Tag Archives: #BREAKING

2015 NBA Playoff Preview: Eastern Conference, Round 1

Listen. Listen. Listen. That’s how I’ve been taught to get people’s attention—just repeating the word listen. Are you listening?

It’s been a while since I’ve written basketball things, but, like, it’s NBA basketball season 2.0, the never-ending, highlight-manufacturing, circus show that ends the never-ending, highlight-manufacturing, circus show that is the NBA season in a burning blaze of glory. And I should have plenty in the tank so to speak, since I haven’t exactly availed of the aforementioned idiomatic tank in a veritable long ass time.

Atlanta Hawks (1) v. Brooklyn Nets (8)

Alright, so Kyle Korver narrowly missed being the only dude ever to make the 90-50-50 club (with a paltry 89.8 FT%, 49.2 3PT%, 48.7 FG%), but let’s be honest and admit that back in November, this was what we, the basketball elite, and Hawks fans from Macedonia to Decatur were positive was going to be the most memorable thing the Hawks did this year.

Yet somehow Coach Mike Budenholzer has orchestrated a magical season, turning a watery (pretty muddy water at that) lineup into a fine, 60-win vintage with notes of juniper berry that finish with savory, peppery undertones (read: Coach Bud is Jesus, which makes Greg Popovich God). Four of the starters made the All-Star game, only the seventh time in the history of the NBA. Collectively, they balance the 10th best offense that assists the second highest total in the NBA with the 5th best defense—all without anyone averaging more than 17 points or 33 minutes per game (both: Paul Millsap).

The Hawks have given us shades of the Spurs-East, and at times have been the most entertaining team to watch in the NBA (sorry I’m not sorry, Steve Kerr). This has been in large part due to the revelation Al Horford has been, putting up numbers not unlike The Big Fundamental Tim Duncan, himself.

               Player A: 18.0p, 8.4r, 3.8a, 1.5b, 53.8fg%, 21.4 PER, 8.7 WS

               Player B: 17.3p, 11.4r, 3.7a, 2.4b, 51.2fg%, 22.6 PER, 9.6 WS

Hold the suspense. Horford is Player A. Let’s keep in mind, Horford played only 29 games last season and 11 games two seasons before that.

Lastly, in your NBA playoff bacchanalia that I’ve been assured other people do as well and is a perfectly normal ass thing to do in celebration of the greatest sports event ever, don’t’ forget to pour one out for Thabo.

PREDICTION: Give me the broom. Give me the broom. *sung to Biggie’s “Give Me the Loot.” Hawks sweep.

Toronto Raptors (4) v. Washington Wizards (5)

This will be the second most intriguing matchup in the East. 2 things to watch out for besides the backcourt battle:

  1. Toronto GM Masai Ujiri launching another f-bomb in a pre-playoff game hype train spinning off a geopolitical beef with Paul Pierce that may or may not include POTUS, launch codes, and chants of Buck the FlueJays till infinite.
  2. What banal and innocuous hygiene tool will DRAKE! turn into one of the most brilliant marketing schemes of the year? What could possibly be better than lint rollers? Floss? Toenail clippers (wait, Steve Ballmer, did we just stumble into something together?!)? Hair curlers? Those tiny paper cups that fancy people keep in a dispenser for rinsing mouthwash? Indentured servants? Lest we forget, since DRAKE! officially partnered with the Raptors organization as “Trill Ass Global Skrilla Ambassador” or T.A.G.S.A., they have gone from a 34-win team that hadn’t made the playoffs in 5 years to one of the best teams in the shitty Eastern Conference to get bounced in the first round.

PREDICTION: Toronto will make it to the second round for the first time since 2001 and for only their second time in franchise history. It will take all 7 games, a whole goddamn country’s sheer force of will, and a Jimmy Brooks type effort.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers (2) v. Boston Celtics (7)

Kyrie Irving has never played in a playoff game before. Neither has Kevin Love. The Celtics are surging. Brad Stevens is a wiz. All true statements. There’s also this:

Oof, harumph, and bazinga. Lebron James in the playoffs has averaged 28.0p, 6.4a, 8.4r on a crazy 48.2 fg% in an inhuman 42.7 playoff minutes per game. 2013 Finals, Game 6:

2008 First Round, Game 1 (LBJ first career playoff game):

2013 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 7:

2013 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 1:

2009 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 2:

2014 Finals:

He may just eat your babies:

PREDICTION: Cavs in 5.

