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Post Info TOPIC: Big Fros and Short Shorts--Strat Ball Tourney
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Luxury Box Season Ticket Holder

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Date: February 12th
Big Fros and Short Shorts--Strat Ball Tourney
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PACIFIC

Phoenix (#2) at Golden St. (#6)

PHX 29 30 29 30 - 118

GST  17 29 22 37 - 105

Leading Scorers

PHX: Alvan Adams 27, Truck Robinson 27

GST: Phil Smith 18, Sonny Parker 17

The Phoenix front court did all the heavy lifting in this one. In addition to Adams and Robinson, Walter Davis pitched in 25, as the Suns got 79 of their 118 from the starters up front. And they needed it, as Paul Westphal fouled out with just 6 points, and Phoenix guards contributed just 24. No matter--the Suns got out to a fifteen point first period lead and rode it all the way home. The Warriors defense, it's strength throughout the tournament, seemed a step behind, as evidenced by their 24 personal fouls. They are eliminated with the loss, as their unlikely run comes to an end. Meanwhile Phoenix will need to defeat the Super Sonics back-to-back to win the division.

Image result for alvan adams
Alvan Adams, Phoenix mobile big man


-- Edited by pfunkone on Sunday 12th of February 2017 07:09:42 AM

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Date: February 12th
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A review of the Warriors numbers (RL in parentheses);

PF 108.7 (105.1)

PA 101.5 (104.8)

 

Robert Parish 16.8 (17.2)

John Lucas 15.3 (16.6)

Phil Smith 13.0 (19.9)

Sonny Parker 13.0 (15.2)

JoJo White 12.2 (12.3)

Wayne Cooper 9.8 (4.6)

Purvis Short 9.7 (10.6)

Tom Abernathy 7.2 (6.0)

Nate Williams 6.0 (8.3)

Clifford Ray 5.8 (6.8)

On balance I'd say these are pretty reasonable results, with really only two outliers, Smith and Cooper. Phil got into foul trouble pretty regularly--the Warriors had some challenging match-ups at the two guard--and I just couldn't resist using Coop. Not that I was much of a fan IRL, but he gave the Warriors a legit rebounder at the four, and he did play pretty well when I had him in there. And before anyone protests too much about the overall success of a last place team, keep in mind this last place team actually outscored it's opponents in 78-79 and had the second fewest points allowed in the league. Add JoJo for a full season and maybe they win a couple of extra games, and with a little better luck a couple more, and the next thing you know you have a playoff team in a very competitive division.

Image result for phil smith warriors
Phil Smith, who never got his game going for the Warriors


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Date: February 19th
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CENTRAL

San Antonio (#1) at Detroit (#4)

SAN 33 41 34 29 - 137

DET  20 29 35 21 - 108

Leading Scorers

SAN: Larry Kenon 38, George Gervin 28

DET: Bob Lanier 27, Kevin Porter 19

Larry Kenon continues to be-devil the Pistons and ML Carr, this time putting up a playoff high 38 against the usually stout defender. More bad bews for Dickie V.'s boys; the Iceman has thawed out. After struggling in his first couple of games and going scoreless in a foul plagued first quarter, Gervin hit for 13 in the second, and ended up with his high for the tournament. And he has yet to make his average. James Silas pitched in 16, and The Whopper, Billy Paultz, gave Lanier something to worry about on the defensive end with 15. Detroit had too many stretches where they struggled from the field, and their bench gave them little. But against the Spurs motion offense, little short of perfect offensive execution would have saved Detroit from it's fate. The division final, winner-takes-all contest moves to the HemisFair.

