Saturday, April 30, 2016

Clippers VS Trailblazers (Game 6)

Trailblazers Win Series 4-2

Despite the outcome of the game, the Clippers played great. They had a 2 point lead going into the 4th. The Clippers played great.

So what got them to where they were at. Well, to begin with, Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford had a combined total of 52 points. J.J. Redick had 15 and so did DeAndre. Jeff Green also pitched in with 11. The Clippers had multiple people scoring at a great rate. Next, they didn't lose in rebounding. Both teams were tied in rebounds with 46. This got them to the 4th quarter.

In the 4th quarter, Jamal Crawford was gassed, he played all 12 minutes of it and only shot 1-9 in the quarter. Doc Rivers would have been smart to take the guy out because he was hurting their offense. Meanwhile, the Blazers were bailed out with plenty of fouls. The Clippers had 9 fouls in the quarter alone. The Blazers had plenty good open shots to. The Clippers just could not hold out through the last quarter.

I am very excited how a Curry-less Warriors will do against the Blazers and how Shaun Livingston will guard Damian Lillard. However, I can't help but wonder what they Clippers next move is. What is going to happen to this team. They still haven't had the success of making the conference finals with this core. What do they do now?

Heat VS Hornets (Game 6)

Series Tied 3-3

Dwayne Wade came in clutch for the Miami Heat. He wasn't the only reason why they won though. The Hornets put up a fight but didn't have much going for them.

The Hornets seemed like they were behind this whole game. They always seemed like they just couldn't catch up to the Heat in the second half. Part of this was that the Heat had 19 second chance points. When you allow a team to get multiple shots on one possession, it will be hard to take the lead. The Hornets only had 31 rebounds in the game.

I thought that they Hornets did a great job on defense. The Heat only took 24 uncontested shots! They had to take 59 contested shots! The Hornets defense was amazing. There was just one problem, the Heat were hitting shots. Dwayne Wade's last shot pretty much summed up the night. The Hornets played great defense, but the Heat somehow where able to make those shots.

I just want to points something out. Marvin Williams played horrible last night. He was 0-7 from the field and didn't register a single point. Now, you could say that Marvin Williams doesn't have to play good for the Hornets to win, but I would have to disagree. This post-season, Marvin Williams has averaged 9.7 PPG, 9.7 RPG, and 1.3 APG while shooting 50% from the field and shooting 55.6% from 3-point land in the wins. In the losses, he has averaged 0.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 0.7 APG while shooting 04.2% from the field and 0% from 3-point land. That isn't a typo. His numbers are horrible in the losses and very decent in the wins. It's clear that he needs to make shots and rebound for the Hornets to win. He is a big key in the Hornets winning. This isn't a coincidence. He needs to produce.

This was a great game to watch. A lot is at stake for this next game. Whoever wins game 7 has a possibility of playing the Pacers in the second round which means they could make the conference finals easier. This is a big game 7 and if the Hornets are to take this, they could really use production from Marvin Williams. Marv, they need you right now.

Raptors VS Pacers (Game 6)

Series Tied 3-3

We're going to game 7 baby! This has been an up and down series for both teams, but it looks like the Pacers are ready to pull ahead.

The Pacers were up and running. Their offense was amazing. It all started from Paul George. He ended the night with 21 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block. Once the defense started to surround him, he could kick it out to the open player. This lead to all 5 of the Pacers starters reaching double figures in scoring.

The Pacers offense was in transition a lot. The team had 21 fastbreak points, and it really started at the defensive end for them. They forced 16 turnovers from the Raptors, which really just started the break for the Pacers. Guys were making the right play defensively. This lead to the Raptors shooting just 36.7% from the field. The Pacers just thrived off of this.

For the Raptors, Jonas Valanciunas and Corey Joseph were the only guy producing at and efficient rate for the Raptors. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan really played poorly. Both of them shot under 30% from the field and neither of them had over 10 points. The Raptors had 83 points. They need these guys to produce. They just can't win without at least one player having a good night. Imagine the Thunder having Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook shoot less than 30% and have 10 points or less. They wouldn't be that good of a team at all! Lowry and DeRozan need to play like stars.

The Pacers are on a roll now, and the Raptors need their guy to produce for them to have a chance. Lowry and DeRozan have had 6 games to find their rhythm, and it needs to show in game 7!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Hawks VS Celtics (Game 6)

Hawks Win Series 4-2

The Hawks closed out the series last night. They played great and look like they are looking forward to their match up vs the Cavs. Let's just take a look at what the Hawks did this game that they must carry over to next series.

This Hawks team played great defense. They had amazing defensive rotations and were very, very sound defensively. They had the Celtics shooting just 36.2% from the field. They were contesting tons of shots, not allowing any easy points from the Celtics. This defense was so great. I can see them really pressuring LeBron next series when he tries to drive and they might let him take outside shots as well. The Hawks seem like they can handle the Cavs defensively, but what about offensively?

The Hawks were great offensively. 6 players had at least 10 points. Horford was back on track as he had 15 points. Millsap had 17. The team shot 51.4% from 3. They were getting off great shots as well. They shot very well in the paint, in fact, they had 48 points in the paint. They are going to need to cut down the turnovers because they had 18 of them on the night. If the Hawks are going to win next round, Horford and Millsap are going to have to take over in the post. Millsap needs to just destroy Love. I think that the Cavs would be smart to start Mozgov on Horford for a better defensive matchup. If the Hawks can make shots like they did last night, they will be in the position to win against them.

I really enjoyed watching this series. It was nice that they had a couple of games that were close and 1 even went into overtime. The Hawks now most prepare for their next series, because they have a tough road ahead of them. If anyone can do it, it's the Hawks!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Warriors VS Rockets (Game 5)

Warriors Win Series 4-1

The Warriors closed out the series last night, and they blew out the Houston Rockets. Jason Terry guaranteed a Rockets win in game 5. The funny thing is, Jason Terry obviously put too much pressure on himself because he was 0-7 from the field.

The Warriors were great offensively. They shot 54.9% from the field. They could not be stopped. The team had 30 assists in the game. Klay Thompson had 27 points on the night as he took advantage of James Harden's poor defensive effort. Klay took 9 uncontested field goals and made 8 of them. That is just a very poor effort from the Rockets.

The Warriors weren't just good offensively though. They held the Rockets to 32.6% from the field. They contested most of the Rockets attempts. The Rockets took 55 contested shots and only made 18 of them. That is great defense! I also notice that they crashed on Dwight Howard whenever he got the ball. He never could get up a clean shot as he shot 3-13 from the field.

As you can see, the Warriors dominated on offense and played great defense. If they keep this up going into next series, they could win the whole series without Curry. And Kevin Durant would agree with me that anyone who can't see that is an idiot.

Clippers VS Trailblazers (Game 5)

Trailblazers Lead Series 3-2

The Clippers have lost and are now in a downward spiral. They were doing such a great job. The game was tied in the 3rd quarter, but what happened?

The Clippers played well through the first 3 quarters. They were very aggressive. You could tell that they expected to win the game too. 52 of their points came from the paint. Jeff Green was very active on offense as he had 17 points. J.J. Redick had 19 points as well. These are two guys that need to produce if the team is to win.

Going into the 4th quarter is when the Clippers lost it. Jamal Crawford really hurt them. He played 10 minutes in the quarter and shot just 0-4 from the field in those 10 minutes. They weren't the best quality shots either and none of them were in the paint. Other than that the Clippers offense was fine.

Their defense was a different story. Damian Lillard had 16 points in the 4th quater! They were horrible defending him when a big came up to give him a pick. They kind of laid off him letting him get off the shots. When guarding Dame, you can't let him get an open shot at a 3. He will knock him down. Force him inside the arc where he can't hurt you as much.
Damian Lillard - Shot Chart 4th quarter -

The Trailblazers had a great overall game. They once again beat the Clippers in rebounds. Mason Plumlee was a big reason why. C.J. McCollum played great as he ended the game with 27 points. Harkless had a double-double as he had 19 points and 10 rebounds. These guys really contributed to the game which took pressure off Damian Lillard as he only had to come out and close the game. The play from the Trailblazers was amazing and if they keep it up, they are going to be looking at closing this series next game.

Heat VS Hornets (Game 5)

Hornets Lead Series 3-2

Courtney Lee cam up clutch in American Airlines Center last night. The Miami crowd was in disbelief as the guy who had shot just 1-8 before the shot, won the game. Miami had another chance. Wade took the basketball inside where he was blocked by Kemba Walker. These were the highlights, however, there was much more to the game than just these plays.

Many of the Hornets players were struggling. Kemba Walker, Courtney Lee, and Frank Kaminski all struggled shooting the ball. However, Marvin Williams was a big reason why this team had the lead. He had 17 points and 8 rebounds. He is a great player for this Hornets team to have on the floor. And when he is shooting well, he is even better.

While Miami shot better from the floor, they struggled from 3. The Heat went 5-18 on 3-pointers while the Hornets went 12-24. This really put the Hornets in the position to win. The Heat just never seemed in the position to hit 3s either, they were just out of rhythm.

