Earlier this month, SB Nation launched regional projects in 20 different markets, with Houston being one of them. It’s an innovative approach to local coverage, aggregating onto one page editorialized content for each team from the market. SB Nation Houston is managed by thedreamshake’s Tom Martin.
On behalf of SB Nation Houston, 1560 The Game’s David Nuño sat down with Indiana Pacer’s guard T.J Ford to discuss a variety of topics, including Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh:
I wanted to start highlighting unique and insightful comments.
(Update: It would really make things easier for me if you all would kindly click the ‘like’ button within the Disqus interface for any reader comments which you liked. This way, I can simply tally up the highest totals at the end of each week rather than subjecting you all to my arbitrary whims…as if we need any more of that around here. God bless.)
Without further ado, I present to you this week’s best:
It feels like we poisoned the Lakers. “Trevor Ariza” was the #2 Trending Topic on Twitter behind “Grand Theft Rondo” at some point last night.
I will go ahead and pick Lakers by 9. I had picked the Celtics to win this series, but I can’t see them beating LA without Perkins as he is such an integral part of what they want to do defensively. I don’t trust Rasheed to stop hoisting 3′s and give them anything positive, and I don’t know that we can expect Big Baby to deliver in a Game 7 on the road.
My prediction: I think the Lakers will remain comfortably in control until early in the 4th when a ferocious Celtics push will cut the lead down to 3. Someone random like Jordan Farmar or Vujacic will hit back to back 3′s and the Lakers will pull away and hang on for the win.
I’m most curious to see how Kobe Bryant comes out to start the game. It’s the biggest game of his career to this point and he is well aware that with this win, he can enter the discussion with Magic Johnson as the greatest Laker of all-time (please spare me the Jordan stuff; no). Does he come out looking to get Pau involved or is he more forceful as he was in his younger years?
Update: To quantify my claim on Perkins, here’s Neil Paine of basketballreference:
We can really illustrate Perkins’ hidden importance by looking at the Plus/Minus numbers. When Perkins was on the court for Boston this season, the Celtics outscored their opponents by 7.2 points per 100 possessions; when he wasn’t playing, that number was only +0.2, a difference of -7 pts/100 poss. The same story has been true since Perkins became a regular starter in 2006-07: putting together a rudimentary game-by-game “with or without you” regression (similar to what I did in this post) between team HCA-adjusted PPG differential and whether or not a player played 17 minutes in the game (the MPG that usually indicates a “contributor”), Perkins shows up as adding +2.18 PPG to Boston’s differential when he’s a contributor vs. when he plays limited minutes or less.
Meanwhile, Perkins’ Game 7 replacements, Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis, don’t fare nearly as well by the WOWOY metrics. Despite Davis’ heroics in Game 4, he and Wallace have been Boston’s two worst players by net on/off rating during the playoffs. Wallace has been particularly toxic for the Celtics all season — the team played 5 pts/100 poss. worse when he was on the floor, as evidenced by his recurring appearance in the Celts’ worst lineup combinations. Davis & Wallace look better by the 4-year WOWOY regression (Davis is +1.36, Wallace is +0.47), but neither has the ability to positively impact the game the way Perkins does. Without his presence, and playing on the road (home teams win Game 7 80% of the time), the Celtics appear to be in dire straits tonight.