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Saturday, February 17, 2018

OT - 2017-18 NBA thread (All-Star Weekend to End of Time edition)

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, none of whom can be bothered to curate their own thread to avoid detracting from what this site is really about:  eliminationist rhetoric and precognition.

Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: February 17, 2018 at 02:09 AM | 6535 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   5101. sardonic Posted: May 26, 2018 at 11:43 AM (#5679952)
I think for Golden State and Cleveland, the physical and mental toll of four straight deep playoff runs is starting to wear on them, not to mention the burden that Lebron carries. For Houston, D'Antoni's minutes management in the regular season plus basically running 7 deep this entire series I think is having an effect as well -- I wouldn't overlook that as a factor in Paul's injury as well, as fatigued players are more likely to hurt themselves. As for Boston, they're just not that talented a team on offense. That's my take on the quality of play the last few games anyway.
   5102. Howie Menckel Posted: May 26, 2018 at 11:50 AM (#5679953)
Apparently the last time both Conference Finals went to seven games was 1979. Kind of surprised it's been that long.

yes, I read that somewhere
   5103. aberg Posted: May 26, 2018 at 02:05 PM (#5679994)
Love out for game 7 with a concussion :(
   5104. PJ Martinez Posted: May 26, 2018 at 02:08 PM (#5679995)
"Over the last decade, there are only two players who have played in at least four Game 7s and have won every single one of them: LeBron James (5-0) and Al Horford (4-0)."

(As people note in the comments, if you go back just slightly more than ten years, to earlier in the 2008 playoffs, both James and Horford lost Game 7s -- to Boston.)

P.S. Apparently Love has been ruled out.
   5105. jmurph Posted: May 26, 2018 at 02:24 PM (#5680000)
Love has been bad in the series so I don't think they'll specifically miss his actual play, but they'll of course miss having another cromulent player out there, and he can at times impact the game on the glass.

Yet another postseason filled with injuries, it's too bad.
   5106. PJ Martinez Posted: May 26, 2018 at 02:37 PM (#5680005)
Agreed. For what it's worth: "Kevin Love is a team-worst minus-20 in East finals and Cavs are team-best plus-18 when he’s not on the floor."
   5107. maccoach57 Posted: May 26, 2018 at 02:46 PM (#5680011)
I thought NBPA was against a shorter schedule as well. As I have said many times, I think it would be a really good idea, but I don't see it happening any time soon.
   5108. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: May 26, 2018 at 04:19 PM (#5680065)
I could be off base but my understanding is the union is in theory in favor of a shorter schedule, but adamantly opposed to rolling back salaries by a more than corresponding percentage of the lost games to make it hapen, which is what the owners demand.
   5109. PJ Martinez Posted: May 26, 2018 at 04:42 PM (#5680086)
"What a beautifully thrown right-handed first pitch by Ben Simmons, who also writes with his right hand, eats with his right hand, throws full court heaves with his right hand, and 80% of the time lays the ball up and dunks with his right hand, but for some reason shoots lefty."
   5110. JC in DC Posted: May 26, 2018 at 04:50 PM (#5680091)
That accounts for the accuracy, I guess.
   5111. this is normal 57i66135. move on, find a new slant Posted: May 26, 2018 at 06:01 PM (#5680112)
I could be off base but my understanding is the union is in theory in favor of a shorter schedule, but adamantly opposed to rolling back salaries by a more than corresponding percentage of the lost games to make it hapen, which is what the owners demand.

the NBA's biggest revenue stream (national TV rights) wouldn't be effected by a shorter season, assuming there's a rejiggering of the schedule.
alot of other revenue streams (international TV rights, sponsorship deals, merchandise sales) are unlikely to take much of a hit, either.

the revenue streams that would take the biggest hits (ticket sales, gameday income, local TV rights) are the ones that drive the revenue disparity between large and small markets, so a shorter season would likely help balance the league's economic landscape.


if it's done right, the cap shouldn't go down more than ~5MM.
   5112. sardonic Posted: May 26, 2018 at 06:23 PM (#5680120)
Well, the Warriors's season comes down to this. With CP3 out, I fully expect them to win, but you never want to be in a situation where a hot shooting night can end your season. Not to mention James Harden has it in him to will the Rockets to victory.

Iguodala is still questionable but seems trending toward not playing. In a shock/desperation move, Pat McCaw will be active for the Warriors today for the first time since a scary fall on his spine after being undercut by Vince Carter on a layup attempt. I suppose he can't be a worse option than Nick Young, Quinn Cook or Jordan Bell in the rotation in this series.
   5113. SteveF Posted: May 26, 2018 at 06:31 PM (#5680123)
Iguodala is still questionable but seems trending toward not playing.

