Starting With the Finals

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Starting With the Finals

2018-12-20T13:42:28+00:00June 12th, 2014|

Welcome everyone to my new website. I’m really excited about the possibilities for this site in terms of interaction between myself and you, the fans.

Throughout the website, you can find a lot of fun stuff about me, my career in the NBA and at Butler, my work with kids at my basketball camp, and my passion for video games.

Probably my favorite part of the site is my new blog, G-Time. In G-Time, you can expect insight from me on what I’ve been up to on and off the court. I’ll definitely be doing some blogs about different video games and what I’m doing outside of basketball, but there will also be plenty about my playing career, what I’m working on to get better, and the ins and outs of the NBA, too.

That’s where we’ll start with my first entry.

THE FINALS

The NBA Finals are underway, and it’s already been a thrilling series between the Spurs and Heat. I’ve watched all three games, and have been entertained and impressed by most of the action.

Finals

When the playoffs began, I was kind of hoping to see these two teams play each other again. We played each team a few times this year, and it was obvious that they were two of the best teams — if not the best teams — in the league.

I have to admit, I was kind of surprised with how well the Spurs played again this season. Given the stage that most of those guys are at in their careers and how many seasons they’ve been around, it’s incredible that they’re still able to go through an 82-game season, and finish with the best record in the NBA. Their consistent success is remarkable.

One of the things that makes the Spurs special: It doesn’t matter who they bring in each year. Whoever it is, they seem to come in and play effectively.

Coach Popovich obviously has his team disciplined extremely well. When guys come into the NBA after they’ve been the man at their college, they’re not always willing to listen to everything they’re being told to do. But Popovich gets guys to play their role and do their job. That’s why they’re successful.

I think it’s funny to watch him with the media. There are times when all of us don’t want to talk. I can’t imagine being a coach, and having to do interviews in the middle of a game. I’d probably be the same way. If they pulled me aside after the first quarter and wanted to do an interview, I might look at them like they were crazy or something. I’d be real short with them, too. So I think we can relate.

THE DIFFERENCE MAKERS

When you look at Game 3, the two guys that stepped up — Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green — haven’t been on the team since the beginning like some of the other guys. Still, they rose to the occasion just the same.

Green made a lot of plays that made you say, “I didn’t know he could do that.” He had three steals early in the game, and if he’s playing defense like he did, that adds a whole other dimension to his game.

But he’s obviously become known for his shooting. From guarding and watching him, I can say that he’s one of those guys where you have to be on his hip at all times — especially with the confidence he’s gotten over the past couple years. He can put in six or seven threes real quick. So he’s a guy that you’ve got to try and chase off the three-point line. That’s always the goal, to make him dribble. If he makes plays off his dribble, you kind of live with that.

I like the way that Kawhi approaches the game, and the way that he fits in with that team. Kawhi is an X factor. I think he proved that in Game 3. He didn’t play very well the first two games, but when he plays well, they’re a different team. In Game 3, he was a little more aggressive, and he’s shown in the past that when he’s more aggressive, he tends to do pretty well.

Kawhi

Kawhi’s going up against LeBron James right now, who might be the strongest wing out of anybody in the league, so he might get bullied a little bit by LeBron. But that’s kind of Kawhi’s game, too. He’s really strong, so anytime you get contact with him you feel it. His hands are really strong, and so you’ve just got to be careful with the ball. When he swipes at it, he’s got such strong arms and hands he usually can jar it loose.

He plays extremely hard at both ends of the court, but he never really forces the issue, which is something that I appreciate in a guy who’s not the main option. He knows his role really well, so there are times when he steps up and takes big shots and makes big plays, and there are other times where he’s there and doing his job and that’s what the Spurs ask of him.

You want guys like that on your team.

POINT PROVEN

The importance of that Game 3 win for San Antonio, and how they did it, cannot be overstated.

Before that, I was kind of skeptical of their chances in the series, especially after Game 2. They won Game 1 and you can’t take that win away from them. They had a solid fourth quarter and they shot the ball really well. But they did it against a team that was without its best player — the best player in the game — so I kind of just discredited them for that.

(LeBron makes that big a difference, in my opinion.)

But for them to come out in Game 3 and do it again with LeBron out on the court — that was really important for them, and it made a statement.

Duncan

I’ve been involved in games like that, where the Spurs seemed like they were hitting everything. I can remember getting blown out in San Antonio multiple times, and it just feels like everybody on the court is knocking down shots.

