Season Preview 2018-2019 A-Z

This is officially the final season preview in the final season of This A Good Ass Game. Our philosophy at Full Sass of course, if its to be done at any sass level, then it must be done to its fullest, and unfortunately I don’t have the time (or the manpower) to keep this site going. I did however, find it crucial to give it one last go just for old time’s sake. So for the final time, I bring you this season’s most compelling NBA story lines, A-Z for the 2018-2019 season–the abbreviated version.

Are the Golden State Warriors going join the short list of dynasty and get that 3-peat?Whether or not they hoist that trophy up again depends on their role players and how healthy they are heading into the playoffs.

Boston’s Depth. They go ten deep this year. Eastern Conference is theirs for the taking. I’d be shocked if they didn’t make the NBA Finals.

Competitive Balance or nah? Lebron and Kawhi moving eastward opens up a vacuum in the Eastern Conference. Who wants it?

Denver finally will get into the playoffs. But everyone will be too stoned to care.

End of an Era. Only two active players left who were drafted in the 90’s. Dirk Nowitzki and Vince Carter.

Folks were sleeping on the Spurs, and maybe they were right to be. Who knew their backcourt would get ravaged with injuries before the season even began?

Grizzlies got their fangs back? On paper they got some good players, but what happens if Mike Conley and Marc Gasol get hurt again? And they are still paying Chandler Parsons just to practice.

Houston regresses, but only slightly (of course this changes if they somehow trade for Jimmy Butler). They got slower, and older,but at least they got rid of Ryan Anderson’s contract.

Indiana won’t be sneaking up on anyone this year. 

Jamal Crawford getting signed this season? Philly? Golden State? Indiana?Portland?Houston? Anyone?

Kawhi’s new home or just a jump off?

Lebron’s new locker room. Lavar Ball, Javale McGee, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley, and Lance Stephenson all in the same locker room? I’m all in on this.

Mavericks finally entertaining again (and I’m not talking about the off the court lawsuits). Luka Donkic might be this generation’s Andre Miller (and believe me that is not meant as a diss).

New Orleans is about to feel the heat. Anthony Davis signing with Klutch sports? He is good ass gone.

Opportunity knocks for Mike Budenholzer in Milwaukee. Bucks made a great pick with Mike B. for their head coach. And yes I still think Jason Kidd can still be a good head coach somewhere.

Playing time for Nerlens Noel. I hope he can parlay this into a big contract. Don’t mess this up Nerlens.

Quiet Loans Arena…………..crickets…crickets………Kevin Love is about to experience some Deja Vu as his career is going to bookend with a bunch of L’s and empty stats.

Rookie of the Year goes to……… of Deandre Ayton, Luka Donkey-Kong, Marvin Bagley, and Jaren Jackson, Jackson is the only one with a legit shot to see playing time in April. My dark horse money is on the son of a former Spur.

Sixers will disappoint this season. Their bench is thin and are you really sure that Fultz, Simmons, or Embiid can stay healthy the entire year all at the same time? Yea me neither.

Thibs’ is f*$kin’ up! NBA front offices, do yourselves a favor: No more dual roles for head coaches. It just doesn’t work.

Utah is worth hating on again. Greyson Allen and Quin Snyder are both Dukies. Rudy Gobert is French, and Joe Ingles looks like some average schlub at the 24 hour fitness court. I do mess with Donovan “Spidey” Mitchell though. That dude goes hard.

Vince Carter can still contribute to a playoff contender. Philly, or Miami should trade for him if they can swing it.

Will this finally be the year the Trailblazers fans revolt?  Paul Allen died today so I don’t want to speak ill of the dead……..BUT Portland fans have been so happy just to have a team that they have no standards. As long as Blazers fans are simply  satisfied just o make the playoffs and get knocked out in the second round, then ownership will never have an incentive to field a championship roster.

X-ray results of my ankles. Am I ever going to be able to play full court basketball again? Tune in next week on the next episode of Kaiser’s Crusades.

