‘Jeopardy!’ Contestant Bends The Knee To 19-Time Champion, James Holzhauer

Bend the knee or die in Final Jeopardy! to James Holzhauer.


Another day, another victory for Big Jimmy. This time, he even made one of his opponents bend the knee! Poor Libby. She was probably so excited to be on Jeopardy! I’m sure she had hopes of going into Final Jeopardy! with a fighting chance before the game started. Then, James “The Night King” Holzhauer said “Not so fast Arya. I’m not dying tonight.”

I’m glad to see James was back on his game after narrowly escaping with a win last night. Do you think he was nervous?

After tonight’s win, James’s 19-day total is $1,426,330. The quest to dethrone Ken Jennings is still alive. Ken won 74 games in a row for a total of $2,520,700. I’m not sure if James can win that many games in a row, but the money total is well within reach. I hope James does it so we can get a dream matchup between Ken vs. James for the true Jeopardy! championship. That matchup would be more must-see than The Battle at Winterfell. Here’s to James ruining more games of Jeopardy!!

So The Knicks Just Traded Kristaps Porzingis…



*takes deep breath, wheezes slightly, takes two (2) puffs of my rescue inhaler*


Don’t worry. I swear I’m here to be therapeutic (as of this point in the blog. I have a lot of thoughts and I’m not sure where this will end up. Don’t hold me to that). Look, I’m here to be objective. I’m not a Knicks fan nor am I a Mavs fan, though I recently did convert to Lukaism. Praise be to Doncic. Amen.

So, let me talk you through this by saying something to help calm everyone down. My favorite team traded away James Harden. Make you feel better? Probably not, because Knicks fans have been molded by a special glue made of anti-depressants and constant disappointment. So, let me take you through the stages of accepting that your team traded away a young star.

Step 1: Watch This Clip From The Wedding Singer While Looking At Pictures Of Said Traded Player

I swear on my life this is one of the funniest scenes in movie history. The second chorus makes me crack up every time. Don’t be afraid to cry, friends.

Step 2: I Hate This Team. Why Would They Do This To Me?

I promise you, this trade was 100% a personal attack on you and you alone. James Dolan fucking hates you, and everything he does is to spite you until the day you die. Just like Clay Bennett hated me until 2 summers ago by refusing to pay the luxury tax.

Step 3: Okay, Objectively We Got Some Decent Pieces Back

Key pieces to the OKC-HOU trade for Harden.

Draft Picks: 2 first round picks

Promising Young Player: Jeremy Lamb

Strong Veteran Presence: Kevin Martin

Centerpiece: James Harden, a promising young player in his third year in the league.

Now, compare that to the Knicks trade of Porzingis.

Draft Picks: 2 first round picks. Weird coincidence!

Promising Young Player: Dennis Smith Jr. Ok the similarities are a little scary.

Strong Veteran Presence: Wesley Matthews & DeAndre Jordan. I’m having flashbacks.

Centerpiece: Kristaps Porzingis, a promising young player in his third ye–OH COME ON.

Step 4: Rationalize

When Harden was traded, nobody knew his ceiling. And yes, Kristaps has had better seasons with a heavier load on a worse team, but this is a gentle reminder, and I can not stress this enough: YOU DID NOT TRADE JAMES HARDEN. Kristaps is an incredible young player, but he is not a GENERATIONAL talent. Who knows what his ceiling is, but it is almost assuredly not (possible multiple) MVP, and he might never be the best player on his own team, because Luka Doncic is that good.

And look, now you have 2 max salary spaces this summer, and you cannot afford to mess this up. Last time the Knicks were in this position, they whiffed on LeBron so they spent on a veteran with bad knees (Amare Stoudemire), which worries me with Kyrie and his injury history said to be an option in the summer. It is now fully Kevin Durant and Kawhi or Kevin Durant and trade for Anthony Davis this summer. Reminder: Melo was also a free agent the year AFTER the biggest free agency period in league history, but, and again I cannot stress this enough…AD IS NOT MELO (no fucking duh Jared). He is that much better. If the Pelicans call and ask for your picks and young guys, you almost assuredly have to say yes if you can pair him with any of the members of this summers free agency class.


