Posts Tagged ‘nba’

When the real NFL ref’s do return – and I think it will be soon, fans will give referees a standing ovation! It’s never happened in the history of North American sports. It may be slightly sarcastic but I can assure that almost every single stadium hosting an NFL game will give the referees a stand ovation. It’s going to be absolutely hilarious because we’ve hated them for our entire lives and now we can’t wait to get them back.

I was thinking about this Monday night – terrible call obviously, Green Bay losing to Seattle. It was really a historic day as it was an absolute terrible call. Large corporations like the one I work for and like the one’s many of you reading this may work for – they always have more power than I do, you do and we regular workers do. Even if you’re a great employee, corporations have the power – it really stinks. But after Monday night’s Green Bay/Seattle butchered call, I believe it’s the first time in North America where part-time workers – remember, refs are part-timers. For the first time in North American history, part-time workers have more power than a major corporation because negotiations are all about “who has the leverage” Corporations have got the money, the brand. 99.5% of the time corporations have the negotiating leverage, rarely do you or I have it and that’s even if you’re good. But one of the ways you and I can get leverage from a big corporation is via bad press because they absolutely hate bad press, especially when it’s the worst kind of bad press – bad integrity press.

You can call ESPN all day “I don’t like what Skip Bayless said or what Stephen A. Smith said…Colin Cowherd is an idiot!” pfft they couldn’t give a rip about what you think. “I don’t like your programming, you shouldn’t have the Spelling Bee competition on” again, they couldn’t give a rip. But if you question their integrity you’ll have a bunch of suits running down the hall calling a big meeting. Did you hear what ESPN NFL Analyst Trent Dilfer said Monday night after the game? Where he basically said that you can sense now – especially after Monday night, where you’ve got 30 million people (estimate viewership of Monday night’s game) questioning the integrity of the NFL saying “The NFL has insulted my intelligence, has insulted your intelligence and everybody’s watching the game and the NFL is simply trying to tell us that this issue is not that big of a deal [refs lockout] and we have a multi-billion dollar machine and we’re letting this [ref blown call] ruin it, it’s ruining the very fabric of the game. You don’t hear Drew Brees – arguably the classiest guy in the NFL, come out and say what he said today [Monday] unless it’s a colossal issue. Players have never tweeted and done stuff out of such rebellion that they have been in, than today”

Whoa!! Worse kind of PR – integrity PR “you’ve got no integrity NFL” PR. I get emails, comments all day “I hate you, you don’t know what you’re talking about” etc my response? “So? I don’t give a rip” but if you question my integrity…that hurts! I don’t like that at all. “You stink, you’re a hag…” yeah whatever. But when you say that I have no integrity? That stings! Through 3 weeks, 16 games a week, via 47 games already played, the leverage has gone from the league  to these part timers. Don’t get me wrong, there are still tiny rain drops of criticism like Harbough getting challenges he shouldn’t have been allowed, Lions/Giants/Bengals/Redskin games where the officials marched off too many yards on penalties – it’s little stuff though, little rain drops of criticism. Game # 48 Monday night? The roof caved in!!  The complaints were all self-contained fires, Monday night however a 5 alarm, out of control ragger was created. 30 million people, Packers got hozzed, America loves the Packers , 47 games in which the NFL had leverage, game # 48 changes it all and gives it to the NFL refs. So the question now becomes: How much integrity heat does the NFL want to withstand?

I mean, you’ll still watch the games – its fall and you’re in Wisconsin, what are you going to do? Hit up the local Strawberries festival again? I mean seriously…what are you going to do? It’s the fall, it’s Wisconsin…you’re obviously going to watch the Packers! But again, how much is the NFL willing to digest because it’s certainly going to be awful. My gut feeling is that within the next 36 hours…it gets solved. The irony is that it took a really bad call to get the real guys back with more good calls and that’s usually the way negotiations work, where there is a tipping point. It’s as if someone came to replace me at work, but they weren’t as good, then my clients that I deal with start to complain to the corporation I worked for then my replacement drops an f-bomb, leverage then comes back to me. If you’re going to make a mistake as a ref…make it during Week # 3 of the pre-season, you do not make it on Monday night football game.

So the irony here is that a very atrocious call will actually end up getting us a lot more good calls and the real refs will come back. This is how North American negotiations work where corporations have leverage 99.5% of the time- Monday night however, the .5% won. Now there is not much confusion, I’m sure most of you have already seen by now the replay. It was like a perfect storm of incompetency where Seattle could’ve really been penalized for several different things. First of all, you can’t overturn possession with a replay – so whatever is called on the field is the call, when it comes to possession. So first of all #14 for Seattle (Charlie Martin) was using his arms to clear out Packers. They are never going to call that but that could be a penalty. Secondly, Tate pushed the player covering him and then thirdly, Tate didn’t have simultaneous possession of that ball at any point – it wasn’t close! But once the refs called the touchdown, you can’t overturn possession with a replay.

