One Does Not Simply Tell Gregg Popovich What To Do

This has been a unique week….

How often do two top-five players, in different sports, get traded in the same week?!

Kawhi Leonard Gets Shipped North Of The Border

Ask, and you shall receive. The only thing is, you don’t always get exactly what you ask for. Despite being lauded as the NBA’s gold standard over the past two decades, the San Antonio Spurs and Kawhi Leonard grew out of love. In June, Leonard publicly requested a trade. Leonard’s destination wish-list was short: The Los Angeles Lakers.

As hard as it is to imagine Gregg Popovich laughing, he probably doubled over when he heard Leonard’s request.

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Oh, you want to play in sunny California, for one of the most storied franchises in NBA history, in Popovich’s conference?!?! That’s cute. Instead, Leonard was banished to the Toronto Raptors for the final year of his contract. In return, the Spurs received DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a 2022 1st-round top-20 protected pick.

The Spurs won this trade — by a lot.

Yes, Leonard is better than DeRozan, so (assuming Leonard is a good soldier this year) the Raptors have a chance in the Eastern Conference. However, knowing Leonard wasn’t going to resign with the Spurs, and CLEARLY isn’t going to resign with the Raptors, the haul the Spurs got for their disgruntled (rental) superstar is astonishing. DeRozan is an all-star who’s under contract for three more years. And don’t sleep on the 22-year old, seven-footer (Poeltl). He’s the type of player Popovich turns into a 10 point, 8 rebound machine, providing depth in the frontcourt.

I’m Moving To Los Angeles!!

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It’s good to be Manny Machado.

It’s not every day you start your day on the worst team in MLB (Baltimore Orioles), and end your day on a World Series contender (Los Angeles Dodgers). Also, the weather is slightly better in L.A. than Baltimore — last time I checked.

Like I said….it’s GOOD to be Manny Machado.

Just like Kawhi Leonard, Manny Machado is a top-five player in his respective sport. Just like Leonard, Machado is an expiring contract, and wasn’t expected to resign with his former team. And just like Leonard, Machado helped bring his former team quite the haul.

The Orioles received five prospects for Machado: outfielder Yusniel Diaz, right-handed pitchers Dean Kremer and Zach Pop, and infielders Rylan Bannon and Breyvic Valera.

Diaz is the prize here, as he was ranked #73 in Baseball Prospectus’ rankings prior to this season.

This deal makes sense for both sides. The Orioles read the tea leaves and did what they had to do, while the Dodgers immediately launched themselves into World Series contention.

And Machado seems to have adjusted nicely to his new home. He’s hitting a smooth .385 through his first three games. Yeah, he’s pretty good.

With just eight days remaining until the MLB trade deadline, stay up to date with every move on DaveTalksSports.com.

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I’ll Play — When I’m Good And Ready!!

Gregg Popovich: “Alright Kawhi, it’s time to get back out there.”

Kawhi Leonard: “No thanks.”

Gregg Popovich: “What?!?!”

Kawhi Leonard: “Yeah, I don’t think I wanna play for you anymore.”

Gregg Popovich: “Was it something I said??”

Kawhi Leonard: “Yeah, that, or your general point of view toward everyone….”

(That’s probably how that conversation went).

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Kawhi Leonard, one of the NBA’s best players, has been riddled with injuries all season. He’s appeared in just 9 games for the San Antonio Spurs. And as of Wednesday, a report surfaced that despite being medically cleared to play, Leonard has chosen to remain on the sidelines. If the Spurs were eliminated from playoff contention I’d almost understand, however, at 35-24 (3rd in the Western Conference), they’d have a shot in the playoffs with a healthy Leonard.

League sources stated Leonard is upset with the Spurs’ timetable for rehabilitation. This tension has led to many believing Leonard and the Spurs will part ways after next season. Leonard has a player option following the 2019 season.

If Leonard leaves, it’ll prove WINNING doesn’t cure all.

