What up? How's everybody doing? Hope everybody's enjoying their Tuesday.
Um, getting the week started with some not great basketball.
Um, after that Celtics Raptors game that I don't know if it felt like the Siris was over, but it's the first time I felt like, Okay, I might actually know who's gonna win this and felt like after those first two games I had a pretty good idea, especially after that blowout victory, where it looks like the Raptors just couldn't get really much of anything done in the half court.
Then you have that flukey win.
I'm not flukey, but a win off a game winner that I mean was, Ah, you know, it was a perfect play.
I'll leave it at that.
And then the next game, the Celtics come out flat, so that serious seems like it's resolving itself a little bit now and then we have this Siri's this total doozy of a Siri's right here.
This Nuggets clippers Siri's.
I mean, let me just say two things.
First off, both of these teams cannot not play in a fund series like the Nuggets.
Every time they play anybody, it's gonna go seven games or six games like it really just feels like that.
The Clippers air the same thing the Clippers are.
I think they're the team this year that plays down to their competition, which I don't love.
Now that hasn't been cataclysmic for teams in the past.
You look at like the Cleveland Cavs.
And some of those years were like LeBron was with what's the one where they had, like, George Hill.
And I think that was 2018.
Um, you know, you think of some of those years where you know they got stretched to seven by Victor Oladipo, who was.
You know, I think that was his first year of, like, All Star ascendance, where they were just trapping him at mid court and the Pacers were still able to, like get buckets on and stretch it to seven.
With people kind of struggling like this.
Just this Clippers team kind of reminds me of some of those teams that we've seen in the very recent past in the N B A.
So let me just get one thing out of the way.
Um, I felt like Game three.
Uh, this game was it was a really up, you know, kind of up for grabs for the Nuggets, and they came out just strong.
They really kind of put the pedal to the metal against this Clippers team, which is, I think, the way you beat them, like if you put them deep enough in the whole, um you know, they don't know.
They just like that.
Game two is strange.
They just really weren't able to find, like, any runs within themselves.
Quietest had, like a really bad game by his standards and one of the worst games he's had since, like rising to superstar levels.
So I mean, look, you lose that game.
This game, I thought was a lot, you know? I mean, the score tells it everything you need to know.
But this game was close and it felt like it was a battle of runs yoke.
It's They just have nobody to throw.
And I like zoo botch a lot.
I actually thought he made um, Yokich work for a couple of those points, especially on plays where he got fouled.
But right now they just don't have anybody for Yokich and Yokich.
You know, say what you want about the guy there is a 25 point scorer in there somewhere because of all the weird things he can dio.
He's like, kind of like a He reminds me of like 37 year old Dirk Nowitzki, where he's got these, like, weird, you know, fall back shots.
That's the weirdest shot of maybe ever seen.
Um, it's that, like one footed fall back, uh, I don't want to call it, I guess.
Fade away. It's super strange.
And there I just have never seen another player take that type of a shot.
It's pretty reliable for him.
He hits that on that right baseline quite a bit.
He's also got the floaters, which, if you run him off the line, you think, OK, well, the Holyoke it she's anywhere between like 34 to 38% from three.
Sometimes he creeks into the forties if he's really feeling it.
But you look at him and you say OK is a bigger guy.
If you run him off the line, he probably can't do anything right.
Wrong, absolutely wrong.
You run him off the line, he's either gonna a fine line like a baseline cutter, right? Hiding in the dunkers spot, which is the spot, Really, if you think about where the backboard is, it's on the right and left side, just kind of.
That's where players that can't really shoot hide.
You think of like guys like Ben Simmons really scoring a lot down there, especially last year when he was playing against Jimmy Butler are playing with Jimmy Butler.
But, um, you know, you think of like Yokich is a guy.
He confined those baseline cutters in the dunker spot.
He's also Ah, guy that's got a really nice and reliable floater, probably one of the four most reliable floaters in the league.
I think statistically this year, in terms of like the volume that he was taking those shots and the percentage he was making them, I want to say he was the most efficient floater shotmaker in the entire league, which is not a shot you think of is statistically that efficient.
Traditionally at least so he's got everything, man and he's showing that and he's finally tapping into the scoring side of Nicola Yokich, which is a side I wish we saw a little bit more to be completely honest with you, so that's been big from them.
Gary Harris has just been refreshing.
I mean, this guy looks, I want to say he looks like the best perimeter defender in the entire playoffs right now.
I really think so.
He's made such an impact in every single game he's played.
He's able to match up with guys of all sizes.
I mean, Gary Harris is 64 like he's not this like any.
He's not like a Marcus Smart, where Marcus Smart got a lot of weight on him.
Gary here is just strong, but he's not, you know, like a booking bowling ball of a dude.
But he's matching up with Kawai on the post.
He's such a just wonderful help defender.
I mean, there are a couple of double teams that transpired yesterday, and it's been a big reason that the Nuggets have been able to stay in this Syriza's because of a guy like Gary Harris or Jeremy Grant, their doubling the Clippers best players and being like, Hey, Marcus Morris, why don't you beat us like let's do that because we know you're gonna want to beat us and we know actually, statistically looking at this, we actually have a better chance if you're trying to beat us because you're gonna take bad shots. Inherently.
