Hey guys. Most teams have played 3-4 games in the first round. So I think it is a good time for some overreactions. These will focus on plot lines we have seen develop in the first slew of games these playoffs. I’ll try to make them a little too dramatic and TMZ-ish to fit into the “overreaction” theme.
D-Lo? More Like D-No
Nice title right? I almost choked just typing it. Our first overreaction is that Pascal Siakim should be the Most Improved Player over D’Angelo Russell. Now, this isn’t much of a hot take, let alone, an overreaction, but I’m arguing it shouldn’t even be close. D’Angelo Russell hasn’t had a bad series by any means. He’s averaging over 20 points, 4 rebounds, and almost 4 assists a game for the series. However, he’s only shooting 39.1% from the field and giving up more than 3 turnovers a game. Pascal Siakim is on another level. He’s averaging over 20 points per game in his series, along with 10 rebounds and shooting 55% from the field. I don’t think it is a stretch to call him Toronto’s second best player. Siakam’s play has been more important than D-Lo’s all season, but the stats are showing it now in the playoffs. Russell is a gifted offensive guard who can facilitate. He is a wonder in the pick and roll and can create his shot better than most. The positives run out there though. Siakim can shoot, defend, and pass all at a high level. He has shown some impressive post moves in the playoffs and a knack for gobbling up boards. Pascal Siakim should win the MIP over D-Lo and D-Lo is a distant second.
Boston still hasn’t figured it out…and that’s okay?
The Celtics (if you’ve read any of my articles you’ll know what comes next) are a mess. And even though they have been taking it to the Indiana Pacers, they still haven’t figured it out. They have only cracked 100 points once in their three games with the Pacers, and they haven’t been shooting very well. Yet, it hasn’t mattered. Because Kyrie Irving exists. He was the team’s best player during the regular season but he was often the catalyst for team drama. Only the former has been true so far in these playoffs. He is scoring 25 points per game along with 8 assists and 1 block and steal. Not to mention a scorching 50% from three. He’s doing it all for these Celtics. For the Celtics to depend so much on him, you’d think the Pacers might’ve stolen a game by now. Nope. The Celtics have a commanding 3-0 lead and (unless history is made) will be moving on to the next round. Everyone said that this Boston team had the potential to make it to the finals AS LONG as they were able to put it all together. With Irving around though, they might not even need that.
Sell your Jamal Murray stock…use it to buy Derrick White Stock
Listen. I for sure have a bias against shot chuckers. I don’t want to hear about the offensive potential of guys like Murray or DeRozan until they learn to do something else besides take a bunch of shots. Guys like Devin Booker and Bradley Beal at least have learned to make an impact by facilitating as well, and have escaped my mental doghouse. What exactly am I supposed to be impressed by in Murray? Almost scoring 50 points (actually pretty hard to do)? Scoring 21 in the fourth quarter to win game 2 against the Spurs (hey now, that’s pretty good)? I’m joking. Obviously, those are very impressive and Jamal Murray can get very hot when his shot is dropping. But I’m not buying that he’s the next Damian Lillard until he proves it. I’ve seen too many mid-range bricks and matador defense to be this hyped on a player. Until then, I’m going to be drooling over Derrick White. The guy who plays punishing perimeter defense, scores at will in the paint, and doesn’t make mistakes more than once. He’s won that guard matchup so far this series, and he will continue to do so.
Houston is again the only threat to the Warriors
We’ve heard it over and over again. The Warriors have never been more vulnerable. Maybe that’s true. They have the least amount of bench depth of this dynasty and they just lost Demarcus Cousins for (likely) the rest of the playoffs. They’re also one more bad loss away from KD and Draymond going at it again. At the same time though, how many of these teams aren’t vulnerable? The Clippers have the most grit in the West and that has bought them one win against the reigning champs, good for them. They won’t get another. The Nuggets are so inexperienced they might lose this series to San Antonio’s skeleton crew. Portland looks great but can anyone on that team stay in front of Durant? Their best perimeter defender this series has been Paul George’s bum shoulder. OKC is crashing and burning on their own. Utah’s star center has been schemed out for the second straight playoffs. And then there’s Houston.
At the time of this article, they have a 2-0 lead on the Jazz. They have won both games by an average of 26 points. They are absolutely tearing apart this Utah team that was second in defensive rating during the regular season. Is their personnel a little worse than last year? Yeah. Does it matter? No. If you thought Kyrie Irving was winning games for the Celtics, take a look at James Harden. He’s averaging a 30 point triple-double for the two games. The Rockets were a healthy Chris Paul away from the finals last year. The key difference this year? The Rockets will meet the Warriors is the second round instead of the conference finals this year. James Harden won’t be gassed like he is in every conference finals. Chris Paul won’t have the tread on his legs to get injured yet. And if the Warriors had the capability to be mentally and physically battered, it would be after a series fighting Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrel, and Lou Williams. Golden State might not make it out of the second round this year.
ONE LAST THOUGHT
Okay, is it time to stop calling Lou Williams the best bench scorer in the league? I’m only saying this because he should be considered one of the best scorers in the league, period. If he was just a good bench player, he would be coming off the bench and schooling other secondary guys. But that isn’t the case in this series against the Warriors. The guy is cooking all-world defenders like Klay Thompson. He’s making it look easy and just eating nachos after the game. Let’s start giving him some more credit.
That’s it for these overreactions, in the first round at least. I’m tired from screaming.