Archive for June, 2013

Jrue Holiday to New Orleans

Posted: 06/28/2013 by levcohen in Basketball, Broad Street Sports

As a 76er fan, I was shocked when we dealt Jrue Holiday. Absolutely shocked. I mean, I thought we might make some trades. Our roster was in flux, and we had a new GM. Plus, why else would we wait until July to sign a coach? It was clear to me that Sam Hinkie and Philadelphia were going to make a trade. Nobody told me we would be trading our all-star point guard, who will enter next season at 23 years old. Holiday, it seemed, was a perfect piece for us. He is young, experienced, has a manageable 10 million contract, was invested in the franchise, and is already an all-star. So when we traded him, I just stared into space for a while. Shocked. Then, as you might expect, I looked into the details. We would be receiving Nerlens Noel, a center who, after being the sure #1 pick, fell the #6 because of knee problems. So yes, for two years in a row we just traded our best player for a center with knee problems. Since the first experiment worked so well, why not try it again, right? Well, it’s not all bad. Noel doesn’t have degenerative knees. He just tore his ACL, and at his age, should have a good chance at recovering fully.

In the trade, the 76ers also received New Orleans’ first round pick in 2014, as long as the pick is not in the top five. I think we can be confident that the Pelicans will be in the lottery, but will not be bad enough to gain a top five pick. Now, this pick is a lot more significant than it seems. Apparently, almost no team was willing to trade a 2014 first rounder, especially mediocre teams, because next year’s draft is set to be terrific. But we got New Orleans’ first rounder, and that could turn out to be a lottery pick.

After I checked the details of the trade, I looked at what people were saying about it, and it turned out better than I thought it would. Most Philly fans hate the trade. I mean, who wouldn’t? Trading an all-star for a pair of unknowns seems daunting at best. Some traditional “experts” also disliked the trade for us. But the analytical crowd loved the deal for us. Chad Ford, the draft expert, loved it, and that makes sense. He is not an all-star expert. He is a draft expert, and we got two high picks. Kevin Pelton, a huge ESPN numbers guy, also loved it. He gave New Orleans a “D” and Philadelphia an “A+” on this trade. Here is the beginning of Pelton’s explanation:
Since the 76ers hired Sam Hinkie in mid-May, we’ve been waiting for some indication of his vision for the franchise. Well, we unmistakably got it Thursday. Hinkie is ripping apart a team that was stuck in the middle of the Eastern Conference and heading — at least temporarily — for the bottom. That’s the message in trading away Holiday, Philadelphia’s best player, for a pair of first-round picks.

With the loaded 2014 draft class 12 months away, this is the time to rebuild. Noel is the ideal centerpiece in that regard. In time, Noel — rated far and away the best player in this year’s draft by my WARP projections — could be a star and every bit as good as Holiday. In 2013-14, coming back from ACL surgery, Noel is unlikely to contribute. A 76ers team with no Holiday, and presumably no Andrew Bynum, could be among the contenders for the No. 1 overall pick. Depending where New Orleans’ pick lands, Philadelphia could easily have a pair of top-10 picks in what is considered the deepest draft in years.

Holiday for Noel would have been a decent move for Philadelphia. Add in the 2014 first-round pick and this deal is an enormous win for the 76ers.

This should, and does, inspire hope. But don’t immediately believe Pelton’s words for truth. Pelton and GM Sam Hinkie probably have a lot of the same numbers and beliefs. So if Hinkie makes a trade or acquisition, Pelton is likely going to like it.

The 76ers are going to be really bad this year. Here is a look at their projected roster:
PG: Michael Carter-Williams, Charles Jenkins
SG: Evan Turner, Jason Richardson
SF: Thaddeus Young, Arsalan Kazemi
PF: Arnett Moultrie, Lavoy Allen
C: Nerlens Noel (injured), Spencer Hawes, Kwame Brown

This is horrible, and it’s probably not final. Expect Evan Turner to be the next out the door, as the Sixers already tried to move him during the draft. Three of the 11 players on roster are rookies, and one is hurt. But the more I look at this trade, the more I like it. If we hadn’t made a trade like this, we would have been stuck in mediocrity, and that is the worst place to be. Now, we stink, and could be in line for a top five pick in a stacked draft. Now is a better time than ever to start TANKING FOR WIGGINS.

