Thursday, May 15, 2008

NBA Roundtable

Another roundtable! This is a random conversation about the current NBA playoffs. Let's roll!

Fuzz: First off, I want to first give props to the Detroit Pistons for their sixth straight conference finals appearance, but is anyone else sick of them? I am. And, I have no idea why? I've always liked Flip, because Flip coached here and I love anyone that has Minnesota ties. Love Billups and Prince. The others are also good players as well but I'm not crazy about them. Rip can still shoot the lights out and RaWeed is still one of the best characters in the league. They also play mad defense in a league that forgets that once in a while, or all the time. Yet, I don't want them in the finals. Am I alone here?

Q: I don't hate Detroit. I think Flip is an overrated coach and that they'd have been to more NBA Finals (maybe another title too?) with a different/better coach, but that's just me. As good as Billups is, I just don't get him. How can he spend the first half of his career bouncing around with terrible teams (Denver, Boston, Minnesota) where he can get all the playing time in the world and not be any good, yet as soon as he lands in Detroit, he becomes captain clutch and the leader of 6 time conference finals team? I love Wallace because he's extremely talented, emotional, and hilarious. I love Prince because I told Dogg that he would be a great pro coming out of Kentucky and he's proved me right (one of the few calls I've ever been right on). They may not play the most exciting brand of basketball, but they do have continuity, likeable players (which separates them from San Antonio), and they just flat out win. I'm cool with them beating the Celtics/Cavs in 5 or 6 games and then getting destroyed by LA in the Finals.

Dogg: The Pistons aren’t the most exciting team to watch in the league but you’re right when saying props is a must with this organization. 6 straight conference finals? I don’t know what to think about that because the East has been the JV to the West for the past about…6 years. They do have an NBA title though but with a road that easy to the Finals is definitely an advantage against the West teams who have to struggle to get out of the first round. That hasn’t been the scenario this year but has been in past years. Billups, Weed and Prince are very good players and I actually don’t mind these players either. I cannot stand Rip Hamilton though. First of all, I call BS on that nose protector. He said this year that he has to wear it because he would need surgery if he broke it one more time. Why didn’t you tell us 19 years ago when you first started wearing the stupid mask? Rip is a little bitch on the court and I hope Ray Allen absolutely destroys him in the next series. Yes, I think Boston advance because nobody can touch them at home right now. It would be great to see Boston win the NBA title without winning a road game. What you fools think about that?

Fuzz: If Boston pulls that off, that would be frickin great. They have home court advantage throughout, so this is possible. Plus, they play like shit on the road and awesome at home making this a real possibility. This Boston team has shown some serious weaknesses this postseason. They won like 65 regular season games but they have no go-to player (not surprising with KG on your team) and they seem a tad bit old. Atlanta and Cleveland won because they are out running/working them. Boston can't keep up with these teams. Another side note about this: If it's a Boston/New Orleans finals, the Hornets are going to kill the Celtics. Also, has anyone seen Ray Allen this playoffs? I'm surprised he's not on a back of a milk carton by now, because he's been missing for 3+ weeks. It's a little shocking Boston isn't worried about him because he is no where to be found. I still probably also like Boston taking the Cleveland series but I have them losing to Detroit. Detroit is the better team.

I'm starting to get a little tired of all the hype around the Celtics. They are on every single commercial, story, and magazine cover involving the NBA. We get it: they have three veterans who are all very good and have not won a title. Maybe there's a reason for that. I do love listening to all of the Boston fans bitch and moan about KG doing nothing in the fourth quarter but fall away J's from 15 feet out. Did you guys miss the first 10 years of his career? He's been doing it for quite some time now. It's also embarrassing that they can't win one game on the road. They had the best overall and road record in the league this year, but they can't beat the Hawks in Atlanta or the Cavs in Cleveland when LeBron isn't playing like LEBRON JAMES? C'mon. I know it's their "right" to play at home more than on the road, but if they lose one home game, they're screwed. I don't want my NBA Champion to be completely inept in games away from their own building.

I don’t know why everybody is so concerned with Boston after winning 65 regular season games. Yeah, they aren’t dominating teams like they did in the regular season but who is? Detroit had a tough time with a poor Philadelphia team and the Hornets/Lakers are both going deep into their 2nd round series. Both teams have shown major weaknesses on the road so I don’t understand why Boston is getting criticized for not winning on the road when no other team really is either besides Detroit.

They don’t have a go-to player? That is really weird since they have 3 HOF’ers (Allen, Pierce, Garnett) in their starting lineup. I believe all 3 of them are go-to players in their own right and don’t buy any of that talk about Boston not having “the man” in the 4th quarter. Play team ball and get a good shot then. It doesn’t always take a Lebron or Kobe to charge into the lane every 4th quarter and throw up a shot no matter how many guys are surrounding them. Make the extra pass and get an open shot. Your players playing crunch time should all be able to knock down open jump shots and Boston should just play a solid team game even in the 4th quarter. They are not short on great players so things shouldn’t get difficult just because it’s the 4th quarter. Shouldn’t we be scared that Ray Allen and Paul Pierce haven’t shown up in playoffs yet? They are still winning games and advancing without having 2 of their best players not showing!

