Thursday, May 30, 2013

Triple Dose of the Wild Wild West

Feeling nostalgic without a WCF (Western Conference Finals) match-up to watch now that Spurs swept the grit n' grid Grizzlies? Don't worry I got yah covered. Let's take a quick trip down the memory lane to witness wild buzzer beaters that transpired during the NBA playoffs. 

1. John Stockton game 6 game winning triple at Houston (1997)

Stockton shooting over Charles Barkley providing a late second heroics to seal the series 4-2.

Stockton, the last man who wore short shorts in NBA, scored 11 of Utah's 14 during the 4th Quarter on a road game against the Rockets during the game 6 of the 1997 Western Conference Finals.  This reminded me of Kevin Love's game winner against the Clippers when he popped out on a series of screens and gave a dagger, on this play it was Stockton who was given the shot to give a punch to the mouth. Thanks to Malone's wide body providing a solid screen on Stockton's defender; Drexler, Barkley, and Olajuwon - Houston's version of Big 3 - fell short to reach the NBA finals to face the Bulls. Watch the video here.

2. Robert Horry game winning triple against Sacramento Kings (2002)

Chris Webber closing out a desperation shot from Robert Horry on a game winning triple to put the series at 2-2. 
Game 4 at LA, Kings leading the series 2-1. Sacramento had the chance to take a commanding lead but when they surprisingly missed those free throws and put the purple and gold back on striking distance, they got rob by "Big Shot Rob". One of Horry's crazy game winners, Kings on the other hand, never recovered after this awful loss. Watch the video here.

3. Derek Fisher game winner against the Spurs (2004)

Fisher sinks an impossible shot to put the Lakers ahead on the series 3-2 with just 0.4 seconds left on the clock.

After Duncan made an unbelievable shot to put the Spurs ahead 73-72, Fisher made his own miraculous fade away over Manu Ginobili. With 0.4 seconds left, Derek Fisher stunned the crowd, the Spurs themselves, and the basketball world. Ever wondered why Fisher gets heavily booed by fans when at San Antonio? This shot is the reason, watch the video here.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Duel to Remember

Now that Miami advances to the Eastern Conference Finals waiting for Indiana versus New York series winner same with Memphis as they anxiously wait for the winners of Spurs versus Warriors, we all could agree that only the Spurs-Warriors series is exciting to watch. With D-Rose out for the Bulls, with Westbrook also out for the Thunder, and the Knicks being unable to knock down their shots, this is clearly a bad second round playoffs.

We flashback to time when Kenyon Martin was the first overall draft pick, Mike Miller was the rookie of the year, the East won the all-star game, Canada still has two teams in the NBA namely Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies, Shaq was still very dominant and NBA  at that time was still filled with talented big men, and AI was still the scoring champion. That's right gentlemen, the 2000-2001 season. We all know that the Lakers dominated the playoffs at that time with a 15-1 win-loss record in the playoffs, which up to now is still the best winning percentage in playoffs history, and the man to watch during that time was NBA's shortest and lightest player ever to win an MVP award - Allen Iverson. 

00'-01' season was filled with dramas; coaching changes, injuries, tears, achievements, upsets, and promises. Among the headlines of the news: Rick Pitino resigning as the Celtics coach, Heat star center Alonzo Mourning's announcement of kidney disorder, a come from behind victory by the East all-stars over the west, but it was a second round confrontation in the Eastern Conference Playoffs between the Carter-led Raptors and Iverson's Sixers that made the season memorable. It highlighted two of the league's elite players, on their prime, going at each other with an epic 7-game nail biting series that is claimed by many as the greatest duel in playoffs history. 

With coach Larry Brown earning the coach of the year award, Dikembe Mutombo for Defensive Player of the Year Award, Aaron Mckie for Sixth Man of the Year Award, and Allen Iverson as the all-star MVP, scoring champion for the second time, and season MVP,  the Sixers look to finish their season bagging home the championship trophy. After finally getting past Indiana in the first round, they are set to be face the Toronto Raptors which had no plan of being eliminated in the playoffs after moving on to the second round for the first time in franchise history. 

On this legendary series, Allen "The Answer" Iverson proved to the world that on a sport normally dominated by big men, listed as 6 feet,  his heart could fill the stadium.
Iverson and Carter Stats
And for Carter, known to be a high flyer, he dazzled the Sixers defense and made jaw dropping finishes inside the painted area without regard for Dikembe Mutombo. Carter also displayed on the series how he had fallen in love with jumpshot.

