The Boston Celtics have home-court advantage throughout these NBA playoff games, but yet have shown that they can play with the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers. The San Antonio Spurs are good for an old-fashioned two points and just-put-up-a-basket basketball philosophy has them playing the up-tempo Golden State Warriors. The Warriors are 2-0 in their series against the Spurs and San Antonio doesn’t have the basketball personnel to play these Stephen Curry-led basketball team. What will the Spurs do if they can’t get back Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, their two valued starters? The Spurs relied on Leonard having the basketball to dominate the ball game and the Spurs won’t play like a team until they realize they have to make shots in order to beat the Warriors. Boston won’t defeat Cleveland, because they don’t have a superstar like Lebron James who has unmatched athleticism.
It is the start of November and the Golden State Warriors are off to a start with Kevin Durant on board the Warriors squad. What will Durant do to help the Warriors come playoff time? Will he help Golden State with defense? There’s no question that San Antonio isn’t far behind with winning the 2017 NBA title now that Tim Duncan is retired. The Spurs have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge to help them win now. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli are aging, but it won’t be long until fresher legs arrive for them.
The Atlanta Hawks beat the Boston Celtics in Game 6, 104-92 and advance to meet the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East semi-finals. In the West, the San Antonio Spurs along with two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard will meet Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. I think that the Warriors, despite losing Stephen Curry to injury, might be able to handle winning more games in the playoffs, because they play together as a team and also as a cohesive unit bonding together for a purpose. Shaun Livingston has been able to fill in for Curry as the point guard, contributing points, defense, passing, and complimentary fill in for a two-time Most Valuable Player. The Clippers in Los Angeles has suffered injuries to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Much has surpassed the times if the Clippers are able to get by the Portland Trail Blazers now. It looks like now Portland might get by the Clippers and meet the defending NBA champs Golden State Warriors in the second round of the Western Conference.
The Boston Celtics, behind Isaiah Thomas’s 42 points, have won Game 3 in Boston to cut the Atlanta Hawks’ deficit to 2-1 series lead. Also, Stephen Curry didn’t play in Game 3 and although the Warriors were lacking in having a point guard who could dribble and make shots, the Warriors made it close with Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson scoring. The Cleveland Cavaliers are up 3-0 and are one game away from eliminating the Detroit Pistons. Though, the Cavs have Lebron James and could use another strong perimeter defender like James on the wing, I think that the Cavs could be unstoppable. The San Antonio Spurs are an well-oiled machine with fresher legs like Kawhi Leonard and Lamarcus Aldridge, who can put the ball in the basket with veterans like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker lurking in the shadows. The Spurs are also up 3-0 on the Memphis Grizzlies and are one game away from eliminating the Grizzlies.
So the Spurs have done it. They’ve beaten the Miami Heat to win the 2014 NBA title. San Antonio has a mentality to win basketball games, not by having individual stars, but by having team players. They were a team in every way. In addition to that, Kawhi Leonard is the NBA Finals MVP. Leonard helped San Antonio contain Lebron James and it was a key factor. Miami tried to didn’t let up, but eventually their defense was their demise. The Heat defense isn’t what it used to be, and it showed this season.
What happened to the Miami Heat? Where did the Heat defense go? In a game decided by the San Antonio Spurs and Danny Green and Gary Neal shooting three pointers, the Spurs shot the lights out and Kawhi Leonard played terrific defense on Lebron James. On pick and roll coverage, Tony Parker found his way again through Heat defenders and found open big men for buckets, whether it be Tiago Splitter for a layup or Tim Duncan for an open shot. Then Chris Bosh went cold from the field and was unable to make a shot for several minutes of the first quarter. Chris Bosh needs to get going with his shooting, if he expects Miami to win a playoff game against the San Antonio Spurs. If anything, the Heat need to learn from this experience because they mustn’t duplicate this kind of performance against San Antonio in Game 4. Lebron James must get off to a fast start as usual and Dwyane Wade must deliver the kind of performance Miami needs him to win basketball games like these NBA Finals games. Since the NBA Finals went to a 2-3-2 format 1985, the Game 3 winner has gone on to win the NBA title since it was 1-1 12 out of the 13 titles, except for the Miami Heat team in 2011. Some interesting fact there and it can hurt Miami if they don’t shape up for Game 4.
The Memphis Grizzlies tried to outlast San Antonio in overtime last night, but failed. What happened? Here’s the low down: San Antonio prevailed, because of its Big Three, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobli. Duncan made his shots, Parker made his shots and Ginobli was able to penetrate the Grizzlies’ defense. If Memphis could contain Duncan, Parker, and Ginobli in overtime last time, they would have tied the series at one game apiece. That didn’t happen. I can explain how Memphis stayed in the game last night to send the Spurs into an extra time session. Memphis protected the ball and didn’t turn it over. That helped them stay in the game. They played stifling defense and didn’t allow the Spurs to steal the ball from them. That’s how Memphis clawed back from an 18-point deficit. How did the Spurs have a double-digit lead over Memphis? They passed the ball around and perimeter shooters like Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobli, Matt Bonner, and Tony Parker were able to rush to the spots on the floor and shoot the lights out. Memphis couldn’t adapt to San Antonio Spurs basketball and they couldn’t impose their grit-and-grind style on the Gregg Popovich-coached Spurs squad. Another factor in the Spurs win was their containment of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. The Spurs made sure they force another Memphis player to beat them, except for Marc Gasol and Randolph. That’s why the Spurs were able to limit Gasol and Randolph to shots made. Now it’s back to Memphis for Game 3 where the Grizzlies are anxious to take the floor again and this time, the fans are on their side.