Sportige http://sportige.com The Sports Know-It-All Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:28:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 Houston Rockets – Kevin McHale, Not Jeremy Lin or James Harden, is What Matters http://sportige.com/houston-rockets-kevin-mchale-not-jeremy-lin-or-james-harden-is-what-matters-04-23-2014/ http://sportige.com/houston-rockets-kevin-mchale-not-jeremy-lin-or-james-harden-is-what-matters-04-23-2014/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:28:22 +0000 Greg http://sportige.com/?p=60291 More ]]> Kevin McHale Houston Rockets Houston Rockets   Kevin McHale, Not Jeremy Lin or James Harden, is What Matters

To every issue the Houston Rockets have – from James Harden hogging the ball at the wrong time, to Jeremy Lin being underused; and Dwight Howard being underused; to Patrick Beverley risking his NBA future; and a team defense that is embarrassing to watch sometimes. Players should be blamed for mistakes they make, but when there are so many on a talented and better than what we’re getting from them team, the fingers should be pointed at the head coach, Kevin McHale.

The Patrick Beverley situation is interesting. He didn’t have a good game on both ends of the floor in week 1. He came back too soon from his Meniscus tear, and took a beating in the opener against the Blazers. But he wants to play, and McHale is letting him. Is he risking too much for too little? Or is this simply another example of how little McHale trusts Jeremy Lin as a starter, as a defending player, and as someone who can complement James Harden?

When a team looks so bad on defense for two consecutive seasons, it’s not just the players who need to be blamed. Yes, Harden and Parsons sometimes give laughable efforts on the perimeter. Jeremy Lin isn’t an all-defensive player, but he has good instincts when it comes to steals and getting in passing lanes. He will be better. He doesn’t just let players blow by him without actually trying to stop him. There’s a basic problem with this team’s defensive on a scheme level and in terms of effort.

McHale Rockets e1398263207643 Houston Rockets   Kevin McHale, Not Jeremy Lin or James Harden, is What Matters

When players feel like they won’t be held accountable for their mistakes, bad trends spread and continue to plague them while they’re on the court. This blind belief in James Harden and his ability to save the team out of any situation by ignoring everything and everyone around him doesn’t just come from Harden himself. No one actually believes that Harden is disobeying directions from the bench, and that he’s actually instructed to share the ball and let others act as point guards too.

And this goes back to the head coach again. McHale is the one letting Harden run wild on offense, which was part of what ruined Houston’s overtime effort in game 1. It frustrates players at some point, and is simply bad basketball, even though Harden is talented enough to make it look like a great decision from time to time. Fool’s gold, as we have already said about a dozen times over the course of this season.

From time to time during this year, we saw shades of the Rockets actually playing a little bit differently. Harden feeding the ball to others not just on fast breaks. An actual method of thinking on half court offense, even with the ball in his hands. But most of the time? Four players standing around, and waiting for the team’s star to make the right choice, with McHale giving him his backing, 100%.

Jeremy Lin has been underused this season. The Houston Rockets don’t play with a real point guard. Everyone is suffering from it in one way or another. Dwight Howard could be utilized a lot better. The Rockets were still a 54-win team, yet it feels like the process was wrong. They have a star, and they don’t seem to care about cultivating anything else. Maybe Harden himself should be smart enough to realize he needs to play differently when things aren’t working, but you also expect a hall of fame player on the sidelines to be smart enough to spot something everyone else has as well.

