East final: Antarctica @ Harlem

 
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Sky
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:19 am    Post subject: East final: Antarctica @ Harlem

Top seed Harlem hosts the eastern conference final against #2 Antarctica. 2Cleva makes the call on rules.

Statboxes

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

Harlem
http://img179.imageshack.us/img179/6721/harcy5.jpg

Injury risks:
ANT Edwards (13) 97 - healthy
HAR Willliams (44) 98 - healthy
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2Cleva
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:03 am    Post subject:

Old School rules.

Starting 5: Sugar Ray, MJ, Hill, Duncan, Sampson.



Good luck, TIME.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:52 am    Post subject:

Starting 5: Zeke, Reggie, Dandridge, Brand, Kareem.

The Penguins arrive in Harlem ready for whatever my be thrown at them.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk39/TIME2K/penguin2.jpg

This will be a war. Good luck Cleva!
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:57 pm    Post subject:

Should be a fun game to judge. Good luck again Cleva. You put together a great team this season.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:59 pm    Post subject:

Antarctica

Minutes by Position: 10 Man Rotation
PG: Isiah Thomas - 36 / Paul Pressey - 12
SG: Reggie Miller - 36 / Paul Pressey - 12
SF: Bobby Dandridge - 36 / Elton Brand - 12
PF: Elton Brand - 24 / Roy Tarpley - 24
C: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 38 / James Edwards - 5 / Antonio Davis - 5

Kareem will sit the last two minutes of the first quarter, and the first three minutes of the second quarter. That pattern will be repeated at the end of the third and start of the fourth. With the break between the quarters added in, and playing 6 minutes under his regular season average, Kareem will be strong and fresh for crunch time. In a surprise, Elton Brand will play 12 minutes at SF and split time at PF with Tarpley. This season Elton dropped 15 pounds of fat and at 260lbs was quick enough to handle SF minutes in a power lineup. Paul Pressey fills all backcourt bench minutes. His added size will offset the size of the Harlem backcourt and his point forward skills will work well in our slow tempo halfcourt game.

Sales Job:

Introduction:
Antarctica faces a war against Harlem. We expect the game to go to the wire. Our plan is to control the tempo, make it a trench war, wear Harlem’s two best players down, and win in crunch time where our best players are at their best.

1. Talent: no big talent difference between these teams. Harlem is better advantage in two spots; SG and PF. But Reggie played his best against MJ and shot 11-16 from 3 against him in MJ’s year. We have the advantage at two spots with Kareem at C and Zeke at PG. Center advantage is huge (KAJ-Sampson). Wilt called Sampson, “My number one pick for biggest waste of ability.” SF is a push with Hill slightly better on O and Dandridge stronger on D with first team D. Our bench is stronger. Horry and Thomas will struggle against the size and power of Tarpley, Edwards and Davis. Basketball is a big man’s sport and bigs will wear down Harlem’s.

2. Floor balance and spacing: Harlem has two of the best weapons in the game but their balance issues will be exposed. Duncan has a low post game but he will be guarded every minute by Kareem. He either settles for difficult post shots or he moves out to midrange leaving Harlem without an inside threat. Jordan is the best outside threat from Harlem’s starters. We invite MJ to stay outside while slanting our D to discourage his drives and post game. Kareem is still the biggest weapon. Their doubles leaves open shots for our spaced shooters.

3. Tempo: Sampson, Hill and Richardson are most effective in an up tempo game. We slow the game down, expose Sugar Ray’s lack of a shot by having Zeke slack. We want to wear them down with our half court machine. Harlem controlled tempo in the early rounds by controlling glass. That luxury ends here as Kareem, Brand, and Tarpley clean glass.

4. Jordan / Duncan Rules: Duncan has never been guarded by a 7’2” player that is as fundamental as him, longer than him, and jumps higher than him. Kareem takes Duncan all game. Jordan is Jordan, but has to carry a huge load: the best scorer, best 3 point threat, best playmaker, and best defender while doubled and running through screens? Jordan tires at the end when they need him most.

Shatterpoint
The key to this game is which doubled superstar has the greater impact; Kareem or Jordan. Kareem will have greater success against doubles, with more productive teammates out of the double than MJ’s supporting cast.

Offense:

Iron Cross: 40%
The Iron Cross will be our primary set. The goal is simple; get Kareem the ball in his best scoring position while making punishing Kareem’s primary defender with a screen, and spacing the floor anticipating the double coming on KAJ.

http://www.cybersportsusa.com/hooptactics/basecross.asp
(left side entry)

http://www.cybersportsusa.com/hooptactics/offense/bcGraphicEntryR.asp
(right side entry)

We will run this set both to the left and right side, but our primary direction will be to the right with KAJ receiving the ball on the right low block. Zeke initiates, Our SF (Dandridge & Brand) will set a baseline screen for KAJ as he moves into position. The SF will continue into midrange position while the PF sets a downscreen for the SF. Reggie is spotted up at the top of the arc available for the pass out for a three ball. Zeke is positioned midrange on Kareem’s side and is ready to receive the pass out from Kareem when the double comes for a quick pass to the open cutter off the double. The baseline screen will free Kareem for early Skyhook shots even if a doubler comes because his man has to fight through the screen. The goal is a Skyhook score whenever Kareem finds single coverage, but the offence leads to open opportunities for every man when the ball moves out of the double.

The Iron Cross Misdirection gives us yet another variation off of our basic set:

http://www.cybersportsusa.com/hooptactics/earlyoff/eo30misdirection.asp

This variation features either Zeke or the SF for an open shot, while always presenting the low post option of KAJ from another initial look.

