NBA Playoffs 2017: Conference Finals
Punctuality be damned...
...is it time for the trilogy matchup yet?
GSW vs. SAS
I feel like a dick writing about this series when the Spurs are already in a two game deficit with their star player, and ye-olde point guard down. Popovich already produced an epic video making even the most bitter and tempered Spurs haters' sit back and contemplate loyalty. Even though the son of a bitch is a blatant hypocrite when it comes to his past defensive remarks on the dirtiest player that ever lived, Bruce Bowen...
He's got a fucking point though. And a lot of that was fluffing of feathers to raise the spirits of the rest of his team. It didn't do much come game 2, but it was worth a fucking shot. Words can do a lot, and at the same time only so much. Zaza Pachulia knew what he did. They all do. When you're of that high of a caliber of a player as they are once they reach the NBA...they just, know. They understand the dynamics. Pop' is not innocent in this. Zaza isn't either. Shit, there's video footage of Aldridge doing the same to Durant this series. Doesn't take away from the fact that a series might now have been decided by some bullshit. This coming from a Suns fan where a supreme bullshit call went against the Suns, in a series against the Spurs, where it later came out that ref's were betting on the Spurs. Yeah. That fucking hatred runs deep. But I'm not writing about Karma, or past grievances.
With a healthy Kawhi, the Spurs proved that they can compete. It's been a spiral since that fourth quarter & game after the before mentioned incident. Popovich is the supreme mastermind though and Kawhi may be back for game four. If there's a coach that isn't afraid to be down three games in a series, it's him.
Warriors are in a sense, down their general. Kerr has been in and out of games with a bad injury brought on by existing back pains and complications during a surgery that led to spinal fluid leakage. Assistant coach Mike Brown has stepped in, A.K.A. former Cleveland LeBron coach & Mr. Potato-head Lakers' coach...if you follow basketball forums. Despite this, their star players are clicking something fierce...which is something almost admirable until you realize the majority of the team are either All-Stars, former All-Stars, or of that potential pedigree. Becomes more of a deflating 'duh' moment...
...I just can't get into Golden State. Can't appreciate them with the Durant era. Beforehand, they were largely built off of the draft and underdog acquisitions. Now...they're just cheap. Any super-team is cheap. They did everything any other team would do, but...we're all bitter for it. Just trying to be an honest hater, homies.
Ultimately the Spurs need to hope that Kawhi can play before the series is over. The Spurs franchise are playing it long-term smart and keeping him healthy. With Tony P(o)rker out and now Kawhi, there are very few...no, there are no playmakers. Ginobili, essentially. Your best bet is to give Aldridge the ball, but who is going to do that and does Aldridge know that? Yeah, he's had his one good game of the series. He's been hit and miss. Alright, there was the hit, and we've already seen some strike outs in these playoffs. Sooo....
...a two man game between adrenalized corpse of Ginobili and Aldridge. Yikes. Next player on that roster that's capable of creating their own offense is David Lee.
Superior firepower tends to win and that's exactly what Golden State possesses. I know I said this about Houston, and clearly had a brief lapse in judgement when assuming that Harden wouldn't choke yet again. Or that Popovich wouldn't rebound strategically after that first blowout. The Spurs are deep and well-coached. But these are the fucking eazy-mode Warriors. You have to at least be a little top heavy to be able to compete and I think we saw this in the second game of the series. Warriors in 5. Spurs will pull off some excellent basketball on their home turf, but ultimately Durant will go off in the deciding game.
BOS vs. CLE
I'm a big fan of Isaiah Thomas, and I have tremendous respect for the Boston franchise from top to bottom. It seems disingenuous to even call them underdogs this season. But ultimately, that's what they were. That's what's woven into the fibers of their best player Thomas. I said in the Wizards series that it would probably come down to tired legs and depth. Well, John wall missed his last ten shots in game 7, and their bench scoring was non existence outside of Bogdanovich. Then that funky looking Canadian Olynyk went off in the fourth. Hell, of a fucking series.
Cleveland flipped that playoff switch though and are playing with Mafioso bravado. They will absolutely win this series, sorry Celtics fans'. Boston doesn't have anyone that can deal with Tristan Thompson on the boards. With Kevin Love on the boards. This is the same shit I said about Toronto. In fact, the Celtics are honestly less talented than the Raptors, but far better coached and more spirited. It'll be the same game plan for Cleveland here. They'll dominate with their shooting and LeBron will again prove that no one is guarding him. Expect a lot of switches on the pick and roll with Thomas ending up on LeBron. I know it's been said that Isaiah's height will be a factor in every series before this one, but trust me it will actually be a factor here. The Celtics will have to burn through a lot of fouls between Bradley, Brown, and Crowder to stay in front of LeBron. Which is just not good for them considering Kyrie. Who the fuck gets placed on him? Marcus Smart, sure, but eventually you end up playing small ball with these defenders on the court, and LeBron James then becomes the biggest player on the floor.
I will say this. Horford has really been the player in these playoffs Boston hoped he would be when they signed him. His passing, defense and efficiency have been marvelous. And Boston beat out the team that I said would have the best chance against Cleveland. But what I see happening is LeBron jogging his way to a triple dub each game, Cleveland controlling the boards, and an iso shoot out between Kyrie and Thomas over and over. Short of home court advantage playing a bigger roll than anticipated and Olynyk shenanigans...
I see this being over in 5. Celtics will squeeze out a close win on their home floor. The rest will be convincing wins for Cleveland. But I've been wrong before, and we'll know in an hour if reality on the court matches up with the reality in my head. Cheers.
...but in bizzaro world where Cleveland doesn't stomp out the Celtics, and we actually end up with Golden State vs. Boston...which player brings a knife onto the court first; Kelly Olynyk, or Zaza Pachulia? More importantly, which player probably smells worse? Olynyk has that funky mountain drew-drinker look to him. Zaza Pachulia's name literally reeks. Like typing out his name made the room smell like a den of gypsies. I'm not kidding. Holy shit. Help
...I think this all could have been summarized by just typing "Duh" over and over. Kind of how I also felt when the Suns ended up with the fourth pick yesterday. Probably a blessing in disguise honestly. Not sure if I would want my team to have the tough decision of rolling the dice on Lonzo Ball and his Kardashian-lite family. Speaking of ridiculous manufactured bullshit, I can't wait for my pair of BBB's to be shipped...copped the special edition ones for only four G's and my eventual first born! Fucking steal, considering I'll probably never have kids. Holla.