Tag Archives: nba

5 Things I Learnt from the NBA Finals 2012

So, the Heat ‘so-called dynasty team’ finally won their first NBA title behinid their big 3 of LeBron, Wade and Bosh. Whilst I personally dislike Miami, I felt there are some stuff that we can learn from their victorious exploits in this year’s Finals as they dismantled the Thunder in 5 games.

These are 5 things I learnt from the NBA Finals 2012:

1. You need to RALLY to win. The Heat trailed in three of their series during their Championship run before rallying to win them. As Mater would say “That’s a no-quit attitude right there!”

2. Road Wins are key to successful and deep playoff run. OKC’s home advantage was taken from them in Game 2 and they never recovered from there.

3. Strong bench support always helps. Last year, the Heat were over reliant on their Big 3. This year, I was surprised to see their bench stepping up to assist their team. Instead of watching the Thunder’s highly touted bench taking advantage here, we saw strong support from Miami’s bench with solid contributions from Chalmers, Battier, Miller, etc.

4. With Experience comes Maturity. Although many did not see it, I think the Finals really got on the nerves of the young Thunder side. Miami managed to learn from their failure last year and turned it into motivation. If OKC can pick up and learn as well as Miami did, we may possibly see a potential rivalry between these two young, athletic sides for the next couple of years…

5. East still sucks. Sadly, Miami would probably get many, many more chances to add on to their Championship in years to come because the competition in the Eastern Conference seriously sucks! With ageing Boston on its way down and Chicago over-reliant on Derrick Rose, no other team comes close to the level of the Heat. Compared to the West where the competition is always open, it looks like Miami is set to play whatever bruised and battered champ coming out from the West every year…

NBA Fantasy League 2012 Summary

 

Although the NBA Playoffs is still on-going, my NBA season for 2011/12 already ended the day my Mavericks failed to get a better positioning in the West, got paired up with on-form OKC and eventually getting swept by the Thunder in the first round. Sigh.

Anyway, on the Fantasy front,  I have to admit that Fantasy NBA is, and I repeat, NOT as easy as Fantasy Premier League or Fantasy La Liga. Whilst I may have enjoyed much success and ranking in both Fantasy Premier League or Fantasy La Liga, I am still learning the ropes and steadily improving myself (only) in my second season.

With the shortened 66-game season, I managed to total up 9,267 points, averaging 18.76 pts per day. This is a slight improvement from my 17.71 pts/day average in my rookie year. Globally, I have also improved my rankings from 3.221 (2% bracket) last year to 1,732 (0.9%) this year!

Woo hoo! Target of breaking into the 1% global bracket met! 😛

So, what is it that makes Fantasy NBA such a challenge? Well, for one, apart from the All Star break, all teams play EVERY DAY. So we get to make trades on a DAILY basis – timing in making those trades are downright crucial to buy low and sell high..

For me, the learning curve I have yet to fully master is the position limit strategy. In Fantasy NBA, each ‘position’ is limited to the total games in the entire season. For example, in a 66-game season, each position in your roster can only be filled up 66 times. Of course, this does not mean the season itself finishes in 66 days! Ahhh….so some cunning strategy needs to come into play to ensure ALL the roster spots are evenly played to maximise the most points.

I was caught in this position limit trap in my rookie year when I was stuck with several positions in locked status with a couple of weeks left to go. I dreadfully saw my rankings slipped from sub 1% rankings to eventually 2% within days…

This year, I am starting to plot my roster spots better to make sure ALL players get to score points over the season, and of course, not get trapped with players reaching their position limits too quickly. 😛

Have you tried Fantasy NBA? 

 

 

Salary Cap Schooling

 

 

When I blogged about my addiction of managing fantasy sport teams, I mentioned two of which that certainly had me at hello – Facebook’s Fantasy Football and Salary Cap Basketball (NBA). And whilst I performed considerably well in the fantasy football in my first year, the  same cannot be said about my fortunes of managing an NBA club in fantasy land.

