NBA (2019-2020)

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bryanb
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Re: NBA (2019-2020)

Post by bryanb »

I haven't really been following the NBA too closely since the season was interrupted. I wrongly felt like the bubble would fail and that Covid-19 would spread wildly throughout the league, forcing the season to end again. Instead, the bubble has held up rather well unlike the Pelicans. Now that we're in the playoffs I felt like it was about time to start paying attention again.

I caught the Houston-OKC game tonight. I had already decided I would join Flack in supporting the Thunder for the rest of the season, partly for reasons of solidarity and partly because I do like the team. In retrospect, that might have been a mistake considering OKC lost. Call me the Jinxster once again. It was a good game, though. The Rockets kept building small leads and the Thunder kept doggedly clawing their way back into the game. It felt like everything was a little bit easier for Houston even with Harden not playing his best, but the Thunder showed great fight and the young Canadian Lu Dort had the game of a lifetime, scoring 30 points and hitting six three pointers. In the end, Houston prevailed by two points and won the series. All in all, it was about what you'd hope and expect to see in a game 7 in the NBA: very close, very competitive, lots of nerves, and some officiating drama. I felt bad that Lu Dort ended up in the position of having to shoot a 3 to win the game with two seconds left. It wasn't the final shot of the game, but it was the Thunder's best chance to sneak away with the win. Lu not only didn't make the shot (blocked by Harden) but he then threw the ball away by trying to send it out of bounds off of Harden. In Harden's best play of the game, he nimbly stepped aside and avoided the ball. You know Dort's wishing right now that he'd passed the ball to Steven Adams at that moment.

What has to be annoying for Oklahoma City fans is that the game really was in reach. Harden shot 4-15 and wasn't a major factor through much of the game but did pick up his game at the end. Russell Westbrook played well, but he faded somewhat in the fourth quarter. To me, the Rockets player of the game ended up being Robert Covington who was a force on both ends of the court. He hit a couple of key threes during the fourth quarter...if he had just missed one of those, that could have been the difference.

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Flack
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Re: NBA (2019-2020)

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This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for OKC, and everyone assumed Houston would make it to the western conference finals, so for OKC to take it to 7 games was way more than I think any of us expected. There are so many new players this year that I am constantly checking people's names and trying to remember who's who. The fact that they played together at all was pretty impressive to me.

I'm really not a conspiracy theory guy, but some of those ref calls were so bizarre that I couldn't help but feel they were trying to nudge Houston along. The only thing that sucks is, like you said, when you lose by 20 you just throw your hands up in the air and say oh well, but when you lose by two it's easy to look at every single play and think "if only."

Looking forward to the Lakers/Rockets series. It's still doesn't feel normal, but it's what we've got.
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Tdarcos
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Re: NBA (2019-2020)

Post by Tdarcos »

Looks like this season, NBA stands for "Notmuch Basketball Atall."
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Flack
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Re: NBA (2019-2020)

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Tdarcos wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 1:50 am Looks like this season, NBA stands for "Notmuch Basketball Atall."
They're playing the same number of games that they play every season.
Tdarcos wrote: Jesus H. Fucking Christ on a crutch, does anyone even read? ... It's really stupid things like this that make me want to quit and give up.
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Flack
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Re: NBA (2019-2020)

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As unusual things continue to happen throughout the playoffs it's hard not to wonder how the bubble is affecting things. I'm sure the Clippers will be blaming the bubble, Coronavirus, other people, and each other after last night's monumental collapse. One week ago, the Clippers were up 3-1 over the Denver Nuggets and were many people's pick to possibly win it all. Last night, jaws hit the floor as the Nuggets systematically dismantled Doc Rivers' Clippers not once, not twice, not three times, but four games in a row. In games five, six, and seven, the Clippers gave up double-digit leads as the Nuggets locked up, simultaneously picking apart the Clippers' defense while rotating through their offense. The story should be the Nuggets' incredible comeback -- and eventually it will be -- but today, people will spend the day scratching their heads, wondering what happened to the wunderkinds of the west.
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Flack
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Re: NBA (2019-2020)

Post by Flack »

When NBA players become superstar anchors of a franchise, they wield an unbelievable amount of power. It is the coach's job to control players and run the team, and the first outward sign of an unbalance is when players begin to actively disrespect a coach, actively mutiny on the sidelines during games, and in extreme cases, get the coach fired. It didn't take long for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to get their coach (Kenny Atkinson) fired, which they deny, depending on who's in the room.

New head coach Steve Nash is going to have his hands full with those two, even more so after they said this on their podcast yesterday:
“It’s going to change the way we see coaches. I don’t really see us having a head coach,” Irving said. “KD could be a head coach; I could be a head coach.”

