Sequels rarely live up to the originals, but this original was so good you can’t help but be excited about round two.
Do you remember how great the 2013 Spurs vs. Heat NBA Finals was? Game 1 had Tony Parker doing his Curly Neal impression, going to his knees, getting up and nailing the dagger. As the series moved along we got LeBron James shutting down a Tiago Splitter dunk, we got Danny Green raining threes, we got Tony Parker and Dwyane Wade playing vintage ball.
And all that was before the epic Game 6, with the Ray Allen stepback three and a thrilling overtime.
I’ll take another series like that any day.
The 2014 version will be different — this is a better Spurs team. Boris Diaw has found his comfort level and Kawhi Leonard is playing better. Plus these Spurs have played all season for this — to avenge Game 6, to seek revenge against the Heat.
Miami still has the best player on the planet and they are the two-time defending champions. A team capable of raising its level of play when it needs it to something nobody else can match.
Miami is athletic and brings great defensive ball pressure. San Antonio defuses that with its ball movement and movement off the ball — no NBA team is better suited to deal with what Miami brings.
This has all the potential to be another great series.
Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.
He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:
In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”
“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.
The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.
Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.
Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.
General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.
McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.