I still am not convinced. I will not give the 76ers an A+, or even an A. It looks good from a numbers sense, in part because Jrue Holiday really did not play like an all-star last season, and is a bit overrated according to advanced metrics. But Jrue was indeed an all-star, and our leader, and we are indeed trading him for question marks, so I can’t give them an A.

Grade: B+

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Aaron Hernandez

Posted: 06/26/2013 by levcohen in Football

If you are a football fan, you know what the biggest story is right now. And it’s much bigger than just football. After days of searching in Aaron Hernandez’s Massachusetts house, today, a number of huge developments occurred. First, he was arrested this morning at around 10:00 in the morning Eastern Time. In videos of his arrest, it looks like he was not expecting the arrest, as he answered the door in workout clothing. This leads me to believe that he was not given the option of turning himself in. Often, in these cases, a high profile suspect is given the opportunity to turn himself in, but Hernandez was not. I believe this is because he never cooperated with the investigation, even before he was seriously suspected. Hours after being arrested, Hernandez was released by the New England Patriots. This comes soon after he signed a huge five year deal with New England. It’s a big blow for the Patriots, but it is probably a move they had to make. I don’t think Robert Kraft, the owner, would have liked to have their team connected to all of these investigations. At 2:00, Hernandez had his arraignment. He was charged on six counts, including murder of his friend, semi-pro player Odin Lloyd. As expected, Hernandez plead not guilty, and is being held without bail. Throughout today’s events, Hernandez has been emotionless, but he did cry a little bit at the end of his arraignment.

Just looking at this from a football point of view, it looks highly unlikely that Hernandez will play this season, if ever again. That’s a big blow for the Patriots. They have already lost Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd this offseason, and Rob Gronkowski had seven offseason surgeries. Tom Brady is a miracle worker, but this might be a little too much to ask for from him.

More information:
http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/26/19152123-former-patriots-tight-end-aaron-hernandez-charged-with-murder?lite

NBA Mock Draft 16-30

Posted: 06/25/2013 by levcohen in Basketball

Part Two of the first round.

16: Boston Celtics: Needs: Fresh Start. The pick: Kelly Olynyk, PF/C
Olynyk, out of Gonzaga, seems like the kind of player the Celtics will get. He was a productive player this year, and is very mature. The Celtics clearly are not title contenders right now, and Olynyk has already proved to be productive. I think he fits well on Boston, and can develop under Kevin Garnett.

17. Atlanta Hawks: Needs: SG, SF. The pick: Sergey Karasev, SF
Karasev could go earlier than this. He is a great shooter, can be stashed overseas, or can play right away. He has the size and skill to play in the NBA, and is also versatile. I think the Hawks are going to let the Josh Smith era end, so they need a guy like Karasev.

18. Atlanta Hawks: Needs: SG, SF. The pick: Lucas Nogueira, C
The Brazilian big man is not ready to play in the NBA. The Hawks can eurostash him, not have to pay him, and watch him develop before bringing him over to Atlanta. I have them taking two Europeans for two reasons. One is that they are the two best available in this draft. The second is that it will save them cap space and give them more flexibility to sign Dwight Howard or someone else.

19. Cleveland Cavaliers: Needs: SF. The pick: Giannis Adetokunbo, ?
Just check out the youtube clips for this guy (yes, you can copy and paste if you want). It’s amazing. The problem is, his competition is poor at best, and it has been likened to D-III talent. Adetokunbo thinks he is a point guard, but it will be hard for him to play that position at the next level. One thing is clear: He needs at least two years in Europe, as the 6-9 Greek specimen weighs just 196 pounds. He needs to add weight, and then maybe he can become the steal of the draft.

20. Chicago Bulls: Needs: SG, PF. The pick: Jamaal Franklin, SG
Franklin is somewhat of a value pick at this point in the draft, and it just so happens that he plays a position that the Bulls have a need for. He has been likened as a slightly smaller Kawhi Leonard, but I don’t like that comparison. They do have similar athleticism, but the real reason for the comparison is that they both went to San Diego State. I hate when people make comparisons between two players that went to the same school. I do have a soft spot for Kawhi Leonard, though.

21. Utah Jazz: Needs: PG (filled), big depth. The pick: Mason Plumlee, C
The Jazz looked stacked with big men right now, but Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are likely to leave in free agency. Plumlee is just the sort of athletic big who can be a third big man on a contending team. He would back up Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.

22. Brooklyn Nets: Needs: big depth. The pick: Gorgui Dieng, C
I think the Nets need another big to play Robin to Brook Lopez’s Batman. Reggie Evans did a little of that, but I think Dieng could also help a team that just needs depth.

