Sam: Do we have two or three games tonight?
Alex: Three. It’s hilarious that no matter how good Indiana or Toronto are, their playoff games are always relegated to NBATV. Then we got Thunder/Mavs and Warriors/Rockets.
Sam: Ok I knew it was something like that just hadn’t looked at the schedule yet. Who do you have tonight?
Alex: I’ll take Thunder, Raptors, Warriors. I think Toronto has figured out Indiana and OKC can bounce back. You?
Sam: OKC I think takes it and if Houston is going to get one it’s got be tonight so against my better judgment I’ll say this is James’s 38-8-8 game. Toronto only wins if they honor Prince by wearing their purple throwbacks tonight, otherwise I’ve got Indy.
Alex: Minnesota has to make the playoffs for Prince next season. They really need some Prince alternates, too. I thought Harden would have one of those too, but nobody in Houston seems engaged enough to get there. That’s a tall task right now.
Sam: I think Minnesota could very easily make the playoffs next year especially if they get a high lottery pick. A purple blouse prince alternate seems appropriate.
Alex: Thibodeau is gonna be reallll interesting for that team. But we’re ahead of ourselves. There’s a coach still fighting for his job tonight in JB Bickerstaff.
Sam: I think that fight is over. I like J.B. and even think he’s a good coach but I’d be surprised if they didn’t move on after the season is over. Rumor has it that they or Washington will hire Scott Brooks.
Alex: That’s a fascinating job. Is the team beyond saving or were they hit sick of playing for the current regime? It could be an easy fix with the talent they have, or it could be impossible with the attitudes they have.
Sam: Well scrap that, Brooks is going to Washington. I don’t think Houston is beyond saving, like Gotham, I just think they need to weed out a few bad eggs. Beverley, Harden and Ariza all get along okay I think.
Alex: Well Scotty’s old team is doing just fine tonight, Durant is proving that awful shooting game was the rare exception as expected.
Sam: We knew Durant would bounce back and that OKC would probably be successful against Dallas whether in 4, 5, or 6. Doubtfully 7. However, I think how they play in the next few games will say a lot about what they’ll do against San Antonio.
Alex: They really need to prove they’re in the top tier. Dallas is always a tough playoff matchup because I think that’s in the NBA bylaws? But they aren’t built to stop Durant if he’s shooting even halfway decent.
Sam: I think that’s an old Cuban-Stern agreement. Cuban becomes a marketable face as an NBA franchise owner (offset Donald Sterling’s Grim Reaperesque appearance) and Dallas has consistent playoff success. Granted, it also doesn’t hurt that Rick Carlisle is one of the three or four best coaches in the NBA. Breaking: Steph out tonight. Houston gets that W at home maybe?
Alex: I still don’t see it, they haven’t shown me anything that makes me believe they’re capable even with Steph gone. But I wanna see Harden go off as much as anyone, it’s a lot of fun when he’s cookin’.
I’mma need to see a few of these tonight.
Alex: Very few people are watching, but the Raptors are cookin’ over on NBATV right now.
Sam: Unfortunately I don’t get NBA tv so I’m SOL until midnightish.
Alex: Well the Thunder messed around and their halftime lead is down to 10. They gotta stop doing that.
Sam: Not to sound to Miley Cyrus but I’m afraid they can’t stop won’t stop because in the 4th quarter Russell Westbrook is coming im like a wrecking ball we just aren’t sure if he’ll be wrecking Dallas or OKC.
Alex: It’s possible they just got their bad stretch out of the way early, like Miley in the 2013ish era. He’s as least assisting well so far this game.
Sam: Uh oh OKC better watch out before Ray Felton pulls out his pistols!! Too soon?
Alex: Never. After he goaded Steven Adams into a technical the Mavs went on a run and now Dirk is getting chippy too! This team is terrific. They’re like the little guy in a fight who’s trying to get inside the bigger guys head to get an advantage. Unfortunately it hasn’t worked as well as they’d hoped.
Sam: Talent just wins out in the end typically. This is one way to avoid a 4th quarter collapse. Also, can we give dirk the title of most underrated difficult shot maker ever?
