NBA MVP: The Closest Race in Years

I couldn’t have said it any better.
I’ve been meaning to write an article about the MVP race. And go in depth about the awesome seasons by Stephen Curry, James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

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Chris Mannix from Sports Illustrated opined:  James Harden (Rockets).This was, in a word, excruciating. I have no issue with a vote cast for Stephen Curry. He’s the best player on the best team, and he’s the most impressive off-the-dribble player I’ve seen since Kobe Bryant was in his prime. At times, Warriors games look like a video game, with Curry toggled to All-Star and everyone else playing on rookie. He’s great. But this season, Harden was just a hair better. Houston’s injury woes put the kind of pressure on Harden that Curry wasn’t forced to face, and Harden delivered. He scored, rebounded and assisted, all while teams drew up entire game plans based on stopping him. Am I unfairly penalizing Curry for Golden State’s good health and wire-to-wire dominance? Maybe. But Harden’s ability to elevate Houston over adversity really resonated. Runners-up: Stephen Curry (Warriors), Russell Westbrook (Thunder), LeBron James (Cavaliers), Anthony Davis 

But the guys at Grantland said almost everything I could have tried to say.
And everything I couldn’t put in ink.
And even the ideas jumbled in my head that I couldn’t clearly extrapolate were brought to life better than I could have dared/ hoped/ attempted.
The key paragraph:”Curry and the loaded Warriors have been incredible at the top of the West, but Harden dragging this Rockets team to second place is more impressive. I don’t understand how anyone can pretend otherwise. It’s one thing to accept that Steph Curry will win MVP. But we all know Harden deserves it, right?”

James Harden is the MVP

Here ya go:

http://grantland.com/the-triangle/listen-to-your-heart-james-harden-is-the-mvp/

Hoops!

The 2015 MVP Race

To us at Hoops, basketball is beyond EXCITING.

And this year’s MVP race with 4 easily identifiable front runners is Unmistakably INTENSE.

RussellMasked
Russell Westbrook is putting up triple doubles almost every night. King James is leading and trying to take the Cavs to what would be his personal 5th consecutive trip to the NBA finals. James Harden is crucial to the Rockets success and last but not least Steph Curry is the best player on the best team in the league.

Sunday, March 1st, 2015
The NBA got all the ratings they could have dreamed about in a thrilling nationally televised feature on Sunday afternoon pitting MVP candidates James Harden of the Houston Rockets vs Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The game went down to the wire and eventually went into overtime. LBJ went 3-11 on free throws and missed 7 of his final 8.
Rockets won 105-103 over the Cleveland Cavaliers thrusting James Harden into the forefront of the MVP conversation.

LeBron James scored 37 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks, 3 steals and 4 turnovers.
James Harden’s scored 33 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, 3 steals and 5 turnovers.

HardenvsLebron
LeBron went 15-35 from the field.
Harden shot 8 for 18.

37 points on 35 shots vs 33 points on 18 shots.
Much more efficient game for Harden.

When was the last time LeBron took 35 shots?
Has LeBron ever attempted double digit 3-point field goals? He had 12 on Sunday.One thing is clear, Lebron cares about winning his 5th MVP trophy. When going up against anyone in the MVP conversation, he is visibly motivated to declare his supremacy.LeBron made a big statement last week when he defeated Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors. LBJ scored a season high 42 points and the Cavs contained both Steph and Klay in dominant fashion en route to a 110-99 loss holding the “splashless” Warriors to 11 points below their season average.
No Such statement against the Rockets.
Who is your MVP?
According to the Houston Rockets official site: crown him Now.
KingJamesHarden

NBA Season Preview: 2014-2015 Season

A year ago we at HooPs, excited to start the 2013-2014 season previewed and highlighted last year’s season with excitement on the following:
- the Battle in the Western Conference
- Weighed on the chances of the Heat three-peat
- Return of Derrick Rose
- And the draft class of the summer of 2014

Some things haven’t changed and some have.

The West is conceivably just as deep as it was a year ago. There are 7 or 8 teams that have championship aspirations. There may be as many as 12 Western teams that could make the playoffs if they were in the Eastern conference.

Derrick Rose is set to return “AGAIN”. Wish him a healthy season.

The Heat failed to three-peat while The Spurs hoist their 5th championship of the Duncan era. Now on to the 2014-2015 season.

