February 2020 NBA Game Thread

lovegtm

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I'm not even sure what to say about that Lillard call. Imagine if that happened in the playoffs.

Their center (Westbrook) was out and it was the second night of a B2B. As some guy Paul Pierce said earlier, this was a classic schedule loss. I mean, they may really end up being horrible given their size limitations but just as one game isn't a great barometer, two isn't really either.
One thing we've seen to a lesser degree with the Celtics (lesser since they have a lot more size than Houston) is that if you're going to play a very mobile, fast, "light infantry" defense, you expend a lot of energy. It looks great when it's on, but it's not feasible night-in-night-out, and definitely not on a B2B, on the road, after an emotional win.

In the playoffs, where you're locked in and always on a days rest at least, is a different matter.
 

Sam Ray Not

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Their center (Westbrook) was out and it was the second night of a B2B. As some guy Paul Pierce said earlier, this was a classic schedule loss.
Apparently no one told that to the Blazers, who dragged 7 healthy bodies into Utah on a road B2B (against a Jazz team desperate for a win) and battled till the final buzzer. (Edit: as you noted).
 

SoxFanInPdx

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Fuck this league. Straight up. I've seen blown calls go against the Blazers before since the 90's. This one took the cake. Fuck Utah too.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Their center (Westbrook) was out and it was the second night of a B2B. As some guy Paul Pierce said earlier, this was a classic schedule loss. I mean, they may really end up being horrible given their size limitations but just as one game isn't a great barometer, two isn't really either.
Oh I know I just thought it was funny. Phoenix pretty much had a Bye last night.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Such chickenshit from the league to call it a potential goaltend in the headline. We all saw it.

Absolutely pointless review rules if you can’t check no-calls in a one possession game with 10 seconds left. It’s like these leagues put their replay rules only halfway together so they can keep adding to it later to say “look we fix stuff!”
 

lovegtm

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Such chickenshit from the league to call it a potential goaltend in the headline. We all saw it.

Absolutely pointless review rules if you can’t check no-calls in a one possession game with 10 seconds left. It’s like these leagues put their replay rules only halfway together so they can keep adding to it later to say “look we fix stuff!”
So I'm in 100% agreement with the spirit of what you're saying. The logistical issue, however, and one that the NBA needs to address, is that they've been unwilling to allow replays that create counterfactuals.

Example: in this spot, the goaltend happened with 13 seconds left. Utah rebounded it and was fouled at 9 seconds. It's easy to imagine this happening with 28 seconds left, in which case Portland doesn't foul, and possibly the rest of the game just transpires. At that point, you go back, review the call and see it was a goaltend. Now the game "should have been" tied at 28 seconds, and you ask the teams to go out and replay a final 28 seconds that "already happened."

I'm not sure what the solution is here...it's really tough. Obviously you could tell refs to be more willing to call goaltends/fouls at the end of games to allow for review, but that creates new problems, because the league is currently so hesitant to reverse calls, and it's hard for the official to process those directives in real time without a lot of extra training.
 

bigq

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Was looking at the Eastern Conference standings and was interested to see that Toronto, Milwaukee and Boston have all been really humming recently. Milwaukee and Boston both have won 9 of their last 10 games and Toronto is on a 13 game winning streak. I’m not sure if it is unusual for the top three teams in a conference to be simultaneously so hot but it feels that way to me. ~30 games to go in the regular season and the positions of the top three may change over time but it feels like these are going to continue to be the best three teams at the season’s end. I am already looking forward to the Eastern Conference playoffs which are going to be a lot of fun this year.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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View: https://twitter.com/wojespn/status/1226169781612634122


I'm old enough to remember when people wanted Bender over Jaylen. I guess he couldn't make the jump when the competition got tougher.
Dragan is still super young. Bender is 22 and shoots 38.4% from 3P land. I still think there's a place in today's NBA for a 7 footer who can shoot and guard on the perimeter. Too bad the Cs roster is max'd out. He's the kind of guy I would think a smart GM in a small market town would pick up.

edit: given that MEM recently gave 1st half minutes to Josh Jackson, I'd think there should be a roster spot for Bender in the league.
 
