The NBA is headed from arguably its best season ever into potentially its best playoffs season ever. Here are the opening match-ups. Play begins Saturday April 14th …
(1) Raptors vs. (8) Wizards
(2) Celtics vs. (7) Bucks
(3) 76ers vs. (6) Heat
(4) Cavs vs. (5) Pacers
(1) Rockets vs. (8) Timberwolves
(2) Warriors vs. (7) Spurs
(3) Trailblazers vs. (6) Pelicans
(4) Thunder vs. (5) Jazz
And here are the main stories headed into the “second season” …
Celtics have had no Irish luck this year. Hayward and Kyrie are out for the playoffs.
Curry is out for the first round with a knee MCL thing. He could be back for a game 6 or 7 of the first though.
Harden (easily the MVP) and the Rockets are the best team in the league. Regular season wise. The Warriors were a distant second. Toronto third.
Durant is now considered a top DEFENSIVE player. He will be in the running for the defensive player of the year.
Durant and Harden are not guard-able. There is nothing you can do but hope.
LeBron has a new team as of February. A younger and much more athletic team. Larry Nance Jr. should make noise in the post-season with his running mate Bron. Love has been en fuego recently.
Ben Simmons wants to win the championship this year. Ben Simmons thinks he’s Magic Johnson I guess. Embiid should be back for the 1st round after his teammate cracked his eye socket. I’m looking forward to a pretty awesome looking mask!
Toronto is first in the East, considered to have the best bench in the NBA and DeRozen has been consistently amazing. But the East has talent this year. The Cavs, Pacers, and 76ers are loaded with talent. If Embiid is ready to kick ass I’d expect to see the Sixers in the conference finals.
Anthony Davis is an MVP candidate and has some good talent alongside him in New Orleans. His PG is Rondo who somehow becomes both LeBron and Curry when the playoffs start. Rondo will be a problem for the Pel’s first round opponent.
Damien Lillard should be a top 4 MVP candidate. He might be the best player in the league come playoff time. Watch out for Dame!
Something is a-brewin in Indianapolis. Something strange happening, or is it just outstanding front office management? They staged a coup in the off-season by loading up on talent in highway-robbery fashion (Oladipo and Sabonis in particular), and mixed with their existing talent they’re poised to be as ready to go in the first round as any team in the NBA. Watch out LeBron!
Rookie Donovan Mitchell is one of the best scorers in the league. Mitchell’s team (Utah) is one of the best defensive teams in the league. They lost Hayward in the off season but are now 5rd best in the West. A well rounded team, they play OKC first round – how will Westbrook deal with Gobert’s crazy tall and quick rim-defending swipage?
Kawhi Leonard has been out all season except for 9 games. He looked great in those games. The team looked great when he was on the floor, though he was a little heavy and a bit slow. He’s been nursing his quad injury, I think, so he could play in the playoffs. If he plays they might be the best team in the league. Aldridge has been incredible.
OKC – Westbrook recorded his second triple double season in a row and will be a beast for whoever he goes up against. Paul George and Steven Adams have been excellent counterparts, but unless those two really step up and play like all-stars this team does *not* seem poised to win a 4 out of 7 game series. They open against the Jazz. Good luck!
Wolves sneak in like dogs. Really – this is how they got in. Like dogs. Undeserving until Jimmy Butler returned for the last 2 or 3 games. Butler has every reason to take over and become the LeBron of the Lakes. Why hasn’t he done this already? Why isn’t he consistently taking over every facet of the game already for that team? Does he care? Will he wear his game face? Can he Bring It?!
202 thoughts on “
The 2018 NBA Playoffs – Background, Conversation and Highlights”
Embiid Mask #1
An obvious point to make but worth stating anyhow. I put the Kawhi potential comeback news at #12 above only because it may not happen. If it does happen this is how I rank the stories going into the playoffs …
1. Celtics really got hit hard this season.
2. Harden and Rockets are ready to roll. Since there’s no way to know how good Curry will be when he gets back, it’s worth stating that if Curry isn’t looking good come conference finals Rockets might be the better team.
3. If Kawhi plays in the first round Warriors might be seeing an early out unless they get Curry back. But even if Kawhi comes back, will he re-injure himself? If not Dubs will have a big problem stopping one of the best offenses in the game. And with Kawhi out there, the Spurs are arguably one of the best defensive teams second only to the Warriors.
4. Durant is un-guardable while he is also one of the best defenders in the league. That, along with the league’s best defense, best ball movement and best shooters … might be just enough to get them where they need to be until Curry is ready to go.
Early prediction: the Eastern Conference finals will be the Sixers vs. the Cavs. The Western Conference finals will be the Rockets vs. the Warriors. But I see a lot of interesting and good match-ups getting there.
A few weeks ago, Kelenna Azuibuike, the former Warrior who now does pre- and post-game shows for them, made the bold prediction that there would be no sweeps in the post-season. I don’t think he will be right as I could see the Raptors, Sixers, or Rockets sweeping their 1st round series, but the ultimate point he was making is a valid one. There are some really good teams on both sides of every playoff series this year. These should be some really hard fought series.
Suns get Milwaukee’s first round pick if it’s between 11-16. This, I believe, means Milwaukee must lose in the first round. The Celtics are without Kyrie and Hayward, so Bledsoe is the best asset the Suns have – he could lose it for the Bucks.
That’s my prediction: “Hair Salon” Bled single-handedly loses the first 3 games v. Celts – with all the injuries aside is still a talent-loaded team. Go Suns!
This is a hard one to take for you SF guys. You may have the best team, but your sports coverage can really suck. This article from the Chronicle this morning is such an example. No clue what he’s talking about. Clearly hasn’t watched a single Spurs game with or without Kawhi. Clearly has no idea what a beast Aldridge has been this season, nor how well some of the supporting cast are playin there. Clearly doesn’t get the difference between “fake news” and “real news” with regard to Kawhi when the truth is there has been NO news.
Leave it to the International Business Times to present a most excellent and OBJECTIVE take on the subject. Well done IBT!
The guys on sports radio this morning were parroting the Chronicle story. All thought the Spurs were a best case playoff scenario for the Dubs. I’m listening to it thinking what team has given the Steve Kerr Warriors the most problems? The Spurs. The Dubs are and should be the favorites, but with or without Kawhi, the Spurs will be a problem for the Warriors.
The first game of the series on Saturday is at freaking noon Pacific time. I will be out from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, so I will miss the game. I will be checking updates on my phone though.
Here’s the point in Technicolor …
Goes without saying that a Kawhi showing means the Spurs instantly become a defensive juggernaut. Even if he’s slow and out of shape, he reads passing lanes like nobody else. And he’s got those huge hands. But what he does on offense is really remarkable as can be seen in the vid. Notice that unless he has a clear path to the hoop he doesn’t even try to quickly speed in one direction or the other with the ball in his hands. Instead, he takes that very quick first step or two simply to get position on whoever is closest to him. Then he forces the contact to either keep the guy on his back or his side, or he tries to draw the foul while going up for the shot.
He can’t be double teamed – he passes too well. Instead as can be seen in the vid that first step or two is designed to take that one player out of the play. The result is that when he’s running the offense in the half court he gets his team a 5 on 4 fairly often. Curry is just as good at this I think.
SI’s burning questions for each playoff series:
One other issue for the Warriors is whether they can step up their defensive intensity. They’ve been one of the top defensive teams over the past few years, but this year faded back into the middle of the pack. Part of that is all the games lost to injury this year. So can they turn up the heat on defense as they’ve done in the past? I’d like to think so, but we shall see.
I’m guessing Kerr and Green and Durant and Thompson and Iguodala and Livingston and Looney and Bell haven’t even considered the question. Maybe they’re all thinking “we just don’t care much this year”.
I re-formatted the original post and added a well deserved entry regarding Jimmy Butler. If Damien Lillard can take over the playoffs why can’t Jimmy?
Pretty sure that Kerr has considered the question as he has been pretty vocal recently about the team’s lack of effort, particularly defensively. You are probably right about the reason–particularly down the stretch when they were pretty much locked into the 2 seed and the games really didn’t matter much–but can they “flip the switch” as the commentators keep talking about. I’d like to think so.
CBS Sports 13 burning playoff questions (Kawhi appears in #1):
SI Experts Pick NBA Champion (spoiler alert–they all pick the Dubs):
I’m a big Warriors fan and even I find it hard to believe that all 5 of SI’s basketball “experts” picked the Dubs.
Kawhi ruled out for game 1. Great news for Warriors.
But as I predicted, Kawhi is on the first round playoff roster. Curry is also on the Dubs’ first round playoff roster also, even though he is not expected back until sometime in the 2nd round.
Laughable that I intentionally left out McGee from the list of Warriors about to gear up their defensive games. I had no idea he’d do this. Wow.
I didn’t see the game, but from looking at the boxscore, the Dubs did a real number on Aldridge. Holding him to 2 rebounds total and only 3 offensive rebounds for the Spurs as a whole tells me that the Dubs had their defense dialed way up.
McGee and Durant set the tone. Then Iggy got into the act. Then Green then Livingston. Then Klay decided it was his turn. Ridiculous.
Durant 7 assts 2 stls
McGee 2 blks 15 pts on 5-7 FG
Green 11 assts 2 stls 1 blk
Klay 11-13 FG 5-6 3FG
Looks like McGee got the start at center and Pachulia didn’t play at all. Kerr must not like the Pachulia-Aldridge match-up. I suspect Pop will change something up for Game 2.
Well, Kawhi for one. Somehow seems obvious to me that he’ll be playing Monday night.
Ever the optimist. I’m home now and watching end of Raptors-Wizards. It’s a back and forth fight.
Saw several stories today that Kawhi will not be returning in the playoffs this year. No sources for it that were willing to be named, but they were saying that Kawhi’s New York doctors have not cleared him to return.
Pacers dumped the Cavs in game 1, but it looks like the Cavs were simply having a really bad shooting game, so figure the Cavs will look a lot better in the next game. But Cavs will need someone to step up and help LeBron.
The Kawhi saga: real time sociological study on the power of innuendo. Today as was true yesterday and the day before and the weeks and months before that, there is NO news. Nothing. Zero, from anyone. However, google Kawhi Leonard’s name and filter over the last 24 hours. A remarkable wealth of information about … things people want to believe and apparently want you to believe. Fake news by another term.
Where’s the one article with the headline: “Kawhi silence has meaning – if you won’t be playing in playoffs why not just tell everyone?”. Why not indeed. What’s the most likely answer to that question? Hmmmm …
I don’t know why Kawhi won’t just come out and say he won’t be playing in the playoffs, but he wasn’t even on the sideline for game 1 (nor expected to be on the sideline tonight). Pop’s comment after Saturday’s game about if Kawhi might play at some point in the series was pretty telling to me (you’re talking to the wrong person, you’ve got to talk to Kawhi and his group). All Pop had to say was that Kawhi was continuing his rehab and they hoped to have him back in these playoffs. Instead his comment (and tone when he said it) suggests that there is no real communication going on between the Spurs and Kawhi right now. Maybe this is all, as you have suggested before, an act, but if it is, it is one I don’t understand.
According to a San Antonio sports reporter that was interviewed on the radio here today, the 9 games that Kawhi played earlier this season caused a setback in his injury so Kawhi doesn’t want to do anything that might further jeopardize his recovery.
That’s exactly what I mean: another tidbit otherwise known as “no news”. Pop: “you’re talking to the wrong person, you’ve got to talk to Kawhi and his group”
I take that to be the opposite of what others seem to think it means. I take it to mean 1) no news at all with regard to communication between pop and kawhi now or ever. 2) no news at all with regard to communication between pop and kawhi’s group now or ever.
Just no news there whatsoever about Kawhi, his status or his group. All I got out of that was a statement from Pop that he’s waiting on the green light. And that’s exactly what he’s been saying for quite some time.
As to it possibly being an act, what if he was simply frustrated by some combination of not knowing about kawhi and the constant media badgering? why does it have to imply he’s not in contact and hasn’t been in contact?
I’m sure Pop was frustrated…by not knowing what’s going on with Kawhi. Which goes back to relations between the Spurs and Kawhi being strained and it being unlikely that Kawhi is not going to play in this series. He’s missed the first two games and isn’t even sitting on the bench to support his teammates. As I’ve said before, I’d be really surprised to see Kawhi play again this year.
