2018 NBA Playoffs – Part 2 of Round One

Yesterday, I wrote about the Eastern Conference, which can be found right here, today it’s about the Western Conference.

1 – Houston Rockets vs 8 – Minnesota Timberwolves

Watchability – 1.75

The Houston Rockets are the best team in the NBA at this very moment, with the MVP. You want to know when I thought the Rockets would be great? When I saw the point guard I hate in Chris Paul sing the iconic hit “I want it that way” by the Backstreet Boys (They weren’t better than NSYNC) in a state farm commercial with Trevor Ariza singing with him, while the MVP of the league sat there, fed up. Iconic.

Mike D’Antoni builds great regular season squads, but those same squads fail in the postseason, which is unfortunate. It’s crazy how the Rockets this year only lost three games this year with Capela, Harden & Paul in the lineup. I’m amazed by that. Hell of a season. Let’s hope it doesn’t go to waste for them.

Let’s have a standing ovation for the Minnesota Timberwolves for making the playoffs for the first time since 2004. You want to know what I was doing in 2004? I was in the sixth grade at North Whidbey Middle School, wearing baggy clothes, starting problems with my xanga page, and then hooping at Saratoga (I lived across the street from that court. It had double rims and yet, everybody thought I was so good at shooting there because I shot there mostly. No, it was because my jumpshot was better than yours) after school. I’m also positive, the number one song in the country was “YEAH!” by Usher. 

The Timberwolves have Jimmy Butler, Karl Anthony-Towns, and Andrew Wiggins. You’d think with those three, they would be better but when your coach is Tom Thibodeau, a guy who’s offensive sets scream “go to hell” ball from the late 1990s-early 2000s. It’s sad. I’m not a big Thibs fan as I used to be.

Thibs doesn’t understand the concept of resting his players. Thibs has his old squad of the Bulls in the Minnesota uniforms. The dude even went and signed the remains of Derrick Rose (Cavs fans or Lebron fans, whichever you want to choose from told me that Rose was gonna be a star with Lebron… they sound worse than us Laker fans when we loved Sessions). I don’t understand his philosophy in terms of his rotations, but they’re still around. 

Prediction – Rockets in 4. I don’t think Minnesota is good enough to even compete with Houston, and I might watch one game, let alone a half in this series. Harden is gonna probably average 40. Minnesota fans are very proud to see their team finally in the playoffs and not the lottery, so they’ll be okay with the result.

4 – Oklahoma City Thunder vs 5 – Utah Jazz

Watchability – 5

You know why this ranking is a 5. Westbrook. Mitchell. Rubio. George. Gobert. The leftover remains of Carmelo Anthony. This series has everything you want from average basketball teams. Star power, drama, and fight waiting to happen.

Donovan Mitchell is rookie of the year. Quin Synder might be coach of the year. Rudy Gobert might be the defensive player of the year. Utah lost Gordon Hayward to the Celtics in free agency, and struggled at the gate, but Mitchell put the Jazz on his back, and they’re in the postseason. I didn’t see this coming. I knew of Mitchell due to me following the ACC closely, but every time I watched him play last year, I wasn’t impressed. Maybe it was because the coach he played for (Rick Pitino aka 15 seconds). The spacing of the NBA helped, though.

We know about the Thunder or as I call them, the Zombie Sonics. I don’t really care for them too much. However, I’m here for the outrage and caping ability of what Russell Westbrook brings on the internet.

Russell Westbrook needed to grab 34 rebounds to average a triple double this season. If you’re keeping track at home, he needed to grab 34 rebounds to average another triple double for the season. Bro. How. Westbrook, in HILARIOUS fashion got them, and thus making history yet again. However, this begged the question on the internets – Is Russell Westbrook a stat padder?

I’ll give you an answer.

Yes. He stat pads. It’s not the end of the world that he does. Let’s just be happy that the brodie, the internet’s favorite player although these same people had their narratives rocked when last year, their favorite player would outshoot them in games like another player they would be critical of… you know, this guy. A strange world we live in.

This series gets a 5 alone because we all know Westbrook will outshoot the Thunder in a game, the Jazz will somehow blow two games at home when they could put this series away, and we’re all here to see the corpse of Carmelo Anthony have a random 35 point game.

Prediction – Thunder in 7. I want to pick the Jazz in 6. But… as much as I can’t stand the Zombie Sonics, they should play up to their potential instead of being an average basketball team like they were for the majority of the season. I’m curious to see how Paul George plays. When he’s engaged (and actually getting the ball from Westbrook), he’s a terror. When he’s not, he’s just mentally thinking about how many shots he’s gonna get from the Lonzo next year (I’m actually torn on the whole Paul George/Lakers thing, but I’ll explain that in another blog). 

3 – Portland Trail Blazers vs 6 – New Orleans Pelicans

Watchability – 10000000000

This is the matchup that I think my brother Chris Jones and I will sacrifice the sleep for. I’m actually mad at the fact that game 3 is on NBATV because my god, this series is going to be bananas.

As a PNW lifer, I love Damian Lillard aka DAME D.O.L.L.A (Dame can rap, bro. I’m like not kidding). I love Cj McCollum since he went to Lehigh and did the lord’s work in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. I feel like as a Laker fan, I should hate Portland but since we always beat them in the playoffs, I have a soft spot for them, and that city (One of my best friends lives in Portland for med school and the city is lit. It’s not better than Seattle, though). On the floor, these two have been incredible together, although CJ was okay for the majority of the season. For a stretch, Portland won 14 in a row after the All-Star break, and Dame was a legit MVP candidate, but they came back to earth a bit.

