Monie's Blog

Still looking for that elusive big piece of chicken

Monday, May 08, 2006

Finals week

Yes, it's the dreaded finals week for me, which means I wouldn't be doing any posting on this blog until I'm done. There are a few things I do want to say before I head off. First of all, I'm not mad that the Bulls lost to the Heat last week, I'm mad at how they lost. I always like to mention how the Bulls never give up, but on Thursday they just didn't have it. Oh well, next year the Bulls are getting out of the first round, damn it! Part of me will be rooting for New Jersey in the Heat/Nets series. I love Dwyane Wade, but he and the rest of his "team" got on my nerves during their series with the Bulls so...go Nets! Even though they'll probably lose. Last but not least, I have a job interview with Sears next Thursday. I'm nervous and excited so I'll definitely write a little post about how that goes. Until then, peace out!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

NBA notes

You know what? I give up on the Grizzlies. Every time I think they have a legitimate chance to upset somebody, they get their asses swept and laughed off the court. Damn it, it's one thing to get bumped out of the first round every year, but these guys haven't won a playoff game yet, and it's starting to get sad. I like Memphis, I truly do, but they need to make some changes. I don't know what's going to happen to this team in the offseason, and I don't know if they'll be able to survive another postseason appearance like this.

Go Clippers, it's your birthday! I am so happy for the L.A. Clippers. They've gotten out of the first round for the first time in 30 years. Sam Cassell is so ugly, but that man steps up during the playoffs. Cuttino Mobley proved his worth, as did Corey Maggette. And I'm just so proud of the youngster, Shaun Livingston. He's been playing so well, and he really is the future of the franchise. And of course you can't mention the Clippers without saying something about Elton Brand. Why isn't he still in a Bulls' uniform? I'm sorry. I'll get over it eventually, but why?! That man is a baller, and he's finally getting the respect he deserves. I love him, and I can't wait to see how he does against the Lakers...I mean, whoever wins the Lakers/Suns series. Oops.

The Miami Heat and their fans are still babies, but they got their shit together and beat the Bulls this evening. I'm mad that the Bulls lost, but I'm not that mad. The Bulls were playing like crap the whole night, but they managed to keep it close until the 4th quarter, and even then they stayed in it before eventually falling apart. Dwyane Wade needs to take better care of himself. For some reason his ass always ends up on the floor somewhere withering in pain. He makes me nervous every time I watch him play. For the love of God, stay healthy! Scott Skiles needs to get ahold of Kirk Hinrich's choke chain and pull...hard. Yes, he's been playing well this series, but he was completely out of control tonight. I would've liked to have seen him get taken out in favor of Chris Duhon. I know Chris can't shoot for shit, but at least he had a steadier head and hand than Kirk did tonight. What was he thinking? Andres Nocioni is incredible. Who would've thought that Noc could come so far in such a short amount of time? Pax, make sure you take care of this man when it's time to resign him. He deserves it. Oh, and to all those hating on Luol Deng, just stop, okay? Stop. It's his first experience in the playoffs, he needs to learn, and he will.

I guess that's it. So much NBA, so little time.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Heat fans are such babies

My goodness, two games, two freakin' games, and you're whining?! I guess Miami Heat fans are so use to their players parading to the free throw line that when their team doesn't get the calls they start having a fit. Newsflash, Heat fans, the Bulls have been playing 5 on 8 all season, and they've dealt with it, why can't your team do that? Maybe because they're bigger babies than you are. I picked the Heat to win this series in 5, and I'm so glad I was wrong. Shit, I don't even think they don't deserve to win anymore. Chicago has outplayed, outhustled, and outclassed Miami. The Heat are falling apart while the Bulls are just getting started. Heat fans, get ready for Tuesday. Your guys will probably get the calls on their home floor, but that doesn't mean the Bulls are going away anytime soon.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I know

I'm extra late on this, but I am loving Lupe Fiasco. I hate to use this phrase, but this man is the truth. His lyrics are so on point it's ridiculous, and the beats backing him are hot too which is a plus. His album leaked over two months before it was supposed to hit the stores, but what I'm trying to figure out is why wait so long to release it? The people have spoken, and they want Lupe, just release the shit now and get it over with so he can get back in the studio and give us some more. We need it!

