Tag:Carlos Boozer
Posted on: May 19, 2011 1:02 am
Edited on: May 19, 2011 1:24 am

Derrick Rose's non-MVP 4th

Posted by Matt Moore

It had to catch up with him at some point. Derrick Rose entered Wednesday night's Game 2 as the league leader in usage in the playoffs. If you're not metric-inclined, put simply, Rose was responsible for more possessions than any other player in the postseason, being in control for 35.7 percent of all the Bulls' possessions. That's a heavy load to bear. And in the fourth quarter against the Heat in Game 2, it caught up with Rose. 

The MVP finished just 7-23 from the field, harassed and bothered both by the Heat's double-teams on the perimeter and at the rim where the help defense was helped tremendously by, you guessed it, Udonis Haslem. But especially bad was his fourth quarter, in which the Bulls scored just 10 points, while LeBron James scored nine. Here's Rose's fourth quarter.


That's it. 2-4 free throw shooting, three assists, 0-4 from the field. The shot chart is equally unkind to DRose.


Yeah, 2-10 at the rim. Rose admitted post-game, "I missed a lot of shots I normally make tonight." Rose chalked it up to "one of those games." Which is partially true. But the Heat were much more determined to shut off Rose's perimeter pass-off options while maintaining their attack on Rose at the same time. The Heat spent less time on help defense at the elbow during Rose's drives and more time doubling on the perimeter, switching up coverage, and attacking the rim. They forced Rose to make hyper-aggressive moves toward the basket and challenged him hard there, making tough shots tougher. Rose can hit those tough shots. Making them that much tougher was enough to cause that 2-10 layup count. 

Rose was even missing free throws.

We've yet to see the MVP Derrick Rose in this series. The Bulls' offense has lived on offensive rebounds but at some point, they need to not need three tries to score. Haslem started chipping away at the Bulls' work on the offensive glass and the result was the Bulls being unable to score, again, just ten points in the fourth for the top seed in the East.

The best player for the Bulls had a bad night, with some help from the Heat on that front. Unless the MVP gets back on track, it's going to be an uphill climb for the Bulls. One can only feast on bench play and glass work for so long before your stars have to make a play.  
Posted on: May 19, 2011 12:19 am
Edited on: May 19, 2011 5:39 pm

LeBron James, Udonis Haslem deliver 1-2 punch

Miami Heat forwards Udonis Haslem and LeBron James combined to put away the Chicago Bulls in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. Posted byudonis-haslem Ben Golliver.

In Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, the Miami Heat had zero answers for the Chicago Bulls in the second half. In Game 2, they had two: a likely suspect and a pleasant surprise. 

With the game tied at 73-73 with a little over four minutes to play in the final period, Heat forward LeBron James scored nine points in a little over three minutes to send Miami to an 85-75 victory, and even the series at 1-1. 

James' burst wasn't unlike the 10-point run he used to close out the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals, in that he visibly gained confidence after hitting a three-pointer, instantly switching into attack mode. Two perimeter jumpers and another one close in from James pushed Miami out of Chicago's reach, as the Bulls were unable to execute offensively down the stretch, scoring just two points in the final 7:15 of the fourth quarter.

Even after that run, and a 29-point, 10-rebound, 5-assist, 3-steal box score line, James wasn't in the mood to take the credit. Instead, he singled out reserve forward Udonis Haslem.

"He definitely gets the game ball tonight," James said in a post-game interview. "He came in with his energy and effort rebounding, finishing plays around the basket, made some shots when they were making a run in the third quarter that really helped us."

Because of a long-term absence due to a foot injury, Haslem's contributions this season have been far more of the off-court leadership and heart variety rather than the on-court muscle that he's known for. Prior to Game 2, Haslem had played just six minutes combined in the playoffs, including four minutes of garbage time at the end of Game 1. 

Wednesday night was a different story, though, as Haslem clocked 23 huge minutes off the bench. If he looked winded at times, understand that was the most minutes he had played since Nov. 19, 2010, nearly six months ago. 

There was a look in his eye," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told the Associated Press. "I knew it was time."

In Game 1, Chicago's bench mob ran rampant. In Game 2, they were neutralized by Haslem's energy and paint presence. Fatigued or not, Haslem was everywhere, particularly in the third quarter. On Sunday, Miami looked flat and out of sync to start the second half, and that was clearly their undoing. On Wednesday, Haslem was more than enough spark to make the difference, combining two highlight reel dunks, a mid-range jumper, five rebounds and a blocked shot to provide Miami's biggest bench contribution since James Jones went off in Game 1 of the semifinals against Boston. He finished with 13 points.

No play was bigger than this dunk in transition, in which he powered up and over Bulls point guard Derrick Rose in transition, only to land softly into a reverse somersault. 

Want a quick laugh? Try to imagine any other Heat reserve making that play.

With Chicago's offense on life support for most of the game -- Rose needed 23 shots to score 21 points, the Bulls shot 3-20 from deep as a team, the Chicago Tribune reports the Bulls scored a franchise-low 10 points in the fourth quarter -- the Heat didn't need the full fury that James and Dwyane Wade are capable of delivering.

Instead, the James / Haslem one-two punch was more than enough to send Chicago reeling into Sunday's Game 3 in Miami.
Posted on: May 18, 2011 8:01 pm

Erik Spoelstra elects for same roster in Game 2

Erik Spoelstra keeps same inactives as Game 1 vs. the Bulls. Which is not genius. 

Posted by Matt Moore

The definition of insanity as termed by Albert Einstein is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

In a very short sample, Erik Spoelstra looks pretty nuts.

