Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Sophomores

Jordan Clarkson vs Otto Porter (cropped).jpg
By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA - Jordan Clarkson, Otto Porter Jr., CC BY-SA 2.0,
 The Rookies get all of the headlines for the young talent in the NBA, don't they? After your rookie season, you don't really get much hype until your on an all-star team or lead your team to wins. While the rookies were great this season, we completely ignored the 2nd year players once against. So let's take a look at some of the best Sophomore players.

Top 5 in scoring:
              5. Zach LaVine (14 PPG): This high flying sophomore is still being overlooked as a player. He averaged a good 14 PPG for this young Timberwolves team. Not only that but he played a big role in the offense. Against the Wizards, Zach LaVine came in clutch as he hit 2 three pointers in overtime to send the game into double overtime where the Wolves would win. LaVine had 25 points that night. He is still able to score behind Wiggins and Towns. There is more to LaVine than his dunks.

              4. Jabari Parker (14.1 PPG): After his injury, Jabari Parker seemed to be forgotten. However, he made a strong comeback this season. He scoring proved valuable to this Bucks team as Parker averaged a solid 15 points in their wins. Parker and this young Bucks team have what it takes to become a powerhouse with all of their talent.
             3. Rodney Hood (14.5 PPG): He was selected as the 23rd pick in the 2014 draft. His rookie season wasn't that great as he only averaged 8.7 PPG off the bench. Then came the 2015-16 season. Hood looked better than ever. The kid scored 30 points in a half against the Lakers. He played a key role for the Jazz not only offensively, but defensively too. He played great. That was when Hood finally started to get recognition. Now, he's starting to look like a steal in the draft.

           2. Jordan Clarkson (15 .5 PPG): 2nd round pick, Jordan Clarkson is a scorer. That is what he's shown to us this season. He probably would've gone top 5 if the draft was redone. While Jordan Clarkson is a scorer. He is a consistent scorer. He never had a game over 30 points this season but he's made tons of 20 point games. Clarkson had very few games with less than 10 points. Everytime I watch Clarkson I always think, how could all of these scouts miss him? How could they not see his potential?

           1. Andrew Wiggins (20.7 PPG): I've heard a lot of people say that Wiggins doesn't have what it takes to be a star player. The guy averages over 20 points in his second season. Steve Nash never averaged over 20 points once in his career and he has 2 MVP trophies. I'm not saying he's going to be better than Nash, all I'm saying is he can be a go to guy in the league. He had ten 30 points games this season! He only had 4 games with under 10 points. He is a scorer. He is going to be sharing the spotlight with Karl-Anthony Towns, not sitting in the shadows. This guy can score. He is the only Sophomore to average over 20 points this year and is looking like the best sophomore this year.

So those are the outstanding sophomores of the 2015-16 season, and we didn't even mention guys like Julius Randle and Nerlens Noel.  So next time the rookie of the year and MVP awards come out, don't forget about the sophomores.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Raptors VS Heat (Game 5)

Toronto Leads Series 3-2

Toronto can thank DeMar DeRozan for showing up last night. The guy had 34 points on the night. While he was the main reason for Toronto's win, the Raptors could have easily lost this game.

The Heat were very stale offensively. Guy weren't getting ope shots like they did against the Hornets. I think the main reason for this is the absence of Whiteside. They opportunity to go into pick and roll is something that they aren't going to anymore. Goran Dragic just needs to go into a pick and roll with Josh McRoberts and Dwayne Wade needs to go into it with Joe Johnson. They need ball movement. If they get Whiteside back, he'll help a lot, but if they don't, they are going to really suffer if they don't go into pick and roll. Now is a time where the Heat really miss Chris Bosh as well. The Heat cannot live off of 12 assists per game. And they not only had just 12 assists, but they had 13 turnovers. When your turnovers are more than your points, that isn't going to win you many games!

Other than that, I don't know what to say. If they played like they had against the Hornets, the Heat would've won that game. And now they're going into game 6 with their backs against the wall and there is absolutely no room for error.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Spurs VS Thunder (Game 5)

Thunder Lead Series 3-2

Before the Playoffs started, I filled out a bracket with some friends. I had the Thunder making the western conference finals. I kind of took a risk just for the fun of it, but hey, I could have called it. I thought it would be a game 7 series and you really couldn't go wrong either way.

