Blogger MVP/ROY Voting: The Red’s Army Edition
January 27, 2009

We bloggers have come together again to show actual MVP and Rookie of the Year voters how it’s done.  This is round 6… and we’re hosting this sucker right here (you can find past votes here).  Joining me in the voting are these fine folks:

David Arnott:  Rufus on Fire
Rob D: nbamate.com
Andrew Feinstein:  Denver Stiffs
Wyn Douglas:  Canis Hoopus
MyNetsForLife:  Nets Daily
Brett Hainline:  Queen City Hoops
Dan Feldman:  Piston Powered
Royce Young:  Daily Thunder
Jeff Sack:  Slam Dunk Central and Le Basketbawl
Alex Boeder:  BrewHoop
James Borbath: Dino Nation
Michael Schwartz: Valley of the Suns
Joshua Coleman: 3 Shades of Blue
Don Landrigan:  With Malice
David Clark:  The Dream Shake
College Wolf:  TWolves Blog
Jeremy Schmidt:  www.bucksketball.blogspot.com
Without further ado:

MVP:

lebron-james

Lebron James (180 points)

DinoNation: I have run out of words. Can we just name him the MVP Elect and wait for his crowning at the end of the year

Jeff Sack: By the year 2030 there will be a replica of Mount Rushmore behind the Basketball Hall Of Fame in Springfield, Mass. instead of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt, this one will be comprised of Larry, Magic, Michael, and LeBron.

David Arnott:  It feels like in any other year, Howard or Wade would be runaway choices for MVP at this point, but they’re damned to live in the LeBron Era

Kobe Bryant (145 points)

Clark: Though Laker fans probably want to put Bynum in the Hall of Fame after his 42 point/15 rebound game.  It’s still Kobe’s team.
College Wolf: Bah!  If only they’d stop winning games!  In honor of the Lakers’ sterling record, I have again moved him up one spot for this edition.  Don’t complain Lakers fans, at least I didn’t entirely leave him off the ballot out of spite.

Chris Paul  (138 points)

Jeff Sack:  If you watch Paul on an every night basis, you can actually see him evolving each game. Every time he is on the hardwood, he finds a new way to beat you.

Jeremy Schmidt: Chris Paul gives swagger to Peja Stojakovic.  Putting swagger in a sentence with Peja Stojakovic is what an MVP is suppose to do.

Dwight Howard (135 points)

Sack: Can we all agree that Howard is hands down the best pure center in the Association in the present day era?

(more…)

Schedule Gauntlet #1
November 9, 2008

AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

I know I’ve been dying for a story line… and finally… the schedule maker has given us one.

The Celtics start a stretch tonight of 5 games in 7 days.  They go back-to-back with Detroit and Toronto tonight and tomorrow.  They finish with a back-to-back against Denver and Milwaukee on Friday and Saturday.  In the middle, the currently undefeated Atlanta Hawks. 

So what can we expect? 

Detroit:  Allen Iverson put up 24 in his Piston’s debut, and tonight he makes his home debut.  He’ll do what he does, but at the detriment of the team for now.  That’s to be expected.  A new primary threat in a new system will need an adjustment period.  I see the Celtics being pumped up for a big game and taking this one as Detroit struggles to find its identity.

Toronto:  Tough team to face on the back end of consecutive games.  But they’re coming off a back-to-back too.  The difference is they’re playing Charlotte at 1pm.  So they could be in Boston before the Celtics game is over.  I don’t think we’re going undefeated in this stretch… so I’m going to chalk this one up as our loss. 

Joe Johnson (NBAE/Getty Images)

Joe Johnson (NBAE/Getty Images)

Atlanta:  They’re playing well, but they’re going to be tested with a big road trip.  They’re at Chicago the night before, and Wednesday night’s game will be their 3rd in 4 nights, so I think they’re going to run out of gas in this game.  They’ll probably come out with emotion, trying to prove something after losing to the C’s in the playoffs last year.  But the C’s will absorb what the Hawks have to offer, and run away with it in the second half when the Hawks lose their legs.

Denver:  They’re going to go through a little of what Detroit is going through.  And like the Hawks, they’ll be coming into Boston to play their 3rd game in 4 nights… but they’ll be doing it after playing LeBron and the Cavs the night before.  Denver has never been known as a tough team… and Chauncy Billups hasn’t been there long enough to change that.  This feels like a blowout to me. 

Milwaukee:  There will probably be a let down in this game, but it will apply to both teams.  Now BOTH teams will do the 3rd game in 4 nights thing.  Both teams will have played the previous night somewhere other than Milwaukee.  That’s an equalizer.  As tempting as it might be to predict a letdown and bad loss (a la Indiana) for the C’s, Milwaukee isn’t good enough to overcome those circumstances.  This might be an ugly, 89-79 game… but the C’s are just too good.

