Kevin->Write(thoughts, browser, time)
void Kevin::Write(char *thoughts, char *browser, int time) allows an object of the Kevin class to create printed english text. The function opens a blogger account (automatically associated with the particular Kevin object) using the web browser resouce identified by browser, and while time > 0 and interrupts are disabled, uses blogger to translate thoughts into text.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
NBA Finals Preview
The Cavs are in the NBA Finals! I didn’t do a Pistons series preview, but if I had, I’d have picked them in seven games. Instead, behind four straight wins, including a transcendent double overtime Game 5 victory in which LeBron James scored the final twenty-five Cavalier points in Jordaneseque fashion and a strong Game Six performance from Daniel Gibson, the Cavs closed out Detroit in six games. Now, they face a dominant Spurs team that is clearly the best in basketball, having rolled through Denver, Phoenix, and Utah—making the Cavs arguably the worst team that the Spurs have seen so far in the playoffs.
Point Guard: Larry Hughes vs. Tony Parker. Parker is perhaps the quickest player in basketball, and scores a large percentage of his baskets in the paint after blowing by defenders. The Spurs run a ton of Parker-Duncan pick-and-rolls, and the Cavs will need to figure out how to defend them. His jump shot is merely decent, and occasionally shaky. If I were coaching the Cavs, I’d put Pavlovic on Parker, and hope that his length will bother Parker and force him into shots with a high degree of difficulty. Hughes has been playing for a few games now on a torn plantar fascia, but has actually played rather well: he’s stayed within himself athletically, picking his spots to make an impact, and has shot the ball well from behind the arc. Gibson will continue to take a lot of his minutes as long as he keeps his level of play where it has been in the Eastern Conference Finals. Edge: Spurs
Shooting Guard: Sasha Pavlovic vs. Michael Finely. Finley is a former All-Star and a gritty playoff veteran who is capable of carrying his team offensively for stretches. He’s been lighting it up from three point distance during the playoffs, in particular. He’s clearly lost a step on defense; the Cavs should look to isolate with whoever he guards at opportune times. Pavlovic played quietly well against the Pistons; he will see many open three point shots in this series and will need to knock them down. His defense will be very important, whether it is on Parker or Finley or Ginobli. Edge: Spurs
Small Forward: LeBron James vs. Bruce Bowen. Bowen is a limited offensive player—his only real weapon is a three point shot from the corner—but he is among the top perimeter defenders in basketball. However, LeBron is so much bigger and stronger than him that he has had success against Bowen in the past. This is a key matchup in the series: if Bowen comes close to containing LeBron without making him the focus of the San Antonio defense, the Cavs are finished. LeBron is playing the best basketball of his life of late: Game 5 was unbelievable, of course, but he was very good to outstanding in the other five games of the prior series as well. The Cavs will probably need two Game 5-esque performances from him to win this series. Edge: Cavs
Power Forward: Tim Duncan vs. Drew Gooden. Tim Duncan is probably the best player in basketball over the past decade. He is an outstanding rebounder, perhaps the best low post defender in basketball, and surely has the most well-rounded offensive arsenal on the low block. Gooden lost some minutes to Varejao and Marshall in the Pistons series, but his rebounding and reliable mid range game and jump hook will be valuable. The key for him is defense; if he has trouble handling Duncan one-on-one—and he probably will—the Cavs will be very vulnerable to the Spurs’ excellent three point shooting. Edge: Spurs
Center: Zydrunas Ilgauskas vs. Fabricio Oberto. Oberto is a hustling, aggressive, flopping dirty thug, in the Anderson Varejao mold. He is a solid rebounder; the Spurs might not run a play for him on offense during the entire series. Z also played very very well during the Pistons series, carrying the team on offense down the strech during Games 3 and 4. He will need to crash the glass along with Varejao and Gooden to create second chance opportunities, and make good decisions with the ball when he posts up and is doubled. Edge: Cavs
