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Frank Isola, SiriusXM NBA Radio Host

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May 1, 2023 7:21 pm

Frank Isola, SiriusXM NBA Radio Host

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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May 1, 2023 7:21 pm

Frank Isola joined Zach to discuss Steph Curry's incredible Game 7 performance and if the Sixers can beat the Celtics without Joel Embiid. 

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Our number two of our radio program, that's right, it is the Zach Gelb show coast to coast on CBS Sports Radio. Just a sensational and unprecedented performance from Steph Curry yesterday as he goes for 50 points in a game seven.

The Warriors do advance to the second round where they have that big date with the Los Angeles Lakers. You got two games in action tonight, Sixers and Celtics coming up at 7.30 p.m. Eastern and then Suns and Nuggets at 10 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Pacific. Let's head out to the guest line right now and welcome in Frank Isola, does a great job around the horn, PTI and Sirius XM, NBA radio and he joins us right now. Frank, how you been? Zach, how are you?

Good to talk to you. Well, I'm doing fantastic. You've seen a lot of basketball, Frank. To see what Curry did yesterday, how did you process it? Yeah, I mean it's a game seven on the road and you could just tell he seemed to have that look in his eye that he was not going to allow the team to lose. You know, they played so poorly in game six.

He wasn't very good. Jordan Poole was really, really bad in game six. I had my doubts about the Warriors, but then again, you know, I had my doubts about them last year when they were down 2-1 to Boston. They were losing in the second half and Steph had that remarkable game four, which for me is still his best playoff performance because that's in the finals. If you lose that game, you're down 3-1 in the series.

I get it. This was an elimination game. It's a game seven. It's still the first round. And it's still against a team, you know, that had, you know, an organization that hadn't been in the playoffs, what was it, 16 years. A lot of guys on that team had never been through it before.

It doesn't take anything away from what he did. I mean, come on, it's his career playoff high. He's the first player in NBA history to score 50 points in a game seven.

It's remarkable. I would still put the game four in Boston last year ahead of that one, though, in terms of his all-time great performances. Has he moved past Magic as the greatest point guard of all time?

No, I'm not buying that. I mean, to me, Steph Curry's a guard, so he's a point guard, he's a shooting guard. You know, Magic was 6'9". And, you know, Magic did something, you know, we think about how crazy we go over some of these college players.

Like, you know, maybe the most recent example would be Zion Williamson, who had a tremendous freshman year at Duke. You know, every game was on TV. He was as big that year as any player in the country, whatever the sport was.

Everyone knew who Zion was. Now, they got knocked out, what was it, I think the Elite Eight. He's either the Sweet 16 or the Elite Eight.

They didn't make it to a Final Four. Next year, you know, he ended up playing just a few games in the NBA. Magic went from winning a national championship as a sophomore, so that was in late March. And then the following May, so what is that, 12, 13 months, 14 months, he was the finals MVP. You know, he played center in that game against the Sixers, and he had 40 some odd points. I think it was 18 rebounds that he had filling in for Kareem. They're different players, it's a different era, but I was still up to put Magic. But Steph is one of the greatest guards to ever play in the, you know, in the sport, and he's a Top 10 player.

It's funny, right? It still seems like he probably doesn't get the same respect that maybe Michael Jordan got, even LeBron. When those guys won, it was LeBron and, yeah, these other guys. With Steph, everyone always seems to kind of group them together with Draymond and Klay, and those guys are phenomenal players. There's no doubt about it, but it's Steph Curry. He's driving the bus like LeBron did with those championships in Miami and Cleveland, like what Michael Jordan did with the six titles in Chicago.

Yes, they get help, but they're the ones driving the bus, and that's Steph Curry, absolutely. You're exactly right, like it's weird to call him underrated because we know he's like the greatest three-point shooter ever. But I do think, Frank Isolla, having KD leave the Warriors and then him winning last year and then doing what he did the other day, it helps his legacy a lot more. Oh, I think you're 100 percent right. But, you know, what's also part of Steph Curry's legacy and why this has been able to go for so long is he's never got wrapped up in all this childish nonsense of it's my team.

You know, everything needs to be about me. So they go out and get Kevin Durant, and Steph Curry ends up winning two more championships. And yeah, Kevin Durant made a great team even better. Let's remember now, he joined a 73-win team, which if not for Draymond getting suspended in Game 5, I think the Warriors would have won.

That's a story for another day. But I think that's part of his legacy. You know, if you think about what's going on in Boston, all those two guys, Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown, do is win. They get to win a championship, but they've won a ton of games.

