Tag Archives: Brooklyn Nets

The Ave Podcast – The ’19 NBA Midseason Report #2ndTrimester

The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee. Episode 66: The ’19 NBA Midseason Report #2nd Trimester

Today on The Ave Podcast, I invite Jan-Michael Nation (Ryerson University Hall of Famer & Alumnist) to the show as we break down the 2nd Trimester of the 2018-19 NBA Season. We discuss the events of the latest All-Star Weekend, including the big game, Joe Harris’ star turn,  and Anthony Hamilton’s attempt to chase the ghosts of Marvin Gaye. We also break down the Anthony Davis drama in New Orleans, discuss exactly how Magic is doing as a Laker exec, plus dole out our NBA Awards for the 2nd Trimester (6th Man, ROY, DPOY, MVP, etc), and more.

*** Thanks for tuning in, and don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and the blog below, and also, the podcasts are now available for download. You can now check out the podcasts on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcher, and Spotify. You can get to all of those apps on your IOS or Android devices. ***

The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee // Episode 66

Image result for anthony davis

(Getty Images)

 

To download the podcast, feel free to click the logo below:

 

Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

To subscribe to South Shore Ave, click onto the Follow button, and enter your email address, or click onto the RSS Feed. Very special thanks to Jan-Michael Nation for his guest appearance on this podcast. For the ’18-’19 1st Trimester, click onto Part 1 and Part 2.

 

The Ave Podcast – The NBA Eastern Conference Preview

The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee. Episode 9: The NBA Eastern Conference Preview

Welcome once again to The Ave Podcast. Today, we break down Cleveland…….. and the rest of the Eastern Conference with my friend and past contributor to South Shore Ave Headley B., as we rank each team in the East from the bottom to the top.

*** Thanks for tuning in, and don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and the blog below, and also, the podcasts are now available for download. ***

The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee // Episode 9

Part 1 – The Lottery Teams

Part 2 – The Playoff Teams

 

To download the podcast, feel free to click the link below:

Part 1: https://app.box.com/s/2rgzunu19r2fwc5komyz5ebn6372zp6v

Part 2: https://app.box.com/s/6izdagy9u68yueu7mfq7eraqckd5fvr2

 

Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

To subscribe to South Shore Ave, click onto the Follow button, and enter your email address, or click onto the RSS Feed. Very special thanks to Headley B. for his guest appearance on this podcast.

#TANKCITY VOL.2

#TANKCITY

“Tank City Bit**/Tank Tank City Bit**/50-60 something losses equals Joel Embiiiiiiiiiiiid Wiggins Biiiit**…..”

With the season starting to come down the end of the tunnel, teams are either jockeying for playoff positioning or showing us all the inventive ways to gut out their team like a fish so they can get the most ping-pong balls in this year’s much publicized draft. We are officially at the “veterans on the lottery bound teams shutting down their seasons for real &/or phantom injuries” phase of the #TankCity programming that most lottery bound teams employ. After the first edition of #TankCity, we give you Volume 2. Is this a nod to the old Jay-Z albums back when he was kicking chicks out of his place at 6:15 AM? No, it isn’t. It’s just a coincidence though that I typed out this post in an IceBerg sweater, black Enyce jeans with a matching doo-rag, and mustard colored Timberlands. Ya heard?

Before we follow up on the residents of #TankCity, we have to first say goodbye to a few tenants first…..

CHICAGO

Let’s face it, Chicago plays like Jason from those Friday the 13th horror movies. You can shoot Jason, try to blow him up, start a fire & escape from the cabin…… but as soon as the smoke clears and the girl that’s running with you sprains her ankle, Jason always emerges to slit your throat. With the Bulls, it doesn’t matter if Derrick Rose’s knees keep exploding on him, or if they trade Luol Deng, or if Carlos Boozer finds new ways to underachieve, the Bulls keep coming. Even with all those things that happened, they continue to move forward with a murderous intensity. They picked up DJ Augustine off the street & he’s been one of their best players, turned Taj Gibson into a 6th man of the year Candidate (as well as someone who’s making Boozer expendable going forward), & replaced Deng production with Jimmy Butler’s game. However, nothing moves forward without Joakim Noah stepping up his game immensely. He is having his best season of his career (12.2 PPG/11.3 RPG/4.9 APG, 0 games missed), contributing at a high level all-star pace on defence while the offense is being worked around his high post set up and passing abilities. He’s looking like a one-man Princeton offense in some games. As I wrote in the first edition of #TankCity, I thought the best thing to do after Rose went down was to take a dive, stockpile a lottery pick (hopefully a Dante Exum or Andrew Wiggins type) to go beside Rose when he comes back next season. Instead, they turned their slow start to the season to battling neck-and-neck with Toronto for the 3rd seed in the East.

