The emergence of Kyle O’Quinn

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Brandon Jennings was heavily favored to become the Knicks six man this season, even Phil Jackson chimed in told Jennings to go for six-man of the year. However, something strange happened this season as Kyle O’Quinn has emerged as the first player off the Knicks bench. Hornacek has used his bench sporadically this season yet O’Quinn remains a fixture. Something coach Fisher was hesitant to do last year, as O’Quinn put up career lows in Feild Goal Attempts ( 4.2)  Feild Goal % (47%). Yet O’Quinn did not give up, he used to offseason to expand his game a loose some weight.

“I’M EXCITED ABOUT EVERY YEAR, BUT THIS YEAR IT LOOKS SO CLEAR. A LOT OF PEOPLE WILL PUT US IN THERE. IT’LL BE A DIFFERENT ELEMENT IN TRAINING CAMP INSTEAD OF BEING A STARTUP TRYING TO SHOCK THE WORLD. WE MADE A LOT OF CHANGES AND IT LOOKS LIKE THE PLAYOFFS, BUT YOU GOT TO PUT THE WORK IN.” -Kyle O’Quinn via NY Post

“TRYING TO TRIM DOWN A LITTLE BIT, I’M TRYING TO STAY IN THE BEST KYLE FORM I CAN BE… IT JUST CAME TO ME, THE YOGA IDEA. SWITCH IT UP A LITTLE BIT IN THE OFFSEASON.” -Kyle O’Quinn via NY Post

The weight loss and focused mindset have lead to a much improved season, O’Quinn is averaging a career-high 6.4 points, 5.7 rebounds as well as 56% from the field. It’s no surprise that the Knicks are off to a good start (16-14)  the biggest surprise is the improved play of O’Quinn.

If the Knicks hope to continue their playoff push they will need Kyle to anchor the second unit.  If Knicks fans get their wish O’Quinn may very well push his way into the starting lineup. Until then Knicks fans will just have to do with O’Quinn becoming the Knicks six man.

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The team no one is talking about…

By Lawrence Edwards

They are currently on the outside looking in and need just a little help to get a wildcard spot as well as take care of their own business, but I feel like we should be talking about the Titans and if you haven’t already, you should begin to take them seriously. If they don’t make the playoffs this year I fully expect them to be serious contenders come next Taylor Lewan, Jack Conklin big for Titans during game-winning drive vs ...

season. The Titans have built a pretty damn good offensive line anchored by the tackles Taylor Lewan (77) and Jack Conklin (78). Tennessee must be where the secrets lie to re-bounding your career. Not one but two  star players joined Tennessee in the last two years after having bad seasons with other teams the year before and both are now in the pro-bowl.

Brian Orakpo joined the Titans in 2015 after his time in Washington came to an end. Some thought would be the end of a short but good career, but instead the LB found his niche

Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo told reporters he's fine taking the ...

again and finished 2015 with 7 sacks and currently has 11 on the 2016 season with two games left, two very important games I should add. He’s been a key and dominate piece all year on the defense for the Titans and will be a huge factor in helping secure a playoff spot. On the offensive side of the ball, you have the resurgent DeMarco Murray who currently is the leagues 2nd leading rusher

DeMarco Murray

behind Ezekiel Elliot of the Dallas Cowboys with 1225 rushing yards and 9TD’s. Murray has been outstanding this season in the run game and catching passes out of the back field. Some thought Murray was done after he was used incorrectly by Chip Kelly and the Eagles which saw his 2015 season end in major disappointment. However, he has found success yet again and most likely a permanent home to end his career. The man hasn’t dropped a pass all year (knock on wood Titans faithfuls) and has stayed healthy through it all.

