Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Nothing For The Nets

Now that the playoffs are over, expect more bloggy goodness from yours truly. Here's my latest on the Nets of New Jersey. Before I go on, plugs:

Stephen's blog - he'll post the url somewhere on here.
Pat's blog - thedriveforfive.com
Radio shows - Tri-State Hockey Report 12-1 Tuesdays, Lucky's lunchbox 12-2.

Here’s my question for Nets President Rod Thorn. Your team is sitting ninth in the Eastern Conference, possibly the worst collection of teams ever in the history of professional basketball. You have two superstar players who could be valuable trading chips to a team that could possibly win a championship and yet, you decide to sit pat and do nothing at the trade deadline. Just what were you thinking?

Your team is never going to win an NBA championship as long as it’s constructed in its present state. Jason Kidd’s best days are well past him, Vince Carter looked as if he played the first half of the season with one foot out of the swamps of New Jersey and you’ve been hit by devastating injuries. You’ve lost your promising young center Nenad Kristic, who liked he was going to have a breakout year, along with your best perimeter defender and second scoring option in Richard Jefferson for a significant portion of the season. Even if they stayed healthy, there was no chance for you to win a championship. So why you, Mr. Thorn, didn’t see the writing on the wall and make a move?

It’s one thing if you traded Kidd and didn’t have someone to replace him. But you already have a ready made point guard looking to lead the Nets to Brooklyn in 2009 – Marcus Williams. Sure, Williams is a rookie and is bound to make mistakes as he takes over the point guard duties from Kidd. The rookie out of UConn is averaging 7.9 points per game and 3.1 assists in 17.6 minutes. Not too shabby. Besides, Kidd is 34-years-old, has a bad knee and is bound to only get worst at this point of his career and whose owed $60 million over the next couple of years. He’s had an outstanding year and his trade value couldn’t have possibly been higher than at the trading deadline. Not to mention those articles in the papers saying that he was a cheat on his wife that’s probably not good press for your organization. You’re telling me you wouldn’t have taken picks and cap relief for Kidd, knowing that at the very least, you have a security net in Williams?

But I guess I can understand your thinking, Mr. Thorn. J-Kidd is the face of the Nets and sole reason why you guys have been successful the past few days. Vince Carter, however is another story. Carter is also going through personal problems himself (going through a divorce) and at times, has gone missing during games, settling for jump shots instead of driving to the basket. His numbers are still great, averaging 25.4 points per game. However, Carter’s got the option to opt out his contract and sign anywhere. The last time I checked, Jersey wasn’t exactly a happening place for free agents. It was rumored in the papers that the Knicks were making a push for Carter, offering Channing Frye, Jamal Crawford and others for Carter. Are you serious? In case you hadn’t notice, your team is in dire need of any type of interior scoring. Frye, who is expendable for the Knicks because of the emergence of David Lee, would fit in nicely would with the young core of Nets you, Mr. Thorn, have assembled. A lineup in 2007-08 of Williams, Crawford, Jefferson, Frye and Kristic is pretty good in my book.

We basketball fans will have to give up the benefit of the doubt. You did draft Michael Jordan after all and this team can, unbelievably, still make the playoffs. However, you had a chance to remake your team for the better and that window of opportunity has elapsed.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

CUNYAC Women's Final....

Sorry for the long layoff. Here's good ole Erick Blasco picking up the slack:

