Tag Archives: Kevin Love

Fan Interference NBA First Quarter Awards

The NBA season is just a little over a quarter of the way through, and even though it isn’t much of a sample size, we’ve seen some great performances. Russell Westbrook has been a one-man wrecking crew, the Warriors are beginning to settle in nicely, and the Cavaliers are atop the Eastern Conference. This is pretty much how we would’ve drawn it up at the beginning of the season, but that’s not to say there haven’t been a few surprises. I highly doubt any of these recipients would be pumped to hear they’ve won a quarter season award, but we’re gonna give it to them anyway. So, don’t get too excited yet, but here’s our 2016 NBA First Quarter Awards.

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MVP: Russell Westbrook

As of tonight, Westbrook is the uncontested NBA MVP. If the MVP truly stands for “most valuable player,” there should be no argument. If you pull him from the Thunder, they are tanking for the number one pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Westbrook is leading the league in scoring, and he’s averaging 30.9 PPG. These numbers are historic, and the only thing stopping me from bowing down and worshipping his game is the fact that we’re only a quarter of the way through. If he is somehow able to keep this up all season, we’re talking about one of the greatest single seasons in NBA history. Plus, the old guys who vote for this stuff will love that he didn’t ditch OKC and that he’s doing it on his own.

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Hottest Game

It all started off as a normal game against the Indiana Pacers for Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors. Klay was hot right out of the gate, pouring in 40 points before halftime. This wasn’t anything ridiculously out of the ordinary, but it was already one of the best night of Thompson’s career. He followed it up by sliding in another 20 in the third quarter, before sitting the entire fourth quarter with a whopping 60 points. Of course, this led everyone to wonder what might’ve happened if Klay actually played the fourth quarter, but regardless, it stands alone as the best game anyone has played this season.

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Hottest Quarter

C’mon. This is the NBA First Quarter Awards, so we’d be sorely mistaken if we didn’t give an award for something that somebody did in the first quarter.  In this case, that man is Kevin Love. If you could combine Love’s 34 first quarter points (yes, you read that right) vs. the Portland Trail Blazers with Klay Thompson’s three quarters of excellence, you’d have yourself a 94 point game. Not too shabby, considering the 76ers can’t even do that as an entire team on most nights.

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Rookie of the Year

Joel Embiid

As of now, Joel Embiid has already established himself as perhaps the best player on the Philadelphia 76ers. He is a beast defensively, drives to the basket with ease, and has one of the funniest Instagram accounts in the NBA (not that this makes him any more qualified to be rookie of the year, but you should definitely check it out). Perhaps the craziest thing about Embiid’s 17.5 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 2.5 BLK is that he’s doing it all on a minutes restriction. Hopefully for the Sixers, Embiid can stay healthy. If they are to have any future of success, the big man certainly looks to be a focal point of it.

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Comeback Player of the Year

Anthony Davis

I know what you’re going to say. How can Anthony Davis get comeback player of the year when he averaged 24.3 PPG last season? Well, Davis missed a large chunk of last season because he needed surgery on his left knee, and he’s missed at least fourteen games in each of his first four seasons. If Davis is somehow able to keep up at his torrent pace of 29.6 PPG and stay healthy, he would be fully deserving of the award.

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When it comes to other awards like Team of the Year, the season just hasn’t progressed enough for anyone to stand out. The Warriors are pretty much where we thought they’d be, same with the Spurs, Cavs and Raptors. Maybe we will be able to give them our prestigious awards at the midseason mark. As the season develops, some of these guys will fall off, but some of them just might win an actual award at the end of the year. For those who don’t, it’s ok. You were a winner in the Fan Interference NBA First Quarter Awards. Don’t spend it all in one place, kids.

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Cavaliers Defeat Warriors 93-87 to win first NBA Championship: Reaction and Reflection

Minutes after the final buzzer sounded at Oracle Arena to give the Cleveland Cavaliers their first NBA Championship in franchise history, LeBron James collapsed to the floor.   James, surrounded by players he recruited, was finally victorious in the Cavalier wine and gold uniform. It wasn’t a likely outcome, and it almost didn’t seem real, especially given the fact that the Golden State Warriors had hardly lost a game in their building all season. In fact, just days ago, the Warriors were so close to a title that the narrative had already begun to shift to the fallout of The Finals. People talked about whether Tyronn Lue would be coaching next season, whether Kevin Love would still be on the team, and how a lackluster 2-5 record in the NBA Finals impacts a player who desires to be mentioned with all-time greats such as Jordan, Magic and Russell.

Now, after an improbable 3-1 series comeback, Cleveland is a championship city for the first time in 52 years.

