1. Minutes by Position
Center – Marcus Camby 30, Wallace 12, Cartwright 6
PF – Rasheed Wallace 26, Rodman14, Schrempf 8
SF – Dennis Rodman 26, Schrempf 14 , Jalen 8
SG – Tmac – 36, Iggy 12
PG – Magic 36, Jalen 12
2. Sales Job
How do you beat a team with Jordan and Duncan? Very hard to do, unless you have a team that has the pieces to do it. Lets start with the Key Matchups
1. . Rasheed vs. Duncan – Head to head, Harlem chooses Duncans MVP and Finals MVP year. 2002-2003. In 4 games vs Sheed in Duncan’s MVP Year he shot (.438, .333, .619, .214) .40%! In a year that he shot .513 vs. The League, he shot .40% vs Sheed! This fact is important because it shows that we can leave Sheed one on one with Duncan. For More Info on their head to head http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/h2h_finder.cgi?request=1&p1=wallara01&p2=duncati01
OUR STATEMENT: Our Team matches up favorably with Harlem. The only thing that they led us is in turnovers. They have players that Like to Turnover the ball. The only guy in their starting five to average less than 3 Turnovers per game is Michael Jordan. Their best outside shooter is a guy that is the best creator for their team, Michael Jordan. If Michael Jordan drives in and have to pass the ball for an outside three his best target is??? Bob Horry at .374 3 pt %, While if Magic penetrates and have to dish for the three he gets to choose. Schrempf at .514%, Jalen at .39% and TMac at .39%.
We will Run at every opportunity. We will run after made baskets and misses. The outlet pass will always be directed at Magic, but if he puts someone there, TMac is more than capable of getting the outlet pass and getting the ball to Magic. When the game is slowed down, we will run the following sets:
The ICE offense is an all out basket attack. Using the term "ICE" makes your opponent think that you are going to hold the ball, but in reality your attacking the basket on every cut. In addition to protecting a lead at the end of game, ICE can be used very effectively to counter severe defensive pressure. When an opponent is applying so much defensive pressure it is difficult to get into an offense, ICE can save the day with it's constant back cuts against defensive over play. All out movements and backcuts, by Tmac, Rodman, Wallace, Camby and allowing Magic to orchestrate this attack.
I. TMAC intiates the action by making an pass to Magic at the Wing and rubbing off Sheed’s high post screen for shot. If TMAC does not get the pass from Magic, He continues out weakside and gets a double pick from Camby and Rodman.
II. by TMAC going all the way to weakside thru the double screens. It leaves Magic and Rasheed vs Michael Ray and Duncan for a Pick and Roll or Pick and Pop.
I. This offense is designed to attack Michael Jordan. Screens by Rodman to free up McGrady. Magic has the option to of turning the corner for a drive to the basket whenever he feels he can beat his defender one-on-one.
a.) Michael Air Jordan was great because Scotty Pippen took the hard defensive matchups. So Mike can pick and choose his spots to dominate defensively. This time, he either takes Magic or TMAC. Tmac is bigger and just as athletic. This is the dominant TMAC who was 1st Team All NBA in my chosen year.
When Air Jordan has to play defense as evident by his numbers vs Reggie Miller and other all star caliber SG, His shooting percentage goes down at least .024% and FGA goes up
II. BALL REVERSAL: If Magic cannot feed TMac inside, Magic then looks to make a reversal pass out to Rodman stepping out to initiate weakside, post isolation action. As Rodman receives the ball, post Sheed flashes to the middle for a Hi/Lo pass from Rodman. When Harlem’s Center overplays the Hi/Lo pass, Rodman passes to Schrempf for a three or feed Sheed rolling to the basket against the defensive overplay.
D. FOUR DOWN 15% – To be run with Magic, TMac, Schrempf, Rodman and Sheed.
Magic Iso on top of the key, Schrempf and Tmac to three, Rodman and Sheed for Rebounds and put backs or Alley oops.
Camby vs. Sampson – For once Camby will be playing someone who will not overpower him. Camby at 220 lbs distributed over his 6-11 frame compares favorably to Sampson at 228 lbs on his 7-4 frame. Sampson at his height has never led the league in Block Shots while Camby has done it 4 times!!! Camby has averaged more rebounds, assist, blocks shot.
Rasheed – Duncan
Rodman – Hill
Tmac – Jordan
Magic – Michael Ray
NOTE: Sweden has two DPOY(Rodman, Camby) in the team. A great big man defender in Wallace and quite possibly one of the best guy at playing the passing lane in Magic Johnson (averaged 2 spg his whole career)
A. We will pretty much play them straight up man to man and have the ability to switch on all screens because of our size. 6-9, 6-8, 6-8 on the perimenters.
1. TMac will get some help on Jordan’s penetration, whether its Rodman laying a forearm on Air or Camby or Sheed with shotblocking help.
2. Magic will play Michael Ray for the penetration. Daring him to make that 20 footer. One thing about Magic at his size can bother a shooter (to use the term loosely about Michael Ray) with his length
3. Sheed and Rodman matches up well with Duncan and Hill.
4. We are comfortable with Camby vs Ralph, We will also use Cartwright to soften up Ralphie with 6 minutes of Dirty Dancing.
B. Jordan Rules goes into effect when Magic sits. This serves two purpose
1. We don’t wan’t Jordan to go crazy when Magic sits. We feel with Magic in the game we are always within striking distance or we will have the lead.
2. Making sure Jordan’s energy is expended and that he has to really carry this team vs a very talented and deeper team.
C. One of our defensive philosophy vs. their big man
1. Make it easy for MRR or Jordan to get the ball into Sampson. We will not give up the deep position but but make it look like its an easy pass. This accomplishes two things
a. Get the ball out of their best players hand (Jordan/Duncan)
b. Force Sampson to be a playmaker (4.0 Turnovers per game.
