Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Miami's Secret Formula

I actually missed a lot of tonight's game, but I caught most of the last quarter, as well as overtime, and I was surprised to see that they were employing a Secret Formula, one that I have only seen used once before in history, against my then-favorite team, the Charlotte Hornets (of course the Hornets are now in New Orleans).  Let me take you back in time, to a First Round Playoff Series, between the Chicago Bulls and the Charlotte Hornets.  The Bulls, complete with Michael and Scottie, were of course the #1 ranked team in the Eastern Conference, and my Hornets were the #8 ranked team.  Back then 1st round series' were only 3 out of 5 games, not 4 out of 7, which made each game even more important.  It also made it a bigger deal when, in game 1, which was played in Chicago of course, we actually BEAT Michael Jordan and the Bulls, thanks to the awesomeness of our Point Guard, Mugsy Bogues.  He was simply amazing, even the mighty Bulls had no answer.  He was a Superstar, just like Rose is today.  The Bulls were in big trouble, this was a short series, how could they stop Mugsy and the Hornets?  Were we really going to knock off this incredibly powerful team?  It was looking really good, and against any other Coach we might've won the series, but sadly, Chicago had Phil Jackson, and he came up with a totally unique strategy.

What Phil Jackson did, all those years ago, was take his best defender, Michael Jordan, and put him on Mugsy, instead of the person he normally would guard.  It was a strange looking move at first, but it didn't take too long to realize that it was in fact brilliant.  In neutralizing Mugsy Bogues, Jackson and the Bulls were largely neutralizing our entire offense, and the sad result was that we then lost 3 straight games, and the series.  I never forgot that strategy, and I wondered if anybody would use it against Rose and the Bulls.  Tonight, somebody did.

In putting Labron James on Rose, once again it stops not only the other team's Superstar, it hampers the entire offense.  The Bulls simply had no answer for this powerful defensive strategy.  They did hang tough, even led late, but that was mostly due to Miami playing horrible offense.  If Miami were having even a mediocre night offensively, they'd have won going away, by double digits, such was the defensive dominance they had thanks to the decision to put James on Rose.  Can the Bulls somehow counter this move?  Certainly the Hornets never found an answer all those years ago.  It is up to the Bulls coach to try to find the answer that eluded our own Coach all those years ago.  If they can find that answer, there is still time for the Bulls to come back, as they potentially still have 2 home games remainaing.  But they'd best think of something fast, because tonight the Miami Heat used the secret Phil Jackson formula for stopping star Point Guards, and unless they find the counter, that formula is going to result in another Series victory for the team employing it.

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