PHI/TOR and POR/DEN Game 7s; POR/GSW Look Ahead; Vogel to Lakers

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Well, one scribe a frequent guest of this podcast, Mark Stein. Said that this going in looked like the best second round ever on paper. I agreed with them, and it absolutely lived up to its billing. We gotta talk about that crazy guy shot and the raptors ninety two ninety victory over the Sixers another great game in Denver with CJ McCollum scoring thirty seven to lead Portland to an upset victory on the road. And then we will preview the Western Conference finals and make our picks in which one Danny Larue, experienced the glory of getting right? A game seven victory on the road for the blazers. But first we just have to talk about what quiet Leonard did in this game for the raptors, including of course, that ridiculous vinyl shop, right? And I think this put into stark relief just how and why the trade that messiah jury had the guts to pull off in the off season happened because a lot of these Leonard shots, you know, he didn't have the greatest night. From the field sixteen of thirty nine. I mean, the thirty nine is absolutely astonishing there. But I want to start with the fourth quarter. So quiet, Leonard six of nine in the fourth quarter. But every single one of those attempts was a jump shot. He was just taking these hard shots going into the last game of the going into the on tired legs most of them. Well, contested not all of them, but most of them will contested. And he was just huge. He was massive in this game taking and making the shots that derozen allow ary in prior years just couldn't really put together. And so they were able to win this massive game win this massive series and go to the conference final yell Leonard started off just having to take it to the rim. Ada thirteen at the rim in the first three quarters because he couldn't buy joke shot he missed his first eight jumpers was only two of twelve on jumpers got a two minute rest, very briefly at the start of the fourth drama actually extend the lead by two during that period. And then he came back fresh as a daisy five of five for mid range and. One three pointer, including that incredible fading jump shot over Joel Embiid. We're going to talk a lot more about the very end of this game. But just that shot, which we again at the privilege of doing live on the NBA cast, it just the only shot of that type of significance that I can remember, I guess there's two that come to mind and be history. Even though it didn't bounce around as much one was Don Nelson's crazy shot in game. Seven of the sixty nine files at bounce thousand feet up in the air and threw that wasn't a game winner and then Allan Houston, which wasn't technically a buzzer beater, but won the series for the New York. Knicks a floater that goes from the free throw line in game five nine hundred ninety nine which was an eight one series that bounced way up in the air and dropped through this one was even more than that. And seeing it bouncer on and just staring with our mouths agape. And that led to that icon ick photo of Embiid trying to like look around the backboard and see whether it was gonna bounce it and Leonard head. Time to actually get down into a squat at try to will the ball into the basket. It was just one of the most iconic shots in NBA history and it joins Damian Lillard 's as defining iconic shots from these playoffs. I don't want to compare the two because they're they're very different. And I love each of them as emblematic of that player Lillard having the having the guts to pull that shot over Paul George, and then why running around basically getting getting a second defender on him. Getting a great contest throws the ball sky high and just puts it in because Leonard he can he can make ridiculous shots. He's an incredible player. And I think to go from there. I want to start from. On that chart to he said Roz golden at the game that he tried to get as much arc on it. And that was clear from that bait has it baseline camera view, he shot it so much higher than his door will shot, which is usually pretty flat. And nonetheless, like just has amazing touch me. You're not usually from that far out. But there's so many shots that he took in this series that were short and just kinda died on the rim had the requisite back spin on it and bounce inform. And this was I mean, he probably had ten of those in this series. And we take a lot of shots. You get a lot of chances for. But that was just to have it bounce four times like that. And just the agony of just all. Thank God, he missed Ono. This might go in its bouncing monster with each bounce. It's more like that it goes in. And then finally it just daggers right through your heart. I mean, I couldn't I can't imagine what that must have been like as a competitor for the Sixers to see that. That's the shot that you're gonna lose on well, especially with the game that was so physically exhausted. Like, you're you're sitting there, and you're like, okay, okay. I'm. I'm sure they started some of them started thinking about overtime. And then not not only do not get overtime. Your season's done. You season is over. And I love my personal favorite are shots. The turn a loss to a win. But this was just gargantuan. It was a massive shot, and especially with the with the fan base that has been tortured the way that the raptors have and this is no way like making the conference finals is a great step. It doesn't absolve all of those things all of that pain, but a huge shot. And I think another important thing to talk about at the very beginning to be the story of this game was the guy who contested that shot. Joel Embiid played forty five minutes in this game. Twenty one eleven for three blocks four turnovers. We'll talk about that too. He was plus ten in a game his team lost by two. And that has never happened before as far as we know basketball. References data back to two thousand never before has a player been plus header more in forty five minutes or more and had his team lost the game. That we know of an MBA in regulation regular. Yeah. Yeah. In regulation, a forty eight minute game before tonight regular season or playoff. And that shows just how viable and beat was defensively when he didn't have it rolling off until he did some more things tonight. I did get up to twenty one points in a what was an offensive struggle of a game three blocked shots. And I think he was something just crazy like he's like well over plus fifty for the series, it might even been more than that. And consider how many minutes he played an heroic performance for him. Obviously not in the greatest of shape with all the knee issues coming off the illness to play forty five minutes, and he had to play that many. Because obviously, it was a complete disaster. The moment he went out of the game. Once again, just like it was a in game six. So that's that's really Bo. Bon Mike, Scott, Greg Monroe, certainly the other guys on the team deserve some blame for that. Also to not an 'cause there's really couldn't score in game. Six was the big problem. Here was more. The defy. But you still have all these great players that they shouldn't be just getting destroyed by over appoint a minute. Or in this case, four points per minute. I need to grow four points permanent. When Joel beat is is off the floor got beat in this game. But still to not have a better backup center option when you have one of the more fragile guys in the NBA at that position. And you need to preserve him as well to not have any kind of an option there number one going into the season. And number two at the trade deadline is really just not good enough from Phillies front office. And are that is maybe the biggest reason certainly from a statistical standpoint that they are going home. I think this stat might even be this. I haven't seen anybody posts this yet. And I can't it because of the timing of games. I can't get it all the way on the NBA's official site. I'll have to check it on by what I'm looking at. Joel Embiid had the best plus minus of the second round period plus ninety plus ninety oh I've plus fifty was way off he's plus ninety. And then the next two. Guys. It's eight listed games for the nuggets because that series ran longer the Eastern Conference second round started before. But I mean, absolutely incredible. And what thing you you'd have to look at too was drawl has to falls Brett Brown takes him out of the game for the last thirty seconds of the second quarter. I guess the thinking being well, we don't want him to pick up his third. So we'll take him out for this defensive possession. Well, guess what? His main value is on defense. And also, guess what? Getting his third foul with twenty four minutes and twelve seconds left in the game is in a different that him getting his third foul with twenty three minutes and forty eight seconds left in the game. It doesn't matter at all. There's nothing special about going into halftime with that third foul or getting it right away. So at and they went right at who's Kalari went right at Greg Monroe and got an one and that was three points that they lost by two. I mean, they're and they're not just that obviously. And I I'm not an agreement that broad should lose his job. Which is the rumor that's going to happen. And there are plenty of other mental mistakes that popped out. I think the next thing that we have to turn to here is that Philly wait before we can I go and I give the actual stat. I pulled it. Oh, okay. Here's the top five plus minus for the second round of the playoffs now than it is complete number five is a tie between Janas and Nicola Mirta plus forty number number four is Chris Middleton at plus forty six number three's joe-marie Maria. Plus fifty number two is Dakota Yokich A-plus sixty and number one is Joel Embiid a plus Ninety-one so all three of the top players in plus minus played today. All three of them are not moving onto the next round. Yeah. And now Mason probably is supposed to provide a little bit more behind Yokich then. Yeah. And plus it might not be all, but we saw how differently and how much worse. The Sixers played when Embiid was not in the forest specially on the defensive, and that's it fell apart there at Villa Park on offense. And you know, maybe it got to the point where it was psychological for this group. It were it was almost a self fulfilling prophecy when. He would go out of the game. But yes, the next place. I think we need to turn though is Toronto played a little harder than Philadelphia in this game. And the offense of glass was enormous. They're quiet lettered had four offense of rebounds in this game. And that's despite the fact that he had probably the biggest load of any player in this game. With those thirty nine field goal attempts. Sergio Baca also had four offense of rebounds as that big lineup continued to pay off pretty well for Toronto. They won three of four games in the series. After breaking out that console in Baca together the lineup and then they completely shut off the offense of glass refilling five offense rebound for Billy where they had at times dominated with that as well. And so a love and more offense of rebounds. Six more second chance points the fast break was used for the raptors ten of their first thirteen points were fast break points, and they only got sixteen fast-break points overall. But when they were really struggling at the beginning, they got some fast break points, but vanfleet got fouled in transition. A couple of times. And since apparently, he's never ever gonna make an actual shot from the field. Again. Those were not good falls and then Phillies turnovers as well. A lot of those were forced certainly as Toronto had ten steals and their defense was unbelievable in this