Jerry Markbeit, long time official but now retired, was on the Mike & Mike Show on ESPN radio Tuesday morning and basically said what he would’ve done in this mess “what I would’ve done is go to the other official – the back judge, and ask him “ why were you killing the clock and about to give a touchback signal – tell me what you saw” and when he would’ve told me that Tate had one arm on the ball, I would’ve then looked back on the touchdown and said “if the interceptor had both hands on the ball and if there was not simultaneous catch in the air, we’re going to go with the touchback” and I would’ve exerted my expertise – as with the other professional referee’s to get this call correct”

Yeah, I mean once the ref put his hands in the air and signaled a touchdown on what was clearly not simultaneous possession, it’s not that hard of a call. Like once he puts his hands in the air to rule it a touchdown –if you’re Green Bay, you are hosed at that moment because you can’t overturn possession on that kind of play with replay, your done! So what you would’ve seen with veteran refs – and they would’ve gotten it right had they been there, is them getting into a huddle and saying to one another “no no no, no simultaneous possession”


I understand people getting worked up over presidential elections, but sometimes I don’t understand the outrage people have over this type of stuff. So this past Wednesday, all the major sports leagues in the U.S. – NCAA, NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL (let’s not forget them) filed a lawsuit against New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in federal court because he signed a law that allows for betting on pro and college sports at New Jersey casinos and racetracks. Now, the leagues claim that New Jersey sports gambling law violates a federal law that is already in place – enacted years ago. But here is the outrage part – by the way, laws change all the time and so just because something is federally enacted doesn’t mean that it can’t be federally rescinded.  The NCAA and pro leagues say “such gambling would not only harm sports leagues and organizations such as the NCAA or the NFL, but would be a flagrant violation of the 1992 Congressional Act, to halt the spread of sports gaming.”

Now, here’s what I don’t get: why is everybody so anti-sports gambling in these leagues?  Does anybody remember the Tim Donaghy scandal? Do you know who tipped off the NBA? Vegas!!! They are not your enemy, they’re your alley! Vegas called the FBI and the NBA and said “you’ve got a problem” Use Vegas as your friend, they are not your enemy. Vegas tipped off the NBA or else Tim Donaghy could’ve gone years and convinced other refs to do the same. First of all, sports gambling are here, we love it and it’s not ruining society. “But Andrew, people get addicted…” people get addicted to butter! Don’t blame the beer because you’re an alcoholic and don’t blame the bagel because you’re overweight. People have to be accountable for their own addictions. Is it a moral issue? Well, more wars have been caused by religion than sports gambling. Religious zealotry scares me, who has the over on the Bengals/Ravens game, does not!

Again, I get the outrage on a lot of issues – why do people get worked up over sports gambling? Know a family friend who lived in Vegas for years, there are sleazy people in Vegas, but there’s sleazy people anywhere! This family friend once told us that he found, at the time he was in Vegas, that the people he knew in sports gambling, he found them to be incredibly trustable – it’s a highly regulated business. You know what’s not regulated? Strip clubs! If you’re anti-strip club, you may have a point! The alcohol business – every state and province is different. “In this state, it’s the Wild Wild West…in this state, you can’t drink on the Lord’s Day” But the idea that people get worked up – that I have the Rams at -6, I’ve never understood. Here’s a little secret, sports gambling is already everywhere! Did you know that? Like everybody thinks “Vegas…the evil empire that takes everyone’s money” pfft, did you know that only 4% of NFL bets take place in Las Vegas? I’ve got news for you, there’s already sports gambling in New Jersey – there’s more in New Jersey than in Las Vegas! I don’t know the industry well enough to make big predictions, but I wouldn’t be shocked and I don’t think any of you would be either if sports gambling were legalized on the internet in the next 10 years.

I mean what person have you ever met in New Jersey that says “Bob, it’s not legal for me to bet on the Giants…Guess I’m out of luck!” You want to bet? Go bet! This is like the government trying to stop television viewing. People are doing it, they’re always doing it, its part of our fabric and even if it’s illegal – and there’s a 12% underground economy in America anyways, you’ll never stop it! People are going to drink, they are going to lust, they’re going to gamble, they’re going to eat and they’re going to watch television – you can’t stop it! So legalize it, tax the hell out of it and the state of Jersey could make over $200 million a year! Really? How many are they making on strip joints? Not that much I’d assume! It is amazing how people treat sports gambling – they treat it as if were the Ebola Virus “here it comes!! We’ll bleed from our eyes…run for the hills!” I bet football games people!! Again, is it a moral issue? I mean when the government had prohibition – do you think people didn’t drink? It was more of an underground premium that ever! I simply find that the stigma just forces more illegal activity but if you legalize it, the bad guys go away – they lost their market!

