Tag: NBA Playoffs

Celtics Show no Fight in Blowout to Toronto

With a month and a half left in the regular season the Boston Celtics continue to sit in the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, they’ve dropped three straight and lost five out of their last 10 games. Last night was no different, the Toronto Raptors blew Boston out of their home court 118-95, at one point the Raptors were in complete control up 30.

The season has been repetitive up to this point, where the team wins a couple of games in a row and looks like they finally turned the corner on their inconsistent play. Instead of turning the page Boston somehow returns to their old ways and go on a losing streak, where it seems that the players don’t like each other.

Who do we Blame for the Celtics season?

We can point the finger at Brad Stevens for not switching up the lineups when the team goes through these losing moments, we can blame Kyrie Irving for his lack of leadership or we can point at Terry Rozier for his awful play off the bench. Regardless of whose to blame, this Celtics team with so much depth should not be in this position.

Some of it could be the injury to back-up center, Aron Baynes, who’s been sidelined due to a foot contusion. From late December until mid-January Baynes missed 13 games because of a fractured hand injury, he appeared in just nine games before going down again. With Baynes our, the Celtics lack a true big man off the bench once Al Horford takes a breather. Daniel Theis, Guerschon Yabusele and banged up Robert Williams get exposed inside against the opposing big men.

Toronto’s big men of Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam were just to much to handle for Boston’s undersized bigs. Gasol finished with five points, five rebound and eight assists, Ibaka had 14 points and Siakam killed Boston with 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting and eight rebounds.

Irving Confident in Team heading into the Postseason

Irving made headlines on Sunday after the Celtics loss to the Chicago Bulls where he said he doesn’t believe anyone can beat Boston four out of seven games. “Like I said, I don’t get frustrated about this stuff anymore. It’s just part of the regular season. In the playoffs, when we can plan for a team, prepare for a team, I still don’t see anybody beating us in seven games,” said Irving.

Irving believes that once the playoffs comes around the Celtics will be a whole different team then what they’re showing. “No, we’ll be fine,” Irving then added, “Because I’m here.” He of all players has the right to be this confident based on his history of coming up big when the pressure is on. Irving hit one of the most clutch shots in Finals history against the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, which secured the Cleveland Cavaliers first championship.

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King James Can’t Save The City Of Angels Alone

The Los Angeles Lakers easily were the biggest losers coming out of the NBA trade deadline after striking out of Anthony Davis. With this loss, the Lakers face the possibility of missing the playoffs.

The Lakers are at a crossroads at the halfway mark of the NBA season. They struck out on landing Anthony Davis and the chemistry of the team has been up and down. The team is so out of it that they may not even make the playoffs and not even the best basketball player in the world may be able to save them.

Lebron James, 34 years old, is easily the best player on this Laker team and has helped them to improve drastically this season, but other than Lebron what other options do the Lakers have?

Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma are considered to be the two complementary pieces next to Lebron, but their play has not been up to standards this season.

The Lakers are 3-7 in their last 10 games, getting blown out by teams such as the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers.

The Western Conference has been tough and with hungry teams such as the Clippers, Kings, T-Wolves, and Mavericks creeping up to the 8th seed, this leaves the Lakers with minimal room to throw away games.

If the Lakers end up making the playoffs, it will most likely be as an 8th seed which means playing the Golden State Warriors in the first round. The Warriors are currently rolling and barring any injuries, it is more than likely they will steamroll through the Lakers and the entire Western Conference.

If the Lakers miss the playoffs, Lebron’s legacy may be called into question as this will be the first time since 2005 that he will miss the playoffs.

The young Lakers must step up and close out games without Lebron. Players such as Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Rajon Rondo has to step up as leaders. If these guys want to be Lakers next season, they have to take charge and win by any means possible.

Dennis Smith Jr. May Be A Diamond In The Rough For The Knicks

In Friday night’s loss vs the Pistons, Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. scored a career-high 31 points and dished out 8 assists to his new teammates.

Dennis isn’t missing a beat after being traded from the Mavericks during the trade deadline. Coach David Fizdale has placed his trust in the young guard and it is showing in his recent play as a Knick.

“I’m enjoying playing basketball not enjoying losing, but I’m having fun going out there and competing,” Dennis said after Pistons game.

In Dennis’ first 3 games as a Knick, he is averaging 21.3 points and 6.7 assists on 46% from the field. Dennis has shown that he is already the best player on this team and is connecting with his team.

