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Impossible to go into the conference finals without talking about the team that should have made it but didn't -- the Los Angeles Clippers. My take: They are not cursed. They were merely too thin, and they didn't have the fortitude to finish the job.
And if the Houston Rockets taught us all one thing during their series against Doc Rivers' team, it was this: Never give up, no matter how bleak things seem.
But that series is behind us, and we now move into the conference finals wondering exactly what we are going to see. Hack-a-Howard? Hack-a-Bogut? Corey Brewer defending Stephen Curry. Or maybe Trevor Ariza taking on that task. Or even pesky old man Pablo Prigioni. That series is going to be a chess match for sure, and we may end up seeing Klay Thompson being the most important player in the series. As mentioned yesterday in our staff predictions column, Thompson is the leading 3-point shooter, accuracy-wise, of all the players still playing.
And that allows us to turn our attention to Kyle Korver (35 percent from downtown in the postseason) and the Atlanta Hawks, who went 3-1 against the Cavs during the regular season while using DeMarre Carroll as the primary defender on LeBron James. This site has already devoted considerable attention to the amount of money Carroll is earning during these playoffs, and whether it behooves him to sign a one-year contract so that he can reap the rewards of being a max player when the salary cap jumps to $90 million 13 months from now. If the Hawks are able to win this series (they are a 1 1/2 point favorite in Game 1, it will postpone Northeast Ohio's dream of ending its 51-year championship drought.)
All these plots and subplots were up for discussion in this podcast with Jody Oehler and Mike Jurecki on FOX Sports 910 in Phoenix. Enjoy.
Legendary coach Bobby Gonzalez did pick Duke in last night's NCAA Championship game, in large part because he felt Wisconsin won a sort of national championship of their own on Saturday night when they beat the 38-0 Kentucky Wildcats.
Duke cruised into the final after a 20-point win over Michigan State, and it really showed last night in final stretch of the game as Duke had a little more in the tank to close it out.
In this interview with Robin Lundberg on ESPN Radio in New York, Gonzo talked about the breakout star performance -- and a name for the future -- with freshmen Grayson Allen coming in and saving the day by igniting the Duke team with his 16 huge points, his heart and hustle when they were down 9 points and Jahlil Okafor and Justice Winslow were on the bench with foul trouble. Allen and Amille Jefferson's defense on Frank Kaminsky was enough to get them in striking distance, then freshmen point guard Tyus Jones took the game over and put on a show for the ages of some of the most clutch plays you will ever see from a freshmen in the title game.
Last, Gonzo and Lundberg spoke about how Bo Ryan handled the Badgers' defeat, and where this 5th national championship now puts Coach K. (I wrote about it in my column for SheridanHoops back when he went over the 1,000 win mark.)
Vince McKee was on the Sports Beat with Nick Camino & Andre Knott on WTAM 1100 in Cleveland last night to discuss the excerpts on SheridanHoops.com this week from his new book “The Redemption of the King.”
Highlights from the interview include the meaning behind the title, and McKee's original inspiration to write the book.
They also covered the best parts of the book -- but also the most difficult parts of the book to write.
Among topics discussed were LeBron's epic Game 5 of the 2007 NBA Eastern Conference finals, as well as the hard fought series loss to the Orlando Magic in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals.
It was a fun and informative interview that will keep fans excited about the excerpts on Sheridanhoops, as well as the book in general.
Not many people expected the Cleveland Cavaliers to be sitting in fifth place in the Eastern Conference two months into the season. When you build a SuperTeam, 5th place is not where you set your sights ... and Cavs fans are grousing about it.
But when you have a new coach, two imported superstars who have to change their games, a franchise cornerstone (Kyrie Irving) who is not the franchise cornerstone anymore, there are going to be growing pains. And that is what the Cavs are experiencing now -- though they have shown flashes of dominance during their four- and eight-game winning streaks.
So the message to Cavs fans is this ... be patient. And if you need a reminder of what real patience looks like, take a look at the championship starved fans in New York, where the Knicks lead the NBA in losses in the first year of Phil Jackson's team presidency. If Jackson made one major mistake this season, it was predicting a playoff appearance for his hapless band of knuckleheads.
Those were two of the topics of discussion today in this interview with Gregg Gianotti on CBS Sports Radio. Enjoy.
Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers are used to contending for championships, but through five games the team is tied with the Philadelphia 76ers (0-6) for the fewest wins in the league -- zero.
Bryant’s disdain for losing and the struggles of the Lakers prompted an interesting question: Would the Lakers and Knicks benefit from a trade involving Bryant?
New York has Phil Jackson, the Triangle offense and cap space to absorb Bryant’s contract and the Lakers aren’t going to contend this season with or without the team’s longtime superstar.
Conversely, the Houston Rockets were undefeated until Saturday night after some experts believed the team would take a step back with the loss of Chandler Parsons and free agency addition of Trevor Ariza.
