With Nakhon Pathom Mad Goats up 1-0 games in the TBL Finals, it would seem like they would have the upper hand. All they had to do was score more than their opponents in the next 40 minutes of regulation and it would over. Glory would be theirs.
Yet, at the end of Game 1, things seemed to actually look worse for the Mad Goats going into the series. They had put one foot on the winner’s stand, but lost an “Arm” in the process when Nattakarn Meungboon left the court in the 4th quarter for a wrist injury. They had also been limping on one leg with Ratdech Kruatiwa injured with a quadricep strain.
They might have been up by one game, but it was going to be an uphill hike from here.
17/08/14 CHONBURI HI-TECH 67 – NAKHON PATHOM MAD GOATS 52
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The spotlight shined on Suchon Maitampitak early in the game. Suddenly pushed into the starting line-up after not evening suiting up in Game 1, the quick point guard was suddenly leading the highest scoring offense in the TBL on the biggest stage possible. Even though he is a pretty seasoned player in his own rights, this was still a lot to swallow.
Early in the game, Suchon looked a bit shaky. Kannawat Lertlaokul could smell his nervousness and put a little more pressure on his defense, causing Suchon to fumble the ball on their first play.
However, Suchon recovered quite well and came up with two very nice possessions. One making a very nice drive and dish to Chaiwat Kedum and another using the Pick and Roll to go inside for the easy layup.
He would turn the ball over for a total of 6 times in the game, including an 8 second backcourt violation. Just goes to show you the pressure of the TBL Finals stage that was suddenly placed on the point guards shoulders. Suchon would end up with two points, 4 assists, two rebounds, and two steals which is not that bad of a stat line. However, the headline of this game was “How will the Mad Goats cope without lead guard Nattkarm Meungboon?” and it would be easy to point out Suchon as the scape”goat” for the Mad Goat’s eventual loss.
However, looking at the box score, the numbers say otherwise.
Chonburi Hi-Tech had a whopping 26(!) rebound advantage over the Mad Goats. Chonburi Hi-Tech had 22 offensive rebounds compared to the Mad Goats 16 defensive rebounds. That counts for a 58% offensive rebounding rate. It will be hard to win when you give you opponent that many second chances.
The Mad Goats efforts on offensive rebounding didn’t actually help much either. When you are shooting 28% from the field (16-58), you will need to grab as much offensive boards as you can. The Mad Goats managed 3 offensive rebounds.
Chonburi Hi-Tech also got to the line much better than in the Game 1. A number widely used to roughly estimate the skill to get to the free throw line is Free throw attempts per Field goal attempts. It’s pretty easy math; if you get to the free throw line more, you shoot less field goals and vice versa.
The Houston Rockets are known for their offensive scheme of scoring off free throws and three points, emphasize on their players getting to the free throw line and they have two of the best in the League in James Harden and Dwight Howard. The Rockets had an FTA/FGA rate of 38.1%.
Using 38.1% as a benchmark, let’s look at Game 1:
The Mad Goats had an ungodly 62.7% rate, which solidifies the fact raised in the Game 1 article, that Darongpun’s physicality was a part of what won that game. Hi-Tech had a pedestrian 34.4% rate in that game.
Moving on to Game 2:
The Mad Goats still did pretty well getting to the line at 43.1% percent rate, but Hi-Tech had a sky high 55.3% rate at getting to the line with 22 more free throw attempts than the Mad Goats did in the first game.
The rebounding and free throw shooting stats suggests that it was the physicality or lack thereof that cost the Mad Goats the chance to snatch the title this weekend.
I have been quite harsh on Ratdech “J.O.” Kruatiwa and his three point shooting in my writing space. Of course, his accuracy hasn’t helped his case much going for 2 of 10 (20%) in Game 1 and now 3 of 14 (21.4%) in Game 2.
But maybe it’s unfair to say that about J.O. When you watch the Mad Goats game, he is their only legitimate threat from the three point line. Sure, he might be taking 10 or more three point shots a game, but maybe it’s because that’s his role on this team as their main sharpshooter form long range since Watcharapong Tongsri has been getting less playing time.
