NBA Trade Rumors Swirl Around Super-Team Tornado

jimmy butler

Apparently this is what it’s all about. Who can build the most Super, Super-Team of them all?? As the dust settles from the Golden State Warriors steamrolling through the NBA Playoffs, en route to their 2nd championship in 3 years, everyone is trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. And since Kevin Durant declined his player option on Monday in order to re-sign with the Warriors, the dynasty is in full effect.

According to Chris Haynes of ESPN, Durant will take a $4 million “pay cut” to give the franchise the flexibility to keep their roster intact. So, why doesn’t everyone just play for free?? Players make so much money in endorsements their NBA salaries are fairly insignificant anyway. Then the NBA can rename the East All-Stars the Cavaliers and the West All-Stars the Warriors. Isn’t that where we’re headed anyway?!

Side Note: Who fires their General Manager 3 days before the NBA Draft?!

2nd Side Note (?): Who fires their General Manager without consulting their superstar, Lebron James?!?!

Oh, that would be Cleveland Cavaliers owner, Dan Gilbert. Ya know, the guy who ran Lebron James out of town 7 years ago. Well evidently he had so much fun running the best player of this generation out of town the first time, he plans to do it again. Really, really smart….

Lebron had reportedly been lobbying for Cavaliers’ General Manager, David Griffin’s job prior to his firing. So now, it looks like the Cavaliers are trying to make amends. We must build a Super-Team so powerful that Lebron James will never leave again. Fasten your seat belts and lock your doors because we’re entering Rumor Town.

The latest rumor in the NBA Super-Team Saga is the Cavaliers are looking to complete a 3-team trade for Jimmy Butler. Reportedly, the Cavaliers don’t have enough assets to complete this trade with the Chicago Bulls, so they’ve gotten the Phoenix Suns thrown into the mix. If this rumor holds true (which rarely is the case), the trade would look as follows:

  • The Suns would receive Kevin Love (and I’m assuming something else)
  • The Bulls would receive Eric Bledsoe and the 4th overall pick
  • The Cavaliers would receive Jimmy Butler

These talks are preliminary, as their are many other teams involved in the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes. This is assuming the Bulls are even looking to trade Butler in the first place. I know it’s hard to believe, but some reporters will make up trade rumors just to get attention. Crazy, right??

Jimmy Butler is one of the best two-way players in the NBA. If the Cavaliers can pull off a trade of this magnitude, they would be a few role-playing big men away from being real contenders for a championship. *Not fake contenders like they were last year.

Another big name, who’s actually on the trading block, is Paul George. George informed the Pacers he would become a free agent following the 2017-2018 season. While I can’t imagine the Indiana Pacers are thrilled about losing a top-20 talent, they should appreciate George saying, “trade me now, so you don’t get left empty-handed”. Because no one wants to lose Shaquille O’ Neal to free agency……

Nice work Orlando Magic.

Paul George has expressed his desire to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. They have young prospects and draft picks to offer, so it is a plausible scenario. However, the rumors now involve the Los Angeles Clippers, the Boston Celtics, and the Cavaliers. George will undoubtedly be dealt sooner rather than later. The only question is; Where??

Thursday’s NBA Draft should be exciting, as many players could be on the move. No matter what each team does, they will operate with only one thing in mind; create the next Super-Team.

How do you feel about Super-Teams in the NBA?? Like them, love them, or hate them?? Let your feelings out 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!

 

Durant Wins 1st (of many) NBA Title

durant nba title

There are 9 words in the English language we should all get used to hearing..again..and again..and again: “The Golden State Warriors are NBA Champions once again!” With Kevin Durant as the new sheriff in town, this may become a common theme in the NBA. And as impressive as the Warriors were this season (I will give them their deserved praise), they are not helping the NBA’s cause. Many thought the NBA had become a 2-team league. Correction. It has become a 1-team league. Think about it. What is the question Cavaliers ownership and management are asking themselves right now?? Exactly! Who can we add to this roster in order to compete with the Warriors?? You laugh but it’s true. In the not so distant future, I picture the entire All-Star starting lineups donning Cavaliers and Warriors’ jerseys. We’ll get back to the mess that is the NBA, but for now, let us give the Warriors the standing ovation they deserve.

