Tag Archives: Kawhi Leonard

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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Celtics Journal: Game 14 of 82, Sun 11/30, Spurs @ Celtics (STEAMROLLED)

Game 14 of 82 (17.1%), Sunday, November 30, 1030am PST

Spurs @ Celtics

steamroller

The Spurs were the Steamroller. The Celtics were the Steamrolled. 

Sunday morning basketball. On the east coast, it was merely an afternoon game. A matinee. On the west coast, this is 1030am. Morning basketball. The Spurs are from San Antonio, a town in Texas. The Spurs won the NBA championship last year. They have one of my favorite players in the game: Kawhi Leonard. Kawhi would be so lovely on the Celtics. Boston would immediately go from being a disastrous defensive team to a mediocre-to-decent defensive team if they had Kawhi. Kawhi has really long arms and hands that would make for an even shake with our man Rajon Rondo. Kawhi is fun to watch. Especially when he is shutting down LeBron or Kobe. It’s kind of shocking that the Spurs haven’t extended Kawhi’s contract yet. They will eventually. I think they wanted him to remain hungry for this, the final year of Timmy and Pop. I think they wanted to wait and see. Kawhi is awesome. Hooray for Kawhi. If anyone mispronounces his name and says KAH-wee instead of ka-WHY, please correct them. Kawhi should be a household word. In 30 minutes of action, Kawhi’s team beat the Celtics by 21 points.

In the third quarter, Kawhi’s team scored 33 points. The Celtics scored 24. In the fourth quarter, Kawhi’s team scored 33 points. The Celtics score 16. To make things a bit more tragic, the Celtics played pretty well for about 38 minutes out of the 48. Maybe the Spurs, who were starting a road trip with a matinee game in a time zone that is one hour ahead of their time zone, were napping through the first half of this game.

If that were true, then the halftime score would have read: Celtics 49, Napping Spurs 45.

Fourth Quarter – Lost Quarter

In any event, the final quarter of this game were about as ugly as the season will get. Right up there with that Houston game early in the season where they shot 1 of 25 from beyond the arc. The Celtics don’t like the 4th quarter. GM Danny Ainge is currently on hold with Commissioner Adam Silver. He’s hoping to ask for an occasional 36-minute game that removes the 4th Quarter entirely. The Celtics are currently being outscored by 5.3 points per game, 28.4 to 23.1, in the 4th.

On the season, take a look at Boston’s scoring average by quarter compared with their opponents:

Boston (scoring by quarter):

  • 1st: 26.9
  • 2nd: 25.6
  • 3rd: 28.6
  • 4th: 23.1

Boston opponents (scoring by quarter):

  • 1st: 26.4
  • 2nd:24.9
  • 3rd: 27.9
  • 4th: 28.4

Scheduled Brutality

Boston has faced the 2nd-toughest schedule among Eastern Conference teams thus far. Only Charlotte has faced a more difficult slate as of December 1st. Conversely, the Celtics have the third-easiest schedule remaining. Only Philadelphia and Charlotte have softer schedules for the final 65+ games.

What does this mean? There is hope (especially in December). More on that later…

NBA’s Badass Division: the Southwest

Also as of December 1, the Southwest Division is Ridiculously Good. The five teams are a combined 25-7 vs. the Eastern Conference.

Southwest Division Standings

  1. Memphis 15-2
  2. Houston 13-4
  3. San Antonio 12-4
  4. Dallas 13-5
  5. New Orleans 7-8

Next time you think you have it rough as a Celtics fan, imagine being a New Orleans Pelicans fan. On the one hand, you have the most exciting young big man in the game (Anthony Davis). On the other, you get to face four of the NBA’s best teams a total of 16 times. Think New Orleans would like to be relocated to the East?

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Kawhi Leonard. Finals MVP. Has a Nice Ring to it, No?

The San Antonio Spurs won the 2014 NBA Championship. Since only one player gets to be MVP (and not five different Spurs), it is fitting that Kawhi Leonard won it. Leonard’s fingerprints were all over Games 3, 4 and 5, on both offense and defense. It was fitting that Kawhi won Finals MVP because you rarely heard “Kawhi” and “MVP” in any conversations throughout the last three years, which happen to be his first three in the NBA. It was fitting because Kawhi is arguably the most selfless player in the NBA. It was fitting because, other than maybe Tim Duncan (1999, 2003, 2005), the NBA has not had a player thought of as “soft-spoken” win the Finals MVP award. Unless you’re a die-hard Miami Heat fan, or a “LeBron is God”-type, it’s hard not to appreciate the hoops perfection the Spurs put on display.

You think these Spurs enjoy playing with each other?

You think these Spurs enjoy playing with each other?

If I were a betting man, I’d bet that Kawhi will win at least one more Finals MVP in his career. It could come as soon as next year, or it may come post-Duncan, post-Popovich. Imagine the Spurs without Popovich. Without Duncan. Imagine Patty Mills as the sweet shooting point guard. Danny Green at the 2. Kawhi as the epitome, as the two-way playing heartbeat of the team. GM R.C. Buford will find another draft-day-steal/trade that will net him another capable big-man to eventually fill the enormous shoes of Duncan. It’s simply hard to imagine an NBA where the Spurs aren’t at least competitive.

This wraps up the NBA season. The over-scrutinized draft day possibilities won’t end. The Kevin Love trade permutations have been diagnosed and debated. The off-season will be eventful. But this is it for me. One or two Celtics-related draft thoughts (Aaron Gordon and T.J. Warren?). Other writing projects beckon. Writing that isn’t sports related.

I love the NBA. I love writing about the NBA. I hope I’ve spread that passion here. I’m glad I’ve devoted the time and energy to a sport that I love over the last two years.

Thank you for taking the time to read.

 

 

In Rondo, Steph, and Kawhi We Trust,

Jonah

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