OKC: Part III - Free Agency Preview

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Re: OKC: Part III [65-17] - 2019 Award winners announced

Postby Andrew on Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:53 pm

Man, Ayton outperformed Doncic!
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Re: OKC: Part III [65-17] - 2019 Award winners announced

Postby spiderxx7 on Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:20 am

Phil, you are alive! :lol: Still 'chising! I've always hated the Thunder but I think I can't if you're involved. Keep it up.
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Re: OKC: Part III [65-17] - 2019 Award winners announced

Postby Phil89 on Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:53 pm

Andrew wrote:Man, Ayton outperformed Doncic!

He led the league in rebounding as a rookie. I'm guessing that doesn't happen too often.

spiderxx7 wrote:Phil, you are alive! :lol: Still 'chising! I've always hated the Thunder but I think I can't if you're involved. Keep it up.

Yep, I'm still here. My basketball gaming is a lot more relaxed now though. I play this story fairly sporadically, compared to the Live 10 days where I would play a couple of games every day.
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Re: OKC: Part III [65-17] - 2019 Award winners announced

Postby seaboh13 on Fri Jun 28, 2019 12:52 am

2ks Sim always throws up a few beauties...

Sexton posting excellent stats, Clarkson with 6th man of the year. CP3 having a fantastic year and making 3rd team all nba...Bet the Rockets wish they had this version of CP3 on their roster!! Congrats on Westbrook and Donovan winning the Awards. Hard to look past them in both categories. insanely strong Western Conference this year at the top. Lets see what Russ can do in postseason now, prepare for some 7 games series in round 2 onwards! Actually Lakers 1st round....Good luck!
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Re: OKC: Part III [65-17] - 2019 Award winners announced

Postby Phil89 on Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:50 pm

11/4/19

2019 Playoffs - First Round Preview

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Western Conference


1. Golden State Warriors [67-15] vs 8. Portland Trail Blazers [39-43]


The Golden State Warriors head into the 2019 playoffs after claiming top spot in the Western conference for the fifth straight season. They did so by winning an 67 games, the fourth time in five seasons they have reached that impressive mark.

Before the season started they were the shortest-priced favourites in NBA history. They had won two titles in a row and then added all-star center DeMarcus Cousins to a team which already consisted of four all-star level talents. Most experts and fans alike felt it was inevitable that the Warriors were set to complete a coveted "three-peat".

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Golden State were the best offensive team in the league this season. They averaged over 118 points per game thanks to offensive powerhouses Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. Those three helped them record the second-best shooting percentage and third-best three point percentage in the league. They are an offensive juggernaut.

A strong defensive structure at the other end, led by all-star Draymond Green, saw them also have the sixth-best defense. So they are nearly impossible to prevent from scoring and incredibly hard to score against.

They set yet another record this season with their point differential of 14.4 per game. It eclipses the old record of 12.2 set by the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks in the early 1970's.


Portland will definitely be the underdogs in this series. They scraped into the eighth seed after only winning 39 games this season.

Once again it was their star backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum who carried the majority of the scoring burden in most games. The additions of Enes Kanter and Rodney Hood during the season certainly added some much-needed offensive help.

One potential issue for the Blazers in this series is the fatigue that Lillard must surely be dealing with. He led the league in minutes player per game this season and that could all catch up with him against the dynamic Warriors.

This series may be a tough, but short, viewing experience for Blazers fans with the odds heavily stacked against their team. They could potentially steal a game though if Dame has one of his special games.


Key Match-Up: Stephen Curry vs Damian Lillard




Golden State
Starters
DeMarcus Cousins - Draymond Green - Kevin Durant - Klay Thompson - Stephen Curry
Bench
Kevon Looney, Andre Iguodala, Quinn Cook, Shaun Livingston, Jonas Jerebko, Jordan Bell, Damian Jones, Andrew Bogut
Inactive
Alfonzo McKinnie, Jacob Evans III, Damion Lee, Marcus Derrickson



Portland
Starters
Jusuf Nurkic - Meyers Leonard - Al-Farouq Aminu - CJ McCollum - Damian Lillard
Bench
Enes Kanter, Zach Collins, Rodney Hood, Jake Layman, Maurice Harkless, Seth Curry, Evan Turner, Skal Labissiere
Inactive
Gary Trent Jr, Anfernee Simons



--------------------------------------------------



4. Utah Jazz [45-37] vs 5. Minnesota Timberwolves [43-39]


Most Utah fans probably had high hopes for this season with perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate Rudy Gobert anchoring things and emerging star Donovan Mitchell looking set to take another step forward in his development. But in the end they probably finished on par with 45 wins and the fourth seed.

With Gobert locking down the paint the Jazz were an elite defensive team this season, but they struggled at the other end of the court. They ranked as the third-worst team in points per game.

They will really need the likes of Joe Ingles and Kyle Korver to shoot well if they want to go far in these playoffs.

Mitchell also needs to produce a repeat of his heroics against Oklahoma City last season. He improved his scoring average up to 23 per game in his sophomore season.


The Timberwolves ended up having a pretty good season given all the drama surrounding Jimmy Butler and his trade request. He ended up getting sent to Philadelphia, with Minnesota exchanging him for Dario Saric and Robert Covington to bolster their team.

After Butler left Karl-Anthony Towns took over leadership of the team on the court. The former number one pick proved himself capable of handling the added pressure. He averaged 21 points and 12 rebounds per game and was selected for his second All-Star game.

Former MVP Derrick Rose enjoyed a reinvigoration of his career in his first full season with the Timberwolves. He played all 82 games, starting 56 of them and averaged over 17 points per game.

