East semis: Buffalo @ Antarctica

 
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 7:03 am    Post subject: East semis: Buffalo @ Antarctica

Giant slayer Buffalo treks down under to face Antarctica. The Igloo hosts the eastern conference semifinal with TIME calling the rules.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 7:50 am    Post subject:

Things are heating up at the Igloo!

Antarctica chooses Old School Rulzzz!

Antarctica Starters: Kareem / Brand / Dandridge / Reggie / Zeke
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:26 am    Post subject:

Statboxes

Buffalo
http://img167.imageshack.us/img167/6493/buffaloib5.jpg

Antarctica
http://img352.imageshack.us/img352/5858/antarcticara6.jpg

Injury risks:
BUF Johnson (25) 57 - healthy
BUF Hunter (13) 24 - healthy
ANT Edwards (13) 84 - healthy
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 5:31 pm    Post subject:

Buffalo starters:

PG=Terry Porter
SG-Joe Johnson
SF-Scottie Pippen
PF-Ho Grant
C-Patrick Ewing
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:44 pm    Post subject:

Buffalo

Depth Chart and Minutes

PG- Porter(24)/ Rondo(24)
SG- Johnson(36)/ Barry(12)
SF- Pippen(40)/ Barry(6)/Posey(2)
PF-Grant(36)/ Thorpe(12)
C- Ewing(38)/ Bellamy(10)

Pippen-40
Ewing-38
Johnson-36
Grant-36
Porter-24
Rondo-24
Barry-18
Thorpe-12
Bellamy-10
Posey-2

Sales Job
- Antarctica is a well-balanced offensive team. In order to win this matchup I need to focus on defense and slowing down the pace and making it a tough, physical game. One of the ways I can accomplish is by playing my best defenders high minutes. Rondo might be the key to this game as he will have the main responsibility of containing their best playmaker, Isaiah Thomas. I believe Rondo’s size, length, and overall athletic ability will make it difficult for Isaiah to have his normal impact on the game.

- Another key to my defensive gameplan is to have Scottie Pippen play a rover position on defense. Think of the way Josh Smith plays defense and imagine giving Pippen the freedom to play that way. Pippen's help defense will be key on my double teams of Kareem.

- I believe a defensive lineup of Porter/Rondo, Johnson, Pippen, Grant, Ewing might be the best and most versatile defensive lineup ever put together. We are going to need it to stop the balanced offensive lineup of Antarctica.

Offense
- Buffalo will just run these couple of basic offensive sets. By keeping the offensive sets very simple, the team is able to focus more on defense, while still playing to their offensive strengths.

- Ewing in the post(30%). Ewing in the post will be one of main sets. If no double Ewing will go to work. Will try to wear out Kareem throughout the game by making him work throughout the game.

- Isolations against Reggie Miller(20%). I believe Miller will guard Joe Johnson and Johnson has the freedom to isolate against him all game. Any player Miller is guarding as the option to isolate or post him up.

- Pick and Roll with the guards and bigmen(15%). Porter, Johnson, Pippen, Barry all have the freedom to use the pick and roll.

- Pick and Pops with the guards and bigmen(15%). If the Antarctia bigs are staying around the basket, both Ewing and Grant can pop instead of roll. Both bigmen are excellent mid-range shooters.

- Pippen isolations or post up(15%). I believe Dandridge will guard Pippen for most of the game. Pippen has the size advantage on him and will take him in the post.

- Barry off of screens(5%). With Barry only playing 18 minutes off the bench, we want to feature him on offense when he is in. Barry will give the offense a huge lift as he is the best offensive player on either team off the bench.

Defense
- Porter/Rondo on Thomas, Johnson on Miller, Pippen on Dandridge, Grant on Brand, Ewing on Kareem.

- Johnson plays tight on Miller. Forces Miller to become a playmaker. Johnson never doubles the post.

- Pippen plays the "rover" position while guarding Dandridge. Main help defender all over the court. Can give help when Isiah penetrates, when Kareem is in the post, or when any other defender is beaten. This type of defense might lead to more open looks for Dandridge, but we would rather have Dandridge beat us from mid-range, than Isaiah playmaking or Kareem in the post. Pippen's excellent quickness and length will also allow him to get back and contest many of Dandrige's mid-range jumpers. I would expect Pippen to have a Josh Smith type line in this game; 3-4 blocks and 4-5 steals. Pippen will NEVER guard Reggie Miller.

- Porter starts and closes the game on Zeke. Will play off on Thomas and make him a shooter rather than playmaker. Rondo sees heavy minutes on Thomas. If Rondo is in the game he is hounding Thomas at every turn. Rondo will only be in the game when Thomas is.

