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These Guys Could Be Magic

Before the Playoffs, I was predicting, and supporting, the Cleveland Cavaliers to win an NBA title.

After the first round I'm about ready to change that.

You see, factors in the Playoffs are making things tough for the Cavs.

You have LeBron James' elbow, which is hit and miss at the moment. The problem is, LeBron is your superstar, your MVP, so you have to play him if you can. But his health inconsistency has led to a Cavs inconsistency.
Do the Cavs play through LeBron? Is he still the go-to-guy on offense? Who takes the shots down the stretch? All these roles that LeBron usually plays are now all thrown into doubt because some games he can be that guy and other games he really looks like he's forcing it.
The way I see it, without LeBron the Cavs would play better than with LeBron on the floor having an off night. It would at least give the rest of the players on the Cavaliers a sense of where they're at and what needs to be done, rather than the confusion and doubt that they get right now when their star player is on the floor and is still capable of brilliance but you don't know when or where or if. Without LeBron, they would play better than, say, Monday night. But they couldn't beat these Celtics. Therein lies the problem.
Because needing LeBron to win means they have to play him and hope for a good night. With a good LeBron, they have a good chance of winning. A bad elbow, and we have another Monday night.
To put it in other terms: without LeBron, the Cavs lose in 6 games. With him, anything could happen. They could bounce in 5 or win in 6.
Consistency is a huge factor come playoff time.

It doesn't help that these Celtics are rejuvenated. They look like the '08 Celtics. The fiery, defensive, age-isnt-a-factor Celtics. You can sense it. They want it more right now. Probably because they feel pissed over not getting a legitimate chance to defend their title last year with Garnett out.
And this will be a gruesome series anyway. These two teams are physical, defensive, and do not like eachother. It's a blood brawl. Whoever comes out of it is going to be hurting.

And then you have the Magic.
The Magic have every advantage available right now. They're playing great. They have a soft opponent. They have a mismatched opponent. And they have the least health concerns out of any of the main contenders right now.
Even if they went into this series with the Hawks level, people would still favour the Magic to win, simply because they have no answer for Dwight Howard other than hope he gets in foul trouble. Add in the extra 5 days to scout and prepare while the Hawks were struggling to dispatch a Bucks team that averaged 71.5ppg in their last two, and you have advantage Magic. The only concern was they would need a quarter or two to shake off any remnants of rust from not playing in a week. That was on full display last night, where they were up 23-25 after one quarter, and were damn near double the Hawks in the 4th, 44-87.
Now I'm not naive enough to think the Magic will sweep this series. It's entirely possible with the Hawks, but because they play Jekyll and Hyde basketball you can't count them out from turning it on for a game or two and making it a 5-6 game series. But I doubt anyone realistically thinks they can take the Magic in a seven-game set.

Here's the thing though. The Magic have been the best team in the NBA the past two months. And they'll head into a Conference Finals match-up against a battered, bruised and fatigued Cavaliers or Celtics.
They won't have an easy match-up against either of them. Maybe it will even take them a game or two to adjust to the level of real playoff competition. But the Magic will have the odds in their favour going up against either of them.

Their fate as repeat Eastern Conference Champions is theirs for the taking.
Just how much do they want it?


Denver Disappointment


For me, the biggest disappointment of the whole year has been the Nuggets.

This is to take nothing away from Utah, who really played well in the first round, but Denver could have been so much better.
I said at the start of the season that I could see them in the Finals. And I really could. At Christmas, I was starting to take that back. They couldn't play without everyone at 100%, and that just is too unrealistic to rely on going in for a long playoff haul.
Then they learnt how to deal with injuries, and their inconsistency was given hope by their standout record against the best teams in the league.
You got the feeling this team could flip the switch whenever they wanted, and they'd flip it to go on a full on blaz once the playoffs hit.
But no one could have expected what happened.
K-Mart being hurt was bad enough. The Nuggets could deal, but it definitely hurt them. What crushed them was George Karl's cancer.
Coaches are extremely important in basketball. This whole perception that it's a player's game, I don't know where that's come from. Look at the successful teams throughout the ages, and neither recent events nor history support that.
For a coach with a big personality like Karl, with a team that lacks a lot of maturity and mental toughness like Denver, the coaching impact exemplifies.
Denver's raw talent kept them from freefalling without George, but there's no doubt they crumbled without him.
And Dantley did a good job as an assistant coach. Better than people think. But he isn't George. The team isn't built around his personality. And he was out of his league going head to head in a seven-game series against Jerry Sloan.
From being bounced out of the first round every year to Western Conference Finalists to falling at the first round again.
It's disappointing that a team with such promise had it all snatched away because of health concerns that no one could do anything about.
There's always next year. But how long can you say that for?


