Welcome to the NBA Roundtable!
The First round is over, feel free to take a look at the round 2 picks. Bill, David and the J brothers return to give us the full 4-man treatment as we talk Lakers, Thunder, Celtics and the future of Chris Paul.
Bill: For me, it was either the Clippers losing to Memphis or Denver losing to G-State. When watching the last LA/MEM game, I was utterly sickened by how much the game was being controlled by the officials rather than the players. That last game had 7 – SEVEN! – technicals called and saw the ejection of two players. Joey Crawford did horribly as the lead official in that game and one has to wonder just how much money Lionel Hollins promised him if he threw the game in their favor. Blake Griffin being hampered by a pretty severely sprained ankle didn’t help matters, either. And watching Zach Randolph play like a dirty douchebag opened my eyes to him. Sickening. As for the DEN/GSW game, I fully expected DEN to pull that one out. They played GSW tough the entire series and I relished seeing them go hard at Curry. This is the playoffs, Marc. Fouls are hard and emotions run hot. Give us all a break with your “dirty” comment. You’re just lucky you’re not at home right now.
EJ: Denver losing to Golden State. I gave the Warriors no chance in that series. None. I expected Denver to sweep the Warriors out of the building. When David Lee went down I definitely put my stock into the Nuggets, but once again Steph Curry steps up and the Warriors are moving on to face the Spurs in the 2nd round. With that said, I expect the Spurs to beat the Warriors in 5 games. I still don’t believe.
DJ: The Clippers stunning loss to the Grizzlies, they were up 2-0 and just fell apart. The Clippers couldn’t contain the Memphis frontcourt and De’Andre Jordan showed no heart whatsoever. 3.7 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game was just disgusting. Marc Gasol had his way with Jordan as he scored 17.3ppg and grabbed 7.5rpg.
Chris Paul did everything he could do to will them to a win, but it failed. It reminded me when he played for the Hornets against the Lakers a few seasons ago. He just didn’t have the necessary help to pull off the series win.
Vinny needs to be fired ASAP.
David: I just want to make clear- I PICKED THE GRIZZ
That was no stunner, I saw it coming. The stunner to me was the spine of the Celtics! They completely made me a disbeliever in the Knicks and almost made me think that the Celtics might make another run with Rondo. Had this been a normal series going 1-1 then 2-2 then the Knicks close it out, then they might blow the team up.
Bill: Nowhere. I still believe that the Clippers give him the best chance of winning. Paul enjoys being the key piece in an offense and no one is better at making an offense like what the Clippers have put into place run better than him. I don’t honestly see any other team that can offer him more than what the Clippers already have in place.
EJ: Chris Paul will be a Clipper but under a few conditions. The team fires Vinny Del Negro, and they have to shake the roster up. Lob City is all well and good but the Clippers cannot go anywhere long-term with DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin. One of them has to go, and since it’s not going to be Blake, it’s time to deal Jordan and go get the star caliber small forward that this team desperately needs. Jordan and Griffin have disappointed once again in the playoffs, and you can tell that CP3 is frustrated with their liabilities as players. Paul’s going to stay a Clipper, and he’s going to get some input on how they are run.
DJ: I think he will visit Atlanta and Dallas, but stay with the Clippers.
There is a trade being rumored where Blake Griffin, Caron Butler and De’Andre Jordan, and Eric Bledsoe would be traded to Boston for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Oh, and Doc Rivers would coach the Clippers.
That would be insane because….it gives the Clippers a center in KG and a SF in PP, 2 huge weaknesses this season.
David: Dallas. I think that the problem between Blake and CP3 is not going to get better, and Vinny is simply lost at times. Who knows what coaches can mend the fences, and does CP3 want to take the chances? In Dallas, CP3 is going to move from one of the worst owners in sports to to one of the best.
