SBS Guide to: H-O-R-S-E

Written by :
Published on : May 13, 2017

 

H-O-R-S-E is a basketball skills/shooting competition that can be enjoyed with any number of players (2 minimum). This driveway staple has been providing NBA inspired thrills for decades. It’s one of the truly perfect and simple games that will live forever because it’s easy to play and very satisfying at all ability levels. Gather the crew and crack some sports drink, this is your ScoreBoredSports guide to H-O-R-S-E.

 

Rules

Basic mechanics are like this. Player A calls their shot from the floor, if they make it, it is now on Player B to make the same exact shot. If Player B misses, they get a letter (An ‘H’ if it’s your first). Get all the letters to spell “HORSE” and you are out.

 

If Player A misses their called shot, then it’s Player B’s turn to call a shot. After a letter is given out, the next player in the order is up. So in a two person game, the loser gets a letter and the winner is back to picking a challenge.

 

When playing with a group, same rules apply, the person who misses the shot gets the letter. So if Player A makes a hook shot from the elbow, then each player goes until someone misses. If everyone makes it, Player A must invent something else.

 

horse dunk

 

Rule variations

For a shorter or longer game, change the target word. Instead of H-O-R-S-E, we would play P-I-G or G-R-A-N-D-M-A-M-A depending how much time we had.

 

If Player A calls a shot and everyone makes it then player A gets a letter. This rule encourages you to take difficult shots. Player A is such a wuss for playing it safe.

 

Try teams. You and your partner takes turns shooting but collect letters together. This only seems necessary if you have huge numbers that want in and if that’s the case then just play real 5-5 basketball.

 

Play on horseback. Never done this, seems too rich for my blood. Could be awesome. Isn’t this just polo?

 

Strategy

Practice a trick shot. At least one move that’s irregular and you have decent odds of making. Every game of H-O-R-S-E I’ve ever played had some jerk making a backwards shot that no one could reproduce.

 

backwards shot 2

 

Play to your opponent’s weaknesses. Do you know Timmy can’t use his left hand? Then maybe a reverse southpaw layup may trip him up. Or maybe the other players don’t have much range, try a 3 from well beyond the line, Steph Curry style.

 

If you are way out-classed in terms of basketball skills then make sure you are at least smarter and better at spelling than the competition. That may buy you a few extra letters before you get bounced off the cooouuuurrrttttt.

 

H-O-R-S-E rocks because you don’t have to break a sweat to feel like you’ve competed. Plus it’s possible you can beat a much more athletic person than yourself. And in general, it’s a great lazy way to spend a summer day. My go-to shot is the granny-style free throw. Leave your fav trick shot in the comments below and maybe I’ll see you in the driveway. At least until the street lights come on.

 

No real horses were harmed in the making of this.

 

 


Oklahoma City should trade Russell Westbrook

Written by :
Published on : July 7, 2016

 

 

Kevin Durant chose to leave a title contending Oklahoma City Thunder team to form a Big 4 with the Golden State Warriors. Typically when a team loses a player of Durant’s stature it leaves the team reeling in mediocrity for years. Luckily, the Thunder have an All-NBA point guard in Russell Westbrook. He led the league in triple-doubles last season. The year prior he willed the team to the playoffs without Durant (Durant had surgery on his right foot causing him to miss most of the season). The team built around Durant and Westbrook, adding skilled big men and floor spacing shooters. With Durant gone, the Thunder could continue to add players to keep Westbrook in playoff contention.

 

Or they would be wise to trade Westbrook now.

 

The team gambled with Durant during free agency, hoping that his loyalty to Westbrook and the OKC fans would stave off the allure of winning a championship next year. Even though the Thunder had the Warriors down 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals and were within minutes of going to the NBA Finals, Durant clearly decided that his union with Westbrook had reached its peak.

 

Apr 23, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) and guard Russell Westbrook (0) react at the end of the second quarter against the Dallas Mavericks in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

 

With that in mind, we must consider Westbrook as a trade asset in order for the Thunder to start a rebuild. Here are some deals I believe the Thunder should take a look at to upgrade their roster:

 

1. The Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers Get: Russell Westbrook

Thunder Get: Luol Deng, Brandon Ingram or D’Angelo Russell, and Julius Randle. Protected 2017 1st round draft pick

 

This trade would benefit both teams immediately. The first priority for the Thunder is to see which teams would Westbrook commit to long term. I see the Lakers as a potential fit, as Westbrook is a Los Angeles guy (he played for UCLA). The Thunder would have to decide if they want Russell to be their future point guard or Ingram as the next Durant. The Lakers can’t totally gut their team because they need pieces around Westbrook to be competitive. The key to this trade scenario is that the Thunder have to wait until right at the trade deadline. They have to let the Lakers accumulate as many losses as possible before Westbrook arrives, so they can get the best use of the draft pick they would acquire.

 

d'angelo russell

 

For the Thunder, a team with D’Angelo Russell, Victor Oladipo, Julius Randle, and Steven Adams is a pretty good start to a rebuild. Once they add a player from a 2017 Draft that is rumored to be one of the best in recent years, that is quite a rebound from the heartbreak Durant inflicted on the franchise.

 

2. Minnesota Timberwolves

Timberwolves Get: Russell Westbrook

Thunder Get: Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, and Ricky Rubio. Minnesota 2017 and 2018 first round draft picks.

