813 Comments

For the Kuminga heads... Slater has posted footage of JK matched up against Luka in the regular season:

https://twitter.com/anthonyVslater/status/1526084209420341248

Expand full comment

man, the fro looked super cool, really a pity he played so poorly with it

Expand full comment

It would look cool for him to jump his fro into the rim... but maybe it'd get suck and rip out some hairs...

Expand full comment
May 16, 2022·edited May 16, 2022Liked by Eric Apricot

You guys, I'm SO relieved! My husband has been a fan of the Suns since Barkley and we have some very different fan styles (he's unbearable and I'm super quiet, and he's always trying to get me to engage in bickering, and just gets to exhaust me).

I didn't actually want the Suns to lose, but I also didn't want Warriors to play against them. I don't know if you get me...

Expand full comment

😉🙃

Expand full comment

"SAN FRANCISCO — Stephen Curry leads all playoff scorers with an average of 9.4 points per fourth quarter (minimum four played), and his 41 points in the clutch is second only to Ja Morant (42). Opponents are shooting 39.3 percent on attempts he defends, and he even has a couple of critical stops in crunch time. The attention he draws is the foundation of the offense, opening doors for big games from Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson.

Yet, it still feels like Curry hasn’t had a Curry game. Not yet."

Marcus Thompson, Athletic ($): https://theathletic.com/3314852/2022/05/16/steph-curry-warriors-mavericks/

Expand full comment

Also hidden in this article:

“Even if they chase Curry off the 3-point line, as Denver and Memphis focused on doing, the Mavericks have much less of a back-line threat. Dallas’ 2.5 blocks-per-game average ranks 15th of the 16 playoff teams. Memphis was third with 6.1. Dallas doesn’t have a Jackson figure for Curry to be so worried about when he drives. “

That sounds like Poole and Kuminga gonna feast at the rim.

Expand full comment

I’ll believe Kuminga can play only when I see it… but I suppose he does have real size/strength/leaping advantage over anyone on the Mavs outside DFS and Powell, so he could have free run if DFS is shadowing curry and they can get DFS and Powell in the perimeter action… I really do wonder if the “get their bigs away from the rim” approach will be useable against the Mavs

Expand full comment

Tbf, if the Dubs switch everything, JFK’s defense improves as he doesn’t have to worry about rotations as much.

Expand full comment

Not as much, but it’s still a problem that the coaching stuff will need to be comfortable with… which they’ve been reluctant to do.

Expand full comment

Since they totally imploded, shouldn’t we now refer to them as the “Phoenix Black Holes”?

Expand full comment

I believe the term is "Buttholes". One word.

Expand full comment

I almost spit out my water. Lol!

Expand full comment

Nah they weren't massive enough to create a black hole

Expand full comment

Agreed. The only thing to be observed now is how much material they disgorge into the cosmos(looking at you Ayton), and how much mass remains in the core. Maybe CP3 has enough fusable material to keep the remaining dwarf(no pun intended) bright for awhile longer. But slowly, inevitably, it will cool into a charred cinder, wandering the dark of space forever.

Expand full comment

Given the astrological events of yesterday, the headlines should read "Suns Eclipsed by Mavs" or the cornier "Lukar Eclipse of the Suns"

Expand full comment

"Phoenix Red Dwarves?"

Expand full comment

Goddamnit, I knew I’d get the science wrong on that one.

Expand full comment

you mean the fact that Phoenix started hot (in the RS) and then cooled to the point of invisibility? lol ...

Expand full comment

Bill Simmons on his podcast did a draft of the players in the Warriors-Mavs matchup, and if I remember correctly it ended up like this:

Luka (Simmons), Steph (Rusillo)

Draymond (Simmons), Brunson (Rusillo)

Poole (Simmons), Klay (Rusillo)

Wiggins (Simmons), Finney-Smith (Rusillo)

W's with 5 of the top 7 which is not bad.

