Archive for May, 2008

Live Blogging @ LABalltalk.com for Game 2

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Wanna talk about some NBA playoff hoops?
Live & in-person? … sort of

http://LABalltalk.com is the place for tonight’s Lakers vs Spurs match-up.

Start time: 8:45 PM ET.

Bring your hoops IQ and your quick wit … to discuss The Game, first & foremost, then whatever else strikes your fancy.

Detroit @ Boston, Game 2 by the numbers

Friday, May 23rd, 2008


Interesting ‘Game Stats’ from the Pistons’
victory last night, on the road, against the Celtics …

 

Det 103, BOS 97 Recap
Boxscore

Full Play-By-Play

 

Category

Detroit

BOSTON

Points Scored (PS)

103

97

PS Per Quarter (Difference)

1) 18 (-2)

2) 32 (+9)

3) 28 (+2)

4) 25 (-3)

1) 20

2) 23

3) 26

4) 28

Possessions

94

98

Possessions Per Quarter (Difference)

1) 23 (+1)

2) 21 (-9)

3) 25 (0)

4) 25 (+4)

1) 22 (-1)

2) 30 (+9)

3) 25 (0)

4) 21 (-4)

Points Scored Per Possession (PSPP)

1.10

0.99

PSPP Per Quarter

1) 0.78

2) 1.52

3) 1.12

4) 1.00

1) 0.91

2) 0.77

3) 1.04

4) 1.33

Field Goals Made (FGM) – Field Goal Attempts (FGA) [FG%]

35-71 [49.3]

35-72 [48.6]

FGM – FGA [FG%] Per Quarter

1) 6-16 [37.5]

2) 11-17 [64.7]

3) 7-17 [41.1]

4) 11-21 [52.4]

1) 7-15 [46.7]

2) 6-18 [33.3]

3) 9-18 [50.0]

4) 13-21 [61.9]

FGM Per Possession Per Quarter

1) 0.26

2) 0.52

3) 0.28

4) 0.44

1) 0.32

2) 0.20

3) 0.36

4) 0.62

Free Throws Made (FTM) – Free Throw Attempts (FTA) [FT%]

28 – 32 [87.5]

 

22 – 25 [88.0]

 

FTM – FTA Per Quarter (First – Last)

1) 6–7 (11:37-1:45)

2) 9–10 (9:01-2:33)

3) 10–11 (4:37-0:40)

4) 3–4 (0:10-0:01)

1) 5–5 (9:46-0:18 )

2) 10–12 (8:16-0:04)

3) 7–8 (8:05-0:26)

4) 0–0

FTM Per Possession  Per Quarter

1) 0.26

2) 0.43

3) 0.40

4) 0.12

1) 0.23

2) 0.33

3) 0.28

4) 0.00

Rebounds

31

38

Rebounds Per Quarter (Off + Pts)

1) 5 (0 + 0)

2) 7 (0 + 0)

3) 10 (3 + 2)

4) 9 (4 + 4)

1) 9 (2 + 2)

2) 12 (5 + 4)

3) 9 (3 + 4)

4) 8 (2 + 4)

Turnovers

11

13

Turnovers Per Quarter (First-Last)

1) 5 (10:06-0:30)

2) 1 (8:18)

3) 3 (10:08-7:47)

4) 2 (11:46-5:53)

1) 5 (11:14-0:54)

2) 5 (11:10-4:00)

3) 3 (3:45-0:40)

4) 0

Turnovers Per Possession Per Quarter

1) 0.22

2) 0.05

3) 0.12

4) 0.08

1) 0.23

2) 0.17

3) 0.12

4) 0.00

 

Interpret at your leisure … especially the Sabermetricians amongst you.

How the Spurs lost Game 1

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

Winning and Losing playoff games in the NBA … against a top notch, high calibre opponent … does NOT happen on account of:

* Good/bad Offensive Efficiency
* Good/bad Defensive Field Goal Percentage (True or otherwise)
* Ast:Turnover
* 3Pt Field Goal Percentage
* Free Throw Attempts
* Points Scored Per 100 Possessions (PSPHP)

or, any other current Game Stat (‘old school’ or ‘new-age’) you, or any Sabermetrician might care to mention.