That was easy. Congrats, you’ve now moved on. Unlike OKC, the Knicks can spend in the summer and genuinely hope to attract one or more of these guys. There is a real chance that they can and will land a major signing this summer. And they have to. This trade can’t be judged until July, plain and simple.


Bonus: Me Being A Wet Blanket

I just don’t get the appeal of playing for the Knicks right now. When they were last TRULY relevant, every one of these guys was just probably learning to play the game. So what’s the appeal now? Let me sort you through the Knicks free agency pitches that they can offer.


Uh, guys, it’s fucking 2019. KD signed a $250 MILLION shoe deal WITH STOCK OPTIONS while playing in Oklahoma.

We Have A Young Core Playing In New York City…The Mecca!!!

You might not even have the best young core in the state! The Nets play in the same city and have twice the young talent at this moment. Though I’m bullish on Knox, Trier, and Robinson, it hasn’t amounted to anything but the worst record in basketball this season. Of course it’s only Season 1 (Season 2 if you include Frank Ntilikina), but Brooklyn has had none of their own picks for about 30 seasons give or take, and they’re a playoff team!

Okay, But The Barclays Center Isn’t MADISON SQUARE GARDEN

How does this pitch sound to you? “Hey, you should come play in New York, where, after a debilitating season sweep by Orlando, you can take a 3 hour commute home in gridlock traffic?”

Did that do the trick? How about this one? “Listen, nowhere else on the planet can a team be bad, sell out every game, and then lose to a depleted Cleveland team, where you can think about how bad it is to be an employee of James Dolan during your trip home to Saddle River, where it will take you 2 hours to get through the Lincoln Tunnel, which has only one tube open for no apparent reason?”

You Get To Be An Employee Of James Dolan

Okay, I wouldn’t pitch that. In fact, I’d probably totally avoid that.


Good luck Knicks fans. I truly hope this summer is a good one. Because if it’s not, it really might be time to start considering if this team will ever be good again.

Russell Westbrook Will Win The MVP, But My Vote Goes To James Harden


Russell Westbrook is going to win the MVP. I know it. You know it. NBA Writers know it. I still held out hope for James Harden, but last night was the icing on the cake for Brodie. 50 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists, and the game winner. His 42nd triple double of the year. All in a night’s work.

It is mind boggling to think that he is going to average a triple double on the year. 31.9 PPG, 10.4 APG, 10.7 RPG. Are you serious? That’s filthy. I think what makes it more special is that the last time someone averaged a triple double was in 1961-1962.

The Thunder were a huge question mark going into the year. The narratives of “Kevin Durant is finally away from Russell Westbrook” and “Russell Westbrook will show his true ball hog characteristics” were already set in stone before the season started. What could Russ do without KD? Well, Russ said F U to everyone and balled out. I don’t want to even think about where the Thunder would be if they didn’t have Russ. My guess is in a dumpster.

Russell Westbrook deserves the MVP.

However, this isn’t a “Russell Westbrook does not deserve the MVP” piece. He does. But…………… *drumroll please*


Fear the damn beard.

Everyone who is just anointing Westbrook as the MVP needs to take a step back and take a deep breath. You want to give it to Westbrook because of the triple doubles, but look at Harden’s numbers. Harden is averaging 29.3 PPG, 11.3, and 8.1 RPG. He’s 1.9 rebounds away from a triple double and Harden has had 21 triple doubles himself this year.

This tweet.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a big stat guy. I’m an eye test guy. But here are some numbers where Harden beats out Westbrook.

Highest win share % aka the estimate of wins contributed by a player: Harden 14.8, Westbrook 13.2. Lets go to Effective Field Goal %: Harden 52.4%, Westbrook 47.7%. Harden has Russ beat in almost every efficiency rating as well.

What hurts Harden’s case right now is Westbrook has the sexier, more glamorous stats right now. Westbrook has the momentum and he has more style points with him for all of the buzzer beaters and high PPG these past couple of weeks.

