Archive for December, 2011

By: Raul Parra
Email: rp@99sportsproblems.com
Twitter: ParraPalliative

NYE is right around the corner and I thought I would compile a list of what I consider the most common drinking mistakes that people make on NYE:

10) If you don’t bring anything don’t complain about the spread.

“This is something that extends far beyond the typical beer party spectrum, but it is especially irksome when someone complains about the beer and only brought some ice to the party. Listen people, it isn’t difficult, if you’re too poor/lazy/rude to bring anything to a party, don’t bitch about what’s there. I know I’ve been to plenty of parties that weren’t going to have my beer, but I handled it like a pro. Bring what you like, maybe you’ll convert some people, but more importantly, you’ll get to drink your stuff.”
-Moe

9) Don’t consume drinks you wouldn’t normally drink.

“I don’t do champagne. The first time I did was during college at a NYE party with some friends. I had it amongst other beverages and well, the result was a very hungover me dragging my friend to the CTA for a penny ride at 6 am because he wouldn’t go to sleep and demanded to go home. It’s just not a good idea to stray from what you’re used to on NYE. You’ll drink too much of it and then you’re screwed. Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to.”
-Moe

8) Don’t post on Facebook how drunk you are/how much you’ve had to drink.

“I hate these updates when I see them and I hate them when I can see someone on their phone updating their Facebook. It’s pretty classless. The cardinal sin though is when that person is walking through the door and is on their smartphone, updating their shit. Nothing says class like a limp handshake and a mumbled ‘oh hey yeah sup.’ People like that need to be punched in the face.”
-Moe

7) Space your shots out/know your weakness.

“I can’t handle vodka. I’ve realized this after a few hopeless battles against the beast. I can’t beat it, neither can you. Alcohol to this date is undefeated. You’re not going to win. As valiant as the struggle may be, it’ll end with you puking up your food on a stairwell after yelling ‘I JUST WANNA GET LAID.’ Know what you can’t handle and stay away from it. Space the shots, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, get to the end, don’t knock out within an hour of showing up.”
-Moe

6) Stay away from Girly drinks

“If you hear the phrase, “You want a Red Headed Slut…”, don’t get too excited your host isn’t talking about her voluminous cousin.  She’s talking about a sugar infused poison concoction that will put you in a hangover coma the next day.  Lemme break it down for you, Sugar+booze=dehydration which in turn equals a wicked hardcore (Boston accent) hangover.  Avoid any drink with excessive mixers with sugar and you will be in post inebriation bliss.”  -Raul

5) Wine is not a shooter… seriously.

“I don’t have anything against wine. I rather like it sometimes. It’s an experience if you do it right. Get the right bottle, savor it, enjoy it, pair it with the right meal, put on the right music and you have yourself a night. It can also be something that gets you to your happy place. It is not, however, a shooter. Don’t make this mistake. I’ve known a few wino’s in my time, I may have dated a few, and this is such a classic bad move. You don’t need to consume a bunch of wine in a short amount of time. It’s not cool and it’s just not worth it.”
-Moe

4) Don’t piss off your bartender.

“Unless you go to shitty brah bars or just a shitty bar in general, your bartender knows what they are doing. They know you want your sparkly at midnight, don’t fret, just relax and it’ll get to you. Bars are usually well prepared for NYE. At a house party, don’t piss off the host, and do not disrespect the house. Where I’m from showing disrespect to a person’s house got your ass beat mercilessly. Just be respectful.”
-Moe

3) No drinking games.

“I like drinking beer, I hate having to work for it. Drinking games are fine in college, I guess. You’re a rookie at that time and anything alcohol related seems cool. But you should be a seasoned vet now, beer pong and beruit are for kids. It’s time to grow up and enjoy an adult beverage like, well, an adult (funny how that works). Stop hanging on to your college days, they’re over. Just drink the damn beer and make small talk. It’s not hard.”
-Moe

2) No drunk sexting your Ex or Current Crush.