Bench: Anderson Varejao, Daniel Gibson, Donyell Marshall, Damon Jones vs. Manu Ginobli, Robert Horry, Francisco Elson, Jacque Vaughan, Brent Barry. These are two of the best benches in basketball. Ginobli is an All-Star caliber combo guard who could start for just about every team in the league. No one has made more big shots in the playoffs in the last ten years than Robert Horry, and he still has a little in the tank. Elson is a young energetic big body. Vaughan is a solid backup point guard, particularly on defense. Barry is a playoff veteran, an excellent shooter and still athletic. On the Cavs side, Gibson had an outstanding breakout series against Detroit, shooting the ball extremely well and holding his own on defense. Varejao will play his irritating pest role to the max. The minutes of Marshall and Jones will be dictated by their shooting; Cleveland had some success in the Detroit series with a James/Varejao/Marshall/Jones/Gibson lineup: superstar, energy, three dangerous shooters. I’d like to see more of that until the Spurs figure it out. Slight Edge: Spurs
Coach: Mike Brown vs. Gregg Popovich. Mike Brown learned everything he knows from Popovich, and he is growing into one of the better defensive coaches in the game. Popovich is the best basketball coach in the world right now. Edge: Spurs
A lot of folks think that the Spurs are going to roll the Cavs in this series in four or five games. Here are some reasons to think otherwise:
1) Rust and Hunger. The Spurs are coming off a long break, and the Cavs are playing their best ball of the season. They know that they are huge underdogs, and they will be loose and leave everything on the court.
2) The Cavs are 2-0 against the Spurs this regular season. This doesn’t mean a whole lot, but psychologically it means this: the Spurs have walked on the court twice with these Cavs,and twice walked off losers.
3) Home Court. The Spurs have the advantage, but some forget how solid the Cavs have been at home all season long, even against the Western Conference. The 2-3-2 format helps them: it’s not hard to imagine the Cavs up 3-2 after five games, holding serve at home. However, it is hard to imagine them winning a closeout game on the Spurs’ home floor.
Prediction: Spurs in 7.
Friday, May 04, 2007
Second Round Playoff Preview
As of tonight, the Nets have taken down the Raptors in six games, which is mild upset that is bad for the Cavs, as they owned the Raptors this year, and Jersey tends to give them problems. The Cavs easily handled the Wizards in four games, and have been resting since Monday. Game 1 will be in Cleveland on Sunday. Let's break it down!
Point Guard: Larry Hughes vs. Jason Kidd. Hughes had a solid first round series, but he'll need to step up his game in this round. Kidd is still the second best point guard in the game and averaged a triple double in the Raptors series. Kidd has a balky knee and is not as quick as he used to be. Kidd is a decent shooter when he gets his feet set, but shaky on the move; when he puts the ball on the floor he'll look to distribute or get all the way to the rim. He is an excellent rebounding guard, and runs half-court offense as well as any guard in basketball. He will also look to post up smaller defenders. Backcourt defensive matchups will be interesting and crucial in this series. Hughes will probably guard Carter; Sasha Pavlovic has the size to defend Kidd in the post, but will need to avoid foul trouble. Kidd will not make mistakes, but Pavlovic will need to apply serious pressure to force Kidd into low-percentage situations as often as possible--if the Cavs allow Kidd space to operate, they will be in trouble in this series. Eric Snow matches up well with Kidd defensively; look for more playing time for him in this series. When the Cavs are on offense, Hughes will need to work hard off the ball and drive to the basket often to exploit his quickness advantage over Kidd, but he will need to make enough open jump shots to keep Kidd honest. The Nets will look to run at every opportunity, with Kidd pulling the strings; transition defense has been better for the Cavs this year, and will need to be consistently good in this series. Edge: Nets
Shooting Guard: Sasha Pavlovic vs. Vince Carter. Pavlovic had an up-and-down series against Washington. He'll need to kick it into a higher gear. Vince Carter has long been the league's most mercurial superstar. He is capable of taking over an entire game, and capable of disappearing for games at a time. He was much better at home than on the road in the Raptor series. When Carter decides to get into the lane and to the rim and to the line, he can be unstoppable. When he settles for too many jump shots, he struggles. When the Nets have the ball, Hughes will likely match up with Carter. He has the size and quickness to defend Carter, and will receive help from the Cleveland big men. Carter has the reputation of being "soft"; the Cavs should be physical with him at all times, force him into bad shots, and try to frustrate him. On the Cleveland offense, Carter will guard Pavlovic. Carter has the tools to be an excellent defender, but has never applied them consistently. He may not respect Pavlovic, which the Cavs could use to their advantage. Pavlovic needs to take advantage of the opportunities created by LeBron: making open jump shots and going strong the basket when possible. If Carter focuses defensively, he is capable of making Sasha into a nonfactor. Edge: Nets
