Posted on: November 9, 2010 10:37 pm
LeBron James gets a triple-double, Dwyane Wade gets 39, and the Heat are overtaken again as Jazz' Millsap scores 46 in overtaking Miami in overtime.
Posted by Matt Moore
Those in the NBA spheres who were waiting to start the clock on Pat Riley taking the reins of the Miami Heat may have held off after two losses in the first two weeks to two great teams. This will likely get them pushing those buttons if they're going to at all.
The Heat gave up 72 points in the second half after a 20-point lead in the first half to lose in overtime, at home to the Utah Jazz 116-114 . Paul Millsap was ridiculous, scoring 46 points with 9 rebounds while Deron Williams filled it up with 14 assists, as if to say to Chris Paul after his Hornets beat the Heat, "Match!".
The Heat are now 5-3, with three losses in the first three weeks of the season. Not exactly what the Triad was thinking would happen when they rose up from the floor to the excited fans. Oh,and those excited fans? They were nearly in a coma tonight, and tickets still remain for the Boston freaking Celtics' visit to American Airlines on Thursday.
As much as this was to some degree a fluke game, with Millsap draining three 3-pointers (!) for crying out loud, there are no excuses for this team. And the Heat still seem out of sorts, discombobulated, and without a guy they can definitively turn to. Dwyane Wade had 39 points, LeBron James had a triple-double, Chris Bosh had 17 points and 9 rebounds, and they still lost. The one thing that had been helping them in games, their defensive effiiceny, took a tumble as the Jazz simply picked them apart.
For the Jazz, they're finally starting to look like the team they need to be this season. Williams is getting back in the act, and even when Al Jefferson had a terrible night, Millsap more than made up for it.
It was recently reported that the Utah Jazz would start extension talks with Jerry Sloan. You have a feeling Erik Spoelstra will not be having the same conversations any time soon.
The temperature rises.
Posted on: November 1, 2010 1:31 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2010 1:32 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Kevin Durant and some of his teammates have nicknamed the Oklahoma City franchise "Thunder U" because of the college-like attitude the permeates from the team, ranging from the rabid home crowd to the togetherness of the players.
But the Thunder showed another college-like wrinkle in their 120-99 loss to the Utah Jazz Sunday night. A full-court press.
At basically every level except the professional one, basketball teams press. Nolan Richardson made "40 minutes of hell" famous with his swarming, intense full-court attack at Arkansas. Rick Pitino utilizes high-energy presses at Louisville (and before, at Kentucky) to try and turn up the Heat, speed up the tempo and get an opponent playing out of character and faster than they want to.
College basketball teams that know how to use a press often break it out when trailing by double-digits late in the second half of a game. It can lead to quick shots from your opponent, turnovers leading to easy buckets and sometimes, turn a 15-point deficit into a six-point one in a matter of minutes.
And with the Thunder trailing the Jazz by 27 mid-way through the third quarter, Scott Brooks called on the dogs.
Brooks used two different lineups with the press. The second one was the most interesting. Technically, James Harden was the point guard with Daequan Cook, Thabo Sefolosha, Jeff Green and Kevin Durant, who played center. Durant was the "point man" on the press, with Harden picking up the ball-handler. Unlike Pitino's press, the Thunder didn't really try trap, but instead went for steals and tried for turnovers. (The first lineup if you're wondering was Westbrook, Sefolosha, Durant, Green and Ibaka.)
It worked too. The Thunder quickly went on an 8-0 run, cutting into the Jazz lead while energizing the crowd. it helped too that Deron Williams was out because of foul trouble. So the Thunder funneled the ball into the hands of Gordon Hayward and C.J. Miles, players that aren't deft ball-handlers.
Oklahoma City pressed for the remaining six minutes of the third and for about four minutes of the fourth. After Williams returned, the Jazz found a few easy buckets and started breaking through.
Brooks probably kept the press on a little too long, as the Jazz adapted and moved past it with ease. The surprise element definitely caught the Jazz off-guard, especially with secondary ball-handlers on the court. That part was pretty smart by Brooks - put on the press with Earl Watson, Hayward and Miles handling the ball, not Williams.
Malcolm Gladwell made a very strong case for why NBA teams should press, citing reasons like supreme athleticism and the versatility of players to make a difference on an opponents offense. For OKC, those things definitely apply. Even if the press doesn't work, you make the other guy exert effort, you drain time off the shot clock, disrupting their offensive sets and potentially you pressure them into a mistake.
And it worked in Oklahoma City for a time too, igniting a small run and some energy to an otherwise flat team and crowd. But the Jazz pointed out the problems with it being completely successful - when you've got good players, breaking a press isn't that difficult.
A press at lower levels often is successful because players aren't as skilled, are easy rattled and the frantic pace can mess with someone that's not an expert at handling the ball. NBA players don't suffer from those issues, well, for the most part. So while the Thunder press was fun and potentially something we haven't seen the last of, it's not quite a deadly secret weapon in Brooks' back pocket.
