Saturday, May 26, 2007

Meet Knickerbocker Strong

Thanks to Isiah Thomas, the #9 pick will be sent to Chicago for the #23 pick. Yes, Eddy Curry was effectively swapped for Mike Sweetney, but I'm allowed to brood. With the #23 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft (the deepest in years) the Knicks select.....

Ben Strong, Center, Guilford College (NC, Div.III)

Thanks Zeke.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Meet SuperSonic Durant

Letters: "The NBA is Just Plain Ugly"

Dear Mr. East & Mr. West ... below is a letter we got from some crazy dude. We now love him.
I gotta ask you....why the hell do you even like the NBA??? Man that is some boring ass garbage to watch.

What the hell is everyone talking about with LeBron? I heard Barkley or Kenny Smith say that the floor "parted like the red sea." Kenny whatshisface on Sportscenter said it was a clear path to the basket. The TNT guys went off for an hour about how Lebron has to take over, he's not a supestar, blah, blah, blah. Seems to me that this type of pressure that has been going on for years is the cause for the selfish, lifeless, boring, bullshit hoop that I see now.

NBA games in the regular season are complete bores. Playoff games are slightly better. These guys play when they're when the want to play. It's like a league of Randy Mosses.

I hate to be this guy but I just have to be this guy right now. Womens hoops is better than mens. And its way better than NBA. College hoops is another story.
THe NBA sucks. People have to sit there and defend the league. "Well Golden State vs Dallas was good." Let's face it, there are way more crap games than good games.

These experts are fucking idiots, it's this pressure for everyone to be the superstar, to "take over the game," to prove that they can make the big shot, etc, etc. What about playing sound basketball, what about fundamentals, what about the team?

The NBA is just plain ugly. I don't see how you can watch. The end of games is absolutely dreadful. Whistle after whistle, time outs, intentional fouls, free throws, rebound, time out. Then a play that looks like the coach said okay guys inbound the ball to someone, that guy dribble it up and then you know drive to the hoop, leeeeet's break. At least baseball is supposed to be 85% boring. NBA is supposed to be Fan-tastic.

I don't know much about hoop and the plays and that stuff but I know when something looks graceful, looks like it has a flow, looks pretty. NBA has a couple players that I feel like that with. One is Nash, the other is.....there has to be another one.

Lebron has looked like garbage, attacking triple teams all game and losing the ball. The he actually draws three defenders, kicks it out for the win to a WIDE OPEN teammate and he's criticized for it!!!! What a fucking joke.

I've whittled my sports viewership down to NFL, and MLB (which is just Sox and Yankees for me). I watch some UConn womens games in order to spend time with my 90 year old Grandma and I'm telling you, they play harder in a 40 point blowout then NBAers play in the final seconds of game 7. What a bunch of bums.

People leave the bench and everyone criticizes Stern? What the fuck do we have rules for? Do we only suspend players if they'll only miss a game that isn't supposed to be a "good game." Do people actually think that the commissioner should take the level of the importance of the next game into consideration? What the hell do you do the next time? Do these people understand what setting a precedent is?

Anyway, cool blog. I watched the final 3 minutes of the Pistons game with these guys last night and I felt like it took longer then the whole torturously horrible Red Sox game I had just watched. It was just brutal to watch.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Northwest Strikes Back!! Boston goes to Hell!!

With Mr. West living in NYC and Mr. East in Japan, Portland and Seattle represent a sort of magical far-off portion of the United States that means little to us. Hey, no offense, Northwesterners but all that pops to mind is lumber, grunge, Bill Walton, Starbucks, Microsoft. And the mighty fucking SuperSonics!

Hello, Seattle. Or Oklahoma City.

The 2007 NBA Draft Lottery just took place. We tried to tell you people over a month ago (check the post): "So, according to East vs. West, somehow the Sonics will sneak in to grab a top #1 or #2 spot. God bless them. And Portland seems fucked." OK, so we blew the Portland prediction but we got the Sonics!

Boston, this jerkoff caused your Lottery tumble ... look at him!

And how can we not send a shot out to Beantown for dropping all the way down to #5? Sixers, Nets and Knicks fans thank you for being such wonderfully unlucky bastards over the past 20 years or so. Of course, all fans of other Atlantic Division root on such shitty teams no one really cares anymore. But we still love to see the Celtics get fucked again.

