Call On Thor, God Of Thunder

This is one of the few moments of this game where you are forced to pick a player from the winning team.. or at least from the team you "think" will win.
Week 5, May 15:
Russell Westbrook

Why? Because it is a game 7! I think the Thunder will win, but (!) I will not risk losing the chance to pick Westbrook with his possible 36 PRA.

If Thunder loses, the Westbrook pick is spot on.
If Thunder wins, I get his PRA earlier and would probably pick a 15-PRA player in some point of the next round in exchange. The alternative is Mayo (assume 20 PRA now that he starts) which is just 5-pt difference.

Westbrook's 36 PRA is too precious to lose in a gamble.

Note that the Chicago-Miami conference finals starts on the same date. I still have the complete Bulls and the Heat roster available:
CHI Rose (41.3)
MIA James (40.4)
MIA Wade (38.8)
MIA Bosh (27.0)
CHI Deng (26.2)
CHI Boozer (23.1)
CHI Noah (22.5) <- note this

If you are forced to pick Mayo (who has lower PRA than Noah), then you might as well start picking from this new series.

Memphis, Believe

Do you believe Memphis can win two straight? Do you believe Memphis can win a game in front of the Thunder fans? Yes, and yes! They have already done both in these playoffs; imagining they can is not that hard to do. Well, easy for me to say! I know it is hard but it is possible. They have defied expectations:
  • Won Game 1 in San Antonio
  • Won the San Antonio series in 6
  • Won Game 1 in Oklahoma City
Tell me if you expected them to do all these.. yeah, I guessed right, you didn't. Tell me you did not pick a Grizzly in Game 1 of Round 1, or in Game 1 in Round 2. Tell me you still have both Zach and Marc available for picking. You don't. The truth is you have to be a die-hard Memphis fan to say all these. Memphis, believe!
Week 4, May 13:
Mike Conley

Like most of you, I only have Conley left to pick from the Grizzlies. Lucky you if you still have Zach or Marc -- pick them outright.

NOTE: If Hawks beat Bulls in Game 6, and if Grizzlies beat Thunder in Game 6; then both Game 7s will be on the same date (May 15). Will you risk losing the chance to pick either Rose, Durant or Westbrook (if you have them)? My pick plan is this..
  • If Hawks win Game 6, I will change my May 13 pick to Westbrook, and then pick Rose on May 15.
Honestly, I want the Bulls and the Thunder to finish off their opponents as soon as possible, in their respective Game 6s!

Josh's Smooth Move

J-Smoove is up!

Week 4, May 12:
Josh Smith

Josh Smith is my last available core Hawk. In this series, he is second to Joe for most field goal attempts. Also against the Bulls, he has played well at home with PRAs of 34 and 47 in Atlanta. I do hope he continues that trend. Really! Please! ;)

Now let us talk about this Jeff Teague, who started this series in place of the injured Kirk. Kirk to me was more of a threat from the outside than Jeff. Opponents learned to respect Kirk thus creating more space for the Hawks, especially for Al and Joe. With Jeff coming in, the Bulls can clog the lanes more as they don't see Jeff as a 3-pt threat. That to me is a big difference -- the spacing. Yes, Teague has produced more than either Kirk (would have) or Jamal can output in this series. But his style of play is something that the Hawks have not planned for the playoffs.

With Jeff's nice play, Jamal has suffered the most with less minutes. Jamal has been unable to find his groove; hence the poor shooting in Games 2 and 5. That is far from the Jamal we know who suddenly lit up last round against the Magic.

If there's a benefit at all to this is that you can replace the Jamal pick with the Jeff pick. Pick away.

Go Green

More like green going away.

Since going down 0-2, the Celtics have been rowing in wild waters. That was the point when I started picking Celtics (Rondo, then Allen). Now down 1-3, more than ever should you pick your best remaining Celtic. Some of you green-blooded fans may still have Rondo, and I understand your frustration that Rondo cannot be as effective anymore playing with one arm -- gone are his 30+ PRAs. Garnett, on the other hand, had only one great night (Game 3) and looking at him go 1 of 10 in Game 4 makes you cringe. Allen is consistent in his PRA and you always know what you will get from him.

But the star of this franchise is still Paul Pierce. Of all these four players, he is the one I think will not let the series end abruptly. Averaging almost 30 PRA, I expect more from him for the rest of the series because he will play more as a point forward instead of small forward, helping Rondo distribute the ball (hence more assists) and creating shots for himself. I still get excited when Pierce starts going right, anticipating that signature sudden pull-up jump shot, especially in the waning seconds of the game.
Week 4, May 11:
Paul Pierce

The other series on this date (OKC-MEM) is tied 2-2. If you already used Pierce and still have Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, I recommend you start picking Randolph or risk losing the chance to pick them. These two bigs are better picks than Rondo/Allen/Garnett at this point in time.

Stuck On You

The Bulls-Hawks series are even at 2-2. If you are not a fan of either team, you won't know who's got the upper hand! One game, you thought one team has the other in their grasp; the next thing you know you have a reversal!

We might as well treat this as a best-of-three match. And who do you pick to get first to two wins? That is where you should base your pick. Pick the best remaining player from the team you are predicting to lose. For me that would be..
Week 4, May 10:
Joe Johnson

I certainly hope the Bulls win this game because I have not picked a Bull yet. Love to have Rose, Boozer and Deng intact for the conference finals.

If Bulls lose Game 4, then I am picking Rose in Game 5.

Three Men And A Half

You have to love Rajon Rondo coming back to the 4th quarter playing with one arm dangling on one side. Aside from Willis Reed on one leg, who else can do such feat and win a playoff game? I salute you Rajon!

However, you can't expect him to play normally in Game 4. He won't be able to score as much. Paul Pierce have some leg problems during the game and that may carry over to the next game. Adrenaline can only last a game, after which the body realizes it is hurting. Garnett had a great game; if you think he can duplicate his efforts, go for him. As for me, I am picking the NBA's all-time leader in three points made..
Week 4, May 9:
Ray Allen

He's been consistent these playoffs despite dipping a little last game. Although he is one-dimensional (PRA), he is able to score in the upper teens and 20+ PRA. May he shoot the lights out in Game 4.

Alternatively, if you like the Grizzlies taking Game 4, pick Durant or Westbrook.