Spurs played really well tonight…for a half. They looked like they were gassed in the 2nd half as the Dubs made their patented 3rd quarter run. They were really being tough on KD and Klay in the first half and it affected them, but they couldn’t keep up that pressure in the 2nd half and both KD and Klay exploded. Warriors also cut down on turnovers in the 2nd half.
David West looked really good tonight, but we’ll have to see how serious the ankle injury is. I’m guessing he will miss at least the next game.
*unlikely that Kawhi is going to play in this series*
“goes back to relations between the Spurs and Kawhi being strained”
I don’t understand this statement, though there may be some truth to it if I understand this meaning of the word “strained”. As I’ve said all along there is a clear rift between Kawhi and the Spurs medical staff. So, if that’s what you mean by “the Spurs” then yes, there is evidence of strain between Kawhi and the Spurs medical staff.
Not being on the bench + not saying he’s done. To me that equals working as hard as possible to get back. If he doesn’t get back then he’s simply not ready, but staying in NYC trying to do everything possible to get cleared by his docs … that makes complete sense to me.
I don’t see any evidence of no communication between Kawhi and Pop. There can be daily communication in fact, even if the result is “Hey pop. I’m still not there”. I don’t get where the idea of no communication or any other kind of strain comes from. Everyone is frustrated because Kawhi isn’t there and they don’t know if or when he’ll be back. Fine.
I won’t waste much time on this one …
There is only one team that looks even close to being good enough to beat the 2017 Warriors, and that’s the 2018 Warriors. I haven’t seen any basketball so far that comes close.
I agree that it is clear that relations between Kawhi and the Spurs medical staff are strained, but I think relations between Kawhi and his teammates and Pop are also strained. Did you see what Pop had to say about LaMarcus Aldridge after last night’s game:
“LaMarcus has been a monster all year long. He doesn’t complain about a darn thing. He plays through everything. I can’t imagine being more proud of a player as far as playing through adversity and being there for his teammates night after night after night.”
How is that anything other than a shot at Kawhi? Just like the “talk to Kawhi and his group” statement by Pop after game 1 was a shot at Kawhi. Just as prior comments a few weeks ago by Parker and Ginobili were shots at Kawhi. I think Pop and the Spurs think that Kawhi has quit on them and they aren’t having it. Kawhi was reportedly upset about Pop’s “talk to Kawhi and his group” comment, but again, those reports came from unnamed sources so who really knows how Kawhi feels about Pop and his teammates. All of this is very un-Spurs like, but Parker, Ginobili, and even Pop are all at or near the end of their careers, so maybe they’ve stopped caring about placating Kawhi.
Even if I’m right about the bad blood between Kawhi and the Spurs, none of this means that the relationship cannot be repaired. But the longer these potshots and snide comments about Kawhi go on, the harder that will be.
anyhow, the “talk to kawhi’s group” could mean nothing. i give it a 33% chance of meaning one thing, 33% another, 33% another and the 1% that I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean might very well fall into the category of what people (particularly the media) decide to run with. in other words, there’s no reason to grant it any specific meaning other than the literal one that I’ve already mentioned.
The Pop comments about LaMarcus are the only ones I’ve seen yet over the entire year that seem to hint at something going beyond just frustration. Why can’t it be left at that? It might be a hint at something else and it might not be. So … it might be more than just a frustrated Popovich. How many possible things can fall into that category? Too many to speculate on and it’s becoming a silly exercise to hypothesize about all of them yet again, but the most obvious one that might *not* be a complaint directed at Kawhi is that it’s a message sent directly to Kawhi’s group or someone in that group. Regardless, it doesn’t help answer the question of whether or not Kawhi wants to play in this series and how badly he wants to play. It doesn’t give any information about his % chances of playing in the series, or how loyal he is to his team and coach. Just no information there.
I’m seeing some info today from “unnamed sources” saying that Kawhi has gone for weeks without returning texts and phone calls from the Spurs. Why would I believe that vs. not believe it? I can tweet Tim Legler right now with something like “Kawhi seen out dancing in Nantucket with Gronk”. How long before that turns into “Spurs rift widens – Kawhi in talks with the Celtics.”
Just a bunch of nonsense!
Damn, Pop’s wife died today. Gotta feel for him. I imagine he won’t be on the bench tomorrow for Game 3 and maybe not on Sunday for Game 4.
Pop officially out for Game 3. 🙁
What I just saw at about 35 secs to go in the first half of Warriors – Spurs: Durant running the offense starting way out from the 3 pt line. Durant dribbling and threatening a pull up 3 or a drive. Instead he makes a fantastic pass from about 27 ft over the top of his defender to a still running Looney who catches it at about 18 feet and drives for a layup with defense still getting into position.
Ridiculous. 6’11 or 7′ 0″ dude alert-as-they-come and dishes early in the shot clock because he can. He dishes because he’s so frickin tall and smart he can get that pass to another tall guy at just the right point.
By the way, I’m surprised Kawhi didn’t play tonight. All I come up with is that he’s sure he’ll badly injure himself if he plays. The alternatives to that scenario don’t make sense to me.
Durant had another similar great pass to Draymond driving in for an easy layup. He knows that the Spurs defense is collapsing on him when he’s got the ball and with his great vision, he knows he can find an open man.
Dubs had a 6-pt lead at half-time, but it wasn’t that close. They were 1-11 on 3-pointers in the 1st half. If they had hit even 2 more of those, it would have been a double digit lead. You knew they would start hitting their 3s in the 2nd half.
Right now there is four minutes left in the game, but the Dubs have a 17-pt lead, so it is all but over.
As for Kawhi, with the Spurs down 3-0, there is really no point in him even trying to play at this point even if he were inclined to do so, which I don’t think he is. Kawhi hasn’t even been on the bench for any game this series. He is using his rehab in New York as an excuse as he could be doing his rehab anywhere. I was expecting at least a public statement from him expressing condolences about Pop’s wife, but nothing but silence from him so far. I think the rift is real.
In the last minute, Spurs players have run over Durant and Livingston, injuring them both. Poor sportsmanship on their part. It does not appear the injuries are serious fortunately.
Maybe the last Kawhi point to be made. Right, it makes no sense for him to play at all now. Not playing in game 3 tells me he’s hurt badly or is convinced he’ll be injured badly or both. All the rest (not being on the bench, all the comments from pop and teammates) is puzzling but without information we just can’t know what’s going on. Whatever it is, it’s something he won’t go public with. Is that out of fairness to someone or some entity? Is it out of spite or anger? Is he simply protecting himself health-wise and $$ wise at the expense of his team-mates?
That last option seems crazy to me.
Hopefully he’ll divulge something before the season starts next year.
Here’s a clip of the Durant to Looney play referenced earlier.
How is the defense supposed to adjust to this if they can’t stop that pass and the tall receiver can dribble to the hoop one on one with his man out of position? Maybe the only defense is a rim protector that can get there quickly – like Capela, or Davis or Gobert.
In any case, what a weapon to be able to pass with the ball coming out of the hands at about 10 feet or more above the ground. What Curry could do with that height …
I’m surprised there isn’t any discussion of Durant’s place among the greatest. He’s better than Duncan. He’s better than Hakeem. He’s better than Oscar. He’s a top 10 player all time. Why is this not being discussed?
Like the TimberWolves the Cavaliers are poorly coached. I don’t get the strategy. I understand getting everyone involved and trying to find your best lineups given all the recent changes, but I don’t get how the coach isn’t insisting on LeBron posting up late in the game. The horrible coaching in this 3rd game vs Pacers, whether the coach is Lue or LeBron, was the reason for the loss. Bad thinking is why they lost.
Gotta give some of the blame to LeBron there. He’s the real one in charge there. He could have just taken over the game himself.
Many things to get to after opening week. In no particular order …
– the Bucks surprised the heck out of me last night. I knew Maker can hit the 3s, so no surprise there. I know Middleton is an all-star caliber player, but I’ve never seen him so “comfortable” on offense like he was last night. Maybe that’s because I haven’t watched him enough. Bledsoe, that’s probably the best game I’ve ever seen him play, getting rid of the rock before he gets lost in the trees down underneath. A great effort on both sides of the court. Let’s see if they can do it again Sunday.
– the Pacers might be the best team in the East. They’re right there with the Sixers, and look poised to take this series. I have no idea why LeBron isn’t posting them up at the end of games and quarters. He didn’t look tired, so there must be some other reason that he’s settling for 3s. That’s just bad offense. On the Pacer’s end, I can’t see anything that’s bad. The only thing missing from that team is LeBron. Can you imagine?
– Sixers & Pelicans & Warriors: these are the best teams in the playoffs early on. Embiid et al, Davis et al and Durant et al. Wow. Pacers are right behind these 3 teams. I imagine Houston will jump up there today.
– Donovan Mitchell is a MUST WATCH. That series looks like the best one of the first round. Could it go 7?
Bucks – Celtics: I did not realize that Middleton was this good. Always seemed like a good but not all-star caliber to me. Apparently you had a better read on him. Bucks have momentum now.
Pacers – Cavs: Pacers self-destructed at the end. Stephenson’s had a stupid travelling call and technical foul and they started playing hero ball at the end and stopped moving the ball around. They should be up 3 games to 1.
Spurs – Warriors: I missed today’s game, but not surprised the Spurs won. With the Dubs up 3-0 and heavy emotions in San Antonio with Erin Popovich’s death, I’m guessing the Dubs took their foot off the gas today.
Had a thought that with his wife’s death, I would not be surprised to see Pop retire when this season is finished, particularly if Parker and Ginobili retire as well. I’m not saying that it is likely, just that it wouldn’t be surprising.
I liked the Stephenson gamble. I don’t even know who’s coaching the Pacers but I like the guy. Is it McMillan? Not sure, but I like the flavor of it which is to gamble your earnings from the earlier games on your most well rounded and experienced guy. It almost worked! And I’m guessing Stephenson’s confidence is soaring. To me that’s a fantastic feat. Well done coach! Now Oladipo takes over because well … if he’s not a top 10 player in the NBA he’s sure as hell top 15. Step back and watch what happens next. Cavs are in trouble.
As to the rest, the only relevant point to make is that Durant is already the #7 best player of all time. He’s already better than Duncan which says a lot, considering Duncan’s championships. But Durant is a KILLER.
Until George Hill is back, LeBron needs to decide on a more consistent starting PG who is also an agressive threat on offense. The Calderon experiment is over – get Clarkson in that starting lineup now. The original plan made sense – have two lineups that each include LeBron and Love – but it’s too late to keep working on that plan. Now it needs to be all about given your best players big minutes. Clarkson needs to get more minutes. It’s time to put the ball in a speedster’s hands and push hard to the rim on way more possessions. No more of this LeBron 3-ball crap at the end of games.
Shout out to Joe Ingles and Ricky Rubio. There’s no fluke here. The Jazz have two iron men playing big minutes and showing they can play 48 if need be. The longer these two are out on the floor the harder defenses have to work just so they can keep Mitchell honest.
Gobert had a great line last night in 34 minutes of play. The Rockets have their work cut out for them. What a tremendous series that will be.
Not only that, but Rubio has gotten into Westbrook’s head. Westbrook is ignoring other Jazz players on defense and is solely focused on trying to stop Rubio. Russ has always been a selfish player on offense, but that selfishness is spilling out to his defensive efforts as well. If I’m the Thunder and George and Anthony leave in the off-season, I give serious thought to trading Westbrook and rebuilding. Of course, other teams may not want Russ given his inability to work well with other players.
Spurs made a valiant effort in the 4th quarter tonight and almost completed the comeback, but the Dubs just turned to KD and he pulled them through. Really nice to have that safety valve.
Westbrook needs the right coach, and he needs to want to have the right coach. He does tremendous things and sometimes even smart things that lead to excellent basketball, but he seems years away from being a “mature” player.
If he’s being honest with everyone he will state to the OKC org that he’s a big part of the problem. Maybe he can help with the solution like … well, what if he was coached by Jason Kidd or Chauncey Billups? Greg Anthony is rumored to want a head coaching job. If you’ve heard him on TV or radio that’s a guy who leans toward conservative and detailed thought. Heck, what about Kobe??
Going into tonight’s games a couple comments …
Sixers look good and sometimes great, but many people are placing them at the top of the playoff talents and it’s just way too early for that. What I see is a well rounded team focused on playing hard on both ends. But I don’t see the Embiid from 4-6 weeks ago and I see Simmons missing a lot of shots. If they want to be the best Simmons needs to start ramming it down defenses’ throats and Embiid needs to kick it up a notch offensively. He went to the FT line 5 times last night. That needs to double.
