I’ve used this space to express my frustration over NBA officiating several times already, but shit man I just can’t help myself. These schmucks are out there every night acting like 14 year old girls: making weird noises, doing whatever they can to get attention, thinking that they are more important than anything else imaginable. They are awful. No other set of referees, professional or collegiate, embarrasses themselves quite as much as these fuckers. They handed the NBA Title to Miami two years ago. Dwyane Wade shot 96 free throws in the 6 game series. 96 fucking free throws!!! 16 trips to the charity stripe a game. This included a combined 46 free throw attempts in the final two games of the series, 1 and 3 point wins by the Heat respectively. Oh yeah and let me let you in on a little secret: Tim Donaghy isn’t the only referee shaving points for pay. Hopefully the referees won’t be a headline during the stretch run of the 08’ season, but I’m too jaded by the past to think otherwise.
9.) Can the C’s match the 95-96 Bulls?
NO, the C’s already have 9 losses. The only reason this isn’t #10 on the list is because I wanted to get the referee thing over with. The only reason this is on the list is because I wanted to take a shot a Bostoner’s everywhere: “Ha Ha your team won’t have the best record of all time!! Oh wait you still have the best record in the league jokes on me I guess.” The C’s would have to finish the season 31-1, just a shade better than their 20-2 start. Nice try anyway boys. Bold predictions: The Nuggets hand the C’s loss #1 tonight starting the C’s on their way to a 62-20 record.
8.) This J-Kidd charade has been retarded.
Are you freaking joking me? Devan George blocking the trade, then all of this other ridiculous garbage that went on over the whole process, what a joke. Let’s not forget that this trade is awful for the Mavs. These aren’t the run and gun Mavs of the Nellie days. Avery Johnson has turned the Mavs into a team that really plays pretty slow. J Kidd is in the twilight of his career and he is having the worst shooting season of his career. He’s obviously still good in space, but I’m not so sure in the half court. Also consider the three best teammates Kidd has ever had: K-Mart, Richard Jefferson, Vinsanity. What’s the common thread with these three? They are all high flyers who love to dunk. The Mavs don’t have a player that loves to go up and get the lob. The Mavs also don’t have the 3 point shooting. Dirk has hit half as many threes as he had at this point last year. Howard can hit the three but is clearly more comfortable inside the arch. The story of this trade however could be Antoine Wright and the Mavs ability to keep Jerry Stackhouse. Those two can keep defenses honest. If they shoot well this trade could work out, but on the face it appears to be a huge question mark.
7.) How many games below .500 will the 8th seed in the East be?
Currently the Hawks and the Nets are tied for the 8th spot at 7 games below .500. I think the Hawks are going to make a bit of run after acquiring Mike Bibby, that is a side note. It is highly probable that the 8th seed will 10 games below .500, or more. Yikes. Which brings the next question of how many times will we hear “pundits” like Steven A. Smith advocating a playoff system where the top 16 teams in the league make it? For those of you that are curious, right now if we had that system it would be 10 teams from the West, 6 from the East.
6.) Which trade will pay off most for Western Conference contenders?
J Kidd. Shaq. Pau Gasol. Rumors for more? I’ve given my opinion about the J-Kidd trade. I think the Shaq trade will have a bizarre effect. I think it will cost them some wins in the regular season, but will make them a more serious contender come playoff time. Pau is a great player, and I think his addition turns a Laker squad that overachieved in the first 40 games into a serious contender. We shall see how serious this Kobe injury is and how Pau and Andrew Bynum coexist, but I think at first glance the Lakers have molded themselves into a serious threat for the title.
5.) Which Western Conference teams will get squeezed out of the playoffs?
It is starting to seem like one team is going to get squeezed as it seems that Portland is going to start to realize their youth. But right now Golden State, Houston, and Denver are tied for the 8th spot at 32-20. Utah is up on those teams a game and a half. Dallas and San Antonio is up another half game. The Spurs aren’t going to fall that far off the bus, so I think they are safe. Utah also is playing really solid ball right now, even though I hate them. I’m not convinced that Dallas might be the team that suffers, I just have a feeling that this trade could horribly backfire. The Nuggets have their horrible habit of not showing up. I also think George Karl is terrible. Here is some advice: Run more two man games with Melo and AI, let K Mart prowl the weak side baseline for lobs, have Anthony Carter or JR Smith or Linas Kleiza in the weak side corner for ball reversals. Golden State was the darlings of last year’s playoffs but they have looked truly terrible at times this year. They have also looked great in spells. Houston is the least sexy and in my opinion the team most likely to get squeezed. They are sort of stuck right now. They don’t have the pieces of a typical Adelman team, but they don’t quite play the defense they did under Van Gundy. I feel there is enough uncertainty for the Rockets that they won’t quite make that last run.
4.) Is this the year we finally crown Bron Bron MVP?
Yes. He’s leading the league in scoring, he is carrying his team. He’s playing a very complete game. I don’t even know if there is another great candidate right now. Kobe might make another late run, but I think it is probably LeBron’s to lose.
3.) What effect will Shaq have on the Suns?
I mentioned this briefly already. I think he gives the Suns a legitimate shot to come out of the West. I really don’t think that Suns Spurs series last year was as close as the numbers would dictate. There was never a doubt that the Spurs would emerge. He helps them most on defense. Their offense is dynamic enough that they will adjust, but they are now capable of defending in the half court and winning ugly. Even without Marion the Suns are still pretty long and allowing Shaq to play one on one in the middle will still enable the Suns to get into passing lanes and out on the break. I do think they will lose a few more games in the regular season which probably means the Lakers will win the Pacific Division. I don’t reckon that losing the home court will doom the Suns.
2.) Will the C’s and Pistons Sweep through the Eastern Conference Playoffs?
This will probably be the story line of the playoffs. There will be no series sweeps in the Western playoffs, and my guess would be that most series go 6 or 7 games. Even if the C’s and Pistons beat each other up in the Eastern Finals it is likely that will have played between 4 and 6 few games than their Western Conference counterparts if they sweep straight through. This would be a huge advantage heading into the Finals. I’d like to think that the Cavs and Magic will acquit themselves well, but I’m not so sure.
1.) Who will win the West?
I’m torn between the Lakers, even though I hate them, and the Suns. I think that balance of power has shifted from Texas to the Pacific. I think the Mavs are worse, the Spurs are older, the Hornets are too inexperienced. I also like what the Jazz can do, even though I hate them. They defend but they can still run too. All that I know is that it will be really entertaining.