In my latest edition of “sporadically posted NBA blogging”
I would like to start off by saying “Fuck WordPress’s block style bullshit.”
The Raptors are up 2-1 on the Warriors, who are down to Steph Curry and the Infirmary Patients. Durant is still out. Klay Thompson missed Game 3 and is coming back for game 4, but it’s in question how healthy he will be. Cousins is coming off a torn quad and looks like he can’t play two decent games in a row because of it. Iguodala is banged up. Their second-best shooter is Quinn Cook. Yet, it still doesn’t feel like the Raptors have this totally in the bag. Part of that is the fact that Kawhi also doesn’t look 100%. Part of it is that Kevin Durant can still come back. And the third part, which is most crucial to me, is that you have no idea if Toronto will have anyone else besides Kawhi step up on any given night.
Game 1: Siakam goes 14-17 for 32 points and Marc Gasol goes 6-10 for 20. The next game, Siakam goes 5-18 and Gasol plays Naked and Afraid for 31 minutes. Game 3, all starters have at least 17 points. Game 4 starts in about four hours. Take your bets on who shows up.
Toronto has been able to take advantage of the Warriors’ lack of shooting by essentially only guarding Curry with any zeal. They are constantly leaving shooters open and it has worked, with exception of that Iguodala shot at the end of Game 2. Everybody not named Steph Curry or Klay Thompson is shooting a combined 30% from three in the series. Klay will at least be another guy Toronto has to guard. But if he’s not totally healthy, they don’t have to worry as much about him as usual because his constant cutting and running will be mitigated by his injured hamstring.
I’m not even going to pretend to know what is going to happen. This series has been weird. I keep thinking Kawhi Leonard is having a bad series and then I look at the stats and he’s got 29/10/5. Kyle Lowry dove into the front row to track down a loose ball and one of the Warriors’ minority owners demonstrated that he should have all of his money stripped from him and pushed Lowry like the entitled prick he is. Lowry, to his credit, just went back to balling, unperturbed from the momentary distraction. The owner has been banned from all Warriors games for a year, but this is another example of why fans are too close to players at games.
The Free Agency Rumor Machine is Overloading
We’ve been hearing all year that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are destined for the New York Knicks. The Knicks, or the Kazoos as Zach Lowe calls them, even traded away young star (and possible rapist) Kristaps Porzingis in a salary dump to open up two max slots. Then, this happened:
ESPN story on Brooklyn’s daring trade of two first-round picks to clear double max-salary slots for free agency. Kyrie Irving is absolutely serious about the Nets, per sources. Free agency is on. https://t.co/ekY0NVhzN0— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 6, 2019
You have no idea how hard I would laugh if New York went through all of this and got bodied by a team in its own city. To add extra salt to the situation, it would be sweet revenge for a franchise that got swindled by Danny Ainge almost a decade ago. “Dealer Danny” would lose Kyrie Irving for nothing and his chances of Anthony Davis would basically go out the window. And if Durant followed…I’m sorry Knicks fans. But the Gods require your suffering.
However, this would definitely leave D’Angelo Russel, All-Star of the bombed out and depleted Eastern Conference, out in the cold. Personally, I think it could be good for him. Russell was a champion of “The Narrative” this year, leading a suddenly sparky Nets team into the playoffs and getting promptly waxed by the 76ers. Thing is, Russell wasn’t some amazing player this season. He was still not a good defender and only had a True Shooting Percentage of 53. So it’s not like he suddenly just got amazing. He was good. He was a much better version of himself.
There are other teams that can help him get even better and whom he can make more dangerous. The team that comes to the front of my mind is the Utah Jazz. They desperately need someone else to create some shots on that team because just rolling it to Donovan Mitchell gets them knocked out of the playoffs early every year. Mitchell and the rest of that Jazz defense can cover up Russell’s limitations, while he can give the offense spacing, shooting, and playmaking. He’d certainly make Rudy Gobert’s life even easier. Which reminds me, this could lead to Gobert getting even more dunks and layups, which would then lead to Jazz fans insisting even harder that he’s a top 10 player. And fuck Jazz fans.
I change my mind. D’Angelo, you should go to Indiana.