June 15, 2016, 10:50 am
The Cavs are just one home win away from forcing a winner-take-all Game 7 of the NBA Finals. A longer series is good for just about everybody. A longer series prolongs NBA hot takes, bandwagon fans have more chances to hate LeBron James, the NBA makes a ton of money, the media gets to tell you the Cavs have a shot to keep you reading and listening, and the TV ratings go up.
Sorry to bust the Cleveland bubble, but I’m here to tell you that it’s all false hope for Cavs fans. Did you watch Game 5? How many things had to avalanche correctly for the Cavs to survive against a team missing all-defensive first teamer Draymond Green? Let’s go to the numbers:
- The Warriors attempted 43 uncontested shots in Game 5. They only converted 16 of those looks. Back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry was only 2-for-9 on his uncontested shots.
- The Warriors only converted 4-of-19 wide open threes (no one within six feet of the shooter). They missed 28 three-pointers, including 13 of their final 14 attempts. The Cavs only attempted 24 threes in the entire game.
- The Warriors only scored 36 points in the second half in a close out game at home to win the championship. They did not score in the final 6:39 of Game 5.
- LeBron James and Kyrie Irving became the first teammates in NBA Finals history to score 82+ points in an elimination game.
- Kyrie Irving became the second player in NBA Finals history to score 40+ points while shooting 70% or higher from the field.
- No team has ever come back to win the NBA Finals down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. Need I remind you that the Warriors are the greatest regular season teams in NBA history? This isn’t some push over.
I see a lot of missed opportunities for one of the greatest shooting teams of all-time, and a ton of historic numbers for the Cavaliers. Sure, it’s not crazy to think that the Cavs can win on Thursday night at home where they are 8-1 in the 2016 NBA Playoffs. But you have to understand that one team is significantly more complete than the other. It is taking otherworldly performances by the Cavs stars and rare misses by the Warriors for the Cavs to steal two games so far. It has to happen two more times before the weekend is over. Ya, right.
DRAYMOND IS YOUR NBA FINALS MVP
Now, you will hear the “Dray will be hungry” narrative played up by friends and family. Just know that’s extremely overrated. Tell me, who isn’t “hungry” for a win in Game 6 of the NBA Finals? Every player should be giving maximum effort at all times. Seeking revenge at this stage of the game is a desperate story line. You know better than that.
While he will be just as hungry as everyone else, Draymond is a difference maker and my easy choice for MVP. Perhaps it’s as simple as this:
With Draymond Green on the court in 152 minutes of the NBA Finals, the Warriors are +36 over the Cavs.
With Draymond Green off the court in 88 minutes of the NBA Finals, the Warriors are -22 behind the Cavs.
Dray won’t be watching another NBA Finals game eating skittles with Marshawn Lynch in a box suite next to the arena anymore. He was elated to have a shot to play another game this season.
“Let’s go!” Green reportedly shouted while leaving the suite after the game. “I get a chance to play in another game.”
Look no further for Green’s impact than the stats of those he has defended in the Finals. With Draymond guarding the big three:
LeBron James: 5-of-14 FGs
Kyrie Irving: 4-of-12 FGs
Kevin Love: 5-of-13 FGs
Astonishingly, each of the final 25 baskets in Game 5 for the Cavaliers came from a score or an assist by LeBron or Kyrie. The last basket that didn’t come from the dynamic Cavs duo was Iman Shumpert‘s layup with 5:27 left in the second quarter. Something tells me that you won’t see close to similar with Draymond Green parking himself in the middle.
So there you have it. I can see the Cavs putting up a great fight against the Warriors at home for Game 6, probably losing close at the end but it wouldn’t be crazy if they survive and force a Game 7, although they truly don’t belong on the same court. As for a possible Game 7, all bets are on Golden State to pummel the Cavs at Roaracle Arena, unless LeBron has a 50-20-10 performance for the ages and the Warriors go cold.
It’s not happening.
Follow @HoopBallTweets for the latest NBA news and rumors. Feel free to hit my up on Twitter @RiazD to float some hate or ask about how to break it off with your girlfriend, whatever tickles your fancy. Have a great weekend and enjoy the last live NBA games!
July 16, 2019, 8:45 pmRussell WestbrookPG, Houston Rockets
The Rockets and Thunder officially completed their blockbuster trade of Chris Paul, first round picks in 2024 and 2026, and pick swaps in 2021 and 2025 for Russell Westbrook on Tuesday.
Westbrook and Harden and now officially reunited and will be performing massive pre-game routines at the Toyota Center. Meanwhile, the Thunder officially have Chris Paul on the roster and are free to move him if they choose. Watching how Sam Presti begins this rebuild process will be interesting, to say the least.
Source: Royce Young on Twitter
July 16, 2019, 7:25 pmJarrell BrantleyPF, Utah Jazz
The Jazz have signed rookies Jarrell Brantley and Justin Wright-Foreman to two-way contracts.
