NBA Finals

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 It’s the perfect time for Throc and myself to fire up Press Box Pillow Talk right now amidst the NBA Finals. One could not script the first two games of the series any better. Twitter has been a warzone…LeBron haters got to feast on him after his cramps got the best of him at the end of game 1, but LeBron fans won the battle after he went for 35 and 10 in a game 2 win last night. Whether you like, love or hate LeBron, you cant argue that after 2 games this looks like it is going to be another thrilling series.

 

Before I delve into some analysis of the first 2 games, I want to address something that i’ve seen all over twitter, facebook and every other social media site out there. It’s the comparisons between LeBron James and hockey players.

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These memes along with tweets like, “LeBron would never last a period in the NHL he’s so soft.” “I would like to see LeBron step in front of a slap shot then keep playing.” These comparisons are so unbelievably ridiculous it’s infuriating. No shit LeBron isn’t as tough as most or all NHL players…he plays basketball. We’re talking about 2 completely different sports with 2 completely different cultures made up of 2 completely different types of athletes, from 2 completely different demographics. Everybody knows NHL players are some of the toughest guys out there. So comparing LeBron or any other basketball player to an NHL player is plain stupid. LeBron, Duncan, Jordan, no NBA player has or ever will have to take a slap shot to the ankle coming from Chara at the point. NHL fans jump at every opportunity to brag about how tough their players are. I can’t remember in my 21 years of existence anyone questioning the toughness of hockey players (as a group not individually, everyone knows Crosby’s a pussy). Playing through pain, finishing shifts, coming back early from injures…that stuff is all a part of the culture of hockey. Basketball does not have that kind of culture. My guess is that die hard hockey fans do this because they are bitter about the fact that the Stanley Cup Finals games are getting less than half of the viewers that the NBA Finals games are getting. We get it, LeBron can be soft and whines for calls…but compare that to Kobe, CP3, Noah, and other basketball players that are considered “tough” because comparing him to NHL players is beyond dumb. 

 

Now…my take on the first 2 games.

 

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Game 1: Through 3 and a half quarters game 1 was amazing. Back and forth action, teams trading buckets at both ends. It was cool to see all of the stars show up, Duncan was 90% from the field, LeBron was his usual self, Wade was getting buckets, it was just fun to watch as a basketball fan. Then the AC went out. It was easy to see both teams were fatigued, and the level of play went down. While it is true that both teams had to play in the same temperature, it is safe to say that with San Antonio’s deep bench, they were better suited to play in the conditions. I’m not saying that if the AC didn’t go out that the Heat would have won, but you can’t tell me that temperature didn’t play a big role in the game. LeBron went out with cramps and the Spurs went on a huge run to close out the game. I’m not even going to talk about the cramps, LeBron plays more minutes than any other player and does more for his team at both ends of the floor than maybe anyone in the history of the game. AC unit or no AC unit…Duncan was lights out, Danny Green couldn’t miss from 3, and Manu was balling out and that is why the Spurs won the game, cramps or no cramps.

 

Game 2: Also a fun game to watch, this time through to the finish. The storyline was simple, LeBron was out to prove something after his failure to be on the court at the end of game 1. After the first quarter he consistently made championship plays and carried his team. Not only did he go for 35 and 10, but he locked down Tony Parker at the end of the game. Unsung hero of the game and a guy that doesn’t get enough credit: Eric Spoelstra. I think he did a great job of managing minutes (specifically LeBron’s), and watching the Heat defensive rotations is unbelievable. Not to mention some of the sets they were running sending Ray Allen off screens as a decoy to get guys like Rashard Lewis open…incredible. LeBron gets so much credit because of the floor general that he is and sometimes Spoelstra is forgotten about. The Spurs are a great team, but if LeBron gets locked in like that and their shooters are hitting 3’s they have no chance. Don’t forget about Bosh hitting the go ahead 3 then tossing the sweet bounce to Wade for the nail in the coffin. Bosh is so underrated as a complete basketball player. He can defend, rebound, has a midrange game, post game, and can hit 3’s. Miami did what they had to do in San Antonio getting 1 of the 2, but the Spurs are a great road team so they can’t take a deep breath. In last year’s series the Spurs were close in all of the games in Miami. I hope the rest of the series is like these first 2 games. 

 

— Steve Butabi

 

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Back In Action!

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I don’t even know how long it has been since we hung up the keyboards, but its safe to say Steve and I are dusting them off because Press Box Pillow Talk is officially back. Things got super busy for us and to be honest we didn’t have the time and motivation to keep the Box going. We had been talking about getting back in the game over the past month or so but never fully pulled the trigger. Thankfully, thursday nights tweets about Lebron fired us up and we are chomping at the bit to get some posts up…. We are really excited and (to the loyal PBPT-ers) we hope you are too. It’s 8:26, lets have a good day everyone!

