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@FF_pickups Well, it looks like CP got 67% more ass. I applaud.
2 years, 1 month ago on Thursday Bolts - 5.31.12
@FF_pickups Hey man, I think there are some different dead horses to beat over there. Seriously.
2 years, 1 month ago on Practice Report: One at a time
@crystakke Or the '03-'04 Lakers. I stand corrected (see post below)
For clarification, it wasn't the 2004-2005 Lakers that came back down 2-0 (obviously, since the Spurs won the championship in '05). It must have been the '05-'06 Lakers.
@ElMexiThunder @bmuelle21 I think the Suns make it impossible for other GMs to accurately gauge talent - well, really, it's Nash's fault for making everyone so good. Who would have thought Stoudemire would suck so much without Nash?
2 years, 1 month ago on Wednesday Bolts – 5.30.12
@ThunderFromDownUnder @FF_pickups Right - 60 fouls * 2 FTs per foul * 50% = 60 points. Jack.
@FF_pickups I like this. Bring on the 2-1 Spurs' rebounding advantage.
@LPCes99 @jamisonjohn @FF_pickups Kind of like he played 1 on 5 in the '07 finals, right?
2 years, 1 month ago on Thunder at Spurs: Game 2 Pregame Primer
@shiki @jamisonjohn @FF_pickups And I bet Heat fans had the same arguments when they played Dallas.
@f5alcon @FF_pickups I've always been skeptical of those percentages. I mean, they count the 1-8 and 2-7 match ups from the first round, and they seem more like results than causes...
@FF_pickups @TimmysBottom But I thought the refs were just handing us the series? Why would it not be a sweep?
@alvarex It's similar to what happened with the Knicks when the Heat kept denying Melo the entry pass. Hope for your sake Brooks figures it out faster than Woodson did.
@tydude So long as it takes him 50 shots to do it, that sounds good to me. . .
2 years, 1 month ago on Practice Report: Bouncing back, moving on
@Legendary_dork Chill out, buddy. The Thunder did play great D - nobody is denying that. When watching the Clips series, I kept noticing that when the Spurs were struggling, it was for no other reason than they were just missing open shots, but they were getting all of the shots they wanted. Last night was different - OKC was in all the passing lanes, getting steals, getting strips at the right place, etc. It was a great defensive performance for a non-Eastern Conference team.
That being said, you have to stop with the "Well, if OKC had just made one more three!" stuff. You can't just arbitrarily add points to the score and then get mad because nobody is recognizing how "lucky" the Spurs were to win. They were up by 10 with like a minute and a half left, and the lead was only 3 after Harden hit a meaningless three at the buzzer - hardly a "lucky" win.
2 years, 1 month ago on Monday Bolts – 5.28.12
@Legendary_dork I think what we have here is an acute case of confirmation bias. . . The Thunder can't lose! There must have been a referee conspiracy! Nevermind that Joey Crawford once tossed Tim Duncan out of a game for LAUGHING ON THE BENCH - that guy is OBVIOUSLY a huge Spurs homer.
On the other hand, I like your resilient optimism regarding OKC's chances to win. It's definitely true that adding 4 points to OKC's score would have put them ahead - can't argue with that!
2 years, 1 month ago on Thunder miss a big opportunity dropping Game 1 101-98
@Old Man Game @courtsense Really? You're going to accuse the guy who tossed TD out of a game for LAUGHING ON THE BENCH of having a pro-Spurs bias? Give me a break.
@aise0603 @FREE_COLE To be fair, there are opinions, and then there are informed opinions...
2 years, 2 months ago on Durant and Westbrook named to All-NBA teams
@aise0603 Have you even watched any Spurs games? I mean, there haven't been that many in the postseason, but still. You can't get much closer to the rim than Lob City, and that didn't work out too well for them, did it? And no, "Clippers suck" is not an adequate response to this. Your contention was that the Spurs can't keep people away from the rim, and whether the Clips are good or bad as a team is irrelevant. They DO happen to be good at killing it in the paint, except when they play the Spurs.
@aise0603 @ironm8 I'm still trying to wrap my head around this - "small lineup" simply means that Harden comes in and either Ibaka and Perk go out, right? If so, why wouldn't the Spurs just counter by inserting Ginobili and taking out Diaw or Duncan? Durant's the same height at the 4 as he is at the 3 (lol if he isn't . . . somehow), so why wouldn't Leonard be guarding him at both spots?
