NBA Finals: Celtics vs Mavs

Who wins?

  • Celtics in 4

    Votes: 22 5.0%
  • Celtics in 5

    Votes: 120 27.3%
  • Celtics in 6

    Votes: 222 50.6%
  • Celtics in 7

    Votes: 52 11.8%
  • Mavs in 4-5

    Votes: 3 0.7%
  • Mavs in 6-7

    Votes: 20 4.6%

  • Total voters
    439
  • Poll closed .

joe dokes

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Brad Botkin from CBS Sports with a piece of Oncic's lack of "D" here: Luka Doncic's defense hits shameful levels with Mavericks on brink of being swept by Celtics - CBSSports.com .

With film!

The money quote:
In this series, Doncic has been a zero. Hell, he's been worse than a zero -- an active detriment every time down the floor. Dallas is literally playing four on five. Boston is living in the paint and generating open 3s largely because Doncic cannot bother himself to even try to stay in front of penetrators. It's compromising everything Dallas is at least trying to do defensively.
He's like an outfielder with 45HR and a 225 OBP, and -15DRS.
 
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SemperFidelisSox

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The injury excuse is a dead end because it’s not like Luka has a long track record of being a great defensive player or is coming off a DPoY season. The sprained knee isn’t the reasons he’s been a turnstile this series.
 

Senator Donut

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Yeah, he’s preserving his access.
I don't think MacMahon is exclusively on the Mavs beat anymore, but he certainly lives in Dallas and covers them regularly and seems to have a good rapport with Luka. MacMahon got the first and second question at Doncic's post-game press conference last night.

A fun baseless conspiracy theory is that MacMahon ordered the code red on Brian Windhorst's ESPN monologue that absolutely skewered Doncic.
 

tims4wins

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I was going to post about this: the "super team" thing is ridiculous. They made a Jrue trade that tons of other teams could have made.

They replaced Smart and Brogdon with Jrue and PP.

JB, Hauser, DWhite, and PP all improved.

There's your "super team".
Also it's painful to say, but there is a huge addition by subtraction vibe here with all of those guys.
 

lovegtm

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I guess I just wasn't as emotionally attached to Marcus. This iteration of the Celtics has always been about Tatum and Brown, for me, to the degree I'm not rooting for laundry.
 

snowmanny

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I was going to post about this: the "super team" thing is ridiculous. They made a Jrue trade that tons of other teams could have made.

They replaced Smart and Brogdon with Jrue and PP.

JB, Hauser, DWhite, and PP all improved.

There's your "super team".
CJM improved too.

But I feel as if folks outside of, well, here are missing how much Brown improved from last year. He was third team all-NBA last year and defense, ball handling, decision making, finishing all look visibly better this year. He’s a problem at both ends for any opposing team.

Obviously he hasn’t had any horrible shooting or turnover stretches like he did against Miami last year. He just seems way beyond that crap now.
 

ManicCompression

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They're butterknives in a lot of places, though:

- Tim McMahon, ESPN.com

I can't understand this - the injuries only get mentioned when excusing his atrocious defense. He seems to have no limitations on the offensive end, particularly early in games when his poor conditioning hasn't reared it's head yet.

The best player in the world moniker is truly laughable. Even with the "arguably," caveat. We know scoring is weighted more heavily in those discussions, but the best basketball player in the world has to be at least competent and competitive on the opposite side of the ball.
Yes, this terrible thoracic contusion that stops him from working hard on defense miraculously disappears every time he puts his right forearm into a 230 pound defender to create space. The excuses for this guy are insane.
 

BigSoxFan

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I guess I just wasn't as emotionally attached to Marcus. This iteration of the Celtics has always been about Tatum and Brown, for me, to the degree I'm not rooting for laundry.
I never was either although I feel bad that he’s going to go into the Wes Welker group of Boston sports heroes who don’t get the credit they deserve because they didn’t win a title.

Moss is basically the only guy exempt from that group from recent seasons because of how transcendent of a talent he was.
 

PedroKsBambino

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I don't think MacMahon is exclusively on the Mavs beat anymore, but he certainly lives in Dallas and covers them regularly and seems to have a good rapport with Luka. MacMahon got the first and second question at Doncic's post-game press conference last night.

A fun baseless conspiracy theory is that MacMahon ordered the code red on Brian Windhorst's ESPN monologue that absolutely skewered Doncic.
McMahon has a messy history with Cuban and the team which he's talked about on podcasts View: https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2675556-mavericks-lift-credential-ban-on-espn-reporters-marc-stein-tim-macmahon

No idea what his relationships are now.

It is easy to believe that some of Windhorst's sources are either McMahon, or through McMahon, about the Mavs...
 

timelysarcasm

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McMahon is a Dallas-area reporter, no? Understandable in that context.
Good point out, and yes, he's probably measuring his criticism a bit.

edit: And thank you everyone else for adding interesting context to Tim McMahon!