Doug Moe, passing game savant

 



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Date: February 19th
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MIDWEST

Chicago (#5) at Denver (#1)

CHI  27 18 34 27 - 106

DEN 26 22 26 35 - 111

Leading Scorers

CHI: Artis Gilmore 36, Wilbur Holland 20

DEN: Dan Issell 35, David Thompson 18

Two former Kentucky Colonel teammates battled in the rarified air of Denver's McNichols Arena, but it was the altitude itself that proved the determining factor. A nip and tuck affair through three periods, the Bulls ran out of gas as the game went to its final 12 minutes and the Nuggets were able to extend their lead with their best quarter of the game. Chicago committed 30 personal fouls (Mickey Johnson and Reggie Theus fouled out) as the Nuggets went to the line 33 times, making 26. By contrast Chicago attempted just 16 free throws (making 12.) The Bulls also got little from their bench (13 points) while the deeper Nuggets, playing most of the game without an injured Charlie Scott and foul troubled George McGinnis, received 30, including 11 from Tom Boswell. McGinnis redeemed himself with a 16 point/ 8 rebound second half after being held scoreless in just four minutes in the first. But Gilmore and Issell were the stars of this one. With only one player taller than 6-9, the A-train did what he had done the entire post-season--utterly dominated down low. Meanwhile an inspired Issell returned to the perimeter against his much taller match-up, but he played on the block against everyone else as Larry Brown's offense found numerous ways to free the Missile in the low post against smaller opponents. Denver takes the Midwest division with the win, and awaits the winner of the Phoenix-Seattle matchup in the Pacific for the Western Conference Finals.

Larry Brown, Nugget Coach and fashionista


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Luxury Box Season Ticket Holder

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A recap on the Bulls terrific run (RL Stats in parentheses);

PF 114.6 (104.7)

PA 110.9 (108.7)

Artis Gilmore 29.4 (23.7)

Reggie Theus 16.6 (16.3)

Mickey Johnson 16.7 (15.4)

Wilbur Holland 16.7 (12.6)

Ollie Johnson 15.6 (9.2)

Mark Landsberger 5.6 (8.1)

John Mengelt 5.4 (11.0)

John Brown 4.9 (5.0)

Scott Lloyd 2.1 (1.7)

Charles Dudley 1.1 (2.7)

Any time a team like Chicago over-performs to the degree they did, some of the stats will come out wonky. My usage patterns with the Bulls were probably significantly different than real life in some instances; Ollie Johnson got more minutes, John Mengelt less for example. Although I did my best resist the temptation, Gilmore got the ball more than he did in real life. That 58% shooting percentage was hard to turn down, and I have an inkling that good offensive rebounding centers with a 1-3 shooting range will get too many buckets anyway. I have to go back and check but it seems that way. Gilmore also avoided foul trouble as every opposing center could and did play on the perimeter against him, which may have been a mistake, given the results. A few games against Kareem or Moses or Bob Lanier may have attenuated the results a bit. All that being said, Artis Gilmore was a helluva a player, one that no one seems to remember other than for his giant 'fro, and he is the MVP of this particular tournament thus far.

The Bulls went 5-2 and took the Nuggets to the brink, but if stretched out their weaknesses were very apparent (poor team defense, weak bench) and it would have likely caught up with them. But they played well--give that man Scotty Robertson a contract extension!

The A-Train


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Date: February 24th
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PACIFIC 

Seattle (#1) at Phoenix (#2)

SEA 41 28 25 19 - 113

PHX 26 36 17 27 - 106

Leading Scorers

SEA: Jack Sikma 22, John Johnson 20

PHX: Alvan Adams 27, Walter Davis 22

The Sonics broke out early, using an usually potent offensive attack led by JJ and Sikma, to overwhelm the Suns from the start. Phoenix battled back to make it a game again by halftime, but Seattle's defense was too strong in the second, and the Sun's hopes died in the desert. Paul Silas' performance seemed to typify the "get-it-done" nature of the Sonics; 1-12 from the field, but eight rebounds (five offensive) and the primary reason Truck Robinson was held to just a single field goal in the second half, after a 17 point first that put Lonnie Shelton (14 pts.) on the bench with foul trouble. Paul Westphal had a similar outing, scoring twelve in the first for Phoenix, but just six in the last two quarters, in large part due to Dennis Johnson (15) and Gus Williams (17) and their lock-down D. Seattle wins the Pacific, and advances to take on the Nuggets in the West final.

