The Time Is Now

Pick Kobe.. check!
Pick Bynum.. check!
Pick Gasol.. checking..

Like Dirk, I admire Pau and other foreign players who change the game. I am happy to see them succeed in the NBA, especially with Pau earning the two rings he deserve. I pity the guy though. He has received a lot of criticism in this series. Mistakes at the end of Game 1. Boos from the crowd in Game 2. Scolding from Coach Phil in Game 3. I mean, lay off the guy's back, you ungrateful Lakers' fans! He has kept the same intensity he has since the New Orleans series and almost averages double-double in this Dallas series. It's not as if he has to carry the load by himself. Yes he made mistakes, but you can say the same thing and more with Phil, Kobe and the rest of the Lakers.
Week 4, May 8:
Pau Gasol

Forced to produce or motivated by the challenge, he should be able to go down fighting. We must assume a sweep coming so use your best remaining Laker. Good luck!

The Big Four

  • Rajon Rondo (35.5 PRA)
  • Paul Pierce (27.2)
  • Ray Allen (26.7)
  • Kevin Garnett (26.7)
There you go! There are your options. There are no other team to pick on this date than the Celtics, down 0-2. If the Heat sweep them, I am left with 2 Celtics to pick. If they go 7 games, I can use all four plus one from the other series (Mem-Okc). Rondo and Allen plays better at home than the road. Garnett is supposed to be better away from the Garden, while the court does not affect Pierce's play.
Week 3, May 7:
Rajon Rondo

I've been saying all along that this is not just a Big Three team, but a Big Four team. And the reason for that is Rondo -- averages double-double in the playoffs in points and assists. Not to mention that he is a rebounding PG in the mold of Jason Kidd. Definitely the Big in the Big Four.

Okay enough of my pick, what about M.. V.. P.. D-Rose in Game 3?! 44 points! 56 PRA! Oh that Bull is raging! I hope they keep this momentum and win the series. I haven't picked a Bull yet and have 2 Hawks left. I would love to have Chicago and Miami untouched coming into the Conference Finals.

UPDATE: Well there's that bigger story.. Mavericks up 3-0 against the Lakers. Happy I got 30+ PRA from Bynum in a losing effort (just the way I like it). I got Pau Gasol coming up next.

No One Got Punked

"But we're basketball players, not gangsters."
- DeShawn Stevenson

The Celtics are down 0-2 and playing at home next; and people are starting to pick them off.
The Lakers are down 0-2 and playing on the road next; so? Yes, beautiful people, that's right. We're picking off Lakers. I am scheduled to pick Rose for next date, but suddenly the Bulls played well anyway.
Week 3, May 6:
Andrew Bynum

I was supposed to pick the big guy last night Game 2 when he got juicy stats of 18 points and 13 rebounds. If it were not for his Game 1 blunder, I could have reaped his nice 32 PRA. Instead I was stuck with Kobe's 26 PRA, argh!

Stat-wise, Bynum scores better on the road, but rebounds better at home. He does have a slightly better PRA than Gasol at this point. In Bynum's last trip to Dallas this season, he scored 22 points with 15 rebounds. And with his better performance in Game 2, I think he already figured out how to handle Chandler and Haywood. Now, it's up to his teammates to "trust" him to carry more load in Game 3. C'mon Bynum I'm counting on you (but not so much as to win the game, ok?).

Alternative picks:
  • Kobe Bryant (30+) - "I am not clutch", the possum says. I don't believe him. He'll prove himself wrong.
  • Pau Gasol (25.1) - He almost has similar PRA with Bynum counting only games in regular season versus the Mavs.
  • Derrick Rose (38.7) - MVP got it going in Game 2. Moreso in Game 3.
  • Luol Deng (28.4) - Mr. Consistent. You don't have to worry about what you'll get.
  • Al Horford (28.9) - Plays much better at home than on the road (+7 PRA).