That video was a lot about his offensive shortcomings, right? That's been a big takeawa

People don't talk enough about how much better Jokic is offensively, and how much harder he is to defend.

How good would Dallas be if you replaced Luka with Jokic and traded one of their centers for a JAG wing?
Right, and this is a (more minor) criticism I have of Doncic in terms of "best player in the world" - he is an absolutely incredible tough shotmaker, but you have to imagine when thinking about a player like Jokic if Luka's next level is getting a lot more methodical. It would save him some energy, for sure, which he is going to need to raise on the defensive level to truly be a best player in the world.

It would make me absolutely nuts rooting for Luka because he has so much room for improvement in terms of his conditioning and defense. You can say "oh he's only 25," but he's been a pro for a long ass time and hasn't shown any inclination to improve either dramatically. He could be so much better than he already is. The Jared Sullinger experience was enough for me on that end - although Sully did learn the lesson eventually.
 

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Did they review the 5th foul? I thought they did, too, but then they also reviewed the 6th foul — that would have been an unsuccessful challenge and then a SECOND challenge, and no one was talking about it. So, I think they didn't challenge 5, but the broadcast thought they were going to, and told us they did going into the break, and then came back right as the Cs were inbounding, making us all believe the challenge had been unsuccessful.
I had the same thought. I was behind on the broadcast so I was using fast-forward at that point to jump thru commercials, so when the 6th foul was called, I immediately thought "They have no more challenges! What is Luka signaling for? They just used it minutes ago on his 5th foul."
 

tims4wins

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I never was either although I feel bad that he’s going to go into the Wes Welker group of Boston sports heroes who don’t get the credit they deserve because they didn’t win a title.

Moss is basically the only guy exempt from that group from recent seasons because of how transcendent of a talent he was.
I disagree. We all still love Marcus.

And Randy proves that you don't have to win it all to be totally beloved here.

But you can't drop a game-sealing type of pass in the Super Bowl either.
 

Zincman

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The thing that the national audience is seeing is that on a team with multiple two-way players, the two wings stand out like the stars that they are. The NBA is a defensive league today and a team with one offensive star who sometimes gives an effort and another who simply can't be bothered are easy pickings for a team with multiple top defenders and scorers. If two way players are to be valued highly, I need to hear the argument that JB isn't one of the 15 best in this league.
 

tims4wins

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I was going to post about this: the "super team" thing is ridiculous. They made a Jrue trade that tons of other teams could have made.

They replaced Smart and Brogdon with Jrue and PP.

JB, Hauser, DWhite, and PP all improved.

There's your "super team".
Another point on this: why did all of these guys improve (plus Kornet)? They got more opportunity. Why did they get more opportunity? Those other guys were traded.
 

lovegtm

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Right, and this is a (more minor) criticism I have of Doncic in terms of "best player in the world" - he is an absolutely incredible tough shotmaker, but you have to imagine when thinking about a player like Jokic if Luka's next level is getting a lot more methodical. It would save him some energy, for sure, which he is going to need to raise on the defensive level to truly be a best player in the world.
Since I think cross-racial comparisons are often more useful: the guy Doncic could learn the most from on offense is pretty clearly Tatum, imo. Luka could do a lot as a screener, a threat against closeouts, etc. He probably needs better roleplayers for that to work, but even with Kyrie, the degree to which they don't work together on offense is pretty noticeable, especially when contrasted with e.g. Tatum and DWhite.
 

Jimbodandy

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The injury excuse is a dead end because it’s not like Luka has a long track record of being a great defensive player or is coming off a DPoY season. The sprained knee isn’t the reasons he’s been a turnstile this series.
This will sound a bit pedantic but whatever--I honestly think that they never noticed. They don't care about defense. They don't really care about straws that stir the drink guys either. They neither understand or can be bothered to learn impact stats. "POINTZ" is an oversimplification but not entirely wrong. "Primary shot creator with good efficiency who can pass when doubled" is basically the paragon. If you're that guy, nobody cares what else you do. They don't even really look.

However, now it's being jammed down their throats. They're watching him get absolutely toasted and how it kills the Dallas defense. They can't help but notice.

Hanlon's Razor.
 

singaporesoxfan

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Brad Botkin from CBS Sports with a piece of Oncic's lack of "D" here: Luka Doncic's defense hits shameful levels with Mavericks on brink of being swept by Celtics - CBSSports.com .

With film!