Jack Sikma, Seattle


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CENTRAL

Detroit (#4) at San Antonio (#1)

DET 24 26 30 23 - 103

SAN 36 23 22 16 - 97

Leading Scorers

DET: Bob Lanier 24, Terry Tyler 18

SAN: Larry Kenon 19, George Gervin 18

Early on, this looked like it would be a rout. The Spurs' offense was humming right along, and at one point they had built their lead to a seemingly insurmountable 19 points early int the second quarter. But the Pistons never went away, gradually picking away at the deficit, until they were able to overtake the Spurs with under three minutes to play. Whether it was great defense by Detroit or ice cold shooting by San Antonio is anyone's guess, but the Spurs stopped making shots. Billy Paultz was San Antonio's leading scorer in the second half with all of seven points (17 overall) and role players like ML Carr (who finally slowed down Larry Kenon) and Tyler (who made two key defensive stops down the stretch, as well as some clutch free throws) became in the words of their coach, "P-T-Pers, baby!" The 5-1 Pistons shock the NBA and move onto the Eastern Conference Finals against the Bullets, while the Spurs go home, wondering what happened to their jump shots.

"Awesome with a capital A, Baby!"


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Suns in review...(per usual, real-life totals in parentheses)

PF: 108.8 (115.4)

PA: 112.0 (111.7)

Alvan Adams, 21.0 (17.8)

Walter Davis, 20.5 (23.6)

Truck Robinson, 17.3 (16.0)

Paul Westphal, 15.5 (24.0)

Mike Bratz, 12.3 (8.1)

Joel Kramer, 7.3 (5.9)

Alvin Scott, 5.8 (6.1)

Don Buse, 5.0 (7.8)

Gar Heard, 2.8 (6.3)

Ted McClain, 3.0 (4.6)

Four games isn't a lot to go on, especially when half of those games are against the defending champs. Despite that, some of the numbers are pretty close, especially the points allowed. Westphal did not shoot the ball well, but again, fouling out of a game when you only score six, and having Dennis Johnson in your jock the other two games will contribute to that. Adams continues a trend of centers over-performing. I am almost considering reducing any center that shot less than around 25 FG attempts per 48 minutes down to a 1-2 shooting frequency, except for the final two minutes of the game. They seem to get enough easy outbacks off of rebound situations to warrant it. But maybe not. I will see how things progress.

A frustrated Westphal was off the mark.


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The conference finals are set. The two actual winners, Seattle and Washington both make it through by taking full advantage of their advanced seeding, knocking off the number two seed in their division in the minimum of two games. Meanwhile, Denver finishes the ladder portion of the tournament at 3-1, taking two of three from the Bulls, and knocking off the one seed, Kansas City. 

And of course, Dick Vitale's Cinderella Pistons team advances with a league high five wins (San Antonio twice, Atlanta, Houston, and Cleveland) against just one defeat (to the Spurs.) 

Each series is a best of five, 2-2-1 format, with the higher seed getting home court advantage. So Detroit will be at Washington to start things in the East, with Denver at the Kingdome against the SuperSonics in the West. No significant injuries to report for any of the clubs. As they used to sing on CBS, "It's the best in basketball, when you watch the NBA..."

Dick Motta's Bullets are the number one overall seed.


