Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Injury Update - Volume 3

Another visit to the surgeon! More good news :)

Two months post surgery and everything is right on schedule! Its healing nicely, the scar is barely even noticeable and is virtually pain free! Though I am still a few months away from being able to run around and do unrestricted basketball activity, I'm stoked that I can finally ditch the moon boot and live my day to day life normally.

Our strength and conditioning coach, Steve Buckley, also got the news he has been wanting to hear for a few weeks...I can start getting on the cardio machines (some of them) and start getting my fitness back as well as a few of the restrictions in the weight room have been removed! Steve is pretty good at what he does. Im looking forward to being able to get into a regular workout schedule and get back into good condition.

One thing I have done a few times is aqua jogging! When you think of that older people in the pool is probably what you think of, but it is considerably harder than it looks! Since I'm still a while away from being able to run a good mix of the bike and the pool will go along way to getting me in good shape until I can get on court again.

Though its not basketball related, I am going on holiday to the US for three weeks next week so I'm pretty glad I don't have to cart a moon boot around...Cant wait to go for a stroll through Alcatraz :)

Ive been given a little freedom to walk around with no boot which I'm stoked about...So I'm gonna go ahead and lay on the couch to watch the Warriors v Houston game haha


Monday, 18 May 2015

Clippers Clippers Clippers

Not to long ago I wrote a piece singing the Clippers praises! Labelled a talented, athletic and entertaining team but couldn't get it done when it mattered...I thought they had got over that hump! Well I was wrong...

They beat the Spurs, the kryptonite of many teams, in seven games. They continued their good form in game one versus the Rockets...Beating them in Houston WITHOUT Chris Paul then blew them out twice in LA in games three and four...Then it all went pear shaped!!

Game five wasn't really close! Maybe they relaxed a bit because they had game six at home up their sleeves? Who knows. Then game six happened! I don't like using the word 'choke' very often, but there is no other word to describe it!!! It was a collapse of epic proportions...I didn't actually see the game but I remember exactly what I was doing. I was strolling around the supermarket, checked the score on my phone and LA were up by 19 points with about three mins left in the third quarter! Its the NBA playoffs and you never want to just assume a team is going to win...But up 19 with just over a quarter to go in a series clinching game AT HOME, I wouldn't blame you for thinking the series was over. As I was driving home I pulled out my phone for an update and I couldn't believe what I saw...The Rockets were up 12 with just over a minute remaining, I was shocked. They didn't just lose, they got blown out!! As we all know by now Houston closed out the series at home by a pretty comfortable margin in game seven earlier today.

Despite beating the Spurs and initially stealing home court advantage of Houston...The Clippers are still the Clippers (I hate saying that, but you can't really deny that its true)

When I said the Clippers have a legit shot at winning it all I meant it. They beat the battle tested Spurs winning multiple must win games and big road games, they stole home court from Houston, Golden State looked vulnerable against Memphis (though they turned that around) and out East the Cavs had lost Kevin Love, Atlanta were in a dog fight with Washington and they were the team in the best form! Then it all came crashing down...

So the question has to be asked! Was this their best shot? Do they need some type of overhaul? Its hard to say! Here is a look at their roster situation for the next couple of years...Of their main rotation Blake Griffin, CP3 and JJ Redick are locked in for the next two seasons (So is Spencer Hawes) Matt Barnes is in for at least one more season, Jamal Crawford has a player option so who knows what will happen there...The glaring thing is that DeAndre Jordan is a free agent! He will no doubt be a hot commodity and may be tough to retain...The Clippers have a big off season ahead of them, I don't want to speculate over who I think will stay and who won't but will definitely be worth keeping an eye on and seeing what unfolds.

I was rooting for this team! They are fun to watch and have a lot of talent, but give credit where its due, the Rockets put three pretty good games together with their backs against the wall. I was hoping that the Clippers would be this years cinderella story and would make a run at the championship...unfortunately they showed that they are STILL the Clippers.


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

NBL - Mid season

Its around the half way point of the NBL season so I thought id have look at what has gone one so far.

