2010

Three Players to Watch (Atlanta Hawks)

The “Three Players to Watch” series is brought to you by the OuttaTownClowns, covering each of the league’s 30 teams providing you with insight on three guys that should demand your attention next season. As you can always expect at the OTC, not every player noted are a team’s top player, instead it may just be a player’s particular situation that’s worth following if you’re a die-hard NBA fan. Up first, the Atlanta Hawks featuring the Three J’s: Jeff, John, and Josh…

1. Jeff Teague

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Teague’s future in Atlanta after next season is definitely up in the air

A quick glance at Teague’s year-by-year regular season statistics shows steady improvement each year. Naturally his overall statistics also have to do with receiving increased playing time that hit an all-time high this past season as Teague started in all of the Hawks 66 games last season averaging 33 minutes per outing. However it’s likely Teague won’t be seeing yet another improvement in his performances next season due to the Hawks offseason moves. This summer the Hawks’ two biggest additions came at the guard positions adding Devin Harris via the Joe Johnson trade with Brooklyn and signing free agent guard Louis Williams. It’s unclear as to whether or not the Hawks organization are left unconvinced Teague’s their point guard going forward in the future; but this upcoming season surely is a make or break season for Teague that should determine whether he’ll be considered starter quality or one of the NBA’s best backup point guards come next offseason. Unfortunately Teague may be facing a challenge too tough to overcome, as it’s likely his minutes of opportunity will be decreased with both Harris and Williams on board. In order to prove his worth as a starter Teague must continue to improve his three-point shooting percentage (34% last season) and most importantly his distribution rate as he averaged just below 5 assists per game last season. It’ll be tough and interesting task to watch Teague try to improve yet again next season.

2. John Jenkins

ImageUndoubtedly one of the more NBA-ready rookies in this year’s draft class Jenkins will get a chance to shine in the Hawks rotation next season. Reviewing the Hawks depth chart that includes Anthony Morrow and DeShawn Stevenson, there’s a decent chance you may even see Jenkins starting in the shooting guard slot if Head Coach Larry Drew decides to go against the idea of a Teague/Harris backcourt that would lack the 3-point shooting threat that Jenkins certainly provides. Just recently, Jenkins received 48.6% of his peers votes as best shooter in a rookie poll that was released by NBA.com. Jenkins led the nation in three-pointers made per game last season connecting on nearly 4 treys a game. If Jenkins can quickly transition his consistent long range shooting ability to the NBA, he’ll earn a spot on one of the NBA All-Rookie teams.

3. Josh Smith

Last year he was an All-Star game snub, this year he enters a contract year. Watch out folks, Josh Smith is on a mission to get paid! Fantasy basketball players should jump on the opportunity of drafting this guy early into the first round. Last year J-Smoov nearly averaged a double-double putting up 18.8 ppg and collecting 9.6 boards a game, not to mention also averaging 1.4 spg and 1.7 bpg respectively. With the departure of Joe Johnson, Smith will average 20 points and 10 rebounds a game with ease next year. Rest assured he’ll also continue to hold down a 1.5 steals per game average and don’t be a bit surprised to see him get raise his blocks average to 2 per game. With that here’s the first bold statistical prediction for next season: 22.5 ppg, 11 rpg, 5.3 apg, 1.5 spg, 2.1 bpg= Josh Smith.                                                       

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J-Smoov will produce eye-popping numbers this season

OTC Spotlight: Trey Johnson

By: Ross Geiger

Here at the OTC, we very much understand what it feels like to be an unfamiliar name to many bloggers and while we continue to work towards making a name for ourselves; it’s always nice to return the favor. The “OTC Spotlight” will be a new addition to our weekly posts in which we here at the OTC pick an unfamiliar athlete that’s caught our attention somehow/someway and show them some love!

Ladies and Gentlemen: It’s an honor to announce our first ever OTC Spotlight goes to Trey Johnson.

It wasn’t until his junior year of high school that Trey Johnson decided to pick up a basketball and take it seriously. But by the time he was his college ball at Jackson State University, Johnson held the second highest points per game average in the nation.

On top of his impressive scoring outputs on the hardwood, Johnson was also a outstanding talent on the baseball field. The Kansas City Royals upon graduating from high school drafted him but after an unfortunate injury, he decided to set his dreams on the basketball court. In high school, Johnson was quite the talent in both sports, but he wasn’t his school’s only impressive athlete. Cleveland Cavaliers’ guard Mo Williams also played both baseball and basketball at Johnson’s high school and they remain close friends to this very day.

