THE ’15-’16 GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS COULD BE THE ’07 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS.

Commentary:

curry-sad-game3-ap

Record breaking, historic season all comes down to one Thunder win away from losing all of it. Photo: Associated Press

The Oklahoma City Thunder are one win away from eliminating the best team in NBA history based on regular season wins.

After delivering another beatdown last night, OKC now on the verge of returning to the NBA Finals, needing only to win one game out of 3 remaining matches. They have contained the Warriors’s deadly offense, forced turnovers, outrebounded Golden State and just flat out outplayed them during their two home games. They are now a win away from being able to chase the ultimate prize.

The Warriors have been complacent. Both Draymond Green and Stephen Curry have struggled mightily in this series. Curry hasn’t shot the ball well, and has been giving the ball away plenty. Green is not in his usual self, not as energetic and has been contained all over the court. The entire Warriors’ defense, their calling card, has not been visible outside of Game 2.

The Warriors are on the verge of missing out on one of the best seasons in all of sports. After breaking the record of having the most wins in a regulars season, and having the first ever unanimous MVP, Golden State is closing in on what could be a failure of year, just by not finishing and winning the year’s championship. What that means could simply be one thing…

Irrelevancy.

In sports, the year is defined by winning the Championship. Records are made, performances have been highlighted, but the rest of the world will talk about the one who takes the crown. Always.

Take the case of the 2007 New England Patriots.

The Pats have ran sacked thru the 2007 NFL season, going undefeated, 16-0, a new league record. They reached SuperBowl 42 in 2008 going 18 – 0, including the two wins they had in the AFC Playoff picture. Everyone is talking about Patriot destiny, the perfect season, they even had the Pats as a 12 point favorite in the biggest game in American Sports.

And then came the New York Giants, the biggest SuperBowl underdog in history riding a hot streak. The Patriots, the dominant team that they were, didn’t play to to their dominant standards, and the Giants took advantage, and pulled off not only the biggest upset in SuperBowl history, but ending the Patriots’ perfect season in the process.

And while the 2007 Pats are still being considered one of the best American Football teams in history, no one is talking about their perfect 16-0 regular season, instead, when people hear SuperBowl XLII, they think of one thing.

Eli Manning’s pocket awareness, and this catch by David Tyree.

It goes to show, a magnificent regular season won’t matter if there’s no title. These Patriots are one of the best teams in history, a team you can debate, can beat any SuperBowl Champions in any era, and with one bad game, and and unbelievable play, they have, in a way, got brought to irrelevancy.

It’s not to say that the series is over. Eight NBA teams have come back to win a series from being down 3-1 in the Playoffs, two of them won the championship in the same year, so it’s plausible. But this is different. There is something different about this one, and it’s the magnitude of the pressure.

These Warriors have been talked about as quite possibly the greatest basketball team to ever stepped on a hardwood. There are talks of dynasty possibilities, and how they are close to being invincible due to their roster makeup, their style of basketball and their results. The 73-9 season made it even more of a possibility, and then you add the first ever player to be voted first place for MVP.

And they are one win from Oklahoma City away from having it all crumble down.

draymond-green-nba-playoffs-memphis-grizzlies-golden-state-warriors-590x900-590x356

What happened to the energetic Draymond Green in this series? Photo courtesy of thecomeback.com

The pressure to succeed has far reached sky limits. This is what the Warriors have to deal with to save their historic season, or they get brought down to the pits of irrelevance along with the 2007 Pats. A great team, a once in a lifetime squad, ending as a “what if” topic because they couldn’t close the year with a Championship.

Is that going to be the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors’ destiny? Are they going to be the 2007 New England Patriots?

They need to get their stuff straight, or all this talk about them being the greatest, will be replaced by how great LeBron James was in the Finals, or how Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook final got their ring, or how the Toronto Raptors make history.

ROUND 2 AND AROUND THE NBA COMMENTARY:

Commentary:

635985266669700142-USATSI-9289465

Russell Westbrook took over in Game 5, just as his buddy Kevin Durant did in Game 4. Photo courtesy of USATODAY Sports

The NBA Playoffs are still rolling. We’ve seen yet another sweep, a comeback, and a couple of series that might go the distance.

Let’s get to it, and all the stories around the NBA during the Conference Semis.

SAN ANTONIO SPURS – OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER:

It just goes to show, that no matter how good a team is, if you have two of the 10 best players in the world, you’ll always have a chance.

