Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Bulls’

LeBron James allowed to take 4 steps with the ball on crucial basket in Miami’s Game 4 victory

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

The Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat played a fantastic Game 4 last night.

Unfortunately, the final outcome was inextricably marred by an atrocious “non-call”:

on an overt “travelling violation” … committed by LeBron James, with approximately 32 seconds left in the OT period and the Heat clinging to a 4-point lead, 95-91 … which was inexplicably overlooked by a veteran NBA officiating crew comprised of Joe Crawford, Bennett Salvatore [who specifically was responsible for this non-call] and Ed Malloy.

Both teams played too hard, for too long, and too well, overall, to have the eventual outcome influenced, in this way, by a blatantly “missed” rules’ violation.

What the Heat did last night to overcome the Bulls

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

As was mentioned in this space on Monday

The adjustments which Miami needed to make in order to win their series with Chicago included:

1. Giving increased playing time to [A] Mike Miller/SF, [B] Zydrunas Ilgauskas/C, [C] Eddie House/OG and [D] Udonis Haslem/PF];

2. Reducing the playing time of [A] Mike Bibby [PG] and [B] Jamaal Magloire [C]; and,

3. Having Dwayne Wade [OG] check Derrick Rose [PG].

Given the result of last night’s Game 2, it is now fair to say that a main reason this series is tied, 1-1, is because Erik Spoelstra [Head Coach] actually implemented several of the “strategic” adjustments which were recommend, in advance, right here. :-)

For example:

#3) For significant stretches of the 4th quarter, Miami used the following 5-man unit with the associated Individual Match-ups:

PG, Dwayne Wade [vs D-Rose]
OG, Mike Miller [vs Keith Bogans or Kyle Korver]
SF, LeBron James [vs Luol Deng or Ronnie Brewer]
PF, Udonis Haslem [vs Carlos Boozer or Taj Gibson] 
C, Chris Bosh [vs Joakim Noah or Omer Asik]

#2.B) Jamaal Magloire was used for only 5 minutes.

#1.A) Mike Miller was used for 18 minutes.

#1.D) Udonis Haslem was used for 23 minutes.

If Coach Spoelstra wants to ensure that the Heat will win this series … by an ever-widening margin, then … all he really needs to do is implement the remaining “strategic” adjustments which were listed here on Monday that he chose to disregard in Game 2, i.e. 2.A, 1.B, and 1.C. :-)

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PS. Last night, actually Coach Spoestra did a solid job of earning his salary. Unfortunately, the same thing cannot be said for Coach Thibodeau … especially, when he fell asleep at the switch, and was much too slow in substituting Ronnie Brewer back into the game, in the latter stages of the 4th quarter, after Coach Spoelstra showed that he was going to milk the “3-1 Pick-and-Pop” – with LeBron James as Miami’s primary ball-handler, since Kyle Korver/OG was still in the game and being used to check Mike Bibby/PG

PPS. BTW … For those who still believe that Chris Bosh is incapable of playing Center for a title-winning team in the NBA, last night’s game serves as Exhibit A for how exactly this young man can best be used by an organization that is being run by a GM who really does know what he is doing when it comes to being able to win it all. :-)

Correct choice for NBA’s Executive Of The Year Award

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Despite what you might be reading elsewhere on-line today, concerning the fantastic job which Pat Riley has done this season, as “The Emperor” of the Miami Heat:

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LeBron gives Riley payback on Bulls

Riley had to share the NBA’s Executive of the Year award with Chicago’s Gar Forman, and it’s hard to believe he lost an outright claim to the award on much beyond jealousy and spite. Just give the Bulls one of the Heat’s stars with Rose – James, Wade or even Chris Bosh over Boozer – and you’d probably be fitting them for rings this spring.

Chicago lost out on the three of them, and blew the $75 million on Boozer who seems to shrink with every challenge here. Everything’s played out in a way that’s justified the Heat’s choices.

