Breakers vs. Crocs: The Difference

I currently have a year’s worth of material to cover before my upcoming exams, but much like the Breakers’ offensive output this season, I would like to establish some semblance of consistency in terms of my recaps. So here I am taking a page out of thetwomangame.com’s “The Difference”. After each Mavericks game, the inimitable Rob Mahoney summarizes the game by the amount of points the game was decided by. Conveniently for me, let me just drop two pieces of wisdom before I shoot off to do ma thang again:

-       Same shit, different week. Again the Breakers looked like they were teetering on the brink of blowing a game that they appeared to be comfortably in control of, and again Cedric Jackson shook off a subpar shooting performance to save the game. His final line: 1-7 from the floor, 3-6 from the line, 7 assists 4 turnovers and just 5 points. However, that one field goal would be the difference in the game, as he drove right into the teeth of the defense and nailed the go ahead bucket with 3 seconds to go. Soon after, Vukona would steal the inbounds and take it the other way for a dunk which sent the crowd into euphoric pandemonium (although the bucket would not officially count as it came after the buzzer sounded). The Breakers’ overall offensive efficiency is still lacking, and at the end of the day the point guard needs to take some responsibility for that. Plus his opposite number got the better end of their duel as Gary Ervin scored 21points on an efficient 16 shots, with 8 of them coming at the end of a frenetic 4th quarter to get the Townsville side back into it. And yet, Cedric Jackson proved once again that he’s a bottom-line guy, as he got the all-important W.

-       I’ve been on the record as being let’s say, a little underwhelmed by what Breakers power forward Mika Vukona brings to the table. I thought the Breakers would be better off exploiting their unique size advantage, and play both Pledger and Wilkinson together more often last year (especially when you consider the fact that thanks to Wilkinson’s shooting ability you wouldn’t necessarily suffer from the usual spacing issues that you might normally face when playing two centers together). Add in my unabashed love for all that Dillonsanity brings to the table, and I was not one of Vukona’s biggest fans. On Friday night however, Vukona was an absolute SAVAGE. 15 points, 15 rebounds (four on the offensive end), 3 assists 3 steals and zero turnovers later, I’m back out on the curb trying to flag down the Vukona bandwagon so I can sneak back on. In a game decided in the paint and requiring both teams to dig in deep defensively and win the energy battle, Vukona set the tone with his aggressive play (all but 4 of his shot attempts were in the paint). Being more statistically inclined, I tend to reject subjective platitudes such as “desire” and “want-to” (usually a lazy euphemism in the NBA to describe the contributions of white players with limited skill and athleticism), but there is something to be said for a team’s attitude, mental toughness, and collective identity. And while such qualities can’t necessarily be quantified, they are very real and very important qualities for any prospective championship contender to possess. For the second week in a row, the Breakers showed me a little something in shaking off a frustrating day at the offensive end, refusing to panic when the game started to slip away, and taking care of business to win the game, style points be damned.

Tagged , , , ,

Breakers vs. 36ers: Adversity

Swag

Downtown Auckland, 6:41 remaining in the game and the Breakers have but a precarious 4 point lead. Following their disappointing performance at the North Shore Events Centre against old foils the Perth Wildcats, the Breakers came out of this one with a spirited effort. They were pressuring the ball on defense, and on offense they were running hard to the rim and making the extra pass.

But despite Cedric Jackson’s apparent dominance in getting to the hoop at will; despite the half dozen Gasol-like dimes from Dillon Boucher; despite lively and energetic performances from bigs Will Hudson and Alex Pledger; despite dominating the game in every aspect but the scoreboard, the home side just couldn’t shake this Adelaide team. Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Breakers vs. Wildcats: Complacency

WANTED: Sense Of Urgency. Last seen 24 April 2012

I suppose it’s entirely appropriate that I post my recap of the Breakers’ curtain raiser 5 days late, considering the Breakers’ similarly sluggish and complacent performance coming out of the gate in defense of their second consecutive NBL title.

