Doing The Same Thing Every Single Year Is Not Boring In Any Way, Shape, Or Form

The time has come!!

Not just for Mother’s Day, and my wife’s birthday (May 14th), and my birthday (May 14th), and my dad’s birthday (May 14th)….but for the NBA’s Conference Finals.

It’s an exciting time to be alive!!

The question, we already know the answer to, is who will advance to the NBA Finals??

durantpaullebronjaylenusatsiap

East – (4) Cleveland LeBrons (Cavaliers) vs. (2) Boston Celtics

West – (2) Golden State Warriors vs. (1) Houston Rockets

LeBron

cavs v celtics

Sunday, at 3:30 P.M. EST, the Eastern Conference Finals will tip-off with the Cleveland LeBrons taking on the Boston Celtics. No need to rack your brain, this is a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. The LeBrons are currently heavy favorites to win the series (-285), and one-point favorites in Game One, on the road.

Listen, the Celtics young core is playing GREAT. But, as long as LeBron is playing at this level (no matter how bad his supporting cast is), he’ll continue to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. Like him, love him, or hate him, you have to respect his game and understand he’s the best basketball player the world has seen since Michael Jordan. 

 

The Dynasty

warriors champs

The Golden State Warriors aren’t just the best team in the NBA right now, they’re the best team the NBA has seen in 20 years:

Late 90’s Bulls

Early 90’s Bulls

Showtime Lakers

Bird’s Celtics

Bill Russell’s Celtics

In no order, that’s the level we’re talking about.

This Warriors team is four victories away from playing in their fourth consecutive finals. And they’re just eight victories away from their third championship in four years. Since Kevin Durant joined the Warriors, they’ve lost just three playoff games. Don’t expect many more anytime soon.

James Harden has had a great season. He led the NBA in scoring (30.4 ppg), led his team to the best record in the league (65-17), and is about to win the MVP Award, however, allllll those accomplishments will be for naught. The only thing that matters, besides $$$$, is winning. Without a championship, regular season accolades are meaningless.

The Toronto Raptors know what I’m talking about….

raptors crying

Chris Paul, enjoy your first Conference Finals, for it won’t last long.

Series Prediction: Warriors in 6

 

Post your predictions in the comment section below.

You can find me on the Radio as well. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’m on live, every Wednesday from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. Each show is also broadcast on Facebook Live via: http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports.

Since you LOVE my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! NOW GO TELL ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS!!

 

I’ll Play — When I’m Good And Ready!!

Gregg Popovich: “Alright Kawhi, it’s time to get back out there.”

Kawhi Leonard: “No thanks.”

Gregg Popovich: “What?!?!”

Kawhi Leonard: “Yeah, I don’t think I wanna play for you anymore.”

Gregg Popovich: “Was it something I said??”

Kawhi Leonard: “Yeah, that, or your general point of view toward everyone….”

(That’s probably how that conversation went).

HealthySmoothIberiannase

Kawhi Leonard, one of the NBA’s best players, has been riddled with injuries all season. He’s appeared in just 9 games for the San Antonio Spurs. And as of Wednesday, a report surfaced that despite being medically cleared to play, Leonard has chosen to remain on the sidelines. If the Spurs were eliminated from playoff contention I’d almost understand, however, at 35-24 (3rd in the Western Conference), they’d have a shot in the playoffs with a healthy Leonard.

League sources stated Leonard is upset with the Spurs’ timetable for rehabilitation. This tension has led to many believing Leonard and the Spurs will part ways after next season. Leonard has a player option following the 2019 season.

If Leonard leaves, it’ll prove WINNING doesn’t cure all.

I’ve drawn many parallels between the Spurs and New England Patriots. While the NBA and NFL are completely different animals, both dynasties have many similarities. Both win at a record-setting pace. Both systematically place the betterment of the team over any individual. And both have All-Time great coaches who also happen to be emotionless jerks.

popovich

Following his playing career in New England, Wes Welker openly admitted not enjoying his time in New England. He specifically stated Bill Belichick as the reason for signing with the Denver Broncos in 2013. “It was just kind of hard to put up with him (Belichick). You had to endure him (Belichick),” Welker said.

Even the great Tom Brady’s trials and tribulations with Belichick surfaced during this past season. Seemingly the only thing holding the Patriots together is Elmer’s Glue. Or winning. Winning is definitely the thing holding them together.