Expand full comment

Miami, Dallas, Boston, San Francisco. Florida, Texas, Massachusetts, California. These conference finals are definitely not a win for small markets.

Expand full comment

The Mavs are going to come into Chase a little tired but with imo that game 7 mentality, if we play sloppy and careless with the ball in the first quarter we could easily tank our first game in a hurry and get the Mavs off to a running start, need to match their focus and intensity from the tip

Expand full comment

Greetings from the BATT (Big Ass Train Trip)! We got on the Crescent line in Washington DC last night, went through Virginia and slept through North Carolina. We woke up in South Carolina, have been passing through Georgia and are about to enter Alabama for the first time in both of our lives.

For those interested, we published Part 1 of the BATT series, which is an preview/overview of the entire trip, plus the overnight trip from Oregon to Sacramento aboard the Coast Starlight. If you want to skip the overview and just see the train ride, it starts at 5:45. If you’d be so kind as to give the video a like/thumbs up, that’d be appreciated. https://youtu.be/tMrQxhVmK64

Expand full comment

Looks fun!!

Expand full comment

Great video!

Expand full comment

Thank you!

Expand full comment

Holy shit Pat Bev dropping truth bombs about CP3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4-5kEprU4E

Expand full comment

I hate his play but he's HILARIOUS on TV. His bravado after getting called for a foul is tiresome. That bravado on TV is far more fun. Especially ripping into CP3 as a fraud no bothers to go to sleep early worrying about guarding. LMFAO

Expand full comment

I've always liked him, and thought it was unfortunate he played for the clippers. Now that he hates the clippers? All the better.

Expand full comment

I am loving Pat Bev right now. I always kind of did, but man I love him even more now...

Expand full comment

Pat Bev redemption arc is going well so far.

Expand full comment

He’s a classic “love him if he’s on your team” guy and other players seem to respect him. If he was a Warrior, we’d probably all love him.

Expand full comment

Steven A is defending Paul as a great floor general and responding to Pat Bev saying he sleeps well before playing CP3, but goes to bed at 8pm when he's going to play Steph. He continues: "Man, ain't nobody worried about Chris Paul when you play the Phoenix Suns. Nobody in the NBA. I'm just letting you know how NBA players feel and think. He's finessed the game to a point where he's... he gets all the petty calls, all the swipe-throughs at the end... I mean this guys out... we gonna be honest, be really honest? He shoulda fouled out. He shoulda fouled out the last Game 2. You see the replay against Bronson? Hit him on the shoulder hit him in the mouth ref don't call anything. If that's me, oh review it! Oh, flagrant one! That's him, they don't call it! So let's not get it twisted, man. He shoulda fouled out! He can't guard. He literally can't guard!"

More in the video. It's quite something.

Expand full comment

"What do we call him? Cone" - wow. LOL.

Expand full comment

Interesting note from https://www.theringer.com/2022/5/16/23074464/phoenix-suns-dallas-mavericks-luka-doncic-chris-paul-game-7:

"Dallas targeted Paul most of all—an ironic twist after Paul had so tormented Doncic in the Suns’ runaway victory in Game 2. Paul defended the screener on 24 plays in Game 7, per Second Spectrum, the most for any player in the game.

That’s the highest figure for Paul in any game he’s played in the last five seasons. In fact, the five highest figures for Paul in the last half-decade have all come in the last five games. The Mavericks targeted him with screens like no other team has ever done before. "

I wonder if the Mavs knew something about that alleged thigh injury Paul has. Forcing a guy to run around screens is likely to punish a thigh injury as there's a lot of banging going on in that kind of a scenario.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

It's smart, if it's what was going on. I didn't see anything dirty going on and if there was I am sure it would have been called out.

Expand full comment

Curious to see if Curry looks stronger/quicker after these days of rest.

I wonder how much coming back from his foot injury has affected him.

Crazy to think he's lost this much a step when he looked like the best he's ever looked last year.

Or has been playing next to Poole all season, and thus needing more defensive responsibility taken it's toll?

