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Friday, April 15, 2022

2022 NBA Playoffs thread

I estimate the NBA thread only had 10-12 years of content so we’re in reruns already.

Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: April 15, 2022 at 11:59 AM | 4354 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: narratives, nba, off-topic, playoffs

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   101. epoc Posted: April 17, 2022 at 06:10 PM (#6072234)
Durant and Kyrie both getting beat on the same off-ball back cut in the final second of a one-point game is so *chef's kiss*
   102. PJ Martinez Posted: April 17, 2022 at 06:12 PM (#6072235)
Holy ####. I'm still worried by Boston blowing that 11-point lead in a fourth-quarter eye-blink, but what a finish. Wow.
   103. SteveF Posted: April 17, 2022 at 06:15 PM (#6072236)
I just think the FGA difference might be too much for Brooklyn to overcome. Maybe they still beat Boston, but I don't see how they can beat the Bucks.

Brooklyn outshot Boston by 7%, and 10% from 3 and still lost.
   104. Cagerfan Posted: April 17, 2022 at 06:17 PM (#6072237)
No D Kyrie.
   105. Fourth True Outcome Posted: April 17, 2022 at 06:24 PM (#6072239)
That was the full spectrum of the Kyrie experience condensed into one game, I think.
   106. tshipman Posted: April 17, 2022 at 06:45 PM (#6072244)
Fga difference: I think in particular, the Nets cannot afford to lose on turnovers, since it's almost guaranteed they will lose OREBs.

Durant had a bad game.
   107. asinwreck Posted: April 17, 2022 at 06:47 PM (#6072245)
Bulls doing great.
   108. Fourth True Outcome Posted: April 17, 2022 at 07:20 PM (#6072255)
Durant had a bad game.

It's not the only reason, but the Celtics did well attacking his dribble. I'll be curious how he adjusts.
   109. tshipman Posted: April 17, 2022 at 07:24 PM (#6072257)
I never know with KD. When he was with the Warriors, you would watch him struggle in a game, and think that it looked like a structural issue, then he would go out and drop 40 on the same coverage.

You can totally attack Durant's handle and decision-making, but he can always make the adjustment to just shoot from anywhere on the court.
   110. Cagerfan Posted: April 17, 2022 at 07:35 PM (#6072260)
Tatum did a lot of the coverage on him and I thought Tatum outplayed him. We may be witnessing a changing of the guard here.
   111. If on a winter's night a traveling violation Posted: April 17, 2022 at 07:39 PM (#6072262)
The ball movement on that game-winning play was phenomenal, especially with no timeout. Both Brown and Smart gave up the ball with less than 5 seconds on the clock and a plausible hero shot in their crosshairs; each, especially Brown, would absolutely have chosen the shot earlier in their careers.
   112. Fourth True Outcome Posted: April 17, 2022 at 07:40 PM (#6072263)
Changing of the guard or not, Tatum is one of the few players in the league with the size, length, and agility to check Durant one-on-one. KD is a killer but Tatum can make him have to work for it in a way that isn't as true when he can always shoot over the top.

That also let the Cs sell out with Smart and Horford doubling Kyrie on the last pissession.
   113. Cagerfan Posted: April 17, 2022 at 07:47 PM (#6072264)
“Pissession”. Typo or not a typo?
   114. Fourth True Outcome Posted: April 17, 2022 at 08:11 PM (#6072269)
Hah, complete typo, was walking my dogs and typing at the same time, always a fraught exercise.
   115. SteveF Posted: April 17, 2022 at 08:12 PM (#6072270)
Probably a block on Middleton, frankly.
   116. sardonic Posted: April 17, 2022 at 08:18 PM (#6072271)
Watching these games with League Pass and it's fun to see different arena's home experience... appreciate the Bucks's classic trampoline and people dunking set. The "frisbee dog world champion" they had in Boston was pretty underwhelming, that dog barely caught half the frisbees! The worst was definitely the cowboy lasso guy in Dallas who did his routine to hard core bass music.
   117. asinwreck Posted: April 17, 2022 at 08:19 PM (#6072272)
Vooch tied the game on a 3 late in the 3rd. I just wrote that because I am processing that it actually happened.
   118. SteveF Posted: April 17, 2022 at 08:21 PM (#6072273)
Bulls have definitely played their asses off. Give them credit. Teams that shoot this badly from 3 against the Bucks are normally losing by 20 at this point in the game.
   119. Fourth True Outcome Posted: April 17, 2022 at 08:22 PM (#6072274)
Watching these games with League Pass and it's fun to see different arena's home experience