So with just 23 games left to play in the NBA’s regular season, Popovich is trying to ‘save face’:

“We only have ‘X’ number of games left in the season, and he’s still not ready to go,” Popovich told reporters in San Antonio on Wednesday. “If by some chance he is, it’s gonna be pretty late into the season; and it’s going to be a pretty tough decision — how late to bring somebody back. So that’s why I’m just trying to be honest and logical. I’ll be surprised if he gets back this year.”

That may sound nice. That may be what a head coach should say when speaking about his injured superstar. But he conveniently left out the ‘Kawhi Leonard is healthy but decided not to play for you’ part.

Words are a funny thing…. 

 

Do you agree with Kawhi Leonard’s decision to sit out despite being healthy?? Tell me in the comment section below.

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:10 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

From La La Land To Motown

The Los Angeles Clippers are throwing in the towel.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before….

Monday night, despite being just 1/2 of a game out of the playoffs, the Clippers drew a line in the sand by trading Blake Griffin to Motown:

Detroit Pistons Get: Blake Griffin, Brice Johnson, and Willie Reed

Los Angeles Clippers Get: Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, a top-4 protected 2018 1st round pick, and a 2019 2nd round pick

It begs the age-old question: Should a franchise always compete to make the playoffs, even if it means spending eternity in mediocrity??

**We know which side of the fence Kristaps Porzingis falls on, as he expects the New York Knicks to be buyers at the trade deadline. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! When you’re done laughing, please, read on….

If the Clippers held on to Blake Griffin, they might have made the playoffs this season. Only to have the pleasure of being trounced by the Golden State Warriors in the 1st round. Griffin would have undoubtedly gotten hurt along the way. And the Clippers would have been back to the drawing board — again. Instead, the Clippers made a SMART decision, and received a solid ROI (return on investment). Bradley is an expiring contract, Harris is a solid, relatively cheap player who becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2019, and draft picks never hurt.

While Griffin is one of the most talented players in the NBA, he’s a hospital visit waiting to happen. Over the past 3 seasons, he’s averaged just 54.3 games per year. And this season, has already missed 16 of 49 games. You can’t dunk on people from the infirmary. Plus, he signed a 5-year, $171 million contract this past July. Over time, that contract will resemble a burden rather than a blessing.

Gather around conspiracy theorists….

Some believe this is the 1st of multiple moves to open up salary cap space for Lebron James. Yes, the Lebron James sweepstakes could be in full effect again next year. But to tear your roster apart for a ‘pipe dream’ is foolish. Expect the Clippers to continue their roster purge prior to the trade deadline (February 8th @ 3:00 P.M EST).

As for the other 29 teams, absolutely nothing has transpired. The New Orleans Pelicans, however, are actively seeking a deal to bolster their frontcourt after losing DeMarcus Cousins to a ruptured Achilles Friday night. Side note: Paul George will replace Cousins on the All-Star Team.

IF Blake Griffin should ever stay healthy, he should land on many All-Star Teams.

Welcome to the Weak-Eastern Conference Blake….

 

Who won the Blake Griffin trade?? Post your thoughts in the comment section below.

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports .

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

It’s Snubbing Season!!

I don’t like getting snubbed.

I can’t imagine Paul George does either.

As the NBA All-Star Team Reserves were announced Tuesday, George was the most glaring omission. Each conference is comprised of 12 players, 5 starters and 7 reserves.

Starters are determined by 3 voting groups:

Fans: 50%

Players: 25%

Media: 25%  

Reserves are selected by NBA coaches. And this year, rather than play East Vs. West, a playground style, pick-up game will ensue. Each conference’s top vote-getter (as per the fans), will be named “Captain”. The inaugural captains are Lebron James and Stephen Curry. They will then alternate selecting players (Lebron has 1st pick) no matter their conference.

lebron curry

**NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, decided not to televise the selection process, as he doesn’t want to hurt the last pick’s feelings….

(Hurt their feelings?? Are we in 2nd grade?!?! These are grown men, being paid millions to play the game of basketball, and you’re worried about their feelings over the All-Star Game?!?! Talk about a money making opportunity being flushed down the toilet!!)

Instead, Lebron and Curry’s selections will be revealed on Thursday @ 7:00 P.M. EST on TNT.