Kevin Durant did what he set out to do. He captured his 1st NBA title after jumping ship in Oklahoma City and joining forces with Stephen Curry and company. There’s only one way to put this, Durant straight up balled out. After missing 20 games due to injury this season, Durant returned and peaked at the perfect moment. He averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists in the finals, making him the unanimous Finals MVP. He unquestionably deserved the Finals MVP, however, he completely overshadowed the spectacular series Stephen Curry had. Curry averaged 26.8 points, 9.4 assists, and 8.0 rebounds in the Finals. Those are video game numbers, normally MVP worthy, however, Curry was the 3rd best player in the series. Again highlighting the state of the NBA.

Let’s rewind to the 2014 offseason. The Warriors roster was constructed with only 1 thing in mind; winning multiple championships. 2 down, at least 1 to go. Assuming this roster remains intact (only Andre Iguodala is a free agent this coming offseason), this Warriors team will remain a dynasty in the NBA. Which begs the question, where does this Warriors team rank amongst the all-time great teams?? We only ask the tough questions here at DaveTalksSports!! Here is a list of the NBA’s all-time great teams:

  1. The “Showtime” Lakers
  2. The 80’s Celtics
  3. The “Bad Boy” Pistons
  4. The Bill Russell Celtics
  5. The Shaq and Kobe Lakers
  6. The Spurs’ Dynasty
  7. And last, but certainly not least, the Jordan-Era Bulls

When we say teams, we really mean an era or dynasty that won multiple championships. Many teams flashed greatness for 1 year, but how many franchises ran off streaks of multiple championships??

The Warriors have now been to 3 straight NBA Finals (winning 2 of 3). In the 2015-2016 season, the Warriors broke the record for most wins in the regular season (73), previously held by the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls (72). The Warriors made a historic run through the postseason this year, dropping just 1 game. Their 16-1 record is the highest winning percentage (.941) of any championship team in NBA history, and they also became 1 of only 3 1-loss teams to win a championship.

The question, when comparing teams from different eras, isn’t who would win (as fun as it would be to watch Jordan and the Bulls play Durant and the Warriors), rather who has a more impressive resume. The Warriors still have room for improvement (which is scary), but right now I’d rank them 7th all-time, behind everyone on the above list besides The “Bad Boy” Pistons. Every other team on that list won at least 3 championships and had at least 4 Finals’ appearances. Unless the Cavaliers add another piece to their championship puzzle, the Warriors should repeat next year (yes I already decided next year’s champion) and climb the all-time ranks.

For now, we close the book on the 2016-2017 NBA season. And we open a new book to a clean page to start the debate. Where do the Warriors rank amongst the all-time great teams?? Post your ranking 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!

 

The Sports World’s Amazing Weekend

crosby

When it’s 95 degrees outside, you can either go to the beach or do what I did. Yup. I sat in an air conditioned living room and watched sports all weekend. As my Boston people would say, “That was wicked smart.” It was a good weekend to reacquaint yourself with the special a** groove in your couch, because the sports world was busy. Let’s start with the most important (but probably least watched) sporting event of the weekend:

STANLEY CUP FINALS

Following a bad loss in Game 5, the Nashville Predators were happy to head home. Prior to Game 6, the Predators stood an impressive 9-1 in their home arena in the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Predators, the Pittsburgh Penguins handed them their 2nd home loss. The Penguins broke a scoreless tie 58 minutes and 35 seconds into the game, scoring what would be the game winning goal. They would add an empty-net goal 1 minute and 21 seconds later, securing a 2-0 victory. And just like that, the Pittsburgh Penguins became the first team in 20 years to win back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships. Sidney Crosby (duh) won the Conn Smythe Trophy (MVP of the Playoffs) for the 2nd straight year. I don’t normally talk about shoulda, woulda, couldas..but ah..what the hell. The Predators actually scored in this game. Just 1 minute and 7 seconds into the 2nd period, Colton Sissons had a goal erased by a quick whistle. The goal shoulda counted, but we can’t go back in time. Also, Sissons and fellow Predator, Filip Forsberg, both hit the post in the 3rd period. That sucks! I feel for the Predators, as their run through the playoffs was fun to watch. Better luck next year!