On the other hand, Dennis still struggles with shooting the basketball as he misses free throws and is shooting below 30% from 3 so far with the Knicks.

If Dennis finds a consistent shooting stroke, the Knicks may not need Kyrie Irving in the summer. Shooting is the key factor that will elevate Dennis’ game.

The Knicks let go of some big pieces during the trade deadline, Kristaps Porzingis being the biggest loss, but Dennis is already showing the potential that he can grow into a star and be the best player on a team.

The Knicks are looking forward to the summer as the draft and free agency takes place. They must look at the possibilities if Zion Williamson, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving don’t land there. Do the Knicks believe that Dennis can be a big-time player for them?

The Dallas Mavericks Won The Trade Deadline

No one expected the Dallas Mavericks to make a bunch of moves during the trade deadline. But Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson, and the Dallas Mavericks organization were extremely active and made some blockbuster trades that have turned their franchise around.

Also to mention the trade that brought Luka Doncic to Dallas last June in the draft. This was a callback to the 1998 NBA Draft where the Mavericks traded Robert Traylor for Dirk Nowitzki.

Now Luka has emerged as the star of the Dallas Mavericks franchise. As each day goes by, the Mavericks are looking like geniuses for making that trade with Atlanta.

The Mavericks have taken big risks and were able to turn expiring contracts and aging players into a young core plus cap space to spend in free agency.

Dallas-Sacramento Trade Details:

Dallas Receives:
Justin Jackson
Zach Randolph

Sacramento Receives:
Harrison Barnes

The Mavericks are now able to sign a big-time free agent this summer. After the Porzingis deal, one of the concerning factors was Dallas’ cap space going into free agency. After getting rid of Harrison Barnes’ contract, the Mavericks are now in contention to sign at least one big time free agent with around $30 million in cap space.

Possible free agent targets being Nikola Vucevic, Demarcus Cousins or Klay Thompson. The Mavericks are a dark horse team to sign one of these guys. Now that they have a core of Luka and Kristaps, Dallas may be a more attractive destination for free agents.

The Mavericks showed that they are geared towards free agency and could care less about how the season plays out now. The future looks bright in Dallas but there is still more work to be done. It will interesting to see how the Mavericks play their cards this free agency.

The Endgame For The Knicks/Mavericks Rebuild

With the recent blockbuster trade that was announced earlier today between the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks, the two teams took franchise-altering deals that can either boom in their favor or blow up right in their faces.

The two franchises are in the midst of rebuilding and trying to contend in the near future. The 2019 NBA free agency will dictate the future of each franchise.

The question arises of how does this deal benefit each team in the long run?

Just a recap for the trade here are the full details:

Dallas Mavericks Receive

Kristaps Porzingis
Courtney Lee
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Trey Bure

New York Knicks Receive

Dennis Smith Jr.
Wesley Matthews
DeAndre Jordan
Two future First Round Picks (one unprotected, one protected)

Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson, and the Dallas Mavericks are known to be major risk takers and this trade is a prime example of the Mavericks being a risk-taking franchise. The Mavericks will pair Kristaps Porzingis with Luka Doncic and they will be the core star players going into the future.

The Mavericks have had eyes on Porzingis for years and with the connections of Dirk Nowitzki and Luka to him, Porzingis to Dallas seemed very likely in the future. Porzingis looked up to Dirk growing up and also spent time working out over the summer in 2017. Also, Porzingis and Luka are close friends, both playing against each other while they were overseas.

Luka is now going to be the point guard for this team with Dennis Smith Jr. gone and now the Mavericks have some serious pieces around them to contend in the future.

The Mavericks will now look to free agency to chase Demarcus Cousins or Klay Thompson and that will be the end of the rebuild for the Mavericks.

Some sleepers the Mavericks may also have eyes on are that of Willie Cauley-Stein and Goran Dragic.

On the other side of this trade, The Knicks were able to secure a young developing guard in Dennis Smith Jr. along with two future picks and reliving cap space. This will put the Knicks in play to sign 2 max free agents and also draft a player such as Zion Williamson or R.J. Barrett.

The Knicks are confident they can land Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant along with a top 3 Pick in the draft. If they succeed in this, their rebuild will be complete and now you have a scary core of Dennis Smith Jr., Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Kevin Knox and either Zion Williamson or R.J. Barrett.

If the Knicks do not succeed in this trade then another year of mediocrity and losing will be in play next season. The Knicks are banking heavily that a top free agent will come, but the possibility of them landing no one is an unfortunate possible outcome.

