Thursday, April 26, 2007

Live Blog: Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers - Round 1, Game 3

Also known as "Kobe vs. Inevitability."

This game is over already. 11-0 Suns, 4 different players have scored, they've hit a three, Stoudamire has a transition alley-oop dunk and Kobe has yet to register an FGA. Quick 20 second time out from Phil. Hey, that's better than last game, Phillip.

Kwame Brown is a joke. He demands more post touches, so far he's 0-2 with two attempts that he might as well have been earing a skirt for and a turnover. Go throw some cake, Kwame.

And Kobe is on the board! He hits a sweet fall away J from the foul line. Now do that 47 more times.

Oh yes.
Yes. Kobe hits a tough runner/pull up over Bell again. 11-4, PHX.

Kwame gets to the foul line on a bail out call, but his attempt at a three point play was, um...unskilled. I don't know why I despise him so much; I think it is because he reminds me of a big kid I played with in college who was just a complete was of talent and a total prick to top it off. He was the kind of kid who would throw a cake at some dude, too.

Bell finds Nash to finish of a 4-1 fast break. 15-6. I'n not even typing PHX anymore. When you see a score, just assume PHX is the higher number.

Hey I just noticed Kurt Thomas in the starting line up. This is different, right?

Kwame blows another chance at a three point play. What a skirt.

Kurt Thomas is on fire. 2-3. Never mind that his one miss nearly cracked the backboard. The other two were as pure as a shot can be from someone who is channelling Bill Cartwright's jumper. 19-7 as we head into commercial.

You know, Kobe is letting me down. I hope this isn't Prove a Point Kobe. I like I Am Going to Score Every Time I Touch It Kobe. He's much better. Does anyone - Kobe, fans, Phil - think that Kwame flailing to the basket or Lamar missing nine striaght point blank layups is better offense that a triple teamed Kobe shooting a fadeaway from the corner? I'll take Kobe shooting left handed over anyone else wearing purple and gold.

Wow. Craig Sager has footage of a police chase that delayed Odom getting to the stadium. The cop car spun out some half naked jackass in a car that looked like it belonged in a "Life Comes at You Quickly Commercial." Speaking of Odom, he cuts it to 10 - and Farmer with a steal in the back court!

That's is actually bad...the Lakers fail to capitalize and Nash is no going to destroy Farmar for the next two minutes.

Ooooh. Farmer tried posting up Nash and Nash just jacked him in the back when he tried to shoot. I'm telling you: Nash will be at the rim on the Suns next possession. He does not enjoy Farmar at all. Wow, Nash with a turnover. This is just weird.

Holy Hell. Kobe with a ludacris baseline, reverse, hang forever lay up. Unreal. He released the ball on his way down, when he was no more than two inches from hitting the ground. Just do that every time! Of course, Barbosa answers with a three and Odom misses another shot from point blank. He is the anti-finisher; it is like he is allergic to paint.

27-14 after Marion hits the first pull up jump shot of his life. Another non-Kobe shot for the Lakers. Barbosa with another 3. Sweet Jeebus, LA. Two more non-Kobe shots. If you play for the Lakers, you have to have a pretty large pair of cajones shooting the ball. How do you look Kobe in the eye after shooting? Just give him the damn ball!

Shammond Williams checks in. A few things here: Shammond Williams! Alright, the more UNC alums in this game, the better. (Kobe drills a 3 from the corner!) Second, he has taken the roster spot of a "very healthy Radmonic," according to Doug Collins. (Bynum pulls a Kwame and blows a chance to finish when fouled. Good God, the Laker bigs are soft. I see a Charmin endorsement in their future.) So Vlad Rad can play, and he's a healthy scratch? Man, Phil must really hate him. No books for Vlad this summer.

End of 1. PHX has a lot, LA doesn't. Back after the break.

Shammond Williams is still in. Smush Parker seems to care on the sideline (that was sarcastic). 31-19.

Doug Collins says Diaw should take Brian Cook off the dribble after Diaw turns it over. I agree: Kurt Thomas beat Brian Cook off the dribble two plays ago for God's sake.

Odom misses another lay-up. Hey, he is relentless, I'll give him that. There is a fine line between being relentless and being stupid, though.

Kobe has been on the bench for a while...what happened to 48 minutes of Kobe!?!? I was promised 48 minutes of Kobe. I want my money back.

Odom knocks down a J. Makes perfect sense. Lake Show is making a little run with Kobe on the bench, they have it within 9, 35-26.