Posted on: October 29, 2010 10:14 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:13 pm
The Orlando Magic came out strong, John Wall debuts, Utah looks lost, Gordon Hayward cut his amazing hair and Hakim Warrick puts two Jazz on a poster. Posted by Ben Golliver.
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: ORLANDO THROTTLES WASHINGTONSomebody forgot to tell the Orlando Magic that they weren't playing the Atlanta Hawks.
The Magic brought the same brand of soul-crushing domination they used to sweep Atlanta out of the playoffs last year to their Thursday night season-opener against the Washington Wizards, and the game got ugly quickly.
The Magic nearly doubled up the Wizards in the first quarter (29-15) and suckered Washington into settling for contested jumper after contested jumper, cruising to a 128-83 win in the new Amway Center. It was too easy, and Dwight Howard posted 23 points and 10 rebounds while barely breaking a sweat, watching his team's second unit finish off the win during the fourth quarter.
Orlando's strategy never got much more complicated than, "We'll make shots while you miss shots." Orlando finished 43-77 from the field compared to 29-78 for Washington. Wizards rookie point guard John Wall was a major culprit, as he shot just 6-19 in his NBA debut, clanking tons of pull-up jumpers from the 15-18 foot range.
But you can't pin this all on Wall: most of his teammates didn't bother showing up to help ease his transition to the professional game. The Wizards were out-rebounded 53-25 and they had no answers defensively as Orlando moved the ball well and attacked from all sides.
(For a full recap of Wall's first game as a professional right here . It wasn't all bad, by any means.)
This felt like a statement game for Orlando. But that statement wasn't "Welcome to the NBA, John Wall." It was more like, "Take notice: We still plan on holding down the Southeast Division." After an undefeated preseason and a pretty season-opener, the Magic look more than ready to prove that point against the new-look Miami Heat on Friday night.
GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:Dwight Howard: 23 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 3 blocks, 7-9 shooting, +24 (plus/minus).
Plus, just one foul in 30 minutes of action. Dominating.
Honorable mention goes to...
Hakim Warrick: 18 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 6-11 shooting.
Paul Millsap : 19 points, 13 boards, 1 assist, 1 setal, 2 blocks, 9-13 shooting.
DON'T MISS:Ken Berger reports that Oklahoma City's Jeff Green and Detroit's Rodney Stuckey will not be receiving contract extensions. Meanwhile, it appears free agent center Erick Dampier has made up his mind: he's taking what little talent he has to Houston.
PANIC TIME QUESTION MARK:By Royce Young
With about five minutes left in the game, Deron Williams pulled up, looked right at rookie Gordon Hayward and screamed, "Go through!" Williams was visibly frustrated and ended up firing a one-armed strike right at Hayward to really emphasize that frustration. At the next timeout, Williams continued to pound on the rookie, demonstrably gesturing what he wanted from Hayward.
But that wasn't even the worst of it for the Jazz. With a score of 110-94 in the Suns favor at the buzzer, what was left of the Jazz's home crowd booed the team. Can you believe that? Booing, in game two.
I guess those things tend to happen when your team starts 0-2 with both games being fairly non-competitive. Especially when there were high expectations coming in to the season.
Most didn't see the Jazz coming up empty in the opening week of the season and with a made over roster, it's easy to point at the new pieces not gelling. An 0-2 start wasn't expected, especially after an 8-0 preseason, but it's early. Oh it's so early. Don't press any kind of panic button if you're a Jazz enthusiast. In fact, don't even mention anything of the like. Jerry Sloan will have this straightened out soon enough.
Last season, Utah started out the season 1-3 before closing November winning six of seven en route to 53 wins and the fifth seed in the West. It took a little time to put it together, but it was all where it needed to be eventually.
And this season, Utah is retooling after losing Carlos Boozer, Wesley Matthews and Kyle Korver. The replacements are solid in Al Jefferson, Raja Bell and Hayward. But it'll take a little time for everything to be put together.
The average defeat for Utah in the first two is 19. The Jazz have given up 110 points in both games. But take into consideration that Utah has faced two quality, up-tempo teams to start the season. Not exactly ideal opponents when you're trying to work out the kinks of a new offense and defense with a number of new players.
Jazz fans aren't used to watching their guys lose at home. Especially not by double-digits. The Jazz offense was out of sync at times, playing a more one-on-one than you typically see in Sloan's flex offense. The ball didn't move well, the Jazz didn't shoot well and defensively, there were breakdowns often.
But it will get sorted out. It might take some bruises and a few more boos from the home crowd, but the October version of Utah won't at all be the same as the March version. I'm pretty sure you can count on that.
WHIMSY:Utah Jazz rookie Gordon Hayward showed off a new buzz cut during Thursday's loss to the Phoenix Suns. That news was seriously lamentable, given the amazing helmet Hayward had been rocking. Take a look at the air flowing through his mullet wig.
Upon further inspection of this photo, Hayward appears to have planted Chia Pet seeds on Steve Nash's hair and then transplanted the result onto his own head with super glue.
VIDEO CLIP MANIA: