Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Spurs-Rockets featured largest Game 1-to-Game 2 turnaround in decades

2 Comments

The Rockets ran all over the Spurs in Game 1, winning by 27. James Harden picked apart San Antonio in transition and the pick-and-roll. The Spurs’ bigs couldn’t keep up, as Houston generated easy looks at the basket and open 3-pointers.

It was total domination.

“We haven’t won anything so far,” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said the following day.

San Antonio proved him prophetic last night, winning Game 2 by 25 to even the series. Everything we thought we understood one game into this series flew out the window.

The 52-point swing was the largest from Game 1 to Game 2 in 22 years and fourth-largest ever.

The Magic beat the Celtics by 47 in Game 1 of the 1995 first round then lost to Boston by seven in Game 2. That 54-point swing was the last time fortunes changed so dramatically from Game 1 to Game 2.

In the 1956 division semifinals, the St. Louis Hawks beat the Minneapolis Lakers by one in Game 1 then lost by 58 in Game 2. The 1973 conference finals featured the Celtics beating the Knicks by 26 Game 1 and then losing to Boston by 33 in Game 2. Those 59-point swings are tied for the largest ever between Game 1 and Game 2.

Here’s every series with a 40-point swing between Game 1 and Game 2:

image

As you can see, several of those swings include a massive blowout and a reasonably close outcome. In Spurs-Rockets, each team earned a big win.

This is just the eighth time in NBA history, including last year’s NBA Finals, a team won a playoff game by 25 then lost the next game in the series by 25:

2017 second round: SAS 1, HOU 1 Game 1: HOU 126, SAS 99 Game 2: SAS 121, HOU 96
2016 NBA Finals: CLE 4, GSW 3 Game 2: GSW 110, CLE 77 Game 3: CLE 120, GSW 90
2016 conference finals: GSW 4, OKC 3 Game 2: GSW 118, OKC 91 Game 3: OKC 133, GSW 105
2008 first round: CLE 4, WAS 2 Game 2: CLE 116, WAS 86 Game 3: WAS 108, CLE 72
1982 conference finals: PHI 4, BOS 3 Game 4: PHI 119, BOS 94 Game 5: BOS 114, PHI 85
1980 conference semifinals: LAL 4, PHO 1 Game 4: PHO 127, LAL 101 Game 5: LAL 126, PHO 101
1973 conference finals: NYK 4, BOS 3 Game 1: BOS 134, NYK 108 Game 2: NYK 129, BOS 96
1972 conference finals: LAL 4, MIL 2 Game 4: MIL 114, LAL 88 Game 5: LAL 115, MIL 90

Where do San Antonio and Houston go from here? The Rockets, if they didn’t know it already, learned they can’t rest on their laurels. The Spurs can’t feel secure in their turnaround, not after Tony Parker‘s injury.

After two decisive victories, this series is anything but decided.

For a couple grand, Warriors fans can have Larry O’Brien Trophy visit their suite

Getty Images
5 Comments

There’s so much money floating around the Bay Area right now thanks to another tech boom, this price almost seems low.

If you have a suite for the Golden State Warriors home games this season — and those are pretty much sold out, the Warriors draw big from the Silicon Valley crowd — you can have the NBA championship Larry O’Brien Trophy visit your suite. All for just a couple grand. From Gilbert Lee, via ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

The best part is it includes champagne… do you get to spray each other with it as you hold up the trophy? Now that would be perfect (goggles included, of course).

Have an issue with this? Why? To the victor goes the spoils. The Warriors may be able to sell this package for years.

Sixers new “Spirit of 76” court is fire

Via Twitter
5 Comments

First, the Sixers nailed the Nike “statement” jersey.

Now, they have announced a new “Spirit of 76” promotion, with seven tribute nights this season honoring the history of the franchise and of the Philadelphia area (and there is plenty of history to honor).

The best part — the “Spirit of 76” court with the bell logo.

Here is the promo vid

I just hope the Sixers team can live up to all the hype.

Wizards’ Markieff Morris to have sports hernia surgery, miss start of camp

Associated Press
Leave a comment

When the Washington Wizards open training camp next Tuesday, starting forward Markieff Morris will not be on the court.

That’s because he will have surgery to repair a sports hernia, a story broken by Candice Buckner of the Washington Post and since confirmed by Chase Hughes at CSNMidAtlantic.com.

While we don’t have details on the surgery, often recovery time for this is just a few weeks, and Morris could well be ready for the start of the season.

Morris averaged 14 points and 6.5 rebounds a game last season, and the Wizards offense was 5.7 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the court last season. With him out, coach Scott Brooks can lean on Jason Smith or Mike Scott for traditional lineups, but don’t be shocked if he tries a little small ball with Otto Porter and/or Kelly Oubre at the three or four.

Morris also is in the midst of a felony assault trial in Arizona (one where he does not need to attend).

Sixers enter camp with Joel Embiid not cleared for 5-on-5, Jahlil Okafor on trade block

Getty Images
1 Comment

This is the season the 76ers make the leap from team with potential to playoff team fast on the rise.

Maybe.

That’s the plan in Philly, but there are a lot of questions for this team to answer. While a couple of these issues are answered already — Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz are cleared to play and practice with teammates — a couple big ones still hang around. At the top of the list is “how healthy is Joel Embiid?” Coach Brett Brown doesn’t even have that answer yet, reports Derek Bodner of The Athletic.

It’s this simple: The Sixers outscored opponents by 3.3 points per 100 possessions when Embiid was on the court last season, he was a dominant force defensively who scored 20.2 points a game. When he was off the court the Sixers were 11.5 points per 100 possessions worse. They need him to play and play consistently if the Sixers have playoff dreams. It’s unclear when Embiid will return, but know that the Sixers will be cautious with his minutes again when he does get cleared (he has played just 31 games in three seasons).

Does that mean more Jahlil Okafor? Maybe not, the Sixers are still willing to trade him.

The Sixers have shopped Okafor for most of a year and found no deal they like. Okafor battled knee issues last season and, after a summer working to get healthy, other teams will want to see him play a little before talking trade. If he comes to camp slimmed down and his knee looks right, it could revive trade talks. Using a back-to-the-basket game, he averaged 11.8 points a night shooting 51 percent last season, he’s efficient, and some teams could use what he does (off the bench).

It’s going to be an interesting season in Philly. Are they playoff bound?