Advice from Dyan Cannon: "I think they should hope and pray." Amazingly, that is the best advice I can possibly think of. Praying should be prominently involved in all Laker game plans. Write that down, Phil - you aren't really doing anything else.

No, whistling doesn't count.

Kobe or Nash haven't been in the game for, like, a really long time. Seriously, I want my money back. I didn't tune in for Boris Diaw vs. Brain Cook, as exciting as that has been.

Craig Sager with the obligatory Triangle Offense and how does Kobe fit into it argument. I can not begin to tell you how sick of all this shit I am. Just give Kobe the ball, everyone else get out of the way, and see if he can win the game by himself. There's your offense.

Tex Winter looks like he should be slugging gulps striaght from a bottle of Jack Daniels, by the way.

Nash and Kobe are in!

Aaaaand Kobe just crossed Shawn Marion over, made him fall, and then hammered it. Hey, um, Shawn? Don't bring that up the next time you feel unappreciated. That was disgusting.

Challenge: come up with a worse playoff back court than Shammond Williams and Smush Parker. How can you play these guys at the same time?

Oh, Kobe with another gorgeous drive and finish. 13 points on 6/8 shooting. As well as he's playing, that needs to be doubled right now. 38-33.

Nash passes to Amare who hits a wide open J. It seems like Nash just throws it to wide open people all the time. Who was guarding him? Nash didn't even make an attempt to penetrate, he just threw it to him and he was open. I don't get it.

Much like this live blog, PHX seems out of sync and disjointed. Timeout for everyone as we try to regroup and get our shit together.

Bryant drives and fins Odom, who, unsurprisingly misses a lay up.

Shammond Williams forces a turnover from Meep Meep and finds Kobe for a three-point play in transition. Man, can Kobe finish. No wonder Lamar hates him.

Odom scores in the paint! Lakers within 4! I don't know which is more shocking.

Oh, wow. Kobe drives again, takes the contact, but Nash took a charge. I hope that doesn't deter doesn't! He hits a pull up in transition. Lakers with in 2. Kobe in transition again...! Damn, he passed. He was doing the MJ through the legs vs. Larry Bird thing, he got me all excited. And of course Smush screws everything up. I am incredibly frustrated, and I don't even like the Lakers. I don't know how Kobe put up with this shit for 82+ games.

2 minutes left, Lakers with in 5, 47-42. I have this theory that the best teams close out periods better than crappy teams. Let's see who finishes this half the best.

Odom with a put back. That's two lay ups in a row for Lamar. Gulp.

Amare answers with a pull up. His J is a lot more wet than I thought it was.

Kwame misses two, arguably three shots on one possession. What a flippin' skirt. Kurt Thomas knocks down a J to push the lead out to 6. LA should have the last shot of the half here.

Odom swishes a three off a Kobe drive. Very nice. So, under my theory, LA should win this game. We shall see. Frankly, I am thrilled this is so close.

Craig Sager is asking Amare how the Lakers were able to come back. Allow me: because Kobe went off. Got that, Sags? Write it down.

Lakers within 3 at the half. Back after the break.

Can we make Cassell a permanent part of Inside the NBA? He is terrific: "Kobe isn't Michael Jordan, but he ain't Harold Miner, either." Preach, Sam I Am, preach!

Nash hasn't played particularly well since that opening 11-0 run...if he doesn't get things going, the Lakers can win this game.Actually, no one has played really well for the Suns, and Doug Collins has done an excellent job articulating why, in my opinion. I am enjoying Doug Collins during this broadcast. Maybe it is because he isn't screaming at me.

I always wonders what happens after his parter Kevin Harlan just loses his mind and screams some nonsensical phrase like "Flight 31 is cleared for take off!" What does Collins do in the next five seconds? Just act like he didn't hear him? Roll his eyes? Involuntarily piss himself? I wish they would show this.

Luke Walton ties it at 53 with a trey. Shit, I didn't even know he was playing tonight.

James Jones unties it. No one else things he looks like a grown up version of that kid who used to say "Wut you talkin' 'bout, Willis?" Anyone?

This is one of the most awkward games of the playoffs. Nash hasn't asserted himself at all.

LA fans are cheering "MVP! MVP!" Nash should hold up two fingers right now. Or at least kiss his biceps again.

(How on God's green earth did Craig Sager win an Emmy? Are we sure it wasn't made of chocolate?)

You know what Steve Nash has brought into style? Leaving your feet to make a pass. He just drives, jumps, and then hangs as long as he can to find someone, usually with a crazy-angle bounce pass. Grade school coaches every where must cringe.

