- The Season's Over -

NBA Photo Friday – Happy Halloween, Be Safe and Don’t Accept Candy From This Guy

October 31, 2008

Dennis Rodman Halloween

1 CommentPosted by Andrew Thell on Oct. 31, 2008 at 4:13pm in NBA

Fantasy Football – Week 9 Position Ranks

October 31, 2008

Purple Jesus and LT take turns saying 'you're the best' 'no, you're the best.'

Photo Credit: Icon SMI

It’s Week 9 and we’ve come full circle on the elite fantasy running backs. Heading into draft day it was hard to imagine taking anybody but Adrian Peterson, LaDainian Tomlinson and Brian Westbrook with the top three picks – the order of those three was certainly up for debate, but that was about it. Our warm and fuzzies about the trio fell by the wayside a month into the season when all three were either underperforming, injured or both.

There were serious concerns about not only LaDainian Tomlinson’s toe injury, but if he had just lost “it” altogether after a string of terrible performances against the Dolphins, Patriots and Bills. LT2 came back in a major way versus the Saints with 170 total yards and a touchdown – he’s back, and just in time for his bye.

The other members of that holy trinity of rushers are active this week and we’re expecting big things – Purple Jesus and Westbrook are our top two backs for Week 9. All it took was the Chicago Bears defense to get AP back on track, he exploded for 130 total yards and 2 TDs in Week 7 and showed the burst and big-play ability we hadn’t seen in a while. He comes out of his Week 8 bye refreshed, at home and facing a very mediocre Houston rush defense.

Meanwhile Westbrook returned from broken ribs, among other things, to torch the Atlanta Falcons for 209 total yards and a pair of touchdowns. He looked electric and shifty again, and there’s no reason he can’t keep it rolling against what has become a relatively fantasy friendly Seattle D.

If you have those two on your roster, plug ‘em in and enjoy. For the rest of us, we have ETB’s Week 9 fantasy rankings to help us out…

Fantasy Week 9 – Top 20 Quarterbacks

Peyton Manning is a NFL quarterback

1. Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals @ STL
2. Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles @ SEA
3. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans @ MIN
4. Jay Cutler, Denver Broncos vs. MIA (Check Status)
5. Kyle Orton, Chicago Bears vs. DET
6. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts vs. NE
7. Brett Favre, New York Jets @ BUF
8. David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars @ CIN
9. Eli Manning, New York Giants vs. DAL
10. Trent Edwards, Buffalo Bills vs. NYJ
11. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers @ TEN
12. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers @ WAS (Check Status)
13. Jeff Garcia, Tampa Bay Bucs @ KC
14. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons @ OAK
15. Marc Bulger, St. Louis Rams vs. ARZ
16. Chad Pennington, Miami Dolphins @ DEN
17. Matt Cassel, New England Patriots @ IND
18. Jason Campbell, Washington Redskins vs. PIT
19. Derek Anderson, Cleveland Browns vs. BAL
20. Tyler Thigpen, Kansas City Chiefs vs. TB

Rest of the Week 4 fantasy football ranks after the break…

Read the rest of this article »

3 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Oct. 31, 2008 at 9:55am in Fantasy Rankings, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Quick Hits on the “Real” NBA Opening Night

October 30, 2008


How cool would it be if every game started with the players hatching out of freaky pulsating eggs? The answer is very cool. Anyways…

The NBA officially tipped off on Tuesday, but with just three games last night it wasn’t in full swing. With a full docket tonight is when the real season started. I know because the sheer volume of games on NBA League Pass and constant refreshing of box scores literally stressed me out trying to keep up for my entire evening. It started the moment I got back to the apartment with Philly kicking off their playoff run and didn’t finish till after 1:00 AM. My initial thoughts on the games I watched big chunks of before I turn in:

Toronto 95, Philly 84
Despite the loss, the Sixers looked promising. Give them time. Thad got into foul trouble early and the bigs need time to get their legs under them. Philly fans saw some good signs, like excellent rebounding on the offensive end and fast hands on defense. On the other side, I don’t see how Chris Bosh doesn’t have a monster season. I’m not a Jermaine O’Neal fan, but he’ll take a lot of pressure off on both ends.

