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nba

The NBA Regular Season Doesn’t Matter

The Houston RocketsThe Houston Rockets

If the regular season doesn’t matter, then there would be no Houston Rockets. It was because of this entire regular season that this Rockets team was born. Going into the season, everyone said that the Paul and Harden pairing wouldn’t work, and yet they ended the season with the best record in the league. (Nobody is talking about that now, though, as if they all predicted them to be this good.)

They dominated most of their opponents on a nightly basis, despite having key players miss large chunks of games. Because of this, the regular season showed their depth. With 15 different starting lineups throughout the year, they never missed a beat.

Those that say the regular season doesn’t matter are the same ones that said it was just the Warriors going forward, and no one else. A regular season later, the Warriors look vulnerable, as they work on getting healthy.

For those of you who are just tuning in, who have been absent since the previous NBA Finals, welcome. Just so you know, this isn’t last year’s Raptors, Cavs, Warriors, or Rockets, but you’d only know that because of the regular season.



It’s All-Star Break and The Rockets Have The Best Record In The League

The Houston Rockets now have the best record in the league, and are on a 10-game winning streak. They’ve proven to be a tough matchup for the Warriors, beating them two out of the three times they’ve faced each other. But the regular season doesn’t matter.

Brian T Smith:

Kerr has been forced to call out his team. Draymond Green can’t make it through 48 minutes without calling out the poor refs. Golden State ranks 28th out of 30 teams in turnovers per game (15.5) and slid into the break 4-4 in its last eight games, falling to Portland 123-117 on Wednesday.

We’re halfway finished with this season, and despite the flaws the Warriors are showing, everyone is still crowning them the champions. Rightfully so, but I predicted their demise before the season started, and I’m sticking with that prediction. Not only do I see a team that’s beatable, but I’m also seeing a team in the Rockets that—despite having the best record in the league, and despite having an almost flawless record when Paul and Harden play together—is still being overlooked.

Everyone’s reply is, We’ll see come playoff time.” And I agree, we will see. I like our chances.



Chris Paul has unlocked a suddenly elite Houston Rockets defense

Danny Chau:

A D’Antoni-led team with multiple superstars in tow has nothing to prove on offense during the regular season. But if defense is a product of timing, repetition, and familiarity, the regular season still offers the necessary reps to develop a consistent presence on that side of the ball. As impressive as the Rockets’ 22-4 start has been, the team is still dogged by the confluence of negative perceptions that has plagued D’Antoni, Harden, and Paul all their careers; each of them carrying a unique scent of a perennial postseason underachievement. The Rockets can’t do anything about that now, but their showing on defense this season is more than enough evidence that this team is unlike any the trio has been a part of.



The NBA season never ends | Sports stopped making sense in 2017

Paul Flannery wrote an excellent piece about the season that never ends’. I recommend reading the entire article (it’s that good), but to help, I carried over a few paragraphs and titled each one’s topic for you.

Micro-Seasons

The NBA season begins in late September when training camp opens and lasts through June when the Finals conclude. The real action for NBA heads takes place during the transactional windows: The trade deadline, draft, and free agency. They are micro-seasons unto themselves…

Twitter is the only speed

Information moves quickly during these periods, far too fast to be contained within the next day’s newspaper or a television show. Even websites move too slowly to keep up with the flow of breaking news. Twitter is the only medium capable of handling the torrent of information, real-time analysis, and jokes. Always jokes.

Those storylines exist throughout the year in a parallel universe from the competitive cycle. Theorizing about the league — be it in the form of trade rumors, draft stock, salary cap situations, or analytical breakdowns — is as much a part of the conversation as the reality taking place on the court. The games are a way to pass the time; a charming diversion between Woj Bombs.

Understanding basketball Internet

Making sense of all this required a deep understanding of the league’s narrative dynamics and required fluency in the language of the basketball Internet. In order to follow along, one had to be invested in an ongoing story arc that plays out day after day and went well beyond the contours of the basketball court. This past year, with its rapid mood swings and high-stakes transactions, was the culmination of a decades-long movement.

The NBAs Vehicle

In order to sell its culture on a mass scale, the NBA and its players needed a better medium. If football thrived on the ritual of television’s rigid schedule and baseball lived in the pastoral realm of radio, the NBA found its perfect vehicle within the relentless insular reality of the Internet.

The NBA became inescapable on social media

Suddenly we were awash in content from every corner of the sport. Press conferences became open-ended forums for self expression, staged arena arrivals became fashion shows, practice quotes became fodder for think pieces. The games themselves were secondary to the spectacle.

As other leagues began to push back and claim the content as their own, the NBA made one of its savviest marketing decisions. Like the Grateful Dead, who allowed tapers to record their concerts without fear of arrest or reprisal, the league took no action against individual posters.

Let the people have their vines and like the Deadheads, the people will become your best natural resource. With no pushback and an almost unlimited access to images, clips, stats, and interviews the NBA became inescapable on social media and that allowed its organic marketing machine to flourish.

The power of social media for a player

You don’t even need to explain yourself. Simply post a photo of you and your pals on a summer vacation and let the Internet run wild. When is a float not merely a float? When it’s a banana boat. What does that even mean? Nothing and everything. The power is in the mere idea of an open-ended suggestion.

The league never stops

Already alliances are forming between players and moves are being put in motion that may one day lead to the next great migration of talent. What happens on the court is for the nerds. It’s the backstories that resonate with all their petty dramas and cheap thrills.

This is the NBA in 2017. Turn off social media and you’ll miss something. Log on tomorrow and new storylines will be revealed. The league never stops generating fresh content and we never stop consuming.



James Harden and Chris Paul are the perfect NBA backcourt combo

Matt Ellentuck:

The Houston Rockets have now won 10 consecutive games, and each have win has come by at least seven points. Those wins all have one other thing in common — James Harden and Chris Paul were both on the floor.

The subtitle to his story: Why did anyone ever think this combo wouldn’t work?”

The Rockets, as of writing this, are 21-4, with the best record in the league. Here’s why:

  1. Chris Paul doesn’t have to carry the entire load of the team.
  2. Any lineup works: the Rockets have a roster filled with players that could play multiple positions.
  3. Paul, because of starting the second quarter, has the luxury of playing against second units.
  4. The entire game, either Paul or Harden are on the court. Combined with the versatile lineups, there’s always a starting 5 on the court. Always.


NBA is Back! Here’s what I’m looking forward to the most this season

Welcome back to Nash Loves Basketball. Today we’ll be talking about how the NBA is starting up in just a few hours. Game 1 of the 2017-2018 Regular Season is (as I’m writing this) three hours away. Are you ready? Do you care? Let’s begin!

A post shared by House of Highlights (@houseofhighlights) on

CP3 + Harden: of course this is my most exciting and most interesting thing about this year’s season, and of course I think they’ll shock everyone and be a contender. I wrote about it here.

Kyrie + Hayward: I like this new Celtic’s team. I liked last year’s Celtic’s team. Kyrie gets his own team again, and this time, it’s a good team. He’s solidified himself at the highest levels of the NBA, and now he’s out to prove that he can do it without LeBron.

Spurs Done?: The system is what I fear. It doesn’t matter what their roster looks like, because I’ve seen them destroy teams with just their bench, while the starters rested. Every year, we count them out, and every year, they’re a top three seed in the West. Will this always be the case? What year will they not be good? I never know how to judge their team going into a new season. On one hand, by judging their offseason, their injuries, and the competition that has strengthened around them, I have them not being a top four seed. But on the other hand, I see them going through the season, business as usual, and ending up right where they usually do. If you asked me to play my cards with this team, I’m folding. I wouldn’t bet for or against them right now.