I’m sure Chicago must cut eyes at Tom Thibideau every time they see him in the hallways, but Coach Thibs, I’m sure, doesn’t give a shit. He wants to win every game he coaches & will push his players to the brink of their abilities. He is a great coach & if Chicago lets him go in the near future, he will be the hottest coach on the market in years. Unfortunately though, much like those Jason movies, we all know how this movie ends. Miami or Indiana will end their season after a long knockdown/drag out series in May. Chicago still go through lulls of scoring droughts that will catch up to them the further into the playoffs they go. As it stands, for Chicago to be flying out of #TankCity post-Rose injury & Deng trade is ridiculous.

BROOKLYN

You remember that Chris Rock joke from one of his stand up concert specials, where he makes the joke about men who want credit for the things they’re supposed to do? Like, “yeah well, I take care of my kids! Well, you’re supposed to take care of your kids, you low expectation having muthafu**a!!!!”. That’s kind of how I feel about Brooklyn this season. When you’re spending over $80M in luxury taxes, you’re supposed to make the playoffs. Especially when it takes you until March to be over .500.  It’s not something to be proud of. Honestly, I don’t even want to mention them really, but I must mention this one point. We’re now in March, & this team still has no real identity. Are they an offensive team? A defensive-mind squad? Do they share the ball? Do they like to play big? Small? Who are their leaders? Isn’t it a little late to be still trying to figure this out? Yet, they’ve beaten Miami three times this season. Go figure. 

I’d like to say that they would be dangerous when they get into the playoffs, but unfortunately for them, we can’t set up the playoffs series to a Best-of-1 format like we can in our settings for NBA 2K. It’s a mediocre team, even with all their stars. On another quick note, what exactly happened to Deron Williams? I know he’s been hurt this season, but wasn’t it just 3 years ago him & Chris Paul were the PG standards of the league? Even when he’s healthy, his game never jumped to the next level that Paul’s did. It’s almost at an “he is what he is” point of his career. He’s still an all star caliber PG when he’s healthy, but before you can believe that there was a higher ceiling to reach. However, now you’re starting to realize that there isn’t another flight of stairs to take you there. To think the Nets have to still fork over another $60M over the next 3 years is a pretty sobering thought.

TORONTO

What a strange season this has been for Toronto. Coming into the season, the players were all-in for the playoff push with Rudy Gay being their leader and best player. While GM Masai Ujiri & head honcho of MLSE Tim Lieweke, taking a wait-and-see approach, they were more leaning towards blowing up the roster. After the first month or so when the Raps were struggling and Gay was ignoring stat sheets to not focus on his horrendous shooting numbers, they traded him to Sacramento (which was brought home in that episode of Open Gym). We figured they were headed to the lottery, which would have been clinched once they traded Kyle Lowry. Since that trade with Gay went through, the Raps have gone on a serious run. They share the ball on offense, play stingy defence, gotten solid play from their bench, Demar DeRozan has elevated himself to become an All-Star this season, Terrence Ross has also been able to spread his wings playing more assertive & confident with the extended minutes available to him, & Kyle Lowry has turned himself into the best PG in the East this season…….although it still has a faint odor of a contract year run to me.

Combined all of these factors up, they have a stranglehold on the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference. The scary thing about it? I don’t see them relinquishing that spot either. Every team below them is either being decimated with injuries & have already started free-falling (i.e. Atlanta & Washington), have under achieved to being with (i.e. Brooklyn, New York), are too far back to make a run for that seed (i.e. Charlotte), or were over-rated to begin with (i.e. Detroit). For the City of Toronto, making the playoffs is a necessity. They have the most under-rated playoff crowd in the NBA when they’re actually in the playoffs. Basketball fans haven’t had much to celebrate since last making the playoffs in 2008, when the Chris Bosh-led squad fell in five games to Dwight Howard’s Orlando Magic.