2 years, 2 months ago on Wednesday Bolts - 5.23.12
@aise0603 I'm not so sure about this characterization. Look at the stat comparisons from this season (http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=hardeja01&y1=2012&p2=ginobma01&y2=2012&p3=westbru01&y3=2012&p4=parketo01&y4=2012) Ginobili has a better numbers than Harden in nearly every single (per 36 minute) category, and while most are fairly close, he's way ahead in assists. And look at the Parker v. Westbrook stats - Westbrook scores about 4 more points per 36, but Parker dishes about 3 more assists per 36, so they're basically accounting for the same scoring amount. Westbrook has a better 3P%, but Parker has a better overall %. It's closer than you think. I agree with you on the KD > anybody and Duncan > Perk characterizations, but you left out Diaw and Bonner for consideration with Ibaka. I doubt he's better than them offensively when he's guarding 20 feet from the basket, and he's certainly not a points man himself. Ibaka's effectiveness will really depend on who the Spurs have in at the time.
Lastly, just for discussion, take a look at the March 16 box score (the one that gives me the most hope for the Spurs) - http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=320316025. 1) Manu didn't even play. 2) Blair put up 22 points. 3) OKC's big three combined for 80 (12 more than their combined season averages), and yet 4) The spurs had five guys in double figures and won handily. And the final score doesn't even reflect that the Spurs were up 27 in the first half and 20 late in the 3rd. OKC made a late run, but I'll take that game result any day.
Basically, I think Ironm8 has it correct - it's much more complicated than just matching up individual positions. 12 different players led the Spurs in scoring in a game this year, which is just ridiculous. 8 guys averaged more than nine points a game for the season (and a ninth guy averaged 8.9) - also ridiculous. At any given time we have three players on the court who knock down 3s at better than 40%. The Thunder DO have the talent to expose us in certain ways - I'm not denying that - but it's not going to be by outplaying us one-on-one, because we don't play that game.
@ou_sas @ThunderChick2010 They showed it on ESPN and NBA.com had a story on it. I think you're slightly mischaracterizing it - it was that the past three teams to do it (Magic in '10, Cavs in '08 or '09, Heat in '07) did not go on to win the finals, not that they necessarily lost in the next round. The last team to do it was the 2001 Lakers, and overall (including some funny team from the early '50s) 6 of the 11 teams to do it have won the title.
@ThunderStruck2412 Actually, I meant to say that the Spurs clearly played better defense (since their opponents were better offensively), but that the Thunder did play better offense, given that Dallas and LA are better defensively and the Thunder still put up the same offensive efficiency. Basically, I was trying to strike a compromise, not go for more argument points.
2 years, 2 months ago on Thunder advance to Western Finals in five over the Lakers, 106-90
@ThunderStruck2412 By all means, compare the Thunder to the 2007 Cavs. I forget which team won the finals that year... Care to help me out? And how many games did it take them? ;-)
I guess we'll drop the "opponents-played-to-get-here" argument. Suffice it to say that Spurs performed better defensively against better offensive teams than OKC did - that is particularly inarguable. And given that we didn't just squeak by either opponent, I'm not sure how you can say that the Thunder clearly played better offense.
As for defense, the Mavs and Lakers offer nothing like what he Spurs are going to throw at OKC this round. Can you clone Thabo multiple times? Because at the least we're going to have 3 shooters on the court at any given time who make more than 40% of their threes. As for only having "one real threat off the dribble," perhaps you're forgetting about Manu Ginobili? You know, the guy who was Harden before Harden was Harden? The guy who scores more per minute than Harden, who dishes more dimes per minute than Harden, who gets more blocks, more rebounds, and fewer fouls per minute than Harden, who shoots a higher percentage from three and overall than Harden? Who has a better free throw percentage than Harden? That guy? (Feel free to check my stats here: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=hardeja01&y1=2012&p2=ginobma01&y2=2012)
And about this small lineup - I presume you're talking about the one where Harden and Ginobili come in and Ibaka/Perkins and Diaw check out? Sorry, man - I don't see a lot of advantage to OKC there. And to the point of "sub-23-year-olds not at the peak of their powers," I again refer you to the 2007 finals, where another highly-touted sub-23-year-old-not-at-the-peak-of-his-powers was kindly shown the broom.
Also, you need to get the difference between percentage and efficiency. The corner-three is one of the most efficient shots in basketball. A lower percentage times a higher point total is a bigger number than a higher percentage. For instance, you'll notice here (http://masseybasketball.blogspot.com/2010/12/what-is-best-shot.html) that a three pointer is worth 1.05 points per shot (and a corner-three is actually worth more than that because it's a closer shot), while mid-range jumpers are worth about .76 points per shot. It's because the percentage of two-point makes is not high enough to counter the extra point you get from shooting a slightly lower percentage on three-point makes. So, by all means, have Westbrook shoot as many 18 footers as he wants. If the Spurs shoot their characteristic 40% from three, they'll be getting 1.2 points per shot. To match that, Ol' Russ will have to shoot 60% from midrange, which is a level nobody on OKC is even close to reaching.
