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Rick Senger
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Posted: 02 June 2013 at 1:53pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Love the competition.  Miami's small line-up clearly suffered without Birdman in the lineup, so playing at home and with him back should help.  He's quietly made an eye-popping 18 consecutive field goals in the playoffs, including some non-bunnies / outside shots.  LeBron is 1-2 in seventh games so this will be a good chance to demonstrate his clutchness the past 1.5 seasons is for real, especially since as Wilson and Joe point out, the other two of the Big Three are really not producing of late.

Hibbert is an idiot for the gay slur in front of a huge press gathering and on camera at the post game presser... one of the biggest wins in Pacers history (one win from the finals!) and now this distraction. Probably won't impact game seven, but for a guy just coming into the limelight as a rising star, just moronic.   He's 26 years old and went to Georgetown so it's not like he's a hick with no point of reference. 
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 02 June 2013 at 9:07pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Whoever wins will play the Spurs starting June 6th, which means SA will have had ten full days off since their sweep.  The Spurs would seemingly be rooting for Indiana because SA gets home court vs. the Pacers and teams playing at home in finals game sevens have a decided 14-3 edge.  Also, the Spurs have dominated the Pacers in recent history.  On the other hand, my experience is that ten NBA days off runs a big risk of rust, not revitalization.   If it's Miami, the Spurs losing game 1 wouldn't be the end of the world because it will be at Miami, but being out of sync at home in game 1 vs. Indiana could be costly for SA.  I'm still taking the Heat to win it all, though, so maybe I'm overthinking!
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 07 June 2013 at 7:55am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Clutch play by Tony Parker.  I'll still take the Heat but obviously this is going to be competitive.
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 07 June 2013 at 9:00am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

The Spurs are playing such good basketball.  They didn't commit many turnovers and had a lot of open shots.  The only problem was the ball just wasn't not going in, which may have been due to being off for nine days.  I respect your opinion, Rick, but I am going with the Spurs.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 07 June 2013 at 11:48am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I'm a lot less confident than I was a few days ago!  And I agree, considering the Spurs only shot 41% and were outrebounded by 9, it's amazing that they still won the game and in Miami.  They could certainly shoot better.  You can be sure Miami will be all hands on deck for game 2.
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 08 June 2013 at 1:44pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I was surprised to read that Charles Barkley thinks the Heat will get swept by the Spurs.  He also thinks the Heat bench is not deep enough.

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Michael Thompson
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Posted: 08 June 2013 at 5:20pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

That's because the Heat bench isn't deep enough. The Spurs have the "next man up" mentality in how they approach the game. They play TEAM ball with little or no one-on-one, and trust the system in place. Miami is built for flash and dynamic dunks, but very few players respect the coach or the system like the Spurs do Popovich. The Spurs' bench would make a strong starting lineup for any NBA team. You simply can't say that with Miami's bench. While I'd love for Barkley to be right (I'm a die-hard Spurs fan), I believe it will go 5 games with the Spurs winning their 5th title.

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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 09 June 2013 at 5:20am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Spurs in 5, maybe 6 but I don't think so. No way they
sweep.

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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 09 June 2013 at 7:23am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I picked Miami in seven.  I think it's a great match up, one of the best Finals match ups since I've been paying attention for 25 years or so.  When in doubt go with the best player on the floor and that's LeBron.  If the series can be stretched to six or seven games I'll take LeBron on his home court.  I expect a very tough series either way.  Good time to be an NBA fan!


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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 09 June 2013 at 7:27am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

The Spurs' bench would make a strong starting lineup for any NBA team.

*******

Really?  Let's not get too excited.  "A nice bench" I'll give you, but "strong starting lineup for any NBA team" is hyperbole beyond hyperbole.