Monday, April 24, 2006

They're not going down without a fight

I have got to give love to the Chicago Bulls. I still expect Miami to win the series in five, but the Bulls aren't going to make it easy for them. I've watched many Bulls games this season, and when they were down by 20 in the fourth quarter this evening I just kept thinking, "This isn't going to be a blowout. The Bulls aren't going to give up." I was right. With a little over a minute to go, Chicago cut the lead down to four and gave themselves a legitimate chance to steal one in Miami. Yes, they made some silly mistakes at the end, and Dwyane Wade has ice in his veins, but I can't be that mad Chicago lost this game. It's amazing how much heart and determination this young team has. Some teams, who shall remain nameless, would've given up after being down by 20 but not the Bulls. I know that heart and determination alone aren't going to get Chicago a championship, but their intensity and love of the game will keep this fan watching.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

NBA Notes

The first day of the playoffs is over, and I just thought I'd do a little post highlighting some things I found interesting. If anyone else finds this post, feel free to add your thoughts.

- LeBron James. How can anyone hate this man? Not only does he get his first playoff win, but he also got the triple-double as well. And was I the only one who laughed when LeBron caught that balloon that was on the court and the crowd cheered and started chanting "MVP"?

- I enjoyed the energy from Anderson Varejao. He was everywhere on the floor today, and he was doing everything.

- Tony Parker is a man. That is all.

- Udonis Haslem lost his damn mind. Why the hell did he feel the need to throw his mouth guard at Joey Crawford. Joey Crawford!

- Yes the Bulls did lose, but I love the fact that they didn't make things easy for the Heat. Miami might be fucked up by the time they get to New Jersey or Indiana.

- Andres Nocioni should not be anywhere near the court in a close game with less than a minute left.

- While the Nuggets/Clippers game did have an exciting finish, the Bulls/Heat game was the best one of the day.

Can't wait until tomorrow. Go Pistons, Suns, Mavs, and ?!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

NBA Notes: Western Conference Playoff Edition

Ah yes, the Western conference. They're varsity, and it takes more than a .500 record to make it in this conference (Sorry to the Eastern conference teams that finished with a .500 record or less). There are a few teams that didn't make the playoffs in the West that I really would've like to have seen make it. I feel bad for the Houston Rockets. There were so many injuries to key players, and everything seemed to be going against them. Tracy McGrady had a fucked up year with his back problems and a minor bout of depression. The few bright spots for the Rockets were seeing rookie Luther Head playing well, and at the end of the season the dominance of Yao Ming. He was putting up spectacular numbers, I hope it continues next season.

The other team I would've love to have seen in the playoffs was, of course, the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. Between Byron Scott, another Coach of the Year candidate, David West, an early contender for Most Improved Player, Speedy Claxton, a viable candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, and the undisputed Rookie of the Year, Chris Paul this team had so much going for them. They were a joy to watch the couple of times I caught their games this season, and they can only get better.

The chances for upsets in the West are aplenty. I'm looking forward to a few of these matchups more than others, but they should all be entertaining. Let's go.

1 vs 8 San Antonio Spurs vs Sacramento Kings

It seems like people tend to forget that the San Antonio Spurs are the champions. They're the ones with the trophy, and they're not going to give it up without a fight. My goodness has Tony Parker improved this season. His free throw percentage has gone up and his field goal percentage is insane for a little 6'1 guard. I can't believe this man is only 23. His buddy in the backcourt Manu Ginobili is the perfect compliment to him. Last year's playoffs was when Manu really made a name for himself, and this year he gets another chance to show off his skills. Bruce Bowen, the defensive stopper. Some consider him to be a dirty player, but I don't. He just plays hard, and he's not gonna let people just score on him at will. He's also pretty good at knocking down that three from the corner. Robert Horry likes to hit big shots. And then there's Tim Duncan. Yes, he's had some health problems this season, but come on now. It's Tim Duncan. And even if he doesn't play that well, he's got a good supporting cast around him to pick up the slack plus they've got Gregg Popovich as a head coach which is not a bad thing. He stresses defense, and he's got a repoire with his players.

