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From De La Soul to Eminem - RaptorsHQ Previews the Eastern Conference

Continuing on from Monday's post, the HQ continues their Eastern Conference previews by comparing each NBA team to a classic hip-hop album...with some help from their hip-hop aficionado friends...

On Monday we introduced a little series that we'll be running all week, our own version of an NBA preview, but done via classic hip-hop records.

To do so, we got various takes from NBA bloggers, journalists, and Canadian MC, Shad, even threw his hat in the ring.

The rules were simple.  Match up an NBA team with a classic album and write a brief blurb as to why the match makes sense.

We kicked in the door like Biggie with the Atlantic Division on Monday, and we continue on this morning prior to our Jazz preview later today, looking at the remaining divisions in the East...


Central Division:


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Chicago Bulls – Resurrection

Another gem from Raptorblog's Scott Carefoot, not only does the artist formerly known as Common Sense hail from Chi-town, but the Bulls with Rose, Boozer and Noah are doing their damnedest to bring back the glory days of MJ and Pippen just like this album's title.  And wait...does that mean "I Used to Love H.E.R." refers to Vinny Del Negro


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Cleveland Cavaliers – E 1999 Eternal

There were some great choices for the Cavs submitted by our panel including DMX's "It's Dark and Hell is Hot," and Busta Rhymes "When Disaster Strikes."  But in the end, we turn it over to Ben Osborne and Adam Figman of SLAM Magazine and for their take:

On "Tha Crossroads", Bone Thugs' second album's hit record, the Ohio natives croon in their patented rap-singing about coping with death: "Oh, what can I do? / It's all about our family and how we roll / Can I get a witness? Let it unfold." Think Cleveland fans could've been singing that about a certain somebody this summer? The Cavs might not have died this summer, but it'll be a while before they truly live again.


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Detroit Pistons – The Slim Shady LP

This was the first of several Shad picked for us and the comparison fits like a glove.  Said Shad:

Both still rep the D, but not what they were a few years back...

I'd add that no one really knew what to make of Em's long-player debut and the same could be said for this year's version of the Pistons.


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Indiana Pacers – The Low End Theory

The Tribe sophomore classic was offered up by many to describe several clubs that could be vying for a lottery spot, but Indy Cornrows' Tom Lewis beat them all to the punch.  Sure, many have picked Indiana to be on the "low end" of the standings this season, but I'd also argue that Danny Granger's game is "Butter," Darren Collison's "Got the Jazz," and Paul George will throw down some dunks this year that will have you "Buggin' Out." 


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Milwaukee Bucks – Muddy Waters

And now, some more words from Mr. Shad Kabango, someone who has a good name:

Redman is ill. So is Michael Redd. You don't hear from either too much anymore, but beware if they come back around.

Love it.

Add on the Bucks' "murky" outlook this season and some grimy Redman types like Maggette, CDR, Jennings and Salmons and we've got a pretty solid match.


Southeast Division:


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Atlanta Hawks – Hard to Earn

Outkast's classic "Atliens" was an obvious choice here but I decided to switch it up a bit.  Therefore I chose the second Gangstarr album in our previews so far, the fourth in their discography, "Hard to Earn."

I thought the title spoke perfectly to the troubles the Hawks have in getting respect in the league, and their playoff flame-out last spring didn't help them gain "Mass Appeal."


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Charlotte Bobcats – Ain't A Damn Thing Changed

Another Franchise pick, this was the one team no one could seem to find a good record to use for comparison's sake.  In the end I went with a Nice 'n Smooth's "Ain't A Damn Thing Changed" thinking it spoke directly to Larry Brown's coaching and management approach, not to mention the way his teams play year in and out. .

And beyond that, this is an album that many tend to forget about despite solid jams like "Hip-Hop Junkies" and "Sometimes I Rhyme Slow."  The Bobcats?  They get forgotten half the time as well despite very solid contributors like Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace.   


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Miami Heat – Stakes is High

This choice was one of the first Ray, Jeff Chapman and I came up with and is probably the most perfect fit of the bunch.  The title of the album says it all, and just De La, who made this their first album without super-producer Prince Paul behind the boards, LeBron James and Chris Bosh find themselves with a new team for the first time in their NBA careers.


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Orlando Magic – Business As Usual

Chalk up another for EPMD.  The Toronto Sun's Ryan Wolstat sent this one our way and while the same album was submitted for teams like Boston and LA, we thought this was the best fit of the bunch.

During their late 80's, early 90's reign, EPMD turned out gold record after gold record and were pretty much the most consistent rap group around.  The Magic have been in a similar boat averaging 53 wins the past four seasons.  It's "Business as Usual" for Orlando therefore as they try to get over the hump and grab that title that has eluded them so far.


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Washington Wizards – The Movement Moves On

The Dipset classic was volunteered by SB Nation editor Andrew Sharp, and the title aptly sums up the Wizards and their outlook this season.  As well, this album came at a time when Dipset had a plethora of talented young rappers in their stable, but weren't exactly sure how to position them correctly.  

Sound familiar Wizards' fans?

Not that I'm trying to dig deeper to find similarities between Andray Blatche and Hell Rell, but tracks such as "Frustrated," "Worried," and "We Ain't Going Nowhere" sound ominously prophetic regarding this season...

(Click here if you missed Monday's Atlantic Division breakdown)