Johnson playing with the Hornets

While Mo Williams has clearly found more success in the NBA, Johnson continues to work toward his goal of becoming a legitimate NBA type talent. At the age of 25, Johnson has been fortunate to have received some NBA exposure over the course of the past couple years. In 2007, he played NBA preseason ball as a member of the New Orleans Hornets in which he averaged 4 points and 1.8 assists in just an average of 13.8 minutes per game. Though he didn’t end up making the Hornets’ final roster it landed him the opportunity to play overseas in Serbia with a team named KK Hemofarm.

After a short stint in Serbia, Johnson returned to the states signing a contract with the D-League’s Bakersfield Jam in 2008. In his first full season with the Jam, Johnson put up impressive numbers. He started in all 39 games he played in, putting up averages of 20.7 ppg, 4.5 apg, to go along with 3.8 rpg.

The following year, still as a member of the Bakersfield Jam, Johnson’s game began to become noticed and on February 2, 2009, Johnson would get the NBA call-up he was waiting for. The Cleveland Cavaliers had signed him to a 10-day contract in which he’d be reunited with his former high school teammate and friend Mo Williams. As a member of the Cavaliers, Johnson took a jersey number one higher than that of LeBron James, wearing #24. Nearing the end of his 10-day contract with the Cavs, Johnson scored his first official NBA game points and first as a Cavalier on February 11, 2009. Johnson ended that Febuary 11th game with 4 points logging 9 minutes of floor time.

For the rest of the 2009-2010 season, Johnson continued his professional career with the Jam playing in 13 games. While some of his percentages took a tumble, he’s averages improved to 21.3 ppg, 7.1 apg, and 3.4 rpg.

At 6’5, 218 pounds, Johnson has the unique ability to be an effective combo-guard. What really makes him special is his ability to distribute the basketball on top of carrying the scoring load. After getting my first glimpse of Johnson in NBA Summer League this year in Las Vegas, playing with the Los Angeles Clippers, I was very impressed with his overall game play. Johnson will continue to be a borderline NBA talent and will definitely get another opportunity to show what he can do during the 2010-2011 season. It’s just a matter of time before Johnson is given another 10-day contract to show what he can do to help an NBA franchise. We at the OTC, recognize Johnson’s talents, and wish him the best of luck in all his basketball endeavors!

Trey Johnson is in The OTC Spotlight!

Need for Speed: Tyreke Evans

On Memorial Day weekend Tyreke took home another trophy in becoming the summer's fastest NBA racer

Speeding, we’re all guilty of doing it some time or another while driving on the roadways, but the Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans, the NBA’s reigning Rookie of the Year, took it to an entirely different level this past Memorial Day weekend. Like most NBA minor misconducts during the offseason, Evans’s crime went forgotten among most fans, but that’s no longer the case.

Now, Evans’s joy ride with a buddy has hit the YouTube world somehow and it’s sure to create some buzz. The video is taken from a California Highway Patrol chopper and it follows Evans in his purple Mercedes Benz for an extended amount of time as he travels at speeds ranging from 120 to 130 miles per hour. The footage shot is no different from clips you would see on such as World’s Wildest Police Chases or Cops with full audio and full video that is very graphic. At the end of Evans’s run from trouble with law enforcement he’s stopped at a local school parking lot and arrested at gunpoint.

It’s looks as though the school is not in session, but the school grounds definitely have some activity at the time the arrest was made. One thing that really stands out is that from the overhead shot of the helicopter it looks as though there are people playing basketball on the outdoor courts at the time. Can you imagine, heading to the park to meet up with some of you’re buddies and wham! You’re immediately stunned in witnessing you’re favorite and team’s best player being arrested at gun point, crazy!

Rest assured, the 20-year-old phenom learned his lesson that summer day in Sacramento. According to SI.com, Evans pleaded no contest to reckless driving, was sentenced to 80 hours of community service, ordered to a teen-driving program, and has his license suspended for 30 days.

It’s unfortunate that Evans’s first NBA offseason won’t be a memorable as he would’ve hoped. Instead of working on his game in the gym, he’ll be doing 80 hours of service to the Sacramento community, which surely won’t count as an NBA Cares program. And if you’re a teenage Kings fan growing up in the Sacramento area, now’s the time to ask mom and dad for driving school! Along with you’re permit, be sure you wear your Kings gear and bring a black sharpie to the classroom.  This incident is just another example of how just how young some of these kids in the league are and why many of them need to a close eye looking out for them. Hopefully next time for Evans, that close eye won’t be the California Highway Patrol.

Milwaukee Bucks Summer League Game 1 Points of Emphasis

By: Ross Geiger

Game 1: Dallas Mavericks: 73 Milwaukee Bucks: 72 OT

After watching the Milwaukee Bucks lose a tough one in a very exciting battle with the Dallas Mavericks in their Summer League opener, I came away with five players that are worthy of some points of emphasis.