I do agree that there are great story lines for both teams waiting in the wings, and I'll certainly have no problem rooting for OKC to win it all if they move past this round. Chalk my stubbornness up to REALLY not wanting the Spurs' window to close :-)
** Before you read, I promise this is all in good fun, and just so that I can make Sunday come a little faster. I trust you are all as anxious as I am for this series to start (and that you'll all be as nervous as I am when the series actually starts). Therefore, just read this as a place to start a dialogue, and not as trolling for a fight. **
I like the Spurs' chances against the Thunder for 3 reasons:
- The Thunder think that facing the Mavericks - who lost at least four key players from last year's championship team, including defensive anchor Tyson Chandler - is the same as beating the champs from last year, when in reality they were the "champs" in name only. They also fail to realize that the Lakers are actually two different teams - there's the one that feeds Bynum and Gasol the same amount that it feeds Kobe, in which case they are absolutely dominant, and there's the one where Kobe uses 35% of the possessions and the Lakers suck. That last Lakers "team" showed up more often than not (dare I say 4 games out of 5?).
- One thing I've learned while watching the Spurs in the playoffs is that whenever there is a challenge to tackle and meet (which there haven't been many of, considering we've been dominating for the past 6 weeks), the Spurs accept and conquer it. Every single time. Cutting down on turnovers? Not really ever a problem. Making the extra pass? Been doing that for years. Grabbing that extra 50/50 loose ball? Don't need it - we're already up by 25. Engineering a 36 point turnaround in less than two quarters? Check. Unlike sputtering in last year's matchup against the Grizzlies, the Spurs this year haven't lost a game in 42 DAYS. And that includes beating down the Lakers by 45 points in two games.
- I, too, saw the stat that said that the last three teams to sweep the first two rounds failed to win the title, and noticed that they were all from the Eastern Conference, with its notoriously bad bottom half of the playoffs bracket. I also noticed that none of those three teams were the overall top seed in the playoffs. I also noticed that when you extend that stat a little further, you find that of the 11 teams to sweep their first two rounds all time, 6 of them actually did go on to win the title. And, I also know that whatever happened to not-the-Spurs several years ago has no impact on what will happen with the 2012 Spurs.
@GAP I'm not sure the whole season stats are a good point of comparison. The Spurs were essentially three different teams this season - there's the pre-January 9th team that went 12-9, and then the post-January 9th team that's gone 46-7, and in the middle of that they dumped Richard Jefferson and picked up Diaw and Jackson. Consequently, playoff stats are likely more telling. Additionally, I think advanced stats are better metrics, so I'm including some of those:
OFF EFF 109.6 109.8
DEF EFF 94.9 99.7
EFF FG% .548 .506
TS% .581 .559
REBR 49.3 49.5
AST 17.4 13.4
TO 22.9 19.3
It's still pretty even, although some impressive stats stand out for both teams. For the Spurs, the 94.9 defensive efficiency is outstanding, especially considering that the Jazz and Clippers were both top 7 in the league and offense (for those interested, the Lakers and Mavs were 10th and 20th, respectively). It's much better than their regular season average. For the Thunder, the low turnover rate (second best among playoff teams) is really impressive, especially considering how many iso situations they utilize.
Anyway, it should be a great series, and likely better than whatever finals matchup occurs. True basketball fans should be tuning in for this one.
2 years, 2 months ago on Tuesday Bolts – 5.22.12
@ThunderStruck2412 Lest we get too far astray, keep in mind that my initial reason for responding to you was your contention that the Thunder could win "in 5 or 6" I'm not saying the Spurs will sweep or anything - I just felt you were completely underestimating S.A.
Secondly, I'm obviously a Spurs fan, but it's not like I'm being objectively unreasonable. There's a reason most people are picking the Spurs to win the series (even Dirk, by the way: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4689640/dirk-nowitzki-likes-spurs-heaps-praise-on-pop), and it's not because they're homers. It's because the stats favor us. We won the season series, we have by far the better defense in the playoffs (against teams that are much better offensively than Dallas and the Lakers), our balance means that we can better afford one of our stars having an off night, we have home court, and OKC has none of the typical Spurs' kryptonite (Bynum and Gasol size inside, elite perimeter defense). We also have the coach of the year, who is (with no disrespect to Mike Brown or Rick Carlisle) light years ahead of any coach OKC has faced so far.
