Keurig machines and how communist they are
Neckties and bow ties
The idea that the necktie is a marker at all is strange
The band concert uniform
Suspenders vs. belts
Gallagher and an impromptu balloon animal show for porn stars
Dwyane Wade and his short pants
LeBron James and “The Block”
The Beatles were New Kids on the Block before they were
Brody Baum and the Chris Perez debacle
It’s hard to lose this many baseball games in a row
Bullpens are the most volatile things in baseball
Rafael Perez and Betancourt fell off year over year
People feeling alienated from baseball
The Gus Johnson effect and whether it could hit baseball
Bruce Buffer and his brother Michael Buffer
Owen Wilson’s alleged suicide attempt
Josh Gordon and his problems
The two game suspension and what it means
Codeine and whether or not you could know about it
The cultural awareness of codeine and how it’s tough to claim ignorance
The marijuana culture and how we’ll look back on it
Dehumanizing the opposition
National service and if we could really implement it
The ESPN-ification of sports
Esquire.com for sports commentary with Scott Raab
- The Raab Factor [Read more...]
Scott Raab on LeBron James, “The Block,” Josh Gordon, Chris Perez and more – WFNY Podcast – 2013-06-10
2013 NBA Finals – Brian Spaeth breaks down the Heat and game 2 in 10 minutes – WFNY Podcast – 2013-06-09
Brian and I decided to talk a little basketball today after the movie podcast. But, I’m posting the basketball podcast first, so you can pretend like it happened before the movie podcast… which will be posted later.
Breaking down the Heat game 2 vs. the Spurs
LeBron has fulfilled his potential as a player and he’s almost unhateable
LeBron wasn’t putting in effort during Cavs games
Dwyane Wade loves making excuses
LeBron James and his stage awareness back in the day
Dwyane Wade has the same game he had in 2006
Kind of feeling sorry for Chris Bosh
Bosh’s hysterical nature on the court
You can’t really have an opinion of the Spurs
“You don’t like basketball if you don’t like the way the Spurs play.”
Liking the NBA for stars
The fascination in the Heat when they lose
Brian would love to see the Heat get swept
Carmina Burana and O Fortuna
- The Volatility of the Heat vs. the collected nature of the Spurs [Read more...]
Jordan had Pippen, Kobe had Shaq, 1 and hell even Skywalker had Solo.
No matter how amazing or perfect someone may be, everyone needs help.
LeBron was chastised for heading down to South Beach to team up with an NBA Finals MVP and a reptilion all-star. He was branded scared, afraid, and a coward for running from the challenge he and his Cavalier teammates faced in the Celtics’ Big Three and heading to the land built by cocaine and murder to form his own trio.
“He didn’t want the pressure of being the guy”, we all said.
“He’ll never be Jordan. This clearly takes him out of the conversation. He can win as much as he wants to. There would have been something honorable about staying in Cleveland and trying to win it as the man.” Chimed in Charles Barkley on 790 The Ticket in Miami after “The Decision”.
At the time I couldn’t have agreed more. With a nasty taste in my mouth I searched high and low for quotes like this to wash it out. We all wondered who would be the alpha dog on this Heat team? Who would take the last shot? Who would ride shotgun when the crew of “best friends” headed to Chipotle after practice? It’s Wade’s team, LeBron doesn’t want to be the guy we concluded. [Read more...]
- Or Gasol [back]
In addition to the music podcast, we spent a few minutes talking about the NBA, specifically the Miami Heat streak. We also talked about the Cavaliers and Byron Scott and losing big leads with inferior teams.
Ask most NBA players when the second night of a back-to-back stint rears its ugly head and they will tell you that it is halftime that opens the floodgates of fatigue and flatness. The legs slowly slip into states of wobble, the mind desires an alternative path rendering the simplest of instinctual motor skills a voluntary chore. Arms raise slower, lateral steps are a process.
During a late-December stretch that leaked into the flipped calendar, Cavaliers reserve guard CJ Miles — a veteran presence despite being just 25 years of age — waxed poetic on how he felt a lot of the ankle-knocking and heavy heads were mental; players come equipped with pre-existing thoughts of impending struggles that tend to manifest that into poor play. It’s about breaking down those mental barriers and letting God-given talent take over.
