Friday, April 4, 2008

Ball Movements 4.4.08

Programming Note: I'll be liveblogging Sunday, at least Hornets-Warriors, maybe Dallas-Phoenix, depending on how generous the wife is feeling. Please come and join me. It gets lonely in my sad little basketball world. Also, be sure to leave "North Carolina > Duke" in the comments for Corn, because he left me in a lurch to do all the BMs on a ten game night. I hope North Carolina wins the championship, jerk.

Reasons To Watch The Games Of The NBA Tonight:

Brothers In Arms: This is it, dames and fellas. Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers have to prove they are back to full speed with Gasol back. They need homecourt advantage. And they'd like nothing better than to knock Dallas out and let in broom magnet Denver. The Mavs seem rejuvenated by Dirk's return. They played with passion and fire on Wednesday. But they have to do it for the next seven games. There's no margin of error. There's no backing down. They either hang together or hang separately as a choker's collective. It's that time of year, folks. No more half-ass basketball. No more laughing during losses. It's time for the sound and the fury. Dallas at Los Angeles Lakers, 10:30PM EST.

Hey, Blockhead! Play Defense, Blockhead!: I'm starting to look at the Raptors more and more like they're Charlie Brown. Eminently likable, devoted following, colorful, and inescapably doomed, particularly by their own gloom. Tonight they face the Bobcats, who mounted a comeback in their last game earlier this week before running out of time. The Bobcats are playing pretty well, which is something that would have been useful, you know, TWO MONTHS AGO. As it is, they're playing spoiler and trying to exceed their win total from last season, if even by a little. The Raptors should be able to handle them down low, though Jamario Moon may not have a killer game with Crash (can we still call him that?) roaming around. Both teams need this one, but particularly Toronto, with them in a tie with Washington and Philadelphia for what Dinosty calls, "The 'Don't Wanna Play Detroit' Race." Toronto tries to kick the football tonight. Charlotte at Toronto, 7PM EST.

You Give Love A Bad Name: Everyone's pulled for the Warriors since they made the playoffs last year. We've fallen for their chaotic style, their breakneck speed, their amalgam of quirky characters (or, as we like to call them, complete psychos), and their kind uncle of a coach. And now, NOW they decide to go through a slump. Typical. Look, Dubs. We're going to make this simple. If you want to make the playoffs, you cannot lose again. Period. And the only way that's gonna happen is if, for once, for just once this season, you play some friggin' defense. My big concern is that the Warriors are going to overlook who they're playing tonight. "Oh, it's Memphis. No big deal, we got this." Yeah, three talented point guards, a rising star at small forward, a talented veteran shooting guard, and some size to defend. Throw in the fact that this team really has no regard for anything at this point other than spreading their misery? Bad recipe. Captain Jack needs to stop being nice to children and kick some ass (Hat Tip: Le Basketbawl). Dubs try to right the ship near Beale Street tonight. Golden State at Memphis, 8PM EST.

The Night Tyson Chandler Has 20 Alley-Oops: I'm not kidding. This could happen. I'll put the over/under on Paul to Chandler alley-oops at 7. 20 would not surprise me. The Knicks are terrible at lots of things. One of them happens to be having any sort of sense as to how to defend the pick and roll. They're going to get lost against New Orleans tonight. Hornets need to put this one away early and rest the starters. I suggest a blitzkrieg in the first half, hopefully Peja will be lights-out, followed by a big lineup in the second half with Pargo, Wells, Wright, Bowen and Armstrong. The size alone should kill the Knicks. Now that I've said that, New York will win by 10. I hate the NBA. New York at New Orleans, 8PM EST.

Moneyball Versus The To-Be-Named-Laters: (Note: Someone else came up with the "To-Be-Named-Laters" joke, but I can't find it in Reader. So if you're reading this, you're very funny, and I apologize for not remembering) So Houston's got a progressive GM that's heavily used the D-League in establishing role players. "Seattle" has a GM that's pretty much hemorrhaging players for the move. This is going to essentially be a D-League game, only with Kevin Durant, Tracy McGrady, Shane Battier, Scola, and Deke. If you notice, most of those are Rockets players. That's an important aspect. Rockets clinch tonight if they win and the Dubs lose, so better keep your focus, there, Reds. Houston at Seattle, 10:30PM EST.

Wait, Which Ones Are The Old, Injured, And Decrepit?:
Yeah, I bet you thought you were gonna get homecourt in a round, Utah. Utah's tired, it's beat up. Brewer's struggling with injuries, Kirilenko's struggling with injuries, everyone's hurt. They need to rest, and they need to rest badly. Unfortunately, since no one has a playoff spot locked, they have to play on. Great. The Spurs come in tonight in usual form for this time of season. "Oh, you thought we were old, tired, and past our window? Silly rabbit, Championships are for RC!" Duncan versus Boozer is gold, as is Parker versus D-Will. But unless the Jazz are magically healthy, they're gonna need some huge performance from both of those guys to take care of business. San Antonio at Utah, 8PM EST.

No, I Want To Get Eliminated By The Pistons! No, I Do!: Corndogg thinks the Sixers are the greatest thing since sliced bread. And there's been a lot of coverage and praise for them lately. And don't get me wrong, I think it's awesome what they've accomplished so early in their rebuilding process. However, this team is still inferior. If it weren't for the fact that no other Eastern team WANTS to go to the playoffs, I'd even pick them to miss the playoffs. Here's what's bizarre. If they manage to keep the seventh seed, I can see them pushing Detroit to six games. They match up well with them. Corn thinks they'll give Orlando fits, which is absurd, because Dwight Howard will eat Dalembert for lunch. Either way, I like the Hawks to win tonight and start working their way towards the seventh seed. Then again, I've underestimated the Iggy show before... Philadelphia at Atlanta, 7:30 PM EST.

I Would Suggest Reinforcing The Rims, Gents:
The Suns have problems with the Wolves. They just do. Don't ask me why. I don't know. Maybe it's the combination of young athletic talent and reckless attitude. Maybe it's the inability for the Suns to properly motivate themselves. Or maybe it's the big, big, Harbinger down low, destroying everything in his path. The Harbinger meets STAT tonight, and that's just going to be ferocious. Utah had had several problems with the Wolves this season, but finally put their foot down and stomped a mudhole in the Wolves in their last meeting. Maybe Phoenix will do the same. Grant Hill's back from the groin injury, so that should help. They have got to focus if they want to climb back into homecourt advantage in the first round. The margin for error is null. Minnesota at Phoenix, 10PM EST.


Indiana at Milwaukee, 8:30PM EST:
Watch and see if you can actually notice both front offices eroding slowly into nothing. Also, Kevin Love... or Roy Hibbert... Kevin Love... or Roy Hibbert...

New Jersey at Detroit, 8PM EST: That's right. Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson, alongside Devin Harris, will be in a dogfight with the Pistons' bench. Because that's all who's playing tonight. Have fun with that guys. Try not to embarrass yourselves. Again. To much.

Miami at Washington, 8PM EST. : Apparently this one's not on League Pass, which is why it slipped past my radar. So here's what's up. LockSmith-OUT. Jamison- OUT. Wade- OUT. Marion- OUT. Haslem- OUT. But there's one reason, and you can guess what it is, to watch if it's in your market. ZEEEEEEEEEEEERRROOOOOOOOOOO!

Join us on Sunday for the liveblog, have a good weekend everybody.

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