NBA Playoffs Thread


#241

Well, I grew up in Michigan but moved to California, and have lived here in LA since 2002. So I certainly don’t hate it. Quite the opposite. And while I’m a Pistons fan first and foremost, I appreciated the Magic Lakers and liked the Kobe Lakers a lot - indeed, I went to three of the 2010 Finals games here and have been to tons of Lakers games (a good client has great season tickets and gives me tickets often).

As a Pistons fan, here’s the difference between Jordan and Kobe for me: we could not beat Jordan once he his his stride. He was too damn good. And he was dominant. Kobe? Great player, but as you saw in the 2004 Finals, Tayshaun Prince locked him up. We had no one who could ever do that to Jordan. Playing against him was a helpless feeling - somewhat like the Bird-led Celtics before Detroit finally broke through against them. Kobe was arguably the best of an era full of great players, but from time-to-time, those guys got over on Kobe (Duncan, the 2008 Celtics, Dirk in 2011, OKC in 2012). No one did that to Jordan in his prime.


#242

I would agree Kobe was a better pure dribbler. But who cares? Jordan was way better at getting to where he wanted to be on the court with the dribble. I’ve seen a lot of games where Kobe gets the last second shot, and he can’t beat his man off the dribble, and instead winds up taking a forced, off-balance shot.

Footwork? You won’t convince me there. Jordan was a master in the paint.

With that said, I kinda hate these comparisons. In the words of Jim Harbaugh, when you compare two great things, one always get diminished. I feel like I’m dogging Kobe, which is lame because compared to anyone but Jordan, he’s the greatest two guard of all time.


#243

This will be my last post on the Kobe/MJ topic because we’ve gone off track a bit (admittedly, I played a large part), although I suppose this would be the thread to do that.

In sum - I’ve already admitted that MJ>Kobe, so need to discuss that. However, I did say that Kobe was more skilled than MJ and provided evidence of that. LAW has expressly admitted that Kobe was a better shooter and ballhandler, which supports my contention of Kobe being more skilled, whereas MJ was more athletic and played against individual defenders that were not very athletic.

LAW - it can only be 2 things, you either aren’t a very big fan of the NBA, or memory has simply failed you. To bring Tayshaun Prince’s name up in the context of 2008 is absolutely ridiculous. I concede, as someone who attended every game in 04 that Prince made life difficult on Kobe. But to say that Prince would’ve locked Kobe up in 08 is a complete joke. You make the faulty assumption that Prince was the same level defender in 08 in relation to 04 - that is simply false.

Here is footage from 2006 where you see Kobe is able to create separation on Prince off the dribble and footwork. Nothing ridiculous but you can clearly see Kobe has the advantage and can get to his spots. At this point, Prince is still a good defender, but clearly not a the same level in relation to 04

Go to the :50 second mark

Fast forward 2 years to 2008 and its very clear that Kobe has an absolute mismatch on Prince and is able to get wherever he wants on Prince whenever he wants. He clearly has a huge advantage in terms of first step quickness, elevation, and lateral agility. To be blunt, he embarrassed Tayshaun on a good number of plays here throughout the 2 minute clip, and nearly made him fall on one occasion.

To add insult to injury, here’s another clip of Kobe just absolutely embarrassing Prince in 08 once again

LAW - if you want to say MJ>Kobe, I doubt many would argue, but you’ve already conceded Kobe was more skilled. I know you’re a Piston homer at heart, but man c’mon, to say Prince could’ve checked Kobe in 08 is a joke and you look foolish for saying that to be quite honest.


#244

I find it very problematic to compare players of different eras. Throw Steph Curry into the 90s-mid 00s and he dominates at a high level. Put Kobe in the 80s-mid 90s and he’s better than MJ. Throw MJ into the 70s -mid 80s and he’s dominate a ridiculous level and so on and so forth. Players always have better access to technology, video, coaches, nutrition, training etc than the generation before them. The game changes and allows them to do better. Kobe went against better defenders than MJ and that’s because MJ and his generation changed the game and made bigger and more athletic defenders a priority for teams to defend against guys like MJ.

Does anybody think Bill Russell would have succeeded at a high level were he playing in the 80s? Would MJ be the hands down best player in the league were he playing today? I really doubt it. Every generation improves over the previous one in some way. If Lebron played 20 years earlier, he’d blow everybody out of the water. It’d be embarrassing.

It’s really hard to compare anything but accomplishments across eras (and even then it’s tricky because the depth of the league/conferences are very fluid). I think Kobe is more skilled than MJ, no doubt. But if Kobe was born in 1963 and MJ in 1978, it’d probably be the opposite.


#245

So let’s get everyone on record, who ya got? I’m going with GS at home tonight. Don’t think Steph can play much worse than he has lately.


#246

You’ve misquoted me a little. I said Kobe was a better three point shooter, though to be fair Kobe has never done anything in the Finals remotely close to Jordan’s 5 threes in the second quarter against Portland. Considering neither guy really attempted that many threes, I’m not sure how significant that is. I have said, unequivocally, Jordan was the better two point shooter. From the elbow, and from the baseline, Kobe couldn’t do what Jordan did.

And on the dribbling, it feels like a skills challenge argument. Sure, Kobe might win that. But in basketball, the key is being able to use the dribble to get where you need to get so you can score or set up a teammate. Jordan was better at that. Nik Stauskas has better dribbling “skills” than Kobe, and so does Kirk Hinrich, but neither guy is even remotely in the conversation because Kobe could use the dribble far more effectively.

On the Pistons-Lakers thing, again, I just think at that point Detroit was the better team. Even if Prince wasn’t as good as he was in 2004, he was still solid, and the guy that always hurt Detroit was Shaq, not Kobe. Kobe was a career .420 shooter in the Finals. It seems unlikely he would have somehow done far better than that against Detroit. So even if he scored 30 a game (which would be his second best effort ever in the Finals), on .420 shooting, that’s fine - that’s not an effort that would have beaten Detroit.


