Tag Archives: NBA

Riffing on the Warriors’ Title

In this little riff on the NBA championship series, consider yourself forewarned. I am going to reminisce about a moment from the Louisville Cardinals’ first national crown.

As if you’re surprised in the least.

First, the lead in.

As overwhelming as Kevin Durant’s offensive numbers were in the title run, as stifling as his previously underappreciated defense was — ask Kevin Love about that play late in Game 5 when he had it in the post and KD wouldn’t even allow him a breath — and as magnificent as he was holding off the last gasp of the LeBrons Monday night with key buckets, the transfer from OKC sealed the deal in Game 3.

Recall that Golden State tallied the last 11 points in that win in the City By The Burning Lake to take a 3 zed — Read: Insurmountable — advantage.

The capper in that tilt was a walk up trey from the left elbow extended with but a handful of seconds to play. Durant just about skipped into the shot. His adversary Mr. James, already showing signs of over exertion, peeled back to the hoop a bit quickly and couldn’t get out to cover.

Almost nonchalantly, KD fired. All twine.

He was ready for his Cecil B. DeMille moment.

Thus, as I’m wont to do, I was reminded of the evening of March 24, 1980. Market Square Arena, may it rest in peace. Continue reading Riffing on the Warriors’ Title

Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Live by the 3, Die by the 3

b-ballWith 4:39 to play last night, Klay Thompson answered a LeBron James trey with a driving layup.

It knotted the game at 89.

It knotted the points for the Series at 699-699.

As the Louisville Cardinal radio announcer of my youth Ed Kallay would say, “That’s about as close as you can get it.”

At which juncture, the compelling Best of 7 that had gained in intensity, by the day, on the court and off, redlined the Stress Meter past 11.

James missed a 22 footer.

Steph Curry missed a trey.

LeBron misfired on a deuce.

Thompson couldn’t net a two from 15 feet.

Andre Igoudala blocked a James shot at the rim. Then couldn’t find the hole from beyond the arc.

With each possession, the tension became more smothering, sucking the breath out of those who paid $50 large for their courtside seats, those in the bleachers, those in the Square in Cleveland, and folks gathered to watch together on big screens everywhere.

The shut down D continued. So too, the resulting offensive woes. Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Live by the 3, Die by the 3

Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Dubs/Cavs’ Game 7 is The Deal

b-ballIn case you were wondering, the answer is Yes.

Yes, Golden State vs. Cleveland in the Best of One capper to this ’15-’16 NBA season is The Real Deal. The Big Deal.

Arguably the Biggest Basketball Deal of the 21st C.

Game 7s are always special. Compelling. Especially when they’re the last game of a long, long season.

But, tonight’s is mo’ betta’. Actually better than that lame overused pop cultural reference.

What we have here is nothing short of a clashing of legends. A one game Texas Chainsaw Loser Leaves Town After Getting Tongues Cut Out Death Match to decide the premier professional hoops legacy of the millennium.

You know, uh, other than that, it’s just another ballgame, the last fix for hoopaholics until autumn. Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Dubs/Cavs’ Game 7 is The Deal

Hoopaholic’s Gazette: LeBron’s Last Stand???

b-ballOne with a propensity to hyperbolize, might inquire of tonight’s Game Three of the NBA Finals, whether it is the most important of LeBron James’ career, one that could define his legacy?

He might suggest that James, on into his thirties and facing the cusp of declining abilities, might not have many if any more opportunities to hoist his teammate on his broad Midwestern shoulders, and fireman’s carry them to certify a reclamation for his beloved home, the City by the Lake that Caught Fire.

He would wonder if James, Chosen as he was in early age like some hoopster Siddartha, can transcend the middling talents of his current teammates against a foe with more spare parts than Team Penske on Memorial Day at Indy?

He would consider if James’ legendary run of Finals’ appearances will be enough to feed the grandiosity of the star’s desires, as well as the vision of those who anointed him when he was a relative babe?