Okay, so there's this group on Facebook, Things Guys Wish Girls Knew. And I checked it out. And I feel like a few corrections should be made.
Take note, Hazel. Who is probably my only ever reader of this blog.
If we all wished girls knew this, you"d think someone would have told them by now...Collapse )


The Run-Down

Okay, so here's what's going on right now.

Tyler is so uninspirational that I only went to one of his prose lectures this semester. I haven't really had anything good to write since October, and now I have to do two stories in as many weeks.
I'm forcing out ideas. They suck. One is nearly done. The other really isn't.
Then I have my psychology assignment. Again, I'll just bang it out and get on with it.
I care so little about this year now that I am heavily considering just skipping my one exam. I don't want to revise for it. I don't know when or where it is, and I doubt I'll use it for my final grade anyway.

I bought Arkham Asylum for £17 at Tesco to keep me occupied over Easter. I haven't even opened it yet. NBA 2K10 and Borderlands still reign supreme.
2K10 is heating up with the playoffs coming near. We dominated Golden State at home, then went on a 3 game road trip to play Tyreke, Steph again, then Brandon Jennings. I won all 3 position battles, and we won 2 of the 3 games. We lost against Golden State because I screwed up on the final possession, it went to overtime and we fell apart. Still, I should have ROY locked up now.
I have my Siren at the same point in Playthrough 2 as Roland now. She still has to do Knoxx on the first playthrough though. I'll get her in the lead once again! Once I get either of them to level 50 I earn my very first platinum trophy. It's the only one left.

This was one of the scariest things I've seen in a while.

I wasn't sure if he was faking or not, but it was a very dedicated performance if he was. I mean, he didn't move when Denver got the ball back, where he surely would have got an uncontested basket which would have brought Denver to within 5. And he didn't move when people were playing around him. J.R. Smith could have landed on his jugular.
It was only after the game when I heard what the players and medical staff (OKC and Denver) said about it that you know he was legit. It was a shame that the fans booed him the rest of the game. But then most other fans would have too.
It's become sort of a meme this past week. 'The NBA - Where Caring Happens?'
Denver beat the Lakers again on Friday. That's 3 wins out of 4 games this season. They're on a 4 game win streak and K-Mart is looking to play tonight.
I still think they have no chance of a championship without George on the sidelines, but there's hope now. Denver didn't have a lot of that a few weeks ago.

Real Life
I don't know what's up with Hazel.
Drama in my life is sparse. So are my emotional responses to it. I kind of react in the moment, and feel little afterwards. This time is no different.
She just said to me on Wednesday that she didn't want to be with me any more. Her reasoning, it didn't really work and a lot of it contradicted itself, but they're just rationalisations. The truth is at that moment she didn't want to be with me. And it was serious enough that she told me.
I don't know what I've done, but I've screwed up somewhere. That I have no idea where really sucks.
I've given her a few days to calm down, get out of the moment and we'll talk again soon. I'm hoping it was just something she said in the moment. The idea that she could be serious and we could break up hasn't really sunk in yet.
I just hope it ends up okay. I've been too confused and disoriented with the whole thing to really feel any strong emotions over it. All I know is I've been very lonely and empty these past few days.
You know that cliché that someone completes you? I don't feel entirely myself without Hazel. More like I'm alone and withering. It's not nice.
I don't feel like there's anyone I can talk to any more. Nobody who really cares unless they need something. I don't want that to be permanent.


Theists and Solipsism

When I was in high school the kid who sat next to me in philosophy was an outspoken solipsist.
He never said this explicitly. He didn't know what solipsism was. But he did believe that we have no true evidence to believe anything and everything we believed, even down to the existence of tables, was based more on faith than evidence.
He used this to justify belief in God. He criticised atheists for having a standard of evidence that tried to neglect faith, and claimed that being as everything, even the existence of this laptop, requires faith, belief in God is not all that absurd.

You can go down dangerous roads here.

This belief seems to be making a comeback into my life, so I think it appropriate I deal with it before it starts to annoy me. Because it is a rather stupid belief.
Lets put it this way. We can assume that there is some reason to put legitimacy into our neurological senses. Mainly because if they were totally unreliable we would soon be dead. If this was the case for everyone, people would not survive long enough to reproduce, and we would never be born. The success of the human species indicates at least some reliability in our senses.
This does not mean, however, that our senses are infallible. We are prone to being deceived, and so we use others to substantiate out senses. Substantiate, not prove. Even groups can be deceived by their senses. Which is why we have things like science to help give us an indication of the validity of our sensory inputs.