23. Indiana Pacers: Needs: three point shooting. The pick: Ricky Ledo, SG
Ledo is a very talented shooter. He has some off the court problems, but a veteran, mature, successful team like the Pacers could really straighten him out. Ledo could quickly become the Pacers seventh man (I’m assuming Danny Granger returns and becomes the sixth man, or pushes Lance Stephenson into a sixth man role).

24. New York Knicks: Needs: Big depth. The pick: Glen Rice Jr, SF
Rice Jr. is a rare draft eligible player who played in the D-league last year. He played well, but he doesn’t have a huge upside. I don’t know why, but I just think the Knicks will take him.

25. Los Angeles Clippers. Needs: Best available. The pick: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG
The son of a great NBA player, Hardaway has great basketball I.Q. and athleticism. I think he is a good fit for the Clips at 25.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves. Needs: SF. The pick: Reggie Bullock, SF
Bullock is the second shooter the T-Wolves will draft in the first round, and it makes sense. They need three point shooters all around Ricky Rubio, and they can have that with Kevin Love, Shabazz Muhammad, and now Reggie Bullock.

27. Denver Nuggets. Needs: SG/SF (Andre Iguodala opted out). The pick: Allen Crabbe, SG
The Nuggets need to replace Andre Iguodala, and Allen Crabbe is a great value pick here. Another possibility could be Tony Snell.

28. San Antonio Spurs. Needs: C, SG. The pick: Rudy Gobert, PF/C
This is such a Spurs pick. They have never been afraid of international players, and they need size. Gobert is not very athletic, but he does have size. The man is seven feet, two inches tall.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder. Needs: best available. The pick: Isaiah Canaan, PG/SG
Canaan is sort of a poor man’s C.J. McCollum. He can flat out score, and scored a ton in college. The Thunder have no particular needs, so they just take who they think is the best available.

30. Phoenix Suns. Needs: best available. The pick: Tony Snell, SG
The Suns are the opposite of the Thunder. The Thunder need the best available because they have no needs. The Suns need the best available because they need everything. So I’ll give them Snell.

NBA Mock Draft: 1-15

Posted: 06/23/2013 by levcohen in Basketball

The NBA draft is this week, so it’s time to unveil 1-15 in my mock.

Note: There will be trades in the draft that I won’t even attempt to guess

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Needs: Everything except PG. The pick: Alex Len, C
Len is not the man I would take if I were the Cavaliers. But reports say that they have narrowed their choice down to two options: Len and Nerlens Noel. Knowing Dan Gilbert’s (Cavs owner) personality, I believe that he will want to win NOW, and that means taking the better and more ready player currently, which would be Len, also known as the one with no torn ACL. Either way, expect the pick to be Len or Noel.

2. Orlando Magic: Needs: Guard. The pick: Victor Oladipo, SG
I think that Oladipo will be the best player to come out of this draft. He is already the best defender, he plays hard all the time, and has already developed his outside shooting. Worst case, he is a better Tony Allen. Best case, he is Dwyane Wade. Apparently, Orlando might have a trade in the works for point guard Eric Bledsoe, which makes it even more likely that they draft an SG.

3. Washington Wizards: Needs: Scoring big. The pick: Anthony Bennett, PF
The Wizards aren’t a horrible defensive team, but they need more explosiveness. Bennett could end up as the best player in this draft class, and really fills a need for the Wizards, who actually have a lot of talent. Other possible picks are Otto Porter Jr. and Nerlens Noel.

4. Charlotte Bobcats: Needs: Just about everything. The pick: Nerlens Noel, C
With Michael Jordan at the helm, who knows that Charlotte is going to do. But I hope they take the best available in Noel. I think the top four (Noel, Oladipo, Bennett, Ben McLemore) are pretty clear, and Noel edges McLemore right now in the eyes of most teams. It’s a slow rebuilding process, so Charlotte shouldn’t worry about the time Noel misses with his torn ACL.

5. Phoenix Suns: Needs: Just about everything. The pick: Ben McLemore, SG
The Suns have to be thrilled that both Otto Porter and McLemore made it this far, but I think they’ll take the more athletic player here. McLemore has as much all-star potential as anyone else in this draft, and he should immediately make an impact.

6. New Orleans Pelicans: Needs: C, SF. The pick: Otto Porter Jr., SF
Reportedly, the Pelicans love Porter, although it is doubtful he will fall this far. In my scenario, he does, and this becomes an obvious pick. Alex Len would also fit here if he were to fall.