In Miami, one night after thumping the Orlando Magic, the Cavaliers appeared ready to buck this trend — what with head coach Byron Scott’s perennial emphasis on conditioning — with a third-quarter run that resulted in 36 points and a complete erasure of a 22-point deficit. Tyler Zeller and Kyrie Irving meshed jumpers with lay-ins. The Cavaliers attacked, getting to the free throw line times. Miles erupted for 11 points in the quarter’s final two minutes adding in the ever-rare five-point play 1 . Then the bottom fell out.
- Miles sank a 25-footer while being fouled. The Heat were subsequently whistled for a technical foul, leading to two free throws. [back]
As you may know from being a WFNY reader, the WFNY writers have a daily email chain that can linger on and on. Sometimes, we’ll discuss prom jokes and other unsurprisingly immature topics for a group of 10+ males. But also, we really have some great discussions off the cuff about sports. Today, we bring you inside the WFNY email thread for a stats-based discussion about Cavs rookie Dion Waiters.
Jacob: Here’s your stat of the day y’all: (Source: HoopData as of games played on 12/10)
Of all 174 NBA players with at least 35 FGAs at the rim this season, Dion Waiters ranks LAST in shooting percentage at the rim at 41.2% (28-68). The average of these 174 players is 64.7% (44.6-69.0). The average of the 59 guards in this list is 60.9% (40.3-66.2).
Of the 59 guards, Waiters ranks in the top-fifth (No. 11) with 15.7 FGAs per 36 minutes.
Of the 59 guards, Waiters ranks in the upper-half (No. 23) with 4.5 FGAs at the rim per 36 minutes.
Of the 59 guards, Waiters ranks in the bottom-eighth (No. 8) with a 44.5% efg. [Read more...]
One of the hardest lessons I learned from the LeBron James situation in Cleveland is that I can’t let anyone have that kind of control over me ever again. The power that LeBron James had over Cleveland was granted to him by people just like you and me. Sure, it was augmented by Phil Knight and Nike, as well as enablers that worked for both Gordon Gund and Dan Gilbert, but ultimately you can’t be sold anything if you aren’t willing to buy it. When it came to LeBron James, Cleveland bought in hard. In hindsight, too hard.
For all the stupidity that occurred during LeBron’s free agency, it was amplified by the fact that LeBron’s actions forced us to look in the mirror and question ourselves. For a lot of us we didn’t like what we saw. Andy Baskin penned a long piece about how he felt he and the media had failed in a lot of ways in covering James. Even the angriest of fans, including the few that burned their jerseys, were more than likely redirecting a lot of their own self-anger and self-hatred toward LeBron James whether they knew it or not. In hindsight, for me and I think for a lot of other fans out there, it was self-hatred fueling a large amount of the fire. It is important to know that. It doesn’t let James off the hook as catalyst and key figure in the situation, but it is a far more balanced and intellectually honest view and baseline to begin any conversation on the topic. [Read more...]
While searching through pieces last night for inclusion in While We’re Waiting this morning, I came across a piece at Ball Don’t Lie about a pair of NBA stars that believe they should be paid for their time on Team USA at the Olympics. Ray Allen went first on Tuesday saying he thinks players deserve ‘an enticement’ for representing the country in the summer games-
“You talk about the patriotism that guys should want to play for, but you (need to) find a way to entice the guys. It’s not the easiest thing in the world if you play deep in the playoffs and then you get two, three weeks off and then you start training again to play more basketball where it requires you to be away from home and in another country. It’s fun, but your body does need a break.”
“Everybody says, ‘Play for your country.’ But (NBA players are) commodities, your businesses. You think about it, you do camps in the summer, you have various opportunities to make money. When you go overseas and play basketball, you lose those opportunties, what you may make… If I’m an accountant and I get outsourced by my firm, I’m going to make some money somewhere else.”
The LeBron James circus is in town Friday as the Miami Heat (23-7, 2nd in the East) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (11-16, 10th in the East) square off for the final time this season.
In each of the first two matchups between these two teams, the Cavaliers played tough, hanging in there with Miami through 3+ quarters. But just as an older brother sometimes lets his younger brother hang around before ultimately playing hard at the end to beat him, so too did the Miami Heat manage to play hard in the final minutes and put the Cavaliers away. We’ll see if the 3rd time is the charge for Cleveland or if the injuries and talent deficiency will just be too much to overcome yet again.
