Tuesday, November 4, 2008

15 Footer 11.5.08: Vote, Filthy Assistants!

Vote.

Yeah, you.

You know, my dad doesn't vote. He's former military and has a thing against jury duty. I blame the rampant paranoia that flows through my family like cherry wine. Not that cherry wine flows. Wait. I'm confused.

Regardless, my brother and I are always on his case about it, because things aren't how they used to be. Every vote does matter, and this election is more important than any other. So please, do your part, fulfill your role in the social contract, participate in democracy, and pick up a doughnut on your way back to the office or home. You'll have earned it.

Obviously we're not going to sit here and tell you who to vote for.
But it is important to remember how important this election is.
After all, we're facing serious problems in this country.
Mainly, though, the choice itself is important.
And in the end, just remember, we're NOT suggesting who you vote for.

Okay, enough of that, on with the 15! Short night! Woohoo!

REASONS TO WATCH THE GAMES OF THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION TONIGHT:



Jianlian Better Be Chinese For "Able To Stop Amare From Dunking Every Ten Seconds":



Phoenix at New Jersey.

Anyone else remember that game in 2006 where Nets-Suns went to double overtime and it may have been the defining game of that miniature era of offensive expansion?

Yeah, that's all over. Not only are Marion, Kidd, and Jefferson gone from the equation, but the fundamental nature of both teams are drastically different. Still, there are some interesting quirks to this one. Devin Harris can run with this team. And the Suns transition defense hasn't been all that great so far. While their halfcourt defense is much improved, they still have some chinks in the armor. Additionally, Bell has had trouble with shooting guards lately, and Barbosa is no match for Carter. Down low, though, there could be trouble. Even with Josh Boone making a strong comeback from heart issues and being a do-it-all guy, they're facing a crew of big-boned bashers in Amare, Shaq, and Lopez that's going to create fits. Not to mention none of the Nets can rotate very well to cover the weak side slasher, which is Phoenix's bread and butter.

But oh, lest we forget, this is Lopez v. Lopez round one. Watching the two awkward young 'uns push and shove like they're waiting for a push-pop should be entertaining in and of itself.

Take the under.

Gametime: 7:30PM EST, YES



Deep In The Slightly Panicked, Discombobulated Heart Of Texas:






Dallas At San Antonio:

What we have here is a classic "Desperate Man Vs. Wounded Animal" game. The Mavericks have to have some serious self-doubt right now. The Cleveland Cavaliers (not the LeBrons! They actually have a team!) whalloped them last night. The Rockets dismantled them. And that's all fine, it's three games in, for God's sake. But they also haven't looked like themselves. Antoine Wright has a lot of solid attributes and is a great defender right now, but he just doesn't have the offense, particularly the perimeter offense, to fit in with this team for knock-down, drag-out battles. Dirk hasn't had a breakout game, Terry isn't sure what he's doing, and Jason Kidd is about what you'd expect. The bright spots have been Bass, Diop, and Howard. Josh Howard is playing terrific ball and is the only guy who's really being an offensive leader for the team. He has to go for the kill every chance he gets tonight.

Conversely, the Spurs? Well, this is what happens when you have a three-legged creature that loses a leg. Without Manu, there's just not enough surrounding them. Mason has played well, like I said he would. But after that? Resounding silence. Finley's still putting in what you'd expect, but Bowen, Vaughn, and Udoka have been crushingly inept. Duncan has been exceptionally brilliant, yet another log in his book of genius, but no man is an island.

Pay close attention to whether the Mavs trap Parker on the pick and roll, considering Kidd likely can't stay with him, and Parker's turnovers have been a little high in the first two games with him having the ball in his hands so much and not as many weapons to dish to.

Gametime: 8:30PM EST League Pass




Face To Face With Your Own Mortality (An Exercise In Early Testing):



Boston at Houston.

Jeez.

Man, NBATV lucked out with that first game they got voted on, huh? The facts are these.

  • The Celtics were down by double digits at one point in their opener before the Cavs ran out of guns as they always do and COBRA El Tigre Monstruoso did what he does.
  • The Celtics lost to a dangerous but still very infantile Indiana team.
  • The Rockets have handled a surprisingly feisty Grizzlies team in their opener, dismantled an over-matched Thunder squad, and put a hurt on a Dallas team that put its best foot forward.
  • Both teams play great defense.
  • Both teams have playmakers at key positions.
  • Both teams think they're championship contenders.
It takes a lot to match up with the Celtics' physicality in the paint. The Rockets can. A Yao-Scola-Landry-Hayes lineup is more than a counter for Garnett-Powe-Davis-Perkins, and overall younger and faster, too. Conversely, expect Crazy Pills to be on lockdown on Paul Pierce. If Artest starts picking up fouls, that's going to open up a lot of what the Celtics can do, which is get in the lane and hit pull-up shots. Conversely, as we've seen, if the small forward spot can neutralize Pierce with defense and a little offense, the cracks show in the Celtics a lot easier. Tracy McGrady should give these guys fits. Note: Should. T-Mac needs to arrive in full battle mode, shrug off the injuries, and pour in the jumpers. He shouldn't defer tonight. If you hit the Celtics in the mouth with offense, they stagger a bit.

For the Celtics, it's simply a matter of disrupting the Rockets. How will the react if they can't get to the rim? Picking up fouls is the big one. The Rockets are playing on a lot of adrenaline right now. If the Celtics can use that to their advantage and pick up fouls on Yao, Scola, and Artest, you limit their considerable depth and the momentum swings back to the C's. The Celtics also have a huge advantage at point. I'm a Rafer Alston guy, that's well known, but Rondo's a perfect counter for him. Long and fast, able to take him off the dribble and hit the floater. Rondo needs to take some shots tonight and hit them, because scoring 80 or 85 wont' get the job done tonight. If you pressure the Rockets, they make mistakes, and that's something the Celtics can capitalize on.

The X Factor here is Ming. When that drop hook is going, he looks pretty terrifying. But how does he respond if Perkins puts a shoulder in his gut? Yao needs to dunk the ball in the first ten minutes. For real. No layups. No hook shots. He needs a dunk. He doesn't have to do it all night, and he can just do the little drop-step dunk he usually does. But he needs to announce that the paint belongs to him and anyone that wants to use it needs a note from their momma.

While you're waiting for the polls to come in, pop over and see the election for arguably the best team in the NBA outside of the Lakers (apologies to the Hornets without Chandler).

Gametime: 8:30PM EST, NBATV

 
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