Morning Talking Points: Bulls, Jazz up against tough odds in Game 2
Two days into the playoffs and we've already had a brawl, a suspension and an upset. In the East, a late-game dustup between the Heat and Celtics resulted in an ejection and one-game ban for
But this is just the start. As the Cavs-Bulls and Jazz-Nuggets series head into Game 2, more is surely on the way.
Cleveland certainly didn't do anything in its Game 1 victory over the Bulls to dissuade the notion that it's the overwhelming favorite to win the championship this season. With
Now, perhaps taking a cue from the recently revealed post-game antics of their coach and general manager, the Bulls say they are not going to allow that any longer.
"We've got to go out there and be totally opposite of what we did last game,"
But Rose & Co. must be careful: The officials are probably acutely aware that Chicago plans to flex its muscles. If the Bulls do so too deliberately, then they get into the same situation in which Boston finds itself with Garnett. There is a fine line between being physical and getting too exuberant, and that line is often difficult to discern for teams that are not naturally physical.
The other thing the Bulls need if they are going to pose any sort of threat is offense from someone other than Rose, who had 28 points on 28 shots in Game 1 and did most of his damage in the second half, when he was able to get into Cleveland's interior and score at the basket.
And he did so with very little help.
The difference between Portland's injuries and Utah's is this: The Blazers lost
Like the Bulls, the Jazz need to get more physical -- which is easier said than done because Anthony is such a physically imposing player and seems to thrive on defenders putting their bodies on him. There is a difference, though, between being physical with Anthony once he has the ball and putting a body on him off the ball. Utah can't allow him to stand in the middle of the lane unscathed, take a pass and convert a string of 10-foot jumpers.
On the other end, Jazz point guard
The problem is he is playing against
In the end, Utah's injuries may be too much to overcome.
This is only one game, and it may be premature to jump to any sweeping conclusions, but one has to wonder what this first weekend of the postseason means for a couple 2010 free agents. Phoenix's
Meanwhile, Utah forward
But if there's one team that can use injuries as an excuse, it's Portland. And the Blazers chose not to dwell on the negatives, opting instead to use their depth and game-planning to earn a surprising victory over one of the hottest teams in the league.
The other shock of the weekend was that Garnett lost his head during a late-game dustup with Miami's
Welcome to the playoffs.