Saturday, April 30, 2005

Nice Move Toiney


After shoving referee Tom Washington Thursday night in Indiana, Boston Celtic Antoine Walker was suspended for tonight's Game 4 against the Pacers. Boston, perhaps in a must win situation, must take advantage of the Ewing Theory.

Saturday's NBA Picks

April 30, 2005

Home Team in CAPS

Anthony's Picks:

Last Night: (1-2), Playoffs: (8-13-1)


  • WASHINGTON -6 over Chicago
  • Dallas +2.5 over HOUSTON
  • Boston +4.5 over INDIANA--LOCK
  • DENVER +1.5 over San Antonio

--Washington returning home will be a huge boost for them. They were 29-12 this season at the MCI Center and should whip the Bulls into shape being down 0-2. Look for Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison to have big games and good shooting nights. WAS 103, CHI 94.

--I think Dallas will maintain this momentum and make the road teams in this series 4-0. I love how they stormed back in the 4th quarter on Thursday but the key tonight will be Josh Howard. JoHo fouled out in just 17 minutes in Game 3 and needs to have a nice defensive effort against T-Mac. DAL 96, HOU 93.

--Well we all know my biasness (is that a word?) towards the C's, but I just feel they need a spark tonight and missing Walker will provide that Ewing Theory effect. AW will be on the sidelines firing up his mates and the Celts should grab Game 4 by the slimest of margins. BOS 91, IND 89

--Finally, this is obviously the toughest call of the night, but Denver returning home, who only lost 1 at the Pepsi Center under GK, should be a tough team to stop. I expect Nene to be the deciding factor and to play Tim Duncan extremely physical. DEN 99, SAS 96. GLTA

Paul's Picks:

Last Night: (1-2), Playoffs: (8-13-1)

  • WASHINGTON -6 over Chicago*
  • HOUSTON -3 over Dallas
  • INDIANA -4.5 over Boston
  • San Antonio -1.5 over DENVER

-Ugh. We're really sucking. Just for the record, I've been doing decently in games I'd actually play if I were a betting man and awful in games that I'd never touch. Not sure what that counts for. But I'm going to put a * next to the games I feel good about from now on.

-New teams in the Playoffs are now 8-0 at home, 1-5 on the road. I'm sticking with this trend and taking the Wizards regardless of how high that line is. Chicago has been outstanding thus far, but I think we'll see them slip up this afternoon at the MCI Center as the Wiz control the game from the get-go. Wizards 105, Bulls 95.

-Hard to figure what's going to happen with the Houston/Dallas game. The Rockets have been the better team in the series all but 8 minutes and will probably come out firing after that crushing loss in Game 3. I think the home team will hold serve in this series the rest of the way out beginning with tonight. Rockets 107, Mavericks 101.

-Sorry Ant, 'Toine ain't no Ewing to the Celtics. Regardless, I still have no idea what to expect in this game. On paper, Jermaine should dominate the Celts' defensively inept frontline. I think Al Jefferson could be the key tonight-- it's integral that he make Jermaine work defensively. I'm mainly taking Indiana because of Rick Carlisle. He's going into tonight's game knowing he has a major advantage being at home and going up against a Walker-less Celtics-- nobody is as good at exposing opponents' weaknesses than Carlisle. The Pacers will be very physical tonight and keep riding Reggie. Not sure the Celtics will have an answer. Pacers 85, Celtics 79.

-And yes, I am taking all of the favorites tonight. I'm not backing off any of my picks simply because of this. Another tough call with Denver/San Antone. This game is more important to the Nuggets than the Spurs, but they're going to have their hands full putting a stop to the momentum the Spurs have gained from Game 2. Duncan looks very healthy and the Spurs should be well prepared for an up-and-down battle with 2 full days rest and a deep bench. Should be a dandy. Spurs 111, Nuggets 108. GL

Friday, April 29, 2005

Battle of the Big Asses


Greg Ostertag is going to have to fare better against Jerome James if the Kings are going to stop the Sonics tonight.

Friday's Playoff Picks/Analysis

April 29, 2005

Home Team in CAPS

Anthony's Picks:

Last Night: (1-1-1), Playoffs: (7-11-1)
  • Detroit -3.5 over PHILADELPHIA
  • MEMPHIS +2 over Phoenix
  • SACRAMENO -5.5 over Seattle

Thanks for putting these up for me, Paul. What a wonderful friend you are!

Paul's Picks:

Last Night: (0-2-1), Playoffs: (7-11-1)

  • Detroit -3.5 over PHILADELPHIA
  • MEMPHIS +2 over Phoenix
  • SACRAMENTO -5.5 over Seattle

*Playoff Analysis*

Last Night's Games

MIA/NJ: The Nets gave the Heat everything they had last night, but in the end, it was still just not enough to eek out a win. Carter, Jefferson, and Kidd (though he missed some timely shots) all had big games for Jersey as they hung tough throughout and certainly provided a great deal of excitement for the fans. However, the Heat hung on and despite a so-so performance, had the look of a team destined to duke it out with Detroit in the Eastern Conference Finals in a couple of weeksn. Though the Nets don't want to get swept, it's hard to picture them coming out with another big performance Sunday to match last night's. Look for the Heat to go back to Miami alone.

BOS/IND: The Celtics, much to my chagrin, looked terrible last night from the get-go. They never looked in sync on offense or defense, taking way too many bad shots and giving up way too many easy shots. Antoine Walker was atrocious on both ends the entire night and the result was shear frustration which saw him partake in two incidents that resulted in brief melees and technicals. The second altercation, where Jermaine O'Neal threw a couple of elbows and shoved Walker, and Walker handed JO a forearm shiver may be the one to worry about, Celtics fans. As the encounter subsided, Walker grabbed Official Tom Washington, who was standing in his way, and shoved him aside so as to go back towards O'Neal. A big no-no in the NBA Rules Book. Here's what I think results from the incident- Walker's forearm shiver may be construed as a punch, but since it's borderline, I think he'll draw a fine rather than a suspension. O'Neal will probably get fined as well, though if he had landed either one of those elbows, he'd certainly be facing a suspension. It's difficult to tell whether JO let his elbows flail out as to say "back off" or to intentionally hit someone. Walker will almost certainly draw a 1-game suspension for tossing the ref aside. At worst, I'd say Walker gets 2 games, O'Neal 1 game. Either way, the C's better be prepared to head into Game 4 without Antoine Walker.

DAL/HOU: This series appeared all but over when Houston jumped out to an 8-point lead in the opening minutes of the 4th before Dallas rattled off 20 in a row to save their asses from disappointment and embarrassment. Finally, we got a sense of urgency from Dallas. I'd never seen Dirk as intense in that 4th Quarter last night as in his entire career. I think it finally struck him what was on the verge of happening and he just let loose. He was openly yelling at teammates, playing with a nasty scowl on his face, and appearing reckless on both ends of the floor. And my God, it was exactly what the Mavericks needed. If there's ever been a time in an NBA game where you could tell the exact moment when a team decided it wanted the game more than the other, it had to have been right after Dirk was clearly seen cursing out Marquis Daniels for fumbling a pass. Suddenly, the Mavericks looked like an entirely different team, one that Houston was not at all ready for. I'll admit it right now-- I have no idea what the hell is going to happen in this series, but I'm damn well going to enjoy the rest of it. From the star power to the emotions, and the state rivalry to the level of play, this series could just as well be the Conference Finals. Needless to say, I'm anxiously awaiting Game 4 (and 5, 6, 7).

Tonight's Games

DET/PHI: I'll say it again, unless AI leads the Sixers by way of an extraordinary performance, there's just no way Philly takes down Detroit even once in this series. Pistons 92, 76ers 86.

PHX/MEM: Everyone keeps underestimating the Grizzlies, but in reality, they're one coaching move (J-Dub over Watson in the last 5 minutes of Game 2) away from a split in this series. It's easy to jump on Phoenix tonight because A) They're the #1 seed and have for the most part resembled who they were in the regular season during the first two games of the series; B) They were outstanding on the road this season at 31-10; And C) A 2-point line is practically a pick 'em. But don't get fooled into betting simply based on what the Suns have going for them. The Grizzlies split four contest with Phoenix this season and were a respectable 26-15 at home. On top of that, they have more to lose tonight than do the Suns, and Fratello has a chance to build on the improvement he made from Game 1 to Game 2. I may be in the minority on this one (and believe me, there's a force pulling me towards Phoenix), but I'm sticking with Memphis. I said they'd push the series to 6 last week and I'm sticking to that. Grizzlies 104, Suns 102.

SEA/SAC: The Kings have been the least impressive team in the Playoffs thus far (and yes, that does include Philly, New Jersey, and Washington), and will undoubtedly be thrilled to be back at Arco Arena tonight after choking down two losses at Key Arena. Here's an interesting nugget of information for you-- there are 5 new teams in the Playoffs this season that had their logos etched on ping-pong balls just a year ago (Phoenix, Philly, Seattle, Chicago, and Washington). Thus far, these teams have combined to go 6-4: 6-0 at home, 0-4 on the road. I'm sticking with this trend tonight (outside of Philly) and emphatically playing this card with Seattle. The Sonics had a spectacular time opening up the Playoffs in Seattle, but are they ready for an experienced, hungry Kings team at Arco? Kings 105, Sonics 96.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Bobby B-Ball


Bobby Simmons was named the NBA's Most Improved Player today. Dwyane Wade finished 2nd, and Tayshaun Prince finished 3rd.

