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Friday, June 01, 2012

OT: NBA Monthly Thread, June 2012

I estimate that only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what the site is really about: overwrought, acrimonious discussions about having where to put the site’s overwrought, acrimonious discussions.

Famous Original Joe C Posted: June 01, 2012 at 09:58 AM | 2704 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   401. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 05, 2012 at 07:54 AM (#4148673)
Can someone (I suspect robin) explain how the NBA threads will work on the new site? Because I basically lost any interest in the baseball discussion on this site years ago and have no real reason to post here except for this thread, a couple of other off-topic threads, and the occasional baseball thread that morphs into an OT discussion that I'm interested in (movies, books, HOF quarterbacks, etc.)

baudib, here's the best explanation that Jim's given. I don't think you'll have much of a problem with the new setup.

fra paolo has things essentially correct. The one clarification that I want to make is how the off-topic stuff will be handled. (Keep in mind this will be the initial setup I am implementing. It might change based on feedback during the beta test.)

On the backend, channels of content will be set up: 1) baseball, 2) OT-sports, and 3) OT-other. When an item is submitted into the system, people will select one of the three channels. They will then supply a primary tag (red sox, football, politics, etc., which will control which micro has moderation responsibility) and any other appropriate secondary tags. They will also supply all the other relevant information (link, title, etc.).

One additional channel will be available to admins and the moderator of the primary micro: OT-controversial.

By default members will see baseball on the front page and in Hot Topics. Within each member's preferences, members will be able to select the content they want to show up in the sitewide Hot Topics when they visit the site:
1) baseball
2) baseball+OT-sports
3) baseball+OT-sports+OT-other
4) All (1-3 plus OT-Controversial)

Once a discussion on a baseball thread goes off-topic and gets controversial it will be changed to OT-controversial by either the responsible moderators or the admins. If, using the pottery example above, a thread grows to 500 off-topic comments in a day and keeps going, it will be moved to the OT-other channel. After being moved from the baseball channel a topic will continue to display on the appropriate micros entry list (where the display is driven by tag/micro and status) but will only display in the sitewide HT or micro HT if a member opts-in.

Any topic which you "save" will show up in your personal Hot Topics regardless.

As for the Pottery micro...if members wish to share a link or discuss a topic which is not baseball-related, they will be able to submit a link to the off-topic channel and then tag it appropriately. Again, in this case, it would be submitted to "OT-Other" and be marked as "pottery" and it will show up in the Pottery Think Factory. It will not show up on the main page at all. It will only show up in Hot Topics for people who have opted-in to follow OT-Other posts in their Hot Topics. So, all you pottery fans can discuss your pottery on the site, if you wish, without ruining the experience for everyone else.


I'm glad the Thunder have come back and taken the lead in the series, it has sort of restored my faith in humanity. Nothing against the Spurs but it seemed depressing to think that they would just roll to another title with three very good players, two of whom were past their peak, and a bunch of no-name role players. I mean, when you have Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, Kukoc and a bunch of good role players and a great coach, I can understand how you dominate teams. I love Pop but I feel that the NBA is too over-coached as it is.

This is the first time I've really watched the Thunder, and it's impossible not to like this team on many levels. Nothing against San Anton, but OKC is just more fun to watch. Seeing them against the Celtics would give me two teams I like, and seeing them against the Heat would be like seeing Superman against Lex Luther, which is always a good matchup.

BTW this has got to be the first conference finals involving two teams from cities that have no other professional sports team in the four major U.S. sports. Just thought I'd throw that out for no reason at all, and if I'm mistaken it's because I'm too lazy to look it up. And if either of them turns out to have a hockey team, I give up.
   402. JC in DC Posted: June 05, 2012 at 09:13 AM (#4148695)
They looked pretty done in this game. They got very little from anyone not named Ginobili.


What we've learned from this series and it's just a confirmation of everything we know in sports: You look good when you're winning and you look bad when you're losing. The Spurs may be done, but they may also have another streak in them.
   403. Jimmy P Posted: June 05, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4148739)
Thabeet was 22 when he came out, and Drummond is 18. Drummond also was better than Thabeet before coming out. I went into this on the last thread, but I really don't think it's fair to compare the two guys, mostly due to the age difference.

Thabeet never had much of a chance given his age. Drummond is raw, but has some definite NBA-level skills (offensive rebounding, shot blocking).


Drummond is really raw. He's a guy that will definitely get you fired. I wouldn't touch him with a 10 foot pole. Who else would he compare to if not Thabeet? Eddy Curry? Diop?

Offensive rebounding is not something I'd actively go out and draft early. It's one skill that's easy to project, and guys that can offensive rebound can be found late in the draft (or undrafted). If that's the selling point, then he's going to be a massive overdraft.

@KevinArnovitz: Just filed to ESPN.com: Neil Olshey will not be returning to Clippers. Sources close to negotiations say he'll be POR GM.

Wow. He must keep himself in shape if Allen's going to hire him.
   404. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: June 05, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4148743)
They looked pretty done in this game. They got very little from anyone not named Ginobili.

