GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Hot NBA Action All Over Your Face

Two more days of NBA playoffs. Six More Games.


The Miami and Detroit games went pretty much as expected, with both teams winning easily.

I had been eagerly anticipating the Kings vs. Sonics game, but unfortunately for me, I had forgotten just how terrible the Kings have gotten. I mean, they really looked awful during most of the game. Getting rid of CWebb was probably a good move for this team, as they're going to need as much (or more) of a facelift as the Timberwolves.

They actually had decent winning chances in the first game. They had been way behind but made a good run. They had the ball with a chance to tie, but with about 9 seconds left Bibby inexplicably hucked up an airball from 10-feet beyond the arc.

The one thing they have going for them in this series however, is that Seattle doesn't seem to like keeping big leads. I'm not sure what it is, but it doesn't bode well for the Sonics if they advance past this round. If they're going to beat an elite team like the Spurs or the Suns in a 7 game series, they'll have to be more consistent.

On a related note, Booth52 over at Supersonic Soul sent me this link the other day, and I thought I'd throw it out there for anybody who's interested.

On another related not. Radmonovic's hair may be the most intriguing story in this year's playoffs.

What the hell?


Even since going to see the Bulls in LA, I've become somewhat of a fan. Their team reminds me a lot of the 2001 Twins. A bunch of young kids with no real big superstar to lead them coming out of nowhere to contend. I was a bit worried about their chances without Curry, but have been doing well so far.

Memphis actually played tough tonight. I was expecting them to just get rolled again. I only caught the very end of the game, where they had a chance to tie and Gasol got swatted by Q!!! You just don't expect something like that to happen in the final minute of a close game. It sort of demonstrates how far Gasol has to come if he wants to be a superstar in this league. You think KG would ever get swatted like that at the end of a game?

While I had some cautious optimism for Denver in their series after the first game, it looks as though the Big Muppet is back in full form. With a less than healthy Duncan, I think the Nuggets have a shot to win the series. With a healthy Duncan, I think the Spurs win it all.

On the plus side for Denver, they've taken home court away from the Spurs, and Denver is notoriously one of the hardest places to win on the road due to the altitude. I'm not quite ready to count out Denver yet, but they took a giant leap backwards tonight.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Rockets put the L on notice

So, I only caught the last bit of the Indiana/Boston game and saw Reggie doin' his thang. While part of me wants to hate and loathe him, it was very exciting to see him more or less single handedly lead his team to victory in a crucial game against a superior squad. Unfortunatley, Boston will still win this series. They simply have many more good players. Indiana is like three deep: O'Neal, Miller, Jackson. Boston has bazillions of at least good players plus a couple 'great' ones. However, I don't want to count out Indiana completely given all they've conquered this season and the fact their coach is a million times better.

Okay, so the main thing I watched last night was the Rockets completely dismantlel the Mavericks in a game Dallas pretty much had to have. The key to this team really is Yao and he was Yao-tastic last night. If he can play like that in just 4 out of every 7 games (although he really ought to be playing forceful, aggressive basketball every game) this Rockets team could take out anyone. No one can guard T-Mac and the fact that he's rededicated (he was amazing in his first couple years on Toronto) himself to defense under JVG means he can take over at least a couple games a series. If he can then ride Yao for another game or two I don't see how anyone can beat them. Oh, and anyone notice that Deke is playing extremely productive minutes for Houston even at 80 years of age??? He *still* can control a defensive possession and is one bony motherf*cker which really pisses every big man on the opposing team off. Even just 10 minutes a game from him is enough to throw another team off it's game for Yao to come back in fresh and with initiative.

Man, these are the Rockets that everyone thought we'd get to see when they traded for T-Mac! I hope JVG doesn't completely suffocate and choke T-Mac once they're back on their home court with an even more plodding and deliberate offense. Oh, one last thing about T-Mac and JVG pairing. JVG has always had teams that basically squeeze the shot clock on every possession but none of those teams had a scorer who could make something out of nothing - so there were too many possessions that ended up with them taking the whole shot clock and then not creating a look at the end of it. T-Mac can bail his team out of those several possessions each game where they've used the shot clock, gotten slightly out of rythm and need to huck one up....this results in a few more points per game for an anemic offense just b/c T-Mac almost prefers to jack up a shot from a busted offense.

Anyway, I'm diggin' these Playoffs, even though the T-Wolves are fishin' right now.

Monday, April 25, 2005

NBA Playoffs - Faaaaaaaaaaantastic!

