So let me get this straight… The Bucks murdered the celtics last year, and then the Heat murdered the Bucks this year. And somehow, by the reverse transitive property of NBA fan logic, the Heat are not favored to beat the celtics this year.
By no means am I a hardcore NBA connoisseur, but it’s easy enough to figure out after watching a bit and I’ve watched enough Heat to know they’re going to The Finals.
Coach Spo is the best. Give me Pat Riley’s handpicked prodigy who tamed Lebron’s selfish ass over that chode Brad Stevens. This isn’t the Final Four. Well, it is a final four, but not one Brad Stevens has had a lick of success in.
Unlike the diva route of old times, Coach Spo has an arsenal more like a modern day version of the 2004 Pistons. Deep, unselfish, and hard working Three and/or D players all over the court.
The best Three man is Tyler Herro, who only plays for cool teams like Kentucky and Miami because he’s a born winner. The best D man is Bam Adebayo, who also played for Kentucky.
The closest player to a star on the Heat is Jimmy ‘All Business’ Buckets Butler. He’s gonna have that chode Brad Stevens wishing he was back on the Butler sideline in no time.
The coolest thing about Jimmy Butler, besides the fact that he hated every team he played at before Miami, is that he didn’t let his wife and baby into the bubble.
Guarantee you every player with a family is jealous of him right now. He’s just a man that gets it.
On the flip side we have Boston, who I know nothing about. Why should I? They haven’t played in any games worth watching and according to my scoreboard gleaning, they haven’t been good enough to care about at all.
They scraped it out in seven against a ‘meh’ Toronto team. Sweet. The Heat are undefeated in regulation, and just ritually executed the two time MVP.
Are you telling me it’s all ‘matchup based’, NBA fans? Hahahah. They just slaughtered the best analytics team ever.
The only question is who Coach Spo will be up against next round. Does he get a duel against his former diva? Or will we actually have a matchup that isn’t vomit-inducing for the second year in a row? I’m cool with either one tbh.
I’ve said from the beginning that Playoff Rondo is the only hope the Lakers have at avoiding failure. After three games of this Rockets series, prescience appears to be an understatement for my evaluation.
After returning from injury and taking a warmup in Game 1, he spent the next two games turning the entire complexion of the NBA Playoffs on its head. Playoff Rondo is now fully activated.
Obviously I am not surprised by this turn of events. What I am surprised by though… is the fact that everyone else is so surprised!
Sure, he’s looked pedestrian as hell in countless regular season games over the past ten or so years. But those games don’t matter and he knows that more than anyone.
As a both a Dallas and New Orleans guy, I’ve had an up close view of both the best and worst of Playoff Rondo over the years, so let’s run this back…
The Mavs traded for Rondo in December 2014 and it was a rocky start. Defense improved slightly, but offense dropped from it’s top-of-league status to fourth within a month as he continually clashed heads with Carlisle.
Rondo – “I’ll call the fucking plays!” Carlisle – “Sit the fuck down!” Love it.
Despite the troubles, Celtics fans would keep telling us to wait for Playoff Rondo. They recalled his legendary performances such as the six steals in Finals clinchers vs Lakers and the time he carried his old ass squad to a 3-2 lead against the prime Heatles.
Alas, Rondo never blessed Mavs fans with that magic. His playoff tenure in Dallas lasted all of 1.5 games. In game 2 of round 1, his feuding with Carlisle went to a whole new level.
He purposely took an 8 second violation after getting pissed at one of Carlisle’s play calls, and then came out of the second half with the sole intent of getting benched. Two fouls on Harden within 20 seconds, one of them a technical, and that was all she wrote for Rondo’s career in Dallas.
He was ruled out the rest of the series with a ‘back injury’, had his playoff salary revoked by a team vote, and had physically bolted from the city of Dallas before Game 3 even began.
He’s been an enemy of Mavs fans ever since, but I still retained a soft spot for him. Shortly before the series began, this ESPN Mag feature came out and explained how he was the smartest player in the league who just had troubles relating with high ego coaches because of his genius.
Around that same time, I was fired from a short-lived job under very similar circumstances. I won’t go into details but can confidently say that I was the smartest, most talented, and easily the biggest asshole of the company. Rondo felt like a kindred spirit to me.
