The basketball thread

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  • @Arkandel said:

    How the hell do you stop a guy who can do this?

    Possession ball. That's it.

    You can't fast-break this team. You do that; you give the ball back; and then they score. All you can do is play solid defense, take your time on offense, and hope that Curry twists his ankle or something.

    And then, you only have to worry about Klay Thompson.

  • Ah, Stephen Curry and the Warriors.

    I'm old enough that I was born just after their 1975 title, so I never saw Rick Barry or the rest from the 70s. My first exposure to the team was Sleepy Floyd, Chris Mullin, Joe Barry Carroll (aka Joe Barely Cares), and so on. One of my earliest basketball memories is a 4OT game in Oakland where the Warriors beat the Nets.

    Look at that box score - Nine 3-pointers taken in the entire game, and that's four quarters plus an extra 20 minutes from the overtimes.

    Curry averages 11 attempts a game (and he's on pace to make 400 this season). But before that, a little more.

    Run TMC came soon after, and while that was a fun period the Warriors were never championship level as a team. I saw some sad, sad years. I remember Chris Cohan getting booed on his home court when the Warriors hosted the All-Star Game in 2000. I remember a 20-win season feeling like an accomplishment. When they had the "We Believe" team in 2006-07 that made the playoffs on the last day of the regular season, for the first time in a dozen years, I went to a home game then drove up to Portland early the next morning to watch them clinch there. Watching them knock out #1 Dallas was amazing. They ran out of steam against Utah, but eyes were back on the Warriors.

    After a better season following that but missing out on the playoffs (8th place Denver had 50 wins and the Warriors had 48), Cohan tore it all up again. Finally, mercifully, he sold the team.

    A lot of people thought Larry Ellison was going to get the Warriors, and maybe he was in line to, but it ended up being Joe Lacob and Peter Guber. There was some skepticism, some early foot-in-mouth things and some boasting, but...they somehow got Stephen Curry.

    By all rights, he should have been taken by one of the two picks Minnesota had ahead of the Warriors, but they took Rubio and Flynn. IIRC, Curry didn't even really work out for the Warriors before the draft, but Larry Riley took a shot on him. Right away, Monta Ellis said a backcourt with Curry and himself couldn't work. He'd end up right, but probably not for the reasons he may have believed. Ellis was a me-first, team-second player and I doubt he wanted to share much with Curry.

    Curry also had bad ankle problems, so bad that when the Warriors had to decide on who to keep of the two, they came so close to sending Curry away. Around that time, I read recently, Curry began to work with someone on better positioning of his body, using his hips more, taking some of the pressure off his ankles. Somehow, it worked.

    Along the way, he worked and worked to become the great shooter he is now. He was already good with Davidson, but consider this - he's shooting almost 70% at the rim this season. That's territory you usually only see big men at, and mainly because so many of their baskets from that close are dunks. Curry has become ridiculously good at finishing tough layups because he practices them so much.

    Anyway, the Warriors got Andrew Bogut for Ellis, Andre Iguodala ended up joining the team after that playoff series with Denver, they had Thompson, Green, and a good core. But they weren't quite there. Their defense had improved with Mark Jackson as the head coach (and Mike Malone on the staff), but offensively they were still too iso-heavy. That was part of the knock on Jackson. He could motivate, but when it came to actual coaching he came up short. He also could not get along with the front office.

    That's why I was excited when they replaced him with Steve Kerr and I read about how prepared Kerr was just for the interview. He learned from Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich. He played with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, and so on. Hell, Kerr was part of that 72-10 Bulls team and won multiple titles as a key role player.

    Last year, it all clicked. They moved the ball like a great team should, their defense further improved, and I got to see something I never thought I would - a title. As for Curry? Now he's even better than before. Teams are doing all they can to try to shut him down, disrupt him and more, but because he's so good and so fast at getting shots off that only he can regularly make, and because the players around him are good enough shooters (Thompson especially) that you can't ever forget the rest of them (Curry and/or Green WILL get the ball to the open guy), it's kind of a "pick your poison" thing.

    I feel like the basketball gods have smiled on a franchise and fanbase that went through years of dark times with no light at the end of the tunnel, and it's so much fun to watch. To even be talking about them challenging that 72-10 record is a cherry on top, but obviously I'd like a repeat over that. This is a historically good team, without comparing players and eras, and Curry is cementing his status as a top player in the history of the league already.

    Yeah, I like my sports.

  • Pitcrew

    The only thing like the Warriors this year that I have ever seen was the Bulls of 95-96 that went 72-10 and dominated everyone they faced in the playoffs.
    I think did something like 10,000 simulations of the rest of the regular season and the Warriors broke that Bulls team's record for wins in around half of them.
    Since my favorite team will not be in the playoffs I am fairly unbiased and would like to see some good hard fought series but I honestly don't see any team but the Spurs or the Cavs taking more of then a game of of them and either of though to I can only see the series going 6 at max.
    Absolutely great basketball to watch, I just wish they were a bit more mortal and the end outcome seemed less forgone.

