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Peter Vecsey Goes “N The Zone”

Posted in Basketball, nba, Podcast, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2017 by A-Train

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

Posted in Basketball, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2016 by A-Train

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!!!

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Football, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2014 by A-Train

 

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?

Posted in Basketball, Sports with tags , , on July 15, 2014 by A-Train

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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

Posted in Basketball with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2014 by A-Train

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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

THE ASSOCIATION REPORT: First Edition

Posted in Basketball, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2014 by A-Train

nba-logo ncaa-basketball-logo

Getting the new year started (yeah it’s 3 weeks in, SO WHAT) with The Association Report: First Edition.

While there may not be an NBA team here in St. Louis, the fans here definitely have something to cheer for. Three Missouri collegiate teams are playing some real good basketball.

You can definitely check out the hometown Billikens, who are currently undefeated in Atlantic-10 play and ranked in the Top 25 in the country. The Billikens are trying to prove to not only St. Louis, but to the rest of the country that this team is not a fluke after last season’s great success. A matter of fact, dating back to the 2011-2012 season, the Billikens are an astonishing 71-17 overall with a conference record of 29-7 (as of this blog date), 1 conference championship (also regular season title) and 2 straight NCAA tournament appearances. The play of Jordair Jett and Dwayne Evans indicate that this team could surprise people in the tourney. Definitely no fluke here.

Just a ways down Interstate 70 are the Mizzou Tigers, who currently sitting at 14-3 overall; you can overlook the 2-2 mark in conference play right now because it’s early. To me, it looks like an entirely different Tigers team. This team is led by three transfers in Jordan Clarkson, Earnest Ross and Jabari Brown. The good thing about this team, they can all shoot the rock, and they look at bit bigger than past Missouri teams, especially in the backcourt. My biggest hope is that they can get some in-state recruits. That has been Mizzou’s biggest heel. Many top recruits in the state go on to bigger programs and play. Current NBA players David Lee, Otto Porter and Bradley Beal come to mind about those that were not heavily recruited  enough by Mizzou. Send the house to these guys, especially if they fit what’s best for the school. But if it the transfers are what’s getting the job done, use that ploy as well. It really looks like Frank Haith knows what he’s doing, and is the right man for this job.

Not to forget, the Washington University Bears. Yes, that’s right. The Washington University Bears. This Division III powerhouse is 9-0 at home, with an 11-2 record and ranked 7th in the nation. I remember seeing the school on CBS for the Division III National Championship a few years back, apparently those coaches know what it takes to make a champion having won it, twice. Had to show love to these guys as well.

If college isn’t your sport than there are at least four other NBA teams that one fan can cheer for…whether it’s the Bulls, Thunder, Grizzlies or Pacers. Speaking of the Pacers, I had a feeling this team would be successful…but not THIS successful. Indiana currently sits at #1 overall in the NBA with a 32-7 record, with a home mark of 21-1. Of course, their biggest challenge is knocking off the defending champion…the Miami Heat.

Speaking of the Heat, recently LeBron James mentioned about that he’s “upset” about not taking as many shots as Kevin Durant. I have come to dislike LeBron again for his constant flopping (aka LeBroning) and getting away with lots of calls (most superstars get calls anyway). But besides that, his game is fine and he doesn’t need adjustments. Period. This guy can shoot 10-15 times a game and still score 20-30 points a game. The reason? He gets to the stripe. He shoots a lot of free throws and that can definitely add up. Plus, he can do this with ease. With a reliable post game, he can be even deadlier. He can be motivated by what Durant is doing, but he doesn’t need to. That’s the journalist in me and not the fan.

A-Train

The A-Train Rant 13.0!

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Football, Hockey, NFL, Special, Sports, Video Games, Wrestling with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2013 by A-Train

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It’s the weekend and I have some things that need to be said…

  1. Jason Kidd coaching the Brooklyn Nets is like Whoopi Goldberg’s character Eddie coaching the New York Knicks…it’s a joke.
  2. Chris Petersen is a great hire for Washington, he’ll start stealing those Pac-12 recruits from USC, UCLA and Oregon.
  3. Might have to start watching the 2014 World Cup, if not, I should start playing FIFA.
  4. Maybe Jay-Z is a smart guy after all. Kudos to him netting former New York Yankees 2nd baseman Robinson Cano a $240 million deal with the Seattle Mariners. Maybe Cano might humble himself after all in a new uniform. Then again, it’s Robinson Cano. Shoutout to Stephen A. Smith for calling out the Yankees on First Take. (NOTE: I rarely watch that show)
  5. Watched Bulls/Heat last night…I guess it’s one of those times the Heat plays like crapola before turning it up in the month of April.
  6. I really want Mizzou to win the SEC Championship just to see how screwy the BCS gang will be towards them.
  7. Curtis Granderson got $60 million from the New York Mets…Hey Mets management, how did that deal with Jason Bay work out? Curt, make your money! If you screw the Mets, I love every minute of it.
  8. Gary Kubiak getting fired from the Houston Texans was understandable, but don’t fire the man when he just got off a stroke. I don’t care how big or how small it was. Damn. I guess 11 straight losses made sure he got that ax quick.
  9. To the gamer who cussed during the middle of a game on NBA 2K14…do that again, it was hilarious.
  10. I want to see how the Downtown Athletic Club treats Jameis Winston now that he is not charged…My race card is ready to pulled if he doesn’t win the Heisman. He’s the favorite. Johnny Manziel and A.J. McCarron can both go to hell.
  11. I actually miss Lovie Smith. It’s time for him to get back in the saddle as head coach for a team…maybe the Houston Texans come to mind. I don’t know.
  12. I would actually laugh if the Miami Heat trade Dwyane Wade.
  13. What was the point of the Indianapolis Colts getting Trent Richardson? I’ll leave that for YOU to answer.
  14. DeMarcus Cousins should have no reason saying anything about anybody. You play for the Sacramento Kings dude, the Kings.
  15. What happened to the St. Louis Blues? Please EA, be correct on this prediction.
  16. So…is Kobe coming back?

That will wrap up this rant for today. More to come. Make sure you tune in to “Beyond The Ropes” on Youtube, comes on every Monday night after Raw. It’s LIVE and you can chat with the crew.

N The Zone TV is coming soon. You don’t want to miss that either.

The A-Train

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