Primal Screen: 30%
Primal Screen will force whoever is guarding Reggie Miller to fight through hard screens or watch him drain long ball after long ball. If Hill covers Reggie, then Reggie goes off as Hill struggles after the 10th time he runs into Elton Brand or Roy Tarpley. If Jordan guards Reggie then we run him until his legs turn to mush and he discovers new levels of intimacy with our bigs.

http://www.cybersportsusa.com/hooptactics/earlyoff/eo14doublecurl.asp

The goal of our Primal Screen set is two fold. We want to get Reggie open shots and make him more of a threat this game forcing the D to honor him. But, the screens themselves are as important as the shots they produce. We want Reggie’s defender to run, run, and then run some more chasing him interrupted by the jarring screens set by our bigs.

In the first set, the curl action we take advantage of Reggie’s slithery ability to weave in the half court while running his man first through a PF down screen resulting in a possible layup, and then through double baseline screens set by Dandridge or Brand at SF, and Kareem. Will Jordan and/or Hill continue to run through three screens every time we run this set? In the second set, the option results either in an open 3 ball for Reggie, or places Dandridge or Brand in their 15-18 foot midrange sweet spot for an open J. In the second option the PF will have opportunity for a hard post and we will work both Brand and Tarpley here whenever Kareem sits.

Rock and Roll: 30%
Rock and Roll is our name for the classic side screen, pick and roll set made famous by Stockton and Malone. We will run this set with the following primary pairs: Zeke-Jabbar, Zeke-Brand.

http://www.cybersportsusa.com/hooptactics/sidescreen.asp

The Zeke-Brand combo as clone of Stockton-Malone. We also use a Zeke-Jabbar combo. In this Kareem is closer to the hoop and when he pops he moves into Skyhook motion.

Run to Daylight: run ONLY off of steals with a free lane to the basket. Harlem’s high turnovers gives a few easy baskets. Sampson led the NBA in one category…turnovers, with 326. He doesn’t lead his own team in fumbles as Sugar dropped the ball 359 times (4.5 per game), and now he deals with Zeke’s hands in his pockets.

Defense:

We will use 3 primary defensive sets:

Triangle D: Show and Recover - 50%

http://www.cybersportsusa.com/hooptactics/defense/defgraphicTriangleNBA.asp

Triangle D: All Out Disruption - 20%

http://www.cybersportsusa.com/hooptactics/defense/defgraphicTriangleSOS.asp

Rover: Whenever Reggie needs extra help looks to run. - 20% (anticipated but adjustable). Help D designed as a basic man to man alignment with a one man rover to help Reggie during times in the game when MJ heats up. Our rover will be our SF. Dandridge will be the rover to slide over to double MJ off of Hill. Our PF who guards Sampson will pay slack a bit off of Sampson and be ready to cover if Hill cuts to the basket.

Transition D: 10% (or as needed). In our transition D, Zeke or Pressey will shadow Sugar Ray, the 3 and 2 spots will be strong and free safeties poaching the midcourt passing lanes. The 4 and 5 spots will run back to act as twin backstops on either side of the defensive paint (Our bigs can all run the floor to get into position in transition).

Adjustments:
1. When Kareem is doubled: first, the man left open by the double cuts to the basket. Kareem flips to the cutter for the dunk. Second, our PG is positioned midrange on Kareem’s side when he posts ready to receive a quick pass from Kareem. The PG can move the ball in a skip pass to the open cutter left by the doubler.

2. If Reggie struggles guarding MJ, we switch Bobby Dandridge unto MJ for stretches. At 6’6” / 200 with first team D, Dandridge can slow MJ some. We will use Pressey’s scheduled 12 minutes at SG all against MJ as another first team defender on MJ.

3. If Roy Tarpley is guarded by Horry, or Kurt Thomas we emphasize his post mismatch, when Kareem sits.

4. When Kareem is single guarded we bomb the skyhook.

Closing:

At the end of the third Davis will come in for two minutes to beat on Tim Duncan. At the beginning of the fourth, James Edwards comes in for three minutes to finish the beating. Kareem in at the nine minute mark after a five minute rest with fresh legs to finish.

We close with our rested starters. Zeke controls end game. Jordan rules are in effect as we double MJ when he touches the ball. Kareem closes Duncan down, Kareem, Zeke and Reggie are lead the scoring. We double off of either Sampson, or Hill, with their fragile psyche’s under end game pressure. We don’t leave Horry.

Why Antarctica wins:

We have a slight overall talent advantage. It’s a big man game and its our three bigs against their two. We have better floor balance. We will control the tempo, play our game, at our speed. At the end, at crunchtime, we have three great closers. Their closer, MJ is doubled. To quote Michael Ray Richardson, “The ship be sinking!”


Last edited by Sky on Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:17 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:06 pm    Post subject:

Harlem

Minutes by Position

1 Sugar 36, Harper 12
2 Jordan 38, McKie 10
3 Hill 38, McKie 10
4 Duncan 28, Horry 20,
5 Sampson 32, Duncan 12, Williams 4

McKie will spell Jordan and Hill. Horry gets minute boost off his D and 3 point shot to stretch the D. Williams will finish the first & third quarter. Duncan and MJ will sit for 3 of the first 6 minutes of the 4th –when Kareem sits Duncan does at same time. If Kareem doesn’t sit then Duncan sits the first 3 minutes, Jordan to sit the second 3 minutes.

Sales Job
1. Antarctica touts their championship-level leadership and experience but they picked statistics over success. Kareem is young; he and Dandridge have a ring thanks to Oscar’s leadership not his. Thomas, Miller, and Brand have yet to win a division title, let alone the conference or Finals, in the years selected. This is their biggest stage and the pressure of the moment will catch up to them. Harlem has guys who have led their team to rings. Jordan and Duncan have combined for five of their ten rings already and Horry has been clutch for 4. Harlem has been there before and that confidence is crucial.

