Analysis: Rockets/Jazz & Cavs/Wiz
Rockets 96, Jazz 92 (Game 5)
- If you really want to boil it down, the difference in this game was the 3pt line--the Rockets hit 7 more 3pts (12/24) than Utah (5/12). Both teams shot the same overall pct., they basically hit the same amount of free throws (14 to 13), & there was nominal margin in rebs (+3 Rockets) & TOs (16-14). And it was about the time the Rockets got of the snide from deep--Houston has only shot 27.7% from 3pt prior to Game 5.
- The Rockets supporting cast stepped up today & were a big reason for the 3pt barrage. Battier was 5/7 from 3pt., Alston 3/7 & Head was 2/4. The Rockets were struggling from the 3pt. thru-out the series, 25/90 thru Games 1-4. And Head was shooting only 2/15 after shooting 44% for the reg. season. Also, Juwan Howard had his mid-range jumper working--6/6 for 12 & 6 rebs.
- McGrady helped create all those long-range opportunites off the dribble. When he was not whirling thru the paint for finishes, he drew extra defenders, opened up room for shooters & fed them with 16 assts. TMac picked up his scoring in the 3rd & put up 17 of his 26 in the 2nd.
- Thought the Jazz defense was fairly good today even though the numbers were nothing special. Okur continued his strong defense vs. Yao. Yao did have 21, but he only shot 6/18. Kirilenko finally made a dent in this series by being a presence on defense as a long-limbed free safety. But the Jazz really could not find much offense from these guys, and Deron was 4/16 from the floor, but he had a handful of jumpers spin in & out. Fisher was the only Jazz, besides Booze, who did much damage at the offensive end (17 pts).
Cavs 97, Wizards 90 (Game 4)
- No surprise that the Cavs get the sweep. The Wiz were severely short-handed, and even with Jamison going berserk for 4 games, the Wiz just had very little else they could turn to on offense. It's sort of hard to get a good read on the Cavs because they did not actually destroy the Wiz like they should. Was it because the Cavs were going thru the motions, a la Detroit, or is it a dangerous sign of their propensity to bog down on offense? One minor issue for the Cavs from this series is they only shot 31% from the 3pt. line. This needs to improve so to keep the defense from piling in Bron's lap.
- Bron was pretty nice in Game 4 with 31, 11 rebs, & 7 assts. But he did only shoot 8/22, and his shooting pct. for the series was a tad worrisome, 42.5%. But his free throw pct. was actually better than expected, 81%. Big Z was burying his reliable jumper on Monday for 20 & 19, and Z had a mini-resurgence in this series by averaging 19 & 11 on 60%, well above his season averages. But then again it's hard to gauge this production since the Wiz don't have much inside.
- Looking ahead to next year for the Wiz, the first priority is to find a quality big man. The guy doesn't not have to be a great scorer since all of the point production that's provided by the Big 3. Defense & rebounding are the biggest problems with the Wiz, and hopefully they can find a big who specializes in both. Also, trying to pry Euroleague stud, Juan Carlos Navarro, across the Atlantic should be of utmost importance. He could work well with Arenas, by alowing Arenas to move to 2-guard some while Juan does the ball-handling.