There is some manner of circuit for these performances too. Red Panda is the most famous one, but there are a few. Guy doing acrobatics with chihuahua, that quick change outfit couple, and my personal least favorite, the elderly guy who does handstands on his pile of chairs. He reminds me of when I lifeguarded the early shift in college and it was a bunch of octogenarians doing their morning laps. I always worried I was going to watch someone expire.)
   120. asinwreck Posted: April 17, 2022 at 08:35 PM (#6072275)
This is some ugly basketball by both teams.
   121. Brian C Posted: April 17, 2022 at 08:57 PM (#6072280)
I'm impressed with how feisty the Bulls have been in this game, but if they can't win a game where they hold Milwaukee under 90 points through 47 minutes, then there's no reason for them to even play the rest of this series.
   122. asinwreck Posted: April 17, 2022 at 09:04 PM (#6072281)
The fourth quarter shooting by both teams was remarkable. Like a Shaggs song.
   123. asinwreck Posted: April 17, 2022 at 09:06 PM (#6072284)
Giannis: "Nobody played well tonight."
   124. Brian C Posted: April 17, 2022 at 09:10 PM (#6072285)
Milwaukee scoring by quarter: 34-17-23-19. If you'd told me before the game that Milwaukee would only score 59 points over the last 3 quarters, I'd have assumed that would be an easy Bulls win. And also that a meteor would strike the MIL locker room after the first.

Crazy that they couldn't find a way to win this one. More discouraging than a blowout, IMO.

DeRozan: 6-25 shooting
Vucevic: 9-27
Lavine: 6-19

Ouch. Was there for the steal and these guys might well have been shooting blindfolded in a wind tunnel.

   125. Cagerfan Posted: April 17, 2022 at 09:21 PM (#6072288)
PHX is going to kill the Pelicans, I think.
   126. TFTIO was writing C programs in the '90s Posted: April 17, 2022 at 09:31 PM (#6072290)
I think PHX is by far the most likely team to end up in the finals, and the Pelicans are just going to be road kill.
   127. Dolf Lucky Posted: April 18, 2022 at 07:30 AM (#6072301)
Anthony Edwards, with one career playoff game, ranks 31st in franchise postseason scoring. He’s got a good shot at cracking the top 25 on Tuesday.
   128. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: April 18, 2022 at 09:16 AM (#6072308)
Ant's defense really impressed me. That kind of two-way energy and effectiveness is rare.
   129. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: April 18, 2022 at 11:38 AM (#6072325)
This is some ugly basketball by both teams.

Yep.

Giannis: "Nobody played well tonight."

He did, but no one else on either team did.

Crazy that they couldn't find a way to win this one. More discouraging than a blowout, IMO.

Totally agree.

DeRozan: 6-25 shooting
Vucevic: 9-27
Lavine: 6-19


Both teams missed plenty of open shots, but many of the ones these 3 missed were just bad shots - forced, or covered, or especially in DeMar's case more interested in trying to draw a foul call. It's one way you can say how his game doesn't translate to the playoffs. Also, these 3 played poor defense - which is somewhat to be expected - but a lot was the game plan that called for excessive switching. That is on Billy.

Probably a block on Middleton, frankly.

It was, but it also had very little chance of being over turned in review, so I think I understand Billy not challenging it. However, he absolutely should have challenged the late foul called on Pat Williams boxing out Giannis - Giannis very clearly went over the back and had both hands on Pat. It would have been Giannis's 6th foul and it was late enough that it would have even been ok had it not been overturned.

Nothing about last night changes my thoughts on this one, a normal shooting game from MIL (much less a good to great one) and they win by 20. I expect that to be the case the next 3 games.
   130. If on a winter's night a traveling violation Posted: April 18, 2022 at 01:15 PM (#6072345)
This? Over the back? Really, who can even tell.
   131. PJ Martinez Posted: April 18, 2022 at 01:22 PM (#6072348)
Watching that live (I haven't seen a replay), I thought the refs made the right call — Williams bent over and backed into Giannis's legs. Foul on Williams. A still can't really capture that. (And I was rooting for Chicago to pull out the win and stretch the series out by a game at least.)
   132. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: April 18, 2022 at 02:05 PM (#6072371)
Williams bent over and backed into Giannis's legs.

He boxed him out. He bent over when Giannis put his hand on Williams's back to use it like a pommel horse. The replays were pretty clear, though I can't find a better clip - watching the local broadcast, they showed multiple angles that made it clearer than whatever TNT showed.
   133. PJ Martinez Posted: April 18, 2022 at 02:15 PM (#6072377)
In that clip you linked to, I see him backing up into Giannis's legs right after Giannis goes up in the air. As I understand it, that's a foul on Williams (and kind of a dangerous play). Am I crazy?
   134. Dr Pol is what America needs Posted: April 18, 2022 at 02:27 PM (#6072386)
The BrewHoop collection seem to think that Milwaukee can elevate from the regular season established level and get back to the finals. I get that perspective with teams not focused exclusively on winning as many games as possible.