Sixers Process: Trust the process is what they tell me. The potential is there (Embiid and Simmons are scary if healthy), but will it grow into more than just potential? That’s what I’ll be watching to see.

Pels Smell: I’m tired of Anthony Davis being treated as if he doesn’t matter. This guy is too good to be on a bad team (since we’re on the topic, I’m tired of bad teams). The Pelicans are wasting years, and by the time they figure it out, he’ll be gone. I’ll be watching to see if anything changes.

Dark Giannis: a team that nobody is talking about, but should be terrified of? The Bucks. Not because of the Bucks, but because of Giannis Antetokounmpo. If I could pick anyone in the NBA to start a team with today, it would be this guy. I’m anxious to see his growth this year.

Cavs Storylines: This team seems weird to me. They’ve gotten worse at the point position, especially with IT being out indefinitely. Derrick Rose is their starter until then, and if (when) he gets hurt, Jose Calderon is starting at that position. Wade and Bron will be fun to watch together again, but they’ll be coasting for most of the regular season. Even with the coasting, and even with the questions at the point guard position, It says a lot about the East that they’ll be the best team in that conference. This is also (most likely) LeBron’s Farewell Tour for the Cavs.

Thunder Trio: Westbrook, George, Hoodie Melo. There’s only one ball (bothers me when people say that), and these are three guys (pick one) that I’d be scared to go up against if they have the proper help. Teaming up with each other could be the help they’ve been needing.

Warriors Again: Everyone is betting Warriors, and I look at that, and I think, there’s always been a Warriors” team (a team that nobody wants to face, and everyone assumes will pile through every-single-team). Take a look at the best team in the NBA for the last 10 years, and then think about how long that run has been. Eventually, that particular team fades away. For some reason though, everyone assumes the Warriors won’t, and they are a wall that will never move. I’m betting the other way. Yes, they could easily dominate the league and win the championship once again, but I’m crazy enough to think otherwise.



Rocket Emoji

🚀

This is chapter three for Chris Paul. I’ve been following this guy his entire career, so there’s no question how excited I am about this upcoming season. I’ve had all summer to think about this new situation with the Rockets, and the more I think about it, and the more I watch the team play together, the more fascinated I am by what’s coming.

The storyline about the Rockets since the Paul trade is that both Paul and Harden need the ball in their hands to succeed, but there’s only one ball. That undermines the leadership of Paul, and discounts the years that Harden played next to Westbrook and Durant. It also doesn’t account for Mike D’Antoni’s innovative mindset when it comes to offense. (I also like that with all that offense, the entire mindset during the preseason was about defense.)

After watching what the Rockets did last year, and then watching how Paul blended in with that style during the preseason, it has me anxious for Tuesday night, when the season kicks off. I watched a team who always had a superstar point guard on the floor: it was more like watching a wrestling match with the two powerhouses, as they tagged each other in and out, while also sharing the court and playing off-ball for each other. It was only a small portion-size to observe, and it means absolutely nothing in the preseason, but it was still interesting to watch those dynamics in action. It seemed like whoever else was on the court next to Paul and Harden was a knockdown shooter, and threes were raining from all sides of the court.

As far the rotations, for the first time in Paul’s NBA career, I didn’t see a team with a traditional starting lineup and a second unit. Instead, I constantly saw guys rotating in and out of the lineup. Because the roster has so many players that can play a variety of positions, there was never the traditional point guard for point guard, center for center type of subs. It was a beautiful thing to witness.

Tuesday night, the opening night for the NBA regular season, they’ll be playing the Warriors. Will these rotations matter? Will Paul teaming up with Harden and company turn out to be a smart move? I think so (shooters everywhere, and a scorer like Harden, that can takeover a game by himself, who was a few votes away from winning MVP last year). Paul had nothing to lose by going here. All upsides.

And when this season is said and done, it’s the final year on Paul’s contract (same for LeBron and Wade), so whatever happens doesn’t remove the options for Paul going forward. Consider it a trial year, to stay or go, and Tuesday is the beginning of just that.



NBA Fan

I’m writing to clarify how I view the NBA, which is less of a fandom now, and more of an obsession. Each team that I’ve become a fan of, I obsess over every little detail. And thanks to NBA League Pass, I get to watch many teams, and more importantly, I’m not limited to just the local team (Being forced to be a fan of whatever the local team is, seems to be backwards thinking, and limiting ourselves to the broad range of the global society we have with the internet. Nothing is local anymore, unless you want it to be. I prefer to follow things all around the world).

If it hasn’t been clear who I’m a fan of in the NBA, just search my site to see. Spoiler: it’s Chris Paul. Chris Paul has only been on two teams in his NBA career (Hornets and Clippers), and now three with this upcoming season (Rockets). When Paul left the Hornets, I stopped watched them. When Paul was hurt on the Hornets, I didn’t watch them until he came back. Same for the Clippers. I don’t bounce around to whatever team is winning at the time. I simply follow Chris Paul.

Besides Chris Paul, I was a fan Iverson with the Sixers (Claxton, Hill, Snow, Mutumbo), and I was a fan of the Kings (Webber, Bibby, Peja, Divac, Jackson years). Before that, I was a fan of Michael Jordan. I was too young to understand all the details, but I remember staring at the television while the other kids in the house were doing kids things.

I never got the chance to watch Magic, Bird, Dr. J, Wilkins and all the legends play night after night. If I could’ve, I’m sure I’d obsess over a specific player the same way I do Paul. We have the luxury of following these athletes better than ever. I can stay in the comfort of my home and never miss a CP3 play, and since he’s been in the league, I’ve done just that. Never. Missed. A. Play. True definition of an obsession. If I can go back in time, I would do the same with Michael Jordan, John Stockton, and Steve Nash.



Kobe Bryant Drops 60 in Final Career Game

Grand opening, grand closing. Kobe’s first and last shot of his NBA career.

kobekobe


Chasing Greatness: Steph Curry 2016 Mix



As usual, Clippers’ Crawford a steady source of reserve power

Source

Crawford started the year off slow, but I blame that on the lack of chemistry the team’s reserves had. Once Josh Smith and Lance Stephenson were gone, Jamal played as his usual self. And for the first time in years, Crawford will be going into the playoffs fresh and injury free. I expect him to do big things throughout the playoffs.



Steph Curry’s Epic Game vs OKC: mixed by Max Frishberg

Max strikes again.



Blake Griffin is punching people, he broke his hand…I feel a change is coming

Marc Stein tweeted this morning, that Blake would be out a few weeks from breaking his hand in an undisclosed team-related incident. In other words, fighting.

Business Insider reports that he broke his hand hitting an equipment staff member multiple times. This happened after the Toronto game.

Clippers organization:

This conduct has no place in our organization.

A trade is coming. I feel it. (This is taking into account how well the Clippers have played without Griffin for the past month.)



Dear Basketball, by Kobe Bryant



Rockets fire head coach Kevin McHale

Date: 2015-11-19-08-51

Ryan Dunsmore:

Houston started the season with three-straight 20-point losses. Now the team has lost four straight games, and has held a players only meeting.

The team has looked uninterested, lackluster, and disorganized this season. This coming after a season the team reached the Western Conference Finals, losing to the Golden State Warriors in five games.



