Tag Archives: NBA Playoffs

ON BLAST PODCAST S3 E10 – I MISS THE OLD NBA (FINALS RECAP)

Kevin Durant won finals MVP as the Golden State Warriors ran over the Cleveland Cavaliers to win another NBA Championship, but did the fans enjoy the NBA season, playoffs or finals? In this episode, Sheldon decides to try something new and “cold calls” his friends asking their opinions on the “New NBA”. Let us know what you think and whether you agree or disagree with the callers.

Let us know what you think and follow us on twitter
@ShelAlexander

#UnpolishedUnapologetic
Hope you enjoy the show and don’t forget to #TellYoFriends

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

ON BLAST PODCAST S3 E9 – NBA FINALS & CHILL

In this episode Sheldon and Webster talk about the NBA Finals and the Cavs chances at coming back during this series as well as:

00 – NBA FINALS: IS THE SERIES OVER? IS KD THE BEST PLAYER IN THE NBA?
22:30 – PK SUBBAN VS SIDNEY CROSBY, CARRIE UNDERWOOD AND SMASHVILLE
30:00 – IF THE WARRIORS SWEEP THE CAVS, IS THIS GOOD FOR THE NBA?
36:00 – WHAT SHOULD THE RAPTORS DO THIS OFF SEASON
44:00 – WEBBY IS READY FOR THE NFL & HOW GOOD IS JOSH DONALDSON
48:35 – WHAT SHOWS ARE WE WATCHING?
50:30 – WHY YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING THE CHALLENGE CHAMPS VS PROS

Also for more on LeBron and the NBA Finals:

https://onblastpodcast.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/i-was-going-to-write-about-the-nba-finals-but-then/

And the Toronto Raptors offseason:

https://onblastpodcast.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/masai-ujiri-kyle-lowry-kendricks-and-loyalty/

Let us know what you think and follow us on twitter
@ShelAlexander and @awebster84

#UnpolishedUnapologetic
Hope you enjoy the show and don’t forget to #TellYoFriends

 
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

MASAI UJIRI, KYLE LOWRY, KENDRICK(S) AND LOYALTY

IMG_2149

The video below is from TNT’s “Area 21” and in this episode host and certified BEAST Kevin Garnett is joined by his former Celtics teammates to discuss the Eastern Conference playoffs.  I skipped ahead to the relevant part, when they discuss if Masai should blow up the Raptors…ENJOY.

“If I was on the team and the role player that I am, I can’t follow that lead” – Kendrick Perkins

Now whatever you think of Perk and the rest of his 2008 Celtic teammates on what turned into the “Area 21 reunion show”, he does bring up a good point.  Can you be a championship team if you’re led by Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan?

You see we’ve come to the point where Masai Ujiri has to show who he’s actually loyal to.  Is it the point guard that’s led him to the best 4 year run in franchise history?  Is it DeMar DeRozan, who re-signed last year for “the near max” under the assumption the team would keep the core intact going forward?  Is it Dwane Casey who is arguably the best Raptors coach ever, but who is also constantly feuding with his star PG?  Or is Mr. Ujiri ultimately loyal to his MLSE bosses, who would love to keep cashing playoff cheques instead of retooling and possibly starting all over again?  Is it possible to do all of the above?  In a perfect world, yes.  But in this scenario, I don’t think so.

This is Kyle Lowry’s last chance to hit a lick and sign a max contract of 5 years, worth around $200M.  He can only get that money if he resigns with the Raptors.  But if you’re Masai Ujiri are you interested in giving a 5 year deal to a 31-year old that has gotten hurt down the stretch in each of the last 4 seasons?  I’m not sure I’d be so quick to back up the Brinks truck, but this is where the Kendrick Lamar “Loyalty, Loyalty, Loyalty” hook rewinds over and over again in my head.  If you’re loyal to Kyle Lowry and give him a max contract, it’s giving props to the work he’s done in making the Toronto Raptors a legitimate franchise.   Since coming north, Lowry has lead the team to the playoffs in 4 of his 5 seasons in a Raptors uniform.  When you consider, he’s almost doubled the franchise’s playoff appearances as a whole, he becomes an even bigger deal in The Six.  He’s been the Raps heart and soul and the reality has always been that the team would go as far as Lowry, and not DeRozan would take them.

