Tag Archives: oakland

Breakfast: Putting Perspective on Pacers-Warriors Pushing Party

First things First: Last night was not Malice at the Palace 2.0. This needs to be said. But in case in you missed it, there was a scrum in the 4th quarter of last night’s Pacers-Warriors contest. The Pacers won, 107-98, but not after an incident that began when Roy Hibbert got tangled up with David Lee. Check it:

The whole thing could have ended at the :10 mark. David Lee gives Hibbert the most unfriendly chest bump I’ve ever seen, talks his trash and then turns his back. It’s over. Defused.

We at TheOrangeWedge are huge fans of David Lee. Not just because he started as a Knick, but the way he plays the game. As for Hibbert, I doubt you’ll find a nicer 7 footer than Roy Hibbert. Check out this article, or this article. The dude is exactly who you want as the cornerstone for your franchise.

And yet, the Pacers can’t fill their seats. But we’ll get to that later. Back to the video.

If anyone deserves to get suspended here (besides Hibbert), why not Steph Curry? Curry throws himself at Hibbert not once, but twice! And both times he gets tossed by Hibby. By that time, Curry’s sheer momentum has carried the pile towards the first row and photographers, escalating the situation and probably the main cause for the suspensions. Sitting courtside is the single best way to view a professional sport, and the NBA has to protect that asset or they will be at risk of losing that privilege. Just ask NASCAR.

Why these two teams? It wasn’t unlikely when you break it down. Since Frank Vogel’s arrival in Indiana his has instilled a very blue-collar mentality to the locker room. The Pacers play tough, they play physical, and they play unselfish. Even with the 2nd best record in the East, they play like an underdog every night.

The Pacers methodology and mindset is exactly what Mark Jackson has been attempting to do in Oakland. Jackson took the role of Warriors head coach before last season, had a shortened training camp, and struggled with injuries; all while management made significant roster moves. But he has transformed the Warriors into his mold: athletic, scrappy, and unselfish. Much like the point guard who trails only John Stockton and Jason Kidd in the All-Time assists totals.

A quick backtrack: last night’s scuffle is terrible for the Pacers, who are already ranked 26th in league attendance. Why would the team that only trails the Heat in the East be struggling to fill seats? I have my points, and they are much in line with that of Colin Cowherd. But this isn’t about that issue. The point is, this incident won’t stop people from going, but it certainly won’t have a positive impact. People that haven’t been going will finger-point and call this another reason they won’t attend games. But this wasn’t violence. It was hunger. Hunger from two teams that are built to win, but are destined to fall short of their goals.

Neither of these teams have a legitimate shot at the title. They are playoff teams, they will be in the discussion, but deep down, they know they won’t be able to reach the Finals. So what if the Pacers are 2-0 against the Heat this year? So what if the Warriors beat the Spurs in OT last week?

Both of these teams know they are good, but not good enough to win a series. As we hit March and teams pick up the intensity, more players are going to get technical, and more skirmishes like this may break out. It’s unfortunate this had to happen in Indiana of all places, but the NBA is too competitive for emotions not to boil over at this point. I believe, however, that last nights, tussle was a very good sign of things to come.

 

Brace yourselves, this Playoffs is going to be one of the best in recent memory.

Lunch: Damian Lillard is For Realsies

This year’s rookie class is full of surprises (AP/Michael Conroy)

Let’s set the record straight: some of us here at The OrangeWedge have a gambling problem. Well, it’s not quite a problem yet, but over the course of our sportsbetting educations, we may not always make the best decisions.

Let’s take a late night this past summer, where I was looking at NBA Future bets, specifically Rookie of the Year. Did I have a good knowledge about how this year’s crop of freshman would pan out? Absolutely not. But Austin Rivers was going off +1800, and for some reason it was looking sexy. “All the focus will be on Anthony Davis,” I told myself (I’m delusional). “Did you see his winner against UNC? The kid is real.” It’s safe to say my money is gone, as Rivers is averaging just 6 points in 23 minutes per game this season. A disappointing effort, but Rivers is 20 and he’ll have time to develop.

So who’s the Rookie of the Year? Right now, some kid from Weber State is the clear cut winner for an award that LeBron, Durant, and Chris Paul have all won in the past. Have you met Damian Lamonte Ollie Lillard?

Damian Lillard grew up in Oakland, and I’ll let you write the next few sentences describing what a childhood in Oakland entails. The only difference is that Lillard’s father was a pillar in the community, keeping not just Damian out of trouble but other kids in the neighborhood as well. Despite positive influences and prep school success, Lillard was just a two-star recruit and received no major offers.

He ended up at Weber State, and spent the next three years taking dookies on the Big Sky conference. Check it out:

Bonus: Not only did Lillard post that video, another user commented with a question, and Lillard answered. What athlete does that? Lillard is also active on Twitter (@Dame_Lillard) and is constantly having giveaways and opportunities to interact with fans.

He finished his career as a Weber Wildcat 2nd in career scoring to the legendary Bruce Collins. Bruce, played for four years to Lillard’s 3, however, and went pro in 1980 where he was drafted by….wait for it…the Portland Trail Blazers. Feel free to geek out.

Lillard hasn’t transformed the Blazers with his presence  but his athleticism gives them a key piece to compete with the Westbrooks and Currys they see so often in the West. Lillard has the chops to be in their conversation, as he has quickly adapted to the speed of the game and can attack off the dribble effectively. There are not going to be any stats in this article (sorry, Daryl Morey), but know that barring injury, Lillard is your ROY. And he’s a good guy. And my Rivers bet is ruined.

Disagree? Let us know? E-mail us or tweet at us @TheOrangeWedge!