Rondo will be asked to focus all of his energy in stopping Thomas. Rondo will have no offensive responsibility so he can save energy for defense. While Rondo is not a perfect man defender, his combo of length and quickness will give Thomas problems. Rondo will pick up Thomas at halfcourt on every possession to slow their offense down and take time off the clock.

While some might question if Rondo is ready for this responsibility because of his age, we are confident his championship experience as the starting PG for the Celtics has prepared him well. Also by splitting the PG minutes between Porter and Rondo both will be extra fresh throughout the whole game.

- Grant plays his normal great man defense on Brand. Will not double Brand frequently because Grant can handle the assignment for the most part and we are more concerned about Kareem in the post. Grant will also show high on any pick and pop to limit Brand's mid-range game.

- Ewing plays tough and physical with Kareem. Kareem sees frequent doubles from Pippen. Having Ewing and Pippen doubling Kareem will slow down his offense. Pippen will try to double on Kareem's strong(right-hand) side to limit the effectiveness of the right-hand skyhook.

- Posey will only be used as a fireman on Miller.

Adjustments:
- Antarctica will anticipate us going at Reggie Miller on defense. He will probably design a defense to combat the frequent isolations and pick and rolls with Miller. My guess is he will either send a double team or funnel Joe Johnson (or the player Miller is guarding) into the two shot-blocking bigs. If he sends the double at Johnson we have the shooters needed to hit open shots or if he funnels Johnson into the bigs, both Grant and Ewing can step out and hit the mid-range jumper.

-If Antarctica correctly guesses that Rondo will play heavy minutes, he might double off of him and force Rondo to make outside jumpers. If this happens Rondo will flash high post and be able hit the foul line jumper or penetrate and dish to a shooter or big.

-If Thomas is having success against Porter, Porter can take Zeke in the post or run some pick and rolls. Porter has the size advantage and was always pretty good posting up smaller guards. Making Thomas work extra hard on defense will help to limit his offense.

-If Kareem gets really hot on offense and the doubles from Pippen are not working, Horace Grant can also double Kareem to change up the defensive looks. This might have some success against Kareem if Brand is not hitting his mid-range jumper, but we would be worried about Brand hitting the offensive glass. That is why we would only double with Grant to change up the looks or if Kareem got really hot.

Closing
- Closing lineup will be the starters.

- Pippen will play more honest on his man in the last two minutes

- Rick Barry will be used like the Spurs use Robert Horry the last couple of years. If there is an offensive possession after a timeout in the last 2 minutes of the game, Barry will go in for Grant. Barry would then be substituted back out for Grant for defense. If there is no dead-ball and Barry has to play defense he would guard Dandridge and Pippen would move to PF and guard Brand.

- On offense any of the starters can take big shots, but Joe Johnson and Rick Barry(if he is in the game) will be asked to take the biggest shots.

Why we win:
- We win because our defensive gameplan will slow down Antarctica and take them out of their comfort zone. We will slow the pace of the game down and not let Antartica's big three beat us. If Brand, Dandridge, and his below-average bench all have great games they might win, but we will take our chances with that.

Also, his lack of three-point and outside shooting will hurt his spacing and allow our defensive rotations to be more effective. Reggie Miller is his only outside threat and Joe Johnson will be play him tight and give no help if his other teammates get beat. Our offense is just productive and efficient enough to take advantages of Antarctica's defensive weaknesses.

Finally, Rick Barry gives us a nice scoring advantage off the bench that Antarctica cannot match.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:53 pm    Post subject:

Antarctica

2008 ATL PLAYOFFS: Second Round – Buffalo

Link to the Antarctica Team Page: http://forums.lakersground.net/viewtopic.php?t=71550

Minutes by Position: 8 Man Rotation

PG: Isiah Thomas - 38 / John Paxon - 10
SG: Reggie Miller - 36 / Paul Pressey - 12
SF: Bobby Dandridge - 36 / Paul Pressey - 12
PF: Elton Brand - 38 / Roy Tarpley - 10
C: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 40 / Roy Tarpley - 8

*Note: Kareem played 44mpg this season.*

Sales Job:

In a head to head comparison, Buffalo does not stack up to Antarctica. Let’s compare the teams in three key categories: talent, balance, playoff readiness.

Buffalo has a solid team of role players with two high level starters and sixth man in Ewing, Pippen, and Barry. When compared directly to the Antarctica starters Buffalo’s talent deficit becomes obvious. Of the five Buffalo starters only ONE would start for Antarctica, Pippen. On the other hand, FOUR of my starters would start for Buffalo. Pippen would start for me due to his versatility, but the difference between him and Bobby Dandridge is not huge. Career playoff averages for both are similar. Pippen put up 17.5 / 7.6 / 5.0 in 200 playoff games. Dandridge in 98 career playoff games put up 20.1 / 7.7 / 3.7. The gap between my other starters and Buffalo’s is much wider.

