abo sa dila

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    na, mula noong 24 Enero, 2006, ang nakitambay dito

sige na nga: some notes on the nba playoffs
Thursday, May 03, 2007

So Chicago swept Miami. I had them winning the series. In 6 games, though.

But a sweep? Malaking bagay 'yun-- beating the defending champs, with their two best players active. No matter how injury plagued this season has been for the Heat, no matter how much Shaq resembled a brokedown PNR tren as the season progressed, they are still the reigning champs. Or were, since they wouldn't get the chance to defend their title anymore. I expected a bit more heart from the reigning champs. But then again, sabi nga nila, mabilis ang karma:


Detroit over Orlando in 4, now, that wasn't at all unexpected-- although the fanboy in me had wanted the Magic to win at least one game in the series. Para ba sa kumpiyansa nila, coming into the next season. Pero hindi, e. Ganu'n talaga ang buhay.

Pag nagretiro na si Grant Hill, at nag-expire na rin ang kontrata ni Penny Hardaway, whom I think they acquired in the Stevie Franchise trade (or contract dump,) humanda kayo, East. Then they can sign a big-time free agent. Then they can let go of Jameer Nelson and search for a real point guard. Then they can start a championship drive. Itaga mo sa bato, three years down the road, the Magic will be a championship contender.


Galing sa Truehoop:

Of those stars rumored to be on their way to Los Angeles, one makes the most sense to me. The story is that the Lakers turned down a trade with New Jersey that would have sent Bynum to New Jersey for Jason Kidd. If I ran the Lakers I would do it, for several reasons:

Lamar Odom has the potential to be an awesome force, and has underperformed in Los Angeles. Jason Kidd is the only big-name player who is practically guaranteed to make Odom perform closer to his massive potential. A more effective Odom mitigates, somewhat, the loss of Bynum.

Picture it! Kidd and Bryant side by side ... two ferocious winners motivated to win now. They'd win 30 NBA games playing alongside eighth graders. But they would be better than that. The Laker lineup would be much like New Jersey's current lineup. Only, in place of Vince Carter you have Kobe Bryant. In place of Richard Jefferson you have Luke Walton. And in place of Nenad Krstic you have Lamar Odom. I could keep going down the list. But the point is, that's a team that's ready to win now and Kidd solves the ball-sharing issues that have plagued this team (at the expense of the triangle? perhaps). Kidd gets the ball to spots where his teammates can use it. Odom, Bryant etc. can handle that.

Asa ka pa.

The triangle does not need a point guard who's a great passer, or who runs the break excellently. Granted, Kidd plays respectable (okay, good) D, but he doesn't have the sniping skills that the triangle needs.

Think about it: the triangle has had the most success with a superstar scoring guard, a good passing center, and quality role players. Jordan had BJ Armstrong in his early championship runs, but a lot of the crunchtime plays had Paxson in it. He had Bill Cartwright too. Further on, he had Ron Harper and Luc Longley.

Sa Alaska, they had Johnny A.-- a bulk scorer-- who had Jojo Lastimoza by his side, a steady gunner who relied mostly on jumpshots and three-bombs. Oh, and remember Poch Juinio? Not superstar quality, but a high percentage shooter who passed excellently.

The Lakers' three-peat had Kobe and Shaq-- also a spectacular passing center. And the point guard? Ron Harper, again.

The point guard's main role in the triangle, I think, is to defend and snipe. That's one reason why bigger complimentary guards were seen with the bulk-scorers: so the superstars wouldn't have to expend as much energy running around all the time, chasing after the other team's gunner.

If in an alternate universe Steve Nash were a Laker, he wouldn't be as effective as he is now, running the Suns' run-and-gun-and-runrunrun offense. Same goes for Jason Kidd.

What the Lakers need-- and I'm not even a fan-- is a consistent post presence who can pass and defend. Someone who can cover up for the lousy perimeter D with some hardcore shot-blocking ability: the Marcus Camby's, the Ben Wallaces, the Tyrus Thomases. Or a Scottie Pippen type: I high energy defender who can take the scoring load from time to time: Gerald Wallace? James Posey? Tayshaun Prince?

The passing, at least, they have in Lamar Odom. If they had to trade Andrew Bynum for a marquee player, I'd go for Jermaine O'Neal. (Kevin Garnett would be nice, but I don't think the Lakers can offer anything to the T-Wolves). If they had to trade Bynum. But I wouldn't.

I'd dangle the non-performers (Hellooo, Kwame!) for mid-level veterans who could do the job, albeit unspectacularly. Or I'd find one in the draft. They do need to replace Parker, if only for the chemistry concerns, and so that Jordan Farmar can serve as understudy to someone who's not named "Smush." But is Jason Kidd worth pursuing? I don't think so.


