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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Knicks Morning News (Friday, Jun 15 2012)

  • [New York Post] Dream Team not worth glorifying (Fri, 15 Jun 2012 05:10:02 -0500)
    Ironic how yesterday was Flag Day and here we are, draped in drool over the 20th anniversary of the narcissistic 1992 Dream Team. Like long time reader Lawrence Bentley of Plano, Texas, I am proud to say I have never seen that supercilious squadron play a single minute. That goes…

  • [ESPN.com – New York Knicks] Does Woodson need an offensive assistant? (Fri, 15 Jun 2012 06:00:46 EDT)
    Mike Woodson proved two main things during the final 29 games (regular season and playoffs) he coached the Knicks: He can coach defense and enhance the playmaking ability of an All-Star swingman.
    Woodson did it in Atlanta with Joe Johnson and he did it in New York with Carmelo Anthony, using him less as a point-forward (Mike D’Antoni’s agenda), but more as a scorer in his sweet spots — the post and midrange areas.
    But while Anthony went off in the final month of the season, averaging 29.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Finals Game 2: Heat 100, Thunder 96: N.B.A. Finals — Heat Beat Thunder in Game 2 (Fri, 15 Jun 2012 07:07:25 GMT)
    The Heat held off a fourth-quarter rally by the Thunder as LeBron James scored 32 points and Miami claimed home-court advantage in the N.B.A. finals by winning Game 2.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Finals — Russell Westbrook’s Nerd Glasses (Fri, 15 Jun 2012 04:26:27 GMT)
    Postgame news conferences have given players a runway for their competing nerd-chic styles, which often include oversize lensless eyeglasses.

  • [New York Times] Video: How LeBron James Can’t Lose (Fri, 15 Jun 2012 05:08:04 GMT)
    William C. Rhoden discusses the ability of LeBron James to be simultaneously despised and revered.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Finals: N.B.A. Finals — Fatigue Is Not a Factor, Heat Coach Says (Fri, 15 Jun 2012 02:01:09 GMT)
    Erik Spoelstra insists that the Heat are not worn down, even though the Thunder looked fresher, faster, looser and more precise, outscoring the Heat 58-40 in the second half of Game 1.

  • [New York Times] NBA Finals: LeBron at His Best? Can KD Be Stopped? (Fri, 15 Jun 2012 07:55:52 GMT)
    The Miami Heat evened the NBA Finals at one game apiece with a 100-96 victory over the Oklahoma City on Thursday night. LeBron James had another finals career high, Miami jumped out to an 18-2 lead and had to stave off a furious Thunder rally to gain the split on the road.

  • [New York Times] Lots of Questions, Few Answers for OKC’s Slow Starters (Fri, 15 Jun 2012 07:17:35 GMT)
    Whether it’s ill-advised shots, poor defense or just bad luck, the Oklahoma City Thunder will need to avoid their early-game meltdowns if they’re going to win the NBA championship.

  • [New York Times] Thunder Rally Falls Short in Game 2 Loss to Miami (Fri, 15 Jun 2012 04:42:49 GMT)
    The Oklahoma City Thunder finally faced a deficit even Kevin Durant couldn’t rescue them from.

  • [New York Times] Heat Survive Thunder Rally to Even Series (Fri, 15 Jun 2012 05:54:15 GMT)
    LeBron James and Dwyane Wade signaled they were not yet ready to pass the torch to the next generation by leading the Miami Heat to a 100-96 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Two of the NBA Finals on Thursday.

  • [New York Times] Heat Survive Thunder Rally for 100-96 Win (Fri, 15 Jun 2012 06:50:41 GMT)
    LeBron James has seen his share of great starts turn into faulty finishes.

  • [New York Times] Heat Shut Down Durant, Lead Thunder 55-43 (Fri, 15 Jun 2012 03:11:33 GMT)
    The Miami Heat held three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant to just six points and led the Oklahoma City Thunder 55-43 at halftime in Game Two of the NBA Finals on Thursday.

  • [New York Times] Bosh Replaces Haslem in Heat Starting Lineup (Fri, 15 Jun 2012 00:46:50 GMT)
    All-Star forward Chris Bosh is back in the starting lineup for the Miami Heat.

  • [New York Times] Off the Dribble: Judge Dismisses Cuttino Mobley’s Lawsuit (Fri, 15 Jun 2012 00:00:51 GMT)
    The Knicks forced Cuttino Mobley to retire after discovering he had a heart condition.

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    51 comments on “Knicks Morning News (Friday, Jun 15 2012)

    1. Kurt

      I think this play from last night would be perfect for the Knicks to use next year:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_7lV-BQ8EI&feature=youtu.be

      Melo would be Wade, Amar’e would be screener like Bron (since he’s more of a pick and pop threat), Chandler would be in Bosh’s place. That way, they use the threat of Amar’e as the screener while still having Chandler cutting baseline on the weak side.

      What do you think?

    2. thenamestsam

      A second fantastic game last night. Man, this series is so fun. So far I’d say this is one of the best played finals I remember, with only 2008 Celtics-Lakers really close among recent contests. And after Miami’s W last night chances for a long series are looking good.

      Miami was very impressive last night. Great mental fortitude to repel Thunder charges throughout the game and give themselves enough of a fourth quarter buffer to withstand Durant’s apparent inability to miss 4th quarter shots. Lebron did a great job throughout the game of going inside, getting Durant in foul trouble and getting to the line to slow OKC runs. Wade was much more like the Wade they need although his efficiency wasn’t great, and that turnover at the end was a massive error. Great games from Bosh and Battier in the supporting cast, although Bosh going soft around the rim cost them 6+ points. Spo made almost all the adjustments we described on here – let Lebron guard Durant more and ran more through him on offense, switched less on D, and played a much deeper rotation than in Game 1. Their biggest bugaboo remains their late game offense however. They gave it to Lebron instead of Wade, but the lack of movement in the half court was just terrible, allowing OKC to set up with 4 guys in and around the paint. If they keep running those plays they’re going to struggle to win. Both Lebron and Wade made extremely tough shots late in the 4th or it could have even worse.