SpursBig3

New Faces in New Places
Jeremy Lin in Los Angeles. Chandler Parsons in Dallas. Trevor Ariza in Houston. Jason Terry in Houston. LeBron JAMES BACK IN CLEVELAND! Chris Bosh stays in Miami. Pao Gasol in Chicago. Luol Deng in Miami. Kevin Love in CLEVELAND. Lance Stephenson to Charlotte. Melo stays in New York. Who else of importance? Paul Pierce to the Wizards. And the Spurs still have their big 3 and the best coach in the league. Favorites? Yes!

How the West was Won
The West is better than ever. We say that every year but chew on this. The top 3 teams in the West in no particular order are Spurs, Thunder and Clippers. The next 3 are Warriors, Blazers and Grizzlies again in no particular order. Only 2 of these 6 teams will make the playoffs: Rockets, Mavericks, Suns, Kings and Nuggets and Timberwolves.
It’s possible that 10 teams in the West will have winning records. To get into the playoffs may require 50 wins this season in the loaded West!
(Last year, Dallas won 49 games as the 8th seed)

Opening Night: October 28, 2014
Three games slated for Tuesday, 10/28/2014
Magic vs Pelicans
and then 2 games on TNT. First the Mavericks visit the Spurs for a Texas showdown and then the Rockets visit the Lakers in the late night game.
In game 2, Kobe Bryant plays against Dwight Howard and Jeremy Lin plays against his former team.

Championship Contenders

EastNewLookCavs

Cleveland. Any team with LeBron James, who is widely regarded as the best player on the planet, is an instant title contender. Now add Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, Shawn Marion, Mike Miller, Dion Waiters, Anderson Varejao and James Jones. First you had my interest, now you have my attention! (Django Unchained)

Chicago. Adding Paul Gasol to a healthy Derek Rose, Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Kirk Hinrich AND a tenacious Tom Thibodeau defensive system will be a welcome nemesis to Cleveland’s supremacy.

All other eastern conference teams are playing for third place with Raptors and Wizards likely to round out the top 4.

West-
Spurs – Embark on their first “successful” title defense.
Clippers and Chris Paul – Hope to get to CP3′s first ever Conference Finals.
Thunder – Plan to weather the storm till reigning MVP Kevin Durant returns.
Warriors, Mavericks, Rockets and Grizzlies – Wish to join the elite of the West and make deep playoff runs.

LoveThisGame

Let’s get it Started!
Welcome to the 2014-2015 NBA season.
May the best team win!

HooPs

Playoffs Start Today! Its the most wonderful time of the Year!

4 games today.

4 games tomorrow on Sunday.

8 playoff matchups in 48 hours. It’s like Christmas at HoopsReportCard!
This is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Presents1

Time to open the best present of all, the most exciting first round matchup this postseason – the battle between the #3 seed in the West and the #6 seed in the West. The LA Clippers vs the Golden State Warriors!

You can get playoff previews from any and every site out there, so lets not breakdown matchups and coaching strategies and bench production and 3 point shooting.
LET’s enjoy TOGETHER the greatness of Chris Paul.
The sharp shooting of Steph Curry (and Klay Thompson).
The emergence of Blake Griffin.
The absence of Andre Bogut.
The insertion of Jermaine O’Neal.
The defense of De’Andre Jordan.
Let’s.
Starting today at 12:30pm PST!

News and Notes:

BROOKLYN: the Nets started the season 10-31 and many called for first year coach Jason Kidd’s head. What say they now that the Nets will be the first time since The Kings in 1986 to make the playoffs after being over 10 games below .500 at December 31st.

FIRST YEAR COACHES:
Jeff Hornacek, Phoenix Suns
Steve Clifford, Bobcats
Jason Kidd, Brooklyn Nets
Dave Joerger, Memphis
All 4 with winning records in their first year. Can we hear a Round of Applause cough cough — Waka Flocka Flame

San Antonio: another 60 win season. that’s 4 (four) for Gregg Popovich. They have the number one overall seed. 15 straight seasons with 50+ wins. From the days of the Admiral to today with Tim Duncan, the Spurs have enjoyed the consistent on court and front office leadership in the NBA in this era.

WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF RACE:
Dallas & Memphis get the last 2 seeds in the West at the expense of Phoenix who had an awesome season.

Who are you watching?

Brooklyn Nets vs Toronto Raptors

Washington Wizards vs Chicago Bulls

Memphis Grizzles vs Oklahoma City!

Miami Heat vs ANYBODY/NOBODY?

 

 

enjoy them all!

