Archive for the ‘NBA: Lebron’ Category

By Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez

For the first ever installment of the weekly Mustache Awards… Phil, please put your pants back on,. I said mustache awards, not mustache rides… I feel that no introduction is needed. My nom de plum is Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez and I will use this name from here on out as a way of masking myself from this close-friend orgy of self-proclaimed sports writers. I may be the first to admit that sports are not something that sculpted my childhood. I do not remember talking about games with my brothers or throwing the football with my dad. I grew up in a home with an uncoordinated father, three flamboyant sisters, and a compassionate mother. I am very happy to say that I was able to somehow find sports. I do remember seeing some of the greats thanks to my father taking me to games; however, he would bitch that he hates sports the whole drive home.

I discovered sports on my own. First came the pre-90’s lockout NHL (hockey has never been the same), then the NBA years when loyalty meant something,  and then the NFL, which is my personal favorite. I am slowly trying to catch up on MLB, but that is a boring, uphill battle through over 100 years of statistics. As a perceptive reader, you may be asking yourself, “If all other sports aside baseball found their way into the Jets’ heart, why choose an iconic BASEBALL figure from the popular Hollywood film “The Sandlot” as his alias?”

Here is the list of reasons, not in any specific order:

1) Baseball is a sport that all Americans should love! and i almost feel sad that i don’t have a passion for our nation’s greatest past time.

2) I love his Mexican Mustache!

3) The re-imagination of the  movie as “The Sandy Slot”. At the end, instead of the epic chase scene that we all remember, Benny pickling the beast became Benny and Smalls (who did not live down to his name) running train on James Earl Jones (the Beast was in J.E.J.’s trousers).

But enough of me for one week. Here is what you will be getting from me… A few short facts about my life, and more importantly, I will be handing out awards to the astonishing, annoying, incredible, frustrating, miserable, shocking, and everything in between that occurs in the sports related world.

Enough banter, here is this installment of The Moustache Awards:

The “Genius” Award- Andy Reid

In a press conference on April 1st, 2010, Andy Reid stated that Donovan McNabb would remain the starting quarterback in Philadelphia for the 2010 season. We know that was not the case. As quickly as April 4th, the Eagles traded McNabb to the Washington Redskins in return for a second-round pick  (Nate Allen) in the 2010 NFL Draft and a
conditional third- or fourth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

When I first saw that McNabb, AKA Mr. Philly (outside of A.I. when he still had cornrows and the fictional, retarded boxer Rocky) was traded, neigh, traded to a division rival, I had to ask what the hell Andy Reid was thinking. The start of the season for the eagles supported my gasping questions. Before I had the time to realize that Andy Reid was not only a strong branch that stems from the tree of NFL coaching life known as the Great Walsh Tree, or that Andy was also the quarterbacks coach under Mike Holmgren in Green Bay, The Redskins started to crumble and Reid started to look like a wizard.

After finishing 6-10, the noise around McNabb getting benched for Rex Grossman made it seem like they finished 1-15. It looks as though Mcnabb is one and done in our nations capital. Andy Reid gets to sport two beautiful, bushy upper lips with one of this week’s mustache awards!

The “Hideous” award- Al Davis

This basically isn’t sports related at all, but i do need to warn you: If you are eating or have a child in the room please do not click on this link. http://www.mlive.com/lions/index.ssf/2011/01/raiders_owner_al_davis_takes_a.html I found this floating around… I honestly did not even read this article because i could not get passed his photo. Al Davis looks like a child molesting, creepy old man … Or Michael Jackson in his thriller makeup. He looks like he slammed his head for every first round draft bust this decade. Here’s the real story, Al gave the herpes to Tom Cable, who then threw a right cross and busted open Al Davis’ head. Maybe that’s why Al sent Tom home without even enough courtesy for a reach-around. I’m ending this one short because I need to vomit. Hopefully this year with his 1st pick, he’ll take another Kicker and slam his head one more time so I can eat my dinner without the fear of vomiting. Al Davis gets the gross Mustache award!

