Thursday, June 11, 2015

Game 3

Caution to any of the people who may read this: I may or may not rag on LeBron frequently during this.
Not because I don't think he's good, but because HE NEVER SEEMS TO BE CALLED FOR OBVIOUS FOULS. The calls in game three were ridiculous. I sat there watching the game with my family (minus my Bron-Bron loving little brother) and my older brother and I were appalled by the amount of no calls there was for the Warriors, but I guess I can now say I know how the Cleveland fan base felt after Game 2 when Iggy hacked LeBron all game. Still, how is LeBron diving and practically tackling Steph not called late in the game? How is Draymond killed every time he drives in the lane and puts up a shot? If places were switched and LeBron drove in the lane as much as Draymond did in Game 3 without a foul being called, my money is on the following things happening:
  1. LeBron yells at ref
  2. LeBron doesn't play defense because he is still yelling at the ref
  3. LeBron calls Silver and the next day said ref is without a job
I'm not sure someone talks to the refs more than LeBron. Besides Rasheed Wallace who racked up like 900 techs with the Pistons. I'm sure the stat is close to the real amount. Check this link and see if I was right. Okay so 317 over his career is kinda close to 900. My bad.

Despite the refs falling asleep when the Cavaliers did anything wrong the Warriors were still in this game, surprisingly so due to Yoda Curry not doing anything the first three quarters. Good thing Curry only was Jedi Mind Tricking everyone and nearly brought his team back from a 20-point deficit. Who was Curry's running mate in said comeback? Not really Klay. Definitely not Draymond. It was David Lee! The white guy who played at University of Florida and with Al Horford and Joakim Noah most notably. The same David Lee that I fouled late in games of 2K basketball with my roommate down at State because I knew my roommate couldn't make the free throws with him (most likely because the 2k14 version of his free throw release was legitimately terrible, at least compared to the release I saw in The Finals last night). Point to be made here is that David Lee was scoring, passing, rebounding, and playing defense (I think, I don't have any distinct recollection of astounding defensive play from Lee, but I'm sure it occurred) in a very large, very surprising comeback in Game 3 of The Finals. Surprising because
  1. I don't know if anyone predicted the Warriors to be down 20 going into the 4th quarter
  2. David Lee was part of the comeback
I mean I kinda forgot about David Lee all season, and I'm sure many of you did too. After all, Draymond stole so much spotlight from the team, and David Lee didn't really play much, so that might have played a factor. Which raises another question: WHY HAS DAVID LEE NOT BEEN PLAYING LOTS MORE MINUTES THAN HE HAS???? David Lee is a guy who has impressive career stats (he averages 14.7PPG and 9.5RPG on his career) if you ask me, that's pretty good for a guy selected at the end of the first round, and is only 6'9" (smaller for a big man). Instead they have been playing Maurice Speights who does this:

Notice at the end of the video how he almost body slams Matt Dellavedova (defintely had to google the spelling for that). This lead to an interesting coversation between my older brother, Dillon, and I:

Me: Wow. Iggy gave it to fatass who botched a dunk.
Dillon: Yeah, He sucks.
Dillon: Imagine the injury report for the Cavs if that were to happen. Kevin Love: separated shoulder. Kyrie Irving: broken knee. Delly: pancake.
Me(imitating news anchor): And tonight at 6, we have the story of they scraped up Matt Dellavedova off the floor in Cleveland, and the promotion IHOP is now going to hire the poor Matt Dellavedova for.

Anyways, WHY HAVE THEY BEEN PLAYING SPEIGHTS OVER LEE?? It just does not make sense to me. Yes, Speights can give you "consistent" offense, and is a big body to deal with on the court, but come on. I can go through all the reasons in the world why Lee should have been playing Speghts' minutes all year and all post season, yet the only one you need to know is SPEIGHTS ALMOST CRUSHED SOMEONE. Kidding, the best reason is that just TWO years ago Lee was an All-Star and an All-NBA third team member. What has Speights done so far? He's not nearly as proven as David Lee, and I'm not sure Steve Kerr could make a good case for Speights having more mobility. I don't know what more I need to say about this. Play David Lee.

Did anyone else see the Kevin Durant's commercial commercial for Sonic during Game 2? Might have been the highlight of the game for me. Yoda Curry was off, the Cavs offense is awful to watch because it only involves LeBron posting up. I even thought about being responsible and going to sleep and turning the game off so I wasn't dead tired at work come Wednesday. Then the Durant commercial came on. This was better than any Superbowl commercial for the last x-amount of years. My Grandpa couldn't stop laughing about it. I couldn't stop laughing about it. My older brother has even started to quote the commercial from time to time, and I actually can't hold back a laugh. I've taken the liberty to include this commercial right in this post! You're welcome! Watch it and I'll talk to you in a second.