2. Peter Vescey: “Isiah Thomas to this day tells me that the one guy he was scared of was Richardson. He said Richardson owned him.” Isiah Thomas – “Well he was the Sugar Man, you know. He was Sugar Ray. I mean he was sweet. No moment or no stage was too big for him.” (1:10 mark - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgdyWZqTM3U). The mental game between the PGs is over before the jump ball and Sugar is going to take advantage of that and attack Isiah on both ends.

3. Harlem’s bench has winners willing to fill their role and 4 guys who were key parts in the years chosen. Horry’s rep is already known, Derek Harper was huge for the Knicks making the Finals in 89, McKie was the stabilizer in Philly’s last Final’s run, Scott Williams has 3 rings in his pocket from playing with MJ. Harlem has guys who have been there before while Antarctica is relying on guys who haven’t for the most part.

4. Head to head, the Harlem players had great success against their arctic counterparts.
- Thomas knows Sugar owns him.
- Jordan outscored Miller by 9.5 in years compared.
- Sampson’s greatest moment came at the expense of Kareem in the playoffs.
- In 01-02 (one of last Horry got heavy minutes) Horry held Brand to 15 ppg.
- In Brand’s year, (Horry with Duncan), Brand got his average but was held to 43% instead of the 52% he shot for the year.
- Duncan vs. Brand averaged +3 points and +2.5 rebounds while shooting higher percentage.

Bottom line – Harlem’s game isn’t falling off against Antarctica. The same can’t be said for the other side.

Shatterpoint
Stopping the skyhook. By dropping down on the ball for steals and taking Kareem out of his rhythm Harlem prevents Kareem from getting off his sweet shot so Antarctica’s offensive flow is gone and this close match becomes a blowout.

Offense
Harlem’s focus on offense will be attacking with the advantage on the perimeter as well as keeping Kareem drawn from the basket. Harlem expects Thomas to be on Sugar, Miller on Jordan, Dandridge on Hill, Brand on Duncan, and Kareem on Sampson.

1. Transition 15%

Harlem has the advantage in team speed and plan on using it early and often. Harlem pushes the ball on every opportunity (missed baskets, steals, & long rebounds). This will make Kareem work and have to defend the entire court as well as take advantage of the creative open floor game of Harlem.

2. Triangle Offense 30%

The basic Harlem set that gets the ball and defense moving in search of mismatches.

High Post Split - http://www.cybersportsusa.com/hooptactics/offense/triangleSidelineHighsplit.asp

With 1 (Sugar) going backdoor and to the opposite side followed by the initiator 3 (Hill) and 2 (Jordan) splitting the cut off him. If none of the cutters have easy looks off the cut or double, Duncan then takes Brand one-on-one.

If Sweden tries to front Duncan in the post, Harlem adapts:
Power Lay-Up - http://www.cybersportsusa.com/hooptactics/offense/triangleGraphicPOpower.asp

Duncan will seal his defender up high and then Harlem either throws it over the top or swings it in the corner for a better passing angle.

If Kareem guards Duncan, then Harlem throws the lob to Sampson over Brand. Despite Brand’s wingspan, he’s only 6’8” and Sampson at 7’4” with a 36” vertical leap is able to play another level above him (for comparison, Kobe and Desmond Mason vertical is 38”).

Lob to Sampson - http://img383.imageshack.us/img383/700/sampsonlobvi7.jpg

3. Triangle Offense 25% – Choking the Chicken

To cut down on Miller grabbing and flopping, Harlem will put Miller on an island. Here Jordan can just take Reggie off the dribble and the help can’t come in time.

Jordan Iso - http://img54.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jordanisowv4.jpg

Harlem goes to this offense when Duncan rests and to close out quarters.

4. Triangle Offense 20% – Sweet Sugar

Sugar Iso - http://img54.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jordanisowv4.jpg

Sugar will attack the basket on Thomas, getting Thomas in foul trouble and staying in his head.

When Antarctica tries to give help, Harlem adapts. Before Sugar (2) attacks, Hill (1) will run his man off double screens of the 4 and 5 from the wing. With Sugar heading to the basket, Hill is cutting, with MJ (3) spotting up out top. Sugar either finishes himself, dishes to Hill or kicks out to MJ for 3.

Defense
Sugar on Zeke, Jordan on Miller, Hill on Dandridge, Duncan on Brand, Sampson on Kareem. When Horry is in for Sampson, Duncan will be on Kareem, Horry on Brand. McKie will guard the 2 or 3 as needed.

1. Cut off Captain Hook’s Hand!

Taking away the Skyhook is the focal point of Harlem’s defense. Harlem will attack by doubling down off ball into Kareem’s pocket to not allow him to get in his rhythm for the skyhook. Harlem also lies off the interior passers when they are behind the arc, using length to make up for the space created. Thomas is the primary initiator but at 6’1, lacking a 3, and matched up with Richardson at 6’5”, Sugar can mix up lying off and pressure D. Dandridge and Pressey’s lack of a 3 point shot (Pressey only made 7 in 80 games) means their defender will lay off and quickly go to Kareem’s pocket when the pass is made. If Miller/Paxson is making the entry pass, Harlem pressures them hard and takes advantage of their lack of playmaking ability.

This focus is to get Kareem, and their Antarctica, out of their comfort zone. Kareem dominating with his money move is what Antarctica’s offense is based on. This forces him to go to secondary moves that Sampson’s height gives him chances for the shot block.

2. Doubting Thomas

Sugar will put the pressure on Thomas on the D end as well. After initially going for the steal on any outlet passes, Sugar will pick Thomas up at half court with hand checking and trash talking to keep him away from the basket. This will force Thomas into mistakes and disrupt Antarctica getting into their offense. Even 2 years after the season chosen, Thomas still wasn’t ready for the big moment.

