– ‘Virtually perfect’ Pacers can’t let up (from Bob Kravitz, Indystar.com):
” It was a great win, but the Pacers need to do it three more times.”
Read it here: http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nba/pacers/2014/05/18/kravitz-virtually-perfect-pacers-cant-let-up-miami-heat-eastern-conference-finals/9262253/
– Pacers’ O sharpened by fear of Miami D (from Steve Aschburner, NBA.com):
” The Indiana Pacers are just going to pretend the last two series and the past two months didn’t happen, and would appreciate it if everyone else – especially the Miami Heat – played along.
Pay no attention to their sputters in March or April. Ignore their raggedy play against the Hawks before prevailing finally in seven. Disregard the way the Wizards just about emasculated them on the boards and turned home-court advantage inside-out.
These are the new Pacers, which is to say the old Pacers, as in the crew that stormed through the season’s first half. Now, in the East conference showdown they never doubted they would reach, coach Frank Vogel, Paul George, David West and the rest have the Heat down 1-0 in the best-of-seven…
You buying any of this?
If this were polite society, the Pacers might be able to pull this off. Deny, deny, deny all their struggles and vulnerabilities of the past two months, and decorum would require everybody to zip it. But this is the NBA postseason, and the Pacers’ foibles and frailties have been splayed out for all to see like frog bits on a biology student’s cutting board.”
Read it here: http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/05/18/pacers-o-sharpened-by-fear-of-miami-d/
– Pacers execution leads to wire-to-wire victory over Heat in Game 1 (from Nathan S, INdy Cornrows.com):
Read it here: http://www.indycornrows.com/2014/5/18/5729430/nba-playoffs-pacers-execution-leads-to-wire-to-wire-victory-heat-game-1
– Heat Lose Game 1 with Admittedly ‘Unacceptable’ Defense (from Ethan Skolnick, Bleacher Report):
” …no one expected the Pacers to post their highest point total in regulation since Feb. 25 against Mike D’Antoni’s lenient Los Angeles Lakers. No one expected them to win wire to wire, showing connectivity in the 107-96 victory that had eluded them against the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards. No one expected the Heat’s pick-and-roll defense, generally a staple of their success, to be so punchless and pitiful.
When the Pacers had the ball, they appeared on the same page, while the Heat found themselves on different floors of the bookstore.”
Read it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2067901-miami-heat-lose-game-1-to-indiana-pacers-with-admittedly-unacceptable-defense
– Indy’s Opening Statement: 5 Things to Know (from SBNation):
Read it here: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/5/19/5730528/pacers-vs-heat-game-1-score-recap-roy-hibbert
– Pacers ride offensive wave, beat Heat going away (from Candace Buckner, IndyStar.com):
Read it here: http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nba/pacers/2014/05/18/pacers-ride-offensive-wave-beat-heat-going-away/9263747/
– Can OKC brave the storm without Ibaka? (from Royce Young, ESPN):
” The Oklahoma City Thunder’s 2014 playoff run has been mostly about all the things that have gone perfectly right.
The four-point plays, Reggie Jackson’s Game 4 in Memphis, Russell Westbrook’s wild steal to force overtime in Game 5, Zach Randolph’s suspension, Kevin Durant’s inspiring MVP speech, the impossible comeback against the Clippers — the Thunder have piled more season-defining moments into one postseason than most teams do in five.
But all it takes for a seemingly charmed season to be completely derailed is one thing to go perfectly wrong.
When Serge Ibaka limped off the court early in the third quarter of the Thunder’s closeout Game 6 against the Los Angeles Clippers, there wasn’t too much initial concern. Ibaka is an ironman, having missed only three games in his five-year career due to injury. He’s carved out of granite, a physical specimen seemingly created in an NBA power forwards lab.
Apparently though, even statues can get hurt. Ibaka is likely done for the remainder of the postseason because of a Grade 2 calf strain. The Thunder taunted the unseen forces that rule basketball one too many times, and now they have had their vengeance.”
