Posts Tagged ‘Bill Simmons’

24-Second Thoughts On Game 3

24 – Well, the Spurs didn’t waste any time throwing down the gauntlet with their entry in The Finals National Anthem Battle. I see your 12-year-old future American Idol winner (Julia Dale) Miami and raise you a dapper Sebastien De La Cruz. Let’s get it on!

23 – Props to ABC for having Tony Parker impersonator Jesse Williams in one of the pregame promos to hype the game. With the sound down a little bit and one eye on the computer and the other on the TV, what else do you learn while half-paying attention during pregame show? Dwyane Wade and Manu Ginobili might need to ride some pine during crunch time of a close game if they don’t get it together. I swear the dudes in suits (Mike Wilbon, Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose and Magic Johnson) said it. Overreact much fellas? Seriously, these cats are future Hall of Famers. They need to play better no doubt. But benching ‘em in The Finals? C’mon man!

22 – Spurs spoon-feeding the ball to Tim Duncan in the post early on here. Duncan with the dunk off the sweet feed from Parker for an 11-4 Spurs lead with 6:29 to play. I see you Pop!

21 – The Spurs hadn’t played a home game since May 21st? Crazy. Sweeping my Hang Time Grizzlies forced them into that long layoff at home. No wonder San Antonio was so fired up to see them after all this time.

20 – Jamie Foxx as the President wearing Jordans, huh? Never thought I’d see it in my lifetime. White House Down has to be on the must-see list if for no other reason than to see what kind of kicks POTUS will be rocking.

19 – Is there anyone on the Heat roster Kawhi Leonard can’t guard or get a rebound over? The Heat are doing for him what they did for the Pacers’ Paul George. Holding your own in a matchup against LeBron James can do wonders for your profile. Speaking of LeBron, he looks a little scattered here early.

18 – My man Dancing Danny Green is still feeling it. How Wade loses track of him is beyond me. Green is a ridiculous 10-for-16 and counting in his first appearance in The Finals. #Dancin’DannyGreen

17 Ray Allen giving up a 3-point look in transition for a Norris Cole corner 3 that goes bottoms. The Heat showing off some of that ball movement that they used during that 27-game win streak during the regular season.

16 – Spurs lead is up to 36-28 the moment after Game 2 hero Mario Chalmers heads to the bench with his third foul with five-plus minutes to play before halftime. Heat are going to do have to do this without ‘Rio for at least a little while.

15 – Spurs take their first double-digit lead, 40-30, of The Finals with 4:35 to play on a Leonard dunk on a break (via a great outlet pass from Duncan). Spurs are perfectly content with LeBron and Wade jacking jumpers from the perimeter.

14 – Gary Neal (knocks down a 3-pointer) meet Mike Miller (knocks down an answer 3-pointer) meet Green meet Chalmers meet … whoever the next role player from the Spurs who is ready for his turn in this series. We forget that while the stars occupy so much of our time during these things that we forget how grand a stage this is for the other guys. And since these are the teams with the deepest and most well-rounded supporting casts, we should have expected nothing less.

13 – Spurs with a crazy 6-0 run to finish the half to hold of the charging heat and head to halftime leading 50-44. Parker knocks down the first 3 from the corner and Neal finishes it off with a pull-up 3 at the buzzer. His 14 points leads the Spurs at the break.

12 – Say the Spurs win this series and keep playing the way they have, is it totally inconceivable for either Green or Leonard to be the frontrunner for Finals MVP? They’ve been the most consistently outstanding players for the Spurs to this point. I know it sounds crazy, but crazy lives here, always has. The work they are doing on both ends (specifically the defense on LeBron and the rebounding) is beyond outstanding.

11 – Miller is the only thing keeping the Heat in this game late in the third quarter. He’s 5-for-5 from deep. He’s also the Heat’s weakest link on defense. Spurs are taking advantage of him non-stop on pick-and-rolls and just shredding the middle of the Heat’s defense. Did I mention that LeBron and Wade are scoreless in the third with just 3:36 to play?

10 – These facial expressions from Heat coach Erik Spoelstra are the same ones many of his playoff colleagues have worn in trying to figure out how to deal with the Spurs. There is no easy way to solve what the Spurs do. This isn’t a part of the “process” he was expecting to deal with.

9 – NBA TV’s Steve Smith called this on the real pregame show. He tabbed Neal to have the big night and boom!

