Subban and Predators Stanley Cup Finals

The Nashville Predators will represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history. They will wait for the winner between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Head coach Peter Laviolette will be behind the bench for his third Stanley Cup Finals. He won with the Carolina Hurricanes and lost with the Philadelphia Flyers. His experience will be valuable behind the bench for the Predators.

Pekka Rinne is the Most Valuable Player and could win the Conne Smythe if the Predators win the Stanley Cup. Filip Forsberg is the scoring machine. Hopefully, the Captain Mike Fisher can recover from his concussion in time to contribute in the Finals.

The Predators top four defensemen are happy they are no longer playing against the bruising Anaheim Ducks power forwards. The Penguins and Senators forwards are fast, but they won’t use the body as much as the Ducks forwards. Roman Josi, P.K. Subban, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm have been great at moving the puck and contributing offensively.

Subban’s presence in the Stanley Cup Finals one year removed from the block buster trade last summer will make life difficult for general manager Marc Bergevin. I’m still waiting for him to be fired. The Montreal Canadiens expected to win the trade early and Predators will win it in the long run instead Subban has already made the finals.

Subban has played in three Conference Finals in his seven year career. He made it twice with the Montreal Canadiens. Jaroslav Halak and Carey Price were his goalies during his Canadiens days. Now Pekka Rinne took Subban to the next level. Number seventy-six is a winner despite whatever the haters say about him.

Subban four wins away from announcing where he bring the Stanley Cup when it will be his turn to have it for 24 hours. Montreal Sick Kids Hospital and Toronto in one day. The Canadiens organization are praying that the Predators lose.

Can the Predators win the Stanley Cup?

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Celtics will keep number 1 pick

The Boston Celtics two blowout losses in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers made the decision to keep the number one pick in the next NBA Draft easier. The Celtics despite being the number one seed aren’t able to compete with the Cavs. The Celtics also have the Brooklyn Nets picks first round pick next year also.

The Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge will build the team that he hopes will replace the Cavs as the best team in the Eastern Conference. Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford can’t be the cornerstones of the franchise if it wants to play in the NBA Finals. The Celtics select number 1, 36, 54 and 58 if they keep all their picks.

Thomas will get a raise in two years without getting the franchise player salary. He will have a hard time explaining to NBA teams that he can lead a team to the NBA Finals as a starting PG. He is better suited to be a sixth man of the year candidate than a NBA MVP. The Celtics may also listen to offers during the off-season for their All-star point guard.

The eight man rotation that head coach Brad Stevens like to use only Al Horford and Jae Crowder are under contract past the 2017 – 18 season each for two more seasons. Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart have one more year remaining on their contracts. Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk are free agents after the playoffs.

The Celtics had a great season with number one seed, played in Eastern Conference Finals and won number one pick in the NBA Draft. The organization will have to decide to keep team together or reload roster with their draft picks. The series against the Cavs will make it easier to decide. The Game 3 win without Isaiah will make it harder for him to demand a huge contract.

Do you give Isaiah a max contract?

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LeBron below average game Cavs lose

Chris Webber mentioned during the telecast of Game 3 that the Cleveland Cavaliers were 1 – 8 in playoff games in which LeBron James scores 15 points or less. After last night’s game make it 1 – 9. Everybody watching the game was expecting LeBron to take over the game in the last six minutes. It never happened.

The Boston Celtics were able to make shots especially from the three-point line. They were 18 for 40 compared to the Cavs 16 for 39. The Celtics won at the three-point line and bench scoring. The Celtics got 32 points, while the Cavs got 9.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens team were not only lucky on the last second shot bouncing around the rim and killing the precious few seconds before going in. The injury to Amir Johnson ended up being the turning point because Jonas Jerebko played a key 13 minutes made two three-point shots and finished the game with ten points.

The Celtics man of the match was definitely Marcus Smart who made seven of ten from the three-point line. He will most likely won’t duplicate this game, but he did it once and his team won.

