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Archive for April, 2010

Final Pulse 6

We’d like to thank the 111 visitors who voted for what they think is the best PC anti-virus software. Here are the results:

1. Kaspersky (41%)

2. AVG (23%)

3. NOD32 (18%)

4. Avira (10%)

5. Trend Micro (7%)

(Based on our poll survey, both BitDefender and Norton got zero votes)


The 2010 NBA Playoffs: The Predictions So Far…

What has unfolded over the weekend at the NBA Playoffs has pushed me to look back at our fearless forecasts and see which of them still holds.

Lakers vs. Thunder [prediction: Lakers in 5]

This one’s not anymore true, as the Thunder has pushed it so far to a six-game duel. If LA takes the next two games, then the other half of our forecast holds.

Jazz vs. Nuggets [prediction: Nuggets in 6]

Not anymore, it ain’t six games. The undermanned Jazz is in command at 3-1. Denver will have to push for the ultimate jugular by winning the last three games. And if they don’t, our prediction’s busted for this match altogether.

Suns vs. Blazers [prediction: Portland in 7]

With the series tied at 2 games apiece, the only way this prediction fails is if Phoenix aces their next two assignments–assignments that Brandon Roy could foil. His return mixes up all factors into the playoffs, and our forecast might just come through.

Spurs vs. Mavs [prediction: Mavs in 6]

This is the only prediction that I am utterly glad and delighted to be wrong. I’m a big Spurs fan, but at first I really thought the Mavs would be tougher this time around, especially if you look at how last year’s playoff match between them ended. But things have turned out entirely different than our forecasts. Definitely, it won’t be just six games anymore, as the Spurs are ahead 3-1. Dallas will have to win the next three straight games, or their off-season summer officially starts.

Cavaliers vs. Bulls [prediction: Cavaliers in 5]

One more win by the Cavs and our prediction will fully come true. Derrick Rose better pull out his best tricks up from his sleeves, or else their journey ends on the road at Cleveland.

Celtics vs. Heat [prediction: Celtics in 6]

Since they have gone 3-0 already, even before D-Wade took over earlier in their game four atrocity and winning one for the Heat, the Boston Celtics are coming back home for a chance to go for the kill. Unless Miami robs one on the road, the series will end at five games in Boston, for Boston.

Hawks vs. Bucks [prediction: Hawks in 4]

Well, there’ll be no sweep victory for the Hawks in this first round obstacle, as the Bucks bounce back to stay alive in the series. The Hawks are still favored to win this round, but not without facing the fear of the deer.

Magic vs. Bobcats [prediction: Magic in 5]

Definitely, after going up 3-0, Magic will win this series, as no team has bounced back from a 0-3 deficit to win the series. But they will have to fight some more to prove that they did not just fluked their way to the playoffs. One game will at least give them a playoff win, and prove our prediction true.

SO FAR…

Since our predictions are two-part (who wins, and in how many games), we’re quite sure that Orlando and Boston are going into the next round. One more set of duels and we’ll get to see how our forecasts went for the first round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs.


The 2010 NBA Playoffs: Eighth Seeds Back in Contention

I was supposed to wait for all first round games to wrap-up before I go ahead with a blog post on the 2010 NBA Playoffs. But after watching these two teams winning their crucial game threes, I decided to go ahead and give you something to wet your appetite for their next square-off with their hulking opponents.

I’m talking about the Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder, the two eighth seeded teams in the NBA Playoffs, who won their first home games, after dropping the first two on the road against the two number one teams, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the LA Lakers.

The Bulls banked on the heroics of Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich, while the Thunder drew tremendous performances from Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook. Having lost the chance of robbing a win on the road, the Bulls built and early lead, but struggled very hard to keep it against a tough and tested Cavaliers team. Trailing the Bulls for three quarters, the Cavs, led by LeBron James, exploded for 38 fourth quarter points to try to salvage the game for them. But the early lead built by the Bulls was cushion enough for them to escape an impossible 3-0 series lead by Cleveland by two points.