#247

I disagree with a lot of this. In earlier eras, shooting was at a premium. I don’t see LeBron embarrassing a lot of guys when he’s a very inconsistent shooter.

MJ and Kobe were not exactly from different eras altogether - they overlapped a bit and MJ was still winning titles in Kobe’s first two years. They played against each other several times.

Jordan had a great trainer (Tim Grover - still around and still training guys as far as I know), and he gained a ton of strength over the years - he even said he had to to compete and beat the Pistons.

Another thing you’re not accounting for is the dominant centers of the 1980s. It would be far tougher for LeBron to physically dominate against the likes of Robinson, Hakeem, and Ewing, and Shaq in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Part of LeBron’s physical domination these days is that teams are playing small ball.

This is a long discussion and I could make several more points, but I have a busy day. Suffice it to say I don’t agree.


#248

Shooting is a premium right now. Moreso than it was in earlier eras. It’s not a coincidence that teams are jacking up more threes now than in any other era.

Lebron is a better career three point shooter than MJ. 34% vs. 32.7%. And a vast majority of MJ’s attempts came 1990 onward, so we can’t blame his shooting woes from his early years.

Just because they were in the league together for a couple years doesn’t mean they’re in the same era. Kobe’s prime was post-2000. MJ was toward the end of his career and his Wizard days when they competed. I was born in the late 80s, doesn’t mean I really grew up in the 80s.

I don’t think LBJ’s physical domination has anything to do with a lack of playing against bigger players. For one, of the four centers you listed, Lebron weighs more than three of them. And he’s more athletic than any of them. Those bigger centers didn’t prevent MJ from dominating an era, they wouldn’t have stopped LBJ at all. Lebron’s physical dominance has more to do with him being huge and athletic than anything else.

Players are far more skilled and athletic as a whole than they were 20 years ago. And players as a whole were more skilled and athletic in 1995 than they were in 1975. It’s the same in pretty much every single sport.


#249

I’m going with the Warriors too. At home, and I gotta imagine they’re peeved off. Cavs need to duplicate efforts from Games 5 and 6 and make sure Klay and Curry don’t go off. And don’t let the Warriors bench dominate again.

But if the Cavs pull it off, major props to them. Even though I hate the city of Cleveland.


#250

I think the LeBron train is rolling at this point. If he and Irvin get going they will create havoc for the Warriors. Cleveland to do what was considered impossible.


#251

No doubt about it to me, if Cavs pull it off then Lebron gets the monkey off his back to a certain extent. Would certainly get some credibility with me. I suspect however that he’ll be 2-5 in The Finals around 10:30-11pm.


#252

Kobe got punked by 39 points in a finals elimination game and went 6-24 in a game 7 where his teammates bailed him out…I can’t imagine the criticism Lebron would face if he performed like that tonight.


#253

Failed to mention the 15 rebounds, I bet his teammates bailed him out on that as well huh? All that is fine and dandy, but for the fact that his body of work is 5-2 in the Finals. I can’t imagine the criticism Kobe would face if he were that poor in the Finals


#254

Honestly, if you were born in the late 1980s, this discussion is almost pointless because you haven’t really seen most of the guys I’m talking about to even give a proper analysis.

LeBron is not a better shooter than Jordan. From three? Maybe. But the three pointer is far more important and prevalent these days, and LeBron isn’t very good at it. Teams routinely play off LeBron and dare him to shoot. You could never do that to either Jordan or Kobe.

As far as LeBron’s weight, who cares? He is a WAY worse finisher at the rim than Jordan was. And for you to suggest he was more athletic than Hakeem (or for that matter, Shaq)? No way. Sorry.


#255

Yawn. It’s called NBA TV and YouTube. This isn’t the 70s where your dad sits you down and tells you how great George Mikan was and you have no way to tell if it’s true or not. I may not be able to watch all their regular season games but clips and games of the 80s and onward aren’t that hard to find.

And yeah, LBJ is more athletic than Hakeem the Dream and Shaq. Might not be as strong, but he is faster, quicker, jumps higher…I think he would have done just fine amongst those big men.

He is a better shooter from deep than MJ was. You can’t sag off him too much at the three point line (you also don’t want him coming at you with momentum). MJ wasn’t going to hit shots from deep over you all day (though some seasons he shot very well) and he wasn’t going to bulldoze you like Lebron can.

This in no way means that I think LBJ is of higher standing in NBA lore. It’s still MJ and probably will be MJ for many many years. But players tend to be better than their predecessors of 20 years ago for various reasons. Doesn’t mean they performed better with what was given them. People stand on the backs of the generations before them.


#256

Gotta hand it to the Cavs. Came back, won two on the road (assuming they hold on here) and three in a row. Curry choked.


#257

Hats off to Lebron James, for the Cavs to come back from a 3-1 deficit is absolutely amazing. He certainly gained some respect from me, and I’m sure the entire basketball community as well.

Stephen Curry - 2 words, over rated. He’s a fine regular season player, but when things get more intense during the playoffs, he’s simply not the same player on offense and a complete liability on defense. Give me Russ over Curry all day.


#258

I’ll also say this, there is a part of me that is happy GS lost, because shooting 3s as your primary source of offense just isn’t a sound strategy when it really matters, and that was validated, at least for tonight. Generating shots close to the rim, toughness and playing hard generally win out.


#259

Well, they did win it all last year, and won 73 this year, so I don’t really agree with that. There are a million ways to win, but you have to execute and have great players.


#260

LeBron is an all-time great, triple double in a close out game 7 on the road.