The Raptors stole the opener in Philly; AI evened the series with 54 points in game 2. Carter answers with a 50 of his own to come along with an NBA record-tying nine shots beyond the arc in a game 3 blowout. Iverson then outscored Carter 82-41 on victories in games 4 and 5. 

Though Toronto would force a game seven in Philly, Carter made one of the most questionable moves in playoffs history resulting them to lose the game and made himself criticized for a last minute travel. Carter attended his graduation ceremony in North Carolina that same morning. Carter arrived in Philadelphia afternoon, five hours before game time. It doesn't matter if it's the jet lag, the distraction, or the lack of focus; what's done is done, Carter missed a potential game winning buzzer beater and Iverson won the battle (232 points to 216) and the war.

Vince Carter (left) and Allen Iverson (right)
"It was incredible. (Carter) had great games at home and I had some great games at home, but both of us were trying to put our teams on our back and win basketball games. It is great just having those memories and being part of something like that" - Allen Iverson

We all remember that it was the Sixers and the Lakers collided in the NBA Finals, that moment when Iverson stepped over Tyrone Lue was an instant classic. They eventually lost to the Lakers 4-1 but it doesn't matter. I don't wanna sound like the Laker-hater I used to be now. The 2001 match-up between the Sixers and the Raptors is one of my favorites with 2 of my favorite players in their prime trying to top each other's performance game after game. 

It would be interesting how much things would've changed if VC made that shot. Toronto never got back to its winning ways after this loss and Carter was never the same when he got that jumper's knee and got traded to New Jersey. For Iverson, though he made personal achievements like adding more scoring titles and MVP's, he didn't have another chance to compete on the higher stage after being bothered by personal problems. Now both of this  men are just couple of somebody's in the sport today but for what they have done, they shaped the game we know today by this one of a kind duel to remember.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

One for Mindanao

Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III and Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri
The much awaited May 13, 2013 elections is just one day to go and most of you might already have a complete list of the senatoriables to vote. If you don't mind, do you have in your list two distinguished gentlemen hailing from Mindanao?  Fomer Senator Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri of Bukidnon and Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III respectively, two different faces coming from two different parties yet one common goal, public service, one running as an re-electionist and one running for a convincing  and an uncontested seat in the upper house. We could hardly distinguish who on the two is running as a re-electionist and who is looking for a victory with no irregularities, you know what I mean.  With the bitter past that both of this exemplary gentlemen had shared, the fate of Mindanao has also been affected due to the process of they've been through. Mindanao, already tainted with security threats from rebel groups that has insisted attempts of cessation and partition, complaints from various sectors of the community of alleged forsaking by the national government for basic services,  now  faces another predicament. Already lacking on representatives in the senate for its 90 million plus residents; Mindanao senatoriable candidates (Migz and Koko) are still getting into each other because of the bittersweet of the 2007 elections.

With just Guingona and Pimentel hailing from Mindanao as our representatives in the senate, we can't help but think that we Mindanaons would feel like belittled for attention. The never ending debate on how to end the power outage/shortage issue, the peace and order concerns, unattended agricultural capability, and many more are just few of the insecurities that we have as a Filipino citizen. Making matters worse is when both senatoriable bets are in a political rift exchanging blows at each other forgetting they were both sons of Northern Mindanao. What saddens me more is when a father and son political figure here in Misamis Oriental expressed on air via local radio station that they will not campaign for Koko because a politically related dispute from the past, and a local columnist on a local newspaper emphatically saying that he isn't moved with Migz' projects like multicabs because those vehicles won't change how greedy he [Zubiri] was for the position that he even tampered the 2007 elections. 

For us people of Mindanao to enjoy an ample support from the government, it is practical and crucial for us to elect senator from Mindanao too. I'm not saying other senators don't have the vision to help us but it's going to be easier for us to tap national legislators who were from the same place as ours. Therefore, I am personally campaigning for Migz and Koko for you the betterment of Mindanao. Koko's one of a kind track record matched to his resounding achievements is surely a big boost to the senate, while Migz' own stand out personal profile as dedicated public servant paired with a great advocacy is surely missed on the congress. Let's set aside politics this time, let's think of the future of this promising land - Mindanao - for we, our parents, and the next generation are the ones who will benefit most from it.

