Tag Archives: Chris Bosh

Young Teams Rise In The East

The thing about the NBA is that, very much like pop music, it’s all about star power. That, and depth I suppose, but mostly star power. Almost always in the NBA, the team with the best stars win. You could build a band with Ringo Starr and Ronnie Wood if you wanted to but, I’d imagine that Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger sell the tickets. Likewise, it’s not impossible to build a good team with Chris Bosh and Joakim Noah but, the star power lies with Lebron James and Derrick Rose.

The NBA’s eastern conference has had a bit of a shake up in the last couple of years. A few stars have changed teams, and hopefully a few future stars have been drafted into the league. This has given some teams in the east the ability to, for the first time in years, make it to the playoffs.

Wizards point guard John Wall (left) and Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (right).

The Cleveland Cavaliers are going to be in post season contention if they can stay healthy. They have a number of pieces at their disposal and some potential stars. They’ve made some moves that give them an opportunity to be in the post season for the first time since Lebron James left.

Two years in, and Kyrie Irving is an emerging star. He’s an extremely reliable scorer, has handles for days, is great in crunch time and has court vision to boot. Apart from making Jason Kidd, Brandon Knight and Damian Lillard look silly; Kyrie specializes in shooting. He shoots the ball very well from basically everywhere on the floor. While he does lack a strong defensive presence, he always a threat on offense getting easy shots for both himself and his teammates.

Andrew Bynum is an all star caliber center who averages a double-double when healthy. His biggest problem being, of course, that he is not always healthy (or ever; in the case of the Philadelphia 76ers who never once saw Bynum play a regular season game in their uniform). Andrew Bynum is the perfect example of a player that is worth the risks taken on him. He’s a legitimate 7 footer with a variety of useful and often times crafty post moves. While Andrew Bynum may have red flags concerning his maturity but, he is worth the risk if he plays up to his potential.

Anthony Bennett is the number 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. This came as a surprise to many but, not too surprising since Cleveland general manager Chris Grant tends to be, shall we say, unconventional in his moves at times. The Cavaliers hope that Bennett can bring the athleticism that he showed when he played at UNLV. Bennett is explosive and is capable of finishing above the rim. He’s got a quick first step and speed when running the open floor. Anthony Bennett is not a consistent jump shooter and doesn’t play active defense, those are coachable issues however. Look for Bennett to contribute right away.

Not to be forgotten: Dion Waiters 14.7 ppg 2.4 rpg

The Detroit Pistons are ready to put their previously disappointing seasons behind them. General manager Joe Dumars through some form of magic (most likely) has found a way to keep his job despite putting together a myriad of bad teams. These bad teams directly preceded the  team that won an NBA Finals in the 2003-2004 season and had four other conference finals appearances, that Dumars also built. In a return to form, Joe Dumars has made a number of shrewd moves in the offseason in an attempt to bring the Pistons back to prominence.

Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond have a lot in common. They are both versatile big men. Both are 6’10” and are both highlights waiting to happen. They move well on the fast break. They are both smart and willing passers. Greg Monroe has 3 NBA season under his belt while Andre Drummond just wrapped up his rookie season. Monroe played 33 minutes a game to Drummond’s 20 minutes most likely because they occupy roughly the same place on the floor, and Andre is a rookie. Both show a lot of promise and skill.

Josh Smith is more than capable of being an all star. He isn’t but he could be. Josh Smith has strength not unlike a bull. When he attacks the basket he’s difficult to slow down. On the low block, he’s a nightmare to defend. He’s athletic and has tremendous leaping ability. The Pistons were able to acquire the former Hawks forward for a relatively affordable 4 year $56 million. If Josh Smith had a downside, it would be his tendency to settle for jumpers. He’s big, strong and fast yet is completely satisfied with taking some bad 10-15 foot jump shots.