Classic Thomas moment - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_RJ5XN8TK8

3. Lay off UCLA – Show & Recover

Show & Recover - http://www.cybersportsusa.com/hooptactics/defense/defgraphicUCLAnba.asp

Kareem and Brand are too good inside for Harlem to switch on this set so instead Harlem uses muscle. Sugar and Harper are great at hand checking, and will force the smaller Thomas/Paxson to go behind the screen, with the rest of the defense sagging into the paint to protect the basket. After the screen, the defender up top will deny the pass back to the big man (Kareem/Brand) and force Dandridge or Pressey to create offense for themselves. Hill and McKie are good enough defensively to prevent Dandridge and Pressey easy post ups and keep a hand in the face on any jump shots.

4. Steal Early Offense

Antarctica likes to look for early offense with Kareem sending outlet passes but Harlem will be waiting on it. The perimeter defenders will play the passing lanes for steals before picking up the ball handler at half court. Once the ball is at half court, Harlem falls back to protecting the basket as a team while individuals guarding the ball or 3point shooters play tight.

Adjustments
1. If Antarctica slows down the Jordan or Sugar iso, Harlem switches to the 2-Man Game.

2-Man Game - http://img377.imageshack.us/my.php?image=2mangamedw9.jpg

Jordan/Sugar will wait for the pick from the big man. Antarctica doesn’t have the athleticism to switch effectively so a solid pick frees up Jordan/Sugar to turn the corner and attack the basket.

2. Antarctica will use Pressey as the fireman. In 86-87, the 3rd year on All-D, Pressey still got worked by a young MJ – 34.7 ppg in 4 meetings. Take out 1 blowout game and MJ averaged 42.6 on 52.5 from the floor. That was a young MJ against Pressey in his prime, a wiser MJ with a 3 point shot would have his way with Pressey. If Pressey is on Sugar, the Sugar iso goes to the MJ iso.

3. If Kareem gets Sampson in foul trouble, then Williams gets more minutes defending him. Harlem saves most of Duncan’s time guarding Kareem for the 4th quarter.

4. If Brand is attacking Duncan or Duncan gets in foul trouble, then Harlem drops down to double Brand on the touch with the same principles done on Kareem. Brand isn’t the passer Kareem is and Harlem will force turnovers.

5. On pick and rolls inside the arc, Harlem will fight threw the picks to chase the player into shot blocking help. Antarctica’s small guys are better shooters than finishers inside with the trees. Behind the arc, only Miller and Paxson are chased, everyone else Harlem cuts underneath.

Closing
Closing lineup will be Sugar, MJ, Hill, Horry, and Duncan.

Offense: Harlem runs Jordan iso will take place, this time with Sugar staying in. Although not the shooter Harper is, Harlem won’t let go of the mental edge on Thomas. If Thomas is out, Harper is in.

Defense: Duncan on Kareem, Horry on Brand, MJ on Miller, Hill on Dandridge, Sugar on Thomas. Harlem continues the same plan of dropping down on Kareem, staying close to the 3pt shooters, and pressuring Thomas.

Why Harlem wins
1. Harlem takes away Kareem’s pet move and the focal point of Antarctica’s offense.
2. Sugar is in Zeke’s head causes Sweden to lose focus.
3. Jordan and Duncan’s leadership and finishing ability.
4. Harlem’s core has been there while Antarctica still lacks the big game poise.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:25 am    Post subject:

L4L

Minutes:
Antarctica takes a gamble playing Brand an entire quarter at SF.

Sales Job:
Both teams really want to push the talent agenda. In the end, Harlem comes out with the better collection of guys, but not by much. While Reggie is known to make Mike work as hard as anyone, Isiah wasn’t joking when he said he was scared of Sugar Ray. Looking back at some of those games, it wasn’t that uncommon for Sugar Ray to actually win the match-up. That said, this is not baby Isiah anymore. When all is said and done, Mike carries the back-court to a small talent gap. In the front court, Kareem is the best player on either side, but a pre-injury Sampson has an incredible match-up versus Brand pulling things in favor of Harlem. In all honesty, despite both teams heavily focusing on the talent debate, talent alone won’t win this series and it will be very far down the list of deciding factors.

The two more important sales job points have to do with balance and experience respectively. The season picked matters. While Harlem downplays Kareem’s role on that championship team, he is right about Isiah and Dandridge who had yet to become the leaders they would one day be. More importantly, however, Antarctica correctly notes that there are serious balance issues with the immensely talented Knight’s squad. Namely the lack of outside shooting and spacing from several key spots.

Antarctica on Offense / Harlem on Defense:
Offensively, Antarctica looks to go to Kareem and that is exactly what they should do. Antarctica anticipates Kareem getting doubled and has him run through a screen on the baseline for catch and shoot skyhooks. Harlem wants to double down off ball and I can only assume he means on the entry passer because off ball doubling is illegal in new school rules. He later says “as soon as the pass is made” which is why I’m making this assumption. Harlem believes this will throw Kareem off-balance by not allowing him to get the skyhook off. However, a little man dropping down has no affect on the skyhook with a big fighting through a screen. That said, the screen won’t always be effective and defenders will begin to anticipate. Eventually, the catch and skyhook will be slowed and Kareem will have to look elsewhere. Luckily, Antarctica has laid out their plan for doubles if the skyhook is stopped and it works very effectively with their personnel who are all capable of the shots the offense produces for them.

Harlem anticipates the UCLA but gets side screen instead. Harlem’s game plan is to go under screens, in the UCLA, that might work, but against side screen you give Isiah and Paxon jumpers at the elbow every single time a defender goes under.