NBA FINALS

No sweep. No history. Well, history was still made, just not by the Golden State Warriors. The Cleveland Cavaliers finally won a game (137-116), and they did it in historic fashion. When so many changes are made to the record books, a list is necessary:

  1. The Cavaliers scored 49 points in the 1st quarter
  2. The Cavaliers scored 86 points in the 1st half
  3. The Cavaliers made 24 3-pointers
  4. Lebron James recorded his 9th triple-double in the Finals (breaking Magic Johnson’s record)
  5. Dahntay Jones became the 1st player to get a technical foul from the bench in the NBA Finals (I don’t actually know if this is true – but I think it’s really funny)
  6. Lebron James passed Michael Jordan for 3rd all-time in points scored in the NBA Finals (trailing only Jerry West and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)

Heading into Game 4, the Golden State Warriors were looking to become the 1st team in NBA history to sweep through the playoffs at 16-0. If they win Game 5 they will still be in rarified air. They will join the 2001 Los Angeles Lakers and the 1983 Philadelphia 76ers as the only 1-loss teams to win a championship.

All you Lebron fanatics can pump the brakes. Don’t expect the Cavaliers to hit 24 3-pointers and score 137 points again. You can also expect Lebron, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love not to combine for 94 points again. The Cavaliers are David Wells. They are capable of throwing a Perfect Game, but they aren’t bringing home a Cy Young Award anytime soon. Expect the Warriors to roll in Game 5. 124-111. Warriors win another title. Book it.

U.S.A. VS. MEXICO

Soccer?! Yes. We are going to talk about soccer. Have you ever seen anyone happier to end in a draw before?? That is the question to ask following a draw between U.S.A. and Mexico on Sunday night. You’d think U.S.A. had just won the World Cup. The two nations squared off in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifying match. The match was played in front of 87,000 screaming fans in Estadio Azteca, the famed stadium in the heart of Mexico City. Michael Bradley of U.S.A. scored a shocking goal (from about 40 yards out) just 6 minutes into the match. But, thanks to incredibly poor defense by U.S.A, Mexico tied the match in the 23rd minute when Carlos Vela ran untouched for what seemed like 8 miles before putting home a left-footed strike from just outside the box. The match would end in a 1-1 draw. Maybe there is reason to celebrate, as the U.S.A earned just their 3rd win or draw in 22 tries playing in Mexico City. Pop the champagne……?

AARON JUDGE FOR MVP

Before you laugh, check out the numbers. If the MLB season ended today, Aaron Judge would be the Rookie of the Year and MVP. That hasn’t been done since Ichiro Suzuki in 2001. Aaron Judge is hitting .344 with 21 home runs and 47 r.bi.’s. Yup, that would give Judge the lead in the Triple Crown. Plus, Judge’s Yankees are in 1st place in the American League East with a record of 37-23. PLUS, Aaron Judge hits baseballs really, really FAR. Yes, that baseball really travelled 496 feet. That would be the longest home run since ESPN began tracking distance in 2009. The Yankees are now riding a 5-game winning streak. In their last 5 games, the Yankees have scored a total of 57 runs. That is insane!! This offensive outburst is still being done without future 1st baseman Greg Bird. As good as the offense has been, it is the pitching that has the Yankees in 1st place on June 12th. C.C. Sabathia’s resurgence has been the untold storyline of the Yankees’ season. Let’s hope it continues.

RAFAEL NADAL

And last but not least….words you’ve heard many times before. 10 times now to be exact. Yes. Rafael Nadal won his 10th French Open title. What words could I possibly find to explain the greatness that is Rafael Nadal?? I don’t know, but I’ll try. He is the best clay-court tennis player ever. We have never seen a player this dominant at anything..ever. Not Wayne Gretzky on ice. Not Bill Russell on the hardwood. And no, not Tom Brady on the gridiron. Rafael Nadal dominates clay like nothing we’ve ever seen. Think about this. Nadal just won the French Open without dropping a set in the ENTIRE TOURNAMENT!! The finals was about as anti-climatic as they come. He defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1. At age 31, Nadal is finally healthy again, and that means only one thing..the sky is the limit.

With all these fantastic sporting events on TV this weekend, what did you watch?? Tell me what was on your TV 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!

 

15 Down, 1 To Go

kd

I like this picture. Yes Kevin, you’re only 1 win away from your 1st ring. Soon Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, and Elgin Baylor will go back to being the best players without an NBA championship.

There are countless ways to break down the Cleveland Cavaliers loss in Game 3 (118-113). But we’re going to keep it short and sweet. The Golden State Warriors are simply too good. They are simply too much to handle for the Cavaliers. That’s it. That’s all I have to say. Bye……….