I love Carlisle and always will. He is one of the, if not THE, best coach in the game. But he should’ve handled Rondo differently. Our offense in 2011 took off once he finally allowed Jason Kidd to call plays, and he should’ve just done the same with Rondo.
It’s not like it would’ve made much of a difference though, and it was still a great trade for us because we also got Dwight Powell in it.
Anyways, Rondo moves on and signs a contract with the Kings to cash some checks for a year. The next season, he signs with the Bulls and has a mostly pedestrian season until the playoffs start and he singlehandedly carries Chicago to a 2-0 lead vs the 1 seed Celtics.
He got a thumb injury and missed the rest of the series, which allowed the Celtics to win four straight and breathe a sigh of relief.
In 2018, he signs with the Pelicans. Again, it’s a pretty ‘meh’ regular season until the playoffs start and he becomes a hero forever in the city of New Orleans. Playoff Rondo was for real.
Whereas three years earlier I was in Dallas and everyone HATED this dude, I found myself during this series watching games in NOLA bars and joining in the Rondo worship. What a surreal experience.
Next season he signs with the Lakers, and he’s obviously invisible because they didn’t make the playoffs. The lone exception was a nationally televised game at Boston where he activated his playoff self for 10 assists and a buzzer beating three for the win.
Fast forward to now, and he’s back in an environment where he gives a shit. After skipping most of the BS games early on in the bubble, he’s arrived for this series and the league is on notice.
So, is everyone else fucked now that playoff Rondo is fully activated for LeBron and AD? Possibly.
The only hope I can give to Lakers haters such as myself is that Playoff Rondo has a battery life. He lasted only two games in that Bulls series, and he missed the entire next Pelicans series against Golden State with an injury.
However, it’s possible he just didn’t care about those games after making enough noise to secure his next season’s contract. We’ll just have to pray and see.
Luka is the goat-in-training, but Kawhi is still the best in the league. He’s been beating fully developed super teams for the better part of a decade now, and the Mavs are still a year or two away from that level. When he’s fully activated, it’s no contest.
32 points over 30 minutes, including a full 12 minutes in a 3rd quarter that started with a 24 point Clippers lead. Doc Rivers and his talisman meant business, and that means the end is nigh for the Mavs.
My temporary hatred for the Clippers is also coming to an end. This was like a primary election – a fierce but decisive battle to decide who will lead the way going forward to defeat greater evils like Lebron and houston.
That’s why I don’t care about this Marcus Morris brouhaha.
Luka didn’t get hurt. No harm; no foul. The NBA didn’t issue a suspension and seemingly didn’t investigate the Mavs two official complaints on both plays. That’s a good precedent for the Clippers going forward.
The first one was more psychological than dangerous. The second one could’ve actually caused serious harm, as we saw in 2017 when Pachulia did the same thing to Kawhi in game 1 of the WCF.
As we’ve seen in the past, only injuries can stop Kawhi from beating super teams. By getting all the dirty players on his teams instead of others, he neutralizes that threat. I like the strategy.
For the Mavs, this is the end of the line but we know the future is bright etc etc.
The biggest concern is KP being shut down for a torn meniscus in his right knee. This is the opposite side knee of the one that shut him down in NYC.
It’s especially frustrating because he was on fire and looking the best we’ve ever seen him. 34 points and 13 rebounds in game three. 52% from behind the arc this series, with several of those drained from deep range.
He didn’t have any major pain, just a little soreness. The MRI showed a meniscus tear and we shut him down for good because we’re not beating the Clippers anyway.
It’ll be something to watch going forward. He can play through these types of injuries in meaningful playoff games, but this year doesn’t qualify as that. We’ll have to load manage him out of 30-50% of regular season games and that’s fine too.
In the meantime, we’ll need to find a solid 2B to go alongside KP behind Luka. Cap space is opening up with David Lee’s $12.7M coming off the books. Tim Hardaway’s $20M deal enters ‘expiring contract’ status next season as well. We’ll see what we can do but I’m feeling fine about it.
Last time a shot rang this hard around the world, we were killing redcoats…
MFFLs have seen the second coming for awhile, but mark down the Sunday afternoon of August 23, 2020 as the day the rest of America finally realized who their next one true God will be.
Make no mistake about it… Ten years from now, the question will not be if Luka was the best player of the 2020s; it will be whether or not he’s the best player of all time.
