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I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But... 
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Shade wrote:
I don't have a lot of time, and I'm honestly not sure what this means for the series, but OKC absolutely should have won that game fairly handily.


I have just two points to make before I get some rest for work tomorrow:

Manu Ginobli was absolutely brilliant. His lay-up with over 2 minutes left is THE BEST PLAY I'VE SEEN ALL POSTSEASON. He absolutely weaved throug and just left the Thunder's D dazzled and discouraged. Game-clincher.

Oklahoma City kept their composure late, sinking free throws and basically nailing threes every time they had the ball at the end. They remain an unfailingly efficient team, which will serve them well in subsequent games. Losing 101-98 after being slammed all fourth quarter is not all that bad. Let's see how they respond in game 2. For me, anything short of San Antonio sweeping their first two home games essentially favors the Thunder down the stretch.


Could be a classic series.


Sun May 27, 2012 11:34 pm
Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Evenflow8112 wrote:
They remain an unfailingly efficient team


I mostly agree, but I think they lost this particular game because Harden was not very efficient. He needs to be better.

After the game, Durant said this:

Quote:
I shot good shots, made good passes. Unfortunately, we lost.


This is truth. The Thunder did essentially everything they wanted to do, save for Harden's erratic play at times. They just got beat by a hot team who exploit weaknesses better than anyone.

Evenflow8112 wrote:
For me, anything short of San Antonio sweeping their first two home games essentially favors the Thunder down the stretch.


Agreed totally. A big part of me feels like the winner of game 2 will take the series. A bigger part of me feels that OKC must win game 2 to win the series.


Mon May 28, 2012 2:19 am
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Super pumped after that win. The Spurs are winning games they shouldn't win now. Scary.

Duncan and Parker will not go a combined 12/30 again. Ginobili was pretty much the only one who played well. Although Captain Jack played some great D on Durant.

Westbrook can continue to take bad shots like he did. As shown it won't get them far.

The Thunder got away with traveling, fouling on three pointers, and reaching in like crazy as well. They were really good defensively but there were a ton of calls (Manu got fouled on his buzzer beater, then on another three that he airballed, Kevin Durant took 3-4 steps on one wide open layup, etc.) that didn't get whistled. Luckily Gary Neal's charges at the end of the game were and Manu closed it out.

If the Spurs play up to par with what they have been playing, like they did when they were in OKC earlier this year, without Manu Ginobili, and absolutely bludgeoned them, then I really don't see this series lasting that long. The Spurs are tailor-made to beat the Thunder's pick and roll and I don't really see much play calling from the Thunder aside from iso situations which often result in tough, contested shots.

Only way the Thunder keep it close was what they did last night, get a lot of turnovers, push the break, and beat the Spurs in the transitional game.

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Mon May 28, 2012 1:08 pm
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
A few observations from last night:

It's gonna be tough for the Thunder to get wins if they can't get them when their big 3 combine for 88 points. Durant and Harden were fantastic, and Westbrook, while he dribbled too much and didn't shoot great, was still good (8 assists, 7 boards, zero turnovers). Outside of those three, however, the other 7 guys who played went 7-34. Ibaka had some impact defensively, but no one else that played affected the game at all. Or, at least, in any positive way.

You gotta love Duncan's basketball awareness. On a night when he goes 2-11 from the field, he gets to the line 10 times, grabs 12 boards, hands out 6 assists, and blocks 4 shots. Obviously Parker was masterful, but Timmy was able to really impact the game despite having a terrible night shooting the ball.

I'm pretty happy that the Wizards decided to take Jan Vesely over Kwahi Leonard. I'm sure Vesely will get 18 and 10 in a Conference Finals game one day. Oh wait, NO HE WON'T! HE FUCKING SUCKS!

The Thunder still have a smidge of hope going back home. Role players traditionally play better at home, so if the big 3 are efficient and they get some help, they could get back into the series. I personally don't see it because I think Parker will continue to outplay Westbrook, Duncan will eventually get it going on the block, and Harden, who will certainly play well, won't play as well as he did last night again this series. That was virtually a must win last night and the Thunder basically got thumped. Not a good omen.


