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@  thejohnnygold : (23 April 2017 - 10:20 PM) "Pheeeeew!" --(Every Rockets fan today)
@  rocketrick : (20 April 2017 - 04:28 PM) Incredible Atmosphere at Toyota Center last night! Rockets are for Real people.....
@  thejohnnygold : (17 April 2017 - 12:47 PM) The defense was there too. All in all, a good win.
@  Mario Peña : (17 April 2017 - 04:08 AM) I like that effort on the boards tonight and second chance points tonight. I hope they can finish OKC in 5 or less.
@  DenverRocket : (05 April 2017 - 07:15 PM) Give me a shout and if I'm around, I'll be happy to honor my commitment!
@  slick shoes : (05 April 2017 - 06:34 PM) I'll be in Denver Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend ;)
@  DenverRocket : (05 April 2017 - 04:52 PM) Oh and congrats to @SlickShoes on winning the bracket challenge handily :) If I ever meet you, I'll buy you a beer!
@  DenverRocket : (04 April 2017 - 06:23 PM) Worth a read, Who's The Best Bargain in the NBA: http://www.espn.com/...nd-best-bargain
@  thejohnnygold : (31 March 2017 - 04:19 PM) Probably...mine's toast.
@  slick shoes : (31 March 2017 - 02:12 PM) Is it safe to assume I have taken the bracket challenge??
@  thejohnnygold : (15 March 2017 - 12:58 PM) I'm in!
@  DenverRocket : (15 March 2017 - 02:12 AM) You can join my not knowing anything club! :-)
@  slick shoes : (15 March 2017 - 01:34 AM) I filled one out. I don't know anything about college ball so everything was gut feel. wish me luck!
@  DenverRocket : (15 March 2017 - 12:06 AM) If anyone is interested in joining a Red94 bracket challenge, I've set one up here: http://games.espn.co...groupID=1517203
@  slick shoes : (14 March 2017 - 02:48 PM) As much fun as it is to watch the Warriors lose, I'm gonna need them to go ahead and take 1st place again so that we can potentially avoid them until the WCF.
@  SadLakerFan : (13 March 2017 - 02:24 PM) My Lakers coming into town. Hope Bev can cover our SG of the future David Nwaba. He's lighting it up.
@  thejohnnygold : (08 March 2017 - 11:24 PM) I'm not really finding much info on it. We'll see if it persists or was just one of those things that happens in competition sometimes.
@  slick shoes : (07 March 2017 - 06:00 PM) Interesting to see that Dwight is having some of the same issues in Atlanta that he had here.
@  thejohnnygold : (27 February 2017 - 05:43 AM) I don't think this is all or nothing. We've still got some defensive issues to deal with, but this team can give anyone a run for their money.
@  slick shoes : (26 February 2017 - 11:38 PM) i just hope to legitimately compete for the title. winning is only a bonus.

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The Calm Before the Storm


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#1 thejohnnygold

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 02:53 PM

It's almost here.  There are two games left in this season.  James Harden just dropped a quintessential James Harden line of 35/11/15 including 12-13 from the stripe, 5 3's, and 10 turnovers  :).  I wouldn't say we limped to the finish line, but the way we closed out the season does give some reason for concern.

 

Apparently, Ryan Anderson is crucial to what this team does.  We are 5-5 without him this year and of those 5 wins, only one of them was significant (OKC).  In short: No Anderson = Little Chance.

 

As it stands, we don't have to worry about Golden State until the WCF's so let's leave it at that and focus on what's in front of us: a perfect storm of awesome in the form of HOU vs. OKC in the first round.  Heated rivalry?  Check.  Former teammates vying for supremacy? Check.  An MVP trophy on the line?  Check.  The constant reminder to Sam Presti that roughly $1M per year separated his team from an all-time dynasty and...whatever it is now?  Check.

 

If we can knock down a decent number of shots and rebound the ball we should be fine.  OKC is #1 in the league in total rebounding and, not surprisingly, #3 in Opp. Rebounds.  On the flip side, Houston is ranked #7 in the league for Total Rebounds and 16th in Opp. Reb.'s.  Considering OKC can't shoot, I think this is going to be crucial to our advancing to the 2nd round.

