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A show bringing you nuanced perspectives on the NBA's most important stories, hosted by USC alums Aaron Fischman, Joshua Jonah Fischman and Loren Lee Chen. Find us on our website at OnTheNBABeat.com or our Twitter page (@OnTheNBABeat).

On the NBA Beat Lineups

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A show bringing you nuanced perspectives on the NBA's most important stories, hosted by USC alums Aaron Fischman, Joshua Jonah Fischman and Loren Lee Chen. Find us on our website at OnTheNBABeat.com or our Twitter page (@OnTheNBABeat).

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 137: Tomer Azarly on Clippers: "Still A Work in Progress"

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 137: Tomer Azarly on Clippers: "Still A Work in Progress"

    Tomer Azarly of Clutch Points joins the show to discuss the state of the Clippers just past the season's midway point. Enjoy these clips/Clips:

    6:04-6:42: I just think it's a work in progress. It’s a team last year that had an underdog mentality all season and now you add two superstars from two completely different programs in Kawhi and PG, and it just takes time to incorporate these guys. We haven't even talked about the fact that they have one game healthy all year. That was the Laker game on Christmas Day. The following game, Trez missed because of the flu, and then Pat went out with the wrist injury. So they've only really had one game healthy, one practice the day before that healthy. We’ve really yet to see what this team can be. So I don't think it's time to overreact yet, but this team is still a work in progress.

    14:47-15:46: Their numbers while [Ivica] Zubac is on the court have been pretty close to phenomenal. They've been a really good defensive team when Zubac on the court because he not only blocks shots, but he changes shots. He’s a really big guy inside. He takes up a lot of space. I’ve been saying this all year: play Zubac more. Get him more minutes. For whatever reason, the Clippers are not getting him more minutes right now. Maybe they're showcasing Trez more. Maybe they feel like they can outscore teams and sort of be OK defensively, with Trez on the court. But I do think a bit of their defense always comes back to Zubac and having him on the court because inside, statistically, like blocked shots, he hasn’t been a crazy force, but he's been a shot-changing force at the rim for the Clippers.

    17:50-18:24: I think the series honestly might just come down to health. The Clippers have shown that, they they can play the Lakers very well. They match up pretty well against them. You know, Kawhi is able to really put pressure on LeBron. LeBron does not want to guard Kawhi right now. I don't think he will in the playoffs either. I just look at it and say the Clippers have all the right pieces to slow down the Lakers; it's just a matter of can they be healthy when they play them. Can they have enough repetition under their belt together as a team to beat the Lakers?

    21:04-21:25: Home court matters, but they will be content being a 4 seed if they are a hundred percent healthy. If they have PG, Kawhi healthy, Pat's 100% or close to it, they've built some chemistry over time and they go on as a four seed, I can tell you they'll be very confident about their odds and their chances because that's just the kind of team this is. They're not really worried about seeding.

    36:50-37:00: I was the one that asked him [Harrell] about the vibe of the locker room. I didn't get a weird vibe before that, but once he started speaking, I wanted to know what the vibe of the locker room was.

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    Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod.

    • 39 Min.
    On the NBA Beat Ep. 136: Will & Grace's David Kohan: “I Think This Is the (Clippers') Year”

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 136: Will & Grace's David Kohan: “I Think This Is the (Clippers') Year”

    David Kohan, along with his friend Max, created the long-running hit comedy series Will & Grace. But the Emmy Award winner is also one of the biggest Clippers fans we know, and boy was he excited to preview the upcoming season in Clipperland, one which he believes will be “the year.” Boasting the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and a deep supporting cast, the Clippers are primed for a breakthrough season. Coincidentally, Will & Grace just made a big announcement of its own: the show will be ending after one final season. Following the Clippers discussion, David touches upon that as well as his sister’s stellar TV series, Orange Is the New Black. Some special clips (Clips?) have been excerpted below:    4:15-4:26: “I thought for a second when Chris Paul was joining the team, ‘Well, this is about as good as it’s gonna get as a Clipper fan.’ But I was wrong. This is about as good as it gets.” 7:36-7:43: “Suddenly, it felt like we were frontrunners, and I’ve never felt that way as a Clipper fan before.” 11:40-12:07: “More than anything, If Jerry West is there, I feel like he’s a magician. There’s no greater architect of a team. There’s no one whose imprimatur means more than Jerry West. … His instincts are always right. It’s uncanny to me. So, it’s like, ‘In Jerry we trust,’ right?”   12:55-17:09: “Last year, as a fan, was my favorite year. It was my favorite year, I think, ever, in all the years of being a Clipper season-ticket holder. What Doc [Rivers] did with that group and just the character of that group, I loved that team. I really did. It was such a satisfying season to me. … You really got the sense, unlike years before, they all played for each other, that they genuinely cared about each other, that they enjoyed playing together, and that they were locked in defensively most of the time. … They really did seem to be giving their best effort, not caring who carried the scoring load, everybody had their roles which were clearly defined. There was energy and passion and intensity. … The Lob City teams, there always seemed to be more talent than cohesiveness.”    26:14-28:14: “People talk about the Clippers’ health and the health of their two superstars with Kawhi’s quad and Paul George’s shoulder, but the Lakers, I think, are in a much more perilous situation. … That team doesn’t quite make sense to me as currently composed. They don’t seem balanced.”    30:46-31:46: “Looking back [on Will & Grace’s run], I guess more than anything, [what stands out is] how special it is to work with those four actors, because I actually think they’re the best at what they do. … There’s a whole confluence of things that has to come together in order for something to work. But one of the things that I really appreciated during that gap between the first run and the second run was just how good I had it working with those four actors. I really feel like whatever you write, they elevate it. They make it better than you thought.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 40 Min.
    On the NBA Beat Ep. 135: Jovan Buha: Leonard, George "Can Be Best Perimeter Pairing Since Pippen, M.J."