“No wants to wake up and immediately check their Facebook Inbox or text inbox to see what kind of drunk Promethean like sex crazed freak they turned into after they black outedTurn your phone off and save your self the embarrassment. Especially if you are pursuing an honest relationship with said crush.. or you accidentally send the text to your boss.” – Raul

1) No DUIs

“Oldest rule in the book. The CTA offers penny rides on NYE now. There’s even a AAA towing service available in certain towns (1-800-222-4357, but check the availability first, don’t be a dunderhead and get all plastered and demand for a free tow. Shit’s expensive).”
-Moe

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[audio http://awmr01.podbean.com/mf/web/w2wbsv/Episode005.mp3]

We’re on iTunes.

In this episode we take on Sam Hurd and his legal issues, review Cabin Fever beer, we take a look at the NHL and the Blackhawks, talk basketball and redraft the NBA Hall of Fame.

And, fin.

I thought I would do something different for this post.

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Moe Rubio is going through the gauntlet and will post a Bulls related post every day for 12 days.

Nobody pictured this. I don’t care how ardent a Bulls fan you are, deep in your heart you never imagined that the Bulls would be on the cusp of a championship, that they would be cast as the heroes of the 2010-2011 NBA season. The sting of being passed over by the big 3 free agents cut pretty deep, and a few pundits passed this version of the Bulls off as a 4-5 seed and a tough second round match up.

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Moe Rubio is going through the gauntlet and will post a Bulls related post every day for 12 days.

The undeniable strength of the Chicago Bulls is the depth that they have, specifically in the frontcourt. The so-called Bench Mob was a key reason the Bulls were able to maintain leads and close games out while giving their starters a rest. In this post I’ll be looking at key members of the bench and what their impact could be heading into the 2011-2012 season.

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The 12 Days of Bullsmas. Day 9: Luol Deng

Posted: December 21, 2011 by Mauricio Rubio Jr. in Basketball, NBA
Tags: , , ,

Moe Rubio is going through the gauntlet and will post a Bulls related post every day for 12 days.

I used to be a very big Deng critic. It was spawned more out of anger than any real basketball analysis. I let the Kobe Bryant trade rumors and the aftermath affect me more than I should have. I wasn’t quite in the start John Salmons at the 3 camp, but the offense did seem to flow a little bit better when he was in.

Deng has proven to be a more than capable basketball player. His defense makes up for a lot of his offensive inabilities. Deng doesn’t dribble well and his 3 pt. shot isn’t all you want it to be, but he is comfortable as the third offensive option. The Bulls don’t need Deng to be the primary scorer now that they have Rose and Boozer. Deng is a big X Factor in the Bulls fortunes as they try to figure out a way to solve the Heat puzzle.

The Rip Hamilton and Luol Deng combo will be the reason the Bulls either win or lose the East. Derrick Rose will be the focus of opposing defenses, but if Hamilton and Deng can hit the outside shot it will force teams to stay honest and not trap so aggresively when the Bulls set up for screens. The Miami Heat played a swarming defense that choked the passing lanes and disrupted the flow of their offense.

It’s pretty hard to make fun of dude, he’s a solid ballplayer.

Deng is an able defender. His job this season is to shut down the wing, rotate over when the perimeter defense breaks down and be a kick out option for Derrick Rose. Deng is who he is, there is not going to be another jump in improvement for him. This is fine, he no longer needs to be the star we all thought he was going to be in the advent of the Heat series from a time before this current NBA landscape.

In the 2007 playoffs Deng averaged 22 and 8. Game 1 against the heat was his coming out party. He scored 33 pts. and grabbed 8 rebounds in a surprising victory over the defending champs. Stardom was predicted for Deng from that moment, and when he failed to live up to the expectations, Bulls fans turned on him. The following year the Bulls were the subject of trade rumors as Kobe Bryant wanted out of LA. Bryant allegedly wanted to come to Chicago. Deng was rumored to be the sticking point in the deal and since then Bulls fans have expected a level of play from him that was unrealistic in hindsight.

Deng has improved in funky ways. His 3 pt. shot was not good coming into the NBA, so he stopped taking 3’s. His FG percentage shot up, but his efficiency never improved. His defense was pretty ok coming in, but it’s turned into something that resembles elite. He’s not quite the shut down defender that some imagine him to be, he’s not quite the LeBron stopper, but he does fit well in the defensive scheme Thibs has cooked up for the Bulls.