Head coach Tyronn Lue Cavaliers bench looked like the Washington Wizards bench. The Cavs didn’t have a bench player in the game more than 16 minutes. The Cavs starters were playing so well that coach Lue didn’t even play Channing Frye who could’ve given some minutes against Celtics big men and long distance shooting. Kyle Korver was 1 for 5 from the three point line and Iman Shumpert scored six points.

The Cavs fans saw Kevin Love make seven three-pointers, scored 28 and grabbed ten rebounds; Tristan Thompson 18 and 13 also made 12 of 15 free throws and Kyrie Irving scored 29 with seven assists. The Cavs blew a sixteen point half-time lead. Coach Lue still played LeBron 45 minutes despite his struggles instead of trying to steal a win and minutes from his bench.

An NBA Finals victory will depend on LeBron being the best player every night against the Golden State Warriors.

Was it the bench or LeBron’s fault Cavs blew lead?

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Blue Jays after 25% 2017 season

The Toronto Blue Jays gave their fans and organization hope after a 5 game winning streak then followed that by losing three in a row. The Blue Jays were the first team this season to lose 20 games despite that they are only 4 games out of a Wild Card spot. The Blue Jays will be getting back Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Donaldson within the week.

Can the Blue Jays stay close enough with help from the starting pitchers and all regulars comeback healthy over the next 20 game stretch? The Blue Jays won’t be able to stay in contention and by the mid-way point of the season they won’t be able to move up very much. There are eight teams ahead of the Blue Jays; therefore, worrying about a Wild Card spot shouldn’t be the first priority.

Who can get hot and have a dominating month to carry the Blue Jays to a long winning streak? Donaldson can try to win the player of the Month award in June and get his team towards the American League playoffs. Fans can’t expect Donaldson to return from injury and put up monster numbers immediately.

The Blue Jays 18 – 24 record with a .429 winning percentage is great for a team that had such a horrendous start. They need to finish 72 – 48 to reach 90 wins. There won’t be a ten game winning streak to get them in serious Wild Card contention. This team won’t win 6 out of 10 games over the next three months.

Blue Jays fans be ready for the team to start trading major pieces to rebuild their farm system also try to find the next Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion or Marco Estrada before they became Superstars.

Are the Blue Jays contenders?

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Cavs will beat Celtics in 5

The Cleveland Cavaliers not having home court advantage won’t stop them from beating the Boston Celtics in 5. LeBron James won’t be denied another appearance in the NBA Finals.

The Cavs match-up will remind the Celtics they should package either this year or next year first round pick with a few players to get either Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls) or Paul George (Indiana Pacers) to give them an All-star wing player.

The Cavaliers will be too much to handle for the Celtics. The Cavs have multiple three point-specialist who can make more than the Celtics. Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and Channing Frye aren’t afraid to guard Al Horford and Kelly Olynyk, the Game six hero, anywhere on the court. The Cavs big men will have advantage.

Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving match-up will be even offensively. Avery Bradley will guard Irving and try to limit an offensive explosion. J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert have the size, ability and quickness to pressure Thomas and limit his scoring.

This time Kyle Krover, Deron Williams and Fyre won’t be out scored 48 to 5 like the Wizards bench in Game 6. The veteran bench won’t blow 20 point leads if the opportunity arises.

The Cavs LeBron James will be the major advantage because Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder won’t be able to handle the speed and strength of the best player in the NBA. The long rest will give him the energy to play heavy minutes throughout the series.

The Cavs will take advantage of the Celtics weaknesses in a short series. An unexpected hero will be needed every game to give the Celtics a chance.

What is your prediction?

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Great time to be a Celtics Fan

The Boston Celtics are the number one seed, in the Eastern Conference Finals, have home court advantage and they have the Brooklyn Nets next two first round unprotected picks. The Celtics have accomplished a lot with a roster filled with two very talented players (Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford) and many good NBA players on their roster. The series against the Cleveland Cavaliers will show everybody that the Celtics need an All-star wing player.

