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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NBA FINALS GAME 1 WINNERS AND LOSERS

The NBA Finals began last night and just like the NBA playoffs this year, it was another blowout, this time with the Golden State Warriors getting the Cleveland Cavaliers out of the paint (literally and figuratively). Game 1 was close for a bit until the Golden State (more like Stephen Curry) 3rd quarter eruption occurred, leaving folks to wonder if this will even be a series (It most definitely will) and leaving people to wonder if the Golden State Warriors have ruined the NBA with the addition of Kevin Durant (They haven’t).

Game 2 is on Sunday. The hot take machines have been rolling since the game was over on a pull-up three from 30 feet by Stephen Curry in the 3rd quarter. Here are mine, but in blog form.

Continue reading NBA FINALS GAME 1 WINNERS AND LOSERS

No, Kevin Durant’s legacy will still be intact + Indiana Pacers + Lakers

Tell us how you really feel?
Tell us how you really feel, Oklahoman?

It’s May 1st, which is the best day of the year because one, my birthday is in 24 days (THE PLUG), two, I’m finally about to be done with school for the year after just attending one semester, and three, we’re in the mist of the NBA Playoffs where a lot of things are heating up. The 2014 NBA Playoffs have been crazy, and legit enough to the point where I’m ready to claim it as the best first round EVER.

Tonight, there are three game 6’s, and two teams that are heavy in the spotlight are the Indiana Pacers (more on them later), and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder came in as a heavy title favorites (I picked them to win it all, honestly), and now, there’s a lot of uncertainty, and a lot of ridiculousness being said about the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook. Here are 4 things that need to be addressed.

1. Kevin Durant’s legacy is still going to be intact regardless of what happens tonight.

Remember back in 2012 when EVERYONE (myself included, which was dumb of me) when we were saying how Lebron James’ legacy was at stake in a game 6 in the middle of the Eastern Conference Finals when the Miami Heat were down 3-2 in a series? Remember the aftermath of that? The 45 points, and the death stare that he was giving all night?

Either that’s gonna happen with Kevin Durant, or the Oklahoma City Thunder will be eliminated tonight, and the jokes will being flying faster than a Kardashian being on a black guy with money. Is his legacy on the line, here? Not even close. Durant is only 25 years old, and has a lot of time left in this NBA.

Is it a scary thought that the MVP of the league (this won’t change anything unless you’re a hardcore Lebron James fan who’s probably a little jealous of the attention that Durant is getting this year, which reminds me of the NBA Playoffs in 2009 where it was getting tiring hearing about a guy who hadn’t really won anything and I knew that his time was coming) might not get out the first round? Sure. Let’s ask Dirk about this in 2007. But here’s the thing everyone, let a career breathe before we define legacies. Jordan lost in the 80s before winning in 91. Sometimes, you gotta lose before climbing the top of the mountain. Ask Lebron about that.

2. Scott Brooks is an awful head coach.

drawing up a 35 footer when down 1?
drawing up a 35 footer when down 1?

I’ve said this with my homies for the last 3 years about Brooks, and the fact was….. it was evident last year against Memphis in the playoffs that Brooks didn’t run an offense, and that he relied on Durant’s and Westbrook’s talent to carry them. How has Brooks NOT adjusted his offensive system after he lost Westbrook last year in the playoffs? Better yet, is it that hard to have an offense when you have 1B in the NBA and a top 5 PG?

Sometimes, it’s good for both parties to split. If OKC wants to take the next step, it might be time to get rid of Brooks to get over the top.

3. You know what? Maybe Memphis is ACTUALLY better than Oklahoma City.

The NBA is all about matchups. Nobody here is talking about how in a 7 game series, Memphis might be better than Oklahoma City. Over the past 4 years, Memphis is 11-7 against Oklahoma City, and that’s including the playoffs. Regardless of the head coach, Memphis’ might have the formula, which is having two guys on the block to go to (Gasol & Z-Bo), an elite defender to stick on Durant in the 4th quarter (Tony Allen), a quality point guard who can bother Westbrook (Conley), and a guy off the bench who’s made big shots before (Mike Miller).

4. The Oklahoman doesn’t deserve Kevin Durant.

One bad series, and they wanna run him outta town. Just come back to Seattle, KD.

Oh.
Oh.

A thought on the Indiana Pacers/Atlanta Hawks series:

Indiana is gonna lose tonight. I’m purely convinced that they were done mentally now, and it’s a sad sight to see a team that had title aspirations fall apart in the span of 2 months. When the Pacers dropped the picture above, I knew it was over. Done. I was purely convinced back in February that the Miami Heat would win the east and have NO problems doing so.  All-Star Paul George has been playing great in the playoffs, but at the same time, he hasn’t been right since he got a stripper pregnant, then the whole thing where he was catfished on kik (If you’re in the NBA, why are you on kik?). Then, here’s a question: What’s wrong with Roy Hibbert? If you’re 7’2, and you have 0 points, and 0 rebounds in a game………….. yeah bruh, you gotta got home and be a family man. Is this the Hibbert we’re gonna see from now on? The one that we all expected him to be when he came out of Georgetown?