I’ve drawn many parallels between the Spurs and New England Patriots. While the NBA and NFL are completely different animals, both dynasties have many similarities. Both win at a record-setting pace. Both systematically place the betterment of the team over any individual. And both have All-Time great coaches who also happen to be emotionless jerks.

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Following his playing career in New England, Wes Welker openly admitted not enjoying his time in New England. He specifically stated Bill Belichick as the reason for signing with the Denver Broncos in 2013. “It was just kind of hard to put up with him (Belichick). You had to endure him (Belichick),” Welker said.

Even the great Tom Brady’s trials and tribulations with Belichick surfaced during this past season. Seemingly the only thing holding the Patriots together is Elmer’s Glue. Or winning. Winning is definitely the thing holding them together.

So with just 23 games left to play in the NBA’s regular season, Popovich is trying to ‘save face’:

“We only have ‘X’ number of games left in the season, and he’s still not ready to go,” Popovich told reporters in San Antonio on Wednesday. “If by some chance he is, it’s gonna be pretty late into the season; and it’s going to be a pretty tough decision — how late to bring somebody back. So that’s why I’m just trying to be honest and logical. I’ll be surprised if he gets back this year.”

That may sound nice. That may be what a head coach should say when speaking about his injured superstar. But he conveniently left out the ‘Kawhi Leonard is healthy but decided not to play for you’ part.

Words are a funny thing…. 

 

Do you agree with Kawhi Leonard’s decision to sit out despite being healthy?? Tell me in the comment section below.

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:10 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

Thursday Helped Me Procrastinate

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I haven’t started my Christmas shopping yet. Hell, I haven’t even thought about starting my Christmas shopping — until now. What you call procrastination, I call waiting for the right moment. Can I blame Thursday?? I’m going to blame Thursday.

Trade #1

The first of 2 major trades came from NBA land. Jhalil Okafor, the #3 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft (Duke), has had a rocky start to his professional career. Prior to being shipped out of Philadelphia on Thursday, Okafor had played just 25 total minutes this season. The 76ers are giving him a fresh start, as his new zip code will be 11218….

Brooklyn Nets Receive:

Jhalil Okafor, Nik Stauskas, and a 2019 2nd-round pick

Philadelphia 76ers Receive:  

Trevor Booker

While I like Trevor Booker, this trade is a win for the Brooklyn Nets. Nets general manger, Sean Marks, continues to prove he knows what he’s doing. Most Gregg Popovich disciples do. This season alone, Marks has acquired the #2 and #3 picks from the solid 2015 NBA draft. I guess he was listening when Coach Popovich was talking.

Trade #2

Let the salary dump begin!! The Miami Marlins, are in the midst of a complete tear down. EVERYTHING MUST GO!! Marlins fans have seen this movie before. The only difference is, Derek Jeter has his finger on the button this time around. Jeter became Marlins’ CEO when he and his group purchased the team back in August. And he made his first major move yesterday.

Seattle Mariners Receive:

Dee Gordon

Miami Marlins Receive:

3 Minor League Players (Robert Dugger, Nick Neidert and Christopher Torres)

With a log jam in the middle infield, the Mariners plan to play Gordon in center field. This is a very solid trade for the Mariners, as they also receive $1 million in International money. This makes them leaders in the clubhouse in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes.

Thursday Night Football

Thursday night provided an entertaining football game, however, the moral of the story is simple; you HAVE to score more than 17 points when the opposing quarterback throws 3 interceptions. Yes, Matt Ryan threw 3 interceptions last night. No, the Saints did not capitalize on those opportunities. Being held to a season-low 50 rushing yards probably didn’t help matters.

And I don’t care that they got it. Going for it, on 4th and 1, on Atlanta’s 24-yard line, trailing 20-17, on the road, with under 2 minutes left, was STUPID!!

A decision and the result are 2 separate entities.

Drew Brees iced the game, as he threw an interception in the end zone with 1 minute and 25 seconds left. Brees’ interception was just his 2nd since October 22nd!! Brees and company will look to bounce back when they host the New York Jets next week. And they won’t have to wait long for a shot at redemption. The Falcons come to town on Christmas Eve. You won’t want to miss that rematch, as it could determine the NFC South champion.