Nash just did that thing where he drives and you think he is going to take one more dribble before going into his lay up motion but just keeps going and ends up shooting a lay up with one hand while not jumping. Doug Collins: "Degree of difficulty? About a 10." I agree. He must have bigger hands than Kwame Brown.

McDonald's slogan is "I'm Loving It." I remember when they changed it, thinking how stupid it was to change a slogan everyone knew. And know I can't remember what their old slogan was. Anyone remember? Anyone? Bueller?

Kobe just scored on all five of the Suns. That's not a joke nor an exaggeration. All five had a chance to stop him, all five failed. Tell me why this is a bad strategy again? His three point play has LA up by 2, 61-59.

Farmar strips Nash's J attempt to force a shot clock violation. Farmar is playing surprisingly well against the two time MVP. Of course, LA blows it when Kwame misses a lazy fade away from two feet away. PHX scores at the other end while Kwame "writhes in pain at the other end." Must have gotten a little sand in the ol' box. Just rinse it out, Kwame, you'll be OK.

Kwame hammers one, guess he's OK. I love when guys lay there like they are dead, and then are fine two minutes later. This is like soccer guys flopping. Drives me nuts.

Lakers up two after Kwame's second dunk in a row. Barbosa misses another three. The Suns are really blowing right now.

I could watch Kobe drive all day. He is the prettiest finisher in the NBA. It is especially jarring after watching Lamar and Kwame gracelessly fire brick after brick from a foot away. What a finish he just had: drives baseline with his right hand, gets cut off, spins back middle and scoops it under the D with his right hand. Beautiful.

Alright, let's address this: Kwame has scored on like the last 5 possessions. But they have all been dunks. Wide open dunks because the D is obsessed with Kobe. Anyone could do what he is doing right now. He is taking advantage of Kobe getting him wide open and Amare being in foul trouble. Basically, he just isn't fucking up. Any time a defender has been within a foot of him or made any type of effort to stop him, he has failed with flying colors. When you read that Kwame had his best playoff game ever tomorrow, take it with a grain of salt. In fact, take it with a pound of salt.

Lakers are up 6. I'd like to say they are playing a hell of a game, but it really isn't the case. This is all about Phoenix. There is just no rhythm, no semblance of an offense. I'm with my man Doug Collins: after they got off to that huge start, they coasted. Now, they can't get it back. Nash should get it going in the fourth, though - he always plays his best as the end of the game. Of course, if it stays close, LA has the best closer in the L. This is shaping up to be a terrific finish.

Bean's shot rims out to end the third quarter, but Barbosa travels with .1 left on the clock. The Lakers try to inbound, but the score keeper screws up the horn. Doug Collins, without missing a beat: "That was the score keeper from Munich! I was wondering where he went." Have I said I'm enjoying Doug Collins tonight?

Lakers up 74-70 after the third. Ending should be a good one.

And the first comment ever during a Point 23 live blog. Everyone, remember where you were. I know I always will.

Iverson4MVP said...

Kobe is sweet in the lane I'll give you that. But after watching T-Mac slice through Jazz the other night, I am going to have to say he is the most graceful, prettiest finisher in the NBA... then again T-Mac is always settling for fade away 3's and rarely driving so...

It is definitely a two-man contest between T Mac and Kobe for prettiest finisher. T Mac had some gorgeous finishes against the Jazz, no doubt. I think after watching all the Kobettes around the rim, it is just so jarring seeing Kobe doing the things he does around the rim. What makes T Mac so pretty is that he looks like he isn't even trying; it is so effortless. Great debate, though.

Uh oh. Barbosa has a quick 5 points - but so does No. 24. Damn, he just missed a heat check 3. By the way, I have no idea who I am cheering for. Every time the Suns score, I approve. Anytime Kobe scores, I approve. I guess I am just cheering against any Laker not named Bean.

Oh boy. Kobe is in Shoot Every Time Mode. Finally. He is dribbling all over the place, spinning, getting late calls. This is what I want to see! Lakers up 5, 10 minutes to go.
Kobe has 37 with just under 9 left. 50 is not unreasonable. Lakers up 5. Do any of those idiots that were demanding Kobe not shoot the ball want to pipe up now?Any of you? K, just checking.