The “Shit the Bed” Award- The Cleveland Cavaliers Front Office

It is no surprise to anyone that the Cleveland Cavaliers are a worse team now than they were at this time last year. With an 8-37 record, there are plenty of places to point fingers other than towards the beach (South Beach, not the shores of Lake Erie). For me, it is simple; no matter how good a single player is, the upper management still need to be able to have a plan. The way the season is going, it seems as if the front office is treating the season like a bad storm. Since that disloyal tool deserted his brothers, it seems the biggest transaction the Cavs were involved in was them exercising the fourth-year option on J.J. Hickson. I know it must be hard for an organization to recover after losing a player like Lebron, but wait… The year after Michael Jordan decided to strap on cleats, the Chicago Bulls went 55-27. I know this is not a bench mark for how a team must play, but at the professional level, a team with the best record in the NBA (2010 Cavs) should be able to lose their best player and still compete. Please do not tell me that losing a giant Lithuanian also hurt them. I put all of this failure on the Cavs front office. I also think Dan Gilbert handled the loss of Lebron like a pissed off 16 year-old girl, who discovered her boyfriend cheating. Maybe when the season finally ends, Dan will roll out of bed and cleaned all of that shit up. This Mustache is for you Cleveland Cav’s front office!

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By Phil Bausk

After one of the more hectic off-seasons in  the history of the NBA, it is weird to think that we are already nearly halfway done with the season. As the NFL playoffs have distracted many of us from what’s going on in the NBA, there will come a point soon where all we will have to watch is basketball. Starting in February, football season will be over, leaving us with basketball and hockey. Clearly hockey doesn’t count for anything, which means we have to substitute it with something people will actually watch like College Basketball. So until April, when baseball season starts and most Americans are still so bored by baseball that they would rather spend time with their families, there is really only one sport to watch, basketball.

Well before we can look into our crystal ball and see what is going to happen in the world of basketball, lets take a look back and see what has transpired so far in the first half 2010-11 basketball season.

NBA 1st Half MVP: Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

I am sure a lot of New Yorkers are going to say that Ama’re should be the first half MVP and he definitely has a case for it. However, Derrick Rose has been playing at an extremely high level this season. He is the main reason the Bulls have been able to get to a 25-12 record, despite missing many games from players such as Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah. In addition, Rose has to spend an inordinate amount of time with Brian Scalabrine. This has to to be the toughest task that Rose has faced in his young career. Imagine sitting on the team flight to LA getting ready to player the Lakers, and some big, red-headed doofus takes a seat next to you to try and talk to you about his daily observations. While Timofey Mozgov surely presents a similar problem for Ama’re, Scalabrine has a track record for this sort of thing. Listening to Scalabrine talk is almost like looking at a two legged dog and wondering why it hasn’t been put down yet. Rose deserves more credit than he has received for both his play on the court, and his patience off the court.

NCAABB  1st Half Most Outstanding Player:  Kemba Walker, UConn Huskies

Walker has had a monster year for the Huskies. His season is better than many previous UConn guards such as Ben Gordon, Richard Hamilton, and Ray Allen. The Big East is quietly becoming better every year and I am sure no one knows that better than Jim Calhoun and his Husky team. Walker has led his team to wins over Michigan State and Kentucky, and was the main reason for their latest victory in Texas. There is a certain swagger to being a part of some of college’s premiere programs in college basketball. UNC, Duke, UConn and others carry themselves differently from the teams that aren’t quite there yet. Walker embodies this characteristic every time he walks out onto the court. He struts around the court with a Tony Stark like confidence before every game, but still maintains the same focus Charlie Sheen seems to have every time he meticulously destroys a hotel room. Walker and the Huskies will make a big run in this years NCAA tournament and he will garner much consideration for player of the year.