The Hornets have a great bench. Jeremy Lin plays such a big role for the time. The Hornets had 29 total bench points while the Heat only had 13 bench points. The Heat just need more production from their bench. I think they need to play Gerald Green a little bit more and just tell him to come out and score. The Heat had 88 points last night. They need more. And when you aren't hitting shots, you need someone to come in and starting hitting them, not Justice Winslow who is coming out and shooting 1-6. Gerald Green can score.

Anyways, the Hornets have now won 3 games in a row. They can close it out in Charlotte. The Hornets are a great home team so the Heat have to play at their best next game. They need to start hitting shots. Their defense has been great, but they need to hit more shots. That's all.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hawks VS Celtics (Game 5)

Hawks Lead Series 3-2

When Isaiah Thomas scores only 7 points for the Celtics, you have to find other options. The Hawks played great defense as they surrounded Isaiah Thomas. They wouldn't let the guard get a shot off. Since nobody else was willing to make plays, the Hawks just continued to swarm Thomas. While Thomas suffered from an ankle injury, he said that he will play in game 6.

As for the Hawks offense. It was great. 5 players had at least 10 points. 12 players had at least 2 points. They shared the ball so well as they ended with 30 assists on the night. They also won the rebounding and defensively, they forced 20 turnovers on the Celtics. They had 19 fastbreak points as well. The Celtics defense was scrambled, which was odd because the Celtics are a great defensive team. They destroyed the Celtics

The Hawks just need to keep up this intensity going into Boston. If they can keep it up, they should be looking at a win. On the other hand, the Celtics are looking at elimination next game. But I have confidence that Brad Stevens will find a way to stop the Hawks and get points up on the board. He always seems to be able to do it.

Raptors VS Pacers (Game 5)

Raptors Lead Series 3-2

The Raptors won a big game last night. For the Pacers to beat the Raptors in the series, they now have to win the next two games. The Raptors are finally in control of the series. Here's why.

DeMar DeRozan finally looks like DeMar DeRozan. He had 34 points as he shot 45.5% from the field and more importantly, he shot 12-13 from the free throw line. He took plenty of this mid-range shots and got to the rim with ease. He was a huge reason this Raptors team won. However, this game was really close, a lot closer than the Raptors would have liked. Kyle Lowry still needs to step it up. He shot 3-11 from the field and 1-5 from three. George Hill outscored him. They need him to step it up.

I was very impressed with how great Bismack Biyombo was in this game. He had 10 points and 16 rebounds in the game and was a +10 on the floor. He helped this Raptors team stay in this game when the Pacers had a 17 point lead over the Raptors. Norman Powell was also great in the game and a big benefactor.

Paul George played great. He was amazing. He shot 57.9% from the field, had 39 points, 8 assists, and 8 rebounds. He really had his team winning. While he probably should've taken the last shot, he made the right play. If there was about 1 more second on the clock, the Pacers would've won that game. But they lost since the shot didn't get off in time. However, this game shouldn't have come down to that last shot. Somehow, in 7 minutes and 29 seconds that Ty Lawson played in the game, the Pacers lost 18 points from their lead just with Lawson being in there. Him and C.J. Miles were horrible off the bench. Rodney Stuckey shot 1-10 from the field, but he actually played solid defense and he ended with a +1 for the team. I don't even know how the Pacers can even play Miles and Lawson next game.

I do want to mention that the Raptors had 12 assists in the game. It was horrible. Their ball movement was so stagnant and I'm really shocked they won the game. I think that if the Pacers didn't have horrible bench production, they would have won. The Pacers bench ruined the 4th quarter. Completely ruined it. The Pacers only had 9 points in the 4th. Only 9! It was horrible. The Raptors are very lucky that Paul George didn't play the whole quarter. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Clippers VS Trailblazers (Game 4)

Series Tied 2-2

Chris Paul went down. So did Blake Griffin. Could it cost them. It sure could. Let's take a look at how it could affect them.

First off, I want to say that Doc Rivers made a big mistake not putting Luc Richard Mbah a Moute in the game during the 2nd half. Aminu took advantage of this as he had 30 points and 10 rebounds in the game. The effort wasn't there defensively from Jeff Green. I also think people forget just how great of a defensive player Chris Paul is. Austin Rivers just doesn't have as great of a defensive game as Chis Paul has. Without him, I think that Lillard is just going to explode in scoring these last games of the series, something the Clippers have been doing a great job of limiting this series.

J.J. Redick needs to produce with these 2 out. So does Jeff Green. You might remember back when Jeff Green was on the Celtics, KG told him he could be a star in this league. That never really happened, but now, Jeff Green kind of has his chance. They are going to rely on him to score. He needs to produce. J.J. Redick had 8 points in the game. He needs to be coming off tons of off-ball screens because that is where he excels. He must be much more aggressive coming off those screens. These two guys need to score.

C.J. McCollum was amazing in this game. While he didn't break 20 points in this game, he was amazing in this game defensively. He played solid defense. I was amazed with his impact defensively. You probably weren't watching, but off the ball, he defended so well getting around screen and just getting in his man's face.

Again, Mason Plumlee was amazing. He has been the surprise of the series. He had just 2 points, but he pitched in 14 rebounds, 10 assists, and 3 blocks with those 2 points. He has done so much for this Blazers team. He really helped this Trailblazers team get 58 rebounds in the game while the Clippers had 42!

The Clippers aren't looking good. They need offense, and they need it bad. Someone is going to have to step up, and fast.

Thunder VS Mavericks (Game 5)

Thunder Win Series 4-1

The Maverick played great, they really did. But this OKC team was just way too much for them to handle. I have to admit that this has been my favorite series to watch so far. It's been a chippy, scrappy game, and I have loved the effort from the Mavs.

The Mavs had one big thing working against them. They were worn out, and you could tell. The effort was there defensively. The Mavs contested most of the shots that the Thunder put up. However, if you take a look at the 4th quarter. The Thunder were destroying them offensively and the Mavs were shooting very poorly. In the last 5 minutes of the game. The Mavs shot just 2-11 from the field where the Thunder shot 3-8 and were sent to the FT line multiple times just because of the bad defensive positioning of the Mavs.

The fact is, the Mavs fought, and they fought hard. 6 of their players had at least 10 points. Barea had 8 points and Devin Harris had 9 as well. The team had 24 assists. They moved the ball really well. If they could have made shots in the late 4th, I have to think they would have won. The Mavs just couldn't hit shots.

As for OKC, they need to go back to the defense they had in game 1. The Thunder's defensive rotations were way too late on every possession it seemed. Their defense was just bad. They need to go back to their great defense from game 1 and I think it starts with Westbrook just putting in more effort. They need to step it up if they are going to even have a chance against the Spurs, because the Spurs will always find the open man and rip apart weak defenses.

Heat VS Hornets (Game 4)

Series Tied 2-2

This was the Kemba Walker game we were waiting for. On the Heat side, nobody really took over. This wasn't the Heat's best night but they did move the ball well.

What really kept the Heat in this game was their rebounding. The team wanted to rebound. It wasn't just Hassan Whiteside either. 4 of the 5 Heat starters had 7 rebounds. The Heat had 46 boards while the Hornets had 36. What was really confusing to me is that the Hornets had more second chance points than the Heat. The Heats only had 5 second chance points while the Hornets had 10.

Two things really killed the Heat. First, they had no fast break points in the game. Second, they only had 30 points in the paint. I think that against the Hornets, you need easy points. A great way to do this is to run the court and get to the paint. Taking 26 shots around the basket doesn't give you enough easy points. You need to be taking more shots around there.

It was really the opposite for the Hornets though. They were getting good shots from the paint. Hassan Whiteside always looked late on rotations to me. He did a bad job on the inside. The Heat also fouled quite a lot due to just bad defensive positioning. The Hornets went 25-30 from the free throw line as they took advantage of this. The Heat need to be much more disciplined defensively.

The fact that the Heat shot bad didn't help them. They really need to take it inside the paint more was part of it. The Heat aren't the best outside shooters so they need to get inside more. Hassan Whiteside needs to get in more pick and roll situations with Goran Dragic. It think that the Heat need to get back to their ball movement, defense, and pick and roll more if they are going to win this series, because they haven't looked that great.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Cavaliers VS Pistons (Game 4)

Cavs Win Series 4-0

The Cavaliers won the series, but before I get started, I would like to point out that Kyrie Irving traveled in the video above. And It wasn't a half-court, his foot was over the line. I mean, geez guys, it's not a big deal!... I'm kidding!

Okay, so to start off, the Pistons need to find a better backup center for Andre Drummond, because Aron Baynes just gets destroyed out there. He isn't a good rebounder and not the best defensive player. They could really use a backup like Bismack Biyombo.

The next thing I'm going to mention is that both teams had a combined total of 14 turnovers. Only 14. The Cavs only had 5 turnovers in the game. If they keep that up going into the next rounds of the playoffs, they are going to be hard to beat. So great job to the Cavs for taking great care of the ball.