 

What was the biggest story from Thursday?? Tell me all about it in the comment section below.

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:10 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports .

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

Kelly O Who?!

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Do or Die. Sink or Swim. Win or Go Home. I’m runnin’ out of expressions for Game 7 here……..

Tensions were running high Monday night in TD Garden as the Boston Celtics played host to the Washington Wizards for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The nerves were visible right from tip-off, as the first 5 field goal attempts came up empty. Players from both sides quickly settled in, and the points began to pile up. Despite looking like the better team throughout the 1st half, the Celtics trailed 55-53 at halftime. The Celtics were carving up the Wizards defense one backdoor cut at a time, but the Wizards had 4 players in double figures by halftime.

And that was the Wizards’ biggest problem. They ended the game with only those 4 players in double figures. Now, Bradley Beal did all he could, absolutely lighting it up in the 2nd half, finishing with a game-high 38 points. It’s hard to beat the Celtics 1-on-5 though.

Enter John Wall: John Wall did his best James Harden impersonation (minus the ridiculous beard) Monday night. When the game mattered most, Wall was nowhere to be found. Wall went scoreless in the final 19 minutes of the game, missing all 11 of his shots. He also added a turnover and a goaltending violation in there for good measure. Nice work John!

And then there’s Kelly Olynyk. Who?! Yes, Kelly Olynyk, the unlikely hero of Game 7. While Isaiah Thomas played an outstanding Game 7 (29 points and 12 assists), it was Olynyk who put the nail in the coffin. Oh, you want the score?? It’s coming don’t worry. How else can I get you to read this far down on the page?? Olynyk hit one timely shot after another, providing 26 points off the bench. And now, the Celtics have the great pleasure of hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. I guess we’ll finally get to prove the rest vs. play for the #1 seed theory……..

That, or the Cavaliers will win in 6 games. Either way. Either way is fine.

Oh by the way, the Celtics won last night 115-105. Thanks for reading all the way down here!

AND NOW, I’M GOING TO GO OFF ON A DON LAGRECA STYLE RANT:

I always wanted to black-out from rage. Anyway, here goes nothing:

I personally hope Lebron loses in Boston in Game 7 so everyone can blame the Cavaliers resting during the regular season. I CAN’T STAND NBA players resting throughout the regular season!! I understand the season is long, and grueling, and players deal with injuries, but NEWSFLASH: That’s why the league builds rest days into your schedule. Do NBA players ever think about anything other than themselves?? Do they think about the parents who saved up enough money to take their kid to see Lebron James for the first time?? Only to find out Lebron needs to “rest”. “Oh no, Lebron’s not hurt son. He just had a tough week. You know his butler was off this week, so he personally had to carry his millions to the bank. He must be tired from all that heavy lifting.” GIVE ME A BREAK!! NBA players are multi-millionaires because of fans like that. We, the fans, ARE the demand that put millions of dollars in NBA players’ bank accounts. So when your healthy, play. When your team is on the schedule, play. And when you step onto that hardwood every night, remember, there’s a kid in the stands watching you play for the very first time.

Man, I’ve never rooted for Boston before. This is awkward.

Do the Celtics have a chance in the Eastern Conference Finals? How do you feel about the resting epidemic in the NBA? Let me know in the comment section below.

Also, tune into ESPN tonight @ 8:00 P.M. to watch the NBA Draft Lottery show. Let’s see if the Knicks’ luck can get any worse. Immediately following the lottery, you can see Game 2 of the San Antonio Spurs vs. the Golden State Warriors. Should be an ugly one with no Kawhi Leonard. Expect an angry Gregg Popovich..again.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

The English Language Doesn’t Have A Word For What The Spurs Did To The Rockets Thursday Night

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WOW!! Let me say that again. WOW!!!! Was that awesome or what?? I’ve never enjoyed watching an absolute blowout so much in my life. In case you turned the game off at halftime, it only got worse (for the Rockets). The San Antonio Spurs crushed, destroyed, demolished, routed, embarrassed, beat down, annihilated, obliterated, and most importantly eliminated the Houston Rockets on Thursday night (114-75). Yes, you read that score right. 114-75.