Lu will never be a super star, but he has turned into the underrated piece of the Bulls. What he does well doesn’t necessarily show up on a stat sheet or in highlight reels, but it is important for a team that is predicated on good defense and smart offensive play.

Deng will be the difference in a Bulls-Heat rematch. Historically he does well against James. Well, he does about a good a job as any other elite defender can against James.His offensive game can help the Bulls, but it won’t be the primary reason they win most nights. Deng is a solid piece, but Bulls fans should stop expecting more from him. He is who he is at this point, and that just might be enough.

Moe Rubio is going through the gauntlet and will post a Bulls related post every day for 12 days.

For this day we’re going to look at 8 Eastern Conference teams (excluding the Bulls, full preview on them later) and do a quick synopsis of what they will look like heading into the 2011-2012 season.

8. Milwaukee Bucks

You know I completely forgot this crazy bastard is in the division.

The arrival of Cap’n Jack signals some improvement for the Bucks, as they completely slipped last year and failed to make the playoffs after a few fans figured they would challenge the Bulls for the division. 2010 was a funky year, LeBron left a power vacuum in the Central and it was the Bulls that seized it as Jennings and Bogut both regressed, albeit for completely different reasons. There was a period after Jennings scored 55 points as a rookie that some in Chicago wondered if Derrick would ever be able to command a game like that.

It just goes to show you that you need to judge players against each other over the long haul and not take snapshots too seriously. The Bucks will be improved, but how much is a question. Stephen Jackson is the X Factor, if he somehow manages to not kill Scott Skiles, they should be fine, perhaps even climb to the 5-6 seed. Bogut is coming back healthy and Jennings should fit well in a redefined roll that scales back his shooting. They are a dangerous little team, but that’s only if they don’t self implode.

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Moe Rubio is going through the gauntlet and will post a Bulls related post every day for 12 days.

6 is an ok number when you get down to it. It’s a dynasty level of excellence that defines a franchise a certain way. The Bulls will always be the team that Jordan played for. No matter who challenges the 72 win season, they will always be in the discussion for greatest team in NBA history, if not always top that particular list. The Bulls became an international brand because of one man and his historic tear during the 90’s.

We’re all past that now however, and no matter how great Jordan was, the fan base is hungry for another dynasty to hang it’s hat on. I feel that 6 is a fine starting point, because a lot of that dynasty shine rubbed off when Fred Hoiberg and Ron Mercer were playing minutes in the Red and Black. The Bulls are set up to get #7, but it depends on what the organization decides to surround Derrick Rose with at this point. The way I see it there are 3 plausible scenarios which gives the Bulls a ring in the not too distant future. Each of these scenarios requires a different time table for obvious reasons, but they are all within reach in my opinion.

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Moe Rubio is going through the gauntlet and will post a Bulls related post every day for 12 days.

Prologue

I would love to meet John Tesh one day and thank him for shaping my early childhood. We all have different responses to songs, and the same song can mean two completely different things to two very different people. Growing up in the 90’s meant that whenever I heard John Tesh’s most critically acclaimed piece of work I was about to experience something that should really only come around once in a lifetime. It would always start the same too, with a rather comical graphic of a peacock animation before Tesh’s Magnum Opus would play.

Yes, I did play this song on repeat while writing this.

That 2 minute 41 second piece of sports music history meant one thing to a young Chicago kid: the Bulls were about to kick some ass. It was such a forgone conclusion in my mind at the time that I think all twenty-somethings need to pull back and remember what really happened during the golden era of Chicago sports.

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Moe Rubio is going through the gauntlet and will post a Bulls related post every day for 12 days.

I like Carlos Boozer. He seems like a genuinely fun dude the way he is constantly yelling and screaming. I see basketball joy when I watch him play, it’s very evident in the way he carries himself on the court. This rubs a lot of Bulls fans the wrong way, but not me. I still like it when players look like they are having fun out there from time to time.

This is why it pained me so much when Psycho T made sweet sweet love to him in Game 1 of the playoffs last year. Stupid hustle jumpshot after hustle jumpshot went in as a bewildered Boozer looked on, perhaps confused, but mainly just helpless. The man has every offensive post move in the book, but he struggles only slightly less than a traffic cone would on defense.

