One paragraph of instant reaction to one of the greatest NBA games I’ve ever seen:
It’s tough to escape the feeling that San Antonio’s chance was tonight. Not only did they get THE DUNCAN GAME (30 points 17 rebounds) but they also got a whole bunch of awkward shots to fall at times when Miami was turning up the Heat. (!) I’m thinking of Splitter hook shots, Leonard push shots, and Parker fadeaway threes to tie the game with a minute to play. Kawhi had a chance to ice it and only made one of two free throws. If the Spurs don’t win Game 7 — and they probably won’t — he’ll probably never win a title and he’ll never live that down in his own mind. That sucks. Ginobili made key mistakes. It’s hard not to focus on Spurs errors because they had all the good fortune tonight and it was their game to lose. But then again, LeBron WITHOUT HEADBAND was incredible. As is always the case whenever LeBron is on the floor, his adrenaline-boosted drives are almost unstoppable. The only thing that put tonight’s win in jeopardy after he turned on the jets was Erik Spoelstra bowing to Dwyane Wade by subbing him back in (he shouldn’t have) and calling an iso set for him that turned into a fadeaway jumper that badly missed. Coach Pop decided to one up his nervous opponent by taking out Duncan on key defensive possessions that ended with Miami converting second chance points. All in all, it was a well played game and I’m probably wrong to focus on mistakes. In any case, I fully expect Miami to win Game 7 at home and this series to be remembered for the Game 6 that Jesus Shuttlesworth saved for his new team with a wild corner trey that was more routine for him than anything else. Gotta love this.
Another huge LeBron Game 6 tonight, and it never hurts to remember Puck.
Off the court, I’m a nice guy. On the court, I want to play. I’m a guy who wants to win. That’s what it takes to be the best. I’m not just looking to get drafted. I’m looking for my team to be a playoff team, to be an All-Star. That’s something I always try to look for and setting goals to reach out to.
–Shabazz Muhammad, in his post-Wolves workout interview with timberwolves.com. For the entire piece: http://www.nba.com/timberwolves/news/1-1-uclas-shabazz-muhammad
timberwolves.com Blog Profile: Punch-Drunk Wolves
Mark Remme and the good folks at the Timberwolves website asked us to participate in their weekly blog-profile series. We appreciate being included and had fun answering the questions.
Fact: My prediction that the Heat would sweep Games 3 through 5 in San Antonio was incorrect.
UNBELIEVABLY incorrect. Like, the-Spurs-won-Game 3-by-36-points incorrect. As my wise Uncle Eric* explained to me in that comments section, the Spurs’ team approach would carry the day over the one-on-one brilliance–or what is usually “brilliance” anyway–of the Heat’s star players. Ball movement and cutting beat standing and watching.
It didn’t hurt that Danny Green and Gary Neal had career games from beyond the arc (collectively they were 13-19 from downtown–unsustainable, in other words) but that doesn’t explain all of this unbelievable ass-whoopin’. There was the non-Big 3 starters Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem combining for 0 points. There was Chris Bosh — once considered a medium-list superstar — scoring 2 points in the 2nd Half. There was Dwyane Wade continuing to struggle to find easy shots. But most of all…
Question: Why does LeBron struggle to play his normal style in so many high-leverage games?
I don’t do a lot of predictions here because, well, I know that nobody really cares about them.
But here goes:
Miami is going to win every one of the three upcoming games in San Antonio and at least two of those wins won’t be close.
Alexey loves the land of 10,000 (frozen) lakes. It’s like Moscow.
Alexey Shved: Minneapolis is Moscow and Moscow is Minneapolis and I like Moscow so therefore I like Minneapolis
Andy G: Amid all of the
pre-draft Playoffs craze, we haven’t devoted nearly enough (any?) attention to our favorite Timberwolf, Alexey Shved.
For some background, in case anyone forgot, here is the best visual representation of how Shved met “The Rookie Wall”:
It was tough to watch, both as a fan of Shved the player, and the Timberwolves team. His off-season will be as important to the team as anything it does in the draft or free agency. The team needs help at shooting guard in a bad way, and Alexey has had/might continue to have the opportunity to make the job his. He just needs to get [a lot] stronger and more consistent with his jump shot.
He gave an interview in Russia recently, which was partially interpreted in a Canis Hoopus thread by commenter RussianBeesnyestEenterest.com (I love that moniker, btw.) Shved had this to say about his rookie season, and hitting the rookie wall:
“I was not able to sustain that level of play for the season – mainly because it was very tiring. Other players also warned me that could happen to me. Avoiding these slumps was not possible though. Playing 82 games in five and a half months – that’s quite a prize (ironic). It is, for example, possible to have 5 games in just 7 days! And if the coaching staff gives you 25 to 30 minutes of playing time it is very hard to give them good basketball until the end of such a stretch. At the end of the day I had very pleasing games and very unpleasing ones. It gave me experience. And for next season, I will know what to expect right from the start. Of course I will work to ensure that I will play much more consistently.”
Importantly, he goes on to say that he’s returning to Minnesota on June 25 to work individually with the team on his off-season program.
Today marks the 20th Anniversary of Petrovic's death, seems appropriate to re-post this one that looked back on his Portland days with Rick Adelman. RIP.
Andy G: We attended Wolves-Wizards last January. The Wiz were barely beginning to hit their stride (which made the ass-kicking that much more painful — we didn’t totally see it coming, despite Mickael Gelabale being a starter) and in particular their young backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal looked mighty impressive. The synergy that Ernie Grunfeld envisioned when he drafted Beal (and reportedly turned down a James Harden trade (!)) was coming to fruition before our eyes, even with Randy Wittman at the wheel.
John Wall created shot opportunities. Bradley Beal took advantage of them. In the course of their first season together — largely limited by injuries — the duo thrived. On average they were +3.6 per game, best of commonly-used Wizards player pairings. I think many will predict big improvement from Washington next season, including a playoff berth, in large part because they’ve put together such a talented and balanced backcourt.
I bring this up because the Wolves also have a magnificent playmaker at point guard, a dearth of capable 2’s, and a pair of first rounders in the upcoming draft. Also like Washington, Minnesota has veteran frontcourt talent. Basically, everybody’s waiting for that shooting guard to arrive. Whether it be with the lottery pick (9) or the one received from the Grizzlies (26) it seems likely that a wing player will don a Timberwolves cap on June 27.
We’ve already talked Victor Oladipo and Shabazz Muhammad. ‘Dipo is not Beal. Whether better all-around or worse, there’s a clear difference in style; in tool sets. And Shabazz, well… it’s probably best we lay off that one for a bit. He’s controversial, putting it mildly.
If they end up going lottery wing, that likely leaves Kentavious Caldwell-Pope from Georgia (if they stay at Number 9) or Ben McLemore from Kansas (if they trade up). Both can shoot it.
Which is the way to go, all things considered?
Roy Hibbert was fined 75 large for one of two reasons:
1. He said something offensive and should be punished in order to deter NBA players from this type of behavior;
2. He said something offensive and the NBA felt the need to issue a statement (via Roy Hibbert’s checking account) to its corporate partners that it does not share the offensive views expressed by Roy Hibbert.
I suppose there’s a third rationale; one that’s so offensively paternalistic that I’d rather just hope it isn’t the case. That would be:
3. He said something offensive and the NBA felt the need to punish him so that he would think about why what he said was wrong, and change his views accordingly.
Personally, I think it’s a combination of reasons 1 and 2.