In the playoffs the issue of team balance and spacing becomes exaggerated as teams hone in and clamp down on their opponents. Buffalo’s big issue in facing us will be their lack of a low post scoring threat. Ewing is a top ten center, but by this chosen season, he had already fallen in love with his excellent midrange jumpshot. Without a true low post threat we will be free to stay home on his jump shooters and concentrate on Pippen’s slashing drives.

On the other side, Buffalo was able to pack down on Shaq last round because his teammates could not space the floor for him. Kareem presents an even greater low post weapon, but if Buffalo doubles Kareem they will pay every time. Reggie’s three bombs combined with Zeke, Brand, and Dandridge spotting up just below the arc, mid-post, and mid-range is perfect floor balance. Ewing will have his hands full with Jabbar, and Pippen can’t guard everyone else by himself.

Finally, in the biggest, most important difference between these teams consider the playoff readiness of the two squads. What I mean by playoff readiness is teams that are lead by proven winners. Players that raise their game in the playoffs are rare even in the NBA. NONE of Buffalo’s starters ever led their team to a championship. Rick Barry did, but he is coming off the bench this game.

Pippen was quality in the playoffs, but always as Jordan’s sidekick. Here, he has been asked to carry his team. Ewing showed up in the playoffs, but even when he was the 2nd best center in the league he was never able to seal the deal on a ring. Porter, Grant, and Johnson are again playoff role players riding along with his big two. Antarctica has Kareem, Zeke, Reggie, and Dandridge who all brought their A game when it counted most in the playoffs. This difference in the squads will be most obvious in crunchtime.

Offense:

Captain Hook: 50%
Zeke Power: 20%
U C L A: 20%
Run to Daylight: 10%

Captain Hook is our bread and butter. Ewing is a solid defender but Kareem rises to the challenge. Against Wilt this season Kareem put up 32ppg / 16rpg, and Ewing at his best is no Wilt. Under Old School rules, there is no zone to slow the Skyhook so Buffalo has to choose to cover with Ewing on an island or bring help. If he single covers Kareem then he goes off for his season average of 35ppg and Ewing ends up in foul trouble. Kareem will alternate setting up on either side of the lane to keep the D off balance.

Zeke initiates from the arc, but we will feed the post through Zeke, Dandridge, Pressey and Reggie. Spacing gives Cap room to work and when the double comes from either Grant off Brand or Pippen off Dandridge, Kareem will find the open man for a midrange J or as they dive to the hoop weakside for the pass and dunk, or the pass out to Reggie at the arc for the 3.

Zeke Power is a 1-4 set that puts the ball in Isiah’s hands at the top of the arc. We will use this as a main set when Kareem sits. It is designed to force Porter / Johnson / Pippen (whoever is on him) to deal with Zeke’s quickness when he has the entire court to operate. Reggie and Dandridge start opposite sides of the low post. Both the 4 and 5 spots (Brand and Tarpley) set down screens freeing Reggie at the 3 point line and Dandridge for the midrange jumper. Zeke has the greenlight to drive the lane giving himself the three options of a layup, pullup jumper, or dish to either open man (Reggie or Dandridge). Brand and Tarpley roll to the hoop off their down screens for Zeke alleyoops or offensive boards.

U C L A uses a set from his Wooden days with Kareem (or Brand) the hub at the high post elbow. Zeke passes to either Dandridge or Pressey the near wing position just inside the arc. Zeke then makes a quick cut past the high post screen rub of Kareem or Brand. Dandridge or Pressey have the option of feeding Zeke for the layup, taking the open J, or posting their man in the low block. Once Kareem rubs Zeke’s man, he rolls toward the basket on the opposite side of the lane trailing the cutter for a possible layoff dunk from Zeke.

Run to Daylight is our running game which will be used sparingly, but when the opportunity presents itself. We will run in two scenarios. First, Kareem has a rebounding advantage over Ewing. He also throws an excellent outlet pass. When Kareem grabs the board and sees Zeke leaking out for the outlet we are off to the races. Zeke, Reggie and Dandridge with a trailing Brand will run the break. Kareem will play goalie D for any broken breaks. The second scenario will be to run off steals as Zeke picks Porter’s pocket. We also expect Pippin to turn the ball over under Dandridge’s pressure a few times creating running opportunities.

Defense:

Buffalo can score, I just don’t see how they will score enough. Their best scorer starts on the bench and they will struggle to score early. Ewing is dangerous from midrange and baseline so we will stick with him like glue. The primary Buffalo threats after Ewing are JJ and Porter from deep, and Pippen or Barry creating.

