It was nice this year to have the family come with me to Las Vegas for the basketball tournament. For our Thursday night steak dinner we went to Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse off the strip.
This weekend was my annual pilgrimage to the desert to play in the Las Vegas Invitational Basketball Tournament benefiting a new gym being built in Little Tokyo. This year things were a little different considering that half the team from last year wasn’t playing this year, and most of the spouses weren’t coming due to various reasons.
NBA Eastern Conference:
1. Chicago Bulls
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
3. Washington Wizards
4. Charlotte Hornets
5. Miami Heat
6. Toronto Raptors
7. Brooklyn Nets
8. New York Knicks
NBA Western Conference:
Once again it was time for my annual basketball tournament in Las Vegas. On Thursday I drove up with my teammate Jih in the afternoon and arrived in little over four hours. It was a bit strange for both of since this was the first night that we were both going to be away from our girls.
The NBA season really has sprung up on me this season and i barely even knew the preseason was going on. Its probably because i’ve already given up on the Lakers’ season and expect them to eventually trade Pau Gasol and just tank the rest of the season in hopes of drafting some kid named Andrew Wiggins.
My overall sense of the upcoming season is that it will be a revival of stars lost last year. Meaning that Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, and even Andrew Bynum come back to make a difference this year, but the stars currently hurt, Kobe, Rondo, wont make a difference to their teams overall success. I think that Miami can’t make it to finals four years in a row, and Kevin Durant can’t handle the loss of multiple players from the past few years.
NBA East Division Predictions:
- New York
- San Antonio
- LA Clippers
- Golden State
- Champions: Chicago Bulls
- MVP: Kevin Durant
- Defense: LeBron James
- 6th Man: Jarret Jack
- Scoring Leader: Carmelo Anthony
- Most Improved: Patrick Beverley
- ROY: Victor Oladipo
- COY: Doc Rivers
- First Coach Fired: Tyrone Corbin
This past weekend Team Mixed Plate for another year gathered in Sin City to fight to be kings of the Dirt Division. Sadly this year was a repeat of last year’s 5th finish, and it was especially hard on me this year because for once we really tried to win. We actually spent time this summer meeting up and practicing at the Artesia High gym, working on our offense, and defense and had a pretty good game plan going into the weekend.
Friday night’s game versus Wheelchair Bound went exactly according to plan. Our bigs were playing big, CJ was hitting his shot from outside and we built a small lead going into the second half. In the second half i got hot and blew open the game hitting my shots and pushing the lead to over 15 points.
We were feeling good going into Saturday’s morning game, but unfortunately old habits die hard. Our second opponent was versus Rebels and was a hard fought battle until the last second. We had to overcome our poor shooting in the first half to get back within 2 points with 30 seconds left in the game, but my poor game management left us without even getting a shot off, and that basically deflated the entire game.
For the battle for 3rd place we were just outmatched by LGN Busy Bees, with their quicker big guys blowing by our big guys, and their guards getting hot from the outside. By the end it wasn’t even close and we left with another white shirt. (First place gets a black shirt, 2nd and 3rd get a colored shirt).
It was another fun weekend for basketball but what really hurts the most is that we have to wait another year to try again.
This will be my third year playing in the LVI tournament in September and really want to win this year, so i reached out to see if our team could get together for some practice time. I was really pleased that got 7 people to join us at the gym. We were able to really talk about lineups, offensive and defensive strategy which we’ve never had before. We would normally just show up in Vegas, shake hands and basically just start playing.
After practice we all headed over to Class 302 for some shaved snow which a few people have never had before. I really like the Mango one because its got these huge pieces of mochi that gives another layer of texture and there some hidden almond jello on the bottom. We shared two shaved snow amongst 8 of us.
Last Saturday i was planning on attending Jih & Liz’s baby shower with Joy, but what i didn’t realize it was a girls only party, and i don’t think i could have been any happier. The party was at Regional Park in Cerritos and since we were there already together it was the prefect time for Jih and I go out for my celebratory meal at Boiling Crab for winning his Fantasy Basketball League of Chumps league. It was my second year in the league made many moves that should’ve bit me in the ass, but somehow i ended still winning the league and a getting a free meal on Jih.
We got there about 12:30pm and it was the first time i didn’t have to wait to be seated. We ordered a pound of shrimp, oysters, and sausage and scarfed it all down an about an hour and walked out of there with our bellies full. The rest of the day was not pleasant for Joy as the garlicly butter mixture just sticks to your insides and every time you burp its like a gas bomb going off. Joy was not pleased.
This year’s Lakers team could be summed up in one word. Dream. After being knocked out of the playoffs in 2012 by the Thunder, the Lakers revamped their roster signing free agent Steve Nash, Antawn Jamison, and trading for Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum. Lakers fanatics were calling this the new Dream Team.
