The NBA is going insane now. What is going on? Stephen Curry isn’t his usual self making and hoisting those long three pointers, although his Warriors are on a roll. Draymond Green is his dominant self, making a claim for NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Can Jason Kidd’s Milwaukee Bucks make a claim down the stretch for this year’s NBA title? Maybe.
It is nearly December and we have a full night of NBA action. Golden State is 14-2, while Cleveland is 12-2 and I can anticipate a Cavs-Warriors rematch in the NBA Finals in 2017. What will Cleveland and Golden State do for an encore when both teams face each other again for a third time? This time, Golden State has Kevin Durant while Cleveland has the same group that brought them there to the 2016 NBA title. The Cavs do not have Matthew Dellavedova with them this time. He’s playing with the Milwaukee Bucks. The Cavs do look like a sure shot of repeating for the 2017 NBA title after winning it last season.
The Atlanta Hawks have knocked off the Brooklyn Nets in six games, behind NBA Coach of the Year winner Mike Budenholzer who has effortlessly led these Hawks, who has heard of DeMarre Carroll and Mike Scott and Dennis Schroder, to a winning record. The Chicago Bulls have outlasted these feisty and long-armed Milwaukee Bucks with their size and half court offense with Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah. The Bulls have gotten under the Bucks’ skin late in Game 6, and I would expect a rematch between these two teams in the future. The Golden State Warriors dispatch of the New Orleans Pelicans was no contest. The Warriors will host the Memphis Grizzlies who got rid of the Portland Trail Blazers in five games. The Clippers outlasted the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 as they win 111-109 and will face the Houston Rockets in the second round, Kevin McHale’s squad playing outstanding with the play of James Harden and Dwight Howard were too much for the older, aging Dirk Nowitzki and these Dallas Mavericks.
The Golden State Warriors are up 3-0 over the New Orleans Pelicans, because they have a never-say-die attitude behind Steve Kerr’s coaching. Kerr has let Draymond Green regain hold of his basketball position and has let Green rebound and shoot three pointers and holding his intangibles to help the Warriors reach the second round of the playoffs. The Chicago Bulls are also up 3-0 on the Milwaukee Bucks, because Tom Thibodeau’s squad refuse to say don’t lose and they are able to retain what they know about fundamental basketball on the court with their big front court of Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, and Mike Dunleavy. Fundamentals and the long wingspan of the front court has let the Bulls dangle and win three games in a row.
What a day! The Indiana Pacers get Luis Scola and they haven’t changed the outlook of their frontline with Roy Hibbert, David West, Tyler Hansbrough, and Ian Mahinmi. Gary Neal decides to sign with the Milwaukee Bucks. This is a very good day for the NBA, because teams haven’t lost significant value of how good their NBA team really is without giving up too many valuable basketball players to sign with other teams.
The Spurs are one win away from winning the NBA title again. The Miami Heat are one loss away. What’s missing from these NBA Finals? The capacity to play spectacular defense by either team. We haven’t seen a close game since Game 1 of the 2013 NBA Finals in which the Spurs won 92-88. The Heat will need to play catch-up and have to play angry for Game 6 in order that they survive their elimination game. Lebron James will have to play the game of his life, although that will be 50% unlikely, because the Spurs defense has nothing to do with Lebron James, it’s on Lebron James. Give the San Antonio defense credit for hounding Dwyane Wade and Lebron James, but don’t give Wade and James credit for trying to score points, because it’s their offense that is stalling, not the Spurs defense causing them to miss shots. What’s left to do? James and Wade must ignite their two-man fast break and when they do that, Miami perimeter shooters like Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers, and Chris Bosh make their shots. Any way to win Game 6 for Miami? They must play like there is no tomorrow. They made mince meat out of the Milwaukee Bucks and the Chicago Bulls for the first round and second round and had to survive seven games with the Indiana Pacers in order to move on. The Heat have to impose to play their brand of basketball in which James and Wade run their two-man fast break in which they did so well against Milwaukee and Chicago in the first and second round. What do the Spurs need to do in order to win Game 6? Play exactly like the way you did to win Game 5. Danny Green must continue to make three-pointers, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobli must continue to step up like always and make the Miami Heat bleed with their continued consistency of points and steady defense. I’d say that the Miami Heat aren’t closing out the Spurs perimeter players on defense in Games 2 and 4, in which they won, because they aren’t running Danny Green or Gary Neal or any one who is threatening to shoot the long ball out of the arena.
Chicago surprised Miami in their first game between each other. Nate Robinson led the Bulls with 27 points, as they won 93-86. It was a shocker to Miami, because they had a 8-game layoff between the series they won with the Milwaukee Bucks and the semifinals series with the Chicago Bulls. The Heat were rusty, and it showed. If anything, Chicago needs to jump the run again in Game 2, just like they did in Game 1 to Miami. Chicago needs to do what they did to Game 1, again in Game 2. In Game 1 between the San Antonio Spurs and the Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry led his squad with 44 points but Tony Parker had 28 points as the Spurs survived in double overtime as San Antonio won 129-127. It was an exciting game between the two teams. San Antonio prevailed, and now Golden State waits for its chance in Game 2 to exact revenge.