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Monday, September 1, 2014

Knicks Morning News (Wednesday, Jun 13 2012)

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Finals | Game 1: Thunder 105, Heat 94: With Poise and Power, Thunder Rally in N.B.A. Finals Opener (Wed, 13 Jun 2012 07:57:15 GMT)
    Kevin Durant, the three-time scoring champion, seized control in critical late moments, scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Thunder to a victory in Game 1.

  • [New York Times] TV Sports: N.B.A. Finals to Test Small-Market Thunder’s National Appeal (Wed, 13 Jun 2012 05:24:07 GMT)
    Oklahoma City, the No. 44-ranked television market, with 712,630 households — smaller than No. 36 San Antonio — may attract casual sports fans with its team’s dynamic, dunk-heavy offense.

  • [New York Times] NBA Finals Questions: How Will Heat Bounce Back? (Wed, 13 Jun 2012 08:07:47 GMT)
    The Oklahoma City Thunder ran away with Game 1 of the NBA Finals 105-94, controlling the second half and rallying from a 13-point deficit to protect home court against the Miami Heat. But as Heat guard Dwyane Wade said, the opener is “just a game to see” what both teams are going to do and then start making adjustments.

  • [New York Times] Durant Knocks Out LeBron in First Battle (Wed, 13 Jun 2012 06:31:47 GMT)
    When Kevin Durant went to the free-throw line in the fourth quarter the crowd started chanting “M-V-P, M-V-P,” a verbal jab at the reigning most valuable player, LeBron James.

  • [New York Times] Durant Helps Thunder Crack Heat in Finals Opener (Wed, 13 Jun 2012 06:01:52 GMT)
    Kevin Durant won the opening round of his highly anticipated duel with LeBron James, scoring 36 points to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 105-94 victory over the Miami Heat in the opening game of the NBA Finals on Tuesday.

  • [New York Times] Durant Powers Thunder Past LeBron’s Heat 105-94 (Wed, 13 Jun 2012 08:01:49 GMT)
    Kevin Durant keeps insisting these NBA Finals are Thunder against Heat, not him against LeBron James.

  • [New York Times] LeBron Needs More From Rest of Heat’s Big 3 (Wed, 13 Jun 2012 05:18:12 GMT)
    LeBron James put up the kind of point total he never had in the NBA Finals before, and it still wasn’t enough.

  • [New York Times] Durant Leads Thunder Over Miami in Finals Opener (Wed, 13 Jun 2012 03:58:38 GMT)
    Kevin Durant won round one of his highly anticipated match-up with LeBron James, scoring 36 points to lead the Oklahoma Thunder to a 105-94 victory over the Miami Heat on Tuesday in the opening game of the NBA Finals.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Finals: Thunder 105, Heat 94: N.B.A. Finals — Durant Powers Thunder Past LeBron’s Heat (Wed, 13 Jun 2012 04:11:48 GMT)
    Kevin Durant scored 36 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied from a 13-point deficit to beat the Miami Heat 105-94 in Game 1 on Tuesday night.

  • [ESPN.com - New York Knicks] Knicks could use Ray Allen, but … (Wed, 13 Jun 2012 04:15:02 EDT)
    In addition to a veteran point guard and forward off the bench (ahem, Lamar Odom), the Knicks need to add one other thing in the offseason: a 3-point marksman in the backcourt.
    That’s because Iman Shumpert — who shot 37.9 percent from long range from March 26 until the end of the regular season — is out until possibly January and the Knicks are coming off a season in which they shot 33.6 percent from beyond the arc (near the bottom of the league).

  • [New York Post] Lin arbitration showdown set (Wed, 13 Jun 2012 02:46:10 -0500)
    Jeffrey Kessler, one of the union’s bulldog negotiators during the lockout, has been added to the team to fight for Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak’s Bird rights in today’s arbitration showdown with NBA lawyers, according to a source.
    The Players Association is trying to restore Lin’s…

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks likely to keep Lin and lose case (Wed, 13 Jun 2012 06:46:14 GMT)
    Commissioner David Stern expects Jeremy Lin to lose his arbitration case against the league on Wednesday, which would mean that the Knicks would not be able to increase their cap flexibility and add another player to their roster via free agency.

  • 72 comments on “Knicks Morning News (Wednesday, Jun 13 2012)

    1. thenamestsam

      Truly great game last night. Not only played at a very high level but with numerous interesting subplots.

      1. Story of the game has to start with Wade. He was just brutal in this one. They might have been better off with Norris Cole out there. In the first half we saw that the Heat can get good looks when they move the ball. In the 2nd half Wade was the primary ball-handler and he absolutely murdered the ball movement. He spent the first 12+ seconds of every possession probing the lane and trying to get people to bite on his pump fake, and when no one did because he can’t shoot he’d have to throw it back up top and the Heat would scramble to try to get a good look. His decision making was just abysmal. They ran the Lebron pick for Wade on probably 1/2 their 2nd half posessions, and Wade hogged the ball the entire time. James was actually quite agressive, he just didn’t see enough of the ball. Why Spo persevered with using Wade as the primary handler is a total mystery to me.

      2. Miami’s decision to switch everything in the 2nd half was also very questionable. Similar to what we saw with the Knicks under Dantoni it makes your defense very flat and passive. Thunder offense in the 4th quarter was far too simple. Run Durant off a pick to get a switch to a favorable matchup, let Durant score.

      3. Spo has to play more guys. Only 6 guys played more than 10 minutes, and then 10 for Miller and 2 for Anthony and that’s it. At the speed that game was being played at against a team that athletically gifted it just won’t work. He has to find at least one more guy at least to take some minutes.

