeks played well for L.A with 25 points on 10 of 16 shooting with 5 threes.

The Lakers drop to 4-7 for the season as their fans start to talk lottery and Memphis improve to 4-5.

Detroit Pistons 97 – Sacramento Kings 90.

The Sacramento Kings fans set a world record for arena decibel levels during the game but on the court things weren’t so loud for the Kings. They went down to the visiting Detroit Pistons in a close one.

Josh Smith was outstanding for Detroit and fantasy owners would have been more than impressed with his numbers. He put up 21 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals and 4 blocks in the win. The Pistons improved their record to 3-5 whilst the Kings drop to 2-6.

DeMarcus Cousins played well for Sacramento in the loss scoring 26 points and grabbing 13 boards.

Sunday November 17th

Chicago Bulls 110 – Indiana Pacers 94.

The Chicago Bulls haven’t had the start that many expected but a big win over the undefeated Indiana Pacers should go a long way towards building some much needed confidence for the Bulls and their star point guard Derrick Rose, who also looked very good in the win.

Rose scored 20 points on 7 of 16 shooting including 6 of 11 from behind the arc. He also managed to not the turn the ball over once in the game, something with which he has had a lot of trouble with so far this season.

Luol Deng looked like the All Star he is by adding 23 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals and kept Pacers star Paul George to 12 points on 3 of 14 shooting.

The Pacers drop their first game of the season and sit at 9-1 while the Bulls improve to 5-3 with the big win.

Miami Heat 97 – Charlotte Bobcats 81.

The Miami Heat made light work of the Bobcats in Charlotte as LeBron James scored 30 points on 13 of 18 shooting with 7 assists and 4 rebounds. James is shooting the lights out this season as his 62.2% from the field for the season attests to and it was more of the same in Charlotte for ‘The King’.

New addition to the Heat squad, Michael Beasley, played some good minutes in the game and added 15 points on 7 of 14 shooting.

Kemba Walker was the Bobcats best in the loss with 22 points including three treys.

Dallas Mavericks 108 – Orlando Magic 100.

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Orlando Magic in Orlando in what was an entertaining game between the two teams. Both teams shot the ball at better than 50% but it was the Mavericks experience that shone through in the end.

Monta Ellis led the Mavericks with 19 points on 8 of 18 shooting with 8 assists and Dirk Nowitzki added 18 points of his own including four threes.

The Magic’s Aaron Afflalo scored 25 points in the loss which saw the Magic drop to 4-6 while Dallas improved to 6-4 for the season.

Cleveland Cavaliers 103 – Washington Wizards 96.

The Cleveland Cavaliers won a thrilling contest in Washington as two of the NBA’s best point guards battled it out.

The Cavaliers Kyrie Irving had the better of things with his 41 points in the overtime win while Wizards point guard John Wall, who looked phenomenal early on, scored just 9 points on 3 of 13 shooting but had 12 assists in the game.

Aussie Matthew Dellavedova played 31 minutes in the game including most of the overtime period and while he only put up 2 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists his contribution to the game went beyond the box score and will no doubt give him confidence in the fact that Mike Brown gave him such an opportunity.

Atlanta Hawks 110 – New York Knicks 90.

The Knicks lost their fifth straight home game to the Atlanta Hawks, who are playing some seriously good team ball, took out the win.

The Hawks had eight of their ten players score in double figures in the win and they shot an impressive 56.4% from the field against what can only be described as a hapless Knicks team who played little to no defense.

Paul Millsap had 14 point and 13 boards in the win.

The Knicks drop to 3-6 and 1-5 at home with the loss and the pressure of playing in NYC just keeps rising.

Houston Rockets 122 – Denver Nuggets 111.

The Nuggets played ‘Hack a Howard’ and for once the big man made a team pay by hitting most of his free throws. Howard scored 25 points in the win and shot 17 of 24 from behind the stripe. All five of Houston’s starters scored in double figures and the team shot the ball well at 50.6% from the field.