While the Pistons guarded LeBron pretty well, LeBron completely destroyed Marcus Morris in the paint. I wasn't too thrilled about Morris''s defense. While Morris shot 75% from the field, he was a -13 when he was on the floor, this was because he did a horrible job guarding LeBron. Stanly Johnson on the other hand did a great job on letting LeBron put up longer range shots and forcing him out of the paint.

I also think that the Cavs kind of strayed away from ball movement in this game. They only had 16 assists and I think that they should move the ball around more. This was mainly the reason why this was such a close game, the Cavs played a lot of iso ball, a little too much.

Anyways, while Reggie Jackson didn't really get a good look at a game winner, this was still a fun series to watch. But the Cavs need to get ready to move on. They need to be ready for whoever is next, because if they play like this, they could easily be beaten.

Hawks VS Celtics (Game 4)

Series Tied 2-2

This was a crazy game. There were a lot of plays that you could say decided the game. Let's take a look at them.

This game was an amazing win for the Celtics. Amir Johnson was amazing defensively. He really kept Al Horford quiet. Horford only had 5 points on the night. Starting Amir at the 5 has lead to 2 Celtic wins and 0 losses this postseason. The whole team really did a great job defending. The Hawks shot just 37% from the field and 27.9% from long range. The Celtics really let the Hawks take tons of mid-range shots. The Hawks didn't make many of them either.

The Celtics offense was great. Most of the shots they took were either open 3's or open looks in the paint. Jonas Jerebko really took some pressure off Thomas as he had 16 points shooting very well from 3. Marcus Smart also played well. He had 20 points while also dishing out 6 assists off the bench. The Celtics moved the ball so well it helped get their players wide open looks.

If the Celtics played so well, then why was this such a close game? Well, Paul Millsap really carried the team. He had 45 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 blocks, and 2 steals. The Atlanta Hawks relied on him to make plays. However, towards the end of the game in OT, Paul Millsap wasn't looking to score. Since he wasn't aggressive, this ultimately lead to the Hawks downfall.

The Hawks made some weird plays down the stretch. Something that I noticed was that Korver closed out hard on Jae Crowder at the 3-point line, a guy that shot 2-9 from 3 in the game and really bad from 3 in the series. Crowder blew by Korver, kicked it to Turner, who threw it out to Jonas Jerebko who was wide open from 3. He decided to shoot the ball and he ended up making it. So why did they close out so hard on Jae Crowder but left the guy who was shooting 50% from 3 in the game wide open. Jerebko is one of the Celtics best 3-point shooter and Jae Crowder is struggling. This was towards the end of the 4th quarter too.

I was also confused on how Jeff Teague went into isolation and with 3 seconds left had another player kind of interfere with the play so Jeff Teague had to put a 3-pointer, but didn't even put it up. But I can't really blame this loss on Teague because he is the reason the game went into OT.

While there were some slip ups, this was an amazing game to watch and I really hope the rest of the series is just like this.

Warriors VS Rockets (Game 4)

Warriors Lead Series 3-1

Curry played the first half of the game. He then slipped on a wet spot that wasn't wiped up on the court. Curry would not return to the second half of the game. It was today that it was found out after an MRI scan that Curry is out for 2 weeks with an MCL sprain. The game was tied at halftime. That was when this Warriors team broke away from the Rockets. This was without Curry. Let's take a look at what they did.

In the second half of the game, the Warriors shot the ball extremely well. They were 12-20 from three in the second half as well as shooting 57.1% from the field. They weren't just hitting shots though. They were getting great looks. They moved the ball so well. The Warriors had 21 assists in the second half alone! They had 38 assists in the game! Shaun Livingston lead this with 9 assists in the second half. They weren't satisfied until they got an open shot. The Warriors had 51 uncontested shots on the night! They looked great without Curry.

A part of this did have to do with the defense of the Rockets. Their defensive rotation were horrible. Completely horrible. Nobody seemed to communicate and players were losing their man. It was just bad. The Rockets can't win against the Warriors with the defense they had.

The Rockets also turned the ball over 18 times. The Warriors took advantage of this. The Warriors had 20 fast break points and 23 points off turnovers. The Rockets turn the ball over a lot, but you can't against the Warriors because they are the best in converting off turnovers.

The Warriors also played great defense. The Rockets shot 5-27 on three point attempts and didn't get many open looks. The Warriors were going for steals as they had 10 steals and 12 deflections. The Rockets had a hard time getting into an offense. While the Warriors had 16 turnovers, the Rockets only had 9 fastbreak points.

If the Rockets are to come back in the series, they need the same bench production they had in this game. Beasley was an instant scorer. He had 17 points on the night. Jason Terry also added 9 and Brewer had 10 points.

Anyways, the Warriors played great without Curry, but they really need to continue the play through the rest of the series and through the next series.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Spurs VS Grizzlies (Game 4)

Spurs Win Series 4-0

The Spurs won. Nothing special. The Grizzlies season is over. Now there is something special. I have the upmost respect for coach Dave Joerger. If you look at his press conference, he was proud of his guys. He was so proud of the fact that his guys fought through adversity, and they made the playoffs.

The Spurs had to take a lot of contested shots. They also happened to make 52.1% of their contested shots. The poor Grizzlies were flying all over the court to keep up with the Spurs passes. But each and every Grizzlies player ran as hard as they could. By the end of the game, they were tired out, but finished out the last final minutes as hard as they could. The Grizzlies fought out each possession which says a lot about their character.

This was probably a great thing for players like Matt Barnes. All of these guys on the Grizzlies roster had the chance to see what they could do on the court and they got a chance to prove themselves. Teams are going to look at Matt Barnes now as a very good defensive player that has offensive capabilities. Matt Barnes got to develop his offense, something he wouldn't have been able to do on any other team. The same goes for every player on this Grizzlies team.

The Spurs were the better team. They were fundamentally sound and there was no way they were going to let the Grizzlies win. But the heart was there, and that was all Dave Joerger could ask of from his guys.   

Clippers VS Trailblazers (Game 3)

Clippers Lead Series 2-1

Portland went home. This was a game that they needed to win, and they delivered. Everything I said needed to happen in my Game 2 breakdown, they did. Let's take a look at this game.

First off, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum both decided to finally have a productive game on offense. Lillard had 32 points while McCollum had 27. I was very happy with McCollum's defensive effort too. He was a big benefactor to have on the defensive end. Both of these guys really helped their team win and they both had a superior offensive game unlike in games 1 and 2.

Mason Plumlee was a big part of Portland's win. While he only had 6 points, he had 21 rebounds and 9 assists to go with that. He out rebounded DeAndre Jordan, which is pretty impressive. As a result of this, Portland won the rebounding battle as they had 56 rebounds while the Clippers only had 44 rebounds. This is something that the Clippers have to do better. If they are going to win next game, they have to keep the Blazers off the offensive boards. The Blazers had 18 second chance points.

The Clippers took some really tough shots in the game. They tried to get into the paint but a lot of their shots were at tough angles when they tried to get in close. A part of that was Mason Plumlee's great interior defense, but they need to do a better job of penetrating.

I also think that they need to get Redick involved more in the mid-range game. Redick didn't take many mid-range shots and they weren't in his hot spots. They need to get him coming off screens from the top of the key. While Redick is a good 3-point shooter, he is a great mid-range shooter. They need to get him going with his mid-range shot.

I think that Portland can very well win this series if they keep up what they are doing. As for the Clippers, this wasn't that great of a game for them and they kind of strayed away from what they do. They need to get back to that.

Thunder VS Mavericks (Game 4)

Thunder Lead Series 3-1

This was a very testy game. You can tell that the Mavericks will to compete is really getting under the Thunder's skin. This caused for multiple technicals on the Thunder and Durant to be ejected with a flagrant 2. This could mean Durant might have to sit out of game 5. That would be the Mavericks best chance to steal another game.

The Mavericks played like they were the better team. They fought and every time the Thunder would make a push, the Mavs would come right back. The Mavs shot 51.8% on the game. They got some great looks at the basket with their pick and roll and kickout looks. Raymond Felton was at the heart of this. He did a great job finding open players as he had 11 assists but also did a great job finding openings and scoring at the right time as he also had 19 points on the night. Dirk was a big part of that pick and roll. He had 27 points on the night.

The Mavs did a great job guarding Westbrook and Durant, but they were so focused on them that the other guys carried the team. Ibaka had 16 points, Steven Adams had 14, Dion Waiters had 12, and Kanter had 28. Kanter was also 12-13 from the floor. All of these guys shot very efficiently while Westbrook and Durant had their shooting woes. The Mavs have a hard task of guarding the Thunder, but Kanter can't be shooting 12-13. They also can't let the Thunder get 60 points in the paint. You could tell the Mavs were trying, they just weren't always fundamentally sound on defense though.

A big part of there loss was J.J. Barea's inability to hit shots. He was such a big part of their offense in game 3, but in game 4 he shot 0-7 from the floor with 6 assists. He seemed very passive when he was in the paint almost always looking to pass off. If Barea played better, I have to think that this would have been a much different game.

