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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 31 May 2019 at 5:29am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I agreed with Vegas going into the series: Toronto
favored in game 1, Warriors favored to win the series.
I predicted Warriors in six. Glad it won't be a sweep.
Looking forward to what I think will be a competitive
series.

Siakam's performance reminded me of Brooke Lopez's game
one display for Milwaukee. I think Warriors bounce back
strong in game 2.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 31 May 2019 at 2:49pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I've long felt the Raptors were very talented underachievers.  NOT this year.  Kawhi's epic game seven winner started it.  Toronto's 4 game sweep over a good Milwaukee team after being down 2-0 continued it.  Finding a way to win in last night's game one despite Kawhi clearly not being right and Lowry going 2 of 9 confirmed it.  Siakam hit 11 straight shots at one point in his first NBA Finals game ever and pretty much won the game for Toronto but it's hard to imagine Draymond Green not defending him better going forward. 

There's no question GS can play better but it's not like Curry and Klay didn't play well (55 pts between them... 7/15 on threes) and Draymond got a triple double.  But someone else needs to step up be it Iguodala or Cousins or Looney.  More importantly, the whole team needs to pick it up defensively.  You won't win letting Toronto shoot over 50%.

I assume Siakam comes down to earth and Lowry plays better, which is basically a wash.  For me it comes down to the health of Kawhi and Iguodala.  Kawhi looked worse last night after five days of rest than he did in game six.  Iguodala is key both on offense and particularly on defense if Durant can't go and he was hobbling at the end.  Toronto must win game two but if they do, this is a real series.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 31 May 2019 at 8:13pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Siakam if he stays fit is capable of playing like that again. The way he played against Milwaukee was unusually poor. The beauty of it is that if GSW try and tighten up defensively on Siakam now, they presumably have to loosen up on Kawhi.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 03 June 2019 at 9:57am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

THAT was the GS defense I know, particularly in the third quarter 18-0 run. 
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 05 June 2019 at 9:44pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Good all round performance by the Raptors starters tonight. Amazing scoring from Steph Curry, but ended up being quite comfortable for Toronto in the end -- or at least, not too uncomfortable. Have to imagine it'll be a much harder task to repeat the result on Friday with the return of Klay Thompson.

Edited by Peter Martin on 05 June 2019 at 9:47pm
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 06 June 2019 at 10:58am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I picked GS to win before the season started (not hard) but I really didn't and don't want them to win.  Durant's petulance with the media and his burner accounts where he attacks fans under fake names, Draymond's whining and flopping and dirty plays, these aren't guys I want to root for.  That said, they are very talented and the team is just awesome.  And I like Steph and Klay and Kerr.  So, mixed feelings.

Toronto plays the right way.  Kawhi keeps his head down, never complains, never does anything but play beautiful, occasionally physical basketball.  Lowry is a talented two way player who grinds and takes more charges than anyone.  Gasol's a steady, hustling big and former defensive player of the year.   What's not to like?  I didn't want to like Nurse because he replaced Casey but he seems like a good guy. 

But I don't want them to win this way.  I know Kawhi is hurting as is Iguodala (and Cousins is recovering and Looney is out), but this just isn't a legit Finals if we don't see Durant and Thompson, two of the top three GS players.  Assuming they're both back on Friday, game four should be fascinating and I wouldn't assume a cake walk.  GS won't know how either will perform and reintegrating Durant after 10 games could be initially bumpy.


Edited by Rick Senger on 06 June 2019 at 11:14am
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 06 June 2019 at 3:27pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

And Durant is confirmed out for game four.  He still has yet to practice so it's looking more possible he may not come back this year or be significantly compromised if he does.  Just about unprecedented pressure now on the Splash Brothers (particularly Klay) to perform and avoid going down 3-1 heading back to Toronto. 
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 07 June 2019 at 10:26pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Klay looked good offensively, but some signs defensively that the hamstring may have been hampering him. Another massive performance from Leonard. Poor Fred Van Vleet is on his second lot of stitches this post-season. At least he played excellently this time, but losing a tooth via an elbow that didn't even land in the mouth is shocking luck.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 08 June 2019 at 7:31am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Board man gets paid.

Barring the dramatic return of Kevin Durant (and the stage is perfectly set), GS is in serious trouble.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 09 June 2019 at 12:37pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Durant will reportedly scrimmage today for the first time since the injury a month ago.   No idea if he will go tomorrow but even if he can, it's a gamble to reinsert him for the first time in a month in a close out game on the road though obviously the temptation is almost irresistible.   Looney played game four with a very painful fractured collarbone so GS is leaving no stone unturned. 

Edited by Rick Senger on 09 June 2019 at 12:42pm
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 10 June 2019 at 4:41pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Durant will reportedly start and has no minutes restriction.   Can he be effective after 33 days removed from live competition?  If the answer is yes, things just got very interesting.  Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cement your legend in three games.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 10 June 2019 at 11:07pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Unbelievable swings tonight.  Durant was really impressive and helped build GS's lead to 13 before his devastating achilles injury.   No word on the severity but it's almost certain he's done for 2019 and history says players over 30 struggle to come all the way back from this when its serious (he'll be 31 in a few months).   I don't love Durant but that's terrible outcome he didn't deserve. 

