By Paul Gotham
Nothing up my sleeve
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that San Antonio advanced. After all, they have Pop, the “Big Fundamental,” a guy who comes off the bench who would start for every other team in the league and role players who enjoy being role players. Did I mention Pop?
It’s just that Dallas had them dead to rights. Game four. At home. With the lead. Three minutes to go. You pull this off. Right? That’s about the point DeJuan Blair wanted to try his own World Cup promo up side Tiago Splitter‘s head. Everything, in effect, unraveled from there. Vince Carter brushed up against immortality and returned. Blair appeared to possess the unique motivation needed to topple the Spurs, but drifted when it mattered most. Monta Ellis was grabbing at career defining moments and lost grip. Dirk Nowitzki has the Unguardable Play, but somehow it didn’t matter.
The Mavs played game seven like they invited Roberto Duran to give the pre-game speech. Transition defense? Non-existent. Interior defense? Not to be found. San Antonio scored 30 of their 119 points behind the arc. The Spurs hit just four of those treys as they built a 22-point halftime lead. Tony Parker owned the lane and distributed freely. The Mavs offense could have been served at IHOP for the daily special.
Anyone else wondering why Dallas didn’t at least think about going zone? It worked three years ago. Parker shooting threes has to be a better than the alternative. Maybe Danny Green gets that much respect?
Maybe Pop pulled this one out of the hat. The rest of the West might regret Dallas letting the Spurs get up from the deck.
He touched off a round of hyperbole proclaiming the Mavs star to be better than the Hick from French Lick. Worth noting Dallas hasn’t won a playoff series in the three years which have passed since then.
So you want something unguardable
Kevin Durant whacking threes is unguardable. Check that KD whacking threes is un-freeking-guardable. Add to that he can actually go off the dribble. If he’s got measure, forget it. And he’s not a liability on the defensive end.
Russell Westbrook channeled his inner Maurice Cheeks Saturday night. He played like a point guard. Didn’t think he had it in him to dish out as many dimes as he would take field goals (16). Westbrook playing like that on the offensive end and treating opposing players like he did Tony Allen could be the difference.
Love Allen’s reaction. Who was that?
Consider this: who was the last shoot-first point guard to lead his team to the NBA title?
About Lillard’s game winner
Hmmmm…Must be the first time James Harden was ever asked to help on a stagger screen of the ball? How else does one explain his lack of effort. He knows the ball is going to Lillard, right? You step out and give your teammate a chance to get back into the play. Right? You at least do something other than put your hands on your hips while the ball is in the air.
Geez. Great shot. Don’t get me wrong, but offer some resistance.
Then again, San Antonio’s bench will seal the deal in this matchup.
Shooters gotta shoot
If the Clips are going to beat OKC, Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick have to bring it all series. They need game 7 Redick who netted 20 on 7-13 shooting in 31 minutes during the series clincher against Golden State as opposed to the eight in 28 outing of game five. Crawford hit 3-10 from long range in the 21-point game-four loss. He drilled 3-6 in game 7. Any connection? Chris Paul and Blake Griffin work better with open space. You don’t need Dr. Naismith to help on that one.
Paul Pierce playing power forward? Seems kind of silly right? Can’t say it any better than Doug Collins through Bill Simmons:
Can Jason Kidd keep Andray Blatche motivated with a bulk of the minutes? And dangle the carrot of playing time just far enough from Mason Plumlee to have it matter? Joe Johnson went from 29 points in game three to seven points in game four to 32 in game five. Is there a chance Johnson can have four or five games with 25 or more points?
Maybe, just maybe, the Nets can catch the Heat in game one trying to loosen the rust. Going to have take advantage of home court from there.
Hitting the Wall
The fact that Washington plays like they care seems to make all the difference in the matchup with Indiana. Resident NBA savant Steve George notes the trade of Danny Granger damaged the psyche of the Pacers. If Larry Bird will trade Danny, who else will he trade? Not to mention trading him for Andrew Bynum.