Small Forward: LeBron James vs. Richard Jefferson. LeBron had a very good opening round series. He shot the ball extremely well from the field and from the line, got any shot that he wanted at any time, and constantly created opportunities for his teammates. Jefferson is a borderline All-Star, but had an injury-riddled season; he still has some health questions. Jefferson is one of the league's better finishers and is a solid defender. When he shoots the ball well from the three point line, he can be very dangerous. When New Jersey has the ball, they should make LeBron work on defense as much as possible. Jefferson is not quick enough to consistently beat LeBron one on one, nor is he strong enough to succeed against him in the post, so his opportunities will be set up by the offense and the creativity of Kidd and Carter. LeBron will need to track him through off-ball screens to deny open shots, and not distract himself with Kidd and Carter to the extent that Jefferson gets easy baskets. On Cleveland's offense, there is not a player in the league capable of guarding LeBron one-on-one. He will be double and triple teamed at every touch, and the Nets will force other Cavaliers to beat them. This is nothing new for LeBron or the Cavs, as this is the defensive strategy that every team in the league takes save Detroit and San Antonio; LeBron will need to make smart decisions with the ball and set up his teammates with easy opportunities, while taking advantage of the occasionally lax NJ defense to get his points. I think James is primed for a monster series, and the Cavs will need it. Edge: Cavs
Power Forward: Drew Gooden vs. Miki Moore. Gooden played very well against Washington, though Jamison put up nice stats, I still thought that Drew played solid defense. Miki Moore is a journeyman who has been a nice surprise for the Nets after Nenad Krstic's season ending injury. He has defended well, finished opportunities gained for him by Kidd and Carter, and played with confidence and fire. On New Jersey's offense, Moore is not capable of creating any offense against Gooden. He does not have a decent jump shot, and is limited in the post. He will have to be active on the offensive glass, throw some elbows, and try to collect some garbage points. Unfortunately, he is matched against some of the league's best garbage men in Gooden and Varejao. On Cleveland's offense, Gooden is definitely capable of scoring points one on one against Moore, especially if he is hitting his midrange jumpers. Mike Brown would do well to call some plays for Gooden early in Game 1 to try to distract attention from LeBron. Edge: Cavs
Center: Zydrunas Ilgauskas vs. Jason Collins. Ilgauskas had some nice games in the first round, which was great to see after a lackluster season. Collins is just a big body. On New Jersey's possessions, Collins may not attempt to post up Ilgauskas once in the entire series: Z is bigger, quicker, and stronger. Collins will try for garbage; but again, the Cavs have the best hustling garbarge big men in basketball. On Cleveland's offense, Z can be effective: Collins is not the defender that either Washington big man was in the first round. Again, Brown would do well to pound the ball inside to Z early and see what happens. Attention paid to LeBron will allow single coverage in the post at all times for Z; he needs to exploit it. Edge: Cavs
Bench: Anderson Varejao, Eric Snow, Daniel Gibson, Donyell Marshall vs. Bostjan Nachbar, Marcus Williams, Josh Boone, Antoine Wright. Varejao would be the best big man on the Nets. Snow has a lot of value in this series because so much of New Jersey's scoring comes from tall backcourt players, the defense of which is Snow's specialty. Gibson has gotten sporadic minutes with little impact thus far in the playoffs. Marshall has barely played, but he's another big man who could start for the Nets. Nachbar is underrated: he'll hit open shots with three point range and can defend wing players adequately. Williams is a standard issue NBA backup point guard; he's just a rookie and will get better, but not this year. Boone is a stiff. Antoine Wright is a younger Ira Newble. Foul trouble for the Nets' big guys will spell doom for them. Edge: Cavs
Coach: Mike Brown vs. Lawrence Frank. The Cavs were relaxed, focused, and took care of business in the first round, and you have to give Coach Brown credit for that. He'll need to exploit frontcourt matchups very delicately in this series. Lawrence Frank is a rising star; as the youngest coach in the NBA, he's proven to be excellent at finding ways to get his wing players into scoring situations. The Nets don't defend with as much focus as they should; Frank should take blame for that. Edge: Even