Clippers @ Mavericks: losing 3 of last 4 games (11-11-15)

The momentum for the Clippers was halted a week ago when they ran into the red-hot Warriors, and then followed by a Rockets game without Paul where Harden served up his season high cooking. The following game, we played a tough Grizzlies team where nothing came easy, and it was by far the Clippers sloppiest game this season.

Tonight’s game against the Mavs resembled that Grizzlies game, where nothing came easy, and everyone played out of character. It was a chippy game the entire time, and Blake was getting fouled more times than what was called, which made him more worried about the refs than his usual aggressive play.

Tonight’s loss leaves us losing 3 out of the last 4 games, and tomorrow is our back to back game against Phoenix. Could be a game where we right the ship, or it could be that trap game that digs us deeper into this tiny, early season hole.



Rockets @ Clippers: the game without CP3 (11-7-15)

After losing to the Warriors Wednesday, the Clippers had a few days off before facing the Rockets Saturday night. One thing I wasn’t expecting though was Chris Paul sitting out due to a groin injury. This was an early test for the team to grow together and see who will step up to fill his spot.

A few notes:



Kobe Bryant’s Farewell Tour

Adrian Wojnarowski:

As Bryant begins what appears in every way to be his farewell tour, the truth becomes clearer and clearer to him. He isn’t chasing the playoffs, nor a championship. Kobe Bryant is chasing a ghost.



Clippers @ Warriors: losing to the champs (11-4-15)

This game definitely lived up to the hype, it was just too bad that my team was the one to lose. The way the Warriors have been playing though, it wasn’t much of a surprise.

The game had so many lead changes, and both teams looked to have control several times. Both Paul and Curry spent almost a full quarter on the bench due to foul trouble.

In the first half the bench put us in a hole, but in the second half, the bench pulled us out of one. In the first half, Paul had 20 points, but ended the game with only 24.

I took many notes for this game, but I won’t be using any of them. Instead of using anything I wrote in the moment, I decided to just think about the game for 24 hours and then write about everything I remembered. That’s this post.

Overall, the game was exciting for both teams, and everyone that watched definitely got their money’s worth. But I’ll remember this game as a missed opportunity by the Clippers, who appeared to be undisciplined for many key moments of the game: from the amount of turnovers to the defensive mistakes (pointing to the many times DeAndre Jordan didn’t step up on the pick to prevent Curry from shooting that three ball. Everyone in that arena knew he was going to shoot from behind the arc, not sure why Jordan was guarding him for the drive).

Next game is Saturday against the Rockets.



Suns @ Clippers: the boring game before the big one (10-2-15)

In previous years, this could’ve been the trap game that we lose, as we look ahead to the Warriors on ESPN Wednesday night. Instead, we’re 4-0, and so are the Warriors, making Wednesday night’s game that more interesting. For now though, here’s some thoughts on the Suns game.



Kobe’s shooting 32% from the field, 20% from three

James Dator:

The Lakers’ guard has shot 16-for-51 from the field, 6-for-29 from three and it’s not even like he can get his teammates involved because his 1.7 assists-per-game average stands as his lowest since his rookie season in 1997-98.



Rockets Lose Third Straight to Start the Season

It’s only three games in, so nothing truly matters right now. But this is the team that advanced against the Clippers last year, so it’s worth taking a look at.

Colin Ainsworth, writing for The Dream Shake:

Everyone on the team has to be better than this. Maybe that’s over-simplifying it, but it’s also not wrong. It’s an issue the team is going to have to fix, and the early season struggles are absolutely a cause for concern. Concern is fine. There are many games to go, but they’re going to have to figure it all out pretty quickly. The Western Conference is an unforgiving beast, and the Rockets should know that better than anyone else as they finish the second end of a back to back against the Oklahoma City Thunder tomorrow.



Clippers’ Starting Lineup: driving force early on’

Justin Russo:

It’s always best to remember that Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan are all among the best players at their respective positions. Whether you want to call Paul and Griffin the best point guard or power forward in the league is up to you. Whether you want to call Jordan a top three center in the game is up to you, as well. That’s not what this discussion is about. It’s about how good they are as a collective unit that it makes the fifth guy deadly no matter who he is. Alongside them is J.J. Redick, one of the deadliest off-ball movers in the entire league. His ability to move and create shooting angles for himself, as well as others, is nearly second to none.

[…] With Barnes, the team was a staggeringly dominant opponent for whoever stepped foot on the same floor as them. However, it’s been taken to a whole new level this season with the arrival of Lance Stephenson — the man Barnes was traded for. It seems as if the starting group has taken off in vastly different ways since Stephenson entered the equation.



Clippers’ Starting Lineup: driving force early on’

Justin Russo:

It’s always best to remember that Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan are all among the best players at their respective positions. Whether you want to call Paul and Griffin the best point guard or power forward in the league is up to you. Whether you want to call Jordan a top three center in the game is up to you, as well. That’s not what this discussion is about. It’s about how good they are as a collective unit that it makes the fifth guy deadly no matter who he is. Alongside them is J.J. Redick, one of the deadliest off-ball movers in the entire league. His ability to move and create shooting angles for himself, as well as others, is nearly second to none.

[…] With Barnes, the team was a staggeringly dominant opponent for whoever stepped foot on the same floor as them. However, it’s been taken to a whole new level this season with the arrival of Lance Stephenson — the man Barnes was traded for. It seems as if the starting group has taken off in vastly different ways since Stephenson entered the equation.



Kings @ Clippers: Halloween Game (10-31-15)

It’s Halloween night, and the Clippers are playing the team they just beat a few nights ago. Just like the Mavericks, the Kings really dislike the Clippers. Just ask DeMarcus Cousins, who was interviewed after Wednesday night’s game:

I hate them, honestly I do. I hate them.

Here’s some thoughts from tonight’s third win of the season:



Mavericks @ Clippers: Deandre’s Other Team (10.29.15)

https://youtu.be/UMJgTQLDXPs

Second game of the season, and one with the big storyline from the offseason, Deandre Jordan faces the team he turned his back on: the Dallas Mavericks.

Justin Russo:

Things got testy there for a little bit of time, but the Clippers ultimately used their superior skill and health to distance themselves from the Mavericks. They’re now 2-0.

The first half of the game was horrible shooting from both teams. Actually, the entire game felt sloppy.

Doc took the leash off of Jamal Crawford in the first half and let him run the offense. It appeared to be 1 on 5 most plays, and yet Crawford found ways to score and awe the crowd. (13 of his 15 points came in the first half.)

Two games in and I haven’t seen a player on either of the opposing teams that’s anywhere close to Griffin in terms of talent and dominance. He finished tonight’s game 11/17 with 26 points.

The Clippers were very unselfish tonight. So many easy buckets from sharing the ball. That’s a result of all this new depth. The bench—Rivers, Crawford, Johnson, Pierce, and Smith—could be a starting five in this league.

The Mavs were missing 3 of their 5 starters: D. Will, Wes Mathews, and Chandler Parsons. This wasn’t a fair fight.



Clippers @ Kings: Season Opener (10.25.15)

Game 1 of 82 is in the books. It feels good to finally have basketball back. Here’s 5 thoughts from last night’s game.



Steph Curry Drops 40 On Ring Night

Max Frishberg strikes again. Welcome to a new season.



Steph Curry Drops 40 On Ring Night

Max Frishberg strikes again. Welcome to a new season.



NBA TV Season Opener

https://youtu.be/5UggRfLVrDA

It’s the love of pain that teaches the next generation.

Let the season begin!