Golden State should have been more mindful of this possibility and signed a few more centers.
   5114. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: May 26, 2018 at 07:34 PM (#5680151)
I think the Warriors just absolutely blow the doors off Houston tonight. I think Harden needs a LeBron-esque 45-10-10 night just to keep it close.

I don't think Golden State will panic, and at home, in a must win, I think they're gonna be motivated. The other nice thing about having so many great players is even if some guys buckle to the pressure (which I don't think really happens that much), they've got others to carry the load.
   5115. aberg Posted: May 26, 2018 at 07:47 PM (#5680155)
Houston's best chance with Paul out is to shoot as many threes as possible and hope they made more than usual. Paul has helped to offset some cold shooting with his excellent dribble penetration, but without the fallback, I think they have to hope for the best outside.
   5116. maccoach57 Posted: May 26, 2018 at 07:52 PM (#5680157)
Yes, I think Golden State will blow Houston away tonight.
   5117. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: May 26, 2018 at 08:23 PM (#5680166)
I think Harden in particular and Houston in general should expect to get fewer free throws than usual and adjust accordingly. I agree fhat shooting a ton of threes even for Houston and hoping 45% of them fall is their only shot at it tonight.
   5118. JC in DC Posted: May 26, 2018 at 08:31 PM (#5680168)
Just as long as no one has a worse night than Loris Karius.
   5119. JC in DC Posted: May 26, 2018 at 09:25 PM (#5680186)
Houston looking good so far, and GSW looking pretty much the same on both ends: disjointed.
   5120. JC in DC Posted: May 26, 2018 at 09:30 PM (#5680189)
Why won't Kerr sit Durant? He's clearly playing poorly.
   5121. maccoach57 Posted: May 26, 2018 at 09:34 PM (#5680190)
At some point, I will stop making predictions.
   5122. aberg Posted: May 26, 2018 at 09:35 PM (#5680191)
The basketball equivalent of Karius would probably be scoring multiple high leverage tipins on your own hoop.
   5123. sardonic Posted: May 26, 2018 at 09:35 PM (#5680192)
There was a good piece in the Athletic today showing how last season, Durant set regular season and playoff career highs in % of baskets assisted, as a sign that he had been integrated into the Warriors's motion offense. This season he regressed to historic norms, from ~65% in the regular season to 55% and ~55% in the playoffs to ~45%. Him and Curry missing the last 4 weeks of the regular season together, and then having him carry the offense in the first 1.5 rounds probably exacerbated the problem.

Still, this is why coaches get paid the big bucks -- to scheme and to get through to players and make it work. Curry and Durant are now in the 8th game back together, if you want to win titles you have to come through in these situations.

That said, this is exactly what I feared the most. Houston can shoot, and they get shots up they can get hot.
   5124. sardonic Posted: May 26, 2018 at 09:39 PM (#5680195)
Still, Golden State still looks mentally in the game, I think they have a run in them in the 2Q to close the gap.
   5125. sardonic Posted: May 26, 2018 at 09:40 PM (#5680196)
Also, the pace is favoring the Warriors right now, who want to run. Houston is scorching hot from 3, but they are playing with fire right now.
   5126. JC in DC Posted: May 26, 2018 at 09:43 PM (#5680198)
Is Eric Gordon fool's gold, or can he keep this up?
   5127. sardonic Posted: May 26, 2018 at 09:45 PM (#5680199)
Even after the last two makes, Warriors 4 of 14 from 3 compared to 9 of 17 by Houston. That's the game so far.
   5128. JC in DC Posted: May 26, 2018 at 09:50 PM (#5680202)
I know people hate Harden, but I love him.
   5129. JC in DC Posted: May 26, 2018 at 09:52 PM (#5680206)
Some crap calls hurting Houston.
   5130. sardonic Posted: May 26, 2018 at 10:05 PM (#5680209)
I'll give Houston this, they've played tremendous transition defense the last couple games. The Warriors are used to get a lot better looks when they pass the ball ahead aggressively like they have been. Last game it led to turnovers as guys weren't as open as they were used to. This game the passing has been more disciplined but just not generating the looks they're used to.
   5131. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: May 26, 2018 at 10:06 PM (#5680211)
Really impressed with the defensive effort from HOU. First half went as well as I could have hoped, they just need to be prepared for the likely haymaker coming in the 3rd.
   5132. JC in DC Posted: May 26, 2018 at 10:07 PM (#5680212)
Ariza in particular has played super on defense. He doesn't make mistakes. He got angry at someone early for missing an assignment. Houston looks good.
   5133. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: May 26, 2018 at 10:08 PM (#5680213)
KD is a game high -15 thus far.
   5134. JC in DC Posted: May 26, 2018 at 10:11 PM (#5680215)
Interesting, NJ. GSW started to come back with him on the bench (I think) in the second quarter. He came in, hit some shots, blocked a shot, but otherwise, the ball's been dying in his hands.
   5135. sardonic Posted: May 26, 2018 at 10:12 PM (#5680216)
Golden State is within 10 despite losing the three point battle 11/22 to 4/18 for a 21 point swing. Obviously, it's going to be pretty tough for GS if that trend continues.
   5136. sardonic Posted: May 26, 2018 at 10:14 PM (#5680217)
The Warriors are at home, the pace of the game favors them. This somehow reminds me of Game 6 of the WCF against OKC a couple years ago. Deep down I still think they are going to win this game.
   5137. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: May 26, 2018 at 10:16 PM (#5680218)
I really like Trevor Ariza's game. He seems like a tremendous value at less than $10M/year. He'd probably have positive value at $15M/year. Seems like a dude that does a little of everything, plays unselfish, and can switch everything on defense. Am I missing something about him? Does he suck at defense in a way I don't understand? Is he an ####### behind the scenes? Why's he been such a journeyman?
   5138. JC in DC Posted: May 26, 2018 at 10:18 PM (#5680220)
Isiah drafted him, didn't he? He was a good pick, later in the first round, IIRC. Wittman loved him. DC loved him, and was sad to see him go. He's quiet. Doesn't draw attention to himself. He's the guy people think of after they've signed their "big" contract players.