The team that only lost 1 game at home this season has now lost 2 out of 3 home games to the Oklahoma City Thunder. To start, the Spurs did a bad job on the boards in game 5, which I'm positive Gregg Popovich will bring up to his team. They were out rebounded as they had just 36 rebounds while the Thunder had 54.

I sure the other thing that Pop will bring up is that the Spurs shot tons of mid-range shots. They had few shots in the paint and not many from the 3-point line either. It isn't that they shouldn't take mid-range shots, it's that they weren't making them at all. When a shot isn't falling, you need to look for higher percentage shots. The shots chart below shows just how many mid-range shots the Spurs shot.
Spurs Team -Shot Chart -
 Now I could say that the Spurs didn't defend Westbrook good enough, that they let him score. Westbrook was taking the shots they wanted him to take. They defended him really well and they got back in transition. It really came down to the 4th quarter though. Instead of giving the ball to Kawhi or Aldridge, Tony Parker, who had shot just 4-12 in the game took a contested mid-range shot and missed. That would've put the Spurs ahead.

Every game the Spurs have lost have been really close. That's the good news for them. They haven't lost due to a blowout. They just weren't really hitting or taking good shots last night, an easy fix for Gregg Popovich.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Warriors VS Trailblazers (Game 4)

Warriors Lead Series 3-1

Stephen Curry, he's back alright. I remember watching the Starters and Tas Melas was saying that Curry will probably be rusty when he comes back and he'll need a game or 2 to get going again. But Tas couldn't have predicted this. Listen, Curry had 40 points, 17 in overtime! Klay Thompson and Draymond Green had 44 points combined. That's 84 points from those 3 players.

Listen, the Trailblazers put out their best effort, but they didn't win. If you are the Blazers, what do you do? Dame was amazing, so was McCollum. Mason Plumlee played great. Unfortunately, their turnovers cost them the game, but where do you go from here. You played a great, great game and lost in overtime. If you give a really great performance and lose, you aren't going to feel good at all. I just don't know how they can even win game 5 after this loss.

There is absolutely no way to describe this game in words or stats, you have to watch it to experience it so I'll let these videos do the talking.


Raptors VS Heat (Game 4)

Series Tied 2-2

DWAAAAAAAAAYNE WAAAAAAAAAAADE! If you live near me, you probably heard this a lot last night. This was a game where my heart was pounding hard in the final minutes of regulation. Everytime Wade touched the ball, I was in suspense, wondering what he was going to do. This was an amazing game to watch and I feel bad for anyone that missed it.

I turned on the game towards the end of the first quarter and the first thing I saw was this giant center playing for the Raptors that looked like King Gryph's NBA 2K16 MyCareer player. You could just tell the affect that Valanciunas had on the team. When this Nogueira guy was in the game, you could tell he wasn't familiar with the offense and the Raptors really didn't run any sets when this guy was in. They did pick and roll with him and that was about it. However, Biyombo played great in the absence of Jonas Valanciunas. He was great defensively and crashed the boards well. The team gave him tons of touches (something that the Raptors didn't really do much with Valanciunas for some odd reason) and it proved to be beneficial. While he really didn't have any assists, he really got the ball moving as he passed the ball all the time.

The 4th quarter and overtime really came down to who could make shots. Both teams played great defense but it was the Heat that was the team that was able to make tough shots. Not to mention, the Raptors took a lot of their shots from mid-range. They didn't shoot any 3s past the last 2 minute of the 4th quarter and took few shots in the paint. The Heat got to the rim with Dwayne Wade and Joe Johnson.

Goran Dragic just seemed off last night despite scoring 15 points. Shots that the guy would usually make just weren't falling. He made some great moves towards the end of the game but just didn't look like himself. Shots just weren't falling. The Heat could really use better production from him next game.

Anyways, I love this series! 3-4 of games have gone into overtime! Hopefully the series continues to be close like this and we can have a game 7 come right down to the wire.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Spurs VS Thunder (Game 4)

Series Tied 2-2

You couldn't stop KD. You just couldn't. 41 points. The Spurs had no answer for what he brought last night. They might not have been able to stop Kevin Durant, but could they have stopped the Thunder? That's the real question.