Terrific, closely contested battles between two quality opponents, like last night’s Game 1, are decided by specific, individual plays/decisions (made or not made) by specific individuals (players or coaches) engaged in specific individual match-ups, AND the Momentum created/stopped/reversed/etc. by said plays/decisions, at Key (i.e. Fulchrum Possessions) Points in said game. FULL STOP.

Season ‘averages’ are irrelevant.
Relative ‘performance stats’ … are irrelevant.
Statistics, in general … are irrelevant.

==============================================

4th Q
Sas 81, LAL 77

6:56 Sas/Finley subbed out for Udoka; Oberto subbed out for Duncan

which produced the following individual player match-ups:

PG – Fisher (6-1, 210) vs Parker (6-2, 180)
OG – Vujacic (6-7, 205) vs Ginobili (6-6, 205)
SF – Bryant (6-6, 205) vs Bowen (6-6, 200)
PF – Odom (6-10, 230) vs Udoka (6-5, 220)
C – Gasol (7-0, 250) vs Duncan (6-11, 260)

and the ensuing series of possessions

6:38 Sas/Udoka Turnover: Bad Pass (1 TO) … Gasol Steal
6:32 LAL/Fisher: Jump Shot: Missed (open/Ginobili) … Ginobil Rebound
6:09 Sas/Parker: 3Pt Shot: Missed (open/Fisher); Duncan Rebound
5:51 Sas/Udoka: Jump Shot: Missed (shot fake semi-contested/Fisher)
5:50 Sas/Duncan Off Foul: Loose Ball (3 PF)

5:50 LAL/Team Time-out: Regular

5:30 LAL/Bryant Jump Shot: Missed (contested/Bowen) … Parker Rebound
5:25 Sas/Parker Fouled [Fisher: Personal (4 PF)]  
5:06 Sas/Parker Jump Shot: Missed (fumbled pass, contested/Vujacic) … LAL Team Rebound
4:57 LAL/Gasol Fouled [Bowen: Personal (4 PF)]
4:48 LAL/Vujacic 3Pt Shot: Missed (open/Ginobili) … Duncan Rebound
4:35 Sas/Ginobili Turnover: Bad Pass (4 TO) … Fisher Steal
4:32 LAL/Fisher Fouled [Parker: Shooting (2 PF)]; Free Throw Made (1 & 2) … Sas 81, LAL 79

4:32 Sas/Udoka subbed out for Finley

which produced the following individual match-ups:

PG – Fisher vs Parker [same]
OG – Vujacic vs Ginobili [same]
SF – Bryant vs Bowen ([ame]
PF – Odom vs Finley (6-7, 225) [new]
C – Gasol vs Duncan [same]

and the ensuing series of possessions

4:13 Sas/Ginobili Layup Shot: Missed (contested/Gasol [Blocked Shot]); Sas Team Rebound
4:10 Sas/Duncan Jump Shot: Missed (open/Gasol) … Fisher Rebound
4:03 LAL/Odom Layup Shot: Missed (contested/Duncan) … Finley Rebound
3:40 Sas/Duncan Jump Hook: Missed (contested/Gasol & Odom) … Odom Rebound
3:39 LAL/Odom Turnover: Lost Ball Out of Bounds (3 TO)
3:34 Sas/Finley 3Pt Shot: Missed (open/Odom) … Vujacic Rebound
3:18 LAL/Odom Layup Shot: Made (contested/Finley) … Sas 81, LAL 81

3:11 Sas/Team Time-out: Regular

3:11 Sas/Finley subbed out for Udoka

which produced the following individual match-ups:

PG – Fisher vs Parker [same]
OG – Vujacic vs Ginobili [same]
SF – Bryant vs Bowen [same]
PF – Odom vs Udoka [new]
C – Gasol vs Duncan [same]

