Monday , Apr , 09 , 2007 Oly Sandor

NBA Wrap-up for April 08

Breaking down the 3 biggest stories from yesterday, April 08, 2007. Find out about Detroit slowing down LeBron, D-Wade’s not-so triumphant return against the Bobcats, and T-Mac dispelling any doubts about his health by scoring 40 points

Top 3 Stories

1) Detroit beats Cleveland by making King James use his teammates. Is this the Eastern Conference finals?
2) Flash’s return a fizzle; Miami lose in OT to Charlotte
3 T-Mac’s 40 points defuses worries over his injury

1) Detroit beats Cleveland by making King James use his teammates. Is this the Eastern Conference finals?

What happened:
The Detroit Pistons implemented a new defensive strategy, double teaming LeBron James and forcing the Cavaliers’ supporting cast to make shots. This strategy helped Detroit beat Cleveland by a score of 87-82.

James was held in check, contributing just 20 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 5 turnovers.

These two teams could meet in the Eastern finals. Today’s game proved that the Pistons are currently the best team in the conference.

Reaction of Chauncey Billups on defending LeBron James:
 “We know he (LeBron) can beat us. We want to make them beat us." (ESPN)

Reaction of LeBron James on the double teams:
"At times, we did a great job of reacting to the double team and at times we didn’t. That’s a great team, and you can’t have any lapses on defense or on offense." (ESPN)
“If you play well and you lose the ballgame, you can be satisfied. We gave ourselves a chance to win against Miami, and we gave ourselves a chance tonight. That’s what you look at.” (CBS Sports)

"We had too many mistakes — mental errors and turnovers. We had breakdowns throughout the game. In the last couple minutes they did a nice job of executing and we didn’t. You can’t give away points and opportunities in this league." (CBS Sports)

My take:
“There are two points here. First, the Pistons are absolutely the best team in the Eastern Conference. They have a great starting unit and they now possess a deep bench. I think their big bodies can match up with Shaq over a seven game series.”

“Second, Detroit may have discovered a way of defending James-sort of a Jordan rules defense for LeBron. All year, there have been questions and concerns over the quality of Cleveland’s supporting cast. Today, Detroit once again showed that those questions and concerns are justified.”

2) Flash’s return a fizzle; Miami lose in OT to Charlotte

The Story:
Dwayne Wade’s return did not produce the result Miami was hoping for.

Wade played 27 minutes, scoring 12 points and adding 8 assists, but the Heat looked out of sync, turning the ball over 26 times in 111-103 loss to the Bobcats.

D-Wade came off the bench as the Heat’s 6th man, entering the game late in the first quarter. He had been out with an injury since February 21st. Miami will spend the next few games trying to work their star back in the lineup.

The Reaction of Dwayne Wade on his decision to play:
“Sitting at home by myself, I just thought, this is the day. It just came over me. I also wanted to get a lot of games under my belt to get my rhythm back, to get in a groove with what the team’s doing.” (MiamiHerald.com)

"It’s exciting to get back, but at the end of the day, you always want to win. You always want to come back and help your team win. I came back and at times, I looked OK and at times, I didn’t.” (NBA.com)

“I had a lot of turnovers tonight. I missed a lot of free throws. But one thing about me, you don’t have to worry about that. I won’t do that too often.” (NBA.com)

Reaction of Pat Riley
on his team’s performance:
"When you don’t play as hard as you can play, you make 26 turnovers and the other team is shooting over 50 percent, you’re going to have a very difficult time. Plus missing 18 free throws, I don’t know how you can win.” (ESPN)
 
“We just didn’t make enough plays.” (ESPN)

My take:
“There’s both short-term and long-term issues with Wade’s return. Looking at things from a short-term perspective, the Heat could struggle getting used to playing with their superstar. They became more of a slow down, defensive team without Wade. There’s an adjustment time for everyone involved.”

“Looking at things from a long-term perspective, specifically the playoffs, Miami needs Wade to challenge Detroit in the Eastern Conference. So they have to persevere through this adjustment period in order to defend their NBA Title. The key is to have Wade and Shaq clicking at the same time.”

3) T-Mac’s 40 points defuses worries over his injury

What happened:
The Houston Rockets must be breathing a sigh of relief. Two days ago, their stars, Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, both sat out against the Portland Trail Blazers with back injuries.

On Sunday, Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming combined for 58 points in a 114-108 win over Sacramento, putting to rest concerns over their injuries.

McGrady was particularly brilliant, scoring 40 points, dishing out 10 assists, and collecting 8 rebounds.

The Reaction of Tracy McGrady on his play and the upcoming playoffs:
“It’s very important to get it going. It’s coming down to the last few games before these playoffs. We want to be a good-executing team. You don’t want to wait too late. We’re not about trying to catch Utah out here. We’re just trying to get better.” (ESPN)

“It’s all about how we’re playing individually and as a team. We’re just trying to get better, man." (Houston Chronicle)

“We hadn’t play well for the last three games and it was up to me to come out and put my will on this game.” (Houston Chronicle)

Reaction of Yao Ming on the Rockets chances of securing home court advantage for the playoffs:
 "Actually, the best chance has slipped out of our hands already, in those last three home games that we lost. We had the chance to have home-court advantage in the playoffs, but we probably lost it. In the second half, we started playing defense and got better." (ESPN)

My take:
“This is good news for Houston. The Rockets must have McGrady and Yao healthy for their playoff run. McGrady was special in this game against Sacramento. When he’s healthy and asserting himself, T-Mac is still such an amazing player.”

 “Yesterday I talked about the potential for L.A. to meet Phoenix in the Western Conference quarterfinals. Right now, Houston would draw Utah in the first round. This would be an excellent match-up. Losing home court advantage, like Yao mentioned, could be the difference in the series.”

Come back tomorrow morning for another edition of the NBA Wrap-up, featuring Oly Sandor’s cutting-edge analysis. Got a comment or question? Use the comment box or email Oly at olysandor@hoopsvibe.com