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Thursday, April 21st, 2011 at 8:40 am  |  104 responses

Post Up: Thriving Times

Spurs/Grizzlies break even. And it’s dinner time for OKC.

Oklahoma City 106, Denver 89

Great signs for Oklahoma City in this one. In Game 1, Thunder players not named Durant or Westbrook combined for 36 points; in Game 2, they had 39 by the half and 62 overall.

OKC big men (Perkins, Ibaka and Collison) combined for 31 rebounds, equaling Denver’s total, while limiting Nene to 2-8 shooting and Kenyon Martin to 2-6.

And Durant and Westbrook hardly provided anything that resembled an epic performance, something required just to win in the opener, instead the Thunder exchanged it for depth and team balance as five players scored in double-figures (including a promising 18 on just nine shots from James Harden).

They’ve beaten a really good Denver two different ways—with explosive individual performances by their stars in the first game, and overall production in the next—but tonight was certainly more encouraging, a decisive win in Playoff fashion, with hard rebounding, strong defense, and contributors everywhere.

There just wasn’t enough for Denver to compete: A sluggish start, no rebounding (minus 23), and absolutely nothing from the imported Knicks save for Ray Felton, who had 16. They’re going home, but going home in a hole.

Don’t expect a rarely-content team like the Thunder to rest on their laurels, especially against a Nuggets team that grows an extra leg at home. Until Oklahoma City wins in Denver, don’t rule out a long and competitive series. —Todd Spehr

L.A. Lakers 87, New Orleans 78

In the most boring game of the history of basketball, the Lakers won 87-78. You probably fell asleep, but that’s fine, because so did Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Kobe dropped 11. Pau had 8. Ron Artest looked like the most capable wing scorer on the floor tonight, which is hilarious. It was a totally disgusting, awful mess for every team, including the Lakers.

But it didn’t matter. Because the Lakers are the most talented team in the Western Conference. That’s just how it is.

They sneeze out baskets. Phil Jackson is so put-together that he got nine players who were under a deep, deep trance to beat a team that made the NBA Playoffs. He is who to call when the robots become autonomous, start feeling feelings, start moving in on us. He’ll talk them all down.

He got eight grown men to think this: “When Kobe is off, then we get to play basketball as a team! Hooray!” Really. They’re all saying, “Hooray!” afterward, like second graders, and no one is upset. They all believe in this. That’s how they’ve won two straight NBA championships.

Someone asked Phil Jackson what he thought about the game. He said this: “We won by 9 points, maybe 11. That’s about it.”

He didn’t even know the score. He just knows that the Lakers are better.

The Hornets have no answer and they’re starting to realize that. The Lakers successfully defended Chris Paul tonight by focusing the entire team’s attention on him. This worked because there are no other Hornets. Chris Paul is the only Hornet and that works for exactly one game in a seven-game series.

“Who knows what they’ll throw at us the next game,” Phil Jackson half-asked after the game. Of course he doesn’t. He doesn’t know what their game plan will be; he just knows his will be better. —Ben Collins

Spurs 93, Grizzlies 87

You knew he was going to play, right? Hyperextended elbow or not, there was no way Manu Ginobili was going to miss Game 2 in San Antonio. Not when the Grizzlies embarrassed his ‘mates like they did on Sunday, 101-98.

It wasn’t prime Manu we saw on Wednesday. Yet he scored 17 points and grabbed enough steals (4) to open up San Antonio’s transition game and lead the way to a much-needed 6-point win.

Playoff Tim Duncan, not to be confused with Regular-Season Tim Duncan, finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, proving once again the fountain of youth is nothing but a mental construction. Dominic Cobb.

He’s so consistent your aunt’s mashed potatoes get jealous.

On the defensive side, the Spurs held “The $71 Million Man,” Zach Randolph, to 11 points, by far his worst production against San Antonio this season. Z-Bo was in foul trouble most of the game, clearing the way for unsung hero Sam Young, who scored 17 points on 7-13 shooting and hit a key three down the stretch.