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12 Memes of Chelsea & Jose Mourinho Parking the Bus http://sportige.com/memes-of-chelsea-jose-mourinho-parking-the-bus-04-23-2014/ http://sportige.com/memes-of-chelsea-jose-mourinho-parking-the-bus-04-23-2014/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:03:17 +0000 Vic http://sportige.com/?p=60287 More ]]> /* Image gallery styles */ .clear { clear: both; } .ngg-imagebrowser { background-color: #e4e4e4; padding: 10px; margin: 30px 0; -webkit-border-radius: 9px; border-radius: 9px } .gal-top-nav-wrap .back, .gal-top-nav-wrap .next, .gal-top-nav-wrap .counter { float: right; margin-left: 30px; } .ngg-imagebrowser .pic { text-align: center; margin: 30px 0; } .ngg-imagebrowser .pic img { border: 2px solid #dddede; max-width: 620px; } .ngg-imagebrowser-nav .back { float: left; border: medium none; } .ngg-imagebrowser-nav .next { float: right; border: medium none; } .ngg-imagebrowser h3 { margin: 0; } .ngg-imagebrowser .ngg-browser-prev { background: url(http://sportige.com/wp-content/themes/sportige/images/s_gallery_sprite.png) 0 0 no-repeat; display: inline-block; font-weight: bold; height: 23px; padding-left: 37px; text-decoration: none; width: 39px; line-height: 23px; color: #FFF; } .ngg-imagebrowser .ngg-browser-next { background: url(http://sportige.com/wp-content/themes/sportige/images/s_gallery_sprite.png) 0 -28px no-repeat; color: #FFFFFF; display: inline-block; font-weight: bold; height: 22px; padding-right: 25px; text-align: center; text-decoration: none; width: 60px; line-height: 23px; } .ngg-imagebrowser .ngg-browser-prev:hover, .ngg-imagebrowser .ngg-browser-next:hover { color: #FFF !important; text-decoration: none !important; background-color: transparent !important; } .ngg-imagebrowser .gal-top-nav-wrap .counter { font-size: 14px; color: #808181; line-height: 23px; } /* slider styles */ .ngg-imagebrowser .all-thumbs img { width: 85px !important; } .slider-wrap { width: 505px; margin: 0 auto; padding-right: 13px; } .slider-wrap ul li { width: 85px; height: 65px; margin: 8px; } .jcarousel-prev, .jcarousel-next { position: absolute; width: 20px; height: 53px; background: url(http://sportige.com/wp-content/themes/sportige/images/s_gallery_sprite.png) 0 -55px no-repeat; top: 26px; cursor: pointer; } .jcarousel-prev { left: -20px; background-position: 0 -55px; } .jcarousel-next { right: -30px; background-position: -30px -55px; } .slider-big-wrap { background-color: #000; border-radius: 8px; position: relative; padding-bottom: 20px; } .jcarousel-clip { overflow: hidden; }
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Attack? What's that?

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Some thing that what Chelsea and Jose Mourinho did in their draw with Atletico Madrid, playing in the Champions League semifinal, which is referred to as parking the bus, is wrong. Whatever your opinion on the matter is, it’s hard to deny the funny memes that pop up as a result of the unique experience of watching that match.

Some people are obsessed with tactical battles, and don’t mind seeing teams fail to come close to scoring for 90 minutes, while the managers battle by making defensive adjustments without really caring what it means about their offenses which aren’t really working.

Most aren’t. And it wasn’t just Chelsea barely making an attempt to go forward through the 90 minutes, but the time wasting as well. Taking almost a minute to execute a throw in. The diving. The injury feigning. Even when something does happen, like Petr Cech and John Terry leaving the pitch with injuries, no one seems to actually believe it’s real.

But that’s Mourinho. Interesting, irritating, consuming. All at once. He doesn’t do anything for the good of anyone else but for himself. His talk before and after the match is never from the heart or spontaneous. It’s always with a goal in mind – mind games, psychological wars. Assuming different would be just wrong.

Cynical? He doesn’t mind being called that. Destroyer of football? Maybe in specific matches. But he wins and succeeds. That is what matters to him, and usually to his employers as well.

