Bright Future for the Knicks

Posted: July 13, 2014 by Matthew Barry in Uncategorized

Seems the skies are starting to clear around MSG for the New York Knicks.
Newly appointed head of basketball operations Phil Jackson has already made major changes to the Knicks organization that left much to be desired last year.

Coaching Change:

Mike Woodson was the first change that needed to happen to change the culture in the Knicks locker room. Once Woodson was fired, Phil Jackson turned to Derek Fisher to coach the Knicks with a knowledge of Jackson’s “triangle offense” and years playing for Jackson when he was coach in LA – it will make sure there is no disconnect between the front office and head coach. Fisher will also bring more of a player perspective as he was a point guard on the Thunder last season and has served as president of the Players union.

Bringing back Carmelo Anthony:

Last season we were all questioning whether Carmelo would come back next season or will he bolt for greener pastures. Phil Jackson met and explained to Anthony his plan for the future and the wholesale changes that will be made and it seems, according to reports, that Anthony will indeed commit long term to the Knicks. In fact, a five year deal is currently being finalized for less than the max which is highly unexpected and very important to the Knicks cap situation.

Trading of Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton:

Jackson has being vowing since he was hired that he would fix the locker room divide that plagued the Knicks last season. It was started by the firing of Woodson and was continued by the trading of Chandler, who had struggled through injury plagued seasons with New York as well as some comments to the media about Anthony and other players that weren’t too flattering. Regarding Felton, it’s tough to decide where he was worse: on or off the court, currently caught up in a gun case and seemingly his inability to figure out how to defend the pick and roll or shoot the basketball with any type of consistency made him a big time liability. In return for these two players the Knicks were able to acquire Jose Calderon, a point guard who is a very solid veteran point guard, Samuel Dalembert, a center who is known predominately for his defense, Shane Larkin, a promising second year point guard out of the university of Miami, Wayne Ellington, a true spot up shooter who has bounced around the NBA since getting drafted out of North Carolina, as well as two second round draft picks.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Be sure to check out and follow James Grande and Miguel Lluesma:
James Grande, allfacetsofthegame.wordpress.com, @The_Real_Grande
Miguel Lluesma, ml2sports.com, @migz925

Share your thoughts on tonight’s discussion, suggest topics for next week’s hangout or let us know if you’d like to join in in the comments below.
Thanks for tuning in – as always, we appreciate your support.

 

Beats by Dre Presents The Game Before The Game

Posted: June 10, 2014 by Matthew Barry in Misc
Tags: , , , , ,
There is a game that starts before the kick-off, before the tip-off, before the face off; a mental game. It awaits every top athlete in the locker room. It is a game of conquering doubt and embracing the pressure. It is during this game that they find their true strength, the power to win. They find it in prayer, in ritual, and in music. It’s a game that few people have ever seen…until now. 

 

A Film By: Beats Electronics

In Association With: R/GA, Sword Fight

Directed By: Nabil Elderkin

Original Music: “Jungle” – Jamie N Commons The X Ambassadors

thegamebeforethegame.com

 

       Stanley Cup Finals Preview

Los Angeles vs. New York, the two cities have competed over rap music, baseball and now, over Lord Stanley. A dream match up for the NHL in terms of big market teams, who are deserving of being here, battle it out for hockey’s grand prize.

The Los Angeles Kings, the western conference representative, started the playoffs as a team that looked like it would be sent home just as fast it got there. Down three to zero in the best of seven series to the Sharks and getting seemingly dismantled every game. Even the most optimistic Kings fan didn’t think they would escape the first round. But much like the team that won the cup two years ago, the Kings picked themselves up and began a historic run of four straight wins including a game seven victory on the road in San Jose in convincing fashion (5-1). This proved to be a theme for this team. The game was dominated by Anze Kopitar and a line that has come to be known as “that’s 70 line” featuring three players that sport numbers in the 70’s (Tanner Pearson, Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli). The Anaheim Ducks were the next team up for the Kings and it, once again, seemed like the Kings were going to be eliminated. Down three to two to the number one team in the west, even after winning a game six at home, having to play another game seven on the road in Anaheim, they once again found a way to win as the offense once again exploded this time for six goals. Acquired at the trade deadline, Marian Gaborik really stepped up against the Ducks wearing the goal scoring hat for the Kings. The Western Conference Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks, it seemed once again like the Kings were heading home – down four to three with eight minutes left in the third period of game seven on the road against the reigning Stanley Cup champions. The Kings found a way to tie it up and win it in OT. Justin Williams and Marian Gaborik were the heroes of the series as both were able to score throughout the series and in game 7.

