And with that, we welcome you back once again to SportsCastr news Rose Always on, Madam are back talking all things N b A.
On a Monday We are on the back end of the Milwaukee Bucks Orlando Magic game, which actually got a little bit closer there for a minute.
Now under three to go Milwaukee up 10 certainly are Leonard and go away in this one.
But ultimately, as Middleton starts to find his rhythm in this game looks like the 31 series lead is coming down the pike there for Milwaukee.
And ultimately, I think we see the Eastern Conference playoff starting to shape out the way we thought they would over the course of the first round.
But last night yesterday, in the great group of games at Dallas, obviously Luca performance against the Clippers loomed large and got that.
Siri's back tied up has also been another great Siri's going on between the Jazz and the Nuggets in spite of what net result is a 31 lead for the Utah Jazz.
This was a great back and forth performance.
Excuse me, and we're talking about highlighting Murray and also highlighting Mitchell as they went for the first time.
I believe in playoff history.
Two players going for 45 plus actually land on a 50 burger there for Murray as he knocked out a triple as time expired in that one down by 5 m to two point game.
This has been an interesting Siri's and you got players former players around the league now, obviously, Dwyane Wade doing some commentary in his retirement career.
And he came and said he thinks that, really, that you're looking at a guy in Mitchell who is going in the right direction here, right and often times when you think about the MBA playoffs, the U This is where you can start to build your name for yourself.
It's not to say that Donovan Mitchell isn't already established in the league.
It's not to say that Luca Don churches in already established in the league, but when you have performances like these players had yesterday certainly Lucas case with a game winning dagger or just the consistency with which Mitchell was able to carry Utah for certain stretches of that game as well.
This is how you start to just cement the fact that not only Can I do it during the regular season, You can also take me into the postseason.
You can put me on the biggest stage and I'm gonna come through for you.
You know, going into this, I think some of the interesting things will get into some of those stat lines Here is well out of this game beyond just those two enormous plays of players that we saw there.
But one of the things that you think about in the restart is you have to kind of feel your way through this and understand what it was gonna look like for some of these teams, just in terms of getting themselves back into fitness level.
You got a player like the Joker who comes in a lot slimmer, and I think there's still a question there just about fitness and and ultimately for him.
We look at the matchup on that on the floor there, with a player like Colbert, you know, Joker now has slimmed out if he goes into this offseason, what could be a relatively short one if he goes into a short off season and starts also put on now some some straight muscle.
Then you're talking about coming back next season and having that much more of a presence on the interior when you choose to go that route and not just on the offensive and also on the defense event, and he's a presence there as it is.
But I just think, you know the knock on him free.
Ah, Cove it break And his slim down was that he always just kind of looked a little doughy.
And some people even even talked about Luca in this way.
Not that he's doughy, but is it still a young body, right? He's going to end up getting more lean muscle on him.
It's not going to be the final version of Luca and his professional career in the same way that when Johannes as they are finishing this one out buck 24 10 point game, you know, Johannes came in like a string bean and has put on some of that mask.
Now it's dictated by the style of game you're gonna play.
You look at a guy like Kevin Durant, who will soon be officially on the floor for Brooklyn next year, but he's a guy who's always stayed lean right, And that's because his game isn't predicated unnecessarily strength and overpowering guys going into the lane.
He's got that silky, smooth touch from all across the floor.
And then because he has such great length and the mismatches that you're going to get there at the four, are often going to allow him just to utilize the natural skill set without having to worry about overpowering a defender.
So you know there's different, different criteria.
Or there's different versions of a player that you can see develop over the career based on on the skill set that they essentially.
Luke is already a big guy, right? He's already oversized point guard, whatever you want to label him, as he's running the point for this team effectively and you're going to, I think, see the evolution of his game very much before our eyes over the next couple of seasons.
And ultimately, over the course of these playoffs, as we're seeing right now, but inside of this game, as we touch into those numbers here for a minute, they talk about it over on the Utah Jazz side of things and again, you know, you got Mitchell giving you 38 minutes and 15 of 27 shooting performance.
You know the fact that he did it for seven from deep, so really limited from that aspect.
But then this is the big one. This is the killer.
If you're the Nuggets 17 of 18 at the line, really going in there, earning his keep forcing the issue, going towards the basket, drawing fouls and allowing himself to get those freebies at the charity stripe.
