Posted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:41 am Post subject: ATL Championship: Barcelona @ Harlem
Heavyweight championship of the world comes to the Apollo. Eastern champ Harlem hosts western champ Barcelona, even though Barcelona is very east of Harlem. This isn't geography it's hoops. One game winner take all.
Since Harlem was a 1 seed and Barca a 2, 2Cleva gets the call on game rules.
C – Hakeem Olajuwon 38, Jermaine O’Neal 10
PF – Jermaine O’Neal 20, Shawn Kemp 28
SF – Larry Johnson 34, Dan Majerle 14
SG – Penny Hardaway 26, Drazen Petrovic 22
PG – Alvin Robertson 36, Penny Hardaway 12
2. Sales Job
Let me start with Jordan’s Kryptonite, Penny Hardaway. In Penny, Jordan found someone just as athletic and fearsome as him. If you check their head to head you will see that Superman has met his Kryptonite. In the years we picked, Jordan shot 48/122 for a shooting percentage of .39! while Penny shot 47/93 for a shooting percentage of .51! in his lifetime Air was outshot by Penny .462 to .432. Jordan’s lifetime shooting vs the League. .50% vs Penny .43% http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/h2h_finder.cgi?request=1&p1=jordami01&p2=hardaan01
Second Interesting Matchup pits Michael Ray Richardson who averaged 4.4 Turnover a game against the master thief, Alvin Robertson 3.7 Steals per game. Alvin stole the ball an NBA record 301 times in his DPOY Year!
This is one team that can match up and exceed the Jordan/Duncan combo, a better supporting starters and a tremendous bench. I can’t stress it enough Our strongest defensive players are at the two most crucial position to attack an offense. DPOY at PG and DPOY at C.
Attacking Sampson and Hill to take them out of the game. Resulting in Duncan battling my frontcourt and losing his legs by the end of the game. Jordan has to do it all against a team of Hakeem(MVP/DPOY) , Penny(1st Team All NBA, JO/Kemp(2nd Team All NBA), LJ(2nd Team All NBA) , Robertson(DPOY).
4. Offense A. Early Quick Hitting Offense into the Base Cross Offense.
1. VS. Sampson – Early Post Isolation.
Post Up. Alvin dribble wing looking to feed Hakeem posting. If/when Sampson plays on the high side of Hakeem, Alvin passes to Penny in corner for baseline feed.
Post Flash. If/when Sampson fronts Hakeem, Hakeem seals off Sampson and Alvin reverses the ball to JO for post feed to Hakeem flashing across the key or pass to LJ. LJ looks to feed Hakeem on flash. After JO passes to LJ, He sets downscreen to free Penny up for an elbow jumpshot.
This play is designed to keep Hakeem posting and flashing across the lane. Hardest to defend post player when he moves.
This early offensive attack accomplishes two things:
a) The spacing and early offense prevents setting up defensive set or double teams vs. Hakeem.
b) Keeping Hakeem moving thru the key, will result in better post positions and keep Sampson off balance and resulting in hacking, blocking, reaching fouls.
2. VS. Hill – Early Post Offense
Double Screen. Penny at point passes to Alvin and rubs off Hakeem's high post screen. If/when Penny does not receive ball, He continues weakside and sets double screen with JO/Kemp for LJ, who cuts to the basket. If LJ doesn’t get it then it goes to
Base Screen. Ball is reversed to Penny popping out off JO/Kemp's screen. Penny takes ball wingside on dribble and looks for LJ coming off JO/Kemp's base screen.
Main point for this offense – We use this when they are concentrating on doubling Hakeem because he is eating Sampson for dinner.
Hakeem starts in the same position. Low blocks but this time he moves High Post. Creates the spacing for LJ, Penny, JO/Kemp to work the offense.
Both Early Offenses (VS Sampson and VS Hill) flows into
The Base Cross Offense. http://www.cybersportsusa.com/hooptactics/basecross.asp
The Base cross takes advantage of our best player, Hakeem posting up and with LJ (250lbs) and JO/Kemp setting up screens. Worst case scenario the ball ends up with Penny isolated at the top of the key,
Where he display his Brilliance.
Hakeem Sets Pick For LJ then moves weakside low block. Option 1B—sets Screen for Penny.Baylor Comes Around Pick and sets up at Wing
JO comes to free throw line and sets up high post
Penny to wing creates spacing.
Alvin to open spot for possible kickout and ball reversal to Penny.
NOTE: If Penny Plays the 1, Drazen plays at 2
1A. LJ isolated on the wing.
1B. JO isolated at high post
A. If Ralph switches to LJ 2 huge mismatches
1. LJ vs Ralph Iso on wing = 2 points or foul trouble
2. Hakeem on Low Block vs. Hill
B. If Ralph Stays with Hakeem and Hill Makes it out to LJ
1. LJ midblock post up Hill or option 2. Goes to Wing,
2. Penny on low block after a Hakeem Screen. (Screen is to slow down Jordan)
Why this offense is unstoppable:
This offense has many options. It creates mismatches LJ vs Sampson on wing, Hakeem vs. Hill on the low blocks. Penny vs. MRR on low blocks.
JO at High Post can hit elbow jumpshot or can hit either Wing player for open 17-23 (for Drazen) footers or backdoor cuts. JUST WAY TOO MANY OPTIONS.
Penny or Drazen on the Weakside can either use Hakeem screen to establish low post position, Or wait for ball reversal and Penny/Drazen Iso on wing or open 3.
a.) Offense will be run when Horry comes with this lineup Hakeem, JO, LJ, Petrovic and Hardaway.
LJ will ISO up top vs. Horry , Hakeem and JO on the blocks with Petrovic 45% and Hardaway .35% Camping out at three land.
b.) Another variation of the four down will be run with. Hakeem, JO, Majerle, Petrovic, Hardaway.
Hardaway ISO up top, Hakeem and JO on the blocks with Petrovic .45% and Majerle .39% camping out at three.
D. Running Game 15%
a.) We will run when the opportunity presents itself, This team is full of athletic running players. Even Hakeem can run. When they slow down the running game, we will implement quick offense (see above).
b.) We will run with Drazen and Kemp in the lineup. Drazen can set up for three point shots and great bball instinct.
Highlights of Drazen battling Jordan and Pippen.
1. Man to Man –a.) Alvin on MRR – Alvin will apply ball pressure to MRR or Hill (whomever brings the ball up court), Things we hope to accomplish. Alvin holds the record for most steals in a season with 301 steals and highest per game average with 3.7 spg.
b.) MRR’s High Turnover numbers 4.4 TO/g and Hill’s 3.2 TO/g vs the Best On-Ball steal man in the history of the game .
c.) If they use the triangle offense – The triangle needs to time to fully develop. Full court ball pressure on MR or Hill forces them to start the triangle at 14 to 16 seconds remaining on the shot clock.
Man to Man Coverage:Alvin /MRR-Steal Champion vs Turnover Champion
Penny/Jordan – See above link on Penny vs Jordan stats
LJ /Hill – LJ has limited Grant Hill to shooting only .43%
2. Olajuwon on Duncan pits the DPOY Olajuwon vs Duncan. Olajuwon is quicker just as long and more explosive than Duncan. The only chance Duncan would have vs Olajuwon is if he starts making turnaround fadeways.
