Posts Tagged ‘basketball’

When Rory and I decided to send emails back and forth previewing the NBA season, we had no idea that James Harden would be traded right after we talked about the Thunder’s chances of winning the Title with him or that the Nets-Knicks NYC basketball megagame would get postponed due to Superstorm Sandy. So yes, parts of this email chain may be a bit outdated even though they’re less than a week old but Rory and I made sure to do our best when analyzing the burning questions heading into the season, like which player had the best Halloween costume. We even managed to poke fun at a few people and teams, and most importantly, each other.

Stone: So I’m sitting here flipping between Pablo Prigioni running roughshod over the Brooklyn Nets at the hallowed basketball ground known as the Nassau Coliseum and Michael Myers running roughshod over Haddonfield, and then it hit me: the NBA season is less than a week away. It feels like only yesterday when the Heat, well, you know.

Obviously, the trend sweeping the league has been creating these superteams and the Lakers followed suit in the offseason by adding Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. Strictly on paper, it would appear that LA has enough talent to significantly challenge Miami. Maybe I’m a sucker for a dominant big man (must be due to either Patrick Ewing or Eddy Curry) but if the Lakers remain healthy, and that’s a big 7-foot if, I like their chances. With Kobe handling the scoring and swagger, Dwight can focus on what he does best: no, not sulking and tearing a franchise apart, but rebounding and playing monster defense.

Queen James finally got over the mountain last year but are we sure that this means that the Heat are going to win not seven, not eight Titles? After the Yankees won the 2009 World Series, I would’ve sworn that A-Rod would never struggle in the playoffs again. Well, I was wrong. Couldn’t you see LeBron choking it up in a do-or-die East Finals Game 6 in Boston with D-Wade hobbled up and the Bostrich hiding his head in the sand? Is that unfathomable?

Or does LeBron go full-on Michael Jordan serial killer on us? If he has it in him, I can’t see anyone toppling the Heat. LeBron was great in the Finals but he wasn’t exactly the Shape. The refs call that foul on him at the end of Game 2, and we might not be singing this song.

The great thing about this season is that there are just so many subplots around the league. We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface. OKC has as good a group as anybody. Does their emerging superteam break through or will James Harden’s contract situation doom their chances? Can another team enter the Championship equation? The Clips, the Grizz? Will anybody on Golden State ever play defense? Will Mark Cuban miss Opening Night in Dallas to film an episode of Shark Tank? Will I ever stop asking questions? Will you answer any of them? We haven’t even mentioned either of our teams, playing in the same city for the first time ever. How do you think the first season of the Brooklyn Nets will turn out? Oh yeah, and one more thing: LINSANITY!

Rory: Man, you threw a ton of questions at me, and I’m still recovering from the drinking game I played last night during the Knicks-Nets game (drink every time Clyde Frazier made a rhyme).  So here we go:

The key words with these superstar teams is “on paper.”  It took two seasons for the Miami Heat to figure it out.  Last season, the Knicks looked like legitimate contenders…on paper.  I was even hyping up my Brooklyn Nets as a contender a few weeks ago, but the parts haven’t meshed yet and the defense has been lacking.  If there is one guy who can create instant chemistry with his teammates, though, it is Steve Nash.  And, while the Lakers will be formidable, do not count out the Oklahoma City Thunder yet.  Their young guys are just getting better each year, and they still have the assets to make a trade to get another big piece to their puzzle.  I definitely see them working things out with James Harden as well, probably getting him to take less money for the team as well.


Who’s Ready For the 3-Way?

Posted: July 12, 2012 by Keith Stone in basketball, football, NBA, NFL
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Not these guys.

Trivia Time: OKC Edition

Posted: June 12, 2012 by Keith Stone in basketball, NBA, trivia
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Oh, the glorious history of professional basketball in Oklahoma. There’s the time the Thunder won the Western Conference from the mighty Spurs and, uh, Nolan Richardson accusing the media of being racist? That brings us to our Question of the Week. Get it right and win a cowboy hat. The answer, as always, is after the jump.

