Posts tagged Houston Rockets
Ball Don't Lie EP. 45 - Giannis World Order

Scott and Dante are in this week to chat about Giannis and the Bucks beating down Harden and the Rockets, the battle for the 8th seed in the East, Boston and Golden State's roads to the playoffs, the Big Baller Brand drama, March Madness, NFL news and much more.

Topics:
Are the Bucks for real?
Playoff battles
Lonzo leaves BBB
Bulls options in the draft
Sweet 16 preview
Gronk retires
Bears/Packers opening night
new rule changes
Eloy's new contract
Goofy Mog of the Week

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!

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Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
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Ball Don't Lie EP. 43 - "Get Paid, Black Man!"

Scott and Dante weigh in on a frenzied start to free agency, Odell's move to the Browns and AB's move to the Raiders. Plus fan incidents at games and Goofy Mog of the Week!

Topics:
NFL Free Agency
- Chicago Bears moves
- Odell to Browns
- Antonio Brown to Raiders
- winners/losers
NBA
- Warriors recent slump
- Are the Rockets the biggest threat out west?
- Fan incidents at games
Goofy Mog of the Week

Follow Scott on Twitter: @BarbersChairNet
Follow Dante on Twitter: @OctobersOwnTae

Listen to the new bangers playlist from The Barber's Chair on Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal!

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Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

Rep THE MAN just in time for Wrestlemania with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
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Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
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Ball Don't Lie EP. 41 - Ya Hate To See It

Scott and Dante go in on a number of topics, from the Sox missing out on Manny Machado to the Lakers turmoil to Jussie's lying ass.

Topics:

Manny Machado disses the White Sox
- who is to blame?
- Sox season predictions
- has thoughts on the rebuild changed?
Bryce Harper still unsigned
The Real Housewives of Hollywood
What's wrong with the Celtics?
Can the Rockets challenge GSW in the West?
Bulls 5-2 since Otto Porter trade
Jussie Smollett's lying ass
Goofy Mog of the Week

Follow Scott on Twitter: @BarbersChairNet
Follow Dante on Twitter: @OctobersOwnTae

Rep THE MAN just in time for Wrestlemania with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
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Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
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Ball Don't Lie - "Drew Brees Don't Know Choppa Style"

KOLR-10 sports anchor Dan Molloy joins Pierce and Scott this week to talk about the MLB hot stove and the White Sox pursuit of Manny Machado. Plus Dan's been covering the Kansas City Chiefs all year, so we'll get his thoughts on Championship Sunday, the Bears possibly signing Kareem Hunt, the trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home and much much more!

Topics:
White Sox offer contract to Manny Machado
Possible collusion in MLB
Odds Manny signs with White Sox
Bears end-of-season press conference
Chuck Pagano hired as DC
Cody Parkey's future in Chicago
Nagy not shooting down Kareem Hunt to Bears
AFC Title Game preview
NFC Title Game preview
Kyler Murray declaring for NFL Draft
James Harden having another MVP season
Kyrie Irving and the Celtics' woes
Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer
Goofy Mog of the Week


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Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
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Steph Curry heard the noise, looks to end the Rockets' playoff run
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

It was pretty tiring the last few days, the chatter about the Warriors game 2 loss. My dad’s constant worrying, “Ehh, I don’t know Jules.” All the while I was confident they’d bounce back in a major way, suspecting the catalyst to be Steph Curry after the good old fashion smacking they took in Houston.

The biggest reason for my lack of concern was the Warriors did what they needed to do. Starting a playoff series on the road for the first time in the Steve Kerr era, they needed one of the first two to expel the Rockets home court advantage. But other than their season opener against Houston, the Dubs have rarely lost in anything other than a blowout. When they’re competing, it’s rarely a close game, and their plan coming into game 3 was to compete.

As Draymond Green put it, “We allow one of those a series...We’ve had our one. Now it’s time to lock in.” Green has probably been their most consistent player too, but without the big scoring numbers, his floor game will rarely receive high praise or serious criticism. But in a series against the NBA’s #1 offense, he knows the pressure in on Golden States scorers to really show up.

That might sound ridiculous when considering Kevin Durant dropped 37 in game 1 and 38 in game 2, but 30+ points from KD is a lot different than 30+ from Curry. At their best, the Dubs have Curry creating shots for himself and then creating shots for his teammates. Keeping Steph off the ball on offense is easier to defend because the Rockets can switch off on pindowns, and get more leeway when holding him on the actions.