We will use 3 primary defensive sets:
Man Up: 50%
Out Manned: 25%
Free Safety: 25%

Man Up is our straight, stay at home on your own man defensive set. Buffalo is expecting to use Ewing’s jumper to draw Kareem out of the paint. Instead, Elton Brand will be the primary defender on Ewing in this set. Elton will play Ewing for the J and put a hand in his face with his 7’5” wingspan. Kareem will guard Horace Grant with a looser position freeing him for emergency help at the hoop. Kareem’s length will bother Grant’s J even with a cushion between them. Zeke will be on Porter, Reggie on JJ, and with the key matchup of the game Dandridge will apply his 1st team D to Pippen. Dandridge will shade Pip for the drive and make him a jump shooter. Pippen will hit some, but we are more concerned with his drive than his outside shot.

Outmanned is our pressure D. It’s Zeke’s call when we move into the pressure set. He will initiate the pressure full court with Porter’s weaker ball skills the target. Reggie will shadow him about 10-15 feet back to anticipate either a halfcourt line double team trap on Porter, or poach the passing lane as Porter looks for help out of the pressure. Kareem and Brand will be positioned on either elbow of the lane as dual backstops in case the ball leaks through. Dandridge will be glued to Pippin for when Porter looks to offload the ball. Running opportunities will develop off turnovers from this pressure set.

Free Safety will be a help D designed as a one man rover to help Reggie during times in the game when his man (usually JJ) is heating up. The key to our rover alignment will be Horace Grant. When we switch to this set, Kareem will switch to Ewing and Brand to Grant. Brand (Tarpley) will first show strong to Grant’s position, then float to a help position supporting Reggie. During these stretches the goal is to cool off the hot shooter (JJ) and accept the risk of the ball moving to Grant (14ppg) for the open J.

Adjustments:

Paul Pressey will be ready for extra minutes if Dandridge gets in foul trouble on Pippin. Pressey was also 1st team D so we won’t skip a beat on D. We lose a bit of scoring with him on offense, but he is even more adept than Dandridge on creating shots for his teammates and feeding the Big Fella in the post.

We will solve the double team attempts on Kareem in the flow of the game. He saw doubles night in and out and will always have three options available to him. 1. Choose to either reposition on the opposite side of the post, with a pass out and post re-entry. 2. Find the open man with his excellent post passing skills (he is passing out to three 50% shooters). 3. Simply shoot over the D as he swings wide in the Skyhook motion.

While Barry is in the game we will emphasize that matchup more and expose his weak D with ISO opportunities for Dandridge or Reggie depending on who Barry guards.

Closing:

We close the game with our five starters on the floor. They will be rested with no starters playing over their regular season minutes average. Kareem gets four extra minutes of rest from his season average, to insure fresh Skyhook legs. Zeke will control the end game tempo. Ewing will be in foul trouble by this point and we will force him to stop the hook. Kareem, Zeke and Reggie will remain our focal point and all three have the killer instinct to close out this game. At the same time, the walls will be closing in on Ewing and Pippin as they are forced to try and carry their teams in crunchtime.

Why Antarctica wins:

Antarctica wins this game for three reasons. 1. A big talent advantage in four of five spots on the floor. Two of those spots (Kareem and Zeke) are head and shoulders better than their opponent. 2. We bring the more balanced, better spaced team to the floor. With little inside game Buffalo lives and dies by the jump shot. 3. Antarctica has three killers in Kareem, Zeke, and Reggie. Buffalo has two stars that have a history of pressure issues. Buffalo's cinderella story comes to an end in the Igloo.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:43 pm    Post subject:

Good luck Michlake!
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:59 pm    Post subject:

Good luck to you as well.

Cinderella will not go down easy. I like both of our gameplan's but mine is slightly better
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:36 pm    Post subject:

DB

Back in the Igloo for the home ice advantage? Or, will Buffalo cook up some hot wings that melt the place down?

1. Minutes by Position: Buffalo switches up some minutes by giving Joe Johnson more play in start of Barry and split duty at point with Porter and Rondo. The switch up with Johnson and Barry could allow for an easier defensive match up for Barry, but Antarctica has painted a bullseye on him when he's in the game, so they'll be looking to attack him. Antarctica brings the heat (see what I did there?) with it's starters getting their full load of minutes. Fouls won't come into play at the PG spot for Buffalo with their split duty. Other than that, both teams will be looking for strong minutes from their starters.

2. Sales Job: Buffalo uses Pip's defensive skills to plug up weaknesses. And rightly so. Versatile defenders help playoff teams survive and thrive. This gets tougher, however, with more well-rounded, balanced teams. They have given up offense and times for the D in this game. They do mention worrying about losing if Brand and Dandridge have good games, and throughout the game they will look to leave those two to double. Late in the game, they will rely on Joe Johnson and Barry. This, too, probably helps them a little to overcome some lack of others to impose their will.