3. JO on Sampson – We started JO because we love his Length. With JO and Olajuwon as our big men, we have two shotblocking anchors that can help on any penetration. JO 2.6 BPG and Hakeem 3.7 BPG
2. DEFENSE VS. THE TRIANGLE – Trapping the Initiator
1. Alvin pressures full court and forces MRR to near sideline checkpoint. When MRR passes to Wing, Alvin denies MRR basket cut and then releases and traps Initiator with Wing Defender. Penny and JO/Kemp rotate to Helpside "I" positions on trap. Hakeem fronts post Duncan ready to close out to open MRR. Wing Defender pushes Initiator to corner checkpoint trapping Initiator with Alvin.
2. When Initiator passes out of trap to MRR, Hakeem closes out to MRR forcing him baseline and trapping him. Alvin plays passing lane, JO switches to Duncan and wing defender drops to paint. (see illustration)
3. All Defensive rotations moves as soon as ball leaves passer’s hand.
3. Transition Defense – Alvin has the responsibility of the outlet pass/Main Ballhandler while Drazen and/or Penny will run back to have basket responsibility. Hakeem or JO will pressure the inbound passer if they try to run on made baskets.
6. Second Half Adjustment - A.) Offensive Adjustment – Using Penny more vs MJ thru the base cross http://www.cybersportsusa.com/hooptactics/earlyoff/eo38basecrossside.asp
or 4 Down Iso
NOTE: if they use MRR on Penny we run Barcelona with Penny post after screen
If they use Grant Hill vs Penny, we will post LJ on the blocks vs MRR or Jordan.
B.) Crunch Time – We will run Base cross and Barcelona (because they look similar) and can be run numerous ways.
C.) Defensive Adjusment
Alvin on Michael – Barcelona’s Jordan Rules “Alvin on MJ” When MJ penetrates Alvin will funnel him towards his two anchors (Hakeem and JO).
Alvin will try to funnel Michael towards the baseline where the baseline becomes the 3rd defender. Passing out of this TRIPLE team only goes one way.
Jordan vs. Alvin/Hakeem/Baseline
Jordan vs. Alvin/JO/Baseline
Jordan vs. Alvin/Kemp/Baseline
When Sampson gets the ball inside we will double team him hard, forcing him to be a playmaker with his 4+ TO per game.
c.) Three Point Defense: When he brings in his outside shooters, Our guards and forwards will stay at home with them. They can afford this with having TWO shotblocking anchors in Hakeem (DPOY) and JO. MJ, Horry and Harper are their best outside shooter. If Horry comes in we will cross match him with Kemp vs Horry on offense http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/h2h_finder.cgi?request=1&p1=kempsh01&p2=horryro01 and LJ/Majerle on defense. NO OPEN THREE!
d.) Transition Defense – addressed above.
NOTE: When he has his starters in the game, We will concede to Hill and MRR the open three point shot.
Couple of adjustment
A. If Alvin gets in foul trouble – The Nanny Stopper will be used for defense and LJ will help with bringing the ball up court.
B. If Hakeem gets in foul trouble – Kemp will come in early and JO moves over to C
C. If they full court pressure – We have three great ball handlers at PG, SG and SF and Bring Hakeem up to Centercourt for a release pass and have Drazen/Majerle run downcourt spot up for a three while Kemp runs towards the basket.
D. If Harper and Horry heats up, We have great perimeter defenders in Patterson, Majerle and Robertson.
We will close the game with Penny, Alvin, LJ, JO, Olajuwon.
Defensively, Alvin on MJ with help when he funnels him.
Offensively we will run the base cross, Penny will determine how to attack them. Hakeem at low post, or Iso for LJ at wing/low blocks or Penny at Top of Key. Another Option is the Pamplona Offense using screens and mismatches to get the best shot.
8. Why we win
Overall Talent top to bottom is better, We addressed how we are gonna attack the Jordan/Duncan duo. The Defensive brilliance of Alvin and Hakeem is in full effect. We attacked them both offensively and defensively.[/quote]
PG – Sugar 24, Harper 24
SG – Jordan 40, McKie 8
SF – Hill 40, McKie 8
PF – Duncan 20, Horry 28,
C – Sampson 30, Duncan 16, Thomas 2
After first 8 minutes, Sugar will find minutes against the 2nd team of Barcelona, Harper with starters.
With the ultimate prize on the island, Harlem will use its edge in execution, superstars, and game planning to maximize its top players while leveraging Barcelona’s strengths into their weakness.
1. Barcelona made it thanks to overwhelming talent but has its flaws. A lack of creative playmakers besides Penny, Penny is also the main perimeter scorer. They run offenses that require their big men to make decisions with the ball yet none are great passers (average more turnovers than assists combined). Barcelona’s defenders don’t shoot well from outside and their outside shooters can’t defend. Great combined talent but faults to be exploited. Harlem has a balanced attack of 2-way players. Multiple perimeter playmakers. Great post passers. Everyone defends and can guard multiple positions. This is a team that flows together – interchangeable as one, and will use that harmony to their advantage.
2. Harlem has the advantage in experienced closers and relies on guys who have been on the big stage and won consistently. Taking out the heavy hitters (MJ, Duncan, & Hakeem) and by season chosen Harlem went 39-23 in their NBA Finals appearances; Barcelona in comparison was 13-17. Top to bottom, Harlem understands the moment and has had great success under the bright lights.
3. The GOAT Effect. The Finals is the ultimate winning time and it’s where Duncan and Jordan are at their best while Hakeem has failed before. On the biggest stage MJ & Duncan have always produced, going 10-0 in Finals series (40-22) with 9 Finals MVP between them. As a contrast, Hakeem failed in his first trip and is only 10-7. This is the time the cream rises to the top and neither Jordan nor Duncan have been nor will be denied.
4. With the ring so close, Harlem is unleashing its three-point attack. MJ (42.7/40.7 playoffs), Horry (37.4/38.7), and Harper (36.3/57.4) are all deadly from outside. Harper and Horry are getting more minutes this game to stretch the defense of Barcelona and increase the triangle efficiency. Combined with MJ, these knockout shooters put a hurting to Barcelona.
The three point line. For Harlem, the increase in productivity and execution by using the three opens an offense that Barcelona will have trouble keeping up with. For Barcelona, playing their shooters (Petrovic/Majerle) puts a target on the floor that Harlem will attack. This forces Barcelona to either go offense or defense on the perimeter, and not keep balance on the floor.
Strategy: Neutralize Barcelona’s two defensive strengths (Alvin’s steals/Hakeem’s shot blocking) while freeing up Harlem’s stars.
1 – Harlem won’t bring the ball up against Robertson. Alvin’s man will come to the ball, bringing Alvin with him, but the entry pass will be made to the second ball handler behind him (usually Hill).
2 – Duncan will operate in the post, looking for his teammates but also attacking the basket regardless if Hakeem guards him. Horry gets more PT to pull a big man defender way from the basket. Duncan played extremely well against JO in the years chosen and Kemp isn’t a good enough man defender. Barcelona has to choose between defending Duncan straight up and risk foul trouble or playing help defense and getting burned by Horry.