Harlem, again, assumes Antarctica is going to try and run. They don’t. They slow things down. Sugar isn’t going to pick off too many passes, and picking Isiah up at mid-court only has limited success. Isiah can still get the offense set up with good clock if the pressure is only half-court (versus full-court). Sets base cross misdirection and double curl are early offense, but the way I read the gameplan, Antarctica plans to use them as half-court options.
Antarctica follows one of the most important rules of offense: attack the other team’s best players with an offensive threat. Making Jordan run through three screens will pay dividends when it matters most even if he initially stops some of the early action when it is run.

Harlem on Offense/ Antarctica on Defense:
Antarctica will pay dearly for Brand on Sampson. While Sampson’s chicken legs will prevent him from establishing great position on the meaty Brand, Sampson is going to get 50%+ looks every time he is able to cleanly catch the ball on the block. Antarctica has no emergency clause for Sampson, but after this destroys them for the time Sky has outlined, Brand goes back to Duncan and Kareem is forced to guard Sampson.

The Rover strategy is effective in helping Reggie because Harlem can’t make Antarctica pay on the outside. However, Reggie, even with a rover, is still going to get beat by Mike now and again. He’s that good. That said, add another strike against Mike’s legs.

Antarctica plans to play all-out pressure defense 20%, but that was not a smart selection with their defensive talent. SOS defense is for teams with SUPREME athletes, size, and length. Isiah, Miller, and Dandridge don’t have the length and athleticism necessary to show, recover, and jam the triangle the way SOS is designed. If you want SOS, you have to draft an SOS team (almost impossible to run SOS D at pro level with the talent that is there). The triangle is designed to take advantage of defenses that overplay and that is exactly what happens. Show and recover will be much more effective, but with guys like Hill, Jordan, and Duncan passing the rock around, the triangle is just a hard set to defend.

In the biggest game of the season, a 15ppg scorer is getting 10 minutes of triangle isos against Isiah Thomas (about 20 possessions)? That said, it is always a good idea to attack one of the other team’s best players. This is just a little too much considering the talent involved in the match-up, but it WILL be effective (just not as much as Jordan and/or Duncan isos).

Harlem plans to run and they win the rebounding battle allowing them to do so. 15%? They might get closer to 10%. When they do run, they will be at their peak offensively and nearly unstoppable.

As Sky pointed out, assumptions can be made in obvious situations. While Brand may have success in the base cross posting up the opposing SF, Tarpley and Kareem won’t effectively space the court for him to do so. They won’t go out there to guard those guys. On the opposite end, Brand is NOT fast enough to guard Hill. Nellie has never won a ring for a reason. Gimmicks don’t work in big games. Antarctica is forced to abandon this strategy after only 2 minutes.

Shatterpoint
The Skyhook isn’t completely erased and neither is Jordan. Both are effective out of the double teams with a slight advantage to Jordan having Duncan to take off some of the load.

Closing
Harlem brings out Horry which gives Antarctica the green light to finally use Kareem on Duncan. Jordan Rules go into effect as an already tired Jordan has to battle consistent doubles off of Hill (with Dandridge). Harlem uses Sugar despite his inability to space the court clinging to the false hope that Sugar will outplay Isiah.

Rumble Time:
Early on, Harlem jumps out to a lead exploiting Sampson on Brand. Antarctica keeps it within 2-3 possessions due to catch and Skyhook by Kareem out of the base cross. Both teams adjust and the game evens out.

Antarctica slowly slips further behind as Duncan gets high percentage looks against Brand in the triangle. Because of the occasional use of SOS, Harlem gets a few easy baskets inside. Some of Antarctica’s best shots are coming off of jumpers at the elbow using side screen. Reggie’s early double curl action is mostly shut down by a fresh MJ. However, the Penguins stay in the game by the virtue of Kareem finding guys out of the double team. In both cases, the Penguins are getting jumpers, good ones at that, while Harlem has a steady diet of inside play.

As the game wears on, Reggie is struggling to defend Jordan and begins to need the help of Dandridge on nearly every possession. On the other end, Jordan doesn’t have the same pep that he did earlier after continuing to fight through screens AND having to beat double teams. Miller is starting to have success from the outside. Antarctica slows bites into a 6 possession lead bringing Harlem’s advantage to 8 points.

Crunch time approaches and some of the big guns get their rest. Duncan is played hard and gets some free throws as a result. Antarctica is able to get a few offensive board on missed jumpers due to the advantage in bench big men.

As the last 5 minutes approach, Horry enters the game and the dynamics change. Antarctica begins to cut into the 10 point lead of Harlem in a hurry. Kareem takes away Duncan’s best moves forcing him into lower percentage shots. Jordan is ferociously doubled and his legs prevent him from consistently beating doubles as he might usually. Kareem is finding jump shooters that have renewed vigor and confidence. By the 2 minute mark, the game is within 2 points. In a necessary timeout, Jordan knows this is his time to shine.

As only Jordan can do, he elevates his game slashing through a pair of double teams for easy buckets. On the other end, Miller gets a three over Jordan as he can’t quite make it through the 3 screens with the speed he used to.

There’s only a minute left and Kareem is able to get off a catch and shoot skyhook. Nothing but net. On the other end, Jordan can’t beat the double team, but he hits Hill who has been left by Dandridge. Hill clanks from beyond the arch.
With 40 seconds left, Isiah and crew walk the ball up court. Isiah feeds Kareem looking for the same action, but his man gets over the Brand screen. Kareem is doubled, he kicks to Dandridge. Jordan rotates down, but his legs aren’t fresh and he doesn’t make it in time. Dandridge is money.