Memphis’ starters all played well, but Shane Battier and OJ Mayo were terrible off the bench (1-7 and 2-11, respectively).

If not for the Grizzlies’ egregious three-point shooting (3-14 from beyond the arc), they likely would have won the game. Then again, outside shooting is San Antonio’s Mortal Kombat move. Richard Jefferson. Finish him. (Hernan Sanchez voice.)

The Spurs are going to have a hard time taking both games in Memphis (the Grizzlies are good there). Still, I see them breaking even and eventually winning in seven games. Somewhere Kevin Durant and the Thunder are licking their lips.

Dinner time. —Patrick Crawley (@BasketballFiend)

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  • http://www.slamonline.com jumpman3224

    Glad the Lakers were able to win in spite of woeful offensive games from their all-star duos. Big Ups to Bynum and Odom for doin’ work. These are the types of games you have to win on the way to a championship.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    When Kobe Bryant only scores 11 points and Pau Gasol has 8 points, and you still lose…you’re in trouble.

  • J-MAC

    Lakers just dont look like they are in any kind of rythem. They just seem out of sync.

  • JoeMaMa

    If Trevor Ariza doesn’t get hot, this is a stomping, even with your two best players giving only 30-40% of their normal outcome. Chris Paul has 20 and 9, but it was a battle for him, and LA knows that with lots of pressure, they’ll wear him down. I feel like Landry is kind of shining in this series: toughness, touch, defense. A lot of teams could use his game.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    How about, if the Hornets don’t turn the ball over 16 times, and miss 12 FT, they win? The ref’s weren’t great either.
    Trevor Ariza just made the right plays when CP was getting double or triple teamed. He can play like that every game in this series if the Lakers continue to defend this way.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Thunder in 5.

  • http://slamonline.com zoom

    I didn’t watch much of either game, but the league needs to do something about the awful officiating. Parts of the thrid quarter looked as though the refs were doing everything in their power to hand the Lakers the game. It’s hard to stomach and I’m not even a Hornets fan.

  • http://www.slamonline.com jumpman3224

    I don’t get the complaints about the refs in regards to the Hornets. They shot 10 more free throws than LA and it’s not like the Lakers weren’t constantly in the paint.

  • add

    okc is gonna go far

  • Maurice Bobb

    Denver got mollywhopped and the Lakers/Hornets game was damn near unwatchable.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Guess…. who …. is …. back mother f()ckers!!!

  • http://google c_cantrell

    The playoffs are going to get thunderstruck!!

  • Morgan

    @zoom – you clearly didn’t watch much of either game, glad you started with that. For the most part they were letting them play, even Kobe didnt get his usual “superstar” calls driving to the hoop. Okafor made some stupid decisions on D to get into Foul Trouble. On the whole a decent night officiating…cant say much for the quality of both teams offense. @James the Balla – great to see you back in time for the playoffs

  • QQQQQ!

    kobe with the dunk though!

  • riggs

    okafor’s foul calls were BS. if they as you said “letting them play”, then they wouldnt call those fouls on emeka.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Back until May. 9th. Go Philly!

  • J-MAC

    Denver is feeling the hangover from the last game. They just seemed flat.

  • http://slamonline.com zoom

    @Morgan: What I saw was a bunch of bs calls, particularly in the third. You must be a Laker fan because no one else with two eyes can honestly say those Okafor fouls weren’t crap.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I didn’t find the Lakers/Hornets game boring at all.
    It’s strange that so many of you did. I thought good defense was being played by the HOrnets, but they played sloppy offense. I enjoyed it.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Joe Mama
    Landry looks horrible. Forcing up horrid shots, refusing to get back on defense, not rebounding. He’s so much worse than DAvid West, who can at least score over Gasol pretty much at will with his jumper. Landry is undersized and underskilled and he’s not bring enough effort.
    Last night, the Hornets’ role players played the way everybody expected them to play in this series, and that’s why they lost. And CP3 refused to hit the “gunner” switch and just take over as a scorer. I don’t know why, but he refused.