GO AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Unfortunately we get to see TJ Kidd and his monstrous dome piece rooting on his father tonight at Continental Airlines Arena. Doesn't this kid have school? Whatever, at least we get to see Joumana.

Thursday's NBA Picks/Analysis

April 28, 2005

Home Team in CAPS

Anthony's Picks

Last Night: (0-3), Playoffs (6-10)
  • Miami -3 over NEW JERSEY
  • Boston +3 over INDIANA
  • Dallas +2.5 over HOUSTON

--I'm going all roadies tonight after my dreadful slew of picks last night. I think Miami wants to win this series as quickly as possible to get Shaq some rest. Tonight, the Heat will continue their destruction of the Nets. MIA 105-98.

--I like the Celtics to win this game outright. Stephen Jackson has a badly sprained knee and will play, but with arguably their best player slowed all game long, the Pacers are going to struggle putting the ball in the hoop. Boston completely fell apart on Monday with Ricky Davis and the rest of the bench failing to make much of a contribution. I see that changing big time tonight. BOS 105, IND 101.

--Finally, I like the Mavs to get back on track tonight. "T-Mac is reaching don't dare bet against him level" was Paul's quote of the night yesterday. That's Paul making his classic assessments after just two games, like "Duncan looks 100% to me." Yeah, rolling the same ankle three times in one season and its back 100%? What about Sunday when he looked like he had Jason Kendall's ankle after destroying it on first base? I bet anything Paul goes with the Rockets, but if you're smart, you'll nab Dirk and the Mavs. GLTA

Paul's Picks:

Last Night: (2-1), Playoffs: (7-9)

  • Miami -3 over NEW JERSEY
  • Boston +3 over INDIANA
  • HOUSTON -1.5 over Dallas

*Playoff Analysis*

Tonight's Games:

MIA/NJ: It's impossible for me to take New Jersey after the way Miami has dominated them over the course of the season. The Nets will have to play flawlessly to take one away from the Heat and that's a very tall order given the way the Heat have been playing defensively. Even if Shaq is on auto pilot right now, Wade and Mourning never are, and that alone gives Miami a chance to walk away with an easy sweep over the Nets. I think we'll see the Nets battle tougher tonight however, even own the lead for the better part of the game as they set the tone throughout. But in the end, Miami will take over in the 4th as they have all season and take a commanding 3-0 lead over New Jersey. MIA 97, NJ 90

BOS/IND: No time for major analysis right now, I'll see if I can get some more up later. Also know that we at NBA Source have been EXTREMELY busy this week, so we've been doing our best to have our daily picks/analysis serve as articles this week. Next week things will be back to normal and we'll have articles up regularly. To the game-- I snared Memphis last night based on the "steady line despite heavy betting on one side" theory and it worked. Same goes for this game. Indiana is being taken at a 3 to 1 rate and I'm really not sure why. Have people watched the first two games? Boston is by far the superior team. They're capable of winning the next 3 games, no questions asked. I think we'll see Doc go to the bench more tonight as he tries to up the tempo and wear down Indiana sooner. Take the Cs with confidence. BOS 94, IND 88.

DAL/HOU: I'm really clueless as to what's going to happen tonight with this game. As far as I'm concerned, T-Mac is on the verge of entering "don't bet against under any circumstances" territory. Although, you have to wonder if Houston might be coming into tonight's game a litte too comfortable and confident. I think tonight should provide us a good barometer of how far T-Mac has really come. Put it this way-- Michael Jordan would be looking for the sweep. Tonight is the series for Dallas-- they lose, they may as well pack it in. A win provides them a great deal of hope. My hunch tells me Van Gundy has his troops entering tonight's game with the right mindset-- to go out there and win tonight and not give Dallas any chance in this series. HOU 104, DAL 101


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Grizzlies Look to Get Hot at the Desert


Mike "Steve-O" Miller might have to go wild tonight if the Grizzlies are going to steal one from the Suns at America West Arena.

Wednesday's Playoff Picks/Analysis

April 27, 2005

Home Team in CAPS

Anthony's Picks:

Last Night: (2-1), Playoffs: (6-7)

  • Denver +8.5 over SAN ANTONIO
  • Washington +4 over CHICAGO
  • PHOENIX -8 over Memphis
Paul's an idiot so these didn't get up til 8:30...screw analysis

Paul's Picks:

Last Night: (1-2), Playoffs: (5-8)

  • SAN ANTONIO -8.5 over Denver
  • Washington +3 over CHICAGO
  • Memphis +8 over PHOENIX

Playoff Analysis

*Last Night's Games*

-PHI/DET: So last night AI and CWebb had lackluster games and we got to see what happened-- the Sixers got hammered once again. Pistons are just doing their thing right now, turning it up when they have to. Last night they used a Rasheed technical foul to get them going in the 3rd and in turn, blew the game wide open. I'm going to keep sticking with the Pistons the rest of the way out, but again, look for AI to key a miraculous Sixer win.

-NJ/MIA: If Alonzo Mourning plays like this throughout the Playoffs, watch out everyone. Zo was dominant last night (21 Pts, 9 rebs in 16 Mins) and the best part, the Heat only had to use the Diesel 26 minutes. Nenad Krstic was terrific for the Nets (27 Pts, 8 Rebs)-- on the offensive end, but has no business containing Shaq or Zo on the defensive side. It's unfortunate for the Nets, but this series is just a total mismatch for them. They came into the Playoffs looking so sharp and now they have just run right into a brick wall. I don't think the Nets are going to win a game. Vince Carter needs to get his act together because last night his head wasn't even into the game. There's no excuse for jawing with Keyon Dooling, the Heat's backup point guard, for the better part of the first half. Frank has to get Carter 100% focused, like he was in the last month of the season. Otherwise, the brooms will be at Continental on Sunday.

-SAC/SEA: And so goes my first lock of the Playoffs! Way to show up, Sacto! Seattle looked great last night to their credit, on both ends of the floor. If Jerome James can continue to play like this (huge, HUGE "if"), Seattle could be more than roadkill after the first round. The Kings on the other hand, are already looking like roadkill. When you're down 11 at halftime on the road in a series you're already losing, how could you possibly play as terrible a 3rd Quarter as they did last night? I mean what the hell were they doing in the locker room? Smoking fertilizer? This team is supposed to be experienced and know when they need to turn it on. Game 3 is huge for them. There's no doubt the raucous Arco crowd will be at their backs, so the Kings need to ride that energy and jump out the gate to a commanding win. The Kings right now appear to be lacking confidence. A decisive Game 3 win should give them some...I'm just not sure that's in the cards.

*Tonight's Games*

-DEN/SA: It took an 0 of 17 shooting performance to close the game for Denver to win, and though Denver's defense was excellent, I mean c'mon, some of the shots the Spurs were missing were gimmes. I still like the Nuggets to make this a series, but there's no way they win tonight. Not with the Spurs' backs against the wall, not with Denver knowing they can afford to lose tonight. Also keep in mind that the Nuggets have lost 11 straight Game 2's on the road since 1985. And that the Spurs lost Game 1 in Round 1 at home two years ago to the upstart Suns before winning a Championship. The Spurs will be more focused tonight, and 100% or not, there's not a better guy to have on your side than Tim Duncan when your team needs a win. I like San Antone to win easy tonight. SA 101, DEN 90.

-WAS/CHI: Washington nearly overcame super-human performances from Ben Gordon and Andres Nocioni, and a painful game from Gil Arenas to win Game 1. Chicago really had to work for their baskets on Sunday and had an exceptional night shooting the ball while the Wiz had a lot of open looks that they just blew. Arenas will bounce back big tonight and the Wizards will overcome a late Chicago rally to hold off the Bulls. WAS 99, CHI 95.

-MEM/PHX: I decided to take Memphis once I saw that the public has been jumping all over Phoenix at -8 and the line hasn't moved at all. With my luck thus far, I'll ride Vegas for at least one game. Memphis actually played a decent game on Sunday for the most part and should make some adjustment's for tonight's game that will help them take a step closer to beating Phoenix. I still don't know if that will be quite enough, but I do think the Grizz can make a game out of tonight's matchup. PHX 109, MEM 103.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

King of Krap


I'm sorry...I know we're supposed to respect this guy because he's hit countless big shots and has served as one of the greatest shooters to ever play the game. But all I will remember him for is his array of flops and leg-kicks most evident last night in Boston. What's even more disappointing is that the refs are with him every step of the way. The Celtics should have held on last night, but it's pretty difficult when you get called for a shooting foul after getting kicked in the shins. Why hasn't Kendrik Perkins decked this guy yet? (Let Anthony speak for himself. As a non-Celtics fan, I had a ton of appreciation for what Reggie did last night. At 39 years old, he uses every little bit of experience he has to give himself an advantage. And as for the star treatment from the refs, what makes him any different from Paul Pierce? Reggie just knows how to work that advantage better than anyone-- Paul).

