Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Tuesday Recap (May 16)

Eastern Conf. Finals

PISTONS/HEAT (Game 1): Heat 91-Pistons 86

- This game started off looking like a typical Western Conference playoff game with both teams combining for 58 points in the 1st quarter. Miami started off the game red-hot from the field, resembling Dallas on Monday, and the Heat ended up shooting 75% in the 1st. But then this game slowly fell back into a typical East Conf. battle where points are hard to come by. The Pistons, in particular, had a hard time finding the bottom of the net after the 1st quarter and this was their ultimate undoing.

- The Pistons continued to display very little consistency on the offensive end, and just could not find their mark on their jumpers--they shot 37.8% & shot 5/21 from 3pt. I think this is turning into a major concern, because this seems to be a chronic problem that has existed since the 2nd half of Game 2 vs. the Cavs. I think they really need to get back to playing off of Rip's movement around screens more. The last couple years, the Pistons as a whole really got into good rhythms by playing off the action Rip created. Although, the Pistons backcourt scored 41 points, Rip & Billups had to do it on a combined 15/41 shooting. Billups needs to look to attack more with the dribble: the Pistons got very few drives to the rim, and this is something that needs to be tested, especially vs. the Heat.

- Defensively, the Pistons were not quite themselves-- letting more forays straight to the rim than is per usual with Detroit's rep. Wade led this charge by getting great looks all night for the limited 27 minutes he played. Wade got into the paint basically anytime he wanted, and ended shooting 9/11 for 25 pts, and continued to create shots for his teammates with 5 assts. I have been stressing the importance of the play of the Miami role guys, and they came thru huge in Game 1, especially with Shaq in foul trouble. Payton turned the clock back to '96, by looking very spry on the floor--he ended with 14 pts. on 6/8. Williams & Walker also played solid games by chipping in with a combined 27 points. You can't forget Alonzo's defensive effort that discouraged the few drives that Detroit attempted. The Heat ended up shooting a superb 56.3%, and finished with 52 points/paint. The only issue the Heat really had in this game was turnovers--they had 15 to 6 for the Pistons. This was the only reason for Detroit being even close--Detroit got up 82 fg attempts to 64 fga for Miami. If the Heat can continue to get the support from their secondary guys, and hopefully they can keep Shaq out of foul trouble, they could be tough to stop.