Still, I believe that deep down inside, Lieweke and Ujiri have to feel a little bittersweet about the whole experience. This team, especially after Gay was traded, was destined for the lottery & to solidify a high level talent from this year’s draft which is the deepest in 11 years. As nice as it is to grab a 3 seed & get an excellent chance of reaching the second round for the first time since 2001, it’s almost built on a mirage. The East has been atrocious this season, & unless they meet the Bulls in Round 1, Toronto will most likely make the second round. There, they’ll either meet Miami or Indiana & will at most win a game in that series. As players, having that playoff experience will be great, but as management, it might have been nicer to build for the long term. You almost have to commit to this roster for the time being, which has some good assets to it, but it’s not what the new management necessarily envisioned in December. I think they would have been happier getting rid of some of the contracts, clearing up cap space, keeping Jonas, DeRozan, Ross, & having marquee draft pick to build around instead of wondering if they need to resign Lowry to a long term deal this summer.

CLICK HERE FOR PART TWO OF #TANKCITY VOL.2 

Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

Follow me on Twitter or email me at southshoreave@gmail.com

#TheOffseason

The Offseason.

A time when the future of fresh rookies and free agents are up in the air.  A time when GMs make boneheaded moves that sets the franchise back (i.e. Philly with Bynum Debacle 2012), and the GM’s whose genius-like decisions sets the team up for the next decade (i.e. The Heat in 2010).  Where players use the time to improve their craft to better themselves for the following season.  Me?  I like all the drama that comes with the players falling and rising in the draft, the blockbuster trades, and the discussions of rumors of different free agents, and to see who will make an owner fall all over themselves recruiting them like they‘re High School All-Americans.  With a draft expected to be one of the weakest in years, maybe ever, and a free agency period that took a big hit once Chris Paul took his name out of the running for free agency, it was entertaining enough that we had to do a wrap up of my favorite moves of the offseason thus far.

Anthony Bennett #1

The Cleveland Cavaliers went with the perceived unconventional choice and selected Andrew Bennett with the #1 overall pick in the draft.  Unconventional in the sense that most mock drafts and talking heads had a big man (Nerlens Noel or Alex Len) being selected to the Cavs in that spot. The Cavs GM, Chris Grant’s track record with the past drafts, shows he isn’t afraid to go against the grain from what most people would think.  Picking up PF Tristan Thompson 4th overall (and fellow Brampton native) in 2011, then selecting Dion Waiters at 4th overall again when most mock drafts had him pegged later in the lottery.  In following this pattern once again, he helped to make history by making Bennett the 1st Canadian player to be selected #1.  I’m fine with this & not just because of the historical significance. The fact that there was no surefire player to pick means you can take a chance on a need or potential.  In this case, they chose both. Bennett has the upside to be the best player out of this draft with the strength/post game to play the 4 yet the skillset/shooting/scoring touch to play the 3.  As Greg Anthony put it after the draft, “he’s not a tweener, he’s a hybrid, and there’s a difference between the two.” Unlike Ben McLemore, you don’t have to question if he’s going to be invisible on the floor, he brings that dog mentality on the offensive side of the floor, which is something the Cavs have been missing from their frontcourt position since LeBron left.  In addition, the beauty of him going to this team is that he’ll develop at the right pace with Kyrie Irving, being the face of the franchise and can also lean on Mike Brown & his coaching staff who has routinely cultivated one of the best defensive units in the league when he’s coaching. He can play on that rugged frontline with Thompson, Anderson Varajaeo, & now Andrew Bynum (if he can stay healthy during his short-term incentive-laden contract).  I like this team moving forward. With two Torontonian players on the roster, what are the chances they can get Irving to incorporate “Guy”, “Doggy”, and “Arms” into his slang vernacular?  25% – 30%?  I guess we’ll find out in the near future. Stay tuned……still.

Mike George

How good is his life right now? After enjoying success with his CIA Bounce AAU program in Toronto (starring Bennett and consensus #1 pick of 2014 NBA Draft Andrew Wiggins), he becomes an NBA agent to one of the most successful NBA Agency Firms, and then his client gets the #1 overall pick in his first draft???  I’d say that’s not a bad starting point to have on your résumé.

Brooklyn Nets/Boston Celtics Blockbuster Trade

Remember when I said that the Brooklyn Nets are missing some of that swagger? Problem solved with that trade! So many positives to this trade…

–  Adding Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, & Jason Terry to this team that was viewed as soft, has heavily infused the Nets with mental toughness.  More importantly, it will rub off on Brook Lopez, Deron Williams, & Joe Johnson, especially in close games and playoff encounters.