Let's forget my arguments against scientific epistemology in religious debates. I'm playing their field here.

But, yes, even then, we could be in some master matrix machine and none of anything we experience could be real, but we could be safe and sound and live our entire natural lifespan.
If people are going to play this game, the essential message is that we cannot trust anything, at all. There really is absolutely no validity in anything. Standards of evidence, and validity of senses, is just an illusion. Even if our senses are valid, we can't KNOW, and therefore base it entirely on faith.

And this a problem for atheists?

Not really. Here's why. Yes, atheists believe in a standard of evidence, but so does everyone. We all dismiss certain beliefs because they do not meet our standard. Having a tighter standard than most does not single you out for subjugation and defeat. Showing there is no standard of evidence, it's a problem for everyone.
Or none of us.
If everything is based on faith, what reason does the Christian have for not believing in the Easter Bunny?
Well, none.
But what reason do they have to believe in God?
Well, none.

If we have nothing we can claim is a reliable indication of validity, then everything is based entirely on faith. What we believe is nothing more than picking beliefs out of a hat. They're all just as valid and likely as eachother, and equally as likely to be wrong.
You could believe everything. You could believe nothing. Or you could believe whatever random jumble of things seem most likely to give you giggle.
It's all choice.
Whatever you choose to put your faith in.
If our beliefs really are a free for all, then the Christian can believe in God, and it would be fine. But the atheist can just as equally choose not to believe in God, and that's entirely okay as well.

And if you really believe that our beliefs are nothing more than just what we choose to put faith in, and all contradictory and opposing beliefs are just as valid as each other, why even bother arguing about these things?
Shouldn't it be live and let live?
After all, you're no more right, and just as wrong, as the atheist.


The world of twists and turns

Okay, so I made the mistake of thinking I should connect to the internet on my PS3 when I was at home.
Or rather, I made the mistake of downloading the new firmware while on the internet on my PS3 at home.
I just wanted to sign into the PSNetwork. Not sure why. The reason I wanted the internet was so I could go and update my NBA Today on 2K10, which I didn't actually need because I wanted to start a fantasy Association mode, which means NBA Today wouldn't have made much difference.
I don't know. It's the playoff push with my point guard as well, but I've become a bit disillusioned with our chances of building a solid team, what with OJ Mayo wanting to leave and Rudy Gay being a free agent, and Marc and Zach free agents next year. I'll probably end up going somewhere else EVEN IF we win the championship.
And fantasy drafts are always fun.
But now I'm waiting on this firmware to upload, which takes forever (I mean forever) here.
And this is after I've got my brand new HDTV as well.

The Last Word on Heavy RainCollapse )

How much you hate a bad call

Nuggets-Knicks again ends up being a far from normal game.
This time, things worked against Denver.

1) Denver came out playing badly. Now they ran out to a 10-0 lead, but both teams were taking bad shots. Denver's were just falling. But they never really adjusted until it was too late. An elite team should be able to adjust and learn to take smart shots when things aren't working.
2) J.R. Smith. Again, he keeps taking shots when it's not working. Bad shots. He missed 4 in a row at one point and STILL decided he was the best guy to shoot, even when Melo was hot. He can make a few clutch 3's, but if he was smarter he would't have to.
3) Clutch. Knicks were more energetic, more passionate, more clutch. Denver didn't want it too badly. That's a problem.
4) Refereeing. BIG problem here in the 4th quarter. 2 big calls. 3 minutes to go, Denver down 3, David Lee bowled over J.R. Smith. He already had 5 fouls. Offensive foul, Lee fouls out. Replay showed J.R. was set and outside the restricted area.
Guess what? The refs made the right call! But then Mike D'antoni and the crowd starts yelling, the refs have a little chat and REVERSE it! So now the Knicks best player stays in the game, and extends the lead to 5.
I'm not kidding here. Even the Knicks commentators were saying how bad this move was. They made the right call, then for some reason reversed it. And that call was huge.
Now there was another dodgy call a minute or two later where Melo grabbed the ball and was wrestling with it with Al Harrington, and they called a reach-in. Now that call was just dodgy. It was one of those calls that would have been dodgy either way, because it just wasnt clear. David Lee's charge WAS. And reversing it was huge.
Calls like that should still be reviewable. Anything within 5 minutes to go of the 4th, because that's when I determine a close game is decided. 2 minutes is not really enough, not when you have refs who screw up like that.