Youthful Injection. Kevin Durant was in the 2007 draft and is considered a vet. Only four active players are left from the legendary draft of 2003. The NBA has gotten younger and there is a whole wave of young studs ready to fill that vacuum after this Warriors and Celtics championship wave is finished. [Eye’s Wide Open Emoji]

Zhaire Smith’s bad luck. I had high hopes for the swingman out of Texas Tech. I desperately wanted him to fall to the Spurs. Philadelphia drafted him, and he’s gotten all kinds of bad luck and freak injuries since. Poor guy. Get better soon Zhaire. Best of luck!

 

[Update 10/16/18] Pre-Season Predictions

 

Eastern Conference

1.Boston

2. Toronto

3. Indiana

4. Milwaukee

5. Philadelphia

6. Washington

7. Miami

8. New York

 

Western Conference

1. Houston

2.Golden State

3.Utah

4.Los Angeles

5.Portland

6.Memphis

7.Denver

8.San Antonio

 

MVP: Lebron James

Rookie Of The Year: Jaren Jackson

Sixth Man of the Year: Dirk Nowitzki

Most Improved Player: Markelle Fultz

Eastern Conference Finals: Indiana vs Boston

Western Conference Finals: Houston vs Golden State

NBA Finals: Golden State vs. Boston 

NBA Champs: Golden State (winners in seven)

 

Enjoy this season folks. Stay tuned for more updates.

 

BM

profile pic b mick  Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found in the KDVS studios making on air playlists. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

 

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Clicks to Pick Week of 3/11/18

Monday

No Good Ass Games Scheduled

Tuesday

Indiana at Philadelphia

Wednesday

Washington at Boston

Thursday

Cleveland at Portland (Good Ass Game of the Week)

Friday

Los Angeles Clippers at Oklahoma City

Saturday

Houston at New Orleans

Sunday

Portland at Los Angeles Clippers

Oklahoma City at Toronto

 

 

profile pic b mick  Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found recording podcasts with Craig Stein at Fullsass Studios. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

No Disrespect (Snub Hub)

The NBA All Star rosters are in and the league got it right for the most part. The biggest omissions that I saw were Rudy Gobert (who is in the running for Defensive Player of the Year), Dame Lillard (again), Mike Conley, and Joel Embiid.

With the point guard logjam out west, it is understandable how Lillard and Conley got left out. Portland is languishing in the bottom sector of the Western Conference, so it is no surprise that he got snubbed. Conley, the Memphis guard; although not a sexy name, is one the best pure point guards in the NBA. He might also be the most underrated. Outside of Steph Curry and Chris Paul, I can’t think of a better guy to run a starting unit.

The most egregious snub in my opinion was Philadelphia big man (and former Jayhawks great) Joel Embiid.  Geniuses like ESPN’s Zach Lowe (this is why the media shouldn’t be allowed to vote on ANYTHING) wants to penalize Embiid for being on a 28 minute(s) restriction and reward guys who play MORE minutes, even though Embiid is averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks on a 25 minutes per game average. Now compare that with Paul Millsap (no disrespect) who averages 17.6 points, and 8 rebounds and plays about 34 minutes a game. Millsap made it, but Embiid did not.

gain, no disrespect, but ain’t nobody pulling up League Pass to watch Paul Millsap make putback layups!!!! Its a joke and exactly the reason I don’t take anything about All-Star Weekend seriously. That will be a good weekend to finish up any of the five books I’ve been reading for the last few months. Anyway, here are the Clicks to Picks for the week:

 

Monday (Good Ass Game of the Week)

Sacramento at Philadelphia

Boogie vs. “The Process”  Nuff said.

 

Tuesday 

Oklahoma City at San Antonio

No Enes Kanter may be the difference between OKC making the playoffs and Russ being in the studio at ESPN hating on the dudes still playing.

 

Wednesday (Good Ass Game of the Weak)

Philadelphia at Dallas

The “Embiidst Mode” show makes it way down to Dallas, TX against the lowly Mavericks. If you consider the draft picks the Mavs have had since they blew up their championship team, and the lottery picks that are in the league now, it makes you wonder just how much good it does to make the playoffs if you are just going to get knocked out in the 1st round.

