Wednesday, May 11, 2016

NBA Update

Russell Westbrook giveth, and Russell Westbrook taketh away.  After giving the Spurs Games One and Three of the big Western Conference Semi-Final between Oklahoma City and San Antonio, and then hiding his light under a bushel in Game Four (a Thunder victory) the world's most controversial point guard was back to letting in rip in Game Five.  He took 27 shots, six more than Kevin Durant, and 19 more than anyone else on the team.  Here's how they went:

9-20 from 2-point range
3-7 from 3-point range
8-8 from the line
35 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists

That's about as good as you're going to get from Westbrook.  Of course, with the rest of the team effectively sidelined, the Thunder scored 16 fewer points than they had in Game Four, when Westbrook focused on getting the ball to other people.  But I don't think anyone really believed he could keep that up for two games in a row, and at least he wasn't missing too many shots.  Besides, the Thunder are actually playing great defense.  So they squeaked out a 95-91 win in San Antonio, and they now lead the series 3 games to 2.  If they can win tomorrow night in OKC, the Spurs will be eliminated.

Since effectively using Game One as an off night, the Thunder have beaten the Spurs three out of four, and have made it very difficult for the Spurs' high-flying offense to really get going.  Check out these scores (home teams listed first):

Game One:  San Antonio 124 - 92 Oklahoma City
Game Two:  San Antonio 97 - 98 Oklahoma City
Game Three:  Oklahoma City 96 - 100 San Antonio
Game Four:  Oklahoma City 111 - 97 San Antonio
Game Five:  San Antonio 91 - 95 Oklahoma City

Neither team can afford to lose Game Six.  A loss would finish the Spurs, while the Thunder do not want to have to win a third game in San Antonio.  So Game Six should be a classic.

Cleveland 4 - 0 Atlanta
Toronto 2 - 2 Miami

Golden St. 3 - 1 Portland
San Antonio 2 - 3 Oklahoma City


  1. I haven't yet seen any of the Cavaliers' eight playoffs victories, but, given what you've been saying here, I would imagine the Toronto-Miami series is not of particular consequence to the overall NBA-title chase. That said, I was thrilled to watch PPat, Dwane Casey of Morganfield and the Raptors hold off the Heat last night in Toronto to take a 3-2 lead in that Eastern semi.

  2. Patrick Patterson was one of my favorite UK players of all time, and I'm so glad he stuck it out to get to enjoy the first year of the Coach Cal BBN fun. And, as Matthew's "Where Are They Now?" feature has tracked, he's having a very solid NBA career. compares his career to this juncture with those of John Johnson, who was a very solid contributor with the late '70s Seattle Supersonics and a prime foil of my Washington Bullets in that rivalry that saved the whole freaking league, and Harvey "Ha" Grant, who will have a key role in my forthcoming Hamilton-esque musical comedy on the 1980s/'90s Bullets, which is to be titled either "The Wrong Grant" or "Blanks."

  3. Anyway, in this series, both the Raptors and the Heat are missing players who are injured but normally play important roles, so both teams are playing unusual rotations. Miami last night went a long stretch with three point guards on the floor together. And Toronto appears to be playing Patterson most every minute of the game. He hits an occasional outback or mid-range jumpsuit (he also takes an occasional three-pointer, but I don't remember having seen PPat actually hit any of those). His main jobs, though, seem to be rushing in to either grab offensive rebounds himself or slap them out into the backcourt for someone else to collect (he's really fantastic at this) or to be targeted on defense for isolation plays by Miami's offense (he seems to be winning at least half of these battles).

    The best part is just to hear the announcers talking about him all the time. I think they like saying "Patrick Patterson" (I do, too), and I'll bet he's a nice enough guy to talk to before and after interviews.

  4. And, of course, it's great to see Coach Casey doing so well. Here's the first sentence of the "Coaching" section of his Wikipedia page: "Casey's coaching experience went back to his first coaching job at the age of 13 when Morganfield Baseball Commissioner Earl McKendree allowed the young Casey to coach a Little League team with kids just three years younger than him." Good for 1970s Morganfield Baseball Commissioner Earl McKendree!

  5. Replies
    1. I am excited.

      By the way, Patterson hits the occasional putback or jumpshot, not "outback" or "jumpsuit." I don't know when spellchecker got so aggressive on this site, but I don't like it at all.


    Make that, "my" Raptors!