FROM WAY DOWNTOWN

Golden State eliminates the Blazers last night.

The “3” ball of course is a factor.  Here’s the top three teams in the playoffs for three-point field goals made as of Wednesday morning.

1-Cavaliers 54

2-Celtics 51

3-Warriors 50

ALL THAT JAZZ…

Joe Johnson went off last night.

Not only did Iso Joe score 11 points in a row late in the game but he also hit the open man four straight possessions.  Joe’s been in the league 16 years. WOW!

“He’s so sure with the ball,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. ”It’s not often you find a guy that has that combination of skill, as far as his ability to handle the ball and make plays. And the strength to get to spots on the floor.

”The thing that really takes us to a unique place is he’s such a willing passer. He basically either scored or assisted on every basket (down the stretch). … We knew this is who he is and he knows it’s playoff time.”

As for the game, the Jazz beat the Clippers last night 105-98. Series is tied at 2.

Rudy Gobert was back in action last night. 6-6 shooting for 15 points. He also grabbed 13 rebounds in 25 minutes.

Gordon Hayward had food poison last night.  Played 9 minutes in the first half.

DNP in the second half. I had it once, it is bad.

Joe Ingles dished out 11 assists. Love his game. He’s part of the Aussie crew. Those guys can ball.

Utah averages 93 possessions per game – the lowest in the league. Not sure why Charles Barkley thinks the Jazz should play faster – they’re fine bro.

Chuck’s partner on TNT,  Kenny Smith did a good job of breaking down Utah’s sets. Jet would make for a good coach.

There was a Dante Exum sighting last night…

Remember when Peter Vecsey called the Clippers, “The Paper Clips?”

Chris Paul went off last night.  Guy is amazing.  He does it all. CP3 is the only player in this year’s playoffs with 10 or more assists each game. 27 points -9 rebounds and 12 assists last night for Paul. Worth mentioning, just two turnovers. 12:2 ratio – incredible.  Entering last night’s game Paul had made 40 straight free-throws. Streak is over, 6-8 last night. His three-point shooting has to get better. 1-6 last night.

“We let that one slip away,” Paul said. ”It was 87-80, and that’s on me. Being the point guard, I have to manage the game better and make sure we get good shots”

How about Jamal Crawford – he too went off. 9-13 shooting for 25 points. 5-7 from distance. The former Michigan Wolverine came in 0-11 from downtown.

TNT’s Shaq on Crawford: “Street style. Plays all year around. Seattle in there.”

Blake Griffin is out for the playoffs. (Big toe injury) Here’s George Hill of the Jazz.

”You’ve got to think, your big toes are the main part of your body to help with balance and explosion and things like that,” Hill said. ”Just like if you didn’t have thumbs, it’d be hard to do a lot of things in your daily life. Just think about your thumbs and big toes are your main points of your body. I’m sure it’s something that’s excruciating pain for him because I’ve been in that situation.”

Derek Harper is in studio for NBA TV.  I was impressed with the job he did last night. Harper was a heck of a player back in the day. Solid defender. Solid point guard. Tough. Played the right way…

Remember, always hit the open man…

Hoops135@hotmail.com

 

 

 

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