Atlanta 99, Orlando 85
It’s only the first game of the season, but a big win for the Hawks on the road. That was an area they needed to improve on this season and they closed out the game well. In the latest proof of the preseason’s irrelevancy, my man J-Smoove busted out with a sick line of 17 points, 10 boards, 4 steals and 5 blocks. Guy is in for a big year. Not to be outdone, Superman responded with a 4×5 in the losing effort with 22 points, 15 boards, 5 steals and 5 blocks. Massive line, but the 6-13 free-throw shooting is more of the same.

Minnesota 98, Sacramento 96
Hey, maybe the Wolves have finally figured out how to close out games. It was a little tighter than I would like to see given the 7-point lead with about two minutes remaining, but they pulled it out. ETB favorite Big Al Jefferson looked smooth and motivated. With his attitude, footwork and natural tools, the sky is the limit. And a headbanded Corey Brewer actually looked like a player, making an impact on D and gliding up and down the floor. Kudos to Kevin Love on a nice debut, I never doubted you Kev. Love finished with a game-high +20 in the +/- column and nearly chipped in a double-double with 12 points and 9 boards.

Pencil in John Salmons for early-season MIP. Dude is going to put up some big numbers sans Ron Ron.

Phoenix 103, San Antonio 98
Boo hoo and ho hum.

Los Angeles Lakers 117, Los Angeles Clippers 79
Sorry Baron, all the heart in the world won’t make this team a contender. I still think Al Thornton is in line for a breakout season.

On the other side, the Lakers are even better than they were last season, and that’s scary. With Lamar Odom coming off the bench the NBA’s second unit just got better, even if my favorite spark plug Ronny Turiaf is gone. Trevor Ariza is going to be a major asset for this club with his athleticism and defense, and with that improved outside stroke I see a starting role for him before the season is out. Andrew Bynum is Andrew Bynum.

New Orleans 108, Golden State 103
What was that Chris Paul benching all about? No matter, he still had plenty of time to drop 21 points, 11 assists, 5 boards and 3 steals on the Warriors’ heads. The James Posey signing already looks good. Having Posey on the floor at the same time as Peja gave the Warriors fits as they were just unable to close out on the shooters when New Orleans swung the ball around the perimeter.

In the Bay Area, Corey Maggette looks like a fantastic acquisition. The man is going to live at the free-throw line in Don Nelson’s up-tempo offense. The career 82% free-throw shooter is A-OK with that. He can take it to the hole like few others, starting things off with a 9-10 performance from the line with a game-high 27 points. Maggette is going to score a ton of points this year and his ability to nail free throw after free throw in tight games will be a major asset.

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Oct. 30, 2008 at 1:37am in NBA, NBA Fantasy News

Greg Oden vs. Andrew Bynum – Round 1

October 28, 2008

The New Kareem vs. Wilt?

The second game of the NBA’s Tip-Off Tuesday features the reigning Western Conference champs pitted against the most promising young team in the NBA. We’re talking about the Lakers of Los Angeles and the Trailblazers of Portland of course. Kobe Bryant versus Brandon Roy. Pau Gasol versus LaMarcus Aldridge. Sasha Vujacic versus Rudy Fernandez. Nicolas Batum versus Vladimir Radmanovic… Anyways, it’s the matchup in the middle we’ll be watching closely – man-child Andrew Bynum versus old-man-child Greg Oden. It figures to be one of the, if not the, marquee matchup in the middle for the next decade.

Greg Oden, C, Portland Trailblazers

In the black corner we have Gregory Wayne Oden, Jr., standing at an even 7′ tall and weighing in at (a conservative) 285 lbs. At 20 years and 9 months old, the Portland Trailblazers’ “rookie” center is the most highly touted big man of the last decade. Earlier this month he was described by the esteemed Kelly Dwyer thusly, “He’s just too big and too long and his hands are too perfect. Think about someone with Patrick Ewing’s length, Chris Webber’s hands, and Dwight Howard’s explosiveness, and you have Oden. The package is truly there.”

So yeah, expectations are pretty high for the first-overall pick from th 2007 NBA Draft. At his age we don’t expect to see much offensive wizardry, that will take some time and polish. There’s no reason he can’t be a high-level defensive presence and rebounder this season though, particularly once he gets comfortable on that reconstructed knee. In fact, guys are already putting a bounty out to anyone who can dunk on the big fella and he’s up to the challenge.

