Saturday, May 30, 2015

Do You Remember The Klay and Love Trade Talks?

Do you remember the Klay Thompson and Kevin Love trade talks. Back when Kevin Love wanted to be traded from Minnesota and Minnesota was offering Kevin Love for Klay Thompson. But in the end, the Warriors said no and the Wolves ended up trading him off to the Cavs. Let's take a look at how it would affect the 4 teams.
"Kevin Love (15847116411)" by Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA - Kevin Love. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
"Klay Thompson in 2015" by Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA - Klay Thompson. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Cavaliers: If Love was traded to the Warriors, the Cavs would have Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, unless they found another team to trade them off to. But they wanted Love. Who else would be willing to trade off a franchise PF for these 2 first picks in the NBA draft two consecutive years. I'll tell you who. The 76ers. Of course this team would trade off Thaddeus Young, K.J. McDaniels, and draft picks for Wiggy and Bennett. They would be more than willing to do that. So you would probably see Thaddeus Young on this team and I honestly think that he would fit better for that role in Cleveland than Love. K.J. McDaniels would be a solid role player for the team. Now, I could go and breakdown how this would affect the Nets and all of that, but I'm not going to.

76ers: The 76ers would have Wiggins and Bennett (most likely). They would start both of them and they wouldn't have Mbah a Moute. It would be Carter-Williams, Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Nerleans Noel, and most likely Freeland. Carter-Williams wouldn't be traded off since they have all the talent they want as it will be a great starting 5 when Embiid comes back. This would be a team how the Timberwolves are except with even more potential. This would be a dominating future team.

Timberwolves: This would be a playoff team. They would have David Lee and Klay Thompson starting along with Rubio, Pekovic, and Brewer. Along with LaVine, Budinger, Mo Williams, Shabazz Muhammad, and Dieng off the bench. Great roster. I would actually expect this team to make the playoffs. Klay Thompson would work so well with Rubio and Klay would become an all-star. Brewer wouldn't be traded. Neither would Mo Williams. This would be a content team and they really wouldn't be the future team that you would think. The big thing though, K.G. might not come back to the Wolves. I honestly think that Kevin Garnett wouldn't come back to the Wolves unless the Wolves were to trade off David Lee for him. There would be no Wiggins on this team. That just wouldn't be there. It would be a totally different team with Klay Thompson as the face of it.

Warriors: The Warriors would take a big effect. They would have Curry passing to Love off great pick and pops with Kevin Martin coming off of weak side screens. That would be amazing. I honestly thought at the time that if the Warriors made this trade, they would be the best team in the NBA. I honestly thought they made a big mistake. And I still do. I think that if they took the trade, you would have so much better of a team. I know Klay is great. I know that. But Klay Thompson and a David Lee who has rarely played at all this season for Kevin Love and Kevin Martin who are both averaged over 15 PPG this season. I'd say that it would be worth it. That would be a great team. Not only that but you would have Draymond Green coming off the bench. A great player coming off the bench. So your bench would have a lot of strength. This team would have been unstoppable. And they are right now to.

So as you can see, it's very complicated. And I just did those 4 teams. As you can see, the Warriors and the Cavs would still be great, but the Wolves and the 76ers would have big changes.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Throwback Thursday (NBA Finals Edition)

"Rick Barry" by Corey Carter from Fremont, US - Rick Berry. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
Today on Thursday, let's go back to 1975 where the Warriors won their last Championship over the Washington Bullets. It has been a long time since Warriors fans have had something to cheer about. Unless your a band-wagoner, then you just go around to the winning teams, and your always cheering and defending your team that your with for .5 to 2 years. But if you always have been a Warriors fan, this is your time to cheer, because you might not have another chance for another 40 years. So live while your young. You'd rather cheer at the age of 40 instead of 80, so do it now because you might not get another chance for a long, long time. And you band-wagoners can just do what ever the heck you want.

Also, you Cavs fans could actually get to see one of your teams win something. Remember this.

"LeBron James 18112009 1" by Keith Allison from Kinston, USA - LeBron James. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
Yeah, that was LeBron's first time meeting with the Spurs in the Finals. Yeah, first time was not the charm. You people lost. But, to be fair, the Cavs were from the East and didn't have the best roster against a Timmy Duncan in his prime, Manu Ginobili playing great, and Tony Parker averaging about 20 PPG in the playoffs. Also, LeBron wasn't the great LeBron at that point. Tell me, is there anyone there who is in the Cavs picture (besides LeBron) who now starts for any team in the NBA. No. This was really a team that has no meaning now except for LeBron. So let's be fair, the Cavs didn't stand a chance this year. But now they have 2 all-stars, and great role players. Also, LeBron is way more developed now. So yes, this team is so much better now and they have a better chance of winning. However, they could use Kevin Love. But you Cavs fans need to cheer, because you haven't had much to cheer about out of the last 70 years. Although, you band-wagoners get to cheer every year so you just do what you want.

While we look at these pictures and remember, keep in mind, history is in the making.

The NBA Finals Outlook (Against the Grain Sports)

I am proud to announce that Jerod McCain from has come to NBA Inside The Play to give us his finals outlook. Here it is:

"NBA Trophy2" by NBA_Trophy.png: *NBA_Trophy.jpg: inboundpass from Manila, Philippinesderivative work: JoeJohnson2 (talk)derivative work: JoeJohnson2 (talk) - NBA_Trophy.png. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
The NBA Finals are set, we have the number 1 seed Golden State Warriors vs the number 2 seed Cleveland Cavaliers. Stephen Curry and the Warriors are here for the first time since 1974-75 when the won their first and only NBA championship. The Cleveland Cavaliers have their prodigy child LeBron James back home and a very good chance to win an NBA championship for the first time in franchise history. After 4 years of LeBron in Miami with 2 of those years resulting in 2 titles, the Cavs are hoping that James can do the same for Cleveland. MVP Stephen Curry has his eyes set on that same NBA championship trophy. I think this series will go to seven games with an action packed back and forth well fought battle between two super stars and very good supporting casts from both teams.