The New York Rangers, the eastern conference representative, started the playoffs as no expert’s pick to reach the cup. Given new coach Alain Vigneault was implementing his new system and the team’s struggles through stretches of the regular season, it appeared to be a fair call. But this run started with a bitter rival in the Philadelphia Flyers, which was thought to be a series that could go either way. The series went seven games and the Rangers squeaked out a two to one defensive battle. Brad Richards was the key in this series as his timely scoring lead the way for the Rangers. The next round it looked as if the experts were going to be right, the Rangers had to play the Pittsburgh Penguins and two of the best players in the NHL Sidney Crosby and Evegni Malkin. Down three games to one many had begun to look at next season. Then when forward Martin St. Louis heard about the news of his mom passing on, everything turned away from hockey. The Rangers went and attended the funeral in Canada which showed the character of the team as St. Louis had just recently been traded over from Tampa Bay for Ranger captain at the time Ryan Callahan. Many wondered if he would play and when he suited up it sparked this family feeling among the Rangers and they came all the way back and won the series in seven games. At this point the Rangers had started to pick up believers that thought they could reach the Cup. However, many still thought it would be the Montreal Canadians that would get there. So while most of Canada was looking into Stanley Cup tickets, the Rangers did what they had done all playoffs: surprise everyone and defy the experts as they jumped all over and dominated the Canadians throughout the series. Winning the series in six games the Rangers have now proven that they are for real and are the Eastern Conference Champions. Throughout the playoff run Henrik Lundqvist played how the world’s best goalie should, as he was a brick wall in the net.

Key Players: Los Angeles Kings:

Jonathon Quick- He has been shaky at different parts of the playoffs and will have to be much better in this series.

Anze Kopitar- The top offensive player for the Kings, leads the NHL in points throughout these playoffs.

Jeff Carter- Tremendous offensive skill, second in the league in playoffs, should use bigger frame in front of Lundqvist as a screener and someone who can get to the net.

Drew Doughty- The top defense man for the Kings and best two defense man in the league. He should be on the ice most of this series and needs to make an impact on this series on both ends of the ice.

Marian Gaborik- Leading the NHL playoffs in goals and playing the team that traded him away; expect him to have a big series against his former team.

Key Players: New York Rangers:

Henrik Lundqvist- The top player for the Rangers needs to be the top player in this series for the Rangers to win it

Martin St. Louis- Tied for the team lead in points, needs to keep up timely scoring in this series.

Ryan McDonagh- The Rangers top defender is going to have his hands full most of the series with the Kings offense but must also contribute offensively as he has in these playoffs.

Derek Stepan- Nobody will question his toughness playing through a broken jaw. However, the Rangers do need him to be competitive in the face off dot and be an offensive threat this series.

Rick Nash- Hasn’t been able to get going throughout the playoffs, but needs to and will have a great chance against a weaker Kings defense. Nash should be able to use his size on the smaller Kings defenders and be able to make plays in the dirty areas.

How the Kings win the cup:

  • Dominate the face off circle. The Kings have the decided advantage in faceoffs; it is key to take advantage of this
  • Get top Kopitar, Carter and Gaborik into space. Get the top players into space to show off their play making ability
  • Get to Lundqvist earlier. If they allow Lundqvist to feel comfortable and not keep him on edge all series, it will be next impossible for the Kings to score
  • Get physical. Captain Dustin Brown knows all about this and LA should come out the gates ready to hit
  • Power play efficiency: The Kings have 17 power play goals this playoffs at an outstanding 25% this will need to continue

How the Rangers win the Cup:

  • Lundqvist dominates. King Henrik needs to be the man and have the Kings get frustrated offensively early on in this series.
  • Be the underdog. Let everyone pick against you, just have the us against the world view in the locker room like it’s been much of the playoffs.
  • Roll out all four lines. Keep the depth, while it seems the Kings have more depth, the Rangers fourth line isn’t afraid to get physical and could get in Kings’ star players heads.
  • Speed, speed and more speed. The Rangers are clearly the faster team and must get the puck deep, use speed to get behind the Kings defense and allow play makers to get into space.
  • Vice grip defense. Don’t allow the Kings to possess the puck and get Drew Doughty up playing offense allow no space for the Kings star players and force far shots that allow Hank to see the puck easily.