Luka transcends everything we used to know about basketball. He’s a mixture of LeBron and Steph with the brain of Jason Kidd. If you think that is hyperbole now, then enjoy being the last person on the goat wagon whenever your time comes.
He may not be quite as powerful as Lebron, but he can still drive on anyone in the league. Once he gets into the paint, he’s got quicker feet and even better passing skills than the so-called king.
He may not be as quick as Steph, but he’s got the range anyway. His size and strength make him open with just a single sliver of separation.
If you replaced Lebron on the Heat with Luka as he is right now, that team wins four titles. If you did the same with Steph on last year’s Warriors, that final shot in game 6 would have been a winner. Luka would’ve beaten Kawhi just like he’s doing right now.
If it seems like he is a cyborg created and developed to be a perfect specimen of basketball prowess, it’s because that’s basically what he is. Unlike his American peers who had to waste time in school, he grew up in a basketball academy. When he turned 16, he didn’t have time to enjoy any newfound driving privileges because he was suiting up for Real Madrid (and guarding Russell Westbrook).
Look – I’m a big proponent of high school and college sports in America. People sleep on the sheer amount of opportunities and benefits it provides for young men and women everywhere. Our athletes are still the best in the world, but their development does not compare to what Luka got.
So after years of replacing pointless schoolwork with professional basketball, he came into the league with the mental acuity of a fully seasoned vet. The cyborg had already maxed out on human potential between the ears.
And that gets us to the most controversial part of this piece. This is a comparison I take very seriously and I’m not afraid to proclaim it for Luka Dončić. Yes, he has some Jordan in him. His adrenal gland is on par with a level we haven’t seen since the current goat was in his prime.
That circus shot on Sunday was nothing new to anybody who’s been watching him before. Europeans knew about his clutch gene for years. MFFLs like myself got accustomed to it all last year.
The NBA put out a sweet video yesterday of Luka’s ‘career clutch moments’, which is mostly a compilation of highlights from his 20yo rookie season. It includes but is not limited to…
A rainbow to the moon and back for a Derek Fisher style game winner at Portland with .6 seconds on the inbound
A step back game winner vs Houston to complete 11 unanswered points in the final 2 minutes
Believe it or not, there’s actually been some growing pains in this 2nd year. His numbers improved dramatically, but we haven’t seen nearly the same clutchness as he showed his rookie year. I wrote during the seeding games about MFFL concerns over our offense going from the best ever in normal times to below average in clutch time. It turns out he was just waiting for a bigger moment.
In the first two months of this season (back when he was still 20), he averaged 30-9-9 and was breaking records left and right before succumbing to newcomer wear and tear. He’s only going to get better. Age 21 is not an athlete’s prime.
The potential was goat-worthy even if he was too humble to admit it…
He will average a 30pt triple double within the next three seasons. Mark my words. He will also win the MVP next year without a doubt. Bet on it this winter, or keep doubting us and be poor. You’ve been warned.
P.S. Don’t worry Dirk, you are still our Prometheus
It took a Luka injury to seal it, but the series has regressed back to the point where everyone thought it would look like going in. There’s no shame in losing to the best team in the league in what is the first ever playoff appearance for most of your players. Maybe we can make some noise and steal another game or two, but overall it’s been a great season and the future only gets better from here.
It’s still annoying because we should be up 2-1 without that bullshit KP ejection in the opener, but it’s the NBA and Mavs fans are used to shit like this happening to us. Whatever. Congratulations to the Clippers for finally getting their first legitimate win over us.
As for the game itself, nothing interesting happened besides the Luka injury. He rolled his ankle in the 3rd quarter and couldn’t put any weight on it until they brought a wheelchair up to the locker room. That must have pissed him off because he immediately jogged back out and played again.
I’m not sure the prudence of putting him back in with a bum ankle and the game already out of hand, but the Mavs do have the best training staff in the league and they’re worth trusting. It looked bad, but we’ve already seen his other ankle roll way worse back in December.
That Miami injury only kept him out of four games. Those were meaningless December games too, so I expect him back tomorrow. It’s just going to be a pain in the ass for him.
Now I want to take some time to touch on the Seth Curry/Callie Rivers/Doc Rivers/Paul George imbroglio. As I’m sure you’ve heard a million times on the broadcast so far, Seth Curry is married to Doc Rivers’s daughter.
