Peter Vecsey Goes “N The Zone”

In this 2-part interview, Peter Vecsey, long-time sports columnist of the NY Post joins “N The Zone” and shows off his rap skills.

In Part 1, he talks about his career and how he got the analyst job on the “NBA on NBC.” Plus gives a colorful story on his relationship with Pat Riley while on NBC and when he coached the Lakers, Knicks and Heat.

In Part 2, with Peter Vecsey as he talks about his unfiltered thoughts about Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks. Also, a impromptu with Michael Jordan on Jackson’s and Tex Winter’s triangle offense. Along with his thoughts on the if Cavs-Warriors for a third time, is good for the NBA.

NOTE: The following segments contain language that some may find objectionable. Parental discretion is advised.

N The Zone – Peter Vecsey (Part 1) 05-21-17

N The Zone – Peter Vecsey (Part 2) 05-21-17

Let’s Hoop – NBA First Round Playoff Preview

The A-Train here…I want to bring on our NBA contributor Robyn Browning and she has your preview for the upcoming first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Robyn, the floor is yours.Larry O'Brien Trophy

ROBYN:

The regular season ended on a historic and spectacular note with Golden State setting the record for most wins in the season (73) and Kobe Bryant ending his career with a 60 point effort to defeat the Utah Jazz, thus securing his name as a basketball legend. Now, the playoffs are here and hopefully the NBA will build off the energy of Wednesday night and extend it through the playoffs. Here are my predictions for the first-round series in order of seeding.

Golden State Warriors (1) vs. Houston Rockets (8)

Golden State wins if they keep applying pressure on offense with quick ball movement, pressure defense with closeout double teams, and aggressive rebounding.

Houston wins if they take the red pill from the Matrix and become the team in an alternate reality in which Harden plays defense, more plays are run for Trevor Ariza, and Dwight Howard becomes a 70% free throw shooter.

Players to Watch: Harrison Barnes and Trevor Ariza

My Pick: Golden State in 4

Cleveland Cavaliers (1) vs. Detroit Pistons (8)

Cleveland wins if they become the playoff team we expect them to be. LeBron James will run the point, be efficient from the field, and open up spot-up shooters. Kyrie Irving must contain Reggie Jackson in pick and roll situations.

Detroit wins if they wear down Cleveland through offensive rebounding and pick and roll play with Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond. They must play with the same confidence and fire that led them to defeat Cleveland during the regular season.

Players to Watch: Andre Drummond and Cleveland’s three-point shooters (JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Kevin Love)

My Pick: Cleveland in 5

San Antonio Spurs (2) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (7)

San Antonio wins if they control the tempo and no one gets hurt.

Memphis wins if they transform into the Monstars from Space Jam.

Players to Watch: Danny Green, Spurs bench, and Jordan Farmar vs. Spurs point guards

My pick: San Antonio in 5

Toronto Raptors (2) vs. Indiana Pacers (7)

Toronto wins if they shoot well from the perimeter, drive to the basket, and get to the foul line a lot.

Indiana wins if they win Game 1 and fluster Toronto’s confidence. Indiana’s front court must get Luis Scola and Jonas Valaciunas in foul trouble.

Players to Watch: Toronto’s backcourt vs. Indiana’s frontcourt and DeMarre Carroll (Is he healthy?)

My Pick: Toronto in 5

Oklahoma City Thunder (3) vs. Dallas Mavericks (6)

Oklahoma City wins on talent alone. Russell Westbrook is too much for Deron Williams to handle and Kevin Durant can pour in points by the handful.

Dallas wins if they can contain the Thunder—not outright stop them defensively, outscore them, and coach Rick Carlisle changes the lineup so much that the Thunder stay off balance.

Players to Watch: Wesley Matthews (Can he keep up with Kevin Durant?) and Russell Westbrook (watch for a triple-double game or two)

My Pick: Oklahoma City in 5

Miami Heat (3) vs. Charlotte Hornets (6)

Miami wins if their veterans will use their post-season experience to their advantage and Hassan Whiteside can defend the rim, keep fouls to under control, and wear down Al Jefferson.

Charlotte wins if they forget about the 2013-2014 playoffs when they were swept by the Heat, Kemba Walker’s mid-range game stays great, and Jefferson, Nick Batum, and Marvin Williams lock down Miami defensively.

Players to Watch: Charlotte’s defense and Jeremy Lin and his hair

My Pick: Miami in 6

Los Angeles Clippers (4) vs. Portland Trailblazers (5)

Los Angeles wins if they continue to play with confidence and overpower the Blazers in the post.