Tuesday's Playoff Picks/Analysis

April 26, 2005

Home Team in CAPS

Anthony's Picks:

Last Night: (0-2), Playoffs: (4-6)

  • DETROIT -9 over Philadelphia
  • New Jersey +8 over MIAMI
  • SEATTLE -3 over Sacramento

Playoff Analysis
*Last Night's Games*

-IND/BOS: Last night Rick Carlisle and the Pacers forced the Celtics to play their style of game: a low tempo/half court game, which in turn allowed them eliminate those countless turnovers from Game 1 and also tire out the Big 3 (Pierce, Walker and Davis). Take a look: 1) PIERCE: By allowing him his 33 points--16 of which came from the free throw line--the Pacers knew he'd be exhausted in the 4th from driving the lane so much in the 3rd quarter (17 points) 2) DAVIS: After rookie Tony Allen got schooled by Reggie Miller in the 1st half, Doc Rivers was forced to put his best mid-range jump shooter on him in Davis (and thus RD missed the game tying 12-footer), 3) WALKER: With James Jones remaining in the game, Rivers was forced to use a small lineup for a good portion of the 4th, thus leaving 'Toine to guard a bigger/stronger Jermaine O'Neal. In the end the Celtics were just exhausted and could count on no one else to score besides Pierce. This must change by Thurs nite. Where the hell was LaFrentz? Jefferson? Payton? West? What do these guys think, its just time to sit back and watch. Get your heads out of your asses.

-HOU/DAL: I was regretably sleeping during this game

*Tonight's Games*
PHI/DET: AI and C-Webb can't do much more than they did the other night and counted on Korver and Marc Jackson to step up is like asking Joey Gladstone to be serious. C'mon... DET 98, PHI 87.

NJ/MIA: My soul reason for taking this game is that the Heat have smoked the Nets in all 4 meetings this season, yet the line went DOWN for Game 2? Makes absolutely no sense. I'd even encourage you high rollers to take the NJ moneyline tonight which I hear is in the neighborhood of +400. MIA 101, NJ 99

SAC/SEA: Yeah, if you read Paul's comments below, well, I just don't agree. If Bibby's scoring more that doesn't mean everyone else is contributing the same. The Kings have to change their game plan a bit to free up better shots for their point guard. Seattle isn't going to change anything and thus should control the tempo from the opening tip. It's obvious that peja and B. Miller are not close to 100% and without them, I like Seattle by 6-8 tonight. This doesn't mean I don't like the Kings in both games in Sactown...SEA 103, SAC 97.

GLTA

Paul's Picks:

Last Night: (0-2), Playoffs: (4-6)

  • DETROIT -9 over Philadelphia
  • New Jersey +8 over MIAMI
  • Sacramento +3 over SEATTLE

Playoff Analysis

*Last Night's Games*

-Indiana/Boston Celtics had that game and they absolutely blew it. You would think a lineup with GP, Pierce, and Walker would know how to close out games, but that certainly wasn't the case last night. Indiana executed on offense and played much better defense, which is why I initially thought they would win this series. It'll be interesting to see how this series plays out. The Celts by far have the talent edge, but the Pacers are better coached and are mentally a far tougher team.

-Houston/Dallas When I took Dallas to win in 5, I didn't plan on Tracy McGrady making the "leap". In fact, I factored in McGrady's (and Yao's for that matter) lack of intensity as a reason why Houston would bow out quickly. How wrong was I? Houston has not only looked dominant next to Dallas, but they are looking like a team that could make a serious run to the Finals. They have shredded Dallas' D (the one I kept praising before the playoffs), who looked about as lost as a little boy in the woods during the last 5 minutes of last night's game. And on defense, they forced Dallas to beat them from the perimeter which they almost did thanks to an out-of-this-world shooting night. Houston was either scoring on a Yao dunk, a WIDE OPEN 3-pointer, or a T-Mac shot which seemed to be going in no matter how tough it was. The Rockets were still getting killed on the glass, but I'm going to assume JVG make some adjustments to fix this as Houston goes up 3-0.

*Tonight's Games*

Philadelphia/Detroit:
I think I'm going to take Detroit the rest of the way here. Sixers came out guns blazing to start Saturday's game before receiving a royal ass whooping from the reigning champs. What worries me for Philly is that both AI and CWebb had good games, and they still got smoked. It's hard to see both of them playing this well every game (though I still believe Philly will take one game thanks to an inspired AI-led performance) against Detroit's D. Detroit knows exactly what they have to do to win each game and there's no doubt Larry Brown is expressing how important it is to get some rest in between each round. I like the Pistons in another wallop tonight. Pistons 103, 76ers 85.

New Jersey/Miami:
Nobody will beat Miami when Damon Jones plays like he did Sunday (30 points). And I don't think anybody expects DJones to play that well every game out. His post-game press conference was amusing to some, but probably not to the Nets. I really hope Lawrence Frank uses this as motivation in Game 2 because if the Nets are going to have any chance in this series, they can't afford to be torched by the Heat's mediocre supporting cast. Frank needs to make sure his team doesn't get pushed around like they did in Game 1 and comes out with a sense of toughness and urgency. Unfortunately the Nets don't have a thug when they need one (where's Kenyon Martin), so Lawrence Frank might have to play that role. You heard it here first, don't be surprised to see Frank get an early technical if things aren't going the Nets' way. He's been doing it all season long as a source of motivation for his team and with tonight's game being a biggie for the Nets, I can see him pulling it out the bag. I'm still not sure the Nets can win tonight's game, but I do think J-Kidd and Vinsanity step it up big tonight and make the game close. In the end Shaq and Wade will just prove too tough. Heat 104, Nets 100.

Sacramento/Seattle:
Sacramento nearly pulled out Game 1 despite Mike Bibby probably having the worst game of his entire career. This was the difference in the game, it's that simple. If Bibby had knocked down 4 out of 16, the Kings win that game. I'd be shocked if Bibby didn't bounce back big in Game 2 and ensure that the Kings tie up the series. This game is as sure a bet as any in the playoffs thus far, mark my words. Kings 105, Sonics 102.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Monday's NBA Playoffs Picks

April 25, 2005

Home Team in CAPS

Anthony's Picks:

Sunday: (2-2), Playoffs: (4-4)

  • BOSTON -3.5 over Indiana
  • DALLAS -7 over Houston

-I love the way the Celtics played the other night, but more importantly, Jermaine O'Neal looked lost. He hasn't realy played well since returning from the IR (15.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 37.5 FG%). The Pacers had 20 turnovers, (bad ones) and the Celtics just looked much more prepared to play. Indiana was lost for much of this game, but maybe their little run in the 4th quarter of Saturday's game can spark them. I doubt it. BOS 104, IND 98.

-I was literally shocked that Houston stole Game 1 the other night. I belive it was just one of those games that Dallas was too cocky for since they were playing at such a high level to end the regaulr season. Tonight will be a different stroy and totally dominated by Dirk. DAL 109, HOU 97. GLTA



Paul's Picks:

Sunday: (2-2), Playoffs: (4-4)

  • BOSTON -3.5 over Indiana
  • DALLAS -7 over Houston

-The only game of the first weekend that really has me questioning my first round pick was the Indy/Boston one and for good reason-- Indy got a shellacking they didn't see coming to them. As impressive a season Indiana has had in light of all the crap they have dealt with, I just feel they're in over their heads in this series. Carlisle completely took Pierce out of the game and they still got bombed. What happens when Pierce has an average game? Jermaine is not 100%, Reggie appears to have run out of gas, and Anthony Johnson is one point guard Gary Payton can still have his way with. I do think Indy will keep tonight's game close, very close. But it's tough to see them pulling out a nail-biter at the Fleet Center. Boston 87, Indiana 83.

-Avery Johnson was out-coached in game one of the series, plain and simple. JVG threw different defenders at Nowitzki with lots of double-teams and left him with few open looks. Avery did nothing to try and stop T-Mac who scored an easy 34 points. I'm big on Avery, but his lack of playoff coaching experience has me a bit worried. It'll be interesting to see what adjustments he makes tonight to ensure they don't completely fall into a hole. I'm confident Dirk will get his tonight, but he really needs help around him. I said it from the beginning, Stackhouse is the key to this series. He's the one other guy on the Mavs that can beat you in a lot of different ways and has the ability of forcing JVG to really defend him. This will open things up for not only Dirk, but guys like Terry, Finley, and Howard who can be counted on when they're not asked to do too much. Like the other game, I think this one sticks close to the line. Dallas 101, Houston 92.

Hey Karl...NOT Good to See You

Tim Duncan and the Spurs fell apart in the fourth quarter and face a 1-0 deficit against the surging Nuggets. Game 2 is Wednesday night at 8 PM at the SBC Center

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Piston-Whipped!


AI (30 Points) and C-Webb (27 Points) both played very well for the Sixers against Detroit today, but it wasn't even close to enough as the Pistons dismantled the Sixers 106-85. It could be a long--err, short series for Philadelphia.

Sunday's NBA Picks

April 24, 2005

Home Team in CAPS

* Games still to be determined

Anthony's Picks:

Saturday: (2-2*), Playoffs: (2-2*)

  • New Jersey +8.5 over MIAMI
  • Washington +4 over CHICAGO
  • Denver +8.5 over SAN ANTONIO
  • PHOENIX -9 over Memphis

Sorry, I know these are late as hell, but this is what I really had...I mean the NJ game is proof in itself. GLTA


Paul's Picks:

Saturday: (2-2*), Playoffs: (2-2*)

  • MIAMI -8.5 over New Jersey
  • Washington +4 over CHICAGO
  • SAN ANTONIO -7.5 over Denver
  • PHOENIX -9 over Memphis

-I'm a little torn on the Miami/Jersey game and wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole if I were a betting man. After watching today's afternoon game, where the 76ers came out firing before Detroit got their act together and basically blew away Philly (who actually played pretty well), I'm thinking something similar might happen tomorrow in Miami. The Heat absolutely obliterated the Nets every time they went head to head this season, and though I don't think that's how the series will play out, I do think the Heat will fend off a stellar Nets first half and win by double digits. Shaq will play tomorrow and will be ready to shut people up who are suddenly doubting the Heat. Miami 101, New Jersey 90.