Lightning strikes Baruch as Lehman College wins CUNY Championship

Young Jeezy’s “Go Getta” blared throughout the Nat Holman Gymnasium after the Women’s CUNYAC Final Friday, night. It was the appropriate song to cap off Lehman College’s incredible evening. Down by 11 points late in the 2nd half, they went out and got themselves a championship, beating Baruch College 52-51.
Even without Preseason All-American Chiresse Paradise who was injured in their quarterfinal matchup with City Tech, The Baruch Bearcats had a dominant team full of speed and athleticism. Baruch had won 31 straight CUNYAC Conference games, were the defending CUNYAC Champions, and had the honor of being the first CUNYAC women’s basketball team to win a game in the Division 3 NCAA tournament, when they upset Mount St. Mary last year 66-64.
The number 1 seeded, and more talented Baruch Bearcats looked poised to blow past the 3 seeded Lehman Lightning early on in the game. They led 32-21 with 2:11 left to go in the half, using their superior athleticism and depth to attack Lehman in waves. Three different Baruch players scored at least 7 points in the half with Dominique McClendon (8 PTS 3-5 FG) using a variety of spin moves to attack the basket, Ally Stamatiades ( 9 PTS 3-6 FG 2-2 3FG) filling the basket with a lethal outside jump shot, and Racquel Reid (7 PTS 3-8 FG 1-3 3FG) knocking down shots from inside and outside.
To make matters worse for Lehman, Their star player, CUNYAC player of the year, Sally Nnamani, was held in check by Stamatiades’s perfect technique defense, not allowing Nnamani to drive to the basket, and forcing her to take long, contested, jumpers. A 5-0 Lehman run to close out the half, fueled by a Nnamani 3, and capped by a Tiara Carroll short jumper in the lane allowed Lehman to stay close at the half with a 32-26 deficit.
The second half started out much the same way the first half went: With Baruch scoring points at will. Racquel Reid scored 5 points within the first 2 minutes of the half, and Jody Trapp knocked down a 3 to give the Bearcats a 42-31 lead with 17 minutes left to go in the game. After a brief Lehman spurt, the lead ballooned back up to 11 with Myleka Garnett hitting two free throws, and Stamatiades driving to the basket from the right wing for a layup with 12:33 left in the game.
Unfortunately for Baruch, Stamatiades sprained her ankle landing on her layup. The Bearcats would never record a field goal the rest of the game.
After Jody Trapp hit a pair of free throws Baruch’s next possession, the Bearcats went through a 6 minute stretch of 7 turnovers---many unforced---a blocked 3, and no other shots attempted.
While Baruch was folding, Lehman was beginning to play inspired basketball. Kathy Santiago hit a runner in the lane, Sally Nnamani deflected an errant pass to herself for an uncontested fast break, Kim Kelly was left under the basket for a layup off the Baruch full-court press, and Santiago was able to make a pass to a cutting Monique Sampson for an easy layup.
After two more Baruch free throws, Sally Nnamani made a “player of the year” type play, starting on the right baseline, dribbling hard to the middle, spinning away from the basket, and unleashing a behind the back, over the head pass into the arms of Monique Sampson for an easy layup, cutting the lead to 51-48.
A Kathy Santiago steal and layup, cut the lead to one on the next possession, and a Santiago layup the possession after gave Lehman an improbable 1 point lead with 4:36 to go.
Meanwhile, Baruch was still in the midst of a miserable collapse. Stamatiades returned to miss an open layup, and make two passes stolen by Lehman down the stretch. Racquel Reid missed an uncontested 3, and Naesha Tyler-Moore dribbled the basketball right into Kim Kelly’s outstretched arms with a minute to go. Baruch’s defense was steadfast, not allowing any Lehman points after Santiago’s layup. After a Nnamani miss, the Bearcats had one final shot at surviving the game, and winning the championship.
Unfortunately, even Baruch’s coaching staff choked with the game in the balance. Off a timeout, Baruch’s coach Machli Joseph surprisingly decided to have his 5-2 point guard Jody Trapp race the length of the floor while guarded by the 5-11, and ultra athletic Nnamani. Trapp never got a good look at the basket, and her last second shot attempt was swatted away by Sampson.
After the final buzzer sounded, the ecstatic Lehman Lightning stormed the court and embraced on the floor, realizing that they had come back from 11 points down to win the CUNYAC Championship, and advance to the Division 3 NCAA tournament.
Despite scoring only 10 points, Monique Sampson was named MVP of the game, and of the entire tournament. She added 9 rebounds and the very key game-clinching block. The Player of the Year, Sally Nnamani was shut down to the tune of 8 points on 3-18 shooting, including 1-10 on 3’s, but she did record 4 blocked shots in the 1st half, keeping the game close. Kathy Santiago scored 10 points, recorded 4 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals. Tiara Carroll led Lehman in scoring with 14, and also had 2 blocks. She joined Sampson on the All CUNYAC Tournament Team.
As for the Bearcats, their collapse likely ends their season. With a 22-9 record in a weak conference, they will likely be sitting on their couches when the NCAA tournament starts March 1st. The Bearcats committed an unsightly 17 turnovers in the 2nd half, and were held without a field goal for the final 12:33. Being that Baruch had gone undefeated in CUNYAC play the last two years, reeling off 31 straight conference wins in that span, their implosion is as stunning as it is epic. Baruch was heavily favored, and many believed was dangerous heading into the tournament. They were led by Racquel Reid, and Dominique McClendon, both named to the All Tournament Team. Reid finished with 12 points, McClendon with 10. Stamatiades scored 11, but only had the bucket in which she injured her ankle in the 2nd half. Baruch committed 25 turnovers, compared to Lehman’s 14.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Exit Sandman? A Yankee Nightmare

I wrote an article about the great Mariano Rivera that hopefully will be in the Kingsman next week, just a what if.