Houston is also being placed among the great teams of these playoffs, but I don’t see it. At this point there’s no reason to think they can beat any of the teams left in the Western conference. Sure, they can flip the switch and they probably will but there’s no time to mess around with the Jazz coming up. For instance, what happens to them if Capela gets into foul trouble?
Warriors look surprisingly good without Curry. The intensity is back on the defensive end. From where I sit they look almost exactly like the 2017 champs without Curry. Now, how to defend Brow?
Cavs or Pacers? I’m expecting the best team in the East to emerge from this series barring injuries. I assume that will be the Pacers who right now look like the best of the East. If Cavs can beat them it’s because they’re coming together at the right time. Clarkson needs more minutes in the absence of Hill who is questionable for tonight’s game.
Here’s the thing about the Sixers…Embiid has only played a few games in this series after missing several weeks because of the fractured eye socket. He is also playing with a mask for the first time ever. The longer the Sixers stick around in the playoffs, the better they will get as Embiid gets healthier and more comfortable with the mask. I don’t think the Sixers will win the East, because this is a playoff learning season for them, but would it surprise me if they did? No.
So … I think I was begging your point awoods. Embiid’s best and worst qualities are the same: he is incredibly cautious. What an outstanding quality in arguably one of history’s most outstanding young talents. Furthermore, what an outstanding young talent to have SEVERAL outstanding qualities!
My point is that he needs to stop it. He needs to go for broke now. His next opponent is either the Celtics or the Bucks. Either one is a team he can dominate or possibly even destroy. He needs to stop with the conservative approach and instead be a stud. He can score 35+ with Simmons, Redick and Covington playing their games. It’s time to be what you are: the second best player in the East to LeBron.
way ahead of time I’m sticking my neck out but maybe not much. the best teams in the NBA as of right now 6:40 Mountain Time 04/25/2018 …
Pacers whether or not they beat the Cavs tonight. They’ll win this series. So messed up that LeBron isn’t on the block late in the game. This is supposed to be one of the most “cerebral” players in history?
Pacers should have won the game tonight, but a combination of stupid turnovers and LeBron being LeBron in the end was their undoing. I think the Pacers are a better team than the Cavs, but I don’t know that they have what it takes to beat the Cavs this year.
OKC. What to think?
I think OKC loses the series in the next game. They’re getting no scoring outside of Westbrook and George. Carmelo and Adams have been almost invisible in the series. And the rest of the team beyond those four have bee completely invisible. If OKC comes back to beat the Jazz, I’ll be very surprised.
Jazz are so clearly the better team. Multi-faceted and two talents that out-do the Thunder:
Mitchell is just as effective as Westbrook.
Ingles is just as effective offensively as any player on the Thunder.
George vs Rubio: regardless of how much George wins this battle look at what’s left …
Gobert, Favors and Crowder. That’s way too much. Those guys come to play every night. Adams can’t do it all. Jazz is so much better because of this.
I’m sure everyone else knows it, but I didn’t until now …
Nate McMillan is coach of the rising Indiana Pacers. Doing a frickin outstanding job.
I did know that and that was a frakkin’ great job by the Pacers tonight. We’ll see if they can do it again Sunday in Cleveland. That’s got to be a demoralizing way to head into game 7 for the Cavs.
The Jazz-Thunder game was like a gladiator match between Russ and Donovan. Thunder got a huge game from Adams, but George couldn’t hit his shots. If he had a better shooting night, Thunder might have won the game. As with the rest of the series though, the Jazz simply have a better team and got good contributions from Gobert, Ingles, Favors, and Burks. Thunder got next to nothing from anyone not named Westbrook or Adams.
By the way, simply horrid free throw shooting by both the Jazz and Thunder.
If Lebron’s goal is to win as many championships as possible before he retires, he’s much better off going to the Jazz than anywhere (‘cept possibly the Warriors which seems impossible to me).
Sure, that seems unlikely because of the “fit” but Mitchell is fitting well there. And if LeBron wants to win then … seems like a much better solution than Lakers, Spurs or Sixers which are all being mentioned. Pels of course, but you can’t have Rondo and LeBron on the same team, and I’m not sure Holiday and Lebron are a good fit either. But Mitchell, Rubio, Ingles, Favors and LeBron? Wow. If someone had to go, Gobert wouldn’t be my first choice but I’d rather him than any of the ones just mentioned.
Favors was huge last night. The player that Tristan Thompson almost but never was. Excellent.
The Jazz will be $10-15 million under the cap going into next season and that doesn’t count what it may cost to resign Favors and/or Exum who are both free agents. So it is unlikely they can sign LeBron without getting rid of at least two of the players you like there. (Perhaps you need to start the 2018 Draft/Offseason thread already). Spurs also don’t have the cap room to sign LeBron without getting rid of some of the current team. Lakers and Sixers both have plenty of cap room to sign him. How’s this for a dark horse thought…Pacers have several players with options for next year. If they opt out and/or the Pacers can dump the contracts of Al Jefferson and Darren Collison, what do you think of adding LeBron to the Pacers core?
As good as the Celtics looked in that game, the fact remains that a clearly inferior Bucks team took them to 7 games. Plus, Brown came up with a hamstring issue. I think it will be the Sixers in six games in round 2. Embiid will eat Horford alive.
The Pelicans didn’t play bad, but it’s hard to beat the Dubs when they are firing on all cylinders like that. Draymond is a beast.
I didn’t see the Cavs-Pacers game, but it looks like King James was a monster and actually got a little help this time. Did you watch?
To me that was quintessential LeBron in his prime. A fantastic effort all the way around that not even Bird or Magic could have matched. Great game.
I don’t think you’ve moved the Kawhi stuff to a separate thread yet, so I’ll post this here. ESPN has a pretty detailed article on the Kawhi/Spurs situation. Pretty straightforward, no hyperbole.
One significant nugget from the article is that Kawhi’s injury is not the same as Tony Parker’s. It may be more of a muscle issue than a tendon issue.
Curry is cleared for tonight and will be playing.
I’ve decided Kawhi stuff is relevant at any time and anywhere so I’ll leave it here. Today’s info is a bigger hint that he was treated with fluoroquinolones inappropriately and the result was permanent damage. It’s still the only explanation that makes sense to me.
More issues with fluoroquinolones …
about the Kawhi thing … I don’t understand why there is equal mention of the obvious nature of the protracted injury and the interest that many teams have (spurs included) in paying him the max.
why would any team outside the spurs org pay him anything close to a max deal unless it was for 1 year only with options depending on his health afterwards? I doubt they would unless that’s exactly what Kawhi wants even though he knows he can get a multi-year deal from the Spurs.
All this tells me that the trade rumors are nothing but junk. I think the press and ESPN are to blame in particular for all that junk, starting with Windhorst who seems to think he knows that Kawhi is all about the contract. I don’t believe any of that.
The guy is injured and not healing well. He’s upset at the injury and the Spurs medical staff. In my opinion, making it out to be anything more than that is adding complication to something that is more likely to be true if it’s kept simple. I think that the *only* thing which makes it appear more complex is that Kawhi isn’t talking. That’s it! Well … that’s not complex at all!
So I know nothing about this guy. Is there a reason (cough, cough, Luka Doncic) that the Suns are hiring a Serbian as their head coach? Is he the reason why Donovan Mitchell has made such an impact on the Jazz this year? This just seems way out of left field to me.
So … I’ll take this out to the nose bleed seats …
Good friend of Dragic
Dragic played with James Jones
Kokoskov was a Jones pick
So … if Doncic is in their sights they are hoping for the #1 pick and trading it for a running big man + the 2nd or 3rd pick? Lottery is Tues May 15th.
Yeah, Doncic is the only reason I see for this choice. Igor coached Doncic’s Slovenian team to a Euro title. If you want to take this further into the nose bleed seats, Dragic has one year and a player option left on his contract. Perhaps the Suns hope to entice Dragic to come back to the Suns after next year.
I have a slightly different take. The league is going D’Antoni style now and the three teams knee deep in it are the Warriors, Rockets and Jazz. I think Kokoskov is Jones’ way of saying “let’s get started with smart/fast ball movement and outside shooting right out of the gate”. Clearly Doncic is perfect for that kind of system, but given that there’s less than a 50% chance the Suns get him there are other guys that can fit in. Josh Jackson seemed to pick up a lot at the end of the year, and Warren seems to get the idea of ball movement. I think the league has a lot of guys that are adopting the style now and a trade could land one of them alongside Ayton, Booker and Jackson.
There’s been a bunch of BS about the Suns not being a destination for free agents etc etc. Yeah, well … just 2 years ago the average salary was about $9 million for a “good” free agent to land in phoenix and $18 million for a very good veteran. But now those numbers look like $16 million and $26 million. A lot of guys are going to follow the money, and with a glimmer of newness about the Suns … I think the offseason will prove surprising.
I didn’t see either game tonight, but it appears the Raptors still are intimidated by LeBron. Down 0-2 after two home games means they are done for.
I did not believe the Celtics could play as well as they have without Kyrie. Rozier is outplaying Simmons. Jayson Tatum is making the Celtics look like geniuses for trading away the #1 pick in the draft to the Sixers. Let’s see if the Sixers can get their mojo back at home.
The prediction of the Warriors reign ending sooner than later has taken on new life with the growth of the outstanding Celtics. So much talk about Popovich and D’Antoni and the entire Warriors organization, when the most impressive individual from where I sit appears to be Danny Ainge. He doesn’t seem to make any mistakes. The team appears to have no weaknesses, even without their top 2 guys. Amazing.
I’m sure some might say the Bradley trade was a mistake, but Smart is making enormous contributions in the playoffs. He seems to be able to direct both the offense and the defense AND the opponent’s defense somehow. His energy and size/length are significant game changers even if his shot isn’t. Reminds me of Shane Battier on steroids.
More on this later, but for now a quick observation about the Celtics tonight.
That team is faster and shows more urgency on average than the Warriors, Spurs and Rockets. Warriors at their best can match it and maybe even exceed it for periods of time, but the Celtics man to man and quarter to quarter exhibit this more often.
Earlier I wrote “The league is going D’Antoni style now and the three teams knee deep in it are the Warriors, Rockets and Jazz.” That might have been mostly true when I wrote it, but now today May 5th the Celtics have within a surprisingly short time together as a unit (because of injuries) achieved excellence in this regard. It starts with Horford and confidence in Horford man to man. After that the list is impressive as heck. It’s hard to choose one out of the other outstanding performers from the Celtics.
Tatum. Mentioning him first because he was easily the rookie of the year today. As others keep asking, can we see his driver’s license? He plays like a 28 year old dyed-in-the-wool vet.
Rozier. What’s incredible is his consistency. He’s smart and quick and confident. He’s easily MVP of this series.
Brown. Their best player before the hamstring pull. Contributed in huge ways the last two games, even though he came back extremely soon after the injury.
Morris. I watched this guy in Phoenix and he’s so much better now. His shooting is great as always, but he hangs out around the rim now. More rebounds, more quick passes from underneath. Some good quick decisions that surprise me.
Even with Kyrie and Hayward they’re not as talented as the Warriors, but even now they might be a better team with respect to quickly sharing the ball and making quick and efficient decisions.
LeBron. Enough said. He climbed a notch in my top 10 today. Better than Magic. Better than Russell.
Agreed. That shot was just sick.
Prediction albeit a pretty obvious one: Boston can’t afford to retain Terry Rozier and the offers to take him off their hands should come in hard and fast this summer. He has played 4 spectacular games in a row. Not yet a max player, but should be able to garner a $20 million/year contract soon based on this series alone. NOT a fluke and not the kind of guy that’s going to let you down because of lack of effort.
The Phoenix Suns can and should go all in for this guy. Outstanding counterpart to Booker.
Game of his life tonight for Anthony Davis in Oakland. I’m expecting the refs to be kind.
AD had a big game and the Pelicans had a valiant comeback attempt that fell short. However, the only reason for that comeback was the Dubs were not hitting open shots before Draymond rescued them in the closing minutes. Now we get the Western Conference finals we all wanted.
Chuck Barkley made a great deal of sense during the Rockets-Jazz post game show. Much of the Rockets offense was Chris Paul iso or James Harden iso. Paul responded with a fantastic game. Harden not so much. Chuck said that kind of iso offense negatively affects defense because players who are not involved in the offense are less committed to the defense. He said their offense would not work against the Warriors and they would have to play much better defense to beat the Warriors (which he did not think would happen). In sum, although the Rockets beat the Jazz in 5 games, they did not look good in doing so.