Brantley was selected 50th overall in this June's draft after putting up big numbers in four seasons at the College of Charleston. He averaged 4.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in two games at Summer League, though he also missed time with right hamstring soreness. Wright-Foreman, the 53rd pick out of Hofstra, fared a little better with 10.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals, though he also battled right knee/hamstring issues and left the team for personal reasons at the end of their Vegas run. There's not much fantasy impact here.
Source: Utah Jazz
July 16, 2019, 5:33 pmLonzo BallPG, New Orleans Pelicans
Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Lonzo Ball (left ankle) said he'll be ready to go in "a week or two."
Ball missed the final 35 games of the season because of a Grade 3 left ankle sprain and bone bruise that he suffered in January. Last season also started off slowly as a preseason groin injury cost him a chance to open the year as a starter, and he was forced into sharing point guard work with Rajon Rondo and LeBron James when healthy. A fresh start in New Orleans, where Ball can play an up-tempo game as a franchise building block, should do him wonders. There's some injury risk here considering he's logged only 99 games through two seasons, but Ball's stat set — even with the poor efficiency — could support middle-round numbers. It sounds as though he'll be good to go for training camp.
Source: Andrew Lopez on Twitter
July 16, 2019, 5:26 pmBrandon IngramSF, New Orleans Pelicans
Brandon Ingram (right arm DVT) said that he's "really close" to resuming normal workouts.
Ingram underwent surgery on March 16 and the Pelicans have been consistent in saying they have no long-term concerns about Ingram's health. We're fully expecting him to be ready for training camp, though you'll want to keep an eye out for further updates as camp approaches. Ingram's stat set has the same holes as always, but it's possible that this season he'll become a featured player and bludgeon his way to enough volume to make up for his weak spots. His outlook improves on what it would've been with the Lakers, but Ingram still looks like a player that will be overdrafted.
Source: Andrew Lopez on Twitter
July 16, 2019, 3:29 pmRichaun HolmesPF, Sacramento Kings
The Kings have announced the signing of Richaun Holmes.
Holmes is set to make $10 million over the next two seasons. He'll push for minutes in a crowded frontcourt, but if it's a true meritocracy then he should quickly rise to the front of the pack. Last season he was able to deliver standard-league value in only 16.9 mpg, so he's someone to target late in drafts on the expectation that he gets more burn in Sacramento. It's a potentially messy situation but we have faith that Holmes will make the most of it for fantasy purposes. For the Kings, it's a straight up steal.
Source: Sacramento Kings
July 16, 2019, 2:03 pmMarcus MorrisPF, New York Knicks
The Knicks have announced the signings of Marcus Morris and Reggie Bullock.
Morris is on a one-year, $15 million deal while Bullock is coming in on a two-year deal worth less than $4.7 million annually, with a second season that isn't fully guaranteed. While both players began the offseason as potential standard-league targets, there's not much to see given the sudden depth of the Knicks roster. Morris will be one of five players who should mostly be playing power forward, while Bullock will slot into a busy backcourt and is already expected to miss at least a month of the season. New York's rotations are going to be a mess and we'd steer clear.
Source: New York Knicks
July 16, 2019, 1:43 pmReggie BullockSG-SF, New York Knicks
Reggie Bullock is expected to miss at least one month of the regular season, per SNY's Ian Begley.
Bullock, who initially agreed to a two-year deal worth $21 million, re-worked his contract to clock in at two years (with a second year that isn't fully guaranteed) for under the $4.7 million exception. There's no word on what exactly Bullock is dealing with, though he suffered from neck stiffness and plantar fasciitis in his right foot late last season. There's no need to monitor Bullock in standard leagues to open the year.
Source: Ian Begley on Twitter
July 16, 2019, 1:14 pmMarkelle FultzPG, Orlando Magic
Speaking to Sirius XM, Steve Clifford said that although there remains no timetable for Markelle Fultz (shoulder), he is making good progress.
Clifford said, "You know, right now we don't have a timetable for when he'll be back, but he's really doing a great job." Fultz simply wasn't ready to suit up, and even though we haven't really had any concrete updates on him since his last game on November 18, we're still expecting him to be ready to start the season. Fultz will make for a late-round flier on the chance that he finally gets healthy and puts it all together.
Source: Sirius XM NBA Radio on Twitter
July 16, 2019, 1:06 pmBlake GriffinPF, Detroit Pistons
Blake Griffin (left knee) has been cleared to start light basketball activities after undergoing arthroscopic surgery in late April.
Griffin dealt with left knee soreness in the season's final games and missed the first two games of the playoffs. His issues were dealt with quickly after the season ended and he should be ready for the start of the season. Look for Griffin to come off draft boards in the early-middle rounds after he put up a career season last year, though there might not be much profit margin at that price. There's a definite 8-cat lean as well.
Source: Rod Beard on Twitter
July 16, 2019, 11:59 amNicolo MelliPF, New Orleans Pelicans
Pelicans forward Nicolo Melli underwent knee surgery and will not participate in Italy’s training camp at the end of July, ahead of the FIBA World Tournament.
This comes out of nowhere and the only relative information we have is that Melli will be re-evaluated on a week-to-week basis. The Italian big should be fine for the Pelicans training camp where he will compete for the backup power forward minutes as long as the surgery is not anything too serious.