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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday Night Basketball

I have to admit I’m getting very excited about the increasingly-more-likely scenario of Heat vs Mavs: The Sequel. (Dirk’s Revenge? Just a thought.)  Tonight the Thunder and the Grizzlies tip off at 5:00 ET, while the Heat and the Celtics start at 8:00 ET.

 

49 comments on “Saturday Night Basketball

  1. latke

    I think the bulls would beat the heat. I think boston would beat Chicago though. Chicago defense does better against teams that funnel their offense through fewer players. They were 3-0 vs. miami (all the games very close though), 2-2 vs Boston with one of those games coming late season when Boston stopped caring. I’m not sure why everyone is writing Boston off. Plenty of teams have come back from 0-2 deficits.

    I do think the Mavs have to be the favorite to go to finals now though. Dirk vs. Randolph would be fun though — neither of them can guard each other.

  2. Jafa

    I hope the heat go up 3-0 and crush the Celtics. I am thoroughly enjoying the demise of the smug Lakers. I vote for Miami vs. OKC in the finals, with Miami winning it. The last thing I want to see is the Bulls winning anything, and I don’t think I could stand the sight of Cuban reveling in a championship.

  3. John Kenney Post author

    People need to stop getting surprised when Ibaka knocks down 15 footers. His form is excellent. He regularly hits that shot. It’s funny how commentators always act like they’ve discovered a new toy.

  4. BigBlueAL

    Problem with the Heat winning it all is it could mean the 1st of God knows how many titles in a row for them. LeBron failing again to win it all this season would just add further pressure on him and that team that could make it harder and harder every year for them to win it all.

    Winning it all this season and all bets are off regarding how many titles they could win in the next few years.

  5. BigBlueAL

    Plus I live in Miami so I cant stand having to listen/watch all the bandwagon Heat “fans” celebrating another title.

  6. John Kenney Post author

    If Memphis were hitting their free throws this game would be pretty much over. Wow.

  7. outoftowner

    It would be really sad if Westbrook goes the way of Stephon Marbury. I hope he figures it out.

  8. d-mar

    The only teams I could stomach winning it all would be Memphis or OKC.

    Dallas – like Jafa said, I don’t need to see Cuban strutting around like he was one of the players
    Boston, Miami – very obvious reasons to root against
    Chicago -just feel like they don’t deserve anything with that unbelievably lucky lottery win.

  9. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I’d love to see Dallas win. I never want to hear the “Dirk was good, but” conversations. He’s one of the best players of this generation. And Cuban might be grating at times, but for a billionaire franchise owner, he seems pretty effing cool. Would you rather see some stuffy old white dude in a suit come out and shake hands with his paid servants for increasing revenue? At the very least, Cuban has a competitive spirit.

  10. BigBlueAL

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    I’d love to see Dallas win. I never want to hear the “Dirk was good, but” conversations. He’s one of the best players of this generation. And Cuban might be grating at times, but for a billionaire franchise owner, he seems pretty effing cool. Would you rather see some stuffy old white dude in a suit come out and shake hands with his paid servants for increasing revenue? At the very least, Cuban has a competitive spirit.

    I totally agree, will have no problem whatsoever with the Mavs winning it all. Actually to be honest of all the teams remaining I think I will root for them to win it all.

  11. endyendy

    I cannot even fathom rooting for the Heat to win anything unless it directly helped the Knicks.

    I’m fine with the Mavericks, and am actively rooting for them now, since I feel Dirk and Kidd both “deserve” rings, regardless of their owner (whom I have little problem with anyway; if he wants to trade with Dolan I’m cool with it).

  12. latke

    yes, I am definitely rooting for the Celtics. 95% this is their last chance to win it all; they’ll probably blow it up this summer, so they will be no competition for New York. Miami, on the other hand…

    I don’t like OKC just because I felt like they have developed some underserved ego. IMO, Denver outplayed them in most of those games. Durant just played out of his mind, making ridiculous shot after ridiculous shot. Tonight he definitely came back to earth a bit.

    That leaves me probably rooting for Memphis just because I worry the Bulls (the team I dislike more than any other) will get to the finals, and I think Memphis has the best chance against them.

  13. massive

    While we’re on the topic of ridiculous trades, I hear that Magic Johnson is advising the Lakers to rebuild. My question is do they trade Pau or Bynum? Pau’s better, but Bynum is a lot younger and is pretty good. Also, any chance we can get one of the two 7-footers away from Los Angeles? My guess is no, unless they think Billups/Bryant/Artest/Odom/Bynum (or Gasol) wins an NBA championship.

