I was watching the two ABC games this weekend as well as did most of you and here are some quick thoughts:
Saturday - Cavaliers vs. Bulls
Straight up, the Bulls are not big or athletic enough to hang with the Cavaliers. Joakim Noah simply could not handle Shaq and bounced off him in the post, got spun moved on, had to hold Shaq down to prevent a dunk, and couldn't stop fouling after that. Luol Deng was also bounced around trying to guard LeBron. This game was literally like watching a college basketball team run all over a YMCA team. Just watch the highlights and you'll see what I mean - notice the bulldozing of LeBron.
Sunday - Lakers vs. Thunder
I have a couple things to say about this game, first being, one of the commentators said that Russell Westbrook's favorite player growing up was Magic Johnson. Fun Facts: Westbrook was born in 1988. Magic Johnson retired in 1991, played the olympics in 1992, COACHED the Lakers as a replacement coach in the 1993-94 season (not a successful season), and staged a failed comeback as power forward in the 95-96 season. So unless Westbrook has some crazy childhood memories from when he was 4 years old and younger, I do believe this is impossible.
Actual game notes - Ron Artest guarded Kevin Durant. Durant had a horrible game shooting 7-24 and 1-8 from 3 point land. But what I was looking at was how Artest was constantly plowing through screens by Nick Collison. If he goes under those screens, Durant gets open shots, if he doesn't plow through, Collison keeps setting them and gets hit by a big Artest trying to lock down Durant. Near the end of the game, there were far less screens by Collison on Artest. I love it.
I love when Mark Jackson exclaims, "You know the rule! Hand down, man down!"
Can't really call the refs biased in this series so far. Lakers had 27 fouls to Thunder's 21 including 5 on Kobe, 6 on Lamar, and 5 on Artest. And Nick Collison kept doing his thing by taking two charges. Durant got to the line 11 times... a legitimate 11 times.
And finally (and Jeff Van Gundy shared this sentiment sometime in the 4th), Durant takes some bad shots. He reminds me of Kobe Bryant circa 2004-2005 season, trying to go 1 on 3 forcing shot after shot after shot while Jeff Green, Thabo and Harden stand around the 3 point line, wide open after their man left to double team Durant, with their hands ready for a pass... only the pass never comes. And Durant goes 7-24. We'll see how he responds on Tuesday.
Kobe constantly passed out of double teams to Derek Fisher and Ron Artest for open three pointers. Problem is Ron hit only 1 of 8 from 3 point land. One more thing, Kobe did my favorite play in all of basketball: Kobe passes to Pau only it skips through his hands into the Durant's possession for a turnover, races downcourt (along with 4 other Lakers) to swat Durant's shot away and Pau grabs the rebound (1:30 mark of highlights video).