Read Everything That Dunks Must Converge

Read Everything That Dunks Must Converge
by Bryan Harvey

Truth & lies in Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur'

Truth & lies in Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur'
by Bryan Harvey

A world of child soldiers & cowboys

A world of child soldiers & cowboys
by Bryan Harvey

To their own devices: Pablo Larrain's 'The Club'

To their own devices: Pablo Larrain's 'The Club'
by Bryan Harvey

Breakfast with Berndon: Paid Professionals Edition

April 2, 2010

On this week's edition of "BBE," Berndon wraps up his NBA Madness tournament, updates us on who is dead and alive, and gives you a couple of guys to watch out for in the playoffs.

NBA Madness:
Since this is March, I've decided to have a little hypothetical tournament as all eyes will be concentrated on the collegiate ranks. I've taken the 18 colleges that have at least 5 players in the NBA, and will hold my own tournament where NBA'ers battle it out to see which school has truly produced the best talent. I will go through this round by round for 4 weeks. This week, it's championship time.

(1) UCLA v. (2) UNC: Two teams that have fallen incredibly hard this year battle it out in the only tournament that really matters, NBA Madness. To start, let me show exactly who each squad suits up:
UCLA: Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Jrue Holiday, Darren Collison, Luc M'Bah a'Moute, Dan Gadzuric, Jason Kapono, Earl Watson, Trevor Ariza, Aaron Affalo, Ryan Hollins, Baron Davis, Jordan Farmar, Matt Barnes
UNC: Raymond Felton, Sean May, Jawad Williams, Marvin Williams, Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Rasheed Wallace, Danny Green, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Brendan Haywood, Brandon Wright.
Backcourt: Having Ray Felton and Vince Carter as your starting guards is slightly better than having Baron Davis and Aaron Affalo, but I've spoken before about UCLA's point guard depth with options 2-4 being Watson, Holiday, and Collison. They get the slight edge here.
Frontcourt: Westbrook plays the 3 here just because the Bruins don't need another point guard, with capable reserves in the ready with Ariza and Matt Barnes. Where the Heels have an advantage is at the 4 and 5 spots, with Jamison and Haywood being a little bit better than Kevin Love and mainly exploiting the hell out of Ryan Hollins, who is not very good.
Bench: UCLA has all of those point guards I mentioned, plus Barnes, Ariza, and Jason Kapono to simply spot up and shoot. I like how UNC could use Jawad Williams and Brandon Wright in multiple spots, but UCLA would have more pieces to tinker with and move to different spots.
In a close battle, I'm going to go ahead and crown UCLA the first annual NBA Madness champions. They could speed the game up and then some, and have just a little bit more depth than UNC. The Bruins escape by the score of 127-124.

Man of the Match 
Weekly Leaderboard:
1. Dwight Howard 3 (19.7 pts, 16.7 rbs, 3.3 assts, 1.7 stls, 3.7 blks)
2. Kevin Durant 2 (31.5 pts, 9 rbs, 2 stls)
2. Lebron James 2 (28.5 pts, 8 rbs, 7.5 assts, 2 stls)
2. George Hill 2 (22 pts, 5.5 rbs, 6.5 assts, 3.5 stls)
2. Chris Bosh 2 ( 28 pts, 11 rbs, 2.5 blks)
2. Gerald Wallace 2 (23.5 pts, 9 rbs, 2.5 stls)
2. Dwyane Wade 2 (31 pts, 7 rbs, 6.5 assts, 4 stls, 2 blks)
2. Carlos Boozer 2 ( 25.5 pts, 13.5 rbs)
2. Andre Miller 2 ( 22.5 pts, 4.5 rbs, 7 assts, 3 stls)
2. Brook Lopez 2 ( 29.5 pts, 11 rbs)
2. Steve Nash 2 ( 23 pts, 5.5 rbs, 12 assts)
Outside of "Side-Show Bob" lookalike Brook Lopez, the common thread in this week's leaderboard is that everyone else plays for teams that are in the playoffs if the season ended today. The cream is rising to the top you could say, if you wanted to be uncreative and use a tired cliche. The numbers bear it out however, as all of the leaders for the week were all-stars playing for playoff teams with the exception of the underappreciated Andre Miller, and rising star George Hill.
Season Leaders:
1. Lebron James 18
2. Dwight Howard 16
3. Josh Smith 13
3. Andrew Bogut 13
5. Kevin Durant 12
5. Dwyane Wade 12