Oklahoma City is now one win away from advancing to the Western Conference Finals, thanks in part to Kevin Durant’s 40 point performance in Game 4, and Russell Westbrook’s 35 point effort in Game 5. The San Antonio Spurs failed to score in the dying minutes of a hotly contested game, and eventually falls to the Thunder, who goes back home to Chesapeake Energy Arena and try an close out the series.

The Thunder’s game plan is simple, give it to the superstars, and let them take us to the top, as they did with KD exploding in Game 4, and Rus taking his turn in Game 5 with a near triple-double performance. It has worked for two game in a row now, and Game 6 should be no different.

But Game 5 didn’t end without controversy, mainly due to, once again, bad officiating…

THE REFS DECIDED THE GAME, AGAIN:

As if the basketball world haven’t moved on from the Game 2 blunder the NBA officials had, they are in store for yet another one.

In the dying seconds of Game 5, as Russell Westbrook drives to the baseline, an obvious foul was committed by San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, who got beat, but had enough arms to wrap around Westbrook and stop the clock.

Everyone saw it, except for the three referees who are officiating the game, apparently. The Spurs are down by 1, with about 9 seconds left in the clock, are obviously going for the foul, and they did. How the referees not only didn’t figure that out, but to fail to call the Leonard intentional is just as bad as how they missed a Dion Waiters offensive foul in Game 2.

The missed call ended up an And-1 for Rus, and eventually putting the Thunder up by 4.

Now granted, Westbrook could have made both FT’s if the foul was called, and the Spurs would need a 3 to tie the game and force overtime, and LaMarcus Aldridge should have not fouled him as he is getting to the cup, but it still isn’t enough of an excuse to miss what turned out to be a pivotal call.

(The NBA has no response as of yet, personally, I’m dying to see how they are going to deal with it. This is twice now.)

DWYANE WADE TURNED BACK THE CLOCK:

635985266669700142-USATSI-9289465

Not done. Not even by a long shot. Photo courtesy of USATODAY Sports

Willing his Miami Heat to an overtime win vs the Toronto Raptors, Dwyane Wade has turned into Classic Flash Monday night, scoring dropping 30 and flat out taking over, in the most Dwyane Wade possible.

He was near unstoppable getting to the rim, and to force overtime, he did what he does best his entire career.

Game 5 will be on Wednesday night, and with Wade dropping a combined 68 points in Games 3 and 4, expect more fireworks from good old Flash.

CLEVELAND IS MAKING IT LOOK EASY:

635985266669700142-USATSI-9289465

Kevin Love has been deadly from downtown. Getty Images

Tough defense and a barrage of 3 pointers, it’s the new Cleveland Cavaliers’ way.

By sweeping the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland is back to the Eastern Conference Finals, and is looking like a juggernaut, winning convincingly vs the Hawks in 3 of the 4 games.

The Cavs are averaging 16 3PT shots made per game this post season, making them a much more potent and deadly offense capable of just ran sacking anyone, with Kyrie Irving leading the barrage, averaging 24 points per playoff contest with a blistering hot 53% from 3PT on 6 attempts per game.

The Cavs are now, once again, waiting. They may have to wait a little bit more, and it remains to be seen if the long days off would cool them down. But so far, they are making it look easy.

STEPH CURRY IS BACK:

why.0.0

The face you make when Stephen Curry sucks the life out of your team. Photo courtesy of SB Nation.

Steph Curry should have only played 25 minutes in Game 4 vs the Portland Trail Blazers, but a Shaun Livingston ejection prompted a performance of the ages.

Scoring 17 points in overtime, an NBA record in both regular AND playoff season, Steph Curry puts his Golden State Warriors one win away from a return trip to the Western Conference Finals. He came out cold and rusty, but as the 4th quarter went down the wire, the world has seen why he was, for the second time, in a row, the MVP of the league, silencing the MODA Center crowd, dropping jaws in the process.

Game 5 will be Wednesday night, a chance to close the series in which it look like it would take a Game 3 Damian Lillard performance to be extended.

OUTSIDE THE PLAYOFFS:

Two coaches have been relieved of their duties as the 2nd round of the Playoffs progressed.

The Indiana Pacers parted ways with Frank Vogel, not renewing his contract, and the Memphis Grizzlies fired Dave Joerger, with both teams being suggested that the reasonsfo letting go of their coaches is due to a change of direction moving forward.