It’s like going to your son and saying “Do not listen to the band Gawr, I do not like that music…that music is evil” You know what your son is probably going to do? He’s going to go to his room and crank Gawr simply because I told him he can’t. But if I say to him “you know what, Gawr is awesome!! Crank it buddy!” suddenly it’s not cool. So again, take away the stigma, legalize it everywhere! “Andrew, but you’ll have game fixing” they’ve had more game fixing in Europe. There was an Arizona State basketball game several years ago that was fixed – sports gambling wasn’t legal in Arizona yet it was legal in Vegas and UNLV games aren’t fixed! Gambling sanitizes when it’s legal, there aren’t any thumb breakers, and there aren’t any loan sharks. We’re going to gamble as a society – get over it!! Legalize it and tax the hell out of it! You can’t stop it! Illegal card room/legal card room – how about we just make them legal and get some tax revenue out of it! Think about it, what vice has the government not gotten a piece out of it?

I think they’re biggest issue is – and here’s the great thing about sports gambling for you and I – and we’re doing it right now and it’s not ruining society. I mean look around our society folks, how many of them are tied to this: you can bet on a Laker game tonight! Are any of our societal ills based on that Laker game 4 months from now? This is not asking to legalize marijuana – there are concerns that it’s a gateway drug, concerns on what it does, I mean we all went to school with corky – he was forget and sort of apathetic. I just never understood and it’s so bizarre! The family friend lived in Vegas, he knew these people who betted on sports for a living – all they really are, when you think about it, are analysts! You’re a hedge fund analyst, financial analyst, insurance analyst and then there’s sports gaming analysts. Hit 58%, manage your money and that’s your living!

It was a weird 4th of July earlier this month as it was during mid-week, which I’m not a fan off. I like it when it’s on a Friday or Monday. So I went out for a run in the scorching heat and humidity – I was shot for the day. I then checked my texts and started getting into arguments with all sorts of people basically telling everyone this: Steve Nash can’t go to Toronto; it’s stupid because he’s an all-time great! “ouuu but it’s going home Andrew” he’s not from Toronto! He didn’t even play college basketball in Canada; heck he wasn’t even born in Canada! Going home is over-rated when you’re an all-time great. When you’re on a 7 game losing streak and a 9th seed in the East, congrats on going home!

Steve Nash deserves a fight for the championship, he’s Steve Nash!! Steve Nash led the NBA in assists the last 3 seasons and Phoenix didn’t have a 20 pts a game scorer! How the hell did he do that? That’s absolutely amazing! He’s still a 50% shooter from the field “Well Andrew, he doesn’t defend very well” who does though? Derrick Rose? Please!! Steve Nash to the Lakers is a game changer. Do you get how bad the Lakers were at the point guard position last year? Let me just sum up how bad the Lakers were. When they acquired Ramon Sessions, a back-up in freaking Cleveland, it was considered a major upgrade. When they acquired Ramon Sessions – who couldn’t start for Cleveland, they threw a parade in Los Angeles. The Lakers’ point guards at the end of last season were the 2nd worst in the league in points per game and 4th worst in assists.

Nash, not only led the league in assists with no stars – now he gets Kobe, Gasol and Bynum, but he also ranked 1st in assists per 48 minutes and 2nd in assist percentage. Meaning, did his teammates shoot better when he was on the floor? He was #2 in the league. This absolutely changes everything “But Andrew, the Lakers still don’t have a bench…” who does though? Indiana? How’d that work out for them in the playoffs? Oklahoma City had a much better bench then Miami, Miami had Lebron. Benches don’t win titles. Spurs had a great bench, Miami had no bench – you need stars!! They win you games in this league; if they didn’t, then Indiana would have 9 rings. But you know who’s got them? The Celtics and the Lakers because they attract stars! So he is a complete game changer.

The other thing in Los Angeles is that Steve Nash is one of these guys – there are about 3 or 4 of them in the league. Lebron is one of them; Chris Paul is one of them and Steve Nash, in that they upgrade everybody around them by a little. They take a B- player and make him a B+ player. They take a C+ player and make him a B- player and Nash is really good at that. The Lakers’ biggest problem – and any Laker fan will tell you, is that Pau Gasol and Kobe don’t mesh, they like each other and they’re really smart guys. The truth is, Kobe is not a true point guard, and he is a scorer and not a distributor. As a result, Pau Gasol gets frozen out and gets ticked off. Every year by the All-Star break Pau starts complaining “I’m not getting enough touches” with Nash…problem solved!

So A) you get a massive upgrade at point guard – Steve Nash and Ramon Sessions isn’t an upgrade, it is a mega upgrade! It’s Dwight Howard from Brook Lopez, it’s not even close. Secondly, you get a guy who led the league in assists in Phoenix with no legitimate scorers. What do you think he’s going to do with Kobe and Gasol? 3 years ago, Gasol was arguably the best big in the game, do you think he’s bad now? No, the Lakers point guards have been atrocious – nobody gets him the ball. This, if anything, revives his career. This is just an absolute game changer! Not to say that the Lakers still don’t have issues, but folks it’s the NBA, there is a salary cap, everybody in this league has issues and flaws Miami won a championship with no point guard and no center! Oklahoma City is great yet 4 of their top 7 players are non-scoring threats. The Bulls don’t have a 2nd scorer – these are 3 of the best teams in the league!