So, ever since the T-wolves were knocked out of the running for the playoffs, I swore off basketball in order to recharge for the playoffs. I caught at least part of every single game this weekend. Here are my assorted thoughts:

I really think Detroit is the team to beat in the East. They just ground down the 76ers all game and I think they'll be doing that to everyone. Remember that last year they had many close calls in the playoffs and it took a while for them to really heat up and click on all cylanders. This year I feel they're already playing Finals worthy basketball.

Dallas has their work cut out for them but given Yao's timid play, I think they still have a great shot - just wait until their offense clicks (no one was shooting well Saturday). Mutombo has much more left in the tank than anyone realized and this bodes very well for Houston who can boast the second best 1-2 center lineup in the league (more on how 'Zo makes Miami a clear #1).

Indiana has come so far this year since the brawl in Detroit. However, I think that Reggie's career and their season ends here in the first round. Sure, in the playoffs a blowout in the first game isn't the end of the world as so many adjustments are made. However, this Boston team is pretty nasty and is the best one I've seen in quite a while - if they can get some things to go their way, I think it's reasonable for Boston to play in the 'ship. I mean, they blewout the Pacers and Pierce couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Did anyone else notice that Payton has like already surpassed his total production for the Lakers in the playoffs last year?! Oh, and one last thing about the game before moving on: Ra-ef, Ra-ef, Ra-ef is on FIRE!!!!!!!!

When you've got injuries and your cold blooded killer airballs a game tying shot in the final seconds of game 1 in the playoffs, you're done. Sacramento did a good job of playing a solid season and all, but they just looked atrocious - and by 'they' I mean Mike Bibby. I don't think I've seen him tank this hardcore in a playoff game....ever. Okay, okay, so yes, marquee players can have horrible shooting nights and bounce back in a major way in the playoffs. But yeah, I think the Sonics win this series handily. Their in trouble though vs. a nice halfcourt team or the Suns...

The miami game was my favorite game of the weekend. Mainly b/c Dwyane Wade is AMAZING!!!! Sure that Damon Jones guy went for 30....he didn't create any of his own shots - Wade just knew what was going on the entire game and kept shredding New Jersey. Also, there was a 30 second stretch earlyish in the game where 'Zo had a tricky block on an airborne Vince Carter on the defensive end and then got a pretty hard dunk on a putback on the offensive end. I feel sorry for anyone watching who didn't have a big, fat, 'ol smile on their face. Speaking of Vince - he played well, had many points....but he reminded me of the old good Vince and this guy Greg the House and I used to play IM basketball with. Greg was good - sometimes clearly the best player on the floor. He had the ability to take over games but never would when it mattered - only when it didn't. Vince has Kidd to help out in this regard but I really think for the Nets to win this series (doable only b/c Miami has an awful bench) Vince will need to somehow impose his will on the game at a critical juncture....and I'm not sure I've ever seen him actually do this before.

Chicago vs. Washington....this game was very fun to watch for me b/c I followed the Warriors back when they had Jamison, Hughes, and Arenas. This is a game Washington had to have in order to take this series....I can see them stretching it to 7 perhaps, but I think they already blew their best shot to win. Sir Charles in the postgame TNT analysis kept talkin about how you can't let Andres Nocioni go for 25 and 18 and still win. However, I disagree. Even though the Bulls were outplaying the Wizards all over the place in teh 4th quarter, the Wiz were right there the whole time....just one or two key shots or breaks going their way and they would have lucked into the win. Instead, Arenas stayed frustrated, Hughes showed that he can't be the take-over clutch guy while Jamison was active enough to keep them in it but not to win. Forget Ben Gordon or Nocioni.....the Wizards I feel are the better team. However, without home court advantage and after missing this gold opportunity - I think they'll wither from the uphill battle they now face.

So Denver beat the Spurs....meh. Duncan isn't full strength, the Nuggets put forth their best game....Parker was completely disinterested from playing hard and the Spurs went scoreless for 10 minutes in the fourth - AND ONLY LOST BY 6! The Spurs will win this series....and I doubt their worried (or should be). Kudos to 'Melo for not self-destructing yet in the playoffs. Bigger kudos to Andre Miller who single handedly won this game. His post game interview was classic too....anyone remember when he was killin night in and night out on Cleveland?? Yeah, he has game....

The Phoenix game went just about as planned....I expect to see them sweep Memphis. Especially considering that Stoudemire and Nash pretty much had 'off' games. I'm not sure how/why analyst have said Memphis matches up well with Phoenix - I just don't see it. Frankly, the only team I see posing a big problem is the Spurs. They have a defense that will slow them down and force them into half-court sets. Also, the Spurs have the best answer for Stoudemire - Duncan (if healthy at that point). Parker can abuse Nash on the offense and hopefully get him tired while no team really has an 'answer' for Ginobli. Of course, the Spurs have to get by Denver first, ;).