They've been in a ton of playoff games, conference files and NBA files, and you only hear those whispers about maybe one of them wants to leave. Sometimes his petty jealousy can destroy a team, and that's the greatness of Steph Curry. He doesn't get wrapped up in that.

He really doesn't care. And when all is said and done, he's going to have all these championships. He's been a Finals MVP, a two-time MVP in the league.

It was a unanimous choice. He's the perfect franchise player. Much like Tim Duncan was with the San Antonio Spurs, like Dirk Tovitski, guys that stayed in one place their entire career, always were able to sacrifice a little bit for the good of the team, and that is definitely Steph Curry.

I think you're right about the legacy part, but I actually think his unselfishness is part of his legacy as well. Frank Gasola here with us. You said top ten. About where in the top ten does Curry fall for you?

I knew I should have thrown that number out. For me, I'm always going to put Michael Jordan first. LeBron's got to be up there. I would think Bill Chamberlain has to be up there. Kareem has to be up there. I know I'm already forgetting some other guys. Bill Russell. Bill Russell, obviously. But Steph's there.

You mentioned it. Really last year did it because a lot of things broke right for them. They didn't really play that many tough teams in the playoffs, and they ran into some teams that were a little banged up. And they get to the Finals, but when they were down 2-1, it didn't look good for them. If you remember in Game 4, to Steve Kerr's credit, he was going a lot of offense-defense with Draymond because Draymond was such a liability out there offensively. And Steph was the one.

Let's remember now. That's doing it on the road in Boston. We get a team on the verge of falling behind 3-1. I'm not trying to say because I was there, but that one sticks out just like the LeBron game when he was with Miami before he had won a title. Remember, they go up to Boston. It's Game 6. In fact, it was the night that Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in Met history. He goes up there on that Friday night with his legacy kind of on the line to get to win a championship. And he had that remarkable performance also in Boston. That's why those stick out a little bit more. Maybe because it's Boston, but the stakes were obviously a lot higher than they were yesterday.

I get it. Their season ends if they lose, but it's a little bit different the first round compared to an Eastern Conference Finals like LeBron and the NBA Finals last year for Steph. Frank Isola here with us. Who are you leaning towards right now in Lakers and Golden State? It has to be Golden State.

I'd like to see Andrew Wiggins play a little bit better. What's funny about it too is the Warriors cruised through the regular season. They won 11 road games. And then in the playoffs, they have to win at least one. And it ends up that they end up winning two. They won Game 5 and they won Game 7.

I think having home court advantage is big. The thing now could be Anthony Davis. Anthony Davis, he needs to have a big series. You know that LeBron is going to have a few good games, but at 38 I think there will also be a couple of days where LeBron, there might be a dud. So they're going to need other guys like Rory Hachimura and Austin Reeves did.

I don't know. The Lakers were this team that was fighting to get into the playing tournament. And they're playing the defending champs. Listen, it could go 7 and maybe then all bets are off because you're going up against LeBron James in the Game 7. I just think it's going to be the Warriors. Also, how ridiculous is it that Draymond has annoyed Zabone and said he didn't shake his hand the other day?

All that stuff is absurd. He went after Harrison Barnes after the game. I'm one of these guys, I would like for guys to shake hands after the game and just say good luck or good series and just move on.

I don't exactly know the extent of it. Did Zabone just walk off the court immediately after the game? We know that guys have done that before. Some of the guys on the sack when it came I thought went a little overboard. I was surprised that some of them didn't ask for selfies with Steph the way they were acting. The guy just destroyed you.

I'm not saying you got to hit them, but my lord, it was a little over the top. But here's the thing. A lot of guys, a lot of players, ex-athletes and current players have podcasts. The reason why Draymond is very good is because it's the kind of stuff that he talks about.

He knows how to be provocative and somewhat controversial. I think that was him sticking it to Sabonis a little bit because Sabonis didn't have a great series. Draymond stomped on him, which wasn't good, but Sabonis got beaten up.

How about that play in game six on the jump ball with Kavon Looney, who's a classy guy and a classy player. I don't think he did on purpose, but how does the league not review that? Everything gets reviewed in the NBA. The guy got whacked across the face with a forearm on a jump ball, probably with an elbow, took that nasty black eye that he had.

I don't understand how the referees don't look at that. By the way, is there any more of a bigger joke in the NBA than Dylan Bum Brooks, where he runs his mouth and then doesn't speak to anyone when things don't go his way? That was so lame by Bum Brooks. You know, when I was covering the Knicks, and I think Dylan Brooks was a rookie, and he was getting into it with Courtney Lee, and it wasn't necessarily talking. He was just being really competitive, and I was like, wow, look at this guy really sticking up for himself. And I really admired a lot of stuff about Dylan Brooks. I think he took on a bit of a persona, and I think it completely backfired. And I've got to be honest with you, I think he kind of embarrassed himself in a lot of ways. First of all, why go after LeBron James?