Expand full comment

Steph has looked a little slower, but I imagine that's playing tough playoff basketball right after missing a month of game time. That's a really hard jump to make. Hopefully the hard work and the days off between series will rejuvenate him.

Also, some of the "lost a step" is because Memphis absolutely collapsed on him when he broke the perimeter and even when they didn't they had JJJ to come in from behind with a layup-saving block. We should not underestimate how potent Memphis's interior defense was after Ja went down and Adams started playing. Steph had several opportunities he broke off because there was nowhere for him to go, even though he had a step on his defender.

Expand full comment

Yeah, but the foot issue is probably still an actual real issue. When he was working to come back in time for the playoffs, he and the team said they he’d be trying to play through it and “manage” it, but it wouldn’t actually heal until the off-season.

Expand full comment

I read from somewhere (can't remember the source now) that because of the foot, Steph is favoring pushing off the right foot and going left more than usual and it's making him a little slower getting around people. Wonder if that's why he wasn't able to burn Steven Adams as easily. Hard to say, since Memphis also had a lot of good help defense to cover for Adams.

Expand full comment

Ok so, is there any point to blitzing/doubling Luka? I’d love to know why or why not!

Expand full comment

Only if poole gets switched onto him

Expand full comment

Dubs were pretty successful in throwing out the zone here and there against Memphis. Wondering if that might be effective against the Mavs as well to get Luka and the rest of the team out of rhythm.

Expand full comment

Zone not good vs space ball, I think.

Expand full comment

It will get us to Cancun faster. :)

Honestly, I think doubling Luka would look a lot like other teams trying to guard our 2015 team by doubling. Luka just passes out of it, and everyone else feasts.

Expand full comment

I'll give you three points against:

Game 7:

J. Brunson: 11-19 (2-4)

S. Dinwiddie: 11-15 (5-7)

Game 6:

R. Bullock: 7-15 (5-11)

S. Dinwiddie: 5-7 (5-7)

Game 3:

D. Finney-Smith: 8-13 (8-12)

Expand full comment

Probably not as a primary option, and really only if Curry/Poole is on him.

It'll be kinda like the Nuggets series against Jokic, let Luka get his 40 points but make sure the rest are out of rhythm.

Expand full comment

Or mix it up and bluff some doubles. I think Luka not know whether he’s going to get doubled or not makes it harder for him.

Expand full comment

That's right. There's no one set move. As much as they can they'll try to stay home on the shooters and force a lot of Luka, but you also have to mix things on him sometimes.

Expand full comment

Given that Luka moves slower and is mostly a half court offensive player, can't Looney guard him close to an extent that anyone can guard Luka?

Expand full comment

I don't see matching Loon on Luka, but I could see Klay drawing some minutes with the matchup

Klay struggles with quickness, but that's not where Luka does his greatest damage; and Klay can hold up better on Luka's fortes, strength & craftiness

Expand full comment

Looney can probably hold up OK. But you're probably not setting him up as the primary defender too often (although that's kind of an interesting idea to mind trick Luka a couple times. Do you want to try and attack Looney straight up vs hunting a switch?).

But Looney will match a lot of minutes with Powell, but probably not too much with Kleber. The Mavs won't try and hunt him when he's on the court. Probably will try and get Steph and Poole on him a lot more.

Expand full comment

Looking forward to more Playoff Loon. Let the smalls get Loon switched onto them and then watch them struggle to get past him. Meanwhile, everyone else is just standing around. A true rhythm breaker - just ask James Harden.

Expand full comment

I haven’t watched a lot of the Mavs, but they don’t seem like that much of a rhythm team. More like iso dribbling into drives and kicks while everyone stands around anyway. But correct me if I’m wrong all your secret Mavs fans.

Expand full comment

Did you see Luka put Bridges in the spin cycle and score an uncontested layup in this game? Luka would eat Loon alive (until he fouled out).

