Triangle Offense

NBA Playoffs 2010 Analysis and Predictions (1st Round) by thesportsminded

Down the drain goes the regular season and off to the post season we go as the most awaited battle royale starts Sunday.

Here’s my ten cents worth of analysis and predictions regarding the playoff match ups:

Wild Wild West:

#1 Los Angeles Lakers (57-25) vs #8 Oklahoma City Thunder (50-32)

This would be an exciting series despite it being billed as a #1 vs #8 match up. This also means the Black Mamba vs Durantula. Don’t get me wrong, Oklahoma will play their hearts out and come out tough against the defending champs. They are talented and a scrappy youthful team that could give the Lakers some problems but I just don’t think they’re ripe enough to take a series. They even whooped LA’s ass in Oklahoma last month. I think the Lakers’ depth and playoff experience would be the difference. Also, Ron Artest should prove his worth in this team and contain Durant. That would be an acid test for him. People can talk about their recent slump but I think Phil and Kobe had enough of that and for them, this is where it matters. The Thunder can take a game or two but there’s no way they can beat the Lakers four times in a series.


#2 Dallas Mavericks (55-27) vs #7 San Antonio Spurs (50-32)

On papers, a number #2 seed should have a walk in the park against a #7 seed but not on this one. There’s no question that the Mavs, with all the moves they did before the trade deadline, put themselves in a position where they can contend better for a spot in June but that’s no easy task especially with a team who’s battle tested and won four titles the past decade. This rematch of last year’s playoffs would be an all-out war from start to finish. Manu Ginobili is playing like his old self the past two months and Tony Parker is coming back from his injury. The Spurs are geared up to get revenge from there first round exit last round however they would have to deal with Jason Kidd’s timeless leadership and Dirk Nowitzki’s unstoppable offense. Great technical series here but I think the difference is Greg Popovich over Rick Carlisle.


#3 Phoenix Suns (54-28) vs #6 Portland Trail Blazers (50-32)

I said before that the Suns won’t get past the first round but I’ll take that back because of this match up. Alvin Gentry said that they want the Blazers in the first round and I agree. I think this is the match up where they would be able to use their strength, which is its patented run and gun style. We all know how depleted the Blazers are since the start of the season plus its main man Brandon Roy is questionable for this series. I think Roy’s health would be the key if this series would be long or short-lived. If the Suns faces either Utah or Denver, they are a shoe in first round exit but lucky for them they beat the Jazz and grabbed the #3 seed.


#4 Denver Nuggets (53-29) vs #5 Utah Jazz (53-29)

This would be a great series. I think these two teams are battle tested and equipped to go to war against each other. They both reached the conference finals once the past four years, Nuggets last year and the Jazz in 2007. Deron Williams vs Chauncey Billups would be amazing. Two of the best court generals in the game will out think each other here. The key would for Utah is the execution of there system and stopping the offensive onslaught of guys like Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith. On the other hand, Denver is dealing with the in-and-out status of George Karl. George Karl’s status would be the key if Denver should go deep in the playoffs again this year. For this one, I think the Jazz would slightly edge them. One thing is for sure, this would be a war.



#1 Cleveland Cavaliers (61-21) vs #8 Chicago Bulls (41-41)

I am glad that the Bulls made the playoffs instead of the Raptors because they would provide more of a challenge for the Cavs. For the second straight year the Cavs gain the best record with excellent team play and excellent usage of LeBron James, the MVP ofcourse. The Cavs are far more talented and complete than the Bulls but I think the exuberant Bulls would somehow make this series exciting and bring the fight to the Cavs. They have the length and athleticism to offer but I just don’t think if the fight they would bring is enough to threten the Cavs the way they did Boston last year.


#2 Orlando Magic (59-23) vs #7 Charlotte Bobcats (44-38)

The Magic have been on a roll to finish the season and I think it would continue leading up to this series. The Bobcats are quite a different team with Larry Brown and Stephen Jackson’s arrival as they made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. I just don’t think the team is deep enough to deal with the Magic’s all-around game. Dwight Howard, despite his woeful shooting, would be a handful for the Bobcats and I don’t think there’s anyone in them who can at least contain this beast in the paint.