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The Titans are sitting at 8-6 with only two teams standing in their way for a wildcard spot, The Baltimore Ravens and division rival Houston Texans. The Ravens finish up the season against two divisional foes, The Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals. With a Steelers win on Sunday the Pittsburgh Steelers would lock up the AFC North and secure their playoff spot leaving the Ravens on the outside looking in. If the Titans also take care of business this Sunday against the Jags then that would set up a Texans @ Titans week 17 battle for the division and the last wild card spot. This task won’t be easy, the Jags have nothing to play for and would love to spoil a division rivals chances of getting into the post season and they boast a pretty good young defensive unit. Even if the Titans get past Jacksonville it won’t be easy. Houston has been given new life with the insertion of Tom Savage at QB who replaced Osweiller in the 2nd quarter against the Jags after going 5-11 for 48 yards and two picks. Savage didn’t throw any TD’s or any INT but he put his team in position to comeback and win and they did. The best part was Savage’s accuracy. He finished 23-36 for 260 yards which isn’t eye popping but it’s light years better than what Brock was producing.

If the Titans make the playoffs – and I completely expect them too – then they’re a team people should begin to talk about. Having the 11th ranked RedZone scoring offense, a good defense led by Brian Orakpo and a stout offensive line with a resurgent DeMarco Murray and a fresh young stud in Derrick Henry could be the key to success for the Titans to at least make it to the divisional round of the playoffs. I came away thoroughly impressed by how they fought as team to comeback and win against a very good opponent in the Kansas City Chiefs in a hostile environment. This Titans team is headed in the right direction fast and could be a tough opponent to beat for years if they continue on it.

NFL Week 16 Powder Rankings

nfl-week-picks-bettingBy: Will Stevenson

Back in July we all sat around and gave predictions of the upcoming football season. Teams were flying high as the new rookies worked along new coaching staffs in helmets and shorts. There was optimism. The weather was nice, the injury report was minimal and hope was in the air. Well here we are at the end of Week 15 and some of the teams we thought were going to compete for divisions, wildcard spots and/or take the next step are gearing up for new coaches and the draft. Let’s take a took the teams who seem to hold down the Powder Rankings week in and week out.

Browns (0-14)

RGIII has returned and Browns have welcomed him in with the consistency: Losing consistency. The tension is brewing as the Browns continue to lose every single week, and with the “Imperfectly Perfect” 0-16 on the horizon the Browns fanbase can only hope for one win before the season ends. The Bills racked up 280 yards rushing against the vaunted Browns defense. The Curse of Lebron continues.

49ers (1-13)

The 49ers defense is bad. Really bad. I thought the Saints defense was the worst in league history, but these 49ers are doing whatever possible to take that crown. The Falcons did whatever they wanted to as the 49ers reach for that number one pick.

Bears (3-11)

The worst thing about being a bad is when you’re in almost every single game, but you can’t close out to get the victory. Matt Barkley is making his case to be the “cheap shot” quarterback next year as the Bears will probably go the inexpensive route. Jay Cutler and John Fox will be gone and the next Bears coach can figure out how to go forward with this offense: Ground and pound or aerial assault?

Jaguars (2-12)

Blake Bortles is terrible, just like Blaine Gabbert. Gus Bradley is one of the worst coaches percentage wise in league history. The Jaguars have a pretty good crop of receivers. The Jaguars will pick high in the draft again. Congratulations. The Jaguars lost a lead to Tom
Savage.

Jets (4-10)

We had to sit there and watch the Jets get waxed by the Dolphins Sunday afternoon. No. Wait. The Jets played Saturday night. I honestly had no idea that’s when the game was. I was looking for a basketball game to watch before I went to work. I’m sure I didn’t miss out.

Rams (4-10)

Jeff Fisher is gone. Goff is starting. The Rams still look like a terrible team in LA. Thursday Night’s contest between them and the Seahawks was a “Poop Fest”. I’d hate to have that regional coverage with no options. They have the 49ers next, so hopefully they don’t score a touchdown and they’ll come away with a win.

Eagles (5-9)

You know, the Eagles were supposed to be this bad. After the hot start, the Eagles have crumble to end the season erasing the feel good from the start of the season. The offense couldn’t hold off the Ravens on Sunday as they dropped their 5th straight game.

Cardinals (5-8-1)

Bruce Arians is on the hot seat. Malcolm Floyd is a Patriot. Carson Palmer looks like the Raiders experiment all over again and Larry Fitzgerald wants out after this season. The Cardinals gave up 48 to the Saints as they allowed Drew Brees to get back on track. I’d chalk this up to just a bad year, but we know how teams overreact.