Brandon Jennings (since we’re on the subject of bad jump shots) joins the Pistons roster via a sign and trade with the Milwaukee Bucks. In exchange the Bucks got point guard Brandon Knight. In Brandon Jennings the Pistons get a bit of a boost in scoring ability. Jennings is more of a volume shooter but he has his nights where he scores extremely well. He’s left handed and unsurprisingly goes to his left a lot; he avoids finishing with his right hand almost to the point of phobia. Brandon Jennings is a much better passer than he gets credit for, even averaging 6.5 assists per game on a team with Monta Ellis on it. Jennings is an improvement at the point guard position and is a better fit than Brandon Knight for this team.

Not to be forgotten: Chauncey Billups 8.4 ppg, 2.2 apg

The Washington Wizards believe this is the year they can make it to the post season. They’ve dealt with everything from bad injuries to just having bad players. This year their roster is stronger than it’s been in a long while giving them hope that they can end a very long drought. They haven’t been to the playoffs since 2007 and haven’t won a playoff series in about 25 years.

John Wall signed a 5 year $80 million deal with the Wizards earlier this summer. This is the maximum amount of money that he could have been paid. While Wall’s career numbers thus far do not justify this pay day, the Wizards believe that he can be an all star caliber point guard in the NBA. 2013 saw a marked improvement in Wall’s jump shot, which is still a work in progress. Wall at 6’4″ is a big point guard yet, he has incredible speed and is capable of going baseline to baseline in under 6 seconds. His jumper is his biggest barrier. At this point nobody takes it seriously. What is taken seriously is his court vision, passing ability and speed that leaves defenders standing still. Wall is also a very good defender.

Bradley Beal just finished his rookie season and it was very impressive. He’s an accurate shooter who, if given any daylight at all, can score at will. Beal can attack the basket both on the fast break, and in the half court. He runs through screens effeciently. Bradley Beal’s biggest draw back is ball handling. He’s not bad but when John Wall was injured earlier in the season he did not seem comfortable in the position of primary ball handler. However, his off ball skills are not to be over looked.

Otto Porter the rookie from Georgetown is a player in development. He looked like the most anemic of the rookies drafted this year when he participated in NBA Summer League play. He is adapting to a new offense and a new role. The Wizards re-signed veteran Martell Webster who plays the same position as Porter, so Otto shouldn’t have too much pressure on him early. He will likely not start. Otto Porter is extremely long and his huge wingspan gives him a defensive advantage. Otto was a good defender in college and an extremely scrappy player diving on the floor for loose balls, actually boxing out and sticking with broken plays.

Not to be forgotten: Nene 12.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg

All of these teams are either trying to develop stars or acquire them. That’s what it takes to win in the NBA. They are on the right track to get to the playoffs and to maybe one day compete for a title.

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The Dallas Mavericks are the Champs!

Dirk Nowitzki didn’t shoot the ball very well and it didn’t matter. The Mavericks as a team stepped up and did their jobs. I don’t just mean Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, J.J. Barea, or Shawn Marion. I mean everyone. Brian “The Custodian” Cardinal knocked down a big shot and defended the paint, Ian Mahinmi played solid defense off the bench, and DeShawn Stevenson was lights out from down town. Dirk didn’t need to be Superman to be an NBA champion because he played on a team that recognized the importance of their duties and they executed them. Seriously? Who would have thought that Dallas could rely on Brian Cardinal on the biggest stage in the stead of Tyson Chandler, who couldn’t stop picking up stupid fouls to save his life? The Mavs teamwork and perseverance won them this title. Save the big German himself, there are no stars on Dallas’ team. No standouts or exceptional athletes, but there were a bunch of cause committed to a cause who all knew their roles and played within them. Their team was in a quite literal contrast to the Miami Heat.