-People are taking the Bulls at a much higher rate than the Wiz, yet the line hasn't moved a bit. Vegas wants the line to sit still, they are encouraging people to take the Bulls. I'm going with the Wiz in this game with that in mind. Game One's are tough- it's difficult to expect what's going to happen between two teams that haven't been in the playoffs since the Yinka Dare (God bless his soul) glory days. The 4 point spread is also enough to push me over the edge. Washington 92, Chicago 89.

-Healthy Duncan or not, I'm gunning on the Spurs laying the smack down in game one. This is one team that cannot afford to lose the opener and Popovich knows this. The Spurs have never taken anyone lately, so don't expect them to come out lame tomorrow night. Spurs 107, Nuggets 92.

-Hard not to like Phoenix tomorrow night. The Grizz have been a total mess lately as Fratello is still struggling to settle on a rotation that makes the most of his talent. I trust that D'Antoni ensures his team comes out like they would on any night and that should result in an early lead and an eventual blowout. This is probably the safest bet of the night. Suns 118, Grizzlies 102. GL

Time to retire old fella...


"Too quick of a shot that time by Chris Wallace"--Yeah, Jack, the Sixers got Biggie to play power forward this afternoon...

Friday, April 22, 2005

Will Rambo Draw First Blood?


Jesus Shuttlesworth (left) will receive some help in the form of Rambo (right), who is expected to play Saturday, as the Sonics look to jump out to an early series lead against the Kings.

Saturday's NBA Picks

April 23, 2005

Home Team in CAPS

Note: We'll be making picks on every single playoff game and for good reason-- we have combined to pick 68.26% of playoff games correctly over the last three years (I made that up) including the last 9 NBA Champions (Made that up, too). No but seriously, we have done vastly better in the post-season and are each guaranteeing 60% accuracy on our picks. If either of us fails, we'll be posting nudie picks of our kid sisters. No joke.

Anthony's Picks:

Let the playoffs begin:

  • DETROIT -9 over Philadelphia
  • DALLAS -5 over Houston
  • BOSTON -3 over Indiana
  • Sacramento +3.5 over SEATTLE

-Philly STINKS!!!!! C-Webb is killing that team and will continue to do so on Saturday. Now Paul my think Sheed's injury may hamper them in Game 1, but McDyess will step up and take care of the one-legged Webber. I just like the Pistons to absolutely dominate every game, except possibly Game 3. DET 97, PHI 83

-Dallas big over Houston, with Dirk going for 40 in Game 1. I just don't think Houston can keep up with Big D's depth. I mean Ryan Bowen?? Come on man, sounds like I kid that would get dominated in intramurals. DAL 108, HOU 94.

-I'm a bit biased with the C's, but the TD Banknorth Garden will be rockin' tomorrow night. Reggie is done man, and thanks to Bill Simmons I found out he shot under 40% for the month of April while every expert road his you know what. Jermaine is more of a liability than an asset right now and you can bet cho bottom dollar Kendrick Perkins is going straight for that shoulder in the second quarter. BOS 105, IND 98.

-Finally, I like the way Sactwon DESTROYED Phoenix the other night even know the scrub factor was in full effect. They'll be confident and the Sonics haven't had playoff experience in years. I actually think the Kings will win tomorrow, despite having Seattle taking the series. SAC 109, SEA 106.

GLTA

Paul's Picks:

Bring it on, baby!:

  • Philadelphia +9 over DETROIT
  • DALLAS -5 over Houston
  • BOSTON -3 over Indiana
  • SEATTLE -3.5 over Sacramento

-The Philly/Detroit line has been locked in at 9 since the matchup was settled and heads are picking the teams at an even rate. That should tell you that either Vegas is going to nail the line, or nobody really is sure what's going to happen. I'm banking on AI coming out with an inspired Game 1 effort and keeping the game somewhat close. Pistons 92, Sixers 85 (and yes, I'll be buying Ant's score predictions throughout the playoffs).

-Ant and I both agree that Dallas is going to roll right over Houston. Houston won't get pummeled in each of the opening two games in Dallas, but they will in at least one. I'm gunning that it's the first game. Dallas is hungry and I believe will be ready to put their stamp on this series from the get-go. And besides, when have T-Mac and Yao ever been ready to win a big game? These guys don't yet know what it takes. Perhaps they will by game two.

-There's not a doubt in my mind that Indiana and Boston will split the first two games in Boston. The question is...which games will each win? I'm banking on Boston, surely well-rested after Doc sat his big guns the last two games, to ride a raucous Fleet Center crowd tomorrow night en route to victory. If I'm wrong, well, take Boston in a must-win situation in game two-- no matter the line.

-The Kings/Sonics line is rising and people are still taking the teams at an equal rate, even with word that Peja may be unavailable Saturday. That suggest that Vegas wants people to take the Kings, especially if this line gets up to 4.5/5, which is a possibility. Another factor to consider-- Nate McMillan vs Rick Adelman, each with ample preparation time. Yeah, I'm going with Nate Dogg and the Sonics, too.

The Expert Picks

Unlike other web sites who only post predictions by their own writers, NBA Source has the luxury of compiling every NBA experts' pick since no one gives a rats ass what we do (no $, no contract...no boundaries). Feel free to post a comment listing your own predictions or to offer up an expert that we don't have listed.

Bill Simmons, ESPN - Suns over Pistons in 7

Eric Neel, ESPN - Spurs over Pistons

Scoop Jackson, ESPN - Pistons over Nuggets

Marc Stein, ESPN - Spurs over Pistons in 6

Greg Anthony, ESPN - Pistons over Mavericks

Tim Legler, ESPN - Spurs over Heat in 7

Ric Bucher, ESPN - Pistons over Spurs in 7

Walt Frazier, Knicks Commentator - Spurs over Pistons

Sean Devaney, Sporting News - Pistons over Suns

Michael Bradley, Sports Illustrated - Spurs over Pistons in 7

Larry Beil, Yahoo! - Pistons over Spurs

Brandon Funston, Yahoo! - Spurs over Pistons

Steve Kerr, Yahoo! - Spurs over Heat

Joe Lago, Yahoo! - Spurs over Pistons

Matt Romig, Yahoo! - Spurs over Heat

Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! - Pistons over Heat

Sam Smith, Chicago Tribune - Pistons over Spurs in 6

David DuPree, USA Today - Spurs over Pistons

Paul Tatara, CNN - Suns over Heat

The Marloboro Man, Confidante of Ant and Paul - Pistons over Spurs in 7

Western Conference Playoff Preview


The Suns will be looking to run right through the Grizzlies in the opening round.

By Paul Benedict


(1) Phoenix Suns vs. (8) Memphis Grizzlies

Why the Suns Will Win: It's quite simple-- the Suns are an absolute wrecking force on offense and head into the playoffs as one of few teams not beset by key injuries. The only inconsistency Phoenix has shown this season was in the 6 games that Steve Nash missed, and their MVP candidate appears to be as healthy as he has been all season long heading into the playoffs. With Nash leading the way, the Suns need to just play their game: set the tone early, jump out to a lead, and put teams away in the second half before their opponents can shift the tempo to a halfcourt game in the 4th. The Grizzlies are still not entirely healthy, so it's important that the Suns counter their depth by forcing some of the hobbled (Gasol, Swift, Posey, Cardinal) into a frenetic full-court game. And with Mike Fratello still struggling to settle on a rotation that has the Grizz playing at their best, it shouldn't be too tough for Mike D'Antoni and his Suns to jump out to a commanding 2-0 lead. And if that's the case, the Grizzlies will have no chance at coming back against the NBA's best road team.

Why the Grizzlies Will Win: The Grizzlies, with their derth of quality players and physical defense, actually match up very well with the West's best. They split 4 games with them this season, thrice holding Phoenix to under 100 points, something that happened only 11 other times this season. Pau Gasol, Stromile Swift, and Bonzi Wells all appear to be healthy heading into the playoffs and that will be key for Mike Fratello as he needs each and every player he's got to beat the Suns. Mike Miller has been the go-to-guy as of late and I would not expect that to change against the Suns. With Fratello doing his best to keep the tempo in check, Miller will have to continue stroking it from the outside (April: 18.7 PPG, 52.1 FG%, 46.3 3PT%) in order to create space in the post for Gasol, Lorenzen Wright, and Swift. We've seen all season long that the Suns struggle when forced to play a halfcourt game on both ends of the floor-- if the Grizzlies' big guys can get Amare into foul trouble, the Suns will lose their best finisher and be forced to ride their outside shooting. And thanks to Earl Watson, Dahntay Jones, James Posey, and Shane Battier, the Grizzlies have the best perimeter defense in the league and may be able to take out the Suns' perimeter weapons.