At the beginning of the season I thought for sure the Sacramento Kings would be the three seed in the West. Color me surprised when it looked like the Kings would end up in the lottery instead of the playoffs. Luckily they got their acts together, and they can thank one player for that, and his name is Ron Artest *dramatic music*. The Kings traded Peja Stojakovic to the Pacers for Ron Artest right before the trade deadline and it's worked out well for them so far. Ron promised that the Kings would get to playoffs and they have. If Ron can just stay the way he is now, he could help lead the Kings to the Finals in a couple of years. Ron Artest did help Sacramento avoid the lottery, but if it hadn't been for Mike Bibby they wouldn't even have had a chance at the beginning of the year. So, he didn't fit into that leader role very well, but he did enough to keep the Kings from falling way down into obscurity. He's putting up career numbers, and everybody knows that the Playoffs Mike Bibby is hell of a lot different than Regular Season Mike Bibby. Brad Miller not only stays in the paint as their center but he can also his the elbow jumper. Yay, Shareef Abdur-Rahim has finally gotten to the playoffs! He should take full advantage of it. Bonzi Wells has been a rebounding machine for the Kings. And I've been impressed by the development of second-year player Kevin Martin and rookie Francisco Garcia. This could be Rick Adelman's last year in Sac, but I surely hope it isn't.

A lot of people wouldnt be surprised if Sacramento somehow comes up with the win against San Antonio. I wouldn't be surprised either, but in this situation I have to go with the champs. It's only fair. I'd love it if it were Sacramento in 7, but I'm going with San Antonio in 6.

2 vs 7 Phoenix Suns vs Los Angeles Lakers

How the hell did Phoenix manage to get the second seed in the West without Amare Stoudemire? Are we forgetting that the Suns have last year's (and possibly this year's) MVP, Steve Nash as their point guard? He's averaging a career best in points and a league-leading 10.5 assists. It's amazing how Steve Nash makes the players around him so much better. Case in point, Boris Diaw, the likely winner of the Most Improved Player award. Last year he was only averaging 5 points but this year he's up to 13. He's also a triple-double threat. There's also a big difference between this year's Suns' team and last year's, the bench is better. Leandro Barbosa's numbers have gone up and so has instant-offense-off-the-bench Eddie House's. Raja Bell's scoring has increased, and he still plays great defense. I remember watching him this season actually playing defense with his hands behind his back. It was classic. Kurt Thomas came in from New York and has also brought more toughness to the Suns' squad. And last but certainly not least, I have to talk about Shawn Marion. Let me say right off the bat that this man is no longer underrated. I'm sick of everyone calling him that. Newsflash, if every sports analysts calls you "underrated" you're no longer underrated. Getting 20 points a game, and grabbing 10 rebounds is a walk in the park for him. Steve Nash is important to this team, but so is Shawn Marion, and some would even argue that's he's more crucial to the team's success than Nash is. Mike D'Antoni will get some Coach of the Year consideration. I like that from the beginning he's endorsed the run-and-gun style of play, and he wants his team doing that the whole game.

The Lakers are in the playoffs. Hip Hip...yeah, you get it. I'm so sick of the Kobe show. I mean, it's great that he can score so many points and play some pretty good defense, but what makes this man so special? He admitted that he didn't trust his teammates, what kind of "leader" does that? And yes, you can say, "Well, look who are his teammates are.", but didn't I just finish mentioning how Steve Nash has made those no-name players on his team better? Why can't Kobe do that? And another thing, if you're gonna take the majority of your team's shot shouldn't you be averaging over 30 points? Honestly. And don't make me talk about the Zen Master. Why couldn't he have just stayed away? I'm sure his daughter...er, I mean, girlfriend is in need of some attention. The one good thing I can say about the Lakers is I'm very happy to see the emergence of Smush Parker. One of the many things the Lakers were in need of was a decent point guard, and they have found one in Smush Parker. Oh, and I'd like to add that I wouldn't be surprised if Lamar Odom managed to screw things up for this team in the playoffs. I've seen him single-handedly lose games for the Lakers. Somebody get this man under control!