Who is the Oklahoma City Thunder’s franchise-leading scorer? (and a hint: it is not Royal Ivey)


Not His Best Joint

Posted: May 8, 2012 by Keith Stone in basketball, NBA
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Does anyone know why Spike Lee is dressed like Kung Lao from Mortal Kombat had a black baby with Diane Keaton? Stick to the Landry Fields jersey, Spike.

Knicks 89, Heat 87. Heat lead series 3-1

Rejoice, 11-year-old Knick fans! You have seen your team win a playoff game! Amar’e and Melo came up big today. I formally accept the apology of Amar’e Stoudemire after he came out and played like a man. The Knicks looked like a team that wasn’t ready to go home for the summer and that’s all you can ask for. Most importantly, they played with pride and with the Garden behind them, there was no way they were losing. Here are some random thoughts:

– It’s going to be tough with only Mike Bibby and Toney Douglas at the point but that’s no reason to rush Lin back. You can’t risk a major injury on the off chance that the Knicks can come back from three down to beat the Heat.

– The refs once again called a horrible game. If Queen James is driving down the lane and shoves Landry Fields as he’s making his move, it should an offensive foul. You can’t push somebody with your off hand if they get in your way.

– I’m not a fan of the “Beat the Heat” chant at the Garden. Isn’t that kind of acknowledging that the Heat are superior? We don’t need special chants for our opponents unless it’s “[insert name here] sucks.”

– Again, I never thought the record was a huge deal but it felt great getting the win out of the way so there’s no need to think about it ever again. Now we can just worry about playing hard. If the Knicks had lost Game 4, I would have said the season was a failure, but now there’s a (very small) foundation of positivity that can be built on. Little by little, the Knicks’ stigma of losing and the stink of Isiah Thomas is going away, and it’s going to be easier to attract talent and eventually contend for a Title. Right now, I’m just a happy fan.

Heat 87, Knicks 70. Heat lead series 3-0

I was pleased with the way the Knicks played. I know they lost by 17 and put up a stinker in the fourth quarter, but what do you expect? Three starters are out, they’re playing what should be the best team in the NBA, and Melo was off. The D and effort was there, mainly in the first half. Guys like J.R. Smith and Mike Bibby were holding their own, but when Jorts is in a do-or-die playoff game, things are not going to end well. The fact is the Knicks need Melo to go off to win a game and with nobody else in the lineup able to score, the Heat can harass him. They may be bitches, but they’re not stupid.

I don’t give a shit about the record. Who cares how many playoff games you win or lose in a row? We don’t have any rings and that’s all that matters. It’s a different team that lost to the Raptors and Nets. If we won a game in 2004, it wouldn’t really make any difference. I wish people would shut up about it. The take away from this game is that the Knicks aren’t going down easy. Also, how does Queen James have any fans outside of Miami after all the whining he does after every call against him? He’s really upping the crybaby antics. They’re at a Sidney Crosby-level. He better watch himself because the refs don’t take kindly to that. I prefer the Jordan death stare but maybe I’m just old school.

Heat 104, Knicks 94. Heat lead series 2-0

Well, it looks like Amar’e might be out for the rest of the series after punching a fire extinguisher case. As if things couldn’t get worse. Now we might be trying to avoid the record for consecutive playoff losses AT THE GARDEN without one of our big guns. Of course he’s pissed, he only had nine shots. J.R. Smith had 11 and Melo took 26. Somebody is going to have to change the way this offense works. Either the coach or the GM. You can’t have one of the stars of the team punching things because he’s not getting enough shots in a playoff game. Amar’e has to know better too. He’s battled injuries his whole career. The last thing he should be doing is being reckless with his body. There’s only one thing that’s going to cheer me up after this.

Heat 100, Knicks 67. Heat lead series 1-0

Look, we got beat. Beat down. That’s not what I want to talk about. How big of a bitch is LeBron James acting like he’s been shot every time somebody touches him? It’s like Albert Einstein cheating on a high school physics test. He’s the best player in the world and he has to resort to bullshit like that. It’s insulting as a basketball fan. If you’re going to beat us, I’ll take it like a man. Just bring it, baby. But don’t be flopping out there like you’re Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich. Do you think Jordan, Ewing, Hakeem, Barkley, Magic, or Bird would throw their hands in the air like that after the Chandler screen? No fucking way.