It's fascinating how quickly that's turned. I think people here were right not to say they were as good as they looked after game 2. In the same vein, I think it might be premature to write them off. OTOH, the Thunder seem to have an answer for everything now. I haven't seen anyone on this thread give Brooks credit for that yet.

Or what JC said.
   405. Booey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4148747)
And given the fact he couldn't do anything besides shoot jump shots in the NBA explains why he doesn't understand basketball.


Not true. He could also draw fouls and hit free throws with the best of them.

BTW this has got to be the first conference finals involving two teams from cities that have no other professional sports team in the four major U.S. sports.


Surprisingly, no. The WCF featured Portland/Utah in 1992, San Antonio/Portland in 1999, and San Antonio/Utah in 2007.
   406. tshipman Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4148750)
It's fascinating how quickly that's turned. I think people here were right not to say they were as good as they looked after game 2. In the same vein, I think it might be premature to write them off. OTOH, the Thunder seem to have an answer for everything now. I haven't seen anyone on this thread give Brooks credit for that yet.


The reason why I said that they looked done is that they have nothing they can point to. Pop made the adjustments (burying Danny Green at the end of the bench, playing Ginobili higher minutes). They shot more FT's than the Thunder (something that isn't likely to continue in OKC), and they shot the 3p ball well. OKC shut down Parker's penetration and none of the role players can create on their own. Duncan is giving San Antonio very little.

What's the adjustment for San Antonio? Hit more jumpshots?

(and kudos to Brooks for making the adjustment on Parker. He is the key to these Spurs)
   407. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4148753)
Duncan is giving San Antonio very little.

What's the adjustment for San Antonio? Hit more jumpshots?
That's the adjustment, right? Get Duncan in the right positions - he should be able to beat either Perkins or Ibaka one-on-one, and if he does, that opens up the entire SA offense.
   408. JC in DC Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4148754)
I haven't seen anyone on this thread give Brooks credit for that yet.


I was thinking about this today on my drive into work. Our thread seemed to agree as a consensus that Brooks is a terrible coach (I questioned that at one point), and yet this guy's got a very young team on the verge of the Finals. In addition, all his very young players are developing very well and meshing quite well. So, what makes him terrible? Obviously, some of what we say is just shorthand, beer-in-hand sports fan talk, but maybe some of you meant he makes certain kinds of mistakes? And that got me thinking: is a young coach "terrible" b/c he makes mistakes, or, is he simply making mistakes that he will learn from? Has Brooks learned from prior mistakes and grown as a coach? Or, as John Thompson would point out, is he a good coach b/c he has good players, and when he doesn't have good players, he'll go back to being a bad coach again?
   409. AROM Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4148768)
Drummond is really raw. He's a guy that will definitely get you fired. I wouldn't touch him with a 10 foot pole. Who else would he compare to if not Thabeet? Eddy Curry? Diop?


A positive comparison could be to Andrew Bynum. If he develops into JaVale McGee or D'Andre Jordan then he's a useful player. I wouldn't take him high in this draft, but since he's only 18 you never know. That's the major thing he has going for him.

Offensive rebounding is not something I'd actively go out and draft early. It's one skill that's easy to project, and guys that can offensive rebound can be found late in the draft (or undrafted). If that's the selling point, then he's going to be a massive overdraft.


True on that. While Thabeet is a bust, looking at his career rates per 36 minutes he averages 3.2 ORB, 9.3 TRB, and 3.0 blocks. Also 6.7 fouls, which obviously gives him no chance to get to 36 minutes. Those rebounding rates are a good match for Ian Mahinmi's 2011-12 season, and the blocks are a match for McGee. He can block shots as well as anybody and rebound decently, yet he still can't play basketball. It takes a lot of skills to be able to play at this level.

The big non-scorers who specialize in rebounds and shot blocking who are able to contribute still have to do some other things. Like knowing an offense well enough to set picks in the right places, at least some minimal passing skills, and being able to do that while not committing too many fouls and turnovers. I have no idea if Drummond will be able to do this. I might take that gamble after the 10th pick, but not before it.
   410. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4148777)
Nothing against San Anton, but OKC is just more fun to watch.

This is highly subjective, though I'd guess it's mostly true among casual fans. OKC is clearly the more athletic team which leads to more conventional highlight-reel plays. However, OKC's style involves a lot of isolation and free throw shooting (on both offense and defense), whereas SA's does not. The Spurs rely much more on ball movement, off-the-ball action, and executing set plays, which can be exciting to watch in a different way. I've probably had more fun watching the Spurs than any other team this season. When they're hot, they seem to get great shots as a team on every possession, rather than having one or two guys who look unguardable.
   411. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4148790)
BTW this has got to be the first conference finals involving two teams from cities that have no other professional sports team in the four major U.S. sports.

Surprisingly, no. The WCF featured Portland/Utah in 1992, San Antonio/Portland in 1999, and San Antonio/Utah in 2007.


