Christmas Day Predictions

As the clock hits 12 tomorrow the NBA season officially begins. Let’s take a look at the Christmas day match-ups. The winners and the losers.

Knicks vs. Celtics:

A repeat of the first round of the playoffs from last year. The Celtics swept the Knicks, however this year the Knicks are back with a vengeance. They drastically improved their roster this off season with additions like Tyson Chandler and Baron Davis among many others. This match-up should be very interesting. Or it should’ve been interesting, however recent changes in the Celtic roster have made this game a no brainer. Losing Jeff Green was a huge blow to their depth, and the injury of Paul Pierce just gives Melo more room to score. That means Marquis Daniels will start and that leaves the bench with…. Brandon Bass? That won’t be enough to hold off the Knicks, especially when the Celtics core are all in the mid 30’s and need breaks often. Tyson Chandler will also have whatever he wants in this game. He will most likely be guarded by Jermaine O’neal, a slower and shorter center. Tyson will have his way in the paint, and since Jermain O’neal isn’t an offensive weapon he will be able to play lots of help. Furthermore, Amar’e Stoudemire will play along the elbow and the perimeter causing Kevin Garnett to come out as well. Leaving Jermaine O’neal all alone. The guard play will be vital for the Celtics in order for them to win. Rajon Rondo has a large advantage over Toney Douglas, however Iman Shumpert has shown defensive capabilities as well as quickness and a 6’5 frame. He will need to step up this game, as well as Ray Allen. He will need to do more then just shoot, due to the absence of Paul Pierce. If I had to predict right now, I’d give it to the Knicks.

Heat vs. Mavericks:

A finals rematch, probably the most anticipated game of the Christmas match-ups. After winning the finals, the Mavericks made substantial changes to their roster. Letting Tyson Chandler, Deshawn Stevenson and J.J Barea go made the team softer. However, they added veterans Lamar Odom and Vince Carter. This game will be a test to see if the Mavericks still have the toughness and defense they had last year. Nobody will be able to guard Dirk in this game, because frankly, it’s impossible. He will get his share of points, no doubt. Lamar Odom will also be a threat on the floor, he and Bosh will be a great match-up considering they’re almost the same type of player. Then you have D-Wade and Lebron. It’s very rare that players can guard them. And this game will be no different. There is no way, an older Vince Carter can guard Lebron James. He’s slow, and he’s not interested in playing defense. At the shooting guard position there really is nobody to guard D-Wade except for Jason Terry. Although, the Dallas bench can still out battle the Miami bench, I will give this game to Miami. The loss of Tyson Chandler is bigger then they think, they lost toughness and a defensive anchor. Who’s really going to stop D-Wade and Lebron in the paint? Nobody.

Lakers vs. Bulls:

This game features the Bulls and the second best team in Los Angeles. The Lakers are out to prove that they can still win games, doubt has surrounded this team for weeks. Kobe’s injured, Bynum’s out, Lamars gone, the triangle offense is gone. Everything seems to have gone wrong, well unfortunately tomorrow won’t be the light at the end of the tunnel. I predict a Laker loss. Let me explain. The former MVP is going to destroy this whole team. It’s as simple as that. Derrick Fisher can’t guard him, neither can Kobe. He will get by the first man and Bynum will block him. Oh, wait Bynum is out. Pau isn’t a shot blocker and isn’t as intimidating as a Bynum. I forsee a Derrick Rose takeover tomorrow. Another strength of the Bulls is their bench. Taj Gibson…. 

Ya, remember him? Omer Asik and Kyle Korver are other names among the young bench who averaged around 27 points a game last season. Another weakness of the Lakers is their bench. They lost the 6th man of the year in Lamar Odom, and they lost Shannon Brown. Now that Bynum is out for 5 games, they have to move Josh McRoberts into the starting lineup, which leaves the Laker bench with…. Matt Barnes? Steve Blake? That won’t get the job done. Among all this doubt, there is a strength that the Lakers have. An angry Kobe Bryant. Kobe is the type of player to go off when he is mad, and oh boy does he have things to be mad about. His wife left him, he tore ligaments in his wrist, the front office traded Lamar Odom, and Mike Brown was appointed without any discussion. Even though he might go crazy tomorrow, that won’t be enough to get past Derrick Rose, the Bulls defense and their bench. I’ll give this one to the Bulls.

