2010-11 NBA Playoffs Recap: Day 10, Where The Spurs Look Spent.

San Antonio Spurs 86 – Memphis Grizzlies 104

Lionel Hollins tanking at the end of the season so the Grizzlies can drop down to the 8th seed and play a 61-win team now looks borderline genius. Memphis beat San Antonio to take a 3-1 series lead. Only person I know that called the Memphis upset was Zach Lowe on The Basketball Jones’ Overdose and he probably can’t believe how things have transpired either. Last night’s game saw the 4-time champion Spurs team get out-classed by Darrell Arthur and Tony Allen. The best part about this series is watching Marc Gasol adding zeros to his inevitable off-season payday. Marc has the confidence of a 2-time world champion as if his name was Pau. Swag him the f*** out.

Andrew McNeill of 48 Minutes Of Hell tweeted during the game, “Just got a text from a friend. The Spurs window as contenders might run lockout-to-lockout, and that’s it. ” It’s remarkable that this is how things could end. Then again, would anyone be shocked if the Spurs came back and won this series? Game 5 is on Wednesday in San Antonio.

Portland Trailblazers 82 – Dallas Mavericks 93

At this point I don’t know what to think of Brandon Roy. He went just 2 for 7 in nearly 30 minutes of action last night but I can’t just throw him under the bus, none of the Blazers decided to show up last night. LaMarcus went for 12 and 9 and Wes Matthews had 8 points in 36 minutes. If it weren’t for Wallace and Miller, this game would have turned uglier, sooner. No one really checked Dirk all night and no one could keep Tyson Chandler off the glass, specifically the offensive rebounds. Tyson grabbed 20 boards including 13 offensive rebounds, a team record. Those second chance points killed Portland, who had held Dallas to just 41% shooting for the night. Dallas now has a 3-2 series advantage and I think they close it out in Portland on Thursday.

Oklahoma City Thunder 101 – Denver Nuggets 104

I didn’t see this game but I got home just in time to see the post-game interviews and read all the tweets. Russell Westbrook was a trending topic in my timeline. The tweets were hilarious but the context wasn’t and that was deserved. I check the box score and I see that the Thunder point guard put up 30 shots and missed 18 of them including a few crucial baskets at the end of the game. Yesterday I said that this game would be indicative of exactly what the Thunder are capable of. If they close out this game strong and sweep the Nuggets, we should all be very scared. I’m scared, but not for other teams, I’m scared for Oklahoma. What transpired is what I’ve always been afraid of for this team, selfish, inefficient play. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come and Westbrook will soon realize that Durant is the closer, not him. Oklahoma has a chance to close the series out at home on Wednesday.

Tonight’s Games:

Atlanta Hawks @ Orlando Magic – 7:30 PM EST on NBAtv: Atlanta leads this series 3-1. This means the  Hawks have three chances to win one game, starting with tonight. Which most likely means that Atlanta won’t win tonight because they are Atlanta. Orlando wins this one if their 3-point shooters actually make some 3-point shots. The strange part of this series is that Atlanta’s shooters haven’t been shooting well, either. Orlando might get unlucky and find their stroke on the same night Atlanta does.

Indiana Pacers @ Chicago Bulls – 8:00 PM EST on TNT: The Pacers did some good things in games 3 & 4. They went to a trap defense and saw some results. Good enough results that they limited Derrick Rose — even before he sprained his ankle — and forced a Game 5.  Although Chicago leads this series 3-1 and many thought this would be a sweep or at worst 5-games, Indiana has been right there. This could easily be a 2-2 series or even a 3-1 series in favor of Indy. That last bit might be a stretch but don’t forget the Pacer held a significant 4th quarter lead in every single game. If this team figures out how to actually close a game out — they almost blew a double digit lead in game 4  as well — they might steal at least one more game in these playoffs. Still, even with Rose’s bum ankle, I see Chicago closing it out tonight.

New Orleans Hornets @ Los Angeles Lakers – 10:30 PM EST on TNT: I’m not sure what to expect anymore. I never thought one man could beat the 2-time defending world champs, let alone do it twice in four games. The thing that gets me is that Chris Paul has been stellar, but it hasn’t been inconceivable. It’s not like he had to score 60 points for the hornets to win. He simply had to have a great Chris-Paulian type game of 20+/15+/5+. That might sound out of this world, but Chris nearly averaged that a few seasons ago, so asking for him to do it two more times in the three games left in this series is not that far fetched. Especially with Kobe playing on a sprained ankle which he refuses to get an MRI on, there might be no one on this Lakers roster than can defend Chris Paul. Lakers are going to have to simply outsize New Orleans, something which they are inexplicably having trouble doing.

Links Of The Day:

The No-Look Pass: Check out Rey-Rey’s daily recaps of playoff action!
The Basketball Jones: Holly MacKenzie with two pieces just as good as the performances that inspired them: Chris Paul & Brandon Roy
Negative Dunkalectics: The joys of gambling on the NBA.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com: Chris Paul is red-hot, via StatsCube.

Join me on twitter tonight for a ridiculously good time.

Shane is a contributor to Stacheketball.com, LarryBrownSports.com & NBAoffseason.com. You can find him babbling about basketball all over the net or tune in as he tweets nonsense on twitter @Suga_Shane.

