So the football season has come to an end. For both of us. Tragically for each of our respective teams, only a month apart. Now we have less than a month until free agency opens up. The Patriots are $20 million under the salary cap coming into the 2012 season… but that’s mostly because they have 20 players entering free agency. Considering that the Patriots had 18 undrafted free-agents playing on their Super Bowl team, this might be an interesting situation for them to see who they go after and what kind of team they want to put together.

But let’s take the departures first and examine who the Pats will pick up and who they will tell to pack up:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: February 17, 2012 by mzyohai in NFL, Opinion, Patriots
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Nick: The Knicks, struggling all season long just to eke out a simple win, have now somehow ripped off a five straight wins without either the injured Carmelo Anthony or the grieving Amar’e Stoudemire. And by somehow, I mean the Knicks are now the proud owners of a five game Linning streak. In those five wins, newly crowned starting point guard and New York darLINg Jeremy Lin is averaging 26.8 points, 8.0 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game, with 2.0 steals to boot.

Mike: Here’s a surprise: Lin was named the Eastern Conference’s player of the week.

Nick: Break out the hyperbole: With those kind of numbers, he’s been like a poor man’s LeBron, only shorter, less muscular, and Linfinitely more Asian.

Mike: Hyperbole 2.0: Jeremy Lin is as good as Steve Nash. Therefore, when Amar’e returns, it’ll be just like the good old days. OK, maybe not. I agree with Jay Caspian King, the comparison between Lin and Nash has more to do with D’Antoni than with Lin.

Nick: Now Amar’e is set to return in Tuesday night’s game against the lowly Toronto Raptors, with Melo soon to follow this weekend. Lin will now have to share the spotlight and the basketball court with his higher-paid counterparts in the superstar department.

Do you think this will derail the newfound momentum the Knicks have built after five one-man show-stopping Lins? Or will the return of Amar’e and Melo only serve to Linhance the point guard’s playmaking skills at the head of Mike D’Antoni’s offense? Read the rest of this entry »

Nick: For the first time since they reeled off four in a row to go to 6-4, the Knicks can lay claim to a “winning streak,” grabbing two straight at home against the New Jersey Nets and Utah Jazz. I’m pretty sure that’s why they had a parade through Manhattan on Tuesday.

The linchpin (foreshadowing!) to this modest (I’m sure Mike will choose some hyperbolic adjective) run of W’s has been surprising: not Amar’e (out Monday for personal reasons), not Melo (a strained groin limited him to six minutes), not Baron Davis (he’s the short fat guy with a neck beard earning $2.5 million to literally “suit” up – shirt, tie, and everything).

No, the key has been the one, the only….Jeremy Lin!

Mike: I have to correct you, Davis is also earning many more millions from the Cav’s to sit on another team’s bench. But go on.

Nick: That’s right, Harvard’s finest has been the high scorer for the Knicks in each of these two wins (or shall I say Lins?). He poured in 25 points against the Nets in 36 (!) minutes (Linutes!) off the bench, then followed up that performance by exploding for a career high 28 points in his first ever start and 45 (!!!) more Linutes of playing time. Those 53 points represent almost half of all the points the second-year player had scored in 38 previous games. And this comes after getting sent down to the D-League for a chunk of time this season.

So WTF gives? Do I really have to take Lin seriously? Should Harvard graduates even be allowed to play professional sports (yeah, I’m talking to you, Ryan Pickspatrick*)?

*Trademark Dave Jacoby

Mike: While I’m thrilled that Lin is dropping buckets on opponents (even ones with winning records), I’m more excited that he’s playing to the strengths of the D’Antoni system. He attacks the basket off the pick-and-roll. To boot, he’s not an inept shooter, so he actually draws defenders and opens up shots for big guys down low and even Steve Novak was knocking down three’s against the Jazz.

I’ll give the Harvard boy one undeniable thing, though: he put the Knicks on his shoulders and led them to two needed wins. But when Melo and Amar’e return, I don’t know if they’ll allow him to keep the Knicks on his shoulders. They like to be heroes themselves. That being said, Lin could work well with them if their ball-hogging ways can make up for Lin’s tendency to turn over the ball (28%).

The question that remains for Mike D’Antoni now is how to make use of Lin when Amar’e and Melo return. Lin has made D’Antoni’s offense into… well… an offense. But he’s done that with mostly bench players. Does that mean that Lin should lead the bench squad only? Will he have the same effectiveness with the full starting line-up?

Nick: Well, don’t worry, Melo’s out for the next month or two with that strained groin. But when that decision eventually has to be made, I don’t think he should only lead the bench squad. Maybe you can get away with it because he won’t have he ball in his hands nearly as much once your primary ball-handlers ball-stoppers return, so you stick him with the second unit to be the sparkplug off the bench. But D’Antoni’s system has always relied on a point guard to be successful, and clearly the point forward experiment with Melo has failed completely. Give the reins to Lin and see what he can do, I say.