game. And we'll talk about that down the end, but still to lose the turnover battle fifteen to ten and ten of those being live ball. It was really really difficult to win that way. And they almost it because they out shot the raptors fifty eight percent true shooting for Philly. Forty seven percent for Toronto. But that hustle in the possession game that Phillies shot at better from three Toronto. We said, hey, if their role players don't hit shots, they're gonna be in big time. Trouble in this game. It's gonna be really close. And that's what would there seven hundred thirty from downtown Lowry was one seven gazelle was one out of four Isaka crazily hit three of their seven three pointers. And he was below thirty percent from the year though. Previously used to be a good three point shooter before this. But he was somehow found his confidence and he made three out of five including this routine. Louis one over Ben Simmons late in the clock where he looked like Klay Thompson like shooting with his legs spread out and like not even able to jump. But it was really the effort of the raptors in yet another game where they didn't have their shooting touch that ultimately allowed them to keep it close enough that I was able to win it for at the at perk leaning glass. Philadelphia was ten points per hundred possession more efficient in half court offense. But they were there a much higher proportion at the time and the offensive rebounds. That's another way of framing. What you just said. By thought I thought it was a good way of thinking about it that and it looked at what Phillies half court offense wasn't great. But it was a whole lot better than Toronto's a lot of Michelle from both of these teams that that is themed throughout Sunday's game sevens. And what was really kind of ridiculous when I was thinking about this game between between I started between when we record between when we finished. And when we recorded this was how few raptors I thought like really had a good game. You know, why played well, Serge Ibaka was huge. But I Kyle Lowry. Danny green had some good defensive plays. But. He wasn't great Siaka seemed a little bit tentative to me. Well, they all had a good game on defense though, especially I wanna talk. I want to talk about that funny. And but it happens sometimes it game seven Zeno teams teams are your they're working so hard defensively. It's a lot of contested shots. It can look ugly at times or a lot of the time in in both of these games. But yeah, the defense, and that's a good a good thing to talk about here. I mean, those what is why rewatch the fourth quarter? The last the last three minutes was almost defensive perfection. Yeah. They three possessions in a row for Toronto. Philly either barely got shot up or just turned it over that one with the shot clock violation one where Butler air balled in. It probably should have been a shot clock violation. But they just let draw Joe down the other way. And then they were down to two on the shot clock with absolutely nothing going on. At Lowry got a huge steel away from impede through a head of Siachen for a layup. But to put him forward seemed like that was the game with under two minutes left there. But those three possessions all of which I think came after stoppages so put a nail in the or another nail. In the coffin of offense is more efficient after you. Call time out and it was just amazing defense early in the period. They were getting hurt a little bit with the Butler pick and roll with Embiid going at Gasol. They started having him bead pop out, and I was upset with Gasol early for how many times he closed out way too hard on Embiid, and let him get a drive to the point where you wonder if he was actually instructed do that if it wasn't a mental error, and they just said, hey, we think we get Giralda put it on the floor will rotate to him. We'll force turnovers of because Kosovo's too smart to just do that over and over again anything. But anyway, eventually when they're playing that way Butler is able to get a couple of looks at against gazelle. And so they decided we're going to try and put two on the ball with Butler, and then we'll rotate over to impede Sergio Baca had a great play rotating out to impede force him to drive baseline. And then he threw a flaming bag to Butler in the corner is the shot clock ran down then Lowery, another great play going to get him beat as they were. Just so good getting for hand off. They just like Siaka. And this is a guy who's like six nine just would not allow themselves to be screened kept the nine to buy his Harris who couldn't get a touch Rettig every time. He did pop three just a little bit. They're able to have the big come out it and take that away. And then rotate behind the play, it was just absolutely awesome. Raptors defense with the athletes that they had on the floor and the size and the for was green out. They had Siaka at the three evocative four and allow who was really the only small guy, and he's a really tough and smart as well. So they were just absolutely flying around. It was incredible to see. And remember they were flying around on defense and doing all this without Danny green on the floor. One of their best defenders because they were able to play with so much length in and have the big men moved really really well, and some of the limitations affiliate did help that and also Jimmy Butler sprained ankle, I think helped that but huge huge defense from the from the raptors and that. Yeah. As you said that that steal from Kyle Lowry that gave them an. Nope. And layup makes that so with one minute and fourteen seconds left Toronto's afford. Remember the last three possessions had been Philly not really doing much, but then they got back into it. Yeah. Lowry had a bad file just putting hands on polar and kudos to money mccutchen and his referees. Mccutchen swore at the start of the season. The game would not be called differently at the end of games and in the playoffs and yet Lowery puts his hands on Butler. Maybe that gets let go it in past years. But that's about an and they had to call it Butler though, mystic key free throws. So it was only a three point game and the raptors had a very long possession. Co I missed and evocative was able to get the rebound. They pass it out. Call time out eight seconds on the shot clock. They got a really tough Kawai fadeaway three and Philly used their last time out with twenty four seconds left and Toronto went into switching everything which worker at they even kept Kosolin the four, but he's switched everything. Billy ran a plate for three. You know, how much we loathe the quick to in that situation down. Three but just Toronto. Switching was perfect Siaka was all over the place. They took away everything. So finally, it was embodied in the post Lowry and lower actually tipped it away from him and be got it back, and then he Baca it looked like a questionable call. But then when you see the replay from behind the pass kit. He clearly like slammed his chest into his growing up. So Embiid hits a couple of free throws. And then it just a complete failure to deny the ball imbalance to Kawai by Philly. Right and Toronto does exactly what team should in the circumstance, which is right after those free throws have your best shooters get to places where ideally where they can catch the ball and not get trapped if you can pull both those off more power to you and Phillies just didn't have a plan Rettig scrambles over there after quite caught the ball in his started turning up court. Yeah. But you you knew you weren't gonna get very far. But he did that. And then what will hear this is the key point here too by not having to use the time out there and not preemptively using it by actually just taking it chance to inbound the ball when you couldn't number one. They got it to the rest free throw shooter. Yeah, you missed it. But it was good. Execution Tobias Harris just was like standing in guarding knowing they just nobody ran a quad to try to deny. But by not having to use the time out there. Remember, they had already used one where I just sprinted out on the floor. They had one lot. And that's what enabled Kuwata hit that shot at the end. So quiet Leonard goes to the line and paralleling game six in twenty thirteen in the NBA finals sorry to bring up more pain for Spurs fans who are listening to this podcast. But you're going to have plenty to. That's just the way it is why splits the free throws. And so then Philly they get this opportunity to really to get back in the game and goose soul. He went for the offense reward actually got a pretty good pussy and got a hand on it. But inadvertently his tip out number one meant that. He wasn't back on defense and number two. It goes right to think Harris everyone else on trial was getting back, David. So there's no one to get that tip. And it inadvertently just ended up being an outlet Harris. Got it to Butler who just pushed it up and went right in on a bucket Butler had previously sprained his ankle in the fourth quarter trying. To play defense on Kauai. But didn't look worse for wear. Just got it over the shop. Locker is a really nice finish for him to tie the game. And with four seconds off Toronto head to beat feeling shellshocked. That felt like such a disaster. Where you've got you could put you up three to miss that free throw. And then immediately give up the fast break bucket the other way, but to just been so deflating, but fortunately, they head coach buy at the ready, and yeah, they double teamed and be couldn't quite keep them contained. I mean again, it's about as good a defensive you can play. It was interesting because it was a double team. But and I'm not criticizing him for this in the slightest, but Embiid functionally screened away Simmons because he's just sticking with them and beat is a large human being it's very difficult to get through him. It's impossible to get through them. It's very difficult to get around. So he tracked and I don't think it'd be did anything particularly wrong there. But it is what got Simmons way. I thought Simmons had done a really nice job on July further major that possession. Simmons had had to switch off after getting a fifth. Follow on. A coli floater sue quick break. Here. We could talk a few more points about this game before we get into Denver Portland. 