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Monday, June 02, 2014

OT: Monthly NBA Thread- June 2014

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: Vladimir Putin’s draft strategy, Stephen Drew’s breakfast, and whether Kevin has taken a material step toward harming Russell Westbrook.

andrewberg Posted: June 02, 2014 at 07:57 PM | 2043 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nba, off-topic

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   601. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: June 13, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4725223)
He missed some shots in the paint; some of those may start going down


It looks like the Spurs defenders are going out of their way to not foul Wade, peeling off at the last second when Wade expects contact.
   602. Publius Publicola Posted: June 13, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4725225)
You would expect that to change going forward.


Why? The Heat are one Lebron amazing game away from being swept. What have you seen that causes you to think the Heat have some hidden reserve they can draw on to get back into it? If they didn't deploy that reserved yesterday, don't you think maybe they have simply rubn out of answers.

This looks like dead man walking to me.
   603. Booey Posted: June 13, 2014 at 03:35 PM (#4725226)
1. San Antonio is playing absolutely marvelously right now. It is hard to believe this is a team that went to 7 games with the Mavs a few weeks ago. It seems like each win has been easier than the last. Der K is right- they are on a crazy hot stretch right now.

They did that two years ago, crusing to the WCF, blew out the Thunder in game 1 of the WCF, then lost the rest, right?


They actually won the first 2 games against the Thunder in 2012, and it was part of an overall 20 game winning streak (the final 10 games of the regular season and the first 10 games of the playoffs). But then they lost 4 straight and that was that. Hot streaks can go cold fast.

That said, I'm still not seeing the Heat making this a series. The Spurs were 8 games ahead in the regular season despite playing in a much, much tougher conference, as opposed to last year when the Heat were 8 games ahead in a weaker conference, making them essentially equal (as they showed in the Finals). I originally picked the Heat to win cuz I thought their mediocre (for a title contender) record probably had a lot to do with coasting. Now I'm not so sure. I'm starting to think the Spurs really might just be a significantly better team. No, they're not going to shoot like they did in games 3 & 4 in game 5 (and they actually shot lights out in the 4th quarter in game 1 too, turning a nailbiter into a blowout), but if they return to form, then what? They win by 5-10 rather than 20.

I hope I'm wrong cuz I wanted another epic series like last year, but I think Miami is toast.
   604. tshipman Posted: June 13, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4725228)
Why? The Heat are one Lebron amazing game away from being swept. What have you seen that causes you to think the Heat have some hidden reserve they can draw on to get back into it? If they didn't deploy that reserved yesterday, don't you think maybe they have simply rubn out of answers.

This looks like dead man walking to me.


I think that because sports are not actually a series of cliches. The Spurs didn't win because they wanted it, or because they shared the ball more, or because any of the other hack reasons. The Spurs won because they hit an unsustainably high percentage of shots. That is unlikely to continue.
   605. Booey Posted: June 13, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4725232)
90% over-performance. Spurs are shooting .467 on 3pers for the series. Totally not sustainable. For the year, they shot .397.


True, but we're not talking about an entire season or even an entire postseason. They don't need to sustain it; they just need to play well one more time and that's it. Even if they returned to regular season form, they'd still have pretty good odds to win game 5.

   606. Booey Posted: June 13, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4725237)
The Spurs won because they hit an unsustainably high percentage of shots. That is unlikely to continue.


It doesn't need to. This isn't a mediocre team beating a better team by playing out of their minds for a few games. The Spurs are probably a little better to begin with. Throw in 2 or 3 (if you're counting the 4th quarter of game 1) flukishly hot games, and the Heat don't have a chance. They're not nearly good enough to spot SA 3 games and expect to get away with it.
   607. jmurph Posted: June 13, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4725239)
tship I think you have a point, but you're going a bit far. They're getting an extremely high percentage of open looks. These are not desperation or contested 3s late in the shot clock.
   608. Kurt Posted: June 13, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4725244)
90% over-performance. Spurs are shooting .467 on 3pers for the series. Totally not sustainable. For the year, they shot .397.


So, in game 3 they should have shot 8 for 20 instead of 9 for 20, and in game 4 they should have shot 8 for 21 instead of 9 for 21, and that explains 2 20 point losses?
   609. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: June 13, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4725248)
People overreact big time to hot shooting. San Antonio is not a true .600 shooting team. In game 5, when the Spurs shoot 40% and turn the ball over, a bunch of comments will look a little overeager.