      4. The Heat will regret missing that chance to steal one in OKC. The biggest reason I picked the Thunder in what I think is a very even series talent-wise is their insane home court advantage, and that showed up in a big way last night. It was CRAZY in there even when the Thunder were down 10+. Now the Heat probably need to win 2 out of 3 possible remaining games there…

    2. Kevin McElroy

      Most interesting thing to me so far: Everyone picking OKC is saying that “Everyone else has Miami;” Everyone picking Miami is saying “Everyone else has OKC.”

    3. thenamestsam

      Kevin McElroy:
      Most interesting thing to me so far: Everyone picking OKC is saying that “Everyone else has Miami;” Everyone picking Miami is saying “Everyone else has OKC.”

      Haha, I noticed that too. Definitely some kind of cognitive bias. To throw my hat in the ring I picked OKC and it seems like experts are pretty evenly split on their picks with the public leaning OKC.

    4. johnlocke

      Depends on how you define everyone…but I remember a map of the US, showing the only state picking the Heat was Florida in a poll of over 500K people, so at least from the “non-experts’” perspective…OKC is the clear favorite..and/or everyone outside of Florida hates the Heat.

      thenamestsam: Haha, I noticed that too. Definitely some kind of cognitive bias. To throw my hat in the ring I picked OKC and it seems like experts are pretty evenly split on their picks with the public leaning OKC.

    5. JK47

      In the regular season OKC ranked dead last in the NBA in offensive turnover percentage, yet still ranked #2 in offensive rating. In the postseason they’ve dramatically cut down on turnovers, and I believe they only turned the ball over 4 times in the second half last night. If they keep protecting the ball like that they’re just a ridiculous offensive team.

    6. thenamestsam

      johnlocke:
      Depends on how you define everyone…but I remember a map of the US, showing the only state picking the Heat was Florida in a poll of over 500K people, so at least from the “non-experts’” perspective…OKC is the clear favorite..and/or everyone outside of Florida hates the Heat.

      You’re probably right. By public I really meant educated but non-expert basketball viewing public like the people who post on these and similar forums. The great unwashed masses are definitely rooting almost exclusively for Lebron to fail.

    7. JK47

      There are definitely some adjustments the Heat can make.

      The most obvious one is to trap Westbrook more aggressively. Switching on pick and rolls failed miserably in game 1 and you have to figure they will abandon that strategy now. They also need to give up on the idea that Shane Battier can guard Durant. He can’t.

      That said, the Heat are unlikely to get 29 points on 16 FGA from Battier and Chalmers again and they’re unlikely to hold Harden to a .417 TS%.

    8. Kevin McElroy

      Some folks who were on the Thunder from the start are really puffing out there chests and saying they’ll win in 4 or 5 now. I don’t know what people saw last night to suggest that these teams aren’t pretty damn even. We got one spectacular quarter from Miami, a sloppy but fun second period where both teams were some good some bad, and an awesome 2nd half from OKC. Ultimately OKC won but a healthy but not dramatic margin in front of their home crowd. If last night’s game was in Miami, there’s a decent chance the Heat would have held on. If Wade was even a C-plus instead of a D-minus, or if he had realized he was a D-minus earlier and deferred, or if Bosh hadn’t decided that one hot quarter from deep meant that he was the new Sam Perkins, Miami might have even pulled it out in OKC. Spo has tons of adjustments to make, but that’s better news than if there were zero obviously available adjustments and they still lost. Still feels like a long series.

    9. johnlocke

      I think how they got the lead and how they ultimately were beaten is what is worrisome for OKC. OKC didn’t really play lights out. Their third best player – Harden – had his worst game of the playoffs (perhaps the season). They shot 42% from three, Westbrooke jacked up 24 shots, making 10, Lebron had had 30, 9 rebs, 4 assts and 4 steals and they still lost by double digits. Battier also had 17 pts on like 70% shooting. Heat’s adjustments are all on the defensive end, they need to figure out a way to slow these guys down. Don’t have OKC in 4, but think I’m revising from OKC in 7, to OKC in 6.

      Kevin McElroy:
      The biggest thing for Miami to worry about is that they just got beat in a game where James Harden scored 5 points.That ain’t happening again.

    10. Frank

      Kevin McElroy:
      The biggest thing for Miami to worry about is that they just got beat in a game where James Harden scored 5 points.That ain’t happening again.

      And Shane Battier turned into Ray Allen. That ain’t happening again either.

      What would worry me most if I were a Miami fan is that they seem to need superhuman efforts from LBJ AND Wade to win, and that OKC is younger and faster than they are. I remember one play from last night when Durant had a breakaway dunk with LBJ trailing — you can see from Lebron’s body language at the start of that break that he was expecting to go for a chasedown block — but he couldn’t make up any ground at all on Durant even though KD was dribbling, and so LBJ basically just watched him dunk it.

      Miami’s offense is so dependent on transition and out-athleting the other team — but this is the only team that probably has better athletes than Miami does. On top of that — and the media has noticed this too – I think LBJ and Wade are exhausted, and Wade is probably injured too. The longer this series goes, the more that will come into play. LBJ has already played 809 minutes in 19 games this postseason, or an average of 42.6 high-stress max-effort min/game. By comparison, KD has only played 670 minutes, and has had 4 more off-days during the postseason than Lebron has had.

      If Miami is going to win this series, Bosh needs to step up big. He was basically an overpaid Kyle Korver yesterday – taking 20 foot jumpers, 3pointers, and generally not getting involved with anything near the rim.