The Nelson Giants and Wellington Saints have separated themselves as the two best teams over the first half of the season and barring injury id expect they will be the top two seeds heading to the playoffs, who finishes where is up for debate but based on form over the first half one would expect them to be the top two.

With all due respect to the Manawatu Jets and Taranaki Mountain Airs its looking like they will be the bottom two...The Jets have been playing well over the last few games but a bad start and a 2-7 record its probably a bit late, to have a shot they would pretty much have to win all their remaining games. At 0-8 the Mountain Airs will most likely wind up with the spoon!

The battle for the last two playoff spots is shaping up to be a tight one! The Rangers, Rams, Sharks and Hawks are all in with a shot...The Rangers are currently in 3rd place (5-4) followed by the Rams (5-5) then the Sharks (4-3) and in 6th are the Hawks (3-3) ...The Rangers and Rams have a small advantage in the win column, but the Sharks and Hawks have played a few less games. Based on current form id expect the Sharks to get in, after a 1-3 start they have been in good form over the past few rounds and its hard to bet against a team with that much talent, but that last spot is anyones guess! The Rangers have had some nice wins, like their big win in Wellington on april 24th, but have had some surprising loses mixed in there, like a home loss to the 7th place Jets this past round. Like the Rangers, consistency has also been the achilles heel of the Rams. They have played the most games in the league so far (10), if new recruit Jermaine Taylor can get hot and spark them to a little win streak to close out the season they will have a good shot to hang on to the playoff spot they are clinging to at the moment...The Hawks have played the least games so far (6) and have won 3 of their last four after a 0-2 start, with 10 games remaining they have a little more wriggle room than all of the teams above them. Should be a exciting second half seeing these four teams fight it out for those last two spots.

Since I've only seen one game in person its pretty hard to accurately pick who has been the 'MVP' up to this point. But I have a top three based on team record and season stats (in no particular order)

Torrey Craig

The Saints forward is averaging 24 points and shooting the ball at a very good clip (55/36/57) 10.6 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.5 blocks. Top 5 in scoring, rebounding (1st in O Boardss) and blocks, good shooting from the field and three and being on a top two team making Craig an easy choice.

Lindsay Tait

If the last 10 years of the NBL have proven one thing its that if Lindsay is on your team you have a pretty good shot a winning a championship. This season is no different, he's putting up 16.2 points on 57/32/57 shooting, 10 assists and 2.2 steals...I may be wrong but if he can keep his assist average over 10 I'm pretty sure that would be a new record, all the years I've followed and played in the NBL I can't remember anyone averaging double figure assists. Just like Craig the combination of numbers and his teams position on the ladder Lindsay will be in the conversation at seasons end.

McKenzie Moore

As I've mentioned a million times (ok about 10) when I write about the NBL I've only actually seen one game! But McKenzie Moore happened to be playing in that game. Though his team won the game against the Rangers I think its fair to say his NBL career got off to an average start from an individual standpoint! 8 points (2-11 shooting) 4 boards, 3 assists and 4 TOs...However he has been a model of consistency since then and is putting up 21.8 (44/23/73) 6.4 boards, 4.5 assists and a league leading two blocks per game. He might not be quite as efficient shooting the ball as Craig and Tait but his all round game combined with the Giants sitting pretty on top of the ladder definitely deserves mentioning at the halfway point.

Its shaping up the be an exciting second half of the year and am excited to see how it plays out!


Sunday, 10 May 2015

Is D-Rose back?

I was so pumped after yesterdays epic game three between the Cavs and the Bulls...I had almost convinced myself to write that Rose is back, better than ever and all that type of stuff based on a pretty solid individual game and a pretty spectacular game winner! I decided to sleep on it and think about D-roses form when I'm not quite as hyped from the games ending.

Everyone who follows basketball, even if just casually, knows the absolute horror run Rose has had with injury over the past 2-3 years. I won't go into details about all his injuries but it was just one thing after another. But they caused him to miss the 2011/12 playoffs, the entire 2012/13 season and  only played in 10 games during the 2013/14 season...So before this year he had only played in two seasons combined! This season Rose missed 31 out of 82 regular season games due to MORE knee trouble and was in doubt for the playoffs. Rose returned just before the playoffs started and has played in every playoff game so far.

