The Starting 5 looks at some of the best NBA content from around the internet
Anyone with a pair of eyes that watched Game 3 of the Warriors and Rockets first round series could tell you that Warriors forward Draymond Green did not have his best game. To his credit, Green admitted as much afterward, going as far as to say that he cost the team the game. And not just with his late turnover, but with his awful play throughout the game. With Stephen Curry sitting out with a sore ankle and the series now 2-1 in favor of the Warriors, Game 4 is going to be pivotal in determining how much effort Golden State is going to need to put into ultimately finishing off the Rockets.
The staff at Hardwood Paroxysm had a team roundtable discussion now that the NBA playoffs are in full swing, and they touched on several different interesting topics. That includes the optimal lineups for Dwane Casey’s Raptors to utilize against the Indiana Pacers, the possibility of the Atlanta Hawks being a sleeping juggernaut, and the best song to pair with the last dance for the Memphis Grizzlies. Daniel Rowell, Phillip Rossman-Reich, Matt Cianfrone, Chris Stone and Keith Parish contribute.
Jimmy Butler made his big leap from fringe role player, to possible starter, to All-Star level player in what seems like the blink of an eye, but he showed in 2015-16 that he still has a lot that he can improve upon. Mark Karantzoulis of Chicago Bulls Confidential lays it all out, discussing Butler’s penchant for the jump pass (something Derrick Rose did quite a bit this year, as well), picking up his dribble after a move doesn’t achieve the result he would like, and a nasty habit of dribbling himself into a corner. If Butler can improve on these things, plus a few other aspects of positive leadership and better three-point shooting, he’ll take his game to another level.
Miami Heat beat reporter Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel answered questions about the team in his blog post, discussing a variety of topics surrounding their first round matchup with the Charlotte Hornets. Specifically, Winderman talked about the idea of the Hornets using Nicolas Batum to play small ball, and how the Heat might respond to that, as well as the notion that the Hornets limited the Heat to poor shooting in the second half of game two, and how that might translate to taking the series back to Charlotte. The Heat currently lead the series 2-0, and look to be in the driver’s seat.
Kevin Durant had a nightmare game two in the Thunder’s first round matchup with the Dallas Mavericks, shooting just 7-for-33 from the floor (21.2 percent) in 44 minutes of play. The Thunder lost that game 85-84 on their home court, in what was a pretty serious surprise after they took care of business by beating the Mavs 108-70 in game one. But the Thunder were back in control in game three, with Durant dropping 34 points on 11-for-25 shooting. Russell Westbrook also brought 26 points and 15 assists, as the Thunder took a 2-1 edge in the series. They still have things to work on, such as Durant shooting 4-for-16 after starting 7-for-9 from the field, but the good news is that they’re in control of the series.