Clippers Owner May Stream Games After Turning Down $60 Million TV Deal

Claire Atkinson:

Steve Ballmer, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, has turned down a $60 million-a-year offer for local TV rights and is forging ahead with a plan to start his own over-the-top streaming network, The Post has learned.

If he follows through on the plan, Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft, would be the first owner of a major US sports team to deliver games direct-to-consumer via a Web-based service and not through traditional cable or satellite companies, sources said.



Former NBA star Darryl Dawkins passes away at 58

Rest in peace, Chocolate Thunder.



Battleground — The 2015 NBA Playoffs (YouTube)

Another great video from Max Frishberg, recapping this year’s playoffs.



The Painful Life of a Sports Fan



Game 4 — A Chance to Take Command

To say that James Harden could’ve been the MVP, J.J. Redick has outplayed him at the position this entire series. Not to mention that we haven’t let Harden draw fouls against us. Not getting to the foul line has prevented him from being a factor in any of the three games.

Johnny Stark:

The Clippers have dominated this series, save a few quarters in game two. Still, there is no room for complacency. The Clips have taken the advantage in the series by outworking the Rockets, energy seems to be one of the biggest factors in this series. That’s why it has been great to see such huge contributions from the role players. Much of the playoff success has been won off the backs of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. When guys like Austin Rivers, J.J. Redick and Matt Barnes are able to take over games, as they have in this series, the Clippers can take on all comers. If the Clippers get another big win from the role guys it just might be enough to break Houston’s spirit and all but put this series in the bag.



From The Rockets Perspective

It can’t just be because I’m a biased Clippers fan, right? Here’s Ethan Rothstein—a writer for The Dream Shake, a Rockets site—in a conversation with Clipsnation:

You know that feeling in L.A. right now? Imagine the exact opposite of that. It’s not the fact that the Rockets are losing, it’s how their losing, with a seeming lack of 100 percent effort and focus.

Turning this around will have to come from two places: James Harden and the defensive end. Harden needs to step up his game on both sides of the court, in particularly. He’s playing the lazy defense we haven’t seen since last year, and is not making up for it on the offensive end. This is the worst he’s played over a seven-game stretch this year.

Mostly, the problems have been defensively. The Clippers have run roughshod through the Rockets’ defense. When Austin Rivers gets to the rim at will, it’s not because he’s good, it’s because the defense is bad. There were no answers for the CP3-Blake pick-and-roll. Everything was a mess.



Clippers 124, Rockets 99 — Rivers Flowed Forth

Justin Russo:

Chris Paul came back, Spencer Hawes was resurrected, but it was a special performance by Austin Rivers that helped lead the Clippers to a blowout Game 3 win over the Rockets.

In all three games, I haven’t seen anything to be worried about. The Rockets are not tough enough, and they don’t want this series as bad as we do.



Series for the Ages — Clippers vs Spurs

Max Frishberg strikes again. He’s the best at editing NBA highlights. Here’s a beautiful recap of a legendary series.



Clippers Beat Rockets 117-101 in Game 1, WITHOUT CP3

I wasn’t worried about the Rockets going into this series. We’ve just been battle tested against the Spurs, and I didn’t believe that the Rockets were mentally or physically as strong as us. Plus, they have no one that can guard Chris Paul. But for us to go into their house and steal Game 1—without Chris Paul—I’m even more confident now that this series won’t last long.

Sidenote: Blake Griffin just had his third Triple Double in this year’s playoffs. Not too shabby.

ESPN:

According to ESPN Basketball Power Index, Clippers have 81 percent chance of winning series.



The Point God Game

lala

Larson Ishii:

In the most important game in the Clippers’s franchise history, in the greatest first round series ever, in an INSANE Game 7, Chris Paul has the game of his career and wills the Clippers to victory.

Flashback to the 2008 Western Conference Semifinals. In a highly contested series, Chris Paul’s Hornets are playing the Spurs in a game 7 at home with everything on the line. Paul’s team lost that night, the furthest CP3 has ever been in the postseason, and the Chris Paul playoff failure narrative began to develop. Choker. CP0. OKC Game 5. Never made it to the Western Conference Finals. In a game 7 at home against those very same San Antonio Spurs, Chris Paul went full Point God, playing the best game of his career on one leg, scoring a game high 27 points and hitting the game winning shot forever exorcising his playoff demons. MJs flu game, LeBron’s Boston Game 6, the Point God game; these are the types of games that form legacies and are remembered.

It was only Round 1, but when I look back and remember all the doubters and how they were silenced, this game will be the one I think of. After the game winner, my phone blew up with messages from people giving respect to Chris Paul’s Game 7 performance. In this chapter of Paul’s book, I couldn’t ask for a better ending. This will be a game you watch on ESPN Classics 10 years from now.



A Legacy Game

Bill Simmons, writing for Grantland:

Even before it officially became One of Best Round 1 Series Ever,” we knew it had a chance to broach Feels Like The Finals If They Happened In Round 1” (which is exactly what happened) … I attended Games 1, 2 and 5 in L.A., and they were more like life experiences than basketball games … thanks to those quietly dramatic Hack-a-DJ moments, these contests balloon to nearly three hours and feel a little like those Yankees–Red Sox nail-biter marathons from 2003 and 2004 (without 86 years of baggage and eight decades of hammer-versus-nail story lines, but still) … potentially, the final basketball game ever for one of my favorite non-Celtics ever, The Great Tim Duncan (I think that’s officially his name now) … if the Clips were to lose a Game 7 at home, we’d inch even closer to a career scenario with CP3 and Blake that becomes a Hottest of Hot Takes cross between The Poor Man’s Stockton and Malone” and The Sedin Brothers of Basketball” … seeing Kawhi the Sharktopus in person in Game 7 mode (hold this thought) … Pop Sarcastically Working The Refs vs. Doc Sarcastically Working the Refs in the Game 7 of Sarcastic Reactions … the biggest game of CP3s life, hands down … the biggest game of Blake’s life, hands down … it’s a Legacy Game in every respect.”

The whole world will be paying attention to the fight tonight, but missing out on this game 7 would be a tragedy (especially since it’ll end right before the fight starts). This shouldn’t be a Round 1, and it sure doesn’t feel like it.



Clippers beat Spurs in Texas 102-96 — Here comes game 7!

John Raffo:

Dogs are sleeping with cats, down is up, white is black, and home court in the playoffs means absolutely nothing. In another classic western conference bash, the Clips score a huge game six victory on the enemy court.

We did it! We survived game 6. My anxiety was all messed up afterwards, but we did it. Now it’s time for game 7. I can’t take many more games like these though. Feels like I’m gonna have a heart attack after each one.

Saturday night will be a night I’ll never forget. Clippers/Spurs (two teams that shouldn’t be playing each other in Round 1) will be finishing this insane series with a game 7. Neither of these teams deserve to go home this early.

And then the main event: Mayweather and Pacquiao are finally facing each other. It still feels weird to say that. Won’t believe it until I see them in the ring together.



If the NBA had helmets

Some of the coolest helmets I’ve ever seen.



Adam Silver Could Eliminate Conference Seeding

I woke up this morning to the ESPN app alerting me with some interesting news. It looks like the commissioner is planning to strengthen the playoffs by making the best 16 teams enter the bracket, regardless of what conference you’re in.

I argued for this last year:

The unfortunate side of the playoffs is that good teams have to go home. The Warriors, Grizzlies, or even the Suns are teams that should still be fighting for the championship. I truly believe that this could all be fixed by removing the conferences, similar to college basketball, where there’s no East vs West.