Add that up with the fact that J.O. has been dealing with injury after injury, with the most recent being a torn hamstring and you have much more respect for what the man has been capable of doing on the court.
Get well soon, JO.
Talking about shooters, Michael Fey dropped a complete dud in this game with 5 points of 2-9 shooting and even trying a couple of threes.
It probably wasn’t the best day for him, being pestered with 4 fouls, so maybe that go to his head and got him off track.
Hi-Tech’s Derek Fisher
We all know who Derek Fisher is. He’s the guy who you saw side by side running the point with Kobe and Shaq during the three-peat run. He’s the guy who hit that 0.4 second buzzer beater to drop the Spurs in the ’03-’04 Western Conference Semi-Finals. He’s the guy who you saw playing 81 games for the Oklahoma City Thunder Last Season mentoring all their young guys. He’s the guy who wore the number 37 for his age when he signed with the Thunder.
He’s the guy who you see on the court and be like “Damn! He’s still playing?”.
Watching Piyapong Piroon, and you kind of get a “Derek Fisher” vibe from him. Piyapong “Boy” Piroon has been around the Thailand Basketball scene for quite a long time, long enough to say that fellow teammate Sukhdave Ghogar says he grew up idolizing the versatile wing player. Piyapong enjoys winding up for wide open standing three’s and play hardnose face to face defense like Fisher.
But the one thing that makes me feel like this is a match made in heaven is when you look at these two players, you will think:
“These two will make great coaches one day.”
Fisher can be seen mentoring teammates on the court, expressing leadership with a mature posture that stands out from everyone else and you can see that kind of stuff when Piroon takes the court or even when he is off the court as well.
Fisher signed a deal this offseason to become the Head Coach of the New York Knicks. One day, we might see Piyapong Piroon do the same.
With the stakes getting higher and the pressure building on, things were getting testy on the court.
I understand that the flow of the game has been getting more and more aggresive, and Piyapong Piroon and Ratdetch Kruatiwa have had a past incident of a similar type, but the referees have got to be on top of their game to keep the situation under control.
A professional sport that is in it’s infancy stages of development in Thailand such as basketball cannot stand to have a brawling incident occur on the biggest stage of competition.
Can you turn it down a bit?
I love the enthusiasm and dedication of the Thailand fans, but there’s one thing I’d like to raise up which is the vuvuzela.
It is an instrument that is capable of generating a lot of noise and is a great disturbance to the opposing players, but I feel like it is corrupting the art of basketball fandom. Vuvuzelas are effective in a football stadium as football stadiums are wide and spacey giving more space for the sound to spread upon. Even then, vuvzelas were banned from various sporting events because of the loud pressure noise it creates and it’s disruptive affects.
The 2010 FIBA World Championships banned the use of vuvuzelas and FIBA further out spread that ban throughout most FIBA sponsered tournaments.
If us Thai basketball fans look to take Thai Basketball to the next level, we should do what we can do, and take our cheering to the next level possibly by replacing the vuvuzela with organized chanting routines or team marches. The fan power and dedication that we have is certainly enough to accomplish that, I’m sure.
Pillsbury goes all the way
Kannawat “Pillsbury” had an okay game despite coughing the ball up 5 times, scoring 10 points and getting 4 steals. The highlight was this beautiful drive to go through almost all 5 Mad Goats for the layup.
This has been your mandatory Pillsbury Dough boy update.
THROW IT DOWN!!
Chonburi Hi-Tech seem to be running a normal set play when suddenly Wuttipong “Reuben” Dasom made a cut into the paint and got the lovely feed from Chris Charles for a huge slam.
Danai Kongkum got on the worse end of this play and added on to an already bad night for himself.
Now with the series tied at 1 a piece we were suddenly back at square one. Both teams would have a weeks time to prepare themselves, physically and strategically before the final showdown.
40 minutes of regulation left in the TBL series, once the final buzzer sounds next time, we’ll know who is the Best of the Thailand Basketball.
Stay tuned for the final episode of this epic trilogy…
For the coverage of Game 1, click here.