Frank Vogel might lose his job because this team is a train wreck now. I was never concerned with the Pacers because I figured that they were one of the two best teams in the east, regardless of how they were playing (Miami didn’t exactly finish the season strong neither). But now? Vogel coaching a team that could possibly lose a sub .500 team that was tanking at one point this year in the first round is sad, and pathetic on all accounts. Indiana loses tonight and the train has ran off the tracks for good.

Lakers, what direction are you going?

The Los Angeles Lakers couldn’t be the only team in LA having drama issues within their organization this week as Mike D’Antoni resigned and went on a trip to find Donald Sterling for all of us. With having a lottery pick for the first time in 9 years, Kobe Bryant being old, having a crappy roster for the next year or two, and then having a fanbase that’s unrealistic, who wants to take that job? Today, it came out that they were gonna reach out to Kevin Ollie and John Calipari. I doubt both of those guys would leave their respective jobs because Ollie just WON a national title at Connecticut, and Calipari is a God-like figure in Kentucky. One guy who I think would be a good hire: Fred Hoiberg.

Those are my thoughts, and as we’re all sitting back and watching these games, remember one thing:

Prosper season is still in full effect. We out.

The NBA’s First Round was……. Fantastic? 2nd round predictions sure to go WRONG!!

Stephen+Curry+Denver+Nuggets+v+Golden+State+WXatfZU5h6Fx

In my first round preview blog, I was fantastically wrong about most of my playoff predictions, and guess what? I am perfectly OKAY with this (I am, trust me). Let’s get this out the way first. The more I watch the ESPN and their games, the more I can’t really stand their coverage of the playoffs. Why?

First, it’s that damn Will.I.Am. song will forever bother me. First off, I’m not hyped to watch a 2 minute intro of Will.I.Am dancing with various NBA players. When I see that, you know what I think? I think ESPN is attempting to cater it’s audience to a 15 year old teen girl who just wants to dance, and party. This is the NBA playoffs. Not the club.

Second, I’m tired of Magic Johnson on that NBA Countdown show. I like Jalen Rose, Bill Simmons (most people on Twitter, Facebook, or whatever hate Bill Simmons because he’s an openly Boston homer who happens to write about sports, and have his own site, Grantland. I think most people just envy him because of his success, but who knows), and Michael Wilbon. Magic, I just, I don’t know. When I hear Magic Johnson speak, I feel like I’m getting stupider and stupider. At least with Charles Barkley on TNT, it’s funny. Magic? It’s like, dude. Shut the entire hell up. It has nothing to do with Magic the player. I love Magic Johnson, and how he changed the point guard position for everyone. But when he talks, I want to cut my ears off.

ESPN. You have to do better for next year. No more teen boppy club songs please, and make Magic retire from TV. I’m begging you.

The first round of the playoffs was actually entertaining. I mean, let’s be honest here. I lied to every single one of you about most of these series because I didn’t know what the hell was gonna happen in the playoffs this year. I figured Stephen Curry would light it up, but not like that (AND HE’S MY FAVORITE PLAYER!!!). George Karl has to be sick right now because he failed to make the right adjustments from game 2-4 on Curry, and Golden State’s small lineup. Instead of playing to their strengths, Karl did what most people in Seattle know all about: He didn’t adjust until it was too late.

I sure didn’t think the Lakers would get swept, but that’s another blog for another day (Since I’m a Laker fan, I’ll address them when the time is right: June). I lied to you all when I said I wasn’t going to watch a single second of the Pacers/Hawks series, but I watched part of game 3, and the last bit of game 6. Just, ew at that series all around (It was fitting how Josh Smith’s last shot was a blocked three pointer. Made me laugh when I shouldn’t have). I also lied to you all about Memphis winning the series in 7. They won in 6. Chicago was up 3-1 on Brooklyn due to Nate Robinson (“African-American Nate” is what my friend Jared calls him. But he doesn’t say African American) going absurd in a 4th quarter, and in the only game 7 of the first round, the Bulls found a way to prevail.

But guess what? The 2nd round of the NBA Playoffs is upon us. Better basketball is ahead of us (I would hope). Let’s dive into this (No, not Swimming Pools), and how more wrong I can get.

Continue reading The NBA’s First Round was……. Fantastic? 2nd round predictions sure to go WRONG!!

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