Of course, and now that I think about it I should have remembered the first finals I ever saw, the Syracuse Nats** and the Ft. Wayne Zollner Pistons.*** It was decided on a one shot free throw in the final seconds, and it extended Syracuse's all-time Onondaga County War Memorial Coliseum record against the Pistons to 28 and 0---that Syracuse home court advantage was always a killer.

The early NBA was an amazing league, with cities as big as New York and Chicago and as tiny as Anderson, Waterloo or Sheboygan. Washington fans in the 1949-50 season could see the Bullets, the Caps, and the Nats all in one division, and the Redskins lurking out west.

**now the 76ers---the GS Warriors were then in Philadelphia

***named after their owner
   412. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 05, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4148798)
Nothing against San Anton, but OKC is just more fun to watch.

This is highly subjective, though I'd guess it's mostly true among casual fans.


And that's a fair description of my level of fandom at this point. If the Celtics or the Heat are playing, I've got a rooting interest for or against, but if they're not, I tend to go for the overall narrative. I like and admire San Antonio, but I've seen them a lot, whereas Oklahoma City's story seems a lot fresher. Plus I like their Old School, almost throwback-looking uniforms.
   413. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4148817)

This is highly subjective, though I'd guess it's mostly true among casual fans. OKC is clearly the more athletic team which leads to more conventional highlight-reel plays. However, OKC's style involves a lot of isolation and free throw shooting (on both offense and defense), whereas SA's does not. The Spurs rely much more on ball movement, off-the-ball action, and executing set plays, which can be exciting to watch in a different way. I've probably had more fun watching the Spurs than any other team this season. When they're hot, they seem to get great shots as a team on every possession, rather than having one or two guys who look unguardable.


I agree with you. OKC can be really fun to watch, but really I think of them more as a team that makes great highlights. They take a lot of iso-jump shots and their games can be very stop and start with all of the fouls.

As for the Drummond/Thabeet comp, I still don't see why that isn't the best comp out there. Thabeet did some things better, too, like JC mentioned. Like not shoot free throws at an embarrassing clip. Yes, Drummond is 18 and Thabeet is 22. That said, I believe Thabeet picked up basketball at a pretty late age so there was reason to think he could develop, he seemed (seems?) like a good guy with a good work ethic too. It's just really difficult to make the kind of serious offensive strides these guys needed to when you're riding the bench every game. And which ones do develop seems like a crapshoot.
   414. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4148820)
As for Brooks, I think we have to consider he's a good coach. He's made some good adjustments this series, and all the players seem to play hard and like each other. Even Kendrick Perkins seems active and excited, which is a minor miracle. He got off to a bad start, but most guys do. I was a lot younger then, but I remember there Pop getting flak back in the day about not being able to run an offense, and Doc Rivers I think was generally considered a poor coach when he started out.

By the way, Fisher is only playing because Maynor is out for the year, right? Is Maynor supposed to be back next year?
   415. AROM Posted: June 05, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4148824)
It was decided on a one shot free throw in the final seconds, and it extended Syracuse's all-time Onondaga County War Memorial Coliseum record against the Pistons to 28 and 0---that Syracuse home court advantage was always a killer.


Are you from Syracuse? I'm guessing you saw that live as I don't think they televised many NBA games back then, not to mention in 1955 I think only about half of households had a TV.
   416. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 05, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4148864)
It was decided on a one shot free throw in the final seconds, and it extended Syracuse's all-time Onondaga County War Memorial Coliseum record against the Pistons to 28 and 0---that Syracuse home court advantage was always a killer.

Are you from Syracuse? I'm guessing you saw that live as I don't think they televised many NBA games back then, not to mention in 1955 I think only about half of households had a TV.


Not from Syracuse, and I should've been more clear. NBC only televised Saturday afternoon games back then, and so while I did see game six, the deciding game was on a Sunday afternoon and it wasn't televised. The practice of televising all the final round games nationally didn't begin until sometime between 1967 (when they weren't) and 1970 (when they were). What probably held it back was that between 1962 and 1970, the Western Conference team was always from California.

OTOH TV ownership exploded after 1950, and by 1955 well over half of the U.S. households had sets. I was in a typical middle class DC neighborhood**, and pretty much everyone had one.

**That neighborhood's insanely wealthy now, but in 1955 the demographics were much more mixed and there were more than a few blue collar households.
   417. andrewberg Posted: June 05, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4148865)
As for Brooks, I think we have to consider he's a good coach. He's made some good adjustments this series, and all the players seem to play hard and like each other. Even Kendrick Perkins seems active and excited, which is a minor miracle. He got off to a bad start, but most guys do. I was a lot younger then, but I remember there Pop getting flak back in the day about not being able to run an offense, and Doc Rivers I think was generally considered a poor coach when he started out.

By the way, Fisher is only playing because Maynor is out for the year, right? Is Maynor supposed to be back next year?


