Sunday, April 29, 2007

Saturday Night Wrap-Up

Pretty rough day of playoff action. The Pistons and Cavs series are hard to get through, thanks to the inferior opponents and the Jazz-Rockets game wound up being a blowout. Only Spurs-Nuggets was close, but it wasn't pretty.

A handful of comments:

Pistons Sweep

Congrats to Detroit for being the first team in the second round. I've now fulfilled my obligation to talk about that game.

Cavs go to 3-0

I noticed two important things in this game:

1. Big Z is finally playing decent basketball, which will really help Cleveland in the next round.

2. Larry Hughes still thinks he's awesome, which will absolutely not help the Cavs. I need to make a Stephen Jackson All-Star team of all the guys who think they are WAY better than they are. This is just about the worst possible thing for an NBA team, because they make a whole bunch of plays beyond their abilities, which prevents a more suited player from performing the same task. A.J. Abrams of Texas was the college ringleader of this team, possessing a false confidence in his own abilities that resulted in fewer plays run for Durant. Hughes and Jackson are the worst culprits in the NBA right now, although I'm sure I could think of a few more guys.

Nuggets Lose Home Court

Raise your hand if you didn't see this coming. Denver shanked too many free throws and got killed in the three-point game as San Antonio seized home court advantage back from the Nuggets. My gut tells me this will be over in 5, but perhaps the addition of Iverson (even a dinged-up version) will give this team an extra dose of courage that it didn't have in 2005. One thing is for sure, Steve Blake and Eduardo Najera are killing them. Karl needs to play Reggie Evans instead of Najera, because while Evans is a terrible defensive player, he can't do any worse than Najera, and at least he will help control the boards. And I think the Nuggets need to go with J.R. Smith in the backcourt. Again, he's a horrible defensive player, but trying to win with D isn't working for Denver. They need to score as many points as possible and Smith's athleticism, range, and willingness to attack are all pluses. Blake's ability to dribble around? Not so much.

On the Spurs side, game MVP honors go to Michael Finley with five big threes. Although I finally figured out why the Mavericks fans were booing him so lustily last year. At the time, I thought it was pretty messed up to blame him for being cut by Dallas, but tonight it dawned on me. It wasn't that he signed with another team ... it was that he signed with the Spurs. He was Johnny Damon before Johnny Damon. If you can pick any team in the league to play for, while your old team is paying you max dollars, how on earth do you go play for a hated rival? It all makes sense now. That is just weak.

(Also, nice of Marcus Camby to celebrate his DPOY award with a complete no-show. That was some of the worst screen and roll defense I've ever seen. Not to mention his series of horrific shots to start the game.)

Rockets Can't Shoot

If poor T-Mac is ever going to get this monkey off his back, he's going to need his merry band of brick layers to start making some shots. And he needs to make some shots as well. And Yao needs to stop being dominated by Memo Freaking Okur in the low post. And ... well, you get the idea. Houston is in rough shape.

Although in fairness to the Rockets, this game got away from them in a freaky first half that saw Utah score on some downright circus plays. People too often say that teams get "lucky," but in this case it was true. The Jazz were shooting airballs that landed right in offensive rebounders' laps, throwing bad passes that would get deflected and then carom right to waiting hands for layups, and so on. Some really, really rough breaks. Should be interesting to see if the Rockets can shake out of this terrible slump when the series goes back to Houston. Honestly, this is the worst I've seen them play all year. Great timing.

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