Further proof in how an overmatched lower seed can’t compete in the NBA playoffs takes us down south. The Charlotte Hornets, a year ago, went all in on trades to upgrade their personnel to get them to this point, into the playoffs. But was this what they were expecting? This debacle in South Beach? The Hornets were annihilated in game one, a 32 point loss, and so in game two, after making adjustments, they honor their anti-LGBT loving state with an absurd performance that has no definition. Marvin Williams missed every shot he took, all ten of them. He missed every free throw. His partner in the front court, Nic Batum, who the Hornets aggressively traded for last June, missed 8 of 11 shots. Both he and Williams registered a -18 on the night. Kemba Walker, the improved point, had 29 points on 29 shots. The Hornets were 1-16 on three point shots. That’s a 6.2% efficiency. The Hornets had 103 points but 9 assists.
Next stop is the Midwest and the Pistons meeting up with LeBron. The Pistons have enough trash talkers, like rookie Stanley Johnson and the always insufferable Reggie Jackson, but what have they backed it up with? They lost a close game so I guess that means they have the cache to go toe to toe in the arrogant column with the defending Eastern Conference Champs. But in game 2, when you are Tobias Harrias and are hopeless whenever you are near the rim, and miss 8 out of 11 shots, there needs to be reflection on what you are so arrogant about. Marcus Morris had himself a night as well. He took 8 shots too many. That’s how many he missed out of the 10 bricks he tossed up. Reggie Jackson was solid but 14 points in the playoffs isn’t going to cut it. Neither is defending Kyrie so he goes off for 22 points. The Pistons made 4 out of 17 threes, 23.5%. At one point, they trailed in this game by 19 points.
West Coast basketball, could it save us?
Damian Lillard didn’t make the All-Star team which was a snub at the time. But in game 2 of the playoffs, he was one of the worst players on the court. He missed 16 shots, and all of his threes. He had three assists. He wasn’t the only Blazer who couldn’t put the ball in the hole. The Blazers shot 34.1% and lost by 21 points. It was a ghastly performance that makes you wonder: how did these teams make the playoffs?
Because the Lakers, 76ers and Nets exist.
in 2015-16, the NBA was a capitalistic country. There were a few rich people at the top and a lot of poverty. The NBA poor were helpless victims to the middle class who beat up on them routinely. But that didn’t make the average teams good. It just meant the bad teams were vile in all areas of professional basketball.
It was a trick to the mind thinking that the Hornets and Blazers and Rockets could put up a playoff fight when the truth is, they got into the playoffs because of their record against bad teams, not good teams.
Of the teams in an 0-2 hole, (Rockets, Grizzlies, Blazers, Pistons, Celtics, Hornets) their record against the top four contenders in their conference, during the regular season, was an absurdly sick 29-59. That would be a 32% winning clip. The Celtics and Pistons are the only teams that had a winning record against a top-4 contender in their conference. The Celtics were 3-0 against the Heat, and the Pistons were 3-1 against the Cavs.
In the West, in the regular season, no lower seed had a winning record against an upper seeded team.
But against the league’s worst teams, the 76ers, Lakers and Nets? The same teams posted a blistering 83%, 44-9 mark.They were able to pad their stats against developmental teams and give the impression that they could compete with the big boys in the league, until the playoffs separated the meat from the bone, and exposed them for who they really are.
Unable to make shots or defend. Lacking elite players. Bad coaching. It’s ugly. Unfortunately for us, it might even get worse, as unthinkable as that is to suggest.
The playoffs are a mirror. You reflect back who you really are. The numbers don’t lie. Seeds five through eight are 2-14. In the last five days, they have lost 88% of the games played.
photo via llananba