Monday, May 26, 2008

Thank You!

On behalf of Shades of Blue and those of us who post here, I would like to take the opportunity on this Memorial Day to thank the brave men and women who have fought and continue to fight to protect the freedoms that we enjoy.  We honor the memory of those that have paid the ultimate price with their lives on our behalf and promise to ensure that their death was not in vain.

There is a soldier out in harms way at this time who is a good friend to Shades of Blue. He checks this blog every so often from over in Baghdad where he is deployed.  I would like to thank him as well for the sacrifice that he has made.  

Many of you know James from our childhood.  He was our friend, our teammate, our coach, and for Brian and I someone we considered another member of the family.  

James, there are damn few like you.  We miss you and look forward to your safe return.  Take care brother and we'll see you soon.  

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Savior of IndyCar Racing....

At least that is what they are saying.

Do you recognize the driver in this photo.  You would had you been watching the Indy 500 this afternoon.  

How about this one?

That's right.  It's Danica Patrick.  I tuned in for the last 60 laps of the Indy 500 and all I heard about was Danica this, and Danica that.  Even though she was well behind, when they would return from commercial break they were sure to update the viewers of her placing even before telling who was in the lead.  Why?  Is it because she is such an amazing driver?  Or, is it because she looks good in a Bikini?  What do you think?

Since her rookie season in 2005 she has had 53 starts.  Of the 53 starts she has one win.  That's right.  ONE.  In the race today where she owned the media attention she finished an amazing 22nd.  

Call me sexist if you want but if a women wants to earn the respect of her men counterparts in a male dominated sport do it by winning and not by just looking good.  The only way she deserved the hype she received today is if the race was won by whoever had the best looks.  Otherwise we shouldn't know her name any more so than the driver who finished 21st.

At least she didn't run anyone over on pit row.  That's newsworthy.  

Danica, rely on your ability and not just your body.  
Yours truely, 
Anna Kournicova

Danica, Why don't you quit embarrassing yourself and just stick with racing other women?
Michelle Wie

Talking Points

-At the Munson family BBQ I beat Amanda's brother twice in a row in 1-on-1 basketball.  When Amanda found out that I had won she asked, "How did you beat him?  Is it because he is out of shape or what?"  The thought never crossed her mind that I actually have any basketball ability.  I get no respect around here.  (In Tyler's defense he did have a bum knee.  But still, where's the credit?) 

-Pirate Motor Sports has a bye tomorrow night.  You'll have to wait another week for the much anticipated recap of the monday night doubleheader.  If you were to tune into baseball tonight and catch the nights top ten it would be nearly identical to what you could expect from the softball diamond.  Maybe that could hold you over until next week.

-Big Brown has  a cracked hoof.  The 30 year drought of the Triple Crown might make it to 31.  I hope not.  They say he should still be able to race.

-Even though I said I wouldn't, I have found myself watching quite a bit of the conference finals.  I had thought that I would want to see the Lakers play the Celtics in the finals, but as I watch I find myself cheering for the Spurs. (I know, break out the tweezers)  What can I say?  I hate the Lakers.  

It's similar to the feeling I get when I try to convince myself to cheer for the Utes because it is what is best for the conference.  In the end though I can't bring myself to do it for fear of possibly making myself physically ill.  I haven't quite got to the sick part but I am confident that cheering for the Utes would cause me to projectile vomit and break a rib.  I don't care what anyone says the MWC is not worth that pain.

So to sum it all up: Go Spurs!  

Oh yeah: Go Celtics too!  

And while I'm at it: Utes Suck!


A Moment of Silence

Please remove your Bingham Baseball caps for a moment of silence. Yes, it is true. They lost the State Championship to Timpanogos. For full details, click here.
At least the girls took state. Click here for their history making win.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Talking Points


Pirate Motor Sports made the clean sweep last night in our double-header.  Not only did we blow out the competition but one of the teams actually was upset because we let up and took it easy on them.  I think because we had guys hitting left handed that they felt like we were trying to show them up.   

Their left fielder in an attempt to throw a guy out at home overthrew the backstop and bounced it off the complex building roof where the scorekeepers sit.  I've never seen anything quite like that before.  

I predicted a 6-4-3 double play by Tikes and I.  It didn't happen.  Instead we upped the degree of difficulty and made it a 5-4-3 double played turned to absolute perfection.  Unfortunately we assumed Vanessa would be there as the blog photographer, but she wasn't, so the moment wasn't forever captured on film.  No posters for us.  The season is still young though.

Tikes brother hit a dinger out over Payson main street that ended up in the high school parking lot.  Shortly thereafter my 2 year old boy disappeared and was eventually found out on the road with a ball in his hand.  The kid has got a nose for the ball. 

