Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Conference Finals

OK, our predictions so far for the playoffs have been hit or miss.
Pistons won in 7 (Mr. West had them winning in 5 and Mr. East had them in 4)
Heat won in 5 (we both got that exactly right)
Mavs won in 7 (we both had the Spurs winning in 6)
Suns won in 7 (Mr. West nailed this one while Mr. East had Clippers in 7)

Short thoughts on Round 2 of the playoffs:
- Damn, Dirk and the Mavs looked hard! They had some typical mental lapses but they balled like rough stars for the most part.

- Vince Carter does not have that finishing, tough edge needed to win playoff games in the 4th quarter. His weak plays at the end cost the Nets.

- Dirk's drive to hoop for the old school 3-point play at the end of regulation in Game 7 ... sick!

- Dwayne Wade is a winner. He just has "it."

- LeBron has even more of "it." Sick.

- The Clippers got suckered like a JV squad by the Suns in Game 7. Outplayed and outcoached bad. Embarrassing seeing as how close they were to advancing.

- Erik Dampier is a massive goon-- the dude fouls every damn play. Why even bother to do it when you are so big and skilled?

- Jerry Stackhouse's showed clutch balls I didn't think he owned.

- It is good for the NBA, and basketball on the whole, to have the Mavs and Suns still alive.

- We want a Heat-Mavs final for some good games.

Predictions for the Conference Finals:

Mr. West
Detroit has home court, which is pretty big in this series. But Miami has a healthy Shaq and good-shooting bench play from 'Toine. I gotta go with Miami. LeBron exposed Detroit for not being as special as we all were meant to believe. The Pistons can still readily grind it out but that leaves opponents hanging around. I think Riley will bust balls and crack skulls for the first time in years if his players start acting like lazy morons.
Heat in 7

Mr. East
I like Detroit in this Series. You can see my comments in the previous prediction to see how I feel about their chances. I thought sweep last time, but they got pushed to 7 games by a clearly inferior team. Even LeBron, as good as he is, shouldn't have made that series close. The Heat have the best post player in the game on their team, which is usually my deciding factor, plus they have Dwayne Wade who is lightning in a bottle. I'm just not leaning that way. Think about it. The Heat won the last round thanks in large part to guys like Antoine Walker and Jason Williams. That will never happen in a billion years against Detroit.
Pistons in 6

Mr. West
The Mavs blew it against the Suns last year in the playoffs. Both teams have played some tough series. I just think that the Suns style will ultimately fail against a Mavs team that can mix it up too well these days. Dallas will play it light for 3 quarters then try to lock shit down hard. Dirk will get his but so will others. Look for Coach Johnson to do everything he can to slow Nash because that is the key.
Mavericks in 7

Mr. East
This is a hard one to figure. If I go by my "best post player" indicator in this series, I guess that means Dirk Nowitzki. No one on either roster really plays the post much. The thing is, the pieces on the Mavs don't make as much sense to me as the pieces on the Suns. Nash is better than anyone on the court, save Dirk. He's teamed with Marion, who is also better than anyone else out there, save Dirk. Finally, you have the surprise of the year in Boris Diaw, who makes a third Suns' player that is better than anyone on the court, save Dirk. Don't get me wrong. The Mavs beat the defending champions and have showed all year that they have arrived at championship level. I just don't think they will prevail in the end. It will be close, but I bet Erick Dampier's sorry ass blows a game somewhere down the road that will haunt the Mavericks.
Suns in 6

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


In the wake of my last rant, I had an idea. I'd like any and all Knick fans in attendance at the Garden to start the chant, "Sell the team, sell the team, sell the team...."

It's become a popular technique for disgruntled fans everywhere. You may remember that fans in Detroit took to chanting "Fire Millen" at Lions games, Pistons games, Michigan State games, and even on the road. It's become something of a movement, and I think it behooves New Yorkers to use their skills of persuasion to campaign against James Dolan and the Isiah Thomas regime.

So, start it up. "Sell the Team".

