Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs

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Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#1 » by Dr Spaceman » Sat Sep 7, 2019 5:23 pm

From 2015-2019

Harden (61 games, all numbers per 100 possessions)
37.4 points/7.5 rebounds/9.6 assists/41.8 FG%/32.3 3P%/88.2 FT%/57.6 TS%/6.0 TOV

112 ORTG/24.3 PER/6.8 OBPM/34.0 USG%

Curry (91 games)
36.3 points/7.7 rebounds/7.9 assists/45.3 FG%/40.3 3P%/90.7 FT%/61.6 TS%/4.7 TOV

116 ORTG/23.7 PER/7.1 OBPM/30.3 USG%

Offensive on/off year by year
2015: Curry -1.7/Harden +11.5
2016: Curry +1.7/Harden 0
2017: Curry +26.2/Harden -11.8
2018: Curry +4.2/Harden +11.4
2019: Curry +9.0/Harden +13.6

Playoff RAPM ranks Curry #10, Harden #11

Box score stats generally show a small edge for Curry while on/off stuff (small sample alert) shows a medium-sized gap for Harden. Any thoughts?
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Re: Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#2 » by No-more-rings » Sat Sep 7, 2019 5:46 pm

They are probably comparable as playoff performers honestly, Curry’s maybe slightly more resilient but Curry has a handful of finals performances plus 3 rings, so in many people’s minds he has some big gap but it just isn’t true as you outlined.
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Re: Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#3 » by WarriorGM » Sat Sep 7, 2019 5:49 pm

Don't know where your numbers come from. They seem different from the ones on Basketball Reference. The ones I see show a pretty clear difference. Even the individual per 100 possession ones you show give an edge to Curry and that doesn't factor in that he's producing those numbers next to KD for some of those years while Harden has more freedom to score on his own.
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Re: Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#4 » by eminence » Sat Sep 7, 2019 6:07 pm

I don't see medium-sized gap for Harden in on/off stuff. Minutes weighted that's +7.4 Curry v +6.7 Harden for offensive on/off. +8.6 v +7.8 for overall on/off.

Are you using a publicly available RAPM there (I know Shadow's '14-'18 set had Curry 5th with Harden 23rd, haven't seen a '15-'19 set I don't think)?

Anywho, I generally prefer Curry by a smallish margin when both are playing, has more injury issues so it's very close in terms of level overall. Wind up thinking it's close to a toss-up, in toss-up's I go with the guy whose game I like more, so it'd be team Curry for me here.
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Re: Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#5 » by Dr Spaceman » Sat Sep 7, 2019 6:22 pm

WarriorGM wrote:Don't know where your numbers come from. They seem different from the ones on Basketball Reference.


If you highlight a collection of seasons in bballref they average all the stats. That’s where they come from.

WarriorGM wrote: Even the individual per 100 possession ones you show give an edge to Curry and that doesn't factor in that he's producing those numbers next to KD for some of those years while Harden has more freedom to score on his own.


Setph’s best postseason by far was playing next to Durant. EDIT: weirdly his assists that postseason jumped to 9.1 per 100 while being around 7.3 every other year of his prime.
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Re: Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#6 » by Dr Spaceman » Sat Sep 7, 2019 6:28 pm

eminence wrote:
Are you using a publicly available RAPM there (I know Shadow's '14-'18 set had Curry 5th with Harden 23rd, haven't seen a '15-'19 set I don't think)?


I was using this: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vQdG8Zv84zqKEzETDjd8KPsClcw9bPETX9v_x_KEAxjv9NrFaWikOoiSaciy1jbMiygg2D-V8DUQn0O/pubhtml?gid=112475182&single=true

It’s 98-19. The only playoff RAPM I know of, although to be honest I generally don’t trust playoff RAPM data as all as I think it tends to be like the first 30 games of a season where the teams that win the most have all the highest-ranking guys.

eminence wrote:Anywho, I generally prefer Curry by a smallish margin when both are playing, has more injury issues so it's very close in terms of level overall. Wind up thinking it's close to a toss-up, in toss-up's I go with the guy whose game I like more, so it'd be team Curry for me here.