    11. thenamestsam

      johnlocke:
      I think how they got the lead and how they ultimately were beaten is what is worrisome for OKC. OKC didn’t really play lights out. Their third best player – Harden – had his worst game of the playoffs (perhaps the season). They shot 42% from three, Westbrooke jacked up 24 shots, making 10, Lebron had had 30, 9 rebs, 4 assts and 4 steals and they still lost by double digits. Battier also had 17 pts on like 70% shooting.Heat’s adjustments are all on the defensive end, they need to figure out a way to slow these guys down. Don’t have OKC in 4, but think I’m revising from OKC in 7, to OKC in 6.

      I mean unless your prior assessment was that there was a 100% chance OKC would win game 1 it’s perfectly rational to revise your view of the series in OKC’s favor, even if your perception of how good the teams are hasn’t shifted at all. They have a game in the bank now that they didn’t before.

      The only thing I disagree with is the idea that the Heat’s adjustments are all defensive. There are some obvious offensive adjustments to make also in my opinion. First is to get Bosh some looks inside – esspecially off of pick and roll. They went almost exclusively Wade and Lebron PnR in this game and it made Bosh into mostly a spectator on the offensive end. For how awful Wade was they also need a lot more offense from Bosh to compensate for the inevitable dip from Battier. The other big one is that Lebron needs to be the primary ball-handler more. He is much more decisive with the ball than Wade and either gives it up or attacks much earlier in the clock. Part of the reason they didn’t do it in my opinion was because of their desire to run Wade-Lebron PnR, so the two adjustments are really linked. Give the ball to Lebron and let him run more PnR with Bosh.

    12. thenamestsam

      Kevin McElroy:
      The biggest thing for Miami to worry about is that they just got beat in a game where James Harden scored 5 points.That ain’t happening again.

      True but I think it’s pretty obvious from the first game that Brooks doesn’t love this matchup for Harden and I don’t expect him to have quite his usual impact on this series. The main reason is that Sefolosha’s defense is critical on Lebron and Wade so he’s going to cut significantly into Harden’s PT as we saw in the 4Q yesterday.

    13. JK47

      There is definitely some truth to the notion that Miami is starting to tire, Wade in particular. Wade was terrific in games 1 and 2 against Boston but has been looking pretty bad since then:

      TS% vs Boston
      Game 3: .450
      Game 4: .413
      Game 5: .529
      Game 6: .443
      Game 7: .560

      TS% vs OKC
      Game 1: .448

      That’s one good offensive performance in his last 6 games, in which the Heat are 2-4. I mean those TS% numbers look like something from Iman Shumpert’s stat sheet.

    14. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      Off-topic, but we have some literary types on here:

      Anyone have thoughts on Hoop Dreams, the 1994 documentary?

    15. johnlocke

      Heat can make a few adjustments on offense also don’t disagree..but my position is that if they allow OKC to score 100 points, it’s moot. The Heat offense against OKC offense will lose. They MAY have an advantage on the defensive end and that’s where it starts for them. The Heat have to have all 3 of the Big 3 clicking to win (Wade-30+, Lebron 30+, Bosh 20+), and they will, just don’t think that happens more than 2 (maybe 3) times. OKC’s offense is pretty scary right now.

      thenamestsam: I mean unless your prior assessment was that there was a 100% chance OKC would win game 1 it’s perfectly rational to revise your view of the series in OKC’s favor, even if your perception of how good the teams are hasn’t shifted at all. They have a game in the bank now that they didn’t before.

      The only thing I disagree with is the idea that the Heat’s adjustments are all defensive. There are some obvious offensive adjustments to make also in my opinion. First is to get Bosh some looks inside – esspecially off of pick and roll. They went almost exclusively Wade and Lebron PnR in this game and it made Bosh into mostly a spectator on the offensive end. For how awful Wade was they also need a lot more offense from Bosh to compensate for the inevitable dip from Battier. The other big one is that Lebron needs to be the primary ball-handler more. He is much more decisive with the ball than Wade and either gives it up or attacks much earlier in the clock. Part of the reason they didn’t do it in my opinion was because of their desire to run Wade-Lebron PnR, so the two adjustments are really linked. Give the ball to Lebron and let him run more PnR with Bosh.

    16. thenamestsam

      johnlocke:
      Heat can make a few adjustments on offense also don’t disagree..but my position is that if they allow OKC to score 100 points, it’s moot. The Heat offense against OKC offense will lose. They MAY have an advantage on the defensive end and that’s where it starts for them. The Heat have to have all 3 of the Big 3 clicking to win (Wade-30+, Lebron 30+, Bosh 20+), and they will, just don’t think that happens more than 2 (maybe 3) times. OKC’s offense is pretty scary right now.

      That’s fair. If there defense isn’t better than it was last night they won’t win. That’s why I was surprised we only saw a couple minutes of Joel Anthony last night. Yes, he’s a complete zero on offense, but he’s their best defensive big and specifically is a really excellent PnR defender, and besides it’s not like UD is really giving them anything on offense.

    17. yellowboy90

      I think another thing to key on is Lebron jump shot has been drained after his game 6 performance. I think he is like 3 of 24 or 6 of 24? something like that. His shot is streaky but it needs to come back for the Heat to do better.