2. When Sampson gets the ball on the blocks, we will put a hard double on him from the closest player that is not the post feeder (reason for this, A poor playmaker once pressured and double team, their first look is to the person that passed them the ball) We can afford to do this because my starters are all 6-8 and over. My bench has numerous athletic , tall and long guys. While Sampson is double teamed the rest of the guys play the passing lanes and anticipate the back cuts.
3. Versus Duncan – We feel Sheed can more than hold his own, but we will surprise Duncan with some Fronting and ball denial and hard doubles at opportune time. Duncan averages 3.0 TO per game
If Jordan goes LOCO, We will have an option on a couple of things.
Jordan Rules comes in full effect. We will funnel Jordan into the teeth of the defense.
We work to shut down his teammates. Jordan alone cannont beat Magic and this team.
If Sheeds gets into foul trouble or get T’d out of the game, We put Rodman on Duncan, forces him wide and run a guard or forward at him to disrupt his shooting. We will use a combination of Detlef and Iggy to attack Hill. Sometimes the best defense against players are to make them work on the defensive side.
Two sets of lineup to close the game per need.
If we are behind, The lineup would be Magic, TMac, Schrempf, Rodman and Wallace
We have the lead, Magic, TMac, Rodman, Wallace and Camby.
The sub pattern will ensure the guys get their rest. Magic, TMac, Sheed and Rodman are use to heavy minutes.
7. Why We Win
QUESTION: Is Jordan’s MVP 95-96 year more superior to Tmac’s 1st TEAM ALL NBA 02-03
Than Magic’s MVP 88-89 year much more superior to Michael Ray Richardson’s 79-80 year?
Magic makes players around him better. Picture Magic with TMac, Rodman, Wallace, Camby, Iggy running with him. He is just the GOAT in my book and makes players around him exponentially better. That question still remains for Air Jordan.
We win because we showed how we can cut off the head of the two headed monster. Duncan is only human when he plays vs Sheed. Jordan has to work extra hard versus TMac. Magic has a great advantage over Michael Ray, Rodman will get in everybody’s face. Our bench will is better and utilized better.
1 Sugar Richardson 36, Harper 12
2 Jordan 40, Q Richardson 8
3 Hill 36, Horry 8, Miles 4
4 Duncan 30, Horry 12, Miles 6
5 Sampson 36, Duncan 10, Kurt Thomas 2
2. Sales Job
Sweden’s will look for easy buckets off the break or early offense but Harlem will neutralize that by using its superior team quickness and slowing Magic down with Grant Hill. From Sugar vs. Magic, MJ over T-Mac, Hill over Rodman, Duncan over Sheed, Sampson over Camby and even Horry over Shrempf – Harlem has more 2-way athletic players who can get back on D but also attack on O. With the versatility, ball handling, and quickness in the backcourt, Harlem can push the tempo in multiple ways instead of having to rely on one player. And despite the touted team size of Sweden, Harlem actually has a taller starting lineup (avg. height of 6’9 1/3” to 6’9”) to dismiss any thought of a size advantage.
Just as Sweden can’t outrun or outsize Harlem, their leader can’t match what the Knights have. Magic knows he can’t stay in front of Sugar so he can’t hide there. “Michael Ray was a guy who played just like I played,” Magic said. “Every time I saw him he went right at me.” (1:10 mark for example - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgdyWZqTM3U). Hill will be matched up with Magic on D so Magic can’t easily play over him. Duncan matches Magic in Finals MVPs and even Sampson helped beat Magic’s Lakers. Finally, Magic has beaten every superstar in the Finals but one – MJ. Strange that of all the Magic years, Sweden went with one when Magic’s body failed him and he came up short. The flip side is Harlem will be able to send their leader to do what he does best. With no perimeter stoppers for Sweden, MJ will be on the wing to carve up the Meatballs from deep, mid-range, and at the basket.
The other advantage will be inside. Sweden has tough defenders but their offense will suffer from guarding Duncan. Although Wallace has some success and experience in defending Duncan, history says that Sheed defending Tim takes its toll. In the 05 Finals, Sheed was the primary defender on Duncan and Tim averaged 20.5 and 14. However Sheed only got 10.8 points and 6 rebounds while picking up 4+ fouls per game – and he had help in Ben Wallace (a Rodman clone). Even Horry (3 years older than year chosen) was able to match Wallace’s output that series with 10.5 ppg. Duncan has too many moves for Camby to keep bottled up, Rodman is too short to effect his shot and Cartwright is too slow to stay with him. The steady Duncan attack wears out the Sweden interior and keeps it soft for Jordan to slice and serve.
Harlem’s focus on offense will be to attack the weak perimeter defense of Sweden as well as keep the big men concerned more about Duncan than protecting the basket. This will allow MJ the freedom he needs to take over when needed. We expect Sheed to guard Duncan, Camby on Sampson, McGrady on Jordan, Magic defending Sugar and Rodman on Hill, who will be the half court initiator.
1. Transition 25%
Using Harlem’s natural ability and defensive schemes, the Knights will push the ball at every opportunity and make it tough for Sweden to set up their half-court defense. Whereas Sweden needs Magic to push it, anyone from Harlem’s 1/2/3 can start the break and go. However, here is where Sugar Ray will be most utilized. Sugar didn’t lead the league in assists in Magic’s rookie year by accident and his creativity in the open-court is legendary. Most of his turnovers were the result of traditional half court sets but in an up tempo game he's in his element.