In nine playoff games Rose has averaged....

20.3 PPG on 39/38/89 shooting
5 rebounds
7 assists
1.2 steals
3.7 turnovers

Im sure he would love to cut down the turnovers a bit and nudge that shooting percentage at least into the 40s (38 from 3 is pretty nice though) but over all pretty solid for a guy who has only appeared in (approximately) 25% of his teams games over the last three seasons and had knee surgery during this current season.

So the question is "Is Rose back?" or at least something resembling the MVP Rose before all the injuries hit...I believe he is getting there and will get there, a lot of critics and experts believed even if he returned to full health he won't be the same due to his game being based around his athleticism and explosiveness and getting back to that level after major surgeries on both knees just isn't possible! But I believe he will get there IF he can stay healthy for an extended period...He shows glimpses of his former self but can often appear quite tentative and doesn't always attack the way he used to, which is completely understandable given all that has happened, I think with an extended healthy period and time on the floor he will eventually get over that psychological barrier.

The other day I wrote a bit about the Clippers and how they have gone from a good team who lacked the big game experience to make deep playoff runs to a real contender for the title after their recent defeat of San Antonio and the confidence and belief that you can see in them in the series against Houston...I believe todays game against Cleveland will have a similar affect on Roses game! Despite solid numbers and form in the playoffs he has mainly been a volume scorer who puts up points inefficiently and hasn't been shooting a lot of free throws. Though todays game wasn't great shooting wise (10-26) only three of those 26 were from 3. I don't have a shot chart or anything but he attacked the paint a lot just like the old Rose and though he didn't convert at a great clip the attention he got opened up several offensive rebound opportunities for Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson. He also got to the free throw line ten times converting nine. Then we all know what happened at the end! Three seconds left he banks in a three on the buzzer for the win...As I mentioned at the start I don't want to over analyse what one shot could potentially mean, but that shot (and his overall game) will no doubt give him a serious confidence boost and it will also give his team mates a boost knowing the former MVP is getting a little closer to his old self every time he steps on the court.

Injuries are a part of professional sport, but there aren't many people in any sport who have had to deal with as many major injuries and setbacks in such a short period of time as Rose has...Im rooting for him to get back to that MVP level and from a fan perspective there aren't to many players that are as fun to watch as a healthy D-Rose.

Hopefully we will be seeing plays like this again soon...

Thanks for reading...I best head off to Mums before she gets mad at me for ignoring her on mothers day haha


Thursday, 7 May 2015

NBA Playoffs - The Clippers

Im starting to become a huge fan of these Clippers! They aren't a surprise team, since we all know that they are pretty good but they have definitely come of age in these playoffs.

With the history of success the Lakers have and all the great players that have put on the purple and gold, the Clippers have just had to accept being second rate citizens in LA...Even though in recent times the Clippers have been a good team, better than the Lakers in fact, they just haven't been able to shake that "They are still the Clippers" tag...Some may think this is fair, others may not, but fact remains CP3 and Blake Griffin have been labelled playoff chokers and guys who despite amazing ability haven't shown they can carry a team when it matters.

Well that has changed....

The first round series between the Clippers and Spurs was by FAR the most entertaining. It went seven games and the Clippers obviously came out on top...But that victory meant so much more to that franchise than just a tick in the win column. They have been labelled by many people as a highly entertaining and athletic team (Lob City) but when it come to big games they didn't have the mental toughness to match up with good battle tested teams over the course a seven game series...But, in my opinion, that game seven win squashed all of that. Against the Spurs they lost game two at home and then proceeded to get smacked by almost 30 points in game three, this is the point where many experts believed the Clippers were done, but they won game four in San Antonio and got home advantage back...then went ahead and gave it right back by loosing game five at home. Down 3-2 with a must win game six on the road aka the type of game playoff tested San Antonio doesn't loose very often. They got the W and proceeded to close the series in dramatic fashion in a game seven that featured over 25 lead changes!!! On top of that the Spurs have been the playoff 'Kryptonite' for several teams over the years and was no doubt a huge mental barrier they managed to conquer.