Second round!
   5139. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: May 26, 2018 at 10:20 PM (#5680221)
Lowe wrote a really good Ariza piece a couple days ago.
   5140. Tin Angel Posted: May 26, 2018 at 10:34 PM (#5680224)
Durant has been terrible.
   5141. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: May 26, 2018 at 10:35 PM (#5680225)
So. Many. Turnovers.
   5142. nick swisher hygiene Posted: May 26, 2018 at 10:35 PM (#5680226)
If Houston can lead going into the 4th, I think the Warriors unravel...
   5143. JC in DC Posted: May 26, 2018 at 10:35 PM (#5680227)
He's made some really stupid choices. Houston's hanging tough.
   5144. sardonic Posted: May 26, 2018 at 10:50 PM (#5680229)
Gordon has to be fatigued as hell to be missing 3/4 free throws to end the 3rd.
   5145. JC in DC Posted: May 26, 2018 at 10:56 PM (#5680231)
That IS an offensive foul on Harden, but it's almost never called. And he's not the only one who does that.

And why can't Ariza draw a whistle?
   5146. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: May 26, 2018 at 10:58 PM (#5680232)
Game over.
   5147. Tin Angel Posted: May 26, 2018 at 10:58 PM (#5680233)
I mean...why is it the fourth quarter of an elimination game and Nick Young is guarding James Harden?
   5148. JC in DC Posted: May 26, 2018 at 10:59 PM (#5680234)
Harden looks physically and spiritually gassed. I think I agree, NJ.
   5149. sardonic Posted: May 26, 2018 at 11:00 PM (#5680235)
I actually think it's a mistake by Houston to target Young in that situation, he's actually not the worst on ball defender. He spaces off the ball, but he's 6'7" at least. They've been intentionally targeting him over Curry when both are on the floor.
   5150. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: May 26, 2018 at 11:05 PM (#5680236)
[5148] Harden is definitely gassed, but he was also whistle hunting and not adjusting to the fact that the referees weren't giving Houston any calls.
   5151. Booey Posted: May 26, 2018 at 11:05 PM (#5680237)
Crazy that even after that train wreck of a first quarter, those who predicted a GSW blowout may end up being right after all.
   5152. Booey Posted: May 26, 2018 at 11:09 PM (#5680238)
28 pt Warriors lead now. Amazing.
   5153. Booey Posted: May 26, 2018 at 11:14 PM (#5680240)
60-20 second half so far.
   5154. zenbitz Posted: May 26, 2018 at 11:18 PM (#5680241)
Zaza sighting.
   5155. sardonic Posted: May 26, 2018 at 11:19 PM (#5680242)
TNT has scouting reports and production meetings?? Is that why Reggie Miller keeps referring to the 17th fastest team in the league a fast break team?
   5156. nick swisher hygiene Posted: May 26, 2018 at 11:21 PM (#5680243)
39 in the first quarter, 47 in the next three......ouch.
   5157. zenbitz Posted: May 26, 2018 at 11:23 PM (#5680244)
Rockets points by quarter :
39
22
16
9
Dayum
   5158. PJ Martinez Posted: May 26, 2018 at 11:24 PM (#5680245)
Both Conference Finals will go the full 7 games for only the second time in NBA history (since Conference Finals were established back in 1971). The other time was 1979.

