Ham’s Hoops Roundup April 20th – See What I Gotta Deal With?

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Scores and Series Updates:

Atlanta 101  –  Washington 109   (WAS -5.5)
Washington leads 2-0… Game 3 Saturday @ATL… TNT 5:30

Oklahoma City 111  –  Houston 115   (OKC +7.5)
Houston leads 2-0… Game 3 Friday @OKC… ESPN 9:30

Portland 81  –  Golden State 110   (GS -14)
Golden State leads 2-0… Game 3 Saturday @POR… ESPN 10:30

Three Big Takeaways:

Russ Recorded the biggest scoring triple double in NBA Playoff history…

…and didn’t give one single fuck about it

This series might honestly be over by Sunday. There’s just no way for OKC to score with Houston right now. No non-Westbrook player has confidence creating his own shot except Kanter. Except Kanter can’t play because Houston is eating him alive in the pick-and-roll.

Unless Victor Oladipo turns into Bradley Beal overnight, there’s just no answer there for the Thunder. And while I don’t want to make this a whole thing about Russ and having the ball too much and stat chasing and yada yada yada, it probably would have been a good idea to give other guys besides Russ some reps as the creator down the stretch in the regular season. Yeah Russ got his shots and Russ got his stats and I’m not even necessarily holding that against him or against Billy Donovan. But when you can’t take a guy out for two minutes in the playoffs without your whole team falling apart, that means you probably should have gotten some other guys some lead-playmaker experience during the season.

Also, James Harden is a savant


2)   John Wall is so much goddamn fun

I’ll hold my hand up here… I never thought this Wizards team would make it. I didn’t think Wall was a number one guy. I didn’t think Beal would ever stay healthy. I didn’t think they’d find the right pieces. I just never saw the Wizards as a serious contender.

God damn was I wrong, and GOD DAMN was I wrong about John Wall.

“Fuck is wrong with you boy”

Dude is out giving Dennis Schroeder the BUSINESS and letting him know. Who says the NBA is all buddy buddy now*? These dudes absolutely HATE each other and god damn is it fun to watch.

Right now it’s not a stretch to say Washington is playing as well as anyone in the East. Wall and Beal are cooking, but it’s more that that.

Markieff Morris is locked in defensively against Millsap in a matchup that has to give Wiz fans some hope for down the road these playoffs. Gortat has looked extremely solid. Porter and Oubre are giving them quality minutes defensively, despite not heating up from deep. And Brandon Jennings… yes, Brandon fucking Jennings… just absolutely took the game over to start the fourth quarter.

Brandon Jennings may be a wildly flawed basketball player, but that dude has a real sense of the moment. We’ve lived without Playoff Brandon Jennings for too long. That stretch last night was fun as hell.

*I maintain that this is the stupidest take in sports. AAU has done a lot to damage the NBA – but these guys being friends off the court from a young age has done significantly more to help the NBA than harm it. Their friendship breeds competitiveness. Nobody is trying less against their friends. Think about how stupid of a take that is. And sure, you’re less likely to see a clothesline or a trip or a dirty ass play like in the nineties when everyone hated each other. But the one-upsmanship (that’s a word right?) that comes from playing against a good off-court friend who’s game you know very well is a much more entertaining product than the half-basketball half-rugby product of the nineties that oh by the way also had a lot to do with everyone being awful at defense.

3)   You know what’s been a good indicator of how deep and well stocked the league’s superstar talent pool is? The two best series of this playoffs have been the two NBATV series. Seriously, Atlanta-Washington and Toronto-Milwaukee have been hands down the most entertaining and interesting series of the playoffs. And that’s due in large part to the talent on display. You have six All Star caliber/extremely entertaining players in this series. Giannis, Wall, Beal, Lowry, DeRozan, Millsap.

Yes, even Paul Millsap. Dude has been bringing it.

Stuff That Happened:

The Warriors are just embarrassing the Blazers on both ends of the floor. It’s barely even worth talking about the series. No Durant and the Warriors still wiped the floor with them. It really does feel like no matter what you throw at the Warriors, they’re able to see it, adjust, and flip your plan on it’s head within a quarter.

This sequence? This sequence basically sums up the entire series. Hey Dame… STOP. TRYING. TO. DUNK. ON. THIS. TEAM.

Also when JaVale McGee is out here putting up flawless stat lines you might as well just pack it in.

Paul Millsap really took that MMA stuff to heart and kicked the game off by treating it like an NFL game.


Spin Moves are back


Around The Association:

How did Dion Waiters get so much better this season? He worked out, and he truthed the process #TruthTheProcess #Truth



Schedule for Thursday, April 20th:

Cleveland  @  Indiana  (CLE -2)
Cleveland leads 2-0… Game 3 Thursday @IND… TNT 7:00

Toronto  @  Milwaukee   (MIL -1.5)
Series tied 1-1… Game 3 Thursday @MIL… NBATV 8:00

San Antonio  @  Memphis   (SA -3.5) 
San Antonio leads 2-0… Game 4 Thursday @MEM… TNT 9:30


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