TrueHoop: Dexter Pittman
May, 24, 2012
By ESPN Stats & Information
Michael Hickey/US Presswire LeBron James has at least 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists in back-to-back postseason games.
Haslem has also been a spark off the Heat's bench in the last three games, scoring double figures in each of the last two. In three games Haslem has come off the bench this postseason, Miami averages 25.7 bench points. In seven games Haslem started, the Heat have gotten only 16.1 points from their bench.
With Dexter Pittman also suspended, the best option for the Heat is likely Ronny Turiaf, as his +13 this series is the highest among the Heat's available big men for Game 6. In this series, Turiaf has played only 65 minutes in five games. However, when he's been on the court, the Heat have outscored the Pacers by 13 points. Miami has also limited Indiana to just 33 percent shooting when he's playing. Also available in the frontcourt are Joel Anthony (+7) and Juwan Howard (+5).
Overall, the Heat appear to be in good position to advance. In NBA history, teams that have held a 3-2 lead in a best-of-seven series have gone on to win the series 85.9 percent of the time, including 4-0 in the First Round this postseason. In addition, the Pacers have never come back to win a best-of-seven series after trailing 3-2 (according to Elias they are 0-8 all-time).
James has been a prime reason why the Heat can close out the series tonight. He has recorded at least 30 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists in back-to-back postseason games, and if he matches those numbers in Game 6, he will become the first player in NBA history to do so in three consecutive postseason games.
History says James will have another strong performance tonight. According to Elias, James has scored at least 20 points in each of the last 11 potential playoff series-clinching games on the road, the second-longest current streak of any player in the league, behind only Kobe Bryant (19).
Meanwhile, Danny Granger (sprained ankle) has said that he will start Game 6. His play will be crucial, as he has been much better at home this series than on the road (averaging over nine points more at home).
What's more, the combination of himself, Paul George, Roy Hibbert, George Hill and David West have outscored opponents by 75 points when on the court together, the highest of any five-man lineup on any team this postseason.
A key for Indiana will be on the boards. The Pacers have outrebounded the Heat 102-76 in their wins in Games 2 and 3, but have lost the battle on the boards in their losses in Games 4 and 5 (outrebounded 96-73). When Hibbert is on the court, the Pacers are +15 rebounding, but with him off are -19.
- If Chris Paul demands his way out of New Orleans, should he be subject to the same vitriol LeBron James has received? Should the fact that Chris Paul is a point guard color our perception of his desire to play with a better supporting cast? Should Paul have known better when he signed an extension with the Hornets in the summer of 2008?
- The prevailing question when Richard Jefferson opted out of the final year of his contract was, "What is he thinking leaving $15.2 million of guaranteed money on the table?" After agreeing to a 4 year/$38.9 million deal, Jefferson's decision appears pretty savvy -- and informed -- in retrospect. Timothy Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell on Jefferson's gamble: "Turns out that Jefferson knew more than his critics: he just parlayed 15 million into 38. With a possible lockout and a more frugal CBA looming large on the horizon, Jefferson has locked himself into more guaranteed money over the next 4 years than he would have made otherwise. Credit Jefferson with a shrewd move and big score."
- Grizzlies vice president of basketball operations and general manager Chris Wallace chats with Chip Crain of 3 Shades of Blue about Hasheem Thabeet, O.J. Mayo as point guard, and testing potential draftees for basketball I.Q.
- The prospect of Hedo Turkoglu playing the 4 in Phoenix's offense has rattled some cages, but think back to 2006 postseason when the Suns got within two games of an NBA Finals berth without Amare Stoudemire. Apart from all their early drag-screens and transition pull-ups, the Suns ran a bunch of effective stuff through Boris Diaw at the high post for cutters and shooters on the weak side. Turkoglu will presumably perform a similar function in the offense. Michael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns enumerates some of his concerns about the Hedo Turkoglu-Phoenix Suns fit.
- A nice story of a summer league standout making good: Jonathan Givony of Draft Express reports that perimeter sniper Gary Neal has agreed to a 3-year deal with the Spurs. Neal set up shop behind the arc and went wild in the first half of the Spurs' final game in Las Vegas.
- Who should be the Magic's starting small forward? Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post pores over some data and concludes that the answer is not Mickael Pietrus. Eddy Rivera of Magic Basketball reached the same conclusion.
- Ben Golliver of Blazers Edge sits down with Joe Cronin, one of the Trail Blazers' lead scouts, and talks Dante Cunningham, Luke Babbitt and Armon Johnson, among others. Hey, did Cronin just call Patty Mills a "master flopper"?
- Kyle Weidie of Truth About It captured some incredible shots from the baseline of Cox Pavilion during Las Vegas Summer League. His latest target? Cal standout Jerome Randle, who played on the Wizards' squad.
- If you're having trouble finding a satisfying highlight reel of Derrick Favors at Georgia Tech, it might have something to do with the Jackets' guard play last season.
- Steve Perrin of Clips Nation writes that it appears the Clippers and Sofo Schortsanitis just aren't meant to be. After a lackluster performance for the Clips' summer league squad, that might be for the best: "Sofo did NOT acquit himself well in Summer League, even taking all of those things into consideration. Plenty of bigs looked good in Vegas -- JaVale McGee, DeMarcus Cousins, even Derrick Caracter. He didn't handle double teams well, and he didn't convert free throws when he went to the line. It was a terrible environment for him, but even considering its shortcomings, he should have done better."
- Miami rookie big man Dexter Pittman will have to fight like hell to break the Heat's frontcourt rotation. He tells Surya Fernandez of Hot Hot Hoops that he's up to the task.
- Who's Toronto's go-to guy moving forward -- DeMar DeRozan or Andrea Bargnani?
- New Zealand's national team would love to lure Kendrick Perkins. (Hat Tip: Zach Lowe of Celtics Hub)
- Part seven of Basketbawful's Pickup Diaries: Thinking too much about the 1992 Eastern Conference playoffs while taking the most important standardized test of your life. (PG-13)
- Morris Almond's morning win: "back to back Fresh Prince episodes on TBS and Mickey D's breakfast."