But this my friends is where the beat on the track switches up on because the mood or should I say “Element” is about to change drastically.  This is where I remind you how this era of Raptors success happened by accident.  If not for the dysfunction of James Dolan and the New York Knicks, Masai Ujiri would have shipped Lowry to the Big Apple as the second step of the #TankNation project.  But instead, the Knicks did what the Knicks always do and messed it up. They kyboshed the deal paving the way for Lowry to remain a Raptor.  We all know what happened next, but the point remains, Masai has been playing with house money this entire time.  Think about it.  Getting to keep Kyle, the role players that were swapped for Rudy Gay perfectly fitting in, DeMar’s continued development and Casey’s constant demands at the defensive end all led to Toronto’s recent success.  Most of it happening at a higher rate than anyone would have ever imagined.  So if you’re Ujiri, do you double down on this core or do you accept it for what it was and move on with your kids (that you’ve done a great job in developing by the way #905ShoutOut #Champions #WeOutHere)

Now we all know what Lowry brings, but we also know that what he brings is on the decline and will only get worse.  For Raptors fans it was frustrating to see Lowry sulking in the media following yet another mid-season injury.  It was even harder to watch him on the bench during the two biggest games of the year.

It was a rare sight, as there’s never much of an in-between when it comes to star players and injuries during the playoffs.  Maybe it’s the age old difference between being “hurt” and being “injured”, but for me anyways, I had trouble figuring out how he tried to give it a go in game 2 before ultimately shutting it down in a blowout.  Then appeared to be close enough in game 3 that he dressed, but didn’t play at all….and then was in street clothes for game 4 looking like he was going to a funeral…or maybe he looked like something else?

(well played internet…well played)

If one were to read the tea leaves, one would think that if he REALLY wanted to play, that he could have played.  Obviously not at a 100%, but he could have given them SOMETHING because it’s the playoffs.  I mean, that is….if he really thought they had a chance against the Cavs right?!? But much like with the bum wrist he suffered around the all star break, why try to play through it and risk further injury heading into the biggest off season of your career?

Now I’ll say this, I fully understand Lowry being loyal to himself first and foremost here.  I genuinely do.  But if that is in fact the case, then the team is fully within their rights to be loyal to themselves as well.  Is this who you want as your leader if your ultimate goal is winning a championship?  If you’re going to pay Lowry and DeRozan the max and in turn the same as other max players, shouldn’t you demand the same type of leadership?  I mean it isn’t just the injuries that left a sour taste in the mouths of many Raptors fans, it was some of the quotes throughout the series as well.

“If you can find somebody to stop LeBron in these moments,” DeRozan told reporters, “I’ll give you $100.”

All while letting LeBron do this….

and this….

Oh yeah…and this….

All while the Raptors stars gave very little resistance.  Which brings us back to Kendrick Perkins and the Celtics Rat-Pack on TNT.  They aren’t the only ones that looked sideways at the quotes given by the two Raptors stars.  And so you have to wonder…are they asking the same questions about their leaders inside the Raptors locker room and throughout the entire organization.  We all know beating LeBron is a MASSIVE task to say the least, but are you willing to pay your leaders the same pay cheque as the King, while listening to them basically admitting defeat midway through the series?  If fact, have you ever heard the stars of any team in any sport give such high praise to their opponent DURING a series.  As Kendrick (Perkins not Lamar) said in the above video

“Where you do that at?”

Get past the lingo and realize there’s actually a really great question there.  Which organizations consistently accept playoff mediocrity?  What is the perception that you want for your franchise?  Who are you trying to be?  A team that actually competes for a championship or one that is simply just making the playoffs.  It’s the difference between the San Antonio Spurs and the Atlanta Hawks.  One team has built a winning culture that demands being in the championship conversation year in and year out.  The other, has NEVER been taken seriously despite making the playoffs in each of the last 10 years (its ok, I’ll wait while you look it up.  The Hawks have actually made the playoffs 10 years in a row and you HAD NO IDEA right?).

