Tag:2011 EC Conference finals
Posted on: May 16, 2011 8:20 pm
Edited on: May 16, 2011 8:22 pm
 

Taj Gibson hasn't watched a replay of his dunks

Posted by Royce Young

Some 170,000 people have watched Taj Gibson's dunk over Dwyane Wade. At least that's just the number of views there are on the YouTube video of it.

One of them though is not the man that made the highlight. One of them is not Taj Gibson. Gibson joined ESPN Radio Chicago to talk about the Bulls big Game 1 win and of course, his poster of Wade.
On which of his two dunks he liked better:

“I don’t really remember them to tell you the truth. It’s been a roller-coaster ride. I’m just happy we got the win.”

So he’s saying he didn’t go home and watch highlights of his two impressive dunks?

“I swear, I haven’t even watched any film on it. Everybody just keeps texting me about it, but I honestly didn’t even watch it.”

His reaction to hearing Marv Albert’s call of his second dunk and Reggie Miller’s ‘I’ve been to the mountain and back’ comment:

“[Laughing] Sounds amazing.”
We'll have to take Gibson at his word here, but it's hard to imagine that he hasn't accounted for a couple thousand of the views on that video. I know if I were him, I'd just lock myself in a closet and watch it over and over and over again.

Wade though, has seen it. Not just him though, but one of his sons caught a replay as well. And he let dad know about it today.



Good to know that Zaire is keeping dad in check. Now he just needs to get him to make a jumper or two.
Posted on: May 16, 2011 7:56 pm
 

Heat-Bulls Game 1 posts cable TV record ratings

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals set an all-time record for cable television ratings for basketball. Posted by Ben Golliver.

The Eastern Conference finals match-up between the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat has it all. Arguably the three most dynamic players in the NBA. Two premier offenses. Two premier defenses. Two competing visions for assembling a potential dynasty. Plenty of great villains like Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh. This is as must-see as the NBA gets.

On Monday, we found out that must-see translated to most-watched. The Chicago Tribune reports that Game 1, despite being a blowout, set a ratings record for a basketball game in cable television's history.
National numbers released Monday showed the Bulls' '103-82 rout on TNT to be the most-viewed basketball game in cable history, with more than 11.109 million total viewers and a 6.2 overall household rating. The previous record was the 10.829 million viewers for the 2003 NBA All-Star Game, which was Michael Jordan's final appearance in the mid-season exhibition.

The preliminary 7.4 household rating in the metered markets represented an improvement of 40 percent on TNT's corresponding playoff telecast a year ago, when it averaged a 5.3 household rating for the Western finals opener between the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers. That Monday-night game figure dropped to a 4.2 household rating -- and 7.112 million total viewers -- when the national numbers came in.
We can try to divide this massive audience into subgroups -- "Heat Haters," "Bulls Bandwagon Fans," etc. -- but that would detract from the larger point: The NBA is back, front and center, in the mainstream.

As it should be. This has been an incredible season and an incredible playoffs, filled with tons of unpredictable results, an infusion of new blood and storyline after storyline after storyline. Just in time for a lockout. Awesome.

Hat tip: Pro Basketball Talk.
Posted on: May 16, 2011 11:37 am
 

Heat-Bulls Game 1 Reactions

Posted by Matt Moore

 
Bosh's outburst bugged Thibodeau so much that Gibson said, "It was the first thing he said in the locker room after the game.'' That's typical, but the Heat won't win this series relying on Bosh to score 30. Every time Bosh leads the Heat in anything, the Bulls have a better chance of winning.

It means either Wade or James — or both — are deferring or being smothered. It says the plan worked. It says change nothing.
via Chicago Bulls: Taj Gibson leads rout of Miami Heat - chicagotribune.com.

While the premise is sound, I don't think allowing Bosh to get going is a sound strategy. The odds are not good that Chicago will be able to hold down both James and Wade for four games in this series. One or the other, sure, their defense is well capable of doing so. But curtailing both is at this point still unbelievable. We've simply seen too much from them in playoffs past. And when that happens, giving up 30 to Chris Bosh is going to get to be a problem. As much as Bosh's outburst last night seems like an outlier, it came off of shots he is very much capable of getting. Until Carlos Boozer becomes a good enough defender to keep Bosh off the glass so that Noah isn't having to constantly worry about Bosh and the weakside rotation, this is going to be something the Bulls need to keep an eye on. Thibodeau certainly thinks so, which means he'll probably have a solution in Game 2. 
 