  • @ThatGuyThere I don't want this to sound the way it might, but sometimes complacency and boredom is their own worst enemy. They can just be so good, off-nights so rare, that no matter what most teams try against them it comes down more to how focused they are.

    That's REALLY tough to deal with if you're trying to beat them, even harder when you get their full attention. They'll have the occasional stinker, but by and large I can watch them trail in a game and have a pretty sure feeling they're going to come back somehow.

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    @Wolfs What I think will make or break them in the playoffs is how the referees treat them. One of the main reasons they have the record they do - other of course than the fact they have several amazing shooters and passers at the same time - is the illegal screens they get to set to get Curry/Klay open looks.

    I mean look at this shit.

    If they get to do that in the playoffs then I don't think they can be stopped. I hope the Spurs do - I really want Timmy to get one last chip on his way out - but it's impossible to know.

  • Pitcrew

    Illegal screens in the NBA is like Holding in the NFL so prevalent they can't all be called so only the worst offenses get the whistle, the cynic in me thinks that then becomes a strategy keep pressing the envelope of what constitutes the worst and end up getting away with more and more.

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    @ThatGuyThere They bug me almost as much as flopping, because they change the game in a way that exploits the rules. They're not supposed to be big factors in games.

  • Funny thing is the NBA does that "review the calls and non-calls in the last two minutes of the game" thing and even they said the screens were legal, that there was room given for the opponents and all that. Whether you agree with that or not, that's another matter.

    As far as moving screens in general, if a guy sets a screen and the player crashes into him instead of trying to go around him, of course I'd expect him to move a little. Now, if somebody is holding a screen for only a moment then leaving the spot to stay with the defender and doing that routinely, that's a different story.

    Though, this may be an interesting read that goes into some of these screens:

    And the NFL thing is exactly what I compared this to the other day with someone else by bringing up the example of the Seahawks DBs grabbing receivers all the time. Every team - especially every GOOD team - can and should be looking for ways to get ahead. Sometimes they're on the edge of the rules, sometimes beyond, but when you put it on the officials to make a call or not, chances are you're going to get away with some stuff. If you are, it's either on the league to crack down on it or other teams to follow suit.

    In other words, I don't think this is only something the Warriors benefit from. Or rather, that only they CAN benefit from. They just get the most focus because they're the best team. If you watch closely, they do a lot of clutching and grabbing on rebounds as well. Every team does that sort of thing, expecting that the refs aren't going to catch it all.

    I could go into how much I hate players like James Harden throwing his head back on every drive to the basket in hope of getting a whistle, but I don't think I have to seek for much agreement on THAT one.

  • Pitcrew

    I think a lot of it is the swinging pendulum of game balance during the late 80s to mid 90s defenders were almost allowed to mug people. Then they started to crack down and turn things around at least in the NBA in college certain conferences are still pretty rugged shall we say.
    Now things have flowed to a more offensive friendly style, I do think that during the off season there will be adjustments on how the screen thing is called. Much like how the season after the Seahawks DBs were dominant they NFL started calling the grabbing in the secondary a lot more closely and restored more balance.

  • @ThatGuyThere That may be true, but I definitely am unwilling to accept an argument centered around "The Warriors only won because they took advantage of the existing screening rules."

    I've already heard enough about how they were lucky not to face the Clippers or Spurs last year when they were already assured of not facing at least one of them well before the Clippers blew it against Houston. I've already heard enough about how they were fortunate to get the Cavs without Irving and Love. People say the NBA is weak now.

    All they've done is beaten the Clippers 6 of the last 7 times in the regular season. All they did was destroy a full Cavs squad in Cleveland. Everything put in front of them so far, they've handled. That's the mark of a great team. Whether they end up a historic dynasty or a team that had a great couple years remains to be seen, but seeing ex-players coming out to say "This isn't anything special" or "My team would have beaten them" is pretty damned sad.

    All this, and the Spurs are only a few games behind them for the best record. The Warriors made quite a statement in their first meeting, though.

  • @Wolfs said:

    By all rights, he should have been taken by one of the two picks Minnesota had ahead of the Warriors, but they took Rubio and Flynn. IIRC, Curry didn't even really work out for the Warriors before the draft, but Larry Riley took a shot on him.

    Larry Riley said he never really considered Curry because he didn't believe he'd be available at that time. Like you, he firmly believed Minnesota was going to grab him up. When he was still available. The fact that they didn't do any of the workouts and scouting they normally did on a player didn't even matter. They took him.