X Factor, Kings:

Justin Williams: A key piece for the Kings on offense. He could be the guy who is able to find space on the ice with the Rangers focused on the other top scorers. He steps up when it matters most in game sevens, and he has a record of seven and zero with seven goals and seven assists.

X Factor, Rangers:

Chris Krieder: The key to the Ranger game plan is to use speed to get behind the Kings defense and nobody has been better at that this playoffs than Krieder, who will look to do the same to the Kings all series.

Prediction:

Rangers in six. The Rangers are the team of destiny and have looked the part of Cinderella all playoffs now its time to come to the ball and crown King Henrik.

Rangers vs Kings

NYCFC, the newest club in the MLS which will play its games at Yankee Stadium starting next year, has signed two stars from Europe to open up the club roster in a big way.

The first is David Villa, the Spanish striker who will be on the Spanish squad for the upcoming World Cup, was formerly on Atletico Madrid, a club that just won La Liga and made a deep run into the champions league. Villa’s move at the age of 32 comes as a little bit of a surprise as there were many clubs across Europe who still had interest in the striker who has scored many memorable goals in La Liga and for Spain.

Then there is Frank Lampard, the English midfielder (who has seemingly been Mr. Chelsea) who has been there since 2001 and will turn 36 during the world cup where he will be co-captain of England. Lampard has widely been considered one of the best midfielders in England for the better part of the last 13 years.

These two moves, and the fact they are playing in Yankee Stadium, will really help this new club build a fan base and possibly create a rivalry with the already established New York Red Bulls. The next move for this new club should be to add a United States national team player and the one that could be available and make news is Jozy Altidore, who is in need of an image change and could form a formidable attack alongside Villa.

This is an exciting day for the MLS, a league that is expanding and adding great talent, it seems, almost every day.  View the new team’s site here http://www.nycfc.com/. Here are some of David Villa’s top goals  and Frank Lampards top highlights villa and lampard

Mock NFL Draft 2.0

Posted: May 8, 2014 by Matthew Barry in Football
Tags: , ,

2014 NFL Draft

The NFL draft is today, and with that in mind, here is my mock draft 2.0:

1. Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE (South Carolina)

2. St. Louis Rams: Greg Robinson, OT (Auburn)

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnny “Football” Manziel, QB (Texas A&M)

4. Cleveland Browns: Sammy Watkins, WR (Clemson)

5. Oakland Raiders: Khalil Mack, OLB (Buffalo)

6. Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews, OT (Texas A&M)

7. Tampa Bay Bucs: Mike Evans, WR (Texas A&M)

8. Minnesota Vikings: Justin Gilbert, CB (Oklahoma State)

9. Buffalo Bills: Eric Ebron, TE (UNC)

10. Detroit Lions: Darqueze Dennard, CB (MSU)

11. Tennessee Titans: Blake Bortles, QB (UCF)

12. New York Giants: Zack Martin, OT/OG (Notre Dame)

13. St.Louis Rams: Odell Beckham Jr., WR (LSU)

14. Chicago Bears: Timmy Jernigan, DT (FSU)

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kyle Fuller, CB (VT)

16. Dallas Cowboys: Kony Ealy, DE (Missouri)

17. Baltimore Ravens: CJ, Mosely, ILB (Alabama)

18. New York Jets: Marquise Lee, WR (USC)

19. Miami Dolphins: Taylor Lewan, OT (Michigan)

20. Arizona Cardinals: Ra’shede Hagerman, DT (Minnesota)

21. Green Bay Packers: Ryan Shazier,OLB (Ohio State)

22. Philadelphia Eagles: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, SS (Alabama)

23. Kansas City Chiefs: Brandin Cooks, WR (Oregon State)

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Bradley Roby, CB (OSU)

25. San Diego Chargers: Jason Verett, CB (TCU)

26. Cleveland Browns: Teddy Bridgewater, QB (Louisville)

27. New Oreleans Saints: Anthony Barr, OLB (UCLA)

28. Carolina Panthers: Kelvin Benjamin, WR (FSU)

29. New England Patriots: Jace Amaro, TE (Texas Tech)

30. San Francisco 49ers: Stephon Tuitt, DE (Notre Dame)

31. Denver Broncos: Calvin Pryor, FS (Louisville)

32. Seattle Seahawks: Xaiver Su’a-Filo, OG (UCLA)

Who are your picks?