The Lakers have 4 current players – either current all-stars or who use to be. Even though Nash isn’t, he’ll lead the league in assists next season for the 4th straight year – this is an absolute gigantic move! Go look at his numbers, his points have gone down but the Lakers don’t need points, he also adds a shooting touch from the perimeter. Kobe had his worst shooting year ever….why? Is he that bad all of a sudden? No, he was averaging 28 pts a game. Since they had no point guard he was basically forced into making his own shots way too often – now he’s going to get open jumpers occasionally. Kobe’s field goal percentage will go up by like 5%. Big win for Kobe, big win for Gasol, big win for Mike Brown, the head coach, who’s a defensive minded head coach, he’s not a great offensive minded guy so Steve Nash takes a lot of that headache off his table.

Metta World Peace was interviewed on the Scott Van Pelt Show shortly after Nash signed, you can make fun of Metta World Mishap all you want but the guy knows basketball saying “ he [Steve Nash] has a lot of weapons around him, he’s one of the leading assist guys of all-time. So if you give him the ball, he can dish it out to Metta World Peace, Kobe Bryant, the big Spaniard, Bynum – and he’ll make us look even better…” Never forget this: In the 5 games against Oklahoma City in the playoffs – Games 2, 3 and 4 with final scores of 77-75, 99-96 and 103-100, LA led in every one of those games in the 4th but Ramon Sessions was their point guard. LA is not that far off “but they don’t have a great bench like the Spurs Andrew” they lost 4 straight games at the end of the year because they didn’t have the stars that OKC did – it’s a star driven league. The Knicks have a bench yet it only won them one playoff game. Indiana has got depth but couldn’t beat Miami without Chris Bosh! I think this move is a complete game changer!

I still think Miami is the favourite, LA has closed the gap on OKC though I’d still give them the advantage because they are young, they’ve got chemistry, coming off a very good Western Conference playoff run but I’d put LA and Boston as tied for 3rd. Now do you still pursue Dwight Howard? I think yes! You have to go after Dwight Howard. Now I can live with Bynum, Gasol, Metta, Kobe and Nash – I can live with that. But he adds youth and he’s a better defensive player. Bill Simmons was on The Thundering Herd last month – I just wonder if Brooklyn even understands, does the Orlando Magic front office understand that what Brooklyn was offering was a bunch of draft picks late in the 1st round and C+ players. Do they realize that the Lakers could give them Bynum for Dwight Howard?? Bill Simmons talked about that saying “I just don’t think you should be able to get him for the poop poop platter that the Nets were offering.  None of those guys in the trade will ever be an All-Star, the 1st round picks that they would be giving up would be at the bottom of the 1st round. If you’re an Orlando Magic fan, you cannot accept that trade, you just can’t”

I totally agree with Bill – this Brooklyn offer, everyone was falling in love with it! It’s a bunch of C+ players and late 1st round draft picks, there is no Andrew Bynum in there! So does Orlando realize that getting Dwight Howard’s equal, better offensively though not as good defensively, is as good as your going to get! Anytime you trade stars you end up losing, it’s very rare when you can give up Dwight Howard and get a Bynum, which just simply doesn’t happen in the NBA. Normally you give up a star and end up getting like a Caron Butler x4, draft picks late in the 1st round – those have no value, you see everyone in the league give away draft picks, they have no value outside of the top 5.

Drew Sharpe is a very good writer, he writes for the Detroit Free Press and he makes a great point in one of his articles I read recently. He says “you know it’s funny, Lebron James does not merit much sympathy or compassion because he willingly placed a bull’s eye on himself – the whole crowning himself King and all. But the level of animosity directed at him and the Miami Heat for their hubris reeks of hypocrisy by America sports fans” Continues Drew Sharpe “I suppose those same people, who cried that the Miami Heat violated some code of competitiveness by amassing as many good players as possible, they must also hate the original Olympic Dream Team right?” After all, the concept of a “super team” and the swagger brought was born in 92’ in Barcelona. Why do I suspect that some of the strongest Miami Heat bashers remain as some of the strongest supporters of what the Dream Team represented and created?

Never forget that U.S. basketball opted against the long standing conventional approach of taking the nation’s best college players. Why? Because it had grown outdated and less reliable against gradually improving foreign players, U.S.A. basketball needed an alternative for accelerating America’s return to world basketball dominance. The Dream Team was also a great marketing tool, whether you liked it or loathed the concept; you simply could not ignore it. The same is true with Lebron James and the Heat. Had they lost Game 7 against Boston, the NBA season would have officially concluded before the Finals!