Riley and Forman shared 11 first-place votes, but three former NBA executives of the year say they voted for Riley. As one says, “It should’ve been unanimous. I’m not close with Pat, but I’m embarrassed how that went.”

As the Heat moved within three victories of the NBA Finals with the series returning to Miami, the sight of Pat Riley standing with his wife, his assistant GM and team owner Micky Arison spoke to the undeniable truth of these modern Miami Heat: For all the talk about Wade as the lead recruiter, the most important selling point of the Heat is that Riley lords over them. That franchise is relevant because of his presence, his stature in the game. Wade sold a partnership to James and Bosh, but Riley engaged everyone in the kind of bigger, broader vision that only he can.

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there should be no doubt, whatsoever, that Gar Forman did, in fact, deserve his share of this year’s NBA Executive Of The Year Award, as the principal architect of the resurgent Chicago Bulls with a current player roster that looks like this: 

STARTERS
Derrick Rose, PG [No. 1 Selection 2008 NBA Draft *]
Keith Bogans, OG [signed as UFA last off season *]
Luol Deng, SF [re-signed as RFA July 2008 *]
Carlos Boozer, PF [signed as UFA last off season *]
Joakim Noah, C [No. 9 Selection, 2007 NBA Draft]

KEY SUBS
CJ Watson, PG [obtained, via trade, last off season *]
Kyle Korver, OG [signed as UFA last off season *]
Ronnie Brewer, SF [signed as UFA last off season *]
Taj Gibson, PF [No. 26 Selection, 2009 NBA Draft *]
Omer Asik, C [signed as UFA last off season *]

RESERVES
Rasual Butler, G/F [signed as UFA this season *]
Kurt Thomas, PF/C [signed as UFA last off season *]

EXTRAS/OUTS
John Lucas, PG [signed as UFA this season *]
Jannero Pargo, PG/OG [signed as UFA this season *]
Brian Scalabrine, PF/C [signed as UFA last off season *]

HEAD COACH
Tom Thibodeau [hired last off season *]

[Note: * - First-rate personnel moves made by Chicago the last 3 seasons.]  

and a player salary structure that is under the present salary cap

Based strictly on the facts …

An authentic ranking of the GM’s in the NBA today, should look like the following: 

TOP NOTCH [5]

RC Buford [San Antonio Spurs, past NBA Champs]
Mitch Kupchak [LA Lakers, past NBA Champs]
Joe Dumars [Detroit Pistons, past NBA Champs]
Danny Ainge [Boston Celtics, past NBA Champs]
Pat Riley [Miami Heat, past NBA Champs; New York Knicks, past NBA Finalists]

ABOVE AVERAGE [6]

Kevin O’Connor [Utah Jazz, past NBA Finalists]
Donnie Nelson [Dallas Mavericks, past NBA Finalists]
Otis Smith [Orlando Magic, past NBA Finalists]
Donnie Walsh [New York Knicks; Indiana Pacers, past NBA Finalists]
Gar Forman [Chicago Bulls, up-and-comers]
Sam Presti [Oklahoma City Thunder, up-and-comers]

AVERAGE-to-Below Average [19]

Everybody else.

Why it’s mostly irrelevant where the Raptors’ pick is in the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

At the end of the 2008-2009 regular season, the main pieces for the Raptors and the Bulls, respectively, looked like this:

Toronto at Chicago [April 15, 2009]

When you then look at the main pieces for these same two teams when they played each other at the end of the 2009-2010 regular season, what you see is the following:

Chicago at Toronto [April 11, 2010]

When you then look at the main pieces for these same two teams when they played each other at the end of the just completed regular season, what you see is the following:

Toronto at Chicago [April 2, 2011]

Key differences and similarities?