The Knicks played terribly. Obviously, they’re facing long odds but Melo needs to get his game under control, Chandler needs some chicken soup, and we need to get Shump a new knee. Other than that, I would say things are looking up. It might also help if the refs didn’t call a foul against the Knicks for breathing on Queen James when we’re taking it to the rack and getting hammered and nothing is called. How does one team shoot 22 more foul shots than the other? Earl Hebner has had better days than the refs had during Game 1. It’s just a good thing the Rangers are doing so well or I’d be more upset. This video also gives me the strength to go on.

Whoop-De-Damn Nets

Posted: April 26, 2012 by Keith Stone in basketball, NBA
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With the New Jersey Nets playing the final game in their 35-year history tonight, Rory and my friend Ben, two of the biggest Nets fans there are, took to email to discuss the team’s legacy, upcoming offseason, and future in Brooklyn.

Rory: So I took in the final game in New Jersey last night, and while the night was marketed as a time to remember past glories, I can’t help but walk away feeling frustration.  To sum up:

– The final game in New Jersey should have been played in the Izod Center.  And, yes, I’ll admit that I was pro-Newark for years, but the move was a complete bust.  It felt like the Nets were crashing on somebody’s couch the last two years.  The Izod Center may be an ancient craphole in the middle of nowhere, but it was OUR ancient craphole in the middle of nowhere.

– Seeing all the old players was nice again, but there were several key members I would’ve liked to see participate, either in person or via video message: Keith Van Horn, Lucious Harris, Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins, Alonzo Mourning, etc. And, call me crazy, wouldn’t it have been interesting if the Nets reached out to Jayson Williams?  The guy is a broken man who needs a friend, and I think the Nets could’ve helped him out.

– As one of my friends said, could someone please point Todd MacCulloch towards a treadmill?

– “Homecourt advantage” is such a big myth, especially when it comes to the crowds.  Yes, teams play better at home, but it is mostly due to having an easier travel schedule.  The best crowds in the league are Golden State and the Knicks, and look how many rings they’ve won the last 30 years.  In the 3rd quarter, when the Nets were making their run, the crowd was electric – very noisy, and chanting the whole time (without instructions from the Jumbotron).  And the result?  Thaddeus Young goes off and silences everyone, en route to an 18 point loss.  So much for that.

– After the game, they had a post-game autograph session for season ticket holders.  They divided us into two lines, not telling us which players were at each line.  I ended up with signatures from Farmar, Green, Lopez, Shelden Williams, Stevenson, and Damion James.  Not bad, but the other line had D-Will, Hump, and MarShon.  Oh well.

– What do you think of the teaser on  It looks like the team colors will be black and white.  I don’t think that is bad, it seems very classic and tough to screw up, but I’ll miss the patriotic colors.

Ben: Newark was just a disaster. And I can’t say I blame the fans in Newark. Why support the team? The Nets were out the door unless court cases stopped them. It was a short-sighted marriage; they get to try to show Newark could handle a team and the Nets get a nicer arena than the Izod Center. And it was loveless, cold, and didn’t end well. The Mad Men fan in me says we just dumped Jane and are moving towards Joan. If only Avery were half as funny as Roger Sterling.

-So basically you wanted members of the only Nets teams that had real success in the NBA? Understood. I can’t say I blame you; the first NBA jersey I ever owned was Keith Van Horn’s. Oh, the 1998 Nets. Such hope and optimism. Coach Cal in the only time he could legitimately pay his players, Jayson Williams turning his life around, Sam I Am at point, Kerry Kittles as an emerging 2, and KVH. The Knicks were old. Then the lockout. Kerry Kittles’ knees. Penny Hardaway rumors. Jim MacIlvane. And Starbury. I thought things were really looking up when they made that trade. Turns out I was right; it just took three years for them to turn Starbury into a real point guard.

