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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 16 April 2019 at 12:41pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I really would like to see whoever wins the Portand-OKC matchup make it to the Finals, but it'll probably be Golden State again. Meaning I'll be for whoever they go up against, and the Warriors will win again.


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Rick Senger
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Posted: 16 April 2019 at 5:38pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I've been saying GS would win from the moment they signed Cousins.  With Cousins gone, I think Houston has a reasonable shot assuming Harden continues to play out of his mind.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 21 April 2019 at 8:57am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

EMBIIIID!  31 points in 32 minutes with 16 rebs, 7 assists and 6 blocks, all on creaky knees he wasn't even sure would let him play until game time.  He talks some controversial smack but I pretty much agree that his purported flagrant 1 was just a good, hard NBA playoff foul (and 90% ball) even though it led to two ejections.  I also have to agree that Dudley (who Embiid called "a nobody"... and he kind of is) and Brooklyn are looking soft for all their whining.  This is the post season and you can't and shouldn't win a damn thing if you don't stand up to pressure and intimidation.  Embiid is a bit of a bully in the best possible way and Brooklyn has yet to learn the only way to fight that is to directly confront him and bully right back.  They basically let Embiid do what he wanted and Joel made them pay with a fantastic game.
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Jozef Brandt
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Posted: 24 April 2019 at 1:25am | IP Logged | 4 post reply


Lillard. 
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 24 April 2019 at 8:48am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Great game and shot.  And OKC is out in the 1st round again.  
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 25 April 2019 at 8:59am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

The #8 Clips stun GS at Oracle again.  Montrezl Harrell has really come on in this series and destroyed the Warriors with 4 or 5 dunks and a late key stuff at the other end.  Seems impossible LA could beat GS twice more but cracks continue to appear on their title defense. 
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 26 April 2019 at 7:38am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

OKC is never going to win a championship as long as Russ keeps
playing the way he does no matter how many triple-doubles he gets.
He took like 10 shots more than PG and scored about the same
amount of points. He is a stat-chaser and people see that.

Regarding Montreal Harrell, GSW needs to play him harder. Draymond
Green seems to be friends with him. They needs to do what Steve
Adams did to Enes Kanter. Adams dislocated the guy’s shoulder after
Kanter had a couple of good games!
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 26 April 2019 at 10:22am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Westbrook had a bad series but the media has really sledgehammered him.   At 6'3" he's averaged more than 10 rebounds for three straight seasons.  I doubt anyone that tall has ever done that for one season in the history of the league, let alone 3.   He's also averaged a triple double 3 straight years.  We know that's never been done.  He's a fearless slasher who takes tons of physical abuse in the lane and won't back down against anyone.   I don't like that people minimize the work Russ puts in as mere "stat chasing."   If it wasn't incredibly hard, someone else would have done it in the last 57 years. 

Russ' big flaw is he jacks up way too many low percentage shots.  He's terrible at all those long 2's and every 3 pointer and it costs OKC games.  Russ also tries to play hero ball at the end of games when he's exhausted.  He needs to defer more, particularly to a great player like PG as you suggest. 

Totally agree that GS' defense against Harrell (and in general) has been shitty.  I expect a much better effort in game six. 
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 26 April 2019 at 5:34pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Westbrook is talented for sure, but he is definitely padding his stats.
Most of the rebounds he is getting is on the defensive end and
uncontested. His teammates are letting him get those. Some have
pointed out he leaves the man he is supposed to be covering to get into
a better position for a rebound.

As for assists, he hogs the ball waiting for a pick and roll or drive and
kick out opportunity so that he can get an assist. There’s no ball
movement. The Thunder had the fewest passes in the league and was
in the bottom 10 in assists.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 27 April 2019 at 12:09am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I agree he hogs the ball.   Particularly late in games when he holds it until it's either clear he can't get off a good shot and dumps it to a teammate for a desperation heave or he takes a really hard shot himself (often long range, NOT his game.)  Offensively his three percentage has regressed to below 30% which is horrific and he takes way too many.  Still, despite OKC bogging down at times, they were 7th in scoring and Russ dished two more assists than any other player in the league (he also led the league last year.)  He's a hog but he is an excellent and capable passer when he wants, too. 