I will start with the Warriors, a team that can score in bunches and is dialed in on defense from the starters to the last man off the bench. Klay Thompson is primed for a very big performance seeing that he struggled a bit against the Houston Rockets just averaging 15 PPG, a little under 6 points from his regular season average. Draymond Green will continue to be Draymond Green with his energy and defense. I think he will be able to do what Atlanta failed to do and that's keep a body on Tristan Thompson and keep him off the boards and limit second chance buckets. The key to the Warriors victory over Cleveland will be Shaun Livingston, Leandros Barbosa, and Andre Igudala with an over dose of Harrison Barnes. If these guys can play extremely good defense and each have big offensive games in this series especially Harrison Barnes, the Warriors chances of winning increase tremendously. Barnes is by far more of a supreme offensive player than Shumpert and Jones of the Cavs and can give JR. Smith problems offensively if matched up. Stephen Curry may need to average 30 points in these finals to beat LeBron and his Cavaliers.

The Cavs need to all chip in to win this series and the NBA title. LeBron is by far the best NBA leader on and off the court we have seen since Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, with what he has done to rejuvenate JR. Smith's & Iman Shumpert's careers after being traded from New York. Kyrie Irving is going to be a major factor in the Cavs winning their first NBA title. He is going to have a tough task in containing Curry while still performing on offense. Irving has struggled during the playoffs with injuries but this is the finals and excuses just wont cut it. He will need to average 25 to 28 PPG against the Warriors for the Cavs to have success. The X factor will be if JR. Smith can continue his hot shooting and if Mozgov can keep Bogut off the boards and in foul trouble. Iman Shumpert will get the tasks of guarding whom ever is hot between Curry & Thompson and if they both ignite at the same time the Cavs will be in trouble. I predict that the Warriors will win in 7 and get their second ever NBA title.  By ATGS Jerod McCain

Jerod McCain Co-Founder/CEO
Against The Grain Sports, LLC
Sports Our Way!

Monday, May 25, 2015

3-0 One More to Go!

Well, this Conference Finals hasn't been that great so far. We have seen 2 teams dominate while the other 2 are left in the dust. The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers have a 3-0 lead against their opposing teams. Notice what the teams have done so well this series.

The Warriors have been great. They have done a great job of using guys like Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green. They make sure that James Harden is the only one scoring by keeping him out of the paint. When you keep him out, he is forced to take jumpers and he isn't able to kick the ball to a wide open player spacing out. The Rockets could really use a guy like Montiejunas or Beverley but they are both out with injury which is very unfortunate for a team like the Rockets. Stephen Curry has done a great job spacing the floor and they are doing a great job of getting it in the paint. When they get it in the paint, they either score or kick it out for a 3 pointer. The Rockets haven't played bad, they just haven't finished out in 4th quarters, leaving the Warriors up 3-0, with One more to go.

The Cavaliers are up because of one reason. The Hawks have played horribly. Maybe they are playing bad because the Cavs are playing great defense. Maybe it's cause the Hawks are playing horrible defense. Maybe it's cause the Hawks don't have a star player to carry them. Or maybe it's because of injuries like the Thabo Sefolosha incident. All of these things contribute to it. The Hawks are just not like the Hawks. If this was the Warriors against this injured Cavs team without Love or Irving, the Warriors would be up 3-0. Honestly, If your the Hawks, you have to realize that this roster won't win you a championship. They desperately need a star player. They have no one to rely on to make big shots at the end of game. Who shot those last shots in the game, was it Mack or someone like that. I don't even really know who it was. They are depending on some random bench player to make shots. Sure, I like getting everyone involved, but there is a point where you need someone to take over. But instead, the Cavs are up 3-0 with One more to go.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

How the NYPD Ruined the Hawks Post-Season

When Police are tackling you, you have to cooperate. But cops should explain why they are tackling you and give some assurance. Now I don't really know what happened, all I know is that Thabo Sefolosha was injured and was out for the rest of the playoffs.

After the incident, the Hawks just lost confidence. They had no bench player who had major playoff experience. Take a look at this guy.
  • 1 Steals per game (playoffs career)
  • 4.6 PPG (playoff career)
  • 78 Playoff games
  • 67 Playoff starts
As you can see, this is a great veteran to have in the playoffs. After he was injured, the Hawks just didn't look like the Hawks. They haven't shot well, they haven't played well, they haven't been the Hawks. Korver Hasn't even been Korver as the Hawks were taken out of rhythm. They could barley beat the Wizards. Now they are struggling against the Cavaliers. I think the main problem is the Hawks defense. If they had Sefolosha, they would be a much better defensively. Thabo is a great defensive player and would be suited to play help defense and the team would be so much better.

I don't know. I just think that the absence of Sefolosha just threw the Hawks off. They can't even beat the Cavs without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. I think if they had Thabo, they would be so much better right now. Just think, this was all because of the NYPD. They are supposed to help people, but they hurt the Hawks.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Hawks VS Cavaliers (game 1)

Final Score: Cavs win 97-89

Cavaliers lead series 1-0

This was a really weird game. The Hawks build up a lead. Then the Cavs catch up. J.R. Smith knocks down a bunch of shots. The Hawks fall way behind. DaMarre Carroll gets injured. Then the Hawks fall behind a lot but catch up a little. The Cavs ended up winning in the end. Really odd game and a lot happened. Let's take a look.

