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Tag Archives: Playoffs

With the post season upon us it’s time to pick and choose who will come out of the N.L. Division to face the A.L. winner for a chance at the World Series Title.

Phillies verses Reds:

The Reds are here for the first time in quite sometime, the Phillies on the other hand are just back to where they always seem to be.

With a rotation that consists of Roy Halladay (21 wins) Roy Oswalt (13 wins) and Cole Hamels (12 wins) the Phillies have the right formula of H2O to make another trip to the World Series. Not only do they have their top three starters with lower the a three era they have a line up that consists of Ryan Howard, a finally healthy Chase Utley and Jason Werth who has been their catalyst for the most part this season. Werth and Howard have combined for 58 home runs and 193 runs batted in. Not bad for you number four and five hitter but I believe that the play of Chase Utley at the Phillies number three spot will be a big key in this offense getting going early.

For the Reds they have a very young and or inexperienced pitching rotation. Besides Benson Arroyo, who has been their ace with 17 wins this season, no pitcher has playoff experience. Arroyo had his time with the Boston Red Soxs so he knows what to expect. Johnny Cueto is seconded in wins this season with 12 but everyone else is below ten and whats surprising even more is that it’s not either of those pitchers will take the mound game one. Edinson Volquez will take the mound for game 1. Dusty Baker saying he wanted to go with his most rested pitcher in game one. The Reds will have to look for their bats to come up big. Joey Votto, arguably the MVP of the N.L. can’t do it alone. Brandon Phillips, Jonny Gomes and Jay Bruce have to get it going as well. All three players have big bat potential and will need to help Votto in putting this offense together.

Who Wins?: Ultimately I think the Phillies will win this in 4 games. I think the Reds will be able to eek one out at home but having to face Halladay twice is no easy task. Phillies in four.

Braves vs. Giants


Will the retiring of manager Bobby Cox be the fuel to a Braves World Series run or will the Giants play spoiler and advance themselves?

For the Braves starting pitching will be their main key in winning this series. With Derek Lowe posting a 4.00 era it does not say good for the first game against a hot Giants offensive team. Tommy Hanson and Tim Hudson have had the best season of all starting pitchers and both will have to be on their game come their starts. Hudson has been great all season long posting a 2.83 era and earning 17 victories. Tommy Hanson had a great start to the season but fell off a bit towards the end. The Braves line up has some high averaged hitters at the 1-2 with Omar Infante and Martin Prado at the top. A rookie slugger in Jason Heyward and a veteran Derek Lee.  Lee is the main guy in this rotation. Playing clean up, Lee needs to find his former self. Hitting for power and average and keeping the offense always ahead of the team it’s facing.

For the Giants the number one factor is the offense. This offense isn’t a very solid one that you can compare to other teams in the playoffs. No real big bat in the line up but a lot of average bats that if they heat up can score some runs playing small ball. Buster Posey, the rookie catcher, had a great season when he was called up. Batted over .300 and hit 18 home runs. Aubrey Huff was their only player to get over 20 home runs with 26. Huff will need to be consistent with the long ball to help drive in timely runs when needed. Pablo Sandoval and the rest of the Giants offense needs to produce for this pitching staff that has pretty much carried them all season. Tim Lincecum, though having a down year, is still your number one ace. Can strikeout a whole line up with no problem but consistency has been an issue. Matt Cain has been another stellar pitcher for this team with 13 wins and a 3.14 era. Johnathan Sanchez, though erratic at times, is a very tough pitcher to face. If he’s on, beating him will be a very difficult task. And Barry Zito, probably having the most experience out of all the starting pitchers, had found his old self for the most part of the season. Curve ball looks to be up to par and ready for playoff action.

Who Wins?: I’m taking the San Francisco Giants over the Atlanta Braves in 5 games. I think their pitching will be to tough for the Braves batters and their offense has been hot of late and they say, “The hottest team is the dangerous team.”

Giants vs Phillies

This will be a great pitching match up every night for both teams. Oswalt, Halladay and Hamels vs Sanchez, Cain and Lincecum will be even match ups. Though the pitching might be even the offense is not. Here is where the Giants offense will hurt this team and their chances. The Phillies hitters are consistent and will cause problems on the base paths. The Giants will truly miss a big bat in their line up.

Who Wins?: The Phillies will win this in 5 games. Pitching will be good for the Giants but the Phillies hitters will be better. Phillies return to the World Series for the third time in three years and look to be winners twice out of the three times.

