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2012 NBA Finals

Miami in 7.
Originally posted by LA9erFan:
Ha. Unless it's your "home" team, people root for players, not franchises. The "good" guys are Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka, etc. No one's thinking about Clay Bennett.

The "bad" guys tried to take shortcut to a dynasty, stabbed a city in the heart on a national TV show of their own creation, and debuted with staggering and unprecedented douchery, on risers and amidst fireworks, promising not 5, not 6, not 7 championships...

excellent inthread analyses
Originally posted by LA9erFan:
Originally posted by 9erReign:
Just so we are clear.

The bad guys here are the guys who changed teams in free agency.
And the good guys are the ones who stole an NBA team from Seattle.

Did I get that right?

Ha. Unless it's your "home" team, people root for players, not franchises. The "good" guys are Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka, etc. No one's thinking about Clay Bennett.

The "bad" guys tried to take shortcut to a dynasty, stabbed a city in the heart on a national TV show of their own creation, and debuted with staggering and unprecedented douchery, on risers and amidst fireworks, promising not 5, not 6, not 7 championships...

Picked the employer of their choice, raised money for charity, brought together their new fan base and actually didn't promise anything and very likely could win 5+ championships before this is all over. Turrible turrible dudes I'm telling ya.
Originally posted by LA9erFan:
Originally posted by 49ersMyLife:


I can wait. If you got time - I'd love a super-long preview dealing with potential matchups, or whatever you can think of.

Next 48 hours are going to go real slow...can't f**king wait.

I'm sorry, I just don't have time to do a full breakdown, so I did one from a "what Miami needs to do" perspective. The more I get involved in basketball, the less I like the "this guy vs. that guy" framework to describe, because there's so much screening & pick n' roll action that it's really about how an entire defense matches up against a player. So with that in mind, there are what I think the keys to the series are.

Ball denial on Durant - The more I think about it, the more I think LeBron actually is going to guard Durant for long stretches of the game. If Durant catches the ball coming off of a screen and in his operational range, you're at his mercy because of his length...no one's bothering that shot. As a result, the work needs to be done before the catch. LeBron is arguably the best ball denial defender in the league, so that's why I can see Miami using him on Durant quite a bit. Stephen Jackson & Kawhi Leonard had success in spots during the last series, limiting Durant's shot attempts. Miami has to be looking to keep Durant's attempts below 18 or so if they want to win. If they're able to play effective ball denial on Durant, that's when Westbrook looks to go 1-on-1, and that style of offense for OKC is Miami's best chance to win.

If Miami goes heavy on the ball denial, I think OKC will increase the frequency that Kendrick Perkins...who is perhaps the best screener in the NBA...looks to set pindown screens for Durant. Basically you'll have the best ball denial guy in the league trying to run around the best screens in the league, which is a fun matchup for a basketball geek.

Harden on the high pick & roll - IMO, this is when OKC is at their best. Harden's a triple threat on the PnR, in that he can shoot the 3 if you go under the screen, can attack the rack if he gets a step on the defense, and is phenomenal at finding the open man if the defense collapses. Miami's very strong in terms of perimeter defense, but I think their effectiveness in this situation is going to hinge on their big men...specifically Bosh. Looking at the diagram below:



Harden will be going left more often than not, but this will show what I mean nonetheless. If O5 sets a good screen on X1 (and remember, that will be perhaps the best screener in the league setting that pick), it's X5's responsibility to buy enough time for X1 to recover. I would imagine that Miami's strategy will be to "show hard", meaning that X5 will look to meet Harden beyond the 3 point line and make him take a wide route, which will buy X1 time to recover. I think they'll do this because they're not worried about Perkins rolling to the basket.

The problem is, showing hard...despite it probably their best option...has some issues. It requires mobility from the big, and between Bosh's ab issues and Anthony/Turiaf's footspeed, I'm not sure they have anyone that can do it effectively. If the big shows too hard, Harden will split the defense and attack middle. If he doesn't show hard enough, Harden gets around him going to his strong hand. This is going to cause the defense to collapse (X2 in this diagram, although it would likely be the other side in real life since Harden's a left), and is going to result in a lot of corner 3's. X3 will cheat middle as well (again, flipped with Harden), and that's when Harden throws that skip pass to a wide open Ibaka for a 15 footer.

So long story short, Harden on the PnR should result in a LOT of good looks against Miami, largely due to a lack of mobility from Miami's bigs. I'm not sure how Miami adjusts. Maybe just go under the screen and cross your fingers that Harden's cold that day from outside. I dunno.