With 18 seconds left, the Knights put the ball in Jordan’s hands. He isn’t about to let the game be lost on his accord. He simply overpowers Miller who flops but doesn’t get the whistle this late in the game. Brand can help, but doesn’t want to leave Horry for fear of the three. Jordan is left to go at Kareem one on one for the last play of the game. Kareem gets his hands on the ball but also gets Jordan on the body.

Two free throws. Jordan is long on the first and it catches back iron but still drops. He knows he has to adjust on the second one, but his legs are weak. The ball looks short, short, but drops over the front of the rim and the Knights win.

The coach of the Knights shakes hands with Antarctica as they feel lucky to have survived the game. Without a few early mistakes and false assumptions, Antarctica would have been able to take this game down the stretch.

Harlem 1-0
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:26 am    Post subject:

Candy

The opening tip is won by Sampson, Sugar Ray goes right at Thomas and draws a quick foul, which is met with cheers from Harlem's crowd. Kareem is having a harder time getting a shot off than actually making it. Reggie Miller can't handle Michael Jordan, and when Bobby Dandridge goes to help, Grant Hill attacks the basket, and when Brand helps out on him, he gives it to Duncan, and when Kareem comes over to stop Duncan, Sampson gets easy points. It's a pick your poison situation for Antarctica, because Miller is unable to guard Jordan, they are unable to stop a lot of Harlem's offense, and every starter on Harlem scores as a result.

Kareem only gets 5 shots off in the first quarter, but he made three of them, and went 4-5 from the line. Isiah had to go to the bench, but he did a decent job on Sugar Ray on both ends. Miller isn't scoring anything with Jordan on him like a hound on salami. Bobby Dandridge isn't doing anything spectacular on either end. Kareem still manages to prevent some points, despite their bad defense.

End of the first: 31-24 Harlem's advantage.

The bench players play for around the first 4-6 minutes, Antarctica cuts the lead to five. The play between the starters continues in a similar manner to the first, at the end of the second, the score is 56-51, Harlem.

Coach Time is unhappy with his team's performance, he feels it should be a blowout. Coach Cleva tells his time they should take more advantage of Brand.

In the third quarter, Duncan abuses Brand, and when Abdul Jabbar comes over, it's easy points. However, Jabbar abuses Sampson, getting him into foul trouble. The Iron cross punishes Sampson, and Jabbar is suddenly on fire. Duncan, however, can't be stopped either. Eventually, though, Sampson has to leave with 5 fouls at the 6:00 mark. Jordan is beginning to get tired, and screens have let Miller hit some big shots. The score is now tied, 75-75. Antarctica starts to pull away, Jabbar abuses Kurt Thomas and Scott Williams. Miller hits jumpshot after jumpshot. Jordan picks up a technical. With no huge offensivley capable player besides him, Abdul-Jabbar can guard Duncan without worrying about Sampson getting easy points. At the end of the third, it is 93-82, Antarctica.

An unhappy coach Cleva yells at his team. Jordan starts to hit some tough shots. Sampson comes in, fouls out within a minute, and is replaced by Robert Horry. Ray Richardson makes some good plays and stops Isiah Thoams, and Duncan and Scott Williams manage to stop Jabbar and Brand a little more, but with just 5 minutes left, they are still down by 9.

Jordan decides it's his time. He uses his remaining energy to attack the basket, getting past Miller, and passing it to Hill when Dandridge comes over. He hits tough shots, and Horry even hit a three pointer. Jabbar and Brand put some baskets in to keep it close.

With 2 minutes left, Antarctica leads by 5. Jordan, passes it to Horry, who comes off a screen and hits another three. Duncan handles Jabbar, and Williams handles Brand. The effect of being ringless starts to catch up to Antarctica, they can't score. Luckily, their defense limits Harlem to just one basket on three attempts, a jumper by Jordan.

31 seconds left, Richardson bringing it up the floor. He passes it to Jordan, who misses a fadeaway jumper over Miller, rebound Jabbar. Isiah Thomas leads a fastbreak, but Harlem has good transition defense. Brand gets by Williams, Duncan has to help out, Jabbar is open at the the free throw line. He gets the pass, and goes up, Duncan recovers enough to contest it enough so that it isn't a dunk, but not enough to block it. The layup looks good, but all of a sudden, Robert Horry comes in from behind and blocks it.

Michael Jordan grabs the rebound, and leads the fastbreak. He passes it to Horry, who gives it back. It's a 2 on 1, they're against just Dandridge. Back to horry, who jumps at the buzzer for the game winning dunk.

Harlem wins, 113-111

Harlem 2-0
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:28 am    Post subject:

Michlake

Minutes

-Antarctica surprises with Brand at SF for 12 minutes. I like thinking outside the box, but this might be too far outside the box. Will be interesting to see how he uses Brand.

-Pressey gets all the backup guard minutes. Tarpley gets extended minutes with Brand at SF. Kareem should be well rested, good plan there.

-Harlem plays it by the book. Horry gets some good time. Mckie gets 20 minutes.

Sales Job

-Antarctica wants a physical trench war. Notes he has the better bigs. I agree with him that Antarctica is better balanced offensively.

-Antarctica guards Duncan with Kareem for the whole game. Kareem would limit Duncan effectiveness, but what about foul trouble?

-Harlem makes a good point about Antarctica picking statistics over experience. Miller might be Antarctica's best option in a pressure situation.

-Well if Peter Vescey says Zeke is scared of Sugar Ray, who am I to argue.

-I agree that Harlem's bench has experience, but are they really ATL caliber players besides Horry?

-Harlem shows how he will contain Brand. This might not be a big factor with Brand playing some 3 and not being featured on offense.

Shatterpoint

-Antarctica thinks its superstar(Kareem) is the more effective player when doubled than Jordan. I can buy this, although the difference isn't as great as Antarctica thinks. Jordan doesn't have the shooters that surround him like Kareem does, but he has elite slashers and finishers.

