The NBA did indeed rule their crew blew the call on Friday night. No big surprise there unless you’re blind. And no big surprise to me Matt Craig of the Daily Thunder and Bret Dawson at newsoksports wrote about the manner in which Billy Donovan blew it by going too heavily with Alex Abrines.
Before I move on to tonight’s game with Dallas– I want to write a bit more on the Abrines thing and why I think it was such a bad piece of bench management by Billy Donovan. All four major sports have what I call specialty players. Hockey has penalty killers and power play guys. This doesn’t mean they get to play even strength situations in meaningful situations. Football has special team players…kickoff, punt, extra point, nickel back situations on defense, specialty third down players on offense, etc. Baseball has closers, middle relief pitchers, pinch hitters, DH’s, guys a manger will platoon against either left or right handing pitching, etc. None of these niche positions above equate with starting.
Alex Abrines is a speciality player. He is not an honest two zone basketball player in spite of what the knuckleheads on Fox might want to tell their viewers. Alex Abrines is on this roster to do one thing…make three point shots at somewhere hopefully at a clip no lower than 35% and maybe hopefully at some point as high as 45%. Alex Abrines should not be starting in place of Paul George when the opponent is an extremely talented team like the Milwaukee Bucks. This is where you go with a player with some athleticism like say Jerami Grant or Josh Huestis. Maybe…in certain situations where you’re playing against a really bad team like the Memphis Grizzlies you can get away with starting Abrines, but why would you do it when you have two much better options.
I have no idea if Sam Presti was part of this decision, only Donovan and Presti know that. But here’s what I know, OKC already was at a disadvantage without Paul George, basically–the Thunder put itself in an even worse situation with Abrines where they played 4 on 5 basketball to start the game against the high flying Bucks. Good NBA coaches don’t do this. Especially NBA coaches who have a team which got out to a slow start this season and from this point forward need to try to win basketball games.
Yeah, I get the fact Abrines needs his confidence stroked in that he’s been the major disappointment on this team so far, but as a coach you do something like that against a team with a talent level where Alex Abrines and the team both have a chance to be successful. OKC not only lost the game, but now you would think Abrines’ confidence level can’t be much because here we are all talking about what an absolute piece of shit game he played against the Bucks.
Billy Donovan needs to step up as an NBA head coach. This loss is as much on him as it is on the NBA crew who missed the obvious out of bounds with 1.3 seconds left.
Tonight will be such an interesting game in light of what happened on Friday. The Dallas Mavs aren’t very good, but they’ve won their last three games and have one of the top three NBA coaches in the league in Rick Carlisle. I go 1 Pop, 2 Carlisle, and 3 Steve Kerr currently on my Top Three NBA Coaches Dashboard.
So, as a passionate NBA fan…this game holds great interest for me. Billy Donovan’s team has stepped up for him in the month of December. Now he needs to step up for them. It’s kind of a bilateral thing, if you know what I mean.
This is Carlisle right after the Mavs won the 2011 NBA Championship over the Miami Heat. Great interview.