Keep Westbrook in the mid-range and pray - Similar to Miami, OKC really gets teams into trouble by their ability to get to the FT line, where they get a ton of attempts and knock 'em down at an 81% clip. I think Durant & Harden are very difficult to keep off of the line for different reasons, but I think you can get Westbrook to fall in love with the mid-range jump shot. He's gotten pretty good at it, but he's inconsistent, and most importantly he's not going to draw fouls on that shot. I think you play off of him and live with the result.

Which team makes their corner 3's - No shots lead to more transition buckets than missed corner 3-pointers, due to the length of the rebound and the fact that the team that shoots it is positioned very deep in the corner. Both OKC & Miami are fantastic at leaking out and turning these missed shots into layups, so often times this shot can be a 5 point swing against either team.

Get Ibaka out of the lane - Miami is so heavily dependent on getting to the rack that Ibaka becomes a big problem if he's down there, especially for Wade. LeBron has the strength and size to finish and/or get fouled despite Ibaka's presence, but Wade will be very much bothered by him. IMO, Miami would be wise to run a lot of minutes of LeBron @ PF and Bosh @ Center, because that draws OKC's bigs out of the lane, and OKC's bigs aren't going to burn them on the other end...although they could pose huge issues on the offensive boards.

Either way...Miami's going to have a lot of difficulty in this series if Ibaka's not in foul trouble and can hang out around the rim. They're WAY too dependent upon dribble penetration to have him waiting for them once they get there.

LeBron can't settle for jump shots - I know this is a "no duh" observation, but LeBron really holds the key here. I think he can get Ibaka, and even Durant in foul trouble. He needs to attack the rack with extreme prejudice in order to get guys open, and collapse OKC's defense. OKC has CONSIDERABLY more team speed than Boston does, so it's going to take 2-3 guys having to worry about LeBron going to the rack to open things up for guys like Chalmers, Miler, & Battier.

Sorry...I don't have time for more.

The one weakness about Harden is that he doesn't drive as much off of screens where he usually pulls up at the elbow for the shot. He loves to drive in a 1-4 situation.

The couple of plays that killed the Spurs were when they had Harden set the screen for Durant and Harden went to the wing where he had the option to drive if the defender was closing hard or to take the shot. Both defenders were more worried about Durant turning the corner on the screen to the basket so Harden had decent room to shot a nice shot.

I think Miami needs Lebron and Wade on Durant and Westbrook but move Wade to Harden the moment he is in or Battier on Harden, which we may see more of as Battier is very sound and doesn't fall into the trap of "tactics" that Harden uses.

Miami may be better off taking either Perkins or Ibaka out of the game together by going smaller with Bosh at center along with Miller, Battier, James, and Wade lineup. If Miller and Battier hit a few shots, this lineup would be golden for Miami.
double post
[ Edited by Joecool on Jun 12, 2012 at 11:02 AM ]
Originally posted by 9erReign:
Picked the employer of their choice, raised money for charity, brought together their new fan base and actually didn't promise anything and very likely could win 5+ championships before this is all over. Turrible turrible dudes I'm telling ya.

Brought together a new fan base is one of your talking points on this? LOL. If that's a good thing, then Clay Bennett's a friggin' saint. Not only did he "bring together a new fan base"...he created a new one!

Ya, they choose their employer. So what? That's not the knock. The knock is that they colluded together in an effort to take a shortcut to the title. Sure, it was their right to do it...what does that have to do with the reaction to it? No one's saying they didn't have the right to make that decision, it's that they're pussies for making it, especially with the "look at me! look at me!" way they went about it.
Originally posted by LA9erFan:
Originally posted by 9erReign:
Picked the employer of their choice, raised money for charity, brought together their new fan base and actually didn't promise anything and very likely could win 5+ championships before this is all over. Turrible turrible dudes I'm telling ya.

Brought together a new fan base is one of your talking points on this? LOL. If that's a good thing, then Clay Bennett's a friggin' saint. Not only did he "bring together a new fan base"...he created a new one!

Ya, they choose their employer. So what? That's not the knock. The knock is that they colluded together in an effort to take a shortcut to the title. Sure, it was their right to do it...what does that have to do with the reaction to it? No one's saying they didn't have the right to make that decision, it's that they're pussies for making it, especially with the "look at me! look at me!" way they went about it.

Didn't Boston do the same thing? It's just that Boston already had a large fan base. All anyone will remember is the number of championships they win or don't win.
Originally posted by Joecool:
Didn't Boston do the same thing? It's just that Boston already had a large fan base. All anyone will remember is the number of championships they win or don't win.

No. Boston traded for both KG and Allen.