But another former number one pick is still struggling under the weight of expectations. Andrew Wiggins averaged just 14 points per game this season after being handed a 5 year, $147 million extension last off-season. It's safe to say that he needs a big playoff campaign to start earning it.

The battle between one of the best defensive big men and one of the best offensive big men, Gobert and Towns, should be a highlight of the first round.


Key Match-Up: Rudy Gobert vs Karl-Anthony Towns




Utah
Starters
Rudy Gobert - Derrick Favors - Joe Ingles - Donovan Mitchell - Ricky Rubio
Bench
Thabo Sefolosha, Tyler Cavanaugh, Dante Exum, Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder, Ekpe Udoh, Royce O'Neale, Georges Niang
Inactive
Raul Neto, Grayson Allen, Naz Mitroue-Long, Tony Bradley



Minnesota
Starters
Karl-Anthony Towns - Dario Saric - Robert Covington - Andrew Wiggins - Derrick Rose
Bench
Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson, Gorgui Dieng, Wayne Ellington, Tyus Jones, Anthony Tolliver, Josh Okogie, Luol Deng
Inactive
CJ Williams, Keita Bates-Diop, Jared Terrell, Jerryd Bayless



--------------------------------------------------



3. Houston Rockets [63-19] vs 6. Denver Nuggets [41-41]


Houston could well be the first team in NBA history to win 63 games and still only qualify for the playoffs as the third seed. It really was an incredible fight between them, Golden State and Oklahoma City all season.

Superstar James Harden finished just behind Damian Lillard in the race for the scoring title. He also missed out of the MVP trophy to former teammate Russell Westbrook for the second time in three years.

The Rockets are a team very much built around the outside shooting of Harden, Chris Paul and Eric Gordon. So the additions of Zach Randolph and Kenneth Faried mid-season really added some much needed toughness in the paint.


Denver made the playoffs this year for the first time since 2013. Ironically, they won 5 fewer games this season than they did last season when they finished ninth.

They are very much a team on the rise. With a young core consisting of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Gary Harris they are tipped to become a genuine contender in the upcoming period.

Jokic in particular is becoming a legitimate star player. The Serbian big man was selected in his first All-Star game back in February. He will need to put his team on his back and do most of the heavy lifting if they want to advance deep into the post-season.

Jamal Murray had a few breakout performances this season, but the challenge for him is doing it consistently. A match-up against a multiple time All-Star is a good place to prove himself.


Key Match-Up: James Harden vs Gary Harris




Houston
Starters
Clint Capela - Zach Randolph - Eric Gordon - James Harden - Chris Paul
Bench
Austin Rivers, Kenneth Faried, PJ Tucker, Danuel House, Nene, Shelvin Mack, Gerald Green, Milos Teodosic
Inactive
Vince Edwards, Isaiah Hartenstein, Gary Clark, Iman Shumpert*



Denver
Starters
Nikola Jokic - Paul Millsap - Will Barton - Gary Harris - Jamal Murray
Bench
Isaiah Thomas, Monte Morris, Michael Porter Jr, Juan Hernangomez, Mason Plumlee, Trey Lyles, Malik Beasley, Torrey Craig
Inactive
Brandon Goodwin, Thomas Welsh, Tyler Lydon, Jarred Vanderbilt



--------------------------------------------------



2. Oklahoma City Thunder [65-17] vs 7. Los Angeles Lakers [40-42]


Oklahoma City began this season as an outsider in the race to be the Western conference team to challenge the Warriors' supremacy. But just about everything has gone right for them and they have exceeded expectations by winning 65 games and securing the second seed.

Superstar Russell Westbrook was the key once again. The now two-time MVP winner actually had fewer points and rebounds per game than in recent seasons, but he averaged double-digit assists for the fourth season in a row and vastly improved his efficiency at the offensive end.

He was well supported by all-star Paul George, who also had the most efficient season of his career. Thunder coach Billy Donovan has gotten his team to play efficiently on offense and ultra-disciplined on defense. They are the third-highest scoring team this season, whilst also allowing just the second-fewest points per game.

One of the key weapons for the Thunder is their ability to force turnovers and then score on the fast break. They averaged almost double the amount of fast break points per game as the second-highest team in that statistic.

One issue for them heading into this series is the injuries to power forwards Jerami Grant and Deyonta Davis. Grant isn't expected to be fit until at least the second round with a bruised right hip and Davis looks likely to miss the entire post-season with a broken jaw.


The Lakers finally qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2013. The signing of superstar LeBron James has lived up to the promise so far, despite them finishing with a below .500 record.

Veteran Rajon Rondo is out for the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his right leg. His experience would have been invaluable to this young Lakers group.

Luke Walton will need to come up with some way to counter the defensive tag-teaming of LeBron by Paul George and Andre Roberson if his team are going to be competitive.

Lonzo Ball will face a tough task trying to defend MVP Westbrook. It's not unlike the challenge that a then baby-faced Westbrook encountered back in 2010 against the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers.

Let's be honest, this team full of young prospects surrounding King James isn't expected to challenge for the title this season. But perhaps a strong showing could make them a more enticing destination during the upcoming free agency period.