Matt Barnes on Twitter: "Me & the Golden St homies laid out the blueprint on how to beat Dallas.. "PUNK'EM" Aint $h!t changed homey.. So enough w/the small talk"

Is South Beach Looking Good?

I wanted the Celtics to win so bad. Or do I really want them to win? Maybe I just hate the Heat so much that I want them to lose. Did Yoda say, "hate leads to suffering"? Oh did he? Darn, Yoda's messing with me again.

Alrighty then! I said four blogs ago that if the Heat wins the first two games, that I will then start picking Celtics. And that is exactly what I will be doing. Here is my updated pick chart..

May MIA
BOS
CHI
ATL
OKC
MEM
LAL
DAL
Default if
CHI 2-1
if
LAL 3-1
if
OKC 2-1
if
BOS 3-2
4 G2 G2 Bryant
6 G3 G3 Rose
7 G3 G3 Rondo
8 G4 G4 Deng Johnson
9 G4 G4 Allen
10 G5 G5 P.Gasol P.Gasol Nowitzki
11 G5 G5 Pierce
12 G6 G6 Bynum Bynum Noah
13 G6 G6 Westbrook* Garnett Lebron
15 G7 G7 G7 Noah Smith Kidd
16 G7 Garnett Conley Wade
* pick at elimination game

“The most successful people are those who are good at Plan B.”
- James Yorke

Oh look, there's a Plan C there somewhere. Can you spot it?

Deadly Ants: Durant and Bryant

Ah this is an interesting postseason! Game 1 upsets by Memphis and Atlanta had me rethink about the situation. Here is my new pick plan..

May MIA
BOS
CHI
ATL
OKC
MEM
LAL
DAL
Default if
MIA 2-0
if
OKC 2-1
if
CHI 2-1
if
LAL 3-1
1 MIA MEM M.Gasol
2 ATL DAL Crawford
3 G2 G2 Durant
4 G2 G2 Bryant
6 G3 G3 Rose
7 G3 G3 Lebron Westbrook
8 G4 G4 Deng Johnson
9 G4 G4 Wade Rondo
10 G5 G5 P.Gasol P.Gasol Nowitzki
11 G5 G5 Westbrook Pierce Bosh
12 G6 G6 Bynum Bynum Noah
13 G6 G6 Bosh Allen Conley
15 G7 G7 G7 Noah Smith Kidd
16 G7 Rondo Garnett Rondo

Don't get me wrong. Oklahoma can still come back; they just have to get their acts together against Memphis. They can no longer just rely on Durant/Westbrook/OneOther to get through; they have to spread it. Unless I see them do it and steal one in Memphis, I will continue to pick Thunder players.Because of this I'm changing my pick for May 3 from Bosh to Durant, because Durant is better than any Miami/Boston option. Look for him to do whatever it takes to even the series.
Week 3, May 3:
Kevin Durant

Also one other thing for May 4.. Bynum during Game 1 has been below average. Maybe Chandler has something to do with it, or because freaking Kobe took 29 attempts (Bynum took just 8 attempts). I would like to see Bynum have one good game before I pick him. So I'm changing my pick to the Black Mamba.
Week 3, May 4:
Kobe Bryant

If you already used Bryant before (why?), pick Pau Gasol instead.

Too Early To Pick Bosh?

Miami-Boston. The Celtics won the regular season, 3-1. One can argue the case that the Heat in its first few games was in an "adjustment period". On the other hand, on the last game where the Heat won, it was the bench which became the X-factor, not the new Big Three. With all these said, we can just ignore the regular season, because these teams become totally different and focused teams in the playoffs. What I want to do is compare these teams on individual matchups. The Big Three versus the Big Four.

O'Neal vs Ilgauskas ==> O'Neal (whoever)
Garnett vs Bosh ==> Garnett
Pierce vs Lebron ==> Lebron
Allen vs Wade ==> Wade
Rondo vs Bibby ==> Rondo
Bench ==> Celtics

Miami uses an 8-man rotation these playoffs, while the Celtics do reach into its deep bench (especially when Shaq returns).