    18. johnlocke

      Agreed. Heat need to make it a more physical series, and Anthony would help. Another problem is that OKC is the best FT shooting team in the league (and another bad sign for the Heat…they actually shot FTs at a better clip than OKC last game and still managed to lose)

      thenamestsam: That’s fair. If there defense isn’t better than it was last night they won’t win. That’s why I was surprised we only saw a couple minutes of Joel Anthony last night. Yes, he’s a complete zero on offense, but he’s their best defensive big and specifically is a really excellent PnR defender, and besides it’s not like UD is really giving them anything on offense.

    19. Kevin McElroy

      johnlocke:
      The Heat offense against OKC offense will lose.

      Problem is that “Heat offense vs. OKC offense” is not a thing. Heat offense plays against OKC defense and vice versa. Which means that on most nights OKC’s offense just has a harder job than Miami’s, plain and simple. LeBron/Wade/Bosh were 22/54 last night (41%). Their combined TS% was 48.3% (compare that to 55% for Bosh and Wade in the regular season and 60% for LeBron). Durant/Westbrook/Harden were 24/50 (48%) with a TS% of 58.6% (stunningly, this is actually slightly below average for them because of Harden’s beastly 66% TS% and Durant’s only slightly less beastly 61%). So basically the Thunder’s big guys slightly underperformed as a whole against a great defense and the Heat’s big guys massively underperformed against a good but not great defense. If both those numbers came in at expectation you’d be left with a close win by OKC at home. Which is not to say there was nothing good OKC did to guarantee that they outplayed Miami last night. But it’s also possible that Miami’s most important players just ran colder than OKC’s and that a swing in that single element (which could happen if the Heat say screw it and let LBJ guard Durant all game) would be more than enough to let Miami steal a game in OKC.

      So to sum up: Long series.

    20. johnlocke

      He had 30 points at just under 50% shooting, if Lebron has to score 45 for them to win, he may have well stayed in Cleveland. They are daring him and Wade to shoot though, but it’s Wade that needs to do a better job of shooting more of his banker from the sides, and less shooting from the middle of the floor. Take a look at his shot chart outside the lane… atrocious.

      yellowboy90:
      I think another thing to key on is Lebron jump shot has been drained after his game 6 performance. I think he is like 3 of 24 or 6 of 24? something like that. His shot is streaky but it needs to come back for the Heat to do better.

    21. Kevin McElroy

      And yes I know Battier and Chalmers ran hot on threes. Miami also forced only 10 turnovers which I will predict right now is the lowest total for OKC in any game this series. Also Nick Collison had 5 offensive rebounds in 21 minutes. You can’t look at Heat anomalies and say “they’re screwed when that regresses” while at the same time looking at Thunder anomalies and saying “Welp, I guess the Thunder have solved their turnover problems and Nick Collison is going to dominate the paint all series!”

      Long series.

    22. Kevin McElroy

      johnlocke:
      He had 30 points at just under 50% shooting, if Lebron has to score 45 for them to win, he may have well stayed in Cleveland. They are daring him and Wade to shoot though, but it’s Wade that needs to do a better job of shooting more of his banker from the sides, and less shooting from the middle of the floor. Take a look at his shot chart outside the lane… atrocious.

      I don’t totally disagree with this and I do think LeBron seemed genuinely tired in the 4th quarter last night and that it is probably affecting his jumper somewhat. But if you think LeBron has to score 45 for them to win that means that you believe that the versions of Bosh and Wade that we saw last night are what we’re gonna get all series. And if they are, yeah, game over.

    23. Kevin McElroy

      Also, if Miami leaves Durant the kind of space he had in the 2nd half last night? Game over. But seriously how many times do we need to be proven wrong before we stop burying teams that lose game 1?

    24. johnlocke

      I had OKC in 7, now I have OKC in 6. I’m not burying the Heat — thought OKC was a better team and based on what I saw last night and the entire playoffs – I’m pretty convinced that 1) Wade is not going to average anywhere near 30 pts per game this series b/c 2) OKC has the right mix of defensive bigs (Perkins + Colllins + Ibaka) and wing defenders (Durant, Thabo and Westbrooke) to limit Lebron and Wade’s paint forays, 3) Wade has been a bad shooter this entire playoffs and the way the Thunder are playing defense will only force him to do more of what he’s bad at and finally 4) I’m not convinced that Lebron or anyone else on the Heat can effectively guard Durant unless they double – which the Heat hate to do.

      Kevin McElroy:
      Also, if Miami leaves Durant the kind of space he had in the 2nd half last night?Game over.But seriously how many times do we need to be proven wrong before we stop burying teams that lose game 1?

    25. JK47

      Wade now has a .525 TS% in the playoffs, and that number is trending downwards. Mediocre .525 TS% with USG% over 30– that sure looks a lot like the regular season we just got out of Carmelo Anthony.

    26. Kevin McElroy

      johnlocke:
      I had OKC in 7, now I have OKC in 6. I’m not burying the Heat — thought OKC was a better team and based on what I saw last night and the entire playoffs – I’m pretty convinced that 1) Wade is not going to average anywhere near 30 pts per game this series b/c 2) OKC has the right mix of defensive bigs (Perkins + Colllins + Ibaka) and wing defenders (Durant, Thabo and Westbrooke) to limit Lebron and Wade’s paint forays, 3) Wade has been a bad shooter this entire playoffs and the way the Thunder are playing defense will only force him to do more of what he’s bad at and finally 4) I’m not convinced that Lebron or anyone else on the Heat can effectively guard Durant unless they double – which the Heat hate to do.