Wed May 30, 2012 8:53 am
Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Also, when San Antonio does win this series, I want Phil's band to record a Spurs-themed cover of this song.


Wed May 30, 2012 9:22 am
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
The Spurs have now beaten the Thunder in ten of their last eleven matches (the only loss coming at OKC without Ginobili playing).

So yeah, I don't really see how a team that has won twenty in a row is going to lose the next four out of five games to an inferior team.

The Thunder's defensive rotations were not near as good as they were in Game 1. As a result the Spurs burned them plenty. Tim was still off, but Tony was ridiculous, and Kawhi Leonard was just splendid. Danny Green got going early as well.

In other news, I will either be seeing Game 5/7 of the Western Conference Finals or Game 1 of the NBA Finals in San Antonio. Nice little graduation present. Having never been there (I became a Spurs fan when I was 5 watching David Robinson vs. Hakeem Olajuwon in 94', the first NBA game I watched - that's the story of how I came to like them), I am really looking forward to it.

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Wed May 30, 2012 1:39 pm
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Things just got a bit more interesting. Sure, the Thunder are playing at home, but maybe this win will spark them. It certainly was the biggest blowout of the series so far.

As for the Celtics games, the New Orleans picks, the CP3 debacle and the Heat's criminal foul advantage; I love basketball, but I've stopped respecting the NBA as a governing power. Ridiculous shit all around. The classic die-hards of the league must be thoroughly disappointed and embarrassed by this past season.


Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:54 am
Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Props to the Thunder for bringing it, but this was a Game 7 for them. They had to bring it. They did. Now it gets interesting indeed. The smart money's still on the Spurs, of course, but if OKC can find a way to win tomorrow, they can at least make it compelling.

The C's had Game 2 to steal. Yes, the refs were astoundingly bad and Miami-leaning, but NBA refs are so bad all year this year that I'm not sure they're competent enough to throw a game. But then the Hornets won the lottery, so. Oy.


Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:07 am
Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
You could tell the Thunder played with the dreaded "sense of urgency" last night. It's a shame that such a concept exists, but that's human nature, I suppose. They forced 21 turnovers and held the Spurs to under 40% from the field. Outside of the middle of the first quarter, the game wasn't even competitive. It's really tough to win when you're turning the ball over a lot and not shooting well.

Also, I'm not big on tooting my own horn, but the role players were the difference last night. The Thunder's big 3 were good, but getting 19 from Sefolosha and 14 from Ibaka was huge. Those 2 also had 8 steals and 4 blocks between them. Role players are a lot better at home. They just are.

I said this to Dan last night during the game, but did anyone catch Brooks' pregame pep talk? When addressing the team he said their biggest adjustment was going to be "to play better". Seriously? You want your team to play better!? That's the ground breaking insight into cracking this series??? Granted, they won, but he's still a shitty coach. I'd give him credit for finally realizing his best lineup is the big 3, Ibaka, and Sefolosha, but it took him three games to figure that out!


Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:41 am
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Kind of expected last night's result.

At the very start the Spurs just looked a step slower, and it didn't change all night. I doubt the Thunder play that well again this series, but who knows. Either way I'll be in San Antonio for Game 5.

I'm getting sick of Ibaka getting away with a crazy amount of goaltends. He does it like 3-4 times every game on both sides of the floor where he either tips the ball while it is still in the cylinder, or slams the ball into the stands when it's obviously on the way down. But since he's the leading shotblocker in the league, everyone just assumes everything is a block and the proper call is never made unless it hits the backboard first and then he hits it.

James Harden eying the Spurs down last night was too funny. Really, you're trying to pick a fight with Stephen Jackson? Are you outside your mind? And as much as I dislike him, why are you talking trash to Kobe. How many rings do you have, James? Let your play speak for itself.

The Spurs turning the ball over 21 times was the defining stat. The only way OKC can beat them is in transition where they are breathtaking. Otherwise their half court offense relies on Westbrook taking a shot as soon as he sees one, Durant taking long contested twos, or Harden lowering his shoulder and going into the lane out of control but striking gold sometimes. I do not think Thabo will play that well again. I sense a big game from Tony and Manu tomorrow.