Third, I understand that three-pointers are jump shots (obviously). I've been trying to make the point that while Spurs try to limit their jump shots to only the most efficient spots on the floor (i.e. behind the three-point line), OKC imposes no such limitation on themselves. And while they may be better than average when it comes to making low-efficiency shots, that particular offensive strategy plays right into the Spurs' defensive philosophy.
@ThunderStruck2412 I mean, I don't know what to say about the playoff matchups. If you want to contend that the Mavs you played were the same as the Mavs that won the title, go ahead, but I'd argue that losing Barea, Caron Butler, Tyson Chandler, Steve Novak and Peja Stojakovic made them a shell of the team that won last year. Additionally, the Spurs were supposed to have trouble with the Jazz's interior size. Whoops. I already granted you that the Lakers are better than the Clippers - exactly one game better, according to the regular season standings, so the one game they took from you guys sounds about right.
I guess you're right that Parker will occasionally have to guard Westbrook, just as he occasionally guarded Paul last series, but at worst that means the Spurs and Thunder will be trading buckets, which I hardly see as a disadvantage to us. And as for the "guy who got cut by the Cavs last year," he put up a nice 21 points against you the last time we played each other - just 4 points less than Durant on 7 fewer shots. As for Duncan, you're right - we're not talking career, except to say that he's playing like he's 28 again. He averaged 21-15 for the Clips series, and he grabbed 19 rebounds in our last matchup. He'll be fine, especially since Ibaka would go for my grandma's pump fakes if given the chance. And don't talk about Gasol. That guy disappeared entirely in about 5 of the Lakers' 7 games against the Nuggets, and he was nowhere near the form he demonstrated last season or the year before.
You're also right about the regular season not really mattering, hence my emphasis on the Spurs' recent defensive surge.
And no, the Spurs and OKC are not both jump shooting teams. OKC is willing to take a jump shot from anywhere on the floor, whereas the Spurs only like taking them from the three point line. The entire premise of the Spurs' defense is that they take away the interior and the three-point line, leaving that oh-so-enticing but definitely-not-efficient 16-20-foot jumper. If OKC falls into that trap (which I'm betting they will, since Westbrook never saw a jumper he didn't like), they're not winning the series.
Also, I'm not sure how you can say that the "balanced team aspect" is overrated, given the box score from our last game. Take a look: http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=320316025. Durant, Harden, and Westbrook combine for 80 points (roughly 10 points above their combined season averages, by the way), but the Spurs have 5 guys in double figures and win easily.
@ThunderStruck2412 Interesting points, but I think your analysis is too simplistic. So far in the playoffs, the Thunder and Spurs are essentially equal in offensive efficiency (109.8 and 109.6, respectively), but the Spurs are by far the better defensive team (94.9 for the Spurs, good for first among Western Conference playoff teams, vs. 99.7 for the Thunder). Additionally, the Spurs put up those defensive numbers against two teams who were in the top 7 in offense during the regular season, whereas the Mavs and Lakers were only 20th and 10th, respectively, in offense during the regular season. Additionally, I think you're unjustifiably dismissing the Spurs' opponents. Dallas limped into the playoffs having lost two straight and only going 5-5 in their last 10 games, whereas the Jazz had won 5 straight and 7-3 in their last 10. I'll give you that the Lakers are better than the Clippers, but when the Lakers devolve into Kobe shooting 35 times a game, they're not that much better than the Clippers. I'd say they're about a game better, hence the 4-1 vs. 4-0 series records.
Secondly, Parker won't be guarding Westbrook - Danny Green will, and D.G. did a pretty good job on Chris Paul last series. Additionally, Kawhi Leonard will likely be guarding Durant, and while he doesn't have the name recognition of Shawn Marion or MWP, he does have a 7'3" wingspan, which should make up for some of the height Durant has on him. And your dismissal of Duncan is just downright insulting. His per-36 minute stats are equalling or exceeding his career bests, and he completely destroyed Griffin and Jordan last series. You're right that he's not going to be able to "muscle" with Ibaka and Perkins, but since when as TD's game ever been about muscling anybody? He's not Shaq. He's Tim Freaking Duncan.
Thirdly (and this is more in reference to your comment below), your characterization of the regular season series is also too simplistic. If you're going to talk about Thabo being out in the two games OKC lost, why not mention that Ginobili was out in the game the Spurs lost? (Also, check your facts, since I clearly see Thabo's name in the box score for the March 16 game). Actually, I think the March 16 game represents why the Spurs will win the series. Westbrook - 36 points, Durant - 25 points, Harden -19 points ... and the Spurs still win by 9. Oklahoma may have more talented individual players, but the Spurs are by far the more balanced team, which is a benefit I think you're grossly underestimating.
All this being said, I'm excited for Sunday!