Hoops

Daylight Savings Sunday 3/9/2014

Let’s call today “on par Sunday”. There are three teams in the NBA that are tied with the best record in the league (46-16, 46 wins and 16 losses)

standings3.9.2014

Indiana, San Antonio and OKC.
And within 4 games of them are Miami, Houston, LA Clippers, and Portland.

That’s 7 teams with a reasonably legitimate shot at the top overall seed in the 2014 playoffs.
Exciting times.
There are over a half dozen teams that are an improvement or two away from title contention. With the likes of Golden State and Memphis. There are a lot of bottom feeders as well as youth and potential in teams like the Sacramento Kings and the New Orleans Pelicans.

Nationally televised games today, Sunday:

Miami Heat at the Chicago Bulls
OKC Thunder visiting the Los Angeles Lakers

Miami is coming off back to back Texas losses (at Houston and at San Antonio) and now head into a post-daylight-savings time matchup with Chicago.
Chicago’s motivation is to continue its stellar play and hand Miami its first 3 game losing streak of the Season.
Remember last year? Chicago snapped Miami’s historic 27 game win streak. Chicago boasts the NBA 2nd best defense, one that allows only 92.2 points per game.

A game that should see plenty of offense will be today’s encounter between the Lakers and the Thunder. Los Angeles has allowed 132, 142 against the Clippers and 134 points against the Nuggets in consecutive games. All three of those games were regulation games (no overtime). Will the Thunder score 150 today? Can the Lakers avoid giving up 130 points in 4 consecutive games to avoid more franchise “history” woes? Tune in today at 1230pm PST to find out.

Also today, a western conference showdown between the streaking Rockets and the Portland Trailblazers.
Flashing lights!
Lights lights lights
Feeling like Katrina with no FEMA
LIKE Martin with no Gina
Like a flight with no VISA
OK let me stop before someone signs me.

Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Wes Matthews, Nicolas Batum.
James Harden, Dwight Howard, Chandler Parsons, Terrence Jones.

HOUvsPOR

Houston is coming off impressive wins vs Miami and Indiana. Portland lost a heart-breaker on Friday night in Dallas after battling back from a 30 point deficit. Both teams will be focused and ready. There is a lot on the line. With a win Houston would hold the tiebreaker and get a 2 game lead on Portland. With a win, Portland would tie the season series 2-2, tie Houston in the standings and snap Houston’s 4 game winning streak.

Next feature, can the Knicks make the postseason? Carmelo Anthony has never missed the playoffs in his career. The Knicks are 3.5 games behind 8th place Atlanta in the East.

Tweet @HoopsReportCard with the following:
Will the Knicks make the playoffs? And why?

Happy Sunday
HooPs

Measuring Stick

GeorgevsHarden
I’m excited about tonight.

I love games that pit a great offense against a great defense. Or an elite defender vs a talented scorer. Why? Because I want to see what gives. Who will impose their will? What style will result?

The Rockets have one of the best offenses in the NBA and are undefeated at home against the Eastern Conference this season (including a recent win against the Miami Heat this week).
The Pacers have the best defense in the league and lead the NBA by allowing only 91.6 points per game.

Set the stage:
Pacers have lost 2 straight games. They are coming off back to back road losses against the Warriors and the Bobcats. They have not lost 3 in a row this season. Paul George has been roasted by the media recently for scoring only 2 points against the Charlotte Bobcats in his last game AND for his desire to be mentored by LeBron James.

The Rockets are the hottest team in 2014. They are sporting the NBA’s best record in 2014.
Both teams will be extremely motivated to put their best effort on the floor tonight.

For those that love a battle in the trenches, 2 Of the best big men in the game will go against each other. Dwight Howard vs Roy Hibbert.
DHvsRH

James Harden vs Paul George
Paul George has gotten the best of this matchup lately. Since joining the Rockets, Harden has averaged less than 17 points per game against Indiana while shooting only 24% from the field. Ouch!

Terrence Jones vs the savvy vet David West

Also keep your eye on Indiana’s bench featuring Evan Turner and Luis Scola.

With the Miami Heat in hot pursuit, the Pacers need a win to stay in first place in the East. And they also play the Dallas Mavericks on the road on Sunday. The Rockets have 21 games remaining. The Pacers also have 21 left.
standings

tonight’s matchup is on national TV tonight on ESPN.
big stage.
Bright Lights. Flashing lights.
Who has the Heart of a Champion?

Let’s see which stars shine.

In other news, the Spurs dominate the Heat at home 111-78 last night. Clippers also rout the Lakers in historic fashion.

