The Finals Are Set!

The Dallas Mavericks facing the Miami Heat.

Take time to take our survey if you have not yet --->
Who would you root for? Or who would you like to lose? Love and hatred are two different things you know ;)

For this Drive to the Finals game, I have these people left..
  • Surefire: Dwyane Wade, LeBron James
  • Gets there: Shawn Marion, Tyson Chandler
  • Might get there: J.J. Barea, Peja Stojakovic
  • Filler: Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem
Who do you have left?

Of course, the strategy of picking the best player on losing team does not work in the Finals anymore. This is when we reap the rewards for holding our bladder earlier in the playoffs, saving the players for this moment of picking. What most of the people as I read will do is pick the best player at home games. I will be doing the same but tweak it a little based on a player's split statistics - home or away record versus the opponent. Keep track of news also, e.g. Wade with slight injury during Game 5 with the Bulls. Watch a lot of NBA interview videos and look for signs of emotions. Maybe I will blog one day trying to interpret a player's emotion in an interview, look for lies and bluffs, and how that will affect the next game (I will try to re-view some Lie To Me episodes).

This is also the stage of the game where most of the people up in the DTTF rankings have no stars left to pick. Current top ranker kburris123 for example already used Dirk/Terry and Wade/James. I am betting most of those people in that page 1 have no all-star left to use. A lot will scramble for picks using role-players. If this is a foot race, it is now time to sprint!

Come back next blog as David Letterman gives us the Top Ten Disappointments In Drive To The Finals so far... not!

Welcome Back To The Finals, Mavs!

I need to give credit to the Thunder. Kevin Durant had a great series and I now believe he is unguardable. Yeah I call 3-on-1 unguardable. Durant and Westbrook will get even stronger because of this. It will be hard to keep up with them for the years to come. They made it tough on my Mavs. Real tough! Games 4 and 5 should be Ws for the Thunder, they could have been leading 3-2. But alas, the Mavs prevailed.

What about Dirk? Man, he continues to surprise me. He really wants this. The whole Mavs really want this. See how they all left the court not even letting the ceremony finish? They went straight to the locker room and start talking about the Finals! For them the WCF belt (sorry Durant) is nice, but they want the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy. There are no celebrations here. There are four games left to win.

Now, what about the Finals? I previously rooted for the Bulls because I like that match-up, but down 1-3 that's already improbable. Now, I am accepting our fate. If it is the Heat, then the Heat it is. We are now ready to face our demons. Bring it on!

It's gonna be a fun Finals!!!

Boozer Or Noah?

The numbers are against the Bulls. Down 1-3, they have to win all three remaining games in order to advance. Well, do you believe they can do that? No, I don't think so. Even if you're a Bulls fan, you won't admit it, but you know in your heart this is not your year. Rose is still young; he and Boozer have 3 or 4 more years to do it. Just ignore the fact that LeBron and Dwyane will still be together on those same years.

So I still have Boozer and Noah. Which one?
  • Carlos Boozer. 24.9 PRA. 17% owned. NBA.com expert pick.
  • Joakim Noah. 22.0 PRA. 10% owned. NOT an NBA.com expert pick.
Before Boozer had his best outing in Game 3, his average PRA was lower than that of Noah. Just two games in after that, he has gotten two double-double games already. Noah, on the other hand, has been inconsistent. Yes, he will get his double-digit rebounds but he only scores off tip-ins and offensive rebounds. In this regard, Boozer is the clear-cut choice.

However.. I said I will try to avoid the expert pick. Hmm.

Okay.

Week 6, May 26:
Carlos Boozer

Besides, Rose is the most popular pick in this game at 33%. I wish LeBron continues to shut him down.

Air Congo

Was Dirk a monster or what? Dirk scored 40 and Mavs rally down 15 in crunch time to tie it up at end of regulation, and then shut down Durant to win it in overtime. Mavs are up 3-1 and the next game is tough for the Thunder as they go over to Dallas Fort Worth to try to extend the series. Or go home early and watch the Finals from the couch.

My last good Thunder is Serge Ibaka.
Week 6, May 25:
Serge Ibaka

I got to give it to the NBA.com expert and 26% of the owners as they picked Ibaka in Game 4 where he had a double-double 18 points and 10 rebounds. This is the second-highest PRA he got in the postseason. That was a lucky pick. And I hope Ibaka does the same thing for me in Game 5. They are double-teaming Durant a lot and most of the time Ibaka is left open to knock down those jump shots.

I would like to spend the rest of this blog entry to give recognition to Serge Jonas Ibaka Ngobila and the work he does off the court to help the children of Africa, giving them a chance to have a better life with more opportunities for education, health, development and more importantly for me, peace.

For more of Serge's charity-related activities, you may visit http://charityprogram.sergeibaka.com/en

God speed!

Beware The Thorn In Rose

Coming into the Conference Finals, I got 4 superstars that I believe will get me boosts in this game: Dirk, LeBron, Dwyane and MVP Derrick. Dirk did that for me in Game 1 pushing me up about +10 in percentile. And with Miami now leading 2-1, I am now forced to play my trump card.
Week 6, May 24:
Derrick Rose

This is the game to pick him. He will not allow the series to go 3-1 in favor of the Heat because deep inside he knows the Bulls cannot recover from that. So he will do all he can to win this game. I do not think Coach Tibs will still pursue the "feed Boozer" game plan because all that did in Game 3 was to go neck-to-neck with the Heat. They want something that will give them the advantage. I am no basketball coach but it is silly at this stage to try something new. It has to be the tried and tested Rose-make-it-happen game plan. I love seeing Rose drive to the basket because it opens up a lot of opportunities: score himself, draw fouls, pass out to shooters like Deng, drop ball to Boozer as Bosh comes to help and double-team. He draws so much attention.

If you believe Tibs will still employ the same Game 3 plan, go ahead and pick Boozer. Just do not pick Noah just yet as he now still contends with that slur issue with a fan - wait until he gets home and away from the hooplah.

The important thing is to start picking Bulls because in a worst case scenario of Heat-in-5 you are left to pick 2 Bulls only. For me, that would be Rose then Noah. If they even the series, then it's back to picking either LeBron or Dwyane for the other scenario of Bulls-in-6.

It's Been A Harden's Night

And he was sleeping like a log. Now, he should be working like a dog.
Week 6, May 23:
James Harden

The Mavs did a good job containing Harden and the Thunder bench. There were times in the first half that he looked lost in offense. Maybe he did wake up in the second half, but alas it was too late and not enough to rally. So I am betting Harden will carry that zest over to the next game, and the first play off the bench will be directed to him to get him going. And on the side wishing they still lose that game so my next pick will be Ibaka, my last good Thunder.

And oh yeah, my CHI-MIA Game 3 pick is..
Week 6, May 22:
Luol Deng

This is an adjustment I am making just for the sake of picking differently from the NBA.com expert who is picking Derrick Rose. Come to think of it, this is not the game where Rose has the best motivation to produce and take over the game by himself. That will be more likely the game after a 1-2 hole or the elimination game (or in Finals Game 1 if that happens). Besides, Coach Tibs was talking about winning as a team and he wanted the rest of the team to play harder, and more importantly stick to the game plan. UPDATE: There's also that 'steroids in NBA' topic that should keep Rose's mind rattled in this game.

Luol Deng is a safe pick for this day. There are no statistics I can see that will give him plus (or minus) in any point of this series, as he has been consistent. I am not worried about him not getting at least his average PRA. He will deliver.

Fingers crossed.