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I have not bought a single suit that is not Indochino in a long time. And again, don't forget that cap space code to tell him where you came from. I think Philly will be kicking themselves over just a few mental mistakes here and there like one was gazelle got a wide open three during that time when I was on. The bench because they just didn't know who they had the match up was supposed to be Embiid unseen Akot. But then when you also had Genucel and Yuba out there dinners like are we gonna put to Smalls on each of these big eyes and Tobias Harris get didn't know who he was supposed to have a end is give up a wide open three to gasoline and Harrison in guarding sold the whole gay on a why it would have been switched up at that point in time. I think Toronto's just mental toughness in this game. And in the series down to one and ill a lot of that has guys who have been here before like Kawai, Leonard, you know, it's not like calorie had some awesome game tonight offensively evocative did through the Houston who'd had some playoff failures with this group. But just every time Philly one run they went up seven than they took the they dared to take him beat out of the game for two minutes and immediately gave up that lead in the third. Philly came back and took a lead in the second Lowery, hit a huge three fading into the corner. And obviously that very last time when Billy tied the game. Koi had the ultimate answer. I had a few other place that struck out as well one. I thought that at various moments in the game, especially in that late going Toronto got a few kind of like found money and it happens in every game. I'm not saying it would they were particularly lucky. But that there was one where Kyle Lowry. It looks like he just chucked up like a deep too late in the clock. And because you have to put the shot up, and it went in and those the play work Kawai got trapped and couldn't get the ball to anyone in Lowery, just never stopped moving. And finally got it made it impossible shot and then another huge play in the late going shortly before that back to back to back effective shot clock violations from the Sixers day tied the game on jayjay Riddick. Three point play correctly called surge. Baca went right into him. And that was a really big one to take kind of looked like Toronto was building momentum. And then Philly got that back. And then eventually eventually they they tied it again. But I thought that shot by Rettig was the other rentals like a Golden State Warriors look getting Simmons into the post and then bringing Rettig all the way for the record. Recorded the words, don't really Rolette anymore. They used to in like twenty fifteen like for Klay Thompson to have him run. All the way to the opposite side of the court around a post op it and shoot it was the late getting out there. The unready another interesting cat and mouse game Philly got three for Rettig with a nice set that they ran with Harris posting Lowery office. Switch Gusau would try to go and help on that is the closest defender. And then as soon as he went to help they had Embiid go screen away for Rennick. And so then they ran it again to start the fourth quarter. Toronto was all over it. They knew exactly it was coming. They guarded Radic perfectly and forced them into a bad shot on that play. The Sixers scored thirteen points on the first twenty seven possessions, John shoe had this that and then their next thirteen possessions. They scored twenty six points. It really wasn't actually that bad of an offensive game after that eighteen to thirteen a first quarter in which both teams were absolutely miserable. The Sixers had like below fifty offense of reading in that first quarter. And at one point they were one out of ten from three and then they closed the game. A quite strong. So anything else we can say just on like what the problems were for a little bit of a post mortem for them here before we move on to Denver, Portland, lack of capable depth. Think was a huge part of this this this just in this just in. But Toronto is a really good team. Even know vanfleet overall didn't have a great series. They had surge Baca who they could trust. And they got I think Philly got more out of NS than I expected. Mike Scott wasn't great in this game. But he had some nice performances in this series and Phillies digits didn't have enough. You know, they they tried a bunch of different options. They tried Monroe in this game. They've tried Bolden in previous games went to Bogue on a couple of different times. And we knew that their starting five was really talented. We expected that they would play ball together. I believe that was largely the case and to move themselves into this rarefied air of these top teams. I mean, the bucks and raptors are both unbelievable squads is really impressive and Toronto got all they could handle in Philadelphia and with a little bit better depth. And all the all the kind of mistakes. I mean, remember they hadn't ammonia deletes a and then that deal fell through. We thought they could do more with minimum contracts, and he's getting jobs NS was was big help. And getting in getting Mike Scott was a help in in the blonde by his hair straight. But I mean, just you could go all over the rust. They're not getting any shooting losing sham it in that trade. You know, imagine what he could have done. Somebody asked us that in the NBA cast like yeah sham. It would have been huge for them in this series could have been reliable irrelevant viable place for shooting and they treated four first round picks century if you want to count Chevy to me is probably better than your average for Trump because he actually proven that he can't play and definitely better than your average Philly for shrimp because their picture probably going to be late. They're still really good. So that obviously, it's disappointing. Of course, the fit issues will come up. I mean Simmons to me they did about as much as they could with him. And he showed me a lot defensively as a perimeter defender in these places work on Dangelo. Russell was awesome. I thought he did about as well as could be hoped on Kawai. I would have liked to seen them over. For all as a strategy. Try and force him left a little bit more than they did because going to his right? He is really damaging. And that's where he hit all of his shots in the fourth quarter. But know, he's he's pretty capable of going to his left to. So that's not like an obvious one Jimmy Butler struggled tonight. And part of the reason which we didn't talk about at all here is that they decided to put Hawaii on Jimmy Butler for most of the game and aim for collided guard do Butler antique three nine shots was just incredible. And Butler d get going just a little bit in the fourth quarter with some of that pick and roll action. He got that break, obviously. But overall Kawai really did have been tastic Java on him, and we had showed that. Yeah. Sorry. I was gonna mention of Jimmy Butler is five buckets. At least two of them were with Markelle soul guarding him after screen now. I mean, go is in theory supposed to get through that screen, but I guess. Yeah. And so that those a pretty good adjustment. Because Butler, really hurt them and engaged. Seven Dewar died Kawai had a chance to kind of chill out on Ben Simmons before this. But and then the other thing that they did which was really interesting the first half was they decided just double Embiid on the catch. And we question that on the NBA cast initially of just eight consoles done a pretty good job. And and why are you going to do that? I think there are a couple of reasons for it. You know, I'm not sure whether it was good or pets ready one was if you've got quiet Butler, he's not your main help guy under the rim now with Simmons just in the dunker spot. And so if that's Dany green or or Siaka me guys just not quite as good help instincts. Maybe you're worried that Embiid yet going a little bit more. Another reason would be while. We don't want to soul to get an early foul trouble. And then also maybe just prevent Embiid from developing the confidence, but I don't think immed- even had a single straight post up in the second half. It was all picking pop try to attack off the dribble face up. He faced up one time. He he. It a step back on undersold at all of it was pretty much out on the floor facing up attack. The basket rather than the posts up game two souls who can completely out of that. And they're right to go away from it, frankly. But I did think you might have tried it when it was one on one. But I think if they're doubling they got pretty good looks off of that in the second quarter. Maybe that's something they could have gone to a little bit more was just throw thrown into Joel if they're going to straight double let's just get him into rotation as long as you can do it early. Yeah. And I am absolutely fascinated in intrigued by how depending free agents on both of these teams. But most notably on the Sixers because they're the team that we're not that that isn't gonna keep playing how they interpret this result because Tobias Harris I thought he played a good game. He didn't touch the ball that you know, he was he was more of an ancillary player. And there is an argument that there could be a conception of the Sixers next year where he touches the ball more that might be Jim butlers playing elsewhere. And then for Jimmy Butler. I think odds are depending on where he goes that. I I don't think he's going to be on a team as good as this. So is he satisfied with this result? Maybe this. Is the with the shaking out differently? This day could make the conference finals they could win the NBA title with more depth all those sorts of things. And so what those players prioritize is is altogether a separate and important question. But do they feel like this is unfinished business are? They like this is close as you can get. I mean last second shot defended. Well by one of the best players in the league. And so and not player might not be on that team anymore either. Yeah. Is tough. But they made this bed with Tobias Harris when they traded four first round picks essentially form and Jimmy Butler. They didn't give up as much, but he was certainly a needed player in these playoffs. He provides an element that they desperately need a pick and roll play making. And then if you're going to have those guys how to Simmons fit in any definitely was under utilized to some degree would be a much better fit. If he could use the ball in his hands where I do think that more of him back to goal trying to post up a would be helpful was spacing around but Butler is not most comfortable as as a three point shooter. It's these guys have a lot. A talent. And with maybe a better backup center they win this series. Who knows? But also, I actually think they were a little bit above their head in this series of you look at and I'm guessing those was probably the case again tonight Toronto had the better shot quality in all seven games of the engine shot at abnormally badly from three point range. And maybe this isn't a as close of a series otherwise particularly in that game two loss. So they do have a lot of guys who can make shots. Maybe you just try to get those guys as assets under contract if you need to move one of them. But still to me Ben Simmons remains the most logical guy to move. It's just a question of what that packages, and then how much that player would cost as well. With Simmons gonna need a max contract soon. It's going to be very interesting off season. I hope for Phillies safe that they don't fire Brett Brown. I don't know who the better coaches who's available right now to him. And I think there are a few little oils. You know, we talked about again beat out there's some things, but I think overall his appre progressive stance. Gigi does a pretty good job of getting along with his players. In getting them to share the ball. There's not a ton that I look at right now as their scheme, and that that's what killed them. I think it was the lack of a pension. Joel Embiid having one good offensive game in the series. And I think Braun got as much out of this group as he could they were substantial underdogs in the series to be into. They should be really proud of the effort that they've had and they were up against an absolute juggernaut of a team in in a I thought they exceeded expectations. But ownership reportedly does not see it that way. And I think it's also interesting going forward here for you know, to have this iconic moment interrupters uniform and experience that Atalay Shen perhaps that makes it a little harder for him to leave. Even if they do end up flaming out at some point in the next couple of rounds. Let's turn now to Denver Portland another fantastic game and the place to start here. With a big game seven road win is with the classic performance. One of the great game. Sevens by CJ, McCall CJ was absolutely fans. Tastic? Let's do the full line. I thirty seven points seventeen of twenty nine from the field. All but three of those twenty nine shots were to pointers got to the line for two free throws. So that was thirty seven points on thirty shooting possessions, despite basically just