2. Triangle Offense 25% – Jordan Focus.
When the break isn’t there, Harlem will set up the tri and MJ will be on the wing to set the early tone. T-Mac doesn’t have the defensive heart and isn’t physical enough to deter him from attacking the basket. If any doubles do come, the man being doubled off immediately cuts to the basket for the easy basket from MJ. Also, after a few trips and the defenders are looking MJ’s way immediately, 5 (Sampson) will set a backpick for 4 (Duncan) to roll to the basket and keep Sweden off-balance.
After a heavy dose of this offense to start the game, Harlem will save the offense for end of quarter situations when they want to send a message to the Meatballs. How will the likely defender McGrady deal with the physical and mental onslaught from MJ? Does he have what it takes to match his will to win? Looking at T-Mac’s playoff history and career vs. the closest thing to Jordan in Kobe, the answer is no.
3. Triangle Offense 30% – Duncan Focus.
To compliment the fire of MJ, Harlem will look to the coolness of Duncan in the post. Acting as the counter-balance, Duncan will attack the interior defenders of Sweden, forcing them to focus on defense against him instead of rebounding or playing help defense.
This will be the primary set for Duncan. With 1 (Sugar) going backdoor and to the opposite side followed by the initiator 3 (Hill) and 2 (Jordan) splitting the cut off him. If none of the cutters have easy looks off the cut or double, Duncan then takes the defender one-on-one.
In this play, Duncan will seal his defender up high and then Harlem either throws it over the top or swings it in the corner for a better passing angle.
4. Triangle Offense/2-Man game 20% – Attack Magic
To exploit the lack of defense of Sweden’s top perimeter players (Magic, McGrady, Rose), Harlem will use the 2-man game up top – preferably when Magic finds himself defending Sugar, Hill or MJ (2). Whoever is being guarded by Camby (4) will pull him away from the basket where his defense suffers for the 2-man game (Part A)
Because of the deadly attacking and midrange game of MJ/Hill/Sugar, Harlem expects Sweden to eventually switch on the pick and roll in hopes of protecting the basket because going under results in wide open 15 footers. When Sweden switches (Part B), Samson (4) will roll to the front of the basket and use his 7’4” frame for easy baskets. Note: The diagrams show the 2-man game on the weakside, the other 3 players are on the strong side as previously shown. Remember that pulls away one of Sweden’s shot blockers and forced them to defend Duncan and MJ/Hill/or Sugar instead of protecting the basket.
Man to man, Harlem is ready for the challenge. With old-school rules in effect, Harlem will defend on matchup, not position. Out top, Hill will have pressure defense on Magic and MJ will stick to T-Mac. Inside Duncan will defend Rodman and keep him off the glass, Sampson will be using his length to deny Sheed and the surprise is Sugar will stay on Camby. Harlem expects Camby to play outside on offense to utilize his J so Sugar will be out there playing the passing lanes and ready to push the ball when Harlem gets possession. This hurts Sweden’s ability to stop Harlem in transition as well.
1. Transition D
Harlem will cut down on the transition game of Sweden in 3 phases – offensive rebounding, team speed in getting back, and picking up Magic full court.
The first part of the defense will be the offense. Because of the spacing of the triangle offense and no zone play, Sweden will find one of their big men away from the basket on every play as well as offensive rebounding opportunities the triangle naturally brings. With triangle execution, a taller starting lineup, and every starter averaging at least 6.6 boards per game, Sweden will find uncontested rebounds and outlets a rarity.
The next phase will be Harlem using their natural speed to beat Sweden down court. Again the length and athleticism of Harlem comes into play as the running and passing lanes are congested with better athletes getting back and protecting the paint before setting up the defense.
Finally, Harlem will pick up Magic full court with Hill or Horry/Miles off the bench. Taking a page out of the book used against Magic when MJ beat him in the Finals, Harlem will use quick and long defenders to bump Magic up court and force him to the sidelines.
Now Magic can’t easily rush up court and whip passes over the head of smaller defenders. He’s going to have to take more time to protect the ball and create passing lanes because he can’t just run by or over the Knight. Also, Harlem will t ake advantage of Magic’s 4.1 turnovers per game (2nd highest of his career) to create easy fast break points for itself.
2. Dealing with Magic Post Up
There will be no double-teams when Magic goes into the post. Harlem will force him to be a scorer instead of a playmaker. Hill has the size to make him work in the post so Magic is going to have to do what isn’t naturally to him – score a lot to keep Sweden in the game. The season Sweden selected was the one Magic got wore down and eventually was knocked out of the Finals by injury. This is a long decade after his rookie year heroics – 10 years of deep playoff play takes a lot of tread off the tires. Does he have the stamina or vitality to be hounded by Harlem up court, and to dominate in the post? Can he still handle it? Note: When Magic posts as a PG, it leaves some of Sweden’s bigs away from the basket which means less speed for Sweden to get back on defense.
3. Denying the Post from Sheed
Sampson and anyone else matched up with Sheed will front him in the post. Harlem’s size combined with the perimeter length makes it tough for Sheed to get easy touches in the paint from Magic, T-Mac, or Rose. Sheed has proven when he doesn’t get easy looks/touches, he’ll float to the perimeter and shoot long 3s instead of working for post position. This is exactly what Harlem wants to keep its big men out of foul trouble. For the season chosen, Sheed shot more 3s per game than FTs. With the lack of a secondary post-up threat, Harlem is able to keep Sampson and Duncan in the game without foul trouble as well as control the glass.