We'll do a full Draft prediction post later on.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Vince Carter: Life's Little Failures

Sheesh, looks like all those Vince-hating fans in Toronto were on to something. Vince Carter got his ass handed to him in the playoff series versus the Cavaliers. Sasha Pavlovic and Eric Snow kicked his ass. And now it looks like Vince's career may not be able to recover from his own glaring shortcomings that shone so bright.

The stats don't say all that much, other than showing Vince has a sub-par series: 11 points in games 5 and 6. 6-for-23 in game 4, ending in a miserable end-of-game scenario where he faltered and lost the ball. But it was his Game 6 disappearance act that confirmed what those north of the border have been saying for years: Vince Carter is a big-game zero ... a highlight machine but not a winner ... a drama queen who shirks responsibility.

And now Vinsanity looks to be relegated to YouTube clips of Frederic Weiss being leapt. Why?

Without a doubt, Carter totally tanked his play while in Toronto to force a trade. Such an act is a true to sign of cowardice, a bitch move of epic proportions. It wasn't as if the man pulled an Iverson and went light in practice or feigned illness to skip out on some random PR event for some sponsor. Carter played so terribly as to essentially throw games. And Toronto got screwed because of it. And the NBA let Vince get away with it, to the benefit of the Nets.

Perhaps Vince listened a little too much to Homer Simpson: "Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel."

But, more likely, Vince is just one of THOSE guys. Oh, you know, the types: they play up their injuries yet also keep playing in a poor attempt to get you to say "gee, man, your leg is almost broken but you keep playing ... wow, you are the toughest man I have ever met." Those types also get offended when lesser players try super-hard against them and make life difficult for them (Bruce Bowen may be a prick but Vince shrinks like a dick dipped in ice water when playing the Spurs). Those types also do nothing to elevate the play of others when the going gets tough.

The Nets coach Frank stupidly played into the hands of the classic NBA superstar ego playbook, with chapters written by the likes of Dominique Wilkins, Wilt Chamberlin and even Stephon Marbury getting a footnote here and there. Frank's offense was reduced to handing Vince Carter the ball and telling everyone to stand and watch. Good move, Frank, just what Dr. Nasimith ordered.

So to Vince Carter, I say grow some balls. OK, that might be harsh. Grow some hair on your balls.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Steve Kerr Calls It: Bullshit!

The suspensions handed down in the Suns-Spurs series got tons of coverage, about 75% of the opinion that the NBA's suspensions were poor. But only Steve Kerr, writing for Yahoo!, made a key point that shows a major flaw in the NBA's policies it has concerning leaving the bench.

"However, if the league decides to suspend Diaw and Stoudemire, it may have to suspend Tim Duncan and Bruce Bowen as well. In a play that went entirely unnoticed until well after the game was over, both Duncan and Bowen actually left San Antonio's bench early in the second quarter after Francisco Elson and James Jones were entangled. Replays clearly show Duncan walking several steps onto the court as Elson and Jones appeared to be ready to get into it. Bowen then followed Duncan onto the floor, grabbed him and led him back to the bench. If the league does indeed follow the letter of the law, both Spurs players would also be suspended for Game 5."

Kerr brings up a key point: if the NBA follows the letter of the law, why aren't Duncan and Bowen suspended, too?

The NBA Shanks the Suns, Fondles the Spurs

Mr. East rages on!:The NBA is possibly the worst of all the professional sports leagues.

Why? Because they don't understand their product. The NBA has so little confidence in it's own sport that it has to make up artificial reasons to go to games. Halftime shows by B musical acts, juggling monkeys, and all the rest of the crap that makes up the circus side show of an NBA game. I'm not here to rant about all that though. I'm on a rant about the actual product.

The NBA suspended Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw for leaving the bench during an altercation against the Spurs involving "Big Shit" Bob. What would you have done if the league refused to protect its reigning 2-time MVP from a bunch of no talent thugs? You'd bust someone's ass. That's what I'd do, and I think rightly so.

Hockey has too many stupid fights, but when a guy clubs another guy with a stick they brawl. That's a good thing. It prevents teams from sending goons out there to hurt someone. When a shit pitcher beans a cleanup batter, benches clear and guys get into it. Why? To protect their teammates from bullshit, dirty play. It's a built in mechanism to deter "hackery".

