Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Contrary to what the Washington Post’s Master Tesfatsion believes, Wizards wing Kelly Oubre Jr. is no “playoff hero” for snapping in Game 3.
It is not an accomplishment to barge at Kelly Olynyk in the wildest overreaction of the NBA playoffs. It does not help winning to charge at an unsuspecting big man just because he set a moving screen. It did not SET THE TONE in a contest the Wizards already led by 21 points at the time.
Yeah, in what was probably the stupidest take of the day, in an era of stupendously stupid takes that reverberate across the internet because stupid people partially read them and then forward or retweet them, this guy from the Washington Post called Oubre a hero for decking Kelly Olynyk.
How stupid was this stupidity? I’ll give you a sample:
So what if Oubre is averaging just 6.3 points per game in the playoffs? Yeah, he’s averaging 14.7 minutes in nine playoff games this year. Sure, he’s also minus-11.1 on the floor.
And? So? Your point?
If there’s one thing to know about a crew, it’s the leaders are never the enforcers. The soldiers do the dirty work.
This is what Oubre told Dan Steinberg when asked about #DeathRowDC:
“I’m not the right person to ask about it,” Oubre confessed. “I’m just a soldier. You’ve got to talk to the head honcho. He’s the big dog.”
Oubre was just being a good soldier. And for that, I salute him.
The ‘head honcho’? The ‘big dog’?
Would that happen to be Scott Brooks? Because something’s fishy here:
It’s not going to be ’90s basketball. Those days are done. They’re not coming back and thank goodness they’re not because it’s a great game to watch. It’s free-flowing and it’s pleasant on the eye. And it’s not football
That was Scott Brooks before game 1 on Sunday.
Or is the ‘head honcho’ Markieff Morris, the guy who had those incredibly stupid #DeathRowDC t-shirts printed up, and who is hardly a paragon of common sense or rational action? Keef’s been charged with felony assault–and maybe he’s the ‘big dog’? I guess that would show exactly where the Wizards want to be.
Jay King–who’s still working for MassLive, having missed the cut for Brian Scalabrine’s “Big Three” team–dismantled the rather flimsy argument assembled by his colleague in DC:
But let’s not pretend Oubre’s shoulder check served as a great turning point where the formerly soft Wizards decided to toughen up. They tried violence in Game 2, when Markieff Morris tossed Al Horford into the first row of the stands. That game ended with Isaiah Thomas taking advantage of Morris in the pick-and-roll, one crossover after another, while yapping at him the whole time. Turns out basketball games are decided by who makes the most shots, not who tries harder to earn the enforcer label. The Wizards built a three-touchdown lead before Oubre’s shenanigans because their starting lineup was beastly (again), their defense finally limited Boston, and Bogdanovic popped off the bench to drill 3-pointers.
This paragraph pretty much sums of the folly of celebrating ‘enforcers’. Yes. We all get a bit of a guilty pleasure from the McHale clothesline clip, but they didn’t win that series because McHale was a thug (he wasn’t), or because their team was chock full o’ thugs. They got to the Finals and they won because they had players who were exceptionally good at playing basketball.
This idea that being so violent that you get thrown out of the game actually helps your team is on its very face, ridiculous. Oubre (who has been effective against the Celtics) may end up missing the crucial fourth game of the series, and what does that do for his team?
Later, the generally incomprehensible Brandon Jennings chuckled about how he got in Terry Rozier’s head with some “vet moves.”
Yeah, Brandon, your ‘vet moves’ got you an early trip to the locker room. Although it has been argued with some plausibility that Jennings is most helpful to Washington when he’s not on the court.
Page 2: Where the Celtics can take advantage of the Wizards
Yet the Celts seemed stunningly unprepared to deal with and even take advantage of the Wizards’ aggression in what became a 116-89 romp by the hosts, cutting the latter’s series deficit to 2-1. Oh, the Bostonians played reasonably hard to start the game, but that wasn’t hard enough under the circumstances.
Even worse, the Celtics didn’t play with even a modicum of good sense. They weathered the Wizards’ early flurry and, by the grace of Jae Crowder, were even at 12 five and a half minutes into the game. Then the wheels came off the Shamrock Shuttle. The next 22 points belonged to Washington.
Yeah, the Celtics didn’t play very well Thursday night. That much is obvious. Was it because Washington figured out some secret formula for beating Boston? Some weak spot that had not been exploited in 90 previous basketball games?
Nope. As Steve Bulpett elaborates, the Wizards beat the Celtics because they got the Celtics to play without discipline:
Even early on, it was clear the Wiz were loading up toward Isaiah Thomas more than usual, but the Celts failed to display the patience to burn them for it. With the way the Wizards were shot out of a cannon, the C’s needed additional ball movement and execution to let them over-rotate themselves out of position.
Had the Celtics taken the air out of their foe with a few slick-but-simple passes for back-door layups, the Wiz may have fluttered like a punctured balloon.
Instead, they aided Washington in digging the hole, and, unlike in the first two games back at the Garden, this time the Celts were unable to escape it
Some college coaches have certain defensive schemes that they have used for decades. I’m thinking of the Louisville coach and his love of the full court press in particular.
They are effective at that level, because you’re playing against guys 18-22 (give or take), who have probably had little exposure to full court presses, especially if they’re playing from behind, and who will see your particular version of it maybe three times a year is all.
NBA teams don’t run full court presses for a very simple reason: they don’t work. An experienced professional basketball player knows how to pass out of a press to the open man and once that happens, the press has gone from an asset to a very big liability.
The Celtics know how to play through the defense that the Wizards threw at them on Thursday. Any time you throw three defenders at a single guy, you’re basically asking to get burned on any conceivable rotation by the other four guys.
The problem is that the Celtics didn’t burn the Wizards. Not that they couldn’t. Didn’t is fixable on short turnaround. Couldn’t is not.
Ultimately, this series is going to be won by the team that stays disciplined. Boston should be that team.
The rest of the links
Boston Herald: Celtics must address early struggles