Sunday, May 14, 2006

Saturday Recap (May 13)

PISTONS/CAVS (Game 3): Cavs 86-Pistons 77

- Impressive win by the Cavs considering the Pistons actually put up a steady effort for Game 3. After only scoring 53 points thru the first 3 quarters, the Cavs exploded for 33 points in the 4th quarter on the back of LeBron.

- The Cavs' defense has to be commended on their effort on Saturday. They held the Pistons to 39.7% from the floor and most important--they never really let Detroit go crazy from deep (Pistons hit 7 3pt. shots). The Cavs also forced the Pistons into 16 turnovers.

- Although, the Cavs offense was sputtering most of the day, especially from long-range, they came alive in the 4th. LeBron put up 15 of his 21 points in the 4th--he hit a couple big-time shots: the sweet finger-roll from about 10 feet away & a pull-up 3-pointer. Bron did not get a ton of help from his support personnel: Murray was alright, but Varejao did bring in usual infusion of energy with 16 pts on 6/7 shooting. Anderson does a wonderful job of playing off Lebron--Varejao has a knack for getting lost & finding the open space while Bron draws defenders. The Cavs also won the points in the paint battle (44-26) and they kept the free-throw disparity even (16-16 fta), something the Pistons seem to win every game.

SPURS/MAVS (Game 3): Mavs 104- Spurs 103

- The Mavs have to feel relieved that they held onto a game that they seemed in control of most of the game. The Spurs had to feel great at halftime to only be down 5 when in fact it felt like the Mavs totally dominated the 1st half. The 4th quarter was a classic back-in forth offensive affair, where each team seemed to match shot for shot.

- Devin Harris seems to be the #1 candidate for 2006 Playoffs break-out performer. Harris again wreaked havoc on the Spurs' defense with his speed--he ended up with 24 points & 10/11 from the line. Dirk got 27 points but he only shot 3/9 from the field--he went to the line 24 times. Cuban has nothing to complain about today since his Mavs got to the line 50 times to 32 for the Spurs. I am sure Pop is none to pleased with this and with the fact that the refs were pretty sketchy in general. How can there be a foul on Barry when he clearly did not trip Dirk on the sideline but no call was made when Parker was clearly tripped on the other end? That turned into a huge turnover cause the Spurs could have possibly pushed the lead to 4 points.

- For the early part of the game, Duncan seemed like he was the only Spur who could bring anything to the table offensively (Timmy ended with 35 pts. on 15/23, & 12 rbs.). But then Manu started to show signs of life again and he began to play his controlled-chaos style on both ends. He really added a big boost in the 2nd half by returning to his slashing ways on offense and made some big buckets in the 4th--Ginobili finished with 24 pts. & 10/11 fts. The problem for the Spurs is they did not get much else--Parker shot 6/16, and they again did not get anything from their 5 spot on either ends of the floor. Even though they lost, the Spurs have to feel semi-happy how their offense responded in the 2nd half after a pretty dismal 1st half.

- I thought the Spurs threw in a nice wrinkle in the 4th quarter by deciding to drive the ball to the basket instead of settling for jumpers when Dallas rotated off of Duncan. Now maybe in Game 4, they'll have more room to unleash some long-distance bombs. It would be nice to see Pop run some plays to get Barry & Finley open from outside, both guys have been pretty solid, they just need to be riden a little more often.