The thing that’s most frustrating as a player is when it seems like they’re almost all wide open shots. I can live with somebody hitting shots if I’m contesting their shots and they’re hitting fade away jump shots, or ridiculous floaters, or something else where we play good defense, but they’re just hitting it.

What gets me is when it seems like they’re getting anything they want, and a lot of times that’s how the Spurs execute. They can just pass the ball and cut so well, and they know each other so well, that they seem to always find a good shot every single time down.

It’s just deflating.

I think it also just speaks to guys understanding their roles. In the NBA, everybody is pretty good offensively, or they wouldn’t be there. At some point in time, all these guys were stars somewhere. So if you can get to a point where you can tell each guy to just do a certain thing, and that’s the only they’re focusing on, you get really good at it. You all play together as a team. That’s when everything kind of comes together and you can become scary, scary good.

That’s where the Spurs are right now.

The only thing you can do on the other side is try to call a timeout, regroup and slow it down a little bit. When they’re on that kind of roll, you have to make sure that you’re taking good shots on offense. If you take bad shots, you end up letting them keep doing the same thing over and over. Miami got into that spot in Game 3, and it will be interesting to see how they bounce back.

Game 4 is definitely a must win for the Heat. I think they’ll do it.

27 Comments

  1. ButlerBulldog86 June 13, 2014 at 1:20 am - Reply

    Great job on the website, Gordon! Thanks and looking forward to more.

  2. Paul Hauswald June 13, 2014 at 1:48 am - Reply

    Gordon – could you give us some insight into what traveling from city to city is like in the NBA? Chartered aircraft, accommodations (each player gets their own room or share?), food on the road (personal/team chefs or catered), what do you typically do with whatever free time you have in a city, how recognized are you outside of Indianapolis or Salt Lake City? Just some random questions I have always wondered.

    Go Dogs! Brownsburg Bulldogs, that is. I’m a ’04 alum.

    Thanks,
    Paul

  3. Tia June 13, 2014 at 2:12 am - Reply

    Great opening blog here, I always love to read a current basketball player give insight on what’s going on in the NBA. We would both disagree of Spurs chances from the start, I believed Spurs had a chance to defeat Heat in 6 this season, like I did last season but I do agree with you that Game 3 showed that Spurs really had a chance, for those who probably didn’t believe in them after Game 1 and 2, although they won Game 1, Lebron couldn’t play the final minutes of the forth quarters in which Spurs got extremely hot. Game 2 wasn’t that good, although if Spurs makes some free throws, maybe there’s a different outcome? In Game 3, Spurs got everything they wanted and Kawhi Leonard finally make a huge welcome back for the series, and right from the opening tip. Spurs had the game.

    Game 4 will be awesome to watch. Go Spurs. Go? .. we’ll see.

  4. Frank June 13, 2014 at 2:19 am - Reply

    Great blog. Hope the Spurs win this time but i’m a Jazz fan. Guys like Diaw, Green and Leonard are key players in this series and every teams need thoses guys when the “All Stars” (Lebron, Duncan, Parker, Bosh, Wade and Ginobili) are in the spotlight.

  5. Andrew June 13, 2014 at 2:26 am - Reply

    Great ideas with the blog and website. Spurs are again playing very well in the first half. The ball movement of this team is fun to watch.

  6. Angie June 13, 2014 at 3:10 am - Reply

    It’s great getting a perspective from someone who is currently playing against the players being written about. I love lots of modern sports writers, but this is something unique we can’t even get from retired NBA players. Looking forward to more posts!

  7. Jake Christensen June 13, 2014 at 4:18 am - Reply

    How does the site work and have you talked to new jazz head coach Quin Snyder

  8. Trilby Cope June 13, 2014 at 4:37 am - Reply

    Gordon, I’ve been a fan of yours since your Butler days. Thrilled when you joined the Jazz. You are an exciting player to watch and I love that you are a team player. Your leadership is important on this team. You seem to be a humble and hard-working player. The best kind. I love the game of basketball. As a 55 year old mother I have been around long enough to see much change in the NBA. I used to sit behind the players bench back in the late 70’s when the Jazz came to Utah (Sam Battistone, the owner, was one of my college friends’s uncle, and he was kind enough to let us sit in his seats on occasion) and so I have watched from the start. Something that has hurt the game in my opinion is the “star” syndrome. When the game becomes about one or two players that is wrong. Perhaps I am ‘behind the times’ but I still believe in ‘old-school’ basketball. Dedication, discipline, team-work. I see this in you. Keep it up. Best wishes!

