Sunday’s hoopla

The Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors will tip off today’s NBA action at 10 pacific time 1:PM eastern. To those in the Central time zone, get over it, NY-LA make the world go around. Chicago does to but let’s wait til Boozer gets back and besides they’re on their hellacious Circus road trip which has proven disastrous since the cover of 2K11 left town. But Chicagoans why would you care about a game between the Craptors and Celtics anyway?

The Bulls looked great and went 2-1 on their submersion into the Texas triangle of death. It’s actually more A————–B than an actual triangle because Houston has serious problems and unless NASA finds away to rebuild Yao there’s no way this team is doing anything anytime soon. Although they do have Shane Battier and Kevin Martin and the hand of Scola, there’s no true go to player with the game on the line. Is Yao that guy? If he’s not it’s definitely a good way to get others open. Even if he couldn’t jump a quarter of what he did prior to all his injuries, the dude’s still 7-5 and will score. Somebody will be open.

The Rockets were recently pounded by the Raptors in Toronto but that was before Toronto’s recent acquisition of Peja and Jared Bayless from Nola for Jarret Jack, David Anderson and Marcus Banks. Marcus Banks has been traded more often than BP or so it seems. Is there an intern who could look that up? Well the guy’s been a bust everywhere so look to expect the same in Nola. Hollinger at ESPN likes the trade and thinks that it makes the Hornets better for the long term. It’s agreeable that this is good for the long term but not because of the players NOLA acquired, but rather because of getting rid of bad contracts.

The Hornets could have gotten more for Peja as he’s been key for them in several games over the past two weeks. He put up 17 against Dallas and was instrumental in Dallas’s loss in NOLA. This moves though looks like it’s Monty Williams all the way. Jack played in Portland and Monty has brought over much of what he learned from Nate Mc over there. The deal for Toronto was a steal. Bayless is a solid energy guy that comes off the bench and sparks runs. He’s a solid dunker and can go off from distance. Peja adds to the Raptors United Nations squad and will be a threat from deep to complement Andrea. The Hornets most definitely could have gotten more for an expiring contract and how this plays out remains to be seen.

The Raptors will thus face the Celtics at home with Calderon most likely putting in a long game of 35+ minutes. Barbosa is a game time decision and has missed the last 6. The Raptors are 4-9 and have been called the “CRAPTORS” on many a blog. They are on a two game winning streak which has thus far been the highlight of their season. They did upset the Magic in Orlando when Mr. Weems hit a game winning 3 over D.Howard. Their fast break has been the league’s highest scoring with over 20 fast break points a game. This pretty much comes down to Weems or DeRozan running like hell past everyone and then blasting it through with ferocious dunks. If the Celtics want to avoid another let down, they’ll need to control the pace of this game. Rajon Rondo has a hip strain thanks to R.Westbrook mopping the parquet floor with him during Friday’s OKC no Durant or Green shocker on ESPN. Aside from the Celtics losing to a short handed Thunder team, the most miserable 4th quarter of the season for both teams, Glen Davis’ decision to shoot 10+ shots was by far the worst. Big Gravy also managed to miss five free-throws during key stretches. Less twinkies and more foul line practice for you Big Gravy.
So with Rondo not playing, I expect Delonte West to start at PG. The rookie Avery Bradley would be interesting to see as well. The Celtics not only need to bring defensive energy to this game but they must also box out Reggie Evans and not allow Weems to get in the open court. If the Celtics want to win, KG should be checking Andrea because there is no way that Shaq is going to run out on him for threes. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen must get involved early and the ball should be in their hands often in the absence of Rondo. KG and The Truth should look to run pick and rolls all afternoon in Toronto. If the Celtics play D they’ll win this game, if Toronto gets points on the fast break and a strong effort from their bench they’ll win. Should Toronto win their record would still be abhorrent but they could say that they’ve beaten a team Bosh lost to twice and that they’ve beaten two of the Beasts of the East.

A win for Toronto could be huge and a loss for the Celtics would be devastating. Look for Boston to continue their domination of the Raptors.

Another East Coast game set for today involves the Detroit Pistons and the Washington Wizards. Neither team has been consistent whatsoever and both have played such boring basketball that I couldn’t even tell you where this game is being played today but it does look like that wherever this 5 dollar ticket game does take place, John Wall will not be playing. The Wizards have won 2 games in his absence thanks to good outputs from Heinrich and Arenas. They were destroyed by the Celtics but then beat the Grizzlies in DC. Blatche and McGee could get it going inside but they’ll be met by Bbbbbb’Ben Wallace and Charlie the twitter baby Villanueva.

Ben Gordon will also be looking to shoot 3’s as though they’re out of style, and T. Prince might actually not scream at his coach. But I don’t blame Prince because Kuester is just another demonstration of how pathetic Joe Dumars’ General Manager decision making is. He might have a ring but not even ZEKE would have drafted Darko over Melo’, D.Wade and Bosh. Nor would Zeke ever have traded Mr. Big Shot for A.I. either.