Outrage by the Dream Team and Miami! No, we loved that entire swagger! The Dream Team was virtually taunting the other countries, with them pounding there chest regularly. I still contend that sometimes in life, you think you hear something but you hear something else. Like when Lebron James held that press conference talking about championships, it went something like this “…not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7 – and when I say that, I really believe it. We believe that we can win multiple championships if we take care of business and do it the right way”. Did you read that carefully? He said “We believe that we can…if…” that’s not that much hubris. For the record, we all play to the crowd – I try to cater to Ohio State diehards when they have a good game and rip on Michigan. If I talk about Lakers, I’ll bang on the Phoenix Suns and the Utah Jazz. If I talked about Utah, I’d be banging on the Lakers. All Lebron James said was “we believe we can if…”

I may be wrong on this, but I think this is what you all THINK you heard him say “I will rule over the NBA for the next decade, winning every MVP award and championship possible. I am the King and you people are my loyal subjects, bow before Lebron, Jordan and Kobe have nothing on me. I am the greatest player the NBA has ever seen. No more questions, the King exit’s the room” I think that’s what you all thought you heard. Again, he said “I believe it’s possible that we can if we work hard” Come on people, slow down. I can imagine that anyone in the public speaking business, you always try to play to the crowd – that’s just part of the business! How many of you have been public speakers? Less than probably 1% of you, I included. I know someone whose been doing it his entire life, he always talks about playing to the crowd. If he does a remote in Columbus or LA, he plays to the crowd, it’s called knowing your audience. He was telling me that when he goes and does a speech the first thing he asks the person who hired him “who’s the crowd? Are they men or woman? What’s the break down? Cocktail served or not? Is it a clean audience or not?

So when Lebron goes out and says “we believe we can if …” he wasn’t demanding anything, wasn’t guaranteeing anything, he was just playing to the crowd.  It’s what every radio personality in the country does. If you listen to Alabama radio – who do you think they are rooting for? Alabama! Listen to New York sports radio, who do you think they are rooting for? New York teams! Dallas radio? Talking about the Cowboys, Rangers and Stars – they’ll all just playing to their audiences, you better your bread. You know who that celebration was truly for when Lebron and co. came out and did that presser for the fans? It was for Miami Heat Season ticket holders – once they signed Lebron and Bosh, they invited them all in and it was kind of like a butt kissing and all. For the record, 20 years ago if that had happened, you would’ve never seen tape of it. You do something and like 10 minutes later it could be on YouTube, it’s up on the blogs and you perhaps didn’t even intend for it to end up on the blogs.

So I was slightly under the weather yesterday but it’s weird, I started feeling better last night at around 9 or 10 o’clock! I don’t know what it was, but I was just sitting there watching some basketball game and suddenly started feeling like a million bucks!! Cross your fingers America, OKC vs. Miami may still happen.  Most of the time I try to tell my audience on this blog to have some perspective – take the emotion out of it, that certainly won’t be the case Saturday night. I will be rooting for a Miami and OKC finals. It if doesn’t happen, I’ll throw a shoe at my TV and perhaps be back to being sick because I want to see it happen – and not just because Boston fans poured beer on Lebron as he left the court…stay classy Boston. What I saw last night was absolutely unbelievable!!

For a lot of you, and I’m numbered among you, who are like 19-24 yrs old you just see the highlights of Jordan. But you don’t know, unless you’re like 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, and watched every single Jordan playoff game (watched them all during the lockout this season).You forget this about Michael that he was allowed to push the pause button, he could take 3 or 4 minutes off – oh he was for sure the best player on the floor. But Scottie Pippen didn’t disappear for a series! Even before Pippen, in that game at Boston when MJ had 63 points, Charles Oakley dominated the glass and had a double double; Woolridge was all over the glass averaging 24 pts and 9 rebounds. You could depend on Michael to score and to be Michael – because he could re-energize and hit the pause button. He could also Re-amp up later after a quick break – in fact, you always noticed with MJ that he’d get those little beads of sweat on his head about twice a game when he was really shifting gears during a game.

But last night Lebron didn’t get that, Lebron wasn’t allowed to take a breather because the rest of his teammates were absolutely embarrassing! Michael was never asked to dominate the glass – in his 63 pointer against Boston, he had only 5 rebounds, the rest of his team had 45 rebounds. Last night, Lebron had almost every third rebound for Miami and he brought the ball up…and he pushed teammates away, so that he could defend their big. Do you understand what we all saw last night?? Michael was asked to score, Lebron was asked to do everything for 3 quarters. I would be humiliated today if I was a member of the Heat and not named Lebron. I’ve never seen anything like that – there was a jaw dropping stat in that game last night. Lebron made 15 unassisted field goals last night – a career high, he scored 20 points just in isolation. Do you realize what Lebron was telling his teammates? “Guys, I’m tired of it – I’ll just take over! I won’t even pass it and expect a pass back. I’ll just take the ball up the court, will never pass it and just try to score” that’s not a compliment!

Some of you are saying “ohh but Andrew, D-Wade had a couple of big shots…” do you know what D-Wade did? He is your buddy or the guy you think is your buddy who shows up and says “heyy, I heard you were moving today, I was coming to help you” yet 90% of the boxes are already packed. “ohh, woo we killed it then! Where’s the beer and pizza? We killed it!” No, we didn’t kill it. Thanks D-Wade for dropping a couple of shots when the game was already decided because Lebron had to do everything. Erik Spoelstra, Miami head coach – and this says it all right here. He has so little trust in anybody except Lebron with KG and Pierce already on the bench; that he wouldn’t pull Lebron out of the game until there was only 3:50 left in the game…pathetic!! He didn’t even trust Bosh or Wade with 4 ½ minutes left, leading by 20 pts with KG and Pierce out of the game…unbelievable!