I think that’s a fair take. Last summer I made a thread comparing Harden’s first 10 years to Dirk Nowitzki and they compared quite favorably, and here I do the same with Curry. I just think the dude doesn’t get his due because people intensely dislike his playing style. Which fair enough, but I think generally people perceive Steph as the golden boy 2nd best player of his generation and Harden as an also-ran and I don’t think it’s fair given what they’ve actually been up to.
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Re: Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#7 » by WarriorGM » Sat Sep 7, 2019 6:39 pm

Code: Select all

James Harden  Playoffs Advanced                                                                                         
Season       PER  TS% 3PAr  FTr TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG%  OWS DWS   WS WS/48 OBPM DBPM BPM VORP
2014-15     24.8 .620 .364 .605  7.9 35.0  2.1  0.9 17.1 29.5  2.3 0.3  2.7  .202  7.0  0.5 7.5  1.5
2015-16     21.8 .555 .420 .450  7.1 41.4  3.0  0.4 17.8 31.1  0.3 0.1  0.4  .106  7.0  0.1 7.0  0.4
2016-17     23.0 .583 .528 .528  8.0 41.7  2.6  0.9 18.0 35.3  0.8 0.6  1.3  .157  7.0  0.9 7.9  1.0
2017-18     24.9 .548 .452 .345  7.9 35.9  3.1  1.6 12.8 36.7  1.2 0.9  2.1  .163  6.0  1.8 7.8  1.5
2018-19     25.2 .567 .519 .371 10.1 33.7  2.8  2.2 14.2 37.1  1.0 0.7  1.7  .189  6.2  2.2 8.4  1.1


Code: Select all

Stephen Curry  Playoffs Advanced                                                                                               
Season     PER  TS% 3PAr  FTr TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% OWS DWS  WS WS/48 OBPM DBPM  BPM VORP
2014-15   24.5 .607 .528 .262  6.9 29.9  2.4  0.3 14.3 31.0 2.7 1.2 3.9  .228  8.3  0.4  8.7  2.2
2015-16   22.3 .603 .586 .246  8.7 26.8  2.1  0.7 16.7 32.1 1.3 0.7 1.9  .152  5.9  0.5  6.4  1.3
2016-17   27.1 .659 .551 .365  9.5 29.5  2.7  0.5 13.8 30.0 2.3 1.1 3.4  .272  9.1  1.7 10.8  2.0
2017-18   22.3 .590 .533 .155  9.0 24.0  2.3  1.7 11.7 29.6 1.1 1.0 2.1  .182  5.2  1.9  7.1  1.3
2018-19   22.6 .620 .566 .364  9.0 23.9  1.4  0.5 11.7 29.0 2.8 0.4 3.3  .185  6.4 -1.0  5.4  1.6


Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/8/2019.

Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/8/2019.
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Re: Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#8 » by Cavsfansince84 » Sat Sep 7, 2019 6:42 pm

I prefer Curry simply because his shooting doesn't tend to abandon him the way Harden's often does in the playoffs. Harden's turnovers are often another problem as well when defenses really focus on him.
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Re: Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#9 » by freethedevil » Sat Sep 7, 2019 10:31 pm

People can keep acting like raw rapm is better to use for small stretches than bpm pipm or rpm, and they will keep being wrong.
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Re: Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#10 » by Doctor MJ » Sun Sep 8, 2019 12:23 am

Dr Spaceman wrote:From 2015-2019

Harden (61 games, all numbers per 100 possessions)
37.4 points/7.5 rebounds/9.6 assists/41.8 FG%/32.3 3P%/88.2 FT%/57.6 TS%/6.0 TOV

112 ORTG/24.3 PER/6.8 OBPM/34.0 USG%

Curry (91 games)
36.3 points/7.7 rebounds/7.9 assists/45.3 FG%/40.3 3P%/90.7 FT%/61.6 TS%/4.7 TOV

116 ORTG/23.7 PER/7.1 OBPM/30.3 USG%

Offensive on/off year by year
2015: Curry -1.7/Harden +11.5
2016: Curry +1.7/Harden 0
2017: Curry +26.2/Harden -11.8
2018: Curry +4.2/Harden +11.4
2019: Curry +9.0/Harden +13.6

Playoff RAPM ranks Curry #10, Harden #11

Box score stats generally show a small edge for Curry while on/off stuff (small sample alert) shows a medium-sized gap for Harden. Any thoughts?