 

Chicago Bulls (3) v. Milwaukee Bucks (6)

This matchup is super duper fun times for basketball wonks. The Bulls find themselves in a rare position where they’re facing a statistically superior defense come playoff time (although marginally so)—97.4 pts Bucks allowed per game v. 97.8 Bulls allow. Oddly, the Bucks score precisely the amount of points the Bulls allow—97.8. Jason Kidd has turned this band of long-armed avatars into the 8th best defense in the league with the most steals per game (9.6), all while sharing the ball at the 7th best clip with 23.6 assists per game. Unfortunately, the hustle J Kidd has inculcated into his young shapeshifters come at the cost of rebounds. They rank 24th in the rebounds while the Bulls tally the 3rd best rebounding rate in the NBA. Have I mentioned the Bucks height yet though? The starters come in averaging 6’9”, of which they’ll need every inch to corral Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, while staving off a deep and talented Bulls front court. The major storyline for the Bulls: emergence and resurgence.

Pau Gasol playing like it’s 2005, bumping Lil Wayne on his 512 GB iPod Shuffle on the way to a cool 18.5p on an alarming 49.5 fg% and even more alarming 46.2 3pt%—oh yeah, and there’s the career high in rebounding (11.8).

Nikola Mirotic making the case for Rookie of the Year and James (Harden) Beard Award honors averaging 20.8p, 7.6r on 44.1 fg% in just 30.8 mpg in March.

Jimmy Butler emerging as a go to offensive player in addition to the nightly guard-the-best-perimiter-player role he’s so dutifully filled the last few years; in addition to resurging this past month, following a few weeks of a bona fide injury scare.

Taj Gibson also coming back from injury in the last month to put up solid double-double-esque numbers.

Joakim Noah finally moving the floor like the 20something he is, running the floor, getting those assist numbers up from 3.5 in January to 7.2 in March.

Derrick Rose suiting up at all.

PREDICTION: Jason Kidd will find a way to get fined sans spilling drinks (though he’ll undoubtedly think about it), and it’ll be the most entertaining defensive slugfest you’ve ever seen. Bulls in 6

 

Doodads and Knickknacks

 

MVP for Lebron

Lebron James is a phenomenal basketball player and deserves the MVP award.

From a statistical standpoint, he scores more than Steph Curry but less than Harden. He assists more than Harden, but less than Curry. He outrebounds them all. He has the highest field goal percentage on the highest attempts. He is without a doubt the best defender of the group.

Then there’s the how-valuable-is-he-to-the-team wrinkle that gives blowhards like Colin Cowherd the leeway to say stupid shit on airwaves like Russell Westbrook is the second coming of Shaft and White Jesus.

But ultimately, I think it comes down to this: the Cavs we’re looking at now didn’t exist 12 months ago. The coach is new. Two of the three best players are new, and only four players remain from last season’s roster. Whereas the Golden State Warriors are effectively the same team. Even the Houston Rockets’ continued core brain trust of Kevin McHale, James Harden, Dwight Howard and those three other dudes that were also on the roster last season positively impacted this season’s record. If continuity establishes trust, which is the bedrock of the game within the game, the turnover and new environments must be considered. That James could perform comparably to Curry and Harden in brand new (old) conditions, points to his deservingness.

I tried to start this section with something like “Stephen Curry and James Harden have had prodigious years…” I really did try, and they totally have. But fuck that. I get it. Nobody likes to see the same person win everything for forever. But the shear amount of articles I get bombarded with about the closeness of this MVP race that don’t actually go into the argument for Lebron James is an insult. We only get Lebron for like another 5 years. Maybe. He deserves all of it. Everything.