The First Player To Try (And Fail) And  Replace Lebron James In Cleveland: Jared Sullinger, Ohio State

It is obvious that the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to finish the year with the worst record in the NBA. The loss of Anderson Varejao for the season is the final blow to an already miserable 2010-11 season. I would say the people in Cleveland have something else going for them but the Browns stink, the Indians made zero moves this off-season, and The Akron Scammer is on his way to a number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Assuming the ping pong balls fall the right way for the Cavs, they will get the number 1 pick in the draft and have a tough selection to make.  Jared Sullinger has been dominating the Big 10 so far this season, giving us shades of Greg Oden, only without the noticeable limp and the wear and tear of Father Time.  Sullinger would fit perfectly alongside JJ Hickson and Varajeo as a big body who can score in a lot of different ways and even play some defense if necessary.  If he is the first pick overall, there will be lofty expectations for him to try and replace LBJ, but he will fall short, no matter how good he becomes at the next level. Sullinger could have a very solid NBA career, but if he is unable to turn that Cleveland franchise around, hell be remembered no more than guys like Tyrone Hill or John “Hot Rod” Williams.

As for the rest of the NBA and NCAABB seasons, here is a list of 10 predictions that I think will occur over the next few months:

10. The Memphis Grizzlies will trade OJ Mayo and snag the 8th spot in the Western Conference

Both before and after his recent scuffle with teammate Tony Allen, Mayo has missed a couple games and has performed miserably in the ones he has played in. Meanwhile, Allen has been playing out of his mind, averaging 3 steals per game over his last 6 contests. The Grizzlies are getting back to the formula that helped them become a decent team last season. Let Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph control the paint on the offensive side of the floor, and pressure the wings on defense to force turnovers. Rudy Gay and Allen have done a great job on the defensive side of the ball and will help the Grizzlies make it it to the playoffs, where they will be swept by some team with uglier jerseys.

9. UNC SF Harrison Barnes will break out during ACC play

Barnes, who was projected by many to be next year’s number 1 pick in the NBA draft, has struggled so far in his short college career. He has struggled with his decision making and his ability to consistently put the ball in the basket, the two things he was recruited to do. There is still a lot of the season left, and while I do not expect Barnes to put up Evan Turner and Kevin Durant type numbers, I do not expect him to keep putting up Brian Scalabrine type numbers (if you’re counting, that’s two). ACC play generally opens the door for a lot of scoring, fast paced basketball, a lot different from the slow paced Big 10 games I suffer through once a week or so.  Expect Dick Vitale to be raving about Barnes come ACC tournament time.

8. The Knicks and Celtics will face each other in the 1st round of the NBA Playoffs

Bill Simmons tweeted this today, but I have been thinking about this for quite some time now. The Celtics are doing what they always do. They win a ton of games, get beat up a bit, rest their stars, let the Luke Harangodies of the world dominate, and then end up with a 3 or 4 seed in the playoffs. The Knicks are playing at a very consistent level, one synonymous with a potential 6 seed, which is where they stand right now. This would make for a great series, and I am sure David Stern is smiling somewhere with that same smug look he had when fielding questions about The Akron Scammer this summer.

7. Butler will miss this year’s NCAA Tournament

Last year’s March meshuganas are struggling so far this year in the Horizon League without star Gordon Hayward. The only way they can  get in this season is if they win their conference tournament.  A lot of the major conferences have numerous good teams who will have impressive enough resumes to push themselves into the tournament, rather than mid-major schools with sparkling win loss records. Either way we won’t have to look at some really young coach making us seem like all of our life accomplishments are nothing compared to his.

6. The LA Lakers will NOT make it to the NBA Finals

This is a team in trouble. The Lakers haven’t had this much drama within their organization since back in the Shaq and Kobe days. The Zenmaster’s family is growing apart as Ron Artest clearly has his own mantra in mind, and I am sure it has very little to do with peace and love. The Spurs, Mavericks, Jazz, and Thunder are all legitimate foes to the Lakers and at least two of them will stand in the way of the Lakers path back to the finals. I am just hoping something really crazy happens, like Artest calling Pau Gasol an ostrich and then chasing him around the court with a tranquilizer gun. (Is that really more crazy  than him attacking an entire arena?)

