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Troublemaker
04-15-2015, 11:09 PM
Let's get this thread rolling.

1st-round matchups are below. Duke players are shaded blue. UNC players are shaded red for those interested in that. (Didn't want to shade them the vomit-inducing blue.)

Minutes per game for each player are also shown. Let me know if any mistakes or omissions.


EAST


1 Atlanta Hawks - Elton Brand (< 10 mpg), GM Danny Ferry
vs
8 Brooklyn Nets - Mason Plumlee (21.3 mpg), GM Billy King


4 Toronto Raptors - Tyler Hansbrough (~15 mpg)
vs
5 Washington Wizards


3 Chicago Bulls - Mike Dunleavy (29.2 mpg)
vs
6 Milwaukee Bucks - John Henson (18.4 mpg), Miles Plumlee (< 5 mpg), Jabari Parker (OUT)


2 Cleveland Cavaliers - Kyrie Irving (36.6 mpg), Brendan Haywood (0 mpg)
vs
7 Boston Celtics - Tyler Zeller (21.2 mpg)


WEST


1 Golden St Warriors - Harrison Barnes (28.4 mpg), James Michael McAdoo (0 mpg)
vs
8 New Orleans Pelicans


4 Portland Trailblazers
vs
5 Memphis Grizzlies - Vince Carter (16.5 mpg)


3 Los Angeles Clippers - JJ Redick (30.9 mpg), Austin Rivers (19.3 mpg), Dahntay Jones (0 mpg)
vs
6 San Antonio Spurs - Danny Green (28.7 mpg)


2 Houston Rockets
vs
7 Dallas Mavericks - Raymond Felton (< 10 mpg)

Troublemaker
04-15-2015, 11:12 PM
I'm going to start the playoffs rooting for a Cavs - Clippers Finals, but that is VERY unlikely to happen considering the Clippers' most likely path is Spurs --> Rockets --> Warriors

pfrduke
04-15-2015, 11:27 PM
I'm going to start the playoffs rooting for a Cavs - Clippers Finals, but that is VERY unlikely to happen considering the Clippers' most likely path is Spurs --> Rockets --> Warriors

The Clippers got shafted by the silly "division champ must be a 4 seed" rule. Memphis, which finished at the 5 seed, gets a much easier matchup than the Clippers at the 3 seed. LA (56-26) has to play the Spurs (55-27, and also, the Spurs), while Memphis (55-27) gets Portland (51-31) and gets home court. It should be Clips-Blazers and Griz-Spurs.

Duvall
04-16-2015, 12:17 AM
The Clippers got shafted by the silly "division champ must be a 4 seed" rule. Memphis, which finished at the 5 seed, gets a much easier matchup than the Clippers at the 3 seed. LA (56-26) has to play the Spurs (55-27, and also, the Spurs), while Memphis (55-27) gets Portland (51-31) and gets home court. It should be Clips-Blazers and Griz-Spurs.

Wait, the 5 seed gets homecourt against the 4 seed?

Richard Berg
04-16-2015, 12:21 AM
I'm amazed that Vince Carter can still play 16.5mpg productively.

pfrduke
04-16-2015, 12:27 AM
Wait, the 5 seed gets homecourt against the 4 seed?

Correct. When the 4 seed gets the 4 seed by virtue of being a division winner, but has a worse record than the 5 seed, the 4 seed does not get home court advantage.

grossbus
04-16-2015, 04:44 AM
Geez, I didn't know Brenda was still n the league!

Troublemaker
04-16-2015, 09:13 AM
The Clippers got shafted by the silly "division champ must be a 4 seed" rule. Memphis, which finished at the 5 seed, gets a much easier matchup than the Clippers at the 3 seed. LA (56-26) has to play the Spurs (55-27, and also, the Spurs), while Memphis (55-27) gets Portland (51-31) and gets home court. It should be Clips-Blazers and Griz-Spurs.

Oh, agreed. I would even argue that that the Clips should've been the 2 seed over the Rockets since the two teams had the same record, but L.A. had the better conference record. Instead, the Rockets got the 2 seed by being a division winner. I mean, who cares about divisions in the NBA? Most sports sites like ESPN default to listing NBA conference standings to see who currently occupies 1 thru 8 instead of listing division standings. I follow the league pretty well, and I just tried to name the 6 divisions and was only able to get 5 right after checking. It's ridiculous that it plays such a huge role in seeding.

Tom B.
04-16-2015, 09:44 AM
I'm amazed that Vince Carter can still play 16.5mpg productively.

Vince Carter is the answer to a great trivia question:

Among UNC alums who've played in the NBA, who has the second highest career NBA scoring total?

pfrduke
04-16-2015, 10:00 AM
Oh, agreed. I would even argue that that the Clips should've been the 2 seed over the Rockets since the two teams had the same record, but L.A. had the better conference record. Instead, the Rockets got the 2 seed by being a division winner. I mean, who cares about divisions in the NBA? Most sports sites like ESPN default to listing NBA conference standings to see who currently occupies 1 thru 8 instead of listing division standings. I follow the league pretty well, and I just tried to name the 6 divisions and was only able to get 5 right after checking. It's ridiculous that it plays such a huge role in seeding.

Ouch - I had thought the Clippers lost a legitimate tiebreaker to the Rockets, not one based on winning a division. So really the Clippers should have been hosting the Mavericks, or at worst hosting the Blazers, but instead because of the division winner rules they get stuck hosting the Spurs.

superdave
04-16-2015, 10:38 AM
The Spurs are something like 15-2 in the last 30 days. The Cavs have a somewhat similar record since mid-March. They seem to be on a collision course.

I am very interested to see if Golden State can do in the playoffs what they have done in the regular season. Will they get pushed around like the 2005-2007 Suns or will they be able to sprint past bigger slower teams?

tbyers11
04-16-2015, 11:10 AM
The Spurs are something like 15-2 in the last 30 days. The Cavs have a somewhat similar record since mid-March. They seem to be on a collision course.

I am very interested to see if Golden State can do in the playoffs what they have done in the regular season. Will they get pushed around like the 2005-2007 Suns or will they be able to sprint past bigger slower teams?

Based on records over recent games, Clippers are 15-1 and Warriors 16-2 as well. Lots of "hot" teams going into the playoffs.

Warriors are a high-flying offensive team, just behind the Clippers #2 in Offensive Efficiency. However, they are also the best Defensive Efficiency team in the league, too. Bogut, Green, and Iguodala are strong defensive players.

I don't see them getting pushed around like those Suns teams whose defense was league average or slightly worse. Efficiency stats from Holiinger's stats at ESPN here (http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/teamstats/_/sort/defensiveEff/order/false/year/2007).

ikiru36
04-16-2015, 11:14 AM
The Spurs are something like 15-2 in the last 30 days. The Cavs have a somewhat similar record since mid-March. They seem to be on a collision course.

I am very interested to see if Golden State can do in the playoffs what they have done in the regular season. Will they get pushed around like the 2005-2007 Suns or will they be able to sprint past bigger slower teams?

While it does remain to be seen whether the Warriors can carry this over to the Playoffs, they are very different than those Phoenix teams which dominated the league offensively, efficiency-wise but were middle of the road in defensive efficiency (using Hollinger #s, anyways). One of the amazing things about this Warriors team is that it essentially tied for #1 in offensive efficiency with more than a 1 point spread from the rest of the league AND sits alone as the #1 team in defensive efficiency with more than a point spread from the rest of the league. Best of all, they do this while also leading the league in pace, making for some very fun basketball to watch!

All that said, they have relatively little playoff experience on the squad as a whole, and a (seemingly excellent but) rookie coach so they still have a lot to prove. I, for one, am excited to see what they can accomplish and (ex-cheaters aside) am pulling for them to go on a deep run.

Go Dubs!!!!! Go Blue Devils!!!!!!!!! GTHCGTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(P.S. - tbyers11, great minds and all that :0)

A-Tex Devil
04-16-2015, 11:16 AM
Ouch - I had thought the Clippers lost a legitimate tiebreaker to the Rockets, not one based on winning a division. So really the Clippers should have been hosting the Mavericks, or at worst hosting the Blazers, but instead because of the division winner rules they get stuck hosting the Spurs.

Other than maybe Memphis, though, the Clips are about the worst possible team for the Spurs, too. They don't match up that well with them. I was surprised the Spurs let that NoLa game go considering all of that. That said, they are the Spurs.

elvis14
04-16-2015, 03:44 PM
The thing that bums me out is that I really like both the Clippers (JJ, Austin, DJ) and the Spurs (Duncan, Parker). I hate that one of these teams has to go home after the first round. There are other teams I'd much rather see go home early. For me Golden State is kinda like the Spurs, a good team with players that I really like (Curry, Thompson) that I really like to watch. Even though both contain players I really don't like (GS: Harry Skype, SA: Dancin' Danny).

I am really looking forward to this years playoffs. So many good teams in the Western Conference and in the East we get to see Kyrie make a real run at it and we get to see if the Hawks are for real and if the Bulls and get it together.

CDu
04-16-2015, 04:02 PM
The thing that bums me out is that I really like both the Clippers (JJ, Austin, DJ) and the Spurs (Duncan, Parker). I hate that one of these teams has to go home after the first round. There are other teams I'd much rather see go home early. For me Golden State is kinda like the Spurs, a good team with players that I really like (Curry, Thompson) that I really like to watch. Even though both contain players I really don't like (GS: Harry Skype, SA: Dancin' Danny).

I am really looking forward to this years playoffs. So many good teams in the Western Conference and in the East we get to see Kyrie make a real run at it and we get to see if the Hawks are for real and if the Bulls and get it together.

This has the potential to be a fantastic Playoffs. So many good teams out West, and 2 maybe 3 good teams in the East. I say "maybe" because the second half of the season wasn't kind to the Bulls in terms of health, as Butler [dislocated an elbow - ouch!], Rose [had his repaired meniscus removed], and Gibson were out all at the same time for a long stretch; Noah was in and out of the lineup during that time too). But they are supposedly healthy now (Rose certainly looked like it two games ago before sitting out the second half against Atlanta), and will have a warmup series against the Bucks before facing (presumably) the Cavs.

I still think it'll be Bulls or Cavs in the East, as I'm still hesitant to buy into Atlanta deep in the playoffs. Out West though, I won't even venture a guess. Golden State looks great. San Antonio is always a threat. Houston has defense and one of the best players in the league. The Clippers can give teams fits with their size/athleticism inside and Paul's brilliance.

Regardless, should be fun!

elvis14
04-16-2015, 04:11 PM
This has the potential to be a fantastic Playoffs. So many good teams out West, and 2 maybe 3 good teams in the East. I say "maybe" because the second half of the season wasn't kind to the Bulls in terms of health, as Butler [dislocated an elbow - ouch!], Rose [had his repaired meniscus removed], and Gibson were out all at the same time for a long stretch; Noah was in and out of the lineup during that time too). But they are supposedly healthy now (Rose certainly looked like it two games ago before sitting out the second half against Atlanta), and will have a warmup series against the Bucks before facing (presumably) the Cavs.

I still think it'll be Bulls or Cavs in the East, as I'm still hesitant to buy into Atlanta deep in the playoffs. Out West though, I won't even venture a guess. Golden State looks great. San Antonio is always a threat. Houston has defense and one of the best players in the league. The Clippers can give teams fits with their size/athleticism inside and Paul's brilliance.

Regardless, should be fun!

Yeah, when I say it'll be interesting to see if the Bulls can get it together it's all about seeing if they can raise their game to a high level now that they are healthy again. I'd really like to see D.Rose be healthy for a while and get back to being an MVP caliber player. Don't know if it'll ever happen but it would be fun to watch.

gurufrisbee
04-16-2015, 04:12 PM
In some sports winning your division deserves a decent advantage earned for the playoffs. Baseball - absolutely. Football - pretty much. Basketball? Not really.

It is slightly better than it used to be when the division winner got at least the 3 seed AND home court advantage.

Between a number of factors in the first round I am rooting for:

Atlanta
Washington
Chicago
Cleveland
Golden State
Portland
Clippers
Dallas

CDu
04-16-2015, 04:21 PM
Yeah, when I say it'll be interesting to see if the Bulls can get it together it's all about seeing if they can raise their game to a high level now that they are healthy again. I'd really like to see D.Rose be healthy for a while and get back to being an MVP caliber player. Don't know if it'll ever happen but it would be fun to watch.

Yeah, Rose has had several games where he looked like his old self. Unfortunately, between the ankle injuries early in the season and the reaggravation of the meniscus (which led to the removal of the meniscus) he hasn't maintained it. Well, that and he has played pretty lazily for most of the season, likely trying to stay healthy. His game the other night against Brooklyn was pretty spectacular, but then he shut it down again last night against Atlanta. So we just don't know.

Hopefully he is able to give it a real go in the playoffs. These will be his first playoffs in basically 4 years. And the Bulls are good enough everywhere else that, if he's even close to his old self, they have a real shot. But if he's just a shell of himself, they won't get past the Cavs.

theAlaskanBear
04-16-2015, 10:32 PM
Yeah, Rose has had several games where he looked like his old self. Unfortunately, between the ankle injuries early in the season and the reaggravation of the meniscus (which led to the removal of the meniscus) he hasn't maintained it. Well, that and he has played pretty lazily for most of the season, likely trying to stay healthy. His game the other night against Brooklyn was pretty spectacular, but then he shut it down again last night against Atlanta. So we just don't know.

Hopefully he is able to give it a real go in the playoffs. These will be his first playoffs in basically 4 years. And the Bulls are good enough everywhere else that, if he's even close to his old self, they have a real shot. But if he's just a shell of himself, they won't get past the Cavs.

Bulls should beat Milwaukee, but this could be a tough series. If the Bucks can push the pace a little higher they definitely have the length and the defensive to go toe-to-toe, and the young bodies to run the break. Chicago will get it done with homecourt. I think the Bulls definitely have their work cut out if they make it to CLE but honestly I think Cleveland's defense is a bigger issue than most realize. Kevin Love is definitely dealing with back problems, but maybe the regular rest days will help him. Cavs are only 18th in league D and they have insane stretches like against WAS the other night where a 2nd string team torched them offensively for the first couple of quarters. Turnovers are also a problem. I would be very surprised if the Cavs cakewalk through the East. It is going to be a battle.

Tripping William
04-17-2015, 03:18 PM
At some risk of having this thread take a heavy statistical turn like the one about Duke's chances in The Big Dance, here is 538's assessment of the Playoffs:

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/2015-nba-playoffs-preview/?ex_cid=espnFB

Top 5 Probabilities of Winning the NBA Title:

Golden State at 48% (higher than UKLV's 41% of winning the NCAA Tourney)
Cleveland at 21%
San Antonio at 12%
LA Clippers at 8%
Atlanta at 5%

Richard Berg
04-17-2015, 03:42 PM
Just goes to show how terrible the seeding is when the Spurs-Clips first round is guaranteed to eliminate one of the top 4 overall teams from a 16-team tournament. Put another way, in a fairly seeded bracket, their win % would be much higher than 12 / 8.

Newton_14
04-17-2015, 11:20 PM
What is up with Miles playing less than 5 mpg? I thought he was doing really well in Phoenix and was surprised when they traded him to the Bucks. What's up with the lack of PT? Has he been hurt?

Skitzle
04-18-2015, 01:44 AM
What is up with Miles playing less than 5 mpg? I thought he was doing really well in Phoenix and was surprised when they traded him to the Bucks. What's up with the lack of PT? Has he been hurt?

He's not good enough to deserve more is all.

Troublemaker
04-18-2015, 08:14 AM
What is up with Miles playing less than 5 mpg? I thought he was doing really well in Phoenix and was surprised when they traded him to the Bucks. What's up with the lack of PT? Has he been hurt?

He was first surpassed as a starter in Phoenix by former terp Alex Len, which was to be expected since Len was an overall #5 pick and truly more talented. Then, as an expendable backup, Miles was thrown into a trade to the Bucks where he is now the 3rd-string center, perhaps partly due to having to pick up a new system.

I thought it was always a surprise that he was a starting center, but Miles is probably better than 3rd-string as well. He'll probably eventually land somewhere as a backup.

CDu
04-18-2015, 07:13 PM
The stars came to play today. Steph Curry was crazy today, and Derrick Rose has looked really good in this first half with several vintage Rose buckets. And Paul Pierce turning back the clock to 2008 in a win over the Raptors and their nutbag of a GM.

subzero02
04-18-2015, 08:59 PM
Curry, Davis, and Rose all had great games today. Although Curry did miss 3 ft's.

Indoor66
04-19-2015, 07:14 AM
Curry, Davis, and Rose all had great games today. Although Curry did miss 3 ft's.

It is truly a b itch when humanity strikes a god. :p:cool:

Troublemaker
04-19-2015, 09:52 AM
The stars came to play today. Steph Curry was crazy today, and Derrick Rose has looked really good in this first half with several vintage Rose buckets. And Paul Pierce turning back the clock to 2008 in a win over the Raptors and their nutbag of a GM.

Rose was terrific. That was definitely the most newsworthy item of the day to me and a pleasant surprise. We'll see if he can come close to that level in Game 2, but for one game, it was nice to see Rose have his burst and confidence back. As long as this performance wasn't some outrageous outlier, we have to consider the Bulls legit contenders in the East. Congrats to you and other Bulls fans if that's the case. You guys have been through a lot, rooting for a hard-working and likable group that's just been too injury-prone the past few years.

CDu
04-19-2015, 10:33 AM
Rose was terrific. That was definitely the most newsworthy item of the day to me and a pleasant surprise. We'll see if he can come close to that level in Game 2, but for one game, it was nice to see Rose have his burst and confidence back. As long as this performance wasn't some outrageous outlier, we have to consider the Bulls legit contenders in the East. Congrats to you and other Bulls fans if that's the case. You guys have been through a lot, rooting for a hard-working and likable group that's just been too injury-prone the past few years.

The working theory by some folks has been that Rose was taking it easy throughout the season. He has had a a few games like last night throughout the season and has shown the burst all season. But aside from a few notable games (for some reason he really likes playing the Cavs) he hasn't put it together for whole games at a time. He was way too willing to just settle for jumpers, even though he has seemingly had the ability to go to the rim all season. So some Bulls fans believed that he was saving himself for the playoffs.

At first, I too believed this. And his performance against the Cavs right before the All Star break had me believing. But then he decided to have the meniscus removed, which raised questions again. When he came back, he looked like more of the same: picked his spots, took too many jumpers. He had one big game in game 81, then shut it down against Atlanta.

Anyway, last night's game has done nothing but bolster many Bulls fans' belief that he was playing possum during the season. Hopefully that is accurate, but I am hesitant to commit to that feeling until I see it a few more times.

If he is indeed healthy, we are as good as anyone in the East offensively. Gasol and Dunleavy and Mirotic can all shoot the lights out. Butler is the king of finding garbage buckets. Brooks is lightning in a bottle off the bench. And if Rose is even close to what he showed last night, we are dynomite.

Oddly, the big question for this Bulls team is defense. For some reason, Thibs has refused to split up Noah and Gasol, even though a Noah/Mirotic and Gasol/Gibson platoon is about the closest thing to a perfect pairing of offense/defense frontcourt that I can imagine. But Gasol/Noah is a bit slow as a combo, and pulling Noah out on stretch 4s hurts his defensive value a lot.

So I am certainly excited, though quite cautiously so. There have just been so many ups and downs over the past three years with Rose that it is hard to fully embrace the optimism again.

Trey21
04-19-2015, 07:52 PM
Kyrie came to play today had 30 points. Love the fact he's dealt with media criticism and has risen to the occasion this year. LeBron and him are starting to gel and develop some real chemistry. I think Kyrie could crack 3rd team all nba.

Troublemaker
04-19-2015, 09:58 PM
Oddly, the big question for this Bulls team is defense. For some reason, Thibs has refused to split up Noah and Gasol, even though a Noah/Mirotic and Gasol/Gibson platoon is about the closest thing to a perfect pairing of offense/defense frontcourt that I can imagine. But Gasol/Noah is a bit slow as a combo, and pulling Noah out on stretch 4s hurts his defensive value a lot.

Yeah, Thibs' use of Mirotic was interesting. Box score math indicates he played all his minutes at SF, as Noah, Gasol, and Gibson formed a 3-man big rotation. I think Chicago's offense could become even more explosive if Mirotic played the 4 some and, as you suggest, it could help them defensively as well.

I can't believe the NBA started this Clippers-Spurs game so late on a Sunday, as it should be the best series of Round 1. Gonna try to watch as much as I can, but will probably fall asleep.

ClassOf98
04-19-2015, 11:46 PM
So, I turned on the Clippers game just before halftime and got to see JJ, Dahntay and Austin on the court together. Pretty cool.

I was wondering: is this the first time three Blue Devils have been teammates on a playoff roster? (I'm assuming there have been 3 Devils on an NBA roster, period, before)

Duke95
04-19-2015, 11:48 PM
Paul and Griffin are just outstanding today.

JJ is struggling lately. Crawford is having a good game in his stead.

tbyers11
04-20-2015, 06:54 AM
Paul and Griffin are just outstanding today.

JJ is struggling lately. Crawford is having a good game in his stead.

JJ didn't have a good shooting game last night, but if your definition of lately is more than one game we will have to disagree there.

JJ has averaged 20 pts a game while shooting 45% from 3 and 97% FT since the beginning of March. I'd say it has been one of the best stretches of his career.

elvis14
04-20-2015, 01:53 PM
I can't believe the NBA started this Clippers-Spurs game so late on a Sunday, as it should be the best series of Round 1. Gonna try to watch as much as I can, but will probably fall asleep.

I fell asleep! I put the game on in my bedroom with a sleep timer on the TV and I didn't make it to half time. I was surprised they put this game on so late and kinda bummed because of all the games on this weekend it was the one I most wanted to see.


JJ didn't have a good shooting game last night, but if your definition of lately is more than one game we will have to disagree there.

