Victor Oladipo vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers (Photo via David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Watch the first Tar Takes broadcast with Ryan Lipton and David Matlock below. Tar Takes is presented by The JR Report and the brand new app Relevnt!
We discuss the latest in the sports world. We have one take segment along with four debate segments. Three of those segments are on anything in the sports world and one of them, to keep in touch with our Tar Heel background involves North Carolina news.
Carr is skeptical of how this team is going to work out, for they have two ball dominant players with Paul and Harden. Therefore, there are not enough basketballs to go around, which will result in Harden most likely sliding back to play the two spot like he did for the majority of his career.
Anyways, Carr might have a similar issue in Oakland as a superstar offense is brewing. There are now big names at every position including Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper, tight end Jared Cook and running back Marshawn Lynch and only one football to go around.
With that being said, Carr will figure out how to keep everyone happy and everything will work out in Houston. The only difference is Houston won’t be good enough to get by the Warriors, but the Raiders have a shot to get by the New England Patriots.
There has been a steady dose of complaining about the 2017 NBA Playoffs. Many are saying the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are making the playoffs too predictable.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith along with many fans and sports reporters have complained that the success of Golden State and Cleveland have made it a forgone conclusion that those two teams are headed to the NBA Finals for the third season in a row making the playoffs less exciting.
However, that is false.
The Warriors and Cavaliers are making the Playoffs more exciting, not less. The idea that two amazingly well-built teams with some of the NBA’s best players could meet for a third straight year on basketball’s biggest stage should have everyone salivating in excitement.
First off, there were some great series in the Playoffs starting in the first round.
The two biggest MVP candidates, James Harden and Russell Westbrook squared off in a thrilling series in which the Beard took the glory, helping the Rockets beat down the Thunder in five games.
The Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers met up in the first round and had a hard-fought series that went to a full seven games. The Jazz led by Gordon Hayward won a game seven on the road stunning Los Angeles.
The Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs slugged it out in a series that featured fantastic defense by Tony Allen and Kawhi Leonard. It also produced exciting front court matchups with LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol battling against Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
In the East, the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls played a physical first-round series that resulted in the Celtics winning four straight games after losing the first two.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors series was highly-competitive with Toronto winning in six games.
The Atlanta Hawks gave John Wall and the Wizards a tough first test in the first round.
Even the Pacers gave LeBron James a few tough games as the seven seed in Round 1 of the Playoffs.
The first round of the Playoffs was exciting series by series.
The Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards just wrapped up a fantastic seven-game series that looked like it could go either way.
Within the series fans saw two of the NBA’s best point guards face off as John Wall and Isaiah Thomas played some great basketball in the seven-game series.
John Wall saved the Wizards from elimination in Game 6 with a clutch go-ahead three-pointer to give his team a chance to win a Game 7 in Boston at the TD Garden.
Game 7 was a thriller coming down to the final minutes as Kelly Olynyk was the hero for the Celtics scoring 12 points in a three and a half-minute period of the fourth quarter to finish with 26 overall in the game.
While the Rockets and James Harden looked horrible in Game 6 against the San Antonio Spurs, the series was competitive with the Rockets forcing the Spurs to play some great basketball to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
The Spurs and Warriors will be an entertaining matchup as long as Greg Popovich is the head coach of San Antonio because he has had the Warriors number over the majority of his career.
Yes, losing Kawhi in Game 1 over a questionable foul by Zaza Pachulia is not what the NBA fans wanted, but the highly intelligent and defensive-minded Spurs against the offensive juggernaut that is the Warriors should entertain any NBA fan.
The Celtics and the Cavs will be exciting. Watching Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics use the grit that has gotten them to this point will at least force LeBron James and the rest of Cavaliers to play a very high level of basketball.
So, yes, it looks like it will most likely be Golden State and Cleveland facing off with a chance to win the Larry O’Brien trophy for the third time in as many years, but what’s wrong with that?
NBA fans are saying that there is no point of watching the other series when it’s so obvious that the Dubs and Cavs are on a collision-course that will see them meet in a third straight NBA Finals.
What is possibly boring about seeing a trilogy of two all-time great teams battling for a second title in three seasons?
NBA fans should want to see history unfold in the shape of two all-time great teams battling yet again, driving this rivalry further.
The discussion about if LeBron James is the greatest player in the history of the NBA is rising and rising and if he could take down a superteam like Golden State, it seems that many people would crown the King and say he has passed Michael Jordan as the greatest of all-time.
