Stephen Curry scores 24 points and the Golden State Warriors beat the Sacramento Kings last night. The Kings were trying to pressure Curry to miss shots, thanks to Rajon Rondo’s pesky defense on Curry. It was to no avail. The Warriors recovered in time to seal the win. The Atlanta Hawks beat the Washington Wizards on this night also. Tiago Splitter has turned up with the Hawks and his defense and rebounding has sparked Atlanta. Also, the Houston Rockets beat the L.A. Clippers last night.
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 San Antonio Spurs sweep the Memphis Grizzlies in four games. They didn’t let up as the Spurs didn’t give the Grizzlies a chance to succeed against playing these Spurs. Tony Parker exploited every single opportunity the Grizzlies let San Antonio do, because they weren’t expecting the San Antonio Spurs to do. Parker had his way with Memphis as he got in the paint and found his teammates for perimeter shots. There was nothing Memphis could do to stop San Antonio and Tony Parker was the reason why. Putting Tony Allen on Parker couldn’t stop Parker from getting his points or halting the Spurs attack. Mike Conley and Allen were repeatedly put through double screens set by Boris Diaw, Tiago Splitter, Matt Bonner, and Tim Duncan and that got Conley committing a silly foul on Tim Duncan fighting through a screen. With that being said and done, the Spurs got inside the Memphis Grizzles’ head and found a way to contain Zach Randolph’s inside play and Marc Gasol’s effective perimeter game. The Spurs found weaknesses and flaws in Memphis’ game plan and it showed. San Antonio exploited it and they made sure of it.
I was reading an article on Yahoo! sports about how the Thunder may have to make things ugly against the San Antonio Spurs. They don’t have to. Defend Tim Duncan with what you got with Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, Nazr Mohammed, and Nick Collison. Then make Duncan, Manu Ginobli, and Tony Parker willing passers and make Gary Neal, Stephen Jackson, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, and Tiago Splitter scorers. No matter what you will do Duncan will get his points. Make Duncan earn them. You’ve got six fouls apiece with Ibaka, Perkins, Mohammed, and Collison to use up. Duncan is the greatest big man of his era ever to use the backboard and has the utilities and tools at his advantage to win in the game of basketball.
Non-USA Basketball Team U.S.A. Basketball team
PG Tony Parker PG Rajon Rondo
SG Leandro Barbosa SG Joe Johnson
SF Andrea Bargnani SF Tayshaun Prince
PF Dirk Nowitzki PF Paul Millsap
C Zydrunas Ilgauskas C Greg Monroe
PG Jose Calderon PG Ben Wallace
SG Manu Ginobli F/C Kevin Durant
SF Carlos Delfino SG/SF Anthony Morrow
PF Tiago Splitter F/C Kevin Love
C Andris Biedrins SG/SF Rudy Gay
PG Patty Mills PG Ty Lawson
SG Marco Bellinelli G/F Josh Smith
If I were to construct a basketball team to play against the Americans, here’s who it would be: Tony Parker would be the point guard here. I like how he’s structured and wired to play his best basketball. Make layups. I also like Leandro Barbosa’s speed here too. Barbosa has a good shooting mechanic. At small forward, I’d put Andrea Bargnani, my guy from Italy. I like having a big guy who is seven feet at small forward. It creates mismatches for opposing forwards. Bargnani can put the ball on the floor if he is being guarded by a slow forward. Dirk Nowitzki is my starting power forward. No questions asked. Nowitzki is a shooting dynamo. You can’t stop Dirk from making his shots. You can only hope to contain him. Zydrunas Ilgauskas is a fabulous center who can make jump shots. At 7-3, you can’t defend his jump shot. On the bench, I have Jose Calderon as my backup point guard who is a heady playmaker and offers steady floor leadership. Manu Ginobli is next on my list. I like Manu’s aggressive drives to the hoop. I like Carlos Delfino here. He is a good shooter and sometimes a willing passer. Then, I’ll have Tiago Splitter manning the power forward and center positions with his rebounding and shot blocking. Andris Biedrins is my backup center and will be relied upon for defense, energy, and rebounding. Patty Mills and Marco Bellinelli fill out the roster with their shooting. Luol Deng is a good option here because I like having Deng on my world basketball team. His all-around game will support his teammates on the offensive and defensive end. Ersan Ilyasova will help my team with his hustle and defense and shooting ability. Serge Ibaka will help here also with his defense and shooting ability. J.J. Barea from Puerto Rico will help my team get points at this point guard position. Then, lastly Kelenna Azuibuike will score points from his reserve shooting guard position. How about that? This is an all-European and African and South American basketball team.
Exciting basketball games! What fun to watch! The Boston Celtics took care of their semifinals series by taking a 3 games to 2 lead over the Philadelphia Sixers. They won 101-85. Brandon Bass was the leading Celtic scorer with 27 points, followed by Kevin Garnett with 20, Paul Pierce with 16, and Rajon Rondo with a double-double 13 points and 14 assists. Like I said in my earlier posts, the Sixers might steal the series. Overall, Boston has more experience playing in more playoff games than the Philadelphia Sixers have and the Big Boston Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen have experienced playoff games running up and down their veins. The double-header I saw after Boston/Philadelphia was the L.A. Lakers/Oklahoma City game. OKC ran and ran and I think they outran the Lakers as they won 106-90 and eliminated Kobe Bryant’s team. No match for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook as usual. Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake couldn’t keep Westbrook in front of them. Metta World Peace a.k.a. Ron Artest couldn’t keep the lighter and quicker Russell Westbrook in front of him either. You can’t stop Kevin Durant from scoring, you can only hope to contain Durant and make him miss from his favorite spots. Now, that the Lakers have been ousted from the playoffs, here comes the bigger challenge: the San Antonio Spurs. Now, OKC, you’ve been able to hit jumpshots against the Dallas Mavericks and the L.A. Lakers. The San Antonio Spurs might not be so lucky to make jump shots against. They’ll contest you all game and all night long with perimeter shots and the Spurs’ defense will clog up the lanes to the basket as Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter, two Spurs over 6 feet, 9 inches tall are waiting there. I’d like to see the Spurs neutralize the Thunder offense, which has been unstoppable and also fun to watch. James Harden, Durant, and Westbrook are the Thunder offense and are able to make jumpshots consistently. The trick is finding out how to contain the three terrific jumpshooters. You have to make life difficult for Harden, Durant, and Westbrook. Make them uncomfortable looking for their shots. Make Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha and Daequan Cook and Derek Fisher scoring options. Make Harden, Durant, and Westbrook consistent passers and make their Thunder teammates try and score with the basketball. That’s how you stop the Oklahoma City Thunder offense.