Frankly I think some of his problem is conditioning and just overtaxing himself.  He gets tired and hasn't learned how to trust other teammates to carry the load.  He's going to be 31 later this year and he's already showing signs of wear and tear and slightly slowing down.  It doesn't help that OKC is not the deepest team in the league so that problem is unlikely to go away.  

I couldn't disagree more with you about rebounds.  Of course he gets more defensive rebounds.  Defensive rebounds are about boxing out and position and that's his strength.   Offensive rebounds require height and he's the shortest guy on the court most of the time.   He's not just a great rebounder for his size, he's the best rebounding point guard that has ever played the game these past three years and it's not remotely close.  He's more than a full rebound better than the next closest guy (the super-talented Fat Lever) and Fat was about a rebound better than the guy closest to him.  Fat wasn't nearly the scorer or disher Westbrook is.  I'm sure his teammates defer to him and the press loves to suggest the stats are padded but come on... even with padding he's so far ahead of every player of his height and many significantly taller past or present that it's a joke. No one 6'3" has ever averaged close ten boards, much less done it three years straight.  We're talking more than a thousand PGs over 75 years.  Knock him for being a ball hog or taking a high volume of low percentage shots or being out of control at times but cut the guy some slack.  He's completely rewritten the record book on rebounding for a guy his size and it will never happen again after he's gone.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 27 April 2019 at 10:47am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I'm only 5'9" and have always appreciated little guys who scrap on the court so this whole media stat padding claim on Russ' rebounds sticks in my craw.  I drilled a little deeper this morning to see if I could validate it by looking at every OKC player's rebounding stats this year versus prior years.  Presumably their numbers would be a bit lower this year to facilitate Russ' high numbers if they're "gifting" him rebounds.

The results:  All five OKC starters (the guys who play the most minutes and have the most rebound chances / impact on the numbers) had their all-time career highs in rebounds this year.

Russ 11.1 (11 year career high)
Paul George 8.2 (9 year career high)
Steven Adams 9.5 (6 year career high)
Jerami Grant 5.2 (5 year career high)
Terrance Ferguson 1.9 (2 year career high)

Other impact players:

Dennis Shroder 3.6 (6 year career high)

The only other guy to play at least 30 games and average at least 19 minutes a game was Alex Abrines, who set his all-time high in rebounds this year as well.

The only players who were down in rebounds were Nerlens Noel, Patrick Patterson and Raymond Felton which makes sense since they all had career lows in minutes played (13, 13 and 11) and barely got in games. Noel's rebounds per 36 minutes were still tied for the second best of his career.  Felton was once a fine player but has fallen way off and is basically done; Patterson is also clearly in decline after 10 years.  Statistically, Felton's and Patterson's rebounds per 36 minutes still correlated with their career numbers so they weren't giving away rebounds in their limited play.

Markieff Morris only played 26 games and was used sparingly but his rebounds per 36 minutes were still at his all-time high in 8 seasons of play. 

Everyone else (all the scrubs) were either tied with or set their all-time best rebounding averages. 

I don't see how players can give away rebounds to Russ and still basically all have a career rebounding years. 
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 27 April 2019 at 8:06pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Kawhai Leonard certainly seems to enjoy playing the 76ers.

45 points in a playoff game is pretty good going.
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 28 April 2019 at 1:36pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

The players have seen their minutes go up, so that may partly explain
why their rebounds are also up.