As for the Thunder, they immediately tackled their opponent at the get-go of the second half. Durant and Westbrook detonated with a combined 56 points to lead all scorers for both teams. The Thunder outrebounded LA, 53-39, and had more time in the charity line than the Lakers, 34-12. James Harden was the X-factor player for the Thunder, as he contributed 18 points for the team. Kobe Bryant, who was hounded by Durant all night, led in rotating the ball, which gave the Lakers an even distribution of points among its five on the floor. The Lakers dropped 22 dimes compared to OKC’s 16.

So far, the only other game aside from these two today is the Phoenix-Portland match, which had just concluded with Phoenix blowing away Portland 108-89.


The 2010 NBA Playoffs: Conference Stats Square-Off

The 16 NBA Teams that made it to the Playoffs this year have just wrapped up their second game match-ups. So far, all the top-seeded teams of the Eastern Conference have won all home games, and are now leading 2-0 in their series. On the other hand, only the LA Lakers have kept their record unblemished so far by beating Oklahoma City Thunder yesterday. The other three top seeded teams, Dallas, Denver and Phoenix, have tied their series with San Antonio, Utah and Portland respectively.

My friend was analyzing the results so far, and he asked me to retrospect back to the standings of the regular seasons. Looking at it, I found out two very important things about how each of the conferences’ teams are matched. We got down to the stats, compared them, and we found out some very interesting figures.

The bottom-seeded teams of the Eastern Conference have won less than 50 games during the regular season. While the top two teams of the East (Cleveland and Orlando) have better records than the top team of the West (LA), it does not necessarily tell you that the Cavs and Magic are better than the Lakers. In fact, it tells you otherwise.

Looking now at the bottom-seeded teams of the West, you will find out that they have all won 50 games or more in their regular season. Looking it another way, if Boston, a number 4 East team, were pitted against the lowest ranking playoff contender team of the West (either San Antonio or Oklahoma), Boston is only just as good as the number 8 team. Or, looking at it another way, Houston, which finished with 42-40, would have kicked off Chicago in the East if it played there.

Summing it all up, my friend concluded that the West has the stronger teams, because of the close proximity of their standings from each other. The top team of the East is twenty games better than the eighth team, while the top team of the West is just 7 games shy of being the eighth seeded. This means the West has stronger competing teams in their conference than in the West.

A lot more is expected to unravel come game three of the playoffs. Chicago, Charlotte, Milwaukee and Miami are expected to turn the tables when their games shift to their home courts. As for Denver, Dallas and Phoenix, a win on the road is crucial for them to break their ties. LA, on the other hand, will have to keep their momentum going as they travel to Oklahoma City for a square-off against the wounded Thunder.

More updates, predictions and insights on the playoffs are coming your way soon.


The 2010 NBA Playoffs: Predictions and Forecasts 2

Yesterday we featured a prediction about how the West will end up after the first round. As of this time, the Lakers, Nuggets and Mavs have drawn first blood against the Thunder, Jazz and Spurs, respectively. The match-up between Phoenix and Portland, on the other hans, is ensuing as of the moment.

Today, we take a fearless look at the East as to how they will wrap up the first round. The first games have been played and won already, but we’ll reserve the news towards the end, so that we don’t get to preempt what we have already have in our minds as to how the Eastern Conference will do in their own first round of actions.