They weren’t unemployed for long, though. Vogel takes over the Memphis Grizzlies job, which seems like a perfect fit for a defensive minded coach. Joerger on the other hand, has been handed the Sacramento Kings job, making him as, quite possibly, the hope to fix the seemingly never ending turmoil in Sacramento.

Got fired quickly, got hired quickly. Not bad.

Videos courtesy of:
Basketball Breakdown Vine
YouTube user Aqupas 2

ROUND 1 OBSERVATIONS AND MOVING FORWARD

Commentary:

kyrie-irving-tristan-thompson-nba-playoffs-cleveland-cavaliers-detroit-pistons-850x560

Kyrie Irving has shown that he is Playoff ready. Photo courtesy of kingjamesgospel.com

We are (almost) thru the first round of the NBA Playoffs, and it hasn’t really been that exciting, except for maybe a handful of games. And while some expected things have already happened, interesting story lines have brewed in during the first two weeks of the post season.

From free agency, to potential, to possible “what’s next’s?”, we tackle on what the first round of the NBA Playoffs have possibly told us, and what’s next for each of the 16 teams who made it this year, and preview the 2nd round matchups.

(4) Atlanta Hawks vs (1) Cleveland Cavaliers:

The Hawks got past the Boston Celtics in 6 games, but done so unconvincingly. They have not shot the ball well, and 4 of their 5 starters have been inefficient in shooting the ball the entire series. They lived on defense in the first round, but it could be misleading due the the Celtics lack of scoring options to begin with.

The 2nd round could prove to be a much more difficult task if they continue the poor shooting going against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs, unlike the Celtics, are going to score. They have weapons all around the court and will drop points at will. And while the Hawks can defend, they could be left behind if they don’t score efficiently.

The Cavs on the other hand, have done their part, sweeping a young, upcoming, but obviously not ready Detroit Pistons. They have looked unstoppable offensively and expect it to trend in the second round. Kyrie Irving has been on fire, averaging 27.5 points in the first round and shooting a blistering 47% from the field, with 47% from the 3 point line.

Expect the Cavs to ride Irving offensively until the Hawks figure out how to stop him. And in a way, it’s beneficial, as it puts LeBron James in a role where he doesn’t have to put a ton of effort to drop points just for his team to catch up, preserving him for the rest of the series.

The Hawks are in for fireworks. They have the schemes and the personnel to be able to defend, but unless they get their all-star to score at an efficient rate, the Cavs would have no problem finishing the series by just out scoring their opponent.

Boston Celtics:

Losing Avery Bradley has costed them the series. But for a team that, once again, shouldn’t even be considered to get past the first round, let alone be a 5th seed, they have had a marvelous season.

It’s always looking forward for these Celtics, but now, they add 2 Playoff wins in their pockets. They now know how what to put on in the post season, and they just need help. And help they shall receive, with the Brooklyn first round pick they own could potentially be a top 3 pick, cap space, and now, credibility that they showed to the league that even without a superstar, they can do damage in the Playoffs, and that bodes well for their free agency plans moving forward.

The Celtics may been eliminated in the first round again this year, but rest assured the rest of the Easter Conference is giving them a really good look.

Detroit Pistons:

Great season, but just a case of not being ready yet for the post season. They didn’t have a real scoring threat to have Cleveland to worry about, and they have been out executed the entire series.

But like Boston, there is something brewing here. This is a young core, with a ton of potential to develop. And what happened to them in the 1st round is something that typically happens to young, inexperienced teams once they broke thru the post season.

The series however, showed that they could use another scorer, possibly coming off the bench. Reggie Jackson also needs to step up and be THE GUY. Taking 11 shots per game isn’t enough when you’re the main offensive option.

One big takeway for Detroit despite being swept on the other hand, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. He had a really good series, and when players this young, this inexperienced, and debuts in the post season and shows up in the big stage, you got something good.

(5) Portland Trail Blazers vs (1) Golden State Warriors:

kyrie-irving-tristan-thompson-nba-playoffs-cleveland-cavaliers-detroit-pistons-850x560

No Steph Curry to guard for Damian Lillard for atleast 3 games. But Shaun Livingston is no easy task. Photo courtesy of oregonlive.com


Portland has upset in their eyes right now.