  • http://google c_cantrell

    ^Allenp..
    Very few of us enjoy watching good, sound, defensive basketball now days.

  • http://www.slamonline.com jumpman3224

    @Allenp: I think the Lakers well executed defensive game plan restricted Paul as a scorer. Excluding buzzer beating three pointers, he only made three field goals the entire game.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    The game was called fairly. Basically, nobody got calls. That’s fair, and that’s what I prefer. Everybody was getting walloped, and that actually BENEFITS the Hornets because both Kobe and Gasol depend on certain calls to open up their games.
    I just thought Paul should have taken over as a scorer at some point. He was too willing to allow Carl Freaking Landry to iso at the elbow and go to work? That ain’t a recipe for success.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Jumpman
    Nah, the Lakers gameplan wasn’t that great. He just wasn’t looking to score. Like Iverson or Derrick Rose, he has to understand that when your team is undermanned offensively sometimes you have to take what other people consider “bad shots” in order to jumpstart the team. You have to be willing to be inefficient, in order to be impactful. Dude was still ball, no doubt, and I laughed at how Kobe thought he could bother him with his defense, but I still felt like he needed to be more selfish out there.
    Trusting your teammates is good, and important, but in certain games you just have to flip that switch.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    cosign @Allenp. i actually DID fall asleep to the lakers game, but that was mostly because it was damn near midnight over here in the 4th quarter.
    but yeah, i was just waiting for CP to turn it on and take over, it was weird.
    i guess i’m spoiled watching bulls games but the hornets offense was stagnant and i expected Paul to simply try and score at will.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    So CP3, when facing the same type defenses that DRose faces on a regular basis, puts up eerily similar efficiency numbers. Hmmmmm.

  • http://www.slamonline.com jumpman3224

    @Allenp: I think they did a pretty respectable job on him. I mean CP3 is one of the ten best players on the planet when healthy so no one is shuting him down completely. But other than a handful of plays (he had some sick crossovers that allowed him to get pass his defender)in the half court and in transistion I don’t think he could get what he wanted for himself or for his teammates consistently. Maybe part of the scouting report on Paul is to take certain things away from him becasue he is rarely going to get into takeover mode. He doesn’t have that mindset that you mentioned and that allowed the Lakers gameplan to be more effective IMO. I like Blake on him a lot for the Lakers as Blake builds his stamina back up that will be an interesting matchup to watch.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Diesel
    That’s bogus. Rose and Paul face the same sorts of defenses every night. It’s not like Rose is getting some special defense that Paul doesn’t see.
    Paul is just more efficient. He doesn’t shoot as many quick shots, he’s more likely to see one or two passes ahead, and he rarely turns the ball over on the dribble.
    Last night, I think possibly because of fatigue, he just didn’t take enough shots.
    Besides, Paul was 5-11 with 20 points and 9 assists. And that was with missing free throws he normally cans. When was the last time Rose took 11 shots and got 20 points? Come on, that was a bogus observation.
    Besides, even though I brought up Rose and Deron Williams last night, it was only to note that it is unnatural for Paul to take over offensively in a way that is perfectly natural for Rose and Deron. Not to say those two are better.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Blake will be annihilated by Paul. Nobody on the Lakers team can guard him if he decides he wants to be unguardable.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    If not for those four missed free throws, which were highly unusual, Paul ends up with 24 points on 11 shots, along with 9 assists and one turnover.
    Derrick Rose would sacrifice an infant for that type of efficiency.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    nah, derrick rose don’t care about efficiency, persay. im sure the W would have sufficed.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Airs
    And I’m not saying that’s why Paul is playing. I’m saying that Diesel’s comment was offbase. Even with a swarming defense against him, Paul was still crazy efficient. 9 assists to that collection of bums is like 14 on a team with talent, and he only had one turnover. That’s insane.