-Throc Morton

HDH: September 11th, Pat Tillman

pat tillmanthis week we are doing HDH a tiny bit differently… we are honoring and celebrating the life of an American hero that I’m sure all of you are very familiar with, Pat Tillman.  When Pat was still living he very much had the qualities to be a traditional Hump Day Hero… the guy flew around the field, talking shit to everyone while taking no shit from anyone, not to mention his ability to drop Larry David-esque F-bombs mid game. But on this wednesday we remember the tragic events that happened 12 years ago today, and we honor them with a stand-up, class-act, HERO. Most people that know Pat’s story only know about the tragedy that happened to him while serving overseas, but before that all happened he was one hell of a Safety. Take a peek at this pretty awesome tribute video…

Steve and I started doing HDH’s in attempt to make our readers laugh and smile on the hardest day of the week… Well even if Pat’s story makes you sad, you should smile and knowing that we live among people as good as Pat.  Whether you are currently in class, at the office, or on your couch, remember how much Pat lived his life to the fullest, and let that inspire you to beat this hump day and do big things.. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m damn proud to be an American, and thanks to Pat, my hump day just got much easier.

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– Throc Morton

TBT: September 5th, Cody Paul

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at the time, CP5 was one of the biggest youtube sensations around.  The kid looked like barry sanders against a bunch of blind pee-wee pop warner players. I’m sure you have all seen his highlight reel, but take a quick peep again and watch cody spin…

right now no one really knows what Cody Paul is doing with his life, all we know is that he was a back up running back on a solid Cali high school team and now he does not play college ball. Poor guy.. but at the end of the day he was one of the most fun pop warner ballers around… shout out to CP5, whatever your doing, keep doing it.

– Throc Morton

NFL SEASON IS HERE

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We are now 1 day removed from the start of the 2013 NFL season, so dust off the jerseys and get fucking excited.  Tomorrow night it is safe to say that pandora’s box will be opened.  The draft was awesome, the offseason was entertaining, and there certainly was no shortage of training camp drama….

Lets start off by recapping a couple interesting things that happened this summer…

Big name Wide Receivers all around the league were released and resigned… Wes Welker, Mike Wallace, Greg Jennings, Percy Harvin and Danny Amendola are just a few names on a long list.

We also saw one of the most active coaching change offseasons in the last decade… Andy out – Chip in, Lovie out – Trestman in, Wisenhunt out – Arians in, Gailey out – Maronne in, Romeo out – Andy back in, Shurmur out – Chudzinski in, Mularkey out – Gus in, Norv out – McCoy in.. 8 Head Coaching changes in the offseason, thats pretty damn hectic if you ask me.

Lets not forget some of the ginormous contract extensions that were given out to QBs this offseason as well, whether they are deserved or not I will leave that up to you… Romo got 6 for 119, Flacco got 6 for a 120, Matty Ice got 5 for 105, Rodgers got 7 for 130, and Stafford got 3 for 53… those millions speak for themselves..

and how about some quick facts just to keep everyone fresh… Hernandez killed a dude, Riley Cooper is a drunken racist, Tebow is just god awful at quarterback, Coaches love to drink and drive, Von Miller pops em, the pouncey brothers dont have brains, and one more time Tebow sucks.

Now lets get pumped for the real season… Week 1… Tomorrow….  8:30 PM… Flint Michigan Megabowl…

here are a couple games that I think people NEED to tune into…

We start with the season opener, the defending superbowl champion Ravens visit mile high stadium to play arguably the #1 team in the power rankings, the Broncos.  This game is interesting for many reasons, the first and most obvious is the prestige of both these organizations.  Secondly both teams have had a bit of a makeover, the Ravens’ being much more drastic.  It will be interesting to see how the defense looks without Ed and Ray, and on the other side I’m very excited to see what Wes Welker and Peyton Manning have in store.  Im predicting the Broncs to down the Ravens 31 – 21.

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Falcons vs. Saints.  these teams could suck and it would still be a good game to watch due to the NFC south rivalry, but luckily for us these teams dont suck, at all.  Sean Payton is back, which means Drew Brees can relax and focus on playing quarterback, that is huge.  The Falcons have no excuses this year. They boast probably the best receiving core in the game, one of the best young gun-slingers in Matty Ice, a motivated monster in Stephen Jackson, and a defense that can play with almost anyone.  This game is going to be a fun one, especially for the offenses. I got the Falcons squeezing it out over the Saints 35 – 32.

