Archive for October, 2008

There are but two choices

October 31, 2008

When the Warriors take the floor tonight against the Raptors, this corner of the net will now be cheering just a wee bit less enthusiastically for the home team, on account of this specific ‘take on life’, articulated clearly in this story and by the father of the invader’s starting PG, DeMarcus Nelson.

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A wonderful story of perseverance and determination

A defensive standout at Duke, Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s structured system changed his game from pure scorer to well-rounded player. As the lone senior and captain last season, he averaged 14.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists and [in March] was named the ACC’s defensive player of the year as Duke won 28 games.

Said DeMarcus’ father, an associate Baptist pastor:

“I know people reading this story are shocked about DeMarcus. But my son is tough. We did have a five-minute pity party after the draft. But in life, you have two choices: You can lay down or you can get up. He got up and did it the hard way.”

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The authentically ‘tough’ ones GET UP … each and every time. 😉

Another long wait is over

October 30, 2008

 

The Champs

The Champs

Phillies win first World Series since 1980
For a quarter of a century, it was an agonizing cycle for Philadelphia sports fans. Hope, despair, bitterness. For 9,282 days, other places earned the right to raise banners and hoist trophies. No city with so many teams failed for so long.

Now it is over. Now it is Philadelphia’s turn. A game that began with a deluge has washed away an epic drought. The Philadelphia Phillies have won the World Series.

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Congratulations to everyone in the Phillies organization!

… especially their GM, former Blue Jays’ boss, Pat Gillick, who has epitomized what the game of baseball is all about throughout his tenures in Toronto, Seattle and, now, Philadelphia.

Building incrementally, from within, through a developmental farm system … and, then, winning it all with both ‘style & class’. 😉

History in the making … 2 down

October 30, 2008

FINAL SCORE: Lakers 117, Clippers 79
Game Info

What do you really need to know?

At the 08:34 mark of the 2nd Quarter, the score was:

LA Clippers 33, LA Lakers 32

when the roof caved in for the Clips versus the Lakers 2nd Unit of Farmar [1], Vujacic [2], Ariza [3], Odom [4] & Gasol [5].

Ahead by 15 pts at the half, the Lakers were never headed after that employing a smothering double-teaming/switching defense which emphasizes their overall team size and exceptional quickness.

Outlook going forward from here

When this team is making shots at a decent percentage … they will be the toughest out in the NBA this season, bar none.

PS. The Clippers are nowhere near as bad as they seemed, at different times, in last night’s game. They were simply over-run by the Lakers’ juggernaut.

Game Review: Raptors at Sixers [Oct 29]

October 30, 2008

A solid effort by the Raptors last night, over-coming the hometown 76ers in the first game of the regular season for both teams. 

Highlights for Toronto included solid work by key players Chris Bosh [4/5] & Jose Calderon [1], and back-ups Jason Kapono [2] & Roko Ukic [1].

Philadelphia, on the other hand, looked disjointed and was never able to find a rhythm suited to their new personnel.

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FINAL SCORE: Raptors 95 Sixers 84
Game Info

POSITIVE SIGNS

9-man rotation: 1st Unit – 1/Calderon, 2/Parker [3], 3/Moon, 4/Bosh, 5/O’Neal; 2nd Unit – 1/Ukic, 2/Kapono, 3/Graham, 4-5/Bargnani
Assist:Turnover vs Opp: 24-9 [+15] vs 15-17 [-2] … +17
3PTM-A [%] vs Opp: 10-16 [.625] vs 5-19 [.263] … +15 Pts
FGM-A [%] vs Opp: 36-81 [44.4] vs 29-84 [34.5] … +9.9%
* PTS Against: Under 90

IMPROVEMENT NEEDED

* Rebounds vs Opp: 10-23-33-11-44 vs 23-33-56-11-67 … -23
[Off-Def-Tot-Team-Combined]
* FTM-A [%] vs Opp: 13-17 [76.5] vs 21-28 [75.0] … -8/-9

KEY POSSESSION OUTCOMES

* 3rd Q, 06:08 … Tor 57, Phi 56: Tor/Bosh, O-Reb & Fouled; Made 2 FT’s
* 4th Q, 09:56 … Tor 76, Phi 70: Phi/Young, Made Layup Disallowed; Basket Interference
* 4th Q, 02:19 … Tor 88, Phi 82: Tor/Bosh, Made Elbow Jumpshot [High Rub]
* 4th Q, 01:41 … Tor 90, Phi 82: Tor/Kapono, Made Corner 3 [High Rub]

