No Coast Bias writers Alex Schubauer and Sam Pouncey want to keep you updated each night of the NBA Playoffs. To do that, they will be sharing their thoughts with you via an email exchange journal. We welcome any feedback along the way in the comments section and hope you enjoy. This edition covers the Celtics’ struggles, the Grizzlies’ starting five, and understanding the dominance of the Spurs.
Sam: Who do you have winning tonight?
Alex: My nuanced, in-depth analysis tells me the Spurs will win. As for the Celtics, it’s hard to count them out but missing Avery Bradley is a real blow. Yourself?
Sam: That Spurs pick is a real gamble but I’ll agree with you. I picked the sweep there and have seen nothing to disavow me of that notion. Boston-Atlanta is tough. I picked C’s in 7 obviously before Avery got hurt but I’ll stick to it. Marcus Smart needs to step up and I’ll say Boston evens it up.
Alex: He’ll have a larger load defensively but there’s no reason he can’t handle that. But Bradley is a much better shooter, and that’s tougher to replace.
Sam: So do you subscribe to the “no effing way game” theory?
Alex: I haven’t heard of this before but I’m guessing I do. Can it involve Kyle Korver making four threes in the first quarter and outscoring the entire opposing team?
Sam: I think the shoe definitely fits. It’s the notion that in madden there are certain games where the cpu just decides that you aren’t going to win no matter what. We are all witnesses to the IRL version.
Alex: Yes! That’s rampant in FIFA as well. You’re not helping yourself when shooting 10% from the field but plenty of that is just the universe telling you today is not your day.
Sam: FIFA is a big time culprit of “No Effing Way” games or NFWs. I feel like this started when we found out it was a Tony Brothers/Scott Foster game.
Alex: Yet there was also this:
— NBA Ref Stats (@NBARefStats) April 19, 2016
So things had to get weird. Yet the Celts have at least kept things static in the 2nd quarter. I like how Amir Johnson stepped up to deal with Atlanta’s bigs and even gave the bonus of scoring points.
Sam: Amir Johnson is an underrated player in general. He can score on the block, rebounds and plays defense. He’s just not a “stretch 4”. Boston had very few good offensive possessions down the stretch in the second, if any, or they could have gotten this thing down to 10.
Alex: Any chance they can come back all the way? They’re just as capable of forcing a 7 point quarter themselves.
Sam: Oh sure they can come back it’s still early. They just need to take smart shots and play good defense. Side note: There’s a “Fire Goodell” sign right behind the Celtics bench.
Alex: Some things transcend sports and Goodell sucking is one of them. Imagine the NBA if he was the commish. He might have given Donald Sterling a second team just because.
Sam: Hahaha he’s pretty terrible I agree, although I have to admit I can’t imagine him managing the CP3 trade situation any worse than Stern did. The difference is Stern was actually a good commissioner for the first 85-90% of his tenure. Goodell has been good never in his tenure.
Alex: Goodell’s tenure has been only slightly more ugly than this game. At the end of the third Boston didn’t crack 50 and shot 27% …yet it was only slightly worse than Atlanta’s 33%.
Sam: Thanks for getting us back on track. Yeah I feel bad for suggesting in my preview that this would be the best first round series. I defend my logic coming in as sound though I just hope nobody actually believed me.
Alex: It was the right call at the time. But losing both Bradley and Kelly Olynyk has them looking more like the Grizzlies than the Spurs. Life comes at you fast.
Sam: If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile you might miss it. At the same token though, if they win their home games it’s still going to seven. Boston will be rowdy I would imagine.
Alex: On the list of people to not count out, Boston sports fans and Brad Stevens have to be top five. His whole schtick is doing more with less, they’ll grab at least one win back home.
Sam: I agree with you and wouldn’t be shocked if they got both at all. Also, can we just bask in the starting five that Memphis is trotting out in a playoff game in 2016?
Alex: You could plausibly believe that was the lineup of a 7 seed in the playoffs in 2009, not 2016. It’s also the lineup that most resembles a street gang in NBA history.
Sam: Takes me back to the Jail Blazers/Thuggets era. The only thing I hate about watching the Spurs is how overused the word vintage has been this season. I blame the Kobe farewell tour.
Alex: People like to compare things to previous things instead of just appreciating things while they’re still present things. I’m pretty sure that makes sense, and I’m pretty sure that’s a law of humanity. But when a team is this good for this long then it’s tough not to think back to what led to now.
Sam: That’s a good point it’s so hard for us to think about anything without trying to draw some sort of parallel to something we’ve already seen. That word just makes me want to vomit though.
Alex: Ya gotta love sports cliches! It feels like the only way to describe the Spurs is with cliches though. Unselfish, playing for each other, team first, etc.
Sam: I think that’s anything we just have to find a way to make things quantifiable or understandable. Or if we can’t we just go for the cop out of “We’ve never seen anything like this before” which is a.) incredibly vague and b.) rarely true.
Alex: Yeah, which is why sometimes we need to stop trying to describe something in that way and just sit back and appreciate what’s going on. San Antonio is so easy to watch, we shouldn’t have to complicate it.
Sam: I agree. It’s also irritating that we are giving them such a ho-hum reception when they have been so good all season and for so long really. They kind of fall into that [New England] Patriots zone where greatness is expected rather than appreciated.
Alex: At least we can take solace in knowing that they don’t give a damn either way. They just go about their business. For example, they’re not even letting the Grizz anywhere near the lead. They don’t play with their food before they eat it.
Sam: They’re old so they don’t have enough energy for all that. Plus, [Gregg] Popovich isn’t gonna play around with anybody except the media.
Alex: It’s nice to know there’s someone we can always count on during these otherwise chaotic playoffs.
Sam: It is. I’d use the same two words to describe Skip Bayless: nauseatingly predictable.
Alex: You have any Skip-like hot takes about yesterday? If not this might be a good place to stop.
Sam: THE SPURS COULD HAVE WON THAT GAME BY TRIPLE DIGITS, BUT POP AND DUNCAN ARE ROPE-A-DOPEING THE WARRIORS!!!! Okay I think I’m done my voice box hurts.
Alex: Perfect. There was even a little truth in it so you’re already better than Skip.
Sam: I don’t have the eyebrows for television though.