Thursday 

Groundhog’s Day. No Good Ass Games Scheduled. Speaking of Groundhog’s Day, if you fuck with Bill Murray, you may like the latest podcast over at Fullsass.com where we spend a whole hour ranking our favorite Bill Murray movies. I hope it is as fun to listen to as it was to record.

Friday

Memphis at Oklahoma City

The Grizzlebees have been fun to watch this season and I predict that whoever draws them in the first round of the playoffs will not be advancing very far thereafter. I’m convinced they would be a top 2 seed in the east. Here is an idea: give Vancouver and Seattle franchises again, move them out east, and let the chaos begin. I’d much rather see this than a team in London or Mexico (no disrespect).

Saturday

No Good Ass Games Scheduled

Sunday

Portland at Oklahoma City

Technically its a decent ass game, but I’d recommend you find something better to do. Bake a cake, spend some time with your loved ones, create a painting, but don’t spend all day watching television. I won’t be watching the Super Bowl, but I think Patriots win (ugh!!) easily 45-17. Have a good week and be safe.

 

BM

 

 

 profile pic b mick  Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found recording podcasts with Craig Stein at FullsassStudios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

 

 

Believeland Pt. 3 : The Cleveland Curse Has Lifted

steph-curry-1024x1024

 

We finally got the #Goodassgame we all deserved. With so much history on the line, game 7 of this year’s NBA Finals felt like an NCAA title game on steroids. Conventional NBA wisdom states that the home team usually wins because role players don’t travel. Well this was not the case last night. Everyone who played chipped in for Cleveland.

Kevin Love got 7 rebounds in the first quarter alone, pulling in 14 total for the game. J.R. Smith, who’d been playing solid defense all series, played 38 minutes and threw in 12 points on offense. Kyrie Irving started out slow, but picked it up in the second half, scoring whenever the Cavs needed an answer on the court.

Tyron Lue shortened his bench to an 8 man rotation, with Mo Williams logging a team low 4:45. Lebron an ironman with an iron will logged a team high 46 minutes and 49 seconds. The man looked absolutely gassed during one TV timeout and yet still, he managed to pull off one of the sickest chase down blocks in playoff history.

Say what you will about Lebron James (and I have–he’ll never live down lobbying for suspensions of both Steph Curry and Draymond Green #fuckboishit), but you can’t ever say he never shows up for big games. After logging another triple double (don’t get too hung up on the 9/24 shooting) to put the Kyrie in a position to hit the game winning three pointer, with less than a minute left, Lebron won what should have been his second of back-to-back  Finals MVP’s.

All that being said, the Warriors should not have let the game get this close. They threw away possessions, they couldn’t squeeze the 50-50 balls, they had turnover after turnover during fast breaks where they had numbers, and gave the Cavs too many extra possessions. Golden State had been playing with fire all post season, and it finally caught up to them. I just had this feeling the whole game that if the Warriors were not leading by at least 5 baskets during crunch time, that the Cavs were going to find a way to win.

While Tyronn Lue  wasn’t exactly Coach of the Year material, he did enough to give Cleveland a chance to win this thing. You could tell around game 3 that he finally figured out how to use his chess pieces. Shortening his bench was a very smart move, Matthew Dellavadova was a liability every time he was on the court. Channing Frye gave up more backdoor than–never mind that’s just too easy of a joke to make.

Keeping Tristan Thompson on the floor kept the Warriors from going small, and when Andre Bogut got hurt (an underrated passer in addition to his defense and rebounding), it spelled trouble for the Warriors. Festus Ezeli is a much better player when he can just catch lobs, and any time Anderson Verajao touched the ball for more than a second, a disaster occurred.

The lack of contribution of the role players in the last two series really surprised me this post season. All season long, this was Golden State’s biggest advantage over teams, and for whatever reason, they showed up to the party without even bringing a case of beer. Harrison Barnes stunk up the joint, and probably played his last game in a Golden State uniform (Kevin Durant to the Warriors may not be as far-fetched as it originally sounded–he was exactly what they needed against Cleveland. There would have been no answer for that puzzle piece).