  • 1st Quarter: The Hawks played great in the first quarter. They had a 26-20 lead at the end of the first quarter. They limited LeBron to just 1-3 shooting and he had just 2 points. At that point though, the Cavs lead the rebound advantage 15-6. Jeff Teague had 9 points in the quarter. Kyrie Irving had 2 threes and Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov had a combined total of 11 rebounds.
  • 2nd Quarter: This quarter was a little different. By the end of the quarter the game was tied and the Cavs had scored 31 points in the quarter. LeBron shot 7-9 in that quarter and had 14 points. J.R. Smith had 3 threes in the quarter and shot only 4. Only 4 Cavs players scored in this quarter. Matthew Dellavedova missed all 4 shots he took including 3 three pointers. Jeff Teague had 8 points in the quarter. Kyle Korver didn't even take a shot as he was the only one that didn't score on the Hawks that quarter. The Hawks had a total of 5 turnovers in that quarter.
  • 3rd Quarter: In this quarter, the Hawks only made 4 shots. 4 shots! They shot 23% from the floor. What saved them? Paul Millsap's free throws of course. He was 5-6 from the free throw line. The team was 7-8. The Hawks were outscored 23-16 in that quarter. The Hawks also had 5 turnover in the quarter again. They did do a better job on LeBron as he had shot just 1-5 in the quarter but LeBron shot 4-4 from the free throw line. J.R. Smith had 8 points in that quarter.
  • 4th Quarter: Now this was just a disaster for the Hawks. DeMarre Carroll ended up getting injured. Then Paul Millsap was just getting sick of LeBron and could not guard him. Millsap ended up getting a technical for arguing. The Hawks only made 1-8 from the 3 point line in the quarter. And J.R. Smith hit 3 threes in the quarter. Again, only 4 Cavs players scored in that quarter. LeBron had 9 points. The Hawks ended up loosing the game.
The Hawks just have to play LeBron better. I think the main thing is just that they have to get Kyle Korver involved in the game more. Also, they can't have 10 turnovers in 2 consecutive quarters. That kills them. They also just need to shoot better. They need Korver to just take shots. The Hawks can't be shooting 4-23 from 3 point range. Hopefully Carroll recovers fast and the Hawks can have a better game.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Warriors VS Rockets (game 1)

Final Score: Warriors win 110-106

Warriors lead 1-0

The Warriors had an 11 point lead with about 2 minutes remaining. The Rockets didn't care. Trevor Ariza didn't care. He just couldn't win the game. Stephen Curry said no. You will not win the game Trevor Ariza. He nailed the dagger 3. Let's take a look at how the Warriors won this game.

The Warriors played the fast pace game that they wanted to. They had 28 fast break points. They also had 50 points in the paint. Really great game for the Warriors. Now I know that Stephen Curry had a great game as he had 34 points, 5 assists, 6 rebounds, and shot 6-11 from 3 point range, but Draymond Green played really great. He had 13 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block. That is a solid game. He was really the key to the Warriors ball movement. This kid had a total of 70 passes. Shawn Livingston played wonderful. He had playoff winning experience with the Nets last year and he is crucial to the Warriors bench. He had 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. I do want to see David Lee match-up with Josh Smith, but the Warriors seem reluctant to play him. So far the Warriors are doing great. Though they could shoot a little better from 3 point range. Everybody besides Curry shot 4-18 from deep. Klay Thompson only shot 1-7. They could improve that.

The Rockets played great. They got Andrew Bogut in foul trouble to start off the game and he only played about 16 minutes. After that, they just got out in transition and got to the rim. They play just like the Warriors do, so it's not surprising that the Rockets had 28 fast break points and 52 points in the paint. They really need to play better defense. You could tell that there was a lot of confusion and lack of communication. The battle of the bench is going to be the deciding factor in this series. The Rockets could use a little more from their bench players. I don't think that 27 points will be enough from their bench. Corey Brewer just needs to be a little more aggressive and Terrance Jones just needs to sink some shots. This is going to be a tight series. It is probably going to be the more interesting one too. Let's see how it will play out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

NBA Draft Lottery Outlook

The NBA Draft lottery final results are in. Here is how the ping-pong balls played out.
  1. Minnesota Timberwolves
  2. Los Angeles Lakers
  3. Philadelphia 76ers
  4. New York Knicks
  5. Orlando Magic
  6. Sacramento Kings
  7. Denver Nuggets
  8. Detroit Pistons
  9. Charlotte Hornets
  10. Miami Heat
  11. Indiana Pacers
  12. Utah Jazz
  13. Phoenix Suns
  14. OKC Thunder
So now, the Timberwolves will have 3 straight #1 overall picks (Anthony Bennett #1 pick 2013, Andrew Wiggins #1 2014, and the 2015 #1 pick overall.) Owner, Glen Taylor said that what they want for a number 1 pick is "a guy that has a good heart." I honestly think he has no idea what he is talking about and has no idea how his team is. He probably isn't even aware of all the people on his team with an answer like that. Maybe he think Kevin Love still plays for them. That or he just didn't see that question coming. Either way, just leave the talking and desicion making for Timberwolves president of basketball operations, Flip Saunders.

Who should they draft? I honestly think they should draft Towns. Not Okafor. Now, I could go on and breakdown who all the teams should draft and how the draft should play out. But that is for a different post where I take a preview of the draft. This was probably the most boring NBA Draft Lottery I've seen. Nothing really changed except for the Lakers and Knicks swicthing places. So, I don't have much to talk about. But hey, the Lakers keep their pick and the 76ers don't get any extra picks. Also, the New York Knicks really could have used a higher pick. They are in some trouble here with them having a really inexperienced roster with little potential.

The Draft Lottery is a very important part of the NBA. It could be the difference of a team getting Blake Griffin or Hasheem Thabeet. Stephen Curry or Johnny Flynn. James Harden or Ricky Rubio. (Notice how these are all from the 2009 draft, which was my favorite draft.) It can determine a teams future. One little change can be big. Imagine Blake Griffin being drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies. The whole franchise would be different. Zach Randolph probably wouldn't even be on the team. They would be a more dominant team with great defense and great offense. The NBA Draft Lottery decides a lot. It's funny how little ping pong balls can create the future of the NBA.

Monday, May 18, 2015

All Rookie Teams: The Next Stars of the NBA

The all rookie teams were announced today and the rookies have come a long way this season. Let's take a look at them.

