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NBA playoffs: The Process is moving on; Will Manu Ginobili call it a career after Spurs' elimination?

April 25,2018 09:15

The first round of the NBA playoffs continues today with three Game 5s, including two possible elimination games. Follow along here for the latest analysis and commentary from The Post's NBA reporter Tim Bontemps, and ask him questions in the comments ...


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OAKLAND – So much for the Warriors sweeping the Spurs out of their first-round playoff series.
Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr joked Monday that he should have called a timeout three minutes into Game 4 and broken a clipboard to snap his team out of what he called a purposeless performance that led to a 103-90 loss to San Antonio on Sunday.
If the Warriors had won that game, they would have gotten six or seven days of rest before the Western Conference Semifinals against New Orleans start on Saturday or Sunday. Instead, they will play the Spurs in Game 5 at Oracle Arena on Tuesday while the Pelicans relax in their slippers.

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But is playing another game truly a disadvantage? After all, it could mean that the Warriors will stay in rhythm while the Pelicans get a little too comfortable.
Kerr was asked Monday if that’s the silver lining to a Game 5.
“I’m always for looking on the bright side,” Kerr said. “So I’m good with that. But that only works if you take care of business tomorrow. So let’s take care of business and then, after the fact, I’ll tell you how great it was that it went five instead of four.”
Warriors’ assistant Mike Brown, who was a head coach for Cleveland in two stints (2005-2010 and 2013-14) and the Los Angeles Lakers (2011-2012), said there’s no magic formula in terms of whether it’s better for a team to rest or play more before the next round.
“I’ve been on teams where we’ve swept and we’ve had a long time and it was good for us,” Brown told the Bay Area News Group. “But we’ve swept and we’ve had a long time and it was bad for us. Or where it’s gone all the way into the last second, but because you have rhythm, you’re right back at it. I don’t think there’s any true rhyme or reason to trying to sweep somebody or winning in five, six, seven games. I’ve seen it both ways.”

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The Warriors swept every series leading up to The Finals last year. They then beat Cleveland in five games to win their second championship in three seasons.
But in 2015, they had a tougher path to the title. After sweeping their first-round playoff series against New Orleans, it took them six games to get past Memphis in the Conference Semifinals, five games to beat Houston in the Conference Finals, and six games to win The Finals against Cleveland.
So even though the Warriors obviously would’ve preferred to sweep the Spurs on Sunday, Brown said there’s not necessarily a better or a worse way to advancing to the next round — so long as the Warriors advance.
In fact, Brown pointed out that a sweep can sometimes hurt a team.
“Having that much time off, it’s just human nature where you can kind of ease into the first game because you haven’t had the contact,” Brown said. “You haven’t had the effects of playing in a high-level game in a while. It’s hard to simulate it in practice, even if you do scrimmage one or two of the days that you have off. You have to somehow know that that first game, it’s more about energy than anything else.”
That being said, among the disadvantages of not sweeping, there’s one really glaring and obvious one.
“Every game that you lose after being up 3-0 gives your opponent more confidence,” Brown said.
Klay Thompson, who is one of the most low-key, easygoing players in the NBA, argued both the pros and cons of playing a Game 5 after Monday’s practice.
“Obviously, a sweep would’ve been nice, but they’re hard to come by,” Thompson said. “We can keep our rhythm instead of taking seven days off. Seven days off would’ve been great too.”
All things considered, Thompson said he’ll be happy as long as the Warriors win Tuesday. In fact, that would even come with an advantage.
“This is a pretty good consolation prize to be able to finish it off on your home floor,” Thompson said.

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