Too bad the only dreams were the imaginative ones that the players had with their game.
- Kobe dreamed that he was a 20 year old again.
- Nash dreamed that Kobe would actually let him run the offense.
- Artest dreamed he could hit a 3 pointer.
- Pau dreamed about being able to play close to the basket again.
- Dwight dreamed that his back would’ve healed from offseason back surgery.
- Antawn dreamed that he would be the leader of an offense bench squad.
- Mike Brown dreamed that his Princeton Offense would work.
- Jim Buss dreamed that Mike D’antoni was a better coach than Mike Brown
- Fans dreamed that their twin towers plus Kobe and Nash running the floor would run away with the Western Conference and into the Finals against the Heat.
The season got off to a bad start with 0-8 preseason and lose Nash to a broken leg.
Five games into the season Mike Brown is fired, and Mike D’antoni is hired.
The Lakers season was up and down which led up to a .500 record on their Christmas day game against the Knicks.
By the all-star game the Lakers were four games under .500, out of the playoffs while the Clippers were battling for the best record in the league.
Just as the Lakers were climbing up into the playoffs Kobe suffers a major injury that would knock him out for the rest of the season, and most of next season as well.
The Steves took over the remaining games to get the Lakers amazingly the 7th seed in the playoffs on the very last day of the season.
The Lakers’ season mercifully came to an end on Sunday with the Spurs sweeping them out in the first round. With it comes questions on what is the team is going to look like next year. How long with Kobe be out? Is Dwight Howard going to resigned? WIll Pau be traded if Dwight comes back? Will Metta World Peace be amnestied? Will Nash return to health? What will the bench look like withf free agents to be Devin Ebanks, Andrew Goudelock, Darius Morris, Robert Sacre, Earl Clark, Antawn Jamison, and Jodie Meeks.
Joy’s been really lucky these past couple weeks getting Lakers tickets from her work. They’re really good seats in the VIP level right below the luxury boxes and she got some for the last Lakers game of the season against the Rockets. We had a couple extra tickets and invited Jih and Liz to the game.
It was going to be a tense game because going into the game the Jazz lost guaranteeing the Lakers into the playoffs, but winning the game meant they would avoid the Thunder as a8 and play the Spurs as a 7.
The game was really good, and Pau looked great playing with Dwight Howard. It was fun to see Jeremy Lin to play, and i’m sad but happy he didn’t shoot very well. James Harden is a beast, and Chandler Parson is deadly inside and out, especially with his last second 3 pointer to send the game into overtime. Thankfully the Lakers bench pulled through and won the game.
NBA East Division Predictions:
NBA West Division Predictions:
Lakers vs. Heat
Defensive Player of the Year
Rookie of the Year
Coach of the Year
Larry Drew (Atlanta Hawks)
Basketball isn’t of course the only reason for going to LVI, but getting the chance to hangout is the other reason. I rented a car from Alamo, and after some searching through all the American cars i found a Hyundai Sonata which i promptly snapped up because it had all the bells and whistles that i need for the long drive out to the desert. With the iPhone all hooked up and the car packed up with picked up another friend in Temple City and left the city by 10pm and got to the Cal by 2am.
Joy and I checked in, threw all our bags into the room and headed down to the Market Cafe for some Oxtail Soup. Even though i know that there are boiled peanuts floating in the soup, i actually ate quite a bit of the meat off the bones, and even some soup with no ill effect. Afterwards we headed back up to turn in for the night. Up until i got hit up on an instagram image i took of the food, and found out my high school friend was getting married the same weekend and a group was at the restaurant that very moment. So i put my shorts back on and went down to catch up for a few minutes.
The next day after the breakfast buffet at Market Cafe again, a group of teammates headed over to the Forum Shops to do some shopping. We spent a lot of time in the Nike Store, and H&M doing some shopping then headed over to Palace Station to check out the Oyster Bar for some Cajun style cooking. While waiting for a seat Joy and I hopped onto the penny slots to get some free beers, and Joy ended up winning $35. The food was really good and spicy and many were left a sweaty mess. Probably not the best thing to eat with a basketball game later that evening but we still managed to win.
After Saturday’s disappointing losses the team gathered up for another Steak Buffet at the Fremont Hotel rather than going to SW Steakhouse at the Wynn which we planned to go eat at if we had won the whole thing.
Joy’s co-workers also just so happened to be in Vegas the same weekend so we decided to meet up with them at Planet Hollywood after dinner and hit the dance floor at Gallery. We had a few drinks, danced a few songs and enjoyed our last night in Vegas more than i expected. Once we were done, it gathered up everyone to go to the Secret Pizza Place at the Cosmopolitan Hotel to soak up the booze before heading back to the room. The whole trip besides the Basketball losses turned out to be a really fun trip with seeing old friends, and trying to places to eat.