Rick Daniel 2K11

What Should I Do?

I’ve posted the poll for the future of Rick Daniel on the sidebar. It will last until Monday afternoon, so vote soon!

Ride’s Over, Everybody Off

p26-gah

Let’s just take the suspense out of this right now and show you the above picture. Now, let’s find out how I got there (if I sound despondent, look above for the reason).

p26-1board

I started out nabbing boards since the Magic didn’t seem to want them, and neither did my teammates.

p26-2pass

Once I had the ball, it was easy to find open teammates. They didn’t hit with any regularity, especially early on. The Magic,similar to with the rebounds, were matching us miss-for-miss. It was a slow start, to be honest.

p26-3swat

Of course, some of their misses weren’t just bricks. Sometimes I caught my man on a fast break for a LeBron-style chase down. I ended the first quarter with 2 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and a turnover in eight minutes.

p26-4open

In the 2nd, I had one good play. I cut past Rashard Lewis (I seem to be guarded by everyone but my man)…

p26-5release

p26-7met

… pulled up and nailed a quick jumper.

We did have a play in the period that reminded everyone that, independent of the Best in the NBA argument, LeBron James is without doubt the most exciting.

p26-8wow1

p26-8wow2

p26-8wow3

p26-8wow4

p26-8wow5

He caught a long bomb pass on a full extension, ran to the free throw line, spun around Jason Williams and threw down a two handed slam on J-Will’s head. I mean, look at Lewis in the pic above. It looks like he just wants to touch the man. For the record, that off target pass was from Wade, not me. If I’d thrown it he would have caught it in stride – and then none of the exciding pictures above would have happened. So, go Wade.

p26-9bat1

p26-9bat2

He also pulled off a true chase down, just to show me how it’s done. I then committed the ultimate cardinal sin.

p26-10no1

Dammit. Just, dammit. There was one second on the clock until the half, and I tried to block Jameer Nelson’s near-half court heave for some cheap teammate rating points.

p26-10no2

“What, me? Foul? No way, I didn’t foul him!” Yes you did, genius. He didn’t hit the shot but he did pull them within one at the half by hitting all three freebies. At this point, we were up by one, were out shooting the Magic 42% to 35%, but had one free throw to their five. Hold on to that last thought.

p26-11attack1

I came back after the half and showed that I can score – something people who who only saw me play in this game would probably not believe.

p26-11attack2

I had space to work with, so I approached the three point line.

p26-11attack3

I was met by Howard, who came to help Nelson. I was constantly harassed by Dwight whenever I approached the paint, so good job by him. I hate him for it, but good job by him.

p26-11attack4

I double back as Bosh steps in to lend a hand (or shoulder).

p26-11attack5

With Howard caught up on Chris at the three point line, I had a one-on-one with Jameer.

p26-11attack6

I stepped back and pulled up for a clean shot. Now I just have to make it.

p26-11attack7

No problem. This gave me six points in the game. In the third quarter. My poor offensive showing wasn’t me shooting poorly, it was my Alpha Dog mates attempting to win the game themselves. Normally I’d ride their coattails to success, but they were missing. Allot. Especially LeBron, who couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.

p26-15damn

Ultimately, we lost. But you knew that already. Aside from my scoring (I finished with 8 points) I had a solid overall game. I contributed 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 block and a turnover on 40% shooting (4-10). Bosh led us in scoring with 17, Wade has 15 and LeBron scored 12. Bosh was 9-9, Wade hit 37% from the field (6-16) but LeBron only shot 28% (6-21). As a team we hit on 39% of our attempts, while Orlando only hit 36%. We hit five more shots over the course of the game, so we had the edge there. They also only made 1 more three then us (3 to 2). So how on earth did they beat us?

Free throws.

Remember, about midway up this post where I told you that they had shot 5 free throws at the half to our 1? By the end of the game that had ballooned to 19 makes for them versus 5 for us. That’s where we lost the game, and therefore the series, ultimately ending our season.

Now I have decide what to do with myself. If I get the opportunity, should I bolt for a team where I can be a leader? Do I take the opportunity to go home to Cleveland if it’s offered? Is there unfinished business here? Let me know in the poll on the site. I’ll leave the poll up for a couple days and tally the votes to see what the consensus is. Help decide my future!