When Toronto came back and got up 6 with about 2 minutes left on Kawhi's heroics, it seemed to be over.  But Nick Nurse's ill-advised timeout interrupted the Raptors'  momentum and GS regrouped.  Toronto turned cold and had no answer for three straight late threes by the Splash Bros.  I wish Kawhi had taken more of the late shots but GS defended him really well. 

GS played like champions but they can't expect to shoot 20 for 42 on threes again and they still only won by one point.  With Durant done, Iguodala will continue to log way more minutes than he should and Looney reaggravated his injury so he's questionable.  I just see Toronto having more health and more guns and the deeper this series goes, the more tired GS is going to get.  Cousins has been wildly inconsistent and tonight played well on offense but miserably on defense; with the injuries GS is going to have to give him some real minutes and needs him to step up.


Edited by Rick Senger on 10 June 2019 at 11:18pm
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 10 June 2019 at 11:51pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I think the Warriors are pretty much done. Maybe they can win one
more at home. They just donít have the bench to compete with the
Raptors.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 13 June 2019 at 9:52pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

So close all game. Crazy pressure on Leonard at the end with those free throws. His arms and legs must have felt weak, but the throws were solid as a rock. Lowry on fire in the first quarter, Van Vleet a massive contribution from the bench, and he's been great this whole series against the Warriors. History in the making!
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 13 June 2019 at 11:45pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Add Klay to the list of players with a torn ACL. Damn.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 14 June 2019 at 12:34am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Toronto almost gave away the game with Klay and Durant both gone but Van Vleet and Siakam and Ibaka refused to let it happen and Kawhi had just enough at the end.  Lowry played great in the first half but dried up later.   It's a good thing he had the hot start because it mostly offset strong offense by Iguodala and Cousins.   Draymond had a great game (11 / 19 / 13 / 3 steals / 2 blocks but 8 turnovers) but Klay was on fire when he fell.  Torn ACLs are typically a 6 to 9 month proposition just to return to normal physical activity so it's possible Klay won't play at all next season though he could also be back and mostly in shape by the playoffs.   But how many can GS win without two of their five starters?

Really curious to see where Kawhi and Klay and Durant and Kyrie and AD and Butler and Tobias Harris and Kemba wind up... Klay seems sure to be back in GS.  Durant is somewhat less certain though NY seems likely to pay up despite his situation.  Kyrie might reconsider Brooklyn now that Durant is at least a year away; if Boston can snag AD, the path to a championship is a lot clearer and Kyrie might be wise to stick it out with GS apparently compromised next year and Kawhi possibly leaving for LA. 

It's pretty unusual for both Finals teams to be so questionable to return next year.   Without Kawhi, Toronto seems unlikely to do nearly as well.  Even if Durant opts in and Klay resigns, both face an uphill struggle to get back on the court for at least a lot of the year. 

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Rick Senger
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Posted: 14 June 2019 at 9:53am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

For all their similarities in style, I'm struck by how different these teams were in makeup.  GS had two league MVPs, two Finals MVPs, a Defensive Player of the Year and five All Stars including two All Star sons of talented NBA vets and All Americans. Tons of high first round picks.  The addition of DeMarcus Cousins made them arguably the greatest topline starting five in history when healthy.  This team was stacked with recognized top prospects and golden boys (Durant #2, Bogut #1, Cousins #5, Iguodala #9, Livingston #4, Curry #7, Klay #11, Draymond #35 was among the lowest on the team.)  Multiple injuries ultimately turned them into the underdogs as the series progressed but because of their mythical status, it was hard to accept.

Toronto had two All Stars and two former Defensive Players of the Year but this was a team of unheralded longshots and jimmy lunchpails who vastly exceeded expectations.  Guys from small schools, some from overseas, some undrafted, none expected to be that impactful.  Kawhi Leonard was the highest player drafted at #15 but was never considered a serious offensive threat until maybe his fourth year in the league.  Lowry #24.  Siakam #27.  Gasol #48.  Danny Green #46.  Ibaka #24.  Jeremy Lin (undrafted).  Norm Powell #46.  Anunuoby #23.  Van Vleet (undrafted).  They have developed into good players and a particularly strong defensive unit, but I suspect the way many had to  claw their way into the league surely informed their ability to relentlessly attack the initially heavily favored Warriors. 

As the ultimate underdog Van Vleet put it in his postgame presser, "People don't view us (as a super team)  because (we're) untraditional, (we're) not the glam stars, none of our guys other than Kawhi are in that big boy club.  We have guys who had to get it the long way, who had to get it out of the mud, who had to get it against the grain.  We got a team full of them coming from all different  places, all walks of life, all different life stories to get to this moment, but we got some talent."


Edited by Rick Senger on 14 June 2019 at 9:57am
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 14 June 2019 at 9:24pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

I'm just glad the Warriors didn't win. It being the Raptors' first ever title is great, but I honestly wouldn't care who the Warriors played, as long as they lost.