The role players who seemed to make the most impact didn’t get much run. Leandro Barbosa (+5), Shaun Livingston (+8), and Mo Speights (+3) only played a combined 20 minutes; with Livingston getting 16 of them. I ride for Steve Kerr. He possesses one of the most intelligent basketball minds in the game today, but he made some head scratching decisions down the stretch–mainly playing Ezeli, Verajo and Barnes too much, when it was clear they weren’t going to get it done.

For my money, the turning point in that game was when Festus Ezeli got caught on a switch, and bit on the Lebron James pump fake (way out on the perimeter) that netted James three free throw attempts. Lebron hit all three, the Warriors failed to score the next time down, and then Cleveland scored with a Kyrie Irving bucket to tie it on the next possession. That was the last time in the game that Golden State had command, as things got tight for both teams for a 4 minute scoreless stretch. The Warriors quit passing, and quit moving without the ball, and became a jump shooting team that couldn’t get shots to fall. Which again, maybe the bench guys should have played more, because you know, starters get tired in these type of games.

This was akin to the Seahawks-Patriots Super Bowl 2 years ago, where Seattle should have blown New England out, but the minor details allowed Tom Brady and company to hang in there long enough to figure out a way to win.

It is hard to feel sorry for Golden State. I can see why they were becoming so hated outside of Dub Nation. The bandwagon fandom surrounding their hype machine was getting tiresome (half of them Lakers fans wanting to latch onto a winner). They were depending on Andrew Bogut to remain healthy for 2 years in a row, with a front court that even the ’93 Suns would think was suspect. Their owner went on the New York Times bragging about how their organization was “light years ahead of everyone else”, and even hinted about a menage a trois with last year’s Finals Trophy (and to think people put their lips on that thing). Their star guard kept tempting the basketball gods with his circus plays and trick shots, haughtily laughing every time he ripped out the hearts of teams and fan bases alike. To be up 3-1, and to lose in this matter, is the most excruciatingly extreme serving of humble pie that can ever be served to a team. The Warriors got what they deserved, and if there is anybody I do feel for, it is the true blue fans who were coming to the games even when they sucked–the ones who seemed crazy for believing that they could beat the #1 seeded Mavericks in 2007.

I’ll be the first to say that the Draymond Green suspension was horseshit. How Dellavadova’s nutshot constituted a common foul and Draymond’s incidental contact merited a flagrant foul is beyond me. We can say that is why they lost, but there is a reason teams employ the “next man up” philosophy (NFL careers were birthed from this philosophy at the “U”). Golden State just wasn’t as good as we (or they) thought they were.

You have to give credit where credit is due. Cleveland stepped up their game when they needed to,and the Warriors played as if they were still facing the Blazers (no disrespect). Years from now, we will remember that Lebron James took a shoot first, one assist having ass point guard, an embarrassingly bad, and one-dimensional power forward, J.R. “You trying to get the pipe” Smith (someone who Chauncey Billups once famously asked George Karl to “get him the fuck out of the game”) –the textbook definition of an NBA knucklehead, Richard Jefferson’s honeycomb eating looking ass, and a bunch of other nobodies, and won a championship for one of the most cursed sports cities in the history of cursed sports cities.

If Lebron retired tomorrow, this would be enough to get him in the Hall of Fame. Last year, Lebron was John Henry, this year he is Paul Bunyan. Even a hater like me has to respect that. This man has not missed an NBA Finals since 2010, and guess what people? Barring a seismic shift in the east, he’ll probably be back next year. I would not be surprised if it is against Golden State again either. But that is for an NBA Preview to be written later.

