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ACisKING

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He played very well this season but it was only 20 games. Over nine seasons he's averaging LESS than 60 games a year. That's a big problem.

Anyway, this story has, in retrospect, really put a different spin on two of RCF's hobbyhorses:

- Bitching about the Kyrie trade. There was a ton of complaining about how it was Dan's fault because we didn't keep Griff; it was LeBron's fault for "sonning" him; it was a horrible return for Kyrie. Well, it's pretty obvious that getting rid of Kyrie is like dumping a chick whose 9/10 on the hot/crazy matrix. Everyone thinks you're nuts for dumping her; then she's someone else's problem and you're laughing at them. We have a nice asset (Sexton) and when we dumped the others from that trade we got some return from that. I think we did FAR better than Boston and Brooklyn may live to regret signing that guy.

- Bitching about Ty Lue. That guy deserved a legit purple heart. LeBron isn't easy to deal with at all, but Kyrie + JR as well? Then there was the Love "fit in or fit out" (ok that was under Blatt but it did show the tension with Kevin -- echoes of that lately). No wonder Lue broke down his last full year. I'm not saying he's the greatest coach who ever lived -- I'm saying we should respect the fact that he put up with that crap at long as he did.

I don't think any coach will satisfy Kyrie.
I agree with all of the above. And as I’ve consistently maintained in this forum over the years, I think Lue is woefully under-appreciated by Cavs fans. The most important job of an NBA coach is to manage egos. And the Cavs had some of the most difficult personalities all on one roster. Not only did he keep them mostly in check but he waan’t afraid to challenge someone as great as LeBron in halftime of Game 7 in the NBA Finals. I also think he flat out out-coached some great coaches in playoff series (Budenholzer, Stevens, Kerr, Casey, McMillan, SVG, etc.). And his after-timeout plays were money too.
 

Rich

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I agree with all of the above. And as I’ve consistently maintained in this forum over the years, I think Lue is woefully under-appreciated by Cavs fans. The most important job of an NBA coach is to manage egos. And the Cavs had some of the most difficult personalities all on one roster. Not only did he keep them mostly in check but he waan’t afraid to challenge someone as great as LeBron in halftime of Game 7 in the NBA Finals. I also think he flat out out-coached some great coaches in playoff series (Budenholzer, Stevens, Kerr, Casey, McMillan, SVG, etc.). And his after-timeout plays were money too.
I guess like....how good was he at managing egos?

Maybe it's not entirely his fault, but if that's his big claim to fame he coached slightly less than a season and a half and Kyrie demanded out and a year later LeBron left.

So, ya know. He didn't manage them that well for very long.
 

Derek

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I guess like....how good was he at managing egos?

Maybe it's not entirely his fault, but if that's his big claim to fame he coached slightly less than a season and a half and Kyrie demanded out and a year later LeBron left.

So, ya know. He didn't manage them that well for very long.
NBA coaching is so weird, it's tough to judge, but I don't believe Kyrie asking out or LeBron leaving had anything to do with Lue.

I actually just saw Kendrick Perkins and Channing Frye talking back and forth on twitter recently about how great Lue was as a coach. Super intelligent and a great motivator, stuff like that.



I guess the trick is, regardless of whether or not you know your shit, it's more important that you're able to convince the players you do.
 
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Rich

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The Clippers got elite perimeter defenders but they don't have any rim protection. Not sure how you stop Beast Mode Lebron if you don't have a guy like Duncan, Howard, or Chandler making him at least think about taking the jumper.

Clippers are a great team though but if guys like Kuzma and Bradley play defense they way they've been playing they lose the one advantage at the wing they have
The big reason I like the Clippers roster more is because they've got guys outside of their top 2 who aren't cloes to washed up who have been to the playoffs over and over and performed. Lou Williams, Pat Beverley.