The Nuggets Ty Lawson had a spectacular game albeit in a losing team as he scored 28 points on 11 of 19 shooting and dished out a huge 17 assists.

Houston improved to 7-4 on the season while the Nuggets drop to 4-5.

Minnesota Timberwolves 106 – Boston Celtics 88.

It was always going to be a tough ask for the visiting Boston Celtics to get a win in Minnesota and it played out exactly that way. Minnesota are proving to be a tough ask for most teams this season. Kevin Love led them to victory with his 23 points and 12 rebounds while Nikola Pekovic added 20 points and 12 rebounds of his own.

The Celtics Avery Bradley top scored with 27 on 12 of 23 shooting but it wasn’t enough as there were only three players who scored in double figures in the game for Boston.

Boston drop to 4-7 while Minnesota improved to 7-4.

New Orleans Pelicans 135 – Philadelphia 76ers 98.

New Orleans completely blew the 76ers away thanks to a huge game for Ryan Anderson in his return to play. Anderson scored 26 points off the bench and shot 6 of 10 from downtown. Anthony Davis scored 13 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and blocked 8 shots in the win and continues to keep fantasy owners very happy this season.

The Pelicans had seven players score in double digits and shot an unheard of 60.5% from the field and 46.4% from three point range.

The 76ers conversely shot 42.1% from the field and drop to 5-6 on the season with a loss they would be best to forget quick smart.

Oklahoma City Thunder 92 – Milwaukee Bucks 79.

Russell Westbrook’s comeback continues to be a success as he led the Thunder to a win over the Bucks in Milwaukee.

Westbrook scored 26 points on 10 of 20 shooting, Kevin Durant added 24 of his own and Serge Ibaka added 15 points and a huge 20 boards in the win.

The Bucks poor shooting, 34.9% from the field, was the catalyst for another disappointing loss for them and they drop to 2-7 on the season. They’re looking more and more like a lottery team with each game that passes.

Golden State Warriors 102 – Utah Jazz 88.

The Utah Jazz are becoming seriously embarrassing. They lost their tenth game of the season when the Golden State Warriors blew them away 102-88 in Oakland.

The Warriors were led by Klay Thompson’s 25 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Thompson shot 9 of 14 and 5 of 8 from three point range and is having a breakout season currently averaging 20.9 points per game on 55.2% shooting.

The Jazz were no match for the Warriors and it showed. It’s a long road to the NBA draft for Jazz fans this year.

Los Angeles Clippers 110 – Brooklyn Nets 103.

The Brooklyn Nets were without big name players Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez and Paul Pierce so the odds were well and truly stacked against them against a red hot Clippers team.

The Clippers were led by Blake Griffin who had 30 points and 12 boards for the game. The Clippers had to rally late in the game to ensure they got the victory and despite the loss the Nets played well, all things considered.

Brooklyn drop to 3-6 and the Clippers improve to a 7-3 record for the season.

Keep an eye out next Monday for another edition of the Weekly Hoop Scoop and don’t forget, Pierre is watching you….

Thanks to http://believethehypenba.com/ for the picture.

Thanks to http://believethehypenba.com/ for the picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



p4

Weekly Hoop Scoop

It’s finally here! After months of whinging and whining about a lack of basketball, hoops junkies everywhere are getting their proverbial fix this week and what a start to the NBA season we’ve had so far.

I’d been thinking about doing a weekly recap of NBA news for quite some time now and between work, mortgage, kids and a slight compulsion to drinking too much I never really started it, but there’s no time like the present. So every Monday morning, when you’re hopelessly bereft of hope, dragging your ass to another week of blissful employment or if you’re not gainfully employed, then when you crawl out of bed at 11am hungover, you can expect a rundown of some of the highlights and low lights of the week that was in the NBA.

So with the formalities done, here’s a recap of the NBA’s first week or in this case, half week of action.

Wednesday October 30th.

The season began with the reigning champion Miami Heat receiving their rings before facing their Eastern Conference rivals the Chicago Bulls.

