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[ESPN Insider] Brian James Scouting Update

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by yaomania, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. yaomania

    yaomania Contributing Member

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    By Brian James
    ESPN Insider
    Archive

    I still think this is the best matchup of any series in Round 1. Each team was playing well enough to be in the Western Conference finals.

    Game 1 had me watching on the edge of my seat with exciting plays, great individual efforts (mostly by Tracy McGrady) and Houston's dominating play for most of the game. The game plan couldn't have been better. The veterans made plays in the fourth quarter after letting their star, McGrady, set the tone earlier. This has the makings of a great and long series.

    Point guard

    Dallas: Jason Terry moved from the two guard in Atlanta to point guard in Dallas and had a tremendous regular season. He has been under control while still looking to create openings. Terry converted nearly 50 percent from the field and was one of the best from 3. His 17 points on only six shots prove he is getting everyone involved.

    Houston: Bob Sura is a tough cover for Terry because of the size disadvantage. On the other hand, Terry is quicker and younger, so Sura's fragile back will be tested. On Saturday, Sura's experience and strength helped get him three steals, and Terry had four turnovers. The coaches love Sura's toughness, as that attitude has rubbed off on his teammates.

    Advantage: Even

    Off guard

    Dallas: Michael Finley didn't play particularly well in Game 1. But when he does, Dallas almost always wins. He still is a true vocal leader and one of the most respected players in the NBA. He doesn't always get the credit he deserves because injuries have partly sidetracked him the last three seasons. Houston crowded him and made him put the ball on the floor going left. Look for Finley to play much better in Game 2 and take advantage of a smaller David Wesley.

    Houston: David Wesley has done an amazing job since being obtained from New Orleans in December. His shot release is quick, and if given time to get his feet set, he almost always hits. He doesn't force the issue, with just six attempts in 36 minutes. He also dug out four long rebounds. Houston immediately started to play better after getting this guy.

    Advantage: Even

    Small forward

    Dallas: Josh Howard had a nice offensive game, getting 17 points and making 9 of 10 free throws. His reputation as the team's best defensive player didn't show in having to guard McGrady. He must have help getting T-Mac stopped coming off screens. His length may eventually give McGrady some problems, but not on this night.

    Houston: McGrady had me captivated with his Game 1 performance. His confidence oozed throughout, and his first half was tremendous at both ends. McGrady had some incredible finishes, and when he was trapped T-Mac did a nice job distributing the ball. If Dallas doesn't do a better job of stopping his penetration, this series could be in doubt. McGrady needs to draw more contact to get to the FT line. Three attempts in 47 minutes isn't enough. T-Mac's defense on Dirk Nowitzki was spectacular.

    Advantage: Houston

    Power forward

    Dallas: Nowitzki had more turnovers than field goals in Game 1. That shouldn't happen again. Nowitzki was guarded by two different types of smaller players in Ryan Bowen and T-Mac. Bowen played him physically while T-Mac's length and athleticism bothered him even more. Nowitzki didn't make the long jumpers he normally does and tried to overpower them with post-ups. Look for a huge Game 2 from the player who hit career highs in almost every single category this season.

    Houston: Bowen was the surprise starter. Normally Bowen averages about nine minutes per game, but he played 31 in Game 1 and would have played even longer had it not been for his foul troubles. His physical nature hindered Nowitzki and made him catch the ball a step or two farther out on the floor. Bowen will have the same goal in the rest of the series. His scoring is not needed.

    Advantage: Dallas

    Center

    Dallas: Erick Dampier tried to make this personal, saying he is the best center in the West. He gives Dallas a legitimate starting center with bulk, rebounding, shot blocking and some scoring punch down low. But he must let his play do the talking. Dallas needs more than seven points and seven rebounds from him in the playoffs.

    Houston: Yao Ming still got in foul trouble, as he has done all season. But his inside presence with his scoring, free throws, rebounding, passing and determination don't go unnoticed. It will be tough to have a great series though because Dampier is a good defender on the ball and the Dallas athletic wings will give him trouble when they collapse on the ball inside.

    Advantage: Houston

    Bench

    Dallas: This has been a strength all season. The organization has done a great job of continuing to get subs who can contribute. This team is better constructed to win now. Shawn Bradley should bother Yao, Jerry Stackhouse, Keith Van Horn and Marquis Daniels provide scoring off the bench, and Devin Harris has a lot of potential as the future point guard.

    Houston: The team went out and got as much winning veteran help as it could find to put around McGrady and Yao. Houston has been rewarded with 51 wins, and eight straight currently. Mike James and Jon Barry make shots when they count the most, as they proved in the fourth quarter of Game 1. Scott Padgett can play the 3 or 4 and can make shots. Dikembe Mutombo, who turns 39 on June 25, is drinking from the fountain of youth with his inspired play. Deke had eight points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes and played his usual intimidating defense.