4. Fight the Pick and Roll/Pop
Sweden has a lot of players who like to settle for jump shots. What Harlem will do is make sure each shot is contested. Because of Harlem’s size, the Knights will be able to switch on any pick and pops to keep a hand in any shooter’s face as well as prevent the ball handler from turning the corner and heading to the basket. Typically the pick will be placed by a big man with a J (Sheed, Camby, Cartwright, Shrempf). After the switch, the defender will play the big man tight to deny the jumper and force them to put the ball on the floor where Harlem can go for the steal. Harlem’s speed allows them to help and recover while still protecting the basket with Sampson and Duncan.
1. Harlem will be ready for Rodman. We expect Rodman to try to jam the tri when Hill has the ball. Although Hill is mentally stronger than a young Pippen was, if Rodman succeeds, then Jordan will take the initiator role in the half court, while Hill will go up on weak side to bring Rodman away from basket. That also means 4 (Sampson or Horry) will join weak side leaving the sole post defender on Duncan along with 2 weak perimeter defenders (Magic/T-Mac). Harlem then just runs Duncan in the post with a basic post split. (3 would be MJ, 2 would be Hill in this scenario).
2. If Jordan gets hot early, Sweden will be forced to put Rodman on him. Then, Harlem will run the 2-man game with 4 setting a pick for MJ. (play shown in Offense part 4). If Sweden switches, MJ takes the big man off the driblle. If they double, MJ throws to Sampson in front of the basket where he can go for the layup or dump it to Duncan when help comes. (see :50 mark for examples of Sampson to Hakeem - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGj4W9V-wCk)
3. If Magic is hurting Hill in the post, Horry will get more minutes guarding Magic, with Hill defending another perimeter player or non-scoring big man (i.e. Rodman, Camby).
4. If Jordan gets into foul trouble guarding McGrady (a rarity since MJ only averaged 2.4 fouls per game) or if MJ has to be fireman to another perimeter threat, then Aaron McKie comes in to be physical on T-Mac.
Closing lineup will be Harper, MJ, Hill, Horry, and Duncan. Harlem expects Sweden to finish with Magic, TMac, Rodman, Wallace, and Cartwright.
On offense, Harlem will put the ball in the hands of the best closer in the game. MJ and Horry will play the 2-man game, with Hill giving Duncan a back screen on the weak side and Harper spotting up for 3. Harlem expects Rodman to be on Jordan late so Horry will set the pick then spot up behind the arc. Sweden will have to pick their poison as MJ will look to attack the basket with shooters around him and Duncan ready to roll to the basket.
On defense, Hill is on Magic, MJ on Tmac, Harper is on Rodman, Horry is on Wallace and Duncan on Cartwright. If Schrempf is in to finish over Cartwright, then Harper takes him and Duncan has Rodman. Again, Harlem is playing straight up with no double-teams on Magic to make him a scorer. We’re rushing any shooters off kick outs to make them put it on the floor where TOs can happen and Duncan is protecting the basket.
7. Why we win
1. MJ is the superstar Magic couldn’t overcome, and who passed him in Finals MVPs and ring count for GOAT status.
2. Harlem has the younger athletic bodies to wear Magic down and neutralize his normal height advantage, taking away his pet moves.
3. Harlem’s size and athleticism makes them better than Sweden at their own transition game. Like an Olympic runner being left behind by Usain Bolt.
4. Duncan wears out the big men of Sweden so they can’t attack on offense or help on defense.
5. Harlem’s 2-way players forces Sweden to either have a scoring lineup or defensive one, leaving players who can be exploited on the court. Sweden has to choose to try and score to catch up or defend to keep from getting ran over – Harlem’s versatility doesn’t allow them to matchup to do both.
Will the Magic Act survive or will the Sandman sweep him off the Apollo stage?
1. Minutes by Position: Sweden: My first interest is the wanding of Cartwright and then generally going small by playing him just 6 minutes of dirty work and putting Sheed at the C for 12. Sheed ends up playing 2 more minutes than Magic. (I might have been tempted to risk the wand and give Magic a couple of minutes at C for a spark/nostalgia, but this is a lengthy team...so Cartwright would be a helpful bigman to have). Regardless, Magic could have stood a few more minutes in a big game.
Harlem: On the other side, we see both big guns of MJ and Duncan going 40. Both can handle that. Duncan probably won't have to worry about fouls because he won't be banged in the post, the bigs on the other team will be perimeter oriented, and he'll be almost hiding defensively on his Rodman assignment. Horry and Miles get a combined 18 minutes at the PF (6 for Miles). Both teams willing to play a little small.
2. Sales Job: Nice job by Sweden bringing the head-to-head stats at a couple positions. Duncan had one monster game against Sheed in Duncan's year and three subpar games. However...in Sheed's chosen year (of which he will be playing in), Duncan shot .577 against him with a 28 ppg avg. So, on further review it's not so clear cut a case of stats.
Meanwhile...Harlem also pulls a reference to the '05 Finals match up of Sheed vs. Duncan. We're all over the calendar with our Sheed/Duncan stats! I'm going to make like Tim and go, "I can't hear you, la la la la la la la..."
Harlem does a nice job pulling a quote from Magic on Sugar, and Magic is right. The two have very similar parts of their game and aggressiveness. Magic still put up a crazy 22.5 ppg and 12.8 assists this season. (The PV quote about Zeke in that video was more damning if a head to head aver arises there).
Overall, some nice points made by both sides...but no knock-out blows.
3. Offense: Harlem: Harlem puts a strong emphasis on up-tempo ball with a quarter of their attack trying to push the pace. With Magic on the other end of the court, chances are we get to see some up-and-down ball. They will then transition into the Tri, featuring MJ/Duncan and going after Magic on the D end. They will be isolating Jordan on TMac on the wing. This is going to cause plenty of issues for the Meatballs. Probably more issues than any that Magic has to deal with.