 

Now on paper this looks like a steal for the Thunder. They would be getting a young, proven wing player in Wiggins, a freak athlete in LaVine, and the draft picks are a nice throw in. There may be room for Rubio on the roster but the team would be better served it they traded Rubio for another wing player. The Timberwolves would be loaded with backcourt talent, with rookie Kris Dunn and Westbrook. Pairing those two players with Rookie of the Year Karl Anthony-Towns would give the Timberwolves a pretty good team. Also, head coach Tom Thibodeau would get the best out of Westbrook defensively and give him the freedom to create for himself offensively.

 

karl-anthony-towns-andrew-wiggins

 

Although Andrew Wiggins has shown improvement his first two years, there are no signs pointing to him being a superstar. I have his floor at Rudy Gay and ceiling at Vince Carter. He’s still young but giving him a new start in OKC with LaVine could possibly unlock his full potential as he would undoubtedly be the face of the franchise.

 

3. New York Knicks

Knicks Get: Russell Westbrook

Thunder Get: Derrick Rose

 

This is the biggest gamble of all. Westbrook for Rose may seem like a crazy trade. However, if you follow Westbrook you know he is into bright lights and big cities. The move would cater to his modeling and fashion vices. It would also give him a better team than what he’s currently on when you account for Carmelo Anthony, Kristap Porzingis and Joakim Noah. Getting Westbrook to commit to an extension after the season may not be as difficult when you consider Anthony’s contract will be off the books in two years and Porzingis can be a building piece going into the future. Rose would ultimately be the loser in this scenario but he would have a young team to play with for a season to prove he can return to MVP form. Sharing the spotlight with Porzingis and Anthony is more cumbersome than playing with Enes Kanter and Oladipo. Maybe the Knicks attach some future draft picks to sweeten the deal but the Thunder have to make a move on Westbrook soon.

 

 


Kings of the game: 21

Written by :
Published on : May 29, 2016

 

 

Chances are, if you grew up playing basketball in some capacity, you’re familiar with the rules of the game 21. My first time playing, I was not. Mainly because I didn’t understand the concept of tipping the ball back in—any buckets I drained were usually zeroed out within moments. Nobody told me what to do. Nobody spared me the embarrassment. Part of the beauty of the game is that it’s you against the world, a showcase for the arsenal of shots, fakes, and (in my case) fancy turnovers at your disposal.

 

Given that the game is so different from traditional 5-on-5 basketball, an important question arises: who is the greatest 21 player of all time? Is it just MJ, hands down the GOAT? What about the other Goat, street hoops legend Earl Manigault, famed for snatching quarters from the tops of backboards? Perhaps the greatest 21 player of all time isn’t even a basketball player; maybe, for some reason, it’s Charlie Adam, currently a reserve player for Stoke City FC in the Barclays Premier League.

 

 

The ScoreBoredSports hoops-loving staff asks this question in the heat of the playoffs, while our minds are most finely attuned to the rhythms of Dr. Naismith’s beautiful game.

 

Antoine Poutine’s pick: Allen Iverson

My candidate is the absolute embodiment of three of what I believe are the game of 21’s most crucial aspects.

 

 

Shot Making: If you can’t put the ball in the basket, there’s little hope of staying competitive for very long. Knockout versions of the game might even get you bounced altogether. So a great 21 player needs to be able to get past his man and create a shot, but also make the damn thing. AI, the Answer, is pound-for-pound the greatest shot-maker in the history of basketball.

 

Stealing the ball: If you don’t have the ball in 21, you can’t win the game. Getting it back is priority number one if you’ve lost it. There also aren’t any team-defense concepts out there, no wrinkles, no zone. Just rip the damn ball from your man. AI is the NBA single-game playoff record holder for steals with 10 (!) against the Orlando Magic in 1999. He’s 12th all-time in career steals in the NBA.

 

Me against the World: Nobody better embodies what’s at the core of 21, which is to prove yourself on your own merits. No practice, no team, no teammates. Just your game. Allen Iverson is the purest gamer in basketball’s history, for better and worse. It doesn’t make him the all-time greatest player, but perhaps the one best suited for the brutal gauntlet that is 21.

 

Bruno Tysh’s pick: Kevin Durant

He can literally do it all. He has the size and skill perfect for the iso play of 21.

 

KD flex

 

OffenseKD excels at creating his own shot. He can use his dribble to either get off a clean jumper or just straight power to the basket. I don’t see many defenders with the size and speed to guard him effectively.

 

Defense: The length is the key here. That wingspan allows him to stay a step back while still being all over you. Durant also has the foot speed to recover and make a play at the rim. Dude will swat some shots.

 

Tip ins: This ends the conversation. If any opponent misses then Durant will be right there for the tip in. Guy is tall and can jump out the gym, so good luck. Only way to beat KD could be to never miss. Ever.

 

Alex Jag’s pick: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Before LeBron, before Jordan, before Magic, there was Kareem (and before ’71 there was Lew, but it’s kind of confusing).

 

 

Offense: Two words: Sky hook. If you watch the above video you can see that that shit is damn near unstoppable. How in the hell do you defend something like that? Kareem was a beast with the ball in his hand. He could drive the ball down the court and once he did he would use his 7’2″ frame to create space and just go up over the top of you and drop the ball in the net. With either hand! Try to tell me anyone else on this list could defend that.