While I like the idea of “choosing up teams”, they only got this half-way right.

If you’re going to choose teams, regardless of conference, why would the voting process remain separated by conference????

All-Star voting should simply be the top-24 players in the NBA. Here are the teams, as presently constructed:

Eastern Conference:

  • Starter: Kyrie Irving, G, Boston Celtics
  • Starter: DeMar DeRozan, G, Toronto Raptors
  • Starter: LeBron James, F, Cleveland Cavaliers (Captain)
  • Starter: Giannis Antetokounmpo, F, Milwaukee Bucks
  • Starter: Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers
  • Reserve: Kyle Lowry, G, Toronto Raptors
  • Reserve: Bradley Beal, G, Washington Wizards
  • Reserve: John Wall, G, Washington Wizards
  • Reserve: Victor Oladipo, G, Indiana Pacers
  • Reserve: Kevin Love, F, Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Reserve: Kristaps Porzingis, F, New York Knicks
  • Reserve: Al Horford, C, Boston Celtics

Western Conference:

  • Starter: Stephen Curry, G, Golden State Warriors (Captain)
  • Starter: James Harden, G, Houston Rockets
  • Starter: Kevin Durant, F, Golden State Warriors
  • Starter: Anthony Davis, F, New Orleans Pelicans
  • Starter: DeMarcus Cousins, C, New Orleans Pelicans
  • Reserve: Damian Lillard, G, Portland Trail Blazers
  • Reserve: Klay Thompson, G, Golden State Warriors
  • Reserve: Jimmy Butler, G, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Reserve: Russell Westbrook, G, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Reserve: LaMarcus Aldridge, F, San Antonio Spurs
  • Reserve: Draymond Green, F, Golden State Warriors
  • Reserve: Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Minnesota Timberwolves

If you say someone needs to be in, someone needs to be out….

Paul George is more deserving than Kristaps Porzingis. I love that the Knicks will be represented at All-Star Weekend, but Kristaps Porzingis DOES NOT deserve to be an All-Star. George is also more deserving than Kyle Lowry, Lamarcus Aldridge, Draymond Green, Kevin Love, and Klay Thompson. These players are having outstanding seasons, but they’re not having the season George is having.

Here are George’s stats:

20.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.1 steals, 43.6 FG%, 42.2 3-point%, and 80.9 FT%

Don’t forget, George is also adjusting to life as the 2nd option, for the 1st time, in Oklahoma City. Oh, and George is the front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year.

 

Should Paul George be an All-Star?? Tell me in the comment section below.

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports .

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

 

The NBA Has Multiple Personalities

Monday had it all.

The good. The bad. And the ugly.

An NBA season is often filled with more storylines than your Grandma’s soap opera. And this year, is no different. Monday exposed the many faces of the NBA.

The Good

Demarcus Cousins accomplished something that hasn’t been done since 1972. Just 46 years ago, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar posted a game with at least 40 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 assists. “Boogie” followed in “Cap’s” footsteps Monday night, posting 44 points, 24 rebounds, 10 assists, 4 steals, and 1 block.

What was the most impressive part?? Cousins’ historic performance fueled an epic comeback late in the 4th quarter — duh! With just 5:06 remaining in the game, the New Orleans Pelicans trailed the Chicago Bulls by 17 points. Cousins scored 9 of the Pelicans’ final 23 points, forcing overtime (114-114). Oh yeah, Anthony Davis fouled out in the 1st overtime, so Cousins singlehandedly won this game. Cousins went on to score 7 of their 10 points in double overtime, sealing a 132-128 victory over the Bulls.

The Bad

75. 75 points. It’s hard to score 75 points in an NBA game. But the Washington Wizards figured out a way. The Wizards (26-21), currently the 5-seed in the Eastern Conference, fell to the lowly Dallas Mavericks Monday night, 98-75. The Mavericks hold the 2nd worst record in the Western Conference (16-31).

Believe it or not, 75 points is not a season-low for the Wizards. They scored just 69 points against the Utah Jazz last month. As for Monday, the Wizards had just 2 players in double figures (Beal 18, Wall 11). You may want to shield your eyes before I rattle off their horrid shooting stats:

They shot 30.6% from the field, 21.9% from 3-point range, and 59.3% from the free throw line. Yikes!!

