2018-19 NBA Thread

Kyrie Irving: wait until the playoffs. Playoffs are my time. I'm the only player on this team who knows how to be a champion. I've played so many playoff games. I'm the best on the team. I'm a leader leading. These young guys just need guidance.

Kyrie Irving: *gets outplayed by a damn 33 yo backup point guard in a series*
The rest of our players finally stepped up to take a bit of the load off Kawhi insert load management joke here. Sixers sent bodies after Kawhi and he just kicked it out to our shooters to pick them apart. It's amazing how much his offensive game has evolved.

Hopefully Raptors can finish this in 6 so I don't miss Game of Thrones on Sunday for a potential game 7.


Two kids with their hearts on fire
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I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Celtics team with as little fight as this one. Just sad.
The rest of our players finally stepped up to take a bit of the load off Kawhi insert load management joke here. Sixers sent bodies after Kawhi and he just kicked it out to our shooters to pick them apart. It's amazing how much his offensive game has evolved.

Hopefully Raptors can finish this in 6 so I don't miss Game of Thrones on Sunday for a potential game 7.
ur missing GoT sorry.
The league made way for Thrones two weeks ago (The Long Night) but it doesn't look like they'll do it again. Raptors-Sixers and Nuggets-Blazers on Sunday, and Warriors-Rockets too if the Rockets win tomorrow.
People forget how good Curry really is.
No I don't, cause Curry is one of my favorite players, but I went to sleep at the of 3rd (fucking GMT) thinking about which beer I would buy to watch 3 decisive games at Sunday. And Curry/Klay "splashed" out my plans thru the window.
Western Conference Finals Analysis

“But to call it (basketball) pressure is almost an insult to regular people.” – Damian Lillard
“I don’t believe I’m better than anyone, but I don’t believe [anybody] is better than me. And I think that’s how a lot of people feel.” – Kevin Durant
“I want to win a championship for this city, but I’m not willing to put somebody under the bus to do it.” – Damian Lillard
“You know you guys aren’t going to win a championship.” – Kevin Durant to CJ McCollum

(1) Golden State Warriors versus (3) Portland Trailblazers
Give Portland credit for certainly making it this far, but most likely, this series is a bit more predictable than we’re used to in a conference final.

They have been an excellent team in the post-season. They take care of the ball, their frontline has served them well without Nurkic in multiple ways, and their bench guys have stepped up when it mattered the most. If you told me Evan Turner would be a difference maker during the fourth quarter of a road game seven win earlier this year, I would have laughed.

But does this team have what it takes to finally dethrone Golden State? Well, plenty of things would have to happen first.

Let’s start talking about the backcourt match-up first since that’s the highlight reel of this series. We know Lillard and McCollum both put no scare into anyone defensively. Curry and Thompson historically have score effortlessly against this team. So effortlessly that I feel they get their points easier, and they are better two-way players than their respective match-ups. Since both teams rely heavily on their backcourt to create and score (I know Durant exists, but I’ll get to him in a bit), for Portland to stand a chance, Lillard and McCollum must not only score themselves, but they must make Curry and Thompson at least feel them defensively. I don’t place a high chance of that happening this time, but they did show plenty of growth this year from last year’s sweep from New Orleans. Portland can, of course, move guys around and have Lillard and McCollum on Golden State’s less lethal offensive players like Iguodala and whatnot… at least until Durant comes back and mucks things around. So, it will be incredibly important for Portland to at least steal one early road game. Once Durant returns, at least one of those two guys will be tortured on defense.

Stotts has an interesting decision to make with the frontcourt. What will be the most successful line-up? Aminu and Harkless struggle to score and are offensive liabilities, and when you can’t have offensive liabilities against Golden State. They are too talented defensively. Houston tried the Tucker-at-center line-up and it at least played close, but rebounding was inconsistent. They ran Capela off the floor, so I’m not sure if a traditional big man like Kanter would be effective. Stotts can try something like Houston by putting Aminu at the five and giving him the “Tucker” role. Heck, they may even play it better since they have more size. The backcourt is a little younger too. Portland doesn’t typically play helter-skelter though, but I feel it’s their best shot.

Zach Collins is an interesting guy to talk about, but he’s in his second year, and as versatile as he is on both ends, Green will still be a tough match-up. If he plays well, he will give his team the necessary edge to make Green sweat. How the frontcourt plays off those Curry and McCollum traps will dictate their efficiency in the long run.