Portland wins if Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum break down the Clippers defensively to score inside and outside the paint and set up their teammates for easy shots.

Players to Watch: Lillard vs. Chris Paul (top-notch NBA point guard play) and Clippers bench

My Pick: Clippers in 6

Atlanta Hawks (4) vs. Boston Celtics (5)

Atlanta wins if Paul Millsap takes advantage of the Celtic’s frontcourt, especially on pick and roll plays and make the Celtics run half-court offense.

Boston wins if Isaiah Thomas continues to score as he has for over a month, get Atlanta to turn the ball over, and have more points in transition than half-court.

Players to Watch: Isaiah Thomas vs. Jeff Teague/Dennis Schroder (Teague/Schroder turnover-prone & Thomas can capitalize in a major way)

My Pick: Atlanta in 7

 

You can follow Robyn on Twitter. Her handle is @robynbirdfly.

The A-Train Rant 18.0!!!

 

Ranting-Homer

Time for another edition of The A-Train Rant…

  1. I want to first say thank you to the people at Fox and MLB for completely dropping the ball during the All-Star Game. No mention of Tony Gwynn at all. I understand everything was meant for Derek Jeter but hell, give credit to one of the greatest hitters our generation has ever seen. Damn sure didn’t help when Ken Rosenthal tried to explain the situation later.
  2. I wonder why Erin Andrews got the NFL on Fox gig over the now departed Pam Oliver. Was it hair? Race? (No, not the race card) I see why the people at WEEI went completely in on her. It wasn’t right to say but hey, I didn’t make the comments.
  3. The MLB All-Star Game is ALL Bud Selig’s fault…he made an exhibition too serious. (Was slated in my rant about the All-Star game)
  4. The Los Angeles Lakers are not going anywhere next season. Great job adding Carlos Boozer (laughs)
  5. July 17th was the worst day this year for sports…they weren’t any. If you want to count golf, cricket and the WNBA, go right ahead.
  6. The Miami Heat have a better chance to win the East over the Miami Cavaliers (aka Cleveland).
  7. Adam Wainwright should learn to keep his mouth shut.
  8. Kevin Love is not going anywhere.
  9. Derek Jeter is hated so much…Deadspin went this far.
  10. Kevin Durant is going to Washington in 2 seasons.
  11. Stuart Scott is the greatest. Just watch his ESPYs speech.
  12. Shoutout to Dr. J, straight chin-checking Stephen A. Smith on First Take.
  13. When does football season start?

More to come.

The A-Train

Why LeBron Why?

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Why LeBron, why?

(NOTE: This is a short commentary and the answers are opinions and not facts, yet they could be)

Why did LeBron go back to the team in which its owner got so bitter that he decided to post a disrespectful letter on his team’s website?

Because this was a full-fledged PR move and pretty much pimped us fans and the media. I understand righting a wrong, but I wouldn’t fool with a disrespectful person such as Dan Gilbert. Then come crawling out and acting like he loves LeBron and wishes this never happened. It did. It was childish and very bitter. If I was LeBron, I would have been like a TRUE villain to Gilbert. I would have him bend down and kiss my rings or my feet. He would have to worship me for my services. It’s sounds sadistic but that’s the price he would have to pay for the crap that he decided to pull.

It also sounds like another case of the player having control of the team. That’s a pure self move. I should be a fan of LeBron because…I love villains. But he (in my mind only) rubbed me the wrong way and he was being too passive about it. Crazy as it seems, those are the best of villains. Because as calm as he is in interviews, behind closed doors he’s a narcissist. I love that. That also mean I should be a fan of Kobe Bryant. I’ll let your minds wander.

Why did LeBron leave the Miami Heat?

You can thank Pat Riley for that. As many speculated (including myself) that they would not be anywhere near the Finals next year, I can’t say that anymore.  It will depend on the new signings (Deng, McRoberts, etc) and re-signings of Bosh and Wade. The latter hopefully being healthy next season.

Why did LeBron go to SI.com and write a personal essay on his return?

The Decision Part 1 effected him, he knows it did. So, he chose to do an essay (he didn’t actually write it) for Decision Part 2. Plus, he knows that the whole sports world is paying attention to him, no matter how much of us love him or hate him, he has our attention. That’s why he took the time off he needed to even though it shouldn’t have taken that long to do it in the first place. He has that control and that’s what drive the media and fans crazy. How can such a player have that much control?

Why is LeBron being the villain, again?