There are some decisions for Spoelstra. Due to a pregame decision to have Zydrunas Ilgauskas join Erick Dampier on the inactive list, that meant the Heat's starting centers for 79 of 92 games this year were inactive.

It also meant center Jamaal Magloire played for more than 10 minutes. And those were big moments for the Bulls. They outscored the Heat by eight points when Magloire was in the game.

Conclusion? The Heat have no good options beyond Joel Anthony at center. None. And even then Anthony is such a limited offensive presence that it allows Noah or Carlos Boozer to roam the lane to keep Wade or James from driving.
via Chicago Bulls 103, Miami Heat 82 - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com.

Spoelstra's lineup decision was downright mind-boggling. Against a team whose biggest advantage is going to be on the glass, why on Earth would you deactivate, not just bench, but deactivate your two biggest centers? I get that you want to focus on speed. But there has to be moderation. The Golden State Warriors aren't winning any NBA titles as constructed over the past six years. You have to control the paint, particularly the defensive glass. The only way to give a mid-level offense life is to give them 19 extra possessions, which is exactly what the Heat did. 

Magliore had not played all season, and then was expected to come in and curtail Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Omer Asik, along with Carlos Boozer? Who's bright idea was this?

Spoelstra could not have done a worse job in Game 1.
 
All of which is to say, Miami may still beat Chicago, but it won't be easy, and now we get to see how LeBron and Wade respond after crashing back to earth in these playoffs. There was never anything "new" about this Heat team. All year long, when the Heat have had success, it's compounded itself. A few made jumpers from either Wade or James turns into a cascade of fast breaks and lay-ups that leaves opponents drowning in athleticism, media frothing at the mouth, and LeBron and Wade looking like basketball geniuses. It's when the Heat start to struggle that things get interesting.

When it stops coming easy for them, it stops coming altogether. Just look at the second half Sunday night. The same way that a little bit of success can turn the Heat into a juggernaut that conjures images of the Showtime Lakers, the Jordan/Pippen Bulls, and every other great team in NBA history, a little failure can paralyze Miami's stars and leave them looking like every other overrated roster that's come to close to winning it all but hasn't quite finished the job.
via For LeBron James And Dwyane Wade, A Heat Check In Chicago - SBNation.com.

Last night saw the return of the infamous "Meh" Heat. All year long, when the Heat would be confronted by a defense and system more intent on guarding them than standing in awe of them, the Heat buckled. They started not caring. Settling for jumper after jumper. No one was more guilty of this last night than LeBron James, who simply gave up on driving to the rim.


What's even more stunning is that the Heat should have looked at the first half and said "We're doing what we need to do." Late in the first, Dwyane Wade faked Bogans to the outside, then slipped inside where James floated a pass over his defender perfectly. Wade missed the layup. There was no contest, it was just a missed layup, one of several in the first half. The Bulls were lucky to be tied at halftime, in all honesty. The difference was they responded by coming out in the second half and fixing all their issues, while the Heat stopped doing everything that was working (or nearly working) in the first half. They just gave up. The same Heat team from all those regular season disasters showed its ugly head.
 
This is now the second straight tremendous performance from the Bulls, and maybe the signal that they're healthy and peaking at a very opportune time. This is, of course, a series, and each game can tell a different story about how these teams match up. But with how the Bulls played tonight and the way they used advantages they should always have going into these games, it's up to Miami to figure it out. The Bulls will continue to be big, their bigs will be deep.
via 2011 Eastern Conference Finals Game One - Bulls 103, Heat 82: With bigs and bench, Bulls wear down and rout Miami - Blog a Bull.

Again, with the "What in the name of Alonzo Mourning were the Heat thinking?" with benching Ilgauskas and Dampier. Are those guys huge difference makers? No. But they don't have to be. They just have to not let the Bulls get 19 offensive rebounds. Oh, but wait, Joel Anthony, the ultimate no-stats guy for the Heat, he's supposed to be the difference! 

The Heat are in trouble because there are no easy fixes. They've been at their best this postseason when they employ the 6-foot-9 Joel Anthony at center, or when they slide Chris Bosh to the 5 and go without a traditional center. The Heat are essentially going small with Anthony on the floor. The small-ball formation allows the Heat to create mismatches and dismantle their opponents with athleticism and speed.