Fuzz: That's not a bad argument. I don't have much to say to that, other than that either those three don't take the big shot or aren't that great at it. KG always passes during clutch situations or fades away if he does take it, like Q said. I like the guys that go in the lane and try to draw a foul and KG doesn't do that. Yes, he probably can and should, but 12 years of watching him locally says he does not. Pierce can probably get in the lane (and would be my pick for a game winning shot), but he's dirt slow now and guys like Lebron are too quick for him to go around. Ray Allen? He's been dead this playoffs and he's more of a spot up shooter. He needs to break loose. Yes, they have three talented players but they have weaknesses in a tight game. It might not hurt them, you're right. However, if the situation arises, it will be interesting to see if they can pull through. I'm not sold yet they can in a really tight game against a good defensive team--example the Pistons.

Q: I agree that you can win without a dominant player. Just look at the Pistons and Spurs over the last few years. The problem is they seem to shy away from the spotlight late in tight games. All season long they have made the extra pass, gotten clean looks, and pushed the ball in transition. When it comes down to the end of a close game, that style doesn't necessarily work because NBA teams actually try on defense at that point and everything is a slow-down, halfcourt type of game. That doesn't suit the Celtics at all. Pierce is the only guy who can (and is willing to) create his own shot. When he's getting doubled or not doing that, their offense sucks.

By the way, I'm not so sure that all three of those guys are HOF'ers. KG for sure, but the Hall has proven that you need to be more than a three-point shooter to get in (Ray) and I'm not sold on Pierce's credentials either. Also, you can't call Ray Allen anything more than a glorified role player at this point. He sucks.

Ray Allen is not just a glorified role player. He is one of the best 3-point shooters in NBA history and you just don’t lose that overnight. Yeah, he hasn’t performed well in the playoffs but neither has Carlos Boozer. Is he just a role player now as well? No, he’s just having a tough stretch in an important time so all fans are seeing it. Guys go through slumps but nobody knows during the regular season. Ray Allen will hit a clutch shot in this postseason and will turn it up a notch soon...Pierce and Allen are fringe HOF’ers but KG is a lock.

Ok, enough about the Triple A of the NBA and onto the West. With a 3-2 lead, are the Hornets going to take down the dynasty that is the San Antonio Spurs? If so, is this the end of the Spurs as we know them?

Dogg: I guess I will continue with this year's trend and take the Spurs at home in game 6 and the Hornets take game 7 at their place. Until this trend changes, I'm going to continue to believe nobody is going to win on the road. I wish I would've known that no NBA team can play on the road because I would've been betting the home team the entire postseason. I don't know what the Spurs do if they lose. Do they really destruct after going into the 2nd round and to a game 7 at that? I don't see how they are going to get any better unless they sign somebody under their average age of 57. I would say they try one more after this year with the same core and if that doesn't work then they blow up a little bit. I don't see Duncan going to another team though. Maybe he plays one more season and calls it quits. He's already got 4 rings I believe so he might get out of dodge early. I hope so because I hate him and the Spurs.

The Spurs have to be close to being done as a dominant team. I guess it all depends on Tim Duncan. Once he retires our starts breaking down, the Spurs will never be the same. He's showing signs of this already. Personally, I think this is their last year to do anything and it's not looking good being down 2-3. Teams like the Hornets, Lakers and maybe even the Jazz are better than them now and will be next year just based on their youth & experience they are getting this playoffs. They better turn it around ASAP because I see this year as their last real shot at another ring.

Dogg: The Spurs need to get rid of Finley, Horry, and Vaughn. They are veterans but these guys can only manage the game for so long. If they can keep Duncan, Ginobli and Parker to go along with a couple fresh role players, they still have a good shot. Ginobli and Parker are still in their prime but they need some fresh meat as role players. Go out and get a Bonzi Wells type player (not this playoffs). I'm not counting them out until they have a bad regular season and a bad postseason or even missing the postseason.

Fuzz: Speaking of the Hornets, you have to love this squad. This team wasn't in the playoffs last year and now they're one game away from the conference finals. I love stories like this. It's what makes sports so great. With Chris Paul cementing himself as a superstar, this team could be good for a long time. I hope one day the T-wolves have a turnaround like the Hornets had. They waited & waited and now the fans there are in for a decent run the next 6,7,8 years. I'm jealous.

Q: I think that NO will take down the defending champs, but it won't be in Game 6. Good teams don't lose at home in the playoffs. Scratch that. NOBODY loses at home in the 2008 playoffs. San Antonio will be jacked up, Timmy will bank in 15-20 points, Ginoblli will be flippy-flopping all over the place, and CP3 will shoot about 35% from the field. Game over. Then the Hornets will take care of business at home in Game 7. Is it the end of the dynasty? I'm going to say yes unless the Spurs make some serious changes this summer. They have one of the oldest teams in the league with guys like Finley, Horry, Barry, Duncan, Thomas, etc. I just don't see them making deep playoff runs with the team they have right now, especially that bench.

Fuzz: We didn't even touch the Lakers/Jazz series but we'll be back next week with another one of these. The NBA playoffs have been phenomenal so if you're not watching, I would start. They have been extremely entertaining and the TNT halftime crew is a must watch.

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