Sideline Notes

Okay, let’s try this. I won’t do this feature every night, or even every week because it requires me to watch amounts of basketball that would be deemed unhealthy by some. However, every now and again I will dive into the vault of my mind to speak about some of last night’s (or a few nights worth of NBA action) with notes, commentary and overall useless chatter. I do promise to stay entertaining if I can.

Bron Last Night

Cleveland Will Need More Time To Gel

This is an easy one to see from here. There was the fanfare of introductions. There was the excitement of LeBron being back. There was music. There was laughter. And then there was the loss to the same New York Knickerbockers who got demolished by the Bulls a night before. The Cavs paired some of their abysmal defence with offence that looked even worse at times, despite having 3 out of the 4 best players in that game. There was too much iso ball. Dion Waiters seems to still believe he is above a fourth option on the starting line up. Kyrie played too much iso basketball the same way he did before LeBron, and James himself looked out of it, perhaps overwhelmed by emotion. The only person who really got into the groove was Kevin Love (and partially Matthew Dellavedova who I think was the 2nd best player on the Cavs last night).

Still, this is a team who has 4 players with a relatively above average basketball IQ in their starting line-up (and Dion Waiters), they will figure it out. Dave Blatt seems to have a complicated motion system that will take time to get used to, but his defensive sets are already impressive. I’m already making #FreeDellavedova posters to see him be in the starting line-up. He was great as the head of the press, causing a lot of commotion. Granted, the Knicks guards are like the celery of NBA food-chain, but Dellavedova was the most active defender. Besides, how fun are the Love to LeBron full-court heaves? Some of them are NSFW.

Carmelo Anthony is the Best Triple Threat Player Out There (Who Probably Should Have Gone to Chicago)

Melo gets a lot of trash talked in his direction, and I mean A LOT. Yes, some of it is rightfully so, but the other stuff, it just makes me wonder that people forget that he was genetically engineered to put fear into defenders. Watching Anthony play offence is like some sort of hypersexual basketball ballet. It’s poetry in motion. The best thing about it is that he is so versatile. You’re bigger than him? He will burn you on the outside. Try and put a guard to fight his speed? In the post we go.

That being said, he’s at his best when he can square towards you and have you in a triple threat, just because of how endless the possibilities are from there. He can jab-step, pull up, dribble left or right, or go into a back-up post position. He’s an assassin. Just think back to that play that put the final nail in the Cavs opening game. Melo gets the ball at extended elbow and he knows exactly what he is going to do, faces up against LeBron, two dribbles to the baseline and then this

Pure magic.

Watching this kind of Melo makes me wonder what would have happened if he went to the Bulls? I’m sure teams would have nightmares about the encounters with Chicago. But alas, he chose to stay in NYC for the money (and for the wife), where he has to play with guys like J.R. Smith who pretty much tried to say that the triangle was the reason behind the 20 point wash by the Bulls a night before.

Charles Barkley ladies and gentlemen

Can we get more of these games commentated by the round mound of most stupid things said during an hour of NBA broadcast? At first it was really funny to watch Charles have no filter and say an insane amount of crazy things about the Lakers and Phil Jackson and some other things. It was even better when I pictured the broadcasting crew behind the scenes shaking their heads, writing their resignation letters and figuring out which window to jump out of. But I got tired of it during the end. Just like Shaq, TV Personality Barkley is only good in small doses.

Get on the #FireBrooks wagon now, I’m starting this train

You may have noticed, but I am not a huge fan of Steve Brooks. Let me explain why. There was a play with less than a minute to go with the Thunder down 88-89, OKC had the ball, and the best play they went with was a Perry Jones III iso. Yes, I’ll say that again, a Perry Jones III iso. I get it that he had 32 points on the night. I get that Durant and Russell are unavailable. But somehow, giving it to one guy on a 24 second play, against one of the better teams, has to be the definition of idiocy. I mean, at that point I had serious doubts Brooks knows that more than one guy is allowed to be involved on a play per possession.

The predictable happened. Perry Jones messed up, the ball bounced to Steven Adams with seconds left on the shot clock and the result was a brick. The Thunder then got a gift from the heavens, an occurrence that is more rare than a silverback gorilla mating dance – Chris Paul missed 2 (!!!!!) free throws to keep the score at 88-89. Which followed a Sebastian Telfair (!!!) drive for nothing and 2 made Blake free throws. Still a manageable 3 point game. The following Thunder play? Take one of your better shooters and the hottest player on the night (Perry Jones) and have him be the inbounder with 5 seconds left on the clock. Inbound it to Nick Collison (not one of your better shooters), while also forgetting that they could foul and deny you the 3 points (which in a logical world would probably call you to draw up a quick inbound 3 play). I close my case.

Magic Will Be Sad To Watch

If there is any other coach I want to lose his job more than Scott Brooks it’s Jacque Vaughn. He runs no good system and he is terrible at personnel management. He has 2 stretch 4 players who can knock down jumpers, and yet fails to play either to stretch the floor. He gave Luke Ridnour and Ben Gordon valuable crunch-time minutes (although somehow it almost worked). He has been blessed with a few really good young players and a team that has the potential to grow, and he has failed entirely. He also waited for about five possessions of Paul Pierce vs. Ben Gordon iso buckets to call a timeout and make a defensive adjustment.

Don’t watch the Magic while Vaughn is still around. They simply won’t be very good.

Rest of the Notes

Washington without Bradley Beal won’t reach the heights they did last year. They desperately need him to comeback and be the secondary creator for John Wall, who still sometimes struggles with those duties.

#FreeRubio

Detroit is quickly becoming the train wreck it was last year. Josh Smith is still taking threes. The offence is still poorly spaced. Andre Drummond is still a biological mix of Captain Planet and Weapon X. The difference this year? I will actually watch some of their league pass games this year for 2 reasons: 1. Watch Stan Van Gundy react to every single Josh Smith 3 point attempt 2. Watch the cartoon cutaway of Stan Van Gundy tying Smoove to the train tracks 50s-villain style after one of said threes.

Wiggins would fast track his development in Cleveland. Right now he just doesn’t see a lot of the ball with Flip going to other wings and his shot isn’t good enough to be a consistent kick-out option for Rubio. Now that the athleticism has deflated the cracks are starting to show.

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