I think Westbrook is mainly getting his extra rebounds from Steven
Adams. Adams has more offensive rebounds than defensive rebounds
the last two seasons, which is opposite of pretty much everyone else in
the league. There are plenty of clips showing Adams tapping the ball to
Westbrook or letting him chase it down even though he is nearby. Also,
you probably remember Melo basically said Russ was stealing
rebounds. If Russ got just two fewer rebounds a game, his average
triple-double season would be gone.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 29 April 2019 at 9:44am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Melo despised his time in OKC and vice versa so I chalk that up to sour grapes and jealousy.   Melo was quickly de-emphasized in OKC and I'm sure he believes his lessened opportunities were the result of Westbrook having the reins.  He's probably right.

Regarding Adams tapping it to Russ, if a big sees that the PG can get an uncontested rebound, it behooves them to let the PG have it because that's the ultimate goal anyway... get the ball in the hands of the playmaker as soon possible.  The earlier it happens, the more likely it leads to a bucket and the less likely there is a turnover.  Most bigs are going to pass it to the PG asap anyway; with a few exceptions PGs bring it up past midcourt about 90-95% of the time.  I watched a number of OKC games this season and probably saw that happen twice but I see that happen on most teams.  I've seen nothing unusual about OKC's rebounding in my limited sample. 

I don't know why you seem to want to minimize Russ' mad rebounding skills but I guess we're not going to change each other's minds.  He's a player with lots of strengths and lots of liabilities but there's nobody who hustles harder in every game and to me he's the best glass cleaning little guy who ever lived.  Even if you believe he doesn't deserve a couple rebounds a game because you think other players somehow want to give him their rebounds (which I don't believe happens nearly as much as you), the "revised" numbers still say he's the best rebounding little guy ever. 


Edited by Rick Senger on 29 April 2019 at 10:10am
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 29 April 2019 at 1:49pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Boston's surprisingly easy game 1 win in Milwaukee demonstrates to me how important Brogdon is on that team; Bledsoe should improve but there are levels to PG and below him the dropoff is steep while the Celtics have both Kyrie and Rozier.   The Bucks need game 2 but assuming Brogdon can go after that, the series is far from over.  If Brogdon can't, Boston has a real chance.  I expect the Greek Freak to have a better next game but Tatum had an even worse game 1 so that may even out.   PG play and the Bucks' supporting cast (presently their achilles heels) could decide it.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 01 May 2019 at 10:05am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Curry and Harden's wounds in game two remind me how brutal the NBA can be.  
I've never dislocated a finger but from what friends have said, just because it gets popped back in place doesn't mean it's not still yaked and quite painful for quite a while after.



Green's scratches of both of Harden's eyes and one eyelid (lots of blood) left Harden "barely able to see" and clearly compromised.   I used to like Green (he is gritty and hustles) and this may have been entirely incidental but he has committed too many cheap shots, whined too much and been in the middle of too many controversies over the years.  I hope both Curry and Harden can recover because this is the series everyone has been waiting for and it won't be the same without those two stars.

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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 01 May 2019 at 1:08pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I want the Warriors to win, but not like this. Green did
the same shit to LeBron James and JJ Redick.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 03 May 2019 at 10:09am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Looks like Curry and Harden will both be fine.  Ironically the most anticipated and contested series is the only one that's 2-0.  Houston must win game 3 or it's farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies. 

I'm up in the air about the rest.  Streaking Toronto seemed ready to dispatch Philly with Embiid hurting but someone forgot to tell Embiid in game 3.  I think the winner of game 4 takes that one. 

Boston / Milwaukee is also confounding.  The Celtics emphatically pulled away late in game one as Horford smothered the Greek Freak but Milwaukee crushed them late in game two.  Tatum needs to wake up and I'd expect Kyrie to bounce back but tonight's game looms large with Brogdon almost ready to return. 

Portland / Denver is kind of the forgotten series but when Lillard goes 5 for 17 with his fewest assists in a month and Portland still wins, anything can happen.
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 05 May 2019 at 10:20am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

If Kawhi Leonard leaves the Raptors, it
will likely be because of the poor play of
Kyle Lowry. They can't win a championship
with Lowry as the second scoring option.

