Sport Opinion: How 7 teams can even their playoff series (sorry, Spurs)

15:16  16 april  2018
15:16  16 april  2018 Source:   msn.com

Murray's playoff shutout streak ends at nearly 4 full games

  Murray's playoff shutout streak ends at nearly 4 full games Matt Murray has finally been scored on. With the Philadelphia Flyers' first goal of the series in Game 2, the Pittsburgh Penguins netminder saw his playoff shutout streak snapped at 225:49 - or nearly the equivalent of four full games.Shayne Gostisbehere fired a power-play goal past Murray with just 37 seconds left in the first period Friday, marking the first time the 23-year-old has given up a playoff goal since Viktor Arvidsson of the Nashville Predators scored in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final last season.

There are even those who suggest that the Division Series is too short, and that all three of the current rounds Suppose two teams are meeting for a playoff series , and the probability that one team (call it, I don't know, the How does the length of the series affect the probability of winning the series ?

Suppose, for instance, that there were ten playoff teams in each conference. The last four teams would play How does that reward excellence? If adding teams could somehow remedy this mess, I might consider it. In theory, MLB could add two, four, or even six teams without adding more series .

  Opinion: How 7 teams can even their playoff series (sorry, Spurs) © Provided by WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post

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This first appeared in the April 16 edition of The Washington Post’s NBA newsletter, the Monday Morning Post Up. You can subscribe by clicking here.

With the first set of playoff games out of the way, it’s time to take stock of all eight first-round matchups, and where they stand after the opening weekend.

Here’s a look at the biggest takeaway from the first game of all eight series, and what needs to change for the losing team to make them competitive as they progress:

Golden State looks vulnerable. Can Spurs do anything about it?

  Golden State looks vulnerable. Can Spurs do anything about it? Can the Warriors snap out of their malaise?Golden State coasted the last month of the season, much of it without Stephen Curry, and went 7-10 in their final stretch of games. However, the Warriors problems go deeper than a lack of focus and being without Curry — Shaun Livingston has been banged up and not right, Andre Iguodala’s efficiency has dropped this season, and Draymond Green is still shooting just a tick above 30 percent from three. To name just a few things.

This is a series with two massive stars leading otherwise ordinary teams that are capable of streaking in either direction. It all depends on how Davis and Lillard impact the series , but also the defense (for Portland) and 3-point No one questions their star level. But legends are made in the playoffs .

Here’s how how the 2016-17 playoffs shake out according to our advanced stats model. Before it was just a matter of looking at a team ’s Corsi, considering their goalie and calling it a day. Even without Letang, the Cup runs through those two teams in my opinion .

1. Spurs don’t have enough

There was a lot of hand-wringing about Golden State’s form coming into the playoffs, having lost 10 of their past 17 games and dealing with a series of key injuries — most notably to Stephen Curry. But Warriors-Spurs was only going to be competitive if Golden State failed to show up.

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Right from the beginning of Game 1 — when Andre Iguodala was put into the starting lineup — it was clear Golden State was motivated to change the tenor of its defense, which has lagged during the team’s recent slump (Warriors Coach Steve Kerr confirmed that was the reason behind starting Iguodala over former DeMatha star Quinn Cook after the game). And it was immediately apparent San Antonio had no chance of scoring consistently against a motivated Warriors team.

WATCH: Nick Young arrives in silk robe, boxers for Warriors’ playoff opener

  WATCH: Nick Young arrives in silk robe, boxers for Warriors’ playoff opener Nick Young is returning to the playoffs in style. The man they call Swaggy P arrived at Oracle Arena for the Golden State Warriors’ playoff opener on Saturday in a rather striking outfit that consisted of a t-shirt, boxers, and a silk robe. Business casual

Unpopular opinions : These threads are always fun, so lets have one about the upcoming playoffs . Spurs in 7 without Kawhi in first round. Buck are far and away the worst team in the playoffs . Lebron has an even easier path to the finals than before because of the injuries Celtics have.

Nonetheless, members of the LakersNation.com staff submitted their NBA playoff predictions and Finals winners. Warriors over Spurs (4-1): Without Kawhi Leonard, I don’t give the Spurs much of a chance in this series .

Kawhi Leonard is not coming back to save the Spurs. He might never return to the franchise at all. And, even if he did, it wouldn’t be enough to make this series an interesting one.

2. Wizards have to stay out of their own way

Washington was up three in the fourth quarter and was looking good when Mike Scott committed a flagrant foul on Kyle Lowry. That kicked off a quick 7-0 run that put Toronto ahead for good and was compounded by a casual Kelly Oubre Jr. pass that was stolen and turned into a three-pointer for C.J. Miles a few minutes later.

These are the kinds of maddeningly inconsistent mental moments the Wizards have been having all season long — the reason they are the eighth seed, instead of the fifth or sixth like they should have been. They also are the reason they are behind 1-0 in this series.