I am so looking forward to watching Kobe jack up ridiculous shots because he doesn't want to pass to Luke Walton. But what I'm not looking forward to is seeing Kwame Brown's ugly face for too long. I'd never pick the Lakers to win anything so I'll say Phoenix in 6, but I'm really hoping for a sweep.

3 vs 6 Devner Nuggets vs Los Angeles Clippers

Although I had Minnestota (?!) winning the Northwest division I did believe that Denver would come out on top. 'Melo is back in the playoffs for the third year in a row, but can he get his team out of the first round? Carmelo is definitely having the best season of his short career and has helped this team get to the three seed. The Nuggets' point guard Andre Miller is the driving force behind the team. He sets them up for shots and can hit a few of his own. Wehn Marcus Camby has been healthy he's been an absolute beast on the court blocking shots and snatching rebounds. Eduardo Najera is a spark off the bench that gives them energy. Francisco Elson has has stepped up in the absence of Nene. And even though he's had injuries and dealt with trade rumors, Kenyon Martin is still an important piece to this Denver team.

Damn it, I can't make jokes about the Clippers anymore. I can't say that I wasn't surprised that the Clippers made the playoffs, but I am very happy to see them in the postseason. Their veteran backcourt of Sam Cassell and Cuttino Mobley have really pushed this team. And I love the youngster Shaun Livingston as the backup point guard; he has great court vision. Chris Kaman is their man in the middle and is capable of putting up points. And man, do I wish Elton Brand was still on the Bulls. This young man has been doing it for many years in the league, but this season he's finally getting the recognition he deserves. I know he won't get the MVP award, but he should at least get some consideration. Without him who knows where the Clippers would be.

Come on, Nuggets, get out of the first round! This series is funny because although the Nuggets have the higher seed, the Clippers have the better record and will have home court advantage. I think this will help that team. Part of me wants to say Denver, but I gotta go with Los Angeles in 7. The Clippers, the only team in Los Angeles I'll root for.

4 vs 5 Dallas Mavericks vs Memphis Grizzlies

I am so proud of the Dallas Mavericks. For years they've been known as a team that's all offense and no defense, but that has changed since my favorite soundbite, Avery Johnson took over. It's no surprise that a man who played under Gregg Popovich is defensive-minded. So, Jason Terry isn't Steve Nash, but I think he's done a fantastic job as their point guard. He's not afraid to take big shots. I really like the Mavericks' young swingmen Marquis Daniels and Josh Howard. Devin Harris has battled injuries, and I hope he's able to play. DeSagana Diop has come into his own this season. And of course Dirk Nowitzki does what he needs to do all the time. He should get some MVP votes as well.

I think we all questioned Jerry West's motives when he traded for all these veterans this season, but it worked out because Memphis is back in the playoffs. When I think of Shane Battier, I think of the work "dependable". Mike Miller can hit some shots. Chucky Atkins was a good acquisition for the Grizz. Bobby Jackson was the spark off the Kings' bench for many years and now he brings that same intensity to Memphis. Eddie Jones has been crucial to this team's success. Miami has really missed his presence this season. Pau Gasol played in his first All-Star game this season and he was definitely deserving of it. When he plays well, the Grizzlies are hard to beat. And with the Czar at helm you better believe this team won't just lay down against the Mavericks.

The Grizzlies will give the Mavericks some problems, but I can't go against Avery Johnson. I have to see more than just one round of his press conferences. Dallas in 5.

The playoffs start today, and while many are picking the Pistons to win it all I believe the championship is anyone's to win. Whoo, I'm too excited!