Week 15 Review: Playoff Uncertainty

download-34By Kim Dunning

The NFL is slowly wrapping up it’s season, and for some fans these last few weeks are it.  As other teams are pushing for the playoffs, the remaining teams will be snuggling down for the best seat on the playoff couch.

Week 15 kicked off with another boring Thursday night football game between the Rams and the Seahawks.  No need to watch this game again if you have that ability, unless you are a Seahawks fan, as Seattle destroyed the Rams.  This game was over before it began.

The NFL had its first Saturday night game of the season between the Jets and Dolphins.  Again, it was better to watch hockey than this snooze fest, as the Dolphins won.

On Sunday, the blow out games included the Bills over the winless Browns, the Giants over the Lions, the Colts over the Vikings, the Falcons over the Niners, and the Patriots over the Broncos.

In other news, the Eagles with nothing to lose went for two for the win instead of one for the tie against the Ravens.  This was a good game if you missed it, the Eagles began making a comeback only to blow it with a bonehead decision.

The Bengals attempted to overthrow the division leading Steelers but fell short, as the Steelers finally scored a touchdown instead of relying on field goals.  This should make for a great game when the Steelers and Ravens square off this upcoming weekend for the division and a playoff spot.

The Packers have found their stride and did what they were supposed to, beat the struggling Bears without Jay Cutler.

The Titans outlasted the Chiefs and shifted them out of the division lead.

The Jags almost had a win but the Texans kept it close and exciting and won by one.

The Cardinals and Saints had no defense in a high scoring air out.  Brees and company outlasted the Cards by a score of 48-41.

The Raiders beat the Chargers to clinch their first playoff appearance in 12 years.  Raider Nation is over the moon about this.

The Sunday night game between the Cowboys and Bucs proved to be a good bounce back game for Dak Prescott.  After suffering his second loss of the season the week before, Dak and the Cowboys along with a Cowboys defense held on to win and opened to the door for the Redskins to win to maintain their wild card spot in the playoffs.

But then the Redskins happened.  The Redskins couldn’t get out of their own way offensively and Carolina could eat the defense alive and handed the Redskins a loss along with a boot out of the playoff picture.

393c2cab-f38b-4022-87b2-3ee63c356367-large16x9_nflGoing into Week 17 we still do not know much about who’s going to the playoffs and what seed they will have.  This should make for very exciting football over the holiday!

NFL Week 16 Playoff Push

nfl-playoff-logoBy: Will Stevenson

Remember back in Week 3 when “It’s just one lost”? Well, all of those bad performances during the season have now added up as the playoff picture begins to take form. Teams will continue to say “they control their own destiny”, but that’s just something people say when they know they have no control of a collective destiny.

Cowboys (12-2)

The Cowboys did what they needed to do on Sunday: They beat a playoff contender. They beat a possible playoff matchup. Dak Prescott completed every throw. No nuance, no explanation: The Cowboys won in a fan-friendly way. The play the Lions (9-5) next, so the Cowboys will be able to once again further their narrative against another untrustworthy playoff contender.

Seahawks (9-4-1)

Anytime you struggle on offense, defense and are desperate for a victory, just play the Rams. The Seahawks dominated the Rams and their rookie quarterback Jared Goff. The Seahawks are 7-0 at home this season, and if they win out they’ll be at home for the postseason unless they run into Dallas in the championship game. With a game against the Cardinals, this is no time for them to revert back to their offensive struggles.

Atlanta (9-5)

I don’t trust the Falcons. Ever. Next.

Lions (9-5)

I don’t need wins or losses to conclude the Lions are a fraud. The were dominated by the Giants defense on Sunday, and will play a Cowboys team that isn’t as stout on defense, but can demoralize a Lions defense with their methodical running game that can break out at any time. That was more words than I needed to say the Lions are frauds.

Giants (10-4)

Long ways away from the kicking net right? The Giants defense has shown themselves to be a force as the season winds down. The offense is still hit and miss, but with a defense that’s beginning to pick up momentum, the offense can sputter and they might still reach the Super Bowl. I’m not excited to see the “Eli Manning is Elite” and “The Giants are a team nobody wants to play” conversation make it’s way to the playoff media guide.