#3 Atlanta Hawks (53-29) vs #6 Milwaukee Bucks (46-36)

This would have been a great competitive series if Andrew Bogut will play for the Bucks but since he’s not, don’t expect this one to be thrilling. The Bucks had a magical and a renaissance of a season this year with the emergence of former #1 pick Bogut and rookie sensation Brandon Jennings but they are not the same without its best player. Nevermind the injury prone Michael Redd, Bogut showed this season that it is his team along with Jennings and without him there’s no way they can surpass the Hawks. The Hawks’ wing players would have an easy time penetrating in this series.


#4 Boston Celtics (50-32) vs #5 Miami Heat (47-35)

This is the series that I am looking forward to in the East. I believe that this would be a crazy series. With the way they’re playing this season, the Cs proved that they are no longer the champion team two years ago. They also proved that they can be beaten at home anytime by any team, just ask the Wizards. I think Dwyane Wade would run circles around Boston’s defense because that defense isn’t anywhere near it used to be two years ago. However, the Celtics still have that ring experience and the veteran materials to move forward but the Heat have the best player in this series.


Let’s get the playoffs rollin’! Real season starts Sunday!


UAAP Sunday (August 30) Predictions by _celestial
August 30, 2009, 12:59 pm
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La Salle’s nothing short of heartbreaking, two-point setback to UE last night, 66-64, gives UST a good chance to prop up their semis bid as they take on the lowly NU  at the 2pm game.

Meanwhile, Ateneo positions itself to grab the twice-to-beat bonus as the Eagles square off with upstart Adamson, who, in return, hopes to boost their honestly flickering final four hopes with a much-needed win today.

As the Archers move to one game and a half behind Tigers in the standings following a four-game tailspin, UST needs to hurdle past today’s assignment to build cushion coming in to Thursday’s battle against La Salle. The winner of that game will virtually secure the coveted final spot in the semis.

Hopefully, I don’t jinx it.


UST_Growling_Tigers_logo versus NU_Bulldogs_logo

The Sports Minded: UST by 14 points.

The Tigers is in a must win situation here to put one foot on the final four. This should be a statement game for them. They should start showing what they are made off. They need to peak starting this game.

KC13: UST by  12 points.

It’s going to be the battle of the offensive strides since NU isn’t capable of tenacious D alike. UST will come firing on all cylinders and expect them to run the breaks. Catch them if you can, Bulldogs.

On Point: UST by 16 points.

The Bulldogs also play a fast pace game and that’s a no-no when you;re up against the Tigers, who are the number one offensive team in the league. NU got blown out in the first round ’cause they played UST’s game and look for another rout later.

blueeagle versus 125px-AdamsonFalcons

The Sports Minded: Ateneo by 12 points.

Ateneo are now reaching their unstoppable form. The fighting spirit of the Falcons might be dead after losing so many close games.

KC13: Ateneo by eight points.

Ateneo will kill any hopes left in Adamson with this win. Ateneo will dominate in the stretch as Adamson might succumb to another faltering endgame sickness, only if Adamson manages to stay close.

On Point: Ateneo by nine points.

The Falcons managed to come with in striking distance against the Eagles in the first round, where Coach Leo and his boys were still on a mission to get to the final four. Now, I don’t see the fire in Adamson anymore though I expect them to hang around early while Ateneo goes for the kill late in the game.

NCAA Wednesday (August 26) Predictions by _celestial
August 26, 2009, 1:29 pm
Filed under: Basketball, College Hoops | Tags: , , , , , ,

Someone’s birthday is today. EHEM. But we should all get back to work after a lazy tuesday. Shall we?

San Beda and JRU, two teams who have since trailed behind San Sebastian’s flawless records, try to come withing striking distance as they square off against hopefuls Emilio Aguinaldo College and St. Benilde, who both are in a threat of early elimination as the competion starts to heat up.