  • T-Money

    persay? lol

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    CP3 did NOT face double and triple teams during the regular season. I’ve watched enough NO games debating with Allball to know that he doesn’t face it as much as Rose. And a majority of CP3′s points came from the line. He only took 11 shots but he was 45% from the field on those shots.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    i know allenp, just sayin derrick has said that he could care less about stats/efficiency as long as they get W’s. and thats not a slight to Paul at all, in case anybody takes it that way.
    is it per se, did i use it wrong? hahah

  • http://www.danchamb.com.br Lz – Cphfinest3

    I watched most of the Thunder game before doozing of. If Harden can consistenly play at this level and become the third scorer for OKC, they will be very tough to beat for anyone. Two studs, good interior D, rebounding and shotblocking. I really really like this team, if the chips fall their way and Harden keeps it up Durant could be catching a ring before LeBron, Melo, Dirk and a host of others…

  • http://www.slamonline.com jumpman3224

    I like that mindset for The Horns. Not saying some players don’t have it, but as a fan of a playoff team I don’t care how pretty a playoff win looks.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Diesel
    If you get a hard double on a pick and roll, that’s a double team. If you get a hard double on the pick and roll, and there is a third defender playing zone near the lane, that’s a triple team.
    Nobody ran three or two defenders at Paul. They only double on pick and rolls for hte most part. They shaded the defense to Paul. They can’t run actual double and triple teams on him because he will EAT THEM ALIVE with his court vision. Even last night, he was making the “correct” pass, but he was passing to bums, so in reality the “correct” play might have been just to shoot the damn ball.
    When was the last time Rose had 1 turnover in a game with 9 assists? You are reaching so hard to prove a point.
    Chris Paul failed to take over the game offensively as points like Rose and Deron Williams are more willing to do. Yet, even with a more focused defense, he was sill incredibly efficient and rarely made mistakes on either end.
    That’s it.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    Well then I guess I’ll take the inefficient player that wins the game for his team.

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Memphis messed up the last 2 mins. of the 1st half. Up 6, with a chance to extend the lead and Spurs scrambling/turning the ball over, they had 4 posessions without a basket. Conley even had a travel call as he shuffled his pivot foot. the Cookie calmly sank to FT’s to close the gap.
    Oh well, shoulda, woulda, coulda.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Sigh.
    Come on man, think that statement through. That doesn’t make any sense.
    You just saw Paul win a game nobody in the world expected him to win in Game 1 with an efficient and masterful performance.
    He lost last night, but the game was still closer than most folks expected. Clearly dude is Derrick Rose’s equal, if not superior like I believe.
    Anyway, it’s not about who is better between them, or at least I wasn’t making that argument. I was actually saying that Paul need to adopt some of Rose’s attitude about shooting because sometimes, when you’re team is outgunned, you need to do that if hte other players are really struggling. Which they were.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Darksaber
    You think Memphis can win this series?
    I like the way they competed last night. They didn’t take anything for granted. Now, the Spurs out executed them at key moments, but the Grizzlies matched their intensity the entire game, and that was despite the fact that the Spurs were the desperate team.
    I like their chances in Memphis. I really like them.

  • bull22

    @jamestheballa, by saying mfers you probably made alot of these guys cry, hahahahahahahaha.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    Diesel, by efficiency, you just mean shot % right?
    Because as Allen pointed out, 20 on 11 shots, 9 assists to 1 turnover, thats pretty efficient.
    You are talking as if Rose does not lose games any more, how do you know that Rose with the Hornets supporting cast would have won the game last night? How do you know he would have put one of the better road play-off performances in history in gm 1 to get the win?

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    AllenP: lemme put it this way, i let out a sigh of relief when Spurs drew Memphis and not Dallas. Between TA, Conley, Battier, Z-Bo, Marc and Young/Arthur that is one SERIOUS team. Scary 8th seed.
    Manu’s return fueled the Spurs, he’s fearless (hit the deck like 4x in the 1st qtr alone), but as you said, the Grizz got out-executed.
    Doesn’t help that Z-Bo lost his focus and played like he had a date after the game.
    But bring ‘em to Memphis, in front of a playoff-starved crowd, and they get a 3rd quarter lead; they can take the Spurs.