 

Defense: The key here is Kareem’s shot blocking ability. Any one of these other guys who try to put the ball up are going to be in for a rude awakening. Kareem had the height and the jumping ability to send that basketball right back in their face. He was the NBA blocks leader four times and was selected to eleven All-NBA defensive teams.

 

Tip ins: This one relates to his defensive abilities. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a tall, big body that barely had to try to get himself up to the rim. This game would just be too easy for him. Plus, he was great in Airplane!

 

Phred Brown’s Pick: Reggie Miller

These are the things you need to win a game of 21: great shooting, even better free throw shooting, a little bit of height and a sharp tongue. For these reasons, I believe Reggie Miller would be the greatest threat in a game of 21.

 

 

Offense: By the time someone steps out to play D, he’s already hit a three. With his great free throw shooting, be prepared watch him run the table. The post-up, mid range game is not much of a factor in 21. If you are winning 21, you’re either a big man living off the tip-in or a good outside shooter. Reggie Miller being one of the best in the latter category.

 

Defense: Miller is long enough to grab an errant rebound and all he needs is one. And seeing as there are many guys behind you waiting to play defense, incredible stopping ability isn’t needed. Reggie is better off hanging outside the lane and looking for steals or rebounds.

 

X factor: He can talk some good trash all while hitting shots.

 

 

Did we leave out your favorite baller? And don’t say Air Bud. Drop your non-canine thoughts in the comments below.

 

Game.

 

 


A Letter to the Cavs from a Grateful Fan

Written by :
Published on : May 28, 2016

 

 

Dear Cleveland Cavaliers,

 

Thank you for accepting the challenge, for fighting through matchup after matchup, for weathering the injuries, for your patience in times of mental and physical turmoil, for balling like some ballers, and for winning the Eastern Conference Finals.

 

Needless to say,  it’s been a long road. Yes, at this time last year we were advancing to the finals, but without Kyrie who went down in overtime, never to return in the 2014-15 NBA post season. Not to mention Kevin Love who endured a debilitating shoulder injury against Boston in round one. But the limited bench showed up and put on a performance that inspired the hungry Cleveland crowd, and even won two games in the finals. By the way, those finals wins were a first in Cavs history. Pushing, scraping, and Dellying our way to a game six, our luck and our energy finally ran out when Golden State took home the trophy.

 

It was a slow start to the 2015-16 season. Kyrie was still recovering. The wins were there, but not as fruitful as your typical cornucopia. It took a while before Stella Got Her Groove Back. But everything comes in cycles. As we lost Anderson Varejao to a torn achilles right before Christmas last year, we were gifted with a healthy yet rusty Kyrie as the holidays approached. With the New Year came new beginnings – and I’m talking big changes, as head Coach David Blatt was let go and Tyronn Lue went from highest paid associate to top diggity dog (but not the highest paid head coach of course). Could he live up to the challenge we asked? Or would LeBron be doing most of the coaching?

 

Some say Tyronn has stood his ground. And it’s undeniable that LeBron has had a significant impact on how the team has arrived to where they are today. I’m sure it was a little of this, a little of that. A lot of healthy eating, a lot of hard work, and a little partying in between – hence LeBron’s Prince Halloween costume. RIP Prince.

 

LeBronAsPrince

 

But after witnessing the heartwarming energy of the fans last year and hearing those echoes of hope continue to ring throughout The Land and across the country this year, I am sure that our faith has not faded. Our trust in our team is strong. We believe we can win because we’ve seen it, and we’ve seen it done well. We’ve also witnessed how a fan base can truly uplift or deflate their hometown heroes or sworn enemies depending on who’s turf we’re meeting on. And when we say ALL IN, it’s not because basketball is all we have, it’s because we’re giving one hundred percent just like our guys.

 

It’s an energy, connection, and love that breaks borders, boundaries, and bloodlines. But what we have in common is where we’re from and who we are playing for. We have pride in our team and our team embodies the spirit of our city. A city that we love and a city that deserves a championship. After all, we are all fans. Even LeBron is a fan. And he knows the power of the fandom, united. He even acknowledged the power of the Toronto fan base – which included Drake giving high fives at the end of the game. Not sure Lowry cared about Drake…But don’t feel sorry for Toronto. They played well. They still have hockey, sort of.

 

Drake raptors

 

It was great to see Mr. Cavalier, aka Austin Carr, stand with the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers to hoist that Eastern Conference Championship trophy above their heads. He’s been there since the beginning. He’s almost seen many a championship. But something tells me that this year is history in the making and I’m so happy he’s a part of it.

 

Whether it’s OKC or Golden State, I believe we are ready to take on either team. My dad, aka @SirFranksnBacon, aka the Dean of Cleveland Sports, Greg Brinda, recently quoted sworn Starfleet enemy, Khan, on his post game show, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” But if we play OKC we’ll have home court advantage, which means our fans will have a say in these first two games. Don’t worry. We won’t underestimate either opponent. We’ll have to make adjustments accordingly, but there’s a sense of calm and confidence that eases my fears. I’m not used to that feeling, and I’m not even sure of what to think about that right now, but I’ll take it.