7. Sacramento Kings: Needs: Who Knows. The pick: Trey Burke, PG
The Kings just need direction. They will stay in Sacramento (barely), and have new management now. So the obvious first pick is a point guard. I believe it will be Burke or Michael Carter-Williams, and Burke is generally thought to be the better player. Another possibility could be scorer Shabazz Muhammad.

8. Detroit Pistons: Needs: PG, SF. The pick: Michael Carter-Williams, PG
MCW is a really long point guard, and I think he is a really good fit for Detroit. With Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, the Pistons have an athletic frontcourt, and adding MCW to a backcourt with Brandon Knight is very intriguing. Another possibility could be Cody Zeller, or perhaps C.J. McCollum.

9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Needs: SG. The pick: Shabazz Muhammad, SG
Shabazz was very highly thought of coming out of high school, but he had a poor freshman year. For the T-Wolves, the pick comes down to Muhammad or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a shooting guard out of Georgia. At the absolute best case, Muhammad could be James Harden. I see him more as a C.J. Miles type, which is fine, but not great.

10. Portland Trailblazers: Needs: Depth. The pick: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG
The Blazers are in a good situation. They should just take the best available non point guard, and to me, that is Caldwell-Pope. They could use a shooter coming off the bench, and he fits well. Another possibility could be C.J. McCollum.

11. Philadelphia 76ers: Needs: C, SG. The pick: Cody Zeller, PF/C
The Sixers need height, and Zeller did very well at the combine. I think this is an easy pick for Philly, but other possibilities could be Steven Adams or C.J. McCollum.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Needs: C. The pick: Steven Adams, C
The Thunder really need a developmental center who can help in the future, and Adams is a perfect fit for them. Otherwise, they should just take best available at a position not called PG or SF.

13. Dallas Mavericks: Needs: PG. The pick: C.J. McCollum, PG/SG
McCollum is the best available player, and it isn’t close. He’ll probably be gone by now, but this is his floor. I think he’s going to be a very good player. The Mavericks also may consider trading down or taking a European player.

14. Utah Jazz: Needs: PG. The pick: Dennis Schroeder, PG
Schroeder has been compared to Rajon Rondo, and that’s the kind of player the Jazz, a talented team without a true play maker, need.

15. Milwaukee Bucks: Needs: Guard. The pick: Shane Larkin, PG
Larkin ends the run of three straight PG’s. The Bucks desperately need a guard, as their top three just declared for free agency.

What to expect in game 7

Posted: 06/20/2013 by levcohen in Basketball

Game seven of the NBA finals is tonight. The only problem is… How can this game be better than the thriller that was game six? We’ll see.

Manu Ginobili contributes early… or sits for a majority of the game:
Ginobili was one of the factors that cost the Spurs game six. He committed eight turnovers, and missed a key free throw. The Spurs can’t afford to have that happen again. So Ginobili is either going to have to create and penetrate early, or he’ll have to sit, because there is no more time to worry about his confidence.

More of the effective Heat lineup:
By that I mean: Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Mike Miller, LeBron James, and Chris Anderson. I’d like to see 10-12 minutes of this group on the floor. That way, Bosh and Wade will still get to play about 35 minutes. This lineup is perfect. You have the best player in the world, a good ballhandler, lots of energy, and great three point shooting.

Continued Kawhi Leonard breakout:
Kawhi Leonard’s expression never changes, and maybe that is part of the reason that he is still so underrated. On the game’s biggest stage, he is the Spurs third best player, and perhaps the fourth best player on the floor. He is the most explosive player on the Spurs, and played a team leading 46 minutes in game six. Expect more of the same in game seven.

Ray Allen will again play more minutes than Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh:
Let’s face it: Allen is the best fit to play with LeBron on this team. He is a mature veteran, but even more, he is an unselfish one. Oh, and he can spread the floor, seeing as he is the best shooter of all time and hit the tying three pointer on Tuesday.

A tired, but effective Tony Parker:
Tony Parker was not effective in game six. But this is game seven of the NBA finals. Parker played 43 minutes in game six, and might need to do that again. I think he’ll be up to it.

Danny Green and Gary Neal combine for more than eight points in 65 minutes:
This isn’t a bold prediction, but it needs to happen. These guys have been terrific in the finals, but they didn’t do well in game six. Realistically, for the Spurs to win, they’ll need to combine for at least 20 or 25 points.