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Devizier

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I still think there's a place in today's NBA for a 7 footer who can shoot and guard on the perimeter.
He is a good, natural shooter but that's about it. He could probably carve out a role in the NBA but I'd be shocked if his earning potential isn't better abroad. I don't think he'll be developing on some team's bench next year.
 

lovegtm

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Dragan is still super young. Bender is 22 and shoots 38.4% from 3P land. I still think there's a place in today's NBA for a 7 footer who can shoot and guard on the perimeter. Too bad the Cs roster is max'd out. He's the kind of guy I would think a smart GM in a small market town would pick up.
Yeah, his story may not be finished, but it’s hard to stay on the floor if your only skill is being able to hit catch-and-shoot 3s at 38%. The % is misleading, because teams just sell out to run you off the line, and then you’re stuck trying to make plays in space whenever you don’t have space to get a shot off.

This is why Semi kills offense: he’s actually a decent catch-and-shoot guy, and demands closeouts. But in the cases where he’s run off, he either fails to make the next right play with a pass, or turns it over, or resets the offense with no advantage gained.

You have to be pretty special defensively to make up for this inability on offense, not just competent. (See Thybulle, Matisse)
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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He is a good, natural shooter but that's about it. He could probably carve out a role in the NBA but I'd be shocked if his earning potential isn't better abroad. I don't think he'll be developing on some team's bench next year.
Bender apparently had some decent rim protection and rebounding stats when given some backup minutes due to Lopez's injury: https://behindthebuckpass.com/2020/01/22/milwaukee-bucks-dragan-benders-patience-starting-pay-off/

Given his pre-draft physical attributes, I'd be shocked if four years later he couldn't move his feet and play defense. He's up to 250 now so maybe he has some interior presence too. But what I'm really saying is that he certainly has talent and while he certainly could earn more in Europe right now, there are over a dozen teams that have no shot at the playoffs and should be trying to sign him. The 'Zards come immediately to mind as a team that really lacks talent.
 

Strike4

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So I'm in 100% agreement with the spirit of what you're saying. The logistical issue, however, and one that the NBA needs to address, is that they've been unwilling to allow replays that create counterfactuals.

Example: in this spot, the goaltend happened with 13 seconds left. Utah rebounded it and was fouled at 9 seconds. It's easy to imagine this happening with 28 seconds left, in which case Portland doesn't foul, and possibly the rest of the game just transpires. At that point, you go back, review the call and see it was a goaltend. Now the game "should have been" tied at 28 seconds, and you ask the teams to go out and replay a final 28 seconds that "already happened."

I'm not sure what the solution is here...it's really tough. Obviously you could tell refs to be more willing to call goaltends/fouls at the end of games to allow for review, but that creates new problems, because the league is currently so hesitant to reverse calls, and it's hard for the official to process those directives in real time without a lot of extra training.
I've always thought it was weird for the NBA because they have zero hesitation about taking points off the board and you never even see reviews. They did it last night in the Lakers-Warriors game. Like five minutes after GSW hit a three, the announcers say "oh and the score is like it is because a review determined that so and so has stepped out of bounds on his three so that doesn't count." ??? They area already halfway there - if you can take points off the board without even showing a replay on TV, there's got to be a way to manage calls so they can get to the point of overturning poorly-called fouls etc. Especially with something like goaltending which is not "subjective" in the manner of charges or reach-ins.
 

lovegtm

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I've always thought it was weird for the NBA because they have zero hesitation about taking points off the board and you never even see reviews. They did it last night in the Lakers-Warriors game. Like five minutes after GSW hit a three, the announcers say "oh and the score is like it is because a review determined that so and so has stepped out of bounds on his three so that doesn't count." ??? They area already halfway there - if you can take points off the board without even showing a replay on TV, there's got to be a way to manage calls so they can get to the point of overturning poorly-called fouls etc. Especially with something like goaltending which is not "subjective" in the manner of charges or reach-ins.
I agree that there’s “got to be a way”, the problem is that coming up with it is non-trivial, while just saying “there’s got to be a way” is trivial.

The difference with the 3 pointer becoming 2 example is that the rest of the game proceeds exactly as it would have (NBA teams outside the last minute don’t chase the score like you have to in football). The defense takes the ball out of bounds, and the offense goes up the floor with the same time on the clock, whether it’s a 3 or a 2.

In the goaltending example, you could easily have a full minute of gametime go by, review it, change, and then what? What if the defense got a transition basket, and now has to take it out of bounds? Etc.

The best approach I can think of is similar to what the NFL basically did:
1. tell refs to err HEAVILY on the side of the more reversible call
2. tell Seacaucus to reverse on the basis of probable evidence l, as opposed to overwhelming evidence.