      Yeah I didn’t mean you johnlocke I think you’ve mostly made good points. And I wrote yesterday in my non-preview preview:

      “I don’t have anything on that level, but I generally see a close series that will ultimately be decided by each team’s ability to protect the rim while playing their small lineups, each coach’s ability to cut off dominant stretches with on-the-fly adjustments, and, perhaps most of all, LeBron’s ability to carry the Heat on offense while also chasing around Durant, who is probably the most exhausting forward in the league to guard. more the Thunder can force the Heat to cross-match, the more they neutralize the biggest reason that LeBron is a better basketball player than Durant.”

      By my count, Collison solved the “play small and protect rim” issue much better than Haslem or Bosh, Brooks kicked Spo’s butt in terms of adjustments, and LBJ seemed to tire late and had to be taken off of Durant. If those things continue to hold true, the Thunder will obviously win.

    27. Kevin McElroy

      Like late in that game Miami was using LeBron to guard Perkins which is basically the same as not having him in the game on defense. And this is the best wing defender in the league. If you force them to put LeBron one anyone other than Durant or Westbrook you have taken a massive bite out of his value, he is no longer any more impactful than Durant, and the rest of the Thunder are much better than the rest of the Heat.

    28. Eternal OptiKnist

      I think its a bit premature to start dooming the heat. We crowned the Spurs after two games and they went off and rattled off 4 straight. I love not having a horse in the race…just going to be a great series to watch!

    29. Kevin McElroy

      OptiKnist-

      Just in case that was directed at me, I want to be clear that I am sticking with my Heat prediction. Just recognizing some things from game 1 that they absolutely must fix.

    30. Eternal OptiKnist

      I hope we get some tweets on how the arbitration went today before the official ruling comes down. I knew OKC/Miami would be the hot topic, but today has HUGE ramifications for our team’s near future; surprised there wasn’t one blip on it. Has anyone heard anything?

    31. Eternal OptiKnist

      Kevin McElroy: OptiKnist-Just in case that was directed at me, I want to be clear that I am sticking with my Heat prediction. Just recognizing some things from game 1 that they absolutely must fix.

      No no…not directed at anyone in particular. You can just hear it wherever you go…beyond this board.

    32. formido

      People *always* say stuff like this. Every single game people cherry pick a bunch of characteristics about the previous game and say, wow, the losing team oughta be awfully worried. For example, Durant, Westbrook and Harden all had monster games in game 2 in San Antonio, but still lost. We can see how that turned out.

      johnlocke: I think how they got the lead and how they ultimately were beaten is what is worrisome for OKC.

    33. thenamestsam

      Kevin,
      I agree wholeheartedly with this. Kelly Dwyer noted in the article linked below that there was an element of tinkering to what Spo did, almost like he was experimenting with his eye on future games, and not unleashing Lebron fully on D seemed like part of that to me.

      It makes sense to have Lebron on Kendrick at times because he really will need the rest and because the cross matching should give him good opportunities to get easy buckets in transition, but in the 4th quarter when Durant is going bonkers Spo has to let Lebron try to guard him. Someone from ESPN tweeted an amazing stat that Durant was 0-2 and scored 2 points when Lebron was guarding him, which obviously means he had insane numbers the rest of the time. The lack of shot attempts coincides with what I was seeing which was that Lebron was doing a very good job denying his catches and forcing him off his spot when guarding him, in contrast to Wade and Battier, both of whom are smaller and were mostly looking to contest shots after the catch. Not an effective strategy against Durant.

      If Lebron does guard Durant though it’s going to necessitate giving him a bit more rest, either by continuing to run the O through Wade (which they experimented with and was basically an unmitigated disaster) or sitting him more, but Spo clearly only trusts about 4 guys right now. Definitely a conundrum.

      http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/behind-box-score-where-oklahoma-city-struck-first-134754652–nba.html

    34. johnlocke

      Hearing happening/happened today, but ruling won’t happen today…probably take a couple days to make the decision I think

      Eternal OptiKnist:
      I hope we get some tweets on how the arbitration went today before the official ruling comes down.I knew OKC/Miami would be the hot topic, but today has HUGE ramifications for our team’s near future; surprised there wasn’t one blip on it.Has anyone heard anything?

    35. johnlocke

      If you read the rest of my post I didn’t say that. I had OKC winning before game 1, and I have them winning after game 1, just in 6, not 7 games. I could care less how ‘worried’ the Heat are.

      formido:
      People *always* say stuff like this. Every single game people cherry pick a bunch of characteristics about the previous game and say, wow, the losing team oughta be awfully worried. For example, Durant, Westbrook and Harden all had monster games in game 2 in San Antonio, but still lost. We can see how that turned out.

    36. johnlocke

      Lebron is the best player in the league, but he’s not superman. So far folks seem to be saying he should: 1) be the initiator of the offense, not Wade 2) he should be guarding the best scorer and the most difficult to guard player in the NBA 3) and making up for the shortcomings of Wade’s inability to hit outside jump shots by scoring 40, while 4) never coming out of the game.
      This is a simplification but: Durant’s help > Lebron’s help…so Lebron is going to have to severely outplay Durant for the Heat to stand a chance — don’t see that happening four times.

      thenamestsam:
      If Lebron does guard Durant though it’s going to necessitate giving him a bit more rest, either by continuing to run the O through Wade (which they experimented with and was basically an unmitigated disaster) or sitting him more, but Spo clearly only trusts about 4 guys right now. Definitely a conundrum.

      http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/behind-box-score-where-oklahoma-city-struck-first-134754652–nba.html

    37. max fisher-cohen

      1) Wade is hurt. For the last 2 weeks of the playoffs, he’s had maybe 3 good games.