Marcus Morris is good for a lot of things.
You know, Shot selection is not one of them.
So So I think that right now you're in a really interesting position where the Nuggets are really finding themselves.
You look at this team and it's like, Yeah, there's certain things that you wish you got a little bit more of like Rim protection mainly, But, you know, you get a little bit of us from some of the other guys.
You know, Jeremy Grant has been just a revelation for them in terms of blocking shots, especially kind of on the like.
You don't see him, but he comes over your back shoulder, that rare view mirror contest that he's gotten really well.
He's always really good at.
He was even able to do that in Philly, but he's just especially shown that in this big setting against the Clippers, he's just had a couple of blocks where a guy goes up for a layup.
But it won't even be like Colli.
You know, these guys will think they have an open shot.
He just comes out of nowhere and just either pins into the backboard or sends it into what would be the bleachers.
If we have fans there.
So, um so, yeah, I mean, I think the Nuggets have been refreshing.
It's kind of a tale of two different teams.
To be completely honest with you, like the Nuggets are, it feels like they're taking a leak.
It feels like it's I don't know how big the leap is, but it feels like they're taking a leap.
Jamal Murray as I think we're gonna be saying until he's like 40 it, he's It feels like he's one little like one little half step away from being like, really, really, truly interesting.
Now, the Clippers air forcing the blot of his hands a lot and I haven't loved everything they've done necessarily offensively.
They've just given up a lot of like open threes and a lot of that's just from guys kind of going to the same place on defense, so you'll have to confront the two Clipper defenders converge onto the same player, leaving a corner open.
That stuff is still happening and I think that's just like to be completely honest with you the lack of chemistry that they have.
But they've done a really good job forcing the ball out of Murray Sands.
A guy like Patch.
You know Patrick Beverley is gonna is gonna make him work for that.
So I think for the Nuggets is is seeing what you've got in Jamal Murray.
They still might be a trade away.
And as greatest Millsap has been for individual gains, I do think they probably need to improve that spot along with the Tory Craig spot, who's just not even playing anymore.
He's such a like a complete zero.
Offensively, I just think that against this Clippers team who's really high voltage in terms of scoring, um, they realize they're just That's not an advantageous matchup for them is to throw Tory Craig out there.
So they've been fun.
They've got a lot of pieces that I really like and that brings us to the Clippers, which Clippers were might let me say this Clippers have been my my finals pick for it's probably since July of last year whenever they finalized the thing with Kawai.
Um and I've stuck with them.
I've stuck with them at the lowest points of this season.
I've stuck with them before the bubble.
I stuck with them as they were playing in the bubble on not playing all that well.
I'm stuck with him, all right.
Talent wise, it's tough to be, um, they have a lot of guys that I mean Trez Harrell almost becomes an afterthought in some of these games and he's just good.
Like he's gonna be good on whatever team he plays on.
I don't know if he's the right guy for this specific Clippers team, but he's a good player in a vacuum I and even like some of their fringe guys.
I like Landry Shamin a lot.
I just think as a culmination of all these guys coming together playing together, you have a couple of things wrong with them.
A lot of guys overlap in terms of skill sets, so if you look at I mean look, we have four guys, five guys that think they are the go to guys on this team, quien Paul George who deserve it, and kudos to Paul George who, after wrongly getting dunked on for talking about mental health, which I thought was inexplicable to do for, you know, And this was mostly on Twitter and Twitter.
Yes, is a total cess pool.
But he did get slammed a little bit for talking about his mental health in the midst of struggles, even though they are, you know, a bunch of guys playing without their families in an enclosed bubble, which some of the coaches have described as, like, kind of a madhouse in a lot of ways, Um, he's come out and he's been Paul.
George, I mean, has come out and been totally resurgent, like, just awesome in the games that they really needed him.
I mean, he has been excellent.
He was awesome last night.
He's connecting from deep.
He's found a stroke.
It seems like his legs air under him, which is a really good thing, because you always kind of worry about that with Paul George.
You worry about the shoulders.
You worry about just the lower body extremities in general.
But you know, this guy's come out.
He's playing just, you know, absolutely balls to the wall.
I mean, to be completely honest.
Like he's he's showing and, uh, wise another guy that, of course, quiet like I think he's the best player in the leader.
Know? So, yes, he's a go to guy.
But then you have some of these other like, fringe guys.
So you have like a Reggie Jackson.
Every time Reggie Jackson comes in, you know it's you let a catch and shoot three, and I'll be like, All right, cool, Nice.
Um, then you'll get targeted on the other side of the floor.
That isn't happening quite as much in this series.
You know, Don Church was just so good at engineering those switches last Siri's.
And it's kind of funny that I still feel like the Clippers aren't great defensively because they don't have to do with somebody like Luca in this series.
But even so, like Reggie Jackson just is, you know, a guy that he comes in there, he's gonna take, you know, 2 to 3 bad shots you have.
Marcus Morris, who I've already mentioned is fearless, almost to a fault.
We'll put it that way, and then we have Lou Williams, who I think, you know, looking at his resume a little bit.