Bulls fans had been foaming at the mouth for months for this game and despite a good start for Chicago, the Bulls once again struggled to score points at times and ultimately went down to the Heat 107-95 but more than anything the game marked the official return for former MVP Derrick Rose. Rose didn’t exactly light things up as he shot 4 for 15 with five turnovers but the good news is he looks as explosive as ever.

The Lakers made the Clippers pay for the mere suggestion that they will cover up their banners at Staples Center with a 116-103 victory over their crosstown rivals and some fans decided, based on that one game, that the Clippers aren’t a contender anymore, talk about premature!

Paul George dropped 24 as the Pacers made light work of the hapless Orlando Magic 97-87. Did someone say Wiggins?

Thursday October 31st

Day two of the NBA was huge with fourteen games played. Highlights included the 76ers beginning their quest to go 82-0 by beating the Miami Heat 114-110. Rookie Michael Carter-Williams had one of the greatest debuts in NBA history as he put up 22 points, 7 rebounds, 12 assists and 9, yes 9 steals!

Durant dropped 42 in a 101-98 win over the Jazz, Kevin Love had 31 points and 17 boards as the Wolves beat the Magic 120-115, DeMarcus Cousins showed why he got that huge contract by scoring 30 points and grabbing 14 rebounds as the Kings eeked out a 90-88 win over the Nuggets.

The Lakers came crashing back down to earth as they copped a 31 point thrashing against the Golden State Warriors, going down 125-94. Klay Thompson was sensational as he shot 15 of 19 including 5 of 7 from long range.

Dwight Howard grabbed 26 boards in Houston’s 96-83 win over the Bobcats, The Cavs got an upset 98-94 win over the stacked Brooklyn Nets team, The Raptors beat the Celtics 93-87, more Wiggins, Detroit got an easy win over the Wizards 113-102 with Piston big man Greg Monroe scoring 24 and grabbing 16 rebounds.

The Pacers beat the Pelicans 95-90 and Paul George continues to take his game to new levels, he had 32 points. Monta Ellis made his debut in Dallas and in some kind of bizarre reversal of form he was super-efficient shooting 11 of 17 and racked up 8 dimes in a 118-109 win over the Atlanta Hawks. The Spurs got the win over Memphis 101-94 with their usual unselfish play, six players with double figure points and despite 32 from Damian Lillard, Portland went down to the Suns 104-91.

For me though, the highlight of the day was the coming out party for Pierre the pelican. The New Orleans mascot looks like he could be the lead character in a Stephen King novel. I’m thinking something like “It” but with a Pelican who delivers fast food before killing his victims/customers. Social media went into a frenzy after Pierre was unveiled by the Pelicans Twitter account with all sorts of photoshops occurring featuring the pelican. Now I’m pretty partial to Benny the Bull but Pierre is the new kid in town!

Here’s a few of my favourite Pierre photoshops.

Pierre

Then there’s the pièce de résistance

p4

Friday November 1st

After such an action packed Thursday, the NBA schedule for Friday featured just two games, the Bulls vs Knicks and the Clippers vs Warriors.

The Bulls Knicks game was the first game Derrick Rose had played at the United Centre since his injury and the Bulls faithful were excited by the prospect of seeing him play again. Rose continued to struggle much like the game against Miami but he did hit the game winner as the Bulls won 82-81.

The real highlight of the day however, was Chris Paul’s amazing stat line of 42 points, 15 assists and 6 steals as the Clippers bounced back after their loss to the Lakers, with an emphatic 126-115 win over a tough Golden State team. The game had plenty of feeling about it as seen here when DeAndre Jordan and Andrew Bogut got into a heated discussion on what would have undoubtedly been about politics or religion. I’ll let you decide.

Saturday November 2nd.

Saturday’s eight games provided some memorable upsets and plenty of highlights.

The Thunder were beaten fairly comprehensively by Minnesota with Love and Rubio running riot. Love had 24 points on 7 of 12 shooting with 12 boards, Rubio added 14 points, 10 assists and 5 steals as the Wolves got the big 100-81 win.