 

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 20:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts in the final minutes of their 97 to 89 win over the Atlanta Hawks during Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on May 20, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

 

Just like the original Goonie, Mikey, preaches to his team from the depths of the Oregon coast, Don’t you realize? The next time you see sky, it’ll be over another town. The next time you take a test, it’ll be in some other school. Our parents, they want the best of stuff for us. But right now, they got to do what’s right for them. Because it’s their time. Their time! Up there! Down here, it’s our time. It’s our time down here. That’s all over the second we ride up Troy’s bucket.”

 

And we’re not riding up Troy’s bucket until we have a championship.

 

 


3 Reasons the Thunder will beat the Warriors, and vice versa

Written by :
Published on : May 16, 2016

 

 

The Western Conference Finals begin Monday night, but it’s not the matchup everyone was expecting after the Oklahoma City Thunder upset the San Antonio Spurs in the conference semi-finals. The top-seeded Golden State Warriors have been taking care of business with or without two-time MVP Stephen Curry, ousting the Blazers in just five games. While the Warriors are the overwhelming favorites, no one gave the Thunder a shot against the Spurs, so I wouldn’t rule them out against Golden State either. This a series featuring two extremely talented teams with completely different playing styles. There’s a lot of different ways this one could play, so I’ll make a case for both sides. Let’s start with the underdogs…

 

3 reasons the Thunder will upset the Warriors as they did San Antonio:

 

 

1. Durant and Westbrook are locked in

KD Russ

 

After getting blown out by the Spurs in game one, much due to uncharacteristically bad performances by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder’s lethal duo bounced back with authority. In games two-through-six, Durant averaged 31 points, while Westbrook put up his usual ridiculous numbers, averaging 27.4 points, 10.8 assists, and 7.4 rebounds. Of course, we all know these two rack up incredible stats, but it was the way they took over the series and continued finding ways to generate offense against the best defensive team in the NBA that made this so impressive.

 

Durant and Westbrook are playing with better rhythm and harmony than ever before. Rarely have these two stayed healthy deep into playoff runs, and when they have, they’ve made it to the conference Finals or beyond. Right now, they are healthy and clicking better than ever. Westbrook is dialing back on the circus shots and over-dribbling, and Durant is proving he can handle the pressure on the biggest stage. While Golden State has quite possibly the best player in the NBA, Oklahoma City is the only team in the league that can truly claim to have two of the best five.

 

2. Size matters

Adams Ibaka

 

After Durant and Westbrook, the Thunder’s next three leading scorers in the playoffs are all traditional big men (power forwards and centers): Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams, and Enes Kanter. Very rare for the current NBA era, where teams are going with smaller, more athletic lineups stacked with three point shooters that can run, spread the floor and hit open shots. While there is certainly a reason to be concerned about OKC’s ability to handle Golden State’s speed and shooting, they should be able to cause equally difficult matchup problems with the post-scoring, shot-blocking and rebounding abilities of their three big men.

 

No matter how tempting it may be for OKC to go small to try to run with the Warriors, they can not beat Golden State at their own game. The Thunder have to play into their own strengths, and that means giving plenty of minutes to Ibaka, Adams and Kanter, often playing two at the same time. They will have to deal with giving up some fast break points in exchange for getting some offensive rebounds and easy post-up baskets, but Oklahoma City has to stay dedicated to beating Golden State with size and physicality.

 

3. Curry’s injuries could still be a problem

Curry hurt

 

While two weeks of rest is plenty for a grade 1 MCL sprain, the fact that the Warriors took such a cautious approach with their superstar, combined with the fact that he missed two games in the first round due to a sprained ankle in the same right leg, suggest that Steph Curry might not be entirely in the clear. Typically when the team favored to win it all sits their best player for two weeks in the playoffs, it’s a somewhat serious injury. Obviously he’s still capable of playing as well as anyone in the league, as proven in games four and five against Portland, but there’s still fear that at any moment he might tweak, twist, or turn something in that pesky right leg again and need to hit the bench for extended time or even miss more games. This wasn’t a major issue against mediocre competition like the Blazers and Rockets, but if Curry isn’t on top of his game against Oklahoma City, the Thunder will be moving on the Finals.

 

C’mon man! We’re talking about the defending NBA Champions, who are fresh off the best regular season in league history. The Warriors are a damn-near unstoppable force, led by back-to-back MVP Steph Curry. You’re just gonna throw out three half-assed reasons on why the Thunder will beat them and say that’s a wrap?!

 

Calm down angry Warriors fan who doesn’t understand the concept of my fair and balanced article. First of all, I’m using my whole ass. And now, without further ado…

 

3 reasons the Warriors will beat the Thunder and get back to the NBA Finals:

 

 

1. Recent history

Golden State

 

The Warriors had the best record in the NBA last season and went on to win the championship. They had the best record in NBA history this year and they coasted through the first two rounds the playoffs, despite missing their best player for much of the run. That player is also just won his second straight MVP award. These things tend to mean something. In this case, it means they deserve to be considered the best team in the NBA, and they should be favored in any series.

 

Sure, Oklahoma City just knocked off a tougher opponent than Golden State has faced in the playoffs this year, which makes the Thunder a little hotter in the “what have you done for me lately” department. But there’s a reason OKC had to face the Spurs in the second round; they were the three seed and the Warriors were the one seed. Golden State won 18 more games than the the Thunder this season. That’s a lot more wins. Even if Oklahoma City somehow bought all of the Lakers wins in the 2015-2016 season, they would still have one less than the Warriors. The Warriors have the much more impressive track record over the last two years, and one impressive series win does not make the Thunder the favorites.