We know at least publicly which side Masai Ujiri wants to be on after his press conference on Tuesday that focused on a “Culture Reset”.  But I honestly question what answer you’d get as a fly on the wall in an MLSE boardroom that wants to justify raising ticket prices year after year.  I mean they could just fire coach Casey, but that really just covers up what the real issues are.  I guess in the end, Kendrick (Lamar, not Perkins) has the best question for both the Raptors and Kyle Lowry going forward:

Tell me who you’re loyal to…Is it money, is it fame…Is it fans, is it rings?

Ok so I obviously had to change the last two words from “weed” and “drink” to “fans” and “rings” to make it work…but you get the idea right?  Anyways…it’s gonna be another one of those summers in The Six.

As always….just my thoughts.  Right or wrong, just how I’m feeling at the time.

@ShelAlexander

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

IF YOU’RE NOT WATCHING THE THUNDER AND CLIPPERS SERIES…YOU SHOULD BE.

cp3 kd

 

To be honest, as a Raptors fan I’ve struggled to watch much regarding the NBA playoffs since Kyle Lowry got his shot blocked (or fouled depending on your rooting interest). The Nets have no real chance against the Heat. Ditto for the inexperienced Blazers against the battle tested Spurs. And the Wizards and Pacers are basically playing to become the next guest stars on LeBron James’ career highlight tape. So that leaves me with the Clippers and Thunder. In reality it’s almost a shame that these two teams had to meet in the second round as opposed to the conference or better yet in the NBA finals (if there was such thing as league wide re-seeding in the playoffs). So despite swearing off the post season for a while, the basketball fan in me had no choice but to jump right into this series. What more could you ask for in terms of drama. Star power with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul (and Little Chris) against Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Big market LA vs small market OKC. Doc Rivers trying to bring his championship experience to the Clippers versus Scott Brooks trying to prove that the Thunder do actually have set plays that they practice on a regular basis despite what Russell Westbrook tries to show otherwise.

You get the point, this series has been basketball’s equivalent to must see TV. Both games 4 and 5 came right down to the wire with both teams having a chance to win at the buzzer. The Clippers came back from 14 points down to win game 4 at home, then proceeded to choke down the stretch in game 5 to return the favour to OKC. Heading into game 6 this series is by far the best of the second round and before its all said and done, it could be the best of the entire playoffs. Seeing two of the best point guards in the league going head to head has been nothing short of epic (CP3: 22 ppg, 12.2 apg, 51.2 FG%. Russ: 29.6 ppg,8.2 apg, 6.6 rpg, 52.6 FG%…WTF!!!). Blake Griffin has taken his game to the next level. Kendrick Perkins and Matt Barnes have yet to throw a punch at each other, although its still early. And watching Kevin Durant having to battle Clipper double teams and Russell Westbrook’s shot selection has been an MVP type performance all on its own. This series has been so good that it almost makes you forget about the Clippers racist piece of crap owner, his wife and his side chick that somehow manages to give side chicks even more of a bad name (#TheseHoesAintLoyal).

But along with the Clippers front office turning into a scene from the Young and the Restless, another terrible distraction from this series is the officiating…but don’t fall for this storyline. Doc Rivers’ rant at the end of game 5 would lead to you to believe that the refs played a major role in the Clippers collapse. But let’s be serious for a second, your team is up 7 points with 49.2 seconds left on the clock. OKC came back to win WITHOUT FOULING to extend the game!?!? How is that even possible? Well, I’ll tell you how, you let the MVP/scoring champ shoot a 3 pointer out of a timeout in which the game plan was to foul him and not let him shoot a three. You run a terrible set at the other end, give up a long rebound and outlet pass to the same MVP/scoring champ who walks down rodeo drive for a lay up (yes a lay up with the game on the line, to quote Chuck “That’s Turrble Kenny”). Now, you’re still up 2 points, BUT THEN your all-star point guard anticipates getting fouled and so he tries to shoot the ball from three quarter court distance, only to turn over the ball leading to what Doc calls the play or call that changed the game.