Then I read this today:

" Could players be saying the same thing about the Yankees closer one year from now? Rivera's commitment to the team expires after 2007, and while he said he would love to retire in New York, he realizes that scenario is not yet certain." - credit Yankees.com and my former editor at InsidePitch Magazine, Bryan Hoch.

I'll have more insight on spring training later. Listen to tonite's game on BrooklynCollegeRadio.org as the Bridges take on Albertus Magnus as a tune up for the playoffs.

Unreal. Could you imagine the Yankees without Mo? It's virtually impossible. Anyway, here's for some good reading, my article.

Many ask the question who could possibly replace Joe Torre after his tenure as manager of the Yankees. The hardest person to replace from the recent Yankees dynasty isn’t Bernie Williams, or Jorge Posada or even Derek Jeter. It is Rivera, the man who has killed the hope of opposing teams in the chaos of the ninth inning, before even throwing one pitch. His calm, stoic demeanor and the sight of him on the mound means only thing for the opposing team: game over.

Along with death and taxes, Rivera remains a constant in life. The 6’2, 180 pound slender right hander has racked up 413 saves and has been the epitome of consistency since his major league debut in 1995. His numbers last year were outstanding as usual – 5-5 with a 1.80 ERA, with 34 saves and an inhuman 0.90 walks and hits per inning. For the second consecutive year, was named DHL Delivery Man of the Year by the fans in October. October also happens to be the month that Rivera transforms from a great pitcher into an all-time legend. He’s 8-1 with 34 saves in the postseason and an unholy 0.80 ERA.

But as the Yankees enter spring training, the ever looming doubt of life after Mariano is a question that is whispered by the Yankee front office and the fans. The Yanks experienced this last season, with Rivera missing a ton of games down the stretch with tendonitis in his pitching forearm. Rivera is no spring chicken, 37-years-old with many miles on the valuable right arm of his. The thought of Kyle Farnsworth closing important games for the Yankees has to send a shiver down the collective spines of Torre and the rest of the Yankees. To be frank, there’s no one who can possibly replicate Rivera’s success and the unfortunate pitcher that must fill those large shoes of the Panamanian will always be unfairly compared to him.

Should Rivera go down this year, Farnsworth would be first in line to replace him. His stints as a closer has been mixed in the past and his stats for last season left much to be desired – 3-6 with a 4.35 ERA. Farnsworth inability to pitch on back to back also strained the bullpen more than it needed to be. Scott Proctor also had varying success when called on to close, although admittedly, instills more confidence in a fan than Farnsworth. Brian Bruney has closed in the past for the Diamondbacks and would also be a candidate in the future.

Long term solutions all look to be slim and mostly outside of the organization. Francisco Rodriguez, the fire balling closer for the Angels, would be an ideal fit to replace Rivera. K-Rod has the postseason experience and the chops for the big stage of New York. Outside of him, there aren’t many pitchers that can match the class of Rivera.

Of course, unless the Yankees cloned Rivera, there will not be another like him. The fact remains however, that the clock is ticking on Rivera and his time to leave the Yankees will have to replace him. It’s a cold reality that most Yankee fans don’t want to wake up too.

Monday, February 12, 2007

More B-Ball with Coach Blasco

Here's BC basketball version of John Madden breaking down the Spurs and Heat. That's meant to be a complement Erick.

San Antonio came into Sunday’s Game at Miami as the 3 seed out West. Miami entered clinging to the 8 seed in the East. San Antonio believes they can knock off Phoenix and Dallas and return to the NBA Finals to win a championship. Miami believes now that Shaq and D-Wade are healthy, they can vault up the standings in the Eastern Conference and make a return trip to Finals land. So which of these beliefs’ can resonate true, and which is simply a fairytale? Well, after watching Miami’s convincing 100-85 victory over San Antonio, you’d be a little confused believing which team was the 3, and which was the 8.