Sorry, but you're wrong. One, they're shooting .542, not .600. Second, their shooting percentage isn't being driven by shooting -- they've made six more shots from three than would be expected, but two fewer from mid-range -- it's being driven by one of every three shots coming from the restricted area, where they're 64-92.

They aren't unsustainably hot from the field. They're getting easy-ass shots.
   610. Publius Publicola Posted: June 13, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4725250)
I think that because sports are not actually a series of cliches.


Is back-to-back blowouts in your own joint a cliche too?

I don't know what you're looking at but it sure isn't what I or anybody else is seeing.
   611. tshipman Posted: June 13, 2014 at 03:57 PM (#4725251)
Sorry, but you're wrong. One, they're shooting .542, not .600. Second, their shooting percentage isn't being driven by shooting -- they've made six more shots from three than would be expected, but two fewer from mid-range -- it's being driven by one of every three shots coming from the restricted area, where they're 64-92.


I was meaning the last two games. And 70% in the restricted area is overperforming unless you're LeBron.
   612. bunyon Posted: June 13, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4725252)

I was meaning the last two games. And 70% in the restricted area is overperforming unless you're LeBron.


Or unguarded much of the time.
   613. Manny Coon Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:00 PM (#4725254)
Leonard or Duncan will win, but in terms of "who's changed the Spurs the most this year vs last" it's either Manu (who sucked nearly to Mario Chalmers level last year for all but 1 game.) or Diaw (who's passing is a huge part in making this current offense happen.


This is the best and healthiest Ginobili has been the playoffs for several years. When he's healthy he really gets the team going because he's so versatile. He's a good defender and rebounder and offense he can play several roles, he's good at catch and shoot, as passer and playmaker, he's a good creating for himself, and he's really efficient. Part of the reason a guy like Mills is so effective for the Spurs is that well rounded players like Ginobili and Leonard to cover for his weak spots. A lot of people talk about how stars make their teammates better by drawing attention away from role players, but the versatility of the Spurs better players I think does pretty good job at that as well.
   614. Booey Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4725256)
So, in game 3 they should have shot 8 for 20 instead of 9 for 20, and in game 4 they should have shot 8 for 21 instead of 9 for 21, and that explains 2 20 point losses?


That's what I was thinking too. They're not shooting ridiculously high percentages and squeaking by with 3 or 4 point wins. If that were the case, I'd agree that the Spurs should feel lucky to be ahead and that Miami was probably still gonna make a series of it. But these games have been beatdowns; reduce the Spurs shooting down to normal levels and they win by moderate margins rather than blowout margins, but they still win. And that's what I expect in game 5 - a more realistic shooting performance and a little more suspense in the 4th, but a SA victory nonetheless.

Anyone up for game 5 predictions? I'm going Spurs by 8 (and it'll be closer than that until the typical free throw barrage in the final seconds).
   615. tshipman Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4725259)
Anyone up for game 5 predictions? I'm going Spurs by 8 (and it'll be closer than that until the typical free throw barrage in the final seconds).


I'll take Heat by 5.
   616. Publius Publicola Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:08 PM (#4725260)
They aren't unsustainably hot from the field. They're getting easy-ass shots.


Word. And the reason they're getting them is they are running a passing clinic in the halfcourt and have the Heat tongues hanging by the beginning of the second quarter.
   617. Publius Publicola Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:08 PM (#4725262)
I'll take Heat by 5.


I'd like some of that action.
   618. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:12 PM (#4725276)
Mark me down as another one that thinks the series is more or less over. The Heat have had size match-up problems for their entire four-year run with Lebron, and they've overcome them with crazy perimeter defense. Lebron's as great as ever, but Wade's decline on both offense and defense is almost painful to watch, and Chalmers/Battier/Allen/Lewis aren't guarding anyone. The only size they get are from Andersen and Haslem off the bench, and they're completely inconsequential.

It's a system and style difference that we always talk about, and there's never really a right answer to it. If you have one or two really good players, they can carry an otherwise mediocre team, but those two guys can be dragged down by a supporting cast that doesn't support them. You can get a team with talent across the board but no one with profound greatness to center it around. That team can overwhelm opponents, but can also be overwhelmed by singular talents playing at peak levels. Ideally, you get a mix, but that's tough to make happen in this day and age, what with free agency and salary caps. We've seen both types of teams win championships. Right now, the Spurs have talent everywhere playing well, and the Heat's supporting cast just... isn't. I don't think Spo's doing a bad job, he's just playing the hand he's dealt, and the other guy just has better cards.
   619. Publius Publicola Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:18 PM (#4725291)
Tship, no offense but you're sounding about the Heat a lot like Karl Rove sounded about the 2012 election night Ohio returns.
   620. tshipman Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:18 PM (#4725293)
The line per Bovada is Spurs + 5.5 for game 5. I'm happy to go $20 in sponsorships on the other side of that.
   621. tshipman Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:19 PM (#4725300)
Tship, no offense but you're sounding about the Heat a lot like Karl Rove sounded about the 2012 election night Ohio returns.


