2020 Playoffs: (1) LA Lakers vs. (8) Portland

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Who ya got?

Lakers in 4
1
14%
Lakers in 5
2
29%
Lakers in 6
2
29%
Lakers in 7
0
No votes
Blazers in 4
1
14%
Blazers in 5
0
No votes
Blazers in 6
0
No votes
Blazers in 7
0
No votes
Lakers acquire Fall, LeBron copyrights Tacko Tuesday
1
14%
Grizzlies in 6
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 7

2020 Playoffs: (1) LA Lakers vs. (8) Portland

Postby Lamrock on Sun Aug 16, 2020 8:08 am

Blazers win the play in and get to play the Lakers in the first round. Lotta hype about the Blazers but while they went 7-2 in the bubble they weren't super impressive.

Should be fun to watch Dame and LeBron go at it though. Lakers in 6
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Re: 2020 Playoffs: (1) LA Lakers vs. (8) Portland

Postby Kevin on Sun Aug 16, 2020 12:42 pm

Dame just has good games against us. That man scares me. Lakers in 5. I'm really hoping for playoff LeBron and AD to show up.
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Re: 2020 Playoffs: (1) LA Lakers vs. (8) Portland

Postby Andrew on Sun Aug 16, 2020 3:35 pm

So you know how I've always been able to jinx teams? Lakers in 4.

In all seriousness, while I am all in on a Blazers underdog run, watching their defense against the Grizzlies, I'm not sure that Dame and CJ's heroics will be enough to steal a game. Still, awesome to see them get in.
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Re: 2020 Playoffs: (1) LA Lakers vs. (8) Portland

Postby cavs4872 on Mon Aug 17, 2020 12:42 am

As much of a darling the Blazers are, I think a sweep is imminent; don't have enough depth for an upset, or to even really steal a win.
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Re: 2020 Playoffs: (1) LA Lakers vs. (8) Portland

Postby Kevin on Wed Aug 19, 2020 1:19 am

Im so ready for the Lakers to be in the playoffs again holy shit. I've waited for this moment for so long
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Re: 2020 Playoffs: (1) LA Lakers vs. (8) Portland

Postby Lamrock on Wed Aug 19, 2020 4:15 am

It's been nice being able to shit on the Lakers for the past seven years. All good things must come to an end.

One thing I hadn't really thought about was the fact that Melo is probably going to be guarding LeBron. I'm sure Stotts will give guys like Trent, Hezonja and maybe Nassir Little a shot but Ariza is really going to be missed here.
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Re: 2020 Playoffs: (1) LA Lakers vs. (8) Portland

Postby Andrew on Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:38 am

17 years in, we finally get LeBron vs Melo in the Playoffs.

EDIT: I stand corrected. I totally forgot they faced off in 2012 when Melo was with the Knicks. Goes to show how memorable that series was.
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Re: 2020 Playoffs: (1) LA Lakers vs. (8) Portland

Postby Kevin on Wed Aug 19, 2020 1:49 pm

Damian Lillard is the greatest player of all time
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Re: 2020 Playoffs: (1) LA Lakers vs. (8) Portland

Postby [Q] on Wed Aug 19, 2020 1:50 pm

I'm so torn in this series because Dame is my favorite player and I have been rooting for them to make it to the playoffs
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Re: 2020 Playoffs: (1) LA Lakers vs. (8) Portland

Postby Andrew on Wed Aug 19, 2020 2:17 pm

[Q] wrote:I'm so torn in this series because Dame is my favorite player and I have been rooting for them to make it to the playoffs


I reckon you'll get the best of both worlds. He's going to have a hell of a series, but the Lakers will win the next four. I don't see them shooting that poorly the rest of the way, and it still took some late game heroics for Portland to wrest control of the game and win.