JJ has averaged 20 pts a game while shooting 45% from 3 and 97% FT since the beginning of March. I'd say it has been one of the best stretches of his career.

JJ has been putting up really good numbers coming into the playoffs. I'm hoping that continues.

rsvman
04-21-2015, 11:03 AM
Possibly insane idea for the playoffs that I thought of last night..........

What if they seeded the 16 teams and then played a "one-and-done" tournament like the NCAA tournament, and played it all the to a winner, and then..........did it AGAIN. Seven times. And then crown as champion whichever team won the tournament the most times.

Obviously if one team were to win it 4 times in a row, the playoffs would be over, or as soon as one team won it 4 times, it'd be over. If two teams won it 3 times apiece, they would play ONE GAME to decide the champion.


I know, it's ridiculous. But I still kind of like the idea.

Nosbleuatu
04-21-2015, 05:50 PM
Possibly insane idea for the playoffs that I thought of last night..........

What if they seeded the 16 teams and then played a "one-and-done" tournament like the NCAA tournament, and played it all the to a winner, and then..........did it AGAIN. Seven times. And then crown as champion whichever team won the tournament the most times.

Obviously if one team were to win it 4 times in a row, the playoffs would be over, or as soon as one team won it 4 times, it'd be over. If two teams won it 3 times apiece, they would play ONE GAME to decide the champion.


I know, it's ridiculous. But I still kind of like the idea.

How about a single elimination tournament for lottery picks in the draft? Seed it based on regular season records, but then give the top pick to the team that earns it.

jdk
04-21-2015, 07:33 PM
So, I turned on the Clippers game just before halftime and got to see JJ, Dahntay and Austin on the court together. Pretty cool.

I was wondering: is this the first time three Blue Devils have been teammates on a playoff roster? (I'm assuming there have been 3 Devils on an NBA roster, period, before)

I believe last year's Bulls had Boozer, Deng, and Dunleavy. (Edit: forgot Deng played the second half of last season as a Cav).

The 2005-2006 Clippers featured Brand, Maggette, and Daniel Ewing as well as Shaun Livingston, who would have played at Duke if he were two years younger. That team was a blown Daniel Ewing defensive play from the conference finals, and I believe DBR had the three Dukies as a front-page photo (edit: wasn't it captioned something like Duke-West?)

pfrduke
04-21-2015, 07:45 PM
I believe last year's Bulls had Boozer, Deng, and Dunleavy.

The 2005-2006 Clippers featured Brand, Maggette, and Daniel Ewing as well as Shaun Livingston, who would have played at Duke if he were two years younger. That team was a blown Daniel Ewing defensive play from the conference finals, and I believe DBR had the three Dukies as a front-page photo (edit: wasn't it captioned something like Duke-West?)

That was also an inexplicable coaching decision to bring a cold Daniel Ewing - not a lockdown defender by any means in the NBA - off the bench for that crucial possession. Ewing played a total of 21 seconds in that game and hadn't seen action since the end of the 1st half when he was subbed in for the last possession of overtime. He didn't execute, but he was not put in an optimal position to execute.

Troublemaker
04-22-2015, 10:55 AM
More Game 2s tonight.

Can the Duke Blue Clippers overcome the Spurs' bounce-back, slightly angry due to Game 1 beatdown, Popovich-adjustments performance tonight? Can't wait to find out. Going up 2-0 would be huge.

Billy Dat
04-22-2015, 01:12 PM
Possibly insane idea for the playoffs that I thought of last night..........
What if they seeded the 16 teams and then played a "one-and-done" tournament like the NCAA tournament, and played it all the to a winner, and then..........did it AGAIN. Seven times. And then crown as champion whichever team won the tournament the most times.
Obviously if one team were to win it 4 times in a row, the playoffs would be over, or as soon as one team won it 4 times, it'd be over. If two teams won it 3 times apiece, they would play ONE GAME to decide the champion.
I know, it's ridiculous. But I still kind of like the idea.

Not bad! You'd probably have to have some kind of point system. I'd be in favor of some kind of alternate format based on the current inbalance between the conferences and the current snore of a first round. Maybe things will pick up once we shift to the other team's home courts.

I am easing in and finally saw a bunch of a game last night - Cavs v Celtics. The Cavs are looking better and better. Obviously, rotations shift with match-ups but the Celtics lack of a big makes Mozgov look enormous and I thought he was really hurting the Celtics. To Brad Stevens' credit, he went small and basically forced the Cavs to adjust, but they can play small, too. Kyrie has looked really good these first 2 games.

The assumed Cavs/Bulls second round series was dealt a big blow with Mirotic's leg injury. The Bulls and their injuries...it's like some kind of karmic payback for the glory of the Jordan/Pippen/Jackson years. Still, though, Bulls and Cavs should be a great series.

cato
04-22-2015, 01:28 PM
That was also an inexplicable coaching decision to bring a cold Daniel Ewing - not a lockdown defender by any means in the NBA - off the bench for that crucial possession. Ewing played a total of 21 seconds in that game and hadn't seen action since the end of the 1st half when he was subbed in for the last possession of overtime. He didn't execute, but he was not put in an optimal position to execute.

I thought about brining up that team, but didn't really want to get into the most memorable moment of Ewing's pro career. Sigh.

Billy Dat
04-23-2015, 12:44 AM
JJ had a great look at a transition 3 to tie it with under 30 secs left in OT...in and out. Spurs tie the series. Spurs were in control but their hack-a-Jordan kind of ruined their flow and they would have given the game away had Blake Griffin not made a ton of bad turnovers. Great series, too bad I am writing this during the immediate postgame at 1:45am!!

Troublemaker
04-23-2015, 12:45 AM
More Game 2s tonight.

Can the Duke Blue Clippers overcome the Spurs' bounce-back, slightly angry due to Game 1 beatdown, Popovich-adjustments performance tonight? Can't wait to find out. Going up 2-0 would be huge.

Sigh. Spurs win in OT. First amazing game of the playoffs, though.

JJ needs to hit his open shots. He's been one of the weak links for the Clips in these first two games while Paul and Griffin have been incredible. I hope JJ recovers his hot shooting from recent weeks.

Trey21
04-23-2015, 01:49 AM
Sigh. Spurs win in OT. First amazing game of the playoffs, though.

JJ needs to hit his open shots. He's been one of the weak links for the Clips in these first two games while Paul and Griffin have been incredible. I hope JJ recovers his hot shooting from recent weeks.

Truth on both statements. JJ hasn't been great but he has Kawhi on him for a lot of OT and even though he missed that open look in OT it was really Blake's fault that the Clips lost that game. Horrible dribbling move with 10 seconds to go to lose the ball then the Spurs tied it up. He fumbled the ball in OT as well that cost them the game. Still had a triple double though.

Tim Duncan. Just wow. 45 min played and just balled out. We've talked about how great he is for years now but I think as the years roll by we will appreciate his game even more. He's about to turn 39 and at times he is still one of if not the best PF in the game.

Billy Dat
04-23-2015, 09:33 AM
Truth on both statements. JJ hasn't been great but he has Kawhi on him for a lot of OT and even though he missed that open look in OT it was really Blake's fault that the Clips lost that game. Horrible dribbling move with 10 seconds to go to lose the ball then the Spurs tied it up. He fumbled the ball in OT as well that cost them the game. Still had a triple double though.

Tim Duncan. Just wow. 45 min played and just balled out. We've talked about how great he is for years now but I think as the years roll by we will appreciate his game even more. He's about to turn 39 and at times he is still one of if not the best PF in the game.

Agree that JJ hasn't been great, but I thought he was pretty clutch down the stretch. He made that epic 3 with Kawhi in his face to tie the game and made a big steal. And, sadly, Blake's game will not be remembered for his triple double but rather his turnovers down the stretch - 2 flat out drops and bobbles and one charge. Those were all HUGE plays. Patty Mills hit some crazy shots, and Timmy was Timmy. That game will come back to haunt the Clips - I don't see them winning the series now, but maybe I am suffering from classic most-recent-game-NBA-playoff-bias.

On a side note, Austin got some serious minutes and had a nice drive. Still, though, he is such a target for mockery. I think we've gotten to the point where his early play with the Pelicans and the fact that his father had to basically intervene to keep the Celtics from acquiring him sending him to the D-League have set up this narrative that he is the worst player in the NBA. He is not as bad as people say he is. It will be a hard rep to shed.

Troublemaker
04-23-2015, 10:45 AM
Barkley made a good point. This series is about to be played every other day, and it's been so intense and will continue to be intense until its conclusion, and they just played an OT game on top of it all. So, L.A.'s shallow bench vs San Antonio's old age / nagging injuries (Parker, Splitter) might be the "matchup" that swings the series.

NSDukeFan
04-23-2015, 01:26 PM
Barkley made a good point. This series is about to be played every other day, and it's been so intense and will continue to be intense until its conclusion, and they just played an OT game on top of it all. So, L.A.'s shallow bench vs San Antonio's old age / nagging injuries (Parker, Splitter) might be the "matchup" that swings the series.

In which direction, using statistical probabilities,of course?

Troublemaker
04-23-2015, 03:17 PM
In which direction, using statistical probabilities,of course?

I would guess advantage Spurs. CP3 and Griffin have been playing at such a high level that any dip in their quality due to attrition over a long, intense series probably dooms the Clips. Whereas the Spurs have already shown that Mills can step in for Parker and play well, Belinelli can step in for Manu, Diaw can step in for Splitter, etc. I'll say 70% chance Spurs win the series, AND I'll go ahead and predict the Spurs to win as well, as probability and prediction are completely different things that should not be confused. Would be happy to be wrong. Even putting aside that there are 3 Blue Devils on the team, the Clips play an entertaining style of basketball and zip the ball around as much as San Antonio does.

Troublemaker
04-23-2015, 10:11 PM
Playoff Rose continues to be a revelation. What a monster game by him to carry the Bulls to the double-OT win. (Dukie Dunleavy with some clutch shots / smart plays pitched in as well.)

I guess what's most surprising to me is that Rose has been a lights-out 3-pt shooter through 3 games in the playoffs.

I would usually chalk that up to great luck / random variation since he shot 28% during the regular season and is 30% for his career.

But Rose just looks soooo good shooting them right now. He passes the eye test right now as a great 3-pt shooter.

CDu
04-23-2015, 10:18 PM
Playoff Rose continues to be a revelation. What a monster game by him to carry the Bulls to the double-OT win.

I guess what's most surprising to me is he's been a lights-out 3-pt shooter through 3 games in the playoffs.

I would usually chalk that up to great luck / random variation since he shot 28% during the regular season and is 30% for his career.

But Rose just looks soooo good shooting them right now. He passes the eye test right now as a great 3-pt shooter.

I still think the 3s are a fluke, but what has pleased me is that he has shown the ability to get to the rim and make circus shots like the good old days. His performance in double-OT (no doubt fed up after giving Gasol and Butler the chance to win in OT) was vintage; he was absolutely not going to be denied down the stretch. Just a a dominant effort against a really good defensive Bucks team.

That said, it was a little annoying that the Bulls allowed it to go to OT. They were up 10 late and then promptly allowed an 11-0 run before Rose drew a foul and tied it at the line. They almost blew it.

Still, it is really satisfying seeing Rose back to being Rose. Looking forward to the Bulls/Cavs series that seems inevitable now.

pfrduke
04-23-2015, 11:20 PM
ASGHOAHAHAHSOWQHAKHA~~!R!@$!RTWTH!@K!H%!


Sorry, that was my reaction to Steph Curry's game tying 3 and Golden State's 39-19 4th quarter to send the game to overtime. My goodness.

JNort
04-23-2015, 11:32 PM
Stephen Curry.... that is all.

Billy Dat
04-24-2015, 07:58 AM
ASGHOAHAHAHSOWQHAKHA~~!R!@$!RTWTH!@K!H%!


Sorry, that was my reaction to Steph Curry's game tying 3 and Golden State's 39-19 4th quarter to send the game to overtime. My goodness.

I didn't see the game having fallen asleep after staying up to watch the Spurs/Clips the night before - East Coast NBA fan problems - but it was great to see the SportsCenter footage of Seth and Dell going crazy in the stands.

Despite their great regular season, it doesn't seem like the Warriors are the popular pick to win the title. I guess we'll see, but I'd be hard pressed to bet against them.

Does anyone else feel like the Cavs are figuring out how Love fits? He was solid down the stretch last night.

CDu
04-26-2015, 01:44 PM
Man, this Boston/Cleveland game has gotten ugly. Kevin Love suffered a dislocated shoulder as he and Olynyk wrestled for a loose ball. He's out for the game. The Cavs bring in Kendrick Perkins (designated goon) and he throws a pair of forearms into the throat of Jae Crowder on a "screen". Strangely, he wasn't given a flagrant 2, which led to some more chippiness. Well, that chippiness has now escalated. JR Smith just threw a spinning punch to the face of Crowder. He was rightfully ejected, and will likely miss their next game (like game 1 of the Bulls series). More importantly, Crowder crumpled and suffered a left leg injury and was carried to the locker room. Just a bad scene all around.

Unfortunately, bad officiating early has led to unnecessary violence and potentially another serious injury. Not a good look for the league in this one.

Hopefully Love is able to recover in time for their next series, and hopefully Crowder's injury isn't too serious. And hopefully nothing else happens in the next 19 minutes of play.

subzero02
04-26-2015, 02:01 PM
As Crowder was helped into the tunnel by his teammates, the censors "accidentally" allowed some of his tirade to slip through. He called the play by "Smith" fudged up. I agree with his sentiments. Smith will be fined heavily and could miss the next game. I would accuse JR of learning that no look punch from a cheap shot class at unc but there are several unlikely things about that idea.

Duvall
04-26-2015, 03:51 PM
Man, this Boston/Cleveland game has gotten ugly. Kevin Love suffered a dislocated shoulder as he and Olynyk wrestled for a loose ball.

Well, sort of. Love was wrestling for the loose ball, Olynyk was wrestling Love's joints loose.

_Gary
04-26-2015, 04:12 PM
Well, sort of. Love was wrestling for the loose ball, Olynyk was wrestling Love's joints loose.

Thank you! Everything that transpired today started and ended with the Celtics playing chippy and ultra-physical in Game 3 and early in this game. Kevin Love was injured, not on a freak play, but on a goon play by Olynyk. It's one thing to get tangled up (which is what happened initially), but it's entirely another thing to realize that you've got a guy's arm locked in with your one arm and then wrench it with your second arm. Nothing but bad stuff happens when you pull that kind of move.

While I can't condone what Perkins did, I didn't think it warranted an ejection or suspension. Smith may get one for his move, but even there I'm not sure it rises to that level. Not with all the physical play that the Celtics imposed in that series once it went to Boston. Of course, if Love isn't playing the Bulls should send thank you notes to the Celtics for softening the Cavs up before they play them. And it wasn't just Love. Kyrie tweaked a previous injury as well due to over-aggressive Celtic play in the first half.

BTW, I've been a life-long Celtics fan (although not pulling for them this year as I've chosen to pull for teams like the Cavs and Clips that have former Dukies playing for them). So there's no anti-Boston sentiment in my comments.

CDu
04-26-2015, 04:37 PM
Thank you! Everything that transpired today started and ended with the Celtics playing chippy and ultra-physical in Game 3 and early in this game. Kevin Love was injured, not on a freak play, but on a goon play by Olynyk. It's one thing to get tangled up (which is what happened initially), but it's entirely another thing to realize that you've got a guy's arm locked in with your one arm and then wrench it with your second arm. Nothing but bad stuff happens when you pull that kind of move.

While I can't condone what Perkins did, I didn't think it warranted an ejection or suspension. Smith may get one for his move, but even there I'm not sure it rises to that level. Not with all the physical play that the Celtics imposed in that series once it went to Boston. Of course, if Love isn't playing the Bulls should send thank you notes to the Celtics for softening the Cavs up before they play them. And it wasn't just Love. Kyrie tweaked a previous injury as well due to over-aggressive Celtic play in the first half.

BTW, I've been a life-long Celtics fan (although not pulling for them this year as I've chosen to pull for teams like the Cavs and Clips that have former Dukies playing for them). So there's no anti-Boston sentiment in my comments.

Perkins didn't warrant a suspension and was only borderline on an ejection. Smith absolutely deserved the ejection and should get a one-game suspension. There is no place for what he did in the game of basketball. Excessive physicality is one thing; throwing fists/punches is another.

Troublemaker
04-26-2015, 04:43 PM
Thank you! Everything that transpired today started and ended with the Celtics playing chippy and ultra-physical in Game 3 and early in this game. Kevin Love was injured, not on a freak play, but on a goon play by Olynyk. It's one thing to get tangled up (which is what happened initially), but it's entirely another thing to realize that you've got a guy's arm locked in with your one arm and then wrench it with your second arm. Nothing but bad stuff happens when you pull that kind of move.


Yeah, I don't know if there was malice on Olynyk's part, but to me, it doesn't even matter. Reckless stupidity deserves a major fine/suspension as well.

Austin giving the Clippers huge production off the bench today! Nice surprise.

9-pt lead for the Clips right now with 9 minutes left. Hopefully they can hang on and square the series 2-2.

NSDukeFan
04-26-2015, 04:55 PM
Yeah, I don't know if there was malice on Olynyk's part, but to me, it doesn't even matter. Reckless stupidity deserves a major fine/suspension as well.


But, if what you say is true,you have just ruined Roy's defence in the UNC scandal.

rsvman
04-26-2015, 05:06 PM
Austin Rivers apparently no longer the "worst player in the NBA."

CDu
04-26-2015, 05:14 PM
Yeah, I don't know if there was malice on Olynyk's part, but to me, it doesn't even matter. Reckless stupidity deserves a major fine/suspension as well.

Austin giving the Clippers huge production off the bench today! Nice surprise.

9-pt lead for the Clips right now with 9 minutes left. Hopefully they can hang on and square the series 2-2.

I would be totally fine with an Olynyk fine/suspension. I don't think malice was intended, but it obviously wasn't a basketball play.

And definitely a fine/suspension warranted for JR Smith's swinging fist of fury.

In any case, glad that game is over. Hopefully Love and Crowder are okay.

theAlaskanBear
04-26-2015, 05:17 PM
Thank you! Everything that transpired today started and ended with the Celtics playing chippy and ultra-physical in Game 3 and early in this game. Kevin Love was injured, not on a freak play, but on a goon play by Olynyk. It's one thing to get tangled up (which is what happened initially), but it's entirely another thing to realize that you've got a guy's arm locked in with your one arm and then wrench it with your second arm. Nothing but bad stuff happens when you pull that kind of move.

While I can't condone what Perkins did, I didn't think it warranted an ejection or suspension. Smith may get one for his move, but even there I'm not sure it rises to that level. Not with all the physical play that the Celtics imposed in that series once it went to Boston. Of course, if Love isn't playing the Bulls should send thank you notes to the Celtics for softening the Cavs up before they play them. And it wasn't just Love. Kyrie tweaked a previous injury as well due to over-aggressive Celtic play in the first half.

BTW, I've been a life-long Celtics fan (although not pulling for them this year as I've chosen to pull for teams like the Cavs and Clips that have former Dukies playing for them). So there's no anti-Boston sentiment in my comments.

Well, I agree and disagree. The Olynyk play was dirty but unintentional. I do think you are right that the Cavs got frustrated with the physicality of Boston, because it was evident in game 3 that the Celtic plan was to throw bodies at the Cavs and play as physical as possible.

But Perkins definitely should have been tossed from the game. Not only was the play a borderline flagrant 2, but he made contact after the play in the scrum with a little slap to Jae Crowders face. I thought he was trying to provoke Crowder to getting ejected. Bonehead move by JR Smith. Cavs are going to be hurting against the Bulls, Smith and Perkins may well have 1 game suspensions. With Love's injury I could see the Bulls manhandling them in game 1.

dukelifer
04-26-2015, 05:18 PM
Austin Rivers apparently no longer the "worst player in the NBA."

Had a great game and saved the Clippers season. Big game for his confidence. JJ also had a very good game. Chris Paul was unstoppable.

millerecu
04-26-2015, 09:13 PM
I am sick today so I had the opportunity to watch all of the NBA games today. What I have come to realize is that its borderline unwatchable. What happened to actually being skilled in the art of basketball ( yes there are a few). However, the lack of being able to play defense, moving screens, walks, and carries gallore.....I thought these guys were supposed to be the best of the best.

Troublemaker
04-26-2015, 09:29 PM
I am sick today so I had the opportunity to watch all of the NBA games today. What I have come to realize is that its borderline unwatchable. What happened to actually being skilled in the art of basketball ( yes there are a few). However, the lack of being able to play defense, moving screens, walks, and carries gallore.....I thought these guys were supposed to be the best of the best.

I'm confused, miller. Can you provide examples of what good basketball looks like? Perhaps mention a game or two of good basketball that you've seen over the past year. Thanks, and I hope you recover from your illness soon.

_Gary
04-26-2015, 09:39 PM
Well, I agree and disagree. The Olynyk play was dirty but unintentional. I do think you are right that the Cavs got frustrated with the physicality of Boston, because it was evident in game 3 that the Celtic plan was to throw bodies at the Cavs and play as physical as possible.

But Perkins definitely should have been tossed from the game. Not only was the play a borderline flagrant 2, but he made contact after the play in the scrum with a little slap to Jae Crowders face. I thought he was trying to provoke Crowder to getting ejected. Bonehead move by JR Smith. Cavs are going to be hurting against the Bulls, Smith and Perkins may well have 1 game suspensions. With Love's injury I could see the Bulls manhandling them in game 1.

Looking at multiple replays, I just can't see anyway to give Olynyk an "unintentional" on that play. He had no chance at the ball, he knew he had Love's left arm wrapped up with his right one, and he put his left hand on Love's arm and gave it a quick jerk. It was intentional and dirty. Now, that doesn't mean he was trying to dislocate his arm. No one can say that. But it was absolutely intentional.