I think that the Spurs did a great job defensively on Russell Westbrook. They really defended him well in transition. The mistake that they made was that they didn't defend the other guys well. The pick and roll with Adams and Westbrook really killed this team. Westbrook was always looking for the open guys and the Spurs were always helping off way to much. They challenged Adams and Waiters, and both of these players delivered.

The Spurs also didn't seem to play Spurs basketball offensively. The team only had 12 assists in the game. Kawhi and Aldridge were isolated a lot. Danny Green rarely touched the ball which who is a huge part of the Spurs offense. He only got 33 touches on the night. He never really got off a good shot. Their team was just not playing like they usually do for whatever reason and the Thunder thrived off of it.

Besides that, Tony Parker played really good for the team. He seems to be destroying Westbrook who is yet to step up on defense. Westbrook seems to be very lazy on defense still. He doesn't want to stop Parker and is acting like he isn't a threat.

Anyways, Gregg Popovich just said that Durant had a good game and he didn't have any comments really about went wrong but I positive that he knows what his team must fix to win game 5 at home. Let's also not forget that Spurs still have home court advantage. The Thunder also played great so give some credit to them. If they continue to play like this, they are going to be tough to beat.

Cavaliers VS Hawks (Game 4)

Cavaliers Win 4-0

Get out your brooms because it's a.... sorry Hawks fans. Anyways, this game was entertaining and while I wish the Hawks got a clean look at a shot, that just wasn't how the game played out.

The Hawks seemed to think that the Cavs would just stop making 3-pointers. They just didn't understand that if you get an open shot from 3, it's almost like a 3-pointer. Somehow, Kevin Love shot just 36% from the field while he shot 53.3% from 3-point on 8-15 shooting from deep. Kevin Love was literally wide open from 3-point range, and the defense never adjusted. If a guy is making 3s, you get out on him!

I thought that the defense at the end of the game from the Hawks was the worst defense from any team this playoffs. This was from a great defensive team. They allowed LeBron to get a wide open pass right underneath the hoop and they watched him put up 3 or 4 shots in 1 possession. Then, towards the very end of the game when they needed a stop, Paul Millsap, instead of cutting off LeBron, he let's LeBron catch a pass towards the hoop. Millsap trails him thinking he could just get up there and block it. Of course, this ends up being called a goaltend! All of this could have been prevented if the players made the right defensive play.

You could say the Hawks lost because of their poor 3-point shooting and shots just weren't falling. You could say that the Cavs hit lucky shots. But the fact of the matter is, the Hawks defense was brutal at the end of the game. The will to win wasn't there. There was no want from the players. They didn't want to play defense and this lost them the series. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Warriors VS Trailblazers (Game 3)

Warriors Lead Series 2-1

I want to start out this post by saying that Damian Lillard did what Damian Lillard needed to do to win this game. The kid had 40 points and 10 assists in the game. He took over for this Traiblazers team. He took advantage of this team not having the defensive presence of Steph Curry. No matter the shot Lillard was given, he made sure he made it.

Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were amazing. Klay had 35 points! But Draymond had 37 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, and he shot 8-12 from 3-point range. A lot of his shots were wide open too. He played great but the Warriors couldn't come out with the W.

There were two reasons why the Trailblazers won. First, they didn't turn the ball over. They took great care of the ball. They only had 10 turnovers on the night. Portland made sure that they always got back in transition and the best team in transition only had 2 fastbreak points. When you limit the Warriors to 2 fastbreak points, you are doing a pretty good job at defending them.

The other reason was that the Trailblazers hit tough shots. The Warriors did a good job defensively but the Trailblazers just hit tough shots as they were lead by Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.

As you can see, the Trailblazers deserved to get this win because they worked hard. If they keep this up, they could look and making this series a lot more interesting.

Raptors VS Heat (Game 3)

Raptors Lead Series 2-1

Happy Mothers Day everyone! In this post we will look at the game between the Miami Heat and the Toronto Raptors and how this game came out with the outcome it had.

Kyle Lowry made shots. It took him 10 games! But Kyle Lowry actually made shots. The guy shot 11-19 from the field. However, Raptors fans, do not get your hopes up, because Kyle Lowry shot 10 uncontested shots and made 8 of the. Only 3 of his shots were defended. However, this does force the Heat of making the adjustment to actually play him.