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Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:31 pm
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Hmmmmmmmmmm LeBron shoots five free throws and we win by ten. In fact, we never trailed in the second half AT ALL. What a funny coincidence. I'm THIS close to wanting that cheap, repugnantly spoiled Heat team to get raped by SA or OKC in the Finals. If this is the way LeBron needs to play in order to get a championship, then he deserves to retire ringless. Utterly disgusted.


Sat Jun 02, 2012 12:30 am
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Evenflow8112 wrote:
Hmmmmmmmmmm LeBron shoots five free throws and we win by ten. In fact, we never trailed in the second half AT ALL. What a funny coincidence. I'm THIS close to wanting that cheap, repugnantly spoiled Heat team to get raped by SA or OKC in the Finals. If this is the way LeBron needs to play in order to get a championship, then he deserves to retire ringless. Utterly disgusted.


Funny that both teams down in their respected series were both SO close to being up 2-1 and having momentum in their favor big time. The Thunder lost Game 1 in heartbreaking fashion, as well as the Celtics did in Game 2.

Come on, let's see a Celtics-Spurs Finals. One last go-around for the old guys in the league.

I want it to happen so bad. Rondo vs. Parker especially would be amazing.

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Sat Jun 02, 2012 1:35 am
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
DunkinDan89 wrote:
Funny that both teams down in their respected series were both SO close to being up 2-1 and having momentum in their favor big time. The Thunder lost Game 1 in heartbreaking fashion, as well as the Celtics did in Game 2.


Yeah, although I don't know that Boston or OKC would have brought the same performance in Game 3 if the series were tied -- or even if they could have brought the same performance, sadly. I mean, how often does this happen? We say this a lot, and I'm not trying to be a downer about it, but we care in most cases more than the players do. Teams at this stage certainly have the heart and desire to win...but clearly OKC and Boston turned it up a notch with their seasons on the line. It's just the simple psychology of it.

Again, though, I'm not trying to be a downer about it...just imagine how exciting it would be for these series to both go the distance, to go to Game 7s where both teams want it and will play like they want it. Of course we'd favor the home teams, as we should, but my goodness.

Still, every game at this point is blown out of proportion to some degree and both series could be over in 5. But I sure hope not.

DunkinDan89 wrote:
Come on, let's see a Celtics-Spurs Finals. One last go-around for the old guys in the league.

I want it to happen so bad. Rondo vs. Parker especially would be amazing.


Agree totally... although I think you'd mostly be happy to avoid Lebron/the Angel of Stern denying the Spurs their coronation more than the excitement of Spurs-Celtics haha. Regardless, it would be pretty fun, and we'd hopefully be able to remain friends.


Sat Jun 02, 2012 11:57 am
Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Remember when I said the Spurs would need to sweep at home to keep pace? Yeah. OKC will not lose with a home crowd cheering them. So, if they're riding a momentum streak and take game 5, that's the end of the series, isn't it? I sense there's a little more pressure on the home team in this instance.

As for Celts and Heat... I care but I don't care. The refs cost us game 2, which ends the series. The Celts were the darkhorse of the final four teams, and needed a leg up to win. Funny enough, I sense the only people who would really hate to see a Celts-Spurs Finals would be the people who had to advertise it to a dumb American public . "Teamwork and cohesion meets deep offense and purposeful fouling! KG and Duncan, Parker and Rondo! Allen and Ginobli! Paul Pierce and.... A zone defense! And all those guys you're only tangentially aware of! Who needs an alley-oop when you can have skillful, graceful layups, expertly timed pick and rolls, and suffocating defense?


PLEASE WATCH THIS. WE'RE SORRY. PLEASE WATCH THIS."


Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:07 pm
Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
And the C's prove their team superiority. Again. We should be up 3-1 and instead we're welcoming Chris Bosh back to Miami as their first roster experiment since Indy. Totally infuriated.