I wouldn't have complained if Perkins at been leveled with an F2 and tossed, but if they suspend him and Smith for the next game (with Love out on top of it), then that's going way overboard based on all the physicality, chippy play, and dirty play the Celtics brought to that game - along with Game 3. I think you have to weigh what had happened previously that lead up to those two plays by Perk and Smith.

Troublemaker
04-26-2015, 09:40 PM
I am sick today so I had the opportunity to watch all of the NBA games today. What I have come to realize is that its borderline unwatchable. What happened to actually being skilled in the art of basketball ( yes there are a few). However, the lack of being able to play defense, moving screens, walks, and carries gallore.....I thought these guys were supposed to be the best of the best.


I'm confused, miller. Can you provide examples of what good basketball looks like? Perhaps mention a game or two of good basketball that you've seen over the past year. Thanks, and I hope you recover from your illness soon.

Essentially I want to know what good basketball looks like if that Spurs-Clippers game didn't do it for you.

Duke95
04-26-2015, 10:04 PM
Spurs-Clippers is a great series. Some beautiful basketball being played. The talent on the court there is just off the charts.

duke09hms
04-26-2015, 10:33 PM
Our very own Austin Rivers coming up big tonight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YaQAVQgG3Y

That UNC shot will never cease to make me smile.

Trey21
04-26-2015, 10:59 PM
It blows my mind every time people say NBA is an inferior product to college basketball. Lack of D, lack fundamentals, blah blah. Saying things like that are so obviously incorrect, especially in the playoffs. I'm sorry but you're just biased or cranky if you can't appreciate the NBA at this point. I could see where you're coming from if you are talking about the iso/hero ball era that was the early 00's, with gunners like AI, but the NBA game has really evolved over the course of the past 5-7 years. You can prefer the college game but pro's don't deserve to be disrespected. This era of space and pace is some of the most watchable basketball in decades. Warriors, Spurs, Hawks, Cavs, Clippers, and the list could go on. The NBA product is the best I've ever seen it. The Boston-Cavs game was brutal, especially in the 3rd but thats just how the game goes sometimes. Spurs-Clippers game was incredible to watch.

NBA players have excellent ball movement, the best teams give up good shots to get better ones. You just have to appreciate the stars when they decide to take over. The players are playing D, its just once you get into the NBA guys like Dirk, Durant, Curry, and our own Kyrie Irving are just impossible to stop on offense when they get going. Reffing is always questionable in any sport but these nba players are some of the quickest, strongest and best athletes in the world (more so than other pro leagues, with respect them) I can give the refs a break, except when they miss a 9 step Kendrick Perkins travel.

College and NBA are different beasts but as a basketball fan first and foremost I can enjoy them both.

Des Esseintes
04-27-2015, 03:02 AM
It blows my mind every time people say NBA is an inferior product to college basketball. Lack of D, lack fundamentals, blah blah. Saying things like that are so obviously incorrect, especially in the playoffs. I'm sorry but you're just biased or cranky if you can't appreciate the NBA at this point. I could see where you're coming from if you are talking about the iso/hero ball era that was the early 00's, with gunners like AI, but the NBA game has really evolved over the course of the past 5-7 years. You can prefer the college game but pro's don't deserve to be disrespected. This era of space and pace is some of the most watchable basketball in decades. Warriors, Spurs, Hawks, Cavs, Clippers, and the list could go on. The NBA product is the best I've ever seen it. The Boston-Cavs game was brutal, especially in the 3rd but thats just how the game goes sometimes. Spurs-Clippers game was incredible to watch.

NBA players have excellent ball movement, the best teams give up good shots to get better ones. You just have to appreciate the stars when they decide to take over. The players are playing D, its just once you get into the NBA guys like Dirk, Durant, Curry, and our own Kyrie Irving are just impossible to stop on offense when they get going. Reffing is always questionable in any sport but these nba players are some of the quickest, strongest and best athletes in the world (more so than other pro leagues, with respect them) I can give the refs a break, except when they miss a 9 step Kendrick Perkins travel.

College and NBA are different beasts but as a basketball fan first and foremost I can enjoy them both.

Don't know why you would say that. It totally makes sense that players get worse at basketball with more years of development and practice. Everybody knows that the more time you put into your discipline, especially with high-end training and equipment, the more your form will decay. Because what other explanation can there be? Other than, you know, that some folks suddenly and not-at-all-problematically cease to be interested in watching these athletes play once they start drawing a real salary for their labor.

jipops
04-27-2015, 06:56 AM
I am sick today so I had the opportunity to watch all of the NBA games today. What I have come to realize is that its borderline unwatchable. What happened to actually being skilled in the art of basketball ( yes there are a few). However, the lack of being able to play defense, moving screens, walks, and carries gallore.....I thought these guys were supposed to be the best of the best.

So do you feel the quality of basketball seen in college full of 50 and 60 pt games where kids can't make open jump shots is more watchable? Houston's defensive effort was poor last night and the Raptors are simply over matched, but I believe the nba to be far superior in quality of play than college. The officiating is certainly different which lends itself to more scoring in the nba, but the notion they don't play defense is shallow and unfounded. That's the same as saying college ball has no offense (though there is a little more truth to that). You'll see more ball movement in one Spurs or Grizzlies playoff game than an entire ncaa tournament. Oh, and those guys most definitely play some D. Go and watch the next Bulls game or pay attention to Klay Thompson or Draymond Green for GS and tell me there is no D being played.

CDu
04-27-2015, 06:58 AM
Looking at multiple replays, I just can't see anyway to give Olynyk an "unintentional" on that play. He had no chance at the ball, he knew he had Love's left arm wrapped up with his right one, and he put his left hand on Love's arm and gave it a quick jerk. It was intentional and dirty. Now, that doesn't mean he was trying to dislocate his arm. No one can say that. But it was absolutely intentional.

I wouldn't have complained if Perkins at been leveled with an F2 and tossed, but if they suspend him and Smith for the next game (with Love out on top of it), then that's going way overboard based on all the physicality, chippy play, and dirty play the Celtics brought to that game - along with Game 3. I think you have to weigh what had happened previously that lead up to those two plays by Perk and Smith.

I disagree on paragraph 2, especially with respect to Smith. You simply can't throw punches. He absolutely should be suspended.

Duke95
04-27-2015, 08:22 AM
Don't know why you would say that. It totally makes sense that players get worse at basketball with more years of development and practice. Everybody knows that the more time you put into your discipline, especially with high-end training and equipment, the more your form will decay.

And if you want proof of that, look no further than Harrison Barnes and JMM. :)

phaedrus
04-27-2015, 09:29 AM
Don't know why you would say that. It totally makes sense that players get worse at basketball with more years of development and practice. Everybody knows that the more time you put into your discipline, especially with high-end training and equipment, the more your form will decay. Because what other explanation can there be? Other than, you know, that some folks suddenly and not-at-all-problematically cease to be interested in watching these athletes play once they start drawing a real salary for their labor.

That, and the fact that the NBA hand-picks the best of the best from the college ranks and rejects the vast majority, to such an extent that even veritable college superstars often don't even make the cut, clearly makes the NBA inferior.

flyingdutchdevil
04-27-2015, 09:35 AM
That, and the fact that the NBA hand-picks the best of the best from the college ranks and rejects the vast majority, to such an extent that even veritable college superstars often don't even make the cut, clearly makes the NBA inferior.

Okafor, Winslow, and Jones all left for the NBA because they weren't good enough to cut it in the college ranks. Thank God they left too! With that inferior talent, Duke can clearly do better!

millerecu
04-27-2015, 10:57 AM
Essentially I want to know what good basketball looks like if that Spurs-Clippers game didn't do it for you.

First, I am a basketball nut. While I am not as savvy as most of you in the nuances of the game, I absolutely watch it just as much. I guess you can call me the casual fan. I whole heartedly agree the NBA is full of the "best of the best" and they ultimately should be able to put out a great product essentially every game. However, in the game you mentioned. Why in the world would the defending champs, with arguably two or three of the best players in the NBA, ever resort to a hack a Shaq on Deandre Jordan? It just makes the game hard to watch for the casual fan, and the casual fan is who the NBA wants to attract. Shaq himself wanted to know what happened to teams just beating the other by playing superior basketball. In the same game I watched arguably the best power forward in the game, one of my favorite players going back to college, set moving picks (literally pushing the ball handlers defender towards the 3 point line) at least 3 times and it never gets called. It is a rule that the man setting a pick has to be set correct?

JNort
04-27-2015, 11:14 AM
First, I am a basketball nut. While I am not as savvy as most of you in the nuances of the game, I absolutely watch it just as much. I guess you can call me the casual fan. I whole heartedly agree the NBA is full of the "best of the best" and they ultimately should be able to put out a great product essentially every game. However, in the game you mentioned. Why in the world would the defending champs, with arguably two or three of the best players in the NBA, ever resort to a hack a Shaq on Deandre Jordan? It just makes the game hard to watch for the casual fan, and the casual fan is who the NBA wants to attract. Shaq himself wanted to know what happened to teams just beating the other by playing superior basketball. In the same game I watched arguably the best power forward in the game, one of my favorite players going back to college, set moving picks (literally pushing the ball handlers defender towards the 3 point line) at least 3 times and it never gets called. It is a rule that the man setting a pick has to be set correct?

It's called exploiting the rules (hack a shaq) which every sport does. Look at Duke for instance, we get called out for taking charges but hey guess what? As long as you can do it we will try. They will probably make a rule at sometime to stop the "hack shaq" but I kinda wish they wouldn't. Make the guys learn free throws coach!

Example from football just this year. New England Patriots were running those weird plays with receivers on the field checking in as ineligible just to confuse teams and it was working. NFL just made a rule against it for the upcoming season.

FerryFor50
04-27-2015, 11:20 AM
I disagree on paragraph 2, especially with respect to Smith. You simply can't throw punches. He absolutely should be suspended.

I don't think Smith threw a punch. He swung his arm blindly and recklessly and was trying to make contact with Crowder, and did - but if he had missed, he wouldn't have been tossed.

I don't condone what Smith did, but I do see why he retaliated - Crowder was shoving him in the back and had been trying to bully the Cavs all series long.

Definitely should be suspended/fined, but I don't know if it should be a very long one.

CDu
04-27-2015, 11:22 AM
First, I am a basketball nut. While I am not as savvy as most of you in the nuances of the game, I absolutely watch it just as much. I guess you can call me the casual fan. I whole heartedly agree the NBA is full of the "best of the best" and they ultimately should be able to put out a great product essentially every game. However, in the game you mentioned. Why in the world would the defending champs, with arguably two or three of the best players in the NBA, ever resort to a hack a Shaq on Deandre Jordan? It just makes the game hard to watch for the casual fan, and the casual fan is who the NBA wants to attract. Shaq himself wanted to know what happened to teams just beating the other by playing superior basketball. In the same game I watched arguably the best power forward in the game, one of my favorite players going back to college, set moving picks (literally pushing the ball handlers defender towards the 3 point line) at least 3 times and it never gets called. It is a rule that the man setting a pick has to be set correct?

Well, for one thing, the Spurs don't have 2 or 3 of the best players in the NBA. They are a very good team and very well-coached, but I'm not sure I'd put any of their players in the top 15 of the NBA.

As for the "hack-a-Deandre" (or whatever one wants to call it)? The Spurs do it because it works. Jordan is a horrible free throw shooter. If you want it to stop, Jordan needs to hit more than half of his free throws. Otherwise, in what is essentially a coin-toss series (remember: the Spurs are the lower-seeded team, not the Clippers; and the Clippers have the two best players in the series), it absolutely makes sense to foul.

Also, that is one single example in one series. There is tons of defense played (better defense than any other level of basketball). There is also tons of good offense played (better offense than any other level of basketball). I would call the quality of the product (the "hack-a-Deandre" aside) some of the best basketball we have ever seen right now.

CDu
04-27-2015, 11:29 AM
I don't think Smith threw a punch. He swung his arm blindly and recklessly and was trying to make contact with Crowder, and did - but if he had missed, he wouldn't have been tossed.

I don't condone what Smith did, but I do see why he retaliated - Crowder was shoving him in the back and had been trying to bully the Cavs all series long.

Definitely should be suspended/fined, but I don't know if it should be a very long one.

I consider a swinging fist (even if blindly) the same thing as a punch. He had the same intent as a punch. The closed fist making contact with Crowder's face had the same result as a punch. Thus, I think it should be legislated as a punch.

Yes, the Celtics were playing physically. But don't think for a moment that the pushes in the back were one-sided. Tristan Thompson makes his living shoving defenders in the back to gain position for offensive rebounds.

Regardless, physical play does not warrant swinging fists at the opponent. He should be suspended and fined. I'm not saying 3+ games or anything, but it needs to be at least a game suspension. You just can't condone that by not giving a suspension. It sets a horrible precedent. If we start legislating down on swinging of fists just because the series had been overly physical, next thing you know pretty much any fights are going to be free of suspension (because pretty much ALL fights are the result of overly physical play).

Billy Dat
04-27-2015, 11:46 AM
RE: Hack-a-DeAndre
I agree that this is horrendous to watch, but I also agree that it is well within the rules. With DeAndre, like Shaq and Dwight Howard, we have to remember that the goal is not only to potentially lower the offensive efficiency because there is a good chance that the shooter will miss both free throws, but also they are trying to force a huge defensive presence off the floor. Jordan does a really nice job guarding Tim Duncan. If repeatedly fouling him gets him off the floor...Plus, it's a chess move that makes the other coach go away from his game plan and make adjustments of the fly. I think Pop probably has a lot of confidence in that arena, although Doc is no slouch with in game management. You are not alone, though, in thinking it is unwatchable and the rules committee is supposed to be addressing this issue at the next board of governors meeting. I am not sure what the result will be, but giving the offense the option of just keeping the ball rather than shooting is one that has been floated. I do kind of side with those who think that failure to hit foul shots should be something that the other team can exploit.

RE: JR
As a Knicks fan who watched JR basically implode and never recover from his elbow to the face of Jason Terry in the playoffs in 2013, I find his behavior pathetic. He's got a legit chance to win the title and he gets sucked into the BS chippiness that was happening on the court. Bush league move, I don't care how much the Celtics were trying to ugly it up. CDu salivates as his Bulls get the next crack at Cleveland...

I am very psyched about a Game 5 at 2-2 for Spurs v Clips and very happy that Austin had a big game in Game 4. I really think the "Austin sucks" narrative has gone way too far and I hope he can continue to build himself a career as a rotation player. He's still really young.

CDu
04-27-2015, 12:00 PM
RE: JR
As a Knicks fan who watched JR basically implode and never recover from his elbow to the face of Jason Terry in the playoffs in 2013, I find his behavior pathetic. He's got a legit chance to win the title and he gets sucked into the BS chippiness that was happening on the court. Bush league move, I don't care how much the Celtics were trying to ugly it up. CDu salivates as his Bulls get the next crack at Cleveland...

Yeah, JR Smith is about as unlikable a guy as there is in the league. I suspect he'll get at least a game suspension (possibly more), and it couldn't happen to a more appropriate guy.

I do hate that the Love injury (he could miss weeks with the dislocated shoulder) and pending JR Smith suspension will mar what otherwise should be a fantastic series. I do think the Cavs can still win the series (especially if they go small with LeBron at the PF spot), but things do appear to have gotten a bit easier for the Bulls (assuming we can dispatch the pesky Bucks).

That said, you got to play with the guys you have. The Bulls have been on the unfortunate end of injuries for the previous 3 playoffs, so I know what Cavs fans must be thinking right now. It just really stinks for their true fans who have suffered through years/decades of torment.

As for the Bulls/Bucks, I'm becoming more impressed by Jason Kidd's coaching and less impressed by Thibs' coaching the further this series has gone on. For some reason, Thibs has refused to realize two key things: (1) this injured version of Joakim Noah is not a PF; and (2) Nikola Mirotic is not a SF. Thibs has steadfastly played Noah and Gasol together, despite the fact that neither of them (at least not while Noah isn't healthy) can guard a stretch-4 to save their lives, and despite the fact that neither is best suited to be a stretch-4 on offense either. Kidd has countered this by literally not guarding Joakim Noah on offense. The counter move Thibs should be making is to split up the Gasol/Noah tandem. Replace Noah with Gibson in the starting group and you get the supposed value of Noah defensively without the abhorrent offensive limitations. Pairing Mirotic with Noah would allow Noah to stay closer to the rim and force teams to honor him defensively (he can still make a layup uncontested).

Instead, we're regularly seeing Mirotic at the SF (with Noah/Gasol AND Gibson), and we're regularly seeing Noah and Gasol together. Both the Noah/Gasol pairing and playing Mirotic at the SF spot just kill the floor spacing for the Bulls, which makes life difficult for their two superstars (Rose and Butler) to do what they do best (attack the rim). It's really frustrating to watch a guy who previously seemed a bulletproof coach get outcoached by a second-year guy.

Billy Dat
04-27-2015, 12:28 PM
As for the Bulls/Bucks......

Excellent breakdown, I have seen virtually none of this series and will use your take as a primer as I try to catch the rest of it. I agree about Kidd as absolutely no one saw this level of acumen coming after his first year in Crooklyn, and maybe that says something about the collective mentality of the Nets roster, especially when you factor in The Truth Pierce's recent scathing commentary about his former teammates.

As for playing with who you got, damn skippy. As a Bulls fan, you have more then earned the right to say that. It's also fun happenstance that your squad will battle the Cavs (all disclaimers about the Bucks series not being over aside) after the DBR firestorm your critique of Kyrie set off earlier this year. Like our beloved Blue Devils, could the waves be parting for the Bulls to make a run to the Finals and, once you make the finals...Like many, I feel like Cavs v Bulls is the Eastern Conference finals, which I understand gives the Hawks no love, which isn't really fair.

First things first, the Pesky Bucks must be dealt with.

CDu
04-27-2015, 12:44 PM
First things first, the Pesky Bucks must be dealt with.

Yes, this first. We absolutely need to win tonight, to rid ourselves of their annoyance and to start to heal up for the next round.

Regarding this Bulls/Bucks series, aside from the general awesomeness of Jimmy Butler and the resurrection of Derrick Rose (who has looked amazing in this series), it's been a blah series. Milwaukee can't shoot, but they are really long and athletic had have forced a ton of turnovers. The Bulls have been in control for most of the series, yet were completely sleepwalking for the last 2 minutes of regulation in Game 3 and for the first 3 quarters of Game 4. It's like they know they should/will win and are just trying to save energy. Not fun for a fan.


As for playing with who you got, damn skippy. As a Bulls fan, you have more then earned the right to say that. It's also fun happenstance that your squad will battle the Cavs (all disclaimers about the Bucks series not being over aside) after the DBR firestorm your critique of Kyrie set off earlier this year. Like our beloved Blue Devils, could the waves be parting for the Bulls to make a run to the Finals and, once you make the finals...Like many, I feel like Cavs v Bulls is the Eastern Conference finals, which I understand gives the Hawks no love, which isn't really fair.

Regarding the potential Cavs series, it should be a lot of fun. Irving has had a great year this year playing off of James. Being more of a scorer than the primary playmaker has really helped his game. He will have the chance to forever bury that label (which I won't repeat for fear of electronic gunfire from folks around here!) with a big series against the Bulls (and against anyone else should the Cavs get past the Bulls). I'm hopeful he plays great... but that the Bulls win the series anyway. ;)

I definitely like the Bulls' chances better if Love can't play and if Smith gets more than a one-game suspension. Those two guys are terrific shooters and provide the floor spacing that gives the Bulls' defense (especially when we play the plodding Gasol and Noah together) fits. If those guys are out, their replacements (Shumpert and Thompson) play more to the strengths of the Bulls (i.e., they aren't shooters).

If the Bulls are fortunate to get past both the Bucks and Cavs, I hate the matchup with the Hawks. The Hawks are very much a "spread the ball around and shoot 3s" offense, which is the weakness of the Bulls defense. We can do pretty well against teams that try to iso against us (which is why I think we match up better with the Cavs than the Hawks). So I'm absolutely cheering for Washington over the Hawks, as they appear to be a more favorable matchup.

But, heck, if we do happen to get past Cleveland, I'll take whatever comes our way. It's just nice to finally see a Bulls team with a healthy Rose AND a couple of scorers around him that can take the pressure off. It's been a long time since Rose has been healthy, and he's never had the kind of weapons around him that he has now with Butler and Gasol and Dunleavy.

g-money
04-27-2015, 08:56 PM
For any Cleveland residents on the board, I'm curious: How many death threats were called in on Kelly Olynyk today on AM sports radio?? Haha. (Sorry, too soon?)

In all seriousness, I do hate that the physicality of the NBA playoffs has now led to key players being knocked out. It's also terrible to watch.

Regarding the Cavs-Celts series specifically, Brad Stevens probably didn't have much choice given the talent disparity, but I wish he'd left "the Butler Way" back in college.

Out here on the West Coast, I'm psyched that the Warriors escaped the first round unscathed. Now I can sit back with some popcorn and enjoy the Clips and Spurs. It's so much easier on the eye than any series in the East.

CDu
04-27-2015, 09:26 PM
The Bulls lack of focus is biting them. This series should be over, but instead the Bulls just keep turning it over with sloppy, lazy passes. Credit to the Bucks for playing harder the past two games. But the Bulls really have nobody to blame but themselves for extending this series to what is looking like a game 6.

Duke95
04-27-2015, 09:32 PM
The Bulls lack of focus is biting them. This series should be over, but instead the Bulls just keep turning it over with sloppy, lazy passes. Credit to the Bucks for playing harder the past two games. But the Bulls really have nobody to blame but themselves for extending this series to what is looking like a game 6.

Yep, exactly. Just lazy, unfocused, complacent basketball by the Bulls.
The Bucks took the crowd out of the game early.

Duvall
04-27-2015, 09:34 PM
Hansbrough, Olynyk...seems like some guys can't handle the transition from All-American to scrub without becoming a blight on the game.