–  Between the new vets on the team, they’ll also help everyone fall in line with Jason Kidd’s coaching philosophy.  KG/Pierce/Jet have history with him through the All Star games, Olympic runs (KG/Kidd in 2000 Sydney Olympics) & NBA Titles (Kidd/Terry with Mavs in 2011), and they will do all that they can to help him succeed as much as possible.

–  Moves them into the Indiana Pacers/Chicago Bulls category of the Eastern Conference contending teams, just one tier below Miami. Arguably having a starting five of future Hall of Famers and current All Stars could give Miami fits, especially given that 2/5ths of the lineup already have bad blood for the Heat.  A new rivalry can possibly emerge here.  I still don’t think they’ll beat Miami in a 7-game series, but if they were to meet in the playoffs, it would be an entertaining 6 or 7-game series at the very least.

–  Intensifies local rivalry that much more. The Nets have pushed past the New York Knicks as the best team in the city, and it didn’t help that the Knicks traded for Andrea Bargnani, a player who at one point in the season was available for two $50 Wal-Mart gift cards and a medium Cherry Slushie from 7-Eleven, and still no one took. Just wait Knick fans for when he goes into those spells where he’ll have 6 pts, 2 rebs, and guys blowing past him like they came off the starting blocks.  On the bright side, you might see Spike Lee on the sidelines do this every time Bargs hits a three:

I won’t even get into the Honey Nut Cheerio scandal that might now add more chapters to the story if KG is riled up enough.

–  Falls in line with Mikhail Prokorov’s five year plan that he set in 2010 to win an NBA Title.  Clearly he’s going all in with this move, not only feeling that this move will put him over the top, but is willing to eat up to $82M in luxury taxes to make it happen. Read that again. $82M! When you’re worth $13B, $82M is small change….but damn, that’s still $82M!!! To the players and other owners (outside of Paul Allen), paying this luxury tax with no regard, I’m telling you, this is the sports owner’s equivalent of a penis enhancer. The same way it is when a guy has a shiny big body Benz & pulls up in front of the club when everyone’s leaving with the windows down and a smirk that says, “Yes baby, it is that expensive….. and my dick is that big.  You coming?”  If he’s still making it rain when their cap space clears in a few years, players will be running to him like strip….um…..yeah, there’s no good way to finish that joke. Let’s just say that players will try to get caught in that rainstorm.

–  The idea of Kris Humphries and Rajon Rondo having that first conversation during the preseason. That may be awkward and priceless at the same time.

The Los Angeles Lakers, Part I. Smh.

Probably my second favorite moment of the offseason.  A franchise with the stature of the Lakers having to beg & plead approach Dwight Howard like an 80s R&B singer.  Watching them stoop to this level for a player that more than likely didn’t want to even be there in the first place was comical.  Hanging billboards across the city, and hanging a building size jersey covering a condo, to the whole #StayD12 thing. This was almost a disservice to how they do business over their franchise’s existence.  I mean, these are the Lakers!  They don’t go this route begging their free agents to stay, they expect them to stay & carry themselves in accordance to this. It was like watching someone you know who’s married and never shows any affection to his wife all of a sudden, on the threat that she might leave, starts buying her flowers, singing to her in restaurants, and posts only pictures of themselves on Facebook….. But you know it’s probably too late and he’s wasting his energy trying to keep her.  Just a sad, desperate state of affairs. Let’s come back to the Lakers in a moment.

Clipper Nation

The Los Angeles Clippers foundation got a lot stronger by adding Doc Rivers as head coach and in exchange for a 2015 first round pick, marking the first time in the team’s history that they actually paid top dollar for a head coach, while at the same time further stabilizing their culture, locking in Chris Paul to a long-term max contract, using Eric Bledsoe’s trade asset to fill some needs, and acquire, JJ Redick, Jared Dudley, & then signing/resigning Darren Collison, Matt Barnes and Ryan Hollins respectively.  It’s probably the 1st time since the first two years after Magic retired, where the Clippers have a better team on paper and on the floor than the Lakers. It now becomes a potential haven where veteran free agents and buyout guys land to make a run to the title.  Now as long as Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan can get something out of their post games & add some consistent, go-to low post moves, this team will be set up to challenge for the NBA title for the next decade easily. Paul & Griffin now have the shooters and playmakers around them to give them even more room to operate, and with Rivers now at the helm, they will get a higher level of play calling that never took place with Vinny Del Negro there. If they can add another big man to their roster depth, it will make them that much better prepared for the postseason. With their past history, I can’t even believe I typed out this last paragraph about the Los Angeles Clippers, even if I’m sitting in the VIP Section of the Clipper Bandwagon. Every time they seemed like they were going to build off their success (Danny Manning led teams from 1991-1993, Elton Brand – Lamar Odom – Darius Miles teams from 2001-2003, and later Brand – Sam Cassell team from 2005-06 season), management would find a way to completely screw things up. Now they look like they’re going to be a factor for the foreseeable future. Will they be able to take over Los Angeles for real in the next few years? Depending on what Laker do in the next season or two, it’s actually possible.