 

 

 

 

Naaaaa, I’m just messin’ with you..we still need to place blame somewhere. Today, I’m going to blame this loss on 4 people (or things). Lebron James, Lebron James, Lebr………I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Did you just see the Lebron defenders jump out of their chairs?!?!

Seriously though, Game 3’s loss is on Tyronn Lue, Kevin Love, whoever constructed the Cavaliers roster (oh wait that’s Lebron James), and father-time. Let’s start with Tyronn Lue. Lue made numerous mistakes in this game, but none loomed larger than not fouling Golden State immediately with 25 seconds left in the game. Newsflash..when you’re down 1 with 25 seconds left, in a virtual must-win situation, you foul immediately to extend the game. Instead, the Cavaliers waited 13 seconds to foul. This left the Cavaliers with no choice but to jack up a three. But thanks to Andre Iguodala’s extremely risky swipe at the ball, Lebron James never got that chance. Also, you’d think at some point during the game, as the Cavaliers struggled mightily from 3-point range, “Coach” Lue might have suggested taking the ball to the basket. That’s your cue Kevin Love.

Kevin Love was awful last night. He finished with just 9 points on 1-9 shooting (1-7 from 3-point range). The Cavaliers shot just 27.3% from 3-point range. They attempted 44 3-pointers..44!! Who do they think they are the Houston Rockets?? You would think at some point they’d stop trying to jam the square peg into the round hole. Or not. “But if Love hits just 2 more 3’s they win.” Yeah, and if my grandmother had balls she’d be my grandfather. Listen, the Cavaliers put forth a great effort last night, but take the rest of the stats away and consider this: How can the Cavaliers beat the Warriors with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving shooting a combined 1-14 from 3-point range??

 

how does Tristan Thompson’s 5-year, $82 million contract look now?? Thompson has just 8 points and 11 rebounds in the Finals (all 8 of those points came in Game 2). I’m sorry, but that is unacceptable. And if you are relying on a 36-year old Richard Jefferson to guard Kevin Durant, you know you’re in trouble.

And last but not least, father-time. I know, I know, I know, I know. Everyone is going to kill me for this, but it’s the truth. Lebron’s numbers are off the charts. He is a top-5 player of all-time, and he has played in 7 consecutive Finals. HE’S TIRED. In 13 NBA seasons, he has played 41, 272 minutes (25th most of all-time). He is on pace to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most minutes played. I’m not blaming Lebron James. He is definitely doing all he can. He is leaving every ounce of energy on the court and it shows, as he is yet again averaging a triple-double in the Finals (32 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists). But believe it or not he’s human. This is why, down the stretch of games, he defers to his teammates too much. The Cavaliers were outscored 11-0 in the final 3:08 of the game. They went 0-8 during that stretch. How many of those shots do you think Lebron took?? ONE!! He only took ONE shot in the final 3:44 of the game. Also unacceptable. Lebron, you are the best player in the world, and this is your team. So don’t kick the ball out to Kyle Korver when you can drive to the basket. Don’t give Kyrie Irving the ball and then stand in the corner like a scared 2nd grade kid in gym class and watch Kyrie jack up a step back 3-pointer. Get the ball and ram it home like you did in the 1st quarter!!

And now..we’re here. Present time. The Warriors are up 3-0 in the NBA Finals. They are 15-0 in the playoffs (which is already a record). And they are looking to become the 1st team to sweep through the playoffs at 16-0. The trio of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson was fantastic last night. They combined for 87 points and 15 3-pointers. None more important than Kevin Durant’s 3-pointer with 45 seconds left, putting his team up 114-113. The Warriors will try to close out the series sweep on Friday night at 9:00 P.M. EST. Tune into ABC to see if they can continue to make history.

Do you think the Warriors will sweep the Finals?? Give me your hot take 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!

 

That Wasn’t Very Close Either….

warriors

Nice try Cleveland! Following a Game 1 blowout loss, which felt like 147 days ago, many expected a more competitive Game 2. Ehhh, not so much (132-113 – not Cleveland). The Cleveland Cavaliers made many visible adjustments at the start of Game 2, many I agreed with, however it wasn’t quite enough to slow down the juggernaut that is the Golden State Warriors. Lebron James and the Cavaliers stormed out of the gate with a different intensity on Sunday night. Lebron attacked the basket in a way that said this is still my league, so get out of my way. Is it me or did you just picture Ludacris rapping..”If you do the speed limit, get the f*** out of my way!” Anyway….