1. Transition - 10%
Harlem will continue to look for easy buckets and push the ball on every opportunity (blocks, steals, & long rebounds). This makes Barcelona’s big men run to defend the entire court as well as take advantage of the creative open floor game of Harlem.
c) 3-point Initiate - If Barcelona tries to sit in Duncan’s lap to deny entry, MJ or Harper (whichever not being guarded by Robertson) initiates instead of Hill and burns Barcelona from 3.
3. 3 Point Barrage/Knock Over the Grandmamma - 30%
LJ trying to defend Hill is where Harlem will often attack to score and free up three-point shooters.
a) Hill Iso – http://img54.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jordanisowv4.jpg
Hill will utilize his playmaking ability and the slowness of Barcelona’s SF by attacking off the dribble and either scoring, kicking it out to the shooters, or dumping it off to Duncan when the big man help comes. Harper and Horry usually are in for these plays.
b) Shooter set-up
A modification to the above set, Duncan alternately sets a screen for each shooter for them to rub off and spot up, determined by who has the hot hand. (Note: the player will be able to catch and shoot, neutralizing steal attempts.)
c) Big man lob
If the defense overplays the screen, Duncan fakes as if he’s coming to set a pick, then rolls off his defender to the basket for the lob from Hill.
a) MJ post - http://www.cybersportsusa.com/hooptactics/offense/triangleSidelinePostIso.asp
In this set, after Hill (1) initiates, Hill and Harper/Sugar(1) cut away from MJ, with the small man undercutting the big defender to free up Duncan (4) to roll to the basket and Hill freeing up Horry(2) for the 3. This gives MJ plenty of room in the mid/low post to rise up and shoot over the 6’3” Robertson or find the open man.
b) 3-point attack – (2) Will be alternated between either hot hand (Horry/Harper) to free them up for the 3.
Matchups: Sugar/Harper on Penny, Jordan on Robertson, Hill on Johnson, Duncan on JO, Sampson on Hakeem. When Horry is in, he’ll defend Hakeem during the 1st 3 quarters. Duncan is primary defender on Hakeem in the 4th.
1. Pick a Penny /Transition D
Sugar and Harper will hound Penny up and down the floor. Sugar will initially try to steal the outlet while Harper will take advantage of hand checking. With their size they make passes tough for Penny while still being able to pressure the ball for steals. In the year chosen, Harper played Penny well, holding him to 43% from the floor.
2. Sagging the D / Letting MJ Roam
Against the starting lineup of Barcelona, Harlem will give up the outside shot to protect the paint and cut down on the slashing to the basket. After facing tough matchups throughout the playoffs, MJ will happily take it easy against Robertson, going under screens and playing the passing lanes as well as dropping down in the post for steals and blocked shots. Duncan will do the same against JO and Kemp – giving them the jumper and helping on Hakeem. With the old school rules, defenders could be in the lane 2.9 seconds off the ball before a penalty is called and the crafty Harlem defenders will take full advantage of that. The paint will be as congested as NY rush hour forcing Barcelona to shoot from outside. Only the shooters will be guarded closely beyond the arc.
3. Bad Dreams for Hakeem
Hakeem can be dominant when going so Harlem will look to deny the ball and swarm Hakeem with multiple defenders on the catch before he goes into his moves. Sampson/Horry will front Hakeem when they can and the weak side defense will take advantage of rules to constantly drop down off their player to help out. Defenders of cutters will delay in the lane next to Hakeem as well. Also, the passer to Hakeem will also drop back down to bother Hakeem. Anyone not guarding a three-point shooter is looking to help on Hakeem. With a nearly 1:1 assist to turnover ratio, even if Barcelona shoots 50% off Hakeem kick outs, 2 out of 3 of these possessions ends with Harlem getting the ball with a chance to run. Shoot worse and it can get ugly for Barcelona.
4. Stop 4-Down
The most effective play for Barcelona in the playoffs has been 4-down so Harlem counters with pressure on the ball, playing LJ and Penny hard to force them baseline. With Harlem using the length, quickness, and steal ability, the initial pass to Hakeem is bothered greatly. LJ is a decent change of pace but not one who can carry a team by playing setup man. Hill will play him for the jumper and be ready to pick his pocket when he goes off the dribble. The D on Penny has already been covered. Hakeem is also always fronted on 4-Down to force Barcelona elsewhere with the ball.
1. Iso game – http://img54.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jordanisowv4.jpg
Anytime Majerle or Petrovic is in the game, it will be a green light to attack as Harlem wants to neutralize the 3 stretching the defense. Whether it’s Jordan, Hill or Sugar – the shooters will be attacked off the dribble constantly until foul trouble or strategy forces them out.
2. Harlem will stay close to Majerle/Petrovic and force them off the line. If Barcelona keeps them on the floor to keep spacing for Hakeem, then the 2 other defenders play loose off their men to help on Hakeem.
3. If Sampson or Horry are in foul trouble, then Williams or Thomas (respectively) will come in for them to prevent Duncan from guarding Hakeem until the 4th. Thomas doesn’t have the 3 range of Horry but can continue the spacing from 15’-18’. Thomas also subs for Duncan.
4. If LJ has success against Hill, then Horry defends LJ with Thomas in for more minutes at the PF spot.
5. Harlem doubles from the wing on all post up attempts from lesser big men (JO/Kemp/LJ/Bonzi), not believing they possess the passing ability to make Harlem pay but preventing Duncan from potential foul trouble.
Lineup: Harper (Alvin), Jordan (Penny), Hill (LJ), Horry (Kemp/JO), and Duncan (Hakeem).
Duncan and Jordan will rest for 3 minutes each in the first 6 minutes of the 4th (Duncan to rest while Hakeem rest, if no Hakeem rest, Duncan sits 1st 3 minutes, MJ sits 2nd 3 minutes).
Barcelona may play LJ at the 4 and a shooter at the 2/3 – then Horry guards LJ, Hill guards Alvin, and Harper guards the shooter.
Offense - Harlem will run MJ Post set to finish the game.
Defense - The plan stays the same, with Harper being more of a roamer while MJ locks up Penny. Horry will look to help of on Hakeem off the PF. If a shooting lineup is in, Horry will give up the outside shot to LJ.
Why Harlem Wins
1 – Barcelona having to pick its poison all night with offense vs. defense either limits their scoring power or makes it a shootout where they can’t get stops.
2 – The swarm on Hakeem takes away the key to Barcelona’s offense and generates easy scores for Harlem.
3 – Barcelona’s secondary offensive threat – the three point shot, becomes a weakness because of Harlem’s attack on the other end.
4 – Harlem neutralizes Barcelona’s defensive strengths by not handling the ball around Alvin and attacking Hakeem with Duncan or pulling Hakeem away with Horry.
5 –GOAT finishers in MJ and Duncan to do what they do with an experienced cast.
The house is packed. DB is given courtside seats. Let's get it on...
Minutes by Position: Barcelona moves JO to the starting line up and runs him 30. Drazen stays put at the SG for 22 minutes. Robertson gets a healthy 36 with Penny backing him up.
