The Grip - RIP regular season — Steph — PHX-DEN

Monday, May 1st, 2023

  The Opening Tip

  • Steph Curry is inevitable 
  • The Suns don’t shoot enough 3-pointers
  • ABC broke out some pre-2001 b-roll yesterday

1. The regular season: 1946-2023

The NBA’s regular season has received a lot of (fair) criticism over the years, but the critique that it doesn’t matter has never made sense. 

  • In general … if you don’t win 50-plus games during the regular season, you don’t have a chance at a title. 
  • Since the 1978 NBA Finals, there’s been one sub-50-win team in an 82-game season to win the title: The 47-win 1995 Rockets, who won 58 games and the title the year prior. 
  • In that same span with the same criteria, only three teams with less than 50-wins have even made the Finals.

This year, though, might finally be the end of the regular season holding weight. 

  • The Celtics (57 wins) are the favorites, but three of the next four are the Warriors (+500, 43 wins), Suns (+600, 45 wins) and Lakers (+1000, 43 wins).  
  • And for the first time, a five-seed, a six-seed, a seven-seed and an eight-seed reached the conference semifinals of the playoffs.  

The Lakers and Suns at least have the excuse of a roster overhaul. But if the Warriors -- who slept through 82 games and went 11-30 on the road -- win the title, this NBA newsletter is going to do some serious pearl-clutching.

2. Daily GIF: This fuckin’ guy

Steph Curry dropped 50 on Sunday afternoon to beat the Kings. That’s it. That’s all we got.

3. Trivia time

Lakers-Warriors features the three most prolific postseason 3-point shooters ever in Steph (595 made 3s), Klay Thompson (477) and LeBron (440). Who’s next on the all-time playoff 3s made list?

Answer at the bottom.

4. Phoenix’s 3-point problem

The Suns, who entered the playoffs the favorite to win the Western Conference, are down 0-1 against the Nuggets.

It’s one game, but the red flag is that Phoenix shot 51.2 percent from the field and lost by 18 points, mostly because they seem to have not figured out 3 > 2.  

  • In the L, the Suns shot only 23 3-pointers and made only seven; the Nuggets took 37 and made 16.
  • And in the first half, PHX took only five 3-pointers, which feels like a typo in 2023. 

For the playoffs, they’re first in FG percentage (51.5) and last by a sizable margin in 3-pointers taken:

So … unless they can get some stops (they have the worst remaining defense) or drastically up their 3-point volume, they might be showing up to a 2020s shootout with a 1990s-ass offense. 

5. Oops

During Sunday’s Knicks-Heat broadcast, ABC flashed b-roll entering a commercial break of the Twin Towers.
 

“We mistakenly used an old stock image and we apologize,” an ESPN spokesperson told Awful Announcing.
OK.

6.  Quick Hits

  • Joel Embiid is doubtful for tonight’s Celtics-76ers game.
  • Eric Spoelstra, on Jimmy Butler’s ankle injury during Knicks-Heat Game 1: ‘........ Fuck
  • The Warriors have now won 19 straight playoff series against the Western Conference. The only series they’ve lost since 2015 are the 2016 Finals and the 2019 Finals. 
  • Harrison Barnes is the epitome of a small-time player.
  • De’Aaron Fox in his first playoff series: 27.4 PPG, 7.7 APG
  • Kevin Love, who the dumbass Cavs cut for nothing, is showing flashes of Minnesota Kevin Love for the Heat. 
  • The Rockets are leaking all sorts of wild rumors.

7.  Reads & Pods

  • Dwyane Wade left Florida because his family ‘would not be accepted’ there [WaPo]
  • Inside the Rockets’ hiring of Ime Udoka [The Athletic]
  • Jimmy Butler has a whole kennel of dawg in him [GQ]

Trivia answer: Ray Allen (385)


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