Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Miami 103, Chicago 74

If you want me to act surprised or shocked, I can't be, and I won't be.

This Bulls team was designed to give 2009-10 a pass. Beyond that, this Bulls team is rife with inefficient shooters, it is missing Luol Deng(notes), and essentially missing Joakim Noah(notes).

And in spite of Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith's fawning over Noah last night - Joakim is one of my favorites as well - he still has considerable issues playing his man off the ball despite his length and smarts.

Jermaine O'Neal(notes) took advantage of him time after time, not just facing up and scoring, but moving into open spots in the half second that Joakim allotted him.

Kindly toss in the fact at Derrick Rose(notes), though he scores as much as Deron Williams(notes), Tony Parker(notes), Chris Paul(notes), and Steve Nash(notes), does not score in the same way as those four.

Two of those four hit threes, three of those four (including the two that don't hit many threes) get to the line copious amounts of time. Rose doesn't hit threes, and he only makes three free throws a game (his fault, not the refs). Derrick Rose averages 20.4 points per game, and he needs 17.6 shots per game to get there. People, that's not too sterling, and if the twos aren't falling, he has no ugly game to fall back on like the point guards mentioned above, or Wade, Roy, Kobe et al.

So to the Bulls fans that are paying attention, sure, it's a wonder to us that these sorts of games don't happen all the time. This doesn't excuse the lack of effort, but we can understand why it went down. Awful offensive roster with no cogent gameplan that still makes defensive mistakes and is now littered with some of the league's worst defenders (Rose, Flip Murray(notes), Brad Miller(notes), Hakim Warrick(notes))? Come on.

The Heat just played the perfect game against a terrible team. Every screen and roll pass was in the right place, and the finishes were there. Dwyane Wade(notes) had the rare in-Chicago good game, and, yes, Jermaine O'Neal (24 points) goes left every time.

***

Portland 101, Dallas 89

It's not always about turnovers, and Mike Fratello did a good job in pointing this out last night, it's about execution. So the Mavericks can be sloppy and the attention to detail can be missing even if they only turn it over 11 times (12.5 percent of the team's possessions). It's about making the right decisions and putting the ball in places where teammates can score with it.

On the other end, though it still bugs me that TV people don't know that Portland is a very good offensive team despite its slow pace (and a rather average defensive team for the same reason), Portland just nailed shot after shot, and didn't turn it over much themselves.

Almost 115 points per 100 possessions in the win for Portland, that's better than what the Suns average, as long-armed LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) led the way with 20 points, 10 boards, and five assists.

***

Los Angeles Clippers 99, Houston 93

A day later and, you know what? The Clippers should be beating the Rockets. Why was I so ready to pounce on Houston?

Houston was without Shane Battier(notes) and Kevin Martin(notes), to say nothing of that elevator-ridin' Yao Ming(notes), and the Clippers were supposed to be a good team this year. And even with Blake Griffin(notes) hurt and Marcus Camby(notes) gone and the season a bit of a waste, they still have the raw talent needed to beat an injured Rockets team, even in Texas.

I did enjoy Clipper color man Michael Smith's sarcastic quip in the third quarter about a Craig Smith(notes)/Steve Novak/DeAndre Jordan(notes) frontcourt being "totally the frontcourt I predicted being on the court in game 72," but two of those three can actually play, and Novak knocked in two of three threes last night. They should beat Houston.

25 and 10 with no turnovers off the bench for Smith, who was fantastic. The Clippers crashed the offensive glass and played sound defense on a haggard Houston team. Luis Scola(notes) and Trevor Ariza(notes) needed 41 shots to score 34 points in the loss.

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