Many people will look at the Draymond Green suspension as the turning point in this series, and that may hold some truth. However, it is unfair to blame Draymond Green for the overall failure of the Warriors in the final 3 games. Green played excellent in Game 7, and deserves a lot of credit for what he was able to do. In all likelihood, however, winning on the road in Game 5 gave the Cavaliers some confidence going into Game 7, and they needed every bit of it.While the Cavaliers may have won Game 5 even if Green was on the court, the suspension served as motivation for the Cavaliers to seize on an opportunity, a philosophy they carried through to the next two games.

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If there’s any individual blame to go around, it has to go to Steph Curry. As the back-to-back MVP, 6 for 19 with 17 points in an NBA Finals Game 7 is unacceptable. Curry shot 4 of 14 from 3-point range, well below his usual average. For perspective, if Curry shot his 2015-16 regular average for 3-pointers (.454), he finishes with six more points, and the Warriors win this game. Something was off with Curry, and he wasn’t draining the shots we are used to seeing him make. Many times throughout the night, Oracle Arena was ready to explode with excitement from a clutch Curry 3-pointer, just to be disappointed when it clanged off the rim. Even after Kyrie Irving hit what proved to be the game-winning shot with just under a minute left, you still felt like the Warriors were going to find a way to win. There was no way they were going to go down like this with the historic season they had. Nevertheless, they couldn’t pull it off, and now one must wonder how something like this could’ve happened. Maybe they were fatigued from the strenuous regular season and back-to-back 7 game series. Maybe it was injury. Even if it was, Curry would never hide behind that excuse. The truth is, we will never know what exactly caused this series to end the way it did, but the Cavaliers deserve all the credit in the world.

While so much attention is paid to LeBron James and his accomplishments in the final games of this series, an equal amount of attention should be placed (but sadly, probably won’t) on the players around him. Trailing 3-1 in the series, it would have been easy for a guy like Richard Jefferson or JR Smith to pack it in for the year. Why should it matter to them? Obviously, no player is going to just stop trying, but when so much of the narrative is focused solely on LeBron James, as a supporting player you might begin to wonder how much credit you’re actually going to receive. On the flip side, there is very little blame handed down to guys like Smith or Iman Shumpert with a loss, they are just pieces, easily moveable and replaceable. When it comes down to it, the supporting cast decided the fate of this series just as much, if not more, than LeBron James and Kyrie Irving did. Their dedication and commitment could not have been more clear than when J.R. Smith let out all his emotions following the win and also in his press conference.

So, this is the fun part; what does the future look like for LeBron James and Steph Curry? While the sting is still very fresh for Curry, there is nothing but optimism for his future. While LeBron may have temporarily stolen back the imaginary throne of current best player in the NBA, Curry and the Warriors are poised to be contenders for years to come. In fact, Vegas already has them as the favorites to win it all next year. When Golden State says they will use this loss as motivation for next season, I’d take their word for it. A 73-9 team doesn’t reach that mark out of pure chance. This team has dynasty potential, and how they respond next season will show if they are up to that caliber. With the predictability of the current NBA, my money is on a third-straight Warriors vs. Cavaliers finals next season, and even more bragging rights will be on the line.

For LeBron James and Cleveland, their future won’t start for at least another month. They will spend a good chunk of time enjoying this one, but expect them to be back next year. The makeup of the team is another question, and it remains to be seen whether Kevin Love will be back next season. One thing’s for sure, we have a long offseason to talk about it.

NBA Offseason Odds Meter

What are the odds LeBron James bolts Cleveland?

10%

Wow. Can you imagine? This percentage would definitely be a little higher if they lost, but deep down would anyone really be that shocked? I’m not sure anyone would burn his jersey this time if he left, but they might at least stomp on it a little bit and put it in a box for when he inevitably returns again.

What are the odds the Warriors get Kevin Durant?

20%

I can’t think of anything that would shake up the NBA world more than the Warriors somehow landing Kevin Durant. Personally, I question whether or not he would want to go to a team he just lost to in an emotional 7-game series, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for a lot of people with much more knowledge about the NBA than myself. If that were to happen, you would think the Warriors would have to part ways with Draymond Green, but once again, anything is possible in the NBA offseason.

What are the odds Kevin Love leaves Cleveland?

40%

This has been a rumor for too long to not be of at least some risk. Love’s poor play throughout much of the playoffs only fueled rumors, but perhaps his decent Game 7 combined with an NBA Championship might smooth things over between Love and Cleveland.

What are the odds the NBA is rigged?

2%

I bring this up because there is a growing number of people (including Ayesha Curry) making comments about the league being rigged. While it sometimes seems like a logical explanation for the inexplicable, the NBA is not rigged. Tanking might be a real thing, but there are too many people around this league to keep such a colossal secret quiet. However, my friend (who is a football maniac and probably cares more about NFL mini-camps than the NBA Finals) offered an interesting viewpoint; what if it’s the refs that are fixing it?