New Orleans was written off for dead when DeMarcus Cousins (BOOGIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE) tore his Achilles three weeks before the All-Star game.  I love Boogie, and the fact that people think he’s a problem because he’s ultra competitive (Clay Travis, man fuck Clay Travis) is full of shit. If it wasn’t for James Harden winning the MVP three months ago, I think I’d have Anthony Davis win MVP. The Brow carried this team, and he’s averaging 28 & 11 this season on a team where the only other player I can name is Rajon Rondo (I need to watch more basketball).

Prediction – Trail Blazers in 7This will be the best series in the first round. I’m actually torn but I’ll go with Portland because of the belief that the guard play of Dame & CJ will prevail over Davis, who could average 35/13 in this series. Hopefully, this series will see that the Pelicans need an elite guard to pair with Davis. An X-Factor in this series? Jusuf Nurkic. Nurkic won’t stop Davis, but he’ll have the ability to at least make Davis defend a bit more, and be physical with him.

2- Golden State Warriors vs 7 – San Antonio Spurs

Watchability – 0.75

The Golden State Warriors are the defending champs. I remember when the Warriors used to stink. Stephen Curry is my favorite player (and has been since he was at Davidson),  so the Warriors have a soft spot in my heart regardless. I mean, what else should I even say about them other than the fact that they’ve looked pathetic going into the postseason due to injuries and not giving a shit? We know about Kevin Durant. We know about Draymond. We know about Klay Thompson. They’ve supposedly have been getting ready for the postseason, and without Curry in this round, they got the right matchup.

The San Antonio Spurs. Lol. The San Antonio Spurs. I was hoping the Spurs would get the 8 seed and get swept by the Rockets, but this, this is even better. For all intensive purposes, the Spurs having their streak broken of 50+ wins (I want to say it was like 20 years) warmed my heart. No seriously. I took a shot when I saw that. It’s not like I hate the Spurs, but given the Kawhi situation, and how his own teammates are mad at him for sitting out because he was misdiagnosed from their own medical staff and doesn’t trust him… I love it. I really do. Maybe that’s me being petty, I don’t know and to be honest, I don’t even care.

When you let Tony Parker, a man who cheated on Eva Longoria with Brent Barry’s wife be the voice of reason in the locker room, those are the messy problems we deserve.

Anyway, we know about Gregg Popovich, a man I have great respect for on and off the floor. Pop is probably the greatest coach in NBA history considering this is the least talented Spurs team in the last 10 years, and he got them to this point. LaMarcus Aldridge saved his career, and returned back to his All-Star form.

Prediction – Warriors in 4 quartersEven if Curry were playing in this series, my watchability would go from 0.75 to 1. I don’t care about this series. The only way I would be even interested in this series is if my boy Kyle Madson got in our group text and was panicking over the fact that the warriors lost multiple games in this series. If the Spurs somehow do this with this team, then I’m convinced that Gregg Popovich should be the next president. 

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Lol at DeAndre Jordan.

i’m still confused with what DeAndre Jordan did, to be honest or why he even stated that he was going to commit to play with the Mavs, but know his heart couldn’t leave Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Even though Chris Paul is like that crazy girlfriend, you know at this point of your life/career, you can’t just leave it. He pretty much MADE you, bruh. So it makes sense. Sort of.

The only way I explain this is that Chris Paul had to sing “This I Promise You,” which made DeAndre, Doc, Chris, and JJ cry while Blake was on skype pretending to cry, but he was really thinking, “I gotta play with and for these guys?” Such weirdness, but it made for a very entertaining day on social media (shoutout to Chris Jones for getting me up to date on it, honestly).

That’s all I got.

This video was really really corny. I’m still confused why *NSYNC decided to go into the forest, where bad turtlenecks, and have bubble around. But then again, the late 1990s/early 2000s were a funny, funny time in American History. Song is dope, though.

Also, Prosper Season part 3 is actually coming. Soon. Within the next couple of weeks. Here are the first two blogs. Read them. Catch up.

0 to 100. Real quick. Like DeAndre from the free throw line.

Tis the season.

Team USA wins gold! Let’s celebrate!

Gold.

Early this morning, Team USA won the gold medal over the Spain team, 107-100.

Kevin Durant led all scorers with 30 points, while Bron had 19.

This game was close, but Chris Paul controlled it in the 2nd half. He won’t get credit, but Paul single-handedly won this game for Team USA with timely shots, pressure defense, and having assists.

Lebron James is the first player since Jordan in 92 to win Regular Season MVP, a NBA title, Finals MVP and an Olympic Gold in the same year. He’s kinda good, if you haven’t noticed.

Anthony Davis (I actually forgot his name for a minute. I call him “Brow” not to mock him, but he has a terrible looking unibrow that is his brand) wins a Gold Medal, Player of the Year, and a National title in the same year. Without playing a game. I want to say Christian Lattener is the last guy to do this, but I’m not really sure.

Coach K will probably go down as the best coach ever. I mean, even as a Carolina fan, I can’t deny how great of a coach he is. Sure, he coaches at Duke, and they lost to Lehigh (Which, eh, this Duke team wasn’t even that good this year IMO, he coached them up to win 25 games), Coach K is the greatest.

As for coaching Team USA in 2016?

I would think Doc Rivers, Doug Collins, and Gregg Popovich would get the calls early. As of right  now, and watching the interview after game with Doc Rivers,  the way Doc was sounding, he wants that job, with Doug Collins on his staff. Rumor has it, folks want John Calipari for the job, but I doubt that’ll happen just because he coached for the Dominican Republic team.

But yeah, this is it for basketball.

Won’t see it until October/November. Which sucks, but at the same time… this NBA season should be interesting.

-Shaun