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Tag: Paul Pierce

Jovan Buha: Clippers “Much Closer to (Dominant) Team From Beginning of Season”

This postseason, Blake Griffin and the Clippers are fighting to stay relevant when it comes to discussion of the NBA’s elite (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

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On this playoff edition, ESPN’s Jovan Buha joins us to help preview the Los Angeles Clippers-Utah Jazz matchup, an opening-round series that pits the league’s No. 4 offense against the No. 3 defense. The series comes at a pivotal time for the Clippers, who year after year have failed to meet high postseason expectations and will likely see three of their stars enter unrestricted free agency in the offseason. Do the Clippers have a fatal flaw, or have they merely not yet gotten over the hump? Jovan ponders that very question and much, much more. Sample some clip(per)s below:

9:25 – 10:10: Jovan discusses the legitimacy of the Clippers-as-chokers narrative and whether it affects the team: 

“It’s much easier to say a team choked than provide the context of it. With that said, there really is no other way to frame the Thunder series or the Rockets series. Both series, the Clippers should have won, or the Thunder series at least should have gone to seven. I do think the Clippers choked in both instances, but I don’t think that necessarily is their identity, and I don’t think necessarily they should be judged that way…I do think that the media narrative has gotten to them a little bit, and I do know that a lot of these guys pay attention to the media more than they let on, and it does seem to bother them more than they admit.” Continue reading

Clippers Sail into Third, Hawks Rise Eight Spots (Power Rankings: April 12, 2017 Edition)

Seemingly recovered from injury, Chris Paul is playing at a high level as he chases his first championship ring (Verse Photography/Creative Commons).

We’ve reached the final day in a historic NBA season packed with nearly unprecedented statistical seasons by some players, monstrous single-game outbursts by others and a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs for almost all of the teams in the league. On Wednesday’s final 14-game slate, six playoff seeds are still yet to be determined: 1, 2, 7 and 8 in the East and 4 and 5 in the West. Thirteen teams have already been eliminated from further contention, and the rest hope that their fortunes will be on the rise. This will be the final edition of our power rankings this season, but as a reminder, you can chart how every team has fared in our rankings over the course of the season with the interactive graph atop the Power Rankings landing page.

Biggest Jumps: Atlanta Hawks (+8), Minnesota Timberwolves (+6), Los Angeles Lakers (+6)

Biggest Falls: Philadelphia 76ers (-7), Denver Nuggets (-6), Dallas Mavericks (-5) Continue reading

Devin Kharpertian: Nets Will Have to “Strike Gold” in Offseason

Devin Kharpertian reporting from the Barclays Center for The YES Network

Devin Kharpertian reporting from the Barclays Center for YES

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The Brooklyn Nets and new GM Sean Marks certainly have a difficult road ahead, as they attempt to transform a struggling team without having control of any of their own first- or second-round draft picks over the next three years. Devin Kharpertian, managing editor and founding partner of The Brooklyn Game on the YES Network, joins us to explain exactly how the Nets got themselves into this situation, the current state of the team and why there might be glimmers of optimism after an overhaul of the front office this season. Exciting excerpts below:

1:55-2:40 on what new GM Sean Marks must do going forward:

“The thing that they have to do is wield some of their power in free agency this year. Now the problem with that is 25 of 30 teams are able to sign somebody to a max deal… It’s a really tough avenue for (the Nets), because the only thing they can do is something that almost every other team can do and almost every other team is in a better position to do, because the Nets just don’t have the talent to compete. It’s going to take some magic from Sean Marks.”

3:58-4:11 on whether any Nets player is off limits: 

“Brook (Lopez) and Thad (Young) are the centerpieces right now, and Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson) is a piece of that as well. But, I think for the right deal. They’re 21-52 at this point; nobody on that team is untouchable.”