Pick: When we've seen these teams play in the last few years, home court has been crucial: Cavs blowouts in Cleveland and Nets wins in Jersey. The Cavs have home court advantage in this series, and it will therefore be even more important than usual to set the tone with two wins at home. A lot of experts will pick the Cavs to win in seven. I don't think it will go that far. The Nets have a great backcourt, but a very limited front court. Teams with that combination struggle in the playoffs--especially against a team as strong in the frontcourt as Cleveland. It's hard to imagine this Nets team winning in Cleveland, and I say the Cavs steal either Game 3 or Game 4 in Jersey. Cavs Win in Five Games.
Friday, April 20, 2007
First Round Playoff Preview
In this space in October, I predicted that this Cavalier team would go 57-25 and earn the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, and would lose in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Heat. In a regular season plagued with inconsistency, these Cavs struggled to a 50-32 record for the second straight year, backing into the #2 seed in the playoffs by one game as the Bulls choked the spot away in a loss to the Nets on the last day of the regular season. They'll face the Wizards in the first round for the second straight year, but this Wizards team has been decimated by injury: Gilbert Arenas put an MVP caliber season and Caron Butler put up his best season yet, but a torn meniscus will keep Arenas out for the season while Butler's broken hand is unlikely to heal in time to get him back on the court for this series. Most pundits are predicting an easy win in this series for the Cavs; let's break it down!
Point Guard: Larry Hughes vs. Antonio Daniels. Last year in this space, I wrote that Arenas puts up big stats but doesn't yet scare me. This year, he scares the hell out of me; I'm very happy to see him on the sideline for this series. Filling in for him is Daniels, a guy who could start for a lot of teams in the league, including the Cavs. He's a solid shooter and defender, but there is no realistic way for him to approximate Arenas' production at this position. Hughes is a lanky, jumping jack streak shooter who can guard three positions and get to the rim when he wants (which isn't all that often). We're paying 70 million for him; for half that, you'd love him. Still, he stayed healthy this year and put up reasonable stats. The experiment with Hughes at point guard has worked out very well-the size of Hughes, Pavlovic, and James has created matchup problems for a lot of teams, and LeBron dominates the ball to the extent that the Cavs don't need a pure playmaker.Edge: Even
Shooting Guard: Sasha Pavlovic vs. DeShawn Stevenson. This could be an interesting matchup. Pavlovic had a breakout season this year, improving his lateral movement to the degree that his defense allowed him to stay on the floor for longer stretches, while he showed an ability to get to the rim, which in addition to his solid jump shooting allowed him to take advantage of the constant double teams on LeBron and become an offensive weapon. Stevenson is a solid NBA shooting guard in his prime: he shot well from behind the arc this season, and is big and physical enough to defend the position. He's not as quick as he used to be; that could be an area that Sasha could exploit. Edge: Even
Small Forward: LeBron James vs. Jarvis Hayes. LeBron had a slight regression in his counting stats this year, settling in at a near-MVP level. He's still very young, but it is possible that he's peaked at this point and will continue to be among the league's best players for the next fifteen years, but not take over in a Jordan-esque manner. The Wizards have absolutely no one who can guard him; he should average about 15 dunks per game in this series. The loss of Butler is crucial here: Jarvis Hayes provides only mediocre three point shooting and decent defense. He is perhaps the worst starter on any team in the playoffs. Obscenely Huge Edge: Cavs
Power Forward: Drew Gooden vs. Antawn Jamison. Here's what I wrote in this space last year:
"Battle of Huge College Stars from Big Time Programs Who've Been Slightly Disappointing In The League. Gooden has hustle, rebounding, and a nifty jump hook but almost nothing else. Jamison does everything pretty well and has big advantages over Gooden in athleticism and a better jump shot with 3 point range. Gooden will have problems with Jamison on defense; the Cavs might do well to put LeBron on him and go small with Ilgauskas/Marshall, Hughes, Jones, and Snow at times. This matchup is an Edge: Wizards; how big of an edge it is will go a long way towards deciding the series."