Jackson could earn a jersey with the Bucks this season, but he won't be wearing #00, that belongs to Drew Gooden

1. Darnell Jackson: Leading all scorers with 17 points in the contest, Jackson’s NBA experience really paid dividends. Going 8-15 from the field while collecting 7 boards all came under composure. Many of the young players came into the game with debut butterflies but it was evident that Jackson’s adapted to the summer league experiences. He led by example in 25 minutes of play and played under control the entire time, only committing 2 fouls as well. It’s still very early in a long process but his Game 1 play definitely helps his case in grabbing one of the last few spots on the Bucks roster this season.

2.  Larry Sanders: Despite what many take from Sanders’ pro debut, I actually feel I saw more positives than negatives today. Yes he struggled offensively but we knew that was his biggest weakness coming in. Having only connected on 4 of his 15 shot attempts Sanders must improve upon finishing at the basket while absorbing contact, along with better shot selection. As far as the shot selection goes, that can easily improve as the games move on, he was trying to impress as any brand new top pick would in their debut. But as I mentioned there were tons of positives from this year’s 15th overall selection. Sanders is very active on both ends of the floor, alert at all times, and always attacking the glass. Those intangibles are things that will most definitely find him earning some floor time under Bucks Head Coach Scott Skiles this year. Though it’s only one game and my first look at the Bucks rookie if I were to give you an outlook on Sanders’s first year with the Bucks here’s my evaluation: He’ll play spot minutes, be a spark plug used at the end of quarters giving guys quick breathers, instant energy. A very realistic first year comparison in terms of production and play I’d say he’ll be a lot like Suns forward Lou Amundson. With that being said, he obviously carries way more potential and talent moving forward with a bright future in this league. Just be patient and give him some time to transition and adjust to the NBA level of play.

An NBA Type Talent With Off-the-Court Question Marks

3. Sean Williams: Being a guy always high on the potential of Area 51, I definitely won’t count him out on making an NBA roster this season. If he can prove (and keep) his head on straight (which is a big if) there’s no question he’s an NBA type talent. He’s long, runs the floor like gazelle, can clean up around the rim, and of course he lives up to his nickname “Area 51” protecting the paint by swatting away shots. What I liked in his first game with the Bucks was his patience, his control, and his willingness to move the ball. On top of that he impressed me with his 15 foot look that he drilled and also threw his body around a bit and took two charges. Williams has a great sense of when and when not to attempt to block a shot, he stays grounded at the right time and tends to pick the correct times to challenge a shot attempt. That feature of knowing when to block a shot could really benefit Bucks draftee Larry Sanders who doesn’t have the slightest clue when there’s a time and a place to leave his feet. Bucks fans, it’s a long shot, but don’t count out Williams on maybe earning that last roster spot. I wouldn’t bet on it, but his talent is intriguing and if there’s any organization that can help Williams change his off court habits it’s in Milwaukee. There’s no doubt the Bucks are great situation for Sean Williams future, the question is whether or not Williams is worth risking the team’s locker room atmosphere. If Xavier Henry or Paul George would have fallen to the Bucks at 15, I think Sean Williams maybe makes the team. But with Sanders on board, along with Tiny Gallon whose close with Brandon Jennings, I see Williams unfortunately not getting his second chance with the Bucks.

4. Deron Washington: A second round draft pick of the Detroit Pistons in last year’s draft, Washington’s got an idea of what summer league’s all about this year. That showed in today’s game as Washington went 4-8 from the field, hitting 1 of 2 attempts from downtown, and 2-2 from the charity stripe. His contributions helped keep the Bucks in the ballgame and he hit some big shots. Washington finished with a solid 11 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, to go along with 2 steals. With continued play like this, Washington should find himself a nice look overseas next season.

The Former Marquette Standout

5.  Dominic James: The former standout point guard from Marquette is entering his redemption year after suffering a summer league ending injury just a day or two before he was set to participate in summer league last year with the Bucks. James didn’t have a pretty game by any means but his hard nosed, full court pressure defense and his efforts in getting good looks for those around him gives him my nod for my 5th and final spot. His highlighted plays include a buzzer beating high fade away jumper to end the first quarter of play, a nice no look dish hitting Darnell Jackson after drawing too, and his hustle play in which he sprinted all the way down on the defensive end, ultimately sacrificing his body leaping over the media table on the baseline. James isn’t quite a NBA level talent, but this type of play will definitely help his chances overseas, giving him more better opportunites in the future. I’m sure we’ll see Mr. James on an NBA Summer League roster next year as well. In the end, it’s great to see the Milwaukee Bucks giving exposure to Wisconsin area players: Dominic James, Jerry Smith, and Franklin.