5. Michigan State will MISS the Final Four

This is something that doesn’t happen too frequently. While they have a similar team to last year’s squad, Michigan St. has struggled this year due to a deeper Big 10, and inconsistent jump shooting. Tom Izzo’s teams always play great defense and are not unfamiliar with going through scoring slumps. They tend to make shots when they need to, and win games by minimal margins. After their most recent loss to Penn State, it is obvious that a lot of work has to be done by Izzo and his coaches. Don’t expect to see the Spartans wherever Duke may be, come the end of March.

4. Carmelo Anthony will NOT turn any team into a title contender in the next 2 years

Well it seems he’s either going two places, New York or New Jersey. If he were to go to the Knicks, I don’t see him bringing much more than what they already have. The Knicks are the highest scoring offense in the league. Their offense is also efficient, as it is currently in the top 11 in FG%, 3PT%, and FT%. While Melo will bring them a crunch time scorer, he will not help on the other side of the ball, the one area where the Knicks need to improve on vastly. I am pretty sure a team of me and 4 friends can go out against the Knicks tonight and put up an 80 spot. Perhaps in 2 years or so, the Knicks will develop a player or two to become their stoppers, or they will sign someone to do that job. Until then, the Knicks will be a very good playoff team, but perhaps nothing more.

In New Jersey, Melo would bring a lot of excitement to a franchise struggling to put people in the seats. Their roster would take on a whole new look, and the Nets would become a playoff team in the Eastern Conference. However, their roster would not have the look of a championship contender for a few years. They would need to build through the draft and make a splash or two in the free agent market (Calling Chris Paul). Melo would give them the centerpiece that the team has been looking for since Jason Kidd skipped town, as Brook Lopez is no more than a secondary player and is not able to carry a team with the likes Devin Harris. I am pretty sure that means he can’t do it on his own either.

3. Duke will repeat as National Champions, Kyle Singler will get a statue in front of Cameron Indoor Arena

There really isn’t much competition for Coach K and crew this year. After Duke, the next best teams in college are Kansas, Ohio State, and Syracuse. Kansas and Syracuse both struggled with the mediocre Michigan Wolverines, while the Buckeyes are led by freshman and role players, not the best mix for a National Championship (Jared Sullinger is no Carmelo Anthony). Duke should be able to cruise as a number 1 seed throughout the tournament and they should start seeing some real competition by the time they reach the Elite Eight.  Another title would cement Kyle Singler’s legacy at Duke, not only as the ugliest white basketball player of all-time there, but also as one of the oddest looking winner’s of the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player Award.

2. The Boston Celtics will defeat the Dallas Mavericks for the NBA Championship

Yes, I am a homer and will be picking the Celtics to win the championship until all of their players can’t walk and smell like cabbage. The Celts are built for the playoffs and I think the Miami Heat are one year away from completely dominating the East. The Mavs on the other hand are in a bit of a tougher situation. This prediction is only assuming Dirk Nowitzki comes back from his knee injury and can play in the playoffs. They are extremely well balanced with him, even without Caron Butler. Their defense has been at its best since they made the finals in 2006 and I think they have enough to fend off either the Lakers or Spurs in a 7 game series. Either way, the Celts need to send Scalabrine (that’s three) a ring because the guy clearly doesn’t have much going for him in life and can always use a pick me up.

1. Lawrence Frank will NOT read this blog

I have spent years of my life trying to get his attention. Whether it be screaming his name at games, or showing up to his two-story colonial house in the suburbs of Boston, Lawrence Frank has done his best to ignore me. I made this site as an homage to him, but so far there has been no feedback on his part. I set the bar low, hoping that maybe he will call me and tell me to stop driving by his house as he goes out to get his mail. 5 months have gone by and still no phone calls. Maybe a text message to deter me from rummaging through his garbage for something he may have held. 3 months and no text message. I still have time before the season is out to get him to notice me and I will do what it takes to make that happen. Until then, I guess I’ll have to settle for a half eaten orange, or a never used  coach’s clipboard.

By Phil Bausk

The Cliff Lee sweepstakes are over and the winners turned out to be a bit of a shocker. Late last night, it was reported that Lee signed a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, expected to be worth in the area of $120 mil. over 5 years, leaving a lot of money on the table by rejecting the offers of both the New York Yankees, and the Texas Rangers.