That which killed the audio podca[s]t

October 29, 2008

Courtesy of BDL

Initial thoughts:

1. When the mystery is gone the Magic disappears.

2. An applicable quotation from Hardwood Paroxysm [Oct 23 2008]:

“Be careful what you wish for … it may be more awesome than you could possibly imagine.”Matt Moore

3. The first step is always the hardest.

Keep On Truck’n [fellas] … the best is yet to come. 🙂

History in the making … 1 down

October 29, 2008

When you’re the first person on the planet to prognosticate that the 2008-2009 LA Lakers WILL win 70+ regular season games AND capture the NBA Title … if they retain the players from their previous team AND can remain major injury-free … PRIOR to their loss in the 2008 NBA Finals … while picking the Celtics to win that specific series … it can place a sharp focus on the viewpoint you have toward their efforts each step along the way.

Game 1
FINAL SCORE: Lakers [1-0] 96 Trail Blazers 76
Game Info & Summary

Baby Steps, sound health, and a firm Commitment to the Championship Philosophy of …

“No Rebounds, No Rings.”Pat Riley

That’s what this year IS ABOUT for the ZenMaster & Co.

Fore-warned is fore-armed

October 29, 2008

When a situation develops that sees two individuals, intimately connected through their work, with different perceptions about the circumstances they each find themselves in … then, that situation is best described as one without a solid long term prognosis for success, in a major way. 

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This quote was ascribed to the Raptors’ Head Coach, Sam Mitchell, yesterday:

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Raptors coach preaches “principles”
I’m pleased with the team that we have. Bryan has done a great job of giving me a good team. We have a great group of guys that work hard. What we may lack athletically, I think we have a chance to make it up basketball-wise. We have got some pretty good basketball players.

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Which elicited the following response, from yours truly, on the new web site devoted exclusively to coverage of all-things-Raptors, RaptorsRepublic.com:

Free Advice
If you’re a bright and enterprising young sort, this ↑↑↑ is the type of delicious quotation that would make a terrific ’sig’ for your on-line activity this season, related to the goings-on in Raptorville.

What does the content of that specific quote mean?

Well …

If you know how to read between the lines, in this world, and can see what’s really there, beyond the mere letters on a page … then, you KNOW for a fact that Sam Mitchell played 13 years in the NBA – the best basketball League in the world – on the strength of marginal talent, which indicates, if nothing else, that the Man is a Survivor of the Highest Order, Charles Darwin style … and, reveals a level of intelligence & guile which puts to shame the vast majority of those who dare to criticize him, on a regular basis.

Re-read each of those individual sentences a second time.

* I’m pleased with the team that we have.
* Bryan has done a great job of giving me a good team.
* We have a great group of guys that work hard.
* What we may lack athletically, I think we have a chance to make it up basketball-wise.
* We have got some pretty good basketball players.

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Bryan’s done a “great” job?
This organization now has a “good” team.
These players are a “great group of guys”.
These players “work hard”.
These players “may” lack athleticism?
These players have a “chance” to make it up basketball-wise, Sam “thinks”.
These players are “pretty good”.
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Hmmmmmmm …

There’s an old saying which goes like this,

“Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.”

IF you’re someone like the Raptors’ Head Coach, you don’t MAKE it THIS far, in Life, and in Hoops, without being a highly intelligent man … who knows the Right words to say, and the Right time to say them.

Wily … yessirree, like a Fox.

That’s Sam.

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Then, today, the following column was authored by a different local scribe …

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Be blissfully optimistic but beware
In the leadup to the NBA’s 14th season with a Toronto outpost, Bryan Colangelo, the Raptors president and GM, has repeatedly called his hoopsters “the best team we’ve had.”

That noise in the background as he spoke was the high-pitched screech of Sam Mitchell’s padded courtside lounger being replaced with a stiff-backed hotseat. Colangelo will tell you the outlook is brilliant, that the Raptors shored up their weaknesses in defence and rebounding with their off-season acquisition of Jermaine O’Neal; that along with Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon, an all-star forward and an all-star-calibre point guard, the Raptors will possess one of the best core trios in the East.