Now, it’s time for the polarizing stat that gives my vote to Harden over Westbrook.


54 wins to 46 wins.

Not sold yet? Ok, I totally get that because wins should not be the “be all, end all.” It’s hard to judge value over the amount of wins a player brings because one team can be better than the other. You want to say Harden has a better TEAM right now than Russ? I’m all for that. He does.

But let’s go to the beginning of the season. Let’s take a look at a group that every seems to look at these days. They know how to rip your heart out and stomp on your dead soul. However, they always seem to be right except for this case.

I’m talking about Vegas and the oddsmakers. Let’s take a look at the over / under odds for the beginning of the year.

The Thunder made it to the Conference Finals last year and were a game away from the Finals. However, they lost their best player, who is a top 3 player in the NBA, in Kevin Durant. Despite that, their over / under was set at 43.5.

On the flip side, the Rockets went 41-41, earned the 8th seed last year and lost to Golden State in the first round. They fired their coach and brought in Mike D’Antoni, who in his last head coaching stint, lead the Lakers to an awesome 27-55 record. Lose Dwight Howard and we have a whole new team. The over / under was set at 41.5.

The Rockets are by far the biggest surprise of the NBA. To go from 41 wins to 54 wins is incredible especially with a coach who NO ONE thought succeed right away. If you said the Rockets would be the 3 seed and have a legitimate shot to make the Conference Finals, I would’ve slapped you in the face. I give most of the credit to the play of James Harden, who stepped into the PG role and has thrived. Westbrook took his average team and made them slightly above average. It’s impressive, but what Harden has done with the Rockets is 100% more impressive. Harden has taken an average team and has made them a contender.  Keep in mind that the last 34 MVPs have been on teams in the Top 3 of their conference. Thunder are in 6th place. Rockets are in 3rd place.

It all comes down to what your prefer more. I still think Westbrook is going to win the MVP, but for his efficiency and what he has done to the Rockets, I’m giving it to Harden.

You want to know what’s awesome? The Rockets and Thunder are on a collision course for a first round matchup. Lets the games begin.

P.S. – Let’s just be honest. Kawhi Leonard should be in the discussion.

P.S.S. – Lebron James could win the MVP every year and I’d have no argument.

It Was All Good Five Years Ago. When Did It All Go Wrong?

How the new CBA, cheap OKC management and some bad luck pushed Kevin Durant to Golden State.


June 21st, 2012. The Oklahoma City Thunder dropped a deciding game 5 in the NBA Finals to the Miami Heat as LeBron captured his first NBA title in South Beach. For the Thunder, it was a huge step in the right direction at the time, coming back from 2-0 against the vaunted powerhouse San Antonio Spurs in the conference finals. Just getting that finals experience was a success in itself for a team led by 4 players ages 23 and under. Durant and Westbrook bloomed as superstars, James Harden picked up 6th man of the year honors and Serge Ibaka asserted himself as one of the best shot blockers in the NBA. The Thunder put the league on watch, showing you the blueprint to building through the draft as each one of the prior names mentioned was drafted in 2007-2009 by the team, which is a credit to their general manager, Sam Presti. Everyone thought this nucleus would be back numerous times to the finals in the coming years.

What Happened?

In 2011, the new collective bargaining agreement made spending over the cap penalty harsher than ever, attempting to scare teams to go into the luxury tax. For example, in 2016 the salary cap is 94 million and the luxury tax is 113 million. The luxury tax is for every dollar you go over, there is a tax owed to the league on that dollar that goes as follows.

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 3.06.28 PM

This was a reaction to the 2010 Miami Heat “Big 3” of LeBron, Wade and Bosh. Keep this in mind, teams had no idea the cap influx would increase as much as it did because of the new television contract. So the luxury tax is having a reverse impact on building super teams in the league, as bigger markets are more willing to spend well into that luxury tax. The Cleveland Cavaliers owed a record 54 million to the league for their roster this past season, luckily it paid off with a championship.