I agree that Brooks has improved. There is always a tension between having the most intricate strategies and being able to communicate them such that your players can execute them effectively. Poppovich has used his FO role to get really heady players who can comprehend the fluidity of his system and employ it on the court. It is hard to say where Brooks was coming up short the last couple of years, but it is clear that he has either improved his schemes or his ability to get his players to execute those schemes because they are much more organized and seem to have a better concept of 2nd and 3rd options than they used to. Of course, introducing James Harden into the mix as a highly intelligent creator has probably helped with that a great deal.
   418. AROM Posted: June 05, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4148878)
Not from Syracuse, and I should've been more clear. NBC only televised Saturday afternoon games back then, and so while I did see game six, the deciding game was on a Sunday afternoon and it wasn't televised.


I did find the end of that game 7 on youtube. Pretty cool.
   419. Fourth True Outcome Posted: June 05, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4148897)
I've had to reevaluate my perceptions of Brooks this postseason. I'm still not sure how good I think he is, but I no longer think he's a liability. The Thunder offense is based around Durant, Westbrook, and Harden scoring/creating, but he's used a good mix of things to put them in positions to succeed. He doesn't run intricate sets, but you don't need to if your offense is those three guys. I don't think he's a great coach, or at least not yet, but he's made some pretty good adjustments this series.
   420. smileyy Posted: June 05, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4148911)
The Thunder offense is based around Durant, Westbrook, and Harden scoring/creating,


That's supposed to be the Miami offense too, right? Which I realize is hindered without Bosh.
   421. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: June 05, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4148914)
I haven't seen anyone on this thread give Brooks credit for that yet.

I was thinking about this today on my drive into work.
It's funny, I was doing exactly the same thing on my drive into work as well. OKC's done a great job on Parker in limiting his pick-and-roll damage, and that's good coaching. What's more important, I think, is what Brooks didn't do. He didn't bench Perkins, he didn't start Harden, he didn't pare down on Thabo, he didn't reshuffle his deck at all. He's shown confidence in his guys and in their system when the rest of the world (especially me) thought they were going to get buried, and it's paying off.
   422. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 05, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4148961)
Not from Syracuse, and I should've been more clear. NBC only televised Saturday afternoon games back then, and so while I did see game six, the deciding game was on a Sunday afternoon and it wasn't televised.

I did find the end of that game 7 on youtube. Pretty cool.


I can't believe you found that video, and what made it even better was that the first announcer (for what must have been an earlier game) was clearly the great Marty Glickman, and the final seconds of game 7 were called in an overvoice by Johnny Most. And then you've got Dolph Schayes in a 2007 interview. Quite a find you had there.
   423. AROM Posted: June 05, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4148965)
Anyone know if Kendrick Perkins is a legit 6'10? I don't see his name in the draft-express database.

Durant is listed at 6'9 in socks, 6'10.25 in shoes. He may have grown a bit since being drafted at 19. But I'm fairly certain, after seeing them right next to each other yesterday, that Durant is at least an inch taller than Perkins.
   424. Fourth True Outcome Posted: June 05, 2012 at 02:46 PM (#4148971)
Perk is a legit 6'10". Here's the DX profile. It's always possible that Durant has grown since he entered the league, which would just be silly.
   425. JC in DC Posted: June 05, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4148972)
What's more important, I think, is what Brooks didn't do. He didn't bench Perkins, he didn't start Harden, he didn't pare down on Thabo, he didn't reshuffle his deck at all. He's shown confidence in his guys and in their system when the rest of the world (especially me) thought they were going to get buried, and it's paying off.


I think these are great points. Everyone (here and elsewhere) was clamoring for him to bench Perkins and that non-move may have saved OKC's season.
   426. AROM Posted: June 05, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4148973)
This is the one I found: Nationals win 1955 title
The one you linked is awesome too.

I love watching the old NBA, and trying to make sense of how much the sport has changed. Players did not play as physically as they are now. Is that because nobody really tried that style yet or because it would not have been tolerated? Take a 2011 post player (I especially have in mind the kind of wrestling Lebron and Garnett were doing towards the end of game 4), put him into 1955, and assume he's stubborn enough to play that style. Does he dominate the smaller, weaker competition? Or does he just foul out in 3 minutes?
   427. smileyy Posted: June 05, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4148975)
The continued growth of teenagers after the draft amuses me, especially for guys like Dwight Howard and Kevin Durant.

Conventional Wisdom seems to be that Durant is 6'11" in shoes.

Perkins has that height in his DX profile, but he's absent from their measurements history database, which makes me wonder if that's just a media height.
   428. baudib Posted: June 05, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4148983)
I don't know what the story with Al Cervi is, but he started his NBA career at age 32, made 2nd team All-NBA as a rookie. They didn't keep minutes played until his third year, but he averaged 8.3 fouls per 36 for his final two seasons.

   429. AROM Posted: June 05, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4148985)
#424, I saw that profile, which I trust as much as the height listing on bb-ref: Generally close but a few are off. JJ Barea's profile lists him at 5-11. Perkins is not in the measurements database. Maybe the 6'10 for Perkins is his height with shoes. If that's the case Durant growing only 3/4 of an inch would put him an inch above Perkins.

