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Rick Senger
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Posted: 19 December 2018 at 4:06pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Classic James Harden shuffle travel from the other night which rarely gets called:  link

Russell Westbrook's uncanny mocking imitation of it from five months ago in front of Harden:  link
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 19 December 2018 at 4:29pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Ha!! That Westbrook imitation made me laugh!

What was even funnier was the NBA's step by step explanation of the play.
Then admitting that missed it, DUH.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 04 January 2019 at 3:03am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

As we approach mid-season, the top five teams in the East all have better records than their top five West counterparts.  From there every Western team is better than their corresponding Eastern team but there's still more parity at present in both conferences than I can recall in a long time. Only two teams are winning 70% of their games (Milwaukee and Toronto) and just 5 games separate #1 from #8 in the West.  I don't know anybody who predicted the top team in the East would be Milwaukee or that Denver and OKC would be tops in the West or that Brooklyn and Sacramento would be in real contention for playoff spots. 
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 04 January 2019 at 9:40am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

With Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valencunias having been out for a string of games, the Raptors have been labouring for their wins and last night against the Spurs they just couldn't compete. Their 3-point % has been dire in the last few games. Kawhi Leonard has not stopped performing, but against the Jazz the other night it took career-best points total for both him and Pasal Siakam to narrowly get the win. They need Lowry back in a hurry.

The Bucks do look like genuine contenders, not least because of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is having another colossal season. And the scary thing is that he is only 24.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 05 January 2019 at 12:14pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

The Greek Freak is absolutely unstoppable in the lane or with a head of steam (ala James) but he's a better rebounder and there are few guys at 6'11" who dish out 6.2 assists per game.  I also like that his stats keep improving incrementally each year, particularly shooting, rebounding and assists, which have all gone up in each of his six seasons.  That shows he's not just relying on his athleticism but is actually learning and improving. 
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 05 January 2019 at 10:17pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Great bounce-back for the Raptors against the Bucks in Minnesota today. Siakam with a new career-best 30 points and the defence was great all-round from the starters. Still concerns over the effectiveness of the bench players. Be interesting to see if Kawhai Leonard continues to sit out back-to-back games with the game against the Pacers on Sunday.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 17 January 2019 at 11:58am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

As we enter the second half, I'm more confused than ever about Boston.  Great win vs. Toronto last night and they get up for the big teams (wins vs OKC, Milwaukee, Indiana, 2-1 vs. Toronto, 2-0 vs Philly) but their inconsistency is shameful (sleepwalk losses vs. Phoenix, Orlando and the Knicks among many others.)  Clearly Kyrie is trying to mentor them to a championship ala LeBron but he's much less skilled at the leadership game and his recent criticisms haven't gone down well.

Harden is playing his ass off (his current scoring streak for the past 20 games is only equaled by 4 other players all-time (9 40 plus point games in his last 12.))  He may win another MVP but despite Houston's recent surge they can't go anywhere without Paul and Capela as shown by their OT loss to Brooklyn last night despite Harden's 58.

The Warriors have quietly regained the west top spot but after playing  the Clips tomorrow we could know a lot more.  When Boogie debuts after rehabbing his achilles for a year he most likely won't have a definitive game either way but if he even gets just 15 and 8 I'm cashing in my chips because combined with Curry's recent explosion, the Warriors just have way too much firepower no matter how complacent they get.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 17 January 2019 at 1:44pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Interesting discussion between Pippen and Tracy McGrady on how to guard James Harden and Michael Jordan.  Basically, exactly opposite approaches for each.  link
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 18 January 2019 at 1:45am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

FiveThirtyEight had an article on James Hardenís high usage rate that
was interesting. He is at 40% now. No team with a player with a rate
over 35% has ever won an NBA title that season. In fact, the highest
seven players for the season usually get knocked out in the first round.

Separately, the Nets have really impressed me this season. They have
no franchise player, yet they are sitting in sixth place in the East.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 18 January 2019 at 4:31pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Yeah, 40% seems unsustainable for a team that wants to win if for no other reason than that no player can reasonably keep that up plus you need multiple reliable options in the playoffs. 

Brooklyn's young core is maturing.  D'Angelo Russell is having his best year, La Vert's gruesome Hayward-looking injury interrupted a promising season but he looks to return later this year, Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen are both clearly better and mid-second round pick Latvian Rodions Kurucs is overachieving, giving them 10 a night but more like 14 or 15 in the last month.

Both reigning MVP Harden and consecutive Finals MVP Durant likely won't be voted into the All Star Game by the fans.   Luka Doncic and Paul George are in front of Durant and Derrick Rose (!) and Curry are outpacing Harden.   Rose is having a solid comeback year and should get most improved player consideration but how do you pick him over Durant whose stats dwarf Rose's top to bottom plus Rose's team won't make the playoffs?  Similarly, Doncic is a polished rookie but his getting more votes than both Harden and Curry is absurd given his numbers and Dallas' non-playoff status.  They'll get in thanks to the coaches but come on fans!


Edited by Rick Senger on 18 January 2019 at 5:50pm
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