On Kevin Durant's impact on the Suns
Plus: Thoughts on Donovan Mitchell
Welcome to another issue of A Farewell to Takes, our quick trip around the NBA. In case you missed it, Al Horford joined The Old Man and the Three last week. Lots of great insights and stories from the Celtics big man. Also, available to listen: our latest episode of The Old Man and the Three Things. Tommy and I made our cases for fringe All-NBA players who should make an All-NBA Team.
In this week’s A Farewell to Takes we are giving you:
Our Stat of the Week
Tommy on Donovan Mitchell
The Best Thing Tommy Ate This Week
Our Wine of the Week
Thanks for being a part of the OM3 community! —JJ
The Stat of the Week is 23-2
The Phoenix Suns defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder last night to improve to 6-0 with Kevin Durant in the lineup. Durant’s impact on winning has been huge this season on both the Suns and the Brooklyn Nets. In his last 25 games played this season, Durant has a personal win record of 23-2. In the six games he has played for the Suns, KD is averaging 26.8 points while shooting 60.4% from the field and 51.9% from 3. With so much uncertainty around the Western Conference playoff picture, there is one thing we can be certain of: Kevin Durant is going to score efficiently, and his team is going to have a chance to win every night he’s in the lineup. —JJ
Celtics center Al Horford joined the show last week to talk about his storied career, what the best version of this Boston Celtics team looks like both offensively and defensively, competing against LeBron in past playoffs, the 2022 NBA Finals, and so much more. Plus, we get a story about his college roommate: Joakim Noah.
Featured Player of the Week: Donovan Mitchell
The Cavs feel very sleeping giant to me. They are sitting firmly in the 4 spot in the East, facing a likely first round matchup with a really good Knicks team where almost all of the attention will likely be on New York. They have two phenomenal young bigs in Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, a somehow still underrated All-Star level guard in Darius Garland, and while their two big questions, late game execution and who their fifth closer in crunch time is are legit, there is a lot to like for Cleveland fans heading into May. They sit currently 2nd in Team Net Rating on the season, boosted by their league leading Def Rating defense (110.00). The team has talked publicly about "getting stops on demand" and you can see it in fourth quarters, when they decide to lock in, their combination of length and defensive versatility is suffocating.
But of course, the reason why this group has a chance to be playing in June this year, is their prized offseason addition, a guy even the most pessimistic Cavs fan have to be over the moon about ... Donovan Mitchell. We had Donovan on the pod in October, and he was optimistic about his fit with Garland and these young Cavs at large. But this has to have exceeded even the most lofty expectations. After ripping off three straight 40 pieces this week, Donovan has become the first Cavs player in franchise history to accomplish that feat. He leads the league in 40-point games since the All-Star break. Mitchell sits 7th in the league in scoring at 28 points per game, making close to four 3's per game. He's 6th in the league in offensive box score RAPTOR, and even his defense, a question mark in the past, has improved this year, helped of course because of the elite unit JB Bickerstaff and Koby Altman have built around him. Mitchell's 3-point shooting and scoring are tied and and eclipsing career highs, and his 3-point efficiency has been close to league high all year.
When you look at the dumpster fires that are the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers, Mitchell has a really strong case for first team All-NBA, he's on the best team by far of the four guards in contention, and this dominant stretch heading into the playoffs has only cemented this case. —Tommy
Best Thing Tommy Ate This Week: Black Salt Caesar and Chicken Parm at Supper
I know, I know, Caesar Salad and Chicken Parm is an incredibly basic order, much less a food item you should seek out to try. Every Italian restaurant on planet Earth has a version of both of these, and they're usually just fine. A constant note is this is better at home when somebody's grandma makes it or something, and that's usually hard to argue. I went to Supper Saturday with my friend Dylan who recommended it, not expecting much. In fact, I don't even particularly like Chicken Parm. Wow, was I wrong. The breaded texture was perfect, the sauce-to-cheese ratio was sublime and the spaghetti, usually a throw-in in this conversation was excellent as well. I wouldn't dare say it's the best in New York as I haven't had enough, but it is very good if you find yourself in the area.
The Black Salt Caesar, a topic I know much more about, was one of the best I've had in a long time. Served with parmesan, anchovies, croutons, and black pepper, this is just a very high-level basic Caesar salad. If you like Caesar, there is zero chance you will not love this. Try Supper out if you're looking for a more low-key but high-level Italian meal in the city. —Tommy
Wine of the Week: Outrora Clasico Baga 2018
I’m in Lisbon for the week, and our first night in Portugal featured an awesome meal at Bahr and this delicious Portuguese red wine made from the baga grape. It paired beautifully with the pork entree. Made in the style of Australian shiraz or Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the wine is fruit driven but also full-bodied. —JJ
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