- HooPs
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3 Days into The Season, 11/1/2013

Three days into the NBA regular-season.

19 games have been played.

A couple teams have played two games.

Most have only played one.

What have we learned?

On opening night, we learned that the Miami Heat won’t relinquish their crown too easily.  After their ring ceremony they triumphed over the Chicago Bulls in Derek Rose’s return.

Also on opening night, the Lakers surprised the Clippers and the entire league by winning 116–103. The Lakers bench put up a statistical anomaly in 76 points with newcomers Xavier Henry, returnee Jordan Farmar and Nick Young shining.

 

On NBA night #2, Wednesday night, 28 teams were in action with the following notables:

  • Dwight’s 1st game in a Rockets uniform produced 17 points in a career-high tying 26 rebounds as the Rockets defeat the Charlotte Bobcats.
  • Mavericks win their first game of the season over the Hawks
  • Kevin Durant puts up 42 points in a thunder win over the home team Utah Jazz
  • Cleveland surprises the newly rebuilt  Nets and ruin Jason kids coaching debut. Kyrie
  • Kings beat the Nuggets at home by 2 points behind Demarcus Cousins’ 30 points.
  • The Warriors bring the Lakers back to reality with a 125-94 home win. It was a rout from the start with Klay Thompspn scoring a career-high 38 points by shooting 15 of 19 overall field goals and 5 of 7 on three pointers.
  • Suns beat the Blazers at home to overcome a big game from Damian Lillard.
  • Pistons defeated the Wizards.
  • Pacers squeaked by the Pelicans.

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  • And last but definitely not the least, rookie Michael Carter–Williams leading the Philadelphia 76ers in a four-point defeat over the defending champion Miami Heat. As the world knows, he brook several rookie and NBA records by scoring 22 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds and 9 steals!!  ”What better way to start your NBA career” remarked LeBron James. I agree. He received praise from many and the likes of Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant. Even I sent him a tweet! Waiting for the HoopsReportCard mention but I digress.

Its early but a few teams expected to miss the playoffs that posted huge wins – Kings over the Warriors in a huge home opener.  Cavs and Kyrie Irving beat the new-look Nets. The Suns beat the Blazers.

 

Last night featured only 2 games. The Knicks visiting the Bulls and the Clippers hosting the Golden State Warriors. The skinny? Knicks lose by 1 point.  And the Clippers bounce back in a real way again the Warriors putting up 126 points to win by 9 led by Chris Paul’s 42 points, 15 assists and 4 blocks.

 

At the conclusion of this weekend there will be winning streaks, losing steaks and division leaders. Yes! Already! Basketball is back!

Tonight there are 13 more games. The national spotlight is on the  Spurs at the Lakers on ESPN.

ENJOY!

We definitely will

-Hoops (@HoopsReportCard)

NBA Season Preview: Hoops Edition 2013-2014 Season

A new NBA season begins in a matter of days. A time for 30 teams to have unbridled optimism of what could be for the coming year, I time to realize the strength of your poker hand and/or for others – or a time to tank early for the coveted draft piece.

NBA2014

 

A few things to watch for this season:

1. New Orleans pelicans youth  movements:

pelicans

Potential starting lineup of Drew holiday, Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, and Anthony Davis. Let’s not forget about sharpshooter Ryan Anderson. The Pelicans had the 2nd best record this preseason.  Yes 7-1.  They won their first 6 games, lost 1 and then finished off preseason with a win. We will definitely see an exciting young team with tons of upside.  Can they get the 8th seed in the west?

 

2. The return of rookie of the year Damian Lillard:

Lillard spent time working on game. More specifically, his goal was to focus on his defense and being mentored by none other than Gary Payton “The Glove”. The Blazers have some nice pickups in McCollum, Thomas Robinson, Robin Lopez and company.

 

3. John Wall and the Washington Wizards:

Over the weekend, the Wizards traded Emeka Okafor for Marcin Gortat.  This gives the Wiz an exciting combination of Nene & Gortat with John Wall & Bradley Beal.

 

4.  Andrew Bynum and the circus in Cleveland. Return of coach Mike Brown. Cleveland’s season will hinge on their commitment to defense and the health, focus and motivation of Andrew Bynum (just as Philadelphia’s season hung on Bynum’s shoulders last season).