      Thunder don’t have too many adjustments to make in my opinion, except for the obvious one of way less Perk and more Collison and small lineups. They played well overall last night, just not as insanely well as they had been the last five games. They’re still in fine shape though. Most likely, Miami will still need to win either a G6 or a G7 on the road in front of those fans. A very tall task.

    3. Brian Cronin

      They’re still in fine shape though.

      In part due to the ridiculous 2-3-2 format. However, to be fair, the Heat knew what the format was when they decided that they had no interest in getting home court, so I guess eff ’em for being dumb.

    4. thenamestsam

      One more point. I guess I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the refs, since that was all anyone could talk about last night. I though it was a very fairly reffed game. The last play was obviously a foul, but not a very hard one, and I have a feeling if that had been Lebron missing while getting fouled by Durant we’d be hearing a lot more of: “The refs shouldn’t decide the game. Everyone knows they swallow their whistles on the last possession, so he shouldn’t be looking to get bailed out by the refs there. MJ wouldn’t have left it up to the refs. He would have made the shot anyway.”

      And that certainly wasn’t the only 50-50ish call. As many have pointed out Durant easily could have been fouled out on the earlier drive. And OKC was in the bonus with almost 10 minutes to play (!) in the 3rd quarter on a charge and 3 non-shooting fouls. That significantly altered the trajectory of the game when Miami might have pulled away. Overall OKC was whistled for one more foul, and shot one more FT in a game where OKC shot 12 more 3s than Miami and the Heat lived in the paint.

      People will only remember the one call, but saying things like “Miami got every call” is just silly.

    5. ruruland

      thenamestsam:
      One more point. I guess I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the refs, since that was all anyone could talk about last night. I though it was a very fairly reffed game. The last play was obviously a foul, but not a very hard one, and I have a feeling if that had been Lebron missing while getting fouled by Durant we’d be hearing a lot more of: “The refs shouldn’t decide the game. Everyone knows they swallow their whistles on the last possession, so he shouldn’t be looking to get bailed out by the refs there. MJ wouldn’t have left it up to the refs. He would have made the shot anyway.”

      And that certainly wasn’t the only 50-50ish call. As many have pointed out Durant easily could have been fouled out on the earlier drive. And OKC was in the bonus with almost 10 minutes to play (!) in the 3rd quarter on a charge and 3 non-shooting fouls. That significantly altered the trajectory of the game when Miami might have pulled away. Overall OKC was whistled for one more foul, and shot one more FT in a game where OKC shot 12 more 3s than Miami and the Heat lived in the paint.

      People will only remember the one call, but saying things like “Miami got every call” is just silly.

      Good points. Durant gets a much better offensive whistle than Lebron (compare their fta to contact and it’s not close). So, yeah, Durant got the bad end for once. Big deal.

    6. thenamestsam

      Brian Cronin: In part due to the ridiculous 2-3-2 format. However, to be fair, the Heat knew what the format was when they decided that they had no interest in getting home court, so I guess eff ‘em for being dumb.

      I don’t really intrinsically have a problem with 2-3-2. From everything I’ve ever seen it doesn’t make that much of a difference. What annoys me is that the format is different than all the other rounds. It just seems so random to change the format at this stage. Especially given that travel is hardly an issue in these days of private jets.

    7. ruruland

      thenamestsam:
      A second fantastic game last night. Man, this series is so fun. So far I’d say this is one of the best played finals I remember, with only 2008 Celtics-Lakers really close among recent contests. And after Miami’s W last night chances for a long series are looking good.

      Miami was very impressive last night. Great mental fortitude to repel Thunder charges throughout the game and give themselves enough of a fourth quarter buffer to withstand Durant’s apparent inability to miss 4th quarter shots. Lebron did a great job throughout the game of going inside, getting Durant in foul trouble and getting to the line to slow OKC runs. Wade was much more like the Wade they need although his efficiency wasn’t great, and that turnover at the end was a massive error. Great games from Bosh and Battier in the supporting cast, although Bosh going soft around the rim cost them 6+ points. Spo made almost all the adjustments we described on here – let Lebron guard Durant more and ran more through him on offense, switched less on D, and played a much deeper rotation than in Game 1. Their biggest bugaboo remains their late game offense however. They gave it to Lebron instead of Wade, but the lack of movement in the half court was just terrible, allowing OKC to set up with 4 guys in and around the paint. If they keep running those plays they’re going to struggle to win. Both Lebron and Wade made extremely tough shots late in the 4th or it could have even worse.

      I agree with much of this but I don’t think the 2008 series was that great. It was well played defensively but much uglier offensively.

    8. thenamestsam

      ruruland: Good points. Durant gets a much better offensive whistle than Lebron (compare their fta to contact and it’s not close). So, yeah, Durant got the bad end for once. Big deal.

      Agreed. Worth mentioning that it was a very clever play call from Brooks that put Lebron in a position to commit the foul. Set it up like Durant was going to run through some staggered screens to catch the ball up top and then threw it down to him early when Lebron was turned looking to find where the screen was coming from. Lebron had to scramble to get any contest on the shot and that caused the foul. Very meta-game dependent play that worked pretty brilliantly.

      ruruland: I agree with much of this but I don’t think the 2008 series was that great. It was well played defensively but much uglier offensively.