Because he’s LeBron. Way to tick off Miami fans, Dwyane Wade AND Udonis Haslem. If Adam Silver is listening, have Cavs/Heat on Christmas Day. It’s a PR’s dream.

The A-Train

THE ASSOCIATION REPORT: Second Edition

nba-logo

In the second edition of “The Association,” the primary focus is on the professional level…the NBA.

Here we are in the month of February and the Oklahoma City Thunder is playing like they want to be in the NBA championship once again, even without their floor leader Russell Westbrook. Reggie Jackson is definitely picking up the slack at the 1 position, Serge Ibaka playing magnificent ball at the 4 position and DEFINITELY should have been an All-Star this year (we’ll talk about that later) while Jeremy Lamb, 3-point veteran Derek Fisher and defensive specialist Thabo Sefalosha providing great contributions from the bench. This team has been on a roll have blown out opponents in the month of January…including their 17-point win against the Miami Heat. The person behind those epic wins is their MVP for not only the team, but the league as well…Kevin Durant.

Durant is without a doubt playing the best basketball of his career. It was ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith that said about Durant that he can play “any of the 4 positions.” He can. He really can. He’s a great ball-handler, he can handle the wing positions and he can post up on just about anyone. He definitely a player that is hard to guard…just ask LeBron James. In their matchup on January 29th, LeBron may have won the point battle, 34-33, but it was Durant who had the last laughs. On three different occasions, Durant buried 3-point shots in the face of James. Both guys are definitely valuable to their respective teams, but you almost can’t go against either of them. LeBron is actually having a down year…at least if you are talking about his scoring average (which is at 26 points a game), but the other numbers have remained consistent. But the guy everyone is talking about in circles…is Durant. He clearly has made it known to fans and haters that he’s tired of being second best. So far, he’s the best player. I can hear the LeBron fans immortalizing the great Ric Flair’s line, “To be the best, you got to BEAT the best.” Still, Durant is the best player.

One team you should definitely watch for is the Golden State Warriors. This team is young, energetic, highly-entertaining and VERY exciting. I haven’t seen them look this good since the days of Run TMC (TIM Hardaway, MITCH Richmond, and CHRIS Mullin). If you are looking for a “one season to the playoff” team, this is not the team for you. Mark Jackson’s boys will be in the playoffs for a while. Stephon Curry playing all-star ball as usual. He needs to make sure to let his game do the talking and not his mouth. Klay Thompson is a dead-eye shooter and can give opposing guards fits. Andrew Bogut and David Lee are very solid in the post…but health will be the issue for these two. The addition of Andre Iguodala was genius by Golden State. He doesn’t have to be THE guy for this team, all he has to do is play his role where he’s needed. I can’t forget about young guys Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and the recent acquisition Jordan Crawford (from Boston), they bring punch off the bench. The Warriors are as young as the recent Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. It may look a little far-fetched that they would be in the NBA Finals this season but they have the right pieces to make themselves a championship contender.

While the New York Knicks have been the NBA’s biggest primetime drama (yeah they moved out the Lakers), the important piece of the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony has suddenly become an ultimate prize for other suitors. As the rumors continue to fly out about where ‘Melo could be going…whether it’s Los Angeles, Chicago or even staying in NYC…the question is: Is he worth it? It will depend on what squad decides to put him on their roster. If it’s the Lakers…you’re asking for trouble. As much as Laker fans want him there, he’s not the answer to their equation. Maybe a Kevin Love added to the mix could make it a championship contender but I just don’t see it. Yes, the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics pulled off doing Big 3’s to help them win championships, but those teams were very different compared to what other NBA squads are trying to combine and make their own.  If he goes to the Clippers, it’s going to have to be in exchange for star Blake Griffin. Griffin could work well in NYC, he does like to run and the Knicks are a running team. The longshot is Chicago…yeah they don’t have Derrick Rose but they could use a scorer, the bad part is they won’t have a good defender unless head coach Tom Thibodeau can help him a great deal. Who wants an effective scorer but poor defender for their playoff-bound/championship contending team? I would choose Chicago. That’s not because I’m a Bulls fan either.

(I’m going to try to be nice with this one) The beginning of the month saw a 30-year tenure for David Stern come to an end. Stern took the NBA to an international phenomenon, taking the game all over the world, and even returning with some of the Non-American’s best players. Stern made the NBA very marketable…turning people like Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James into household names. He even was the brainchild with the WNBA and did his best to bring substance to his league. Adam Silver takes over the commissioner’s position and hopefully will bring a lot more positivity to the league.

A-Train