“ESPN’s NBA Power Rankings Are A Disaster!!!!” (DTS Podcast – #59)

ESPN released its NBA Power Rankings this week.

They might as well be backward.

But, as always, I fixed them in today’s DTS Podcast.

Leave YOUR NBA Power Rankings in the comment section below.

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“I Went To A Fight And A Baseball Game Broke Out!!” (DaveTalksSports Podcast – Ep. #30)

If I ever get in a fight, I want Amir Garrett in my corner.

Trevor Bauer gets exiled to Cincinnati.

Yasiel Puig is also tough, but he sort of turned into a hold me back, hold me back “tough guy” when his “shot” was available.

CJ McCollum is now $100 million richer.

Jill Ellis surprisingly stepped down from the USWNT.

And don’t rush Andrew Luck!! He’ll play when he’s good and ready.

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One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

Some athletes play better against the best.

Damian Lillard has a soft spot for the Golden State Warriors. Seemingly every time Lillard takes on the Warriors, he takes his career best performance to a new level. Wednesday night, Lillard figured he’d slay the Kevin Durant dragon, ya know, while he was at it.

Damian Lillard sprinted out of the gate, scoring 18 points in the 1st quarter, giving the Trailblazers a 40-27 lead. Kevin Durant would spend the rest of the evening chipping away at the Trailblazers’ lead. His 50-point effort simply wasn’t enough, as the Warriors fell 123-117. Durant was literally the only Warrior to show up last night. Seriously, he played 1-on-5 all night. Okay, that’s not true, but that’s how it felt. Durant made 17 field goals, while Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green combined for 18 field goals.

Lillard finished with 44 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals in 40 minutes (including going a perfect 12 for 12 from the free throw line).

lillard 2

Add this to the list of Lillard’s outstanding performances against the Warriors:

12/11/17 – 39 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals

4/16/17 – 34 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block

5/7/16 – 40 points, 5 rebounds, and 10 assists

2/19/16 – 51 points, 7 assists, and 6 steals

Not bad for a guy who’s inexplicably made just 3 All-Star teams in his 6-year career.

From the really good..to the REALLY bad….

The New York Knicks.

Just when you think they can’t stoop any lower, they find a way. Tim Hardaway Jr., the 2nd streakiest shooter in the NBA (J.R. Smith will forever hold that distinction), was en fuego last night. Entering last night’s game, Hardaway Jr. was 5 for his last 41 from 3-point range. THAT’S 12.2%!! Last night, he went 6 for 9 from downtown. You figure it out.

hardaway jr

As for the game, the Knicks held a 22-point lead over the Washington Wizards with 11:14 to play in the 3rd quarter. Just 1 minute and 33 seconds later, the lead was 13. And thanks to a 15-point 3rd quarter, the Knicks actually trailed 90-87 heading into the 4th quarter. The end result: 118-113, not them.

How is this possible you ask?!?!

Remember when I told you Hardaway Jr. is streaky??

Well, he dropped 32 points in the 1st half, and just 5 in the 2nd half. That’s how!! Honestly, I’m glad. The Knicks should tank the last 23 games anyway. They should play Emmanuel Mudiay, Frank Ntilikina, and Trey Bruke as much as humanly possible. I swear, if I have to watch Jarrett Jack play 28 minutes 1 more time, I may lose it!!

By the way, the Knicks have now lost 8 games in a row.

As for Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks will be without his services for approximately 1 year. Porzingis, sent out a photograph, post-surgery, to let Knicks’ fans know he’ll remain positive throughout his rehab process and can’t wait to get back on the court.

kp surgery

So keep your heads up Knicks’ fans. At least you can look forward to 2020….

 

Where does Damian Lillard’s performance rank amongst individual accomplishments this season?? Will the Knicks win another game this season?? Tell me in the comment section below.

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I Wanna Go Home!!!!

Well, they did it again!  They blew another one.  After playing a really solid 1st quarter, the New York Knicks found themselves with an 8 point lead.  At one point in the 2nd quarter they were up 13 (41-28).  The New York Knicks, like I’ve been saying all season, don’t have that killer instinct that you need to close out games.  I know I know it was only the 2nd quarter, but if they keep the pressure on the Trailblazers and sustain their lead going into halftime this game would have played out very differently.  Over a span of 2 minutes and 43 seconds at the end of the first half, the Knicks went from up 10 points to down 3 points.  It’s amazing how a team can play so well for 21+ minutes and in a blink of an eye watch all of their hard work wash away.  It’s almost like high tide coming up the beach, you know it’s coming there’s just nothing you can do about it.  If there was any doubt that the Knicks were going to lose this game when they went to halftime, they erased all doubt with their lackluster 3rd quarter.  The came out of the locker room as flat as they went in and they found themselves down 16 points at the end of the 3rd quarter.  The New York Knicks lost to the Portland Trailblazers by a score of 105-90.