Durant is what you'd get if you take Reggie Miller, make him the height of a center, and also give him better ball handling skills. As someone said earlier, he's like a video game player with maxed out sliders.
   430. Fourth True Outcome Posted: June 05, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4148986)
Could be. I've seen his wingspan at anywhere from 7'4" to 7'6", so just from eyeballing his proportions I'd believe 6'10", but he could easily be 6'8 1/2" or the like. (I googled this a bit and ran into this 2003 USA Today centers draft preview, which has Eddy Curry as Perk's upside, which is a couple kinds of funny.)
   431. AROM Posted: June 05, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4148991)
Al Cervi: Wiki has the answers.

Basically, WW2 happened, and then he played professionally for a different league than the one we have stats for on bb-ref.
   432. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 05, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4148997)
ake a 2011 post player (I especially have in mind the kind of wrestling Lebron and Garnett were doing towards the end of game 4), put him into 1955, and assume he's stubborn enough to play that style. Does he dominate the smaller, weaker competition? Or does he just foul out in 3 minutes?

Is he white or black?
   433. AROM Posted: June 05, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4149000)
Now this tells you how times have changed:

"Cervi succeeded George Senesky as coach of the Philadelphia Warriors in 1958,[8] but left after one season to accept a more lucrative job in the trucking business as an area manager for Eastern Freightways, Inc. in Rochester, New York. In 1960 he declined to accept a two-year offer to coach the Lakers in its first campaign in Los Angeles because his wife was reluctant to leave the Rochester area. He lived in the suburb of Brighton for the last 58 years of his life."

Somehow I can't see Phil Jackson taking that kind of career path.
   434. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: June 05, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4149017)
BTW this has got to be the first conference finals involving two teams from cities that have no other professional sports team in the four major U.S. sports.

Surprisingly, no. The WCF featured Portland/Utah in 1992, San Antonio/Portland in 1999, and San Antonio/Utah in 2007.


I'll add the NHL Western Conference Finals:

2004 -- Calgary vs. San Jose
2011 -- Vancouver vs. San Jose

San Jose only fits on a technicality, but that's good enough for trivia.
   435. rr Posted: June 05, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4149036)
He's shown confidence in his guys and in their system when the rest of the world (especially me) thought they were going to get buried


I have seen it written a few times that "deep depth" is less important in the playoffs, in that big post-season games are usually decided by how the first 5-6 guys do. That is one of the main reasons I thought this series was a toss-up, rather than a SA (river)walk. "Going 11 deep" with guys like Danny Green and Gary Neal is great in March, but I am not sure it matters as much in May and June (there may be studies that show the opposite--this is not something I can prove). Popovich played Green and Bonner 4 minutes total last night.

That makes it more about Parker/Duncan/Ginobili vs. Durant/Harden/Westbrook. Finally, I don't think it is as simple as "getting Duncan in the right positions" so he can go to work. Ibaka, Perkins and Collison provide some pretty tough obstacles on D and while Duncan is still a hell of a player, he is 35 years old now. I noted that TO numbers were not helping SA, and that happened again in Game 5. SA had 21 last night and OKC had 16. Ginobili had 11 TOs and 11 AST in Games 4 and 5, and as pointed out, OKC has contained Parker, putting more of a burden on Ginobili.

But some in the media are predictably overreacting and counting out the Spurs, and that is very premature. I expect a close game in Game 6.

   436. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 05, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4149077)
Kareem has a beef with the level of play in the NBA today:

A young man can get into the NBA just because he has potential, but if that potential does not manifest itself, he will be traded or let go by a cost-conscious director of personnel. Even those players who are able to make it past the first hurdle don't always play up to their potential. A great example is Dirk Nowitzki. As a 7-footer, he had the opportunity to play college ball in America, but people close to the situation say Dirk avoided playing U.S. college ball because he would be called on to defend and rebound and play with the big guys. Dirk has been an exceptional offensive player, but his NBA career stats show that he has limited skills as a defender, shot-blocker and rebounder. We'll never know how good he could have been had he spent more time rounding out his skill set with a top college coach.

A similar lack of in-depth knowledge of the game has diminished the ability of today's players to be as cohesive in team play as they should be. A great player who has never learned to shoot free throws efficiently becomes a liability at the end of a close game because the opposing team will foul him and make him deal with high-pressure free throws. Many a game has been lost in those circumstances.
   437. andrewberg Posted: June 05, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4149086)
Yeah, we talked about that the other day. It's just pace.
   438. smileyy Posted: June 05, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4149088)
I have seen it written a few times that "deep depth" is less important in the playoffs, in that big post-season games are usually decided by how the first 5-6 guys do. That is one of the main reasons I thought this series was a toss-up, rather than a SA (river)walk.


Was that the (perceived) perception before the series, or after game 2? I'm trying to figure out how the "deep depth" is applying to this particular series and the perception of it over time.