taking twos and hit a ton of massive shots. Also had a definitive chase down block which will break down in more detail later and Lillard had enough night a series of other blazers offensively tons of Michelle for both of these teams. I mean that we'll we'll talk about that. But CJ kept them afloat. And he he was awesome. It was a their players in this league. It's one of the separators of their that can take and make tough shots. And a lot of CJ shots were well-contested and not every mid range shot is a bad shot. But but the special players are the ones that you want taking those CJ McCollum unquestionably one of those players CJ and Dame Lillard deserve a ton of credit for the improvement that they have made against trapping. Defenses. We saw them struggle with that against New Orleans a year ago as their Unser ammonia asleep swept out of the first round. They just came up with a ton of counters to that setting screen siren, the not granted they weren't going up against Anthony Davis this row or in that running until KC for that matter. But one of the ones was the ability to snake through and split that trap. Just went poll around your own screener and CJ had one of those late in the game to get an open. Look, you'll Lillard to the same thing. He's still was able to get penetration on most of those plays yet, eight assists in the shot was not going down a low. He hit two huge ones in the fourth quarter is only three out of seventeen in his forty five minutes. Both see Jan Dame played the entire second half, by the way in. So it really was a team wide thing to beat that strategy. And for the nuggets what they're trying to do is protect their big in pick and roll defence and get the ball out of those guys hands Lillard head by far his lowest usage in the regular season against any team against. The nuggets and those guys were able to get up forty six shots forty six of the blazers ninety three shots between those guys. And that was just enough it and also credit today more for recognizing. He's in the middle of a rough game and just letting CJ be- the engine down the end. There's not a lot of guys who do it. There's a possession late where Dame is about to go get a DA Joe. And he says, no and goes and gets CJ in the corner and screens for him. So he can go get the Joe, I think McCollum scored it on that possession. And that's when people talk about the type of leadership Lillard ship. I was about to say in Portland. That's an Dame is really happy move be moving on. He had his Mona glory in the first series. And it was CJ's turn it in this one that to be the main offense of engine, and that thirty seven points was fantastic something that I think is notable and amazing about this game Lillard McCullum and NS Kanner all played forty plus minutes. No other blazer played more than half of this game. Two of their. Starters were basic were barely a part of the one didn't play in the second half. One didn't play that much in the second half. And then a lot of the backups filled in those gaps. So it really was three solid pieces who basically played the entire second half. And then through trying different things around it to see what we're another big part of the story. This game was Portland's fifteen percent shooting from three was actually only second worst in this game because Denver shot eleven percent. From three Denver did not make a three pointer in the second half. There were two out of nineteen Portland was four hundred twenty six and Lillard. We said already didn't have a good game between for three to four nine. Well, actually, the twenty two percent was much better than just about anyone else. Half of their makes a third of their attempts. Am you need to turn a little bit to Denver here? Yeah. I actually alpha place. I want to start with that. Yeah. This was a long exhausting and thrilling day, it would be justified for people to forget this happen with seven minutes and twenty six seconds left in the second quarter of this game. Denver was up thirty nine to twenty two. It looks like they had control Yokich the vaunted yoke Yokich break had already happened. They had survived it. I think they had actually increased the lead by a few points. And Kanter had come back in it looks like it was it was going to be the main guys. And then that's really one Portland when CJ in Portland just started kicking it into gear. And then they cut it to nine at the end of the for the first half, and you, and I've talked about it before, you know, like when the team is playing really well, and they just can't close it all the way they they didn't shut the door. They got pretty dang close. But beyond the terrible shooting everything else. Like that. Like I hadn't even for. I knew they were head by. I didn't realize when I went back and start watching it. Seventeen. It was reprinted thirty nine twenty two. And then it really to me was an offense of failure for the Doug. It's am Nicole Yokich played forty two minutes in this one got three minutes of Russ perhaps was eleven out of twenty six. But he said it, you know, he doesn't expect to make every shot. But there were shots that were missed that. He usually makes it in this game. He had their only to makes from three point range, by the way. That's that's not his fault as he puts only get up nineteen three point attempts is not good. But I think they kinda stopped shooting those very core. Only took five combined. Yeah. And they played a combined seventy seven minutes. That's unbelievable now when you're playing Mason Plumlee together with yoga a bunch of time Millsap is not a great three point shooter. Tori, Craig was unable to duplicate his three point success from the San Antonio series in this one. So they don't have great three point marksman on this team. I did think that they still could have done a little more Yokich post ups a little bit less of the pig. Enroll especially once Murray after that get into the line some in the first quarter really clearly did not have it in this game. But another thing that really stands out here is only two assists for Yokich and part of that was a Portland did a pretty good job staying home on shooters. But a lot of that too was guys just missing the looks that he was sitting in. That's just an incredibly low number of assists for Nicole Yokich. And while they did yoga actually was negative. I think for just the second time in the series in that was each of the last two games as well. He was actually negative to they did outscore him or a score Denver when he was on the floor Millsap who was so awesome. Through the first five games, really struggled the last two games three of thirteen. Evan Turner who which applied taught to in a moment. Here was pretty darn good on Millsap, but Millsap couldn't get a lot of those mid Rangers that he had before even south ago, even so I thought one of the tactical mistakes in this game was Mike Malone being too cautious. When paul. Got him found trouble because Denver just didn't have that many other options and mills up it's possible that he could've picked up his fellow. But I thought I thought that being cautious. They're pulling him and being without one of your best players. One of your core defenders for such a long stretch of the of the fourth quarter was a real problem. You know, he picked up his fourth with nine fifty seven to go picked up his fifth with seven twenty four to go. And at that point Portland was ahead. So it wasn't like you're going into that. But then Millsap didn't come in again for three whole minutes. And I thought I thought they could've used it did eventually fall out. But but super win was pretty much. Yes. Yeah. He he fell down committing intentional foul in the game. Was basically, right. Let's talk about Twitter. Now, we were concerned foolishly. It turned out that Terry Stotts would see. Oh, Evan Turner was in the game when we made our run in the fourth quarter, and then overplay him, and he did that he played a lot of the end of the second. But they made a run at the end of the second to get back into it. And then ten. Fourth quarter points. I think he had like four points in the series coming in to tonight and he finished with fourteen points through seven eight of nine from the foul on got on the defensive glass as well heads offense of rebounds. And it was Neil. Oh, Shays vision town, the end a lot it didn't work that. Well, but of Turner, handling the ball and Lillard and McCollum trying to come off as screens, but Turner did just enough attacking off the dribble and hit a bid ranger or two just scrappy energetic play which in a game. Like, this would neither team can hit a three pointer takes on an added important. Yeah. He had a few big place. Not only you right. Evan turner. Only had four points in this series before game seven he had four in their win in Denver in game two he had three total points in the series. It wasn't like, oh, he's just having a cold stretch or something like that including game seven he shot thirteen percent from the field in this series. There are a lot of story lines that occurred early. In this game. They start for Portland they start hark, listen to me new both of them. Go out of the game after seven minutes and never come back in during the first half immuno himself got the ultra bogans. He played the first seven minute that never came back in the game. They went with hood and Collins, but that group continued to struggle for a while there played Collins and cancer together. A lot of the time Collins I thought was huge in their run in the third quarter in which they outscored the nuggets thirty to twenty four to get back into contact where he was on four fouls for probably like, maybe five minutes and every single possession. He was like contesting a pass going for rebound something that made him 'cause contact and could potentially have been a foul, but many of them actually were fouls, but he had four blocks. Again, he was just absolutely critical because Denver had been getting inside quite a bit early on in this game. So he was key there. And then we thought oh, many just got his fifth after he got his. North going after some no hope play in the back court. They leave him in which was good Stotts. They leave him in. And then he ends up getting his fifth about halfway through the third. He comes back into start the fourth quarter with five files. And I said at the time on the cast I'm gonna eat my slipper if he doesn't follow this game. But they actually just took him out of the game. After like three or four beds went back to turn turnaround cancer who closed it a I wanna talk about what Collins was doing because the most important part was that Nicole Yokich often drags his man away from the rim. Yes is be as you know, as operating from the elbow three point shooter high screener, although sorts of first of all that Collins is a better rim-protector than Ennis Kanter anyway. But having another player not only four rim protection by everything that was happening by non Yokich player. But also having a second big body when Yokich tried to get into lane. There was one big play where Yokich ruled past Kanner was trying to shoot this righty kind of kind of hook shot. I guess I guess we'll probably the best best or for it. And he. He ran into that Collins to and that bump made it a lot harder. He missed that shot. I think Kanter ended up getting the rebound and it got Denver off of their rhythm. And that wasn't the reason they missed a bunch of threes or anything like that. But I thought it made life harder on the nuggets on the interior. And when you combine those harder shots in a couple of turnovers and defensive rebounds, you combine those with the three point shooting and that helped flat-line Denver's offense in give Portland the window to get back in this game. The did play