  • T-Money

    Man Memphis is going to be good for a while if they re-up Marc Gasol. They don’t need any additions, just let the core grow together. Conley, TA, Gay, Randolp and Gasol with Mayo, Battier, Arthur off the bench. You got size, defense, shooting and athleticism. They just need a better back up PG because Vasquez is kind of a bum although he offers a different look at 6’6. This is the part where most GMs mess it up because they feel like they need to make moves – just let the guys grow together with stability on the roster and in the front office.

  • T-Money

    And don’t sleep on Rudy Gay, he WILL take the shot with the game on the line. On the down low, dude already got a resume of game-winners.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    @allball – see: derrick rose, 2008 first round game, Boston.

  • JTaylor21

    The only way NO can avoid losing at home to the Lakers is if CP goes into D-Rose mode aka “start chucking the damn ball”. I don’t know why the coach saw it fit to run isos for Landry vs a much taller and skilled Gasol with Bynum waiting in the paint. They need play someone other than Marco because dude is definitely not ready for the spotlight. Even though they are shorter I much rather have Jack or Green out there and I wish they still had Thornton because his aggressiveness and scoring would come in handy.
    If CP has any sense of the moment, he should come out gunning and take 20 shots the next game.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    2009* sorry.

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    I’m sure Marcus Thornton looks like Vinnie Johnson to coach Monty right about now.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    36/11/4 with 5 turnovers on 12-19. Great numbers, although not as good as Pauls, and Boston was with out Garnett.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    -_-, you know who was coaching that team right? and how “talented” that team was?
    and not to mention it was his rookie year, tied kareem’s record for points.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    T-Money – Memphis is losing Mayo for sure, probably Gasol too after the new CBA is figured. They spent too much money on Randolph, Gay, and Gasol to really resign both under teh current restrictions. IMO they are the Atlanta of the West for the foreseeable future.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Rondolph, Gay, and Conley*

  • JTaylor21

    Sheeeeeeit, Stanislav Medvedenko looks like the Microwave compared to what comes off the hornets bench.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    I’m just pointing out that CP3 is too inconcistent this year to still be considered the best. I tried pointing that out after game one, but people were too busy saying that CP3 was the “greatest playoff pg of all time”.

  • http://slamonline.com Datkid

    @allenp I think it’s obvious though that paul understands the game far better than rose…nobody cares though

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I wouldn’t say Chris Paul is inconsistent. Just not aggressive. He is consistently productive and efficient with everything but scoring. He is efficient when he shoots, but just doesn’t look to do it often.

  • http://slamonline.com Datkid

    also cp3 has been injured this entire year, which again people seem to forget.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Paul was consistently efficient more the entire year. He had one bad stretch late, but he’s been doing pretty much the same thing the whole year, in my opinion. And that was with that nasty knee brace, and not even one year totally removed from surgery.
    The main issue I had was that he didn’t look as quick, and he wasn’t aggressive with his shot.
    Well, he looks like the quickness issue is over with, now he needs to deal with the shooting issue.
    It’s fine if you don’t think Paul is the best, I’m not going to rehash that tired argument. But, very few people have said he’s the best of all-time. I actually haven’t seen anyone say that.
    And there was nothing incosistent about his performance last night. Dude was balling, balling hard, but he was playing 44 minutes against intense ball pressure and swarming defense, and his teammates, outside of Ariza, appeared either outclassed or frightened.
    Rose, for all he does for the Bulls, has much better talent than NOLA right now. Last night Paul kept giving those cats a chance to shine, and they kept failing.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    Allenp, what do make of Allballs claim then that derrick’s DEBUT playoff performance against the Celts is not as great as chris paul’s the other night.
    i beleive derrick’s is on par, if not better.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I would consider them even, Rose’s performance might have been a little better, but there was no KG on the court in that game/series. Paul’s 4th quarter was also unforgettable

