Tag Archives: 2016

2016 NBA Weekly: Who’s better to watch come PlayOffs?

With less than 2 weeks to go before the PlayOffs, an interesting battle has been brewing among 3 teams from both conferences for the last 2 spots — again, for both conferences! Yup, a real tight race. Yet from these teams, who are really worthy of watching?

But first, how do we define ‘worthy’ here? Well, ‘worthy’ is more than just having their share of stars — it’s about their ability to put up a fight against the top seed of their conference; and perhaps even beat them in their series. Shocker?? Certainly not. That’s why they’re worthy opponents! Let’s briefly review the contenders.

EAST. Indiana 41-36. Detroit 41-36. Chicago 39-38.

Detroit poses the biggest threat to the Cavs among lower ranked teams
Detroit poses the biggest threat to the Cavs

For this group, the most worthy among the 3 is the Pistons. Since they have a matchup against any Cav, they have given Cleveland problems with their style of play. Most of all, they’re steadier than either the Pacers or the Bulls this season.

Meantime, the Pacers just really has Paul George to rely on. Monta Ellis is kinda erratic and so is George Hill. Good news is that lately, Myles Turner has been giving Indiana a shot in the arm.

Bulls could win, if only...
Bulls could win, if only…

As for the Bulls, oh my the Bulls! They should in fact be among the top 3 teams of the East, but what happened? Injuries. New coach. And for this team, that’s big. Thibs is a defensive maestro while Hoiberg values the opposite which is why the team is struggling — like having an amnesia of who they really are. Result? Character issues. Worse, they’re even thinking of trading their most important pieces — Butler, Noah, Gasol, Gibson — my, all you really need to do is rediscover that magic and not drop anybody.

Maybe Hoiberg just really needs to be a little more vocal — this could get the team more committed. Next season.

WEST. Dallas 39-38. Utah 39-38. Houston 38-39.

Warriors: Mavs could definitely return the favor
Warriors: Mavs could definitely return the favor

On the Western side, the Mavericks must be it. While Deron will be back, their biggest ‘lack’ would just be losing Parsons to injury as he could have really helped especially alternating with Matthews on ‘productive’ nights. Well, the Mavs should just be able to maximize their strengths. Hey, how about using JaVale a little more? His athleticism could certainly help even against ‘small ball’.

Now for one of the most disappointing teams this season — the Rockets. Not just that they were in the Conference Finals last year but hey, the team actually has talent! And it’s just going to waste because of James Harden’s ball dominance. The good thing though is that they got a revitalized Michael Beasley who’s finally displaying what being a number 2 overall pick is — thanks to ‘playing time’ brought about by the Rockets’ desperation.

The Jazz could be like Reggie's Pacers if they got 'toughness'
The Jazz could be like Reggie’s Pacers if they got ‘toughness’

Finally the Jazz. Know what they really need? Toughness. They’re a promising team but without ‘toughness’, they wouldn’t go very far. Toughness is something that never — never takes a break. But the Jazz does, in fact, they don’t really have much of it so their roller coaster ride. Just like the Bulls, maybe next year.

My Home: 9 Kitchen Trends for 2016

We are into the third month of the year and now, got some kitchen confidentials to share — 9 Kitchen Trends for 2016 with the help of Houzz and the forecasts of interior designers Jane Lockhart and Gail Drury. What can we say? Well, just let you know as we go through them one by one, here goes..

Soft, muted color palettes
Soft, muted color palettes

One. Soft colors in the kitchen are certainly welcome. And it’s not all about ’em becoming or being the more popular tones. But like music, color which has a lot to do with ambiance inspires us to do well with our culinary artistry.

Smart spaces
Smart spaces

Two. Smart devices. Smart appliances. Smart kitchen. Definitely, a space-saving kitchen is a must. And this is not just about packing in those high-tech appliances, but with all the preparation and cookin’ goin’ on — you need to be able to move around, you know.

An '80s reboot
An ’80s reboot

Three. What about the ’80s? Yeah, what about it?? As Lockhart says, “mirrored backsplashes, brass accessories and high-gloss surfaces aren’t dead but more elegant and refined this time around.” Indeed, simply a removal of the ‘plastic’ look.