I think there is too much focus on the last game and not on the series as a whole. Both teams have looked unstoppable or clueless for streches, and they've both looked evenly matched for stretches.
   439. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: June 05, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4149103)
So there's a chance Bosh plays for Miami tonight. It'll be interesting to see how healthy/mobile he is and much of an impact he makes. And then there's this:

@MiamiHeraldHeat: Chris Bosh's masseuse collapsed and died at Bosh's Miami Beach home on Monday morning, according to police.
   440. rr Posted: June 05, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4149104)
Was that the (perceived) perception before the series, or after game 2?


Hollinger has written variations of it several times over the last 3-4 years and I was actually thinking about things written 10 years ago in some cases. For me, and I think for others, it was one reason we saw the series as even, rather than as a series in which SA was going to steamroll OKC. Not everybody was predicting that SA would win in a walk, but a fair number of people in the media were.

As to the emphasis on Game 5, a couple of points: Parker has had two mediocre games in a row by his standards. As tshipman noted, Popovich made a big adjustment in Game 5, and they lost.

Like Spivey and others have said, the teams are basically even. Usually when that happens (2010 Finals, 2005 Finals) the team with HCA wins. Game 5 was a big deal, and worthy of extra attention, because OKC took away HCA and can close it at home. But the Spurs still have a really good chance and are not out of the series.

   441. smileyy Posted: June 05, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4149109)
I'd be curious to see the correlation between winning playoff series and having:

The best player in the series
The majority of the best 3, 5, 7, 9 players

..and also with which number the correlation peaks (or flattens)
   442. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 05, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4149121)
Now this tells you how times have changed:

"[Al] Cervi succeeded George Senesky as coach of the Philadelphia Warriors in 1958,[8] but left after one season to accept a more lucrative job in the trucking business as an area manager for Eastern Freightways, Inc. in Rochester, New York. In 1960 he declined to accept a two-year offer to coach the Lakers in its first campaign in Los Angeles because his wife was reluctant to leave the Rochester area. He lived in the suburb of Brighton for the last 58 years of his life."


Somehow I can't see Phil Jackson taking that kind of career path.

Not now, of course, but Jackson grew up in the 1950's in rural Montana and North Dakota, and back then Cervi's story wouldn't have seemed so out of the ordinary. If anyone wants to get a real glimpse of the life of an early NBA player, Leonard Koppett's description of a 24 plane trip that the Knicks took in 1955 from Syracuse to St. Louis is a classic in the genre. I don't know whether it's online, but it's on pp. 184-190 of his classic book, The Essence of the Game is Deception ($2.20 on Amazon). There's no better writer on the early NBA than Leonard Koppett, and trust me, Phil Jackson growing up would've taken this account totally in stride.
   443. andrewberg Posted: June 05, 2012 at 05:34 PM (#4149131)
Anyone heard updates on Phil Jackson? The CW here was that he was headed to LAL with Kupchak going to POR. With Olshey going to POR instead, there is no obvious spot for Phil in LAL. Still, the story that came out after he spurned ORL made it sound like he was really set to come back to a specific place. It seems obvious that he wouldn't work for LAC. What is the scuttlebutt?
   444. thok Posted: June 05, 2012 at 07:07 PM (#4149202)
I'd be curious to see the correlation between winning playoff series and having:

The best player in the series
The majority of the best 3, 5, 7, 9 players


That would require stats sufficiently precise to tell the 6th best player in a game from the 7th best. Those don't exist (unless the gap between the 6th and 7th best player is huge.)
   445. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 05, 2012 at 07:34 PM (#4149227)
Before one of the earlier games this series, not sure whether Game 2 or Game 3, the video of Lebron James in the locker room showed him reading the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy. He appeared to be about halfway through. They just showed him prior to tonight's game, and he's about halfway through book 3 (Mockingjay). Thought that was interesting.
   446. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: June 05, 2012 at 07:50 PM (#4149239)
Clearly, he's not focused on winning.
   447. rr Posted: June 05, 2012 at 07:57 PM (#4149244)
Last time James was in this situation, (2-2 with Boston coming home in a playoff series), he went 3/14 from the floor, his team lost 120-88, and it was his last game in Cleveland. I would guess tonight's pre-game stuff will mention that, ohh, once or twice. Also, Boston is 8-0 during the Garnett era in Game 5s of tied series.

So, for those in the thread fed up with/concerned about the popualar perception of James, winning and playing big tonight is a pretty big step along the road to his changing it.
   448. kpelton Posted: June 05, 2012 at 08:16 PM (#4149252)
On the depth issue, the interesting element is that it's not so much 6-7 OKC players beating 9-10 SAS players and neutralizing the depth advantage so much as that San Antonio's depth has stopped being an advantage. The Thunder got much more from its bench players last night. Part of that is the fact that they're always playing with at least Harden, and both Durant and Westbrook during the entire second half, of course.
   449. JC in DC Posted: June 05, 2012 at 08:59 PM (#4149273)
Helluva block by LBJ: he got NO ball!
   450. PJ Martinez Posted: June 05, 2012 at 09:03 PM (#4149275)
Van Gundy keeps referring to "random cuts" by players on offense. I don't recall hearing this phrase before I heard it from him a few games ago (and I haven't heard it from anyone else). What does he mean? Just that it's not part of a drawn-up play? Have other people heard that term before?
   451. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 09:04 PM (#4149276)
Helluva block by LBJ: he got NO ball!