In other news, the Magic are facing the Lakers, if anyone still cares.

- Rick Daniel

Staying Alive

p25-Attack

Game five is in the books, however due to some minor issues, I couldn’t take pictures the way I normally do. The ones I did get weren’t very good, either. Anyway, on to the results!

p25-J

We started in a bit of a hole and I got off to a really cold start. It took my over 2 and a half quarters to get my rhythm, and by that point we were down by eight. When the starters and I went to bench, we were all frustrated. However, when we got back on the floor in the 4th, we were up by three! We can do this and stay alive!

p25-J2

Ultimately, ‘stay alive’ is what we did. Vince Carter was ice cold from the field in the fourth and I turned it on finally. I finished with 17 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal with 3 turnovers on 50% shooting (1-2 from long range, as well). I again hit our only trey. What matters though, is that we won. Yeah! On to game six!

By the way, the reason my picture taking exploits got scuttled this game is because I recorded it in case it was where my Heat career ended. It wasn’t, and now I’m not sure what to do with the video. It’s not a very flattering video (the filming caused slight control lag, leading to my subpar performance), but I don’t think I want to delete it just yet. I’ll have to think on this.

- Rick Daniel

Losing Hope

p24-easy

Game four rolled around and I thought I was ready. I thought I had been through enough that I couldn’t get upset again. I was wrong. I took off like a shot and scored 10 of our firs 12 points before being benched with 2 turnovers – in the first quarter! Apparently I need to take Keeping Control of the Damn Ball 101 this summer.

p24-nicenap

Late in the second it was nappy time again. This time I was shook by Nelson and hit the ground to watch him score from my hindquarters. This never used to happen! What changed?! I was benched mid-way through the 3rd quarter (as were all the starters) and when we got back on the court in the middle of the 4th, we were down by 11. It quickly became 13 before I started a run to get us back into it.

p24-picked

We were down three with under a minute to go when I picked off this pass and started a fast break.

p24-latelayup

p24-ohyeah

We’re within one! Yes!

p24-badidea1

After a Magic basket, I came back up court and saw this. Tell me, wouldn’t your first inclination, as a quick guard, to be to attack that massive gap? Mine was, so I did. If I made the shot we would have time to play solid defense and get the ball back. How big of a issue could I run in to?

p24-badidea2

Oh, just 6’11′”, 265 pounds worth of Magic muscle. Howard met me and sent me careening to the deck,

p24-badidea3

Ok, so I blew the shot. No big deal, we still had a good chance to win. Play good defense, get the ball back and we had a chance to tie the game. We can do this!

p24-notagain1

Wait.., no. No no NO!! Not again!!

p24-notagain2

Yes, again. It was over. Vince put the dagger in our hearts and we’re now headed back to Miami down 3-1. Can we recover? I’m not sure. Personally I’m stunned that my team just falls apart against the Magic. Over 10 turnovers as a team, which seems to be a constant for us.

p24-poetic

This shot says it all. I’m in shock as Vince celebrates at my expense. I again had a decent game, with 22 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals plus 2 turnovers on 46% shooting. Do you notice a disturbing trend here? I dd. I play really well = team loses. I must be doing something wrong.

My teammates weren’t slacking off at all, and some even had much better games then I did. Wade contributed 21 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals, LeBron had 15 points, 8 boards, 6 dimes and 2 steals, and Bosh chipped in 8, 10 and 2. We had our offense, so what cost us? Our defense. Again. Vince Carter, Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis each hit 3 treys. Contrast that to my team where I had our only three point basket, and that’s a 24 point difference just on ranged shots alone. We need to shape up or we’re done for next game.

(side note: as a RL Cavs fan, this was hauntingly similar to the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals  between Cleveland and Orlando where the Magic could have just hurled the ball backwards over their heads or between their legs and scored, they were so hot. I’m still depressed. Oh, and speaking of RL, go Cavs!)