      2) Bosh has difficulty against mobile big guys who are quicker than him. That’s Ibaka in a nutshell — Bosh’s FG% v. Ibaka is -4% compared to career numbers.

      3) OKC has played out of their minds now for 5 straight games while Miami would have lost to an injury-riddled Boston team in game six if Boston had just made layups and a higher % of 3s (and that’s with Lebron having a monster game.)

      5) Westbrook proved last night that he can slow Wade. Lebron is unstoppable, but Sefolosha and Durant forced him into a not-so-spectacular performance.

      Westbrook is and will always be the most important player on the Thunder due to the fact that when he hogs the ball and is not on fire, they are beatable, but when he moves the ball and puts extra energy into defense, OKC is just unstoppable.

      These two teams are really similar in that they’re perimeter oriented teams that rely heavily on 3 scorers. The difference is OKC is more athletic, deeper, and more balanced due to the fact that 2 of their 3 stars are capable of dominating from the perimeter.

      I would say OKC in 5, but I think 6 only because they’re young and tend to lose focus when they get too comfortable/confident (thus all the late game comebacks).

    38. Kevin McElroy

      I asked him this on twitter and am not disagreeing with him just legitimately curious: do we really think they made a top-down decision to alter philosophy or that their guys just got caught making bad switches in the moment?

    39. thenamestsam

      Kevin McElroy:
      I asked him this on twitter and am not disagreeing with him just legitimately curious: do we really think they made a top-down decision to alter philosophy or that their guys just got caught making bad switches in the moment?

      I’d have to rewatch to be sure, but it certainly seemed to me like there was basically a clean break where they went from trapping almost everything to switching almost everything. Given that it came so close after half time I assumed it really was a directive from Spo.

      As an aside, this is EXACTLY the kind of thing that beat writers could actually be useful for. but instead we get 20 different guys trying to find 20 different ways to ask Wade if he’s feeling okay athletically when all 20 could write the quote without talking to him and come within one or two words. If just one of them was knowledgeable enough to ask Spo tough questions about his strategy in yesterdays game we might actually get some interesting stuff. Beat writer is definitely near the top of the list of jobs I think I could do a better job of than the actual professionals.

    40. ephus

      Pruiti’s columns are the opposite of the Billy Madison quote. I found it interesting that OKC did not extensively run the pin-down for Durant — just one time that I noticed, and even then OKC used Harden (rather than Westbrook) to set the screen.

      People above have been commenting on LeBron and Wade wearing down from overuse, but I think that an equally big problem is Battier not being up to playing 42 minutes per game. If the Heat go deeper into their bench over the next games, I expect to see Battier move down to around 32 minutes per game. If you assume that the Heat want to move Wade down to 42 minutes, that is 16 minutes of addtional bench time. I will be interested to see if that time goes to Joel Anthony (who provides no offense) or Norris Cole (who does not have the size to match up well against Westbrook).

    41. Kevin McElroy

      ephus: I think that an equally big problem is Battier not being up to playing 42 minutes per game.

      I think the bigger problem is that their depth is so poor that they would even WANT Battier to play 42 minutes per game.

    42. ephus

      Kevin McElroy: I think the bigger problem is that their depth is so poor that they would even WANT Battier to play 42 minutes per game

      Well, of course I agree with that, but as seven months of discussions about Melo/Stat/Chandler have shown, there is nothing that can be done about roster construction at this point of the season. I am interested to see what solution Spoelstra picks to alleviate the problem of Battier overuse. It was clear to me that Battier was not nearly as effective in the second half as the first.

      Providing more context for the Pruti column, Zach Lowe does a really good job of describing what Ibaka did in the first half that caused the Heat to abandon the trap on the PnR and instead switch on everything.

      http://nba-point-forward.si.com/2012/06/13/heat-thunder-nba-finals/?sct=nba_t11_a0

      Three additional adjustments that I expect the Heat to make in Game 2:

      1. No rotations off of Durant.
      2. Better floor balance to prevent OKC from scoring in transition. JVG called out Mario Chalmers for not getting back on D when jump shots were launched.
      3. Run Durant into some hard screens early in the game to sap his energy on offense in the 4th quarter.

    43. Kevin McElroy

      I could see Game 2 being unrecognizable from Game 1 given all of the fairly straightforward adjustments the Heat are likely to make, and the counter-adjustments that the Thunder’s staff should be thinking about in the lead-up.

    44. johnlocke

      Off-topic, but — courtesy of Howard Beck:

      “The Jeremy Lin/Steve Novak/Bird rights arbitration hearing was held today in NYC. Lasted 3 1/2 hrs. Decision due by July 1.”

    45. ephus

      I take a glimmer (like 1 in a thousand) of hope from the fact that the hearing lasted that long. The NBA’s position is that the plain language of the CBA precludes granting Early Bird rights to a player who was obtained through waiver, because Early Bird rights only apply to a player who was with his team for two years, or was obtained as a “traded player”. The only reason to have a hearing that long would be to obtain evidence going beyond the plain language of the CBA.

    46. alsep73

      From Hahn: “Bird Rights arbitration took 3.5 hours. No decision made today. Steve Novak was present, but did not give testimony. More to come in Fix.”

      As with so many things about this team, I try not to get my hopes up, and yet I can’t resist fantasizing about what-if. Winning this hearing would be huge in terms of future depth, especially since we don’t have a first round pick in a deep draft, and also (because of the Turiaf trade, I believe) lack the ability to buy one. If we can keep Lina and Novak while leaving the mid-level and the mini-midlevel untouched? Then Grunwald can get some business done.

      And my fantasizing means that of course the arbitrator will rule in favor of the NBA.