Barbosa is starting to get aggressive. He's not screwin' around. My question: where the hell is Steve Nash? Where are those pin point pick and roll passes? I can't believe the Smush/Shammond duo is doing tis kind of of job on Nash. Speaking of Nash, he just threw a jump pass right to Kobe, who had another pretty finish in transition.

Kobe is going to break the NBA record for Times Dribbled Through Legs.

It took me a while, but the reason Nash isn't getting those pick and roll passes is because they are switching the ball screens. Well, then, why is he settling for long jumpers instead of beating the big stiff off the dribble and then finding guys when the help comes? I think he should do that. Lakers still with a slim lead.

Iverson4MVP said...

So the Brasilian Blurr is just killing it this series. Completely just kills the Lakers whenever he is in there. So I am wondering, how many teams does he start for in the NBA?

Before the game, Sam Cassell was saying he isn't a starter, but that is just because he always needs the ball in his hands. Which is a fair point. But I think that only means he couldn't start with the Suns, because Nash will dominate the ball. I wonder when his contract is up, because if the Suns don't lock him up before that, he will definitely get starter money from a handful of teams.
I am curious to see him run the Suns offense once Nash retires. He is faster than Nash, sure, so the tempo won't change, but his vision and passing isn't even close. Wonder if his insane speed can make up for his passing ability?

Kobe gets to the rim again. My God, fellas, whoever is guarding Smush can double team him, you know that? I mean, he'll probably still score, but at least make him work for it. Smush is useless.

This is really shaping up. First buzzer beater of the Second Season? I think so.

Shammond Williams inexplicably jacks a contested college three. Luckily the Suns are playing horrendously and they can't capitalize.

Ooooh, Barbosa with a heck of a 3 from the corner to tie it. Odom answers with a score in the paint. He sure is getting better at that, isn't he?

I'm not entirely sure Shammond knows why he is out there. That isn't Dean Smith on the sidelines, my man. Play good defense and pass the ball to Kobe. No more wild shots. Actually, no more shots, period.

I think the Laker fans need to come up with some more lame chants. They sound like a pathetic high school student cheering section.

Kobe. So pretty. He's art, really. That's what he is. A gorgeous J to push it to 5, then Kobe gets fouled and makes both to push it to 7. 20 ticks left. Gonna need a miracle, PHX.

Here is the immatury and idiocy of Smush Parker on full display for the world to see. Phoenix jacks up a bad shot, misses, Lamar guns it to the other end and Smush just happens to run under it. There is two seconds left; all he has to do is dribble once or twice and the game is over. Instead, he tried to go in for a hard dunk, Raja Bell hits him with a hard foul, and D'Antoni is pissed.

So now, instead of PHX just thinking they played bad and have to bounce back, they now have the image of Smush Parker being a classless jackass right in front of their bench, trying to rub it in. I would have cut him yesterday.

So LA gets a game and makes it a series, 2-1. Coming in, I wanted to see Kobe take on the Suns. Kobe pretty much lived up to my expectations, but the Suns played one of their worst games of the season. If they play even a little better in Game 4, PHX can wrap it up on their home court. If not, this series might go a little longer than everyone expected.

And props to Iverson4MVP. You are the MVP.

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Do the Mock Drafters Have Any Idea What They Are Talking About?

Well, we are about to find out.

Kiper and McShay, obviously, are all over ESPN, so I gather that they are the two preeminent mock drafters there is. Peter King is probably the most read football writer on the planet, and he is always yapping about how good Rick Gosselin is (and I read about his mock-awesomeness in a
Slate article - why hasn't anyone scooped him up yet?). That mock drafter on the end is a moron; just ignore whatever he says.

These guys are the voice of reason heading into the draft, but no one ever holds them accountable after the fact. It is high time for someone to do just that, and who better than an obscure sports blog? Exactly.

We'll grade this a few ways:

1. How many picks do you get right? Now, it's hard to account for trades, so here's what we are going to do. It took me forever to put all those little helmets in this table, so if you match the player to the helmet, you get a point.

Mel says the Raiders are nabbing JaMarcus Russell with the first pick. If someone jumps up to No. 1 and grabs Russell, Mel gets no points, even though he did say JaMarcus was going No. 1. Player has to match the helmet. (If you had to click the same five buttons in a row 32 straight times; you'd agree with me.)

2. Number of picks in the first round. This kind of protects against trades and what not and tries to gauge whether these guys know who the top 32 picks are.

And there we have it. I'll fill in the most up-to-date mock draft I can find from each mock drafter before the draft starts. I may or may not update it in real time, but we'll see after the draft who did the best.