 

I hope that Harden either goes ballistic and upends the entire narrative about the MVP race, or, preferably, he ignores it, plays team ball, and we walk with an easy 4-0 or 4-1 series win.  I think an MVP slugfest would wind up with wins and losses going back and forth to a game 6 or 7 scenario and I am not interested in that.

 

Any takers on the over/under for Westbrook's Usage Rate in this series?  He is currently sitting at 41.8% for the season.  I'm taking the over.  ;)

 

The Rockets have shown they are capable of solid defensive play this season.  Hopefully, this OKC series can serve as a tune-up since we seem to have let that slip a bit.  We will need it moving forward into round 2 against a San Antonio team that will have just dispatched the tough, but out-gunned, Grizzlies.

 

Looking at the rest of the bracket, I am very excited about the GS/POR series as well as the LAC/UTA series.  Portland is a different team with Nurkic in the middle.  Lillard/McCollum vs. Curry/Thompson is going to be awesome.  Unfortunately for Portland, GS just has too many weapons with KD, Green, Iguodala, Livingston, and the rest.  It will be a fun series, but GS should advance with little resistance.

 

Utah has a chance to make some noise.  I'm rooting for them to win for multiple reasons.  Mainly, I just want to see the Clippers finally throw in the towel and blow up their team.  It's great on paper, but it just doesn't seem to work when it matters.  It is strange to root for Utah, but here we are.   :lol:

 

Over in the East, almost nothing is set yet.  The top 4 teams are set, but their ranks are not.  Indy, Chicago, and Miami are all vying for the last 2 spots with Miami the odd man out right now.  Somehow, I think everyone is glad about that as Indy and Chicago seem like much less of a challenge in a 7 game series.  I would really enjoy watching Miami in the post-season, but it looks like it's not going to happen....

 

...Unless, Cleveland is looking at the standings and realizes a first round match up against MIL or IND is better than claiming 1st place and that potential first round match up with Miami.  Let Boston deal with that.  Cleveland can help make it happen tonight as they play in Miami.

 

What are everyone's thoughts heading into the playoffs?


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#2 DenverRocket

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 03:24 PM

Pretty much agree with all you've said there JG. I think this last fortnight has been pretty terrible to watch, with the odd dramatic game thrown in (in the East at least).

 

I'm slightly nervous about facing OKC. Earlier in the season the games came down to a single possession and it was, as you mentioned, an MVP showdown. Might as well flip a coin and OKC will be hoping for that kind of series. I think MDA is smarter than that though and based on the last meeting, I think our extra offensive weapons/shooting (EG, Lou Williams and Ryno) will tip the balance in our favor (I hope). Hopefully thre rest/injury break will ensure that everyone has fresh legs (Ryno has looked great since he came back, but James sure looked tired last night at the free throw line). I have an offer to go to one of the games in OKC with some guys here (none OKC or Rockets fans), should be fun if it pans out.

 

Of the other matchups in the West, I'm disappointed that the Nuggets faded out when Portland made it's big run. If Nurkic gets back in time, it could be interesting, but honestly I can't see them really troubling GSW. I can't bring myself to root for Utah, as much as I'd like to see Clippers implode too. Also, If the improbable were to happen and either of those were to progress far enough, I'd rather face LAC - we just seem to struggle against the Jazz and their system. Memphis and SAS, hmm, should be interesting enough, but can't see Memphis pulling off an upset.

 

In the East - I've been pleased and also slightly miffed that Paul George finally woke for the past month and dragged Pacers into the play-offs (barring a miracle). I wish he'd played like that all season (from a selfish fantasy perspective). I think they could give Cleveland a run for their money, if that is the match-up. Not sure it was a good idea for the Cavs to "surrender" the one seed - I doubt Miami is able to overtake Chicago for 8th seed and the Bulls would have offered little resistance to Cavs IMO. Same applies to Boston really - if Miami makes it, could be more interesting as they've been very scrappy all season and could cause the Celtics problems - unlikely to happen though. I can't see Milwaukee or Atlanta beating Toronto or Washington over 7 games.