They work the ball into Duncan in the Tri. The occasional fronts that will be thrown at Duncan in the post are prepared for as the Triangle goes to its effective counters. Good anticipation here. Harlem also sets up plays to help counter the perimeter switches is suspected correctly that Sweden would throw up against them. Overall, some nice job of anticipating some of the nuances of Sweden's D and prepping the team.
Sweden: They are going to wisely look to get the ball in Magic's hands and push the tempo at every opportunity. Their half-court offensive cocktail includes, of course, the ICE...give-and-go action with cutters going to the hoop. They better hope that Magic and TMac can make the plays here because Rodman will bog it down as they sag off him to clog the lanes.
They'll go for some post rub/side screen action which should get the ball into Magic's hands attacking the middle of the lane. Magic, Sheed and TMac will all have some opportunities here, but I suspect Sheed will be getting some pick and pops or Magic will try to find others with the lane clogged. Camby should be able to spread the floor for some of his money jumpers off that. The problem here, again, might be Rodman. He'll be packing the lane as people leave him if he drifts anywhere. So, in the end, I suspect this will probably amount to some open looks for both the shooting big men.
The Hawk offensive sent should allow T-Mac some decent opportunities and make MJ work a bit. Having Magic find him or with the threat of his attack off the ball should result in a few scores. The ball reverse counter, again, probably fails because Rodman's defender can sag off him to help defend against the high-low. Without the threat of a midrange shot, the high-low plays are tough to make. Four Down will be used about half the amount of time as the other half-court plays, and again, those are only used when they are not breaking, so this likely is only a few times in the game. Success or failure here won't make or break the team.
Offensively, there is no mention of using Magic in the post.
4. Defense: Sweden: With its perimeter length, Sweden will switch when needed defensively. This will help them against some of the screen action and two-man games. Even though Harlem has prepped its offense for this, it should still be fairly effective. Magic will even lay back a bit to protect the drive. There's a lot of straight up play relying on shotblockers, except for when Magic sits and the Jordan Rules come to play (so probably 4 minutes depending on rotations). They will also invite the pass to Sampson, then go after him. However, Harlem isn't looking to make that a key point of their attack.
There is no mention of Iguodala defensively, but he gets 12 minutes at SG. Playing up his D skills a little more might have helped. Of course, not mentioning Jalen's 12 minutes at PG, also helps...
Harlem: Hill gets the assignment on the Magic Man, with some help in full court from Horry and Miles. The idea here is to get some athletic length against Magic and to slow him down. Miles is in over his head with this assignment in a big game, and he's the type of guy Magic would get into foul trouble. Horry is smart and crafty and should be able to avoid that trouble.
Harlem preps for Magic in the post and will let him go solo and get his points. However, this won't be a point of attack from Sweden. Duncan will be on Rodman and the big guard, Sugar, will take Camby. It's a curveball, but it likely lands for a strike.
5. Adjustments: Sweden looks at Jordan Rules or shutting down his teammates, trying to play both sides of a very difficult fence. TMac will have his hands full. And with ATL talent, so will the others.
Harlem has a series of adjustments for things that don't appear will happen.
6. Closing: Harlem has some good closers and makes the switch of Harper for Sugar down the stretch and Horry at PF. MJ, of course, will be the late-game man.
Sweden will likely have the Magic, TMac, Schrempf, Rodman and Wallace lineup on the floor at this point. MJ will likely have his way with whomever is put on him. There is no mention of who is on him, but the Jordan Rules will like go in effect. There are some solid shooters around MJ at this point, which will make things very tough for Sweden.
7. And the winner is... With the break going, Sweden is at its most potent. This is where they bring it. Harlem tries some things with bigger, athletic defenders, but they aren't Pippen. The half-court offense for Sweden, however, becomes highly perimeter oriented. Sure, there will be some dribble penetration and some nice hits off passes...but Sheed will fade to the perimeter, Camby doesn't have enough in his back pocket to abuse a smaller player, and Magic is not set up in this game as a post threat. He's a load in the post and Harlem was going to give up some points with Grant Hill single coverage. There are a lot of different offensive sequences that will feature some of Magic's passing or threat to drive, but with Duncan able to sag off Rodman and patrol the paint, the D will tighten up in the interior and make things very difficult for Magic and Co. Low-post scoring is vital in the playoffs.
On the other end, MJ is going to give TMac trouble. Lots of it. We also have the battle of stats with the Duncan/Sheed defensive matchup. In Sheed's defensive year chosen, he got lit up in the head-to-head numbers that weren't posted. And, though, he held him well in Duncan's offensive year for all but one big game, I think offense becomes easier for Duncan in this game when he is surrounded by ATL offensive talent vs. his Spur talent. He puts together a strong game.
Harlem has a lead late in the game, which leads to a Sweden switch. Harlem also brings out it's shooters late in the game to help spread the floor for their stars.
Yes, I have to say it... For the Magic Man, there is no Showtime at the Apollo. Harlem takes it.
They have excellent defense, and pretty good offense, although Camby and Rodman may be offensive liabilities.
Can they handle the dynamic duo of Michael Jordan and Tim Duncan, the greatest Shooting Guard and Power Forward?
They have the greatest Shooting Guard and the greatest Power Forward in Michael Jordan and Tim Duncan, as well as a nice scorer in Grant Hill, a good ball handler in Richardson, and a big guy in Sampson. They also have a clutch player in Horry.
Will Jordan be able to do it on both ends of the floor without an outstanding defender like Pippen with him? Will Duncan be able to score on Rasheed? Will Horry hit another big shot? Why am I asking you these questions!?!
I sat in a first class plane on my way to the arena, and had courtside seats.