But I also think that Middleton is just not as good as prior years and KM made a ton of money shots last playoffs. I have doubts on the defense suddenly becoming way better than what was seen during the season. Pat was bad last night. Same with Allen. And bad not in the shots were there and just didn't go in but just bad. Can Giannis' awesomeness overcome all the baggage? Maybe as he is that great. But lots of well coached teams in the East with good players. Boston. Miami. Philly. Even Brooklyn. But this group knows all that.

I lean toward sure the Bucks can lift their games but so does the competition. So that's a wash which for me has Milwaukee not even getting to the conference finals. If they get to the final finals it's because Giannis goes supernova plus Holliday is consistent versus last year's up and down.
   135. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: April 18, 2022 at 02:27 PM (#6072387)
Look at Giannis left hand - again, hard to see in that shitty clip, but he pushes down and uses that to help him jump up over Williams. Yes, it's a foul if Williams just backed up but that was after the clear foul on Giannis. I just can't find one of those clips, I'd have to make it myself (going to try and do that now)

Looks like it happened with 2:05 left, so won't be on the L2M report.

EDIT: TO be clear, I'm not harping on this for why they lost. They were down when it happened, and still would have lost even if Giannis was fouled out.
   136. SteveF Posted: April 18, 2022 at 02:29 PM (#6072388)
I think there's an officiating standard on that box out situation where once the ball is either shot or once the shot hits the rim you can't back up into a guy anymore. I think it's when the shot hits the rim.

Too many of the actual rules of basketball aren't published so it's hard to know.
   137. PJ Martinez Posted: April 18, 2022 at 02:29 PM (#6072389)
135: Fair enough — maybe an over-the-back happens before the back-in.
   138. Fourth True Outcome Posted: April 18, 2022 at 07:13 PM (#6072431)
The vote tallies had all been pointing in this direction, but now it's unofficially official:
@ShamsCharania
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart has won the 2021-22 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.

Obviously I'm pleased as punch as a Celtics homer, and think a guard selection makes as much sense in today's NBA as ever. The discussion of whether a perimeter defender can be as valuable as a big is a valid one, but if the terms for MVP are too squishy, DPoY is an award that doesn't even have a descriptive adjective to guide voters. (It is of course also true that Smart won in large part because this isn't a year with an overwhelming big man pick, and voters seem pretty tired of Gobert.)
   139. Cagerfan Posted: April 18, 2022 at 07:19 PM (#6072432)
I’m happy he won. Defense-first guards don’t get the respect they deserve.
   140. spivey Posted: April 18, 2022 at 08:07 PM (#6072436)
The level of physical contact allowed in this game is incredibly unbalanced. Embiid flops so much and they buy all of it.
   141. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: April 18, 2022 at 08:57 PM (#6072444)
The level of physical contact allowed in this game is incredibly unbalanced. Embiid flops so much and they buy all of it.
when a big thing hits a little thing, the little thing goes flying.

when a little thing hits a big thing, the big thing doesn't move.
   142. Cagerfan Posted: April 18, 2022 at 09:07 PM (#6072449)
Maxey is kicking Vanvleet’s ass.
   143. tshipman Posted: April 18, 2022 at 09:10 PM (#6072451)
This Philly/Toronto series feels pretty over..
   144. SteveF Posted: April 18, 2022 at 09:14 PM (#6072454)
Toronto just doesn't have the guy, and Barnes doesn't project to be the guy either.
   145. If on a winter's night a traveling violation Posted: April 18, 2022 at 09:16 PM (#6072455)
701. If on a winter's night a traveling violation Posted: November 11, 2020 at 04:23 PM (#5988337)

With the 14th pick, Boston selects Tyrese Maxey, guard out of Kentucky.
   146. SteveF Posted: April 18, 2022 at 09:19 PM (#6072457)
I'll be interested to see what it looks like for Maxey in later rounds. I've seen incredibly talented little dudes in the later rounds of the playoffs, and sometimes it ain't pretty. You've got to be elite on offense to justify your spot on the floor because actually competent offensive teams are going to hunt the #### out of little dudes.
   147. yo la tengo (the poor man's Ron Darling) Posted: April 18, 2022 at 09:41 PM (#6072459)
A 20 - 2 run is not a promising sign for the 76ers
   148. spivey Posted: April 18, 2022 at 09:51 PM (#6072461)
This Philly/Toronto series feels pretty over..


The difference in shot quality is dramatic. Also, I know Toronto's got some guys hurt, but they aren't staying in front of Harden and then are doubling when he gets a half step which is leading to open 3s, when really you should just be making Harden beat you at the rim.

