Sports talk (formerly NBA talk)

Anything goes, but keep it seemly...

Postby Hud » Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:12 pm

I think it's safe to talk NBA now that the Rockets seem healthy again. Bonzi seems to be a head case and it doesn't look like he has a future with the Rockets. Yao got taken to the floor with a cheap shot foul last night. I think other players tend to take advantage of his laid back nature. I'd like to see him get angry sometime, but not too angry. He seems like me in that things get tolerated til a bursting point is reached; sorta like a pressure relief valve? Of the 3 teams mentioned that the Suns will face in round 1, the only one I worry about is the Nuggets. I'd love to see the Warriors meet the Mavs in round 1 also.

I actually saw Orlando Hudson hit the game winner for the D-backs last night. Nice to see someone named Hudson do well lol.

The Masters seemed to win this year since no one shot under par. I had no problem with Zack Johnson winning it, but I doubt that he'll win many tournaments in the future. I hope I'm wrong. I may have watched the 96 Masters with Greg Norman's fade, but really can't recall it. My mom always liked Greg Norman for some reason. She wasn't much of a golf fan except when I watched it. My dad left a set of wooden shafted clubs when he died but I broke all of them killing rats in Baltimore.
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Postby Cec » Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:43 am

udosuk wrote:"...Were you watching in 96 when the Shark blew a 6-stroke 3rd-round lead and lost by 7 strokes at the end?

I'm a bit slow replying but I can recall this loss by Greg Norman and some critics who labelled him a "choker" (which I thought to be unfair). From memory, the English golfer who took out the title was Nick Faldo - a cool golfer in a crisis - who finished with a mid-sixty final round whilst Norman shot a disastrous mid to high seventy final round. This happens in golf even by professionals.
Some people were tipping Aaron Baddeley to win the Masters over the week-end because of his recent good form... I think he finished nineteen over par. Again, this is golf.

I can also remember Greg Norman's gut wrenching losses in two other majors. Again, from memory, he lost on the final holes when Americans Larry Mize and Bob Tway played miraculous shots, one holeing out from the greenside bunker and the other also holeing out with a "pitch and run" shot some 40yards off the green. I can still see the TV screen showing the pain on Norman's face yet he was still able to acknowledge both winners' amazing wins.

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Postby udosuk » Wed Apr 11, 2007 1:24 pm

When I said the Shark blowing the 96 Masters it's not really about his "choker" status but rather about the suffering of the typical patriotic Aussie golf fans watching that unfolded on TV (which frankly I wasn't one of them)... This time Appleby was almost out of the hunt from hole 1 with a double bogey, so in a way there was less heartbreak for the Aussie fans... I think with the surging Aussie contengent right now probably one of them will eventually win a green jacket in the next few years... But then I wouldn't be surprise if it doen't happen at all...

As for NBA, based on current form the Nuggets should finish #6, so the Suns won't need to face them in round 1 if they can hold off the Spurs to finish #2. In the East, the Wizards are freefalling without their 2 best stars but they backed into the playoff nonetheless... The Heat somehow lost to the Bobcats twice in a row with Wade playing, but that shouldn't stop them from gaining the #4 seed as division winner with the Wizards' mishaps... Which would mean a 1st round encounter with the Cavs (or the Bulls, but not likely) and a 2nd round encounter with the Pistons... At the moment it seems the #2 seed in the East (Bulls right now) has a easier path to the East final than the #1 seed, but the tradeoff is the home court advantage if the Pistons do manage to fight off the Magic and the Heat/Cavs...

As for my favourite team and their destined 1st round opponent, I promised myself I'd stop talk about them at all until the conclusion of their 1st round series...:)

While Cec's here let's talk a bit about the Cricket World Cup... Who do you think is the better team now, NZ or Australia?
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Postby Cec » Wed Apr 11, 2007 2:40 pm

udosuk wrote:"....While Cec's here let's talk a bit about the Cricket World Cup... Who do you think is the better team now, NZ or Australia

In recent years, New Zealand has proved a tough opponent for Australia and I expect these two teams will play off in the Final. In every sport, competitors or competing teams seldom sustain their best ability every time they compete and I guess it will boil down to who performs better on the day. Hard to pick a winner but a New Zealand victory wouldn't surprise me.

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Postby udosuk » Thu Apr 12, 2007 6:13 am

Cec, you're absolutely right about who performs better on the day will win the ANZ showdown... And how thoughtful for the organisers to schedule their group game 5 days before the Anzac Day (think that's the closest date they can arrange)... But let's not count out Sri Lanka & South Africa, I think each of these 4 teams can beat any other team on any given day...:!:

Hud, I think no team would like to face the Nuggets in the playoffs right now... The Suns would do anything to hold onto the #2 spot, so that they could gladly await the exhausted winner from the Spurs-Nuggets series (provided they could hold off Kobe & the Lakers themselves first, of course)...