Full disclosure: I highly suspect Mel is full of shit, I have no idea what to expect from new kid on the block McShay, I don't even know if Peter King does a mock draft, but if it is as useful as his fantasy predictions, I can't wait (!) and I bet Gosselin gets 30 out of 32.

If I didn't include your favorite mock drafter, let me know, link me to his latest mock draft, and I'll add him to the list.

Who do you think will do the best? Will anyone even come close to doing well?

Kiper, Jr.

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The Most Meaningless Conspiracy of All Time

Oh, this is not going to go away quickly.

George Eads of the Boston Globe reports this morning about some comments that Gary Thorne made during last night's Boston/Baltimore game. Thorne casually mentions that he was told by BoSox catcher Doug Mirabelli - over two years ago - that Curt Schilling's famous bloody sock wasn't bloody at all. It was paint.

That's...I'm I don't know what to say. Hmm.

Someone is coming out of this with a marred reputation, I think. I don't see how this ends with all parties not looking like jackasses. Man, this is going to be so much fun. So, so much fun.

The immediate reaction is that Mirabelli was just messing around with Thorne and Thorne just misunderstood him, until you get Mirabelli's reaction to hearing what Thorne said.

"What? Are you kidding me? He's [expletive] lying. A straight lie. I never said that. I know it was blood. Everybody knows it was blood."
So Mirabelli is flat out denying saying it. That means either he or Thorne is lying. There is just no other way to describe it. This is awesome.
"I honestly don't know who Gary Thorne is, that's a straight lie."
Wow, Mirabelli. You don't even know the guy? Seriously, who's making shit up here? I cannot wait until we find out who is lying here. This is going to be even better than I originally thought.

There's an obvious way to figure this out, which is just to test the sock for blood. The sock is at the freakin'
Hall of Fame, so we should be able to get our hands on it. Get Gil Grissom on the phone; he'll have this whole matter cleared up before the first commercial break.

But any kind of testing will probably never happen, which almost makes this better. Say this whole thing was faked, and the Red Sox decided to paint Curt Schilling's sock - for PR, as Gary Thorne puts it. Where would that rank in the grand scheme of all-time scandals in the sports world?

It is just so bizarre; it is in a category all of its own. It didn't affect the outcome of a game, a series, a season. This isn't Bonds taking 'roids and gaining an advantage over everyone else (well, advantage over a few guys). This is purely aesthetics. It has nothing to do with anything, really, except maybe the lure of the moment.

Even if it does come out the it was paint or ketchup or whatever, it doesn't really change anything. MLB can't punish someone for wearing paint on their sock. The outcome of the game won't be held in disrepute. It will just make Curt Schilling look like the most crazed, insane, over-the-top ego maniac to ever lace 'em up. He was in the Top 10 already; this would lock up the No. 1 spot in a heart beat.

I can't think of anything to compare this to, but I can't even make up anything to compare it to. I am trying to think of a sporting moment that basically everyone in the nation with even a passing interest in sports was paying attention to but could somehow be tainted in a manner that in no way, shape or form affects the outcome.

How could you taint George Mason's run to the Final Four? Or Lance Armstrong's seventh Tour de France win? Or Federer's recent dominance? How could those be tainted, but without cheating? It is so bizarre. Just so, so bizarre.

And not to be overlooked is just how casually Thorne throws it out there:

"The great story we were talking about the other night was that famous red stocking that he wore when they finally won, the blood on his stocking. Nah. It was painted. Doug Mirabelli confessed up to it after. It was all for PR. Two-ball, two-strike count."

Does he not realize the inflammatory statement he just made? He just tainted the greatest moment in Red Sox history, and he drops it like he's talking about an anecdote from yesterday's double header. Unreal.

"Hey Red Sox nation: remember the greatest moment of your sporting life? It was all tainted.
Two-ball, two-strike count."

"On the way to the ballpark, I saw a box of puppies on the side of the road. I just ran them all over. Had to have been ten, eleven puppies. Ran them over and then back over them for good measure.
One away here in the fourth."

"Oh, I've slept with her countless times. She is all business. Real cougar, that one."
"Who's that, partner?"
"Your wife.
Full count here, runners on the corners."

"So I just chopped the body up in a meat processor, just like I saw on the Sopranos. Harder than they make it look, ya know?
Single up the middle for Crisp."

I can't wait to hear Gary Thorne defend this. I have a sneaking suspiscion this is only going to get better and better.

Read the Rest After the Jump...

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.

Read the Rest After the Jump...