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 135: Jovan Buha: Leonard, George "Can Be Best Perimeter Pairing Since Pippen, M.J."

    Last Friday night, Los Angeles residents, among people in others places such as Las Vegas, felt a 7.1-magnitude earthquake. Within nearly two and a half hours, the Clippers had pulled off an earth-shattering pair of moves that would bring both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to Los Angeles, not too far from where either superstar was born and raised. For the occasion, The Athletic’s Jovan Buha appears On the NBA Beat to discuss how the long-suffering franchise positioned itself for such a major offseason coup, how dominant these Clippers can truly be after the earth-Kawhiuake, the question marks surrounding Paul George’s shoulders and much, much more.  8:23-10:52: “I think for the Clippers to be able to get Doc [Rivers] to basically take a demotion and not have to fire him, not have him quit, I think that was huge, because Doc still has a lot of cachet around the league, he’s still regarded as a players’ coach, he’s still someone that people want to play for. … [They] completely revamped this front office, and that really changed things for the Clippers, because every single move they’ve made over these last two years has been so calculated and has really put them in this position to do what they just did.”     13:04-14:22: “The Clippers have just continued to flip players for more assets and more players, and then they just cashed in on this Paul George-Kawhi Leonard situation. It was a historic price, what they paid for Paul George…but I think the context you’ve gotta look at it in is it’s not like they traded for Paul George only; they traded for Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Had they not gotten Paul George, they would not have gotten Kawhi Leonard. … Yes, there is risk into the mid-2020s, but if the Clippers win a championship or make the Finals over the next two, three years, I think that’s clearly worth it.” 14:47-16:26: “I think they can be the best perimeter pairing we’ve seen since Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan, and that might sound like hyperbole, but I don’t think it’s that ridiculous. … Perimeter defense has arguably become the most important thing in the league outside of shooting.”   21:16-21:36: “I think Landry [Shamet]’s shooting is gonna unlock so much stuff with Kawhi and Paul George that to bench him is really gonna be a potential difference-maker offensively, just in terms of their spacing, their gravity, their ability to do things offensively. To me, Landry is a huge key.”    23:45-25:00: “Especially with the shoulder injury, that directly affects your shooting. I don’t know. That’s kind of the wild card. I think it [the Paul George injury] could swing the Clippers’ season from like a 47, 48-win to a 58-win team. … That’s kind of the one semi-dark cloud hanging over this whole thing.” 30:44-31:12: “The Clippers have never been the favorites. They’ve always been third, fourth, fifth, whatever, during the whole Lob City era. They were never No. 1, so I think there’s the pressure of that. But with this new development with the Kawhi Leonard contract, it does put pressure on them to really cater to what he wants over the next two years, to meet his expectations of what he thinks of the roster and what he thinks of the team and their potential.”  42:36-43:55: “The Blake Griffin trade and the Tobias Harris trade. … This guy, he just looks at things in such an objective, business-like, borderline ruthless approach. … And he deemed, and the front office deemed as an organization, that Blake wasn’t [and] the same thing with Tobias. Both of those moves scream Jerry West.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 44 Min.
    On the NBA Beat Ep. 134: Jake Fischer: Top-Tier Free Agents May Need to Wait for Kawhi

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 134: Jake Fischer: Top-Tier Free Agents May Need to Wait for Kawhi