When Miami had the ball: On the very first play of the game, Shaq went right at Duncan with a right hook that was able to drop in. That play set the tone early that Miami wasn’t afraid to play a physical game with San Antonio. San Antonio was afraid to double team Shaq with all the 3-pt firepower on the Heat roster (Kapono, Walker, Posey), so Shaq (7-11 FG, 7 REB, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 16 PTS) was able to have his way in the post whether guarded by Tim Duncan, Fabricio Oberto, or Francisco Elson. Whenever the offense stalled over the first three quarters, Shaq was able to get a pass down low in good position, or collect an offensive rebound for more scoring chances.

San Antonio did a great job limiting Wade early in the game. Bruce Bowen was determined not to let Wade get to the hoop, and Wade was determined to get all his teammates involved in the offense. Wade didn’t hit his first FG until very late in the first half.

Wade’s lack of punch in the first half didn’t doom Miami though. Wade racked up 7 assists for the game, and allowed the rest of the Heat to contribute on offense. Udonis Haslem (5-10 FG 8 REB 10 PTS) hit 4 of his first 5 jumpers, all in the first quarter.

Jason Kapono (4-8 FG 1-2 3-FG 11 REB 13 PTS) forced a few shots, but hit his open jumpers, and also made a nice play dribbling past Manu Ginobli into the paint, then hitting a fall away jumper over Robert Horry. More impressively was the fact that Kapono was much more aggressive attacking the glass than Bruce Bowen, Manu Ginobli, or Brent Barry. In fact, Miami gathered in 46 total rebounds (a championship number) compared to San Antonio’s 31 ( a lottery number).

Gary Payton (3-6 FG 0-1 3FG 1 REB 1 AST 2 TO) got into the lane a few times against Tony Parker’s non-existent defense during a 17-1 first quarter Heat run.. For the most part though, Payton was slow on offense, and made a few bad passes, including a drive and kick to nobody midway through the first half.

The stars for the game for Miami, though, were Alonzo Mourning, Antoine Walker, James Posey, and the recently acquired Eddie Jones. Together with Gary Payton in the first half, they put together a 17-1 run. Together with Dwayne Wade in the 4th, they blew the game out of San Antonio’s reach. Eddie Jones played 10 years younger than his age, hitting All 4 of his shots, both his 3’s, and all 4 of his free throws. Antoine Walker didn’t force a single perimeter shot, and on one 4th quarter possession, drove to the hoop so hard, Robert Horry could only helplessly fall to the floor. Walker went 4-8 from the floor, 2-5 from behind the arc, and gathered in 4 rebounds.

And though Wade was limited to one bucket in the 1st half, he exploded in the 4th, blowing past Bowen to the rim, stepping back hitting perimeter jumpers, spinning into the middle of the floor and hitting his patented mid-range jump shot. Wade was remarkable in the clutch, going 7-10 from the field for 18 points. Wade has clearly emerged as the best player in the game in crunch time situations as he has time and again been able to put the Heat on his back and carry them to victory, as he did on Sunday afternoon.

When San Antonio had the ball: On San Antonio’s first possession, Tim Duncan went hard at Udonis Haslem for a bucket and a foul. Unfortunately for the Spurs, that was one of the few times Duncan was aggressive in the game. Whether it was Shaq’s bulk, Haslem’s technique, Mourning’s athleticism, or even Antoine Walker’s quick hands, Timmy D wasn’t able to get into any offensive rhythm at all. Whenever Duncan was aggressive and earned himself free throw attempts, he didn’t help his cause at all, missing 6 of 11 freebies. Overall Duncan tallied 4-10 shooting, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, and numerous crisp passes that led to open shots.

While Duncan was unable to get going, San Antonio benefited from having Manu Ginobli step up off the bench (10-16 FG 4-8 3FG 3 REB 1 AST 1 STL 1 BLK 26 PTS) with 17 points in the first half, and Tony Parker (8-19 FG 2 REB 5 AST 2 TO 1 STL 20 PTS) step up with 12 points in the second half. When guarded by Gary Payton, Parker and Ginobli were able to drive by Payton’s ancient legs off the dribble, or lose Payton on whatever screens or curls were called for them. Even I was getting dizzy watching Ginobli repeatedly spin left in the lane and make difficult shots look effortless.