Orlando’s Powerful Magic

p23-imhere

Game time. Game three of the Eastern Conference Finals in Orlando, Florida. We’re in hostile territory now. There’s no turning back, and I wasn’t about to. Bring on the Magic, and let’s let ‘em feel the Heat!

… wait, that didn’t come out right.

p23-layup

Early on I was cutting to the rim again for relatively easy baskets. I was also shooting well (after a shaky 0-3 start).

p23-runover

Early on, Nelson decided to run me over for kicks, drawing a foul on me. That’s just not right.

p23-naptime

Of course, maybe I was just tired. That’s me, napping at the free throw line while Nelson scales Bosh for a layup. He didn’t run me over this time, and he didn’t shake me off the dribble either. I just kind of laid down. Must be my nappy time.

p23-uhoh

Aw hell, this isn’t going to end in my favor. Can I get a hand down here??

p23-boutright

Yup, that’s what I expected. I did my job as well as I could but it didn’t matter. Two more points to Vince Carter the Miami Heat Carver. He continued to light us up. We needed someone to step up and match him shot-for-shot.

p23-atthehalf

No surprise that I answered the call. I was a scoring machine out there.

p23-openj

They started double teaming me with Dwight Howard, which told me two things.

  1. They respect my game
  2. They don’t respect our bigs

p23-even

At the end of three we were within three and I was out dueling Vince on the scoreboard. We had a chance!

p23-argh

That chance was soon dashed when I went to the bench. I went to the bench when we were down six and came back to an 18 point hole. Unable to summon the heroics of last game, we succumbed to the Magic slaughter. In my post game interview, I arrogantly snapped at the reporters and told them that some players were going to be getting an earful on the team bus after the game. I scored 28 points with 5 rebounds 3 assists, a steal and three turnovers on 61% shooting. Vince scored 25 with 4 rebounds, 3 assists, a block and a turnover and shot the exact same field goal percentage I did (11-18, 61%).

p23-dammitwade

In case you doubt my plan to outscore Carter to advance (which we all know always works on Kobe, who’s Lakers are up 3-0 on the Mavs right now), this is why we’re going that route. Dwyane isn’t even trying to stop Vince. Not a bit! Jump, dammit! Get a hand in his face!  This isn’t some isolated incident, either. This is every possession! I do a batter job at holding Carter down then Wade or LeBron does.

I suddenly fear that my summer may be starting earlier then planned.

- Rick Daniel

Lost Heroics

p22-Miami

I just sat through the most gut-wrenching game I’ve had as a member of the Heat. I am physically ill now. I was out of it, I got us back into it, I almost won it for us but in the end I lost it for us. I’m sick.

p22-glide

p22-yup

Early on I was shooting average but I was cutting to the rim with aplomb. after the 1st quarter I had 7 of or 11 points. If I hadn’t been there we’d have been getting blown out. Vince Carter, though, was unstoppable. At least, Wade, LeBron and Mike Miller couldn’t stop him. He didn’t score much on me but I didn’t guard him much  At one point he was getting to the rim a little too easy so I had to send a message.

p22-wam1

p22-wam2

I put him on his backside (LeBron was a friendly fire casualty) and to top it off, I got credited with ‘good defense.’ Yeah!

p22-mine

I picked off an inbounds pass in the 3rd that led to a jumpshot for me. We were down perpetually (as much as 13 points in the second half) but I brought us back, almost on my own. LeBron kept hogging the ball and throwing up bricks but I was able to contribute enough to keep us in the game. At one point, we were down by 2 and were trying to tie the game for the first time since the first quarter.

p22-clutchsteal

I picked off another inbounds pass off of a timeout and darted down court.

p22-clutchlayup

Jets blazing, I made it and tied the game! We got a stop and now needed a score to take the lead. Who was going to take it? Who do you think?

p22-goahead

I got open and shot… GOOD! We had a two point lead with less then a shot clock to go in the game. Now we just had to hold, and if nothing else prevent a three.

p22-noooo

Nooooo! Vince hits a three from the corner over Wade. D-Wade’s defense on Carter was or Achilles’ heel. He couldn’t stop him for his life. Our only hope was that I could continue to match him shot for shot, as I had done the whole game. Under five seconds and we had possession. I had come this far. I was why we had this chance in the first place. I was going to take the shot, come hell or high water.

p22-canidoit

I got a clean look! All I needed was for that ball to settle into the bottom of the net.

p22-dammit

No such luck. I lost it. Did I lose the game? What to do you call my performance today? I brought us all the way back but couldn’t finish the job because my teammate let the other team’s shooter hit a go-ahead basket.  How do you judge a game like this?