While we aren't sure if Valanciunas or Whiteside will be back in the next game or even the series. Both of these injuries are a devastating loss. Valanciunas was honestly the best player on the Raptors. His pick and roll with Lowry and DeRozan was really key in the 2 wins that the Raptors had in this series.

The Heat finally stopped turning the ball over. They only had 9 turnovers in the game. However, the Heat only had 11 assists. Do you remember when the Heat bought out Beno Udrih's contract? They probably they wish they had Udrih now. They could sure use his play making ability and defense.

Dwanye Wade really carried the Heat. He had 38 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Nobody on the Heat team had more in any of those 3 categories. It doesn't help when your team shoots 22.2% from 3. Part of this is the stagnant offense is helping guys get open at all. In fact, Miami took 55 contested shots in the game and only 22 uncontested shots. This didn't really have to do with the Raptors defense, it was more because the Heat wouldn't get into their offense.

 Obviously some changes need to be made for both teams but game 4 is a must win for the Heat. They need to win at home, if they can't this series might just be long gone for them. They need to tie it up.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Spurs VS Thunder (Game 3)

Spurs Lead Series 2-1

The Spurs came through as they took back home-court advantage. They looked great defensively and fought to the end.

Defensively, the Spurs were sound. They gave Westbrook the shots they wanted him to take. As a result, Westbrook ended up shooting 32.3% from the field. The Spurs also did a great job containing Kevin Durant as they limited his shot attempts by squashing him in the pick and roll. Westbrook and Durant had a combined total of 10 turnovers due to the Spurs defense. The Spurs as a team only had 8 turnovers.

Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge were amazing for their respected teams. They played with heart and scored at will. They both had a combined 55 points. I don't see how a team could even stop these two. And when you throw in the fact that Tony Parker was playing great, you really can't beat them. Tony Parker had 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. Russell Westbrook has been very lackadaisical on defense and really allowed Tony Parker to score. Tony Parker took 11 uncontested shots and made 7 of them. He took only 3 contested shots and didn't make 1. Westbrook has played horrible defensively and that defense will not win you games.

The Spurs are in control of the series and the effort from Westbrook isn't helping them. I'm sure the Thunder wish they still had D.J. Augustine because they could sure use a talented point guard like him right now.

Cavaliers VS Hawks (Game 3)

Cavaliers Lead Series 3-0

This was a must-win game for the Hawks, and they lost. This series doesn't look good for them. Game 4 could be a closer for the Cavs.

The Hawks had the lead in the 4th quarter but ended up playing really careless. They had 4 turnovers in the 4th. They also played very poor defense. Kyrie got tons of open looks. He had 12 points in the 4th. Channing Frye had 11 in the 4th as he made all of his shots in the quarter. The Hawks offense was scrambling and they could not get any shots to fall.

The Hawks need more production, they just can't match the Cavs. The Hawks need much more production from their bench but they can't seem to get enough. The Cavs are shooting the lights out from deep which is really hurting them. They have such a deep roster, it's hard to compete with.

This was the Hawks chance to win, they just were sloppy towards the end of the game. They need to take care of the ball and play better defense. They need to be the Hawks.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Raptors VS Heat (Game 2)

Series Tied 1-1

The Heat were in a great position to win game 2. They had the lead late in the 4th quarter. The Raptors came back to send the game into overtime where the Raptors beat the Heat. How did this happen. How could a team as good as the Heat manage to lose a lead like that?

I blame this loss on Hassan Whiteside. I have made up my mind that this guy is the most overrated player in the NBA, especially as a defender. In this game, Whiteside kept trying to go for blocks towards the end of the game, but he kept forgetting to cover Valanciunas and box him out. As a result, the Raptors had 7 second chance points in the 4th quarter. Whiteside also did a horrible job guarding the pick and roll. Instead of Whiteside hedging or helping on the ball handler, he let guys like Lowry get wide open mid-range shots. He really did a poor job defensively towards the end of the game. He was never in position to make the right play.

I was also upset by the offensive decisions that the Heat made in overtime. The fact that Joe Johnson put up 4 shots and didn't make 1 of them while the rest of the team combined put up 5 in overtime really lead to the Heat's loss. Johnson was forcing up shots. What I thought was weird was the fact that Wade or Dragic didn't go into pick and roll with Whiteside. That is where the Heat excel, but for some reason, they just gave the ball to Joe Johnson to try and make a play. I didn't like that at all.