What are the odds that Drake is now a Cavalier fan?

50%

I leave this one at 50% because with Drake, you always need to leave room for the other option. Maybe that option is Golden State, maybe it’s Toronto. Depends on how he feels when he wakes up. Clearly, Drake only cares about associating himself with anything successful. It makes sense, considering he’s been so successful lately, but it kind of makes you wonder, when Drake’s run finally ends, will he root for a bad team instead? I hear 76ers season tickets are going for pretty cheap these days, Drizzy.

Cavaliers Take Advantage of Draymond Green Suspension to Force Game 6, So What Now?

There is a common saying in the NBA that a playoff series doesn’t begin until a team wins on the road. While this is usually the case in most situations, it appeared to be the exact opposite in the 2016 NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors went to Cleveland up 2-0 in the series, already crowned presumptive NBA Champions by many. While the Cavaliers were able to dominate in Game 3, a strong road win by the Warriors in Game 4 behind a 38-point performance from back-to-back MVP Steph Curry had most basketball fans agreeing the series was essentially over. Instead of starting a competitive series by winning on the road, the Warriors ended it.

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Or so we thought.

Big news came out Sunday night when the NBA announced Draymond Green would be suspended for Game 5 after his altercation with LeBron James in the later stages of Game 4 was upgraded to a flagrant-1 foul. Green had already been under the microscope this postseason for three previous flagrant fouls, and the most recent one warranted an automatic one game suspension.

This suspension was met with much controversy from the media, fans and players. Klay Thompson, reacting to the news, said “I guess his feelings just got hurt. I mean, we’ve all been called plenty of bad words on the basketball court before. Some guys just react to it differently.” When asked about Thompson’s comments, James chose to take the “high road,” a statement that was mocked by Ayesha Curry, wife of Steph Curry, who tweeted “High Road. invisible bridge used to step over said person when open floor is available left to right.”

James received harsh criticism for this response, primarily from Mychal Thompson, father of Klay Thompson, who continued the recent trend of former NBA players in their mid-50’s complaining about everything, said “LeBron couldn’t have survived in the 80s with the physicality and the words guys said to each other back then.”

I understand that LeBron should have shrugged this off, but given the intensity of the series and the fact that he was probably pissed off with how the game was going, you can see why he did it. That’s not to say it was acceptable, but if LeBron played nice and walked away, Draymond could have been in Game 5 and we could be talking about a series recap right now. The truth is, the suspension to Green may have been the small springboard of momentum the Cavaliers needed going into Game 5 to earn themselves a chance to fight again.

Despite Draymond Green being out of the lineup (and out of the building for that matter), it was hard to envision the Cavaliers winning this game. The way in which Golden State won Game 4, raining down three-pointers and stealing the game in front of the Cleveland faithful, appeared to take away any heart this Cavaliers team had left. The Warriors hit 17 three-pointers in Game 4, the most in NBA Finals history. With each drained bucket, the body language for every player on the Cavaliers went from bad to worse. Game 5 began with a flurry of offense from both teams, with the score 32-29 Golden State at the end of the first quarter. In the second, Klay Thompson seemingly draining a shot every time he touched the basketball, with four deep 3-pointers highlighting his performance in the first half.

However, once the second half began, the Cavs hit the gas. More importantly, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving caught fire. Both finished with 41 points, handling most of the heavy lifting for a Cavaliers roster that has struggled to match the depth of the Warriors. In similar situations last year during the Finals, LeBron had to churn out a solo effort in order to get the job done. Now, he has a wingman.

So, does this win shift the outlook of this series? Sure. Kyrie Irving finally had the game he needed in order to establish himself as a star in big moments, something we haven’t necessarily seen on his resume thus far in the league. Shades of it were present in Game 4, but this 41 point night had much more of an impact. In previous games, Irving appeared to fade under the spotlight, but somehow, he found a hot streak in the hostile confines of a rocking Oracle Arena. Additionally, we saw a killer instinct from LeBron James that hasn’t come out in a long, long time. That being said, none of it will matter if the Cavaliers can’t get it done on Thursday night. Despite the great game, they will still have a monster to contend with when Draymond Green returns. Despite 41 points from LeBron and Irving, the pressure is still on the Cavaliers, and they will have to prove they can handle it.

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Where is the Love?

Since returning from his concussion sustained in Game 1, you would think Kevin Love hasn’t actually returned from his concussion sustained in Game 1. He’s not doing himself any favors in proving he isn’t the odd man out on this Cavalier’s roster, and in Game 5 he finished just 1-5 with 2 points in 33 minutes of action. Someone needs to start a search party in Cleveland for this guy, because his picture is about to show up in the missing persons report. Love’s poor play has only fueled local Bostonians’ hopes of landing him next season, so it could shape up to be one interesting offseason.