The only way any of these leagues can do something about dirty play is levy hefty suspensions for each incident. Bowen would have been out multiple times by now. Horry would be gone the rest of the postseason. By not having the balls to step in and stop the violence, the league gives San Antonio a license to keep playing that way. By suspending the Suns guys for leaving the bench to dole out some much needed justice, they leave it open for Bowen and his crew of thugs to goad more Phoenix players into retaliation. If that happens, Phoenix loses. Simple.

What kind of effect does this have on the series? It's huge. The Spurs have gotten away with virtually every dirty tactic in the game and then the Suns get punished. It almost guarantees the San Antonio boys will advance to the Conference Finals, while the best thing that has happened to the league since "Showtime" met Bird and Company goes home.

The Spurs are awful to watch. They are cheap and grind the entire sport to an unenjoyable halt.

Bruce Bowen knees Nash in the groin and we get to see more Spurs basketball.

Robert Horry throws a clothesline, and the Spurs wear the crown.

If you ask me, cracking down on the Spurs' dirty play and suspending Bowen and Horry would be a good start. If there's another incident, suspending Coach Jackass would be a great move. It won't happen because the NBA has no balls. They are a gutless bunch of bureaucrats who can't assure that the most entertaining brand of basketball is played every night. If they strapped on a pair, maybe the rest of the league would look more like the Suns.

If I were the Suns, and the waning seconds of my season were upon me with the knowledge that it was over, I'd go seek out Horry and Bowen and kneecap them. I'd undercut them a la Charlie Ward and P.J. Brown. Maybe I'd jab Duncan in the eye with a thumb or pull Ginobili down by his shoulders as he drove to the basket. Why not? The season is over and the Spurs got to advance via dirty play. May as well take out a few frustrations on them the way they've manhandled you. The league isn't going to put an end to it, so maybe the Suns can exact some serious street justice and make the Spurs understand that one dirty play is cause for another. A season ending eye-gouge to Duncan would make Bowen and company think twice before they did anything dirty again. By the way, yes, I am suggesting that inflicting an intentional injury to a star player is a good idea. Not just a bruised knee either. I'm talking about something that is going to hurt for weeks and will seriously affect the ability of that player to play his game at the level he is accustomed to playing. Nothing permanent or career threatening, but something to send a real message to the Spurs. Hockey mentality basketball.

Only something that insane and drastic will make the NBA change its ways.....Only, the Suns have too much class and professionalism to do something like that, right? Too bad.

Mr. West Piles On!:
I understand the letter of the law and I understand the spirit of the law. And the suspensions of the Suns players and the subsequent fallout debate centers around "letter vs. spirit." Fine, clear enough. Or, in this case, unclear enough.

But the NBA is exhibiting classic chickenshit authority. I'd argue they actually got away from being so anal after the Pistons-Pacers brawl by basically saying "we don't give a shit what precedent we set before or what the Union says or anything else-- we're handing down punishment for what we think happened." And I thought they did a good job in that case. Why they are sticking their heads in the sand now is stupid because this is a crucial series, one which most hardcore fans realize is truly the NBA Finals as these are the best teams left playing.

The NBA allowed Bruce Bowen to get away with two cheapshots (the Amare achilles squash and the Nash knee-to-the-groin) but now can't go back in time to suspend him. In theory.

As Mr. East wisely put it to the Suns, a la Sean Connery as his character was dying in "The Untouchables", now what are you prepared to do? Athletes and sports teams are so un-political these days, they have no idea of the power they weild and influence they have. If the Sun sit back and take this, they are stupid. And I'm not suggesting violent tactics, I mean somethign yet smart. Here are some ideas I have for the Suns:
1. Stage a sit-in, on the court, before tip-off. Protest the suspensions. That will generate some good attention. Agree to play only if Bruce Bowen is suspended for a game. You think the NBA will call a forfeit? No way!
2. Put in a total scub and have him pick a verbal fight with Popovich and players everytime down the court near the Spurs bench. Then attack a small Spur, like Tony Parker, right in front of the bench, thereby drawing Spurs right in front of the action to leave their bench.
3. During the game, have anyone being guarded by Bowen literally run into him while dribbling. Force the refs to call "block" or "charge" every single time donw the court. They will foul Bowen out, guaranteed.

To the Suns, I say you have been fucked by the NBA and the Spurs. Let's see what you've got!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Bowen: A Total Dick or Just Misunderstood?