Sometimes the media is all over the place with this stuff. Two nights ago “Lebron is joyless!” then last night “I love that intensity look” folks make up your minds! I don’t even know what ‘clutch’ means anymore but all I know is that KG didn’t play well, Pierce wasn’t there, Wade was milk carton bad “where did he go? He disappeared!” and Lebron was on every play for Miami. Absolutely, 100% responsible for everything, this is what Lebron said after – in one of the greatest games I’ve ever seen in my life from any player in any sport! “I will continue to be aggressive, continue to play at a high level like I have done for the entire postseason. I’m going to try to go out there and play my game, play as hard as I can and I don’t really care what the stats say and don’t want to regret Game 7 if I gave it my all” Yeah you shouldn’t Lebron because you’ve been remarkable!!Against the Celtics, you have to go back to Kareem Abul-Jabbar – the last time somebody in the first 6 games averaged over 25 pts against them, it’s just incredible!

Now, I’m not saying that he’s MJ because he’s not! But MJ, I have re-watched every playoff game MJ played in, even the ones Pippen wasn’t there. Jordan would get these beads of sweat twice a game – Michael was not only a great player, he knew when to be a great player but he could also push the pause button, he got time off and breaks. After watching all his playoff games on tape and his career in the late 90’s, two things that jump out at me about his career are that 1) early in his career, he had to learn how to shoot a jumper because he went to the rack way to much – just took a beating. 2) Michael was very good at picking his spots! But he had other guys – like last night was pathetic! If I’m Lebron James, I feel like I’m playing for the Miami Cavaliers! Seriously!!  Only difference? I’ve got better weather and an ocean view. Was Lebron intense or was Lebron angry? Here was Erik Spoelstra on Lebron’s performance last night, saying the right thing but not necessarily meaning it “Nobody likes getting dirt thrown in their face before you’re not even dead, but he showed great resolve a day before you get to this point and you could see it leading up to that . But he was fearless in the game and everybody followed from there…” no they didn’t!! That’s the problem. Nobody followed from there.

You can’t show up to help your buddy move when 90% of the boxes are packed and say “woo, we really killed it” noo, Lebron killed it you, his personal valet, parked the car for him. Unbelievable! For the record, Miami is an 8 point favourite over the Celtics for Saturday night – which I think is absurd!! Listen, I know banks are going out of business by the week, take this one to the bank, take Boston at +8. You have got to be kidding me! What the heck is going on in Las Vegas?? I get 8 points? whatever casino made that line will be out of business by Monday. That line was brought to you by the rookie gambling association of Las Vegas haha. Come on!!! Game 7, it’s the Big 3’s last game together and you’ve got Miami at 8 points? I mean, the one thing we know about this series is that outside Game 1, you can’t predict anything! If you think Lebron is going to play again at 73% shooting and Paul Pierce is going to be that bad again…your nuts!! We are going to have an unbelievable Game 7 on Saturday! It’s going to be one for the ages! Still get it why Boston fans would pour beer over Lebron. If I was Spoelstra, I would take that tape, play it in the locker room and at practice and show it over and over and over and over again.

So since Day 1 of the blog, I guess you could say my mission statement has always been to add some perspective to the issues that arise in sports because there simply isn’t that much to begin with. Now, I don’t get frustrated as much with fans who don’t have perspective – your job is to be a fan, go ahead go crazy! You’re the Met fan who thinks because your team threw a no-hitter over the weekend that they’re going to win the whole thing. However when the media loses perspective, it becomes a very concerning topic.

For example, think about how different my blog would be today if Dwayne Wades 21 footer had gone in last night, 3 inches and it goes in. Its 3-1 Miami, Bosh is healthy, and it’s going back to Miami for 2 of the next 3 games…series over! Don’t kid yourself, Miami beat this same Boston team last year in 5 games and Boston was younger and healthier last year. My rant, if Dwayne Wade’s shot goes in – series over! But instead we go from a 3-1 series lead to absolute panic in Heat land. Yes, believe it or not, many are speculating  as early as this morning, the talk is starting up, Ric Bucher claims he’s got a source apparently saying “let’s break up Lebron, Bosh and Wade”  saying on the Mike & Mike Show this morning “…what’ I’ve heard is that if Miami, for whatever reason, falls short, that everybody except Lebron James would be available – that they’d want to clear the deck and that the only reason why they’d only hold onto Lebron James is as much because he’s the big ticket…he sells tickets. If you’re going to build around an element, it’s Lebron James and so everything else would be available and they’d clear the deck. Now I don’t know how much of that was just a message to say “if you don’t get it done this year, get those change of address labels ready” as a motivation. But the bottom line is that it makes a lot of sense”