Rodney hood twenty minutes, but about midway through the third. He got hit a on which should have been a foul. Call because what Tori Craig did was he stuck his NIA as he was setting the screen on hood, and that caused hood to hyper-extended his knee and some question about whether he'll be available for the west finals now, but that did not look good. But hopefully, nothing severe we've seen hood go down with some injuries that we thought were really bad at turned out at us. Okay afterwards. So a hopefully, that's the case. But losing him seemed like a huge blow their play. Him at the three quite a bit. Now also made it difficult because then you they kinda choose between Collins and Turner down the end, and they are looking for a mohawk who came back in and had a big end with three offensive rebounds to the game as well. He played ten minutes from that point forth. They never went back to him. Anybody was heartless and Turner together down the end to give them just enough defense athleticism it and rebounding that CJ was able to take them home. Well before we get to that. I want to mention the other part of Harkness's ended the game and he committed to bad unnecessary fouls in the fourth quarter. When Denver was already in the bonus. And Denver was not scoring. They were there half court offense. They had this really long stretch where Denver didn't score. They didn't score a shot from the field from Nicoli. Oh catch making. He made. I think he made a lamp with seven forty five left, and they made some free throws during this, including the ones that are just talked about. And I think the next made. Shot that they had was Gary Harris with two eleven remaining they got free throws as I said. But I think those were the that stretch was where they didn't have single made field goal and Harkness gave them a couple. I think he had one on Millsap, and then you had one on under Murray that gave gave Denver a little bit more life. When there was there was a point in the talked about how the roof seven Denver was up seventeen Portland was a ninety two to eighty five seven points with 'bout three minutes to go. And I thought it looked like, you know, they're about to seal it away. And then it got close again couple of the notes on the media game here before we get to the end through a few plays in the second half early in the second half where it looked like Portland's comeback would be thwarted one. Was that hood play where he goes down. They play on and Denver ends up. Getting an end one end collinses fifth foul. It was a three point game right before that exchange Portland decided to start Collins an hood in the second half. You wonder why they didn't just do that to begin with? If they. Those the the best lineup. There is another play where Portland had cut it to to Harris got an aunt one on Leonard. And then Plumlee just went right around cancer on the missed free throw Ed Murray got dunk with cantor, again, not helping at all on that play. So you thought that Denver heads of chances to stamps, the bleeding, but Portland just kept coming. You thought that maybe Denver could close it a little stronger than Portland because CJ McCollum played the whole second half. And so did Lillard while they're guys all got some rust in Millsap, thirty two minutes, Craig thirty three even Yokich was only forty two Harris and Murray were both under forty but that didn't turn out to be the case. And that was just basically CJ making shots on the end. And he is just have so much respect for how well conditioned. He is. I mean, he looked like he never had a single issue in that four overtime game. Never had a single issue tonight despite playing the whole second half and he played just a ton of minutes in this series. At an always seemed to have the ability to make shots. And even though he was so exhausted. You could tell it wasn't even getting off the ground on these jumpers. And yet he still just draining them. It was a van tessick anything else. You want to say on the meat of the game before we talk about some of the key possessions at the end. No, I think we can go to the key possession. So probably the absolute biggest play the game to me Portland had maintained about a four point lead throughout most of the fourth quarter three twenty laugh Turner misses an awful shot at the free throw line over Millsap, really well-contested Yokich gets the rebound outlet endangered sneaks in and steals. The outlet goes right at Yokich with the euro step and realizes he doesn't have the shot. So he does a Steph curry throws it out to Turner. And then just dead sprints to the corner. Yokich just not having just turned it over just not they're mentally very few senators are gonna make that play of argument a stick with Daimler all the way out to the corner now on this play. But Lillard just knew he was going to be able to get a wide open three there. It was a mental error from Yokich, despite the fact that you know, it's not a play that centers are commonly gonna make. So that Portland up seven. It looked like it was. Much over at that point up seven with three minutes left. You know, you've got about six or seven possessions left and then Denver precedes the score eight points on the next four possessions. Three of them were off Portland mistakes. They had a McCollum mists where three blazers go for the offensive rebound. And they get a fast break layup for Gary Harris that play was like right out of the nineteen eighty s they had to really bad fouls. One. After like five seconds of the shot clock by heart goes on the floor. The that you mentioned on Murray, and then Lillard reached in on a loose ball and Bob Murray. So and they're in the boats. They got two free throws out of that Yoka cheetah a floater in pick and roll and got it to one with a minute thirty left. So another thing that stuck out to me. And I would you're not going for the three necessarily this early on. But three times in the last two minutes of the game. Denver had the ball down three. And they never once attempted to shot that could have tied the game. You're definitely taken a risk there. Especially in the end, especially when you go for the quick to which will get to. But yeah, they're shooting to a nine. Eighteen from three you gotta assume though that these guys who are good shooters are are not any less likely to make those shots because you've had a bad shooting game going into tonight, if you're open, and you know, they didn't really run anything to get three point looks. And that is a weakness of this Denver Austria, they don't really have anyone who's able to just rise up for a three off the dribble or even coming off a screen like jail green style. Either. You know Murray has a pretty low release point. He doesn't get a ton of separation for three pointers. Am Harris can come off screens every now and again or or shoot them in the DA Joe game, but Portland did a really good job on him. And you know, those are really the only two guys Yokich is too slow release on his pick and pop to be a huge threat there. So, you know, the the nineteen three point at times that's a little bit of a symptom of what this roster is a end. Also, having a four like Millsaps out really looking to take three pointer a lot Craig is out there. He's not a great shooter. So yes, it's tough for this team to come back at the end with when three pointers are pretty tough to be found here. One. Of the stranger decisions towards the end of this game gets into those possessions were Denver didn't get a three CJ makes a free throw line jumper. I believe was over Tory Craig to make it a three point game ninety eight ninety five with eleven point four seconds left. And and quickly. I mean, the two shots that he on the last two minutes. We're both absolutely ridiculous. What was when he split the pick and roll the other one they just went with a straight one four flat 'em Denver on that possession after they had gotten another two with Murray to get within one. And there was a six second differential at that point. They go just a one four flat. So basically you've got two guys in the corner in two guys standing on either side of the lane. So it's a little tough to bring a double there. But you also don't have a ton of spacing like it could be possible. And they did not do that. Maybe they could if they had a lineup in there with Yokich out of the game that maybe could've switch everything they had Millsap at center for one of the first times in the series. But they did not run a double at McCollum. He went pretty early too. By the way, he could have run the time down another. Five seconds, or so, and that could have ended up hurting them if in fact, he had missed, but you know, he made it is absolutely fantastic. But then yeah, the everything that happened was very odd there after that Denver taking their last time out to advance the ball with eleven point four seconds remaining. Denver on three Denver is the ball down three. And it would've made sense for Portland to there are a couple of different defensive schemes that you can go into could try switch everything try no threes. Both of those things that's a good way to prevent him from getting a potential game-tying three. And if in basically any of the defensive theories Seth curry would not be on the floor curry as I thought he had a rough game defensively overall yet. It has a mistake ended up you know, puzzle plus minus, but I don't think that that is indicative of his play in this game. And he ends up on nickel Yokich around the free throw line. So Denver inbounds the ball. Yokich curry fouls him in the air. And so you have all these different things. So one is Curry's on the floor shouldn't be on the floor. Inbounding the ball well inside the two point line. And then so so then it not a chance to tie. And then I mean for the second time in this series and he had a spectacular series overall, Nicole Yokich, Mr. Vic free throw those killer. I mean, he had he played so well, and it can happen. I don't think he choked. I don't think anything like that. You just missed a free throw and Denver missile offered through the Jenin Jeter in the second half. But they missed the eleven free throws in this game. They shot a lot more free throws than Portland did an a bunch of more late. But through a lot of the game. They only shot. Seventy two percent Portland was eighty three percent that if the another thing you can look at as a your game right there. And yeah. Yoga just gonna look back on those. And he he put the laws on him. And obviously he was their best player and one of the few guys to shoot it even passably well in this game. So it's tough to put the blame on him. But that's certainly something that he's going to be thinking about both of those just incredibly close games. Now. He makes that first free throw. They still have no timeouts left. So that they would have been trying to play the foul game in Portland has really good free throw shooters. I'm thinking I thought that perhaps maybe that's why they put curry news because if they went for the quick to than they could get it in into curry, and he could be a free throw shooter. But then having to take him out. So they could try to rebound the free throw. I thought that actually with no timeouts left Yokich probably should have missed the second free throw intentionally and you know, a few say, hey, were if we're trying athlete as hard as we can he's going to miss it to a specific spot. May we've got twenty five thirty percent chance again, the offensive rebound. And you've probably got a worse chance than that of every been getting a chance to tyrod mean, you think about get that rebound. You've got a twenty five percent chance of getting that rebound. So you have a twenty five percent chance of getting shot to tie it. Whereas just hitting one