Yet another new segment for the Back Five this week. This is better than the others, this one is not one of those generic list article lists. This. Is. The. Pull-up. This is where I chat shit about sports from the previous week, about the upcoming weeks sporting activities, and pretty much anything else that takes my sporting fancy.
The way this works is that I put an easy to read heading about the topic being discussed in each part, so you, the reader, can skip the shit you don’t care about. I will then throw a basketball shot related rating on the piece:
- Layups are easy
- Dunks are cool
- Deep twos are bad
- Corner 3s are the best
- Pull-up 3s are, of course, the coolest
- Half court heaves are prayers
These are then followed by whether they are a make or miss, misses obviously make the original rating worse, and makes make it better. Sometimes I will ad specific locations on the floor so you can further feel my pain/love. Sound confusing? Hopefully it less confusing than “Covfefe”, but no doubt you will learn. I believe in you. Without further ado, this is the Pull-up!
ARSENAL WON THE FA CUP – ALLEY OOP DUNK
Extra special shit right here with alley oop making the dunk even cooler, because my boys, The Gunners, won the FA Cup, and added onto their record for most FA Cups. It was overall a shit season for Arsenal, but in the words of the many fans who support teams that have bad seasons, and yet still win something “Fuck it we won something”.
STATE OF ORIGIN PLAYER RATINGS – LAYUP
Player ratings are always going to be layups. They are easy to do, easy to read, and everyone loves them.
For reference in my ratings getting a 10, and getting a 0 are going to be incredibly difficult. 10’s for me are when you find yourself having the “I JUST SHIT MY PANTS” excitement most of the guy in question touches the ball – think Klay Thompson’s 60 point game, or Joey John’s game 2 2005 Origin performance; 0’s are when you feel yourself cringing every time someone brings it up – think Harrison Barnes during the Cavaliers 3-1 comeback last year, or Robin Thicke’s “Blurred lines” once everyone realised what it was actually about; and 5’s are when you are replaying the game through your mind, or talk to your mate, and the overarching feeling is “sure that dude played and did things” – think Harrison Barnes’s career, or Kelly Rowland’s career post-Beyonce.
Anyway lets get to it!
First up is the woeful Maroons, their forward pack had less power than a Reliant Robin, and their outside back defence was flimsier than a Shoji. The only positive Queensland could take away from this game was the performance of their wings in chewing out meters. Jonathan Thurston should change the look of the Maroons with his experience, but it is unsure if that change alone can fix the woeful Queensland pack.
|New South Wales Blues||Ratings|
NSW were solid around the park with the main difference makers being Tedesco, and the terrible asshole, but great player: Andrew Fifita. Tedesco was the man out there, he was deadly with the ball carving up Queensland with his unique running style, and showed up on the inside ball, and in support on multiple occasions. Meanwhile, Fifita was a wrecking ball that Queensland’s forwards had no chance of stopping. He also showed off the value of the offload – chopping up the Queensland defence like a Hibachi chef. The only noticeably shit performance for the Blues was by Josh Dugan who somehow managed to play like Justin O’Neil on a team with go forward up front.
UNDER 20S RUGBY UNION WORLD CUP – SLAM DUNK
The Under 20s Rugby World Cup is a breakaway slam dunk, it is one of the coolest things on the rugby calendar.
One of my new favourite Rugby Union Tournaments each year is the under 20 world cup, which is this year held in Georgia. Potentially watching future stars in their first big tournament is a thing of beauty, and the rugby being played is usually of a high quality.
The first day of play didn’t disappoint as it was incredibly fun. From watching the Georgian crowd go crazy after their home grown star Aprasidze nailed kicks from 50 meters out that professional players would struggle with, to watching South Africa vs France, Ireland vs Italy, and Australia vs Wales all come down to the final minutes in their matches, it was a good day all around.
The only match I got to watch was the France vs South Africa game. The French had the game sealed for all money with 40 seconds left as they had a 7 point lead, the ball, and were running the clock out, but Stassen for the Springboks got his hands on the ball quick enough, and won the penalty, and the ball for South Africa. They then built pressure on the French line where Pesenti-Companoni copped a yellow for infringing on a rolling maul from a line-out that was almost certain to score. South Africa’s number 8, Augustus, would score not long after, and the game would come down to young stud Curwin Bosch‘s conversion attempt. There was a momentary lull after the ball met boot as it looked like he had sliced it, but Bosch had it all planned out with the ball fading right, and true for the South African’s to claim an unlikely draw.
I got to watch the end of the Ireland vs Italy game, by the end I mean literally the end where the Irish inside center, Frawley, was lining up the potential game winning kick. Unfortunately for the Irish, and especially Frawley, who was later inconsolable, he missed the kick from 40 meters out, and the Irish experienced the other side of sports – the loss.
The next load of games is on Sunday night Australian eastern coast time, and I for one am excited to watch more of this competition.