1st Team All-Rookie

F- Andrew Wiggins
F- Nikola Mirotic
C- Nerlens Noel
G- Elfrid Payton
G- Jordan Clarkson

2nd Team All-Rookie

F- Bojan Bogdanovic
F- Langston Galloway
C- Jusuf Nurkic
G- Marcus Smart
G- Zach LaVine

Now, I want to take a look at the First Team all rookie first. I agree with Andrew Wiggins. Look at this kid. He won the rookie of the year. You can't tell me that this kid isn't on the first team all rookie. He lead all rookies in scoring. Next is Nikola Mirotic. He cam off the bench, shot well from 3 point range. He did a great job rebounding. Coming off the bench he played great in close games and played a big role for the Bulls. Nerlens Noel lead rookies in steals, blocks, rebounds, and he averaged over 10 PPG. Of course he will be on this list. Jordan Clarkson averaged about 11 PPG and did a great job shooting the ball. He was a great offensive player and he deserves to be on this list. The only one I had to disagree with was Elfrid Payton. I honestly think that Zach LaVine deserved it more than Elfrid Payton. Take a look at the stats that these guys had.

Elfrid Payton                                                                   Zach LaVine
  • 8.9 PPG                                                                       10.1 PPG
  • 6.5 APG                                                                        3.6 APG
  • 4.3 RPG                                                                        2.8 RPG
  • 26.2% 3-point                                                               34.1% 3-point
  • 55.1% FT                                                                      84.2% FT
  • 1.7 Steals                                                                       0.7 Steals
  • 2.5 Turnovers                                                                2.5 Turnovers 
 As you can see, Zach LaVine is just the better offensive player. He shoots well, he can score, and he can get to the free throw line in produce. And if you look at LaVine, he porduced better while only playing 77 games and starting in just 40 of them. Payton started in 63 but played all 82 games. LaVine scored really well and shot well from the floor too. And people criticized LaVine for all his turnovers but Payton averaged the same amount. I have to put LaVine on there instead of Payton because Payton just didn't have enough production. However, should have Langston Galloway made the 1st team all rookie? Yes, he did only play 45 games. I get that. But he averaged a good 11.8 PPG, 3.3 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 35.2% from 3 point range. That is better than LaVine. The problem is, he played only 45 games. If we put him on the list, then we might as well put Jabari Parker on too, who played only 25 games. Yes, people that play, should be rewarded. That's why I think Zach LaVine gets this 1st team all rookie. To me, he should. I think Payton just didn't score and shoot well enough. I feel like Zach LaVine did rebound, assist, and stole the ball well enough. I felt like he just had a better season.

That is how I feel about the All-rookie teams. If you disagree please comment and tell me why. I am interested in how the rest of the world thinks about the All-Rookie team. And remember folks, I'll be keeping you updated on all NBA playoff action! Join the NBA Inside the Play Nation today.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Conference Finals!

In this post we are going to look at both of the series in the conference finals and see what all 4 teams have to do in order to win. Let's start off with the West.

Warriors VS Rockets: This is going to be a tough series for the Rockets. They not only have to match the Warriors offense but they have to play great defense. This is probably the best they can do for defensive match-ups.

Jason Terry on Stephen Curry
Trevor Ariza on Klay Thompson
James Harden on Harrison Barnes
Josh Smith on Draymond Green
Dwight Howard on Andrew Bogut.

I think that you will have to start Josh Smith again against this Warriors team. You will also see Corey Brewer get a lot of minutes. He will probably be placed on Klay and chase him around alot.

For the Warriors, the best thing to do is probably put Draymond Green on James Harden to start and see how that plays out. Harrison Barnes isn't going to play that great on defense guarding Harden. I think the best way to go is to put Klay Thompson on Harden so you can have Barnes on Ariza. Klay is a great defender.

The Warriors need to keep the Rockets out of the paint which they can do with 2 top inside defenders. And this is where the Rockets might want to start Jones to space out Green so the paint is more cleared out. If the Rockets get into the paint, they are hard to stop

Hawks VS Cavaliers: After seeing the Hawks vs the Wizards, I don't think the Hawks have much of a chance. They really have to use Kyle Korver in this one. I honestly think that if you are the Cavs, you almost have to start Shumpert just to keep Korver contained. If Korver gets going, then the Hawks are tough to beat. J.R. Smith would have a tough time on Korver if he started to make some shots.

The Hawks are going to have to put Carroll on LeBron. Carroll is going to have to back off of LeBron and let him take jump shots. He can't let him drive though. LeBron gets most of his points in the paint so he has to keep him out of there. I have faith that Jeff Teague will do his job on guarding Kyrie. And with Love gone, Paul Millsap will be able to double team and have an easier time on defense. Al Horford is going to have to really do a great job hedging screens as there will be a lot with him guarding Mozgof.

The Cavs have to rely on there bench to produce because you know that the Hawks bench will produce. The Cavs bench will have to match that. Since the Hawks don't rely on one person, you know they will score with everybody, and you have to play great defense because everyone's a treat. I would look for this Cavs team to switch on a lot of screens since the Hawks bigs are undersized.

Well, that's my breakdown of the Conference Finals. Remember, I will keep you updated on all NBA playoff action. Feel free to comment below.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Hawks VS Wizards (game 5 YouTube Breakdown)

Hawks win 82-81

Hawks lead series 3-2

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hawks VS Wizards (game 5)

Final Score: Hawks win 82-81

Hawks lead series 3-2

Horford Traveled. That's the first thing I yelled when I saw that play. I waited for the call. It never came. I left the room so mad, not because the Hawks won, but because the NBA rules and the refs let the team win the game illegally. You can't replay this and fix it and all 3 refs missed the travel. However, the Wizards made some mistakes themselves, let's take a look.

The Wizards need to do better with help defense. they don't help and then the wrong people help and then others don't cover the people they should have been covering. It was just a mess. I looked at every defensive play that the Hawks scored on and over half of them had problems with help defense. This is a problem that needs to be addressed. They really need to fix this problem. Next, Gortat doesn't read what the defense is doing. If he is double teamed he puts up a shot and if he has a lane, he doesn't take it. They did a good job of finding the open guy on the weak side though. They also have situations where they need to do better on screens. There was poor communication and that needs to be addressed. They sometimes need to switch and sometimes need to get back on their man. The defense for the Wizards was just horrible.