  14. latke

    hermis, all but the most loyal knick fans would do that, and talent for talent it would probably be the best deal Orlando could get. The thing is, if I’m the Magic, what the heck do I want a 29 year old with bad knees for? With no Howard, it’s rebuilding time, and my priorities go like this:

    1) Acquire draft picks/young developing players

    2) Get rid of bad contracts (Turkoglu, Arenas)

    That means that Orlando would probably prefer a package around Andrew Bynum, who will be only 24. I could see the Lakers offering Bynum, then maybe auctioning off Odom for the most appealing package of young players and sending them to Orlando as well.

    The Clippers themselves could also offer a pretty enticing package. I believe they own Minnesota’s 2012 pick. That along with Aminu, Deandre Jordan, and Kaman’s expiring would allow them to take Howard along with Turkoglu.

    If Dwight would go to OKC, they could offer a pretty awesome package of Ibaka and Westbrook.

    That said, I could see some multi-team deal with Amare headed to a more competitive franchise. Maybe we could call backsies on the Carmelo deal and send the guys we sent west down south.

  15. Doug

    Trading Amare is like the ’08 Yankees signing Barry Bonds out of retirement: makes so much sense on paper, never going to happen in the real world.

  16. Count de Pennies

    The NBA playoffs are a yearly reminder of just how many pro basketball teams there are that I thoroughly despise.

    MIA/BOS: ‘nuff said.

    LAL: I hate Laker fans… their overblown sense of entitlement… their complete lack of historical perspective. Living in LA, I hear them trash Pau Gasol for his (admittedly) subpar performance in these playoffs. Many now want him banished. They seem to have forgotten that Pau put the Lakers over the hump; that before Chris Wallace giftwrapped Pau to LA, the Lakers were a fringe contender on which Kobe would likely have spent the rest of his career bounced in the first round of the playoffs. So kudos to Dirk & the Mavs for giving me this delicious moment of schadenfreude. But, having said that:

    DAL: I’ve never liked Cuban… just as I don’t like any owner who sees his team’s games as a showcase for his own personal ego trip. The man’s a boor… and a bore. A title would render him insufferable.

    OKC: Speaking of shitty owners, this squad has the shittiest of ‘em all. I’ll never forgive Bennett’s buying of the Sonics for the express purpose of moving them to his home state of Oklahoma. He never had the slightest intention of keeping them in the city where they had played and built a loyal fanbase for 40+ years. I’d rather see Cuban win 100 championships before that asshole Bennett ever wins one.

    And Durant annoys me. Seems like a nice kid… but the star treatment he’s gotten from the refs since the day he entered the NBA has been nothing short of ridiculous.

    CHI: Didn’t really mind them much… until ESPN, TNT et al began assaulting my senses with their relentless “Rose for MVP” campaign. Whenever I’m exposed to that level of over-the-top media hype, I instinctively recoil. So to hell with Rose and the Bulls.

    All of which is why I’m rooting like hell for an ATL-MEM final. Besides, how fun would it be to see two former Knick chucks – Z-Bo and Jamal Crawful – attempt to singlehandedly win the title by wildly…

  17. Brian Cronin

    Trading Amare is like the ’08 Yankees signing Barry Bonds out of retirement: makes so much sense on paper, never going to happen in the real world.

    I fixed the year for you. I basically agree, except I think Amar’e getting traded is a ton more likely than the Yankees signing Bonds in 2008. The Yankees never even seemed to give it a moment’s thought, while the Knicks have to at least consider the idea.

  18. cgreene

    Rooting for Mavs. Hate for different reasons Heat, Celtics, Lakers, Bulls.

    Randomly partied for a night in NYC w Cuban. He was real fun, cool and down to earth. FYI.

  19. Brian Cronin

    I am rooting for Mavs because I think it’d be nice for Peja, Kidd and Dirk to all get a ring in one fell swoop.

  20. massive

    So I was watching some Amar’e Stoudemire Knicks highlights earlier, and (even though they’re just highlights), it’s really obvious that we need the pick and roll in our offense. I think that, along with Landry Fields losing luster towards the end of the season, is the reason we didn’t immediately become the best offense in the league. With Billups we’re still a top 10 NBA offense, but I think if he can’t get the pick and roll running with Amar’e (a.k.a. the game’s best dive man) and assimilate Landry back into the offense with better distribution of the ball, we have to look into trading him. Offense is our key to a top seed in the Eastern Conference next year, so we have to be completely stellar on the end.