Justin Anderson was the guy that really caught my eye. He had 10 points and 7 rebounds off the bench. You could tell he wanted the ball and he wanted to win. He did a great job and put in the effort.

If Kevin Durant is out the next game, and the Mavericks show the same heart and effort, they have a good chance at winning that game. They have a few things that they could fix up. Game 5 will be a great competitive one as the whole series has been.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Raptors VS Pacers (Game 4)

Series Tied 2-2

The Pacers dominated this game. Offensively they couldn't be beat. As for the Raptors, they were the exact opposite.

The Raptors stars have again struggled. Lowry shot 4-12 in the game and DeRozan shot just 4-15 in the game. Both players have shot under 33% in this series! They have not played good at all which has caused the team to suffer. As a team, the Raptors shot just 36.5% from the field. This needs to change.

For the Pacers, they were great. Paul George did not have to carry this team. George Hill and Ian Mahinmi both had 22 points. Mahinmi played so great. He also had 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block. Myles Turner didn't shoot well as he only shot 15.4% from the field, but he grabbed rebounds, played great defense, and hustled for every loose ball.

The Pacers moved the ball very well. Everyone was very unselfish. The team had 24 assists on the night. The Raptors had just 12 assists. The turnovers also effected the game. The Raptors had 17 turnovers and the Pacers had 25 points off those turnovers. The Raptors turned the ball over and then didn't get back to play good defense.

The Raptors need their stars to perform. They can't win with them shooting under 30%. Valanciunas can't carry the team. If the Raptors don't have a change from their star players, they aren't going to be looking that great in this series. The organization can't afford to lose this series.

Heat VS Hornets (Game 3)

Heat Lead Series 2-1

The Heat lost their hot shooting. This is not why they lost though. They lost because totally different reasons. Let's take a look at those reasons, shall we?

While the Heat only shot 34.2% from the field, the Hornets only shot 38.9% from the field. Neither team actually shot well. However, the Hornets valued each possession. They only had 3 turnovers in the game! Only 3! On the other hand, the Heat had 14 turnovers. That is an 11 turnover difference.

That wasn't the only big difference that I noticed. I also saw that Miami had 28 points in the paint while the Hornets had 52. The Heat just weren't able to finish, and part of it was because of the interior defense that the Hornets had. It was so strong that it forced up some tough shots. While Luol Deng played great, the Hornets were fine with it as they were focused on other players. They realized Deng couldn't beat this team on his own.

Frank Kaminsky got to start in his playoff game. It was proved as a good move for the Hornets as he put up 15 points in the game. He just took it at the Heat in the post not matter who was guarding him. Another guy that played great was Jeremy Lin, who had 18 points off the bench. He was able to get into the paint and make some big plays. He had 10 points in the paint alone. Marvin Williams also had 12 points with 14 rebounds. This balanced scoring helped them win this game without a good game from Kemba.

The Hornets also hit 21 of their 22 free throws while Miami hit only 19 of their 30. The Heat left 11 points at the line. The rebounding battle was also big. While the Heat had 53 rebounds, the Hornets had 47. It wasn't really lopsided and the Heat didn't convert efficiently after they got the offensive rebounds.

Don't sleep on the Hornets, they are a great home team and this series could come down to a game 7.

Spurs VS Grizzlies (Game 3)

Spurs Lead Series 3-0

This was the best Spurs VS Grizzlies game we have seen in this series. It was close throughout the whole game. The Grizzlies fought and they really battled through this game. I'm sure Dave Joeger is proud of what the team did.

First, I'd like to point out that Zach Randolph finally had that 20 point game. He played well which really helped out the Grizzlies. Matt Barnes also had 17 points. This team just wanted to win. They had a total of 18 second chance points. They just battled their way to the finish line.

There was just one problem. They Spurs could get production from anyone no matter who they put in. 10 players on the Spurs registered at least 2 points. The Grizzlies don't have a deep bench, and they couldn't afford to keep their bench in the game. The starters go too tired and fatigue set in. The Spurs didn't have that problem simply because they have such a great bench.

I think this series will be a sweep. I don't think there is much the Grizzlies can do to win a game in this series. Matt Barnes guarded Kawhi Leonard and Kawhi had 32 points. They just can't stop this Spurs offense. The Grizzlies had a great night, but they still couldn't mangage to grab a win. 

Hawks VS Celtics (Game 3)

Hawks Lead Series 2-1

Last night was Isaiah's night. Isaiah Thomas came out and won the game as he finished with 42 points. The Hawks couldn't seem to match it, but could've they won the game?

The Hawks were brutal from 3-point range. They couldn't get a 3-pointer to fall. They were 2-17 in the1st half. That was their big problem, they wouldn't stop shooting them. They took 36 threes and only made 9 of them. And it wasn't like they were taking a lot of open shots either, they took a lot of contested ones, which was very strange for this Hawks team. When the 3 isn't falling you have to take it inside.
Atlanta Hawks - 3-point Shot Chart -
They Hawks did a great job fixing this in the second half though. They finished the game with 52 points in the paint which is how they made their comeback.

Evan Turner was a big reason for the Hawks win. He had 17 points, 7 assists, and 5 steals as he filled the starting role for Avery Bradley in the game. But that wasn't the only lineup change that really lead to the Celtics win. They also put Jae Crowder at the 4 to guard Millsap and Amir Johnson at the 5 to guard Al Horford. This proved to be a great move as Millsap and Horford had a combined total of 16 points. They really took away the Hawks advantage that they had over the Celtics. The defensive effort really lead to the Celtics win.

Overall, Isaiah Thomas just had a really good night. He was very aggressive, realizing that his team needed him to produce. This ultimately lead to the a Celtics win. The combination of the defense and offense from the Celtics was just too much for the Hawks and you have to really credit Brad Stevens and the great job he on making changes.

Cavaliers VS Pistons (Game 3)

Cavaliers Lead Series 3-0

The Pistons home court was lit. All of the fans in the arena were just happy to see their team back in the playoffs again, and the Pistons put on a show. So far in this series they have been a challenge for the Cavs, but the Cavs have had no problem conquering them.

The Pistons starters were great. They played really well on the court as all of them had double-figure scoring. Their bench was brutal though. They only had 14 bench points total. The Cavs completely destroyed them when the bench was in the game. They can't have a great performance from their starters and them have the bench come in and ruin it. However, I was impressed with Stanly Johnson, he did a much better job defensively this game and he had 9 points off the bench. He was very efficient on the floor.

Defensively, I thought the Pistons did a great job. They let LeBron shoot jump shots and really get into him in the paint. This worked well as LeBron shot just 33.3% from the field. He also shot 1-6 from 3-point range. I thought that they really contained LeBron which put them in a much better position to win.

The Cavaliers killed the Pistons on the boards. The Cavaliers had 46 rebounds while the Pistons only had 32. If you looked at what the Cavs were doing, they were sandwiching Andre Drummond so he couldn't get the rebounds. Stan Van Gundy needs to bring this up to his players. If a guy is being sandwiched, then someone isn't being boxed out. This is the player that needs to crash the offensive and defensive boards. I also thought that it was very strange that  Stan Van only played Drummond 27 minutes in the game. Aron Baynes was horrible on the floor and Drummond was a lot better to have on the floor. 3 of 5 starters for the Cavs had at least 10 boards. J.R. Smith had 9. They need Drummond in there longer. The Cavs had 17 2nd chance points. That is just too many, especially when the Pistons have the best rebounder in the league. The fact that Drummond only got 7 rebounds in the game and J.R. Smith had 9 just tells you that the Pistons just need to crash the glass harder.

The Pistons could really just use a playoff win for some confidence. They are having a tough time against the Cavs but they have to keep their eyes on the target of winning the game, throughout the game.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Warriors VS Rockets (Game 3)

Warriors Lead Series 2-1

The Rocket finally decided to take advantage of the Warriors sitting Curry out of the game. The Rockets were great offensively and looked like they actually wanted to play defensively, or did they. Let's break it all down.

If you look at the Rockets defense, you will notice it wasn't all as it seemed. They did a good job of contesting field goals shot by Klay, but they failed to contest any other shots. This actually worked with them somewhat as the Warriors couldn't hit shots, but then Maurice Speights was left wide open. He took advantage of this as he contibuted to 22 points off the bench and was a big reason why this Warriors team stayed in the game. If you take a look at the shotchart you will notice that the Rockets defense wasn't that great. Guys were left open but were just missing outside shots. The shots inside were usually not defended well and they got quality looks inside. 
Warriors Team - Shot Chart -
James Harden, Dwight Howard, and Motiejunas were the guys that really made this Rockets offense go 'round. The pick and roll with Dwight Howard and James Harden wasn't guarded that well by Golden State until the second half where Motiejunas started spacing the floor and hitting shots. The Warriors got off to a very poor start defensively. It wasn't til the 4th quarter where the Warriors really cracked down defensively.

The Warriors did not rebound well. They lost the rebounding battle to Houston as the Warriors had 43 rebounds while the Rockets had 52. The Rockets had 16 second chance points. The Warriors also didn't take care of the ball well. Draymond Green had 7 turnovers in the game and had a turnover at the end of the game in which the Warriors could have possibly won the game. The turnovers really hurt Golden State and it kind of cost them the game. The Houston Rockets had 20 points off turnovers so it was a case of not getting back on defense either.