Antarctica makes a good point, in my mind, about the starters being better on their team except for Pip. They also highlight their post play and their guard play and how spacing will help their attack at these two spots. So, they smartly play to their strengths on offense and don't overthink things. They've got guys with talent and use it well. Defensively, they might have wanted to highlight Rondo's lack of offense a bit more since he has a big role in this game. This would have allowed Zeke or whomever to leave him a bit and clog things down (Kobe took Rondo's effectiveness away very well when the Lakers allowed Kobe to cover him on D, then float). But this is Rondo...and this is the ATL. So more minutes for him will have some challenges anyway. The gamble of Brand on Ewing is risky. There will be some pro's and some con's to it.

3. Offense: Antarctica will look to initiate half of its offense through Kareem. With shooters around him, he'll be a load that makes Buffalo pick their poison. When they aren't running that, they will look to use Zeke to create with the floor spread or out on the occasional break.

Buffalo will be playing more Rondo in this game and less minutes for Barry. Their offense will suffer a little as they try to make it up on D. A third of their offense will be Ewing in the post. With Brand on Ewing, they will have some success here. When they go to the pick and pop or roll against Brand, they may face more issues as Kareem is patrolling the paint and Brand is a little more agile on the perimeter. As stated, 30 percent of Buffalo's offense will be in the pick and roll/pop variety. They will iso Johnson against Reggie, Pippen in the post against Dandridge, and look to give Barry an even greener light off the bench. In the last two minutes, you will see an offense for defense sub with Barry coming in for Grant if there's a dead ball. Joe Johnson and Barry will be taking shots late.

4. Defense: Buffalo has to be careful with sagging off shooters to protect the paint. As stated by Antarctica, Kareem will indeed go off against the single coverage on Ewing. Thus, we have issues. Buffalo will never double off Reggie...and Reggie will be one of the post-entry passers. So, Kareem will have some time to work and will get the ball. He'll face the occasional double from Grant on his strong side to limit the Skyhook and a lot of Pip. Johnson will also play tight on Reggie to make him a playmaker (Reggie will be able to get into the paint on occasion...along with Zeke getting into the paint this could cause some foul issues to others).

When Antarctica isn't going to Kareem, Buffalo will have to defend Isiah's speed on a spread or open floor. They can't use Johnson for spot point duties because of the speed issues, so we see more time for Rondo (pressuring Isiah at midcourt) and the guy whose minutes are reduced are essentially's Barry's. Barry will be put to the test still as Antarctica looks to attack him when he's in the game on the other end. Buffalo will put Pippen in rover mode to help on the bigman and Isiah, leaving Dandridge open quite a bit. He will likely have a big game. Can Pip make enough an impact to slow things down?

If not, Grant will be sent to double at times, as well. You have to really send a double with Kareem and old school rules. So, midrange possibilities on passes from Kareem are there. Pip will stick more to his man in the last two minutes. Barry could be an issue if he gets caught on the court in the last two minutes, look for Pip to take Grant's man (Brand) and Barry to take Dandridge. Good idea, but still a big risk.

Antarctica makes a risky switch on Ewing. Anticipating that Ewing will be used to pull Kareem away from the paint, they will switch Brand on to him to in their man-up D sets. Kareem will be used to sag off Horace and patrol. Dandridge will give up some shots to protect against the drive of Pippen, but Pippen will look to post up. If there's a hot shooter, they will swap their bigman coverage and have Brand help more off of Grant. Good idea to show this kind of flexibility. Reggie will be iso'd by Johnson and made to work on D. Brand's help here is another smart move.

5. Adjustments: Antarctica doesn't focus enough on Rondo's lack of complete offensive game since he has more of a role. His Celts got bogged down badly when the Lakers cheated off him and made him beat them. He got benched by the Celts because of this. This was an opportunity missed on the D end for 24 minutes of the game. It's still Rondo, so you are going to get killed, but it could have really put the screws to Buffalo.

Good adjustment, however, on taking it to Barry on the offensive end. He doesn't get a free ride in this game. Another good adjustment is sending Brand to help on JJ if he heats up. Buffalo puts a premium on JJ's scoring late in the game.

Buffalo decides to stay home with Pippen in the last two minutes. I think I still prefer him to gamble a bit. Big game closers like Isiah, Reggie, Kareem...guys who impose their will...will be at their most dangerous at this time.

Barry coming in the last two minutes for O on dead balls is is a gamble, but a calculated one. Risky, but probably necessary...which also points to some flaws in closing on this team. And this leads to...

6. Closing: Antarctica has some world-class closers on this team. Guys who impose their will. Some teams have one or two. They have more. I think the scales definitely favor them late in the game. Pip will also tend to stay home on his man more in the final two minutes, which will probably allow these closers even more opportunity to get the job done.

And, as mentioned, Buffalo has to be crafty at the end to find some solutions. Barry can cause two defensive mismatches, his and Brand vs. Pip if he's caught on the floor. Advantage Antarctica in the final minutes.