Williams, to me, is gonna be the X-Factor in a series with the Lakers. WHen it's late in the game and LeBron and George are guarding each other and Kawhi and AD are guarding each other, it's gonna be Lou WIlliams with Avery Bradley or Rajon Rondo on him. And I trust Lou Williams to get it done more than whoever the Lakers throw at him.
 

ACisKING

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I guess like....how good was he at managing egos?

Maybe it's not entirely his fault, but if that's his big claim to fame he coached slightly less than a season and a half and Kyrie demanded out and a year later LeBron left.

So, ya know. He didn't manage them that well for very long.
Fair enough. But he at least managed them enough to win a championship and appear in two other Finals. Maybe those guys would have left regardless of anything Lue or any other coach did. At least I certainly believe that about Kyrie with everything I’ve read about him these last few years.
 

ACisKING

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The big reason I like the Clippers roster more is because they've got guys outside of their top 2 who aren't cloes to washed up who have been to the playoffs over and over and performed. Lou Williams, Pat Beverley.

Williams, to me, is gonna be the X-Factor in a series with the Lakers. WHen it's late in the game and LeBron and George are guarding each other and Kawhi and AD are guarding each other, it's gonna be Lou WIlliams with Avery Bradley or Rajon Rondo on him. And I trust Lou Williams to get it done more than whoever the Lakers throw at him.
Interesting. I also think the Clippers should be favored because they just have more guys who can do something with the ball against a set defense than the Lakers who are pretty much entirely dependent on LeBron. However, Lou Williams has had a pretty spotty playoff career because he is abysmal defensively and relies too much on drawing free throws to score. If the Clippers are trotting him out to close games, they are handing the Lakers a serious mismatch to exploit. Given that the ball will be in the hands of Kawhi down the stretch anyway, I think the Clippers would be much better off closing with a guard like Beverly or Shamet (or both) who still provide spacing without being nearly as much of a defensive liability as Lou.
 

Rich

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Just was going through some game logs and I noticed the most FTs LeBron has gotten all year was 15 in a game. That would yesterday.

Before that? 14 against the Bucks...the game before.

Odd coincidence...
 

JMoneyYourHoney

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Interesting. I also think the Clippers should be favored because they just have more guys who can do something with the ball against a set defense than the Lakers who are pretty much entirely dependent on LeBron. However, Lou Williams has had a pretty spotty playoff career because he is abysmal defensively and relies too much on drawing free throws to score. If the Clippers are trotting him out to close games, they are handing the Lakers a serious mismatch to exploit. Given that the ball will be in the hands of Kawhi down the stretch anyway, I think the Clippers would be much better off closing with a guard like Beverly or Shamet (or both) who still provide spacing without being nearly as much of a defensive liability as Lou.
We literally just saw this yesterday....the Lakers hunted him on the defensive end by forcing switches while neutralizing him offensively.

A Lakers/Clippers series might simply come down to LeBron's unparalleled ability to effect a game with his passing vs. Kawhi's comparatively mediocre playmaking (0 assists yesterday.)

For all the talk about the "junkyard dogs" on the Clippers roster, the Lakers played with a lot more fire yesterday. LeBron has been hearing the Kawhi talk for years, and he literally attacked it head on by taking the defensive assignment down the stretch. I think he and all of the veterans on that team are going to be entering the playoffs with a MASSIVE chip on their shoulders.
 

Pioneer10

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Just was going through some game logs and I noticed the most FTs LeBron has gotten all year was 15 in a game. That would yesterday.

Before that? 14 against the Bucks...the game before.

Odd coincidence...
Did you watch the game? The Clippers got a ton of calls but the lack of rim protection was a huge problem with them and opened up the lane for Lebron

The Lakers like the Cavs in the Finals just hunted out either Morris or Lou Williams and then it was over: Lebron able to drive on either with ease and they had to foul him or give up the dunk. I guess they can put in Patrick Beverly but he's more talk and can't really guard Lebron going to the hoop and he was terrible on offense. They could bring in Zubac but the Lakers can the go big which they like to do anyway.