Giants have been busy this off season with many free agent signings and players leaving.
Here’s my predicted depth chart for the upcoming season pre-NFL draft for the New York Giant offense:

BSR_eli

QB: Eli Manning/ Ryan Nassib/ Curtis Painter:
This position is all but set in stone two time for Superbowl Champ Eli Manning. He’ll be the starting QB once the season begins and with the resigning of Curtis Painter, it seems unlikely the Giants will go QB at all in the draft after drafting Ryan Nassib in last year’s draft.

RB: Rashad Jennings/ David Wilson/ Peyton Hillis:
Rashad Jennings sures up what was a disastrous position for the Giants last year for most of the season. With Wilson’s career in jeopardy due to his injuries, plus the tread on Peyton Hillis and the fact that he’s a power back leaves the Giants with a curious decision about backing up Jennings. They could stand pat and trust Wilson and Hillis, draft a running back in the middle rounds or bring back last year’s leading running back Andre Brown, who is still a free agent.

FB: Henry Hynoski/ John Conner:
Zero chance the Giants get another fullback in the draft or free agency. Interesting position battle in training camp will be between these two as most likely the Giants will only keep one going into the regular season.

WR: Victor Cruz/ Reuben Randle/ Jerrel Jernigan/Mario Manningham/Trindon Holliday:
This is where one of the early round picks could go for the Giants. While Cruz has proven to be a great WR, the rest of the core has question marks. Hakeem Nicks left and, although he highly underachieved last year, he still had championship experience. Randle’s inconsistencies last year don’t help either – he needs to be the over the middle WR the Giants saw when he played at LSU.  Jernigan had a terrific end of the season and looks to be very similar to Cruz, but has yet to play a full season.Manningham, the Super Bowl hero, returns but not too much expected from him. And Holliday will simply be a return man in the upcoming season.

TE: Bear Pascoe/ Adrian Robinson:
This is where many think the Giants will draft in the first round, if not the second round as neither of the two players seem up to starting at this point in their careers. After the disappointing season and the departure of tight end Brandon Myers, the Giants will be looking to sure up a position that has found much success during the Eli/Coughlin era. The name that surfaces when it comes to who the Giants will draft in the first round is Eric Ebron, a 6 ft 6 pass catching machine out of North Carolina University.

Quick offensive line note: Many guys on the offensive line are flexible in terms of what position along the line they can play and thus movement among positions is very likely. This depth chart is purely based on who plays where as of right now.

LT: Will Beatty/ Charles Brown/ Troy Kropog:
Giants offensive line rebuild was fierce this off season and many of the Giants offensive line problems begin with Beatty. Beatty received a big contract extension before last season and didn’t deliver. While it was clear he was playing hurt, it is time for him to step up in a big way this season. If not, back up is there with Charles Brown coming over from the Saints and both Geoff Schwartz and Justin Pugh also able to play left tackle. It’s key to also note that the Giants may still look in the draft to get a left tackle as there is three top guys who look to be potential stars (Jake Matthews, Greg Robinson, Taylor Lewan).

LG: Geoff Schwartz/John Jerry/ Brandon Mosely:
Schwartz, the top offensive line pickup for the Giants, will be a key to stabilizing this offensive line as he did an awesome job in Kansas City; Not only did he open holes for Jamaal Charles, but he also did a great job protecting Alex Smith in the pocket. Then Jerry is an interesting story from Miami, apart from that whole Incognito-Martin fiasco, was a solid offensive lineman in Miami and will be in a backup role here in New York. It’ll be interesting to see how he acts now away from that situation as the Giants look for his character to improve.

C: JD Walton/ Dallas Reynolds:
The least stable of the whole offense right now due to the fact that starter Walton, over from Denver, has an injury prone past and Reynolds has a lack of experience. Look for the Giants to add another center in the middle rounds of the draft to improve upon this.

RG: Chris Snee/ John Jerry/ James Brewer:
Snee did an old time sports move and took a big pay cut to stay with the Giants and, although he was hurt last season, he still looks to give it another run and show he still has something left.  Jerry is also there as backup for Snee in case the injury lingers this season.

RT: Justin Pugh/Charles Brown/John Jerry:
Pugh was the best offensive lineman the Giants had last year. By the end of the last season (Pugh’s rookie year) he was really coming into his own at right tackle and seemed to be improving every game. The Giants will look toward Pugh once again to be consistent and continue to improve every game as he has potential to play the left tackle spot of blocking Eli’s blindside.