7. And the Winner is... I see Ewing having more success than he should with Brand on him. Even though he likes that softy midrange game, he's going to work the post vs. try to spread teh floor in this game. So, this probably collapses the D a little more than he should. Having Kareem patrolling the paint and leaving Horace to beat you isn't a bad thing. And will help cut down on penetration and post play by smaller SFs like Pip. I might have gone straight up more with this match up...I think it gives a little more than it should...but in the end, 30% of the offense in the post from Ewing doesn't kill Antarctica. And there is some flexibility planned to go with Kareem against Ewing. Kareem is a beast on the other end. PG-wise, Isiah owns the day on this one. That combo could cause problems and foul trouble for the interior no matter how much help Pip or Grant give.

Antarctica misses out on shutting down half the game by letting whomever is guarding Rondo sag off and destroy the Buffalo offensive flow. But, again, Rondo is playing half a game at the PG spot in the ATL. It will still be a problem for Buffalo.

On paper, I think Antarctica has a strong advantage going into this game. Both teams did a good job of playing to their strengths and hiding some of their weaknesses. Buffalo puts up a crafty fight and narrows the margin more than maybe they should. Isiah is better in this matchup. Kareem is better in this matchup. Both will cause considerable problems collapsing the D with penetration via the post and the dribble drive. Help D will leave Brand and Dandridge open. They will take advantage. In the final minutes, Antarctica separates itself with a superior squad that knows how to close big games. Antarctica defends home ice.

Antarctica 1-0
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:38 pm    Post subject:

L4L

1. Rotations:
  1. Buffalo plays Rondo too long. He's a fantastic defensive talent, but he destroys floor balance. He isn't talented enough offensively to super-compensate and consistently beat players who don't respect his shot. The Celtics were actually better with House in the game during the playoffs. That said, Antarctica says nothing about backing off of Rondo allowing Buffalo to skate free.

  2. Buffalo doesn't play Barry enough. He is the second "best" scorer on Buffalo's team, the best closer, and he only gets 5% of the touches and 18 minutes? Then Buffalo wants a volume shooter to be hot in the final minutes to help close? Barry needs more burn.

  3. Antarctica makes a great choice to play the starters huge minutes, but then decides to play the equivalent of a full quarter of full court pressure. This will tire the starters slightly.




2. Sales Job:
  1. Where is the sale’s job Buffalo? Buffalo correctly notes the fantastic versatility of his defensive first unit.

  2. Buffalo fails to note the relatively poor outside shooting of Antarctica. Reggie Miller is the only player on the entire roster who consistently makes 3s in the year chosen. Antarctica exaggerates the "perfect floor balance" of the Penguins, but, overall, it is still very good. With Buffalo neglecting this aspect, it is irrelevant.

  3. Antarctica is absolutely right; the talent disparity for the first 36 minutes is enormous and even further magnified in the last quarter.

  4. Ewing did fall in love with his J at this stage of his career, but Buffalo doesn't have him playing out or high in a majority of his sets.




3. Offense:
  1. Buffalo is extremely vague on the set descriptions (negative in my book), but the pick game suits his personnel very well.

  2. Attacking Reggie is a smart move as he’s the weak link for Antarctica on the perimeter.

  3. Ewing in the post is an excellent call. I'd like to have seen him even more.

  4. Dandridge is a ball-hawk. Allowing Pippen to post should help relieve some of the handling pressure while the isolations afford Pippen the opportunity to slash which is best asset. That said, Dandridge will make it all very difficult.

  5. Antarctica's main focus is on Kareem, as it should be, using both Captain Hook and UCLA to get him in his comfort zone.

  6. Power offense employs the wings as the first and second options coming off down screens and UCLA is used primarily with strong posting PGs. I wanted more sets with Isiah handling the ball in space as the first option rather than as a cutter and a facilitator.

  7. 10% running is actually quite a bit and with Buffalo's athletic advantage, Antarctica won't have great success on the break. Isiah will score beating Terry off the bounce, but, when Rondo is in the game, Buffalo has an athletic advantage at most every position.




4. Defense:
  1. Pippen is used in his correct role defensively. He was so long, athletic, and quick that he could play the lanes and still contest his man. However, with hard doubles on Kareem, Dandridge will have openings to shoot mid-range Js. He'll knock them down at a high clip, which Buffalo concedes is the preferred result.

  2. Gluing a defender to Reggie Miller is a fantastic move with Antartica's other starters being weak from the outside.

  3. Rondo will have some success limiting Thomas, but he'll hardly be a stopper.

  4. Instructing Ewing to play "tough and physical" with Kareem will only lead to foul trouble. Kareem won't be intimidated by Ewing when he's already played guys like Wilt and Moses.