The Bobcats got a win over the Cavs 90-84 with Kemba Walker top scoring with 23 points including a late three to seal the deal.

The Orlando Magic registered their first win of the season against the New Orleans Pelicans, 110-90, thanks in part to a 30 point game from Aaron Afflalo. Rookie Victor Oladipo looked good at times in the game and showed just why many have him pegged as a future star. The Pelicans start the season 0-2 for the first time since 2004-05.

The Philadelphia 76ers improved to 2-0 for the season with a 109-102 win over the Washington Wizards and despite a big start from John Wall who hit his first seven shots of the game only to go 3 for 12 afterwards, the Sixers came away with the victory. They were led by Thad Young who scored 29 points on 14 of 20 shooting and grabbed 8 boards. It seems Philly aren’t here for the tanking.

The Atlanta Hawks beat the Toronto Raptors 102-95 thanks to some solid play from big man Al Horford, 22 points, 9 of 14 shooting and 16 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan was good for Toronto in the loss scoring 31 points and Rudy Gay had a particularly tough day at the office shooting just 6 of 23.

The Milwaukee Bucks had an impressive comeback to beat the Boston Celtics 105-98. Boston had a 22 point lead at one point but the Bucks, led by the play of big man Zaza Pachulia, who top scored with 20 points, clawed back and took the win. The Bucks bench combined for an impressive 66 points.

The Rockets are a love/hate thing for me, I love Harden but hate Dwight Howard. Harden was phenomenal for the Rockets with his 34 points on 11 of 17 shooting in their 113-105 win over the Mavericks in Houston. Dwight was all over the glass with 16 boards but still shoots free throws like an eight year old child, 5 of 12 for the game.

Memphis had a very quiet off season, no major roster changes and their start to the season hasn’t been given much coverage from the bigger NBA authorities like ESPN but they continue to play solid basketball. They managed a 111-108 win over the Detroit Pistons in overtime at the Fed Ex Forum in Memphis. Mike Conley led all scorers with 22 points on 7 of 12 shooting and Josh Smith was all over the box score for Detroit despite the loss with 19 points, 8 boards, 5 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks but shot poorly at 7 for 23 from the field.

The Brooklyn Nets handed the Miami Heat a narrow 101-100 loss and its the first time the Heat have lost two in a row since January. One of LeBron’s greatest adversaries and new Brooklyn Net, Paul Pierce, wound the clock back with his performance scoring 19 points on 5 of 10 shooting, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and one big blocked shot on LeBron.

James scored 26 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists in the loss.

The Portland Trailblazers made easy work of the Denver Nuggets 113-98 at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Nicholas Batum had the hot hand in the first half scoring all of his 21 points before the break. He shot of 8 of 14 from the field and nailed 5 threes in his rampaging first half. LaMarcus Aldridge top scored with 25. Only two Nuggets players scored more than 11 points for the game.

A late three pointer from Phoenix Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe gave them an 87-84 win over the Utah Jazz at the U.S Airways Centre in Phoenix. In a game where neither team shot the ball well, (below 38%) Miles Plumlee managed to score 13 points on 6 of 11 shooting with 13 rebounds. Enes Kanter top scored for Utah with 20 points.

Chris Paul continued his hot form for the Clippers as they beat the Sacramento Kings on the road 110-101. Paul scored 26 points and added 10 assists. Blake Griffin scored 20 grabbed 17 rebounds and dished out 6 assists in the win. Yes there were alley oops but no I wont call it that name. Isaiah Thomas was spectacular for the home team in the loss, scoring 29 points on 9 of 13 shooting from the field, his dribble penetration getting him to the line often where he went 8 for 10.

The Laker banners were visible for their clash with San Antonio Spurs at the Staples Center but even a Tim Duncan-less Spurs were too much for the Lakers. Tony Parker led the charge for San Antonio scoring 24 points and dishing out 6 dimes. Only three players scored in double figures for the Lakers in the loss. We shall soon see who the true Laker fans are.