Portland also has one decent advantage that could be a strength if Durant misses extended time at least: they got a little bit more depth. Stotts has gone nine and even ten deep in a couple of games, and they have surprisingly bench performers game to game. If Hood is healthy, this could be a decent series. Golden State without Durant and Cousins is honestly reeling in depth and minutes to their core starters. The Death Lineup is still amazing, but its effectiveness is dropping a tad bit this year likely due to overuse.

If they can get two key guys to have decent performances in a win or two, things can certainly get interesting. It could range from Seth Curry, Turner, Collins, Hood, or Leonard. If Portland wins, their box-of-chocolate bench is certainly the reason why they do.

Overall, I honestly feel that Durant is the true difference maker in all of this. Even without Durant, Curry and Thompson have been the superior backcourt historically. Kanter has improved overall in his defense, but he was slightly ineffective in the previous serious, and it only gets harder from there. Curry and Thompson will roast him, and whichever guard is on Curry. Therefore, Collins and Aminu are such key factors to me in Portland making any kind of noise in this series, but I simply do not see it happening with those two.

Golden State wins if: Durant returns like at all. Curry and Thompson play like they normally do as decent two-way guys. Green feasts on a frontcourt lacking Nurkic. Kanter still can’t play defense. Lillard and McCollum can’t outscore their own defensive efficiencies.

Portland wins if: Lillard and McCollum surprisingly defend well. Zach Collins has a coming out party. Their bench is unpredictably good in every win. Aminu plays Green’s role better than he can.

Golden State in six.
I love seeing the C's get shafted in the lottery regardless of all the picks they acquired (Memphis pick will most likely convey next season and be better); this combined with their atrocious season/team chemistry has probably just about used up all the bad karma that Ainge created when he dumped IT so unceremoniously.

Was also nice to see the new lottery odds work somewhat. Most of the blatant tankers (Knicks, Cavs, Suns, Bulls) missed out on the top 5 while other who simply had injuries or mediocre seasons jumped (Pels, Grizz, Lakers) way up the board.

There is also some irony that the last time NOLA got the #1 pick was after a failed trade with the Lakers (cp3/gasol/etc) and now they land it again after the fiasco that was the Lakers' attempted Davis-for-everything trade. It will be interesting to see what David Griffen does with AD now that he hold most of the leverage
The Celtics are in a pretty bad position, especially after this lottery. They have a team that hates one another, and their assets don't look as good as they once did. Kyrie most likely walks, and does Ainge still want to trade Tatum and Brown, along with every pick (because they need sweeteners for Hayward) for AD? If he does that, they have nobody left to convince AD to re-sign next summer.

Or does he convince Kyrie to stay by saying he'll trade everyone else for AD? But what if the Pelicans don't bite until February? Kyrie has to play 4 months with Tatum and Brown, and even then there's no guarantee the Pelicans will trade AD to the Celtics.

Of course, all this also depends on what other offers the Pelicans get, and hopefully Griffin will help us out with the Bron connection.
Eastern Conference Finals Analysis

"I'm Wolverine, man. You know Wolverine? I'm Wolverine, except for when I die, I'mma just die" – Kyle Lowry

"If I knew he was there, I would have probably gone like this (puts one hand down to protect his crotch) or tried to avoid him. I do not want to hit my private areas. But I did not see him." “I want to win a championship for this city, but I’m not willing to put somebody under the bus to do it.” – Giannis Antetokounmpo

Eric Bledsoe on if he takes the matchup with Terry Rozier personally: “Who?” Bledsoe replied. “Terry Rozier,” a reporter said again. “I don’t know who the f*** that is,” Bledsoe responded.

(1) Milwaukee Bucks versus (2) Toronto Raptors
A very high-stakes match-up. The way this match-up ends could determine the future of Kawhi.

