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Rick Senger
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Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 7681
Posted: 02 February 2017 at 10:40am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Philly's recent lurch towards respectability got me curious to see how teams have fared since around mid-Dec, or a little less than halfway give or take through the season's midpoint. 

Some of the better teams:

Cavs:
Started 18-5
Since: 15-10

Spurs:
Started 23-5
Since: 14-6

Houston:
Started 21-7
Since: 15-9

Utah:
Started 18-10
Since: 13-9

All fairly consistent, if slightly down recently. 

But look at some other teams:

Boston:
Started 13-13
Since: 18-5

Charlotte:
Started 13-14
Since: 13-8

Washington:
Started 9-14
Since: 19-6

Philly:
Started 6-20
Since: 12-10

All on the upswing.  In fact, Boston has the best winning percentage in the league since that rough midway point (.783).

...Except for GS

Started: 24-4
Since: 18-3

Freaking Warriors.

On the other side,

The Lakers:
Started 10-10
Since: 7-24

Just had to throw that in, being from Boston. :)


Edited by Rick Senger on 02 February 2017 at 10:43am
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 02 February 2017 at 2:02pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Interesting. Proves that it's a long season and you
can't make too much out of any given stretch of games.
We'll see where we end up.

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Rick Senger
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Joined: 16 April 2004
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Posts: 7681
Posted: 06 February 2017 at 11:25pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Grant Hill said tonight's Bullets / Cavs OT thriller might be the best game he's seen this season and I agree.  What a great playoff-style prize fight with punch after counter punch and the best array of dazzling shots at key moments all year.  The good news for the Cavs is they won.  The bad news is it required the best games of the year from both Tristan Thompson (22 pts 12 rebs) and Kevin Love (39 pts, 12 rebs, 3 steals... will it silence the Melo rumors?) as well as insane play by Kyrie Irving in OT (23 pts) after LBJ (32 pts, 17 assists, 7 rebs) fouled out.   The worse news is that Shumpert left in the second half after twisting his ankle awkwardly and was due for x-rays.  If Shumpert is out long term, it seems likely the Cavs will be forced to make a move. 

I saw Washington earlier this year and they looked nowhere near this good.  Wall is massively improved and I love the Wizards' physical, slashing style.  They are very much for real and their guard tandem of Wall and Beal may be the best in basketball after the Splash Brothers.  They are as dangerous as anyone in the east right now. 


Edited by Rick Senger on 06 February 2017 at 11:26pm
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Rick Senger
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Joined: 16 April 2004
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Posted: 17 February 2017 at 10:49am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

95% of ticky tack fouls are ignored in the last second of a game but last night a ref called one that resulted in a questionable win. Marcus Smart may or may not have grazed Jimmy Butler's elbow on this last second shot but the problem is, the ref (from behind the back line) waited to see if the ball would go in before calling it.  Call it immediately if you see it but if it's so marginal that you wait for a bail out, it's not a foul.
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 17 February 2017 at 4:55pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

WELCOME TO ALL-STAR WEEKEND!

The best all-star game/weekend in all major sports!
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Rick Senger
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Location: United States
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Posted: 18 February 2017 at 11:35pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I missed everything today but saw highlights.  Glenn Robinson's dunk where he leapfrogged three people, grabbed the ball and reverse slammed was nice, but from what I saw, this year's contest lacked the unbelievable drama and degree of difficulty of last year's. 
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 20 February 2017 at 4:08pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

First big trade in a while:  Kings' DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Cassipi  to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway plus a top-3 protected 1st rd pick and a high 2nd rd pick.  Not a bad trade either way; Cousins seems ripe for a change of address, Hield is a rookie with nice upside, Evans was a very good player previously for the Kings and the first round pick could be good.   With Cousins on board, New Orleans can now move Davis to PF, where he's more natural.  Also, it's generally easier to bring in competent but unspectacular complimentary pieces than to land a superstar like Cousins.   NO must still re-sign Cousins in the offseason but I assume they wouldn't do this without some assurances.
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 21 February 2017 at 6:49pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

New Orleans got the best part of that trade. If they can sign Cousins to a contract, they're going to be lethal next season, provided they get some more depth in their roster.