Game 6 started with the Spurs winning the tip-off. Lamarcus Aldridge received the ball in the low post, made a quick spin move toward the left baseline, and scored an easy basket. Just 23 seconds into the game, the tenor was set for the rest of the evening. Aldridge channeled his days as a Portland Trailblazer (where he averaged nearly 20 points and 9 rebounds per game), finishing with 34 points and 12 rebounds. He was unstoppable, and the rest of the spurs, sans Kawhi Leonard, followed suit. Before we get to the Spurs’ impressive performance, let us attempt to understand what happened to James Harden and the Rockets….

I’ve never seen such a pathetic performance from an MVP candidate, on his home floor, in an elimination game in my life. James Harden looked about as interested in last night’s game as this kid from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

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Harden attempted just 2 shots in the 1st half. 2 shots!! Momentum is often thought of in a positive light, but I guess the awful momentum of Harden’s disastrous play at the end of Game 5 spilled over to Game 6. Harden finished with a season low 10 points on 2-11 shooting, and added a stellar 6 turnovers. His performance was inexplicable, but if Harden wasn’t making such a ridiculous salary, I’d be calling for a point-shaving investigation. It was that bad! But anyway, back to the Spurs….

Six Spurs scored in double figures. Jonathan Simmons, who started in place of Leonard, contributed 18 points on 8-12 shooting and played the best defense I’ve seen since the ’85 Bears (“Da Bears“). Rookie point guard, Dejounte Murray, played a fantastic game posting a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block). Someone tell me how this kid fell to 29th in the draft?! This kid is going to be a very good point guard for a very long time. Pau Gasol, Danny Green, and Patty Mills had solid games, all scoring in double figures as well.

The Spurs have been typecast with playing a “boring” brand of basketball. I am sick of hearing that. If putting the ball in the basket efficiently, playing relentless defense, and winning is “boring”, then sign me up for some boring. And I’ll take a side of fundamentals with my boring please. In the age of hey everybody look at me, it is refreshing to see a franchise run like the Spurs. Sure, they have a superstar in Kawhi Leonard, but do you see him showboating? Complaining? Flailing his arms about looking for an imaginary foul? Flopping around like a fish out of water? The answer, to all, is an emphatic NO!

The Spurs, once again, proved why they are the cream of the crop in the NBA. They are heading to their 10th Western Conference Finals under Gregg Popovich (the coach since ’96-’97). I know, I know, this sounds a lot like the New England Patriots. Well, it’s because they are run very similarly. They don’t hand out contracts based on what you’ve done, rather for what you are going to do. They turn late round draft picks into stars. They don’t tolerate individual egos. And they are run with only one thing in mind; WINNING.

The question is, will they win against the contrasting style of the Golden State Warriors? Assuming Kawhi Leonard’s health, and as much as I don’t want to eat my words for doubting the Spurs, I still can’t envision the Spurs beating the Warriors 4 times in 7 tries. Can you?

Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Rockets Lay Texas-Size Beat Down On Spurs

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There’s domination….and then there’s whatever the Houston Rockets did to the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night. Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals saw the Houston Rockets travel 197 miles across Texas to San Antonio to take on the Spurs. And apparently the Spurs weren’t listening when Rudy’s coach was talking. Not only did the Rockets push the Spurs around, they stole the Spurs’ lunch money and then made them apologize.

The Spurs set a handful of team records Monday night, just not the kind you’d want to attach your name. The Rockets carried a 30-point lead into halftime (69-39), marking the largest halftime deficit in Spurs postseason history. This was also the largest halftime deficit in any game under coach Gregg Popovich. The largest lead of the game ballooned to 39 points with 6:18 left in the 4th quarter (Final Score: 126-99). The Spurs also allowed the most 3-point attempts and makes in their storied postseason history. The Rockets made 22 of their 50 3-point attempts.

