CAVS 106 PACERS 102

First off, RIP Jess Kersey, a former NBA official.

Cleveland sweeps Indiana 4-0.  A major plus was Hubie Brown on the call for ABC.

After the game, ABC’s Jalen Rose said Lance Stephenson should play J.R. Smith one-on-one. LOL

LeBron James now has swept a playoff series 10 times in his career.

Not only did LBJ make a big-time 3 late in today’s game, come up with multiple key defensive plays, including another chase down block from behind.

The King finished with 33 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists.

“I hate turning the ball over. In my head I have my little league and high school coaches saying if you turn the ball over you better be the first one back on defense,” said James.

The guy is incredible.  He came into the game third all-time in scoring and assists in the playoffs.  I always say Michael was the greatest to play the game, I think LeBron may be the second best of all-time.

“I just wanna try to play the game the right way, said James after the game.

The Cavaliers came into the game with an “assists-to-turnovers” ratio of 22:12 – today was a different story though.  The Cavs only had 11 assists (0 in the first quarter) and they turned the ball over 13 times.

Cleveland came in making 15 three’s per game – today they had 9.

Pacers came in with 11 per game, today they made 10.

Lance Romance played well. The Coney Island product scored 22 points on 4-9 shooting from downtown.

Former NBA player Leon Wood, who is now an official worked the game.

When a player makes a mistake in the game, “my fault’ sounds more sincere than “my bad.”

Speaking of mishaps, how about J.R. Smith’s behind-the-back pass late in the game? Ty Lue said he didn’t see it.

Paul George scored 15 points on 5-21 shooting from the field. Pacers head coach Nate McMillan on PG-13: “He looked worn down. he gave us what he had.  He tried to play the right way.”

George said after the game:

“Rough night. Every year isn’t a golden year. Not every year is going to be special.  Remain positive. Try to make the most of it.”

Not sure why reporters ask players immediately following the final game of the season if they want to stay in their home city and have they thought about free-agency?

“I’m not even into that. Next question,” said PG-13 when that was asked of him after the game.

Cleveland has an outstanding second unit led by Deron Williams, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert and Kyle Korver.

McMillan on Lance:

“He brings energy and a passion. Somewhat of a toughness to the roster. Coming off the bench he provides the energy. Our guys responded to that. I like his fight. He tries to play the game the right way. He’s a pass-first guard. We’re going to have to work with him on his defense. Committing to that end of the floor.”

Last season at this time Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News wrote that he thought LeBron James was the best basketball player ever. http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/news/with-sixth-trip-to-finals-lebron-james-basketballs-best-ever-nba-finals-cleveland-cavaliers-golden-state/1v2fmf47u8bg61n9te73rc5e4s

And, here’s another piece from DeCourcy, one in which he wrote a couple of days ago. http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/news/nba-playoffs-2017-lebron-james-cleveland-cavaliers-indiana-pacers-game-3-score-result-record-comeback/ofea50pt5xk6154ip19hvoafp

Decourcy on LBJ’s Game 3 performance:

Triple-double powered Cleveland’s comeback from 25 points down at the break to a 119-114 victory, the largest halftime deficit overcome in NBA playoff history. The win provided the Cavaliers with a 3-0 series lead and the opportunity to complete a sweep Sunday afternoon.

James scored or assisted on 73 of the Cavaliers’ points, or 61.3 percent of their output. He played every minute of the third and fourth quarters. He led all scorers with 41 points, all rebounders with 13, all passers with 12 assists, all 3-point shooters with a half-dozen made in 12 attempts and, of the seven players who attempted double-figure shots, was the only one who made more than 50 percent.

It was one of the most astounding performances of James’ brilliant career, and it underscored the reality of his 2016-17 season: If James is able to drag this crew to another NBA Finals, and especially a championship, it will stand as his masterpiece, his greatest achievement.

And finally, from James himself who has won 21 straight, first round games. Something no other player has ever done.

“I just try to put myself in position to help my teammates win no matter who is on the floor with me,” James said. “I try to empower them, try to make them better, try to make them believe that we can be great every night.”

Hoops135@hotmail.com

 

 

EVERY DAY EFFORT

The fantastic writer, J.R. Moehringer once said, “Life is all a matter of choosing which voices to tune in and which to tune out.” He hit the nail on the head.

If you’re a basketball fan you have an opportunity to listen to many basketball analysts. TNT, ESPN and NBA TV are the three main networks.  There’s pre-game shows, half-time shows and of course, post-game shows.  My favorite is TNT.  I love Shaq, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley.  These guys are awesome – love listening to them break it down.