    47. ephus

      alsep73: If we can keep Lina and Novak while leaving the mid-level and the mini-midlevel untouched? Then Grunwald can get some business done

      If the NBPA wins the arbitration, then the Knicks would not need to use the MLE for Lin or Novak. But the only way the Knicks would have the full MLE is if they did not go over $69 million. That would put real pressure on the Knicks ability to resign Fields and/or JR Smith – plus probably limit the Novak contract to $3 MM/year (same as the mini-MLE).

    48. thenamestsam

      As a Knicks fan I hope they rule in our favor, but it’s pretty clear based on the language of the CBA and from what I’ve read that neither party intended for it to be interpreted the way the Knicks are trying to use it. I’d be pretty shocked if it goes our way.

    49. ephus

      thenamestsam:
      As a Knicks fan I hope they rule in our favor, but it’s pretty clear based on the language of the CBA and from what I’ve read that neither party intended for it to be interpreted the way the Knicks are trying to use it. I’d be pretty shocked if it goes our way.

      Agreed. I don’t think that ascribing a .1% chance of success is unduly optimistic, but I am vigorously hoping that the Knicks win this one.

    50. johnlocke

      Right, it becomes a ‘spirit of the law’ debate… “there is really no true distinction between being traded and being waived by a team than being picked up by another (from the player’s perspective). The player is being penalized for being waived versus being traded and there is no compelling reason as to why that is the case” I believe the NBA’s position is that Bird rights are not an ‘intrinsic right’ but something that is earned through x, y and z and the intended purpose was to help teams keep veterans, etc. Having said all that think the language is pretty cut and dried and even if you go to the ‘spirit of the law’ argument, I think the NBA could say Bird rights are a ‘privilege’ not a right and therefore we’re all good..etc. This is my understanding of how the legal debate would go based on a cursory reading of the Bird rights language. Ephus or other contract gurus please correct me if/where I’m wrong

      thenamestsam:
      As a Knicks fan I hope they rule in our favor, but it’s pretty clear based on the language of the CBA and from what I’ve read that neither party intended for it to be interpreted the way the Knicks are trying to use it. I’d be pretty shocked if it goes our way.

    51. ephus

      The reason I am pessimistic is that Bird Rights (including Early Bird Rights) are written as an exception to a general rule — here the salary cap of $58 million. Under the CBA, a team cannot sign a player to a contract that would bring total payroll over $58 million, unless the player falls within a specific exception to the salary cap. The exceptions are narrowly defined and if the player does not satisfy all the requirements for the exception, the exception cannot be used. The ambiguity (such as it is) here is that the definition of Early Bird rights requires that the player either have played for his current team for at least part of two seasons (definitely does not apply) or was acquired “by means of a trade.” The CBA does not define “trade” — but it does define “traded player”.

      “Traded player” is defined by the CBA as “a player who is assigned from one team to another by means other than the NBA waiver procedure.” The NBPA argument is that a player who was acquired before he clears waivers should be deemed to have been acquired ‘by means of a trade” because the player had no freedom to bargain his next team — but rather was required to go to the team that claimed him on waivers in the same way that a player who is traded must report to his new team. It would seem bizarre to interpret the CBA to mean that a “player acquired by means of a trade” includes players who explicitly fall outside of the definition of a “traded player.”

    52. johnlocke

      Excellent summary…which is why I think the NBPA is not making a legal contract definition based argument (cut and dried) but rather a players rights/protection argument which would be outside the bounds of the NBAs definition of a ‘traded player’. That’s the spirit of the law point…’why are we rewarding players who are traded vs waived?’ ‘aren’t you punishing waived players who play well by almost forcing them to have to uproot again and leave the team in which they found success’? They are most likely debating that the traded player notion is not only random but also hurts the kind of players you would want to protect…discarded assets that have breakout performances’ and perhaps even so far as ‘teams may hesitate to claim players off waivers in the future’ something like that

      ephus:
      The reason I am pessimistic is that Bird Rights (including Early Bird Rights) are written as an exception to a general rule — here the salary cap of $58 million.Under the CBA, a team cannot sign a player to a contract that would bring total payroll over $58 million, unless the player falls within a specific exception to the salary cap.

      “Traded player” is defined by the CBA as“a player who is assigned from one team to another by means other than the NBA waiver procedure.”The NBPA argument is that a player who was acquired before he clears waivers should be deemed to have been acquired ‘by means of a trade” because the player had no freedom to bargain his next team — but rather was required to go to the team that claimed him on waivers in the same way that a player who is traded must report to his new team.It would seem bizarre to interpret the CBA to mean that a “player acquired by means of a trade” includes players who explicitly fall outside of the definition of a “traded player.”

    53. ruruland

      johnlocke:
      Excellent summary…which is why I think the NBPA is not making a legal contract definition based argument (cut and dried) but rather a players rights/protection argument which would be outside the bounds of the NBAs definition of a ‘traded player’. That’s the spirit of the law point…’why are we rewarding players who are traded vs waived?’‘aren’t you punishing waived players who play well by almost forcing them to have to uproot again and leave the team in which they found success’? They are most likely debating that the traded player notion is not only random but also hurts the kind of players you would want to protect…discarded assets that have breakout performances’ and perhaps even so far as ‘teams may hesitate to claim players off waivers in the future’ something like that

      Great post.

    54. ephus

      All of the arguments from “fairness” are likely to have no effect here. The question is whether a player fits within a limited exception to a rule. In order to prevail, the NBPA must convince the arbitrator that Lin & Novak went to the Knicks “by means of a trade.” If they do not fall within that definition, no matter the policy reasons why you might want them them to reap the reward of their success with their new team, they will not be contractually entitled to the Early Veterans’ Exception (Early Bird Rights).

