Monday, December 11, 2006

Leather Ball Back!

Its taken a while coming, but the NBA has decided to revert to the old leather ball -- the one that has been used in past seasons. For reasons that were not explained, the NBA brought in a new composite ball this season. The new ball has been reviled for having unpredictable bounce and acting weird overall. Sorry, that was the best way to put it. Sometimes it doesn't bounce hard off the rim, flops into the basket, makes paper cuts on players' palms and is either too slippery or too sticky.

Steve Nash, LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal and Jason Kidd are some of the bigger stars who've expresses their displeasure with the ball. The player's union decided to take legal action against the league last week , on two counts -- the new 'zero tolerance' policy and the composite ball.

Stern had to say this, about reverting to the old ball.
“Our players' response to this particular composite ball has been consistently negative and we are acting accordingly. Although testing performed by Spalding and the NBA demonstrated that the new composite basketball was more consistent than leather, and statistically there has been an improvement in shooting, scoring, and ball-related turnovers, the most important statistic is the view of our players.”

Boy, the man flat out can't admit he was wrong !

I really wonder why they've decided to switch to the old ball now, in the middle of the season. After all, the players have now got used to the new one's random behavior. Even the three point shooting has been getting better and from what I recall, the league shooting average is a few percentage points above last year's. Oh well, the players adjusted to the composite ball within a month, so they should be comfortable with the leather ball by Jan end. I hope.

I guess Stern did not want the 2007 Finals to be decided by some weird bounces. What would the refs do then?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Nash at the barber shop

I saw this funny page on azcentral's website that you guys should check out. You get to pick from a list of different hairstyles varying from the 'fro to punk and the web-barber will immediately do that on a Nash caricature.
(the Mr.Clean style makes him look like a total skinhead).

Here's the link.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Obscure facts/news

Couldn't think of a better title for this post. Couldn't think of a better way to integrate this in another post. But here goes:

-Caron Butler was Mr.Basketball in the state of Wisconsin in 1998 in high school. Who was No.2 in the voting? Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo!
Wait till Michael Irvin hears this and justifies his claim that Romo has some black ancestry.

-I had the WAS-PHI game running on ESPN when the talking heads continued yapping about the Allen Iverson issue (he's asked to be traded, if you live on the moon). The camera then moved to Jim Gray. He reported with a very straight face that earlier in the game he had discussed the details of a telephone conversation he had with AI. Apparently the person he spoke to on the phone was an AI impersonator! Some random dude had spoken to him and given him random shit that poor Gray scooped up with glee. He confessed to having been punk'd and finished with the line "I had been duped. I'm sorry". Bravo ESPN! Bravo! But why not laugh at yourselves for a fiasco like this, instead of trying to keep a straight face about the whole issue?

Classic PG duel at Meadowlands

I was lucky enough to watch the Suns-Nets game because it was on YES network here in NJ. I cannot do justice to the game if I try to do my own report on it (my way of shying away from work). So I'll direct you to a nice game report by Lang Whitaker at SLAM.

The highlights:
When the dust settled, the numbers were amazing:
• Phoenix 161, New Jersey 157
• Kidd finished with 38 points, 14 rebounds (all defensive rebounds) and 14 assists
• Nash had a career-high 42 points and 13 assists
• Shawn Marion played 49 minutes and scored 33 points
• Vince Carter had 31 points and 9 assists
• Boris Diaw had 16 points and 14 assists
• There were 34 lead changes
• The Suns hit 17 of 31 from three, and the Nets went 10 for 21

Box Score

Diaw hit both free throws, and the Suns fouled the Nets right away. Kidd hit both free throws to make it a three point game, and the Suns called their last timeout with 4.1 left. They came back to halfcourt, and after what seemed like 4.99999 seconds, Diaw threw it in to Nash, who came off a Kurt Thomas pick and drained a clutch three from the top of the key. Suns assistant Alvin Gentry hopped off the bench and screamed, “Yes sir motherf*ckers!”

And yeah, check the highlights out on Pay attention to Vince's walk (around the 30 sec mark in the video) to the basket in the end of regulation time. OK.OK. Kurt Thomas' screen for Nash's game winning 3 ptr was not clean either...but what's more egregious -- a moving screen or a travel?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Vick's finger

Hey guys,

I've been looking for Michael Vick's bird flick to the fans who booed him. I chanced upon the video now when I was looking at something else.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Stat Line of the Week

I've been out of the blogosphere in the past week. My fantasy team franchise players went AWOL as well. Emeka was busy hosting a slumber party all this week. I traded away Sean May and DeShawn Stevenson for Chris Kaman last week, so May decided to spite me with a monster game two days back with this line : 21/17/3/5 (p/r/a/b)

Chris Paul though came up big..BIGGG tonight with a triple double! Check this ugly bloody line:
25/11/18/5 (p/r/a/s)
Thats a total of 105 fantasy points.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Will Marion Guard Kidd?

If you guys have been following the past few games, you must have noticed that Marion has been asked to guard the opposing PGs, for short periods, if not all the time -- Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Allen Iverson.

That probably has made him less effective at the boards -- its not like he gets in rebounding positions in any case, he just pounces on the ball from wherever he is. Marion has traditionally been made to guard bigger guys (Odom, Dirk), usually PFs, on the opposing team and he's made it clear all along that he doesn't relish the role. Wonder what he thinks of this new role that probably affects his rebound numbers..But on the bright side, guarding the opposing PGs will make it easier for him to get to the other end on the break.