It was kinda disappointing too because I was doing pretty well at one stage. During my first blog, I was sitting pretty in the top 1% of the global rankings. Within the next few weeks, I actually shot up to as high as the 0.8% mark. Then, things started to go downhill from there….I would eventually wind up in only the top 2%, ranked 3,221 out of 221,501 teams.

So, what happened?

Read on as I share about some tips on what to look out for in FB’s Salary Cap Basketball for aspiring managers. And trust me, the learning curve is quite different from managing a fantasy football team..:-p

1. The factor that thwarted my successful rookie year as NBA Fantasy manager was the simple fact that I overlooked a key rule – position limits. Over the course of the NBA season, there are 82 games to be played. For each team, there will be the default starting 5 consisting of a center, 2 forwards and 2 guards. There will also be 3 utility players who can also score points for your club on every gameweek (unlike Fantasy Football (FF) that only scores 11 players). Position Limits essentially mean all starting positions (the 5) can play a total of 82 games. This is merely to reduce the factor of someone keeping LeBron James or Kevin Durant on the roster forever to score big points. Problem is, as the manger, we’d need to be alert as to when each position is approaching its 82-game limit, and then make necessary changes to avoid the position getting unplayable = no more points. Still following? Anyway, I was trapped in quite a bit of a jam about 3 weeks left before the end of the regular season when almost all my positions were locked up and I could barely score points in the weeks that ensued. I have to admit this rule is still kinda tough for me to understand let alone manage it.

2. Daily Trades – Since basketball is played almost on a daily basis, there are trades to be made DAILY. Yup, you read it right – DAILY. Unlike FF where the trades are made every week, giving managers more time to analyse, strategise, talk tactics on forums, etc., in NBA Salary Cap, we need to plan our team and strategies almost instantaneous when the tip off for the final game for that gameday has started, which would signal the start of the next trading day. kan cheong leh?..:-D Concept is the same – buy low, sell high to get more budget so that the team can be built on more superstars. Only challenge is to make the trades as EARLY as possible when the trade window opens. You see, since teams play almost everyday, teams that DON”T play will likely see their players dropped. When players are dropped, their value decreases, and thus the opportunity to buy them presents itself. For teams who will be playing the next day, you;d expect when teh window opens, all the superstars on those teams will be snapped up. When players are bought, their value increases.

3. Make Quick Bucks – Using the illustration above, here is the method to increase the salary cap. Identify two superstars from different teams that can usually perform for their clubs – eg. Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki. Both play in power forward positions and their value typically hovers around $20M. Buy ONE of them to start off the season, say Pau. On the trading day when he is NOT playing tomorrow, quickly sell him off and buy Dirk who’s value would be lower than $20M. When the next day comes along when Pau will play, quickly sell off Dirk and buy Pau at the lower rate BEFORE his price shoots up again due to massive ‘demands’ to buy him. After a few days of ‘cross-selling and buying’, your salary cap will increase pretty fast. Problem is that I am not always in front of my PC to make those trades so I wasn’t able to really push up my salary cap last year; but I have seen several players who are really good in making those trades and increase their cap very high.

4. Injuries – Just like FF, we have to take note of all injuries to players of your team and also other teams. One of my favourite site to view such injuries is from CBS Sport’s coverage of NBA Injuries. Knowing which player is injured or when he is expected to play plays a big part in ensuring a successful fantasy team. There have also been some tips to strategically buy injured players so that they don’t get to play and thus preserving the position limit thing but I don’t think I have gone to that level of professional management yet…:-p

5. Utilise Database – make use of the stats available in the gamepage. There you can sort the players by points scored, value, games played, etc. to see which are the players who can rack up points and those who cannot. Kevin Love was one such example last season. Not many expected him to be a revelation in Minnesota but after the first few weeks, he became a regular feature on most teams for his phenomenal scoring and rebounding abilities.

I have to admit there is still much to learn about NBA Salary Cap – how to make use of the utility players, managing the position limits, making the trade within the opening few minutes, etc. It is also tougher since this game requires DAILY attention and there are days when I do not go online so I would expect some cruel points would be lost there.