As for tonight.... Think the Spurs can atone for their two-game losing streak? It might be a six-game series if they don't close out tonight. My guess is, it'll be close, but the Spurs could surprise me and stun the Thunder with a blow-out. And yes, IF the Heat win their series, I do want one of these two teams to murder Miami. The Heat's cheapness has elevated me to new levels of contempt. I'm almost totally willing to root Spurs! This is like Skip Bayless calling LeBron James the greatest player in the history of basketball. I'm going to stop thinking about this before I vomit.


I still think the Heat are the favorites for both rounds going forward (they're facing a Celtic team that is mentally tough and locked in this postseason - people who compared this series to last season's series legitimately have no idea how to get a pulse on basketball - so they're not slumming. The C's are actually really playing that well), but I'll give SA and OKC - they play legit. Yes, the Spurs still obnoxiously intentionally foul to maintain a lead (they're the admonishing, not-always-fun teachers of the NBA), but they don't cheat. Manu and Parker have amazing layup and post moves, and their shooters are legitimately keyed in. I'm not sure what to feel about Duncan (my old phrase - the Juncan Dumpshot - is being threatened by his solid shooting lately) except that, if he and KG DO play each other in the Finals, then we will get to decide who's the better PF. Sure, Duncan will get the all-time nod, easily, but if he loses to KG on the biggest stage.... People will probably remember that. That's the only way KG can keep pace historically (in terms of comparison to Duncan, that is - he's obviously a first-ballot for the HOF or the system needs to be reworked). It's probably the most interesting possible scenario of the rest of the postseason.


Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:11 pm
Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
The simple truth: all 4 teams left are really good.

It's really not much more nuanced than that. We know each team's flaws and strengths. I don't think either Game 5 guarantees anything at all, although obviously either road team winning would win an advantage. I also don't buy the notion that it's that big of a deal for Boston or OKC to win 4 in a row... a streak like that just isn't a huge deal in the playoffs, because each game is so different in its significance. I mean, if Boston steals Game 5, KG & Company aren't thinking, Yikes, it'll be tough to get 4 in a row; they're thinking let's close out these motherfuckers at home and finish this shit. At least, KG and Rondo are thinking that. OKC plays wonderfully at home...but they have the biggest dropoff of any remaining team when they're on the road, and I agree with Phil that a Spurs blowout isn't out of the question. That said, if OKC can stay in it for 3 quarters they'll certainly have a healthy shot at winning it tonight.

Regarding C's-Heat... I mean, Bron's basketball brainlessness is rubbing off more than ever. Wade ignores an open Chalmers to take the three? Rather than drive on Daniels, he takes a 3? Did he forget he's shooting a scorching 28% this series from 3? Or take the final sequence of regulation... did Scotty Brooks take over Spoelstra's body for a moment and make sure he didn't run a play? I'm not going to say I'm not afraid of the Heat -- they can attack, or hit a lucky shot, or get a call... but I'm not afraid of them running a good play. I feel like that matters.

Also, something that doesn't get talked about nearly enough... I will give total credit to Bron for getting FTs. If he's getting calls he should absolutely do it. So I'm not bashing him for that when I say this... but aren't Rondo/Durant/Manu & Parker/etc etc way more fun to watch at this point? Lebron's level of talent doesn't really translate into the level of excitement in watching him play. Unfortunately.

It's gonna be a very exciting finish to this season... almost enough to make us forget the player and owners almost botched this season from happening.


Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:58 pm
Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Shade wrote:
I don't think either Game 5 guarantees anything at all


I'm not so sure I agree with that. Historically, when a series is tied 2-2, the winner of game 5 wins the series an ungodly amount of the time (not sure of the exact percentage, but it's overwhelmingly in favor of the game 5 winner). Aside from a game 7, I think game 5 is usually the most important to any series, especially one as evenly matched as the 2 we currently have going on. It's as simple as the winner of game 5 only has to win 1 more game, while the loser has to win 2. When you have evenly matched teams that are going back and forth, that's a monumental advantage.