Predictions:
Paul: Suns in 6
Anthony: Suns in 4

(4) Dallas Mavericks vs. (5) Houston Rockets

Why the Mavericks Will Win: I was never really sold on Dallas until Avery Johnson took over full-time. Since then, the team has taken on a different personality with a new-found swagger and toughness that Don Nelson's teams always lacked. Avery hasn't been shy about chewing out his players during timeouts or getting on them about a lack of defense and that has in turn got the Mavs playing with more intensity and believing that they can lock down any opponent in the league. On the offensive side, look for Dirk Nowitzki to completely dominate this series. With Juwan Howard out for the playoffs, the Rockets have absolutely nobody that can come close to stopping Dirk. Van Gundy will throw numerous double teams in his direction, but it won't matter as the Mavs just have too many weapons for the Rockets to handle.



Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs are about to show the world that they're much more than the offense-only teams of years past.

Why the Rockets Will Win: The Rockets are going to have to p lay their very best basketball of the season to beat the Mavericks. With Juwan Howard out and the Mavericks completely healthy, there's just simply no way the Rockets will be able to contain them on the offensive end-- they're not as athletic or quick, or nearly as versatile. That means the Rockets are going to have to put points on the board and as we've seen this season (22-3 when scoring 100+ points), they can be tough to beat when T-Mac, Yao, and co. get rolling. If the supporting cast, namely David Wesley, Mike James, and Jon Barry, consistently knocks down the many open looks they'll get, the Rockets will be able to stay with the Mavs on any given night because you know McGrady and Yao will get theirs. I really believe the ultimate determinant as to whether the Rockets can win this series comes down to 2 questions: 1- Can T-Mac and Yao take that next step up as stars who know what it takes both physically and mentally to lead their team to victory in a 7-game series? 2- Can the aging supporting cast translate their experience and hunger for a title into the energy necessary to win a series against a more talented team?

Predictions:
Paul:
Mavericks in 5
Anthony: Mavericks 5


(3) Seattle SuperSonics vs. (6) Sacramento Kings

Why the SuperSonics Will Win: I think almost everyone can agree that the Sonics would be considered an underdog against just about any other team in the West besides Sacramento. It just so happens that the dilemma that's been plauging the Sonics over the last month of the season has been taking its toll on the Kings to a greater extent: injuries. Rashard Lewis appears to be back and almost 100%, Antonio Daniels should be ready for Game 1, and Vladimir Radmanovic is expected to return sometime next week. The Kings on the other hand will be without Brad Miller for the first round, Peja Stojakovic possibly for the first couple games, and Bobby Jackson has just a game under his belt since returning from a wrist injury. Without Brad Miller, the Kings lack the toughness up front to match the Sonics and will get destroyed on the boards. More rebounds always means more shots, so as long as Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis are knocking 'em down, the Sonics shouldn't have a problem scoring. In the end, Seattle plays far better defense than Sacto and should be able to pull out a few close 4th quarter battles. But it may depend on how healthy Antonio Daniels is and whether he can contain perennial playoff hero Mike Bibby.



Mike "Kermit the Frog" Bibby will have to carry the Kings on his shoulders if they are to advance past the first round.

Why the Kings Will Win: Neither Seattle nor Sacrmento came into the playoffs on a particularly high note (Seattle went 3-8 in April; Sacto lost its last two games that mattered, including an embarrassing loss to Utah), so nobody is entirely sure of what to expect from either team come Saturday. One thing is a certainty: Mike Bibby will come to play. When the Maloofs shipped Chris Webber off to Philly, they handed the keys over to Bibby (not Peja), thus entrusting the franchise with a guy that has come through time and again in crucial stretches instead of a jackass that once called a timeout in the NCAA Championship when his team didn't have any. Bibby is going to need some help, however, and if Peja can come back healthy by game two, the Kings would receive a huge boost. As good as the Sonics are on defense, they would be hard-pressed to slow down Bibby, Peja, and Cuttino Mobley on the perimeter, especially if Daniels and Lewis aren't 100%.

Predictions:
Paul: Sonics in 7
Anthony: Sonics in 7


(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (7) Denver Nuggets

Why the Spurs Will Win: The Spurs' championship aspirations rest entirely on the ankle of Tim Duncan. It's that simple. With a healthy Duncan, they are hands-down the team to beat out West. With a roster chock full of outstanding players including proven playoff stars like Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, a coach that disciplines his team to the point that he rarely allows them to lose games that they aren't supposed to, and an ability to lock down opponents defensively that only the Pistons can match, the Spurs have the exact recipe it takes to cook up a championship team at the Alamo. That said, Tim Duncan is claiming to be just 75 to 80% healthy which means that the rest of the Spurs might have to really step it up in his stead against the NBA's hottest team in the second half of the season. Duncan's court presence alone should benefit the team, but if the Nuggets are able to control the tempo, which they will definitely attempt to do, then Duncan's ankle injury has to be a major concern in a fast-paced fullcourt game. Popovich likely won't be able to use him any more than 30 minutes a game early on, but believe me, if the Spurs can keep the game close heading into the 4th quarter, then TD will be out there. And considering the Spurs are not only the best home team in the NBA (38-3), but also the best at closing out games, I think we'll see them jump out to an important 2-0 lead and get Duncan back closer to 100% in case the series gets close.



If Marcus Camby can stay healthy, the Nuggets have a very good chance to upend the Spurs in the opening round.

Why the Nuggets Will Win: Everyone has been talking about the effect of Tim Duncan's injury on the series, but in reality, Marcus Camby's health will do more to decide the outcome of this series than Duncan's. Camby sat out the last two regular season games for precautionary reasons, but as we have learned to understand with Camby, every minor injury must be taken into serious consideration. With Camby in the lineup, the Nuggets will have another body that can get up and down the floor enabling them to speed up the pace and wear down Duncan, but more importantly, they'll have their defensive stopper-- the guy that can block shots and pull down big rebounds enabling them to get in the open court as much as possible. Carmelo Anthony comes into the series playing the best basketball of his career and also looking to rebound from a terrible playoff performance from a year ago. However, 'Melo has to allow the game to come to him. With Bruce Bowen sticking him, he's not going to be given much and must do his best to attack the basket and get to the line, not force errant shots and assume that he has to win the series himself. Ultimately, this series will play out as a chess match. The Spurs will do their best to hold homecourt until Duncan assumes his usual dominant form. George Karl and the Nuggets meanwhile, will be doing their best to swing the tempo in their favor and trying mercilessly to pick the Spurs off at SBC in one of the first two games. The Nuggets are a much more confident team at home like the Spurs (Won 20 of last 21), but know how difficult it will be to pull themselves out of a 2-0 hole against an experienced, playoff-tested club like the Spurs.

Predictions:
Paul: Spurs in 6
Anthony: Nuggets in 7


Predictions Beyond the 1st Round:

Conference Semifinals:

Anthony:

  • Miami over Washington in 6
  • Detroit over Boston in 6
  • Dallas over Phoenix in 6
  • Denver over Seattle in 5

Paul:

  • Miami over Chicago in 5
  • Detroit over Indiana in 6
  • Dallas over Phoenix in 7
  • San Antonio over Seattle in 5

Conference Finals:

Anthony:

  • Miami over Detroit in 7
  • Dallas over Denver in 6

Paul:

  • Detroit over Miami in 5
  • San Antonio over Dallas in 7

NBA Finals:

Anthony:

  • Dallas over Miami in 7
  • MVP: Dirk Nowitzki

Paul:

  • Detroit and San Antonio tied in 7
  • Just kidding
  • Detroit over San Antonio in 7
  • MVP: Richard Hamilton


The mask had to come off in a game last week against Cleveland. Should that be reason enough to doubt that Richard Hamilton and the Pistons can repeat? Paul doesn't think so.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Eastern Conference Playoff Preview

The Nets Probably won't be smiling a week from now


By Anthony Peretore


(1) Miami Heat vs. (8) New Jersey Nets

Why the Heat Will Win: The Heat have dominated the Eastern Conference all season (41-11, .790) and especially the Nets, sweeping New Jersey 3-0 and by a hefty margin (98.7-77.3) at that. The Nets have no one inside to defend Shaquille O’Neal and certainly not enough depth once Nenad Krstic gets in foul trouble. This entails the Nets having to double-team O’Neal, which translates to either Eddie or Damon Jones stroking 3’s or Dwyane Wade completely taking over. Either way it’s not good news for the Nets and the Heat will be advancing to the second round.

Why the Nets Will Win: New Jersey is currently the NBA’s hottest team at 7-1 to end the season including 15-4 (.790) over their last 19. Over the last month, Vince Carter (32.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.4 APG) and Jason Kidd (19.2 PPG, 9.7 APG, 9.3 RPG) have found their rhythm together, helping outscore opponents 101.7-91.5. Even rookie Center Nenad Krstic has found his niche, averaging a respectable 14.1 PPG and 7.3 RPG in April. With role players such as Brian Scalabrine, Jason Collins, Travis Best, and Rodney Buford scrapping and clawing each night, the Nets will be able to wear down the Heat (especially O’Neal) and advance to the second round.

