Ham’s Hoops Roundup April 18th – TAKE THAT FOR DATA

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Scores and ATS Results

Indiana 111  –  Cleveland 117   (IND +9)
Cleveland leads 2-0… Game 3 @IND… Thursday TNT 7:00

Memphis 82  –  San Antonio 96   (SA -10.5)
San Antonio leads 2-0… Game 3 @MEM… Thursday TNT 9:30

Three Big Takes


1)  Clevelands defense still stinks. And it stinks especially down the stretch.

Now look, the Cavs will be fine for now. They’ll win this series on sheer offensive willpower. Any time you’re in trouble, let LeBron play bully ball and/or Kyrie start giving guys the blues for a stretch and hope one of the half dozen shooters they employ can knock down a few from deep to create a large. Last night they got three great games from their big three. 25-10-7-4-4 from LeBron. 37 from Kyrie. 27-11 from Love. The Cavs offense was really good for a second straight game

And yet they still gave up a 16 point fourth quarter lead, needed some wild Kyrie shotmaking and some huge Tristan Thompson offensive rebounds to pull it out. Sure it might have been an easier win than I’m giving them credit for. But the fact that they had to scramble and couldn’t just run away with it says they’re still miles away form where they need to be defensively.

But yeah, their Big Three was outrageous

2)   IS KAWHI LEONARD BETTER THAN LEBRON??? No, Not yet. But he’s really fucking close.

If this is the first piece of NBA or sports content you’re consuming this morning — which is very dope, shoutout to you — then I want to prepare you for the onslaught of Kawhi Leonard #taeks that are barreling towards your phones, laptops, and TVs.

No, Kawhi Leonard is not better than LeBron. When Lebron wants to turn it on, there’s nothing like it. See: Games 5, 6, 7 of the Finals. Kawhi can play better for an extended period of time. Kawhi can play better defense. Kawhi can have the better season, which he did. Kawhi won’t, but should be the MVP. When Lebron is Peak Lebron, he’s still the best player in the world. And like we saw in Boston two weeks ago, he can turn that on any time he wants.


But damn if this didn’t look a little Lebron-esque

And damn if Kawhi ain’t getting a little closer. What a night.

3) David Fizdale… god bless David Fizdale, and god bless the Grizzlies.

I don’t even know if the Grizz got robbed, but I sure as hell believe it after that rant. Give me a good rant and I’ll stand right by your side. Give me that type of rant and I’ll ride or die forever.  God DAMN was Fizdale fired up – and with that type of discrepancy in the numbers why shouldn’t he be. That Grizz team gritted and grinded their way back in that game on the backs on Conley and Z-Bo and were probably a few free throws away from taking that game down to the wire. Sure, without Tony Allen the Grizz have no answer for Kawhi. But the Spurs don’t really have an answer for Conley or Randolph on the other end. There’s no reason they can’t hang in this series… and maybe Fizzdale’s rant combined with taking it back to the Grindhouse will get Thursday’s crew a little more on Memphis’s side.

At the very least, that third quarter run made this a somewhat interesting series. I was totally ready to hit the sack at halftime. We’ve got a long next two months ahead of us, and I need to capitalize on any opportunity I get to go to bed before midnight. I wasn’t happy when the Grizz kept hanging around and eventually cut the gap to ten to close the third.

But in retrospect, even as I sit here yawning, I’m glad I was up to appreciate that comeback. No, they didn’t finish it off. But god damn is it fun to watch this Memphis team bully their way back like that.

I don’t know how much longer we’ll have this core Grit & Grind Grizz team, but we have to appreciate them while we can. This tweet pretty much sums it up.

Stuff That Happened:

LeBron out here absolutely toying with Myles Turner. Worse blocks can happen. But few are as demoralizing as having what you thought was an easy layup sent five rows into the crowd. Turners gonna be looking over his shoulder the rest of the series.



Bad girl Rie Rie now…

Kyle Korver, best Roll Man in the biz

Fucking Lance… only Lance could do this

I’ll save an extended Paul George take for after Game 3 based on whether or not they can make things interesting. I mean don’t get me wrong, he’s been fantastic. But I do think there’s another level he can get to and I’m interested to see if he can hit it on Thursday night. We’ll check back Friday.

This was dope though.

Vince Carter, in true Grizz fashion, bullied baby-faced Kyle Anderson down the court. God bless late career Vince. You don’t want that static, Kyle.

The Beautiful Game

And that’s it for last night.

Playoff Season #YoffSzn off to a hot start. See you right back here tomorrow.

Around The Association:

Some quick injury notes:

  • Rudy Gobert won’t play in Game 2 tonight with a hyperextended knee. His status for the rest of the series is totally up in the air at this point. Maybe he’s back Friday. Maybe he’s done for the playoffs. Nobody knows yet. The good news is that Utah at least bought themselves a game without him and showed they can win without their franchise center.
  • JR Smith left last night with a hamstring injury, but initial evaluations say it’s not too serious. Realistically if I’m Cleveland I hold him out Thursday and hope to win the series without him. Can’t be Golden State, let alone the rest of the East, without a healthy JR. No need to push it.

Schedule for Tuesday, April 18th

Milwaukee  @  Toronto   (-7.5)
Milwaukee leads 1-0… Game 2 Tuesday @TOR… NBATV 7:00

Chicago  @  Boston   (-7)
Chicago leads 1-0… Game 2 Tuesday @BOS… TNT 8:00

Utah  @  Los Angeles   (-9)
Utah leads 1-0… Game 2 Tuesday @LA… TNT 10:30

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