And you can keep Zo. I disliked him so much I didn’t have hate Kenyon Martin for going below the belt with him. No wait, kidney punches are legal in boxing.Also, I see your Todd Mac and raise you the man who ate Derrick Coleman.

-Talent trumps home court every time. I was at the Kings/Bobcats game Sunday and watched as Travis Outlaw eviscerated the Cats in the first quarter because, well, the Bobcats are the worst professional basketball team I’ve ever seen. Even worse than the Nets from a few years back, who I had the pleasure of watching get destroyed by the Bobcats and Gerald Wallace take Yi’s knee out. About ten minutes later, I had seen enough and walked out.Back to Sunday. All I kept saying throughout the first quarter was how Travis Outlaw sucked. How he stole money and how it was unfathomable that he could be playing well. That’s the thing when you have a bad player on your team; your mind just dismisses any notion the guy can be good. It was as if I was watching water and oil mix. It did not compute. Of course, Outlaw didn’t score after the first quarter and finished with just eight points in a 30 point Kings win. As my fiancee so aptly put it, “And then he remembered he was Travis Outlaw.” Thank god for that; it saved my sanity.

Terrance Williams also popped up for the Kings as well. Apparently, the Kings take 3 types of players. Talented kids with character questions, Nets’ disappointments, and guys who went to the University of Washington. I can’t wait to see Damion James in a Kings uni next year!

-By the way, I saw a SportsCenter thing this morning where their NBA analysts tried to think of their “favorite” moment of the Nets history in Jersey. Of course, it was them not thinking of anything till Bruce Bowen said, “They lost the 2003 Finals to the Spurs!”

Maybe I’m just bitter here (okay I am) but the Nets went to back-to-back NBA Finals. It was a decade ago, but there are a lot of NBA teams that wish they could claim that! It’s tiring to hear people talk about them like they’re the Clippers. The Clippers haven’t had near the success the Nets have. Shoot, the Knicks have had equal lows but didn’t get as high in the last 15 years (Congrats, Keith, you got to an NBA Finals in ’99 and lost to a two-man Spurs team! MECCA OF BASKETBALL!!!).

It’s been fashionable to rag on the Nets since they came into the league. But the fact of the matter is, they’re really not that bad. And if Byron Scott didn’t stubbornly keep Kerry Kittles on the bench during the 19-0 run in Game 6, who knows?

How do you feel about this offseason? I feel strangely optimistic, about the logo and the future, despite the fact that I’d be less than surprised if D-Will bolted for Dallas. And that they probably gave away their lottery pick. And Wallace will probably opt-out to get more security so they’ll be left with nothing… wait what was I talking about?

All joking aside, I’m okay with whatever happens. Because they’re out of purgatory. Even if they’re terrible for the next three years, they’re still in New York and no matter what anyone says, New York beats places like Charlotte and Sacramento (sorry to my fiancee, who loves her Cali hometown a great deal). Brooklyn is a place to be. Do you think Dwight Howard even considers the Nets without the Brooklyn move even if Deron is there?

That’s what Brooklyn means. It’s New York and a different New York than Manhattan. The Knicks are not the Lakers. There’s a chance to be The Team. No matter how successful the Kidd Nets were, they could never be the IT team in New York and New Jersey. Just like the Devils could never hope to be the Rangers. And if you’re good in New York, the city will get behind you. In the 80’s, the Mets were NY’s baseball team after all.

So the Nets, just by virtue of moving to Brooklyn, have a bright future in my opinion, even when they sign Jeremy Lin to a four-year contract he doesn’t deserve. And if Deron stays and the team gets Dwight Howard in a year, even better. Your thoughts?

Rory: Man, just reading your mail reminded me of all the Nets’ busts throughout the years.  Travis Outlaw is just the latest to join the growing list.  I still look fondly back on the Ed O’Bannons, the Yinka Dares, the Jeff McInnii, etc.  It would’ve been fun to see a “tribute” to the Nets’ worst players last night.  I mean, there’s no point in pretending that we’re the Yankees all of a sudden.  If Nets fans didn’t have a sense of humor, there would have been multiple murder/suicides throughout these last 35 years.  (And the Zo thing was a joke, you should check out my Bottom 10 Nets of the 00’s on my old site).

