Tag Archives: Golden State Warriors

Brief 2017 NBA Playoff Recaps: Volume 1 (Opening Weekend)

Four games in each day, to launch the 2017 NBA Playoffs. One paragraph per game, that’s all time will allow.

Saturday, April 15

Cleveland Cavs 109, Indiana Pacers 108 (Miles To Go Before I Sleep…)

(CLE leads, 1–0)

LeBron very good, rest of Cavs looked rusty…Kyrie 1 of 9 from deep…Cleveland dodges bullet when C.J. Miles misses fade-away at buzzer. Paul George is mad at C.J. Miles for taking a good look. Too bad Sir Lance couldn’t steal one for Indiana, that would’ve made things dramatic. (Lance is bringing it back to 2013, by the way)…Kevin Seraphin got 16 playoff minutes! Don’t wake the monster…

Milwaukee Bucks 97, Toronto Raptors 83 (Sir Brogdon At Your Service…)

(MIL leads 1–0)

Giannis in attack mode, such a beautiful sight. Half court to the rim in 3 strides. 28 on 18 shots…President Malcolm Brogdon ain’t a rookie, he’s a savvy vet! What do you need? I got your defense, your timely shooting, your smart passing. Just tell me what you need…Khris Middleton is the only human on the planet who can shoot 4 of 15 and finish +27 on the night. Three blocks by Maker made me squeal with delight. Lowry 2 of 11 and 0 of 6 from deep. Wrist rust be a problem. Casey needs to get Valanciunas more than 5 shots. This is going 7.

Dwayne Casey needs to figure some things out before Game 2

 

San Antonio Spurs 111, Memphis Grizzlies 82 (Kawhi Can’t This be a Forfeit?)

(SA leads 1–0….soon to be 4–0)

When we heard Tony Allen was out for the series, we stopped holding out any hope that this would be competitive. The Spurs were ordered by Adam Silver to wait until the 2nd quarter to annihilate the Grizzlies, so they cooperated, ending the first with a 5 point deficit. Then San Antonio won the next three quarters by 34. When you want to watch every series, it helps to have one like this.

Utah Jazz 97, Los Angeles Clippers 95 (Win One for the Gobert!)

(UTAH leads 1–0)

17 seconds after tip and The Gentle Giant, Gobert the Great, was on the ground, crawling and shaking his head. It was a painful, deflating sight. Anyone who was rooting for the Jazz felt hollow inside. Quin Snyder’s expression was more than concerned. Not exactly panicked, though. He held himself together, and the Jazz held themselves together. Players like Joe Johnson, Joe Ingles, George Hill, and Derrick Favors…pulled this one out. What a wonderful game. The Clippers have all the talent and the Jazz have all the grit. The Clippers are an empty vessel, with a ferocious point guard at the helm. They are less than the sum of their parts, while the Jazz are more than just a couple of Joes. What sweet music, Game One brought us. Joe Johnson has been reborn. Joe Ingles is the best YMCA gym rat in the NBA.

Slow-Motion Joe Goes With the Flow

 

Sunday, April 16

Golden St Warriors 121, Portland Trail Blazers 109 (McCollum Merely One Man…)

(GS leads 1–0)

C.J. McCollum was Golden State’s Gollum, they were never sure which way he’d go. Dropping 41 points on 28 shots, McCollum and his pal Lillard kept the Blazers afloat until the 15–2 Warrior avalanche began the 4th. Defensive Draymond opened the gates and the unassuming Ian Clark chipped in 7 of those 15. The first 36 minutes of the series may be the closest, though it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Blazers backcourt pull one out in the Rose Quarter.

Washington Wizards 114, Atlanta Hawks 107 (Chief Markieff Offers Relief)

(WAS leads 1–0)

The Wizards are probably the better team, and certainly the more interesting one of the two, but with time slipping away at the end of the half, the Hawks led, 48–42, and Washington’s Markieff Morris missed a contested corner three. The ensuing review showed that Morris had been fouled as time expired on the shot. Three free-throws and the lead was cut to 3, as they strolled toward the locker rooms. After the half, Morris opened up by hitting a 3, and the game was tied. Sometimes a game swings when you least expect it. The Hawks have little margin for error. The Wizards bench came up completely empty (except for Mr. Oubre). A few Tim Hardaway threes (0 of 6) and the Hawks might have pulled it out. Instead, Washington still holds home court for now.