-Western Conference Finals

The Spurs closed out the series on the road against the Hornets.  I had the feeling that their experience would come through in the end and even told Elton as much about a week ago.  I can't stand watching the Spurs. I think I would rather sit at home and pluck out my pubes with a pair of tweezers than watch them win another championship. (Graphic?  Yes.  But I doubt any of you now question how bad I dislike watching the Spurs play)  

So, who do I cheer for now?  I hate the Lakers, and can't stand watching the Spurs.  That's a dilemma. 

-Locker Clean Out

Jazz cleaned out their lockers.  D-Will says Utah is the place where he would like to stay.  As of right now everyone is saying the right things.  I think he will stay but the question is for how long.  Will he go the route of Lebron and Wade and sign the short contract or will he lock into something long term?  We'll see.


No, I am not unemployed.  Yes I do have a job.  I have been on here a lot though lately.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Vying for the Triple Crown!

Yeah, that's right.  We're going to talk a little horse racing.  The Jazz season is over, BYU football doesn't start for another 3 months and I don't have a baseball team that I follow (I'll leave the Baseball talk up to the Fat One), so you get to listen to me go on about horses.  

For quite a few years now I have taken some interest in the Triple Crown.  I say Triple Crown rather than using the general term of horse racing because it's not so much the racing that interests me but rather the history that goes along with it.  

Back in May of 2002 Amanda and I found ourselves lounging around our Bountiful apartment on a Saturday afternoon with no plans and nothing to do.  Bored, and with nothing to watch on the tv, we stopped on the channel that was covering the Preakness Stakes, which happened to be on that day.  

As a part of the pre-race build up they spent a lot of time promoting the Triple Crown.  I didn't know anything about it at the time and found myself being really intrigued at what was being said.  After learning that it is a task of near impossibility, our excitement grew even more when we watched the Derby winner, War Emblem, take the race that day clinching 2/3 of what is horse racing's greatest honor.  

With great anticipation, we tuned in 3 weeks later only to watch War Emblem fall short in the Belmont stakes.  Though we didn't witness a Triple Crown Winner at that time, each year since then we have followed the races in hopes of seeing a horse accomplish the feat.

You might be wondering what the big deal is with the Triple Crown.  Let me give you a little history and maybe you'll understand a little better.

In order to win the Triple Crown, a horse must win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes all in the same year.  That's three long races, in three different states, in a span of 5 weeks.  Sounds simple right?  I mean, come on, how many times have you seen your favorite team win 3 in a row?  It's actually harder than it sounds.

Since 1875 (the first time all three races were ran in the same year) only 11 horses have been able to succeed in winning the Triple Crown.  That's 11 horses in 132 years of racing.  The last horse to do so was a horse by the name of Affirmed who won it back in 1978. 

Since 1978 11 horses have won the first two legs only to fall short in the Belmont Stakes.  You might remember the names Smarty Jones, and Funny Cide, some of the more recent horses (within the last few years) that gave their all to make history only to lose in the third and final race.

That brings us to this year.  Big Brown, a horse that is being called by many in the racing circles as the most dominating horse since Secretariet, has taken the first two legs with relative ease, really without even being pushed by the competition.  

On June 7 he will run in the Belmont Stakes and many believe will be the horse to finally end the 30 year Triple Crown drought.  He's that good, in fact, he is believed to be better than just good and will prove that when he takes his place amongst a dozen great horses to do what thousands of horses who came before him couldn't.

Will he be regarded within the same category of such horses as Secretariat and Seattle Slew, or War Admiral (the horse that ran against Seabiscuit)?  Horses that rose to the occasion and proved that they were something great by winning it all, or will he be another horse that got close but was unable to seal the deal.  We'll find out in less than three weeks.

They believe the possible spoiler in the upcoming race is a Japan based horse by the name Casino Drive.  He hasn't ran in a whole lot of races but the ones he has ran in he has done very well.  Should be a good match-up. 

Preakness Stakes

Kentucky Derby

Friday, May 16, 2008

Off Season Regimine for the Jazz

Great season with good progress from the keystone (D-Will) from the Jazz. The team need to try and improve this off season and so here is a list for the Jazz to implement in the offseason.

Team Goals
1. Trade Kirilenko and get something even if it is an expiring contract and draft picks. He is not improving and is actually getting worse. He is the most over-paid player in the NBA. I believe it was Fortune magazine that published the most over-paid athletes and he was at the top of the list for the NBA. Normally as a Jazz fan I would try and justify the contract and look at him in blue colored glasses, but I can't and I won't. He needs to get dealt to a lottery team that he can be the man like he thinks he is. He is just one of those players that does not get it. He has not improved since his rookie year and he won't. This should have been the year for huge strides, he is in his prime. Instead, AK has settled into a malcontent that only brings distraction and pulls at the heart strings of fans with occasional good games. He is done, get what you can for him and move him. The Jazz have Milsap, Miles and Korver to take his place and I think they can fill his shoes and more.
2. Get rid of Hart and Collins and develop Almond and Fesinko (spelling). Fez really could become a force and Morris can light it up from deep with a little confidence. If the Jazz have Fez develop into an inside force to alternate with Okurs outside game and sub in for Boozer, that is a good front line. Have Morris back up Brewer and become a Vinnie Johnson/Eddie Johnson 6th man that comes in and gives the Jazz a boost. At three you have the trio listed above with Milsap starting and bringing the energy. Then you have price and Williams at point. I believe this lineup gives the Jazz the best chance to win. You still have Harpring as well to come in and bang around like a pinball and piss opposing players off.