Austin Maida
04-28-2015, 10:51 AM
Is Los Angeles Clippers head coach/GM Doc Rivers' gamble starting to pay off? Rivers' son Austin, whom he traded for earlier this season, was a steadying flash of offense on Sunday in the Clippers' pivotal Game 4 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, an afternoon that marked the (as of now) high point of Austin's NBA career. Fresh off the heels of a Game 3 blowout loss that saw Austin make some solid plays in fourth quarter garbage time, the backup guard came off the bench to provide an offensive spark in Game 4. After not taking a shot in one minute of first quarter action, Austin shot 7 for 8 from the field over the final three quarters, and threw in a couple of "and-ones" for good measure. Take a look at this finish at the rim against Tim Duncan in the first few minutes of the fourth quarter:


https://vine.co/v/eWXBXtH5WQa

By the time the clock hit triple zeroes Austin had tallied 17 points, the fourth-highest total of his 45 games in a Clippers uniform this season. His ability to create his own shot was on display Sunday, as he got off several good looks from within fifteen feet, including a seven-footer off the glass while drawing a foul on San Antonio's Patty Mills. His constant drives to the basket seemed almost effortless, and assuredly weren't something the Spurs expected to see much of. It wasn't just the offense, as Austin deflected no fewer than three San Antonio passes, two of which led to steals. This was not only the biggest moment, but also the biggest stage, of the 22-year-old's young career.

None of this was lost on LA's leader and All-Star point guard Chris Paul, who led his teammates in a post game round of applause for the young guard. "Game ball goes to Austin Rivers," Paul said. "This is his first playoffs. What he did out there, it really just motivated our team. It's a hell of a game by Austin."

The key for Austin now will be sustaining this level of play, and thus the ever-growing confidence that his teammates have in him. He has shown small flashes on offense during his two years in the league, but his game lacks consistency. When he decides to put his head down and charge towards the rack, as he did on Sunday, he can make plays for himself as well as loosen up the defense for LA's outside shooters.

After a huge Game 4 win, the Clippers return home to face the Spurs in tonight's Game 5. While it was just the start for Austin in proving that he can be a trustworthy cog in the Clippers' ship, Sunday afternoon's performance was nonetheless necessary. More playoff performances like that one can go a long way in proving his father's gamble (trading away talented 2014 first-round-pick Reggie Bullock), was one worth taking.

Richard Berg
04-28-2015, 11:20 AM
Hack-a-Jordan does not make the game "unwatchable". A 2-shot sequence in the NBA is very predictable: 45 seconds from whistle to box-out. Just note the score before & after and hit the skip button the appropriate # of times.


With DeAndre, like Shaq and Dwight Howard, we have to remember that the goal is not only to potentially lower the offensive efficiency because there is a good chance that the shooter will miss both free throws, but also they are trying to force a huge defensive presence off the floor. Jordan does a really nice job guarding Tim Duncan.
It's also a free timeout to rest your old guys. (Timmy played 45min the other night).

luburch
04-28-2015, 11:44 AM
Apparently Love is going to miss the remainder of the playoffs. May need shoulder surgery.

_Gary
04-28-2015, 12:01 PM
Apparently Love is going to miss the remainder of the playoffs. May need shoulder surgery.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch... JR Smith gets two games for a non-punch swipe (ridiculous) and Olynyk (the guy that in many ways really set the tone for everything that happened afterwards) gets only 1 freakin' game next year! One game! That's a joke when compared to JR getting two. Sorry, but that was a completely non-basketball, intentionally dirty play that is far more serious than what JR did. And yes I'm dead serious. Wrenching a guy's arm down is far more dangerous than any swing of the arm (which was not a face up punch to the head with full force). The League has now all but assured that Cleveland will have almost no chance to advance to the next round. They've lost not one, but two starters for their next two games. Losing one is bad enough. Losing two makes it virtually impossible for them to advance.

Does the NBA understand the definition of the word "disproportionate" and "fair"? Apparently not.

Austin Maida
04-28-2015, 12:03 PM
Apparently Love is going to miss the remainder of the playoffs. May need shoulder surgery.

Cavs were not going to win it this year anyway. People saying this will actually HELP them (because of Love's lack of defense) just don't get it. Cleveland needed Love to be able to pull Chicago's bigs away from the basket and carve out lanes if they were going to win the series. Now the Bulls have all the help they didn't need to send the Cavs packing.

tux
04-28-2015, 12:18 PM
Cavs were not going to win it this year anyway. People saying this will actually HELP them (because of Love's lack of defense) just don't get it. Cleveland needed Love to be able to pull Chicago's bigs away from the basket and carve out lanes if they were going to win the series. Now the Bulls have all the help they didn't need to send the Cavs packing.

Are we sure the Bulls are going to beat the Bucks?

Unfortunate for Love. I'm interested to see how the Cavs respond. Lebron and Kyrie are going to have to play out of their minds... could be fun to watch.

CDu
04-28-2015, 12:36 PM
Meanwhile, back on the ranch... JR Smith gets two games for a non-punch swipe (ridiculous) and Olynyk (the guy that in many ways really set the tone for everything that happened afterwards) gets only 1 freakin' game next year! One game! That's a joke when compared to JR getting two. Sorry, but that was a completely non-basketball, intentionally dirty play that is far more serious than what JR did. And yes I'm dead serious. Wrenching a guy's arm down is far more dangerous than any swing of the arm (which was not a face up punch to the head with full force). The League has now all but assured that Cleveland will have almost no chance to advance to the next round. They've lost not one, but two starters for their next two games. Losing one is bad enough. Losing two makes it virtually impossible for them to advance.

Does the NBA understand the definition of the word "disproportionate" and "fair"? Apparently not.

Totally disagree with your take on Smith's fist to the face of Crowder. And don't blame the NBA: Smith didn't have to punch (yes, punch: he hit Crowder with a closed fist, with a full swing) Crowder in the face.

It absolutely sucks that Love is out for the playoffs. You can certainly argue that Olynyk could be suspended longer. But the NBA had to punish Smith severely for that non-basketball play punch. And since he is not a first-time offender, the punishment was likely to be a bit higher. The Cavs have nobody but Smith to blame for his two-game absence.

The NBA is not in the business of concerning themselves with making sure a particular team has a chance to win a series. Smith knew Love was injured and made the incredibly foolish decision to throw a fist at an opponent's face anyway. He cost the Cavs greatly by his stupidity.*

* I would also say that Smith's absence for two games is far less of a hurdle than Love's absence when discussing the Cavs' chances. They absolutely can still win their next series. Especially if the Bucks find a way to take the next two games. Love's injury kills any realistic shot at a title (unless he can make it back at some point) because they can't beat the West with just LeBron and Irving. But they absolutely can still make the Eastern Conference finals.

_Gary
04-28-2015, 12:51 PM
Totally disagree with your take on Smith's fist to the face of Crowder. And don't blame the NBA: Smith didn't have to punch (yes, punch: he hit Crowder with a closed fist, with a full swing) Crowder in the face.

It absolutely sucks that Love is out for the playoffs. You can certainly argue that Olynyk could be suspended longer. But the NBA had to punish Smith severely for that non-basketball play punch. And since he is not a first-time offender, the punishment was likely to be a bit higher. The Cavs have nobody but Smith to blame for his two-game absence.

I agree that he probably got two games instead of one because he's not a first-time offender. No doubt the League took that into account (and they should always consider past behavior - no problem there). But I disagree that it should be labeled a "punch" in the traditional sense of the word and I disagree that there's no one to blame but Smith himself. The officials had a chance to send a message early in that game after the goon play by Olynyk and they did nothing. There was a ton of physical - even dirty - play going on in that game but the officials chose to let too much go until late in the first half after it was too late to control tempers. Of course Smith shouldn't have reacted like he did, but anybody telling me Crowder didn't provoke that with hyper-physical/marginally dirty play earlier loses all credibility in my book. Watch the entire sequence and you'll see Crowder come down the lane and slam Smith with an elbow/body blow to the side and then, after that, puts an elbow into his lower body and pushes him hard again as the ball is shot. There was no wind up by Smith. It was a gut reaction (emphasis on the "re") to being hit hard - twice - by the man seconds before. He swung his arm backwards, so I just can't characterize that as a punch.

The Cavs are now almost surely done for the playoffs. I liked their chances before Sunday's game. Probably a difficult 7 game series with the Bulls on the horizon, but in my book a win nonetheless. Now? Those odds have shifted severely in the Bulls favor.

tux
04-28-2015, 01:04 PM
I agree that he probably got two games instead of one because he's not a first-time offender. No doubt the League took that into account (and they should always consider past behavior - no problem there). But I disagree that it should be labeled a "punch" in the traditional sense of the word and I disagree that there's no one to blame but Smith himself. The officials had a chance to send a message early in that game after the goon play by Olynyk and they did nothing. There was a ton of physical - even dirty - play going on in that game but the officials chose to let too much go until late in the first half after it was too late to control tempers. Of course Smith shouldn't have reacted like he did, but anybody telling me Crowder didn't provoke that with hyper-physical/marginally dirty play earlier loses all credibility in my book. Watch the entire sequence and you'll see Crowder come down the lane and slam Smith with an elbow/body blow to the side and then, after that, puts an elbow into his lower body and pushes him hard again as the ball is shot. There was no wind up by Smith. It was a gut reaction (emphasis on the "re") to being hit hard - twice - by the man seconds before. He swung his arm backwards, so I just can't characterize that as a punch.

The Cavs are now almost surely done for the playoffs. I liked their chances before Sunday's game. Probably a difficult 7 game series with the Bulls on the horizon, but in my book a win nonetheless. Now? Those odds have shifted severely in the Bulls favor.

Stevens has the Celtics playing a lot like his Butler teams, who were very very physical on defense. I think the message was that the Celtics wanted to go down fighting. Literally.

Olynyk held on for a beat too long IMO --- it was a routine tangle-up until he started to wrench Love's arm. But the Smith crap has to be viewed on its own. He clearly swung his arm with an intent to hit Crowder; even if Crowder's chippy play was getting under his skin, he needs to be smarter than that (wishful thinking, I know). Two games sounds about right to me. And I'm pulling hard for the Cavs...

luburch
04-28-2015, 01:10 PM
Cavs were not going to win it this year anyway. People saying this will actually HELP them (because of Love's lack of defense) just don't get it. Cleveland needed Love to be able to pull Chicago's bigs away from the basket and carve out lanes if they were going to win the series. Now the Bulls have all the help they didn't need to send the Cavs packing.

I don't think you can say the Cavs weren't going to beat the Bulls with any certainty at all. The Cavs were hitting their stride at the right time. I still think the Cavs stand a good shot of beating the Bulls. Whether it will happen or not is a different story. The Cavs have LeBron, so you can't rule anything out.

_Gary
04-28-2015, 01:11 PM
Stevens has the Celtics playing a lot like his Butler teams, who were very very physical on defense. I think the message was that the Celtics wanted to go down fighting. Literally.

Olynyk held on for a beat too long IMO --- it was a routine tangle-up until he started to wrench Love's arm. But the Smith crap has to be viewed on its own. He clearly swung his arm with an intent to hit Crowder; even if Crowder's chippy play was getting under his skin, he needs to be smarter than that (wishful thinking, I know). Two games sounds about right to me. And I'm pulling hard for the Cavs...

Oh, I agree that Smith has to be smarter. No question about that. And while I would have been okay with a one game suspension, I just think two is the wrong call here specifically because of the mitigating factors (Love gone for the playoffs and the Celtics initiating all of the rough stuff). In view of the fact that the Cavs had already lost one starter to a intentionally goon play (that I think was far more dangerous than what Smith did - yet the offender only gets one game?!!!), and due to the Crowder rough play events leading up to the swing, I feel the League should have taken all that into consideration and issued only a one game suspension. That would have been more fair when everything was taken into account.

But whatever. It's water under the bridge now.

CDu
04-28-2015, 01:24 PM
Oh, I agree that Smith has to be smarter. No question about that. And while I would have been okay with a one game suspension, I just think two is the wrong call here specifically because of the mitigating factors (Love gone for the playoffs and the Celtics initiating all of the rough stuff). In view of the fact that the Cavs had already lost one starter to a intentionally goon play (that I think was far more dangerous than what Smith did - yet the offender only gets one game?!!!), and due to the Crowder rough play events leading up to the swing, I feel the League should have taken all that into consideration and issued only a one game suspension. That would have been more fair when everything was taken into account.

But whatever. It's water under the bridge now.

The problem with what you are suggesting is that it ignores that Smith has a history. Had it been his first offense? Maybe he only gets one game. As a repeat offender, it's a lot harder to justify one game. Also, the "they started it" defense is pointless. Every altercation boils down to that defense. Punches are always the result of overly physical play by the opposition, and the puncher always believes that the other side started the overly physical play. It should not be used as a mitigating factor or a means of reducing the punishment for the altercation. There is no excuse for what he did.

Again, all of this stinks for the Cavs. Smith wasn't a Cav when he last got suspended for an altercation. But they now bear the burden of his baggage. They knew they were getting a hothead when they traded for him, so they knew they were incurring some risk (his baggage is a big reason why they were able to get him on the cheap in the first place). It just stinks for their fans to now be reaping the downside of Smith.

All of that said, I still think the Cavs stand a good chance of making it to the Eastern Conference Finals, even without Love and even without Smith for two games. They have tons of bodies at SG/SF, so Smith's absence isn't necessarily a death knell for their chances. Their overall chances probably died with the loss of Love (honestly, I didn't like their chances against the winner of the West WITH Love, but I hate their chances without Love).

Austin Maida
04-28-2015, 03:37 PM
I don't think you can say the Cavs weren't going to beat the Bulls with any certainty at all. The Cavs were hitting their stride at the right time. I still think the Cavs stand a good shot of beating the Bulls. Whether it will happen or not is a different story. The Cavs have LeBron, so you can't rule anything out.

Well, it's not with certainty, the games haven't happened yet. Chicago still has to beat Milwaukee one more time. But it is my opinion, and it is what I think will happen. Of course I could be wrong. That's whats fun about predicting. See how well you can do.

And obviously, like you said, you can't rule out any team that has LeBron. I just feel like Chicago will hit Kyrie like a brick wall, one he's not ready for. While Boston was scrappy and played well for who they are, the Bulls are an entirely different beast. I think Cleveland would have been better served playing a team like the Heat or Nets or Pacers, a team that isn't as young as Boston. Boston has even less prior experience in the playoffs than Cleveland has. Going up against a team that at least has some vets who have been there before would have gotten the Cavs more ready for the Bulls. None of this matters if LeBron channels his 2012 ECF self and just drops 36/10/8 a night for 7 games.

Duvall
04-28-2015, 03:41 PM
I just feel like Chicago will hit Kyrie like a brick wall, one he's not ready for.

Hopefully this will be just a metaphor, and not like playing a Brad Stevens-coached team.

Austin Maida
04-28-2015, 03:45 PM
Are we sure the Bulls are going to beat the Bucks?

Unfortunate for Love. I'm interested to see how the Cavs respond. Lebron and Kyrie are going to have to play out of their minds... could be fun to watch.

Yes, I am sure that the Bulls are going to beat the Bucks.

And I CAN NOT WAIT for Bulls/Cavs, for the reason you stated. It is going to be so much fun to watch LeBron and Kyrie duke it out with a team that has as much experience as Chicago does. These games are going to be monumental, a HUGE step up from what they faced in the first round with Boston. Had the Cavs been matched up with a team like Washington in the second round, I would obviously still watch, but this is going to feel epic. Imagine if the Bulls squeak out a Game 1 win and are then up a few points heading into the 4th quarter of Game 2. The entire weight of the media lovefest/the Return/the Injury/etc will be on Cleveland for 12 minutes and we will all be able to FEEL IT through the TV. Can't wait to see how this team reacts to true playoff adversity, not the light brushback they got from Boston.

Duke95
04-28-2015, 09:00 PM
Can both the Rockets and Mavs lose tonight? Ugh. This is ugly basketball.

CoachJ10
04-28-2015, 10:01 PM
Can both the Rockets and Mavs lose tonight? Ugh. This is ugly basketball.

The Rockets easily have to be the most unlikable team in the playoffs. The amount of garbage that James Harden gets away with (from the non-stop travels to the flailing) really is hard to watch.

I dont think Mr. Cuban is going to be very diplomatic after tonights game.

Richard Berg
04-28-2015, 10:59 PM
Spurs-Clips playing at a very high level, again. I'd say the winner of this second half is the favorite to win it all. (Warriors aren't experienced enough, yet.)

Trey21
04-29-2015, 12:04 AM
Spurs-Clips playing at a very high level, again. I'd say the winner of this second half is the favorite to win it all. (Warriors aren't experienced enough, yet.)

Bold claim. I still like GS to go all the way, just the best overall team. Starting five is outstanding and their bench is primetime. It'll be interesting, I think whoever wins this series wins against the Rockets unless Harden, Howard, and their shooters have an insane series.

Rivers hit a buzzer beater to tie it at the end of the third. Jones seems to be like a big brother to him. That Duke connection always strong. Jones is always talking to him and encouraging him. He was smiling at him when Austin was heading back to the bench. Great to see guys have relationships like this. Austin could learn a lot from Dahntay career wise.

pfrduke
04-29-2015, 12:07 AM
Bold claim. I still like GS to go all the way, just the best overall team. Starting five is outstanding and their bench is primetime. It'll be interesting, I think whoever wins this series wins against the Rockets unless Harden, Howard, and their shooters have an insane series.

Rivers hit a buzzer beater to tie it at the end of the third. Jones seems to be like a big brother to him. That Duke connection always strong. Jones is always talking to him and encouraging him. He was smiling at him when Austin was heading back to the bench. Great to see guys have relationships like this. Austin could learn a lot from Dahntay career wise.

Dahntay has enthusiastically embraced his cheerleader role this series. He's always the first guy off the bench at time outs, always talking to guys. He's going to get basically no minutes this postseason, but he's fully invested.

Richard Berg
04-29-2015, 01:04 AM
What an intense game! I wrote that prediction really thinking we'd lose (favoring LAC for the series and the tournament), but now that the Spurs have gutted it out, I'm sticking with it. The mental toughness needed to win a tossup game in a tossup series favors vets like them, as we just saw: Duncan > Jordan, not for 48 minutes, but when it counts.

Plus, GS happens to be a good matchup for us: Green/Leonard are well suited to guard Curry/Thompson, while we have no way to effectively check LAC's frontcourt, especially with Splitter looking like the walking dead. Timmy had the two incredible blocks at crunch time, but he can't possibly stop Blake for the bulk of a game. Without a couple mental errors on their part (Blake's turnover in Game 2 regulation, Jordan's goaltend just now) the series would be over, 4-1 Clips. Deservedly so: they've played great ball, including tonight. But here we are.

Billy Dat
04-29-2015, 08:35 AM
What an intense game! I wrote that prediction really thinking we'd lose (favoring LAC for the series and the tournament), but now that the Spurs have gutted it out, I'm sticking with it. The mental toughness needed to win a tossup game in a tossup series favors vets like them, as we just saw: Duncan > Jordan, not for 48 minutes, but when it counts.

Plus, GS happens to be a good matchup for us: Green/Leonard are well suited to guard Curry/Thompson, while we have no way to effectively check LAC's frontcourt, especially with Splitter looking like the walking dead. Timmy had the two incredible blocks at crunch time, but he can't possibly stop Blake for the bulk of a game. Without a couple mental errors on their part (Blake's turnover in Game 2 regulation, Jordan's goaltend just now) the series would be over, 4-1 Clips. Deservedly so: they've played great ball, including tonight. But here we are.

These late endings are killing me, when the Hack-a-Jordan started in earnest in Q3, I fell asleep but saw the last 6 minutes. You make great points about Blake v Timmy but Old Man Riverwalk seems to make the big plays when it matters and Blake seems to follow gaudy first-44-minutes by choking in crunch time - in this case, going 0-2 from the line when down 3 with 40 seconds left. It's been the best first round series by far, though. Let's hope it keeps going.

CDu
04-29-2015, 08:42 AM
These late endings are killing me, when the Hack-a-Jordan started in earnest in Q3, I fell asleep but saw the last 6 minutes. You make great points about Blake v Timmy but Old Man Riverwalk seems to make the big plays when it matters and Blake seems to follow gaudy first-44-minutes by choking in crunch time - in this case, going 0-2 from the line when down 3 with 40 seconds left. It's been the best first round series by far, though. Let's hope it keeps going.

Yeah, I hate that, because I have a 7-month old and am just too exhausted to stay up late consistently, I'm missing a LOT of great basketball. So many entertaining games out west that I just can't stay up for. Hopefully the second rounds of the Eastern Conference are really entertaining, because that's about as late as I can manage. Otherwise, it's just the weekend games that I have to hope for with the West.

Billy Dat
04-29-2015, 08:54 AM
Yeah, I hate that, because I have a 7-month old and am just too exhausted to stay up late consistently, I'm missing a LOT of great basketball. So many entertaining games out west that I just can't stay up for. Hopefully the second rounds of the Eastern Conference are really entertaining, because that's about as late as I can manage. Otherwise, it's just the weekend games that I have to hope for with the West.

I have to say, though, that because the first round has been kind of boring, this series is a bit "tallest of dwarves" in that the Hack-a-Jordan is beyond painful. It doesn't quite ruin it for me, but I was doing a lot of flipping over to "Godfather II" when it would commence. You can't fault the results, in what was essentially a one possession loss, the Clips missed 16 foul shots with DeAndre responsible for 9 of those missed. When you look at the game logs, these Hack-a sequences only happen twice a game, and last for about 3-4 minutes of game time each, but watching the game in real time, they feel endless.

I am hoping for a Saturday night Game 7 undercard for Pacquiao v Mayweather.