-Harlem thinks its doubles of Kareem is the key. Not sure if I would have chosen this as the shatterpoint, although it will be key.


Antarctica on offense/Harlem on Defense

-Antarctica focuses on Kareem in the post, Reggie off of screens and the pick and roll with Zeke. All good choices but little mention of Brand when he is at either PF or SF. How will Brand be used at SF?

-Harlem wants to double Kareem and has the right mix of good post defenders and long perimeter defenders to cause Kareem problems. Kareem will get his and find the open man when doubled, but it won't be easy.

-Harlem focuses on hand checking and playing tight on Zeke.

-Little focus is put on limiting Reggie. He might find some space if Jordan freelances.

Harlem on Offense/Antarctica on Defense

-Harlem wants to attach Antarctica's guards and pull Kareem away from the basket.

-Harlem focuses on the triangle and iso's for Jordan and Sugar. Sampson should see some lobs with Brand guarding him.

-Antarctica knows Reggie might need some help on Jordan. Hill will need to make the mid-range jumper too make them pay for doubling off of him.

Adjustments

-Antarctica's adjustments are underwhelming.

- Dandridge should see more time on MJ imo. He matches up well with MJ.

-Harlem goes to the two man game if the isolations are not working. Nice way to free up MJ and Sugar.

Closing

-Zeke controls the end game for Antarctica. Kareem might have been the better option, as you are more likely to get a double.

-Antarctica doubles Jordan late. Will Harlem's shooters make them pay?

-Harlem plays Horry late for experience and to add another shooter.

-Harlem puts Duncan on Kareem for end game. Duncan should be fresh to work defensively.

Who Wins?

Harlem

Harlem wins because of better use of talent and no major weakness in the gameplan. Harlem has the advantage in experience closers, as he points out. An expereince MJ, Duncan and Horry wins over a young Zeke, Kareem, and Reggie.
I was not of fan of the use of Brand at SF. Where is the details of how Brand is optimized on either offense or defense at the SF.

Harlem also has the perfect personnel to limit Antarctica offense. Duncan and Sampson guarding Kareem with Sugar or Hill doubling would be tough for any post player. Sugar can limit Zeke has well as anyone. Can't say the same for Antarctica guarding Harlem. Reggie would have huge problems with MJ even with help and Sugar would use his size advantage on Zeke.

Harlem 3-0, clinches the win moves on to the final.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:33 am    Post subject:

Sky

Minutes
Antarctica wants to ensure Kareem can close with fresh legs and eases up on the minutes. However they have him defending Duncan, so foul trouble may get in the way of the carefully orchestrated rotation. 12 minutes for Brand at 3? Yet again Harlem is praying for no foul trouble for Duncan and Sampson as they cover 44 of the 48 minutes at center.

Sales Jobs vs. the Leafblower
Clearing out the smoke. Head-to-head stats, average of the two seasons chosen.

Reggie 89-90 vs. Jordan 95-96
Reggie: 24.4 ppg, 51% fg, 45% 3, 9.7 fta's, 3.2 reb, 2.8 ast, 1.0 stl, 3.1 to, 3.0 pf, 36.1 mpg
Jordan: 32.8 ppg, 48% fg, 37% 3, 9.2 fta's, 6.3 reb, 6.0 ast, 2.5 stl, 2.9 to, 3.4 pf, 40.9 mpg

Reggie has a 3% spike in fg, 5% in 3 and doubles his fta’s over 89-90. He got up to play Mike. Some of that spike was also Jordan’s decline as a defender in 96. Miller also had 50% more turnovers against Jordan. Michael saw his fg% drop by 1, his 3% drop by 5. Fta’s went up by 1, personal fouls went up 1.

Brand 05-06 vs. Duncan 02-03
Brand: 20.2 ppg, 43% fg, 7.3 fta's, 11.5 reb, 1.7 blk, 1.2 to, 3.3 pf, 42.5 mpg
Duncan: 24.0 ppg, 52% fg, 6.1 fta's, 14.3 reb, 2.6 blk, 5.6 ast, 2.6 to, 3.3 pf, 38.3 mpg

9 point drop in fg% for Brand over his 05-06 stats.

Antarctica assumes that they win the glass, Duncan has trouble with Kareem on him and Jordan tires. Glass will be close. Duncan will have trouble with Kareem but Cap risks foul trouble. Jordan isn’t fading but per the head-to-head his percentages and fouls take a hit vs. Reggie.

Harlem assumes they have more poise with leaders who won rings vs. younger seasons for Antarctica. True. Vecsey claims Sugar owns Zeke, Harlem claims Sugar has Zeke beat mentally before the opening jump.
In the 1984-85 playoffs (the year chosen for Thomas) Isiah played Sugar head-to-head. In the opener Isiah had 21/11 in a 20 point win. As for clutch play...

Apr 25, 1985 - Detroit 116, New Jersey 115-Isiah Thomas sank a 20-foot baseline jumper with two seconds remaining at East Rutherford, NJ, to knock the Nets out of the playoffs. The Pistons, who dropped five of six games to the Nets during the regular season, won the first round series, 3-0.

Zeke was clutch, even early on. You can argue Jordan was more clutch and you’d be right. But Isiah getting mentally clowned by Sugar and gagging late? Nope. The Nets winning five of six regular season shows Sugar definitely had success on Isiah, but the reverse was also true, particularly when it counted most.

Antarctica on offense/Harlem on defense

Antarctica sets baseline picks to free Kareem. Sampson wasn’t the best at shedding screens, makes it easier for Isiah to pass around Sugar since Kareem is a target in motion with a step on his man. Early on Sampson is chasing off the screen and that leads to early foul trouble as he can’t get to Kareem in time. Cap goes off early, Sampson adjusts to anticipate the screens and man up, his length gives Kareem trouble gets a couple blocks then Abdul-Jabbar has to adjust to shoot over the length.