As for the Raptors, they played great defense. They contested a total of 51 shots and only 28 shots were uncontested. They also forced 21 turnovers on a Heat team that isn't prone to turn it over. This really lead to a tough game for the Heat, who somehow managed to put the game into overtime.

As you can see, the Heat still managed to almost win with the Raptors playing great defense. The Raptors just need their stars to play much more efficiently. The Raptors just need offense. If they don't get it, they are going to have a long hard road ahead against a talented Heat team.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Cavaliers VS Hawks (Game 2)

Cavaliers Lead Series 2-0

There was no stopping the Cavs last night. They couldn't seem to miss a shot. Let's just take a look at just how well they played.

The Cavs shot 25-45 from 3-point range. This is truly amazing simply because it's never been done before. Even LeBron James, who has struggled from 3, made 4 of them. All but 3 players on the Cavs team made a 3. It was clear that the Cavs couldn't be stopped.

However, the defense from the Hawks didn't help. Cleveland had 29 point off turnovers and most of those points were 3 pointers. The Hawks also did a very poor job contesting shots. They did a horrible job as there were more uncontested shots that the Cavs took that contested. It usually is the other way around. Their defense was just out of whack. They just didn't get back in transition and left guys open. The fact that Cleveland only had 24 points in the paint tells you that the Hawks didn't even try to force the Cavs to drive. They let them take the 3.

While this was an amazing site to see before my eyes, I was very discouraged in the Hawks effort. They really need to catch a break from the Cavs and they better hope they've cooled down by then. The Hawks need to get their big men involved and really play good defense. They must start out strong. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Warriors VS Trailblazers (Game 2)

Warriors Lead Series 2-0

Portland was winning. They were doing great. That was until the 4th quarter came. The Warriors executed just as Steve Kerr wanted them to.

The first point I'm going to make is that Portland was kept off the boards. Mason Plumlee was limited to 11 rebounds. The team had only 39 boards on the game while the Warriors had 48. It was sheer hustle from Draymond Green who ended the game with 14 rebounds himself.

What really had the Trailblazers going was the defense from Al-Farouq Aminu. He contested a total of 15 shots. His defense was amazing and his offense wasn't bad either as he hit a few threes and ended with 14 points. He was the second best player to have on the floor according the plus/minus advantage.

The Warriors took the lead and pulled away from the Blazers in the 4th quarter. If we take a look at just what happened in that quarter, there is a big difference between the teams. That difference is the free throws. The Blazers shot and made just 2 free throws in that quarter while the Warriors shot 11 and made 10 free throws in that quarter. In the other 3 quarters, Golden State shot just 9 free throws while Portland shot 19. The Blazers were in great position defending and they were aggressive themselves until that 4th quarter. This was what really stood out to me. The Blazers just lost their aggression and they bailed out the Warriors with fouls.

As you can see, the Warriors and Blazers flip-flopped in that 4th quarter and that seemed to decide the game. For game 3, the Blazers just need to get to the line and play great defense like they did in the first 3 quarters. 

Raptors VS Heat (Game 1)

Heat Lead Series 1-0

Kyle Lowry stunned not only the whole US, but the whole Gorgui Dieng country of Canada. He nearly lost the ball as the Raptors were down by 3. Running out of time, Lowry had to force up a halfcourt over Justice Winslow. Before that halfcourt, Lowry had shot 0-6 from 3-point range. He of course finished the night 1-7.

Despite hitting that half-court, the Raptors lost in overtime. But it wasn't OT that really lost them the game. I want to first talk about their defense. They defended Dragic horribly. He was left open all the time whether he had the ball or not. I was very disappointed with the defense that was played on Dragic. And this was a player coming off of a really good game too. The defensive effort was just very, very poor on him.

Something I noticed last night was Wade's decision making. I think that he is probably the best decision maker in the league when it comes to offense. I noticed towards the end of the game, he went into pick and roll with Whiteside all the time. He did a great job of just putting the defense on edge, and he was not only able to score and dishing it to Whiteside, but he also did a great job at kicking it out. He found Dragic in the corner for 3 and I thought for sure he was going to pass it to Whiteside. Wade even faked me out.