But to me here’s the thing, we all rag on officiating but at the end of the day, don’t we all just want the right call to be made. I mean, isn’t that the whole purpose of bringing in replay, to get the call right. I get that you can’t review a foul call. But to me it was pretty obvious what happened. The refs called it out of bounds. They then look at the replay and see that obviously Reggie Jackson got fouled and so they give the ball to OKC. They called it Thunder possession in the first place, which means the replay would have to prove that undoubtedly the ball went off of Jackson. But what the replay did show, was that undoubtedly Matt Barnes fouled him. I just don’t understand the Clippers beef at all. If we all know that you fouled him, then why even argue the play and then spend the entire post game blaming the refs.  Especially when what followed was the worst play in basketball, which is fouling a 3 point shooter in the act (cue Chuck shaking his head again).  Then, even with all of that chaos going on, the game still came down to a situation that most coaches would love to be in at the end of a playoff game. The clock winding down with the game in the hands of their best player. The problem for the Clippers though, was that Chris Paul couldn’t even get a shot off.  As disappointing as that was,  I’ll give CP3 a lot of credit for putting this loss on his own shoulders. I mean as a player, how could you not want to follow the lead of a guy like that right?

But lets go back to Doc for a minute. He will get fined and maybe he’s thinking ahead and trying to buy a call or two in game 6. Or maybe he was just trying to take some of the pressure off of his team and his best player Chris Paul. But he also has to realize that when his team goes 1-for-6 from the floor with 4 turnovers in the last 4 minutes of the game, you can try and blame the refs/replay all you want…but you’re better off looking in the mirror.  Again, thank you internet for this gem….

Doc-Rivers-Drake

All I know is that I can’t wait for game 6 and if we’re lucky a game 7. How can I not want to see 2 more games of what I like to call “The Russell Westbrook Roller Coaster of Love”. There’s nothing in sports like the Russell Westbrook experience, I mean absolutely nothing. He might be the second most over analyzed player in the league behind LeBron James.  His numbers are godly, his speed and athleticism are unmatched, but unfortunately for Scott Brooks’ health, sometimes so is his basketball IQ.  I’ve taken a few subtle jabs at Russ in this post, but I like many have developed a love hate relationship with his game. I for one, don’t think that any point guard at any level should ever dribble the ball over half court, not pass the ball ONCE, but yet proceed to jack up a shot; and yet that play is in Mr. Westbrook’s regular rotation. Its just bad basketball and its being a bad teammate, especially when one of your teammates is the MVP/scoring champ (have I mentioned that already?)

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player at any level make so many mind blowing plays both good and bad, with consistency, in such short periods of time. His shot selection is always questionable at best, as he is the definition of what Stephen A. Smith used to famously call a “shooting guard masquerading as a point guard” (a sentiment echoed by Kenny the Jet on TNT’s post game show). The tricky part for OKC is that, this is how they play. They’ve gotten this far with Russ playing exactly like this and the only question now is can they actually win a championship this way. Because if I’m the Spurs or the Heat (or yes the Clippers), my game plan is to double KD and let Russ continue to think he’s the man and hopefully his hero ball will become villain-esque for Thunder fans.  Just look at the end of game 5. Chris Paul fouls and bails him out on a TERRIBLE game winning three point attempt and what’s even worse, is that it was the same exact same shot that Russ took a few possessions prior for an AIR BALL. Look I’m by no means a basketball expert, but somethings just don’t pass the eye test. I just think that sometimes Russ needs to make the basic play within the team concept.  Then again, word on the street is that Greivis Vasquez was on Toronto radio talking about how his high school teammate Kevin Durant will be a Toronto Raptor come 2016. So maybe this whole Russell Westbrook poor shot selection thing is something that all Raptor fans should be cheering for…along with two more games from these two great teams.  Enjoy the playoffs my friends…

As always, just my thoughts.  Right or wrong, just how I’m feeling at the time.