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15 Best Memes of David Moyes Fired From Manchester United http://sportige.com/15-best-memes-of-david-moyes-fired-from-manchester-united-04-23-2014/ http://sportige.com/15-best-memes-of-david-moyes-fired-from-manchester-united-04-23-2014/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:38:28 +0000 Vic http://sportige.com/?p=60275 More ]]> /* Image gallery styles */ .clear { clear: both; } .ngg-imagebrowser { background-color: #e4e4e4; padding: 10px; margin: 30px 0; -webkit-border-radius: 9px; border-radius: 9px } .gal-top-nav-wrap .back, .gal-top-nav-wrap .next, .gal-top-nav-wrap .counter { float: right; margin-left: 30px; } .ngg-imagebrowser .pic { text-align: center; margin: 30px 0; } .ngg-imagebrowser .pic img { border: 2px solid #dddede; max-width: 620px; } .ngg-imagebrowser-nav .back { float: left; border: medium none; } .ngg-imagebrowser-nav .next { float: right; border: medium none; } .ngg-imagebrowser h3 { margin: 0; } .ngg-imagebrowser .ngg-browser-prev { background: url(http://sportige.com/wp-content/themes/sportige/images/s_gallery_sprite.png) 0 0 no-repeat; display: inline-block; font-weight: bold; height: 23px; padding-left: 37px; text-decoration: none; width: 39px; line-height: 23px; color: #FFF; } .ngg-imagebrowser .ngg-browser-next { background: url(http://sportige.com/wp-content/themes/sportige/images/s_gallery_sprite.png) 0 -28px no-repeat; color: #FFFFFF; display: inline-block; font-weight: bold; height: 22px; padding-right: 25px; text-align: center; text-decoration: none; width: 60px; line-height: 23px; } .ngg-imagebrowser .ngg-browser-prev:hover, .ngg-imagebrowser .ngg-browser-next:hover { color: #FFF !important; text-decoration: none !important; background-color: transparent !important; } .ngg-imagebrowser .gal-top-nav-wrap .counter { font-size: 14px; color: #808181; line-height: 23px; } /* slider styles */ .ngg-imagebrowser .all-thumbs img { width: 85px !important; } .slider-wrap { width: 505px; margin: 0 auto; padding-right: 13px; } .slider-wrap ul li { width: 85px; height: 65px; margin: 8px; } .jcarousel-prev, .jcarousel-next { position: absolute; width: 20px; height: 53px; background: url(http://sportige.com/wp-content/themes/sportige/images/s_gallery_sprite.png) 0 -55px no-repeat; top: 26px; cursor: pointer; } .jcarousel-prev { left: -20px; background-position: 0 -55px; } .jcarousel-next { right: -30px; background-position: -30px -55px; } .slider-big-wrap { background-color: #000; border-radius: 8px; position: relative; padding-bottom: 20px; } .jcarousel-clip { overflow: hidden; }
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One year manager

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One of the constants this season was Manchester United and David Moyes messing up in big matches, followed by hilarious memes and jokes at his expense. Now he’s fired, which means Ryan Giggs will be the interim manager, giving him the option to play himself if necessary, and bringing in a new angle of humor about his own personal ethics while beginning to wonder what the fired one will do now that he’s unemployed.

The colossal failure of this season wasn’t something most expected. Those who tried saying that Moyes isn’t a good fit were hushed quite quickly. Eventually, it didn’t work, be it because of Moyes, the players, the lack of support from inside the club, and the players not helping as well.

The Daily Mail came out with a series of claims that might or might not be true about what went on behind the scenes: Senior players mocking Moyes in his face, lack of discipline at the club, players joking and betting about when he’ll be fired behind his back, and a mole leaking stories to the press.

Rio Ferdinand has been a target of these accusations, but one might consider Ryan Giggs at the top of that list. Someone who has done some pretty bad stuff in his personal life wouldn’t blink before ruining things for Moyes if it means having his way. It is rumored that Giggs has been on a collision course with the manager for a long time. The result? Whether or not he was involved, is Moyes fired, and Ferguson’s class of 1992 getting a firmer grip of the club.