Kevin, no offense, but you're a cancer on the site and you should have stayed banned.
   622. Publius Publicola Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4725302)
Does it have to be sponsorships? Why can't you just mail the cash and let the winner decide on how it's spent?
   623. Publius Publicola Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4725305)
but you're a cancer on the site and you should have stayed banned.


Well, I'm not the one sounding like a dumbass about the Heat so there's that...

Dumbassery can be kind of carcinogenic...
   624. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 13, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4725412)
Did you learn that in the Army? Or during your time as a life-long Bullets/Wizards fan?
   625. andrewberg Posted: June 13, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4725419)
I would say that you can get hot passing just as much as you can get hot shooting, and that San Antonio is red hot passing right now.
   626. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: June 13, 2014 at 05:23 PM (#4725428)
I would say that you can get hot passing just as much as you can get hot shooting, and that San Antonio is red hot passing right now.

And the Heat are in something the opposite of that defensively, some sort of horrible slump.
   627. Publius Publicola Posted: June 13, 2014 at 05:32 PM (#4725435)
I would say that you can get hot passing just as much as you can get hot shooting, and that San Antonio is red hot passing right now.


I think it's a perfect storm of a lot of the things everyone has pointed out. The Spurs are hot, and so their confidence grows. The Heat are tired and so their confidence sags. The sagging begets more Spurs passing, more confidence, more Heat fatigue etc.
   628. Fourth True Outcome Posted: June 13, 2014 at 05:34 PM (#4725440)
Zach Lowe's article about game 4 does a good job of explaining why the Spurs are kicking the snot out of the Heat right now, and why betting on much of a rebound from the Heat is perhaps not the smartest bet. I think his analysis is pretty spot-on, and that this one isn't going to make it to game 7 unless LeBron goes absolutely supernova. (Which is always possible, but tough for even him to do, let alone for three games running.)
   629. Howie Menckel Posted: June 13, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4725476)

"I think you're assigning the failure of the entire team solely on the leader. From a practical standpoint, what more should LeBron be doing? There's only so much LeBron can do, or be expected to do, about the fact that Rashard Lewis is starting at PF and sucks, that Wade is running out of gas, etc etc. When a team is this physically and tactically overmatched, there's absolutely no intangible or leadership quality/criticism to be made, IMO."

I agree in terms of being critical of LeBron for the Heat not winning Game 4, when his teammates were almost uniformly awful. But that's not what I was doing. The Heat weren't bad, they were utterly docile. I think that fact is fair game regarding leadership, especially since it's a narrowly focused and hardly withering criticism. This isn't some global putdown; just an observation about his impact on teammates from a leadership role. Some maniacal predecessors would have acted differently, imo, that's all. And he ain't dead yet.
   630. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 13, 2014 at 06:23 PM (#4725485)
I agree in terms of being critical of LeBron for the Heat not winning Game 4, when his teammates were almost uniformly awful. But that's not what I was doing. The Heat weren't bad, they were utterly docile. I think that fact is fair game regarding leadership, especially since it's a narrowly focused and hardly withering criticism. This isn't some global putdown; just an observation about his impact on teammates from a leadership role. Some maniacal predecessors would have acted differently, imo, that's all. And he ain't dead yet.
I agree that some maniacal predecessors would have acted differently, but I'm not sure that it would make a difference if he started barking at Chalmers or Anderson or (God help us all) Wade. In a long series, talent generally wins out regardless of how much noise is made. I mean, it's the FINALS, and there's no such thing as a team making the NBA Finals that isn't passionate about playing basketball with the pressure on.
   631. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 06:29 PM (#4725491)
Sure there is. Witness the 2004 Lakers.
   632. andrewberg Posted: June 13, 2014 at 06:53 PM (#4725526)
And in the 04 Finals, the team with the Fire and Brimstone leader lost to the team with the more laid back leader. I don't think that had much to do with that series or this one.
   633. Fourth True Outcome Posted: June 13, 2014 at 07:00 PM (#4725535)
I think that fact is fair game regarding leadership, especially since it's a narrowly focused and hardly withering criticism.