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    @Allen – AllBall said it a few times after the last game “CP3 is statistically the greatest playoff pg ever”.
    And I’m not trying to make this a Rose vs CP3 thing. I’m just saying focusing in on CP3 – My main question is what the heck is any of his efficiency good for when he doesn’t step up when his team needs him? Last night’s example: Ariza scores a basket to put them down 2 with late in the third. Close game, time for your star to step up. CP responds by scoring 5 points in the 4th and dishing 1 assist I think. That’s junk to me. That’s not how a superstar responds. I wouldn’t be ripping CP3 if he stepped up and they lost. I’m calling him out because when crunch time came he deferred to Ariza. What other point guard in the game today would do that?

  • Patrick

    Glad to see people talking about Memphis. They deserve it. They have a good core and Tony Allen’s influence has them going HARD. I like that comment about them being the Hawks of the West if they lose Gasol. Their Gay, Randolph, Conley core would be pretty similar to Johnson, Horford, JSmoove. Talent-wise anyway. I hope they keep Gasol. They’ll be much better.

  • T-Money

    nbk: mayo is not a FA and they can go over the cap for Gasol. the new CBA has not yet been negotiated, people are just taking the owners’ maximum outcome and running with it (hard cap, shorter contracts, lower max). we don’t know what their bottom line is.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    the biggest reason i think derrick’s performance was better (and i really do apologize for making this sort of a cp vs. drose thing, honestly) is because he came into that series as an unproven rookie with low expectations.
    what chris paul did the other night should hardly come as a surprise to many.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Mayo has 1 year after this one plus they literally already traded him, you really think he isn’t out of there before his price tag goes up exponentially and they lose him for nothing? come on. Also The new CBA will no matter what be in effect before Gasol gets signed. The CBA will be smaller without a doubt, I’m not running with anything. If I was then I would go on and on about how Memphis has just compromised their entire future by signing Zach Radolph to a contract worth twice as much as he would have got under the new rules. But i’m not, I’m saying Memphis is stuck with their core three (Randolph, Gay, Conley) and will have to make moves to keep improving. It’s just the nature of the beast, especially in a small market like Memphis.

  • JTaylor21

    I guess someone wasn’t paying attention in class.
    He said “statistically” he’s put up the best numbers for a PG in playoffs history not he’s the best PG in the history of the playoffs.
    That’s like taking someone saying that Wilt’s statistically the greatest player of all-time to mean that he’s the GOAT.
    The mind is a terrible thing to waste.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Diesel
    If that’s your argument, I have no problem with it.
    But, that’s really not what your initial comment said, which is what I was responding to. Your initial comment about how Paul couldn’t be efficient given the same defenses Rose sees. Cause that’s bogus.
    But, I agree that he should have shot more. I can only surmise that he felt it was really important to keep his teammates involved an confident if he’s going to have a shot. Kind of like what Kobe argued against Phoenix back in the day, but less obviously d*ckish.
    That, or he was really tired and just didn’t have any more gas.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    airs, I was stupid to compare the games. BUT, how do you know that he would have put up a game like that in gm 1, that is all I was asking.
    I clearly said statistically the best, and after his short play-off career he probably is.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I am willing to give Paul the benefit of the doubt because he obviously was not intimidated, or even seriously bothered by what the Lakers were showing him on defense.
    What really pissed me off about that game was how small Gasol played once the game turned physical. That was ridiculous. He totally folded up like a punk. On the other hand, Bynum feasted.
    Gasol is still soft, I was fooled by last year and the year before into thinking he had gotten past this mental impediment, but nope, it’s still there. Dude needs to take some lessons from Dirk. Dirk BULLIES any smaller player who tries to guard him, and still gets foul calls by creating weird contact.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    oh and that Rose game 1, he played some absolutely horrible defense. lets get that out there too