Yesterday afternoon Smith, the former Archbishop Molloy Stanner said “the Clippers are championship or bust.” Then he added that they cant win the championship without Blake Griffin who is out of action the rest of the playoffs.

Kenny the Jet also mentioned how Rajon Rondo, another guy who has been hurt for the Bulls is always looking for teammates on the break and that those teammates running the floor know he is looking for them. My thing is point guards should ALWAYS look for their teammates.

On ESPN, Jalen Rose and Chauncey Billups mentioned, “playing the right way.’

Whatever happened to sideline reporter Cheryl Miller?

By the way, “The Jet” was talking about the Toronto Raptors defense and he mentioned, “drive-by’s.” Yo Jet, with you being from Queens, you better not use that term again, instead use Bill Raftery’s favorite, “blow-by’s.”

I miss reading Peter Vecsey; but he is on Twitter. He tweets good stuff.  By far Vecsey was the best basketball writer of all-time. Bob Ryan is a close second. We read PV’s column religiously.

I happen to notice a few NBA basketball players have been wearing headphones while they are out on the court shooting before the actual lay-up line. What’s up with that?

Rule change: When a basketball player dives on the floor for a 50-50 ball they should be able to get up on their feet and dribble.

Rule change II: (High school and college) When there is a jump-ball called during the game, let’s jump it up. Toss the ball up and battle for it.

“Shaqtin a Fool” is a great segment on TNT.

Dwight Howard, before yesterday’s game came in scoring 6 points per game for the first two games. Shaq said, “that’s embarrassing.”

Best starting back-court in the playoffs? Warriors, Wizards or Blazers?

The game has gone global; many international players doing well in the playoffs. I love the way these guys play.

Speaking of international players, I love Giannis Antetokounmpo, AKA, “The Greek Freak.” When he is on the move with the ball, he reminds me a little of Julius Erving and Connie Hawkins.

Marc Gasol shooting 3’s, atta boy!

Speaking of 3’s, the Hawks and Wizards are not shooting the ball well.  Atlanta is 20-70 from distance (.286) and the Wizards are 22-79 (.278). Compare that to the Cavaliers and Pacers, Cleveland is 45-103 from way downtown (.437) and Indiana is 35-85 (.412).

During travel team basketball this weekend there’s many highlights of slam dunks making their way to the internet. Can we get a clip of one kid cutting back-door for a layup? I’ll even take a few passes around the horn by one team.

The Toronto Raptors dish out 16.5 assists per game against the Bucks. They also turn the ball over 16.1 per game. Not a good ratio but the good thing is, series is tied at two.

San Antonio Spurs average just 15.5 assists per game. They turn it over 11.0 per game. Not good.

Best at sharing the ball in the playoffs? Celtics are a +15 (29 assists to 14 turnovers) Warriors +14 (27 assists to 13 turnovers) Cavaliers +10 (22 assists to 12 turnovers).

Hit the open man…

Did you see John Wall’s behind-the-back move and the dunk for the finish? You-tube it. And when someone gets dunked on, you can’t say, “he put him on a poster.” Have to say, “he you-tubed him.”

Doris Burke on Michael Conley, “he plays the right way.”  I love Conley’s game. Thanks Doris for mentioning PTRW.

In 26 playoff games so far the team who has made the most 3’s has won 13 games. So, is the made three point shot that important? It is to some teams.

LeBron James leads all players in assists per game for the playoffs. The King dishes out 10.7 per followed by Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook with 10.3. John Wall checks in next with 10.0 a game.

The “ref you suck” chant has to go. Classless. It’s weak too. These guys are doing the best they can, it’s not easy.

Manu Ginobili is struggling from distance; 0-15 in the playoffs.

Kawhi Leonard was amazing last night, at both ends of the floor.

Sideline reporter to Marc Gasol after his winning basket in OT. “Walk me through the last play.”

The Golden State Warriors won last night, 119-113 taking a 3-0 series lead over the Blazers. Get well Steve Kerr…

I wish Bill Walton was working the NBA playoffs.

Thanks for reading and always play the right way.

Hoops135@hotmail.com

50-50 BALL

We are one week into the NBA playoffs.

Never have I been so excited to watch these games.

Like my guy James Edwards told me, “I love the playoffs.”