      The arbitrator must enforce the CBA as it was written, and does not have the power to reform it for the sake of fairness.

    55. johnlocke

      Well then I guess Stern is right….cut and dried

      ephus:
      All of the arguments from “fairness” are likely to have no effect here.The question is whether a player fits within a limited exception to a rule.In order to prevail, the NBPA must convince the arbitrator that Lin & Novak went to the Knicks “by means of a trade.”If they do not fall within that definition, no matter the policy reasons why you might want them them to reap the reward of their success with their new team, they will not be contractually entitled to the Early Veterans’ Exception (Early Bird Rights).

      The arbitrator must enforce the CBA as it was written, and does not have the power to reform it for the sake of fairness.

    56. ephus

      The small room for hope is that the arbitrator will accept that being claimed off of waivers falls within the meaning of being obtained by a team “by means of a trade.” Since “by means of a trade” and “trade” are not defined, there is a tiny amount of ambiguity. But I think it is a .1% chance because “traded player” explicitly excludes players acquired by means of the waiver procedures.

    57. johnlocke

      That would require some logical dissonance that I don’t see based on what you posted above….what accounts for the .1% besides the ‘anything can happen’ principle

      ephus:
      The small room for hope is that the arbitrator will accept that being claimed off of waivers falls within the meaning of being obtained by a team “by means of a trade.”Since “by means of a trade” and “trade” are not defined, there is a tiny amount of ambiguity.But I think it is a .1% chance because “traded player” explicitly excludes players acquired by means of the waiver procedures.

    58. ephus

      The .1% chance accounts for the possibility that the NBPA might have some evidence that the term “by means other than the NBA waiver procedure” only was applied to players who cleared waivers, as opposed to those who were claimed off of waivers. There is also an element of “anything can happen.”

      I would love to see the briefs that the two sides submitted to the arbitrators. Maybe the NBPA came up with something creative.

    59. Brian Cronin

      By the way, as an aside, how in the heck did the terms “trade” and “waiver procedure” not get defined in the CBA? That’s just plain ol’ sloppy. I mean, I am happy that they didn’t, since that’s the Union’s only chance (and as I’ve always noted, I think Kessler is a brilliant lawyer, so I’m sure he put up a hell of a case) but man, how do you not define such important terms?

    60. JC Knickfan

      Hindsight is 20/20. It’s easy miss something that’s never occurred before. Has there been any instances Linsanity and Novakcaine before? It’s pretty crazy that both waived player pickup by one team.

    61. Frank

      Brian Cronin:
      I dunno, when you refer to terms in your contract, you really have to define them.

      Espsecially with the new amnesty clause, there will be more players subjected to waivers that would never have been subjected to them before. I know there were bigger issues on the table during the CBA talks, but that is something a lawyer of Kessler’s supposed quality should catch, right? What makes a great lawyer (or great anything for that matter) is not just arguing the big picture, but also maniacal attention to detail.

      I actually think this is a big deal for players. The threat of early bird rights might make another team bid more for your services than the MLE or mini-MLE (not applicable in Lin’s case because of the Arenas rule, but definitely applies for guys like Novak, Billups, and Hickson).

    62. ephus

      First, all of the text from the CBA quoted above comes from the 2005 CBA, because the text of the 2011 CBA has not been made public. So, to Frank’s point (@68), this is something that could have been explicitly addressed in the 2011 CBA. I have not seen any hint anywhere that the relevant text changed in the 2011 CBA.

      Second, the definition of “traded player” really does take away virtually all of the good arguments that a player claimed off of waivers moved “by means of a trade.” Specifically, “traded player” is defined to mean a player “who is assigned from one team to another by means other than the NBA waiver procedure.” A player who clears waivers is NOT assigned from one team to another, but rather from being a free agent to a team. So, in order for the definition of “traded player” to make any sense, it must mean that players who are assigned from one team to another by means of a waiver claim fall outside of the definition of “traded player.” And if a player, like Lin and Novak, who moves by a waiver claim is not a “traded player”, it is virtually impossible to see how that player could simultaneously be on the Knicks “by means of a trade.”

    63. Frank

      ephus – you seem to be a lawyer or something like a lawyer at least so you’re stuck being the target of this question – do you have any idea what the precedent is in sports/contract law in these “spirit of the rule” vs. “letter of the rule” cases? Would be interesting to know.

    64. ephus

      The CBA itself (like most contracts) has what is called an “integration clause” providing that the CBA is the entire agreement and that it must be enforced according to its terms. It’s only when a situation arises that is not covered by the CBA or if two clauses of the CBA conflict that an arbitrator would be could rely upon the “spirit” of the agreement to reach a decision. Without having seen the arguments put forward by the NBPA, I assume that they argued that (1) because the CBA does not explicitly define “by means of a trade” there is an ambiguity that allows the arbitrator to conclude that a player who arrived by a waiver claim arrived “by means of a trade” and/or (2) there is a conflict in the terms of the CBA (probably the one that prevents the trade of a player who is about to have Bird Rights without his permission) that permits the arbitrator to resolve the conflict in favor of the players.

      There is also a general exception to enforcing the literal terms of an agreement if it would lead to absurd results that were clearly not intended by the parties. Hard to see that one here.

    65. JC Knickfan

      I agree the CBA written with just enough ambiguity otherwise we wouldn’t have arbitrator ruling on it.

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