of the free throws. And then you have to hope for a turnover or you have to hope to that. One of these great free throw shooters is gonna miss through deserves it really time to trap and try and get a turnover. Really? I think intentionally missing it would be a little bit better. Because at least then it's like at least it's in your hands at that. At least you could get a rebound. It's it's within your power, and they went for the quick to at and people always say, what coaches will tell you. If you say, well, why you wouldn't go for the three end with no time out have to go for the three two three. The three also to avoid confusion. Well coaches will say as well if you miss the three than the game is over and that's too big of arrests that just the game is over. Well, number one. You're trying to win the game. Not just stay in the game. And number two. Isn't it a much bigger risk that you have it within your hands right now to take three pointer, and it could be on your team? Whether the game gets tighter, not if you go for the quick to now, you're depending on the other team to screw up or miss them free throws. And isn't it a huge risk that you just never get a chance to tie the game like isn't data scarier proposition than quote unquote, the game being over it. So yet just inbounding it right to Yokich. I guess they're trying to get a very quick to. But especially like on a post up to Yokich. They're like that's not even against a smaller player. That's not like an automatic shot. You know what? I mean, really the math on it is like you have to have like a seventy or eighty percent chance of making that to pointer to have even begin to work out in your favor, and especially with no timeouts, and especially when you consider that. If you come back later, and you need a three you're doing no timeouts, and there they can foul now to prevent you again. From ever getting a chance to tie it. So to me that's just the biggest risk in that situation. Is you never actually get a shot in the air that can tied the game. And that's what ended up happening the nuggets in this one. And the way it happened was a little bit chaotic so the blazers had a timeout left. So they called a timeout. And then something that I don't particularly like on does like on those inbounds where you're inbounding with the intention of a good free Thursday. You're getting it. I like to have at least somebody on the four who's a capable screener. And so you can try to use that to create separation all the Portland guys scatter in different directions. None of them is particularly open. But the ball ends up getting to Evan Turner Turner, drives towards the basket. It looked like it was actually a shooting foul not that it made any difference because Portland was in the bonus. And so you're you're up to in that situation. Make to it's over Evan Turner ISIS the series yet too. Big free throws from Turner. And the jokes were the earned every dollar of that eighteen million in this game. Well, he earned ownership of our made ownership a bunch of extra playoff. Revenue. So yeah, that's a that's a great point there. Well, I've waited I've waited I don't know how long this'll be one at areas, but like an hour and ten minutes, I think it might be time for my victory lap. Picking a row picking overrode team to win a game seven was was pretty exciting. And there is there is the downside that I think this creates a less interesting Western Conference finals, but being rate is pretty nice all relish that enjoy it. And it does give me based on the weird scoring system that I'm testing out for these playoffs. I have I currently have a a small lead of four point lead because of that. But I mean that was one hell of a game. And I mean today well today was one of the more fun days of basketball, especially for only having two games that I can remember just because of the insanely high stakes both games being so closely and some really definitive plays. I mean, we didn't talk enough about CJ chase down block. He gets in its mammary driving down the court. And as is often the case on these plays. They're the highlight goes to one guy, but it never happens without a second defender in this case, it was Seth curry on the LeBron chase down block Bigwood all was JR Smith slowing the driver down because you generally, even even though. Guys are slower with the ball than they are just running the difference. In speeds, you could usually get that lay up of no one was in your way, and it slowed Murray down enough, and it was a beautiful clean blocked by CJ. And so you could argue that the two best plays of this crunch time by Portland, we're defensive because that was a few does like a minute before Lillard steel and three or talk a little bit more about Denver and what this says about their team going forward. But I wanna tell you about goat dot com. I quite Leonard only the second ever buzzer beater to win a deciding game playoff series. 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Find the perfect one hundred percent authentic sneaker at goat dot com slash space that slash cap space. You're outta let them know that you came from us support our show and go to goat dot com. Gio AT dot com slash cast based once again, goat dot com slash cap space. So the irony of this matchup and this result is thick given what happened at the end of the regular season. You'll recall that Denver actually lost intentionally to Portland to boost Portland seating. In the hopes that Houston would fall to the fourth seat Portland was not interested in Houston falling into the fourth seed. They. Wanted to be the fourth seat because they wanted to play apparently Utah rather than okay, see, which I thought was crazy at the time but Portland despite trailing by woes at like twenty seven points the kings on the last day of the season and free Simon's scores. Three seven points and leads them back to victory. They're playing six guys and all of them played forty eight minutes, and yet somehow they come back on the king to only their stars in the first half and so- Portland foils their own attempt to tank against the nuggets tanking and ends up on this side of the bracket, which is where I would have wanted to be all on. But they apparently didn't want to be that puts Houston on the other side of the bracket. Portland winds Denver wins. They play each other for real and Portland. Now beats Denver Zach Lowe is saying the best guys we're finally gonna come for Denver at some point. Maybe that was the two for nine and three point two for nineteen three point shooting in this game, but Portland arguably deserved just as much for resting their guys on the last day of the season and Portland comes out with the wind, but this whole series. It's all happens because these teams both tried one failed in Benicia letting the sand on done a bunch of other crazy shit had to happen to with like, you know, Casey hitting that buzzer beater against Houston and Denver coming back against Minnesota where they're down by like eight points with three minutes left in that game. And I think this is a really disappointing performance from Denver. I thought that the nuggets were a little bit overrated all season. But once I saw the bracket I thought they're going gonna make it to the west violating. They have more talent than Portland they looked like the much better team. And they really frankly, I think I wouldn't say choked. But they performed well below the low they're capable of in game two and game seven they made more mistakes in that quadruple overtime game than Portland. Did Denver was capable of winning the series. I think they had more talent. And they should have won the series that they did not. And you know, there's a lot of noise out at Denver all we made. This a great team is just the start for us. We'll see, you know. I don't think it's I mean, they had a pretty easy match in the second round with no use of Norwich, and they should have won. And this Portland team. We'll see how they play the next on. Maybe I'll be wrong and they're going to be exhausted too. But this Portland team is a team that probably loses in the first rod half the time in a normal Western Conference and so- Yokich played really well the playoffs. Okay. They played against to below average defenses. They had some really ugly offensive performances with not enough three pointers. None of shooting in these playoffs 'em. They weren't really able to find an answer for Portland's guards defensively because they have some structural limitations. In terms of what Yokich could do I thought Yokich to me actually had a better defensive series than I was expecting. But when it came down to it, they still couldn't guard C J and pick and roll in this game. So while I think Denver over performed preseason expectations based on what they did during this season. I thought they underperformed a little bit in the playoffs and to say, all right. This is a team that's going to be in the second round automatically for years to go here. I'm not quite buying that they got more moves that they. I need to make these guys gotta get a lot better Murray. Yo and Yokich in particular. They gotta find a way to be a little bit less Yokich Centric on offense. I think so I'll be very curious to see what happens to them this off season. Whether Millsaps is going to be back, and whether they can get someone else on the wing, whether Michael porter can contribute, maybe someone like hurting Gomez can contribute more. But they do need a little bit more. I think to really get into being serious contender in the west. And I think while Denver deserves credit for getting to the second round the context of who they played in these playoffs and ended up losing to. I think it is important when you look at our your your real goal here is to actually get out of the Western Conference. And are you going to be able to beat those best teams? I don't know that this is display off despite the fact that they got to a game seven the second round is a positive data point in their favor necessarily. I wanna push I wanna play back on a couple of parts of that. And then agree with it. So the one thing I was really surprised you didn't emphasize, and I would I was more disappointed in their first round than their second round. That's in Tokyo team was was uninspiring to me. I thought that Denver should have dispatched them pretty cleanly. You know, like maybe it ends up going six just because San Antonio is hitting shots and Denver's Michigan for a game. But there were some warning signs that I had that were similar to when I saw Toronto struggle with Washington last year and just want. Oh crap. Like that that they didn't have all of it. And both of those teams I think we're better than their first round series. But you still have that. And for Denver my issue with with what you said is not necessarily that it is inaccurate. I think that it is taking a framing that is a little bit unfair to the nuggets. If the goal for them is to win the Western Conference finals or win a championship. I don't think they're constructed well enough to do that. And that isn't because Tim Connolly has done a bad job is just because the threshold for winning a championship for being at the level to win a conference to have a serious like, for example, like Portland made the Western Conference finals this year. They're not entitled content. They're not they're not going to win the championship. Even if they made it. They would get waxed. By both of the other teams that are there and great for them that they made it this far. And I agree with you that they would have lost in the first round and a lot of different permutations of this. I don't think that's too big a deal for Denver because winning fifty games, which is what they were. They outperform their point