PREVIEW OF GAMES FOR WEEK OF 3/9-3/15

Weekly Previews

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Tuesday March 10th

Cleveland Cavaliers at Dallas Mavericks

8:30 PM EST, NBATV

Thursday March 12th

Cleveland Cavaliers at San Antonio Spurs

9:30 PM EST, TNT

Is this a possible Finals preview?  We all know about Lebron’s past with the Spurs:  the Finals sweep over the Cavs when Damon Jones and Donyell Marshall still played;  Ray Allen pulled Miami out from the jaws of defeat in 2013; the Spurs absolutely demolished Miami in 2014;  what will this year hold in store?

I’m praying that Pops doesn’t decide this is the time to sit his older starters.  As much as I want to watch Matt Bonner, Tiago Splitter, Aron Baynes, Corey Joseph, and Marco Belly-Nelly for 48 minutes, I don’t.  If Kevin Love has to guard Tim Duncan for most of the game, that should be a real treat to watch (good luck, Kevin). It’ll be interesting to see how Pop matches up against our crunch-time players, where Mosgov is found enjoying an appletini on the sidelines.  Will Tiago Splitter join him?  This is an excellent test for our Cavaliers.  LeBron will be ready to put on a show.

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20 bonus points to anyone who can name this player without cheating.

Sunday March 15th

Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic

6:00PM, NBATV

BEST “EVERY DAMN DAY” NBA GAMES OF THE WEEK- PRESENTED BY NIKE T-SHIRTS

Monday March 9th

Memphis Grizzlies at Chicago Bulls

8:00 PM EST, NBATV

The Grizz travel North for this Monday matchup to face-off against the Chi-town Bulls.  Memphis looks poised for a title run as the 2 seed in the West led by their stingy defense (95.6 pts.allowed/gm- best in NBA) along with a strong frontcourt combo of Gasol and ZBo.  After dropping games this week to the lowly Jazz and Pellies, nice wins over the Rockets and Lakers rounded out their week.  ZBO is the man.

The Bulls start their week with yet another national TV game.  Along with the Clippers, it seems like they are on every DAMN day (#NIKE).  Despite the injury to Rose, Aaron Brooks and E’Twaun Moore have stepped up in their point guard play, but the Bulls now have fallen to the 4 seed, which likely sets up a first round playoff matchup with the lowly ‘Zards.  With Butler and double double man Pau Gasol, the Bulls are still a dangerous team come playoff team nevertheless.  This team is deep and capable of ending the Cavs season if they meet in round 2.

In this matchup, I look for the Grizz to stifle the Bulls offense and for them to comfortably win this one 100-91.

Tuesday March 10th

Toronto Drakes at San Antonio Spurs

8:30 PM, TSN2, FSSW

Wednesday March 11th

Los Angeles Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder

8:00 PM, ESPN

Thursday March 12th

Milwaukee Bucks at Indiana Pacers

7:00 PM, FSWI, FSMW

Friday March 13th

Atlanta Hawks at Phoenix Suns

10:00 PM, SPSO, FSAZ

Saturday March 14th

Boston Celtics at Indiana Pacers

7:00 PM, CSNN, FSMW

Sunday March 15th

Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers

3:30 PM, ABC

Foo Sing’s Pu Pu Platter “Game of the Week”

Friday March 6th

New York Knicks at Denver Nuggies

9:00 PM, MSG, ALT

Someone open up a window or door in here, this Pu Pu platter is extra pooey this week.  With both teams supporting 2-8 records in their last 10, this one is sure to be great.  The sad franchise that is located in New York looks poised to garner the worst record in the league.  Phil Jackson seems to want OSU stud De’Angelo Russell.  The only thing interesting to me for the Knicks is this off-season and which highly valued free agent decides to go there to have his career ruined while getting severely overpaid.  My money is on Greg Monroe and perhaps another overrated guard.

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The Nuggies recently fired their coach, Brian Shaw, and have struggled mightily this season thanks in part to their abysmal 3-point shooting (31% efficiency).