  9. Jordan June 13, 2014 at 4:55 am - Reply

    As a basketball fan it’s good to see a little insight into what players think about other players or the game in general. I’ve always wondered what goes through the mind of certain players As a jazz fan I gotta say hope to see you back next year

  10. Rob June 13, 2014 at 5:27 am - Reply

    I am a huge Utah Jazz fan. I admire the way you approach and play basketball! I’ve been reading a lot of the news articles about you and your value and what the Jazz should or shouldn’t do with you. I must say that you are so cerebral playing out there, And so well rounded skill wise and with a work ethic that brings you back each new season bigger faster and stronger and improved. I don’t understand the rationale behind people saying to not match a huge offer. Personally I don’t like max money for anyone not named LeBron, but still. You aren’t the problem with the Jazz. Five of you would win a lot of games! You play the right way. I enjoy watching you and hope you like Utah enough to want to stay past even this next contract.

  11. kyle rooney June 13, 2014 at 6:39 am - Reply

    Hey I play black ops 2 zombies like crazy and also ghost.. Xbox Obvi.. theblackpanthr… I go to uvu was born in southern California and played vball in high school and looove playing basketball .. fun fact I am friends with Shawn bradely and yes Mormon.. anyways add me on Xbox and let’s play some time.. also find a way to go play for the Lakers!

  12. Davie Yang June 13, 2014 at 7:11 am - Reply

    Awesome idea with the blog Gordon! I’m a huge fan of the Jazz and of course, you.

    I also thought this was a must-win for the Heat and I’m surprised how flat they came out this game. San Antonio simply walloped them this game too.

    Anyway, I really look forward to reading more of what you write on this blog; you really give a unique and very interesting dimension to these sort of write-ups.

  13. sam June 13, 2014 at 8:13 am - Reply

    I don’t read a lot of blogs but I really enjoyed yours man.

  14. Mike June 13, 2014 at 8:31 am - Reply

    As a Celtic fan, can you give insight on what type of a coach Brad Stevens is? What is your favorite thing about him, least favorite? Maybe an interview type of article? I’m such a big fan of yours! Really hoping you reunite with Stevens this year. Rondo’s and your passing ability to go along with your shooting. Dang, a man can only DREAM to see that!
    Awesome idea,
    Mike

  15. Danny June 13, 2014 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    Gordon,

    This is great! Very cool to see this side of you, keep it coming.

    Couldn’t agree more with you about the Spurs, they are on a different level right now, evidenced by games 3 and 4. Unstoppable. It’s great to see a guy like Diaw have such an impact on both ends of the floor. He was dangerously close to a triple double. Leonard was huge again.

    What i love must about the Spurs is their unselfishness and lack of ego. Leonard has a huge game, or a huge play, and there is more chest pounding or antics of any sort. Just business as usual. I’m hoping they finish it on their home floor.

    We love you here in Utah. You’re a perfect fit for the Jazz. I look forward to watching you less this team to greatness in the future; I believe you’ll be here for a long time. Jazz will match.

    Have you met coach Snyder yet? What do you think of him?

    • Danny June 13, 2014 at 3:51 pm - Reply

      *Lead this team to greatness.

  16. Curtis June 13, 2014 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    Great post Hayward! It is fun seeing current players give their insights. I am hoping the Spurs win so Pop and Duncan can retire at the top and the Heat Big 3 gets blown up. That way the new Utah Jazz under Quin Snyder can begin their rise! Can’t wait for the year coming up and look forward to seeing you sign back with the Jazz. No way they let you go, and all the staff speaks as suck. I expect to see you back.

    Any thoughts on the draft and who you like at 5 or can you not speak on those things? See ya!

  17. Jordan Cummings June 13, 2014 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    Hey Gordon.

    Nice work with the website. It was cool to read up on your background a bit more. You’ve been my favorite player for a couple of years now – I was fortunate enough to have a good friend of mine get me your jersey at a game this season – and I had a few questions for you if that’s OK.

    First, how much of your shooting struggles this year were mental vs physical? I noticed some of your mechanics changed slightly and was wondering how much of that was due to not having Hornacek around to work with. Did your leg injury in the first month or so of the season have a lingering effect on your takeoff on jumpers? Did the highs and lows of an engagement and wedding planning have a mental impact on your on-court performance at all?