We'll see. Raptors home crowd will be electric. Depends if Barnes or Trent can play. They really don't have enough shooting.

And we have every reason to think Embiid and Harden wear down in series and playoffs. Or just get hurt, they're both injury prone.

Edit: I think a sweep is very likely, but we've seen many series turn around after a bad 2-0 start.
   149. Ken Griffey's Grotesquely Swollen Jaw Posted: April 18, 2022 at 10:16 PM (#6072466)
I'm definitely biased because I find Marcus Smart very annoying, but I'm pretty surprised at how the narrative leading to his DPOY win caught steam over the past month. He's obviously an amazing defender but it seems like there wasn't a real favorite so the voters just threw up their hands and said, "guess we should pick a Celtic, and their actual best defender is hurt."
   150. PJ Martinez Posted: April 18, 2022 at 10:39 PM (#6072471)
"guess we should pick a Celtic, and their actual best defender is hurt"
Robert Williams is awesome, but he doesn't have the same kind of responsibilities as Smart and Horford have — those guys orchestrate the defense by switching everything and telling other guys where they need to be, and it's what they do (plus the switchability of Brown and Tatum) that allows Williams to roam and protect the rim. Now, maybe you consider all that and still conclude that Williams is the team's best defender; fair enough. I would have him third, just behind Horford and Smart and ahead of Tatum, who's also defended great this year. (Brown is a clear fifth, I think.)*

* Among the starters, that is; White is also very good, and Grant Williams has become really solid this year, too.
   151. Mike A Posted: April 18, 2022 at 10:48 PM (#6072473)
If you take out Gobert for DPOY, it was a pretty wide open race. Smart getting it seems more like a Celtics team award (2nd in DRtg), which I guess is understandable. And it's not like Smart isn't very, very good.

I do think if Draymond plays more games, he probably wins. Though realistically, you could probably just give it to Gobert every year and not be wrong.
   152. PJ Martinez Posted: April 18, 2022 at 10:51 PM (#6072474)
Celtics team award (2nd in DRtg)
Basketball Reference has them 2nd, but NBA.com has them 1st; not sure what explains the difference.
   153. tshipman Posted: April 18, 2022 at 10:53 PM (#6072475)
Smart is not the best defender on his own team, but at least he isn't subbed out for on defense in the playoffs.

The DPOY is kind of a mess right now to be honest. There's such a split between the regular season and the playoffs and the more stats focused voters and the narrative voters.
   154. spivey Posted: April 18, 2022 at 11:01 PM (#6072477)
Dallas’ ability to stop Utah shooting 3s is excellent these first two games.
   155. PJ Martinez Posted: April 18, 2022 at 11:08 PM (#6072478)
Per @ESPNStatsInfo, the Mavs made 17 uncontested 3s in win over Jazz, the most by any team in last 10 postseasons. That includes seven of Maxi Kleber’s eight 3s.
   156. Ken Griffey's Grotesquely Swollen Jaw Posted: April 18, 2022 at 11:09 PM (#6072479)
Robert Williams is awesome, but he doesn't have the same kind of responsibilities as Smart and Horford have — those guys orchestrate the defense by switching everything and telling other guys where they need to be, and it's what they do (plus the switchability of Brown and Tatum) that allows Williams to roam and protect the rim.

This is a good explanation, and I get that the logic is, Boston's defense is great because Marcus Smart can do all this high-level switching and orchestrate everything. It's just, I think Boston's defense is great because they play a lot of very good defenders and have a very good coach. It's not a one-guy thing, and it seems like the narrative could've just as easily consolidated around Bam or Bridges or whoever instead of Marcus. Just feels sort of random.
   157. PJ Martinez Posted: April 18, 2022 at 11:11 PM (#6072480)
It's not a one-guy thing, and it seems like the narrative could've just as easily consolidated around Bam or Bridges or whoever instead of Marcus.
I think Bam might have had a real shot if he hadn't missed a third of the season. There's not a hard games-played cutoff, as I understand it (right?), but 56 games doesn't seem like enough. (Gobert played 66; Smart played 71.) I would peg him as the favorite going into next year, though. (I agree that Boston's defense is great because they play basically only plus defenders and have a good coach. And I haven't really watched Bridges enough to have an opinion there. But he did play 82 games!)
   158. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: April 18, 2022 at 11:16 PM (#6072482)


Per @ESPNStatsInfo, the Mavs made 17 uncontested 3s in win over Jazz, the most by any team in last 10 postseasons. That includes seven of Maxi Kleber’s eight 3s.