      Thinking about it more carefully you’re probably right that I’m overrating the level of play in the series somewhat. It was a very exciting series because of Kobe’s return to contention plus Big 3’s rejuvenation of Boston multiplied by Celtics-Lakers, but those teams were both still gelling somewhat and didn’t hit their best until the next year.

    9. johnlocke

      Westbrook shot the ball more than any other player on the court and shot 38%. He was really a PG in name only last night — he was jacking up everything he touched for the most part, and oddly, even when Durant was scorching in the fourth. Durant also just passively stood behind the three point line on the side on a few possessions instead of demanding the ball. Westbrook needs to tone down his shot attempts.

      thenamestsam:

      Miami was very impressive last night. Great mental fortitude to repel Thunder charges throughout the game and give themselves enough of a fourth quarter buffer to withstand Durant’s apparent inability to miss 4th quarter shots.

    10. JK47

      I’m rooting really hard for OKC in this series and I have to say that Westbrook is driving me nuts.

    11. Brian Cronin

      If they have to break up their Big 4, since Westbrook is likely the fourth best of the Big 4 while everyone treats him like the second best, doesn’t it make a ton of sense for them to trade Westbrook? If you had to lose one of the four, he’d be the one you’d lose, right? And he’d bring in quite a haul, you’d think.

    12. formido

      Growing up in Seattle, it’s hard to describe the agony of watching OKC. These core players were f’ing Sonics. This was supposed to be my team. Finally. A championship in my lifetime from a Seattle pro sports team. Mariners break the record for most wins in a season, lose in playoffs. Seahawks dominate the regular season and playoffs, robbed by refs. Sonics win 67, have to play Jordan’s Bulls (still proud they got 2 wins). And, now, here’s this incredibly young, superstar laden team with the sky before them, and I f’ing lose them! Sick.

      My only hope is that they get broken up. I pray that Harden demands max money and to be a starter. What keeps me up at nights is that they instead trade Westbrook for someone who just wants to pass the damn ball to Durant. Can you imagine how much better OKC would be? They would be loads better if Maynor were the starter.

      Man I hope Lebron and Wade pull this out. OKC clearly has all the advantages. If Lebron pulls this off, no one will be able to question his heart ever again.

      johnlocke: Westbrook shot the ball more than any other player on the court and shot 38%. He was really a PG in name only last night — he was jacking up everything he touched for the most part, and oddly, even when Durant was scorching in the fourth. Durant also just passively stood behind the three point line on the side on a few possessions instead of demanding the ball. Westbrook needs to tone down his shot attempts.

    13. thenamestsam

      formido: My only hope is that they get broken up. I pray that Harden demands max money and to be a starter. What keeps me up at nights is that they instead trade Westbrook for someone who just wants to pass the damn ball to Durant. Can you imagine how much better OKC would be? They would be loads better if Maynor were the starter.

      I have to say that I find this literally insane. Westbrook made 3rd team all-NBA this year, not undeserved. He had 27-8-7 with 2 TOs last night, and we’re talking about how much better they’d be without him?

      The amount of shit he takes even after good games is Lebron-like at this point. Is he the prototypical PG? No, but he just piloted the team with the 2nd best offense in the regular season, and the best in the playoffs, and he’s a good defender. You really think they’re going to do significantly better than that with Eric Maynor? The same Eric Maynor whose career year consisted of per 36 averages of 10 and 7 in 15 minutes a night on TS% of .48? Just because he’s going to let Durant shoot? He was already 2nd in the league in FGA. How much more is he going to shoot?

      Westbrook is a frustrating player. I get that. But I think we’re smart enough around here to not let that blind us from how good he is. He does amazing things frequently, things the “prototypical” PG can’t even dream about. The good far, far outweighs the bad with him.

    14. er

      Great points guys… I would add that lebron really stopped driving in the 4th. Everyone in my house was yelling at him for standing in the corner being passive again..if he stayed aggressive he cudda torched durant for 45

    15. thenamestsam

      johnlocke:
      Westbrook shot the ball more than any other player on the court andshot 38%. He was really a PG in name only last night — he was jacking up everything he touched for the most part, and oddly, even when Durant was scorching in the fourth. Durant also just passively stood behind the three point line on the side on a few possessions instead of demanding the ball.Westbrook needs to tone down his shot attempts.

      He wasn’t really jacking them up. Half his shot attempts were in the paint. 13 out of 26. He’s a scoring PG and the Heat don’t have anyone who can guard him. Shouldn’t be be trying to get in the lane and score?

      Brian Cronin:
      If they have to break up their Big 4, since Westbrook is likely the fourth best of the Big 4 while everyone treats him like the second best, doesn’t it make a ton of sense for them to trade Westbrook? If you had to lose one of the four, he’d be the one you’d lose, right? And he’d bring in quite a haul, you’d think.

      You can argue Westbrook and Harden back and forth, but Westbrook is significantly better than Ibaka, and I like Ibaka a good deal. He can be a very good player, but right now his defense is significantly overrated because he falls for every pump fake going for blocks and he’s not a great on ball defender, and he’s definitely the beneficiary on offense of having so much talent around him. What percent of Ibaka’s shots are 100% open? Perfect complimentary piece for this group, but his value goes down a lot if you don’t have Westbrook creating space for him on O.

    16. er

      I would also add that breen is extremely annoying… The way he drools over durant makes me want to gag. “oh he also argues with the refs politely” or “all he wants to do is win”

      Van gundy is the only reason the telecast is bearable

    17. TelegraphedPass

      @14 +1

      Do the Thunder even have a winning record when Durant outshoots Westbrook? This absurd notion that OKC is winning in spite of Westbrook is out of hand.