(Both series went 7 games in 1963 as well, but it was a Division Finals back then.)
   5159. Howie Menckel Posted: May 26, 2018 at 11:29 PM (#5680247)
yes, I read that somewhere
   5160. maccoach57 Posted: May 26, 2018 at 11:59 PM (#5680248)
Crazy that even after that train wreck of a first quarter, those who predicted a GSW blowout may end up being right after all.


Ha. Yes. Funny.
   5161. Tin Angel Posted: May 27, 2018 at 12:20 AM (#5680249)
Time for some predictions for the game 7's?
   5162. Booey Posted: May 27, 2018 at 12:24 AM (#5680250)
I picked Warriors/Cavs part IV in our preseason predictions, and again in our playoff predictions. No sense going back on that now.
   5163. maccoach57 Posted: May 27, 2018 at 12:39 AM (#5680251)
Yeah, I agree with Booey here, and I picked the same thing, although I did not make playoff predictions. Even if Paul can go--and I assume he will try--he will almost certainly be gimpy. And even given HCA, D, and Stevens, I can't pick against James in that game.
   5164. sardonic Posted: May 27, 2018 at 12:39 AM (#5680252)
I think Houston has a puncher's chance, but GS is the favorite unless CP3 plays. I'm going to pick Boston tomorrow -- after all I've been wrong consistently in the East, so nothing to lose there.
   5165. yo la tengo Posted: May 27, 2018 at 07:09 AM (#5680257)
What is the current wisdom on Iggy and CP3? If both play, both will be a bit gimpy. Obviously, Paul is more vital, but GSW could really use some non Bell non Young minutes to help them out.
   5166. PJ Martinez Posted: May 27, 2018 at 07:38 AM (#5680258)
On the chances of a Chris Paul comeback with right hamstring injury for Game 7, source tells ESPN: "Less likely than likely, but working every angle to try."
   5167. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: May 27, 2018 at 08:38 AM (#5680262)
Cleveland in a thriller, Golden State in a blowout. Houston's dead without Paul.

It's hard to describe how I feel about Golden State. Basketball is star driven and so as long as this team stays together, they'll probably continue to win the title; there's just too much talent not to. But it doesn't seem like they're enjoying it anymore; it seems like they're barely finding satisfaction in victory, much less thrill. Their sloppiness with the ball and inconsistent focus on defense characterizes a team that's grown bored and tired. And Durant seems to have cashed out on the whole Golden State system and gone back to just being about getting his.

It kind of feels like next year might be the last year, and then one of the stars will ask to move on and possibly Kerr will too. I guess we should wait and see how everyone's feeling after they crush Cleveland in 5, though.

Is that a hot take?
   5168. sardonic Posted: May 27, 2018 at 10:20 AM (#5680281)
It kind of feels like next year might be the last year, and then one of the stars will ask to move on and possibly Kerr will too. I guess we should wait and see how everyone's feeling after they crush Cleveland in 5, though.


I don't think you're crazy. The Shaqobe Lakers won their first title in 2000 and were broken up by 2004. The Heatles lasted only 4 seasons together. Pat Riley coined "The Disease of More" to describe the Showtime Lakers; Dwayne Wade spoke earlier this season of how rough the locker room got in year 4 of his run with the Heatles, and drew comparisons to the Cavs locker room this year.

Wade:
"That last year in Miami when we went to the Finals, I don't know how we made it," Wade said after practice Thursday. "As a team, we were kind of like this. It was worse, because it wasn't new guys; it was guys who had been around each other four years in a row. Your jokes weren't funny anymore to other guys, when you walked in it wasn't a big smile any more. Guys were just over you. It's like being in a bad marriage."


The Spurs had to cycle through everyone but Tim Duncan to make the transition from their first title (1999) to their third (2005).

On top of that, Steve Kerr has struggled with his health the last two seasons, though surgery finally seems to have corrected his underlying spine issues.

On the other hand, Curry is signed through the 21-22 season; Draymond for two more. Klay is signed only through next year, but on May 11 The Athletic reported (sub required) that he was looking to sign a below max, team friendly extension after the season.

KD is probably the biggest variable -- he's an unrestricted FA after this season, and already left money on the table the last couple years. I could see him either moving on, or signing another short term deal that leads to him moving on in the next couple seasons.