To be fair to the Jazz, how could they know they needed to improve their perimeter defense?
   159. tshipman Posted: April 18, 2022 at 11:21 PM (#6072484)
Imagine if Utah somehow won a ring this year. Their fans would have the most passive aggressive parade ever.
   160. tshipman Posted: April 18, 2022 at 11:23 PM (#6072485)
Also, why does Dwight Powell start for the Mavs?
   161. SteveF Posted: April 18, 2022 at 11:26 PM (#6072486)
If Draymond hadn't gotten hurt, he'd have won. He unites the whole regular season/post-season, stats/narrative divides. He can switch. He can rim protect (and it shows up plenty in the advanced stats). He does it all.
   162. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: April 18, 2022 at 11:26 PM (#6072487)
Imagine if Utah somehow won a ring this year. Their fans would have the most passive aggressive parade ever.


Already told my wife I want these losers to lose this round so I don't have to waste time watching them get swept by the Suns. I'm sure I'd manage to get over being wrong though.
   163. tshipman Posted: April 18, 2022 at 11:29 PM (#6072488)
The Jazz are only six plane crashes away!

Ty Lue kind of broke that whole organization.
   164. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: April 19, 2022 at 12:34 AM (#6072495)
Villanova, man.

I still think Scottie Reynolds could have made it in the NBA as a backup point.
   165. If on a winter's night a traveling violation Posted: April 19, 2022 at 04:00 AM (#6072499)
It's just, I think Boston's defense is great because they play a lot of very good defenders and have a very good coach. It's not a one-guy thing
This is sort of the rub, no? The rim is 18" across; the arc is what, 85ish feet? For purely geographical reasons, perimeter defense has a lot more cooks in the kitchen.

Because and on top of that, perimeter defense has massive problems of measurement. We can get okay measurements of an offensive player's shooting gravity over a large (but not impossibly large) sample of games because it's the same guy shooting in all the games; a versatile perimeter defender will spend games bouncing around different groupings of different shooters every night. There's just enormously more noise in the input data, and getting at the underlying phenomenon we care about requires a bigger set of noise-multiplying transformations. Entropy laughs in our faces.

This is a nontrivial part of why I've been hoping he would win the award (I decided a while ago to recuse myself from the question of who deserves it most: Smart is one of my very favorite players ever, and I've enjoyed the freedom to root for this outcome without any qualifications). Perimeter D is very important to high-level team play; doing it well is both grueling and technically difficult (like Ginger Roberts, perimeter defenders have to do everything star ball handlers do except backwards and with no hand checking); and it's full of subtleties, easy to overlook and nearly impossible to measure. Even if we assume that the at-rim component means big man defense just structurally has a fundamental advantage over other kinds of defensive action vis a vis the final score (and for the record, I agree that it does seem to), the idea that no amount of individual excellence in their role is enough for a defensive guard to get an individual award does bother me. If Smart didn't win this one, with all the ways narrative and the league's injury landscape ended up playing in his favor, would it be another 25 years before another point guard had a real shot to win?
   166. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: April 19, 2022 at 07:24 AM (#6072501)
I get all the arguments, but Gobert should have won as boring as that is.
   167. tshipman Posted: April 19, 2022 at 10:41 AM (#6072518)
So far in two games, the Warriors have a ridiculous +93 net rating with the Steph/Poole/Klay/Draymond lineup.

Obviously a ton of shooting variance, but the three guard look is pretty unguardable. Draymond makes it hold up on defense. Not really sure how to attack it ... You need a big wing like Luka or LeBron who can abuse the one on one matchup and the help. Not a lot of those guys.
   168. spivey Posted: April 19, 2022 at 11:07 AM (#6072524)
I think you have to kill the Death 2.0 lineup on the glass and/or get Draymond in foul trouble. It's tough because that lineup is great on its own merits, but refs also let undersized guys tend to be more physical in the post.
   169. Harlond Posted: April 19, 2022 at 11:13 AM (#6072525)
(like Ginger Roberts, perimeter defenders have to do everything star ball handlers do except backwards and with no hand checking)
There's no way to stop Fred Astaire if you can't hand check him.
   170. spivey Posted: April 19, 2022 at 11:31 AM (#6072528)
I do think Smart is the most important part of the Celtics defense, though every piece is important. A PG who can switch onto big wings and bigs is the hardest piece to find if you want to switch everything.