Teams that win the first two games at home go on to win the series over 90 percent of the time — so the adage that “the series doesn’t start til the home team loses” isn’t accurate. But if Washington wants a real chance at pulling off an upset it, the dumb plays and mental breaks need to stop — and they need to stop starting in Game 2.

No Curry, no problem: Warriors handle Spurs in Game 1

  No Curry, no problem: Warriors handle Spurs in Game 1 No Curry, no problem: Warriors handle Spurs in Game 1Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson took charge in Game 1 of the first-round series to elevate the Warriors' intensity at last playing without fellow All-Star and injured two-time MVP Stephen Curry, sidelined since March 23 with a sprained left knee.

Even after learning how to read pitchers’ minds and quantify the crack of the bat, sabermetricians This year’s presumptive playoff teams ’ TTO rates range from the Nationals (31.8 percent of their To have a 50-50 shot at winning the World Series before the playoffs begin, a team would have to have

Statistics show that the length of a series can help dictate how a game is managed. Opinion . Statistics tell us that if Team A would ordinarily beat Team B 55% of the time, Team A would be 59% likely to win a five-game series over Team B. Stretch that out to a seven -game series , and Team A

3. Heat need to stay away from Whiteside unless Embiid is playing

Joel Embiid won’t be back for Game 2 on Monday night, as he’ll continue to sit with his facial fracture. And, until — or if — Embiid returns, Hassan Whiteside’s role needs to be minimized for the Heat to make this a long series.

Philadelphia Coach Brett Brown made a savvy halftime adjustment in Game 1, starting Ersan Ilyasova to bring Whiteside out of the paint. It worked, and the Sixers ran away in the second half under a hailstorm of threes. Whiteside, meanwhile, didn’t want to come out to try to stop any of Philadelphia’s shooters, and they gleefully took advantage.

Few coaches are better tactically than Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra, and he’ll undoubtedly have a few tricks up his sleeve in Game 3. Philadelphia likely won’t hit 64 percent of its threes, either. But one thing Spoelstra should do is keep Whiteside next to him unless Embiid is out there. Whiteside might not like it, but it’s Miami’s best chance.

4. Blazers need more from Lillard/McCollum

Yes, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum got going as Portland’s game against New Orleans wore on Saturday night. But even with a good second half, a combined 13-for-41 showing from the Trail Blazers’ star backcourt simply isn’t going to be good enough to win in this — or any — playoff series.

Report: Clippers putting together Leonard trade proposal

  Report: Clippers putting together Leonard trade proposal There’s been a lot of chatter about how Kawhi Leonard could be traded this summer after his relationship with the San Antonio Spurs fell into disrepair this past season. We’ve recently heard a report indicating multiple teams are interested in trading for Leonard, and now one of those teams has been identified.According to Sam Amick of USA Today Sports, the Los Angeles Clippers have already begun putting together a trade package for Leonard. Just in case.

But the Hornets have a better point differential (with much better defense) in those games, the Blazers may struggle if one of their two stars gets taken out of the offense in a playoff series , and teams I would like to see this question revisited with a unified criteria and see what their opinion would be.

each series and in how many games? lakers - nuggets hornets - mavs spurs - suns utah - houston. lakers arent that much better than the other 7 teams in the playoffs besides maybe houston (w/o yao) and denver. That is just my opinion .

Some of those struggles should be credited to an unbelievable defensive performance from Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, who proved why he’s gotten a lot of love over the past couple weeks for all-defensive team honors. But that can’t matter if Portland is going to win a playoff series.

Few players have consistently delivered in big moments like Lillard has, so the expectation is that he’s going to be better as the series moves along. If Portland is going to advance, though, he has to be.

5. Bledsoe has to be better

To put it bluntly, Eric Bledsoe was awful Sunday. Nine points on 4-for-12 shooting to go with four assists, five turnovers and six fouls? Not cutting it. And that doesn’t even include Bledsoe getting completely crossed up on Terry Rozier’s go-ahead bucket at the end of regulation.

Milwaukee has a lot of reasons to feel optimistic after Game 1. The Bucks committed 20 turnovers, gave up 11 offensive rebounds got an awful performance from Bledsoe and still lost in overtime. They can fix the first two things just by being smarter and stronger with the ball. The third, though, is even simpler: Bledsoe just needs to be better.

If he is, this remains a toss-up series. If he’s not? It could be over quick.

6. Play Cedi Osman and Larry Nance, sit Jeff Green

This one could be as simple as “regression to the mean.” Indiana was 25th in the NBA in three-pointers made per game this season, and Cleveland was third. So, no, there likely won’t be another game in this series that sees the Pacers make more threes (11 for 27 for Indiana; 8 for 34 for Cleveland) than the Cavaliers.

