Ham’s Hoops Roundup April 6th – Folks, I Think The Cavs Are Fine

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Scores and ATS Results

Miami 112 – Charlotte 99   (Miami -2.5)

Toronto 105 – Detroit 102   (Push -3)

Cleveland 114 – Boston 91   (Cleveland +4)

Denver 104 – Houston 110   (Denver +7.5)

Oklahoma City 103 – Memphis 100   (Oklahoma City -2.5)

LA Lakers 102 – San Antonio 95   (San Antonio +13.5)

Golden State 120 – Phoenix 111   (Golden State -8.5)

Dallas 101 – LA Clippers 112   (LA Clippers -11)


Have A Night Lebron and the “It’s All Good” Cavaliers

Folks,,,,,, I think Lebron and the Cavs will be alright.

Good lord dude. Is there anything quite like Lebron turning into Playoff Lebron in Boston? I mean is there anything like that in sports? Maybe Game Seven Bumgarner? Maybe Super Bowl Brady? Recent history, maybe Prime Tiger on Sunday?

I guess you could make the case for each of them. But those are really just about the guy and the game. The opponent and the venue really don’t matter. And that’s what makes Playoff Lebron in Boston so special.

There’s just a weight to it. The guy. The history. The rivalry. The arena. The fact that the Boston fans always bring it when Lebron is in town, only to have their hearts ripped out as a deafening silence falls upon TD Garden some time around the middle of the third.

I mean the dude just turns into Superman. He’s already faster than everyone, and somehow becomes even that much faster. He’s already stronger than everyone, and somehow becomes even that much stronger. The court seems to shrink, and yet the space opens up. You know what it’s like to watch Playoff Boston Lebron? It’s like this is Mario Kart and Lebron just hit everyone on the parquet with a Lighting Bolt that lasts the entire game.

There are times where you think guys like Crowder and Smart can match up with Lebron to a respectable degree. Last night he made them look like children.

And yes, he does that to a lot of players. There are moments almost every game, regardless of his level of engagement that night, where Lebron makes his opponents look helpless. But outside of maybe those last three Finals games last year, it never feels more pronounced than when he has it going in Boston. He just attacks and attacks and attacks on both ends and there’s nothing the Celtics can do. And with every passing transition dunk or set-up block, those hearty, deafening boos from the crowd just fade into silence.

It’s unbelievable to watch.

Because for all of the Lebron hate — which as time goes on is really just directed at the stupid things he’ll say from time to time off the court — there’s nothing people can do during these games but sit back and mouth “wow” or “yikes” or “fuuuuuck” in stunned silence. It’s just a tip of the cap and a feeling of emptiness and a “fuck dude the T is gonna be a fuckin’ nightmare dude.”

And nowadays, probably a pick-me-up talk about how Fultz/Ball and Jaylon Brown and next years Nets pick will all be starting to peak right around the time Lebron finally starts to fall off. You know… whenever that day finally comes.

Because right now, folks, Lebron is still smack dab in the middle of his prime. Leading the league in minutes. Carrying a talented but largely apathetic Cavs team to another one seed. Posting very arguably the most impressive stat line of his career (27 a night on 54% shooting, 36% from three and 61% from two, career highs of 8.6 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game). And very comfortably knowing he can turn it on at any time he wants because he’s still the best basketball player in the world.

All while managing to balance out his place as one of the smartest and most socially conscious superstars with some of the stupidest, pettiest off court quotes and tactics you’ll ever see to the point that he comes off as an angsty teenager. The man can just do it all folks,,

As for the Cavs… and this is long enough already so I’ll save most of it for the playoff preview… but I think they’ll be fine. Like I said yesterday, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them give up a game or two this next week for the sake of rest, knowing full well that they can go into Boston and let Boston Playoff Lebron loose if they need to. And as for everyone so concerned that it looks like the Warriors would walk their way to the title this year… Locked-In Lebron still exists.


Have A Night Russell Westbrook and James Harden

Last night might’ve been the night that swung me.

I mean look… Lebron is still the best player in the world, and Kawhi is still my MVP. That shit is written in ink, with copies being passed around to anyone and everyone as soon as my secretary gets around to transcribing it. Also my secretary is my dog.

But the MVP award is going to come down to Westbrook and Harden – and we all have to pick a side. It’s not a media thing. It’s not a fan thing. It’s an everyone thing. You have to pick a side. And as much as I truly, genuinely love Scorched Earth Westbrook and everything he’s done, I’ve been pretty firmly in the Harden is above him for MVP camp.

But after last night… and really after these last three weeks or so… I might’ve swung back.

It’s not the triple doubles. I don’t care about Russ getting five extra rebounds a game because Adams, Kanter, and Gibson box out for him like the Seven Blocks of Granite. It’s not the scoring numbers. Or the assist totals. Or the usage rate. Or any of the numbers.

It’s the balance he’s struck between his role as a facilitator and his need to take over. It took a few months of learning to trust his teammates again and deciding when to unleash that fury – but I think he’s reached a good balance. And to a certain extend yes, I think his transparent attempt to chase ten assists a night plays into it. His need to get the assists out of the way early has actually led him to distribute the ball more early and, in turn, get his teammates more involved and engaged. And I think the Thunder have become a better and more dangerous team over the last month or so because of that.

And then of course, come the fourth quarter, Russ will take back over and single handedly win these games by sheer force of will as a scorer.

Last night might have been the straw that broke the camels back. I might… I think I’m ready to give Russ the MVP (that should be Kawhi’s). Russ is my (non-Kawhi) MVP.

…AAAAAAAAND then I woke up and watched Harden dismantle the Nuggets for three quarters before absolutely burying them down the stretch.

And now I’m somewhere in the middle for now. I’m not a Russ guy. I’m not a Harden guy. I’m totally split right now.

Oh and my vote is still for Kawhi.


Have A Night Steph Curry

This last month been a depressingly hilarious and hilariously depressing reminder of what the pre-Durant, pre-Blown-Finals Warriors used to be. There’ve been points over the last two weeks that I’ve found myself openly rooting for the Warriors at times. Awestruck by their shooting. Smiling at the ball movement. Cackling at outrageous sequences that only the Warriors could ever deliver… you know, like this:

And then I remember that Durant is coming back on Saturday. And that the fun will soon melt away. And that what would have been an incredible four team race between Golden State, OKC, San Antonio, and Houston this season will now just be a fun second round between San Antonio and Houston before the winner gets steamrolled by the Warriors in the Conference Finals.

But hey, like I said, we still have Locked-In Lebron


Around The Association

*OHHHHH I JUST DIED IN JR’S ARMS TONIGHT… HE MUST HAVE BEEN GIVING THE PIPE*

wait–

12 points. 19 rebounds. 9 assists. 5 steals. And now I’m really starting to wonder if Prime Rajon Rondo died and has been reincarnated as a seven foot Serbian. That line makes absolutely no sense. But hey, keep doing your think Nikola.

NIIIIIIIKOLAAAAAAAA

*Oh dear your hair’s too long you need to cut it*

K-Low back

Lowry is back just in time for the playoffs, and showed there won’t be any concerns over readjusting to him running the show come April 15th.

 

TAKEOFF

OFFSET

…Quavo?


Schedule for Thursday, April 6th

Brooklyn – Orlando   (-2.5)     7:00

Chicago – Philadelphia   (+5.5)     7:00

Milwaukee – Indiana   (-4.5)     7:00

Washington – New York   (No Line)     7:30

Boston – Atlanta   (+1.5)     8:00   TNT

Minnesota – Portland   (-5.5)     10:30   TNT



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