Robert Williams is very good, but if you just told Giannis or Gobert to play free safety like that, I think they'd be better at it than Williams. Swap Gobert in for Williams and it's probably the best regular season defense in the modern NBA.
   171. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: April 19, 2022 at 11:36 AM (#6072529)
Gina Mizell @ginamizell
Joel Embiid on his late-game exchange with Nick Nurse: "I’ve always been a big fan, but I told him, respectfully...to stop ######## about calls, because I saw what he said last game. If you’re going to triple-team somebody all game, they’re bound to get to the free-throw line...
Derek Bodner @DerekBodnerNBA
Joel Embiid, on coaches (not just Nick Nurse) complaining about the number of fouls he draws: "I think they just do it (complain) because they have to, but they don't actually believe it. If you watch the clips, every single foul is a foul."
Jon Johnson @jonjohnsonwip
76ers to record 10 or more 30pt, 10reb games in playoffs:
Wilt
Dolph Schayes
Joel Embiid
Derek Bodner @DerekBodnerNBA
Tyrese Maxey: "We played Toronto [in the regular season] and I threw an almost identical pass and Boucher blocked it. I said 'Danny, you gotta try to dunk it'. He said 'I got you in the playoffs'. Regular season Danny vs playoff Danny:
pic.twitter.com/Mu1R0wkUec
Derek Bodner @DerekBodnerNBA
Tyrese Maxey, on his reaction to Danny Green's transition dunk: "I think we all just started praying that he was okay. "He's gonna need an ice bath today."
   172. spivey Posted: April 19, 2022 at 11:49 AM (#6072530)
Embiid should take that energy to Harden, who I think literally complains about a foul on EVERY shot he doesn't make, and like half the shots he does make. Ben Taylor made a point, which I agree with on his pod, that he thinks despite the early narrative/rule enforcement, this has been the softest whistle of Harden's career. I agree with that.

Harden's a shell of himself athletically, has terrible numbers finishing at the rim, yet has his highest FTr in 5 years, and his FTr in Philly is .650 which is so far and away ahead of his career high (.592). It's a prime Shaq FTr, and he's doing it while also shooting 49% of his shots as 3s. It's absurd, and terrible to watch. I'm pretty skeptical that you can win being so incredibly dependent on the line, though. As series go longer, and you go deeper into the playoffs, there will be games/series where you don't get those calls.
   173. tshipman Posted: April 19, 2022 at 11:49 AM (#6072531)
I think who the most important part of a defense is can often be very contextual to the team and matchup.

For Golden State, Draymond is basically always the most important part. For Miami, it's almost always Bam.

I am more skeptical of the value of this kind of free safety system in the playoffs when you can scout it and know how to beat it.
   174. spivey Posted: April 19, 2022 at 11:58 AM (#6072532)
Milwaukee won a championship last year with the free safety defense. It was more drop in front of that vs. the switching that Boston does. But it worked because Brook Lopez was (is?) a world class rim protector, Jrue Holiday was (is?) a top 3 point of attack defender, and the other guys were mostly all solid. But ultimately I think it's more about personnel than anything else. Having a good rim protector and rebounder play that free safety is really valuable because among other things, it also really helps you on the glass.
   175. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: April 19, 2022 at 12:42 PM (#6072534)
Toronto just doesn't have the guy, and Barnes doesn't project to be the guy either.

To be fair to the Jazz, how could they know they needed to improve their perimeter defense?

Tying a couple threads together, I'm coming around on the idea that Utah should trade Donovan Mitchell instead of Rudy Gobert. If they trade Gobert, the defense completely craters and they need to rebuild. If they trade Donovan, they can get a haul and stay competitive. They might even be better in the short-term depending on what they prioritize in a deal.

I would think that the Raptors and Knicks, at a minimum, would be willing to give up a lot and take part in a bidding war. Something like VanVleet, Anunoby, Malachi Flynn, and picks for Donovan Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson would make each team more interesting in my view. The Jazz would still have 4 shooters and 2 shot creators on the floor with Gobert to keep the offense humming, but they'd also have 2 strong perimeter defenders rather than none.

For Toronto, adding Donovan Mitchell to their young, defensive-minded core would be much more exciting than trading for a center like Gobert, as rumored. I just don't see how the spacing would work on that team with a non-shooting center.
   176. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: April 19, 2022 at 01:05 PM (#6072537)
Harden's a shell of himself athletically
you're not wrong.

the way he's playing right now actually reminds me of andre miller. it seems like he spends most of the game vibing in that kind of pure facilitator mode, except he can also just flip the switch when a defense isn't respecting him or if he needs to eat a possession at the end of a shot clock.
Harden's a shell of himself athletically, has terrible numbers finishing at the rim, yet has his highest FTr in 5 years, and his FTr in Philly is .650 which is so far and away ahead of his career high (.592). It's a prime Shaq FTr, and he's doing it while also shooting 49% of his shots as 3s. It's absurd, and terrible to watch.

if you want james harden to shoot fewer FTs, stop fouling joel embiid.