  5. Brand's fantastic athleticism and wingspan allow him to play bigger players, sometimes even centers, in today's NBA. He does have the tools to put up a fight, but Brand isn't an overwhelmingly excellent man defender even in today's NBA. He's good to very good, but this is Patrick Ewing – one of the greatest scoring post men ever. Brand protects Kareem from foul trouble, but he gets worked himself.



5. Adjustments
  1. Buffalo's decision to weaken Zeke's offensive legs by attacking him on defense is a good one especially combined with the heavy minutes and full court pressure schemes. However, it should have been focused on even a little more. In the pick and roll, pick and pop, section this should have been specifically keyed upon. Instead the plan is pretty ambiguous and just states that all perimeter players have the freedom to use the PnR.

  2. Buffalo's adjustment to Kareem heating up will not work. In Buffalo's game plan, he states Brand can be doubled off of if he's cold in the mid-range. Grant is one of the best trap and recover bigs around, but what if Brand isn't cold? Kareem just keeps on rolling? Even in spite of Grant's abilities, with Brand's athleticism, he's getting the shot off every time and converting at a slightly more than respectable rate.

  3. Buffalo didn't anticipate Antarctica might ever put Brand on Ewing. If he did, Ewing should get the ball on the block every single play until Kareem is called upon for the assignment. Instead, Kareem is protected. While Ewing will do great damage against Brand, it should be an option that is milked every play and it isn’t in this case.

  4. Buffalo has no adjustment for Ewing getting into foul trouble.

  5. Buffalo fails to note the relatively poor outside shooting of Antarctica. Reggie Miller is the only player on the entire roster who consistently makes 3s in the year chosen.

  6. Both teams knew that Miller would need help, and with Joe Johnson’s passing abilities, he’s going to find be able to find Grant for jumpers against a recovering Brand. Grant will knock these down at a respectable clip.

  7. Antarctica correctly identified Barry's defensive troubles. Attacking Barry makes him a liability entirely because Buffalo doesn't focus on Barry offensively (Barry relies on out-producing his opponents though his defensive abilities sharply increased after his ABA days).

  8. Antarctica didn't anticipate heavy minutes for Rondo and never once mentioned him in their game plan. Antarctica should have noted that Rondo would receive no respect for his jumper.


6. Closing
  1. Joe Johnson is only just an NBA caliber closer. In 06-07, he shot 40% from the field in the last 5 minutes of a game where the score was within 5. He only scored 24.5 points per 48 in these stretches which was far lower than his season averages. JJ can't close versus any one of the four potential closers on Antarctica.

  2. Rick Barry was a volume shooter and he doesn't get his volume touches early on. He's the best closer on Buffalo and while some focus was finally put on him, the ball should be running through him first and Ewing 1b instead of Johnson, seemingly, first and Barry as option 1b or option 2. Either way, he's not warm for closing.

  3. Antartica starters are slightly tired from the huge minutes and an overload of pressure D, but this IS the playoffs and the Penguins have four ATL caliber closers in Thomas, Miller, Dandridge, and Jabbar to share the load. Nothing much changes for them strategy wise, but that's actually a good thing.

  4. Pippen didn't need to play more honest. This allows an unstoppable Kareem to simply go one on one with Ewing who is already in foul trouble.

  5. Kareem is the best closer in the match-up and he is getting the most touches down the stretch.


7. The Key Reasons Why Antarctica Won:
  1. Not enough Rick Barry who is the second or third most valuable player on the Buffalo squad.

  2. Buffalo has no answer for Kareem as their adjustment fails.

  3. Ewing's rough style of play has him in foul trouble against Kareem all night. Brand protects Kareem from a similar fate even though Brand is hurt by Ewing himself.

  4. Ewing isn’t getting enough touches. Buffalo didn't anticipate Brand on Ewing and thus didn't feature Ewing in the post as much as he should have. While Ewing is getting some touches in the PnR, the Buffalo game plan states that Grant is also involved in the PnR. He shouldn’t be. He’s there to space the court.

  5. Buffalo simply doesn't have the same caliber of closers down the stretch that Antarctica does. The closers are just that much better for the Penguins.

  6. Buffalo didn't specify conditions of offensive attack to the same degree that Antarctica did. Antarctica’s offensive game plan better utilizes its best player; Kareem gets more touches and more touches in the spot he loves best. While both teams identified two weak links on the perimeter in Miller and Barry, Antarctica had a plan to help out Reggie defensively. Buffalo didn’t have a similar back-up for Rick Barry. Antarctica didn’t have any glaring hole comparable to the one left by Buffalo when they didn’t have a contingency plan for Brand on Ewing.

  7. Simply put, Antarctica is more talented team than Buffalo and when the game plan doesn't heavily favor Buffalo, it is impossible to rule in their favor.


Antarctica 2-0
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:40 pm    Post subject:

Sky

Buffalo-Antarctica
Minutes
Buffalo takes some risks, Rondo for 24 helps on D hurts on O. Joe Johnson over Barry chooses 2-way over 1-way. Antarctica goes standard 8-man assuming no foul trouble.