Then in Game 1, the Heat beat the Celtics via Wade's explosion (and Pierce's ejection). However, I still believe the Celtics will win this series as they still have a chance to steal a game in South Beach before the Boston stretch. The Celtics will be working to clamp down on Wade, and the Celtics always know how to stop LeBron. That is why I am picking..
Week 3, May 3:
Chris Bosh

Sure Bosh (27.8) had a bad game shooting poorly in Game 1, but I could say the same for Garnett. I hope he takes advantage of Garnett's ineffectiveness while he has the chance. Especially that Perkins is gone and while Shaq is absent -- the path to the basket should be a little wide open than usual.

Other possible picks for you:
  • Paul Pierce (28.8) - Ah! Look for him to bounce back with a vengeance. Getting ejected is not something to be proud of.
  • LeBron James (41.0) - Safest pick if you still believe Heat will lose the series. A lot of people already used him in Game 1 though.
  • Kevin Durant (42.7) - Need I explain more? It's Durant! :)
  • Dwayne Wade (37.2) - If you believe Celtics still can't stop him, go ahead. I'm sure the Celtics are not happy they let Wade drop 38 on them.

Is This The Regular-Series Crawford? No.

First up, whoa Memphis!

I picked Zach in Round 1 Game 1 thinking Spurs would stomp on them. Wrong wrong wrong. I then picked Marc in Round 2 Game 1 thinking the Thunder with Perkins are different. Wrong again? I will not push the panic button just yet in Game 2 as I will spend that pick on the other series (Heat). But seeing how they dominated Thunder, my new plan B is if Memphis goes 2-0, I'll start picking off the Durantula and Westbrook in Games 3 and 4.

Now off to my pick. The Hawks played well in Round 1 and they deserve the credit of ousting Dwight Howard and the seven dwarves. But you see, the Bulls are a different animal. I will pick Rose/Deng/Boozer/Noah just for pure hustle play over Joe/Josh/Al/Jamal anytime of the day. The Bulls dominated the Hawks in the regular season 2-1 with blowouts on those two wins. I expect them to do the same in the playoffs. Hey, have they announced Rose yet for MVP?

So for the Hawks, you have four choices:
  • Joe Johnson (28.0) - He is the best player in this stock. Choose him to play safe.
  • Josh Smith (24.8) - Second-best player, but the most aggressive. Pick him if you don't have Joe.
  • Al Horford (25.8) - Silent but deadly. I already used him in Round 1 though.
  • Jamal Crawford (25.0) - Playing like the Best Sixth Man of 2009-2010.
Just as I mentioned when I picked Al last round, that these four are too balanced. You can just roll a die and pick one at random. However, I'm one of the guys who still stubbornly put the factor of road record into the picture. Jamal's road record is about 3 points better than his home record, so I will be hoping he gets around 28 PRA for this game. He will also shine off the bench going up against Brewer or CJ. (Note: Hinrich may not be back from injury this series.)
Week 3, May 2:
Jamal Crawford

Alternative picks, depending on which team you pick to lose:
  • Derrick Rose (38.2) - He racks up like there's no tomorrow in Game 1s. Expect 50+ PRA.
  • Dirk Nowitzki (38.2) - How dare you pick him?!
  • Kobe Bryant (30.0) - That's more like it! The 3-day rest is the best he'll ever get for that injured ankle (Possum!)

UPDATE: Coach Tom wins Coach of the Year! There is a reason the city of Chicago rushed to erect Scottie Pippen's statue -- to finish honoring the old and welcome the new era of Chicago basketball.

UPDATE 2: Jeff Teague starts for the injured Hinrich; Coach Drew doesn't want to disrupt bench play. I'm still looking for Crawford to get off the bench early and get more minutes than when Hinrich plays.