Anyway, if the NBA ever sorts out its current lockout, I would most certainly play again – if not to improve from my score from last season, but just cause I’m a basketball fan. 😀

Remembering Victorious Vindications!

It has been 4 days and I am still basking in the celebrations of Dallas securing their first ever franchise NBA Championship. You would really need to follow the struggles of this franchise to truly feel and understand (a little) of what they are really feeling right now.

A bunch of battle-hardened, ageing veterans which had been collectively carried around the ‘no-hoper’, ‘choker’ tag for half a decade, had finally exorcised the ghosts of 2006 and are now Champions. I’m just tearfully happy for Dirk and Kidd who are both now officially OFF the ‘list of NBA’s best who have never won a Championship’. Everything still feels unreal at times, and I must admit I shivered in anxiety in the final 12 minutes of Game 6, listening to the play-by-play being streamed over online radio.

In remembering the incredible classic of a Finals that Dallas and Miami served up over six games, where both teams had a very even chance to win every single game going into the 4Q, here are the recaps:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYr-xMNTd-0

Game 1

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y_SHyVpS-k

Game 2

Game 3

Game 4

Game 5

Game 6

 

All Video Credits/Source

Simply MAV-ellous!

Image Credits

Two of them were the only survivors of their last appearance on the grandest stage where they were a part of an embarrassing meltdown and lost. One of led his previous team to the biggest stage twice, and still lost. Two others came one step short of the NBA Finals. They also had a coach who took two different teams into the Finals, but still fell short. No one else on the current team had won it before.

Individually, they are talented and experienced, but have always come up short. Collectively, they have put together an incredible run this season, despite all criticisms, ending it with a sensational first-ever Championship.

Sounds like a fairytale Hollywood script? Not anymore. The Dallas Mavericks achieved just that a few hours ago when they beat the Miami Heat 105-95 in Game 6 on their own floor to win the series 4-2. Ironically, it was the Heat who beat the Mavericks 4-2 in 2006, clinching win no. 4 on Dallas’ home court, the last time both of these teams landed in the NBA Finals. I guess I was right when I said it before Game 1 began…this is the NBA: Where Redemption Happens…

Image Credits

This entire season was about resilience. And the Mavs sure had plenty of it, especially in the playoffs. When they were matched up against the Miami Heat in the Finals, they were clearly the underdogs. The Heat is a team that was customised to win it all this season. When LeBron James and Chris Bosh made that decision to join Dwayne Wade to pursue Championship rings, the world of basketball shivered with fear. Seriously.

Many were expecting the ageing legs of the veteran Dallas team would not be able to keep up with Miami, but boy did they do it. And then some. After dominating Game 1 in Miami, the Heat began to think this would actually be their season.The in Game 2, with 7 mins remaining in the 4Q, Miami took a 15 point lead, and things were looking gloomy for Dallas. Then Dirk happened. Leading the way, the Mavs furiously rallied to win 95-93 and the series was tied.

The classic went back to Dallas for Games 3-5 and Game 3 seemed to take off where Game 2 ended. Miami dominated again in 3Qs, but allowed Dallas to shine in the 4Q again, but this time the Mavs fell short as the Heat squeak out a 88-86 victory. Down 1-2, Dallas managed to manufacture yet another rally in the 4Q to win 86-83, capping one of the closest 3 consecutive games in the finals EVER. And to top it off, Dirk actually played with a high fever throughout the game. Series tied again 2-2

The it came down to Game 5, where stats showed how important this game was. The winning team in Game 5 had quite a good wining percentage to win it. Although LeBron scored a triple double, it was Nowitzki taking over in the fourth…again! Securing a 112-103 shootout, the Mavs were suddenly one game away from the Championship, but they still had to travel back to Miami to finish the job. Dallas leads 3-2.

Game 6 was such nailbiter everyone expected. Both teams held leads and lost them. Miami started to crack under pressure as they missed shot after shot, be it free throws or 3PT shooting. Although Dirk started poorly, it was the deep, deep Dallas bench that kept the game tight and close. The Mavs silently pulled away and eventually prevailed 105-95. Incredible stuff.