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Dallas Mavericks – Dirk Nowitzki Needs to Give Them More http://sportige.com/dallas-mavericks-dirk-nowitzki-needs-to-give-them-more-04-23-2014/ http://sportige.com/dallas-mavericks-dirk-nowitzki-needs-to-give-them-more-04-23-2014/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:36:09 +0000 Greg http://sportige.com/?p=60281 More ]]> Dirk Nowitzki1 e1398260141568 Dallas Mavericks   Dirk Nowitzki Needs to Give Them More

Some might say this is the last chance for Dirk Nowitzki to make an impression in the postseason. The Dallas Mavericks need him to play like he is desperate if they actually want to put themsleves in a position to make this series longer than four or five games.

Nowitzki scored only 11 points in the game 1 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. The defense for the Mavs worked fine, which is surprising considering how badly they perform on that end most of the time. But Nowitzki and also Monta Ellis playing this badly? That wasn’t in the cards, and kind of caught everyone by surprise. Even with a solid defensive effort every night, without the team’s two best players starting to score like its the regular season, there’s no chance of making this a long, six-seven game series.

Is the two year plan Mark Cuban set out for himself to become challengers again working out? He missed the playoffs in the first year and is now en route to getting knocked out in the first round. OK, but it’s important to look at what happens this summer to pass a final verdict. Right now, the Mavs are tied up to only $31 million under the salary cap. Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, Devin Harris and DeJuan Blair become free agents.

Who stays? Aside from the contracted ones: Ellis, Calderon, Brandan Wright, Samuel Dalembert, Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin, Jae Crowder, Ricky Ledo and Gal Mekel. Hardly championship or even playoff material. Assuming Nowitzki stays for a lot less than the $22.7 million he is making now, the Mavs have a shot at signing an elite player, or bringing in a few dominant ones in a so-so free agency market.

Nowitzki has plenty of basketball left, but one must wonder how many of it is at an elite level. Whatever is left in the tanks for him has to come out now. The Mavs don’t always do too well in free agency when chasing after the big stars (Anthony this time? Someone opting out of his Miami Heat contract?), so feeling safe about landing a big fish this summer shouldn’t be something spreading too much confidence among Mavs fans.

Calderon, Marion, Carter. They’re all nice players. Monta Ellis can explode from time to time, but isn’t exactly known for exploding in the postseason. Nowitzki has had plenty of big games in the past, and even though the rival does seem to be a bit too much for them this time (the Mavs have a much better matchup with the Thunder, but didn’t make it to 7th), more should be expected from the franchise’s best player ever. There aren’t going to be too many opportunities for him to dominate in the postseason, which he can still do. It’s now or never.

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NBA Playoffs – Game 2 Predictions (Mavericks vs Spurs, Blazers vs Rockets, Bobcats vs Heat) http://sportige.com/nba-playoffs-game-2-predictions-mavericks-vs-spurs-blazers-vs-rockets-bobcats-vs-heat-04-23-2014/ http://sportige.com/nba-playoffs-game-2-predictions-mavericks-vs-spurs-blazers-vs-rockets-bobcats-vs-heat-04-23-2014/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:15:48 +0000 Morgan http://sportige.com/?p=60270 More ]]> Spurs vs Mavs e1398255465596 NBA Playoffs   Game 2 Predictions (Mavericks vs Spurs, Blazers vs Rockets, Bobcats vs Heat)

The NBA playoffs continue with game 2 as the NBA finalists from last season try and continue their home domination while a possible contender tries to come back from losing the first one by surprise: The San Antonio Spurs hosting the Dallas Mavericks, the Houston Rockets playing the Portland Trail Blazers and the Miami Heat facing off against the Charlotte Bobcats.

The Mavs felt like the first game slipped away from them. They held the lead long enough to almost taste their first win over the Spurs in more than two years. But the difference between the two teams is easy to see. The Mavs rely on the scoring of Ellis and Nowitzki, maybe too much. The Spurs don’t have the one guy who decides everything. It was Tony Parker early on and later Tim Duncan to the rescue. The Spurs keep on finding answers to questions they’re faced with.