    Second (this first part isn’t really a question), I speak for all Jazz fans when I say that we want you back in Utah for another 5 years – and hopefully longer. What are some of the biggest deciding factors for you this offseason in deciding on a new contract and possibly a new team?

    You and Alec Burks play off each other really well, and you seem to elevate each other’s games when you’re on the floor together. Is he your favorite player to play next to? Or maybe Fave? Turk? Jeremy (aka The Anomaly)?

    What has been or will be your main focus this offseason as far as training and tweaking your game? You’re such a versatile player and you’re great at so many things, but what do you see as the one or two areas in which you feel you need the most improvement?

    Thanks, Gordon. I’m a huge fan.

  18. JuMu June 13, 2014 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    You’re my inspiration, Gordon! Stay with the Jazz for your career man! You can be the face of the franchise!

  19. Captain L June 13, 2014 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    Love your game Gordon, I wish all the players on the Jazz had your mentality, you make the game easier for your teammates and that is how the game should be played. I love you playing at the 2 spot, which position do you prefer? 2 or 3? Have you seen Kanter shoot enough in practice to know if he can shoot the 3 well enough to make it a part of his game this year? Are Kanter’s defensive problems just because of a lack of experience ? ? Or what? Give us your top 3 picks for the 5 spot in this draft, I like Aaron Gordon, I think he would bring things a lot of other players can’t (kinda like you), as a Indiana native, what are your thoughts about Vonleh?

  20. Captain L June 13, 2014 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    Another question: I see a lot of comments or questions on here, how often do you plan on responding to questions or comments?

  21. Tony June 13, 2014 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    This is awesome! I can’t say how cool this is to read an actual NBA player break down NBA stuff. Thanks!

  22. 1234BBS June 14, 2014 at 5:06 am - Reply

    Pro athlete blogs are always interesting. They usually start out very good, and then gradually as the athlete gets busy, they post less frequently until they finally stop altogether.

    Maintaining a blog takes a lot of time, and most professionals just don’t want to put the time into something that really doesn’t pay them.

    GH I hope you can continue your blog with interesting information. Good luck with it.

    After buying season tickets for 25 plus years, you are now the only reason my wife and I watch the Jazz. If you sign with another team I guess we’ll have to buy an all nba pass!

  23. JFFR June 14, 2014 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    Great blog. I wonder if Paul George has a blog, or if he’s in the gym working….

  24. Miles June 15, 2014 at 6:08 am - Reply

    Thank you for initiating this blog. Many times one gets the feeling that the players in the NBA are unapproachable, although I have not had that feeling about you. A fan of Utah and Sacramento as we have been transplanted back and forth. So when these two teams play, as a fan, I always win and lose. I’ve enjoyed your stint with Utah from your selection to enjoying and admiring your effort and performance. You have a complete game and your value does not start and stop with scoring but presents a more complete approach to the game which is admirable. I see the Jazz management refocusing the team and leaning more toward the Spurs team approach to the game versus the superstar one-on-one game which is so popular these days. I know you are unable to comment specifically on your new coach or draft picks and, alternatively, would like you to discuss in future blogs how you physically handle the constant pounding on your body with the schedule you face. Your style of play translates to many miles run every game and I wonder whether that is better for you in the long run or does it wear you down during the year?

  25. David B June 15, 2014 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    Great to hear some of your thoughts. Good idea to do the blog. Stay humble! That is one of your greatest skills, Basketball will go to the wayside but who you are will stick with you forever. Also love to see you are a LOL fan hope to maybe get the opportunity to play with you some time And I too am a fan of VoyBoy! North America will soon dominate the Game and it will be people like you that will help us get there, Thanks for what you do for the fans of BB and Gaming. Nice blog and I look forward to reading more.

  26. Sam November 6, 2014 at 5:50 am - Reply

    The deflation part really resonated with me. When watching as a spectator, it’s always so easy to say: pick up your head, do let anything get to you. That attitude is inhuman. It’s too ideal. I remember watching those finals games and being frustrated that Miami seemed to waved the white flag too early. Now I can totally see it and remember what it was like to get blown out even when I knew how to compete at my highest level. The Spurs were just executing at an unmanageable level.

    Thanks Gordon. Nice shot today against Cleveland.

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