You honestly don't know how the game would have ended up had they got it right. Those times with a minute to go when Denver was within 1? They'd be up 1. With momentum. That really changes how teams play.

Stupid how big games this late in the season can be affected by one dumb-ass referee. One stupid call, and you can drop a team in the standings.

I usually respect the refs, but sometimes they are absolute cunts. This time, he was a complete mental retard. I hope he see's the replay and knows how idiotic it was. Because it's going to have made a LOT of Denver fans like me very bitter.

Counter Non-intuive

People on the internet never get it.
I know this. And I know it's cliche. But I still get a good old giggle when I see a fail.

Here is my most recent find. A comment rant about Macs.

Whether you read his rant or not, the one line retort from the girl made me grin.
Then, of course, he comes back with his cocky 'rebuttal.' The highlighted line, how does it feel to be outsmarted by a child, shows this kids true intelligence.
I thought it seemed odd looking at the girls picture. She looked kinda young. Then I looked at her profile. Yep. He made this whole point about how he's outsmarted an adult, when the girl he's talking to is in year 10.
Well done, Chris Eather. You can work a computer, but you're so into your ego that you can't tell the difference between an adult and a 14 year old.

He even mentions in his comeback that he was purposely trolling. I don't know, Chris. Kind of makes her comment that you should go buy a life seem all the more valid now.

The irony of it all is that I like Windows. Not a huge fan of Macs myself, but honestly I don't care. His rant does, however, make me want to throw my AlienWare out the window and go buy a Mac just to shove the middle finger to his superciliousness.

Of course, I wont. Some arrogant teenager isn't worth it. But again, for all his supposed IT intelligence he clearly lacks the people intelligence to see that his attitude is going to make everyone who isn't a fanboy turn on Windows and buy a Mac, just to spite him.
Again, well done, Chris Eather. You get awarded with the Cunt of the Day award!

And yesterdays award goes to...Collapse )

I love gamers who...

...complain about companies releasing multiple versions of the same console.

Let me lay it down for you. The reason Nintendo has released, like, 500 DS systems and there's about 20 different types of PSP out there is because Nintendo and Sony are companies. What is the goal of a company, children? That's right. To make money.

How does releasing a new version of the same console make more money?
It's because 1) it encourages people who never bought the old model to come and spend their money on this shiny new one by making improvements and creating new hype about an old product.
And because 2) gullible children like you see this shiny new version of a console you already own and SIMPLY.MUST.HAVE.THE.SHINY!!!

Anybody with any bit of economical sense would see that these minor improvements are not worth the £100+ it costs to get a shiny new system, and anybody who isn't a petulant child shouldn't be bothered by the new releases in the slightest. They don't stop you from buying and playing the new games. Sony hasn't announced they won't make UMD games anymore to try to make everyone buy a PSP-Go. Nintendo haven't made their games only compatible with the DS Lite or whatever the newest shinyest version is called. No one makes anyone buy these new consoles, and the companies do everything to ensure that you'll be perfectly capable of getting your gaming fix with the one you bought last year. I got the original PSP for Christmas 2005 and still own it, because I have had no desire to spend £150 on any of the more recent versions that essentially let me do the same thing in exactly the same way.

The only real release that was any improvement on on the PSP is the Go. The PSP-Go is compact and, most importantly, works entirely on its hard drive so you're not carrying two or three UMD's around with you just to get some variety when you're away from home. On a handheld, I think that's great. What do I think about Sony releasing an improvement on the PSP 4 years after it's release? I think it's fantastic!

If I'm wrong, if anyone cares to come on here and tell me that the new releases actually are significant improvements worth handing over your cash for, then I ask: What the fuck are you complaining about?

So yeah, I happen to like the new releases. It generates hype in consoles that would otherwise be ignored and means that, should your current version get old and/or break, you can either get that same console for quite a bit cheaper than what you initially bought it for, or pay the same money you paid four years ago for a shiny new 'improved' one. Imagine that!

The fault, the problem, falls on nobody but you, dear sweet gamer. Your insistence on forking out all that money for basically the same console every year not only leaves you in a financial pickle, but also perpetuates the very thing you're bitching about, which isn't actually that bad after all.
And if you don't think that's absolutely hilarious, please, never go into stand-up.

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