Stupid. He's not going to be able to, first of all, you're not going to throw LeBron off of his game. I don't think it's going to give LeBron any extra motivation, but you just sound like a knucklehead. LeBron is still a great player.

You're calling him old. Like, dude, you're not going to accomplish half the things in your career that LeBron did. I should say half the things that LeBron accomplished in his career that Dylan Brooks would show. You put yourself out there.

From what he should have done, he should have done after Anthony Davis or Austin Reaves. So he doesn't do that. That's the thing. You're going to be a tough guy. How about sitting in the locker room after those losses in L.A. and addressing the media?

I get it. You're the toughest guy in the world, but apparently you're a little afraid of the media because you didn't want to talk. And rightfully so, he got fined by the league.

But he shot, I think it was 30, maybe 35% on twos, and he was in the 20s on three-pointers. So he talked a big game, and he did not back it up. Not only that, it's like you do what you do going up against LeBron, and then after the game, you're not speaking. But that whole team has become very unlikeable as of late. And I never thought I'd be saying that, but that's what we're just sitting here right now, Frank. Yeah, I kind of agree.

We talk about that all the time on the radio show. I mean, Brad Scalabrini. Last year, there was something fun about that team, but obviously you can't condone any of the stuff that Ja Morant was involved with, obviously. And even Dylan Brooks running his mouth, what really hurt them ultimately, you know, Brandon Clark is an underrated player. And Brandon Clark, all he does is just attacks the rim, grabs rebounds, dunks the ball.

They throw out of the use of him. He's a big athletic guy. And Steven Adams provides a lot of rebounding and toughness out there. I really thought they were going to struggle without those two guys before Ja Morant hurt his wrist and before Dylan Brooks was talking a big game and not backing up.

I thought they were going to be in some trouble, but they, you know, it'll be interesting. He's a free agent, Dylan Brooks. I don't know if Memphis will want to bring him back. I think he needs to like reevaluate what kind of player he wants to be. Do you want to just be a bit of a goofball or do you want to be like a legitimate NBA player? And he needs to improve his shot. And I'll tell you one more thing. He plays for the Canadian national team.

And I've been saying this for eight years now. The darn Canadian national team, first of all, they never qualified for the Olympics, but they did qualify for the feeble world cup. So when you see all these Canadian guys, whether it's Jamal Murray, she gives us Alexander, who'd be so great if we can get a US Canada game, you know, especially an elimination game at the feeble world cup, because, you know, obviously Canada's got a ton of NBA players.

And of course, the US roster is only NBA players. I did not like what I saw from Phoenix in the first round, even though they won that series 4-1, but we know the Clippers were so banged up and the Suns had to play their key guys a lot of minutes. They're already down 1-0 to the Nuggets. We know game two is tonight.

Who do you think ends up winning this series? You think the Suns end up coming on back or you lean in Denver? Because I like Denver.

Yeah, I mean, I don't really root, but I do find myself kind of pulling up to Denver to win. You know, I've known Michael Malone for more than 20 years and obviously I like Jokic and I like Jamal Murray. I mean, Kevin Durant's won enough already, but I have a lot of respect for Kevin Durant.

Doing the Nets games on, yes, I got to see every game that Kevin Durant played. I mean, the guy's just a phenomenal player. He can fit in on any team.

He's incredibly unselfish. He's a great scorer. He rebounds. He defends.

So, I get it. It's one game, but Devin Booker and Kevin Durant are tough. Now you're going to put your best defender on Kevin Durant. That means that Devin Booker is going to run wild.

The thing is, and you mentioned it with the Clippers, you know, once Kawhi Leonard went out, they really didn't have anybody to attack Devin Booker and Kevin Durant and really make them work defensively. That's going to be a little bit different in this series. And I think for Denver, what would be huge if they can get game two tonight? Because then that puts a ton of pressure on Phoenix. You lose tonight. You know what, whoever wins tonight, I have a funny feeling is going to win the series.

But, because Michael Malone and Jokic, I hope it's Denver. Going to the East, what was your biggest takeaway from the Heat Knicks game yesterday with Miami taking a 1-0 lead? Yeah, I was kind of surprised that, you know, I thought the Knicks looked like they were in control there for a minute and then they just couldn't knock down shots. And that's kind of been the issue with them all season. You know, you miss 27 three-point attempts.