Pitchforks for Michael Jordan

I had the good fortune of stumbling onto the below beauty of a quote from the G.O.A.T., His Royal Airness Michael Jordan. In a 2010 interview with CNBC, Jordan prophesized, “Ultimately, if you can say that I’m a bad owner and we’re winning championships, I can live with that. But if we’re not making the playoffs and we’re spending and losing money, then I have to look in the mirror and say maybe I’m not taking the necessary steps to doing what it takes to run an organization.” If by some miracle, MJ ever happened upon this paragraph (he won’t), I want to maintain a semblance of respect and dignity (a first), so I won’t say the thing I really want to say (also a first). I wouldn’t venture to say eat crow, but maybe the lackluster performance as owner is having disastrous effects on the legacy of MJ? Pish posh and thimbles and stuff. We love you anyway, you gambling, self-aggrandizing, conceited, arrogant, bald, beautiful old-ladykiller, you.

Bitterness and Glee Reign, Man

Last night, Shawn Kemp hosted a party in celebration of the Thunder missing the playoffs. It was amazing. Or at least, I think it was. I have kids and was building a bunk bed from IKEA while everyone was getting turnt at Neumos. Thank god for Twitter:

#Breaking: Ferguson Police Officer Forcibly Engages Fellow-Racist Taylor Swift in Ice Bucket Challenge

A soon-to-be-less-anonymous Ferguson, Missouri visitor reportedly was accosted by a member of the Ferguson police department who dumped not 1, not 2, not 3, but 6 buckets of ice water on the victim’s head as part of the recent ALS ice bucket challenge.

The campaign has picked up a lot of steam (the cold kind of steam that isn’t really steam at all but rather the crystallization of water having left a person’s breath to arrive upon sub-32 degree Fahrenheit air) recently, on the backs and heads of numerous participants who have advocated for the cause by choosing to dump a bucket of ice water on their own heads rather than donate money to people suffering from an incurable, debilitating illness.

In fairness – many of the more notable participants have stated explicitly in their videos that they have both donated to the foundation AND chosen to shrink their dicks publically. These participants include Miley Cyrus, Earl Grey and Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Public Security, General Tran Viet Tan. However, these people were also fully aware of the unwritten law they were breaking and did so of their own volition.

While the purpose of the viral campaign’s alternative to donation (read: ice and buckets) is presumably to act as a deterrent to those disinclined to donate, it simultaneously serves as a pay-it-forward, explicit call-out that doubles as a social media marketing stunt. If celebrities like the highly-regarded General Tan want to donate to a good cause and intimidate other people into doing the same that is their right as Americans.

Enter Turd Ferguson, Missouri. The Police Department of Ferguson has recently come under a lot of fire (and ice!) for being a bunch of terrible, murderous pricks. This is a group of people who have allowed the same hush-hush, bros-before-hos, “deny-til-you-die” mentality typically reserved for shielding friends from actions such as smoking weed in the TV room of a fraternity house to extend to lying about murder. Protests have continued and Ferguson has responded by more-or-less militarizing their police force and turning the small community into a police-state.

But now they just went too far.

A sort of anonymous member of the community, having been semi-not-confirmed to be former pop-sensation-turned-racist Taylor Swift, is reported as having had 6 buckets of ice water dumped unceremoniously on her pretty white head by an undisclosed member of the Ferguson Police Department Tuesday morning.

This, as an isolated incident, is not a story. Taylor Swift—having already paraded swastikas directly into our children’s souls via her recent single “Shake it Off”—has recently proven that her adorable genes lack any human capacity for sympathy. It therefore logically follows that she would not be moved to donate money towards ALS, opting instead to be bathed in the frigid waters of her own fame-grabbing sociopathic pathology rendered literal.

But the nightmarish implications of the incident are only revealed once one realizes the truly macabre context surrounding the incident itself.

Taylor Swift donated to ALS. She donated to ALS 6 times—once for each bucket of frigid water aimed for her now more rosily-described head.

Apparently the Ferguson police are not content to stop at murder, racism and institutionalized fear. They have begun campaigns to slander and manipulate the media towards their own inscrutable ends- in this case even targeting one of their own—proving racists to be the most faithless of companions.

If the Ferguson police have become aware of themselves as a media-object and are now battling to deflect the attentions of the media through targeted, slanderous acts of misdirection—how long until they assimilate the media itself? How much longer can we even trust the noble people calling them racists from their couches? What is their agenda? Who are we to trust?

