Game 2 looked like a Chicago Bulls game.
Their defense just dominated the Atlanta Hawks, holding them to 73 points on 33.8 percent shooting. Then turn Derek Rose loose, and if he can get 25 points — even if it takes him 27 shots — that will be enough.
The key to Game 3 really is pretty simple — the Hawks need to find more offense from somewhere. Anywhere. Do that and they stand a chance. But teams have been trying to do that for a long season now.
Last game the only Hawk who had success was Jeff Teague, the backup point guard who was dramatically underutilized during the season but has exploded in two games against the Bulls. He had 21 points on 14 shots and he did that by getting to the rim (he was 4-of-6 inside 10 feet). The Bulls will look to secure their game inside, but if Jeff Teague is the guy that beats them so be it. That’s not their primary concern.
Nor is Josh Smith so long as he keeps shooting jumpers. We’ve gone into this already today, but the Bulls are playing off him on the wings daring him to shoot. And he is. And he’s missing. The Bulls are good with that, Smith needs to attack and be disciplined.
For the Hawks, this is about Al Horford. He was 3-of-12 in Game 2, but he is their best player. He is guy who has to win this game for the Hawks. They’ll get points from Jamal Crawford because that is what he does.
For the Bulls, they need Luol Deng to keep getting them buckets until Carlos Boozer arrives. Not sure when that will be, the turf toe is clearly an issue.
The Bulls are going to defend like they did in Game 2 the rest of the way. Rose will be Rose. For the Hawks to really prove they can win this series and didn’t just get lucky and steal a game on the road, they need a win Friday night. And they need a lot of Horford to do that.
The Golden State Warriors are so talented, perhaps the officials are predisposed to blowing whistles in their favor. At least, that’s the only explanation you could give to a Utah Jazz fan after seeing what happened between Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Utah’s Joe Johnson on Thursday night.
As Durant came off a curl on the far side of the court, he used a screen set by Curry on Johnson.
With the ball in his hands, Durant rose to fire but found himself locked in arms with another player. Durant’s shot attempt helplessly bounced away as he shot, and officials whistled Johnson on the play.
Of course, a closer look reveals that the player Durant’s arms were tangled up with was … Curry.
Yes, Curry had arm locked what he thought was Johnson on the screen but was instead his teammate and MVP candidate.
It didn’t matter, as referees awarded Durant the free throws, of which he only made 1 of 2.
Perhaps that’s some solace?
Golden State beat Utah, 106-99.
New York Knicks C Joakim Noah has an awkward jumper and free throw technique, there’s no denying that. His two-handed, horizontal approach to shooting a basketball is ripe for criticism.
DeMarcus Cousins thinks so, at least.
During a game between the Sacramento Kings and the Knicks, Cousins decided to give Noah a little tongue-in-cheek trolling about his form.
Looks about right.
The 1980s were back in Cleveland Friday night. Well, not completely, Bernie Kosar wasn’t leading the Browns to contention (although man, could they use him now).
No, the ’80s were back in the form of the throwback orange Cavaliers uniforms. And to complete the theme, the Cavaliers players dressed up and Rick-rolled the intro video — they did the complete “classic” Rick Astley hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.” And it was awesome.
The Cavaliers won the game 114-84 over the Heat behind 28 from Kevin Love, but that was secondary to the intro video.
Second-year forward Sam Dekker is finding a comfort zone in the Mike D’Antoni offense in Houston. Healthy this season, he is coming off the bench for 18 minutes a night, and his game where he is quick and can also hit the three is fitting perfectly with Houston’s system, leading him to 6.7 points a game.
Also, he can run the floor. And finish.
As Enes Kanter found out when he hustled, got back in transition defense, and wasn’t going to stop Dekker from getting to the rim.
That’s a quality dunk.
The Rockets went on to win the game 102-99, despite Russell Westbrook‘s seventh-straight triple-double.