Alone in the Corner

High Stakes Poker

2nd April 2011

I got an email a little while back from Mori of PokerProductions asking if I’d like to take part in the upcoming season of High Stakes Poker. For those unfamiliar with High Stakes Poker here is the wiki link. I used to play quite a bit of poker from 2005-2007 some would even say I actually played it quite well.

In the last few years I have been preoccupied with other things, so I haven’t much interest in playing poker. Truthfully the high stakes live poker scene kind of peaked in 2007, in 2007 you’d have all kinds of drop ins playing high stakes, guys like Pete the Plumber would show up one weekend gamble pretty high - win some / lose some. Then vanish.

In the summer of 2007 there was a regular 100-200 NL game, along with a few 200-400 blind NL games, these games were regularly filled with people who were willing to (and quite often destined to) lose large sums of money as if it was their job.

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Defensive Philosophies

7th March 2011

After an extremely long blogging hiatus, I have decided to see if I can’t return to blogging some.

I found it interesting that the Lakers one of the few Western Conference team (i think) to not send a representative to SSAC 

And then I read an article that Kevin Ding has written detailing how the Lakers have tweaked their defense to adjust to the modern game.

The concession is the Lakers will let opponents take mid-range jumpers from 15 to 19 feet. The Lakers can stay out on 3-point shooters better and keep point guards from getting all the way to the basket. When Tony Parker got hot early for San Antonio on Sunday, the Lakers moved up their plug just enough to deter him”

The lakers have basically decided to guard the 3point line, and the paint and leave the midrange game somewhat open, the fascinating thing about this isn’t that the Lakers have finally caught up to the advanced defensive strategy that teams like the Spurs, and Magic under Van Gundy have been employing for some time, its that they have been winning championships in spite of this.

The “genius” in this is that you are basically allowing the worst ev shot in basketball the midrange jumper, and taking away all the higher ev shots. Trivial yes, but the fact that the Lakers have finally discovered this is troubling to the rest of the league.

I remember listening to a Phil Jackson presser from the 2008 season where he described his disdain for the corner 3 point shot  - he argued that once the defensive rebound was secured. it led to a higher than normal amount of transition opportunities.

I have always been a big proponent of the corner three point shot - after watching the Lakers repeatedly leave Ray Allen, Eddie House, and James Posey wide open from the corner (the Posey 3 point shots were especially comical as you’d have Lamar Odom streaking down the center of the court awaiting a fast break outlet pass that never materialized), it was clear to me that the Lakers were actually coaching their team to abandon the corner 3 point area in hopes of exploiting transition opportunities. 

I decided to watch and chart every  3 point shot and the ensuing rebound from the 2007 and 2008 season and found that the corner 3 point shot did not lead to higher than normal fast break opportunities.  

The Lakers are going to be a much tougher out in the playoffs if they are able to consistently protect the paint and close out on 3 point shooters.

Which brings me to this shot chart;

This is a shot chart from the 1st quarter of the Miami Heat @ San Antonio Spurs game from last week. Note how the Heat (offense on the left)  were relegated to a mid range jump shooting team, they have no chance of beating the better (defensive) teams in the regular season or the playoffs unless they figure out a way to get something other than a series of 16-20 foot jumpers in the half court.

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Research Assistant Position

10th November 2010

I am currently looking to bring on at least one research assistant here are the details of the job;

1. The pay is crap / non-existent to start, but if you prove to me your worth we will work something out. 

2. You can work from home

3. You will be collecting tidbits of newspaper articles and information and emailing them to me, a good example would be finding links to video of coaches post game conferences and emailing me. You’d also be expected to send me links to newspaper articles that I might find relevant. You’ll put a snippet of text in the email and then provide me with the link to the whole article. 

Here is an example;

Shaq and Jermaine Both “Unlikely” To Play vs. Heat?

Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston has the full coverage in his Practice Report but for now, here’s what we know as the team headed in practice today:

  • Jermaine O’Neal did not practice due to his sore left knee
  • Shaquille O’Neal was going to try to practice today
  • Both players are “unlikely” to play Saturday

If anyone is interested please contact me bob (@)

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NBA wants players on their best behavior

24th September 2010

The NBA has announced that they would like to renew a sense of “Respect for the Game and will likely increase the number or technical fouls called as a result of complaining. The goal of which is to reduce the amount of complaining and (I am assuming) gesticulating from players and coaches alike.

You can read all about it here;


Cut the Complaining 

etc etc. 

