Friday, April 28, 2006

Thursday Recap

HEAT/BULLS:

- For the third game in row the Bulls came up with another tough-minded performance and finally were rewarded for their effort with a drubbing of the Heat; Jason Williams was the only bright spot with another good game

- Having Shaq come out listless and then get into foul trouble definitely aided the Bulls' ability to take command of the game on both ends--they really got back to their signature defensive play (Heat shot 41.7%) & their dribble penetration was absolutely killing the Heat, which either led to easy points in the paint or great drive-n-kick situations

- Like mentioned above, the Bulls did a great job at attacking the basket all game (they got to the line 46 times to the Heat's 33), even when Shaq was in the game--Nocioni was his usual aggressive self and Hinrich was doing his Steve Nash Jr. impersonation again by probing the defense with his dribble & finding guys (11 assists/1 to) & also did another solid job on Wade (9 for 22)--I really think he's ready to make the jump to all-star level in the next couple years

- The Heat defense was awful last night (especially giving up 39 points in the 3rd)--they were getting eaten alive on the perimeter by giving up constant dribble drives; this could be an ongoing issue to watch for deeper in the playoffs

- I expect the Heat to come out in Game 4 with a purpose and the Bulls better be able to absorb the Heat's full onslaught


NUGS/CLIPS:

- Easily the ugliest game of the playoffs, somewhat painful to watch--a combined total of 39 TOs, combined 68 fouls & a combined shooting % of 39, not to mention a total of 21 missed free throws

- The Clippers were absolutely awful at the offensive end--24 turnovers--but still had a chance to win at the end, but again Dunleavy made some curious moves by not having the ball in Cassell's hands; two close games & Dunleavy again goes away from Sam?? Like I said before, Sam has to have the ball in last 3 minutes in a close games--he loves it & usually produces

- The bad news for the Nugs is the Clips played as bad as possible on offense but easily could have won the game--Denver shoots 37.8% from the field, wait for it...0% from 3 pt land-same old pattern, the offensive boards helped them to degree again (13) & 19 fast break points is a good sign but they better pray that the Clips' offense is this pathetic the next 3-4 games for any chance at this series

- The Nuggets' defense was pretty solid & had some reason for LA's ineptitude--I thought Camby did a good job distracting Brand's shot and would like to see him more on Elton; Camby is one of the finest post defenders in the NBA (probably does the best job at guarding Duncan as anyone) & very underrated

- The Clippers' defense was not a problem last night they were pretty good again--they did another good job on Melo (6-17), although they put the Nugs on the free throw line too much (partly a byproduct of atrocious reffing) & again got hurt on their defensive boards


- The Clips should not be too worried about this game, as long as they take better care of the ball they should win this series no doubt--the Nuggets' shooting is just too big of an issue to overcome no matter how many offensive rebs. & fast break points they get


NETS/PACERS:

- Watched bits of this game, the Pacers continue to play their tough team defense (Nets 38.7%) & were better than usual on the offensive end and hurt the Nets on the glass 43-30

- Jermaine O'Neal was taking a beating in the media for his performances so far, when people seemed to forget to factor in the degree that foul trouble had on his play--in Game 1, he was the key to why they won in the 4th and you can see what he can do last night by not being saddled by foul trouble (which was somewhat dubious, again sketchy reffing)

- Vince was 8-21 from the field, 2-6 from 3--settled for outside shots again--Vince has to realize that the playoffs started 3 games ago, & has to understand the need to ratchet up from regular season intensity

- The Pacers need to keep riding O'Neal on offense--again he's just too quick for anyone on NJ's frontline

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