Random Stuff

Next game is potentially the last game of the series, and in the Drive To The Finals everyone is forced to put their best remaining player forward to get that last bit of PRA.

For a few at the top of the standings, it's a battle of Chalmers versus Barea to get that Autotrader prize. BTW, I am rooting for Shanks014 who turned out to be my kababayan (fellow countrymen). Go Shanks, proudly Pinoy!

For the rest of us, it's about getting that sprint towards the finish line just to see how we can fare against the others.

For some of the leagues, it's about getting to page 1 of that league. In one league, a father and son duo accepted my challenge for a race, and they have constantly had me eating their dust. I just need 3 more PRA as I pit whoever I pick against their Bibby, Haslem or Miller. Whatever happens, it's been fun trying to catch them.

For Mavs fans in DTTF (go Mavs!), it's about feeling good about picking a Mav in Game 6 or feeling antsy about picking a Heat (so anti-climactic).

For Heat fans in DTTF, it's about being forced to pick their best player (most probably one of the Big 3) even as they continue to hope the series won't end for them abruptly.

For me, it's about getting as high as I can to set a bar to beat for next year's DTTF.

Here are the PRA power rankings for your reference, pick the best player available to you..

Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion, JJ Barea, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, Mike Bibby, DeShawn Stevenson, and the rest.

There are 2600+ drivers picking from the Big Three and 400+ for Dirk. Good for them to have that player saved for this game. Picking Chalmers next.

The Playoff Pest

Last week, a few blogs ago, I mentioned that JJ Barea performed well in the early games of the previous three series, and that he should be picked early. I was wrong though. JJ early on in this series has struggled and is taking time to heat up. Very uncharacteristic of him.

Look at his PRA for the past four games: 5, 9, 9, 15. Starting Game 4 helped him a lot. His penetration caused the Heat to collapse on him, paving the way for those assists to Mavs' shooters. I am picking him now while he is in the upward trend, and while he is at home.

Week 8, June 9:
Jose Juan Barea

His PRA is not that great, but we are running on fillers late this stage in DTTF.

An alternative for you is DeShawn Stevenson. His move from starter to bench have actually helped him. His Game Four 15 PRA is the most he has gotten this postseason.

Good luck!

Neck-To-Neck

Looking at the DTTF leaderboard, it's a tight race between these drivers..

1 Shanks014 S. Marion (20) 1,251
2 rltwin25 T. Chandler (30) 1,248
3 dorancy2000 T. Chandler (30) 1,243
4 gabri96 T. Chandler (30) 1,240
5 jcrt12 T. Chandler (30) 1,237
6 kwdunk T. Chandler (30) 1,231

Before Game 4, Shanks014 was leading by double-digits, and had Chandler and Marion available. You can see that Chandler was the best pick of Game 4 relative to his average PRA. That 30-PRA catapulted those five people into the top seats, just a little short of Shanks014's . If Shanks014 have chosen Chandler, then he would be keeping his double-digit lead. Since that was not the case, then we're expecting a neck-to-neck race up to the home stretch.

I only looked at the Top 3's picks, and it seems that Shanks014 still has the upper hand with Chandler available for the picking, while rltwin25 and dorancy2000 already picked him, Marion, Terry, Kidd, Dirk and the Big 3. Chandler can get about 20 PRA for Game 5 and I believe Shanks014 will be going with him. If anyone from the rest of that pack has Dirk, Lebron or Dwyane, then they can catch up and steal that car.

The rest of the fillers are inconsistent, and one cannot know what PRA one will get. I think this will now go down to luck. Unless one of these people is actually Marty McFly ;)

Good luck to you top drivers. May you pick the right players at the right time.

Who's Hot, Who's Not

Hot..
  • Nowitzki -- only bright spot in the Mavs' offense
  • Marion -- making most of his time on the court, both ends
  • Wade -- playing like it's 2006
Not..
  • Terry -- not so Mr. Fourth Quarter, yet
  • Barea -- still missing in action
  • Bosh -- 31% shooting
  • LeBron -- 24, then 20, then 17 points
17 points may be a lot for the an average NBA player in the Finals, but you see LeBron is supposed to be scoring around 30. Critics are asking LeBron about his dip in stats these series. Marion has been doing a good job on keeping him in check. But another thing he's doing is deferring to Wade, maybe as an answer to previous criticism that he's holding the ball too much in the previous series. Have you seen him in Game 3 late in the game being passed the ball only to give it back to Wade quickly?

Then why am I picking a player who's not hot?

Week 8, June 7:
LeBron James

Because I believe LeBron is a person who likes shutting off his critics. And throughout these playoffs, he has come back from relatively low-scoring games to score the next game like he's battling the Cavs.

The Matrix

Game 4's hot pick is Shawn Marion, with 3000+ drivers selecting him.

He didn't earn the nickname Matrix for nothing. Remember how Keanu Reeves was able to do everything in that movie series? That's Marion per se. Scoring, rebounding, defense. Name it, he's all over.

The Mavs use him to guard the opposing team's best player -- from the Kobes to the Kevins of this league. In this Finals series, he is guarding LeBron a.k.a Mr. Smith. His minutes parallel that of the opposing player, so in these Finals his minutes are up in the 40s per game because LeBron plays those many minutes (tops among the Heat).

So far he has done a decent job containing Lebron and is continuing to do better at it. LeBron's points have dwindled from 24, then 20, to 17. LeBron can only be stopped in a half-court setup, where Marion has minimized those penetrations.

I've already used Marion, but for those of you who still has him, go ahead and pick him. You're assured at least that he will get the most minutes.

Best Mavs Center Ever!

When I first became a fan of the Mavs, it was Shawn Bradley manning the middle. Well, yeah you can count on him to rack up those blocks, but to me he was not able to capitalize on his height with his offense. We still love him though. Don Nelson likes them tall and skinny centers.

The Mavs thereafter experimented with many centers (count Dirk in too.. wait, maybe he's the best Mavs center ever hehe!), until Avery Johnson rallied to get Erick Dampier and locked-in for too many years. Damp was a big body needed in a time when Shaq was on his prime. He received the most criticism, but he was serviceable at best (although inconsistent). Now he is in the Heat's roster. Hmm.. is Spoelstra worried that putting Damp in the game will be like placing a scorpion on his own plate?

Then last season before the trade deadline, we got Brendan Haywood. A younger and better version of Dampier, he showed enough promise that he was signed to a multi-year contract last summer. Here's a center young enough to grow with the Mavs as their starter. Well, not so fast.

Then.. a few days later, Michael Jordan with his team-managing prowess (not!) traded an often-injured Tyson Chandler to Damp's big and expiring contract. Talk about a steal. Chandler, now healthy, is rejuvenated and instantly became the Mavs' anchor in defense. Dirk said Chandler is the most positive person he knows. Not only is he the most athletic center the Mavs ever had, but he is the consumate locker guy. And now in DTTF, Finals Game 3, I am picking him.

Week 8, June 5:
Tyson Chandler

Last November 27, with Dallas hosting Miami, Chandler posted 14 points and 17 rebounds! Those are the numbers I hope he will get in Game 3 (hey, wishing is free, right?). Note that Haywood is still day-to-day with his strained right hip flexor. That will surely get Chandler more minutes in Game 3 as long as he stays out of foul trouble.

Knocks on wood.