The interesting thing in all of this we have already been over this consider;

"The goal here is to significantly reduce the amount of player complaining that takes place in our games. The reason we’re doing is because excessive complaining by the players interferes with game play, it’s distracting to the fans, and it conveys a negative impression of our players as well. So, the goal here is, as I mentioned, to reduce that and help our overall game."

If you think that is from a recent article, guess again. Its from a Q&A from November of 2006 with Stu Jackson.

In the 2005-2006 (2006)regular season 873 techs were called. *note these are techs that are not the result of illegal defense infractions etc, just plain old techs.

After the league made its internal change prior to the start of the 2007 season we saw an increase in the amount of techs called.

There were 992 techs called in the 2007 season, but only 810 techs called in the 2008 season. 

If you are wondering why the NBA did away with its vigor in reducing complaining from the players in between the 2007 and 2008 season you might want to read some of the older posts on this blog (Tim Donaghy).

This would like never have been allowed in 2007 (nor in 2011 it seems)

I guess this new announcement to reduce complaining to the officials is as good a sign as any that the Tim Donaghy scandal has now been put to rest by the NBA. 

Somewhere Rasheed Wallace is glad he decided to retire;

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I hope its not over, but it likely is…

9th July 2010

Miami has apparently filled out one if its vacant spots with the signing of Mike Miller and as much as I hate to say it, its over for the rest of the league. I had the Heat winning ~64 games with the “trinity” and 9 scrubs. The addition of Mike Miller is a perfect complement to that roster. 

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is that Miami does not need a starting PG, in fact there is this assumption in the NBA that every team requires a PG but why is that the case? You have two extremely high usage players in LeBron and D. Wade, why on earth would you want to play a small PG who will become a defensive liability. 

Unless you have a top 5 PG, players like Kobe, LeBron, and D.Wade can and should be the defacto point guards for their team.

I have held this belief for a number of years and cringed in 2009 when the Lakers rolled out a lineup of;

D Fisher





Instead of;






This past year M. Williams and D. West were injured for CLE forcing LeBron to play extended mins at the point, this was an extremely efficient lineup. When the cavs played Boston in the playoffs, why exactly was Mo Williams on the floor, he couldn’t guard Rondo to begin with. Williams’ role was basically reduced to that of being a spot of shooter with LeBron handling the ball.

How is having Mo Williams on the floor any better than having someone like Mike Miller on the floor?

It isn’t.

Teams with players like LeBron and D. Wade (or Kobe for that matter) don’t need PG’s unless they are defensive wizards who are required to guard the ultra quick guards like Aaron Brooks or Chris Paul.

Miami is only lacking a body at the center position, any serviceable big will do, heck they could sign one of the Collins twins and Kurt Thomas and that would be that. Who is going to beat this team?

People have mentioned that the Lakers are the team to beat, I have never been a Kobe fan before, but I just became one - I think they present the toughest challenge to Miami but if MIA gets home court throughout the playoffs and breezes through the regular season as they should. That is going to be a tall order for them. 
The one advantage the Lakers have is that they will likely cake walk into the finals whereas Miami will likely have to face one of Orlando or Boston (and maybe both). 

Boston is a team that has all the parts to beat Miami, unfortunately the parts areold and decaying rapidly. In order to compete with Miami you are going to need two very good defensive players, one for LBJ and one for Wade.

They don’t come any better than Allen and Pierce, but can we really expect these guys to make one more run. And if Allen got tired guarding Kobe, can you imagine how fatigued he’d get trying to stay in front of D. Wade?

If Boston wants to have a shot they should strongly consider re-signing Tony Allen, and while they are at it they might want to stick him in a gym and teach him how to shoot the ball.

Orlando has been mentioned as a team that will give Miami fits because of D. Howard, but as much as I like Orlando and Stan Van Gundy they don’t have anyone on their roster who can handle either LeBron or Wade let alone both of them.

Howard would be tough for Miami to handle but it won’t matter because I really believe this current Miami team will be one of if not the best offensive teams in league history. The current Orlando squad would match up horribly against this Miami team.

OKC provides a glimmer of hope - if they can add one more great player then they have a shot in a few years time. They have Westbrook who has the ability to be a decent defender, as does Harden. And they have a relative defensive ace in Thabo Sefalosha, but nobody with enough size to handle LeBron. The players in the league who are best suited to handle LeBron,  Artest, Pierce, and Battier are all on the wrong side of 30.

Get back to me when Lebron is 31 because for the next 5 years it’s over.

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