The Bucks look to bounce back from their overtime loss against the Dallas Mavericks tomorrow against the Memphis Grizzlies. Game time is set from 8 ET and will be televised on NBATV.

Follow Ross Geiger on Twitter: (@RossGeiger)

2010 Stanley Cup Preview: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Chicago Blackhawks

By: Sean Waters (Guest Contributor)

Now that the Conference Championships are complete the fight for the Stanley Cup is down to two, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers. And to be completely honest, this is a match up that very few had at the beginning of these playoffs. Surprisingly this creates a match-up between two big market teams who have not won a Stanley Cup in over thirty years. Chicago’s last Stanley Cup victory came 47 seasons ago (the longest of all teams in the NHL) and Philadelphia’s came 33 seasons ago. Needless to say, this match-up is getting a lot of attention due to this. Let’s take a look at both of these teams and how they got here.

The Chicago Blackhawks finished the regular season with a record of 52-22-8 (112 Points) which was good enough for second in the west. They were a dominate team at home winning 70% of the game they played in Chicago. They have flipped the switch in the playoffs by only losing a single game on the road so far. The Blackhawks for the most part have gotten through the first three rounds fairly easy. In the first round they got matched up against the Nashville Predators. Chicago struggled in the first three games of that series being out scored 8 to 4 but they took games four, five, and six to take the series. In the second round, they took on the Vancouver Canucks. Like the first series, Chicago lost game one in an embarrassing fashion. Chicago goes on to score 16 goals in their next three games. Chicago finishes this series in six with another road victory. In the Conference Finals, Chicago faced off against the number one seeded Sharks of San Jose. Chicago took quick advantage of this series winning games one and two on San Jose ice. They came home to Chicago and finished San Jose in a four game sweep.

Patrick's been very Sharp for the Blackhawks

These playoffs for the Blackhawks have been lead by the amazing duel of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane. These players have recorded seven goals so far and are one/two/three in points on their team. Another stand out for the Blackhawks has been Dustin Byfuglien who has recorded eight goals but four of those coming in game winning situations. Goalie, Antti Niemi, has been amazing so far, starting every game in the playoffs up to this point. He has a record of 12-4 and is only giving up 2.33 goals per game. With this his save percentage a strong .921 and should be good enough as long as Chicago continues to score like they have. One thing that the stats don’t show is the toughness of the Blackhawks. I guess at this point if you are questioning this teams toughness, well, go talk to Duncan Keith who lost seven teeth when he was hit in the face by a puck in game four against San Jose. He was back in the game in six minutes. Chicago is a team that can beat you in many different ways and the combination of Toews and Kane is yet to be stopped. The big question is can they be stopped.

The Philadelphia Flyers at the beginning of the season were picked to be one of the front-runners in the eastern conference. For the most part, the Flyers had a very disappointing regular season finishing with a record of 41-35-6 (88 points). They backed their way into the playoffs on the last night of the season in a shootout win against the Rangers. They received the seven seed and played the New Jersey Devils in the first round. The Flyers rode their high off the shootout win playing very good defensive hockey only allowing four goals in their four victories against the Devils. Philadelphia beats New Jersey in five and then squared off against the three seeded Boston Bruins. This is a series that will go down in history with Boston going up 3-0 on Philadelphia. The Flyers then win game four in Overtime, win game five by shutting Boston out, changing goalies in game six and winning that 2-1, and then going down 3-0 in game seven to come back and win 4 to 3. This marked only the fourth time in sports that a team had come back from 3-0 to win the series. But Philadelphia wasn’t done just yet, they still believed that there was work to be done. They then took on the 8th seeded Montreal Canadiens. Philadelphia made sure not to fall behind in this series by taking games one and two at home in ways of shutouts. The Flyers shutout the Canadiens one more time in this series and ended up winning it in five on their home ice.

It's been tough to get the puck passed Leighton

Philadelphia has made history in these playoffs already, but to them it means nothing unless they are holding the Cup in the end. This run so far for this team has been an amazing team effort. Many players are just stepping up at the right times. Danny Briere, Mike Richards, Claude Giroux, and Simon Gagne just to name a few, all of which have six or more goals so far in the playoffs. Players like Chris Pronger and Matt Carle have not only been outstanding on the defensive side they have also done a great job on the offensive side each recorded 10 assists so far. The amazing thing is the job that Michael Leighton has done since taking over as goalie half way through the Boston series. Leighton has posted a record of 6-1 and is only giving up 1.45 goals per game. With this of those seven games, three of them have been shutouts. He has only given up 11 goals in 210 attempts giving him a .948 save percentage so far for these playoffs. The big thing with this team is that they are fighters that are not giving up. It is the only reason they are here at this point. No matter how bad the odds got, they still believed. If the Flyers win the Stanley Cup, this will be the number one reason why.

