Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Other Observations on Game 5

Dunleavy got the matchup he had wanted when Nash was guarding Maggette at the beginning of each half. As it happens, the matchup killed the Clippers during course brief stints on the floor. As I said to Scooter, "On a scale of 1 to 10, in the category of NBA physique, Corey is a 10, and Nash is a 1. In the category of NBA intellect..." Well, you get the idea. No need to put it in writing and risk hurting someone's feelings. Nash stripped Corey once, forced him into shots that were tougher than he thought they were going to be, and basically baited him into several quick jump shots by playing off like a mile and daring him to shoot. This is the danger of trying to exploit an unusual matchup. It may work, but it also takes you out of your usual flow. Corey should be slashing from the weak side, getting the ball at the circle on the curl play, etc. Hunkering down in the low block while everyone stands and watches just because we want to abuse Nash is fun and all, but it's not really what we do.

While Kaman and Maggette were on the floor at the beginning of the second half, the Suns went on a 16-4 run in 4:44 (interestingly, the 4 Clipper points being 2 each for Maggette and Kaman.) I was surprised that Dunleavy left them out there after each of the two time outs he had taken, but finally he brought in Vlade and Ross, and the Clippers outscored the Suns 22-10 the rest of the quarter. The rest of the game he went with 6 guys (aside from 3.6 seconds here and there). Kaman was effective on the offensive glass early in the game, but he just gives away too much on defense. I've said it before - it's not his series. As for Corey, he's had some great games, but his wilder tendencies play directly into what the Suns want to do. He likes to take quick shots, and he is often lost on defensive rotations. Dunleavy seems to be trying to gauge which Corey shows up, and give him minutes accordingly. That's a tough balancing act.

Sam Cassell toook 13 threes in the game. I don't know about you, but that number just jumped out at me from the box score. He was 5-13, which is solid, and certainly his 4-8 on threes in the second half was a big part of the comeback. But 13 is a lot of threes for a guy whose regular season high was 7.

If nothing else, the Clippers should have a lot of confidence that they can come back on these guys. Down 19 on the road in the playoffs against a fired up Suns team... well, you just have to say it was quite a comeback for such a young team.

Cuttino Mobley was AWFUL. Just awful. 5-17 overall, some really crucial misses, and at least 5 absolute bunnies. To make matters worse, on 2 of his 5 makes, he was spotted up ON THE THREE POINT LINE! Nothing worse than a 23'6" 2 point basket. Get behind the damn line, Cuttino! No big deal, right. It's not like one more point here or there would have made a difference. Oh, wait.