Despite all the hullabaloo about Cleveland and Lebron and curses, let us not forget who the real winner was last night: Oscar Robertson. To borrow a phrase from Jason Whitlock, he was probably “watching last night’s game, cackling while rolling up a blunt.” Cleveland’s perimeter defense smothered the Splash Brothers by getting up in them and picking them up at half court–exactly the type of defense Robertson said was needed to contain those beige muthafuckas. Respect to the “Big O” and his hating ass.

Since we are at it, the biggest L goes to Under Armour, whose poster boys, Cam Newton and Steph Curry could not get it done this year when it counted the most. To quote Mars Blackmon, “is it the shoes?”

All jokes aside, this has been year 3 of this blog, and thanks to all of you who take the time to read this bullshit. This was easily the least work, and most fun of all the seasons of writing this. I may actually be getting the hang of this. Also big ups to my podcast partner, Craig Stein for starting the FullSass Podcast with me. It has been both a fun and invigorating project, and I look forward to stepping up the sass level to something fuller next season. One last shout out goes out to the PDXPats crew for all the inspiration and competition. I look forward to being on the show again, and I promise we won’t write anymore diss records if you don’t give us a reason to.

It’s been real folks. Now go out there and get some sunshine and fresh air, and live like normal folk. #Ballislife, but there is also life outside of ball.

 

Peace,

BM

#fullsass #thisagoodassgame

@clickpicka79

thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

 

REMATCH

Before I break down the NBA Finals rematch between the Cavs and the Warriors, I gotta give it up to the Oklahoma City Thunder. As busterish as they have become, they balled out this post-season.

Steven Adams may have been the biggest surprise. He went from role player to key player this year, and he may soon be the third most important player on this team. Like most people, it was easy to get blinded by the fast start of the Spurs and Warriors. Oklahoma City was a threat to both of those teams, but it was difficult to take the Thunder seriously because of the way they lost games to inferior teams in the regular season.

Even if Andre Roberson spends the summer taking 400 3 pointers a day, I don’t see him being more than a Thabo Sefalosha 2.0. They could use a consistent 3rd scorer, and they can bring Kanter and Waiters off the bench next year and be back in the Western Conference Finals next year (assuming Mike Conley doesn’t go to San Antonio).  But for real, I got a little bit more respect for the Thunder after this post-season.

 

Good Ass Games of the Week:

Cleveland vs. Golden State  Best of 7

Games 1,2,5,and 7 in Oakland

Games 3,4, and 6 in Cleveland

 

People are saying that these are the same teams from last year, except that Cleveland is healthy. This is true to some degree, but both teams are actually better than last year. Cleveland not only has a healthy Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, but they also have Channing Frye to bring off the bench as a 3 point threat. Now that Cleveland has these three weapons on offense, I’m going to ask this question: Who are they going to guard?

People assume that Game 1 of last year’s Finals would have automatically gone to Cleveland had Irving not been injured, but he was getting roasted on the other end of the court by Steph Curry. Kevin Love should send a Derek Jeter style gift basket to James Harden for taking attention away from his own poor defense. One could argue that they were better defensively up front last year when Love hurt his shoulder.

In order not to get swept in this series, Cleveland needs to do 3 basic things:

  1. Win the 3 point battle. Easier said than done right? Besides chasing the Dubs off the 3 point line and forcing them to take 2’s, Cleveland will need Channing Frye and J.R. Smith to stretch the Warrior D by continuing to hit from outside the arc. This would of course, open up the floor for Kyrie and Lebron to attack the rim and put the Warriors bigs in foul trouble.
  2. Force the Warriors to turn the ball over. The Cavs love to get out running in transition and get easy baskets (dunks). This is exactly how the Thunder pushed the Dubs to the brink of elimination. The Warriors can’t be casual with the ball like they were last round. Hopefully that was their wake up call.
  3. Get Big. Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love need to get double-digit boards every night if they hope to have a chance. Thompson’s effectiveness as a rim protector may be compromised if “Mo Buckets” Speights can get loose with his jump shot. I’m curious what counter will Tyronn Lue uses if this problem arises. Timofey Mosgov may or may not get some run this series.

carl-aqua-teen-al-davis

I’m interested how the cupcake opponents and long layoff will affect the Cavaliers. It is hard to simulate the kind of intensity that the Warriors had to muster to come out of the last round. I would not be surprised if the first half is won easily by the Warriors. I don’t see Game 1 being an overtime thriller like last year (I’m also the same guy who said Warriors in 5 last round). Also would anyone be surprised if Kevin Love or Kyrie Irving got injured and missed a game or two this series?