As for the offseason, I’m not optimistic at all.  In last week’s Mad Men, Peggy said she couldn’t have one more bad omen.  I think the Nets’ bad omen was Houston’s 6-game slide to take away their only potential lottery pick.  My point?  I think Billy King is going to have to give a lot of random hand jobs to get this dog to fly.

I disagree about the big market factor.  I believe it can sell tickets, but for every big market success story (Lakers, Bulls), there are teams whose big market has done very little into making them a winning team (Knicks, Clippers).  A big market can only go so far; you need the right management to get things done.  I’d take R.C. Buford running a team in North Dakota over Isiah Thomas in the Big Apple.

I think the Nets fans need to temper their expectations.  I can’t even hazard a guess as to what will happen, as there are so many variables at play.  Although Dwight & Deron seems like a dream on paper, as a fan, I’d rather see the Nets work hard on retaining Gerald Green and Kris Humphries.  Those two have consistently said they want to remain on the Nets, as opposed to the aforementioned “superstars” who have been wishy-washy on where they desire to play.  Loyalty is a two-way street, and it’ll be hard for me to root for a team that casts aside its hard-working players in chasing a pipe dream.

Oh, and I forgot to mention this earlier, but fuck Chris Christie.  The man has never attended Nets games, so why does he feel the need to chime in?  I know being a loud-mouthed asshole is his shtick, but your state is losing an NBA team, and losing the revenue and jobs that comes along with it.  Is New Jersey in that good economically that losing 40+ Nets games a year won’t matter?  Good luck with that, you fat prick.

Ben: The list of bad Nets might have taken all night. From the last five years… Bobby Simmons, Tamar Slay, Ron Mercer, Zoran Planinic. Going back further, David Benoit and Benoit Benjamin. Apparently the Nets are the only team in the league to have employed both players in NBA history with “Benoit” in their name. So we’ve got that going for us.

I wasn’t really referring to tickets when I was talking about Brooklyn. It’s New York itself. If you were a professional athlete and had the choice of playing in Newark or Brooklyn, what would you take? Even if in reality, you might live in the exact same suburban gated community in either locale, I think Brooklyn is the choice 100%. Because it’s New York, not New Jersey.

It goes without saying that a bad team in New York is still a bad team. But part of the advantage to being in New York is that no matter how bad you are, that name on the front of the jersey remains the same. The Knicks were a joke for ten years and still pulled in Amar’e, Melo, and were in the hunt for CP3 because they played in New York. Dwight Howard wanted to (and still might want to) come to the Nets because of Brooklyn. And if DWill stays, a large assist will go to the fact they’ll be in Brooklyn next year. They won’t be the only players who voice those desires. Being big market alone doesn’t make you a champion, but it gives you an enormous leg up. The Nets will have an edge that at least a third of the league doesn’t have next year, maybe even closer to half the league.

I know we as fans like success stories. I do want Gerald Green back (though I was admittedly less high on Hump, just because after watching him in person, I don’t know I’ve seen a less coordinated/more clumsy NBA player under 6’11). But you know what fans like more hard-working players? Winning!

The most charitable description of Jason Kidd is to say he is a complex person. And his loyalties were to getting his biggest payday. In the end, he quit on the team and started them on this tailspin they’ve yet to escape from. Still, if I had to do it over again, I’d take J-Kidd every time. He may have been about the money and furthering his wife’s career, but the Nets went to two Finals because of him. Dwight Howard might hate his coach and want him fired (I think he’s still two behind Kidd in that regard) but he’s still the best center in the league. A championship with hired guns is still better than no championships at all. I know we’ve been burned by the Summer of ’10, Melodrama, and Dwightmare, but you don’t win championships with Green and the former Mr. Kardashian.