Key Match-Up: Paul George vs LeBron James




Oklahoma City
Starters
Steven Adams - Patrick Patterson - Paul George - Andre Roberson - Russell Westbrook
Bench
Nerlens Noel, Raymond Felton, Darren Collison, Deonte Burton, Terrance Ferguson, Abdel Nader, Hamidou Diallo, Scotty Hopson
Inactive
Jerami Grant*, Deyonta Davis*



LA Lakers
Starters
JaVale McGee - Kyle Kuzma - LeBron James - Brandon Ingram - Lonzo Ball
Bench
Josh Hart, Tyson Chandler, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lance Stephenson, Reggie Bullock, Mike Muscala, Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga
Inactive
Alex Caruso, Johnathan Williams, Rajon Rondo*




----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




Eastern Conference



1. Boston Celtics [59-23] vs 8. Indiana Pacers [41-41]


Boston surprised many people by winning 59 games and beating more fancied teams like Toronto, Milwaukee and Philadelphia to the top seed in the Eastern conference this season.

All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving led the way for the Celtics, averaging nearly 27 points per game whilst running their offense. He has really shown himself to be a solid leader since leaving Cleveland and getting out of LeBron's vast shadow.

Young gun Jayson Tatum took another step forward in his sophomore season and was Boston's number two option on offense most nights. He became the latest member of the exclusive "50-40-90 club" thanks to his highly efficient shooting.

Former Utah star Gordon Hayward made a successful return to basketball this season after breaking his leg in his Celtics debut in October 2017. He isn't really close to his former self yet, but he did average 14 points per game in 69 games off the bench.

Outside of Kyrie, the Celtics offense is very much a team effort. They have five players averaging between 10 and 15 points per game. It seems to work for them though because they had the fourth-best offense in the league.

The thing that makes them favourites to advance from the Eastern conference though is that they also have the best defense in the league. They allow just 102 points per game at just 44% shooting efficiency.


Indiana are a team trending upwards. They have a solid core of young talent and a handful of experienced veterans

Former Orlando and Oklahoma City guard Victor Oladipo seems to have found his place in Indiana. The number two pick from the 2013 draft has averaged over 20 points per game in his two seasons with the Pacers, by far the best seasons of his career to date.

Indiana took a gamble midway through the season by trading expiring veteran Darren Collison to the Thunder in exchange for Dennis Schroder. The German guard quickly settled in with his new team and has formed a solid backcourt partnership with Oladipo.

One strength the Pacers have is the presence of several experienced veterans on their bench. Thaddeus Young, Wesley Matthews, Tyreke Evans and Cory Joseph all add good production whilst the starters are resting.

Whilst the Celtics are heavy favourites to win this series, it's quite possible that this Indiana team could be a potential banana skin for them if they don't play at 100%.


Key Match-Up: Kyrie Irving vs Dennis Schroder




Boston
Starters
Al Horford - Marcus Morris Sr - Jayson Tatum - Jaylen Brown - Kyrie Irving
Bench
Marcus Smart, Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier III, Daniel Theis, Aron Baynes, Robert Williams, Brad Wanamaker, Semi Ojeleye
Inactive
RJ Hunter, PJ Dozier, Guerschon Yabusele



Indiana
Starters
Myles Turner - Domantas Sabonis - Bojan Bogdanovic - Victor Oladipo - Dennis Schroder
Bench
Thaddeus Young, Tyreke Evans, Kyle O'Quinn, Wesley Matthews, Cory Joseph, Doug McDermott, Davon Reed, TJ Leaf
Inactive
Aaron Holiday, Edmond Sumner, Alize Johnson



--------------------------------------------------



4. Cleveland Cavaliers [43-39] vs 5. Miami Heat [42-40]


Who could have ever predicted this? The Cleveland Cavaliers winning 43 games and securing the fourth seed after LeBron James left them for greener pastures once again at the end of last season.

Everyone was calling for them to blow everything up and begin the long process of rebuilding. But the Cavs stuck to their guns and forged an "us against the world" type of mentality, which they used to win many tight games this season.

Forward Kevin Love was expected to get traded after LeBron left, but instead the Cavs signed him to a four-year, $120 million extension. It was a move that signalled that they intended to stick with the group which had just taken them to four consecutive NBA finals appearances.

Love repaid them by having his best season since he left Minnesota in 2014. He averaged 20 points and 9 rebounds per game and was rewarded with his sixth All-star selection.

Rookie guard Collin Sexton was a notable stand-out for Cleveland. The number 8 pick from last year averaged an impressive 21 points and 5 assists per game, slightly better numbers than the more fancied Trae Young of Atlanta.

Two other key players have been Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. The former Lakers pair were named Most Improved Player and Sixth Man of the Year, respectively. Clarkson averaged a career-high 19 points per game, whilst Nance Jr also had the best season of his career.

They have been the surprise package of this NBA season. Who says they can't continue the fairy tale into the playoffs?


Miami are a solid team without a star player. In recent years they have taken Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo in the lottery, but neither has looked like being anything more than role players.

Ageing former star Dwyane Wade is in the twilight of his career. He averaged just 13 points per game in what is tipped to be his final NBA season. Perhaps he could turn back the clock for one last post-season campaign.

Hassan Whiteside has regressed from the level he showed two seasons ago. He is still one of the most dominant rebounders in the league, but he will need to increase his scoring output if the Heat want to advance.

If all else fails Miami will still have Dion Waiters and his hero ball isolation plays.