Here’s what ESPN had to say:

The Western Conference has had a decided edge over the Eastern Conference for quite some time, especially this season with it having 10 of the league’s best 16 records.

Silver said he’d be willing to talk to the league’s competition committee about a plan in which the six division winners would receive automatic berths and the remaining 10 playoff positions would be determined by overall record, regardless of conference affiliation.



Gordon leads Davis-less Pelicans past Clippers

Brett Martel, writing for NBA.com:

Eric Gordon scored a season-high 28 points and the New Orleans Pelicans snapped the Los Angeles Clippers’ six-game winning streak, 108-103 on Friday night.

With an upcoming schedule as tough as theirs 1, you don’t lose to a Pelicans team without Anthony Davis. That shouldn’t happen. And if we turn in more luckluster games like this one, things could quickly get ugly for the Clippers in the next few weeks. Not panicking, but this roadtrip is brutal, starting with the Spurs tonight on ESPN.


  1. scheduleschedule



FiveThirtyEight’s Weekly NBA Power Ratings And Playoff Odds

Here’s another reason to keep up with FiveThirtyEight. Nate Silver built a fantastic website.

Noah Graham:

These power ratings predict how well each team will perform over the upcoming week of games; we’ll also list each team’s projected end-of-season win total and its odds of making the playoffs.

They represent each team’s projected per-100 possession performance — schedule-adjusted and relative to league average — for the upcoming week, taking into account the quality of players currently on each roster, as well as injuries and expected minute allocations.



The Rivers Reunion is happening

Steve Perrin:

Multiple news outlets are reporting that the deal bringing Austin Rivers to Los Angeles to be the first NBA player ever to play for his father, will be completed today.

This will be an interesting side-story to follow. It’s pretty cool to think about: you make it to the NBA and then you get coached by your dad. He’ll also learn a lot from the veterans on the team.

And for the Clippers, at least moves are being made. I expect a few more in the coming weeks. 1


  1. Also looks like Jordan Farmar will be gone by today. I honestly didn’t care for him on the team, so it’ll be nice to see a change at that position.



Dahntay Jones, 10-day contract with the Clippers

Austin Rivers? Nate Robinson? Darius Miller? Now Dahntay Jones?

It’s troubling to see who the Clippers are going after. I could understand Doc Rivers bringing his son in, but with almost every team in the west getting stronger, these names don’t show signs of a team making a run for a championship.

Our bench continues to hurt us this season, so any of these names would be an upgrade. I just hope these are temporary fixes, and the trade we’re all expecting is almost here.



Pau Gasol’s Career-High 46 Pts, 18 Rebs (YouTube)

This was beautiful to watch. I’m glad this guy is finding success after leaving a team that, arguably, never truly appreciated his talent. The Lakers seemed to have him on the trading block for years.



Steve Ballmer Dancing to Fergie (Vine)

There I was last night, watching the Clippers beat down the Lakers (114-89), as expected, when the camera jumped to a recap of the Clipper’s new owner (and former Microsoft CEO), Steve Ballmer. He was dancing to Fergie in a very weird and hilarious way. This was more entertaining than the game itself.



Game of Spurs: Dethroning King James’

Image is credited to Bleacher Report’s Game of Zones video.

Though I predicted the Spurs would win this series, I didn’t expect they’d do it in only 5 games. That’s impressive. They were basically two points away from sweeping the Heat. Put that in perspective.

The fact that this is a shocking victory, and is considered an upset to most people (that don’t follow basketball close enough) is the best way to define how unappreciated the San Antonio Spurs are. That’s why them winning the ring this year is so important—to me, to the NBA, to the basketball gods. This is a chance to fix what’s broken. Even good basketball has it’s day of glory. This time around, it’s not about the dunks and individual accolades. The story line for these NBA Finals is about passing and selflessness. I’m sure ESPN is scratching their heads, wondering how do we make a highlight reel out of a damn pass?

Let’s give it up for Tim Duncan, a true gift to the NBA. One day, I’ll be telling my grand kids about him, as if he was a great fairy-tail.

You see kids, these type of players don’t exist anymore. The kind of guys that quietly dominate you. These young bucks now only know how to be loud and selfish. But Timmy, as the rest of the league fussed about who was the best, Timmy walked calmly into the Hall of Fame, without ever saying a word.



Russel Westbrook Is Not A Point Guard

A lot of talk has been about whether or not Russel Westbrook deserves the title Point Guard”. I don’t believe so. I believe that he could be just as effective at the shooting guard position, allowing a true point guard to run the offense and get the other players involved. With Westbrook in charge, the Thunder are struggling to win their first championship, despite having the best scorer in the league on the roster—Kevin Durant. My theory keeps coming back to Russel Westbrook getting in the way of his team. Bad decisions and selfishness are crippling the potential of what that team could ultimately be.

Combo-guard? Right. When have you ever seen a combo-guard lead a team to a ring? Is it possible? Look at it this way: every shot that the point guard takes, is one less shot his teammates can take, and when your point guard is your main scorer–and isn’t getting the other four players on the court involved–the defense’s life becomes a lot easier.

Don’t take my word for it, here’s Drew Corrigan from Dime Mag:

The point guard position is commonly referred to as the player who initiates the team’s offense, the floor general. In recent history, the NBAs infrastructure has undergone a makeover. Now, it’s all about a lightning quick pace and guards that can score the ball at will. While this has produced some exciting and flashy play, there is one critical argument that needs to be discussed with these point guards. […] While these scoring point” guards can produce huge numbers and exciting play, they don’t win championships.

For the past 10 years, these are the point guards that won a championship:

You could argue that all of these point guards have rings because of someone else, but that’s the point. They’re not getting in the way of their team. They’re doing their job and attempting to make life easier for the ones around them. Westbrook is doing the complete opposite.

Drew Corrigan on the Thunder’s 11-’12 Finals run:

During their NBA Finals run in 2011-2012, Westbrook led the Thunder in field goal attempts per game with 20.4, but only shot 44 percent from the field and 28 percent from deep. Westbrook also boasted the highest usage percentage during the playoffs of 30.7 percent. This equated to A LOT of Westbrook pounding the ball into the ground and a lot of Russell Westbrook shots, which takes up valuable possessions and clock. […] Imagine if the Thunder were led by a pass-first point guard.

A pass-first point guard, teamed up with Kevin Durant? The sky’s the limit for that team. Durant is too dominant to have to take turns with his point guard. Instead, the point guard should direct traffic and setup easy shots for Durant.

One thing’s for sure: people love these hybrid point guards. Their athleticism is exciting. And let’s admit it, there’s nothing about a pass that screams SportsCenter. It’s just a pass. But while it’s true that these hybrid players are exciting to watch (highlights and scoring a ton of points), ultimately, their selfishness continues to be the detriment to their team’s success.

When Westbrook finishes a game with more shot attempts than the best scorer in the league, he’s obviously doing the opposite of what the job is intended for. A point guard that shoots more than the rest of his team is not a point guard.



Gone Fishing - Another Disappointing Season For Chris Paul

The playoffs are still going on, and it’s far from over (Heat-Pacers, Thunder Spurs: I think Spurs will win it all this year), but for me and my Clippers, this season has come to an end—unfortunately.

Man, what a season! In the playoffs, there’s nothing worse than going home early, and honestly, I don’t know anything other than going home early. My teams have never gotten far enough to even sniff a championship.

The sad thing is, I don’t think many people can relate to this feeling: they jump ship to the new-hottest team before it gets bad, avoiding dissapointment, that way, they’ll always having a winning team to brag about. Sounds like cheating.