A lesson from history, every administration provided a milestone of governance for Mindano; Former President Corazon Aquino issued EO 512 paving way to the creation of Mindanao Economic Development Council or MEDCO, it was Former President Fidel V. Ramos who operationalized it, Former President Joseph Estrada  made remarkable efforts on eradicating security threats in Mindanao despite a short lived presidency, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed a bill converting MEDCO to MinDA or Mindanao Development Authority, and current President Benigno Aquino's Bangsamoro framework, we could write history by our own too by giving Mindanao additional representatives in the senate. Who knows what Zubiri and Pimentel could bring if given the chance. In the midst of an election with a high criminal rate, breaches in election laws, and rumored PCOS machine malfunctions; the biggest election related incident (ERI) would be forgetting to vote for our fellow Mindanaoan. 

5 things the Knicks should address before packing thy bags to Indiana

With the series even at once a piece, the New York Knicks will venture to troubled waters once more. This is the first time for the Knicks this playoffs to be on the road and not enjoying the lead on the series. We all remember how they went to Boston with an emotionally charged up crowd yet they still managed to take a commanding 3-0 lead on the series until the Celtics refused to give up and forced the series to game 6.  It is important to remember when Indiana nabbed game 1 in MSG with a dominant performance limiting 'Melo and JR to take the home court advantage out of the hands of the second seeded Knicks, they weren't the same team we saw on game 2, however, when the Knicks, behind Carmelo Anthony, trounced them with an outstanding spurt starting from the 3 minute mark of the 3rd Q down to the end of regulation resulting to a 105-79 blowout. Should we still expect another see-saw type battle now that Indiana will have to dress white jersey, will Knicks get fired up and pull an upset in front of 24,000 fans or, will the Pacers take the comfort of playing at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and protect their home turf?

With the season series split 2-2, we could hardly predict who will the series and proceed to the Eastern Conference Finals. For the Knicks to proceed they need to look at this blog post and insert it on there game plan.

1. Losing Composure

They say, an angry mind is an empty mind and anger reduces IQ making you act foolishly without the thought of regretting it afterwards. Certainly true! The inability to control one's emotion could result to a technical foul, 2 shots and a ball possession, worse comes to worst when Paul George sinks in a triple or David West mauls you deep in the paint and gets a bucket and-1, then you get a five point swing. Now the Pacers' fans gets involved energizing the home team and your rhythm  has gone discombobulated causing Coach Woodson calling a 20 sec timeout, if not a full, then you just cost an untimely timeout. Imagine how costly it would be to go out uncontrollably addressing your feelings during Playoffs; it could cause you the lead, the momentum, and even the series. So the next time you get a 'no call', keep your head up and dash back to other side of the court to defend because the last thing you want is you not getting the right call, causing a 4 against 5 defensive possession, and getting a technical foul for excessive complaining. You will have all the time talking to the official on the next dead ball. 

Known to have hot heads on their revamped roster, NYK has the reputation to end a game with at least one player with a technical foul. 'Melo, JR, Chandler, and even coach Mike; now that Stat is said to suit up this game 3, add another man on the list. 

Expect the Pacers to come out more than the expected physicality now that they're back on their home floor, expect questionable calls, expect big runs if not blowouts, and please New York, show us you now have matured. 

"The best fighter is never angry," says Lao Tzu so it is imperative to stay on the floor poised, emotionally stable, and mentally prepared. This is the reason why staying composed is number 1 on the list.

2. 'Melo on 2!

The first one was to contain themselves, outdoing there perceived limitations, and stay focused to come away victorious. Second thing to address is the team's most valuable player. 

Two is the magic number for Carmelo Anthony. The league's scoring champion has got to play the type of basketball the way he did on game 2 and not like the 'Melo on the past two years. Typical 'Melo stats  would give us 29.3 points per game, roughly a 39% shooting, 20% beyond the arch, 1 assist, 7 rebounds, and  3 turnovers.  Anthony adjusted with accuracy on game 2, delivering a statement... 50% shooting, went 40% beyond the arc, 3 assists, 9 rebounds and zero turnovers. Did I forgot to mention he chipped in 32?