Who's going to take home the hardware?

Points to the Series:

If this is a high scoring series, it will go to the Blackhawks. With this Philadelphia needs to find a way of taking out Chicago’s major scores (Kane, Sharp, and Toews). This is something that is going to be very tough seeing that Nashville, Vancouver, and San Jose all failed on this task. With this Leighton needs to be as sharp has he has been throughout the last couple of weeks.

If this is a low scoring series, it will go to the Flyers. The reason why I’m saying this is because throughout the playoffs the games that Chicago is winning are the high scoring ones. With this, the four games that Chicago was held to one goal, they have lost all four. Games in which Chicago scores more then two goals, they are so far 12-0 in the playoffs On the other hand, games that have had three or less goals in these playoffs, Philadelphia is 5-0 (Philadelphia has held its opponent to one or less goals nine times so far in these playoffs). They key for Philadelphia is that they don’t want to get into high scoring affairs.

Philadelphia and Chicago only faced off against each other one time this season. Chicago played with their now “backup” goalie (Huet) and lost 3-2 in Philadelphia.

My prediction:

Philadelphia will win game one.
Chicago will win game two.
Chicago will win game three.
Philadelphia will win game four.
Chicago will win game five.
Chicago will win game six.

Chicago wins in 6 – the combination of Kane and Toews is going to be too much for the Flyers. They will be able to fight it well and make a very entertaining series but in the end it is going to be too much offense to defend.

Playoff Schedule:

Saturday, May 29 at Chicago, 7 p.m.
Monday, May 31 at Chicago, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, June 2 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Friday, June 4 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
*Sunday, June 6 at Chicago, 7 p.m.
*Wednesday, June 9 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
*Friday, June 11 at Chicago, 7 p.m.

* = If Necessary

5/24/10 Orlando Magic at Boston Celtics (Game 4) Predictions

Orlando Magic at Boston Celtics- 8:30 ET ESPN

Pierce & the Celtics will have some time to rest up, stretch out, & prepare for the NBA Finals

The Magic are down for the count. With no hope of coming back from a 3-0 hole in the series, I fully expect them to lay down in Game 4. Hopefully the take the series loss like professionals and play hard all game, but in no way I expect them to come out on top. If I’m a Magic player, I rather get swept in Boston then have to come home and lose Game 5 in front of the home crowd.

It’s been a disappointing series to say the very least. In fact the NBA Playoffs as a whole have been very disappointing up until this point. Hopefully the NBA Finals matchup Celtics-Lakers/Suns offers a much more exciting series than we’ve been treated too so far this year. Celtics took care of business in the Eastern Conference Finals as an end result, they’ll be treating themselves to some days off to rest.

Celtics- 95 Magic- 87

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5/17/10 Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers (Game 1)

Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers- 9 ET TNT

Why can't the Suns get any love?

On top of all the “you’re wrong” comments sent my way via Suns fans, I’ve recently been hit with a surge of Suns fans wondering why I and the majority of the sports media world don’t give the Suns any love. While I can stand here and think of a variety of different why that is, I think it’s much more significant to inform all Suns fans not to worry: Embrace it! The Phoenix Suns are at their best when there’s no expectations! The moment they’re expected to do something is when they fail….

Past Examples:

2004-2005 Suns Starters: Nash/Johnson/Richardson/Marion/Stoudemire= best Suns team since the 2000's

When were expected to dominate the NBA Playoffs as they did the 2004-2005 regular season= fail

When Shawn Marion is expected to be happy and remain a Suns player for his entire career= fail

When Shaquille O’Neal was expected to be the missing link to a championship caliber team= fail

Present Examples:

When Steve Nash is expected to play a little defense= fail

When Jared Dudley and the Suns bench are expected to provide a huge boost= fail

When the Suns have a early 15 to 20 point lead and expect to maintain it= fail

Suns may still regret not doing this

Future Examples in Question:

When Jared Dudley & Grant Hill are expected to slow down Kobe: _______ ?

When Amare Stoudemire is expected to resign in Phoenix this offseason: _______?

When Goran Dragic is expected to be the Suns everyday starting point guard: _______?

