Rambling Thought: Homing In On the Playoffs

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By: Opinionated MJ

The lay of the land currently has Detroit down 0-2. We’ve got heart and we will beat Cleveland. Home cooking is ours next! LeBron’s team showing life. I know what LeBron can do but what can his team do going forward?

I see Dwayne Wade is transforming into his old self. I predicted the Heat would meet and beat the Cavs in this playoff. I thought Charlotte would serve up better competition but the Heat are home. I believe in home court. It’s a reason why they play for it. Losing game 1 on your floor is the only possible problem.

Toronto has given me reason to believe that they can’t make it from just being in the playoffs, early rounds. I guess Stephen A. Smith is saying that DeRozan is gone to the Lakers. So who will follow? That could lead to all types of deals or maybe the Lakers then go draft a big man or Ben Simmons. I’ll go with my cousin on Simmons. I also think the Lakers will land the #1 pick. The league loves them and that’ll be their reward for themselves to find a way to keep relevance in L.A. post-Kobe. How else would they? Are the trio enough going into next year? I believe Randle, Russell, and Clarkson could have a future together.

Paul George has been playing big for the Pacers. Literally. I don’t think anyone has given any real attention to his ascension since Larry Bird wanted him to play the 4. Results for sure.

Boston is one player away. When will Danny Ainge trade some of his picks away to lure in a player? Carmelo to Boston by any chance? Could that be what Boston is missing or do they need more defensive wings to couple with Isiah Thomas?

Tom Thibodeau has become the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Look out league. KG ties into the defensive philosophy from the Boston Championship team. Could provide even more boosts to the grow of their young core. Expect them to make noise in the league next year and be like Utah from this season. Except, I actually expect PLAYOFFS from them. I’m a big fan of Thibs. Wonder if D-Rose for Ricky Rubio would work for both teams? They’re playing a good Atlanta team with some experience.

Does Mark Jackson actually land in Sacramento? Would that be a good fit? You’d think he’d need some shooters or change their philosophy to such. Wait, Seth Curry & Mark Jackson! STORY TO WATCH!

I’m a Lillard fan and I believe he will perform as always. He probably needs another option in case someone else deflates in some games. I see him making a huge push in the future with another piece. Durant? Dwight? DeRozan? Maybe not. Doesn’t have a ring to it. Maybe a rookie big man whose two-way abilities are already with him. Chris Paul is a monster and with Blake having had to watch while he was hurt, we all got to see who needs to dictate the Clippers offense. They need Blake just the same too. I’d like to see Portland’s home-stand.

The Spurs have an easy series. They will sweep. Nor am I worried about the Warriors. Sweep with or without Stephen Curry. The prospect of that is dangerous, if you see it how I do.

What exactly are KD & Russ going to do? It’s Russ’ team due to him being healthy with this new group of players acquired last year all while Kevin Durant was out with injury. Notched triple-doubles, massive scoring nights, facilitating, MVP consideration, almost a playoff berth, and learning his teammates and their spots. He’s racking assists cause he finds them in their hotspots directly from an offensive attack. KD must fit in more and become the Assassin always or we should begin to want Russell to take those big shots equally as well. This series is crazy. Dallas with a win going back home. This will definitely be some fun basketball. Quiet rivalry, in my opinion. I won’t be able to call this series til the 5th game. It’ll go 6.

Early Prediction: Warriors Vs Heat in Finals. Warriors in 6. Would be an amazing story for their team if they beat LeBron then Dwayne Wade for their back to back titles.

 

Detroit VS LeBron (Cleveland Cavs)

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By: Opinionated MJ

 

Go ahead LeBron fans, declare us swept if you wish. The Detroit Pistons are just getting started and I’m going with my home team to the fullest degree. WE CAN BEAT LEBRON! We can beat the Cavaliers. I’ll provide you with reasons why and how this dismantling can go. We all know your team is expected to make it to the NBA Finals all shiny and untouched but I think this will be the series that will be the toughest for them as far as physicality and strategy is concerned. Let’s begin, shall we?

Stanley Johnson. Yes. It seems as if I’m just an echo, but proof of my confidence is with those who have personally heard me say that Stanley Johnson is the future, he is our Kawhi Leonard, he is the missing link in our equation to being a consistent title contender, and he is the way we can beat LeBron and the Cavaliers. I’ve been reading across the internet, articles that point out Stanley playing LeBron before he even made it to the league. I’ve seen the praise of Stanley from when he played against LeBron during this season and also seen that he holds LeBron under 40% shooting (I think it said about 39%) in comparison to his 52% clip. I’ve seen all of that stuff over the last few days but this wasn’t a bandwagon situation. I was sold since draft day after I became upset we didn’t go with Winslow. My wise friends then told me that Stanley was the way to go and of course YouTube became the source of proof as to why. So after watching highlights and hearing how confident he is, seeing him embrace the city a little bit thereafter, I grew to believe this kid will be the diamond in the rough that we’ve all been waiting for. He’s already guarded LeBron in game 1 and put all eyes watching on notice. In a very short amount of time. I’ll let his play speak for itself. I’m very confident in his defensive abilities and I’m confident in the growth that Detroit fans and the Pistons team will see from him this summer and going down the road.

