Imagine a Hummer driving over a camel. Or Godzilla stepping on a power transformer, only with fewer fireworks. It was kind of like a train running over a cart of moldy peaches. Or a buzzsaw ripping through wet newspaper.
There were signs that the Spurs were this much better than the Jazz in Game 1. But Utah had managed to hang for much of the game. Nothing doing in this one. The Spurs came out and dominated from the very get go. There was a 20-0 run to spark the Spurs, and that was pretty much it. They were faster to the ball, faster to the rim, faster to closer out, faster to rebound, faster to drive, faster to shoot… you get the idea.
It’s back to the drawing board for Utah, trying to figure out how to slow down, distract, momentarily get in the way of Tony Parker, how to impact the wings (Kawhi Leonard lit them up. Leonard’s really good but wing was supposed to be a marginal strength for Utah. That’s bad.), how to do, really anything against San Antonio.
The good news for Utah? They’re going home where they play well. That’s about it. Because all signs point to the Spurs having all the answers at this point. Utah needs to throw out the drawing board and start sketching something new on the wall. The Spurs? Revel in their matchup and the fact they’ll likely be getting rest for the second round.
The Spurs are in control, to say the least.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade on time they faced off 1-on-1: “We was out there killing each other”
James: “We played 1-on-1 one time in our whole life, and it was during the finals. Eastern Conference finals 2010 (they meant the 2010-11 season, that ECF was in May 2011). Our first year.”
Wade: “It was more-so to set a precedent for our teammates because we got our ass kicked the game before, Game 1 by Chicago. They tore us.”
James: “MVP Rose tore our ass up in Chicago, and we came in the next day, we was like we need to set the tone, so we was out there killing each other playing 1-on-1.”
Wade: “We never finished.”
James: “We never finished. We got to the point where (head coach Erik Spoelstra) blew the whistle, like bring it in.”
Wade: “Everybody was just watching us. We was going at it. We competitive, we was going at it, but we was setting a tone for this is how it’s gotta go. You gotta be able to go at this. We’re two of the best players in this game. We going at each other in the Eastern Conference finals right now. We out there killing each other, and this is what ya’ll better do tomorrow. Because we got beat on the boards by 20-something and we have to come with it, and we won four in a row.”
A 2011 Heat practice? There has to be video of this somewhere.
Miami did win that Eastern Conference Finals, but LeBron and Wade should have gone at it again during the NBA Finals, where the Heat lost to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks.
Report: Rockets’ Luc Mbah a Moute expected to miss 2-3 weeks
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni’s first inclination might be to shorten his rotation. He should mostly resist it.
Home-court advantage is important, and P.J. Tucker and Trevor Ariza can play more power forward (with Eric Gordon absorbing more minutes at small forward). But it’s also better to play Troy Williams more now than to wear down the players Houston will rely on in the playoffs, when D’Antoni will surely keep his rotation tight.
PBT Podcast: Early trade deadline breakdown with Dan Feldman
The NBA’s trade market did not collapse after the Jahlil Okafor trade.
There’s more to come, but with the trade deadline is less than two months away, we have more questions than answers. DeAndre Jordan very likely could be on the move from the Clippers (and Lou Williams, too). But what is Memphis going to do about Mark Gasol? New Orleans with DeMarcus Cousins? Oklahoma City with Paul George? And if any of those guys are available, who is a buyer? Cleveland? Milwaukee? Portland?
Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman of NBC Sports break down the high end of the trade market, plus talk about other guys who could be on the move — maybe Nikola Mirotic from Chicago, and what about someone like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from Charlotte — before Feb. 8 gets here. The last couple of trade deadlines have been interesting, but will we see a move that changes the landscape of the NBA playoffs in a meaningful way?