Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dirk Goes to Work & a Udonis Haslem Sighting in Chicago

I can't knock down 3 free throws in a row, if I did it would be an accomplishment.  That's why I'm not a professional basketball player but for a player to knock down 24 consecutive free throws breaking an NBA record for most without a miss, simply astonishing.  That is 100% (for those bad with math) shooting 24 times of  a basketball 9 inches in diameter into a basketball rim (goal) which is 17 inches in diameter.  That performance makes me question if Dirk Nowitzki is actually HUMAN & not some type of robot, machine or android.  But this isn't sci-fi, this is guy that some analyst had the audacity to call soft when he's been the best person to come out of Germany since, well.... I'll get back to you on that.  Taj Gibson & Joakim Noah has been beast down in the paint in games 1 & 2 but there was a guy by the name of Udonis Haslem who showed up in the United Center in Game 2 after playing only 7 minutes since November.  The MVP was exposed last night & by exposing Derrick Rose the weakness of the entire Bulls team was put on front street.  If Derrick Rose is ineffective in the paint then the rest of the team is ineffective elsewhere on the court.  Carlos Boozer with an All-Star players pay grade, was a non-factor as Taj Gibson has proved his worth on the court even if it's not on paper.  Dwyane Wade & LeBron James exceeded their combined performance in Game 1 by 22 points & 10 rebounds, playing like we all expect them to play night in & night out.

In the highest rated basketball game in cable TV history Derrick Rose was shut out of the game early when he picked up 2 quick fouls in the 1st Qtr. leaving his team to manage without him & that's not possible.  He scored 21 points & we might say that's decent but it's not when he went 7 of 23 shooting with 7 of his points coming from the free throw line.  The Miami Heat defense cut off the HEAD OF THE SNAKE and proved to the nation that the Bulls without Derrick Rose is a car without wheels, they won't go anywhere.  The 2 fouls early in the game on Rose knocked him out of rhythm & the rest of the team followed.  Luol Deng as the 2nd option only had 13 points and was 1-7 from the 3 point line which resulted from the lack of the drive & kick from Derrick Rose.  As much as I have insulted Mike Bibby's game, he actually stepped up in Game 2 by staying infront of Derrick Rose & trusted that the help of his bigs was behind him when Rose did get by.  There was no access to the paint, it was closed of to most of any penetration by Rose & he being the only one on the Bulls who can create his own shot hindered the Bulls greatly.  Don't expect for the MVP to be held down the entire series because most great players bounce back as did LeBron James scoring 9 of the 14 points for the Heat when it matters, in crunch time closing the game out with a big 3 as we've grown accustomed to WITNESSing from "Prince James".  Won't call him King James until he wins a NBA Championship.  Wade made his way to the rim, drawing fouls & scoring 24 points while going 8-10 at the free throw line, which is typical of him.  The atypical performance was Udonis Haslem entering the game & becoming a X-Factor scoring 13 points & grabbing 5 rebounds. It is astonishing for me to watch because of the manner he was getting his points & rebounds with big dunks while cutting to the basket & rebounding on the offensive end getting LeBron a 2nd chance dunk.  When Haslem showed he was ready to play I then knew that the series would be tied before the final horn sounded in Game 2.  If  Haslem shows this tenacity consistently then Miami will be a force, difficult to stop.  LeBron & Wade seemed to know the same thing because they were ignited after seeing Haslem dunk on Taj Gibson & went on to score 53 & grab 19 rebounds between them.  Much better than the 33 & 9 they combined for in Game 1.  The Heat actually led in rebounding with 45 to the Bulls 41 after the 4 games prior they were dominated by the agressiveness of Joakim Noah.  The Bulls had more offensive rebounds with 17 to the Heat's 10 but that was a direct result of the Bulls poor shooting so of course the had more offensive rebounds when going 28-82 from the field a mere 34%.  Miami after taking 1 in Chicago gives a LeBron James & Dwyane Wade led team the momentum going back home to South Beach.

Chicago fans should be worried, I believe the curse of Michael Jordan hovers over the city.  For him to be known as the greatest player to ever do it, Derrick Rose & these Bulls will not fill his shoes & Chicago fans will not have another run like they did in the Jordan era, those expectations are far fetched with the current team.  It's like it's too soon for the Bulls to be back in the NBA Finals after the Jordan era & Jordan had a much better supporting cast than Derrick Rose.  I still expect the series to go 7 games but with the Heat being the victor & advancing to play the Mavs being the 2nd time Dirk Nowitzki & Dwyane Wade meet in the NBA Finals.

Speaking of Dirk, WOW, that was NBA 2K11 video game statistics by the "White Mamba", how Charles Barkley referred to Nowitzki.  Then Kenny Smith called him the "German Sheperd", hilarious; those guys on TNT trip me out.  I would just refer to him as "The Nowitzki", he earned a title after the guys on ESPN First Take actually debated whether or not Dirk is a soft player the day before his stunning performance. 48 points on 12 of 15 shooting, 24-24 from the free throw line & "oh yeah" let's not forget he had 4 blocks, 6 rebounds & 4 assist.  Charles Barkley made a good point when stating that it was not Dirk who beat the OKC Thunder because Kevin Durant scored 40 which nearly negated Dirk's scoring but their was an undersized point guard people didn't give a chance by the name of J.J. Barea who scored 21 points attacking the paint & knocking down 2 shots from behind the arch.  Jason Terry "The Sniper" showed his consistency going 4-8 from 3 point land & maintaing the trust of Dirk when he gets doubled on the low block.  Jason Terry, J.J. Barea & Jason Kidd keeps the Thunder defense honest, making Nowitzki unstoppable as Serge Ibaka found out.  Don't be disgusted with yourself, it's just how Dirk makes every defender look.  Like Derrick Rose in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals Russell Westbrook was slowed down by the Mavs interior defense, shutting down the paint causing Westbrook to go 3 of 15 from the field with only 20 points with 14 of those points coming from the free throw line making it obvious that every shot he put up was contested.  However, the key factor in Westbrook's Game 1 is that he only had 3 assist in 38 minutes as a POINT GUARD, you'll lose everytime that way.

Tonight will be the same outcome as far as who takes Game 2, it'll be Dallas behind the shooting of  "The White Mamba" & his sniper Jason Terry & his little guy J.J. Barea.  I don't expect for Dirk to score 48 points again but by him doing that will takes the focus of the Thunder off there offense & on how in the HELL are they going to stop the 7 foot shooting guard. The Dallas Mavericks win the series in 6 games.

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