The Cavaliers showed their willingness to defend, as I guess they were tired of watching Kevin Durant slam home uncontested dunks. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, these adjustments weren’t nearly enough to pull off a victory let alone make the game competitive. The Cavs are lacking one major adjustment, and I hope they’re listening (or reading). They CAN NOT beat the Warriors at their own game. Trying to run up and down the floor and outscore the Warriors is a recipe for disaster. I hear it can also bring about darkness, despair, and plague, but who doesn’t enjoy those things??

Lebron James and company need to slow down the pace of the game. Let me digress again. Thanks! Did you see Lebron James when he went to the bench in the 3rd quarter. That is as tired as I’ve ever seen him..ever! No, this is not a knock on Lebron. It is simply an observation that not only can he not beat this Warriors team by himself, he can’t beat them with Kevin Love (who’s on fire) and Kyrie Irving. Now, back to business.

They need to pound the ball into the floor and turn this into a half-court snore fest. Otherwise, this will turn into a 5-game series. I know I know, a playoff series doesn’t start until a home team loses a game. Well I guess this series is going to start very soon. Allow me to contradict myself..here ——–> I actually think the Cavs pull off a victory on their home court in Game 3, but that is strictly predicated on my faith in Lebron James. I don’t envision him being embarrassed on his sports’ biggest stage. Outside of that I have no reason to believe the Cavs can compete with the Warriors in any facet of the game.

For example, last night, the Cavs had 3 players in double figures, the Warriors had 6. The Warriors led in every statistical category besides steals/turnovers. The Warriors are also the superior defensive team. Everyone clean out the wax from your ears and listen: KLAY THOMPSON IS AN ELITE DEFENDER. Yes, he can shoot 3’s from anywhere in the gym, but he is showing the world he is an elite defender. Thompson has locked down Kyrie Irving, one of the games best ball-handlers, through the first 2 games of this series.

It’s not THAT the Cavaliers have lost both games, it’s HOW they’ve lost.

Let us close out this fantastic article with ‘The Play of the Game’. If you had already shut off the game or fell asleep, it took place 3 minutes into the 2nd half. The 3rd quarter has been the biggest difference in this series by the way. Steve Kerr, who’s back after an 11-game absence, must give motivating halftime speeches. Anyway, Stephen Curry put on a spectacular dribbling show. My words can’t do it justice, so please click here and enjoy. He is unreal. And he doesn’t just shoot. He is an all-around player, and last night displayed those skills with a triple-double (32 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds). Oh yeah, and they also have Kevin Durant..hahaha.

Tune into ABC on Wednesday at 9:00 P.M. EST to see if the Warriors will lose a game this season.

How many games will it take the Warriors to close out the series?? 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!

 

I Waited All Year For That?!?!

durant

Every once in a while there is a highly anticipated movie coming out. The trailer looks great. Everyone gets really excited. You wait months and months until it finally reaches theaters. So you pile into the car with your friends and you head to the movies. You get your ticket, you buy your jumbo popcorn and soda, and you make your way to that perfect seat right in the middle of the theater. Then, Waterworld comes on, and you realize you just waited 6 months to watch Kevin Costner drink his own pee. Yeah, that’s what we’re talking about.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals was about as big of a flop as Waterworld (thank God no one drank their own pee last night). This series was billed as ‘The Trilogy’ or ‘Part III’: the 2 super teams meet again! And I know it’s only been 1 game, but so far, this doesn’t look like it’s going to be a competitive series. I know I know, all the Lebron defenders will kill me for this. They’ll say I shouldn’t overreact to 1 game. Lebron will bounce back and if they win Game 2, they will have stolen home court advantage. I get all that. But, I also understand that Draymond Green and Klay Thompson just went a combined 6 for 28 from the field last night, and they still won by 22 (113-91). I also understand that unless Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love combine for 90 points in Game 2, this series isn’t going to last as long as I expected.

Game 1 flirted with the record books in a few different ways. Kevin Durant dropped 38 points without committing a single turnover. It’s been nearly 17 years since that happened (Shaq scored 41 points without committing a turnover in the 2000 NBA Finals). Durant’s 38 points brought his streak to 6 games of 25+ points in an NBA Finals’ game, tying Michael Jordan, Rick Barry, and Shaquille O’Neal for the longest streaks in Finals history. The Golden State Warriors combined for only 4 turnovers, tying the record for fewest turnovers in an NBA Finals game.