Metal range hoods
Metal range hoods

Four. So, there will be more of the metal hoods this year — instead of the ‘wood mantle’ hoods — to go with other holdings like faucets and drawers. And why not, it’s got a different kind of appeal! Like, you’re coming from the dungeon of master chefs! Wow!

Integrated kitchen living spaces
Integrated kitchen living spaces

Five. Ahhh, the need for integration is not simply about the kitchen feeling disconnected from the rest of the house, but it is more like having easier access to your ‘food bucket’ — and saving more space (even decors) for other purposes. Seriously.

A new kind of tradition
A new kind of tradition

Six. Hmm… It’s all about evolving with time — and ‘space’. The ‘big’ basics are more emphasized, like the hood and islands while dangles would be lesser making the kitchen more down-to-earth. Yeah, let the artistry be more on the food! Hah!

Texture-on-texture contrast
Texture-on-texture contrast

Seven. One way to make the kitchen more lively lies in repositioning texture designs. Absolutely. Just like clothing, you can not just keep wearing the same old design where color is the only difference, see?! The kitchen has to feel alive, and not be a drag!

A nod to midcentury mod
A nod to midcentury mod

Eight. Something that’s obviously true. The living room, or furnitures for that matter should have strong influence on the kind of kitchen we put up; otherwise, there goes the ‘disconnection’! What matters  here is having a functional kitchen — and making things simple not only helps bring the costs down but makes a statement!

Well-lit cabinetry
Well-lit cabinetry

Nine. Then again, it’s in the ‘lighting’ where accentuation would be more present. That’s going to be like the hightlight of the kitchen — just do not overdo it! Subtle, in some ways, is always beautiful..

2016 NBA Weekly: PlayOff Picture

Regardless of the Warriors’ 6th loss this season, they are still going to end up number 1 — or 2 at the very least. But for the rest, what’s their PlayOff chances as of late?

Western Conference 

WC 8th spot: Utah v Houston?
WC 8th spot: Utah v Houston?

The Pelicans are out of the playoffs. Being at least 7 games behind 8th placer, Houston and with just about 20 games to go, it would take a miracle for them to make it! What was a promising 2014-15 campaign has turned out to be a disastrous 2015-16 season. And it’s all because of injuries with the most recent occurring to Eric Gordon who broke his finger — again — after returning from the same injury!

This, however, is not true with current 8th placer, Houston Rockets, which obviously has a deeper issue. The existence of James Harden in their lineup, though he may be a good scorer, is just ‘not good’ for superstar pairings. He’s just too ball-dominant that having another superstar like Dwight Howard or whoever would just eventually be a waste of ‘investment’. Bad business.

'Unlucky' Pelicans against the 'Lucky' Blazers
‘Unlucky’ Pelicans against the ‘Lucky’ Blazers

Still, the last playoff spot is not secured with Utah capable of dislodging Houston once it gets over some hiccups. The pleasant surprise though has been Portland who’s sitting at number 7. With all of last season’s starters (save for Damian Lillard) jumping to other teams, Lillard has captained the Blazers from being lottery-bound to playoff-bound. Of course, let’s not forget the emergence of McCollum and the steady presence of Aminu, Plumlee and Leonard.

Eastern Conference

Jimmy Butler is back for the Bulls. And for a while we felt that the Bulls may not be able to make it, although they still haven’t fully secured a playoff spot yet. But unlike when the team loses Derrick Rose, they could still survive and make it at least within the top 5 — ‘care of’ Butler. This only shows how indispensable Butler is to the Bulls, and how well he plays with Pau Gasol! Still, for Chicago to get a chance at the Eastern Finals, they need both Batman and Robin healthy.

Meanwhile, key for Miami in making it to the NBA Finals is Chris Bosh. Although they got a loaded lineup, Bosh remains a stabilizing factor for the Heat. Plus with the recent addition of Joe Johnson, the Heat has a legitimate shot of beating Cleveland in a series.

A toast to the 2016 Celtics!
A toast to the 2016 Celtics!