Gregg Popovich won't coach Game 3 after wife's death

  Gregg Popovich won't coach Game 3 after wife's death The San Antonio Spurs say Greg Popovich will not coach the team at home Thursday night in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series against Golden State following the death of his wife. Ettore Messina will coach the team, which lost the first two games to the Warriors. The Spurs announced Erin Popovich's death Wednesday. She was 67. Popovich has coached San Antonio since 1996, leading the Spurs to five NBA titles.

Opinion . Weather. Crosswords. Jazz guard George Hill, right, drives past Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, left, in the fourth quarter of Game 3 of their first-round playoff series at Vivint Smart Home Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) tries to pass out of a double- team by as Grizzlies defenders Marc

Teams don’t usually go deep in the playoffs , but Toronto doesn’t necessarily have to shorten their rotation that much because their bench is such an asset. But.Raptors in 6. Michael Sykes: We’ve seen how this team plays and we know how they think.

But that wasn’t the only issue with Cleveland’s lifeless showing Sunday. Jeff Green, named the starting power forward for the playoffs, was a no-show, missing all seven shots and going scoreless in 26 minutes. Cedi Osman, meanwhile, was anchored to the bench.

For a Cleveland team that doesn’t play with enough energy and effort, Osman provides both in spades — and should be playing over Green as a result. Meanwhile, Nance gave the Cavaliers a boost when he came in and should move into the starting lineup in place of Green.

Given how in flux Cleveland’s rotations have been all season, the guess here is that there will be plenty of changes in Game 2 (not including a potential George Hill injury). They should start with less of Green, and more Nance and Osman.

7. Do a better job handling Oklahoma City’s physicality

A look at the box score would probably lead one to say that the biggest issue facing the Utah Jazz after losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder is trying to contain Paul George. And it’s true that George (36 points on 13-for-20 shooting, including 8 for 11 from three) was the difference in Sunday’s game.

But just as important was that Oklahoma City controlled the pace and physicality of the game from the start. After Utah jumped out to an early 12-point lead with a 16-2 run, the Thunder immediately stormed back into the game and didn’t look back, and they imposed their will on the Jazz in doing so.

This is the way Oklahoma City likes to play — taking advantage of its length and athleticism to overwhelm opponents. Utah needs to execute better in Game 2, and also needs to keep the Thunder from dictating how it plays.

How does Davis and Holiday's 88-point game rank in NBA history?

  How does Davis and Holiday's 88-point game rank in NBA history? Wow. The New Orleans Pelicans completed the sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday for their first playoff series victory since 2008 and just the second in franchise history, thanks in large part to Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. Prior to Saturday, the Pelicans' franchise high for points in a playoff game was David West's 38 in 2008, which was comfortably surpassed by each of New Orleans' new "Big Two."PlayerMINPTSFG3PFTREBASTBLKA. Davis394715-242-415-171113J. Holiday414115-232-79-12380The super duo's 88 points were the most between teammates in a playoff game and tied for the fifth-most in NBA history.

1h. How The Florida Shuffle cost the Detroit Red Wings announcer his son. 2dJohn Barr and Mike Farrell. What's the next step after their shocking collapse? LeBron: 'Cleveland, this is for you'. Even on this crushing night, they were so much more than a jump-shooting team .

San Antonio Spurs . How would their respective teams fare without their star players in the lineup? Could they survive a first-round series ? Could they go even farther, or would they even be able to muster a fight?

8. Get Karl-Anthony Towns involved

Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the most gifted offensive big men in the history of basketball. So how did he only have nine shots in Minnesota’s 104-101 loss to Houston on Sunday?

As it always is, part of this is on Towns and part of it is on the Timberwolves. Regardless, it needs to change in Game 2 if Minnesota wants to make this a long series. Having Derrick Rose take the most shots on the team — and five more than Towns — simply isn’t going to work in any situation.

The shame of it is Minnesota had Game 1 there for the taking. But bad closes to the first and third quarters (two 6-0 Rockets runs in the final minute) and a couple of key breakdowns was enough to swing the game in Houston’s favor (not to mention some incredible play from James Harden). But that doesn’t change the fact Towns needs to be more involved for Minnesota to have a real shot.

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Report: David Fizdale, Ettore Messina top candidates for Hornets job

  Report: David Fizdale, Ettore Messina top candidates for Hornets job The Charlotte Hornets are beginning to line up interviews for their vacant head coaching job. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina and former Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale are the first two candidates poised for interviews with the Hornets, who are looking to replace the fired Steve Clifford.

In just a few years, they can learn how to play a musical instrument, speak one or even two new languages, and deal with many subjects at school. They _ (4) have time for sports and hobbies, and become experts in their favorite pastimes. _

Report: David Fizdale, Ettore Messina top candidates for Hornets job .
The Charlotte Hornets are beginning to line up interviews for their vacant head coaching job. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina and former Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale are the first two candidates poised for interviews with the Hornets, who are looking to replace the fired Steve Clifford.

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