 


On the Borderline

It’s a little-discussed fact that if you are drafted outside of the lottery, you’re not likely to have a huge impact in the NBA.  Here is a short list from RealGM of the “Top 10 players” (by production) for the second and third draft year back (2008 and 2007).  Two asterisks** means that the player was drafted outside the lottery; three asterisks*** refers to an international player who stayed at least a year overseas before joining the NBA.   (Only Rodney Stuckey, Roy Hibbert , Aaron Brooks, and Carl Landry made that list, and Brooks/Landry being on a Houston team decimated by injury may have skewed that number).

Third-Year NBA players

1 Kevin Durant OKC 88 39.4 .470 .900 .360 29.8 7.6 2.8 1.05 1.31 3.3 1536 17.7 +380
2 Al Horford ATL 91 35.1 .550 .790 1.000 14.2 9.8 2.3 1.21 0.74 1.5 1318 16.5 +434
*** 3 Luis Scola HOU 82 32.6 .510 .780 .200 16.2 8.6 2.1 0.32 0.76 2.0 955 14.3 +584
4 Joakim Noah CHI 69 30.6 .510 .760 .000 11.0 11.2 2.1 1.55 0.58 1.9 931 17.6 +803
** 5 Aaron Brooks HOU 82 35.6 .430 .820 .400 19.6 2.6 5.3 0.17 0.83 2.8 853 11.7 +1777
6 Jeff Green OKC 88 37.1 .450 .750 .330 14.9 5.9 1.6 0.84 1.19 1.6 845 10.3 +463
** 7 Carl Landry SAC 80 30.9 .540 .810 .330 16.8 5.8 0.8 0.79 0.68 1.7 813 13.2 +560
8 Mike Conley MEM 80 32.1 .440 .740 .390 12.0 2.4 5.3 0.15 1.36 2.1 704 11.0 +383
***9 Ersan Ilyasova MIL 88 23.3 .450 .730 .340 10.3 6.5 1.0 0.26 0.65 0.9 684 13.3 +758
**10 Rodney Stuckey DET 74 33.8 .400 .830 .230 16.4 3.8 4.7 0.16 1.35 2.2 670 10.7 +844

Second-year NBA players

1 Brook Lopez NJN 82 36.9 .500 .820 .000 18.8 8.7 2.3 1.70 0.67 2.5 1155 15.3 +921
2 Russell Westbrook OKC 88 34.4 .420 .780 .240 16.4 5.0 7.8 0.40 1.30 3.2 1147 15.2 +513
3 Derrick Rose CHI 83 37.1 .490 .770 .270 21.1 3.7 6.1 0.33 0.73 2.8 1055 13.7 +334
4 Marc Gasol MEM 69 35.8 .580 .670 .000 14.6 9.3 2.4 1.59 1.00 2.0 994 16.1 +565
5 Kevin Love MIN 60 28.6 .450 .820 .330 14.0 11.0 2.3 0.38 0.73 2.0 822 19.2 +517
6 O.J. Mayo MEM 82 38.0 .460 .810 .380 17.5 3.8 3.0 0.21 1.20 2.1 790 10.1 +375
7 Danilo Gallinari NYK 81 33.9 .420 .820 .380 15.1 4.9 1.7 0.72 0.91 1.4 788 11.5 +541
8 Jason Thompson SAC 75 31.4 .470 .710 .100 12.5 8.5 1.6 0.99 0.55 1.9 741 12.6 +822
9 Michael Beasley MIA 83 29.7 .450 .800 .280 14.6 6.3 1.2 0.59 1.00 1.7 702 11.4 +288
**10 Roy Hibbert IND 81 25.1 .490 .750 .500 11.7 5.7 2.0 1.62 0.37 1.8 699 13.7 +982

Therefore, the early entrants NEED TO make the lottery for a team to invest heavily in their development.

Here is my top 10 list of the guys who might wish they had decided differently…

1. Eric Bledsoe, KY – 12 pts. With John Wall gone, he could pair with “Knight” to be the best backcourt in the country.

2. Stanley Crawford, Xavier — 20 pts, 4 rebs.  They return a good team, and he may not be a lottery selection.

3. Manny Harris, MI – 18 ppg.  Seriously, has anyone outside of the Big 10 heard of him? I’ve seen the highlights, but since Michigan should be better next year,another year could only help his draft position.

4. Daniel Orton, KY – 3 pts, 3 reb.  Has his year stagnating behind DeMarcus Cousins helped him? Next year he could get some playing time on another top-five team; who knows if teams will take seriously a guy who was a backup on his college team (OK, it was the Kentucky Wildcats, but the pros have some good players too I’ve heard).

5. Elliot Williams, Memphis –17 ppg. I’ve heard so much talk about his “strong hand”, but he did get shut down late against the good teams. Another year in college wouldn’t hurt him.

6. Terrico White, Ole Miss — 15 pts, 4 rebounds.   Who knows where he’ll land? He’s a good player, if he slides past 20-25 he might end up in the second round.

7. Willie Warren, OK — 14 pts, 3 assists. A guy from the heartland with lots of heart. But I’m not seeing him in first-round territory in many of the mock drafts. Couldn’t he wait and maybe increase his stock?

8. Avery Bradley, TX — 11 ppg, 2 APG.  A point guard from a major conference, not yet a proven scorer or distributor.

NOT IN DRAFT

9. Jimmer Ferdette, BYU – 22 ppg (49 against ‘Zona in NCAAs).  Love the “returning to school”; however he got a ton of pub following the NCAAs, he might need to go now.

10. Kyle Singler, Duke – 17 ppg, 7 rpg (Final 4 MVP). When is this guy going to have a higher profile? Take the money.