He would again assess the wonder of James’ physicality, basketball acumen and hardwood intuitivity, but concede that, in a conversation James’ longs to be a part of — Who is the best baller ever? — his name might early on fall out of the discussion.

He might wonder, that hyperbolizer, about his own conjecture here presented, whether he could be over-analyzing the long term ramifications of tonight’s contest, whether his internal queries are but mental hula hoopery?

Then again . . . Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: LeBron’s Last Stand???

Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Dubs’ Subs Conk Cavs

b-ballOf the abundant collection of accomplishments that the Golden State Warriors have gathered in the last year, what transpired last evening in Game One of the ’16 Finals may be the most bestest.

Last year’s title. This regular season’s record setting 73 Ws. Besting OKC for the West title, after being down 1-3. Consecutive MVPs. All significant. All boffo.

But, besting rough and ready Cleveland, led by a seriously voracious LeBron James, when the Splash Brothers couldn’t even find the pool let alone cannonball off the high dive . . . by 15 points no less . . . now that’s a statement.

The Cavs were ready to thwart Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, with an effective game plan, and equally impressive execution. Thompson was 4/12, picked up three fouls early on, and was hardly a factor. Curry was 4/15, threw it away 5 times and was a -1 for the tilt.

No real contributions from the stars.

No problem. Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Dubs’ Subs Conk Cavs

Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Dubs Laugh Last in the West

b-ballNow that the Warriors have done what champions do, i.e. rising from the ashes as if domiciled in Phoenix not Golden State and overcoming a 1-3 deficit to win the Western Conference title, now that order has been restored in that half of the NBA, what are we to make of the vanquished?

Specifically, of Russell Westbrook?

When the Great Scorer comes to call shall he remember the OKC sparkplug for his on court actions as a hell bent for leather, point guard of fury?

Or, shall it be for that thinly veiled press conference snicker? The one Westbrook took no pains to hide, when his running partner Kevin Durant was giving a diplomatic if dismissive response to a question about arch foe Steph Curry’s D.

At that juncture the Thunder were riding high, on the brink of the seemingly insurmountable, beating San Antonio and Golden State in consecutive series to make their first championship round as Sooners. The Spurs had been defeated. Three chances remained to close out the Warriors.

So, Westbrook, overconfident, full of himself after leading his charges to consecutive beatdowns at home, couldn’t contain his premature glee.

Forgetting it ain’t over til the Valkyrie Brünnhilde lets loose with her Götterdämmurungian aria, Westbrook giggled at the prospect of charging past the vulnerable checking of his two time MVP counterpart.

Tsk, tsk, my man. He who laughs last laughs best. Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Dubs Laugh Last in the West

Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Chaos Reigns in Conference Finals

b-ballYeah, I’ll be talkin’ about all the cockamamie developments in both the East and West of the NBA. As I’m wont to do. But don’t be looking to me for an explanation of what’s playing out.

I’m the guy who went all Moses Malone, and anointed the Cavs a lock for a fo’ fo’ fo’ trip to the Championship Round.

I’m the guy, just another of many many guys and gals, who has fallen in love with cute little Steph and his ability to nail 30 footers whenever it mattered. Or, so it seemed.

I’m the guy, who forgot that DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry are bona fide All-Stars, and that Lowry might just be ridin’ out a 2016 Villanova hum. And that Dwane Casey might know more about coaching hoops than how to stuff an envelope with moolah to bag a recruit. And that Tyronn Lue might not be as savvy as David Blatt. And that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, despite their props, have never been here before, and might not understand how you gotta play D to win a title.

I’m the guy who watched Steven Adams play a year for Pitt, and didn’t realize how gritty (and big guy talented) he is. And how Russell Westbrook’s hell bent for leather game could unnerve even kickballin’ Draymond Green. And that Billy the Kid has two more titles on his resumé than the Kerr/Walton pas de deux combined.

I’m the guy who has never understood why people who pay triple figures for tickets to a basketball game feel compelled to wear color coordinated t-shirts on their seats, just because The World Wide Leader likes how photogenic it looks. Nor how the energy in an arena in Tornado Alley can be so tornadic, propelling the resident team to greater heights.