Heat play eight players again:
It worked in game six. So I’m going out on a limb and saying that we won’t be seeing much, if any, of Udonis Haslem and Norris Cole, among others.

Chris Bosh doesn’t score much.. But continues to play inspired defense:
Based on the stat line, Chris Bosh didn’t play very well. And I guess that’s kind of true. But in the second half and in overtime, he was a beast defensively, holding Tim Duncan basically listless and playing terrific pick and role defense. He also stopped Danny Green’s potential game tying shot at the end of overtime.

Tim Duncan is not the Spurs leading scorer:
Duncan scored 30 in game six. I don’t think he will lead the Spurs again in game seven. It’s just a gut feeling.

Prediction: Spurs- 108, Heat- 102.. I’m going down with the ship. Go Spurs!

The long, treacherous baseball season isn’t quite halfway done, but it is by no means “early”. Now it’s time to play “for real” or “not for real” which each of the top contending teams right now.

St. Louis Cardinals (46-25, up 2.5 games in NL Central): For Real

The Cardinals are sitting pretty with the best record in baseball, and it is because of both dynamic hitting and all-star caliber pitching. The Cards, with their +103 run differential, have scored the second most runs in baseball, and have the second best ERA. More than any other team, the Cardinals are well equipped for injuries. Even if one of their productive starters gets hurt, they have a lot of flexibility because of three players in particular. Matt Adams, with his .883 OPS- third on the team, has just 80 at bats, because the positions he is capable of playing (1B, LF, RF) are filled by Allen Craig, Carlos Beltran, and Matt Holliday. If someone goes down, the Cardinals will be able to play Adams. This is also true about Daniel Descalso, who can play every infield position other than first base. Descalso, in 125 at bats, has a .789 OPS, an elite number for a middle infielder. Then there is the farm system, one of the best in the Majors. It is led by outfielder Oscar Taveras, who is almost certainly ready to become an above average every day player.

Bottom Line: This team is deep and star studded, with a perfect combination of young guys and veterans
Guy they can’t afford to lose: Yadier Molina, C
Suggestion: Jon Jay is struggling. Give Taveras a shot in CF

Boston Red Sox (44-29, up 2 games in AL East): Not for real

Listen. The Red Sox are a good baseball team, with a great offense. They just aren’t going to run away with the AL East title. They might (probably will) make the playoffs. But their current pace is unsustainable. I’m worried about their pitching. Clay Buccholtz, he of the sub 2.00 ERA, looks injury prone. Jon Lester, who started off well, has really struggled recently. The rest of the rotation is suspect at best. Their offense is great. David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli, and Jacoby Ellsbury are great. But I think their top two pitchers need to pitch to their potential if the Sox are going to win the division.

Bottom Line: The offense is great, but they need more from their pitching. Guy they can’t afford to lose: Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Suggestion: Start Jose Iglesias over Stephen Drew or Will Middlebrooks. Drew is hitting .213 with a .671 OPS, and Middlebrooks is hitting .196 with a .629 OPS. Iglesias is at .435 with a 1.035 OPS.

Cincinnati Reds (43-29, behind 2.5 games in NL Central): For real

The Reds would likely be the best team in any other division in baseball. Since they are stuck with the Cardinals, they might have to be happy with a wild card. Their five core hitters (Joey Votto, Shin-Soo Choo, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Brandon Phillips) are as good as any in baseball. As is their rotation (Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Matt Latos). As is their closer (Aroldis Chapman). This team is legit.

Bottom Line: The Reds are a near playoff lock, because of their starting pitching depth and offensive firepower.
Guy they can’t afford to lose: Joey Votto, 1B
Suggestion: Move Joey Votto into the 2 hole and Jay Bruce into the 3 hole. Zack Cozart can move his .271 OBP from second to eighth.

Pittsburgh Pirates (42-29, behind 3 games in NL Central): Not for real

Three of the four best teams in baseball right now are in the Central? The Central used to be a poor division. Now, they are the best in baseball. I don’t think the Pirates can keep their current pace up, for a variety of reasons. One, their schedule is difficult. Two, they are 24th in the MLB in runs and still don’t have much lineup protection for Andrew McCutchen. Three, their bullpen success is unsustainable. Closer Jason Grilli has 25 saves and a .85 ERA. Setup man Mark Melancon has a 1.02 ERA and 21 holds. Those are insane statlines, and the ERAs will go up, costing the Pirates a few more games.