Yeah but bro, you also said you fell asleep last night and missed the end of the Jazz-Clippers game. Come on bro! You’re 25 years-old…

Speaking of the late game last night, the Clippers went into Utah and beat the Jazz 111-106.  Forget about the final score, or the fact that LA leads 2-1, you need to see CP3’s behind the back move late in the game.

Oh my!

N.Y.C. all the way. I’m talking Tillary Park, East 5th street and Manhattan Beach style.

Remember when you would see a guy on television make a sweet move and you and your friends would go to the schoolyard and try to copy it? When Scott Skiles was at Michigan State he threw the sickest behind-the-back-pass against Georgetown.  Later that night we were all trying to do the same. Do kids still emulate their favorite players?

Gordon Hayward of the Jazz went off last night…he’s got game. He went to Butler, right?

How about the Celtics flying into the Windy City and beating the Bulls 104-87 to make it a 2-1 series?  Celtics are all good despite being down 2-1 in the series.  Rajon Rondo missed the game for Chicago with a broken thumb.  I picked Chicago in this series but I’m not so sure now. Bulls need RR’s leadership.

My favorite coach of all-time, Kevin Loughery once said, “Shoot ’em up and sleep in the streets,” Celtics made 17 three’s out of 37 attempts. Bulls were 6-21.

Lansing native Denzel Valentine got some burn for Chicago late in the game. He knocked down a three.  Kid put a lot of work in over the last 5-6 years. His time will come.

Speaking of 3-balls, in 22 NBA playoff games thus far, the team that makes the most is 12-6. The other 4 games? Each team made the same amount.

Big Al Horford, by way of Grand Ledge, Michigan scored 18 points and grabbed 8 boards last night. This guy has come a long way. I remember back in the day when he was in high school we would work out, he didn’t like doing full-court dribbling drills.

One more thing on Valentine and Horford; they both played their high school basketball in the CAAC Blue here in the Mid-Michigan area.  Valentine’s dad, Carlton is one of the best. He’s done a fine job raising two sons. His second son, Drew is an assistant coach at Oakland University.

Gerald Green got the start for the C’s.

“It’s a two possession game,” LOL – stop saying that, please. We can count.

Brad Stevens, Fred Hoiberg, Quin Snyder and Billy Donovan all coaching in the playoffs:  who said a college coach can’t get it done in the NBA?  Shoot, a high school coach can get it done in the league. Just put them in a decent situation, put players around them who want to work and a front office that are committed to getting it done, 24-7.

OKC beat the Rockets last night 115-113.  The Thunder now trail in the series 2-1. Russell Westbrook with another triple-double.

Russ, on his team: ”We’re all one team. I don’t have a cast, I don’t have other guys. We’re all in this together and my teammates have been doing a great job all season long.”

Taj Gibson dropped 20 for the Thunder. They need him to continue being a force.

James Harden scored 44. He missed the last shot of the game which would have won it for Houston.

Two Foul or Defend situations last night; both worked. Clippers fouled and Thunder fouled.

Gordy Chiesa, former coach at Manhattan College and Jerry Sloan’s long-time assistant in Utah posts great tweets on twitter. Give him a follow.

Just once,  I want a reporter at the post-game press conference to ask, “what does it mean to play the right way?”  First guy to ask, gets a Starbucks coffee on me.

Love Hubie Brown. He coached, oh I mean he worked the Bulls-Celtics game last night on ESPN.  You get a free coaches clinic listening to him. I learn at least 2-3 things every time I listen to him. Love when he breaks down a screen-down and a curl.

I saw a guy yesterday wearing a Kyle Korver Atlanta Hawks jersey…here in East Lansing.

Do yourself a favor and go check out Ray LeBov’s blog, Basketball Intelligence. http://basketballintelligence.net/

Kevin Garnett is a funny guy.  Love his segment on TNT.  He would be great court-side announcing a game.

Every NBA player complains of a no-call or a call. Come on guys, the kids are watching. Just once I want to see a player go over to a ref and say, “Good call.” Whatever happened to raising your hand when they call a foul on you?

Motown music is the best…download the songs today.

AAU, oops I mean travel team basketball going on this weekend. College coaches out all over the country looking for players.

Yo kids, they are looking for players that “Play the Right Way.”

Happy Earth Day. Think I’ll go out to the schoolyard and get some shots up.

Thanks for reading…

Hoops135@hotmail.com

THE COMEBACK CAVS

If you played ball or have coached a game, you’ve been there.