The money quote:
In this series, Doncic has been a zero. Hell, he's been worse than a zero -- an active detriment every time down the floor. Dallas is literally playing four on five. Boston is living in the paint and generating open 3s largely because Doncic cannot bother himself to even try to stay in front of penetrators. It's compromising everything Dallas is at least trying to do defensively.
I'm not sure "cannot bother himself" is the right phrase for it, because it makes it sound like it's an effort issue when really it's a skill issue. Botkin starts by noting how "ironic" it was that Doncic fouled out trying to play defense, but it seems like the fouling out was the logical outcome of him to trying to play defense when he's terrible at it.
 

joe dokes

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Since I think cross-racial comparisons are often more useful: the guy Doncic could learn the most from on offense is pretty clearly Tatum, imo. Luka could do a lot as a screener, a threat against closeouts, etc. He probably needs better roleplayers for that to work, but even with Kyrie, the degree to which they don't work together on offense is pretty noticeable, especially when contrasted with e.g. Tatum and DWhite.
Kyrie is likely both too old and still too good to change. He seems *exactly* the kind of player who wont change how he operates until mother nature forces him to. And then his skills will have eroded. Tatum and Brown are changing their games while in their primes. That should be terrifying to the rest of the league.
 

Jimbodandy

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I'm not sure "cannot bother himself" is the right phrase for it, because it makes it sound like it's an effort issue when really it's a skill issue. Botkin starts by noting how "ironic" it was that Doncic fouled out trying to play defense, but it seems like the fouling out was the logical outcome of him to trying to play defense when he's terrible at it.
Was thinking the same thing earlier. When you ask your #5 batter to drop down a bunt, it shouldn't be thoroughly shocking when he can't do it. It's great that he's trying harder on D, but he's out over his skis doing it now.
 

joe dokes

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I'm not sure "cannot bother himself" is the right phrase for it, because it makes it sound like it's an effort issue when really it's a skill issue. Botkin starts by noting how "ironic" it was that Doncic fouled out trying to play defense, but it seems like the fouling out was the logical outcome of him to trying to play defense when he's terrible at it.
Doncic's first step on defense is just glacial. You'd think a guy with his offensive mind could at least use some anticipation skills to help himself.
 

bakahump

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There was another play where the Luka stood to the Left of the celtics basket. He basically ball watched as the passes went in a triangle around him for a score. He literally took 3 half steps in each direction of the triangle. Never really committing to anything.

I am not sure how much is "effort"/conditioning and how much is that he is just REALLY Bad at defense. IOW I am not sure he CAN get even decent at Defense.

Never watched him much....but now that I have..
 

DJnVa

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The best thing about all the issues with Doncic is it literally cannot be fixed. There is nothing they can do to hide him on defense. Other issues possibly have scheme fixes, but not this. It's unfixable in 2 days.
 

BigSoxFan

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I disagree. We all still love Marcus.

And Randy proves that you don't have to win it all to be totally beloved here.

But you can't drop a game-sealing type of pass in the Super Bowl either.
Marcus is loved but he’s not a Celtic legend and never will be.
 

HomeRunBaker

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The best thing about all the issues with Doncic is it literally cannot be fixed. There is nothing they can do to hide him on defense. Other issues possibly have scheme fixes, but not this. It's unfixable in 2 days.
This goes back to G2. If Kidd couldn’t figure out how to keep Doncic out of space with Jaylen/Jayson coming downhill at him while maintaining their same rotations and also defending the corner 3’s in that game it was never going to happen against this personnel. There is no fix except the Celtics becoming lackadaisical which isn’t happening with their eye so close to the prize.
 

timelysarcasm

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Since I think cross-racial comparisons are often more useful: the guy Doncic could learn the most from on offense is pretty clearly Tatum, imo. Luka could do a lot as a screener, a threat against closeouts, etc. He probably needs better roleplayers for that to work, but even with Kyrie, the degree to which they don't work together on offense is pretty noticeable, especially when contrasted with e.g. Tatum and DWhite.
I was just piggybacking off of the post that mentioned Jokic - but I actually don't think Tatum is a great comp for Luka. Maybe just in general "skills he should obtain" which are fairly general improvements across the board you could apply to any younger, improving superstar. I'd have to think on who would be a great evolutionary goal for Luka, if he didn't change a thing he'd still probably be way up there.

And yeah, he and Kyrie are both just iso-ing to create advantages and they are definitely my turn/your turn. Amusing, because they were getting lauded for it right up until the Finals exposed how that approach leaves something on the table - but to be fair as you said the rest of their team is pretty limited offensively.

I'd be really curious to break that down a little further - Luka in Q1/Q2 when he's fresh and "on" vs. late game Luka when he is gassed.
 

RorschachsMask

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I was just piggybacking off of the post that mentioned Jokic - but I actually don't think Tatum is a great comp for Luka. Maybe just in general "skills he should obtain" which are fairly general improvements across the board you could apply to any younger, improving superstar. I'd have to think on who would be a great evolutionary goal for Luka, if he didn't change a thing he'd still probably be way up there.