It’s a good point to make, except that they have at least 4 first rate defensive players in tucker, ariza, capela and paul. No idea what’s going to happen except that a sweep seems almost impossible.
More important than the previous comment, a Harden iso isn’t an iso. Do anything you can to force Harden into a 1-on-1 and he’ll still find a way to lead his guys into a high percentage shot. Often that means he shoots free throws, but with Capela crashing the boards and 2-3 guys spread all about the perimeter that’s not a 1-on-1. It’s extremely high percentage offense when those guys are hitting their shots or he’s getting fouled.
I’d like to see Curry play the same exact game regardless of who is covering him.
Staying with the Chuck theme … I agree the overall play from the Rockets in the playoffs is nowhere near the Warriors outside of the offensive play of Capela and possibly Paul. The rest has been on and off, with a defensive effort that didn’t seem quite ready for prime time. I fully expect the first game to be a blowout by the Warriors, at least for a quarter or two. However, just as Barkley mentioned the negative effect that iso offense has on their defense, I think the opposite is true often enough for the Rockets. When everyone gets involved on offense their defense really comes together. It’s more than enough to win a couple games if the Warriors don’t stop the bleeding quickly enough.
Ainge is God. What a perfect mix and match he threw together.
Warriors need to win this year and next, because there’s no reason to think any team can beat the 2020 Celtics. Or the 2021 Celtics, or … keep counting upwards. Unless LeBron goes to the Bay Area that is.
What blows me away about the entire Sixers-Celtics series and now game 1 ECF is this: Jaylen Brown high scorer and awesome game. Rozier 8 assts, 1 TO. Horford, Morris, Tatum. Attention to detail. Well conditioned and disciplined players and 100% man-to-man buy-in to the game plan.
When Ainge was putting together these pieces he didn’t know he was throwing Irving on top. He was writing a script starring multiple shooting wings and a Tim Duncan like steadying presence inside. And then, given draft picks, excellent timing and multiple assets he played the odds knowing he’d have great options to draft or trade for talented and smart floor generalship. Smart guys like Ainge don’t assume the real world will end up reading just like their script. They are playing the percentages hoping the sum total of their characters will contribute story-wise to something +/- some percentage uncertainty of what their ideal hopes might be.
What blows me away about the Celtics these past few weeks is how tightly the execution resembles the script. Whatever Ainge figured was his percentage of error, he’s well within that.
What’s all this about coach of the year? Who gives a shit? There should be some fairly objective way of evaluating GMs year after year. What a stud.
Yep, Ainge may be the best GM in the game right now (though Bob Myers is right up there). Like the Warriors, they are an unselfish, disciplined, good 3-pt shooting team. They are even better defensively than the Dubs. Outside of Kyrie (24.4 ppg), they’ve got 7 players who average between 10.2 and 14.5 ppg. And all this is without Hayward all year and Kyrie for a good percentage of it and the playoffs.
Ainge was able to do this because he was willing to tear apart his last championship team instead of trying to wring the last few good drops out of them and then took advantage of a Russian oligarch who wanted to buy his way to a championship without realizing that past-their-prime name players wouldn’t get him there. However, Ainge clearly identified a player type and style that he wanted to get and has been building the Celtics in that image.
The final test for Ainge will be managing the salary cap as some of their young players become eligible for big raises in the next few years. Hayward, Kyrie and Horford are locked up in big contracts for the next two seasons. Tatum, Brown, Smart, and Rozier will be looking for big salary bumps in the coming years. The Warriors have managed this by paying big money to 5 guys and then filling in with good veterans willing to pay for less and good-fitting young players found late in the draft and an ownership group willing to pay the luxury tax for a high payroll. For the Celtics to maintain this success into the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Ainge will have to work the salary cap magic as well as the Warriors have.
Ainge sends Brown, Smart and Rozier plus picks to New Orleans for A.D. – Celtics look like this now: Irving, Hayward, Tatum, Horford, Davis, Morris, Larkin.
I’m not sure the Warriors can beat that. So, why not Lebron to the Warriors??? Steph and LeBron will make tons of $$ doing whatever they do regardless of their NBA contracts. Why wouldn’t they both drop down to $20 million plus change? I know that’s probably the third time I’ve asked this. I just don’t get it I suppose. LeBron is about to smash almost all the records. It seems to me all he cares about are championships. How will he ever win again if he’s in Cleveland or Philly or Indiana or Lakers or Houston or San Antonio or even Utah?
As to why LeBron won’t be signing with the Warriors, they simply cannot fit him under the salary cap. So unless LeBron agreed to sign for the veteran minimum or one of the exceptions (the biggest one of which is around 5 million per year), which seems extremely unlikely, it isn’t going to happen. Steph Curry is signed for a max contract that lasts the next 4 seasons, so there is no way to reduce his salary if he wanted to. KD could take less, but the Warriors are over the cap even without counting what his next salary is. Green, Thompson, Iggy, and Livingston are all signed for next year, so there is no way to reduce their salaries for next season either.
As for your Celtics-Pelicans trade, the only way it works is if the Celtics give up an equal amount of salary as both teams are at or over the salary cap for next year. Also, Marcus Smart is a free agent after this season, so he has to be amenable to whatever the Celtics are doing for a sign and trade. Your trade proposal has the Celtics giving up $8 mil + Smart’s new salary for AD’s $25 mil contract. In order to make the salaries work, the Celtics likely have to give up one of the big 3 contracts and Horford’s would likely be the big salary that the Celtics would prefer to sacrifice. But would the Pelicans want to take on his big salary? Also, the Celtics’ 1st round draft picks are a tougher sell given that they are likely to be at the end of the 1st round. The Pelicans might prefer Kyrie or Hayward instead as they look to get younger and more flexible. There are ways to make the salaries work and Ainge could certainly pull it off. It is just a little trickier than you might think. A 3-team deal might actually work better.
By the way, CBS Sports agrees with you about Ainge.
Looking forward to Rockets-Dubs tonight.
What do you mean Curry’s salary can’t be reduced? It’s not possible to restructure it?
And who else beside Ainge was so fixated on fitting Marcus Morris into his roster? Those Morris twins are problems – I doubt the Warriors would ever consider either one, and I know Popovich wouldn’t.
Outstanding and maybe unlikely start for Warriors in Houston. Warriors are showing absolutely no weaknesses. Their first quarter was strong and attentive and came with enough defense to keep it close.
But Houston has a problem. Eric Gordon is not helping. This is their 2nd or 3rd highest scorer I think. Right? He needs to come out or Rockets lose tonight. Great news for the Warriors.
Gotta wonder if the best plan for Dray is a smart and powerful woman yelling in his face. Dubs should hire someone he listens to. His grandma, sister, mom. Becky Hammond. Someone who will serve up powerful shit in his face.
Getting bored with this game. Looks like a blowout.
There are rules to restructuring/renegotiating contracts. A 4-year or longer deal cannot be redone until the 3rd anniversary after it was signed (so Curry has 2 years to go before he can redo his). I think that if he redoes his contract before its over, he may not be allowed to take less than the total value of his current deal. He could get around that by extending his deal without adding more money to it (as long as the yearly salary does not decrease by more than 40%), but again, Curry is 2 years away from being able to do that.
Capela showing real energy on defense, but Rockets looking stagnant on offense. Nobody cutting and moving.
Warriors kick it up a notch and then relax. Speed up then slow down. Good way to save energy but I doubt it was planned.
Hey. Great game in the 3rd! Rockets are frickin wild. All over the place. Are they going to rely on awesome plays throughout this series?
I don’t see how a team can continually provide the requisite fireworks to match outstandingly efficient execution. Not for more than a game or two.
Entertaining as hell these Houstonians.
Mea culpa! What the hell am I doing questioning D’Antoni. Really bad judgement.
Great decision to keep Gordon going with big minutes. Duly noted.
The Rockets cut the Dubs lead down at the end of the 3rd with Harden on the bench. There was more motion in their offense without Harden on the floor. Except for Capela, who is looking for lobs, the rest stand around the 3-pt line and wait to see if Harden will pass out to them on his drives. It really is boring to watch at times. Yet, you can’t complain about the results up to this point.
During this 4th quarter break… thinking about your Horford comment. Ainge would be an idiot to let Horford go. No way.
Not a blowout. Gordon was huge.
Durant with 37. I have him at #7 best all time NBA. Is he better than Bird and Magic though? I don’t think so but 37 against this team? Got me thinking. Thirty frickin seven?
Let KD get some more titles before we talk about him being better than Bird and Magic. KD may be the best all-around player of the three, but titles mean a lot to me in overall evaluations. KD only has 1 title so far. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t end up with at least 3, if not more. If so, I’d move him up the all-time ranking list.
Had to shut off TNT right after the game. How can anybody who’s followed and played the game think it will be a sweep? That’s nuts. The Warriors play almost flawlessly with Durant having a game for the ages, and the Rockets were still within striking distance until the final 3 minutes. I’d be very surprised to see the Rockets in the same position next game down the stretch.
Draymond played 37 minutes and ended with 3 fouls. Capela played 30 minutes and had 0 fouls. I don’t see how D’Antoni’s game plan could involve such delicate execution on the block. What do they say? “It’s all about adjustments.”
BTW – I think the earlier comments about iso ball were correct for last night’s game. Harden did have 7 assists but could have been looking for Tucker and Capela more often early in the game. Mbah a Moute was horrible during key stretches – not sure the game plan should be to count on him as some sort of sharp shooter. Can he frickin drive and create contact? It looked like pussy-ball out there at times.
Yeah, I laughed at the sweep talk after the game. I would almost bet on the Rockets winning game 2 and would assume they will make adjustments on the usual iso game plan. Eric Gordon said afterwards that you can’t play iso ball like that against a great defensive team like the Warriors. However, it is D’Antoni we’re talking about, so maybe he’ll do something stupid again like have Capela on the bench for a significant of the 4th quarter. That dumbfounded me to see Capela on the bench somewhere around the 5 minutes left mark of the 4th. Both Mbah a Moute and Tucker have a reasonable shooting % from the 3-pt line, but neither looked good shooting last night. Gotta wonder if that will make Harden and Paul question whether to pass to them.
Some thoughts on last night’s game as tonight’s Cavs-Celts game is starting…
Dubs had KD guarding Harden, but the Rockets were always working to get Curry (or Looney when he was in the game) on Harden on a swtch. Clearly, the Rockets feel that Harden going against Curry (or Looney) is a good match-up and Harden torched his defenders for 41 points, but I don’t think Harden’s shooting percentages (.583 FG%, .556 3PT%) will remain that high. Assuming some regression to his season mean (.449 FG%, .367 3PT%), that is a fairly significant reduction in points for the Rockets unless others pick up the slack. Of course that means getting others involved in the offense, which didn’t happen much in game 1.
I will not be surprised to see Looney start game 2. When he came into the game, the Dubs were down 12-4 and proceeded to get right back into it. His numbers don’t look like much for the game, but his +/- for the game was outstanding. Dubs need his defense and length on the floor.
I think the Dubs’ defense got 3 or 4 shot clock violations out of the Rockets last night. That is pretty surprising because the Rockets typically get shots off pretty quickly. It seemed that the Rockets were getting their shots off late in the 24-second clock frequently. Given the lack of movement in their offense while players wait for Harden or Paul to create something, it looked like just a lot of standing around by their team on offense. That seems particularly strange for a D’Antoni team.
So the awoods theme to some extent is the D’Antoni game plan vs. what the players choose to do? I know you don’t mean that, but consider how many times you’ve said that about the Warriors players v Kerr since Kerr started.
I’m guessing you said or thought that ZERO times.
So something isn’t right, and I doubt it’s D’Antoni. Capela on the bench when it really matters? Yeah, that’s telling that Houston has a problem. Capela 0 fouls???
Why not start Capela off defending in KD’s face. Get a few fouls. Do a Barkely and get physical. “Knock him down”.
I thought the Harden FG% comment was interesting. I don’t see it changing at all, but the 7 assists is too low. Move that ball!
I’ll start the NBA offseason blog soon, but for now I think it makes a ton of sense for the Suns to play this as if the only player they want is Doncic when they actually want Ayton. See where that leads them. I’m guessing some team out there really really wants Doncic and is willing to do a lot to get him.
gotta say I’m nauseated by the amount of praise Mark Jackson gives Lue. At the beginning of game 2 Celts v Cavs he put Lue in the same category as Brad Stevens. There is no metric, observation or objective argument that gets Lue even close to the same level as Stevens.