Key Match-Up: Tristan Thompson vs Hassan Whiteside




Cleveland
Starters
Tristan Thompson - Kevin Love - JR Smith - Jordan Clarkson - Collin Sexton
Bench
John Henson, Larry Nance Jr, Matthew Dellavedova, Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss, Nik Stauskas, Cedi Osman, Channing Frye
Inactive
David Nwaba, Ante Zizic, Jaron Blossomgame



Miami
Starters
Hassan Whiteside - James Johnson - Josh Richardson - Dion Waiters - Goran Dragic
Bench
Bam Adebayo, Justise Winslow, Kelly Olynyk, Rodney McGruder, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Jones Jr, Ty Lawson, Ryan Anderson
Inactive
Udonis Haslem, Yante Maten, Duncan Robinson



--------------------------------------------------



3. Toronto Raptors [51-31] vs 6. Philadelphia 76ers [42-40]


Raptors president Masai Ujiri took a huge gamble last off-season by trading beloved franchise star DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio to land superstar Kawhi Leonard. He also replaced the recently-named Coach of the Year Dwayne Casey with rookie head coach Nick Nurse.

So far it seems that both moves have worked, although maybe not to the extent that Masai had hoped. The Raptors managed 51 wins and landed the third seed, but that only came after another deal at the trade deadline saw them swap Jonas Valanciunas for Memphis veteran Marc Gasol.

Kawhi put all the noise about his future aside and had one of his best seasons. He averaged 25 points and 8 rebounds per game as he proved that he is a legitimate superstar outside of Gregg Popovich's system at the Spurs.

Youngsters Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet have looked good at times during the year, but it will be veterans like Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and Danny Green who will determine how far the Raptors go in these playoffs. Of course Kawhi will be the key though.


The Process in Philadelphia got a bit of a hurry-up this season as new general manager Elton Brand cashed in some of the 76ers' hoarded assets to acquire expiring stars Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. Adding that pair to young star duo Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons was supposed to make them a contender. But the jury is still out.

The Sixers only managed a disappointing 42 wins this season, a massive 10 fewer than last time around. For some reason the chemistry on the court just wasn't there. Perhaps they still need time to gel with the new additions.

Embiid played all 82 games for the first time in his career and had career-highs in points, rebounds and blocks. Both he and Simmons were selected for the All-Star game, and yet their team still struggled to put wins on the board.

Veteran Marc Gasol will need to be at his defensive best if he wants to contain the most dominant big man the league has seen since Shaq.

The shooting provided by JJ Redick will be vital for the Sixers in this series. Butler and Harris will also need to shoot well to cover for Simmons' lack of outside shooting.

In some ways it's a shame that these two contenders have to face off in the first round. It looks like Boston will have a free run to the conference finals as Milwaukee are also on this side of the bracket.



Key Match-Up: Kawhi Leonard vs Jimmy Butler




Toronto
Starters
Marc Gasol - Pascal Siakam - Kawhi Leonard - Danny Green - Kyle Lowry
Bench
Serge Ibaka, Fred VanVleet, Jeremy Lin, Markieff Morris, Al Jefferson, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, Omri Casspi
Inactive
Patrick McCaw, Chris Boucher, Jordan Loyd



Philadelphia
Starters
Joel Embiid - Tobias Harris - Jimmy Butler - JJ Redick - Ben Simmons
Bench
TJ McConnell, Boban Marjanovic, Furkan Korkmaz, Amir Johnson, Mike Scott, James Ennis, Jonathan Simmons, Zhaire Smith
Inactive
Shake Milton, Jonah Bolden, Justin Patton, Haywood Highsmith



--------------------------------------------------



2. Milwaukee Bucks [55-27] vs 7. Washington Wizards [41-41]


Milwaukee took a giant leap forward this season. The steps they took last off-season are paying off massively right now. They hired former Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer and signed free agents Brook Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova.

Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is the league's latest superstar. He averaged 25 points, 12 rebounds, 5 rebounds and 2 steals per game and received many personal honours. He made his third-straight All-Star game, was named Defensive Player of the Year, All-NBA First Team and All-Defense First Team and was a finalist in the MVP race.

Outside of Giannis, the Bucks have a very strong veteran group that includes Eric Bledsoe, Brook Lopez, Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon and Ersan Ilyasova. They also traded for Nikola Mirotic and George Hill midway through the season to add even more depth.

It's interesting to note the change in direction that the Bucks took this season, away from the high-end of the draft. They let former number two pick Jabari Parker walk in free agency and traded former top ten pick Thon Maker in the Mirotic deal.

Many experts see the Bucks as the biggest challengers to the Celtics in the Eastern conference. With Giannis being close to unguardable and a very strong supporting cast, they may be correct.


Washington have been a middle of the road team for five seasons, but they tried to improve by signing veterans Dwight Howard and Jeff Green last off-season.

They also made two mid-season trades that basically saw them give up Otto Porter Jr and Kelly Oubre Jr for Trevor Ariza, Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis. All three provided good support for star backcourt duo John Wall and Bradley Beal.

Wall was selected for his sixth All-Star game in a row and also made All-NBA Second Team and All-Defense Second Team. He averaged 20 points and 8 assists per game.

Former All-Star Howard was still productive at 33 years of age. His numbers weren't anywhere near his peak, but he still nearly averaged a double-double. His presence in the paint will be vital for the Wizards in their attempts to slow down Giannis.