My general assessment is that Curry's game just scales better with surrounding talent than Harden's does. Curry can do his thing in a way that makes it easier for other star players to do their thing, and Harden's adopted an approach that just doesn't. I don't consider these assessments to necessarily be how I'll see them when they retire, but I think Harden will need to make some changes if he ever wants to be better than Curry.

I would also acknowledge that both players haven't always played their best in the playoffs for reason that I don't think relate to how high their ceiling is. They just have been a bit spotty.

In Curry's case, it really seemed like his slight frame allowed Cleveland to rough him up back in the '16 finals, and I think in general Curry's been hesitant at times to adapt to what the defense is giving him depending on how his teammates will feel about it.

In Harden's case, he seems like he's really moody. There are times when it just seems like he can't summon the basketball demon he's been relying upon all year.
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Re: Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#11 » by eminence » Sun Sep 8, 2019 3:32 am

Dr Spaceman wrote:.


Ahh, I thought you were talking about a '15-'19 RAPM, but yep, I've seen that 20 some year one. And obviously fully agree #DrayGOAT

+1 that winning has vaulted Curry further past his contemporaries in public perception than deserved (I mainly think of Harden/Westbrook). I would have him 1st among those 3, but the margin is slight.
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Re: Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#12 » by WarriorGM » Sun Sep 8, 2019 6:17 am

eminence wrote:
Dr Spaceman wrote:.


Ahh, I thought you were talking about a '15-'19 RAPM, but yep, I've seen that 20 some year one. And obviously fully agree #DrayGOAT

+1 that winning has vaulted Curry further past his contemporaries in public perception than deserved (I mainly think of Harden/Westbrook). I would have him 1st among those 3, but the margin is slight.


The margin is larger than is perceived here and I think that RAPM number you are pointing at is the reason for Curry being underrated. Based on that you guys seem to think Draymond is better. If we're to accept it at face value Draymond has been as good as LeBron. Er, no. Draymond undoubtedly helps Curry a lot but in that relationship it is Curry that is the straw that stirs the drink.
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Re: Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#13 » by Dr Spaceman » Sun Sep 8, 2019 10:53 am

Doctor MJ wrote:
My general assessment is that Curry's game just scales better with surrounding talent than Harden's does. Curry can do his thing in a way that makes it easier for other star players to do their thing, and Harden's adopted an approach that just doesn't. I don't consider these assessments to necessarily be how I'll see them when they retire, but I think Harden will need to make some changes if he ever wants to be better than Curry.

I would also acknowledge that both players haven't always played their best in the playoffs for reason that I don't think relate to how high their ceiling is. They just have been a bit spotty.

In Curry's case, it really seemed like his slight frame allowed Cleveland to rough him up back in the '16 finals, and I think in general Curry's been hesitant at times to adapt to what the defense is giving him depending on how his teammates will feel about it.

In Harden's case, he seems like he's really moody. There are times when it just seems like he can't summon the basketball demon he's been relying upon all year.


From a basketball perspective I don’t think we can say the Harden/Paul duo had a ceiling. Their offense with those two on the floor was as good as Golden State with Durant and Steph and that Rockets team probably are title favorites in at least 25 of the last 30 seasons.

But on a more fundamental level I think basketball fans could do more to understand the trauma that these guys experience as a result of their profession. Chris Bosh said losing in the Finals was worse than being in a car wreck. Dirk Nowitzki after losing in 07 spent an entire month in a tent in Australia without a phone sobbing all day and drinking whiskey from the bottle all night. Hell there’s still a hole in the wall where Dirk threw a chair at Oracle Arena. Lebron broke his hand after game 1 of the 2018 Finals punching a wall.