Gooden has improved his all-round offensive game this year; his jump shot is now a weapon for 15-18 feet. Jamison is still better, but not enough better to make the difference this year. He's one of the most unique players in basketball: he's a star-caliber player who gets his points on garbage and threes, which are the usual provance of marginal offensive talents. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to being the focus of the Wizard's offense in this series. He'll have to be absolutely incredible for them to have a chance. Slight Edge: Wizards
Center Zydrunas Ilgauskas vs. Brendan Haywood. The Cavs rely on Z for offense much less this year than in past years: they have enough other weapons that they no longer need to slow down and post him up. He doesn't take the 15 foot jump shot that used to be his bread and butter anymore. He's still a big body who rebounds well, gets tip-ins, and can be a factor on the block as a third or fourth option. Haywood has never developed a polished offensive game, but he's a big bodied athlete who can defend Z and clean the glass. Slight Edge: Cavs
Bench Anderson Varejao, Eric Snow, Daniel Gibson, Donyell Marshall vs. Etan Thomas, Darius Songaila, Some Warm Bodies in the Back Court. Varejao does his hustle and energy thing to great effect. Cavs fans feel a lot better seeing Snow as a steady backup point guard then as a no-offense starter. Gibson has taken all of Damon Jones' minutes of late; he's smallish but has shown quickness and shooting ability. Marshall is another quality big body with solid offense and defense. As for the Wizards, Etan Thomas is Brendan Haywood with more offense and less defense. Songaila is a soft big guy who takes too many jump shots. The backcourt bench options are atrocious: if you're thinking about playing Roger Mason or Donell Taylor heavy minutes in the playoffs, you'll be going home early. Edge: Cavs
Coach: Mike Brown has really stepped up the Cavs' defense this year, but he looks lost in pressure situations and he isn't a strong enough personality to kick LeBron in the ass when he needs to be kicked. Eddie Jordan is a solid NBA coach who has been screwed by injuries this season. Slight Edge: Wizards
Pick: With the Washington injuries,this Cleveland team is much better on paper. The pundits are picking Cavs in four, but I've seen this team play a lot this year: they're wildly inconsistent, and they're going to piss away a game in Washington. Cavs in Five.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Cavs Forty Game Report
Record:24-16(6-4 last ten), 1st in Central Division, 1st(tie with Washington) in Eastern Conference
Last Ten Games(* means games that I saw all or part of)
Big Ups: LeBron's first triple double of the year in the Denver loss, 5 road wins,
Big Downs: Free throw shooting now worst in NBA. LeBron drifted through Seattle loss.
3-4 on the big Western trip, which turned out to be a bit of a disappointment after a 2-1 start. 8 of the next 10 are at home, but the schedule is not easy: Suns, Pistons, Miami twice(will Shaq be back? It seems likely at this point), the Clippers and Warriors again, and tomorrow the Magic are coming to the Q. They'll need to win both games against Philly this week. I expect 7-3 over this stretch, but 6-4 or even 5-5 are possible.
