Miami Heat Are Back-To-Back Champs !!

Shop for 2013 Miami Heat NBA Champs Merchandise at NBAStore.comCongratulations to the Miami Heat, they are the 2013 NBA Champions! Congratulations to Finals MVP LeBron James who purged another demon in the Spurs, and redeemed himself yet again in a fashion only the best player of this generation can show. But this is not just about one person; congratulations to three-time champ Dwyane Wade, defensive anchor Chris Bosh, Coach Erik Spoelstra who have proven his real worth, Pat Riley for his ninth ring (!!), Ray Allen for his Game 6 tying shot and his second ring, Shane Battier for his big-time shooting, and all of the Heat players who make up for the best defense that a Game 7 deserves.

Wow!

A missed free throw. LeBron James' three. Followed by Ray Allen's three. Tied! Overtime. Two Chris Bosh blocks for the win! What a steal!

[UPDATE below]

Now Or Never

A Manu Ginobili sighting! After Spo adjusted and started Mike Miller in Game 4 for the win, Pop started Ginobili in Game 5 with great results. A double-double outing of 24 points and 10 assists. He certainly responded well, and in good timing! At 7% owned, he was the steal of the game. He is the hot pick among Spurs in Tuesday's Game 6.

Pick a Spur

At least two games are left, and so lay down your top two players remaining and pick the Spur. This is the game they are bound to play their best. Not game 6 on the road. And definitely not a Game 7 that they will lose.

Swing Game

It's now down to a best-of-three series, with the first game being played on the court... of the lower seed team. That's how odd this 2-3-2 format is.

Spurs: 2 - 1

As expected, the Spurs bounced back. Better yet, they bounced back equally (113 - 77). Once again in a blowout, the Big Threes sat early. That does not spell good for gamers who saved them for the Finals.

Breaking The Rules That Broke The Rules

First, Break All the Rules . That is the book that showed us that countless managers succeed by veering away from the norms, the traditions, and the stereotype. In DTTF and 1-N-Done, this is evident in strategies which goes against the hot picks.

And That Was Game Two

Spoiler Alert!!! If you do not want to know that the Spurs were blown-out, that Joe Crawford was invisible, and that your pick for Game 2 was subpar, don't read further!!!

Finals Strategy: Player Versus Self

In the previous rounds of the playoffs, it is easy to get lost on trying to predict who will get the most PRA on a given date. The first round gave us that, with 16 teams playing, picking names like Monta Ellis, Dwight Howard or James Harden are easy to come by. Sometimes, gamers carry that mentality into later rounds. The Finals, however, is not like that.

Finals Strategy: Coldest Pick

In the ESPN 1-N-Done forums, I came upon a strategy that I have not weighed heavily before. It gives someone a chance to overtake people ahead of him/her. Now remember I said "chance", not "guarantee". Here's how it works...

Spurs: 1 - 0

What a great Game 1 that was! Well, at least for the general NBA fan and San Antonio. The Spurs played a great game worthy of the word "fundamental", with Tim Duncan anchoring the defense, and Tony Parker getting lucky in the fourth quarter. If you are a Heat fan, I am sure you are asking a lot of questions including, "What the [insert expletive here] just happened?"

Perfect Pick: Pre-Finals Edition

In the tradition of the DTTF forums (which by the way is nowhere to be found), here is an initial version of the Perfect Pick. See if it is possible for you to even think about picking a specific player on a given date.

Fantasy Landscape

Do you wonder how many people already picked LeBron James? The Big Three? The "Other" Big Three? The fillers? If you are looking to overtake people or go up in the ranks of your league, you can use this as a guide. Here they are...

Finals: Spurs Versus Heat

Welcome to the 2013 NBA Finals! This is the culmination of all the things you did in the previous rounds. Whether you picked the right or wrong teams to win, or used players too early or saved them for the Finals, this is when you taste the fruits of your strategies, or suffer the consequences of your mistakes.

LeBron: Do or Die

Ah this is what I was afraid of. Game 7. No more Pacers left. Should we pick LeBron James? Or risk losing his PRA. LeBron is the hottest pick in Game 7. Let me try something...

Pacers: Do or Die

Now that the Heat won Game 5, leads the series 3-2 and with the Pacers closer to elimination, we have no choice but to pick our last good Pacer. No matter how much you think the Pacers will win Game 6 at home, you run into a risk of missing that Pacer if Heat advances. My best remaining Pacer is David West, and he gets my pick.

