Saturday, March 26, 2016
With 10 games to go in the NBA regular season, the Golden State Warriors are 65-7. The Warriors can only afford two losses in order to have a better record than the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who finished with a 72-10 record. What I will do is break down their remaining schedule and calculate their odds of finishing with 73+ wins. After each game, I will italicize what their record would be with the outcome that I predict.
Sunday March 27- vs. Philadelphia: On Easter Sunday, the Golden State Warriors will take on the 9-64 Philadelphia 76ers in Oakland. The Warriors did not play on Saturday whereas the 76ers had a heartbreaking loss in Portland. The fact that the Warriors will be catching the 76ers on a second half of a back-to-back makes it as close to a lock as possible that they will win. I expect the Warriors to win this game by a final score of 110-87. (66-7)
Tuesday March 29-vs. Washington: At the moment, the Washington Wizards are 35-37, which is good for 10th in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games and are currently on a two-game losing streak. The Wizards will get a tune-up game on Sunday in Los Angeles against the Lakers, which is a game they'll absolutely need to win in order to give themselves any chance of winning in Oracle Arena. What hurts the Wizards is that Andre Iguodala (ankle) is projected to return to the lineup on Tuesday, making the Warriors virtually 100% healthy. I expect the Warriors to win this game by a final score of 114-102. They'll be healthy, playing at home, and the Wizards have been very so-so as of late. (67-7)
Wednesday March 30-at Utah: Believe it or not, this one is far from a lock. The Jazz are 36-37 overall, which is good enough for the #8 seed in the Western Conference right now. The Jazz are hot at the moment having won 7 of their last 10 games and Salt Lake City is always a tough place to play due to the altitude and the raucous fans. Plus, the Warriors will be playing in the second half of a back-to-back and the Jazz will really need this game to make the playoffs, which makes things even tougher.
However, the Jazz are far from invincible at home with a 22-13 record. I expect the Warriors to win this game by a score of 94-90. It'll be close, but the Warriors should pull this one out. (68-7)
Friday April 1-vs. Boston: The Boston Celtics are 4th in the Eastern Conference with a 43-30 record overall and they've also won 4 straight games. Isaiah Thomas is a handful averaging 22.2 points per game and he is a player who won't be afraid of the Oracle Arena crowd. That being said, the Warriors are undefeated at home on the season and if Jae Crowder remains out with an ankle injury, the Celtics will not be at full strength. The Celtics are a quality opponent, but not good enough to steal a win in Oracle Arena. Look for the Warriors to win by a score of 102-94. (69-7)
Sunday April 3-vs. Portland: The Portland Trail Blazers are 38-36 at the moment and narrowly beat the Philadelphia 76ers at home tonight. Unless Damian Lillard has the game of his life and my man from Cal Allen Crabbe goes off or something crazy, look for the Warriors to win this game handily. 103-93. (70-7)
Tuesday April 5-vs. Minnesota: Don't dismiss the Timberwolves so fast. Andrew Wiggins is a rising star as is Karl-Anthony Towns. The Warriors could fall asleep at the wheel with this one...Ok, honestly, I see no way the Timberwolves win in Oakland. They are 24-49 at the moment and are not a very good team. Don't get me wrong, the future is bright in Minnesota, but the Warriors are going to blow the doors off the Timberwolves by a final score of 114-87. (71-7)
Thursday April 7-vs. San Antonio: The Spurs are 61-12 at the moment and are the only team with any chance of taking out the Warriors in a 7-game series. They are a very dangerous team. When these two teams play, the only way to figure out who should win is location. With this game being played in Oakland, I got the Warriors winning 97-94. (72-7)
Saturday April 9-at Memphis: Needing one win to break the record, the Warriors will really want to close it out so that they can relax in their final two games of the regular season. However, the Grizzlies are 41-32 overall and 5th in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies are a very good basketball team who pride themselves on protecting their home floor and playing stingy defense.
Plus, the Warriors eliminated the Grizzlies in the playoffs last season and the Grizzlies will not want to see the Warriors break the record on their home floor. The Warriors will be due for a loss in this game, having won 10 straight games, so I'm going to say that somehow, someway, the Grizzlies find a way to upset the Warriors in the FedExForum on Beale Street. 90-88 will be the final score. (72-8)
Sunday April 10-at San Antonio: This game is tricky to predict because the Spurs have the #2 seed in the Western Conference locked up and Gregg Popovich has a history of resting his key players in meaningless games and in many ways, this is a meaningless game for the Spurs. They can't improve their seeding and the last thing they want to do is get fatigued or injured right before the playoffs. With that being the case, the Spurs will also want to send a message to the Warriors and not let them get a free win on their home court. This one is tricky. I'm going to say that the Spurs play the Warriors wire to wire and try to make a statement in this game. They'll rest their guys other nights, but not this one. Spurs win 95-93. (72-9)
Wednesday April 13-vs. Memphis: The Grizzlies very well may fend off the Warriors in Memphis, but in Oakland, with the record on the line, the Warriors will demolish the Grizzlies 120-97. The Grizzlies have the makeup of a team who could steal a game in Oakland, but not on a night when the Warriors have a chance to make history. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will go WILD in this game and everybody will be having a big old time in Oracle Arena. The Warriors will indeed break the record in their final game of the regular season, finishing with a 73-9 record.