What a waste of Diamond's triple double
and KD's 40+ point game. Warriors should
have won Game 3 last night. It was a weird
night for Curry. He usually finishes well
at the basket, but he missed several
layups that cost them the game.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 05 May 2019 at 11:46am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Curry was off and that wide open stuff miss in the last 20 seconds was surprising but they were down by 5 so bizarre as it was I don't think it was the decider.  Durant and Harden were both impressive but it's usually not healthy for one guy to take more than 30 shots on either team.  Houston's alive but game four is another must win.

I'm curious to see Philly / Toronto today.  I agree Lowry's problematic.  His bad playoff showing is nothing new but this year feels worse.  Looking at his numbers in general, it's clear he's crested and is on the downslope.  The Raptors don't have many options (Jeremy Lin is hurt, Van Vleet is okay but not ready for primetime).  If not for Siakam's emergence the Raptors would be doomed between Gasol's declining play and Ibaka's halved playoff point production.  If Toronto loses today they're looking like another really, really good team that never breaks through ala OKC in the last decade.

On the other hand, if Philly gets to the Finals, they face equally big questions.  Do you break the bank and max out Jimmy Butler who will be 30 this year and has disrupted each of his previous teams?  What about Tobias Harris who has been quieter this post-season though generally steady and who will also be a 25+ mill guy?  Simmons is a talented young slasher / defender but his lack of any outside shot is a major drawback.  Embiid is at present a world shaker but the history of bigs with his knee issues is not pretty and almost never improves.  The 76ers are incredibly compelling and presently good but each of the big four has issues so making bets on all four would be cap crushing and hugely risky.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 05 May 2019 at 12:25pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

And now Siakam is doubtful for today.  The pundits' dirt is mounding Toronto's grave. 


Edited by Rick Senger on 05 May 2019 at 2:14pm
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 05 May 2019 at 5:20pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

The unpredictability of Embiid's knees demonstrates Philly's conundrum.  With him effective they've handled Toronto, particularly in the dominating game three.  Just one game later with him clearly hurting and Kawhi playing superbly, Philly looked vulnerable and fell at home.  Without an effective paint game, Philly has to rely on outside shots and threes.  They've been an average three shooting team in the playoffs but they've taken the 2nd fewest 3s of any playoff team and are much better when Embiid or Simmons penetrates then kicks it out to a wide open guy on the line rather than just hoisting them up as they did today, often covered tightly (as Tobias Harris did to the tune of 2 of 13 three makes.)  
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 07 May 2019 at 9:46am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Great win for Houston and particularly for Harden, who is arguably having his best playoffs ever and has risen to the challenge after previously disappointing in prior playoff runs.  He's not as accurate as usual but he's carrying the offense and hitting at key moments.  It's a better world when someone can credibly challenge GS and with Tucker and Gordon also stepping up, the Rockets look worthy and dangerous. 
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 09 May 2019 at 9:42am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Irving's semi-disastrous performance vs. Milwaukee leaves Boston fans wondering whether it's better to re-sign him to a long term max deal or let him go for nothing.  It's interesting that the league has designed contracts so that the player's best option is to wait for free agency when they can get the extra year and a better contract from their team rather than signing mid-season; certainly the result gives players more power but it also leaves some teams in uncertain positions with very hard choices.  Boston winds up with zero if Irving walks rather than being traded and that is a devastating blow ala LeBron leaving Cleveland (or Miami before that).  I'm not saying Irving is in the same league as LeBron talentwise (he's definitely not) but he is a highly valuable piece on a chessboard and even if Boston doesn't really want him long term because of toxic chemistry, etc. it's likely in Ainge's best interest to re-sign him in the hopes of attracting Davis or other free agents and trade Kyrie later if it doesn't work.  That's as tricky a dance as there is and if Kyrie senses it (or has had enough of trying to lead Boston's youth), he's gone.
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Marc Foxx
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Posted: 10 May 2019 at 8:19am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Damn, Philly was monstrous last night! Let's hope they can take that momentum back to Toronto on Sunday!
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