 

Looking forward to watching some meaningful games again!


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"I could never understand national or ethnic pride, 'cos to me pride should be preserved for something you achieve or attain on your own, not something that happens by accident of birth!" - George Carlin.


#3 thejohnnygold

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 04:21 PM

Pretty much agree with all you've said there JG. I think this last fortnight has been pretty terrible to watch, with the odd dramatic game thrown in (in the East at least).

 

I'm slightly nervous about facing OKC. Earlier in the season the games came down to a single possession and it was, as you mentioned, an MVP showdown. Might as well flip a coin and OKC will be hoping for that kind of series. I think MDA is smarter than that though and based on the last meeting, I think our extra offensive weapons/shooting (EG, Lou Williams and Ryno) will tip the balance in our favor (I hope). Hopefully thre rest/injury break will ensure that everyone has fresh legs (Ryno has looked great since he came back, but James sure looked tired last night at the free throw line). I have an offer to go to one of the games in OKC with some guys here (none OKC or Rockets fans), should be fun if it pans out.

 

Of the other matchups in the West, I'm disappointed that the Nuggets faded out when Portland made it's big run. If Nurkic gets back in time, it could be interesting, but honestly I can't see them really troubling GSW. I can't bring myself to root for Utah, as much as I'd like to see Clippers implode too. Also, If the improbable were to happen and either of those were to progress far enough, I'd rather face LAC - we just seem to struggle against the Jazz and their system. Memphis and SAS, hmm, should be interesting enough, but can't see Memphis pulling off an upset.

 

In the East - I've been pleased and also slightly miffed that Paul George finally woke for the past month and dragged Pacers into the play-offs (barring a miracle). I wish he'd played like that all season (from a selfish fantasy perspective). I think they could give Cleveland a run for their money, if that is the match-up. Not sure it was a good idea for the Cavs to "surrender" the one seed - I doubt Miami is able to overtake Chicago for 8th seed and the Bulls would have offered little resistance to Cavs IMO. Same applies to Boston really - if Miami makes it, could be more interesting as they've been very scrappy all season and could cause the Celtics problems - unlikely to happen though. I can't see Milwaukee or Atlanta beating Toronto or Washington over 7 games.

 

Looking forward to watching some meaningful games again!

 

I agree that OKC won't be a cakewalk.  Barkley described our series as "a coinflip".  While I don't think it is that close, it might be if we don't play solid team defense.  I think it can be easy to rely on those 3 pointers going in and simply outscoring everyone.  They have got to keep away from that mode of thinking.  I really want to see Beverley take a lead role and set the tone for us.

 

Harden, and most of the team, looked awful last night.  That blowout cost me a bit in fantasy as Griffin and Harden each took a seat early.

 

That would be awesome to catch a game in OKC.  They have always had good crowds (at least, from what I can see on TV) and it would be fun to root against them.  I hope you get to go.

 

I too am disappointed in the Nuggets.  I thought they had a chance to play giant-killer.  I will be keeping a close eye on them this off-season.  They have lots of quality pieces.  They will have plenty of cap space and, if Gallo opts out, they will have tons of space.  I think they will be tempted to swing a trade for a star, but I would rather see them build on what they have and use free agency to add pieces.  I haven't given up on Mudiay, but if I were Denver's GM I would be shopping for a PG and there are quite a few who will be unrestricted this Summer.

 

As for the East, I too was disappointed in George this season.  I thought he was going to be squarely in the race for MVP.  Oh boy, was I wrong.  It's odd because he has put together a solid season overall, but I was anticipating a step up to the next level.  I'm not sure how they fix that team, but I expect a shake up before next season.

 

One thing is certain.  You are dead on about meaningful games.  The NBA has a real problem on their hands and I'm not sure how they can fix it.

 

I wouldn't mind seeing a complete change in the way the conferences and playoffs are established.  A variation of relegation could be fun.  Establish conferences based on the previous years finish.  Put the top 16 teams in one conference and have them play each other 4 times and then the lower tier twice.  On the flip side, the lower tier does the same (but with 14 teams).  Come playoff time, take the top 9 from the "upper league" and the top 7 from the "lower".  Fair?  Absolutely not.  Will it inspire a higher level of competition among the league's top teams and players?  I say, "yes".  Oh, and bring back the best of 5 first round.


