It caught us tonight. What is it you ask? It is our inept offense that has little to no direction, virtually no off the ball movement and relies almost exclusively on one player hitting some miracle shot as the clock ticks to zero.
Hero ball by design if you will.
I know we want to slow down the game, I know we prefer to play low post offense but just way to many times this occurs to us. Sometimes we will hit shots and other times we will not. Miami and their pressure defense is not the team that you want your players standing around without any off the ball movement.
Franks not dumb so I’m guessing that he would prefer someone to move as well but I don’t know really who the culprit is.
I say all of that to say this. George Hill’s pass to Paul George did not cost us this game. The referee’s not calling a foul on LeBron James as time ran out did not cost us this game. Even our defense for the most part did not cost us this game. Look NBA teams are going to score, even against the best defense you just have to limit the looks they get and I felt like for the most part we did. Bosh & Allen just happened to get open in transition which is very common place in the NBA and hit their shots.
No to me the fact that once again we could not muster any form of cognitive offense was our undoing.
Oh btw, kudos to LeBron James for being able to convince the NBA that Roy needed to scrutinized this game. Sure Roy made a couple of stupid fouls but that one where he got called for Chalmers falling over was pure B.S., but all of these calls were made possible by LeBron complaining after last game about Hibbert. Way to take advantage of your throne your highness.
Speaking of taking advantage, I’ll go ahead and say it; Paul George flopped on that Dwayne Wade hit to the head. Any other team on the planet I would probably care against this team? Hell no. In fact I’m upset that every one of our players doesn’t make it a point to act like they have been shot by a sniper whenever any of them make any motion towards us at all. Look I hate flopping as much as anyone but they have proven time and time again that they are going to do it no matter what and for the most par they have been rewarded. Well suck on your own medicine for a change Wade, now if we could just get one of our players to put you in the stands like you did Darren Collison a couple of years ago.
If we feel the need to take away any positive from this game I think we can say this, Paul George snapped out of his mini funk in the second half and actually came alive. However we now have to worry that Roy has now had two bad games and oh bye the way he only has to play the best center in the NBA on Friday. Let’s hope and pray he can come alive for that.
Our bench tonight was really weird. On the one hand Ian Mahinmi played the best ball he has played since the first week of the season. On the other hand Luis Scola showed us why he was never considered a defensive ace. In fact he should have dressed up in a gaucho outfit, but not the manly kind of gaucho from Argentina but the frilly waiter gaucho from fogo de chao. He could have ushered LeBron to the front of the buffet line and made a plate for him. Hell somewhere Troy Murphy was watching this game and went “My God that is bad defense”, that’s how bad his two turns were on LeBron. It was so bad that I was yelling for Paul to just leave his man open for a three because that would have been better than what occurred here.
Also C.J. Watson had a miserable shooting night and what kills me about this is that not one time did I think he took a bad shot, they just didn’t drop. He played solid D though and I always enjoy his time on the floor, oh btw I still love what Scola brings to the team but I have to be honest about that defense tonight it was hideous.
The worst part about all of this? We have played our absolute best basketball record wise in our history and we are now only one lousy game ahead of the Heat in the standings.
I’m by no means sounding the horns of Ragnarok but I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t a little concerned about not finishing first in the East now. This is why that Detroit game hurt so bad it now places the Houston game on Friday on a more important level than it really needed to be. It’s by no means a must win game, I mean reality check we are still first in the east at the moment, but by no means can we really afford to go on a losing streak of any magnitude.
Let’s hit the grades.
Paul George: A Did a very good job of coming back to form in the second half and did get to the free throw line more than LeBron did so there is that. I noticed tonight we had Lance guard LeBron quite a bit in the second half and much to my surprise it worked very well; he passed off quit a bit. We really need him to come alive for the Houston game and just make that a statement game.
David West: B Offensively he did very well, defensively he did what he had to do but that is not saying much as his man barely touches the ball but I was more than a little disappointed in his rebounding. I know that Paul & Lance took the lion’s share of the boards but I felt like he could have done a little more to help out on the glass.
Roy Hibbert: D Arm straight up Roy, STRAIGHT UP. Reaching across the face to block a shot that is already past you will get a foul called on you no matter how good your verticality is. You got taken out of the game by LeBron pointing them in your direction but YOU are the one who fouled, except that BS call against Chalmers.
Lance Stephenson: A- Not exactly sure why we took the ball away from him in the second half and why we weren’t getting him some called plays. Unless I didn’t see it and someone else did there was no example of “Bad Lance” tonight. Maybe Miami got the ball away from him but even then I still would have liked to have seen him cut and try and get to the rim.
George Hill: D I’m not sure what went wrong here. His shot wasn’t falling but then again Chalmers wasn’t either. I think the problem here is that we can often over look when George get’s outplayed by one of the superstar points in the NBA and there are a lot of them, but when we play a Mario Chalmers or someone of his ilk we really need George to definitively outplay him and he just doesn’t do it for some reason. That last play I’ve watched a couple of times and honestly I can’t tell you who is at fault. George throws it to where Paul should have gone and was a for a split second but I don’t know if the play was broken up by LeBron or if there was a mix up in where Paul was supposed to be. Either way it didn’t work very well.
Ian Mahinmi: A Him hitting the ball off of the side of the board is the only thing stopping the A+ train to keep rolling his way. Look the guy has been absolutely miserable for a month now; this game tonight was akin to a 20 point 20 rebound night by anyone else. He even caught that Lance pass that Birdman fouled him on. So while the grade really makes no sense from an actually performance issue in the long term scheme of things it makes all of the sense in the world.
C.J. Watson: C Like I said his shot didn’t fall but I’ll be danged if it didn’t look like every single one of them would. Played solid defense all night long.
Luis Scola: C- That defense deserves a giant F but he made up for it by hitting a few face up jumpers and in fact in the second quarter I thought he hit some big shots to keep the lead for us, which made me comment at the time how nice it was to not have a bench come in and immediately give up a ten point lead. I have faith he will return to good form for Houston.
Rasual Butler: B Again another solid performance from an old steady pro. I hate that Orlando has lost his spot in the rotation but he has nobody to blame but himself and Rasual has certainly earned these minutes over the past few games.
I hate the Heat, I hate their fans (not as much as I hate the Bulls fans but that’s a different post), I hate LeBron James smug face, I hate Dwayne Wade just on principle and I hate the way that the media and even the NBA kisses their butts. Have you seen the NBA.com highlights from tonight? You wouldn’t know that we ever led in this game if you didn’t watch.
So in honor of our victors from the home of the Cocaine Cowboys I present you Cyndi Lauper for your listening pleasure.