8 – Parker has an injury issue (calf) that would normally be a big deal after this game. But the way the role players have stepped up pushes this story to the background. The Spurs are going to need him to win two more games in this series, though. No way you want to finish this series without TP.

7 – The questioning of the Heat’s Big 3 will crank up again after an effort like this. No fire, no energy and no chance.

6 – Old man Duncan, Leonard and Tiago Splitter have dominated the glass tonight and that has in-turn allowed the Spurs to abuse the Heat around the rim. The Heat’s fatal flaw this season (they were dead last in the league in rebounding) could very well be their undoing in these Finals.

5 – Gregg Popovich is a master because of performances like this. The defense designed to lock down on LeBron and Wade has been masterful.

4 – This is the second straight 2-for-12 shooting start for LeBron. He’s hearing footsteps from The Finals of 2011 and another matchup against a Texas powerhouse (the Mavericks) that dared him to beat them with his jumper. That team had Shawn Marion serving as the primary defender on him. LeBron is stuck in the Matrix again this time, courtesy of young Mr. Leonard. Last time he went three straight playoff games without scoring 20 points in a game was against the Mavericks in 2011.

3 – Complete pandemonium to star the fourth. Spurs role players have officially taken this game (and perhaps the series) over. Neal, Green, Leonard wouldn’t normally constitute a “Big 3″ in practice. But they are the only “Big 3″ playing tonight. Finals record 16 made 3-pointers for the Spurs as the lead continues to balloon.

2 – What he said about #Dancin’DannyGreen …

1 – Fully expecting Neal, Green and Leonard to announce to the world that they are really mutants during the on-court interview at the end of the game.

The World Reacts To Kobe’s Injury





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The shocking news that Kobe Bryant‘s season came to an abrupt end with a probable torn left Achilles Friday night spread through the basketball world like an emotional tidal wave.

Pundits and fans, friends and foes alike, everyone is digesting the news that even if the Lakers make the playoffs, Bryant’s work this season is done. Reactions from around the basketball universe (and beyond):

The President Has League Pass!

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We knew that President Barack Obama was a serious basketball fan.

And we know that member of his cabinet, folks like U.S. Secretary of Education and Hang Time Podcast guest Arne Duncan, are serious about the game as well.

But we had no idea how deep the love for the NBA game was until reading the transcript of the BS Report (from Grantland.com’s Bill Simmons) with POTUS where he revealed a little more than usual about his NBA viewing habits:

BS: It’s funny, because I always pictured you in bed pretending you were working but watching League Pass on your iPad — [laughter] — watching some West Coast game — [the] Sacramento Kings or something.

Obama: I do have League Pass on my iPad.

BS: You do?

Obama: Of course.

BS: Do you pay for it yourself or do you charge it to the White House?

Obama: No, I’ve got to pay for it myself. [Laughter.]

There are no partisan politics in basketball. You either love the game or you don’t! It’s good to know that the leader of the free world has true love for the game.

He also knows the game, inside and out. If you don’t believe it, check out the transcript!

Labor Talks: Circling The Wagons?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – While we admire the solidarity message the players’ union has delivered repeatedly throughout the NBA lockout, it’s tough to read exactly how that message has been received.

While the majority of the rank-and-file players have been saying (and tweeting) all the right things about their unified state, cracks in the union’s foundation have emerged (as Jerry Stackhouse displayed passionately). The voices of discontent over this latest standoff are getting louder and louder. And there is a growing sentiment that we could see some sort of significant movement in mood after the union brass and executive committee members gather for a “strategy session” today in New York.

Are they circling the wagons with this pow-wow and gearing up to take another stand against the owners? Or is this the beginning of the end of the “stand united” campaign and the union’s solidarity movement?

Union executive director Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher will find out sometime later today or perhaps this weekend, when the Boston Herald reports that negotiations are set to resume.

(more…)

Labor Talks: Step Back And Listen

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If we are indeed on the verge of yet more of the NBA regular season being chopped down by the stalled lockout negotiations, perhaps it’s time for the sides involved to take a breath.

Maybe we all need to take a step back and listen to what both the owners and players are trying to say about their positions. We tried our best Monday to provide the proper forum for you, the fans of the game, to speak your mind about where you stand. And we’ve heard in detail exactly where the league stands in regards to this latest impasse.

Listening to union executive director Billy Hunter on The B.S. Report with Bill Simmons of Grantland.com provided a drama- free opportunity to hear Hunter’s argument and try to grasp how we got here and where we might be headed. (You need to carve out an hour to listen. It’s an absolute must-listen, especially the part when Hunter reveals that he and NBA Commissioner David Stern are fraternity brothers.)