The Ugly

Do you know what you shouldn’t do?? You shouldn’t fire the head coach your superstar player really likes. At the very least, you should consult your franchise building block before making a major decision. The Milwaukee Bucks circumvented that conversation with Giannis Antetokounmpo and fired head coach, Jason Kidd, Monday. I’m not saying Kidd didn’t deserve to be fired. I’m not saying Kidd was doing a great job. But, I know Antetokounmpo liked Jason Kidd — a lot.

giannis-offered-to-svae-kidd

Upon hearing the Bucks were going to fire his head coach, Antetokounmpo called Kidd. Antetokounmpo simply asked, “What can I do? I’ll call the owners. I’ll call my agent.”

That doesn’t sound like a player who’s on board with his organization’s decision.

I’m not one to pander to a superstar’s every whim, but keep my 23-year old, superstar, top-10 player happy would top my to-do-list. I’m just sayin’. 

 

Is Demarcus Cousins’ performance the best of the year?? Why was Jason Kidd fired?? Post your thoughts in the comment section below. 

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports .

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

Gordon Hayward Takes The Road Less Travelled

brad stevens

When everyone is running one way, are you willing to run the other way?? I bet you are if running the other way is smart as hell. That’s what former Utah Jazz star, Gordon Hayward did on Tuesday upon signing with the Boston Celtics. While every NBA star imaginable has been taking their talents to the Western Conference, Hayward packed his bags and headed East. This will help his legacy in a BIG way. Now, rather than having to get past the Thunder, Rockets, Timberwolves, Spurs, and Warriors to get to the NBA Finals (sounds fun), there’s only Big Bad Lebron James standing in Hayward’s way. Hayward may still come up short of reaching his first NBA Finals, but he certainly increased his chances. It’s all in the numbers.

The numbers that help Hayward sleep at night are the six 0’s at the end of his contract. $127,000,000 over 4 years (max contract). That’s what the Celtics have offered Gordon Hayward. This contract will cause a domino effect in Boston. The Celtics will need to pull the qualifying offer on that ugly guy they call Kelly Olynyk, waive Jordan Mickey and Demetrius Jackson, not re-sign free agents Gerald Green, Jonas Jerebko, and James Young, and trade either Jae Crowder or Marcus Smart. Those are the moves staring Danny Ainge in the face in order to clear the necessary salary cap space for Hayward’s contract. It sounds worse than it is, and it’s worth it.

Hayward is a very solid small forward. At 6’8″, he scores, rebounds, and plays defense. He is an outstanding addition to the Celtics’ roster. Check out his stats here. This signing does a few things. First, it reunites coach and player. Hayward played under Celtics’ coach Brad Stevens at Butler University. Stevens was the coach at Butler from 2007-2013, until he made the leap to the NBA. Second, it brings the number of teams that can actually compete in the NBA to 7:

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors are still the team to beat. Kevin Durant just took a $9 million pay-cut to keep their team intact, so I like their chances.

*Key Players – Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green

Spurs

The Spurs roster doesn’t look as formidable as it once did, but my days of doubting Gregg Popovich are over.

*Key Players – Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge

Minnesota Timberwolves

This is a very young but very interesting team. Don’t be surprised if in 2 years the Timberwolves are representing the Western Conference in the NBA Finals.

*Key Players – Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins, and Jeff Teague

Oklahoma City Thunder

A walking triple-double and one of the best two-way players in the NBA sounds like a good combination to me.

*Key Players – Russell Westbrook and Paul George

Houston Rockets

How many point guards does it take to screw in a lightbulb?? Apparently 2.

*Key Players – James Harden and Chris Paul

Cleveland Cavaliers

Will this be the year Lebron’s NBA Finals streak comes to an end?? I wouldn’t bet on it, but the Celtics just made the road a little more bumpy.

*Key Players – Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love

Boston Celtics

And last, but for the NBA’s sake, hopefully not least, the Celtics. Does the addition of Gordon Hayward make them the best team in the Eastern Conference??

*Key Players – Isaiah Thomas, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford

I still believe the Warriors will complete the 3-peat next season, but the NBA’s super teams are multiplying, setting up a more watchable NBA season. So, we’ve got that going for us….