I think the Warriors will in this in 5 games, and I’m only saying 5 out of respect for Lebron James. They’ll win at least one at home in Cleveland.

 

BM

@clickpicka79

#thisagoodassgame #fullsass

thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

 

A Quick One (while he’s away) pt. 3

Last night was such a treat. Sunday and Monday night provided us with two of the better games of the playoffs. For all the talk about how the Eastern Conference was better than the Western Conference, I don’t think I’m out of line to use the trash, disguised as playoff basketball, as a counter to those claims.

Eastern Conference basketball has been awful to watch, and this has been no aberration. It has been this way for years. Just rip the damn thing up and start over. Send Memphis to the east, realign the conferences, and have the playoff seeding 1-16. If it weren’t for the Spurs-Thunder and Blazers-Warriors series, this year’s playoffs would be a bigger flop than the most recent Fantastic Four movie.

A few quick thoughts before tonight’s game 5:

  • Game 4 was just as intense as I was hoping it would be. I’ve been to a couple of elimination games, both in the Oracle, and at Chesapeake Energy Arena, and Sunday’s game between Oklahoma City and San Antonio might have been the most intense basketball game I’ve attended in person. The folks in OKC finally understand how to be a fan base. For years they needed the P.A. announcer’s assistance to know when to get loud, when to cheer, and when to chant. I wasn’t even on the court and I was affected at how loud it was in the arena. The only time it got quiet was when Kawhi dunked on Steven Adams, and I may have been the only screaming at that point–that shit had me juiced. I will say this though, YMCA strikes me as a song you would play in the arena, when the game is secured, in the regular seasonnot in the 3rd quarter of a hotly contested playoff game.
  • The refs from Sunday should never be allowed to work a playoff game together again. They were horrible. If players can get their pay docked for conduct detrimental to the league, then the same should apply to referees. Danny Crawford (go figure) and his crew could not figure out how they wanted to call the game. They would let one thing go–like Kanter throwing elbows as he bullied his way into the paint, and then call a touch foul against the defender guarding him. It seemed like every other foul was a make up call, and it marred what otherwise was a beautiful game to watch in person. At least we can say it wasn’t one-sided; they were at least consistently bad for both teams. We’d have been better off if the refs were sent home, and the players called their own fouls.
  • Minus a couple of lulls, Game 4 was the best game I’ve seen  Thunder play. They were great on defense–especially down the stretch of that game. The Spurs were making tough shots, while the Thunder were consistently finding ways to get easy buckets. They had 23 assists compared to San Antonio’s 12. Both teams had 12 turnovers, and the Spurs were only outrebounded by 6 boards, but it felt like OKC was killing them on the glass. Stephen Adams has been the biggest X factor among the Thunder role players, notching a double-double in each of their wins, while only getting single digit field goal attempts in their losses. Every time the Thunder went to the Westbrook and Adams, good things happened.
  • Gregg Popovich will have some tinkering to do to counter the Thunder’s game 4 adjustments. The Steven Adams, Enes Kanter, Dion Waiters, Russ Westbrook, Kevin Durant line provided the most challenges for the Spurs, and makes me wonder why it took Billy Donovan so long to try this out. While I wouldn’t call for him to make this his starting lineup, there seems to be merit for using this crunch time lineup for what is now a 3 game series. There are scoring options at every position, and OKC’s height gives each Spurs defender something to worry about. For as skilled as the Spurs are, their front line is a little too small vs.teams like Cleveland and OKC;who pound them into submission on the glass, and their backcourt is too small when facing teams like Golden State and Oklahoma City (who also happen to be bigger than them in the paint as well). It just goes to show well how the Spurs execute on both ends of the floor. Even with the size mismatches (and disparity in quickness), it still takes playing a perfect game to beat them.
  • As much shit as I’ve talked about Durant trying to play the villain, and the depths of busterdom befallen the Thunder, you have to be a real hater not to dig what happened Sunday night. KD put up 41 on the NBA’s best defense while his moms (the real MVP) danced in her courtside seats. When he got hot in that 4th quarter (scoring 17 points and having some timely assists to boot) it was eerily similar to the game 4 of the 2012 series where no one could guard him, scoring 18 points in the 4th quarter. With the ascent of Russell Westbrook and his scoring histrionics, it can be easy to forget the former Longhorn is still capable of outbursts like these.
  • Game 5 will be just as much of a dogfight as the past 4 games, if not more. Neither team wants to be one game away from elimination. The Spurs bench and role players output has been matched, (if not surpassed) by the Thunder supporting cast. Oklahoma City is outrebounding San Antonio, and they are getting way more easy buckets than the Spurs. I’m not sure if the Spurs can recover from losing two games at home in a series. Tonight’s tickets will read game 5, but it may as well read game 7. History has shown that most teams that win game 5 of the best of 7 series (when tied 2-2) end up winning the series.