Harlem brings a double on the pass to Kareem’s shooting hand, creates some steals. Antarctica brings Isiah to Kareem as a release valve, so if Sugar is doubling off him for the steal Zeke is unguarded and the Penguins get the ball out of the double quickly. Passing to cutters will be tough for Kareem with Sampson’s plastic man arms right on top of him. The double still allows Kareem to get the skyhook off, but disrupts his rhythm so Cap will need time to adjust and find a groove again. Once he does then Antarctica has skyhook and passing out of the double running well, the mix of the two will be tough to stop but it will take time to get there.

Misdirection is designed to get midrange open looks but Harlem has schemed well to stop that. Reggie through screens, head-to-head stats vs. Jordan prove it works. It’s 30% of the offense, Chicago-Indy would be a much higher percentage, so Jordan picks up a few fouls but doesn’t get in foul trouble.

Harlem on offense/Antarctica on defense

Harlem plans 15% transition and has a team edge in speed but it’s not at 1, Isiah was faster than Sugar Ray. The speed edge is at 2 and 4, less so 3 given that Dandridge is set up high and midrange in the sets and is a smart defender. Hill isn’t taking him on the wings. Transition goes to Richardson with Thomas on him and Sugar’s to’s come into play. He needs to get the ball to Jordan early to create/finish but Reggie is back at the arc and Mike needs more space for separation.

So Sugar has to make the Jordan pass later, can’t use him as a second creator. Forces Sugar-Isiah all the way downcourt. Harlem gets points in the running game, especially Sampson and Jordan finishing, but it comes with turnovers. The Knights avoided turnovers vs. Sweden since Sugar was catching bombs and finishing. This time he’s the trigger man so his 4.4 to’s per game come into play.

Triangle vs. SOS. SOS tries to pressure and deny the passing lanes of the tri. Isiah and Dandridge can do that effectively, the others cannot. Sampson has a speed and height edge vs. Brand and Harlem has some alley oops from Jordan to Ralph until Tarpley plays. Sugar Ray and Hill can get it to Duncan, but Kareem’s length gives Tim some trouble, turns him into a fadeaway shooter. Duncan has Sugar and Hill as cutters. Hill only has a slight speed edge on Dandridge and is playing a high iq all-D defender. Not getting much out of that matchup. Sugar needs the ball on an island vs. Zeke, cutting doesn’t help him. Jordan comes down and that’ll be the money. Since Duncan is more jump shooter and passer Kareem doesn’t get in foul trouble.

Jordan and Sugar ice, both work. Reggie gets fried. Sugar gets his and Isiah does get into foul trouble.

Adjustments
Antarctica calls 911 and the fire department arrives with Dandridge and Pressey on Jordan. Each team sees a benefit and a cost. Jordan cools off, but Antarctica loses the Reggie spacing and the primal screen effectiveness, makes the Penguins easier to defend and the Kareem double starts working. Both teams had the offense flowing, now both struggle as the primary threats are cooling. Jordan had his way with Pressey early career, but that was through a speed/athleticism/explosion edge that isn’t there in the year chosen. That said Dandridge has more defensive success than Pressey.

The game

Kareem goes off to start the game and Sampson sits after two early fouls. Scott Williams comes in and Kareem owns him. Harlem brings the double to get a few steals but Antarctica is having success passing out of the double. Penguins go up big in the 1st.

Sampson returns in the second and gets some blocks on Kareem. That combined with the double is limiting Antarctica and they turn to Reggie, who pumps in the 3’s. Harlem gets the ball to Duncan but he has limited success vs. Kareem. The cutters around Duncan aren’t open.

So the Knights turn to ice, Jordan lights up Reggie, but more importantly Sugar is on an island vs. Zeke and puts Thomas in foul trouble. Pressey goes to 1, which forces Reggie to stay on Jordan. MJ has too much success, so Dandridge moves to 2 on Jordan with Brand now playing at 3. The new Antarctica lineup is giving up too much speed defensively and Harlem goes on a big run to go up 5 at halftime.

Antarctica goes back to milking Kareem, he struggles early vs. Sampson but then adjusts and finds his groove. Sampson picks up another foul. A fresh and rested Isiah has success vs. Sugar on both ends and lights up Harper. Kareem and Sugar are limited so Harlem has to turn to Jordan and Antarctica turns to Dandridge. Jordan has some success but it’s not at the same efficiency as Kareem and plays out of the double. The Penguins waddle back into the lead, up 2 after 3.

Early 4th Kareem and Duncan both sit and the Antarctica offense stalls. Harlem turns to Jordan, Antarctica sends more pressure at him but Mike finds Sampson inside for post ups and oop slams. Jordan sits, Kareem and Duncan return. Sugar gets the spotlight vs. Isiah and draws a fifth foul. Pressey returns, can’t hang with Richardson. Harlem up six with six to go.

Isiah comes back in with fresh legs and starts picking Sugar. Isiah can create but Dandridge is tiring from the Jordan defense, Brand struggles against a taller man, Duncan is giving Kareem a new look and some trouble, so the Penguins have to turn to Reggie and Zeke. Antarctica runs Jordan rules but lacks the personnel to execute it consistently. A poised Harlem team finds the open man. Isiah and Reggie are both money but Harlem has higher percentage looks. The Penguins hit their shots late but the Knights get enough points from the floor and the line to hold on thanks to the six point cushion entering crunch time. Harlem gets a very narrow win.

Harlem 4-0
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:45 am    Post subject:

Congrats Cleva!
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:47 am    Post subject:

Well played, TIME. Well played. The score doesn't reflect how close it was.
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