Now, the Eastern Conference’s surprise though has been the Boston Celtics. The boys are growing and are about to become men — with Isaiah Thomas as their primary threat — they’re just playing so well and above expectations! Hey, in another year or two, they’ll be really dangerous and contending. Watch out!

The Ty Lawson that the Pacers need
The Ty Lawson that the Pacers need

While Paul George’s return has been successful, the Pacers are losing steam. Obviously. But the apparent signing of Ty Lawson could give the Pacers a shot in the arm especially Paul George, their shooters and big men — since the team basically lacks movement and distribution. Paul George, Monta Ellis, ahh they are like.. just one-on-one players where the ball slows down once it’s in their hands. The team needs an effective distributor who is capable of scoring, too! Yeah, they got George Hill but he’s not a ‘sneaky’ PG the Pacers really need.

If they fail to solve this, expect Detroit, the EC darkhorse to make a run at the playoffs — and like Boston, they could even win a game or two against the top seeded Cavaliers!

Gadget Review: DietSensor (CES 2016)

While many of our latest tech advancements are focused on, what, ‘drones’, ‘wearables’ and stuff — here is one product that caught our attention. DietSensor. And it doesn’t fly, or you don’t really have to wear it, but it gives you feedback on the nutritional contents of what you would like to eat and suggests on what you should be eating instead. Isn’t that great?!

Wow, cool eh?!! This is especially useful for those on diet, whether slimming, weight management or for particular medical conditions. But most importantly, to remind us on eating healthy.

Couple of concerns though.

One. It’s only for food, how about beverages? Perhaps they should make another device for this, huh? Hah! You know.. for a complete health package.

0301 diet_sensor

Two. Wouldn’t it be kinda freakish if you would just keep scanning your food — especially when eating out?!? People would just keep staring at you then as the basics of food is pretty much an open book. Like watch out on salt, sweets, and trans fat. And certainly, almost all of us knows this — it’s just that many of us keep ignoring the ‘red light’.

So probably, DietSensor could add another feature to their product. Vibration. That is to warn us every meal hours (just like how we set our alarms) even before we pull out our device. Hah!

2016 NBA Weekly: Winners and Losers of the ‘Buy Out’ season

If you were looking for ‘big names’ to get moved in last February 18’s trade deadline, well, everyone actually remained in their places; but of course, there were teams who just skimmed while there were those who got better somehow. Let’s take a look at some pieces.

David Lee
David Lee

David Lee to the Dallas Mavericks. This could be among the significant transactions that happened this ‘buy out season’. Considering who comes in after Dirk is Powell, or Villanueva, a ‘stretch four’ kinda guy, acquiring Lee gives the Mavs that needed post presence while still having that valuable spacing since Lee could also hit those jumpers.

This could prove to be crucial as the Mavs head to the PlayOffs.

Channing Frye
Channing Frye

Channing Frye to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Letting go of Varejao may make sense for the Cavs but getting Frye as a replacement may not be thoroughly felt by the team. Look at the Mavs. They got Dirk who could hit 3s then Villanueva coming off the bench who’d also hit 3s, but are they in the top 4? While it’s good to have a ‘back up’ stretch four, the current goings could only mean that variety may be the more effective way to success.

Love is already a ‘stretch four’. Now with Frye, it’s like you only split their production with their minutes. Let’s see.

Anderson Varejao
Anderson Varejao

Anderson Varejao to the Golden State Warriors. While the Warriors’ center spot may be ailing with the unstable health of Bogut and Ezeli, what about Speights? Taking in Varejao could only mess up their rotation when the whole team is real healthy. Thompson was already a good addition.. though Varejao is a better one.

Jeff Green
Jeff Green

Jeff Green to the LA Clippers. This is more than just the familiarity of Green and Doc. Without Griffin, the shipping of Smith and the ineffectiveness of Stephenson, acquiring Green could certainly help the Clippers’ cause. After all, he’s a talented scorer that could play multiple positions.