too fragile. That's a great accomplishment. That's a really good team. They're young. They'll get better. I do worry. I think like you do a little bit that how the aging curve affects them is more problematic than something. Because there are a lot of stats about other like the fourth youngest team in the league and all that, but one of their key players as Paul Millsap who is way older than that. And they don't have replied still like their most athletic player. Right. And they don't ever replacement for him. Sure. If Michael porter, jR, becomes becomes awesome. As an offense doubt, very different type of player and Denver doesn't have a they don't have three. They happen to face to teams in the playoffs were their lack of a two way small forward was not that big, Tori. Craig hit hit a series three's that five for seven against the Spurs, most notably. But they don't have. Have that guy will Barton is not that guy Torry Craig maybe if he improves there, but remember we're not in the rare. He wasn't in the rarefied air here. This was against two teams that do not really threaten in the way that Golden State would or Toronto Milwaukee. And they're always going to be teams like that. They might not always be run by forwards. But there will always be teams that have that level of overall town, and I see Denver just as a tier below that. And I don't think there's any shame any anything. And I try not to get worked up by those who over hype something because that's over hyped. And so for me if Denver wins forty eight to fifty three games and they're not a serious title contender. But they're in the mix, depending on seating. They make the second round first second or third round. There's that's a good team. That's a really really good team. And if Yokich and Murray take big steps forward, if Gary Harris can can do something maybe they can push beyond that. But it's so hard to get beyond that point without you know, like basically to you know, if you don't have to. Undoubtably all-stars or like to future hall of famers getting into the title conversation is functionally impossible will I guess what? I would say is this. I think there are some people who feel better about Denver's future after this playoffs, and I feel worse about because they didn't play anyone and they lost to Portland team. And they couldn't score in a bunch of games against this Portland team. That is not a good defense. And maybe that's playoff inexperience or maybe their players aren't that. Good. I mean, they had guys had bones. But again, you know, they're going against below average defenses. And they didn't prove anything to meet in these playoffs. They didn't play a real team where they could approved anything. And that's kinda makes us a little bit difficult in the they should be happy about their overall season. But I do think they should be disappointed in their playoffs. Let's talk now about the blazers in warriors series in which one team starts at his cancer at center and the other team has Steph curry and Klay Thompson coming off of screens set by golden. State center that is one problem among many for Portland one that I'm going to focus on a lot Portland. Just John generate turnovers now the warriors can generate turnovers themselves because the throat off they can do that. But I think Portland's lack of forcing turnovers is going to be a big problem for them in this series. And a lot of the limitations that okay, see and Denver were not able to exploited or going to be on full display against the warriors. And they're not going to be able to pull off. I mean, hopefully, Rodney hood is healthy enough to play. But they're not going to be able to pull off. You know, these extended minutes for Evan Turner. Or, you know, spot minutes for Meyers Leonard all those type of things because the warriors even with their depth shoes. They just play so many different players that punish inferior talent. And they're coming off of a Houston series where not only did iron sharpens iron, but they had to deal with such complicated defensive they dealt with defense that is well suited to attack with the warriors. Do. Well, with personnel that can execute that system about as well as could be reasonably expect N Houston Durham worries talked about how he's obsessed with the words, they play the warriors incredibly well, incredibly hard and Portland is not that type of team and we've seen the warriors beat the blazers in a playoff series undermanned. And I think we're about sit again now, I could see the warriors having a mental letdown. And if they got against Denver, I think Denver especially with the unique threat that Yokich prevents that they've had some trouble stopping him at times with no cousins. And no Katie at the start of the series and the warriors very pleased with themselves rightfully so for being used in the manner that they did you could see there being let done I think the fact that they really respect Damon C J that they've played these guys in the playoffs before and he had they've beaten them. But they also know that it's hard to dream on one point said. Yeah, this didn't feel like a five game series to me when when they beat them back. I think at twenty sixteen but they Bech up really really well against the. Blazers defense the blazers defense is built on a conservative drop pick and roll coverage that you just cannot play that against the Golden State Warriors. And they don't do a lot of switching either. So now Klay Thompson he can get open whenever he wants to coming off a screen CJ McCollum is going to be the one probably who guards him. I guess they would go with heartless on curry, you know, they need to hide Dame Willard in this situation. And they'll be able to do that theoretically will see if Andre Goodall continues to start. He probably will. But he could Lillard can hide on him. But he has a great screener as well, Portland. Just simply has not been able to shrink the floor force the warriors intimate Rangers. Takeaway the basket the way they like do. They've never had great defensive personnel. They do the best they can with this group. But now, especially with your they've had Plumlee they've had Nurkic in past years even know von lay all those guys are much better defensively than a one arm and his canter. And while Kanter has done played the best defense of his career by far we've seen what? Happens when he gets out in space against a warriors team. We've seen the warriors do well against Portland when they didn't have Steph curry in two thousand sixteen we've also seen them take care of Portland in two gains without Kevin Durant in twenty seventeen the warriors. I think are not as good as they were at those times with their support guys. But Draymond green still is going to cause a lot of problems. If you try to put Evan Turner in the game, you try to put that Collins in the game now dream on green is just gonna guard those guys and he's gonna completely muck everything up with your help defense. One thing I'll be looking at very closely though, presumably curse gonna go to starting Andrew bogut to match up against cancer. And it'll be conventional pick and roll defence for the warriors. And it'll be a drop coverage and Dame Lillard and CJ. We'll have a chance to get going. I think early in game. Now when the warriors go with green at center or they go with looney and they switch then we'll see whether Dame and CJ will be able to do enough. But and. I think portly can score. Okay. At times. Like those guys we'll have a chance to get hot in this series. And that's how you could maybe Portland winning a game or two. But I just don't see how Portland slows down this warriors offense at all. We've seen them try at times to go with the amino at center and try and switch everything and they just that's just not something that they do regularly. The warriors of completely carved that up in the past doesn't have the personnel either. They they don't have enough wings Oce has filled gaps impressively at other spots, you know, getting Seth curry as gar in the guard rotation they replaced, Pat, Pat, Pat contin replaced him all all those other spots. But they haven't done that at forward and the warriors are loaded forward. They have a lot of intelligent players. And so two other things that I'm going to be watching injury returns. How long does Kevin Durant sit in this series? Is he, you know, do are the warriors more cautious because they're facing a team that that they can that they can handle I would recommend being as cautious as they can be, you know, in Gotcha. It's maybe Portland sneaks game at oracle. It's entirely possible. And then that pushes it a little bit Stein Steiner's reported there is also possibility DeMarcus cousins returns during the conference finals that'll be notable. And then the second one for years now there has been this idea, which I think is fair of the Draymond at center lineups the death line being the most prominent among those being kind of like a sign of respect. And that you how often how often they go to it is their Golden State had to work there guys incredibly hard in the rocket series. Hi, Mindy totals high leverage all that. I wonder how much Kerr wants to pull back on those rains, and that might create an avenue for Portland as well. Because while there guys are tired if they're playing their best players more frequently. It's an event that is. But they also those guys are gonna get run ragged on the defense of one of the things about the warriors that we've seen it's and some of the Houston is another one of these Cleveland when they are at their best with LeBron and all those shooters is you get to the point against these teams. The best ones we saw it too. In the Toronto Phillies. Series where you put certain guys out there, and they just can't compete. They can't be out there. You're gonna get killed if that guys out there. And now we get into the point where Portland has guys with significant limitations immu shot at so poorly that he was totally out of the rotation. They have to get more from him. He's going to they need him defensively in this series heartless another guy who's under thirty percent from three this year Turner doesn't even pretend to shoot three's anymore. The warriors have always just never respected him at all. And have always killed him at his plus. My skin's the words that has been really ruffled hood looks like he's probably not gonna play, and you know, his defense would be a big liability anyway cancer did not really get exposed to badly. Because these teams don't run a great spread pick and roll that they winning. It's now they're going to have to do at that. And so yeah, having Katie out that the issue especially of Kerr wants to pull back on the minutes with Igwe Dala in particular, and you could see him being back at like thirty minutes a game. Now, we see more McKinney. But those guys you can play those guys who aren't that great against Portland. They have. Cases that you can hide they're not moving the ball enough that you're involving all of the guys in the defensive action. You can get away with a guy like a McKinney or a Gerard co could get some minutes and just try to space the floor bogut can play some defensively though. I think he's actually the guy who's going to be most negatively affected of his aegis can't get out on the floor at all the way, we saw even Yokich too. So they may end up having to just go a starting looney, and maybe playing Jordan bell more and going to more of a speed system defensively to take the ball out of those guys hands. But I do think in the warriors can do is gonna make the other guys beat them in a way that Denver, and even okay see did not have the capability to do. They are too smart. And they've got too many guys who are too quick that they can force the