playoff friday

The Boston Celtics: If their blowout victory in Game 2 rewrote the script of their series against the Crabs, then their blowout loss in Game 3 re-rewrote it. The Celtics' 124-95 defeat in Boston was their worst home playoff loss ever.

Historic fail.

And this playoff death was swift and merciless. The barf-o-rama effectively ended after 12 minutes, during which LeBron James exploded for a Cleveland franchise postseason record 21 points and the Craboliers outscored the Celtics 36-17.

Seriously, it was a first quarter apocalypse for the Leprechauns. They missed 10 of their first 13 shots, finished the period shooting 27 percent and fell behind by as many as 21 points. By contract, the Crabs shot 67 percent for the quarter. Not a good percentage to give up when your team is built around defense.

At halftime -- with the home team down 22 points -- the crowd booed. You could hardly blame them, but damn. Maybe Mike Bibby was right about these guys.

For the game, Boston let Cleveland shoot nearly 60 percent. Even worse, the Celtics were outrebounded 45-30 and got outscored 50-32 in the paint. They couldn't have looked more helpless if they'd been playing in roller skates on a court full of banana peels.

Said Doc Rivers: "We were awful. We just didn't play with the same intensity they did. They played with a Game 7 mentality."

Added Paul Pierce: "That was embarrassing. That's embarrassing when you lose at home like that, We just let our guard down. ... You've got to know the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to come in here with all the urgency in the world. They took the fight to us early, and we didn't respond to it."

Yeah. And speaking of which...

Paul Pierce: Not only was Pierce the first faulty line of defense against King Crab -- who finished with 38 points on 14-for-22 shooting by the way -- but the Half Truth managed only 11 points on 4-for-15 from the field. Hell, Pierce didn't even hit a shot until midway through the second quarter.

And remember: This is the same guy who said he was the best player in the world after the Celtics won the NBA title in 2008. As always, I'm just sayin'.

The San Antonio Spurs: If you had told me that the key to the Suns winning Game 3 in San Antonio was "releasing the Dragon," I would have assumed you meant a literal Lord of the Rings-style dragon. Then if you'd told me, "No, I mean Goran Dragic," I would quickly chugged down a glass of milk so it could spray out of my nose while I was laughing at you.

Well, the joke would have been on me. And the Spurs.

Dragic one-upped Lebron's 21-point first quarter against the Celtics by going super nova on the Spurs in the fourth quarter of Game 3. Dragic scored 23 of the Suns' 39 fourth quarter points, going 9-for-11 from the field and 4-for-4 from downtown. On one of those threes, he was fouled by George Hill but went up awkwardly and hit it anyway.


Dragic was truly unstoppable...and I'm not even remotely kidding. But don’t take my word for it:


Said Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry: "He's my secret weapon. I don't know where he came from, either."

Mind you, going into that final quarter, Dragic had scored a total of 7 points on 3-for-14 shooting in the other 11 quarters of this series.

Said Manu Ginobili: Everything we tried, it was a bucket and it was demoralizing."

Added Tim Duncan: "Definitely an opportunity wasted."

No kidding. The Spurs went up by as many as 18 points in the second quarter -- the Suns' biggest deficit of the 2010 playoffs -- but couldn't close. Their free throw shooting didn't help. They missed 12 for the game, including five straight in the second quarter (four in a row by Tony Parker and one by Duncan). In fact, Timmy went 5-for-12. Duncan -- The Big Fundamental -- is shooting only 47 percent from the stripe in the playoffs.

I mean, San Antonio got blown out in the fourth quarter (39-24) while Steve Nash, Amar'''''e Stoudemire and Jason Richardson were sipping Gatorade on the sidelines.

Wow.

Even more Dragic from Basketbawful reader Steve:

Although I'm hesitant to join the crowd of OMG DRAGIC love (he deserves it but still), I want to point out that his performance wasn't just amazing for the positive stats. He also had zero turnovers, zero fouls, and zero bad shots. The only thing he did wrong was (inexplicably) miss two freethrows. Let's say 'Bawful has made me pay more attention to those.

In addition to the ridiculous positive stats (and dearth of negative ones), he played Tony Parker as well as you possibly can. Parker's makes were few, and difficult: He made three highly-contested layups versus Dragic (10:05, 8:50, 3:28).

On the other hand, Goran blocked a Tony Parker layup by jumping a foot above TP (29.9 left in the 3rd).