Melo has got to be involved in 2 man games too, whether be it on and off the ball because with his ability to shoot when open or bully his way inside on the open floor could create problems for the defensive team. It would be interesting to see if the Knicks would run 1-4 pick-and-roll with 'Melo and Felton specially when the slower David West is guarding Anthony. And if Indiana opts to put George on Carmelo, 'Melo should run a pick-and-roll with whoever Hibbert is guarding; exposing a hole in the paint is when Hibbert needs to help and when the 7'3 center will be more concern of the paint than Anthony's shooting touch and decides not to help on the screen, 'Melo would most likely hit jumpers that are uncontested. More importantly, 'Melo must never forget that there are more ways to win the game than just plain individual scoring. He is the man where his team mates draw their will to win, he has to show leadership by example especially on the road against a very determined team. Two departments where he needs to shine for them to have a better chance of winning: rebounding and assists. 

That explains it, 'Melo on 2!

3. BIG numbers

Whoever gets an edge on rebounds wins the game that is the story so far. On a heartbreaking home loss on game 1 Indiana were +14 and on the bounce back victory on game 2 Knicks were +2 on the same department. It is obvious that how you clear the glass and providing your team extra possessions could clearly affect the flow of the ball game. Furthermore, the Knicks' so called 'anchor in the defense’ Tyson Chandler has got to match Roy Hibbert's activity on the floor for he has been outplayed by Hibbert for two consecutive games already. Last year’s defensive player of the year awardee had a terrible series thus far, only averaging 3.5 rebounds per game and has been plagued with foul troubles on battling Roy Hibbert.  Good thing K-Mart picked up the slack providing solid numbers off the bench despite the fact of being clearly undersized over the taller Hibbert with an impressive 11.0 points per game and 2.0 blocks per game.

Now the Amar'e is back, he would surely bring upheaval for the Knicks in the battle of big men but it should be emphasized that Lance Stephenson was a guard yet monster on the boards so rebounding has got to be everybody's concern. 

4. The back courts

Statistically and schematically the Knicks plays better when they have two point guards on the floor that means on this part Felton, Prigioni, and Kidd are to be scrutinized on their effectiveness.  

Raymond Felton: Being the second man next to Carmelo on scoring is the Raymond Felton we expect. The veteran guard who could score, convert himself into a playmaker, and sometimes a defensive hasn't been a problem for the Knicks since the start of the playoffs. If the same Felton would show up in their game against Indiana, win or lose, we could live with that.

Jason Kidd: This crafty very experienced guard is currently not a big factor in the game. With zero contribution on scoring and not finding his range, JKidd could only provide his leadership to the team. Not forgetting his ability to find open team mates and some nifty stops on the floor, New York still needs him on the floor, and what my friend once told me, JKidd rises up in the occasion when you least expect. With all being said, this 40 year old athlete might be the X-factor of the series.

Pablo Prigioni: Make no mistake on this Argentinian for he had displayed a very eye catching old school type of basketball on game 2. After being cold on game 1, Pablo Prigioni showed why he belonged to the league of the stars; providing 10 points on a perfect shooting night, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and no turnover all that on a productive 21 minute exposure. Not only he captured Mike Woodson's attention but of the vigilant sports writers on his style of play to come along with his unique basketball journey being the oldest rookie ever to play the league. Pair him with either Felton or Kidd, you get a double dose of lethal guards.

Now we shift our attention to the 2's. Disregarding Quentin Richardson since only played five minutes for this series, JR Smith and Iman Shumpert we go.

JR Smith: The sixth man of the year has yet to find his old self, not the brawny version, since suffering a one-day suspension on the first round of the playoffs. Shooting with a mind blowing 23% on the floor on the series, JR Swish hasn't been a problem on this series but to his team mates. With the reputation of shooting 'what the f**k' kind of shot selections Smith has given the Knicks another problem adding to Carmelo Anthony's shooting drought. If only Smith could read my blog and focus on reading the #1 on the list, he might be enlightened and thank me afterwards. If he could manage the hump and keep his focus aligned to the team’s mission, good things might roll.

Iman Shumpert: Iman Shumpert has been superb. While the inconsistent Smith is still looking for answers Shumpert on the other hand is enjoying his first trip to the second round of the playoffs. His numbers have increased on the series, with regards to his performance scoring above his average and passing the ball well, just like K-Mart, we're thankful to have him around while Smith is more of an enemy than of a friend to us. With his unquestionable defensive skills, as of the moment, Shumpert is better choice for the modified 3 spot for the Knicks. 

Looking at how the back court affects the series.

Game 1: New York had 10 turnovers while Indiana had 16. New York had 4 steals while Indiana had 3. Knicks lost the game.

Game 2: New York had 7 turnovers, Indiana had 21. New York had 11 steals, Indiana had 4. Knicks won the game.