 

I may have already said this before, but I think the Curry injury has been one of the best subplots of the playoffs. His injury had many ramifications for not only the Warriors, but for everyone who, up until the injury, were playing for second place. Cleveland has been feasting on bad teams during the first two rounds, and they’ll probably sweep the winner of the Toronto-Miami series (especially if the Heat don’t have Whiteside). I can only hope that Miami will at least make the Cavs work for those 4 W’s.

Last night’s heroics by Curry ( 40 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists–17 points in OT) only proved why he is the unanimous MVP. But did anyone else see the game Draymond Green had? Not only did he fill the stat sheet, (21 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, and 7 blocks) but he also set the tone for the Warriors second half comeback.

The consecutive defensive sequences where he blocked first Plumlee, and then McCollum energized the team, and that was the point when I knew we were in for a #goodassgame. Make no mistake about it, last night’s game was the game of the year. With Curry’s status in limbo, Livingston getting ejected, and Portland having a chance to tie the series at home, those things only served to make things more lit.

Lastly, how beautiful was that inbounds play that Kerr and co. designed—the one to get the game tied at 3? Curry threw the pass before Harrison Barnes (maybe their  3rd best option to shoot a 3 pointer) had come off of screening Klay Thompson’s man. The Warriors’ floor spacing on that play was almost as gorgeous as the pass.

Though this series is pretty much over, I do not expect the Blazers to fold up like lawn furniture. They’ll take an L, but the Warriors are going to have to work for it. There is nothing to hang your head about Blazers fans. Everyone (including me and other contributors for this site) picked this year’s team to SUUUUUUUUCCCCKKKKK, and they didn’t. That is a win in itself.

Last night’s game proves why it is always more important to make the playoffs (with the possibility of getting bounced) than to tank and hope for lottery ping pong balls. You can’t put a price on experience. The guys in that Trailblazer locker room will never forget the growth they experienced this year–from making the playoffs, to bouncing the Clippers, to giving the Warriors all they can handle in the semi-finals, and this can only help them in aligning next season’s goals.

If you are a free agent frontcourt player looking to play a prominent role for a contender, you have to at least take a meeting with Portland right? The draft is always a crapshoot. You never know what the ping pong balls will reveal, and not all top 3 picks are can’t miss franchise players (Portlanders certainly knows this is true). The Blazers run this year proves that if you put in the work and try your best, you never know what can happen. Sure the Blazer improbable run was helped by collective slides by Houston, New Orleans, and Utah, and then again by the Clippers suffering major injuries to key players, but their hard work, focus, and belief in each other put them in a position to succeed. Blazers fans should be greeting them at the airport when they get back from Oakland after Wednesday’s game.

Enjoy tonight’s game.

 

Peace,

BM

thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

#thisagoodassgame #fullsass