These are the team goals, now I will break out player by player goals.

He does not have a lot to improve on. I would suggest that he spend a summer in Utah learning to fly-fish and mountain bike. My biggest fear is that he bails on the Jazz in hopes of greater exposure in a bigger market. If we can get him to fall in love with Utah that would be great. I hope all of the honeys in the bars give him lots of love and that the state legislature changes the liquor laws for him to import good stuff. Also, I think he needs to a hollywood hair stylist to change his hair-do. His hair may be the ugliest in the league and he needs to realize that it just isn't Utah that holds back his endorsements, but that he is an ugly mofo and advertisers are afraid he may scare young children. I love D-Will and believe he is the heart and soul of the future, KEEP HIM HAPPY. One more thing, Larry Miller should give him a car dealership.

Ronnie Brewer
He needs to go to the Jeff Horny school of shooting and re-break that damn arm so he doesn't rival Shawn Marion for the ugliest shot in the NBA. He also needs to move in with Bruce Bowen and go to his school of dirty basketball. If he can learn to play defense, he has all the physical gifts to be a special defender. The NBA is full of 2 guards that light it up and it is funny that every year they light the Jazz up for 50 points. This is nothing new, it has happened for years and I would love to see them finally get that stopper they so desperately need. Bowen can teach him all the dirty little tricks from stepping on peoples heels to under-cutting to flopping lessons. He could become the defensive man. Jerry Sloan could then play him 35 minutes a game instead of 22 mins.

Paul Milsap (New Starting 3)
This man is a beast and has all the tools to be an all-star. He defends, he scores and he is the energy player for the team. I would suggest that he goes to the United Nations and learn diplomacy. He struggles with foul trouble at times and I think if he could work on the refs a little better he could improve dramatically. He also needs to take Jiu-Jitsu to beat Carlos Boozers ass for his practical jokes and for taking advantage of his humble personality. I have heard that he gets a lot of grief for his naivity. Other than that, I would love to see him get the minutes.

Carlos Boozer
Ok, he has shown brillance for most of the year. He was a stud and led the Jazz in scoring. He is great with both hands. However that being said he choked horribly in the playoffs. He played 1 good game in 12 post season games. I can not describe how disappointed I have been in his performance. His instructions for the offseason is to hang out with some navy seals and learn what real pressure is. He also should do yoga and learn to relax his rectal sphincter muscle so he can play in crunch time. He can do it, he just needs to. He should also get a tanning pass because he is pasty, I have more color than he does. I could give a hundred other suggestions, but he just needs to bring it.

He has been money in the latter part of this year up until game 6 against the Lakers. Nobody can bring it every night unless your name is Kobe or King James. He needs to grow his hair out so he can look like other great foreigners in the league. He also need to go hang out with Shaq and learn how to play muscle ball. He is an amazing player in clutch and just needs to learn to play with his back to the hoop. He could also go to heavy metal concerts and go in mosh pits which will help with his intestinal fortitude.

Hang out with D-Will, enough said.

Learn self-hypnosis and hypnotize yourself every game and convince yourself that it is the D-League that you are playing in and drop 50.

Hang out with Kutcher and sneak a few peeks at Demi, has there ever been a woman in her mid 40s that is so hot? If he can go to the olympics and hang out with the track and field guys to improve his athletism that would be great. He is what he is and that is danger, danger...

Give Sloan a nice MANssage. You need to get some more PT. I really think you have some great skills and I would like to see what you can bring.

Go hang out with the million dollar man or whatever that bionic man was called. Get your knees healthy and keep doing what you do. Get some R&R and lots of lovin from the wifey, you deserve it.

Just keep being the big lovable goof ball that you are.

AK 47
Have fun in France, you hit some big threes at the end of the game 6. You did just enough for the fans to fall in love with you again. I personally hope you go and run for political office in France and decide to forego your max contract. If you do go back you need to go hang out with Jerome Bettis and learn to hold on to the damn ball. Or if you could go see what Greg Ostertag is up to and ask him why he had better hands than you that could work as well. You may also want to read some books on emotional IQ and see if you can get over yourself and see yourself for what you are. If you come back, come back with a good attitude, avoid controversy i.e. getting vacation visas instead of practicing for game 6. Just live up to expectations!!!

For the Jazz the last thing is to beat the crappy teams in the regular season. Just think if you would have won half the games you lost that you should have won.... You would have been a one seed and you would have beat the lakers in a seven game series. Bring it every night!!!! I wish it wasn't over but it is. Good job, you have kept my passion.