Side Note: That is ridiculous!! Who attempts 50 3’s in 1 game?! Especially against the defensive minded Spurs. Apparently Beard and Co. do.

Launching 3-pointers is actually nothing new for the Rockets, as they attempted 3,306 of them during the regular season. That’s just over 40 3-point attempts per game!! While James Harden hit 3 of them, he played the role of facilitator on Monday night, dropping 14 assists. Trevor Ariza, yes of all people Trevor Ariza, had a game-high 23 points, making 5 3-pointers.

And after an unforeseen whoopin’ like Game 1, not even the prognosticator of prognosticators could possibly predict the outcome of Game 2. I’ll give it a shot though. The Spurs bounce back in a big way, winning 110-99. Please don’t put your money where my mouth is though. Thank you. And if you caught that Groundhog Day reference, bravo!

Tune into TNT on Wednesday night @ 9:30 p.m. EST to see what happens. What do you think will happen? Will the Spurs bounce back in Game 2 or will they continue to fear the beard? Let me know in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

One Liner Friday’s

Welcome back to another Friday edition of One Liners. Here you will find the past week in sports wrapped up in one line and one line only. Enjoy!

Congratulations Lebron on winning your 2nd championship, now you’re not a complete and total failure.

Everyone can keep saying that Gregg Popovich is the best coach of all-time, but when you make horrible blunder after horrible blunder late in championship games maybe you’re not who we thought you were.

Thanks for explaining yourself though, we all really appreciate it.

It’s time Manu, it’s time.

Everyone understands that Aaron Hernandez is going to be brought up on murder charges soon right?

I mean this guy has to be one of the dumbest people on the planet.

Aaron, please don’t shoot me in the face because you’re the butt of one of my jokes.

+13 Tiger, really?

At least you didn’t make any excuses for your poor play.

Can the Yankees demote Phil Hughes all the way back to high school?

The sky is falling the sky is falling, oh no wait that’s just babies falling from the sky.

In all seriousness though, nice catch Joe Torre’s daughter.

If you haven’t been watching the Stanley Cup Finals you should start.

Yasiel Puig!

Now I know Spain is the best soccer team in the world, but 10-0?

The craziest part of that game is that Spain let Tahiti play with 17 men on the field.

This week’s installment has been short but sweet, but I hope you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading!

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Heat Steal Overtime Thriller

If you fell asleep before the end of this game last night, I feel bad for you. It was one of the best basketball games that has ever been played. The San Antonio Spurs came into Miami with the momentum from a solid victory in game 5 and they looked like they were well on their way to another championship. They outplayed the Heat for the first 3 quarters and all they had to do was play 12 more solid minutes of basketball and the championship was theirs. And then, seemingly in a blink of an eye, someone knocked off Lebron James’ headband and knocked some sense into his head. He flipped that switch that everyone in the world (other than himself apparently) knows he can. He physically took over the game at both ends of the floor and singlehandedly brought his team back from the brink of elimination. I don’t care what Lebron’s final stat line turned out to be though, he did not play well until the 4th quarter. Now, despite his dominating play in the 4th quarter, the Heat still found themselves down 5 points with under 30 seconds to play. While the 2nd to last minute of the game was filled with Heat mistakes, the last minute (and overtime) was filled with Spurs mistakes. And Gregg Popovich deserves the majority of the blame for these blunders. Yes, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard both missed free throws down the stretch, but it was the benching of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker at the most inopportune times that will stick in my mind. For those of you who missed the end of the game let me give you a quick rundown of what I’m talking about. The Spurs were up 4 points with 28 seconds left in regulation and Manu Ginobili was heading to the free throw line. He had the opportunity to put the game nearly out of reach. Instead, he misses the first free throw and makes the second. Then after a Heat timeout, Tim Duncan was left on the bench for Boris Diaw. On the ensuing possession Lebron misses a 3-pointer but Mike Miller grabs the offensive rebound, swings it back out to James, and bang he nails the shot. Would Duncan have gotten that defensive rebound if he was in the game? There is no guarantee, but I would have bet money on it. Now, down 2, the Heat send Kawhi Leonard to the free throw line on a phantom foul by Mike Miller. He follows in Ginobili’s footsteps and proceeds to miss the first and make the second free throw. Inexplicably, Popovich decides to take Duncan out of the game AGAIN. This obviously leads to yet another offensive rebound by the Heat, which in turn leads to the game tying 3-pointer by Ray Allen. Popovich may be one of the greatest coaches of all time, but how do you explain these tactical errors?