I mean, what would Michael Jordan do in LeBron's place on this Heat team? The Spurs are good enough that him going off for 60 wouldn't be enough to single-handedly do it, so...could he bully DWade's knees or Rashard Lewis or Shane Battier into being 25 again? Or Birdman into being healthy? I don't really see what leadership has to do with the Heat being older, less healthy, and thinner than last year's iteration of their team. If they can't overcome that fact, it won't be because LeBron didn't lead enough. That seems like the macro version of the argument that LeBron should have been able to tell his legs to stop cramping in game 1.
   634. madvillain Posted: June 13, 2014 at 07:05 PM (#4725538)
Young Jordan would perhaps get them to a game 7, so would a 25 year old lebron imo
   635. robinred Posted: June 13, 2014 at 07:30 PM (#4725562)
And in the 04 Finals, the team with the Fire and Brimstone leader lost to the team with the more laid back leader


Shaq was not a fire-and-brimstone guy. A guy who runs a Lakers blog also said that this series reminded him of 2004.

As to Jordan and James, when I did my personal player rankings, I had James #1 peak all-time and Jordan #2. Based on the criteria I set up for the exercise, James' versatility gave him the slimmest of edges. However, in my comment about Jordan, I said that he remains the best pure scorer that I have ever seen, and I still think so.

James played great on O in Games 3 and 4: He was 9/14 in Game 3, and 10/17 in Game 4. But what he didn't do was take 35 shots, try to go off for 55 points, and try to win the game by himself. A 29-year-old Jordan might not have done that either, playing with Wade and Bosh...but then again he might have. As to whether James' trying to do that would help Miami...don't know. But I think it would dispel any impressions some may have that James and Miami are drifting gently off to Valhalla.

But, of course, as noted, Miami's larger problem is D. They have a ton of old guys, and they were only 11th in DRTG this year. The Spurs are shooting at unsustainable rates, but it is really not that surprising that they are slicing Miami up.
   636. Howie Menckel Posted: June 13, 2014 at 08:21 PM (#4725606)
"That seems like the macro version of the argument that LeBron should have been able to tell his legs to stop cramping in game 1."

Except that I vociferously disagreed with that argument. It's not the same thing at all.

The NBA grind is a LONG one. It's extremely difficult to keep finding another gear. No one stops badly wanting to win, but sometimes it's so hard to find the gear. The Heat, beyond the D problems and the Spurs' shooting, just seem whipped. LeBron seems like he can do almost anything, except maybe draw out whatever's left in those whipped teammates. I feel like Isiah and Jordan did that - that's all.

The ESPN 30/30 on the Bad Boy Pistons really captured that well. I highly recommend it.
   637. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: June 13, 2014 at 10:14 PM (#4725668)
I'm dying to make some sort of bad joke about a the obligatory Grantland blog on Monday comparing the defeated Pat Riley with {INSERT GAME OF THRONES SPOILERS SEASON FINELE HERE} but I have 0 friends in real life that have both read the book and watch the NBA.
   638. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: June 13, 2014 at 10:17 PM (#4725670)
And if Popovich wants to prove he's a true genius he should trade something to Detroit for Josh Smith and Joe Nathan.
   639. RollingWave Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:25 AM (#4725770)
I'll take the other extreme, I say Spurs crush Heat again by 15+ in game 5. that would be a supremely interesting narrative if that happens.

As other folks mentioned, Anderson and Wade's health has been probably the biggest problem, in theory with a fully healthy team they should be at least on par and most likely more athletic than the Spurs, but we forget that Anderson is actually very old for an NBA player, and they rely on him a lot more than most people realize.
   640. Publius Publicola Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:39 AM (#4725772)
What's wrong with Andersen?
   641. GordonShumway Posted: June 14, 2014 at 11:42 AM (#4725795)
LeBron seems like he can do almost anything, except maybe draw out whatever's left in those whipped teammates. I feel like Isiah and Jordan did that - that's all.


The 1993-1994 Bulls team went 55-27 when MJ first retired in an Eastern Conference that wasn't quite as weak as it is today. The 2013-14 Heat team went 54-28. I'm not saying that that Bulls team were a better or even an equal team to this year's Heat. That Bulls team played well over it's Pythag record, and was playing all out that year. This year's Heat team has been pacing themselves through the regular season.