Keeping the ball in Curry’s hands when they run their motion actions or pick and rolls above the arc is inevitably going to cause a defensive breakdown because of his gravity. The Rockets are much better suited to have KD initiate offense, and to guard KD in his post-up isolations as the offense tends to stagnate. So when the defense turned up in the 2nd half, so too did the Warriors offensive movement.

Curry was getting to the rim repeatedly in the 3rd quarter, the first two layups were gimme’s. Oracle was starting to get loud. As Steph started to feel it, he was relentlessly attacking James Harden’s defense, first taking him off the dribble, then straight ghosting him on a back cut in transition. It was his 4th straight layup, and I looked to my parents and told them “He’s making a three next time down.” Next thing you know, a 30 foot bomb and a shimmy to boot.

But his biggest shot was his floater that prefaced his public address to Oracle. He faked Trevor Ariza out of his shoes, and threw up a shot over Clint Capela. Classic Curry. Then he yelled out, “This is my fucking house!” Surely this had been brewing since his offensive struggles in Houston. But it had been a while since we’ve seen a flurry like this from Steph. This was his response to the noise. Just a friendly reminder what he’s about.

Western Conference Finals preview
USATSI

USATSI

The Houston Rockets fulfilled their destiny by finding their way to the Western Conference Finals. It seemed like this was bound to happen since the trade sent Chris Paul to Houston, but along the way they exceeded expectations by winning the west, and getting James Harden to play at an MVP level with an all-time point guard beside him.

Now they face the Golden State Warriors with the NBA Finals on the line, and unlike past playoff matchups, the Rockets expect to win.

They’ve been targeting Golden State for years, this season especially. In their opening night matchup, the Rockets came back from down 14 in the fourth quarter to steal the win on ring night, and when a KD jumper was called no good on replay, the Rockets did all but pop the champagne. But now they’re ready for the real bubbly, at least they believe they are, and that’s a huge part of being a title contender.

The Rockets have a vastly different mindset as a team, and that’s a credit to their player development and coaching. Harden doesn’t get caught sleeping on defense anymore, CP3 has smoothly transitioned into a secondary ball-handler, and Clint Capela is playing his role the way Dwight Howard never did during his time in Houston. It’s reminiscent of the Warriors when they play hard every night. It’s the focus of a team that’s finding out they have some chops. Unfortunately for them, they’ll have to go through the big dogs.

The Warriors are looking at this series quite different than Houston is. They’ve gone to hell and back in the playoffs, but they’ve also got a lot more chemistry than the Rockets. They’ll probably end up screwing around and start Javale to match up with Capela because they know their margin of error is the highest in the league. It really comes down to the talent, and Golden State wins that battle.

With Klay Thompson most likely guarding Harden, it sets up for a CP3-Steph match-up, conjuring up memories and emotions from when the Clipper-Warriors rivalry was at its peak. CP3’s instinct may take over where he’ll feel the need to go at Steph, but I think he can be much more effective in the rhythm of their offense. Steph has added muscle to be able to hold his own in defensive switches in the pick and roll, but Paul comes into this series as a much healthier player, and with some momentum after that crazy 40/10 closeout performance vs. Utah in the semifinal. He’s going to try to get Steph out of the game whenever he can, goating him into making mistakes in 1 on 1 defense, but in the end, Curry’s output on offense should win the individual match-up.

Another intriguing match-up is Harden vs. Kevin Durant. While they won't be guarding each other much this series, they’re the best scoring options on their respective teams. Houston simply cannot guard KD 1 on 1. Durant can shoot over, dribble past, and finish on anyone, Trevor Ariza included, and while Harden lacks the height that KD brings to the table, he’s gotten into peak physical shape which has elevated his game to MVP levels. Most likely, we’ll see various actions to get Harden running downhill off the pick and roll. The Rockets love their pick-and-roll sets where Capela immediately uses a downscreen from a shooter (Eric Gordon, for ex.) who can pop out for three. The Warriors defense will formulate a gameplan, preemptively switching the defenders involved, but it’ll require a series long focus. If Harden runs the Dubs tired, it could mean a game to the Rockets.

There's no question that the Rockets give the Warriors the best challenge they've seen in the playoffs. For the first time in the Steve Kerr era, the Warriors won’t have home court advantage, and will have to play a Game 7 on the road if the series stretches that far. Game one could be the closest of them all, as the Warriors come in looking to steal home court & Houston's momentum. One thing I'm sure of is this: the winner of this series will win the NBA title.