So what can the Mavs do to change things? They did an excellent job in keeping the Spurs ineffective from long range, and that should remain their game plan in this one. The other issue is offense and getting either Nowitzki or Ellis to free up. It might take a bit of randomness to it. The Spurs don’t mind challenging teams to try and beat them with jumpers, but picking their spots and moments might prove that tactic to be the wrong one if the Mavs do well early on, opening up opportunities for them later on.

Blazers vs Rockets2 NBA Playoffs   Game 2 Predictions (Mavericks vs Spurs, Blazers vs Rockets, Bobcats vs Heat)

In Houston, the Rockets need to forget about the officials mistakes from the previous game and focus on what they did wrong. More balls to Howard is a good idea – no one on the Blazers can handle him. Less time with Harden dribbling himself to bad situations won’t hurt either, but that is a touchy subject in Houston, and brings in the whole Jeremy Lin debate. It doesn’t matter who dribbles the ball, as long as it doesn’t become a selfish display of offensive abilities.

For Portland, better defending won’t hurt, but they’re probably not capable of that. Aldridge and Lillard are going to need to keep at it, which means big games from them but also trying to avoid foul trouble. The Rockets’ defense is a mess, and creating openings on the perimeter isn’t such a difficult thing to do. As long as the Blazers don’t turn the ball over too much (the Rockets are deadly on the break) and keep Harden off the line, another upset might be something worth preparing for.

Bobcats vs Heat2 e1398255573873 NBA Playoffs   Game 2 Predictions (Mavericks vs Spurs, Blazers vs Rockets, Bobcats vs Heat)

In Miami, confidence is high for the champions. The Bobcats gave them trouble and probably will continue to do so in the series, but beating the same team so many times over the last four seasons breeds a certain kind of calm that nothing can get to you. LeBron James has Dwyane Wade playing well, and even though Chris Bosh has been off for the last month or so, it feels like the Bobcats’ best efforts won’t be enough to make this a sensation.

Al Jefferson is a problem for Miami, and Kemba Walker might also become one from time to time. However, unless the Bobcats start creating an offense that helps them hit three-pointers at a much higher rate, their defensive excellence and ability to dominate in the paint won’t be enough against a team that accepts its flaws and simply prefers to show the one they know will hurt them the least.

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Angels Over Nationals – This Year It’s Different http://sportige.com/angels-over-nationals-this-year-its-different-04-23-2014/ http://sportige.com/angels-over-nationals-this-year-its-different-04-23-2014/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:45:09 +0000 gerakis100 http://sportige.com/?p=60265 More ]]> Albert Pujols e1398253923882 Angels Over Nationals   This Year Its Different

It hasn’t been the most rewarding of periods since signing for the Los Angeles Angels. But after two rough seasons, being overpaid and under performing, Albert Pujols is playing like the guy he was before, blasting home runs at an alarming rate, and reaching the 500 club with two in the 7-2 win over the Washington Nationals.

Pujols started the day with a three-run homer on his first at-bat of the game, hitting one 387 feet off of Taylor Jordan who was having a very bad day on the mound. The second home run was a two-run homer, once again helping Mike Trout bring in a run, as Pujols’ hit went 430 feet, once again with Jordan pitching to him, ending the day after five innings, giving up six runs. For Pujols, it became his 499th and 500th home runs of his career and 8th of the season.

All eight home runs have come over the last 13 games. Right now, he is projected to hit 65 home runs this season. It is safe to say that won’t happen. But after a rough couple of weeks to start the season Pujols is blasting away, reaching 19 RBIs this season (leading the team) and his batting average rising to .298. This is all in contrast to last year in which he missed 63 games, finishing with only 17 home runs (first time in his career he’s under 30) and batting an awful .258.

But the injury seems to be over, and watching Pujols belt home runs really far away seems to indicate he is 100% again. Not just in his body, but in his head. His first season with the Angels was good, but when someone arrives for an enormous contract, good often isn’t satisfying. The disappointing, shortened second season probably didn’t help ease the pressure from him. The Angels not doing too well wasn’t very helpful.