Now what occurred immediately following Allen’s monumental 3-pointer is the fact that the game was stopped to review whether the shot was in fact a 3-pointer. No one is talking about this today, and this angers me to a level that I don’t have a word for, and Popovich was pretty livid with the referees as well. As seen in overtime, Popovich likes to take the ball and push it (off makes or misses) in hopes to catch the defense off guard for an easy basket. He will do this no matter the situation, and if the Spurs were able to inbound the ball and push it right away no one knows what could have happened. The game was stopped and while the Spurs did get time to set up a play, so did the Heat’s defense. In turn, the final possession in regulation failed miserably and it was off to overtime we went. I’ll fast forward to the last 31 seconds because that’s where it gets interesting. The Spurs were down by one and Gregg Popovich, for no sane reason, decides to take Tony Parker out of the game. Common sense would dictate, and even the commentators mentioned that Popovich would most likely be bringing Parker back into the game on the next timeout. So, the Heat miss their shot attempt and the Spurs grab the rebound with just under 10 seconds to play. Instead of calling a timeout to bring Parker back in and set up a play, the Spurs decide to push the ball up the floor. Manu Ginobili (who played one of the worst games you’ll ever see) tries to drive the lane against 3 Heat players and gets stripped/fouled and the ball lands in Ray Allen’s hands. Allen is fouled with 1.9 seconds left on the clock and knocks down both free throws (of course). The Spurs then call a timeout to push the ball past half court. With one final effort, Tim Duncan inbounds the ball across the court to Danny Green who is blocked/fouled by Chris Bosh as time expires. The Heat force a game 7 in dramatic fashion, and if it is anything like game 6 it will not disappoint.

The big question at this moment is: how can the Spurs possibly bounce back from a crushing defeat to win game 7 on the road? It is a tough question to answer, but I believe if any team can do it, it would be this years Spurs. They have shown their resiliency in this series, always bouncing right back immediately following a defeat. Tim Duncan will need to use his two greatest inventions to do it though; his time machine and his cloning machine. In order for the Spurs to win game 7, Tim Duncan needs to play like he did back in 2003, and he needs to clone himself from the first half of game 6. Duncan was masterful in the first half, scoring at will and putting on a rebounding clinic. Duncan took Chris Bosh to school last night, dominating him in every aspect of the game. It is so impressive to watch Duncan play at such a high level after so many years, and Chris Bosh is no match for Duncan’s greatness in the low post. The Spurs could also use a slightly better effort from Manu Ginobili if they plan on celebrating on Miami’s home court Thursday night. But the most important task for the Spurs in game 7, is to contain Lebron James. Lebron continues to move from the most important game of his career to the most important game of his career. He should look to take control early as he did in last night’s 4th quarter. However, I’m sure the Spurs would love to see him come out flat again with 9 points in the first half. Think about that, Lebron scored 9 points on 3-12 shooting in the first half. That’s horrible! And while Boris Diaw and Kawhi Leonard deserve all the credit in the world for their defensive job on Lebron, no one should hold him to those kind of numbers, ever.