 

2. They have creators

Warriors high five

 

The Thunder’s biggest strength are listed in points 1 & 2 in the section above: They have Durant and Westbrook, and they have three really good big men. But their weakness is just as glaring: lack of players who can handle the ball, create space and get open shots and generate offense for others. It’s nice to have bigs that can get you double-doubles, but those guys generally need help from guards and wings to get them the ball in position to score. In the playoffs, Golden State has six players in the small positions (point guard, shooting guard and small forward) that average over 6 point per game, and that’s not including Draymond Green who plays power forward, but can stretch the floor and do just about everything on a basketball court.

 

Oklahoma City only has three players at the small positions averaging over 6 points per game: Durant (27.4), Westbrook (25.5), and Dion Waiters (9.4). Looking at the assist numbers is even more alarming for Thunder fans, as they only have two players averaging over 2 assists per game in the postseason: Westbrook (10.8) and Durant (3.6). Dion Waiters is their third assist leader with a measly 2 dimes per game. Golden State, meanwhile, has five players averaging over 2 assists per game. The Warriors as a team are dishing out a league-leading 27.1 assist per game to the Thunder’s 20.2 (9th among the 16 teams in the playoffs). The Warriors also have the edge in three point shooting (12.2 per game vs. OKC’s 8.5).

 

What this means (for those of you who haven’t figured it out) is Golden State can move the ball and shoot regardless who’s on the court, giving them the freedom to give Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson some much needed rest. Oklahoma City on the other hand, will struggle to score and be very turnover prone any time Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook are on the bench. If either of these guys have an off night, or get into early foul trouble, it will be nearly impossible for the Thunder to find a way to win.

 

3. He’s back baby!

curry steph

 

You may have read my article a few weeks ago explaining why Steph Curry’s injury was more serious than the team lead on. While that could still be true, he showed no reason for concern in games four and five against Portland. Curry logged 37 minutes in each contest, the most he’s played since April 5. In game four, he came off the bench, looking rusty for much of the game, until he got hot in the fourth quarter, then got hotter in overtime with an NBA-record 17 points, finishing with 40 in the game. He looked like his usual self again in game five as well, scoring 29 with 11 assists and helping put the Blazers out of their misery. Yes, he just sat out for two weeks with sprained right MCL. Yes, he missed two games before that with a sprained ankle in the same leg. And yes, it’s possible that he’s in a fragile state right now and has some nagging injuries, but he certainly gave us the confidence that he is back to MVP form. He also gave himself another four days of rest by finishing off Portland in just five games.

 

Three of the best players in the world will be on display. Both teams will cause matchup problems for the other: Oklahoma City with their size, and Golden State with their ball movement and ability to spread the floor and shoot. In the end, I think the Golden State will have the edge. They just have more guys at the wing and guard positions that can create offense. The Thunder will demand a little too much out of Durant and Westbrook, and the Warriors will be more consistent and efficient on the offensive end. This could all change depending on the status of Steph Curry’s right leg, but until then, I’m picking the Warriors in seven games in what should be the best series in of 2016 playoffs so far.

 

Enjoy.

 

 


Thunder Bounce Spurs

Written by :
Published on : May 12, 2016

 

 

The Oklahoma City Thunder won the all important game 5 on Tuesday to take the series lead 3-2 over the San Antonio Spurs. Game 6 in OKC saw the Spurs battling for their playoff lives. This is a team that many picked to win it all. But the Thunder would not be denied in front of their home town crowd. They went up early and held off a valiant comeback to secure the big win, playing like they truly understood that a game 7 back in San Antonio was too dangerous a proposition. Oklahoma is now headed to the Western Conference Finals where they will face the Golden State Warriors. But before we get into that, let’s examine the details of their series clinching win in game 6.

 

The stars shined

thunder KD 2

 

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook look like the best one-two punch in the league. Durant had 37 points, 9 rebounds and hit all 12 of his free throws. Westbrook had 28 points, 12 assists and was also a perfect 6 for 6 from the line. If you are going to win then your best players need to come up big and that’s exactly what happened. There were many times during the past where this duo has not always meshed together. But no longer. They are sharing the ball and forcing opposing defenses to pick their poison. Double one star and the other will gash you. Try and lock down both and you leave super easy buckets for the other starters. If KD and Russ keep up this pace then they have a legit shot at a title.

 

Spurs showed their age

Beyond Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs seemed just a bit slower. Tim Duncan wasn’t much of a factor until too late and Parker and Ginobili weren’t creating as normal. Ibaka’s block on Duncan’s slam late in the 4th was a telling moment. Maybe we are finally seeing the end of this power trio that has dominated the NBA over the last decade. San Antonio is a powerhouse organization and they will retool as needed but the vets of the Spurs were no match for the young guns of the Thunder. I could see coach Popovich and company recruit another all star in the offseason to join Leonard and Aldridge. This could be the new ‘Big Three.’ Only time will tell. Either way, hats off to Tim Duncan, a class act and an all-time great.