For Harlem, Jordan and Hill go 40, while Sugar is reduced to 24. Duncan plays 36, Sampson 30. Sugar will spend about 8 of his minutes against the second unit play.
Sales Job: Barcelona drops some stats about Penny vs. Jordan. Very nice. But even better is the Richardson vs. Robertson breakdown of steals vs. turnovers. And, finally, we have the breakdown of the bigs and the LJ vs. Hill matchup. Very well done. Harlem, however, prepares for some of this. Nice sell job. Am I buying? We'll see...
Harlem is no slouch here, either, pointing out its great two-way players...which I agree, this is vital to a championship. Harlem also points out another vital key, Finals experience. They have players who have been there and imposed their will. This is no minor point. Again, another key piece of the championship puzzle.
Nice opening round. Both teams throwing punches.
Shatterpoint: Barcelona says if you take out Sampson and Hill, the load will be too much for Jordan and Duncan. Harlem says if they spread the floor with shooters, the Tri will be too potent and Barcelona will have to pick its poison with players who don't have well-balanced games. I tend to favor Harlem's point here. Again, two-way balance exposes flaws if you have them.
Offense: Harlem is wary of the Robertson/Richardson match up and wisely counters by reducing Richardson's minutes and not forcing him into a lead guard roll. Smart move. Barcelona game-planned to give Richardson hell. Much of that is moot. Alvin will switch, it appears, to take the ball handler at times if it's not Richardson. So, Hill will be under pressure sometimes from Robertson. Barcelona's goal and hope is to slow down the Tri from setting up.
Planning for 10 percent fastbreak, Harlem splits its offense up into three types of attack: The Tri, Iso/Screens, and MJ in the post. The Tri will run some standard splits around Duncan and the standard fronting counters. The Hill iso will look for Hill to attack LJ and for shooters coming off screens or open off sags. The Jordan post play makes up the remainder.
These are very well conceived points of attack, playing to Harlem's strengths. When Duncan is not in the post, he will be used to stretch the floor. You have to stay honest with him. Anytimes a big cheats off him, he has his perimeter game to down some easy open looks. When Duncan is the C, the offense will spread more. When he's not, there's a better chance to anchor the D. JO at PF will do better than Kemp in this regard.
Some 60 percent of the halfcourt offense will be looking to clear out the bigs and let Hill or Jordan lead the attack. Olajuwan will have his work cut out for him going up against Duncan, but also trying to help in the paint. Expect some success for Harlem in its clearouts. Neither Penny nor LJ will be able to handle Hill or MJ straight up. With shooters out there, things could start to click.
Barcelona will look to go at that Harlem Sampson/Horry combo for the first three quarters trying to defend Hakeem. He will have some very good success when he gets the ball. But there are also some problems. MJ will be sagging and roaming off Robertson (who will play 36 minutes). The early post isolation plays put MJ in position to deny the initial post entry pass to Hakeem by sagging off and forcing Barcelona into their second option. If MJ is able to sag and deny, the Harlem post fronting will be soft at best on the strong side (simply no need for it). This makes the ball-reverse counters that Harlem hopes to run even more difficult, because now Sampson or Horry won't be so out of position and can front as the ball moves weakside (and no advantage is gained) and MJ is still sitting and waiting for the high-lows or lobs. I see mixed success here despite the post mismatch. The real key is how MJ will be used.
High post rub/early post offense. Here Penny plays the 1 and passes off to Robertson on the wing and tries to get freed up. There's nothing here. MJ will sit back, dare Robertson to shoot and deny the pass to Penny or the post. The offense will then cycle to its next option. The next option is LJ coming off the double screen. The ball, however, is still in Robertson's hands with MJ sagging off deny the pass. Finally, the play goes into its final option where Penny pops out and gets the ball off the screen. Here's where we will see a bit of success, but there is little room for error this deep in the shotclock. These above two make up 40 percent of the offense.
Base cross offense...again the entry pass is from Robertson with MJ sagging. He'll disrupt the initial screen entry pass. The ball will have to go out to Penny up top, with MJ taking away his drive left by sagging still...and Duncan on the PF for the first three quarters on the right side. Harlem is primed for a stop.
Pamplona Offense 25%...Here MJ has to make a choice on his roaming. Take away one option, leave another. The floor is also spread well enough that even after he takes away one option, he may not be able to roam to the next option in the offense. These sequences see some success. The wrench that was causing problems in other plays isn't quite as effective.
Four Down 20%...Barcelona wisely runs this without Robertson. Again, with MJ sagging and going under screens he would take away part of the effectiveness of the drive and kicks on this. If he's off the ball and someone else is setting up the paint, he can disrupt half of the court off Robertson. So, you won't see Robertson initiating this or in the game. You will see Petrovic able to help the floor spacing. You'll see the bigs able to get some good looks, although the pass will have to deal with the fronting D. Drazen will help normalize the offense for whatever they run. Of course, on the other end Drazen has his hands full...big time.
Defense: Barcelona wants to slow down the offense from setting up. They will pressure the ball handler and trap when the Tri is run to slow it down from initiating. While they look to trap and front, both of those issues can be addressed by some of the plays that Harlem specifically mentioned. The read and reacts from the Tri will cause some problems for Barcelona. You take something away, you give something up in the Triangle. It's even more potent when you have well-balanced players like you see in the ATL. Barcelona won't find the success they were hoping here.
When fronting the post, Barcelona will also try to deny the corner pass while trapping on the wing. There are two potential issues and natural Tri counters here. Smart Tri centers will seal the post when being fronted. They will allow you to front, but keep you out of position when a quick pass is made. The man that Barcelona leaves for the trap will be cutting to the lane. He can hold up at the free throw line and will be open where he can take a pass and hit an easy shot, or throw a high-low. Or, he can continue on and let the weakside player flash to the lane for the standard Tri pressure release. This is where you often see those quick high-lows in the Tri when facing fronting D. Even if you pressure the passers, you are still open for some very easy passes to the middle of the lane with the high post split sequence that Harlem set up.
Also, standard operating procedure for the Tri when seeing a fronting C is to ball reverse quickly for corner entry sequences. If the ball gets into the corner while the fronting C is being sealed, look out. Barcelona tries to prevent this when they can.
Jordan in the post. With Horry and Duncan on the floor in this sequence, we have anchor defensive problems. The PF or C (whomever Barcelona has on the floor) will have to honor the shooters in Duncan and Horry. The floor is going to be spread or help is going to have to gamble. This is a very hard lineup to gamble against with some clutch players on the floor who can hit from outside. Penny can't handle MJ on iso without help. Very difficult match up and Penny will be lucky if he's not in foul trouble.
Hill on iso. Again, Harper and Horry will be in to help spread the floor. Duncan pulls Hakeem out. Trouble.
Damn you, old school rules.
When Hill and Richardson are in the game, Barcelona will give them the three. This will work better in the second half when Robertson switches on MJ. Still, Richardson's minutes are reduced and also used with some second unit lineups.
Sampson will front at times and look for help. Harlem will have a roaming Jordan that will cause problems if the spacing isn't right. If Jordan doesn't roam or sag, Harlem has issues. This is probably the best decision of the game as many of Barcelona's sequences get bogged down by a sagging, roaming Jordan.