Despite Ginobli and Parker’s valiant efforts, nobody else on San Antonio was able to provide a spark on offense. Bruce Bowen (0-5 FG 3 REB 1 AST O PTS) was scared to take any open shot he encountered.

Michael Finley (2-9 FG 1-7 3FG) wasn’t hesitant…he just couldn’t drop the ball in the basket.

Brent Barry (4-7 FG 3-6 3FG) was the only role player who found a shooting groove, but he also turned the ball over 4 times, including 2 careless traveling calls (this guy used to be a point guard back in the day?), and played no defense except breaking up a lazy entry pass. What Barry gives in his shooting, he takes away in every other aspect of his game.

Robert Horry also provided little on offense. 0 points, and 2 missed 3’s.

Francisco Elson (2-2 FG 4 REB 4 PTS) was active on defense and around the basket, outquicking Shaq to a few rebounds and layups.

Fabricio Oberto (2-4 FG 6 REB 2 AST 3 TO 1 STL 4 PTS) showed incredible energy gathering in rebounds, including 3 on the offensive end, and scoring spinning layups down low. If he had cut down on the turnovers, I might have joined Bill Walton in calling him “Fabulous Fabricio!”

Jacque Vaughn missed an open jumper but was able to drive by Payton for a layup and foul in his limited playing time.

Late in the game for San Antonio, when Wade was in the game and Payton was out, San Antonio went over 6 minutes without a field goal. Wade shut down Parker, while Jones and Posey locked down Ginobli and Finley. The defensive stat line for Jones, Walker, Posey, and Mourning reads this: 15 REB 3 STL 2 BLK. It doesn’t tell you the numerous proper defensive rotations, textbook closeouts, and hands up on defense. Dwayne Wade even imitated Bill Russell swatting away back to back layups by Tony Parker down the stretch in the 4th. The defensive unit for Miami, combined with Wade’s incredible 4th quarter display is the reason why Miami won the game, and should be playing when the calendar hits June.

With Wade becoming more and more unguardable in the clutch, and Shaq starting to round into shape, Miami will be the team nobody wants to play in the postseason. With Jason Kapono’s outside shooting, Udonis Haslem’s rebounding, James Posey’s defense and outside shooting , Antoine Walker’s versatility (so long as he’s not chucking up 3’s), Alonzo Mourning’s defense in the post, and Eddie Jones providing hunger, intensity, and a silky smooth game on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor (what a shrewd pickup for the Heat!), then Miami will join the front runners out West as elite teams. If they had a dependable backup point guard to Jason Williams, they might even be the favorite. As it stands, they are the class of the East, and should return to the finals to defend their crown.

As for San Antonio, they are alarmingly soft compared to past Spurs teams. The Spurs may be able to out finesse Phoenix, but they wont knock off Utah, Dallas, or even possibly Houston until Tim Duncan starts taking over games as he has in the past. And unless Robert Horry, Bruce Bowen, and Michael Finley find the same fountain of youth that Eddie Jones has, this will be another disappointing year by the Rio Grande. As it is, the Spurs are a proven, veteran team, and veteran teams usually peak come playoff time. Expect the Spurs to be standing tall come the Western Conference Finals, before the best team in Texas knocks them out.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Lucky's Last Call

Three and a half years sure do fly. This is, (Brooklyn College willing) my final season covering Brooklyn College basketball and I can honestly say that it’s an experience that I’ll never forget.

I didn’t know what to expect walking into the Kingsman, except that I was this sports nerd looking for a forum to write about the Yankees. What I learned is that the beat reporting and covering a team for the paper is a much more valuable experience than writing any sports column. I was able spend one day in the newspaper office cutting out all the clips I’ve done and it was a nostalgic experience. There it all was, my hard work, my passion, in written word for anyone to read. Some articles were good, some were not so good, but all had my name to it. The sports section when I started was just two pages with just me and Scott Gallop writing. Now, in my humble opinion, it’s the best collegiate sports section in New York and it feels good to know that I had a hand in that.

Everything came into perspective during the doubleheader against Medgar Evers. It was appropriately Senior Day, a celebration of all the accomplishments of the senior basketball players. I was able to cover the women’s basketball game for the radio station, an exciting affair that came down to the wire. I switched to my newspaper duties for the men’s game and in typical BC fashion they made one hell of a charge in the second half to the adulation of an amazing crowd, fittingly, the best crowd ever at Brooklyn College in terms of intensity and emotion. After the game, did my post game interviews with the coaches and the players, with plenty of sentiment in those interviews. It didn’t really hit me that I may never be doing that again until now.