    Jake Fischer joins the show on the doorstep of the official beginning to the 2019 NBA free agency period. The Sports Illustrated reporter takes us through the likeliest scenarios involving superstars Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. He also explores the Los Angeles Clippers’ chances of finally landing a max free agent after years of coming away empty-handed and how their arena-mates plan to build around Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Jake’s thoughts on the 76ers’ approach to the offseason and the Rockets’ rumored interest in Jimmy Butler are featured as well, among other salient NBA storylines. Some highlights of an action-packed episode:   4:28-5:13: “While Durant might make his decision where he wants to go before Leonard, there might be teams that say, ‘We have to wait to hear what Kawhi says first.’ If I had to guess right now, I would still expect Kyrie and Kevin Durant to go to Brooklyn together. I’m not saying that’s gonna happen; that’s my guess at the moment. I just think with those two guys’ interests in playing together, the Nets’ aggressive moves to create two max cap spots, and their ability to afford patience with [Durant’s] recovery…they both end up in Brooklyn.” 9:24-10:15: “From Day 1, once that relationship in San Antonio soured, everyone that I’ve spoken to around Kawhi has specifically talked about his love of Southern California, how he is a man of simple tastes – all he wants to do is be with the people close to him, work hard, and compete – and the best place for him to do that is most likely Southern California, where he’s from, where he played college basketball. If he does leave Toronto, I would be very surprised if it’s anywhere but for the Clippers. I don’t buy that the Lakers are a viable option for him. I don’t think that Kawhi Leonard wants to play second or third fiddle to LeBron [James] and Anthony Davis.” 16:50-18:01: “Don’t get it twisted: the Lakers created max-salary space to go chase a max free agent. The public speculation about them instead using that money for role players is to put out the backup plan. That is not the plan. The plan is to go get a third star. I don’t agree with it. Look what happened with Golden State this season in the Finals. When you make a top-heavy roster like that, when you can have greater talent on the floor when healthy, it dramatically swings the odds of the game in your favor, but it also leaves you very susceptible; one injury can really derail an entire rotation. … I would personally take that salary and go after shooters and defenders, but the Lakers are a hundred percent going for a big-name guy, whether it be Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, D’Angelo Russell, Kawhi Leonard, you name it. They’re going after every single guy.” 25:37-26:29: “A lot of the word to come out has been about Houston’s interest and Houston’s efforts. We haven’t heard if it’s reciprocated on [Jimmy Butler’s] end. While he is friends with James Harden, and Harden has made a lot of recruiting efforts on the Rockets’ behalf, Jimmy Butler was an alpha dog in Philadelphia during the playoffs. In the fourth quarter, with the game and the season on the line, the ball was in his hands. That’s not gonna be the case in Houston. Jimmy Butler wants to be that guy, and I just don’t see him wanting to sacrifice that role for Houston. …As comprised following that trade, without Clint Capela, without Eric Gordon, without P.J. Tucker, I don’t know if they are the favorite in the Western Conference as they currently stand, if they swap those integral contributing pieces out for Jimmy Butler.”Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 27 Min.
    On the NBA Beat Ep. 133: Eric Nehm: With Bucks, "Is There Anything That Really Needs Fixing?"

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 133: Eric Nehm: With Bucks, "Is There Anything That Really Needs Fixing?"