I think Blake Griffin has been the best player in the playoffs so far! He has transformed his game from being a dunker to a highly skilled multi-dimensional player...he is arguably the best passing big man in the NBA and has developed a relatively consistent jumper from mid range. He has had a double double in every game so far, with a few triple doubles mixed in between.

You can see the difference in them so far in the series against the Rockets in game two. With Chris Paul not playing due to injury they won game one in Houston and at the time of writing are just behind the Rockets by four points early in the fourth (without CP3 again). Regardless of the result of game two I'm picking them to win in six, they have taken home court advantage off the Rockets and with CP3 coming back I think they will be too good...Im not going to do a Rasheed Wallace and guarantee anything but it would not surprise me one bit if they won the west and make it to the finals. 

This team is for real! They have the best PG in the game, the best defensive centre in the game and Blake Griffin on top of some excellent role players...depth off the bench is one of their downsides, with Jamal Crawford being the only consistent contributor. They are maybe one piece away from being a year in year out championship contender, but with the Spurs gone and the form they are currently in against the Rockets it would not surprise me at all if they made it out of the west.

They may not have the history the Lakers have...But at this moment they are definitely the Kings of LA


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Injury Update - Volume 2

Its been six weeks since surgery and this morning had my two weekly check up with the surgeon! It went very well. Just like last time I'm right on track, I've had no setbacks and am well on the road to recovering fully...Its nice going to see a surgeon or doctor and actually have them say something good haha

I still have to wear the stupid moon boot but I can walk around completely fine in it and if I continue the way I have been so far will be able to ditch it for normal shoes next time I see him. That may not seem like a huge deal but I've spent a long time in a cast/boot so I'm excited to finally get rid of it, plus little milestones like that are good for the psyche!! 

Now that its a little bit stronger and a bit more stable Mark, our team physio, is able to do a little bit more hands on work with the toe to really loosen it up a bit and gain as much mobility as possible. Its only been six weeks so can't go to crazy right away but im very happy that i can actually start doing some things directly on it...Plus I can start getting back in the gym and doing some stuff in there, ill be quite limited in what I can do in there but its definitely better than the couch potato act I've been pulling for the last few weeks! (on doctors orders lol)


Ive got a long way to go but id just like to thank everyone for the messages, tweets and other social media-ing (thats probably not a word) wishing me well, its been really appreciated :) I've said its all going to plan and I can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel.


Sunday, 3 May 2015

Spurs V Clippers - GAME 7

What a day! Its easy to get wrapped up in the Mayweather vs Pacquiao fight, I'm not a huge boxing fan but its managed to draw me in and I cant wait for it! Butttt lets not forget an epic game seven between the Spurs and Clippers is also going down today...

It has been the best series in the playoffs so far! There have been four road wins, including the last three in a row. Its virtually impossible to confidently predict who will win this game! The Spurs have won two games at the staples centre in the series...But that hasn't seemed to have fazed the Clippers to much, every time it seems like the Spurs are in control and have them backed into a corner they respond in a big way, like winning game four on the road after getting smacked in game three by 27 points and winning game six on the road after losing game five at home.

Heres a look at the series so far

Game 1 - Clippers 107-92
Game 2 - Spurs 111-107
Game 3 - Spurs 100-73
Game 4 - Clippers 114-105
Game 5 - Spurs 111-107
Game 6 - Clippers 102-96
Game 7 - ?

As you can see there have been several close, down to the last minute games mixed in with a few comfortable double figure wins and one blow out! 

As I mentioned its a tough one to pick. But if I had to choose id give a slight edge to Spurs! I think their big game and championship experience will be to much for the Clippers...CP3 and Blake Griffin, despite being amazing players and having numerous individual accolades have never led the Clippers past the second round and if the Spurs can put a little bit of pressure on them and take that LA crowd out of the game I can see the Spurs getting a third win in Clipper land...But in saying that id love to proven wrong, imagine a second round between the Clips and Rockets!! Two high scoring, high paced highly athletic teams going at it...But the Spurs know how to win big games and I think that championship experience will just get them over the line, I guess we will know in about three hours :)

Go Pacman!




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