Cleveland will once again be without Anderson Varejao, Anthony Parker, and Daniel Gibson. With their only two true SGs on the team out, the Cavaliers will turn to Alonzo Gee to start at SG, leaving Ramon Sessions and Ben Uzoh as the only guards on the bench, and both of them are PGs. I’d expect to see a lot of Sessions at PG with Irving sliding over to SG when Gee is needed either at SF or on the bench. It’s not an ideal situation to move guys around when playing a team as tough as the Heat, but this is part of why the Cavaliers’ flexibility was listed as a team strength before the season. There are a lot of interchangeable combo players on this roster, and it should make things a little easier to adjust. [Read more...]
For the 2nd time this season the Cleveland Cavaliers (9-13, 9th in the East) will travel to Miami to take on the Heat (18-6, 2nd in the east). The last time out, the Cavaliers were struggling mightily and it was starting to look like their upstart season was unraveling. In many ways, that Miami game turned out to be one of the more important games of the season, as the Cavaliers were able to limit LeBron James to 18 points in a very tight 92-85 loss.
Usually you’d prefer a win be your watershed moment rather than a loss, but in this case, the Cavaliers had just been absolutely eviscerated by both the Bulls and the Hawks and some wondered if the wheels were coming off. By hanging in there and fighting tooth and nail with the Heat, the Cavaliers showed a real spirit in not giving up and not succumbing to their opponents’ will just because of the disparity in talent.
This time around, the Cavaliers face the Heat with some confidence and momentum on their side. After a week of insane 4th quarter comebacks and big wins over Boston and Dallas, the Cavaliers should feel a lot better about their chances. [Read more...]
The Miami Heat apparently need some more of their faithful to “Fan Up” to see three of the greatest stars the NBA has to offer over the next couple of games. Isn’t it amazing when a team marketing department has to work this hard to sell what would be the easiest ticket in the world to sell in a real sports town with real sports fans? I pity them, really.
Oh well. I guess I’ll just stop my whining now. Serious question though. Has anyone ever seen the tip in Miami live?
The struggling Cleveland Cavaliers (6-9) must go to Miami where they will face the reigning Eastern Conference Champion Heat (11-5).
In some ways, both teams are having similar starts to their seasons as they had last year. The Cavaliers started off showing some spunk, winning games here and there, threatening the .500 mark, before the wheels came off.
The Heat started off better this year than they did last year, but they come limping into their first game with Cleveland, a team not exactly having things go as smoothly as they had hoped.
Of course, we all remember what happened in last year’s December 2nd matchup. The Heat sparked their season back into form and never looked back. The Cavaliers never looked back either. They just allowed defeat into their hearts and went on to set an NBA record losing streak.
So what’s going to happen this time? [Read more...]
Bill Simmons used his recently launched venture, Grantland, to deliver an article about how “The Decision” was the best thing that has happened to the NBA in 15 years. No. Really. He used his new venture on Grantland, where it is supposedly not merely about driving traffic and hits, to proclaim that an event that disrupted the entire structure of the NBA was good for the league. His proclamation is based almost exclusively on ratings. So, let me rephrase. Bill Simmons started a venture, Grantland, where quality is derived almost exclusively by not blindly chasing Internet traffic spikes and yet the league he cares so much about was served proudly by an event of extremely questionable taste and judgment because it supposedly drove up ratings?
I don’t really want to talk about LeBron James anymore. I don’t want to talk about my feelings or what a self-centered egomaniac I think he is. It is all tired. It has been stated ad nauseum and there is a specific reason that I am staying away from watching these NBA finals. I refuse to co-sign for what occurred in the league dynamic this season. I realize fully that my little “vote” counts for very little in the ratings book. Trust me, it isn’t about me trying to punish anyone with a “powerful sword” that I have at my side. It is more about not torturing myself as I vote “none of the above.”
None of that means that I don’t have opinions about the league and what it has become / is becoming. I will always have an interest in the business of sports. That is where I have the most problem with Bill Simmons’ latest column claiming that “The Decision” worked.
Let’s get into some of the specifics. [Read more...]
As the Miami Heat leads their series with the Boston Celtics, ESPN reports that the Celtics provided the blueprint for what LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh put together in Miami. ”Seeing guys make sacrifices to come together and play as one. They set the blueprint and went out there and did it. They won a championship. They competed every year” James said.
“With LeBron losing to Boston in Cleveland in the playoffs, he felt like, ‘I gotta do more, I need to be around more to contend for a championship,’ ” Wade said. “Me feeling the same way going into the summer, saying that I needed more, it was because of Boston. They knocked us out.” [Read more...]