Some of the quick seals, lane movement and entry passes that Barcelona set up will allow Hakeem to score. But as described above, the problem here is MJ roaming and sagging off of Robertson for 36 minutes. This will allow Sampson or Horry to not have to front as hard on the strong side and it will allow Jordan to cause problems when the ball reverses to the weakside. Now the easy entry isn't there as Harlem fronts that side and Jordan is poised like a panther to disrupt slow lobs. Alvin will have to make MJ pay.
Horry on Hakeem? I like Horry on Kemp. When he's matched up against JO that will be difficult for him. He'd have to deal with JO's size, even if JO likes his finesse game more than the power game. Now he has to deal with Hakeem in post. Yikes. The minutes line up perfectly with 28 minutes from Horry off the bench and 28 minutes from Kemp off the bench. So, a straight up man-to-man here would have worked well. But Harlem is cautious and wants to close strong with Duncan on Hakeem. And they have help from MJ to disrupt plays. They want Horry on Hakeem for the first three quarters. In the previous two games, Kemp was able to take advantage of poor defensive rebounders like Amare or a slower, bigger man like Yao. Here, he has a smart, athletic defender to deal with in Horry or he's got Duncan to deal with. Neither are great matchups for Kemp. He won't be as lucky in this game to cause as many problems as he has in prior games.
MJ roaming and congesting the paint. As mentioned, Jordan will wisely play under screens against Robertson and chalenge passing lanes or double the post. He's going to get a few steals. The steals will probably lead in a few breakaways. This may come to play.
Second Half Adjustment Best adjustment for Barcelona is moving Robertson on MJ. This will help. However, the floor spacing and lineups won't make it a simple matter of funneling. Harlem has shooters to spread the floor for quite a bit of run. It's pick your poison time, but this switch does help a little. I don't see the other adjustments helping much.
The offense will run smoother with shooters in for Barcelona. Drazen will help stretch the floor, but Harlem will attack him on the other end. There will be a price to pay. No break is given by Harlem. Good adjustment.
Harlem spells out what they will do if Horry or Sampson are in foul trouble. Thanks for not leaving it up to my imagination.
Closing: Harlem moves MJ off Alvin and puts him on Penny. This will leave Harper to roam. He's not as effective at disrupting things, but he will still be able to sag and take some points of attack away. We will see MJ in the post against Alvin. Shooters to stretch the floor.
Barcelona will go to the Base Cross or Pamplona. The Base Cross is flawed on its initiation with Robertson in there, so the option will be Penny against MJ when it cycles through. They will likely see more success with the Pamplona, although Harper will be able to make a choice as to one or two options they don't want to be beaten by.
And the Winner is... Harlem pulls out to an early lead. They find success in a few spots in the half court sets despite Barcelona trying to give both Hill and MRR the three (Richardson sits a little early, however, to spend time working against the second unit later). The Barcelona offense gets bogged down by a roaming Jordan which is forcing them into a few turnovers and scores the other way. He's sagging and disrupting first and second options.
When Harlem switches to its shooter lineup to spread the floor, both Jordan and Hill start to score and collapse the D. Richardson out, helped the spacing. Horry comes off the bench. He's fine while Hakeem is off the court. He's helping stretch the floor. He's hit a couple big shots already. When Hakeem enters the game and finds Horry on him, they look to exploit it. The post entries again bog down in some of the sequences because MJ is sagging and denying the initial pass and he's already easily disrupted a lob pass. Horry picks up his second foul in the second quarter and has to sit to be sure he'll be available for the closing. Barcelona exploits it, but it was slow developing.
We see Williams come in for a few minutes before Sampson returns. On the other end of the floor, Barcelona also starts to clog the lane a little better and contest a few shots. Hakeem is getting on a roll. Penny, however, has to sit with foul trouble himself. Still, although they chip away a few points, Barcelona trails by 8 at haltime.
Penny is switched off of Jordan. With the floor spaced by those Harlem shooters, the anchoring just wasn't there and Penny needed the help. Robertson is much better. The lanes start to clog a little more with Hill and MRR not able to stretch the floor. Good thing for them that a roaming Jordan is still leading to a few forced passes and bad offensive sequences on the other end. We now have a defensive game on our hands. Hakeem manages to help chip a hoop off the lead with a few scores. Harlem, however, finds that although Hill and LJ trade a few punches, when Hill is attacking him with shooters around, he's at his most potent. LJ was able to clog the lane a little by letting Hill have the three. With the ball in Hill's hands, he can't do that. Harlem steadies their offense.
Both teams go to their benches to stretch the floor. Here's where we see another difference. Harlem has better two-way players. They can stretch the floor, but they can also play D. They up their lead a few points with the ball in Hill's hands and MJ working the post.
Duncan manages to avoid foul trouble by being hidden on the Barcelona PFs...who have done little in this game, unlike previous match ups. The abuse that Sampson/Horry combo took was bad, but it was cut short quite a bit by some disruptive Jordan doubles coming off Alvin who is forced to try to make Harlem pay from the perimeter. Now Duncan can go straight up on Hakeem.
Closing time is a battle of wills. This is where you see who's a man and who isn't. Barcelona has Hakeem, who has imposed his will to win rings. However, he is surrounded by several others who have not. Harlem has Jordan, Duncan, and insanely clutch Horry to close out the game. Each of them know big shots and each has won multiple rings.
They simply know what it takes. They have a lead in crunch time. They put the clamps on in the final few possessions. Hakeem is wishing Horry was in the trenches with him again, instead of on the other side.
Why: Both teams are great and well-balanced. Both teams run offenses that maximize their talent. The difference for me in this game was that Barcelona will have a harder time stopping Harlem then vice-versa.
Harlem has MJ and Hill that should both get above-average looks every time down. Both teams have great post defenders, so Duncan and Hakeem are somewhat neutralized. I am also worried about Hakeem getting into foul trouble guarding Duncan for most of the game.
I also would have put Alvin on Jordan for the whole game, as I don't buy the argument that Penny ever slowed down MJ. Furthermore, I didn't like the strategy of doubling Sampson every time he touches the ball. Harlem has multiple guys that need doubles or defensive help, I wouldn't want to also send extra guys to his worst offensive player.
In the end I believe Jordan would be in a great offensive flow throughout the game and then when Alvin was switched to MJ at the end it would have been too late.
Congrats to both teams for excellent drafting, trading (Barca acquiring Alvin, and Harlem acquiring Hill), and coaching!
Minutes: Balanced 8 man rotation.
Sales Job: Too much is made of the Penny vs. MJ matchup. Does anyone really think Penny is going to outplay MJ here? Correctly emphasizes the defensive advantage of their double anchor + Doberman lineup. Barca correctly identifies a BIG bench advantage.
Shatterpoint: attacks Harlem at their two weakest spots
Offence: early post with Hakeem key gives him plenty of touches with Sampson guarding. Sampson’s only hope is his length + fronting, but Hakeem’s vast array of spins and feints off of flash through the key opposite a sealed Sampson has Sampson in the popcorn machine. Sampson averaged 3.7 fouls against the league…against Hakeem on the move he is going to either be in foul trouble or he is going to play soft and Hakeem goes off. I would have liked to see Kemp involved more.