Lebron wasn’t aggressive, but neither was Dwayne. They didn’t play off of each other or even with each other, but more or less seemed to be playing over each other. Neither ever made the decision over the course of the game to dominate. How could they? If one guy takes shots he’s taking away from the other. Let’s not even mention Bosh who was the best Heat player in my opinion. He played with more heart the James and Wade put together, but he didn’t get any touches. He was so efficient that he outscored Dwayne Wade and took 7 less shots to do it. He scored 19 points on 7 of 9 shooting. The Miami Heat may have had the superior athletes, but unlike Dallas they were not a team. When your teammates are scoring off of put backs only, you’ve got a team problem. The turnovers and miscommunication that happened all game for the Heat would have led a sane person who hadn’t ever seen them before to believe that they had never played together. These are the things that a team that has spent time together would know how to do. When things got tough we saw the Heat fall apart, and I for one that they were better than that.

The Dallas Mavericks were humble even in victory, which speaks to the kind of guys that are on that team. I didn’t like Jason Terry before this series, but I have respect for him now. I see a guy who is willing to do whatever it takes to win. He played his best when it mattered most. When Dirk was struggling Dallas stayed afloat due mostly to how well Terry was playing. He made good decisions with the ball and made the most of his opportunities. Dirk did what Dirk does. He could not be found for most of the game, but when Dallas needed a closer in the fourth quarter he was there when they needed him. Only Dirk could score 3 points in the first half of a close out game and then show up with a big 18 points in the second half to finish his opponent off.

I can’t say enough about how well Dallas played. They really had a spectacular performance all series long. This is one of the most enjoyable NBA Finals in quite sometime. The story lines were good and the games were epic. What more could a fan ask for? I just hope that everyone remembers how this feels because we might have to go on that feeling going into the near future. An NBA lockout is looming and the owners and players can’t seem to agree on any issues.

Both teams played hard and the Mavericks are the champs. Congratulations guys on a season well played.

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NBA Finals Game 4: Dirk is Sick! No really . . . He’s got a fever.

Dirk began this game about as hot as he was. He made the first three shots in the game to give Dallas a lead. For a guy with a fever if was hard to tell that Dirk was sick. He didn’t play like it. Chris Bosh and Erik Spoelstra both noted that they hadn’t really noticed that Dirk was sick at all. They had no reason to. Dirk scored 21 points, while having yet another huge 4th quarter, on 6 of 19 shooting and 11 rebounds. 11 defensive rebounds that is. Dirk made big plays when his team needed him to including game winner which was the same shot as in game two, he just went to the right side.

The game was a good game, but as with the rest of this series so much of it was sloppy and mistake-ridden. The Mavs played good defense in the first quarter, holding Miami to 29% from the field, but they had so many turnovers that they were trailing at the end of the quarter. The Heat were up by 9, but couldn’t  secure the basketball in the 4th quarter. You may not ever be able to count Dallas out of a ball game, but you can’t guarantee anything with the Heat either.

Dwayne Wade had his signature all over this game. He made plays every time Miami went up the floor. He had big rebounds, knocked down difficult shots, and blocked shots (including a huge rejection on Tyson Chandler.) The person who didn’t really seem to be involved much was Lebron James who scored just 8 points on 3 of 11 shooting. Lebron was productive of course, he had 9 rebounds and 7 assists. It just seemed like he facilitated himself out of the game. One line of reasoning is that he’s tired. With games just one day a part from each other and Lebron logging in 44 minutes to 46 minutes of play per night, he might just be tired. He looked slower than earlier in the series. When you consider that Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant, and even Dwayne take 3rd quarter rests in games it’s pretty crazy how many minutes Lebron is playing. Is the lack of depth finally catching up to the Heat? Lebron played 45 minutes again last night. In the press conference ESPN’s Rachel Nichols asked him if he would go to shoot in the gym to get his rhythm back and Lebron said, “With the games so close together it’s more important to get rest, but if I need to fix anything, I’ll shoot, and work on it.”