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Airs
    I give Rose the nod because he was a rookie and he was going against a veteran who many people believe is a great defender. Paul is a wily vet and was going against Derek Fisher. But Rose had better talent around him and was facing an lesser team.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    I agree with almost everything Allen has said today. CP obviously was not affected by Kobe’s D, it was the team defence that made Paul give the ball up.
    In the end, he was making the right basketball plays all night (although they may have been the wrong plays to actually make). airs, didn’t Ben Gordon go off! In that series? Didn’t the Bulls have Salmons too? Both of those guys would get major minutes for the NOH team, BUT, I do think that Derricks game was better, being that it was his first ever play-off game.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    Jtaylor, Slava could get it going now and then lol! What happened to that guy.

  • T-Money

    nbk: essentially the main difference is that you think they’re “stuck” with their core whereas i think they’re “growing” with their core. we just don’t have the same appreciation of conley, ta, gay, randolph, gasol.

  • JTaylor21

    Y’all are acting like DRose dominated that 08 series. Yes, he had a great game 1 but he was above average the rest of the series. The guys that actually dominated was Rondo and BG.
    Rondo with his all-around brilliance and BG with his lights out shooting. Without BG’s clutch shots, I doubt that series makes it past 5gms. Also the celtics were without KG, so that played a big part.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    JTaylor
    Umm, maybe you want to go back and read the comments again. The question wasn’t about who had the best series, it was about who had the best “game.”
    As in single game.
    (Glass houses and stones, my man. Glass houses and stones.)

  • JoeMaMa

    @Allenp: I disagree on Landry. He’s averaging 15 and 6 and playing strong post D on Pau. I don’t think you can deny that he played very well in Game 1, and even in Game 2, he is showing playoff toughness and strong D. Of course he won’t fill it up like David West; West one of the best shooting bigs in the league. But he’s going up against Pau and making things tough on him. I think you’re referring to the one time he didn’t get back on D, when Kobe missed the put back on the fast break…but I’ve seen a lot of hustle, heart, and some decent numbers from him.
    Oh, and people saying someone is the statistically best PG in NBA playoff history means little, especially when said PG hasn’t made it past the 2nd round. He’s played what, 20 games? He’s a great player, but “statistically best” means sh*t. It’s window dressing.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    JoeMaMa, As the person mentioning that so often, I agree. I was just pumped that he had a phenomenal game on the big stage (NO have only been on nat’l TV twice before that). Also, I got into a few debates and got kind of stuck into the corner referencing that.

  • JTaylor21

    AllenP, I hear you. I’m just pointing out what happened after GM1 because people like to only look at the good and ignore the bad.
    (If you can’t run with the big dogs, you’d better stay on the porch)

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I have a great appreciation of them, but are they ever going to win anything? IS Gasol (if you can even retain him) and Randolph (who is what 30?) a championship front line? Is Gay really the best player on even a conference champion? Do you want Tony Allen as your best SG when the games is on the line? And Mike COnley is getting overpaid to be a decent PG. especially considering how much better the opposing PG’s in the West and around the league are. I don’t see any way they improve over the eventual 4-5 seed that they will fight for until they have to go back into rebuilding mode. And that’s assuming the CBA doesn’t change one bit. (Mayo is gone, good as gone, there is not one scenario where you can convince me Memphis has him past next season, unless they trade Gay which we all know isn’t happening)

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com airs

    jtaylor, we’re talking about ONE game, an opening away game and comparing the two.
    a mind is indeed a terrible thing to waste