Predictions:
Anthony: Heat in 7
Paul: Heat in 6


(4) Chicago Bulls vs. (5) Washington Wizards

Why the Bulls Will Win: Defense, defense defense. Under the tutelage of Coach Scott Skiles, Chicago emerged as one of the better defensive teams this season, holding opponents to just 93.4 PPG and a league-leading 42.2 FG%. Despite losing 2 of 3 this season to the Wiz, Chicago still managed to hold their opponent to just 92.7 PPG, when Washington averaged 100.5 PPG for the season. Skiles will look to mercilessly tire out the Wizard guards Gilbert Arenas and Larry Hughes and in turn prevent them from scoring in transition. Then, just as Arenas and Hughes think they’ve had all the Bulls can give them, in comes 4th quarter nightmare Ben Gordon (17.7 PPG vs. WAS). Players like Gordon live for the playoffs, witnessed first hand during his National Championship run at UConn. In a tight series such as this, defense and clutch shooters such as Gordon and Kirk Hinrich almost always prevail.

Key to the series: Areanas' ability to score efficiently


Why the Wizards Will Win: The Wiz have the series’ best three offensive players in Arenas (25.5 PPG), Hughes (22.1 PPG) and Antawn Jamison (19.6 PPG). Arenas torched the Bulls this season for 30.3 PPG in three games and Coach Eddie Jordan will look for his young point guard to do the same in this series. This three-headed monster will be too much for the Bulls to handle, especially when missing starters Eddy Curry and Luol Deng (1 and 4 respectively in PPG). Whichever component is better, Chicago’s D or Washington’s O, will most certainly be the victor of the series. Thus, in the end the “Big Three” of the Wizards will be a bit too strong for the youthful Bulls.

Predictions:
Anthony:
Washington in 6
Paul: Chicago in 7


(3) Boston Celtics vs. (6) Indiana Pacers

Why the Celtics Will Win: Boston has been in this situation before, in fact this will be the third straight year the C’s will be facing off against the Pacers in the first round (1-1). Coach Doc Rivers and Gang Green possess one of the league’s most versatile offenses led by veterans Paul Pierce, Antoine Walker and Ricky Davis. To add to that core, playoff veteran PG Gary Payton is leading the way, with an obvious chip on his shoulder from last year’s collapse with the Lakers. And when that’s not enough for opponents to handle, Doc will throw in his hub of youth (Marcus banks, Delonte West, Al Jefferson, Tony Allen and Kendrick Perkins) to swarm Indy at all angles. Before these last two defeats to end the season (two games in which Rivers tanked) the Celts had won 6 of 7 including a win over the Conference-leading Heat. While most experts are picking the Pacers to advance, that just the motivation Boston needs to sneak into the second round.

Pierce and the C's face the Pacers for the third straight year

Why the Pacers Will Win: Indiana has been facing adversity all season, highlighted of course by the suspensions of Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O’Neal after the “Malice at the Palace” incident. Next came the array of injuries to starting point guard Jamaal Tinsley and finally the shoulder injury to O’Neal that caused him to miss over a month of action towards the end of the year. However, these unfortunate stretches allowed other Pacers to step up and perform, in particular veteran Reggie Miller, playing in his final NBA Playoffs before retirement. Miller has averaged 19.2 PPG since the beginning of March, including performances of 39, 34, and 31 points respectively, causing us to reminisce back to the old Reggie. With O’Neal now back from injury and Reggie stroking the ball like its 1994 again, Boston doesn’t stand a chance. Add to it that Anthony Johnson is becoming very comfortable with starting point guard duties and role players such a Stephen Jackson and Austin Croshere are playoff vets and Indiana should cruise into the semis.

Predictions:
Anthony: Celtics in 6
Paul: Indiana in 7


(2) Detroit Pistons vs. (7) Philadelphia 76ers

Why the Pistons Will Win: Detroit’s the NBA’s defending champions for a reason and it showed over the last month of the regular season (10-1 in April). The Pistons would have gone undefeated for the month had Rip Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace dressed for last night’s game at Charlotte or if they actually gave a crap. Not only does Mo-Town possess one of the game’s stingiest defenses (holding opponents to just 89.5 PPG and a 43.0 FG%) but they get it done on the other end with an unstoppable inside (Wallaces)/outside (Rip, Billups, Prince) scoring attack. With Chris Webber nursing an injured everything, the Sixers don’t stand a chance in any of these games, nevermind the series. Despite ‘Sheed’s bum hamstring, the Pistons, led by a rested Rip are on a mission to repeat and should easily return to the Conference semis.

100% or not, 'Sheed and the Pistons will advance

Why the Sixers Will Win: Allen Iverson has put his heart and soul into every game this season while turning in perhaps his best season yet, averaging 30.7 PPG, 8.0 APG and 2.4 SPG. Now that he has Webber to take some of the big game pressure off his shoulders, maybe he can lead this team back to the Finals, ala 2000. With Kyle Korver stroking 3’s like a madman, it gives Philly a potent compliment to Iverson’s slashing and C-Webb’s low-post game. If the Pistons elect to double-team AI, Korver’s knocking down 3’s or Webber’s getting excellent looks down low. We all know Coach Jim O’Brien has gone deep into the playoffs before and he’s going to have to bring that same defensive mentality from 2001 to the hardwood in Auburn Hills come Saturday afternoon.

Predictions:
Anthony: Pistons in 4
Paul: Pistons in 5

BSing - The Season Awards


Bobby Simmons is just one of the players amped up about being a part of NBA Source's Award discussion.


In typical NBA Source fashion, we decided to go the unconventional route when announcing our season-end awards. If you want a long, boring article that simply states the award winners with justifiable reasoning, then go somewhere else. We decided to bring back a format that we tinkered with back in November right after the brawl in Detroit-- a back-and-forth coversation between the two of us on AIM. We of course editted some of it for your viewing pleasure (and discretion), but for the most part, it's all right from our brains to our fingertips. And oh yeah, I'm just going to assume you can figure out who's who.


El Phenom: Yo, instead of writing seperate articles for our NBA awards, I say we just hash it out online.

ANTsYOdady: Paul, it’s 8:30, I’ve been up since 6:30, just got home from the gym and ate a meal reminiscent of The Last Supper, that’s the last thing I want to do…plus I’m not prepared at all.

El Phenom: Dude, do you think I am? I’m at work. I mean you act like I’ve taken like preparatory exams on this shit.

ANTsYOdady: Fine dude, you always get what you want, but I gotta poop kinda.

El Phenom: Thanks for that tidbit of info. The chili I'm eating right now suddenly looks a little less appetizing.

ANTsYOdady: Tough shit, dude.

El Phenom: Yeah it will be later. Alright let's do this. We're supposed to be talking about the NBA awards, not our bowel movements.

ANTsYOdady: (8 minutes, 23 seconds later). Whew! How do you spell relief? S-H-I--

El Phenom: ANT! Cut the shit. Let's get going.

ANTsYodady: Word. Start from the bottom...Most Improved Player?

El Phenom: No doubt…I had Chris Mihm at the midway-point…

ANTsYOdady: Good choice, DDDDDDumbass.

El Phenom: Yeah, that's definitely changing. This is a tough call because I want to give it to Larry Hughes, but I think he's improved more based on the system he's playing in...and the fact that it's a contract year. So, I’ve got to give it to the guy I've been feeling all year (except for the midway-point), BOBBY SIMMONS (LAC). He was arguably the difference from that team being another typical crappy Clippers team, or a competitive club with playoff aspirations in the near future. We'll notice that difference when he's playing for another team next season since Donald Sterling won't open his checkbook for a copy of the latest Swank let alone Simmons.

ANTsYOdady: I like that choice a lot. B-Simms was my guy at the mid-way point, but did profit a great deal due to an array of injuries on that Clipper team: Kittles, Jaric, Mamadou N’diaye, etc. (Basically, I’m creating a BS excuse because I want to be different from Paul so you guys don't fall asleep in paragraph one). So I’m going with TAYSHAUN PRINCE (DET). His numbers went up steadily across the board (+4.4 PPG, +0.6 RPG, +0.7 SPG), but the main reason I picked him is due to his ferocious defense. Did you see that stand against LeBron on Sunday in the final seconds? He never left his feet and remained right in his grille-- James never had a chance in hell. That’s what he’s been doing all year and that's why the Pistons are better than last year.

El Phenom: I'm not sure the word "ferocious" has ever been used to describe Tayshaun Prince. That's like calling Violet Palmer "seductive". Moving right along-- 6th Man of the Year. Ant, I think I can guess who you got. Well, perhaps not since I know you're a big fan of the obvious top two candidates.

ANTsYOdady: Yeah, I’m going with RICKY DAVIS (BOS), partly because of my bias of course, but also because he could easily be a top-10 scorer in this league. At the beginning of the year, Celtics Coach Doc Rivers asked him to come off the pine and not only did he embrace the role, but he hasn’t bitched about it once the whole year (even with Jiri Welsch and rookie Tony Allen getting the nod over him). RD has hit countless big shots for the Cs this season, many of them in key moments of games when Pierce, Walker, or Payton could just as easily have been taking them. Labeled as a team cancer and cry baby, Davis has been anything but, and perhaps even the Celtics’ MVP. I’m tremendously high on Ben Gordon, but there were stretches of the season where he was non-existenet and this award should be based upon consistency. Remember, I picked Stackhouse at the midway-point, but his injuries and such completely exclude him from consideration now. I can't believe how much consideration Stackhouse is getting for this award. I feel like he's spent more time on the injured list that Pape Sow.