Miami was LeBron, Wade, & Bosh colluding to try to "bully" the league. And when you combine that with the Decision and the God-awful risers/fireworks/not 5, not 6 not 7 debacle, it's no wonder why people hate Miami but didn't feel the same way about Boston.
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Originally posted by LA9erFan:
Originally posted by 49ersMyLife:


I can wait. If you got time - I'd love a super-long preview dealing with potential matchups, or whatever you can think of.

Next 48 hours are going to go real slow...can't f**king wait.

I'm sorry, I just don't have time to do a full breakdown, so I did one from a "what Miami needs to do" perspective. The more I get involved in basketball, the less I like the "this guy vs. that guy" framework to describe, because there's so much screening & pick n' roll action that it's really about how an entire defense matches up against a player. So with that in mind, there are what I think the keys to the series are.

Ball denial on Durant - The more I think about it, the more I think LeBron actually is going to guard Durant for long stretches of the game. If Durant catches the ball coming off of a screen and in his operational range, you're at his mercy because of his length...no one's bothering that shot. As a result, the work needs to be done before the catch. LeBron is arguably the best ball denial defender in the league, so that's why I can see Miami using him on Durant quite a bit. Stephen Jackson & Kawhi Leonard had success in spots during the last series, limiting Durant's shot attempts. Miami has to be looking to keep Durant's attempts below 18 or so if they want to win. If they're able to play effective ball denial on Durant, that's when Westbrook looks to go 1-on-1, and that style of offense for OKC is Miami's best chance to win.

If Miami goes heavy on the ball denial, I think OKC will increase the frequency that Kendrick Perkins...who is perhaps the best screener in the NBA...looks to set pindown screens for Durant. Basically you'll have the best ball denial guy in the league trying to run around the best screens in the league, which is a fun matchup for a basketball geek.

Harden on the high pick & roll - IMO, this is when OKC is at their best. Harden's a triple threat on the PnR, in that he can shoot the 3 if you go under the screen, can attack the rack if he gets a step on the defense, and is phenomenal at finding the open man if the defense collapses. Miami's very strong in terms of perimeter defense, but I think their effectiveness in this situation is going to hinge on their big men...specifically Bosh. Looking at the diagram below:



Harden will be going left more often than not, but this will show what I mean nonetheless. If O5 sets a good screen on X1 (and remember, that will be perhaps the best screener in the league setting that pick), it's X5's responsibility to buy enough time for X1 to recover. I would imagine that Miami's strategy will be to "show hard", meaning that X5 will look to meet Harden beyond the 3 point line and make him take a wide route, which will buy X1 time to recover. I think they'll do this because they're not worried about Perkins rolling to the basket.

The problem is, showing hard...despite it probably their best option...has some issues. It requires mobility from the big, and between Bosh's ab issues and Anthony/Turiaf's footspeed, I'm not sure they have anyone that can do it effectively. If the big shows too hard, Harden will split the defense and attack middle. If he doesn't show hard enough, Harden gets around him going to his strong hand. This is going to cause the defense to collapse (X2 in this diagram, although it would likely be the other side in real life since Harden's a left), and is going to result in a lot of corner 3's. X3 will cheat middle as well (again, flipped with Harden), and that's when Harden throws that skip pass to a wide open Ibaka for a 15 footer.

So long story short, Harden on the PnR should result in a LOT of good looks against Miami, largely due to a lack of mobility from Miami's bigs. I'm not sure how Miami adjusts. Maybe just go under the screen and cross your fingers that Harden's cold that day from outside. I dunno.

Keep Westbrook in the mid-range and pray - Similar to Miami, OKC really gets teams into trouble by their ability to get to the FT line, where they get a ton of attempts and knock 'em down at an 81% clip. I think Durant & Harden are very difficult to keep off of the line for different reasons, but I think you can get Westbrook to fall in love with the mid-range jump shot. He's gotten pretty good at it, but he's inconsistent, and most importantly he's not going to draw fouls on that shot. I think you play off of him and live with the result.

Which team makes their corner 3's - No shots lead to more transition buckets than missed corner 3-pointers, due to the length of the rebound and the fact that the team that shoots it is positioned very deep in the corner. Both OKC & Miami are fantastic at leaking out and turning these missed shots into layups, so often times this shot can be a 5 point swing against either team.

Get Ibaka out of the lane - Miami is so heavily dependent on getting to the rack that Ibaka becomes a big problem if he's down there, especially for Wade. LeBron has the strength and size to finish and/or get fouled despite Ibaka's presence, but Wade will be very much bothered by him. IMO, Miami would be wise to run a lot of minutes of LeBron @ PF and Bosh @ Center, because that draws OKC's bigs out of the lane, and OKC's bigs aren't going to burn them on the other end...although they could pose huge issues on the offensive boards.