and the ensuing series of possessions

2:57 Sas/Parker Turnover: Lost Ball (2 TO) … Fisher Steal
2:42 LAL/Bryant Fouled (Bowen: Personal [5 PF]); Free Throw Made (1 & 2) … LAL 83, Sas 81
2:28 Sas/Udoka 3Pt Shot: Missed (contested/Odom) … Gasol Rebound 
2:17 LAL/Bryant Jump Shot: Made (contested/Duncan & Bowen) … LAL 85, Sas 81
1:58 Sas/Udoka Jump Shot: Missed (contested/Fisher & Odom); Parker Rebound
1:55 Sas/Parker Layup Shot: Missed (contested/Gasol [Blocked Shot]) … Bryant Rebound
1:32 LAL/Fisher Jump Shot: Missed (contested/Udoka) … Sas Team Rebound
1:22 Sas/Ginobili Fouled (Fisher: Personal [PF 5]); Free Throw Made (1 & 2) … LAL 85, Sas 83
1:05 LAL/Odom Floating Jump Shot: Missed (contested/Udoka & Bowen) … Duncan Rebound
1:04 Sas/Duncan Turnover: Lost Ball Out of Bounds (TO 4) … NO FOUL CALL by Official [Bob Delaney/Center, not in correct position], Duncan Fouled [Gasol hack]

1:04 LAL/Team Time-out: Short

0:56 LAL/Gasol Dunk Shot: Missed (contested/Duncan [Blocked Shot]) … Sas Team Rebound

0:55 Sas/Udoka subbed out for Finley

which produced the following individual player match-ups:

PG – Fisher vs Parker [same]
OG – Vujacic vs Ginobili [same]
SF – Bryant vs Bowen [same]
PF – Odom vs Finley [new]
C – Gasol vs Duncan [same]

and the ensuing series of possessions

0:41 Sas/Duncan Jump Shot: Missed (contested/Gasol) … tipped in by Bryant & Odom … LAL 85, Sas 85
0:23 LAL/Bryant Jump Shot: Made (contested/Bowen) … Bryant Off Foul/NOT CALLED (ala MJ vs Russell-B … ‘MVP No-call’) … LAL 87, Sas 85

PLEASE NOTE:
Key ’Fulchrum’ Play  in the game … Lakers ran a High Middle/Elbow Pick & Roll with Bryant & Gasol; Spurs responded with Trap/Double-team (Duncan & Bowen); Bryant reversed his direction, kept his dribble alive & STRUNG OUT the Double Team to the Left Sideline, forced Duncan to LEAVE, retreating back to the Key, and making Finley rotate out to find Gasol (open in the Left Corner); Isolated Bryant vs Bowen, for the Middle Drive … PUSH OFF & Pull-up Jump Shot: MADE.

0:20 Sas/Team Time-out: Regular

0:20 Sas/Bowen subbed out for Horry

which produced the following individual player match-ups:

PG – Fisher vs Parker [same]
OG – Vujacic vs Ginobili [same]
SF – Bryant vs Finley [new]
PF – Odom vs Horry [new]
C – Gasol vs Duncan [same]

and the ensuing series of possessions

0:09 Sas/Ginobili 3Pt Shot: Missed (contested/Vujacic) … Vujacic Rebound
0:07 LAL/Vujacic Fouled (Finley: Personal [PF 1]); Free Throw Made (1 & 2) … LAL 89, Sas 85

0:07 Sas/Team Tim-out: Short

0:07 Sas/Parker subbed out for Udoka

whiche produced the following individual player match-ups:

PG – Fisher vs Udoka [new]
OG – Vujacic vs Ginobili [same]
SF – Bryant vs Finley [same]
PF – Odom vs Horry [same]
C – Gasol vs Duncan [same]

and the ensuing series of possessions

0:02 Sas/Finley 3Pt Shot: Missed (open/Bryant) … Odom Rebound
END OF GAME

==============================================

WHAT IS RELEVANT in situations/games like these … are:

* A Brialliant play/decision by Kobe Bryant (a Superstar player)
* Good/bad coaching maneuvers/decisions by Phil Jackson (i.e. down-sizing to his ‘small’ line-up with 1/Fisher, 2/Vujacic, 3/Bryant, 4/Odom & 5/Gasol, and sticking with it) & Gregg Popovich (i.e. failing to respond properly to the shift of Odom to the 4-spot and repeatedly substituting with Udoka & Finley INSTEAD OF Robert Horry, until the Moment of Truth HAD PASSED and it was too late for the Spurs)
* 1 crucial Turnover & 3 untimely Missed Shots by Ime Udoka (an inexperienced player for the Spurs)
* Two crucial NO CALLS by NBA OFFICIALS
* The Spurs No. 1 Scorer, Manu GINOBILI!, missing a contested 3Pt Shot with 7 seconds left in Regulation Time … which would have given the Spurs a 1-pt lead

The Lakers were better than the Spurs, in Game 1 … of what promises to be an outstanding Western Conference Finals.