When you don't score in overtime til the last minute, you probably won't have the best chances to win. I was very confused with the Raptors offense in overtime. Instead of really trying to get into a pick and roll situation with Valanciunas, they were trying to force up shots. Valanciunas has just 2 shot attempts in overtime. He wasn't involved the in the offense like he should've been after regulation. I was disappoint when the didn't go to him. Hassan Whiteside to me, is an overrated defender, especially when it comes to defending his own man in the pick and roll. He does a great job with help defense but lost Valanciunas a lot in the pick and roll in the game. They really should've gone to Jonas more.

I was very disappointed with the will and want to score from Lowry. He didn't cut or make any movements to get the ball. He isn't looking to score at all and he's making it easy for the defense to guard him. One play I noticed in particular was when Lowry went to set a screen for his teammate and the defense just switched it. Instead of Lowry slipping the screen, which is what you are supposed to do when the defense switches it, Lowry just stood there setting the screen, which did absolutely nothing since the defense switched it. He didn't look to score. This is something that is taught at the high-school level. Lowry just doesn't look like himself out there, and this play was towards the end of the game as well.

I really enjoyed this game and I think everyone can agree when I say this was probably the best game of the playoffs so far and I am really hoping for more of these games. Of course, both teams have a job to do and these are the things that they should take away from this game.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Spurs VS Thunder (Game 2)

Series Tied 1-1

You could say this game came down to the last play. Maybe Popovich should have called time out. Maybe there should have been a foul called on the inbounds. Maybe Patty Mills shouldn't of shot that 3. Anything could have happened. But more importantly, it was too close of a game for either game to like.

Let's start by saying that the Thunder played great defense. They looked like they actually wanted to win. Durant did a great job of rotating and guarding Kawhi. Tim Duncan was brutal in this game because of the great defense from Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams. The Thunder had the effort that they didn't have in game 1. They were defensively sound.

The Thunder's offense was really fluid. Kevin Durant is my player of the game. Not only was he great defensively, but he scored on Kawhi Leonard at will, and he did it efficiently. He had 28 points in the game. Russell Westbrook was finding players and rebounding as usual as he had 29 points in the game. The Thunder were just hard to beat.

Even though the Thunder had a good game, the Spurs lost by 1 points. A basket would have won the game. Let's face it, the Spurs just had a bad game, yet they still were so close to winning. The Thunder had 18 turnovers in the game. This hurt them as the Spurs had 24 points off turnovers. The Thunder need to cut that down. They also can't let LaMarcus Aldridge get 41 points. He is too talented of a player and he has carried a team before. You can't let this guy be that efficient.

I really enjoyed this game despite the controversy about some of the no-call towards the end of the game. The Thunder need to make some adjustments because the Spurs won't continue to shoot like this. That just isn't them.

Cavaliers VS Hawks (Game 1)

Cavaliers Lead Series 1-0

The Cavs played good overall, but this was not what the Hawks can do. They had a very poor performance. I really was surprised on just how poorly the Hawks played.

The Hawks shot just 37.9% from the field. Not something that they are known for at all. Some people might argue that the Cavs defense was great, but I have to disagree. The Hawks shot more uncontested shots than contested shots. The problem was, they weren't hitting their open shots. In fact, they hit just 37.5 of their uncontested shots. They shot 48 of them! It seemed like Horford and Millsap just couldn't hit a post shot. They did a great job; they just couldn't get the shots to fall.

Dennis Schroder kept the Hawks in the game. He finished with 27 points in the game, leading points for both teams. They could really use another good performance from him in game 2. The Hawks need their starters to produce more though. Teague finished with just 8 points. Korver had 3 points in 37 minutes. Horford had 10. The Hawks just need to hit more shots.

The Cavs were very tough to defend in the game. Everyone was hitting 3's with really spaced the floor. J.R. Smith, Kyrie, Richard Jefferson, and Kevin Love were all hitting 3's. This really opened up the paint for LeBron. It really helped that LeBron was hitting outside shots as well. This forced the defense to guard him at the 3-point line which enabled him to get into the paint easily.

The Hawks really just need to hit shots. They didn't in this game. I expect them to heat up and the Cavs to cool down. If this happens, we will have some close games that might make this the series we've been waiting for.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Warriors VS Trailblazers (Game 1)

Warriors Lead Series 1-0

I enjoyed watching this game. However, I had a weird dream last night, it was that Shaun Livingston went for 50 points in this game. I seriously thought this actually happened for a little while. However, I do like watching Shaun Livingston on the court. I loved watching him on the Nets and I'm glad he has this opportunity with the Warriors.