I do think that Jordan's supporting cast get severely underrated by history and that too little of the credit of the six championships go to them and too much credit to Jordan's mythical aura of single handedly carrying and prodding his team to greatness. Scottie Pippen was an all-time great player who was significantly more valuable from 1991-98 than either Wade or Bosh in the Big 3 era. Horace Grant from 1990-93 and Dennis Rodman from 1995-1998 were better third bananas than either Wade or Bosh with their superior rebounding and interior defense. The Bulls bench had better players than the Heat bench during their respective championship seasons.

I really doubt that Jordan, as great as he was, could win a 7 game series against the Spurs the way they're playing right now with the current Heat team, sans Lebron. And I think Lebron could have won 6 or more rings with the supporting case the Bulls had. And I think that's true for even with all the yelling and bullying Jordan may have done with the current Heat team, and with the lighter touch that Lebron would have brought to the 90s Bulls.

Ultimately, as said by others above, talent wins in the NBA. I think the 90s Bulls supporting cast, despite its rep, was a lot more talented than the '10-'14 Heat supporting case.
   642. RollingWave Posted: June 14, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4725919)
Well the news is the Melo is leaning towards leaving NY either for Chicago / Dallas / Houston, let the trolling begin.

Personally I think it pretty much has to be Chicago.
   643. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4725928)
Dallas would not totally shock me.
   644. RollingWave Posted: June 14, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4725949)
Though I must say if he somehow ends up going to Houston and Jeremy Lin is involved in the S&T back to NY, that would be.......... amusing.
   645. Into the Void Posted: June 14, 2014 at 03:42 PM (#4725981)
Harden and Melo as your two primary wing defenders would also be amusing.
   646. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: June 14, 2014 at 04:10 PM (#4725995)
Though I must say if he somehow ends up going to Houston and Jeremy Lin is involved in the S&T back to NY, that would be.......... amusing.
especially since lin will be paid 15MM this coming season.
   647. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4726068)
   648. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 14, 2014 at 10:21 PM (#4726344)
Wrong thread.
   649. Squash Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4726487)
LeBron seems like he can do almost anything, except maybe draw out whatever's left in those whipped teammates. I feel like Isiah and Jordan did that - that's all.

I would say that whatever alleged leadership/character flaws assigned to LeBron as regards to his teammates are vastly overshadowed by the degree to which he makes them better on the basketball court with his passing, getting them open looks, keeping them involved, etc. There are other ways to make players better than hollering at them.
   650. GordonShumway Posted: June 15, 2014 at 11:04 AM (#4726492)
I would say that whatever alleged leadership/character flaws assigned to LeBron as regards to his teammates are vastly overshadowed by the degree to which he makes them better on the basketball court with his passing, getting them open looks, keeping them involved, etc. There are other ways to make players better than hollering at them.


This has been mentioned numerous times before, but I also think that whatever Lebron leaves on the table by not yelling and intimidating his teammates like MJ/Kobe did, he more than makes that up by attracting other players to play with him while signing on for below-market contracts. Of course, South Beach, Florida's tax and bankruptcy laws, and Riley have a lot to do with that as well - Cleveland had a lot of trouble attracting decent players in Lebron's 2007-2010 prime. Nonetheless, I'd rather have a guy with Lebron's personality on my team, than a guy with MJ/Kobe's personality on my team. The latter arguably drove off top level guys like Shaq in '04 and Howard in '13, in addition to many other valuable players.
   651. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 15, 2014 at 01:58 PM (#4726584)
Nonetheless, I'd rather have a guy with Lebron's personality on my team, than a guy with MJ/Kobe's personality on my team. The latter arguably drove off top level guys like Shaq in '04 and Howard in '13, in addition to many other valuable players.
Pau Gasol, on his blog, earlier this year:
Re-signing for the Lakers is a possibility, but I’m not sure whether to say it’s a remote one. If there’s anything or anyone who could make me stay it’s Kobe Bryant. I’d stay for him, but there’d have to be significant changes.
The can't-play-with-Kobe thing is wearying. With respect to Shaq, is there still any doubt that the Lakers made the right decision to keep Kobe over Shaq? As for Howard... meh. If the price for keeping Howard is allowing him to dictate roster construction, I'll pass, thanks.
   652. robinred Posted: June 15, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4726619)
The latter arguably drove off top level guys like Shaq in '04 and Howard in '13, in addition to many other valuable players.