I don’t think these guys are blowing smoke. Some of them have experienced real personal trauma in their lives and still have this type of reaction to basketball games. These are not normal people and this is not a normal job.

I will say that I have never personally seen a basketball team play with as much anger, and grit, and focus, and intensity and physicality as that 18 Rockets team. Harden twice tried to instigate Draymond into hitting him in that series and how many times have you seen Harden react emotionally to anything? Paul of course did his shimmy move. But under all that there was a fire that I think burned them from exposure. They drilled and drilled and drilled their offensive schemes. They watched Warriors film every day, according to reports. They acted like every victory the Warriors had gotten over the previous five years was fueling their emotional pain. They were pressing so hard that Harden was stumbling around at times because his legs were so dead and Paul’s body eventually just gave up. They gave everything they had tot hat matchup and then some. They spend 6 months essentially studying for Final exams.

And then you know what? Fate looked them in the eye and said “I’ve seen your best. It’s not good enough. You’re not good enough.” That doesn’t just hurt these guys, that challenges their entire identity and their entire self-perceived value as a human being. How many guys struggle to build a life after retirement? How many guys desperately try to come back to sports when they’re too old because they don’t know how to do anything else?

There’s a rising school of thought in psychology that says that the way to deal with trauma is to build a new narrative, recontextualize the old memories and accept change as an inevitability and focus on how it makes you stronger. Most teams when they suffer traumatic losses make sweeping changes. The Warriors singed Durant. The 11 Heat overhauled their offense and brought in Battier. The Rockets in 17 traded for Chris Paul. The Cavs could count on Lovw and Irving coming back from injuries.

But when they can’t make sweeping changes, guys bail. Once you run out of options for change, it’s over. Durant left the Thunder in 16 after his heartbreak. Irving left the Cavs after they got throttled by GSW. Lebron left the Heat after getting wrecked by the Spurs. And now Paul leaves the Rockets.

Because the Rockets didn’t make changes. Matter of fact they were willing to ditch a lot of the guys who put their blood, sweat and tears into that effort, guys that Harden and Paul went to war with. They basically said the team isn’t worth paying for. If that doesn’t shatter you I don’t know what will.

And so it shouldn’t be a surprise the team started 11-14 and never recaptured the magic. They had to live with the knowledge that they peaked and they blew their best shot. Paul was never the same after he lost to the Warriors just like Nash was never the same after losing to the Lakers.

This year’s team were defeated before they stepped on the floor against the Warriors. Immediately after the game 1 loss they started bitching about refs and you can almost hear them internally screaming “**** this can’t be happening AGAIN”. And then inevitably they turn the blame on each other. “You pound the ball too much.” “You’re too old and slow”. They couldn’t get it back just like, and forgive the hyperbole, a couple who suffers a miscarriage can’t fix their marriage. It’s easy to survive Paul’s emotional tyrant when you’re winning 65 games and up 3-2 on the **** Warriors, less so when it’s proven that you’re not on their level.

You could see it in the series. Even when they played well they were playing fast and loose defensively and giving up easy looks. Guys were pointing fingers and yelling on the court and it was only a matter of time until Curry had his 30 point half and put them away.

But honestly, I think the teams that can make it work after suffering a heartbreak like that (bless the Spurs) are the exception, not the rule.
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Re: Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#14 » by Baski » Sun Sep 8, 2019 1:59 pm

Slightly favor Curry here. Harden has disappointed a LOT.
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Re: Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#15 » by eminence » Sun Sep 8, 2019 2:05 pm

WarriorGM wrote:
eminence wrote:
Dr Spaceman wrote:.


Ahh, I thought you were talking about a '15-'19 RAPM, but yep, I've seen that 20 some year one. And obviously fully agree #DrayGOAT

+1 that winning has vaulted Curry further past his contemporaries in public perception than deserved (I mainly think of Harden/Westbrook). I would have him 1st among those 3, but the margin is slight.