Will Pop figure it out?
Or, will PJ be able to stay one-step ahead of him?

Now … it’s on to Game 2.

 

Detroit @ Boston, Game 1 … post mortem

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

On the heels of Chauncey Billups’ hamstring injury and the extended break the Pistons had following their 2nd Round Playoff Series (4-1 vs Orlando), last night’s outcome was actually a solid ‘Game 1′ performance for Detroit, down only 6 pts (i.e. a two possession game) in the 4th Q with under 5 minutes left to play.

Tayshaun Prince’s post-game break down for Game 1
Flip Saunders nails it: post-game break down for Game 1
Game 1: Boxscore
Game 1: Full Play-By-Play

(3rd Quarter)

Prince (3 TO) 11:40
McDyess (1 TO) 10:07
Billups (2 TO) 7:12
Hamilton (1 TO) 6:06
McDyess (2 TO) 5:40
Hamilton (2 TO) 3:48
Hamilton (3 TO) 1:54

If the Pistons can start better in Game 2, with heightened aggressiveness from Billups (looking for his own shot more in his 1v1 match-up with Rondo), limit the Celtics’ interior scoring, and increase their own ball movement … without turning the ball over 7 times in a single quarter … tomorrow’s contest will be decided on the final possession.

1.7% is all Chicago needs, plus a new head coach

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Oh, My!

Da Bulls’ problem is no more

as, given these results for the 2008 NBA Draft Lottery …

this team SHOULD now be back in business, in a BIG Way … fast.

==========================================

Who was the saddest looking man in Secaucus (NJ) last night?

He who shoulda waited two more weeks … before signing his contract to become the next head coach for the New York Knicks.

(watch that vid-clip again, beginning at the 1:00 minute mark, when the Charlotte Bobcats were announced with the #9 selection, and check out his ‘reaction’ for yourself, at the 1:32 mark)

Billy Donovan was allowed a Do Over last year … why not Mike D’Antoni?

NBA Playoffs Conference Finals Preview

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Eastern Conference Finals

(1) BOSTON CELTICS (H)

(2) DETROIT PISTONS

By the Numbers

QIR – #1 (6)
Points Differential Rank – #1
Points Allowed Rank – #2
Rebounding Differential Rank – #3

QIR – #2 (10)
Points Differential Rank – #2
Points Allowed Rank – #1
Rebounding Differential Rank – #7
 

Basketball Acumen

Still the team to beat in the East with home court advantage. Team D is The Story, fuelled by KG. Must find a way to shake lose Ray Ray on Offense. Easier said than done. Key Match-up: Doc Rivers vs Flip Saunders, especially, during the last 6 minutes of each game.

Good enough to win the series. Quality depth is outstanding. Top notch young players will need to continue stellar play. Rodney Stuckey (PG) is the Real Deal. Must assert their collective will to match the Celtics on the glass. Key Match-up: ‘Good’ Sheed vs ‘Bad’ Sheed.

Who will win

It’s going to go 7 games and it’s just too close to call. 

 

Western Conference Finals

(1) LA LAKERS (H)

(3) SAN ANTONIO SPURS

By the Numbers

QIR – #10 (30)
Points Differential Rank – #3
Points Allowed Rank – #19
Rebounding Differential Rank – #8

QIR – #7 (23)
Points Differential Rank – #8
Points Allowed Rank – #3
Rebounding Differential Rank – #12
 

Basketball Acumen

Will need to out-score the Spurs. Bench must continue to score, making open shots. Key Match-up: Kobe vs Ginobili. Without Bynum, should be the underdog in this specific match-up. Must improve interior D to have a chance. Ariza’s D & Rebounding will be missed. Will go as far as the MVP takes them.

The Heart of a Champion. Quality depth is first rate. Versatile and physical. Veteran role players know what it takes to win. Will win the series if they can dominate the glass. Team ethos is the best in the League. Key Match-up: Gregg Popovich vs Phil Jackson, the two best coaches in the NBA today.

Who will win

It’s going to go 7 games … and it’s just too close to call. 