Dubs in Fo’

Ball Don't Lie Ep 17 - Bring David Stern Back ft. @Mariannoo
What 2 Watch: Tuesday, May 8th

My condolences to the country of Canada. LeBron James destroyed your hopes and dreams last night just as he always does. You can't run from destiny, unless your name is Wong.

While the "BeSt RaPt0rS tEaM eVeR" getting bounced in the second round is bad for Toronto, it's good for you. You don't have to worry about wasting two hours of your night watching those frauds again until October! Best free up your night for more interesting games.


Utah Jazz v. Houston Rockets - Western Conference semifinal, Game 5
8:00pm EST, TNT, TNTdrama.com or TNT app

That State Farm agent is 48 minutes away from his first conference finals! Good for Cliff. One can only be so mediocre for so long. The Jazz try and overcome the Rockets' homecourt advantage to force Game 6, but is it really an advantage when your arena are as rowdy as a Joel Osteen service?


New Orleans Pelicans v. Golden State Warriors - Western Conference semifinal, Game 5
10:30pm EST, TNT, TNTdrama.com or TNT app

Like Mariano says, this is blu-ray footage for the Warriors. Can't wait for Steph to talk about how the Pels really made them buckle down to win this hard-fought five-game series.


Boston Red Sox v. New York Yankees
7:00pm EST, MLB Network, MLB.TV, MLB At Bat app

The rivalry is fucking back baby! The Sox and Yankees have the two best records in baseball, with the Bronx Bombers one game back of the Sox in first. The Yankees have won 15 or their last 16 games, while Boston is on its best start since 2002. Benches cleared the last series between the two. Don't you fucking love baseball when these two are good? Damn.


Swansea City v. Southampton
2:30pm EST, NBCSN, NBC Sports App

The 17th and 18th teams in the Premier League table battle to avoid relegation. The teams may suck, but the threat of the loser dropping out of the EPL next season makes this an intriguing midday matchup across the pond.

Did the Thunder choose the wrong guard between Westbrook and Harden?
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Monday was a tale of two MVPs. While the expected 2018 NBA MVP led his team to a commanding 3-1 lead, the incumbent got flamed all night on social media as his team now sits a game away from imploding.

In Minnesota, the pressure was on James Harden to perform at an MVP-level against a Timberwolves squad hungry to even their best-of-seven series with the Rockets. Harden struggled in game 2, making just two of 18 shots in a winning effort, and then followed up by missing 12 of 21 attempts as Minnesota took game 3. It looked like game 4 would be much of the same when his first seven shots didn't drop and the Wolves trailed by one at the half.

Harden responded in MVP fashion, outscoring the TImberwolves alone in the third (22 points for Harden, 20 for Minnesota) as Houston exploded for a franchise-record 50 points in the third quarter en route to a 119-100 win. Harden finished with 36 points on 12-of-26 shooting, all but erasing the stench of the previous 10 quarters.

"We hit the switch, the switch that we've been trying to hit since the beginning of the playoffs," Harden told TNT after the game.

Meanwhile in Utah, Russell Westbrook guaranteed to "shut that shit off" in game 4 after Ricky Rubio gave Russ a dose of his own medicine with a 26-point, 11-rebound, 10-assist triple-double performance in game 3. Russ did cut Rubio's point total in half, but the Thunder were embarrassed by the Jazz 113-96, showing less fight on the court than Mitt Romney on the sidelines.

Two men. Two MVP-caliber stars going in completely opposite directions.

To think, they were once teammates.

The biggest modern-day question in sports is 'what if the Oklahoma City Thunder stayed the course with their homegrown picks - Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and James Harden?' OKC made the NBA Finals when it seemed like their core was starting to reach their peak, and most definitely would've won an NBA Championship (or two... or three... or four) in time with a trio of future MVPs on their roster.

The belief was the Thunder couldn't afford to keep all four players. Kevin Durant had just started a five year, $86 million extension and was entrenched as the franchise cornerstone, and Russell Westbrook had signed a five year, $80 million extension in January 2012. The decision on who to keep and who to let go came down to Harden vs. Ibaka.

Yahoo Sports

Yahoo Sports

GM Sam Presti tried to lock both down the summer before they hit restricted free agency. Serge was able to come to terms on a 4-year, $49 million deal in August 2012, but not Harden. The Thunder offered him 4 years, $55 million, but he wanted the max. Thus, Harden was shipped to Houston, leaving OKC fans and all of basketball to question the move for years to come.

