Archive for NBA

Follow-Up: Pat Riley Down To One Ball

Several weeks ago, I posted a link to a story about Pat Riley’s decision to flee the scene of the crime against basketball known as the 2007-08 Miami Heat to check out some enjoyable games, namely the ones in the NCAA Tournament that involved Michael Beasley (and O.J. Mayo!)

The money quote there, in my estimation, was this underrated gem:

“I happen to have two titles but it’s one job,” Riley said of holding the dual title of team president. “I have to balance both balls here.”

Well, I am sad to report that Riley has decided he is no longer capable of keeping both balls aloft.

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Prognostication Corner: Your Headquarters For Misapplied Formulas and 51 Percent Accurate Baseball Picks

Now that Tax Day has come and gone, the only thing left to dread about mid-April may be the ungodly formatting and scheduling of the NBA playoffs. They begin on Saturday, when the first games of four best-of-seven series are to be played.

The most important tournament in professional basketball is often marred in its early rounds by four-game sweeps or similarly short series which lead to first- and second-round games being played during the same time period. We can probably expect this tradition to continue this year, assuming the NBA hasn’t wised up yet — and why would they? — and decided to have a more organized playoff schedule. The probability of multiple rounds being contested at once is particularly high with a stacked Western Conference producing several high-profile first round matchups while a top-heavy Eastern Conference continues to lag behind.

Anyway, it’s pretty late now and I actually have to be up somewhat early to run a couple of errands that I’ve repeatedly put off throughout the week. So I’ll cut to the chase. I’m letting the wacky formula that served me so well in March once again try to carry the day in for the NBA Playoffs. This is a concern for a couple of reasons. First, the college and NBA games are different in many ways. The pro game is longer, involves more shooting and is played at a faster pace than the college game. The games are more likely to turn into track meets in the pros than in the NCAA. Also, the college tournament is a series of “best of ones” played at neutral sites, so it’s easier to just pick a flat-out winner of each game using a formula that doesn’t contain anything involving home-court advantage.

While these items are of some concern, a.) there’s nothing I can really do about it and b.) the formula has effectively projected at least one of the two teams to appear in the NBA Finals in each of the last four years. So, it doesn’t appear to be a complete lost cause.

Anyway, here are the quick and dirty NBA picks, along with my even dirtier (I guess?) guesses of how long each series will take. I sort of have a system when I pick these numbers, but let’s just say it’s in an experimental stage right now.

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Pat Riley Leaves Team, Citing Ball Imbalance


Miami Heat head coach Pat Riley, like so many Americans each year, has decided to take off from work so he can better immerse himself in March Madness. Perhaps he’s not as out of touch as previously believed.

Heat coach Pat Riley said Thursday he plans to step away from the team briefly to scout college players in upcoming conference tournaments.

Riley said the hiatuses would begin next week and did not name which of his assistants would coach amid his absences. Ron Rothstein guided the team last season for six weeks when Riley underwent hip and knee surgeries.

This will mark the third time in as many seasons Riley will not coach a full schedule.

Obviously, with the Heat’s continued struggles, the team is going to have a high pick in next year’s NBA draft, so Riley’s excuse to get the hell out of there as quickly as possible has some validity to it. It also comes with the territory of simultaneously holding coaching and executive responsibilities. Or, as Riley put it:

“I happen to have two titles but it’s one job,” Riley said of holding the dual title of team president. “I have to balance both balls here.”

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Tuesday Roundup: Bastards, Boobies, Chris Simon and Weed

I’m taking another break from the tedious data entry that comes with trying one’s hand at bracketology, and figured I’d at least throw up another post in an effort to generate or maintain at least some traffic while I focus the majority of my efforts on trying to project the entire 65-team field before falling flat on my face when I attempt to project a winner of the entire thing when the bracket is released on Selection Sunday (I nail it every ten years, exactly — witness UCLA in ’95 and North Carolina in ’05. Why I’m admitting this, I don’t know. Please come back and visit before 2015).

Since I want to get back to crunching numbers (God, what a geek) quickly, brevity shall be the key. Here, then, is a list of links to some of the top stories in the day in sports:

  • Running back Kevin Faulk, of the 18-1 AFC Champion New England Patriots, was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession on Friday night. (ProJo Pats Blog)
  • Run DMC has made a lot of babies. (Miami Herald)
  • “So you’ve got something to look at while you’re talking to them!” (New York Daily News)
  • Yao Ming is done for the year. (AP)
  • Chris Simon was traded on NHL Trade Deadline Day. (Newsday)
  • As were many others. (TSN)

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Yao Cracks Under Pressure


Full story here.

Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) — Houston center Yao Ming will miss the rest of the National Basketball Association season because of a stress fracture in his left foot, placing the Rockets’ postseason chances and their 12-game winning streak in jeopardy.

The team will hold a news conference this afternoon to discuss Yao’s condition, Rockets spokesman Nelson Luis said in a telephone interview. No medical treatment has been determined yet.

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Six Word Memoirs: Athlete Edition

I’m sure someone’s done this shtick already, but what the hell? Inspired by the success of Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser’s Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure (available at! [thumbs up]), we’ll give an athlete’s edition a whirl, focusing on some of the more prominent happenings in the past week in sports. Read the rest of this entry »

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NBA Trade Deadline Wrapup: Cavs Stock Up on 2002 All-Stars


As has become the case in recent years, the biggest in-season NBA trades took place well before today’s NBA, with the Shaq, Kidd and Gasol blockbusters not having the added stresses of a 3 p.m. Thursday deadline to compete with.

Today’s biggest deal, as of the time of this writing, is a three-way trade which may have been classified as a blockbuster five years ago, but to call it that right now would be a bit of a stretch.

David Aldridge reports (using the word “blockbuster” in his headline, likely in an effort to invalidate my previous paragraph) that the Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired Ben Wallace and Joe Smith from the Bulls and Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak from the Sonics in exchange for Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes (going to Chicago) and Donyell Marshall and Ira Newble (on their way to Seattle). The Sonics also receive Adrian Griffin from the Bulls.

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Shaq-Kobe V Tonight…


Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant will share a court tonight for the first time in over two years when O’Neal makes his Phoenix Suns debut against Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers. These two have quite a history, both on and off the floor. Here, however, are the notable measurables from their four regular season head-to-head meetings, in which Shaq’s team has prevailed three times:

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YouTube Early Returns: Dwight Howard’s “Superman,” Gerald Green’s “47”

Gerald Green with the cupcake:
Dwight Howard with the cape:

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Superman Minus Cape

While we wait for the YouTube videos from tonight’s Slam Dunk Contest to pop up, here’s two minutes of footage of Dwight Howard practicing dunks for tonight’s competition. All of the dunks he did tonight are there, though the Superman costume is conspicuous by its absence. Enjoy.

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