Tyson Chandler and Jason Terry had good games. There was a play in the game where Jason Terry left Lebron just standing there and looking. This has to do with wether or not Lebron is tired or not. Those words before the game from Terry are not seeming so stupid after all. Brendan Haywood came into the game for three minutes and up seeing how Haywood looked, Chandler checked himself back into the game. Between Terry’s 17 points and Chandlers 13 points and 16 rebounds they made an impact on the game. Dallas is going to see more of this from them if they plan on winning this series.

Dwayne Wade had 32 points on 13 of 20 shooting in the losing effort. He was playing out of his mind and it still wasn’t enough. Which just goes to show that they need all of the big three to play well if they want to win games. Okay I lied, they need the Wade and Lebron part to work. Bosh has filled out the stat sheet in losses before. This, if I’m not mistaken is his 3rd game like this in the playoffs. Bosh scored 24 points on 9 of 19 shooting.

Apart from Wade’s 32 point losing effort, another thing that made this game bizarre is that Miami rebounded better and shot the ball better and still lost this game. Looking at the game closely Dallas was much more aggressive getting to the basket. This allowed them to draw more fouls and beat Miami at the free throw line. The free throw line is what lost Miami the game. They shot less free throws, 24 shots to Dallas’ 30, and made a lower percentage of them. Dallas shot 80% from the free throw line as opposed to the Heat’s 70% not taking into account the free throw Dwayne Wade missed that would have tied the game.

This series is continuing to stay tight but, Dallas needs to finally get a lead in this series while they still have a home game, in order to win the whole sha-bang.

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NBA Finals Game 3: Evenly Matched.

Did the refs bad call at the end of the first quarter cost Dallas the game? The no-call in which Mario Chalmers was actually backcourt, but the refs didn’t see it that way. In a word, no. No single moment in a game loses teams games. When a team plays they have multiple opportunities. That no-call should never have happened, but Dallas shouldn’t have been out-scored in the paint 44-20. Dallas needed to defend the rim early on because Lebron and Dwayne came out of gates practically dunking on every play. Shawn Marion and Tyson Chandler didn’t really stay in front of the ball or defend the rim very well until the second half. Maybe they were afraid that they wouldn’t have a backup because Brendan Haywood was injured. However if Dallas played the kind defense they did when they go on runs to catch up in games, they wouldn’t need to play from behind every time.

Dallas dominated in many aspects of the game. So much so that it’s mind-boggling how they were down in the first place. They out-rebounded the Heat 42-36, and their bench out-scored Miami’s by a margin of  25-19. What made this game the way it was, was that the Dallas Mavericks did not start aggressively enough. Dirk scored 34 points but only 2 points in the first quarter. Shawn Marion needed to shoot the ball a bit better and choose better moments to shoot. He scored 10 points on only 4 of 12 shooting. Jason Kidd scored 9 points on 3 of 8 shooting, which isn’t terrible, but it could have been better. Dallas lost the game so it needed to be better. Dallas can expect to play every game from behind and win this series, because I’ll tell you one thing, it’s not going to happen. The starters need to help more. Period.

The Heat didn’t play a flawless game either, but it was enough. Chris Bosh forgot how to shoot for 2 quarters of the game, the Heat allow the Maverick defense to dictate their offense at times, and they have a massive rebounding problem. I thought the rebounding problem was fixed but this is the second game in a row that Dallas has out-rebounded Miami. Miami needs to fix this if it intends win this series. They did a good job surviving one game in Dallas, but they won’t survive long if the level of play does not increase. Dwayne Wade and Lebron James are playing crazy good, and Chris Bosh plays well in streaks, but this team needs it’s bench to not get run over by the Mavericks. Mike Miller and Juwan Howard played 18 minutes between the two of them and scored a collective 1 point and 3 rebounds. That’s just not enough production for two people. Mario Chalmers plays well when he comes in but he’s the only one. I see Haslem, and I don’t see what the big deal about him is. He scores and rebounds, which I understand, but nobody is changing their game plan for Udonis Haslem. The reason why the Heat are playing well is because of James, Wade and Bosh.

Do we have a game seven on our hands? I hope this is the series that can go the distance because both of these teams are electric.

