— Melvin Ely is one of the most valuable players in the NBA right now. He has career averages of 5.8 points per game and 3.8 rebounds per game. This season he averaged 3.9 points and 2.8 rebounds. Last season, Ely played in only six games for his new team after a mid-season trade. So why is he one of the keys to the Hornets advancing? Because last season he spent half a season on, and those six games playing for, the San Antonio Spurs. Continue reading
Last night I was able to catch the end of the Magic-Pistons game. Some thoughts:
–How many games have the Pistons won in the last five years with clutch free throws? They’re one of the only teams that, when they have a two possession lead with anywhere under two minutes, make you feel like changing the channel because the game’s over. Look at the free throw scoring and free throw shooting of Billups and Hamilton in 82games.com’s “clutch” statistics from this season. These are measured when in the fourth quarter or overtime with less than five minutes less and neither team is ahead by more than 5 points.
When a fan’s team is in the playoffs, he or she builds a list of reasons for hating the other team. It’s an organic catalog that starts with stereotypes about the other team’s city (ex: Detroit‘s a run-down city) and ends with the annoying and meaningless physical features of the opposing players (ex: Rasheed Wallace’s freaking bald spot). Boston fans, groomed in the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, are naturals at assembling ordered and ranked excuses to hate the other team.
But for the first round of the playoffs this year, I didn’t put much time into a hate hierarchy. Not a single analyst I heard predicted the Hawks hanging with the Celtics for more than five games. I thought it would be a clean sweep. Why waste energy hating Atlanta when the Celtics are facing so much more compelling teams in later rounds?
Then the Hawks won two games and I suddenly needed a list. Easy, right? Wrong.
For the first time in recent memory, I could not make myself hate the opponent. In truth, I fell for the Hawks.
This is not to say my love of the Celtics is in jeopardy. To put my feelings in context, it’s as if someone is married to his wife (the Celtics) and loves her very much, but still finds a young, hot actress (the Hawks) attractive. After Game 4, the Hawks were my metaphorical Jessica Alba. Continue reading
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