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Emeka's Big Game Overshadowed By Wade

All anyone else is talking about regarding last night's loss to the Heat, 100-96, is this bit of wonder from D-Wade.


(H/T Ball Don't Lie)

I understand. Wade is the big star. Emeka got one jammed over him. Yay for Yao's phone buddy! Of course, this completely ignores Okafor's tremendous first three quarters, in which he went 19/10, with 2 blocks and no turnovers. Normally, I'm hesitant to praise Emeka's offense, even when he performs well, because he's only got one real consistent move, into the lane, and he gets blocked a lot when he tries to assert himself. But this game showed an expansion of his offensive game.

In pregame shootarounds, I've seen Emeka working on his jumper, and last night it paid off. He hit a couple from well beyond the right side of the key, and if this is a real improvement, a real skill he's added, it will add a lot of value to his post game. With a lot of value added to Emeka's post game will come added value to the swing men, because as it stands, no one respects the dribble drive and no one respects the post. I've advocated more dribble drive as a way to get defenders to back off a bit, because I generally don't believe in Emeka's playmaker abilities on O, but developing said abilities would be a welcome addition.

In the fourth quarter, the Cats went away from Emeka completely. Zero attempts. Again, Emeka's no offensive playmaker, but how is it that the dude scores 19/10 in the first three quarters and doesn't even get the ball in the fourth quarter? The Heat couldn't defend him! They went away from what was working, and missed free throws finished them off.

I'll keep saying it until I'm convinced otherwise: Emeka Okafor is a rock that a championship team could use. Maybe he's not good enough to lead a championship team, but if he's the third best player on your team, you're in great shape.

Quickly, the other bright spots included Jared Dudley, whose offensive game might not have been flashy, but his defensive game was superb. 38 minutes of Dudley doing Dudley things is just another way God has blessed basketball.

And finally, Adam Morrison had a tremendous game in limited playing time: 13 points on 5-8 shooting, 3-5 from three, to go with 6 rebounds, all in only 22 minutes. Against certain teams, when the Cats want to play small, it's high time Larry Brown considers removing Sean May from the starting lineup, shifting Gerald to the four, and playing Morrison at the three.

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