In Game 1, Jeff Van Gundy said he thought Callie Rivers was cheering for the Clippers so her dad could be happy and her husband could come home. What the fuck? What a moron!
I already thought Doc Rivers was the luckiest and most overrated coach of all time before this. Now I worry that LA has a serious coaching problem. Kawhi is probably good enough to make it not matter, but we’ll see.
So it turns out the ‘You Rang’ nickname that Shaq gave to Boban comes from the Adamms Family.
Hmm. It took me forever to find out what that meant, but it is very interesting now that I know! Certainly more interesting than anything that happened on the court if you care at all for close basketball games. It was a Mavs manhandling from wire to wire.
You could say this game was somewhat of an anomaly because Luka only played nine minutes in the second half. He had foul trouble and we were winning without him, so he sat. He finished with 28 points, which unfortunately means he won’t have a never ending 30pt game streak for his entire postseason career. That kind of sucks.
Petty complaints aside, it’s time to start looking at the Mavs as serious contenders again. The only thing keeping this series from being 2-0 Mavs is that bogus ass KP ejection. Other than that, we’re thoroughly dominating the pre-tourney favorites, and the opponents will only get easier from here.
The Clippers were 10-1 this year when fully healthy and that’s why they were favorites. But that also means they’ve never been fully healthy and they haven’t been able to work as a group all year. They’re struggling with injuries still and those strip clubs vacations were not time well spent in hindsight. It looks like arrogance is finally catching up to them.
This is more what I expected the bubble tourney to be. Mavs getting a leg up not only because of neutral courts every game, but because the conditions favor younger and more cohesive teams. Luka god mode just needed real playoff games to be fully activated too.
Mavs win series +310
Mavs win West +2000
Mavs win Finals +4000
Maybe the best odds I’ve ever seen. Time to get rich.
Awesome way to kick off a playoff career. The more things change, the more the stay the god damned same. Why is this always happening to the poor little Mavericks?
We are the Saints of the NFL. One glorious banner from one of the greatest sports stories ever and we’ll always be thankful for that, but so many others were taken away by refs.
We had 2014 vs the Spurs. That series was ruined by a Dejuan Blair ejection/suspension for accidentally grazing his leg against someone in the slightest of all kicking motions. We lost in seven to a Spurs team that Lebron fanboys will tell you was the greatest team of all time.
We had the Cristal Taylor series vs the 09 Thuggets. That was when the refs decided to go blind and ignore a blatant intentional foul to let Melo win a pivotal game 3. We lost in six to what Knicks fans will say was the greatest player of that time.
We had Danny Crawford bragging in Tim Donaghy’s book about the Mavs going 2-16 in his games playoff games. That record, based on point spread simulations, had a 0.5% chance of playing out.
And then obviously the 2006 finals
I thought this shit was supposed to stop when David Stern died. I guess it didn’t. If this is what playoff basketball is all about, then it’s no surprise that NBA ratings keep floating down the toilet. Fix this shit.
In other news, Luka went 42-7-9. He broke the record for points in a playoff debut. He’s just 21. Pretty fucking sick. Hopefully the rest of the series will be 5 on 5 instead of 5 on 8.
Every legend starts with a humbling, especially in NBA, and it appears the legend of Luka’s Mavs has started with a major humbling in the bubble. It shouldn’t have been a surprise that one of the youngest teams there was also the cockiest, just like it shouldn’t be a surprise that every other team has been so sharp and focused. I was expecting the opposite and it appears Luka and boys were as well.
Our fate as the 7 seed was sealed for good right out the gate after royally fucking up both of our first two games. Since then, we’ve apparently looked a lot better. Luka had what some would say the best game of his career against the Bucks.
We might have started sucking less in the clutch too. I don’t know. I didn’t watch because the games were worthless and there’s too many other sports on the buffet line right now. What I do know is that we’re about to be fed to the slaughterhouse. Literally any other team in the league I’d be comfortable against but this one.
It’s too bad, because after watching the Nuggets game today it’s obvious we would’ve destroyed them. Getting that first series win under the belt is so huge and we should’ve been able to do it this year. Instead, Luka’s wait lasts all the way to Year 3.
Who knows though, maybe Kawhi gets hurt? That’d be interesting. Otherwise, I just hope we can have some cool moments and maybe cover the 2.5 game spread.