This trade took a lot of guts for each side to pull off and it was impressive on how they got it done in a short amount of time. For a Mavericks fan, you are happy with the Luka/Porzingis duo. For a Knicks fan, you are hopeful all the cards fall into your favor in free agency.

New York Knicks and Anthony Davis Should Stay Far Away From Each Other

With recent news of Anthony Davis wanting out of New Orleans, many fans and analysts have put out trade destinations such as Davis going to the Lakers, Raptors, Celtics and even the forever struggling New York Knicks.

The Knicks should not look to entertain a trade for Anthony Davis as this would mean sacrificing talents such as Kevin Knox, Allonzo Trier, Kristaps Porzingis and even potentially the #1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft which can turn into Zion Williamson or even R.J. Barrett. Two players who can elevate your franchise.

A core of Zion/Barrett, Porzingis and Knox would be a great core to build off of for the Knicks. It’s a core that could potentially be a big-time threat in a couple of years.

If you are the Knicks you have to ask yourself is Anthony Davis really worth giving up your future for?

The Knicks necessarily hasn’t been a winning situation for anyone and this should raise concerns on Anthony Davis’ end. What is the difference between the situation in New Orleans and the Knicks?

Trading for Davis would be a risk for the Knicks end as you would have to give up a lot of young assets for him. Davis would be paired up with no one once he gets there. The Knicks would have to pray to the basketball gods that a top free agent will come there in the summer.

The Knicks haven’t been serious contenders for a long time and is looked to be one of the laughing stock franchises in the NBA.

If a trade does go down and the Knicks land Davis, you are going to have to be 100% certain Kevin Durant or Kawhi Leonard will come to the Big Apple. If there are any uncertainties that with these players not coming, you are setting Anthony Davis up to fail.

Ultimately, the Knicks shouldn’t throw away the years they are rebuilding for Davis. From the history books, winning championships come from building through the draft and the Knicks have plenty of young players with upside. Don’t throw those years away.

Early NBA Mock Draft 2019 (Picks #1-10)

 

1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Zion Williamson

Strengths: Unique Physical Attributes, Finishing ability, Motor/Aggressive play, Upside
Weaknesses: Shooting consistency, Discipline on Defense

NBA Comparison: Charles Barkley/ Larry Johnson

2. New York Knicks – R.J. Barrett

Strengths: Scoring Ability, Creating Offense, Defensive Potential, Slashing ability, Upside
Weaknesses: Streaky shooter, Decision Making, Shot Selection

NBA Comparison: Andrew Wiggins/Demar DeRozan

3. Phoenix Suns – Ja Morant

Strengths: Point Guard Polish, Creating Offense, Scoring Ability, Athleticism, Upside
Weaknesses: Strength/Frame, Shooting Consistency

NBA Comparison: De’Aaron Fox

4. Chicago Bulls – Cameron Reddish

Strengths: Athleticism, Scoring Versatility, Playmaking Potential
Weaknesses: Motor, Consistency, Competitive Fire

NBA Comparison: Rudy Gay/Tyreke Evans

5. Atlanta Hawks – Rui Hachimura

Strengths: Offensive Versatility, Upside, Motor
Weaknesses: shooting ability, defensive consistency

NBA Comparison: Wilson Chandler

6. Memphis Grizzlies – Romeo Langford

Strengths: Scoring Ability, Defensive Potential, Athleticism
Weaknesses: Suspect Ball Handling, Streaky shooter, Motor

NBA Comparison: Khris Middleton/Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

7. Orlando Magic – Darius Garland

Strengths: Scoring Ability, Shot Creator, Playmaking Potential
Weaknesses: Decision Making, Shot IQ, Turnovers, finishing ability

NBA Comparison: Kemba Walker

8. Detroit Pistons – Jarrett Culver

Strengths: Offensive Versatility, Rebounding, Defensive Potential, Upside
Weaknesses: Shot IQ, Creating Offense, Defensive Discipline

NBA Comparison: Courtney Lee/Nicolas Batum

9. Washington Wizards – Kevin Porter Jr.

Strengths: Scoring Ability, Finishing ability, Ball Handling Ability, Upside
Weaknesses: Playmaking ability, Shooting ability

NBA Comparison: Kelly Oubre Jr./Justise Winslow

10. New Orleans Pelicans – Nassir Little

Strengths: Athleticism, Defensive Versatility, Motor, Physical tools
Weaknesses: Shooting Consistency, Offensive Polish, Creating Offense

NBA Comparison: Gerald Wallace