The margin is larger than is perceived here and I think that RAPM number you are pointing at is the reason for Curry being underrated. Based on that you guys seem to think Draymond is better. If we're to accept it at face value Draymond has been as good as LeBron. Er, no. Draymond undoubtedly helps Curry a lot but in that relationship it is Curry that is the straw that stirs the drink.


If it makes you feel better even I (higher on Draymond than anybody I know of) don't actually think Draymond is GOAT level. We joke.
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Re: Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#16 » by Dr Spaceman » Sun Sep 8, 2019 2:34 pm

eminence wrote:
WarriorGM wrote:
eminence wrote:
Ahh, I thought you were talking about a '15-'19 RAPM, but yep, I've seen that 20 some year one. And obviously fully agree #DrayGOAT

+1 that winning has vaulted Curry further past his contemporaries in public perception than deserved (I mainly think of Harden/Westbrook). I would have him 1st among those 3, but the margin is slight.


The margin is larger than is perceived here and I think that RAPM number you are pointing at is the reason for Curry being underrated. Based on that you guys seem to think Draymond is better. If we're to accept it at face value Draymond has been as good as LeBron. Er, no. Draymond undoubtedly helps Curry a lot but in that relationship it is Curry that is the straw that stirs the drink.


If it makes you feel better even I (higher on Draymond than anybody I know of) doesn't actually think Draymond is GOAT level. We joke.


If there was a “playoff MVP” Draymond would be in the top 3 in 2016, 18, and 19 at the very least. Matter of fact I’d have him #2 in each of those seasons, second to LeBron in 16 &18 and Kawhi in 19.

He’s not the GOAT but there’s very few players better than him in the league.
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Re: Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#17 » by No-more-rings » Sun Sep 8, 2019 2:36 pm

Dr Spaceman wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
My general assessment is that Curry's game just scales better with surrounding talent than Harden's does. Curry can do his thing in a way that makes it easier for other star players to do their thing, and Harden's adopted an approach that just doesn't. I don't consider these assessments to necessarily be how I'll see them when they retire, but I think Harden will need to make some changes if he ever wants to be better than Curry.

I would also acknowledge that both players haven't always played their best in the playoffs for reason that I don't think relate to how high their ceiling is. They just have been a bit spotty.

In Curry's case, it really seemed like his slight frame allowed Cleveland to rough him up back in the '16 finals, and I think in general Curry's been hesitant at times to adapt to what the defense is giving him depending on how his teammates will feel about it.

In Harden's case, he seems like he's really moody. There are times when it just seems like he can't summon the basketball demon he's been relying upon all year.


From a basketball perspective I don’t think we can say the Harden/Paul duo had a ceiling. Their offense with those two on the floor was as good as Golden State with Durant and Steph and that Rockets team probably are title favorites in at least 25 of the last 30 seasons.

But on a more fundamental level I think basketball fans could do more to understand the trauma that these guys experience as a result of their profession. Chris Bosh said losing in the Finals was worse than being in a car wreck. Dirk Nowitzki after losing in 07 spent an entire month in a tent in Australia without a phone sobbing all day and drinking whiskey from the bottle all night. Hell there’s still a hole in the wall where Dirk threw a chair at Oracle Arena. Lebron broke his hand after game 1 of the 2018 Finals punching a wall.

I don’t think these guys are blowing smoke. Some of them have experienced real personal trauma in their lives and still have this type of reaction to basketball games. These are not normal people and this is not a normal job.

I will say that I have never personally seen a basketball team play with as much anger, and grit, and focus, and intensity and physicality as that 18 Rockets team. Harden twice tried to instigate Draymond into hitting him in that series and how many times have you seen Harden react emotionally to anything? Paul of course did his shimmy move. But under all that there was a fire that I think burned them from exposure. They drilled and drilled and drilled their offensive schemes. They watched Warriors film every day, according to reports. They acted like every victory the Warriors had gotten over the previous five years was fueling their emotional pain. They were pressing so hard that Harden was stumbling around at times because his legs were so dead and Paul’s body eventually just gave up. They gave everything they had tot hat matchup and then some. They spend 6 months essentially studying for Final exams.