It's time to start trading big for small. This team can handle losing a big man and desperately needs a solid starting point guard--something they've been searching for since Terrell Brandon left town six years ago. Hollinger @ESPN suggested a Varejao-Flip Murray swap for the Stones, but if that's all they can get, they should stand pat. I think they should aim for Earl Watson over in Seattle-young, a good shooter, can step into a starting role and be a great fifth option in the offense, and keep teams from doubling LeBron with impunity. This is a team that looks like it can win the Eastern Conference...but there are about five such teams right now. It's not clear who the favorite is among Cleveland, Washington, Detroit, Miami, or Chicago. If they played in the West, the Cavs could well miss the playoffs--the Suns and Mavs are clearly better, the Spurs, Lakers, Jazz, and Rockets are probably better, and Denver is about the same, with a few teams lurking just below. The East sucks.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Cavs Thirty Game Report
Record:18-12 (6-4 last ten), 2nd in Central Division, 2nd in Eastern Conference
Last Ten Games (* means games that I saw all or part of)
Big Ups: Donyell Marshall has shot well. Big Z has looked alive of late. Larry carried the team to a big win last night.
Big Downs: LeBron's assist numbers. Doc's scoring. Everyone's foul shooting, but especially LBJ and Varejao.
Ho-hum. Win at home, lose on the road. Beat the bad teams, lose to the good ones. I've seen nothing so far that convinces me that this team gets out of the second round of the playoffs. With 9 of the next 10 on the road, including Denver, Phoenix, Clippers, Bucks, with the lone homer against the Nets, plus a 4-9 road record thus far, we could quite possibly be looking at 3-7 and a 21-19 record when we meet next. At that point, they'll still have yet to play the Lakers, Mavs, Jazz, or Heat. Worry about this team.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Coffee Shop Funnies
Beginning of a business meeting between a late-30's female and mid-50s male, who are obviously just meeting for the first time. Female to Male:
"So, do you like froofy coffee, or man coffee?"
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Time Has Come Today
The year-end issue of Time Magazine (the one in which "you" are the person of the year) includes obituaries for famous people who have died in 2006, written by other people. I have evaluated the likelihood that the people who have written the obituaries will themselves be included in the Time end-of-year obit section when they die.
Time Obit Predicted Status
Obit Writer: Info on Obit Writer If You Otherwise Wouldn't Know Who They Were (Person Eulogized)
Maya Angelou (Coretta Scott King)
Larry Bird (Red Auerbach)
Amartya Sen (John Kenneth Galbraith)
Joan Collins (Aaron Spelling)
Hillary Clinton (Ann Richards)
Aretha Franklin (Lou Rawls)
Naomi Wolff (Betty Friedan)
Colin Powell (Caspar Weinberger)
Elmore Leonard (Mickey Spillane)
Dan Rather (Ed Bradley)
Jay Leno (Steve Irwin)
Most Likely, But Depends On Who Else Died
Roseanne Barr (Shelley Winters)
Warren Beatty (Maureen Stapleton)
E.L. Doctorow (William Styron)
Phil Mickelson (Byron Nelson)
Lily Tomlin (Robert Altman)
Avery Brooks: Sisco on Star Trek Deep Space Nine (Gordon Parks)
Sherron Watkins: Enron whistleblower (Ken Lay)
Bert Sugar: boxing historian (Floyd Patterson)
Thomas O'Connell: Assistant Defense Secretary (Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi)
Lawrence Summers (Milton Friedman) I've heard of him...barely. Is he in this league? Not sure.
Carla del Ponte: UN prosecutor (Slobodan Milosevic) If she gets in, it's on Slobo's coattails.
I think the lesson here is that if you are invited to give a Time obit, you can be fairly sure that your own obit will one day appear in its pages.
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