A lot will probably on the front office's ability to surround the core four with strong supporting players. Andre Iguodala's deal already looks like an albatross, and Livingston is still fully guaranteed next season as well. They'll basically have the taxpayer MLE and minimum contracts to do better than Kevon Looney, David West, Nick Young, JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia. Somehow Damian Jones's option was picked up but not Looney's.
   5169. KronicFatigue Posted: May 27, 2018 at 10:20 AM (#5680282)
I disagree with 5167, but with the caveat that I really don't know what I'm talking about. Sometimes I think GS passes too much and goes out of their way too be too unselfish, when keeping it simple would be more efficient. Durant iso with a smaller person guarding him should be a good option. I feel like earlier in the series (or maybe earlier in the playoffs) people were arguing whether you can even call those shots as "contested" since his height advantage is so extreme.

Durant has struggled these past few games, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are bad shots. There's also something to be said about GS having more energy on defense if he takes on a heavier offensive load.

GS is best when they are moving the ball and protecting the ball. But they might be equally good when Durant is being successful in his iso. He hasn't been so far, but he very easily could be.
   5170. sardonic Posted: May 27, 2018 at 10:29 AM (#5680283)
I'll use this as an opportunity to officially plug The Athletic. It's become the first site I check in the morning, and they have really great reporting and coverage (of the Warriors at least). I paid $4/month for my first year.

Without going too crazy and excerpting the whole article, I thought Anthony Slater did a great job of covering "Kevin Durant and the Warriors’ isolation conundrum vs. Houston":
The final couple of weeks without Curry were the low point, but bad habits had been forming all season. For months, Durant had been increasingly operating away from the offense, not as much a part of it — two lethal weapons, Durant and the Warriors, partnered but separate, not fused like the season before.

Maybe the most illuminating Durant stat is the percent of his makes that are assisted by others. During his final five seasons in Oklahoma City, that number hovered between 47 to 55 percent.

When Durant made the jump to the Warriors, those early days in his first camp were filled with teaching moments. He’d fade to the corner and stand there in a scrimmage and the whistle would blow — move, cut through, catch it and pass it, don’t hold. Progress was made quickly.

There were rough patches in Season 1 (remember when Green yelled at him after he isolated at the end of a fourth-quarter collapse against Memphis), but Durant fit in as well as could be imagined. That illuminating number — the percentage of his made shots that are assisted — spiked all the way to 61.7 percent.

He was flying free for open 3s, filling the lane on fastbreaks, becoming a more comfortable off-ball cutter and fitting within a scheme more than ever. Seven different guys delivered him at least 14 assists. Curry set him up the most: 99 times.

That balance couldn’t have worked any better last June. Durant made 149 shots in the playoffs, 84 were assisted — a 56.7 percent clip that far surpassed any of his OKC playoff runs. One particular year, in 2013, Durant made 112 playoff shots and only 31 were assisted, a staggeringly low 27.7 percent.

But that’s of no solace to the Warriors or their fans in this vulnerable moment, trailing 3-2 to the Rockets, wondering how their ping-ping-ping offense has devolved to the point that they are isolating at triple their regular-season rate, spraying around 50 fewer passes per game and have puttered out only 14 and 18 assists the past two games after averaging 29.3 this season.
   5171. PJ Martinez Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:48 AM (#5680300)
KD is probably the biggest variable -- he's an unrestricted FA after this season, and already left money on the table the last couple years. I could see him either moving on, or signing another short term deal that leads to him moving on in the next couple seasons.

For what it's worth, from April: "Durant will be turning down a salary of $26.2 million, a figure well below that of a player of his caliber, in order to restructure a new deal with the Warriors, sources said." That piece breaks down the possibilities, from a two-year deal with a player option in the second year to a four-year max.
   5172. sardonic Posted: May 27, 2018 at 11:58 AM (#5680303)
Ah right, I forgot about that report. I don't really think he'll move on this offseason regardless after only two seasons with the team and all the team's core veterans coming back next year, but I could see him signing another 1+1 or 2 year deal that would set up him to move on after next season if he wanted to.

And I guess I still have Kyrie Irving's shock departure in my head. As in, I don't think he'll move on, but if any one of the core 4 was going to this offseason, it'd be him.
   5173. Booey Posted: May 27, 2018 at 12:19 PM (#5680305)
So Stephen A (I know, I know) said a few days ago that he thinks LeBron might actually prefer to lose in the ECF rather than the Finals. I certainly don't think LBJ would ever give less than his best effort (well, on offense), and Stephen A is...well, Stephen A, but it actually kind of makes sense in a way, too. The Cavs are just a 4th seed and their team was a mess all year; getting to the 7th game of the conference finals can't be considered too big a disappointment, all things considered. But getting to the Finals and getting curb stomped yet again will just drop LeBron's Finals record down to 3-6. He already gets a lot of criticism for his current record from fans who don't realize (or don't care) that his teams were heavy underdogs in most of those losses. For someone that's battling for GOAT and seems well aware of his legacy and place in history, that may weigh on his mind a little bit.