Dead or Alive
Power Rankings:
1. Cleveland 59-16: Unless they completely fall apart, they'll have homecourt in the finals.
2. Orlando 53-22: Beating Dallas on the road puts them ahead of The Lake Show.
3. Lakers 54-21: They've looked shaky, but we'll see what happens against Utah Friday.
4. Utah 50-26: Jazz can further prove legitimacy beating LA in Cali Friday.
5. Dallas 50-26: Looked great against Denver, crappy against Orlando.
6. Atlanta 48-26: I love their homecourt nickname, "The Highlight Factory."
7. Denver 49-27: Birdman needs to bring back the hair, and also get healthy.
8. Phoenix 49-26: They need a healthy Robin Lopez or they will lose a bunch of 130-125 games in the playoffs.
9. Oklahoma City 46-28: Someone needs to think of a better nickname than "Durantula."
10. Boston 47-27: I can't tell if they have one more push in the playoffs in them or not.
11. Portland 46-30: Secret reason why I like them a little more coming up in my recaps section.
12. San Antonio 45-29: They better hope they don't have to start out in LA.
13. Miami 41-34: Somebody woke up Quentin Richardson. Somewhere Darius Miles weeps.
14. Milwaukee 41-33: They haven't gotten tired of Scott Skiles yet.
15. Charlotte 39-35: What's the over/under on locker room blowups by MJ in the playoffs?
16. Memphis 38-36: Probably wish they played in the East.
17. Toronto 37-37: If the Bulls get  healthy, they'll be sitting at home.
18. Chicago 35-39: I hate how they're playing, but injuries really have murdered them.
New Orleans: They have an important decison to make with how to play CP3 and Collison together, or how to move Collison and get some help up front.
Houston: When they get Yao back, will they return to relevance?
New York: New York is going to be a depressing place if they can't sign Lebron.
Philly: This looks pretty messy. Maybe they'll draft DeMarcus Cousins so he and Dalembert can just fight each other in practice every day.
Indiana: With the 37th pick in the draft, the Indiana Pacers select Jon Scheyer from Duke University.

Game Recaps:
Dallas 109, Denver 93: In a battle for the number two spot out West, the Mavs came out and curb stomped the Nuggets, whose woes continue without Head Coach George Karl and starting power forward Kenyon Martin. Dirk and his blonde German locks was the player of the night, going for 34 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists for his 2nd career triple-double. Denver got next to nothing from its own superstar, as Carmelo only went for 10 points on 3-16 shooting from the field. Denver needs to get Martin and Coach Karl back in a hurry. Analysts have already beaten the substitute teacher analogy to death talking about why the loss of Karl hurts them, but Martin, aside from his 12 points and 10 rebounds averages, brings the Nuggets a genuine toughness that the other players feed off of. He looks like he could just snap and beat the shit out everyone on the court, and the other Denver players feed off of this, collectively playing tougher because they know Kmart has their backs. Without him, they will continue to get bitched around by the Brendan Haywood and Eric Dampier’s of the world, leading to them relinquishing their “best bet to upset the Lakers” status.
Man of the Match: Dirk 34 pts, 10 rbs, 10 assts

Denver 109, Portland 92: I feel like my game recaps have turned into a case study on the Denver Nuggets. I’ll try to be more diverse with the amount of baseball teams once that season starts, but since Denver is on regular TV constantly, I get a heavy dose. They tend to be all over the map with how they play, so it makes for decent television. This one was largely decided by Chauncey Billups in the 3rd quarter, which according to the stats TNT showed, is the quarter that for some reason Mr. Big Shot usually takes over, as he shoots about 5-10% better from the field in this stanza. This is relatively strange, akin to a power hitter hitting the majority of his home runs in the 4th-6th innings. Portland struggled mainly because Brandon Roy struggled, however I did like the fact that Martell Webster had a big game off the bench. If they can get him and Rudy Fernandez going on a hot streak once the playoffs commence, the Blazers could be dangerous. Think having two J.R. Smith’s minus the neck tattoos and yellow shoes, but with the game-changing shooting coming off the pine.
Man of the Match: Billups 21 pts, 4 rbs, 6 assts

Photo Source: 1, 2, 3


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April 3, 2010 at 7:56 AM

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