Thursday, April 26, 2007

Second Season, Day 5

I'll be honest with you: I wasn't paying the closest attention to the playoffs tonight. The game I really wanted to see was relegated to NBATV and as a result I forgot to turn on the Nugs game right away. Then I made the decision to watch LOST instead of the first half of Dallas/Golden St. And hey, that's a decision I can live with. So the Day 5 recap will be a little light with the hard hitting analysis you have come to expect. Frankly, I'm stunned I am doing this two days in a row, so at least it's something.

A quick programming note: I'd like to live blog each team at least once before they get bounced from the Second Season. That depends heavily on NBATV and my will power, both wildly inconsistent entities. As best I can tell, Thursday's games are Pistons/Magic, Rockets/Jazz and Suns/Lakers. Rockets/Jazz gets bounced to no man's land, so tomorrow's choices are Pistons/Magic or Suns/Lakers.

Tell ya what: we'll leave it up to a vote. Odds are, this vote ends 1-0, but still. So whatever game you want live-blogged tomorrow, vote right below, and that's the game you get. Just remember: if you screw me and vote for the Pistons, you're gonna have to read about it. Its kinda like cheating on a test: in the long run, you are only cheating yourself.

Onto the Day 5 recap...

Cavs go up 2-0 on the Wizards. Good, Cavs, good. You still get the feeling that Cleveland really doesn't care yet, though. They had a 15 point lead at one point, but the Wizards were still in it with under a minute to go. I guess they are taking care of business, but it's isn't very convincing, is it? If The Light Switches (they genuinely believe they can turn it on whenever they so choose, I think) win the next two games and wrap things up in Washington, no matter how close, I'll feel a little better - a little - but a blow out would ease my mind a little bit.

LeBron has played solidly in the first two games, but hasn't dominated. On the bright side, Larry Hughes owned Game 1 and Drew Gooden and Drew Gooden's Hair Patch on the Back of His Head owned Game 2. If Z drops 30 in Game 3 I can live with this trend; if not, LeBron needs to dominate a game.

Nuggets late game rally falls just short; series heads to Denver tied 1-1. Man, Denver almost had it. Maybe if they would have made one of the 13 lay ups the blew in the first half, it would have been a different
game, but who knows. I don't think Denver could ask for much more than a win and a nail-biter in San Antonio. Their confidence should be brimming heading back to Denver.

If I was Denver, the match up I would be the most scared of is Steve Blake guarding Tony Parker. Parker lived in the paint last night; there was nothing Blake could do to stop him. I don't know how they remedy that short of switching defenders because no strategy is going to stop it - Blake just can't keep Mr. Longoria out of the paint. Hopefully Tony forgets he can do this or has a crappy night shooting.

How much of a beast is Nene? Two to three times a game he dunks balls that I am stunned he dunks - and he just hammers them through the rim. Dudes are just ducking to get out of the way. Iverson found him a couple of times and I was expecting a little floater - "he's just a tad too far away to dunk this" - and then he nearly pops the ball as he positively destroys the rim.

Along those same lines, Old Man Bob Horry has dunk-tipped two or three balls with surprising power and grace. I didn't even know he ventured inside the three point line anymore. Impressive.

If they can get two - and that's a tall order, but not completely unrealistic - then this series is over. A split pretty much wraps it up for San Antonio. This will end up being the best series of the first round because...

Dallas has figured out Golden St. Well, that was fun while it lasted, but this series is over. Oakland should be sufficiently fired up for its first playoff game in 47 years, but Dallas is just too good. Seems to me like two things happened:

1) Avery decided that the strategy that won him the most games in the league would probably work against the No. 8 seed in the playoffs.

2) Dallas took it personal. They looked particularly fired up, especially Jason Terry. Dirk is their best player, but I would guess that JET is their emotional leader. He'll sleep in a Golden St. uni all week and have them ready to take care of business in the next three games.

You know what this means, though? At least three more games of Don Nelson's "we don't have a chance in hell of winning" comments where everyone knows he's lying and it is actually starting to become disrespectful to the Mavs. If I played for the Mavs, that would piss me off more than anything, because the implication is, Yea, I'm saying we can't win, but everyone here knows I'm lying. I'm secretly outsmarting the best team in the NBA. Just watch the shit I'm gonna come up with next...

Hopefully we only have to hear that bullshit for three more games.

You know what was shocking, though? Stephen Jackson got tossed. Frankly, I was stunned. Didn't see it coming. And when he wouldn't leave the court? Totally out of character.

How 'bout Reggie Miller defending him? Deep down, Stephen Jackson is a good guy...he is just a little tempermental, like I was. Really, Reggie? I don't recall you charging into the stands during a game, or firing off five "warning shots" (I was more excited that "warning shots" was introduced into my vocabulary than "making it rain." I love that term.) outside a club, or your team taking on two terrible, terrible contracts just to get rid of you. You are the face of the problem player for the NBA?

I'm sure Reggie has talked with him and knows him a little bit, but I think he may be getting hoodwinked. He has it backwards, I think: on the surface, Stephen is a good guy; deep down, he's certifiably insane. That track record speaks for itself.

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