El Phenom: I think Ricky is a respectable selection, but I give the edge to BEN GORDON (CHI) for two reasons: 1) Bulls finished with a better record than the Celtics Ben Gordon didn't have Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce to ease some of the scoring load from him. 2) When it comes down to it, Ben Gordon won more games for his team than Davis. He led the NBA in double-digit 4th Quarter scoring games! 6th Men are like relief pitchers-- you want someone that can come in and hold down the fort when the starters go out, and then take over the game in the final stretches when your team needs that extra ounce of energy saved up from not starting the game. Gordon performed this role to perfection.


Don't cry Ricky, Paul doesn't know what he's talking about.


ANTsYOdady: This debate actually leads us right into our next award-- Rookie of the Year...

ANTsYOdady: (By the way, I could play out an entire season in NBA Live 2005 in the time Paul's taking here).

El Phenom: Yeah, I’m going with Ben Gordon (CHI) for this hardware, too (I actually already talked about this in detail last Friday). I do think it's closer between Gordon and Okafor than some people might believe. But in the end, Gordon was a huge reason the Bulls made the playoffs; Okafor was not. Now obviously you can't blame Emeka for not leading the Bobcats into the postseason (c'mon, Matt Carroll led them in scoring last night), but you do have to give Gordon a ton of credit for leading the Bulls. Okafor probably won some games for the Bobcats, but we don't even really know that for sure. It sucks he was cast into a crappy situation, but we can't just assume he'd have done for the Bulls what Gordon did. And don’t forget how terrible Ben and the Bulls were in the beginning of the season? That tells you how valuable he was for them coming off the bench...

ANTsYOdady: I totally agree with your choice of Ben Gordon (CHI) and being the number 3 overall pick in this year's draft, I think we all (including Gordo) expected him to be a starter under Scott Skiles. The Bulls were atrocious last year and to leave such a highly-touted rookie on the bench to start the game seemed absurd. But Skiles realized something we didn't and having Ben rested and red-hot for fourth quarters is, like Paul said, a huge reason Chicago's in the postseason for the first time without his Airness. Okafor’s a close second, with Dwight Howard 3rd and still my #1 overall prospect. I’d take him 3rd round in fantasy next year: 17, 12, and 2.5 blocks, mark that down.

El Phenom: Agreed. Dwight Howard will be the best player to come out of the 2004 Draft-- the next Karl Malone methinks. Coach of the Year...

ANTsYOdady: I choose Hubie Brown for realizing he probably would have died if he coached one more game in the NBA. I mean at 94 years old, you have no right to drive cars, use a stove, or even bathe alone, nevermind coach professional basketball teams. No, but for real, I got to give it to GEORGE KARL (DEN). Look up the stats-- the team under Jeff Bdzelik and Michael Cooper was 17-25 including 12-9 at home and 5-16 on the road. Under Karl, the Nuggets are 31-8, 13-7 away from Denver and an astonishing 18-1 at the Pepsi Center. Before GK, it seemed like there was no chance for the Nugs to make the playoffs and now they sit as a 7th seed with an excellent chance at knocking off the preseason favorite Spurs. If you told me that 3 months ago, I'd ask what you're smoking and where I might find some.

El Phenom: Yeah, this is a really tough argument. Sure Karl only coached half the season, but in the end he did as much for his team as any other coach. I'm still taking NATE McMILLAN (SEA) as my choice, but Karl deserves plenty of consideration. Nate Dogg did an unbelievable job this season. Ant, you had them picked to finish DEAD LAST in the West! I had them like 13th or something (and yes, we are experts). They did nothing in the offseason and on top of that, the entire organization was facing a contract year. All that normally translates to is self-absorbed egos putting up numbers for themselves. But McMillan kept the team together, and despite their recent struggles due to injuries, they're the #3 seed based on what they did all season...and they really owe it all to Nate.


Sorry Georgie, Coach of the Year is mine.


ANTsYOdady: Honestly, three weeks ago I would have agreed with you, but this team has absolutely fallen apart and I even think the Kings may dispose of them in round one. For the Nuggets, the sky’s the limit and thus my nod to Karl. So put a sock in it dude.

El Phenom: Nuggets aren't going anywhere, but we'll delve into that later this week.

ANTsYOdady: Delve? Who says delve?!

El Phenom: Die. All-Rookie Team- Here’s my squad: Ben Gordon (CHI), Dwight Howard (ORL), Emeka Okafor (CHA), Andre Iguodala (PHI), and Nenad Krstic (NJ). The first four are obvious selections and I'm going with Kristic because in reality, he's been the x-factor for the Nets as they've essentially marched into the playoffs (14.9 PPG, 55.1 FG%, 7.5 RPG over last 10 games). They needed someone to step up and give them a scoring presence in the post, and he's filled the role well.

ANTsYOdady: No debate here, except for that last spot: Ben Gordon (CHI), Emeka Okafor (CHA), Dwight Howard (ORL), Andre Iguodala (PHI), and......Josh Smith (ATL). I’m taking Smith over "Nenad’s Gonads" because he was in a litter of young 2’s and 3’s in Atlanta (Josh Childress, Boris Diaw, Donta Smith, and Al Harrington) and really emerged as the best of that crew. He also gives Hawks fans (all 4 of them) something to look forward to—well, until he's a free agent in two years. He made the Slam Dunk Competition an electric event and really stepped up over the latter half of the year as one of Atlanta's premier players (15.3 PPG, 9.2 RPG and 2.2 BPG in April). In addition, he took part in helping to smoke my fantasy team in the championship this past week. Screw it, I give the last spot to Rafael Araujo.


Josh Smith will be hanging out with the All-Rookie First Team.


El Phenom: Oh yeah Ant, "one of Atlanta's premier players"...that says a lot when your team wins 13 games.

ANTsYOdady: I know. I thought the same thing when I wrote that. It’s like bragging to a chick about your SAT scores, like who cares?

El Phenom: I think a team of me, you, Mark Blount, Robert Swift, and Ben Handlogten could win 13 games in a league that boasts such stalwarts as the Jazz, Blazers, Bobcats, and Hornets.

ANTsYOdady: Yeah, and we'd get all the chicks since we look like stallions compared to those monstrosities.

El Phenom: All-Defensive Team...

ANTsYOdady: Easy-- Tim Duncan (SA), Kevin Garnett (MIN), Shawn Marion (PHX), Bruce Bowen (SA), and Allen Iverson (PHI), with Honorbale Mention to: Larry Hughes and Iguodala.

El Phenom: I got Marcus Camby (DEN), Ben Wallace (DET), Shawn Marion (PHX), Bruce Bowen (SA) and Larry Hughes (WAS). I know...no Duncan or KG for me. I would have taken either of them, but I feel compelled to fill a team with two guards, two forwards, and a center.

ANTsYOdady: Duncan's a center dude. What's a shame is that we don't even consider arguably the game's best shut down defender in Kobe Bryant

El Phenom: Oh yeah, and Marcus Camby (DEN) is my Defensive Player of the Year. Check these numbers out-- Denver with Camby: 43-23, 95.8 Opp. PPG, +0.3 Reb. Margin; Without Camby: 5-10, 103.7 Opp. PPG, -2.2 Reb. Margin. When it comes down to it, there really is no standout choice this season. But I''m handing the award over to Camby because I think he means more to his team on the defensive end than any other player in the league.

ANTsYOdady: Hmm, interesting choice, but I don’t like giving guys the true hardware when they miss 20% of their team’s games. I got to give the nod to Kevin Garnett (MIN) because I feel obliged to give him something. He’s a warrior and if every player in the league had half the heart as him, the NBA wouldn’t be an afterthought compared to the NFL and Major League Baseball. He never gave up on his team and worked his ass off on both ends of the floor. Hopefully this will prompt a trade from Minnesota.

El Phenom: I don't know about giving the award to Garnett out of shear obligation, but like I said, there is no real out-of-this-world candidate. I'm allowing myself one eyebrow-raising pick, so Camby it is.

ANTsYOdady: Dude, my eyebrows didn’t move a bit. If anything, my brain did from trying to understand why you made such a ddddddumb pick.

El Phenom: Okay, Ant. Why don't you go annoint another "star" on the Hawks?


Camby may have swatted a plethora of shots this season, but I'm not sure how many eyebrows he raised.


ANTsYOdady: Is that even an insult? Can we move on? All-NBA Third Team...

El Phenom: 3rd team? Geez dude, I didn't realize we were trying to make this longer than Moots' criminal record. Give me a minute here...

ANTsYOdady: (5 minutes later) Hello?

ANTsYOdady: (5 more minutes later) I got mines. Where are you dude?

El Phenom: (Another 5 minutes later) Sorry. Lets hear it, I’m having trouble here.

ANTsYOdady: You're still not done?! Close out all your porn windows dude, I'm trying to get to bed soon. Here's my 3rd Team All-NBA: Mike Bibby (SAC), Kobe Bryant (LAL), Tracy McGrady (HOU), Ben Wallace (DET), and Amare Stoudemire (PHX).

El Phenom: And mine: Mike Bibby (SAC), Ray Allen (SEA), Vince Carter (NJ), Shawn Marion (PHX), and Ben Wallace (DET). Although, I feel like an idiot for leaving off Gilbert Arenas.

ANTsYOdady: I pondered him too, but he shoots way too much. I think Bibby did way more for the Kings, especially after the C-Webb deal.

El Phenom: Yeah, I love Bibby. I can't leave him off. There isn't a player out there who is as underappreciated as Bibby as far as I'm concerned.

