After game 4 of the Western Conference Finals there has been a lot of talk about how Russell Westbrook is destroying Stephen Curry. Even with the game 2 no-show there is no doubt that Russ has been the best player in this series and perhaps the playoffs as a whole. He takes ‘bad’ shots, plays out of control on occasion and is one of the worst help defenders starting in the playoffs but more than makes up for it with his aggression and physical superiority, best exemplified when he goes on one of his violent one man fast breaks finished with an explosion to the basket.
In the end, kick-in-the-nuts-gate ended up hurting the Warriors more than the Thunder. The distraction of whether or not Draymond Green would be suspended for a deliberate/accidental volley of Steven Adams’s nether regions, somewhat tempered by a video that appeared on social media showing Green throw out a flailing and potentially maiming leg on several plays over the course of his career, proved to have little impact on OKC who were again driven by a strong second quarter – which they won 42-27 – to win 118-94.
In much the same fashion as game 1, the Cavs routed the Raptors in front of their home fans. After winning game 1 by 31 points, the Cavs came back and smashed Toronto again. This time by 19, leading throughout and winning 108-89. This was the first time the Raptors had lost back to back games in the postseason after having battled it out with both Indiana and Miami.
The end result has been somewhat overshadowed by accusations leveled at Draymond Green and his intentions when his lower leg met Steven Adams’s lower abdomen, but make no mistake, this was a spanking.
Twenty years ago, the Toronto Raptors were completing their inaugural season under then-head coach Brendan Malone with star player Damon Stoudemire taking home the Rookie of the Year award. Flash forward two decades. The classic “Dino” uniforms are now an occasional throwback, Malone is now an assistant under Stan Van Gundy at the Detroit Pistons and Stoudemire is nearly a decade retired and the head coach at Pacific University. The Raptors are also in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Golden State Warriors, fresh off the shock of losing their tenth game of the 2015-2016 NBA season contrived to drop yet another game to the Portland Trailblazers. Fortunately for Warriors fans, from the oldest of old school Philadelphia/San Francisco breed, to the Run-TMC era, to the Baron Davis generation, to the billionaire silicon valley tech-heads to Stephen Dawson, the defending champions were already two games to the good and went on to win the next two, closing out one of the season’s most surprise packages 4-1.
It really seems like a long time ago that the Houston Rockets were good. It has, however, only been a year since their run past the Dallas Mavericks (4-1), the LA Clippers (4-3, coming back from 3-1 down) led them to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since the Olajuwon era (they did make the West semi finals in 2009 behind Tracy McGrady and despite Yao Ming’s injury).
It’s coming back! The NBA will return to London this season with the Orlando Magic coming to London to play a regular-season game against the Toronto Raptors at The O2 on Jan. 14, 2016 as part of NBA Global Games 2015-16, this will mark the league’s sixth regular-season game in London.
The NBA draft awaits us this Thursday with seemingly one of the deepest drafts in recent memory awaiting us.
The Minnesota Timberwolves seem likely to select Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns with the first overall. The Wolves have apparently made former 1st overall pick Anthony Bennett available for trade. The other candidate for 1st overall is Duke big man Jahlil Okafor, with other big names including Latvian seven-footer Kristaps Prozingis, Ohio State’s rangy point guard D’Angelo Russell and Barcelona’s Croatian swingman Mario Hezonja.