Or there's this sequence (11:44-11:29, 4th) for which the stat sheet read 2 rebounds:

- Stopped a fast break (on a TO from Manu's steal from Barbosa) led by Tony Parker with Frye (11:39 4th) by disrupting the play and getting a good hand in Parker's face to get a miss right at the basket - AND got the rebound

- Turned that into a fast break of his own and would've had an amazing assist on a pass from the half-court line to the wing if Barbosa hadn't laid it up too hard

- But even then, he anticipated Barbosa's miss and got position versus McDyess (I think), Parker and Bonner for the rebound. Parker was so frustrated he reached in and Dragic drew the foul.

He also had several plays that didn't show in the box score at all:

- Coordinated a sweet switch with Frye against Parker who, sandwiched between the two, threw up an awful shot (6:00)

- Pressured the ball out of Ginobili's hands (5:29) with Hill

- Responsible for an offensive rebound (tipping it to Barbosa) (5:12)

- At 3:58, Hill got caught behind a screen, and Dragic was the only Sun between Manu Ginobili and the basket. Manu also had Parker coming down the baseline: This was two on one. Two of the deadliest driving players in the NBA versus the 2nd-year 24-year-old Goran Dragic. Dragic closed on Manu to force him to pass, and anticipating it, tipped the pass away and out of bounds, preventing an almost certain layup.

The mind reels.

Jared Dudley came in and changed Game 2 with his energy and determination without scoring a ton. Dragic one-upped him by not just putting up a freaking INSANE stat sheet (1 point every 39 seconds, 3 Reb, 2 Ast 1 Stl, 1 Blk) but bringing that energy and more to the other end.

THAT is what made it incredible. That's why the Suns won by 14 and not 3 or 6.
And now, the perfect sad Spurs bench photo -- complete with Duncan headpalm! -- courtesey of Basketbawful reader Clifton:

sad Spurs bench 2

Clifton also points out:

Btw... I think THE biggest reason the Suns are doing so well is because of their team chemistry. Obviously, the individual talents that have been assembled mesh well, but these guys just gelled this year.

Case in point... according to Jason Richardson's Twitter, after practice today, nearly the whole squad went out together to watch Iron Man 2: Richardson, Dudley, Nash, Amundson, Barbosa, Frye, Dragić, Robin Lopez, Earl Clark, and Taylor Griffin. You just get the feeling that these guys are actually good friends, and that extends on to the court.
Agreed. And honestly, it all started when Steve Nash signed that extension last summer. Best money the Suns ever spent.

Oh, okay! One final graphic from stephanie g.:

spurs killer

Tony Parker: 10 points, 5-for-17 from the field, and 0-for-4 from the line. And, as I pointed out, those four straight bricks from the line happened during the second quarter when the Spurs could have totally blown the game open.

Friday lacktion report: Much like me, chris saves some of his best lacktion for Friday.

Suns-Spurs: Jarron Collins continues to celebrate his status as a Starter In Name Only with a three-foul performance in 9:03 that earned both a +3 suck differential AND a 3:0 Voskuhl!

Louis Amundson scored some smackeroos successfully with a 2.95 trillion (2:58) for Alvin Gentry.

Meanwhile, for San Antonio, Keith Bogans bought New Super Mario for the Wii and made it through the first level in just seven seconds or less - appropriate for a game against Los Sols!
playoff saturday

The Atlanta Hawks: Damn...maybe it would have been better if they'd just gone ahead and lost to the Bucks in the first round. I mean, this is just embarrassing.

After beating the Hawks 105-75 in Atlanta in Game 3, the Magic have the second-highest scoring differential through the first three games of an NBA playoff series (+29.0 PPG). And they're barely behind the pace set by the Lakers against the Spurs in 1986 (+31.7 PPG).

It's a good thing for Atlanta that Orlando missed 11 free throws.

And it gets worse: This beating was the worst home playoff loss in franchise history. WTF? Weren't the Hawks 34-7 at home during the season?!

All 10 Orlando players who checked into the game scored. Meanwhile, the Hawks shot 34 percent and managed only 8 fast break points (despite being "built to run"). They also finished -17 on the boards and -12 in assists. Hell, pick a stat and it probably pooped all over the Hawks in this one.

Said Al Horford: "It's just not there. The guys know what we have to do. It's just frustrating when the effort isn't there."

Added Joe Johnson: "A tough, ugly loss. Embarrassing."

Yeah. And speaking of which...