This boggles my mind. Carlos Boozer looks like an absolute badass. He is a wide body who has tattoo sleeves and a face made for a biker. He looks like he should be a defensive menace and a power post player. Turns out Lord Boozington is a finesse player, which is not what I was expecting at all from him.

it’s either this or the inevitable visual comparison to an Angry Bird, which you can now never unsee.

The Bulls signed Carlos Boozer to a max free agent contract to put up his typical numbers in the playoffs, his entire purpose was to alleviate the scoring burden from the game’s brightest young point guard and provide that much needed post presence. The Bulls offense is predicated on a high pick and roll or pick and pop game that starts with Rose at the top of the key and expands from there. Boozer’s role was to be a guy that can hit the mid range or establish post position and create better floor spacing for Rose.

The only way that Rose can wreak havoc is if his drive lane is clear, and the way the Bulls sought to accomplish that goal was to have a solid post player work on the opposite side of Rose and have his defender commit to him. Boozer does that, and it was clear early in the 2010-2011 regular season that the Bulls were much improved with him on the court.

The Bulls did not come out of that particular gate strong, Boozer missed significant time after he hurt his wrist in some mysterious way (don’t ever believe that stupid gym bag story), but when he was in, the offense settled, and even his much maligned defense seemed to be covered up by the rest of the team.

The warning signs were there though, he fell in love with a fadeaway jumper that he works out of the post and he was rarely in the right spot defensively or he was late in rotating over on screens. The Tom Thibodeau defense isn’t about individual defenders, and that’s the beauty of the whole thing really.

In Boston neither Ray Allen nor Paul Pierce were considered particularly great defenders, yet with the simple addition of KG and with the coaching of Mr. Thibs, the Celtics were regarded as the best defensive team in the league. Thibs moves to Chicago, and even with Derrick Rose, who heading into the 2010-2011 season was a pretty terrible defender, and Carlos Boozer, always regarded as a bad defensive player, the Bulls become the best defense in the league.

The reason why is that the Thibs defense is a shape, one that needs to maintain it’s general outline in order to succeed. Boozer’s problems on the defensive end were masked by the scheme. It didn’t matter as much during the regular season that he was late in rotating over because, well, the guys he was late to defend were not sure bets to hit the open mid range jumper anyway.

Later into the season a movement began with Bulls fans to start Taj Gibson as most of us were feeling a twinge of buyer’s remorse with the current product. Gibson is a willing and able defender, and he can occasionally hit the open 22 foot jumper, but in order for the Bulls to succeed, Boozer needs to be brilliant in the post season.

It appears that he got the message too as he reported to camp 20 lbs. lighter. Memories of Bosh and Tyler “Beaker” Hansbrough absolutely lighting him up are fresh in my mind, and Boozer proving ground has shifted from the relatively meaningless regular season to the biggest stage basketball has to offer.

That would be Tyler Hansbrough and his doppelganger Beaker. Enjoy another thing you can’t unsee.

That’s what happens when you become a title contender, it’s no longer cute to put up numbers in the regular season, you have to preform when it matters. With Eastern Conference superiority on the line, Boozer must show that he’s a better player than the 12 pts. and 9 rebounds he averaged during the playoffs. He has to be effective on the block and he has to be better on defense.

Chris Bosh will hit the unguarded jump shot, ditto with most anyone else the Heat feel like throwing on the court (well, maybe not Udonis Haslem). Boozer’s a yeller, if you listen closely enough during Bulls games, you’ll hear a myriad of things, including but not limited to; “Gimme dat!” “Yeah Jo!” “AND ONE!” That act will start to wear thin with teammates if his defensive effort isn’t there, and it will get really old if he pulls the disappearing act in the playoffs again.

Rose is going to need a lot of help this year, the Knicks took a step forward, the Nets are looking to acquire Dwight Howard and team him up with Deron Williams, and the Heat aren’t going to get worse anytime soon (barring an injury or a catastrophic plane crash), and it looks like the Bulls are dancing with the crew that brought them to the Eastern Conference Finals last year. Boozer can be the loud finesse player if he wants, he just has to show the desire to play defense this year before I start trusting him again.

The fortunes of the Bulls aren’t completely in the hands of one individual. The collective needs to perform at a high level for this to all work. It happened in Dallas last year, but remember, their Derrick Rose is 7 ft. tall.