Funny, right? I'm glad that Kevin Durant is a jolly rancher. I just want to know if he ever shot the free-throw.

Honestly, who expected the Cavaliers to do this to the Warriors after losing Kyrie for the series, summer, and whatever else? Either the Cavaliers team is vastly underrated, and Delly is going to be MVP next season, or LeBron is just THAT good. Whichever one it is I'm excited for it. My money is on LeBron stepping up his game, because he is THAT good. After losing his starting point guard he's averaged 9.5 assists over the next two games. Pretty good. He has attempted 30 free-throws since Kyrie went down. Pretty good. His defense has been solid too. I'm not sure the "emergence" of Delly really has so much to do with how the Cavs are doing in the finals compared to how LeBron is leading his team.

For the Warriors, I'm hoping Steve Kerr sent out an SOS to Draymond, Barnes and Curry. They've been missing so far (save for the Steph in the 4th quarter of Game 3) and the Warriors need them badly. Barnes didn't score in Game 3. That was a loser effort, and he apparently falls apart when he has a bad game so this can not mean good things for him. Start Iggy. Klay Thompson has played solid basketball, but I don't think he can churn out another superhuman quarter, they just don't happen often. Draymond needs to shoot the 3 with some confidence. He's shooting 12.5% (1-8) from deep in the finals. If this keeps up I would rather have him and Bogut switch roles. Watch this video and try and tell me that you don't have confidence Bogut could play like this consistently

Okay, that was far fetched, but you never know.

So, things to look forward to in Game 4 tonight.
  • David Lee hopefully playing tonight more than he has been the whole playoffs
  • Stephen Curry finally starting to have a whole-game impact
  • Hopefully that Durant commercial again
  • Dellavedova hustling his ass off (Have to commend him for it. His effort is grade-A)
  • Guillermo still trying to get LeBron to talk to him

  • LeBron will most likely post a triple-double again (His stats this series are beyond impressive)
  • One of these games Klay or Steph will go CRAZY and drop 20 in a quarter. I'm feeling it and I'm hoping its tonight.
  • Maybe Green will snap out of his funk too
  • Did I already say that Durant commercial? Funny how Durant isn't even in the Finals and he still stole the show, well, at least the stole the attention of me and my family.
  • Hopefully Speights doesn't play
Warriors in 6. DubNation. I still think Steph is Yoda.

- The Occasional Bird

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

An Introduction, and Somewhat of a Welcome

So I feel like there is no better way to start out this blog than to tell you about myself, what I enjoy, and what to expect. I'll start with a little background on the blog and what it is about and named for:   
First of all, the name of the blog comes from my fandom of the Celtics (yes, I know another Boston fan who is only going to hype up Boston and downplay everyone else. Wrong, I am a fan of basketball, I just choose to root for the Celtics over other teams. I can very easily recognize and give recognition where its due - like to hair foam for reviving Lebron's hairline this season. Great job for putting out a great product) specifically Larry Bird, the iconic player from the 80s. 
 Second of all, I am most likely going to have tangents/rants like that quite a bit, I like the stream of consciousness style of writing, and seeing how this blog is based on my opinions I feel like any random, yet relevant thought, should be included.
Thirdly, I debated on what I would name this blog for quite some time, like a whole three work days, a weekend, then the next Monday morning at work. I decided on The Occasional Bird because of the aforementioned Celtics and Larry Bird points, and the occasional part came from a very different train of thought. I settled on Occasional over Daily for the following reasons
     (a) I'm a college kid with a full-time job as an insurance agent. I would have been foolish to give off the implications that I was going to write a daily column/article/blog entry
     (b) Even as a very big basketball fan there is not enough news year round for me to write something on the daily
     (c) I don't WANT to write something daily, as that would mean me essentially working three jobs 1. Insurance Agent 2. College Student 3. Blog writer who gets no compensation for his efforts in writing. I would end up getting fired from my position at the insurance agency because this is more fun and eats up all my time in the office writing and ignoring customers that come in because I'm "writing about sports and shit" annnddd then I would be forced to go into sports journalism to try and salvage my life. Bummer, I know.
     (c.1) Sub-point to point c- I do like writing and while I most likely won't post an entry every day I think it can be expected that I will write something whenever one of the following things happens:
          -Big things are happening in the NBA or sports world
          -The Celtics do something cool
          -LeBron stops being so arrogant
          -LeBron leaves Cleveland again
          -The Stock market explodes (good explosion where we get rich, or bad explosion where we cry)
          -Chris Paul actually has some success in the playoffs
          -The C's win another championship adding to their legeacy as the best franchise (sorry I had to)
          -Carmello wins a championship (this one may never happen)
          -New D Rose starts to play like old D Rose (this one also may never happen)
          -Deandre Jordan makes consecutive free throws (this one really will never happen)
          -LeBron's hairline receeds so far that it resides under his nuchal torus and we all need a laugh
          -I read something about sports somewhere and it sets me off
I think that list is reasonable. I mean I'm sure to endure some stretches of mediocrity, like the pistons when they traded away Chauncey Billups and thought Rodney Stuckey was their key cog to another championship, but, I mean, the NBA season does extend from October(preseason) to June(Finals), so that only leaves a couple months where I might fall asleep for weeks at a time and not post something that is pure gold (at least to me). Heck, when the NBA is season I may even go crazy once or twice and post twice in one day! WOW!