 

Thunder role players stepped up

THUNDER SPURS BASKETBALL

 

Adams, Ibaka and Roberson all had big contributions on both sides of the court. Each time OKC needed a play, there was a block, steal, or offensive rebound that kept the Thunder playing with a lead. It’s these extra possessions and baskets that make the Durant and Westbrook team so lethal.

 

Now the Thunder move on to meet MVP Steph Curry and the red hot Warriors. If Oklahoma is to advance to the NBA Finals then they need to aggressively guard the three point line and keep their foot on the gas pedal. I expect some high scoring games with the league’s best on display. This could be KD and Russ’ last series together as Durant may walk in free agency. The ‘last ride’ theme is fueling this squad and they have all the tools needed to claim a trophy. I truly like this Thunder team and I would enjoy seeing them win a title but I just can’t pick anyone to beat Golden State with a healthy Steph.  

 

 

Warriors in 6.

 

 


Obama and Basketball

Written by :
Published on : May 12, 2016

 

 

Next year, we will have a new Commander in Chief. Who knows who that will be? Fingers crossed it’s someone not crazy. But as we get ready to say goodbye to President Barack Obama, let’s take a second to recognize him not for his politics but for his love of the game of basketball. Everyone knows Barry-O likes to ball. His passion for sports is truly endearing and makes him seem totally down to earth. This is Obama the Baller.

 

One of my favorite modern traditions in sports is that Obama fills out an NCAA Bracket live on ESPN each year for both the Men’s and Women’s tourney. He talks out his answers for each round. It’s incredible. He is funny and charming (duh) but more importantly, he knows the teams well. I’m always impressed at how much info he has on each squad. He is quick to admit that he wishes he could watch more and that he makes choices based on coaches and programs he likes, but still. This dude is epic busy but somehow stays more current on college basketball than most people I know. Maybe his people give him updated reports on the Big Ten and the ACC daily? Either way, he is informed and any fan can appreciate that.

 

obama ball 2

 

Barack regularly plays basketball. This is the best way to show what you are into. Go out there and start sweating. Obama has some game. He passes well and has good court vision. His jumper is effective and he always gets back on defense. More of a pass-first player. Some words of advice if you are playing against Obama. First, make him go right. He is a lefty. Also, don’t foul him. If you go in for a hard block then expect Secret Service to take you out. And you get Secret Service protection for life so don’t ever foul him.

 

Many different Presidents have left their athletic thumbprint on history. 1869, Grant invites members of the Cincinnati Red Stocking to the White House. Gerald Ford played football at Michigan and helped them go undefeated and win national titles in 1932 and 1933. In 1942, FDR famously responded to the commissioner of baseball, saying to keep the league going despite the war. 1947, the White House added a bowling alley but Truman wasn’t much of a bowler. In 1969, Nixon and the first Lady built a new bowling alley. They were big fans. And now we have Obama and basketball.

 

nixon bowling

 

Hey Nixon! Your foot is over the line. That’s a fault. Mark it zero dude. Sorry. Our next President has some big Jordans to fill. I don’t think they will be a hoops fan but I hope there is some sport they are passionate about. It’s a good way to get to know someone better. When I see a celeb a courtside it makes me think they are just like me but with money for better seats. We are all just fans. It’s a humbling concept. Even the the leader of the free world gets excited meeting Steph Curry. I sleep better at night knowing that.

 

 

We’re going to miss you Barack Obama. One of the best point guards this country has ever had. With your new free time, I hope you get to watch all the basketball your heart desires. And if, for some crazy reason, you are reading this then I challenge you to a game of H-O-R-S-E anywhere in the world. Also, I will need a ride. So maybe next time you are in Los Angeles. Okay, love you, bye.

 

Ballin.

 

 


Prince: Man, Movement, Baller

Written by :
Published on : May 2, 2016

 

 

Purple will never have the same meaning. The world lost a music and cultural legend on April 21, 2016 when Prince Rogers Nelson passed away at the age of 57. He was far too young but sometimes the stars that shine the brightest burn out before their time. The Artist’s contributions to the world of music and style, as well as his assault on traditional gender norms, will keep him relevant far beyond his time in this dimension, but what about some of Prince’s other passions?

 

We all remember the Chappelle’s Show skit, right? Charlie Murphy describes a game of pick up basketball that he played with Prince in 1985. If you haven’t seen it then you should watch it below. Immediately! I’ll wait:

 

 

So if we are to believe Charlie Murphy then Prince could straight up ball. He had handles, he could shoot, and he knew how to run the floor, fruity picks and all. But how much of this is really true. Let’s see if we can’t find a little more evidence of Prince’s skills on the court.

 

It turns out that Prince did play both middle school and high school basketball and was quite talented. But at 5’2″ he was never big enough to crack the starting lineup, which pissed him off royally. Word is that he would constantly harp on his coach about not being a starter despite the considerable skill with the ball and determination that he possessed. His old coach also stated that he was a bit turnover prone which led to increased time on the bench whenever he got too sloppy with the rock.

 

PrinceBball

 

So he played as a kid, but what about as an adult? Did he keep his game strong even after he became a music icon, as Charlie Murphy had said? All indications point to yes.

 

Former bandmate, Wendy Melvoin, said that it was not uncommon for Prince to have a makeshift hoop and backboard mounted near his rehearsal spaces or studios, and he would frequently take breaks to work on his game while on tour. She is also the one who started the rumor that he would frequently play in heels. Prince apparently scoffed at the idea when asked, but either way, he was ballin’ whenever he had the chance.