Do you think the addition of Gordon Hayward makes the Celtics a legitimate contender?? Tell me what you think in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends about me!!

 

NHL Playoff 1st Round Predictions (better late than never)

I think I’m coming down with a fever, and no I’m not sick. I have that playoff hockey fever thats going around. After a lockout shortened season, the playoffs have finally arrived, and I for one am excited. If you want to gear up for the NHL playoffs too, you are going to need to know when the games are. Here is a quick look at the schedule:

First Round

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1 Chicago BLACKHAWKS
8 Minnesota WILD

Game 1: at CHI, Tue., April 30, 8 p.m., NBCSN, CBC
Game 2: at CHI, Fri., May 3, 9:30 p.m., NBCSN, CBC
Game 3: at MIN, Sun., May 5, 3 p.m., NBC, CBC
Game 4: at MIN, Tue., May 7, 9:30 p.m., NBCSN, CBC
Game 5: at CHI, Thu., May 9, TBD, CBC*
Game 6: at MIN, Sat., May 11, TBD, CBC*
Game 7: at CHI, Sun., May 12, TBD, CBC*

2 Anaheim DUCKS
7 Detroit RED WINGS

Game 1: at ANA, Tue., April 30, 10:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 2: at ANA, Thu., May 2, 10 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 3: at DET, Sat., May 4, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 4: at DET, Mon., May 6, 8 p.m., CNBC, TSN
Game 5: at ANA, Wed., May 8, 10 p.m., TSN*
Game 6: at DET, Fri., May 10 TBD, TSN*
Game 7: at ANA, Sun., May 12, TBD, TSN*

3 Vancouver CANUCKS
6 San Jose SHARKS

Game 1: at VAN, Wed., May 1, 10:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 2: at VAN, Fri., May 3, 10 p.m., CNBC, TSN
Game 3: at SJ, Sun., May 5, 10 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 4: at SJ, Tue., May 7, 10 p.m., CNBC, TSN
Game 5: at VAN, Thu., May 9, 10 p.m., TSN*
Game 6: at SJ, Sat., May 11, TBD, TSN*
Game 7: at VAN, Mon., May 13, TBD, TSN*

4 Saint Louis BLUES
5 Los Angeles KINGS

Game 1: at STL, Tue., April 30, 8 p.m., CNBC, CBC
Game 2: at STL, Thu., May 2, 9:30 p.m., CNBC, CBC
Game 3: at LA, Sat., May 4, 10 p.m., NBCSN, CBC
Game 4: at LA, Mon., May 6, 10 p.m., NBCSN, CBC
Game 5: at STL, Wed., May 8, TBD, CBC*
Game 6: at LA, Fri., May 10, TBD, CBC*
Game 7: at STL, Mon., May 13, TBD, CBC*

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1 Pittsburgh PENGUINS
8 New York ISLANDERS

Game 1: at PIT, Wed., May 1, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 2: at PIT, Fri., May 3, 7 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 3: at NY, Sun., May 5, 12 p.m., NBC, TSN
Game 4: at NY, Tue., May 7, 7 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 5: at PIT, Thu., May 9, 7 p.m., TSN*
Game 6: at NY, Sat., May 11, TBD, TSN*
Game 7: at PIT, Sun., May 12, TBD, TSN*

2 Montreal CANADIENS
7 Ottawa SENATORS

Game 1: at MON, Thu., May 2, 7 p.m., CNBC, CBC, RDS
Game 2: at MON, Fri., May 3, 7 p.m., CNBC. CBC, RDS
Game 3: at OTT, Sun., May 5, 7 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, RDS
Game 4: at OTT, Tue., May 7, 7 p.m., CNBC, CBC, RDS
Game 5: at MON, Thu., May 9, 7 p.m., CBC, RDS*
Game 6: at OTT, Sat., May 11, TBD, CBC, RDS*
Game 7: at MON, Sun., May 12, TBD, CBC, RDS*

3 Washington CAPITALS
6 New York RANGERS

Game 1: at WAS, Thu., May 2, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 2: at WAS, Sat., May 4, 12:30 p.m., NBC, TSN
Game 3: at NY, Mon., May 6, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 4: at NY, Wed., May 8, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN
Game 5: at WAS, Fri., May 10, 7:30 p.m., TSN*
Game 6: at NY, Sun., May 12, TBD, TSN*
Game 7: at WAS, Mon., May 13, TBD, TSN*