Funny Note: I see Aabs snuck Elgin Baylor into his Pamplona O.
Defense: No mention of scheme %’s, so I’m going on order listed establishing priority.
Harlem hopes to escape Alvin picking Sugar’s pocket, but Alvin takes whoever brings the ball up court (Hill). Effectively stalls early triangle set up, forcing Harlem to play most sets with less than 15-18 second shot clock (Barca’s estimate of 14-16 is a bit optimistic). Penny is capable of checking MJ somewhat, but wears him down and diminishes his O contribution. Alvin is mentioned switching to MJ as an adjustment, but no mention of when or how often. Would have liked to see more of Alvin on MJ. Hakeem checking Duncan = advantage Barca. Duncan made his career on PF mismatches. No mismatch for him here.
Minutes: risky business
*Derek Harper gets half the PG minutes in the biggest game of the year effectively making Hill the lone playmaker for half the game.
*Horry with the majority of PF minutes against JO & Kemp?
*Hill plays 40 minutes while carrying the load as primary ball handler bring the ball up court, primary playmaker, becoming the primary option 30% of the time, and guarding a much stronger Grandmama all game while also fighting through double screens.
Shatterpoint: identifies the 3 line as the game key. Barca is committed to staying home against Harlem’s only threats. On the other side, Harlem intends to attack Drazen and Majerle off the dribble whenever they are in the game (Harlem says “constantly”). One problem: Drazen is guarding Derek Harper and Majerle is only playing 8 minutes and is guarding McKie! Harper and Mckie as dribble attack focal points?!?
Sales Job: puts too much weight on Barca’s lack of playmakers with only the 4 Down attack from Barca relying solely on creativity. Correctly emphasizes the closer factor. This is Harlem’s big advantage with MJ + Duncan vs. Hakeem. Penny is a great talent, but shrank a bit on the biggest stage.
Intends to bypass Alvin in bringing the ball up court by passing to Hill, but Barca has Alvin on whichever man brings the ball up. Could have avoided Alvin completely by passing the ball rather than dribbling upcourt.
Duncan attacking the post finds Hakeem waiting. Mixed success. Horry does get some open looks as Barca doubles part time. MJ posting 30% is Harlem’s most effective weapon. MJ is unstoppable by a shorter Alvin here. Would have liked to see this more than 30% and the third option. MJ is arguably the greatest weapon ever, and to make him the primary option only 30% of the time is criminal. However, Harlem closes with MJ in the post and makes up some lost ground when it most counts.
Harper playing full court pressure on Penny half the game has little effect on the taller, quicker Penny. Sugar has a bit more success here. Sagging / roaming MJ will have success in disrupting some of the post entry to Hakeem and the Pamplona. Sampson fronting Hakeem plays right into Barca’s plan of a sealed Sampson and Hakeem flashing opposite post. Hakeem is in for a big night here. Harlem plans to drop down help defenders but Hakeem on the move through the key is no easy double target. Harlem plans to pressure Penny in 4 Down with Harper half the game? No, sorry, Penny goes off on Harper.
My evaluation: Harlem puts way too much weight on Grant Hill’s shoulders and not enough on MJ’s where it belongs. Somehow Grant Hill has glided through the playoffs so far checking Marques Johnson, Magic Johnson (?!?) and Bobby Dandridge. I just don’t see him getting a 4th free pass this game. Grandmama overwhelms him and wears him down. Hill is simply asked to do too much.
The Harlem swarm on Hakeem slows him initially, but Hakeem on the move through the lane leaves Sampson in foul trouble, and Harlem relying on outmatched Horry or Thomas to stop the bleeding.
Hakeem on Duncan all game forces the game to MJ, but he is the first option only 30% of the time and even listed behind Hill as offensive priority?!?
I see Barca building a 15 point lead after three quarters. Then, Duncan shifts to Hakeem where he should have been all game long, MJ shifts to become the first option on offence where he should have been all game long, and Harlem storms back to make this a close game. Too little, too late against a team with 2 DPOY’s and a second post anchor at the end. Barcelona wins by 3.
The opening tip is won by Harlem. During the quarter, Sampson has serious problems on defense, he is simply too slow footed to keep up with the moving Olajuwon, and if Duncan goes after him, then Jermaine O'Neal scores. They don't really have any other elite big man outside of Duncan, and they pay the price as a result. Horry is outmuscled in the post, and Barcelona's big men absolutely destroy them.
Alvin Robertson isn't giving Harlem's ball handler any trouble since they keep switching, and Grant Hill is having what looks to be a career game. Usually one to attack the basket, shooting just 30% for the season at the 3 point line, he his 3 of 5 from behind the arc in the first quarter, and drives by Larry Johnson twice for two layups, and manages to get fouled twice on a pumpfake and an attack to the basket, earning him two trips to the line, where he goes 4/4. Larry Johnson can't keep up with the speedy Grant Hill, and surprisingly, Hill has no problem with Johnson posting him up. Grant got some of those threes because Johnson gave him space, and managed to get to the basket because Horry drew away O'Neal.
Alvin Robertson has held Michael Ray Richardson to being a non-factor, picking up one steal that finished with a dunk in the first quarter. They've caught onto Richardson's weakness, and have made Grant Hill the ball handler when Robertson is on Richardson. Richardson focuses on defense, and holds Robertson to recording no stats on that end except for three missed shots and an offensive foul. Penny Hardaway plays lockdown defense on Jordan, but you can tell that doing this is really taking a toll on his legs, but he holds to Jordan to 0-3 for zero points. Jordan shuts Hardaway down as well. Olajuwon and O'Neal have difficulties with their offense that requires so much passing at times.
At the end of the quarter, Barcelona leads, 33-28
Points: Grant Hill: 17, Hakeem Olajuwon, 15
Rebounds: Tim Duncan, 4, Hakeem Olajuwon, 6
Steals: Alvin Robertson, 1
Blocks: Tim Ducan, 2, Jermaine O'Neal, 1
Assists: Penny Hardaway, 3, Michael Jordan, 2
The second unit comes on, and Barcelona's superior bench mod led by Shawn Kemp steamrolls Harlem. In the last 6 minutes, the starters are back in, but no points are gained or lost by either side in this period. Barcelona's bench mob stretched the lead to 60-47. Jordan really worked in the last 6 minutes, Hardaway looks really tired.
With a tired Hardaway, Jordan explodes, scoring 15 in the quarter, much of it thanks to Horry going to the three point line and drawing O'Neal out. Barcelona was overconfident with their interior defense, and Harlem's Slasher score. Barcelona is outscored 38-27 this quarter.
Duncan plays good defense on Olajuwon, who has scored only 8 with Duncan on him compared to 22 against Sampson, for a total of 30 points coming into this quarter. Horry and Harper start running screen and rolls and get very hot from behind the line, combing for 5-7 in the first 6 minutes. The Point Guards remain non factors because of their defensive effort on each other, but Michael Jordan is exploding on the weakened Hardaway, and Robertson is too small to guard him, Jordan just posts him up whenever he tries. Harlem is blowing the game wide open, with a minute to go, the score is 108-99. The teams remain scoreless until the last ten seconds, when, to run up the score and show bad sportsmanship, Ray Richardson hits a three pointer as an insult to Alvin Robertson.