In this matchup, I look for Denver to try somewhat at home and win this one over the lowly Knicks and Louie Amundson, 103-94.

JRod’s Steamer “Team of the Week” Presented by Stanley Steemer

Detroit Pistons

Detroit Rock City! The Pistons recent play has resembled the state of their city ever since they stopped making cars and filed for bankruptcy back in 2013: helpless, falling apart, and full of steamy piles of trash.  Immediately after giving away Josh Smith, the team looked poised to make a playoff run.  Then Brandon Jennings went down and things have gone south since acquiring Reggie Jackson at the trade deadline.

Losers of five straight, the Stons’ are now 23-38 and should honestly tank the rest of the season.  The losing streak started against the Cavs last week and is highlighted also with a terrible OT loss to the Knickerbockers.  I said to book the ‘Stons for an above .500 season and a playoff berth.  I was wrong.

The “Ricky Rubio Shooting Star of the Week”

Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

Simply put, Klay did not live up to his “Splash Brother” nickname in his three games this past week, not including Sunday’s matchup against the Clippers.  Check out his statline for the week:

13.3 PPG

13-47 FG, 27.7%

6-22 3PT, 27.3%

Klay’s season averages, by the way, are 21.7 PPG, 45.8% FG, and 43% 3PT.  Of course, Golden State is absolutely loaded so they still managed to go 2-1 despite Klay’s struggles on the court.

Semih-Pro’s “Piping Hot” Team of The Week Presented By: The Subway Pastrami Melt

Indiana Pacers

After the Pacers lost Paul George and Lance Stephenson for the season, Vegas responded by setting the over/under for the season at 32.5.  This is for a team that came off a Conference Finals appearance and won 56 games last season!  Of course, when you lose two players of that caliber, one would expect a major dropoff.  But here the Pacers are, the 7 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs at 28-34.  There really isn’t much hope for climbing past the 7 seed, but to make the playoffs without their two best players from last season is insane, and Coach Frank Vogel deserves all of the credit in the world.

The Pacers have won 5 straight, and are 8-2 in their last 10 games.  Adding a healthy Paul George to this squad is scary as hell…

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Lance may have blown the Hornets’ chances at a playoff birth this season too!

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PREVIEW OF GAMES FOR WEEK OF 3/2-3/8

Weekly Previews

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Tuesday March 3rd

Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers

7:00 PM EST, FSOH

The Celtics have had an interesting year.  It appeared that they were in full-on tank mode for the majority of the season, then decided to acquire Isaiah Thomas from the Suns and make a push for the playoffs.  Sitting just ½ games out of the 8 seed currently, could the Celtics make it?

The Cavs are coming off a tough OT loss against the Rockets, in which Kyrie Irving did not play.  Things could get interesting; though the team gets a day of rest between games, J.R. Smith played 51 of 53 minutes.  The Cavs bench is a bit thin with Irving and Shawn Marion out, as well as Andy.

The Celtics have some talented young pieces.  The home crowd will need to provide the Cavs with energy after their emotionally and physically taxing loss, or the Celtics will certainly win.  I think the Cavs will pull this out, but it is going to be much closer than one would expect.  Cavs, 98-94 at home.

Wednesday March 4th

Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors

7:30PM EST, FSOH

Friday March 6th

Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks

7:30PM FSOH

Sunday March 8th

Phoenix Suns at Cleveland Cavaliers

7:30 PM EST, NBATV

BEST “EVERY DAMN DAY” NBA GAMES OF THE WEEK- PRESENTED BY NIKE T-SHIRTS

Monday March 2nd

New Orleans Pelicans at Dallas Mavericks

10:30 PM EST. NBATV

Tuesday March 3rd

Houston Rockets at Atlanta Hawks

7:30 PM EST, NBATV

This should be a very, very fun matchup.  The Rockets, who rely mainly on jacking up 3 pointers (and it’s working, they’re 41-18) and James Harden for all of their offense, are playing the Hawks, who also rely on the 3, but are ridiculously team-oriented and have legitimate offensive weapons at every position.  Not that Patrick Beverly and Joey Dorsey aren’t legitimate weapons, but…

The Hawks match up well against the Rockets.  They are a bit undersized themselves, but have defenders who can switch on pick-and-roll, which the Rockets primarily (almost exclusively) operate on offense.  The Rockets are also versatile, but pack the muscle down low that the Hawks have.