With that being said, it was still a tremendous win for the Blazers, and they should be proud of it. Lot of heart.
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Re: 2020 Playoffs: (1) LA Lakers vs. (8) Portland

Postby Jeffx on Thu Aug 20, 2020 3:47 am

Plenty of blame to go around in LA's Game 1 loss to Portland....they can't shoot for shit. But Anthony Davis has got to be better than this. He settled too much....mfer, get in that paint, go to work, get fouls on these guys and get to the foul line.
IMO, Davis has to be the best player on the court. Charles Barkley doesn't think AD has that "dog" in him;


https://lakersdaily.com/charles-barkley ... -that-guy/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUPUle3r390
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Re: 2020 Playoffs: (1) LA Lakers vs. (8) Portland

Postby [Q] on Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:05 am

Meanwhile LeBron is continuing to get better and set records despite him being "past his prime"
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Re: 2020 Playoffs: (1) LA Lakers vs. (8) Portland

Postby Andrew on Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:15 am

I wouldn't say that LeBron is "continuing to get better", unless you're talking about padding his stats. Not that that's hard to do in this modern era of soft fouls, softer defense, and stat padding being in vogue - look at some of the numbers Luka Doncic puts up, and how he's openly said it's easier to do that in the NBA than in Europe these days - but even giving credit where it's due, they're somewhat empty numbers when they come in a loss. It's been quite well-documented how LeBron does this: sagging off on defense to collect easy rebounds, handling the ball for much of the possession before dishing it off as the shot clock winds down to make the assist pass, and so on. It's also pretty clear why.

When LeBron puts up those numbers, everyone focuses on them, even in a loss. They point to them and say "Well, what more could he have done?", and that's by design. By making sure he puts up numbers, it deflects criticism onto his teammates and masks the ways he could've played better that don't show up in the boxscores. On paper, he couldn't have done more, except perhaps hit a few more shots. In reality, it's not quite the case.

Take Game 1 for example. LeBron was working on a nice stat line by halftime, and continued to pad it out in the second. He also shot the ball poorly. Not only that, but as the game wore on, his aggressiveness disappeared. Despite the fact he could clearly bully the Blazers' defense at will, with the game hanging in the balance, he looked timid, sluggish, and gassed. He was even struggling to make moves when Carmelo Anthony was on him! He also made some costly turnovers with ill-advised forced passes (gotta get those assist numbers for an impressive triple-double), and basically wilted in crunch time, while on the other side, Damian Lillard fearlessly took over for Portland. One guy was playing to win, the other was playing to not get blamed in the event of a loss.

Once again though, the triple-double and the record dazzles people, and that takes the focus away from the way he shrank in the clutch; not to mention the fact they lost to a team that many figured they had a good chance of sweeping. It distracts from the fact he bricked two free throws late in the game, and that while he's shooting 75% from the foul line through the first three quarters, that number drops to 66% in the fourth. It means people don't mention the inconsistent effort on defense that allowed Melo to splash an open three in the waning minutes, putting the game out of reach. It ignores that while he's racked up some impressive triple-doubles including the one in Game 1 and led the league in assists this year, he also tallied five or more turnovers in 40% of his games, and that often comes out of trying to make an assist pass in an effort to chase the numbers that draw attention.

As I mentioned, he looked sluggish and gassed as the second half wore on, and that's nothing new. In his last couple of Finals, he's put up big first half numbers, padded them a bit in the second, and been nowhere near as aggressive, even when the team needed him to be and a player of his physical stature and skill level should be. That's also an indication that he's no longer in his prime; he's only 35, but he's an old 35, with a lot of mileage on a big frame. That's not a knock on him - he's still a tremendous athlete who's more than capable of playing at the highest level - but Father Time is undefeated as the saying goes, and that's a sign of it. A younger LeBron could play those minutes and more, and make it look like he was only sweating for show, as if to not give away that he's superhuman. He's showing his age, and that's no shameful thing.

Back to Game 1, though. If you just look at his stats and the record, he played a tremendous game and he couldn't have done more. Watching the game however, you could see a player who was noticeably timid and unassertive in crunch time, in stark contrast to Damian Lillard. Now, people will always make the excuse that "LeBron is more Magic than MJ" when he doesn't score more, but frankly, when you pass MJ on all-time scoring lists as LeBron has (admittedly in significantly more games, but still), you don't get to play the "well, he's not a scorer" card. Even if you go back and look at some of LeBron's biggest clutch shots and gamewinners in the Playoffs - as professional fanboy Nick Wright loves to do - you'll see that several of them came when the game was tied and the stakes were lower if he missed. When the pressure's really on, LeBron has historically been more like Wilt than MJ, Kobe, or other historically impressive clutch performers. That's not to say he hasn't hit some big shots and come through before because he absolutely has, but he's also got some rather unimpressive fourth quarter and crunch time numbers that are often glossed over. Thanks to the Game 1 triple-double, a subpar crunch time performance was glossed over again.