Los Angeles Lakers, Part 2

My favorite part of the offseason so far: the official meeting between themselves and Howard, where Kobe Bryant advised Howard that if he stays, “he will be able to teach him to win championships.” Extending my marriage analogy even further, if the Lakers’ courting him was the, “I love you, let’s stay together….” stage, the Kobe Challenge was the equivalent of saying, “….but just so you know, I’m still drinking with the fellas every Saturday night. I’m not changing that for shit!” I don’t care how indecisive, clownish & immature Howard has been these last two years, if you were him, would you wanna stay after hearing that?!  It was understood that if Howard stayed, the goal is championship or bust every season. It goes without saying….but no superstar in their prime years wants to be told they will be an apprentice to winning. Shoot, even Kobe himself nine years before, didn’t want to be a sidekick anymore to Shaq during his free agency situation, and he came fresh off his 4th Finals appearance and 3 titles in a 5 year span. Now he expects Howard, who by all accounts, wasn’t crazy about playing with Kobe in the first place – during a phone conversation before the 2012 trade deadline, and there was talk of Orlando trading Howard to the Lakers for Andrew Bynum, Kobe told him he would only be the third option on offense, which of course, turned Dwight right off – to now fall in line to learn how to win titles for possibly as long as the next three years (according to Kobe’s desire to now play 3 more years)? It’s almost as if he wanted him gone & tried to scare him off with that comment. The funny thing is, I don’t even blame Kobe for doing this.

All year long he’s had courtside seats into Howard’s psyche, & judging from what he’s seen he has to know that Dwight cannot handle the media pressures, and handle the responsibility that comes with being the face of a franchise in a major media market. This may have been his way of testing him, to see how bad he really wanted to stay with the Lakers, but he had to know at the same time, by him offering up that challenge, Howard was not coming back. Even he himself would have walked away if someone told him that a few years ago, even if he never won anything. At the end of it all, Dwight going to Houston was the right move for all parties involved. Dwight ends up playing with a younger foundation of talent and a younger superstar in James Harden, and the Lakers don’t commit close to $120M to a guy that is more than likely isn’t improving more than what he already is at this point. Laker fans can take shots at him all he wants but trust me, you were not coming close to winning a title next year with this roster and Howard as your leading man.  Even next year as well with the whole roster cleared outside of Steve Nash’s contract in 2014, unless LeBron decides to leave Miami, which I can’t see him doing regardless if they Three-Peat next season, or not.

The good thing is, it does force the Lakers management to look at themselves in the mirror a little bit, and wonder why did they lose the first free agent superstar on their roster in their team’s history. They have to clean up their situation in house and figure out if someone like Jim Buss should really be running the franchise.  Dr. Jerry Buss did the right thing in passing the team off to his child, but you really have to wonder again if he gave it to the right one.  Jeannie Buss could have been the first female CEO in league history, and with her resume of working so closely with this team, I would like to think that she would not have screwed this up. Laker fans may have to wait a while for Jimmy to grow into this role as it stands right now, but in doing so, a few years might be wasted in the process than can set the franchise back for years to come.

Sideline Notes

First N.W.A., then Common, and now D12?  Ice Cube takes an intermission break during the Kings of the Mic Tour last week to share his thoughts here (warning: explicit content). Also, Kareem had some parting shots as well on the subject….. I understand the Kevin McHale perspective, he’s one of the best low post players who has ever lived as well as Dwight’s head coach who will be around him 24/7, but all of this Hakeem-Olajuwon-will-guide-his post-game talk, will he be doing this pro bono or something?  Or will he give Howard the hometown discount?  Last I checked, he wasn’t doing this these low post clinics for free…..

