Tag:3-on-2 Fast Break
Posted on: January 27, 2012 1:37 pm

3-on-2 Fast Break: Bulls vs. Heat

Posted by EOB

LeBron matched against Rose could be the most interesting matchup in Bulls-Heat. (Getty Images)

3-on-2 Fast Break is a weekly feature here on Eye on Basketball where our intrepid bloggers tackle two questions, comparing two elements. This week, we focus on Sunday's showdown between the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat. Follow Eye on Basketball on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

1. Heat-Bulls on Sunday, and Luol Deng wants to try and play. Considering the long-term goals of the Bulls, shouldn't they at least not rush him back into a game versus, you know, LeBron James?

Ben Golliver: I'm not going to play doctor, but I'm in the "better safe than sorry" crowd this season, especially as we've seen other coaches use extra caution in sitting their players and/or extending the timelines until they return. The Bulls are in a position, given their record and their talent base, where this isn't anything approaching a must-win. Follow the trainer's advice, don't push it and exercise an extra measure of caution. There are no statement games in late-January this season. This should be a relatively simply risk/reward calculation.

Royce Young: If you're healthy and CAN play, I say you play. It's one game and it really doesn't mean a lot in the grand scheme, but as long as you're not risking long-term damage or something, go for it. It's the type of thing where if Deng re-injures it playing 46 minutes against the Heat, everyone will blame Thibodeau for rushing things back. But these guys want to play, especially in marquee games like that. How are you really going to tell Deng to take it easy if he's ready and willing to go?

Matt Moore: Deng's toughness is admirable. But the Bulls have a goal of a championship and there's no reason to throw out Deng against one of the most physical covers in the league just to try and win a regular season game. It may make them feel better to get a win against the Heat after the kick in the pants Miami gave them in the Conference Finals, but not if it winds up keeping Deng out longer. The shortened schedule is already forcing them to play Derrick Rose with that toe injury which sounds like it hurts like all get out, and they may or may not be short Taj Gibson. Finally the Heat aren't the team with injury issues.

2. What's the matchup to keep an eye on?

Golliver: Eddy Curry continuing his revenge tour against his old teams, of course. I'm expecting double-doubles against both New York on Friday and Chicago on Sunday and I'm not talking about In-and-Out Burgers. But, really, Rose versus the Heat's defense is the match-up. He left the Eastern Conference Finals with a taste in his mouth and he made it clear this week after the Pacers game that he's taking names and making a mental list of those who slight him. How that plays out after LeBron James decided the East Finals by locking him up will be must-see TV.

Young: Derrick Rose vs. LeBron James. That defensive switch really made all the difference in the playoff series last year. LeBron completely shut down Rose's ability to penetrate and because of his size, Rose couldn't even settle for a clean jumper over him. The addition of Richard Hamilton is supposed to help with taking a little of the stress off Rose in those circumstances, but this game will come down to the stars making plays. Will it be LeBron or Rose? Unfortunately for Rose, he's going to have to do it with big No. 6 in front of him.

Moore: Carlos Boozer vs. Chris Bosh. Bosh shocked some people by coming through huge for the Heat in this series, and he's off to an even better start this year. He's figured out where to fit in the Miami offense and he's been more aggressive for once. Boozer's Boozer. He's going to get his but how he plays defensively will be a bit more important. The Bulls can't afford for two of the Big 3 to get going. Wade may be shaky coming back from injury, and who knows how LeBron James will respond in a big game like this after the last six months. But if Bosh gets it going, that's going to create havoc for Chicago, especially with Taj Gibson possibly out or not at 100 percent.
Posted on: January 13, 2012 7:17 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 2:19 am

3-on-2 Fast Break: Clippers vs. Lakers

3-on-2 Fast Break is a weekly feature here on Eye on Basketball where our intrepid bloggers tackle two questions, comparing two elements. This week, we focus on Saturday night's showdown at Staples between the Los Angeles Cippers and Los Angeles Lakers. Follow Eye on Basketball on Twitter and like us on Facebook

1. Let's keep it simple. Which of these two teams wins on Saturday night and why?  

Royce Young: Lakers. The Fighting Kobes are in a really good rhythm right now. Kobe is playing great, Andrew Bynum is looking dominant and all the pieces are fitting together. The Clippers kind of put all their eggs into the basket of beating the Heat and while I'm sure they'll be up for the Lakers, they've got to get past that overtime win first. And don't think the Lakers have forgotten everyone getting all excited about the Clips sweeping the two exhibition games at Staples in early December. People were talking about the changing of the guard in L.A., but those games didn't count. This one does. 

Ben Golliver: The Lakers have some serious positive momentum going thanks to a four-game winning streak which could become five if they top the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night. That the Clippers get two rest days heading into this one while the Lakers are stuck with the back-to-back gives Lob City an edge, but that probably cancels out the revenge factor that the Lakers are feeling after getting wiped up in two highlight-filled preseason games. Chauncey Billups has hit double figures and shot at least 6 free throws in four consecutive games for the Clippers; they will need his production if they are to keep pace with Kobe Bryant and company. Chris Paul finally had his signature game with the Clippers, scoring 27 points and making 11 assists in a Wednesday win over Miami and he gave the Lakers fits in last year's playoffs. I see him doing it again on Saturday to give the Clippers the win.