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Eagles vs. Redskins. RGIII is ready, Mike Vick is ready, Monday Night Football, what is there not to like.  This should be another in division battttttle between two intriguing football teams. Lets start with Philly.  Mike Vick is the starter, and he has looked GOOD in the preseason.  Can he get the ball to his receivers enough to help out Shady McCoy? it will be interesting to see what Chip Kelly has in store for the NFL.  The Redskins also have their share of weapons. Robert Griffin, Alfred Morris, Pierre Garcon and many more will contribute to a high-powered Mike Shanahan offense.  This is an awesome way to kick off MNF for 2013.  RGIII vs Vick = Exciting. To those who know me this wont be a surprise, but I got the Eagles winning this one 28 – 27.

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If you have been following this offseason as much as I have, you are ready to jump out of your seat for the start of the season… check this vid if your having some trouble

and in the words of T.O…… getcha popcorn ready, pillowtalkers!

– Throc Morton

HDH: SEPTEMBER 4TH: CARLOS ZAMBRANO

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The wait is over. Myself and Throc Mortin are back in action…and what better way to get back into it than with a Hump Day Hero.

Carlos “El Toro” Zambrano was one of my favorite players in baseball during his stint in the MLB. The 6’4 275lb Venezuelan fits the mold of an HDH to perfection. He was a fiery guy that was good for an ejection, or at the bare minimum a broken bat over his knee…every game. Some ridiculous Zambrano moments include: He was told not to come into the clubhouse for 30 days, he cleaned out his locker and claimed he quit, then returned the next day, and he got in a fight with a water cooler.

This is vintage Zambrano…just some of many meltdowns.

 

But the thing about Zambrano…he was actually a great pitcher. He could light up the “Not top 10” for a meltdown one week, but then come back and throw a no hitter like he does here.

 

The other aspect to Big Z that made him a legend was his ability crush the ball. There are few things i respect more in the MLB than pitchers who can hang in there at the plate, and El Toro did more than just hang in there. Zambrano was easily the best batting pitcher in recent history. He didn’t just hit for average, he hit bombs.

 

So attack the rest of this hump day like Zambrano would…balls to the wall. We’re back.

– Steve Butabi

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SHORT BREAK FOR PRESS BOX PILLOW TALK

Pillowtalkers…with O’leary and I going back to school this week, it has been very difficult to get posts up. It has been chaos lately, so we decided it would be best to take a short break until we get settled in and our classes start. When we get back in our class routine, we will go back to our daily posts. In around a week and a half…

…we’ll be back.

 

 

– Steve Butabi

PRESEASON: 4 TEAMS WHO HAVE IMPRESSED

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Apologies Pillow Talkers, Connor has spent the last couple days moving back into his college house down in Florida, and I have been running around getting ready to move back to mine on friday. We should be getting back to our daily posts now.

Today i’m gonna break down some of the teams that have looked sharp this preseason. I’m only talking first team units here, sorry but when Rex Grossman goes in the game, i stop paying attention.

1. Chicago Bears: 

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The boys! Cutler and Marshall’s love affair has reached new heights. Last year Cutler targeted Marshall an absurd 192 times. New coach, new offense, but the absurdity has continued into this preseason. Cutler keeps throwing “the beast” the rock, and it’s working out. New addition Martellus Bennet has looked good early as well. Matt Forte looks like he’s back to 2010 form, and Michael Bush has looked good as the #2. With Tressman at the helm, this offense is poised for a big year. The defense has looked crisp early on led by Peppers. He’s getting up there in years but you wouldn’t notice it. Peanut Tillman is the man, but other than those guys this defense isn’t full of studs, but they always end up at the top of the league regardless.

2. Kansas City Chiefs

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Smith and Andy Ried…the saviors? It’s funny how a coach who was just ran out of town, and a QB who has been criticized his whole career come into town and all of the sudden they’re  a playoff threat. But it’s the truth…Andy Ried is a great coach he just needed a change of scenery, and Smith is a quality QB who can ball out. Those 2 guys will help, but Jamaal Charles is still the guy on offense, he looked great before his injury, and if he stays healthy they will be solid on offense. I know the 49ers beat them up pretty good, but that was without Charles. Charles, Smith and Dwyane Bowe, with the hybrid spark plug that is Dexter McCluster is solid, but they do need 1 more receiver to step up…perhaps recently traded for Aj Jenkins?…ha. Defensively this team might be the most underrated in the league, and they’ve looked legit this preseason. Their linebackers can rival San Fran’s…Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Akeem Jordan are legit. At corner they’re riding with Brandon Flowers, Dunta Robinson and Sean Smith – 3 legit starters. Not sure which one of them will be the nickel and cover the slot. Last but not least, they have one of the best young safeties in the league, Eric Berry. If Andy Ried can work his magic with that offense, this team has a chance to be dangerous in a very weak AFC.