– Tim Dimas ( @TimmyD_WSJU )

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In his possible destination jersey and new number

I spent part 1 discussing who would lead the Nets into battle next year. Part 2 will be about the guy who will be the face of the media world until he decides what he wants to do with his career. For a lot of Nets fans, also mine, hope LeBron James will wear a Nets uniform come next year.

James is the golden boy. The one they call the King. The King didn’t show up this post season and now is looking like a prince but that isn’t stopping teams like the Nets, Bulls, Knicks, Clippers etc on going after him. Why would it? 2 time MVP and he’s only 25. Like he said at his press conference after his horrendous game 5 against the Celtics, ” I have a lot of basketball left…” and yes he does.

How do the Nets go about this off season in obtaining him this off season. They are given a 100-1 chance to land him by the New York Post and everyone says it’s not a good situation for him. My question is, the Knicks are? The Knicks are going into next season with Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari as the face of their franchise. David Lee is gone as of right now and Sergio Rodriguez and Tony Douglas aren’t anywhere close to being what LeBron needs to get a title. Neither is having Eddy Curry as your starting center. People say well their going to get Chris Bosh. Well okay wonderful but after you blow 17million to each player what will you have left? mid level exception to sign Brad Miller? Two second round draft picks? Not to spend the time on beating up on the Knicks but I have to put my words out there.

The Nets have a point guard that can run the show. His name is Devin Harris. The Nets have a top 5 if not 3 center in the league. His name is Brook Lopez. They also have two other top 10 picks on their roster, Yi Jianlian and Terrence Williams. I know Yi isn’t huge but he was drafted #6 overall and he has the ability to play. LeBron made the players around him look like all-stars, Yi will benefit too. Courtney Lee is better then Anthony Parker and Chris Douglas-Roberts is a player that has tons of potential especially coming from a John Calipari system at Memphis. Kris Humphries is there too and he isn’t horrible. Better then Anderson Verajo for sure.

Now those are the players that are already on the team. What about the draft? Three top 31 picks? A top-4 pick without a doubt? The Nets are in a rebuilding mode but if all goes right, LBJ will be the piece they need to make this rebuilding a micro fix. And why shouldn’t he come to NJ? Sure it’s not a huge market but neither is Cleveland and LBJ isn’t poor. New York City is a 30 minute drive and if I’m not mistaken the Nets will be in Brooklyn by 2012. LeBron is part of Roc Nation Athlete’s which is run by Brooklyn native Jay-Z. There are a lot of pro’s for LBJ to come to NJ. May I also add that there is a billion dollar owner who only cares about winning and not money? Truthfully I haven’t heard a bad one yet. If you read this and have one please feel free to add it.

LeBron is the NBA’s best player. The league goes as he goes. Would the NBA Finals have been bigger had he made it? Of course which is why he needs to go to a team that has pieces to get him there. The New Jersey Nets ( Soon to be New York Nets) have some and almost all the pieces he needs to be a part of a good team.

Part 3 will cover Free Agents. Who the Nets should try and get and possible trade moves. Stick around for that.

-Timmy Dimas

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After coming out of the gate hot, going up by as many as 20 points, the Boston Celtics held off the Orlando Magic 92-88 to take a 1-0 lead in the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals.

The Celtics, led by Ray Allen, who was looking more like his movie alter-ego Jesus Shuttlesworth, stole an important game on the road. Allen’s 25 points came on 8-16 shooting, including four key free throws in the final minute to seal the deal for Boston. Along with Allen, Paul Pierce added 22 points and 9 rebounds.

From the beginning, both sides were playing sloppily, Orlando and Boston alike unable to get much going in the halfcourt. These turnovers allowed Boston to get out to their big early lead, highlighting a key they had been looking to exploit: converting defense into offense. But, it cannot all be attributed to defense, as many Magic turnovers came unforced, lazily throwing the ball out of bounds or losing it entirely.

The brightest spot for Orlando was Vince Carter, who has 23 points on 9-18 shooting. Jameer Nelson, running the point, added 20 points and 9 rebounds.

Though it looked like Orlando was out of it from the beginning, they were able to shake off the rust in the 4th quarter and make it a respectable game. Outscoring Boston 30-18 in the 4th, they had the game within 2 in the final minute.

Surprisingly, Rasheed Wallace turned his game on for the first time this season, playing stellar defense on Dwight Howard and limiting him to just 13 points on an abysmal 3-10 from the field. The Celtics are using the same, smart technique that teams used to employ to beat Shaq on the Lakers. When he gets the ball down low, hack him and send him to the line. Don’t let him throw down on you. Make him earn it from the stripe.

And it seems to be working. The platoon defense of Glen Davis, Rasheed Wallace, and Kevin Garnett sent Howard to the line 12 times, where he made seven. When you eliminate Howard’s ability to dominate down low, you take an important facet away from Orlando’s offense.