The Thunder could've waited until the summer, maneuver around the books to find the financial flexibility to keep the Beard (read: amnestied Kendrick Perkins' abysmal $8 million contract.) They could've sat and let another team sign Harden to an offer sheet and matched the deal, and dealt with the salary cap and luxury tax ramifications later on. But right before the 2012-13 season, months before they really needed to make a decision, they settled for the trade.

Not only has it changed the course of Oklahoma City basketball, it changed the landscape of the NBA.

The Thunder never got back to the NBA Finals with Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka, collapsing in 2016 after a 3-1 series lead on Golden State. They then traded Ibaka to Orlando and watched as Kevin Durant bolted for the Warriors, subsequently leading the best team in basketball to another NBA title.

James Harden has since become one of the best players of the modern era, lifting the Rockets to the top seed in the west as they try to end a 23-year championship drought. Ibaka has regressed, but is carving out a nice role for himself with the Toronto Raptors.

And then there's Russ - an undeniable superstar with an MVP and consecutive triple-double seasons on his resume. He's one of the most exhilarating players in the game today, but he's failed to win with one of the greatest of all time (KD), couldn't do it on his own, and now sits a game away from elimination with a prime Paul George and (not-so-much in his prime) Carmelo Anthony.

It begs the question: did the Thunder trade the wrong guy in their backcourt?

The decision (made easier by giving Westbrook the max) was always between Harden and Ibaka, but what if OKC gave Harden the max instead and shipped Westbrook off for assets far greater than Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lang?

The instant thought is Durant possibly would have stayed in OKC. He and Russ continuously clashed as both tried to assert themselves as the alpha of the team. Harden has shared the spotlight well with Chris Paul in one season in Houston, and could've dealt with the same playing with Durant, who was already set as the franchise player in Oklahoma City. Golden State is still enticing, but having a better rapport with the Robin to your Batman may have been enough to sway KD into signing a new deal.

For everything that makes Russell Westbrook great - an explosive, exciting game, the unwavering will to win - James Harden brings an equally dominant game, plus an underrated intangible: the ability to make everyone around him better. When he's on, he commands so much attention it opens up plays for others. In an MVP season for Harden, the Rockets have been the best three-point shooting team in the league.

The Thunder move as Russell Westbrook moves. His aggressive play can be dominant at times, at others, it becomes more of a detriment to his teammates than an asset.

Westbrook has just one more chance to prove he can take his club to glory. If he doesn't, George is likely to leave him high and dry just as KD did two years ago, the 'what if's' will intensify, and he'll forever have to play through the whispers from fans and pundits who will second-guess every move he makes for the rest of his career.

Harden, on the other hand, is beginning what could be a long run atop the NBA in Houston. Time will tell whether the Rockets will be coronated, but they're much further along (and better) than OKC.

Five and a half years later, Thunder fans have to be thinking in the back of their minds if they could go back in time and trade the other guard.

Ball Don't Lie Ep.14: Dat Piff Dame

This week on #BallDontLie, @FlowsAndolini is MIA again, @Scott_CEOofSUH & @HennyOmega gear up for Infinity War, discuss NBA Playoffs, why Scott still isn't sold on the Rockets, Dame Lillard letting us down & we discuss J.Cole's album

Takeaways from opening weekend of the NBA playoffs

It's the most wonderful time of the year: the NBA Playoffs are back in our minds and our hearts. Visions of James Harden crossovers and Draymond dick kicks play vividly in our heads as we await the crowning of a new champion.

Some games were wild, some were blowouts, and others, well... let's just say we all got a good laugh out of whatever the fuck is happening in Cleveland. So let's quickly go through some of our major takeaways from opening weekend.

The Warriors are fine, everybody. Stay calm

Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group

Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group

Golden State fans have been worried about the Dubs all season, with injuries and fatigue playing a factor as they finished with the second-best record in the West. SOME were even frightened by the thought of playing Pop and the Spurs without Steph Curry.

You fucking fools.

The Warriors manhandled San Antonio 113-92, stifling the Spurs to just 40% shooting from the field. Last year's Finals MVP Kevin Durant finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and Klay Thompson put on a fantastic shooting performance, ending with 27 points on 11 of 13 shooting, 5 of 6 from beyond the arc. We even saw our first glimpse of 'Playoff' Javale McGee, adding 15 points, four boards and two blocks in a late start.

The Warriors looked unbeatable, something they haven't looked like for most of the regular season. Even without Steph, that championship mentality remains among the reigning defending NBA champs.