The Lions shoot for their eight straight win, nine overall, at 4pm today after suffering their lone loss over the Stags. The Bombers, on the other hand, aim to bolster their bid later at two, after a busy nine-day lay off.

The Blazers, meanwhile, have to whip past all of their remaining assigments to atleast get a shot at the coveted final four spot.


CSB-Blazers versus 125px-JRU_Heavy_Bombers_logo

The Sports Minded: JRU by eight points.

The Blazers mgith give the Bombers a bit of a test but the kalentong based squad wants to gain momentum going into the final four.

KC13: JRU by six points.

Their ain’t going to be stompin’ later (pardon my twang, lol), but the Bombers will likely prevail over the Blazers.

On Point: JRU by nine points.

If Marc Cagoco doesn’t shoot too much more that the stats can count, JRU is at its best. the bombers must take their time on offense to better utilize their good half court game.

san beda red lions image courtesy of kenneth pangilinanversus pr_1249312058_EACGeneralslogo

The Sports Minded: San Beda by 12 points.

All the Generals can do is give a decent fight maybe up to the third by Beda will be just due for another blow out game.

KC13: San Beda by 10 points.

Sudan Daniels will definitely make his presence known in this game, alright.

On Point: San Beda by 13 points.

San Beda’s gameplan must start with their big man. Once they score down low, open outside shots will follow and that’s all she wrote.

UE upsets FEU, ends streak; NCAA Monday (August 24) Predictions by _celestial
August 24, 2009, 12:11 pm
Filed under: Basketball, College Hoops | Tags: , , , , , ,

UE kept FEU at the bay the entire contest by dominating on both ends of the floor as they handed the Tams its second loss, 87-72, after a proverbial eight-game streak last night to seize solo third.

The Warriors blitzed to an early lead and never looked back behind double digit heroics UE’s troika of Pari Llagas, Elmer Espirtu and Paul Lee. Llagas finished with a game-high 24 points.

After UST’s wrecking loss to Ateneo in the earlier game, 80-70, UE shatters the two-way tie and assumes third place that would pit them anew against FEU in the semis if the current place will remain idle until the end of the eliminations.

UST, on the other hand, holds on to a precarious fourth place spot with 5-5 record,  just a win and a half after La Salle who is at 4-6. The Tigers need to prevail on their remaining assigments over NU (August 30), La Salle (Sept 3), Adamson (Sept 6) and UE (September 10) to seal their standings.

The Tigers were held spellbound from the 6th minute mark of the fourth where Ateneo pulled away with the 69-62 lead from a 7-0 roll. UST inched in to within four, 70-74, with less then a minute to play on rookie Jeric Teng’s basket but the Tigers never scored then on.


After a crucial outing in the UAAP last night, today’s NCAA games will also be as crucial highlighted by two teams that seek to compound their bid for the coveted final semis spot, with the first three spots already occupied by the top three competitors in the league.

Arellano and Letran, who have been idle at fourth place on a identical 6-4 ledger, will take on the lowly Angeles U and Mapua respectively— two teams who have occupied the bottom of the standings since the start of the season. A much-needed win for the two teams will keep them on the hunt.


pr_1249569302_aufversus pr_1249311895_ArellanoChiefslogo

The Sports Minded: Arellano by 15 points.

Arellano will pound the Great Danes as they will solidify their chance for a final four slot with this win. Gio Ciriacruz will have a shooting spree as AUF doesn’t have anyone besides Matt Kearney who can bang in the lane.

KC13: Arellano by 20 points.

They can’t take the Angeles U lightly knowing the guys would want a dignified exit in the league. However, expect the Chiefs to dominate the Great Danes like the have done the last time out.

On Point: Arellano by a baker’s dozen.

Look for the chiefs to come out strong, all the pressure is on their side while the danes are just playing for pride alone.

logo2versus 125px-Knightslogo

The Sports Minded: Letran by 12 points.