There’re quite a few angles to examine but the most fascinating to me is the frontline match-up of Giannis/Middleton/Lopez versus Kawhi/Siakim/Gasol/Ibaka. There are so many possibilities on how effective either can be guarding each other or trying to score. I do not foresee anyone other than Siakim on Giannis for most of the time. What this will likely do is probably take Siakim out of a lot of games which is negative, because he’s probably the second most consistent scorer for Toronto. Kawhi would be great in stretches because he’s one of the best at ball-denial. Ibaka would be my third pick if say, Siakim gets in foul trouble because Gasol would be far too slow. Truthfully, if Milwaukee spaces the floor well enough, Toronto doesn’t stand a chance in containing him any more than Boston in the previous series.

I’m curious to see Nurse’s core strategy. Force Giannis to score 40+ and stay home on everyone else or force him to pass and dare the other teammates to make shots? The question might be a little easier the other way around considering the last series, Kawhi went through many stretches of very little help from the rest of his teammates against Philadelphia. A large part of who I favor in this series has to do with whose supporting cast appears more consistent and confident in making plays.

The point-guard match-up is key too. If Middleton will have his hands full with Kawhi, and Siakim will with Giannis, Lowry, and Bledsoe are the next players in line who can affect the game. Both players are wildly inconsistent. I want to say I slightly favor Bledsoe just based on his athletic tools, but then I think about the fact that Lowry is one of the best guys to get charges which would be huge against Giannis. Who knows, this match-up may end up being a wash too, and that’s what makes this series so perplexing.

The last series I talked about how I was very wary of Horford pick-and-popping Lopez to death because he isn’t a mobile center. Now, I’m not as worried. Gasol and Ibaka combined don’t seem as threatening from three as Horford, but that doesn’t mean it can’t swing a few games. Ibaka will shoot if he’s open and hopefully, Gasol will as well, because we know Splash Mountain is certainly going to shoot. It is imperative Toronto’s centers put pressure on Lopez. Milwaukee is the best team in the league at shutting down the rim, and Toronto will need more shotmakers outside the paint. So far this playoff, they simply haven’t been there.

So, who do I favor and why?

Being honest, walking into this post-season, I have Toronto as my #1 pick out the East. They had the best distribution of talent, depth, veteranship, and scheme to me. Unfortunately, the previous round has exposed plenty of the issues they’ve ran into during the regular season. Sometimes, Kawhi pounds the ball a wee bit too much. Siakim has improved tremendously this season, but his move from the bench to the starting line-up coupled with trades has depleted the bench to essentially VanVleet who has struggled, and the bench units he’ll be up against certainly won’t be as weak as Philadelphia’s. I honestly feel like Toronto has less room for error in comparison to Milwaukee.

They’ve mostly gotten by with their on-ball defense and Kawhi’s clutchness. Eventually, his teammates will have to consistently step up and make plays. I have a hard time imagining that happening against Milwaukee. It can happen, but Milwaukee in the previous round had them play better with Giannis on the bench. That is simply wild.

I look at it like this: if I feel Giannis/Middleton/Bledsoe/Lopez are equal to Kawhi/Siakim/Lowry/Ibaka and Gasol on paper, which team has the intangibles and seem better at the margins? If you chose Toronto, you’re probably thinking their defense is enough to muck up Milwaukee’s schemes, and you believe their supporting guys will come back alive and just hope Philadelphia’s size was the only reason they struggled. If you chose Milwaukee, you’re probably looking at their depth advantage, Giannis’s ability to draw fouls, and trusting their secondary and role players to be more dominant as displayed in the previous series.

Milwaukee wins if: Giannis’ supporting cast was simply better. Lopez provides more at the center position than anybody Toronto has. Kawhi gets no help. Bledsoe doesn’t know who Lowry is.

Toronto wins if: Kawhi gets help. Ibaka shoots 15 of 20 from three. Lowry’s fat ass gets Giannis in foul trouble. Toronto’s combination of excellent individual defense and length is better than Milwaukee’s offensive schemes.

Milwaukee in six.

Also yay Raptors won today, means they’ll at least be playing til Friday, hopefully their series goes 7 and gives KD the max time to recover
It doesn't matter. Finals game one is on May 30th regardless of how short the conference finals are. Only advantage to a longer ECF is that whichever team comes out will be more tired.
Man Portland just stop getting swept in the post season. Two lengthy 7 game series and then booted out by a snakeless warriors squad. How embarrassing
I have to know in what universe is Kawhi Leonard worth just Jakob Poeltl, a protected first rounder, and DeMar DeRozan? Especially once you throw an expiring Danny Green into that trade as well.

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