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A coach’s observations from Game 1 of the NBA Finals

Much has been written about this year’s NBA finals match-up between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Basketball enthusiasts all over the world salivated at the prospect of a Steph Curry-LeBron James match up over a historic best-of-seven series. The Warriors are chasing their first title since 1975 while the Cavs are fighting for their first ever one.

The first game was played yesterday, which saw the Warriors winning 108-100 in overtime. Both teams played well and all of their superstars showed why they were labelled as such. Below are my observations during the game:


  1. The Cavs’ transition defense was excellent. They minimised one of the Warriors’ threat – fastbreaks.
  2. The Cavs did a great job in closing out the Warriors’ three-point shooters.
  3. Mozgov and Tristan Thompson played very well. Mozgov changed a lot of the Warriors’ shots while Tristan Thompson rebounded tremendously well.
  4. There were too many isolation plays involving LBJ. Although effective, with James scoring 44, it’s never going to be enough in any series, let alone with the Warriors.
  5. JR Smith went cold in the second half. I really believe that he needs to step up to be able to help the Cavs win some games.
  6. Their bench did not show up.
  7. Kyrie played a LOT of minutes. Although he was spectacular until he got injured, Blatt should have monitored his minutes.


  1. Their bench saved them. Mo Speights, Iguodala and Livingston played very well, especially in the second quarter.
  2. Curry heated up in the second quarter. Following a big lift from their bench players, Steph Curry and his team shot their way back from a 14-point deficit in the second quarter which changed the game completely.
  3. They defended ‘smartly’ and with discipline. Thanks most probably to Ron Adams (asst. coach and defensive specialist), they allowed LBJ to have his way against multiple defenders but did not collapse their defense when he went into the paint. James ‘only’ registered 6 assists last night.
  4. Small ball closed it out. Coach Kerr’s decision to put Green on the 5 and Barnes on 4 in overtime allowed multiple switching on defense, gang rebounding and a quicker pace, leading to a better defensive performance and higher energy levels which ultimately closed the game out. The Cave scored only 2 points during the overtime period.
  5. Thank goodness for Klay. I assume that the outcome of this game would be the opposite had Klay not been cleared to play. He suffered from concussion symptoms after he took a knee to his head during their close-out game against the Rockets. He played well on both ends of the floor.
  6. They turned down easy lay-ups throughout the game. The length of the Cavs (and the undeniable presence of Mozgov) forced the Warriors to kick the ball out instead of finishing in the rim in a number of occassions during the game.
  7. Turnovers nearly cost them the game. The Warriors need to take care of the ball better next game.

LeBron James is Coming Home to the Cavs

Four-time MVP LeBron James has announced that he will be coming back to the team that drafted him- the Cleveland Cavaliers.

LeBron will be playing alongside young talents such as Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins to chase Cleveland’s first ever championship in decades.

For the full story reported on Sports Illustrated, click HERE

And the Top 10 Picks of the 2014 NBA draft are…

So the wait is over. Andrew Wiggins has been confirmed as the NBA’s Number 1 Draft Pick this year. He was picked by the Cavaliers but will he stay there? I don’t know…

Andrew Wiggins

Jabari Parker was picked no. 2 by Milwaukee. Parker is exciting. He’s my favourite player out of all the draftees this year. I hope he does well.

Jabari Parker

The Sixers then selected Joel Embiid, who I thought would be the number one pick. He is very highly rated but his recent foot injury puts a huge, huge question mark on his future. He’s out for at least 4 months. Goodness knows when he’d be healthy and productive. I wish him well, too.

Joel Embiid

The Orlando Magic selected 6’8″ forward Aaron Gordon. Gordon’s a world-class athlete who can run and defend any position. He’s a bit of an enigma for me.

Aaron Gordon

The fifth pick by the Jazz was the 18 year-old, 6’6″ Autralian point gurad, Dante Exum.

Dante Exum

The 6th pick, Marcus Smart , is going to Boston to play for the Celtics. Smart is a point guard that drives harder than anyone. He has a 6’9″ wing-span, he is a great defender, but a bad shooter. Would he be a good fit with Rondo? Hmmm…

Marcus Smart

Julius Randle joins the LA Lakers as the 7th ovrall pick. He’s a great rebounder who kind of reminds people of Zach Randolph in the way he works in the paint.

Julius Randle

Nik Stauskas goes 8th with the Kings. Stauskas is a great, great shooter.

Nik Stauskas

The New Orleans HORNETS (no longer the Pelicans, remember!), selected Noah Vonleh as the 9th pick. He has a 7’4″ wing-span!

Noah Vonleh

The 10th pick (Philly) pick was Elfrid Payton.

Elfrid Payton


LeBron’s not the only one to blame on Cavs’ elimination

As we all know, the Cleveland Cavaliers were yet again eliminated from the playoffs by the veteran Boston team led by Rajon Rondo. The Cavs were expected by many to win this year as they have acquired Shaq and Anthony Parker during the off-season and Antawn Jamison during the late stages of the regular season.

Jamison was acquired to be ‘Bron’s number 2, but his numbers and his play suggest that he’s no Pau Gasol. He was not able to adopt quickly to the Cavs’ way of playing, and hence could not fulfill people’s expectations. Jamison looked like he’d rather go home than play in the playoffs during the Boston series, whcih was very disappointing to Cleveland fans.

Shaq and Parker played OK, but were outsmarted by their opposite numbers in the Celtics. Although Mo Williams showed some flashes of offensive brilliance, he was a no show on the defensive end of the court. The coaching staff looked as though they failed to study the Celtics’ defensive rotation and hence were not able to exploit its holes, probably because they were too busy trying to figure out how to stop Rondo from humiliating them.

As most of us know, LeBron’s elbow is probably worse than what was reported, but by no means should that be an excuse for playing the way he did on game 5. His mental toughness was also in question as Charles Barkley pointed out. He’s the MVP, he’s supposed to be the best ball player in the world, so a bum-bow is not an excuse. Kobe’s probably more hurt than Lebron but does he complain? No.

But Bron-Bron’s not the only one to blame. James’ supporting cast and coaching staff failed to do what their supposed to do. Basketball is a team game. The whole team is to blame.