Alex: I guess I hadn’t considered him underrated before. He’s just willing to try shots no one else could because he’s never going to get blocked. Those are tough when you think about it, and yeah he probably doesn’t get enough credit for it.
Sam: I just now thought about it and I’ve been watching him play since middle school. Proof of my point maybe? I also think his height is why people underrate him. It makes the shots look less difficult even if they aren’t.
Alex: Exactly. We all appreciate his height and love the fadeaway but don’t think about just how he uses them to make shots that he probably shouldn’t. He might be the craftiest dude in the league.
Sam: Craftiest big man I’d say and you could probably talk me into player after a drink or two.
Alex: Harden is real crafty in a different way, mainly at drawing fouls. He’s at full force already tonight and up 13 after 1.
Sam: Harden is smart in the sense that he can conceivably play exactly how he does right now for another 8-10 years. His game is entirely predicated on misdirection and shooting. He’s like the Greg Maddux of shooting guards.
Alex: That jab step is like painting the corners. That flexibility to avoid blocks but still get contact is crucial but yeah I don’t think it’ll go away anytime soon.
Sam: I agree he can be a very effective offensive player for a long time still and it’s hard to imagine his defend becoming more of a liability.
Alex: It must be nice to know you’re so bad at something that you can’t get any worse. Comforting, in a way.
Sam: Like a rock bottom kind of thing. Or the dead cat bounce theory. I actually think harden gets treated a little unfairly. He does things ever star does on defense he just picks bad spots to do them.
Alex: Yeah after the first couple times people just started searching for embarrassing moments. It’s still his fault obviously, it’s just become his thing when you could find it from anyone.
Sam: Right. I’m not saying he’s a good defender by any stretch. I’m saying he’s picked on in excess compared to how bad he’s defense actually is. Houston needs a run to open up the 4th.
Alex: Didn’t happen. You could just feel this ever since the 2nd quarter that the Rockets haven’t felt safe. They’ve been tentative and playing not to lose. All of a sudden they’re only up by 1.
Sam: It’s like the thunder siphoned their typical 4th quarter demons to Houston tonight.
Alex: Of all the things to employ from OKC, that’s the one they take? Their shot selection is as bad as the Thunder’s at their worst. Not a recipe for success.
Sam: Haha but you have to admit that is the most likely thing for them to take no?
Alex: Oh for sure. For how unstable they are at any point in the game the odds of it happening were pretty solid, really.
Sam: They just have to hold on for 3:47 now I’ll say they do it but it will be the equivalent of an amateur mechanical bull ride in terms of aesthetics. But JAMES!!!!
Alex: Angry Harden is great but here comes Hack A Howard. This will get interesting. But, like, in an annoying way.
Sam: I’m gonna take a quick nap call me when there’s 1:59 left.
Alex: They subbed him out and followed it with a possession that had less of a chance to produce points than Howard free throws. Good work team.
Sam: They are just trying to point out that the Hack-a-Howard isn’t the worst possible out come for a Rocket possession.
Alex: They’re getting outplayed by Ian Clark.
Sam: At least it isn’t Ian Darke…
Alex: We even got a lengthy relay review, how lucky. But Houston has gotten two breaks in a row this may be their day.
Sam: Maybe so I think it was correct to let that stand though. Might have gone off Beasley last but I wouldn’t have bet my right arm on it either.
Alex: This is just silly.
Sam: Harden channeling his inner-Jordan.
This was their bench after his game winner. They really don’t want to keep doing this, huh.
Sam: Capela looks happy!!
Alex: …and all alone. Then Draymond dribbled off his foot and the Rockets nearly gave Livingston a layup to win. I don’t know what else I have to add.
Sam: History will remember that Houston got one game and I guess on some level that’s a positive.
Alex: “Don’t ask how it happened. We got the win, that’s all you need to know.”
Sam: I turned the tv after the game I would like a multiple choice opportunity to guess who said that.
Alex: Alex: It was a hypothetical by me but the fact it’s plausibly believable means it’s a good joke.
Sam: You could have talked me into Howard, Harden or Bickerstaff saying that, but the inflection would have been markedly different for each one.
Alex: God bless you, Houston
Sam: Houston may not be the 8 seed we deserved, but it’s the one we needed.