and fwiw, embiid's FTr since harden got here is also .650, which is also far and away ahead of his own previous career high (.610).
   177. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: April 19, 2022 at 01:14 PM (#6072540)
I'm pretty skeptical that you can win being so incredibly dependent on the line, though
facts not in evidence.
   178. If on a winter's night a traveling violation Posted: April 19, 2022 at 01:17 PM (#6072541)
A little wrinkle I noticed about the Embiid/Harden pick and roll last game: there's a sneaky little synergy between Embiid, who prefers the left block, and Harden, a lefty who prefers to drive left. When Embiid gets a seal on that left block, Harden can absolutely whip a one-handed entry pass in off the dribble with his strong hand the instant he gets an angle, and the basic action is still sufficiently dangerous that the on-ball defender can't worry about extra details like that. It's not unguardable, but it takes a group to defend it, and Harden is so quick and fluid executing those passes that the margin of error is tiny. Very curious if Nurse can figure out an effective way to shut it down with quick doubles, because it's been easy money for every bit of the series I've watched.
   179. tshipman Posted: April 19, 2022 at 01:21 PM (#6072543)
A big part of this Toronto/Philly series has been Embiid's energy going defense to offense.
   180. spivey Posted: April 19, 2022 at 01:21 PM (#6072544)
I think we've all agreed as NBA fans that the 2006 Finals never happened. Very happy that all the major parties won other titles so I can aggressively not count that for anything.
   181. spivey Posted: April 19, 2022 at 01:27 PM (#6072545)
A big part of this Toronto/Philly series has been Embiid's energy going defense to offense.


Yes. I do wonder if that holds as the playoffs go on.

Also, Maxey and Harris are averaging 48 pts/game on .800 TS%. Of course that won't hold, but if those guys play well offensively, they are a really, really tough team to stop. And it's not all off Embiid or Harden action either, they've been good at getting their own offense, and being multi-level scorers off of kickouts.
   182. PJ Martinez Posted: April 19, 2022 at 01:34 PM (#6072546)
I think we've all agreed as NBA fans that the 2006 Finals never happened. Very happy that all the major parties won other titles so I can aggressively not count that for anything.
This is both funny and also I think does sort of capture something about NBA historiography.
   183. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: April 19, 2022 at 01:49 PM (#6072550)
I think I asked earlier this year how good a backcourt defender had to be to win DPOY in the context of Caruso (less so Ball), but never expected it to happen (and Caruso would have to be a full time starter to win in). I literally have no opinion on Smart winning it beyond the implication that maybe one day Caruso could as well.

I don't think anyone here mentioned JJJ, since he wasn't a finalist, but I've seen various people online throw him out as another alternative winner.
   184. tshipman Posted: April 19, 2022 at 02:01 PM (#6072551)
I think the main thing for being a backcourt defender is being good enough on offense to play enough minutes.

Caruso, Thybulle and Payton II were all better defenders who played fewer minutes.
   185. spivey Posted: April 19, 2022 at 02:31 PM (#6072555)
I think the main thing for being a backcourt defender is being good enough on offense to play enough minutes.

Caruso, Thybulle and Payton II were all better defenders who played fewer minutes.


It's very dependent. I think in terms of iso defending, and ability to switch and guard 1-5 or 1-4, I think Caruso, Smart, and Holliday are basically the top 3. Thybulle is better than all of them at certain things but overall I'd rather have the defense the other guys provide. Payton II is tougher because of the limited minutes. Golden State has a lot of guard depth, but I'd love for Milwaukee to give Payton II most/all of the taxpayer MLE this offseason.
   186. An Athletic in Powderhorn, Silly Posted: April 19, 2022 at 03:14 PM (#6072566)
Obviously a ton of shooting variance, but the three guard look is pretty unguardable. Draymond makes it hold up on defense. Not really sure how to attack it ... You need a big wing like Luka or LeBron who can abuse the one on one matchup and the help. Not a lot of those guys.
My thoughts overlap with Spivey's. Here are the potential weak links I see in the Splash Triplets lineup:

Defensive rebounding
Live-ball turnovers (Steph, I'm looking at you)
Questionable shot selection
Not getting to the FT line a lot

That last is a minor worry. But I can see the temptation to fall in love with the 3. I don't see a team shutting that lineup down, but a Giannis smallball lineup, or the Celtics, a team like that could give them problems.
   187. Fourth True Outcome Posted: April 19, 2022 at 03:25 PM (#6072568)
This is putting a few carts ahead of the horse, but it would be a funny/frustrating denouement to the "just how good are this year's Suns" question if they get bounced in the WCF not because they aren't good but because the Warriors juggernaut popped back into form. Perhaps apropos for the franchise, sadly.
   188. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: April 19, 2022 at 03:35 PM (#6072572)
the Splash Triplets lineup