L4L was not available to judge. One coach submitted a response.
Barcelona leads by double figure heading into crunch time... Jordan tries to furiously rally Harlem, but in the end Two quality shotblockers, one of the best perimeter defender and having to defend vs. Penny/LJ/Hakeem, is just too much for the Jordan and Duncan. Barcelona by 8.
Barcelona's use of Hakeem trumps Harlem's defense.
Jordan defended by Alvin with help from two shotblockers.
Barcelona addressed issues on Harlem's gameplan, but Harlem assumed Hakeem was not gonna be a moving target.
One bad assumption, LJ in his prime isnt someone that Hill would just blow past or misuse and abuse. Guys please watch old highlights of LJ or better yet call the Hornets and see if they can send you some game films.
Last edited by Sky on Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
I wanted to have six judges so that we could get six points of view, in my mind five is too few. L4L was no longer available to judge, and only one coach responded with a verdict.
Candy Canes verdict has Grant Hill dominating LJ when Barca's writeup clearly proves in the head to the head stats that it would not happen. Candy is thinking of LJ from the Knicks, not LJ pre knee injury in 92-93 at Charlotte. Candy has Grant Hill with 17 in the first, not credible.
Per the rules when a judge submits a verdict that does not read the writeups and is factually incorrect it's my discretion on what to do and I'm throwing it out. I'm also tossing the verdict from a coach since there's only one. It doesn't carry enough weight with only one vote.
So that brings us back to a 2-2 vote. Even though per the rules I break the tie I would strongly consider a co-championship if I buy the reasoning behind the votes.
DB's writeup has Jordan playing a central role in disrupting Hakeem, but that's the case on the early offense play, not the base cross set itself. Early offense isn't going to happen that often with these teams, too much speed and athleticism on both sides to run on each other. So when Hakeem gets the baseline screen and the ball swings Jordan isn't there to disrupt post entry. In addition, Sampson foul trouble is very likely and not accounted for in his writeup.
I can see some of DB's argument happening, but I don't buy Jordan sinking suddenly triggering an ability to stop Hakeem on the base cross. DB is imo focused too much on the early offense play and not the set that will be run the vast majority of the time.
Therefore I am not convinced by the two votes for Harlem and break the tie. Both teams had great game plans but Aabs had the better plan and the better team. Barcelona is the 2008 ATL Champion.
Standard 8-man rotation for Barca, smart move starting JO to match up with Harlem’s length. Harlem runs Harper and Horry for their longest burn of the playoffs. Sampson’s minutes down to 30 with Horry’s larger role, possibly in anticipation of Sampson foul trouble.
Sales Jobs Barca: Penny did have success vs. MJ, but Shaq and Ho played a key role in that defensively, they take away Jordan’s post up game. Not so much about Penny’s D as what other defensive obstacles Jordan faced. Hardaway did have offensive success vs. Chicago’s tough D though, shows he wins a man up scenario. Sugar vs. Alvin, yeah that will get ugly. More bigs definitely. LJ vs. Hill, Grandmama’s first step quickness helps him offensively.
Harlem: Money point that the Barca bigs can’t move the ball efficiently. Both JO and Kemp had more turnovers than assists, Hakeem about the same. A game plan calling for the Barca bigs as decision making passers will be subject to heavy to’s. Alvin wasn’t a great passer but he had 5.5 assists at a decent ATO ratio, LJ is a good passer at 4.3, Majerle was a very efficient passer.
Barca lacks 2-way balance, true, but can Harlem exploit it? Have to shut down the offense and force Alvin into a shooter. Worth noting that Alvin averaged 26 against Chicago in his chosen season, wasn’t beating Jordan though, Mike only played 18 games that year. Robertson can score, but can’t shoot.
Lot of talk that Hakeem wasn’t as successful on the big stage but that doesn’t factor in who’s around him. Jordan and Duncan had better teammates and infinitely better coaches. Rudy T? Pffft.
Barca nails it. If they can make Sampson and Hill sit Harlem’s bench is fully exposed. Sampson likely, Hill though? Probably not.
Harlem goes with 3’s. Jordan sure, Horry late, but Harp I? At 36%? This is a shatterpoint if you have MJ, Detlef and Dale Ellis, not Jordan, Horry and Derek Harper.
Barcelona on offense/Harlem on defense
Early O into the base cross. Don’t see Barca getting a lot of early offense and transition in this, both teams have bigs that run the floor very well and backcourts that knew how to limit transition. However even 5-on-5 this can still work, especially the LJ cut. Base cross, Hakeem on the move vs. Sampson = foul trouble and Barca is milking it for precisely that result.
Ah the Pamplona returns, was expecting this. Works a lot better when you don’t have to hide Mutombo in it. Switches are mismatches, way to stop this is not to fall for the switch trap, anticipate and overplay the screens to stay man up. Nothing in the defensive game plan on aggressive switching, so figure Barca has great early success with this and then Harlem makes the overplay adjustment. Still leaves LJ and Penny in ice though, and both will have success there.
Harlem anticipates the four down. Barca runs with LJ in ice vs. Horry, but Rob will be at 4. Hill is the defender. Can create a first step edge to then pass but Hakeem is schemed well defensively. Other ice is with Hardaway and that should have more success but at the expense of a few to’s.
Harlem plans to sink and play the passing lanes, double Olajuwon on the pass. The latter is very difficult to do when the passing target is in motion. The early post ice and base cross has four players strong side then swings the ball as Olajuwon gets a low screen and looks for the pass. No one can cheat weakside and help because they’re on the other side of the floor.
Pressuring Penny up the floor will make it difficult for Barca to go into early O. Richardson will get some steals but Hardaway can throw over the top of both of them.
Harlem on offense/Barcelona on defense
Transition is the same for Harlem as it was for Barca, both teams have quickness, bigs that run the floor well, smart transition defenders. The additional problem for Harlem is running means more Sugar to’s. I think running in this game is minimal, a few opportunities now and then but nothing consistent for either club.
Triangle with high post split and power layup. Duncan gets the ball but with Hakeem right there it means lower efficiency turnaround jumpers and passes. Sugar cuts to a waiting Alvin. MJ cuts against a faster longer Penny. The passing targets are defended. In this game Jordan needs the ball to create on an island vs. Hardaway, off-ball won’t be as consistently successful as it was in the prior playoff games.
Hill ice vs. LJ. Johnson is pre-knee injury 92-93. Closest h2h comparison to that form of Johnson was 94-95. In those games Hill averaged 19 points on 44% shooting with 4 assists and 3.6 turnovers, ATO is barely over 1. Hill becomes a better passer in his year selected 96-97, but clearly LJ could give him trouble defensively. Harlem’s assertion that Hill takes LJ at will off the dribble isn’t backed up by the head-to-head. Hill will make great passes and get his shots, but he’s not abusing Grandmama.
