Big Game Recaps and Previews: June 4th

I was at a cornhole tournament in downtown Raleigh (check it out next year) this weekend and the DJ played ‘Jimmy Olsen’s Blues’ by the Spin Doctors. I’m now walking down memory lane and listening to the entire Pocket Full of Kryptonite Album on Spotify and remembering how much it rocked. Thanks DJ.

RECAPS

SATURDAY

Spurs 103 – Thunder 109 (series tied 2-2)

One of the cool things about twitter is that it let’s you get instant reactions and opinions as events are happening. It’s also one of the worst things about it. After games 1 and 2 the majority of the sports world had given San Antonio a sweep over OKC and crowned them NBA champions. I guess the fact that they blew a huge lead in game 2 after dominating for 2.5 quarters escaped people. Just one or two baskets in the 4th quarter by the 2nd best player in the NBA and the Thunder could very well be up 3-1 right now. But that’s all in the past and we now have a best of three series left.

Jim Young / Reuters

In game 4, Kevin Durant was absolutely incredible in the 4th quarter, scoring 16 points in just over 5 minutes. What should scare the Spurs, and honestly the entire NBA, is that Kevin Durant still hasn’t realized how dominant he is. We’ve seen some brilliant flashes, but his potential is still not completely realized. He just needs to lose that stupid backpack in press conferences.

The good news for the Spurs? Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison will never play that well again. The trio shot 22/25 (11/11 from Ibaka) from the floor for 49 points. That is the definitely of a windfall.

The bad news for the Spurs? Russell Westbrook and James Harden aren’t going to go 6/23 from the floor again either. Both anomalies aside, the Thunder are simply the more talented team. The difference in this series has been coaching. Popovich came out with a great gameplan and now Scott Brooks has countered. I expect Pop to have some really good stuff for us in game 5 tonight.

**music note: Ok, I may have over exaggerated the Pocket Full of Kryptonite album a little bit. There are some real stinkers on here.**

SUNDAY

Miami 91 – Boston 93 (series tied 2-2)

So much to say about this series right now, but let’s start with the obvious: Bill Simmons sucks. As if we all didn’t know that already though, right?

Officiating has been the big story of this series and this is unfortunate for the NBA. There have certainly been some awful calls and game 4 was no different. ESPN drew 7.9 overnight rating for this game (highest ever on cable), and what were all those viewers treated to? Paul Pierce and Lebron James sitting on the bench after fouling out on some very questionable calls. Pierce’s 6th foul may have technically been an offensive foul, but that’s almost always a play-on scenario at this time of year. Lebron’s 5th and 6th fouls were absolute jokes, with the latter coming when Mickael Pietrus “pulling the chair out” from under James and then flopping to sell the offensive foul call.

I’m still waiting for the Simmons tweets complaining about that call…

The one thing lacking from last night’s exhilarating game? Actual good basketball. Scroll back up to the score. Guess what the score was at the end of regulation. Give up? 89-89. That’s right, Boston scored 4 points in OT and won the game. It was really bad.

Rajon Rondo didn’t score a lot (no one did though), but he’s dropping dimes at an incredible rate this post-season. He’s actually leading the playoffs in double-doubles, an absolutely incredible feat for a 6’0″ point guard.

Dwayne Wade was Dr. Jeckyll once again, shooting 7/22 from the floor. He also decided to ignore a wide open Mario Chalmers  at the end of OT and jack up an off-balance 3 point attempt with Miami down 2. I’m not sure what about his 27% shooting from beyond the arc this season made him think that was a good idea, but he did it anyway. But hey, he took the last shot and that’s all that matters right? The good news for Miami is the Wade tends to follow up his stinkers with some really good games.

PREVIEWS

MONDAY

Thunder at Spurs (9:00 TNT)

This is a must-win game for the Spurs. Even with their experience and coaching advantage, I can’t imagine them being able to recover from dropping three straight to the Thunder. They have to put the pressure squarely on OKC in game 6 by taking them to the brink of elimination and hoping the young team can’t respond.

Getty Images

Look for Russell Westbrook to come out aggressively early in this game in order to bounce back from his rough game 4 outing. As I mentioned before, Ibaka and Perkins won’t play nearly as well tonight, so he has to step up. Same thing goes for James Harden.

It will be interesting to see how Greg Popovich counters to Thabo Sefolosha being put on Tony Parker. Will they attack and try to get him in foul trouble, or try and initiate the offense more through Manu Ginobli?

Update: Manu Ginobli is starting tonight. Sometimes I even scare myself.

TUESDAY

Boston at Miami (8:30 ESPN)

Chris Bosh is confused by Spoelstra’s play calling too.

It sounds like Chris Bosh could possibly return Tuesday night, though Erik Spoelstra won’t confirm that. If I was Spoelstra I would definitely play Bosh, if only for the fact that it takes the spotlight off me once again. Everyone on the Heat team outside of Lebron James seems to struggling with consistency and focus so far this post-season. Who’s job is that to manage? Their late game plays have also been horrendous. Why were there no shooters on the floor at either the end of regulation or OT in game 4? After the game both Magic Johnson and Jon Barry ripped the Miami coach for his late game strategies. So far in this post-season, Miami is 0-10 from the floor with 24 seconds or less remaining and a chance to tie or take the lead. You can say the Heat aren’t clutch if you want, but you can also ask why every play seems to be an iso that ends with a fadeaway jumper?

The addition of Bosh should take Lebron James off Kevin Garnett some and help space the floor on offense better. Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony have played as well as they can offensively, but adding an All-Star forward back in the mix will certainly give the Celtics something else to think about.

Final verdict: Pocket Full of Kryptonite is an awful album that has four fantastic songs on it. I was so naive in 1991…

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