Spoelstra announced before the game that Erick Dampier, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and Dexter Pittman would all be inactive for Game 2 vs. the Bulls. This after the Bulls pulled in 19 offensive rebound against the Heat's fronctourt which featured Jamal Magliore who has hardly played this season and 6-9 Joel Anthony. Spoelstra acknowledged that offensive rebounding killed the Heat in Game 2, but instead chose to pin it on mental errors, focus on effort. Which makes tons of sense, except for the fact that this move means that players who are not adept at combatting the Bulls' size, length and offensive rebounding ability, as evidence by the massacre on the glass in Game 1, will have to somehow change the outcome of Game 2 under the exact same circumstances.

Yes, the Heat need to try harder. Yes, they need to have more focus. Yes, they have to mentally adjust. But it also would have done no harm to activate either Dampier or Ilgauskas and deactivate either Magliore or Juwan Howard. Spoelstra can still rely on Joel Anthony in that situation, but hope for a spark from someone with legitimate size. Instead, the coach is carrying the banner of "Keep Calm, and Carry On." In the regular season, that's confidence. In the playoffs, that refusing to make key adjustments. Spoelstra will once again have to hope his three stars can save him from questionable decisions.  
Posted on: May 18, 2011 7:42 pm

LiveChat: Heat-Bulls Conference Finals Game 2

Join us at 8:30 p.m. EST for Game 2 of the Heat and Bulls' Eastern Conference Finals. We'll discuss such groundbreaking topics as:

  • Is Jamal Magliore actually alive?
  • Is Omer Asik the second coming of Thor?
  • Will LeBron's head cold force him to... do absolutely nothing differently?
  • Tom Thibodeau can't actually yell like that the whole time, can he?
All that an more, join us at 8 p.m. EST.

Posted on: May 18, 2011 2:44 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 2:47 pm

LeBron James dealing with cold prior to Game 2

LeBron James suffering with a cold before Game 2 against Bulls

Posted by Matt Moore

Lebron James told reporters after shootaround Wednesday before Game 2 against the Bulls that he's dealing with a head cold. From ESPN

"LeBron is also battling a cold ahead of tonight's Game 2. Said it has been bothering him for 3 days."

James obviously has a history of vague conditions developing at the, ahem... wrong times, such as his unspecified elbow injury last year against the Celtics. It's interesting that James developed this cold after a subpar Game 1, considering he told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he couldn't sleep before the game
"If I'm back home, just try to get in the gym," he said of how he otherwise handles sleepless nights and mornings. "I know they wouldn't allow me to come in here at 5 o'clock in the morning, so I decide to watch film."

"It took me about an hour and half to get back to sleep. It's exciting," he said just before noon. "I'm a little sleepy now, but I'm excited about the opportunity tonight. It's going to be fun."
via Miami Heat: LeBron James can't sleep before facing Chicago Bulls in NBA Eastern Conference finals - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com.

So before Game 1 of the Conference Finals, James couldn't sleep and instead got up and watched film, putting more stress on his body. Then after a languished loss to the Bulls, he develops a head cold. That's LeBron for you, taking a tense situation and finding a way to make it worse. That said, there's no flu or significant illness here, and it certainly won't keep LeBron out. But he probably should have kept it to himself, just to avoid the avalanche of accusations that he's once again making excuses.

Always James, always drama.
Posted on: May 18, 2011 11:35 am
Edited on: May 18, 2011 2:03 pm

Playoff Fix: Heat try and outrun Bulls in Game 2

Posted by Matt Moore

One Big Thing: The Heat have to somehow peel the Bulls off the offensive glass, with a crowbar if necessary. Joakim Noah, in particular, has been a pest on the glass. The Heat must put put a body on him or he's going to continue to make life miserable for them. The big question here is whether Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will adjust his roster, putting bigger bodies Erick Dampier and Zydrunas Ilgauskas on active roster or stick with his speed approach of Jamal Magloire. He can talk about it being effort, but expecting Magliore who didn't play hardly at all in the regular season to come in and keep one of the best offensive rebounding teams off the glass was a critical, and obvious, mistake. If the Bulls claim a huge margin in extra possessions in Game 2, the Heat are going to face a similar fate.

The X-Factor: Kyle Korver didn't have to do much damage in Game 1 and he was only 1-3. Thing is, the Bulls did do a good job when he was on the floor of getting him moving off-ball and finding opportunties for him. If Game 2 turns into more of an offensive slugfest, even a little bit, Korver could be a swing factor for the Bulls. Miami has to spend so much time with help defense off of Rose that opportunities are going to be there for Korver. He's just got to knock them down. If Thibodeau elects to keep his defensive units on the floor, though, and Keith Bogans is still hitting jumpers, Korver won't be needed. But it's nice to have him in your back pocket just in case.

The Adjustment: The Heat were unprepared for the Bulls' defense, despite having played it three times in the regular season and a version of it in Boston just days before. They started out with the right tone, but then let Chicago set the tempo for the rest of the game, particularly the third quarter. Miami's transition offense is better than Chicago's transition defense, because of the athletes they employ. But their halfcourt offense is not better than Chicago's offense, barring some magical coaching adjustment, which, let's face it, no one sees happening. As a result, the Heat have to get back to pushing the ball whenever they can. If they continue to settle in the halfcourt and eventually resign themselves to isolation sets against two and sometimes three help defenders, they're doomed.

The Sticking Point: Luol Deng won his matchup with LeBron James. Which is almost inconceivable until you realize how good a job Deng has done historically against James. But the fact remains, if Luol Deng is better than LeBron James, the Heat will not win. The Heat's formula is really that simple. If they don't get 100 percent James or 100 percent Wade, the game is over, no matter how much Chris Bosh contributes. Game one proved that already.
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.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com