I could write for days and days and days about the Knicks problems and why they are playing so poorly, but I’ll try to keep it simple.  The Knicks don’t play any defense.  I’m not going to sit here and make excuses about their injuries because they don’t play defense when their entire roster is 100% either.  They play defense for 8 minute stretches, but they don’t consistently shut teams down for 48 minutes.  They also are a jump shooting team that relies heavily on the 3-pointer.  When that is your teams strategy you go through ups and downs.  Right now they are clearly trending down.  On the Trailblazers side of things, they may not make any noise in the league this year, but they have a good young team with a lot of potential for years to come.  Damian Lillard is really really good (enough said).  If you don’t know who he is, he is going to be hoisting the Rookie of the Year trophy at the end of the year.  Let me get back to the hopeless Knicks.

The Knicks have played 3 out of 5 games on this tough road trip.  They must be more homesick than a child going to sleepaway summer camp for the first time.  Their road trip is not going to get an easier either.  They will have to head over to Los Angeles next to play the Clippers, and then they’ll finish up this dreadful road trip against the Utah Jazz (good, at least they’ll win 1 game on this road trip).  Side note:  what’s the deal with fans booing former players for literally no reason?  Last night the Trailblazers’ fans made it very clear how they felt about Raymond Felton.  However, just like Carmelo Anthony’s return to Denver, this unruly behavior was uncalled for.  Fans are not smart.  They boo players just because they used to play for “their” team, and now they don’t play there anymore.  They don’t have a valid reason to boo said player, they just do it because, well it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.  Well, once again these uninformed fans are 100% in the wrong to boo Raymond Felton.  Let me just state that I’m not defending these players just because they are on the Knicks, I would feel this way about any player that was treated this way.  Anyway, if you want to boo someone because they played poorly that’s fine but do it while they are on the team.  If someone plays that poorly for your team, you should be relieved that they were traded, no?  Plus, he was TRADED.  He didn’t leave under his own power because he wanted out of Portland.  I think fans should reserve booing for the players who actually caused problems or drama when they were part of your favorite team.  Other than that, get over it.

Like I said earlier you can find the Knicks in action again this coming Sunday at 3:30 P.M. against the Clippers.  They are going to need a miracle if they plan on winning that game.  They will be without Carmelo Anthony once again after having his knee drained Thursday.  Tyson Chandler’s status will also be in question come Sunday.  For the Knicks sake I hope Chandler is ready to go because if he’s not you can expect Blake Griffin and lob city to fill the top ten on SportsCenter come Monday morning.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook athttp://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Mid-Season NBA Awards

It’s that time of year again. We’ve played about 50 games so far, and it’s time to gear up for the All-Star Game. It is also time to dish out some mid-season awards. The awards to be given out are MVP, Sixth man of the Year, Defensive Player of the year, Most Improved Player, Coach of the Year, and Rookie of the Year. Some of these races have clear cut winners at this point in the season, and some are so difficult to differentiate a front-runner that we need to delve further into each category. I am here to clear up any confusion as to what you’ve seen thus far in the 2012-2013 NBA season.

Let’s start with the easiest debate, Rookie of the Year. If the season were to end today, the obvious winner for this award would be Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers. There are some other nice rookies this year(Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, and Dion Waiters come to mind), but Damian is head and shoulders above everyone else right now. He has started every game this season for the Trailblazers. In those games he is averaging 18.2 points on 42% from the field in 38.5 minutes per game(not to mention he’s shooting an impressive 85% from the charity stripe). That is the easiest award to give out, but the rest are a little tougher. Don’t be scared. Just close your eyes, count to three, and rip off that band-aid.

Let’s move on to Sixth Man of the Year. For me this is a two man race between Jamal Crawford and JR Smith. Both have been instant offense off their teams bench. They have both been an integral part of their teams success this season. As much as I love the Knicks, this award has to go to Jamal Crawford. Not only did he outplay JR this past Sunday in a head to head match up, but he has been the better player all season, barely.