 

5. Dwight Howard Saga:

Howard joins forces with James Harden, Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons.  And a solid bench of Francisco Garcia, Patrick Beverly and Omri Casspi.  Francisco a sniper. Deadly from 3 point range. Patrick Beverly whom most in the league know as the player that put Russell Westbrook out of the playoffs, is a pest on defense and solid 3 point shooter. And Omri Casspi, the first Israeli-born player in the NBA was trying to make the team prior to the preseason but shot above 54% in the preseason (most of which were 3-pointers) has seemed to earn his minutes.

Does Asik stay or go?  The Rockets will be the subject of trade rumors for most of the coming season due to Asik being highly coveted for his size and defensive ability.  Chris Bosh or Ryan Anderson or even Jeff Green have all been mentioned in rumors.

The Rockets strategy is no secret – surround Dwight Howard with capable shooters to keep defenses honest and subject the opposition to a healthy dose of pick-and-roll with Harden and Lin.

 

6. Championship or bust for the Brooklyn Nets:

- New coach Jason Kidd

- deep pockets owner Prokhorov

- KG, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry additions

- Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez return

With senior citizens on any squad, health is the biggest concern.  This team looks outstanding on paper as long as it includes healthy versions of KG, Pierce and Williams.  Can they challenge the Heat for the East crown?

 

7. Derrick Rose Returns!!

D. Rose looked explosive in the preseason.  He attacked the rim, hit the jumper and helped the Bulls become the only undefeated team in the preseason (8-0). How will the Bulls fare in the East.  They play tough every night.  Much props to Thibodeau for the defensive resiliency on each night.  However, prior to the season starting, I’d have to rank the Bulls in 4th place in the East after the Heat, Pacers, Nets.  Maybe even #5 after the Knicks.

 

8. Can the Heat three-peat?

The Heat are vying for 4 consecutive finals appearances this season.  They are coming off back to back titles and the 2nd longest winning streak in NBA history (27 consecutive wins) last seasons.  They have added Greg Oden, lost Mike Miller and have Ray Allen coming back.  Can they stay healthy and defend their title? Will LeBron win his 5th MVP award? Will Dwayne Wade return to his 2006/2007 self?  Will Greg Oden still be on the court come playoff time? Can the Heat stay focused through 82 long games and still be motivated prior to the playoffs? Or Should we just give them the 3peat like last year?

 

9. Opening Night October 29th

There are two games slated for opening nights but let’s discuss the most exciting to: number one the Battle of LA pits the Lakers versus the Clippers and Number 2 the Miami Heat versus the Chicago Bulls – fireworks!

10. Exhilarating battle Out West

It is a weeping and moaning and a gnashing of teeth is evidently a reference to the struggles and warfare to gain supremacy in the Western Conference. In the previous 4 seasons, 4 different teams have won the Western Conference crown.  This year could see a 5 consecutive “different” team win the West.  With upstarts like the Clippers, Rockets, Warriors and Grizzlies all sporting deep teams.  And let’s not forget perennial favorites in the Spurs and Thunder.

It goes without saying, the west is a powerhouse.  6 or 7 teams in the West will be very solid teams.  Making the playoffs won’t be easy.  In fact, 4 out of the following 6 teams WILL miss the playoffs:  Pelicans, Mavericks, Blazers, Lakers, Nuggets and Timberwolves.

In closing, HoopsReportCard made our contributions and were featured in ESPN’s #NBARank

 

 

Finally, and lest we forget.  VINO!  Will Kobe Bryant return to his top-5-player form?  Will he lead the Lakers to the playoffs?

That and many more questions, will begin to be answered starting ToNight!!

Hoops (@HoopsReportCard)

Finally! The NBA Finals! June 6th, 2013

 

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On March 19 this year, we prematurely “coronated” the Miami Heat as champions. We were unaware that their eventual foe would be a formidable, fearless, battle-tested, veteran team – The San Antonio Spurs.  The first round injury to Russell Westbrook effectively eliminated the Oklahoma City Thunder which had the best record in the West during the regular season.  Most would still pick the Heat in a landslide against the Thunder.

Here we are with game 1 tonight – the Spurs representing the West and the Heat representing the East for all the marbles – the 2013 NBA championship.

Who wins this exciting matchup? The MVP and the widely recognized best player in the WORLD, LeBron James OR the 4-time NBA champions led by future Hall of Famers Tim Duncan and San Antonio Spurs.

Many variables to consider: coaching, bench, defense, 3 point shooting, home-court advantage, 2-3-2 format and more.