Game 6 - At the Half

The wheels are coming off!  

This has been very frustrating.  The Jazz have picked a lousy night not to show up and play some defense.  How many easy lay-ups have the Lakers had with not a single Jazz player slowing them down?  I can remember a few by Kobe alone.  

They are definitely playing out of sync.  Nineteen points is going to be hard to come back from.  They really needed to make a run before the half to realistically  have a shot of getting back in this thing.  I thought they were going to after Williams knocked down that three only to come back and give it up on the next possession.   We'll see.  Hopefully they can come back and have a great third quarter and make a game of it.  

So far it has been nothing but the Lake Show.  I hate that show.

monson of the trib

Monson is a fool, he is such an arrogant, pugnacious, holier-than-thou ass that I cannot stand it. I was bothered when I used to listen to him in SLC and he would claim every ten minutes that, "I'm not a fan." He would use this to try and give credibility to his argument. He would insinuate that a fan means fanatic, which in turn means that they see a biased view of the game and therefore anything they say can be excused as misappropriated passion. I moved to Phoenix thinking that this must be the M.O. of all sports talk personalities, but I quickly found out that this is not true. The hosts down here really cheer on the local teams and want and wish for their success. They at times even say "we" when they are talking about a professional team here in the valley of the sun. This email was set off by Monsons column on the refs and the Jazz fans stupidity in believing that the refs were bad in game 5. He tries to come off logical and objective with an outsiders view, but he ends up showing how big of an idiot he is. I could tear apart his whole column, but I will suffice myself with one single point. He claims that if there was a corrupt official then everyone around him would know and he would be outed immediately which would in turn lead to the demise of the NBA. Are you kidding me? There was an example last year of an official manipulating games for mobsters. He did this for years and got away with it. He was regarded as a good referee. Monson even has the gall to mention Tim Doughnhey briefly to supposedly support his argument at the end of his column. Are you kidding me!!!! He is a fool, I worked with him for a while and sat by his desk at 1280 and he is even worse in person. I have no respect for him. That being said, I do not think the refs were the reason the Jazz lost. I put the blame on Boozer and lack of execution when they had the opportunity to take the lead. Did the refs blow the calls at the end? Yes they did numerous times, but I think players ultimately decide the game. Would the NBA prefer the Lakers to be in the finals? Yes they would, they would want the Lakers against the Celtics. The make big time bucks off of advertising dollars which are determined by television ratings. The Ls and Cs would be by far the most profitable for the NBA. YEs the NBA and David Stern have a preference on who plays the finals. Did Stern instruct the officials? Most likely no, but to denigrate Jazz fans for questioning is not right, and Monson once again did this. He continues to thrive in his controversy and I just wasted 10 minutes of my time writing about him. He is a pompous ass and writes garbage. Is that the best story he can come up with right now? This has been a great post-season with incredible games and story lines and all Gordon can come up with is to rip local fans again. Shame on him!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Game Five

So the game is at the end of the third quarter right now, but I have to write. I heard that writing is a good way to express your frustration and my cat has a bloody nose, so I have to find another outlet now. What is going on with Carlos friggin Boozer???? His butt puckers every time he shoots. He looks like a rookie right now and he is absolutely atrocious. The Jazz have been on the fringe of taking the lead all game, but it seems like when they get close booz will screw it up. I mean come on!

Notwithstanding my frustration with boozer, I actually have a good feeling about the game. The Jazz are scrapping on every play and it just looks like Kobe the assasin is flat (I attibute this to his back). With Kobe on the skids and D "Mr. Clutch" Will in the game, I really think they can pull this off.

Has anyone noticed that Jerry Sloan looks like someone is pulling his pubes out with tweezers during the inter-quarter interviews and the camera in the locker room? He is such a stud. Ok 4th quarter started and Radmonavic just hit a three so I am going tback to my screaming. I'm out!

Game #5 Preview- How bad is that back really?

Bryant's sore back still painful, but much better.

Sounds like Kobe is still in quite a bit of pain.  As much as I hope his back slows him down, I am expecting Kobe to still come out and get his points.  Hopefully though, it takes him 30+ shots to get his 30 some odd points like it did in game #4.  One area I could see him still hurting the Jazz despite the bad back is at the foul line.  Their is no doubt that he is going to get the calls tonight with the game being at the Staple Center.  

I still think the key is in controlling the role players, specifically the bench.  Their bench plays well at home (similar to the Jazz's bench) and hurt the Jazz in the first two games.  If the Jazz can limit their production, as well as get some good bench play from their own guys, I think they win this game.  It's going to take a complete game by the Jazz, everyone included.  They can't take any quarters off like they did last time they were in LA.  Sounds pretty obvious, huh?  Obvious isn't always simple though.  

