– The Last Ride of the Spurs Dynasty: Appreciating San Antonio’s Final Hurrah (from Zach Lowe, grantland.com):
” The Spurs should be the biggest story of the postseason as long as they’re kicking. There are other meaty issues: the Warriors’ quest to cap their historically dominant regular season; LeBron James, redeeming Cleveland and dunking Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving into the playoff baptismal pool; Derrick Rose’s desperate search for his MVP zip; the trumped-up battle over Chris Paul’s “legacy”; the Hawks, once the NBA’s most vanilla organization, soldiering through tabloid headlines and the possibility that police brutality ended Thabo Sefolosha’s season; and the Wizards’ and Raptors’ dual quest to play a passable professional basketball game.
But nothing tops what could be the last stand of the Spurs as we know them. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are 381 and 37, respectively, and both could retire — even though each is clearly capable of playing at a high level beyond this season. Six other rotation players are free agents, including Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, perhaps the best two-way starting wing combination in the league. The Spurs are down 1-0, with Game 2 on the road against the strongest first-round opponent they’ve faced in the Tim Duncan era.
The Spurs could easily win this series,2 repeat as champions, and re-sign their aging stars to one- or two-year contracts. This could all be much ado about nothing. The franchise hasn’t faced this level of top-to-bottom uncertainty since Duncan dined with the Magic in 2000, and it’s hard to quash the feeling of preemptive nostalgia as you watch Duncan drain bank shots and nail every rotation while Ginobili dances steps he literally invented. Appreciate it all, because this really could be the last springtime run for one of the greatest core groups in the history of team sports.”
Read and view it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-last-ride-of-the-spurs-dynasty/
(NOTE: This story also includes Zach’s takes on a number of the other playoff series)
– Let’s Look at the Clippers’ Perfect Offensive Scheme (from Sagar Panchal, thesportspost.com):
– Draymond Green: Brow’s shadow steps into spotlight (from Ethan Sherwood Strauss, ESPN):
” After the Golden State Warriors finally closed out the scrapping New Orleans Pelicans 97-87 in Game 2, Klay Thompson got the national TV interview. Draymond Green, whose defense was astounding on Monday night, talked for the local feed. It happened that way because that’s how we’ve always done things. If you scored the most points and your team won, you’re getting the biggest spotlight. It’s the formula because scoring a basket is obvious and preventing one is less obvious.
Though Thompson certainly deserves acclaim for a great shooting game, this particular space will mostly be reserved for crediting Green, fulcrum of a Golden State defense that held New Orleans to 37.8 percent shooting. Green’s overall defense on Monday night was brilliant, but most especially against Anthony Davis. Their battles echo those of the shorter Tony Allen throwing everything atKevin Durant — the undersized grinder going up against young Goliath.
In theory, this should have been too large a task for Green, who’s the size of a wing player. “It’s tough, man,” he said after the game. “Most guys I give up length to who I guard, most them aren’t as quick as me though.”
– Draymond Green, Warriors’ bench fuel Game 2 win against pesky Pelicans (from Phil Taylor, Sports Illustrated):
” The Warrior reserves were missing in action in Game 1, but they re-emerged on Monday night at the best possible time for Golden State. The Warriors trailed 28-17 after the first quarter and were badly in need of a boost. Leandro Barbosa came off the bench to score eight points on an assortment of drives and jumpers, Marreese Speightsdrilled a couple of mid-range shots and Andre Iguodala made a corner three after some crisp ball movement.
“Nobody will write it, nobody will talk about it, but the bench won us the game,” Green said. “When they left the game we were still down seven, but they changed the complete pace and tempo of the game. We were getting punched and getting punched and getting punched, and then the second unit came out and threw a punch.”’
– This is why you pay Draymond Green his money (from Tom Ziller, SBNation):
” In the context of the Warriors, Draymond Green is a virtuoso. There is absolutely no reason for Golden State to abandon the relationship.”
– The Other Guy: Klay Thompson on His Sensational Season (from Kirk Goldsberry, Grantland.com):
Read and view it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-other-guy-klay-thompson-on-his-sensational-season/
– Nets look to get Brook Lopez going (from Mike Mazzeo, ESPN):
– How the Atlanta Hawks (and Lionel Hollins) Limited Brook Lopez in Game 1 (from Paul Mitchell, brooklynsfinestblog.com):
– Film Study: The Nets ability to stop the Hawks 3-point assault (from Reed Wallach, netsdaily.com):
– How Can the Celtics Slow Down Kyrie Irving? (from Jordan Greer, celticshub.com):
Read and view it here: http://www.celticshub.com/2015/04/21/can-celtics-slow-kyrie-irving/
– Kyrie Was Hot but Celtics’ TO% and Cavs’ OReb Pursuit Rate Are More Telling (from Kevin O’Connor, Vantage Sports):
” “The turnovers kill you. The offensive rebounds kill you,” (Celtics’ Coach Brad) Stevens said. “The superhuman shots do not.”
Read and view it here: http://www.vantagesports.com/#story/VTMbnCcAACgA0u3P/celtics-vs.-cavaliers-04-19-15-game-1
– Video Review: How the Rockets ran the ball down the Mavericks’ throat (from Matt Moore, CBS Sports):
– Digging deeper into James Harden’s Game 1 (from Jake Garcia, thedreamshake.com):
– Rockets-Mavs: WHAT TO WATCH FOR: GAME 2 (from Bobby Karalla, mavs.com):
Read and view it here: http://www.mavs.com/what-to-watch-for-game-2/
– How the Mavericks can fix the problem of Dirk Nowitzki’s defense (from Josh Bowe, mavsmoneyball.com):
– Dwight Howard plans to stop using ‘weight-room muscles’ against Mavericks in Game 2 (from Eddie Sefko, dallasnews.com):
– Butler’s Efficient Scoring Helped by Bulls’ Assist Rate as Bucks Fail to Keep Pace (from Bob macKinnon, Vantage Sports):
– Bucks offense stagnates with lack of passing in Game 2 loss (from Mark Strotman, csnchiacgo.com):
– George Karl on the playoffs (from Bill Herenda, csnbayarea.com):
– Player development a Scott Brooks strength (from Berry Tramel, newsok.com):
” (A) criticism I’ve heard about Brooks is measureable. And quite absurd. The idea that Brooks doesn’t develop players.
What can anyone possibly be talking about? Player development has been a Thunder mantra since the franchise hit town, and it’s not just talk. The Thunder develops players wonderfully, and coaching has to be a major part of that. Let’s go down the list:”
– With Enes Kanter, the Thunder plugged one hole but opened another (from Berry Tramel, newsok.com):
” Kanter could score. but his defense was atrocious”
– A year of familiarity figures to get Pistons closer to top-10 D standing SVG craves (from Keith Langlois, pistons.com):
Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:
– Ish Smith: http://www.nba.com/sixers/news/150420-smith