    On the heels of a disappointing Eastern Conference finals exit at the hands of the Raptors, The Athletic’s Eric Nehm is here to talk all things Milwaukee Bucks, including Giannis Antetokounmpo’s MVP campaign, the Bucks’ spectacular season, Mike Budenholzer’s inaugural year at the helm, and the significant offseason looming ahead.Some noteworthy clips (Particular time stamps may vary due to dynamic advertising.): 9:02-9:15: “I guess a less mature 24-year-old would just be angry and not really thinking about exactly how he gets better, but here’s Giannis, two days later, saying, ‘You know, I gotta find a way to be more comfortable in the midrange.’” 14:58-17:04: “I think Khris [Middleton] just really understands Giannis, and Giannis really appreciates guys that play hard, show up every night and can go out and actually take care of business … Giannis can help out with some of the rim protection, Khris can switch a bunch of different things; he also can defend other team’s No. 1s. And because he can defend the league’s best wings, guys like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis can stay on the back side and just be the free safety and attempt to just wreak havoc essentially. So it all just kind of works, and then on top of it, there’s just no frills. Khris doesn’t really have an ego. He doesn’t really go out there and demand more shots or anything like that.”        25:07-25:54: “If Giannis is Giannis in that series, they win. If Fred VanVleet doesn’t turn into Steph Curry for the final [three] games of that series, the Bucks win. I know when you don’t make it to the Finals, there’s always the desire to be like, ‘Oh, man. You gotta figure out what was wrong and you gotta fix it.’ And it’s just like, ‘Well, is there anything that really needs fixing or could it just go a little bit better?’ So the reason they didn’t win this year is Giannis wasn’t Giannis in the Eastern Conference finals. If you give me the chance to bet on Giannis being Giannis or Giannis being even better next year, I will take that bet 10 out of 10 times.” 35:42-37:33: “He [coach Mike Budenholzer] entered this season with a very clear vision of how this team would play. On defense, they were going to take away the rim, they were not gonna foul, and they were gonna force teams to shoot above-the-break 3s. On offense, they were gonna spread the floor, they were gonna play five out, and they were gonna let Giannis try to get to the rim. And if you decide to take that away, they were gonna kick it out and shoot 3s, and he installed it successfully. That’s exactly what they did. That’s exactly how they won 60 games. … The question about him has always been: Can Bud make the adjustments he needs to make in the postseason or is he just gonna stay in the kind of style that he’s played throughout the regular season? ... I thought he answered that question, and it’s very clear that he is willing to adjust. Now, do the adjustments work? That is a fair question.”         Eric's Giannis feature referenced throughout the interview: https://theathletic.com/1001604/2019/05/30/giannis-antetokounmpo-unplugged-bucks-star-sounds-off-about-his-playoff-performance-and-teams-tough-finish/. Eric can also be heard co-hosting Locked On Bucks. Additionally, you can find his book on the Bucks right here.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 40 Min.
    On the NBA Beat Ep. 132: Tom Westerholm: Giannis Will "Have to Work for Every Bucket" (Celtics-Bucks)

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 132: Tom Westerholm: Giannis Will "Have to Work for Every Bucket" (Celtics-Bucks)

    The Boston Celtics stole Game 1 in Milwaukee before the mighty Bucks answered Tuesday with a comfortable victory of their own. With the series all squared up and storylines aplenty, Tom Westerholm of MassLive delves into this fun matchup, which pits Milwaukee and Boston against each other for the second straight postseason. Only, this time, Milwaukee is coming off a 60-win season and the Celtics are able to suit up Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. The Celtics severely limited MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 1, but he responded with a strong performance in Game 2. How can Boston hope to corral the Greek Freak, and so many more questions answered inside.   Some noteworthy clips (Particular time stamps may vary due to dynamic advertising): 3:54-4:57: “This is a strategy that they’ve employed against Giannis, basically all through last year’s playoffs – let Al Horford guard him one-on-one and then everybody else can get out to shooters. It really hammers home how good Horford is at defending that he was able to do that and that he is able to do that, because every once in a while in this series you see Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown, guys who are not small necessarily, get switched onto Giannis and he just blows by them and gets a dunk. It’s replicable just because the Celtics have a guy like Horford, who is as good at defending as he is and who is strong and able to meet his feet and able to stay in front…Giannis is going to have a difficult series. He’s gonna have to work for every bucket, every free throw he gets. As much as the Celtics can hope for a win in this series, that’s gonna be what it rests on.” 11:43-12:26: “One of the things to keep in mind with this Celtics team is they do sort of have these stretches, and then sometimes during the regular season that would lead toward finger-pointing, that would lead to guys kind of getting upset with one another, and then that would really snowball and then you’re talking about a few losses in a row and things can go badly at that point for them. I will say, though, in the locker room everybody was pretty accountable. There wasn’t a lot of, ‘Oh, the young guys needed to do this,’…It was more like Marcus Morris said they need to be setting better screens for Kyrie, and Kyrie said, ‘I need to be better at X, Y and Z.’”    14:12-14:53: “I think that he [Gordon Hayward] has really shown himself improving. He’s a lot better now than he was at the start of the season, a lot more consistent. At the start of the season, when Gordon Hayward would have a good game, it was because he started off making some 3s and then maybe some other stuff would open up. But basically, if he got hot from 3, the Celtics were gonna be OK, and he was gonna be OK. Now, he’s getting to the rim, he’s aggressive, he’s attacking mismatches, he’s operating out of the pick and roll, he’s defending well, he’s doing a lot of the things that made him good in Utah. He’s not there yet. He’s obviously not an All-Star yet, but you can definitely start to see him putting the pieces together.”     28:48-29:25: “Watching their development has been really fun. They’re both smart basketball players, they’re both definitely guys that the organization loves. They love their growth mentality, a thing Brad Stevens likes to talk about. I think both have really, really bright futures. Both of them will probably hear their names in trade rumors this summer, and we’ll see how that goes when we get to it, but for right now, for the Celtics, having two young guys like that who can really pitch in and who are starting to learn how to play alongside other stars is just really, really valuable.”   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 31 Min.

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