With Stephen Curry possibly not returning until Game 3 or 4, the Portland Trail Blazers is going to come out swinging. Damian Lillard has torched the Warriors this year, and of course, he’s looking forward to keep doing it, although he hasn’t shot the ball particlarly well vs the Los Angeles Clippers. The entire Blazers squad have shown balance on both sides of the ball, and they have the pieces that can go toe to toe with the Warriors with their speed.

But, but, they are going against the defending champions, who, outside of one bad shooting game, and an uncalled offensive foul, have dispatched the Houston Rockets easily, even without their MVP on the lineup. Klay Thompson has stepped up in the scoring department, and the Dubs have, as always, relied on their good ball movement and their deep bench to carry the burden in scoring left behind by Steph Curry as he’s sitting in the side lines.

The interesting part in this series would be Shaun Livingston. Another guy who had a terrific first round, he’s a matchup nightmare for Damian Lillard, assuming they are going to be matched up. He’s going to have a length advantage over both Portland starting guards, and would certainly put them to a ton of work. And Shaun Livingston is not a slouch defensive too, capable of disrupting opponents, again due to his length. It would be interesting to see how Portland plays him, as he could be the Warriors’ biggest X factor in this series.

Houston Rockets:

This could be the final year for Dwight Howard donning a Rockets jersey. His involvement, or lack thereof in the Rockets offense is evident by the fact that even though he averaged a double double in the series, he only took an average 7 shots a game.

His beef with James Harden doesn’t help Houston to retain him either, and that beef was the sole reason they got ran sacked by Golden State. While he did average 7 assists in the series, their offense looked predictable and stagnant due to Harden having most of the possession.

Where does Houston go from here? Howard is leaving, and they have regressed significantly. Will they hire a new coach or keep JB Bickerstaff?

Los Angeles Clippers:

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Clippers

One more run, or time to blow it up? Photo courtesy of inquisitr.com, Getty Images.

It’s safe to say that two big injuries to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin is what costed them the series vs the Blazers.

The question now is will they keep their core, and run it one more time? Next year will be year 6 of the DeAndre Jordan – Paul – Griffin era. Their bench has been better this year, and with the cap rising, they should have the capabilities to retain at least a couple of their guys. But this core also haven’t gotten past the 2nd round in their 5 year run. Is it time to break it up? Or will the injury be enough of an excuse to run it again, at least one more year?

Dallas Mavericks:

The window should be closed.

The Dallas Mavericks is now looking forward to the offseason, but how are they going to approach it. They had a team of Dirk Nowitzki and a squad full of rejects from other teams, and managed to sneak into the Playoffs as a 6th seed, because of exceptional coaching by Rick Carlisle.

But Deron Williams is opting out of his final year to become a free agent. Dirk is one more year older, and they need to address the rest of the squad as most of it are going to be free agents next season. Will Chandler Parsons be healthy for once?

Do they start the rebuilding process? Or will they, as they have been the last few years, will push for another playoff run and sign veteran guys that could help?

With all that said, the window is closed. It’s not even known if Dirk will have one more year in him, even though it looks like he has. There’s a big rise in the cap which makes them at least an attractive place for free agents, but do they really want to build a team that would exit the first round yet again, or should they start rebuilding for the future?

(3) Oklahoma City vs (2) San Antonio Spurs:

We have already been treated with a Game 1 matchup in the second round yesterday, and boy was it disastrous.

The Oklahoma City Thunder looked unprepared, and lacked intensity and it showed as the San Antonio Spurs romped their way to a 32 point Game 1 win. They had no answer to everything the Spurs threw at them.

How will they respond in Game 2? Do they have enough to respond despite having arguably two of the top 5 players in the NBA so far? Do they have the proper adjustments to counter the Spurs’ ball movement, who produced 39 assists in Game 1?

The Spurs look mighty last night, the Thunder are in for a heck of a climb back.

Couple of Game 7’s:

Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan

Not so bright stars in Toronto at the moment. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

There are a couple of game 7’s on the line tonight, and both involve highly talented teams that have been unimpressive.

The Toronto Raptors and the Miami Heat are in for the fight of their lives tonight, even though on paper, they shouldn’t have too. But have been unimpressive on their defensive effort and both are going against teams in the Indiana Pacers and the Charlotte Hornets that are coming in with a nothing to lose mentality, and really, they have nothing to lose.

Whoever advances will face the other, so there are interesting story line as who will what team play after this. And it will all be answered tonight.