Joe Johnson: When your best player gives you only 8 points on 3-for-15 shooting, chances are your team just got its ass kicked. Johnson -- who will probably be seeking a max contact during this summer's free agent bonanza -- has been stinking up the 2010 playoffs. In his last six playoff games, Joe's shooting 31 percent and averaging only 13.3 PPG. Against the Magic, he's shooting 29 percent and scoring 12.3 PPG.

Said Johnson: "Guys look to me for guidance. When I'm playing like that, it's almost impossible for us to win."

Pretty much, yeah.

Joe made a bawful situation bawfuler when he responded to the fact that the crowd was (rightly) booing him during the game: "That doesn't bother me. I could care less if they showed up or not."

Way to be a team leader, Joe.

The Utah Jazz: Well, they fought the good fight, but the end result was the same as if they’d just rolled over and died: an 0-3 series deficit.

It’s hard to grumble too much about this one, considering it was the only truly exciting game of the weekend (although it was awesome to watch the Suns sweep the Spurs). However, the Jazz failed to get the correct amount of hand in the faces of L.A.’s three-point shooters (13-for-29). That pretty much spelled doom for the Mormon Musicians.

Utah also hurt themselves with missed free throws. With 4:09 left in the fourth and the Jazz leading 98-96, Carlos Boozer bricked two straight. Then, with only 1:06 remaining and Utah ahead 105-103, Wesley Matthews hit only one of two. Critical misses in a 1-point loss.

Ron Artest: He actually played great and even connected on four out of his seven three-point attempts. But this is a retroactive WotN for busting on Phil Jackson via Twitter:

Ron Artest has made a point to make his inaugural season in Los Angeles as controversy-free as possible, stonewalling reporters time and time again when asked about his individual effort and turning the conversations to focus on the Lakers as a team.

Artest's Twitter feed, @RONARTESTCOM, is a different story.

Late Thursday night, Artest's account posted a string of tweets expressing frustration with Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

The first unedited tweet, posted at about 9 p.m. PT, read: "Finally Phil Jackson didn't mention me in media before talking me Now I can build on game 2. Hopefully he talks to me before the media."

The next unedited tweet, posted approximately an hour later, read: "Ever since phil mention things about me in media before coming to me first I was weird . So every pray he can somehow close his yapper."

At Friday's practice, Artest would neither confirm nor deny that the tweets were his, even though his brother, Daniel, wrote on his own Twitter account, "Whoever hacked [Artest's] twit page is foul," hours later.

"I'm never upset at my coach," Artest said Friday. Artest would also not verify his brother's claim that the account was hacked, either, saying, "You got to call him."

When a reporter began to paraphrase the tweets and asked him why he would have tweeted what he did if he wasn't upset, Artest said: "No, no, you have to read it exactly. That's exactly what I said? If you can't get it exact, then I can't answer it."

When Artest was further questioned about it, he avoided the question.

"I'm here to talk about basketball, basketball, all basketball," Artest said. "Twitter is for my fans, not for [media]."
Fortunately for Artest and the Lakers, P-Jax is used to dealing with this kind of thing and managed to smooth things over. This is the kind of crap that could have doomed a team like, say, the Nuggets.

Basketbawful reader Geert submitted a nice "response" quote from Jackson: "Ron is a person I think you have to have a more direct influence as far as the subtleties of irony that sometimes I get involved in might pass him by."

Wait...what?

Saturday lacktion report: You know the drill.

Magic-Hawks: Randolph Morris pawed at pure gold in a 2.2 trillion (2:12) payday, while Maurice Evans had an exactly-nine-minute stint of suck: three bricks (one from Peachtree Street), one giveaway, and one foul for a +6 suck differential!!!!

Lakers-Jazz: Josh Powell provided Jerry Buss some poker chips - 1.4 trillion (1:24) to be exact.
playoff sunday

The Cleveland Cavaliers: After the way they won Game 3, the Crabs had the Celtics on the ropes...and then Rajon Rondo happened. He just happened. There's no other way to put it. That little dude BLEW UP for 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists in Game 4. Those numbers are as stunning as what Goran Dragic did against the Spurs in Game 3 of the PHX-SA series. I mean...18 rebounds?! That's insane. He's the smallest guy on the floor!

Oh, and LeBron wasn't gonna block this shot...


I bet LeBron wanted to kick something again. Yes, again.


By the way, the same Boston fans who were booing their team during Game 3 were chanting "M-V-P!" for Rondo in Game 4. From Baby Face to Heel to Baby Face...you're starting to lose me, Boston fans.