Dirk Nowitzki deservedly won the Finals MVP, remarkably so since he performed extraordinarily in all 4Qs, scoring an almost impossible 62 points only in all 4Qs for the all 6 games. I don’t think I have seen anyone scoring double digit 4Q points in all Final games. Hail Dirk…Mr Clutch, for finally winning it. Jason Kidd finally got one too. After coming up short with New Jersey, this 38-year old veteran wil become the oldest starting point guard to win a championship. As with Jason Terry, another veteran who was part of the disastrous Miami team in 2006, showed much heart in stepping up his game and carried the team in the decisive Game 6 for 3Qs before Dirk took over again.

At the end of it, I believe Dallas won it all simply because they had more hunger after their previous failures and also more experienced in handling the pressure of the Finals. Even before the Finals, Dallas has shown they had been resilient in beating the young and athletic Portland Trailblazers, ruthless in dismantling the Lakers and steady in overcoming the young Oklahoma City Thunder.

There were so many games throughout the Mavs’ playoff run that they rallied and rallied and eventually pulling out a victory. And if there was one turning point of Dallas’ championship run, I would pick Game 4 vs Portland where the Trailblazers overcame a 23-point 3Q deficit to beat the Mavs 84-82 to tie the series 2-2, sowing more doubts in the hearts of Dallas and accentuating their choker tag further. Not the Mavs of this season. They bounced back to win the next two games to beat Portland 4-2. The way the Mavs bounced back from that heartbreaking game 4 vs Portland gave me confidence that the Mavs were definitely for real this time round.

In my parting shot, all I wanna say to Dirk, Kidd, Terry, Marion, Chandler, Barea, coach Carlisle and the rest of the Mavs team – THANK YOU for an unforgettable and amazing season and congrats on winning that elusive NBA Championship. I’m just so happy for everyone on the Mavs roster who finally won a Championship ring. Your journey here has been nothing short of inspirational to me.

Here’s the mini movie of Game 6 that I will forever remember…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwZXZcyr460

Go Mavs!

Image Credits

Playoff Predictions: Conference Finals

Wow! The Conference finals are already into Game 1s as I write this, so I better pick up gears and post up my predictions.

I was spot on with all of my R2 predictions, but I never predicted the way some of the series went. Most unbelievable was Dallas’ impressive dismantling of two-time champions LA Lakers. That rewarded them with plenty of days rest ahead of their Conference finals, which started this morning. Their opponents – young and dangerous Oklahoma, with superstar Keven Durant at helm, survived a 7-game thriller of a series with Memphis. In the East, I was surprised at how easily Miami picked apart Boston 4-1 whilst Chicago battled through in six games over Atlanta.

Although Chicago holds the league record in the regular season, I predict they will face problems winning 4 games with Miami. The Heat has this knack of playing great one-off games and their away record has been really good this year.  I do not see Chicago sustaining the form during their Game 1 win. Besides, the number of 2nd chance points for the Bulls in that game is seriously ridiculous. I predict Miami to steal at least 2 games in Chicago for the remainder of the series and win it 4-2.

In the West, it’s a simple young vs old (and very hungry). A Dallas roster filled with Championship-starved 30-something veterans vs a Oklahoma team of young and rising stars. Personally, I felt the 9 days of rest after the LA sweep did Dallas some good as their offense clicked into the right gears in Game 1 as they rolled to a 121-112 victory. Dirk performed phenomenally this morning, scoring a  whopping 48 points and going for a NBA playoff record 24-24 from the FT line. He only missed 3 field goal attempts in the game. Incredible. I do have concerns that if this series were to drag on beyond 5 games, the Mavericks would tire out. My pick is for the Mavs to clinch it 4-1.if they don’t, they might run into serious trouble because the speed at which the Thunder play is pretty scary at times.