Best Of Three

Pacers won Game 4. Series tied at two a piece. Have you saved the Heat's Big Three for the Finals? If you've been playing smart (just smart-level, genius-level is optional), you have been saving LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Parker, Duncan and maybe Ginobili for the Finals. Let me scare you a bit... just a little bit...

Sabermetrics

After weeks of letting that blu-ray disc lie untouched in one corner of my shelf, I decided we'd give it a go. The movie was Moneyball. Boy, I should have watched that as soon as I bought it.

Sigh Of Relief

If the Pacers have won Game 3, then I would have scrambled to pick Dwyane Wade then LeBron James, and probably miss Chris Bosh. That would leave me with just David West in DTTF for the Finals. It's good to have this series right back on track :)

Best Grizzly Available

It's elimination time! Don't second-guess yourself, pick your best remaining Grizzly. Up 3-0, the Spurs will be looking to sweep the Grizzlies to rest those aging joints before they tangle with the Heat (or Pacers).

Does History Repeat Itself?

History repeating itself is silly. It never repeats itself. Two different occurrences from two different times may look similar, but I assure you that they are different. Coincidence, that is the proper word.

Ah This Is Easy!

Losing Team: Grizzlies

Drive To The Finals...
Highest PRA available: Tony Allen

Prowl Then Pounce

Wow what a game that was! Pacers toe-to-toe with the Heat. Paul George coming up big in clutch in regulation and overtime, until LeBron James whipped...

Pacers vs Heat, Part II

Last season when these two teams met in the playoffs, the Pacers led 2-1 before eventually falling to the Heat. Just imagine if the Pacers did not let up, then maybe (just maybe) the Heat had a much harder time last year winning it all, if not lose.

Spur Of The Moment

The Spurs won Game 1 against the Grizzlies, convincingly. One might say that Zach Randolph needs to break out of his funk for the Grizzlies to put up a fight. Take note though that Tim Duncan was as unproductive in Game 1 too, and is expected to be his usual self in Game 2 and onwards.

Defense Wins Championships

They say defense wins championships, and I am not one to argue with that. With the Spurs, Grizzlies, Heat and Pacers battling it out in the Conference Finals, we are looking at four teams who live and win with their defense.

With The End in Mind

So who do you think will win? The Grizzlies win on paper. The Spurs win on experience. I am banking on experience. I pick the Spurs over the Grizzlies in 7 games, but that can easily go the other way. I hope the Spurs advance, but I will not be surprised if the Grizzlies do.

Live For Another Day

Nope, I will not be coerced into putting my hopes up for the Knicks despite their Game 5 win. The Pacers have convincingly defeated them in all games in Indianapolis this season and the second round. Last time they won there was during the 20th century. I do not see that changing anytime soon.

Spike Lee, There's Your Bernard King

Scoring Champ, and no ring.

You can read my previous post on Kevin Durant and replace his name with Carmelo Anthony, and that will pretty much give you the essence of why I am picking Melo. I will not even elaborate on it. Don't risk it! Pick him!

Greatness May Have To Wait

Kevin Durant.

Okay, for a while there I wanted to post the shortest blog entry I have yet... Kevin Durant, Period! But I digress, he deserves more than that.

The Thunder are now down 1-3 and for most of us who adore KD, this is the pick we are dreading to take. But there are no escaping nor denying now. We have to pick KD for Wednesday. I will not even touch on the other match that day. You have to pick KD now!

The Pick Who Got Away

It seems that Stephen Curry's ankle injury and Tony Parker's calf injury are affecting them. Curry has flung two-thirds of his shot from the trey, seemingly unable to use his otherwise quick step to penetrate the paint. Parker still penetrates but his 6-of-17 outing may be indicative that he has lost some lift. Clearly both are favouring their respective injuries.

Thunder Grizzled

The defeat of Thunder at the hands of Grizzlies signals that Kevin Durant, Kevin Martin and Reggie Jackson are now ripe for the picking. My pick plan dictates that if Grizzlies lead 2-1, I will pick a Thunder.

The Splash Brother

As some of us has predicted, the Heat has won Game 3. And with a gasp of relief, the Spurs has won Game 3. Up 2-1, both teams are winning as expected.

Rolling My Dice...

Have you seen this cover photo of NBA on ESPN in Facebook? "A Champion Will Rise." What do you think? Do the Spurs deserve to be left out of this picture? :)

Another Series Tied, Time To Pray

As if two series ties were not enough, fate wanted to make fun of us and decided to give us more to think about. The Heat victory was mostly expected (even without the havoc that happened with the Bulls), but here again are Warriors managing to steal a game in San Antonio. While most of us can still bet that the Heat can most probably win their series, the same cannot be said about the Warriors or the Spurs.