Sure, the Breakers faced a quality opponent in their finals rematch with the Perth Wildcats, but the performance that they put forth in front of the rabid sold-out crowd of 4500 was nothing short of MEH-TACULAR. So in honour of this week’s performance (or lack thereof), I present to you my top 5 favourite things to do while procrastinating, paired with 5 related/semi-related/not even slightly related take-home points from the game.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

THE DOUBLE TECHNICALS NFL PODCAST EP 1.001

We iz recordz hear

In our first ever foray into NFL podcastry, we stepped into the hipster stylings of East Auckland Demos and let rip for 50 minutes of NFL preview goodness. Part 1 is the AFC preview and runs for 20 minutes; Part 2 is the NFC and some individual award predictions (30 minutes).

ILLUMINATI, BITCHEZ

Tagged , ,

Kristen Stewart gets SLUTSHAMED: in defense of K-Stew

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve always had a bit of a thing for Kristen Stewart (or as I affectionately call her, K-Stew/K-TRILLA/Bella Swizzle), since the moment I became ironically-but-not-really-ironic-at-all immersed in the Twilight movie franchise. Sure she may not have the greatest artistic range, and the “FUCK OFF” vibe she often projects can be a put-off for some. But where others see a sullen, miserable B-I-T-C-H, I see gothic-chic and effortless swag. Indeed, my favourite Kristen Stewart moment ever was her quote to Vanity Fair regarding criticism for “not smiling enough” on the red carpet:

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Lot Can Happen In Two Minutes

My buddy, whom I affectionately refer to as Mumbles due to his inability to communicate verbally, once told me that the NFL is like a religion. Thinking about it, as I watch two of the best quarterbacks in the league take each other on in the first game of the pre-season, he’s probably not far off the truth. Now, I’m not saying Roger Goodell is some kind of God (though some may argue this). But the NFL, like religion for so many others, has changed my life. I have embraced it into my daily routine, yet it exists primarily on a different continent, and I, among (I imagine) many others, take the NFL Network as some sort of gospel. Yet it isn’t really even a sport! At grassroots level, I’m sure it is. But the National Football League isn’t sport. It’s entertainment. It’s consumer-driven. Players are bought and sold like goods on a shelf, and get paid RIDICULOUS sums of money – and even that doesn’t guarantee top-quality performance. Primarily, it’s a BUSINESS, and human greed at its finest. Being a fan of the NFL goes against every one of my moral fibers.

Then why the fuck can I not get enough of it?!

Even Steven doesn’t understand why we like him so much

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , ,

Youth is wasted on the young – the inexperience of the Oklahoma City Thunder

Following the Oklahoma City Thunder’s consecutive losses in Games 2 and 3 of the NBA Finals, there has predictably been talk in the media about the Thunder’s youth and inexperience. Perhaps just as predictably, there was the backlash from twitter and the blogosphere about the mainstream media’s tired use of old clichés which supposedly have no bearing on reality. That is, the practice of substituting ‘narratives’ in place of objective analysis. One such opinion came from the great Eric Freeman from Ball Don’t Lie, who linked to his piece in The Classical from a week ago on twitter.

Usually I too am bored by the lazy use of narratives to explain NBA phenomena, as well as the selective cherry-picking of information and facts to fit these narratives. In this particular situation however, traditional wisdom has some merit. To win in the NBA, you do need experience, and history backs this up. The average age of Finals teams over the last 20 years is 28.1. When adjusted for playing time, it’s actually a little higher at 28.6. The average age of Finals MVPs since 1981 is 29.5 years old. Put simply, the NBA playoffs are an old man’s game. Meanwhile, this precocious young Thunder team have an average age of 25.8, and their weighted average age is 25.4 (Miami on the other hand have an average age of 28.6, with a weighted average age of 28.5). They are the youngest Finals participant of the last 20 years, and if they go on to win, they would be the youngest Championship team by almost a full year.

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

The L.A. Kings & America’s Underachievers

Last night the Los Angeles Kings completed an improbable postseason run by dispatching New Jersey 6-1 in game six to capture their first ever Stanley Cup.

After limping into the postseason as the eighth seed in the West, the Kings stunned the Canucks and then proceeded to knock off both the Blues and the Coyotes en-route to the Finals. An eighth seed no longer, the team had seemingly evolved into a powerhouse overnight, losing only two games through the first three rounds and being undefeated in all road games. Not surprisingly, they headed into the final round matchup against the Devils as touted favourites.