Goran Dragic might possibly be the best example that comes to mind when talking about the Suns and expectations. While there’s no doubt that Goran Dragic’s Game 3 performance in San Antonio was outstanding to say the very least, it was THAT outstanding because you didn’t expect it. The moment Suns fans come to expect Goran Dragic to do something (like me) you’ll find yourselves disappointed in the final product. Same applies to the Suns organization. Don’t have any expectations heading into the Western Conference Finals Suns fans, I’m looking out in the best interest of you all. Continue to enjoy the ride without worrying about what Bill Plaschke, Phil Jackson, and hell even what Ross Geiger says. The moment the sports world outside of Phoenix begins to believe in this Suns team is when it collapses.

The Lakers' Big Three

Now with all that being said, I got good news for the Phoenix Suns, I like the majority of the sports world have the Lakers in Game 1. It’s going to be interesting to watch the Suns try to stop the Lakers strong inside presence of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. The most important key of all is not allowing Amare Stoudemire to fall into early foul trouble. If at any point in this series, Amare sees foul trouble early into ball games, the Suns stand no chance unless they’re just hitting everything from the perimeter. Balanced scoring: inside and out, is something both teams need to solidify their success. The Suns must not count heavily on knocking down the perimeter threes against the Lakers, rather must attack the basket and try to draw some fouls down low on Bynum. If the Suns can get Bynum into some foul trouble, the game is pretty much an even battle.

How the Lakers decide upon approaching who defends Steve Nash is also something to watch for. We all know Derek Fisher will clearly start from tipoff, but I see Phil Jackson calling upon Shannon Brown to play that Jerryd Bayless/George Hill-type role against Nash. Jordan Farmar is another guy to watch out for. Any matchup that puts Steve Nash on his heels on defense is something I see Phil Jackson trying his best to exploit. Especially now after Steve Nash retaliated back by saying that Gregg Popovich is the best head coach in the NBA, I see Coach Jackson taking to Nash every and often.

A Lakers win will result in keeping Bynum out of foul trouble, solid play from Gasol at least matches the stat line of Stoudemire, and the no show productivity from the Phoenix Suns bench. Lakers take Game 1 at home.

Lakers- 107 Suns- 99

I Don’t See Channing Frye or Jared Dudley Being Able to Deliver Clutch Knockdowns Like This One, That Goes Down in My Book as the My Favorite Suns Shot of All-Time over Rex Chapman’s Prayer:

5/13/10

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics- 8 ET ESPN

There’s a very interesting situation taking place tonight in Boston. One in which the league’s best player will be put to a challenge in a never before seen event. With their backs against the wall, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers face elimination on the road after failing to take Game 5 at home.

King James is coming off the worst playoff performance of his career and being the reigning back-to-back MVP the NBA world expects nothing but a bounce-back, spectacular performance in Game 6. When it comes to the league, In LeBron James I Trust. Despite the elbow injury, James will come out firing early and often in Game 6. Not only will it be important for him to develop a rhythm early but in doing so he’ll also be able to quiet down the Boston crowd.

2010 NBA Finals? The NBA sure hopes so....

It’ll be interesting to see which crew of officials Mr. Stern decides to assign this game. For one, the league’s hope is that this series will go the maximum 7 games and for two, if the NBA could wish upon a star they’d hope for a Kobe vs. LeBron NBA Finals. The NBA will get one of its two wishes granted tonight a 7th game back in Cleveland. Cavaliers behind a fired up LeBron get the job done tonight in a do or die battle.

Cavaliers- 116 Celtics- 102

5/11/10 NBA Playoff Prediction

Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers- 8 ET TNT

Unbelievable in Game 4, down right nasty stat line....

To me, each team’s success in this series isn’t rocket science. For the Celtics to win they must get a big scoring contribution from point guard Rajon Rondo. For the Cavaliers, on the other hand, well it’s clearly got to be the play of LeBron James. After Game 3, I was at a loss of words, you’re meaning to tell me it’s possible for a point guard to drop 29 points, snatch down 18 rebounds, and drop 13 assists? Numbers like that even make Jason Kidd lose his breath, Rajon Rondo was an absolute beast to say the very least! (rhyme intended)

"It's on the the next one" for LeBron & the Cavs after dropping Game 4

Now I’m not a huge fan of Rajon Rondo but it’s hard not liking what he did in Game 3, the Celtics won’t lose a single game if Rondo can play like that on a consistent basis, not to mention go down in the record books. But now the story shifts, as LeBron’s buddy-ole- pal sings, “On to the Next One”. King James is back in his throne at home for Game 5 and his team has a bad taste in their mouths after losing Game 4.