That isn’t to say I approve of rash moves like the Wallace trade. That was their one mistake. They panicked when the Dwight trade fell through and made a bad gamble to try to get DWill to stay. I see some of their logic; the pick is either going to be top 3 or likely 6-7-8, so they might feel like the 7th pick isn’t going to be a franchise changer. I just don’t think Wallace is enough to entice DWill to stay. He’s a hard working player and was a fan favorite down here in Charlotte. But he’s at best, the third best player on a championship team. That might even be generous.

But overall, I’ve been impressed with the work King has done. It certainly tops Rod’s final few years at the helm, as sad as that is to write about a guy who I was convinced could do no wrong in 2002. But the blood of Travis Outlaw is on his hands. So is Favors over Cousins.

As for Chris Christie, who probably would be out of Jersey in a second if Willard offered him a spot on the ticket, think Don Draper and his ad against Lucky Strike. Of course it stings to lose a team, especially since it lessens the value they’ll get out of the Prudential Center. But hey, never show weakness. You don’t get anywhere in  politics or selling beans by admitting defeat.

I’m wondering how many references to Mad Men it will take before even Keith gets tired of it. I’m setting the over/under at 10.5.

Rory: I think we’ve pretty much covered all there is to talk about right now.  The new logo will be announced Monday, but honestly, I’m starting to dig the silhouette itself.  I feel revealing the final logo may be a let down.  But I’m just negative – it’s like Peggy’s boyfriend wishing her a shitty day before she went off to SCDP last week.  Who knows?  I wish I could have the Roger Sterling “It’s a wonderful day!” attitude, but the Melodrama and Dwightmare has just beaten me down.  Here’s hoping May 30th brings some luck.

Ben: I had a conversation with my fiancee last Sunday where I said, “I had this idea of hanging out with your sister’s crazy friends and act like Don Draper did around those beatniks. Cool, calculated, fitting in, yet being above them all. Then I realized I’d just end up being Pete Campbell.”

As Nets fans, I feel like that’s kind of our situation. We want to be the big shots; we want the respect that we feel our history, while checkered, deserves. But in the end, we’re not Don Draper. Maybe we will be one day but we’re not yet. Hopefully, we don’t lead ourselves to ruin trying to reach that point, especially since Don’s appearance of success is very much a facade.

See my point? In true Pete Campbell fashion, I just called the Knicks Dick Whitman.

Anyway, the Nets have never excelled in the logo department. Yet for some reason their current one has been my AIM icon for the last 12 years. I guess I’ll have to make that change when it’s revealed. End of an era, end of an era.

Hopefully the ping-pong balls bounce the Nets’ way and they can land Anthony Davis, who will be promptly shipped out for Dwight Howard.

Then again I feel like I said this before: “If they get John Wall, LeBron will want to come here!”

So I understand the lack of optimism. They say insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.

But to be a Nets fan you have to be a little crazy.

Rory: Late breaking news!  The logo just leaked!  What do you think?  It took a bit to warm up to, but I’d give it a 7/10.  Very simple and classic, and definitely an improvement over the previous George Jetson-esque design.

Ben: Minimalist… In theory, it isn’t worse than the old logo but eh, I’ll go 6/10 for now. But I’m like you, I’ll probably warm to it. I do wonder if it would look better if it said “Brooklyn” instead of “Nets” and just had the ball without the “B” on it.

Good chatting with you, Rory. Maybe we’ll do it again when Deron makes his decision or Dwightmare II opens the summer blockbuster season.

Get A Load of This Asshole

Posted: April 20, 2012 by Keith Stone in basketball, NBA
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I know Nets games are about as exciting as going to a Latin Mass but if you’re sitting courtside at any NBA game, how douchey is it to be texting during play? Hey, bro, next time you get tickets, feel free to give them to your buddy, Keith Stone. Of course, the first thing he does after he gets hit is call somebody up. Or maybe this is just what the Nets need. The Knicks have Spike. The Lakers have Jack. The Nets can have Phone Guy getting balls in his face 41 games a season! Next stop, Brooklyn!

P.S.: For sure Clyde loved the fact that this dick got hit in the head. Phoning and moaning!