Cavaliers vs. Bulls

The Bulls entered the playoffs with momentum, as they snatched away from the Raptors the eighth and final slot for the post-season atrocities. However, they will have to do more than just wanting the challenge badly. That’s because they’re up against the league’s number one team. While Cleveland is expected to stop the raging Bulls, LeBron James and his teammates know that the Bulls cannot be taken lightly. More than anything else, winning isn’t the issue anymore for Cleveland: it’s winning convincingly.

prediction: Cavs in 5

Celtics vs. Heat

The Heat has never won a game against Boston this season. And with the Playoffs now upon them, it’s time D-Wade flip the switch and answer back the Celtics with a powerful output. While they can handle the grind of any match-up, Miami will have to figure out how to break the Celtic defense, while still keeping their offense in high-octane level. Balance is what will determine this match-up’s final tally.

prediction: Celtics in 6

Hawks vs. Bucks

The Hawks are expected to run over, if not sweep, Milwaukee in their square-off. But like their symbolic figure, the Bucks are the silent type, who can sleight their unwary opponents, especially once Brandon Jennings is clicking in all cylinders. The problem of Milwaukee, however, is greater than what Jennings can solve: the Johnson-J-Smoove duo.

prediction: Hawks in 4

Magic vs. Bobcats

Like OKC, Charlotte is a first-timer in the Playoffs. Unfortunately, they’ll have their hands full on the night that Orlando faces them. They say Dwight Howard’s kryptonite is his freethrow shooting. But even that can only be used against him if he will be double or triple-teamed. Orlando will be tougher with Vince Carter, once he elevates his offense. And don’t forget Jameer Nelson’s significant contribution.

prediction: Magic in 5

So far… Cleveland, Boston, Atlanta and Orlando won the first game atrocities over the weekend. Based on our predictions from both today and yesterday, all the predicted first round winners except Portland have won their first games. If the trending follows through, our predictions might end up as the actual result. Let’s just wait and see for now.


The 2010 NBA Playoffs: Predictions and Forecasts

I really don’t know how it infected me, but the NBA bug has pushed me to jump start a blog series about the playoffs.

I’m no basketball tactician, and neither do I have the hops and skills to back me up with my analysis of how the playoffs would end up. So, I linked up with a good friend, who is on the tab with the stats and stories behind the match-ups, to give you a foretaste of how the playoffs might end up after the first round. So here we go:

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

Lakers vs. Thunder

Forget about Kobe’s bothersome index, or Bynum’s unstable condition in playing his role. Come playoffs, the Lakers elevate their game to notches higher than what Kevin Durant can explain. Sure, he’s the youngest scoring leader ever in the league’s history, and sure, they gave the Lakers a bad beating the last time they figured. But, that’s the regular season, guys. This is the playoffs. And LA has done what Oklahoma City has done for the first time–reaching the playoffs. As for the Lakers, well, they make it a habit to play in April and May. Oh, by the way, the Lakers are the defending champions.

prediction: Lakers in 5

Jazz vs. Nuggets

For Denver, it’s all about Carmelo Anthony. The moment he explodes, you can forget about trying to contain him. He’s the deadliest scoring threat as far as the West is concerned, and he can take on any defender any given night and school him swish after swish. As for the Jazz, Deron Williams will have to up his game a notch higher if he wants to give Chauncy Billups a worthy match-up. After all, Billups is everything that Deron is, and more.

prediction: Nuggets in 6

Suns vs. Blazers

Age can either play for or against Steve Nash, according to some analysts. That he’s been there and done all that is what’s playing for him. But the speed might not be as cat-quick as before. He will have to contend with the younger line-up of Portland, which has actually succeeded in coming up with an efficient way of rotating their starters and subs. But with Brandon Roy out, Phoenix has one less thorn in the flesh to be irked about. So far, the match-up between these teams is safely even. But of course, only one will emerge.

prediction: Portland in 7

Mavericks vs. Spurs

The hard thing to tell in this match-up is how effective the sit-outs of Manu and Tim were during their last outing with the Mavs, who won in that pre-playoff square. While the win might legitimize the power of Dallas over their Texas neighbor, it’s not sure the same output is expected once Duncan and Ginobili step on the floor. Unless the Spurs play Spurs basketball, they can forget advancing to the next round. But and if they do overcome the Mavs, they might just be the scariest team in the West. In fact, an NBA poll sees them advancing to the next round among the low-ranking teams. That is, if Jason Kidd forgets he’s Jason Kidd.

prediction: Mavs in 6

Sorry, guys, I have to rush back to work. BRB!