NBA FINALS – CONTESTED MADE PULL-UP 3 FROM 30 FEET
The event I, and many others have been waiting the past week for starts tomorrow gets the coolest rating from me, with the added modifier of it being contested, and made – by my calculations this doubles the coolness level. Anyway here is my prediction for the series.
This is part III of Cavaliers-Warriors, and for the first time both teams are almost completely healthy, and the stars are all completely healthy. No more injured Kyrie or Love, and no Curry missing 2 weeks mid playoffs, and coming back 70% healthy.
Of course, it isn’t “quite” the same. The Warriors, who are light years ahead, didn’t stay complacent this off-season coming off a 73 win season, and picked up a pretty good basketballer who goes by the name of KEVIN “FREAKING” DURANT their already ridiculous team. This move was less important regular season wise, as they actually lost more games than last year due to worse luck, chemistry, and Curry inexplicably being cold for most of the season, but that is secondary to the fact that this move was to make the Warriors do exactly what they are doing now.
No longer can opponents load up on Stephen Curry by trapping, holding him, and daring Harrison Barnes, and Andre Iguodala to beat them whilst sending their defenders to keep an eye on Curry – now the Warriors have one of the greatest scorers in NBA history in Durant out there instead of Barnes for the opposition to worry about.
Additionally, Kyrie Irving, the man who got torched by Klay, Livingston, Barnes, Andre, and pretty much anyone else the Warriors sent at him last year, still exists, and instead of having to rely on these inconsistent scorers to torch him the Warriors now have the previously mentioned Durant to send at him. As good as the 3-1 comeback was for the Cavaliers, it has somehow completely overshadowed the very real issues they had in the first 4 games to go down 3-1 in the first place with Curry struggling.
Of course the Cavaliers have strong points themselves, their offence so far this playoffs has been the best playoff offence in NBA history despite Kyrie Irving no-showing for the first 10 or so games. With Kyrie gaining momentum, and being one of the better one on one bucket makers in the NBA, the Cavaliers will more than likely be getting buckets these finals.
Ultimately, the Warriors are about as good as the Cavaliers offensively, but are almost 5 points per 100 possessions better defensively despite playing better offensive teams than the Cavaliers. I think the Warriors have the better match ups with Love, and Irving being poor defenders, whilst simultaneously being key players for the Cavaliers. You can never rule out the Lebron factor, but I’m going Warriors in 6 just like they did for their 2015 championship.
ICC CHAMPIONS TROPHY – HALF-COURT HEAVE – NZ TO WIN IT ALL
The reason this is rated as a heave is because I’m calling the NZ Black Caps to win it all. This would involve getting out of the pool stages where perennial foe, Australia, and host nation England reside, and then beating those other great teams in the other pool.
If there is one thing I have learnt from my years of rooting for the West Tigers, it is that irrational optimism is the key to being a fan. I believe that this is the tournament where NZ’s batting clicks for the entire tournament. Guptill will set up Kane Williamson, and Ross Taylor to power through the innings, and then Corey Anderson will come in, and blast some quick runs to finish it. Flawless plan I say.
The competition starts tonight at 7.30pm Australian time with England hopefully losing to Bangladesh, but the real games start tomorrow night when the Black Caps take on Australia.
The competition involves most of the best cricketing nations around with Australia, Bangladesh, New Zealand, and England residing in pool A, and India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and South Africa residing in pool B.
Regardless of the result, and how NZ goes, this tournament should be a good one. It will be good for International cricket fans to sink their teeth into some fun one day tournament play.
NHL FINALS – HALF-COURT HEAVE
This is a half-court heave because honestly I know nothing about the NHL, but what I can see is that the Pittsburgh Penguins are a very good team. I watched them dismantle my adopted team, the San Jose Sharks, last year, by doing things that I didn’t think were possible on ice (the frozen water type, not the small country town epidemic sort). They were just too quick for the Sharks last year, and they look to be on course to be too fast for the Nashville Predators this year.
That third period run where they scored 3 goals in quick succession was insane, up until that point the game was a close one – in my very amateur Ice Hockey watching opinion – and then the Penguins just put on the jets, and turned the game on it’s head.
Watching these two teams play for the Stanley Cup, I have come up with some observations of what makes it hard for myself, and possibly other Australians to begin to become a casual fan of the NHL.
For starters there is the huge problem of Australia having no fucking ice (frozen water) to just mess around on. It isn’t like the successful American sports in Australia like basketball, American football, and Baseball where you can put a hoop up in the back yard, and ball; throw an American football around with your mates; or like baseball where you can play slightly modified versions at school with similar rules. Ice hockey is a completely foreign concept to the average Australian, and not being able to play slightly different version to try and understand the game definitely hurts it’s appeal.
Another issue is that it is a difficult watch, being able to follow the puck is a skill in itself, and the platform used to watch it is key. Unlike the MLB, NBA, or NFL where watching the game on poor quality streams (due to internet/other reasons), or on a smaller device don’t really change your ability to watch the game, the NHL is something you have to watch on higher quality streams, and larger devices just to see what is actually happening in the game.
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