Series Tied, Time To Gamble

As expected, Knicks bounced back. And trashed the Pacers in doing so.
As others expected, Grizzlies continued to handle the Thunder and got a win to show for it.
Both series are tied 1-1. Now what?

Gotta Love 'Em Overtime Games

Stephen Curry. 44 points. 11 assists. 59 PRA. And a loss! What more can a fantasy gamer hope for? And that is brought to you, ladies and gentlemen, by the beauty of two overtime periods. Thank you very much!

And Pacers Ruined It

Our fantasy game, that is. I know that the Pacers' defense is good enough to win some games, but I did not think it will be Game 1. Should we start picking Knicks?

Round 2: Pick Plan

Here are my predictions for the Conference Semifinals:
Thunder in 7. Knicks in 5. San Antonio in 5. Miami in 5.
I will be explaining the reason for these in future blogs. So for now, feel free to post away in the comments.

Round Two... Fight!

Welcome to Round Two of the NBA Playoffs! As we ponder how we should approach these next set of matches, it is vital to know (or be reminded of) these differences from Round One...

Spirit Willing, Flesh Weak

Wow this Nets-Bulls series... a real roller coaster. First with the Bulls' injuries, you root for the Nets. Then Bulls keep winning, you jumped ship to Bulls. Then more illness come to the Bulls, and the Nets win Game 6... you know the drill.

Quick! Where Is The Dice?

Four teams. All down 2-3. I wish this is as simple as picking CP3 or rolling a dice. But it is not. It is a bit more complicated than that. You see, there are a handful of players you have to pick from... in just two dates!

Who Holds The Reins Of The Horse?

The Nets and the Nuggets are both down 2-3 and are facing elimination playing Game 6 on the road. None, one  or both will be eliminated on Thursday. Ask yourself -- Which of them will lose? And which of them will extend their series to a Game 7?

Bleed Green

As expected, the Celtics won a game at home. They are now going back to the mecca of basketball, Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks are favoured to finish them off as J.R. Smith comes back to the fold.

Warriors Ground

Who would have thought that after losing Game 1 and losing David Lee to injury, that the Warriors will bounce back and win three (3!) games in a row? Well, just the Warriors and the whole Golden State, Mr. Blogger!

Eliminations'R'Us

Do-or-die games are supposed to be the easiest to pick from, right? Best remaining player on the team at the brink of going home.

How About Them Bulls?

The Bulls have not gotten Derrick Rose the whole season, so what they did is just remain one of the best defensive teams in the league. Some of us favoured them to win the series. And then Joakim Noah had a foot problem that limited his minutes. Bulls lost Game 1 and some of us started jumping on the Nets bandwagon. How many of us picked Boozer in Game 2 and 3? Lots. Then Bulls started winning.. Game 2.. Game 3! Should we jump back to the Bulls bandwagon?

Welcome to Dallas

The Lakers bosses insist that Dwight Howard is their future star, the one who will hold the reins long after Kobe Bryant has thrown in the towel. Dwight would love that. But first he has to prove that he can carry a team, and fate gave him that chance when Kobe got injured and missed the playoffs. What better way to put that stamp by playing his hearts out in front of Lakers fans, Kupchak and the Buss family.

Salvaging Your Game

So you are a new player, picked Melo in Day One and LeBron in Day Two, high-fived yourself as you see your name on page one of the leaderboards. You feel so good about yourself.

Home & Away

The previous three years, I relied heavily on players' statistics on home games versus ones on the road. I cannot say there was any distinct success or failure there, but I can say there was no true pattern.

Top 5 Injuries

Here are the top five injuries that spell doom for their respective teams this Round 1:

1. Derrick Rose. Almost a year ago of that tragic injury. Answer to Deron. We'd sure pick Bulls over Nets if D-Rose is here.

Home Court Advantage

Day One of the 2013 Playoffs went by and we saw each of the four home teams win their respective games. Winning Game 1 makes a big difference, as history tells us that only about one in every four Game 1 losers went on to rally and win the series.

Hold Your Horses

Ok boys and girls, our new drivers, another lesson..

First, what NOT to do...

First Pick

Good day to you! ;)

We have so many new drivers in this fantasy game that I feel I need to explain a few strategies to make your fantasy game work and be enjoyable for you from now until the Finals.

First off, log in to nba.com/drive and you will see something like this...

.. then click on SELECT. Then on the next page, sort by AVG POINTS.

