NBA Update: Horford dominating Cavs in ECF
Published on Wednesday, 5/16/18, at 10:46 a.m. Eastern.
—My preview of tonight’s Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.
—My winner for tonight’s Game 2 of the WCFs.
—My NBA postseason package that’ll take you through the last game of the NBA Finals.
–After that low-rent bullshit cheap shot by J.R. Smith on Al Horford last night, I thought it would be a great time to share this OUTSTANDING column on Smith from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (who was with Yahoo at the time in 2014 when he wrote this). WOJ delves into Smith’s unfathomable audacity in more ways than one, and he also has this paragraph that should go down as one of the best he’s ever composed:
He can make it sound so sincere, but the con never ends. J.R. Smith was raised in a suburban, middle-class home with two good parents and access to an excellent education. He had a tremendous high school coaching mentor – Dan Hurley at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, N.J. — and he has long been taught the difference of right and wrong. Smith’s always loved to play the part of a tough city kid, but truth be told, he’s a soft, spoiled, suburban jump-shooter. — #WOJbomb!
–How good was this gem of a line from ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy’s last night?! “The Cavs eye roll each other more than people in a bad marriage.”
–Al Horford’s Game 2 stat line: 15 points, 10 rebounds, two steals, two blocked shots and four assists without a turnover. Horford dominated at both ends of the court at crunch time. In 14 postseason games to date, Horford is averaging 17.1 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.4 blocked shots and 1.1 steals per game. The two-time national champion at the University of Florida who has been to the NBA Playoffs in all 11 of his seasons in the league is shooting at a 57.6 percent clip from the field, 36.4 percent from 3-point range and 80.4 percent at the free-throw line.
–It doesn’t sound as if Boston reserve point guard Shane Larkin (shoulder) is going to be back anytime soon.
–If Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier continue to play at this elite level for the rest of Boston’s time in the playoffs, when does Danny Ainge start thinking about trading either Kyrie Irving or Gordon Hayward? And I’m being 100 percent serious!
–After last night’s Game 2 win, Boston is 9-0 both straight up and against the spread in nine home games in these playoffs.
–The updated series price for the East finals at Sportsbook.ag: Boston -250, Cleveland +210 (risk $100 to win $210).
–The updated series price for the WCFs: Golden St. -525, Houston +400.
–Trust me: LeBron James isn’t going to be playing for the Cavs next year.
–The Suns won the 2018 NBA Draft lottery last night. The Kings will draft second followed by my Hawks at third. Atlanta has three first-round picks: #3, #19 and #30.
–With the lottery now over, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony updated his mock draft. He has Florida’s Jalen Hudson going 55th overall in the second round. UF beat writer Chris Harry told me last week that he thinks Hudson is likely to stay in the Draft. We shall see…
–WOJ reports that Toronto and Milwaukee are both in hot pursuit of former Atlanta GM and head coach Mike Budenholzer, who will always be on my Shit List. Why, you ask? I think I cover it in this tweet from last night:
Reminder: Budenholzer made it a priority to lock up Dwight Howard & Kent Bazemore (for $140 million) before trying to re-sign franchise stalwart Al Horford, who had led the team to nine consecutive postseason appearances. #ATLHawks
— Brian Edwards Sports (@vegasbedwards) May 16, 2018