    Advantage: Houston in Game 1, but it should be even in the series.

    Coaching

    Dallas: Avery Johnson has won 16 of 19 games since taking over. He has also made this team accountable on defense. His substitution patterns are sound, and 19 years as a point guard in the NBA gave him a head start for this job. His energy can't do anything but help some of his players.

    Houston: Jeff Van Gundy's experience as an assistant and head coach gives him the nod here. He pulled off a shrewd move by replacing Clarence Weatherspoon with Bowen in the starting lineup to guard Nowitzki. His game preparation will be meticulous. And I liked the fact that every screen set for McGrady came from the big men on the move so Dallas' unit had to run into position to try to get McGrady under control. This is a lot to ask for when trapping McGrady.

    Advantage: Houston

    Game 1 keys

    Dallas: The Mavs just didn't play well in the first half at home. Houston had control of the game throughout and made Dallas play from behind. The trapping of McGrady was inconsistent and resulted in T-Mac's dominating play.

    Houston: Reacting to Bowen's starting and guarding Nowitzki all over the court was a key to the Rockets' victory. The players who made shots in the regular season continued like this was just another game. The increased focus and intensity is something they have dealt with before.

    Game 2 adjustments

    Dallas: Look for Dallas to get Nowitzki on the move to enable him to get his own shot off quicker. The Mavs will have him attack from the elbow area with the possibility of getting switches in screen-roll sets.

    The other players must pick up the slack. Can they wear down McGrady over time? They must do a better job of getting the ball out of his hands and not letting him get it back.

    Houston: Play just like you did in Game 1. Inspired and confident play can win on the road. Get Dallas to defend on the run and find open shots for great catch-and-shoot players with experience. Rebounding and defending are keys, which is what Van Gundy has always preached to his teams.

    Original prediction

    I went with Dallas in seven games in what will be the best series of all in Round 1.

    Current Prediction: I think the road team could win at least three games in this series. Dallas, which entered the playoffs on a nine-game winning streak, has played just as well on the road (29-12) as at home in the regular season. Houston is playing at such a high level that if its biggest star, McGrady, continues to play better than Dallas' biggest star, Nowitzki, Houston can now win this series in seven. This series will have more twists and turns, so stay tuned.

    Brian James, a former assistant coach with the Pistons, Raptors and Wizards, is a regular contributor to Insider.

    here's the link
     
  2. dookiester

    dookiester Member

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    that is so lame. doesn't it defeat the purpose of predictions when you can change them. i wouldn't be surprised if another espn insider article comes out when the rockets go up 3-0 saying 'rockets might now have a chance to sweep dallas'.
     
  3. GoatBoy

    GoatBoy Member

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    I predict the Rockets will win 51 games in the 2005 season. Then, they will defeat Dallas in the first game of the playoffs.

    I will make my prediction about game 2 tomorrow.
     
  4. Toast

    Toast Member

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    You fool.

    The real Game 2 adjustment

    Houston: While Dallas is distracted chasing Tracy McGrady all over the court, feed the post for easy buckets.
     
  5. RocketFan4ever

    RocketFan4ever Contributing Member

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    Game 2 adjustments:

    Rox: Find out what Cuban is paying the refs and double it

    Dallas: nothing...already got all the refs in their pockets and there is no way the refs will let the game slip away again
     
  6. insane man

    insane man Member

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    we can't. our owner is poor.
     
  7. Williamson

    Williamson JOSH CHRISTOPHER ONLY FAN
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    That scouting report is weird. He gives Houston the advantage in what? Three or four categories? While giving Dallas the advantage only at power forward - calls the rest even - then says Dallas is going to win the series.

    Doesn't the team with the biggest/most advantage/s usually win? :confused:
     
  8. Zboy

    Zboy Contributing Member

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    Maybe, but their one big advantage is really great. Drik Nowitzki is Jesus Christ. We have no chance. :rolleyes:
     
  9. KeepKenny

    KeepKenny Contributing Member

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    I think positional comparisons are stupid. But when the guy gives us the edge in most positions, and you combine our intangibles, then you have to give the Rockets the edge for the series. Tmac is playing like the true superstar in this series, and that includes setting up teammates. We have the moxy, the heart, the coach, and soon, the win.
     
  10. B-ball freak

    B-ball freak Contributing Member

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    Man, I admit there is some media bias, but we have some big chips on our shoulders, don't we.
     
  11. Xerobull

    Xerobull You son of a b!tch! I'm in!

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    Look closer. He says that Houston can win in 7.

    Doesn't matter- it's pathetic attempt at saving face. He should have shut up and stuck by his guns.

    J
     
  12. Toast

    Toast Member

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    Yeah, he really shoulda given the bench edge to the Mavs, too. Our guys play well and know their roles, but we're simply not as deep as they are.
     

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