Bucs (8-6)

The Bucs aren’t terrible, but they are limited on offense. Famous Jameis does some strange things like over/underthrow Mike Evans. The Bucs can still make the playoffs, but their defense will only be able to hold off for so long as their offense continues to hold them back.

Packers (8-6)

R-E-L-A-X. Pretty much. A few weeks ago the Packers were getting smoked by the Titans and Kirk Cousins. Now the Packers are sitting pretty for a playoff spot and a possible division crown. The Vikings are up next, and with the playoffs and Mike McCarthy’s job on the line, Packers need to continue their win streak.

Washington (7-6-1)

Washington lost last night in Carolina as their defense gave up big plays in the secondary. The offense that is known for beating coverage was not able to take advantage of a Carolina secondary that is young, and a defense that is beat up. Jordan Reed? What are you doing?

Minnesota (7-7)

Adrian Peterson returns. Adrian Peterson returned too soon. The Vikings offense is still bad. 34-6 was the score against the Colts as the Vikings are now 2-7 in their last nine games. It would be so NFL if they beat the Packers.

Saints (6-8)

The Saints need everybody to lose. Period.

National Football Conference

W L T PCT DIV CONF SOS SOV REASON
1x –DAL 12 2 0 .857 3-2 8-2 .457 .414 NFC East Champ
2z –SEA 9 4 1 .679 2-1-1 5-4-1 .452 .452 NFC West Champ
3ATL 9 5 0 .643 3-1 7-3 .485 .456 NFC South Champ
Wins tie break over Detroit
4DET 9 5 0 .643 3-2 7-3 .436 .385 NFC North Champ
5NYG 10 4 0 .714 3-1 7-3 .490 .461
6TB 8 6 0 .571 3-1 6-4 .505 .442 Wins tie break over Green Bay
7GB 8 6 0 .571 3-1 6-4 .510 .442
8WSH 7 6 1 .536 3-2 5-5 .520 .439
9MIN 7 7 0 .500 1-3 4-6 .510 .485
10NO 6 8 0 .429 1-3 5-5 .520 .369 Wins tie break over Car
11CAR 6 8 0 .429 1-3 5-5 .497 .345
12ARI 5 8 1 .393 2-1-1 4-5-1 .464 .307
13PHI 5 9 0 .357 0-4 3-7 .536 .400
14LA 4 10 0 .286 2-2 3-7 .538 .482
15CHI 3 11 0 .214 2-3 3-7 .520 .405
16SF 1 13 0 .071 1-3 1-9 .513 .286

Patriots (12-2)

This is what they do every year.

Oakland (11-3)

They are one Michael Crabtree touchdown catch away from being looked at like the Lions. They are the Lions.

Steelers (9-5)

I told ya. I knew the Steelers would be back at the top of the division with everybody struggle right now. The Steelers are also a team, “nobody wants to see” in the playoffs.

Houston (8-6)

I don’t know how they do it, but the Texans keep winning. The fans rejoiced as Brock was benched for Tom Savage and Savage led them to a comeback victory over the Jaguars which isn’t a big thing in retrospect. The stay ahead of the Titans and Colts who are looking to take them down in the final weeks. Let’s see.

Chiefs (10-4)

The Chiefs crumbled in the final frame against the Titans as the titans did what they could to give that game away. A home loss that looked the way the Chiefs usually look when they lose in the playoffs year after year.

Dolphins (9-5)

Matt Moore. Matt freaking Moore. The Jets were on the menu last week, so that’s why the Dolphins won. They have the Bills this Sunday, so now it becomes a must win for a team that historically loses these types of games.

Ravens (8-6)

Frauds. Complete frauds.

Titans (8-6)

I still don’t know how they are doing this. The Titans run the ball well and don’t turn the ball over much. They play pretty good defense and they play the Jaguars next. Dare I say trap game?

Broncos (8-6)

They are a quarterback away from being a good team. They are an offensive line away from being a good team. You can’t hold the Patriots to  16 points and still lose, that just won’t cut it late in the season.

Bills (7-7)

I mean, they could win out, but will they? Last year they ended the Jets, and this coming Sunday they have the same opportunity against the Dolphins. LeSean McCoy has been running wild lately as Rex Ryan seems to be on the outs at the end of the season.