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NBA Finals Game 2: Fantastic Finish.

These NBA playoffs have produced some great moments. Brandon Roy’s 20 point 4th quarter, unlikely rise of the Memphis Grizzlies, the OKC Thunder collapse up 15 to the Mavericks, and Miami Heat’s epiphany when they figured out how to make everything work and then promptly proceeded to sink the Bulls. Last night was the grand-daddy of them all. The Miami Heat had a collapse that was awful in a number of ways. It was unexplainable given the talent on the floor. Lebron James and Dwayne Wade were literally getting any shot that they wanted. In crunch time however, they both settled for shots that they didn’t need. We’ve seen this before with the Thunder. Instead of playing to win, the Miami Heat were playing not to lose. They were hoping that time would run out and that they would have a big enough lead to have won the game when it was all over.

The key to the game. The specific player that this Mavericks could be attributed to besides Dirk is Shawn Marion. Marion always made smart plays throughout Dallas’ scoring drought and subsequent run. He made a number of big shots and his defense was invaluable to the Mavs. Marion scored 20 points on 9 of 14 shooting and had 8 rebounds on a night when that’s what Dallas needed. After getting out rebounded in game one 46-36 Dallas needed a healthy helping of boards and both Marion and Nowitzki delivered. Dirk grabbed 11 rebounds to go along with his 24 points and game winning shot. Dallas needed every rebound they got because they turned the ball over 18 times. Many these turnovers, as is always the case with the Heat, were converted directly in to points.

It’s a game like this where the lack of depth really kills the Heat. They have guys on the floor like Joel Anthony that doesn’t even attempt a shot. He gives them nothing offensively. I know he’s on the floor for defense, but so is Tyson Chandler and Tyson scores points. When Carlisle says a certain matchup that he doesn’t like he is able to make adjustments mid-game because of how deep his team is. Erik Spoelstra doesn’t have this luxury. He has to leave things as is in most cases. He can tweak, but the adjustment will always be one of scheme and not personnel.

Lebron and Dwayne did all that they could early on. Especially Wade who came out of the gate, guns blazing, being aggressive and attacking the basket in a way he hadn’t done previously. Wade scored 36 points in the game. Lebron scored 20 points and was also aggressive early in the game. However, neither player was able to sustain their efforts into the 4th quarter and that was the main reason for the collapse. With Bosh seemingly neutralized by Chandler and Haywood the burden of scoring is completely on Wade and James. They played tentatively coming down the stretch and cost their team a ball game.

Dallas just saved their championship hopes in this game. If they had played all game though, the way they ended the game, they would not have needed to panic. All I know is if the guys compete at this level every game, we could be looking at one hell of a series.

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NBA Finals Recap: Game 1, Lebron James is a MAN!

Dallas was able to play at the Miami Heat’s tempo for a while but we figured out who was better at it. In the third quarter lead by Lebron James and his 24 points, Miami was able to pull away for a lead to the Mavs were never able to regain. I thought the depth of the Mavs would give them an advantage in this series but, as per usual Miami found a new way to surprise me. The Heat bench was almost as productive if not just as productive as Dallas’ own bench. Actually Mario Chalmers was a slightly more efficient form of Jason Terry because they scored the same amount of points but Chalmers took less shots to do it. Dirk Nowitzki left his usual impact on the game but nobody really stood out as a Mavericks second option. When Dallas was playing the Thunder there was always a second guy to make the Thunder pay for overcommitting on Dirk. I don’t know if it’s just the superior athletes of Miami at work or what but, like Derrick Rose before him, Dirk looked alone out on the floor at times.