The Lakers signed Kobe Bryant's former agent as their new GM and Magic Johnson as their new director of basketball operations. I'm pleased as punch about that, but I'm even more pleased that this happened due to Jeanie Buss finally ousting Jim. 


Edited by Brian Floyd on 21 February 2017 at 7:11pm
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 22 February 2017 at 1:28am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Buss was the worst man possible; egotistical, untalented, unwilling to listen, and foolishly throwing huge long term contract money at past prime or injured players like Deng and Mosgov who quickly wound up out of the starting lineup.  Magic will bring his legacy and much goodwill but it remains to be seen how effective he'll be.  Can't say I love his first move:  Lou Williams is an explosive scorer (27.7 pts per 36 mins) and Corey Brewer is on the downslope, posting 12 year career lows in pts (4.1 per), rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, etc. Williams isn't much of a defender but at 6'1" he still averages more rebounds than 6'9" Brewer and will clearly have immediate offensive impact for the Rockets.  The pick will be very low in the first round and probably not meaningful.  Bottom line, the Lakers didn't really help themselves and only got older but one of the top teams and rivals in their conference clearly got better. 
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 22 February 2017 at 1:58am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Thinking about it some more, this looks like a tank move by LA to try to hang onto their top-3 protected pick this year.  If it works, great, but they should have traded Williams to the other conference
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Wilson Mui
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Joined: 27 June 2004
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Posted: 22 February 2017 at 9:59pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Magic was very supportive of Byron Scott when the Lakers
hired him as coach. What does that say about his
judgement?
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 23 February 2017 at 12:51pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Magic may or may not be good at the actual duties of his new job but he is articulate and charming enough that the optics will be great and he can't be any worse than Buss.  I do wish they hadn't gone with Pelinka as GM, though.  Pelinka appears to be bright and might work out but it would have been much safer to pick a more experienced GM to balance the ticket as opposed to filling both key positions with rookies.  I do think Magic is a collaborator with enough humility to listen to good advice so the key will be getting sage advisers around them.

The Sixers finally clear out the logjam at PF, dealing both Noel and Ilyasova in exchange for a protected first rd pick and a couple backup centers.  Perhaps Noel's stock has fallen but I thought Ilyasova's nearly 6 rebounds and 15 pts per game was worth more than Tiago Splitter, a broken down center who is three years older and hasn't even played a game this year after being injured much of last year as well. 
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 23 February 2017 at 8:47pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Dallas waives Deron Williams and if he clears, word is he will get scooped up by the Cavs for next to nothing.  That looks like a savvy pickup as he's exactly the kind of veteran playmaker (7 assists, 13 pts) they want at a price mgmt can handle.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 28 February 2017 at 10:03am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Philly waiving Andrew Bogut means either the Spurs, Cavs, Rockets or Celtics could get a nifty rebounder / rim protector for a song.  Initially it sounded like Cleveland had the inside track but now Boston is in play and they could use him as they're 27th in the league in team rebounding.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 04 March 2017 at 3:57pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

The Buss brothers' attempted Lakerland overthrow of Jeanie (against the wishes of their father Dr. Buss) isn't just pathetic, it's sleazy.  Jim and Johnny aren't just worthless as businessmen and talent evaluators, they're worthless as humans.  Meanwhile, the Cavs gets both Bogut and D. Williams and GS loses Durant for at least a month and the NBA playoffs just got a little more interesting. 
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 07 March 2017 at 11:11am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Thanks to disappointing years by Charlotte, Orlando, Miami and Atlanta, last year's parity is slowly reverting back to the usual West reg. season dominance (36 games better than the East so far this year.)