--

Feel free to list who you think they are, their stats after leaving LA, and how many titles their departures cost the Lakers. Nobody cares anymore, but Malone and Payton, back in the day, actually gave up money to play with O'Neal and Bryant. Ron Artest supposedly came to LA in part to play with Bryant. O'Neal, BITD, among other things, screamed "Pay me!" at Jerry Buss in public, and gained 50 pounds, to help get himself out of town, and then after LA, of course, bounced around from team to team, with some bad vibes at many stops.

As to Howard, Bryant was certainly one of the reasons that he left, among many. Howard stated publicly that he didn't like the D'Antoni hire, and had gone to the FO at the time and asked them to hire Phil. But I think the main reason that Howard bailed is the same reason that Anthony will probably bail New York: the roster sucked and there was no flexibility to improve it quickly. After he left, Howard pointed out in an interview that he is not a young guy in NBA terms anymore--and neither is Anthony, of course. My guess is that if the team had been good, and/or if Paul had been allowed to be traded here, Howard would have stayed. Winning/chasing titles cures a lot of problems. The Shaq/Kobe stuff escalated after the Lakers had won three times and then started to decline on the floor.

Assuming the Spurs win, we are going to see some articles comparing Spurs/Popovich/Duncan to Lakers/Jackson/Bryant, and there will be a lot of focus on Shaq and Howard and on Bryant's contract. It is great for the Spurs that Duncan is playing for 10M, and power to him. OTOH, Bryant would have been taking less money on spec, not to help keep an elite team together, and as Bryant pointed out when he signed the deal, the owners locked out the players to get as much money as they could, so he was going to get as much as he could, as well.

Bryant's deal is really dumb for the team, and has almost no chance to work out, but I blame the FO for offering it, not Bryant for taking it.

Bryant may well be as bad of a guy as his detractors make him out to be, and certainly he played a role in the Howard debacle. But having seen Bryant's whole career, I think the argument that his badness has hurt the team appreciably on the floor over the years is very weak. The Lakers' two Finals losses were to better teams, and Shaq and Howard are guys with issues of their own.
   653. GregD Posted: June 15, 2014 at 03:10 PM (#4726628)
I am not a Melo basher; I think he has performed better than anyone could expect for the Knicks and has lifted his game at an age and body shape when I expected it to slack. And he has generally held up well under the spotlight and in this lousy season, which I don't blame on him.

But if the Knicks are smart enough to let him walk, they are suddenly going to be poised to have a future again. They are toast salary cap wise with or without him, but will have a huge amount--shitload is the technical term--of money the following year. And I would guess that Phil will have a plan to spend it.

And they'll be lousy this year and actually have--for once--the draft choice to take advantage of it.

But boy will this coming year be terrible.
   654. If on a winter's night a baserunner Posted: June 15, 2014 at 04:17 PM (#4726707)
653 is right on the money, I reckon.

More than anything, these finals, I've been shocked at Wade's lack of offensive touch. This is pretty subjective, but I can't believe the number of times he's used his still potent combination of handle, strength, footwork, timing, and spacial awareness to fake San Antone's bigs and get off a clean look at a bunny of a 3' baby hook—and just come nowhere close to making it. I get how a loss of lift will change how that shot comes off your hands; still, on a gut level, it feels wrong that a player as skilled as Wade hasn't been able to adjust to that new reality. Historically, that shot is nearly a guarantee; if he made all of those looks in games 3 and 4, San Antonio's runs aren't as long or as dominant, their defense gets compromised by someone besides just LeBron, and some of those underperforming old guys might start getting open looks from deep again.

Two important caveats here: I'm speculating based on subjective takes, instead of, you know, counting a countable thing; and I've always thought Wade is a whiny whiner with a history of dirty plays, so #### him.
   655. GordonShumway Posted: June 15, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4726712)
651, 652:

A lot of points there, not all of which I can adequately cover, but here are my main thoughts:

1.) I don't put much weight on Pau's statement. Pau's speaking in a public forum about a co-worker - an extremely high-profile co-worker with a lot of supporters. I've been in that position many times before, and I'm sure many of the posters here have as well. Nearly all people in that same situation will speaking positively of said co-worker even if that he privately has serious personal or professional disagreements with the co-worker. Let's wait to see what Pau says after he's no longer playing for the Lakers.

