Starting with the Saturday games. The Raps took a tough loss at home to a surging New Jersey team. Probably a game the Raptors could have won, but Jason Kidd and RJ weren’t going to let that happen. Kidd just doesn’t stop putting up numbers. It seems like he averages a triple-double in the playoffs. What a great all around player that guy is, remember he gets it done on the defensive end too. Great atmosphere in Toronto, and I think the Raps will pull out game 2.
Now the Miami-Chicago game. Let’s be honest other than Hinrich everyone on the Bull’s played one of their best games. Ben Gordon set a career high in assists while providing scoring as well. Luol Deng scored 33, and was absolutely great. Nocioni, Thomas, and Seflosha all had solid games on both ends of the floor as well. For the Heat on the other hand everyone played sub-par except for Toine’. Shaq and Wade were put on the bench as a result of terrible officiating, and all of the other role guys didn’t really play well. Still the Heat were in it down the stretch, and another thing to remember is that the game was played in Chicago (sold out every game his year, and had highest attendance in league). I see the Heat winning the next three games of this series behind Shaq and Wade. How about Toine’ though this guy comes to play when the lights are on. More to come on him in the future (he deserves his own column).
I didn’t see a ton of the Pistons Magic game, but from what I did see the Magic looked outmatched. They just don’t really have an offense. Howard is a great young star, but he can’t get it done one on one, and he doesn’t know how to pass out of the double team like someone like Shaq does. Also he was 0-7 from the line at one point. That won’t get it done vs. a team like the Pistons in the playoffs. Still look for the Magic to steal a game from Detroit in this series. Detroit still doesn’t look like a championship caliber team to me.
Not a very eventful game in Houston, but T-Mac was able to get it done after a slow first half. Houston played solid defense as usual, which aided them in taking the 1 game lead. The Jazz shot 36% from the field and 24% from the great beyond. Game two will be very important for this Jazz team. They need to get their offense going vs. this stingy Rocket defense. I am always impressed by Yao’s free throw shooting (12-14).
Now for the Sunday recap. A depleted Wizards team was handled by the Cavs at the Q. Every Cavs fan held their breath when Lebron went down in the 3rd quarter, but he seemed to be fine after coming back. Tough situation for Eddie Jordan and the Wizards. I still think they can win at least one game in this series. Just because the Cavs are so inconsistent, and you never know when they won’t show up. I don’t see them making it past the second round of the playoffs.
Interesting game in the desert between Phoenix and Kobe. Great display in the first half by Kobe, but let’s be honest Kobe played an unbelievable half and the Lakers held the Suns to just 39 first half points, and they still lost. Phoenix can win any type of game. They didn’t have their best offense in this one so they got stops in the second half and let the offense come. Also they just have so many weapons. Yesterday it was Barbosa who came alive in the second half, and Nash and everyone else just chipped in. Next game it might be Raja Bell who explodes for 27 including 6 three pointers. You just never know with the Suns, but what you do know is that Nash will get everyone the opportunities. Then figure out who is hot, and keep getting them the ball.
Well contested game between the Spurs and the Nuggets. The Nuggets were able to hold on late for a great road win. They were lead by AI and Melo’ who both played solid games. You have to hand it to Najera for Denver. He seems to always come up with big plays. He is one of those guys that you always want on your team. He gives 110% every time he steps on the floor, and he always seems to be “that guy” that kills your team one way or the other. More to come on “that guy” that always kills your team from Katz this week. Big shot Bob looked good for the Spurs, and there is no doubt that this will be a great series.
Just watching the start of the GS and Dallas game you get the feeling that anything can happen. This Golden State team will fire the first look they get, and if they get hot they are real tough to beat. Surprisingly they make a lot of terrific hustle plays, and know how to capitalize. Also they fast break like no other team in the league. Whoever gets the ball in Nelly’s small ball system just simply powers the ball up the floor as fast as possible. Then instead of playing pick and roll ball like the Suns do, the Warriors just go one on one and penetrate into the lane. After a 38-38 tie at halftime the Warriors were pushed into the lead by Baron in a Kobe like 3rd quarter. This game helps prove that when he is healthy and when he wants to be Baron Davis is probably one of the ten most talented players in the league. He can do everything. He can rebound, dish, post up, go to the rim and finish, pull up in your face, and play off the ball well too. He did everything last night, and Dallas should be worried about the Intensity of this GS team. If Baron continues to play like this, and GS plays some more of that fierce D this could be their series to win. Now game 2 becomes a must win for Dallas. If they lose that game you can kiss the series good-bye.
Some more playoff thoughts. I love the new D-Wade/Charles commercial while they are playing golf. I am expecting more of the same from them as the playoffs continue. I really like the playoff logo this year, just a nice look. Lastly, anyone who watched that GS/Dallas game has to appreciate the game that Matt Barnes played (he did everything at exactly the right time).