  21. Brian Cronin

    It’s such a weird thing, though. It seems like Melo and Billups are just so good at what they do that it seems to not matter who they play with, they’ll be a top ten offense (and if Melo is hitting his threes like he was as a Knick, they’ll be a top five offense easily, as the Knicks were after the trade).

    So while I absolutely agree with you, that they should be adapting their game to fit Amar’e and Landry, not the other way around (as I think the system that works for Amar’e and Landy should also work for Melo – and if he has any gas left in the tank, Chauncey, as well), it is quite difficult to tell the guys who get top six offenses wherever they play that they need to change their ways, ya know? While “if you change, we should be in the top 2 offenses” is a strong argument, it is hard to get people to abandon what they know will be a top six offense for what should be a top two offense.

  22. Brian Cronin

    My wife has been quite resistant to Melo as a Knick, since she had grown attached to WC and Gallo, so she was already irritated at the trade before MSG compiled her irritation by then announcing the 49% price increase (“so we gave up the guys I liked for this guy and now we have to pay 49% more to see the Knicks play?”). However, after seeing him on Jimmy Fallon the other day, her resistance has weakened. Melo did a very good job – came off as more charming than normal, and a lot more thoughtful than normal. Very good job by him.

  23. outoftowner

    In terms of ideas for Dwight Howard trades, how about OKC?

    Ibaka/Harden/Maynor/Collison/Nate Robinson for Howard

    Orlando gets cheap depth to rebuild with, OKC gets a third superstar to try to get over the hump.

  24. Brian Cronin

    I would imagine Orlando would insist on Perkins and Ibaka for Howard, but if you add in Perkins (and I suppose take out Collison so that OKC has someone to play the 4), I could see that working.

    Although, I wonder if perhaps Orlando doesn’t want to use this as an opportunity of shedding Arenas’ contract? Like, if they have to deal Howard, make the other team take Arenas. The Knicks could do Arenas/Howard for Amar’e/Billups (amusingly, according to Hollinger, such a trade would decrease Orlando’s wins by 11 but only increase the Knicks’ wins by 2).

  25. Brian Cronin

    By the way, did y’all notice that Fields came in fourth in the rookie of the year balloting? That post-trade swoon really killed his chances at second.

  26. massive

    Brian Cronin:

    So while I absolutely agree with you, that they should be adapting their game to fit Amar’e and Landry, not the other way around (as I think the system that works for Amar’e and Landy should also work for Melo – and if he has any gas left in the tank, Chauncey, as well), it is quite difficult to tell the guys who get top six offenses wherever they play that they need to change their ways, ya know? While “if you change, we should be in the top 2 offenses” is a strong argument, it is hard to get people to abandon what they know will be a top six offense for what should be a top two offense.

    Very true, but that’s why I think D’Antoni is the man for the job. D’Antoni is known as a players’ coach and Amar’e has bought into his system, so I doubt he gets overruled in the end. I don’t think that it’s Carmelo (who’s a capable wing defender, passer, and perimeter scorer), but more Chauncey. Mike’s teams have always gone as far as the point guard would take them. We sucked under Duhon, were mediocre-average under Felton, and now Chauncey has to make us above average. Chauncey was struggling to run this offense so much at points that he had to play the 2 guard while Toney ran point, and that can’t be Chauncey Billups for 82 games. He has to buy into the system if we want to advance in the playoffs.

  27. massive

    Brian Cronin:
    By the way, did y’all notice that Fields came in fourth in the rookie of the year balloting? That post-trade swoon really killed his chances at second.

    He finished behind some really good players though. I imagine Griffin, Wall, and Cousins all came in ahead of him? And speaking of Landry Fields, here’s a great highlight reel of his rookie campaign:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZjzpi3nW7o

    He has the potential to be a lot closer to Manu Ginobili than Joe Johnson. Here’s to hoping he gets to play on the finished Knicks (with CP3, Melo and Stat)!

  28. Brian Cronin

    Oh yeah, it’s definitely Billups, as Melo should have no problems adapting (as again, the system the Knicks played before Billups and Melo got here would get Melo better looks, so he should love that). It has been a long time, though, since Billups was last a ball mover (since he left Detroit, basically, but you could argue even there he was a bit of a ball stopper – but he certainly moved the ball more than he did in Denver) and since he has had such great success as a ball stopper, it will be hard getting him to learn a new trick.