And if you're going to earn those, you're going to get to the line, you darn well better be knocking him down.
So he leads that charge and what ends up being 31 of 36 the line for the team.
So he had half of the attempts off for the Jazz overall in this one.
And then you get some those complimentary pieces, you know, in spite of the fact that Angles really has a sort of quiet night.
Incredibly quiet night over from the Fields only had four shot attempts and gave, but in 35 minutes, so four rebounds.
One assist, very quiet night from his standpoint.
But then you got a guy in my Connolly who left the bubble for the birth of his child comes back in.
And, you know, we talked about this, right? New players and on new teams.
How is the effective combination? How are these guys gonna complement one another? We've at least seeing Conley start to find his stride here.
And I talk about, you know, getting your rhythm with new teammates and understanding what they're going to need and how you can best fit into it.
Here's a guy that gave you a to 13 knocked down 50% from deep as well.
So he throws in 26 to go along with his four assists and two steals.
And then, of course, you get that casual double double from Gobert with 11 rebounds and 17 points.
So you know the last and biggest piece and this is what championship caliber teams need.
And I'm not saying that necessarily.
The Jazz are at that point yet, but you also need a guy like Jordan Clarkson giving you 27 quality minutes off the bench, 47 from deep himself and 24 point.
So this is the way you create a well rounded ah unit.
And interestingly enough, remember, you talk about during the season.
We talk about the cove, it break that.
All these trips and drafts are coming out and go bare and Mitchell and they don't like each other.
And is there going to ultimately be a divide here? You often say, when you get into the playoffs, though, if you can have some success here and up 31 Now, if this team can can finish off the Utah Jazz and then and get into that second round series and maybe regardless of ultimate, you know, ultimate outcome here, maybe you just get an opportunity to take a deep run here in the second round.
Back in that they can cure a lot of the ills because ultimately what you see is the balance there.
And if Donovan Mitchell, who coming out and coming into the MBA you thought you were going to get a high defensive aside from him, he's gonna end up focusing more on the offensive side of things.
If he's going to put enough 50 pointers had 51 in this particular game, that can be OK if the complementary pieces around him are allowing him or affording him to be solely focus on the offensive end, and obviously, Rudy Gobert would be one of the components to help anchor that defense as he's done his entire time there.
When we look over at that Western Conference just real quick here, toe have a sense of of what we're looking at lining up.
We feel like later tonight you're going to see that Lakers Portland game feels like the Lakers Air starting to find a little bit rhythm.
There were they to move on.
Then you look over the Clippers and the Mavericks, you don't know how that's going to shake out, but right now, the Nuggets look like they're gonna fall to the lower seeded six c Jazz.
So either way here, you're going to get the map.
It it could be the six and seven seed.
It could be the the Mavericks, obviously, maybe with the upset opportunity for the Clippers, and then the Jazz are gonna move on there.
So if the Clippers hold off, then the Jazz are gonna have to take on the Lakers, and that gets a little bit interesting.
But the hard part there for me is obviously you're looking at then Rudy Gobert.
Even though We've seen some offensive output from him in the restart, and even in this syriza little bit, then you start to get into the big bodies.
And even though we can, we can debate about whether the Lakers should be running a D at the five or not.
When you have McGee and you have Dwight Howard, you can at least run big bodies.
Echo Bear forced the issue on the offensive, and really, and, you know, even when LeBron takes it inside, even when A D wants to go inside or when a D you want to create the rial mismatch, you start to say, Okay, a D slip over to five there.
Give me from running minutes.
Let's go ahead and draw gold.
Bear out away from the basket.
You're more athletic probably, you know, get him off the dribble a handful of times or just really open up the middle of that floor for the rest of the team.
So a lot of miss fast issues there, if that's the way that it goes on the flip side of it, If we want to project ahead and think about maybe the Mavericks also upsetting the Clippers, then they would take him on.
And then you're talking about Rockets Thunder.
Seeing where Westbrook is that automatically a done deal.
Thunder grabbed that third game, so still a little bit in doubt there.
But that's where that matchup would turn.
And that will be interesting again.
Incredibly small lineup for the Rockets.
What would that look like? A Steven Adams gold Bear kind of battle, Even though I think Adam's feeling a little bit injury there, that would be incredibly interesting.
