Saturday, January 12, 2013

Are the Lakers seriously going to miss the playoffs?

Shhh, I'm kind of rooting for Kobe at the moment.
On Monday I wrote about how surprised I was by the LA Lakers struggles this year.  Since then it has gotten much much worse.  Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol are hurt, their 3rd best big man, center Jordan Hill, is reportedly out for the season, and they have dropped 6 straight games to fall to 15-21.  At this point there's a distinct possibility that the preseason title favorites won't even make the playoffs.

Despite the Celtics recent hot streak, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks they are going to catch Miami for the top seed in the East.  Well, Boston is the same distance behind the Heat (5 games) as the Lakers are from the 8th and final playoff spot in the West.  Portland currently holds that position with a 20-16 record.  If the Blazers keep winning at the same rate (55.6%), the Lakers would have to finish with roughly 46 wins to pass them.  In order to get there LA must go 31-15 (67.4%) the rest of the way; not impossible, but certainly a lofty task.

Having said all that, I have to admit something I'm not supposed to say as a Celtics fan: I sort of admire Kobe Bryant right now.  The guy is a warrior.  He's in his 17th year in the league, still making impossible shots, leading the NBA in scoring (30.0 PPG) at 34 years old.  So what if he doesn't play defense anymore.  And as much fun as it is to see the Lakers struggle, I hope they do rally and grab the 8th playoff spot.  Since I'm no longer afraid of them, I think it's safe to say the playoffs won't be as entertaining without them.  If LA's other team (the Clippers) can hang on to the #1 seed, we'd get to see a first round matchup in which every game was played in the same building; essentially 7 home contests from the Lakers.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Two drastically different routes to the NBA

I know I've written a lot about the Celtics lately, but this post really has nothing to do with them.  While I was at the Garden for the game on Wednesday, I noticed something very bizarre in the program:

Two players on the Phoenix roster, born just a month apart in 1985, yet somehow one has been in the league seven years longer than the other.  P.J. Tucker attended to the University of Texas, then bounced around Europe and the D-League for several years before finally catching on with the Suns this season.  Sebastian Telfair, on the other hand, went straight to the NBA out of high school. Once regarded as the top prospect in the country, Telfair has struggled to stay in the league, and played for 7 teams (including Boston) in 8 seasons.

How did they each do?  Tucker started the game, played 40 minutes, and had 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists.  Meanwhile Telfair got off the bench for only 7 minutes, and didn't contribute anything to the box score except a turnover.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Have you seen "Doomsday Preppers?"

I'm not exactly sure how, but the other day I ended up watching an episode of a show on the National Geographic Channel called "Doomsday Preppers."  It's about real live human beings that are expecting something cataclysmic to happen, and the precautions they are taking in order to get ready for it.  They spend all of their available time and money making sure they have every possible angle they can think of covered.

This wacko actually has a business building these shelters for other wackos.
One guy was convinced that China was going to no longer value to dollar, which would in turn destroy the entire U.S. economy, and basically transform our country into the Wild West.  In preparation he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars (and he did not appear to be particularly wealthy) building a self sufficient underground shelter.  He stocked it with food and weapons, as well as a machine to make his own bullets for when he ran out of ammo.  His plan was also to distill rum for the purpose of bartering with in the new anarchistic society.

Another lady was certain that an underwater volcano would erupt and flood the entire east coast.  She had a 3 year supply of food, water, and toilet paper among other things stashed in her basement.  Her intended course of action was to throw everything in inflatable rafts and paddle to high ground when the tsunamis hit.

In both cases, the subjects of the show had large families helping them.  My first question is, how do their family members not stop them from behaving like lunatics?  Secondly, what if the apocalypse doesn't come when they expect it to?  What if it strikes tomorrow and they aren't ready yet?  What if it doesn't occur for 300 years, and all their preparations have long since gone to waste?  I'd be really annoyed if I dedicated my entire life to getting ready for something that I never got to see actually happen.

But my biggest issue with the "doomsday preppers" is, what if they are prepping for the wrong doomsday?  How much would it suck to have your shelter fully stocked, with your bullet and rum making systems in place and ready to go; then have it all rendered useless by the floods.