Key Match-Up: Khris Middleton vs Bradley Beal




Milwaukee
Starters
Brook Lopez - Nikola Mirotic - Giannis Antetokounmpo - Khris Middleton - Eric Bledsoe
Bench
Malcolm Brogdon, George Hill, Marcin Gortat, Ersan Ilyasova, Pat Connaughton, Trevon Duval, Tony Snell, DJ Wilson
Inactive
Donte DiVincenzo, Sterling Brown, Christian Wood



Washington
Starters
Dwight Howard - Bobby Portis - Jeff Green - Bradley Beal - John Wall
Bench
Trevor Ariza, Thomas Bryant, Jabari Parker, Tomas Satoransky, Tony Allen, Jordan McRae, Sam Dekker, Ian Mahinmi
Inactive
Troy Brown Jr, Devin Robinson, Chasson Randle, Wesley Johnson
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Re: OKC: Part III [65-17] - 2019 Playoffs - First Round Preview

Postby Phil89 on Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:58 pm

13/4/19

Oklahoma City Thunder [0-0] vs Los Angeles Lakers [0-0]

Lakers steal game 1 thanks to monster effort from LeBron

Image


OKC | 36 | 22 | 22 | 34 | 114 |
LAL | 26 | 25 | 30 | 37 | 118 |

Player of the Game: LeBron James
(41pts, 12reb, 4ast, 2stl, 1blk)

(18-32 FG, 1-2 3PT, 4-6 FT)



Image




Full Scores

Image




Westbrook picked up 2 fouls in the first 2 minutes. It really stopped him from having any influence at all. He eventually fouled out with 3 minutes left in the game.

They tied the game with a 3 pointer with 20 seconds left. I stupidly didn't run the clock down on the final possession and then took a bad shot.

Lakers got the rebound and then McGee scored one of those undefendable alley-oops to take the lead. Then they stole the ball on the inbound pass and I had to foul.

It was a bad choke. We could have won easily if I wasn't so sloppy with the ball during the game.
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Re: OKC: Part III - 2019 Playoffs - LeBron takes control in game 1

Postby Andrew on Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:09 pm

Not the start you were looking for, but only a minor setback for now. Just don't to LA down 0-2!
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Re: OKC: Part III - 2019 Playoffs - LeBron takes control in game 1

Postby Phil89 on Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:55 pm

15/4/19

Oklahoma City Thunder [0-1] vs Los Angeles Lakers [1-0]

Thunder take game 2 and tie series after surviving thrilling second half

Image


OKC | 31 | 32 | 24 | 42 | 129 |
LAL | 25 | 28 | 44 | 21 | 118 |

Player of the Game: Russell Westbrook
(34pts, 11reb, 19ast, 2stl)

(13-23 FG, 1-3 3PT, 7-9 FT)



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Full Scores

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This game was one of the craziest I've ever played. It felt like I was cruising to a 15 point win at half time. But then LeBron erupted for 23 points in the third quarter, as the Lakers scored 44 points (on 71% shooting).

They had only scored 51 in the entire first half and then drop 44 in a quarter? I was pretty close to rage-quitting. I'm glad I didn't though.


George and Westbrook led us back in the fourth whilst LeBron rested on the bench. They combined for 26 points, 9 rebounds, 11 assists in the fourth, with only 2 turnovers.

Westbrook was clutch and played most of the fourth quarter with 5 fouls.


Russ also did the step-over thing again after dunking on Josh Hart (who then stayed on the ground for like 5 seconds like he was knocked out or something) :lol:

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Re: OKC: Part III - 2019 Playoffs - Thrilling game 2

Postby Andrew on Thu Jul 04, 2019 8:31 pm

What a game from Westbrook! Awesome victory. That step-over is really cool as well.
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Re: OKC: Part III - 2019 Playoffs - Thrilling game 2

Postby Phil89 on Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:57 pm

17/4/19

Los Angeles Lakers [1-1] vs Oklahoma City Thunder [1-1]

Thunder take advantage of LeBron's injury to grab game 3 win and take a 2-1 series lead

Image


LAL | 27 | 31 | 20 | 23 | 101 |
OKC | 24 | 26 | 36 | 28 | 114 |

Player of the Game: Russell Westbrook
(18pts, 7reb, 9ast, 3stl, 1blk)

(8-15 FG, 0-1 3PT, 2-2 FT)



Image




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LeBron went down injured with 3 minutes left in the third quarter, right as Collison hit a three to put us up for the first time in the game.

Lakers really became a different team after LeBron left the game. It seems obvious to say, but they were a lot weaker team without him.


LeBron will now miss 1-2 weeks with a sprained right elbow. So he shouldn't be back until after this series, which is a huge boost for me.
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Re: OKC: Part III - 2019 Playoffs - Thrilling game 2

Postby Phil89 on Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:58 pm

20/4/19

Disaster for Lakers as LeBron set to miss remainder of series with injury

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The Los Angeles Lakers have been handed some terrible news today. Star forward LeBron James is set to miss up to two weeks with a sprained right elbow, all but ruling him out of the rest of their first round series against Oklahoma City.

The 33-year old forward suffered the injury late in the third quarter of game 3 last night, a 101-114 loss for the Lakers. During the third quarter he put his arm out to brace an awkward landing and damaged ligaments.

It was a distressing moment for Lakers fans. The sight of James sprawled on the floor in pain whilst Thunder point guard sank a three pointer to give his team their first lead of the night at the other end of the court.


Obviously losing the best player of the last decade is a massive loss, but it's particularly traumatic for the Lakers because of the way LeBron had been playing in this post-season.

He had really turned back the clock and put this young team on his back in the first two and a half games. He was averaging 41.5 points per game in this series and had put up 17 in game 3 before getting injured.

Now it's up to the likes of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball to take the lead on offense. If their play in the few years before LeBron arrived are anything to go by, then this series might not go on much longer.


The Thunder, who hold a 2-1 series lead, got some positive news on the injury front today. Forward Jerami Grant has been cleared to return for game four in a minutes-restricted bench role.

