The NBA season is just about to it’s halfway point and I heard an interesting comment about the league the other day. I wish I could remember who I could attribute this to, but sadly I can’t. Anyway this NBA analyst went on to say that there are only 3 teams that are serious NBA championship contenders. So if you’re not a fan of the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs or the Cleveland Cavaliers your season is over. Is that tough for you to hear? Golden State has the best record in the NBA at 37-3 while San Antonio is 35-6. Neither team has lost a home game so far this season as the Warriors are 19-0 at home and the Spurs are 23-0 at home. Cleveland is 28-10, but is far and away the best team in the Eastern Conference. While the Cavaliers may have the easiest road to the finals they have lost both of their games against the top to teams in the west. On Christmas Day Golden State beat the Cavaliers 89-83 and then just this Thursday Cleveland was beaten by San Antonio 99-95. To be fair both of these match ups where on the road and now the Cavaliers will get to host Golden State this coming Monday, but they don’t host San Antonio until January 30th. Cleveland’s only loss at home was on December 1st; a 97-85 defeat by the Washington Wizards. The Toronto Raptors are 25-15 and look like the 2nd best team in the Eastern Conference, but are they a threat to beat the Cavaliers for a trip to the NBA Finals. In the Western Conference the Oklahoma City Thunder are 19-12 and the Los Angeles Clippers are 26-13 and look like the 3rd and 4th best teams in the Western Conference. Are the Thunder and the Clippers a threat to go to the NBA Finals? If someone besides the Warriors or the Spurs is going to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals they’ll have to beat both of those teams in a 7 game series. Say a team like the Thunder or the Clippers did manage to get past both the Warriors and the Spurs during the playoffs. How much would they have left for an NBA Finals match up against a team like Cleveland?
Remember when there was nothing but complaining about the Eastern Conference and the fact that they had teams with under .500 records getting into the playoffs. I don;t think I’ve heard as much complaining now that all 8 of what would be the Eastern Conference playoff teams would be over .500 and the Western Conference would have a team just 1 game over .500 sneak in and another team that is under .500 make the playoffs. Where did all these guys go who where saying the playoffs needed to be re-seeded and these terrible under.500 teams would ruin the playoffs by making it. Did those teams ruin Golden State’s run to a championship last season by making the playoffs. Yeah; I didn’t think so. Maybe it would affect the NBA if one of these under .500 teams actually made a playoff run and won a championship. It could also attract more casual fans to the NBA as a team that shouldn’t be there is there and that can draw a crowd. The playoff system the NBA uses seems to get good result as I don’t remember a team with an under .500 record win a championship over even go to a conference finals and while it might be tough to see a team with a better record than another team out of the playoffs that’s the way the conferences are set up. What will they say this season if there’s a team with a record above .500 that doesn’t make the playoffs, but it’s in the Eastern Conference this season.
There was a little bit of controversy when the NHL held an online vote to name captains for the All-Star game and John Scott of the Arizona Coyotes won one of those spots. Scott has played in 11 games this season for the Coyotes. Scott has 1 assists in those 11 games, but does have 25 penalty minutes. Now yesterday the Coyotes made a couple of trades. The first trade had Arizona sending defenseman Stefan Elliott to the Nashville Predators for defenseman Victor Bartley. Arizona then turned around and sent Bartley along with Scott to the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman Jarred Tinordi and minor league winger Stefan Fournier. It looks like just an even swap of players; no big deal. Well the Canadiens assigned Scott to their minor league affiliate St. John’s of the AHL. Now accord to NHL rules Scott has to be on an NHL team to play in the All-Star game. I’m sure the players association will go back and forth with the NHL on this, but Scott himself said he’d follow the league rules. What this is all leading me too and this is normally Dan the Man’s thing on Sports Time Radio, but was this a conspiracy? I’m sure the NHL saw Scot being voted an All-Star captain as embarrassing and while both teams are saying the right things; you have to look at this and wonder.
After the rumors yesterday that the Baltimore Orioles had offered free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes a 5-year $90 million dollar contract I was surprised to see that there are reports that say the Orioles and free agent Chris Davis have agreed on a 7-year $161 million dollar deal. Maybe the contract offer to Cespedes was to try and get Davis’ camp moving as they seemed to be dragging their feet in negotiations with Baltimore. Davis hit a league high 47 home runs last season to go with 117 RBI’s and hit .262. Could the Orioles bring Davis back and still sign Cespedes?
The World Series champion Kansas City Royals also added a free agent overnight as it’s being reported that the Royals and Ian Kennedy have agreed on a 5-year $70 million dollar contract. Kennedy spent the last 3 seasons with the San Diego Padres where last season he was 9-15 with a 4.28 ERA in 30 starts.
In our picks for the wild card round Schaumburg Stu, Dan the Man and I went 3-1 while Mr. Fantasy was 2-2. The divisional round kicks off this afternoon with the Kansas City Chiefs at the New England Patriots and then tonight it’s the Green Bay Packers at the Arizona Cardinals. While I didn’t receive Mr. Fantasy’s picks in time to add them to this I can tell you that Dan the Man, Schaumburg Stu and I are all picking New England to win today’s first game, but Dan the Man and Schaumburg Stu have Green Bay winning tonight;s game while I have Arizona getting the win. Sunday’s games are the Seattle Seahawks at the Carolina Panthers to start the day and then the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Denver Broncos in the afternoon to wrap up the divisional round. Tomorrow on the Sports Time radio podcast I’ll give you are picks for the Sunday games as well as a review of how today’s games went. Mr. Fantasy should be their and he’ll be able to adjust his picks to go 2-0 on Saturday. You can find the podcast on http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com live from 10:00 a.m. until Noon.
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