2.) I have no idea how LBJ/MJ/Kobe are like in real life, but the common consensus seems to be that LBJ is generally nicer and more respectful and that MJ/Kobe are nastier and more domineering. Regardless, there seems to be a general consensus in the basketball media that the type of personality attributed to MJ/Kobe is, all else being equal, more conducive to winning championships in pro basketball as an alpha player than Lebron's personality is. I've never played professional sports before, but I would imagine it's not too different in that most professionals would rather work with, all else being equal, colleagues who are nicer and more respectful over those who are nastier and more disrespectful. If this is wrong in regards to the NBA, I'm open to hearing why that's the case.

3.) I don't follow the Lakers and I defer to your greater knowledge of why certain players left or stayed. Nonetheless, even upon conceding all your points, I would still submit that Lebron seems to have had a greater positive impact in influencing players to stay/join the Heat than Kobe has with the Lakers. (MJ played in an era with very different FA and salary cap rules; hard to make any comparisons here). And I believe that whatever on-court advantage gained through the superiority of an MJ/Kobe personality over LBJ's personality, if there is an advantage, is wiped out by the greater personnel advantage gained by better attracting and retaining players as LBJ has.

4.) All that being said, personalities matter very little. MJ had 6 rings; Kobe has 5 rings and two other finals; and Lebron has been in 5 finals, has 2 rings, and is only 29. Talent trumps everything else far more often than not.
   656. JJ1986 Posted: June 15, 2014 at 08:05 PM (#4726857)
Slowest national anthem ever.
   657. Howie Menckel Posted: June 15, 2014 at 08:17 PM (#4726864)

just want to say, I've truly enjoyed and appreciated the give-and-take here. a textbook example of how people can disagree - without being disagreeable about it! again, a tip of the cap.

:)

   658. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: June 15, 2014 at 08:26 PM (#4726867)
LeBron ain't playing around tonight.
   659. RollingWave Posted: June 15, 2014 at 08:27 PM (#4726868)
Oh hello Miami Heat that can play defense, where have you been the last 4 games?
   660. RollingWave Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:04 PM (#4726883)
Well that Miami team lasted about 10 minutes
   661. Squash Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:07 PM (#4726887)
Wow Wade is cooked. Everybody on the Heat is cooked other than LeBron.
   662. yo la tengo Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:07 PM (#4726888)
Just a stunning comeback here. Lot of game left, but this is seriously impressive
   663. yo la tengo Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:08 PM (#4726890)
How many minutes has LeBrin played? What will he have left in the second half? A couple of decent open 3 pointers fall for the Spurs and it is a wide open ball game for SA
   664. RollingWave Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:10 PM (#4726892)
I'll go on a limb and say that if Miami is trailing at the half they might as well throw the confetti
   665. Squash Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:11 PM (#4726893)
And it still amazes me that even 10 years into the league teams still seem to routinely forget that Ginobili is left handed.
   666. Famous Original Joe C Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:15 PM (#4726895)
Can anyone explain to me why I hate the Spurs fans so much when I'm watching on TV?

My team has never played them, so no history. I don't really dislike the team - Parker and Ginobili are among the most egregious floppers and call beggars in the league and rub me the wrong way sometimes, but like half the Clippers (e.g.) are floppers and I don't have the same feeling watching them. I certainly harbor no ill will to the Spurs fans here - by all appearances decent and thoughtful one and all. But when the Spurs are doing well at home, I feel a deep seated (sports) hatred toward their fans. Has anyone else had this experience?
   667. TFTIO can't talk like this -- he's so sorry. Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:25 PM (#4726899)
I have a bone-deep and irrational hatred of Duncan, who is a phenomenal player, just a privilege to watch. But he's such a whiner and for some reason I simply can't look past it. That hunched shoulder running up the court whine to the refs ... it makes me mad enough to punch a nun.
   668. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:28 PM (#4726901)
Why are people (Mike Breen) shocked that the Spurs came back from a 16 point early deficit? Have they watched NBA basketball? Have they watched this series?
   669. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:33 PM (#4726904)
Indeed. It was a good comeback. Not a great one. Most teams, if given the opportunity, could have erased a 16 point deficit by the end of the first half. I see nothig remarkable about it.
   670. Kurt Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:34 PM (#4726905)
I have a bone-deep and irrational hatred of Duncan, who is a phenomenal player, just a privilege to watch. But he's such a whiner and for some reason I simply can't look past it. That hunched shoulder running up the court whine to the refs ... it makes me mad enough to punch a nun.


Funny, I have an equally bone-deep (and probably equally irrational) like of Duncan. He's one of my two favorite athletes of the last twenty years, and I'll be thrilled if they win this series.
   671. Squash Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:36 PM (#4726906)
Why are people (Mike Breen) shocked that the Spurs came back from a 16 point early deficit? Have they watched NBA basketball? Have they watched this series?