      He played a smart game last night, apart from a few YOLO threes towards the end. MIA doesn’t really have the personnel to hold him with Wyane Wae’s defensive regression. He’s taking guys off the dribble, drawing fouls, pacing the action, rebounding, generating assists, and there are people who think Eric Maynor would make them better? How? By slowing down the offense, not getting to the rim as often, not being a threat off the dribble, and just handing the ball to Kevin Durant?

      Sometimes fans just see what they want to see. And clearly there is a large contingent of fans that want to see the HumbleGod Kevin Durant take approcimately all the shots all the time.

      Let Westbrook be Westbrook.

    18. TelegraphedPass

      er:
      Great points guys… I would add that lebron really stopped driving in the 4th. Everyone in my house was yelling at him for standing in the corner being passive again..if he stayed aggressive he cudda torched durant for 45

      He didn’t stop driving. He slowed the clock down and tried to calm the atmosphere of the Chesapeake. He initiated the offense with about 11 seconds on the clock and tried to create good looks at the rim and from three in isolation. I don’t agree with his strategy, but I don’t think it’s at all accurate to rewrite that as him not being aggressive.

    19. TelegraphedPass

      Not to change the subject, but how did we get this far without mentioning Peter Vecsey’s venomous article ripping the Dream Team? Isn’t this the same guy hoolahoop called me a moron for disagreeing with?

      So, because the Dream Team members had personal flaws they shouldn’t be held in high regard? I get it. If only they had flawless and HUMBLE stars like the Teflon Durant and Rose on their squad. God, those guys are so humble I’m frothing at the mouth and loins. Also humble.

      I’m really at a loss for how anyone could view Vecsey as a valuable sportswriter at this point in his career.

    20. thenamestsam

      TelegraphedPass: He didn’t stop driving. He slowed the clock down and tried to calm the atmosphere of the Chesapeake. He initiated the offense with about 11 seconds on the clock and tried to create good looks at the rim and from three in isolation. I don’t agree with his strategy, but I don’t think it’s at all accurate to rewrite that as him not being aggressive.

      Agreed. Plus, where did this idea that it’s possible to drive to the rim every possession just because you’re Lebron come from? The Thunder were absolutely packing the paint, and the Heat were doing a very poor job of moving without the ball to clear the paint, which is why it turned into a lot of Lebron dribbling on the perimeter looking for a way through a 4 man wall. It wasn’t effective, but Lebron had the ball in his hands every possession and he was definitely looking to make things happen. Passive is not a word I would use.

    21. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      More nonsense about spacing and shot creation. Total nonsense.

      Here’s a youtube video I found of James Harden, with my commentary on “spacing” and “shot creation.” If anyone’s to benefit from defenses having to quadruple-team Westbrook because of his “superior athleticism” (oh-so-evident in his 28 points on 27 FGA), it’s gotta be the dude with the ridiculous eFG%, right?.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx09_zUJTkk

      0:06 Harden dribbles hard right and pulls up; Marion has no assignment aside from stopping the 3 but can’t

      0:16 All-NBA PG Derek Fisher passes to a cutting All-NBA PF Nick Collison, who finds Harden camping at the three-point line on a sleeping Carter caught in no-man’s land

      0:28 Harden plays the two-man game with Nick “Hall of Famer” Collison; quick screen, sinks a three with a late hand in his face

      0:32 Harden drives hard right and benefits from late help due to literally ANYONE standing on the left side of the low post; seriously, I could have been there and the defender would have had to think before helping (COSMIC TRUTH: ALMOST ALL NBA PLAYERS REQUIRE A PLAYER TO GUARD THEM OR THEY WILL SHOOT 80%)

      0:41 Drives in transition, splits three defenders for easy finger roll. Again, ANYONE could have been to his sides. They’re NBA players, they require guarding.

      0:56 Again, pick and roll with that pesky Olympian, Nick Collison. Fouled on the way to the hoop but scores anyway.

      1:17 Goes straight at Delonte West, eurosteps, and draws the foul as Haywood swats him as he goes past. This has absolutely nothing to do with the players on the floor with him. He’s playing one-on-one, here.

      1:32 Harden waits for a quick pick and roll from Ibaka, then dives to the hoop as the Mavs don’t have a chance on the switch. Note that Jason Terry is playing several feet off of the oh-so-dangerous Westbrook, and is essentially in the lane. Again, there is no guard in the league who is going to get more space than he’s given there…

    22. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      1:42 Extremely high screen with Ibaka. Somehow Terry senses that he’s driving and meets him in the paint in time, but he’s too strong. Single-handedly lays it up. Westbrook’s defender is seven feet away from him, basically playing in the paint. All his teammates have to do is stand at the arc. Any NBA player can do this.

      1:55 All five Mavs are in rebounding range when he shoots. He drives from the elbow and beats his man in a congested lane. Despite Ibaka “clogging the paint” he finishes.

      2:23 Takes advantage of a much slower defender on the iso and is contested by expert shot-blocker Delonte West at the rim. Westbrook is standing, as we’ve seen before, at the three-point line.

      —————————————

      I’m not saying that Westbrook sucks, I’m just saying that he’s not as important as he seems. Harden may have had a career night, but he certainly did it without Westbrook’s all-encompassing team-betterment. The athleticism is flashy but the efficiency is not. He was 3-12 in that game for 12 points, missing all of his three point attempts.

    23. thenamestsam

      Did the stats devotee just offer anecdotal evidence as proof of his point?

