Category Archives: Sports

NBAAs the NBA Playoffs are once again upon us, our basketball expert, Antonio Foster, shares picks that you can take to the bank:

Western Conference

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors

Winner: Clippers

The Warriors have a great offense but are lacking on the defensive end. With Andrew Bogut out for the playoffs the inside presence of Deandre Jordan and Blake Griffin is going to be too much. I’m taking the Clippers in 7 games.

Portland Trailblazers vs. Houston Rockets

Winner: Houston Rockets

The 4 vs 5 seed match-up is pretty even. The series depends on the health of the Houston Rockets (Pearsons & Howard). In the end I think Houston will win this series in 7 games.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks

Winner: Spurs

The Spurs are one of the favorites in the west after earning the #1 seed in the NBA Postseason. With these two teams both having lots of playoff experience it should be a fun series to see these older teams go at it. Spurs in 5 games.

 

OKC Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Winner: Thunder

The Thunder are also one of the favorites in the West with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook leading the way. The Grizzlies are a great defensive team but the lack of scoring on the perimeter will be their downfall. Thunder in 6 games.

Eastern Conference

Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks

Winner: Pacers

Indiana faced some troubles in the final stretch of the season but managed to lock up the #1 seed in the East. In the season series Atlanta managed to win 2 out of 4 games. However I feel like the Pacers will get it together and Paul George and Roy Hibbert will lead them to winning this series in 5 games.

 

Miami Heat vs. Charlotte Bobcats

Winner: Heat

The defending NBA champions take on a Bobcats team that is lead by Al Jefferson. The Heat spent the last stretch of the season getting healthy so they can make another Finals run. The 4 time MVP will be too much to handle for the Bobcats that already gave up a 62 point performance to Lebron James earlier this season. Heat in 4 games.

 

Chicago Bulls vs. Washington Wizards

Winner: Bulls

The Chicago Bulls are still missing superstar Derrick Rose but managed to march their way into the playoffs led by Defensive Player Of The Year candidate Joakim Noah. The Wizards are led by John Wall, a point guard that causes problems for opposing defenses with his speed. The Bulls have the playoff experience and better coaching so im taking them in 7 games.

 

Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors  

Winner: Nets

The Brooklyn Nets go into the playoffs after becoming the hottest team after the All Star break. As the Nets seemed to get it’s Veterans healthy the seemed to be playing better. The Raptors are experiencing one of their greatest season since Vince Carter was apart of the organization. However their lack playoff experience will be the difference in this series. Nets in 6 games.

Weathering The Seahawks’ Offseason Woes

Seahawks worries

In the weeks following the Seahawks’ demolition of the Denver Broncos, in what was anything but a Super Bowl, a collective anxiety seems to have stricken the entire football fan base of Seattle. The hair pulling and gnashing of teeth that’s resulted from players leaving for greener pastures, and seemingly every other NFL team loading up to knock the Hawks off the perch they now occupy, has made much of the 12th man forget that our World Champions (Admit it, you still pinch yourself at the sound of that!) are in a lot better shape than the general consensus gives them credit for.  While perhaps not being as good as a prescription of Lexapro for our distressed Hawks’ lovers, here are a few practical steps that the brass has taken and still can take in order to make sure they stay on top for the foreseeable future, which may help alleviate a few worries:

 

Step 1 (Complete) – Get your most effective and versatile pass rusher locked up in Michael Bennett.  Bennett offers value equal to the league leaders in Sacks, QB pressures, and QB knock downs.  In addition he plays the run well both as a defensive end, and as a defensive tackle in passing situations making him invaluable, and without a match in free agency, or within the upcoming draft.

 

Step 2 – Extend Earl Thomas for 5-6 years, and make him the highest paid safety in the league (he’s earned it).  Our league leading defense is enabled by the play of our two safety’s in Cam and Earl.  The NFL as a whole continues to be more of a passing league, and Earl’s unmatched ability to read quarterbacks and cover ground virtually eliminated the deep passing game of opponents for the last two years.  Cam was locked up and rewarded last year, Earl is priority #1 to continue this defenses’ dominance for the foreseeable future.

 

Step 3 – Extend Sherman 5-6 years(probably highest paid corner, but he earned it too).  Sherman has unmatched production, and eliminates receivers to his side of the field.  He studies like crazy, and communicates better than any corner in the league whether it is with his own teammates or he is discussing things with the opposition.

 

Step 4 (For 2015) – Extend Russell Wilson 5-6 years(somewhere in the top 5 highest paid).  Russell is the heart and soul of the offense.  It is true Beast Mode embodies the style this offense plays with, but Russell makes it all happen.  He routinely makes something out of nothing, and this guy will only continue to grow and get better.  As long as he is a Seahawk for the core of his athletic prime this will be a winning team.

 

Step 5 – Develop internally or find an effective DT to spell Mebane and McDaniel.  With Red leaving and McDonald getting a new deal as well our rotation looks much thinner, but remember McDonald was released last year, and by the end of the season he had 5.5 sacks.  There are too many weapons on defense for the OL to worry about, and our coaches consistently maximize the player’s potential.  Look at the out of nowhere performances on defense from McDaniel, Malcolm Smith, even Maxwell at DB.  All were unheard of and not counted on last pre-season to contribute to the 2013 season, and all played critical roles as the year developed.

 

Step 6 – Draft a high quality receiver in round 1 or 2 & bring in a mid-level veteran for competition.  Bringing in Jackson from Philly would be flashy, but would tie up too much money in a de-emphasized position on this team.  A solid veteran, possibly bringing back Sidney Rice if/when healthy, and a rookie to groom and develop would be upgrades to the offense the Hawks operated with for the majority of last year.  Losing Tate hurts, but having a healthy year of Percy should offset his loss, the key will be actually getting a healthy year of Percy in 2014.

 

Step 7 – Continue to build offensive line depth.  Losing Guacomini decreases the edge the line plays with, but functionally it won’t be a huge loss.  Either Bailey or Bowie will be much better next year, and exhibited strong abilities to run and pass block effectively.  Based on the usage last year I think Bowie has the inside track, but I like Bailey to blossom and play regularly next year as well.  Adding depth and versatility via the draft in the middle rounds will be necessary.

 

Step 8 – Lock up Pete Carroll to a 5 year extension (Again, he’s earned it).  He is one of the highest paid coaches in the league already, but he salvaged a flailing franchise and has turned around the energy, passion, skill, athleticism, and competition.  For the first time in Seahawks history we are the envy of the league both for winning the Super Bowl, but for the opportunity to continue to win more Lombardi’s in the near future.

 

Follow these steps in the next year, and we are set up much better than the Niners to dominate for the next 4-5 years and compete for multiple Superbowls.  I know it is difficult to look at the losses of Tate, Clemens, Bryant, Guacomini, Thurmond, Browner etc., but take heart, none of those players were in the top 10 total contributing players on the team, and likely not in the top 15, so although it hurts to lose them, keeping the core top players together over the long term and continuing to bring in quality young players is the key to future Hawks domination.


Clint Elsemore has been a fanatic Seattle sports fan for his entire life, and possibly several past lifetimes, should reincarnation be proven to be real.