Stephen Curry has said that he would be very surprised if he didnt' play in game 4 so the Rockets should expect him to play. They have a lot of changes that they must make if they are going to keep this series alive.

Raptors VS Pacers (Game 3)

Raptors Lead Series 2-1

The Raptors have home court advantage once again! They took it back in Indiana where they beat the Pacers by 16 points. Let's take a look at how this game played out.

DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry didn't have the best games, but it was sure better than how they were in the first 2 games of the series. Both of them combined shot 37.5% from the field. While there play wasn't the best, it was crucial for the Raptors win. However, someone that stepped up was DeMarre Carroll. He had 17 points in the game and played great defensively on Paul George. PG-13 shot just 6-19 and that was mainly because of DeMarre Carroll. This really hurt the Pacers which ultimately lead to their demise in the game.

The Pacers didn't do well in responding to George having a bad night. Monta Ellis had just 7 points. If George is having an off night, Ellis needs to produce for the Pacers to even have a shot at winning. And with the team shooting 38.2% from the field, that is where you tell Monta Ellis and Rodney Stuckey to just go out there and score and that is where Frank Vogel messed up. Sometimes, you need guys to go into isolation or pick and roll and just tell them to score. The Pacers never really did that and scoring guard, Rodney Stuckey only played 16:55 minutes in the game and only put up 2 shots.

Toronto's bench played very well and just had an all out duel with Indiana's bench. Both bench provided a great lift in the game for both teams so it was nice to see the benches duel it out. It was great to see competition from the bench and I was really hoping it would carry over to the starters but it never did. It was a good game to watch, but the Pacers just didn't get enough offense at all and if they are going to win game 4, they need offense from their star players.

Thunder VS Maverick (Game 3)

Thunder Lead Series 2-1

The Mavs looks great in this game despite loosing by 29 points. The Thunder just looked even better. This was really anyone's game til the 4th quarter, which is the Thunder just finally pulled away from the Mavs. The Thunder shot over 60% from the field and from 3 in the fourth quarter, giving the Mavs no chance to catch up.

I was very impressed by the Mavs guard play. J.J. Barea looked great in his return. He had 15 points and 7 assists. Raymond Felton also had 18 points. They were just great offensively, but they were great defensively as they were very physical. Westbrook shot only 4-9 in the paint. Also, Westbrook didn't get 1 rebounds in the game. This was the first time this has ever happened to Westbrook in the playoffs and only the 7th time in his career where he didn't record 1 rebound in a game. Westbrook also had 6 turnovers in the game.

Durant was defended really well. While he had 33 points, most of them were free throws. Durant only shot 8-22 on contested field goals and only had 3 uncontested field goals in which he made all of them. It really the bigs for Dallas that didn't do a great job defending the rim. Dirk was their best big man defender and the bench really hurt them when Barea and Dirk were out of the game. If they played the whole game, Dallas would have theoretically lost by 3 points. Big difference. Barea and Dirk in pick and roll were so great. They dominated the floor and sent Dallas on some big runs during the game. They will be a crucial part of this series if it is going to be pushed to a game 7.

I though OKC was very comfortable in moving the ball around and finding open players unlike in game 2. Dion Waiters and Serge Ibaka had a combined 35 points and Kanter had 21 points to add to that as well which really took the pressure off Westbrook and KD a little bit. They looked very comfortable on offense but on defense they need to figure out a way to stop the Barea and Dirk pick and roll because it's killing them. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Clipper VS Trailblazers (Game 2)

Clippers Lead Series 2-0

This was Portland's game to win. In fact, they might not get a better shot to beat this Los Angeles Clippers team. You have to take advantage of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan having poor nights.

The blame really falls on to Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. I though both of them played really poor defense on Redick and Chris Paul. They both shot really well from the floor but that is because they were both defended poorly. Both of them also didn't play that great on offense. Both of them scored under 20 points in 38 minutes of play. Not to mention that Mason Plumlee was having a great game with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists and Harkless had a good game as well. It was Portland's chance to win and their stars let them down.

While the stars of the Trailblazers shot horribly from 3 and played poor defense, the rest of the team played very well. They tied the Clippers in rebounds with 52. They also capitalized on points off turnovers and also had 18 fastbreak points. The bench wasn't that great for the Trailblazers but that was mainly because they played with McCollum and Lillard on the floor who weren't able to take over at all.

Meanwhile, the Clippers bench play was amazing. They had 43 bench points as they were very productive and they picked up for Griffin's poor shooting night. They shot well and produced at a great rate. The guards were also great for the Clippers. Chris Paul and J.J. Redick were amazing. They both carried their team offensively.

This was a game that Portland could have very well. If they are going to win, they need Lillard and McCollum to produce on offense but also play much better against these talented guards in Redick and Paul. 

Cavaliers VS Pistons (Game 2)

Cavaliers Lead Series 2-0

The Detroit Pistons fought through the game, but there were some big reasons why they lost. The Cavs on the other hand have some concerns too. Let's dive into this game.

The Cavaliers decided to intentionally foul Drummond... a lot. This was a great idea. Andre Drummond shot just 4-16 from the free-throw line. He was ice cold from the free throw line and didn't even shoot close to what he usually averages from the stripe. This somewhat contained Drummond and Jackson from getting into their classic pick and poll action. It also seemed to keep Drummond frustrated. The great rebounder only had 2 defensive rebounds. Drummond didn't even get a double-double but he did finish the game with 20 points.

The bench for the Pistons was brutal. Their starters had done so well, and when the bench went in, everything the Pistons starters had worked for was gone. Stanley Johnson and Steve Blake had the opposite effect they had in game one as both of them were a -20 for their plus/minus advantage. And the Cavs bench played great. They passed the ball well as they also rebounded and played great defense. You could tell everyone was working to get good looks at the basket.

For the Cavs defense, if they an defend the pick and roll a little better and keep players out of the paint, I think they would be in an even better position to win. I think that what they are doing is great. They are getting great looks and shots are falling. The Pistons on the other hand need to step up their defense. J.R. Smith was left open which lead to J.R. feeling confident. He shot 7-11 from 3. You can't just let him go off. You need to contest his shots and then if he is missing you can lay off him a little bit. Most of the blame had to go on Caldwell-Pope for this.

I am excited to see how Detroit respondes in this series and I can't wait to see this game in Detroit. I think it will be very exciting to watch.

Heat VS Hornets (Game 2)

Heat Lead Series 2-0

The Hornets did a much better job on offense in this game, but they are still in no position to win. Changes need to be made, and we're going to take a look at what those changes should be.

The Hornets defense is in dire need of a change. Only 1 player shot under 50% for the Heat, and that was Amar'e Stoudemire who only attempted 3 shots and made 1. Everybody else shot at least 50% from the field. That is concerning. Hassan Whiteside made all of his shots and everytime he shot it seemed like a Hornets guard was on him. The Hornets had some really poor defensive rotations. However, Miami did a great job of finding the open player and swinging the ball around the court.

Miami shot 57.9% from the field, but Charlotte did have a good offense going. Kemba Walker picked his game up since game 1 as he had 29 points in the game. However, despite Kemba's performance, many of the other players failed to produce. Marvin Williams shot 0-10 in the game. Nicolas Batum was 3-11. Jeremy Lin was only 2-7 from the field. The whole team shot just 1-16 from 3-point range. Al Jefferson had a great game though. He finished the night with 25 points as he shot 12-17 from the field. However, he played horrible defense when he was on the floor. He couldn't guard the paint against this Heat team and it was actually better to have Cody Zeller out on the floor. Al Jefferson had a defensive rating of 131.9, which is really poor.

The Hornets are also not taking advantage of their youth. They did not run the floor. They had just 1 fastbreak point which was off a Courtney Lee free throw. If you are playing against a verteran Heat team, you need to get off and running to score, which they didn't do.

One thing that kept the Hornet from being blown out was their offensive rebounding. They had 15 offensive rebounds in the game. However, they only had 11 2nd chance points. The 2nd chance points are something that they must take advantage of in this series.

The Heat are obviously the more experience team and their players are playing great defense while being very unselfish with the basketball. They are moving it along the perimeter well, but their passes were few because guy were just left open. The hustle isn't there for the Hornets and hopefully we see a better effort from them on their home court.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spurs VS Grizzlies (Game 2)

Spurs lead series 2-0

There really isn't anything that the Grizzlies can do. The Spurs are getting great shots. The Grizzlies aren't. The Grizzlies can't win without Zach Randolph having a 20+ game. They need him to produce and even then they really don't stand a chance.

As for the Spurs, they are perfect defensively. Everybody on the team got involved in the game, all 13 players scored, and not one of them had a negative +/- advantage. That is really all I have to say. There isn't much you can say about that game or the series itself. I hate to say it but the Grizzlies don't stand a chance.