Apart from seemingly carrying a team that was good but not great, on a night where a second 20 point performance from another teammate could have been a difference between a win and a loss, Dirk has another problem. He tore a tendon on a finger in his left hand. I don’t know how this will affect his shooting from here on out but, it can’t be for the better. “I tore a tendon in there” Dirk said, ” I guess it’ll be alright.” You guess? It better be alright or the Dallas Mavericks up a creek without a paddle. Jason Terry was absolutely neutralized by the Heat. He scored 12 points on 3 of 10 shooting and scored absolutely nothing in the second half of that game. Dallas could always rely on J.J. Barea to give them a boost off of the bench. Well, they used to anyways, Barea scored all of 2 points on 1 of 8 shooting in 18 minutes of play. So Dirk better be okay or this will be a pretty short NBA Finals indeed.

The Mavs didn’t know what to do with Lebron and Wade. To be fair, most teams don’t really know what to do with those guys. They’re really hard to stop separate from each other. This Heat team was 0-2 against Dallas in the regular season but that was in September and December. Those games are not of the same Heat team that we see before us in these finals. Chris Bosh who had been off and on all season scored 19 points and had 9 rebounds in the Heat victory. Lebron and Dwayne scored 24 and 22 points respectively on particularly efficient shooting nights. The Miami Heat and coach Spoelstra have figured out how to use the pieces they have to win games often to devastating results for opponents.

If Dallas can regroup in game 2 and come up with a strategy to impose their will on the Heat then they have a punchers chance but, if not. This series will be unsatisfying for anyone who is not a Heat fan. I don’t mind if the Heat win but, I don’t want to see a sweep. That would be the worst result.

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NBA Eastern Conference Finals Recap: Game 5, Finish Him.

The Miami Heat are headed to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2006 to play exactly who they met there last time. This was a good game with some great back and forth moments. The Heat’s three three pointers to close out the game told us everything we needed to know about this series and why it was so one-sided. The Heat are like Ramen noodles. Instant. How quickly that team turned on offense when they needed it most is crazy and, it speaks to why having two guys like Dwayne Wade and Lebron James on your team makes you difficult to beat. Miami’s big three combined for a total of 69 points. Lebron and Bosh had 11 and 10 rebounds respectively. This game was not decided by the role players, guys who were able to get open and do damage in game 4, it was all the big three in this one. Only three other Heat players scored outside of the big three and they combined for 14 points.

I hope this series doesn’t tarnish what was a fantastic regular season by Derrick Rose. He did so much for his team he just has a lot to learn. Let’s not forget that Rose is just 22 years old. He’s improved himself and in so doing our expectations of him so greatly that when he didn’t play to the bar he set for himself this series, people started to really be hard on him. Miami is a great defensive team and Derrick Rose struggled because he had to play through a double team on a nightly basis. Chicago doesn’t have another player who will punish a defense for being too aggressive on a double. Without that Rose shot a season low 35% against the Miami Heat. Rose shot 43.6% all season long. He played as well he could, given the circumstances. I think he still deserved to be the MVP of the league and I’ll stand by that. This team wouldn’t even have made it this far if Derrick didn’t have the dedication to his game that he does.

If you must blame anyone, then blame Carlos Boozer. He apparently forgot there was a game last night. He was the one guy that could have made a difference in this series but all the Bulls got out of him was weak sauce on a regular basis.

As for Lebron, if you’re not from Cleveland get over yourself, he deserves credit for finally becoming a consistent go to option and a clutch player. Even if the Heat were a humble team that never stepped on any toes or offended anybody people would still hate them. Lebron being arrogant or not is no business of mine. I personally don’t care. He’s a talented ball player and that’s what matters. He was the best player on the floor in this series on a nightly basis. He had nights where he had to score, and he did. He had nights where it was better to facilitate, and you know what? He did that too. Bosh faded in and out. Dwayne vanished in game four (until the overtime period anyway). The only constant is that night in and night out the Heat could rely on productivity from Lebron all the time.

I’m not going to call any series that is over in 5 games a “good” series but I am a fan of defensive battles. This series was full of them so from that angle it was enjoyable. I’m really looking forward to Miami  and Dallas. The storyline is going to be a good guy vs. bad guy one. This NBA playoffs has been good to me as a basketball fan. Were you not entertained?

