Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.
THE BIG ONE: I DARE YOU TO SCORE ON THE BullsLet's go over a few stats from the Pacers-Bulls game. Indiana's field goal percentage: 35.7. Indiana's turnovers: 15. Indiana's points by quarter: 18, 23, 17, 15. Indiana's total points: 73.
The lesson here we're learning is, it's not easy to score on the Chicago Bulls.
The Bulls have won six straight and during that stretch are only allowing 88.0 points per game, and that's including an overtime win over the Rockets where Chicago gave up 116. In the last five wins, the Bulls are just allowing 82.4 points a game. Consider this: In games that ended in regulation, the Bulls have only allowed 100 points four times in their 23 games. And people didn't think Tom Thibodeau could transform the Bulls.
What makes the Bulls so incredible on the defensive end is their ability to help defend everywhere. Nothing ever goes uncontested. If the other team is taking a shot, you can count on a hand being in their face. The Bulls rotate as well as anyone, stuff the lane and force opponents to try and beat them with jumpshots. It's the classic Boston Celtic defense that Thibodeau became known for. And it's making the Bulls one of the premier teams in the East.
Since Carlos Boozer has joined the team after his injury, the Bulls are 6-1 with the one loss being to the Celtics in Boozers first game. Chicago is placing itself in the elite tier in the East and priming itself as a contender to the Magic, Heat and Celtics.
GO-GO-GADGET LINESZach Randolph gets the gold star as he Grizzly big man went for 25 points and 20 rebounds in a winning effort over the Blazers.
Dwyane Wade gets a mention with 32 points on only 13 shots. Plus he added five rebounds just for fun.
Carlos Boozer continues to come around as he had 22 points and 18 rebounds for the Bulls in their domination of the Pacers.
Deron Williams and the Jazz cruised past the Warriors as Williams had 30 points on 8-16 shooting and 10 assists.
HEAT EAT UP THE HornetsThe Heat made it nine straight with a cruising 96-84 over the Hornets Monday night. And once again, Miami impressed. New Orleans was just overwhelmed by the Heat. Miami went on an 18-2 run late and completely took over the game. It just didn't seem like the Hornets could do anything to fix the Heat's run. Once Miami flipped the switch, it just felt like the game was over.
Here's what's most impressive about the Heat's winning streak. Every single game has come by double-digits. The last team to do that? LeBron's 2008-09 Cavs. In fact, the Heat are now just one off the record shared by five teams.
On top of that, all nine the Heat have held their opponent under 100 points. Against the Hornets, Miami gave up just 30 after the half and only nine points in the fourth quarter. Nine points for the Hornets in the last 12 minutes. That's just... insane.
Not to take anything away from the Heat's dominance, but what the crap is wrong with the Hornets and Chris Paul ? CP3 has completely disappeared down the stretch in games. He's not asserting himself into the offense and is completely drifting. As Paul goes, so does David West , Emeka Okafor and everyone else. Paul is fizzling late and it's killing the Hornets.
For more analysis on the Heat and Hornets, click here.
LEBRON GOES OVER THE BACKBOARDNo, he didn't jump over it. That hasn't happened, yet. But with the shot clock bearing down on him, LeBron got creative as he was forced deep on the baseline. He had a horrible angle on the rim, so naturally, LeBron improvised and shot the ball over the backboard. And of course, it went in.
THE Bucks STOPS HEREThe Mavericks winning streak is over at 12. Matt Moore with some thoughts:
Milwaukee badly needed the win, their third in a row, and needed to get their offense going. With both Jennings and Andrew Bogut scoring 20-plus and the Bucks dropping in a 114 efficiency mark, it's at least a step forward for the worst offense in the NBA. The loss will also do nothing to dispel the notion that Dallas still lacks the defensive acumen to compete in the playoffs. In truth, Dallas had the fifth best defense in the NBA coming into tonight. Just one of those nights, across the board, and an end to the win streak. During the streak, Dallas outscored its opponents by an average of just under nine points per game.
WHAT David Lee'S MANGLED ELBOW LOOKS LIKEYou've probably heard all about how serious David Lee's elbow injury was. And if you're like me, when you heard, "He could've lost his arm!" you thought, "I'm sure it was bad, but really? Because of a tooth?" But when you see what it actually looks like, it might make you think otherwise. Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group took a picture of it. Yeah, I'd say David Lee had a pretty significant injury.
Lee injured the elbow when Wilson Chandler's face basically assaulted his elbow. Chander ended up breaking off a tooth in the collison and Lee had to have surgery because of an infection that followed. Lee's been wearing a pad to cover the, uh, cut, but obviously it's not a comfortable thing to play through.