That said, my guess is still that James gives it all he's got and either single handedly drags the Cavs back to the Finals, or goes down guns blazing with an epic performance in a tightly contested loss.
   5174. SouthSideRyan Posted: May 27, 2018 at 12:34 PM (#5680306)
That's an idiotic take even for Screamin A
   5175. sardonic Posted: May 27, 2018 at 12:37 PM (#5680307)
I think there might be a grain of truth in there, in that I could see James thinking that way in retrospect if that's how it turns out. But I think there's no chance he does anything but come out with guns blazing tonight.
   5176. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: May 27, 2018 at 12:48 PM (#5680308)
As always, we should remember that Stephen A. Smith gets paid to generate controversy, and nothing he says should ever be taken seriously. He doesn't actually believe any of the stupid #### he says on TV. It's a work.
   5177. Booey Posted: May 27, 2018 at 12:50 PM (#5680309)
I think there might be a grain of truth in there, in that I could see James thinking that way in retrospect if that's how it turns out. But I think there's no chance he does anything but come out with guns blazing tonight.


Exactly. I predict another LeBron performance for the ages (which are happening so often lately they're almost becoming routine).
   5178. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: May 27, 2018 at 01:04 PM (#5680312)
Curry's gimpy, Klay's banged up too, Durant is off and may be hiding an injury, Igoudala's hurt. Golden State's pretty badly wounded right now, and it's actually a testament to their ridiculous top-end quality that they're going to beat a title caliber Houston team. As is they'll still crush Cleveland, but you know, a Durant injury or a Draymond nut punch and the Cavs could have a puncher's chance.
   5179. sardonic Posted: May 27, 2018 at 01:19 PM (#5680320)
I think Curry is roughly fine now -- it took a few games for him to get his conditioning and stamina back, but he's probably as healthy as anyone is at this stage in the playoffs. Klay seems recovered to me as well, I think his Game 5 issues had more to do with scheme than anything.

There have been a couple great posts about how Klay got loose because they started using him as the screener in pick and pop action with KD and Curry, an action they ran less than once a game in the regular season. Particularly with KD, it helped them both get KD the ball but keep the ball moving early in the possession. And unlike a lot of other action this series, Klay wasn't slipping the screen, he was landing them solidly.

I'll credit the coaching staff with that adjustment. Though you can always wonder why they didn't figure it out earlier -- Kerr and staff seem to always eventually make these adjustments, but sometimes not as early as you would like. See not removing Bogut from the rotation and going small until it was too late to win Game 3 of the 2015 Finals, putting GS down 2-1. Or going with the full on Draymond as free safety off of Tony Allen until also being down 2-1 in the 2015 WCF Semis.

There are times when he never made the adjustment they needed: Kerr this series has finally learned to shorten his rotation, as his top 6 players are playing roughly as much as the Rockets's top 6 since Game 3. If he'd figured that one out sooner, GS might not have gone down to Cleveland in Game 7 in 2016 with Anderson Varejao and Festus Ezeli on the court. GS is still using "Strength in Numbers" as its playoff slogan, but it probably died that day in Oakland. It didn't really matter last playoff run, but now facing their first true test since then, Kerr is showing us something different.

Even bringing back the pick and roll as a staple with a twist is an example of Houston's defense forcing GS to play a style they don't want to -- Kerr hates it, and GS ran the fewest PnRs of any team in the league this season. I definitely did not see Houston's defense dictating the series as much as it has, but credit there to Morey for assembling a fantastic rotation of wings, D'Antoni and staff for implementing the system (supposedly assistant coach Jeff Bzdelick -- remember him?? -- is the architect of it) and the players for executing.
   5180. KronicFatigue Posted: May 27, 2018 at 01:30 PM (#5680323)
So Stephen A (I know, I know) said a few days ago that he thinks LeBron might actually prefer to lose in the ECF rather than the Finals.


If someone told Lebron "You're losing this year, 100% guaranteed. Would you prefer to lose in game 7 of the ECF with Love injured, or get swept in the finals?" he'd pick the former. For some odd reason, casual fans look at superstars; records in the last series/game (superbowl record, etc) and somehow equate losing at the end as worse than losing earlier. Lebron knows this, and is definitely chasing MJ's legacy.