Troublemaker
04-29-2015, 09:31 AM
What an intense game! I wrote that prediction really thinking we'd lose (favoring LAC for the series and the tournament), but now that the Spurs have gutted it out, I'm sticking with it. The mental toughness needed to win a tossup game in a tossup series favors vets like them, as we just saw: Duncan > Jordan, not for 48 minutes, but when it counts.

Plus, GS happens to be a good matchup for us: Green/Leonard are well suited to guard Curry/Thompson, while we have no way to effectively check LAC's frontcourt, especially with Splitter looking like the walking dead. Timmy had the two incredible blocks at crunch time, but he can't possibly stop Blake for the bulk of a game. Without a couple mental errors on their part (Blake's turnover in Game 2 regulation, Jordan's goaltend just now) the series would be over, 4-1 Clips. Deservedly so: they've played great ball, including tonight. But here we are.

Hey, don't skip the conference semifinals. Rockets have played the Spurs tough the past two regular seasons, even sweeping San Antonio last season, although that might prove to be irrelevant once playoff planning begins. Also, if Mike Conley can play in a mask and play effectively, the Grizzlies should give the Warriors a really difficult time in the next series.

Congrats on the Game 5 win. Like you said, the Spurs really were just a little bit more clutch in Games 2 and 5, which is why they're sitting pretty now. Also, Patty Mills' completely unconscious shooting in this series has been huge.

Wander
04-29-2015, 10:12 AM
These late endings are killing me, when the Hack-a-Jordan started in earnest in Q3, I fell asleep but saw the last 6 minutes. You make great points about Blake v Timmy but Old Man Riverwalk seems to make the big plays when it matters and Blake seems to follow gaudy first-44-minutes by choking in crunch time - in this case, going 0-2 from the line when down 3 with 40 seconds left. It's been the best first round series by far, though. Let's hope it keeps going.

Yup. It's not just the free throws either - Blake I believe went 1-9 in the 4th last night (thought a bunch of his shots were agonizingly close to going down), and has generally not been good in the 4th this series.

toooskies
04-29-2015, 12:23 PM
Well, it's not with certainty, the games haven't happened yet. Chicago still has to beat Milwaukee one more time. But it is my opinion, and it is what I think will happen. Of course I could be wrong. That's whats fun about predicting. See how well you can do.

And obviously, like you said, you can't rule out any team that has LeBron. I just feel like Chicago will hit Kyrie like a brick wall, one he's not ready for. While Boston was scrappy and played well for who they are, the Bulls are an entirely different beast. I think Cleveland would have been better served playing a team like the Heat or Nets or Pacers, a team that isn't as young as Boston. Boston has even less prior experience in the playoffs than Cleveland has. Going up against a team that at least has some vets who have been there before would have gotten the Cavs more ready for the Bulls. None of this matters if LeBron channels his 2012 ECF self and just drops 36/10/8 a night for 7 games.

I just wanted to point out that the Cavs have plenty of playoff experience. While Kyrie and Love (and Thompson, Dellavedova, and Harris) haven't had any NBA playoff experience before this year in the postseason, LeBron has had plenty, obviously. J.R. Smith has been in the playoffs in 7 previous years; Iman Shumpert two; Miller, Perkins, James Jones, and Marion, more than I'd bother to look up; even Mozgov has gotten playoff minutes. The question isn't knowing what the playoffs are like, especially with Love's injury. 7 of the 9 guys who are going to see court time going forward have been here before. If anything, Love getting hurt means that the Cavs will rely on playoff vets even more. And I'm sure they'd rather have Love in the lineup than not have him. So I'm not buying the narrative.

The Cavs' biggest concern is designing an offense this week that can function without a stretch 4 (or playing Lebron at PF, and designing a workable defense).

pfrduke
04-29-2015, 12:28 PM
By the way, one small addition to the Tao of Popovich from last night's game. They were talking during the broadcast about Kawhi's development, and Reggie (I think) said he asked Pop what the difference was in Leonard's play and what had caused his growth. The response: he finally understood that when we call a play for him, it's a play for the team to score, not for him to score. Such a simple concept, and such an important one for a team to have.

CDu
04-29-2015, 12:50 PM
The Cavs' biggest concern is designing an offense this week that can function without a stretch 4 (or playing Lebron at PF, and designing a workable defense).

I think this sums it up. In the event that Chicago finally gets their collective heads out of their you-know-whats and finishes off the Milwaukee series, I do think Cleveland would be best served rolling with LeBron at PF for a substantial chunk of the game. They will be without JR Smith for the first two games, but they can run James Jones, Mike Miller, and Shawn Marion in at SF and they can rotate Irving, Shumpert, and Dellavedova at the guard spots and be okay.

The Bulls have a lot of trouble with teams that play a stretch 4. For some reason unbeknownst to the world, Thibs has decided that an injured Joakim Noah is capable of playing adequately at PF (he isn't). Instead of using his two actual PFs (Gibson and Mirotic) at PF, he is rolling with Noah at PF a bunch of the time and thus forcing Mirotic to play out of position at SF.

If the Cavs run with James at PF, they can put the Bulls in a very uncomfortable spot. The Bulls will want to put Jimmy Butler on James. But with James at the PF spot, that means Noah will have to guard a true wing player. If the Cavs go with a more traditional lineup with James at SF and Thompson at PF, the bulls match up reasonably well: Butler guards James, Noah guards Thompson.

I think we see a relatively high scoring series either way. The Bulls defense just isn't the same Bulls defense of the past. Gasol and Mirotic are terrible defensively, and Noah's injuries and playing out of position have greatly diminished his value too. Similarly, Kirk Hinrich is a shell of himself as age and injuries have caught up to him. So while I think Jimmy Butler can do an okay job on James, it will be harder for the Bulls to consistently contain the Cavs as a team. Similarly, the Cavs just aren't a good collection of defensive players. James, when interested, is a terrific defender. Shumpert is terrific. And Mozgov can create problems with his size. But otherwise, it's not a good defensive team. And the Bulls are a capable offensive team provided the opponent isn't overly long and aggressive defensively.

toooskies
04-29-2015, 01:39 PM
I think this sums it up. In the event that Chicago finally gets their collective heads out of their you-know-whats and finishes off the Milwaukee series, I do think Cleveland would be best served rolling with LeBron at PF for a substantial chunk of the game. They will be without JR Smith for the first two games, but they can run James Jones, Mike Miller, and Shawn Marion in at SF and they can rotate Irving, Shumpert, and Dellavedova at the guard spots and be okay.

The Bulls have a lot of trouble with teams that play a stretch 4. For some reason unbeknownst to the world, Thibs has decided that an injured Joakim Noah is capable of playing adequately at PF (he isn't). Instead of using his two actual PFs (Gibson and Mirotic) at PF, he is rolling with Noah at PF a bunch of the time and thus forcing Mirotic to play out of position at SF.

If the Cavs run with James at PF, they can put the Bulls in a very uncomfortable spot. The Bulls will want to put Jimmy Butler on James. But with James at the PF spot, that means Noah will have to guard a true wing player. If the Cavs go with a more traditional lineup with James at SF and Thompson at PF, the bulls match up reasonably well: Butler guards James, Noah guards Thompson.

I think we see a relatively high scoring series either way. The Bulls defense just isn't the same Bulls defense of the past. Gasol and Mirotic are terrible defensively, and Noah's injuries and playing out of position have greatly diminished his value too. Similarly, Kirk Hinrich is a shell of himself as age and injuries have caught up to him. So while I think Jimmy Butler can do an okay job on James, it will be harder for the Bulls to consistently contain the Cavs as a team. Similarly, the Cavs just aren't a good collection of defensive players. James, when interested, is a terrific defender. Shumpert is terrific. And Mozgov can create problems with his size. But otherwise, it's not a good defensive team. And the Bulls are a capable offensive team provided the opponent isn't overly long and aggressive defensively.

James guarding the PF spot is where you run into trouble. In Miami, he could pawn that responsibility off on Battier for stretches. I guess Marion or Miller might be able to serve that role on this Cavs team, but if the Cavs go small there will be a mismatch both ways. Especially early in the series when the Cavs can't put Smith/Shumpert at the 2/3, you could put Gasol on Miller/Marion/Delly and live with the results.

Troublemaker
04-29-2015, 02:18 PM
James guarding the PF spot is where you run into trouble. In Miami, he could pawn that responsibility off on Battier for stretches. I guess Marion or Miller might be able to serve that role on this Cavs team, but if the Cavs go small there will be a mismatch both ways. Especially early in the series when the Cavs can't put Smith/Shumpert at the 2/3, you could put Gasol on Miller/Marion/Delly and live with the results.

I'm not sure Noah can score on anybody right now -- whether it's Lebron, Marion, Shumpert, or Jones guarding him. Noah is a shell of himself.

Also, when Lebron was playing PF in Miami, the Heat used to dominate the Lakers in head-to-head matchups, and one of the reasons was because Lebron surprisingly does well guarding Gasol. Although that won't be needed this series. If I were Blatt, I would use Lebron on Butler and see if Noah can hurt Marion/Jones/Shumpert in the post.

tux
04-29-2015, 02:19 PM
Sorta on topic...

Here's a pretty cool piece (http://www.nba.com/cavaliers/video/teams/cavaliers/2015/04/26/150426KYRIEFATHEREBONDmov-3582972) on Kyrie and his dad (video).

CDu
04-29-2015, 04:24 PM
James guarding the PF spot is where you run into trouble. In Miami, he could pawn that responsibility off on Battier for stretches. I guess Marion or Miller might be able to serve that role on this Cavs team, but if the Cavs go small there will be a mismatch both ways. Especially early in the series when the Cavs can't put Smith/Shumpert at the 2/3, you could put Gasol on Miller/Marion/Delly and live with the results.


I'm not sure Noah can score on anybody right now -- whether it's Lebron, Marion, Shumpert, or Jones guarding him. Noah is a shell of himself.

Also, when Lebron was playing PF in Miami, the Heat used to dominate the Lakers in head-to-head matchups, and one of the reasons was because Lebron surprisingly does well guarding Gasol. Although that won't be needed this series. If I were Blatt, I would use Lebron on Butler and see if Noah can hurt Marion/Jones/Shumpert in the post.

This. LeBron wouldn't have to spend a minute guarding anyone in the post. Neither Gibson, Mirotic, nor Noah have any semblance of a post game. Le Bron could effectively play free safety whenever Noah is at PF because Noah can't score. And guarding Mirotic would be like guarding a SF anyway because Mirotic is a stretch 4 with no post game.

Beyond that, the Cavs could absolutely get away with Marion or Miller on Chicago's PFs. Again, Noah can't score, and neither Gibson nor Mirotic are guys who can take advantage of smaller players. They both make their offensively livings by outquicking bigger players.

I think the biggest thing that losing Love does is limit the options for spreading the floor. As it was, the Cavs had five different frontcourt looks: Mozgov/Love/James (a 4-out look); Love/Thompson/James (4-out), Mozgov/Thompson/James (3-out), [Mozgov/Thompson]/James/[Marion/Jones/Miller] (4-out); Love/James/[Marion/Miller/Jones] (5-out). So four of their five primary frontcourt pairings allowed for a stretch-4 (one included the 5-man spread option). Without Love, they only really have one floor-spreading option (going small). So if that lineup struggles, they have to go conentional, and conventional favors the Bulls.

subzero02
04-29-2015, 10:32 PM
Why does that CJ McCollum kid look familiar... He's torching the Grizzlies right now... 5 of 6 from 3 with 23 points... 3 minutes left in the 3rd quarter

subzero02
04-29-2015, 10:44 PM
CJ scored 16 points in the 3rd quarter, helping portland trim a 13 point memphis lead to 2. He's putting on an absolute show right now... Go Grizzlies!!

phaedrus
04-30-2015, 01:31 PM
This. LeBron wouldn't have to spend a minute guarding anyone in the post. Neither Gibson, Mirotic, nor Noah have any semblance of a post game. Le Bron could effectively play free safety whenever Noah is at PF because Noah can't score. And guarding Mirotic would be like guarding a SF anyway because Mirotic is a stretch 4 with no post game.

Beyond that, the Cavs could absolutely get away with Marion or Miller on Chicago's PFs. Again, Noah can't score, and neither Gibson nor Mirotic are guys who can take advantage of smaller players. They both make their offensively livings by outquicking bigger players.

I think the biggest thing that losing Love does is limit the options for spreading the floor. As it was, the Cavs had five different frontcourt looks: Mozgov/Love/James (a 4-out look); Love/Thompson/James (4-out), Mozgov/Thompson/James (3-out), [Mozgov/Thompson]/James/[Marion/Jones/Miller] (4-out); Love/James/[Marion/Miller/Jones] (5-out). So four of their five primary frontcourt pairings allowed for a stretch-4 (one included the 5-man spread option). Without Love, they only really have one floor-spreading option (going small). So if that lineup struggles, they have to go conentional, and conventional favors the Bulls.

Here are some more relevant questions: will the Cavs protect the ball better against the Bucks than the Bulls did? Will the Cavs have trouble scoring inside against the Bucks' length and if they do, can they make up for it without Love's and Smith's perimeter shooting? Can the Bucks take advantage of the Cavs' relatively pedestrian defense and actually score some points? Who will show more enthusiasm on the bench, Jabari Parker or Miles Plumlee?

CDu
04-30-2015, 01:42 PM
Here are some more relevant questions: will the Cavs protect the ball better against the Bucks than the Bulls did? Will the Cavs have trouble scoring inside against the Bucks' length and if they do, can they make up for it without Love's and Smith's perimeter shooting? Can the Bucks take advantage of the Cavs' relatively pedestrian defense and actually score some points? Who will show more enthusiasm on the bench, Jabari Parker or Miles Plumlee?

I definitely don't think those questions are more relevant yet, considering that the Bucks would have to win two more games versus the Bulls, including one more in Chicago. The Bulls just have to win one of the next two.

phaedrus
04-30-2015, 02:09 PM
I definitely don't think those questions are more relevant yet, considering that the Bucks would have to win two more games versus the Bulls, including one more in Chicago. The Bulls just have to win one of the next two.

The Bulls can't solve the deadly 1-2 Jarryod punch of Bayless and Dudley. And you're ignoring that the Bucks OWN THE FUTURE (not to be confused with "winning the future"). Fear not, the Blackhawks are back in action tomorrow night.

Troublemaker
04-30-2015, 04:21 PM
The Bulls can't solve the deadly 1-2 Jarryod punch of Bayless and Dudley. And you're ignoring that the Bucks OWN THE FUTURE (not to be confused with "winning the future"). Fear not, the Blackhawks are back in action tomorrow night.

Rose has dominated on two days' rest: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/4/28/8507591/derrick-rose-stats-rest-days-off-bulls-bucks

Your boys may be in trouble tonight, phaedrus

(Here's an ESPN Insider article saying the same: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/story/_/id/12773047/nba-derrick-rose-playoff-inconsistency-comes-rest )

phaedrus
04-30-2015, 06:45 PM
First quarter wasn't the best. I jumped on the bandwagon late anyway. Can't wait to see what Jabari does next season. Not that I'm giving up on this game... But I am.

CDu
04-30-2015, 06:58 PM
First quarter wasn't the best. I jumped on the bandwagon late anyway. Can't wait to see what Jabari does next season. Not that I'm giving up on this game... But I am.

Second quarter not going much better so far. The Bulls appear to have finally eoken up and decided to match Milwaukee's focus/effort. If that happens, the talent disparity is, well, about this wide.

Still far from over, but the fat lady is certainly starting to warm up.

CDu
04-30-2015, 07:17 PM
You know things are going badly when Dunleavy is drawing flagrant 2 fouls against your team. The Greek Freak earned himself an early shower. Up 30+ at the half, just hope no injuries or ejections happen. Bulls probably only need 20 more points to win this game.

Duke95
04-30-2015, 08:28 PM
What Chicago is doing to Milwaukee is just plain nasty.

CDu
04-30-2015, 08:53 PM
What Chicago is doing to Milwaukee is just plain nasty.

Yeah, this was the Bulls clicking on all cylinders. They took Milwaukee lightly after getting up 3-0 without too much effort. Fell asleep at the wheel for games 4 and 5, and Milwaukee clawed their way to two well-earned wins as Chicago lost their focus/intensity. Well, those two losses woke up the Bulls, and they came to play tonight.

Dunleavy was on fire. He was feistier than normal, getting in a shove to the jaw of Michael Carter-Williams in the first few minutes. During that time, Chicago was jumping out to an 8-0 lead. And Dunleavy was effectively in their heads. He started raining down 3s on the Bucks, and after another shove to the chest of the Greek Freak, Dunleavy drained a transition 3. The Greek Freak was furious, and gave Dunleavy a running shoulder tackle during Dunleavy's follow-through. Aaaaaaaaaaaahhh, SEE YA, Giannis!!! Later in the game, Dunleavy gave another shove to MCW, to which MCW grabbed Dunleavy's head and threw him down. Technical to MCW. Win for Dunleavy. Strange to see Dunleavy playing the part of the instigator, but he was unbelievable otherwise.

Outside of that sideshow, the difference in talent was on full display. The Bulls took no prisoners. And they didn't even need a monster offensive game from their two best players. The game was essentially over at the half. In fact, the Bulls could have gone scoreless in the second half and would still have won the game.

Now, on to the series most have been waiting for: Bulls vs Cavs. Unfortunately, the Cavs will be far from full strength. Still should be a great series, and either team could win.

_Gary
04-30-2015, 09:10 PM
Now, on to the series most have been waiting for: Bulls vs Cavs. Unfortunately, the Cavs will be far from full strength. Still should be a great series, and either team could win.

I must say I take it as a very bad sign that you are posting this much in the thread. I think you smell water in the blood (and for good reason). :p

The Bulls will easily handle the Cavs (unfortunately - I really wanted Kyrie to at least get to the Finals this year). No doubt about that at this point.

phaedrus
04-30-2015, 10:47 PM
Can't be mad at dunleavy raining threes like it's 2001. That should give the Bulls a little momentum.

KandG
05-01-2015, 01:29 AM
I am hoping for a Saturday night Game 7 undercard for Pacquiao v Mayweather.

And we get our wish. I know Clippers-Spurs has been rough on the East Coasters (other than night owls like me), but I have to say that even with hack-a-Jordan, it's been one of the most entertaining playoff series I can remember in recent years, especially for a first round series. Bulls-Celtics in 2009 is the most recent first round series I can remember being this intense, tactically interesting and full of drama. Redick was fantastic for the Clippers, easily the best playoff game I can remember him having from start to finish on both ends in a game with such high stakes.

Amazing to think that JJ was shut down by Garrett Temple in his final college game nine years ago, and spoke thoughtfully (and ruefully) in the post game conference about how he just wasn't a great athlete the way LSU's defenders were. Now he's giving a team anchored by elite perimeter defenders like Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green fits, because he's improved his athleticism, his ballhandling, his understanding of the game, and I'd swear even his motor in the way he runs around screens and attacks small openings in the defense. Good for JJ.

CDu
05-01-2015, 06:05 AM
I must say I take it as a very bad sign that you are posting this much in the thread. I think you smell water in the blood (and for good reason). :p

The Bulls will easily handle the Cavs (unfortunately - I really wanted Kyrie to at least get to the Finals this year). No doubt about that at this point.

I am not buying your attempt at a reverse jynx for the Cavs! ;)

Not smelling blood in the water; just excited about my Bulls finally coming to play last night. Obviously last night's game was an outlier extreme, but it is nice to finally see the Bulls finally clicking on most cinders.

That said, guarding LeBron and Irving will be a much taller task.

Troublemaker
05-01-2015, 07:33 AM
And we get our wish. I know Clippers-Spurs has been rough on the East Coasters (other than night owls like me), but I have to say that even with hack-a-Jordan, it's been one of the most entertaining playoff series I can remember in recent years, especially for a first round series. Bulls-Celtics in 2009 is the most recent first round series I can remember being this intense, tactically interesting and full of drama. Redick was fantastic for the Clippers, easily the best playoff game I can remember him having from start to finish on both ends in a game with such high stakes.

Amazing to think that JJ was shut down by Garrett Temple in his final college game nine years ago, and spoke thoughtfully (and ruefully) in the post game conference about how he just wasn't a great athlete the way LSU's defenders were. Now he's giving a team anchored by elite perimeter defenders like Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green fits, because he's improved his athleticism, his ballhandling, his understanding of the game, and I'd swear even his motor in the way he runs around screens and attacks small openings in the defense. Good for JJ.

JJ was fantastic. He kept the Clippers in the game in the first-half with his mid-range work while Paul and Griffin were struggling and then hit a clutch three late in the game to extend the lead from three to six points.

Definitely a great series. It's a shame that one top-5 team will be going home after Saturday and maybe even a greater shame that the winner has to start a 7-game series on Monday with the Rockets in Houston and go every other day until Game 7. Wish the NBA could give them at least two days off after this slugfest.

Billy Dat
05-01-2015, 08:09 AM
...but I have to say that even with hack-a-Jordan, it's been one of the most entertaining playoff series I can remember in recent years

After I posted the other day, I felt like I was being a little harsh as the series has been really really good. I think I detest the Hack-a so much because it kills me as I try to stay awake.


Amazing to think that JJ was shut down by Garrett Temple in his final college game nine years ago, and spoke thoughtfully (and ruefully) in the post game conference about how he just wasn't a great athlete the way LSU's defenders were. Now he's giving a team anchored by elite perimeter defenders like Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green fits, because he's improved his athleticism, his ballhandling, his understanding of the game, and I'd swear even his motor in the way he runs around screens and attacks small openings in the defense. Good for JJ.

With the way Shelden was scoring that game, I thought it was crazy that JJ didn't play more of a decoy role and feed the open men when he was being hounded by Temple and frequently doubled. Instead, he kept shooting, as he had earned the right to do, but I always felt like he could have been more of a playmaker in that game - much like he is now as you have described.


Definitely a great series. It's a shame that one top-5 team will be going home after Saturday and maybe even a greater shame that the winner has to start a 7-game series on Monday with the Rockets in Houston and go every other day until Game 7. Wish the NBA could give them at least two days off after this slugfest.