And then you know what? Fate looked them in the eye and said “I’ve seen your best. It’s not good enough. You’re not good enough.” That doesn’t just hurt these guys, that challenges their entire identity and their entire self-perceived value as a human being. How many guys struggle to build a life after retirement? How many guys desperately try to come back to sports when they’re too old because they don’t know how to do anything else?

There’s a rising school of thought in psychology that says that the way to deal with trauma is to build a new narrative, recontextualize the old memories and accept change as an inevitability and focus on how it makes you stronger. Most teams when they suffer traumatic losses make sweeping changes. The Warriors singed Durant. The 11 Heat overhauled their offense and brought in Battier. The Rockets in 17 traded for Chris Paul. The Cavs could count on Lovw and Irving coming back from injuries.

But when they can’t make sweeping changes, guys bail. Once you run out of options for change, it’s over. Durant left the Thunder in 16 after his heartbreak. Irving left the Cavs after they got throttled by GSW. Lebron left the Heat after getting wrecked by the Spurs. And now Paul leaves the Rockets.

Because the Rockets didn’t make changes. Matter of fact they were willing to ditch a lot of the guys who put their blood, sweat and tears into that effort, guys that Harden and Paul went to war with. They basically said the team isn’t worth paying for. If that doesn’t shatter you I don’t know what will.

And so it shouldn’t be a surprise the team started 11-14 and never recaptured the magic. They had to live with the knowledge that they peaked and they blew their best shot. Paul was never the same after he lost to the Warriors just like Nash was never the same after losing to the Lakers.

They were defeated before they stepped on the floor against the Warriors. Immediately after the game 1 loss they started bitching about refs and you can almost hear them internally screaming “**** this can’t be happening AGAIN”. And then inevitably they turn the blame on each other. “You pound the ball too much.” “You’re too old and slow”. They couldn’t get it back just like, and forgive the hyperbole, a couple who suffers a miscarriage can’t fix their marriage. It’s easy to survive Paul’s emotional tyrant when you’re winning 65 games and up 3-2 on the **** Warriors, less so when it’s proven that you’re not on their level.

You could see it in the series. Even when they played well they were playing fast and loose defensively and giving up easy looks. Guys were pointing fingers and yelling on the court and it was only a matter of time until Curry had his 30 point half and put them away.

But honestly, I think the teams that can make it work after suffering a heartbreak like that (bless the Spurs) are the exception, not the rule.

Ahh..rich people problems lol.
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Re: Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#18 » by Dr Spaceman » Sun Sep 8, 2019 3:03 pm

No-more-rings wrote:Ahh..rich people problems lol.


The irony here is that they’re rich because people like you are willing to spend your free time watching this stuff.

What an idiotic response. Money doesn’t invalidate a person’s experiences. All people deserve empathy.
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No-more-rings
Starter
Posts: 2,042
And1: 854
Joined: Oct 04, 2018

Re: Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#19 » by No-more-rings » Sun Sep 8, 2019 3:09 pm

Dr Spaceman wrote:
No-more-rings wrote:Ahh..rich people problems lol.


The irony here is that they’re rich because people like you are willing to spend your free time watching this stuff.

What an idiotic response. Money doesn’t invalidate a person’s experiences. All people deserve empathy.

I don’t really wanna get into this, but i’m just going to say i’m not going to feel that bad for them when there’s much bigger problems in the world than basketball right now. It doesn’t invalidate their feelings or whatever, but their problems are ones that many people would love to have.
TroubleS0me
Assistant Coach
Posts: 4,141
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Joined: Dec 17, 2014

Re: Stephen Curry vs. James Harden in the playoffs 

Post#20 » by TroubleS0me » Sun Sep 8, 2019 4:28 pm

Dr Spaceman wrote:
No-more-rings wrote:Ahh..rich people problems lol.


The irony here is that they’re rich because people like you are willing to spend your free time watching this stuff.

What an idiotic response. Money doesn’t invalidate a person’s experiences. All people deserve empathy.


wow...

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