Sunday November 3rd.

Sunday started off with the Philadelphia 76ers hosting the Chicago Bulls and it was to be another upset victory for Philadelphia. They won the game 107-104 and were once again led by first week rookie sensation Michael Carter-Williams. MCW or the hyphen as I’ve heard him called this week scored 26 points, had 10 assists and showed that he will be a tough ask to defend for so many point guards in the league because of his length. Derrick Rose struggled for the third straight gme and Carlos Boozer was Chicago’s best with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Amnesty who?

The Indiana Pacers were too much for the Cleveland Cavaliers winning 89-74. The Pacers Lance Stephenson top scored for them with 22 points and Paul George was Paul George, great again, with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Cleveland really struggled shooting the ball at 34.9% from the field. You can credit the Pacers D for that statistic.

The New Orleans Pelicans won their first game of the season beating the still disastrously bad Charlotte Bobcats 105-84. Fantasy owners of Anthony Davis were celebrating as his name was splashed all across the box scores. He had 25 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 6 steals and 6 blocks. I don’t know what’s more scary, the fact that Davis will only get better or that the Bobcats only had two players score double figures in the game.

Dallas looked impressive in their 111-99 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. Shawn Marion played like it was 2005 again, scoring 21 points and grabbing 14 rebounds but it was Dirk Nowitzki who impressed most with his 24 points on 7 of 16 shooting with 3 three pointers. The Grizzlies had eight players score 7 or less points and their bench didn’t contribute much at all in the game.

The Toronto Raptors managed to score a valuable road win over the Milwaukee Bucks 97-90. The Raptors didn’t shoot the ball particularly well but they did manage to out rebound the Bucks 60-38, Rudy Gay was a major factor in this as he grabbed 15 boards to go along with 18 points. The Bucks O.J Mayo played well in the loss scoring 16 points, grabbing 6 rebounds and 8 assists.

The Utah Jazz really took it to the Houston Rockets in the first half of today’s 104-93 loss but the Rockets class shone through in the end. Houston only used eight players in the win. Parsons Harden and Lin all scored more than 20 points whilst Howard added 15. The Rockets take their record to 3-0 and are looking like the real deal.

The Portland Trailblazers were too good for the San Antonio Spurs winning 115-105. Nicholas Batum had a triple double with 11 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists whilst Damian Lillard scored 25 with 7 rebounds and 7 assists in the win. Portland shot the lights out at 55.6% from the field, 40% from behind the arc and 89.5% from the line for the game. Entertaining!

The final game of the day was a victory for the Golden State Warriors over the Sacramento Kings 98-87. The Kings gave the Warriors little trouble all throughout the game. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson scored 22 and 27 respectively and Aussie big man Andrew Bogut got under DeMarcus Cousins’ skin at times and Cousins finished with a paltry 8 points. After the game he refused to speak with the media following. Not sure how many times we need to talk about giving him more time to mature. The time is now for DMC as hes more than talented enough to dominate this league but let’s himself and teammates down all too often.

So with the first week of the NBA done and dusted, I feel as if I’ve begun to feed the addiction once again and look forward to another week of the greatest sporting league in the world. Enjoy your Monday. 



USP NBA: TORONTO RAPTORS AT WASHINGTON WIZARDS S BKN USA DC

Five underrated teams for the 2013/14 NBA season

Miami Heat
The Heat have made three straight trips to the NBA Finals, won the last two NBA championships, have the greatest basketball player on earth in his prime, and have completed some shrewd off-season moves.

So it’s bewildering to hear people say that their successful run may come to an end this year. Why? Because people are simply bored of them winning?

I haven’t heard one logical, rational or believable reason to suggest why the Heat shouldn’t start overwhelming favourites to once again take home the NBA hardware.

The signings of Greg Oden and Michael Beasley are low risk/high reward, and if they come off towards the latter, the Heat will be near unstoppable.