Others nicknames I have seen:
Splash Mob
Death Poole
PTSD (Poole, Thompson, Steph, Draymond)
   189. Cagerfan Posted: April 19, 2022 at 03:43 PM (#6072577)
Next: Tshipman will explain to us how Danny Vranes, Steve Hawes and Mickey Johnson were actually more deserving of the MVP than Larry Bird.
   190. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: April 19, 2022 at 04:08 PM (#6072581)
Injuries are my number one, two, and three concerns about the Warriors. Given perfect health, they would be my pick.
   191. Cagerfan Posted: April 19, 2022 at 04:18 PM (#6072583)
They’re triple-teaming Joker because they have nobody else who can put the ball in the ocean. The next round will be much tougher.
   192. sardonic Posted: April 19, 2022 at 04:42 PM (#6072588)
Whatever we call them, I'm not even convinced that this group is better than the Steph-Klay-Iggy-Harrison Barnes-Draymond version. I think they're better on offense and that can overpower some matchups, but yeah Klay has lost a step of lateral movement on defense so I think you can score on the three guards. If your best player/creator is a center that kind of plays into Draymond/this lineup's hands, but can they slow down, say, CP3-Booker-Crowder-Bridges-Ayton?

Injuries are my number one, two, and three concerns about the Warriors. Given perfect health, they would be my pick.


They have bounced back and jelled a lot faster than I ever imagined. The 11 minutes that lineup has played together is now more than they played together in the entire regular season. Got to give some props to Kerr there too I'd imagine. Fingers crossed that everyone stays healthy.
   193. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: April 19, 2022 at 05:08 PM (#6072592)
Long time, but realistic Nuggets fan. I picked the Warriors in 6, thinking the Nuggets could win 1 because they have the best player in the series ... and win another 1 because, well, I'm a long time fan. It's been pretty dramatic how much Draymond has been able to completely neutralize Jokic. He's getting help, but it's still remarkable to watch.

As a Nuggets fan, watching these end of quarter blitzes is like watching a teenage slasher movie compressed to 10 minutes. The high school kids are at a camp in the woods. The good looking girl decides to draw a bath and starts taking off her clothes and you're yelling, "don't do that!" Then the cheerleader and the football captain sneak off to make-out, and you're like "Don't you know what's going to happen if you do that?"

Both first halves, Denver kept control of the pace for about 18 minutes and (I think) held the lead. Then Jokic will put the ball on the ground with six hands waiting there. Then Barton will telegraph a pass and soft-toss it across the court at the top of the key. Then the Nuggets have Morris trying to guard Klay in the post, or forget to guard Steph on the wing.

I'm not saying that the Warriors didn't have a LOT to do with that, but just describing the rising horror watching them get picked off one-by-one.

I would say that home court might help control emotions, but I'm betting there are more Warriors fans than Nuggets fans at the next game. :(
   194. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: April 19, 2022 at 05:14 PM (#6072593)
I think the Warriors are a bad matchup for this version of the Nuggets. It happens. You can have legit hope for next year.
   195. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: April 19, 2022 at 05:16 PM (#6072594)
If your best player/creator is a center that kind of plays into Draymond/this lineup's hands, but can they slow down, say, CP3-Booker-Crowder-Bridges-Ayton?


PHX vs GSW is going to be a fun series (he says skipping over a few steps).
   196. sardonic Posted: April 19, 2022 at 05:23 PM (#6072595)
Hang in there TMCM, this time last year Curry was losing in the play in vs. Memphis. Jordan Poole scored 19 to cap off a strong second half of the season that all the MIP voters were taking note of. Klay was still rehabbing his ACL. Kelly Oubre was heavily involved. If the Nuggets get healthy they're in the mix for the conference finals for sure.
   197. If on a winter's night a traveling violation Posted: April 19, 2022 at 07:09 PM (#6072618)
PHX vs GSW is going to be a fun series
Probably the series I'm looking forward to most, if it happens. If the Heat can execute well enough (EDIT: much as I enjoy both rooting against and being dismissive of the Sixers, Embiid and Harden are too talented not to edit into this caveat), we're likely to have a glorious final four almost regardless of how the East shakes out, though I personally think it's a shame the ECF can't be two of BOS/MIL/BRK.
   198. TFTIO was writing C programs in the '90s Posted: April 19, 2022 at 09:36 PM (#6072627)
This is some sloppy garbage in Memphis my goodness.
   199. PJ Martinez Posted: April 19, 2022 at 10:45 PM (#6072637)
It was a close race, but I think we have to rule Steven Adams over Jarred Vanderbilt by a nose for the "first big played out of the series" crown. Gotta wonder if either will start Game 3. Inconceivable that they'll finish it.
That's Hollinger, on Twitter. Adams has played 3 minutes tonight. (During which he picked up two fouls; Vanderbilt has played 9.)

Memphis by 21 a few minutes into the fourth.
   200. SteveF Posted: April 19, 2022 at 10:45 PM (#6072638)
The pace is quick at least.
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