Last point on D12: I feel like this legendary big man mentoring thing is a little overblown for Howard. I think they can definitely share tips that will benefit him on both sides of the ball. Offensively, I’m not sold that McHale and Olajuwon will make his offensive game jump by leaps and bounds.  Here why: Both of these former players had something that Dwight never had, which is superior footwork AND a soft touch around and away from the basket that opened up so much areas for their offensive games. That’s very hard to teach. I’d be comfortable if he was getting these lessons heading into year 2, 3 and/or 4, not heading into year 10.  Is Howard going to add that touch now after playing more than 730+ games in the league? I’m going to say no….. Right now in the City of Toronto, there is no hotter region right now in the GTA than Brampton for world class talent.  First, the NBA showed love by drafting Thompson & Bennett in the top five in two of the last three drafts, and now Hov blesses Brampton???  On his new LP “Magna Carta Holy Grail” (which was expected to sell upwards of 525K in 1st week sales, not including the Samsung Deal that netted Jay-Z $5M), the song “Crown” was produced by Ebony “Wundergirl” Oshunrinde, the first female producer to be listed on a Jay-Z album.  In hip hop, Jigga has that golden touch almost similar to Oprah Winfrey, so I say from now congrats to her as her life will forever be changed….  It’s July, basketball/hockey season is over & we are about to get into the dog days of baseball. It can only mean one thing: Fantasy Football Prepwork season!  I’m sure it has already started in the league that I’m in.  Here’s my question: After losing 5 receivers from last season, one TE to multiple surgeries in the offseason and another TE who apparently has been living his life like Bishop from Juice off the field, where the hell do you draft Tom Brady? 5th? 6th??? Let me know your thoughts….. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Trayvon Martin.  For almost 17 months they have waited for some sort of justice in regards to their son being killed by neighborhood watchdog George Zimmerman.  To see that not only did Zimmerman – the only one with a weapon during the confrontation – become free of this crime, and also awarded his gun back, is not only disheartening to the Martin family and anyone who believes in the law, but says everything about the gun culture that resides in the USA. This situation might be worse that the Rodney King beatings because as heinous as that was, at least Rodney (an adult) lived to see another day.  Meanwhile someone killed an unarmed child and walks with no time served. It’s another chilling reminder to show just how far we still have to go as a society. #TrayvonMartin

 

Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

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Where Brooklyn At?

Whenever you think of Brooklyn and what it represents, many things come to mind. It’s defined by the character of the people & the gritty toughness that is ingrained in their blood. You think about the Borough’s heart. You think about its hustling mentality & spirit. You think about its style, its swagger. It’s attitude. You think about the people that were bred there: Mike Tyson, The Notorious B.I.G., and Spike Lee. You think about its rich history. You think about Ebbets Field. You think about the Brooklyn Dodgers. Shiiit, you even think about the Crooklyn Dodgers. You also think about Jay-Z & how he’s repped Brooklyn & has made himself into a cultural icon. Now, besides his affiliation with the team & maybe the uniforms he helped to design, did anything the Brooklyn Nets did this playoffs (or this season for that matter) make you think of any of those things??? Outside of maybe Reggie Evans ripping rebounds & causing mayhem in the paint, there was nothing very Brooklyn about this team.

Nobody should be surprised at how their season ended. Their whole season lacked consistency on the floor & lacked personality off the it. There was never a defining point in their season that anyone can remember, other than the four games they played against the New York Knicks this season. Even though they locked up a 4th seed & home court advantage in the Eastern Conference where only two teams won 50 games, they couldn’t have met a worse match up in Chicago, a team that ironically represents more characteristics of Brooklyn than they do. Led by Brooklyn’s own Joakim Noah, they brought their personality & swagger after Game 1 & changed the series to their own tempo. In fact, look at Chicago’s team. Noah? Hustle. Luol Deng & Jimmy Butler? Grit. Carlos Boozer? Toughness. Nate Robinson? Heart. If these teams could have switched uniforms, they would have been more BK-relatable. In Game 6, the Nets almost lost to Chicago that had Taj Gibson & Robinson battling the flu. Kirk Hinrich was out with a severely strained right calf, & Deng was sent to the hospital after undergoing a spinal tap. Not to mention, no Derrick Rose either. Yet they were still a jump ball away from possibly going into overtime. In Game 7, after going down 61-44 at the half (& their hollow comeback attempt), it’s fair to say they should have had their stripes ripped from their jerseys like a disgraced soldier. Game 7 is more about imposing your will & heart over another team. Look at this example of who left their heart on the floor:

Joe Johnson (playing with plantar fasciitis): 6 pts (2 – 14 from the field, 1-9 from 3-point land), 3 boards, 2 assists, & 1 FREE THROW from the line.