Conference Finals Predictions:

East:

Miami 4 Chicago 2

West:

Dallas 4 Oklahoma 1

 

Playoff Prediction Stats for R2: 4/4 (100%); Dead-on: 0/4 (0%)

Overall: 9/12 (75%); Dead-on: 2/12 (17%)

 

Playoff Predictions: Round One

Whew….after the grueling marathonic 82 regular season games, the NBA Playoffs is finally ready to begin! More often than usual, this season’s NBA provided some nice surprises like the Bulls getting the overall best record, the Spurs possibly being one of the more consistent teams even with their old guards, the struggles of the Heat and Lakers, etc.

Anyhoo, here is how the playoff bracket stacks up and my bold (and biased) predictions..

Image Credits

Eastern Conference

Bulls (1) vs Pacers (8): Chicago’s form has been sparkling (9-0) heading into the playoffs. They even managed to steal the overall top-seed ranking from San Antonio on the very last day of the regular season. Not since the Jordan era has Chicago been this excited. I expect no surprises here with Derrick Rose (leading candidate for regular season MVP) guiding his club to an easy 4-1 victory.

Heat (2) vs 76ers (7): Miami has been tuning up well for the playoffs too. They have seem to have settled down after a mid-season turmoil and I don’t forsee Le Bron and co. having any difficulties with Philly, with only their bench being the strong point. Miami to sweep the series 4-0.

Celtics (3) vs Knicks (6): Arguably the marquee matchup of the first round. Boston’s failure to hand on to the 2nd seed may cost them dear as they have been thrown into a battle with the new-look Knicks, who can get hot on any given day. if the Amare-Carmelo tandem starts clicking, it could be a shock of Boston, who have been beset with recent injuries. On formbook, I will predict a Knicks upset in Game 7.

Magic (4) vs Hawks (5): After some mid-season trades, Orlando seems to have gathered enough momentum to make a strong charge in the playoffs. With Howard complemented with reliable wingmen, their potent 3-point arsenal could prove crucial as they take on the dangerous Hawks, who hopes to discover their early season form. May be a battle but Orlando should prevail 4-2

Western Conference

Spurs (1) vs. Grizzlies (8): The top seeded Spurs were limping into the playoffs with Ginobli injuring himself in the final game. Duncan has only just recovered, so I guess they would really need their deep deep bench to step it up. Luckily for them, they are paired with Memphis, which I think do not have the playoff pedigree to trouble San Antonio. Spurs to coast through this one 4-1

Lakers (2) vs Hornets (7): LA were the other team that was limping into the playoffs, after a sensational winning streak after the All-Star weekend. In their second last game, they just barely beat a makeshift San Antonio team and in the final game, they needed Kobe to knock in a late 3-pointer to force OT and eventually winning to snatch the 2nd seed from Dallas. Luckily for them, they will face up with a New Orleans team that has dramatically slumped over the final weeks. Both very tired looking teams but I do not expect any upsets here. Lakers to win this one comfortably 4-1

Mavericks (3) vs. Trailblazers (6): This could turn out to be the toughest first round draw in the West. As in previous WC playoffs, the seedings are a bit deceiving with all 8 teams almost equally strong on every other night. Just compare East’s 8th seed, Indiana (37-45) and its West counterpart, Memphis (46-36). Anyway, Dallas have always known to choke in the playoffs and Portland presents a very possible banana skin. Tied 2-2 during the regular season, Dallas’ veteran players may find it difficult to cope with the speedy youth from Portland. However, i would believe the inclusion of Tyson Chandler this season has made Dallas more formidable, and with the league’s best road-team (together with Miami), they should be able to cope with this first round threat. Dallas to win  a grueling test 4-2.

Thunder (4) vs. Nuggets (5): Oklahoma has been pretty consistent throughout the season and with on-form Kevin Durant on its side, they can be pretty confident of going far and posing a threat to the rest of the Conference. Although the Nuggets earned the 5th seed, I do not see them going far after Melo left, but Oklahoma’s playoff inexperience will result in a close contest. Thunder to steal this one 4-3.