Colts (7-7)

Frauds. Keep grinding, keep chopping, keep your nose to the grindstone. Keep pushing, keep making the right play, keep playing, and stay focused. Take it one game at a time, one play at a time.

American Football Conference

1* –NE 12 2 0 .857 3-1 9-1 .436 .411 AFC East Champ
2x –OAK 11 3 0 .786 3-2 8-2 .510 .461 AFC West Champ
3PIT 9 5 0 .643 3-1 7-3 .523 .448 AFC North Champ
4HOU 8 6 0 .571 5-0 6-4 .505 .429 AFC South Champ
Wins tie break over Tennessee
5KC 10 4 0 .714 4-0 7-3 .520 .493
6MIA 9 5 0 .643 3-1 6-4 .421 .313
7BAL 8 6 0 .571 4-0 7-3 .480 .335 Wins tie break over Denver and Tenn
8TEN 8 6 0 .571 1-3 5-5 .480 .438 Wins tie break over Denver
9DEN 8 6 0 .571 1-3 5-5 .523 .424
10BUF 7 7 0 .500 1-3 4-6 .472 .306
11IND 7 7 0 .500 2-3 4-6 .495 .439
12CIN 5 8 1 .393 2-3 4-6 .513 .257
13SD 5 9 0 .357 1-4 4-6 .566 .500
14NYJ 4 10 0 .286 1-3 3-7 .492 .286
15JAX 2 12 0 .143 1-3 1-9 .546 .357
16CLE 0 14 0 .000 0-5 0-10 .564 .000

 

 

Redskins Blow It

Redskins Panthers FootballOn Monday Night Football, we had a prime chance to win and keep our 6th spot in the playoffs after getting help from our rival Cowboys knocking off the Bucs on Sunday night. We came out and played like we already had the position locked up and let the panthers come into FedEx field and knock us off.

Kirk cousins did not play well at all. He did not throw a touchdown pass, he had an interception and a fumble that turned into points for the panthers. We also had bone head plays that caused us to go three and out and got Jordan Reed ejected. That was stupid for a man who is injury prone to punch a person with a helmet on. He deserved to be tossed.

We are now two spots from the last spot of the playoffs and we must play hard and win every game plus hope that green bay and Tampa bay lose out. It can happen but the way this team played on Monday night, we don’t deserve to go to the playoffs and we should sit down until next season. WE STINK!! 

written by Melvin Jackson III

I Love SuperTeams, Just Not Yours

what-super-teamBy: Will Stevenson

Blog Question: Who’s fault is it for the SuperTeam: The League, the players, the teams, the generation?

Blog motivation: *Scene from Belly. Perm. Banana*

I’ll admit it: I don’t watch Warriors games. Well, I watched the first few weeks when they were getting things together and losing a few games, but now that everything seems to be running in place, I’ve lost interest. I tuned in the other night when the Warriors were playing the Pelicans on the road. It was the third quarter and the Pelicans had the advantage, the crowd was in a frenzy and the Pelicans players were as hype as they were when they faced off in the playoffs a few years back. I didn’t believe in the lead though. I had no doubt the Warriors would come back and win the game. I know it’s the regular season and sometimes the really good teams will put up a stinker on the road, but I didn’t care about the facts. I knew the Warriors would win it in the end, and even if they didn’t, it would not matter to anyone (other than the fans that drove hundreds of miles for the experience). I rarely catch many Cavaliers games, even though Lebron is a mater of the game and they play an uptempo game that I like to watch. So why don’t I watch these “Superteams”?

I’ve been a Hornets supporter since I can remember. Larry Johnson, Mugsy Bogues, Kendall Gill, Alonzo Mourning, Baron Davis; The good old days. Never once have I gone into an NBA season thinking “Championship or bust”. I can’t even remember a time when the Hornets were considered superior to the other teams. The Hornets are a middle of the road team that plays well. They don’t have a dominating star, although Kemba Walker is ascending every season. The Hornets, like other Carolina teams, don’t spend much on players, nor do they attract free agents. This is odd to me because players, coaches, and people want to stay/retire/vacation here, just not play here. The talk of this offseason is the dream that Steph Curry would sign here once he becomes a free agent this summer, allowing others to choose Charlotte as the next SuperTeam destination. I would agree there is pride in being a fan of a team that dominates the competition week in and week out, and in reverse there is pride in defeating said team. From a viewing experience, I like to see the Pelicans or the Magic take their game to a higher level when they play an elite team, all the while knowing they will toss up a dud against the Heat on a random Saturday night.