This will allow the game to lay out the best possible picks for you upfront...

Now pick one that you think will have a big game then click on SELECT PLAYER. Here's my pick...

Stephen Curry. Well why not? Record 3-pointers in a season. Player of the month. 29 points and 7 assists in his last game at Denver. You can't go wrong with him. Another thing -- he is too fragile in that he has been plagued by injuries in his career and can run a risk of being injured. Get him now while healthy.

Other alternatives:
  • David Lee. If you believe Curry can be fresh until the end of this series, pick Lee. He'll give you almost the same PRA.
  • Paul Pierce. He was my 1st choice but turned back when I saw that his Game 1s in recent playoffs have been dodgy. He needs to get it going before going big through the series.
  • Zach Randolph. It may be too early to pick a Grizzly as that series can go the other way. If you think they'll lose to Clippers, yeah you may pick him.
As for Carmelo Anthony, don't pick him yet. I'll explain in my next post. For now just trust me -- don't pick a Knick yet.

So, who did you pick?

UPDATE: I got some boo-boo. I had to delete my pick and get some info on alternatives, but forgot to set it again. When I came back and realise, only the Grizzlies and Nets series are available for picking. I picked Zach Randolph. Crossfingers!

Quick Peek!

WEST: Thunder (1) vs Rockets (8) 
Ah the James Harden story! Oh the prodigal son knows his former family very well. And vice versa. Fun to watch! Thunder in 5.
Early Pick: James Harden, PRA: 26/5/6

WEST: Spurs (2) vs Lakers (7) 
Ah the handicap match. Where both are. The Lakers are lucky to draw the Spurs instead of the Thunder, but without Kobe.. Spurs in 6.
Early Pick: Dwight Howard, PRA: 17/12/1

WEST: Nuggets (3) vs Warriors (6) 
No matter how much Coach Mark preaches defense, this match is a run-and-gun series. Enjoy the high scoring bout. Nuggets in 5.
Early Pick: Stephen Curry, PRA: 23/4/7

WEST: Clippers (4) vs Grizzlies (5) 
Paul and the Clippers in win-now mode. Grizzlies, not -- maybe in the next 3 years under Robert Pera's molding. Clippers in 6.
Early Pick: Zach Randolph, PRA: 15/11/1

EAST: Pacers (3) vs Hawks (6) 
Defense wins in the playoffs and the Pacers breathe defense. The J-Smoove situation is on the rocks; new team next year. Pacers in 6.
Early Pick: Josh Smith, PRA: 18/8/4

EAST: Nets (4) vs Bulls (5) 
Will probably be the hardest fantasy game bet this 1st round. D-Will unlucky to draw the Bulls' defense. Bulls in 6.
Early Pick: NONE. Be extra careful in picking from this series.

Tell me I'm a fool ;)

Dominate

EAST: Heat (1) vs Bucks (8)

Talk about domination. Sorry Milwaukee fans, but it would take extreme bad luck (e.g. injuries) for the Heat to lose this series. LeBron is now free of burden and is playing his best ball in a Heat jersey. He dominates the MVP race. Wade is playing like 2006 and is rid of the body pains from last season. The Heat have this. The only question is how many games the Bucks can sneak in. Heat in 4.

Early DTTF Pick: Monta Ellis, PRA: 19/4/6


EAST: Knicks (2) vs Celtics (7)

Now this is a battle. Knicks are playing their best basketball and are peaking at the right moment. Melo will win the scoring title, but his game now is much more than points. They look like real contenders. Meanwhile, the Celtics while deemed underdogs should not be underestimated. I will never count Pierce and Garnett out that easily. If they put their hearts out on D (as what their culture should be built on) I can see them stealing this one on an upset. I love The Jet, but this year's playoffs I am rooting for the Knicks. Knicks in 6.

Early DTTF Pick:Paul Pierce, PRA: 19/6/5

Welcome to the Drive to the Finals 2013 Blog!


Hey, welcome back to our Drive To The Finals blog!

Everyday these coming 2013 Playoffs, I will provide you with potential picks of the day, and hopefully you will post your picks in the comments as well (and why). I will be comparing our picks with the Inside The NBA hosts (Ernie, Charles, Kenny and Shaq) and see how we fare against them.

The fantasy game page is already open! You can register now to play the game and join our league at
If that link does not work, you can search for it there with the search word "nbadrive".

I am also trying out ESPN's 1-N-Done. I created a league for us at
http://games.espn.go.com/nba-playoffs-1-n-done/2013/en

I hope your team is in the playoffs! Let's go!