So I’m looking at 4-1 in this stretch.  I’ll be fine with 3-2.  I don’t think we’re going 5-0. 

Herald: Celtics get no cream puffs  |  Old rival still a pain  |  Globe:  Early playoff preview?  |  Is he a long term Answer in Detroit?  |  DetNews:  AI expects butterflies  |  Souza:  Big Baby does the little things

And here’s the only reason I haven’t completely turned on the OKC Thunder franchise for the way they treated Seattle:  a pair of fellow Emerson basketball alums are going to make that team good.

Iverson Is A Piston
November 3, 2008

It’s a done deal, Allen Iverson has been traded to the Pistons

The Pistons and the Denver Nuggets have finalized a trade that sends guard Allen Iverson to Detroit in exchange for Pistons mainstays Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess.

Young center Cheikh Samb, selected by the Los Angeles Lakersfor the Pistons with the 51st overall pick in the 2006 draft, will also be going to Denver in the deal, reports ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher.

So the Pistons will feature Allen Iverson, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace and, apparently, Amir Johnson.  Iverson is obviously a more explosive scoring threat than Billups, but I don’t know how he really fits.  I think he’s just going to dominate the ball… and the Pistons are a team that doesn’t need anyone dominating the ball.   They’ve always had a pretty even distribution of touches.  I think this throws the whole thing off. 

The Pistons will still be good, because Iverson is still pretty good.  But I’m nowhere near sold on him being, pardon the expression, the answer to Detroit’s problems.  I don’t see this move making Detroit any bigger threat to the Celtics.

– update:  I posted one of these links in the comments… but I’m going to add it, and one other, here.  Kelly Dwyer on Ball Don’t Lie… and Henry Abbot on TrueHoop completely nail the genius of this trade.  Abbot really sums it up:

Down, the road the Pistons becomes the driving force of big-time free agency as soon as Iverson’s contract comes off the books next summer. The Pistons will combine a winning environment, one of the most respected general managers in the game, and — depending on salary cap levels that are yet to be set, and extensions that may yet be given to existing Pistons — likely enough cap space to sign two free agent players to max contracts over the next summers of 2009 and 2010.

The two that jump out to me are, of course, Chris Bosh and LeBron James. They played together nicely on Team USA, and now Dumars can at least entertain the notion of signing not one of those two, but both.

Jeez. 

So while they both agree with my point that the Pistons might not be the same team this year… it’s clearly not about this year.  It might not be about next year, either.  So C’s fans… let’s enjoy our ride now.  The Pistons are clearly positioning themselves for a post-Celtics world in the Eastern Conference.

Pistons & Nuggets Close To Iverson/Billups Swap
November 3, 2008

That’s the rumor right now.

A potential blockbuster is in the works in the NBA as the Detroit Pistons are reportedly close to acquiring guard Allen Iverson from the Denver Nuggets in exchange for guard Chauncey Billups and forward Antonio McDyess.

ESPN is reporting that the deal is in the final stages that would send the nine-time All-Star to Detroit. 

Iverson is in the final year of a contract that pays him $21.9 million this season while Billups is signed through 2011 and is currently earning $11 million.  McDyess is making $6.9 million this season and has one more year remaining on his contract.

Call me crazy… but I don’t like this deal for Detroit.  Billups has been their rock.  I would have traded Hamilton in this deal, but not Billups.  Of course, the deal isn’t done yet.

“I’m Callin’ Your Ass ‘Dwight'”
October 3, 2008

The headline is the best line from the new Addidas Commercial called “The Run”.  It’s just a few guys…. you  know… KG, Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan, Tracy McGrady…. and more… getting together to run some ball. 

Some of it is canned, commercial stuff.  Some of it is funny.  The KG/Dwight Howard stuff is the best.

So I openly campaign for sneakers… and Addidas sends me a commercial about sneakers.  We’re getting close.  I can feel the swag coming my way. 

Hey… maybe you can make a commercial about bloggers playing ball in your shoes?  Or, more specifically, getting winded after 3 trips up the floor and then blowing out an ACL in your sneakers.  But we could make sure the sneaker is visible after I’m loaded onto the ambulance

Baron Davis To Detroit?
June 25, 2008

Oh baby… more rumors. 

This one involves Davis to Detroit… and in what would be a blockbuster deal… getting Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace in return.  Detroit would also get Al Harrington.

Call me crazy… but that seems to almost boil down to a “shake up” trade.  They both kinda end up even… and seem to be making the trade just for the ol’ “change of scenery.”

Draft night is tomorrow… so you’ll be hearing all sorts of trade rumors.  You’ll also be hearing more on the draft from Chuck… who is the Red’s Army draft guru.  He became the draft guru when he lost 2 out of 3 “rock paper scissors” games (hint:  He always throws paper).  Chuck will have regular updates tomorrow night as well. 

