From Comcast SportsNetWhen outfielder Austin Jackson tracks down a deep fly or Detroit Tigers teammate Phil Coke throws a scoreless inning of relief, New York general manager Brian Cashman doesn't fret about the fact that both players could still be Yankees."I don't block it out at all," Cashman said Tuesday in the visitors' dugout at Comerica Park before Game 3 of the AL championship series. "We gave up good players, but you have to do that to get good players."On Dec. 9, 2009, Detroit dealt center fielder Curtis Granderson to New York in a three-team deal that also included Arizona. Jackson and Coke were sent from the Yankees to the Tigers, who also got Game 4 starter Max Scherzer from the Diamondbacks.Granderson surpassed 40 homers and 100 RBIs in each of the past two seasons with the Yankees, finishing fourth in 2011 AL MVP voting. But he entered Game 3 hitless in seven at-bats with five strikeouts during this year's ALCS.Jackson has been a key player for the Tigers in the field and at the plate. Coke gave up only one hit in three innings of relief to help them win the first two games at Yankee Stadium.In the first trade of the 2009 winter meetings, Arizona acquired pitcher Edwin Jackson from Detroit and right-hander Ian Kennedy from the Yankees while the Tigers also got pitcher Daniel Schlereth from Arizona.Granderson was -- and is -- a popular player in Detroit, but he was moved in a trade in which money -- of course -- was a factor. Granderson's salary was 10 million this year, while the Tigers received four players who cost less than 6 million combined."There's a lot of people in that trade, so it's hard to keep up with everybody," Scherzer said. "Really, once I got traded over to Detroit, it has been a great home for me. I'm so happy to be in this city and play for this team and this organization. And to be a part of something special here is great, and hopefully we can keep going."Since the trade, there's been plenty of history between the teams. Detroit eliminated the Yankees in the first round of last year's playoffs, winning a decisive Game 5 in New York.
The Oklahoma City Thunder choked. I mean, they got a gigantic tumble weed lodged in their larynx.
The better team did not win. However, the Golden State Warriors are actually better than the Thunder in one category:
The Warriors know who they are and how they have to win. It never changes. Fire away, baby, and sooner or later the shots will fall . . . especially if the opposition has no clue who they are and how they got the lead in the first place.
I'm not sure if the Warriors are a great team defensively, or if OKC simply couldn't run an offense to extend its leads in Games 6 and 7. The best basketball analyst for my money is Kenny "The Jet" Smith. He accurately pointed out that one ill-advised 3-point attempt by Russell Westbrook in the first half crushed the Thunder’s chance to extend their lead into double digits. The same happened with a bad 3 in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors can kill a rally or get back into a game as soon their 3s fall. That is how they win . . . period. The Thunder tried to play Golden State's game at the worst times. OKC forgot that ball movement, player motion and setting up Kevin Durant for the best shot possible is how to win, not by hoisting panic-ridden 3s from the top of the key. To be fair, in the first half Durant did good job getting others involved. But when the Warriors got on a roll, the OKC offense froze with fear.
It simply amazes me how the Thunder would leave the paint wide open on the offensive end. No cuts, no pick-and-rolls (or not enough of them, anyway). Simply give the ball to Durant and then stand there. Or worse! KD gives the ball to Westbrook or another teammate and then he stands there! My God, give up the ball and move, Kevin! To me it was Durant’s stagnation without the ball that cost Oklahoma City a shot at the title.
Golden State was a very opportunistic team. It was not going to take the game or games from you. But if you wanted to give the Warriors a chance, no matter how slight, they'd accept it. And that’s exactly what OKC did.
Billy Donovan, Westbrook and Durant should feel sick to their stomach. If they don’t, something is wrong with them. My suspicion all three have driven the porcelain bus. Figuratively.
I was rooting for Durant because finally, finally Westbrook was buying into the team concept. But in the end it was Durant who let his team -- and city -- down,