Durant agreed. He said lead assistant Jacque Vaughn – who was 7-3 as interim coach and led Brooklyn to the playoffs despite both stars being hurt – could essentially be the head coach for a play, or a quarter or even a night.
From the same conversation:
“We don’t need someone to come in with their coaching philosophy, change everything we’re doing, change up the wheel, and we’re going to start running on the first day of practice. No; I want somebody that’s going to understand that I’m a human being first, I serve my community first. And then basketball is something I come and do every day because I love…That’s no disrespect to Kenny or any coaches I played (for). It’s just Steve coming in at this moment and following up with putting together a great coaching core was going to make us more successful.”
Throughout the podcast, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant frequently used and repeated phrases such as "coaching core" and "collaborative coaching effort," and repeated their opinion that they didn't need or want a single person to tell them how to play.

Hopefully it's not too late for Nash to find a job coaching one of the other 29 teams.
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Ice Cream Jonsey
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Re: NBA (2019-2020)

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“We don’t need someone to come in with their coaching philosophy, change everything we’re doing, change up the wheel, and we’re going to start running on the first day of practice.
Then go play basketball at the YMCA, you entitled little shit. That's why it's a job. That's why you get paid for it.
No; I want somebody that’s going to understand that I’m a human being first
This is the guy that thinks the earth is flat, right? One thing that differentiates humans that deserve respect and humans that are fucking clowns is whether or not they understand that the earth is a sphere.
I serve my community first.
I don't know who owns the Nets, but I can't imagine paying Irving what they are paying Irving and hearing that. Holy fuck. There's two or three things I put ahead of my job but the fucking "community" sure isn't one of them. What an entitled baby.
And then basketball is something I come and do every day because I love
No it isn't, if that was the case you would have played in the bubble, you lying shit.

The best part is that you are unable to find a better guy that Steve Nash to be your boss. Unless his private persona is a 180 from his public one. He seems smart, capable and pretty down to earth. This is as good as it was ever going to get.
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Flack
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Re: NBA (2019-2020)

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I also like that Kevin Durant is afraid that a new coach will "change what he's been doing." He got traded to the Nets and hasn't played a single game for them. I'd hate for anybody to come in and change that up.
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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Ice Cream Jonsey
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Re: NBA (2019-2020)

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I like Durant but he's a little socially awkward sometimes. Yeah, the biggest thing that is new for Durant is that when the season starts he'll only have one HoF quality teammate and not two for the first time ever. Maybe he wants Nash to take the floor.

God, it feels great to be a prick about sports again.
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Flack
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Re: NBA (2019-2020)

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Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson suffers season-ending Achilles tear
espn.com/nba/story/_/id/30349208/source-golden-state-warriors-klay-thompson-suffers-season-ending-achilles-tear

It doesn't seem that long ago that the Warriors seemed like an unstoppable dynasty.

Also if you were hoping for Houston to do anything next year, both Westbrook and Harden are fighting over who gets to leave first. There will be drama in Houston's future next year, but not a title.

Also, the Thunder lost Chris Paul and Dennis Schroeder, so all the spite-filled jackholes from Seattle can do another happy dance. I read that the Thunder has traded so many players that they currently have 16 first round draft picks spanning the next seven years.
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bryanb
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Re: NBA (2019-2020)

Post by bryanb »

Flack wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:17 pm Also if you were hoping for Houston to do anything next year, both Westbrook and Harden are fighting over who gets to leave first. There will be drama in Houston's future next year, but not a title.

Also, the Thunder lost Chris Paul and Dennis Schroeder, so all the spite-filled jackholes from Seattle can do another happy dance. I read that the Thunder has traded so many players that they currently have 16 first round draft picks spanning the next seven years.
Yeah, I was curious what your take on the Thunder changes would be. From my perspective, they overperformed last season and proved a lot of doubters wrong. Instead of trying to build some momentum and improve on a surprisingly successful formula, they're breaking up the team and dumping a fantastic coach in Billy Donovan. By my math, Chicago is going to pay Donovan the exact same amount as the Thunder were paying per year which means OKC probably wanted to cut his pay. The moves seem to be all about cost cutting. Maybe Covid-19 made that absolutely necessary, but it sucks for the fans and has to be bad for morale. At least the Thunder's future is potentially bright, but draft picks aren't any kind of guarantee of success.