Chicago Bulls 106, Boston Celtics 102 (Tragic Turn for Cs but Baby Please…)

(CHI leads 1–0)

What an awful turn of events for Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics. A tragedy clouded what should have been an exuberant first round home game in Boston. Despite it all, Isaiah showed up and did what he always does: scored. 33 points on 18 shots, 10 of 12 from the line, and 3 from deep. Isaiah finished with a +12. So did Bobby Portis, the Bulls 22 year-old who came off the bench with a fury. Those ten minutes without Isaiah belonged to Portis, who scored 19 on 8 of 10, grabbing 9 boards, dishing 3 assists and blocking 2 shots. After the Bulls sent Gibson and McDermott packing, Portis has seen his minutes grow. Once he started knocking down threes at the end of the regular season, his confidence apparently grew as well. Boston’s 53-wins and home court advantage are in the rear-view now, as they fight off Jimmy Butler and Bobby Portis, looking to even things on Tuesday night. Bradley and Horford did their parts, along with Isaiah. Crowder, Smart, Olynyk, and Jaylen have to give more.

Houston Rockets 118, OKC Thunder 87 (Roll the Thunder, Hear Their Cry)

(HOU leads 1–0)

No more debates, no more MVP concerns, just throw the ball up and play. The better team won. The better team has Patrick Beverley, whose offensive contributions (21 points on 13 shots) pale in comparison to the impact of his Westbrook-hounding. Russell can rampage all over the regular season, but he won’t rampage all over Mr. Beverley, who has never known the concept of fear or intimidation. Westbrook’s 6 of 23 line, and 9 turnovers were a big part of the problem. His sidekick, Victor Oladipo, was a dreadful 1 of 12 from the field, misfiring on all 6 three-pointers. OKC’s only hope is to contain Houston’s relentless attack, in which James Harden dissects their defense and makes life simple and breezy for Clint Capela and Nene, who shot a combined 14 of 17, feasting on lay-ups and dunks. Either redirect Harden away from the paint, or Westbrook has to play three times as well as he did tonight and Oladipo needs to wake up. This could be over in 5.

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Embiid Era, Anthony Davis Alone in New Orleans, and Season of Golden State Oversaturation Begins: NBA’s Opening Night

The Joel Embiid Era has begun in Philadelphia. Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor are about to become 7-foot obstacles to Embiid’s future glory. Expect one of them to be traded before February. The toughest part for Sixers fans begins now, as hard as that is to believe. All those losing seasons came with the expectation of waiting. Embiid will be good enough to bring game-to-game hope, but until Ben Simmons (January) and Dario Saric (NBA experience) can acquaint themselves to the grind of the 82-game season, the process will continue to bring losses. At least they have the wonderful beard of Sergio Rodriguez to sop up the tears.

Parity has never been as great as it is this season in the NBA. The consensus among NBA experts is there are generally three tiers: Golden State, Cleveland, and San Antonio (the smartest include San Antonio); 23 teams somewhere between decent and good; and the bottom tier, consisting of Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Phoenix and the Lakers. Granted, the equanimity is overstated by reducing it to these three groups. In reality, the Celtics and Raptors should rise up out of the East, and an argument can easily be made for the Clippers and Blazers in the West. Still, the idea that the vast majority of teams have legitimate playoff aspirations is real. The reasons for this rise: a huge salary cap leap in June (70million to 94 million to the NBA’s ridiculous new television deal); the trend to shorter contracts which has allowed more roster flexibility; the style of play in the modern NBA enabling less offensive-star-focused roster construction. Four years ago, only a handful of teams made pace-and-space a priority. Today, 90% of NBA rosters contain at least one, usually more than one, 6’9″ or taller forward who can knock down a three-pointer and defend the pick-and-roll adequately. More emphasis on three-point shooting for all teams, deeper rosters, and fewer minutes for starting fives, all lead to more balanced teams which trickles down into the standings.

On a given night, Anthony Davis will score 50 points, bring down 16 rebounds, dish out 5 assists, make 7 steals, and block 4 shots… and the Pelicans will still lose. Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday can’t come back soon enough for fans of the southeastern flamingoes. Anthony Davis is but one man with four teammates, most of whom shouldn’t be starting alongside him. Tim Frazier is a good story. Solomon Hill and Omer Asik? Not playmakers. Not even a tiny bit. Lance was supposed to help. We’ll see.

