Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Play Call: Monday, January 6th

Random Thoughts on the NBA from Monday, Januray 7th.

After Dinosty's near-meltdown following the 20 point fourth quarter where they were outscored by His Highness, I dropped him a line about how I feel about NBA losses. Not to rival the Simmons Levels of Losing Doctrine, this rund0wn is specifically limited to the NBA Regular Season.

1. They Were The Better Team: Night before last's loss to the Pistons would be a good example of this. It's nothing derogatory towards your team, the other guys just have more talent, experience, and gamesmanship. Nothing to be ashamed of.
2. Coin-Flip: Some games, you win some, you lose some. I would characterize a loss to the Hawks, the Magic, or the Jazz in this category.
3. The Sun Even Shines On A Dog's Ass Sometimes: There are games where a player just goes off, and there's nothing you can do to stop it. That's why they're superstars. Wade, Kobe, Howard, and ESPECIALLY LEBRON. There are games where a player does this and there's literally NOTHING you can do to stop it. Games in this category include every single win the Cavs have this season, including this one. There's simply nothing you can do sometimes. Ask the Pistons.
4. Some Nights, You Just Ain't Got It:
Your shooting percentage is down, your team has no spark, and you just look like crap. Every game the Spurs have lost fall into this category.
5. Your Team Sucks: See: Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves. You suck at life.

I think that #3 is often confused with #4 and #5. But I think one of the reasons the Pistons didn't blow up last year, is that they realized that they ran into three #3s and 1 #4.

It's frustrating, I know, but there are nights when Kobe's going to drop 40, Howard's going to have 30 and 20, Paul's going to have 25 and 18, Wade's going to pop 38. There's going to be some of those. But you can't use those games as barometers. The #1s and #2s are the important ones. That's how you know if they're all #5s.

Or something.

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Corn and I were discussing the hard knock Grizz, and I mentioned that it's got to be doubly bad that they're in the Southwest division. Which led me to this question.

What if the Grizz played where they belong, in the Central Division?

Look at it. Are you telling me that the Grizz with Rudy Gay, Pau Gasol, Mike Conley and JCN aren't better than the Bucks, Bulls, and Pacers? Granted, the Pacers have owned them thusfar this season, but really? This team would be in much better shape if they played in the East.

We checked in with 3 Shades of Blue to get their thoughts:

"Believe me, that's a conversation that has occurred fairly often among Grizzlies fans. In fact, if you had polled them during the 3 year playoff run, a sizable portion of them probably would have told you that those teams could have competed for the Eastern Conference crown in what was a very weak conference at the time.

To this point in the season, I'd put the Grizz as being as good as or better than Chicago, Milwaukee, Indiana, Philadelphia, Miami, and Charlotte in the East in terms of overall competitiveness. In a few more weeks, I expect to add Atlanta, Toronto and Washington to that list.

There is no doubt that being in the West (and especially the Division of Death & Destruction) has made life tougher on the Grizzlies. After all, the 2nd worst team in our division still has two All-Stars playing for them (occasionally in McGrady's case perhaps), as well as one of the best defenders in the league (Battier). If you move the Grizzlies to the East, they are probably 4-6 games better to this point, depending on the schedule. After all, we've already played the Spurs 4 times and the Pistons twice for crying out loud. Thanks for nothing Stu Jackson!

I'm one of a few people who follow the Grizzlies closely and believe that they are actually better than their record to this point. They started the season as a young team with a rookie head coach (never a head coach at any level before) and quite a few new players -- 5 by my count, and that's if you don't include Lowry who only played 10 games last season. They struggled to establish chemistry as the coaching staff learned from their mistakes on the job and they knew there were players that probably wouldn't be there the entire season (Stoudamire, Swift) who were still getting substantial playing time. Now that Mike Conley has taken the reins as the starting point guard, we are seeing a team that is much more comfortable playing together, which is resulting in something that strangely resembles a competitive team, with wins over the Pacers and Heat sandwiching a hard fought loss to the league leading Celtics. I'm not saying that they are going to go on a Blazers-esque win streak and suddenly become part of the playoff picture, because they are still young, lack perimeter defense and have a head coach learning as he goes. And, of course, they still play in the Western Conference in the toughest division of the NBA.

As for them being run down by the media and the blogosphere -- well, they haven't really done anything to earn any respect over the last season and a half, now have they? That will change within the next season and a half though -- mark my words."

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Speaking of predictions, Dream Shake went out and boldly claimed (even for them) that the Rockets would go on a 4 game winning streak that would help get them back on track to a road to the playoffs. Well, they're 2-0 (or 1.5-.5 if you ask most people, 1-1 if you ask Magic fans). And they're feeling pretty good.

Of course, then there's this, via TrueHoop, that says that TMac's unhappy (WAH!). This sounds like a bad idea, but then, really, if they were to get a combination of good players, including a scorer, is there anyway this doesn't work out for the best for the Rockets?

In the clusterf*ck that is going to be the 7 and 8 spots in the West, somebody needs to do something. And trading Pietrus for Miami junk ain't it.

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Here's how deep the Spurs have gotten into our heads. Part of us actually wonders if they're deliberately putting the breaks on, so that they get the two seed, have to go through the Mavs in round 2 (unless the Hornets actually stay healthy; then all hell breaks loose), because they know they can beat Phoenix.

That's right. We're to the point of postulating if the Spurs front office is so smart they're willing to lose home court advantage to rest their starters and set up their opponents in the preferred order.

They've driven us mad.
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Countdown to Chris 'Birdman' Anderson's availability to apply reinstatement in the NBA? 18 days.

 
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