There's a tradeoff here. Going small has its virtues, but it has its drawbacks too. Namely, it compromises the Heat’s rebounding capabilities, but you couldn’t tell against the 76ers or Celtics. Why? They could hide Anthony’s abysmal rebounding -- he owned the third-worst defensive rebound rate among qualified centers this season -- because Philly also liked to go small and the Celtics didn’t like to clean their own glass. Anthony could swat at any shot he pleased in the paint because he knew the opposition wasn’t going to make him pay.

The Bulls, owners of the best rebound rate in the NBA, weren't as forgiving. Noah was behind eight of those offensive boards because he has the athleticism to jump quickly and the Heat can’t match his length underneath. Anthony would aggressively contest shots inside, but Noah beat him to the live ball consistently.
via Heat's small-ball finally meets its match - Heat Index Blog - ESPN.

Anthony is a fine match for Boozer and Bosh actually countered Noah well, despite Noah's eight offensive rebounds. But it was the bench that started to ruin the Heat, and Miami played into that by going with Magliore. The reality is that Spoelstra at some point became so worried about the offense and giving the Heat weapons to try and free up James and Wade that he sacrificed defensive size and girth. This is flawed both ways. Obviously, the Heat need that size to keep the Bulls off the glass, and two, the Bulls aren't going to stop focusing on Wade and James, no matter who's on the outside. Reggie Miller ain't walking through that door. 

In many ways, this game seemed like a war of attrition, with the Bulls wearing the Heat down with their depth in the second half. And it’s worth reminding everybody that after a regular season in which both James and Wade averaged close to 40 minutes per game, they are averaging 43.4 MPG and 39.6 MPG during the postseason.

With their usuage rates hovering in the 30-ish range, and with almost every single Miami play running through them, maybe the Bulls can keep throwing fresh bodies at them until they tire out.

Or maybe not. It’s worth remembering that, as impressive as the win was, it’s still a one-game sample. Will LeBron go 5-for-15 again? Probably not. Will he and Wade finish with only four FTA each again? Unlikely. What seems more reasonable is that Miami coach Erik Spoelstra will look at the tape, make adjustments, and we’ll see the Heat come out with a new game plan for Game 2.

But this was a pretty nice start.
via By The Horns -.

That's one way of putting it. An outright demolition is another.
Posted on: May 16, 2011 12:51 am
Edited on: May 16, 2011 1:44 am
 

ECF Heat-Bulls Game 1: The 3rd quarter of doom

The third quarter of Game 1 spelled doom for the Miami Heat vs. the Bulls

Posted by Matt Moore



Please excuse my use of an exclamation mark here, but...

This was a tied game at the half!

For 24 minutes, the Heat and Bulls played to a standstill. Then the 3rd quarter happened, and, well, here's where you get to choose your own cliche. Things came undone. The Heat imploded. Things went down the tubes for Miami. There was a stampede. Or, to put in in classical terms, Tom Thibodeau walked into the locker room at halftime and said:

"Cry 'Havoc!', and let slip the dogs of war."  

It was a slaughter, from the very first play. The Heat came out with a flurry of athleticism to start the game, and when the Bulls responded to the start the third quarter with a barrage of intense play at both ends, the Heat were thrown to the ropes and never recovered. Here are some elements that led to the disaster, from the box score and Synergy Sports:

Bulls-Heat: Game 1
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  • Of the Bulls' 19 offensive rebounds, six came in the third quarter. Miami had none. The Heat had four turnovers, Bulls had none. The Bulls shot 47 percent, the Heat shot 33 percent. That's how you get got. 
  • The Heat surprisingly only had 14 ISO possessions in the game total. Eight of them came in the third quarter. Which means that the Bulls forced a team that had been moving the ball, working out of the post, and finding the cutter, to take 57 percent of their total one-on-one possessions in one frame of play. The Bulls said "You should stop passing and try and go hero mode" then waved their Jedi hands, and the Heat complied, dutifully.
  • Most pathetic? This wasn't some roster adjustment by either team. PopcornMachine.net has the rotations for the game. For seven minutes and 58 seconds of the third, it was starters versus starters. And the Heat were blown out of the water, outscored by nine before Erik Spoelstra took out the only member of the Triad playing well, Chris Bosh, and put in James Jones, electing for small ball. No help. 
So while the entirety of the second half was a problem, but it was all sourced to the blitzkrieg in the first eight minutes of the third. That's when the Bulls smacked the Heat in the face, and the Heat demurely complied with Chicago's request to abandon everything that had been working. One-on-one play, weak play inside, poor shooting, the works. 