Pretty typical of former coaches turned announcers. They always fawn over current coaches.
Cavs just looked old tonight. Of course, they are pretty old. Cavs ran out of steam in the 2nd half.
I think you’re right, LeBron is gone after the season. No way that whoever the Cavs draft at #8 (Trae Young?) is going to convince LBJ to stay.
I think it’s well past time for this question: “Just what is it that makes teams let down when they have an advantage?”
Now that sports betting has been legalized at the state level, this is the kind of thing that I’d like to include in my future sports betting franchise. When I’m ready to make the big bucks I’ll propose my answers to this question, and then we’ll see what the final vote is. What answers get the most votes? You bet on the right answer or answers and you make money. Here are my answers…
1. Lack of attention to detail.
2. opponent is more focused and NEEDY for a win
3. Less willingness to put in the physical effort
4. False confidence that if you’re better you don’t need to prove it
I think I can list at least 3 more but I’m watching this game. Warriors are the better team IMO because their display in the first game was so much better than anything happening tonight. But it seems that even if they try desperately to play like they did last game, they wouldn’t be able to. Why?
Because the Warriors don’t have P.J. Tucker
Instead they have Swaggy P. Agreed – enormous difference.
Probably a combination of all those and other factors.
An addendum to the “is Curry hurt” issue. While I don’t think the knee is still hurt, he is only 5 games back after 6 weeks off because of the knee injury. He was probably unable to do all the normal conditioning work that he would do while he was out and may not be in tip top shape. Shooting from long range would, I think, be affected by conditioning, particularly where Harden and Paul are running Curry into the ground trying to defend them. May be why Curry seems to doing a lot more driving to the hoop than usual.
Can’t wait for game 3. I’m expecting a huge blowout and outstanding performances by all the all stars on both teams. Would *not* want to be a Houston fan after this next one.
Can i get some opinions on the play of Capela last game? Did it seem smash-mouth enough? I know there were some great sequences where he came way out on Durant. Other than that?
Embarrassed to admit I didn’t watch much of that game:-(
The biggest take away I had about Capela last game is that he is a lousy free throw shooter. Makes a little more sense that D’Antoni keeps him on the bench in crunch time, otherwise a hack-a-Clint strategy would be employed. Other than, I barely noticed him in the last game. I checked the stats and he had 10 rebounds, but I honestly didn’t notice him that much. He seemed to have a bigger impact in game 1 when he was blocking some shots.
OK. For some reason the only things I heard about that game afterwards were Tucker’s amazing game and Capela’s answer to the wake up call vs. Durant.
Durant had 38 points in the game, so I wonder what the “wake up call” was. KD only had 3 rebounds, so maybe Capela did a better job boxing him out.
that’s why i asked;-)
BAM. I got this …
Capela to the Suns. What could be more obvious? No question Rockets lose this series and the main problem? Capela is undeveloped. That’s what I see. Too young. Too undeveloped. At age 24 he FRICKIN belongs on the Phoenix Suns.
OK, so how to get him? Well, the first thing is to NOT draft Ayton. Trade that #1. But not for Doncic. Team needs a PG, but the team has arguably one of the top 2 shooters in the league, and one that is developing his ability to see the floor and drive to the basket. Speckle guys around Book. Suns have 3 draft picks first round. One can be used for someone like Trae Young or DeVincenzo or Brunson. CANNOT go wrong with any one of those guys. But that would be the second pick. Get Capela somehow. 3 way trade for that first pick. Whatever it takes.
I wonder why the Suns would do that. Capela is a free agent at the end of this season, who will get a huge raise from his current $2.3 million salary. If you are the Suns, do you want Capela on a (guessing here) $14 mil per year contract or Ayton, who looks to be a far more complete (shooting and ball-handling wise) player than Capela, on a 4 year rookie scale contract. That’s a no-brainer for me. If I’m the Suns, I take Ayton.
As for last night’s game, I was confused about why the Rockets went back to their iso heavy offense that failed in game 1 after having so much success with the increased ball movement in game 2. Even Sir Chuck recognized it when he repeatedly asked why Harden and Paul were waiting so long in the shot clock before attacking the basket. If the Rockets cannot get back to their game 2 style of play, they are cooked.
This play from the game got a lot of airplay during and after the game and on the internet thereafter.
It really shouldn’t have surprised anyone because Harden is such a lousy defender, but Livingston really made him look like a fool on the play.
Granted I don’t know the numbers, but the reasoning goes as follows …
Suns have already stated they could trade the pick for vets. The problem with keeping Ayton is you add one very good if not great player to a team that needs a heck of a lot more to get it into the playoffs in the next 3 years.
Capela at $14 million – that’s chump change! Think of this guy as the 4th best player on your team. At that salary, judging by what I’m seeing during this breakout year he becomes a much better player and soon. Do the Rockets want to wait on him? Can they afford him?
Let’s say the Suns get one of the PGs I’ve mentioned, or let’s say the do a trade for one in the mold of a Rozier. I’d consider that to be another $14-$18 million contract. You could also call that guy one of top 4 best players. But what’s missing is someone who can bring it all together. So when I say trade the #1 I mean whatever it takes to get Capela and someone. Someone like Paul George for instance, though I know George is a FA.
If I thought Ayton was going to do a Duncan on the Suns and raise their winning % by 150% in the next couple years I’d agree with you. I just think it’ll take a heck of a lot more for them to start winning. Now, having said all that …
I think a much more sensible route for the Suns, since I believe they have 3 first rounders, is to trade some talent as well as their first two picks to end up with something like a #4 and a #6 pick in this draft. From what I’m hearing those would be two outstanding players.
That Livingston play got a lot of airtime at my place this morning as well;-)
My guess is that, like last year, Harden has given up again and the entire team is feeling the let down on both ends. Given all the talk about Chris Paul’s demeanor according to other teammates, I wouldn’t be surprised if Paul is starting to become less than the great team mate people have been saying he’s been this year.
A better way to state my opinion on keeping the #1 pick: look at the Wolves. A lot of things have fallen in their laps, specifically the drafting of Towns and the incredibly lucky trade for Butler. They look to me be primed for about 10 years straight of 5-8 playoff seeds a la the Memphis Grizzlies. Those pieces just aren’t working, and the contrast between that young team and the team in Boston is nauseating.I don’t see how you build a team with the kind of personnel needed by starting this year with Ayton who may be no better than Towns.
While you can never be sure if a draft pick will fit in well, the Suns are going to be building for a few more years, so I still think Ayton makes a great deal more sense for them than Capela. Also, Capela is currently the third best player on the Rockets, so they can’t afford to let him go (and can pay him more than anyone else). However, I have read the rumors that the Suns may be willing to trade the pick. My guess is that they are looking to switch with the Kings, so the Kings get Ayton and the Suns get Doncic.
Just to be clear (since i know you’re not feeling well), the idea is a 3 way deal in which the Suns give up the #1 as well as another talent (Bender typically comes up here), to get at TWO players. Capela would be the lesser of the two. Maybe someone like Miles Turner. I don’t know.
The reason I think Houston might entertain getting rid of Capela is that he looks to me to be at least 2 more years away from where they need him to be right now for a 3rd best player. I don’t think there’s an issue with Houston getting rid of him. I think the problem is decided who to replace him with.
Gotta hand it to the Rockets, the played poorly in the 1st and 3rd quarters, but kept it together and put together great 2nd and 4th quarters. Really impressed by their defense tonight. And they started attacking the basket early in the shot clock again (like in game 2), so that if they passed out of that attack, they had time for good ball movement to develop good shots. We’ve got a series again.
I’m putting this one on Kerr. Easy to do in retrospect, but that’s what I’m going to do using my perfect hindsight;-)
I don’t know Durant well at all, but Kerr should know him by now. I would never have expected him to give up the ball as much as he did that game. We can discuss that last play over and over, but from where I sat that last play was the result of a beaten up and down KD. Regardless of what really happened or even what I think happened, this is what I was thinking on multiple plays that were designed for KD to handle the ball from 40 feet out drawing the defense out as far as possible to begin the ball movement with about 18 secs left on the shot clock on those possessions …
First, I assumed that every one of those plays were designed such that, *unless* Curry had the open look or the ball could be entered deeply for a high % shot at the rim, the ball should always end up in Durant’s hands in the high or medium post so he could do what he does. Instead I saw the ball move quickly from inside out and around to Thompson or Curry late in the clock when they were contested. Whatever it was designed to be, the result ended up being that KD was taken OUT of the play.
Second, Tucker’s presence (I won’t even call it defense – it was more like his ever-present energy, quick thinking, movement, conditioning and strength) did something critically game altering to the Dub’s game plan. Do we have to describe it with just one word? If so I’ll go with “frustrated”.
I’m frustrated by what he did. Imagine what KD was going through. Is he the “KD Stopper”? No frickin way. That cannot exist. I doubt even Tucker thinks it’s possible. Am I concerned?
My biggest concern is that KD comes out next game and scores 38 on 14-35 shooting. So no, you can’t stop him but if you piss him off enough in the most important game of his life?
14-35 would suck unless he can get to the line at least 10 times and get Tucker and Paul in foul trouble.
Of course everyone in the Bay Area wants Steph and Klay and Iggy to bail out KD next game. But for that to happen, KD needs to take less than say … 22 shots. I don’t see that happening.
I wonder what Kerr is thinking right now.
Danny Ainge is so obviously the best GM ever. Or at least on the same level as Jerry West front-office-wise when it comes to results. No way I bet against him. Kevin Love’s absence almost certainly means that LeBrons run is over and that he will go to another team from 2018 on. I cannot see a Cavs win tonight unless LeBron posts up more than 50% of the time. But he wont. And i dont understand why. And that means he loses tonight.
You may have spoken too soon. 3 minutes left and Cavs up 3. Celtics can’t shoot from long range it seems.
i don’t believe it. I’m looking at the score and i don’t believe it. how can he be THAT good?
is this real?
box score shows Cavs had a terrible game. i just don’t understand this win.
other than to present evidence that Celtics’ stats look as bad as anything I’ve ever seen from a “good” team in the conference finals. weird all the way around.
Yep, seemed like I watching missed shots all game long. Celtics were 7 for 39 from 3-pt range. That is totally unacceptable in a series-deciding game. The Cavs were not much better from long range, but they had LBJ continually attacking the basket. Tatum was the only one doing that for the Celtics, but he’s not nearly as good at it. Simply put, the Celtics were too green for this game. They’ll be back and better next year, both with the experience and with Kyrie and Hayward back.
They kept replaying the LeBron block of Rozier late in the game. How was that anything other than a foul? LeBron got a little ball and a lot of hand. None of the announcers even said anything about the fact that it was a foul. If refs call the foul and Rozier makes the 2 shots, maybe the Celtics get a little momentum and aren’t throwing up desperate 3s at the end.
I guess we should expect the same ugliness tomorrow night as well. I’m annoyed even considering that Iggy may not play. Really irks me when it comes to bone bruises which I understand completely. GET THE FUCK OUT THERE IG!
Apparently Looney (some issue with his left big toe) is questionable as well. Guessing we’ll see a lot of Jordan Bell.
Update, Looney probable for tonight’s game and Iggy out for it. Chris Paul is also listed as questionable for the Rockets.
Ultimately, without Chris Paul, the Rockets didn’t have a deep enough bench to compete with the Warriors. They actually only played 6 guys tonight. Green, Tucker, Ariza, Gordon, and even Harden aren’t used to those kinds of minutes and they looked like they didn’t have the legs in the 2nd half for their shots or for playing defense.
No question the Dubs picked up the pace half way through the 3rd all the way til the end. I’ve seen it all too often, so seems doubtful Houston’s lack of energy had anything to do with the Warrior’s rejuvenation. I doubt Houston could have done anything to stop that offense, but quite possible they could have gotten back to their 2nd quarter offense which was amazing. If so that would need to have been against a much faster and more attentive Dubs defense than was present in the 2nd Q. Unlikely.
Draymond Green to ESPN on spraining his right ankle: “I told Chelsea (trainer) during the game I rolled my ankle badly and I don’t feel a thing right now. I know it was the adrenaline. After the game, wooooo. I’ll be good though.”
