Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lakers Update

So far, the Lakers have been cruising through the playoffs. After sweeping the high-scoring Denver Nuggets, they fended off the aggressive Utah Jazz. They are now making the defending champ Spurs look like a team of old men, as they have extended their lead in the series to 3-1 after stealing a game in San Antonio. With a team composed of 10 men over the age of 30, the Spurs are highly experienced, but they simply cannot keep up with the more fast-paced Laker team. Nevertheless, the Lakers will have to play their hardest on Thursday, as the Spurs have been known to make great comebacks. I had personally thought that they would lose to the young Hornets team, but they proved me wrong.
Although Charles Barkley credits Manu Ginobli as the best player on the Spurs, Tim Duncan has proven that he is still the team's most dominant player. So far, he has averaged 23 points and 18 rebounds per game. He has taken full advantage of Pau's soft defense and dominated the post in the last 4 games. In 2 games, he has had a 20-20, outhustling both Odom and Gasol. Every time he misses, Tim seems to get his own rebound and tip the ball back in. The Lakers have absolutely no answer for him under the basket. On the other hand, LA has Kobe. This year's MVP has averaged 27 points per game in this series. What's even more amazing is that he has taken only 6 free throws, so almost all of those 27 points have come from field goals. And on top of that, he's been guarded by one of the best defensive players in the league, Bruce Bowen.
If the Spurs are going to stretch this series out any more, they are going to need more offense from Ginobli. Sasha has played amazing defense on him so far, as Manu has averaged a mere 8 points in his team's 3 losses. On another note, Jordan Farmar has finally emerged after a horrifying Utah series. And Trevor Ariza is finally back after breaking his foot 4 months ago. I would definitely like to see more minutes for the defensive Ariza in place of the turnover-prone Luke Walton.
Here's to an easy victory for LA in Game 5 and a long 7-game series in the East!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

First Mailday

I just got a couple of Bynum cards in the mail today. I ordered them online for prices that were much more reasonable than my card shops.
The first was this gold medallion parallel from 2006-07 Fleer Ultra. Although not numbered, it's a really nice looking addition to my collection.

The second is a refractor jersey card numbered to 199. It's from Bowman Sterling, a nice high-end product that costs well over $50/pack. It's kind of sad, but my favorite part about this card is how shiny it is.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

So Close

Today, I happened to come across an extremely cheap price for Andrew Bynum's rookie blue xfractor from 2005-06 topps chrome on ebay. It was priced at less than $50, a great deal since it books at 100 and it's only numbered out of 90. Plus, it was still inside its original boxtopper casing. I was just about to bid on it, when another person beat me to the punch. I was so mad at myself for not being quicker. It would have been a great addition to my meager pc. The worst part is that the person who bought it is obviously hoarding all of them. His photobucket shows that he already owns over 5 of them, and he just added one more. He's selling them for over $300 each, out of my price range. With so few remaining, the chances of me being able to buy one for a reasonable price is slim to none. I still can't believe it. And it was such a beautiful card! I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

First Bynum

I just got back from the hobby shop. I found a huge box of 25 cent cards, and after an hour of rummaging, I managed to find one base card of Andrew Bynum. It's not much, but it's the first part of my Bynum pc. I just hope his surgery goes well, or else these cards will quickly drop in value.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bynum PC and Lakers' Progress

After a lot of thought, I finally decided to start a PC on Andrew Bynum. Drew has come out this year with amazing improvement, and proven himself to be one of the best centers in the league. His scoring, rebounding, and shot-blocking capabilities make him an essential ingredient to the Lakers lineup. It's such a shame he only got to play during a small part of the season and none of the playoffs. This young allstar-to-be will probably become another Abdul-Jabbar in the years to come, and eventually lead his team to many victories. That's why I decided to start collecting as many cards of him as possible, staring with his rookies. His 2005-06 Topps Chrome cards are fairly cheap right now. I can probably secure the base, refractor (/999), and black refractor (/399) for around $50. The gold refractor (/99) and xfractor (/90) will be harder, as they combine for close to $500. I'll be spending quite some time on ebay, waiting for cheap prices...

In other news... the Lakers are doing pretty well right now. They managed to survive their home games against the jazz and go up 2-0 before losing in Utah (no surprise there). Hopefully they can steal a game in Salt Lake City before heading back home, to win the series 4-1. The key will be beating out the Jazz early on and getting some valuable rest before taking on either the hornets or spurs (both difficult teams). The only problem is the Lakers' failure to outrebound the likes of Okur and Boozer. These two players have consistently beaten Odom and Gasol on the glass, oftentimes getting 2nd chance opportunities. I was outraged on Friday night when Boozer missed his 2nd free throw, but managed to get his own rebound and slam it home for a 3-point play. And with Fisher guarding Deron Williams, he's often in foul trouble, leaving the job to Jordan Farmar. I loved Jordan during the regular season, but he's been practically nonexistent in this 2nd round series. He can never get a good look with the allstar-caliber Williams defending him, and he's proven to be ineffective at guarding the bulkier and stronger point guard on the other end of the floor. Fisher's gonna have to manage to guard Deron without fouling or this series will be a long one.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Some Retail Boxes

I stopped by Target and picked up a few boxes of retail. They were so cheap that I couldn't resist. My first box was the Rookie Box Set from Upper Deck. I've been meaning buy it for a while since it's only $10 and features all 30 of the best American rookies of 07-08. I can't complain about getting all 4 of my favorite rookies: Oden, Durant, Thornton, and Horford.