I may be a member of the Ferguson police…right now.

 

#BREAKING PHIL JACKSON SPURNS DEREK FISHER’S RÉSUMÉ DUE TO INAPPROPRIATE RECTANGULAR SHAPE OF PRINTER PAPER

According to an anonymous source, Derek Fisher has been denied the coaching position for the New York Knicks to which he was previously linked due to his ongoing relationship with new Knick’s President Phil Jackson.

Fisher, our source reports, submitted his résumé on rectangular printer paper– an action that infuriated Jackson whose belief and passion for triangles and accompanying disdain for other shapes is well-documented.

“We won championships together believing in the value of the triangle,” Jackson lamented, “to see my once promising student spurn that tradition in favor of the rectangle speaks to our estrangement in terms of basketball, philosophy and life. I am disappointed and offended that he would even put this in front of me.”

Jackson, the most successful coach from the Pythagorean school of basketball, was seen later that day cutting the smooth edges off of a pepperoni Pizza then subsequently stacking the slices to remove any potential resemblance to an Octagon before being chauffeured away on a tricycle.

“This thing is so fucking Zen” Jackson crooned, riding peacefully into the sunset.

 

#BREAKING: DONALD STERLING PLANS TO PURCHASE AND RENAME “SAN ANTONIO SLURS”

According to an anonymous source, Donald “At least I don’t have AIDS (Read: HIV)” Sterling is in line to purchase the San Antonio Spurs.

“Having spent the past several years in Los Angeles, I think it is time I go help minorities in other states. My benevolence towards colored-folk transcends geopolitical boundaries. Did I mention how much I love helping minorities? Because I do. Love it, that is. Yep”

Sterling went on to say that he “totally doesn’t have AIDS” (not that there’s a problem with that) and that he is totally on board for whatever weird maybe-gay stuff that Magic Johnson may or may not have been in to except when he isn’t.

Sterling showed his sincerity when questioned by apologizing between most sentences in his charming, racist Grandpa sort of way. What a card!

He concluded graciously, hinting at a future name change for the franchise: “I could not be more excited to coach the San Antonio Slurs.”

#BREAKING: Johnny Manziel Admits To Being Twitter Troll

Anonymous sources close to the situation confirmed last night Johnny Manziel, expressing ever increasing frustration at not being selected earlier in the NFL draft, admitted to being notorious Twitter troll @PersianFarrah.

@PersianFarrah is most known for her audacious sexual requests aimed at music celebrities, and as last night wore on, there was a marked increase in the aggressiveness of her tweets.

“He was clearly getting more and more frustrated. But the more often he kept checking his phone, the more relaxed he’d get. At one point, he got super chill. I guess he was super stoked about tweeting Lil Wayne something funny. And then he showed it to me.”

The tweet:

According to Luckswing’s anonymous source, Manziel tweeted the following last night as well to Bruno Mars and Anthony Spears.

@LOHANTHONY poop on me

 

“I mean I’m not really surprised,” continued Luckswing’s source. “Johnny’s gross. And funny. And loves famous people. It sorta makes sense if you think about it.”

 

#BREAKING: JUSTIN SMOAK TRYING OUT FOR TEAM THIGH-GAP

According to an anonymous source: Justin Smoak, in an effort to participate in a new movement sweeping the nation (rhymes with clanorexia) took time off from his baseball career to join team thigh-gap.

“I just want to be a thinspiration” said Smoak between mouthfuls of brown construction paper labelled ‘Quinoa’ in periwinkle crayon.

“Kids these days grow up idolizing athletes, so I figured I may as well try to appear athletic.” 

Smoak has been seen attending agility drills with fellow Seattle Mariner infielder Kyle Seager, with whom he shares a special bond. The two have reportedly been superglueing sandpaper to the inside of their thighs before running sprints as motivation.

“I figure, as a role model, it is my responsibility to set a good example for these kids” Smoak stated, voice raised over the dull whine of shredding plastic as he shoved a log of Grizz-Mint chewing tobacco into a juicer.

“It’s either that or stop dipping, and there’s no fucking way that’s gonna happen.”

Justin was later seen sobbing into a bowl of kale beneath a poster reading simply: “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”