3. New England Patrios

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No Welker, no Hernandez, no Lloyd, no Gronk, and yet the Patriots have looked as sharp as ever. Before the preseason, I was not one of those guys who believed that Brady could run out there with any random group of receivers and do work. But so far this preseason, he has proved me wrong. Amendola, Dobson, Kembrell Thompkins? So far it doesn’t matter who “The greatest living American” has thrown to, all that matter is he’s completing passes. It looks like the Pats will be going to Ridley in a power run game. They have been an underrated rushing team the past couple of years, and will crank it up on the ground even more this year. They straight up bullied the eagles on the ground in their 1st preseason game. The defense has looked pretty average this preseason. It doesn’t need to be great though, it just has to be good enough. In a year with the Steelers down, the Broncos banged up, and the Ravens rebuilt, the new-look Pats just might be the favorite.

4. Buffalo Bills

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I’m sure i wasn’t the only one who said, “What in the hell?” when the Bills drafter EJ Manuel. I was actually with a couple Bills fans during the draft, and they were not pleased. But now the new Bills regime looks like prophets, because this kid has been for real. Now there’s no telling if it will continue when the regular season starts, but as far as preseason performances go, this kid has put 2 special ones up. He had minor knee surgery but will be back for week 1, hopefully the Bills let this kid cook when the time comes, because they have no chance with Kevin Kolb. CJ Spiller is a top 5 RB talent in the league, and now he finally has his chance. Robert Woods has impressed everyone as well. Stevie Johnson, Woods, Spiller, and Manuel at the helm running the read-option? Could be fire. The defense has looked improved as well, stifling Andrew Luck and the Colts in their first game. Now of all 4 of these teams,  I would say that the Bills have the highest chance of not translating into the regular season. Teams will cover the quick throws much tighter, and will game plan for Manuel. Manuel has shown me enough to where i believe he can still be a good playmaker though. With Manuel, the bills will put up points, but can their defense hold up…that is the question.

-Steve Butabi

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TBT: Jason “White Chocolate” Williams

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(Check out a young Pau in the background…classic)

Jason Williams in my opinion was one of the most underrated point guards in the history of the league in terms of entertainment value. The guy consistently dropped jaw-dropping dimes from all angles and with both hands.

Originally from West Virginia, White Chocolate stayed in state to play for Billy Donavan at Marshall. Williams was the star point guard for a solid team. When Billy Donavan took the Florida job, Jason Williams followed. His senior year he was averaging 17 points and 7 assists per game before getting suspended for failing his 3rd drug test (all for weed). Even after the drug tests, the Kings drafted him with the 7th overall pick. Williams, C-Web, Vlade and Peja were a fun group to watch. Until Jason Williams failed another drug test and was traded to the Grizzlies. After a couple solid years in Memphis, Jason Williams was sent to Miami in a blockbuster. That year in 05-06, Williams was the starting point guard for the D-Wade-led heat that won the NBA championship. After he retired he was named as one of the Heat’s top 25 players of all time.

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But it wasn’t what J-Will did that made him a legend, it was how he did it. Not once did he make the smart play…he went the flashy route 100% of the time. Again, in my opinion he was the most fun point guard to watch of all time. Not a game went by that Williams didn’t make at least 1 pass that made the crowd go nuts. Behind the back, through the legs, no looks, he did it all. He literally played street ball in the NBA, and i don’t think thats an exaggeration. He also pulled THE single greatest pass in basketball history “the elbow pass” that will be remembered forever. Take a look at this unreal highlight tape. (Elbow pass comes in at the 2:10 mark).

– Steve Butabi

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HDH: August 14th, Manny Ramirez

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Where to start with manny? The guy used to be able to hit the stitching off a baseball, but thats not why he’s this weeks hump day hero. Whether it was his anger issues at the plate, lack of shit-giving in the outfield, or ability to goof off no matter what the situation was, Manny was a legend. Check out this vid to get a quick reminder of how awesome he was back in the day…

if you didn’t laugh at that cutoff play than I’m not sure what you would laugh at.

If you watched that video till the end you saw him enter the Monster on a mound visit, well that wasn’t a special moment because he did it quite often.  Rumors used to circle the league saying he would use the bathroom back there all the time, and sometime just sit down and relax. Who else in baseball has the nads to just pop a squat mid-game? I know manny does.

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He jumped from team to team just throwing temper tantrums and hitting mediocre, which lead to his hilarious random retirement.. which happened to be very short-lived. He was just let go by the rangers earlier today so sadly it might be the end of this smiling face.  Manny’s hall of fame chances got hurt when he failed a drug test in ’09, but for a hall of fame talent, manny had the most fun on the field, hands down. Happy hump day from the pillow talkers and Manny!

– Throc Morton