Okay, I just scrolled up and remembered what else I said I was going to talk about, next on the list (apparently going in reverse order since I started with the last thing on the list of things I said I would talk about) is myself and what I enjoy. Well, I'm currently going to college pursuing a bachelors in Finance, and I have this sweet gig where I'm already doing the job I want to do after I graduate. I sell life and health insurance through an agency called Hinkle-Witbeck (google us if you're in Michigan! quotes are always free!) my boss is my illegitimate stepmother, as her and my father say they will never get  married, though I think the state classifies you as married after you've been with someone for seven or eight years, so after two-three more years I can call her my stepmom actually without thinking to myself "well, technically that's not correct, yet so much easier than referring to her as my-dad's-girlfriend-who-he-won't-marry-after-dating-her-for-forever". That would just raise more questions that I'm not qualified to answer such as: why? Anyways, I really actually like my job, I started working at Hinkle during the spring of my junior year in high school, and then I had no idea that in three years I would have gotten licensed and been pursing a career FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE in insurance, but here I am at work writing this instead of working L-O-L. I rag on it a lot, but I like insurance a lot and feel I have a good grasp on how it works, and I've effectively put myself in a great position to be in when hovering around 20 years of age. One could ask me, and many ones have asked me, why am I going to college and wasting money and accumulating debt when I already have the job I want after I get my degree anyways? Well, good question little one, I'm going to college and accumulating this debt so that way if one day my-dad's-girlfriend-who-he-won't-marry-after-dating-her-for-forever decides to can me because I suck at my job and just sit around and write blog entries, I will have a college degree to fall back upon to salvage my life. Now recently I've begun to think about why I'm not majoring in Sports Journalism and ive arrived at the following reasons why:
     (a) It would make ABSOLUTELY NO sense to work at an insurance office while going for a degree in Sports Journalism.
     (b) I'm not sure if Ferris State University even has a Sports Journalism major
     (b.1) Hold up I'll do a super quick google search to see if they offer the major
     (b.1.1) Well, no Sports Journalism BUT they do have a Sports Communication program annnddd I don't even know what that is sooo...
     (c) I have a great set-up with my current job (which I really do like! I promise! Don't tell my mom I rag on it because she's already been pissed at me enough since I transferred from Michigan State to Ferris State to pursue it) where I earn experience WHILE getting my college degree, and anything I decide to do within the field of finance I am most likely going to need a Life & Health liscence, which my Boss (my-dad's-girlfriend-who-he-won't-marry-after-dating-her-for-forever) graciously paid for. Solid setup for a job I wanted anyways.

On to what interests me, the NFL(Go Lions! Defend the Den!), the Celtics, Basketball, Bill Simmons columns (hidden inspiration for me starting this lies with Bill), Florida, the constant debate of LeBron vs MJ. It's not even a contest, but that's or another blog/column/diary entry. You want me to talk about it now you say? Too bad I say! I'm not wasting an entry this juicy in the intro! It deserves its own entry! If I remember...