Sales Job
Buffalo sells its defensive versatility. Pippen as rover is more Pippen as a doubler on Kareem. “The best and most versatile defense ever put together.” Crrraaack! My hyperbole meter just broke.

Antarctica sells ready for prime time and floor balance. The “led their teams to titles” argument doesn’t apply to Isiah, his year was specifically chosen for stats not rings. Kareem was key on the floor but the team leader was Oscar, Cap in this year was young, a leader solely by production. Dandridge won a ring but didn’t lead. Reggie was a leader but didn’t win a ring. Brand hasn’t won anything. Antarctica can definitely point to clutch play in playoff games, but team leadership? Kareem and Isiah would evolve into team leaders, but the years for both are very early in their careers.

Buffalo on offense/Antarctica on defense
Ewing in the post wouldn’t work that effectively vs. Kareem, but with Brand on him it does. Elton has the long arms but so does Ewing, the height advantage remains intact and Patrick scores consistently down low. Joe in ice vs. Reggie, Johnson isn’t a great 1-on-1 player he’s a shooter. Pick and roll, some jumpers not many finishes. Pick and pop works for Ewing, but not Ho with Kareem on him. Pippen ice, not much scoring success against Dandridge but Scottie can create for others from there.

The Braves offense works best when it involves Ewing. 30% post up, half of the pick and pop = 37%. The rest of the time it’s relying on jumpers.

Antarctica on offense/Buffalo on defense
Half the offense is Kareem skyhook then reacting off the double. He’ll have early success that forces Pippen out of an overall team help D role and into doubling Kareem most of the time. Dandridge will also have to adjust over time from open midrange to figuring where to cut and playmaking when the defense closes on him. All game long it’s an evolutionary process, each step of the way the offense succeeds and then the defense learns how to take it away.

The defensive concept works for Buffalo, Pippen’s defense forces Kareem to protect the ball slowing the skyhook, strong hand double is also smart positioning that takes Kareem out of his comfort zone. By leaving the midrange shooter open Buffalo forces Dandridge to become a decision maker. Dandridge has 4.7 assists so he can find the open man and he was a money shooter, but Buffalo has smart defenders that rotate well in Joe Johnson, Rondo and Ho, they can run out on Dandridge to turn him into a playmaker. Antarctica will need to learn effective spacing, passing and cuts off the Kareem double, in essence learn a second play on the fly. They’ll get better at it as the game progresses.

The 1-4 with Zeke has some success but it’s only 8 minutes of the game, most of the open looks there are jumpers. UCLA works best when Porter is on Isiah and the speed mismatch can be fully utilized.

Adjustments
Buffalo - Porter starts backing down Zeke in the post in response to UCLA’s effectiveness.

Antarctica – Pressey for Dandridge gives the Penguins more of a playmaker out of the Kareem double.

Closing
Pippen plays more honest on his man in the final 2 minutes, which gives Kareem more freedom against Ewing. Barry switching in offense/defense substitutions late doesn’t work off a cold engine.

Antarctica assumes Ewing foul trouble that isn’t there. Kareem has been doubled most of the night. They rely on Isiah, Kareem and Reggie to close it out.

And the winner is…
Kareem will go off early and then an effective double starts to deny that option. Buffalo has the personnel to double Kareem and still defend well. Antarctica makes a costly assumption, relying solely on player skills rather than a specific set/play to beat the double and looks to open jump shots as the answer. The 57% fg% of Kareem drops to under 50% on jump shots and Buffalo can hang around. The Braves have Ewing vs. Brand inside and jumpers vs. Antarctica learning over time how to beat the Kareem double, mixed in with Isiah finishing and creating.

Buffalo is right that they have the defensive personnel and scheme to limit Kareem. Antarctica is right that Buffalo doesn’t have enough offense to keep pace. You match those two up over time and Antarctica slowly pulls away. Buffalo needed an adjustment for more Ewing if Brand is on him in the post. That would have given them the offensive efficiency to not just keep pace but pull ahead. Buffalo also goes away from what worked defensively as they have Pippen go man up last two minutes. Kareem gets it going early and late, in between Buffalo has the ability to keep it close but not pull ahead. Antarctica wins a war of attrition.

Antarctica 3-0
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:42 pm    Post subject:

Candy Canes indicates his winner is Antarctica and will have the writeup in Monday.

Antarctica wins 4-0 and advances to the eastern conference final.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:56 pm    Post subject:

Good game Michlake!
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 9:08 pm    Post subject:

Great write ups judges. Really helps me think through some issues going forward. Thanks.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:53 pm    Post subject:

Yeah, definitely some good reads. There were a few things left on the table that could have made a bigger impact if exploited or focused on more.
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