Somebody put a body on Fisher as well.  If somebody is going to beat the Jazz, please let it be someone other than him.  I get a sick feeling in my stomach every time he shoots because in this series he has rarely missed.  I don't want to hear the reports that will come if Fisher is the one to step up and bury his old team with an ailing Kobe.

The odds are still stacked against the Jazz in this series.  Somebody always beats the odds though.  Might as well be the Jazz.  Can they win?  I think so.  It's going to be tough but they can do it.  Tonight is as good as any to get that road win that they need to advance in this series.

Go Jazz!  

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cougs lose Tonga for the season...

Manase Tonga, one of BYU's most experienced  running backs, has been suspended from the University for academic reasons.  He can re-apply for admission in October which means he won't be eligible to play in this upcoming season.  Sounds like he is going redshirt. 

How does that happen?  How, going into your senior year, do you end up academically ineligible?  I'm not going to blame the coaching staff.  This guy is an adult and the blame should fall squarely on his shoulders.  He is going into his senior season, on probably the best team BYU has had in over a decade, in what is turning into the most anticipated season by fans and players alike, and he gets suspended.  Come on dude, college isn't that hard and if it is you have a million resources available to you to help you get through.  

So what does the loss of Tonga mean?  I have heard and hope the reports are true that BYU is loaded at the running back position.  Bronco is confident that he has guys that will step in and take this opportunity and make the most of it.  Despite the depth at the position, I still think that the Cougs will be losing some much needed senior leadership along with the great blocking ability that Tonga brought to the backfield.  

I don't believe Tonga is a make-or-break loss that will determine the outcome of the season.  I think he will be missed, but the team will move on without him and I believe will still be dang good.  It's a shame though for him that he won't be able to play this season.  At least it happened plenty early so the cougs can prepare through fall camp without him.

Side Notes:

-Pirate Motor Sports went 1-1 tonight.  I had more errors than I did good plays.  My last two at bats were fouls caught by the third baseman.  It pretty much sucked.  I don't remember being this frustrated playing softball dating back to the days of playing Co-ed softball  up at USU.  Back then it was a different kind of frustration, but frustration none the less.

 I'm reminded of the game when Dustin dropped the ball out in the outfield and instead of picking it up he through his glove down and unleashed a verbal sequence of 4-letter words towards the ball that to this day has never been rivaled nor probably ever will be.  All this while the guy rounded the bases and scored giving them the win.  I still remember how shocked Heidi Merrill was.  She couldn't believe that Big D, having a mouth like that, had actually served a mission with her brother.  She didn't appreciate Dustin's profane poetry like we all did.

Or, how about losing to Shaw's co-ed team every time we played them?  It wasn't so bad losing to Shaw, but having to put up with the smack talk from Jimmy was more than frustrating.  He was the worst player on the team including the girls but was still the most vocal.  As hard as we tried Warf Rat could never get the win to shut him up.

-Kobe says he is going to play in game #5 even with the back pain.  I'm sure he'll still do his thing.  I hope we don't end up with another story like the time MJ pulled himself out of the grave to score 40+ against the Jazz in the finals while suffering from the flu.  If we're lucky a crippled Kobe will continue to take a lot of shots and shoot his team right out of the game.    

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Just like that....

  the Utah Jazz are right back in this thing.  A lot can change in just a couple of days.  

The Jazz went from almost flat lining, to having a pulse, to now having a full on heart beat.  Dave (Lunch Box) went from being an obnoxious Laker fan, to an educated Laker fan who can appreciate good basketball from either side, to a Laker fan who no longer responds to his text messages. (He's going to blame that on the fact that he is in Hawaii.  Is that really an excuse?)  Carlos Boozer went from slumping, to everyone's hero, then back to hiding once again.(Please come back Carlos)  Kobe went from unstoppable to a cripple that could barely pull himself off of the floor. (Actually, as a cripple he was still nearly unstoppable)  

Rather than being down and out the Jazz are right back in this thing and now find themselves in a best out of three series.  How will it all turn out?

My gut feeling is that the series will go seven games.  I would love to see the Jazz steal the next game but am hesitant to predict it happening.  Adam has said all along that he thought game 5 would be the game the Jazz steal.  Here's hoping it happens. 

If (and it's still a big if) the Jazz make it through this round who would you rather have them matchup against, the Spurs or the Hornets?  As I watched the Spurs spank the Hornets earlier this evening it brought back bad memories of watching them do the same to our beloved team.  Part of me says bring on the Spurs so that the Jazz can finally get that monkey off their backs and beat Ginobli, Parker, and Duncan just so they can say they did.  On the other hand though I would love to see a D-Will vs. CP3 battle.  D-Will has taken it to Paul so far in their short careers and I would love to see more of it on a national stage with the country watching.  I think the Jazz match up well with the Hornets.

I think in either case though the Jazz, if they get past the Lakers, would advance to the finals.  I think they could beat either team.  

