Ham’s Hoops Roundup May 3rd – Isaiah Writes His Magnum Opus

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Scores and Series Updates:

Washington 119  –  Boston 129  [OT]   (BOS -5)
Boston leads 2-0… Game 3 @WAS… ESPN Thursday 8:00

Utah 94  –  Golden State 106   (UTH +13)
Golden State leads 1-0… Game 2 @GS… ESPN Thursday 10:30


Takes, Takes, TAKES:

1)   Isaiah Thomas has his moment.

The Boston Celtics aren’t going to win the NBA Title this year. They’re not being Golden State. They’re not beating Cleveland. They might not even beat Washington. This season will finish, and we’ll have watched a great and memorable Finals rematch. And all people will talk about is Lebron this and Warriors that and so on and so on.

And that’s great. Because the Finals are great. And that series will be the pinnacle of basketball. And Rings will always matter more in basketball than anywhere else when discussing legacies.

But let’s not let that ruin the moments we have leading up to that. Because while basketball is at it’s best in those Finals, the best part of basketball is all the things outside of that. It’s not always about RINGZ. It’s not all about who’s on the podium in June.

It’s about the Grit n Grind Grizzlies stubborn refusal to cede their turf and pushing San Antonio to the brink in the face of sure defeat. It’s about Dennis Schroeder and Paul Millsap raising their games to unexpected heights to turn the NBATV series into arguably the most exciting of the first round. It’s about the little known young bench guys like Norman Powell changing the entire face of a machup. And it’s about the wily old vets like Joe Johnson showing everyone that they’re not dead yet.

We’ll hit June, and the Cavs and Warriors will play. And Isaiah Thomas will be home on his couch just like Conley and Gasol and Schroder and Millsap and Norman and Iso goddamn Joe.

Don’t let that cloud how special last night was. Don’t sit there and say “it’s about Ringz” or “what does it even matter, they still can’t be LeBron”. Don’t be that fucking guy.

Because last night meant something. Fifty three… in the playoffs… in the Boston Garden… against another top tier guy having a top tier night like Wall… that means something. That was special. That doesn’t just happen. That was a night that shook up the league… shook up the sport in ways we’ll see far down the road. That was a moment. A moment that not just the city of Boston will remember… but that the league will. And no matter how this season ends, that moment will always mean something. That was a legendary performance, and that’s all without mentioning the personal adversity Isaiah has had to deal with.

We’re never going to appreciate nights like last night as much as we should. Ringz Culture doesn’t allow for it. And when this season is all said and done, maybe you just toss this game in a box with everything else that was just bullshit leading up to Cavs-Warriors Part III. Fine, I get that. But don’t forget about that box. All that bullshit was special once, even if there’s no use for it now.

 

Goddammit it’s impossible not to love this guy.


2)   Wall and Beal missed out on a moment.

Whether it be Wall, capping off a forty point night on the road in Boston. Or Beal, the beneficiary of getting to the right spot, redeeming a thoroughly underwhelming night. That last possession was there… it was right fucking there. With one shot,Beal could’ve really, really earned a reputation as a stone cold killer and set the tone for the entire series. Or Wall… man he could’ve really, really jumped into that next tier of NBA stars. Dude was on track for a legendary night.

But at the end they both came up up woefully short. And the worst part is that they knew it.

Those two were shook in overtime. Shoooooook. Shook in a way I’ve never seen from those two, especially in the playoffs. They knew how big that moment was for them. They knew what each of their shots would have meant. And I don’t think they could put that behind them in Overtime. Isaiah is coming down on one end putting on a show for the ages, and Wall and Beal are just hucking up shots hoping the right one will turn the tide in their favor. It never happened, and it looked every bit as ugly on TV as I’m sure it felt for them in that moment.

Luckily they’re now on their way back to D.C. They’ll have their home crowd and I’m sure will come out with as much if not more energy than they’ve had the last two games.

But that was a moment. That was a very, very real moment place in front of each of them. They blew it, and they showed us all how much that affected them. I just hope that doesn’t weigh them down from here on out.

 


3)   The Utah Jazz really didn’t play that bad.

All in all that was a good game from Utah. They scored at a respectable rate. They created some problems defensively. They got nice contributions from their bench. They kept it close. They even won the third quarter – a nearly impossible task against these Warriors. And they did all that despite a bad game from Gordon Hayward and an underwhelming game from Rudy Gobert.

And yet every time it seemed like they were getting close, Golden State pulled back away. Utah stopped Golden State from really blowing their doors off until the fourth. And yet every time it felt like the Warriors needed a string of baskets, they got them.

Utah is not dead. Heyward will turn it around. Gobert will hopefully get healthier. And if some bounces go their way there’s no reason the next however many games can’t be competitive. But unless they can find a way to either prevent or balance out those runs from Golden State, they’re not going to win a game.

 


4)   Draymond is EVERYWHERE defensively.

His ability to switch… no just his ability to switch onto anyone… but even moreso his ability to time every switch so perfectly. He sees everything before it happens. Everything. It’s unlike anyone I’ve ever seen.

Oh and he’s also now 13/24 from three in the playoffs. Unreal.


Highlights:

Need more Kelly Olynyk celebrations. Need all of the Kelly Olynyk celebrations.

Folks i haven’t seen Curry destroy a French creation like that since i tried a new Indian place and thought my bidet was the toilet again.

Sorry.

When you eat popcorn and can’t get that ONE. GODDAMN. KERNEL. out of your teeth

Still convinced that could have been Marcus Morris out there. Markieff’s ankle healed pretty, pretty, pretty quickly, huh? HUH?

Literally this could be either Morris.

Marcus Smart has no business making this shot

Javale is Javale. Now and forever.

The Jazz are totally different team when Rodney Hood is on. The only way they can remotely score with Golden State is if they have another guy on the wing getting buckets. And right now they’re so desperate for one that Hood’s 12 points felt like 25 last night.


Jazz not getting blow out is… well that’s encouraging, right? They at least kept it respectable and hung within 15 in the third. Cut it to single digits and only trailed by 11. Even won the third quarter 27-26. That’s something… right?

Ernie your thou– oh okay.


Schedule for Wednesday, May 3rd:

Toronto  @  Cleveland   (CLE -7.5)
Cleveland leads 1-0… Game 2 @CLE… TNT Wednesday 7:00

Houston  @  San Antonio   (SA -5.5)
Houston leads 1-0… Game 2 @SA… TNT Wednesday 9:30



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