The Charlotte Bobcats: Everybody who wondered why I've been so dismissive of the Bobcats as a first round dark horse...
...this is why.
Dwight Howard -- who re-nicknamed himself Foul-On-You -- was limited to 23 minutes and fouled out yet again. What's more, the Magic shot only 41 percent, bricked 12 free throws and scored only 16 points in the paint. It didn't matter. Over the second half of the season, I kept flatly stating that you really don't have to worry about a team whose number two guy is Stephen "I'm made for the playoffs and championships. That's what I play for. I'm Big Shot Jack." Jackson.
Sure enough, Big Shot Jack laid an rotten egg (2-for-11 and a game-worst 4 turnovers) and the Bobcats became the only team to get swept out of the playoffs. As always, I'm just sayin'.
"Some advice from a champion to a
non-champion? Hit some fucking shots.
And no, your Spurs title doesn't count."
Stan Van Gundy, quote machine: On Pumaman's constant foul trouble: "If you would have told me that he would have averaged well under 30 minutes for the series and we would sweep, I would have said you're crazy. I think it's a testament to our other guys." That's right. Credit for Orlando's first round sweep of the Bobcats officially goes to "Everybody not named Dwight Howard."
So, yeah, maybe I was wrong about that Dwight for MVP thing...
The agony of Michael Jordan: I know what you're thinking, MJ, but the answer is: No. NBA teams do not have a 90-day return policy.
Dwight Howard, quote machine: "We're going to be well rested. I'm going to be well rested." Ooooooh, I get it! All those stupid fouls -- 22 in four games, limiting you to about 26 minutes per game -- was strategy. It was all about staying rested. Look out, second round of the playoffs!
Larry Brown, rumor machine: Earlier this season Brown -- who is an NBA coaching gypsy -- was rumored to be considering a job with the Clippers. The latest rumor is that he might bolt for Philadelphia, where his wife and kids live. Brown always seems confused about why these rumors follow him. Well, that's what happens when you're a job jumper, Larry.
Said Brown: "I'm not coaching anywhere but Charlotte. Now am I going to go home and talk to my wife and kids? I'll be 70 years old with two young kids. Am I going to talk to them and find out what I need to do and am I going to talk to Michael? Yeah, absolutely."
See how he's giving himself some wiggle room? Classic Larry Brown.
The Atlanta Hawks: Everybody who wondered why I've been so dismissive of the Hawks as a championship contender...
...this is why.
Everybody got so excited about their season sweep of the Boston Celtics. Well, the Celtics were up and down all year, and the Hawks remain an inconsistent team that sucks on the road. I mean, Atlanta is easily more talented than the Andrew Bogut-less Bucks, right? And yet the series is now 2-2. What sense does that make?
Milwaukee scored 111 points on 55 percent shooting. The Bucks outscored the Hawks 44-26 in the paint despite not having a single inside scoring threat right now. The Atlanteans couldn't stay in front of or keep from hacking John Salmons (10-for-10 from the line), nor could they get a hand in the face of Brandon Jennings (23 points, 9-for-16) or Carlos Delfino (22 points, 6-for-8 from downtown).
Defensive fail. Toughness fail. Everything fail.
Said Joe Johnson: "It's very frustrating, man. We just don't have the toughness. They are getting all the loose balls, all the big rebounds. We can't get stops when we need to and it's killing us."
This is standard operating procedure for the Dirty Birds. Over their past three postseasons, the Hawks are 1-10 on the road, while averaging 80.8 PPG (on 38 percent shooting) and giving up 100.6 PPG (on 48 percent shooting). That's right. They average a 20-point blowout on the road in the playoffs. A sure sign of championship non-contender-ness.
Seriously, what is up with their crappy road play?
Said Jamal Crawford: "I wish I knew. I wish I could figure it out. We're two totally different teams. I think it's been like that in the past for this team. We play well at home, we feed off the crowd, but you can't play every game at home. We have to figure this out. That's what winners do, that's what champions do."
Another sad Blazers bench photo? Our third of the playoffs? Yep.
The Portland Trail Blazers: The Suns now lead this series 3-2, with all three wins being blowouts. The latest was a 107-88 pounding in which Phoenix scored 20 points off 15 Portland turnovers, won the rebounding battle (41-29, including 15-9 on the offensive boards), had a 17-6 edge in fast break points and outscored the Frail Blazers 40-28 in the paint.