So while I’ll still be writing, a chapter of my life is closing. I’d like to thank everyone at the Kingsman, too numerous to name in such a small space, along with the coaches and the players of Brooklyn College, most notably coaches Alex Lang and Steve Podias. I’m sure there were times I wasn’t exactly number one on the Christmas list for the folks in the athletic office, but thanks to them as well, Athletic Director Bruce Filosa and company.

It is a bit of a kick to read “Lucky Ngamwajasat” in print. It’s also funny to think about all those people who’ve read my name and probably have mispronounced it or simply cannot believe my first name is Lucky. But more importantly, it’s much more of a good feeling to know people actually read your stuff. Thanks to all the readers out there.

To quote that oh-so-wonderful one hit wonder from the 90’s “Closing Time” by Semisonic “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

Thursday, February 8, 2007


Here's Erick's breakdown on the Pistons-Cavs game from Sunday

Both Cleveland and Detroit view themselves as worthy challengers for the Eastern Conference crown. After identifying each team’s needs and weaknesses, I’ve determined the one key player on each squad vital to fulfilling their team’s ultimate aspirations.

For the Cavs, their mismatched roster is too Lebron-centric for them to overcome more than the weakest patsies the Eastern Conference has to offer. Only if a second player steps his game up to compliment LeBron can the Cavs entertain the faintest visions of postseason glory. That player is the underwhelming Larry Hughes.

Detroit has just the opposite problem. Their team is balanced and proven. But only if a superstar catalyst is added to the Pistons engines can Detroit fire on cylinders.

Sunday’s Pistons-Cavs game was a great barometer for fans to watch just how close each was to playing championship basketball. Lets see just what Rasheed Wallace and Larry Hughes did, and how their play affected their teams in Detroit’s 90-78 victory.

Rasheed Wallace: 37 6-15 1-3 2-2 13 1 0 1 1 15
Larry Hughes: 38 7-13 0-1 0-0 2 3 1 0 0 14

Rasheed Wallace:

1st half:


· Missed a short jump shot over Drew Gooden early in the 1st half.
· Got out of position defending Gooden, allowing Gooden to cut to the basket and record an easy layup.
· Passively attempted to rebound a missed shot, allowing Drew Gooden to grab an easy rebound.
· Was passive defending a LeBron/Ilgauskas pick-and-roll, allowing LeBron to blow past him for a layup. Rasheed also fouled LeBron on the play but the subsequent free throw was missed.
· Late in the first, Sheed lost Donyell Marshall in transition allowing an uncontested 3-point field goal.
· In the second quarter, Rasheed didn’t hustle for a loose ball allowing LeBron to gather in an offensive rebound.
· Was constantly out-hustled by Drew Gooden.
· Only wallowed outside the 3-point line in the 2nd quarter.
· Recorded his first rebound at the 4:07 mark in the 2nd quarter (meaning Detroit’s starting center went almost 20 minutes without a rebound. A terrible number).
· Recorded only 1 rebound, and one tip out which resulted in a rebound for Detroit. Another pathetic statistic).

Neutral Plays:

· On one possession, Drew Gooden beat him off the dribble but Rasheed showed quick hands to poke the ball away.
· While Rasheed rested early in the second quarter, Detroit had no way to stop Sasha Pavlovic from having his way on drives to the basket.


· Used his long arms to contest a Daniel Gibson 3-ball resulting in a miss.
· Set a solid screen allowing Tayshaun Prince an open jumper.
· Generally set solid screens on offense.
· Aggressively tipped out an offensive rebound over Zydrunas Ilgauskus.
· Ended up being defended by Daniel Gibson in the post. Rasheed waited for the double and made the correct pass to an open teammate, but the jumper was missed.
· Played outstanding help defense when LeBron James tried to find a path to the basket. In fact, Sheed’s help defense was instrumental in holding LeBron to 9-22 shooting for the game.
· Forced a steal when Drew Gooden tried to take him off the dribble.
· When guarded by Donyell Marshall on two possessions, Wallace dominated Marshall in the post for two layup attempts. One was good, the other missed, but the collapsing Defense was out of position for Chris Webber to tip in the miss.
· Forced LeBron James to attempt a difficult shot moving away from the basket on a drive (though LeBron mage the shot).
· Knocked down a wide open 3.
· Moved the ball on a pick-and-roll, finding a wide-open Carlos Delfino in the corner, but Delfino traveled trying to drive past a closing Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