I’m going with the Hawks at home.  I hope to see at least 80 3-pointers attempted between the two teams.  I wonder if the fans will give J-Smoove a standing ovation?

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Wednesday March 4th

Portlandia Trail Blazers at LA Clippers

10:30 PM EST, ESPN

Two Western conference teams battling in the middle of the playoff seeding clash in this primetime battle.  These two teams can face off in the playoffs; actually, in fact, they would right now as the 4 seed Blazers (38-19) and 5 seed Clippers (38-21).

For the Clippers, the absence of Blake Griffin has elevated the play of center DeAndre Jordan.  He has been a monster on the boards as well as on defense.  Teams have resorted to the Hack-A-DeAndre, which is actually smart, considering he is the 3rd worst free throw shooter in NBA history, as he barely grazes over the 40% mark.  The Clippers are a hard team to figure out, they are just wildly inconsistent.  One night they beat the Grizzlies by 20, another they are getting blown out by a sub-par team.  They still are not contenders though.  An opportune time to upgrade their roster was the trade deadline and the team did nothing.  Their bench production simply will not be good enough to get past the second round.

On the other hand, the Blazers were active in acquiring Arron Afflalo.  Staggering into the All-Star break, losing nine of their last fifteen games, Portlandia made a move that improves their chances to make a run in the playoffs.  Behind the solid play of Aldridge, the Blazers were able to overcome the incredible effort of Russ Westbrook in their most recent game.

In this matchup, I look for the absence of Griffin to be exploited by Aldridge and for him to have a big game.  The point guard matchup is also intriguing with CP3 battling Dame Lillard.  I look for the bench of the Blazers to outperform Hedo Turkoglu and the rest of the Clips bench, which will prove to be the difference, 112-106.

Damian Lillard, Chris Paul

Thursday March 5th

Oklahoma City Thunder at Chicago Bulls

8:00 PM EST, TNT

Friday March 6th

Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors

10:30 PM EST, ESPN

Saturday March 7th

Memphis Grizzlies at New Orleans Pelicans

7:00 PM EST, SPSO, FSN

Sunday March 8th

Chicago Bulls at San Antonio Spurs

1:00 PM EST, ABC

Foo Sing’s Pu Pu Platter “Game of the Week”

Friday March 6th

Sacramento Kings at Orlando Magic

7:00 PM EST, CSFL, CSAC

The Sacramento Kings had an unexpectedly awesome start to the season (9-5), which has since tapered off to the disappointment of King’s Guy Bryan Deeken.  Now sitting at an underwhelming 20-36, including a stretch of 9-25 since they were .500, what the hell happened Sacramento!?  The Kings haven’t been relevant since the days of Mike Bibby, Doug Christie, Peja, and Chris Webber.  You’d have to go all the way back to 2005-2006 when the Kings won 40 games in a season.

The Magic are “loaded” with young talent that the casual basketball fan has never heard of.  Payton, Vucevic, Harris, Fournier, Oladipo; I’m sure at least one of those could pass for the name of a Pokemon.  This isn’t their year.  They’re 19-41.  Next year won’t be their year either.  Maybe the year after that?

I’ll take the Queens on the road.  Both teams have new coaches, but George Karl can probably inspire his talented team to play better basketball.

JRod’s Steamer “Team of the Week” Presented by Stanley Steemer

Toronto Drakes

Just a week removed from earning the Ricky Rubio Shooting Star award for a trio of stellar shooting performances, it should be no surprise that the Drakes have been a steaming vessel lately, barreling across Lake Ontario dumping toxic sewage into the waterway.

Losers now of five straight, the Raptors seem to be surrendering the 3 seed very soon.  Like the Zards’, last week’s winner of this award, it appears these two teams are pretenders,  not contenders in the East.  The most recent loss for the Raps seems to say enough, a loss to the lowly Knicks. Sure, the other four losses have come to quality West opponents (HOU, NO, DAL, & GS), but their recent play is a cause for concern.

