NBA Preseason Predictions and Push Gate

The 2013-14 NBA season begins next Thursday in Miami. The Mike’d UP guys provide their predictions.

Kelley: NBA season predictions are tricky. For example, last season, 40 of 50 ESPN experts picked the Lakers to win the West…. The Spurs received just one vote and went on to take the Miami Heat to the brink.

But, what the hell? Let’s dive in and try to figure this mess out.

Eastern Conference: The Miami Heat will represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight season. Will it be easy? Absolutely not. With a surging Pacers team, the return of D-Rose to the Bulls, and a newly loaded Nets roster jammed with All-Stars, this may be the most challenging year yet for the Big 3. But let’s not forget LeBron’s constant superhuman performances and his infamous words from the summer of 2010.. “not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven..”

Western Conference: Not quite sure if this prediction is to be classified as a surprise pick, but I have the Clippers winning the Western Conference. Coaching should never be underrated and now the Clippers have one of the best in the business in Doc Rivers, who immediately ordered his team to quit the “Lob City” act and focus on titles, not highlights.

Kowaleski: NBA predictions are difficult for some people, maybe. I didn’t buy in on the Lakers overhype last year, unlike some pundits (*cough*HEYMIKE*cough*), choosing instead to pick the Heat over the Thunder. I see your point, though, Mike. I sure didn’t see Oklahoma City trading James Harden and losing Russell Westbrook to injury.

Eastern Conference: Quick thoughts on the East: not impressed with the Nets. Pacers will be tough with a returning Danny Granger. The Bulls-Heat series will continue one of my favorite NBA rivalries. I’m worried about Dwyane Wade’s health and ego.

But LeBron.

I was initially tempted to pick a resurging Chicago Bulls team, but I’m going to stick with the old “pick the possible G.O.A.T.” method. Heat over Bulls in the Eastern Conference.

Western Conference: Like last year’s Lakers, the Clips are the hot pick. But I’m going to with a pick that could make me look like a genius or an idiot, with not much in-between: Golden State. There are very few players in the league with more electrifying potential than Stephen Curry, and the Warriors added defensive force Andre Iguodala. More experience for Harrison Barnes and continued output from Andrew Bogut, Klay Thompson, and All-Star David Lee could make them the class of the West.

From Spygate to Pushgate, this controversial call has Patriots’ fans steeming.

Kelley: On my way home from the Steelers-Jets game two weekends ago, I listened to the Jets postgame show. Calls and complaints were pouring in left and right… “Rex Ryan and his staff simply get outsmarted each week by opposing coaches.”

Well, it seems the tables have turned for Jets fans, at least for this past week when the Jets defeated the Patriots 30-27 in overtime off a controversial call, now being dubbed ‘Pushgate.’

If you have not seen the play we are referring to, watch it, because I cannot waste precious words retelling it. The New York Daily News reported on Monday that the Jets coaching staff made the refs aware of the Patriots’ push technique during field goal attempts. Although Ryan would not confirm, he did say, “We watch every single play of the opponent. We’re aware of opponents’ tendencies.”

Well done, Rexy. The week prior, the Patriots used the same technique against the Saints, but were not flagged at the time. Pats fans are outraged and are demanding further explanation… “we got robbed, that call is crap.”

Pats fans should look no further than the Tuck Rule, another obscure rule that changed the landscape of professional football for a decade.

Kowaleski: I hate the Jets.

As much as I love watching the Patriots lose, Rex Ryan’s stupid triumphant face ruins everything for me. I would bet good money that twin brother Rob Ryan (defensive coordinator for the Saints) called Rex and told him to tell the refs to watch for the push.

Just classic devious Ryan behavior. Don’t win the game by merit, just weasel your way into the win column. This is the second time the Jets have used penalties to win games, the first coming in Week 1 against the Bucs. We do have to give props to New York QB Geno Smith, who I said back in April could have been the steal of the 2013 Draft, and it looks like I was right (again). He outplayed Hall of Famer Tom Brady on this occasion.

If I’m going to get anything out of this whole fiasco, it’s one word that Bill Belichick used to describe his understanding of the rule during his press conference: “wrong.” I doubt we’ll get anything like that again.

I miss Mark “Butt-Fumble” Sanchez.

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