    As for the screening, there's always specific rules that are laid off in every sport. Michael Jordan was notorious for using the hand check on his cross over step back jumpers to push off the defender. There's one of his last shots from a game in a finals that keep getting replayed over and over (I can't remember which one), where he practically shoves the guy to the ground before taking his shot. He makes the bucket and seals the game and walks back victorious, and everyone forgets that hand checking opponents is illegal. But that's just a part of the game, and as any coach will tell you, you play the game that is called, not the game that is written. It certainly didn't take away form Jordan and the Bulls, I doubt it will affect Golden State's history much.

    However, @Wolfs also mentioned how very little respect Golden State gets already (from some people). And I don't understand it. I know there's a certain amount of jealousy but damn. It was this lack of respect when they won the title last year which I think prompted this extra level of play this year. And they still can't get respect from some people. Haters. I'm no GS fan, but I find it impossible not to respect what GS has done the last 2 years.

  • Pitcrew

    See I don't see a lack of respect at all for golden state, maybe it is the sites I visit but the get a lot of praise from where I go. Granted those are mainly stat head analytics heavy places, so that might make a difference if compared to the more tradition style outlets.

  • @Arkandel said:

    What I think will make or break them in the playoffs is how the referees treat them. One of the main reasons they have the record they do - other of course than the fact they have several amazing shooters and passers at the same time - is the illegal screens they get to set to get Curry/Klay open looks.

    Even if you removed Draymond Green from that play, the defender would not have been able to get to or stop Curry from taking the shot. Plus, I've seen Curry make several of those kinds of shots, even when contested.

    That said, yeah, that's a pretty illegal screen to me.

  • @ThatGuyThere I don't mean to say that the majority of people don't give GS respect. Most people (this year, at least) give them the credit due. But that percentage is not nearly as high as it should be.

    I see people on all several different kind of sports shows compare them to the Patriots and say they're gonna have a great season, but then get trounced in the playoffs due to real competition plus fatigue, etc. But even for those that do give them respect, in general, they talk about this year's team like a breakout team - not like the league's reigning NBA champions.

    Other who recognize this say it is a PR problem. That they are too soft spoken and don't command that respect universally, but I think that's a crock. You shouldn't have to be loud and obnoxious in order to get attention when your play merits it. But, unfortunately, loud and obnoxious in this country (US) seems to be just as worthy of praise and adulation as actions for many people.

  • @Warma-Sheen That would have been the shot against Bryon Russell of the Jazz.

    Yep, it gets shown as one of the greatest moments, LOL.

    As for the respect thing, sure, they DO get a ton of it from a lot of people. It's just the naysayers and some apparently bitter, envious ex-players that are getting a lot of unnecessary attention lately.

    Last year I went to a game as a visiting fan and after the Warriors won, I overheard a few home fans saying OKC would beat GS in the first round (turns out the Warriors were "lucky" the Thunder didn't make it in at all). There's a lot to be said for winning that title in your first try in the Finals, though the Warriors did have a couple years in the postseason prior to going all the way. It's taken their confidence to all new levels.

    I will say I've occasionally looked in on ClutchFans and there are a number of Rockets fans there oohing and aahing over Curry and how the Warriors play, and a lot of them have turned on James Harden as part of it given the whole "Swag Champs" thing and how Harden hasn't done much to back up his self-promotion as the should-have-been MVP last year.

    A comparison between Curry and Jordan is made these days by referencing how Jordan and his teams seemed to do the winning thing with anger pushing them. In Curry's case, he plays with joy out there but he is a straight up assassin when it matters most. I've come to be more surprised when he DOESN'T pull a win out of his hat than when he does.

    Nobody needs to be universally loved as a team, even as a player, and I sure don't expect that. I know what jealousy leads some people to say. All I look for is that people respect the same way they'd want the respect if it was their team/player doing this.

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    @Wolfs I dislike shooting teams a lot. I dislike GSW a lot, they have stupid jerseys.

    ... But I haven't seen a team this good and dominant at least since the 2000-2001 Lakers. They are even better than some of the great Spurs teams.

  • @Arkandel said:

    @Wolfs I dislike shooting teams a lot. I dislike GSW a lot, they have stupid jerseys.

    ... But I haven't seen a team this good and dominant at least since the 2000-2001 Lakers. They are even better than some of the great Spurs teams.

    Man, I wish they'd go back to a sort of Run TMC era jersey. That was simple, classy, and sleek. I know they tried to go with some modern version of the old "City" front by incorporating the new side of the Bay Bridge, but you should have seen how much the basic Copperplate font was mocked by some Warriors fans when it was revealed.

    Have a look through some of their old styles and info to go with it:

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