      Even offering evidence you’d feel more comfortable with it should be pretty obvious that this team would not be better without Westbrook. In his time with OKC Maynor has a WS/48 of about .06. Westbrook is at .16. You can disagree with my reasoning, but do you disagree that the Thunder are better off with Westbrook?

    24. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      Only anecdotal evidence which supports a much more conclusive methodology, one that holds that Westbrook is a slightly above-average PG who just happens to take a lot of shots because he’s okay at it and looks really fucking cool when he does it.

      Maynor sucks. There’s no doubt about that. I just think they could very easily replace Westbrook with a cheaper option and get rid of Perkins in the process. Durant, Ibaka, and Harden should be the nucleus, but I’m sure they’ll let their “sixth man” go for luxury tax reasons and the two-bit analysts will have a field day trying to explain without citing eFG% and its huge impact on win probability why the team dropped from 60 to 50 wins.

    25. thenamestsam

      The Honorable Cock Jowles:
      Only anecdotal evidence which supports a much more conclusive methodology, one that holds that Westbrook is a slightly above-average PG who just happens to take a lot of shots because he’s okay at it and looks really fucking cool when he does it.

      Maynor sucks. There’s no doubt about that. I just think they could very easily replace Westbrook with a cheaper option and get rid of Perkins in the process. Durant, Ibaka, and Harden should be the nucleus, but I’m sure they’ll let their “sixth man” go for luxury tax reasons and the two-bit analysts will have a field day trying to explain without citing eFG% and its huge impact on win probability why the team dropped from 60 to 50 wins.

      This is quite a straw-man. First, there is almost no chance that they let Harden leave unless he makes it very clear that he wants to go somewhere else where he can be the focal point. So if you’re “sure” they’ll let him leave I’d like to make a wager with you on that. Second, the idea that “two-bit analysts” wouldn’t attribute the fall-off to the loss of Harden is just dumb. You’re not the only person who realizes this guy is good. He was 6th man of the year, and a lot of people were clambering for him to make the all-star team (which I’d bet he does next year). He’s commonly referred to as part of the “Big 3″ for a team in the finals. He may be underrated, but it’s not like only Berri’s faithful disciples think this guy is good. And lastly your entire argument is based on the strawman premise that the question of whether or not Westbrook is good has anything, I repeat ANYTHING, to do with Harden.

    26. er

      I totally disagree , I watched him camp at the 3 point line looking as meek as he did last year. The thunder were packing the paint all game and he was still destroying them. Wade was able to drive in the fourth against that same defense.

      If you rewatch the 4th and focus on lebron he was REALLy passive. He was 1-3 with 4 foul shots, with the last two being intentional.

      If YouTube has it I suggest you guys look at it

      thenamestsam: Agreed. Plus, where did this idea that it’s possible to drive to the rim every possession just because you’re Lebron come from? The Thunder were absolutely packing the paint, and the Heat were doing a very poor job of moving without the ball to clear the paint, which is why it turned into a lot of Lebron dribbling on the perimeter looking for a way through a 4 man wall. It wasn’t effective, but Lebron had the ball in his hands every possession and he was definitely looking to make things happen. Passive is not a word I would use.

    27. johnlocke

      Look guys – Westbrook is a good player and scoring PT guard, but the problem is, it seems to be he thinks his #1, #2 and #3 option are to score and I somehow think, he thinks he’s better than Kevin Durant, the best scoring machine the league has seen in a long, long time

    28. er

      Amen on the Teflon dons….I’m so sick of them I have been pushed to rooting for the heat

      TelegraphedPass:
      Not to change the subject, but how did we get this far without mentioning Peter Vecsey’s venomous article ripping the Dream Team? Isn’t this the same guy hoolahoop called me a moron for disagreeing with?

      So, because the Dream Team members had personal flaws they shouldn’t be held in high regard? I get it. If only they had flawless and HUMBLE stars like the Teflon Durant and Rose on their squad. God, those guys are so humble I’m frothing at the mouth and loins. Also humble.

      I’m really at a loss for how anyone could view Vecsey as a valuable sportswriter at this point in his career.

    29. johnlocke

      Westbrook took more shots than Lebron, Wade, Durant and Harden. If he was on fire, it would be one thing….but he clearly wasn’t. And he took a lot of ill-advised pull-up jumpers at that, he wasn’t just missing shots at the rim. And don’t give me the argument that no one can guard Westbrook, b/c the evidence over the last 2 games says no one can guard Durant on the Heat.

    30. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      1) Let’s make a wager, then. How about 50 kopecks?

      2) Your derisive tone about “Berri’s faithful disciples” doesn’t make up for the fact that Westbrook is a two-time All-NBA PG (2nd team) and Harden, despite one of the most impressive shooting efficiencies in NBA history, was passed up. So yeah, I’d say he’s undervalued. And Westbrook is overvalued. Maybe that will change in the future, but we’re talking about NOW. And as of this year, he’s not good enough, according to both All-Star and All-NBA vote, for the evaluation he likely deserves: the #2 player on the Western Conference Champs.

      3) What does “Big 3″ have to do with anything? The media dubs it that because they happen to be the three leading scorers on the team (no player scores in double digits outside of those three players). And, in order of volume, they are typically ranked: Durant, Westbrook, Harden.

      4) Okay. But what about Ibaka? If his success is so dependent on Westbrook, let’s look at some more anecdotal evidence:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKkGw5ePx7Y

      Well, golly. Westbrook isn’t on the floor when he knocks down those open jumpers. How’d that happen? But yeah, great pass by Westbrook on a totally blown coverage by Stephen Jackson. So that’s one field goal. It sorta looks like he’s either 1) not on the court or 2) standing around when Ibaka’s making his moves for most of these field goals. Yeah, like… ten of eleven of them. Can you find me some anecdotal evidence to support your anecdotal claims from this very thread about how Ibaka relies on Westbrook’s skill set to get open looks? Or should we just take this clip as the usual and say that, yes, Ibaka gets open looks because he’s always got NBA players around him who know how to pass the ball to the open man. Or is that too much a stretch?