Yesterday afternoon after the Indians completed their sweep of the Detroit Tigers, I was all set to watch Boston vs. Miami in the NBA playoffs. I had it on and I was kind of watching until I realized that I really didn’t care. LeBron James and the Miami Heat were winning the game and instead of feeling invested in KG and the Celtics, I was actually completely apathetic. I wasn’t angry about the Heat and their league-ruining formation. I wasn’t interested in the farcical “feel-good” storyline that would suggest I could find a way to root for the Celtics. As it turns out, I was more interested in watching Kathy Ireland pretend to be a kicker in the 1991 Scott Bakula vehicle, Necessary Roughness on cable.
I joked over the weekend that Chris Antonetti is a much better GM than Mark Shapiro. The guy takes the Indians GM job and all of a sudden the Tribe gets off to one of the hottest starts in their history. Regardless of my attempts at humor, Shapiro, Antonetti, and Manny Acta are largely responsible for putting me in a position where I don’t feel the need to be invested in the NBA playoffs. It’s awesome though. It is freeing to not have something so negative get a hold on you. And to be able to replace it with something so positive? Awesome. [Read more...]
A starting five featuring three players who had never suited up along side LeBron James. Rather than pregame hugs and handshakes, the sellout crowd at Quicken Loans Arena needed a self-proclaimed King to skip out on pregame introductions, only to come back on to the floor when the lights had gone dim.
Instead of former teammates Jawad Williams and Anderson Varejao giving way to an embarrassment of riches, Cleveland needed half-court alley-oops from Baron Davis to Alonzo Gee; blocked shots and two-hand finishes from Ryan Hollins.
The Cavaliers, once again, were within reaching distance of taking the lead within regulation playing time in a professional basketball game. Cutting the Miami Heat lead to three points midway through the second half, the Wine and Gold gave fans – and potentially even themselves – a bit of hope.
And then Miami started trying again, stretched the lead to 20 and never looked back, winning 117-90.
Second verse, same as the first. Cavaliers start out slow (which is looking more and more like their opponents merely give some form of effort), leading to a point-differential that is essentially insurmountable. Cavaliers finally start to execute on each end of the floor (which is is looking more and more like their opponents let up on the accelerator just a bit), and begin to close the gap. There comes a point in the third or fourth quarter where the lead is one or two baskets away and then whomever the opponent is flips the hyperspeed switch and goes to plaid – blowing by anyone and anything in their path, including the Cleveland Cavaliers. [Read more...]
Give them the nod. Mad props this morning go out to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Head Coach Byron Scott. Last night, they rolled into Miami on an eight-game losing streak to take on the red-hot Heat, winners of nine straight. This was a true case of two teams going in opposite directions.
Earlier this month (though it seems like a year ago), the Heat absolutely throttled the Cavs to the point that the anger in the Cleveland crowd turned to the home team, whose effort seemed to match that of LeBron James during the infamous Game Five against Boston in last season’s Eastern Conference Semifinals. On that night, the Wine and Gold were disgraced and started on a downward spiral which has seen them lose by double digits night after night. On the other side of the coin were the Heat, who took off, seemed to find their way that night, and haven’t lost since. [Read more...]
Cleveland Cavaliers (7-17) vs
Miami Heat (18-8)
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
7:30 PM EST
Well, here we go again. The Cleveland Cavaliers are set to take on our dear old friend and his freshly rejuvenated Miami Heat. 2 weeks ago in my Miami preview, I climbed upon my soapbox and I preached about closure and beginning to let go before approaching the game with a mixture of excitement, sadness, anxiety, and most importantly, hope. Most of those feelings are gong this time around. And not because the Cavs aren’t playing good basketball. My passion for this team hasn’t changed one bit. What’s different this time around is that I honestly don’t care that the Cavs are playing against LeBron. Maybe it’s just me, but this game doesn’t feel all that much different than any other game. I think I was able to exorcise most of my anger and sadness last game and now I’m all business. So let’s buckle up and get ready to try to figure out how the Cavaliers can win this basketball game. [Read more...]
With debate spreading from Twitter all the way to the Boston Celtics’ locker room, LeBron James finally offers some clarity on whether or not he will be tossing his trademark chalk into the air within Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday night.
James told Heat beat reporter Ira Winderman that he will “probably” will toss chalk prior to the game’s tip-off as it’s “his ritual.”
James’ former teammate Shaquille O’Neal recently went on record saying that there are bets that James would take one game off from his talcum toss. Current teammate Dwyane Wade said that if James did not do it, he would step in for him a la Anderson Varejao.