A starting lineup of Manu Ginobli, Matt Bonner, Corey Joseph, Gary Neal and Boris Diaw would struggle to go 10-72 in an NBA regular season.  That's not an offense to them, they're the bench!  They're not supposed to be the caliber of other team's starters....and they're not.
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 09 June 2013 at 7:29am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Thinking about it a little more, I think I'd even be more inclined to take Miami's bench over San Antonio's from a talent standpoint.  I think Pop does a great job coaching everyone up to be ready and know their role but the Miami bench is probably more talented:

Shane Battier, Ray Allen, Norris Cole, Chris Anderson, Mike Miller...
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 09 June 2013 at 10:40am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I don't know, Joe. Didn't they almost beat the Heat back in November when the Coach Popovich sent home four of its best players? Also, when I watch the Spurs play, the bench is usually able to keep the team in the game while Parker and Duncan are resting. With more playing time, the Spurs bench could be good enough to have a winning record as starters.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 09 June 2013 at 10:45am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Yeah, Miami's bench is fine.  It's their starters (particularly Bosh and sometimes Wade) who have been struggling of late.  For Miami to win, it's going to require the superstars to play to form.  Five rebounds from Bosh, maybe one in the second half, ain't gonna cut it.  Wade had an early slashing layup and got 17 points, but he needs to penetrate way more and either score or dish.  2 assists ain't gonna get it done.  It's hard to criticize LeBron's triple double (18 frigging rebounds... I love this guy!) but I'd also like to see him not shy about soing to the hole more (score in the mid-20s), not just when he realizes he has to.  If LeBron and Wade penetrate, it opens everything else up because the defense collapses and shooters like Allen are open.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 10 June 2013 at 11:07pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Apparently Miami's starters got part of the message... Wade and Bosh didn't overwhelm but Bosh did get 10 rebounds and Wade added 6 assists.  Chalmers chipped in a solid 19 points and several timely drives and threes to offset crazy three point shooting by Green and Neal (a combined 7 for 8).  The difference, though, was the weak games by Duncan (3 for 13) and particularly Ginobli, who looked tired and out of sorts after playing pretty well in game one after the layoff.  The 2-3-2 finals format means the Spurs can close things out if they hold serve three times at home, but history tells me that is harder than it looks. 
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 11 June 2013 at 10:56pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Wow, what a difference home court makes! Green and Neal were on fire again. Duncan played much better.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 12 June 2013 at 10:07am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

As resounding as Miami's win was in game two, THAT was about as dominating as it gets.  We talked about the Spurs' mediocre shooting, and obviously they got cured for one game.  The threes don't always fall like that though (actually, they never have in the history of all previous NBA finals).  And while that felt like about five losses, it only counts as one.

Once again the Heat pretty much find themselves in a must-win situation.   While it may look dire, I find after a blowout is the best time to sneak in and snatch a game.  I also find if a team isn't totally demoralized, that kind of beat down up can ignite something and a team with character can come back and surprise the opponent (who may be a bit complacent from the blowout) in the next one.  On the other hand, the Spurs have been there and they certainly have character for making it this far after so many had written them off as too old.  Pop is 4-0 in the finals so he is surely impressing on his team the importance of this next game.  I doubt the Spurs will have a major let down, though if they do, this is the moment where it could happen.

The first game was a toss-up, the next two were blow-outs.  For me, whoever wins game four is going to win the championship.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 13 June 2013 at 10:57pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Wade and LeBron both went to the hole (and Bosh showed up, too) and the Heat got well.  Gutty of Spoelstra to keep Wade in with four fouls in the third quarter... he responded with his best game of the playoffs on both offense and defense.   Miami's problem is they only seem to show the proper motivation when their back is to the wall. 
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 16 June 2013 at 9:50pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Great decision to put Ginobili in the starting line-up. He had his best game of the Playoffs with 24 points and 10 assists. Green and Parker were equally amazing. I have to give Miami credit for their effort to keep on fighting back.

Do the Heat have enough in them to win two consecutive games or have their inconsistent play finally caught up with them?
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 17 June 2013 at 9:36am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Who the hell was that circus acrobat impersonating tired, washed up Ginobli?  It was practically Celtic-esque the way his rickety body repeatedly contorted ugly looking drives that turned into gorgeous shots.  Green has been an even bigger thorn in the Heat's side as defending him tightly is part of what opens things up for Ginobli, Parker, and Duncan to attack the rim.  But you have to guard him because he's hitting threes at a crazy clip (already broke Allen's finals record.)