@JMoneyYourHoney is spot on here. The underrated move of the season maybe the buyout of Markief Morris: this really fixed a hole on the Lakers roster where they couldn't put another tweener 3/4 against teams with big wings. He's not a star and neither is Kuzma but they have big enough wings now who are decent enough on defense and are still threats on the offensive side of things. They can comfortably play Davis at the 5 and he's a nightmare at the 5: outside of Giannis he's the only guy who can guard a wing and provide elite rim protection at the same time
 

Rich

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Did you watch the game? The Clippers got a ton of calls but the lack of rim protection was a huge problem with them and opened up the lane for Lebron

The Lakers like the Cavs in the Finals just hunted out either Morris or Lou Williams and then it was over: Lebron able to drive on either with ease and they had to foul him or give up the dunk. I guess they can put in Patrick Beverly but he's more talk and can't really guard Lebron going to the hoop and he was terrible on offense. They could bring in Zubac but the Lakers can the go big which they like to do anyway.

@JMoneyYourHoney is spot on here. The underrated move of the season maybe the buyout of Markief Morris: this really fixed a hole on the Lakers roster where they couldn't put another tweener 3/4 against teams with big wings. He's not a star and neither is Kuzma but they have bodies now who are decent on defense and are still threats on the offensive side of things. They can comfortably play Davis at the 5 and he's a nightmare at the 5: outside of Giannis he's the only guy who can guard a wing and provide elite rim protection at the same time
I actually thought it was totally the other way and the Lakers got a bunch of favorable block/charge calls late.

The Clippers aren't going to switch Lou Williams onto LeBron James in the playoffs. THey'll just go under the screens late and make LeBron and his slowly degrading 3 point shot beat them 4 out of 7. Or make him drive on George and/or Kawhi over and over. Not that he can't do that...but when you look at their 3 games this year, the Clippers have guarded LeBron exceptionally well. Like...yesterday was his best shooting performance against them at 41%. The other two games he attempted more field goals than points he managed to score.

Kawhi, on the other hand, has been extremely efficient all 3 games. The first two games he was the best player on the court and was unguardable.

I dunno. People got really caught up in recency bias, but Kawhi has outplayed LeBron the majority of these 3 games and has proven more difficult to guard. Maybe Markieff will make a massive difference..but Marcus Morris had an absolutely dreadful game. Dunno if that's something you can count on every night in the playoffs.
 

Pioneer10

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I actually thought it was totally the other way and the Lakers got a bunch of favorable block/charge calls late.

The Clippers aren't going to switch Lou Williams onto LeBron James in the playoffs. THey'll just go under the screens late and make LeBron and his slowly degrading 3 point shot beat them 4 out of 7. Or make him drive on George and/or Kawhi over and over. Not that he can't do that...but when you look at their 3 games this year, the Clippers have guarded LeBron exceptionally well. Like...yesterday was his best shooting performance against them at 41%. The other two games he attempted more field goals than points he managed to score.

Kawhi, on the other hand, has been extremely efficient all 3 games. The first two games he was the best player on the court and was unguardable.

I dunno. People got really caught up in recency bias, but Kawhi has outplayed LeBron the majority of these 3 games and has proven more difficult to guard. Maybe Markieff will make a massive difference..but Marcus Morris had an absolutely dreadful game. Dunno if that's something you can count on every night in the playoffs.
We'll have to agree to disagree on the calls: Kawhii raked Lebron no call, Lebron got the charge clearly and Javie thought so as well but they didn't reverse it. The FT advantage was with the CIips as well. Both Kawhii and Harell thru there bodies into the lane and got calls based on the contact initiated by them

Lebron's 3 pointer seems about the same to me and his numbers look about on par for the last 5 years or so. He takes a lot of difficult 3's off the dribble/stepback but consistently late in his career you can't play him like Ben Simmons otherwise he will make those 3's with space a high clip. The fact his percentages are about the same and he's taken more this year doesn't suggest his 3 pointer is degrading. (he shot 35.1% from 3 during his Cleveland tenure and this year he's at 34.7). The Lakers may not have Kyrie but then again we didn't have AD and Green/KCP/Morris can all fil the JR role of screening and creating space at the 3 point line.