So there's a lot of dynamic matchups and then make for interesting Siri's, depending on how it shakes out.
What the wait and see.
Obviously, in that regard over on the Nuggets side of things in this game and again, we highlighted Joker and maybe where his body can continue developed will round out this game.
There's not a lot to round out when you go 50% from the field.
Onley three attend from deep, so there's certainly that element within this specific game gave you seven rebounds.
Those six assists just had to turn over.
So 29 points, a beautiful, complementary piece toe what Murray was doing in this one.
Ah, and again, real balance in this lineup.
Overall, you had Paul Millsap give you 35 minutes and 16.
You had, Ah, Grant, who's had, I think a nice a nice bubble in playoff run here and really has settled into a home there with Denver.
He gave you 12 29 Dimension for Joker, the seven for more.
It's not really his bag, necessarily 3 10 shooting night.
But then you get to, of course, the other 50 pointer here in this contest.
And that was Murray.
You gave you 18 to 31 9 of 15 from Deep really just took that team on his back for big stretches there, especially in the fourth quarter. Some monsters.
Three pointers to continually draw them back into 4 to 3 back within 15 you know, always keeping them within shouting distance There.
It ultimately ended up in what we hate to see at the end of these games of the antithesis.
You talk about that big shot buzzer beater for Luca.
That's what you love, right? Go back even into the bubble games.
When we looked at the Brooklyn Nets taking on the Portland Trail Blazers and it just came down to straight up defense.
Vert comes down opportunity to step inside the Ark there and get a chance to knock down a game winner.
That's how you love to see these things finish out naturally, right? Instead, this one went a couple of those rounds of fouls.
What you understand from the Nuggets standpoint, because you're trying to extend and give yourself a couple more possessions and trade off two points at the line versus your triples and keep yourself involved.
The overall, though, Murray comes out obviously guns blazing here, 11 rebounds and seven assists to go along with his 50 points.
But you know, four players in double digits in the starting rotation.
The issue here, if you want to say issue, is going to be down on that bench for them.
Where Plumlee listening is not going to an offensive weapon.
But then you get Supporter Junior, right, the the bubble star there over the eight games in the restart here.
Unfortunately, we've seen him settle back in playoff basketball, getting a taste of that and a four of a performance in 23 minutes.
Just one of three from deep four rebounds had the four personal fouls so feather those throughout just nine points off the bench.
So you talk about bench scoring.
You only get the total of 13 points off the bench.
Therefore the Denver Nuggets, while on the other side of things up over 30 there, although most of that coming from Clarkson.
But you need to have one of those guys, right? You need tohave Porter, be the guy that you can lean on coming in there and giving you a nice spark, cause that can be the difference, especially as we know in the n b a.
These surges one where the other, um, you know Dwyane Wade in this commentary around the evolution of Mitchell on becoming a superstar.
I'll be curious to see based on these matchups again, if you assume that they're going through here the end up against the Lakers.
I don't think that's necessarily as favorable as you'd want it to be in terms of the defense of side for the Lakers on what they can present from a problem standpoint, there, um, if you get into one of those other potential matchups that they get stirred up here a little bit, it could be interesting.
But I just wonder.
Is one playoff series enough to cure some of these ills here? If not, then you're talking about and we've had these discussions, Matt Brooks and myself.
Who do you move off of? The aging center? The aging, big aging but certainly older of the two.
You know, you have an aging star there in gold, Bert.
He's kind of the old is the old guard in terms of the five.
And the way that he plays the game doesn't mean it's a bad thing.
But it feels like you take him on a championship ready team, and all the sudden it's away you go and you'll take that over the next couple of years.
We've even danced around that idea of, Would he be a just a delightful fit at the five for the Brooklyn Nets? Certainly, that be an option there, but he's looking to cash his check, so you know it's going to be hard to see here.
And I don't see Utah moving off of Mitchell, obviously.
So what's the player that they go out and try to maybe attract here in the off season? Can you keep go Bare and Mitchell together and then add another piece to it.
Right now, everything's pretty solid.
And then you wonder about a guy like my Connolly so that you may need to get into next season before you really know what you have there in that core and then make some of these difficult decisions on the other side of things.
You know, joker.