Trailing in the game, down double-figures.  Time to get some stops. Multiple stops. Not trying to get it all back in one possession. Because, every possession matters.

You’re on the comeback trail. You cut the lead to 10, 8, 6…

You can do it. Never give up no matter what.

How about the Cleveland Cavaliers last night in Game 3 against the Indiana Pacers?

LeBron James and company found themselves down 25 at the half!  Would have loved to been inside Cleveland’s locker room.

“At halftime, I was just looking at the guys and telling them, Let’s get a couple stops.”

My team was once down 18 in the third quarter and we came back to win.

Last night in the second half, the best player in the game put his team on his back and brought them all the way back for the victory.

Unreal!

The Cavs won 119-114 to take a 3-0 lead in the best of seven.

All the casual fans and some media members want to do is harp on the late-season meltdown by the Cavaliers. They talk about their defense. Selfish players, etc.

All nonsense.

It’s a new season these playoffs.

Couple of days off helped Cleveland refresh and rejuvenate.

They have been here before.

They’re playing good basketball now. Good enough to win.  Plus they have LeBron James, who won his 20th straight, opening round playoff game.

James scored 41 points and added 13 rebounds and 12 assists.

”I just try to put myself in position to help my teammates win – no matter who’s on the floor with me,” James said. ”I just don’t settle for being not as great as I can be. The only thing that matters is (winning) – that’s what I’m here for.”

Sunday, Indiana will try to get a victory or they will be heading on vacation.

DAY 4: NBA PLAYOFFS

Raptors 106 Bucks 100 (Series tied, 1-1)

Kyle Lowry drops 22. Raptors tie series as they move to Milwaukee.

Raptors 24 assists 11 turnovers (14-29 Three-Point FG 48%)

Bucks 20 assists 11 turnovers (11-23 Three-Point FG 47%)

Bulls 111 Celtics 97 (Chicago leads series 2-0)

No surprise here; Bulls can play. Rondo was amazing…

Bulls 28 assists 10 turnovers (10-25 Three-Point FG 40%)

Celtics 26 assists 16 turnovers (10-33 Three-Point FG 30%)

 

Clippers 99 Jazz 91 (Series tied, 1-1)

LA gets the win, much-needed too. Jazz play without Gobert… again. Series shifts to Utah.

Los Angeles 26 assists 11 turnovers (6-20 Three-Point FG 30%)

Utah 15 assists 13 turnovers (10-25 Three-Point FG 40%)

DAY 3: NBA PLAYOFFS

Cavaliers 117  Pacers 111 (Cleveland leads series 2-0)

Irving, Love and LeBron lead the way.  Series shifts to Indy.

Cavaliers 19 assists 18 turnovers (13-31 Three-Point FG 41%)

Pacers 23 assists  13 turnovers (8-20 Three-Point FG 40%)

Spurs 96 Grizzlies 82 (San Antonio leads series 2-0)

Memphis head coach David Fizdale was upset afterwards about the officiating. His beef is on-line. Go ahead and Google. Series moves to Memphis. 

Spurs 14 assists 14 turnovers (9-23 Three-Point FG 39%)

Grizzlies 19 assists 8 turnovers (7-27 Three-Point FG 26%)

DAY 2: NBA PLAYOFFS

Rockets 118 Thunder 87 (Rockets lead series 1-0)

James Harden goes for 37 points on 13-28 shooting. He also grabs 7 rebounds and hands out 9 assists.

Rockets 21 assists 11 turnovers (10-33 Three-Point FG 30%)

Thunder 19 assists 15 turnovers (9-29 Three-Point FG 31%)

Bulls 106 Celtics 102 (Bulls lead series 1-0)

Jimmy Butler scored 23 of his 30 points in the second half.

Bulls 22 assists 16 turnovers (8-25 Three-Point FG 32%)

Celtics 27 assists 15 turnovers (14-38 Three-Point FG 36%)

Warriors 121 Blazers 109 (Warriors lead series 1-0)

Lillard and McCollum go off for Portland but so do Durant and Curry for Golden State.

Warriors 26 assists 16 turnovers (11-27 Three-Point FG 40%)

Blazers 15 assists 14 turnovers (11-30 Three-Point FG 36%)

Wizards 114 Hawks 107 (Wizards lead series 1-0)

John Wall never gets enough ink. Scored 32 points and handed out 14 assists.

Wizards 28 assists 12 turnovers (8-28 Three-Point FG 28%)

Hawks 18 assists 19 turnovers (7-25 Three-Point FG 28%)