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NBA Eastern Conference Finals Recap: Game 4, The Heat take Charge in OT.

Chicago had an opportunity to win the game in regulation and they had to. It was obvious to everyone involved that if the game went into overtime Miami would win. Overtime is a sprint, not a marathon, and this Heat team seems specifically built for sprints. Dwayne Wade who was contained for much of the game got loose in the extra period and made the Bulls pay for not being able to stop him. The Heat also made Chicago pay for not have someone who would attack the basket when Derrick Rose was doubled. The defense of Lebron James, as per usual, is greatly understated. He guarded Derrick Rose 1 on 1 two times at the end of regulation, and stopped him both times.

The Bulls had not one, not two, but three players who scored 20 points. They also played stellar defense but, they still lost the game. They dominated the  paint and matched up about as well as anyone could with the big three and still lost the game. Mike Miller was a part of the reason why. He was a loose end. The one guy that everyone could count on to miss open shots because of his busted thumbs knocked down a couple of big three pointers and then hit a crazy crossover step back shot. I didn’t even think it was the same guy to be honest. It all seemed so  . . . foreign. I guess it looked that way to the Bulls too because they were not prepared to stop him until he pretty much cut into their lead single-handedly. He provided Miami with 12 quick points and 9 rebounds. Dwayne Wade had an off night for most of the night but Lebron and Bosh both did their part to keep the Heat afloat for the entirety of the game. Bosh had 22 points and James would get yet another 30 point game in these playoffs scoring 35 points.

Derrick Rose was 8 of 27 scoring 23 points. He was 1 of 9 from beyond the arch but this number is inflated I think. Rose takes all of his teams bad shots. What I mean by that is that anytime the Bulls have a bad possession or the play breaks down, wether it’s Derrick’s fault or not, Chicago gets the ball back to him to try and score as time expires. As a result it’s always a three or a long two and it’s never a good shot. The Bulls need a new bailout plan. If not for the sole reason of catching the Heat off guard. Derrick takes bad shots because those are often times the shots that his team gives him. When the offense stagnates or a play just doesn’t work, Derrick is forced to be the playmaker and Miami is making that about as difficult as anything for him right now.

Carlos Boozer could have an article unto himself. Boozer provided 20 points and 11 rebounds but, he didn’t do anything defensively but get his team in trouble. The Heat picked on him in their pick on roll because it was easy points. Omer Asik wouldn’t have gotten beaten that easily. Boozer is a poor defender and often time plays pretend defense. He gets low like he’s actually doing something but Miami Heat players no matter their size or position blew by him again and again. Boozer may be a big body but he plays like his feet are stuck to the floor. Noah covers for him a lot and picks up his slack but, if Noah gets hurt or fouls out of the game Boozer would be exposed.

Chicago doesn’t have a real offense problem so much as a punishment problem. If a defense will double team your point guard then you ought to punish it for being that aggressive. The Bulls don’t have another player who will just attack the basket. Chicago also has the same problems any defense would have against the Heat. Who do you let beat you? If you contain Wade and James then Bosh will get you. Containment of all three leads to Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers and James Jones slipping through the cracks. This series could be over or it could be anything but. We’ll find out on Thursday.

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Eastern Conference Finals Recap: Game 3, Heat Dominate the 4th . . . Again.

Chris Bosh carried the Heat to a game three victory over the Chicago Bulls. His 34 points on 13 of 18 shooting did the trick. Chicago’s bigs didn’t seem to have an answer for him as he scored on them in a variety of ways. He spun off of Boozer and dunked it on one play and then a few plays later nailed a 19 footer in his face. I think I’ve ranted on this before so I’ll be brief. Chis Bosh isn’t soft he’s just not extremely physical. He can get big when he needs to and always seems to when the Heat need him most. The Bulls did, in my opinion, as good a job defensively as they possibly could have. If you look at the box score both teams scored equally up until the fourth quarter. That’s where the past two games have been won for Miami and lost for Chicago.

