Catch n Shoot: April 18, 2011 -- Chris F'N Paul, D12 Wins 3rd Consecutive DPOY, Dunk Porn From Crash, Nenê & ... TD?

Catch n Shoot: April 18, 2011 -- Chris F'N Paul, D12 Wins 3rd Consecutive DPOY, Dunk Porn From Crash, Nenê & ... TD?
  • The weekend saw the 2nd-best cumulative performances by road teams in Game 1 of the first round (Neil Paine, Basketball-Reference).
  • #5 Hawks 103
    #4 Magic 93
    Box Score | Recap
    Hawks lead series 1-0
  • #7 76ers 89
    #2 Heat 97
    Box Score | Recap
    Heat lead series 1-0
  • #6 Knicks 85
    #3 Celtics 87
    Box Score | Recap
    Celtics lead series 1-0
  • #8 Grizzlies 101
    #1 Spurs 98

    Box Score | Recap
    Grizzlies lead series 1-0
  • #7 Hornets 109
    #2 Lakers 100

    Box Score | Recap
    Hornets lead series 1-0
  • #6 Blazers 81
    #3 Mavs 89

    Box Score | Recap
    Mavs lead series 1-0
  • #5 Nuggets 103
    #4 Thunder 107

    Box Score | Recap
    Thunder lead series 1-0
  • No style of basketball distinguishes winning in the regular season from in the playoffs, Rob Mahoney wrote on Thursday (Off the Dribble):

    The real change between the regular season and the playoffs is in the amount of time given to coaches and players for preparation. The ridiculous regular season schedule has teams jetting across the country to play games in different cities several times a week, which not only significantly limits practice opportunities, but also makes opponent-specific preparation on a game-to-game basis almost impossible. Players read scouting reports and generally know the tendencies of their more prominent opponents, but the regular season doesn't often allow for teams to really develop specific counters to their opponents' offensive and defensive schemes.

    The same obviously isn't true of postseason play. Coaches are given full days in between games to study game tape and inform their strategy, and players learn the ins and outs of their counterparts' approach by focusing on one opposing team for consecutive games at a time. The pressure that this arrangement places on playoff teams on both sides of the ball is significant, and the most successful clubs are those with the most resilient systems, regardless of their stylistic particulars.

    [...]

    The only constant is that smart, talented squads with stable systems tend to win in the playoffs. Whether they do so by pushing the pace or slowing the game down is really just a matter of personnel and preference."

  • That said, Sun Tzu's very relevant to playoff basketball, Beckley Mason writes (HoopSpeak.com).
  • Chris Paul scored or assisted 63 points (ESPN Stats/Info). He posted a Sunday-best 37.5 game score with 33 points on 11-for-18 -- 2-for-3 on 3s, 9-for-12 on FTs -- to go with 14 assists, four steals, and seven rebounds with only two turnovers (BBR):

    He abused Derek Fisher , Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum with the pick n' roll (Sebastian Pruiti, NBA Playbook).

  • Knicks posted a 67 ORtg in the 2nd half after a 119 in the 1st (ESPN Stats/Info).
  • Dwight Howard joined Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal as the only players to log 45 points and 15 rebounds in a playoff game over the last 20 years. Howard's 46-and-19 marked the first time a player with 45-and-15 lost since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1987. (ESPN Stats/Info). He also had eight turnovers and only one block in the game where Orlando didn't lose by much, but never grabbed control of the game. His 32.6 game score was Saturday's best and definitely did more to contribute to the Magic winning than their loss, but it's not uncommon for his teammates to just not perform. D12 posted six 30+ game scores in the regular season; the Magic only won three of those games, while losing two of the three games he posted 35+ scores (BBR).

    Three of D12's "turnovers" were three-second violations where his teammates didn't give him the damn ball when they should've (Pruiti).