Oh....I'd also like to add Karl Malone to the Knick front office to reprise his December 1991 elbowing to Isiah Thomas' noggin' that gave him 40 stitches. Anyone got that kind of pull?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I'm On Strike

I've had it with basketball. It's not the sport. It's not the diluted talent pool and extracurricular arena antics. I like to rant about those things, but in the end I'm a basketball fan and I'm willing to look past the faults of the David Stern NBA for the enjoyment the actual on court action brings me. I'm on strike for another reason altogether.

It's no surprise that I'm a Knick fan. I've written my fair share of editorials about the Knicks here at East versus West. Since the end of the Ewing era, the Knicks have spiralled downward every single year, until they have reached the current low point in the history of the franchise. Yes. This is THE LOWEST POINT IN THE HISTORY OF THE NEW YORK KNICKS. Think about it. They were the 2nd worst team in the NBA last year with the highest salary by far. The players mutineed against their coach and their owner and GM did nothing to remedy the problem. The owner has backed his useless and criminally negligent general manager to the point that he's untouchable. The same guy that ran the CBA into the ground is now running one of the proudest franchises in the American sports pantheon to the same sad end.

Now it appears as though the GM and owner are essentially siding with spoiled and overrated bling boys like Marbury and Francis over their nomadic coach. I'm not saying that Larry Brown did a good job last year, but he ranks well below Isiah, Marbury, and a handful of other people on the ladder of blame. If the guys listened to Brown and did what he asked of them, they'd have been better. Brown has a winning track record, even if he's like the runaway bride of the NBA. There was a time when players were subordinate to their coach. They were payed to play, and the coach was payed to coach. Now the players pout and act like little bitches if they don't get what they want. "Starbury" and Stevie "Franchise" are the poster children for this phenomenon. I hate both of them.

Now, the Knicks are reportedly buying out Brown to the tune of $40 million and presumably looking at Isiah in the coaching chair next season. Didn't this have to happen eventually? Isn't it what all the New York reporters have been asking Zeke about since he walked in the door? The new coach and his players deserve each other. Isiah traded what may turn out to be the #1 pick in the draft for Eddy Curry. Let's see him live up to that when he has to coach the bloated and streaky Curry. If he had taken over the team sooner, we may have seen him get the door that much sooner too. It's inevitable. He's going to fail miserably as coach, as he's failed miserably as GM, and as he's failed miserably in every aspect of life except playing point guard. If Dolan had a sack, he's have fired Isiah and brought in Kiki Vandeweghe to clean up this mess with a sensible 5 year plan.

So, I'm on strike. As good as the NBA playoffs have been on some nights, I'm not going to follow them, except to check the scores. Since my main beef is with the Knicks, I'm going to boycott them next season. I won't watch a single game. I will campaign for the firing of Isiah Thomas and the sale of the team. Until those two things happen, I am anti-Knick. Rather, I'm a Knick fan on strike. If you love something, you have to speak the truth about it. I support the franchise, just not the bums who own, operate, and play for it. I want my franchise back. Perhaps Gilbert Arenas can express my feelings best. Check the picture for my message to James Dolan, Isiah Thomas, and Stephon Marbury.

-Mr. East

Monday, May 08, 2006

NBA Playoff Predictions, Round 2

Mr. West
Oh, Damon Jones. Your 10 seconds of playing time will strictly be for garbage time, not miracle shots to win any of these games. Detroit is going to beat the shit out of Cleveland. The Piston frontline is so vastly superior to that of the Bullets that dudes like Sideshow Varejeo and Gooden will be reduced to meaningless bit players in loss after loss after loss. Sorry, LeBron, but you are going to get a lesson.
Pistons in 5.

Mr. East
LeBron James will one day be King. Not yet. He is so talented at such a young age that we forget that he can’t even buy a beer. There are those out there who believe in James, and think he has a puncher’s chance against the Pistons, but that team is just too good. There isn’t a single player outside of LeBron that would see minutes on the Pistons, and that should tell you enough. I expect the Pistons to sweep and go on to dominate everyone else as well. You’re looking at the new Bulls, without Michael. If they stay together, I think they can go to the Finals every season and win a good handful of titles.
Pistons in 4.