The answer: A loss.

Here are Carter and my lines from the game, for comparison.

  • V. Carter – 26 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal and 2 turnovers on  45% shooting
  • R. Daniel – 25 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and no turnovers on 64% shooting

I played my heart out and we lost. What more can I do? Just go on to the next game, I guess. I’ll see to it that Carter doesn’t go off like this again personally.

- Rick Daniel

Starting to Like This

p14-starter

Wait, wait, wait. Opening with a  picture of a Bulls game? Didn’t I say last post that we’d knocked off the Bulls? Actually, yes I did. This picture is to cover a hole in my last post – I was so psyched to be moving on that I forgot to mention a change that took place at the start of the game: I got the start. Being the starting PG is a good feeling, but it had happened before and I lost it both times. Would I get the call again in the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals??

p21-Tipoff

Why yes, I would. I got to the arena having already been alerted that I was starting. Let’s go team! Our foe would be the Orlando Magic. This oughta be good!

p21-layup

We spent most of the first half within a basket or so of Orlando, either ahead of behind. On this play I took off down court on a fast break and attempted this layup as I was passing Rashard Lewis.

p21-crash

I made the shot but put me on the deck. We went into the half trailing and part of that was my fault. My scoring wasn’t great but my decision making was horrendous. I had two turnovers in the first half and at least as many bad passes that didn’t get picked off but blew possessions. I turned the ball over two more times in the third quarter and had a few more bad passes before being benched with 3:47 to go in the 3rd. I had 10 points on 38% shooting with 4 turnovers. I did have three assist, though. When I came back in to start the 4th, we were down by two. That’s when it became the Dwyane Wade Show.

p21-dwade

The guy had gone 0-5 in the first half but had turned it on in the 3rd. By the time the fourth quarter came around he was red hot. My mission was clear: get him open looks. He absolutely carried us for about four or so minutes and I all but farmed him for assists. I  got three dimes off of him and a number of ‘pass leading to assist’ and ‘pass leading to foul’ merits. I finally started putting my game together too, and we pulled away as the clock winded down. In a fitting ending, though, we turned the ball over as time was expiring. We had 10 or so turnovers in our 32 minute game, and I only accounted for four of them (LBJ committed 3). I said to myself as the fourth quarter wore on that Wade deserved Player of the Game honors. If he hadn’t gotten hot after the half we probably would have lost. He didn’t win though. Who did?

p21-hellyeah

I did, with 19 points (led the team), 2 rebounds, 6 assists (led the team) and 2 steals (led the team), I had a surprisingly good game. If, ya know, you ignore the four giveaways. I got my shooting percentage up to nearly 50%, too. D-Wade was next in scoring with 18, and LeBron had 14. We won, we kept home court advantage, and now it’s on to game two. In the west, Kobe and the Lakers are up 1-0 on the Mavericks.

- Rick Daniel

Taking the Bull by the Horns

p14-j

Game four in Chicago was one of my more memorable goat-to-gloat stories in my career so far. I started the game with zero offense. I was shooting under 20% partway through the 2nd quarter and looked to be headed for a dismal performance. I had eight points finally in the third when I went to the line for a couple of freebies.

p14-bump

I asked Wade and LeBron to give me some of their good luck because I had nothing going. I was passing decent and had a few rebounds but I needed a boost, badly.

p14-layup

You know what? I got it. I got fired up and while my jumper still wasn’t falling I managed to slice to the rim for layups and easy baskets. I also got my Bob Cousy on and started racking up the assists. My rebounding wasn’t half bad, either. My defense, though…

p14-bonk1

Yup, that’s me standing by the free throw line while my man D-Rose throws it down hard.