Bruce Bowen's antics have become a headline these playoffs as a knee to Steve Nash's groin and a foot on Amare's heel caught some attention. In typical fashion, the media and even players alike have been very wary of even taking on stand on the matter:

Is Bowen a dirty player or not?

Mr. West says:
Damn fucking straight he is a dirty player. A total dick. I'll call him out.

Like a European soccer thug, he has mastered the art of acting innocent while hurting players. To the fastass on the couch and to the refs who need crystal clear proof, Bowen's moves are pure accident. To anyone who balls a lot and has played in some very testy streetball games, Bowen's tactics (not moves!) are plain as day.

Look at the clips:

Bowen's favorite move is a variation of the Euro defensive hoops move whereby players feign an undercutting move as the opponent shoots, which throws the shooter off. No one does this in US play, it's very Euro, a tactic developed by slower guys who could not compete with leaping ability and instead positioned themselves underneath shooters. But Bowen had gone a step further by sticking his foot out on purpose after the shooter leaves the floor to elevate. The foot is planted underneath the shooter so the shooter therefore either lands on it and lands to avoid it, throwing off the rhythm. Bowen is even so cagey as to turn his head away from the shooter, following the flight of the ball, as he sticks his foot out. This gives the illusion it is a natural move simpy because he is not looking at where he plants his sneaky foot. Please, people. No one does this unless they mean to do it.

The Bowen Ankle Breaker has been used on other top 2's notably Ray Allen, Kobe, Rip Hamilton and Vince Carter, plus a couple of Knicks as of late.

Ray-Ray going after Bowen kicked his back while both were on the ground.

His other moves are typical cheap shots- usually involving his feet and even his head. Like I said, very Euro. Watch the Vince Carter clip all the way through. The Bowen Ankle Breaker on the shot is clear. But wait until they show you the clip of Vince Carter "headbutting" Boewen earlier. Watch what Bowen does beforehand-- yes, he slips his head into Vince's to instigate it.

In the 2007 Playoffs, his attempt to step on Amare's achilles heel is no joke. Watch the extension to plant his foot on Amae's backside during take-off. Dirty shit. Bowen, you are a dirty dick.

Now, does playing dirty make it "wrong"? I'd argue yes. I am not one of those types who thinks Bowen's play is OK just because he helps his team win. Do others play dirty? Sure. But no one getting serious playing time plays with the malicious intent of Bruce Bowen, and that is the difference.

I just wonder why the media is so slow to admit to what they see and why other NBA players downplay it as well (except for his victims, who want to kill the guy).

Mr. East says:

There have always been rough and borderline dirty players in the NBA. The Pistons of the late 80s were one of the dirtiest teams around. Rodman was the leader of the Bad Boys, and regularly clipped, tripped, and tried to injure Scottie Pippen. It worked and the Bulls took a long time to figure out how to beat them. In the meantime, the Pistons won a couple of titles at their expense. Zeke was dirty. Mahorn was dirty. They won.

The Knicks of the 1990s were among the successors to the Pistons hackish style of play with Pat Riley goading Anthony Mason and Charles Oakley to be rough on opposing bigs. Starks was a tough defender but he flopped and chopped his way into the hearts of Knicks fans by abusing Jordan and company as well. The Spurs are the inheritors of that legacy in the late 90s and early 2000s.

Bowen is a good defender, but one of the most aggregious hacks in recent memory. He's just plain dirty in a far more dangerous way than the others I've mentioned so far. Rodman was occasionally dangerous with his below the knees stuff on Pippen and company, but he was also an All World defender without the dirty play. Bowen is nowhere near the defender that Rodman was, but every bit as dirty. One of the main reasons I hate the Spurs with every last breath is that they ugly up the game.

It's a little hypocritical for me, as a Knicks fan, to call out a club for uglying up basketball games, but it's true. People hated the Knicks because the won dirty. The Spurs are the same. Duncan is great. Giniboli is occasionally great. Parker is a good point guard, if not great. Everyone else is a role player.

The main claim to greatness for the club is their tough defense, but it's led by a shady character that wouldn't even be a professional player if not for his defensive reputation. Much of that reputation comes thanks to his ankle breaking, groin-kneeing techniques that are designed to worry athletes about their health and career viability on every play. That's bullshit.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Dirk is Dead, Long Live Baron!