Bill: No. While the sensible thing for both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce might be to accept the defeat that is decreased production due to age, injuries, and a general lack of depth on the bench, I don’t see it ending quite that way. Both are hard nosed competitors and seeing as how they just took the Knicks to the brink of defeat, I’m sure they figure they have enough in them for one more solid run. Once Rondo comes back and is healthy, it’ll only make their lives easier. Still, I think the best thing may be for both to hang up their kicks and consider their careers complete.
EJ: No. The gang will be back for one more year. If Pierce’s recent comments about spending one more year as a Celtic is accurate, then I can see Pierce, KG, and Rondo making one more run at the title next season. However, after next season it’s time to break it all up and start over if you’re Danny Ainge and the Celtics.
DJ: Yes. See #3. I think that has a good possibility of happening.
David: Again, I think the spine and pride the Celtics showed, is going to make them run the game again. I can see KG not wanting to go anywhere, and retiring as a Celtic. Ainge is going to have to add some work to do, since Jason Terry has been an utter bust.
Bill: No. Seeing as how they had no Bryant or Nash to guide them and a pretty healthy as well as hungry Spurs team facing them, I’m not surprised they were swept. I did expect more from Howard and Gasol, but they just don’t have the same “I’m coming to kill ALL OF YOU” attitude or drive that Bryant has. The bench simply needed to do more but didn’t, and more injuries pretty much took any chance the Lakers had at winning one game away from them completely. I also knew that D’Antoni’s proclivity to not venture very deep into his bench would hurt their chances in as much as it hurt the Suns and Knicks when he ran those teams. If you’re not going to use your reserves, what’s the point in even having them? They are there for a reason, and they’re all very capable if given the chance. Hell, look at Earl Clark for a perfect example of that.
EJ: No, what you saw out of the Lakers is what you get. A team torn apart by injuries, players who were not prepared to step up, and idiot coaching by Mike D’Antoni. Before the series started I was telling my fellow Laker fan, DJ, that the Lakers were going to lose to the Spurs. I just didn’t expect the team to have their asses handed to them in a sweep, and to see Dwight Howard quit like a little bitch in Game 4. No I didn’t see that coming. It’s going to be a long off-season in Los Angeles.
DJ: Yes, but I’m a huge Lakers homer. I kept thinking Nash would play and feed the big men, but the injuries took their toll.
David: Not after game 1. Dwight has no spine, Metta is declining by the game and Coach Mikey makes Vinny look like Pat Riley. Nash is dang near done, and I’m not sure he has the intangibles that gave Jason Kidd an extra 5+ years.
Bill: Yes. I’m glad, too. Given my distaste for the OKC organization (I’m a SONICS fan and Clay Bennett sucks it), nothing made me happier than to see them lose last year. This year, it would seem as though I got another wish granted by seeing one of their key guys go down and thus decrease their chances at winning. Don’t get me wrong here: I have NO ill will towards the players since they had no part in all that mess Bennett created. Without Westbrook, the road only gets harder and places an even more burdensome load on Durant’s shoulders. OKC does have a good collection of players on their team, so I don’t doubt that someone (or a few someones) will step up/in to lighten that load. Will it matter in the end? We’ll see… but I hope not.
EJ: Yes it does. Durant is a phenomenal player. 2nd best player in the League but he cannot do it all alone. Kevin Martin is not James Harden, and the rest of the roster isn’t going to bail him out on the nights he’ll struggle. I don’t think they get past the Grizzlies in the 2nd round. I like Memphis in 6.
DJ: Yes, it sure did. Kevin Martin scored 25 points, but had 0 assists in game one. They are going to miss James Harden, who is a scorer and a playmaker. Reggie Jackson is a nice backup, but he is no Russell Westbrook. And Dead Fish? Pleeeeeeease.
I expect the Grizzlies frontcourt to be way too much for the Thunder to handle in a series. Mike Conley is a very good PG and Tayshaun Prince will slow down Durant a little.
Memphis in 6.
David: Unless Martin hits another gear. I picked the Spurs the second Westbrook went down, and I’m not about to change now. If this was the East, Durant could do it. But the West is simply too stacked, the Rockets being a seriously flawed team and still pushed them to game 6.
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