Mr. West
I hope the Nets win. I hope Vinsanity plays inspired ball like he did all year against the Heat. I hope Shaq sits with foul trouble. I hope Kidd finally finds his range from deep. Sigh ... I fear this will not happen. Despite the fact that Heat are prone to veteran lethargy and major lengths of mental blocks, I do not see how the Nets will challenge Miami for this series given Vince Carter's tendency to shrink in rough games. His flashes of brilliance will be matched play-for-play with his love for bad shots and 20-ft. fadeaways. Once Collins and Kristic get in foul trouble, the Nets are done. If there was any series for Jason Kidd to dominate, this is the one the Nets need the most.
Heat in 5.

Mr. East
The Nets are good. The main reason the Nets are good is because they have Jason Kidd. In our season preview, Mr. West and I heaped praise on Kidd and he’s lived up to it again. Vince is also good. He’s not Kidd good, but he’s better than most of the other guys at his position in the league. Richard Jefferson is good. He’s not Vince good, but he’s better than most of the guys at his position in the league. No one else is good.
Heat in 5.

Mr. West
Dallas has gotten better and better to create a playoff-winning
basketball team. Sure, it is not fair for them to face San Antonio in the second round but it had to be done sooner or later. But the Mavs are not ready to topple the Spurs.
Tim Duncan should destroy the Dallas big men because goofballs like Dampier are meat on a stick to him while smaller dudes on Dallas play small. Truly, if Avery Johnson had balls, he should have Dirk guarding Duncan. Of course, dirty cheapskate Bruce Bowen will be on Dirk-- and Dirk (and Dallas) will only thrive if he can somehow use footwork to beat him off the dribble. The Spurs have the savvy and the Mavs don't.
Spurs in 6.

Mr. East
This is a tough series to pick. Dallas is not the soft bunch of finesse guys they used to be and I think they have a formula to beat the Spurs. Nowitzki’s mutant powers make him potentially the best player in the series, apologies to Tim Duncan, and they may be ready to take the next step. Avery Johnson was a great coach on the floor as a player and it’s translated to the bench. All that said, the Spurs have been there. Duncan is still one of the premier big men in the game, although he didn’t dominate this year as much as in years past. I actually have no evidence to support that, so I might be guilty of talking out my ass, but it sure seems that way. None of that matters though, because the other guys on the Spurs are better than the other guys on the Mavs and that’s what wins.
Spurs in 6

Mr. West
You'd think the Suns were primed for a Clipper beating: they just went the distance with the Lakers, their "big men" needed to cover Brand and Kaman re really just tall guards, and the Clippers are the darkhorse the critics love. Sorry, I'm not buying it. Having seen the regular season matchups between these teams, the fact is that the Suns small-ball effectively removes Kaman from the court and renders Brand as an outcast on the court. The Suns are basically going to dangle bloody meat in front of Cassell, Mobley, Maggette and Radmonovic: "look, boys, we'll let you run, we'll let you shoot ... go ahead, you know you want to ..." I like Sammy Cassell but he will be so tempted to get up and down and jack shots that Brand and Kaman (the true Clippers strengths) will be an afterthought. This series should be fun but disciplined ball won't be found here.
Suns in 7.

Mr. East
I’d like to go with Mr. West’s analysis on this one because I think the Suns are the better team. I think Marion and Nash are the best two players on the floor, even considering the outstanding Elton Brand, and they have one of the other members of the top 5 players in the series in Boris Diaw. Tough to pick the Clips, to me. I’m going to. This is the playoffs, and while the Suns showed they have lasting power against tall odds and Kobe Bryant, it’s just a smokescreen to celebrate that comeback without acknowledging that the Lakers are a middle of the road ballclub. Yes, they had a big run at the end of the year to turn their record from .500 to a playoff qualifier, but they still start Kwame Brown, Smush Parker, and Luke Walton. The Suns should have won that series in 5. The Clips have the best post player in the series and that’s how I pick my playoff series when it’s close. It’s not clear cut here so I go with Brand. He’s ready to follow The Alien and WWE’s Kamanator into the Conference Finals….
Clippers in 6