Pop was KILLING his squad in the post game, really harsh comments about their lack of fight and terrible ball movement. Until the Clips get it done, I still have to pick the Spurs, even on the road. If the Clips can get past them, that is a huge moment for CP3 and Blake especially as their superstar status is not matched by playoff accomplishment.

_Gary
05-01-2015, 08:42 AM
I am not buying your attempt at a reverse jynx for the Cavs! ;)

Not smelling blood in the water; just excited about my Bulls finally coming to play last night. Obviously last night's game was an outlier extreme, but it is nice to finally see the Bulls finally clicking on most cinders.

That said, guarding LeBron and Irving will be a much taller task.

:cool:

Eh, it's only a semi-attempt at a reverse jinx, because I honestly do believe the Bulls now have the upper-hand with Love out. And the reality is the Bulls have gotten healthy and jelled (one surely aiding the other) at exactly the right time. The same was true of the Cavs up until that last game in Boston. Now they are minus one starter for the duration of their playoff run and another for the next two games. So I'm being serious telling you that the Bulls have to be favored in this series. That's a completely legitimate comment coming from me. I'm really not looking forward to the series because I see the Bull potentially sweeping the Cavs. I think that's a very real possibility.

nmduke2001
05-01-2015, 08:42 AM
What Chicago is doing to Milwaukee is just plain nasty.

The game was well over, but did you see the two play sequence out of Plumlee in the third period? He had a rebound putback dunk over Rose and Gibson on one end. Chicago inbounds and Dunleavy gets the ball on a cut to the basket and makes a ridiculous behind the back pass to a wide-open Gibson (Miles had to slide over to help on Dunleavy). Gibson goes up to flush it and Miles recovers, goes up with two hands and meets Gibson well above the rim for a clean two handed block of a dunk. It was awesome. Honestly, it's the best offense to defense sequence I have seen in a while.

Now if Miles and Mason can once again find coaches that will play them. That would be nice.

_Gary
05-01-2015, 08:45 AM
Now if Miles and Mason can once again find coaches that will play them. That would be nice.

Amen to that. Both need a new change of scenery if you ask me because neither of their coaches look too intent on playing them much if their respective teams remain about the same in terms of personnel. And it's a shame because I think both of them could be starters in the right system and under the right coaches.

Billy Dat
05-01-2015, 09:00 AM
Line of the night goes to Barkley while the Clips/Spurs highlights were running and they showed that shot of Steve Balmer apparently crying after the big CP3 shot in the final minute:

"What Steve Balmer worrying about....don't he remember he worth $20 billion dollars?"

Billy Dat
05-01-2015, 09:09 AM
:cool:

Eh, it's only a semi-attempt at a reverse jinx, because I honestly do believe the Bulls now have the upper-hand with Love out. And the reality is the Bulls have gotten healthy and jelled (one surely aiding the other) at exactly the right time. The same was true of the Cavs up until that last game in Boston. Now they are minus one starter for the duration of their playoff run and another for the next two games. So I'm being serious telling you that the Bulls have to be favored in this series. That's a completely legitimate comment coming from me. I'm really not looking forward to the series because I see the Bull potentially sweeping the Cavs. I think that's a very real possibility.

I didn't see last night's beatdown, but aren't Noah and Mirotic still pretty banged up? It feels like both teams are hurting in key spots. Maybe last night was a panacea, but heading into the game the Bulls injury talk and the Rose/Butler "who should be the focus of the offense" debate was raging. Is that still an issue (honest question from those more on top of this series)


The game was well over, but did you see the two play sequence out of Plumlee in the third period? He had a rebound putback dunk over Rose and Gibson on one end. Chicago inbounds and Dunleavy gets the ball on a cut to the basket and makes a ridiculous behind the back pass to a wide-open Gibson (Miles had to slide over to help on Dunleavy). Gibson goes up to flush it and Miles recovers, goes up with two hands and meets Gibson well above the rim for a clean two handed block of a dunk. It was awesome. Honestly, it's the best offense to defense sequence I have seen in a while.
Now if Miles and Mason can once again find coaches that will play them. That would be nice.

I'd kind of feel the same way if both guys hadn't been starting at points this year and lost their spots. I think there's always a chance to find a better situation, but I honestly think Miles is a back-up and Mason may be a bench guy on a playoff team rather than a starter. I don't think that's terrible, as long as you are a rotation player in the NBA. What I think we can count on is that both guys will continue to work to improve their games and make a case for being out there.

Billy Dat
05-01-2015, 09:24 AM
Dunleavy was on fire. He was feistier than normal, getting in a shove to the jaw of Michael Carter-Williams in the first few minutes. During that time, Chicago was jumping out to an 8-0 lead. And Dunleavy was effectively in their heads. He started raining down 3s on the Bucks, and after another shove to the chest of the Greek Freak, Dunleavy drained a transition 3. The Greek Freak was furious, and gave Dunleavy a running shoulder tackle during Dunleavy's follow-through. Aaaaaaaaaaaahhh, SEE YA, Giannis!!! Later in the game, Dunleavy gave another shove to MCW, to which MCW grabbed Dunleavy's head and threw him down. Technical to MCW. Win for Dunleavy. Strange to see Dunleavy playing the part of the instigator, but he was unbelievable otherwise.

Wow - this is CRAZY. Grantland covered it, complete with animated GIFs, in the daily shootaround:
http://grantland.com/the-triangle/nba-shootaround-die-another-day/

It's the last item - Dark Dunleavy vs Dark Giannis

It IS weird to see him in that role, but this might be his last best chance at a ring and he is pulling out all the tricks to make sure they maximize their chance. Classic!!!!

dukelifer
05-02-2015, 09:04 PM
Heck of a game going on between the Clips and the Spurs. Chris Paul playing on one leg.

jipops
05-02-2015, 09:41 PM
Heck of a game going on between the Clips and the Spurs. Chris Paul playing on one leg.

This game is pure joy to watch. Too bad one of these teams is out after tonight

dukelifer
05-02-2015, 09:43 PM
This game is pure joy to watch. Too bad one of these teams is out after tonight

Great great game. Clutch play all around. JJ with some huge shots. Chris Paul willed himself to play with his injury.

FerryFor50
05-02-2015, 09:45 PM
CP3. Wow. Playing like that on a bum hamstring. Cajones.

Duvall
05-02-2015, 09:46 PM
This game is pure joy to watch. Too bad one of these teams is out after tonight

But that team includes Danny Green, so not that bad.

Duke79UNLV77
05-02-2015, 09:47 PM
What a game! And, has there been a more efficient 39 year old player than Tim Duncan. His minutes and use have gone down in the regular season, but not his effectiveness much. One for the ages for Chris Paul.

jipops
05-02-2015, 09:49 PM
But that team includes Danny Green, so not that bad.

Yea, not at all sad for him. Still, weird that a legit title threat is out in round 1 in a non-upset.

FerryFor50
05-02-2015, 09:51 PM
Yea, not at all sad for him. Still, weird that a legit title threat is out in round 1 in a non-upset.

Maybe Pop shouldn't have rested his guys so much in the regular season. Could have had a better seed...

Duke95
05-02-2015, 09:59 PM
Incredible game. What a series. Sad to see it end. I could watch basketball like this every day.

Those two JJ daggers were huge.

kshepinthehouse
05-02-2015, 10:06 PM
Foul call on Duncan vs Paul looked phantom to me. Thoughts from others?

FerryFor50
05-02-2015, 10:10 PM
Foul call on Duncan vs Paul looked phantom to me. Thoughts from others?

Didn't give Paul room to land. Looked like a foul to me, but they missed the same call earlier on a Paul 3.

rsvman
05-02-2015, 10:20 PM
Foul call on Duncan vs Paul looked phantom to me. Thoughts from others?

Pretty much phantom. Refs made up for it by calling a non-existent foul on Barnes when he got a clean block on Duncan on the next Spurs possession.

It evens out.

Great game. JJ started slow but ended strong. Two great defensive plays against Parker down the stretch, too.

kshepinthehouse
05-02-2015, 10:26 PM
Pretty much phantom. Refs made up for it by calling a non-existent foul on Barnes when he got a clean block on Duncan on the next Spurs possession.

It evens out.

Great game. JJ started slow but ended strong. Two great defensive plays against Parker down the stretch, too.

Actually it doesn't even out. Spurs would have had the ball with 13 seconds left tie game. Knowing the spurs they more than likely would have gotten a good look at a game winner

mr. synellinden
05-02-2015, 10:39 PM
Actually it doesn't even out. Spurs would have had the ball with 13 seconds left tie game. Knowing the spurs they more than likely would have gotten a good look at a game winner

Yes. This is an important point. It was a bad call on Duncan. Right when it happened I said it's too bad that call is going to decide this epic series. In a one possession game you can look back on lots of things but I thought there were two key plays down the stretch. First, with about 3 minutes left the Spurs were up 5, played a great defensive possession, had the rebound and somehow let Chris Paul knock it away and the Clippers came away with a 50/50 ball. They got 2 FTs from Griffin to cut the lead to three. Then a couple of possessions later, Barnes hit a huge 3 to tie the game. And Paul's game winner was a bit of a prayer and luck. And looking at replays, I'm not sure Duncan didn't get a finger nail on it.

kshepinthehouse
05-02-2015, 10:43 PM
Yes. This is an important point. It was a bad call on Duncan. Right when it happened I said it's too bad that call is going to decide this epic series. In a one possession game you can look back on lots of things but I thought there were two key plays down the stretch. First, with about 3 minutes left the Spurs were up 5, played a great defensive possession, had the rebound and somehow let Chris Paul knock it away and the Clippers came away with a 50/50 ball. They got 2 FTs from Griffin to cut the lead to three. Then a couple of possessions later, Barnes hit a huge 3 to tie the game. And Paul's game winner was a bit of a prayer and luck. And looking at replays, I'm not sure Duncan didn't get a finger nail on it.

Also thought it was a big play when the Spurs came out with a loose ball up 3 with 2 minutes left and Parker went one on one and missed a runner, a shot he normally hits. Matt Barnes, I believe (who was the difference tonight) hits a three on the other end to tie it.

dukelifer
05-03-2015, 06:13 AM
Actually it doesn't even out. Spurs would have had the ball with 13 seconds left tie game. Knowing the spurs they more than likely would have gotten a good look at a game winner

There was a foul by Rivers on Manu at the end of the first half 75 feet from the basket that was ridiculous and he got three free throws. He pretended to shoot a sec after he was touched. There are moments like that in close games. This was a great game and back and forth. The unbelievable clutch shooting by both teams was the game.

theAlaskanBear
05-03-2015, 08:25 AM
Foul call on Duncan vs Paul looked phantom to me. Thoughts from others?

It was a foul. didnt give him room to land.

CDu
05-03-2015, 08:32 AM
There was a foul by Rivers on Manu at the end of the first half 75 feet from the basket that was ridiculous and he got three free throws. He pretended to shoot a sec after he was touched. There are moments like that in close games. This was a great game and back and forth. The unbelievable clutch shooting by both teams was the game.

That was actually the right call. Manu realized Rivers was coming in to use their last foul to give, picked up his dribble, let Rivers foul him, then shot. With the continuation rule, it was the right call. Bad decision by Rivers to telegraph the foul on a crafty vet like Manu.

Furniture
05-03-2015, 08:34 AM
Yes it was a foul and they had a foul to give but it was given in the act of shooting which made Doc lose his mind. He was mad!! It must have made chris Paul mad too because he promptly marched down the floor and hit an incredible 3.
Don't know whether to be sad or happy about this one. I really like both teams!

dukelifer
05-03-2015, 09:08 AM
That was actually the right call. Manu realized Rivers was coming in to use their last foul to give, picked up his dribble, let Rivers foul him, then shot. With the continuation rule, it was the right call. Bad decision by Rivers to telegraph the foul on a crafty vet like Manu.

Perhaps technically a foul but nevertheless it was not an real attempt from that distance.

CDu
05-03-2015, 09:25 AM
Perhaps technically a foul but nevertheless it was not an real attempt from that distance.

Sure, but that is the risk you take by fouling there. Don't want to give up 3 free throw attempts? Then either choose not to foul, or don't be so obvious about it that the opponent can see it and pick up his dribble before the foul.

BobbyFan
05-03-2015, 10:13 AM
The buzzer going off early on the Spurs' final possession was significant. Unlike the first time around, Matt Barnes knew what was coming and broke early to deflect the pass to Leonard at the rim.

Paul had an incredible shooting game. He has become overshadowed by Curry and Westbrook, and he might not be the player he was before, but he's still elite. I'm hoping the injury doesn't have a major impact in the 2nd round.

BobbyFan
05-03-2015, 10:39 AM
Sure, but that is the risk you take by fouling there. Don't want to give up 3 free throw attempts? Then either choose not to foul, or don't be so obvious about it that the opponent can see it and pick up his dribble before the foul.

Ginobili's timing was incredible and risky. The call was made as he was in shooting mode - the ref has no choice but to call it a shooting foul. If the ref swallowed his whistle, Ginobili would have been stuck throwing up a prayer or trying to drop it off to Diaw.

dukelifer
05-03-2015, 11:12 AM
Ginobili's timing was incredible and risky. The call was made as he was in shooting mode - the ref has no choice but to call it a shooting foul. If the ref swallowed his whistle, Ginobili would have been stuck throwing up a prayer or trying to drop it off to Diaw.

The basketball gods recognized the problem with the call and allowed Paul to hit the three at the buzzer.

g-money
05-03-2015, 12:09 PM
The basketball gods recognized the problem with the call and allowed Paul to hit the three at the buzzer.

Yes, and similarly, the questionable foul call on Duncan was offset by an equally questionable foul call on JJ on the next possession. Makeup call.

I keep thinking about what a great game that was. The Spurs are/were such a well-oiled machine offensively. The Clippers would hit one apparent dagger three after another, only to have the Spurs retake the lead each time.

CP3's game was the stuff of legend. He basically couldn't run, but scored 18 in the second half. And JJ was an unsung hero (outside of this forum) - hitting huge threes and playing some great defense on a couple of Parker breakaways that could have sealed it for the Spurs.

The real prizefight took place earlier than expected yesterday!

CDu
05-03-2015, 12:41 PM
Ginobili's timing was incredible and risky. The call was made as he was in shooting mode - the ref has no choice but to call it a shooting foul. If the ref swallowed his whistle, Ginobili would have been stuck throwing up a prayer or trying to drop it off to Diaw.

Yup, it was a risky play by both players. The correct call was made though.

Still, great, great game. Sad that it was a first round series, but boy did it live up to the hype.

jimsumner
05-03-2015, 01:05 PM
Yup, it was a risky play by both players. The correct call was made though.

Still, great, great game. Sad that it was a first round series, but boy did it live up to the hype.

I thought the decision to give the foul at that point was curious. There was still something like eight seconds left in the half. The point of giving the foul is to disrupt the offense and make them start over. Wouldn't it make sense to make them start over with less time?

The only reason for giving the foul then was that San Antonio was too far away to take a shot. Supposedly.

Anyway, imagine how cool but conflicted it would have been to have been a Wake Forest fan last night, with Duncan and Paul trading huge plays but knowing that one of them would be ending their season; maybe career for Duncan.

And Redick and Green also made their share of big plays. Good showing by former ACC players.

Anybody else notice that four of the eight remaining teams have at least one former Duke player, including three of the four remaining teams in the East? Unless Washington pulls off the shocker, a former Duke player will be in the finals.

Wander
05-03-2015, 01:55 PM
Unless Washington pulls off the shocker, a former Duke player will be in the finals.

Well, sort of. Does it still count as being "in" the finals if you don't play a single minute in it? But I'm rooting for JJ and the Clippers to continue their run.

dukelifer
05-03-2015, 04:11 PM
Golden State can shoot the ball- almost unfair

CDu
05-03-2015, 05:13 PM
Golden State can shoot the ball- almost unfair

Yeah, Curry and Thompson are ridiculous. And the Warriors play great defense too.

jimsumner
05-03-2015, 05:20 PM
Well, sort of. Does it still count as being "in" the finals if you don't play a single minute in it? But I'm rooting for JJ and the Clippers to continue their run.

Well, if Atlanta keeps playing like they did in the 4th quarter today, it won't matter.

But between Redick, Irving and Dunleavy, there's a realistic chance Duke will have a player of consequence in the finals. Or two.

dukelifer
05-03-2015, 06:18 PM
Yeah, Curry and Thompson are ridiculous. And the Warriors play great defense too.

Curry is so fun to watch with his quick release and his behind the back passes and dribbles. He is a basketball savant -ala Pete Maravich- and keeps getting better. Pretty amazing if you think about it.

superdave
05-04-2015, 07:12 AM
That Spurs -Clippers series was fantastic. That was some high level basketball. They really saved an otherwise lackluster first round. I was sad to see Duncan and the Spurs lose after how great they made the Finals to watch the last two years. I also cannot cheer for Chris Paul (except for USA basketball) and find him and his teammates to be insufferable whiners on the court. They take the joy out of the game.

I will be cheering for a great Bulls-Cavs series this week. I sort kinda want to see Kyrie-Lebron hit warp speed.

But I am sad that Duncan, Durant, Westbrook, Parker, Manu and Kawhi are out of the playoffs. That's a lot of talent sitting at home now.

Ichabod Drain
05-04-2015, 08:57 AM
That Spurs -Clippers series was fantastic. That was some high level basketball. They really saved an otherwise lackluster first round. I was sad to see Duncan and the Spurs lose after how great they made the Finals to watch the last two years. I also cannot cheer for Chris Paul (except for USA basketball) and find him and his teammates to be insufferable whiners on the court. They take the joy out of the game.

I will be cheering for a great Bulls-Cavs series this week. I sort kinda want to see Kyrie-Lebron hit warp speed.

But I am sad that Duncan, Durant, Westbrook, Parker, Manu and Kawhi are out of the playoffs. That's a lot of talent sitting at home now.

I agree they whine a lot but they defeated the whining-est team in the league in San Antonio. I'm surprised timmy's face doesnt get stuck like this.

5076

Troublemaker
05-04-2015, 10:35 AM
Very happy for JJ that he had that sequence in the 4th-quarter of making back-to-back threes followed by using the threat of his shooting to drive and kick to a wide-open Matt Barnes for another three. That sequence probably ranks up there with the game-sealing three against Xavier and various ACC Championship Game moments as the best of his basketball career.

I really hope Chris Paul can play tonight. WRT to "rest vs rust", I favor rust being more impactful for Game 1s. If Clips-Rockets is another long series, then Houston might have an advantage towards the end. But tonight is a perfect stealing opportunity for the Clippers in Game 1. They are soaring with confidence after vanquishing the Spurs by winning a closeout game on the road and then trading clutch shots in an epic Game 7. The whole team must feel like Tyus Stones right now.

Billy Dat
05-04-2015, 02:56 PM
The buzzer going off early on the Spurs' final possession was significant. Unlike the first time around, Matt Barnes knew what was coming and broke early to deflect the pass to Leonard at the rim.

Yeah, that was major BS. I love the shot of Spurs owner, Peter Holt, repeatedly screaming "F$#@ Y@#!!!" at the scorers table.


Paul had an incredible shooting game. He has become overshadowed by Curry and Westbrook, and he might not be the player he was before, but he's still elite. I'm hoping the injury doesn't have a major impact in the 2nd round.

Classic Bayless take on Paul
Skip Bayless @RealSkipBayless ∑ May 2
Chris Paul made an unbelievable shot to win the game. But I'm sorry, I'm not buying that his hamstring was THAT bad.


Ginobili's timing was incredible and risky. The call was made as he was in shooting mode - the ref has no choice but to call it a shooting foul. If the ref swallowed his whistle, Ginobili would have been stuck throwing up a prayer or trying to drop it off to Diaw.

I know it's within the rules, and Manu is a basketball genius, but that whole play was garbage. No way he's shooting from that distance with that much time on the clock. Austin made to look like a fool, again.


The real prizefight took place earlier than expected yesterday!

Indeed, the game was amazing.


Unless Washington pulls off the shocker, a former Duke player will be in the finals.

Obviously, Game 1 is in the books but Atlanta has not looked like the same team they were for the first 60 games of the year since the start of March. With Milsap and Horford hobbled, maybe they just don't have the same margin for error as other teams?


I also cannot cheer for Chris Paul (except for USA basketball) and find him and his teammates to be insufferable whiners on the court. They take the joy out of the game.

I am pulling hard for JJ which has me rooting for the Clips, and I do have a soft spot for Austin and want to see him do well. Plus, DAHNTAY! But, I agree that the Clips generally, as K would say, have a bad face.

CDu
05-04-2015, 03:19 PM
Looking forward to the beginning of the Cavs/Bulls series tonight. Unlike some (or maybe just one, Gary ;)), I'm not as sold that the Bulls are a slam dunk in this series. Especially if the Cavs go small. I think the Bulls' chances certainly improved with the loss of Love, but the weakness of this defense have been three things:
1. pick and roll defense
2. defending a perimeter-oriented PF
3. defensive rebounding

Those 3 things happen to play right into the Cavs' strengths. James and Irving are terrific in the pick-and-roll game, and if Noah is asked to guard one of Marion/Jones/Miller, well, that is going to leave Cleveland with a lot of open 3pt attempts.

And when Cleveland goes big (with Mozgov and Thompson and James together), they have a tremendous offensive rebounding group.

So I still think the Cavs can exploit the Bulls' weaknesses defensively, though it will be tougher without Love (who adds value in all 3 of the categories above).

One of the keys to this series will be the matchup of Rose and Irving. Rose will almost certainly guard Irving on defense, though I suspect that Shumpert/Dellavedova will be the guy guarding Rose (they'll put Irving on Dunleavy/Hinrich/Snell). Rose has played well this year against Cleveland, but he'll need to do so to approximate the production that Irving will get, especially if the Cavs work on Gasol (a largely uninterested defender) in the pick and roll. Obviously, the James/Butler matchup will be key as well. Butler isn't going to win that matchup, but he needs to make it as close as possible and make life as difficult as possible for James. Butler is one of the best defenders in the NBA, so if anyone can do it (well, anyone not named Kawhi) he can.