Hawks VS Celtics (Game 2)

Hawks Lead Series 2-0

The Boston Celtics dropped game 2. They had a lot of mistake, but they still can come back in the series. Let's take a look at what needs to happen for this team to win though.

The loss of Avery Bradley is a very devastating one. He is a knock down shooter, a very great perimeter defender, a great team player, and a guy who delivers at the end of games. If you remember last years match up in the Eastern Semi-conference finals between the Hawks and the Wizards, Bradley Beal had pressured Kyle Korver a lot. He forced Korver to put up tough shots and shoot uncharacteristically low from 3. That was Avery Bradley in this series. Kyle Korver shot very, very bad in game 1. In game 2 without Bradley, Kyle Korver shot 5-7 from 3-point range. Without Bradley, Korver is a big threat. They have to change that and have Marcus Smart chase him around the whole game unfortunately. Marcus Smart just needs to get up on him.

That leads me to my next point. Marcus Smart shot horribly from the field. He was 1-11 from the field and 1-6 from 3. He finished the game with 3 points. That is not filling the role of Avery Bradley at all. Without his production, they need someone to fill that in.

Speaking of bad shooting. The whole Celtics team shot poorly. Jae Crowder has not looked good at all since his knee injury. Game 1 he shot bad, and game 2 he shot 1-9 from the field and 0-4 from deep. He was wonderful defensively but was very rough offensively. Isaiah Thomas was just 4-15 from the field. They couldn't hit open shots. They shot just 28.6% on uncontested field goals. They got great looks, they just couldn't make them. You can have great defense, but you won't win if you're shooting 31.8% from the field as a team.
Boston Celtics - Shot Chart -
One thing that was clear was that Amir Johnson deserves to start for this Celtics team. Johnson held Paul Millsap to just 1-12 shooting. Johnson also had 14 points and forced Millsap to turn the ball over 5 times. However, despite Johnson's defensive play, the Celtics can't put him on both Millsap and Horford at the same time. Horford ended the game with 17 points. The Celtics just don't stand much of a chance in the post.

The Celtics need to play much better on offense if they are to win this series. You need your top 2 players to perform, which they didn't do in game 2.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Warriors VS Rockets (Game 2)

Warriors lead series 2-0

The Rockets had their best chance to win against the Golden State Warriors last night, and they failed. With Stephen Curry out, this was a game that the Rockets needed to win. But the Warriors executed where the Rockets fail.

Houston shot 44.3% from the field and 40% from the 3-point line. That wasn't their problem though. Their problem was turnovers. It's really as simple as that. Houston had 19 turnovers and Golden State 23 points off turnovers. If you turn it over against Golden State, they are going to convert.

The other problem was that Houston played very poor defense, especially their interior defense. The Warriors had 56 points in the paint. They shot well above average in close as well, just take a look at this shot chart.

Warriors Team - Shot Chart -

 So the Rockets obviously need to step up their defense. Let's give the Warriors some credit though. Their guys stepped up, because they are capable of doing that. Shaun Livingston had 16 points, Andre Iguodala had 18 points, Andrew Bogut had 10 points, and Klay Thompson had 34 points. It was a great overall team game. When Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green couldn't get anything going, they found the open man instead. They did a great job moving the ball and the Rockets just sat there and watched.

We don't know if Curry will play next game, but if he doesn't, the Rockets need a win. They need a win either way, but they must take advantage of Curry being out from injury.

Thunder VS Mavericks (Game 2)

Series Tied 1-1

The Mavericks went against all odd and now they hold the home court advantage going into the rest of the series. But how did the Mavs even pull this off? How were they able to win against the Oklahoma City Thunder?

The Mavericks played really great defense. Something that they have not done much this season. I really have to credit Mavs head coach, Rick Carlisle, for making the defensive changes needed in game 2. First, he had Wesley Matthews really push Durant out of the paint. Durant didn't get any open lanes. Nest, almost every shot was contested. Durant and Westbrook alone shot 44 contested shots. They made just 11 of them. The Mavs made sure that there weren't any open shots. And third, the big made sure that the post catches were farther away from the basket. They got positioning and held it making the posts force up tough shots. They also made sure Dirk didn't play at the center position because they were destroyed in the paint last game. You can take a look at OKC's shot chart below to see just how bad their shooting was.

Thunder - Shot Chart -
The Mavs also changed a lot on offense. As I had pointed out from game 1, the Mavericks were really lacking in guard play. While J.J. Barea was out of this game, Deron Williams and Raymond Felton combined for a total of 34 points. This was a big improvement from game 1. Not only that, but Felton was amazing. The short guard had 11 rebounds and 21 points himself. He hit some big baskets down the stretch to put his team in the spot to win.

While Wesley Matthews struggled from the floor, he was very effective on defense. His overall hustle really set a great tone as he had a big steal towards the end of the game. While he shot 0-7 from 3, his impact couldn't have been greater.

Durant and Westbrook had a combined 11 turnovers. They had a rough time and the other players are going to have to help them out. It would really help if the team had D.J. Augustine right now.         

Raptors VS Pacers (Game 2)

Series Tied 1-1

The Raptors fans actually got to see their team win tonight. It was a relief to see them pull it off. There were many reasons for the Raptors victory and the Pacers loss, let's take a look at them.

Unlike last game, Jonas Valanciunas stayed out of foul trouble for the whole game. He ended the game with 4 personals and he played 31 minutes in the game. He contributed largely with 23 points and 15 rebounds which really destroyed the Pacers. The Pacers really have to find a way to stop Valaciunas.

Kyle Lowry has had another poor game. He shot just 30.8% from the field and he was 0-5 from 3-point range. It really hasn't been the Pacers that have stopped him from scoring either. They have actually left Lowry open as he shot 2-10 on uncontested field goals. Unlike last game though, Lowry did a great job of reacting differently. He got into the play in different ways than trying to score. He had 9 assists and 7 rebounds in the game along with only 2 turnovers. So while Lowry didn't shoot well at all, he was a big factor in the win for the Raptors.

A thing that really determined the game was the bench. The Raptors bench played really well while the Pacers bench played pretty poorly. The Pacers bench shot just 1-12 from 3 while the Raptors bench shot 5-10 from 3. The Raptors bench was much more efficient than the Pacers bench.

Both teams didn't play the best tonight, but it was obvious that the Raptors had the edge. One thing that the Raptors have to do is win 1 game in Indiana. If the Pacers win all of their home game, they are going to advance to the next round of the playoffs.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Clippers VS Trailblazers (Game 1)

Clippers lead series 1-0

The Clippers had a dominant game. Chris Paul was dominant, DeAndre Jordan was dominant, and Blake Griffin, he was dominant! The Clippers really took it at this team offensively. Part of this had to do with the interior defense of the Portland Trailblazers. Harkless and Plumlee can't guard DeAndre and Blake. That is where the Blazers don't matchup well with the Clippers and their big just need to step it up.

C.J. McCollum needs to score. Portland has the advantage in their backcourt and they need to use it. Chris Paul and J.J. Redick outscored McCollum and Lillard. That just can't happen for this Portland team if they are going to win. They need scoring from their backcourt. One positive for this team is that Gerald Henderson played really great. I think they should probably insert him into the starting line-up to provide a big lift at the beginning of the game. That should open up things a little more for Dame and McCollum.

If you watched the highlights from this game, you might think that the Trailblazers really got beat in transition, but the Blazers actually did a really great job with their transition defense, only allowing the Clippers to get 8 fastbreak points. Damian Lillard and McCollum made sure that they got back on defense and Chris Paul can't run like he used to.

Really, the Blazers shot pretty poorly and they just are going to have to step it up on offense next game. they also need their bigs to step it up on defense. The Clippers are really doing great. This is going to be a fun series to watch once Damian Lillard and McCollum start hitting more shots.

Spurs VS Grizzlies (Game 1)

Spurs lead 1-0

Grizzlies fans, I feel so bad for how all of you probably feel. You made it to the post season and now you have no Marc Gasol or Mike Conley. You are matched up with the Spurs and they are looking like they could sweep your team. However, this Grizzlies team continues to fight, and you guys should be proud of that.

Now, let's just push this out of the way, if the Grizzlies are to win a game, they are going to need probably at least a  20 point game from Zach Randolph. They can't be having him scoring 6 points, shooting 3-13 from the field and expect a win. It just isn't going to happen. Matt Barnes is going to have a tough time as he is being guarded by Kawhi Leonard. They need Z-Bo to score.

Next, Tony Parker and Patty Mills killed this team. It was these 2 guys that Jordan Farmar had a lot of problems with. He can't guard them. The frontcourt is killing this Grizzlies team and they really miss Mike Conley for his defensive skill. They could really use him right now.

The Spur also made some tough contested shots. This was tough because the Grizzlies played some great defense. The Spurs shot 59.1% on contest field goals. But credit the Spurs, they moved the ball around really well and they got everyone involved. Everyone got off some good looks on their team and they had the ball moving around real good.

The Spurs could improve more too. They let the Grizzlies shoot 44% from three. They also let Lance Stephenson keep the Grizzlies in the game during the first half. They had some defensive mishaps here and there and while they might fly here against the Grizzlies, every possession will count against the Warriors and Thunder.

