Monday, November 18, 2013

Washington Wizards vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Anderson Varejao in traffic
Kyrie Irving meets Marcin Gortat at the rim
John Wall and Jarrett Jack chase after the loose ball
Jarrett Jack comes away with the loose ball

Washington Wizards Vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Jarrett Jack attacks the rim
Kyrie Irving and John Wall chase after the ball
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Matthew Dellavedova and Anderson Varejao work the pick and roll
Kyrie Irving pulls up for the jumper
Players box out for a rebound
Tristan Thompson with the jam over Nene
Kyrie Irving loses control of the ball
Kyrie Irving drives to the basket on two defenders
Jarrett Jack dribbles around the Wizards defense

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Wizards Opening Night: Hot Shots

Michael Carter-Williams goes head-to-head with John Wall

Evan Turner stares down the Wizards defense

John Wall and Trevor Ariza battle for a loose ball with Michael Carter-Williams

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

With MSG Renovation Complete, All The Mystique Is Gone

In December of 2006, I was visiting friends in New York City, and found myself standing outside Madison Square Garden. It occurred to me that the Knicks would play the Charlotte Bobcats in about an hour. With ten ice cold blocks still separating me from my friends, who were camped out at a bar near Times Square, I decided to attend the Knicks game alone. My ticket was ten dollars, which was less than a movie ticket I had paid for a week earlier. I sat in the 400 level, the "green seats," as Knicks fans knew them, and saw what turned out to be the game of the season. After two overtimes, David Lee tipped the ball in off of a Jamal Crawford inbound pass with 0.1 seconds remaining, proving that it was indeed possible to score a basket, and win a game, with less than 0.3 seconds on the game clock. The Knicks only won 33 games that season, but this was definitely the most dramatic win of the season.

I only went to two more Knicks games after that, one in 2007 and one in 2008. I haven't been back to The Garden to see a basketball game following the acquisitions of Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, so I was not in the building to see the progress of the recently completed billions of dollars worth of renovations, that delivered, among other things, a brand new jumbo-tron that illuminates center court, but seems to vacuum the heart and soul out of the "world's most famous arena."

As part of the renovations, MSG transformed the color of the seats from burgundy and teal to a more subdued navy blue, altering the structure of the seating sections to a more generic bowl shape. Even the players' tunnel was victim to renovation. The new tunnel features a lounge and a see through walk-way, so fans sitting close enough can watch their favorite stars emerge from the locker room, and take center court. In order to construct this amenity for court-side viewers, MSG had to gut the most famed center-court players tunnel, the same one that Willis Reed hobbled out of for game 7 of the 1970 NBA finals.

Even the beautiful Chase bridges, concession walkways that nearly graze the building's spiral ceiling come at a cost. Now fans sitting in the 400 level, what once was the very same "green seats" where I would so often sit, has an obstructed view of the new massive jumbo-tron. Instead fans in the upper levels get a view of their own personal flat screen TV's in every section, that are hung from the back wall of the new bridges that now separate them from the rest of the arena.

The Garden looks shiny and new, but it may not make the Knicks a better team. The Knicks won both their championships, and made all their finals appearances before these massive renovations took place. Now that those days are clearly long-forgotten, its up to the players on the floor to determine weather or not the arena in its current state will be immortalized forever, or will just be a reminder to how much money was spent on erasing its past.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Porter 'Pretty Bummed Out' To Be Drafted by the Wizards

Washington Wizards first-round draft pick Otto Porter was less than pleased to be selected by the team representing the city he played his collegiate ball in at Georgetown. The Sikeston, MO native averaged 16.2 points and 7.5 boards in his last season with the Hoyas, and said he "hoped he had been selected by a team that plays in a warmer climate, like Miami or Los Angeles." Unfortunately, neither of those two teams had a first-round draft pick, which reduced Porter's preferred destinations to Orlando and Phoenix. "I mean, I spent the last two seasons playing in D.C.," Porter told ESPN. "This city is boring, and to make matters worse, the team is boring. When was the last time the Wizards won the championship? 1978?"