It was a good game for Tyler Skaggs as well, allowing only two runs in his seven innings, giving up only three hits while striking out five batters and walking four. The Angels didn’t hit all that well once Jordan was replaced for the final four innings, but the damage was done thanks to Pujols hitting his fourth home run in five days, currently leading all of baseball in that category and trailing only Chris Colabello in RBIs (22) among AL players.

It tastes better with a win. I knew this year, it was going to happen, whether it was tonight, tomorrow, two months from now. So my goal was just to prepare myself every day to try to help this organization win. To have more than 19,000 players who wore a big league uniform and to have only 26 players to do this, it’s pretty special. I was pretty emotional running the bases.

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Raptors Over Nets – A Change of Pace http://sportige.com/raptors-over-nets-a-change-of-pace-04-23-2014/ http://sportige.com/raptors-over-nets-a-change-of-pace-04-23-2014/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:15:08 +0000 Greg http://sportige.com/?p=60261 More ]]> Raptors beat Nets e1398250973738 Raptors Over Nets   A Change of Pace

So much praise coming to the Brooklyn Nets after the opening game for their defense, but the Toronto Raptors showed that maybe it was a bit too soon for that, making it an even 1-1 in the series after a huge fourth quarter from the struggling DeMar DeRozan, leading his team in front of a frantic crowd to a 100-95 win.

Paul Pierce called his team soft after the game 2 loss. Pierce was horrible the entire game with 7 points on 2-of-11 from the field, but he made some big plays late in the game that almost ruined the night for the Raptors, as his open three from the left side bounced off the rim while the Raptors were able to breath a sigh of relief. That fourth quarter saw the Raptors attack with speed and aggression, and the Nets, with legs that aren’t built for all that running, couldn’t hold on, giving up 36 points.

But we can talk all day long about pace and speeding things up. It came down to making shots while driving to the basket. The Nets did an excellent job in the first game by limiting the Raptors to 4-of-16 on drives for 13 points. In game 2? A different story, with 28 points on drives to the basket on 11-of-22 shooting, including 12 points in the fourth quarter on 5-of-6 shooting. DeRozan himself scored 17 points in the fourth to finish with 30.

DeRozan started shooting from closer to the basket. Both he and Ross struggled in the opening game, taking too many difficult shots and not making enough of a mental effort to try and think about other options aside from shooting wild, long range shots. The average distance for his field goal attempts was three feet shorter in game 2, and that made a huge difference, especially when facing Joe Johnson, who didn’t seem like such a big nuisance in the second night.

Jonas Valanciunas continues to be a card that works very well for the Raptors – someone they should continue playing through. He has two double doubles to open his playoff career and after a very up & down season it seems like he has found his rhythm and comfort zone against the Nets who don’t have anyone who can really handle him. Valanciunas finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds, and maybe pushing the ball to him for more than nine shots a night will make things even easier for the Raptors.

The Nets didn’t go away in this game. They looked slightly tired n the end, although two full days of rest should have made things easier on them. The Raptors turned the ball over on 24% of their possessions but managed to win, as the Nets couldn’t get a fast break going and were destroyed on the offensive glass, allowing the Raptors to get back 50% of their missed shots. If this series becomes one that is decided by the athletic and physical differences between the teams instead of experience, intelligence and making smart plays on both ends of the floor, the Raptors should start feeling confident even away from home.

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Wizards Over Bulls – A Sweep in the Making http://sportige.com/wizards-over-bulls-a-sweep-in-the-making-04-23-2014/ http://sportige.com/wizards-over-bulls-a-sweep-in-the-making-04-23-2014/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:45:27 +0000 Greg http://sportige.com/?p=60256 More ]]> Wizards beat Bulls e1398249804944 Wizards Over Bulls   A Sweep in the Making

The coaching staff for the Washington Wizards did an excellent job of scouting and analyzing the ways to beat the Chicago Bulls, coming up with a 101-99 win in overtime which wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for Bradley Beal igniting in the fourth quarter with no one able to stop him, while Kirk Hinrich missed two free throws at the end of the game that could have given us a little bit more basketball instead of sending his team into a 2-0 hole.