Thunder vs Magic:

The Magic fans will be happy to see Dwight Howard on the floor in an official game as a member of the Orlando Magic. They won’t be happy to watch their team get beat by the Thunder. The Thunder pride themselves in their defense and their energy. Their young talent and their scoring champion in Kevin Durant. I bet Kevin Durant is smiling somewhere right now as he thinks about the poor perimeter defense he will match up against tomorrow night. Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, Quentin Richardson. What a joke. Kevin Durant will rip them up from all over the floor. As well as his partner in crime Russell Westbrook. Who has no problem being guarded by Jameer Nelson. I bet James Harden is even looking forward to the loose defense of the Magic. However, getting to the basket will be harder then ever. Whenever you’re up against Dwight Howard you know points in the paint won’t come easy. He should have his way in the middle, nobody on the Thunder can really out muscle him. They do have a good chance of constraining him though, considering the depth at the power forward/center position. Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collinson and Cole Aldrich are all very defensive minded players and will try keep Dwight Howard under control, but we all know that’s close to impossible. The depth is also a huge problem with the Magic. Besides Big Baby Davis and Quentin Richardson the bench is pretty empty. Everyone else is inconsistent and won’t be a match for the young and energetic  bench who scored around 30 points a game last season. This game will go to the Thunder. I will also predict that this win against the Magic will be the beginning of their finals run. A win in the finals? Possibly but this could be the beginning of something special.

Clippers vs. Warriors:

The world is buzzing about the Los Angeles Clippers. The most exciting team in sports right now. The “Lob Angeles Clippers,” they’ve been dubbed. The talents of Blake Griffin and CP3 combined seems like something out of a video game. I would say they scored the biggest this off season with the additions of Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler and Chris Paul. They’ve proved they’re no fluke, while beating the Lakers in both preseason games. I could see this game being more of a challenge for the Clippers. The Warriors actually have players who can stay with CP3. Stephen Curry has shown defensive aptitude in his career and although Monta Ellis isn’t a defensive minded guy he can still keep with CP3.  The Warriors bench is also very young and talented. Ekpe Udoh, Klay Thompson, and Brandon Rush are among the bench. They will provide a boost of energy for the Warriors if they need it. Unlike the Lakers, the Warriors are a very young team and I wouldn’t be surprised if they really give the Clippers a run for their money. This match-up is especially interesting because  neither team really plays too much defense. This should be a score-a-thon. Both teams somwhere in the 100’s. The X-factor in this game for me is DeAndre Jordan. Blake Griffin will pound David Lee down low, he isn’t quick or strong enough to guard him. DeAndre Jordan is the key to a Clippers loss or win. It is yet to be seen if he can be a defensive anchor in the middle, if he can man the paint and provide an intimidation factor, then Monta Ellis and Steph Curry will have a harder time scoring. If he ignores the defensive end, then this game will come down to who can outscore the other. We’ll see. I’m going to be spontaneous and give this one to the Warriors. I have to have at least one surprise. I think the Clipper mania will come to a halt when the Warriors come out of nowhere and beat the Clippers.

What do you think? Comment who you have to win each game. Only 13  hours until tip-off. Here we go!

The Process

The excitement of the new NBA season is overwhelming and provides an energy that has been lacking around the basketball community for months. It did come as a surprise to most – the lockout ending. It was only two weeks ago when the NBPA decided to sue the owners.

After that incident, the optimism from weeks prior was put aside. Heads went down and everything seemed to go downhill. The season seemed like a long shot and everybody was getting used to a basketball free world. Only today did we receive a statement saying that both sides have reached a tentative agreement.