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#4 slick shoes

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 08:36 PM

I have held off from posting the past few weeks for various reasons but wanted to throw my two cents in before the big show begins on Saturday for what it's worth.

 

West

 

HOU/OKC - I am a bit disappointed that this ended up being our first round matchup. I have enjoyed watching Westbrook do Westbrook things all season and wanted to cheer for him a bit longer. That being said, I think we will win this series in 5 games. Russ will have enough in him to will the team to a home win, but the Rockets' offensive prowess will ultimately be the deciding factor in the series. I think Bev will be the X factor for us for obvious defensive purposes, but specifically for long rebounds. If Bev can eat into Russ' rebounding numbers we can limit their transition/fast break points and give the good guys a few extra possessions, which should give us a big boost.

 

SAS/MEM - Interesting series here. San Antonio in 6 games. There just isn't enough offense or depth on the Grizzlies squad to beat a healthy Spurs group. I will enjoy watching the Gasol brothers face off as I anticipate Pau being moved to the starting lineup. LMA will have his hands full against ZBo, but I think Kawhi gives SA the edge.  

 

GSW/POR - GS will win this series. I don't think anyone will argue that, but as mentioned previously, Nurkic makes this a bit more interesting. GSW's bigs (excluding Draymond) will get into foul trouble early, but that only causes the W's to go small and ultimately pull away in each game. The amazing thing to me about GSW is their ability to take the life out of a team in the 2nd quarter. I have seen teams enter a highly anticipated matchup with a solid game plan only to have that gameplan picked apart all the while having three after three drained in their faces. That has got to be so discouraging/disheartening.

 

EDIT: Dame has brazenly predicted that his Trailblazers will oust the Warriors in 6. You do not give the W's bulletin board material!

 

LAC/UTA - THIS is where things get interesting for me. I am more interested in this series than any other at this stage of the playoffs. Most of the reasons have been stated. This being LAC's last year as constructed unless they make a deep run, Utah's growth, et cetera. I am going with Utah in 6 games. I think Utah's defense stifles LA, frustrating CP3 and Griffin. Gobert v Jordan will be really fun to watch, but Gobert has the advantage here in my opinion. 

 

On to the East.....

 

CHI/BOS - This will be hard to watch. Chicago has too many backcourt players that require the ball in their hands to make plays, and their coach has yet to figure out how to work all three into a successful lineup after an entire season with all three players. Sheesh. Boston seems to be rounding into playoff form at just the right time and with a healthy roster at that. Chicago limped into the postseason plagued by injury to their key/older players and aren't carrying any real momentum. The Bulls will be out coached and out played. Boston in 4. 

 

CLE/IND - A massacre. The Pacers do not score enough points to stand a chance in this one. PG13 is doing everything he can, but he just doesn't have the support needed to make a championship push. Cleveland in 4. The Pacers have some serious work ahead of them this offseason if they have any hope of keeping PG long term. If he leaves, yikes for that organization. Back to the Cavs, Lebron turns into playoff Lebron and the rest is history. 

 

TOR/MIL - I am looking forward to this matchup simply to see how good the Bucks really are. They have LOADS of young talent with Antetokuompo leading the pack (this would be even MORE intriguing is Parker was healthy as well). The Raptors are a seasoned quality team looking to build on their ECF appearance last season so I think that gives them the edge this time around but look for this to be a featured matchup in years to come. I give this one to the Raptors in 5. Giannis cannot be (entirely) denied. 

 

ATL/WAS - Wizards in 5. Atlanta gives up too many buckets to win against the Wizards' high-scoring offense. As we have all seen, Dwight's demand for touches will bog down Atlanta's offense and limit their scoring. He'll laugh and smile and high-five the kids. Everyone loves that. 


Edited by slick shoes, 13 April 2017 - 08:39 PM.

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when you win two games in a row that's called a winning streak.

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