Matt Moore: The matchups here are enough to make your head spin. All-Star, phenomenal, once-in-a-lifetime guards? Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul. Behemoth young centers with size, strength and defensive ability? Andrew Bynum and DeAndre Jordan. Crafty veterans on the wings? Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, Steve Blake and Matt Barnes against Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler, and Mo Williams. Power forwards with huge scoring ability who are almost unguardable? Pau Gasol and Blake Griffin. It's a tight set of matchups. I like the Clippers in this one. We saw what Paul was able to do against the Lakers in the playoffs last year, and they haven't upgraded a defender to guard him yet. On the other end, Pau Gasol doesn't like it when things get physical and the Clippers are in-you-face as they come. Bryant can swing this as he can any game, but I like Lob City to open up and outrun the older Lakers. 

2. We know Kobe's going to score, Griffin's going to dunk, CP3 is going to dish, and Pau is going to do Pau things. But what's the big unknown in this game that will end up deciding it?  

Royce Young: Points in the paint. Who gets the most easy baskets? Both teams are pretty solid defensively and both teams have players that can fill it up. But jumpshots only carry teams so far, especially late in games. The Lakers have Bynum and Gasol who are paint monsters, while Griffin gets a lot of his easy in transition. Execution will be tough because you know this game will be physical. It's going to come down to the little things like free throws, turnovers and again, easy baskets in the paint. Both teams can defend it well, but who is going to break down the other defense enough to score simple points. 

Ben Golliver: 
The answer to the big unknown question is always Andrew Bynum. He poured in his career-high 42 points against DeAndre Jordan back in 2009 and he's shown spurts of serious offensive productivity in this young season. Given that the game is on the second end of a back-to-back there's no guarantee that Bynum can fully exploit what is an exceedingly difficult match-up for Jordan. The only person who can keep Bynum off the offensive glass in this one is himself. The Clippers are second-to-worst in rebound rate on the young season and Jordan can be bullied with Bynum's width and strength. 

Matt Moore:  
Turnovers. The Lakers have turned the ball over a stunning amount this season up until the past few games, also notably the best games of Bryant's season. The Lakers are last in turnover percentage differential, while the Clippers are top-four in that same category. The Clippers also rank 3rd in transition offense according to Synergy Sports. The Lakers are ninth in transition defense. If the Clippers can get out and run, that's going to put more wear and tear on an older and banged up Lakers team. But if the Lakers get to grind it out, expect the Lakers' superior experience to win the day.
Posted on: December 30, 2011 6:04 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2011 7:12 pm

3-on-2 Fast Break: First impressions

3-on-2 asks the EOB crew to compare two quick items for debate. This week's topic? First impressions. You can follow EOB on Twittergerald-wallace-2011 at @EyeonBasketball.

1. Which team has been most impressive in the first week of the season and why? 

Matt Moore: We knew how good the Thunder were going to be, and it took a huge near-miracle shot from Durant to assure victory on Thursday. We knew the Heat could be this good, we're just not certain they'll keep this pace. But how about the Portland Trail Blazers? They've been impressive on both sides of the ball and beat a very good Denver team that had been as impressive before Thursday. The Blazers are hitting on all cylinders and Thursday night Raymond Felton started to get involved. Jamal Crawford has been surprisingly efficient. LaMarcus Aldridge is still LMA, and Gerald Wallace has been a demon on defense. The Blazers have made a statement early. 

Royce Young: Oklahoma City. The Thunder are the only team with four wins, and they aren't wins over nobody. Orlando, an improved Minnesota squad on the road, at Memphis and a buzzer-beating victory over the defending champion Mavericks. And not just that, but those four wins both were sets of back-to-backs.

The Thunder had to overcome a lot of noise after the Memphis game to remain focused on their task. Outside distractions like supposed altercations and supposed feuds can be difficult to move past, but the Thunder have handled their business in the first week. They've put away four wins in five days. And against some pretty good teams. That's impressive.

Ben Golliver: Miami Heat. The Big 3 and company have dumptrucked Dallas, blown out Boston and come back against Charlotte after appearing a bit bored during the first half. In each game, the Heat had flashes of superhuman play that can't be match by anyone in the NBA, Oklahoma City included. LeBron James is the key: his improved mid-range game, attack mentality and restraint from hoisting long balls takes Miami a giant leap towards becoming the team everyone has wanted them to be since the Summer of 2010. A self-assured Chris Bosh helps too.

2. Which team has been most disappointing in the first week of the season and why?

MM:  How about the Suns? The Suns weren't going to be good, but they weren't supposed to be this bad. Steve Nash looks trapped on an island of misfit toys and this is not how his career should end. Marcin Gortat is fine, good even, but the rest of the team can't hit a shot and still can't defend. It's looking very bad early for the Suns. 

RY: Dallas. The Mavericks are going to be fine. I don't know if they're going to be fine in the sense they'll compete in the playoffs for a repeat, but they're going to be fine in terms of getting back to the playoffs. Thursday's game in Oklahoma City showed that those wheels are turning again finally after a pretty major champagne hangover. 

But still, an 0-3 start with two blowouts is not how you want to see a defending champ come out of the gate. There was a real complacent look to the Mavs early on. They were missing a bit of that drive. Totally understandable, but at some point you've got to snap out of it.

BG: Sacramento Kings. No one expected the Kings to be world-beaters this year and their season opening win was about as exciting as life gets for the Cowbellers. The disappointment is more about Tyreke Evans. What is going on here? Evans has barely produced in the boxscore aside from his scoring, which is way down from his career averages through three games. A 4-point, 5-turnover effort against the Portland Trail Blazers was particularly bewildering. Is he out of shape? Checked out? Out of sync? Struggling to deal with new teammates? Simply off to a slow start? Evans seemed like a prime candidate to bounce back from an injury-plagued sophomore season and get back to his sterling Rookie of the Year performance in 2009-2010. Instead, the nosedive continues.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com