This week both sides met on Friday in secret for 15 hours trying to compromise and conclude with a deal. 15 hours of discussion and debate payed off when they believe they found gold with this deal. Of course both sides still have to ratify this deal. 15 of the 29 owners need to approve for this deal to go through. There is still more to do but for now the NBA is very much revived.

Training camps and Free Agency are set to begin on December 9th with the almighty tip off starting on Christmas Day. The sides that we all called greedy and selfish have put their differences aside and have reached a deal. And no matter how much they put us (the fans) through, we are grateful to have the NBA back in our lives.

Back in Action

Thank goodness! The NBA is back and threatening to overshadow Santa himself. There could be no better Christmas present than to see the revival of the NBA after a very dark couple of months.

When that first whistle blows in stadiums across the country, the return of the NBA will be official. The crowds will gather from MSG in the East to Staples Center in the West. The thrill of basketball will re-energize the nation and bring back something that his been dearly missed in our lives.

So this is cheers to a new season and let the games begin!

50/50

Congratulations, to the players and the owners for their 100th day anniversary of getting absolutely nowhere. Let’s all hope that this unhappy couple work out their problems soon, because there is nothing more aggravating than watching two partners argue over custody of… money.

Talks are in a stale mate situation since the players refused to meet with the owners unless the topic under discussion was a 50/50 deal. I guess for now it’ll be which side breaks first. The 50/50 deal was first thrown into the open as an idea, a simple idea that nobody had even mentioned. Equal distribution of the money had never even passed through either sides minds, so it was put off to the side. Obviously, the owners got thinking and realised that the 50/50 deal would benefit both sides the most.

That got me thinking as well, I looked at the 50/50 proposal from both vantage points and came to the conclusion that a 50/50 deal makes the most sense for both sides.

What the players and owners both don’t seem to understand is that they need each other for the other to have a job in the first place. They need each other like T-Pain needs auto-tune, like Harold needs Maude, like Shrek needs Donkey. There are no owners without the players and in turn there are no players without the owners.

The owners need the players for their organisation succeed, they need the players to bring them the fans and to bring them the championship. The players need the owners for a team to play on, for them to get paid and for them to have a career. For either side to get more money, it just seems like one partner is cheating on the other. And in this marriage there is no such thing as disloyalty.

To be completely honest, I think one of the main reasons a 50/50 deal makes the most sense is because no side will take less then the other. The players and owners could discuss ways to resolve the conflicts for ages and we still wouldn’t have an NBA season because no side seems willing to take any less then the other. We might as well call it even instead of missing a whole season. Besides that obvious reason, I think that the 50/50 deal makes the most sense due to what each side needs from the other.

The NBA is a very organised system. Owners invest in teams, they sign players, the players get paid by the owners and then us (the fans) go to watch the players play. If we broke it down you’d see that no side has the upper hand in this deal.

Without the owners the NBA is just a bunch of extremely talented basketball players either dominating European or Chinese basketball, or playing semi-telivised charity games all year in stadiums that can’t accommodate all the fans who love basketball. Without the owners the players have no money, at all. They are just normal people. The owners fuel the players careers, there are no players without the owners.

Without the players there is no excitement, there is no basketball, there is no NBA. Owners have no careers if there are no players. The players are the ones who risk their bodies, every day. They are the ones giving 100% of their energy every night to put on a show for the millions who love the NBA. We (the fans) love the NBA because of the excitement, the suspense, the talent, and the atmosphere. All those things come down to the players putting on a show.

Although, the players are the ones we love the NBA for, behind closed doors the owners are the ones responsible for most of it. Nobody has any leverage, each argument either side makes for more money can be matched by the other.

When there is no winner, there is either a tie or two losers. It just depends on how they look at it. Hopefully the verdict will be announced soon so we can get back to what really matters. Basketball.