Preview: The 2007 Phoenix Suns went 61-21 in the regular season and many thought were robbed by the refs in a series against the eventual champion Spurs. In fact, many thought the Suns were a championship caliber team and deserved the championship in 2007. So they are as good as anyone in this tournament. They were led by Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, and Shawn Marion as their all-stars. They also had defensive stopper Raja Bell. Overall, this team is loaded and will not go down without a fight.
The 2007 Chicago Bulls went 49-33 in the regular season before losing to the Pistons in the 2nd round. Ben Wallace joined the Bulls in 2007 and instantly turned them around making them an elite defensive team. They also had Gordon, Hinrich, and Deng, each having good seasons on offense and making this team an offensive threat as well.
This series shows us a matchup against an offensive orientated team in the Suns and a defensive orientated team in the Bulls. This is also the 1st matchup where both teams were from the same year. The Suns are obviously the favorites here, the Bulls will somehow need to stop this offense and hope Ben Gordon gets hot.
Player of the Game: S.Marion 32pts/15reb/4stl on 14/20 FG
Recap: The Suns rout the Bulls Game 1. They had no trouble on offense as they were led by 32 from Marion, 16 points and 17 assists from Nash, and 24 from Barbosa off the bench. Overall as a team they shot nearly 55% from the field. They also kept the top scorers of Chicgo in check, Bell played good defense on Gordon preventing him from blowing up.
Recap: The Bulls make some adjustments on defense and stun the Suns in Game 2. The Suns were not able to get into their offensive rythm all game as the Bulls defense was strong. The effort on defense of course was led by Ben Wallace.
Player of the Game: A.Staudomire 28pts/12reb on 11/18 FG
Recap: The Suns fight back with a great defensive effort of their own. They held the Bulls to just 35% shooting playing excellent defense throughout. Amare finaly had a big game on offense for the Suns as they regain the lead in the series 2-1. The Bulls did a good job limiting Nash again but Marion and Amare continue to produce. Gordon struggled shooting 7/21 this game.
Player of the Game: A.Staudomire 25pts/17reb on 11/21 FG
Recap: In a close battle all throughout the Suns finally pulled away in the 4th quarter to take a 3-1 lead on the Bulls. Amare had another big game on the road while Nash added a personal high 24 points in the series. This game was physical, close, but the Suns just outlastedt the Bulls who gave it everything they had.
Player of the Game: A.Staudomire 22pts/10reb on 8/14 FG
Recap: The Suns finish the series off at home in 5 games. They led as much as 17 points in the 1st half, but the Bulls showed heart cutting it down to 5. However, the Suns got serious again and finished it
Preview: The 2001 San Antonio Spurs went 58-24 in the regular season before losing to the eventual champion LA Lakers in the WCF. They were led by the twin-towers, Duncan-Robinson. Duncan was in his prime while Robinson was 35 by this time, though still effective and impacting. Overall this team had many veterans and played great defense to win games with Duncan and Robinson altering shots. They are the highest non-championship Spurs seed in this tournament.
The 2001 Dallas Mavericks went 53-29 in the regular season before losing to the, guess who, 2001 Spurs in the western semi-finals. This was the 1st year where the “Big 3” of Dallas, Nash-Finley-Nowitzki, was a force. They also picked up Juwan Howard for the 2nd half of the season becoming even stronger on offense.
Not only are both of these teams from the same year, but they actually played each other in the playoffs. The Spurs won that series in 5, Dallas has come back here looking for revenge. They have the offensive firepower, but the Spurs are the top defensive team in the league. The question is can Dallas play defense? Or will Duncan-Robinson dominate their way to the next round again.
The Spurs have the most teams in this tournament (5) and the Mavericks are tied with the 2nd most (4). So far all 4 Spur teams have advanced and all 3 Maverick teams have advanced to the 2nd round. Will be interesting to see which franchies takes all their teams to the 2nd round and which franchise loses 1.
Player of the Game: T.Duncan 29pts/20reb on 9/16 FG
Recap: Tim Duncan has a big game 1 to give the Spurs a 1-0 lead in the series. Duncan had a 20-20 game while Robinson added 20pts/18reb/5blk. Both Robinson and Duncan made it very tough for the Mavericks on offense, as the great Dallas offense scored just 84 points.
Recap: The Mavericks take Game 2 to even the series. The Spurs continue to play great defense but had a lot of struggle on offense today. Duncan was quiet today with only 16 points. He will have to do more for the Spurs if they want to win this series.
Recap: A big shot from Finley saved the Mavericks from a huge letdown. The Mavericks led by 16 entering the 4th, but Daniels jumper with 27 seconds left gave the Spurs a 1 point lead in an incredible comeback. But the game was not over, Finley’s shot gave Dallas the lead and the win as Duncan missed a shot as the game ended. Nowitzki had his best game of the series with 27 points and 10 rebounds.
Player of the Game: D.Robinson 22pts/17reb/5blk on 9/16 FG
Recap: The Spurs battled hard in Game 4 and got the win. They outscored the Mavs badly in the 4th again, this time 28-13 playing excellent defense in a must-win game for the Spurs. Duncan faced a lot of double teams struggling but it opened it up for Robinson who had another big game scoring 9 of his 22 in the 4th to win it for the Spurs. The series is tied 2-2.
Player of the Game: T.Duncan 35pts/8reb on 14/20 FG
Recap: In a crucial Game 5, Tim Duncan finally delivers. He had a monster Game 5 scoring a series high 35 points on 14/20 shooting. The Mavericks paid more attention to Robinson this game opening it up for Tim Duncan. The Spurs continued to also play good defense as they take a 3-2 lead in the series.
Player of the Game: M.Finley 28pts/5ast on 9/13 FG
Recap: The Mavericks force a Game 7 with an impressive victory at home. The game’s final score was not as close as it really was, as Dallas had a double digit lead with 2 minutes left before the Spurs just hit some threes to finish the game off. Dallas had their best display on offense against the tough Spurs defense shooting 54% from the field. They also defended Duncan and Robinson well this game.
Recap: The Spurs and Mavericks go in a thriller in Game 7 with the Mavericks stunning the Spurs. The Spurs lead the game throughout but blew a 9 point lead with 4 minutes remaining in the game. In fact Steve Nash’s 3 with 1:23 remaining was the 1st lead of the game for the Mavericks since the 1st quarter. Dirk Nowitzki was clutch in the 4th scoring 12 of his 22 points there to upset the Spurs. This game reminded me a lot of Game 7 SpursvsMavs in 2006. Duncan was strong in Game 7 but Robinson choked and overall the Spurs had 24 TOs.
Preview: The 2008 New York Knicks went 50-32 in the regular season before losing to the Indiana Pacers in the ECF. This team was led by a prime duo of Houston and Spreewell with Ewing still being a good contributer inside. Besides for these 3, this team had depth with Larry Johnson, Camby, and Kurt Thomas. Overall an experienced team who has the weapons to keep up with anyone.
The 2008 Utah Jazz went 54-28 before losing to the Lakers in the 2nd round. This team was led by the all-star duo of Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer. This was the new Stockton-Malone in Utah, though of course not as good. Nonetheless they got the job done and had some help with AK-47 and Okur.
This will be an interesting series. The Knicks will somehow have to stop Boozer and Deron. They have the bigs to throw at Boozer, but it will be tough for them to contain Deron with Charlie Ward. The Jazz are a WCF squad which may mean they are tougher and can take on better competition. We will see if this is the case.