Andrew Bynum, C, Los Angeles Lakers

In the gold corner we have Lee Andrew Bynum, also standing 7′ tall and weighing in at 285 lbs. And although Bynum is just a day older than 21 years, this will be his fourth season of professional basketball. The 10th overall pick in the 2005 draft started slow, averaging a meager 1.6 points and 1.5 boards per game as a rookie, but he emerged as the best young center in basketball last season – and perhaps the best offensive center period. His 2007-08 season ended prematurely this January when Bynum landed awkwardly and suffered a partially dislocated kneecap.

It was a crying shame because the young man was on fire.

How hot was he? Over the previous two weeks Bynum had been averaging 17.3 points on a blazing 70% shooting from the field, 12.2 boards, 2.3 blocks and 2.7 assists with just 1.5 turnovers a game. Yowzers. Oh, and he was just starting to hit his free-throws too, you know, for good measure. When you factor in the ridiculous efficiency, the fact that he was the third option on offense, and that he was barely 20 years old – well, you see why we think the kid will be alright.

So which of these colossus phenoms of the hardwood will reign supreme for 2009 and beyond? Well we won’t exactly find out tonight, but it should be a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

1 CommentPosted by Andrew Thell on Oct. 28, 2008 at 8:28pm in NBA

Reading is Great! NBA Opening Night Edition

October 28, 2008

The NBA Read to Achieve program makes reading FUN!

- Hornets 24/7 – The first round of this season’s NBA Blogger Power Rankings is in.
- Dime Magazine – Richard “Peanut” Jefferson doesn’t care for the physicality of basketball.
- Both Teams Played Hard – Bounty hunters don’t scare Greg “Stoneface” Oden.
- You Been Blinded – It’s still en vogue for athletes like Andrew Bynum to make it rain.
- The News-Herald – Joe Dumars will have his work cut out for him very shortly.
- The Sports Culture – We’re fans of KG, but wouldn’t be caught dead wearing these.
- Ball Don’t Lie – Kelly Dwyer has your games to pay attention to… all three of them.
- Star Tribune – Headbands are to Corey Brewer what flowing locks were to Sampson.
- The Plain Dealer – LeBron and the Cavs want nothing to do with Boston’s celebration.
- No Guts, No Glory – A cheat sheet covering everything from Andrew Bynum to Zeke.
- Need4Sheed – Kwame Brown is a character and Herrmann has a new nickname.
- Dime 2.0 – We stood two feet away as Spike told Dime LeBron is coming to New York.
- The Sun Times – Derrick Rose is primed and ready to be Chicago’s next superstar.
- The Detroit News – How Michael Curry saved the NBA, or at least the Players Association.

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell and Brian Spencer on Oct. 28, 2008 at 11:58am in NBA

ETB’s Sea Hammock of the Week for Week 8 – Quarterbacks With Irish-Sounding Names

October 27, 2008

Not Much Luck for the Irish This SeasonTop of the morning to ye on this gray, grizzly afternoon. Andrew O’Thell live on ETB bringing you the Sea Hammock of the Week.

As someone who is part Irish, I can say it wasn’t a proud day for those with Gaelic surnames. I’m specifically referring to the not-so-dynamic duo of J.T. O’Sullivan and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Of course, not too many of you were starting these two in standard leagues, but that doesn’t mean their dismal performances didn’t send ripples through lineups across the fantasy nation. The two passers hold the keys to some of the most popular picks on draft day – and their performances are absolutely killing the value of high-profile teammates like Chad Ocho Cinco, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Frank Gore.

Even though O’Sullivan was benched at halftime, these two signal callers managed to complete just 33 of 53 attempts for a grand total of 286 yards, 5 sacks, 0 TDs and 3 INTs. That adds up to an unsightly bottom line of 5.3 yards-per attempt and a QB Rating of 52.8. The performances led their teams to be outscored by a combined 19-70. Truly dreadful, especially when you consider that the Bengals have traditionally been a fantasy-friendly offense and expectations in San Francisco were high with the arrival of Mike Martz.