Even that has problems though, because basketball plays aren’t discrete like football ones: if you call an obvious Gobert block a goaltend and then fix it on replay, you deny Portland the chance at a putback or Utah the chance at a run-out.

It’s a hard problem, and the difficulty is inherent in the structure of the game itself.
 

Devizier

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Given his pre-draft physical attributes, I'd be shocked if four years later he couldn't move his feet and play defense. He's up to 250 now so maybe he has some interior presence too. But what I'm really saying is that he certainly has talent and while he certainly could earn more in Europe right now, there are over a dozen teams that have no shot at the playoffs and should be trying to sign him. The 'Zards come immediately to mind as a team that really lacks talent.
My comp is Mirotic. Of course Bender is not there yet but Mirotic just inked a 25M euro contract. He wouldn't sniff that kind of dough in the US nor should he.
 

benhogan

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I agree that there’s “got to be a way”, the problem is that coming up with it is non-trivial, while just saying “there’s got to be a way” is trivial.

The difference with the 3 pointer becoming 2 example is that the rest of the game proceeds exactly as it would have (NBA teams outside the last minute don’t chase the score like you have to in football). The defense takes the ball out of bounds, and the offense goes up the floor with the same time on the clock, whether it’s a 3 or a 2.

In the goaltending example, you could easily have a full minute of gametime go by, review it, change, and then what? What if the defense got a transition basket, and now has to take it out of bounds? Etc.

The best approach I can think of is similar to what the NFL basically did:
1. tell refs to err HEAVILY on the side of the more reversible call
2. tell Seacaucus to reverse on the basis of probable evidence l, as opposed to overwhelming evidence.

Even that has problems though, because basketball plays aren’t discrete like football ones: if you call an obvious Gobert block a goaltend and then fix it on replay, you deny Portland the chance at a putback or Utah the chance at a run-out.

It’s a hard problem, and the difficulty is inherent in the structure of the game itself.
With the advent of 5G technology, you should eventually see 3D high def cameras focused on rims, backboards, out of bounds where the NBA will get immediate feedback (quicker than a refs whistle). MLB (strike zone) and NFL (sideline calls) should also embrace technology BUT I'd expect the NBA to be the first mover here.

Tesla has developed self-driving cars, so the camera/latency technology is available.
 

lovegtm

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With the advent of 5G technology, you should eventually see 3D high def cameras focused on rims, backboards, out of bounds where the NBA will get immediate feedback (quicker than a refs whistle). MLB (strike zone) and NFL (sideline calls) should also embrace technology BUT I'd expect the NBA to be the first mover here.

Tesla has developed self-driving cars, so the camera/latency technology is available.
Off the top of my head, intuitively you should be able to do ML classification on objective stuff like goaltending from certain angles. Would take some optimization but I think very much in the realm of "doable very soon or now."
 

benhogan

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Off the top of my head, intuitively you should be able to do ML classification on objective stuff like goaltending from certain angles. Would take some optimization but I think very much in the realm of "doable very soon or now."
ball inside the cylinder is easily doable now, wonder how much pushback there is from Umps/Refs union
 

Smokey Joe

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With the advent of 5G technology, you should eventually see 3D high def cameras focused on rims, backboards, out of bounds where the NBA will get immediate feedback (quicker than a refs whistle). MLB (strike zone) and NFL (sideline calls) should also embrace technology BUT I'd expect the NBA to be the first mover here.

Tesla has developed self-driving cars, so the camera/latency technology is available.
Or, rather wait until the 5G network arrived, they could do it with the fiber-optic network that actually exists.

If they wanted to.
 

shawnrbu

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Hawks and Knicks in a wild one in Atlanta. I love how in a double OT game if you somehow had Trae Young rebounds (1) + Mitchell Robinson assists (0) Under 1.5, you win.
 

Montana Fan

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Holy shit that finish in Houston. PJ Tucker hits 3 pointer to put Rockets up 2 with 1.6 left. Utah passes it into Bogdanovic, two guys all over him nothing but net.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Washed up, geriatric Trevor Ariza with 19/3/3 tonight for Portland...….in the first half. Situations matter.

Except for Dragan Bender. I'm sure Maccabi will take you back. That's more your speed.

I'm drunk.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Washed up, geriatric Trevor Ariza with 19/3/3 tonight for Portland...….in the first half. Situations matter.