Marcus Morris. Yes, he flamed out in the second half against the Cavs. I won’t bet on that trend continuing where he only shows up for 24 minutes. I also notice everyone doesn’t expect us to shoot 57% from 3 again as we did in the first half of game 1. I also don’t expect Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving to combine for 59 points again either, nor do I expect Stan Van Gundy to allow Kevin Love to quietly but obviously play at the 5 position without that being immediately addressed. I respect his decision to not break course cause another team made an adjustment. You don’t fix something that isn’t broken if you don’t know that it’s broken. It ran its course, we lost, fine. Cleveland is “supposed” to hold serve at home anyway, right? Isn’t that how that works? We have weapons that we have yet to unleash and Cleveland hasn’t seen our counter to their little small-ball lineup. Maybe Stan Van Gundy was even more smart to hold serve and not give the rookie Tyronn Lue a look at what would come in game 2. I see a coaching advantage but it’s a two headed monster with LeBron being a coach on the floor.

The Pistons will need better games from everyone involved including Morris, Reggie Jackson with his decision making down the stretch, more assertiveness and defensive tenacity from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, more offensive intensity from Andre Drummond and much more effectiveness from the bench unit. We have to dispel Cleveland’s big 3. We have sparks on our bench with Johnson, Bullock, Tolliver, and Baynes. Not many coaches have put LeBron out of the playoffs either. Stan Van Gundy is one of those coaches. He is who my trust will be in to see us to beating Cleveland in game 2 and beyond. Don’t sleep Cleveland fans. Yes, LeBron is one of the best in the game if not arguably the best in the game. I respect and love LeBron’s game. I don’t trust his teammates. I see Cleveland as vulnerable as they may ever be this year. They’ve already been tested and only 3 men in their rotation showed up to play in game 1. We’ll see what will happen in this series. I’m biased and I predict Detroit in 7.

Detroit Pistons v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game One
CLEVELAND, OH – APRIL 17: Stanley Johnson #3 of the Detroit Pistons reacts after scoring during the first half of the NBA Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on April 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

#DETROITBASKETBALL

73?

 

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By: Opinionated MJ

Can the Warriors win out the rest of the NBA season? With this win against San Antonio, I believe they could. Yes, it would take them to be rested enough to finish the season winning out but I think since they’ve lost to Boston that they have another level of motivation to get the job done and then get back to title chasing. Somehow, title chasing seems easier than attaining 73-9. We’ve been faced with all these comparisons of the 72-10 Bulls. Everyone has compared physicality, big men, shooting, and everything in between but we have yet to realize that there is no comparison. This is 2016, let’s live in the now.

They currently sit at 9 losses and the rest of their schedule has another stop at San Antonio who could dispel all of this at home where they have yet to lose, although I expect the Warriors to have a mental note of this and work towards actually beating the Spurs at home to make a statement and to also put everyone on high alert heading into the playoffs. The Memphis Grizzlies also aren’t a pushover with Lance Stephenson now adding to their grit but I’m not certain that they could stop the Warriors. Two games against the Grizzlies and one left against the Spurs. Steph has been forced to play differently against a few teams and I think they’ve learned how to adapt to Steph Curry having to drive more and look to finish as opposed to looking to only shoot, shoot, shoot while wide open. They aren’t giving him the same easy looks and they still cling to him and rotate over to help when he’s driving to the basket which leaves his teammates wide open. Take note that Harrison Barnes has stepped up and Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut are all in the lineup now, healthy.

I mentioned before that a healthy Golden State Warriors team may be unstoppable. They have too many weapons if you ask me. If Steph is in a slump, Klay can drop 30, 40 points. If Klay and Steph are going slow, Draymond Green can get going and facilitate the team. Harrison Barnes again has shown a resurgence with his shooting and Iguodala adds another element when stretching the floor, cutting and slashing to the rim for easy buckets. Andrew Bogut is the trump card for Golden State other than having the type of depth that they have. They also had a chance to get other players valuable playing time when they had to deal with injuries to key players. This will help them when the playoffs arrive and will allow for their rotations to be deep should they face any matchup problems down the line against different teams.

With this win against San Antonio, I see them having enough confidence to finish this with the magic number 73. They’ll definitely tie at 72-10 but I’m seeing 73. What will we have to say about this team if they reach this number? Will we proclaim this team as one better than the ’95-96 Bulls? Or will we continue to not let go of what once was and allow for things to change, records to be broken, and history to be made and actually appreciate it and the moment it matters?