The Kings’ 3-0 series lead in the Finals quickly evaporated with Martin Brodeur rediscovering his form and the Devils claiming games four and five, bringing the series back from the dead. With a hyped and expectant Staples Center behind them for game six, the Kings would stamp out any hopes of New Jersey completing their comeback and they took an unassailable lead early. The Cup was theirs.

For the Kings and their fans, this day had been a long time coming. Forty-five years in fact.

Not even The Great One could bring a title to LA

The Kings franchise began in 1967, seeking to cash in on the success that had met Los Angeles’ other professional teams: the Lakers (moved from Minneapolis in 1960) and the Dodgers (moved from Brooklyn in 1958). The Lakers and Dodgers quickly became woven into the fabric of the city but a professional hockey team did not find it as easy to acclimatise. The combination of Marcel Dionne, Charlie Simmer and Dave Taylor (one of the highest scoring trios in league history) in the late 1970s brought immense promise but failed to yield results. Over time, the team started gaining a good fan-base in the city and their cause was made infinitely easier in 1988.

Wayne Gretzky’s arrived in the City of Angels in 1988 on the back of a nine-year stint with the Edmonton Oilers, with whom he won four championships. In addition to bringing results on the ice, Gretzky legitimized and popularized pro hockey not only in Los Angeles but state-wide, paving the way for two more expansion teams in California: the San Jose Sharks (1991) and the Anaheim Ducks (1993). With the help of the ‘Great Gretzky’, the Kings made it all the way to the Finals in 1993 but fell short to a Montreal side intent on getting their franchise’s 24th championship. This momentum did not last and the franchise constantly failed to replicate their 1993 success, only making the playoffs six times since.

No longer.

This year’s ensemble led by Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick have laid the doubts to rest.

With no NFL team in Los Angeles and both the Lakers and Clippers bowing out early in the NBA playoffs, all eyes in the city were on the Kings and they delivered. Right now, they truly are the Kings of LA.

By finally reaching the summit, the Kings removed themselves from the unenviable position of being a chronic American underachiever.

This category is crowded but there are some teams which stand out more than others. Let’s look at some of the more famous examples, from each of the other three major leagues. To qualify, teams must have been in existence for over forty years and be without a major, modern-day title.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SRS BIZNESS: 2012 NBA Finals Preview

Miami coach Eric Spoelstra has taken a lot of heat (no pun intended) lately for a supposed inability to make adjustments and run real plays in the half court. As with most things in basketball media these days however, this perception is not entirely accurate. Here we’ll break down a few smart plays the Heat coach ran in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals to get going, and see how much of LeBron’s success was due to coaching and how much of it was all LeBron.

Play 1:

This was one of the first post up possessions for LeBron, and it came out of a set play. Bosh has the ball at the elbow, and Battier and Chalmers set staggered screens for LeBron so he can come free to the ball. Here LeBron executes a dribble handoff to Wade and follows the ball to set a screen. On the roll, LeBron seals Ray Allen on the mid post on the switch and backs the much smaller Allen down. He spins baseline and gets an easy jumper to get his half court game going.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

President Obama and the Tragedy of LeBron’s Brilliant Game 6

POTUS and LBJ: more in common than you may think

Barack Obama was elected as President of the United States on the back of a marketing campaign emphasising the idea of “Hope” and “Change”. He was the fresh face who was not yet entrenched in the slimy ways of Washington and its pseudo-corrupt web of lobbyists and big corporate influence. He was the “Great Liberal Hope” who would break the political deadlock, rescue the broken economy, and usher in a more modern, progressive era of American history.

Obama fell short of our expectations, as we were treated to a rather discouraging stasis in US politics. For all his pre-election rhetoric on ending the influence of lobbyists, he appointed several former lobbyists to important positions in his administration. Despite the big deal made of him representing a break from the past two administrations, he appointed Larry Summers as an economic advisor. For all his tough talk on shutting down Gitmo, holding the Wall Street Banks to account, and all the other liberal reforms that were promised, what we were treated to were not Big Victories but Small Compromises. But at the same time, nothing Obama did in his four years in office can really be considered to be the equivalent of turning to the “dark side” either.

Unlike say, LeBron James.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.