The Rockets were playing relentless defense in the first half, which resulted in steals and forced turnovers. You and I texted that it looked like the Rockets wanted it more. The Rockets couldn’t keep up that defensive pace in the second half. Yes, the Warriors picked things up in the third quarter as they have all season long. Would it have happened if the Rockets weren’t so tired? Maybe. The Warriors are that good after all. But it sure helped that they didn’t face the defensive pressure they faced in the first half and that the Rockets were missing so many shots (27 straight missed 3s!), which allowed the Dubs to push the fast break more.
Blame falls on D’Antoni here. You’ve got to get your starters some rest. You may not trust Ryan Anderson, Joe Johnson, Nene, and Luc Mbah a Moute, but get them in there for 5-7 minutes each, so your starters don’t tire out so much. You can’t have Ariza, Tucker, Capela, and Gordon playing 40+ minutes and expect them to play relentless defense like they did in the first half for the whole game, nor can you expect them to continue hitting 3s when their legs get tired. These guys average 31 minutes or less per game this season (except for Ariza at nearly 34 mpg). And it wasn’t just game 7 for the increased minutes. It was the whole series.
Remember the Rockets also played an iso offense all season that didn’t require a whole lot of running on offense (except for Harden and Paul) and didn’t play that relentless defense much this season either. The Warriors do a lot of running on offense and switching on defense, so they were used to that pace. Rockets couldn’t keep that pace up with such a short rotation.
Many good points – there is no cut n dried here. My takeaway is what I saw last night going from 2nd quarter into the 3rd. I see this in almost every warriors game against good opponents. Or maybe I should say I *think* this in the 2nd quarter: they clearly aren’t moving as fast as I know they can and as much as I expect them to in the 3rd quarter. Not as quick to the ball. Not as quick to box out. Not as urgent. Last night I thought the exact same thing, but it was even clearer to me: houston’s greater urgency resembled what i’m used to seeing of the Warriors in the 3rd and 4th. So my thought was that either the Warriors were tired for some bizarre reason or that everything will change in the 3rd, and not because of the opponent. Because that’s what they do. So, do I think that’s part of the game plan? Yes. I do. Because it happens so consistently. It’s the same difference that I expected between regular season and playoffs. I think it’s intentional – yes.
I’ve been listening to sports radio for the last 2 hours. At one point I had to think hard about how much I drank last night, because what I was hearing didn’t sound anything at all like commentary of the game I saw last night.According to everyone on the radio the Warriors were nothing but LUCKY. Whooaaa. Not what I saw at all. Like you, I saw poor coaching on D’Antoni’s part. Sure the team as a whole missed all those 3 pointers, but let’s stick with Ariza for a moment. Just Ariza. Since when is he completely incapable of taking the ball inside and making quick smart decisions? Isn’t that what capable guys do when they’re missing their shots? They played the Gerald Green card and it didn’t last long. They played the Eric Gordon card and I thought his entire game was brilliant except for the 3 pt shooting on this night. Does that make the Warriors lucky or Houston stupid for not relying more on Gordon’s awesome playmaking. I figure D’Antoni can find other ways of getting Ariza and Gordon involved, so in both those cases I say bad job D’Antoni. On the other hand I don’t see how D’Antoni can stop Harden from playing lazy-ball.
I don’t think the Warriors were lucky at all. I think they sent D’Antoni all the signs to question whether all those 2nd quarter ally-oops to Capela would keep happening. Doesn’t mean they couldn’t have kept trying to break down the Dubs defense with that kind of penetration, but to say the Warriors were lucky that Houston didn’t try? I think that assumes the Dubs were going to play that the same way they had earlier. What I saw was emphasis on *dis-allowing* that kind of waltzing into the lane no-contact ball. Are the Warriors lucky that they were able to turn up almost every single facet of their game after the half? Were they lucky that Curry was able to put on his amazing show inside against an awesome and fast defensive team? And if Houston was getting tired, were the Warriors lucky that it was *their* intensity that was directly responsible for Houston’s loss of edge?
I left the radio on just long enough after turning it off twice to catch Charles Barkley making the only sensible points I’ve heard all day. This is what the Warriors do. As bad as these games have been aesthetically the Warriors have Klay, they have Curry and they have Durant to cleanup. Curry led that team as everyone should have expected him to. If Paul can have the game of his fricking life in game 5 why not expect Curry to put on a show at some point in the series? What a luxury for Curry to know he can go nuts the way he did knowing full well it would fire up his teammates, one of which was all ready to be the player he is when it’s his turn to be so: Durant absolutely killed the Rockets in the fourth. Nothing lucky about that. It’s what he does. The whole thing is what everyone should be used to by now. That Warriors haters want to call it lucky is nothing but poor sportsmanship in my opinion.
Somehow I can’t get over the whole “Warriors got lucky” comments. I forget in exactly which games it happened, but I know it happened in the 5th game where Durant was constantly trying to make those panic passes inside 18 feet. So what about that? If I’m a Rockets hater then do I claim the Rockets got lucky in that game and in the other one where the same thing happened? Lucky that Kerr kept relying on Durant to play PG in ways he had no business doing? Lucky that Durant somehow was out of touch with the usual game plan that night? Lucky that Durant didn’t just pull up and shoot shoot shoot?
Convenient to go with the lowest energy thought process. In this case that’s the one that makes you feel best about your team and therefore yourself. There’s no doubt that luck is involved with getting back to the finals 4 straight years, but I think history will show that the Warriors luck is keeping Steph, Klay, Kevin and Dray healthy enough when it really matters. So they lost Chris Paul. But Chris Paul was healthy as can be in games 1 and 3. They lost both of those and barely squeaked by in game 4. Ridiculous way to deal with a loss. Get over it and come back next year.
Again, I’ll start the postseason Draft & Free Agency forum soon. Before then I think an important point to be made: DiVincenzo had an absolutely awesome showing at combines. I think that’s what they’re called. Dude is a PG and is ready for prime time. Apparently that word is out.
Could be a top 10 pick but I doubt it. That’s a big chance to take. I’d like to see him end up on the Suns. I’ve mentioned Brunson as a Suns’ pick but that’s because I forgot about “chenzo”. It’s worth the gamble. It may be worth trading the first pick to ensure Doncic, DiV and someone else. Ayton is worth someone else in addition to those two I think. At this point no idea who. I’m giving up on the whole Capela thing – as badly as D’Antoni coached that last game there’s no way he’s dumb enough to part with Capela who is clearly improving.
Strange stuff out of Philly today. It’s being reported that Bryan Colangelo used fake Twitter accounts to leak info about the 76ers, talk crap about his team’s players and other GMs. Colangelo denied saying anything on Twitter, but admitted he used one of the accounts to “monitor” info on Twitter. Joel Embiid said he talked with Colangelo and that he would believe his denial for now, but that if it was proved true, it was very bad for the team. Not a good look for a team that may be looking to attract a big name in free agency this summer.
Bad for basketball. I just sent this to a grade school friend. We both went to school with Bryan’s sister. You might remember I told you I dated her …
if I cared enough then I’d contact Kriss and tell her I’m taking credit for all those accounts. reasonable considering who i am: a nutty NBA fan who is also a computer guy who has a history of not-so-nice social media content.
bryan and I get in touch. we figure this out. i wouldn’t need to work another day in my life;-)
of course, proof of this email kind of kills all of that. damn.
Back to the upcoming offseason. You mentioned a potential trade Kings-Suns swapping the #1 and #2. I’d like to see WCS come out of that trade. Maybe sprinkle in Vince Carter as a good vet presence for Doncic.
WCS would be a good get and the Kings wouldn’t necessarily need him if drafting Ayton. I was suggesting Bogdanovich because he is a Serbian like the new coach and a player that could speak the same language as Doncic (Serbian and Slovenian are close languages). Carter is a free agent, so if he is interested in playing another year, he can sign with anyone. I think he signed with Sacto last year because they offered the most money. The Suns could easily do that this year if they want his veteran presence.
Yes, I was considering your Bog option. It’s just that Suns really need that mobile big man to run the floor with … consider the speed of that lineup: Booker, Doncic, DiVincenzo, Jackson or Warren. Pretty small though.
Elhassen rules. Worth reading this …
There’s the argument for why the Kings won’t make the trade, even if they may be leaning toward wanting Ayton. They’re sitting at #2, so know they at least get either Doncic or Ayton. They gotta figure the Suns may be leaning toward Doncic given their head coach selection. So why give up anything at all in order to draft Ayton? And if the Suns do draft Ayton, the Kings get Doncic, who might like playing with Bogdanovich, if there is any worry that Doncic won’t sign and stay with Real Madrid instead.
As for tonight, Iggy ruled out again, but Kevin Love has cleared concussion protocol and will play.
If the Suns keep #1 they’ll take Ayton. I have no doubt about that at all.
Now, regarding tonight …
I can’t explain why but I was certain the Warriors were going to blow out the Rockets in game #1. I really didn’t have many doubts. It was an easy call.
I don’t know what will happen tonight. I’m not worried about any one or two or three players from Cavs, but I know that this team is way more prepared physically than last years Cavs who (cept from LeBron) seemed slow and out of shape. I know that won’t be the case this series because that’s what beat the Celtics. Some really quick-to-the-ball movement by the supporting cast.
Tristan Thompson and Korver are notable here. Fricking veterans! Love looks like he’s been in great shape. No way I predict a Cavs win tonight, but I can see at least one very challenging quarter for the Warriors.
So far, you’re spot on. Cavs are making good use of their size on both ends of the court and are working hard. They are not going to be pushovers.
LeBron James. Better than Magic. Better than Bird. Top 3 player all time with Jordan and Wilt. That they play different positions … take your pick for GOAT.
LOL. I got so caught up in that thought I left out Kareem! That’s the effect LeBron is having on me.
TOP 4. Apologies to the Sky Hooker!
I’ll say it…the Warriors got lucky tonight. I’m still not sure how the charge on Durant near the end got changed to a blocking foul on LBJ. I was under the impression that officials could not overturn a judgment call on review. And JR Smith’s brain freeze at the end of regulation. Cavs could have gotten a shot up to potentially win the game. At least the Warriors made it a no-brainer in overtime.
LBJ was phenomenal. Dubs are gonna have to figure how to defend him better.
I appear to be the only who doesn’t care at all about the charge reversal, and I actually wanted LeBron to win. Both in fast motion and slow I call that a block. Given that it could go either way, a no call would have been fine with me as well (though not possible with so much contact). Maybe the rule should be revised so that both players get to shoot.
No doubt the Warriors got really lucky. The JR thing but also I thought a couple calls earlier that went the Warriors way. Still, Thompson gets ejected and the Cavs go into OT without him. They could have won in OT. Instead they got killed. Curry played like superman again. Lucky or not, anyone who says the Cavs were the better team last night didn’t watch the game. It could have gone (and did go) either way. One team has to win. I wish it had been the Cavs, but for the Warriors to keep it close enough against such an amazing performance … that’s what they do, right?
As to the Steve Jaffe explanation of the charge v no-charge: I had no idea what he was talking about then and I still don’t understand. He said he watches the feet and if they’re set at the time the offensive player is in the air … etc etc. How is that a good explanation? What if LeBron lowered his shoulder into KD’s gut even though his feet were set perfectly?
Both in slow motion and fast I saw LeBron’s left shoulder still moving in a direction TOWARD KD. That’s always been a block, and not because his shoulder was moving but because the offensive player needs to be allowed his offensive space. In this case LeBron’s shoulder encroached on that space. It seemed like a really easy call to me, and that leads to the next thing …
KD had an awesome explanation afterwards. He said he knew about the possibility of a review of a charge/block at that point of the game, and apparently that gave him some confidence on that drive. Now, the refs should also know they can review. So given the history of charge calls, it’s way more likely in cases like this that the defensive player didn’t get there in time. So why not call a block instead knowing it can be reviewed? It’s a much safer call by the refs there.
I like that it was reviewed. I like that the correct call was made eventually. I think there would be almost no whining at all if it had been called a block, reviewed and then the block upheld. It’s clear to me the problem is that people are often biased against calls that seem to intentionally go against them. “Seem to” doesn’t mean much of anything here from an objective standpoint.
Regarding the JR screwup, I actually understand it. I’ve wondered why things like that don’t happen more often. IMO it’s nothing at all like Webber’s bone headed timeout, or a dozen other idiocies I’ve seen over the years.