4 Boston BRUINS
5 Toronto MAPLE LEAFS

Game 1: at BOS, Wed., May 1, 7 p.m., CNBC, CBC, RDS
Game 2: at BOS, Sat., May 4, 7 p.m., CNBC, CBC, RDS
Game 3: at TOR, Mon., May 6, 7 p.m., NHLN, CBC, RDS
Game 4: at TOR, Wed., May 8, 7 p.m., NHLN, CBC, RDS
Game 5: at BOS, Fri., May 10, 7 p.m. CBC, RDS*
Game 6: at TOR, Sun., May 12, CBC, RDS*
Game 7: at BOS, Mon., May 13, CBC, RDS*

*If Necessary

Now that you know the schedule and the matchups, let’s breakdown each series and predict the winners. I’m going to start in the Western Conference. Why the Chicago Blackhawks are in the Western Conference I’ll never know, but they are, and they are clearly the best team in the NHL. You might remember them from their record breaking “winning” streak earlier in the season. They will handle the Minnesota Wild without a hiccup in the first round (4-0). As for the Anaheim Ducks vs. the Detroit Red Wings, I think we are going to hop in my time machine and go back about 10 years (ya know when the Red Wings were the best hockey team in the world). I see the Red Wings defense stifling the Ducks and winning a highly competitive series in 7 games. On we move to the Vancouver Canucks vs. the San Jose Sharks. This series is going to be a low scoring defensive affair. San Jose has the better defense, and they won the regular season series with the Canucks 3 games to none. Look for San Jose to continue their success and win this series in 6 games. Ah yes, the oh so difficult to predict 4 vs. 5 matchup. This year in the West we have the St. Louis Blues taking on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings. The kings swept the regular season series against the Blues(3-0). I think that the Kings will carry the momentum of their solid play late in the season to advance to the 2nd round. It should take 6 games for the Kings to oust the Blues.

Let’s take a road trip back to the East coast and take a look at the Eastern Conference matchups. The first look we will take is at the top seeded Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the 8th seeded New York Islanders. Now I am an Islander fan, but even I can be objective; sometimes. The only way the Islanders remotely have a chance to win this series is if Sidney Crosby doesn’t play, and they beat up half of the Penguins starting line. Otherwise, they have little to no chance of advancing. I do believe that Sid the Kid is going to sit this round out, however it won’t be enough for the Islanders to move on. While the world will learn just how talented John Taveres is this week, he won’t be able to take the Penguinos down singlehandedly. Look for my Islanders to hang tough and lose this series in 6 HARD FOUGHT games. Lets Go Islanders!! (objectivity shmobjectivity). The second seeded Montrael Canadiens should handle the anemic offense of the Ottawa Senators in 5 games. Don’t look for any miracles in that series. I know I know, you want to see some upsets in the East too. Don’t worry they’re coming up right now. Let me preface this next series preview by saying that I strongly dislike the New York Rangers. However, they will take down the Washington Capitals in 6 games. You heard it here first. Lastly, the 4 vs. 5 matchup in the East should be equally as exciting as the 4/5 matchup in the West. All I have to say is, “Boston Strong Baby!” The Boston Bruins will do away with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 7 tough games.

Check back for 2nd round previews and predictions. Enjoy the NHL playoffs everyone!!

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 at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Everybody Ready For the Miami Heat To Start Trying??

Ready or not here come the NBA Playoffs. They will start today Saturday, April 20th at 3:00 p.m. when the Boston Celtics travel to New York to take on the Knicks. This is a very interesting series that carries many subplots on and off the court. As you all know, the city of Boston has gone through a heart wrenching week. While all are relieved that the persons responsible for the tragic bombings in Boston are dead or in custody, the city is still emotional right now. They also have a great sense of pride right now (as they should). The Boston Celtics would love to show their support to their great city and give it’s people something positive to cheer for. Beating the New York Knicks in the scheme of life means next to nothing, but it would even further unite the great people of their city. I personally feel for Boston. I think it is a great city filled with great people, and no one should have to experience what they have experienced over the past week. Again, sports are what they are, they are just games, but at times can mean so much more. New Yorkers know a little something about that. I feel that the Celtics team will give it their all and will take the Knicks to the limit in this playoff series. Now let’s talk about basketball for a minute. From a skill standpoint the Knicks are the better team with better players. However, if the Celtics are healthy and the Knicks are not, Melo and his boys might be in some trouble. The Celtics are a veteran squad who have playoff tested warriors. They know exactly what it takes to win. With all that being said, I still believe that Melo and the Knicks will be too much to handle for the Celtics. I believe this will be a hard fought series that will go the full 7 games. The home teams will stay undefeated throughout this series, and the Knicks will pull out a win at home in game 7. As for the rest of the playoffs, let me run down the schedule of games with each matchup and who I think will prevail:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