Bogut's broken leg in only 58 seconds almost feels like the universe rejiggering the scales after Durant's knee injury.  Bogut's obviously no Durant but the Cavs will surely miss the inside defensive and rebounding presence he would have provided. 
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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 08 March 2017 at 2:21pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Was Bogut some kind of sleeper agent for Golden State? It's like the Cavs signed Sam Bowie or something. 
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 08 March 2017 at 4:49pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

No proof, but I'd guess part of Bogut's motivation was to avenge GS giving him the heave ho.  The Cavs were also his best chance to get a ring and make a meaningful contribution thanks to the gaping hole in the middle with Love ailing.   Bogut's contract is up this year so he surely wanted a shot to show he can still play but he's been ruled out until training camp.   The Cavs could still make a move but there's not a lot of bigs available at this late point. 
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 19 March 2017 at 10:31am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

The Cavs rest their big three and lose badly in an embarrassing nationally televised game.  This follows similar moves by GS and the Spurs on the big stage.  Even the commentators were vocal about how this cannot continue.  You shell out $100 a ticket or more to watch marquee games, you expect to see the top players.  Previously the league has fined teams for resting healthy stars but that's lame.  Seems like the only way to avoid the multiple back-to-backs and 4s in 5s that cause the problem is to stretch the schedule into July.  It's the most boring time of year sportswise in the US anyway, so why not?  But there seems to be resistance to this notion.


Edited by Rick Senger on 19 March 2017 at 10:33am
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 19 March 2017 at 3:04pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

It's a problem. I don't know how to fix it but it's a
problem. They are always extending the season by a week
next year to reduce some of the back to backs anyway.
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Rick Senger
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Location: United States
Posts: 7681
Posted: 26 March 2017 at 8:32am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

The Cavs have lost 7 of 12 and have the second worst defense in the league since the All-Star break (only the purposefully tanking Lakers are worse.)  Boston is now only a half game behind and only faces two current playoff teams the rest of the way whereas Cleve faces seven, including a game at Boston.  Can the Celtics overtake the Cavs and win the Eastern Conference?

  
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Doug Centers
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Joined: 17 February 2014
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Posted: 26 March 2017 at 9:08am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

I'm torn.
I'm no fan of the Lebron's, but have a decades long hatred of the Celtics.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 30 March 2017 at 8:53am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Best MVP race in years.  LeBron has upped his game in almost every category (26 pts / 8.8 assists / 8.4 rebs, all much improved from recent years) yet I can't give him serious consideration because the Cavs are playing so poorly.

Harden's 29 / 8 / 11.3 is incredible and the Rockets' improvement from 41-41 to 51-23 so far is the same.  Typically when a superstar breaks out like that along with his team, that player wins it. 

But then there's Westbrook.   31.8 / 10.4 / 10.6 plus 1.6 steals.  And his OKC Thunder, considered doubtful to even make the playoffs, is 43-31 and streaking to possibly the #4 seed.  Without Westbrook they probably win 15 games. 

Co-MVPs sounds crazy, but I don't see how you deny either Harden or Westbrook.
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Rick Senger
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Location: United States
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Posted: 13 April 2017 at 8:24am | IP Logged | 24 post reply



The playoffs are finally here!  Four games each on Saturday and Sunday.  The East looks pretty wide open given Cleveland's recent struggles though it's hard to see the Cavs not at least making the Conf. Finals.  Houston vs. OKC is an intriguing West matchup of two top MVP candidates and Utah vs. the Clips should also be competitive.  I feel badly for Miami who roared back from an 11-30 start to finish 30-11 the rest of the way (the biggest mid-season turnaround in NBA history) but still just missed the post season.   Predictions?
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 15 April 2017 at 5:46am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

It seems like there's no reason to feel particularly
confident about the CAVS but at the same time I will
still be shocked if they don't end up in the Finals. I
think there are plenty of teams to make it an
interesting journey for them however.

Out West the OKC/Houston match up should be great!

I'm planning to DVR the Cavs game and watch the Bucks
and Raptors kick things off tonight. I'm excited to see
Giannis, he's become one of my favorite players to tune
in to watch. Go Bucks!
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