Of course, you expect Amar''''''e Stoudemire (19 points, 7-for-11) and Steve Nash (14 points, 9-for-9 from the line, 10 assists) to do damage. What you might not expect is a combined 39 points from Channing Frye and Jared Dudley. The dynamic duo shot 13-for-21 from the field and 8-for-14 from downtown. Thanks to their explosion, the Suns bench outscored the starters 55-52.
Said Nash: "When they get going like that, we're a really good team. I think it's great for their confidence because we have a lot of confidence in them."
As for the Frail Blazers, well, they got caught trying to play Seven Seconds or Less basketball. It worked early on, as Portland started out 7-for-7 and built a 23-9 lead. But going away from you do best while playing to the other team's strength is a dangerous thing...as the Blazers found out.
Said LaMarcus Aldridge: "Even when we were winning, we were playing their game. We were taking quick shots. They were going in so we felt good about it. But it really wasn't our style of play and I think the law of averages caught up. We don't really play that style of play. We should have slowed it down and played more of a halfcourt game."
Brandon Roy: His Game 5 line: 19 minutes, 5 points, 4 fouls, 1 turnover, no assists, 2-for-7 shooting.
Roy blames coming off the bench: "It's hard to get involved. I don't think the guys are quite used to me coming off the bench. It's hard for me to kind of get my touches and get into a rhythm."
Yeah. I'm sure that's it.
Update! Joey Crawford: David Stern won't let me talk about the officiating, so this entry is free of comment, except for thanking the anonymous commenter who posted the link to this video.
Channing Frye, quote machine: "To be honest, if I go 0 for 10, I could care less. It's not going to happen twice. That's how I feel every time I go out there, that it's only going to take one shot for me to get hot."
Steve Nash, quote machine: "They were making everything so it made it feel like we were running uphill, but I just felt like we had to think of this thing as long-term and think of it as the stock market. We're not day traders, we want to be very conservative and long-term in our investment in transition. You've got to stick with it from the start to finish."
J.R. Smith: Yet another reason the Nuggets probably won't make it out of the first round. After all, their X-Factor is also an X-Factor for the other team. For instance:
According to The Denver Post, Nuggets guard J.R. Smith posted a message on his Twitter page Sunday night that read, "You play selfish you lose selfish that's all I'm saying about the game!"
When asked about Smith's tweet, Nuggets interim head coach Adrian Dantley appeared uncomfortable. "What do you want me to say? That he shouldn't have made that comment? I don't know. He shouldn't have made that comment."
Nuggets team leader Chauncey Billups has this to say, "It's frustrating to lose, and people can say what they want, but at any rate, when we win, we win together. ... I don't think we've been specifically selfish."
Smith didn't speak with the media Monday, but did respond to the controversy on his Twitter page and wrote, "yo i got the twitter goons on my back!"
Crazy Kobe fans: This video speaks for itself. And speaks. And speaks. And speaks. Thanks to the anonymous commenter who posted the link.
Lacktion report: chris came through with a surprising amount of lacktion for only three games. Good to see playoff lacktion going strong.
Magic-Bobcats: Closing out this lackluster playoff series with celebration, Ryan Anderson pulled 4.3 (4:19) trillion out of a hat.
For Charlotte, Derrick Brown and Stephen Graham each cued up Fred Savage and Jenny Lewis, with Famicom wizardry: Derrick drilling for just one second at the free throw lane for a SUPER MARIO and Graham crumbling at the sight of a goomba in 55 seconds for a regular Mario! Theo Ratliff's postseason expired with a 5:2 Voskuhl in 7:55 via two boards countered by two bricks and five fouls - three Voskuhls in the four-game series!
Hawks-Bucks: As Atlanta's road woes continue, their traveling lair of lacktion continued to produce - Zaza Pachulia negated a field goal and two boards in 18:54 with four fouls and a turnover for a 5:4 Voskuhl. THE Mario West now has enough money for Virtual Boy repairs with a 1.35 trillion (1:22) and Jeff Teague lived up to his teammate's reputation by tossing a Koopa shell in just 5 seconds for a Super Mario!!!!
Meanwhile, Charlie Bell rang up 50 seconds worth of playing time on the Wii for a Mario that also garnered a +2 suck differential via foul and brick from the Third Ward.
Frail Blazers-Suns: Juwan Howard's crutches needed readjustment, with one made field goal in 8:37 avoiding a fully lacktive evening, only to counter those points with five fouls and a giveaway for a 6:2 Voskuhl.
Earl Clark crunched into the ledger with a two-turnover +2 in 5:39.