Added later:

With the Clippers beating the Lakers yesterday, there is a chance Lakers will miss the playoffs and the Suns will face the Clippers/Warriors in the 1st round... Perhaps this will become more likely if the Suns take care of their game against the Lakers today...
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Postby Hud » Fri Apr 13, 2007 8:28 pm

I watched the first half of the Clippers/Lakers game last night. The Clippers looked terrible and Kobe was Kobe. I still think the Lakers will be in the playoffs and likely the #7 seed. It's hard to tell, but I surely hope the Suns don't try to influence the positioning.

They made a big deal of the first Dice-K/Ichiro matchup the other day. Dice won the battle but lost the game.
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Postby udosuk » Sat Apr 14, 2007 3:06 pm

The Suns seem to have their way with Kobe & the Lakers... I don't think they'll relinquish their #2 seed and is in no danger to face the Nuggets until the 2nd round... Perhaps the Clippers could give them some challenge with Sam Cassell at PG...

In the last few days of the regular season we'll have quite a few previews of playoff matchups... Looks like the person who designed the schedule was quite bright...:)

On MLB, I did notice Dice-K pitched against Ichiro Suzuki and it seemed to me that Ichiro wasn't in his top form right now... The star of that game was the M's Felix Hernandez who threw a 1-hitter...

The Yankees are in a bad slump right now... Today Kei Igawa pitched nicely but the bullpen blew his win... It kind of evened out because in his first game he deserved a loss but was saved by A-Rod...

The D-Backs lost 2 after winning 6 in a row... With Brandon Webb losing against the Rockies today (at least BK didn't pitch)... But at least they're way ahead of the Yankees in terms of W-L now...
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Postby Hud » Sat Apr 14, 2007 10:15 pm

I just heard an amazing stat if true. There have been 874 games played in Fenway Park between the BoSox and Yanks and each team has won 437 of them.

Our local writers really nit pick the Suns even when they win. I really feel that these are the dog days and it's hard to get up for these games even though they mean something. I think the Suns will try to find the key for beating the Jazz tonight, but who knows?
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Postby udosuk » Sun Apr 15, 2007 2:23 pm

I would have thought the Yankees were winning a few more than BoSox in Fenway Park... But then again it's their home ground... I'm sure they'd be tied again time and time in the future...

The Suns last night won impressively... That's all I can say at the moment, as I've forbidden myself from commenting about their opponent in that game, nor their next opponent...:)

I'm pretty sure the Suns will finish #2 now... The Mavs will play the Spurs today, and I feel Avery Johnson will once again rest some of their players and give the game up...

Added after the Mavs-Spurs game:

How wrong I was! Avery obviously meant serious business and wouldn't want to give the Spurs any psychological advantage... But the story of the game is Tim Duncan being ejected by referee Joey Crawford... Never thought Tim Duncan would get in trouble like this... The Suns must wish this Joey Crawford would work in their potential 2nd round series...:)

The Lakers hold on to a playoff spot with another 50 by Kobe... I really wish we'd see Suns-Lakers & Mavs-Warriors in the 1st round...
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Postby Hud » Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:02 pm

The Lakers hold on to a playoff spot with another 50 by Kobe... I really wish we'd see Suns-Lakers & Mavs-Warriors in the 1st round...


I was just thinking the same thing. There're several nice story lines in each match-up: The Lakers seem to want the Suns and Don Nelson wants a piece of the Mavs. It's said that Nelson has tried to mold the Warriors in the Suns' style.

I watched the Spurs/Mavs yesterday and Duncan seems to be getting under Joey Crawford's skin. His second technical came without him either saying anything or making any gesture. He was just chuckling. I think Joey's Skin is too thin. Who knows who he'll decide to get on in the playoffs? The game seemed to be officiated by homers imo.

That had to be a crushing loss by the hated Yankees yesterday. A 3 run walkoff homer in the ninth off Rivera. Yanks have 3 pitchers hurt now. If they had RJ, it would be 4. D-backs finally get to BK. Tony Clark almost did it single handedly while wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson.
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Postby udosuk » Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:41 pm

I bet the Yankees would be glad they have this tough loss in regular season instead of the playoffs... The D-backs are in impressive form early in the season... I hope they can sustain it... When RJ comes back they'd be formiddable...

Ahem... With the #2 seed locked do you think the Suns would rest up in the last 2 games? Sitting Nash for tonight's game would be a pretty sensible move (wink wink:) )?