Stephen Curry and Co. are looking for redemption after failing to win last year’s championship after having the greatest regular season in NBA history.
Kevin Durant would get to face off against the King! KD, who it seems like everyone called out for trying to chase a ring and hopping on the Golden State bandwagon, would get to try to win the title that has long eluded him.
Kyrie against Steph another time would be about as exciting a point guard matchup as any in the NBA today.
Listen to Fox Sport’s Colin Cowherd talk about why the Warriors and Cavs would not be bad for the NBA at all, but rather very good.
If the Warriors and Cavaliers meet in the NBA Finals for a third straight year, it will be history.
NBA fans shouldn’t be unhappy or be complaining about the predictable NBA Finals matchup. It will be the most exciting and anticipated basketball played this whole season and there isn’t anyone who should be complaining that it will be the Warriors and Cavs once again.
“What he has done has been historic in nature,” NBA legend Oscar Robertson told a crowd before the Oklahoma City Thunder’s season finale about guard Russell Westbrook. “He’s played with passion and pride and it’s really outstanding what he has done and the way he did it.”
Back in the 1961-62 season, Robertson became the first player to average a triple-double with 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists. Outside of center Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 point game, Robertson’s season was fabled in basketball lore as the NBA’s most untouchable record.
Flash forward 55 years. Mr. Triple-Double has been reincarnated, now only bigger, faster, and stronger. Get to appreciate Westbrook. He is not only the NBA’s MVP, but he is history writing itself.
One can easily start with his impressive stat line: 31.6 points per game, 10.4 assists per game and 10.7 rebounds per game.
In the modern game of basketball, where the superstars aren’t as elevated from the rest of the league’s players by leaps and bounds, Westbrook did the unimaginable. He made breaking Robertson’s single season triple-double record of 41 look routine.
When another NBA player gets a triple-double, it’s a headline. When Russ does, it is expected.
And don’t forget the backdrop in which Russ is dominating competition night in night out. Given no elite teammates, going against elite defense, and competing in one of the strongest Western Conference seasons in league history, Westbrook gets it done with scary efficiency.
Westbrook is averaging a triple-double while only averaging 35 minutes per night. Back when The Big O did it in ’62, he averaged over 10 more minutes per game. Over the course of an entire season, that’s hundreds of fewer minutes Westbrook needed to put up similar numbers.
Although Westbrook’s true shooting percentage of .555 and field goal percentage of .476 is not great, it is expected when his team relies on him to have the ball in his hands every possession and generate most of their offense.
Despite Russell’s success, analysts have continued to discredit his season as too good to be true. Many present Houston Rocket’s star guard James Harden (29.1 PPG, 11.2 APG, 8.1 RPG) as an alternative MVP.
“It is clearly a very close race between Westbrook and Harden,” said Vassar basketball player Tony Caletti. “I don’t think either of those are a wrong answer but I’d lean towards Harden over Westbrook, even though I think Westbrook will win it. Harden has elevated the level of play of his teammates, beyond just his gaudy assist totals, and has helped rehabilitate the careers of aging journeymen while shattering preseason expectations. These rockets missed the playoffs last year and lost Dwight Howard, replacing him with injury prone players who had never reached their potential.”
Even though Harden’s successful season should not go unnoticed, and in another year he would be a sure-fire MVP, Westbrook has just been that more impressive.
Although Westbrook’s ball dominance has resulted in his teammate’s usage rates decreasing, he has also been able to elevate the play of those around him. Give it the eye test, and you’ll come to appreciate just how great of passer Westbrook really is.
This season he has become a guy who always makes the right reads, always picking the right spots to pull up, drive, or pass it off. Russ has been able to dump the ball off under the basket for big men Steven Adams and Enes Kanter, resulting in wide open dunks and easy finishes. It’s no surprise that Kanter and Adams are both shooting almost 60 percent from the field.
Others knock Westbrook for his team’s record. Oklahoma City finished 47-35 this regular season, only resulting in a six seed in the western conference.
Arguments like these gravely underestimate the success Oklahoma City has had this season. In the most talented conference in league history, Westbrook has almost single-handily willed the Thunder to a playoff berth with only a handful of wins less than the Rockets.
In addition, Westbrook has done it without Golden State Warriors star forward Kevin Durant, and with arguably less talent around him than Harden is working with. As far as overall value that Westbrook adds to a team, no one else comes close this season.
All this is not bad for the kid from Long Beach, Calif. who not too long ago didn’t even make his high school varsity team until his junior year.
Sounds eerily reminiscent of that guy who used to play for Chicago.