This about sums up the last week for the Drakes

Drake says its far from over, but I think the title hopes for the Raps are…

The “Ricky Rubio Shooting Star of the Week”

Ricky Rubio, MiniSoda Timberwolves

The day has come where Ricky Rubio has earned an award named after himself.  Normally, awards are introduced in players’ names after they have retired.  In this case, the NBA could not wait to have Ricky’s shooting award legitimized until he no longer played.

Check out this sick statline in four games this past week:

12.0 PPG

12-44 FGA, 27.3%

2-13 from 3PT Range, 15.4%

7.3 RPG (????), 8.8 APG

I thought Rubio was 5’7? How does he get over 7 rebounds per game?  Did he ride around on Pekovic’s shoulders underneath the basket?  On the real, though, Rubio is fun to watch.  He may not be the PG on a championship (or even playoff team) ever, but I’m glad he’s returned to the Wolves healthy.

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Semih-Pro’s “Piping Hot” Team of The Week Presented By: The Subway Pastrami Melt

Houston Rockets

Your 2015 NBA MVP, James Harden.  Many people before the season never would think those words had a chance to be announced, but as the season rolls on, it appears that The Beard is this season’s most valuable player.  Unlike many of the other serious MVP contenders, the Rockets simply would not be a playoff team or anywhere close to it if they did not have James Harden this year.  They have now reeled off 4 straight victories before a nasty CLE-ATL-MEM stretch coming up.

And give props to GM Daryl Morey (“Dork Elvis”) for how he has put together this team.  His use of analytics and chucking up corner 3 after corner 3 has led the Rockets to a 40-18 record and the 3 seed in the West.  However, not everyone is sold on his approach.  Charles Barkley always seems to speak his mind, sometimes making sense, sometimes not….

PREVIEW OF GAMES FOR WEEK OF 2/23-3/1

Weekly Previews

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CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Tuesday  February 24th

Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons

7:30 PM EST, FSOH

Thursday  February 26th

Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers

8:00PM EST, FSOH, TNT


GSoM_Dubs

Perhaps a Finals preview??? I sure hope so, that would be quite the series. Golden State makes the long trip to CLE for what should be an entertaining, high scoring matchup.  The Warriors are coming off 3 less than impressive victories (PHI, NYK, and MIN) along with the defeat of the world champion Spurs most recently, 110-99.

The Cavs, meanwhile, have not missed a beat from their All-Star hiatus after manhandling both the Zards’ and the Knicks today.  I am sure they will not have it as easy against the league’s best team.  I give the nod to the Warriors in the backcourt matchups, but LeBron poses a difficult matchup that likely will attract elite defender Draymond Green to guard him.  I am curious to see if Kevin Love can play big in this one as well as if our bench can hang with theirs.  The Cavs are winners of 15 of their last 17 and are at home, but I think the Warriors take this one, 118-114.

Friday February 27th

Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers

7:00PM FSOH

Sunday March 1st

Cleveland Cavaliers at Houston Rockets

3:30 PM EST, ABC

BEST “EVERY DAMN DAY” NBA GAMES OF THE WEEK- PRESENTED BY NIKE T-SHIRTS

Monday February 23rd

Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Clippers

10:30 PM EST. NBATV

Tuesday February 24th

Toronto Raptors at Dallas Mavericks

8:30 PM EST, TSN, FSSW

Wednesday February 25th

San Antonio Spurs at Portlandia Trail Blazers

10:30 PM EST, UPN2

Thursday February 26th

Oklahoma City Thunder at Phoenix Suns

10:30 PM EST, TNT

This should be a pretty intriguing matchup between the current 8 and 9 seeds in the Western Conference.  Russell Westbrook The Thunder look(s) unstoppable, and the Suns traded two of their best players for fifty cents on the dollar.  Will Brandon Knight fit in in Phoenix with Bledsoe?  Only time will tell.