This sort of talk is definitely putting the cart before the horse. Is that so wrong though? Isn't that what fans do?

Back to the task at hand.  I hope the Jazz actually show up to play for game 5 unlike the game 5 down in Houston.  If they can get the win that would be great, but at least if nothing else I hope that they give themselves a chance to win coming down to the final minutes.  Please keep it close.  I hope that isn't asking too much.  


-Play of the Day has to go to Ronnie Price blocking Luke Walton from behind on the easy fast break layup.  Nothing like getting denied by the shortest guy on the court.

-Pirate Motor Sports (my softball team) is 2-o on the season.  I have realized that my age is catching up to me.  Softball should not be a sport that makes you sore the next day, especially when half of the time was spent catching behind the plate.  This year could be our year to take the title.  We are three-peat champions in flag football but can never get it together to win it on the softball diamond.

-My two year old boy has outgrown our 1/4 acre lot.  My vinyl fence cannot contain his swing.  His new game is using the fence as his home run wall.  The neighbor kids are trained already to know to just toss the balls back over onto our grass. I bought him a new glove and some cleats the other day (they're about three sizes to big and look like ski's on his feet) and laugh as I watch him out on the grass pretending like he is catching balls with his mitt.  The joys of being a dad.   

Thursday, May 8, 2008

%*&^ (*&^ Jazz

Attention shoppers, there is a disaster in Utah. I had to wait a day to write this post to avoid a profanity laced diatribe. Where have the stars on the Jazz gone? How is it possible that I sit there hoping that Jerry pulls Carlos out of the game and puts Milsap in? Where did the Jazz defense go? When did quick jump shots become the jazz offense?

The first two games were eerily similar in how they played out. The Jazz quickly dug a large deficit, only to claw their way back to just close enough to get my hopes up, only to quickly revert back to a style of play that put them down in the first place. It is a shame that Carlos has disappeared in the post-season. He really had a good year, but he has lost all confidence. He shows flashes on occasion and will take it to the hole, but he has settled for jump shots most of the time, and the majority of those are not in rhythm and with hesitation. When was the last time that we saw his patented left handed power layup? I honestly do not remember one in the playoffs.
Memo has been a stud up until game 2. He has been arguably the most consistent player for the Jazz in the post season. D-Will has disappeared for stretches, but I put some of that blame on Boozer. How is D-Will supposed to excel when the number 2 of the 1 - 2 punch is not performing. The Lakers have been able to back off and go under the screens on the pick and roll because booz cannot hit a shot. By doing this, it eliminates D-Will's lane to the hoop and makes it very difficult for the Jazz offense. D-Will is amazing when he gets mad and decides to take over a game, but he cannot do that for 48 minutes, and he shouldn't have to. This is going to be a very short series unless the Jazz pull their heads out and play. These first two games have not been competitive. Most the time I prefer a blow out instead of getting my heart ripped out at the end, but I really would like to see the Jazz play up to their capability.

Another interesting side note that I don't think is getting enough play in the press is that of Derek Fisher. I think he tries to be a good guy and he is a class act, however I have changed my mind on him asking out of his contract from the Jazz. The Jazz benevolence has cost them dearly. The NBA is a business, and the Jazz just gave away one of their major assets for nothing to a direct competitor in the same geographical area. I do not think they should have done that. If they had put some sort of stipulation on Fishers release such as that he had to sign with a team in the east, they would have been much better off. I cringe every time he knocks down a jumper or makes a play. He technically should be under contract with the Jazz this year. His nice comments in the press about him rooting for the Jazz except for the Lakers doesn't change things. My opinion on his daughter is that it is a very sad and unfortunate situation. He should care about his daughter more than his career and good for him that he does. The problem starts in that his daughters doctor is in NY and he moved from Utah to LA because of better access to health care. I have heard that a couple of times from the announcers and talking sports heads, but is that really the case? From my understanding, Utah has some of the most renowned oncology departments in the nation. I remember two different coaches in the NBA coming to Utah to be treated for their cancer. Primary Children's Hospital is one of the top rated pediatric hospitals in the nation as well. So the argument that yes Fisher's daughters primary physician is in NY, but the secondary and maintenance health care is not accessible in Utah does not fly with me. My gut tells me that his evangelical side did not agree with Utah's predominant religion and therefore it was a good excuse to get out and back to California. This being said, I really do hope that his daughter makes a full recovery, but he cannot complain if Jazz fans do not receive him with a standing ovation. The first time I heard he was booed, I disagreed with it and thought it was low class, however as I thought about it and the things I mentioned above, I now would stand and boo him as well. One other thing is that with the money he makes, one more year in a contract with the Jazz should have been easily fulfilled. Boozer's family with his kids sickle cell anemia lived in Miami for most the season because of the climate. He fulfilled his contractual obligations. Fisher did not fulfill his.