Grant missed the opening three games with a bruised right hip. Forward Deyonta Davis is still out indefinitely due to a broken jaw.
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Re: OKC: Part III - 2019 Playoffs - Thrilling game 2

Postby Phil89 on Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:03 pm

Andrew wrote:What a game from Westbrook! Awesome victory. That step-over is really cool as well.

Something I've noticed about 2k19 is that the AI can have random quarters where they easily score over 40 points. It seems to happen even when we have all the momentum.

Luckily we gave them one right back thanks to Westbrook and George.


I suppose I have to enjoy PG whilst I still can now, thanks Kawhi :cry:
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Re: OKC: Part III - 2019 Playoffs - Massive injury news

Postby Andrew on Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:31 pm

Wow, talk about a gamechanger! You've got this. :cool:

But yeah, as for offseason plans, the Clippers just handed you a big blow if you're going to follow through with real moves.
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Re: OKC: Part III - 2019 Playoffs - Massive injury news

Postby Phil89 on Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:49 pm

Andrew wrote:Wow, talk about a gamechanger! You've got this. :cool:

But yeah, as for offseason plans, the Clippers just handed you a big blow if you're going to follow through with real moves.

It really was a surreal moment in the game. Collison hit a three pointer, then the camera slowly panned back to LeBron sitting up the other end of the court holding his arm. Hopefully we take advantage and close out the series in the next two games.


The worst part is that the draft picks only go up to 2023 in game right now, so I won't even have half the assets to play with :x (unless I keep playing for another half decade lol)

I hope Westbrook doesn't get traded as well. But if he is, it wouldn't be a massive deal for me to switch to a rebuild mode with this team and see if Presti can draft some more future MVP's.
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Re: OKC: Part III - 2019 Playoffs - Massive injury news

Postby Andrew on Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:18 pm

I'm guessing he stays put for now.
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Re: OKC: Part III - 2019 Playoffs - Massive injury news

Postby wdt92 on Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:41 am

I actually just saw the moves not long ago and wanted to see your thoughts on them. For your franchise, the real moves definitely seem like a huge blow seeing as most reports are having Westbrook's $40 mil pretty difficult to move. It will be interesting to see what you do now though. I guess also the Steven Adams trade talks will also have to be considered more realistically as well.

In the universe, LeBron's injury was ideal for your team. Unfortunate in that you couldn't see how well you'd do against his team for the series and test the true championship grit of the team. However, personally, I always had a curiosity of PG's ability to guard LeBron as he seemed to have a lot of help guarding him in Indiana and struggled more than you'd expect one-on-one. Also with LeBron's strength and size, it has always seemed to bother George. So, for this series, it looks like he'll be able to focus back on being the primary scorer without wasting energy on LBJ.

Looking to the next round, for now, it appears Denver will be the next opponent. In that series, I also have curiosity there with Adams guarding Jokic. I like Adams a lot, but his bigger frame may give problems with Jokic's playstyle of pass-first to quicker cutters off the ball. That fast constant decision making will put a lot of pressure on your bigs and, to a smaller extent, your wings. Though now having 2K19, it is kind of sad but they rarely do off-ball cuts in the game and usually do just standard pick and rolls. So you may find them to be a cakewalk and prefer them to Houston with Jokic's size working against him without his touches. It looks interesting moving forward!
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Re: OKC: Part III - 2019 Playoffs - Massive injury news

Postby Phil89 on Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:28 pm

19/4/19

Los Angeles Lakers [1-2] vs Oklahoma City Thunder [2-1]

Paul George takes advantage of LeBron's absence to give Thunder 3-1 series lead

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LAL | 26 | 22 | 22 | 26 | 196 |
OKC | 26 | 38 | 26 | 30 | 120 |

Player of the Game: Paul George
(31pts, 5reb, 7ast, 1blk)

(13-23 FG, 3-7 3PT, 2-2 FT)



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I was fully expecting an easy game with them missing LeBron. But apart from that second quarter blitz they kept pace with us.

Closing out this series may not be as simple as it should be on paper.
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Re: OKC: Part III - 2019 Playoffs - Massive injury news

Postby Phil89 on Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:46 pm

Andrew wrote:I'm guessing he stays put for now.

I feel like it'll be a situation where Sam Presti will ask him if he wants to be traded to a contender. I think he's earned that conversation given his loyalty to the franchise.

But who knows if winning a championship is even top of Westbrook's driving motivations. Maybe he is comfortable in the situation he is in. Russ may choose to stay, average a triple-double and win MVP again :wink:


wdt92 wrote:I actually just saw the moves not long ago and wanted to see your thoughts on them. For your franchise, the real moves definitely seem like a huge blow seeing as most reports are having Westbrook's $40 mil pretty difficult to move. It will be interesting to see what you do now though. I guess also the Steven Adams trade talks will also have to be considered more realistically as well.

In the universe, LeBron's injury was ideal for your team. Unfortunate in that you couldn't see how well you'd do against his team for the series and test the true championship grit of the team. However, personally, I always had a curiosity of PG's ability to guard LeBron as he seemed to have a lot of help guarding him in Indiana and struggled more than you'd expect one-on-one. Also with LeBron's strength and size, it has always seemed to bother George. So, for this series, it looks like he'll be able to focus back on being the primary scorer without wasting energy on LBJ.

Looking to the next round, for now, it appears Denver will be the next opponent. In that series, I also have curiosity there with Adams guarding Jokic. I like Adams a lot, but his bigger frame may give problems with Jokic's playstyle of pass-first to quicker cutters off the ball. That fast constant decision making will put a lot of pressure on your bigs and, to a smaller extent, your wings. Though now having 2K19, it is kind of sad but they rarely do off-ball cuts in the game and usually do just standard pick and rolls. So you may find them to be a cakewalk and prefer them to Houston with Jokic's size working against him without his touches. It looks interesting moving forward!

