Ham’s Hoops Roundup April 19th – Playoff Rondo Has His Old Celtics Team In An Absolute Panic

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Scores and Series Updates:

Milwaukee 100  –  Toronto 106   (MIL +8)
Series tied 1-1… Game 3 Thursday @MIL… NBATV 8:00

Chicago 111  –  Boston 97   (CHI +7.5)
Chicago leads 2-0… Game 3 Friday @CHI… ESPN 7:00

Utah 91  –  Los Angeles 99   (UTH +9)
Series 1-0… Game 3 Friday @UTH… ESPN 9:30


Three Big Takeaways:

The TNT Bulls live on.

The only thing more ridiculous than this TNT Bulls thing is Playoff Rondo. Nobody switches back and forth quicker or more drastically than Playoff Rondo. On any given mid-winter night you’re getting a brooding, disengaged, assist-padding weirdo who lags on defense and can’t hit a jumper to save his life. But the second we hit April and May you get a locked-in mini version of Magic Johnson who can see things on the court four plays before they happen.

Fine, that’s an aggressive comp. But the guy is fucking remarkable come playoff season. Aggressive, engaged, galvanizing. Once that switch is flipped Rajon Rondo becomes a different human being. A human being who once almost single-handedly beat peak Lebron and Wade in their Miami prime. And if he remains that guy throughout this series, I don’t know how Boston stands a chance.

Now… yes… I’d say it’s pretty fair to call this panic time for the Boston Celtics. Dropping two at home to the eight seed is not ideal. But if you’re a Celtics fan it’s not over yet. You know the old saying – series doesn’t start until you drop one to the TNT Bulls on ESPN. And guess who’s broadcasting Game 3 this Friday.


2 )   Kyle Lowry is Back

And that’s huge news for a Raptors team that needs to take advantage of every mismatch they can against this freakishly long and athletic Bucks team. Milwaukee can only throw Malcolm Brogdon on one of DeMar or Kyle, and if Kyle is back to pre-injury, borderline All-NBA Kyle Lowry that’s a problem for Milwaukee.

These two get the NBATV treatment again on Thursday, which really sucks. This is as entertaining a matchup as there is in the playoffs with three guys in Giannis, DeMar, and Lowry all capable of playing at a sustained All-NBA level. Here’s hoping Cleveland blows the doors off Indy to start the game Thursday so we can focus on this.

Oh and speaking of Giannis… Playoff Giannis is here to stay. And Playoff Giannis at home is gonna be something to behold.


3)   Things seem to be much easier without Rudy Gobert in the lane.

Without Gobert in there to protect the rim, the Clippers feasted. And now that LA has adjusted to it, I don’t know if Utah has enough offensive firepower to hang with that offense. The Clippers offense works best when they can get in the paint an operate. CP3 running the PNR with DeAndre, Blake getting in there and using his up and under game and interior passing ability. You remove Gobert and suddenly that all opens up in a very big way.

End of the third quarter they went on a little run that made you wonder how this team never actually figured it all out

Yet for as bad as they played, Utah was still very very close until the very very end. Hit a few more shots and suddenly we’re talking about another game down to the wire.

A loss is never good but at the end of the day you have to recognize you were lucky to split there in LA. You swallow the loss, make some offensive adjustments, go back to Utah with home court advantage in the series, try to split at home, and hope to get Gobert — even a mildly healthy Gobert if only as a threat/decoy — back by game five.


Stuff That Happened:

Wade on Rondo: Hated him

This big three still makes no sense. They don’t fit together stylistically they don’t fit together as dominant personalities. And yet here we are… on the verge of them sweeping the number one seed as a team that needed all 82 games just to make the playoffs.

A bad number one seed, yes. A number one seed that at their best might really only be the fourth best team in the conference. A number one seed who’s leader and offensive catalyst is in midst of dealing with something so tragic and heartbreaking that it transcends this series. But a one seed nonetheless. A one seed with a deep rotation and a great coach and veteran players who should not be down 0-2 with home court advantage.

I guess it goes to show what happens when you have the best player in a series. When it comes down to crunch time in a series, the best player tends to win out. And after these last two games, it’s not insane to say Chicago might have the best three.

Yup, K-Loe is definitely back

DeMar’s bad shot making ability still absolutely amazes me.

YEET

But Thon recovered… and has lowkey been really really good in the first two games this series

Luc Mbah a Moute was awesome. Defended the ell out of Hayward

Boris is still a goddamn magician

Marcus Smart? More like Marcus that wasn’t a good PR decision to flip off a fan when you’re down 0-2 and can’t hit a shot to save your life.

I’m sorry, I hate myself

 

When you nu– you know what, that’s enough for today.


Around The Association:

  • Melo allegendy cheated on La La with a stripper dancer who is now pregnant. I wrote about it twice yesterday.

Melo Allegedly Knocked Up A Stripper #Pu77outGameWeak #StayMe7o

Rudy Giuliani Comes To Melo’s Defense For Cheating On La La… Wait What?


  • How about Pat Riley claiming the Heat don’t rest guys. Hey, sure thing Pat. So we’re just going to ignore that you say Dwyane Wade every third game for the last few years or did we all just imagine that? Yeah, didn’t think so.

 

 

 

 


Schedule for Wednesday, April 17th:

Atlanta  @  Washington   (WAS -5.5)
Washington leads 1-0… Game 2 Wednesday @WAS… NBATV 7:00


Portland  @  Golden State   (GS -14)
Golden State leads 1-0… Game 2 Wednesday @GS… TNT 8:00


Oklahoma City  @  Houston   (HOU -7.5)
Houston leads 1-0… Game 2 Wednesday @HOU… TNT 10:30



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