Oh, one more important stat you won't find in any box score: Rondo finished with one shot to Anderson Varejao's nuts. Just like all his passes...right on target.


Some random numbers: The Crabs were -14 in rebounds, -17 in fast break points and -10 in points in the paint.

The San Antonio Spurs: Basketbawful reader Arouet said: "If the Suns win game 4, you must post this video. No exceptions or excuses. Post it."

Done.


I'm not even sure what to say. As a Suns fan, this sweep exorcises so many demons. The Spurs didn't really play poorly in this series. They did all the same things, pulled all the same tricks, made the same adjustments...they just ran into a Suns team that refused to fold. Even after Nash had his eye remodeled by Tim Duncan's elbow.

Nash eye
Said Nash: "I couldn't see anything." No kidding.

Honestly, this sweep was one of the happiest moments in my basketball watching life. It felt almost as good as seeing a team I'm rooting for win a championship. It was redemption. Sure, the Suns might not get past the Lakers, but so the hell what? This felt good.

Said Tony Parker: "Obviously I'm very sad and very mad that we lost, but at the same time I'm happy for Nash and [Amare] Stoudemire. Because every year they played hard against us and it never went their way. This year, it went their way."

Added Duncan: "We thought from our past experience that we could do some things to control the series, but they just outplayed us. All in all, they just outplayed us."

Indeed.

Grant Hill, quote machine: "He looked like Ray 'Boom Boom' Mancini. It forced him to focus 'cuz he was shooting out of one eye."

Sunday lacktion report: And now, chris presents a special "sayonara, Spurs" lacktivity update:

Crabs-Celtics: Leon Powe jumped into his namesake overhead block for 49 seconds straight to earn a Mario.

Suns-Spurs: Roger Mason jarred up a brick and foul in 5:24 for a +2 suck differential, while Keith Bogans closed out his postseason by quickly rescuing Princess Peach in just two seconds for his second consecutive SUPER MARIO!

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36 Comments:
In a way, Lebron James disgusts me. Sometimes, it seems like he has no pride, just ego. Like he doesn't seem to care about winning as much as he does about looking good, and thus he doesn't play basketball to win, as much as he plays it because his talent makes him look good. It's just a venue through which to be famous, and winning only matters because it makes him more famous.

If he comes back with a huge performance in game 5, it'll probably have more to do with Rondo faking him out on his chasedown attempt than because they lost.

Anonymous Axe Head said...
I loved that Rondo pass to Allen for the dunk. James looked like Wile E. Coyote after he had run off a cliff, hanging in the air, and trying to get back.

Anonymous Axe Head said...
So, is Steve Nash a "dead-eye" shooter?

Blogger Adam said...
I'm wondering how much the Magic dominating their opponents in the playoffs is due to them finally coming together in the stretch and how much is due to just standard crappy low Eastern Conference seeds (and fake high seeds like the Hawks). On the surface of things the Magic look poised to upset a rolling Cavs team (and I hope to God they do) but the Cavs have really been the team to beat all year.

So in short, are the Magic finally running on all cylinders or are they just stomping the scrubs before getting stomped themselves?

Anonymous Stockton said...
That Rondo "pass" to Varejao... BAAAALLLLLSSSSSS!!!!

Anonymous Patrick said...
I sort of feel sorry for LeBron James. People have told him how great he is since he was probably 14, and now that he acts like he's great, people call him arrogant. As usual, people build this fellow up just to gleefully tear him down. No athlete ought to be drooled over to begin with like a religious object, and no athlete ought to be disparaged when everybody finds out they're just some dude who's uncommonly good at a game.

The Tiger Woods Incident is a good example of this. I'm not sure why people thought some dude who was good at golf was also a perfect husband and something more than a normal fellow with an abnormal amount of opportunities for bad behavior, which is why I didn't understand the ensuing s---storm when we "found out" being a great golfer doesn't extend to, well, anything else.

LeBron's headed off a cliff some day, and it's really too bad. People just love to tear down the talented.

Anonymous Stockton said...
it would be great to see the Suns get the ring. Not only I hate the Lakers, and Lebron, but Nash is one of those guys who really deserves it!! All the crap he got regarding his MVP awards, the bad luck in the playoffs (Joe Johnson's injury, the Spurs dirty play...), the injuries he puts up with... and he's such a nice guy who had to deal with crazy Marion, the Shaq trade, bad coaching... and never demanding "help" or "a trade". He's the man!!!!!