Look, if LeBron is going to sport a tattoo that reads "Chosen 1", if he's going to be hyped up by all the talking heads, then he's going to be held to a high standard. He put up some big numbers in Game 1, and set a record. That deserves to be acknowledged. Even in an era of stat padding, it's a good effort, and it contributed to the Lakers being in the game after a poor first quarter. However, he didn't do the things he needed to do in the fourth quarter - make free throws, make that last three-point attempt, close out on defense - and that conveniently doesn't show up in the boxscores. If you don't come through when it's needed most and your team loses, then those stats are empty. You filled the stat sheet, but failed to do your thing when it was needed most.

If LeBron is unassertive like that moving forward and the games are close, then Portland could have a real chance in the series, because Lillard isn't here to mess around and be happy kissing The King's ring after a series that's looked upon as merely a formality. Dame and the Blazers are here to compete, even with the odds are against them. On the other hand, if LeBron does those things when they need him to the most, and not just earlier in the game to ensure he has his numbers, the Lakers moving on may as well be a formality; at least on paper. Should he come up short, the boxscores are where the spin will be, and where his teammates will get thrown under the bus. Anyone who watches the games and looks beyond the stats at what's happening, especially in crunch time of a close game, will see right through it. Unfortunately, the stats will get the attention and drive the narrative regardless.

With all that being said...I still pick the Lakers to win the next four games. I do doubt that LeBron, Anthony Davis, and the Lakers as a whole will shoot that poorly three more times. Portland will put up a fight, but the Lakers simply have more weapons...assuming of course, they're utilised properly when the chips are down.
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Re: 2020 Playoffs: (1) LA Lakers vs. (8) Portland

Postby Jeffx on Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:25 am

Andrew, do you feel that Davis has to be the best player on the court and not necessarily LeBron? I do.
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Re: 2020 Playoffs: (1) LA Lakers vs. (8) Portland

Postby Andrew on Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:52 am

I mean, there's a lot of people who have been talking about him being the best player on the team all year, with LeBron mainly being in the MVP discussion due to reputation and narrative, and there's a lot of merit to that when you look at Davis' stats and the difference he's made on the court. It's been glossed over that even when LeBron played last year, the Lakers were one game over .500 and out of the top eight in the West. They get Davis, he makes a world of difference, and then LeBron makes his self-serving "They said I couldn't do it" boast when the Lakers get the top seed, and a lot of the talking heads and fans alike lap it up. It might sound like I'm trying to bash LeBron here, but it's more about pointing out that his teammates seldom get the credit they deserve, yet always take the blame when things go awry.

With that being said, I completely agree the Lakers need Davis to be the best player on the court. If he's going to shoot under 40% and settle for three-pointers - I know he can hit them, but they're not his best weapon - it bodes well for the Blazers. They'll live with him making the occasion three rather than punishing them inside. He's got younger legs and less mileage than LeBron, and as good as Nurkic has been in the Bubble, Davis is still several tiers above him as a player. If LeBron is going to be that facilitator late in games instead of bulling the Blazers' defense in crunch time, then Davis absolutely needs to be dominating them inside, filling the paint on defense, and cleaning the glass at both ends. He may not get the credit for it when it's all said and done, but him being the force and their top player - whether the talking heads actually recognise it or not - is the key.
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Re: 2020 Playoffs: (1) LA Lakers vs. (8) Portland

Postby Jeffx on Fri Aug 21, 2020 4:33 am

You said the magic word - "settle". Not just Davis, I see this too much in today's NBA - cats settling for quick threes instead of getting their asses in the paint and going to work. It drives me nuts.

That's why I'm a big fan of Jokic. He gets down low and does damage.
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Re: 2020 Playoffs: (1) LA Lakers vs. (8) Portland

Postby Andrew on Fri Aug 21, 2020 4:50 am

Absolutely. The concept of "three-pointers are better" has not only made the game less fun to watch to my personal taste, but you can see how it results in teams shooting themselves out of games and blowing leads as much as it brings them back from a deficit or helps them get out to a fast start. When they're not dropping, teams look lost as to what to do, and if their opponent scores a bunch in transition - as is facilitated by a lot of three-pointers missing - then it's a big momentum swing. A lack of dedication to offensive rebounding hurts as well.
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