What??? “Makes a lot of sense?” folks, if Bosh is playing last night, it’s 3-1 series over! He’s an 18 and 8 All-Star; they’ve got no interior scoring without him. This team was sub 500 this year without Bosh; they were 9-1 without D-wade. Chris Bosh is huge – and I’ve argued this for years that Wade is a better player than Bosh, Bosh is more valuable – there’s a big difference. John Stockton is a better player than Byron Scott but Magic worked with Byron Scott better than he would’ve worked with John Stockton who played the same position. Miami is 1-0 in the playoffs when Bosh has even played half the game, they’re 5-4 without him, so don’t confuse things. This series was a 5 gamer last year; it was a 5 gamer when Bosh was healthy. So we’re going to blow everything up because Bosh got hurt? Wow, like the Mavericks proved it last year – it’s about the fit. Right now, going into the playoffs in the middle of it, Chris Bosh got hurt…come on people! You can’t go crazy on this stuff. If Chris Bosh is healthy, like he was last year, this is not a 6 or a 7 game series, wasn’t it last year when Boston was arguably better!! We’ve got to slow this “blow the Heat up” bubble fast!! For the last 2 years, last year they got to Game 6 of the finals and this year they are in the Eastern Conference finals…without Bosh!! Now you’re asking Pat Riley to blow them up?? Slow down everybody; take a deep breath – if Bosh returns for 2 of the next 3 games, Miami will win the series. It would be nice however if somebody not named Lebron James would give you a good effort for Miami, but that’s the world he’s lived in his entire NBA career.

Remember after Rory McIlroy won the U.S. Open last year? “He is the next Tiger…” that was some golf expert saying that! Well to be honest, either your anti-Tiger or you have poor memories. Over a 10 year period, Tiger has won 64 times with 12 majors and has only lost 1 lead. Anybody that thought Rory McIlroy, over 10 years, was going to duplicate that is delusional or purely anti-Tiger. Rory Mcilroy my friends, in the peak of his young career, has missed 3 straight cuts. Tiger Woods has missed a total of 5 in his entire golfing career. Tiger Woods, who won yesterday, is now a victim of Tiger. He was so great that we don’t give him credit even when he’s really really good – which he’s been this year. Think about this, Tiger Woods in 11 tournaments this year has 2 wins and including those wins has 5 top 4 finishes. So that means that this year, Tiger has in 43% of the events, has either won it or was close to winning it. Every other golfer on the planet would take that today.

If I said that for 15 years of your golf career, 21-36 years of age – you enter 12 tournaments a year and 43% of the time you won or were close to winning it, you would become the greatest golfer in the sports history, would you not take that? Rory McIlroy has missed 3 cuts in a row yet Tiger Woods – according to Vegas, is a 6 to 1 favourite to win the U.S. Open, double the chance of any other golfer, Tiger is the only next Tiger. Now however, comes the inevitable question “are you back?” this was asked yesterday and he said “I don’t know, it’s a process…like back to what? I’m just always trying to get better regardless of where I am in the rankings and all. Reporter: Do you feel like the Tiger Woods of old? Tiger: I feel like an older Tiger Woods, yes…” perfect answer! Let’s stop trying to find or embellish what the next Tiger is.

We never demanded that Michael Jordan, when he was with the Washington Wizards, become Michael Jordan 6 years earlier with the Bulls. Unless you play baseball and took cattle steroids in the bay area, nobody is better as they get older after injuries. Tiger Woods, this year, in 11 tournaments, with 2 wins, 3 other top 4 finishes – is he going to be Tiger of a decade ago? Of course not! But he is still, right now, as good as or better than any other golfer on the planet and there will never ever be another Tiger. Appreciate history folks! It’s not going to be duplicated hence why they call it history.

So 57% of Americans sports fans, according to today’s USA Today, believe that last night’s NBA lottery draft was fixed – pfft, of course it’s fixed because if you could pick anybody to win it, you’d want chronically corrupt, small market, financial mess New Orleans to win it right? Haha! Yeah, a bad organization that is so terrible the NBA had to take it over a year ago…that’s who I want winning the lottery (sarcasm). Yeah!! Let’s fix something on national television. Folks, frauds are something you hide, not televise. But again, people in life have their narrative picked, whoever wins the lottery – if you believe the lottery was fixed, you could’ve had your argument and I’ll give you an example.

I’ll take 7 teams that could’ve won the lottery last night and if you really believe this NBA lottery was fixed – and many do, because it’s easier to say that, it’s always easier to blame somebody or to blame the ref’s or to say that the government is against you than to be accountable and look in the mirror and say to yourself “wow, I haven’t worked hard enough to succeed” That’s unfortunately the new Canada and the new America “point fingers, don’t look at mirrors”. But let me give you an example – if you believe the NBA lottery is fixed, I can surely make that argument with 7 teams.