The Wizards don’t care about Joakim Noah being the defensive player of the year. They feel Nene has an advantage over him, and kept attacking that spot. The Bulls decided to let the Wizards beat them on jump shots, and that directive failed. Nene finished with 17 points, John Wall had 16 to go with 7 assists while Bradley Beal scored 26 points, including nine as he helped the Wizards come back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

Chicago have a problem creating points in large bunches, but through their defense and a big third quarter they managed to turn a game that seemed to be going very badly for them early on. The Wizards were up by 17 points in the first quarter, but couldn’t hang on as their run game didn’t generate points, and the jump shots, despite being their main weapon throughout game 2, didn’t keep falling the entire game.

Unlike game 1, D.J. Augustin and Taj Gibson made thing happen for the Bulls. Gibson scored 22 points to go with his 10 rebounds, nine of them coming on offense. The problem was the fourth quarter, in which the Bulls suddenly struggled to get easy points in the paint. After scoring 36 points on 18-of-31 shooting in the paint during the first three quarters, the Bulls were held to 8 points on 4-of-11 shooting on such shots the rest of the game. Outside shooting isn’t going to win the Bulls anything.

Augustin scored 25 points to erase his rough first game, taking 22 shots. But the Bulls got close to nothing from Boozer, Butler, Hinrich and Dunleavy, and when so many players on the team can’t get anything going offensively, there just isn’t a player or tandem to explode and make up for that. The Wizards defense made sure late in the game the Bulls wouldn’t get anything easy, and although Joakim Noah finished with 20 points as well, this wasn’t part of a smart ball movement offense, but more from scrappy battling that came up short.

Beal had no problem with Jimmy Butler chasing him. The Wizards kept screening with Nene, and Noah lost some confidence so he wasn’t attacking the ball handler right away. Beal had fun with that, but he did miss a shot at the end of regulation with Noah trying to block him that could have won the Wizards the game. The Bulls had their chance in the closing seconds, as Hinrich was fouled as he went for the layup, and his attempts from the line failed miserably, sending the favorites at the beginning of the series into a two-game deficit, with hope fading away slowly of ever winning the series.

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Indiana Pacers – Suddenly They’re Good Again http://sportige.com/indiana-pacers-suddenly-theyre-good-again-04-23-2014/ http://sportige.com/indiana-pacers-suddenly-theyre-good-again-04-23-2014/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:15:57 +0000 Greg http://sportige.com/?p=60253 More ]]> Pacers beat Hawks e1398248531282 Indiana Pacers   Suddenly Theyre Good Again

Getting pushed against a wall often brings out the best in teams, and thanks to a big night from Paul George and Luis Scola, the Indiana Pacers are tied at 1-1 with the Atlanta Hawks in their first round NBA Playoffs series following a 101-85 win, suggesting to everyone that it was too soon to give up on them.

What was it that brought the Pacers to life? Maybe we’ll never know. They were struggling in the first half to contain the Hawks or get anything consistent going offensively. But then came Luis Scola off the bench, and looked like the power forward some used to describe as the most difficult player to defend in the NBA. He hit four consecutive field goals, finished with 20 points and helped spark the Pacers into a huge third quarter that finished off the game.

Suddenly the Hawks, via Jeff Teague who like the rest of his teammates didn’t really play in the fourth quarter, couldn’t get a basket. The Pacers moved well on defense, reacted quickly to any screen or attempt to enter the lane and looked like the team that terrorized the Eastern conference through the first few months of the season. Atlanta shot only 39.2% from the field and 34.5% from beyond the arc, looking completely shell shocked in the third quarter, something they didn’t recover from.

The Pacers didn’t play perfectly, but thanks to their defense they had the opportunity to hasten things up on offense. Paul George led the team with 27 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals, making a few huge plays that brought the arena to life. Suddenly those leaving the game early a few days earlier were forgotten, and the embarrassment of having tickets sold for $9 on StubHub was old news.