Of course, Lebron also thinks his team can win ANY series, no matter the odds. So he would never choose an early exist in real time.

   5181. maccoach57 Posted: May 27, 2018 at 01:42 PM (#5680327)
ANGLES/ARMCHAIR PSYCH ETC:

CLE/BOS: It has been a pretty interesting series, but the anticipated MSM angle going back to preseason--LeBron/IT v. Kyrie/Hayward--is long gone, so the MSM is looking for other stuff. James will want to win because he will want to win, and to go all Simmons for a minute, I do not think James would, uh, enjoy losing G7 in Boston to the team that Kyrie Irving went to, even if Irving is on the bench in street clothes. James has that F-U edge (heh). I could see James mailing it in a bit if CLE goes down 3-0 in the Finals, and I could see him mailing in G2 in the Finals if they are down 1-0 and getting blown out (If they beat Boston tonight, and they very well might not. I make CLE a slight fave, even on the road).

HOU/GS: I think some people may be overthinking GS' "issues." They just outscored HOU 94-47 over three quarters to secure their second blowout and third double-digit win in the series, and with James exhausted and Paul injured, IMO there is maybe a 10% chance that Golden State is not hoisting another trophy in about 15 days.

As to the reference to the Jackson/O'Neal/Bryant Lakers, one thing I have seen over and over again is people here and elsewhere not mentioning that those teams weren't all that good or that dominant after 2001. The 2002 team, of course, is seen by many as being partially/largely gifted the title by the refs. The 2003 team got wiped out in the conference semis, and I have talked about the misconceptions surrounding the 2004 LAL/DET matchup many times here. O'Neal and Bryant could tolerate each other as long as the seasons were ending with parades; when that stopped, the friction increased.

Golden State lost 24 regular season games, and I remember saying in preseason that I thought they would lose 20-22. But I think that understates how talented they are, and GS doesn't have any personalities like either O'Neal or Bryant, and they have a deeper core and roster. I think we are in the middle of the Golden State Era, not nearing the end.
   5182. PJ Martinez Posted: May 27, 2018 at 01:47 PM (#5680331)
Re: 5173 (et al), I don't know about that -- the "losing record in the Finals" talking point seems, to me, to have given way to the "eight straight Finals" talking point. Besides playing to win in general, and believing he has a chance against anybody, I imagine LeBron wants to keep that streak going.

I confess I was a little surprised to see it taken for granted in 5178 that he'd be playing in the Finals again, though. Tonight is a toss-up at best, in my view.
   5183. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: May 27, 2018 at 02:10 PM (#5680337)
I’ll take Boston tonight.

If Paul is near healthy that’s a toss up, if he’s out or awful they lose.

I don’t think Golden State is breaking up. I think Durant wants the max and will get it. Klay probably has to take a paycut but sounds like he may. They could lose him and still be the Warriors.
   5184. sardonic Posted: May 27, 2018 at 02:22 PM (#5680345)
I think we are in the middle of the Golden State Era, not nearing the end.


I hope that's true, and they seem better positioned than some of the comps (Shaqobe Lakers, Heatles, Lebron Cavs II) to keep it going in more of a Spursian fashion. But I don't take it for granted either. I'd put the over/under on KD's time with the Warriors after this season at 1.5. The next decision point is Draymond after the next 2 seasons, which could come into play as early as next offseason going into the final year of his deal.

I guess wargaming this out, I'd be pretty surprised if all four of Curry, Klay, Draymond and KD are on the Warriors for more than 2 more seasons after this one. If that's the case, I could see them winning anywhere between 0 and 2 titles in that time (bold, I know), with maybe the median expectation being that winning one is the most likely outcome (plurality).

I think there's a real chance (25%? 35%?) that the Core 4 don't make it through the next two seasons, with KD leaving after next season being the most likely, and Draymond being moved ahead of his contract expiring two seasons from now being the next most likely. And of course who even knows how the next two days will play out, much less what could happen next season to change that. I mean, just the risk of major injury for four players who play a lot of minutes over 2 seasons + deep playoff runs is pretty large. Curry and Durant in particular have both had injury issues.
   5185. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: May 27, 2018 at 03:13 PM (#5680364)
I think if the current four star core stays together they will continue to win the title for at least three more years before they start getting old. That’s just too much talent to not win, absent atrocious injury luck.
   5186. sardonic Posted: May 27, 2018 at 03:28 PM (#5680368)
I dunno, they were a Chris Paul hamstring pull away from probably not even making the Finals this year (still may not happen) even with their four stars all as healthy as they are likely to be in future playoff runs. I think this season has shown us that the future isn't as certain as it seemed last season when they went 16-1 through the playoffs.
   5187. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: May 27, 2018 at 04:06 PM (#5680379)
Yeah, I think it's hard to do this without an infusion of new blood. I think the key question already over the next couple years is whether GSW can develop someone like Cook or Looney or Bell into a plus player -- doesn't need to be an All-Star, but something on the level of a Danny Green, Shane Battier, Tony Allen type will be necessary to keep them the favorite especially given their cap constraints.
   5188. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: May 27, 2018 at 04:11 PM (#5680384)
I think if the current four star core stays together they will continue to win the title for at least three more years before they start getting old. That’s just too much talent to not win, absent atrocious injury luck.