It's (pretty much) Mike Breen's job to be stunned by everything.
   672. JJ1986 Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:39 PM (#4726907)
Heat are not getting very good looks out of their one-player-dribble-the-clock-down-and-then-look-to-pass offense. Maybe they should run some plays.
   673. Kurt Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:43 PM (#4726909)
Who was Allen even passing to?
   674. yo la tengo Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:43 PM (#4726910)
So, the half time deficit did not seem to create much urgency for the Heat. No points - almost 4 minutes in. Are they toast?
   675. madvillain Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:47 PM (#4726911)
Not 1, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7. But 2. What was the over under on lebron titles in Miami, 3? Looks like the under.
   676. Kurt Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:47 PM (#4726912)
I think a couple of buckets away - if it gets to 15 or so, start wheeling the champagne into the locker room.
   677. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:47 PM (#4726913)
I bet LeBron doesn't even come back to the Heat after this. His teammates have truly been pathetic.
   678. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:49 PM (#4726914)
I wouldn't be surprised to see the Heat win. A lot of people have a flawed analysis: they think what they saw last is what will come next.
   679. Kurt Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:51 PM (#4726915)
You wouldn't be *surprised* to see the Heat win? I mean, I wouldn't bet my life on the Spurs yet but I think we've hit the "surprise" threshhold.
   680. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:51 PM (#4726916)
I bet LeBron doesn't even come back to the Heat after this. His teammates have truly been pathetic.


This line of thought has sprung up all of a sudden. It didn't exist prior to this series, or prior to the series being 1-1. And it is truly a ridiculous assertion.
   681. MikeOberly Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:51 PM (#4726917)
Everyone on the Heat looks like zombies other than James. And not the dangerous kind of zombies.
   682. RollingWave Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:56 PM (#4726919)
I think the Heat probably stay together and will win another title at some point in the next 2 season. because lets face it, they're going to make the next 2 finales anyway with the way the East is, and that means they probably have a 50% chance because the West tend to clobber each other to dust and the Spurs probably can't make 2 more strait finals.

But right now? it's over. It looks like my prediction of the Spurs blowing them out for 15+ is going to come true.
   683. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:56 PM (#4726920)
Well, when I wrote that (I'm a little behind) they weren't up by 18. It was like 10 or 12. So yeah, now the game is broken.
   684. Spivey Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:56 PM (#4726921)
Hell yes!
   685. JJ1986 Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:56 PM (#4726922)
A lot of people have a flawed analysis: they think what they saw last is what will come next.


The Spurs have been the much better team all year.
   686. Squash Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:56 PM (#4726923)
So have the Spurs missed a three this series? Not sure.
   687. MikeOberly Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:56 PM (#4726924)
What a blitzkrieg.
   688. Kurt Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:57 PM (#4726925)
For the record, Ray, it was 14 when I saw it.
   689. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:57 PM (#4726926)
wow
   690. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:58 PM (#4726927)
BEASLEY!!
   691. Famous Original Joe C Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:58 PM (#4726928)
Ray and Joey tonight, are we sure this isn't the politics thread? Can we have ol' Kevbo come by to stir up some #### with them for old times sake?
   692. Kurt Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:59 PM (#4726929)
Man, Pop doesn't mess around.
   693. yo la tengo Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:59 PM (#4726930)
Did Simmons overstate (as usual) during the halftime when he compared this Heat team to the Cavs team that the Spurs beat? LeBron has half the team's points now
   694. Squash Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:01 PM (#4726931)
I think James will stay at least another year simply because he's going to get clobbered in the press and with fans if he leaves.
   695. Spivey Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:01 PM (#4726932)
THIS MAN CAN SHOOT
   696. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:02 PM (#4726933)
I would love to move to Vegas with Ray (RDP) and have him predict every game for me. I'd go the opposite way every time and retire early.
   697. Squash Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:03 PM (#4726934)
Did Simmons overstate (as usual) during the halftime when he compared this Heat team to the Cavs team that the Spurs beat? LeBron has half the team's points now

The second half of your statement contradicts the first half.
   698. GregD Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:05 PM (#4726936)
Patty Mills is amazing...
   699. MikeOberly Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:06 PM (#4726937)
Yeesh, fouling Chalmers on a jumper. One of the few mistakes Leonard has made.
   700. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:06 PM (#4726938)
I think James will stay at least another year simply because he's going to get clobbered in the press and with fans if he leaves.


Yeah, that totally stopped him last time.
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