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Eastern Conference Finals Game 1

Detroit at Washington

DET   19 16 27 17 - 79

WAS 36 29 31 19 - 115

Leading Scorers

DET: M.L. Carr 14, John Long 14, Terry Tyler 14

WAS: Bobby Dandridge 25, Elvin Hayes 20

If the opener is any indication, this will be a short series. Both teams lived up (or down) to their regular season records, and neither played a starter in the fourth quarter. There was no point. Detroit couldn't consistently hit a shot as Dick Motta's boys locked them up all over the court. Detroit's bench was hopelessly outmatched, outscored 35-18, 16-1 before the fourth. Meanwhile the Bullets front-court dominated; in addition to Hayes and Dandridge, Wes Unseld had 14, 10 in the first six minutes of the game when the Bullets shot out to their commanding lead, and a dozen from Mitch Kupchak. And they held Bob Lanier to just ten points, as the Piston's big man seemed off his game and never into the flow of the offense. Game two at Landover-- the Pistons need to up their game considerably to even make things competitive.

Hayes and Unseld controlled the paint


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VP of Operations

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Date: March 6th
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I was going to mention something after you posted that Seattle-Phoenix game, then completely forgot to. hmm

Johnson -- allegedly the shooting guard, as Gus Williams was the playmaker -- had a horrible FG percentage.  Despite a 15.9 PPG average in his final three years with the Sonics, he shot just .425 from the floor.

The Sonics wound up trading Johnson, who started complaining so much (about his salary among other things), Coach Lenny Wilkens called him a "cancer on the team."

In an attempt to get more consistent shooting out of the off-guard slot, Seattle traded Johnson to Phoenix, in exchange for Westphal, who promptly got hurt.

Johnson enjoyed several solid years with the Suns, but started squabbling with Coach John McLeod, and was dealt to Boston.

He was always a shutdown defender.  And it helped finally being on a club that wasn't as dependent on his shooting.



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Luxury Box Season Ticket Holder

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Date: March 10th
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Yeah, DJ was a brick layer. Unless the game was on the line, when he seemed to magically become a marksman. But what a defender, and in his years with Seattle, a tremendous athlete. I thought he got a little pudgy in his years in Boston, but maybe that was his uni--all the Celtics looked like rec league guys in those ugly green things in the eighties.

At their best, I would have taken Westphal, who was a truly under-appreciated player with remarkable abilities, but as you mentioned, injuries had started to take their toll by the time he got to the great northwest and he was not the same player (also see Thompson, David.)

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Date: March 10th
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Western Conference Finals Game 1

Denver at Seattle

DEN 17 30 15 16 - 78

SEA 27 21 19 20 - 87

Leading Scorers

DEN: Dan Issell 31, George McGinnis 17

SEA: Jack Sikma 21, Gus Williams 16

A game played at Seattle's home-away-from-home (The Kingdome), and at their pace, with typical results. Issell was brilliant, and McGinnis was determined, but the rest of the Nuggets were abysmal. In a match-up that may determine the series outcome as much as any, David Thompson was held to 12 points by Dennis Johnson, and the Denver bench accounted for all of six points. The Sonics were as good as they needed to be, and when the Nuggets cut a double digit lead to nothing in the third quarter, Seattle as able to answer. William hit some big shots down the stretch, and John "JJ" Johnson delivered some clutch assists. Sikma added fourteen defensive rebounds to his team leading scoring total, for his best performance of the playoffs.

Gus Williams, Seattle


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Luxury Box Season Ticket Holder

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Date: March 10th
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I was a pro basketball fan from the late 1960s into the very early 1970s and then again from 1996-98.  The strike/lockout ended my interest in the sport for good.  (Besides, the emphasis on three-pointers and slam dunks was getting a bit tiresome.)  I am not very knowledgeable about the big fros and short shorts era, but I read through your posts and many of the names rang a bell.  Very entertaining (especially the pictures).  I'm trying to decide whom to root for.  Since I was going to school in Michigan at the time, I guess I should pull for Detroit.  (I do remember Bob Lanier and his big feet.)



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I would normally think the Pistons have no chance, but I would have never had them getting this far either. But they have to play better and Big Foot Bob has to be Big Game Bob. Bullets are tough.

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