  29. Count de Pennies

    Here in LA, local sportstalk radio is aflame with the “Howard to the Lakers” jibber jabber.

    Given the common knowledge that (1) Howard wants out of Orlando; (2) LA is on his shortlist of teams that he’s willing to play for, and; (3) the Lakers actually have the contracts/pieces to offer the Magic (who I’m sure would rather make a deal early than wait to be jilted at the last minute a la the Cavs) the speculation does make more than a little sense.

    With Bynum apparently too fragile to be relied on as the foundation for the future and Pau’s horrific showing in the playoffs this year, both have been deemed expendable by the Laker faithful. Personally, such talk sickens me… as it’s firmly rooted in the Laker exceptionalism/entitlement that essentially views the rest of the NBA as a farm system for the LA’s senior hoops team.

  30. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    massive: He finished behind some really good players though. I imagine Griffin, Wall, and Cousins all came in ahead of him? And speaking of Landry Fields, here’s a great highlight reel of his rookie campaign:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZjzpi3nW7o

    He has the potential to be a lot closer to Manu Ginobili than Joe Johnson. Here’s to hoping he gets to play on the finished Knicks (with CP3, Melo and Stat)!

    He DOES look like Manu. And people said he wasn’t athletic enough for the NBA. Hilarious. I’m telling you, if he’s moved this offseason, the win total is going to decrease…

  31. Brian Cronin

    I’m telling you, if he’s moved this offseason, the win total is going to decrease…

    Not if it is in a deal for CP3. ;)

  32. latke

    Man, looks like the Lakers are going to go quietly. Kinda sad to see an era end like this. It would be really weird to see Kobe play on another team.

  33. latke

    I hate to break it to ya’ll, but Fields is nothing like Manu Ginobili, and I can guarantee that he never will be. You put any drive in slow mo and it all the sudden looks slick. Fields is not good off the dribble. He is slow to change directions and not a great ball handler, nor is he a particularly gifted passer. Maybe he’ll improve in these areas, but I don’t see him every being elite. Even Gallo, who rarely went to the rim his first two years, showed flashes of a nifty crossover and straight-line quickness.

    I don’t think I’ve seen Fields beat a set defender ever. All these fancy scores where he was dribbling are against defenders who start out way out of position.

    He’s still a valuable player when he’s on, and he may become a very important player due to his rebounding, wise decision making, and perimeter shooting, but if he ever averages more than maybe 16-17 points a game in his career, I’d be astonished.

  34. John Kenney Post author

    Fields can’t dribble like Manu, at all, so that comparison isn’t apt. Manu much faster 3 pt release as well.

    If I told you the Mavs starters had 25 points total, and it’s the 3rd quarter, but they are winning by the same amount, you’d say…?

  35. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Oh, he’s no Manu — as I’ve said, Manu is one of the best SGs in league history. There’s no question about that (how high up on the list, that’s another story).

    What I think Dave Berri’s stat overvalues about him is that he’s more of a SF than a SG, so his rebounding stats (relative to SG average) are not so impressive. Still impressive, but not “Top 15 players in NBA” good. Still, you can talk all you want about how players like Fields come around, are expendable, tradable, whatever — I don’t think it’s true.

    Stats are cherry-picked, but only to show that there are tons of low-usage guys in the league who can’t put up the numbers Fields does. And he can play SG (came up as a forward only, for some reason), so he’s even better than this suggests.

    http://bkref.com/tiny/tK478

  36. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Wonder if the Lakers will trade Gasol straight up for Amar’e. I’d like to see his “soft” self in the ECF.

  37. nicos

    latke:
    Fields is not good off the dribble. He is slow to change directions and not a great ball handler, nor is he a particularly gifted passer. …if he ever averages more than maybe 16-17 points a game in his career, I’d be astonished.

    Agree, but one thing that could get him to that 16-17 point level would be developing a decent pull up jumper. He’s a good enough 3 point shooter that rotating defenders will try to run him off the line. Unfortunately, he’s neither quick enough, or a nifty enough ball handler to regularly get to the rim from outside the 3 point line. If he could just take two dribbles and hit a pull up 15 footer I could see him being able to increase his usage enough to get to the 16-17 pont level. I’d say the same goes for Shawne Williams and Billy Walker as well, both of whom have the same quickness/ballhandling limitations as Fields.

  38. d-mar

    I don’t think Phil Jackson envisioned his last game as the coach of the Lakers to be a complete butt whipping on the way to a 4-0 sweep. Not exactly the way he wanted to go out, if he indeed does retire.

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