But for me, chalk this up as another year that Chris Paul is at home watching his competition move on to victory. It’s a very empty feeling to obsessively follow a team for a year, and then, before I can stop cheering and pulling for a win, it’s over. The players walk off the court, stunned, and everyone comes to the realization that there’s no more seconds on the clock. I grabbed my bag and drove home in silence.

This year stings more than years prior, mainly because there were no excuses this time around: the Clippers had a great team (CPs best thus far), full of depth in all areas, and after dominating most of the year, that still wasn’t enough for them to beat the elite teams.

Chris Paul. I can picture him adding another tally to the Ringless Chalkboard, and it hurts. 10 years in the league, and still … nothing. Sounds like someone that’s underachieving, at least that’s what the media wants you to think.

But I look around him; I see all the competition he’s up against. He’s not losing to push-overs. The Warriors could’ve advanced to Round 2 and nobody would’ve been surprised. Whoever loses out of the Spurs and the Thunder, I doubt they’ll look back at their season and feel more successful than the Clippers do—going home is going home, no matter what round you’re in. My point is, when the Western Conference is this deep, it doesn’t matter how talented you are, somebody has to go home early. It just sucks that it has to be my team.

The media hounded Chris Paul for losing to the Thunder, treating him as if he’s retiring during the off-season, and now, it’s all over for him. Chris Paul has become Cliff Paul, and he will never have another chance at an NBA title, his new job is to strictly sell insurance.

This isn’t the case at all. Even though he’s a year older and is struggling to stay healthy for an entire season, I see a player who is still dominating each game he steps on the court for. Check the record books, he’s breaking each one in his way, and when it’s all said and done, I still believe he’ll walk away as a champion.

Look around at his team, he’s playing with some real talent, the best he’s ever had—and it’s only getting better. Doc Rivers just arrived. Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan are finally giving Paul the help he went to Los Angeles for in the first place. This team is still growing and will only get deeper. With the supporting cast they currently have on the roster, and another offseason for Doc Rivers to add new players, I expect an even more dominant Clipper’s team next year.

But this is all talk, nothing I say right now even matters, at least not to you, the reader. It’s just me, the die-hard fan, giving myself high-hopes for the upcoming season. Letting the fanatic in me sleep better at night by telling myself everything will be fine. All the doubters will apologize next year, just watch.

Until then, I’ll try to enjoy the rest of the playoffs, all while attempting to tune out the noise, one Fair Weather Fan at a time.



Has Blake taken the next step?

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After scoring 40 points for the first time since his rookie season against Utah on Saturday, it seems as if Blake Griffin is taking the long anticipated next step in his development as a player.

Blake Griffin looks more confident now than I’ve ever seen him. When he catches the ball in the mid-range area, he shoots it without hesitating. When he steps up to the free throw line, he’s knocking them down, and if he misses the shot, he gets upset, as if he was expecting to make it, unlike before when he’d look surprise to see the shot go in.

And now, when he catches the ball in the post, he knows what he wants to do: attack, use his speed, and draw a foul. His last few games have been very impressive, I’ve never seen him look this dominant.

Has Blake taken the next step?<



Has Blake taken the next step?

Clipsnation:

After scoring 40 points for the first time since his rookie season against Utah on Saturday, it seems as if Blake Griffin is taking the long anticipated next step in his development as a player.

Blake Griffin looks more confident now than I’ve ever seen him. When he catches the ball in the mid-range area, he shoots it without hesitating. When he steps up to the free throw line, he’s knocking them down, and if he misses the shot, he gets upset, as if he was expecting to make it, unlike before when he’d look surprise to see the shot go in. And now, when he catches the ball in the post, he knows what he wants to do: attack, use his speed, and draw a foul. His last few games have been very impressive, I’ve never seen him look this dominant.



Dear Lebron Haters

I’ve never been a fan of LeBron, but I feel like I should give my opinion on those who seem to constantly scrutinize a guy that has accomplished so many amazing things at an early age.

My whole thing is, people look at the situation like he has to be either better than Kobe and Jordan, or he’s a bum. That’s what bothers me. The game of basketball is so complex, and the fact that he doesn’t have the it” factor, doesn’t even change how great he is. There’s so many ways a player can impact the game of basketball, and the casual person watching, and jumping on the lets hate LeBron” bandwagon, doesn’t even understand what an assist is, or +/- stats are.

LeBron James, without even being a fan of him, but a fan of the game of basketball, accounts for more stats across the board than any other player I’ve ever watched. So people can bash him for not having the it” factor, but that balances out, when he rebounds, passes, and defends better than everyone else. People never mention that though.

I heard people calling Durant better than him, but Durant seems to only be a scorer. After game 1, the media and people I know, were screaming that Durant is the best player in basketball, but to me, he never impacts the game with anything other than points. How can that be better than someone who, across the board, fills up the stat sheet?

Those same people who kill LeBron, they don’t say, he’s amazing, but I wish he’d close better”, or he’s amazing, but he should’ve stayed in Cleveland.” No, they say he’s a bum, and he can’t ball, and he should never be King” James.”

Nobody had a problem with Paul Pierce being named The Truth”, before winning a ring, what’s the difference if LeBron’s The King”? People will find anything to hate on people for.

The people hating on someone with as much talent as LeBron, should stop for a second and appreciate him, the fact that I even have to say that is ridiculous, and almost obvious that they’re not watching the game, but just jumping on bandwagons. An athlete that great, doesn’t come around every year, but people act like the game of basketball would be better without him. That’s my problem.



The Case for Durant to Los Angeles

Jonathan Tjarks:

The case for Durant to L.A. is simple: KD lives in Los Angeles in the offseason, so the Clippers would give him the best combination of lifestyle perks and immediate championship viability. Durant spacing the floor for the Chris Paul–DeAndre Jordan pick-and-roll would be unguardable, while KD would thrive with a roll man like DeAndre and a traditional point guard like Paul feeding him open shots.



The most underrated team going into the playoffs

On The Ringer NBA Show, Kevin O’Conner starts it off:

It pains me to say it, because I can’t stand them. I think the team that is the most underrated … with Chris Paul in the lineup, their record is 42-18.

This link will bring you to the time stamp where this conversation picks up.



The Shop (feat. LeBron James, Draymond Green, 2 Chainz and Guests)

https://youtu.be/1ypwbI1NtG4

Really enjoyed what was discussed here.



Dwight Howard to Atlanta - three-year, 70.5 million

Avoiding pressure. His confidence can’t handle the bigger markets.



Russell Westbrook - No Mercy

https://youtu.be/nFBIcT9TQw0

He’s having a blast out there.



The KD Conundrum

Bill Simmons:

For the rest of this decade, any superstar has a better chance of making the Finals in the East. The West has Golden State, San Antonio, OKC (for now), the star-crossed Clippers, the savvy Blazers and the precocious T-Wolves lurking like Arya Stark. That’s a murderers’ row. The East has Cleveland (FYI: Year 14 for LeBron next season), Boston’s Collection of Awesome Assets That Can’t Translate to an Actual Contender Yet, Whatever Toronto Is, Whatever Atlanta Was, Whatever Orlando and Milwaukee Might End Up Being, Whatever Pat Riley Might Have up His Sleeve and that’s about it. (Sorry, Knicks fans.) You want an easier road to the title, go East. Or sign with the Warriors.