MIAMI HEAT (1) VS. MILWAUKEE BUCKS (8)
Game 1 @Miami: Sunday, 7 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 2 @Miami: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV
Game 3 @Milwaukee: April 25, 7 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 4 @Milwaukee: April 28, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
*Game 5 @Miami: April 30
*Game 6 @Milwaukee: May 2
*Game 7 @Miami: May 4

NEW YORK KNICKS (2) VS. BOSTON CELTICS (7)
Game 1 @New York: Saturday, 3 p.m. ET, ABC
Game 2 @New York: Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 3 @Boston: April 26, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 4 @Boston: April 28, 1 p.m. ET, ABC
*Game 5 @New York: May 1
*Game 6 @Boston: May 3
*Game 7 @New York: May 5

INDIANA PACERS (3) VS. ATLANTA HAWKS (6)
Game 1 @Indiana: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 2 @Indiana: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV
Game 3 @Atlanta: April 27, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 4 @Atlanta: April 29
*Game 5 @Indiana: May 1
*Game 6 @Atlanta: May 3
*Game 7 @Indiana: May 5

BROOKLYN NETS (4) VS. CHICAGO BULLS (5)
Game 1 @Brooklyn: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 2 @Brooklyn: Monday, 8 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 3 @Chicago: April 25, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV
Game 4 @Chicago: April 27, 2 p.m., TNT
*Game 5 @Brooklyn: April 29
*Game 6 @Chicago: May 2
*Game 7 @Brooklyn: May 4

WESTERN CONFERENCE

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (1) VS. HOUSTON ROCKETS (8)
Game 1 @Oklahoma City: Sunday, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 2 @Oklahoma City: Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 3 @Houston: April 27, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 4 @Houston: April 29
*Game 5 @Oklahoma City: May 1
*Game 6 @Houston: May 3
*Game 7 @Oklahoma City: May 5

SAN ANTONIO SPURS (2) VS. LOS ANGELES LAKERS (7)
Game 1 @San Antonio: Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Game 2 @San Antonio: Wednesday, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 3 @Los Angeles: April 26, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 4 @Los Angeles: April 28, 7 p.m. ET, TNT
*Game 5 @San Antonio: April 30,
*Game 6 @Los Angeles: May 2
*Game 7 @San Antonio: May 4

DENVER NUGGETS (3) VS. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (6)
Game 1 @Denver: Saturday, 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 2 @Denver: Tuesday, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 3 @Golden State: April 26, 10:30 p.m. ESPN2
Game 4 @Golden State: April 28, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
*Game 5 @Denver: April 30
*Game 6 @Golden State: May 2
*Game 7 @Denver: May 4

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (4) VS. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (5)
Game 1 @Los Angeles: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 2 @Los Angeles: Monday, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 3 @Memphis: April 25, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 4 @Memphis: April 27, 4:30 p.m. ET, TNT
*Game 5 @Los Angeles: April 30
*Game 6 @Memphis: May 3
*Game 7 @Los Angeles: May 5

“*” = if necessary

I will start with the Eastern Conference, as I think this it is the easier conference to predict. The Heat will sweep the Bucks. If they don’t it means something went horribly wrong. As I stated earlier I believe the Knicks will beat the Celtics in 7 games. The Pacers will take out the Atlanta Hawks in 5 low scoring affairs. Now, the Nets vs the Bulls will certainly be a fun series to watch. You have the tough physical defense of Chicago going up against the tough physical offense of Brooklyn. While I like Chicago’s style of play, I think they are too banged up and Brooklyn’s roster will prove to be too much. I like the Nets in 7 grueling games.

