SBM Sports: The Four Headlines From the NBA Playoffs So Far
With baseball season still in its infancy, and Tiger winning only a non-major this weekend, the sports world still revolves around the NBA playoffs (apologies to hockey fans out there). There’s been a lot to watch, with games on just about every day. Here are the four things that have made the biggest impact on me thus far:
Animated .gifs –
Besides p0rn, these are really the reason the internet and Twitter exist. A constant source of gold during the playoffs, even the NBA has taken part with their “Rapid Replays.” Shout out to @jose3030 and @sbnationgif for sharing these 6-8 minutes after they happen as well. Some of the Playoffs’ Greatest Hits so far:
Nazr Mohammed: King Slayer – Link.
First of all, who knew Nazr was still in the league? Secondly, how do you say his name? NA-zur? NA-zee? Na-ZEER? I have no idea.
Joakim Noah: Your favorite troll’s favorite troll – Link.
As Chris Bosh screams at Mario Chalmers, Noah comes in with an epic troll job. Not content to just clap, Noah turns it up with a scream hoping to draw someone’s attention. You have mine, Joakim, well done.
Kevin Durant doing things 7-footers shouldn’t do – Link.
Seriously. Remember that 6’7 guy who made the high school basketball team just because he was tall? I’m sure we all thought we’d be doing stuff like this if we had that height. I know I did. The truth is, no one really can, which is one reason why Durant is incredible.
Kendrick Perkins being Kendrick Perkins – Link.
Smh. At some point, Scott Brooks will realize Perkins is trash.
Stephen Curry’s Third Quarters –
…and by extension, Oracle Arena and the Golden State Warriors surpassing all of my expectations. Curry grabbed everyone’s attention when he led Davidson to the Elite Eight behind some truly amazing performances. While most moved on to the next Story of the Day, Curry stayed an extra year in college to sharpen himself into an NBA-caliber point guard. He more than doubled his assist totals and pushed his points per game total to 28.6. The Minnesota Timberwolves were unimpressed. They selected two point guards just ahead of Curry, one of which is now playing in Australia.
In these playoffs, Curry has recaptured some of that Davidson magic. Despite being slowed by (another) sprained ankle, he’s led a balanced attack against the favored San Antonio Spurs. For whatever reason, his best has come in the third quarter. He’s averaging over 12 points(!), including 60+% from three-point range(!!!!!) in just the third quarter through the playoffs. Here’s one example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AErklVhOjS8. Peep the bench reactions at 1:53 and 3:36. I have no idea why this is happening. I just want to see more of it.
Plus, his mom looks like Thandie Newton.
New York Knick Fans –
Who went from “We’re gonna beat Miami!” to “If JR Smith, Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudamire, Tyson Chandler can get it together, we have a shot.” Big drop off. Bad job out of you guys.
In truth, the Knicks face a tough matchup in the Indiana Pacers just as the hot shooting that they took into the playoffs cooled off. You can’t ignore the fact that Chandler’s hurt, and Smith is sick. But who is 100% healthy this late into the season (besides Derrick Rose of course)? For Knick fans’ sake, I hope Kidd learns how to shoot again (0 points in his last seven games) and coach Mike Woodson finds a productive rotation. Otherwise we’re right back where we were with the Knicks and their fans: a season that gave us plenty to discuss and no title contention.
Old Guys –
Several veterans have made an impact this postseason, not always positively. While Nazr Mohammed reminded us he was alive, Rip Hamilton remains duct taped to the bench despite injuries to just about everyone else on the roster. It hurts to clown a former Detroit Piston, but we can officially rename him R.I.P. Hamilton. We’ll always have the ’04 championship.
Derek Fisher has given the Thunder some productive minutes in the absence of Russell Westbrook. Although the team overall doesn’t appear to have enough to overcome the Memphis Grizzlies.
Tim Duncan looks like 2005 Tim Duncan. He had a productive season, but I figured his production would fade once May rolled around. Instead, he, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili have kept the Spurs in their tough series with Golden State.
Most notably, Dwyane Wade is showing his mortality. Great players never become bad per se. They just cease to be great. This happened in Boston as Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce’s best couldn’t be sustained over long stretches. Neither played badly, they just needed a little more rest, a little more time to get going, and their “great” performances started to look like the “normal” ones of just a few years ago.
After Wade’s listless performance in Game 3 against Chicago, I started to wonder if we were seeing the same progression. Wade chalked it up to picking his spots in the flow of the game. But since when does the game come to a player like him? It’s easy to take a backseat when LeBron James and Chris Bosh are leading the team to victory, but Wade was conspicuously absent during the entire game. This series with a decimated Bulls team shouldn’t be close. Hopefully Wade makes me eat these words in Game 4 Monday night.
That’s what I’ve had my eye on so far in the playoffs, what about you? What’s stood out? Hit the comments below!