George Karl decides to bench Josh Smith.

Sa totoo lang, I would, too. But letting the media know? And letting them know before having a talk with the player? What about trust? What about motivation? If I were Nuggets management, I'd be benching Karl.


Chicago over Detroit in 6.

Remember the last game of the regular season? When Chicago lost to the Nets and dropped to fifth place, effectively placing the Bulls in the paths of powerhouses Detroit and Miami?

I think it was one of Scott Skiles' crazy plots. "Miami repeating? Detroit as Eastern Conference Champs? And for God's sake, the Cavaliers? Can't I get any respect?"

And so he purposely lost that game, or told his players to do so, to prove a point: That they don't care who they're up against. That Kirk Heinrich, Luol Deng and Ben Gordon have become mature enough, that Ben Wallace can stay focused enough, that Thabo Sefolosha and Tyrus Thomas are not as young and mentally unprepared as people might think they are. That this Bulls team can win against anyone.


Siyempre di pa tapos ang first round ng playoffs, 'no? At siyempre sumablay ako sa ilan kong hula (Golden State lording it over the Mavs? Who would've thought?)

And the Nuggets in the same spot as they were two seasons ago? I think I'll owe Drey four beers for this one. Umasa na ako, e! Allen Iverson, what the fuck are you doing?!

Sagot ni Iverson:

Hindi ko rin alaaaaaaaam!


Anyway, here are my predictions for the second round:

East: Chicago over Detroit in 6 (What'll it take to make everyone else believe?); New Jersey over Cleveland in 7 (if the Cavs were up to the challenge, don't you think they would've won over the Wizards by 50 points in each game?).

West: Houston over Golden State in 5 (yes, the Mavs will go home as only the third top-seed to lose an opening round match-up with the eighth-seed; their 2 wins have been cases of 'too much luck, too little heart'. And yes, Houston will defeat Utah in 7, thanks to homecourt advantage); Phoenix over San Antonio in 7 (partly because the Spurs will have to stretch this series to seven games-- I'm not being too hopeful, am I?-- slugging it out with the physical Nuggets while the Suns sip red-bull-and-vodkas in Phoenix after closing out the Lakers in, uh, an hour.)
posted by mdlc @ 1:52 AM  
  • At 6:30 PM, Blogger Ronald said…

    Potah let down talaga Denver. Buti na lang hindi ako nakipagpustahan sa series nila.

    Bulls in six din sa tingin ko. Webber is a Choker, Sheed will get ejected at least once in that series, Hinrich owns Rip defensively.

    And Deng, Deng is going to get his numbers even though Prince is on him simply because Deng doesn't need to hold on to the ball too long to score--he's like a Dan Issel who's more athletic, quiker, moves quicker and a better shooter.

    Prince is a one-on-one, face up, perimeter defender--he's not going to be comfortable guarding Deng who moves without the ball and rarely slashes to the basket. That's why in their regular season match-ups, Deng still averaged around 22 ppg.

  • At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    pasawsaw lang sa playoffs prediction, pareng mike.

    dahil wala na ang lakers, golden state would take the western crown (sila ang pangalawang payborit ko entering the playoffs. as for the lakers, di naman talaga ko nanalig na mananalo sila, umasa lang. hehe.) although houston fan din ako, sa palagay ko kulang pa sila sa anghang. utah will share the same fate as dallas, a disappointment to their respective fans. although laging bukas ang posibilidad ng chamba.

    spurs and suns? doesn't matter... unless both teams consider winning the semis their accomplishment for this season. (pero sa totoo lang, takot ako sa spurs. they have always been consistent. and now they are playing from-good-to-great. pero, may silat yan sa golden state ko. walang malaking nakakapuwing.)

    as for the east, sayans ang orlando, winalis na parang alabok. pero bata pa naman si pareng dwight. pogi pa rin naman si grant hill. pero wala na sila, babay na. dun na lang ako sa pangalawang pogi. ben wallace and the baby bulls. grrr!

    -pareng daniel

  • At 3:40 AM, Blogger mikael said…

    'nald: i agree with everything-- in the end it'll turn to rough, grind-it-out basketball. pero, gut feel lang, a, i think nocioni will be the deciding factor here. sa bench magkakatalo.

    'niel: sa tingin ko, walang sagot ang golden state sa solid post player. lampa si yao ming lately, so baka nga may tulog ang houston sa kanila. pero kay duncan? basag sila du'n. and, as i said, no one can out-phoenix phoenix. phoenix ako sa western conference finals. ano, beer?

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