Last season the Cleveland Cavaliers lost Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving during the playoffs. Stephen Curry is expect to miss two weeks with a strained knee and Chris Paul is out for the remainder of the season with a fractured hand. Half of winning the NBA Championship now, is just staying healthy. Before Paul was injured I asked the question on Twitter: Is it time to start questioning Doc Rivers and Erik Spoelstra? Both the LA Clippers and the Miami Heat have superior rosters to the Portland Trailblazers and Charlotte Hornets. There is now way Miami should be playing a Game 5 with the series tied at 2-2.
To quote legendary ring announcer Michael Buffer… Let’s Get Ready To Rumble!
Spurs vs. Thunder Preview:
This was supposed to be a rebuilding or transition year for San Antonio. The Spurs have gone away from their “Big 3” of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili to Kawhi Leonard and LeMarcus Aldridge. The Spurs don’t rebuild they retool, they were 67-15 during the regular season and tied the Boston Celtics for the greatest home record of all-time 40-1. Leonard continues to lead on both ends of the floor. He was named Defensive Player of the Year and he was 4th in the league in 3-point field goal percentage (.443). The Spurs beat a Memphis Grizzlies team that was decimated with injuries. But unlike a lot of teams in the NBA, the Spurs never play down to their competition. They swept the grizzlies in 4 games and now can rest until Saturday. This is one of Gregg Popovich’s strength as a coach. His team never takes anyone for granted and they are always prepared.
After losing Game 2 to the Dallas, the Oklahoma City Thunder dominated the Mavs and won in 5 games. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant have now both scored 30 points a game… in 9 playoff games. The Thunder are a two headed monster and will only go as far as Westbrook and Durant will carry them. The Thunder only have 6 players who really contribute game to game. . Durant (26 PPG), Westbrook (26 PPG), Enes Kanter (15.2 PPG), Serge Ibaka (12.6 PPG), Dion Waiters (11 PPG) and Steven Adams (9.2 PPG)
This is going to be a battle from start to finish. With Curry and Paul being injured, the winner of this series could make it to the NBA Finals. I fully expect Westbrook and Durant to continue scoring over 25 points per game, but where is the rest of the scoring going to come from? If Rick Carlisle can steal a win with an undermanned Mavericks squad, what will Greg Pop do from game to game? The Spurs have 11 players who average more than 5.5 points per game in the playoffs. The Spurs are a lot like the New England Patriots, no matter who plays, they always contribute. The Thunder’s offense is based on isolation, the Spurs offense is based on ball movement and giving up a good shot for a great shot. I think the Spurs offense will wear down the Thunde.
I like Billy Donovan but I think Pop exposes him here. I like the Spurs depth and coaching to win this series in 6 games.
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I am a former AAU and College basketball coach as well as a Former Stand Up Comedian. Over the past two years I have written over 500 articles for numerous websites. I am the former host of The Monte Cristo Sports Thing on WRNJ radio in New Jersey. I am now the host of my own podcast. The Full Monte airs every Thursday at 6PM Eastern (Sports and Politics) and The Full Monte Football Show airs every Sunday 11 AM. Over the past 2 years I have been a featured guest or host on over 200 radio shows and podcasts. For bookings send emails to Monteinsidesports @gmail.com Follow me on Twitter MonteAP23