The NBA Playoffs 2010: Where Beliefs Are Tested

Ask any NBA player, whether he’s an all-star, starting player, the sixth man, or the out-of-the-rotation reserve, about the playoffs and how ruthless it can become. He will tell you outright that the treacherous climb to reaching the top 8 of their conference is nowhere near half the degree of how deadly the playoffs is.

Just ask LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. They were last year’s number one team in the east, with the best NBA Record for season wins in 2009. But where did their journey end? At the conference finals, where they were vanquished by the Orlando Magic to earn the right to play the eventual champs LA Lakers. This year, they’re on top again with 61-21. LeBron is an easy shoo-in for the MVP. They’ve got Ilgauskas back. Add to that Shaq, Antawn Jamison, and a few other intangibles. There should be no more reason for the Cavs to fail to reach the Finals.

That is, if the other seven teams in the east will cooperate with them to make their bid a walk in the park.

Apparently, they won’t. They never do, year in and year out.

The Lakers, on the other hand, are jump starting their bid with several questions to answer first. Will Andrew Bynum live up to his branding as the “missing piece of the puzzle” for the second year? Will the trade between Ariza and Artest pay off in the playoffs? And will Kobe really be “just fine,” as coach Phil Jackson says, even with his broken index finger still getting the best of him? For Los Angeles, the answers might just come from a young team that, after five years as a new franchise, has made it to the playoffs. The Oklahoma City Thunder is the being seen as the darkhorse in this race. While they still lack the experience, which matters a lot during the playoffs, the Thunder, led by Kevin Durant, might just do fine. After all, they’re good for a number 8 seed, going up against the defending champs.

We’ll get to know the other teams and match-ups in the next posts. But for now, enjoy the Playoffs’ bracket for this year. A good friend of mine, who is on the tab with NBA stats and stories, will be joining me for a prediction of how the first round will end up for both conferences.


A Diary of My Journey to Parenthood: Part 1

PRELUDE: When I found out that Cess was pregnant, my unborn child was already four weeks and six days old. Today, he/she is now six weeks and six days old. I skipped over a lot of details about Cess’ pre-natal check-ups and everything else, so we’re finally and officially kicking off this brand new blog series with a rundown of what has happened since we popped the big announcement that I’m set to become a dad.

APRIL 14, 2010. My gift at six weeks, six days old

Cess had her second pre-natal check-up and first ultrasound yesterday afternoon. A light spotting had prompted me to have Cess checked up by the nearest OB-Gyne in our neighborhood. Apparently there was a nearby children and women’s hospital, and so we went there yesterday afternoon for the check-up.

The very kind doctor had advised Cess to undergo a cursory ultrasound for them to have an initial look at my child. I had to rush back to work so I had to leave Cess behind the hospital. After a few minutes, Cess called me up to say that the spotting was nothing to worry about. She also told me a thrilling good news: my child’s heart is now beating!

Later in the afternoon, after work, Cess and I met at her aunt’s house where she was resting, and she had me take a look at the very first picture of my child: an ultrasound image of my six week, five day old child. I haven’t scanned the picture yet, but I’m giving you an image courtesy of getty images showing a six week, five day old fetus:

The findings of the doctor reveal that, so far, my child is in good condition, with a heartbeat rate of 151 bpm, and at 8.1 mm in length. Sweetness, indeed.

Today, Cess went back to her accredited OB-Gyne check-up center for her CBC and other blood-related examinations.

Since I first learned of the life of my child, I have been always opening the day praying with my child in her mom’s womb. I would talk to him/her, telling him/her that my only wish in life is that he would grow up someday in the fear of the Lord. These days I wake up first before Cess, so I get to lean my head over her tummy, try to whisper to my child, kissing it, then kissing Cess. It’s just a nice, wonderful feeling to know that, deep inside that tummy of Cess’, is my better future.