Ralph Sampson easily won the tipoff against Camby, and Michael Jordan quickly scored on the other end. Sweden started 0-3, and Harlem soon had an 8-0 lead, before Coach Jamas33 called a timeout. Soon, the game began turning, though. Magic was brilliant with the Ice Offense, and it lead to many cuts to the baskets, and many points. The Hawk offense made Michael Jordan work to stop McGrady, wearing him down, but Duncan held Wallace scoreless. Jordan started missing on the other end, Magic was making plays, Camby was effectively stopping Sampson, Rodman did a pretty good job on Hill, and Wallace held Duncan to a low shooting percentage.
On the other side, though, Michael Ray Richardson was burning Magic Johnson, he was going right at him, and Magic wasn't quick enough to stop him. Despite not being as brilliant on offense as normal, Michael Jordan still scored quite a bit on Mcgrady, who isn't a very good defender. Grant Hill was preventing Magic Johnson from dominating the game, and Duncan was preventing Wallace from scoring on him, just as Wallace was doing to Duncan.
At the end of the first quarter, the score was 30-27, advantage Sweden.
In the second quarter, Harlem's bench was outplayed by Sweden's, and Sweden went on a 15-6 run, before the Harlem starters came back in. However, they only managed to keep the deficit at 12 before the quarter ended, 59-47, Sweden.
In the third quarter, Harlem started to play very well. Jordan was unstoppable, and Richardson managed to get by Johnson several times. Grant Hill started to catch fire, and Robert Horry came off the bench for 2 minutes and hit two threes. The only negatives for them was Sampson turned the ball over a few times, and Duncan still shoot well against Rasheed Wallace. At the end of the quarter, though, they had broken even, 80-80.
In the fourth, they were neck and neck, but when Harlem's starters had to rest, the players off their relatively weak bench were unable to hold, and they were down by 5 with 4 minutes to go. Horry hit a three to cut it to two, and then their closers came in.
With only 30 second left, the game was tied. Michael Jordan brought the ball up the court, and passed it to Sampson in the post, but Sampson fumbled it, and both Horry and Dennis Rodman grabbed onto it. With :16 to go, there was a jump ball, which was won by Horry. Mcgrady brought the ball down the court, and passed it to Magic. Magic set a screen, and passed it to Mcgrady, who hit a fade away at the buzzer.
Sweden goes with a 9-man rotation, keeps Camby fresh, no one is at the limit of their minutes. Harlem assumes no foul trouble for Duncan or Sampson as one of them is at center for 46 of the 48. Miles gets six minutes at 4, Iguodala 12 minutes at 2, ok.
Sweden makes the case for Sheed limiting Duncan to 40% from the floor in the year selected for Tim, but that’s not the year chosen for Wallace. Harlem makes the case for Sheed giving up 20 and 10 and only scoring 10 ppg but it’s two years after the season for Duncan and three for Wallace.
Taking the leafblower of truth to all this smoke, I averaged the head-to-head in the seasons chosen for each. Duncan 23.5/11.2/4.5 on .505 shooting. Sheed 13.3/6.6/1.3 on .355 shooting. It’s Duncan that shuts down Sheed in the years chosen more than the reverse. Wallace has a proven history of making Tim work, but per the numbers in these seasons Duncan is shooting 50%.
Sweden argues that Rodman’s defense turns Grant Hill into a volume shooter. True but there’s another number in there worth noting, Hill averaged 7.5 assists per game, including three games with 11 assists or more. Hill’s shooting won’t work in this game but his passing will.
Harlem argues Sweden can’t run on them. Faster athletes, good defenders, Hill with equal size and decent speed on Magic. The Knights are well positioned for transition defense since they the run the triangle. However, Harlem completely blows a golden opportunity by providing no specific plan to use Sugar Ray and his 3.2 spg as a free safety in transition aggressively overplaying the passing lanes or to double Magic and get poke steals.
Harlem mentions the result they seek, Magic’s 4.1 turnovers, but never mentions how to create them other than size bumping Magic and getting back. So per the game plan Sugar’s just running back and then he mans up on the 6-11 Camby. Magic doesn’t have to weave his way against Hill and run clock, just lob it to Camby and go. Harlem gets back effectively but the big turnover numbers in transition that they would have created with Sugar Ray, gone.
Sweden on offense/Harlem on defense
Sweden wants to run at every opportunity but Harlem has the athletes and the offensive spacing to get back in transition. There are times when Magic will be able to lead the break effectively via the Camby outlet at half court when Richardson is on him or running off long boards, but it won’t be the consistent weapon it was in the first round.
Richardson on Camby. The surprise and genius of it earns six minutes of that matchup. The adjustment would be instantaneous in a real game, six minutes is generous. It’s just not realistic to expect a team to ignore the fact that a point guard is on its center all game long. It’s one thing to say a judge can’t assume adjustments, but 1 on the 5, no coach with a brain stem would ever let that one go for long.
Punishing Sweden because they didn’t foresee Richardson on Camby? No. A line has to be drawn at common sense adjustments that even a 3rd grader makes and this would be one of them. Camby posts up and dominates the offensive glass until Harlem has to change, which forces Richardson to defend McGrady or Rodman with the assumption that Harlem will value size on Magic above all. Duncan goes to Camby, Jordan to McGrady or Rodman. This adjustment leads to more points for McGrady in open jumpers, a few steals for Richardson, more boards for Rodman, and the end of the Camby transition outlet.
ICE begins with give and go to Magic, but with handchecks and similar size Hill can deny that most of the time. Unfortunately for Sweden none of the cuts call for the 5 to go to the hoop. Side Screen should have some success, Magic with a step on Hill off the pick, TMac and Sheed running p/r. McGrady will get picked by Sugar and Jordan but when he keeps the ball he’s a triple threat.