Bottom Line: The Pirates have a solid team, but don’t have enough talent to stay this far over .500
Guy they can’t afford to lose: Andrew McCutchen, OF
Suggestion: Get Gerrit Cole to rely on his offspeed pitches. This guy has elite stuff, but has just three strikeouts in his first two starts combined. That’s because he only throws fastballs. If he can strike guys out, he can become the staff ace, one they desperately need.

Oakland Athletics (43-30, up 3 games in AL West): For real

The Athletics are really good. I think the Rangers will win the AL West, but barely, and because of a Texas run, not an Oakland slump. I trust Billy Beane, because, even after he gave all of his secrets, he continues to find values. Where did Bartolo Colon come from? How about Josh Donaldson? Their rotation is solid all around, and their offensive is performing well, even with star Yoenis Cespedes struggling. When Cespedes turns it around, watch out.

Bottom line: The Athletics are really good, and will continue to perform well under the radar.
Guy they can’t afford to lose: Josh Donaldson, 3B (and I can’t believe I’m saying this)
Suggestion: Hit Donaldson second or third in the lineup, instead of fifth or sixth. He is their best hitter right now. Against righties, this is the lineup I’d put out there:
John Jaso (C)
Josh Donaldson (3B)
Coco Crisp (CF)
Yoenis Cespedes (LF)
Brandon Moss (1B)
Jed Lowrie (SS)
Seth Smith (DH)
Josh Reddick (RF)
Eric Sogard (2B)

Other teams:
Braves: For Real
Orioles: For Real
Yankees: Not For Real
Tigers: For Real

What to expect in NBA Finals Game 6

Posted: 06/18/2013 by levcohen in Basketball

This could be it. With the Spurs up 3-2 in the series over the Heat, the teams travel back to Miami for game six tonight after the Heat lost two of three in San Antonio, which actually gave them back home court advantage. Now, we all know the statistics. The Heat haven’t lost back-to-back games in forever, and they’ve won each game after a loss this postseason by double digits. In fact, the Heat are still favored in this series. The thinking is: The Heat won’t lose back-to-back, and they also won’t lose a Game 7 at home, so they’ll easily win the series. Not so fast. These are the Spurs we are talking about, not some low level, immature team. If there is any team that can beat the Heat in a game seven, isn’t it these mature Spurs? I think you know the answer to that. So basically, since the Spurs are the ones with a closeout game here in game six, I think the Spurs should be favored to win this series. Anyway, what should we expect in game six?

More Udnois Haslem and some Chris Anderson:
Let’s face it. Mike Miller was a disaster in game five. He missed his only shot attempt, and it got this bad: The Spurs (on purpose) were using the guy Miller was guarding to set a screen for Tony Parker. Why? Because the Spurs wanted Miller to switch onto Parker. The result? A lot of easy buckets for Parker or others. When Mike Miller doesn’t hit shots, he really has no use. There is a reason he barely played before the Finals. Remember the Uuuuuudonis and Birdman lovefest against the Pacers? Well, the two played a combined nine minutes in game five. Heck, Anderson was stuck with a DNP. I suspect that we will see more of them in game six.

A plan to stop Danny Green:
This has to happen, right? Danny Green is the Spurs X-Factor. He just keeps on draining threes, and that has to stop. Maybe put Dwyane Wade extensively on Green? Well, there’s a reason I’m not a coach. Spoelstra needs to figure this out.

Chalmers or Cole will break out- somewhat:
These guys scored seven points and had one assist combined in 34 minutes. What I mean by a breakout is maybe 20 combined points and six assists? That’s all I’m asking for, guys. Maybe one of them will keep Parker out of the paint, too. I can hope.

A lot of Boris Diaw:
Diaw played 27 minutes in game five, mainly because he kept LeBron James somewhat in check. I don’t know how he is doing it, but as long as that continues, his playing time will too.

At least one Tim Duncan eye bulge after a foul:
Joey Crawford is reffing. Enough said.

Wade and Ginobili look a little older than they did in game five:
These guys turned back the clock in game five. I think it will speed forward, if only a little, in game six. The two combined for 49 points, six rebounds, and 20 assists in game five. I think numbers more like 35, six, and 12 are in store for the two combined. That’s still good, but not as good.

Another double digit game:
The first halves in these games have been good. The second? Not so much. I expect another double digit game.

Prediction: Heat- 112, Spurs- 98
Then the Spurs win game seven (hey, I have to back up what I said earlier).