p14-bonk2

Or… not? He bangs it off of the rim…

p14-bonk3

… and right into my hands. Hey, sometimes it pays to be lucky vice good.

p14-daredevil

Now this is neither lucky nor good. It’s just stupid. I actually was just attempting a layup at the rim when Rose undercut me, resulting in the picture you see here. I hit the ground with a resounding ‘thud,’ but got back up and walked the the free throw line.

p14-notagain

Wade approached me after my first free shot and said some things I can’t repeat here. The gist of it, though, was “don’t you ever do that again.” Something about killing me if I get hurt doing stupid things. Duly noted, Mr. Wade.

p14-win

We managed to close out the Bulls! I finished with 18 points (led the team), 6 rebounds and 7 assists (tied for team lead with LeBron), 2 steals and 2 blocks (tied for the team lead with 3 others), but also 3 turnovers. For my efforts, I won Player of the Game. Not bad for someone who was shooting 17% in the first half.

The Magic and Nets are tied in their series at 2-2., so I’m not sure who we’re playing in the Eastern Conference Finals just yet. The Lakers beat the Rockets to reach the Western Conference Finals and are awaiting the winner of the Texas Bowl – I mean the other semifinal series – between Dallas and San Antonio. They’re also tied at two-all. Hey, in the Western Conference, three of the four semifinalists were from Texas. It would figure it L.A. knocked ‘em all off, huh? Bring on the next series!

- Rick Daniel

The Bull and the Beasts

p11-imhere

Game time, NBA Playoffs, round two. It’s us versus the Bulls in Miami. I came, dressed for success, ready to stampede the Crimson Cows. Bring it on!

p11-OldRival

Early on, an old rivalry was renewed as Ilgauskas and Joakim Noah got into it. It was a little chippy but nothing exciting happened.

p11-Posterized

Well, one bad thing happened. I apparently thought I could block Ronnie Brewer’s dunk and got posterized. Dammit. We ultimately beat Chicago, and I scored 18 points with 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks (plus 1 turnover). On to game two!

p12-J

I played decent this game, shooting ok (not including my 0-2 performance from long range).

p12-Layup

I also got out and ran.

p12-Layup2

I ran allot, which contributed a good bit to my 20 point, 5 rebound, 3 assist, 1 steal, no turnover performance. Yes!

p12-ha

“Ha! We whooped your ass! Take that, moo-men!” Uh, isn’t this taunting? I should have been suspended.

p13-chitown

Game threw took the series to Chi-town. It also saw a patch to the game introduced. What would this ‘patch’ do to my game? Let’s play and see!

p13-pull

For one thing, it seemed to relegate me to spot-up shooter. The coach kept calling plays that stuck me in either corner to wait for an unlikely pass.  I shot 0-3 from distance, but 7-11 from inside the arc.

p13-me

The team revolved, more so then ever, around James and Wade. I was instructed on almost every play to hand the ball off to one of them (or Mike Miller, on occasion) and run to a baseline corner. It wasn’t very satisfying, but I had one of my most complete games yet

p13-wewin

We won again, putting us up 3-0 in the series. I finished with 14 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block with zero turnovers. I did get four fouls though, which was weird.

Now, for those who like stats, I’m going to spell out my place in the NBA Playoffs this year in numbers. I’m going to put this behind a cut in deference to those who don’t like stat overload. The rest of you, click on through.

Continue reading

Bucking Milwaukee

p05-didit

We’ve closed out the Bucks at last. It wasn’t a really exciting finish, so let’s just cover the basics.

p05-Hook

How’s this for something you don’t expect to see from me? A running hook shot in the lane. In case you’re wondering, yes, it fell. I actually wasn’t shooting well at all, with just four points at the half.p05-runaway1

p05-runaway2

I then ran off – quite literally – four straight fast break layups. If there’s any cure for a scorer’s slump, it’s easy baskets. I entered the fourth quarter with 12, and finished with 20 points to go with five rebounds, three assists and a block on 50% shooting.

As far as next round goes, the Bulls have come back on Atlanta and now hold a 3-2 series lead. Now I don’t know who we’ll be facing next. I’ll be sure to check back in when I find out.

- Rick Daniel

Categories