I want to see him get some, get some strength on him there.
The game is already solid.
I'm not here to knock it, but Porter Jr going into his next year, it's obviously going to be an opportunity.
I mean, you know, in some ways you think about that.
You know, the five different kind of style guys here.
But each side has.
You have the Joker and you got go bare.
Now you got Murray and you have Mitchell, right? So the balance is there in terms of those options is just about the supporting cast.
And what are some of those additional pieces that you want to add around them? And whether or not these players can take their game to that next level? If you can get Mitchell Now, listen, the offense is taken care of itself.
But if you can get him to turn it on the defensive side as well, especially even, even if it just come playoff time, right? We know that LeBron James takes off the regular season in some faces of his game, and then when it comes down to crunch time, when it really matters most, he starts to dial it up.
That's something that you may have to make that commitment about if you're Mitchell, because otherwise you're really putting yourself in a spot where, as good as it is, as biggest, the performances, maybe you're still gonna find yourself coming up against elite talent.
And this is by the way, it goes for Luca as well, right? Incredible talent.
But now it comes down to what's the evolution of the game Now he physically is a big presence there, that guard position.
But everybody has to continue to evolve, and there's another piece that we've talked about.
Two was his free throw shooting, and over the course of this, Siri's late.
In a couple of these games, we've seen, um, a couple of Mrs, thereby him ones that would have been nice and he's a sub 80% shooter at the line.
Let's go ahead and ratchet that thing up, right? Become in 80 85% shooter from the free throw line so that, like Mitchell did last night, when the opportunities come, you're really punishing the other team.
You're punishing the opposition for putting you on the line, and then it just becomes a pick your poison scenario.
Those gains, despite it being a 31 series, have been very exciting.
With 1 21 106 final there goes off with the walkie books in Orlando.
So now they're well on their way with a 31 lead there in that, Siri's also.
So now we start to see that shaping out there fairly well.
We're gonna have that 6 30 tipoff for Miami and the Pacers again.
Miami With that stranglehold there, it looks like we're shaping up in the direction off the 14 matchup between Milwaukee and a city that will be the 15 matchup between the Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks.
And then you'll get that 23 between the Raptors and the Celtics.
That rate now is about his juicy of A syriza's.
You can see coming into this second round that has all the makings off a classic 67 And I want to just get automatically seven game series and you're going to see hopefully the best from both of those squads in that one over on the Western Conference, there's still to much air, still too much curiosity.
We don't know how these matchups are going to play out just yet, and, ah, and in a lot of ways, by the way, you know to to one Siri's across the lane here now that 31 for the Jazz.
But remember, these teams were so bunched up in the Western Conference coming out of the stoppage of going back into the bubble, unlike the East, where you kind of felt like you knew those three teams at the top in a lot of ways in Miami, dancing on the edge.
But when you look over there after the Lakers and Clippers, you say Nuggets, rockets, thunders, jazz, you know Mavericks were maybe that team you thought needs to take that next step or add in additional piece there in support, but they've had a heck of a performance here, so all of those teams.
By the way, that's Mavericks of 43 wins.
That's Nuggets in the two in the three seed at 46 win.
So that's how tightly compacted everything was there.
So shouldn't be surprising that these Games have a bit of this back and forth flavor to them.
Rest of the way today, we're gonna have another great collection of games where we'll be talking about again that Rockets Thunder game at four o'clock here.
So that's the next big matchup.
Obviously, you can talk about getting a real exciting Siri's there if the Thunder can now win back to back games.
Otherwise, probably skip over the Heat Pacers and then dive into that nine o'clock matchup with the Blazers and the Lakers.
Everything hangs in.
The balance there for Portland is there.
Either they're going to make a game of this or find themselves probably starting to think about packing it in.
Had heading home after that amazing eight game run to get themselves into it makes you think back and say, Boy, if you're not going to make this dynamic, if you're just gonna lose it for Games one, I maybe would have rather seen those ****y.
No Phoenix Suns earning their way in That being the case, we always tell you, Come right back here.
We're talking all and all things N b.
A action myself.
Matt Brooks, Keith McPherson.
Simeon Russell will be here breaking down all of these big games.
A lot of action.
Still to work our way through a lot of exciting games before we get into round two.
As always, I've been at a more direct and I will catch up with you soon.