Next let’s talk about Coach of the Year. This is a tough one, so let’s throw all the potential candidates out there and then break them down until this makes sense. The candidates are Mike Woodson, Mark Jackson, Frank Vogel, and Tom Thibodeau. If you read my blog you know I am a die hard Knicks fan, and while Woodson has done a phenomenal job with the team so far, their most recent struggles against good teams might hurt him for now.  He did, however, do a great job right from the start of the season.  He was motivating Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith, Jason Kidd, and even Rasheed Wallace to maximize their potential out on the floor.  He had everyone buying into his concept of team defense and an uptempo offense.  It was working perfectly until Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert came back from injuries.  I believe it will work out in the end for the Knicks, but there is definitely a growing period that the Knicks and Woodson are going through right now.  The final chapter for the Knicks will determine whether Woodson is the Coach of the year or not.  As of now, I say he is not.  As for Tom Thibodeau, he has impressed by continuing to succeed without his superstar.  For the second straight season Derrick Rose has missed a significant amount of time, yet the Bulls continue to put up winning records. His team plays a defense first, physical brand of basketball that creates nightmare match-ups for smaller teams and turnover prone teams.  It is also extremely impressive to win with Luol Deng as your best player(no offense to Luol he is a nice little player, but let’s be real, he is NOT a #1 guy). With all that being said Tom is still not the coach of the year. Who is? I’m getting there just calm down! The popular pick right now is Mark Jackson.  I like what Mark Jackson is doing with Stephen Curry and the rest of those boys, but his team is not good enough to push him to the top of this debate. While I always liked him as a player, and I personally always thought he would make a good coach some day(ahem, Jason Kidd, ahem), he is not the coach of the year at this point of the season.  My pick for coach of the year right now is Frank Vogel.  I bet most of you don’t even know what team he coaches. That is part of the reason why he is coach of the year right now.  He is a nobody to most people, and he is succeeding with nobodies.  Even his best player who is not playing right now due to injury is a nobody amongst the ranks of superstars. I like Danny Granger’s game, but he like Luol Deng is not a #1 guy. The only problem for the Indiana Pacers(ohhh that’s who Vogel coaches) is that Granger IS their #1 guy. Frank Vogel is my pick for Coach of the Year.
There could have been a nice segue into this next category, seeing as The Pacers have two candidates for Most Improved Player, George hill and Paul George. They have both vastly improved their games, but I think this award is a two man race. Greivis Vasquez and Jrue Holiday have both taken their game to the next level. They have both increased their points and assist totals tremendously from a year ago, and they both have bright futures ahead of them. No disrespect to Greivis, but Jrue Holiday has taken his game into another stratosphere. He has quickly become one of the premier point guards in the NBA, and the league recognized this by selecting him to his first all-star appearance. My award for most improved player goes to Jrue Holiday.
This next category is the toughest for me to choose. It is difficult to find a clear cut winner for Defensive Player of the Year. There are many worthy candidates so far this year that include: Tyson Chandler, Serge Ibaka, Larry Sanders, Lebron James, and Joakim Noah. Larry Sanders and Serge Ibaka will most likely be battling each other for this award for years to come. They are both physical presences underneath the hoop and both block approximately 3 shots a game. It is not due to their lack of defensive effort that they aren’t going to win this award, it’s because someone else on this list has managed to stand out above all the rest. This is me building suspense. Next, what else can you say about Lebron James? The guy is as physically gifted an athlete as anyone who has ever stepped foot on the hard wood. He can guard 4 positions at anytime while still managing to dominate on the offensive end. He is not going to win this award though(at least not this year), but don’t feel too bad for him I’m sure he’ll win another award real soon(hint hint). The reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Tyson Chandler, has yet again found his way into contention for this award, however when he played the Bulls earlier this season he learned why he isn’t going to repeat as DPOY(he would get my vote for the most intimidating man on the planet though if that was a real award). Joakim Noah has placed himself at the forefront of defensive forces in the NBA. Man is he ugly!! Anyway, as much as I dislike Noah, he does anchor the best defense in the NBA. When he’s on the bench they give up 10 more points then when he’s on the floor.  Joakim Noah gets my vote for Defensive Player of the Year.
Finally, last but not least, the MVP award. This is always a fun debate because people think it’s strictly about offense. It mostly is, but you really need to look at the overall skill-set of a player plus his impact on his team to measure the MVP. The candidates this year are: Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony. There are two honorable mentions for this category, Chris Paul and Tony Parker. Parker is doing spectacular things that go mostly unnoticed, especially with a banged up Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli on his team. Chris Paul will be in this conversation at the end of the year because he is clearly the best point guard in the NBA. For right now though he has missed too many games to be considered for this award. I love what Carmelo Anthony is doing this season, and I hope he can sustain his outstanding play throughout the whole season, but he doesn’t do enough of the little things to make his teammates better. Let me see if I can use an analogy that makes sense for this argument. Kevin Durant is like The Utah Jazz in the 90’s. If it wasn’t for that Jordan guy and the Chicago Bulls, they might have a couple of rings right now(sorry John, sorry Karl). Get it? Not yet? See, Kevin Durant has improved every facet of his game this year. The problem is that there is this guy named Lebron James in the NBA. As good as Durant is(28.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 51% from the floor, 43% from three point range, and 90% from the free throw line), Lebron is better. Sorry Kevin, I know I’m pulling for you because I certainly don’t like Lebron “I can’t win a title without an all-star roster” James, but Lebron is on his way to another MVP.  As much as I don’t like Lebron, I must give credit where credit is due.  My vote for MVP and best player on the face of the earth is Lebron James.