The announcers in last nights game Steve Kerr and Reggie Miller (ugh!) said that the Bulls had trouble scoring and that Miami was playing much better defense but when I looked at the quarter by quarter scoring in the box scores this is what I saw.

1st quarter: Heat 18; Bulls 15

2nd quarter: Heat 25; Bulls 25

3rd quarter: Heat 25; Bulls 25

4th quarter: Heat 28; Bulls 20

As you can see either the Bulls were equally as proficient offensively as the Heat were for three quarters or the Heat aren’t as good defensively as we think. I think these are two very good teams going head to head and that the more talented bunch keeps coming out on top. The Bulls need to figure out a way to get more players involved. Even though they had a good game from Boozer (finally) they need more production from Noah and Deng to be effective. They did improve some by not settling for so many threes in the game but, might want think about stretching Miami’s defense with some mid range jump shots. There were a few opportunities to make Miami pay for being to aggressive double teaming Derrick Rose but the Bulls never really took full advantage.

The most telling stat of this game is that Lebron James had 10 assists to go along with his 22 points. Lebron brought the ball up the court multiple times playing the ever advantageous “point forward” position. He was able to get his teammates involved in a way that Derrick Rose seemed to struggle doing. Both Rose and his team need to step it up. Rose wasn’t nearly aggressive enough in transition and the other Bulls seemed complacent themselves.

In the end Miami played a superior fourth quarter, turning up the Heat defensively and sticking with the hot shooter, this allowed them to put some distance to close the game out. The Bulls have some adjustments to make and I think they’ll be made. Will it be enough?

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NBA Eastern Conference Recap. Game 1. The Heat Get the Boards.

The Miami Heat won the defensive brawl 85-75. Series is tied 1-1.

Miami was able to come out on top in the NBA version of a street fight. When you talk about two stingy defenses that can lock up at a moments notice these are the two teams in the league that you would be referring to. Miami and Chicago are both playing championship level defense. What put Miami over the top was Lebron James. He made the big plays that mattered down the stretch including a clutch three pointer that sealed the deal. The Heat got what they wanted with Bosh having a below average game and Lebron and D. Wade scoring in the 20s. It looked like Derrick Rose had to carry the team because the Bulls seemed to lack their game one energy. Derrick was 7 of 23 and scored 21 points so that didn’t really do Chicago much good. Chicago must have felt like they could shoot threes because the jacked up 20 of them and only made 3 as a team. Miami would  not allow them in the paint with out punishment. This made the Chicago bigs ineffective and the guards to shoot from long range. Luol Deng was 1 of 7 from beyond the arc. If the Bulls moved the ball some more they could have been able to get inside but, Lebron and Wade were jumping the passing lanes and stealing carelessly thrown passes. This eventually shut down Chicago’s offense.

Chicago had equally intense defense but Miami moved the ball. Allowing the offense to run outside the big three was a great adjustment by coach Spoelstra. Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller not only opened up Miami’s shooters (Mike Bibby had some open shots that he flat out missed) but it opened things up for Lebron and Wade as well. Lebron, Wade and Bosh are going to have to pick their spots carefully. In the game they shot the ball efficiently and they have to continue to do so if they have any plans on going to the NBA Finals.

Chicago needs to allow ball movement to open up spaces in the defense. I love Derrick Rose’s game but he needs to stop doing that thing where he leaves his feet and makes a pass. It gives Miami a chance to predict where it’s going because they know he has to move the ball before he lands. It’s just a fundamentally unsound way of playing the game. Chicago’s bigs need to follow the example of rookie Omer Asik  and keep their hands up at all times. They’ll foul a lot less that way and it allows them to use their height to their advantage.

Miami did a fantastic job of not getting killed on the glass and were able to out rebound the Bulls defensively. Miami was able to be better in the paint all around out scoring the Bulls 50-34 in that area.

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