NBA Playoff Wednesday Night Rundown from LeCavs
I’m glad the Nuggets used the 3rd quarter to make this a game, because until now it’s been a wasted night.
Detroit 105 – 88 Philadelphia
Shocker! The Pistons came out motivated in Game 2 against the Sixers and whoop whooped. They clamped down on D (39.5% allowed) and moved the ball (26 assists, 55% shooting), giving them an edge in FG efficiency. The lost the turnover battle, but minimized their own mistakes (14 TOs). And perhaps most importantly, dominated the boards. When you shoot poorly and your opponents should great, you damn well better grab some offensive boards and make sure not to give em up on the other end. The Pistons weren’t have any of that, with 14 offensive boards to the Sixers 15 defensive. Still, the Sixers have stolen homecourt and given themselves a chance in this series as they head back to Philly.
Boston 96 – Atlanta 77
At what point will the Celtics play their first competitive playoff game. If Kevin Garnett hadn’t been so content to fade away from 18 feet, the Celtics could’ve made this one a lot worse. At it is, playing usual Celtics defense, they forced the Hawks into 38% shooting and 21 turnovers. Sure, they’re one of the worst teams every to make the playoffs, but this is still a team with 4 guys who score more than 14 per, 3 40+ 3-point shooters, and a better than average team assist:turnover ratio.
As I typed those out, the Lakers (Kobe especially) went nuts, popping jerseys hither and thither, while the Nuggets did their best to catch the last flight back to Denver. There is still 5 minutes left, but it looks like Kobe’s hot shooting and willingness to play within the Lakers’ efficient offense (9-11, 2 assists in the first half, 5-12 and 8 assists in the 2nd, for 38 and 10 so far) while the Nuggets go 1 on 1 (12 assists to the Lakers 31), has just about put the fork into this one.
The Lakers are yet another example of a team just maintaining home court. At this point, I still expect the Nuggets to come out scorching some time and home and avoid the sweep, but I put their odds of advancing just a hair above the Hawks’.
As for the other series:
· The Mavs are done. Avery Johnson started mixing up the D on Chris Paul early in Game 2 and each switch – Howard, Terry, Stackhouse, all 3 – doomed them further. Maybe headed back to Dallas, he can figure out something. I imagine they need to decide to take away either his passing or scoring and then figure out a way to do it, because so far he’s been brilliant picking his spots and single handedly winning that series, taking all the pressure of his teammates in the Hornets first playoff series in a while.
· Watching those Suns/Spurs games, don’t you get the feeling the Suns should be done? The Spurs absolutely stole Game 1, then the Suns gave away Game 2. And yet all the Spurs have done is defend home court. Who is worse off, the Mavs, who have looked hopeless, or the Suns who could easily be up 2-0?
· Chris Bosh just doesn’t have "it". He’s good, and Dwight Howard is an impossible matchup, but he just can’t be the only big in a physical series. He can’t dominate with the ball and he doesn’t have the rebounding chops. Dwight Howard will continue to eat him alive. Much like the Nuggets, the Raptors can get hot and protect their home floor, but as the grueling battles pile up, the Raptors can’t last.
· Kobe is insane. 19 of his 49 in the 4th after a 20 point first. He’s a point and assist away from playoff career highs and he’s finally headed to the bench with 2 left. I’d say that would be more impressive in a close game, but Kobe is the reason it’s not.
· Speaking of doesn’t have "it", hello, Tracy McGrady! Can we officially downgrade T-Mac from superstar status? He admits to just not having it in the 4th quarter? Is he that old and hobbled? Could I average more than 0.5 points per 4th quarter in the playoffs? Who knows what could have been with Yao as the centerpiece, but we know what they are without him: shitty.
· Cavs are in Washington tomorrow night. If there is any game they lose, it’s tomorrow, but even Soulja Boy doesn’t have his fingers crossed.
[top image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/47864808@N00/]