This will probably be the most intriguing series of an otherwise boring playoffs. Boston has reason to be scared because Orlando only really played the final quarter. If things had been clicking for them the whole game, the story would be different. Most times, 15 turnovers don’t translate into a playoff win on the road. Boston will have to clean their act up if they want to take this series from a very skilled, yet a bit rusty, Magic team.

-Dan Martin

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It’s that time of the year. Two teams who worked all season to get to this point and are four games away from their ultimate goal and eight games from achieving their ultimate goal, the NBA Championship. In the Western Conference Finals we have the Phoenix Suns, the run and gun team of the league and the Los Angeles Lakers, the team everyone wants to hate because they win every year but root for them because they want to say they rooted for the champs. Lets back-track for a moment and explain how these two teams got to where they are.

The Phoenix Suns finished with 54 wins and a #3 seed in the Western Conference. In the first round they took on the Brandon Roy-less Portland Trail Blazers winning the series 4-2. Yes, I said the Roy-less Trail Blazers and, yes, he did play but it wasn’t the Brandon Roy who could take over the game. Eight days removed from knee surgery, it was a surprise he even went. Even so, the Suns won the series and would go and face the monkey that has been on their back since the 2004 playoffs, the San Antonio Spurs. The Suns would shock probably the whole basketball world by defeating the Spurs in sweep fashion. Hey, even I had to check my computer three days later to make sure there wasn’t a virus going on. Never the less, they now face the Lakers.

For the Lakers, they finished the season with 57 wins and the #1 seed in the Western Conference; no surprise there. They would go and play the surprising team of the year, the Oklahoma City Thunder, in the first round. While most experts predicted an easy series, Kevin Durant and company gave the Lakers all they could handle, running the series to six games, and almost seven, had Pau Gasol not hit the game winning lay-in. The Lakers would win the series 4-2 and face the Playoff Injured Utah Jazz. The Jazz played without Andre Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur, both out with injuries. The Lakers would match the Suns and sweep the Jazz.

Now on to their match up. Here are some keys for both teams if they want to win this series.

Suns

Don’t try to match the Lakers – The Lakers are the far more superior team, talent-wsie. With Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher and of course Kobe Bryant, The Lakers are the favorites to win this series. Not so fast though. If the Suns can keep to their strengths and run the floor how they like to, this could be a long series for LA.

Steve Nash from the beginning – Nash isn’t young anymore but that hasn’t slowed him down. He has been on a complete tear this post season in both series against Portland and San Antonio, why stop now? Nash needs to play his game, get to the lanes like he always does and either get his two points or feed it easily to one of the four players on the court.

Don’t get slowed down – The Suns aren’t known for letting the shot clock run down. They run a drill in practice in which they have to score in 7 seconds or less. The Suns need to run and use their athleticism to over-match the Lakers, who do have some athleticism, but aren’t known for their transition defense–big plus for Phoenix.

Lakers

Get big – The Suns aren’t a huge team. Aside from Amar’e Stoudemire, Phoenix is a relatively small team. With the twin towers of Bynum and Gasol, the Lakers need to throw the ball down low and use their big men in the paint.

Kobe Bean Bryant –At the end of the day, the Lakers win when Kobe is on his A game or even on is B+ game. Kobe had some difficulties in the first series against the Thunder, but against the Jazz he was on a tear so for LA’s sake, they better hope Kobe goes Black Mamba all series long.

Transition Defense & Pace of the Game – I know that’s two things in one, but those are the two main components of stopping the Phoenix Suns. Steve Nash & Co. do not want to play a half-court game. They aren’t as effective that way as when they run loose. So, if the Lakers can slow them down, then the Suns have a lot to worry about and the Lakers will be smooth sailing.

Key Match Up – Kobe Bryant vs Grant Hill.

Grant Hill has to be ready to bump knees with Kobe, literally. I know fans out there will say Hill doesn’t have knees anymore but he has to go rent a pair if the Suns will have a chance in upsetting the best player in the league and his team. We have seen what happens when Kobe gets disrupted in a game. Grant needs to be a hill and slow Kobe down and keep the ball out of his hands. This will be the match-up that will be a huge factor in the series.

Prediction – As much as I would love an underdog series, I just don’t see the Lakers losing. Sorry Suns fans, but the ageless wonder Grant Hill and the two time MVP Steve Nash will not be advancing out of this round to go to the Finals. Look for the Lakers to take this in 6 games, but these will be some of the toughest 6 games LA has played in a while.

-Tim Dimas

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