Wednesday, September 16, 2020

NBA Update

(1) Milwaukee 4 - 1 (8) Orlando
(4) Indiana 0 - 4 (5) Miami
(3) Boston 4 - 0 (6) Philadelphia
(2) Toronto 4 - 0 (7) Brooklyn

(1) Milwaukee 1 - 4 (5) Miami
(2) Toronto 3 - 4 (3) Boston

(3) Boston 0 - 1 (5) Miami

(1) L.A. Lakers 4 - 1 (8) Portland
(4) Houston 4 - 3 (5) Oklahoma City
(3) Denver 4 - 3 (6) Utah
(2) L.A. Clippers 4 - 2 (7) Dallas

(1) L.A. Lakers 4 - 1 (4) Houston
(2) L.A. Clippers 3 - 4 (3) Denver

(1) L.A. Lakers 0 - 0 (3) Denver

So it turns out that this is the year that Calipari's Wildcats take over the NBA.  We've got Anthony Davis ('12) at the Lakers (along with Rondo!).  We've got Jamal Murray ('16) leading the Nuggets -- he had 40 points in Game Seven to knock out the Clippers.  We've got Bam Adebayo ('17) and Tyler Herro ('19) playing lights-out for the Heat -- Adebayo just had an amazing, spectacular, game-saving block to lead the Heat to victory over the Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals.  Of course, that would have been a foul against UNC in the 2017 tournament -- so I'm really happy for Bam.

An interlude here.  I didn't blog about the 2017 season or the 2019 season, and those were honestly two of my very favorite Kentucky teams.  I really loved the 2017 team, with Adebayo, Malik Monk, and De'Aaron Fox.  And if that game against UNC had happened when I was a younger man, it would have scarred me for life.  I truly believe that if you had played that game with professional officials, who didn't know or care about the names of the two schools (or coaches) involved, UK would have won by 10 points.  They were the best team in the country that year, and they should have won the national title.

I'm upset about Tyler Herro's team losing to Auburn, but I don't blame the officials for that one.  Here's pretty much all you need to know about that game:

Herro:  1-5 on 3's, 2-6 on 2's, 0-0 from the line:  7 points
Keldon Johnson:  0-2 on 3's, 5-11 on 2's, 4-6 from the line:  14 points

Auburn's guards:
Jared Harper:  1-6 on 3's, 6-12 on 2's, 11-11 from the line:  26 points
Bryce Brown:  4-7 on 3's, 4-5 on 2's, 4-5 from the line:  24 points

Our back court was outscored 50-21 in an Elite Eight game.  And even those basic facts don't capture the complete dominance of Auburn's guards.  UK spent the whole game on its back foot -- afraid to make any mistakes and unable to get any easy baskets.  I thought every pass was going to be a turnover.  It's hard to make the Final Four under those circumstances.

As for Murray, he went 1-9 from three-point range against Indiana in the Second Round of the 2016 Tournament, and that was the end of that season.  (Someday I should do a whole post on that season, because I wasn't a good fan that year, and I take some of the blame for what happened.)

But that 2017 team was the bomb.  I loved that team.  I've seen four Kentucky teams that really should have won the tournament but didn't.  Here they are:

1997 (The best team in the tournament -- by a lot.  Champions in 1996.  Champions in 1998.  In the final game of the 1997 tournament, they shot 17 free throws.  Arizona shot 41.  Wayne Turner fouled out in only 28 minutes.  Jared Prickett fouled out in only 21 minutes.  Jamaal Magloire got four fouls in 14 minutes.  I've seen WWE matches with better officiating.  Kentucky was so good that they still took the game to overtime.)

1993 (My personal favorite team never to win it all.)

2015  (Wisconsin shot 22 free throws.  We shot 10.  Devin Booker played only 19 minutes in this game.)

2017 (I still don't like to talk about that UNC game.)

Anyway, I'm really glad that the former Cats are playing well.  I'm happy for Pat Riley ('66) who put together the Heat, and Frank Vogel (Kentucky '98), who is coaching the Lakers.

Who's going to win?  Well, it should be the Lakers -- I don't think any other team has the firepower to compete with LeBron and Anthony Davis.  But the Nuggets really surprised me against the Clippers, and I certainly wouldn't want to have to beat Miami or Boston four times -- it would be like Kentucky trying to win four out of seven SEC Road games.  The Lakers will probably do it, but it wouldn't surprise me if it turns out to be ugly.


  1. I should also make clear that none of the other Kentucky guys in this report was close to being as good as Anthony Davis. Davis is, by far, the best UK player I've ever seen. I've probably seen 20 UK teams that would have won the National Title if they'd had Anthony Davis.

  2. Best UK players I've ever seen:

    1. Anthony Davis
    2. Jamal Mashburn
    3. Antoine Walker
    4. Karl-Anthony Towns