If the Mapua show up the way thed did against the Lions last week, then this might be a game. If they don’t, put this one in the books for the Knights.

KC13: Letran by 10 points.

Despite an awful showing in their first meeting, Mapua will definitely give take a tough stand like they did against the league leaders in their last games. But still not enough to stop Letran’s scorers from pouring it in.

On Point: Letran by 12 points.

The Cardinals will make this a game early but, the Knights will pull away in the second half.Jazul wil deliver the goods with most of his shots from the outside.

FINAL FOUR PREVIEW? UAAP Sunday (August 23) Predictions by _celestial


As La Salle’s chances for a semifinals  bid started to ebb away following UP’s clobbering of the Green Achers, 83-78, earlier today, UST and UE, who boast of an identical 5-4 record prematurely completing the final four, will face a tough challenge in shattering the third place tie as they go against the league’s top two teams tomorrow.

The Tigers, who bowed down to the same team in a rout in the first round, tries to pull an upset over the rejuvenated Eagles in the first game at 2pm while the Warriors shoot for a first win over the Tamaraws in the main event pegged at 4pm after putting up a tight contest almost three weeks ago.


UST_Growling_Tigers_logo versus blueeagle

The Sports Minded: Ateneo by nine points.

Ateneo is playing big right now. Only a flawless game by UST can give them a chance. Anything less won’t get it done.

KC13: Ateneo by 15 points.

Pick your poison. UST, despite its explosive gunners and athletic forwards, still hasn’t learned to play D  as we’ve seen in that awful showing against UP. They will face a double whammy in limiting Al Hussaini’s production down low while preventing Ateneo’s outside stringers. Theydon’t have a center who plays big in the paint that will be able to provide them interior D. If they are lucky to be able to pick the less deadly’ poision in the two and make Ateneo play their running game, they have a shot. Although pulling off a high-scoring venture would favor them, if they start giving away counterpat baskets on the offensive end, forget about winning this game, or even another championship.

P.S. If Ababou goes into early foul trouble, forget everything.

On Point: Ateneo by 10 points.

The main weapon for the Tigers is their offense. If UST’s three-point shooting shows up, this will be a tight contest. If not, this will be another rout. Again, the Tigers must control the boards to be able to run. Ababou’s outside shooting must drop to open the lane for Teng and other slashers of UST. For Ateneo, they would want to attack the inside early to create open shots for their jump shooters. UST can’t afford not to double-team Al-Hussaini thus, Salamat, Reyes and co. will be open. If the Tigers don’t close-out quickly, Ateneo will have a field day from downtown.

ue versus FEU_Tamaraws_logo

The Sports Minded: FEU by 14 points.

FEU will make this a statement game.

KC13: FEU by single digits.

This is actually one of the better matchups to watch in the league right now. UE can keep up with  FEU’s size. Especially downlow where Aldrech Ramos thrives, they have Pari Llagas and Elmer Espiritu to patrol. One of FEU’s edge lie on its backcourt. UE may have Paul Lee, but he’s more of a scoring point. With that, ball movement will be the key knowing that some of UE’s players have the tendency to take ill-advised shots.

On Point: FEU by eight points.

Besides Ateneo, UE is the only other team that can bang with FEU down low. The only problem for the Red Warriors is who will they use to defend the wing players of the Tamaraws? Plus, UE is loaded with players with a shoot-first mentality thus, their players tend to look for their own shots whether it’s forced or hurried which will hurt them ’cause FEU, on the other hand is known for limiting its opponents to just one shot per possession.

San Sebastian, San Beda outduel foes; UAAP Saturday (August 22) Predictions by _celestial
August 22, 2009, 12:20 am
Filed under: Basketball, College Hoops | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

San Sebastian zoomed to its 11th straight win while San Beda busted out of a slow start to notch the hardfought W in the NCAA games today.

The Stags, led by Jimbo Aquino’s 18-point peformance, remain at helm after they dealt another sorry defeat to the Perpetual Help Altas 80-70, following the 76-54 drubbing last July 23. Carl Abueva added 16 for San Sebastian.