The Celtics beat the Washington Wizards more because of their opponents’ lack of bench production, poor decision-making, two twenty point blown leads in Game one and two. The Celtics won every home game, with great bench production and Head coach Brad Stevens’ ability to use his rotations correctly.

The Cavs match-up will remind the Celtics they should package either this year or next year first round pick with a few players to get either Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls) or Paul George (Indiana Pacers) to give them an All-star wing player. The Bulls and Pacers will listen to offers for their franchise players. A number one pick in this summer’s NBA Draft with a package of players would be too much to pass up.

The number one seed will be a better team with the addition of either player. Thomas, Horford, Crowder and Smart want to win a Championship now not add a future star. The roster age Marcus Smart (23), Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Kelly Olynyk (26), Isaiah Thomas (28), Al Horford (30). The core members want to win now not in five years once the one and done player has developed into a star.

The Celtics Danny Ainge will have the toughest decision to make this summer after the season is over. Select a one and done player with first pick overall or trade pick for a franchise type player?

The Cleveland Cavaliers decision to trade Andrew Wiggins to get Kevin Love worked out for them. Two straight NBA Finals appearances and one Championship. Minnesota Timberwolves have yet to make the playoffs.

What would you do if you were Danny Ainge?

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Wizards are the Clippers of the East

The Washington Wizards have a great starting five with not much help off the bench just like the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference. The Clippers fans will say that Jamaal Crawford off the bench Sixth Man of the Year winner a few times is the scorer off the bench. Crawford plays starter minutes even though he comes off the bench.

The Wizards bench blew huge leads created by the starters in Games 1 and 2 against the Boston Celtics. Game 6 the Celtics bench destroyed the Wizards 47 – 5 (Bojan Bogdanovic scored all the points with two shot attempts), while the Celtics got points from Kelly Olynyk (26), Jaylen Brown (9) and Marcus Smart (13).

Kelly Oubre Jr. didn’t play one minute in Game 6. Ian Mahinmi is an old school center was exposed by Olynyk ability away from the key to shoot the three-point shot and drive.

The starters John Wall, Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat, and Markieff Morris will be together for a few more years, which is good news for their fans. Otto Porter Jr. is a free agent that the Wizards will have to resign to guarantee another 50 plus win season. Oubre Jr. is not ready to take Potter place in the starting rotation.

Coach Scott Brooks and the Wizards management need to find players who can contribute more than a cheerleader role. Bogdanovic is worth keeping, but coach Brooks has to call plays for his sixth man. He only shot the ball two times in 16 minutes in their elimination game.

Wall missed an opportunity to finally play in the Eastern Conference Finals. He just completed his seventh season and still can’t make a jump shot consistently. Wall inability to make an outside shot limits his rise to super-stardom.

Should Wizards go all out to sign Porter?

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Spurs old skool basketball beats Rockets

The San Antonio Spurs put on a basketball clinic by having 2 big men on the court despite the Houston Rockets playing a small line-up. The Rockets were without Nene Hilario, which forced them to go small. The Rockets offensive philosophy all year is a three-point or dunk and 49% of the field goal attempts where behind the arc during the playoffs. This worked beautifully until they ran into the Spurs.

The Spurs used their size advantage by going into the post with LaMarcus Aldridge 34 points,12 rebounds and 1 assists) and Pau Gasol (10 , 11 and 5). Many NBA teams don’t take advantage of a size mismatch such as Toronto Raptors lack of touches for Jonas Valanciunas. Head coach Gregg Popovich philosophy, size still matter in the NBA and he will use the inside first before shooting outside the paint.

The Spurs were 5 for 22, while the Rockets were 13 for 40 behind the arc therefore a plus 24 for the Rockets. The size advantage permitted the Spurs to have 96 field goal attempts and their opponents only had 77.