From there, the Bulls have the offensive edge almost everywhere else. Mozgov will guard Gasol, and Gasol needs to win that matchup. They'll put either Thompson or Marion/Miller/Jones on Noah, and honestly that's a wash. The Bulls have to hope that Noah can find offensive rebounds and occasional garbage buckets and neutralize things on the other end. Mike Dunleavy doesn't do a lot of different things on offense, but what he does he does better than Shumpert/Smith/Miller/Jones/Marion. Gibson and Thompson are largely a wash: Gibson is a bit more skilled on offense and a better defender, but Thompson is a monster offensive rebounder. Hinrich and Dellavedova are a wash (scrappy, no-offense, hustle guys). Mirotic has no counterpart on the Cavs. If he is playing well, he can be a game changer. But he is a defensive liability and if his shot isn't falling he is next to useless. The Bulls dominated game 6 of the Milwaukee series in part by NOT playing Mirotic.

I think it's fairly close to a 50/50. With Love, I'd give a comfortable edge to Cleveland (still a competitive series, but Cleveland would take it in, I think, 6 or 7). Without Love, I give the Bulls an edge, but certainly not wildly so.

Either way, should be a fun series to watch. There is a LOT of skill in this series.

_Gary
05-04-2015, 06:26 PM
Looking forward to the beginning of the Cavs/Bulls series tonight. Unlike some (or maybe just one, Gary ;)), I'm not as sold that the Bulls are a slam dunk in this series...

:D

As one that has followed both sports and sports fans for almost 5 decades now, I have a personal philosophy I've developed over the years when it comes to predicting outcomes and surmising which teams have the upper hand. It has served me well, although it certainly isn't full proof. I'll use our own resident Wheat as an example.

When Wheat shows up here talking a lot about the Tarheels, my general take is that he feels good about his team. He's confident they are going to do well (in a game, or during the year). Now, he may be wrong, but I know he feels good about them. If he's absent it's generally going to be because he's not as confident and the team isn't performing as he'd like. And that's not just him - that's 99% of fans. We discuss our teams more when we feel like they are good. We tend to not discuss them when we feel they aren't as good. It's just human nature.

So, what that all means is that CDu being excited and talking a good bit about the Bulls over the last couple of weeks worries me. He knows they are playing well. I know they are playing well. He knows the Cavs are weakened right now. I know the Cavs are weakened right now. As just about any fan will do, he doesn't want to "jinx" his team by saying he feels they will win. And I get that. But the reality is he's talking about them a lot because he thinks they are playing well and will perform well. I'm not talking about this series much because I don't think the Cavs have any legit shot to win it. Henceforth, I'm not buying CDu's analysis that this series is a 50/50 coin flip. More like 80/20 Bulls in my book.

Hope I'm wrong, but I'm not confident.

Duke95
05-04-2015, 07:45 PM
If that Nazgul guy for Cleveland can draw an NBA paycheck, I think Field Marshall Plumlee can as well.

Furniture
05-04-2015, 07:50 PM
The cavs and Bull series looks like will be another great one...
Can Gasoline miss in the second half?

Some shining moments for Kyrie too!! What about that baseline save to keep the ball in play? Brilliant

CDu
05-04-2015, 07:58 PM
Like I said, this series is absolutely still going to be a battle even without Love.

dukelifer
05-04-2015, 08:31 PM
Like I said, this series is absolutely still going to be a battle even without Love.

A battle but losing both Love and Smith is too much for the Cavs. If they lose both at home- I do not think they have a chance to win the series. The Bulls have to be careful not to be lazy but they are in a very good position to win this. The Cavs have lost too much.

_Gary
05-04-2015, 08:41 PM
Like I said, this series is absolutely still going to be a battle even without Love.

Actually, while the game didn't change my mind at all about who's going to win or the fact that I was right about the odds being overwhelming in Chicago's favor, it did show me that in spite of Chicago shooting way over their collective heads (with Rose in particular hitting several "Merry Christmas" shots) Cleveland is even better than I thought they were. To be that close in the game with two starters out and the Bulls shooting so well tells me that had the series commenced with all the Cavs starters in place this series would have been an absolute blowout in favor of Cleveland. Probably a sweep or over in 5 at the most. As it is now, I still expect the Bulls to win in 5 or 6.

subzero02
05-04-2015, 08:45 PM
Austin with the start in place of Paul tonight... Irving, Dunleavy, Redick, D. Jones and Rivers ... Busy night for Duke alums.

dukelifer
05-04-2015, 08:45 PM
Two Duke guys starting an NBA playoff game

theschwartz
05-04-2015, 08:45 PM
With Paul out tonight, Clippers have an all-Blue Devil starting backcourt. Can't imagine that's happened too many times before (in the NBA). Nice start for Austin so far with a made 3 and steady PG play.

CDu
05-04-2015, 08:59 PM
Great first game of the Bulls/Cavs series. It went how I had hoped: Irving played great, but the Bulls won.

I said going in that the Bulls had a slight edge but that it would be a battle for them to win. And game 1 did nothing to change my opinion. The Cavs give the Bulls trouble in a few key areas: pick and roll, shooting, and offensive rebounding. They could have easily won this game had Chicago missed a few more of those wide-open 3s or if LeBron had played better.

The Bulls have more weapons than Cleveland, but Cleveland can still exploit the Bulls' limitations enough to win this series.

That being said, Cleveland is going to have figure out an answer for Gasol. Mozgov is too slow to chase Pau on the perimeter (Pau feasted today on wide open 15-18 footers), and their various backup SF can't handle Gasol inside. I think they will have to try Thompson or LeBron on Gasol. Probably Thompson, because otherwise either Rose or Butler has a mismatch.

The keys to the game tonight were Gasol dominating his matchup and Butler playing LeBron to essentially a draw. If that continues, Cleveland will be in trouble. I don't expect LeBron to continue to be mortal though. Meaning the Bulls will need to win other matchups more decisively. Not allowing Shumpert to score 21 will help.

Furniture
05-04-2015, 09:27 PM
I agree CDu. Gasol was almost unstoppable. I also think at the same time that Cleveland could have won it too. Don't you think Lebron was bordering awful? He missed so many shots...

CDu
05-04-2015, 09:35 PM
I agree CDu. Gasol was almost unstoppable. I also think at the same time that Cleveland could have won it too. Don't you think Lebron was bordering awful? He missed so many shots...

Yeah, I think LeBron cost them that game. Weird to say that considering he almost had a triple double. But he went 9-22 with 6 turnovers and couldn't get to the line much. If he continues to play that inefficiently then Cleveland will have trouble taking the series. But I bet he plays better moving forward.

subzero02
05-04-2015, 11:03 PM
Rust is whooping rest's behind down the stretch... JJ definitely didn't have a sideways fadeaway floater when he was playing in Cameron

Troublemaker
05-04-2015, 11:11 PM
So proud of my Duke Blue Clippers!

With the score where it is right now (101-93, 2:53 left 4Q) they're probably going to end up stealing Game 1 even without Paul playing. (Chris Paul Theory!)

JJ's been using dribble-hand-offs with Griffin (who's an amazing stud having a fantastic game himself) to hit clutch shots and hockey-assist his teammates, and JJ's done a pretty good job on Harden, to boot.

Austin hasn't been toooo bad, but I think Doc should get Crawford in there a bit sooner if CP3 can't go in Game 2.

Troublemaker
05-04-2015, 11:14 PM
Rust is whooping rest's behind down the stretch... JJ definitely didn't have a sideways fadeaway floater when he was playing in Cameron

22 turnovers for the Rockets so far!

Oh, gosh, here comes dueling Hack-As (Jordan and Howard)

g-money
05-04-2015, 11:17 PM
DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard are now hacking each other... evidently TNT has just switched over to "Dumb and Dumber".

heyman25
05-04-2015, 11:30 PM
Nice Duke backcourt Redick and Rivers

http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=400793861

gumbomoop
05-04-2015, 11:36 PM
.... and JJ's done a pretty good job on Harden, to boot.

I don't watch much NBA, but I thought JJ's second half D on Harden was nearly as important as his 17 points. Looked as if he really, really bothered Harden, just out-hustled him, excellent footwork to stay with Harden most of the time. JJ looks a surprisingly good defender.

dukelifer
05-05-2015, 05:59 AM
I don't watch much NBA, but I thought JJ's second half D on Harden was nearly as important as his 17 points. Looked as if he really, really bothered Harden, just out-hustled him, excellent footwork to stay with Harden most of the time. JJ looks a surprisingly good defender.

JJ has bothered Harden before. JJ is very smart and has tremendous endurance. He has really thrived on this team.

Ichabod Drain
05-05-2015, 08:10 AM
Nice Duke backcourt Redick and Rivers

http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=400793861

Great job by both those guys. JJ scored all of his 17 points in the second half which was huge.

Blake Griffin has been ridiculous in the playoffs. He had 26 points 14 rebs and 13 assists last night and is averaging 24, 13, and 8 in the playoffs. Those are grown man numbers there.

Billy Dat
05-05-2015, 08:37 AM
RE: Bulls and Cavs
I only watched the second half, and felt like Cleveland was way too slow adjusting to the Bulls pick and roll action. They defended it better in the final 5 minutes but by then it was too late. Rose was nailing a lot of outside shots, that seems like a new wrinkle which sets up that driving game. I really thought Cleveland had the momentum heading into the final 5 when they had cut that lead to 2, but Kyrie failed to draw a foul taking it to the hole, and then Butler nailed a 3 and Lebron missed one on the other end. Pau then made a jumper to push it to 8 and that almost ended it. Butler's shot with 30 seconds left was the final dagger. Nice Game 1 win.

RE: Clips
I only saw the first half, so it feels like I basically missed the game that actually happened. JJ must have been huge in the second half because he could not get anything going in the first. Blake is really rising. By stealing that first one, LA might be smart to keep CP3 out again to really rest him up.

CDu
05-05-2015, 08:48 AM
RE: Bulls and Cavs
I only watched the second half, and felt like Cleveland was way too slow adjusting to the Bulls pick and roll action. They defended it better in the final 5 minutes but by then it was too late. Rose was nailing a lot of outside shots, that seems like a new wrinkle which sets up that driving game. I really thought Cleveland had the momentum heading into the final 5 when they had cut that lead to 2, but Kyrie failed to draw a foul taking it to the hole, and then Butler nailed a 3 and Lebron missed one on the other end. Pau then made a jumper to push it to 8 and that almost ended it. Butler's shot with 30 seconds left was the final dagger. Nice Game 1 win.

RE: Clips
I only saw the first half, so it feels like I basically missed the game that actually happened. JJ must have been huge in the second half because he could not get anything going in the first. Blake is really rising. By stealing that first one, LA might be smart to keep CP3 out again to really rest him up.

Yeah, the chess match in the Bulls/Cavs series will be interesting. The Cavs had LeBron switch onto Pau to try to take away that pick-and-roll edge. And it mostly worked. The problem is that the Cavs have only two defenders (LeBron and Shumpert) for three guys (Rose, Gasol, and Butler). So they have to get clever in how they choose to defend.

Thibs is basically playing Butler exactly the same minutes as LeBron. I suspect he'll do mostly the same with Rose vis-a-vis Irving, though I don't think Rose will play the 40+ minutes that Irving is getting. I thought the Bulls were fortunate that Noah's futility didn't cost them the game. He was atrocious on offense. I was please to see Thibs tighten the rotation, though I might go with Snell more than Hinrich off the bench. Hinrich is at the end of the road physically, but Thibs keeps running him out there anyway. I felt that Snell's length and quickness could have been more useful than Hinrich's grit and savvy.

I would expect Blatt to bench Mike Miller though. He was atrocious. They couldn't hide him defensively at all; Dunleavy torched him and Gasol abused him inside. I think they'll have to go with more of Marion and James Jones in game 2. And obviously they will go with JR Smith (for better or worse) in Game 3 and beyond.

Troublemaker
05-05-2015, 09:19 AM
Blake Griffin has been ridiculous in the playoffs. He had 26 points 14 rebs and 13 assists last night and is averaging 24, 13, and 8 in the playoffs. Those are grown man numbers there.

Yes, 8.1 apg for Griffin in the playoffs and 5.3 apg during the regular season. He's just turned himself into a monster point-forward, second-best in the NBA behind Lebron (who is actually just a freak that can play PG at 6'8" 250 lbs.) What Griffin's doing is actually more true to the term "point-forward," which I've always thought of as a PF that you give the ball to at the elbows and you have him find cutters, give tight handoffs to guards, face-up and hit jumpers, face-up and use the threat of the jumper to drive, drive and lob or dumpoff to your center for dunks. Griffin's played this role perfectly, and it's been very enjoyable to watch. Griffin is probably the best passing PF and best dribbling PF in the NBA, although he probably dribbles a bit too much sometimes, leading to turnovers. He can shoot, drive, pass, making him a true triple-threat facing up, and he can post for scores. He blocks shots. Just a complete basketball player.

So, next time, someone who doesn't watch the NBA complains about Griffin being just a dunker, slap that person.

Billy Dat
05-05-2015, 10:12 AM
What will it take for Austin to climb out of the "He actually sucks" hole that he has found himself in?

(see bottom section - "Keep Austin Weird")
http://grantland.com/the-triangle/nba-shootaround-pick-and-rose/

The simple answer is "consistent play", but he started and scored 17 points in a second round NBA playoff game. I get the narrative, but I wonder if the stink will ever leave him?

CDu
05-05-2015, 11:01 AM
What will it take for Austin to climb out of the "He actually sucks" hole that he has found himself in?

(see bottom section - "Keep Austin Weird")
http://grantland.com/the-triangle/nba-shootaround-pick-and-rose/

The simple answer is "consistent play", but he started and scored 17 points in a second round NBA playoff game. I get the narrative, but I wonder if the stink will ever leave him?

I think the biggest thing will be doing so for more than a couple of games, and doing so without the glaring embarrassing mistakes like he had in Game 1. I mean, we're still talking about a kid who has had just 2 good games and one mediocre game under any sort of spotlight in the NBA. He was bad during the regular season this year, and has only recently started to show signs of not-badness. And even in his not-badness, he has had some wowingly bad moments.

If he keeps playing like he did in Games 2 and 3 of the SA series or Game 1 of the Houston series, the stink will eventually go away. If he plays like he did in Games 4-7 of the SA series, the stink will stay with him.

dukelifer
05-05-2015, 11:04 AM
What will it take for Austin to climb out of the "He actually sucks" hole that he has found himself in?

(see bottom section - "Keep Austin Weird")
http://grantland.com/the-triangle/nba-shootaround-pick-and-rose/

The simple answer is "consistent play", but he started and scored 17 points in a second round NBA playoff game. I get the narrative, but I wonder if the stink will ever leave him?

He is definitely an odd player. There is talent there but he still seems like a high schooler playing in the NBA. Nothing seems natural for him. His shooting is erratic- his passing is tentative- he movement is jerky. But he has had two big games in these playoffs and sometimes all it takes is a few big games to develop confidence.

Billy Dat
05-05-2015, 11:20 AM
I think the biggest thing will be doing so for more than a couple of games, and doing so without the glaring embarrassing mistakes like he had in Game 1. I mean, we're still talking about a kid who has had just 2 good games and one mediocre game under any sort of spotlight in the NBA. He was bad during the regular season this year, and has only recently started to show signs of not-badness. And even in his not-badness, he has had some wowingly bad moments.

If he keeps playing like he did in Games 2 and 3 of the SA series or Game 1 of the Houston series, the stink will eventually go away. If he plays like he did in Games 4-7 of the SA series, the stink will stay with him.


He is definitely an odd player. There is talent there but he still seems like a high schooler playing in the NBA. Nothing seems natural for him. His shooting is erratic- his passing is tentative- he movement is jerky. But he has had two big games in these playoffs and sometimes all it takes is a few big games to develop confidence.

I hear you both, it's just been such an odd journey for him. In a lot of ways, it shows the difference between being a top ranked kid from a disadvantaged background and a top ranked kid from a highly advantaged background. Imagine if Austin had come from a really rough neighborhood and maybe a less-than-functional family setting but still managed to be a top 5 recruit as he entered college. At college, he gets surpassed by other members of his class (AD, MKG, Beal, etc.) and his game gets a bit exposed (ball hog, bad finisher, not great shooter, erratic defender). At this point, if he's not Doc Rivers' son - does he still get drafted in the lottery? Once in the NBA, does he wind up getting chance after chance and not tasting the D-League for one moment? Does he even stick in the league? The answer has to be no, correct? Yet, despite all these advantages, it seems like the pendulum has swung the other way and he is actually considered to be worse than he is..or maybe I am just being too sensitive about it. At the end of the day, if he wasn't Doc's son, he might already be in Europe ala Nolan.

CDu
05-05-2015, 11:46 AM
I hear you both, it's just been such an odd journey for him. In a lot of ways, it shows the difference between being a top ranked kid from a disadvantaged background and a top ranked kid from a highly advantaged background. Imagine if Austin had come from a really rough neighborhood and maybe a less-than-functional family setting but still managed to be a top 5 recruit as he entered college. At college, he gets surpassed by other members of his class (AD, MKG, Beal, etc.) and his game gets a bit exposed (ball hog, bad finisher, not great shooter, erratic defender). At this point, if he's not Doc Rivers' son - does he still get drafted in the lottery? Once in the NBA, does he wind up getting chance after chance and not tasting the D-League for one moment? Does he even stick in the league? The answer has to be no, correct? Yet, despite all these advantages, it seems like the pendulum has swung the other way and he is actually considered to be worse than he is..or maybe I am just being too sensitive about it. At the end of the day, if he wasn't Doc's son, he might already be in Europe ala Nolan.

I think the "privilege" aspect of it definitely plays a part. At times in his brief career, Rivers has been one of the worst players in the NBA. It is shocking that he didn't get sent to the D-League at some point in his first two years given how bad he has been. Then, he gets traded to the team run by his dad, in an attempt to revive his career. It's easy to route against a silver spoon kid like that.

On top of that, there is the attitude of entitlement that seems to surround him. The clip in that Grantland piece sums it up. He tries a behind-the-back dribble to evade a defender, stumbles and falls on his own accord, and in doing so loses the ball out of bounds in embarrassing fashion. What does he do in response? Flail his arms in the direction of the ref as if the ref missed a foul. Even at Duke, whenever something didn't go his way, he would scowl in the direction of the officials (regardless of whether there was a transgression against him or not). You'd think that two years of being near the bottom of the barrel might have shaped him up, but that appears to not be the case.

I think the combination of those two things is a big part of why he has this stigma about him.

Billy Dat
05-05-2015, 12:10 PM
I think the "privilege" aspect of it definitely plays a part. At times in his brief career, Rivers has been one of the worst players in the NBA. It is shocking that he didn't get sent to the D-League at some point in his first two years given how bad he has been. Then, he gets traded to the team run by his dad, in an attempt to revive his career. It's easy to route against a silver spoon kid like that.

On top of that, there is the attitude of entitlement that seems to surround him. The clip in that Grantland piece sums it up. He tries a behind-the-back dribble to evade a defender, stumbles and falls on his own accord, and in doing so loses the ball out of bounds in embarrassing fashion. What does he do in response? Flail his arms in the direction of the ref as if the ref missed a foul. Even at Duke, whenever something didn't go his way, he would scowl in the direction of the officials (regardless of whether there was a transgression against him or not). You'd think that two years of being near the bottom of the barrel might have shaped him up, but that appears to not be the case.

I think the combination of those two things is a big part of why he has this stigma about him.

Part of the paradox is that while I spent space in my prior post saying he was exposed as a freshman at Duke, I neglected to mention that he was first team All ACC and a Third Team All American! Granted, K gave him every opportunity to shine...

SI.com just posted a nice Rivers piece which kind up brings everything up to date and focuses on his importance in this series, check it out:

http://www.si.com/nba/2015/05/05/austin-rivers-los-angeles-clippers-houston-rockets-nba-playoffs

"Like it or not, Austin Rivers is critical to Clippers' postseason success"

Intro graph..."Defending Austin Rivers on Twitter is a brazen act of crime akin to praising Reggie Millerís color commentary, rooting for Dwight Howard or criticizing Russell Westbrook. Complimenting the Clippers backup point guard (though calling him a point guard is disingenuous) isnít even daring or perverse, it showcases a fundamental misunderstanding of basketball. It betrays common sense because heís a fringe player. Praise for Austin Rivers is tantamount to ignorance. Laud him if you dare, but donít prepare for a response of gentle ridicule; armor up for outright contempt."

Billy Dat
05-05-2015, 12:30 PM
By the way, as a Knicks fan (how many times have I typed that within these walls? I think I need to keep convincing myself...), I wanted to laud all their former recent players making a difference for the 8 remaining teams:

Cavs:
JR, Shumpert and Mozgov

Clippers:
Jamal Crawford

Rockets:
Prigioni

Grizzlies:
ZBo and Beno

Warriors:
David Lee

And, while we're at it, looking at the other playoff teams, Tyson Chandler, STAT and Ray Felton were plugging away for Dallas, among others, and Jason Kidd was coaching the Bucks!

Just about the only remaining Knick from the last playoff run is Melo, and we still have him, and had our worst season in history! You're welcome, NBA playoff teams!

_Gary
05-05-2015, 12:38 PM
No doubt the Cavs did a horrible job on the high screening duo of Rose and Gasol. Too many wide open jumpers for the big man. But the biggest take away from game 1 for me was still the age-old point about shooting. The Bulls shot a whopping 53% from outside the paint last night, while their season average was only 37% from that same distance. If they come down to earth even just a little, the depleted Cavs win the game. It just demonstrated to me how much better the Cavs were with their full compliment of players heading into this series. I knew they had been playing well, but last night's game actually showed me how good they really were with Love and Smith in the lineup. In my mind there's no doubt they would have represented the East in the Finals before the Celtic goon ball took it's toll. Now, I think it's a crapshoot between the other 3 teams left in the East. Any of them could come represent.