The Hawks played good overall. They did have streaks where they missed shots and committed a lot of turnovers at once. They had 23 turnovers total. They also need to get back on their man and stop double teaming people. They really need to cut down on that. Jeff Teague looked lost on defense a lot of times. He just looked like he didn't know what was happening, he would walk away from his man. Someone else would guard him and he would just stand there and not find someone. He was really lazy and it just wasn't Teague. I don't know if he was tired or whatever, but he needs to play better defense. Mike Muscala played great defense and did a great job setting screens. He slipped a couple of the screens which got him great open looks. He also did a great job of using pump fakes and pass fakes. The Hawks need to win 1 of their next 2 games. Can they do it? Well, they have some mistakes to fix first.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Rockets VS Clippers (game 5)

Final Score: Rockets win 124-103

Clippers lead series 3-2

The Rockets did a lot of things right. The Clippers had a tough time with this team. This Rockets team showed everybody what they are capable of. Let's breakdown what the Rockets did right in this game and what they need to do to tie the series.

The Rockets had a great game. One noticeable thing they did was that they started Josh Smith. Josh Smith did have an okay game, but his defensive rating was the worst on the court. They honestly need to insert Jones into the starting line-up. James Harden had a wonderful game and he looked like he always had in the regular season. He started off the series where he was just missing. Everyone was like "James! Where were you!"
It's okay James, your back. That's all that matters. He had a triple-double last night. 26 points, 10 assists, and 11 rebounds. He could step up his shooting a little as he only shot 1-8 from the 3 point line. Dwight Howard also had a great game. He had 20 points and 15 rebounds. He was also great on the defensive end as well. Jason Terry had a wonderful game with 11 points, 7 assists, and 0 turnovers! He also was great on the offensive end with a rating of 141.1. Corey Brewer played great with 15 points off the bench. The best individual performance I think was by Trevor Ariza. He had 22 points, shot 4-6 from downtown, had 3 steals, and had a defensive rating of 89.5. He was the MVP of the game. At least, that's what I thought.

The Clippers have some work to do. They desperately need some offense from the bench. There bench was 10-31 from the field and 3-14 from the 3-point line. Spencer Hawes had a great game off the bench but he was the only bench player that really produced. They can't rely off of 55 points from Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. That won't win them games. Also, they need to rebound better. They lost the rebound advantage 58-39. That can't happen. Everyone needs to be trying to get the rebound. When DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin combine for all but 12 of your rebounds, the other teammates aren't trying enough. They really need to protect the paint better. I would be more concerned with the paint than the 3-point shooting of the Rockets right now. You can't let them have a chance to comeback. Can the Rockets do it? We'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hawks VS Wizards (game 4)

Final Score: 106-101

Series tied 2-2

This was a crucial game. A must win for the Hawks. They needed to win or else, elimination could have been right around the corner. How did they win, and what do they need to do next game. Let's take a look.

Jeff Teague hit a very clutch 3 pointer. Teague just had a great game. You could tell, he didn't want to lose. He hit shots, but he also found his teammates open in the lane and on the perimeter. Dennis Schroder did a great job of attacking the rim. I was very impressed with that. This Hawks team needs to play better perimeter defense as they are allowing too much on the inside and from 3. The Hawks had a total of 30 assists and it wasn't just one person contributing to that. 3 people had at least 6 assists. One thing that they should do is try to get Kyle Korver involved in the offense more. He has been horrible this series and they need to get him going. The thing I loved the most was how they got Horford involved in the offense. Horford had a total of 70 touches and he got off 18 shots.

The Wizards are suffering without John Wall. They miss the passing effect he has had on the game. If someone was open, he would get them the ball. Without him, it's tough. Ramon Sessions doesn't have nearly the offensive or defensive game that Wall has. Players have stepped up though. Will Bynum has played great and he had 10 points off the bench in the last game. Bradley Beal played a great game but he couldn't carry his team. He 34 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, and a big block on Schroder. He needs others to make shots though. Without John Wall, that's hard to do. Can they win without John Wall? Tell me what you think.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Cavaliers VS Bulls (game 4)

Final Score: Cavaliers win 86-84

Series tied 2-2

LeBron shoots at the buzzer. Hits It! Three game winning buzzer beaters in 3 consecutive nights. How did LeBron get off the shot. Well, the Refs let the Cavs get everything together. I don't really agree to that. The thing is, the Cavs won. Obviously they need to keep winning. Let's take a look at how they must play in order to do that.

The Cavs aren't playing that great. In fact, LeBron's isolations and shot selections haven't been that great. He shot 7 threes again and only made 1 again. Yes, he hit the game-winner, but there are shots that will fall. Coach Blatt should think about taking Shumpert out of the starting line-up and put Smith back in. Smith makes the spacing so much better and is more offensive minded. And with a game that was scored in the 80s, I would be more concerned with offense. Kyrie Irving really needs to get into the offense. He shot just 2-10 from the field. He did do well from the free throw line as he was 8-8. He also only had 2 assists. And if you are this Cavs team, you need to let Kyrie handle the ball just to get his confidence going. The Cavaliers as a team did shoot well from the free throw line as they shot 23-24. They really need to keep that up.

The Bulls have a lot to work on. Before I get going, I am going to stress this so much. They need to let LeBron shoot the jumper. Lay off of LeBron and get into a position where you can take a charge or defend if LeBron decides to drive. LeBron is shooting 28.6 on uncontested jumpers. Next, they need Mike Dunleavy to produce for this team. Nikola Mirotic didn't play that great for this Bulls team. He shot just 1-9 from the field. Also, when Aaron Brooks and Kirk Hinrich were in the game, that's when the Bulls offense was the best. They need to be played more. They need to keep up their defense as they are doing great with that. Their offense is the only thing they need to change. If they can get that going, they have a good shot at the next game.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Warriors VS Grizzlies (game 3)

Final Score: Grizzlies win 99-89

Grizzlies lead series 2-1

The Grizzlies won another. Both teams needed the game. Now the Warriors are finding themselves in a position where they need to win the next game. Here are the things they need to change.