Golden State’s Game 1 Dominance Runs Deep — The Ringer

Jonathan Tjarks:

The Cavs may just have to pray for a regression to the mean, especially when the series moves to Cleveland. It’s unlikely that they’ll have to deal with 43 points from the Warriors’ trio of veteran guards again, and bench players traditionally perform worse on the road. The problem, of course, is that Klay and Steph are due for a regression to the mean the other way. The Splash Brothers probably won’t have too many off shooting nights in the Finals, so it was incumbent on the Cavs to try to steal a game when they could. What makes the Warriors so tough is they can still dominate games when their stars aren’t playing well. Steph, Klay, and Draymond may get all the press, but you don’t win 73 games without getting huge contributions from everyone in your rotation.



A Win-Win For Chris Paul

Michael Eaves explains the Chris Paul to Houston trade:

This move is a win-win for Chris Paul, and it was all part of a master plan. By opting into the final year of his current contract and pressuring the Clippers to trade him to Houston, Paul will be in the exact same situation next summer. He can re-sign with the Rockets for 5 years and $200+ million or sign a 4-year deal for about $150 million with another team. In addition, he will save several million dollars in state income tax.

Also, by being committed to the Rockets for only one season, it gives him a year to see if he can actually co-exist and pursue a title with James Harden. But even beyond that, this move gives Paul more flexibility to join LeBron James in 2018. If he stayed in LA or signed the max deal with the Clippers and forced them to do a sign-and-trade with the Rockets, Paul and LeBron could only join forces at one location. Now, they will have the ability to pick and choose wherever they want to go as a tandem, which could be Houston, LA {Lakers or Clippers (provided Doc is no longer with organization)}, or any other destination in-between.



Chris Paul’s Most Dangerous Weapon? His Eyes

Rob Mahoney, writing for Sports Illustrated:

The NBA is afraid of what Chris Paul sees. Opponents show it in the way they react to his stare, selling out into passing lanes simply because Paul’s eyes suggest it. When Paul slows down to survey the floor, it can paralyze his defender with possibility. His attention is a weapon. The fear of it can lead a defense to do senseless things—the kind that leaves smart players baffled in the moment and shaking their heads in a film session. There are anxieties in guarding any great player, but with Paul, the greatest concern is the imbalance of information. Russell Westbrook kills with speed and Stephen Curry with space. Paul wins by seeing things that no one else could and exploiting a defense that knows it.

This is the first article I’ve read that breaks down Paul’s game as detailed as this. Reading this reminded me of Spike Lee recording Kobe Bryant’s game, and then Bryant narrated it afterwards. This felt like a text-version of that.

Here’s another great quote from this piece:

The genius of players like Paul comes out in obstruction. Start to box him in and you’ll see fireworks; the fewer the options that Paul seems to have, the more fantastic the results. Whatever limits a defense looks to impose, Paul will find ways to break them. Spring a trap and Paul—a control guard by type—will give up the ball to get it back later on the move. Switch pick-and-rolls against the Clippers and Paul becomes an even more vicious dual threat. Any big in front of him is as good as cooked.



Blowing Up an NBA Team Is Never the Only Option

Jonathan Tjarks:

Winning a championship is the ultimate goal for every NBA franchise, but making that the sole benchmark for success is setting up the other 29 teams for heartbreak every year. Only 10 franchises have won an NBA title since 1984. The odds are that your favorite team isn’t going to win a championship. There has to be a middle ground. Life is too short to live any other way.

It’s hard to argue this point with fans who always bounce around to the hottest team in the league. Those kind of fans don’t understand the degree of difficulty it takes to win a ring. For them, it’s as easy as cheering for the better team.



The Warriors’ game plan is simple: Find Kyrie Irving and score on him

Nate Scott:

By the fourth quarter, the Warriors’ game plan had become simple: Everyone work their tail off on defense, and on offense, find the guy who Kyrie is guarding. And then give him the ball and let him score.

By the fourth, Irving might as well have been wearing a neon green jersey. Every single time down the court, the Warriors did the same thing — they found the poor sap, and they picked on him.



Pelicans acquire DeMarcus Cousins from Kings in blockbuster NBA trade

Eric Stephen:

NBA All-Star weekend in New Orleans concluded with a blockbuster trade involving the host team. The Pelicans acquired All-Star DeMarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings for a package involving Buddy Hield and a 2017 first-round pick.

I like everything about this. Cousins and Davis together will be something special to watch.



I’m Back: Steph Curry’s Historic Return



Michael Rapaport’s Message to LeBron

This was ruthless. I love it.



Clippers vs Warriors, Tonight on ESPN

Tonight is a big game against the Warriors. It’s the first time the two teams play this year. The Warriors are 18-3, and the Clippers are 16-6. A little over a week ago, we were the best team in the league, getting off to the best start in Clipper history. Since then though, we’ve come back down to Earth, while the Warriors are starting to fire on all cylinders (two nights ago, Klay Thompson scored 60 points in only 29 minutes).

We’re only 22 games into the season, so this game is nothing more than a measuring stick for where each team is currently at, and no matter who wins, it doesn’t determine anything going forward—that’s the tricky thing about NBA regular season games—but these teams hate each other, and anytime they go head-to-head, it’s sure to be pure entertainment.

And as always, I like our chances.



Russell Westbrook vs. James Harden MVP Mix - I’M THE ONE



Isaiah Thomas is 5′9 and embarrasses taller players. Here’s how he does it.

Screens. Hesitations. Mastering circus shots. Sounds familiar. When you’re the smallest guy on the court, you have to find other ways to gain an advantage.



Chris Paul intends to give San Antonio serious consideration

The story continues.



James Harden Is the Changing Face of the Point Guard Position

Jonathan Tjarks:

The longtime shooting guard’s position change is Mike D’Antoni’s latest challenge of the game’s orthodoxy.

Mike D’Antoni made it official during training camp: James Harden is now the point guard of the Houston Rockets. On some level, it’s just semantics. Harden had one of the highest usage ratings in the NBA last season, and he’s going to have the ball in his hands for most of the team’s possessions, regardless of the position he plays. The distinction matters, but it matters more for the players alongside him than for Harden himself.

Interesting. I see this becoming a trend.



While they were waiting their turn, the league moved on. - Chris Ryan on the Clippers

Chris Ryan, from The Ringer:

The Clippers have a self-belief that borders on the absurd. They think that if they just keep plugging away, with the same guys, playing the same style, even against teams like Houston, Golden State, and San Antonio that are trying to relentlessly improve and reinvent themselves, something will break right for them.

And this is why they don’t get the benefit of the doubt. They’ve given us no reason to do so. While they were waiting their turn, the league moved on.



The Chris Paul Rockets Conspiracy

Chris Ryan is thinking Chris Paul could go to the Rockets instead of the Spurs. He does the homework and breaks down why this could be a thing. I don’t believe it, but I appreciate the investigating. I still think Spurs. No matter where he goes, this quote is what I’ve been saying about him leaving the Clippers and that extra money on the table:

Being Chris Paul is all the leverage Chris Paul needs, right? Maybe a shot at a ring is worth $50 million to him.

Chris Ryan ultimately agrees with me:

San Antonio makes the most sense for Paul. He becomes an immediate and huge upgrade at point guard, plays for a team that takes winning basketball games as seriously as he does, and plays for a coach who knows how to navigate a season in order to peak in the playoffs.



The Misunderstood Genius of Russell Westbrook

Sam Anderson:

Triple-doubles are difficult and rare. You don’t stumble into one — it takes a special kind of player, a dominant generalist. Even the outliers capable of achieving them tend to get only a handful per year; Magic Johnson, the modern king of the stat, got 18 in his best season. A triple-double is not a statistical parlor trick, like hitting for the cycle in baseball. It actually captures the essence of basketball, the way the game allows every player to do everything on the floor whenever the opportunity arises. To get a triple-double, a player has to control the action physically, strategically and socially; he has to become a funnel through which the energy of an entire game pours.