Joke?
   452. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 09:06 PM (#4149278)
Bosh is perhaps my most irrational hatred in the league. He's a very good player, he seems like a good enough guy. But damn it, he's ugly and acts goofy on the court, so I hate him.
   453. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 09:23 PM (#4149291)
Hopefully for his sake Dwayne Wade negotiated final cut of the highlights tonight.
   454. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 09:27 PM (#4149293)
It's amazing how terrible Miami has been in the playoffs when LeBron isn't on the court.
   455. Booey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 10:10 PM (#4149318)
#452 - Ain't nothin wrong with any of that. It's our right as fans to have irrational hatred towards whoever we want for any number of random reasons. That's part of the fun. :)

I didn't like Avery Johnson just cuz I thought his voice was annoying. I disliked Nick Van Exel cuz his face looked like a grasshopper.
   456. JJ1986 Posted: June 05, 2012 at 10:14 PM (#4149321)
Wow, Rondo. Nice pass ten feet into the backcourt.
   457. JC in DC Posted: June 05, 2012 at 10:23 PM (#4149341)
Crap T on Bass.
   458. JC in DC Posted: June 05, 2012 at 10:34 PM (#4149361)
Wow. Miami's O just ground to a halt. JVG is right about LBJ setting up in the middle of the floor above the 3 line. They rarely get good production from that.
   459. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 10:35 PM (#4149362)
I blame the other guys for being useless stumps more than LBJ though. Wade has sucked this game, and really outside of a couple of game stretch against Indiana he's mostly sucked this playoffs.
   460. JC in DC Posted: June 05, 2012 at 10:36 PM (#4149364)
I agree that he's not getting much support, but they've got to be disciplined about running O from productive spots on the court. He gets undisciplined about it. He's clearly pressing right now. He could use some help, that's for sure.
   461. Squash Posted: June 05, 2012 at 10:38 PM (#4149366)
For a team that isn't very good at shooting 3s, Miami sure is taking a lot of them tonight.
   462. PJ Martinez Posted: June 05, 2012 at 10:38 PM (#4149367)
"There's got to be a certain level of joy" -- words of wisdom from Jeff Van Gundy

"They got us just a little bit twisted in the mind" -- words of something else from Eric Spoelstra
   463. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 10:42 PM (#4149369)
That was a ridiculous steal by Cole. Love that effort. He's sucked tonight too. But I love effort when you suck.
   464. JC in DC Posted: June 05, 2012 at 10:44 PM (#4149370)
That was a ridiculous steal by Cole.


That play was on Rondo. That was total carelessness with the ball.
   465. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 10:46 PM (#4149372)
That play was on Rondo. That was total carelessness with the ball.


I agree. But, he seems to do that every fast break and that very rarely happens. So I'm giving credit to the defender.
   466. JC in DC Posted: June 05, 2012 at 10:48 PM (#4149376)
Great shot by LBJ.
   467. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 10:53 PM (#4149383)
That could be the bounce of the series.
   468. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: June 05, 2012 at 10:59 PM (#4149393)
I can't express just how amazing Rondo's been in this series. I feel like he, and not James, is the most important player on the floor.
   469. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 10:59 PM (#4149396)
Why is Wade taking every shot? And James Jones just embarrassed himself by letting Rondo get his own rebound there.
   470. rr Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:01 PM (#4149398)
tech on Chalmers
   471. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:01 PM (#4149399)
I can't express just how amazing Rondo's been in this series. I feel like he, and not James, is the most important player on the floor.


He's been really good this series, but I feel like if they switched teams that Boston would have likely swept.
   472. PJ Martinez Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:02 PM (#4149400)
These have been a pretty great pair of Conference Finals.

He's been really good this series, but I feel like if they switched teams that Boston would have likely swept.

I'm a huge Rondo fan, but this sounds about right to me.
   473. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:05 PM (#4149402)
Geez. That's an incredibly egregious flop. I don't know what the league can do to rectify that — a massive fine doesn't sound like it'll be much of a deterrent in a playoff game.
   474. Squash Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:05 PM (#4149403)
You've got to give the Celtics a lot of credit. They're simply smarter and more disciplined than the Heat, who simply seem to have no plan whatsoever. I don't know if that's the bullheadedness of their superstars or if Spoelstra's out to lunch, but it's all just guys randomly throwing shots at the rim.
   475. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:05 PM (#4149404)
Pietrus has hit 2 3 pointers on absolutely luck plays this 4th quarter. It kills me, actually. Especially since Pietrus has sucked so bad this series.
   476. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:07 PM (#4149410)
James hasn't scored a point in seven minutes.
   477. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:08 PM (#4149413)
BOOM! In James' face!
   478. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:09 PM (#4149414)
Oof. Nice shot by Pierce.
   479. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:10 PM (#4149416)
Boston is a lot of things, including being a hateable team. But they're killer in the last few minutes of a game.
   480. Squash Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:10 PM (#4149417)
Pietrus has hit 2 3 pointers on absolutely luck plays this 4th quarter. It kills me, actually. Especially since Pietrus has sucked so bad this series.

