Thursday, June 08, 2006


NBA Finals
Heat vs. Mavericks:
Well, the Mav's are deeper and probably have the best overall player in Dirk Nowitzski, and Jason Terry's growth into a go-to clutch performer has been crucial.
And they showed that you can't rely on getting defensive stops late in the game to beat them, as the Spurs' formula (and I might add, the championship-era Bulls' formula as well) finallly let them down.
But the Heat have a superstar in D-Wade, they have the best 1-2 center combo in the league with Shaq & Mourning, and they've solid support all around, and they aren't impressed by the Mav's homecourt advantage after demolishing the Pistons.
This is a tough one to call. I always like defense over offense, and to me it's not depth that wins you championships, it's having the best five guys on the floor. Although I question the ability of Jason Williams, Gary Payton, and Antoine Walker to be integral parts of a championship, I think Riley will have Haslem and Walker bodying, blocking out, & bothering Dirk enough that although he'll hit a bunch of his elbow jumpers, it won't enough for the trophy.
Heat in Six.

World Cup First Round
Group A: Germany, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Poland
Germany seems a lock, but after them I think Ecuador shocks Poland in the first game and moves to the second round.

Group B: England, Paraguay, Sweden, Tridinad & Tobago
Paraguay's good, but they got a raw deal. England & Sweden are locks for moving on.

Group C: Argentina, Netherlands, Serbia & Montenegro, Ivory Coast
This may be the toughest group. Everyone one of these teams has a chance. But I think Netherlands wins the group, and the Ivory Coast upsets Argentina to move on.

Group D: Angola, Iran, Mexico, Portugal
If Portugal can't get to the second round in this group, then I wouldn't know why they even show up. Still, my pick is Mexico, and Portugal second.

Group E: Czech Republic, Ghana, Italy, United States
The US got a rough draw, but I think they'll be able to tie Italy, and if they can beat the Czech Republic, they're in. That's not going to be easy, as the Czechs are the best team in the group, but they are struggling with injuries. But I think the USA's pressing and counterattacks will give the short-handed Czechs and stagnant Italians enough trouble to get the Americans in the next round. I suspect the Czechs still advance over the Italians on goal differential.

Group F: Australia, Brazil, Croatia, and Japan
Brazil wins this one in a walk, and although I'm rooting for the Aussies, and Japan still has a decent squad, it's more likely that Croatia uses its almost-home advantage to get into the round of 16.

Group G: France, South Korea, Switzerland, and Togo
France is the obvious pick, but after that... I'll go with Switzerland for the almost-at-home advantage.

Group H: Spain, Tunisia, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia
If Spain can't get to the second round in this group, perhaps FIFA shoudl consider barring them from any future World Cups so that some country that wants to compete will actually get a shot. Spain should should win this in a walk, with Ukraine squeaking out second place.


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