Game 7 should be another epic chapter in the history of the NBA. Take a nap Thursday afternoon, throw water on your face at halftime, or drink 3 coffees and red bull because you won’t want to miss this game. Tune into game 7 on ABC at 9:00 p.m. to catch all the action. Oh, you want a prediction? How could I forget? I would love for the Spurs to win, but I see the Heat winning a tight one; 99-96. I have my fingers crossed right now (yes I’m typing) and I’ll be on the edge of my seat rooting for the Spurs Thursday night, but that’s how I see it going down. Enjoy! Leave your predictions below in the comment section.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Complete And Utter Domination

Have you ever seen a game where the score didn’t fully reflect how the game went? Well, that was what happened last night. The crazy thing about that is the 36-point whooping (113-77) the Spurs laid on the Heat didn’t do the Spurs performance justice. The only reason the Spurs didn’t win by 50 was because of Mike Miller and his 5 3-pointers. Miller is now 8-8 in the last 2 games and hasn’t missed a 3-point attempt since Game 1. There wasn’t one aspect of this game that the Spurs didn’t dominate. Their swarming defense created 16 turnovers while holding the almighty Lebron James to a measly 16 points on 7-21 shooting. The most amazing statistic from this game was that Lebron did not make 1 trip to the free throw line the entire game. The Spurs dared James as well as his buddies Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to shoot the ball. They backed off the ball and crowded the paint. This forced James to shoot outside shots all night. So much for an improved jump shot, huh?

While the Spurs obviously benefited from Danny Green and Gary Neal’s performances, Gregg Popovich should receive most of the credit for this victory. He implemented a game plan that he knew would work. He figured the Heat can not beat them if they keep their entire roster at least 15 feet from the basket at all times. It was almost like their was an invisible barricade keeping the Heat from getting to the basket. This is a recipe for success against the Heat. Kawhi Leonard also deserves a lot of credit for the job he has done defensively against James. James has been bad in this series, and a lot of it has to do with Leonard’s defense. Side note: don’t sleep on Kawhi Leonard. He is going to be one of the best two way players in the NBA in 2 years if he continues to improve his offensive repertoire. Anyway, everyone else can feel bad for the over analyzation of Lebron James, but not me. When you are supposed to be the second coming of Michael Jordan and you are now being mentioned in the same breath as MJ, you deserve all the scrutiny that is thrown your way. Fans, analysts, and people alike can talk about James’ supporting cast and their struggles, but at the end of the day it comes down to Lebron James and what he needs to do to win. If you want to be the best ever, you better show up and get it done when the lights are at their brightest. Everyone else can also stay on that Lebron James is clutch bandwagon, but not me. What, because he hit a layup in the regular season against the Orlando Magic to extend their winning streak and a wide open layup against the Pacers in the playoffs he’s all of a sudden clutch? Nope. What Lebron needs to do is physically impose his will and takeover these games. I just don’t think the combination of Duncan, Parker, Ginobli, and Popovich are going to allow that to happen.

What most people are forgetting is that Tony Parker only contributed 6 points in this contest. Parker got banged up during the game and actually had to go back to the locker room for treatment on his hamstring at one point. He would return to the game but was a
non-factor for the rest of the contest. With Parker virtually non existent, Danny Green and Gary Neal more than picked up the slack. Green finished with 27 points on 9-15 shooting from the field including 7-9 from 3-point range!! Neal also added 24 points on 9-17 shooting from the field including 6-10 from 3-point range!! If 2 players from any team are going to combine for 13-19 from downtown, I don’t care who you are playing, you are going to win that game. And that’s what happened. The Spurs won in more than convincing fashion, and they will without a doubt try to carry this momentum into Game 4 on Thursday night. I believe the Spurs will play an efficient Game 4, but the 3’s wont drop at the rate they did in Game 3. The Heat will bounce back and Lebron will play much better as well, which should lead to an epic Game 4. This game becomes incredibly important for the Miami Heat, for if they lose they will find themselves on the brink of elimination and still on the road. At the same time, if Parker can’t play to at least 75% of his potential than the Spurs will lose Game 4. You can catch all the action in Game 4 on ABC @ 9:00 p.m. Enjoy!

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