Morning Shootaround: Pop, the Psychologist
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Sunglasses & Advil:

"It's not what I expected. I'm disappointed," said Gregg Popovich.

"Kawhi being gone, I don't think as I watched ... I don't think they believed. And you have to believe. I don't think as a group they really did, which means probably a little bit of feeling sorry for themselves psychologically, subconsciously, whatever psycho-babble word you want to use. I don't think they started the game with a belief, and it showed in the lack of edge, intensity, grunt, all that sort of thing. That was disappointing."

Reporter: "Was it immediately from the start that you saw this, or did it take a couple of minut-"

Popovich (interrupting): "Oh, quit slicing here. Jeez. 'Was it from the start?' No it was at one minute and 37 seconds is when we figured that out."

Reporter (shook): "O-okay thank yo-"

Pop, once again interrupting: "O-or maybe it was three minutes in then we realized. Come on."

"When you're playing a team as good as Golden State, you're gonna get embarrassed if that's the way you come out."

I present to you these quotes from the venerable Gregg Popovich in light of the fact that the postgame exchange between Popovich and reporters was an infinitely more entertaining conflict than the two basketball teams that shared a court last night in San Francisco.

It was a bloodbath.

The Golden State Warriors jumped ahead early, and there was no looking back. San Antonio was terrible; the Warriors were fantastic. The Spurs missed Kawhi Leonard; the Warriors were happy he wasn't there. Jonathon Simmons played well for San Antonio; no one else on the roster even showed up last night.

[embed]https://twitter.com/mikecwright/status/864686209028636672[/embed]

Popovich was openly critical toward his players, and he no doubt hopes that it will light a fire under them. Game 3 is on Saturday, so both teams will have plenty of time to rest between now and then. Zaza Pachulia (bruised heel), Andre Iguodala (left knee soreness), and Kawhi Leonard all missed Game 2 with injuries. Both teams hope that the extra time off between now and Saturday will lead to both teams starting Game 3 at full strength. The fans hope so too; 36-point blowouts are extremely boring.

The Warriors lead the Spurs 2-0.


When the Sun falls, then the Moonlight:

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals tips off tonight, and the Cleveland Cavaliers finally have awoken from their slumber. Cleveland has been in hibernation since they completed their sweep of the Toronto Raptors, and they haven't played a game in 10 days. They've only played four games in the last 24 days. Between their two series, they've basically had two All-Star breaks. Cleveland has rested plenty. After all, stuff like this is going on at practice:

[embed]https://twitter.com/CountOnVic/status/862400546547916800[/embed]

So, yeah, they have no worries. No one expects the Boston Celtics to make much noise against the reigning Eastern Conference champions. Some are predicting a sweep, some say Cavs in 5, and some say Cavs in 3. The Celtics should obviously be happy to be here, especially considering how they started the postseason. In general, it's an amazing time to be a Celtics fan. Monday, they won Game 7. Tuesday, they won the Draft Lottery. Tonight, they play in the Eastern Conference Finals against LeBron James and the Cavs. Lots to love.

No matter what the result is, Celtics fans should be happy. However, Boston does not want to stop here. They're not going to roll over easily, and they will definitely fight hard as they do. Cleveland won three of the four matchups between the two teams in the regular season, and only one was a true blowout. We'll see what adjustments Brad Stevens makes to ease the potential massacre at the hands of James and his team. The Celtics have plenty of capable defenders to put on Kyrie Irving and LeBron James (in reality, though, no one is stopping him. They just have to slow him down). The game will come down to rebounds. When the Celtics rebound well, they win. If they don't, this will be a murder.

CLE @ BOS | 8:30 PM ET on TNT | Series is tied at 0-0


Lines of the Night:

Stephen Curry: 29 points (8-for-13) | 7 rebounds | 7 assists | W

Jonathon Simmons: 22 points (8-for-17) | 3 rebounds | 3 assists | L

Patrick McCaw: 18 points (6-for-8) | 5 assists | 3 steals | W

Davis Bertans: 13 points (4-for-4) | 4 rebounds | 1 block | L


Extras:

  • A source close to the situation has informed Hoops Inq. that the Los Angeles Lakers may be shopping D'Angelo Russell, given their position in the 2017 NBA Draft. The New York Knicks are among the teams most interested in acquiring him, although they intend to keep their pick.
  • The NBA Draft Lottery took place last night. The Boston Celtics received the #1 pick via Brooklyn. The L.A. Lakers will pick at #2, and the Philadelphia 76ers own the #3 pick via Sacramento.