1. Lead Executives, at the time:

2008-2009
CHICAGO, John Paxson
TORONTO, Bryan Colangelo and Maurizio Gherardini

2009-2010
CHICAGO, John Paxson and Gar Forman
TORONTO, Bryan Colangelo and Maurizio Gherardini

2010-2011
CHICAGO, John Paxson and Gar Forman
TORONTO, Bryan Colangelo and Maurizio Gherardini

2. Head Coaches, at the time:

2008-2009
CHICAGO, Vinnie Del Negro
TORONTO, Jay Triano

2009-2010
CHICAGO, Vinnie Del Negro
TORONTO, Jay Triano

2010-2011
CHICAGO, Tom Thibodeau
TORONTO, Jay Triano

3. Key Players, at the time:

2008-2009
CHICAGO
Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng [DNP-injury], Ben Gordon, John Salmons, Tyrus Thomas, Kirk Hinrich, Brad Miller and Tim Thomas

TORONTO
Chris Bosh, Shawn Marion, Jose Calderon, Anthony Parker and Andrea Bargnani [DNP-injury]

2009-2010
CHICAGO
Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, Kirk Hinrich and Brad Miller

TORONTO
Chris Bosh [DNP-injury], Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani, Hedo Turkoglu, Amir Johnson, Sonny Weems, DeMar DeRozan and Reggie Evans

2010-2011
CHICAGO
Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, Carlos Boozer, CJ Watson, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, Kurt Thomas, Omir Asik and Rasual Butler

TORONTO
Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson, Ed Davis, Jerryd Bayless, James Johnson, Leandro Barbosa, Sonny Weems, Linas Kleiza and Reggie Evans

4. Won-Loss Records, at the time

2008-2009
CHICAGO, 41-41
TORONTO, 33-49

2009-2010
CHICAGO, 39-41 [similar]
TORONTO, 38-42 [slightly better]

2010-2011
CHICAGO, 56-20 [significantly better]
TORONTO, 20-55 [significantly worse]

Since their introduction to the NBA, 16 years ago, what the Toronto Raptors have displayed is: [1] A remarkable inability to hold onto their “best” players from previous seasons who have solid upside and were actually selected by the team in the annual Draft; and, [2] A disturbing penchant for selecting the “wrong” players in the annual Draft who have limited upside and then remain fixtures with the team for far too many years without becoming very productive overall … unlike the Chicago Bulls.

Until the Raptors properly address the deficiencies which exist for their franchise at the Executive level, the Head Coach level, and the Marquee Player level, what position they select in any given NBA Draft Lottery is quite immaterial … if the long term goal is eventually being able to win a League Championship.

How Chis Bosh AND Taj Gibson should BOTH be Raptors’ players today

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

On June 23 2009, prior to that year’s NBA Draft, this corner said that the Raptors should trade down from the No. 9 position, in order to secure the services of more than just one good-to-very good young player, to go along with Toronto’s best player, Chris Bosh [C/PF].

With the 9th Pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors …

If the Raptors would have followed this simple prescription, at that specific point in time, instead of acquiring the services of DeMar DeRozan [OG/SF], in all likelihood, the last 2 seasons would have played out very differently for [1] Toronto, [2] Chicago and [3] Miami:

For example …

i. The Raptors might not have made the trade for Hedo Turkoglu [SF] at all;
ii. The Raptors [40-42, 9th/EC] might actually have made the playoffs in 2009-2010;
iii. The Raptors might then have been able to retain the services of Chris Bosh last summer;
iv. The Bulls [41-41, 8th/EC] might not have made the playoffs in 2009-2010;
v. The Bulls might then not have been able to obtain the services of Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, CJ Watson, Ronnie Brewer, Keith Bogans, Kurt Thomas and Omir Asik and Rasual Butler during the last 12 months; and,
vi. The Heat might then not have been able to obtain the services of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Mike Miller, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Juwon Howard last summer.

Those Raptors fans who still believe that Bryan Colangelo is something other than “just an average GM” in the NBA:

are, quite simply, delusional.

LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, CJ Watson, Ronnie Brewer, Keith Bogans, Kurt Thomas, Omir Asik, Mike Miller, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Juwon Howard did not leave their respective teams and sign with Miami and Chicago because they did not enjoy playing in Cleveland, Toronto, Utah, Orlando, Milwaukee, Turkey, Washington and Portland.