Rasheed started off the game very sluggishly, especially on defense, and on the glass. Maybe he thought the game started at 3:30 instead of 2:30. His lackadaisical start made things easier for Cleveland to shoot 50% from the field. What Rasheed did show was a penchant for playing outstanding help defense on LeBron James. He also played solid individual defense on Drew Gooden in the 2nd quarter. Also, too many times Sheed hung around the perimeter uninvolved in the offense. Only when inept post defenders (Daniel Gibson and Donyell Marshall) were on Rasheed did he look completely involved in the offense.

Larry Hughes:

1st Half:


· Forced a drive and missed a jump shot late in the first half.
· Never caught the ball in motion (Blame Mike Brown for that).

Neutral Plays:

· Generally stayed out of the way on offense.
· Turned his head, allowing Rip Hamilton to cut to the basket, but Hughes’ hand just barely snuck in and deflected the entry pass, preventing a layup.
· Missed a desperation 3 to close out the first quarter
· Fought through screens on defense forcing Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups to drive to the basket, but Cleveland’s bigs couldn’t prevent Hamilton and Billups from getting shots around the basket, or dishing off assists down low to Chris Webber.


· Used a Drew Gooden screen to knock down his first perimeter jumper.
· Forced a carry by Rip Hamilton.
· Received another screen and knocked down another semi-contested jumper.
· Hit a third jumper over Chauncey Billups.
· Was able to play the point and bring up the ball when Daniel Gibson, Eric Snow, or Damon Jones sat on the bench.
· Got past Billups and hit a nice floater in the lane.
· Played adequate defense on Chauncey Billups on a couple of Billups isolations.

Hughes started off the game on fire, hitting five of his first six shot attempts. He also played surprisingly well on defense, probably because he was feeling frisky after knocking down jumpers early. In the second half though, things started to change for Wallace and Hughes. Their performances are the reasons why Detroit will challenge in the East, and Cleveland will have trouble escaping the first round.

Rasheed Wallace:

3rd Quarter:


· Didn’t box out Drew Gooden allowing an offensive rebound and two free throws by Drew Gooden.
· Missed a turnaround jumper over Drew Gooden in the post.
· Had a shot attempt poked away by Daniel Gibson.


· Had a spectacular sequence early in the third quarter, tipping up an offensive rebound over Ilgauskas, missing the tap, then leaping over Ilgauskas again for a right-handed tip-jam, while Zydrunas Ilgauskas stood land-locked in awe underneath Rasheed.
· Hit a turnaround jumper over Gooden in the post.
· Stayed at home on Drew Gooden forcing a missed jumper.
· In the span of a minute grabbed three rebounds in traffic.
· Got fouled on a jump shot attempt.

Larry Hughes:

3rd Quarter:


· Missed a wide open 3.
· Turned his head allowing a Tayshaun Prince layup attempt, which Prince botched.
· Made a careless lob pass to a wing-stationed Zydrunas Ilgauskas, which was nearly picked off.
· Forced a jump shot over Chauncey Billups, which clanged off the rim.

· Took on four Pistons defenders on a drive to the hoop for a nifty layup.
· Forced a turnover guarding Prince in the post.
· Chased down a long offensive rebound
· Drove past Billups for a nice layup.

Over the third quarter, the minuses for Rasheed Wallace turned to plusses, as he asserted himself more on the offensive glass. His defense stayed solid, and he ventured in the post a few times on offense hitting a turnaround jumper. Meanwhile, Larry Hughes started registering more entries on the negative side of the ledger, forcing shots, turning his head, and not knocking down his jumpers with the regularity he showed in the opening half.
The fourth quarter is the real indicator of why Detroit is the real beast in the East, and Cleveland is a pretender.

Rasheed Wallace:

4th Quarter:


· Missed a 3 over Pavlovic


· Dominated Drew Gooden on the glass. In the 2nd half, Rasheed notched 11 total rebounds, a very impressive number.
· Continued to provide help down low, forcing LeBron James into innumerable difficult shots.
· Forced Zydrunas Ilgauskas into an awkward right handed hook, which was way off.
· Notched a second tip-jam on an offensive rebound.
· Nailed an open jumper a step inside the arc.
· Played like a superstar, at least on the glass, and the defensive end.