 

According to Touré, the writer of the Prince biography I Would Die 4 U, he was quite confident in his hoops skills. To the point of showing off in front of anyone unfortunate enough to oppose him on the court. In an attempt to access the more human side of the notoriously eccentric and secluded star while writing the biography, Touré had a chance to play a couple of pick up games against the Purple One and see a different side of the man who liked to control the way the world saw him. For the record, he said that Prince played in Nike Air Force Ones, and was as skilled as rumors would have you believe. Prince won and just like that, the moment was over. I’m just sad that there isn’t any photo or video evidence.

 

 

After music, it looks as though basketball was the next greatest passion for the man who touched so many of our lives with the music he made. When he wasn’t playing, he was usually watching and it’s been said that he once had televisions set up on the side of the stage for a performance so he could watch a Chicago Bulls playoff game. That’s the kind of dedication to a sport that I can get behind. He even made an attempt to buy the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tell me that wouldn’t have been the best thing to ever happen to that franchise and I’ll call you a liar.

 

So here’s to Prince, musical genius and basketball fiend. May he rest in peace, and I hope wherever he is, there’s a basketball court.

 

 


SBS Guide to the Mayan game Pitz

Written by :
Published on : March 29, 2016

 

Pitz is an ancient ball game played by the Mayan people going back to 1,400 BC. With similar contests (some call it ulama) being enjoyed all over the Mesoamerican region. The sport is kind of like if racquet ball and basketball had a violent baby. Oh yeah, there was also sometimes human sacrifices before show time, so it was just like a Raiders game. We must not lose our sports history. So let’s take some time to honor the Mayans AKA the original hoopers. Here is the ScoreBoredSports Guide to Pitz.

 

Before we start throwing human heads around, let’s go over all the rules and customs so you don’t piss off your more “traditional” friends. There is a lot to know beyond the fact the hoop is sideways (from basketball standards) and the rubber ball is smaller. Here is how it all works.

 

pitz team

 

Please pay attention. There are stone tablets that show losers of the game being executed. Not always something that happens but it could. So don’t let your lack of knowledge of the rules lead to your demise. Maybe write this next stuff down or screen-cap it.

 

The Rules

No hands allowed! You can’t catch or throw the ball. Think soccer style for making contact. If you do use your hands then the other side gets a goal. Lots of the old art shows players striking the ball with their hip. Plus you get to do it all in a loincloth. Score.

 

Teams face off against each other both trying to get the ball through the hoop. This was super difficult and scoring a goal often ended the game. Most contests were just about keeping the ball afloat. Historians reason they added the hoops later but the original game was just about keeping the ball from hitting the ground.

 

pitz

 

Your team must keep the ball in play. If it falls and hits the dirt or is booted out of the court then the other side gets a goal. The game has no time limits. A match could go on forever as long as the players continued to legally hit the ball.

 

Team with the most goals wins. The victors are treated like gods with a feast and epic celebration. The losers, well, it’s not great for them. This wasn’t just Sunday Night Football: Ancient World Edition. These games were part of a bigger ceremony that held a deep importance in the culture. The Pitz match helped tell a story for the whole community to enjoy. It was sport and religion and theatre all rolled into one. It sounds epic and I’m jealous we don’t get to enjoy it.

 

great court
                                                                                Great Ball Court, Chichen Itza

 

The ball courts were also used as a venue for other events. Records show music, festivals, and other sports like wrestling took place at these large arenas. The Mayans understood how sports and athletics can bring people together. I was lucky enough to visit the Great Ball Court in Chichen Itza and it is massive. Truly inspiring. In some ways, Pitz is the spiritual ancestor of the Super Bowl.

 

There you have it. I think we should start a league. Email me and we can start making teams. But maybe none of the rough stuff. Or maybe I can just be coach or the GM.

 

Game on!

 

 


NCAA Men’s Basketball 2015 Conference Predictions

Written by :
Published on : November 17, 2015

 

With the 2015-16 college hoops season about to begin, I found that it would be suitable to unveil my predictions for conference champs and players of the year. Some of my thoughts are safe and some are bold. Feel free to judge away, I’m only human. Without further ado, here’s the top 11 conferences and how they’ll finish.

 

 

AAC

The Huskies will be up to their usual tricks.

 

Champs: UCONN
POY: Sterling Gibbs, UCONN, G, Sr
Runners up: Tulsa; James Woodard, Tulsa, G, Sr

 

ACC

Coach K always has his team ready to compete for a conference championship.

 

Champs: Duke
POY: Marcus Paige, UNC, G, Sr
Runners up: UNC; Malcolm Brogden, Virginia, G, Sr

 

A10

Davidson will surprise some people this year, and they’ll be led by Jack Gibbs.

 

Champs: Davidson
POY: Jack Gibbs, Davidson, G, Jr
Runners up: Dayton; E.C. Matthews, Rhode Island, G, Jr

 

Big East

Mikal Bridges and the Wildcats will be reaching for a Big East title this year.

 

Champs: Villanova
POY: Kris Dunn, Providence, G, Jr
Runners up: Butler; Henry Ellenson, Marquette, G, Fr

 

B10

Melo Trimble and Maryland will overcome the Spartans to win the B10 championship and POY award.