    31. TelegraphedPass

      johnlocke:
      Westbrook took more shots than Lebron, Wade, Durant and Harden. If he was on fire, it would be one thing….but he clearly wasn’t. And he took a lot of ill-advised pull-up jumpers at that, he wasn’t just missing shots at the rim. And don’t give me the argument that no one can guard Westbrook, b/c the evidence over the last 2 games says no one can guard Durant on the Heat.

      Westbrook is going to take shots though. That’s what he does. Asking him to become a pass-first PG because he’s playing with KD is pointless. He missed a lot of shots that he’s typically makes last night, and he was inefficient. I just have no idea how Maynor makes OKC somehow better.

      I am not someone who believes Russ has a strong impact on Harden’s efficiency, so I have no quarrell with THCJ here.

      I’m not sure what replacing Russell would do for OKC. I think it’s more complex than his eFG%. The Thunder have a deadly efficient offense with him posting a significant usage rate; is it in spite of his production or partially because of it?

    32. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      TelegraphedPass: I’m not sure what replacing Russell would do for OKC. I think it’s more complex than his eFG%. The Thunder have a deadly efficient offense with him posting a significant usage rate; is it in spite of his production or partially because of it?

      And this is the problem. I accept that it’s possible that Westbrook might be some kind of middling player who somehow makes everyone better by taking a ton of shots and missing a lot of them, but that seems like a hypothesis supported more by my girlfriend’s and my mild shrieks upon seeing him jump (last night Lady Jowles said, “Did I just see him fly?” on one of those crazy layups) than by the data. I think it’s much more likely that any positive impact he could have on spacing and others’ shot creation is undone by his poor efficiency. Same argument I have regarding Anthony.

    33. thenamestsam

      er:
      I totally disagree ,I watched him camp at the 3 point line looking as meek as he did last year. The thunder were packing the paint all game and he was still destroying them. Wade was able to drive in the fourth against that same defense.

      If you rewatch the 4th and focus on lebron he was REALLy passive. He was 1-3 with 4 foul shots, with the last two being intentional.

      If YouTube has it I suggest you guys look at it

      I can’t find it on youtube but I watched most possessions twice last night during commercials and I still wholeheartedly disagree about being passive. He didn’t go to the post as much, but part of the problem was that the Heat were looking to slow things down the entire quarter and Lebron likes to go down low early in transition. A couple times he got post position early in the shot clock but Wade backed it out rather than throw it to him. So he was getting the ball outside more largely as a tactical decision, not because of a chance in attitude.

      Then on the Thunder’s defense of course they packed the paint a lot, but not to nearly the same extent as the 4th quarter for a couple reasons. The first is Collison’s presence. He’s a much more mobile big and an excellent PnR defender. He made it much harder to get to turn the corner. The second as I’ve said a couple times was a lack of player movement. When guys are in motion it occupies their defenders. In the 4th Q the Heat did a lot of standing around waiting for Lebron to make a play. When you don’t move it’s much easier for your man to provide paint support. I’m not sure where you’re getting the idea that Wade was getting to the rim against the same D. He was able to penetrate once for the dish to Bosh on a nicely designed play out of a TO. He drew 2 FTs. Other than that he pulled up for jumpers every time. The rim was well protected.

    34. thenamestsam

      THCJ. I don’t think our disagreement is maybe as strong as it seems, so I’ll try to make that clearer.
      1)I like my wagers like I like my women, light-hearted. How about if you’re right and they deal Harden I’ll read a basketball related book of your choosing, and if I’m right reverse it?

      2) I’m a HUGE Harden fan. I think he’s tremendous, If it comes down to Westbrook or Harden I would definitely keep Harden. If we were having a league-wide expansion draft I’d consider taking Harden in the top 10. I think he’s underrated. I’m not disputing that by any means. I’m just saying that it’s not like only Berri’s methods point to this guy as a great player. Everyone thinks he’s great. He’s going to get a max extension this summer. Everyone knows he’s an elite player. If you’re saying he’s considered the third best player on a team where he’s really the second best player it’s hard for me to get too worked up about that.

      3)Again my only point was that the media views him as elite. When they talk about what makes the Thunder go they don’t say just Westbrook and Durant, Harden is included in that. T

      4) I’ll admit I find that anecdotal evidence much more convincing. With Harden I wouldn’t expect his offense to be much affected by Westbrook. Harden is 100% capable of creating his own shot, and mostly does so. Ibaka on the other hand is not a guy who creates his own offense as is clearly (to my mind) on show in those highlights. He beats Duncan once off a face up, and once he shot a well contested jumper. Everything else is either open jumpers or dunks because of space created by his teammates, although it’s mostly Durant and Harden doing the creating there. Do you agree with that statement?

    35. Z

      Brian Cronin:
      If they have to break up their Big 4, since Westbrook is likely the fourth best of the Big 4 while everyone treats him like the second best, doesn’t it make a ton of sense for them to trade Westbrook? If you had to lose one of the four, he’d be the one you’d lose, right? And he’d bring in quite a haul, you’d think.

      But if they have to break it up for salary purposes, all they could take back is cap space and picks, limiting their haul (but better than nothing)

    36. Robtachi

      I almost blaspheme to bring it up, but could there be a possible scenario that going into 2014, the Thunder and Knicks swing a sign-and-trade with Ibaka coming here for Tyson Chandler? Tyson would be in the last year of his deal, giving OKC the cap flexibility they’d probably need by then if they hope to resign their other stars.