I also don't buy any theories about the pressure being more on one team than the other at this point. We have 2 close series that have essentially become best 2-out-of-3 scenarios. Every game is gigantic at this point, and the pressure is on all 4 teams right now. None more than the other (except for maybe Miami, but for different reasons).

Shade wrote:
Regarding C's-Heat... I mean, Bron's basketball brainlessness is rubbing off more than ever. Wade ignores an open Chalmers to take the three? Rather than drive on Daniels, he takes a 3? Did he forget he's shooting a scorching 28% this series from 3? Or take the final sequence of regulation... did Scotty Brooks take over Spoelstra's body for a moment and make sure he didn't run a play? I'm not going to say I'm not afraid of the Heat -- they can attack, or hit a lucky shot, or get a call... but I'm not afraid of them running a good play. I feel like that matters.


I was shocked when I saw Wade dribbling out the clock last night. I said to myself, "he's going for the win and is actually going to settle for a 3!" Boston lives with that shot every single time, regardless of the outcome. Wade's never been a shooter and he's at his most dangerous when he's attacking the basket. I just can't believe he thought that was a smart decision and I'm equally as perplexed as to why he isn't being killed for the decision today. He was 7-21 from the field before that shot. There's really no reason to think a jumper is a good shot there. You have a guy who's not a good 3 point shooter (under 30% for his career), who's also having a tough night from the field, taking that shot. It's terrible basketball.

The Heat just aren't ever going to figure out how to execute at the end of games. It's on Lebron and Wade, but also Spoelstra. If he can't draw up a play to get them a good shot in 2 years, he's a terrible coach. If he's drawing up plays and the players aren't running them, then he's a coach with no control over his team. One of those two things is happening, and neither is good.

I'm not so sure Bosh coming back for game 5, if it happens, is a good thing for Miami. Haslem has been playing great when given somewhere around 30 minutes. He's doing all the little things, hitting big shots when called upon, and has swung at least 2 games in Miami's favor since Bosh went down. If the Heat throw Bosh in there and play him 35-40 minutes and at the end of the game, and lose Haslem's impact, I don't think a rusty Bosh will help at all.

Right now, I think the Spurs-Thunder series is at a stalemate. Either team can still win, and nothing that happens would really surprise me. I'd give the Spurs a slight edge because they have home court and they do not lose at home, but OKC has won the last 2. It's tough to give anyone an advantage in that series. As for Boston-Miami, I think the C's have an edge right now. They could easily be up 3-1, and they've completely outplayed Miami for the majority of the series. Boston's, by far, a better team. Miami has the 2 best players in the series. I just trust Boston to bring it for the next 3 games every night. Wade's been up and down this series and I don't think any of us truly trust Lebron is situations like these.

That said, Paul Pierce! Stay in a game!


Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:38 pm
Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Allowing a surprise road upset, I think this OKC-SA series is over. Ginobli and Duncan played great, assured basketball, but OKC carried the momentum of their home games into San Antonio. I'll be moderately stunned if SA pulls this series out now, especially since Oklahoma City has such an amazing home court advantage.


Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:55 pm
Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
I agree with Phil. OKC has a stranglehold on this series now.

Also, James Harden may have saved Westbrook's career tonight. OKC kept going to him, and he kept fucking up. He wanted to blow that game so badly and Harden's 4 point play along with his gigantic 3 at the end of the shot clock with under 30 seconds left sealed the deal for OKC. If they had blown that game, Westbrook would have been absolutely crushed by pretty much everyone on the planet (and deservedly so).

I'm not sure the Thunder will ever be able to completely trust Westbrook, but Durant and Harden are good enough that it might not matter.


Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:36 am
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Post Re: I Don't Know How Many Basketball Fans We Have Here, But...
Absolutely horrendously officiated game. Ibaka still goaltends like crazy, Perkins sets a billion moving screens, Durant and Westbrook flop more than Manu and get calls. Everytine the Spurs got close or made a huge run an awful call stifled it.

The Thunder continue to win on lazy offense and lucky shots.

That was a referee altered gme though. Manu And Jack get pushed to the ground - nothing. Durant runs into a stationary Duncan or flat out loses the ball - must be a foul.

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