Ok, it is time for the Jazz to step up. I told Shane before the series that I think that the Jazz will steal game five in LA, so I was expecting loses, just not the sort of loses the Jazz have had. It is time to step up and at least make it a series. The Lakers are young and will be around a long time, so the Jazz need to learn to win now.

So you're telling me there's a chance!

Only 13 of the 211 teams that lost the first two games in a best-of-seven NBA playoff series have been able to come back and win after falling that far behind.  Could the Jazz be team number fourteen?  Or, are those odds insurmountable for this years team?  

We watched them do it last year against Houston in the first round when they went down and stole game number seven away from the Rockets.  Who's to say they can't do it again this year against the Lakers?  I think the Lakers are definitely a better team than what the Rockets were, but I would hope that the Jazz are as well.  

We've all heard the old, worn out adage that a series isn't really a series until someone wins on the road.  As cliche as it sounds there is some truth to that statement.  The Jazz still have a chance to get back in this series with the next two games being played at the ESA, but they cannot afford to let the Lakers get a split.  The Jazz need to hold down the fort and take both games #3 and #4 if they realistically have a chance.  

Jazz fans, don't jump off the wagon just yet.  There is still a lot of basketball to be played and I am confident we still have a lot of cheering to do.  This thing isn't over just yet. 

The Jazz had their opportunities in game's 1 and 2 to get a win but it didn't work out that way.  In both games they dug themselves a hole early on that they ultimately, despite a good effort, were not able to overcome.  It wasn't all bad though and hopefully the team can come back and put it all together here at home. 

Boozer seems confused on the court as to what to do to get out of his funk.  He was useless to the Jazz in game #2.  Not only did he not perform on the offensive side of the ball, but he had no answer to stop Odom on defense from driving to the basket for easy layups. Props to Milsap for stepping up and having a great game in his absence.  There for awhile in the first half Paul was what kept the Jazz in the game.  

Deron started slow but turned it on in the third quarter.  I think the switch has been flipped and he realizes now how he can exploit Fisher.  Doug Collins spoke of that very thing during the game. 

Speaking of Fisher, as much as I still question his motives for leaving Utah, that guy buried the Jazz last night.  He had a great game, especially shooting from behind the three point line.  He is a true competitor.

The Jazz are playing now with their backs against the wall.  That's not such a bad thing though because this team does well when they are pressured.  I would expect them to come out Friday with a fire underneath them.  We will see a completely different team than the one we have seen thus far in LA.  

Eventually that will have to change though.  They need to be able to take that same intensity on the road to win this series.  It's a long shot, but maybe an elimination game #7 in LA is just the motivation this teams needs.  

My prediction is that we'll at least make it that far to find out.  

Monday, May 5, 2008

A little love for Kobe....

So, we have to endure another series where the announcers are in love with yet another player.  Last series it was T-Mac, this series it will be Mr. MVP.  

I really don't like the guy at all but apparently I don't know him as well as they do.  The announcers were saying during game one that his teammates really love him as well.  That would explain a lot of things.

I guess this is how the Lakers roll.

Is that Walton running to get in on the action?  Must run in the family.

Most teams give high-5's or knuckles.  At most maybe a chest bump.   

Dave (LUNCH BOX), I've noticed you're kind of a lovable guy yourself, always giving out hugs, etc. when you say hello to someone.  Is this why man-on-man affection doesn't bother you, it's part of your Laker culture?

Welcome to the blog Dave!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Worn Out......

At least that was how it looked anyways.  

Coming into the game I felt that if the Jazz were going to split the first two games in LA this would be the one to get the win from.  I was hoping the Jazz would carry some momentum from the other night against Houston and catch a rusty Laker team coming off basically a two week break since the Nuggets rolled over for them.  The Jazz came out hot but by the second quarter they looked like a team that had been through a battle and was still feeling the affect of it.

To many turnovers that first half.  Boozer had 6 of them himself.  More than the whole rest of the team combined.  In the second quarter the Lakers really ran the court well and got a lot of easy baskets in transition.  Again, it looked like the Jazz had no legs left under them.  It was frustrating to see them settle for jump shots after going inside had been so effective.  It's too bad because aside from that one bad quarter, the Jazz matched the play of the Lakers for the other 3/4 of the game.

Is all lost?  I don't think so.  The Lakers are an outstanding team with the most amazing player of this decade leading them, but I think the Jazz can still make this series interesting.  Kobe is going to do his thing, that's a given, but if the Jazz can contain the rest of the Lakers and keep them in check they have a legitimate shot of beating these guys.

Had you told me before the game that the Jazz's bench would score 26 points, six guys would score in double digits, they would have 3 times as many offensive rebounds as the Lakers (25 to their 8), and 21 assists, I would have said that it was going to be a well played game.  I would have expected a win.

The Jazz will get their wins.  This series is going to be a real test for the Lakers, one which I wouldn't be surprised to see them fail.  I am expecting the Jazz to come out in game #2 and play a tough, physical game.  I don't expect the let down like we saw today.  After a 3 day rest they should have fresh legs and be ready to roll.