This is crazy to me. It's like revisionist history, but in the middle of that history happening. Maybe Paul doesn't play or he does play and Houston loses, but Houston has absolutely shown they are capable of beating the Warriors. You realize 2 days ago they were up 3-2 in this series, right? If LeBron were to do something like go to Philly, they'd be tough. Boston, if they can continue to improve and re-integrate Kyrie and Hayward I think could be pretty darn good.

Golden State's the best team, I think, they aren't unbeatable. And they are kind of an injury prone team themselves. They've had some bad luck on their part (73 win team had a gimpy Curry), but they've had some good fortune as well. Love and Kyrie in the first LeBron matchup get hurt in the playoffs. Leonard last year. Paul this year.
   5189. Howie Menckel Posted: May 27, 2018 at 04:22 PM (#5680387)
the "eight straight Finals" talking point.

Ivan Lendl reached 8 straight U.S. Open tennis finals from 1982-89
L L L W W W L L is his sequence
   5190. PJ Martinez Posted: May 27, 2018 at 07:24 PM (#5680427)
Mike D'Antoni on Chris Paul's Game 7 status: "I think it's a game-time decision. Probably doubtful, however they list it, or questionable. They will eventually test it and see if there's any possibility whatsoever." Paul has not tested his hamstring since straining it in Game 5.
   5191. JC in DC Posted: May 27, 2018 at 07:24 PM (#5680428)
I agree with 5188, and I think that's a good thing for the NBA as well.
   5192. JC in DC Posted: May 27, 2018 at 07:25 PM (#5680430)
Good not to test it! Let that thing sit. I really hope he can play.
   5193. maccoach57 Posted: May 27, 2018 at 08:10 PM (#5680437)
PASTE may have overbid a little, but I see his point. First,every champion catches a few breaks with matchups and/or opponent injuries. Second,looking at this series, GS has won by 12,30,and 29. HOU has won by 22, 2 and 4. Yes, one of the blowouts was minus Paul, but Paul has sometimes gotten hurt in postseason and staying healthy is part of greatness and GS has a stronger core,so if they lost Curry, they might still win.

So, it is not that GS is unbeatable. It is more that if the four key guys stay together, they will probably be favored to win at least one or two more times,and they have already won twice, and could easily be looking at trying for four in a row, given how narrowly they lost in 2016. Simply put, IMO Getting Durant basically locked GS into being one of the 2-3 best teams in the league over a pretty long window,regardless of who James is playing for,and regardless of what GS does with the roster 5-10.
   5194. JC in DC Posted: May 27, 2018 at 08:16 PM (#5680438)
It is more that if the four key guys stay together, they will probably be favored to win at least one or two more times,and they have already won twice, and could easily be looking at trying for four in a row, given how narrowly they lost in 2016.


A bit different from they will continue to win the title for at least three more years before they start getting old.
   5195. MHS Posted: May 27, 2018 at 08:49 PM (#5680447)
Tatum is an assasain. Has anyone mentioned he is 20?
   5196. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 27, 2018 at 08:59 PM (#5680450)
Tatum has 11 of Boston's 15, James has 12 of Cleveland's 16.
   5197. this is normal 57i66135. move on, find a new slant Posted: May 27, 2018 at 09:00 PM (#5680451)
"only the 13th lead change of the entire series."
   5198. JC in DC Posted: May 27, 2018 at 09:06 PM (#5680452)
If I'm Cleveland, I'm loving Marcus Morris turnaround jumpshots.
   5199. smileyy Posted: May 27, 2018 at 09:08 PM (#5680453)
Brown and Tatum are a real haul for Boston. They're going to have some serious wings when Hayward comes back.
   5200. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 27, 2018 at 09:11 PM (#5680454)
Y'all talking about Golden State winning tons more are missing that the Celtics are going to win 3 in a row starting next year after taking the finals to 6 vs Houston or the Warriors.
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