Not necessarily the best playoff performer.
I thought he was a lot better than people give him credit for last year, even though Gallinari was also equally is devastating against that Warriors team for the Clippers, Louisville was great, and that was the perfect role for this year.
It just kind of feels like I don't know where he fits in and he is above anything right now, even more than Transaero.
I think eventually is gonna have some moments of prominence in this playoffs, although I do expect him to greatly have his role reduced as the playoffs go on more and more and they just go more to do.
But who's just better? Just way better player.
Honestly, um, Lou Williams is the guy that I can't figure out, and I don't know if he's the source of their problems, because I think right now there's still plenty of time for them to figure it out because the offenses humming.
It's the defense that isn't looking good and I think that just comes with experience.
But the little Williams thing on offense is weird because the games that he's playing well, he's a total bounty for them and they're going to score in the 1 20 is the one thirties and it looks perfect Honestly, it's like they had these two stars.
And then this guy comes in, you know, and he's basically volume shooting, but really making an impact in carrying the offense for those guys when they when they need rest when it's not going.
He's still taking those shots cause he's Lou will and he has a bunch of pedigree and he's won a lot of awards in his career, and it hurts like yesterday.
There were a couple of shots down the stretch where I'm like, man, I don't really know if I want you in a side pick and roll taking like, ah, fall away, mid range shot That just frankly, is like a pretty empty possession for the Clippers.
So that's where I'm at right now.
Um, I think the defense figures itself out.
I'm still holding out hope for this team, and I think I'm gonna probably be saying that until this playoffs comes to a close.
But I really I just think there's another gear for them.
Um, people underrate how long it takes to figure out a defense as a group and again, a lot of these guys are pretty new with playing with each other.
So, you know, I mean, look, I I'm cover the nets.
Um, the first three weeks of the season when they had Kyrie and all these new guys Victorian prints and and DeAndre, Jordan and all these guys that were really knew it had never really played together.
They were horrible on defense.
By every single metric. They were awful.
They were unbelievably awful.
And by the end of Candy Atkinson's 10 year, they get up to the eighth ranked defense.
I watched a lot of those games I was.
I was there is a media member.
They really figured it out defensively.
They understand, kind of learned these systems that they were, you know, running there, which was a lot of zone.
But, you know, I think for this Clippers team, they're running a really tricky style of coverage, and it's the right style of coverage for their personnel with this switching defense.
But sometimes you just have guys that don't really know how to play with each other that well yet and figuring out some of these switches air tough figuring out when to switch, figuring out when not to switch, figuring out Oh, hey, I have Reggie Jackson next to me.
Maybe I shouldn't switch because that puts Reggie Jackson on.
I don't know Jeremy Grant, and that's not, you know, a great matchup for Reggie Jackson.
So those are the little things that they need to figure out. They have time.
They don't have that much time because a this this Nuggets team is really feisty.
They're gonna give him a fight there, taking a mini leap, as I already said.
But be if they do get through the serious presumptively, they're gonna play one of the Rockets who are gonna place small and push them to their limits.
And, you know, really test that switching scheme or you're gonna play the Lakers, which you've got to be sharp.
You've got to be sharp.
If you're laid on rotations, you're messing up little things like that.
Uh, the you know, LeBron James is going to pick you apart, and I would expect them to, and he's also another guy that if you're switching to easily, um, he's gonna he's gonna figure out the switches that he wants.
You'll say, Oh, you got Lou Williams on the floor.
Me? We've already seen this movie player.
Uh, you put Lou Lou Williams out there and he's gonna find him.
He's gonna find amusing to say, you know, the guy that whoever is guarding Lou Williams come over here and screen for me and I'm gonna get that matchup, But I'm gonna use that to my advantage.
So, yes, this is a little bit more of a Clipper stream than a nugget stream I the Nuggets or just refreshing.
And I'm sure we'll be talking about them more and more as we go on this week.
But the Clippers air obviously the team that everybody I think wants to see unless you're you know, you like you're rooting for the underdog, which I totally respect.
I'm a guy that routes for matchups.
I want the best possible basketball Siri's.
So I find myself gravitating toward the Clippers is I know that's not very fun, but, um fittingly enough with all this Clippers talk, go check on my other channel.
Matt Brooks en Bahir on SportsCastr.
Why I bring that up? Well, as it so happens, I'm bringing on a Clippers expert that this week how great of a segment was that? Yes, I am bringing Lucas Han, who is the owner of 213 hoops.
Ah, guy that's covered the Clippers for quite a few years now, bringing him on my other channel to talk about his clippers to explain why they are so frustrating and so glorious and other moments.
So that'll be a good discussion.
I'm really excited for that.
That will be happening Thursday at 6 p.
Eastern standard time. Now that might change.
So if that does change, I will let you guys know, but yeah, that's the plan right now.
Bringing him on just kind of having him talk me through my title pick.
Okay, I need a little, uh I need a little streaming therapy here because I'm getting a little worried.
So stay tuned for that.
Of course. On my other channel again.
Matt Brooks N B A.
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Good to see you guys.
Um go check all of my people out and I will see you guys next time.
Probably very shortly.