Who will get the win?  I am going to re-adjust my blue shades, get behind the team, and predict a Jazz win.  I think it will be a close game with the Jazz stealing game number two from the Lakers.  

What say you?   

Saturday, May 3, 2008

It's about time

The Jazz finally found their transition game and put the Rockets out of commission. I have to tip my hat to Adelman and his coaching this series. He really put the clamps down on the Jazz and their style of basketball. Game 6 was a mixture of elation and disappoinment. I have been telling Shane that Boozer has to start taking it to the hoop. Carlito started out the game doing just that. He was able to get Dikembe in foul trouble in 2 minutes and the Jazz were rolling. Ronnie Brewer was a star! The offense was thriving and the UCLA cuts were flourishing. After building a 19 point lead however, the Jazz decided it was time to start hoisting up early, ill-advised jump shots again. I was cursing and my wife was looking at me with disgust. How could they not see that they were playing into the Rockets game plan again? This happened with our first team on the court again, and Boozer was terrible. He brought back memories of Malone and his fall away 15 footers. I am starting to wonder if Boozer has what it takes to be a go to guy in the clutch. It seems to me that Memo is a much better option in that he will post people when necessary, and I feel confident when he shoots the outside shot, not to mention his 6 straight double double.
The second half turned out better, but it still was not Jazz basketball. The team was D-Will's team and the game belonged to him. He was outstanding in every way. Every time he shot the ball, I was already putting my arms in the air. There is little doubt in my mind that his stats would surpass Chris Paul's stats if he were given the same latitude to shoot when he wanted. He is capable of breaking down defenders off of the dribble and taking it to the hole, and his outside shooting is lights out. As far as I'm concerned there is no comparison to Jason Kidd outside of their body types. Kidd in his 87 years in the league has never developed a consistent outside game, and D-Will is as dangerous as anybody (outside the Novak kid from Houston, where was he all series?) The third quarter belonged to Deron and he gave the Jazz the much needed victory. The fourth quarter was just a walk in the park and I had little doubt that the Jazz were going to win. Mcgrady can't play in the crucial minutes of a game, he never has and never will. I loved seeing him clank his free throws and his uncomfortable face every time the camera showed him. It reminded me of what my face probably looked like at Junior High school dances when I would hang out in the dark corners wanting to go ask the ladies to dance, or Shane's face on his wedding night... Goodbye T-Mac, go back to Houston and you are not welcome in Zion. I can't believe he had the gall to come out and say he "hated" Jazz fans. Since when have you thrived in hostile environments Tracy? Did you think that would help your game? You fish-eyed, brick laying, broken down baby! I loved when he started limping and acting hurt toward the fourth quarter, talk about a built in excuse waiting to happen. Reefer Alston was another example of somebody not wanting to perform, he needed to rub some feminine cream on and get back on the court. It is a close out game in the playoffs, get an injection, tape up the ankle and get on the court. We as Jazz fans have been fortunate enough to have witnessed Stockton and Malone play through injuries and earn their pay checks.
In the end, it was a good performance by the Jazz. I find myself stupidly questioning the wizard Jerry Sloan for his substition pattern again. Why does Ronnie Brewer not get more PT in crunch time? He is a play maker. He does not need the ball in his hands to contribute and his defense is awesome to watch. This being said, Jerry is king. He has coached and deserved to coach longer than any other coach the same ball club. He knows what he is doing, and that is why he sits where he does and I sit in my underwear writing on blogs. Hopefully he stays with the Jazz another ten years, he deserves it and the NBA would be worse without him.

Did anyboy watch Boston and Atlanta? Man it would be funny to watch the C's go down to the 8 seed in the East. Atlanta would have been 12th in the west behind Golden State, Portland and Sacramento. That is funny stuff. You could see their butts puckering on TV. Could this be another upset the likes of Denver with Dikembe of the 90s or Golden State over Dallas last year? Stay tuned, Sunday is decsion day for the Cs. I think they will win based on talent and KG's will to win. He is a beast and is hard not to like. I would actually like to see him win it all. He is the MVP this year, he isn't the best player in basketball, but no player can lead a team like KG. He is an emotional giant and would succeed at any job he had. If only Mccain had his leadership ability.
The playoffs have been great! The NBA is back finally. We went through a few years of thugs and gangstas, but it appears the NBA has quality stars that will lead the NBA for the foreseeable future. It is awesome to watch the stank nuggs choke and play selfish basketball and fail. Melo is a thug of the past and his best days are behind him already. He is doomed to a Pac man fall from grace. That team should be blown up. They cannot compete with the Jazz or Portland starting next year.

Alright, props to the Jazz and their victory. Hopefully they can play well against the Lakers. I will post a matchup breakout in the next couple of days (not that you care). I'm feeling BLUE!