Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 6:00 PM
Derrick Rose took the floor for the Chicago Bulls for the first time in a few weeks Sunday afternoon. That looked like it was going to be the difference-maker as a strong second half gave the Bulls a seemingly insurmountaible 10-point lead with three minutes to go. Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks had something else in mind.
If the Bulls could have made a late free throw…if Tyson Chandler doesn’t keep tapping back missed shots to the perimeter…nobody would remember what happened next. You watched. You remember.
Carmelo hits a three-pointer to force overtime. And, after New York fell behind again in extra time…
Carmelo hits the game winner. Great game for fans and Las Vegas bettors that told us a lot about both of these teams heading into the postseason.
Let’s start with the boxscore numbers, then we’ll talk more about the future for both teams.
NEW YORK 100, CHICAGO 99 (in overtime)
Field Goal Pct: Chicago 39%, New York 38%
Three-Pointers: Chicago 7/22, New York 8/34
Free Throws: Chicago 22/31, New York 14/20
Rebounds: Chicago 59, New York 47
Turnovers: Chicago 19, New York 9
Vegas Line: Chicago by 3, total of 185
New York jumped out to a huge lead in the first half. But, they blew a huge lead against Indiana earlier this week in the FOURTH quarter, so there was plenty of time for Chicago to come back. The Bulls did just that, and seemingly had the game in hand with a late 10-point lead (a 31-point turnaround from their worst deficit). We already went through what happened next.
Of note from the boxscore:
*Both teams played great defense, holding the other team below 40% from the floor. The Knicks also forced 19 turnovers. For some reason the national (and New York) media refuses to talk about how great this team has been defensively since Mike Woodson took over as head coach. They want a star to celebrate. Celebrate defense! That’s what wins championships!
*Neither team had much luck from long range outside of Carmelo’s dramatic bombshells. New York was 6 of 32 on their other three-point attempts. Chicago didn’t sparkle at 7 of 21.
*Chicago did a better job of getting to the free throw line. Rose was 9 of 12 all by himself…and 9 of 10 shooting until the two late misses. That’s such a big factor for this team because their field goal shooting comes and goes. It’s a strike against the Knicks that nobody besides Carmelo right now can get to the line consistently. Stoudemire can help with that if he comes back healthy. One reason Jeremy Lin exploded on the scene was because he kept picking up points at the line in close games.
*Even with all the rebounds and tapbacks from Chandler, New York lost the battle of the boards decisively. There’s going to be a buzz about the Knicks for some time as a result of this result. Don’t lose sight of what they failed to do here…or of how this should have been a loss about six different ways.
In terms of the playoffs
*Chicago has to be happy that they were in position to win comfortably here even with Rose being rusty. Those 19 turnovers were a result of poor offensive flow. Rose was 4 of 18 on two-point shots, meaning he really had no idea what he was doing inside the arc when not getting fouled. It will all come back to him in short order. When it does, this is last year’s team all over again…and last year’s team was terrific.
*New York is probably good enough with their current alignment to be about a #4 seed. Imagine a whole season of Mike Woodson emphasizing the right things and an offensive attack that centered on Carmelo and didn’t have any soap operas. That’s about right. The return of Stoudemire will help the offense, but could hurt the defense to the same degree. Some scorers aren’t net plusses when you mix in the influence of their defensive weaknesses. Having a healthy and smart guard is a need right now, because Baron Davis can’t shoot, can’t shine on defense, and can’t seem to go more than 25 minutes without being a drain on team (he was a big drain today in just 21 minutes).
Nothing we saw today changes the fact that Chicago and Miami are co-favorites in the East. New York may be an interesting playoff team if they can continue to ward off Milwaukee down the stretch. The pieces aren’t quite there yet for the Knicks in our view in terms of championship talk this year or probably next.
We had originally planned on running the numbers from Bulls-Knicks, Yankees-Rays, and Red Sox-
Tigers in this special Monday report. It turned out that the NBA thriller grabbed the days non-Masters headlines. We do have enough room to touch on the attempts for the Yanks and Red Sox to get off the schneid.
TAMPA BAY 3, NY YANKEES 0
Total Bases + Walks: NY Yankees 10, Tampa Bay 20
Hughes: 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 K, 2 BB
Hellickson: 8.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 K, 4 BB
Vegas Line: NY Yankees -115, total of 8.5
An 0-3 start is something that’s easily forgotten down the road…particularly when it comes on the road against a playoff contender. A poor weekend isn’t a disaster. But, it is a reminder that the frontline pitching isn’t that dominant. Hughes reached 99 pitches but couldn’t finish five complete innings. Yesterday’s starter Hiroki Kuroda will be dealing with an upgrade in competition and a tough pitcher’s park at home compared to his days with the Dodgers. The Yanks will have to score to win. A bad sign that they scored 12 runs the first two days and still didn’t win! Hellickson just missed throwing a complete game. But, do you really want a guy to debut at 118 pitches just because he’s throwing a shutout on his birthday? New York heads to Baltimore to start a series Monday with the Orioles. Tampa Bay is off Monday before opening a set in Detroit on Tuesday.
DETROIT 13, BOSTON 12 (in 11 innings)
Total Bases + Walks: Boston 29, Detroit 27
Buchholz: 4 IP, 7 ER, 2 K, 2 BB
Scherzer: 2.2 IP, 7 ER, 3 K, 2 BB
Vegas Line: Detroit -115, total of 9
Alfredo Aceves hasn’t adjusted well to the closer’s role. Boston carried a 10-7 lead into the bottom of the 9th inning. Aceves came in to save the day…and allowed two hits before a game-tying homer. This was after blowing a save opportunity in the series opener back on Thursday. Boston would re-group from the blown lead to take a 12-10 advantage in the top of the 11th inning…which they promptly blew AGAIN when Alex Avila hit a walk-off homer for the Tigers. The Red Sox were looking at a 2-1 start on the road against a championship contender. Now, its 0-3…and there’s just no confidence in the pitching staff. Not at all the debut Bobby Valentine was hoping for.
So, neither the Yankees nor Red Sox get off the schneid. Both are winless at 0-3 after tough opening weekend challenges. Boston will try to get on the board Monday in Toronto. Detroit has a day off to get ready for Tampa Bay in a battle of unbeatens.
That’s it for this Monday edition of the NOTEBOOK. Don’t forget that the Monday schedule is loaded with big play possibilities. And, there are three day games which create the possibility for money management with split sessions.
Games of interest Monday for JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK…
Miami at Philadelphia (early)
St. Louis at Cincinnati
Boston at Toronto
Seattle at Texas (debut of Darvish)
LA Clippers at Memphis
Oklahoma City at Milwaukee
San Antonio at Utah
All told, there are 12 games in MLB and 10 games in the NBA. Weren’t Mondays supposed to be quiet! No rest for oddsmakers…and no slowing down the NETWORK JUGGERNAUT!
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It’s a great time to be a sports fan! Basketball, baseball, and the final Sunday in the Masters (Easter Sunday no less!). You’re going to be parked in front of the TV set all day. Don’t you dare forget that the ultimate MASTER in the field of sports handicapping is legendary JIM HURLEY!
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