That's how Miami lost Game 1. 
Posted on: May 16, 2011 12:38 am
Edited on: May 16, 2011 5:22 am
 

LeBron James stumbles out of gate in East finals

Miami Heat forward LeBron James came up small against the Chicago Bulls in Game 1. Posted by Ben Golliver.

lebron-james-bulls

In Game 1, LeBron James showed up ready for the battle, but not the war. 

Miami's All-Star forward closed out the Boston Celtics in memorable fashion, sending them packing with a dominant 10-point run that featured 3-pointers, a dunk and a crucial steal. It was James' two-way dominance on display, on a huge stage, for all to see.

James began Game 1 in much the same way, controlling the early game action on both ends. In the game's first minute, he registered a blocked shot, a rebound, a beautiful outlet pass to Dwyane Wade for a dunk, and a dunk of his own. For 60 seconds he was unstoppable. For the next 47 minutes he was as invisible as he ever gets.

James finished with 15 points on 5-for-15 shooting, six rebounds and six assists. Throw on top two steals and three blocks and that line could be no worse than average for most players. For James, though, it was his worst line since all the way back on Feb. 6, when he had just 12 points, six rebounds, four assists and six turnovers against the Los Angeles Clippers

The pregame questions circled around how effectively Chicago would be able to defend James and Wade. They aced their first test, holding the duo to just 33 points on 32 shots, numbers that went a long way to ensuring Chicago's eventual 103-82 victory. As always, it was a five-man effort for the Bulls. And Chicago provided excellent secondary help behind forward Luol Deng, who, to everyone's surprise, outplayed James on both ends of the floor. 

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was full of praise for Deng afterward notes ESPNChicago.com.
"Luol, you can count on him every night," Thibodeau said. "Luol is going to make him work.

"But Luol, it's not only his individual defense, it's his team defense. And I think it's critical for us. So it's not only when he's guarding LeBron with the ball, but when he's away from the ball, he fulfills his help responsibility so well. He can help, recover, challenge his shot and get back in and rebound. He does so many different things for us." 
Deng was huge, but James shrunk too. With the game tied at the half, the Heat, and James in particular, simply did not explode out of the gates to take command of second half action. On the contrary, they got steamrolled by a 19-10 Chicago run. In the entire third quarter, James registered two points, two assists and one block. The game-dominating energy and focus simply weren't there. Chicago had ramped up and James was no longer dictating the game flow or the action.

There's no fear and plenty of fight in the Bulls, which puts the onus on James to exert his force and will in Game 2. The time for James to own the action for more than a minute is now.


Posted on: May 16, 2011 12:01 am
Edited on: May 16, 2011 5:25 am
 

Game 1 Bulls-Heat report card

Posted by Royce Young



The Bulls took a convincing Game 1 win over the Heat 103-82. Let's grade!

Chicago defense: The Heat have proven to be susceptible to falling into stagnant offense full of jumpshooting and watching. The Bulls took full advantage of that. Miami never got into any rhythm in the second half, as LeBron struggled creating offense, Dwyane Wade struggled scoring and all the Heat's role players didn't produce much. But that's a credit to the terrific swarming Chicago defense. Grade: A

Bulls-Heat: Game 1
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Derrick Rose: I don't think anyone would classify Rose's game as spectacular, but he was controlled, smart and took almost entirely good shots. He went 10-22 for 28 points and dropped some big baskets in key moments for Chicago. Grade: A-

Chicago's bench: By Chicago bench, I really just mean Taj Gibson. Two massive dunks, a ton of energy and great pick-and-roll defense. The entire Bulls bench was solid, but Gibson was excellent. Grade: B+

Miami's bench: Pretty much entirely the opposite of the Bulls. Just 15 points total, seven rebounds and seven turnovers. It was not a great effort. Grade: F

Rebounding: The Bulls killed the Heat on the glass 45-33, grabbing 19 offensive rebounds. Miami's defensive rebound rate was a horrible 58.7 percent, which would be a low for the entire season. Chicago used all those rebounds to pile up 19 more shot attempts than the Heat. Not a single Miami player finished in double-figures rebounding. Chicago Grade: A. Miami Grade: F

