Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What You Missed From Game 7

LeBron James (15662939969).jpg
By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA - LeBron James, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Game 7 was quite the game. At half-time, there were Warriors fans were saying that the Warriors were going to win it all. Then came the final minutes of game 7. It was neck and neck and the Cavs pulled ahead to win it. That's when everyone went nuts and surprisingly everyone missed a lot of stats and things that happened in this game. People jumped to things saying, "Curry lost the game, LeBron James won it, Kevin Love was still horrible in the series and he'll be traded." Well, here I am, and here is what you probably missed from game 7.

Curry Lost The Game?
While Curry really did blow away any chances to win the game towards the end, did he really lose the game? Towards the end, Kevin Love was guarding Curry, and of course, Curry thought he could take advantage of it. But Kevin was on Curry tight. This left room for Curry to get to the rim, but instead of trying to drive, he was set on shooting a 3; a 3 that was well off. This was a big possession and was really the turning point in this game. Curry even said after the game he "settled". He settled for shots. While it didn't lose them the game, it really hurt their chances to get back in it. Instead of closing it out, Curry settled, and that led to the loss.

But What About Klay?
While Curry got a beating from the media, Klay left without a scratch, besides the fact that he left the game without congratulating the other team. Tell me, do you remember Klay making shots in this game? Because he didn't make many. Klay had only 14 points and shot 2-10 from 3-point range. He shot worse than Curry from 3 and didn't show up to the game, yet no one really mentioned Klay at all.

LeBron Carried The Team?
LeBron did a great job in this series, but right after the game, Kyrie's performances were forgotten. This guy was on fire throughout the whole series. While I think LeBron was no doubt the MVP, everyone seemed to forget about guys Kyrie, Richard Jefferson, and Tristan Thompson. Sure, LeBron was great, but recognition for the whole team wasn't there. After all, without these guys, would've they even come close to winning the championship?

Kevin Love Hurt The Team?
People wouldn't stop talking about Kevin Love's performance throughout the series and after it was over. What people missed was Kevin Love's amazing defense and rebounding in game 7. But if they didn't miss that, they sure didn't see his +/- advantage. Kevin Love was a +19 on the floor while Kyrie was only a +10. And LeBron James, he was a +4. When Kevin Love was in the lineup, it was extremely beneficial to the team. The fact that the guy had 14 rebounds in only 30 minutes of play alone was amazing. 

Everyone seemed to forget about Draymond's play after game 7. The guy had 32 points, 15 rebounds, 9 assists, and 2 steals. He also shot 6-8 from 3. However, no one said a word about it after the game.

And Last... Is Tristan Thompson Defensive Player Of The Year?
The media went crazy after LeBron's block on Iggy. Yet here is the thing, If Iggy didn't change his shot in mid-air, it never would've been blocked. It was a blocked shot. Now, LeBron was good defensively, but guess who was on Curry and Klay chasing out to the 3 point line through the whole game. It was Tristan Thompson. Let me make this clear... Tristan Thompson had 3 rebounds in game 7. Only 3. The reason why? He was chasing guys out on the 3 point line. Tristan Thompson contested 7 three point shots during game 7. That was more than anyone else on the team. He contested more 3 point shots than J.R., more than Irving, more than Shumpert, and more than LeBron. And guess who was doing it, that's right, the starting center for the Cavs. And even while he was out of the paint, he still managed to fit in 2 blocks. When your starting center can guard Stephen Curry, that does a lot. We see a block from LeBron and think he's the best defender, when people don't realize, there is a lot more to defense than that. LeBron might have saved a couple plays, Tristan Thompson might have saved the whole game.


Monday, June 13, 2016

NBA Finals Game 5 Preview

Kevin Love (15847116411).jpg
By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA - Kevin Love, CC BY-SA 2.0,
The Cavaliers are down 3-1 to the Warriors. A lot of people are saying, "Hey, the Warriors came back from a 3-1 deficit this post-season, why can't the Cavs. Now I'm not saying that the Cavs can't do it, but I am going to say that what the Warriors did was totally different. The Warriors only had to play 1 game on the road while they had 2 home games left. The Cavs only have 1 home game left and have to win 2 games on the Warriors home floor. Now, this isn't impossible because 2 of the 10 teams to comeback from a 3-1 deficit only had 1 home game left after being down 3-1. One was the Celtics from the Bill Russell days, and the other team was the Houston Rockets and their clutch city team. These are two historic teams. And no one has comeback from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA finals, so if the Cavs were to accomplish this feat, it would be a very historic moment in NBA history.