The Warriors need to shoot better. They shot under 25% for the second straight game. That can't be happening with this team. Curry shouldn't be missing wide open 3s. They also need to shoot better from free throw. 67.9% isn't enough. They also can't allow 19 second chance points. They really need to get their posts involved more so that Curry and Thompson can space out more. Also, Draymond Green should not be dribbling the ball all the way up the court in a late game situation. None of these things should be happening with the Warriors. None of these things. They need to change them or they will keep loosing to the Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies are doing great. They aren't allowing any momentum for the Warriors. They do an excellent job of closing out. Tony Allen again had 4 steals and also had a block. They shot about 31% from 3 which is great for the Grizzlies. Marc Gasol did great as he had a total of 21 points and 15 rebounds. They are doing great when they have someone for them to take on a scoring load and the rest of the team can focus on defense. Zach Randolph also scored 22 points in the game which allowed this team to outscore the Warriors. Without their contributions, the Grizzlies would end the game with points scoring in the 70s so they absolutely need some scorers on the floor. They passed the ball really well to find lots of openings with 327 passes while the Warriors only had 256. That is great for this team to get their offense going because they need offense and great defense against a top offensive team like the Warriors. If they keep the Warriors 3 point percentage low and they have good offense, this team is likely to win the series.

Hawks VS Wizards (game 3)

Final score: Wizards win 103-101

Wizards lead series 2-1

Paul Pierce wanted to win more than anybody else. He wanted to make that shot. He had to fade-away just to get up a shot. And he made it. Pierce lied on the floor as Marcin Gortat and Bradley Beal came running toward him full speed. Of course, the Hawks made a great run to get the game tied up. Let's take a look how they managed to do that.

The Hawks had a great 4th quarter. Dennis Schroder had 16 points in just the fourth quarter. Al Horford, Paul Millsap, and DeMarre Carroll didn't really even play in that quarter. They relied on their bench for the whole 4th. In the first 3 quarters the Hawks only scored 66 points. In the 4th they had 35. A big factor was that they shot just 25% from 3 in the first 3 quarters. Kyle Korver made just 2 shots in the entire game and he ended with 6 points. That can't happen. He needs to get into the game more. Jeff Teague shot 33% from the floor and missed both the 3's he attempted. Their starters just did play well. They played bad transition defense and didn't close out. They need to change a lot and get off to a great start next game.

The Wizards had an extraordinary game. They had great ball movement and had a total of 340 passes as the Hawks only had 270 passes. You know your passing well if you out pass the Hawks. Bradley Beal did great on offense having 17 points and also 8 assists! Otto Porter had 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists off the bench. After having no field goals in the first 2 games, Nene had 17 points shooting 7-9 from the floor. Will Bynum had a great game as he shot 2 very important free throws and made them both. He also knocked down a three and had a nice layup in transiton as it was an and-1 opportunity. Paul Pierce. Well, he just won the game, that's all. Marcin Gortat had 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 3 blocks as he shot 6-7 from the field. This team had great individual and a great team performance. If they keep this up, they have a good shot of moving on to the next round. The only thing that they need to work on is transition defense. They didn't do too great and really need to just get back. A casual jog isn't good enough. You need to beat your opponent back on defense. Otto Porter really went after the ball and went for everything. He had great hustle at both ends. Like I said, the Wizards have a great shot at making it to the next round. Let's see what they can do.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Rockets VS Clippers (game 3)

Final Score: Clippers win 124-99

Clippers lead series 2-1

This was a game that both teams needed. Only one could win it of course. This game was won by the Clippers. Let's see how they won this game.

The Clippers stayed calm and got their bench involved in the game which I though was surprising. The Clippers played a total of 13 players. Austin Rivers had 25 points. The whole bench had 46 total points. The best thing about their bench was they played great defense. Except for Glen Davis. He sucked on defense. The Clippers had 50 points in the paint and had only 32 contested jumpers. It is hard to complain with how they did, but they could get J.J. Redick more touches. He only touched the ball 34 times. That should increase and it needs to. This guy plays the most for the team. That's about it though. Blake Griffin played great. As long as Chris Paul has no more delays, I don't see why they can't make it to the next round.

The Rockets did a lot wrong. They shot 58.1% from the free throw line. The team had a defensive rating of 125.1 and an offensive rating of 98.4. That can't happen. They did do great with their turnovers as they kept it under 20. So they fixed that a little. James Harden was great with his passing as he had not only 11 assists but also 4 secondary assists and 1 free throw assist. That is impressive. They really have to pick up the defense for them to win though. That is just to start with. They also have to find a way to contain Blake Griffin. They have a lot of work to do. Let's see what they will change in game 4.

Cavaliers VS Bulls (game 3)

Final Score: Bulls win 99-96

Bulls lead series 2-1

I have to say, the officiating wasn't that great in this game. LeBron fouled Butler on that 3. Butler traveled on the reverse layup. LeBron fouled Derrick Rose with about 4 seconds left as he knocked it out of bounds. But the ending was great. I saw Derrick Rose put up the last shot. Then I exploded. "OH MY GOODNESS!" I yelled about 23 times. I'm sure the whole neighborhood was all like, "what's happening over at Aaron's place." "someone probably dunked it." Yeah, well guess what. That wasn't a dunk people. That was a game winning shot. But the game winner wasn't the only thing that won that game. It was everything that the Bulls did leading up to that. Let's take a look at what the Bulls did to have that game tied to those last 3 seconds.