The Pelicans have made some moves as well. I expect them to be much less fun to watch next season since Alvin Gentry was fired (sadly, he's had to settle for an assistant coach position for the Kings), but Stan Van Gundy is a surprising and totally solid replacement. They've traded one of my favorite players, Jrue Holiday, to the Bucks for Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, and draft picks. I expect the Pelicans to be a better defensive team with Van Gundy at the helm; while Holiday was NO's best defender, Bledsoe and Hill are definitely no slouches on the defensive end and are both good three point shooters as well. I can't say I'm a huge fan of either guy, though, so this is a trade that automatically made me like Milwaukee more and the Pelicans less. I can definitely imagine Van Gundy cutting Lonzo Ball's playing time and leaning on Bledsoe and Hill more.

I wasn't that surprised to hear that Harden and Westbrook want to leave Houston. Harden has all the talent in the world, but his focus has often seemed to me to be wavering. He's consistent in his inconsistency, and I suspect he'll need an Anthony Davis level sidekick to ever get a championship. Honestly, I felt like Houston should have tried to trade him no matter what, but it seems like the decision is out of their hands now. Westbrook has a monster contract that will make it difficult to trade him -- if I were the Rockets GM, I'd focus on getting maximum value for Harden and try to hold on to Westbrook unless a good deal presents itself. He's still a potent offensive option and is a smarter player than he used to be. For all the talk about Westbrook and Harden wanting to be reunited, I actually think Westbrook would leap at the chance to become the Rockets primary ball handler.

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Re: NBA (2019-2020)

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Flack wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:17 pm Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson suffers season-ending Achilles tear
Ack! The Warriors did it "the right way," they were given nothing, nothing by Stern, nothing by the league, not a thing. As far as the NBA was concerned they could be a blob of warm semen like the Wizards and that was fine. They were considered cannon fodder. And they ROSE UP with good drafting.

So this is sad in a way where the collection of other teams' all-stars shredding ligaments in either of the two LA teams would not be.
Also if you were hoping for Houston to do anything next year, both Westbrook and Harden are fighting over who gets to leave first. There will be drama in Houston's future next year, but not a title.
Do they hate playing with each other or would you say there is something else causing them to leave in Houston?

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bryanb
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Re: NBA (2019-2020)

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I couldn't believe there were actually recent rumors that Harden might rejoin Daryl Morey in Philadelphia despite everything. I'm glad that's probably not going to happen and that Daryl Morey is now part of a team that might possibly respect him as well as free speech, democracy, and cheesesteak. Harden would probably fit in better with the Nets which are owned by Alibaba cofounder and CCP fan Joseph Tsai, but I don't think Brooklyn has the right pieces to make the trade worthwhile for Houston.

Incidentally, Morey's making some interesting moves for the 76ers. I really like the Seth Curry trade, and I love the idea of Dwight Howard filling in for the talented but somewhat injury-prone Joel Embiid.

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Re: NBA (2019-2020)

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The way I see the problem is that Harden and Westbrook are essentially clones of one another. Harden won sixth man of the year while in Okahoma and thought he deserved a starting position, and maybe he did, but Harden and Westbrook don't really compliment one another -- it's just two of the same guy on the floor. They both like to go to the hoop, they both like to control the game, they both like to toss up threes... they both like the pick and roll but I doubt either one would block for the other. The two of them will never win a championship together because given the chance, either one would take every shot in a game.

Nobody really understands what the Thunder is doing. It seems like Presti isn't interested in ever winning a championship. Like I said, we now have 16 first round picks spread out over the next 7 years. That's more people than you can even put on your roster. I think Steven Adams is the only Thunder player's name I know at the moment. In a poker game, Sam Presti would be the guy who drops all five cards and asks for five new ones every hand. He just doesn't seem interested in keeping a team around.
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Re: NBA (2019-2020)

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Aaaaaand just woke up to see Steven Adams traded to the Pelicans. Enjoy him.

RIP Thunder.
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Re: NBA (2019-2020)

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I love the Steven Adams trade for New Orleans. He'll potentially be a great mentor for Jaxson Hayes (whom I'm very bullish on...he mostly just needs to get stronger and get some more big game experience before he's ready to be an NBA starter) and gives the team some much needed size and presence in the paint. That guys gives it his all every night, too. With Derrick Favors leaving to rejoin Utah, I was thinking the Pelicans might pick up someone like Taj Gibson, a savvy veteran center in his own right. The front office exceeded my expectations on this one.

For OKC, it seems like another bad break, but maybe Al Horford will be able to turn his career around there. The numbers might not have worked out, but I would've gone with Eric Bledsoe over George Hill given where they are in their careers. It's also certainly possible that Hill and Darius Miller will end up being involved in other deals and not actually end up playing for the Thunder.

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Re: NBA (2019-2020)

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