Conclusion: The bottom line is that the Warriors should break the 1995-96 Bulls' 72-10 record. The schedule is relatively favorable for them due to having 7 of their last 10 games being played at home. I don't see the Warriors losing any games at home on the season, which really means it comes down to the three road games in Utah, Memphis, and San Antonio.
What's a little worrisome for the Warriors is that all three of those cities are tough places to win ball games. Utah will be crucial because that's a tough environment and the Jazz will really want that game because of its playoff implications for them. If the Warriors win in Salt Lake City and come in with only 7 losses, they should break the 1995-96 Bulls' record with a certainty of 75-80%. That's how high I put they odds of the Warriors winning 73+ games should they get the win in Salt Lake City. If on the other hand, the Warriors lose in Salt Lake, I still think they'll find a way to get the record, but the odds will drop to 55%, which is almost a coin flip. As an overall percentage, I think the Warriors have 70% odds of getting the record.
It'll certainly be interesting to see how the Warriors do down the stretch. They have everything locked up except the best record in NBA history. The biggest question is how much do the Warriors really want this record? They want it, but do they want it enough to treat the last 5 games of the regular season like playoff games when they could instead be resting up and getting ready to defend their NBA championship? Ultimately, I'm banking on the Warriors wanting the record enough to go all out during these final 10 games. It would mean a lot for them, their fans, and the entire NBA.
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Are you looking for a bracket pool to join? Want to win an awesome shirt? Join the NBA Lord March Madness bracket pool on ESPN!
How to join: #1. Create your own ESPN account if you don't already have one.
#2. Go to ESPN's Tournament Challenge site on ESPN.com.
#3. Search for the group.
Group name: NBA Lord March Madness. Password: playoffs.
#4. Create your bracket.
How to go about claiming your shirt: If you are the winner of the bracket pool, you win a shirt that declares you the champion of the bracket pool. The way to claim your shirt is by either tweeting or messaging me at my NBA Lord twitter handle @nba_lord declaring that you won (please include the name of your bracket), commenting below this blog post that you won, messaging me on the NBA Lord Nation Facebook page by liking the page and then sending me a message on there, commenting on a status of the NBA Lord Google Plus page that you won, or going to my blogger profile and shooting me an e-mail. Any of those methods will work to go about claiming your shirt! Note: If you have any difficulty joining the group, contact me using any of the above methods for help!
Good luck!!! Below is a video of me playing the theme song to NCAA March Madness on CBS. I'm decked out in Utah Jazz gear, haha.
Will the Los Angeles Lakers ever win another NBA championship? They've won 16 in their storied history, so on the surface, this question seems like a stupid one. Due to their rich history and location, most people would say it's not a matter of "if" but rather a matter of "when" the Los Angeles Lakers once again climb to the top the basketball world. However, when looking at the current state of the team (15-54) and the ever-changing climate of the NBA, it become a lot less clear that the Los Angeles Lakers will inevitably become a championship contender in the near future.
What has to alarm the Los Angeles Lakers is to see teams like the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, and Oklahoma City Thunder contend in the Western Conference while they continue to suck. Even more frightening is the fact that they are becoming less and less of a destination for top free agents. Hell, they lost the most dominant big man since Shaquille O'Neal to the Houston Rockets because he didn't like all the distraction and pressure that came with being in Los Angeles.
While the Los Angeles Lakers continue to bank on landing top free agents because of their brand and location, they keep on failing to land the quality of talent that they think they deserve to get. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Stephen Curry, the biggest stars of this generation, are highly unlikely to ever wear a Los Angeles Lakers uniform. Those guys are much more likely to stay where they are or go to a team that is a lot closer to winning a championship such as the Los Angeles Clippers, a team that shares the same building and city with the Lakers.
If you think the concept of the Los Angeles Lakers never winning another NBA championship is ridiculous, let me introduce you to the New York Knicks. The Knicks play their home games at Madison Square Garden a.k.a The Mecca of basketball and they haven't won a championship since 1973. What's even more disturbing is the fact that New York Knicks have only won two NBA championships in their history, the other coming in 1970.
If I wrote a blog post about the New York Knicks never winning another NBA championship, you would likely agree with my thesis or at least not find it to be all that objectionable. If I reframed this current blog post under the premise that the Los Angeles Lakers could become like the New York Knicks, that too would likely jibe with you, unless you are the most hard core Lakers fan who still believes Kobe Bryant has it in him to lead a team to a championship.
If the New York Knicks, who play in the biggest market of all, have failed to win a championship for 40+ years, who is to say that the Los Angeles Lakers don't have a similar fate? Most Lakers fans believe that their team will soon rise from the ashes and once again win another NBA championship because winning championships is all that they've ever known. The Del Harris era has been erased from the minds of most Lakers fans, who think of the Pat Riley era and then the Phil Jackson era. So while the Del Harris era existed, Lakers fans feel as if they went from Magic & Kareem to Shaq & Kobe to Kobe & Gasol without any break in between.