Chris Bosh: Tell most everyone that Chris Bosh scores 30 points on 18 shots and the consensus would be the Heat take care of business in Game 1. Bosh was tremendous. He played well within his means, hit jumpers, scored inside, worked on the glass -- he was very good. He outplayed Carlos Boozer, and that seemed like what it would take for the Heat to win. Alas, in classic Bosh fashion, his good game will be forgotten because it came in a 21-point loss. Grade: A-

Dwyane Wade: Wade scored 18 on 17 shots and took a mean poster from Taj Gibson. He only took four free throws and didn't have near the look you'd hope to see from him in a Game 1. Wade finished as a game-high (or low, depending on perspective) -22. Grade: D+

LeBron James: Mostly the same story on LeBron as Wade. Fifteen points on 15 shots, six assists, six rebounds and only four free-throw attempts. And Luol Deng pretty much outplayed him in every way. Deng deserves credit for the defense, but the way LeBron was absolutely unable to get going is a bit distressing. Grade: D+

Posted on: May 15, 2011 11:25 pm
Edited on: May 16, 2011 10:24 am
 

ECF Heat-Bulls Game 1 MVP: Joakim Noah

Joakim Noah leads the Bulls to a Game 1 win over the Heat with a boatload of offensive rebounds. 

Posted by Matt Moore


How can you possibly be the MVP of a Conference Finals game when you shoot 4-14 for nine points? Joakim Noah can tell you. Noah was the MVP of the Bulls' Game 1 win over the Heat. Derrick Rose lead in scoring, and Taj Gibson had the play of the night (or the other play of the night), but it was Noah who set the tone for the Bulls with one word: intensity. The Heat were taken aback by Chicago's ferocity defensively and especially on the offensive glass, and Noah was the biggest reason for that. 

The Heat had six offensive rebounds. Joakim Noah had eight by himself. The Bulls finished with 19 offensive rebounds in total, leading to 31 second chance points. The Bulls' offense isn't the smoothest or best functioning in the league, but if you give them 19 extra possessions, you're going to wind up getting hammered, and that's what the Bulls did. Noah attacked every drive, helped shut off the lane and kept LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on the perimeter. Chris Bosh had his biggest night, with a lot of the work against Noah, but that was in part because Bosh was just on fire, and in part because Noah was chasing help on every other option. Noah's points came off easy scores, and his tip-ins demoralized the Heat at every angle. 

Erik Spoelstra helped the Bulls out with his terrible roster and rotation decisions, but Noah was the fuse that ignited the Bulls' second half rout. He was relentless, he fueled his teammates' fire, and he set the example for what the Bulls had to give, diving in the first quarter to save a loose ball and kick start the fastbreak. Noah didn't dominate from the field. He didn't need to. He showed the Heat that the Bulls wanted it more. That's what won the game. 

But having Rose didn't hurt.
Posted on: May 15, 2011 10:44 pm
Edited on: May 16, 2011 12:04 am
 

Taj Gibson putback dunk video: Bulls vs. Heat

Taj Gibson of the Chicago Bulls had a massive putback dunk against the Miami Heat in Game 1. Posted by Ben Golliver.

It's not every day that you absolutely destroy Dwyane Wade. It's even rarer for it to happen and then to still have people debating whether or not it was even your best dunk of the night.

But that's how good Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson was during Sunday night's Game 1 against the Miami Heat.

With Chicago leading 101-80 with less than forty seconds to play, Bulls guard C.J. Watson jacked up a three-pointer. Gibson was roaming the baseline and the Heat left him unchecked on the boards. With Bulls center Omer Asik tying up both Juwan Howard and Udonis Haslem, Gibson had a clear lane to the basket. As Watson's three-pointer drew back iron, Gibson leapt and snared the rebound with his right hand. In one motion, without coming down, Gibson crammed the carom back through the rim with spectacular force.

The dunk made the Bulls bench -- including MVP Derrick Rose -- explode in excitement. 

Earlier, we brought you video of Gibson's two-hand takedown of Wade.

Here's video of Gibson's monster one-hand putback in the fourth quarter.




The Bulls prevailed, 103-82, to take a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals. Gibson finished with nine points, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 23 minutes off of Chicago's bench.

 
 
 
 
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