Eastern Conference Finals
Cleveland Cavaliers v Toronto Hawks
Like most people I’m pretty underwhelmed about this series. I’m expecting an easy Cavs series victory and for Lebron to get to the finals for the 6th year running. That is one hell of achievement.
Toronto don’t have Valanciunas and are going to rely heavily on Biyombo at the center position. I’m expecting the Cavs to have the advantage on the boards, especially with when Thompson’s on the floor. Lowry & DeRozen haven’t had a great playoffs overall, but have been better towards the backend of the Heat series.
It’s be interesting to see who the Cavs put on DeRozen. They could put Lebron on him, Lebron’s not the defender he was year ago. Part of the reason is that he gives a lot less effort on D. When you’ve been to the Finals 5 straight years and have already played more NBA minutes than Bird and Magic you can be forgiven for being efficient and saving yourself for when it matters. Paul George shut down DeRozen this post season, and Lebron can too. Unless the Lebron guards someone like Carroll to save his energy for the other end.
Cavs in 5
Western Conference Finals
Golden State Warriors v Oklahoma City Thunder
Last preview I said how I fully expected the Spurs to proceed…I was wrong! I managed to at least draw even on this series thanks to a large bet on Thunder to win game 6 at home. The market bizarrely (to me) still had the Spurs as slight favourites considering what had occurred in the series till that point.
About those Spurs…what the hell happened?
The Spurs weren’t helped by some dodgy calls. It’s not good when there’s 2 L2M reports that say you were hard done by. There’s been a lot of focus on the Waiters inbound decision in game2, but that whole game OKC were allowed to beat up the Spurs. (And in game 1 last night the Thunder were allowed to beat up the Warriors).
But the main reason, as every at least semi-astute watcher knows, is that the Spurs struggled to score. In 2014 they won the title playing beautiful basketball, 2 years later their offense was basically isoball and dump it into the post for Aldridge. There’s been some chat that with the league shooting more & more 3s, that there’s an inefficiency in the lack of the midrange game…but the fact is that the midrange is inefficient! Everyone knows Kanter is a bad defender as he gets blown by easy. The Spurs had success attacking him in the PNR but didn’t do it that often against him. Kanter’s fine on the defensive end when all he has to do is defend postups and rebound. Kanter got destroyed last night as he had to defend space.
Another problem for the Spurs is the lack of athleticism that they have. Which is probably the main reason they’ve left the 2014 style of play…which brings me on to Kyle Anderson. Mr Anderson played around 60 minutes in the series for a combined -26. Even in the first game that the Spurs won by 32 points he played 23 minutes and was only +1! He’s not long and his nickname is slow’mo, so why the hell was he guarding Kevin freaking Durant when he was on the floor?! Madness. When he leaves the Spurs he’s going to be another one of those players than people wake up to how shit they really are.
So OKC beat the Spurs, who were a good matchup for them, but now play a polar opposite team in the Warriors. The Spurs play slow and shoot a lot of long 2s (and far too few 3s) while the Warriors play fast and shoot loads of 3s. Spurs had terrible spacing and the Warriors don’t have that problem. The Warriors don’t rely on PNR like OKC but have more offball screen and cuts. Plus it helps when Curry can just dribble around for a bit, get a little bit of space then drain a 3.
The Warriors lost the first game last night, and it was one of those games that they really should have won. Their health is an issue. Curry’s not back to 100% yet. Green has an ankle injury and Bogut only managed 17 minutes. Despite losing game1 at home and these injury concerns, GSW are still rightly the favourites to quality.
Last point: its becoming a total joke the way that the refs have been favouring OKC these playoffs. Again last night they could beat up GSW and not get called. Small ball won’t work when the other team can beat the shit out of you. Also how did Iggy not get FTs for that foul late on, and there’s the obvious Westbrook travel…
I don’t think it’s a conspiracy, unlike some fools on twitter going on about the Lebron v OKC ratings, it’s just incompetence.
GSW in 7