Read it here: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/68335/can-okc-brave-the-storm-without-ibaka
– Kawhi Leonard Puts His Frisbee-Size Hands to Work for the Spurs (from Scott Cacciola, NYTimes):
Read it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/19/sports/basketball/kawhi-leonard-puts-his-frisbee-size-hands-to-work-for-the-spurs.html
– Clippers Vulnerable Without Perimeter Stopper (from Jonathan Tjarks, RealGM):
” A roller-coaster ride of a season for the Los Angeles Clippers ended on Thursday night with a 104-98 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6. After winning 57 games in the regular season and going to six games in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs, the Clippers established themselves as an elite team. However, the jump from good to great is the toughest leap to make in the NBA and the loss to Thunder exposed some holes that will need to be addressed.
As great as Chris Paul is on both sides of the ball, he’s got no answer for Russell Westbrook. At 6’0 190, he just doesn’t have the size for “Point Godzilla”, who absolutely destroyed him in their 1-on-1 matchup. Before a poor shooting performance in Game 6, Westbrook was averaging 30 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds a game in the series. He went 4-15 from on Thursday, but he still handed out 12 assists, attempted 12 free throws and got wherever he wanted to go on the court.
Westbrook is one of the biggest point guards and best athletes in the league – it’s almost unfair to ask Paul to guard him for 40 minutes. On the other end of the floor, the Thunder could put Thabo Sefolosha and Reggie Jackson on Paul at various points in the series, giving him a different look and allowing Westbrook to catch his breath. Oklahoma City has waves of long, athletic perimeter defenders they can throw at the other team – the Clippers only have Matt Barnes.
In this series, Barnes had to stick with Kevin Durant for the duration.”
Read it here: http://basketball.realgm.com/blog/233464/Clippers-Vulnerable-Without-Perimeter-Stopper
– Report: NBA To Overhaul Replay System (from Barry Petchesky, Deadspin):
” It’s one of the more ominous sights in pro sports: three referees, huddled around the scorer’s table for agonizing minutes, reviewing a crucial late-game on a tiny monitor. According to a report from the Sun-Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman, after next month, it’ll never happen again.
According to Winderman, the NBA has finalized plans for a centralized replay system, with all reviews as of next season being conducted from a single location, presumably by officials at the association’s New York office. That would bring the NBA in line with the systems currently in use by the NHL and MLB, and realize one of Adam Silver’s stated initiatives in his first year as commissioner.
“An off-site review would potentially speed up the process,” Silver said during last year’s finals, and at this past all-star break, again hammered home the idea that centralized replay is largely about making reviews faster.”
Read it here: http://deadspin.com/report-nba-to-overhaul-replay-system-1578381786
– NBA scrutinizing proposal to reinvent draft (from Baxter Homes, Boston Globe):
“The issue arose before the NBA season began, then lingered all throughout like a dark storm cloud that never retreated.
The term “tanking” became a part of the daily discussion involving the league, often overshadowing anything that took place on the court.
Danny Ainge would walk down the street in Boston and be told that his Celtics shouldn’t win too many games this season, that they should play for the draft instead, i.e. lose.
“It’s not just that I get tired of hearing it, but coaches that are trying to be their best, players that are trying to be their best — they’re hearing it. They’re hearing it every single day,” said Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations. “There are too many arenas that I go into where there are no ‘fans.’ ”
It’s an odd dynamic, rooting for failure, but it’s also the function of the NBA Draft lottery, which offers teams that finish with the poorest records the best chance at landing a top pick. Because of that system, teams can lose when they win, win when they lose, and fans who drool over top prospects cheer on defeats when it seems like their team has nothing else to play for except the promise of tomorrow.”
Read it here: http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2014/05/18/could-new-draft-system-eliminate-nba-teams-from-tanking/e9ryy0UvQz53rGDAO07QYL/story.html