Since supposed experts of the NBA and sport NEVER look back after they publish something, we at East vs. West always are forthcoming about how our picks panned out. That said, Round #1 of the 2007 Playoffs are finished ... how'd we do?

Dirk looking better here than trying to take any Warrior off the dribble

Pistons Sweep Magic (East: Pistons over Magic in 5. West: Sweep)
Neither of us gave the Magic much of a chance, but Mr. West gets kudos for being aggressive with the "sweep" prediction. I thought that Howard and company might play well enough to make a little dent in the awe-inspiring Pistons, but it wasn't to be. You have to think that the Magic will need some serious changes in the offseason to have a real chance at the Finals while Howard is young.

Cavs Sweep Wizards (East: Cavs over Wizards in 4. West: Sweep)
This one was too easy. No Arenas and no Butler meant no chance. Simple. The NBA is too tough to predict anything but a sweep when 2 of the 3 star players on a roster are injured. This is not the NCAA Tournament or the Lake Placid Olympics and we don't believe in miracles.

Nets beat Raptors in 6 (East: Nets over Raptors in 6. West: Nets over Raptors in
We both pegged this one, too. 6 games seemed about right. The Nets are good, but they are thin up front. In the playoffs you can't pick a team with such little frontcourt talent to dominate, regardless of how good the backcourt is. The Raptors were too green. The only exception I can think of to that rule is the Jordan Bulls, who used MJ in the post during the best years.

There it is, Fat-Ass. That is the exit. Please, take it.

Bulls sweep Heat (East: Bulls over Heat in 6. West: Bulls over Heat in 7)
We both made the pick, so give up credit. We also thought it would be a little competitive, which it wasn't. I suspected that the Heat would lose because Wade and Shaq didn't have enough time on the floor together this season to mesh. They were also less than healthy. Both of those factors meant that the team would have to rely on Antoine Walker, James Poser, Jason Williams and the rest of the has-been cast. Expect big changes in Miami this summer.

GS over Dallas in 6 (East: Golden State over Dallas in 7. West: Dallas over
GS in 6)
The feather in Mr. East's cap, picking the fucking Warriors to win. He saw this one coming a mile away. Dirk is a great player and he probably deserves the MVP. Butt it also shows that the regular season doesnlt mean too much. He needs to look at himself in the mirror for the loss in this series, but let's all be honest: Baron Davis is MUCH better than Jason Terry. Jason Richardson is MUCH better than Stackhouse or Harris. The GS supporting cast of Barnes, Harrington, Ellis, Biedrens and Jackson is MUCH better than Diop, George, Croshere, Dampier, Kevin Willis, and Ronaldo Blackmon. The Warriors finished the year hot and healthy. That's the only reason they weren't a 5 or 6 seed, instead of an 8.

Suns beat Lakers in 5 (East: Suns over Lakers in 6. West: Suns beat Lakers
in 6)
We both picked this one as well. The Lakers put up a bit less of a fight than either of us thought, but is the outcome at all surprising? Kobe is bizarrely gifted, but everyone else is crap. He should have gone to the Clippers when he had the chance. Speaking of which, the Clippers kinda sucked this year, huh?

Spurs over Nuggs in 5 (East: Nuggets over Spurs in 6. West: SA over DEN in
Where Mr. East hit on Golden State, he blew it on the Nuggets. Iverson is by far the best player on that team, but he deferred to Carmelo a bit too much. And Mr. West thinks the Iverson-Denver dream will now end. The Spurs' defense pisses off its opponents, and it pisses off anyone who cares about entertaining quality basketball. We hate watching Bruce Bowen. They'll probably win it all. Dicks.

Oh my god! McGrady lost in Round 1 again? I'm SOOOOO shocked.

Jazz over Rockets in 7 (East: Rockets over Jazz in 4. West: Rockets over
Utah in 7)
Ooph. At least West picked this series' games correct. One thing Mr. East kept thinking to himself was, "Van Gundy's got T-Mac and Yao. He's got the 3-point shooters to spread the defense, and he's got the role players to do the dirty work in Battier and company. How can he lose?" He lost because he doesn't understand how to let players blossom. He tries to control everything so tightly that his teams habitually play to the level of whatever opponent is in front of them. The Jazz are a good team, but the best two players in the series were on Houston. As soon as the series went to 7, we knew the Jazz could win since the Rockets are so mentally weak. We also suspect that Van Gundy would be out. Good riddance.