Victor Oladipo has arrived

Getty Images

Getty Images

Vic is having a breakout season, and if there wasn't any indication that he's a star in this league, Sunday's game against the Cavs was it.

Oladipo scored 32 points, 11 of 19 from the field and 6 of 9 from deep, leading the Pacers to a stunning 18-point victory in Cleveland to take game one of this best-of-seven series. It's the first time in history LeBron James has lost a playoff opener.

The Cavaliers were persistent, coming within seven in the fourth, but the Pacers kept control of the game, playing inspired basketball behind Dipo and Lance Stephenson, whose dunk in the first quarter really set the tone for the rest of the game. LeBron finished with his 20th career playoff triple-double, but the rest of Cleveland struggled. The other starters combined for just 25 points, and as a team Cleveland shot 8 of 34 from long range, and missed eight free throws.

The Cavs will likely rebound in game 2, but if they don't, that spotlight will only grow larger on LeBron.

Anthony Davis ain't goin out like no punk bitch

Looking for the first playoff victory of his career, Anthony Davis went into Portland and snatched the soul (and home-court advantage) straight out of the Trail Blazers and their fans.

The Brow had 35 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks in the Pelicans's 97-95 win over the Blazers. A.D. wasn't alone; Jrue Holiday put up 21 points and had a big block in Portland's final possession of the game, Rajon Rondo added 17 assists and eight boards, and a clean-shaven (read: fucking hideous) Niko Mirotic dropped 16 points and eleven rebounds to will the Pelicans to a game one win.

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum tried to press a fourth-quarter comeback, nearly erasing a 19-point deficit, but it wasn't enough. The duo combined for just 37 points in the contest, and only took three free throws between them. The series is still way too early to call, but Portland needs their star backcourt to show up early in game 2 or else this could get ugly as the series makes its way to New Orleans.

'Playoff P' isn't as dumb of a nickname as I thought

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Okay upon further review, "Playoff P" is sooooo much better than PG-13. Paul George exploded for 36 points and eight threes, an OKC playoff record, as the Thunder downed the Jazz 116-108. PG is no stranger to playoff theatrics, but this is his first with Oklahoma City. A welcome sight to Thunder fans as this kind of production opposite Russell Westbrook was sorely missing last season.

Russ got his, indeed; 29 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists from the 2017 NBA MVP, but Sunday night was all about George. Big nights from him are necessary for OKC to get past Utah, and surely if they want to challenge Houston and Golden State in the rounds to come.

Also worth paying attention to Donovan Mitchell's left foot. He left in the second half although he did return in the fourth but was noticeably having trouble moving up and down the court. He finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds in his playoff debut.

Harden comes through in the playoffs, but the Timberbulls won't back down

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, it's only the first round, but James Harden was clutch Sunday night, scoring 44 points and willing the Rockets to a game one win over Minnesota 104-101. Harden's 13 in the fourth powered Houston past a Timberwolves team that looked ready for the big stage, having missed the postseason since 2004.

The T'Wolves almost caught the Rockets on a bad night. Houston shot just 10 of 37 from 3-point range, an anomaly for the best 3-point team in the league. But strong play from Harden and Clint Capela (24 points, 12 boards) propelled Houston to a victory.

It's also a problem when your best player, Jimmy Butler, is shooting worse than Derrick Rose, and Karl-Anthony Towns is being checked for just eight points. That seemingly won't happen again, which should give Minnesota hope they can steal a game or two in this series, but neither will the Rockets' shooting woes. The Timberwolves missed a prime opportunity to steal a game from Houston. For their sake, let's hope it doesn't come back to bite them in the ass.

Final Takes

Marco 'Big Balls' Belinelli is back in the playoffs, which means I can bring this classic back.

The refs should've given the Bucks a game one win over the Celtics for Khris Middleton's tying shot at the end of regulation. HOLY SHIT!

Hey Raptors fans... THE STREAK... IS OVER.

Has the NBA caught up to the Warriors?
STF

STF

In the summer of 2016, when asked about the Warriors plucking Kevin Durant away from the Thunder, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said during the league's annual board of governors meeting “I do not think that's ideal from the league standpoint.” It was obvious that he was afraid that the new acquisition would create too good of a team. His major oversight, though, was that the dominance of Golden State would force the rest of the league to find ways to catch up, and this season, there are a few standouts that have done just that.