If Charlotte wins it last night – and they were the odds on favourite, wouldn’t all you say “ohh the lottery is fixed” people drop a line and say “well, I mean of course! It’s the commissioner taking care of MJ. I mean, you knew that they were going to win it…he’s the all-time icon of the sport! David Stern wasn’t going to let Michael Jordan lose that one” If Cleveland had won it last night “well I mean, that’s just David Stern’s way of repairing the Lebron mess! You know and its soo obvious …first they get Kyrie Irving and then they get Anthony Davis, it’s just David Stern’s way of cleaning the Lebron mess!” If New Jersey had won it last night “well that’s Stern taking care of big market Brooklyn, you know that Stern is not going to let the richest owner in the league, the Russian billionaire, fail” If Sacramento had won it last night “ohh that’s David Stern trying to keep another franchise from leaving, I mean they already had that New Orleans mess…you know he’s going to make Sacramento the winner of that lottery” If Golden State had won it last night “ohh perfect, Jerry West!! Jerry West becomes a part of the Warriors and you want me to believe that a year later they win the lottery. Ohh and they have a new arena going into the bay area at the Pier! You know David Stern wanted to take care of Jerry West – they’re old friends, I mean…he is the logo” If Portland had won it last night “ well I mean David Stern…like Portland is 5 minutes away from Nike! That’s where all the Lebron’s and Chris Paul’s and Melo’s…that’s where they all hang out and Michael Jordan and Kobe are taken care off! Plus he feels bad for Oden and Brandon Roy”

I could make that argument with every team that had a shot at the 1st overall pick last night. If you pick a narrative in life, it doesn’t matter what I present to you. Whether your narrative is “the NBA lottery is fixed, Lebron is over-rated, Obama wasn’t born in the U.S or Tebow is the man” I could present you with any real data and you wouldn’t want to hear it because it doesn’t fit your narrative. Men are stubborn; they like to pick sides, put on the right and wrong hat and won’t take it off. Yeah, because the NBA wants the New Orleans Hornets to win the lottery – a small market, financially challenged city which according to the New Orleans Times, there was a mayoral press conference last Tuesday where the New Orleans Times ,when covering that story, reported that New Orleans is the “#1 murder/homicide city in America” not my opinion, but there’s.

Come on people! Conspiracy theorists – no matter the data presented will find a new conspiracy. There are still wacko’s that think 9/11 was an inside job by the U.S. Government. It just doesn’t matter what you present though, of course it was fixed…listen, you don’t put fraud on prime time television but rather hide it like Bernard Madoff did for years and hope that it’s never unveiled and when it is, then it becomes public. You don’t promote it and put it on a billboard, have a host and bring everyone to watch it.

So the Miami Heat beat the Celtics and staying with the “narrative” theme on this rant, of course the ref’s want Lebron to win championships and the ref’s are suddenly against Boston. Here’s Doc Rivers, after his team lost a heartbreaker last night saying “it is what it is you know,  Lebron James took 24 free throws and our team took 29. Paul Pierce fouled out of the game where he was attacking the basket. It’s just tough but listen, we just gotta keep playing. I tell our guys that it doesn’t matter and we can’t get distracted – we will not get distracted in this series. I can guarantee you right now that they are distracted in our locker room right now. But we have got to get it out of us and move on. Whatever happened happened and we just got to move on and be ready to play the next game”

Alright, so let’s bring up the ref’s! Lebron shot 24 free throws – you want to know why? Because he attacks the basket! Wade and Lebron are both “attack the hoop” guys, translation?  They draw fouls! Miami in the regular season ranked 8th in free throw attempts, what was Boston? 27th! near the bottom of the league. So I guess the ref’s were against the Celtics throughout the regular season, a historic franchise and the ref’s decided to pick on the Celtics this year. This goes back to what I just said; that you’ve made up your mind as Celtic fans “it’s the ref’s fault” you’re not going to acknowledge that out of the 16 NBA playoff teams, Boston is 12th in free throw attempts. Who’s #1? Memphis! Yeah because you know, the league wants Memphis to win. Why does Memphis shoot the most free throws? Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, O.J. Mayo – guys who attack the tin. You get fewer free throws when you shoot jumpers and Boston right now is primarily a jump shooting team. Even their big, Kevin Garnett really has become a jump shooter in this series. Every year here at I Want More Rants, I take out the book and slowly read it to my audience to explain the free throw disparity issue.

Every year I’ve got to explain it! Boston was near dead last in free throw attempts – watch the games, it’s nothing new, it has nothing to do with the ref’s but rather everything to do in that they are a jump shooting team. Pierce, Ray Allen and Rondo were shooting jumpers and not drawing fouls. Lebron this year, statistically, has stopped shooting jumpers and has become more of an “attack the basket” guy, which has always been Dwayne Wade’s game. When Chris Bosh plays, they get even more free throws. “Andrew, well what about Tim Donaghy?” he’s an outlier! He’s a bad dude. Nobody is saying here that there aren’t any bad ref’s in the league. There are bad cops but do you really believe all law enforcement is on the take? Of course not!