But as Mitchell was saying the other day: “I keep telling the guys, `Don’t come to the arena thinking Jose, C.B. and Jermaine are going to carry us. The other guys have got to step up. … We’re going to need that fourth and fifth guy. Who are those guys going to be on a nightly basis? I can’t tell you.”

In other words, Colangelo’s saying he’s put together a winner here. Mitchell’s saying, not in so many words: Hang on a minute, boss … I’ve got three reliable players, one of whom, O’Neal, is coming off four seasons of surgery-plagued misery and still wearing a knee brace. And those three guys are surrounded by an assortment of enigmas who may or may not come to play in tonight’s season opener in Philadelphia and beyond.

There are two ways to look at this team, indeed. We’ll excuse you for squinting to see the optimistic angle.

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Hmmmmmmm …

Inevitably, what happens next, when a ‘glass half-full’ perspective meets head-on with a ‘glass half-empty’ one … is deleterious towards the health & long term stability of the subordinate, in that specific situation, usually, on account of a well-marked, “Failure to Communicate.”

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It says in this corner that …

If things do go awry this season and this team does indeed go backwards … it will be because the GM, Bryan Colangelo, has assembled a group which is, both, short on High End players and on QUALITY DEPTH.

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Free Advice to Sam Mitchell …

Keep your wits about you, Sir, and heed the following words:

Kay: “Michael, why are the drapes open?”

The Godfather, Part II [1974]

which precede the scene shown here ↓ … at the 1:43 mark of this clip …

Now is not the time for you to fall asleep at the switch.

The Better Half in the NBA: Day 1

October 28, 2008

And, so … it begins:

1 Los Angeles Lakers [W1] … A Legendary season awaits
2 Boston Celtics [E1] … Still the Champs
3 Detroit Pistons [E2] … Bad Boyz II, under MC [Hammer]
4 Phoenix Suns [W2] … Sunrise, Sunset, under TP
5 Utah Jazz [W3] … Tried & True
6 Houston Rockets [W4] … Combustible on any given night
7 Dallas Mavericks [W5] … letting Freedom Reign, under RC
8 Orlando Magic [E3] … holding strong with new additions
9 New Orleans Hornets [W6] … due for a small slip backwards
10 Portland Trail Blazers [W7] … The 2nd Coming begins
11 Cleveland Cavaliers [E4] … The King is in the house
12 Philadelphia 76ers [E5] … major moves this off-season
13 San Antonio Spurs [W8] … a struggle without Manu
14 Denver Nuggets [W9] … re-tooling their defense
15 Chicago Bulls [E6] … expect big things from VDN & ‘Mr. Rose’

The Cackle & The Logo … set for tip-off, again

October 28, 2008

My friends, it simply doesn’t get any better than this …

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Conversation: Bill Russell and Jerry West catch up
The NBA season is here! What better way to tip it off than with some insights from Hall of Famers Bill Russell and Jerry West?

They were happy to let us listen in as they reflected on their Celtics-Lakers rivalry, the offseason preparation needed to excel for 82 games, and what they are looking forward to most this NBA season. Here’s the conversation. Enjoy… we sure did.

Jerry West: Hello, Bill.

Bill Russell: Jerry, is that you?

Jerry West: Yes, it is.

Bill Russell: Now, Jerry, Cabin Creek, is that the place you’re from?

Jerry West: Yes, it is, Bill and I’m going to take you there before too long.

Bill Russell: Ok, let’s go. [cackles]

Jerry West: Bill, the NBA season is about to tip off, what are you most looking forward to?

Bill Russell: The Celtics and the Lakers. Both teams will have to improve to get back to the Finals. If you show up saying we’re the Lakers and the Celtics, you’ll get your hat brought to you. You lose some games and you say those are upsets. They will not be upsets.

For example, when Red [Auerbach] didn’t draft [Bob] Cousy, he drafted a guy named Charlie Share because George Mikan was the dominant player in the league and Share had the size and ability to compete with George. Red’s theory was: To be competitive you have to be competitive with the best teams.

All the teams are figuring a way to beat the Celtics and the Lakers. There were a lot of personnel changes [with both teams], not necessarily star players, but players that become part of their rotation. So I would give both teams a heads up that to get back to the Finals, you’re going to have to be better than last year.

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Mandatory reading for all! 🙂

It’s baaaack …

October 28, 2008