The most obvious candidate this season has been the Houston Rockets. As if James Harden wasn’t enough, their astonishing and impressive move to get Chris Paul last summer brought up a few questions. And rightfully so, having two ball deflating point guards as your two best players makes you wonder if they could bog each others games down.

But it’s been quite the opposite. Their willingness to sacrifice touches, stagger their minutes and commit to defense has made their lives a whole lot easier. It’s admirable too, being that the two up to this point, haven’t embraced sacrifice previously. The Rockets collection of savvy signings and pesky vets have also contributed to their success. But their also the right collection of players to give the Warriors a headache.

While CP3 has been surpassed by Steph already, he still has the ability to get pesky on defense and physical on offense. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen Paul draw bullshit fouls on Steph, but I know it’s an effective skill that he’s mastered. Harden is just as good at this, so the threat of getting the Dubs into foul trouble is a serious one.

The key for houston though, is their center, Clint Capela. Having rode the bench for years, the departure of Dwight Howard gave Capela opportunity to find his game, and his game is pretty damn good. He’s had the length and lateral quickness to be a problem on defense, but developing patience and poise brought it all together.

The kid isn’t vertically challenged either, he gets up for lob opportunities like a DeAndre Jordan, but he doesn’t yearn for possession wasting post touches. He’s perfect for Houston system, because his strengths compliment both CP3 and Harden to a tee. But when it’s playoff time, their All-Star Guards will ultimately determine the future of this team.

Boston is right up there with Houston. Their defense, if and when healthy, has the chops to make any teams lives difficult. Oh and they’re eventually getting All-Star Gordon Hayward back. Simply put, their really good right now, and they’re only going to get better in the coming years.

Though their stars weren’t drafted like Golden States were, they’ve built their team to mimic the them in a few ways. The offense hinges on Kyrie Irving, who like Curry can create for himself and others, but also can be used of the ball to space the floor. Without him, offense gets difficult down the stretch, but Brad Stevens system gives them legs to stand on.

The real unsung hero for the Celtics though, is Al Horford. He’s the key to their defense, but can unlock so much more on offense. His spacing is a threat, but if someone closes out to hard on him, he’s still got the footspeed and the skill to drive and create for himself or his teammates. I like to think that him and Draymond Green are two sides of the same coin, Horford is stronger on offense and Green stronger on defense.

Their young wings are really intriguing too. Everytime I watch Jaylen Brown make a move in transition, I’m reminded of Jordan. He’s nowhere near as talented, but just the way he moves on the floor is impressive. He’s also shown actually basketball talent too, don’t get me wrong. He competes well on defense, spreads the floor well from three, and he’s relentless and athletic around the rim. Then there’s Jayson Tatum, their standout rookie. He hasn’t shown the same defensive prowess as Brown, but his offensive game is unique for his age (he’s only 19 + a few days!).

What makes the Celtics different, though, is youth. Other than the 31-year-old Al Horford, their core is young enough become even better in the next few years. Surely they’ll run the east, but once they get a taste of the Finals, who knows how good they can be.

These two have both followed and tweaked the blueprint that Golden State has shown to be successful. Even though they’ve shown that they have the chops to give the Dubs problems, they won’t be the last to do so. Sure it takes young and talented players to become great in the long term, but stability from ownership, and competency from management and coaches is just as important. This is the key to success in the NBA, the rest of the league just needs to keep taking notes.

The Third Pick Ep.5: Get Lauri More Shots

This week on the pod Mariano & Scott talk Black Panther, the lack of shots Lauri is getting/lack of chemistry from the Baby Big 3, Rockets/Warriors beef brewing & much more

Ball Don't Lie Ep.9: James Harden Traveled

This week on #BallDontLie Scott is out sick so Flows & Pierce talk about the Warriors and Rockets, Saquon Barkley, Matt Forte's retirement & much more

Hoops N Brews Ep.74: Brandon Ingram Better Than Andrew Wiggins

On episode 74 @Pavyworld & @reeltpj are joined by Thabiso (@Its_TSM) and Joel (@THEJoltss) to talk the Rockets, Cavaliers struggles (again), if the Trailblazers are for real, will the Timberwolves make the playoffs and Andrew Wiggins downfall. They also engage in heated arguments about MVP and Rookie of the Year.

Hoops N Brews Ep.71: Cedi Osman could check Klay

On episode 71 Pavy & TPJ are back to talk Cleveland Cavaliers new team, Cavs defeating Celtics, Rockets facing the Western Conference, are the Raptors the deepest team in the NBA. Pavy says Cedi Osman can check Klay Thompson and more