Game 1 between the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues was textbook NHL playoffs drama. Spectacular goaltending. Late-game heroics. An overtime win.
We’d love to see more. The problem: The odds of a blowout are high if Game 2 on Friday plays out in a similar fashion.
St. Louis didn’t play well, and they know it. Minnesota will be hungry to even the series on home ice.
On Thursday, it appeared Damian Lillard had predicted his No. 8-seeded Portland Trail Blazers — who snuck into the playoffs in the last week of the season — would knock off the Golden State Warriors, the first team to win 67 games in three straight seasons. Here’s one tweet:
See? What is Lillard supposed to say there — “actually, Warriors in five!” That would be ridiculous. He could have declined from making a prediction, but professional athletes have to be confident. They’re some of the most competitive people in the world, so of course they think they can win.
Lillard wasn’t trying to distract from his team or give the Warriors bulletin board material. (Do the Warriors REALLY need any of that, anyway?) He was asked a question and he answered it. Nothing wrong with that.
So yes, the point is this: It’s cool Lillard is confident, and he should be, and it shouldn’t be a big deal that he thinks that.
In this third quarter example, LeBron and Kyrie Irving execute a high pick and roll forcing 6’1 Teague onto a much-bigger, much-stronger LeBron. The results are exactly what you’d expect:
It’s unreasonable to expect Teague to contain Love and James in the paint, yet he was asked to do so time and time again thanks to Indiana’s defensive scheme. Head coach Nate McMillan had his players switch nearly every time Cleveland ran a pick and roll — an ineffective strategy as Cleveland shot nearly 54 percent from the floor.