But that then begs the question: Can you really count on Lin to become the understudy who takes over Baron Davis’s starring role as Salvation-Bearing Point Guard?

Mike: He’s brought back some hope to New Yorkers. But there’s a reason he’s been to the D-League and had only 32 total points before pretty much tripling his scoring output in the span of two games. He still hasn’t taken Davis’ place as Knickerbocker Christ.

Not yet, anyway. But if he does, this city will undoubtedly devolve into pure Linsanity.

It’s been a long time since we were here, Nick. Remember the good old days when we used to pick against the spread? Well, let me clarify, I would pick correctly against the spread and Nick would have done better to pick according to whether a Jaguar could take down a Dolphin in the wild. But the NFL’s postseason, unfortunately, is not determined by whose fans are better at gambling. Now I have to watch the Jets’ nemesis play their cross-town rival in the biggest game of the year.

Since this year’s Super Bowl will be an absolutely horrible experience for me regardless of the outcome, and since Nick has an insatiable thirst for sports gambling, he and I have put together a couple of ‘prop’ bets so that I have something to root for and Nick can potentially sweeten the experience of watching the Pats in the Super Bowl by winning some money.

So here they are folks, Roommate Rivals’ Super Bowl XLVI Props:

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Posted: February 4, 2012 by mzyohai in Chad Ochocinco, NFL, Opinion, Patriots, Picks, Prediction
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Mike: Now that we’ve gotten the QB’s out of the way, it’s time to shine the spotlight on the best part of the Patriots offense: Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

Considering that the Giants have not allowed a tight end to score on them since Christmas Eve, when the Jets’ Josh Baker caught a 5-yard TD-pass in the first quarter…

Nick: Wait, that’s actually not true. Vernon Davis torched the Giants for two touchdowns just one week ago. Nice try, though.

Mike: My sincerest apologies. The Giants allowed two touchdowns to a tight end since Christmas. Considering Gronkowski scored more touchdowns in a single game against the Broncos than the Patriots have allowed all post-season, I would expect you to take the prospect of a serious challenge for him a little more… well… seriously.

So which way is the scale leaning? Will the Giants defense continue to shut down tight ends or will Gronkowski be so whacked-out on Toradol that he’ll manage to mow over defensive backs like the good ol’ days? Read the rest of this entry »

Knicks at Celtics: Round 2, Fight!

Posted: February 3, 2012 by mzyohai in Celtics, Knicks, NBA, Opinion

Mike: Wouldn’t you know it? The sandwich game of the Knicks’ back-to-back-to-back this year is in Boston. After facing off with the Bulls in MSG, the Knicks ride for Boston and game two of their season series with the Celtics. Last time, I got the best Christmas present a Jew could hope for; this time, I might be getting an early Valentine’s Day present.

Rondo is hurt. Melo has already indicated that he might not play all three games of the series. And questions still swirl around Baron Davis’ return.

The Celtics have been pretty low-scoring all season, but haven’t suffered because they’re opponents are scoring even less. What should we expect this Friday? Read the rest of this entry »

Mike: The Celtics must be one of the luckiest teams in the league right now. They lose their All-Star point guard and sole claim to youth, Rajon Rondo, then immediately rip off a 4-game win-streak, including one of the largest comeback wins in history against Orlando.

Nick: Thanks for jinxing the C’s, Mike. Right after you wrote this they fell to the Cleveland “We’re trying to get excited about Kyrie Irving replacing LeBron” Cavaliers.

Mike: After I completely jinxed the Jets against the Broncos and later their entire season, I think I learned a thing or two about the power of the jinx, and I’ve managed to master of the art of applying it judiciously.

But Rondo might be out until the All-Star Break. Yikes.

Rondo’s replacement, who is also making moves for a spot on the Crazy-Awesome Athlete Name Team, E’Twaun Moore, is providing some help, but the brunt of the play-making is falling on Paul Pierce’s shoulders.

Nick: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Pierce seems to have no trouble assuming such a role, unlike Mr. Melo. Granted Anthony has been hurt, but 1 point, 4 assists last week? Please.

Mike: I’m glad you’re so supportive of Pierce considering he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn when he first came back from injury. I’m not giving Pierce credit just yet. He’s making up for past sins as far as I’m concerned.

Nick: Last I checked, his latest box scores weren’t cancelled out or penalized because of a slow start. In the parlance of childhood bedtime stories, the tortoise beats the hare, my friend.

Mike: Either way, Rondo’s injury derailed the Celtics’ season plan of resting the oldies so their legs would be ready for a playoff run. Instead of starting slow and steady like the tortoise, Doc Rivers has already had to play the veteran Big Three at a breakneck, hare-like pace.

Do the Celtics need to make a move here, or would you rather see them ride it out until the All-Star break? Read the rest of this entry »