    37. max fisher-cohen

      er:
      I would also add that breen is extremely annoying… The way he drools over durant makes me want to gag. “oh he also argues with the refs politely” or “all he wants to do is win”

      Van gundy is the only reason the telecast is bearable

      Yeah, I’m super rooting for OKC, but the entire broadcast seemed design to sell fans the thunder. They showed Durant’s stats on the ticker about 18 times and kept mentioning how many shots in a row he made. Meanwhile, Lebron was having an amazing game, and they never once showed his stats or talked him up.

      As far as your other point about Lebron’s passivity though, I seem to remember several drives late 3rd/early 4th where he tried to get to the rim only to turn it over or get his shot blocked. OKC went to the “Anyone but Lebron” defense.

      Miami had probably its best game of the postseason. Bosh dominated the boards, Battier went nuts, making every 3 he took pretty much and even capitalizing on a few drives. Miami shot 88% from the line. Lebron and Wade both had very good games and hit a number of very difficult shots.

      Meanwhile, OKC seemed to forget about execution early on, and it wasn’t just Westbrook. Durant took a number of well guarded 3s after holding the ball, not to mention the foul trouble that caused him to sit for several more minutes than he would have. OKC’s defense was also lackadaisical. THe number of open 3s they gave up off of lazy rotations was embarrassing.

      I still hold by my prediction — OKC in 6. Miami will win game 3, and like v. the Spurs, that will scare the Thunder into giving max effort for 48 minutes and passing the ball on offense. Miami won’t be able to handle.

    38. BigBlueAL

      Have you guys seen the quotes from Phil Jackson?? Apparently he was interviewed and will be on Real Sports this Tuesday.

      Howard Beck tweeted about it:

      In interview w/HBO Real Sports, Phil Jackson says he had zero interest in coaching Knicks. “I wasn’t gonna take the job, that’s for sure.”

      Asked why he wouldn’t coach Knicks, Jax says: “There’s just too much work that has to be done with that team.” Calls it a “clumsy team.”

      More Jax: “Stoudemire doesn’t fit together well with Carmelo.” Says Carmelo “has to be a better passer.” Again, totally agree.

      Those are transcript excerpts courtesy of HBO Real Sports. Full interview airs Tuesday 10 pm ET/PT, 9 pm CT.

    39. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      thenamestsam:
      THCJ. I don’t think our disagreement is maybe as strong as it seems, so I’ll try to make that clearer.
      1)I like my wagers like I like my women, light-hearted. How about if you’re right and they deal Harden I’ll read a basketball related book of your choosing, and if I’m right reverse it?

      2) I’m a HUGE Harden fan. I think he’s tremendous,If it comes down to Westbrook or Harden I would definitely keep Harden. If we were having a league-wide expansion draft I’d consider taking Harden in the top 10. I think he’s underrated. I’m not disputing that by any means. I’m just saying that it’s not like only Berri’s methods point to this guy as a great player. Everyone thinks he’s great. He’s going to get a max extension this summer. Everyone knows he’s an elite player. If you’re saying he’s considered the third best player on a team where he’s really the second best player it’s hard for me to get too worked up about that.

      3)Again my only point was that the media views him as elite. When they talk about what makes the Thunder go they don’t say just Westbrook and Durant, Harden is included in that. T

      4) I’ll admit I find that anecdotal evidence much more convincing. With Harden I wouldn’t expect his offense to be much affected by Westbrook. Harden is 100% capable of creating his own shot, and mostly does so. Ibaka on the other hand is not a guy who creates his own offense as is clearly (to my mind) on show in those highlights. He beats Duncan once off a face up, and once he shot a well contested jumper. Everything else is either open jumpers or dunks because of space created by his teammates, although it’s mostly Durant and Harden doing the creating there. Do you agree with that statement?

      1) Deal.

      2) Agreed.

      3) You’re right.

      4) Yes.

    40. Glew

      Wow! .577? That’s elite.

      From the finals, I’d rather have:
      The Honorable Cock Jowles

      Harden
      Durant
      LeBron
      Wade
      Bosh
      Ibaka
      and yes, even Westbrook

      over Anthony. Why? They’re better at basketball.

      soooo now it seems you have changed your mind on westbrook would you still rather have ibaka/bosh/harden more than melo?

    41. Glew

      BigBlueAL:
      Have you guys seen the quotes from Phil Jackson??Apparently he was interviewed and will be on Real Sports this Tuesday.

      Howard Beck tweeted about it:

      In interview w/HBO Real Sports, Phil Jackson says he had zero interest in coaching Knicks. “I wasn’t gonna take the job, that’s for sure.”

      Asked why he wouldn’t coach Knicks, Jax says: “There’s just too much work that has to be done with that team.” Calls it a “clumsy team.”

      More Jax: “Stoudemire doesn’t fit together well with Carmelo.” Says Carmelo “has to be a better passer.” Again, totally agree.

      Those are transcript excerpts courtesy of HBO Real Sports. Full interview airs Tuesday 10 pm ET/PT, 9 pm CT.

      Damn the whole Stat not fitting with Melo scenario seems a lot more scary/true coming from PJax..Soo beat

    42. ruruland

      Nice try Cock. I don’t think Westbrook helps his team because he spaces the floor in the half-court. I’ve never heard that argument regarding Westbrook.

      Here’s how he helps the Thunder offense outside of his individual efficiency
      1)transition and semi-transition. When Westbrook takes off towards the basket off a rebound or outlet pass, teams have to sprint back hard to get in front of him. He’s such a dangerous player in transition he’s a magnet for retreating defenders. Sure there is a marginal benefit in creating fouls that don’t result in fta, but eventually result in the penalty, especially when you have two of the best official dupers in the NBA — Harden and Durant.