You're not going to win the game. Miami, the one thing about Miami under Eric Spallstra, you know, they're so well organized. You know, early in the game, the Knicks were getting into the lane and scoring, and then the Miami Heat make the adjustment, shut that down, and the Knicks are getting good shots.

They just can't knock them down. So, the Heat were going to live with that. But I still think the Knicks are okay. I think Julius Randle is going to help once he does return. And you don't know about the availability of Jimmy Butler.

There's always the chance, because what, game three isn't until Saturday, I believe, that they could just hold him out and give him that, you know, five days to rest. So, I still think it's going to be a huge series. How about Miami, though? They're five and one in the playoffs thus far, and they've already won, what is it, they've won three road games already.

It's pretty good. And you know what? We were looking at the Eastern Conference, and the conversation all year was Boston, and then clearly also Milwaukee, who goes down to Miami, and then it was the Sixers. I never really thought the Sixers could go get to the NBA Finals.

We wondered who that fourth team was going to be that emerges. And what Jimmy Butler's doing, I know he did not play great yesterday and he got hurt, but it's just been unbelievable what he did in that game one, in the first round series. Yeah, and you know, Milwaukee has got to take some of the blame there. You know, you're up 14 on the road, and Jimmy Butler's going, what, he got 54 in that game, is it?

And can you double team the guy and try to get the ball out of his hands? And then the very next game, you're playing for your season at home, you're up 16, and you lose that game, you're up 16 in the fourth quarter, and you lose, they didn't use that last time out they had. I hated the way that they defended the play where Jimmy Butler tied it up. I would say right now, he's probably the MVP of the playoffs, Jimmy Butler. I mean, the team is 5-1, you knock off the number one seed, even though Miami is not an eighth seed, I don't care. Anybody says they had the seventh best record basically the last two months of the season.

They're the seventh best team. Milwaukee got a little job on that one, and Boston caught a youth break by not having to play Miami in the first round, and getting to play Atlanta instead. I'll also throw in the MVP conversation, and it's ironic because he's obviously not a finalist for the award, and it's Nicole Jokic, who is. Jamal Murray has been great.

Yeah, no, and they need that. You know, Jokic wants other guys to take a lot of shots. What's weird, if you look at his last two games, I think it's 26 and 21 shots that he's taken. He had a game this year, he had a triple-double, and he took five shots, Nicole Jokic.

So, I think they've told him, in order for us to win, you need to be more aggressive, but Jamal Murray needs to be that guy. And a couple of years ago, when they made it to the Western Conference Finals in the bubble, he was very aggressive. He had big-time scoring performances, then he had to deal with that knee injury. That's why Nicole Jokic won MVP.

Everyone rants and raves about those of us in the media that voted for Nicole Jokic. They had a terrific season. They didn't have Jamal Murray and Michael Portamos most of the year as well. Jamal Murray's what the Sixers need, and I look at that series, I know Embiid's not expected to play tonight, and, whoa, shed their optimistic it'll be able to go in Game 2. I don't think Philly has much of a shot in this one, and Boston's had their number, and it's because Philly doesn't have that closer to compliment Embiid.

You know, I agree with you. Like, watching, you know, I was at all four of the Nets-Sixer games, and, you know, I like Tyros Maxey a lot. He's a really good player. But James Harden, and Harden is a great passer, and, you know, he can knock down three. He cannot finish, though, in the paint. He doesn't draw fouls like he did kind of in his heyday with Houston, you know, the officiating in the playoffs. They don't call touch fouls every time you drive to the basket and throw your arms in the air.

That doesn't happen. And I love Embiid. He's great, but if Embiid is limited, I don't know how the Sixers could beat Boston. You know, Boston, at times, they make you scratch your head because of what happened, you know, in Game 5 against Atlanta, when Trae Young went off, and, you know, they blew the lead. But Boston, I thought going into the playoffs, Boston has the most talent, and I still think that's true. They have the most talent out of all the teams remaining, and to me, they're still the more dangerous team. That's a terrific tandem. If Robert Williams stays healthy, they're good, and remember, you know, I get it, Malcolm Brogdon was the sixth man of the year, but, you know, he doesn't get talked about enough, and they have Derek White, so they could just throw multiple defenders at Wings, you know, and Marcus Smart, throw him in there too.

So with Marcus Smart, Derek White, Malcolm Brogdon, Jalen Brown, and Jason Tatum, they can guard a lot of positions. Frank Isello, we appreciate the time, as always. Thanks for doing this. Good talk, now. See you soon.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-01 20:37:16 / 2023-05-01 20:47:02 / 10

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