Lebron teams notoriously start out slow and Vogel messes around a lot with lineups: AD at the 5 is the playoff lineup and they didn't use it much or have the personnel to do it till the Morris deal. Clips and Bucks are great teams and the Lakers could lose to either but this is a lot like Lebron in Cleveland: get the right vets off the scrap heap as the season goes and then Lebron hits the go button after the All star break. The guy who guarded Giannis and Kawhii better than anybody else (outside of Jimmy Butler?) in back to back is not the same player who does in-game load management during the first half of the year.
 
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Pioneer10

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Interesting. I also think the Clippers should be favored because they just have more guys who can do something with the ball against a set defense than the Lakers who are pretty much entirely dependent on LeBron. However, Lou Williams has had a pretty spotty playoff career because he is abysmal defensively and relies too much on drawing free throws to score. If the Clippers are trotting him out to close games, they are handing the Lakers a serious mismatch to exploit. Given that the ball will be in the hands of Kawhi down the stretch anyway, I think the Clippers would be much better off closing with a guard like Beverly or Shamet (or both) who still provide spacing without being nearly as much of a defensive liability as Lou.
The problem is their offense was grinding to a halt so much that they went to Harell isos which the Lakers will live with. With AD at the 5 who is able to guard switches and still provide elite DPOY caliber rime protection, Morris/Kuzma/Green they have enough size at the wings to make life difficult on the switches and then Lebron in beast mode is not going to be backed down easily in the lane even if yours beasts like Giannis or Kawhii. Going to be hard to stick with Beverly in there when you need to use switches to create offense for Leonard and PG

Davis is such a beast on defense. Him and Hakeem maybe the two best PF/C's who could switch on to wings and just erase guys going to basket as well. Giannis as well but he's more SF/PF
 

Rich

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We'll have to agree to disagree on the calls: Kawhii raked Lebron no call, Lebron got the charge clearly and Javie thought so as well but they didn't reverse it. The FT advantage was with the CIips as well. Both Kawhii and Harell thru there bodies into the lane and got calls based on the contact initiated by them

Lebron's 3 pointer seems about the same to me and his numbers look about on par for the last 5 years or so. He takes a lot of difficult 3's off the dribble/stepback but consistently late in his career you can't play him like Ben Simmons otherwise he will make those 3's with space a high clip. The fact his percentages are about the same and he's taken more this year doesn't suggest his 3 pointer is not degrading. (he shot 35.1% from 3 during his Cleveland tenure and this year he's at 34.7). The Lakers may not have Kyrie but then again we didn't have AD and Green/KCP/Morris can all fil the JR role of screening and creating space at the 3 point line.

Lebron teams notoriously start out slow and Vogel messes around a lot with lineups: AD at the 5 is the playoff lineup and they didn't use it much or have the personnel to do it till the Morris deal. Clips and Bucks are great teams and the Lakers could lose to either but this is a lot like Lebron in Cleveland: get the right vets off the scrap heap as the season goes and then Lebron hits the go button after the All star break. The guy who guarded Giannis and Kawhii better than anybody else (outside of Jimmy Butler?) in back to back is not the same player who does in-game load management during the first half of the year.
I disagreed with Javie and think the NBA has really fucked up block/charge calls.

I also don't think the "LeBron teams start slow" thing works in a year where they very much didnt start slow and LeBron has been playing HARD on defense all season. This isnt and hasnt been a chill mode regular season for him. They very much wanted to win that Christmas game and Kawhi was too good.

But in general I think everyone makes too much out of these regular season meetings. Teams totally change lineups and tactics in the postseason.

And I do think when it comes to guarding LeBron no one on earth deserves the benefit of the doubt more than Kawhi. And so far through 3 games this season hes been more successful than not at it.
 
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