So far, the strategy has worked in two out of three cases. Let's see if the coach tries it today.

The Eastern Conference stinks

I read this very well written piece by John Hollinger on the disparity between the quality of teams in the East and the West. He illustrates how bad the Eastern Conference stinks with numbers and other general trends in teams in the East.

The highlights:

The West has also won six of the eight championships in that time (since Jordan retired in 1998), and one could make a case it would be eight of eight if not for the fact that the East automatically gets one team into the Finals regardless of how bad it is.

Through Wednesday's games, there had been 64 interconference battles, and the Eastern side managed a win in just 18 of them — a piddling .281 winning percentage.

At the moment, only three teams in the East have a winning record.

...for one good example take a look at the "predictor" rankings used by USA Today computer guru Jeff Sagarin. In those, 10 of the top 11 teams are from the Western Conference, while nine of the bottom are from the East.
If that holds up for the entire season, two teams from the West will end up in the lottery despite being better than all but one team in the East. And three teams from the East will make the playoffs despite being worse than all but one team in the West.

there's a recurring numbers theme — namely, the Eastern teams have a strange inability to put talented players around their superstars. James, Wade, Johnson,Gilbert Arenas, Allen Iverson, and the Nets' "Big Three" all suffer from a glaring lack of competent help at the end of the starting lineup or off the bench.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

How to download embedded videos

I'd mentioned in a previous post that there was a chance that Stern and his cyborg minions could start clamping down on internet videos of the NBA. So here's a small writeup on how you can download videos from websites.

I'm a big fan of Firefox and the endless list of add ons available for it. I use an extension called Download Embedded and its super easy to use. It adds a right-click context menu entry to download all embedded files on a webpage. Its great for grabbing embedded flash animations, movies, music, etc..
Download Embedded

Web site Keepvid has a very simple way of downloading videos from 40 different web sites like google, youtube, etc. Its pretty straightforward. Check this link out for more:

I've also heard good things about this web site called Javimoya.

Suns-Hornets 92-83

Current record : 5-6
Box score
Highlights video

Last night's home win against the Hornets wasn't the most beautiful one the Suns have pulled off. We fan boys are never content. The Suns have now won four in a row and the past two teams they faced, came in with records of 7-3 and 8-3. Yet, many of us are complaining that the wins haven't been 'impressive'. For lack of a better name and poor imagination, I'll call it championship-hope-itis.

The win against the Hornets was orchestrated by playing good D - the Suns' biggest malady so far. I did not watch the game and its hard to believe, but hey, that's what every report is saying. Kurt Thomas must be the happiest with this win. After all, it was won playing hard-nosed D with ordinary offense, which is what his game is all about. Like I've said before, I'll take an ugly win any day.

The Suns out-rebounded the Hornets 41-40 but had poor O-rebounding. Tyson Chandler alone had more offensive boards than the entire Suns team. That, along with 20 turnovers probably explains the the low FG attempts. We took a paltry 70 shots compared to 85 by the Hornets. Thankfully, the good D helped us get some nice stops and keep their shooting percentage down to 40% (we shot 47%).

Raja Bell seems to be coming out of his shell, scoring 18 and 22 in his past two outings. Thats one of the biggest positives for the Suns. They really need good three point shooting to spread the floor and do their thing. Though it was an ordinary offensive night out for the Suns, they continued their hot shooting from downtown. They sank 10-22 (45%) last night and 13-29 (44.8%) against Golden State.

It was nice to see Boris Diaw take some time off from his croissant-eating binge to play some ball. He did alright -- not great. He shot 8-10, including one from three-point land. He also had 4 asts and 6 rbs. He made a sweet behind-the-back pass from the high post to Raja Bell who was at the left baseline. You've got to check it out.
The only blemish was his eight turnovers. Can't blame him -- its hard to concentrate on basketball when there are better things to do, like eating croissant.
OK. OK. I like Boris a lot -- mainly for his unselfishness and overall demeanor. But dude really needs to get back in shape, and he looks to be on the right path now.

Once more, Amare did not get to play the closing minutes of the game. In D'Antoni's (yeah, he won back his right to carry a D in his name with last night's showing) defense, Amare had a very ordinary showing, scoring nada in the game in 21 minutes. I'm sure Amare was just exhausted from the last few games. He'll turn it around against the Nets.

James Jones laid a monstrously big egg yesterday, after winning back the coach's confidence when he hit a few treys against GSW. That kid is a big head-case and really needs to string a few games together to feel good about himself.

The Nets and Trailblazers are up next. Hope we get the wins to get past the .500 mark.

Jerry Colangelo shows interest in buying Cubs

According to an AP story on ESPN, ex-Suns owner Jerry Colangelo has expressed interest in buying the Chicago Cubs if it does go up for sale.
Said JC:
If in fact the Cubs become available, and that's a big 'if,'
I've stated that I would have great interest. I'm just trying to keep my options open at this point, that's all.

Jerry Colangelo is currently the Chairman of the Phoenix Suns and his term with the team ends this year. He previously owned the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks at different points in time. SI had interviewed JC a few weeks back and I had covered some of the questions that would be of interest to Suns fans. Here's an excerpt from that post that relates to news of JC buying a new franchise:

• On his next move after relinquishing control of the Suns:
I've kept my eye and ear open to what's going on in basketball and baseball in other cities and franchises.
At this stage I'm just listening.

Good luck Jerry!