My Latest Victim: Chris Lopresti Shows Alarming Lack of Basketball Knowledge on WFAN

Monday morning marked the return of Jerry Recco to WFAN’s Boomer and Gio program. Gregg said it was good to have him back. It certainly was. Chris Lopresti had been filling in for Recco. This included taking his place on the brief show that comes on for about 15 minutes at approximately 5:45 with Al Dukes. I have often felt that there was a certain dislike or even hatred of basketball when Lopresti worked. He seemed to be dialed in when talking about hockey. Sometimes people who like the NHL are not NBA fans.

Last year, when there were two days off after Golden State and Cleveland played their series opener, Lopresti seemed angry or disgusted when talking about the series schedule. It is a television thing. Saturday is an awful night for ratings. I have looked back at NBA Finals dates for the last 30 years. There was not even one game on a Saturday. For years NBC went with a Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday schedule.

ABC then took over. They went Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday for years after that. Both Cleveland and Golden State were coming off quick victories in the previous round. Wondering why two off days were scheduled without travel was not crazy. I guess it was mostly his history of discussing basketball that made me notice and remember this.

Finally, my proof and validation came last week. The game that was taken off for O.J. and the chase came up. Lopresti was not sure if it happened during the NBA Finals. This was June 17, 1994. ESPN aired a special about this day and how various events were taking place. For years people have discussed what happened. Lopresti didn’t know if it took place during the Conference Finals. Why would they only be in round three during the second half of June?

In fact, he mentioned the Western Conference Finals. I’m pretty sure New York is not located in the western part of our country. Yes, it was Rockets-Knicks. New Yorkers who are not even Knicks fans should have some basic knowledge of this. Especially if you are working at WFAN.

This is one of the most shocking and disappointing things I have ever heard on the radio. More importantly, I have been vindicated!

Steph Curry Is The Most Important Player On The Warriors, But Kevin Durant Is Their Best Player

Steph Curry is the most important player on the Warriors AND Kevin Durant is the best player on the Warriors. Both statements can be true. The four year run that the Warriors are on can be traced back to the play and more importantly, the health of Steph Curry. Hiring Steve Kerr and drafting Klay Thompson and Draymond Green definitely helps, but a healthy Steph is the fuel to the machine.

It’s no surprise as to what the Warriors want to do on offense. They want to run you into the ground, shoot a lot of jump shots especially in transition, and when teams start to overplay, they slip screens and get to the rim. Steph is the catalyst and his play elevates the Warriors from a very good team to a great team. Unlike most teams, when a star goes down, it’s devastating. Most teams don’t have Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and the 2nd best player in the world, Kevin Durant, at their disposal. However, the Warriors become more stagnant without Curry on the floor, leading to iso-ball in the post and forced shots.

Per Chris Haynes of ESPN, with Curry in the lineup this season, the Warriors went 41-10 while averaging 120.4 points per 100 possessions, which would be the best offensive rating over the past 20 seasons. With him off the floor, however, the Warriors were only 17-14 in the regular season and had an offensive efficiency that was right around the league average.

Plus, Curry has a habit of making the impossible shot possible, which lead to him making a NBA Finals record of nine 3s during Game 2.

Steph Curry is the most important player on the Warriors, but Kevin Durant is their best player.

Durant was spectacular in Game 3 and asserted his dominance as the 2nd best player in the league behind LeBron James. In a game where the Warriors trailed by double digits, Durant poured in 43 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 assists. In turn, Curry could not throw the ball in the ocean if he were standing on a boat. There’s something about Game 3 in Cleveland that brings out the killer instinct in Durant.

That pull up 3 tells you a lot about why Durant is the best player on the Warriors besides the fact that it went in. Durant is a matchup nightmare. He’s 6’9″ with a wingspan of over 7’0″, but he can handle the rock like a point guard. No one can block his shot because of that wingspan. When Durant is in rhythm, good luck stopping him. Durant runs the floor well, can finish at the rim with ease, and with Steph setting him up on the wings, the Durantula is lethal from the perimeter.

What makes the Warriors so successful is their ability to leave their egos at the door and just worry about winning. Some nights, Steph is the top guy. Other nights like Game 3, Durant is the man in charge. Do the Warriors need to find out who is the alpha? If they win their 3rd NBA title in 4 years, it doesn’t matter.

Video Surfaces Of LeBron James On Bench After JR Smith’s Game 1 Mistake And It’s Devastating

When Ty Lue tells LeBron that the Cavs had a timeout left.

