Welcome to another issue of A Farewell to Takes, our quick trip around the NBA. Last week, we were joined by Kevin Huerter and Alex Caruso on The Old Man and the Three. A lot of thoughtful conversations through the episode with two of my favorite hoopers in the league — definitely check it out.
Over on the The Old Man and the Three Things side, we talk about the difference in connectivity between the Celtics and Heat, the Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers series, and why Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray are the best duo in the NBA. Episode just dropped this morning.
In this week’s A Farewell to Takes we are giving you:
Our Stat of the Week
Steve from The Dunker Spot on pain and joy of the Conference Finals
Tommy on Gabe Vincent
The Best Thing Tommy Ate Last Week
Our Wine of the Week
Thanks for reading! —JJ
Stat of the Week: 17.5%
Miami is on the brink of a Finals berth after their blowout win in Game 3 against the Celtics. We can point to a number of things as to why the Heat are up 3-0 in this series: Jimmy Butler, the “Undrafted Heat”, the Celtics defensive schemes, or the Game 1 and 2 2nd half collapses from Boston. However, one stat that really stands out is Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown’s struggles from 3. The two Boston stars are shooting 17.5% on 3 pointers in this series (they are a combined 7 of 40). To win in the Playoffs you absolutely need different role players to have big nights, but more importantly — you need your BEST players to be at their BEST. Similar to Games 6 and 7 of the Philly/Boston series when Harden and Embiid struggled, it’s tough to beat good opponents when your stars struggle. —JJ
Steve Jones Jr. on the joy and pain of the Conference Finals
Steve and Nekias of The Dunker Spot will be contributing to A Farewell to Takes starting with today's issue. Here's Steve on the difference between earlier rounds of the Playoffs and the Conference Finals:
The Conference Finals bring an element of joy and pain that is difficult to explain. The fact that we have a 1 seed up 3-0 and an 8 seed up 3-0 does not make it any easier. In a playoff series it stops being about how good your team is and more about if your team can solve this very specific thing right now. In the Conference Finals, while you are trying to solve it, your opponent is just as hungry to get better and end it. It’s a sprint.
The Lakers have not been able to figure out Jamal Murray and Denver’s defense has stayed connected. Nikola Jokić has been able to stay in a drop coverage in the Western Conference Finals. For all of the talk of adjustments, the 7 minutes that Denver had to play with him on the bench in Game 3 stands out. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bruce Brown have shown the importance of fit and opportunity. The Celtics have not had an answer for Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo and the rest of the Heat’s guards have continued to join the party. Jimmy Butler has been able to cycle through the Celtics matchups to the point that Boston, with all of their great defensive personnel, has gone to double teaming him. Duncan Robinson and Max Strus have been able to become pick-and-roll playmakers, setting up lobs and pocket passes for Bam Adebayo vs. Boston’s drop defense. The Celtics have tried to find a matchup for Robert Williams III, and Caleb Martin has disagreed. Denver and Miami have been challenged but have kept their mindset and identity throughout both the playoffs and these series. Or we could just talk about ratings and referees. —Steve
Featured Player of the Week: Gabe Vincent
There have been almost too many positive developments on this Heat fairy tale run to count. The 27th best 3 point shooting team in the league all year is now the best in the playoffs. Jimmy Buckets turning in Michael Jordan in Games 1 and 2 in Boston. Between Kyle Lowry, Caleb Martin and Duncan Robinson, it's hard to find a bench guy to spotlight because they've all had such impactful moments.
So let's talk about Gabe Vincent for a second. In the Conference Finals, Vincent is averaging 17.7 ppg, shooting 61% from the field and 55.6 % from 3. Vincent is the first player in NBA history to average 15plus PPG, on 60/50/100% splits in an Eastern Conference Finals. As Matt Williams, ESPN's stat whiz pointed out, Vincent, along with Martin's 19.3 ppg and 63% FG shooting are on a historic pace. The last pair of teammates to average 15 ppg on 60% FG shooting in the Conference or NBA finals was another Heat pair, Dwyane Wade and Shaq in 2006. To add insult to injury for Celtics fans, Vincent is 10-18 from 3 in the finals. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are 7-40 combined.
Of course, this isn't surprising for anybody who's watched the Heat all playoffs. Vincent shot 42% from 3 in the Bucks series and along with Jimmy is why they won that pivotal Game 5, and even though his shooting dipped a bit against the Knicks, was instrumental in Games 1 and 2 in New York. Vincent, who shot 33.4% from 3 during the regular season has bumped up to 38% for the playoffs overall, a walking representation of the shooting jump the Heat have taken overall.
While Vincent's 29 points last night will deservedly get a ton of attention, his step back jumper with the Heat holding onto a 2 point lead at the end of Game 2 was arguably his most impactful moment in the series so far. —Tommy
Kevin Huerter and Alex Caruso joined the show last week to talk through their seasons, the Playoffs, the Bubble Championship, the Heat, #LightTheBeam, and more.
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Best Thing Tommy Ate Last Week: Cheeseburger at Ingas Bar
Ingas Bar, an unassuming, local Brooklyn Heights spot, has been pumping out great brunch and dinner service for the last year. The celery root (not sure what that is but it's great) and croquettes are strong choices, but if you find yourself here, don't make it complicated — just get the cheeseburger. You get a soft bun with white onions, sweet bread and butter pickles, two patties, and American cheese. There's nothing about this burger that sounds super novel on its face, but the execution is sublime. Served with crisp fries, the burger is also perfectly proportioned as a filling but not over-the-top meal. Sometimes bar burgers can be massive and messy and annoying. Not Ingas.
I would go here asap if you find yourself in Brooklyn Heights/DUMBO/downtown Brooklyn area.
Ingas Bar | Instagram | 66 Hicks St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Wine of the Week: Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Grand Cru Latricieres-Chambertin 2013
I hosted a wine dinner for InVintory in Manhattan on Thursday night and we drank some great white Burgundy, an epic Barbaresco, and even had some Chateau D’Yquem. But the standout wine for me was the 2013 Arnoux-Lachaux Latricieres-Chambertin. Don’t be afraid of the dual hyphens. Arnoux-Lachaux makes some fantastic wines, and Latricieres-Chambertin is one of several Grand Cru sites in the village of Gevrey-Chambertin. This particular wine was a standout because it was elegant, complex, and balanced. It’s a wine for a special occasion. 2013 wasn’t the most lauded vintage in recent Burgundy, but this wine was incredible. —JJ
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