The chief reason they each chose to seek employment with their current team is because they each believed the GM for that franchise is someone who actually knows what he is doing, when it comes to being able to build a legitimate contender for the NBA championship.

How the Heat will need to adjust their Individual Match-ups, in order to beat the Bulls

Monday, May 16th, 2011

In last night’s Game 1, the Chicago Bulls dismantled the Miami Heat in the second half of the 3rd quarter and the entire 4th quarter.

Final Score:
Miami 82, Chicago 103
Box Score, Game 1

This is how the Heat chose to set their Individual Match-ups:

MIAMI HEATCHICAGO BULLS
PosMPPtsPlayerADVPlayerPtsMPPos
STARTERS
PG22+4Bibby-->Rose2838PG
OG3918Wade<--Bogans315OG
SF4115James<--Deng2144+SF
PF36+30Bosh<--Boozer1425+PF
C30+0Anthony-->Noah935+C
KEY SUBS
PG22+9Chalmers=Watson39+PG
OG244Jones=Korver316+OG
SF30Miller<--Brewer819SF
PF40Haslem=Gibson923PF
C102Magloire=Asik511C
RESERVES
OG22House=Butler0DNP-CDOG/SF
PF/C22Howard=Thomas0DNP-CDPF/C
EXTRAS/OUTS
PF/CDNP-IPittmanLucasDNP-IPG
CDNP-IDampierPargoDNP-IG
CDNP-IIlgauskasScalabrineDNP-IPF/C

What SHOULD have been a ‘slight Advantage‘ situation for the Heat actually played out as a ‘decided Disadvantage‘ situation when Miami chose to not use all of the resources at their disposal properly, by giving very little playing time to:

Mike Miller [MP/3]
Udonis Haslem [MP/4]
Eddie House [MP/2], and
Zydrunas Ilgauskas [DNP-I],

while giving significant amounts of PT to:

Mike Bibby [MP/22+]
Mario Chalmers [22+], and
Jamal Magloire [MP/10].

If the Heat persist with the type of rotation they used in Game for the balance of this series, then, unfortunately, their solid run in the post-season will soon come to an abrupt halt.

If, however, Miami decides to adjust their Individual Match-ups for the balance of this series … or, at least, until Chicago is forced to respond in-kind:

MIAMI HEATCHICAGO BULLS
PosMPPtsPlayerADVPlayerPtsMPPos
STARTERS
PG38?Wade=Rose2838PG
OG15?House=Bogans315OG
SF44+?James<--Deng2144+SF
PF36+?Bosh<--Boozer1425+PF
C25+?Anthony-->Noah935+C
KEY SUBS
PG9+?Chalmers<--Watson39+PG
OG16+?Jones=Korver316+OG
SF19?Miller<--Brewer819SF
PF23?Haslem=Gibson923PF
C10+?Ilgauskas=Asik511C
RESERVES
PGDNP-CD?Bibby=ButlerDNP-CD0OG/SF
PF/CDNP-CD?Howard=ThomasDNP-CD0PF/C
EXTRAS/OUTS
PF/CDNP-IPittmanLucasDNP-IPG
CDNP-IMagloirePargoDNP-IG
CDNP-IDampierScalabrineDNP-IPF/C

then, the Heat will significantly improve their chances of winning this series in 6 games.

Key player personnel decisions like these are where head coaches actually earn their money in the playoffs, or not.

TrueHoop Stat Geek Smackdown: NBA Playoffs, 3rd Round Series Winners

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

FYI …

This continues the “unofficial entry” for yours truly in the annual contest run by Henry Abbott: 

Eastern Conference Finals

[1] Chicago [QIR/#1] vs [2] Miami [QIR/#2]
SELECTION: Miami in 6.

