Three Things We Learned in NBA Tuesday: We finally know one playoff series, Boston vs. Cleveland


If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while thinking it would be good for you to cuss more

1) We have our first playoff matchup: Boston vs. Cleveland. It took Evan Turner scoring 14 points and making plays. It took DeMar DeRozan resting. It took 18 Toronto turnovers. It took Jae Crowder hitting a leaning, contested, ridiculous foot-on-the-line two from the corner.

But finally with the Boston win we have our first playoff series set — Boston vs. Cleveland. No, it’s not going to last long. However, you have to be impressed with what Brad Stevens has done in getting the Celtics here. Their defense has improved of late, first off. More than that, they share the ball, they cut hard and move off the ball, they play selfless basketball that is fun to watch. The Celtics did not get here on pure talent — a number of teams they beat out to make the playoffs have more raw talent — but rather on how well they used what they have. They run a beautiful, modern offense. Good on them for getting here.

2) Clippers will be two or three seed in West. In their final game of the season, it was vintage Clippers — Chris Paul had 22 points and six assists and the Clippers built a 30 point lead over a Suns team that has packed it in. Then the Clips put in their bench and that lead shrunk and shrunk until Doc Rivers was forced to send a couple starters back in to secure the win at the end. Doesn’t matter now, it’s a win. With the victory, the Clippers secured at least (and most likely) the three seed. Los Angeles can get the two seed if the Spurs and Rockets lose on Wednesday. There’s a 50 percent chance the Clippers will face the Grizzlies in the first round (four of the eight possible scenarios that can play out in the middle of the West end that way), which would be a fun and physical series. I’m good with that.

3) Indiana still controls its own destiny, beat the Grizzlies Wednesday and they are in. There are two fascinating games Wednesday night in the NBA, and one is Indiana vs. Memphis — both teams need a win. That game becomes interesting thanks to one that was hard to watch: Indiana’s double-OT win over Washington, 99-95. The winning Pacers shot 38.7 percent and had an offensive rating of 87.2 points per 100 possessions. (Just for comparison, the worst offense in the NBA this season by far was the Sixers at 92.9 points per 100. This game was ugly.) Indiana got five points out of George Hill in the second overtime, and 24 on the night, plus a 25-point night from C.J. Miles to secure the win.

If Indiana beats Memphis, they are in as the eight seed. If the Nets lose to the Magic the Pacers are in. However, if the Pacers lose and the Nets win, the playoffs will swing through Brooklyn (for just two games, but they will go there).

LeBron James tops list of NBA’s most popular jerseys for sixth consecutive season


The NBA released its ranking of most popular jerseys for the 2014-15 season, and for the sixth straight year, LeBron James topped the list.

Rankings are based on overall retail sales on since the beginning of the season.

Top 15 Most Popular NBA Jerseys:                                   

1.      LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

2.      Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

3.      Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

4.      Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

5.      Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

6.      Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

7.      Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

8.      Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks

9.      Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

10.  Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

11.  Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

12.  Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

13.  John Wall, Washington Wizards

14.  Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

15.  Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

A few surprises here:

– James Harden is having an otherworldly season that has him neck-and-neck with Stephen Curry in a two-man MVP race, yet he’s noticeably absent from the list, perhaps due to his foul-drawing ways not always being aesthetically pleasing.

–  Russell Westbrook has had a similarly insane season, yet teammate Kevin Durant — who was limited in appearing in only 27 games due to injury — finished eight spots ahead of him on the list.

– Legacy guys like Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony finished third and eighth respectively, despite appearing in just 35 and 40 games respectively this season.

The team merchandise list is interesting, too, mainly because the Knicks and the Lakers are in the midst of their worst seasons in franchise history, yet fans still had no problem buying up their gear at a volume higher than that which was sold by 23 of the league’s 30 franchises.

Top 10 Most Popular Team Merchandise:

1.      Chicago Bulls

2.      Cleveland Cavaliers

3.      Golden State Warriors

4.      Los Angeles Lakers

5.      Oklahoma City Thunder

6.      San Antonio Spurs

7.      New York Knicks

8.      Miami Heat

9.      Boston Celtics

10.  Los Angeles Clippers

Chris Paul was dishing, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin were dunking


The Clippers have the most efficient offense in the NBA, scoring 109.8 points per 100 possessions.

The most efficient shot in the game remains the dunk.

The Clippers have diversified their offense some, but they still like the efficient dunk. Chris Paul had the nice setup of DeAndre Jordan for the throw-down dunk.

CP3 also set up Blake Griffin as well. The Clippers used all these dunks to pick

The Clippers used all these dunks to pick up a key 94-86 win over Memphis. Those two — and the Spurs — are all tied with two games left in the season.

Byron Scott jokes Kobe should be in MVP conversation


He was joking, folks.

That tweet led to some amusing lines on Twitter, but listen to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News and others tell it and Scott was not serious. Let’s hope not.

Scott said he was biased toward Chris Paul in the MVP race — Scott coached CP3 in New Orleans — then made the joke.

Scott has done a very good job this season of towing the company line. Better job than he has done coaching. Because we all know even in a year where some MVP candidates missed some time — Russell Westbrook, LeBron James — nobody thinks Kobe’s 35 games cuts it. Or his 37 percent shooting.

This was just Scott having some fun. Although if you read twitter you realize jokes don’t always translate well.

Chris Paul dribbles through Carlos Boozer’s legs (VIDEO)


That pretty much sums up the Lakers’ season in a six second loop.

During the Clippers absolute thrashing of their cross-town rival Lakers on Sunday night, this play happened — Chris Paul got the rebound on a break, pushed the ball up court, then dribbled right through the legs of Carlos Boozer. As bad a nutmeg as you will see anywhere. Ever.

The Lakers are pretty locked into the fourth-worst record in the NBA this season, then it is up to the lottery gods if they get to keep their pick. If it is top five they keep it, six or higher it reverts to the Sixers, something that all ties back to the Steve Nash trade.

The Clippers are now just half a game back of Memphis for the three seed and the Clips have soft schedule the rest of the way. They are peaking entering the playoffs.