I also bought a box of Bowman Draft Picks and Stars. Unfortunately, I had absolutely no success. My only two pulls (if you can consider them pulls) were a base rookie of Morris Almond and a Chrome Rookie of Josh McRoberts, both numbered out of 2999. *sigh* That's what I get for going with retail.

My last box was a blaster of Fleer 2007-08. With 22 packs, you've gotta get something, right? Wrong. I got a few rookies and inserts, but nothing special. The rookies came in a variety of designs: Regular, 86-87, and Rookie Sensations. I managed to collect the Big Three of this year's draft.

There were also some Decades of Excellence inserts featuring Larry Bird, MJ, Tim Duncan, and D Wade.

Overall, a pathetic pull. If only hobby boxes weren't so expensive!
By the way, Kobe was just officially named MVP!!! And by a surprisingly large margin of 216 points over CP3.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

MVP and Some New Cards

I read in the LA Times this morning and learned of of an inside scoop that Kobe has already been voted MVP. The official announcement will come next week. I couldn't be happier. It only took 12 long years. Surprisingly, Kobe is only the 4th Laker to be named MVP, following Kareem, Magic, and Shaq.
I also stopped by another hobby shop today and picked up some cool items. I bought two packs of Bowmans D&P since I keep seeing vids on youtube of people making "sick" pulls. I didn't get anything particularly good, but I was surprised to find that every pack comes with a Chrome Rookie card #ed to 2999. They're surprisingly short printed for cards that are so easy to come by. Hopefully, I can pick up a box of these in the near future.

In a little box of $5 products, I found a complete set of 02-03 SP Authentic base cards. They're not worth very much, but I thought it'd be cool to buy my first full set. It of course included the recent 3-in-a-row champions, Shaq and Kobe, as well as the returning Michael Jordan on the Wizards.

My favorite buy of the day was a complete box set of 93-94 Topps Series 1 & 2. I just love buying old school cards and seeing all of the legendary players I grew up watching. Worthy, Olajuwon, Barkley... It was also fun to find cards Of Mugsey Bogues, the shortest NBA player of all time (he was 5'3''), along with Manute Bol and Gheorghe Muresan, the tallest players (both 7'7'').

The inserts of the box were nice. A whole lot of Jordans. But, you can never have enough Jordans. The rookies of '93 weren't very exciting. The Chris Webber was the highlight. But I can't complain about a $5 product. So overall, it was a good day. Looking forward to the spurs vs hornets game tonight. Parker vs Paul and Duncan vs West. Epic match-ups all around.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Playoff Surprises

Surprising turn of events in the playoffs. Cavs beat the Wizards, and Atlanta somehow fought off the seemingly invincible Celtics to force a game 7. Who would have predicted that? On my bracket, I had the Celtics sweeping their way to the second round. With any luck, the Hawks will knock out the Celtics. And even if Boston survives, they have to deal with the likes of Lebron, who has already singlehandedly defeated them before in the regular season. Unfortunately, Houston also lost tonight. I suppose it was inevitable, but I had still hoped that T-Mac would get to the second round for the first time in his career. Oh well. Next year, the Rockets are sure to be an unstoppable force with a more experienced Scola and Yao returning (hopefully for a full season). The Lakers will certainly have their hands full against the Jazz, one of the deepest teams in the league. I don't envy Derek Fisher's return to Energy Solutions Arena, though, as he is booed every time he touches the ball. Nevertheless, I have faith in LA, as they're one of the four teams that have managed to win in Salt Lake City in the regular season. Then again, Houston was one of those four as well... At least the Lakers have had plenty of rest after completing their sweep of the Nuggets on Monday. And on the bright side, Trevor Ariza may return for this second round series, so we'll have better defense against the deadly guards to come. The only problem is that Andrew Bynum officially announced that he w ill not be returning this season. I was really hoping to see the twin tower effect in play, but it looks like I'll have to wait until next season. I'm also looking forward to this summer's Olympics. I heard that the US team is matched up with the defending champion, Spain. Kobe vs Pau. That should be fun to watch.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

2007-08 SP Rookie Edition

I decided to start this blog to share my card purchases with other collectors. I was inspired by another blogger at .

Anyways, I just got back from a hobby shop I recently discovered. It's pretty close by to my house, so I'll hopefully be making frequent visits. I bought just 1 pack of 07-08 SP Rookie Edition cards since the shop was a tad overpriced. Nevertheless, I was pleased with what I got, though there weren't any hits. The base cards were nice. All 4 of these players made it to the playoffs this year, which says something of their skill.

I also acquired 4 nice rookies (as expected from a rookie edition pack). The highlight was the Acie Law IV card that featured a design reminiscent of the 96-97 sp design. Overall, I'm pretty happy with what I got, though I probably won't be paying 6 bucks for a single pack again ;( But it's definitely a step in the right direction, as this is my first hobby edition buy. I can't see myself completely ignoring retail packs and blaster boxes though since I am pretty cheap. Tomorrow, I'll probably invest in some more cards at another hobby shop nearby.

Added note: Kevin Durant was just named Rookie of the Year, so I hope I can pull some nice rookies of him in the packs to come. And hopefully my favorite player, Kobe, makes MVP.