I'm disappointed to be losing Paul George. I like him as a player and he seemed like a cool guy.

But I certainly wouldn't hate it if I was forced to rebuild this team. If Westbrook gets traded I may just go full Sam Hinkie on this roster and go hard at the next few drafts. I like the storyline of Presti trying to draft the next Durant, Westbrook or Harden.


Both Denver and Houston would be tough opponents in the next round. But I'd still rather face either of them than the Warriors.
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Re: OKC: Part III - 2019 Playoffs - Lakers struggle without LeBron

Postby Andrew on Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:19 pm

Kuzma stepped up admirably there, but those are some big shoes to fill.

As for the real Westbrook, it does seem that there are rumblings he'll be traded. It would be nice to see a modern star go the distance with one team, though.
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Re: OKC: Part III - 2019 Playoffs - Lakers struggle without LeBron

Postby Phil89 on Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:04 pm

Andrew wrote:Kuzma stepped up admirably there, but those are some big shoes to fill.

As for the real Westbrook, it does seem that there are rumblings he'll be traded. It would be nice to see a modern star go the distance with one team, though.

I'd love to see him retire with the Thunder, but I guess there isn't much room for sentimentality in modern sports with all the money involved these days.

It's hard for OKC to justify keeping him and his contract if they are going full rebuild.


This off-season is going to be super awkward if we somehow manage to win the title :wink:
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Re: OKC: Part III - 2019 Playoffs - Lakers struggle without LeBron

Postby Andrew on Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:04 pm

I guess Kawhi has now set the precedent for moving on after winning a title, so there is that.
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Re: OKC: Part III - 2019 Playoffs - Lakers struggle without LeBron

Postby Phil89 on Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:20 pm

21/4/19

Oklahoma City Thunder [3-1] vs Los Angeles Lakers [1-3]

Lakers again have no answer to Paul George as he carries Thunder to series victory with huge night

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OKC | 29 | 29 | 40 | 28 | 126 |
LAL | 20 | 45 | 28 | 24 | 117 |

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(15-23 FG, 5-6 3PT, 9-9 FT)



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This one was another game of momentum. We were comfortably leading after the first quarter, but they went on a rampage in the second quarter and dropped 45.

Paul George came up big in the second half though and we got the win.
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Re: OKC: Part III - 2019 Playoffs - PG sends Lakers home

Postby Andrew on Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:57 pm

Huge game from George to get the job done. Lakers hung in there admirably without LeBron.
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Re: OKC: Part III - 2019 Playoffs - PG sends Lakers home

Postby seaboh13 on Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:03 pm

Great win over the Lakers. Like the Westbrook step over after dunk! George was very impressive! Equally impressed by Noel, some really solid performances by him throughout. Adams pops up every second game with big numbers thought! I wouldn't feel pressured to trade PG in this universe, I think if the Thunder knocked off the Lakers in real life he may not have been so receptive to Kawhi's phone call. Disappointing to do what he did. There is always the hope now they trade Westy, tank, do so poorly they return to Seattle! Good luck v Denver!!
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Re: OKC: Part III - 2019 Playoffs - PG sends Lakers home

Postby Phil89 on Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:36 pm

22/4/19

2019 Playoffs - Conference Semi Finals Preview

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Western Conference


1. Golden State Warriors [67-15] vs 4. Utah Jazz [45-37]


Golden State cruised through to the conference semi finals after dropping only one game against Portland. It could have been a comfortable sweep if not for game 3, which they inexplicably lost by 33 points.

They won the opening game of that series by 51 points and had an average winning margin of 31 points in their four wins.

It's hard to see anyone slowing them down at the offensive end. Curry, Durant, Thompson and Cousins are all capable of scoring 30+ on any given night, and at least two of them usually do.


Utah overcame Minnesota in six tough games after trailing twice in that series. This challenge will be a massive step up from the Timberwolves though.

The Jazz are perhaps one of the best equipped teams to slow down the Warriors with their defense. They allowed just 91 points per game against the Timberwolves.

Rudy Gobert will have his hands full against DeMarcus Cousins. The big man seems to be back to his pre-injury best form, after averaging 27 points per game against the Blazers.


Key Match-Up: Klay Thompson vs Donovan Mitchell




Golden State
Starters
DeMarcus Cousins - Draymond Green - Kevin Durant - Klay Thompson - Stephen Curry
Bench
Kevon Looney, Andre Iguodala, Quinn Cook, Shaun Livingston, Jonas Jerebko, Jordan Bell, Damian Jones, Andrew Bogut
Inactive
Alfonzo McKinnie, Jacob Evans III, Damion Lee, Marcus Derrickson



Utah
Starters
Rudy Gobert - Derrick Favors - Joe Ingles - Donovan Mitchell - Ricky Rubio
Bench
Thabo Sefolosha, Tyler Cavanaugh, Dante Exum, Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder, Ekpe Udoh, Royce O'Neale, Georges Niang
Inactive
Raul Neto, Grayson Allen, Naz Mitroue-Long, Tony Bradley



--------------------------------------------------



2. Oklahoma City Thunder [65-17] vs 3. Houston Rockets [63-19]


This match-up between Oklahoma City and Houston is arguably the most exciting series of the four, with two teams who won over 60 games this season facing off.