Do It Again!
May 25, 2008

Alright Celtics… I think we’ve found out that it’s really not THAT hard to win on the road.  So the message we’re sending today is simple:  Do it again.  You no longer have the “we can just win our home games” security blanket… because this team has beaten you at home.  So get out there in game 4, come out aggressive again… and take control of this series. 

One advantage the Celtics need to exploit is the gimpy Chauncey Billups clearly not at 100%.  Although KG isn’t buying the ‘Chauncey Is Hurt’ talk.

“If you told me he was injured, I wouldn’t know,” Garnett said. “How hard he’s coming off pick-and-rolls. . . . I don’t think anybody is 100 percent at this point. Only he knows how his health is, but, as the opposing team watching him, he doesn’t look too injured.”

But Chauncey’s comments don’t seem like they’re coming from a healthy guy:

“You know what, man? I’m just getting tired of talking about it.  Like I said, it is what it is. It’s not like we have a whole lot of time, so I’m just out there trying to do what I can do. There’s nothing I can do about it right now, but just trying to get through it.”

Rodney Stuckey has been brilliant for the Pistons… which has been their saving grace.  Without him, they might be down 3-0 right now.  But I’d still rather take my chances with him on the floor because the Pistons offense isn’t the same without Chauncey out there.

One thing I did not like early in the game last night was Detroit’s offense rebounding… a constant theme in this postseason.  They had 10 offensive rebounds for the game… I’m going to bet most of them happened in the first 20 minutes of the game… before the Celtics pulled away.  Detroit couldn’t shoot at all last night… but that probably won’t happen two games in a row.  So BOX OUT!!!  And maybe we can win again… and start a little road winning streak.

Video:  KG and Russell conversation part 2  |  Herald:  C’s start loud, quiet crowd  |  Biggest game of season bring out best in C’s  |  Celtics on inside track to victory  |  Lindsay Hunter, temporary Celtic, no fan of fast trade  |  Seeing a golden future in Celtics green  |  Perkins peaks in Motown  |  Globe: C’s pull off Palace coup  |  Bench responds  |  Perk makes his point  |  Performance worth the wait  |  Five observations  |  We have a bad connection  |  US Squad has no position for Pierce  |  Team USA not on star search  |  Detroit Free Press:  Perk most effective Celtic  |  Celtics wanted it more  |  Rip, Allen continue UConn rivalry  |  T&G:  Baby got ‘Big’ in Detroit  |  SI:  Celtics might have found their Championship form  |  ESPN Daily Dime:  Road woes disappear for one game

(Photo:  Getty Images.  Click on image for full photo)

The Billups Layup
May 23, 2008

Every single one of us sat there dumbfounded as Chauncey Billups got an uncontested lay up off an out of bounds play to end the game :20 left.

The X’s and O’s of Basketball does a fantastic job of breakindg down the double stagger curl that sprung Chauncey for the layup. 

Of course… the entire play could have been avoided if Paul Pierce had angled his body to protect the hoop.  I mean… Billups never would have gotten the pass if Pierce was angled so we could see the back of his jersey.  Meanwhile… if the pass had gone into corner… he could have contested the shot.  I don’t care who is shooting that corner jumper.  Given the choice… you ALWAYS give up the corner jump shot rather than a pass to the hoop.  I don’t know if he was expecting help… but still… bad play by Pierce there.

(link via TrueHoop).

Also on TrueHoop… the question of when to start fouling at the end of a game.  I made the same comment in our forums.  With :41 left… the Celtics chose not to foul… and I think they should have.  At :40… you need to start forcing them to take free throws.  I don’t care if they make them.  You stop the clock and try to push the issue.  Bad move at the end there by the C’s.

KG, Billups Ad
May 21, 2008

These ads are amazing.  If the NBA knows anything… it’s marketing

The Key Matchup
May 20, 2008

The Celtics and Pistons are remarkably evenly matched teams.  Only at 1 position is there a stark contrast in the style of play:  point guard.

Not to over simplify things… but the chances are very good that whomever wins this battle… will be on the winning team.  I find it almost impossible to believe that Chauncey Billups would vastly outplay Rondo in a Pistons loss. 

So what will the difference be?  In one word:  Tempo.

Chauncey Billups isn’t a fast break point guard.  He’s a bull.  He’s most effective in a half-court set, posting Rondo up, and working the offense to get people open jumpers.  Besides… I still think his hamstring is an issue.  Even if it feels better… it’s only been about a week.  Quick cuts can’t be good for it. 

So its up to Rajon Rondo to push the issue.  Force the tempo.  Make your teammates run.  Billups is a tremendous player… but Rondo is too fast.  He’s too fast for anyone on the Pistons.  Rondo has no choice here.  Push the ball… get to the middle of the lane… and make things happen.  If you stand around try to run sets against the Pistons… we can forget the finals.  If Rondo get himself into the lane… then we’ll see a repeat of this video… and another round in the playoffs.

 

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