Lance Stephenson
Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson to the Memphis Grizzlies. Well, this could be the beginning to Stephenson’s revival. Just look at their roster. They don’t really have a threat at the ‘two’ guard unlike when he was with the Clippers, they already had Redick and Crawford. So, some good opportunity for Stephenson to prove his worth. Though the Grizzlies wouldn’t be limping if Brandan Wright was healthy — much more if Gasol didn’t get injured as well.

Brandon Jennings (L), Ersan Ilyasova (R)
Brandon Jennings (L), Ersan Ilyasova (R)

Ersan Ilyasova and Brandon Jennings to the Orlando Magic. Losing Tobias Harris may be big for the Magic but getting Ilyasova and Jennings in return is certainly bigger. These are quality players in their positions! So, we could certainly expect the Magic to make a good run for this year’s PlayOffs and onto the next season.

Let the real games begin!

2016 NBA Weekly: All-Star Notables

So the 2016 NBA All-Star weekend has just been concluded, and the notables..

Russell Westbrook: That's energy!
Russell Westbrook: That’s energy!

Russell Westbrook’s back-to-back MVPs. As good and young as Russell is, don’t you think he’s got a chance to have the most All-Star’s MVP? It’s just one game after all, and so, no matter how good the rivals are, with Russell’s energy — who knows?! Kobe has 4 but he’s already having his last hurrah.

Kobe Bryant: Done for good..
Kobe Bryant: Done for good..

And speaking of Kobe Bryant, guess his final tour was more of a ‘guest appearance’, huh?! Hey, he could have gone all out to win his 5th All-Star MVP! Yet although Kobe finished with 10 points on 4-11 shooting, and added six rebounds and seven assists in just over 25 minutes of action, perhaps his body can’t take the pounding anymore or he’s gotten a little tired of the game already where he shot less and passed more than he normally does.

Paul George: Perennial Contender
Paul George: Perennial Contender

Paul George’s 41 points. Speaking of game enthusiasm, that’s what George did show in the All-Star game that he could have also won the MVP honors. Really. The ASG is just about energy which precedes All-Star entertainment — and so that explains the award.

Sweet-shooting Klay Thompson
Sweet-shooting Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson winning the 3-point shootout. Among the star participants, we always thought only Thompson and Redick had the chance to beat Curry. Not Harden. Not Lowry. Why? This is because of their ‘release’. They got a “shooter’s” release unlike Harden and Lowry, who’s got more of a “scorer’s” release.

Aaron Gordon (R), Zach LaVine (L)
Aaron Gordon (R), Zach LaVine (L)

Zach LaVine repeating as Slam Dunk champion. Wondering what a match up it would’ve been if Russell Westbrook were to compete?! But this was really close. And actually felt Gordon could’ve won it, too! Imagine a big man with such athleticism?!

Just what trade-rumored players need more of.. Even just energy.

2016 NBA Weekly: The ‘Hack-A-Player’ Conundrum

Is it necessary to change some rules to prevent the ‘hack-a-player’ strategy that is becoming more often nowadays? Yes? Well, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver kinda favors this change.

Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dwight Howard (Photo: Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

“At the end of the day,” Silver said, “we are an entertainment property, and it’s clear when you’re in the arena that fans are looking at me shrugging their shoulders with that look saying, ‘Aren’t you going to do something about this?’”

Hmm… We believe the only good this’d do is ‘speed up the game’.

Detroit's Andre Drummond
Detroit’s Andre Drummond

So, it’s really a matter of choosing between speeding up, or making basketball advocates understand the value of free-throw shooting — after all, it’s a crucial skill. A game changer.

As for speeding up the game, hey, take in less advertisements! Hah! More than fouling, commercials are what fans actually do not like since it holds off their excitement on the game. But then, we know that ads is what sustains the league. So?

0208 phoenix-sunsHow about lesser time outs? Just let the players learn to deal with adversity, you know. Another joke?! This would then make coaches almost unnecessary and the game sloppy!

In the end, it’s not about revising the ‘hacking’ rules or speeding up the game on a per game basis — for fans, it’s about lessening the number of regular season games so we won’t see bad teams playing good teams. That’s not entertainment, Adam Silver. The PlayOffs is.