So, yeah, OKC is on the brink of eliminating the defending champs.

The Raptors have discovered several niches in the LeBrons’ armor.

And I’m Seedy K, a hoopaholic, watching it all play out, fascinated, but gobsmacked.

Who saw this coming?

Not me. Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Chaos Reigns in Conference Finals

Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Thunder Plunder Dubs, Cavs Cruise

b-ballThe handwritten sign over the bin at Paul’s Market reads, “Best Apples in Store.”

“**Crisp”

“**Tasty”

Since my morning ritual consists of natural crunchy peanut butter and an apple, always crisp, never tart (Ambrosia, Honeycrisp, the occasional Pacific Rose), I grabbed a couple to test eat.

The little sticky labels that are a pain in the ass to pull off read, “Smitten.”

Smitten Apples. Clever designation, that.

Crisp and tasty, they are, and I’m off to the market this afternoon to replenish my supply.

Smitten, indeed.

 * * * * *

And smitten is what we hoopaholics have been, as we were with the Spurs in ’14, with the Golden State Warriors since their beautiful ever in motion panache won them last year’s NBA title, and a record 73 regular season tilts this season. Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Thunder Plunder Dubs, Cavs Cruise

Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Westbrook, Parker & Analytics

b-ballOkay, the most significant long term takeaway from last night’s pivotal OKC Western semi W in San Antonio is that the Spurs are on the cusp of refurbishment. Whether or not they win the next two and survive this series with the Thunder, and even the next with Golden State.

Tim Duncan is but a holographic image of his former HofF-quality baller, and frankly, on the court, is a detriment to his team’s play these days, other than as a leader and calming presence.

I’ll get to Tony Parker in a minute.

LaMarcus Aldridge, important newcomer, is over 30. Kawhi Leonard is a budding superstar, but his demeanor is so reticent, it’s hard to see him as a “leader” for the future.

So, yeah, there’s that goin’ on. Actually, not goin’ on, as in needs the franchise needs to fill.

As for OKC, there’s all the conjecture about where KD might go, should he feel it’s time to move away from Tornado Alley. But, hey, if the Thunder make a big run this campaign, maybe their dynamic duo will stay put. Add a big — Dwight Howard, anyone? — and who knows?

But, enough of all that conjecture.

I’m fascinated by some of the numbers from last night’s OKC W at the Alamo. Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Westbrook, Parker & Analytics

Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Hurricane Steph Strikes Again

b-ballFirst, a tip for all my fellow, similarly addled hoopaholics, who, like me, hit the hay early, but still want to savor these incredible late night playoff games from the Left Coast.

Use your DVR. Watch the tilts in the a.m. with your morning joe. (As opposed to “Morning Joe,” which cable “news” show is giving the terminology a bad name.)

Buuuuuuut, remember, don’t be a doofus like me. Set the recording for long enough, so that you can watch the whole game, even when it goes to OT.

So, I saw the boffo highlights as soon as I awakened. Knew that the Warriors beat Portland in overtime. Knew that Steph Curry, after a slow slow start, went for 23 points in the last 9+ minutes of the battle, including 17 in the extra 5.

I made my coffee. Fixed my usual repast of natural crunchy PB on Ambrosia apple, and turned on my recording to the 4th Q.

What a game, even though both Curry and Rip City’s scintillating PG Damion Lillard, both of whom were otherwise transcendent at crunch time, missed shots at the end of regulation that would have ended it.

Then, five seconds into OT, the recording stopped. Because, yeah, truth be told, like a dumb schmuck, I only set the recording time for 2 1/2 hours.

Fortunately, there are enough highlight reels on the dub dub dub, so I have a sense of the whole Curry flurry that felled the T-Blazers . . . but still . . . it was like pulling up short. Fortunately my temporary case of b-ball blue balls has abated.

I shan’t make the same mistake again. Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Hurricane Steph Strikes Again