Westbrook has always had the potential to ring up triple-doubles, and in past seasons he has put together impressive flurries of them. This season, he has gone bananas. Some games, it feels as if Westbrook’s stats are moving in fast-forward — as if he is pulling numbers out of wormholes that only he can access. One night, Westbrook generated 10 assists in only 15 minutes; another, he finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 22 assists — totals not seen since Johnson himself. For years, the popular narrative stressed how much Durant was sacrificing to fit in next to Westbrook. It has become clear that the opposite was certainly just as true.



Anthony Davis Is a Superhero, But He Needs Some Superfriends

50 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, seven steals, four blocks. With his Wednesday-night performance, Davis became the fourth player to put up 50 points or more in a season opener. Hakeem Olajuwon was the closest historical precedent for this nonsense, but the Brow broke away somewhere inside of five minutes left.



Chris Paul - Let Me Disarm You (Highlights)

Most of the moves he does in this video are things he’s mastered in the last few years, ways to free himself without having to be as explosive. It’s incredible to see how simple but precise moves can create that much space for him.



Cavs or Warriors

We’re a few hours away from the NBA Finals. I spent most of today considering both sides, and who I’m picking to win it all this year. I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t pick.

I’m torn between both sides. For every person picking the Cavs, I can argue that the Warriors have too much firepower, and Durant will go into these game taking advantage of this new opportunity he’s placed himself in—and for every person picking the Warriors, I can argue that LeBron is LeBron, Irving can’t be guarded by anyone on the opposing team, and either of those guys can take over the entire game at any moment.

I can’t decide, so I’ll let you decide for me. I’ll just enjoy the show.



Chris Paul and the Spurs have mutual interest

Zach Lowe.



Clippers In The Playoffs (Summary and Hopes)

We’re a few days away from the NBA playoffs. The Clippers had a weird year: starting off with the best record in the NBA at 12-2, and then injuries started happening, between Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. The team sputtered and lost their identity during for most of the season, and it took much longer than I thought it would for them to get it back—so much so that I started assuming that they’d lost their identity for good. Until recently.

The last five games have been very impressive, as the Clips are getting hot at the right time. Going into this weekend, I couldn’t ask for anything more than what I’m seeing: Chris Paul is being very aggressive, looking to score, and looks as fast as he’s looked in years. And Blake Griffin is looking to score near the rim more, instead of settling for a long-distance shot.

The Clippers play the Jazz in round one, and even though they won’t be a push-over, I expect to advance past them, while getting in rhythm and gaining momentum for the rest of the playoffs.

I hope

These are just a few thoughts. I look forward to seeing it all play out.



Giannis Antetokounmpo Mix - What’s Next?



Chris Paul is important. So important, by Shea Serrano

Shea Serrano:

Did you know that for the entirety of his career, the only time Paul has ever finished outside of the top four in the league in assists per game was his rookie year (he was seventh), and that he finished first four times (2008, 2009, 2014, 2015)? Or did you know that starting in 2013, the NBA began tracking a stat called assist points created, which measures how many points a player’s assists account for, and that Paul has never averaged fewer than than 23.7 over that span, which means that in addition to his regular scoring he’s also generating nearly as many secondary points per game as Russell Westbrook is scoring? Or did you know that the season before Paul came to the Clippers (2011), they rated 23rd in offensive efficiency? And that the seasons after he arrived, they rated fourth (2012), fourth (2013), first (2014), first (2015), and then sixth (2016)? Or that he’s been one of the most effective midrange shooters in the world, allowing for an offensive backup plan that’s more effective than most teams’ first-place plans?



Craig Sager dies at the age of 65 after long fight with leukemia

Tim Cato, writing for SB Nation:

Craig Sager passed away at 65 on Thursday after an extended fight with leukemia. The TNT broadcaster known for his flamboyant suits and his ability to always make us smile was beloved by everyone in the NBA community and beyond.

I’ve been watching basketball since my elementary school days, maybe that’s why it feels like Craig Sager has always been around in my life. He will definitely be missed.



My Thoughts On Durant Going To The Warriors

Is Durant not smart for choosing to go the Warriors? Everything about them (marketing for Nike, location to live in, a chance to win multiple titles, etc.) makes sense if you’re Durant.

Correct me if I’m wrong but this is the first time ever that a team can have four max contracts (whoever your favorite player is now would love to be in the situation that these four players are in).

It takes a lot to win in this league. As good as the Cavs are, they were down 3-1 and could’ve easily went home without a ring. As dominant as the Warriors were, they went home without a ring. As good as the Spurs were, they didn’t get close to winning. Same for the Thunder, up 3-1 in the Conference Finals and still didn’t go home with the ring. My point is, all of these elite players’ legacies are on the line, in a time where it’s harder than ever to even get to the finals, much less win the title.

It’s easy to shout from the sidelines on social networks about what a superstar should do with his career, all while another year passes them by. But at least we’d respect them for being loyal, right?



Chris Paul and the Spurs? Here’s my thoughts

Kristian Winfield:

Paul is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract to test free agency. There, he could either re-sign with the Clippers for a lucrative five-year, $210 million deal or sign for no more than four years at $153.5 million with another team.

That’s $60 million and an extra year of employment Paul would leave on the table if he headed elsewhere. The normal human being would find the dotted line and sign it in blood in a heartbeat, especially one that negotiated a salary bump for players in his age bracket as National Basketball Players Association president.

But CP3 may crave more than just cash and security. He wants a championship more than anything. And if it’s not coming in Los Angeles, ESPNs Zach Lowe says another potential suitor for Paul’s services is none other than the vaunted San Antonio Spurs.

Before I knew there was mutual interest between Paul and the Spurs, I knew how much sense it made for him to go there. My response to anyone asking me what he’ll do this offseason was consistently Spurs.” So I’m not surprised by the latest headlines.

Chris Paul in San Antonio was always a dream combination of mine: if it wasn’t for Chris Paul, I’d be a Spurs fan, they fit the style of play I enjoy, as well as their attitude of being silent but deadly. I love the way Popovich plays chess against his opponents. It’s never a fair fight. The intricate way he thinks about the game matches the similar mind of Paul. The stability that team would offer Paul in his later years is key, more than money. He has money, now he needs a ring.

I can’t see him walking away from $200+ million though”

He’s not walking away from $200 million. He’s walking away from 50 million (compared to what other teams can give him). It’s still a lot, but is that the cost of a championship? If so, Paul, I’m sure, thinks that’s a fair trade. At this stage of his career, money isn’t the dragon he’s trying to slay, the ring is. This free agency is his last chance to get that.

Most people aren’t scrutinized the way Paul is for not getting out of the second round. It’s a joke now when you mention Paul and the playoffs. He’s also a guy that has a chip on his shoulder, as he still thinks he’s the best point guard in the league—but he can’t prove that with the Clippers anymore. They’re too limited. And the clock is ticking for him, louder than it ever has.



Jamal Crawford Interested In The Knicks

  1. Rose
  2. Crawford
  3. Anthony
  4. Porzingis
  5. Howard



I’m Nash (beta 32). I write, record, travel, and hike. Currently: finishing up my first book. Almost done. Let’s have coffee and discuss how I can help you. Support my creations by becoming a member.