It’s hard to say the bench saved the Pacers; aside from Scola and C.J. Watson it wasn’t a very impressive performance from anyone. Ian Manhimi got two blocks in, but that was it. The Pacers  didn’t have a huge night from everybody, but got enough from George, Scola and George Hill, suddenly coming back to life with 15 points, to cruise in the third quarter and have plenty of garbage time in the fourth to gloat about the win.

Roy Hibbert is still an issue. His defense comes and goes, but on offense he doesn’t exist. He finished with six points, four of the coming from the line. He was only 1-of-7 from the field, but the Hawks doing so badly with their 3-point shooting meant Hibbert wasn’t going to be chasing Antic and others around all day, leaving the area he feels most comfortable in. Maybe a win makes everything better all of a sudden, but the Pacers need a better version of him.

The Hawks are still in good shape. Not losing both games in Indiana was the best they could have hoped for before the series began. Now they know they’ve awaken the beast, but know this isn’t a Pacers team that runs rampant and wild offensively. The Hawks need to figure out a way to do more than just let Teague do everything. He and Paul Millsap need some help, but if the best the Hawks have to offer is simply hope for a better shooting day from Korver and the rest, this series won’t remain interesting for long.

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Yankees Over Red Sox – A Victorious Homecoming http://sportige.com/yankees-over-red-sox-a-victorious-homecoming-04-23-2014/ http://sportige.com/yankees-over-red-sox-a-victorious-homecoming-04-23-2014/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 10:45:14 +0000 gerakis100 http://sportige.com/?p=60249 More ]]> Yankees beat Red Sox e1398247160549 Yankees Over Red Sox   A Victorious Homecoming

The spotlight was on Jacoby Ellsbury, playing in Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox as a member of the New York Yankees for the first time. The crowd was silenced quickly, the boos and jeers didn’t really matter. Ellsbury had a good day on the field, and the Yankees came away with the 9-3 win.

This wasn’t the reception Damon got in 2006, not nearly as hateful. Ellsbury silencing the fans at his first at bat probably had something to do with it. He hit a triple due to fan intervention off Lester’s third pitch of the game, and set the tone for the Yankees dominance from the get go, coming in for a run off of Jeter’s single. Carlos Beltran gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead with a single right after that.

By the time David Ortiz hit a 482 feet home run off of Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees were already up by four runs. Mike Napoli followed Ortiz with a home run of his own, but then made an error that helped the Yankees begin another rally, finally killing off the game, scoring more off an Ellsbury double, another Jeter single that brought home The returning son and finished their streak of scoring with a Carlos Beltran home run, his fifth of the season.

ClearNarrowAnophelesmosquito Yankees Over Red Sox   A Victorious Homecoming

Lester (2-3, 2.67 ERA) had a game to forget. He allowed 11 hits in 4.2 innings, walking four and striking out seven. The Yankees came out of the fifth inning with a 8-2 lead. Tanaka wasn’t perfect, giving up those two home runs, but made things difficult enough during his seven innings,improving to 3-0 this season. He struck out seven and allowed seven hits, followed by a strong finish from Dellin Betances, who has a 0.93 ERA so far this season, pitching in a total of 9.2 innings.

Ellsbury didn’t have the best of starts to the season, but the previous series against the Red Sox got him and most of the Yankees into the form expected of them. He was 2-for-5 with 2 RBIs against his former team, improving to a .342 batting average. It was a very good day for Jeter, McCann and Beltran as well, with the latter improving to 13 RBIs this season. Jeter has hit in 11 straight games and reached base in all 15 games he’s played.

The Yankees are looking good, and they have players back from their injuries. They are 12-8, winning eight of their last 11 games, as Tanaka seems very difficult to beat, heading a rotation that is improving as we go along. For the defending champions Boston Red Sox things are a little different with struggles everywhere, dropping to 9-12 and losing for the third time in five days, giving up five runs or more in four of their last five games.

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