Sunday, May 06, 2007

East Conf. Semis Game 1 Recaps

Pistons vs. Bulls (Game 1): Pistons 95, Bulls 69

- Pistons' defense ain't too bad, huh. They came out very aggressive on the defensive end & they stayed that way until the final buzzer. Were very active getting steals, deflections, contesting shots all over--they forced 22 TOs. Held the Bulls to 33% overall, and 5/17 from 3pt. We mentioned the Pistons' ability to defend the 3pt. line & how it will be crucial since the Bulls are the 2nd in 3pt %. The Pistons mixed in some zone in 3rd, and it was very effective, a big reason the Bulls only scored 16 pts in the quarter.

- The Pistons also won the rebound battle--46 to 38--which is a slightly surprising margin since the Bulls are the better board club. The Pistons got another win by committee in Game 1 after getting double-figures from their starting 5 in every 1st round game. Rip was stroking his mid-range shot off of curls or off the bounce for 20 pts. Billups was hitting his jumpers as well, and used his post-up ability to put up 20. He totally manhandled Gordon on both ends of the floor. Tayshaun was his understated all-around threat with 13, 8 & 4 assts. And Sheed was a beast on the defensive end with constant actitvity.

- Deng & Hinrich were pretty much the only offensive threats for the Bulls. Deng had a pretty good game stroking his mid-ranger but was 7/16 from the floor, way below his 50% average. Hinrich had a solid game with 15 & 6 on 6/7. Gordon never got into a groove partly due to early foul trouble. The Bulls' bench did not add much to the proceedings besides a nifty combined 3/30 from the floor. Nocioni was the biggest bench culprit by playing way out of control. His spastic energy often makes a lot of good things happen, but sometimes it causes games where Noce shoots 1/8 & commits bad TOs.

- If the Pistons can play with this much purpose all the time, then the series is there's for the taking because they have the more varied, more overall talented team. But they have to find ways to motivate themselves to retain their focus. The Bulls have to regain their dominance on the glass in Game 2.

Cavs vs Nets (Game 1): Cavs 81, Nets 77

- This type of game it what you should expect the rest of the series, grind-out defensive affairs; the Nets shot 37%, the Cavs 40%. Expect both teams to pack in their defenses for the rest of the series, and probably some basketball that does not appeal to the casual fan that Mr. Stern want to bring into the fold.

-With choked-off lanes on both sides, deep penetration discouraged, free throw attempts should be minimal. And this was the case in Game 1--the Nets only took 11 Fts, Cavs 16 fts. Deciding factor in the game was the offensive rebounding of the Cavs. Pointed to the big advantage that the Cavs would have in the series & how it could be a decisive factor. The Cavs had 20 off. boards, while they won the board margin by 14.

- The Cavs defense on the Vince & Jefferson was pretty good. Neither guy consistently could get deep in the lane with the Cavs bigs waiting for them all the time. And Nets have to expect this to continue because there is very little reason for Big Z to move away from the backline with Jason Collins on the floor. Though the Nets had some success driving baseline.

- Mentioned the importance of Pavlovic in the preview, and Sasha came thru pretty well today. His defense on Vince was solid and he had a huge block from behind on Kidd that was crucial. Sasha somehow ended with 3 blks. Drew Gooden had a nice little thing going with his turnaround jumper flowing today--Drew had 14 & 14. Also, Gooden was a huge factor on the offensive boards alongside Big Z--Gooden had 6, Ilgauskas had 8 (Both guys average 3 per game)

- Nachbar had a solid game with 12 pts off the bench, but could not connect from 3pt. land (0/1). Vince & Jefferson only got to the foul line a combined 6 times (Vince 6/6, RJ 0/0). Though both guys had some success finding room along the baseline. Kidd did have 10 rebs, 9 assts, & 3 stls, but he could not carry over his hot shooting hand from the Raps' series (Kidd was 2/11, 2/7 on 3pts.)

- Both teams need to do a better job in the long-range shooting department--Nets shot 5/20, Cavs 5/17. And the Nets have to figure some way to keep the Cavs of the off. glass; not sure the Nets are capable.


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