Consider what went down during those final seconds as Hill gets to the FT line. Cavs are playing out of their minds and against all odds have a really good chance to win the game. Incredible to be in that moment – one that happened because you played your asses off. JR Smith was a huge part of that. So what are the most important things on your mind?
1) grab the rebound if there’s a miss
2) if it’s a make get ready for a long pass. plenty of time. DON’T FOUL
3) if it’s a miss and you don’t get the rebound don’t foul but play the best defense of your life. get ready to prevent a half-court pass. stay in front of your man. if a pass is outlet sprint like hell to the other end.
4) don’t foul! don’t foul! don’t foul!
At best deciding what to do with the ball once you secure the rebound is a very distant 5th. You are out of danger!
I’ve been in situations like that before where I was winded and unable to think clearly. If I had ended up with the rebound like he did I would have been elated. He must have felt great about it. It probably felt like he had won.
Warriors: best teamwork. most disciplined players on average. best example of unselfish play on both ends. best prepared. best physically. most experienced.
Why wouldn’t that be the team that wins at the end of weird games? Why wouldn’t that be the team that capitalizes most on lucky circumstances?
OK. Here goes. This is a fun one …
How many people would be terribly upset if game 1 was played all over again. Or rather, if we just called it 0-0 before tomorrow’s tipoff?
I’m guessing some of the Warriors’ players would be totally pissed. I’m sure at least a few hundred thousand Warriors’ fans would be incensed. But isn’t that about it? I’d frickin love it. I doubt Kerr would get that worked up, even though he might act worked up. I think it would be awesome since the alternative, outright reversing the win and giving it to the Cavs, is unconscionable and stupid and unjust. But a replay? It would send Adam Silver down in history as simply frickin awesome even if it was illegal. Who cares about illegal? No way the players union utters a peep.
This article just isn’t a good look for the league at all. I say REPLAY!!
Stephen Curry is also leapfrogging a few players in my top 20 list. There will always be the question about how he could get enough space to operate in other eras, but the notable exceptions appear to betray that doubt: Cousy and Isaiah for instance. As if Cousy never made shots within 18 feet or drove to the basket. How do these two compare to Curry? Favorably. Significantly. How does Curry compare to them? Same thing.
There’s no way to conduct the “time machine experiment” and take Curry back to whenever. But if there was a short list of guys I’d want to take back this is one of them. He doesn’t need to palm the ball. He doesn’t need to travel. He just figures things out and, as often as any smart player that’s ever played, does the right thing quickly.
No question Curry is in the same category as all the greatest brains in the history of the NBA: Cousy, Bird, Magic, Nash, LeBron.
I’m not including The Big O. Curry is so much more than Oscar even without the dominating size and strength. There is no question IMO that Curry is better than Oscar Robertson in any era as a PG. Sure I’d love to see them play together. My guess is that even if the strategy was to post O against Curry every time no doubt O would get his. And Curry would still destroy him in every other way.
I say Curry is at #11 all time at worst just behind Duncan and then Hakeem. I don’t see any competition for this spot.
Damn. Next game is Sunday not tomorrow (Saturday).
at 7:40 and 7:53 of the following video. these are among the best offensive SHIT I’ve ever seen. that they were back to back freaks me out.
at the 7:53 mark I’m not sure I even get it. sure, KD relaxes a bit going to his left. I’m sure he’s tired. but isn’t LeBron tired? Has he been waiting for this exact moment all game long? The reaction time is freaky for someone who carries 260+ lbs with him at full speed all game long. That right foot plant at 7:53 of this vid.
Should Dray have “knocked him down” as Charles suggests? Would Charles have taken him out? Is there enough time to think?
Going back to the JR Smith play at the end of regulation in Game 1….
Watch KD on the second George Hill free throw. It looks like he just assumed the ball would go in and he makes little effort to get the rebound or block out JR Smith. If he blocks out Smith and jumps for the ball, he gets the rebound easy and nobody is talking about Smith blowing the game. The Dubs would then call time out and design a play to possibly win the game in regulation.
Ha. Good one!
All of this is looking like the perfect setup for tonight’s game. Warriors are the better team and absolutely should be up 2-0. That the Cavs even had a chance in Oakland was an amazing feat. That game alone thrust LeBron into rarefied air and gave notice that one guy actually CAN beat one of the best teams ever. Only Wilt could have come close to that performance, or Jordan if he needed to (without Grant and Pippen available for instance). So now that one guy and his teammates have everything they need confidence and urgency wise. If they can win one in Cleveland they can win another.
Get ready for another ridiculous performance. We’ve seen the Warriors get out-hustled and knocked around enough to lose rhythm for entire quarters at a time. If they win tonight, a game they don’t really need, under the kind of pressure they’ll be up against and with refs that can’t help but be more “humane” then that may be just as impressive if not more-so.
It appears that the Cavs don’t even make the pretense of utilizing a PG anymore. Their offense is simply get the ball to LeBron, get the Dubs defense to switch Curry or Looney or McGee onto him, and let LBJ drive the lane and either shoot or dish when the inevitable double team comes over to him (or allow him to hoist the occasional 3-pt shot). And really, how can you blame them given how poor his support has been. If Iggy plays tonight as is expected, the Dubs will have their best defender against LBJ, but not sure how much that means when the Cavs will simply screen Iggy off of LeBron. I’d actually like to see the Warriors defense experiment with fighting through screens instead of automatically switching.
And that is why the Dubs wanted KD. When Steph & Klay are struggling from the field, you just cannot contain KD.
Bryan Colangelo out in Philly. I don’t know that I buy that it was Colangelo’s wife running the fake Twitter accounts that denigrated 76ers players and released private medical information, but either way, it was pretty clear that Colangelo had to go. Seems unlikely he will get another NBA job.
I buy it, but might change my mind if she doesn’t issue a statement to that effect soon.
and i get some (definitely not all) of bryan’s statement. he’s pissed off, and I think anyone would be. there was absolutely no reason for this story to ever go public except for one which i expand on below. this should have been The Ringer going straight the sixers org professionally. only then and only if it wasn’t handled well (i.e. with Colangelo’s departure) then it could have gone public. pre-2018 these types of things were handled with a quick and easy statement from Bryan “stepping down for personal reasons”. unfortunately he had no way of doing that. no way of doing what people have done pre NOW. It’s a fairly significant condemnation of social media. Advice, especially for twitter users but certainly facebook and instagram users as well: tread extremely lightly!
so why was this such an incredibly public story? there has to be a good reason. what’s the point otherwise, since the writer hasn’t come out to say much. it’s not like he or The Ringer are trying to be discovered. It was proposed today on Sirius XM that a possible reason for the public report is backlash over the Hinkie firing. I heard that there are many many Hinkie fans in the Philly area still and they’ve been pissed since his firing. It may not be that, but could be something similar. It’s shitty as hell journalism no matter how you look at it. Right up there with the Kerry Swift Boat B.S.
To take that one step further, I’ve heard speculation that Hinkie was behind the anonymous tip that got The Ringer onto this story. Hinkie couldn’t be happy that he guided the Sixers through the “Process”, only to get dumped as it was coming to fruition.
Not sure what you mean about the way The Ringer handled it. They are professional journalists who reported the hell out of the story. They sought and received some comment from the Sixers and Colangelo before they published it. Are you saying that the journalists should have turned over their findings to the 76ers and see how they handled it first and not published the story if the 76ers handled it the right way? No journalist would do that. This story was about the team’s general manager using fake Twitter accounts to publicly denigrate his own players and release private medical information about those players. That is a big story and an accurate one, regardless of whether it was Colangelo or his wife doing the tweeting (if the wife, the only place she got such info was from Colangelo). The Ringer absolutely did the right thing reporting the story.
I strongly disagree. They’re like kids playing with fire. Anyone can get their lives ruined by throwing around sloppy accusations which I believe is exactly what this is/was. I believe Colangelo got screwed by his wife unintentionally, and yes I definitely believe he should pay for having the bad judgement to marry her or leave things around she could get into. But to have his entire career ruined because of THIS kind of mistake? No – I think that was sloppy of The Ringer at best. I think they should have seen how it shook out knowing there was/is a chance he may not have had clue about what was going on. Even if you don’t believe that, I feel strongly he deserves the benefit of the doubt. Instead the court of social media opinion is casting a powerful and likely indelible vote. That’s too powerful a force to play around with. I consider it irresponsible of The Ringer.
So yes, I think you’re wrong. I think a LOT of reporters would wait to make sure they aren’t ruining someone’s life just because they’re allowed to jump the gun. In my opinion, if it WAS good reporting they would have begun with the strong hint that these were his wife’s accounts and backed it up with something solid.
It’s 2018 and way too many moving parts which I think is clearly the case here. They thought they had everything they needed to make a responsible decision upon reporting it publicly, and yet I feel they missed something crucial. I definitely think they blew it. I think it’s the kind of thing that can be twisted and turned around enough so that the “facts” of almost anyone’s life can look different than they actually are. Once a story is out there, whatever it is, lives can be ruined.
Heck, I’ll state this more strongly even. From the moment I heard this story it smelled of either revenge or bad journalism. Why? Because the facts were half baked. Burner accounts “linked” to Colangelo? As soon as I heard that phrase I thought “could be one of 20 people”. Why write such a story until you know just how much Bryan was personally responsible if at all, especially KNOWING that if he wasn’t directly involved you were about to ruin him and his family. That’s exactly what they did. I think it’s horrible and sets a really horrible precedent for journalism everywhere.
I re-read the original article. I do not like the journalism here, if that’s what it’s called. Detrick writes …
“You can draw your own conclusions from the two exchanges: Not only did the Sixers confirm that Colangelo was the owner of one of the five accounts in question, but the three that were not mentioned simultaneously went dark shortly after he was told of The Ringer’s inquiry.”
If that was all the story was, then why the need to break it publicly that day, knowing that it requires some conclusion drawing? Detrick alludes to the fact that we don’t know yet. The bottom of this paragraph continues as does the rest of the article with a strong insinuation that the accounts going dark were directly Colangelo’s doing.
The entire article after this runs with that conjecture growing it into a firm case clearly meant to accuse BC directly, written by a reporter who admits he has been a “strident critic” of Colangelo’s hiring and performance from the beginning. The rest of the article is all about Colangelo. And then there is this:
““To me, there is no conceivable world where that is not Bryan Colangelo, himself,” the tipster told me. “Not his wife, not his son, not his dad.””
Why was it necessary to report this? Is this guy a teenager? I think this story SUCKS.
I disagree. The accounts had insider information that only 76ers personnel would have, followed other accounts that only Colangelo’s family would follow, Colangelo confirmed that one of the accounts belonged to him, and three other accounts that Colangelo was not asked about went from public to private on the same day that Colangelo was asked about two of the accounts. Investigative journalism is about connecting the dots and the dots here were damning. The story reported facts about the accounts, which, lest we forget, were true. The story made reasonable conclusions about those facts. The only potentially thing wrong in the story was that it was Colangelo’s wife, not Colangelo himself, behind the accounts.
Again, I don’t buy that Colangelo’s wife was behind the burner accounts, but she is taking the blame for them (and Colangelo totally threw her under the bus about it). Even if she was the one doing the tweeting, that means that Colangelo breached the privacy rights of 76ers players in telling his wife private medical information about the players and breached the private internal discussions of the 76ers by telling his wife about internal private trade discussions of the team.
I don’t see any reputable journalism figures stating that The Ringer’s reporting on this story was bad or premature or anything. All I see is commendations on their reporting of the story.
Let me answer the last thing you asked as well. Why did The Ringer report what the tipster told them? Because that is a fact of the story. They had to report the full details of the anonymous tip that brought them to the story. The reporter went on to admit that he may have received the anonymous tip because he had been critical of Colangelo’s moves as Philly GM and even suspected that he was being set up. It was only through the investigation that he came to believe the tip.
The circumstances that occurred after Colangelo was informed about the story lead me to the reasonable conclusion that even if Colangelo’s wife was behind the accounts, Colangelo himself knew about them. As soon as Colangelo was asked about 2 of the 5 Twitter accounts, the other three accounts essentially went dark. That smacks of Colangelo calling his wife and telling her that reporters were on to 2 of the accounts, so she needed to get rid of the other 3.
She apparently has come out to admit it, at least to the law firm. Not sure who leaked that though;-)
Hey, at least we can be civil about this argument. That’s good news I think. I may have more to write on the subject and likely will in email or a separate post.