Jordan post up. Anticipating Alvin, Harlem gets Penny instead. Jordan has a power edge and can back Hardaway down to get into scoring position pretty easily. While Hardaway has more height Jordan has the post moves to beat him, particularly when he’s that close to the hoop. Jordan shot poorly vs. Orlando but that was Shaq and Ho taking away post up far more than Penny D’ing up Mike. The post up works until Penny learns to front effectively to deny post entry. Hardaway has the hops and length to swat alley oops away.
Just as Harlem gets shredded by Pamplona, adjusts and then limits it, same thing with Jordan post up. Still works over the course of the game, but has the most consistent success early.
Barca plans to have Olajuwon fronting Duncan for traps, but that scheme is predicated on Sugar as initiator when Hill is the one bringing it up and initiating. So all that gets tossed and Barca just plays straight up. Barca’s plans for Alvin picking Sugar blind are also gone with Hill bringing it up.
Barca starts with the base cross and Harlem can’t stop it. The sink plans don’t work against that spacing. Jordan is too far from Hakeem to help. Olajuwon comes off the screen, gets post entry and beats the too late Sampson like a drum. By the end of the first Ralph has two fouls and is sitting. Scott Williams comes in for him and it’s serious abuse. Hakeem is going OFF.
Harlem counters with the tri. Duncan hits contested turnaround jumpers, a few looks for Jordan, but it’s lower percentage scoring than the clinic Hakeem is laying down. Hill ice vs. LJ, sporadic success, 44% shooting with low ATO passing. The sputtering offense turns to Jordan post up. Money. But Harlem is in a double digit hole.
Pamplona time. Lot of open looks for Hardaway and LJ as Harlem slowly adjusts. Barca keeps playing high percentage basketball, Harlem turns increasingly to Jordan post up to keep pace and that along with a few 3’s makes a dent but it’s not nearly enough. Barca up 12 at halftime.
Harlem brings a half court trap, Hardaway can pass over Sugar to get it to Alvin quickly. Robertson can’t drive on Jordan but can dribble and pass back to Hardaway or to LJ wing. Sugar gets some steals on dumb crosscourt passes by Alvin, but Penny’s height negates the effectiveness of this. He can pass out of the double quickly and having a second point in Alvin makes it easier to find an open man or dribble out and reset.
Back to a steady rhythm of Hakeem base cross, LJ and Penny in Pamplona. Four down doesn’t have much success. Sampson gets in more foul trouble. More Scott Williams. More carnage. Barca goes up 18 and manages the score. Hakeem sits. JO has trouble on O particularly as a passer in Pamplona, turnovers hit. Duncan starts having more success vs. JO than Hakeem and the triangle finds a rhythm. Harlem cuts it back to 12 after 3.
Benches get minutes early 4th as Duncan and Jordan take turns sitting. Each carries the O while the other sits. But when Duncan sits Hakeem is out there, having already gotten his rest. Sampson gets beat and Barca takes it back up to 15. Duncan returns to bring the fire hose on Hakeem. Barca goes cold as Harlem is figuring everything out defensively. Alvin is now on MJ and creates some to’s but gets beat in post up. Duncan on a fresh Hakeem isn’t having much success. A tiring Grant Hill has brought it up all night, been the initiator and defended a lot of LJ ice. Sampson and Sugar have been virtually ignored all night. It’s MJ time. Jordan goes off in post up against Alvin. But down 12 with 7 to go is it too late?
Jordan gets it rolling, even against Alvin and Jordan rules. Hakeem and Duncan are cancelling each other out. Horry nails a key 3. Penny takes Harper off-ball. Both teams are landing blows, but Harlem can’t afford to trade hoops. Jordan cuts the lead to 7 but time is running out. Final minute Penny takes Harper off the dribble, oop to Hakeem, slam. Game, set, championship. Jordan hits a pair of free throws on the final possession. Barcelona wins by 7.
It is a very tough way to decide it, L4L not voting and coaches not voting put us there. Remember that votes were tossed that went both for and against you. Then it came down to tiebreaker and the votes for you had logic that I disagreed with strongly. If they raised points that were persuasive and elements I hadn't considered, I would have gone with co-champs.
Hopefully a Florida parallel is only limited to here. I understand you feel screwed but L4L not voting, Candy not reading the writeup and running with something disproved by the head to head stats and only one coach voting made a clean result impossible.
You're pissed I don't blame you at all. I'm pissed too, this is not the way I wanted to end it.
Joined: 24 Dec 2007 Posts: 35193 Location: Santa Clarita, CA (Hell) ->>>>>Ithaca, NY -≥≥≥≥≥Berkeley, CA
Posted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:10 pm Post subject:
Hey, I read both write-ups, I just forgot that stats, and assumed he was faster because he was 25 pounds lighter! Don't blame me! I would have re-written it if you had given me the chance! _________________ Damian Lillard shatters Dwight Coward's championship dreams:
Joined: 24 Dec 2007 Posts: 35193 Location: Santa Clarita, CA (Hell) ->>>>>Ithaca, NY -≥≥≥≥≥Berkeley, CA
Posted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:29 pm Post subject:
A prime Larry Johnson was the only main guy I'd never heard of, read about, or watched to be honest. I could re-do it if Sky wanted me to, although my write-up is pretty short in comparison. I'm just not very good at making long ones. _________________ Damian Lillard shatters Dwight Coward's championship dreams:
This is sticking with me so I decided to do some research beyond the stat sheet.
Starting at beginning
1991 NCAA Final Four. Year before UNLV killed Duke in the NC game. This year, Grant was a freshman and helped lead Duke to the upset win - even Coach K credits that to Hill. LJ wasn't guarding him, a better defender Augmon was.
In 94-95, LJ was exclusively at PF. He never guarded Grant Hill at all. Hersey Hawkins, Scott Burrell, and Dell Curry were the swingmen, with Zo backing them up.
Going back to 92-93 - Hill wasn't even in the league yet. LJ was, again playing PF. Johnny Newman and Kendall Gill was the SG/SF on that team with Zo backing him up.
The year I used for Grant Hill was 96-97 at his best where the MJ comparisons were valid.
LJ was quick - yes against PFs. Like LO is quick against PFs. But he was no SF and never played there. So the premise that he shut down Grant Hill is fallacy from the beginning because he never would have guarded Hill and the defenders who did had Zo backing them up with Zo not worried about any Detroit big man.
Obviously, judging is subjective but to point to stats alone is foolish. You gotta check the matchups. Sure, MJ/Penny was sometimes matched up but it was mostly Nick Anderson on MJ, Pippen on Penny.
With that evidence, its very reasonable, in fact likely, that LJ wasn't keeping up with Hill and on a team where everyone else has to be respected, Hill could and would easily go off on LJ in iso because LJ couldn't guard SFs.
Therefore, one easily would assume that Candy Cane's argument was correct and I get the W, despite the commish not originally seeing it that way.
That said, I'm not calling for the result to be changed. Aabs had a great plan. No shame in losing. But the logic used to dismiss a key vote has plenty of holes in it because it uses a Hollinger approach instead of more obvious data of matchups.
A draw would have made sense, not over-analyzing votes to see what fit the criteria. I could easily argue I should have won, being that I actually had more votes from the original judges.
A look at Grant Hill blowing by defenders, Pippen and MJ included, but he couldn't get by a PF like LJ? Please.
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