Lee helped lead the Phillies to the World Series in 2009, and then was traded to the Seattle Mariners because, ironically, the Phillies couldn’t afford to give him an extension. They couldn’t give him that extension because they had too much money on the team payroll, including SP Joe Blanton and his hefty contract. They then resigned Blanton to an extension worth $24 mil. over 3 years, and have been shopping him all off-season. Either way, with or without Blanton, the Phillies were able to steal Lee away from the Yanks and Rangers, and solidify their place as a top contender for the World Series crown.

When do you see this from athletes? How often do you see someone leave about $30 mil. on the table to go play for a stacked team, a city with an overrated fan base, and a star player already firmly entrenched as the team leader? Sounds familiar right?

While obviously you can’t really compare Cliff Lee to the Akron Scammer, there are some parallels here. Lee dangled his sexy package (not literally) of talent, competitiveness, and leadership in front of the Rangers and the Yankees, only to go take less money to play for a better team alongside Roy Halladay, who some consider to be the best pitcher in baseball.  It was believed that he was going to pick the Rangers or the Yankees, and at the last moment, shifted gears and turned the Phillies into a powerhouse.

With a rotation of Halladay, Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels, the Phillies will give opposing lineups more headaches than Percy Harvin gets on a day to day basis. Lee is no longer the main guy, and while he will be scrutinized by the media, he will not be ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the Phillies this season.

Does anyone else see this as a little bit of a cop out? (Side note: Watched Cop Out with Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan and all I can think about is how much money Bruce Willis got for doing that movie. The scary thing is I think Tracy Morgan got paid more…) Lee shied away from the pressure that comes with pitching in NY. Even with CC Sabathia as the staff ace, Lee would be under more scrutiny than any other Yankee not named Jeter this upcoming season. It is understandable why he wouldn’t want to play for the Yankees, as a lot of players do not like to deal with that sort of pressure everyday (Just ask Javier Vazquez).

I wonder though, Why not go back to Texas? It is right in his backyard, as he resides in Arkansas, and he helped carry a historically, mediocre franchise all the way to the World Series. Is it me, or did everyone on the Rangers look like they were having a blast last year? Did Josh Hamilton replace nights of doing Heroine in a Wendy’s bathroom with coming up with hand gestures for everyday baseball plays? Were players more excited to put up their famous “claw,” rather then spend a weekend smashing through University of Texas freshmen? What could have possible been so awful  there that Lee wouldn’t take MORE money to go back there and dominate the AL West for a few more seasons?

Deep down, I think Cliff Lee knew what he was going to do all along. His “decision” didn’t change everyday. He didn’t feel bad leaving the Rangers and their fans. He did exactly what was best for him. Go to a team that’s already a contender, and play second fiddle to a future Hall of Famer. Why not just say this from the beginning? Why string along all of the fans for this long, just to crush their spirits in the end?

Athletes love all of this attention. Whether it be Cliff Lee or LBJ, when the world is focused on them, they don’t want to give up that spotlight. Athletes are a rare group of people who can garner so much attention without even performing their jobs, and the worst part about that is that they all know this. This type of decision leaves a large percentage of fans with a poor taste in their mouths, and a different perception of said athlete.

Is Cliff Lee going to attract the same amount of negative press that the Akron Scammer did? No, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Lee doesn’t get any bad press. It’s not like he even used the Yanks and the Rangers to get more money out of Philly. He just teased both teams management and fan bases and ultimately flipped them the bird by announcing his decision to go to the Phillies.

Either way, the New York baseball world took a bit of a hit last nigh twith this announcement. The Yankees will now go into the season with a “rotation” of CC, AJ “Me and Lackey could buy the Rays” Burnett, Phil Hughes, Ian Nova, and an undecided fifth starter. This is a very unimpressive group and I am sure Yankee fans are trying to convince themselves that Nova is going to be the second coming of Jose Contreras ( You know, before he turned 52).