For the Cavs it’s step up time for Mo Williams, he’s been very disappointing to say the least and if you can’t score, please save yourself from getting embarrassed. I don’t care how good a point guard with the size of Rondo is, he shouldn’t be able to do what he did in Game 4. The Cavs need a big win in Game 5 to keep control of the series, but just like tonight’s opening tipoff, the series is up for grabs. I’ll take LeBron James in Game 5.

Cavaliers- 104 Celtics- 96

Three Keys to another Celtics Win

1) Hit Varejao in the Balls

2) Don’t Acknowledge Brian Scalabrine

3) And Clearly, Don’t Score for the Other Team!

Bucks/Hawks Game 7 Predictions (Special Edition)

Milwaukee Bucks at Atlanta Hawks- 1 ET- ABC

Prepare for Game 7

As we all know, December 25th is quite the holiday celebration. Now that I’m all grown up, outside of getting to spend quality time with my family, watching the highlighted NBA games on ABC each year is what I look forward to most. This year, Christmas came a little bit early in many respects. On Friday it came for the Hawks as the Bucks gave them a huge gift as they came out very poorly and never recovered, which allowed the Hawks to regain control of the series. Tomorrow marks a gift for the Milwaukee Bucks as they play a deciding Game 7 in Atlanta. You may be wondering how can it be a gift for a Bucks team that could’ve closed out the series at home? While you’re absolutely right, it’s for those exact same reasons that Game 7 is a gift to the Milwaukee Bucks. This Game 7 will forever be known in my book as The Gift & The Curse.

The Bucks gift wrapped Game 6

“The Gift” will come in it’s appropriate holiday fashion with the Bucks wearing their traditional Christmas team colors. “The Gift” will be opened by the Atlanta Hawks and it shall be shared amongst the entire Hawks organization, team, fans , and city. Maybe you’ve already see where this is leading but the Gift is the Curse. The curse to what’s to come in the near future in Atlanta after tragic Game 7 loss in Atlanta occurs. Now you may wonder: How will the gift be successfully sent and presented? How dare you ask such a question, you should’ve learned that answer growing up. The answer: By the reindeer of course!

These "Reindeer" will decide Game 7 for their respected teams

Dasher: “Jamal Crawford” Whomever is defending Crawford must make sure to know where he is at all times, especially during the closing seconds of this game. In his first playoff appearance, Crawford’s going to be dashing all around the floor looking to get off a clean look at the basket. If anyone’s going to deliver the unbelievable dagger to the Bucks chances of moving on it lies in the hands of Jamal Crawford.

Dancer: “Brandon Jennings” In the Game 6 postgame press conference Jennings stated he’s coming ready to play come Sunday afternoon. When he means ready to play, it also means he’ll be ready to swag, so expect a little dancing on and off the court.

Prancer: “Ersan Ilayasova” The Bucks need Ilayasova to prance all around the glass on both ends of the floor. He’ll be important in limiting the Hawks second shots on the defensive end and cleaning up the Bucks missed shots with put backs on the offensive end.

He'll be fired up for Game 7

Vixen: “Joe Johnson” The term Vixen just sounds scary and evil which is exactly how Bucks’ fans would describe Johnson all series long but especially now heading into Game 7. The grammatically correct definition of a vixen is a female fox or ill-tempered woman, none of which apply to Johnson.

Comet: “Josh Smith” J-Smoov will continue to be unsmooth near and around the basket whenever he’s unable to finish above the rim. Under the rim, he’ll continue to look he should be playing for the WNBA’s Houston Comets.

Cupid: “Carlos Delfino”It’s safe to say by now that Delfino has found his shooting touch from the outside. Knowing you can count upon him to hit his open looks, take some pressure of Salmons, and hit big shots, what’s not to love about Carlos….

Donner: “Mike Woodson” Since Donner is not an actual word and just a name, it didn’t ring a bell to who be honored with this reindeer. But Donner does rhyme with goner and that’s exactly what Mike Woodson will be at the end of the playoffs: win or lose tomorrow. Unless the Hawks win the NBA Championship, he’s gone: either leaving under his own will which could potentially end up being to Philly with Larry Brown. Why would he opt to leave on his own? Job Security. Some would already say his job is on the line and that’s before Joe Johnson packs up and leaves this summer.

Everyday a Scrub is Born, Clap for 'em, Clap for 'em...eeeyyy

Blitzen: “Zaza Pachulia & Dan Gadzuric” When it comes to this name, I can’t help but think of the word blitz. Not only would both of these honorable bench players be great defensive football players but they more than make up for it by blitzing (fouling) on the basketball court. Whether it’s to send a statement or just a shot block attempt, both are very gifted when it comes to fouling.