A dismayed Porter addresses the media after being selected by the lowly Wizards (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Indeed, Porter's guess is not inaccurate. The last time the Wizards won a title was 1978 when they were still cool enough to be called the Bullets. Thanks to years of lousy management, botched trades, and stupid draft picks like NBA lowlife Kwame Brown, the Wizards have managed to keep themselves as far from the championship as any other consistently sorry team in the NBA. Porter, though only a rookie, figures to play a prominent role next season in helping the Wizards do what everyone expects them to, which is compete for the top pick in next year's NBA draft. "I know this team really sucked before I got here," said a grinning Porter. "And if I have anything to with it, I'll make sure they suck even more when my guaranteed rookie contract is up in three years."

Leslie Could Be Knicks Next Jeremy Lin

He may not have the same cultural impact as the Taiwanese-American Harvard grad who reignited the Garden's flame in the lockout-shortened 2012 season, but the most recent Knicks summer league pickup, C.J. Leslie, could make teams that passed over him in last week's NBA Draft very sorry they missed him.
C.J. Leslie with averaged 15.1 points and 7.4 rebounds last season with N.C. State (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

At 6'9", Leslie is a remarkable athlete with a 7'3" wingspan. Though his game is still unpolished, he has developed a post game, making him a formidable opponent both on the inside and outside. His length and quickness for his size suggests that he could become a solid defender in the future. Leslie was heralded as a top 25 pick going into the draft, but his stock dropped, because teams felt that he lacked the assertiveness to become a contributor at the next level. Still, the former McDonald's All-American is a talented player that should have been drafted. The Knicks made a low-risk move by adding him to the summer league team, one which could pay great dividends if Leslie turns into the player that we thought he would be coming out of high school.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Full 2-Round Mock Draft

2013 NBA Mock Draft

1 31
Bojan Dubljevic, PF, Valencia Basket (Spain)
Cleveland Cavaliers from Orlando Magic
2 32
Oklahoma City Thunder from Charlotte Bobcats via OKC, BOS and HOU
3 33
4 34
Houston Rockets from Phoenix Suns
5 35
Nemanja Nedovic, PG, Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania)
Philadelphia Sixers from New Orleans Hornets
6 36
7 37
Augusto Cesar Lima, PF, Unicaja Malaga (Spain)
8 38
9 39
Portland Trail Blazers from Minnesota Timberwolves via CLE and BOS
10 40
11 41
Memphis Grizzlies from Toronto Raptors
Oklahoma City Thunder from Toronto Raptors via Houston
Oleksandr Lypovyy, PG, BC Donetsk (Ukraine)
Dennis Schroeder, PG, New Yorker Phantoms (Germany)
Sergey Karasev, SF, Triumph Lyubertsy (Russia)
15 45
Portland Trail Blazers from Boston Celtics
16 46
Rudy Gobert, C, Cholet Basket (France)
Atlanta Hawks from Houston Rockets via Brooklyn
Cleveland Cavaliers from L.A. Lakers
20 50
Atlanta Hawks from Houston Rockets
Utah Jazz from Golden State Warriors via Brooklyn
Orlando Magic from Golden State Warriors via NYK and DEN
22 52
Lourn Abdoulaye, PF, STB Le Havre (France)
Minnesota Timberwolves from Brooklyn Nets via MIN and NOH
23 53
Jordan Aboudou, SF, Chalon-Sur-Saone (France)
24 54
Washington Wizards from New York Knicks
25 55
Minnesota Timberwolves from Memphis Grizzlies via Houston
Detroit Pistons from Los Angeles Clippers
Giannis Antetokounmpo, F, Filathlitikos Div II Greece (Greece)
Phoenix Suns from Denver Nuggets via LAL
Alex Abrines, GF, FC Barcelona Regal (Spain)
Livio Jean-Charles, SF, ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne (France)
29 59
Dejan Musli, C, KK Partizan (Serbia)
Minnesota Timberwolves from Oklahoma City Thunder
Phoenix Suns from Miami Heat via L.A. Lakers & Cleveland