This year’s Pistons rookie Monroe has been a complete bust thus far and statistics have shown that 27% of his shots are blocked in the paint, which is terrible for anyone but extremely sad when you’re between 6’10 and 7’0 tall. Ahh yet again Joe drafts a bust. Maybe Facebook will buy this team and let the fans decide whom they like or don’t like because the common sports fan at this moment has more of a fantasy board idea of the Pistons than Joe’s reality. There have been rumors that either Tay or Rip may be traded. thus far Tay looks much better than Rip and if there is a trade, hopefully Tay goes to a contender where fans can see his elite level defense and Scottie Pippen esque transition offense. If Areans drops 30 and Blatche can get things going inside the Wizards have a chance but if Detroit is physical early on inside and can manage to disrupt Gilbert, Monroe might be able to get some playing time. Let’s see if Rip can manage not to get ejected in the first half this time too. To those of you watching this game, it’s ugliness may be as blinding as ether.

Tonight’s west coast games include the Lakers playing the Golden State Warriors and Nola traveling to Mayor KJ’s to feast on the lowly Kings.

Look for the Lakers-Warriors game to be a high scoring affair. Both teams come in averaging over triple digits per contest. The Warriors will once again play without David Lee. Golden State lost its last game to the Knicks despite getting 40 points from Monta Ellis. The Warriors will need huge games out of both Curry and Ellis if they even want to keep it close. The Warriors are most certain to get good looks at the basket as the Lakers’ perimeter 3point defense has been weak at best. Milwaukee, Phoenix (22 THREES? WTF?) and Denver have been able to launch from outside on the Lakers in the past 10 days. The Lakers recently blew out the Timberwolves behind a perfect 7-7 24 pt game from Matt Barnes. Barnes and Artest will need to bring lock down D on Ellis and Curry. Shannon Brown may also prove key tonight given his quickness and defensive prowess. The Lakers biggest weakness on defense has thus far been Derek Fisher. Whomever Fisher is guarding is guaranteed to go off until a dead ball and Phil’s making of the necessary adjustments. I know you’ve hit a ton of huge shots D.Fish but you’ve been getting cruised on and burnt like a recent voyage gone hay wire. The Laker size should prove to be the difference in this game as well as that guy who was on the 2K10 cover and drafted Jordan to his team in 2K11. Woah?! You can do that? I haven’t done it yet cuz I’m a purist but the day will come.

Should Ellis or Curry be stopped the Lakers will be in cruise control if not well then Golden State might be for real. It’ll be tough for them without David Lee. Hopefully Lee’s talking to Bogut about elbows and enjoying the Buccaneers crush the 49ners. Get well soon David!

The last game of the evening features the NBA surprise Nola Hornets and the expected bottom feeder Sacramento Kings. The Kings were decimated by the Knicks and are hungry for wins. Dalembert seems incredibly uninvolved, Jason Thompson is on the trading block, and Demarcus Cousins has fallen off from how he started this season. How much of a surprise are the Hornets? I don’t think it’s that much of surprise given that Chris Paul is healthy and that Emeka Okafor has finally shown why he was a 2nd pick overall. Trevor Ariza and Marco Bellinelli have been exceptional on the wings and David West is arguably the league’s most underrated player. The bigger story is not whether Nola’s start is surprising but rather whether they can keep it up. Thus far their only loss has been to Dallas at Dallas, a game in which they were still alive until Okafor became the 3point threat at the end. But tonight’s opponent isn’t Dallas and Ariza will most certainly do a good if not decent job containing Tyreke Evans. Carl Landry, DCousins and Samuel Dalembert will have a hard time with both West and Okafor. The team that wins both the inside battle and the fast break battle will win this war. Nola should continue to roll and a loss here would definitely rattle the Nola band wagon but if the Knicks can win at ARCO than you’ve gotta believe that the Hornets can too.

So with the action starting in little over 20 minutes, I leave now wondering whether the O/U on Greg Oden’s surgeries beats that of Joanne Rivers, why 24 hour 7-11’s have locks, if Rudy Gay’s game winner over LBJ will be the highlight of his NBA career, if Erin Barry is anywhere near close to as smokn as Eva Longoria, and if signing Darko Milicic and Mike Conley to deals isn’t synonymous with Adonal Foyle or Quentin Richardson. Either way it’s a jack with a hand of 15 a complete bust thus far.

Enjoy the games and comeback to see reactions to tonight’s action.

The Pickman says that Nola, Celtics, and Lakers will win. Regardless of who wins Washington and Detroit both teams are headed for lotto balls. Get healthy John Wall and may the Pistons be revamped by a good owner with a solid GM. Who will be the next GM there? Rodman, Mahorn? The Microwave? Big Bill? Maybe John Salley will do it, either way Dumars has brought this Franchise to shame. Ahh so how much has Joe invested in time travel? Do you feel a draft in here?.