The Thunder, after acquiring Enes Kanter, D.J. Augustin (KD’s good friend from U of Texas), Steve Novak, and with a healthy Mitch McGary, sport a roster that looks vastly different than it did at the start of the season.  Some (myself included) believe that the Thunder are now the favorite to win it all.

I think OKC will take care of business against Phoenix.  In a game against the one team relentlessly chasing after the 8 seed left (assuming Anthony Davis shuts it down, but even if he doesn’t) there is no way they lose.  I’ll take the Thunder comfortably, 101-87.

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Enes, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Friday February 27th

Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors

7:30 PM EST, CSNB

Saturday February 28th

Atlanta Hawks at Miami Heat

7:30 PM EST, SPSO, SUN

Sunday March 1st

LA Clippers at Chicago Bulls

1:00 PM, ABC

Foo Sing’s Pu Pu Platter “Game of the Week”

Friday February 27th

Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggies

9:00 PM EST, ROOT, ALT

FREE TY LAWSON.  This matchup features two teams that dumped some of their best assets in exchange for a pile of trash.  These teams are at the landfill, picking through trash, looking to find a gold bracelet a 90 year old with Alzheimer’s mistakenly threw away.  The bracelet they intend on finding through the NBA Draft somehow.

With both teams posting identical 20-34 records, neither one is sniffing the playoffs in the West anytime soon with their current rosters.  The Nuggies have decided to unload some players (McGee and Afflalo) in hopes of rebuilding.  The Jazz did the same at the trade deadline, giving away Enes Kanter for basically nothing.  Maybe they will become the Phoenix Suns and draft another point guard with their high pick this year.  What each team needs to find is a star that can lead the team.

The Nuggies have been a little better at home this year so I think they take this one 96-93.

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JRod’s Steamer “Team of the Week” Presented by Stanley Steemer

Washington Wizards

The ‘Zards limped into the All-Star break, and were hospitalized after being thoroughly beaten by the Cavaliers 127-89 this past Friday.  Bradley Beal can’t stay healthy, and nobody else on the team can shoot the three at a decent clip, really limiting floor spacing.  After starting the season 22-8, the Wiz are a mere 11-14 since that stretch.  That record may be good enough for a playoff seed in the East, but the Zards aspirations aren’t to make the playoffs again.  They want to advance and have a shot at the Conference Finals.  At this rate, they’re going to be the Hawks’ victim in the first round as the 8 seed.

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The “Ricky Rubio Shooting Star of the Week”

Toronto Drakes, Toronto Drakes

Two weeks in a row? This is almost inconceivable.  Three players on the Drakes shot below 30% combined in their two games last week.  Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross, and Greivis Vasquez, step on up!

Lowry: 6-23 (26.1%)

Ross:  3-17 (17.6%)

Vasquez:  5-17 (29.4%)

Combined, the trio shot 14-57, just a hair under 25% from the floor.  Granted, this is a smaller sample size than usual for this award (usually at least 3 games played in the time period), but special performances such as these deserve recognition.

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Unfortunately, the Drakes’ trio isn’t as delectable as this trio bar, which combines nuts, seeds, and fruit.

Semih-Pro’s “Piping Hot” Team of The Week Presented By: The Subway Pastrami Melt

OKC Thunder

Behind the incredible play of All-Star game MVP Russell Westbrook,  the Oklahoma City Thunder have caught fire at the end of February.  Winners of 5 straight now, the Thunder have made their way into the Western playoffs now as the 8 seed.  About a month ago, there was talk of whether the Thunder would make the playoffs.  Now it appears the question is not whether they will, it is how high of a seed they can get to.

The last five games, the Thunder have been led by their two superstars, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, both with games of scoring outbursts.  They have found their way above the .500 line probably for good thanks to wins over the Clippers, Nuggets, Grizzlies, Mavericks, and Hornets.  Newly acquired center Enes Kanter looked good in his debut, with 10 points and 13 rebounds.  Westbrook posted his league-leading fifth game in which he scored 30 points and dished out 10 assists.

No matter what seed they end up with , the Thunder are legitimate contenders to win it all this year.

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