In essence, this is the first era where it doesn't feel like a championship is coming anytime soon and Lakers fans at the moment are handling this by going into denial. It's one thing for fans to go into denial like this, but what is worse is that it appears as though the entire organization is going into denial. The organization is just expecting the basketball gods to magically make things better for them because they are the Lakers and unfortunately for them, that's not how the real world works.
So, to answer the question I posed at beginning of this blog post, I will respond by saying that it is not clear that the Lakers will win another NBA championship because their management is incompetent and the NBA is a lot more friendly to nontraditional powerhouse teams. The NBA doesn't want the Lakers to fail, don't get me wrong, they love it when they are winning, but at the same time, the NBA wants to have a healthy 30 team league where every franchise feels as though they have a chance to win a championship if they apply themselves.
30 years ago, the NBA was not this way. It was a league with 6-8 championship contending teams and the Lakers and Celtics were always in that pool of contenders. But times have changed and it appears as though the Lakers are yet to accept this. They still want things to be like they were in the 1980s where everybody wanted to play for either them or the Celtics. But now, with so many great options and franchises to choose from, NBA free agents feel less drawn to Boston and Los Angeles and more inclined to either stay put or go elsewhere. Until the Lakers find a way to adapt to the new climate of the NBA, odds are good they'll remain stuck in mediocrity and ineptitude.
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
The Charlotte Hornets are on a quite a roll right now, winning 10 of their last 12 games while also riding a four-game winning streak. In Monday's 108-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Al Jefferson-Kemba Walker duo was in full force. Kemba Walker had 34 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists while Al Jefferson scored 20 points and grabbed 6 rebounds.
While Al Jefferson has been somewhat up and down all season and injured for a good chunk of the season, Kemba Walker has been nothing short of spectacular. In his last three games, he has scored 30+ points and has really taken it upon himself to be the leader of his team. With him playing like an all-star, Al Jefferson returning to form, and guys like Nicolas Batum and Courtney Lee knocking down shots and playing good defense, the Hornets are becoming one of the more dangerous teams in the Eastern Conference.
This isn't to say that the Charlotte Hornets are going to win the NBA championship or dethrone the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference this season. But, what can be concluded is that the Hornets are getting closer to where it is they want to get to, which is ultimately a trip to the NBA Finals. If the Hornets can keep Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker together and continue to put quality pieces around them, it might not be too long before we see this team making a run at the Eastern Conference Finals in a way similar to what the Toronto Raptors are doing.
With the Chicago Bulls fading, the Indiana Pacers retooling, and no other team outside of the Cleveland Cavaliers firmly establishing themselves as a championship contender in the Eastern Conference, whose to say that the Charlotte Hornets can't become a team capable of reaching the NBA Finals in the coming seasons? The talent is there and perhaps more importantly, Michael Jordan is there.
While Michael Jordan has been criticized for the way he has managed NBA teams over the years, it cannot be denied that his presence alone makes the Charlotte Hornets an intriguing destination for free agents. If this current Charlotte Hornets team can continue doing what they are doing, odds are good they'll get a big name free agent or two that can help them achieve their championship goals.
One possible name is Stephen Curry, who has ties to the city of Charlotte. While it is true that he loves the Bay Area, home is still home, and if the Charlotte Hornets offer him a boatload of money to go along with a quality roster, it just might be too good of an offer for Stephen Curry to pass up. You can call me crazy, but within a couple of seasons I see the Charlotte Hornets as a franchise competing for an NBA championship with or without Stephen Curry. The talent is there, the greatest player of all time is there, and the city itself is hungry to support a winner on the hardwood.
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Clippers unveiled their mascot Chuck the Condor, who is a lovable tribute of sorts to the critically endangered California Condor. As a matter of fact, the California Condor went extinct in the wild in the late 1980s and all remaining California Condors were captured so as to keep the species on life support.
While California Condors still exist, they are very small in number, with less than 500 existing worldwide. Of the existing California Condor population, only half of them exist in the wild via efforts to reintroduce the species back into the wild. It's a miracle that they still exist and that young children across the Western United States are still able to see these magnificent birds feast upon a dead possum or squirrel that has been blindsided by a truck speeding down a highway in the middle of nowhere.
I think it's great that the Los Angeles Clippers recognize this miracle and have chosen to increase awareness of the California Condor through the conception of Chuck the Condor who suddenly makes Condors hip and cool. Let's be honest, if it wasn't for Chuck the Condor, what press would the California Condor have gotten this week or this year, even? When does the California Condor ever get any media attention? The answer is never.
So, while it is true that on the surface Chuck the Condor appears to be a silly mascot, in truth, he acts as a spokesman or representative of sorts for all California Condors who can't speak for themselves due to the fact that they are real birds and not birds who have been enhanced by personification.
Hopefully, Chuck the Condor will raise increased awareness for the California Condor species and motivate more people to do what they can to help this species stay on this earth for very long time. The California Condor is an important part of California's history and it's great to see the Los Angeles Clippers use their Southern California brand as a vehicle to promote something positive like helping out an endangered species.
Note: If you want to learn more about the California Condor, click here