Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
What these averages tell us all is pretty much what we already know: Chris Paul is a startlingly good basketball player. He’s the best point guard in the league. It isn’t close. But as good as these numbers are, and they are in fact great, it is entirely possible that even more will be required of Paul as the upstart Clippers advance and face what is probably the wisest team in the NBA: The San Antonio Spurs.
There are of course elements of this that work to Paul’s advantage, sure. Tony Parker is known for many things but he is not known for his defense. Which isn’t really a big deal in most cases, as the team defense the Spurs employ is more than good enough to hide individual deficiencies, but Chris Paul is not most cases. He will get around Tony Parker and make the Spurs adjust. And then, Chris Paul being Chris Paul, he will find the hold in the adjustment and either exploit it himself or set up a teammate to do so.
The thing to remember though is that while Paul is a great defender himself, Tony Parker has mostly made his name in the league on the offensive end, and possesses an absolutely uncanny ability to slither though a defense and make it to the hole. While he may save a bit of energy getting around Parker on the defensive end, Tony will be working Paul hard on the other end of the court.
The ability of Paul to win this matchup, as well as the ability of the springy frontcourt pairing of Jordan and Griffin to overwhelm the , ahem, more aged duo of Tim Duncan and Boris Diaw will be critical to the outcome of this series.
Hit the jump for the rest of Jordan’s piece…
Boston’s Regular Season FG% Vs. Philly With Rondo On Court: 50.8% Off Court: 28.8%
It should be no secret to anyone that Rajon Rondo is the absolute key to the success of the Boston Celtics at this point. So if you follow that train of logic all the way through, it becomes obvious that stopping the Celtic’s starting point guard from initiating the offense is your best bet to win the series if you’re Philadelphia.
The bad thing is that’s much easier said than done. Atlanta dropped the ball in a big way when they failed to take advantage of the game that Rondo was suspended from, and it wound up likely costing them that series in the long run. Rondo will likely not gift anyone such a chance again.
Common knowledge with Rondo suggests backing off and daring him to shoot, but he is taking that bait a good deal less these days, opting instead to run a play or try to sneak under the goal, where over half of his shot attempts come from. I would expect to see Philadelphia try to throw a lot of different things at Rondo in an effort to keep him off balance and try to find something that works.
Many teams have tried to solve the Rondo Riddle and none have come up with a completely reliable solution yet. The Sixers’ ability to do the same will decide whether or not they go home.
Kobe Bryant’s Usage Rate This Season: 38.5%
This is of course beating the dead horse here, but it remains true: If Kobe and the Lakers are to advance in this series, it will not be because Kobe shot 25 to 30 times a night. The Lakers will live or die based on the number of post touches they can get to their towering behemoths on the block, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
Bynum has finally started coming into his own as the franchise center the Laker’s organization thought he could be when he was drafted. He has become the second best center in the league, with no question, and while that title has long come with the caveat of having to say that no one comes close to Dwight, one could argue that Andrew Bynum has had a similar impact with the Lakers.
Bynum’s emergence along with Kobe’s coming within a hair’s breadth of the scoring title have kind of relegated Pau Gasol to the back burner, but it would do the Thunder well to remember that the big Spaniard is still probably the most talented offensive power forward in the game. Coupled with Bynum, the Lakers can still claim to have the best frontcourt in basketball, and it would behoove the Lakers to make Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka beat them with their defense.
Make no mistake, between Sefolosha, Harden, and even Durant if necessary, the Thunder have the personnel to throw at Kobe. Pounding the rock inside is going to be the Lakers’ best chance of taking advantage of the unfamiliar underdog role that this series is casting them in.
You just knew things were going a little too well for the Miami Heat. After suffering an abdominal strain on a dunk in the latter part of the first half, Chris Bosh has been ruled out indefinitely. You can make all the “Two and a Half Men” jokes you want, but averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds on a Miami team whose supporting cast does not include reliable scorers or defenders (which Bosh is) means that if you go out, it’s a big deal.
You can almost make an argument that it would have been better to lost Dwayne Wade, since his skill set shares a lot of overlap with Lebron’s. The problem you start seeing here is that there is no one else who can give the Heat what Bosh does at a frontcourt position. Who do you lean on? Ronny Turiaf? I guess that will have to be the answer, as I don’t think anyone in their right mind is going to be clamoring for more Dexter Pittman or Eddy Curry.
The name of Bosh’s replacement is mildly irrelevant though, as we all know the onus of replacing Bosh’s production will fall to the people everything else falls to in Miami: Lebron and D-Wade. And while you could hardly think of two guys you would rather have on your team to fill in the blanks, the fact is that this injury hurts the Heat pretty bad. James and Wade will have to be damn near transcendent each and every night to fulfill their mission of winning the title.
But hey, on the bright side, this may go towards helping validate their title if they can pull it off.
Jordan Akin is pretty sure that he would rather have the path to the title be easy than validated. You can call him soft on Twitter @jakin1013, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.