Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Monday Recap

HEAT/BULLS:


- The 1st half was exceptionally well-played by both teams--they were both on fire from the field, probably the sharpest basketball of the playoffs so far

- I was impressed how well the Bulls' offense was executing in the 1st half without much aid from Gordon--Hinrich performed great on both ends of the floor: he was doing a tremendous job on Wade defensively and doing a quasi-Steve Nash impersonation by probing the defense by keeping his dribble alive

- Jason Williams was matching Hinrich's performance for the Heat, shot the ball great while Wade was struggling

- The Bulls lost steam in the 3rd, missing shots they were making in the 1st half, Miami pulled ahead but Chicago again hung tough by making another run in the 4th by playing their best defense of the day

- Shaq looked real good again and he looks very motivated, which should scare other teams for upcoming rounds--if Williams can continue to play like this he could be the X factor for the Heat to keep advancing

- Nocioni has really raised his game throughout this year, his shot has improved and he always doing the little things---I loved this guy since I saw him throw down a vicious baseline slam on Duncan in '99 at a pre-Olympic qualifier

- The Bulls' defense has not been their usual self so far but I think that they are totally overmatched by Shaq, even more than any team--Chandler is the only guy on the team over 6-8 that has any ability to remotely impede Shaq, and Tyson is just giving up too much weight to bother Shaq consistently--The Bulls might take one game, but that's it


NUGS/CLIPS:


- Clips came out like a team possessed from the opening tap and continued steamrolling to the final buzzer in an utterly dominating performance besides a minor hiccup at the start of the 3rd quarter when Melo got a little hot

- I said before that the Clips defense was underrated and again they played great--they were playing a very good sagging man and were helping each other wonderfully, also they threw in some zone again which is a no-brainer vs. Denver

- Denver shoots 34.2 % from the field, 29.4 % from 3pt--again not surprising, I felt the Nugs were the easiest team to defend as a whole in the playoffs and they are proving my theory right

- I know this is obvious, but Denver has to get out and run, hoping the Mile High air might tire out the Clips, if they can not establish a consistent running game this series will be over quicker than expected

- Brand has really improved his game and really taken it from borderline all-star level to perennial level--his shot is vastly better allowing him to have more of a mid-range post-up game, also his sleeker body has definitely made him even more mobile than in the past--he really surprised me with his shot blocking ability, I don't recall him doing this before with regularity--I guess the super long arms help as well

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