It may be unfair, but the Bucks' Game 7 chances are determined by Salmons

Rudolph: “John Salmons” Coming off a horrendous 2-13 shooting night for only 8 points in Game 6, Salmons is the key to delivering “The Gift and The Curse” to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 7. Being Rudolph, he’ll need to use his famous Red Nose to guide his deer to victory. While that starts off on the offensive end by providing a bulk of the scoring load, it can’t end there. Salmons must also provide “hard-nosed” defense on Joe Johnson for the entirety of Game 7. Can he do it all? Of course; has Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer ever let you down? Like Johnson, Salmons leadership is never vocal, but like another popular “Rudolf”, he’s going to “Let It Rock” in Game 7.

NBA fans across the globe should mark this game down as a holiday. Hawks and Bucks fans in particular will be rushing to the television sets like a child rushing to see what Santa left on Christmas morning. The rest will be up to 3 keys to the game are nearly identical to those that determine your Christmas presents:

  1. The Reindeer: Whichever “reindeer” are able to take care of business consistently until the final buzzer sounds will win the game for their respective teams. Collectively as a whole, they must all be on the same page and click with one another. Which “team” of reindeer do this the best separate themselves from other and move their slay onto Orlando to face the Magic in Round 2.
  2. NBA Playoffs = NBA Christmas

    Santa: You may find it a little shocking for me to admit this being the big NBA supporter that I am but NBA Commissioner David Stern is Santa. In the end, Santa has a lot of influence on who’ll end up taking the sleigh to Orlando. As the NBA Playoffs progress he’ll be making a list, checking it twice, gunna find out who’s naughty or nice. And come time for one “nice” team to hoist the NBA Championship trophy, Santa Clause is coming to town!!! My advice to the Bucks being the underdogs and a team that wouldn’t be expected to have much of a chance in making a Round 2 matchup against the Magic a competitive one that has the potential to go 6 or 7 games (bringing in that much more money for the league…cough, cough) and to remember to leave Santa a full glass of Milk (fresh from Wisconsin) and some chocolate chip cookies!

  3. Elfs (Santa’s Little Helpers): Once again, I’m ripping my own support of the NBA into little pieces right now but it’s true. We all know Santa has his little helpers and for the David Stern and the NBA that’s of course the officiating. Like I mentioned above, with the Hawks at home and being the team that looks to be much more able to stretch a series with the Magic to at least 6 or 7 games, the Elf’s most likely will be handing the favorable calls to the Hawks. Here are two prime examples from this year already:

For most of us, Christmas is among the most cherished childhood memories we carry with us throughout our lives. We never forget those mornings we rushed out to the living room to see what Santa had left us. While our thought and belief of one man traveling across the world spreading holiday cheer and leaving children gifts that they had on their wish list may diminish; Christmas is amazing and Santa is a big reason for that. The NBA is also where amazing happens and whether we’d like to admit it or not, David Stern has a lot to do with what’s granted off our wish list.

For Bucks fans, it’s hard to add to the wish list, the Milwaukee Bucks have gotten all that could ever ask for this year and more. An exciting future star in draft pick Brandon Jennings, a strong return from overseas from Ersan Ilayasova, drastic improvement in both leadership and performance roles from Andrew Bogut, a solid free agent signing in Jerry Stackhouse, a great deadline trade grabbing John Salmons, saved tons of money moving Richard Jefferson’s contract and picking up Kurt Thomas who turned out to be a blessing in disguise, great bench play and attitude from Luke Ridnour, even more improved defense from Mbah a Moute, a great swap receiving Carlos Delfino, and the creation of Squad 6. With all of this came recognition and respect, all year long the Bucks weren’t the laughing matter they once were, both of the Bucks masterminds were honored: John Hammond won the league’s Executive of the Year Award and Head Coach Scott Skiles was runner-up for NBA Coach of the Year. And most importantly, the NBA now knows why it should FEAR THE DEER.

Ever since stepping foot onto Marquette campus as a college freshmen, I’ve been a all out supporter of the Milwaukee Bucks. I’ve stood by this team since the first game I ever attended, now over 70 games later (having not missed a single game (preseason or season when in Milwaukee) I’ll continue to stand behind the Bucks in Game 7. While I’ll admit and it’s definitely clear in this post that I have my doubts about Game 7, I’m going to let my bias and just overall passion for the Bucks organization to get the best of me in my Game 7 prediction. No way I’m picking against the Bucks in Game 7, I’ve always been a believer in this city, this franchise, and this team, and it ain’t stopping now.

Bucks- 108 Hawks- 107

If this indeed ends up being my last Milwaukee Bucks Game Post of the Season, I hope you enjoyed them & be sure to stay with us as we follow the rest of the NBA playoffs! Thanks for the support!- Ross Geiger