The finger-pointing that marked last week’s breakdown in talks was pleasantly absent from this conversation, which made it much easier to wrap your head around exactly why the players feel the way they do toward the owners, who have come under considerable fire themselves since last week.

And for those of you who enjoy a tidy list, our friends at the Los Angeles Times have compiled an easy-to-read roster of exactly where all 30 owners stand on the lockout.

ALLEN UNDER FIRE

Portland owner Paul Allen has been the most talked about member of the owner’s side since last week, both in Portland and beyond. Whatever his role was in last week’s breakdown of talks, he’s being fingered as the man whose presence led to a severe crack in the process.

(more…)

Justin Bieber nabs All-Star berth

We all know what the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game was missing in recent years. Not enough high-pitched, teenage-girl shrieks and shrills.

Problem solved.

Justin Bieber is bringing his hoops talents to Los Angeles and the BBVA NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. ESPN is televising the gathering of entertainers and athletes on Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. ET.

In addition to the Grammy-nominated pop-singing sensation, this year’s celebrity games also features NBA legends such as Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippen, Bill Walton, Chris Mullin and AC Green. On the Hollywood side, look for Jimmy Kimmel, Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”), Rob Kardashian, Zach Levi (“Chuck”), Jason Alexander and Common. ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons also nabbed a roster spot. Complete teams, which will also feature current WNBA players, will be announced later.

Welcome Back Carter!

Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – No more sleeping on Vince Carter.

Not here at the hideout.

And certainly not after watching him work in the second half against the Hawks Thursday night.

Carter had just four points at halftime as the Magic trailed by eight points. He blew up for 20 after the break, helping the Magic take control of the game and ultimately the series after their first half scare.

Carter finished his night with 24 points and seven rebounds, fantastic numbers on a night when the Magic needed every one of them.

But his true impact on this game cannot be understated. Carter helped the Magic nail down this win with his play as much as he did with his new attitude. Check out his words after the game:

“We’re a team on a mission,” Carter says. “We’re trying to accomplish a goal, and every night we step on the floor we’re looking to reach that goal.”

Huh?

Is this the same Vince Carter that used to take a beating for not talking like this?

Even the locals, notoriously skeptical of the home team, seem to be coming around to the idea of defending Eastern Conference champions retaining their title, and maybe even adding another.

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: This is probably going to get me kicked out of the National Consortium of LeBron-Worshipping Media Members.

ESPN’s Bill Simmons will no doubt tell his army of Twitter followers what a backwoods buffoon I am.

David Stern may even try to fine me $35,000 for “Columnizing unbecoming of the NBA’s best interests.”

So be it.

It has to be said:

The Orlando Magic, after Thursday night’s 112-98 blowout of the Atlanta Hawks, are now the team to beat for the remainder of the NBA playoffs.

You heard me.

Not Kobe and the Lakers.

Not LeBron and the Cavs.

Not the latest flavor du jour out west – the Phoenix Suns.

But the Orlando Magic.

I realize there is still six weeks of playoff basketball remaining in NBA’s never-ending postseason, but right now – at this very moment – the Magic should be favored to win the championship.

Why are they the team to beat, you ask? Well, let’s start with this: Because nobody’s beaten them. Because they are the only unbeaten team left in the playoffs.

The Lakers struggled against Oklahoma City in the first round. The Cavs have already lost homecourt advantage against the Celtics in the second round. Two other flavor du jours out west – the Mavs and the Nuggets – have already been iced out of the playoffs.

The Magic? All they’ve done is win … and win … and win some more. In fact, they haven’t lost a game in more than month. They’ve won 12 straight dating back to a regular-season loss at San Antonio on April 2.

The Magic have washed over their opponents like a Louisiana oil spill. They’ve suffocated their opponents like an Icelandic volcano cloud. They’ve made their opponents look more perplexed than a Greek stockbroker.

They swept the Charlotte Bobcats 4-0 even when their best player – Dwight Howard – spent more time on the bench than traffic court judge. They followed that up by annihilating the Hawks by 43 points in Game 1 of their second-round series.

Then came Thursday night when the Hawks gave Orlando everything they had, but everything they had wasn’t even good enough to keep them within single digits.

Everything they had wasn’t enough because Vince Carter scored 20 points in the second half and showed he is still Vince Carter.

Sure it was!

It’s all about Vince right now.

Welcome back Carter.

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