The Thunder overcame a shock opening game loss against the Lakers before winning four-straight games to clinch the series. LeBron James getting injured in game 3 helped them massively it must be said.

Paul George took full advantage of LeBron's absence. In game 5 he finished with 44 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. He averaged 26 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 2 steals for the series.

Forward Jerami Grant returned to action in game 4 after missing the first three games. He should be fully healthy by the start of this series. Deyonta Davis is still out indefinitely though.


Houston were given a great challenge in the opening round by the Nuggets. Denver actually led the series 2-1 before the Rockets won three straight games to close it out.

James Harden's scoring output was down compared to his usual numbers, scoring only 24 points per game against Denver. Will he improve on that against his former team?

Iman Shumpert has a broken right hand and is listed as out indefinitely. He could make an appearance later in the series if his recovery remains on course.


Back in the first round of the 2017 playoffs the Rockets eliminated the Thunder in 5 games. Will they be able to spoil MVP Westbrook's party again?



Key Match-Up: Russell Westbrook vs Chris Paul




Oklahoma City
Starters
Steven Adams - Jerami Grant - Paul George - Andre Roberson - Russell Westbrook
Bench
Nerlens Noel, Raymond Felton, Darren Collison, Patrick Patterson, Deonte Burton, Terrance Ferguson, Abdel Nader, Hamidou Diallo
Inactive
Scotty Hopson, Deyonta Davis*



Houston
Starters
Clint Capela - Zach Randolph - Eric Gordon - James Harden - Chris Paul
Bench
Austin Rivers, Kenneth Faried, PJ Tucker, Danuel House, Nene, Shelvin Mack, Gerald Green, Milos Teodosic
Inactive
Vince Edwards, Isaiah Hartenstein, Gary Clark, Iman Shumpert*




----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




Eastern Conference



1. Boston Celtics [59-23] vs 5. Miami Heat [42-40]


Boston had an identical path to get here as Oklahoma City did. They lost their series opener against Indiana before winning four-straight games.

Kyrie Irving was the stand-out for the Celtics against Indiana. He averaged near 24 points per game as the likes of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford were inconsistent at the offensive end.

Gordon Hayward looked good against the Pacers. If not for a 4 point effort in game 4 he would have averaged 20 points per game in the series. He's a nice bonus off the bench for Boston.


Miami ended the fairy tale run of the Cavaliers in the first round. The Cavs actually led the series 2-0 before the Heat stormed back to win four-straight games and advance.

Hassan Whiteside showed some of his best form in years against Cleveland. He averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds per game before cruelly going down injured in game 6. He will miss this series with a sprained right ankle.

That means former Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk will need to step up and fill his shoes. It will be a big ask for a player who didn't start a single game during the regular season to step up and face veteran Al Horford.


Key Match-Up: Kyrie Irving vs Goran Dragic




Boston
Starters
Al Horford - Marcus Morris Sr - Jayson Tatum - Jaylen Brown - Kyrie Irving
Bench
Marcus Smart, Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier III, Daniel Theis, Aron Baynes, Robert Williams, Brad Wanamaker, Semi Ojeleye
Inactive
RJ Hunter, PJ Dozier, Guerschon Yabusele



Miami
Starters
Kelly Olynyk - James Johnson - Josh Richardson - Dion Waiters - Goran Dragic
Bench
Bam Adebayo, Justise Winslow, Rodney McGruder, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Jones Jr, Ty Lawson, Ryan Anderson, Udonis Haslem
Inactive
Yante Maten, Duncan Robinson, Hassan Whiteside*



--------------------------------------------------



2. Milwaukee Bucks [55-27] vs 6. Philadelphia 76ers [42-40]


If it wasn't for the Thunder-Rockets match-up, this series would be the one to watch. Two heavyweights who are both expected to challenge Boston for the eastern finals berth.

Milwaukee took care of Washington in 5 games. That series basically ended in the closing moments of game 3 when Wizards star John Wall crumpled to the ground with an apparent Achilles injury.

This Bucks team is so well balanced and experienced. It's ironic that Giannis Antetokounmpo had his best game of the series in the only game they lost. He put up 41 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks in game 3.


Philadelphia had a much tougher opponent in Toronto, but managed to get the same result. They beat Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors in 5 games. They set the tone for the series by winning game 1 in Toronto, 129-115.

One ominous thing for Milwaukee is the fact that the Sixers had no obvious stand-out player. Each of Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and JJ Redick had big games against the Raptors.

Simmons scored 30 in the opening game and then flirted with a triple-double in each of the remaining games. Butler was the most consistent scorer, averaging over 20 points per game.

This series may come down to who can be more effectively stopped, Giannis Antetokounmpo or Joel Embiid.


Key Match-Up: Giannis Antetokounmpo vs Jimmy Butler




Milwaukee
Starters
Brook Lopez - Nikola Mirotic - Giannis Antetokounmpo - Khris Middleton - Eric Bledsoe
Bench
Malcolm Brogdon, George Hill, Marcin Gortat, Ersan Ilyasova, Pat Connaughton, Trevon Duval, Tony Snell, DJ Wilson
Inactive
Donte DiVincenzo, Sterling Brown, Christian Wood



Philadelphia
Starters
Joel Embiid - Tobias Harris - Jimmy Butler - JJ Redick - Ben Simmons
Bench
TJ McConnell, Boban Marjanovic, Furkan Korkmaz, Amir Johnson, Mike Scott, James Ennis, Jonathan Simmons, Zhaire Smith
Inactive
Shake Milton, Jonah Bolden, Justin Patton, Haywood Highsmith








Playoff Leaders

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