 

Champs: Maryland
POY: Melo Trimble, Maryland, G, So
Runners up: Michigan State; Caris Lavert, Michigan, G, Sr

 

B12

Kansas will be looking for that #1 spot.

 

Champs: Kansas
POY: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma, G, Sr
Runners up: Oklahoma; George’s Jiang, Iowa State, F, Sr

 

MVC

VanVleet will lead the Shockers to glory this year.

 

Champs: Wichita State
POY: Fred VanVleet, Wichita State,  G, Sr
Runners up: Northern Iowa; Ron Baker, Wichita State, G, Sr

 

MW

Boise State came away with the win last night and will win the conference.

 

Champs: Boise State
POY: Anthony Drmic, Boise State, G/F, Sr
Runners up: San Diego State; Winston Shepard, San Diego State, F, Sr

 

PAC12

The Cal Bears will reach the top spot in the Pac 12 by year’s end.

 

Champs: California
POY: Gary Payton III, Oregon State, G, Sr
Runners up: Arizona; Jakob Poeltl, Utah, C, So

 

SEC

Once again, John Calipari will have Kentucky looking very good,

 

Champs: Kentucky
POY: Ben Simmons, LSU, F, Fr
Runners up: LSU; Daniel House, Texas A&M, G/F, Sr

 

WCC

Kyle Wiltjer shouldn’t be surprised when Zags wins the conference and he wins POY.

 

Champs: Gonzaga
POY: Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga, F, Sr
Runners up: BYU; Kyle Collinsworth, BYU, G/F, Sr

 

 

Well, there you have it. Some of these decisions (Gonzaga, Wichita State, Kentucky) were no brainers. On the other hand, other calls(Cal, Davidson, Boise State) are a little against the grain. However, these are my predictions…so…make your own if you disagree.

 

 


Five Teams that may surprise the College Hoops Nation come March

Written by :
Published on : October 27, 2015

 

With so many new faces being added to rosters in the offseason, it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict an outcome for a team in the whirlwind that is a college basketball season.  Experts will take their best shot at telling you which squads will be dancing in the spring.  No matter how accurate they may be, there are always a few sleepers that come out of nowhere and play their way into contention.  Here are five teams that have a very good chance to be one of the aforementioned sleepers, and shake up the world of college hoops.

 

1. Auburn

Bruce Pearl and the boys

 

In only his second year as HC, Bruce Pearl has the Tigers well on their way to ascending out of the basement of the SEC.  He has put together a very talented incoming freshman class, (led by 6’9 Finley Prep, VA forward Horace Spencer).  Throw in 2 returning starters, 2 immediate impact transfers, a high scoring JUCO transfer, and this team has ‘scary’ depth.  There’s more of a feeling that this team will be something special in the future, but if all the puzzle pieces fit then the future is now.

 

2. Mississippi State

Malik Newman doing work for team USA

 

Sticking with the SEC theme because they are arguably the most improved conference from top to bottom. Expect 6, 7 or possibly 8 teams to get into the tournament. Add up new coach Ben Howland, with his 3 final four appearances, with the number one shooting guard and 5 star prospect Malik Newman, and your team becomes an immediate contender. They also have 4 seniors and 1 junior who collectively started 110 games last year. With Malik Newman being a probable one and done, look for the bulldogs to try and ride his shoulders all the way to March.

 

3. Tulsa

Everything is OK in Tulsa

 

This a team that returns all 5 starters after finishing 14-4 in the AAC and getting completely snubbed by the selection committee last year.  Nah, they won’t have a giant chip on their shoulders, (I don’t know if I need to clarify, but that was thick sarcasm).  This team has 9 seniors.  Ill say that again…They have 9 seniors. Unheard of in this day of college basketball.  These are also 9 seniors who know how to win and want to end on a high note.  Guard play is their strength with James Woodard as the top scoring threat. Do not be shocked when the Golden Hurricanes are still alive in March.

 

4. Northwestern

Wildcats

 

Will it finally happen?  Will Northwestern be celebrating on Selection Sunday?  The Big Ten is going to be stacked yet again, but the Wildcats, thanks to wonderful recruiting by Chris Collins, have the talent to compete. This team has 8 players who saw significant minutes last year.  The key, however, will be 6’10 senior transfer from Virginia Tech, Joey van Zegeren.  His experience, along with seniors Tre Demps and Alex Olah, should help gel with the younger players and create a team that could pull off a few surprises.

 

5. Oregon State

This is one Beaver who isn’t messing around

 

This could be the best Beaver team in history.  The key phrase of that statement is “could be”.  They finished 3 games over .500 a season ago and return all 5 starters.  One of those starters is All American candidate and Oregon State royalty Gary Payton II.  He is one of the most complete players in the country on both ends.  The PAC12 is stacked at the top, but the Beavers also have a highly touted recruiting class with 6’4 guard Stephen Thompson Jr. leading the way.  Making a postseason tournament seems definite. Making the NCAA tournament is within reach, and soon will be in the rearview mirror.

 

 


Support Us
Support ScoreBoredSports on patreon!

patreon-medium-button
Sponsors

Hide Error message here!

Forgot your password?

Error message here!

Error message here!

Hide Error message here!

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link to create a new password.

Error message here!

Back to log-in

Close