Coach: Edge to the Spurs

Bench: Edge to the Spurs

Defense: Spurs again

3 point shooting: Even

Homecourt: Heat

The Spurs are a daunting task to Miami’s repeat hopes.  Love this matchup for all those that feel the NBA is rigged!  For Miami to win back to back titles and get LeBron his 2nd ring and Dwayne Wade his 3rd title, they will have to endure ferocious defense, get help from others outside LeBron and rebond the Ball.   On the other hand, for the Spurs to win and get their 5th title, they will have to keep LeBron in check, keep Bosh & Wade subpar and steal homecourt advantage.

With so many factors favoring the veteran Spurs, should we reconsider crowing the Heat?  Will the BEST PLAYER on the Planet raise the trophy? Or will the BEST TEAM on the Planet win?  I’ve changed my mind back and forth all week.

For the first time in years, I feel like both teams deserve it! Tim Duncan could cement his already marvelous resume by tying Kobe Bryant with 5 titles. The veteran Spurs have had an impressive playoff run.  They swept the Grizzles in the conference finals. Greg Popovich is 4-0 in 4 trips to the Finals.  The Heat are in 3 consecutive finals. Lebron is in his 4th NBA finals. He has revenge on his mind. He can silence his critics even more by raising the trophy.

 

Decision time – I have gone back and forth all week. With gametime in 6 hours, I’ll force myself to make a decision now. Heat in 6 or 7.

Why? It wouldn’t surprise  me if the Spurs won. It’s that close. But I’m choosing the team with Homecourt advantage AND the team with the best player.  I feel LeBron will put the Heat on his back and carry them to victory.  Star Power.

Repeat- the Miami Heat in 6 or 7 games. Sticking with Crowing the Heat (already)!

- King of Hoops

follow on Twitter @HoopsReportCard

Golden State Warriors defeat the Denver Nuggets in 6 Games

Denver Nuggets v Golden State Warriors - Game Six

In front of a sellout crowd of 19,500 plus at Oracle Arena in Oakland, the Golden State Warriors won their first playoff series since 2007 when they beat the top seeded Dallas Mavericks behind Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrens.

The 2013 version of the Warriors boasts one of the most dynamic and “sharpest-shooting” back courts in the association this year with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. A first round series win on Thursday night extends a really impressive season for Golden State in which had solid coaching (Mark Jackson), their first All Star selection since 1997 (David Lee) and a productive bench led by Jarrett Jack. (The Warriors should/could have had 2 allstars but that’s a discussion for another day).

The Denver Nuggets also had an awesome regular season. They won almost 60 games! (57). They had the best home record in the NBA 38-3, led the league in points-per-game and was widely feared as the deepest, fastest and most exciting team in the West with aspirations on reaching the Western Conference Finals.

In Game 1, the Nuggets won a thriller in front of their home crowd by 2 points on a game winner by Andre Miller. After game 1, the Nuggets should have seen the writing on the wall. In the regular season, they had a huge point differential, were number 2 in rebounding and 3rd in assists per game. In game 1, they were out-rebounded by 10. More importantly and more accurately they gave up 55 rebounds with is the most rebounds against the Nuggets in a playoff game in about 20 years.

In game 2, the Nuggets “officially” lost the series by surrendering the homecourt advantage that they worked hard for during the regular season. They were outrebounded again by 10 rebounds and gave up 131 points on their homecourt on 64% field goals percentage (not a typo 64% not 46%!) and 56% from 3 point range. They seemingly didn’t miss David Lee who was injured in game 1.

The Warriors averaged 118 points per game in the 3 middle games, games 2, 3 and 4. The Nuggets inability to defend Golden State’s shooters did them in this series. In addition, losing the rebounding battle and not getting the fastbreak points that they feasted on earlier in the season became their undoing.

In the 6th and final game, the Warriors started slow at home and scored only 40 first half points before erupting for 33 points in the 3rd quarter alone led by Steph Curry. David Lee pulled a “Willis Reed” return from what was season ending surgery! He only played 2 minutes and was an inspirational insertion into the game. The Warriors led by as many as 18 points and held off a furious comeback by the Nuggets who cut the lead to only 2 points with 32 seconds remaining. Warriors win and advance to the Western Conference semifinals.

The key point of this series might have been the instant defense improvement the Warriors received with David Lee not on the floor. This forced Coach Jackson to play Andrew Bogut for 40+ points and he flourished. His defense was key for Golden State, his rebounding numbers were Rodman-like and he protected the point with an assortment of blocks.

The Nuggets have lost in the first round 9 out of 10 times. This might put to bed the idea that a team with no “superstar/allstar” has a legitimate chance at an NBA title.

For now the Warriors move on!

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