Troublemaker
05-06-2015, 12:15 AM
Up 10 with a minute left, the Grit n' Grind Grizzlies should be able to hand Golden State only their 3rd home loss of the season. (39-2 at home during regular season!)

What a great leader Mike Conley is. Playing with a broken face, he set the tone early using his floater (which is great) and outside shooting, giving his teammates confidence that he's back. And, of course, he both runs the offense and plays defense much better than backups Udrih and Calathes.

Golden St's super-smallball lineup with Draymond Green at C is extremely effective and should be watched for going forward. It was the key in their amazing Game 3 fourth-quarter comeback against New Orleans, and it gave Memphis fits tonight.

dukelifer
05-06-2015, 05:56 AM
Up 10 with a minute left, the Grit n' Grind Grizzlies should be able to hand Golden State only their 3rd home loss of the season. (39-2 at home during regular season!)

What a great leader Mike Conley is. Playing with a broken face, he set the tone early using his floater (which is great) and outside shooting, giving his teammates confidence that he's back. And, of course, he both runs the offense and plays defense much better than backups Udrih and Calathes.

Golden St's super-smallball lineup with Draymond Green at C is extremely effective and should be watched for going forward. It was the key in their amazing Game 3 fourth-quarter comeback against New Orleans, and it gave Memphis fits tonight.
Could not stay up to watch more than a quarter but Conley is so fast and long and bothers Curry like no other. Give that kid a lot of credit. He was really hurt- still has blood in his eye after surgery and led his team to victory. Without him they have no chance but with him- it just got interesting.

Troublemaker
05-06-2015, 09:58 AM
Could not stay up to watch more than a quarter but Conley is so fast and long and bothers Curry like no other. Give that kid a lot of credit. He was really hurt- still has blood in his eye after surgery and led his team to victory. Without him they have no chance but with him- it just got interesting.

Tony Allen did a great job on Klay Thompson, too. He's 33 and arguably still the best perimeter defender in the game. Memphis has the parts to really make it tough on Golden St.

I had a difficult time staying awake all the way through as well. Several times over the past couple of weeks I've fallen asleep watching basketball and was awakened in the middle of night by Charmed or Law & Order or some other TNT syndicated show.

pfrduke
05-06-2015, 10:12 AM
Tony Allen did a great job on Klay Thompson, too. He's 33 and arguably still the best perimeter defender in the game. Memphis has the parts to really make it tough on Golden St.

This is all true, but I thought it was telling that Golden State looked almost as bad as they possibly can look and it was still a close game with under a minute left. If the Warriors play average ball (for them), they'll win. Memphis needs to make them play bad every game to have a chance - that's probably too tall of a task.

phaedrus
05-06-2015, 10:31 AM
Garrett Temple played 13 minutes for the Wizards last night. Could the NBA playoffs come down to this: the Wizards versus the Clippers in the NBA Finals, with J.J. Redick finally avenging Duke's loss to LSU in 2006 by vanquishing Temple? (No, it can't.) But it did lead me to discover that that LSU team has more current NBA players (Temple, Tyrus Thomas, and Redick's teammate, Glen Davis) than that #1 Duke team (Redick and McRoberts). I have finally come to terms with that loss - it wasn't such an upset after all.

Troublemaker
05-06-2015, 12:13 PM
This is all true, but I thought it was telling that Golden State looked almost as bad as they possibly can look and it was still a close game with under a minute left. If the Warriors play average ball (for them), they'll win. Memphis needs to make them play bad every game to have a chance - that's probably too tall of a task.

The Warriors will definitely be point-spread favorites in every game in this series, so yeah, on paper, it'd be a heck of an upset for Memphis to try to pull off.

I'm not sure these are the same dominant Warriors from the regular season yet, though. If you look at how they've fared against point spreads this season (http://www.covers.com/pageLoader/pageLoader.aspx?page=/data/nba/teams/pastresults/2014-2015/team404119.html), Golden St really stepped off the pedal at the end of March, and I'm not sure they've accelerated back into form yet. They didn't look dominant and didn't cover in Games 1 thru 3 against New Orleans. They DID cover Game 4 and swept, but I mean, the Pelicans were walking zombies after having blown the 20-pt 4th-quarter lead in Game 3. And then Game 1 against Memphis, Conley wasn't playing (and imo the Warriors still didn't look great despite covering).

Game 3 in Memphis will be telling. If there's a switch, another gear, that GSW can reach, then you would think their first playoff loss will trigger it. Overall, they've not been a dominant team in these playoffs. Yet.

Billy Dat
05-06-2015, 12:24 PM
The Warriors will definitely be point-spread favorites in every game in this series, so yeah, on paper, it'd be a heck of an upset for Memphis to try to pull off.

I'm not sure these are the same dominant Warriors from the regular season yet, though. If you look at how they've fared against point spreads this season (http://www.covers.com/pageLoader/pageLoader.aspx?page=/data/nba/teams/pastresults/2014-2015/team404119.html), Golden St really stepped off the pedal at the end of March, and I'm not sure they've accelerated back into form yet. They didn't look dominant and didn't cover in Games 1 thru 3 against New Orleans. They DID cover Game 4 and swept, but I mean, the Pelicans were walking zombies after having blown the 20-pt 4th-quarter lead in Game 3. And then Game 1 against Memphis, Conley wasn't playing (and imo the Warriors still didn't look great despite covering).

Game 3 in Memphis will be telling. If there's a switch, another gear, that GSW can reach, then you would think their first playoff loss will trigger it. Overall, they've not been a dominant team in these playoffs. Yet.

Your analysis, plus the emergence of Blake Griffin 3.0, makes the West really interesting. With the Spurs gone and Love out, I assumed the Warriors would kind of steamroll to the title. But, as you say, the Warriors have looked a bit more mortal and Blake is emerging as the best player in the playoffs. Assuming the winner of Bulls v Cavs will make the finals, I also wouldn't put it past the Bulls to be able to win it all, and think the Cavs could win it, too, if they get there. Suddenly this title feels wide open. I wonder if it will still feel that way after the next few games - did the Warriors just have a bad game?

g-money
05-06-2015, 12:42 PM
I'm not sure these are the same dominant Warriors from the regular season yet, though. If you look at how they've fared against point spreads this season (http://www.covers.com/pageLoader/pageLoader.aspx?page=/data/nba/teams/pastresults/2014-2015/team404119.html), Golden St really stepped off the pedal at the end of March, and I'm not sure they've accelerated back into form yet.


Your analysis, plus the emergence of Blake Griffin 3.0, makes the West really interesting. With the Spurs gone and Love out, I assumed the Warriors would kind of steamroll to the title. But, as you say, the Warriors have looked a bit more mortal and Blake is emerging as the best player in the playoffs. Assuming the winner of Bulls v Cavs will make the finals, I also wouldn't put it past the Bulls to be able to win it all, and think the Cavs could win it, too, if they get there. Suddenly this title feels wide open. I wonder if it will still feel that way after the next few games - did the Warriors just have a bad game?

Yes, I was stunned when I saw yesterday that Vegas now has the Warriors at even odds for the title. There's no way the Warriors are that much better than the Clippers (assuming CP3 is healthy) or Rockets. I do think the W's, Clips, or Rockets would prevail over the Bulls or Love-less Cavs, though.

Speaking of Warriors and Clippers, I think that series could be a classic. The teams don't like each other, there are great individual matchups (CP3 and Curry; Redick and Thompson; Griffin and Green), and then there's the whole NorCal/SoCal rivalry - not as strong as Boston and NY, but sufficiently vitriolic nonetheless.

Back to the here-and-now, I am amazed by what a difference-maker Mike Conley is for Memphis. There are so many good point guards in the league that he simply doesn't get enough credit. With Conley back in action, I think the Warriors will need 7 games to beat Memphis.

CDu
05-06-2015, 06:14 PM
Cleveland off to a sizzling start in game 2. Like I said, this series is going to be a battle. When LeBron is on, they can beat anyone. Bwith or without Love, and DEFINITELY with or without Smith.

Troublemaker
05-06-2015, 07:11 PM
Thibs needs to play Mirotic in place of Noah more going forward. This game is probably lost, but try that in the second half.

Troublemaker
05-06-2015, 07:15 PM
Incidentally, Chris Paul is OUT again tonight for Game 2.

Shows how tough he was in Game 7 against the Spurs and also the magic of adrenaline.

CDu
05-06-2015, 07:19 PM
Thibs needs to play Mirotic in place of Noah more going forward. This game is probably lost, but try that in the second half.

Yeah, I like that he has given Snell some run in this game. Might as well see what he can do in what appears to be a lost game.

Interestingly, the roles have switched. In game 1, it was the Bulls shooting out of their minds on wide open shots. Tonight is Cleveland's turn, with Chicago missing a bunch near the rim.

pfrduke
05-06-2015, 07:34 PM
The value of stars in the NBA is almost impossible to overstate. I'm amazed that a team whose 3-9 players are, in rough order, Iman Shumpert, Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellevadova, James Jones, Mike Miller, and Kendrick Perkins is drubbing the Bulls.

CDu
05-06-2015, 08:09 PM
The value of stars in the NBA is almost impossible to overstate. I'm amazed that a team whose 3-9 players are, in rough order, Iman Shumpert, Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellevadova, James Jones, Mike Miller, and Kendrick Perkins is drubbing the Bulls.

It is really just the value of LeBron. Switch him with the best Bull, and Cleveland gets rolled. LeBron is THAT good. The Bulls are committing 2 and 3 defenders to LeBron because they have to, and that means guys like Shumpert, Jones, and Dellavedova are wide open at all times. LeBron just completely changes the game when he is dialed in.

-jk
05-06-2015, 08:45 PM
It is really just the value of LeBron. Switch him with the best Bull, and Cleveland gets rolled. LeBron is THAT good. The Bulls are committing 2 and 3 defenders to LeBron because they have to, and that means guys like Shumpert, Jones, and Dellavedova are wide open at all times. LeBron just completely changes the game when he is dialed in.

C'mon... LeBron couldn't win it "all" until he had Shane. Now he needs Kyrie. LeBron needs K - or K guys. There's value there...

-jk

CDu
05-06-2015, 09:37 PM
C'mon... LeBron couldn't win it "all" until he had Shane. Now he needs Kyrie. LeBron needs K - or K guys. There's value there...

-jk

I didn't say LeBron was winning it by himself. I said he completely changes the dynamics of the game in such a way as to allow a less talented supporting cast to dominate. If you watched tonight's game, you would understand what I mean. Kyrie is terrific, but LeBron is on a completely different level. Replace LeBron with another star (like Butler or Rose)and the Bulls win. Do so and put LeBron and put LeBron on the Bulls and the Bulls roll. That is not a slight on Irving, who is a star. But when LeBron really comes to play, he completely changes the game. He can take a team with one star and a bunch of nobodies and dominate a team with three All-Star caliber players, three All-NBA-type defenders, and an amazing defensive coach. Irving and just another All-Star don't win over the Bulls. Irving and the absolute best player on the planet who requires the entire team's defensive attention can have games like this.

Also, it is a nice thought that Battier was what LeBron needed, but that is folly. The key to them winning title #1 was the big three finally figuring out how to play together. It just took a year and a younger opponent in the Thunder.

subzero02
05-06-2015, 09:38 PM
During the Clippers game they just stated that Austin Rivers is named after Doc's favorite player growing up, Austin Carr of the Cavaliers. The clippers are really impressive... Blake Griffin has obviously been doing nothing but shooting Kia commercials and working on his game. As much as he has improved,I doubt he has had time to sleep or eat in the past 365 days.

Reilly
05-06-2015, 09:58 PM
... Replace LeBron with another star (like Butler or Rose)and the Bulls win ... put LeBron on the Bulls and the Bulls roll ...

Bum Phillips said LeBron could wear Bum's cowboy hat better than Bum did himself.

subzero02
05-06-2015, 10:17 PM
If Redick's outside shot were on tonight, the rockets would've already been given last rights.

gumbomoop
05-06-2015, 10:54 PM
JJ doesn't ever seem to come out of the game. Stats say he played 35 minutes through 3 quarters. Is he just in better shape than most everyone? So steady on both O and D that Doc can't afford to give him a breather?

ETA - Ah, I see he isn't starting 4th quarter.....

ETA II - Back in, rest of game, I assume.

CoachJ10
05-06-2015, 11:08 PM
The Refs have been brutal in this LAC / HOU game. 48 free throws for houston with a quarter to go.

"Harden-ball"...(throw one's body into defender and flail) is just downright unacceptable. Why this is allowed to persist, much less encouraged, is beyond me.

jacone21
05-06-2015, 11:39 PM
Aaaand Austin makes a cringe-worthy play again. Down 4 with the ball, under a minute to play, well... I'm sure the highlight can be easily found. As the young folks say, smdh.

luburch
05-07-2015, 08:21 AM
Aaaand Austin makes a cringe-worthy play again. Down 4 with the ball, under a minute to play, well... I'm sure the highlight can be easily found. As the young folks say, smdh.

The cringe-worthy part was that it was a fantastic move and he had the defender beat, and then he slipped and fell.

Troublemaker
05-07-2015, 09:41 AM
Clippers will need Chris Paul back soon, as the Rockets have started to figure out how to defend Griffin by using combinations of Howard on him, double-teams, and a long stint of Ariza on him as well.

My sense is the Clippers can better take advantage of those coverages going forward, but it'd be nice to have Paul back and not have to rely so much on one player.

CDu
05-07-2015, 09:52 AM
Clippers will need Chris Paul back soon, as the Rockets have started to figure out how to defend Griffin by using combinations of Howard on him, double-teams, and a long stint of Ariza on him as well.

My sense is the Clippers can better take advantage of those coverages going forward, but it'd be nice to have Paul back and not have to rely so much on one player.

Yeah, it never hurts to have the best PG in the world on the floor for you. Especially when the Clippers literally don't play another PG besides Paul. The fact that they won game 1 without Paul is a minor miracle.

Billy Dat
05-07-2015, 12:08 PM
Clippers will need Chris Paul back soon, as the Rockets have started to figure out how to defend Griffin by using combinations of Howard on him, double-teams, and a long stint of Ariza on him as well.

My sense is the Clippers can better take advantage of those coverages going forward, but it'd be nice to have Paul back and not have to rely so much on one player.


Yeah, it never hurts to have the best PG in the world on the floor for you. Especially when the Clippers literally don't play another PG besides Paul. The fact that they won game 1 without Paul is a minor miracle.

That was quite a strange game. The Clippers offense never adjusted in the second half and their defense was spotty for a lot of the game, primarily because of Jordan's foul trouble. So many of his fouls were dumb. JJ was really battling with Harden, but he could only keep him at bay for so long. It is weird to see a team look so different from half to half, I was losing faith in the Rockets when suddenly they started to really play intense and turned the tide of the game. When it comes to getting good shots, Doc's mantra is "when the ball moves, it finds the right shooter" yet the ball was not moving at all. Had Crawford not had a hot run of shooting, the Rockets may have blown this thing out early in the 4th. The Clips certainly need CP3 back, but despite his propensity for Vine-ready gaffes, Austin's stint as a starter will make their bench better. Game 3 is a toss-up, which team will show up on either side.

As for Bulls v Cavs, I was only able to tune in to the second half, but the one thing that has really impressed me is Tristan Thompson's rebounding. He is a Rodman-esque menace, going after and nearly getting his hands on everything. Very smart for him to embrace that role. Is this D. Rose one game vs. two game rest thing real? Again, Game 3 will be big. After a ho-hum first round, we are 1-1 in every series making for 4 cool Game 3s across the board.

CDu
05-07-2015, 12:17 PM
As for Bulls v Cavs, I was only able to tune in to the second half, but the one thing that has really impressed me is Tristan Thompson's rebounding. He is a Rodman-esque menace, going after and nearly getting his hands on everything. Very smart for him to embrace that role. Is this D. Rose one game vs. two game rest thing real? Again, Game 3 will be big. After a ho-hum first round, we are 1-1 in every series making for 4 cool Game 3s across the board.

Yes on both counts. Thompson has been a menace. He has certainly taken advantage of Gasol's general indifference to boxing out and Noah/Gibson's propensity to play help defense. But I think he led the league in offensive rebounds this year, so it isn't like this is limited to the Bulls frontcourt woes. Still, the Bulls will have to do a better job against (among others) Thompson, most specifically making boxing him out a priority. During the second half, when the Bulls' initial defense of James' attacks improved enough to at least make it an interesting game, Thompson got a series of absolutely demoralizing offensive rebounds that created second-chance points (usually 3s). That can't keep happening if the Bulls want to win. It's hard enough to contain LeBron and chase shooters after containing him, it's another matter entirely trying to do it twice in one possession.

As for Rose, the 1-day vs 2-day rest thing has been an ongoing topic of debate. At first, it seemed kind of flukey. Especially because he still seems to have a few D-Rose moments even on one day rest. But now we're at a large enough sample that it's hard to ignore. And of course, in this series only game 7 will be on 2 days rest (despite multiple travel days). So he's probably going to have to buck that trend if the Bulls plan to advance.

We've now had two games in which the winning team shot an outlyingly high percentage from the field (most notably from 3). It will be interesting to see how the shooting progresses as the series progresses.

Billy Dat
05-08-2015, 12:37 PM
The day off was kind of eventful.

John Wall's hand injury is really disappointing (not for the Hawks or their fans). I tuned in to Game 2 the other night and had such little interest in it. I don't know that Wall would solve that problem, but people were starting to talk about the Wiz as a dark horse finals candidate. Talk is cheap, too, though.

How about this long read from Ramona Shelburne
"Bulls aim for title amid trust issues"
http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2015/story/_/id/12822103/now-never-chicago-bulls-win-title

Tons of really interesting stuff in there about Thibs the man and his relationship with the players and ownership/management.

CDu
05-08-2015, 01:26 PM
The day off was kind of eventful.

John Wall's hand injury is really disappointing (not for the Hawks or their fans). I tuned in to Game 2 the other night and had such little interest in it. I don't know that Wall would solve that problem, but people were starting to talk about the Wiz as a dark horse finals candidate. Talk is cheap, too, though.

How about this long read from Ramona Shelburne
"Bulls aim for title amid trust issues"
http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2015/story/_/id/12822103/now-never-chicago-bulls-win-title

Tons of really interesting stuff in there about Thibs the man and his relationship with the players and ownership/management.

Losing Wall is like the Clippers losing Paul. They don't have anyone who can do what he does (mainly because there isn't anyone in the league who can do what Wall does). If he is healthy, I think they could absolutely make the Finals. Without him, they have no chance of getting past Cleveland or Chicago, and probably not Atlanta either.

As for the Bulls, I don't know what to think of the supposed rift between management and Thibs (if it even exists). I find it interesting that Thibs has refused to play the guy the Bulls traded 3 picks for (McDermott), in spite of everyone saying how NBA ready he was. Especially since McDermott seems to be the perfect sub for Dunleavy. Plug him in and he does the same things well: positioning, shooting, smarts, no athleticism. That can't be going over well with the bosses. But would the bosses really fire a coach who has so regularly gotten so much out of so little?

The interesting dynamic to me appears to be comments by Taj Gibson. I think the additions of Gasol and Mirotic have not been seamless. Most notably, the Bulls appear to have lost some of their defensive identity. Gasol is an indifferent defender and doesn't box out. Mirotic is usually lost on defense. And Gasol's lack of mobility/effort means Noah has to play out of position at PF (where he is being exposed especially by smaller, quicker guys). That can't sit well with defensive stalwarts like Gibson and Noah, especially since those guys have been the heart of the team the past few years.

Granted, the Bulls' offense has much more ability now, as Gasol is WAY better than Boozer and Mirotic is a tremendous offensive talent. But Thibs isn't a good offensive coach, and the change in identity probably hasn't gone over well with him or with guys like Gibson (who is again forced to come off the bench rather than start and play a bigger role).

Troublemaker
05-08-2015, 06:53 PM
Friday night basketball, baby! About to tip.

I have a feeling this Game 3 between the Bulls and Cavs is going to be a classic.

If Chris Paul is back for the nightcap, Game 3 of Clips-Rockets is going to fun to watch, too, even if L.A. wins easily.

Troublemaker
05-08-2015, 08:12 PM
Kyrie twisted his ankle early and has not moved well. Worried about him. Bulls were embarrassed by previous rebounding efforts and came to play on the boards tonight. Noah has led the charge with his energy but is still useless offensively. Dunleavy's been so huge for Chicago. He's been out of his mind shooting the ball so far these playoffs. Thibs is finally playing Mirotic and reaping the rewards.

Bulls should win this game despite trailing by 2 at halftime.

CDu
05-08-2015, 09:03 PM
Kyrie twisted his ankle early and has not moved well. Worried about him. Bulls were embarrassed by previous rebounding efforts and came to play on the boards tonight. Noah has led the charge with his energy but is still useless offensively. Dunleavy's been so huge for Chicago. He's been out of his mind shooting the ball so far these playoffs. Thibs is finally playing Mirotic and reaping the rewards.

Bulls should win this game despite trailing by 2 at halftime.

Up 1 through 3 quarters, but if ever a 1-1 series game felt like a must-win, it is this one for the Bulls.

_Gary
05-08-2015, 09:33 PM
Kyrie twisted his ankle early and has not moved well. Worried about him.

As well all Duke fans should be. He wasn't himself at all tonight. His gait was off and he played one of the worst games I've seen from him all year. Hope it's nothing that will carry over to the next game or the Bulls will surely win on Sunday.

Troublemaker
05-08-2015, 09:34 PM
Some horrible offense by both teams down the stretch here. Close game, but certainly not the classic I was hoping for.