Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sunday Wrap-Up

Finally got a chance to race through the last 1.5 games on TiVo. Here are 10 thoughts and then I'm off to watch the latest Real World/Road Rules Challenge:

1. Everyone was railing on LeBron for going 8-for-21, but the shooting percentage ignores that he had to take about six bailout shots at the end of the shot clock. Considering he was sick and the Cleveland crowd was comatose for the first 36 minutes (they need tips from the good people of Oakland), I thought he played great. Hit the glass, would have had 15 assists if he didn't play for the Cavs, and made all the plays down the stretch (including a dominant defensive possession to close out the game).

2. Nice to see Drew Gooden step up and have a good game. Oh wait, he almost always does when Mike Brown plays him for more then 28 minutes. Seriously, check the game logs.

3. Call me crazy, but the most intriguing thing about this series is the showdown between slow-developing Euro small forwards Nachbar and Pavlovic. Advantage today went to Sacha (remember back when he was "Alexander" during the 2003 Draft?) as he took the ball to the rim, made big threes, and had a huge Tayshaun-esque block late (after Larry Hughes tried to throw the game away with his 19th bad pass of the contest). Nachbar was pretty solid as well, but score it 1-0 Pavlovic.

4. Okay, I'm done talking about Cavs-Nets. First comment from the Spurs-Suns game is that it was nice to see Shawn Marion score 11 fourth-quarter points. It was not nice to see him scared to shoot for the last four minutes.

5. I'm starting to suspect that Pop isn't the most gracious guy. After a first half in which the Suns completely outplayed San Antonio at "both ends of the court" (Mark Jackson's favorite expression - he used it four times in one sentence today), Pop attributed his team's one-point deficit to the fact that the Spurs did a "terrible job" defending the three-point line. This, despite the fact that Phoenix had just four threes. Nice.

6. Speaking of the first half, I know I complain about officiating a lot and I know it is clear that I want the Suns to win, but that first half was embarrassing. You could see D'Antoni screaming "call it both ways!" during one replay and he was exactly right. The Spurs had a 16-4 free throw advantage until San Antonio got called for its first foul of the entire second quarter with seconds left in the half. And the problem with that awful officiating is that it kept the Spurs so close while Phoenix was playing great. Then, when the Spurs played great, they bolted ahead by double figures. Lame.

7. How much of a wuss does Tony Parker look like? His forehead nearly cleaves Nash's nose off his face, yet it is Parker laying on the ground for what felt like an eternity. Then, to ensure that everyone knows he's a punk, he flopped on that ridiculous "off the ball" foul on Barbosa that basically ended the game. I hate the refs.

8. Speaking of Nash, I don't care if the Spurs win this series (which they will now), he is still the man. Anyone that can score five straight points with blood pouring all over his face is a beast. That whole scene was downright grisly. I'm not sure I've seen anything like it. And what a terrible break for Phoenix that the guy with the Eye of the Tiger also had the Nose of Oscar De La Hoya, because the 45 seconds he missed due to the "infectious blood" rule cost the Suns the game. No way was he going to let them lose ... provided he could actually be in the game.

9. Tim Duncan was great, especially in the second half, but I can't help but notice what incredibly generous officiating he got in the first half. Numerous trips to the line, Amare in foul trouble ... this despite the fact the Suns were doing everything possible to avoid fouling. Were the refs trying to placate Duncan? Is crying the new performing? Based on San Antonio's success today and in recent years, I think "squeaky wheel gets the grease" should be the NBA's slogan. They complain about EVERY call despite the fact that they get the most favorable officiating in the league ... and it isn't even close.

10. If you can't tell, I'm bitter. We are one slow-recovering hamstring away from a Utah-San Antonio, Detroit-Cleveland final four. The NBA ... it's fantastic! (Well, was, for a round anyway.)

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