Heat VS Hornets (Game 1)

Heat lead series 1-0

I'd like to start out by saying that this is going to be a very tough series for the Charlotte Hornets. First off, Charlotte went 30-11 at home, which is really good. However, they also went 18-23 on the road. The problem is that the Hornets don't have home court advantage so they have to win a road game, which is difficult for them since they aren't that great of a road team.

Now, a big reason why the Hornets lost this game, is because of the Heat's roster. Their weakest starting player is Luol Deng who can hit shots at a prolific rate just as Joe Johnson can too. Luol Deng had 31 points. The other thing that really destroyed them was the pick and roll with Dragic and Whiteside. Whiteside had 21 points and Dragic had 10 assists, those 2 things combined are horrible for a defense to see. They need to defend pick and roll and EVERYONE needs to be guarding their guy. You can't hide players this series.

A big thing that really is going to determine a lot is how Marvin Williams plays for the Hornets. In the Hornets wins, Williams usually shoots better. He is going to have to make a bigger impact as he shot 1-7 from the field and 0-2 from 3. They need him to play better.

Also, when a team had over 50 points in the paint, that doesn't help you win. The Heat had 56 points in the paint. The Hornets need to cut off drives and really stop players from getting to the paint. They just need better defense. They must be more sound and active defensively.

That is about all I have to say for this game. They Hornets can force this to a game 7 easily since they are so great at home, but it is going to take work, nothing is ever set in stone, so let's see it.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Cavaliers VS Pistons (Game 1)

Cavs Lead Series 1-0

Stan Van Gundy and his team fought. They fought hard. For a good amount of the 4th quarter, it looked like they had the game, then the pressure got to them. They just couldn't close it out. Reggie Jackson lost his composure, they just couldn't finish it. But they sure put up a fight and made this series interesting for sure.

The Pistons really fought hard. The Cavs were very focused on stopping the Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond pick and roll. However, they left Detroit's shooters wide open. The Pistons took advantage of these kick-outs as they made 15 threes and shot 51.7% from deep. Their efficiency from the 3-point line really kept them in the game.

I was very impressed with Cleveland. They finished the night with only 4 turnovers. All of those turnovers were off of steals too. You could tell just how disciplined this Cavs team was on offense. I was also shocked with their ability to move the ball. They rarely went into isolation and LeBron seemed to always make the extra pass. This ball movement and so little turnovers is really what kept them in this game. However, the Cavs really need to step up their defense on getting out on the shooters if they are to really pull away in this series.

The Cavs did a great job on the boards. They limited Drummond to 11 boards which is well below his average and they actually won the rebounding battle against a team that is well known for its rebounding.

The Pistons had a big lift from their bench. Stanly Johnson and Steve Blake played a big part in this game. They did a great job defending and Steve Blake always found the open guy. Those guys were great defensively. However, all of the Cavs big 3 had over 20 points. They dominated on the floor together.

I am concerned for the Cavs on how LeBron is going to hold up through this. He was the only player in this game to have at least 40 minutes and he was getting tired. You could tell too. He had the worst speed average, worse than Aron Baynes speed. He isn't keeping up with the other players and it's from fatigue. As the playoffs go on, can he keep this up? 40 minutes on the court is a long time. I don't if he can keep logging that many minutes a night.

Thunder VS Mavericks (Game 1)

Thunder Lead Series 1-0

Last game of the night, and the Thunder were full of energy. You could tell that they were so excited to be back in the mix after they didn't make the playoffs last year. On the other hand, the poor Mavericks are having a very tough time matching up with this Thunder team. They were blown out by a total of 38 points. So here is really why the Mavs had such a tough game.

The Mavericks couldn't guard Westbrook in the paint. The main fault lies on Dirk. If Westbrook was in there, you could almost always mark it down as 2 points, Dirk was just too slow. Also, Wesley Matthews can not guard Kevin Durant. KD is way too tall and really took it at Matthews all night long. And that is the problem, they have no one to guard KD and Westbrook. The best defender they have to guard Westbrook is Raymond Felton. Westbrook would just blow by Deron Williams.

A big thing that limited Dallas's scoring was OKC's defense. Their pick and roll defense was amazing! Steven Adams did a great job in it whether he was guarding the roll man or he was help side. All of the rotations were on time. Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook also did a great job and so did Roberson. They all were on the same page defensively. Dallas was forced to take a ton of tough shots in the paint and from mid-range. The team only shot 29.8% from the field, 22.2% from 3, and 61.5% from the FT line.

What Dallas really needs is more guard play. It was really limited from them. J.J. Barea, who is now injured, only had 2 points, he shot 1-6 from the field. Deron Williams finished the game with 2 points, he shot 1-9. Raymond Felton shot 2-10 from the field, however, he did have 7 points. As you can see, these guy need to produce. Dallas can not win without them.

And last, Dallas got out rebounded badly. The Mavs had a total of 33 rebounds. OKC had 56. Dallas also had 0 blocks in the game. You can tell what that says about their big. I think, if you are Dallas, you have to have JaVale McGee out there to protect the rim and grab board. That is all he has to really do. That and be open for lobs to open up the floor. Mejri did not work out and you a guy who can protect the paint because Dirk can't. Not to mention, JaVale was the only player on the Mavs to have a positive +/- advantage. He needs to be a part of the rotation.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Hawks VS Celtics (Game 1)

Hawks Lead Series 1-0

This game was a tale of 2 halves. Boston lost the first half, Atlanta lost the second. After watching this whole game, I realized that this was going to be an interesting series.

If you take a look at the first half, the Celtics played very poorly. Jae Crowder shot just 1-10 from the floor and Isaiah Thomas shot just 2-8. The team shot just 23.1% from the field, 12.5% from 3, and ended the half with just 34 points. They also had no fastbreak points! Defensively, the Celtics seemed late on every defensive rotation, the help side was always late, and they gave up 26 points in the paint.

Boston's 1st half - shot chart -

As for the Hawks, their big men dominated. Horford, Millsap, and Bazemore had a combined 31 points. Boston's big men were just too slow to react to the guards and the bigs of the Hawks. Jeff Teague was doing a wonderful job of making the extra pass to find the big man off the high pick and roll that Millsap and Horford thrive in. The Hawks were doing great.

The second half came around and the Celtics did a great job of defending the pick and roll. Everyone was on the same page. Crowder and Thomas stepped up their game and the Celtics picked up their percentages. They shot 50% from the field and 47.4% from deep in the second half. The big thing that brought them back into the game was transition. The Celtics went from having no fastbreak points in the 1st half to having 15 in the 2nd.

As for the Hawks, their bench couldn't convert in the second half and Korver was just brutal. He has 0-7 from 3 on the game. They were well defended, but the Hawks just didn't get back in transition. What won the Hawks the game was their late game defense. They made sure that every shot was contested and defended the ball handler really well. They executed in the last few minutes which got them the win.

While the Celtics lost, if they had a different 1st half, it could've been a much different game. I am very excited for this series as it continues and I think this could come down down to an amazing game 7. It will really depend on who wins, Atlanta's frontcourt or Boston's backcourt.

Warriors VS Rockets (Game 1)

Warriors lead series 1-0

If you are a Rockets fan, this was probably a tough game to watch. Nothing was really working for the Rockets. I thing I really notice was that the Rockets seemed to be forcing shots. Every miss Corey Brewer had in the paint was because it didn't look like he was trying to make it, he was just trying to throw up a shot. It just wasn't a good game. The Rocket kept missing which lead to major frustration.

One thing the Rockets have to realize it that you can't try to outrun the Warriors. They are so talented in a full court offense that you have to slow them down into a half-court offense. The Warriors ended the game with 33 points off turnovers. The Warriors thrive off turnovers. When you turn the ball over 24 times against the Warriors, they are going to convert on those mistakes. There is more the whole Warriors lead right there in points. You have to score and you can't turn it over against this team.

Stephen Curry was the leading scorer for both teams with 24 points on the night, and he didn't even clock 20 minutes. That means 2 things, you team didn't score, and you let a guy score 24 points in about 20 minutes, that is more than 1 point per minute. If you can't keep your composure and contain Curry, you at least have to match the Warriors scoring, which they didn't because they turned the ball over and forced up shots.

Now let's give some credit to the Warriors though. They played great defense. They held the Rockets to 78 points. Not only that, but they limited their fouls too. James Harden, a supreme free throw shooter in the league, didn't register a single free throw in the game. He was so frustrated that he created contact to get a call, but instead, Harden was called for an offensive foul. Their defense was so great that the Rockets suffered with their shooting, and the Rockets are a great shooting team. The Warriors really protected the paint as guy just forced up shots in there.
Houston Rockets - Shot Chart -

One of the more impressive stats that I noticed was the rebounding battle. The Houston Rockets had an amazing total of 51 rebounds! 51! The Warriors had 53. They topped the Rockets total of 51. That is impressive.

As you could tell from this game, it looks like it's going to be a scrappy, one-sided series, but if the Rocket can make these changes, they could make it more interesting.