Then we move on to next year and start making some real noise with KP’s first full season. We got expiring contracts coming up and won’t have to pretend Tim Hardaway is good anymore. Maybe the Greek Freak will decide he wants a euro super team. That’d be sick.
The future looks bright, but the next two weeks do not. Enjoy what we can and regroup next year.
The Pelicans fired Alvin Gentry today and it’s hard to tell whether or not to feel surprised or unsurprised. He did have orders to treat Zion like a china doll and it’s almost a given that the front office preferred lottery balls over a playoff appearance this year. But even before this year, his tenure was hard to argue as anything more than disappointing.
Good dude great guy, big supporter of weed and social justice, used to work for the Warriors etc. But at no point in the past five years did he ever show any qualities that surpassed those of his predecessor, the legendary Monty Williams who just ran the table with the Suns.
It’s very obvious by now the Williams firing was the wrong move, but you can’t blame New Orleans for taking risks in their AD window. It was impossible to know at the time that AD was the problem and not Williams, but hindsight is 20/20 especially this year.
It’s a tough pill to swallow regardless. Maybe the Pels hire some sick young wizard assistant we don’t know of, but chances are slim that there’s anyone out there who can hold a candle to Monty Williams.
Well, actually I can think of someone. A very intriguing local legend who’s out of a job right now…
A lot of people forget that the Mavericks were on the brink of a dynasty before blatant rigging by David Stern and his (hopefully) deceased cronies in the NBA. It was absolute bullshit and it’s made history a lot worse than it should be for a lot of people, especially for Avery Johnson.
Things have gone south for Avery since that time yes. Baron Davis turned into God and spoiled one of the greatest seasons a team has ever had. The Nets got all Nets-y. The NCAA had a bribing crackdown that brought his burgeoning Bama project to a halt.
But make no mistake, that Finals run in 2006 would 100% never have happened without Avery Johnson. Before him, we had years of the worst defense you could possibly imagine. He took over and orchestrated a complete 180 that took us to The Finals in just his first full season..
Dirk is not the legend he is today without Avery Johnson, and that is a fact. The Mavs would have had a dynasty even before Carlisle if the 2006 Finals were not rigged, and that is a fact too.
There will always be legend in the Little General. I know it and I’ve seen it. What better place than home (and with Zion!) to reclaim that legend.
I’ve said all along the only playoff matchup I’m scared of is the Clippers, and unfortunately that means a one-and-done for the Mavs this year because we are locked in as the 7 seed to play them. Climbing the standings was an uphill battle to start with because we had already played three extra games and our win percentage was inelastic relative to everyone else’s. We had a reasonable shot to overcome that but were undone by the same problems that kept knocking us down pre-covid.
Friday night vs houston was about as must win as these games can get and we looked to be cruising for most of it. 85 points in the first half! We had a surefire 7 point lead with 45 seconds left, but ended up choking in a manner all too familiar with our woes from normalcy era.
Trash defense and trash rebounding (ultimately lost because we couldn’t rebound a missed free throw with 3 seconds left) are the obvious culprits for our clutch time issues, but the offense is surprisingly a major issue too. We have the #1 ranked offense in the league, possibly in league history stats-wise, but in clutch time that rating plummets to #29 (out of 30). How is that even possible?
The first is an over reliance on threes – over 50% of our shots come from behind the arc in clutch time. We hit 21.4% of those, down from 36.8% normally. We don’t have another ball handler to take pressure off of Luka, and he’s way overconfident in his step back when trying to overcome that extra attention. When we do get open looks, we’re not as confident in hitting them. Most concerning though is the free throw issues…
Brutal. Luka definitely needs to improve before he graduates from just goat-in-training status. Seth Curry is also perplexing because he’s the second best three point shooter of all time. He missed one that would’ve iced the game on Friday and now probably won’t be able to make up for it until next year.
Last night against the trash ass Suns, we looked to be cruising to a laugher again until deciding to take the third quarter off. The same thing happened vs Phoenix earlier this year and it was another all too common problem from the normalcy era.
Because these issues are mostly mental, and considering we didn’t have these problems two years ago with a lesser roster, I thought the happiest team on earth could’ve used all these bubble factors to make some noise and kickstart the dynasty talk up a year. Alas, we will have to wait.