TrueHoop Stat Geek Smackdown: NBA Playoffs, 2nd Round Series Winners

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

FYI …

This continues the “unofficial entry” for yours truly in the annual contest run by Henry Abbott: 

Eastern Conference, Semi-finals

[1] Chicago [QIR/#1] vs [4] Atlanta [QIR/#15]
SELECTION: Bulls in 5.

[2] Miami [QIR/#2] vs [3] Boston [QIR/#5]
SELECTION: Boston in 6.

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

Western Conference, Semi-finals

[4] Oklahoma City [QIR/#9] vs [8] Memphis [QIR/#9]
SELECTION: Thunder in 7.

[2] Los Angeles [QIR/#4] vs [3] Dallas [QIR/#7]
SELECTION: Lakers in 6.

NBA Playoffs are set for tip-off!

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

The NBA Playoffs are set to tip-off in approximately 40 minutes.

This year, there are a number of teams with legitimate aspirations to win the league championship, including:

Chicago Bulls [EC1]
Miami Heat [EC2]
Boston Celtics [EC3]
San Antonio Spurs [WC1]
LA Lakers [WC2]

based on:

#1. The overall ability level of their rotational players;

#2. The specific ability levels of their bonafide “star” players;

#3. The ability level of their coach [and his staff];

#4. The prior experience of their rotational players; and,

#5. The prior experience of their coach [and his staff]. 

Below this elite group, there is a larger 2nd tier, that is very strong, as well, but with individial teams that fall just short of the 1st tier, in one or more of the above criteria, including:

Dallas [i.e. deficient in #2]
Orlando [i.e. deficient in #2]
Oklahoma City [i.e. deficient in #3 and #4]
Denver [i.e. deficient in #2 and #4] 
New York [i.e. deficient in #1 and #3]
Philadelphia [i.e. deficient in #2 and #4]
Atlanta [i.e. deficient in #2, #3 and #5]
Portland [i.e. deficient in #1, #2 and #4]

Below this 2nd group, there is a 3rd tier, which contains individual teams that are not quite where the others are … as of yet … in terms of “readiness” to advance beyond the 2nd Round of the Playoffs, based on the criteria above AND specific personnel absences, including:

New Orleans [i.e. missing a key player in David West]
Memphis [i.e. Playoffs newbies]
Indiana [Playoffs newbies]

Given how close the top 5 teams are to one another this year, and to what degree the eventual outcome can/will be determined by a single crucial injury, at an inopportune moment …

Kudos to Marc Spears [Yahoo! Sports, NBA Analyst] for going out on a limb, early on, with his prediction for this year’s championship-winning team.

Related:
Odds To Win The NBA Championship

TrueHoop’s Stat Geek Smackdown: NBA Playoffs, 1st Round Series Winners

Friday, April 15th, 2011

FYI …

This is the “unofficial entry” for yours truly in the annual contest run by Henry Abbott: 

Eastern Conference, Quarter-finals

[1] Chicago [QIR/#1] vs [8] Indiana [QIR/#19]
SELECTION: Bulls in 5.

[4] Orlando [QIR/#3] vs [5] Atlanta [QIR/#15]
SELECTION: Magic in 7.

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[2] Miami [QIR/#2] vs [7] Philadelphia [QIR/#13]
SELECTION: Heat in 5.

[3] Boston [QIR/#5] vs [6] New York [QIR/#25]
SELECTION: Celtics in 6.

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

Western Conference, Quarter-finals

[1] San Antonio [QIR/#7] vs [8] Memphis [QIR/#9]
SELECTION: Spurs in 5.

[4] Oklahoma City [QIR/#9] vs [5] Denver [QIR/#12]
SELECTION: Nuggets in 6.

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[2] Los Angeles [QIR/#4] vs [7] New Orleans [QIR/#6]
SELECTION: Lakers in 5.

[3] Dallas [QIR/#7] vs [6] Portland [QIR/#11]
SELECTION: Trail Blazers in 6.

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PS. You might also benefit from knowing that no other “NBA Analyst” has forecast more playoff series accurately, in advance, over the course of the last 4 years, than yours truly. ;-)