I believe the old adage goes something like, “Never end the game with a timeout in your pocket.” That’s exactly what the Cavs did in their heartbreaking Game 1 loss to the Warriors. To make matters worse, last night, Steph Curry set the NBA Finals record for most made 3s in a game as he lead the Warriors to a commanding 122-103 win to put the Dubs up 2-0 on the Series.

Back to the video. I’m still sick to my stomach thinking about the end of Game 1. To pull out another adage out of my back pocket, the end of Game 1 was Murphy’s Law. “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Boy, did it ever go wrong. It was the perfect storm for a loss. Here was the recipe for “How To Lose Game 1.”

  • The charge call that was overturned to a block.
  • George Hill missing the 2nd free throw despite being an above average shooter.
  • JR Smith dribbling out the clock despite rebounding the ball under the basket in a tie game.
  • JR Smith not passing to a wide-open LeBron James at the top of the key after his rebound.
  • Ty Lue not calling a timeout.

A dive bar covered with rats could not make a recipe as bad as the one the Cavs made at the end of the game. Game 1 will go down as “What could’ve been,” especially if the Warriors sweep the Cavs. As a basketball fan who wants to see a competitive series, it’s hard not to feel bad for LeBron James. The man’s back is about to collapse from carrying this team. A miracle won’t even help him win the series. LeBron needs divine intervention. I’ll say a few prayers myself to help LeBron fill his quota, but it’s not looking good for the King.

On the bright side, at least LeBron looking at JR Smith will go into the Meme Hall of Fame.

Recapping a Memorable Game 1 of the NBA Finals

LeBron James scored 51 points in a great NBA Finals game that required an extra five minutes to decide. However, the game will be remembered for several strange incidents. JR Smith thought his team was ahead and began to dribble out the clock in a tie game. Later, he lied and claimed to have known what the score was. Video captured him confessing that he believed Cleveland had been up. If Smith really did know they were tied, that play would be even dumber. I don’t know if Cleveland would have scored had this play been executed better, but the way it played out seemed to leave the Cavs deflated.

Tony Paige had predicted a Golden State sweep with LeBron winning MVP honors. I still do not think this is going to happen, but this game was crazy enough that I can’t completely trash this insane prediction right now. Somebody else told me he thought the series would go seven games. Conspiracy theory. League wants to make money. Being that Cleveland was totally screwed, I think we can safely put that theory to bed.

This rule of being able to review a charge in the last two minutes based on whether or not a player was in the restricted area is completely insane. I’m not even crazy about checking whether or not somebody managed to get outside of the restricted area. I don’t even like having that rule of a restricted area at all, but that’s another story. Using doubt about someone possibly being in that area as a trigger to check something unrelated makes zero sense. People who did not watch the game will probably have trouble following this. That’s how crazy and weird it was. More replay is not the answer. We need less. Kevin Durant knew of this rare rule, but I had never seen it used.

The Tuck Rule came to mind. Something obscure that caught people by surprise in a big moment. There were some controversial and unusual calls. Tristan Thompson had already been ejected, so they did not hit him with a technical. Take note. After being kicked out, you are allowed to throw the basketball off of someone’s face with no risk of penalty. Kevin Love came off the bench late in Thursday’s overtime loss. The 1997 Knicks were severely punished. Russell Westbrook did not get suspended for coming off the bench this year. You never know what ruling we will get from this league. I assume there will be more tweaks to replay in the offseason following this bizarre contest.

There has been a major problem since replay was expanded years ago. Fouls are not reviewable, but they can change who is awarded possession based on touching the ball last. If you grab the offensive player’s arm and he loses the ball off his fingers, a ruling can be overturned. The defensive player didn’t touch it last. However, since he pulled his opponent’s arm, it caused a turnover. No foul can be called. If we are going to review the block/charge, call obvious fouls on other plays. As people tweeted, reviewing a potential block or charge is like using replay for pass interference in football.

Finally, we had bad beats. The first half under became a loser when Steph Curry drained one from 30 or so feet away as the second quarter expired. Cleveland in the second half getting 9 or 9.5 lost when they fell by ten in overtime after being tied at halftime. We almost had the ultimate bad beat on straight bets getting 12.5 when Steph’s shot was blocked as Golden State’s lead nearly stretched to 124-111.

Don’t forget game totals. If you went under 217.5 or anything in that neighborhood, overtime wasn’t your friend. I would like to say the series is just getting started. The truth is it appears Cleveland’s loss has all but ended it.