Which team do you think will be the East #2? Bulls/Cavs/Raptors? And will the Nets overtake the Wizards to #6? Seeing Vince Carter playing in Toronto in the playoffs would be another great story... And I think Cavs-Heat would be another great series with Lebron vs Wade...
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Postby Hud » Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:06 am

The word is that all the Suns starters will play but have their minutes decreased to maybe 25? I'll have to check the standing to see who I'd think would be #2 in the east. Without looking, I'll take Toronto since Chicago seems to be fading slightly. I think the Mavs/Warrior game should be a good also.

Good point that the Yanks get a loss like tht early on and have plenty time to forget it. I still have bad dreams of BK's problems in the world series. My daughter is taking my wife and me to the D-backs/Dodger game tomorrow night. I hope that Gonzo doesn't come back to haunt us. Now if only she could get some NBA Playoff tickets lol.

Edit later, Toronto has lost 1 of its last 10 games and the Bulls, 2. Toronto has to win the last 2 and Chicago has to lose its 1. I assume Toronto has the tie breaker or else it doesn't matter much.
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Postby udosuk » Tue Apr 17, 2007 6:22 am

Checked out the Suns players' minutes in tonight's game:

Marion: 40
Bell: 35
Nash: 34
Amare: 34
Barbosa: 30
Diaw: 30
Jones: 24
Thomas: 14

And only these 8 players played. Needless to say D'Antoni was meaning serious business too... So what a game it was...:) I can only say it is a great decision for me to stop talking about/jinxing my team...:D

As for the East #2, I'd have to rule out the Raptors, because in case the Bulls & the Raptors have a 2-way tie, the Bulls have the tiebreaker (higher % in Eastern Conference games)... If the Cavs & the Raptors have a 2-way tie, the Cavs have the tiebreaker (3-1 head-to-head)... And if the Bulls, Cavs & Raps have a 3-way tie, the Cavs will win it with the best combined head-to-head (5-3 against the Bulls' 4-4 & the Raptors' 3-5). And if the Bulls & Cavs have a 2-way tie, the Bulls will win it with a higher % in Central Division games... So the Raptors are nailed as #3...:idea:

As of now, the Bulls are at 49-32 & the Cavs are at 48-32 (the Raptors are at 47-33 and cannot finish better than 49-33)... The Cavs only need to win out against the 76ers & the Bucks to finish 50-32 while the Bulls need to hold off the Nets who're hungry for the #6 spot to reach 50-32, so it seems the Cavs are slight favourite for the #2 seed as of now, but we never know...:!:

Tonight the Mavs-Warriors and Clippers-Suns games can decide who will be #8 in the West... Will the Suns play hard to win so as to make sure the Mavs would play the Warriors in the 1st round? But if the Warriors upset the Mavs they'll be in the playoffs no matter what, and will be carrying a huge psychological advantage...

Checking out the schedule has led to some interesting discoveries... Like, can you find out with the minimal time which 2 teams won't be playing on the last day of the regular season?:?:
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Postby Cec » Tue Apr 17, 2007 6:54 am

The Cricket World Cup finals will soon be contested and I'm surprised the finals format doesn't follow the system where the third and fourth teams play the first semi-final (loser eliminated) whilst the first and second teams play the second semi-final with the winner of that match advancing straight to the final and the loser of that semi playing the winner of the first semi-final also for a place in the final.

As I see it, the World Cup is a long competition and the two teams finishing first and second at the end of such a long drawn out series are entitled to be seen as the two best teams. The situation could arise where one of these teams could win all its games prior to the final series but have an "off-day" and be eliminated in its first final. For a finals series I much prefer a format where the winner is decided from playing the best of three matches... A team winning the first two matches in this format immediately becomes the winner.

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Postby udosuk » Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:13 am

Cec, I can understand your system, which is also used in the Australian women's basketball and netball leagues, plus in the Olympics softball... I wonder why it seems only women sports pick up that system? My only guess is in men's sports, the crowds expect to see even the best fight for survival... The Super Eight stage is like the regular season, and the semi-finals/final is like the playoffs, where only "one-and-done" elimination showdowns are expected...

Coincidentally, in most male team sports I know, when a tournament/competition is down to the final 4 teams, they always play out 2 semi-finals and then 1 final (eg. AFL, NRL, Super 14 Rugby, NCAA, NFL, Soccer World Cup), so I think the common concensus is that when there're 8 or more teams left, the top few teams are allow a chance to slip up, but when there're 4 left it's always do or die for everybody... (Perhaps that theory doesn't apply to women...:?: )
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