  • D12 won his 3rd straight DPOY (The Score). Surprise!!!
  • Alley-oop of the Weekend: Rudy Fernandez to the one-handed Gerald Wallace -- and it's not even close:

  • Neither OKC nor DEN posted defensive ratings under 110 on Sunday. The Thunder had no answer for the Nuggets' balance, as the Nuggets had none for the dominance of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. "Oklahoma City got more than two-thirds of its scoring from Westbrook (31) and an unstoppable Durant (41)," Kevin Pelton noted (Basketball Prospectus). "Meanwhile, the Nuggets saw their two leading scorers (Nenê and Danilo Gallinari) combine for 40 points. Eight of the nine Denver players who saw action scored at least eight points."
  • The Knicks "may have lost their starting point guard," Frank Isola reports. Chancey Billups' knee "buckled" Sunday toward the end of the game. "I'm in a lot of pain right now," Billups said. "That's to be expected. If I can get out there and help any I'll be out there. We'll just have to see.... The doctors said it's just a strain. Hopefully, that's it. We'll check it out and hopefully I can get back as soon as possible." (New York Daily News). He's "very questionable" for Game 2 (AP via Yahoo!).
  • Dwyane Wade missed practice Sunday with a migraine. He played through a headache on Saturday, but Wade has a long history of migraines which have kept him off the court. (Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel; h/t: Mark Miller). He was at Monday's shootaround and is "expected to play" in Game 2 (Kurt Helin, ProBasketballTalk).
  • Nenê postered Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka, and Durant pretty nasty. He had 22 points on 9-for-11 with eight rebounds and two steals in Sunday's loss:

  • Tim Duncan supplied some dunk porn, too.... Wait! What?!?

  • Doc Rivers drew up one the greatest plays of the weekend. It continues to make me wonder why the Bulls don't have inbound lob plays with Tom Thibodeau when I see this beauty from Rajon Rondo to Kevin Garnett:

  • Derrick Rose and Westbrook as elites with CP3's performance raise the asset of a point guard who can win you games with volume, Mike Prada suggests (SBNation.com). The revolution is happening right before our eyes and there's no question that this is the best basketball the NBA has ever seen. 
  • Zach Randolph has reportedly "agreed" to a 4-year/$71m extension with Memphis (Ben Golliver, Eye on Basketball). "Memphis's core is now virtually complete," Golliver wrote. "They've locked up wing Rudy Gay, starting point guard Mike Conley and now Randolph to extensions. The final piece is expected to be center Marc Gasol, who is a restricted free agent this summer.

    "Randolph has long been a boxscore stuffer and this season was no exception. He averaged 20.1 points and 12.2 rebounds, the third straight year he's averaged more than 20 points per game and the fifth straight year he's averaged double figures in rebounds."

    Z-Bo's vastly underrated because the stupid things he tends to do on the court get overblown, but that doesn't change the fact that his basketball I.Q. is sketchy at best throughout his career. That said, this contract year and last season were much less stupid as he was finally on teams with talent around him. He's 30-years-old and likely not getting better, while likely getting worse in about a year or two with age. "The organization apparently weighed the risk of overpaying Randolph now against the risk of losing him altogether and found the latter far more terrifying," Zach Lowe wrote, later adding (The Point Forward): "The Grizz are overpaying here, but it's not fatal."

  • Aaron Gray rolled his ankle in a nasty way (Royce Young, Eye on Basketball). NOLA's win in L.A. is repeatable, but only with Gray playing extremely extraordinary -- you know, good. Everyone, but the Bulls, lack size against the Lakers. Without Gray, NOLA will lack it even more.
  • The NBA claims 22 teams will lose money this year, as the league loses $300 million (Moore, EOB). As for showing the NBPA documentation to prove that figure:

    The union has a "different interpretation" of the numbers showing popularity of the league rising, NBPA Executive Director Bully Hunter (SportsRadioInterviews.com).

  • Larry Brown told the Bobcats they'd likely not make the playoffs -- in the pre-season, Stephen Jackson says (Rick Bonnell, Charlotte.com; h/t: Zach Lowe).
  • Harrison Barnes will play his sophomore season at UNC instead of declaring for the NBA Draft (NBA.com). Normally, I call people idiots for this, but he slipped from being a #1 or #2 pick early in the season to being no higher than #3 and possibly falling to bottom half of the top 10. There isn't much he'll need to add to consistently dominate in a way that makes him a clear #1 pick .

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  • just want to say thank you for the catch and shoots, its like everything i want to know about that just happened in the nba world

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