Pace. The Celtics, Pacers and Rockets will play with as much pace as their bodies allow. Each of them will need a week or two to get into the all-out sprint conditioning that the pace demands. Without full health and depth on their rosters, 4th quarters might get sloppy. As the pace increases, scoring will continue to rise. Of these three teams, only the Celtics have the potential to play with this pace and still suffocate teams with their defensive abilities.

The Spurs are as happy as ever to fly under the radar. They are perfectly content to let misguided-self-righteous Durant-hate and self-inflicted Draymond-drama dominate the NBA headlines, while they cruise to another 60-win season. Jonathan Simmons is going to become a household name (at least in a few non-San Antonio-NBA households) by May.

Since July, the Golden State Warriors represent NBA clickbait, and that will continue at this over-saturating rate until next June. The expected backlash to Durant joining a historically great team will be fodder for the talk shows and talking heads, who will pretend the other 28 teams (the defending champion Cavs will remain in the spotlight as well) barely exist.

For all the talk about the pairing of Mike D’Antoni’s technical offensive genius with James Harden’s on-court offensive genius, the lack of defensive awareness and attention, with the exceptions of Clint Capela and Patrick Beverley, will keep the Rockets from being more than a slightly above average NBA team. Scoring? Yes, indeed. Entertaining basketball? Definitely. Wins? Not more than 45. Perhaps D’Antoni will change his name to Antoni. No need for that D.

The Sacramento Kings have a new arena. They were given a soft opening opponent: Phoenix. They won in Phoenix. They are 1–0. Judging from the last…well, forever, this will probably be the high-water mark for the Kings season. I hope I’m wrong.

Update: The Kings are now 1–1, after their home debut was spoiled by the mighty Spurs.

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NBA Finals: Unofficial Game Plans

Game 1

On the dry-erase board in the visiting (CLE) locker room at Oracle Arena, on Thursday, June 2, before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, you probably didn’t see:

  • Dellavedova punch Iguodala in the nuts

That was probably not one of the five key bulletin points. However, I wouldn’t be shocked if LeBron whispered to Delly, “Get under Iggy’s skin.”

On the dry-erase board in the visiting (CLE) locker room at Oracle Arena, on Thursday, June 2, before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, you probably didn’t see:

  • Slow down Shaun Livingston’s mid-range game

Livingston’s 20 points were a season high. The Cavs spent so much energy on Klay and Steph, someone unsuspecting was bound to score lots of points. Turns out it was most of the Warriors bench, each scoring between 10 and 20.

Game 2

On the dry-erase board in the home (GS) locker room at Oracle Arena, on Sunday, June 5, before Game 2 of the NBA Finals, you probably didn’t see:

  • Barnes elbow Love in the back of the head while leaping for a rebound

Love’s 21 sad minutes in Game 2 (2 of 7 from the field, 5 points, 3 rebounds) left a lot to be desired, but the dizziness that came after the Barnes elbow was a problem for Cleveland’s offense.

On the dry-erase board in the visiting (CLE) locker room at Oracle Arena, on Sunday, June 5, before Game 2 of the NBA Finals, you probably didn’t see:

  • Run Draymond Off the Three-Point Line at All Costs!

But there was the box score after the game: Green 5 of 8, Curry 4 of 8, Thompson 4 of 8

 

Possible Game 3 Game Plans

Cleveland

  • Food poisoning the room service sandwiches at the Warriors hotel
  • Making Andrew Bogut sleep in a very uncomfortable bed to upset his back
  • Punching Andre Iguodala in the testicles
  • Getting Klay Thompson in foul trouble
  • Locking Draymond Green in the hotel sauna
  • Power outage at the Warriors hotel

 

Golden State

  • Elbowing Kevin Love in the head again
  • Whispering to Kyrie Irving that dribbling through a forest of defenders is the best approach
  • Keeping J.R. Smith from one of his patented hot streaks by defending him with ice pack-hands
  • Continuing to keep Channing Frye on the bench

 

These playoffs have been filled with blowouts. Let’s hope Games 3 and 4 bring some sort of 4th quarter drama to the proceedings. And yet…

The sight of empty seats for the final four minutes of the 4th quarter refueled my annoyance with Bay Area wealthy/party-going fans. Don’t go to a damn NBA Finals game if you aren’t going to stay until the end. Someone else would have enjoyed all 48 game minutes. Your team won. Sit there until the fucking horn sounds.

 

 

 

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