And then to wrap this up, as it IS meant to be a sports blog, not my life story (sorry, I know you're sad I won't tell you more about my boring life) I'll talk about the NBA playoffs up to this point:
     (a)The Cavs vs Celtics series in round one surprised me. You're wondering how a sweep could surprise me? Let me break out the list:
     (a.1) The Celtics SHOULDN'T HAVE MADE THE PLAYOFFS and they played four games of basketball where they were considerably holding their own against the Cavs. Look at the game scores- Game 1: Cle 113 Bos 100 Game 2: Cle 99 Bos 91 Game 3: Cle 104 Bos 95 Game 4: Cle 101 Bos 93. They pretty much lost every game by 8 points to a team that is in the finals this year! That's decent I feel! I didn't feel they should have even made the playoffs! I still don't think they should have! We got screwed out of a lottery pick! Yay!
     (b) I've discovered that I am a mini-fan of the wizards. Paul Pierce had a lot to do with this as he was a Celtic and always will be a Celtic in my heart. His potential game-winning and series-extending shot that the refs waved off because a single cell on this right pointer finger was still touching the ball as the buzzer sounded was one of the best shots in his career. Now, throw whatever you want at me in the comments or my email about the other great shots he has his in his career (left-handed three pointer on LeBron James) but this one was great. He's pretty much a grandpa right now, and he has the testicular fortitude to command the ball to himself and launches a prayer of a shot and it goes in. If I was officiating that game I'm saying it counted. He's a signature player from his time, and hes now past his prime and still continues to hit clutch shots. FOR PETE'S SAKE REWARD THE DUDE!
     (c) Steph Curry cannot miss from the left corner. Can't miss. Someone have him stand in the left corner blindfold him, have him face away from the basket, and then then tackle him while he shoots it and my money is on the shot still going through the hoop.
     (d) Derrick Rose had slight resurgence of talent after his Game 3 falling-down-at-halfcourt-buzzer-beater to take Game 3 against the cavs, but it disappeared two days later when LeBron took over the offense of the Cavs (like he didn't already control everything, come on guys) and hit a buzzer-beater to steal every ounce of momentum from the Bulls. Series was over after the LeBron shot.
     (e) Toronto sucks and Milwaukee is on the rise. Go Greek Freak!
     (f) John Wall having his hand swell to the size of Canada effectively stopped the Wizards from playing in the conference finals, where they may have been able to steal a game or two from the Caavs.
     (g) The Clippers - Spurs series in round one was ultimate amazing keep-your-ass-on-the-edge-of-the-seat basketball. Instant classic. Too bad Timmy Duncan lost to Chris Paul who will never make it to a conference final it seems.
     (h) James Harden kinda played really really bad against the Warriors, but don't take that as I'm sad they lost, because I'm not. Dwight Howard got away with so many blatent pushes in the back to get rebounds and tip-slams it wasn't even funny. While the Warriors chopped off Harden's left hand so he couldn't do anything but turn the ball over (double-digit turnovers in Game 5? really?) Harden could never muster up the come back Anakin had against Count Dooku in Episode 3. Yes, that was a Star Wars reference. Yes, Harden played a sucky Anakin. Yes, Steph is the Yoda of the NBA.
     (i) Portland and Memphis both disappointed me. Portland more than Memphis because I didn't expect Memphis to beat Golden State (DubNation!!!) but I did expect a seven game series. How disappointed can a really be though? I mean the Warriors are crazy good...
     (j) I think the Warriors defensive idea against LeBron and the Cavs is PURE GOLD. They essentially said "okay, we are going against an arrogant superstar who is a top 3 player ever, and he thinks he can carry his team to victory no problem. Let's let him try." And in Game 1 they did, Kyrie got his points, but he is a baller, so you have to expect that. Lebron stayed under 10 assists so I say the gameplan was a success. Overtime victory or not a win is a win. Game two was a different story. LeBron bulldozed his way over, through, and whatever other verb describes his performance. It was very very good. He put up points and made plays happen for others. As much as I hate to say it, the Warriors might lose if they can't play better D on LeBron.
     (j.1) Losing Kevin Love might be bigger than I originaly thought, these first two finals games have been closer than I expected. I expected the Warriors to crush the Cavs in Game 1, and I REALLY expected them to crush the Cavs in Game 2. Results of the first two games? Series tied at one game each. Did not expect this. Did not expect Curry to play the worst game of the year on the biggest stage, but he is Yoda, and a Jedi of the NBA, so he will be fine and will bounce back in Game 3 much like Yoda bounces around while lightsaber dueling with someone. So point to be made here is- How much better would the Cavs be doing if they had Kevin Love? We won't know for sure ever, but it's an interesting thought. Maybe I'll go home and download the latest roster update for NBA2K15 and simulate out a game between the Warriors and Cavs when they are healthy. That's totally accurate, and I could easily write a 500-word mini-entry on it. Solid plan, thanks for the idea.

Final thoughts-

Warriors in 5. Dub Nation. Steph Curry is Yoda.

- The Occasional Bird