I did feel LeBron got hosed on a couple plays where he drove the lane and clearly got hit (not always hammered but definitely fouled) but got no call.  It probably didn't affect the 10-point outcome but I could see it was disheartening for him and slowed him down.  Miami still has home court advantage, so LeBron has to hope he'll get the benefit of the doubt from here.  Regardless, it's all on him from here and he has no more room for excuses not to put it all out there and let the chips fall.

Whoever has been the bigger aggressor has won every game in the series.  Clearly both teams are capable of this, and when they do, the result has been lopsided in every game except the first when the teams were feeling each other out.  Yesterday the Spurs imposed their will on the Heat in their final home game of the season and it was impressive. 
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 17 June 2013 at 3:01pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Doc Rivers is thinking of going to the LA Clippers if he can bring Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce with him.  If they do come over, Chris Paul will likely re-sign.  Have you ever heard of star players following a coach to another team like that?

Edited by Wilson Mui on 18 June 2013 at 7:01am
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 17 June 2013 at 11:35pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Seems win win.  Clips need Paul to stay and given Paul's approval of Rivers and KG, it would surely get him back.  They could add Pierce if Boston amnesties him; these would be two big upgrades plus one of the top coaches.   Boston has basically lost these pieces anyway, so why not take DeAndre Jordan and some picks and maybe Bledsoe in exchange.  They are all young and ideal for a rebuilding phase.  Rivers also seems unlikely to stay now regardless and has not appeared interested in rebuilding after nine seasons.

Boston has to do something and they have few options, so they could do a lot worse.
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 18 June 2013 at 8:59pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

That will make me hate the Clippers even more. I'm still
steaming over Stern interfering in the trade and seeing
that Chris Paul ended up in the wrong Los Angeles
uniform.

On the other hand, maybe it will also usher in Mike
D'Antoni getting canned and Phil Jackson coming back. I
said D'Antoni was a bad choice for the job from day one,
and I have yet to see much that makes me feel any
different.



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Rick Senger
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Posted: 18 June 2013 at 10:29pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Best game of the series by far... so many clutch plays, Duncan's incredible first half and LeBron's amazing fourth quarter.  The Spurs' big lead, Miami's stirring comeback and then the Spurs' impressive counter to retake before LeBron's and Allen's huge threes to force OT.  Don't know why the Spurs didn't have Tony Parker in there for the last play... everyone on the planet knew it was going to Green and Bosh stuffed it authoritatively (dangerously, but he got all ball fortunately.) 

There are going to be a lot of exhausted players for game seven Thursday but I can't wait!

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Rick Senger
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Posted: 19 June 2013 at 12:10am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

That will make me hate the Clippers even more.
*****
You can release the hate because as of this moment, the trade is dead.  The Clips refused give up the second pick and were reluctant to take on additional salary.  Rivers is a fantastic coach and Garnett is a first ballot HOFer but to be honest, I was rather surprised LA would give up DeAndre Jordan and those picks.  There are plenty of good coaches available out there (Lionel Hollins, George Karl, Brian Shaw, Byron Scott, even Phil Jackson is viable if he weren't engaged to Jeanie) and Garnett has maybe a year or two of diminishing effectiveness left and a big contract.  DeAndre Jordan and the picks would be salary relief and much fresher, younger blood with upside for Boston at the exact moment they need it most.  Also, I have a feeling Rivers ain't coming back to rebuild Boston regardless of the three years remaining on his contract.  And how can he stay now when he had both feet out the door and his heart clearly no longer with the Celtics.

What's interesting is what happens next... does Garnett stay in Boston or does he retire if Rivers exits?  Without Garnett and Rivers, does Boston still amnesty Pierce?  They have already made it clear that Courtney Lee and Jason Terry are cannon fodder.  Even Rondo has been the subject of trade debate and rumor.  Boston's best hope would seem to be getting just bad enough for one year to get a lottery pick and hope it is the road to respectability, but it's rarely as easy as that as tragic lottery picks Len Bias and Reggie Lewis demonstrate.
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Troy Nunis
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Posted: 19 June 2013 at 2:15am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

not to contradict your point that Lottery Picks are never a sure thing, but Reggie Lewis wasn't one, 22 pick of the draft - well out of the lottery.
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