On the offensive side of the court it was more obvious — Derrick Rose was in attack mode again. For that matter, so was Jimmy Butler. Combined the Chicago guards took 41.9 percent of their shots in the first round in the paint.
But Rose was getting it done on both ends of the court.
PBT has partnered with the fantastic NBASavant.com to break down the Sports VU Camera data and look more closely at the advanced stats of the NBA playoffs and what decided a series.
What NBASavant.com found was that Rose was getting in close to the man he was defending and held them to 39 percent shooting in the first round.
He’s going to need to play with that same determination in the next round because Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers present a much bigger offensive challenge.
The simplistic way to frame this series is as the grind-it-out, slow-it-down Grizzlies will try to suck the small-ball, running Warriors into their game. And this second round playoff series certainly is a clash of preferred styles.
But as I discuss with Jenna Corrado, the Grizzlies have a few problems beyond the pace. First off, the holes in Memphis’ defense — not stopping transition well, being average defending the arc, not stopping the ball handler in a pick-and-roll — line right up with Golden State’s strengths.
Beyond that, Golden State can grind better than people think. They can get sucked into Memphis’ style and be fine for a stretch. Memphis can’t do the reverse. It’s a bad matchup for the Griz.
When the Blazers traded for Arron Afflalo it seemed like a smart move — he’s a quality two-way wing player who could hit threes and provide them some depth. Portland was looking at a deep playoff run, so it seemed worth their 2016 first-round pick.
However, thanks to the combination of a shoulder injury plus Afflalo being forced into the starting lineup with Wes Matthews out it all went sideways. While he scored a little more than 10 points a game (and shot 40 percent from three) Afflalo had a PER of 8.2. That’s “send him to the D-League” level. He was not efficient.
And he’s moving on, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
Arron Afflalo, I’m told, intends to go ahead with plans to opt out this summer even though a right shoulder injury obviously prevented him from making the post-trade deadline smash in Portland that he’d hoped.
Portland is not going to shed a tear here. First, they would rather give C.J. McCollum those minutes anyway. Plus, Portland would rather use that money on someone else.
Afflalo was set to make $7.9 million next season and likely will have to take a pay cut in the short term. However, he likely lands a multi-year deal and there are playoff teams, even contending teams, will be interested. Afflalo will have options.
It took longer than expected, but the Bulls have made it to the second round, and they get what they wanted — the Cleveland Cavaliers. A banged up Cavaliers without Kevin Love all series and no J.R. Smith the first two games (because he can’t control his fists).
Do the Bulls have a chance in this series? Yes. A legitimate one.
But they are going to have to defend better and play more consistently than we have seen from them at any point this season (including against the Bucks).
In a series where your team has to defend Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, you need all your elite perimeter defenders on hand.
Which is why the following is bad news for the Grizzlies heading into Game 1 on the road, via Gary Parish of CBSSports.com.
That is not a definitive no, but it isn’t likely he goes in Game 1 Sunday.
Conley suffered three facial fractures from an inadvertent elbow from C.J. McCollum in the last round, and on Monday had surgery to put two steel plates in his face to secure the bones. So, you can forgive him for missing some games. He was at the closeout Game 5 but his face was still very swollen. The rumor has been the Grizzlies hoped to have him back by Game 3 of this series, but there is no timetable. Less Conley means more Beno Udrih, Courtney Lee, and Nick Calathes.
This is a tough matchup for the Grizzlies in the best of circumstances. They have an elite defense but they struggle to defend in transition, they are average at running teams off the three-point line, and they are not great at stopping the ball handler coming off the pick-and-roll. Three things that are the core tenets of the Warriors game plan. It’s just a tough matchup for Memphis.
Conley would be a significant boost for Memphis, but his health must be the priority.