Joakim Noah (with the exact same injury): 24 pts (12-17 from the field), 14 boards (7 offensive), and 6 blocks.

You know what else Brooklyn gives you? Value & bang for your buck when you’re shopping. The Nets have committed $311 Million on their starting lineup alone….. & got knocked out of the 1st round. They have a power forward in Kris Humphries who’s making $12 Million that’s sitting on their bench. Have you seen the season Gerald Wallace just finished having??? By the way, he’s making $30 Million over the next 3 years. Joe Johnson is owed $60 Million for the next 3 years, essentially being paid like a franchise superstar yet he’s the team’s 3rd best player. The guy who tied up the team’s cap space for the next few years? Billy King. The same guy who ten years ago tied up Philadelphia’s cap space to surround Iverson with questionable contract signings. Now he gets a 4-year extension! With the firing of P.J. Carleisimo, they will be on their 3rd coach by the time training camp begins. I know Mikhail Prokhorov has deep pockets and everything, but I’m starting to think that if someone can just take him down to Fulton Mall, he’ll understand he doesn’t have to overpay for everything. I understand it is only year one of their acclimation to the Brooklyn Borough, but with the unrealistic expectations Prokhorov set of them winning a title by 2015, with this lineup, this management, & minimal cap space, it may be a while before the right team can represent this city to the fullest.

Sideline Notes

Major respect goes out the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night. After blowing a 16-point lead in Game 1 to the Spurs, I thought they wouldn’t win another game in this series. The best time to take a victory as a team is Game 1, especially when the opponent has an 8-day layoff between series & will spend most of that 1st game shaking off rust. So when the Spurs were still able to win, I imagined between the Spurs veteran leadership & the Warriors playoff inexperience, they would not recover. Instead, they controlled the game again (they’ve actually lead 96 of 106 minutes of these two games) & walked away with a split in the series and their first win in San Antonio since Valentine’s Day in 1997. Responsible for this shift in the team’s culture is Mark Jackson & Steph Curry. Jackson shows you that coaching isn’t just about X’s & O’s, but about motivating your team & instilling belief in your players to do things they can’t sometimes see themselves. He’s clearly gotten the ears of the players, which has now taken on the personality & swagger he had as a player. As far as Curry is concerned, he’s doing something I’m not sure I have seen in the NBA in a long time, if not ever. Steph is almost like the secret player you unlock with a cheat code in a video game that allows you to make every shot possible by pressing X and L2 repeatedly. More than that, he’s become the proverbial hot goalie that you see in the NHL playoffs or the hot pitcher in the MLB playoffs. Being a Canadiens fan, I remember when Patrick Roy was standing on his head in the 1986 & 1993 playoffs essentially stealing two Stanley Cups from better teams those years. Or like Randy Johnson & Curt Schilling did the same pitching the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001 knocking off the New York Yankees in the World Series. Whenever you have a goalie or a pitcher that hot, all conventional playoff order & rules go out the window. Much like those teams riding their insanely hot star player to glory, Golden State is doing the same with Curry. Make no mistake; Curry is at this level now, playing with an NBA Jam On Fire type confidence leaving no answer for defenses to contain him. How else do you explain this shot he pulled off in the first quarter last night? Now I don’t want to say that they’re going to win it all, much less this series vs. San Antonio. But until a team can devise a plan to stop Curry, at this point, I’m saying all bets are off now…… Is it a coincidence that Brendon Ayanbadejo & Chris Kluwe (two players strong in their stances for Gay rights) both no longer have NFL jobs after being cut this offseason? Ha ha, what am I saying? OF COURSE it’s a coincidence….. Maybe Ricky Romero should try a new position. Um, how about DH?…… Quick predictions for the rest of 2nd Round of playoffs: Dick Bavetta aka “Knick Bavetta” refs Game 6 or 7 if Knicks/Pacers series goes that far. We don’t want break Stern’s wish of having an all major-market Eastern Conference Finals. At the very least, expect lots of fishy calls in those games; OKC will lose in 6 to Memphis; Miami will win in 6…… & the Habs will come back from 3 – 1 down and win the series. Gotta have confidence right??…… ***reading last night’s box score*** ……..Ahh f***.

Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

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