Thursday, May 19, 2011
Following a 21-point demolition of the Miami Heat at the hands of the Chicago Bulls, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and surprisingly Udonis Haslem led Miami to a Game 2 victory, evening the Eastern Conference Finals at one game a piece. On the Western Conference side, the Dallas Mavericks claimed an early 1-0 lead in the series, propelled by a dynamic 48-point performance by their general Dirk Nowitzki; a performance that saw him go for an NBA record 24-24 from the charity stripe. In today’s Just GQ, I wanted to take a look at “The Gentleman’s Wingtips to Victory” in these riveting NBA Playoffs.
Miami Heat – Just GQ’s Champion
After my squads got bounced from the tournament (Celtics & Pacers; don’t judge me), I threw my support to the Miami Heat. With the Big 2 & a Possible at the helm (word to Michael Smith) of the Heat attack, I just cannot bet against them. I think in order for the Heat to acquire their first Eastern Conference crown since 2006, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade must remain consistent while receiving bench help. Last night’s game displayed the reserved energy and consequential production the Big 2 can muster when the Heat get help doing the dirty work—diving for loose balls, offensive/defensive boards, tough interior defense. Udonis Haslem’s energy and production, point, boards, and no statistical categories, allowed the Big 2 to focus on utilizing their athleticism to generate easy scoring opportunities. Continuation of this production from the other Heat members bodes well in the their quest for a championship.
The key for the Bulls is simple. Support for, MVP, Derrick Rose. While a dynamic player and well deserving of all the recognition he receives, the Bulls cannot shut down altogether when Rose is unable to perform up to the standard fans have become accustomed to seeing, which is what occurred in Game 2. The multitude of Heat defenders thrust at Rose forced him to experience a 7-23 shooting night producing 21 points. No secret exists in acknowledging D. Rose as the Bulls’ number one option but who else? He needs a supporting cast! Boozer is inconsistent. Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah bring great energy but cannot be counted on to generate substantial amounts of points. Luol Deng’s 17 point, 6 rebound playoff average probably embodies the Bulls’ second option, however when Deng usually bears the burden of guarding one, LeBron James, is it fair to depend on him to be the only other viable option besides Rose?
Dallas Mavericks – Just GQ’s Western Conf. Pick
Behind their general, 7-foot sharp shooter Dirk Nowitzki, the Dallas Mavericks boast a host of weapons including three-point shooting powers, Jason Terry, Peja Stojakovic, and reformed point guard turned “2”, Jason Kidd. In addition to those perimeter predators, the Mavs, arguably the most complete team remaining in the Playoffs, possess energy role players, who complete the squad, in Shawn Marion, Tyson Chandler, and Jose Barea, the fearless 6-foot point guard, who complemented Nowitzki’s showing with a 21-point exhibition of his own. For the Mavs, frequently characterized as the team who cannot get over the hump, to come out of the West and potentially find themselves atop the league as champions, they must, simply, be the Dallas Mavericks. They must utilize the plentiful weapons they possess along with the abundance of experience and leadership, which fills their roster, and allow it to boost them to heights unreached in the past.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Down 1-0, the young upstart Thunder are far from out of the Western Conference Finals, however in order for them to be victorious in the WCF and perhaps further, they must mitigate the confusion over who runs the show, while still providing support to, scoring champion, Kevin Durant. Russell Westbrook, a great player—yes, needs to remember that he is, indeed, Russell Westbrook and not Derrick Rose. He also must keep near the forefront of his mind that his teammate, not adversary, is none other than the most prolific scorer in a league that houses great point producers such as Kobe Bryant and the aforementioned LeBron James. Westbrook must serve as a point guard, and by doing so, he will not need to force shots because easier scoring opportunities will come his way due to the necessary attention that must be paid elsewhere to the other Thunder scoring threats.
Thanks for checking in the GAME with Just GQ! Leave your comments on the blog, and stay tuned for more posts! God Bless!
Posted by GQ50 at 3:22 PM