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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 15 June 2019 at 2:51pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

I was surprised to hear Bob Meyer say they still plan to
offer Klay and KD max contracts despite their injuries. I
have to admire how much loyalty management is showing
their star players unlike the way the Celtics and Pelicans
were to Isaiah Thomas and Boogie Cousins, respectively.

Steve Kerr also would be happy to have Cousins back.
Personally, I don't think Cousins has played particularly
well this season.

If Shaun Livingston retires, I would love to see Jeremy
Lin join the team.

Edited by Wilson Mui on 15 June 2019 at 2:56pm
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 15 June 2019 at 8:23pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

So.....how about that Lakers trade for Anthony Davis?

I kind of wish they had kept Brandon Ingram, but otherwise I like it. 

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Rick Senger
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Posted: 15 June 2019 at 9:28pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Seismic trade... the Lakers went all in and basically cleaned out the roster other than Kuzma and James along with a stunning three first round picks (including #4 this year).  They still have a $30 mill max slot to add another really good player and with LeBron and AD in place that presumably won't be as hard even with all the front office turmoil.  New Orleans gets Ingram, Ball and Hart... three young players with much potential though Ingram is still recovering from a blood clot issue and Ball has been a disappointment thus far.  With both LeBron and AD on board now, I just had the scary thought... what if Kawhi signs on?  It would be a bit of a logam at Forward but LeBron can basically a distributor and AD can play center.  Everyone has assumed Kawhi will go to the Clippers if he comes to LA but why not the Lakers, who are already a sure playoff team with AD and would become instant contenders / favorites with Kawhi. 

Sounds like Boston decided not to go all in on their offer, fearing AD would just be a one year rental.  Boston must now go to plan B and with Kyrie Irving reportedly leaving, it's going to be tricky.  Assuming no other blockbuster trade is on the horizon, they must move quickly to mend fences with Jaylen Brown, Jason Tatum and Marcus Morris, all of whom were rumored trade bait all season.  They must also make a decision on whether to promote free agent Terry Rozier, a solid backup PG to Kyrie, who has threatened to leave if Kyrie stays.  To me it's a no-brainer; Rozier will be relatively cheap and proved his value a year ago when Kyrie was out long term.   Boston has some cap room with Kyrie leaving and must move fast to snap up one of the other consolation prizes.  In a way NO and LA did them a favor by resolving the AD issue early enough that they seemingly have enough time to switch gears and targets.  No matter what, though, they need to do SOMETHING... Hayward should continue to improve but it's possible he will never be the player he once was and with Irving's apparent departure and Horford aging, they need to bring in some help fast.
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 15 June 2019 at 11:14pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

A lot of people think the Lakers gave up too much to acquire AD and crippled the team. I don't agree.

And of course, Lavar Ball made a rant saying the Lakers would never win a championship without Lonzo. He's since walked it back, but I'm about at the point where I wish Lonzo would end up out of the league and has to go play in Europe just so Lavar shuts up. Its hilarious, because Lonzo is eventually going to end up a career bench player unless something drastic happens. If I was a GM and Lonzo Ball was on the team's roster, the first thing I would do would be to trade or release him. He doesn't play aggressive enough. Him no longer being a Laker is great.

And I dread the day Lonzo is on a championship team. Because Lavar will be more unsufferable than ever.

*edit* Rick, I think we're more likely to see Kyrie a Laker than Kawhi. But I don't think the team will land either one.



Edited by Brian Floyd on 15 June 2019 at 11:18pm
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 16 June 2019 at 12:22am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Yeah, I've sensed Kawhi doesn't want to play with LeBron but perhaps  the lure of championships might change his mind, who knows?  LA needs a PG for sure and Kemba Walker is apparently the Lakers' first choice to take the max slot available.  He would fill that PG void but Kemba has claimed he wants to stay in Charlotte and he can accept a much larger supermax from the Hornets than the Lakers can offer.   I've heard the Kyrie rumors as well but I also don't see it happening.   Other viable PGs include Ricky Rubio (not my first choice), Derrick Rose (great comeback last year but health is forever a concern).  Even though he's limited offensively, Patrrick Beverley's scrappy defense would make a good backstop and he'll likely be available for cheap.  But he's not a starter.  Malcolm Brogdon is an excellent shooting young PG but he's restricted so it's unlikely to pry him away from the Bucks. 
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 16 June 2019 at 1:27am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

I honestly don't know what they'll do for a PG. But I do not want them to get Derrick Rose for that. Not a fan of Rubio, either.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 16 June 2019 at 2:20pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

The Lakers should easily be able to re-sign Rondo if they want him (LeBron apparently likes him... I do, too.)  But Rondo is really not a good starting PG at this point with his injury history and weak outside shot.

I'm curious to see how New Orleans does... they may be better than many think with Zion Williamson filling the AD slot, either a decent vet or the #4 pick if they keep it, Jrue Holiday a solid starting PG if they keep him, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball at backup PG.   If they could find a way to keep Julius Randle, this is a super-young team with real potential and a certainty to only get better assuming they stay healthy. 
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