Raptors VS Pacers (Game 1)

Pacers lead 1-0

The Raptors have been the higher seed for the 3rd straight year and have lost game 1 for the 3rd straight year. Raptors fans can't seem to catch a break and it always seems to be because of a guy named Paul. Last year and the year before it was Paul Pierce, this year, it's Paul George. But, the reason why the Raptors lost weren't because his name is Paul. Let's take a look at the reasons for their downfall.

The Raptors controlled the boards pretty much the whole game. They ended the night with 52 rebounds as a team while the Pacers only had 38. Jonas Valanciunas was a big part of the rebounding as he had 19 boards in only 21 minutes. Valancinas also was a big factor in the Raptors pick and roll offense, which the Pacers did a very poor job defending. However, Valanciunas was in foul trouble for almost the whole game and that is why he was limited to only 21 minutes. That took away the pick and roll that the Pacers were struggling to defend. I think if Valancuinas played even 10 more minutes, it could have been a very different game.

Of course, the Raptors didn't get really any offense from their stars. DeRozan and Lowry combined for only 25 points. Both of them shot under 30% from the field and really struggled to get anything going. And Lowry did not do a good job at running the offense. He had 7 great assists, but with those assists he has 6 turnovers. The whole team has a total of 19 turnovers and had some really poor quality passes.

The team was really killed by their own shooting. The team shot 38% from the field, just 21.1 % from the 3-point line, and a really bad 68.4% from the free throw line. They left 12 points at the free throw line. The Pacers were fouling them a lot, but it didn't matter since the team wasn't converting.

The Pacers did a lot right. They had some very great 1 on 1 defenses, however, they really need to work on their pick and roll defense because the Raptors were really hurting them with it when Jonas was in, and they also need to know how to rebound off that.

Offensively, the Pacers were great in the second half. Paul George was involved so much more, in fact, he had 27 of his 33 points in the second half and shot 10-13 in the second half as well. Once the Raptors were focused on George, he did a great job at finding the open man. As for defending PG-13, the Raptors really need to get out on him and force him into the paint where the Raptors have done such a great job defending. If you take a look at George's shot chart below, you will see just how bad he was in the paint. The Raptors just have to force them inside where they can defend him easier.
Paul George- shot chart-
 A big thing that the Raptors need to do is get more fast break points because they is where they excelled but they only had 8 of them tonight while the Pacers had 13. The Raptors need to get back on defense and push them-selves on offense.

A key factor in the games to come is going to be Monta Ellis, if he can score like he did tonight, I think that the Pacers could be able to come away with the series. Ellis and Valanciunas are the X-Factors in this series. They could decide who wins the series.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Aaron's Awards For The 2015-16 Season

As you might not have known, last year I made a post giving who I thought the award winners were for last year. This year, I am doing the same thing. So here we go...

Coach Of The Year: Before I jump into this, I do want to give a shout out to Dave Joerger; a guy that I think should be in the running for coach of the year. The guy had to deal with 28 different players this season. A regular team only has to deal with about 15-18 different players. The best thing about this, is that Joerger still managed to help this team get the 7th seed in the west even without most of their starters that they started the year with. But enough of me ranting on about the Grizzlies, I'll make sure I'll have a different post to do that in. Right now, we need to bring back the meaning of the Coach of the Year award because right now it seems like the team with either the best or the second best record gets the award. I think that doesn't really mean much. In fact, I don't think Steve Kerr even deserves this award. While they did great, I don't think it was their coaching staff that went above and beyond, I think it was their players. I also think it shouldn't be the "Coach" of the year, I think it should be the "Coaching staff" of the year where the whole coaching staff gets this award. While the head coach does so much, assistant coaches, coordinators, all of the film guys, and especially the medical staff do so much. Now, who is the Coach of the year? It could really go to Terry Stotts, who has done such a great job coaching Portland, or even Dave Joerger. But my coach of the year has to go to Gregg Popovich. He has lead to a great Spurs record of 67-15. Not only that, but they were able to do that while resting guys. With their best player, Kawhi Leonard out of the lineup, they were 7-3! That is why Pop is my pick.
Winner: Gregg Popovich

Sixth Man Of The Year: Jamal Crawford has the points but he has done nothing other than throw up shots. Enes Kanter, on the other hand, has been grabbing rebounds and has stepped up his defense. Kanter is shooting a career high in FG percentage and 3-point percentage as he has been a big help off the bench. Crawford, meanwhile, has been shooting poorly and has tied his career low in assists per game. Kanter has affected the team to be able to win while Crawford hasn't put up good shooting percentages or assisting numbers. While Crawford hit some big shots for the team, Kanter has been the better bench player.
Winner: Enes Kanter

Rookie Of The Year: While Porzingis and Okafor played pretty good, Karl-Anthony Towns was amazing. Here is what he lead the rookies in; points, rebounds, double-doubles, and minutes. He was second in blocks, shot 54% from the field, and averaged a double-double. Not to mention, he is the only rookie this year to get a player of the week award. He has played the best out of the rookies by far.
Winner: Karl-Anthony Towns

Most Improved Player: You could make a case for Isaiah Thomas or Kemba Walker, but C.J. McCollum has gone from a 6 PPG player to a 20 PPG player. I really can't give the award to anyone else, because no one has done that this season. Nothing even close to such change. Not to mention, he has been a big part in Portland making the playoffs.
Winner: C.J. McCollum

Defensive Player Of The Year: Draymond Green and Kawhi Leonard, how do you pick between the 2. Well, Draymond has been the better defensive player. While Kawhi has been putting tons of effort on offense, Draymond has been focusing his game on defense. Even though both guy negatively affect the team when they are taken off the court, Draymond has a bigger impact. When Draymond is taken off, the Warriors allow about 12 more points per 100 possessions, while the Spurs allow about 5.5 more when Leonard is off the court. Draymond averages 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks while Leonard averages 1.8 steals and 1 block. As you can see, both are great defensive players, but Kawhi is more of a focused offensive player.
Winner: Draymond Green
Most Valuable Player: Tied for 1st in steals, 11th in assists, 45.4% from 3 while shooting 11.2 3-pointers per game, made over 400 3's as he broke his own record of most 3s in a season, lead his team to the best record ever of 73-9, lead the league in points with 30.1 per game, and was only 10th in turnovers, Stephen Curry. Any arguments?
Winner: Stephen Curry

Do you agree? Disagree? Comment your thoughts down below!

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Headlines That Never Were (April 10th)

If you didn't hear, The Warriors tied the Bulls for most wins in a season on Sunday. This was an amazing feat, but there were some really great headlines that you probably haven't seen because of the Warriors accomplishment. So Let's get started with some major headlines that you probably missed.

Makel Brown nearly gets a 5 by 5. In case you didn't know, a 5 by 5 is accomplished by getting at least 5 blocks, 5 rebounds, 5 points, 5 assists, and 5 steals. This is extremely hard to accomplish and Nets Markel Brown nearly did. He finished the game against Indiana with 18 points, 11 rebounds, 6 steals, 4 assists, and 3 blocks. He was just 2 blocks and 1 assist shy. Markel Brown was drafted 44th overall in the 2014 draft and selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He was then traded to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for cash. If Markel Brown is able to consistantly put up numbers close to this, it will be a steal being able to get Brown at that low of value.

James Harden gets 40 points in Kobe's last game in Houston. Last night, Harden left Kobe with a loss. Harden picked up 40 points as well as 13 assists to give Houston the win. While Harden played great, Kobe did just as well for his age as he took it right at Harden and the Rockets. Kobe had 35 points and wa perfect from the free throw line as he was 11-11. While Harden got the last win, it's sure nice to see Kobe able to get 35 points.

Trey Lyles gets a career high of 22 points as injured Jazz keep pushing to the playoffs. The Jazz are playing against all odds this season as their star power forward is out with a knee injury. The Jazz ended up having to start Trey Lyles as a result. He ended the night with 22 points. Not to bad for a guy that isn't supposed to be starting. But the Jazz didn't win this game because of their offense. It was because of their defense. At one point in the 3rd quarter, the Jazz pulled away as they went on a 24-0 run. This was a key game as they are hanging onto their 1 game ahead of the Houston Rockets and the 8th seed in the Western Conference. The Jazz are playing so they can get their star, Gordon Hayward, a look at the playoffs, something he hasn't seen since 2012; something he has only seen only 1 time of his 6 years in the league.

DeMar DeRozan passed Vince Carter to become second in all-time points for the Raptors franchise. The Raptors beat the Knicks last night to keep them in the running for the 1st seed in the East. On the other hand, DeMar DeRozan finished the night 27 points as he passed Vince Carter in all-time Raptors scoring. That just shows you how great of a scorer DeRozan is and how long he has been with the Raptors. He now only trails Chris Bosh who has 10,275. DeRozan has 9,426. He has averaged 18 PPG over his career and he is averaging a career high in points this season with 23.6 PPG.

Well, have you heard all of this news? Or has it been covered up by the Golden State Warriors. Or Was there something that I forgot. Comment below with your opinions.