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.

 * * * * *

Watching the Warriors get dismantled thrice in the first four games of the West, two words come to mind.

Hubris. Excessive pride or self confidence.

Nonchalance. Appearing casually calm. From the French word that translates as “not being concerned.”

When you win 73 games, more than any team ever in the history of the sport, one supposes, it’s easy to believe yourselves to be consecrated. That a title to go along with the regular season transcendence is a fait accompli.

Golden State is playing like a team that feels it can turn it on at any moment. Which doesn’t work against a team with a chip on its shoulder and playing meaner. The Thunder are hitting all the big shots, grabbing all the key boards, hitting the floor for loose balls.

The Warriors look beaten. Then again, the series ain’t over until one team wins four.

Curry, who admittedly is getting roughed up pretty badly,1 is throwing one sloppy pass after another. He and his runnin’ podner Green had six turnovers each last night. Curry was -19. Green -30.

Meanwhile Westbrook and his homie Kevin Durant are gittin’ ‘er done. With plenty of help from their friends.

And I’m not astute enough to fully understand exactly what little tweaks and strategies Billy Donovan is using, but I can see the results. He’s been a step ahead of his counterparts this whole series.

 * * * * *

It’s hard to conceptualize Toronto winning twice in Cleveland to make it to the Finals.

Buuuuuuuuuuut . . . they’ve got the not so cavalier Cavaliers back on their heels. And back in Cleveland for a Game Five they never figured to be playing.2

I’m as inclined as the next wag to make predictions.

But as steely as OKC looks, as beaten down as Golden State appears, as resolute as Toronto seems to be and as sure a thing as LeBron in the Finals has been, I’m just going to sit back and watch.

— Seedy K


4 thoughts on “Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Chaos Reigns in Conference Finals

  1. I do think that “playoff” refereeing while allow D Green to perfect his place kicking allows opponents to take Curry out of his game, and allowed Casey and his crew to realize that they didn’t have to let the Cavs get to the rim, unless they were Lebron-like powerful.
    The post season is my only real exposure to NBA but as each level has advanced the more it looks like Rollerball with James Caan.

  2. I still am baffled as to how Kevin Love earned this reputation as a rebounder with the T-wolves, and now? He’s disappeared. LBJ looks off his feed totally. OKC? I was hoping they would win this series against the Dubs. Hubris is the perfect term for GSW. As stated earlier, I’m not sure they respected the abilities of one R. Westbrook. Durant seemed to be their focus. Not any longer, and it’s far from over, but I hope the Thunder advance.

  3. Love’s rebounding… it seems like he gets more offensive boards than defensive boards but I really don’t know. Looking for easy garbage buckets ? At the defensive end it appears that he rarely tries to block shots, so never takes himself out of rebounding position or having to “jump twice” on missed shots in order to get a defensive board. He certainly isn’t a leaper, or quick footed.

  4. FN1, above….

    I have watched more NBA games this season than in the last 10, maybe 20 years combined. The Dubs have lured me in—primarily one Steph Curry. The primary reason that I have become such a fan is not just the players, but how they play the game.

    Coach P has preached that the college game has become less interesting compared to the NBA because of the lack of freedom of movement away from the ball. During the regular season, I would agree.

    But, (and I remember the sequence that you describe above) that has all changed. There is more hugging and grabbing and elbowing and–you name it– going on than in the WWF. No wonder SAdams got his pee-pee whacked by DGreen.

    Curry has no chance to play his game because the officiating has turned 180 degrees from Nov to April. What once was a flagrant foul is now great defense. No wonder he can’t shoot—he probably can’t get his arms over his head from the pounding he takes merely trying to run across the court to get open.

    On the other hand, the athletic RWestbrook is relishing the change in officiating. Don’t get me wrong, I think RW is a great player and one of, if not the most athletic player in the league. But still, as far as basketball skills go, he is a piker compared to SC. So, if you leave it up to me as a recent convert to enjoying rather than ignoring the NBA, I’ll take a Steph Curry step back 35 footer over a mad dash to the basketball careening off defenders by Russell W any day.

    …plus, maybe this explains why my man Russ is not in the League—he would be on life support if his tiny frame had to put up with the molestation that these playoff games allow.

    Thus, I guess it’s time to watch the College Baseball games–at least until the head hunting pitchers from the NL show up to drill some poor college dude in the noggin’.

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