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John Karalis: Regarding Preparation, Coach “(Brad) Stevens Is at Another Level” for Celtics

John Karalis (right) alongside the statue of Bill Russell in Boston's City Hall Plaza

John Karalis (right) alongside the statue of Bill Russell in Boston’s City Hall Plaza

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Danny Ainge and the youthful Boston Celtics are a fascinating study in team-building. On this week’s exhilarating interview episode, Loren is solo with Red’s Army’s John Karalis for a discussion of the Leprechauns’ current and future. Are they contenders or pretenders in the East? Among a number of topics, John explores in great detail the emergence of Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas’ adjustment to his starting role, team synergy and Brad Stevens’ superb coaching. Delectable sound bites can be found below:

3:38-4:13: “I still worry about them in the playoffs. I don’t think they have the type of makeup that will be a very successful playoff team, because rotations shrink, the game slows…it just becomes about talent overcoming other talent. So they’ve got enough to win a first-round series. I wonder how they’ll do in the later rounds, because they don’t have that one takeover guy.”

4:17-4:54:  “When Isaiah Thomas gets into hero mode, then the Celtics tend to have a little bit of a problem. It’s his greatest strength but his greatest weakness, because it’s that chip on his shoulder that makes him play so well at his size with his flaws, but when the game gets down to the last couple of minutes and the Celtics are down two or three, sometimes I think he plays a little outside of himself…and eliminates the ball movement that makes the Celtics so good.”

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Mike Prada Gives Wizards 30 Percent Chance at Playoffs

Randy Wittman and John Wall are hoping that the struggling Wizards can turn it around (Keith Allison/Flickr)

Randy Wittman and John Wall are hoping that the struggling Wizards can turn it around (Keith Allison/Flickr)

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Despite the offseason departure of Paul Pierce, the Washington Wizards and their young core were widely expected to turn in another quality season. Well, things haven’t quite gone that way. SB Nation NBA editor Mike Prada was gracious enough to stop by to discuss what’s holding this young team back, such as a porous defense and an onslaught of key injuries. Here are some of the highlights:  

1:55-2:25: On why the once elite defense has taken several steps back this season: “This year, of course, they’re playing small. They only have one big on the floor, and to try to compensate, they’re doing a lot of different switching, overcompensating, and trapping and recovering. It’s not working out very well, they don’t have the personnel for it… Even last year, they didn’t really have great defensive personnel, but they had a system and they had size that they could funnel everyone to. They don’t have that anymore and I think that’s the biggest problem.”

2:35-3:10: On Bradley Beal’s injury: “It’s gonna be really hard, since they don’t have a lot of really good replacements…have to run their offense more through John Wall…hopefully they can hit some 3s…teams are gonna help off Garrett Temple and Otto Porter…it’ll open space a little more…maybe they need to use more of Otto Porter’s playmaking…it’s a bad a injury, they really are going to miss (Beal) quite a bit”

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Everybody Hates the Clippers and Small-Sample-Size Overreaction

Sasha Vujacic is playing decent minutes for Phil Jackson again? (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)

Sasha Vujacic is playing decent minutes for Phil Jackson again? (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)

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On today’s episode of the podcast, LLC Incorporated continues the week’s discussion of the Los Angeles Clippers. The co-hosts touch on the Clippers’ bad-boy reputation, Lance Stephenson’s comfort level and whether this is the best team in franchise history.

Finally, on the J-Spot, the boys play around with small sample size overreaction, exploring what has surprised them most so far in the newborn NBA season. Shocking upsets, impressive player performances and more!

Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod

Isaac Lowenkron: Clippers’ Ample Depth Allows Doc Rivers to Be “Basketball Mad Scientist”

Lance Stephenson and Josh Smith, two of the Clippers' biggest offseason additions (Mark Runyon/BasketballSchedule.net)

Lance Stephenson and Josh Smith, two of the Clippers’ biggest offseason additions (Mark Runyon/BasketballSchedule.net)

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With DeAndre Jordan returning and the bench deficiencies seemingly fixed, expectations for the Los Angeles Clippers are sky high this season. Fox Sports Radio’s Isaac Lowenkron stops by to convince us why we should believe the hype. Our guest envisions the team’s newfound depth as a vital factor in its championship hopes, claiming that such depth essentially allows Doc Rivers to be a “basketball mad scientist,” experimenting with various potential rotations. He also explains why the team is likely to transform from a mediocre defense into an elite unit. And could eight-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul truly be the Clippers’ most underrated player? With all these topics covered, among others, you’re now officially ready for the Clippers’ season to tip off Wednesday night.

Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod

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