Wow! It's game on in this lock-out shortened season.
HEAT VS. BOBCATS:
Tonight the mighty mighty Miami Heat got by with a 1-point win over the lowly Charlotte Bobcats. This is a perfect example of the big-market 3 superstar roster model vs. the small-market balanced roster model. Yes, the Heat have the 3 superstars, but neither of those superstars plays center. And in this league, without a defensive center, there will be no championship for that team.
The Bobcats are seriously young with Henderson, Augustin, D.J. White, Walker, and Biyombo. They have a couple of vets in Diaw and Maggette.
Without a defensive center the 6'8" Diaw was able to pull down 16 rebounds against the Heat, while Joel, the Heat center, pulled down 4 boards with 0 points. Against the Bobcats the Heat were able to pull out a win, but with a more experienced team with size in the middle...what will the Heat do?
CELTICS VS. HORNETS
The Celtics are off to a 0-3 start. Where do we begin to explain that away? Are the Celtics suddenly too old to compete for a championship? That may very well be the case, as Jermaine O'Neal is starting his 17th season. Anyway you cut that, that is old! And it's no secret that he is not producing as much as is expected from him as a defensive center. What? Oh, here we go, again, the theme to my basketball philosophy. If you don't have a defensive center, you are not going to win a championship. That's plain and simple.
The Hornet have 3 seven footers on their roster with Emeka Okafor, Chris Kaman, and Jason Smith. For this game against the Celtics, the Hornets used both Okafor and Kaman at the same time for good stretches of the game. The results are: 25 points and 15 rebounds between the two players. Then you add Okafor's 5 blocked shots to Kaman's 3 blocks and you have 8 blocked shot between them. Is that defense or what? That is huge without a doubt. That is like having Dwight Howard playing center for you.
Boston has to be scratching their heads, and trades have to be going through their mind.
THUNDER VS. GRIZZLIES
The Thunder are a young team, but they do have a defensive center in Kendrick Perkins, while the Grizzlies have Marc Gasol. Gasol finished with a double/double 16-10. But, the Thunder come away with the win.
In my opinion, your positive stats only count when you win. Just like Kevin Love, in Minnesota, is racking up the rebounding stats, his team has yet to win a game as is the case with the Grizzlies. In fact, the starting front line for the Grizzlies each had a double/double. Gasol with 16-10, Randolph with 16-10, and Gay with 15-12. But, the Grizzlies lose!
The Thunder starting front line had 16 rebounds between them. But, in the forth quarter the team only allowed the Grizzlies to score 13 points. What does that mean? It means that the stats do have a way of not telling the truth! There is a stat that isn't recorded in a game because it doesn't exist. There is no stat to account for court configuration. What does that mean? It means that Perkins, Durant, Ibaka, and Mohammed seal the lane and force opposing teams to shot from the outside. That means less lay-ups. If you take away the easy shots, lay-up, from a team, you have a great basketball philosophy, because you'r sealing the lane pretty well.
Sealing the lane or clogging the lane are the same thing. Protecting the rim is different from sealing the lane. When you protect the rim that means the ball is at the rim. That means there is penetration. When you seal the lane, there is no penetration. Protecting the rim will get you a lot of blocked shots, "defensive stats," while sealing the lane goes unnoticed in the stat game. But, sealing the lane is way better than having to protect the rim.
The Thunder seal the lane, which is what Perkins used to do in Boston.
No defensive center; no championship!
CLIPPERS VS. SPURS
What did Blake Griffin say when they got Chris Paul? Lob City? OK! Spurs 115 - Clippers 90.
The problem with Lob City tonight is that they're playing an established defensive philosophical basketball team. Even though the Spurs are old, they still play the D professionally. Lob City my butt!
Outside of Mo Williams, take a look at the Clippers bench scoring. 9 points?
Sure the Clippers got Chris Paul, but look at the bench. This roster has no balance whatsoever. The Clippers were, also, very high on DeAndre Jordan. Tonight he had 8 and 8, while the Spurs 6'8" and 270 lb. DeJuan Blair had 20 points and 6 rebounds in the battle of the 5 spot.
The Spurs are just old-time basketball team. Each starter scored in double figures. Now, take a look at their point-guard, Tony Parker: 14 points and 9 assists. That is a player knowing his role and playing it. Off the bench James Anderson had 12 points. Who is James Anderson? He's the Spurs 1st round draft pick from a year ago. He contributes now because it takes a year to learn the system, and the Spurs' system is based on team ball. A young guy can come to San Antonio and depend on the team approach to basketball. And if that player has any talent, he'll contribute. Then you have T.J. Ford playing 20 minutes at the point guard position in relief of Parker. He had 5 assists. Reserve Kawhi Leonard has 8 rebounds. That is production! That is team ball to perfection.
KNICKS VS. WARRIORS
Coach Mark Jackson has "toned" down the Warriors offensive mind-set and balanced it out with a defensive approach. After 3 quarters of play the score was tied at 64. Then the Warriors went on a 22-6 run to open up the 4th quarter, taking a 86-70 lead.
Stoudemire and Anthony had 29 points between them. The big addition to the team, Chandler, had 2 points and 3 rebounds.
I've followed Chandler's career since he joined the league and my opinion is that the Knicks overpaid for his services. Plus, behind Chandler, who do the Knicks have? Behind Anthony who do the Knicks have. Behind Stoudemire who do the Knicks have? Once, again, we see the 3 superstar approach vs. the balanced roster approach and we see the score.
The new CBA is a dream come true for small-market teams, if they know how to build a roster with capable players, and if they commit to playing the game the right way. Mark Jackson said he would get the Warriors to do just that and, tonight, the small-market team beat the 3 superstar big-market team, and they beat them bad.
Brandon Rush really compliments the Warriors at the shooting-guard position. He brings in size as opposed to the small Ellis. Then you have a defensive center in Kwame Brown coming off the bench to seal the paint. Tonight Brown grabbed 10 boards in 11:40 minutes of play. The Warriors out rebounded the Knicks 47-31. That pretty much said it all.
It's game on all over the league because, outside of the Thunder, no one has a true defensive center to go along with a balanced roster. Well, the Warrior have Kwame Brown, who at 6'11" and 270 lbs., could be for the Warriors, exactly what Perkins was to Boston when the Celtics won it all. He seals the paint with his big body. Let's see if coach Jackson can get the Warriors to buy into playing disciplined basketball.
In this lock-out shortened season, it seems it's anyone's championship to win.