Still, toning it down a bit, regardless of popular opinion on this issue it seems clear there’s a sharp division here. I think what bugs me most about the division is that while you and I are at odds because of strictly logical assertions, the audience here is largely made up of sports crazed nuts who fly off the handle when they “feel” a late call is somehow an attack on them. Beyond that, as Detrick’s audience is the american public he must be aware that, without coming out to claim “Bryan did it”, he sure as heck makes quite the case insinuating that point, at least in so far as his readership is concerned. Again, where is the editor to step in and remove this comment from the article:
“To me, there is no conceivable world where that is not Bryan Colangelo, himself,” the tipster told me. “Not his wife, not his son, not his dad.”
How is that news without giving even the smallest bit of credibility to the tipster’s opinions? By this point of the article anyone might have already concluded that the tipster wants Colangelo out. Adding this statement severely weakens my opinion of The Ringer’s editing capabilities.
But we have a game to get to so I’ll leave it alone for now. I’ll need to – kind of exhausted by it all. If I get stronger proof that the wife admits wrongdoing publicly, I’ll contribute that but maybe not much else, at least not here.
Yes, we can be absolutely civil in our disagreement on this, unlike much of social media arguments.
I’ve already explained above why the tipster’s statement had to be included in the story, so I won’t repeat it here.
I don’t know of any leak about the wife admitting blame. Colangelo himself admitted it in his parting statement yesterday:
“While I am grateful that the independent investigation conducted by the 76ers has confirmed that I had no knowledge of or involement in the Twitter activity conducted by my wife, I vigorously dispute the allegation that my conduct was in any way reckless. At no point did I ever purposefully or directly share any sensitive, non-public, club-related information with her. Her actions were a seriously misguided effort to publicly defend and support me, and while I recognize how inappropriate these actions were, she acted independently and without my knowledge or consent. Further, the content she shared was filled with inaccuracies and conjecture which in no way represent my own views or opinions. While this was obviously a mistake, we are a family and we will work through this together. Although I am not directly responsible for the actions, I regret this incident occurred and understand that it has become a distraction for the team. Therefore, the organization and I have mutually agreed to part ways.”
I interpret “mutually agreed to part ways” to mean, “the team said they were going to fire me unless I quit, so I decided to quit.” I wonder if the 76ers will release the results of the “independent investigation” that supposedly exonerated him and confirmed his wife as the culprit. This all smacks of a face-saving effort by all parties.
And yes, bigger things afoot, like the Warriors winning a championship tonight.
On TV after game 3 and on the radio yesterday, there was a lot said about how poorly Curry played in game 3. Curry didn’t play poorly. He shot poorly. There’s a difference. After Curry torched them for 9 threes in game 2, the Cavs made an effort to shut him down in game 3, often running a second defender at him. Curry did not get as many good looks at the basket in game 3. Despite the increased defensive pressure on him, Curry only turned the ball over twice, made some great passes, and he played good defense himself, even when he got switched onto LeBron. The only thing he didn’t do was shoot the long ball well. That happens sometimes. It doesn’t mean the Curry played poorly. When Curry did finally hit a wide open 3 toward the end of the game, the shot was set up by a great head and hand fake that caused two defenders to believe that he was about to pass the ball to Klay in the corner. Both defenders left Curry to head toward Klay and Curry then drained the 3. KD called that play the momentum changer that led to the Dubs winning the final two minutes of the game.
Not sure what the Cavs can do tonight. You can’t expect both Klay and Curry to shoot the long ball poorly again. One or both of them will explode tonight. KD has never had less than 25 points in a finals game and usually has more than 30. Bell, McGee, and Livingston are playing well in reserve roles. Iggy is back. Just don’t know what the Cavs are supposed to do to win. Perhaps a monster game from LBJ will get them a win, but this is looking like a sweep.
We’ll find out in a minute, but I don’t know how you choose between Curry and Durant for MVP. Durant had a triple-double and 3 blocks and a steal. Curry had 37 points, hit 7 3-pointers, had 3 blocks as well, and 3 steals. Both are deserving.
That MVP vote had to be a damned close one, but I agree with it. It wasn’t just KD’s blocks, but the crazy quick cat-like footwork and perfectly timed and *controlled* jumps that got him into perfect positions for phenomenal defense.
Maybe Kerr should get MVP. Or Klay. Or the whole team. Whatever it is that makes them such quick footed and 100% effort defenders is what makes them absolutely one of the greatest teams of all time. Last night I saw THE greatest team of all time, at least defensive wise. There’s no other team that, from one man to the next played that quickly and under control. Some will say those Detroit teams, and it might be close. But Mahorn and Laimbeer weren’t that quick. Going back, some guys on the 80s Celtics were similar, but not the whole team. Not Parish. Not Cedric Maxwell.
I’m sure there are volumes of arguments that it couldn’t have worked that well vs. the really big teams that grinded and pounded. Maybe, but then we come back to Durant on the floor at the same time as Hakeem or Jabbar or Wilt … he’d be needed more down low. He’s as fast or faster than Hakeem. He would have been the great equalizer on any team anytime in the past. So now throw in Klay, Dray, Iguodala (who was awesome last night) …. even a tall PG like Livingston. I don’t even think you need Steph for that right there to be an amazing team all time, because that right there is one of the most awesome defensive forces that could play in any era.
I don’t understand the point you’re making that because a fact of the story included the “no conceivable world” quote then it must have been included in the story verbatim. That’s simply not true, and would make for even more horrible journalism, forcing readers to slog through volumes of sentences and documents and leads to other documents etc. Read back through the story and you see many abbreviated “renditions” of the tipster’s info provided. Not the exact quote, but a reporting of the facts provided by the tipster. So why in the case of the “no conceivable world” quote did it need to be repeated verbatim?
If nothing else that quote is tremendously leading, certainly a powerful insinuation to many less-erudite readers that it *must* be true especially when thrown together with the rest of the story which is almost entirely about Colangelo. Leading and in no way necessary.
A better journalist would report simply that the tipster had strong feelings. A better way to incorporate that quote would have been to include mention of the tipster’s conviction within the previous paragraph:
“Eric jr’s bio describes its author as a “basketball lifer.” Its combination of tweets, retweets, and follows creates a Venn diagram that suggests one person behind the account. These connections led the tipster to believe that Colangelo himself must have been behind the accounts.”
Something like that. Instead, the inclusion of such a quote leads me to think that Detrick wasn’t just reporting but instead was making his own case against Colangelo. But it’s not an editorial is it? Or is it?
I don’t know why it’s so hard to believe that this was the wife and only the wife who clearly is at the very least a bit of a “sneak”. She got ahold of info somehow and made very stupid decisions to make her knowledge public. That’s the only thing that made sense to me from the beginning, whether it was her or a sibling or friend. It certainly looks now that this is exactly the case. It looks now like the most likely thing is what happened.
As far as this idea of Colangelo calling his wife to tell her to shut down the accounts? I don’t see that as being likely at all. Colangelo was under fire and in the middle of a huge problem that was about to go public and potentially cause problems for him and his family. Why wouldn’t he immediately text or call his wife to tell her what was going on? He would. What seems most likely is that, without revealing her involvement, she took his info to mean she needed to take action immediately. And no reason to think he had any knowledge of it until later. That seems to me the most likely way this happened, or something very similar to that.
Back to the KD MVP: I’m pretty happy about it because it’s what I wanted to happen. I’ve stuck my neck out and probably too far claiming KD would win 2 more MVPs and the Warriors would most definitely maintain a “dynasty” through 2023 is what I think I wrote. My point being that they would win at least 2 more and probably 3 and KD would be MVP for 2 of those.
Well, I’m not nearly as sure anymore now that I see how quickly the league is changing and good teams are capable of playing great ball. I see all that same great ball movement and player movement happening on many teams now. But how does another team get better than the Warriors rather than “just as good”. I’m sure a lot of people would say Houston is right there, but over the last two games we’ve seen what an enormous impact Iguodala has on the team on both ends. No way Houston would have won 3 games with Iggy out there even if Paul was at his best.
Celtics will be a challenge, but will they be better defensively than the Warriors or simply just as good? Can they beat the Warriors in the finals every year for the next 5 years by being just as good? How about the team LeBron goes to, even if in some strange world it’s Houston. Can that team beat the Warriors every year for the next 5 years? I don’t see how that can happen. I see the Warriors losing once or twice over the next 5 years only to be fired up the following season to take the championship back.
Yes, i realize payroll is huge in this discussion. And Iguodala can’t keep going forever. But Bell looks like an awesome fit into the Iggy spot, and Looney is going to get better. Dray and Klay look extremely comfortable and happy in their roles living in the greatest city in the US. The coach and management are the best. Is it really that far fetched to think that this group can’t figure out how to keep the big four in place? Do any of those four seem like the type of guy that will leave simply to take more money somewhere else? I’d be extremely surprised.
Apparently the MVP vote (11 voters) was 7 to 4, Durant over Curry. Like I said, both were deserving and I don’t have a problem with KD winning and I would not have had a problem if Steph had won.
As for next year, the teams with realistic shots at knocking off the Warriors (depending on free agency and injuries) are likely to be the Celtics, the Sixers, the Rockets, and whatever team LeBron signs with (if not one of these teams). A few other teams like the T-Wolves, Raptors, Thunder, and Spurs could get into the picture with the right pick-ups in the off-season. You are right that other teams are catching up to the Warriors faster than expected.
I need to record and figure out how to post sound clips from David Griffin. When he speaks on Sirius XM he does so at length and with detail. Yesterday he took a slew of “wherefore goes LeBron” questions for hours. Of course he doesn’t know, but he doesn’t hold back on information. His most interesting answers, I thought, related to possibilities related to staying in Cleveland or going to Lakers or Spurs…
1. Cavs: for LeBron to stay it requires a longer term commitment from him. A one year contract makes no sense, as the team needs “continuity” to allow themselves time to tweak things/contacts/expectations. I took this to be a very strong hint from Griffin that it’s unlikely to happen since LeBron wants to win now. Griffin wasn’t shy about saying that LeBron has certainly made remarks publicly indicating he’s considering going elsewhere. Not that he’s likely to go elsewhere, but that he’s considering i.
2. Spurs: Griff seemed to love talking about this option and kept bring up the great relationship with Pop and that little needs to be tweaked with the lineup.
3. Lakers: Griff seemed to think this makes the most sense for LeBron, because of his business interests there for life after basketball. That and what he thinks will be his future teammate there Paul George.
What was interesting about the whole thing was how candid he was.
I posted in the Draft/Free Agency thread about all teams’ salary cap and free agent situations. The Spurs will have to do some maneuvering to sign LeBron, such as convincing Green and Gay to exercise their opt out options and leave and to move Pau Gasol’s salary. It might be easier to do as a sign-and-trade, where the Cavs resign LeBron and trade him to the Spurs for Gasol, a few promising youngsters like Dejounte Murray, and a couple of draft picks.
Right now, I’m thinking the Lakers signing LeBron and George is the most likely.
Thanks!!! Yeah, definitely helps to get that started. Last year I wrote a huge amount because of the Kyrie trade. I suppose the original post/intro may be in editing-flux until the day before or day of.
By the way, what did you think of LeBron apparently playing the last 3 games of the Finals with a broken hand or some kind of hand injury to his right hand, but not disclosing it until after the series? Frankly it came across as LeBron trying to say that the reason they were swept was because of the injury he was playing with.
Some good behind the scenes looks today on Draymond and KD.
Draymond story on ESPN.com:
KD story on SI.com:
I think the man is God, so I can’t understand his motives. He’s smart as heck, so whatever he did there was some detail to the process. My guess is that the broken hand was an embarrassment for him and he tried to work through it hoping it would make no difference. he may even have been in a bit of denial about the stupidity of the whole thing, so maybe his way of telling *himself* it wasn’t an issue?
I’m just not going to second guess this guy, just like I wouldn’t second guess Curry or Gretzky or Montana etc.
FWIW, I heard this on nba radio today. Paraphrasing …
“just after the game LeBron was advised to get help from the medical staff on his hand. at the same time press was after him to talk and then he had a press conference coming right after that. maybe he didn’t know or even care what the medical staff was going to do, and before he knew it he had a cast (or whatever) on it during the press conference”
This is a good listen. Steve Kerr on Zach Lowe’s (ESPN) podcast. An hour-long discussion.
Among other things, Kerr was unaware of LeBron’s injury, but Lowe was asked by Bill Simmons about the broken hand rumor before Game 4.
I listened to a lot of this the other day. Great stuff but long. I’m getting back to it now …