 

 

The champs are … still the champs

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Everything that is the San Antonio Spurs was on full display in yesterday’s Game 7 vs the New Orleans Hornets … 

* The steadfastness of their unflappable head coach, Gregg Popovich
* The stellar work of their Superstar … ‘The Big Fundamental’, Tim Duncan
* The big game readiness of their important role players, off the bench … Michael Finley (11 MP; 2-2, FGA; 2-2, 3FGA; 4 Rebs), Robert Horry (14+ MP; 2-4, FGA; 2-4, 3FGA; 4 Rebs), Kurt Thomas (7+ MP; 1-2, FGA; 6 Rebs), Ime Udoka (21 MP; 3-7, FGA; 2-5, 3FGA; 4 Rebs)
* The glue guy contributions of their two ‘lesser light’ starters, ‘the Karate Kid‘ (28 MP; 2-5, 3 FGA; lockdown D vs Stojakovic) and ‘l’Hombre‘ (32 MP; 2-2, FGA; 9 Rebs)
* The courageous play of the 2007 NBA Finals MVP, Tony Parker … who took and made the biggest shot of the Spurs’ season, thus far, with the game on the line

and … last but NOT least …

* GINOBILI!!!

When you play ‘the game’ The Way the Spurs do …

(post-game interview last night)

Craig Sager (TNT’s Sideline Reporter): You lost the first two games of this series, then your coach made a big change, he put the Sixth Man of The Year, yourself, in the starting line-up, you won 4 of the next 5 … are you comfortable with starting now against the Lakers this next series?

GINOBILI: I’m just comfortable winning

and

… as long as you understand the game, and you want to get better, and you want to win …” – Manu Ginobili

see the following vid-clips for further details …

(1)

(2)

it is going to take a very special team to dethrone the reigning NBA Champions.

The LA Lakers await … in what promises to be a fantastic playoff series!

What Game 7′s are made of

Monday, May 19th, 2008


10 reasons
San Antonio is going to win tonight’s Game 7

 

10. The Tony Parker vs Chris Paul match-up will be played to a draw.

9. The Bruce Bowen vs Peja Stojakovic match-up will be won by the ‘Karate Kid’.

8. Joey Crawford is not on tonight’s officiating crew.

7. Michael Finley and Brent Barry are accustomed to making big shots in big games.

6. Tim Duncan has yet to play a good “away game”. Tonight, he’s due.

5. Three PFs (Thomas-K, Oberto-F & Horry-R) are better than one (West-D).

4. Ime Udoka is not going to waste valuable possessions by taking ill-advised shots.

3. When the Hornets “go small” the Spurs will counter, “going BIG” at the guard spots.

2. The Spurs are mentally tougher than this inexperienced Hornets team.

1. GINOBILI!!!

 

10 reasons New Orleans is going to win tonight’s Game 7

 

10. Chris Paul is a better PG than Tony Parker. This is his time to shine.

9. The 5/1 Wing Pick & Roll, with 2 (Peja) back-screening for Chandler, is a tough check for Bowen.

8. Joey Crawford is on tonight’s officiating crew.

7. One of Jannero Pargo, Bonzi Wells or MoPete is due for a BIG scoring night.

6. Tyson Chandler is the best 1-on-1 defensive match-up vs Tim Duncan, in the NBA.

5. 1 star PF (West-D) is better than 3 also-rans (Thomas-K, Oberto-F & Horry-R).

4. There’s no way Ime Udoka can duplicate his Game 6 performance for the Spurs.

3. The Hornets superior athleticism will generate key Stls, Blks, TO’s & Off-Rebs.

2. The Hornets are on post-Katrina mission, as the NBA’s feel-good story this year.

1. The Spurs are a dirty team whose ‘bad Karma’ will finally catch up with them!

 

Go ahead and take your pick.

 

Either way, it SHOULD be a terrific ballgame!

When you least expect it

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Courtesy of SI.com’s Hot Clicks

Real Life can be hilarious.

An epic battle

Monday, May 19th, 2008

The Boston Celtics, fuelled by the relentless Defense & Rebounding of Kevin Garnett … AND the heroic offensive production of Tha Truth

win a Mano-a-Mano, Plus One shootout vs ‘the King‘ (still-in-waiting).

PS. Watch this vid-clip. Listen to the accompanying lyrics, and think back to when Paul Pierce was fined $25,000 by the NBA, and stabbed multiple times. Must be nice to finally be The Truth for a day living large in Beantown, after all these years of Blood, Sweat and Tears.