Hawk gives TMac room coming off the Rodman screen with Sheed as a midrange/finish outlet. Duncan goes under the Rodman pick to deny penetration and then relies on his length to close and get a hand in TMac’s face. When Jordan and Richardson are defending Dennis they try to go over and under, gives McGrady finish opportunities. Weak side help will be much tougher defending Hawk with Schrempf at 3 forcing his man to extend.
Four down with Magic and 3 shooters will produce open looks.
The concern for Sweden on offense is the lack of high percentage looks. The running game isn’t on automatic with numbers, McGrady penetration isn't there consistently. Points in the paint are low, the Meatballs are living off jumpers.
Harlem on offense/Sweden on defense
Harlem plans to run on Magic with Richardson and it’s particularly effective in the first six minutes while Sugar Ray is on Camby and can release early. After that, Sweden’s offensive sets usually end with one guard high and one guard attacking low. Therefore Richardson is in a 1-on-1 vs. Magic or Tmac. Sweden did not provide any transition D scheme. Sugar Ray hauls in touchdown passes when Magic is the man back and just gets flat out beat downcourt.
Triangle sets up Jordan to take McGrady solo on the wing, Duncan vs. Sheed mid-block. Sweden plans to mix it up with some fronts on Duncan, but with Hill as the post entry passer the power layup wrinkle works. Again, Hill won’t score at a high % vs. Dennis but he has a proven history of effective passing against him.
Closing…and the winner is…
Magic makes those around him better, no question. Magic as a passer and Sheed and Rodman as screeners will lift McGrady’s game and as a result Tmac gets his and more, even on great defenders in Jordan and Richardson. Sheed can do some damage on Sampson off screens and with Magic setting him up.
So ultimately it comes down to this, can Sweden’s big two score enough to offset Harlem’s more consistent higher percentage scoring? TMac and Sheed put up around 50+. Harlem has Jordan vs. TMac on an island, Duncan shooting around 50% vs. Sheed and beating the fronts, Hill with a proven history of effective passing against Rodman, Richardson catching bombs as he beats Magic downcourt. Even if the Jordan rules are put into effect and work, Harlem can just turn to Duncan. The Knights have too much working and Sweden needs too many points from TMac, Sheed and the bench to keep pace. Harlem wins.
No huge risks by either team. Some guys get big minutes, but this IS the playoffs and that is how it should be.
Sweden tries to sell the idea that Sheed can effectively guard Duncan one on one. However, Harlem correctly counters that, yes, he’s had success but he also is limited by foul trouble. Using Sweden’s numbers, Sheed played only 33.3mpg and had 3.8 fouls in the four contests in question. Sweden calls for Sheed to play 40mins leading to foul trouble all night for Sheed.
While it is true Magic struggled with size, Sugar isn’t small, and putting him on Camby is going to take a huge toll on his body over the course of the game. How is Sugar going to deny Camby on the boards? This is very Don Nelsonesque. In this case, Harlem has out-thought the game and the unconventional move is too unconventional and will cause problems all games. Camby isn’t floating around the perimeter all game as anticipated.
Harlem overrates the athletic advantage they possess over Sweden. Yes, it is there, but it isn’t dominant or clear cut by any stretch of the imagination.
Perhaps the most important sale point raised: Harlem’s lack of three-point shooting. Floor balance is ALWAYS more important than well-rounded skill sets or individual talent. The court must be spaced or things WILL get jammed.
Sweden on offense/Harlem on defense
Sweden wants to run at every opportunity. Transition defense is the crux of this game. Sweden anticipates the full court pressure on Magic and uses T-Mac as a relief handler. MJ can’t pressure the ball as well he used to at this stage of his career as he was always more of a roamer than a man to man lock-down defender in his later stages. T-Mac is capable of this role and will perform it admirably. However, Sweden will not get to run as much as it wants because they finally face a team that will keep the rebounding battle at a near deadlock.
ICE takes advantage of Magic’s natural ability to read initial defensive sets and exploit their overplays. Harlem plans to hound Magic for the full length of the court in order to help deny early offense. He will get his wish in that regard, but Sweden has correctly anticipated the defensive strategy and selected an offense that relieves the pressure.
With Sweden running side screen the entire game, the pick and roll defensive strategies set in place by Harlem become essential. Harlem has decided he wants to switch the pick and roll because of his team length. Well, in this case, that results in Grant Hill trying to defend Sheed in the post and Sampson trying to defend Magic out on the wing. Because of this, Sheed gets the easy looks that Harlem so desperately wanted to avoid.
Going after 95-96 Mike is a brilliant move. At this point in career, he was simply an overrated defender living off of his reputation as a stopper in the early 90s (one he deserved). There were points during the second three-peat where Pippen not only took the hardest perimeter cover, but Harper took the second hardest leaving Jordan on the weakest wing (Pooh Richardson lit Jordan up at one point. Who? Exactly.). Jordan never defended anyone like T-Mac in his entire career (this goes both ways) and this will make him work harder than he ever previously did at an advanced stage in his career. 02-03 T-Mac is one of the 10 greatest offensive individual seasons available to chose from in this game.
Using Four Down plays into the defensive strategy that Harlem has laid out. He is fine with Magic posting up Hill at the top of the key. He wants Magic to be a scorer ala Tony Parker. However, he just may get his wish. Hill will significantly slow Magic and this strategy won’t be effective as Sweden anticipates (no double comes so those great shooters aren’t getting what Sweden expects), but it certainly won’t be shut down as Magic is going to beat Hill his fair share of times out of this set.