Now, if you haven't heard, Draymond Green has been suspended for game 5 of the NBA finals due to his encounter with LeBron. He will be out of the lineup. I don't know what Steve Kerr is going to do, but I have to assume he'll start Iggy at the 3 and slide Barnes to the 4. What I do if I'm the Cavs, is start Love at the 5. Now you might think I'm crazy, but I can explain. Love at the 5 would most likely match him up with Andrew Bogut and Kevin Love is a guy that can really stretch the floor. Through the whole time Andrew Bogut is on the floor, I'd suggest the Cavs go into pick and roll/pop with Love. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving should just go into pick and roll/pop with Love until Steve Kerr decides to take Bogut out of the game. With shooters like Jefferson and J.R., if the Warriors help off of the pick and roll, these guys will have wide open shots and lanes to the basket. We've seen how the Warriors do against the small line-up in pick and roll when they have Bogut or Ezeli out there; it isn't pretty. With them down 3-1, they have to try something, and Love at the 5 might actually work for at least the first quarter.

With Draymond Green out, this really takes away the Warriors' versatility and option to go small. This is going to force them to have a big throughout most of the game and what the Warriors are going to have to hope to do is out-score the Cavs. I expect Anderson Varejao to play a big role for the team because of his versatility and hustle he brings. He can also somewhat stretch the floor. Same with Speights and I think he will also get some key minutes.

Game 5 is going to be Cleveland's best chance to steal a game in Golden State and you have to think if they can win the next 2 games, they will have a good shot at winning game 7 in Golden State.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Last 2-Minute Reports In The Eyes Of The Refs

Tom Washington, Monty McCutchen, Brent Barnaky.jpg
By Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA - NBA Referees, CC BY-SA 2.0,

If you have watched the playoffs at all this year, you know that there have been a lot of controversy over some calls that the officials make, and if you follow the NBA, you know that they release "last 2-minute reports" on the errors and correct calls that the refs make in the last 2 minutes. The NBA commissioner and other have claimed that these reports are helping the officials, but the officials beg to differ.

The NBA Referees Union claims that the "last 2-minute report" not only aren't helpful, but are actually hurting officiating. The NBRA released a statement of their position on the current L2M reporting policy. In the statement, the NBRA gave their reasons to end the L2M and other "Transparency" measures. Here they are:

  • Transparency does nothing to change the outcome of the game.
  • Transparency encourages anger and hostility towards NBA officials.
  • Focusing on officiating statistics encourages stat-oriented, versus game-oriented, officiating. It is in the best interest of the NBA and its fans to encourage and develop game-oriented referees that balance game flow and fair play.
  • Efforts to promote transparency have encouraged the idea that perfection in officiating is possible. Perfection is neither possible nor desirable; if every possible infraction were to be called, the game would be unwatchable and would cease to exist as a form of entertainment in this country.
  • Transparency has been misused as a catalyst by some teams to mobilize fans against the officials in an attempt to coerce more favorable treatment.
  • While the goal of transparency was to promote understanding and credibility, there is no evidence that progress against these goals is being made.
I personally like the reports because I used them all the time to see the NBA's positioning on some calls all the time. The trouble came when the media started to talk about these reports and the fans became worked up because they felt "their team" had lost because of the calls of the referees. This lead to the anger and hostility towards the refs stated in point 2. And you have to think that the media displaying this report and talking about how these calls weren't made gets into the refs heads. It causes them to call the game differently which can lead to different missed calls. This is stated in point 5.

As you know, I was a big fan of the last 2-minute reports until the media started presenting them. It really made the refs an enemy of any team where a call was missed and it effected the team negatively.

What the NBRA wants if the L2M reports are to continue in the NBA is to know who the people making these reports are. They want to who this person is making the final call, how much experience they have, and why they are the ones making the final call. They also said that they want to be able to counter those calls and disagree with some of them.

