Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tuesday Nite Recap & Analysis

BULLS/HEAT (Game 1): Bulls 107, Heat 89
- The Bulls were stroking tonite. Gordon & Deng could not miss--both guys were 11/19 overall--and the Bulls as a whole shot a sizzling 55% overall, 11/17 from 3pt. They are a team that lives by the jumper, and they lived the gated-community high-life tonite.

- Gordon came out on fire early and kept up the touch all nite to end with 27 (5/8 from 3pt.), 7 rbs, 5 assts. Not sure there is another guy in the league (besides maybe Kobe) when they get hot, they get as lethally hot as Ben can; he gets NBA JAM hot. Deng started to heat up in the 2nd half, particularly the 4th quarter where he was draining mid-range jumpers from all over--Loul ended with 26, 6 assts, 5 rbs. & 2 stls. Noce continued his strong play vs. the Heat (10 & 5 rbs, 3/4 from 3pt), he was an immediate spark off the bench & scored the last 7 pts of the 1st quarter to push the lead to 10.

- Can't remember Shaq ever being this careless with the ball before (7 TOs), the ball was slipping out of his hand all nite, and he was generally not strong with the ball. He also failed to finish off point-blanks shot more than usual; Shaq looked his age tonite.

- Wade looks like he does not have sufficient energy to do things he needs/likes to do. Once again in the mid-part of the game he looked gassed. Did come to life early in the 4th, and looked like he might heat up like Game 1, but it did not materialize. Wade ended with 21 & 7 assts.

- Really nothing good you can say about Miami, they were a collective disappointment. After watching this game, you wonder if they can even win a game. Wade got going early in the 4th off the bounce & it seemed that Miami might repeat the late-game rally of Game 1. But Bulls fended the run off by drilling jumpshot, after jumpshot--mostly Deng doing the damage.

- Riles has to consider starting Posey instead of Ed Jones. Posey, Kapono, & Walker each had 11 pts, and brought much more to table than JWilliams, Jones, or Haslem. Jones & JWill have been non-existent for 2 games. Posey has done a solid job all-around when on the floor, and Riles might have to consider running more curls/screens for Kapono. The Heat made a nice little run in the 2nd quarter when Kapono & Posey got hot. The one good thing that Heat have going for them going back home is that Chicago ain't that great of a road team this year.

RAPS/NETS (Game 2): Raptors 89, Nets 83
- Raps had to sweat this one out until the last second to avoid 0-2 hole. Pretty tight game thru-out, TJ Ford turned it on in the 2nd half igniting the Raps offense, even hitting an unexpected 3pt late in the game.

- Both teams shot 31/76 from the field. The decisive difference might have been the free throw line--Nets shot just 14 (11/14), Raps shot 25 (21/25). Vince's lack of aggression sure did not help the Nets' cause. The Nets also piled up too many turnovers early that never let them build up a bigger lead in the 1st half when their defense was strong.

- Not sure if the light bulb will ever go off in Vince's head on what it takes to max his natural talents. Same thing as usual, looking for off-balance jumpers in Game 2. Even had Ford on the block on one play, and you'd think he would power into the lane, nope. Vintage Vince fadeaway. He got to the line 4 times. 4 times. While he continued to jack up 3s when he only hit 1/7, 8/24 overall.

- Seasoned vet Ant Parker was the player of the game. Had 26 on 8/13 (3/4), 8 rbs, & 4 stls, but he sort of does it in an quiet, understated way. And his defense on Vince was solid. It seemed like Bosh would have another shaky playoff showing after a lackluster 1st half. But Bosh finally settled down, became more assertive, and threw up 19 pts in the 2nd half to finish with 25 pts & 13 rbs. Little surprised at Calderon's play tonite, his decision making/shot selection was uncharacteristically suspect, and Sam made the wise choice by reasserting Ford in the 4th.

- Even though he couldn't connect on a 3 to possibly tie the game late, Boci Nachbar was huge off the bench providing key 3s (4/7) & some strong drives to finish with 17. The Nets' 3pt shooting has really improved from last year, and kept them in this game (10/23). Actually, Jason Collins had a pretty solid game doing the little things that keep him in the good graces of Coach Frank. Workmanlike-defense per usual, but was a little bit more potent on the boards than usual--4 off. boards, 6 overall.

- Maybe Larry Frank should consider making Jefferson his main option since the Raps don't have much at the 3, and Vince doesn't really want to make things happen, plus he has a capable defender on him. Jefferson was off the mark tonite but the Raps don't have a good matchup for him. I don't think the Nets can ultimately win this series if Vince is going to shy away from slashing. The Nets need for him to get into the painted area & attempt to get to the line.

SUNS/LAKERS (Game 2): Suns 126, Lakers 98
- Suns played well enough that Pat Burke saw minutes. That's really all you need to know. Suns got anything they wanted. Lakers had no clue on defense. Barbosa was unstoppable again. Nash was a maestro. The Lakers pretty much conceded the game in the middle of the 2nd quarter. Not sure there is much hope for the Lakers since you can't do much about repairing their defense & health concerns within a week