Expand full comment

Bridges is too skinny for luka

Expand full comment

Bridges was leaning on him so hard on that play… probably not used to playing post defense. We’ll see how Looney holds up. He’s been overlooked his whole career.

Expand full comment

If we live by the 3 and die by the 3 this makes me a bit more concerned...

From MavsMoneyball before G7:

The Mavericks played the Jazz in the first round in a series in matchup of the first two teams in the league in net three point attempts. The Mavericks dominated the battle of three point attempts in that series. The Mavericks attempted 251 threes while limiting the Jazz to 179 attempts. That is an advantage of 12 three point attempts per game which led the playoffs in the first round and it happened against the team that led the league in net three point attempts during the regular season.

That advantage has only increased in the second round. The Mavericks have attempted 234 threes in this series while the Phoenix Suns have only attempted 156. That means the Mavericks are averaging 13 more three point attempts per game than the Phoenix Suns.

But also from one of there posters:

Luka has improved defensively, but part of that improvement is IMO the coaching of team defense rather than Luka massively improving individually. He is still the weakest defender who takes way too many plays off.

People are also completely oblivious to the fact that one great player doesn't get you anywhere great in today's game like it used to, because the role players across the league are so much better than they used to be. Most of the top teams have at least one all star caliber side kick to go with their superstar if not more than one. We don't.

Expand full comment

Nate Duncan says that Warriors generate 3s in a different way than Jazz or Suns. He didn't elaborate but I am assuming that he is talking about us generating 3s out of motion offense rather players standing the corner waiting for the pass. That may allow us to take more threes than the other two teams did.

Both he and Danny Leroux have Mavs in 6 Grrrr!!. But they also Suns in 6. So what do they know.

Expand full comment
May 16, 2022·edited May 16, 2022

Feels like a lot of recency bias in that pick, likely based on the two impressive Mavs wins in Game 6 and 7, on top of the Warriors' Game 5 meltdown v Memphis (and subsequent desultory showing through 3.5 quarters of Game 6). If we turn back the clock a week or so: in the wake of being demolished by Phoenix in Games 1 and 2, the Mavs looked like a heliocentric non-contender with a superstar who was too easily exploitable on D. And at earlier points in the playoffs (e.g, Games 1-2 v. Denver, or Game 3 v. Memphis) the Ws have looked like world-beaters.

Further: the Ws have home court; have played two fewer games and come into the series twice as rested; have more playoff experience; and have better talent (imo) #1-7.

None of which guarantees anything, of course, but it seems logical to me to install the Warriors as a slight favorites.

Expand full comment
May 16, 2022·edited May 16, 2022

Draymond, Klay, Poole, Wiggins…?

Edit: d'oh, sorry, didn't realize you were quoting a Mavs fan. Never mind...

Expand full comment

Haha I just heard it the way you heard it! Here I was thinking you were just showing off to the Mavs fan 😂

Expand full comment

Opinion poll: which team has better defense, Memphis or Dallas? I tend to think Dallas (6th in defensive efficiency after the KP trade) because they are smarter not because they are more athletic.

Expand full comment

Memphis's defense is tougher. Both have good perimeter defense, but Memphis has a better interior defense thanks to their two big men Adams and JJJ.

Expand full comment

Memphis with Ja - different styles, very similar effectiveness.

Memphis without Ja - solid edge to Memphis. Dallas is really good, Memphis without Ja is absolutely elite.

Expand full comment

I think Memphis had a better defense since the combination of Brooks/Bane provided tough perimeter defense along with JJJ being one of the top rim protectors in the NBA.

Expand full comment

Memphis without Ja were up there with the Celtics in the regular season, IIRC.

Then, obviously gave the Warriors fits in this past series.

Expand full comment

Aside, still blows me away the Warriors managed the #2 DefRtg in the league (0.4 behind C's) after the in and out injuries that happened.

And you know who the one constant was for all 82 games....Kevon Looney! 😀

Expand full comment