My personal opinion, is that they should give them reports to the refs and the refs only. The teams, media, and fans should not be able to access these reports because they only become upset and verbally attack the referees. Another solution to this is to only do the two-minute reports in blow-outs. As of right now the league only does them in game within 5 points in the last 2 minutes and in overtime games. This causes so much controversy at the end of games. Why not only do them where a team has the lead of at least 15 points or something. If they do this, then there will be no controversy over the outcome of the game due to the last 2 minute reports. My favorite solution is to just get rid of the whole last 2-minute reports though. I think they should incorporate challenge flags instead. I feel like each coach should get 1 challenge flag for the whole game. If they use the flag and the call is overturned, they get the flag back. This would cut down obvious missed calls at the end of games such as the Kevin Love incident when Shawn Marion clearly came down on his arm. Instead of the NBA having to apologize, and fans and the media attacking the refs, everything would have been solved when the refs would've been able to review the foul or traveling violation. This would also make coaching more important. If a team were to lose to a bad call and the team didn't have their challenge flag due to the frustration of a coach on a different play, it would be the coach's fault why they lost the game. I honestly think that the NBA should try out challenge flags. It would solve a lot of problems.

So as you can see, these two-minute reports aren't really helping the officiating and hopefully the NBA and the NBRA comes to some agreement. If you have an opinion on the "last 2 minute reports", make sure you leave a comment below. If you liked this post, stay tuned because we are going to have a lot more fun posts like this with the NBA Finals here and the upcoming draft. You can also follow me and you will be able to see the posts as soon as I post them. Join the NBA Inside The Play Nation today!

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Warriors Are the Superior Team

Warriors Lead Series 2-0

I hate to say it, but sorry Cavs fans, the Warriors are just superior to your team. Now, I'm not saying the series is over at all. I'm just saying that the Warriors are the better team and the Cavs are going to have a really tough time trying to win against them. Game 2 was a prime example of it. The Warriors wore down the Cavs and the Cavs really just gave up.

The biggest thing I took from game 2 was the Warriors heart and will to win. And what I saw was the Warriors team rebounding. They out-rebounded the Cavs 46 to 34. The Warriors hit the offensive glass hard. The Cavs just didn't seem to want to board and the Warriors did. You could tell what team wanted to win that game.

Something I want to really point out is how underrated of a defender Andrew Bogut is. The guy had 5 blocks last night. Cool, right? But there is a lot more to defense than blocking shots. Bogut's positioning and timing defensively is amazing. He reads the defense so well. You can't forget that this guy also had 2 steals in the game. I also want to point out that Bogut is a great passer. While his own offensive game is lacking. Bogut plays the high post position exceptionally well and sees the floor better than most big men.

Richard Jefferson is honestly probably the best player on the Cavs right now. Now before I get a bunch of hate mail from you Cavs fans, let me explain this. Let this soak into your brains... This guy on defense was really good. Just like Bogut, Jefferson's defense was amazing as far as positioning. He was stopping his guy. He also did an amazing job on help defense and double-teaming. Offensively, Jefferson was just as good. The veteran made great cuts to the basket as he drew the defense towards him in the game. In fact, Rich might have to start from now on. And you might say LeBron James is the best player on the Cavs; well, he's been pretty brutal when he's been on the floor. LBJ had 7 turnovers and gave up a lot of points defensively. I was very impressed by Jefferson's play and I think he should start instead of J.R. Smith. This is for a few reasons. I think J.R. will be much more productive off the bench and he will provide a ton of bench offense. Also, I think that when he comes in to guard Thompson, the Warriors will have more limited options offensively. Richard Jefferson will be a big spark for the starting lineup too. His veteran presence would hopefully start the Cavs off the right way next game.

And let's not overlook just what the Warriors did defensively. They held the Cavs to under 80 points and under 36% shooting. This defensive effort was held out by almost every player on the floor. Draymond, Bogut, Curry, Thompson, and especially Iguodala were just amazing defensively. If they keep this level of defensive play, they are going to be really tough to beat since the Cavs aren't going to be able to rely on their offense to get them to the finish line.