The New York Mets now must face the fact that they may not win a division title in the next few years. While hopes for Mets fans weren’t especially high for this season, there is little reason to believe that they could overcome the Phillies and take home the NL East crown. Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins have a lot of work to do to try and catch Pat Gillick and the Philles, and something tells me that the new Mets duo isn’t up to the task.

Ultimately, Lee gives the Phillies the best chance to win, and Gillick and the rest of the Phillies front office should be applauded. Lee will not be characterized as a villain, and I don’t think we will be seeing any “What should I do?” commercials out of him anytime soon. Who knows, maybe this was all just a ploy for Lee to get on an episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” after he saw Ryan Howard and Chase Utley on it. Either way, Lee, and other athletes who do the same thing, should be reprimanded somehow for their actions. This idea may be a pipe dream, but as a fan, I do not like where this trend is taking the already poor Free Agency process.

Here is a link to a piece by Ian O’Connor expressing a similar displeasure with Cliff Lee’s decision.

By Michael Goldberg

Here is a video of Cavaliers Assistant Coach Jamahl Mosley telling Lebron James to, “Shut the F up.” Pay close attention to the man wearing glasses right in the middle of the video.

The proper response to the Scammer’s return to Cleveland.

By Phil Bausk

Here we are,  about five months removed from Lebron James announcing on national television that he was leaving his Cleveland Cavaliers for his friends in South Beach.  Roughly 20 games into the first season of “The Tripod,”(That’s my nickname because James, Wade, and Bosh are all big dicks) has struggled, while the new look Cavs are playing very respectable basketball.

Obviously, the Cavs will finish with around 30-35 wins and the Heat will eventually put it all together, but at the current moment, this is a game that means a lot for both teams, just not as much as it means for the severed relationship between Sacramento Queen James and the oh so sad people of Cleveland.

Now here’s the million dollar question. Not how the Cavs faithful will treat Lebron upon his return to the Q Arena, but rather how poorly they will treat him. Just a showering of non stop boos? Perhaps a beer bottle or two thrown his way? Maybe even a fan runs onto the court to then realize he is running at a horse/truck?  Or just a moment that only Tivo can capture over and over again. Either way, Cleveland has a right to be upset towards Akron’s Unchosen one, and will display their feelings towards him tonight.

I think the biggest slap in the face that Cleveland could give towards Lebron would be to give Big Z (Zydrunas Ilgauskas) a video montage before the game, and cheer for it like the Cavs fans would’ve if they didn’t get swept by the Spurs in 2007. Then after tip-off, just boo him non stop until time stoppages, where they replay quotes of Lebron’s such as, “I got a goal, and it’s a huge goal, and that’s to bring an NBA championship here to Cleveland, and I won’t stop until I get it.”

Really? Seems like you gave up on that one. And now you are starting to see that people who live in South Beach don’t care so much about basketball?!?!?!? Are you surprised?!?!?!? What would you rather do? Go to a mediocre arena to watch three assholes play basketball, or go to some of the nicest restaurants in the country and rub elbows with some of Miami’s elite. I am sure you know all about the nightclub scene Lebron. I am sure you get rushed everywhere you go, no matter what bar or club you enter with your entourage. You are just a regular Michael Beasley down there, playing for a .500 team and disrespecting your head coach.

Tonight’s contest at the Q in Cleveland is going to be one of the most watched regular season basketball games in television history. People are asking if Lebron should do his powder toss like he always does before games, how far Cavs fans are going to take their disdain for Lebron, and if there will be an encounter between Lebron and his former “buddy,” Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.

While these are fascinating plot points, I think it is more interesting to look at the Cavs team itself. While they aren’t the powerhouse they were when they had the Akron Scammer, they are a respectable team in the NBA, trying to rebuild a team that was thought to be so dejected after Lebron fleeing that they shouldn’t bother showing up to arenas to play games. Cleveland will be a good team again within the next few years without James. What they can do tonight to really upset him is show him what he left and that the core of players he thought “wasn’t good enough for him,” has something the rest of the Miami Heat players do not, a whole city of Heart.