ball into the hands of the guys that they want shooting jump shots. So I mean, even with Katie out. I think the talent gap has narrowed to be sure between these teams, but I think the matchup is so in favor of. Of Golden State, even with Katya out. I think ultimately going to go with if it helps I can I knew my pickle anything whose turn is it to go. I I have no idea. Now, I'll go first I'm gonna go warriors and five I have the same thing. Boy, I I at the lead. Of course, you're just gonna pick your duck would I do. Yeah. But I think what's does. That's actually what we should have to do the I could game at the other way of just see what you did. And we'll end if you remember the time to get something eat me in the 2017 playoffs. It was because of that you were behind and so you pick Cleveland to win in the finals because that was starting two thousand sixteen plants because that was the only way you could win. And so you did it, and then they will do anything. But I did not believe in the in my heart of hearts likley was going with riots butting up front about that. Yeah. I think this is just a brutal matchup for Portland and it. So here's the question. I wanna ask you, we do the sometimes when we have when we often only pay same thing if you had to guess more likely that this is a four-game series or six games. Here's sixty Syrian. I could see maybe just the fact that Katy is out in the lockup. Maybe in the warriors in ways that we don't anticipate by also think fatigue level for Portland is going to catch up to them after another marathon game. Game. The warriors have had a lot of time off to recover. So it's it's hard for me as the Portland getting them in game one. And you know, I mean, they have to win one of the first two otherwise I obviously the series is over. We'll see when Katie gets back. He's supposed to be reevaluated. What before game to date? They had said a week. I would say I would say between games went into would be my guess reservation with gay game two is on Thursday. Yeah. So and that's a week after so you'll be rebellious Thursday. You would imagine that he's not gonna play in game two if it's one one or two Portland somehow, you know, maybe he comes back. But Cavs are not the thing. You wanna rush back from? I could see maybe the warriors because we're every other day in this series the entire way through actually because this this previous series went so long. So you could see them just holding K D out until they really get processed in the series. No reason to bring him back until then. So maybe maybe it ends up being to to at some point than Katie comes back and the worst. Does it out from there? I mean, if if Katie were healthy, I would have picked a sweep in this probably let's talk a little Lakers. They've hired a coach Frank Vogel late of the Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers new head coach of the Lakers. They able to impose their contract structure on him with a three year deal five million per year. That's pretty good. So that's not all day imposed on Frank Bronco. Jason Kidd will be the lead assistance as David regular called him kiddle finger, and I'm going to use that a lot. I mean, this is this is just treacherous. I mean, the water is just jumped up not only do you have a Windhorst in his piece made the made a really apt comparison between David Blatt who a coach that was well respected tactically around around the league, even though black head coach in the NBA the way the Frank Vogel has having a top assistant put on him who had a connection, you know, who connect with LeBron as a player, and so you you stat dynamic, but then you ramp it up with a player that we know LeBron has great affinity for a personal connection due to their team USA time and great respect for kids game that is ominous. And it is not a circumstance where the coach in waiting is the psych underrated tactical genius or going to unlock all the stuff. The coach the. The assistant coach with the with the whispers was the person that we picked we were recording at the time. The coach ranked podcast. We went one to thirty. We were recording thirty as he got fired by the Milwaukee Bucks. And you know, it's not to say that he can't be a good assistant. Although it seems like shirt the the reports of him mentoring. Lonzo ball consisted of one phone call when it was dug into a little bit more. But certainly kid played somewhat similarly to Lonzo maybe he can help him, and obviously health is huge in who they get in free agency. I mean, I think Vogel is uninformed higher. But I don't think he's like a terrible coach me he did have some foibles in that series that they lost in twenty sixteen against Toronto. Where after which he ended up getting fired. But and we'll see what kind of a relationship. He and LeBron has been LeBron presumably has some respect for him with the playoff battles against the Pacers. But this is really about vol. Hey, you're gonna impose your lead assistant, and you're gonna. Pose a three year contract that expires when lebrons. Does this is about the best coaching Vogel eight he's not like his name was coming up for other openings? So he took it. Also interesting is Phil Jackson still apparently a confidante of genius gorse the Rambus czar as well. And that Vogel is very highly recommended by Phil Jackson Ramona reported that so Phil didn't have the greatest executive tenure in New York, but he is still influencing things from his executive grave apparently. And that's not to me, a great reason to hire coach, the one reason I can think of that I've heard all of this like why that could explain this. It's not just like a terrible indictment of the Lakers organization is that maybe kirie just didn't wanna play for Tyler again and made that clear, and if they hope to lure Kyrie back to play with LeBron that tiring Tyler wasn't the way to that. There certainly were reports that carries relationship with Lou was pretty rocky towards the end of that. Seventeen run. So. Oh, crazy will Boston go if Kyrie leaves and goes to the Lakers. Yeah. I mean, there's a lot of people who kind of don't want kyri back apparently in Boston. But but. That would be just crushing. And so one thing that I found interesting because we're we're recording after there's been some talk of with everything Vogel because it happened. After the last time we recorded. I'm a little bit uncomfortable with how much the chatter has yada yada yada over his years in Orlando. And yes, it is true. That those were some misfit toys, and a you know, it was it would have been hard to get a lot out of that roster. I think that's all fair and the young guys weren't ready yet and the veterans weren't good. And I think they were significantly better coach this year under Steve Clifford than they were under Frank Vogel. And you know, some of you don't wanna give Clifford all the credit for having a career year Augustine having a big bounce back everything else, but John Isaac Isaac being healthy. But I mean when I watched the magic the last couple years offensively in particular. They were just uninspiring. And remember like we talked about pal and Isaac again, huge factor in this. How it seemed like they had more defensive talent. They were they were. The twenty second and twentieth in defense the two years. Frank Fogel was there and they had a fair youth movement this year as well. You know, they're trying to play Moba for a little bit that didn't work. He got hurt that probably helped their defensive rating. Incidentally. But that yes, I think Vogel I understand his reputation as an Xs and os coach. But that Orlando job was not inspired. No, it wasn't in KP wrote a nice piece about how Vogel's defensive succeeded. Funneling drivers into ROY Hibbert forcing a lot amid Rangers in Indiana and the Lakers as of now don't project to have that type of a rim protector on the roster. And I think really the reason in addition to just the fact that Phil Jackson and Kurt Rambis like the guy is just that. He can kinda be at adult in the room. He's been a coach before he's been to the conference finals. He at least is just, you know, he's not gonna be a total disaster. In theory. You know, the way someone who had never coached before might be in theory. He has enough gravitas that LeBron is gonna completely. Ignore him due to his record in Indiana. But yeah, I mean, not a lot going for them. And certainly I think that Vogel was someone who should have gotten a another head coaching job. One other piece of news, which is actually pretty exciting here. This is a quote from Adam silver in New York as some kind of get together where he's hobnobbing with a bunch of bigwigs and doing some sort of a Q and A and the guys like all these guys don't play games I worn out and his response was the his quotas. If legitimate resting players resulted in them being healthier in the playoffs healthier longer able to continue their career longer. I think we'd be in favor of the last issue, though, is that as the league we may need to revisit the number of games in the season. Because maybe in the modern MBA we've had eighty two game season for roughly fifty years, and maybe it's too many games on the players bodies. First time we've heard that from the Commissioner, so perhaps there is a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel on this and Kevin arnovitz that you can. Find it on YouTube did a really nice presentation at the Sloan conference discussing this issue. Obviously there's been a lot of work on it. And we have tried to add to that in saying that the season should be shortened. I wouldn't expect that it's going to be the type of thing where we get to the fifty eight games that I would like to see necessarily but even seven games off of the season. I think it could really help improve the quality of the regular season eighty. I'll talk about four go here. I do not know the order of their release. But three teams got eliminated over the last few days, and their off-season previews will be coming out at the students. That'd be the rockets the Sixers and the nuggets they're already so it's just about publication. Thanks again to the editors at the athletic for going through those. They're all they're all massive. There are like seventeen eighteen hundred words, and yeah, I'll have more I'm working on a piece about some about trading partial, guaranteed contracts because that's an interesting issue. That's come up a couple of times. And so you can look for that I'm guessing now come out on Wednesday. The right any you said this is. Always a sad day the NBC's on our last day with multiple games. But it sure was worth it. Thanks for joining us. And we'll be back. We're gonna take tomorrow off because there are no games. And we got a head start on this week's episode on Friday night. So we'll be back on Tuesday night getting some off-season previews undiscussed game. One of warriors boys in the lottery who the lottery, I did forget one piece of news bedrick Patterson as opted in to his player option for five hundred million dollars daily signed in the summer of two thousand seventeen and yeah, that's actually been kind of a disappointing contract. We actually thought that was a good one. I'm kind of said that I had to had to discuss it in when whenever a whenever a deal is signed. And it seems like it's way below value. Something we've learned with this is there's probably reasons sometimes it's off to court stuff that's ever blown. But sometimes it's an injury that that we didn't know the full severity because teams don't share that. It seems like that's what happened here. Yeah. You'll recall he had to have surgery before he ever played a game for the thunder. All right. We're done here. We will catch y'all. Tuesday night, though.

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