      Now why is that skill important? Because even when teams get back and deny Westbrook the initial play at the basket, they are forced to retreat much deeper towards the basket than they would normally.

      Have you ever heard JVG talk about transition defense floor balance?

      Do you ever wonder why it might be important?

      When Westbrook shows hard in transition and defenders retreat, it creates havoc on the defense — their lack of floor balance and organization create semi-transition opportunities.

      Semi-transition is the time between the defense retreats all five players beyond the half-court line, but before it’s fully set.

      And it’s symbiotic. Durant and Harden’s prescence create opportunities for Westbrook in semi-transition.

      Westbrook is actually a very average half-court player, and he doesn’t do much for your floor spacing.

      2)However, he ALWAYS occupies either the defenses best or second best perimeter defender.

      is Harden a great player? probably. Does he benefit from facing either the third best perimeter defender or defenders off the bench? Of course he does. To refute that premise would be to refute the value of perimeter defense.

      3)High volume players improve eff of specialty/opportunity players, especially on teams that lack offensive…

    43. ruruland

      Glew: Damn the whole Stat not fitting with Melo scenario seems a lot more scary/true coming from PJax..Soo beat

      I don’t think that’s particularly relevatory. PJax has said a lot of things about a lot of players, including his own. Sounds like he has an axe to grind.

      The Knicks are going to be really good next year. besides, PJax is too much of a coward to take on a less than perfectly constructed roster.

    44. Brian Cronin

      Have you guys seen the quotes from Phil Jackson?? Apparently he was interviewed and will be on Real Sports this Tuesday.

      Howard Beck tweeted about it:

      In interview w/HBO Real Sports, Phil Jackson says he had zero interest in coaching Knicks. “I wasn’t gonna take the job, that’s for sure.”

      Asked why he wouldn’t coach Knicks, Jax says: “There’s just too much work that has to be done with that team.” Calls it a “clumsy team.”

      More Jax: “Stoudemire doesn’t fit together well with Carmelo.” Says Carmelo “has to be a better passer.” Again, totally agree.

      Those are transcript excerpts courtesy of HBO Real Sports. Full interview airs Tuesday 10 pm ET/PT, 9 pm CT.

      That’s more indelicate than you’d like, but at the same time, he’s basically just saying “I am not coming back to coaching unless it is a no-brainer of a team,” (like the Thunder or the Heat) and I don’t think even the most ardent Knick supporter would suggest that the Knicks are a team like that.

    45. Ted Nelson

      Love that Jax called out Melo. Hope that wakes him up. You generally know 10 seconds before Melo shoots that he’s going to shoot… Just imagine how good he’d be if he actually played basketball. Hate that Woodson seems to encourage it with the clear out, iso bs.

    46. BigBlueAL

      Brian Cronin: That’s more indelicate than you’d like, but at the same time, he’s basically just saying “I am not coming back to coaching unless it is a no-brainer of a team,” (like the Thunder or the Heat) and I don’t think even the most ardent Knick supporter would suggest that the Knicks are a team like that.

      But the way I look at it is what more does he have to prove?? He may not see the Knicks as a championship contender but I would assume he would think he could win 50 games and a round in the playoffs which if he did that he would be praised like crazy. Hell imagine if he was able to take the team to a 6 or 7 game series in the 2nd round or even get to the Conference Finals he would get more praise than winning another championship with a tailor made team.

      I would totally understand not wanting to coach the Knicks because of Dolan and the stupid media policy the team has but shit he cant come back to coach a team that is a lock for the playoffs but not a lock to make the NBA Finals?? Man up Phil!! lol

    47. BigBlueAL

      Ted Nelson:
      Love that Jax called out Melo. Hope that wakes him up. You generally know 10 seconds before Melo shoots that he’s going to shoot… Just imagine how good he’d be if he actually played basketball. Hate that Woodson seems to encourage it with the clear out, iso bs.

      OMG imagine if Ted is back for good and starts debating daily with ruru, the earth might explode!! :-)

    48. Brian Cronin

      But the way I look at it is what more does he have to prove??

      Agreed, but I think that goes the other way. Since he has nothing to prove, why waste his time with anything but the best, ya know?

      Sorta like how everyone was shocked at Jerry Sloan actually being interested in the Bobcats job. Sloan would have gotten all of the credit in the world if the Bobcats turned around and none of the blame if they didn’t, but what does he get out of it? He’s not winning a title with them and what else does Sloan have to prove? We all know he is a great coach already. Same with Jax. Our opinions won’t change about Jax, so if so, he might as well only come back for the very best situation. Enjoy himself.

    49. Z

      ruruland: I don’t think that’s particularly relevatory. PJax has said a lot of things about a lot of players, including his own. Sounds like he has an axe to grind.

      The Knicks are going to be really good next year. besides, PJax is too much of a coward to take on a less than perfectly constructed roster.

      I thought Jackson to the Knicks was a possibility. He always has great rosters, but they’re not always inherited.

      in 2005, when Jackson agreed to retake the reins of the Lakers, that roster was in steep decline. The Lakers went 34-48 that year, and Jackson spent two years with them as they bumbled their way back to superiority. So it’s not really fair to say that Phil doesn’t take risks.

      But I think he knew that as long as he had Kobe he’d have a pretty good shot at another title, which is probably all he really would want if he returned to coaching. But his instincts tell him this squad doesn’t realistically give him that shot. Hard to argue with those instincts. (But not impossible, Ruru!)

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