And yeah, he and Kyrie are both just iso-ing to create advantages and they are definitely my turn/your turn. Amusing, because they were getting lauded for it right up until the Finals exposed how that leaves something on the table - but to be fair as you said the rest of their team is pretty limited offensively.



I'd be really curious to break that down a little further - Luka in Q1/Q2 when he's fresh and "on" vs. late game Luka when he is gassed.
He struggles even getting off decent looks in the second half of these games.
 

TomRicardo

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It is easy to believe that some of Windhorst's sources are either McMahon, or through McMahon, about the Mavs...
Pretty Sure McMahon has had beers with Luka in the past.

My guess is Windhorst is the most connected reporter in the NBA. I think guys like him, Russillo, Bontemps, and even Simmons are sounding boards for people in a lot of these front offices because they aren't scoop breakers and people know other people talk to them within the ecosystem.

That said Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge do no talk to any of these people. I think at best the Celtics vaguely talk to JJ (Mazzulla tried to hire JJ for his staff). I do think that is one of the reason people hound the Celtics.

Edit - I think Woj and Shams are connected to all the major sport agencies.
 

Mooch

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Man, looking at the stats, Jrue might be the MVP of the series:

Averaging 15/8/4 on nearly 60% from the floor, 42% from three. 1 steal per game and playing excellent defense. Leads either team with 9 offensive rebounds and hasn't turned the ball over once.
 

Justthetippett

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Man, looking at the stats, Jrue might be the MVP of the series:

Averaging 15/8/4 on nearly 60% from the floor, 42% from three. 1 steal per game and playing excellent defense. Leads either team with 9 offensive rebounds and hasn't turned the ball over once.
I think he would have had a better case with some more buckets last night. He missed a few in the paint, and some decent looks from 3. As a supporting player, he really has to exceed the Jays by quite a bit to catch the voters' attention.

Unless you just mean most valuable in real terms, in whvih case I think it's more or less a three way tie between him and the Jays, all things considered.
 

lovegtm

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Man, looking at the stats, Jrue might be the MVP of the series:

Averaging 15/8/4 on nearly 60% from the floor, 42% from three. 1 steal per game and playing excellent defense. Leads either team with 9 offensive rebounds and hasn't turned the ball over once.
You can't look at shooting percentages without looking at creation responsibilities. JB and Tatum have way, way more on-ball responsibility to break down the defense, and Jrue is the beneficiary of that.

Obviously you have to be good at exploiting advantages and finishing plays and connecting to be in Jrue's spot! Jrue is really really damn good!

But MVP is a different thing altogether. I think everyone recognizes that the Iggy Finals MVP was ridiculous, in hindsight, and that's what this would be.
 

TomRicardo

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Man, looking at the stats, Jrue might be the MVP of the series:

Averaging 15/8/4 on nearly 60% from the floor, 42% from three. 1 steal per game and playing excellent defense. Leads either team with 9 offensive rebounds and hasn't turned the ball over once.
It is Brown or Tatum. Jrue does all the little things but he doesn't create or as Jrue put it "I just pick up the pieces". Right now I would say Brown
 

Swedgin

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They're butterknives in a lot of places, though:

- Tim McMahon, ESPN.com

I can't understand this - the injuries only get mentioned when excusing his atrocious defense. He seems to have no limitations on the offensive end, particularly early in games when his poor conditioning hasn't reared it's head yet.

The best player in the world moniker is truly laughable. Even with the "arguably," caveat. We know scoring is weighted more heavily in those discussions, but the best basketball player in the world has to be at least competent and competitive on the opposite side of the ball.
Two things can both be true. Luka is a bad defender, made worse by his constant griping at officials AND his injuries. Dunc'd last epsidoe did a good job of talking through the ways in which the injuries are impacting his offense. Luka has missed a lot more for floater range and in, then he typically does. Most of his misses have been short. That could be his poor conditoning catching up with him, but it also would be consistent with the injuries Dallas has reported.
 

Justthetippett

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He could come back to Boston in a couple of years like Horford and be a steady contributor as the Celtics earn their 20th, 21st and 22nd banners.
I'd like to see him play with a guy like Jrue. Might bring out the best in him, limit his more erratic tendencies.
 

BigSoxFan

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He could come back to Boston in a couple of years like Horford and be a steady contributor as the Celtics earn their 20th, 21st and 22nd banners.
Fair point and I would love to see it happen! Until then, I kind of bucket him in that Logan Mankins, Welker, etc. group of guys who were top performers but who failed to get that hardware that tends to elevate legacies with fans. But he is assuredly going to be beloved by fans regardless.