The Lions, meanwhile, remain in close second behind San Sebastian after trouncing the Mapua Cardinals, 84-75. Thanks to Pascual’s stellar second half performance, finishing with 19 points.

On to tomorrow’s UAAP game predictions.

NU_Bulldogs_logoversus 125px-AdamsonFalcons

The Sports Minded: Adamson by seven points.

Falcons will bounce back this time against the Bulldogs. No upset this time around.

KC13: NU by five points.

It’s hard to predict when you know both teams are trying so hard to stay afloat especially in this crucial part of the season. Knowing that both teams have the capability to explode, it will definitely boil down to who excecutes their plays well.

On Point: Adamson by six points.

Falcons over Bulldogs especially when Adamson just came from a big win over La Salle while NU continues to struggle.

post-18-1090300055versus greenarchers

The Sports Minded: La Salle by eight points.

This is tough, three straight defeat for Franz and the gang but UP is a capable opponent. Pumaren won’t lose four in a row. If La Salle lose this one, they can kiss the final four goodbye.

KC13: La Salle by 10 points.

La Salle needs toughen up on the defensive end knowing how capable UP is, especially its shooters. The Archers desperately need to win this one to stay in contention, and something tells me Coach Franz Pumaren will not allow the boys to just lose it like that—not on his watch.

On Point: UP by five points.

Don’t hate on me when I say UP will win over DLSU this time around, Why? ’cause the Archers are just off-target as of late; they play inconsistent basketball. Meanwhile, the Maroons have the guns to fire off an upset. They are pesky on defense and streaky on offense, their big problem though, is turnovers, silly TO’s. You can limit turnovers but never inconsistency– it’s a disease.

UAAP Thursday (August 20) Predictions by _celestial
August 19, 2009, 11:57 pm
Filed under: Basketball, College Hoops | Tags: , , , , ,

If you think you can just roll past the tailenders without a gruelling fight, think again. Especially in the UAAP, you can’t get too complacent. (Read: UP’s victory over Ateneo) Teams in the UAAP are actually lucky that this isn’t the US-NCAA where the usual one-big-game-turns-to-cinderella story comes to play.

The UST Tigers (4-4), who suffered a grievous setback against the FEU Tamaraws, can’t afford to lose against the bottom half of the standings to solidify their contention for the elusive final four slot including tomorrow’s tiff against the UP Maroons, a team who have transcended their annual quota of one with their two wins against six loses. It will be a big day for the Tigers to bolster their bid anew.

FEU (7-1), on the other hand, needs all the win it can get to keep pace with Ateneo at  first place,  its 7 game-winning streak is on the line when they battle the NU Bulldogs (2-6) tomorrow at 4pm.

UST_Growling_Tigers_logoversus post-18-1090300055

The Sports Minded: UST by 10 points.

The Tigers need this one to stay at number four.

KC13: UST by double digits.

The Tigers can’t afford to be sloppy because the Maroons can acutally get the best of you with their ‘fleet-footed’, however, butter-fingered guards. But UST can always match the athletism and talent of UP and use lenght that the latter does not have. UST just needs to use their resources well and NEVER relax. They cannot, I repeat, cannot, lose this one.

On Point: UST by 10 points.

The Ababou, Mirza and Teng combination is too much for UP to handle. The Maroons are imrpoving but they still don’t know how to take care of the ball. Every turnover for UP will get UST running and when you get the Tigers running, you’re in trouble. This will be a high-scoring affair which will favor UST.

FEU_Tamaraws_logo versus NU_Bulldogs_logo

The Sports Minded: FEU by 100 points. (LOL)

No explanation needed.

KC13: FEU by double digits.

FEU will just be too much to handle for the Bulldogs. As always.

On Point: FEU by 15 points.

Too big upfront, too talented at backcourt and too deep with decent second stringers. Lest, the Bulldogs will find a bugs bunny drink on the Space Jam movie, they’ll win.