It is obvious if the Knicks' back court could keep the pressure they could reclaim the series. On my special note, the full court press of the Knicks flattens the Pacers offensive scheme. Most of the time, they forced turnovers like 8 second violation, steals, and even if they crossed the half court line, offensive flow would most likely evaporate when guards are pressured because the bigs would have to play outside the comfort zone just to save possession.

5. Stick to your identity!

Last but not probably the least, sticking with the team's identity with an exclamation point. It is conceivably difficult to play with a difference face heading to the upper ladder of the Playoffs. This isn't the Knicks we were used to see during their dramatic 82 game campaign with due respect. I understand Thomas, Brewer, and Wallace are already ghosts of the past but they were only with the Knicks for a short span. I don't care if the real identity is being branded as one of the teams that produced vast technical fouls, what we are missing is the winning ways this NYK team showed us throughout the season.

Stat-wise, all shooting statistics are down coming in with 8 games in the post season. The team's scoring average has decreased by 14 going in the playoffs, though retaining one of the lowest turnovers per game the assists per ball game has decreased on the other hand making us conclude that this Knicks are still taking good care of the ball though they aren't sharing the load as much as they've done all season long. 

Solution to revive the lethal offense: Inside-outside game. Felton is good on this, JR Smith needs this whether be it he driving to the rack or he waiting on the corner then shoot, and 'Melo same as JR's. Put 'Melo on a high post at the elbow. Said to be the toughest spot to defend for a post up player, the elbow area is the position where 'Melo could exploit almost any defender in the league and could easily spot up who's open or where the double is coming. Both suggested plays could warm those cold shooters on the roster and when they do that they're almost impossible to stop.

Defense: Double, Switch, and Swarm NYK signature defensive setup. This one's tough to explain, but here it is anyway. With two point guards in it's no surprise that this Knicks line-up is small. It is tempting to post up a point guard matched up to a natural shooting guard or even bigger so opposing teams would think of doing so. NYK would then double team the post up player forcing that guy to pass the ball, Knicks so good on reading the passing lane would most likely steal the ball or if not, they force shooters to drive and then they swarm and  collapse too making it look very easy. Before they know it, shot clock has already neared zero or worse, already sounded.

On my special note to coach Woodson: Use all weapons, I mean players. To keep the defense adjusting and guessing give time to all your players. Chris Copeland for example, he could play multiple positions for your team, could play as the small forward, as a power forward, and could be a center at some point. The boy could run, he could shoot long bombs, he's got length, and more importantly he is a student of the game. Steve Novak, hot or cold he is a shooter. He is partly the reason why NYK was branded one of the best shooting teams. Now back on the line-up after being bothered an injury, I know he's ready to put on a fireworks display. Quentin Richardson, we hired him for no reason - experience and expertise. a deadly shooter who has been to the playoffs for so many times with different teams sure could a difference on the floor.

Go get 'em, New York!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Big Bang: Alive around the world

My boys are back. B to the I, to the G, Bang2x! Yes Kpop fans and fellow VIP's, Bigbang is back! Though  not on a new album (let's give them a break first after their worldwide tour), the 2012  +Mnet Asian Music Awards winner for Artist of the Year is once again back on our tv screens. 

From left to right: G-Dragon, Seungri, Taeyang, Daesung, T.O.P

YG Entertainment's boy band, +BIGBANG , set sail outside Korea with the mission if not to conquer the world of music, bring KPop music to its fans around the world. The worldwide concert called +Big Bang Alive Tour 2012 was arranged to promote their third studio album, Alive. In partnership with Live Nation, hiring VMA-winning choreographer and Emmy-nominated director Laurieann Gibson as their tour director and choreographer, and lastly, teaming up with Samsung as its official sponsor marked the first time the group has ever done a worldwide concert tour. While most first time encounters are primarily designed to test the waters - Big Bang totally killed it!

From Korea to Japan, to USA and to England, to Philippines and back to Korea for their finale, 'Alive tour' received positive remarks from people all over the world. With estimated attendance of 800,000 and numerous records set including a London record for the largest record of crowd gathered to see a Korean act in England. 


+MTV  takes us to the lives of Daesung, Taeyang, Seungri, T.O.P, and G Dragon on a successful world tour that transpired at 24 cities in 12 different countries. Released just this 1st of May, MTV's Big Bang: ALIVE around the world takes you to never before seen footage, behind the scenes access, and a whole lot more, so don't dare miss the gold rush.