Out in San Francisco 49ers fans were mercifully put out out of their misery when Shaun Hill emerged from the tunnel after the half, but the damage was done – and Hill has shown little in his career to suggest he can rescue the fantasy value of his receiving corps. What hurt a lot of owners this week was the fact that emerging rookie Josh Morgan was held out of the box score entirely, this after a promising breakout game last week that led him to be named the team’s starter – and unfortunately led thousands of fantasy owners to insert him into their flex slots (no double entendre intended).

On the plus side Frank Gore did manage 159 total yards and 7 receptions – mostly because of O’Sullivan’s lack of a reliable deep ball – but the inability of the 49ers’ offense to move the ball held Gore out of the endzone for the second consecutive week despite his considerable effort and skills.

At least O’Sullivan’s reign of terror may be coming to an end in San Francisco after completing just 128 of 219 passes for 209.8 yards per game and 8 TDs with 17 turnovers through half a season. There’s no such luck in Cincinnati.

At the helm for the Bungles 6-35 drubbing from the Texans, Ryan Fitzpatrick managed an eyesore line of 155 yards and 0 TDs with 2 sacks and 2 INTs along the way, good for (those with feeble hearts may want to stop reading now) 4.8 yards per attempt and a QB Rating of 48.3.

Yikes.

For fantasy owners the big problem in The Queen City, though, is that the value of Houshmandzadeh and Ocho Cinco are handcuffed to this guy’s ineptitude. Through 8 games the ultra-talented pair have managed only 5 total TDs and just over 800 yards. Houshmandzadeh hasn’t scored since Week 5. They’re still catching passes with 13 combined receptions on Sunday, but Fitzpatrick’s inability to deliver the ball downfield is making these second- or third-round picks mere possession receivers of Mike Furrey’s ilk, relegating them to WR3 or WR4 status when many of you took them as your WR1.

I wish I had something positive to say about these two situations fellow fantasyphiles, but it’s looking like that Murphy guy was onto something…

Nothing is as easy as it looks.
Everything takes longer than you expect.
And if anything can go wrong,
It will, at the worst possible moment.

Past Sea Hammocks of the Week:
- Week 1 Sea Hammock – Tom Brady
- Week 2 Sea Hammock – Hurricane Ike
- Week 3 Sea Hammock – Ronnie Brown
Week 4 Sea Hammock – Jason Garrett
- Week 5 Sea Hammock – LaDainian Tomlinson
- Week 6 Sea Hammock – The Entire Carolina Panthers Offense
- Week 7 Sea Hammock – The Minnesota Defense/”Special” Teams

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Oct. 27, 2008 at 7:15pm in NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Kia Motors NBA Tip-Off Party in Union Square – ETB Will Be There, Will You?

October 27, 2008

NBA/KIA Tip-Off Event FlyerA quick heads up for all of our New York readers. The NBA and Kia Motors are ringing in the new season in style, putting on a tipoff extravaganza in NYC’s Union Square tomorrow, Tuesday Oct 28th from 7am to 7pm.

It should be a lot of fun, and the price is right – free.

They’re going all out, bringing in a host of former Knicks greats and a few member of the current squad. Some big names for all you old-school Knicks heads will be around, including Spike Lee, John Starks, Charles Smith and Clyde Frazier.

They’re actually building a full-size basketball court on an elevated platform (taking 12 hours to put together), an 8’ x 10′ video wall and a live broadcast of ESPN 1050 Radio with Michael Kay.

For those of us who walk by Union Square every day, that’s pretty hard to imagine, so it’ll be interesting to see how they fit it all in there. You can also check out more hoopla on their NBA Tip-Off YouTube channel.

Players and celebrities will be there signing autographs and participating in basketball challenges. Attendees will get a chance to play on the basketball court, win prizes and meet their favorite players.

And best of all, your favorite NBA bloggers here at ETB will be in attendance – just try and pick us out of the crowd.