@ShelAlexander

#OnBlast

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

ON BLAST: DOWN “ON” THE KING? LEBRON’S LEGACY ON THE LINE

Some will call me a hater, but I call it Real Talk…by Sheldon Alexander

Image

I find it hard to rate Miami needing 7 games to win a ring in a playoffs that have no D-Rose, no Russell Westbook, no Kobe & no Rondo. Not only are they arguably 4 of the top 10 players in the NBA, but they are all directly linked to the Big 3 era in Miami.

The last time DRose played a full season/playoffs he was the MVP of the league and the Bulls were the top seed in the Eastern Conference.  Russell Westbrook is the second best player on the team Miami played in last year’s NBA Finals.  Rajon Rondo is the best player on the team considered to be LeBron and Miami’s most hated rival (and the team that took them to 7 games last season) and  then there’s Kobe…he’s Kobe…do I really need to say anything more?

So with all that said, needing seven games to beat Indiana? I don’t rate it, their best player (Paul George) is a borderline NBA All-Star.  Now the same against an aging/banged up Spurs team? I can’t rate that either. Are the Spurs even here if Kobe/Westbrook were healthy…or if OKC doesn’t trade James Harden for nothing?!?!

Bottom line, there is NO WAY that it should be this hard for LeBron, Wade and Bosh to win a championship this year.  This is only their 3rd year together, so they shouldn’t be struggling to win rings already.  Where’s the dominant 15-1 Lakers (’00-’01) or 15-3 Bulls (’95-’96) playoff runs that we should be getting from this Miami Heat team?  This may sound a little bit harsh, but that’s the bar when you make such a historic and monumental move in free agency.  Making 3 straight NBA Finals is a great feat, but lets not get it twisted…The moment they got on that WWE type stage in Miami (and proclaimed not one, not two, not three etc) it became championship or BUST.  No excuses. “Its Just Different” (#HovaVoice)

I just will never understand the rush to put LeBron into the same class as MJ, when he still has yet to catch and pass Kobe.  Not to mention Tim Duncan, who should be getting more career love (especially if they win this year).

But back to LeBron for a second. He is an unbelievable talent, does everything you could possibly want someone to do on a basketball court.  He’s someone who can’t be stopped by anyone…other than himself that is.  And that’s the problem, down 3-2 tonight’s game 6 could go one of two ways.

Game 6 of the 2011 Finals or Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Final.  In the first game, LeBron scored 21 points and watched the Mavs celebrate an NBA championship on his home court.  In the other game, LeBron went for 45-15-5 destroyed the Celtics and went on to win his first ever ring.  After that performance I thought I would never doubt LBJ again, that he’d figured it out.  His career arc towards MJ had really begun…and yet…here we go again.

You may hear people saying things like: “He needs Wade and Bosh” or “Danny Green turned into Jesus Shuttlesworth overnight”…but to me if you’re the best player in the world and being compared to the all-time greats, nothing else matters.  You’re judged by what you do when it matters most.  MJ was 6-0 in the NBA Finals while LeBron has already lost twice on the big stage.  The stench of averaging 17 PPG against Dallas in the Finals became very familiar when James started this year’s Finals with 18,17 and 15 point performances.  You can’t score 17 PPG in the NBA Finals and still be considered to be in the class of Michael Jordan…I’m sorry, no one will ever be able to convince me otherwise.

So even IF the Heat win in game 7, I’ll still stand by the fact that if you are who they say you are Mr. James…it shouldn’t be THIS hard to win a championship.

But  the test starts tonight. Anything less than an “MJ Great” or a Game 6 in Boston last year…would be uncivilized (#SirCharlesVoice)

Some might call me a hater, but I call it Real Talk.

Sheldon Alexander

@ShelAlexander #ONBLAST

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,