Larry Hughes:

4th Quarter:


· Overdribbled on one possession, going from the right baseline to the top of the key, and then missing a forced jumper.
· Badly bricked an open 3 with 6 minutes left to go.
· Clanked a step in jumper as Detroit was pulling away.
· Failed to step up in any way, shape, or form once Detroit stepped up their defensive intensity


· Not a single one.

If the Rasheed Wallace of the 2nd half shows up for Detroit down the stretch, then Detroit will be a contender against any Eastern Conference foe. However, Rasheed’s unwillingness to play in the post, and draw fouls (only 2 attempts) means that he can’t be the dynamic offensive star Detroit needs to win a championship. As for Cleveland, Hughes is too soft of a player (mentally and physically) for the Cavs to think that he’ll be a key contributor to an elite team. If Danny Ferry wants to sniff the Finals, he’ll be wise to apply dynamite to the currently constructed Cavalier roster.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

It's been awhile...

I'm pretty freaking lazy, like this Rhino. Sorry for the loyal readers out there for not updating.

Here's a recap of the women's win over St. Joe's tonight at Roosevelt.

It would be a gross understatement to call Brooklyn College’s victory over the St. Joseph Lady Bears on Monday night “an ugly win.” To head coach Alex Lang, style points didn’t matter, as long there was another tally in the win column.

“A win is a win,” said a relieved Lang after a hard fought over 54-50 victory. “Especially when you’re 6-15.”

Brooklyn snapped a two game losing streak and won despite shooting 28 percent overall and hitting just five shots in the second half. As bad as those numbers were for the Bridges, the numbers for the Lady Bears was even worst. St. Joe’s shot 27 percent overall in the game and were 1 for 17 from three point range. Both teams struggled scoring in the early going, with only five points scored in the first seven minutes of the game.

“We really don’t make it easy on ourselves,” joked Lang. “It takes us too long to get going. We really should have been up 20-3 in this game. We were outplaying them so bad…we didn’t play our game early in the game.”

Jenny Varughese was of the few players on the floor to sink any baskets and was the go-to player on the Bridges after Jaclyn Cavalcante got into early foul trouble. The Bridges, who are going to be without leading scorer Christina McDonnell for the rest of the season relied heavily on the junior point guard. Varughese shook off her 0 for 16 performance against CSI in the Bridges previous game and scored 18 points, including four huge 3’s in the first half, keying BC to a 25-21 lead at halftime. Lang called Varughese last game an aberration.

“(Varughese) really had to step up her game to get some more points,” said Lang. “She did a good job. That’s her game. That was not the regular Jenny on Saturday.”

Her teammates joined the act later in the game as Brittany Natiello had a double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 boards along with Cavalcante, who scored all of her 11 points in the second half. Natiello and Varughese played all 40 minutes of the game, forced into extra work due to injuries on the Bridges.

“It was a team effort,” said center Rebecca Pearlman, who scored six points and had eight rebounds. “We’ve been struggling this year. I think today was a good game to boost up our confidence because we’re a good team overall.

The Bridges looked like world beaters coming out for the second half, opening up a 10 point lead on St. Joe’s and looked like they would cruise the rest of the way to an easy win. But the Lady Bears refused to say die and took the lead from the Bridges.

“We don’t handle leads well,” Lang said. “When you have a lead, you should run some time, run your offense and we were rushing shots, not being aggressive on defense and that’s what happens.”

The Bridges however, came off the deck themselves and responded, by getting to the free throw line and scoring points from the charity stripe. They took back the lead late in the game and never looked back, getting to the loose balls and the points when they mattered.

“We hit some big shots,” Lang said. “Some games, you have to do that, you have to will yourself to victory. I think we out hustled them tonight.”

Notes: Although McDonnell will not return to the Bridges this season, Lang did say that guard Irene Soulaides, who has been out for the past few games, will be back for the playoffs…The Bridges are now 7-15 overall and were the eighth seed as of press time…Tommy Guerin was named CUNYAC player of the week for the third straight week in a row and one of the front runners for CUNYAC rookie of the year…The men’s team finished the season against Medgar Evers on Saturday and will miss out on the playoffs. The women’s team finishes up at home against Albertus Magnus College at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night before the playoffs.