The biggest difference between the Spurs and everybody else, which has given them the ability to win 50 games for 18 consecutive seasons, the ability to draft and sign free agents. Dejounte Murray the 29th pick in the first round (11 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in 24 minutes), Kyle Anderson the 30th in the first round (7, 6 and 3 in 21) and free agent Jonathon Simmons (18, 4 and 1 in 31). Simmons guarded James Harden the majority of the time. The Spurs traded George Hill for Kwahi Leonard, signed free agents Danny Green and Patty Mills.

Leonard, Murray and if they can sign Anderson to an extension will be the foundation for many more 50 wins or more seasons.

I believe the Spurs will battle the Warriors to a few close games, but I don’t expect them to win the series. The Golden State Warriors have too much offense. I said that when they played the Rockets.

Can the Spurs shock the World and beat the Warriors?

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Cavs Warriors NBA Finals in two more weeks

The NBA Finals will be in two weeks minimum and the fans must watch the Conference Finals. The only suspense, can Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors go undefeated before they met in the NBA Finals. I can’t see whichever team that make to the Conference Finals can beat the Cavs or Warriors.

A third consecutive NBA Finals with the Cavs and Warriors meeting is exactly what the league, fans and television networks want. The teams have split the first two meeting and this will be an intense tie breaker as long as everybody is healthy.

The Cavs have the best player on the planet in LeBron James, scoring machine Kyrie Irving and one of the best stretch four in Kevin Love. Coach Tyronn Lue’s role players with a former Sixth Man of the Year winner J.R. Smith, two former All-stars Kyle Korver and Deron Williams. Kyle and Deron are the only rotations players without an NBA Title.

The Warriors have their four All-stars Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Coach Steve Kerr also has NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala and David West a former two-time All-star. West, Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee are only rotation players without a ring, but they shouldn’t be intimidated by NBA Finals pressure. West is not in the regular rotation.

The Cavs and Warriors multiple finals match-ups reminds me of the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics lead by Magic Johnson and Larry Bird dominating the 80’s. Magic won 5 (1980, 82, 85, 87 and 88), while Bird 3 (1981, 84 and 86) NBA Championships. They met 3 times in the NBA Finals (1984, 85 and 87) with the Lakers wining 2.

Who will win the tie breaker Cavs or Warriors?

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Lowry best Raptors player

Kyle Lowry is by far the best Toronto Raptors player and is the undisputed leader of the team. He affect the game in so many ways by taking a charge, fighting for a rebound, creating scoring opportunities for his teammates, assists, taking and key shots. He is the Raptors most consistent three-point shooter. Lowry fills every statistics categories it seems.

Many believe DeMar DeRozan is the best player. He is the best scorer on the team, but definitely not the best player. DeRozan only excels in only three categories: scoring and shot attempts and free throws attempted. Notice all the categories mentioned are offensive. He doesn’t create scoring opportunities for his teammates, very low rebound totals and very limited shooting range.

The Raptors must sign Lowry if they want to stay a top four team in the Eastern Conference again next year. The Raptors can’t sign their 31 years old All-star point to anything more than a three-year deal. The reason I hope they don’t sign Lowry for more than three years; DeRozan is signed for three more years and the fourth is a player option.

The Dynamic Duo can be stay together to make a serious run at a title. Can the Raptors management attract a top talent to Toronto? DeMarre Carroll and Landry Fields were the last 2 free-agents that the Raptors could afford and convince to sign. Cory Joseph is a talented player, but not high priced.

One area that Lowry game has held his Raptors teammates back; their development offensively. Carroll and Joseph were players who were successful with the Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs because the offense is a ball and player movement. Jonas Valanciunas wasn’t getting ball in post despite scoring early in the game. The point guard is the player who can who put the ball in the hand of players who are open, need an easy basket to get convince, encourage his teammates to take and make shots.

Who is the best player on the Raptors? Should Raptors sign Lowry at all cost?

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