As discussed a few nights ago, 3PT% is the absolute wild card in any series. Whereas the Heat, with no good three point shooters, have taken 24 tonight so far, predictably shooting poorly. Insane.
   481. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:13 PM (#4149421)
I'm sure I'm just biased, but I really don't like the idea of the NBA reviewing some plays. Especially since so many plays like this (although not this one) has a understood call of "well it was off one guy, but since the other team arguably fouled them, we're going to give the first team the ball anyways".
   482. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:15 PM (#4149426)
As discussed a few nights ago, 3PT% is the absolute wild card in any series. Whereas the Heat, with no good three point shooters, have taken 24 tonight so far, predictably shooting poorly. Insane.


But a bigger wild card is a team playing great defense, and then the offensive team having a player get a wide open corner 3 for no reason other than luck. It was a perfectly even game, but in my opinion those were the difference in the game. I suppose Boston deserves credit for playing Miami even and getting a chance for the luck to get them the win.
   483. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:19 PM (#4149435)
Lebron James sighting with 9.4 left in the game.
   484. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:22 PM (#4149437)
I'm amused with a Lakers fan that is rooting for the Celtics.
   485. JC in DC Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:23 PM (#4149443)
zowee.
   486. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:23 PM (#4149445)
How many times must I say this? I HATE BOTH TEAMS!

When Hitler fights Stalin, you just wanna see a good fight.
   487. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:23 PM (#4149446)
That kid yelling, "good effort" couldn't have been more cutting if he's meant to be.
   488. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:25 PM (#4149448)
I don't understand why, after LeBron was playing really well in the 4th, Miami decided to run their offense through Wade, who mostly sucked. Boston got to the line more on the road - I didn't notice the officials really affect the game though.
   489. PJ Martinez Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:27 PM (#4149450)
But a bigger wild card is a team playing great defense, and then the offensive team having a player get a wide open corner 3 for no reason other than luck. It was a perfectly even game, but in my opinion those were the difference in the game. I suppose Boston deserves credit for playing Miami even and getting a chance for the luck to get them the win.

There are random bounces in every game -- the ball is made of rubber after all. Choosing to focus on those two is a little silly, in my humble and biased opinion.
   490. JC in DC Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:28 PM (#4149452)
That kid yelling, "good effort" couldn't have been more cutting if he's meant to be.


That wasn't Spoelstra?

Seriously, I thought the same thing as you. I thought LBJ was going to punch him in the mouth.
   491. JC in DC Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:30 PM (#4149453)
Check out the picture on ESPN.com.

[Same pic on SI.com]
   492. Squash Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:31 PM (#4149455)
I don't understand why, after LeBron was playing really well in the 4th, Miami decided to run their offense through Wade, who mostly sucked. Boston got to the line more on the road - I didn't notice the officials really affect the game though.

One starts to wonder if Wade has Derek Jeter vs. ARod disease.
   493. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:31 PM (#4149456)
Did Bosh get hurt at some point when I wasn't paying attention? He played pretty well for how long he was out there - 6 OREB in 12 minutes. This Miami team has developed the curse of Cleveland though - their role players can never do #### in big moments. They were 11-35 from the field and really just look like they're bad basketball players. Most of them can't rebound or pass. Which means that they should at least be able to shoot the 3, but they are shaky at that too.
   494. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:31 PM (#4149457)
Seriously, that kid's right. TV did a good job highlighting the lack of effort by the Heat to get back on defense.

That Pietrus technical flop ended up being huge. Booooooooooooooo.
   495. Spivey Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:32 PM (#4149458)
There are random bounces in every game -- the ball is made of rubber after all. Choosing to focus on those two is a little silly, in my humble and biased opinion.


I'm focusing on them because they were in the 4th quarter and felt like 2 of the biggest plays of the game. In particular the first, which was maybe the most freak bounce I've seen in the playoffs, happened right when Miami was going on a run and Boston couldn't seem to run any offense.
   496. JC in DC Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:36 PM (#4149460)
It was a freak bounce, but an incredible pass by Rondo to Pietrus.
   497. smileyy Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:36 PM (#4149461)
I'm looking forward to LeBron throwing Wade under the bus at some point.
   498. Joey B. Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:37 PM (#4149462)
I can't believe that there's really a chance that James and Wade might actually lose to these over-the-hill geezers.

They'd better get hope Bosh gets up to speed quickly, or it's going to be yet another long offseason for the "Dream Team".
   499. smileyy Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:37 PM (#4149464)
I'd be amused if Miami replays LeBron's last 3 years in Cleveland:

Lose in the Finals
Lose in the ECF
Lose in the 2nd round
   500. smileyy Posted: June 05, 2012 at 11:39 PM (#4149465)
Is it possible that at points in the game Boston has 5 of the 7 best players on the floor?
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