Fall 2012 – James Harden significantly outplayed his 4 million dollar rookie salary and looked for an extension from the Thunder. Serge Ibaka entered the last year of his rookie deal. So it was decision time, do they go over the salary cap and into the luxury tax for the reigning 6th man of the year or extend Ibaka for cheaper and stay under the salary cap. They did the later, signing Ibaka to a 4 year, $49 million dollar extension and dealing Harden to the Houston Rockets right before the season for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, Two 1st round picks, and One 2nd round pick. A very underwhelming package for a player that went on to become a superstar and the best shooting guard in the NBA in my opinion. A huge botch by Thunder management.


The next three post seasons for the Thunder were ravaged by injury. A torn meniscus for Westbrook in 2013, a calf injury for Ibaka in 2014 and a broken foot for Durant in 2015 prevented Oklahoma City from having a healthy team at the end of the postseason, as they failed to get back to the finals.

Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson (11) gestures after scoring a three-point basket against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the fourth quarter of Game 6 of the NBA Western Conference finals at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla., on Saturday, May 28, 2016. Golden State defeated Oklahoma City 108-101. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

May 25th, 2016 – The Thunder looked to close out the Golden State Warriors at home in Game 6 of the 3-2 series. They played a great three quarters leading by 8 at the end of the third. Enter Klay Thompson, who started scorching from deep. Nailing 4 of his 11 three pointers within the first 5 minutes of the quarter. The Thunder were apart of their fair share of blown fourth quarter leads, but could they really let this one get away? Yes, as Curry then hit two 3s, the second of which tied the game at 99 with 2:47 to play. Thompson’s 3 with 1:35 remaining put the Warriors up 104-101 over the Thunder, who turned the ball over 6 times in the last 3 minutes. The Thunder saw their chance for a title fade in those last few minutes as they crumbled under the pressure. They then went on to drop Game 7 in Oracle as the Dubs pulled off the improbable 3-1 comeback.


June 24th, 2016 – Serge Ibaka was dealt in a surprising draft night trade to the Orlando Magic. Ibaka is going into the last year of his contract. The Thunder acquired explosive combo guard Victor Oladipo, first round pick Domantas Sabonis, and forward Ersan Ilyasova. I actually thought this was a good deal and would only help their chances of retaining incoming free agent, Kevin Durant.


July 4th, 2016 – After taking meetings with numerous teams in The Hamptons, it was time for Kevin Durant to reveal where he would be playing next year in a poorly written Player’s Tribune article. I really thought there was no way he would leave the Thunder after having the Warriors on the ropes 3-1. I felt he owed it to himself and his teammates to give one more attempt to bring a championship to Oklahoma City, a franchise he helped build from the ground up. I couldn’t believe it and I still can’t picture him in a Warriors jersey. Did a 73 win team just add a superstar, who happens to be a top 5 player? How is this possible? Should we just give them the trophy now? It really is crazy, and unprecedented in the league. It all comes back to the spike in salary cap and having Steph Curry on a bargain 12 million dollar contract. I feel it’s way worse than LeBron joining forces with Bosh and Wade on South Beach in 2010. Durant is a perfect fit and that team is going to be straight up scary. If Durant is all about winning he made the best choice, but to me it will always be the quality of the championship rings you win, not the quantity that defines your legacy.

The third member of the former “Big 4” is gone and the Thunder are left in quite the conundrum. Do they try to compete in the west and patch up the gaping hole Durant left? Do they strip this down and press the reset button and trade Westbrook?

Either way, by next summer, I believe the thought to be future dynasty will be no more as Russell Westbrook will test free agency, and hopefully take his talents to the Knicks. Hey, I can dream, right?

Don’t blame Durant though. Blame the new CBA, cheap Thunder management, and bad luck for Durant’s departure. A few defining moments over the past few years changed Oklahoma City forever. What if they hold on in game 6 of the Western Conference Finals? What if they resigned James Harden? What if Westbrook didn’t tear his MCL in the playoffs? How many rings would this group have before the age of 30?

A lot of what ifs are on the table as the KD & Russ experiment will end with 0 rings.

I can’t wait to see this as an ESPN 30 for 30 in 20 years.

See you next year Russ!