I’m conflicted on the SuperTeam concept, because if the Thunder would have defeated the Warriors in the Conference Finals, what would have been the talk? If the Warriors of last year were a SuperTeam, what about the Thunder? Were the Thunder not a team composed of two of the top 10 players in the league? Is that not Super? I look at the NBA in the long run: I need some real intrigue during the playoffs. I want the Cavaliers to sweat and possibly lose. I want the Warriors to sweat and possibly lose. I know you need two and a possible stars to hold up the trophy these days, and as much as we talk about the Spurs being a “boring” team, they have that. So are they not a SuperTeam? Since their run began in 1999, they have the potential to have five Hall of Famers during that span: (Robinson, Duncan, Parker, and Ginobli and Leonard based on trajectory). Yes, Leonard was a trade in the making, but that’s five drafted Hall of Famers in a 20 year span. When I watch the Spurs play, I expect them to win. The same goes for the Warriors and the Cavaliers. I don’t expect any other team in the East to reach the Finals as long as Lebron is there and I only expect the Warriors and the Spurs to represent the West. That’s three teams in real contention this year, and the year before, and the year before that. Even before the Warriors had Durant, we still expected them to be a Finals contender, and wherever Durant landed he would have made that team a Conference Finals contender.

I don’t hate the Warriors, the Cavaliers or the Spurs. I really don’t. I just want some sort of competitive balance with the system that is in place. The playoffs don’t allow inferior teams to pull upsets or make it to the Finals. They can get to the second round, or even the conference finals, but not the Finals. And yes, I do remember the Knicks of the lockout season and that will never happen again, nor will the Magic who took down the Cavaliers and lost to the Lakers. So when I read the articles of Kristaps Porzingas being a player that can lure free agents, or the Lakers having a core to lure big-time free agents, I wonder why they would want to do it that way. As long as Lebron is here, and the Warriors and Spurs are operating at a high level, you have no chance. The Clippers have been at this for years and run into the same problem: Better teams. The Bulls, Raptors, Celtics, and Hawks are just a few of the teams that will never get past Lebron and whatever team he is on. My Hornets will never see the NBA Finals because of this SuperTeam structure.

The problem isn’t the SuperTeam. The problem is the concept of these regular teams. Win games, make the playoffs, make revenue and draft well. As long as these teams are rolling, they won’t see the Finals or even get close, so firing your coach after four straight 50 win seasons or trading away players that have become stale is just another carousel that the SuperTeam has imposed on the league. For some reason, the Blazers got too cute in the offseason after realizing the loss of LaMarcus Aldridge was a plus in making. The Suns thought signing Tyson Chandler would bring Aldridge to the Suns: Not. The Knicks are still drowning from the Melo/Kidd team that lost it all after those threes wouldn’t fall. The Heat invested in Goran Dragic, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside once Lebron left. The Nets sold their soul but forgot to ask for the shoe size. The Sixers threw away talent to get Embid, but left Michael Carter Williams, Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Doug Collins in the wind to do it.

So maybe I’m envious of these SuperTeams. Maybe I look at my current team and think, “Why can’t we do that”? Maybe I’m naive to think all teams want to win the championship. They can’t be in it to make a profit because almost all of the NBA teams don’t turn a profit yearly. I look at draft choices, free agent signings, team construction, coaching staffs and player usage to figure out what are these teams trying to do: They’re trying. That’s it.

So as long as the Warriors, Spurs, and Lebron are here, all of these other teams should just prepare for when they are on the way out. Stay put, draft well, stock up and don’t fire your coach. Just stick around long enough until the SuperTeam dies out and then you’ll have your chance. Who knows, maybe you’re just a player away that’s under contract with another team, but he’ll come to your team because he went to college in the state in which you reside.