Times of Appearances:

7 – 11 am:
Spike Lee, Kareem Abdul Jabaar and Scottie Pippen

12 – 3 (TBA) pm:
John Starks, Charles Smith, Cal Ramsey, Kym Hampton
Kenny Walker, Clyde Frazier, Knicks City Dancers

4 – 6 pm:
David Lee, Nate Robinson, Malik Rose, Danilo Gallinari
Maddie the Mascot (in Knicks jersey)

**UPDATE** A few photos from the event, including a few featuring your friends at ETB, after the jump. It’s worth noting that I technically sunk the first free throw of the 2008-09 NBA season; I’ll let Andrew tell you how he fared at the line…

Read the rest of this article »

4 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Oct. 27, 2008 at 12:44pm in NBA

Baron Davis Brings His Game Face On the Court and Off – Even in the Kitchen

October 26, 2008

There’s little question Baron Davis is one of the most electric guards in all of basketball. The guy is an absolute bull who would just as soon break your ankles with a killer crossover as back you down with his oversized posterior. And nobody can deny he’s one of the most magnetic athletes in all of professional sport – just watch him “Cool It Now” and flash his customer service skills.

It’s safe to say we’re Baron fans. But his staring contest skills? They could use some work…

Related:
- Welcome Home, Baron Davis: Now Kindly Rescue Our Foundering Clipper Ship
- The New-Look LA Clippers vs. The New-Look GS Warriors: Who Do You Like Better?
- Baron Davis “Cools It Now” on Rollerskates
- Baron Davis and All That Could Have Been
- … If The Warriors Don’t Make the Playoffs

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Oct. 26, 2008 at 4:02pm in NBA

NBA Bloggers Extravaganza – Eastern Conference, Southwest Division Edition

October 26, 2008

atl.gif cha.gif mia.gif orl_medium.gifwas.gif

The NBA Blogger Previews keep rolling along with the Eastern Conference’s Southwest Division, a group very near and dear to the hearts of ETB. Some of the most dynamic young talent in the NBA resides here, starting with those fleet-of-foot Hawks. Joe Johnson will lead the way for a team that put a scare into the Celtics in the first round, and this time they’ll have Mike bibby for a full season and a (hopefully) more mature Josh “J-Smoove” Smith and Alfred Horford.

Charlotte and Miami figure to be more fun to watch this season as well, with intriguing new names like veteran stat-stuffer Shawn Marion, rookie beast Michael Beasley and petite passer D.J. Augustin thrown into a mix that already included box-score mainstays Gerald Wallace, Jason Richardson, Emeka Okafor and Dwyane Wade. The big question for these two teams: who can return from serious injury to produce among Wade, Shaun Livingston, Sean May and Adam Morrison?

Barring a superhuman effort from D-Wade (and after watching the Olympics, let’s not be too hasty to rule it out) the division figures to be headed up once again by the Magic of Orlando and the Bullets of Washington. Orlando will be returning with largely the same formula from last season that led to an impressive 52-30 record and a division title – though Dwight Howard should be improved and wing Mickael Pietrus will bring some much-needed athleticism and defense on the perimeter. That will leave Washington hoping young Andray Blatche can emerge as a defensive presence in the paint while the rest of the crew holds down the fort until Agent 0 returns in a few months. Keep an eye on JaVele McGee as well, the kid was impressive in preseason play.

Without further ado, the Southwest Division Blogger Previews…

Atlanta Hawks
Matt McHale: Basketbawful
Hoopinion: Peachtree Hoops

Charlotte Bobcats
BrettL: Queen City Hoops 
Ziggy: BobcatsPlanet

Miami Heat
Darren Heitner: SportsAgentBlog.com
Gregory Broome: The Peninsula is Mightier

Orlando Magic
Ben: Third Quarter Collapse

Washington Wizards
Rashad: Hoops Addict
HoopsAvenue: HoopsAvenue
Mike Prada: Bullets Forever
Truth: Truth About It Dot Net

More 2008-09 NBA Blogger Previews

Eastern Conference:
- Atlantic Division
- Central Division
- Southwest Division

Western Conference:
- Southwest Division
- Northwest Division
- Pacific Division

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Oct. 26, 2008 at 1:07pm in NBA

NBA Photo Friday – Ron Artest Wants You to Know There’s a New Ron Artest Album Coming Out Soon, Featuring Ron Artest

October 24, 2008

ron-artest-album.jpg

2 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Oct. 24, 2008 at 11:10am in NBA

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