Harlem on offense/Sweden on defense
Expecting 25% of the Harlem offense to come in transition is out of the question with these level of players in the game. Harlem is going to dominate the rebounding battle by any stretch of the imagination; they will lose that battle, but not by much. Harlem see’s some success in transition particularly when Sugar Ray gets the ball and goes to work against a back pedaling Magic who simply cannot defense this action. However, there just won’t be enough opportunities to get 25% of the offense in transition.
The triangle puts Jordan and Duncan in their element. Hill is a great fit as a point forward as well, but it does take Sugar Ray out of the game who, simply put, is not a triangle player. The game starts off with Jordan destroying T-Mac. Jordan rules go into effect and Jordan starts to get hammered. However, this has adverse effects in addition to slowing down Jordan. Sheed, already dealing with foul trouble, gets his seat even quicker. By enacting the Jordan Rules, Mike gets PISSED and when that happens… Look out. That said, the triangle will be jammed on occasion. With Rodman defending Hill and no 3-pt shooting presence to space the court, Sweden has an easier time packing it in against the tri.
Making Magic work is always a great idea, but it is an ever better idea to attack him on an island rather than a pick and roll situation where he can use his IQ to disrupt timing. Taking Camby out to the perimeter makes his helpside D suffer, but it puts him in a situation where he can use his lateral quickness to disrupt the two man game. Two man game is effective with the shot blockers pulled away and will help Harlem get easy baskets most of the night, but it will also produce timely turnovers as Magic and Camby are both great anticipators who are defending turnover prone players.
Harlem anticipated Rodman instead of the Jordan rules. Jordan rules resorts in foul trouble for Sweden’s big man. According to his adjustments, if Sheed is in foul trouble, Dennis gets the Duncan assignment. Dennis can only do so much in the post against people that much bigger than him. When defenders are ran at Duncan, he will find the open man who will knock down the shot at a respectable rate, but Dennis will also bother him to the point of 1-2 key turnovers.
Harlem incorrectly anticipates the intentions of Sweden and Sweden makes very little change. Harlem addresses the floor balance issue in the closing minutes which finally utilizes their best pieces in the correct way allowing for an explosive finish.
And the winner is…
Both teams are always looking to run. Both teams think they are the better running team, but only one is correct; Sweden. Sweden wins the rebounding battle and Harlem limits their transition game greatly by making it infinitely harder to grab defensive rebounds thanks to Sugar on Camby. In the half court, the game starts out with T-Mac proving he is capable of certain point duties that Harlem didn’t give him credit for.
Using the ICE offense, Sweden wears down some of the defensive pressure. Sheed and Magic are exposing Harlem’s defensive game plan to switch the pick and roll/pops against Side Screen. On the other end, Jordan is shredding T-Mac early and the Jordan rules come into effect; Jordan has never worked so hard in his life having to defend T-Mac AND compete with the Jordan rules. Sheed is slowing Duncan, but collecting fouls in isolation against him as well as when he hammers Jordan upon his Airness’ entry into the paint.
Though Sweden has a sizeable early lead thanks to the above factors and the poor floor balance of Harlem, Sheed picks up a critical foul that sends him out of the game and the dynamics change. Suddenly, Duncan can operate in the post with great efficiency and Jordan isn’t as scared of going into the paint against Schrempf. Harlem takes a knife and carves out a huge chunk of the lead. The benches come into the game and Harlem’s poor floor balance is now fantastic.
With Sweden’s shooters in the game, Magic goes to Four Down which plays right into Harlem’s hands. Harlem snatches the lead from Magic’s Swedes and a critical timeout is needed. Sheed comes back into the game and Harlem see’s the lead change hands once more, but it doesn’t grow quite so fast this time as the Knights began attacking Magic in the two man game with a good degree of success.
The last 5 minutes approach and Harlem is clinging onto a 5 point lead using their successful ICE offense. However, with Harper and Horry in the game, the spacing opens the lanes for Jordan and Duncan gets room on the block, but still struggles against Sheed.
With 3 minutes left, Sheed picks up his 6th and final foul as the lead has been cut to 2 points. With Sweden’s man defense against Duncan rendered ineffective without Sheed and the Jordan rules failing to stop Jordan’s drive and kick game, Harlem owns the closing minutes as Harper knocks down a big 3 and Horry gets two. Duncan gets high % looks in the post and the fiery Jordan just can’t be stopped. Magic does his best to keep the game close, but with T-Mac beginning to fail and no offense in the post without Sheed, he just can’t keep them in the game. Harlem wins going away by 6.
Harlem wins 3-1 and advances to the eastern conference final.
With only 30 second left, the game was tied. Michael Jordan brought the ball up the court, and passed it to Sampson in the post, but Sampson fumbled it, and both Horry and Dennis Rodman grabbed onto it. With :16 to go, there was a jump ball, which was won by Horry. Mcgrady brought the ball down the court, and passed it to Magic. Magic set a screen, and passed it to Mcgrady, who hit a fade away at the buzzer.
I'll let you know now - Sampson ain't getting no touches in the post again.
This is how he'll be treated.
And Sampson ain't got any trash cans or guns.
That said - closing minutes I have Horry in for Sampson anyway. If he's really in the game he deserves what Eddie got above.
Joined: 24 Dec 2007 Posts: 34315 Location: Santa Clarita, CA (Hell) ->>>>>Ithaca, NY -≥≥≥≥≥Berkeley, CA
Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:06 pm Post subject:
This was a really hard one to judge for me, but in the end, I picked Sweden because I felt they had a stronger bench, although it took me a while to decide. I made several typos in my write-up, I actually meant that Rodman won the tip and gave it to Magic.
Good luck to Harlem in the next round! _________________ Damian Lillard shatters Dwight Coward's championship dreams:
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