Ham’s Hoops Roundup May 10th – Manu Forever

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Scores and Series Updates:

Houston 107  –  San Antonio 110 [OT]   (HOU +5)
San Antonio leads 3-2… Game 6 @HOU… TNT Thursday 9:00


Washington  @  Boston   (BOS -4.5)
Series tied 2-2… Game 5 @BOS… TNT Wednesday 8:00

Cleveland eliminated Toronto 4-0

Golden State eliminated Utah 4-0


Takes, Takes, TAKES:

1)   MANU FOREVER

Manu Ginobli is entirely too old for this shit. His bald spot is so pronounced it looks like a glow in the dark yarmulke. He’s hit the floor too often, bounced off too many defenders, ran too many playoff miles in that crickety old body of his to still function at a necessary level. The NBA is a young man’s game, now more than ever.

But Manu will never die. Man is just a fucking fighter. He’ll scratch and he’ll claw. He’ll herk and he’ll jerk. He’ll hit you shots when you need shots and he’ll run the offense when the offense needs running. No Tony Parker? Cool, Manu will dictate the offense. No Kawhi Leonard? Cool, Manu will make the biggest stop of the season.

Manu has no business being here. And yet has all the business in the world. The man is a marvel. A balding, wirey, hustling, diving, flopping, crafty, savvy, creative basketball genius with the perfect amount of guile to feign an opening and allow James Harden–an offensive genius in his own right–just enough space to believe he had the shot. He out-craftied the craftiest player this side of himself. If that isn’t the most perfect Manu moment then I don’t know what is.

Manu will retire after this year and ride Euro-step off into an Argentinian sunset. But Manu will never, ever, ever die. #ManuForever


3)   James Harden? CHOKE ARTIST

I hate labeling things as a “choke job”. It’s not some grand statement or anything. I’m not trying to take a stance against Hot Take Culture, something I’m sometimes very much a part of. I just genuinely don’t think most things we label as “choking” are actually worthy of that label. There are a lot of things happening in a basketball game. There are direct forces working against you, i.e. the other basketball team. Choking is blowing an open layup. Missing a shot against great defense? Passing to an open shooter because you trust your teammates? That’s not choking.

And now with that all being said James Harden choked that game away. I hate saying it. I really, genuinely hate saying it. But there’s really no other way to put it. James Harden was awful down the stretch. Yes, Jonathan Simmons did an AWESOME job against him defensively. Yes, it’s totally understandable to be worn down that late. But honestly if James Harden makes like one or two plays in the last seven minutes of that game the Rockets are heading home up 3-2. One play, honestly. One shot in overtime. One good defensive possession on Danny Green. One drive to the basket. And he just couldn’t do anything.

I don’t want to get into the whole “is James Harden clutch?” thing right now. But there’s a mountain of evidence that, to put it lightly, does not skew in Harden’s favor. If you can name me one memorable big time clutch shot he’s hit it’ll be one more than me. And that sucks because he’s so fucking good otherwise.

3)   Everyone relax about the NBA Playoffs.

I’ll get more into this later on today but everyone just relax about the NBA Playoffs vs. the NHL and “are the Cavs and Warriors bad for basketball?” and everything else like that. Relax. Are there issues? Yes. Have the playoffs been disappointing as a whole? Yes. But the NBA is fine. Relax.


Highlights:

Sure, Kawhi. Whatever.

I think he’ll be fine come Game 6. One, there’s absolutely no way he doesn’t play through the pain. And two, he’s a robot so it actually doesn’t matter.

We’re either getting a heroic performance from hobbled Kawhi, or a game seven, or both.

I SAID HE’S GONNA BE FINE GUYS

In a night of spectacular plays… plays like that one you see right above… the play of the night might honestly have come in the form of a simple drive. It wasn’t spectacular. It wasn’t flashy. It wasn’t athletically marvelous. It was just a simple, deliberate, left handed drive from Danny Green at the most perfect of times. Dude probably hasn’t taken it to the hole like that all season. It’s been one long con. And at just the perfect moment, when all James Harden is expecting is a three or a pass, Danny Green beat him at his own game. Caught him lunging forward, timed it perfectly, and beat him to the basket for an And One. Manu’s play was spectacular, but Danny Green’s won the Spurs that game.

Ryan Anderson is a goddamn assassin

One of the more under the radar takes from this playoffs is that I think Ryan Anderson has become the new “Yup” guy. I don’t want to turn into Mike Lombardi calling guys “soda machine players” because it takes four quarters to get ’em going. I’m not gonna start trying to coin new phrases as my new thing. But a “yup” guy is, simply enough, the guy who you say “yup” every time he shoots. EVERY time Ryan Anderson lines up a three I say “yup”. Every time. I didn’t just start doing it for this bit. I never thought of it until last night. But I finally noticed that every single time Ryan Anderson has lined up a three this postseason I’ve found myself saying “yup”. Steph and Klay shared the title for a while. But at least for right now, I think Ryan Anderson wears that crown. Yup.

Harden’s ability to get guys off balance really is mystical.

Every bucket he’s getting in this series is off a switch

*doing Bane impersonations in public*


Around The Association:

This tweet just about sums up the New York Knicks. Also Knicks fans are so broken down that just the fact that they’re targeting a point guard, albeit for the wrong reasons, is encouraging enough.

In other Knicks news Draymond Green says Kristaps Porzingis is lying about being hacked with that Clippers tweet. And says Kelly Olynyk is dirty. And made fun of Jazz fans for talking too much. And a whole bunch of other wildly hypocritical things that are really just Draymond trying to get a rise out of people because he’s smart and knows it’s all hypocritical. He’s basically bulletproof while that team is winning like this and he knows it. And that’s great, good for him. But you’ll sooner find me posting my dick on Facebook than taking Draymond seriously as the moral authority of the NBA

“Listen, man. I had an episode on social media this summer and the first thing I said was that I was hacked. Then I thought about it and I said, I wasn’t hacked.

“Kristaps, I’m sorry, but no one believes you. You weren’t hacked. You’re trying to go to the Clippers.

“Kristaps, you lyin’ bro. You weren’t hacked. Maybe you was drunk, and your true feelings came out, and you tweeted your true feelings. But you weren’t hacked my man. Trust me.”

Tim Keown wrote a really good feature on Mike D’Antoni and his wife that included a sublime story and line from Corey Brewer

That would have been the best part of the story… Would have, if this picture did not also exist.

I like Charles Barkley. I love what he’s brought to the studio. I love the way he’s changed the face of sports television. I appreciate where he’s coming from a lot of the time. And I’m just gonna let that be what wraps this up.


Schedule for Wednesday, May 10th:

Washington  @  Boston   (BOS -4.5)
Series tied 2-2… Game 5 @BOS… TNT Wednesday 8:00



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