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    Jtaylor – read my comments again I said statistically.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    nbk, why do you think Mayo is done? If they win a series do you still see them getting rid of him? Memphis/OKC would be a great series IMO. Tony Allen plays KD so well.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Mayo is gone because they can’t afford him. ANd have to trade him before they lose him for nothing. Hence the trade for McRoberts that was agreed too at the deadline, that they didn’t submit quick enough. It would definitely be in Memphis’ best interest to keep him, but they are a team that can’t pay the luxury tax, and they already are approaching it with just 3 of their players.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I think a Memphis v OKC series would be competitive, I doubt it goes past 6 games though. And I bet Battier will primarily be on KD, with Allen on Westbrook and Conley/Mayo guarding Thabo or Harden. – still though, they can’t keep Mayo past next season no matter what.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    also Why anyone thought Denver had a shot in any playoff series after the Melo trade is completely beyond me.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I actually think Rudy is growing into the type of player who can be the best player on a conference champion. Particularly when your front line includes Zbo and Marc Gasol.
    Now, I agree that they are shaky at both guard spots. I don’t trust Conley and Tony Allen is too limited. But, I absolutely love their frontcourt rotation with Zbo, Gasol, Powe and Arthur and Gay and Sam Young at the three. That is excellent.
    I wish Mayo would have panned out at the one. That would have been perfect.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I’m disappointed in Denver. It’s sad that they are letting themselves fight the “ref battle.” That’s always a losing battle.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    they (denver) don’t have a guy to give it to when the game slows down. Also knowing your going into a series rather then a single game allows opposing coaches more room and time to prepare a strategy to take advantage of that first problem. JR Smith is their best one on one scorer and he played 6 minutes. I’ve never seen a team win a playoff series without a go-to guy. You can bring up Detroit, but then i’ll point out they had 4 all stars not none. And Billups and Wallace were nothing less then superstars at the end of games for that team.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I feel like by the time Memphis players are prepared to be conference champions Zach Randolph will have hit a physical wall and be on a sharp decline. Sam Young/Leon Powe/ Darrel Arthur aren’t good enough to pick up the slack. And the Conley issue is huge IMO

  • http://www.slamonline.com Nick Tha Quick

    As a Laker fan, it is brutal to watch Gasol when he plays against a physical defender/defense. I really thought he had moved past his soft tag and could still bang while using his finesse. But the last games of the season and last night just reinforced the perception that he is soft. I watched Louis Amundson bully him and Gasol would not even dare drive to the paint against Landry. Once it starts going downhill for Gasol, it gets ugly. That’s when he’ll try his drive by, flailing his arms while getting the ball ripped and yell, looking for a foul. C’mon Pau, you much better than that.

  • JTaylor21

    I don’t think anyone on here thought that Den could beat OKC in the playoffs. It was the media that was driving that “Nuggets have a chance at pulling the upset” train. Mainly because they are against the idea of superstars linking up.
    Those clowns have no idea that a team has never gone far in the playoffs without a star player, the only one I could think of that didn’t really have a great player was the 04 Pistons and even that team had way better players than Den does.

  • http://Twitter.com/smileyoufckers Bryan

    I can’t believe anyone in their right mind thinks that there is a pg in the L better than a healthy Paul.

  • Jer Boi

    Id Denver had Afflalo they’d take the series and it would be 1-1 right now. who knows maybe 2-0.

  • http://slamonline.com zoom

    This may be a little biased but the EC playoffs are just a lot more exciting than the WC. It’s gonna be that way for years to come.

  • http://Slamonline.com Nbk

    Aaron Aflalo is a role player. He would not have changed a damn thing about game 2

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Co-sign Joe–Landry is actually outplaying Gasol this series, funnily enough.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    People are underrating Denver now–first they were a tad overrated, and now they’re underrated. They’re good enough to push this series to 7 games. Being down 2-0 is to be expected when you don’t have home court advantage–that’s why winning one on the road is considered a “steal.” Let’s just see what happens.

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Goshdarnit Mavs!
    Looks like Matthews and Roy needed some home cooking to find their way back into the series.
    And ASON Kidd’s baaaack.
    Oh well, can’t win by having nearly double the opponent’s amount of turnovers. Still fairly close though. Sure wish Chandler and Marion would join the team right about now. Especially on offe…. Oh they’re playing? Nevermind.

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Rudy Fernandez is stealing money from Portland at this point. What a disgrace.

  • rikson

    There were awful, AWFUL calls (on both sides) in that LA-NOH game…!

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