Related: There is a show on TV called "Extreme Couponing"


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

At the moment this Celtics season is EXACTLY like last year

A week ago I wrote a story for Celtics Life called "Two reasons not to freak out about the Celtics."  So far both are proving to be true, just one game later than I suggested.  Avery Bradley's return has made a huge difference, and the Celtics season continues to be eerily similar to last year; which is what I want to talk about today.

A season ago Boston got off to a very slow start.  They suffered a 5 game losing streak (which included 3 straight blowout losses on the road by 15 points or more) that left them at 15-17 overall.  They were too old and too slow, and trade rumors circulated non-stop.  However, from then on the C's went 24-10, finished with a 39-27 record, and came within a few minutes of reaching the NBA Finals.

This year a 4 game losing streak (including 3 consecutive road defeats by 18 or more) dropped Boston to 14-17.  All the trade talks and "old and slow" discussions resurfaced.  But now the same type of turnaround appears to be happening all over again.  The Celtics have posted very impressive victories against the East's #4, #3, and #2 teams in succession to get back to 17-17.  I don't see any reason to think they can't continue this all the way to the Eastern Conference finals against Miami come springtime; just like they did last season.

Also read my post on Celtics Life about Paul Pierce passing Ray Allen on the NBA's all-time scoring list.  If the Captain can score his uniform #34 tonight, he'll do it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Everything About You" by Ugly Kid Joe

This single gained mainstream popularity in part by being featured on the Wayne's World movie soundtrack in 1992 (someday I'll have to write a post on Wayne's World, it's probably worthy of several blogs on it's own).  The funny thing about the song is that if you ignore the "I hate everything about you" chorus (and disregard the blowup dolls), it's actually a pretty happy sounding tune; especially when you watch them in the video hanging out at the beach.

I didn't notice that 20 years ago, I guess the Ugly Kid Joe guys weren't really as angry as I thought they were.  That makes a lot of sense when you consider they had another big hit the following year with a remake of Harry Chapin's 1974 record "Cat's in the Cradle."


Monday, January 7, 2013

The LA Lakers are extremely perplexing

Gasol asks Kobe why Howard and Nash have made LA worse.
Last night Kobe Bryant scored 29 points (not to mention 5 rebounds and 7 assists).  Dwight Howard had 26 rebounds (as well as 14 points and 4 blocks).  Steve Nash handed out 13 assists (to go along with 10 points).  LA's three superstars all put up big numbers doing what they do best.  The other two starters (and former all-stars) contributed solid stat lines as well.  Pau Gasol posted 11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks, and Ron Artest chipped in 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 blocks.

After the Lakers added Howard and Nash in the offseason, as a Celtics fan it was box scores like this that I was terrified of seeing.  Except for one thing: LA lost that game last night.  At home, to the Denver Nuggets, 112-105.  At 15-18 the Lakers now sit in the 11th spot in the Western Conference, 3 games out of the playoffs.  Many people would consider both Bryant and Howard to be among the top 5 players in the entire NBA.  Teams with a top 5 player are usually pretty good, regardless of who else is on the roster.  Yet somehow the Lakers are struggling despite having two; and a pair who's games should compliment each other well at that.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

I've got a great idea for twitter

In my continued effort to spread the LucidSportsFan brand, twitter is by far the tool I use the most.  Having said that, there's one major thing that I think it's lacking.  When you click on the link to everyone you are following (or everyone who follows you), it just shows up as one long list in the order in which they have been most recently added.  This is not useful at all.

What the list needs is a "sort" option.  You should be able to view it alphabetically (by both twitter handle or real name); but even more helpful would be if you could view it by number of followers that each person has.  I'd like to know who are the "most followed" people that follow me.  Viewing those who I follow in this way would also be very convenient for when I tweet my blog out in hopes of gaining more exposure through retweets.  It's not worth it to send it to people with hardly any followers, but if I tweet it at people with too many they'll never even read it.  If I could view the list by follower numbers it would make that significantly easier.

So there you go twitter, it's time to add some sorting options.  And if any non-twitterers decided to read this and have no idea what I'm talking about, sorry if it was boring.  But hey, you only wasted 37 seconds, no big deal.  Also, how perfectly fitting is that picture?  I was amazed when I found it.


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