For my own sake and the sake of NBA fans around the world, I sincerely hope Game 2 is more competitive than Game 1. We’ve seen enough blowouts in this year’s playoffs to last a lifetime. What do you say we get rewarded with a buzzer beater in Game 2?? Pretty please with a cherry on top?? I still have faith in Lebron’s ability to make adjustments after a spanking like that, so I predict a much closer game in Game 2. Unfortunately for LeBron, I think he’ll be on the losing end of Game 2 as well.

Game 2 is on Sunday by the way. Each of these teams just rested 6 (Cavaliers) and 9 (Warriors) days!! WHY THE HELL DO THEY NEED 2 FULL DAYS OF REST, WITHOUT TRAVELLING, NOW?!?! Oh right: it’s all about the $$$$$$$$.

Tune into Game 2 on ABC on Sunday at 8:00 P.M. EST.

Will Lebron and the Cavs bounce back in Game 2? Or will we witness another blowout? Tell me your thoughts 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!

 

The Good, The Bad, and The Unknown

roy hibbert

Monday night marked the beginning of the 2nd round of the NBA Playoffs. Within the first 2 games, there were 2 emphatic statements made. One was better than good, while the other was ehhh for lack of another word, worse than bad. And Tuesday night, the other 2 games will get under way. Let’s start with The Good:

Chris Paul, and his Los Angeles Clippers, marched into Oklahoma City and sent a clear message to Kevin Durant and the Thunder. Chris Paul sent another message that I’m pretty sure his critics heard loud and clear as well. Paul put his Clippers on his back and led them to a decisive 122-105 victory to grab a 1 game to none lead in the series. Paul hit 8 three-pointers, that’s right, EIGHT three-pointers!! Yes, Paul went 8 of 9 from downtown and also added 10 assists to his stat line. He essentially contributed in half of his teams points Monday night. Paul, without a doubt will not continue to drain three’s at such a frenetic pace, however, he should be able to maintain his elite level of play throughout the entire 2nd round. This would get the monkey off his back and would land him in his first Conference Finals of his career. The MVP to be, Kevin Durant, may have something to say about that though, as I expect a bounce back performance in Game 2 from Durant and his trigger happy side-kick Russell Westbrook. By the way, imagine if Robin turned to Batman and said, “You know what Batman, I think we should change the name of this movie to Robin Returns.” Batman would have picked up Robin and put him back in his closet. Durant needs to man up and tell Westbrook to give him the damn ball and get out of his way! Anyone who knows basketball has been saying this for years, but I guess Durant doesn’t want to listen. Now, let’s move on to the bad….THE VERY BAD:

Roy Hibbert, oh poor Roy Roy. The stat line says it all: 0 points, 0 rebounds, and 5 fouls (in 18 Minutes). What in the blazing saddles is going on here?? Roy Hibbert is listed at 7’2″. 0 Rebounds?!?!?! You should get at least one rebound by accident….from the bench….when you’re 7’2″. I, along with the rest of the world do not understand what has happened to Roy Hibbert, but he better figure it out quick or else his Pacers will be watching the Heat steamroll the Wizards rather than having that dubious pleasure themselves. And last but not least, the unknown:

Only time will tell what will happen in the rest of the series’ that have yet to start, but the big conversation of the 2nd round thus far has been the Miami Heat vs. the Brooklyn Nets. A lot of people are jumping on the Brooklyn bandwagon because they swept the regular season series with the Heat this year (4-0). I for one am not buying into that. Yes, winning 4 straight games, no matter how close they were, against the two time defending champions is an outstanding feat, however, this is not the regular season anymore. The Miami Heat rest their players throughout the regular season, and from time to time honestly just don’t try sometimes. Come playoff time, Lebron, Wade, and company are all business, all the time. And frankly, they are just a better team than Brooklyn. The other question is, as a Knicks fan, if you had to root for one of these teams, who do you root for? This is not an easy question to answer, but I would have to root for the Heat. Despite what some delusional Knicks fans think, the Knicks and the Heat don’t have a rivalry anymore. The Knicks and Nets don’t have a rivalry yet either, but fuel will definitely be thrown on the fire if the Nets can somehow dethrone the Heat. Plus, Knicks fans can’t root for a team that employs Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett (come on now!).

Stay tuned for my predictions going forward in these NBA Playoffs.

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!

Thank you for reading and leave a comment in the section below.