Well, Derrick Rose got to the free throw line and he had a great game overall. He scored. Jimmy Butler did great too. Also, Derrick Rose kept Kyrie Irving to 11 points and 3-13 shooting. That is great. Joakim Noah didn't score or shoot well, but he did great on rebounding and defense. That's all you can ask from him. The whole team did a great job of limiting the Cavs to 39% shooting from the floor. Nikola Mirotic had a great game as he had 12 points and 8 rebounds but his defense was the biggest thing. He had a defnsive rating of 88.4. That is great. Aaron Brooks is still struggling and he really needs to pick it up on offense. He shot 1-7 from the field and 0-4 from 3-point range. They also controled the rebounds as they had 54 while the Cavs had 39.

The Cavaliers have a lot to change. With Kevin Love gone, they don't have a big to really spread the floor. Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov seem to clog up the paint and it becomes harder for guys like Kyrie Irving and LeBron James to make shots in there. They obviously could use Love right now. Especially against a match-up like Pau Gasol. LeBron needs to calm down a bit and stop taking too many shots. He was just 1-7 from 3 point range. And let's face it, LeBron isn't the best 3-point shooter. He just needs to get his teammates involved more. Not to mention, LeBron had 7 tunrovers. J.R. Smith had a great game. He shot 4-8 from 3-point range and 2 of those were in the last 2 minutes. Clutch. One thing that the Cavs did great was forcing the Bulls to shoot contested shots. The Bulls shot a total of 63 contested shots! They only had 27 uncontested. That is great contesting by the Cavs. The Cavaliers need Love. If this team even beats the Bulls, they need him for the next round, because without him, they will have lots of troubles.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cavaliers VS Bulls (game 2)

Final Score: Cavaliers win 106-91

Series tied 1-1

Is this a rewind. Deja vu? I think it could be. The Bulls always seem to win game 1 then lose the next 4 when they play LeBron in the playoffs. Well, it could be a coincidence. And here how the Bulls can make it so the rewind doesn't happen.

The Bulls need everybody to perform much better. Let's take a look at the individual performances of all these players.
  • Pau Gasol: 11 points, 3 turnovers, 4 rebounds, and 3-8 from the field
  • Joakim Noah: 4 points, 4 shot attempts, 0-2 from the free-throw line
  • Jimmy Butler: 18 points, 2-7 from 3pt range, 1 assist, -26 plus/minus advantage
  • Derrick Rose: 14 points, 6-20 from the field, -13 plus/minus advantage
  • Aaron Brooks: 4 points, 1-8 from the field, 0-4 from 3pt range
And those were the worst. They can't have that. They can't afford it. Kirk Hinrich played great shooting 3-3 from the field and 2-2 from three point range. He was only played for 12:18 minutes though. That is just disappointing. You obviously need to play him more. Some things need to change for this Bulls team.

This Cavs team was amazing. Yes, LeBron and Kyrie had a combined 54 points but I want to focus on Iman Shumpert and James Jones. Shumpert had 15 points while he shot 4-7 from deep. James Jones had17 points off the bench as he shot a surprising 5-9 from 3-point range. However, James Jones didn't win them the game, he just kept them in it. The team had a plus/minus advantage of -1 when he was on the floor. So he obviously just helped them stay in the game. If he wasn't there though, the Cavs would have lost the lead because their bench would have played so bad. Again, I'm still waiting for this Cavs team to play Marion more. He is very skilled and they need to use him. Other than that, this team is playing great. If they win their next 3, I will start thinking that it is impossible for the Bulls to win a playoff series against LeBron.

Warriors VS Grizzlies (game 2)

Final Score: Grizzlies win 97-90

Series tied 1-1

Grizzlies grab home-court advantage. They played great defense and got the win. Let's take a look at what the Grizzlies did right to win this game.

The Grizzlies had a great lift from Mike Conley as he came back. While he did great on the offensive side, the whole team could really focus on defense. Tony Allen was great on defense with 4 steals. The Grizzlies themselves had a total of 13 steals. The Grizzlies made the Warriors forced up 50 contested jumpers and the Warriors couldn't even hit their uncontested jumpers. Not to mention that they were contesting and not fouling and blocking. The Grizzlies only had 2 blocks in the game. They also made their free throws. They were 18-20 from the free throw line. One thing that they could use is for Vince Carter and Jeff Green to play a little better on the floor. They could use a little more from them. They both didn't play that well and didn't bring a great offensive game which you would have imagined them to bring. Other than that this team is looking great.

The Warriors just couldn't hit shots. They were 26.1% from 3pt range. Klay Thompson was 1-6 and Curry was 2-11 from 3pt range. It wasn't that they couldn't just hit defended shots. They were 41.9% on contested jumpers. The problem was, they weren't used to taking open jumpers in the game and shot 7-24 on open shots. That can't happen. Obviously this Warriors team just had a bad shooting night. One thing I really wish they did was play David Lee a little bit more. He had only played 5:10 minutes and you have to remember this guy was a starter last year. The main problem for this Warriors team is just shooting. If they bring that up, I don't see why they can't take this series.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Hawks VS Wizards (game 2)

Final Score: Hawks win 106-90

Series tied 1-1

John Wall was out. There was really no leader for the Wizards. The Hawks really did take control of the game. Let's take a look at what the Wizards need to improve on as they go back home.

The Wizards need John Wall. Simple as that. This guy averages over 10 assists per game. He runs the offense. He is like a Ricky Rubio that can score better. When he is on the floor, everyone plays so much better. Take a look at this, the Wizards took more contested shots than uncontested shots. That is a sign of lack of ball movement. Next, Nene and Gortat only had a combined 12 points. Wall's ability to get it low to the posts is better than anyone else in the league. Wall is like Chris Paul dishing to DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin or Rubio dishing to Kevin Love or Pekovic (throwback to last year). When you take away Chris Paul and Ricky Rubio, what do you have, 2 bigs having to try really hard just to touch the ball. What did they do great of? Ramon Sessions played great. He had a great second half. Paul Pierce shot great from the three point line. In fact the whole team shot 54.5% from deep, which is very impressive for a team like the Wizards. Last, they contained Jeff Teague to only 9 points.