In the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers have gotten off to a slow start (2-3) and not dominated out of the gate as many predicted.
With that in mind, Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops joined Yahoo! Sports Radio to discuss the struggles of the Lakers and Cavaliers, the rumors surrounding Bryant and how James Harden and Dwight Howard have carried the Rockets.
In his latest SheridanHoops previews for the upcoming season, columnist Michael Scotto has the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks as playoff teams.
What about the rest of the league?
Can Kobe Bryant carry the Lakers to the playoffs with Steve Nash now out for the season?
Is this the year the Chicago Bulls fulfill their potential and reach the NBA Finals?
Are the Cleveland Cavaliers the title favorites with LeBron James and Kevin Love joining forces with Kyrie Irving?
Scotto joined FOX Sports Radio and host Nick Ashooh to preview the upcoming NBA season.
Did the San Antonio Spurs use the NBA Finals to expose the Miami Heat as a one-man team?
In their dismantling of the two-time defending NBA champions, the Spurs proved the old basketball adage that five beats one every time - even if that one is LeBron James, the best player on the planet.
In this interview with Tony D of Yahoo Sports Radio that took place less than an hour after Game 5 had ended, Chris Bernucca of SheridanHoops.com talks about how San Antonio's system of incorporating all five players in its offense makes the Spurs nearly impossible to guard, while the disappearance of Heat stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh left James on an island.
As the offseason approaches, do the Heat now have less than a "Big Three"? And with the emergence of Kawhi Leonard as NBA Finals MVP, do the Spurs now have a "Big Four"? Those questions and others are answered in this wide-ranging interview.
The San Antonio Spurs have now won five championships in 15 years.
With that in mind, are the Spurs a dynasty? Earlier this season, Phil Jackson said they were not.
During the 15-year run, the Spurs have not won back-to-back titles. However, does that negate them as a dynasty?
What are the legacies of Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich?
Duncan is considered the greatest power forward of all-time, but where does he rank amongst the best overall?
He made NBA history by becoming the first player to start on a championship team in three different decades.
Did Popovich secure his place on the Mount Rushmore of coaches?
Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops joined Yahoo! Sports Radio hosts Anthony Pepe and Mark Linehan to discuss San Antonio’s validity as a dynasty and the legacies of Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich.
The Cleveland Cavaliers hit the jackpot by leaving the NBA Draft Lottery with the No. 1 overall pick for the third time in four years.
What’s even more amazing than winning the lottery in three of four years? How about the fact that Cleveland’s “human luck charm,” Nick Gilbert, wasn’t in attendance as Joe Kotoch points out in his latest mock draft.
Will the No. 1 pick be enough to make a possible trade for Kevin Love and entice LeBron James to return to Cleveland as Chris Sheridan ponders in his latest column? Time will tell.
In the meantime, Mike Scotto of SheridanHoops joined Yahoo! Sports Radio and hosts Anthony Pepe and Mark Linehan to discuss the draft landscape and where the dominoes will ultimately fall.
So much for that sweep prediction I made in my playoff preview of the Indiana-Atlanta series. At least I wasn't alone.
Using 20-20 hindsight, I and many others should have seen this coming.
The Hawks and Pacers might be seeded on opposite ends of the spectrum, but they've been playing quite similarly, going 12-13 dating back to March 1st. Indiana was allowing a league-low 94.2 points per 100 possessions through February but that number has ballooned to 102.8 since the beginning of March.
And Roy Hibbert? Let's not forget that he was voted onto the Eastern Conference All-Star team by the other 14 Eastern Conference coaches -- all of whom would probably advise their GMs at this point that the 7-foot-2 center from Georgetown is not even worth pursuing in a trade.
Seriously, has any one player's stock fallen faster than Hibbert's?
A recap of all Saturday's action awaits you in this podcast with Adam the Bull on CBS Sports Radio.
What to make of the Pacers' come-from-behind vicory over the Miami Heat on Tuesday night. Well, for starters, it provided some validation for Indiana after their scintillating start to the season. showing that they have the goods (and the composure) to compete with the two-time defending champs.
But when will REAL validation come? How about a week from now when the two teams meet in Miami?
In this interview on the Big O show on AM640 in Miami, Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops discusses how much of a threat this version of the Pacers are to the Heat -- especially given the upgrades Indiana made in the offseason, but with the caveat that the return of Danny Granger could be a good thing or a bad thing now that Paul George has become to go-to guy in the rotation.
Other topics covered include the Rudy Gay trade, a gang member with face tattoos, and the effects of drinking too much cough syrup. Enjoy.
Not much is going well for the New York Knicks, who are heading into a back-to-back against the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers. So what can be done about it? Is Steve Mills capable of making a deal that will turn this season around? Will Iman Shumpert be traded? (More details in this column.)
Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops discusses with Seth Everett of Fox Sports Radio, and he does not paint a pretty picture.
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