Either way...Miami's going to have a lot of difficulty in this series if Ibaka's not in foul trouble and can hang out around the rim. They're WAY too dependent upon dribble penetration to have him waiting for them once they get there.

LeBron can't settle for jump shots - I know this is a "no duh" observation, but LeBron really holds the key here. I think he can get Ibaka, and even Durant in foul trouble. He needs to attack the rack with extreme prejudice in order to get guys open, and collapse OKC's defense. OKC has CONSIDERABLY more team speed than Boston does, so it's going to take 2-3 guys having to worry about LeBron going to the rack to open things up for guys like Chalmers, Miler, & Battier.

Sorry...I don't have time for more.

Good read...thanks Pete. I completely agree that Miami must deny the ball to Durant...but Durant is one of those players who will stay patient for 3 quarters and then go nuts in the 4th. Miami can't let Durant beat them, and make Harden or Westbrook beat them.

Another way (outside of forcing fouls on Ibaka) to keep the OKC bigs out of the paint is - Lebron must dominate Durant and Harden when they are guarding him - forcing OKC to play small with Sefolosha. Then Bosh can play 18 ft. away from the basket and keep Ibaka or Perkins away from the basket, which makes Wade's job easier.

I believe Bosh will get his minutes, but may come off the bench. That gives Miami a different look, and keeps two scorers on the court at all times - very similar to what OKC has with Harden coming off the bench.
Originally posted by LA9erFan:
Originally posted by Joecool:
Didn't Boston do the same thing? It's just that Boston already had a large fan base. All anyone will remember is the number of championships they win or don't win.

No. Boston traded for both KG and Allen.

Miami was LeBron, Wade, & Bosh colluding to try to "bully" the league. And when you combine that with the Decision and the God-awful risers/fireworks/not 5, not 6 not 7 debacle, it's no wonder why people hate Miami but didn't feel the same way about Boston.

Meh, didn't even care about the decision or the rally. KG forced a trade and Allen was fortunate his team was willing to trade him to a possible contender per request.

From what I have noticed, the only groups that care about it are the ones who really didn't like the way Lebron didn't show to work on improving his game even with CLE, Kobe fans (most), or the ones who had issues with "the rally."

Prior to the rally, primarily CLE fans were the ones who had issues with the decision.
get ibaka out the lane.. i was thinkin' that.. bosh hittin' them tre's last game
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Originally posted by LA9erFan:
Ya, they choose their employer. So what? That's not the knock. The knock is that they colluded together in an effort to take a shortcut to the title. Sure, it was their right to do it...what does that have to do with the reaction to it? No one's saying they didn't have the right to make that decision, it's that they're pussies for making it, especially with the "look at me! look at me!" way they went about it.

Players talk all the time about playing with each other. Nothing new here.

I love how Magic and Bird talk about they wouldn't have done it - lol - seriously? They were on teams full of HOFers playing in two of the biggest cities in all of United States. They didn't need to. If they were so macho for lack of a better word - they should have left and tried to win a championship on their own with average NBA players. They landed in a perfect situation. Kobe - the ultimate competitor of this generation of NBA - what did he do when Shaq got traded? Lakers actually got pretty decent players in return, but Kobe b***hed and moaned the whole off-season. Had he been playing for an incompetent front office and in a s**thole like Cleveland, he would have left a while ago to team up with the best players he could to win a championships.

Lebron tried to win one for 7 years in Cleveland and the best player front office could get him was Mo Williams the last couple years. Outside of Garnett and AI, I can't think of another superstar who didn't b***h and moan about his team-mates in similar situation and tried to get traded.

I wish Lebron didn't make such a big deal about it. Even Lebron has said it was a mistake. I can understand why that rubbed people the wrong way. I don't have a problem with people rooting against him - people need a villain - but let's not call them pussies. They did what professional players do all the time - except the show-boating.
I don't agree with you on this, but being that this is one of the most intriguing Finals matchups in years, can we agree to just discuss basketball during this series and put the Decision and other stuff aside?
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As a Lebron fan, I'm actually glad about the backlash he received over the last two summers. He needed it, he was crowned by the fans and the media before he won anything - and he started to buy into his own hype. I believe all the hate has made him a better player on the off the court and a more mature person.
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Originally posted by LA9erFan:
I don't agree with you on this, but being that this is one of the most intriguing Finals matchups in years, can we agree to just discuss basketball during this series and put the Decision and other stuff aside?

Done

5 more hours...can't f**king wait. OKC may come out a little sloppy after a long break - hope Miami can take advantage of it.