The Hawks played a great overall game. They had 10 turnovers but made them all up with 10 steals. Everybody went for every loose ball and played their hardest. They had great ball movement and wanted to get everyone involved. One thing they could do better is get Kyle Korver some more touches. This guy only had 14 points off of only 40 touches. He needs the ball more. His usage was the lowest on his team at 13.2%! That is unacceptable. Other than that they look like they are in great shape for the next game as long as they play the same in game 3.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Rockets VS Clippers (game 1)

Final Score: Clippers win 117-101

Clippers lead 1-0

Rockets looked like they had it. Then the Clippers woke up. The Rockets lost it. Then the Clippers won. Let's take a look at what the Rockets did wrong.

Dwight Howard did his job. He dominated over DeAndre Jordan. This was the worst game in terms of turnovers this year though. James Harden had 9 turnovers in the game. That can't happen. Josh Smith should not be putting up 5 threes. Corey Brewer can't put up 5 threes and miss all of them either. They both shot horrible from the floor. That needs to change. If you look at the Points off turnovers for the Clippers, it was bad. The Clippers had 34 points off of the Rockets turnovers. That needs to stop. One great thing was that the Clippers only had 40 points in the paint. They did give them 13-31 threes though. Obviously, there are a lot of problems for this Rockets team to fix.

Austin Rivers played great as he replaced Chris Paul. He had a good 17 points. Like the Rockets, the Clippers had way too many turnovers. Also, Glen Davis needs to pick it up on the defensive end. He had a defensive rating of 144.7. That's rough. One positive thing to look at was that they had more personal fouls drawn than the Rockets. Blake Griffin had a triple-double but he did have 5 turnovers. However, this Clippers team looks like they're in good shape. I think that if they keep it up, they will be looking into the conference finals.

Cavaliers VS Bulls (game 1)

Final Score: Bulls win 99-92

Bulls lead series 1-0

Bulls had full control in this game and the Cavaliers better step it up. Let's take a second on what the Cavaliers need to change for game 2.

Cavaliers will still not have J.R. Smith and Kevin Love for game 2, so they absolutely need to put Tristan Thompson into the lineup. They also should play Shawn Marion more. He is a skilled player. Why did they get him? Was it so they could have someone to play the nights they were resting LeBron? No, Marion is a great player. LeBron also needs to play better. He had 19 points, 15 rebounds, and 9 assists. Sure that looks good, but he only shot 9-22 from the field, 0-3 from 3 point range, and had a total of 6 turnovers. Let Kyrie handle the ball. He is a much better decision maker than LeBron. I hate it how this team has one of the best Point Guards in the league with the best handles and can pass and they don't even use him. They also need more from their bench. The bench only had 16 points. They didn't play well at all in this game. They need to play better.

The Bulls handled this game well. Joakim Noah needs to step up a little. He didn't have a single point and had 4 turnovers. Mike Dunleavy played really great. He shot 5-6 from the field and 3-4 from 3-point range. Pau Gasol played really well as he had 21 points, 10 rebounds and shot 10-16 from the field. Not to mention, Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler had great games as well. I really think that it is smart not to play Nikola Mirotic in this round. They do need their bench to play well though. This Bulls team will start to get tired through the round and they need to have a bench that can produce. They did look okay in this game though.

That's all from this game. This will be an interesting series. Let's see who will win game 2.

Monday, May 4, 2015

On to the Next Round: The Semi-Conference Finals

On to the next one. I can't believe the first round is over. It is so shocking and I can't believe it. All the great match-ups we have, and I will breakdown all of them for you.

Warriors VS Grizzlies: This is an easy one for me. I think that the Warriors will win and have an easy time is Conley isn't back. Stephen Curry (your MVP) will have an easy time with Nick Calthes and Ben Udrih. It should be easy for this Warriors team. Marc Gasol will have a tougher time with top notch defender, Andrew Bogut, guarding him. And Zach Randolph will have a really tough time with Draymond Green guarding him.

Hawks VS Wizards: Oh man, this one is tough. I think that the Hawks will win just because they have had more success this season. The only thing is that the Wizards have won a lot of late and you think that must give them more of a chance to win. John Wall is going to have to play great against Teague like he played against Lowry. Bradley Beal vs. Kyle Korver is the main match-up I will be looking at though. I think that these two teams have great match-ups with teh starting line-ups which is what makes it such a tough one to predict. Everyone is so evenly matched and no-one has an advantage.

Rockets VS Clippers: I think that the Clippers will win. The transition and inside game for the Clippers is way too good for the Rockets to handle. J.J. Redick will have to pick up his defense but I honestly think that Matt Barnes should guard James Harden for most of the series. I think that for any wins for the Rockets James Harden will do most of the "heavy lifting".

Cavaliers VS Bulls: I think that this is pretty much unpredictable. The whole Chicago Bulls roster is unpredictable. The Bulls I think could win this though. They are a great team and the Cavs will not have Kevin Love for the series and J.R. Smith for 2 games. It will be tough for this Cavaliers team. I think that Derrick Rose will have to do a lot and kind of keep Kyrie contained. The real question is, who will guard LeBron.

I am so sorry by the way. I was in Canada. I just want everyone to know, Winnipeg is a great place to go to. I got to wear a Wizards shirt without anyone being able to make fun of me and it is defiantly a friendly place to go to. Do not stay at the Days Inn there though. I give it a half a star. I had to change rooms because the doors didn't work, the TV remote didn't work, there was nasty stuff all over the bathroom floor, the AC was way too loud and barley could cool down the room (it would make random noises in the middle of the night), the Wi-Fi was the worst ever, and the TV just shut off right in the middle of Dr. Phil. It was getting intense. This lady was about to find out if her "boyfriend" was real. I felt like we could have jsut have gotten to bad rooms, but this kid name Calvin had the same problem with his room doors. So if you do go there, try pushing on the doors to open them and see if you need the key to open them. If it pushes open, you got room 209.