I thought that the Trailblazers did a great job with a lot of things. When Damian Lillard wasn't producing, they moved the ball really well. They had 26 assists on the night. However, 3 key guys played very insufficiently. Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and Mason Plumlee shot just 13-50 from the field combined! These are the guys that need to be leading the team. That is why they lost.

The Warriors played great. Klay Thompson had 37 points on the night. Draymond Green also added 23 points to that total. They were not lacking on offense. They rebounded very well. Draymond, Bogut, and Harrison Barnes had a total of 37 rebounds on the night. The Warriors got out and ran the court as well. They had 19 fastbreak points. Shaun Livingston seemed to always be pushing the tempo, leaving Portland in the dust. He was a great floor general.

All I can really say is that the Warriors played great while the Trailblazers had a lack of offense from their star players. They need more production. The Warriors are doing great and they are looking great without Curry. They are putting doubts to rest it seems like. And when Curry comes back.... you could only imagine.

Heat VS Hornets (Game 7)

Heat Win Series 4-3

The Heat are moving on. What just happened in this game that left the Hornets going home with their heads down? Let's break it down.

There are 2 people that the Hornets did a really bad job defending. Gerald Green was great in the game. When you let Green score off the bench, it's going to hurt you. The Heat's starting 5 is so talented that if you let their bench come in and do damage, they are going to beat you. Next, Goran Dragic. The guy had 25 points on the night. He was amazing with his decisions. He saw that the defense was laying off of him and he took it to the rim. His decision making and his play in the pick and roll lead this Heat team to the win. Goran Dragic played great offensively. He also defended Kemba Walker very well. Kemba ended the night with 9 points and he shot just 18.8% from the field.

I thought that the Hornets shouldn't have had Frank Kaminski out there. He was brutal. He shot 20% from the field. What made me mad was that the guy shot 15 attempts from the field. He made 3. Dragic shot 17 attempts. When you aren't hitting shots, you can't keep shooting. The team should've taken him out of the game but never did.

The Heat had GREAT interior defense. They limited the Hornets to just 22 points in the paint. Meanwhile, the Heat had 58 points in the paint. This is where the Hornets got killed. The paint is the easiest place to shoot. They let the Heat get 58 points in from close range.

Anyways, the Hornet's season is over. The Heat on the other hand, have to get back to work soon. They have a big series to play against the Raptors who have struggled of late. They need to take advantage of this team while they are down.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Spurs VS Thunder (Game 1)

Spurs Lead Series 1-0

The Spurs took down the Thunder like they took down the Grizzlies. They not only dominated them on the offensive end but the defensive end as well. Let's take a quick look at this game.

Now, a great offensive team is tough to beat. But when you throw in great defense as well, that team is almost impossible to beat. They held the Thunder, which happens to be one of the best offensive teams in the league, to just 92 points. The Spurs had 124 points. That dominating offensively and defensively. OKC never lead in the game. The Spurs got off running and never looked back. At one point they lead by as much as 42 points. The Spurs killed them with their great ball movement and amazing defense. If you looked at the Spurs, they ran tons of pick and roll plays with LaMarcus Aldridge as the roll man. Plenty of times, he would pop out. The defense would either leave him open or leave Danny Green open from 3. Either way it was a no win situation. To add on to this, the Thunder had horrible defensive rotations and were almost always a couple steps too slow. But it was tough. The Spurs had 39 assists in the game. They were moving the ball so much that it wore out the Thunder. If they are to win, they need to see a much better effort from Russell Westbrook as well.

One thing that most people thought was going to be a problem was Tony Parker guarding Russell Westbrook. The defended him really well in the paint and made him force up tough angles on shots. This seemed to really get in Westbrook's head. He shot just 26.3% from the field. You can see his shot chart below.
Russell Westbrook - Shot Chart -
 The Spurs walked through this game with no problems. The Thunder's defensive effort was very poor and they are going to have to play much better defensively for them to put up a fight to win. You aren't going to outscore the Spurs, you need to play defense and get this Spurs team to quiet down with their ball movement. That's how they are going to have to win.