Except for Dragan Bender. I'm sure Maccabi will take you back. That's more your speed.

I'm drunk.
I don't recall referring to Ariza as a geriatric but if he keeps this up, I will gladly admit that he isn't quite washed up. In fact, were you to bother looking upthread - and I am not suggesting you do so - you would see that I already gave you props early on. My take wasn't based so much on his time in Sacramento as much as his last season in Houston where his stats showed him declining.

Glad you are enjoying your Sunday night. The Blazers are looking pretty decent right now btw. They may not make the playoffs but who wants to play them down the stretch with Lilliard going supernova and them getting Nurk and Collins back?
 

HomeRunBaker

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I don't recall referring to Ariza as a geriatric but if he keeps this up, I will gladly admit that he isn't quite washed up. In fact, were you to bother looking upthread - and I am not suggesting you do so - you would see that I already gave you props early on. My take wasn't based so much on his time in Sacramento as much as his last season in Houston where his stats showed him declining.

Glad you are enjoying your Sunday night. The Blazers are looking pretty decent right now btw. They may not make the playoffs but who wants to play them down the stretch with Lilliard going supernova and them getting Nurk and Collins back?
1. I wasn't referring to you specifically. People have mocked Ariza ever since that silly comp for I forget who.....I just remember it was a horrible comp. Veteran players make much better role players on winning teams than younger players even after they have lost a step or two since they can typically make up for what they've lost physically with their advanced mental part of the game which most younger players do not possess......and are arguably more important for a role player (non-star) than an advanced physical aspect.

2. Youth impresses, Age wins. I learned this early on in our pro-am summer league in my young 20's when all the hot shot and collegiate players were the ones everyone came to see. Yet, every year the one team who was always winning or in the finals were 5 guys in their young to mid-30's with maybe one or two young players who played with their heads more than their legs. Those guys won. It didn't go unnoticed by this young buck. ;)
 

NWsoxophile

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An under appreciated storyline for Portland has been the emergence of Gary Trent Jr. as a solid rotation player, providing consistent scoring and solid defense on a regular basis.
 

HomeRunBaker

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An under appreciated storyline for Portland has been the emergence of Gary Trent Jr. as a solid rotation player, providing consistent scoring and solid defense on a regular basis.
One interesting piece is Carmelo. He's been god awful in 3 of the Blazers last 5 games then bounced back tonight with a real nice performance in a Blazers win.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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An under appreciated storyline for Portland has been the emergence of Gary Trent Jr. as a solid rotation player, providing consistent scoring and solid defense on a regular basis.
Indeed. In his last 19 games prior to this (so from the start of January on) he is averaging 45.3% from the field and 40.9% from three while his usage has gone way up. He had 22 points tonight on 8-11 shooting including 5-7 from deep.
 

Sam Ray Not

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Speaking of geriatric dudes: Andre Iguodala — who ripped out Dame Lillard’s heart in his last visit to Portland — made his season debut tonight.

And such an André-ish line: 23 minutes, 2 pts, 6 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk ..... +10 in a game the Heat lost by 6.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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I think they got that one right though. Replay showed Crowder got all ball and as the ball was going off Lillard out of bounds his follow through got Lillards arm after the fact.
Maybe the complaint was less about this play and more about the numerous deserving plays that have not been overturned over some perceived inconsequential slow motion micro-contact.
 

NWsoxophile

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Indeed. In his last 19 games prior to this (so from the start of January on) he is averaging 45.3% from the field and 40.9% from three while his usage has gone way up. He had 22 points tonight on 8-11 shooting including 5-7 from deep.
Hassan Whiteside was an awkward fit in Portland early in the year but has really found his way and is gelling with Dame in the pick and roll. He's leading the league in blocks, 3rd in rebounds, and averaging 15.8 ppg. He has had some monster games. I'm curious to see how they'll manage him and Nurk when Nurk gets back, and if they'll try to retain him after this season.
 

HomeRunBaker

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The new Robert Swift.
Robert Swift of Seattle, pre-knee injury, pre-steroid weight gain and pre-drug addiction, has showed he had real NBA skills when he was on the floor. Bender has never shown any ability at the NBA level other than hitting a few jumpers.

I am admittedly biased as I loved Swift’s skills and never saw anything out of Bender.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Simmons is really good and he is going to get better. The guy can take over a game without shooting which is insane in this day and age.