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. The first part of today’s email exchange starts with the Mavericks vs. Thunder game and continues with Golden State vs. Houston with comments about the Toronto vs. Indiana game along the way.
Alex: D-Will (Deron Williams) started off hot and Thunder have been real sloppy.
Sam: Raptors finally got that big win might be time to cue up the Jurassic Park “the raptors are evolving” scene.
Alex: Haha yeah once they realize the destruction they’re capable of who knows what they’ll do.
Sam: Is it sad that I forgot who we were talking about for a second and couldn’t remember if that was meant to be about the Raptors or Thunder?
Alex: I mean they’re both stupidly inconsistent so you may as well mix and match ’em.
Sam: That’s gotta be an indictment on the coaching right?
Alex: For OKC, yes. Billy D’s lineups are so so so confounding. For Toronto it only seems to happen in the playoffs. Can coaches collapse during big moments like players do?
Sam: I would definitely say so (think [Pete] Carroll/[Darrell] Bevell in Super Bowl 49) but I tend to think the Raptors’ coaching issues show up in the playoffs because coaching matters more in the playoffs when you have to scheme for one opponent for 4-7 games.
Alex: Each coach can redeem themselves with a couple [of] series wins, if it’s because of them or despite them. But the Raptors shot horribly in Game 1 and the Thunder were even worse tonight. That’s not to be expected often for either team.
Sam: That’s a good point the Raptors’ flaws in Game 1 certainly weren’t exclusively or even necessarily predominantly coaching related. Last year was pretty bad though. Speaking of bad, Dwight Howard just needs to get out of Houston.
Alex: It’s so sad what he’s become there. He’s not remotely involved on offense and fading fast on defense. Other teams may have issues by Dwight is just the tip of the Rockets’ iceberg.
Sam: I don’t really know what their deal is. At the end of last year I thought they were really good, apparently some of those guys just don’t like each other at all. They are hanging with the Steph-less Warriors tonight though.
Alex: I picked them for like 56 wins this season. Whoops. But yes, they’re still a solid shooting team and Harden isn’t going to stop scoring. But GSW’s defense won’t necessarily drop off much without Curry.
Sam: On the contrary, I think the argument could be made that their actual on-ball defense is actually better when Curry’s out. I think the aspect of their defense that suffers is transitioning from D [Defense] to O [Offense] off of turnovers and defensive rebounds.
Alex: I think he’s grown a lot as an on-ball defender but yes, he’ll get a few steals that lead directly to lay-ups of threes on the other end. Those easy points can mean the difference [between] a W and an L in the playoffs.
Sam: Unless you’re playing the Rockets apparently haha. They just don’t have it. They are gonna blow things up in the offseason. Dwight Howard just fouled out.
Alex: So that’s 6 fouls and 7 shot attempts. Oof. Dwight may decide to stay just because Houston has diminished his value. I feel like he can still be used efficiently in some system, I just don’t know whose.
Sam: I just don’t think he’s willing to play the role he needs to play to be a key piece for a contender. He wants to be a primary option on offense and any team that lets him is either dumb or desperate. He just needs to go somewhere like Denver where no one is gonna be upset that he asks for the ball on the block on every possession because they have no dominant scorers or rim protectors, although I think Jokic may change that. If I get to pick where he played though I think exile to Philadelphia is fair punishment for the crap he’s inflicted on [us] this year.
Alex: Just flip every player on each of those teams. The only time Houston looked interested was their winning streak at the end of the season, at least the Sixers play hard. Howard & Co. finally got there then I think Golden State just broke their will like 5 minutes into Game 1.
Sam: Yeah I think they were just happy to say they made the playoffs and have already accepted defeat, which is sad because I actually think they could have pushed this to six [games] (given Curry sitting a game and the next two being in Houston) if they really tried. They had opportunities tonight.
Alex: Yeah I figured they had at least one game due to a Harden explosion or Warrior off night. This had to be it and they just didn’t fight for it. Giving up 115 points to a team without Steph is inexcusable. Just give effort, that’s all I ask.
Sam: You and J.B. Bickerstaff both haha. They closed the gap so many times and then just couldn’t manage to tie or take the lead. They just don’t have “it”.
Alex: And it feels like the Warriors do, even without their best player. That’s scary.
Sam: Oh they definitely do. Draymond Green is their heart and soul. They have a bunch of other guys too who just have the right mentality (Barbosa, Bogut, Iggy, Livingston).
Alex: They’re built to sustain through injury trouble. It’ll last through the first round but anything after is a total crapshoot.
Sam: That’s true anybody could ride that first round momentum. I don’t think LAC would beat them though, outside of CP3 they are soft.
Alex: My final thought would be yes, the Clippers are still not to be trusted.