El Phenom: Hold on a second. Kobe?! C'mon man. What did Kobe do? Shoot 40% for a 34 win team? Miss 25 games?

ANTsYOdady: Are you serious? Who else is there to guard on that team?

El Phenom: Butler, Odom...Tony Bbbbbbobbitt.

ANTsYOdady: Okay, first of all he only missed 18 games, same as your boy DUNCAN (Who Paul has on his first team, I know it). Second of all, Chucky Atkins was his backcourt mate dude.

El Phenom: I don't know man. I just don't see how Kobe is any different from Michael Redd or Stephon Marbury this season-- guys that don't even merit a brainstorm. I guess I can handle Kobe being on the 3rd team, I mean he is Kobe Bryant. I just hope nobody ends up placing him higher than that.

ANTsYOdady: There’s obviously a bias against him, but we can’t forget that he's one of the best players in the game and so you cannot leave him completely off. Plus he totals 6 boards and dimes every night to go along with 1.3 SPG and 0.8 blocks--that’s getting it done on both ends

El Phenom: Those are just numbers dude--numbers that mean nothing when your team wins 34 games.

ANTsYOdady: Dude, Frank Stallone is their coach.

El Phenom: Hahahahaha. Alright, you win.

ANTsYOdady: Okay, shut up. 2nd Team All-NBA: Dwyane Wade (MIA), Vince Carter (NJ), Shawn Marion (PHX), Kevin Garnett (MIN), and Tim Duncan (SA).

El Phenom: Umm...Duncan, KG and Dirk don't count as Centers; Amare does.

ANTsYOdady: Duncan definitely does.

El Phenom: Nah, he doesn't.

ANTsYOdady: He's an FC in fantasy dude.

El Phenom: Yeah, and so is Eduardo Najera. Check the All-Star Ballots, that's what they go by.
El Phenom: I just made that up by the way. I have no idea what they base it on.

El Phenom: Alright, here’s mine: 2nd Team All-NBA: Dwyane Wade (MIA), Tracy McGrady (HOU), LeBron James (CLE), Kevin Garnett (MIN), and Amare Stoudemire (PHX).

ANTsYOdady: Paul, how on Earth can you have LeBron on the 2nd Team? He’s triple-teamed every night, it’s not his fault the Cavs fell apart. That’s on Dan Gilbert and that bullshit ownership.

El Phenom: Have you seen LeBron play defense over the past month? He's atrocious. Nobody wants to place any blame on him, but you're not getting on my 1st Team All-NBA Team when you can't even lead your team to must-win victory over the KNICKS!

El Phenom: 1st Team All-NBA: Steve Nash (PHX), Allen Iverson (PHI), Dirk Nowitzki (DAL), Tim Duncan (SA), Shaquille O'Neal (MIA). I don't see how anyone could rationally argue against this 1st Team.

ANTsYOdady: 1st Team All-NBA: Steve Nash (PHX), Allen Iverson (PHI), Dirk Nowitzki (DAL), Shaquille O'Neal...LeBron James (CLE)--THAT’S HOW! I just feel that missing 17 games, no matter if you’re Tim Duncan or not, should omit you from the First Team. I realize it’s not his fault for getting injured, but LeBron is a phenom and deserves it a bit more for 1) emerging as one of the game’s best and 2) dealing with all the crap in Cleveland without bitching one bit.



"Anthony, WHYYYY???"


El Phenom: Alright Ant, sheddddddddddup, onto MVP, cuz I have to be out of here in 7 minutes.

El Phenom: This is the easiest choice of the night-- MVP: Shaquille O'Neal (MIA), for obvious reasons. Iverson is my #2, Dirk my #3, Nash #4, Duncan #5. Shaq shifted the balance of the entire league, if that's not valuable, I don't know what is. No other player is capable of that. Nobody else is even close. At the same time, Shaq loses points in my mind for having a down season numbers-wise, and for tanking it Shaq-style these last 3 weeks. Nevertheless, nobody else did quite enough to win me over. If Sixers won 50 games, I'd maybe give it to AI.

ANTsYOdady: I completely agree-- Shaquille O'Neal (MIA) is the MVP, plain and simple: look at the Heat and Lakers last year and now this year. There's one big difference: Shaq. Besides Wade (only in his second season), there are no other All-Stars on that team. Hell, Shaq made men out of Damon Jones and Udonis Haslem. The Heat are the one seed in the East, no one expected that and it’s because he creates match-up problems that coaches lose sleep over. If you double team him, that leaves Wade open to create, or the Jones brothers to fire away from 3. It’s really a nightmare. As far as your statement about Shaq losing points in your book, he tanked these last three weeks because he had to in order to get in shape for the playoffs. He's getting old, and that big body gets beat up all season long. The Heat had the one seed no matter what, that’s just Shaq and the Miami coaching staff playing it safe.

El Phenom: I know. But I don't agree with him missing these last 2 games. The team isn't playing well and he's taking days off for a thigh bruise? C'mon. The Pistons are undoubtedly the East favorite for this reason- they're on fire and Miami is limping in.

ANTsYOdady: Paul, have you ever gotten a Jermaine O'Neal knee to your thigh?

El Phenom: .....

ANTsYOdady: Didn't think so.

El Phenom: Am I Shaq's size?

ANTsYOdady: Paul, a 7 footer's knee to your thigh muscle KILLS no matter how big you are. If that was you, your leg would be shattered into pieces. Before I go, here's the stat of the night: Kobe is only averaging 1.9 more FG attempts this season compared to last. Seems crazy right? Look it up.

El Phenom: Yeah, but whats his FG% compared to last year?

ANTsYOdady: Just 0.4 lower.

El Phenom: Wow, that's a bit surprising since I've heard on Sportscenter for the last few weeks how LeBron is becoming Kobe-esque with his 30+ shots and poor shooting percentage. He's still not cracking my team though Ant, dddddddumbass!

ANTsYOdady: Shhhhhhhhhut up dude!

El Phenom: Word.

El Phenom signed off at 9:58:55 PM.

Clap your hands y'all the Source guys got me as their MVP

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Wednesday's NBA Picks

April 20, 2005

Home Team in CAPS

Anthony's Picks:

Last Night: (4-0), Week: (7-2)
  • BOSTON +5.5 over New Jersey
  • TORONTO +4.5 over Cleveland
  • Detroit -4.5 over CHARLOTTE
  • Chicago +8.5 over INDIANA
  • GOLDEN STATE -12 over Utah
Last night...GLTA.

Paul's Picks:

Last Night: (1-2), Week: (3-3)

  • New Jersey -5 over BOSTON
  • TORONTO +4.5 over Cleveland
  • Detroit -4.5 over CHARLOTTE
  • Miami -1.5 over ORLANDO
  • Atlanta +11.5 over PHILADELPHIA
  • NEW YORK -1.5 over Washington
  • Chicago +8.5 over INDIANA
  • MINNESOTA -2 over San Antonio
  • Dallas +3 over MEMPHIS
  • NEW ORLEANS +2.5 over Clippers
  • Seattle +9.5 over HOUSTON
  • Lakers +3 over PORTLAND
  • Phoenix +1 over SACRAMENTO
  • Utah +12 over GOLDEN STATE

Picking every game tonight--I mean why not? This is it, and let's be serious...there's no way to really know what the hell is going to happen. Here's my theory-- Atlanta and Toronto are playing for something. This is a playoff to them as a spoiler, they'll keep it close. Ok quickly down the line--Detroit doesn't want to lose, so they won't. Dwyane Wade wants to go out on a high note, he'll lead the Heat. Knicks will win at home against a Wizards team sure to be resting its stars. KG won't lose his last game of a trying season. Dallas has owned Memphis all season long and will win tonight. I'll go with New Orleans at home. Seattle should cover as they try to get on track. Kobe Bryant wants to win tonight. Phoenix, too. Jerry Sloan will cover that line on the last night. Whatever. GL

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Tuesday's NBA Picks

April 19, 2005

Home Team in CAPS

Anthony's Picks

Last Night: (3-2), Week: (3-2)

  • CLEVELAND -5 over Boston
  • NEW JERSEY -6.5 over Washington
  • Toronto +3 over MILWAUKEE
  • Portland +9.5 over DENVER

Keeping it simple tonight: those that have to win, will cover, those that don't, won't. Boston will be playing all of their young guys tonight and the Cavs should take care of them pretty easily. CLE 109, BOS 95. New Jersey has to win 2 and they're in. They're not losing, no chance. NJ 99, WAS 91. The Bucks should be without Michael redd again tonight and with Joe Smith on the IL that's two starters on the pine. TOR 106, MIL 101. Finally, Denver has come back down to Earth and rightfully so. The seedings are set in the West so why risk injury? DEN 96, POR 93. GLTA

Paul's Picks

Last Night: (2-1), Week: (2-1)

  • Charlotte +10.5 over MIAMI
  • Seattle +8.5 over DALLAS
  • DENVER -9.5 over Portland

Honestly, I'm not a fan of any game tonight. There's just too many teams playing for nothing or trying to get their big guns some rest. Charlotte always plays hard, so I'm going to take them to cover in Miami. I believe Seattle is trying to find a rhythm before going into break and will play this game tough. They have played very well the last two games and will look to build up some momentum heading into the playoffs. Denver has been smoked the last two games and will exact revenge on the Blazers tonight-- a rather feeble opponent. GL

Don't forget our nightly baseball picks on mlbsource.com...

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