Yet, even if both players flame out, a nucleus of LeBron James, (a healthy) Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Mario Chambers, Chris Anderson, Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem, etc, should be expected to win the title.

I personally am not underrating the Heat, as I think they will three-peat, so it feels strange to put them on this list. But for all those that think their championship run is over, this selection is for you, because I think you’re madly underestimating them.

Minnesota Timberwolves
This was actually a popular pick last season, when many thought the combination of a healthy Ricky Rubio, the All Star play of Kevin Love, the return of Brandon Roy, and the emergence of Nikola Pekovic, would combine to see the Twloves sneak into the playoffs.

Sadly, injuries to key players cruelled their season and the team never recovered. However, I’m going to roll the dice again this year, and believe that if the roster can stay healthy, the team can create some noise based on everything in that first paragraph.

The key difference is that Kevin Martin replaces Roy in a sneaky good move by the organisation. Martin will give them reliable offense from the backcourt, along with experience and a level head.

I also like some of Minny’s role players a lot, especially Alexy Shved and Derrick Williams, both of whom I feel have the potential to have somewhat breakout years.

There is a lot of ‘ifs’ with this team, but if (there’s another one!) everything falls into place, I could see this team qualifying in seventh or eighth place in the West.

Washington Wizards
I must be mad selecting this perennial underachieving team to be underrated.

I won’t lie, I’ve been seduced by John Wall’s second half of last season, in which he looked like an out-and-out superstar. It remains to be seen whether or not that tremendous run was an aberration or a sign of things to come, but I’m banking it was the start of Wall fulfilling his potential, which will make the Wizards a dangerous team this season.

I also think Bradley Beal is a star in the making. Fluid, smooth and with a nice stroke, he could make ‘the leap’ this year, especially with Wall’s penetration setting him up for open looks or easy buckets.

Though Emeka Okafor is currently injured, when he returns alongside Nené, it forms a formidable and underrated frontcourt pairing. And if one other player can step-up and be consistent – ideally at the small forward spot – it will provide the Wizards with a very nice starting five.

Considering how weak the bottom half of the Eastern Conference is, playoff spots are up for grabs. The Wizards should be in the mix to nab one of them.

Portland Trailblazers
The knock – quite deservingly – on the TrailBlazers last season is that they had no depth. In fact, their bench was horrible. Credit must go to the front office for going out in the off-season and recruiting some reserves.

Mo Williams, Earl Watson, Thomas Robinson, C.J. McCollum, Dorell Wright and Meyers Leonard form a very solid collection of back-ups that should allow Portland to rest their starters without fearing they’ll be surrendering the game.

Good teams always have a nice inside/outside combination and Portland are lucky enough to have one of the best in Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge. Point guard Lillard was the runaway rookie-of-the-year award winner, and earned himself the reputation of a big game player by hitting a number of big shots last year.

Meanwhile, Aldridge is a stud. A beast on the low block, and what sometimes feels like an ‘automatic two points’ shooter from mid-range, he’s one of the best power forwards in the game, and deserves a solid supporting cast.

Considering both stars – plus other starters Nic Batum and Wes Matthews – will be able to have a consistent rest this season, I think Portland will push for playoff contention.

Los Angeles Lakers
I suspect this is more wishful thinking than anything else. Either way, I make this prediction with zero confidence, and 100% bias.

Yet utilising a ‘glass half full’ mentality, let’s assume Kobe comes back 100% and with a vengeance. Let’s assume that Steve Nash overcomes his injury concerns and keeps Father Time at bay for another season. Let’s assume Pau Gasol will be rejuvenated at being reintegrated into the offense. That’s the makings of a pretty dangerous team; I’m not sure I’d want to play them in the first round of the playoffs.

Of course, they’d have to actually make the playoffs in the first place.

That’s a lot of assumptions to rely on, and as my mum used to say ‘assume makes an ass out of u and me’. In fact, forget it. I can’t even delude myself into this pick. I’m off to watch some DVDs of the 2010 NBA Finals.