Let’s move on to the Western Conference and see what’s going to happen. James harden had a great season. He will also have the privilege of facing his former team in the 1st round of the playoffs. Sorry James, you are going to get swept. If you go off for 45 at home in game 3 or 4 you may have the pleasure of losing in 5 games. Otherwise you’ll get a souvenir broom to bring home with you. Everyone is telling me how good of a matchup this is for the Lakers. To that I say HAHAHA. The Spurs will handle Dwight Howard and the Lakers without much of an issue. Yes, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol will play well, and two 7 footers are a lot to handle, but the Spurs are too good for the lakers. Period. I have the Spurs moving on in 5 games. The series that will be the most fun to watch is the Nuggets vs the Warriors. These are too fast paced high powered offenses that should try to outs ore each other. If you haven’t seen Stephen Curry play basketball yet, I have one word for you. Enjoy. However, Curry and David Lee can’t beat the Nuggets by themselves. Plus the Nuggets don’t exactly lose at home. I like the Nuggets in 6 games. Lastly, you have the best team in Los Angeles (the Clippers) taking on the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies are big and physical and they play defense, but they can’t beat the Clippers in a 7 game series. Sorry Memphis, but you will be going home in 6 games. Better luck next year.

Check back next year when the 1st round is finally over and I’ll give you my predictions for the 2nd round. Cut down the number of teams in the playoffs and you’ll solve a lot of problems. You may take money out of someone’s pocket, but it would be the right thing to do for the sake of the game. Enjoy the games everybody, and for objectivity’s sake: Let’s Go Knicks!!!!

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 at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

I Aint Mad At Cha

The New York Knicks lost their 4th straight game on the road Sunday afternoon.  However, I can’t really yell at my favorite basketball team today.  They put forth a solid effort against a superior Los Angeles Clippers team.  By the way, Chris Paul is really really good at basketball.  I know everyone knows that, but I felt the need to reiterate that point.  If it wasn’t for Lebron James or Kevin Durant, Chris Paul would be the MVP of the league this year.  His defense is extremely underrated and his patience with the basketball is second to none.  While his defense Sunday was stellar on Raymond Felton, I found it funny that Felton waited until the game was just about out of reach to start playing hard.  Felton scored 8 of his 16 points in the 4th quarter, and he looked good doing it.  He was shaking and baking and taking the ball to the rim with authority.  If only someone, ahem like the coach, had told him to attack the basket in the 1st quarter maybe the Knicks would have had a chance in this game.  The Knicks never had a chance to win this basketball game though, however they never quit.  They kept fighting until the final buzzer, and that is the kind of effort they need to sustain when Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler return to action.  As for the game yesterday, there isn’t much to figure out.  The Knicks starting lineup consisted of Kurt Thomas, Kenyon Martin, and Chris Copeland.  That’s all you need to know to figure out how this game played out.  The Clippers defeated the Knicks 93-80, but not without putting up a fight first.  The Knicks played a tough physical brand of defense yesterday (just ask the Clippers front court if they like Kenyon Martin).  I think Kenyon Martin is really funny by the way.  Every time there is a questionable call against him, he looks at the referee and his eyes do the talking.  So now that we’re assuming that Kenyon Martin’s eyes can talk they say, “Come on man, you know you’re making that call because my name is Kenyon Martin, not because that was a foul.”  Anyway, it was an impressive feat to hold the Clippers high powered offense to only 93 points.  The only problem was the Knicks “C” squad was only able to muster up 80 points (and that included 12 3-pointers).  This game, if for nothing else, should be a nice confidence boost for Steve Novak, Jason Kidd, and Chris Copeland.  All hit 3 3-pointers, and kept their team within striking distance throughout most of this game.  Unlike everyone else in the world, I am not jumping ship on the Knicks, not just yet.  Their success depends entirely on the health of Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony going forward obviously, but I see the Eastern Conference as a toss-up outside of Miami.  If the Knicks get healthy and hot at the right time, they could still make some noise in the playoffs.  For now, they will have to make do with the roster they’ve got.  We will see if they can finally win a game against a desperate Utah Jazz team on Monday night.  This is the final game of their tough 5 game road trip.  The Jazz haven’t been playing too well as of late, but they need a win to keep pace with the Lakers for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.  You can watch the Knicks take on the Jazz Monday night at 10:30 P.M. on ESPN.

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!