Senior NBA writer for Yahoo! Sports’ ‘The Vertical’, Michael Lee joined the Big O Show on 560 WQAM to discuss the NBA playoffs and Patrick Beverley playing despite learning the news of the passing of his grandfather. They also talk about Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra finally earning the respect of his peers as one of the top coaches in the NBA.
On Isaiah Thomas- “We create this falsity that if you’re tough you play through it. I admire what Isaiah Thomas has been able to do. When the season is over, once he has time to reflect, there will be a crash.”
On the Spurs- “It hasn’t [been the same team] but they still won 51 games and they still have home court advantage. It’s going to be tough. I don’t know if Tim Duncan absence makes that much difference. [Aldridge] is going to have to be critical for them. It can’t just be Kawhi [Leonard]. We got so accustomed to the beautiful game that dismantled the Heat. It’s all on Kawhi. If he doesn’t have a superhero performance, they look pretty average.”
On the Cavaliers- “Six sweeps in three seasons. There’s no reason to think [LeBron] won’t advance to a seventh straight NBA Finals.”
On John Wall- “It’s about winning and he’s made it to the second round. He wants the conference finals. He’s been here before, he feels he should have already been in the conference finals. He’s playing with so much more confidence. They have been the better team for the majority of the series. The Wizards are very confident going in.”
On Heat coach Erik Spoelstra- “It’s not only the 11-30 [record to start the season]. It’s losing Chris Bosh. He had to incorporate new pieces and indoctrinate them into Heat culture. He’s probably the most underrated coach in the league and he’s finally getting his due, his respect. You give him anybody, he’s going to compete and maximize their performance. You established something that players in the league believe, ‘I can go to Miami and Spoelstra is going to make me play as best as I can be.’ The work he put in to create a two time champion is no longer overlooked. There has never been a better LeBron than the one Coach Spoelstra had.”