Blogger beep said...
BleedingHeartPessimist
I wholeheartedly agree. He's just an asshole with great basketball abilities and equally big ego.

But when/if he makes Hall of Fame, no one will remember it.

Anonymous JustinS said...
God, Phil Jackson is a dick. Does he have to have EVERY conversation through the media instead of face-to-face? Wouldn't be surprised if he held a press conference to criticize Jeanie after an awkward tumble.

Blogger NoChe said...
I don't blame the Boston fans for booing the team during game 3. Any fans that don't boo their team for having no intensity on the court and suffering a historic defeat are clueless.

Anonymous Heretic said...
Looks like cavs/magic/celtics vs the Lakers in the finals.

Wonder which match up would give them the most problems.

With Cavs if they contain Lebron then the rest of the team falls apart as the Celtics have shown.

With Magic if they get Dwight in foul trouble then all thats left is containing the shooters at the three which isn't that huge of a problem since the Lakers are pretty big. Plus Ron Ron won't give Lewis all the open looks that the hawks have been giving him.

With the Celtics its a toss up. If they actually come to play then it'll be wire to wire if they don't then they'll get steam rolled.

Its kind of messed up that the Lakers aren't really playing that well but are beating the jazz 3 zip. The Jazz actually played well the last game and the Laker big men didn't show yet they still won.

BTW Nash doesn't deserve to win. The best team deserves to win. Although i'll be more than happy if Lebron never gets a ring

Blogger Shiv said...
Belated nomination for Gregg Poppovich, quote machine: "I couldn't be happier for a class, class, class guy (Nash). I hate him, but he's classy." via Daily Dime

I don't even think that's bawful really, but I'm becoming a closeted Pops fan.

Blogger Marc said...
Damn you Dan B and your prophetic weekend BAD comment

"How close can the Jazz make it without winning for a third straight game? I'm on pins and needles!"

I could have saved an entire Saturday night of being ticked off if I would have just listened to you on Friday.

Blogger Shiv said...
HOLY CRAP! I just watched the video of Rondo nailing Varejao about 10 times and realised that he got hit MID-FLOP!!! BRILLIANT! Best play of the playoffs thus far! Rebound, humiliation and retribution in less than half a second. Rondo is my new hero. And to think, he could've been a Sun...

Anonymous Jones said...
You know what made Varejao getting slammed in the balls even better? The fact that he was in the process of flopping to try to sell a call, nobody is even touching him, and it opened him up to the nut shot. Sweet karmic justice.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Darn, I shoulda posted the Varejao-balls gif last night. It's glorious: flop, ball, keel, repeat

Blogger Dan B. said...
Marc -- I tried to warn you!

Stockton, Shiv, Jones, and AnacondaHL -- I absolutely loved what I was able to see of Rondo's monster game yesterday (had family visiting, so I couldn't watch the entire game). Performances like that aren't exactly an everyday thing. But yep, that phenomenally aimed man region attack is pretty much the greatest thing I've seen in a long time. I could watch that for hours.

Blogger Wormboy said...
1) OK, so can we call Rondo's stat line from Sunday a PG "animal style?" Because I don't know how a skinny little guy like him could be more beast-like. That was just monstrous. And that behind the back assist to baffle James was definitely the PG equivalent of facial dunk. If Rondo can improve his jump shot, he will be elite.

2) Not to mention the Varejao nutmeg. I fell off the couch laughing. I always love the playground "whip it at their feet," but the nuts? Pure gold.

3) I'm with Bawful. I don't think I've ever enjoyed a series as much as this Suns-Spurs series . OK, not true: last years' Bulls-Celtics series was the best ever for "doesn't matter" series, but this series was karmically unparalleled. I kept thinking to myself that the Spurs must be injured, just a shadow of their former selves. And then I'd remember that the Spurs had man-handled a well-stocked Mavs the previous round, with Dirk playing his best ball ever. And I looked at the Suns defense, their second unit, their execution, and I thought "damn, this is a good team playing the best basketball they could play." And they did it four straight games. They didn't play a perfect 16 quarters, but they played some great all-around hoops EVERY GAME. And they played DEFENSE. I don't think we can over-emphasize that for a Phoenix team.

4) Utah. They looked good enough against a completely disorganized Denver to fool you into thinking they were very good. And, like a Duke team in college hoops, we know a Sloan-coached team will execute better than their opponents, and thus play above their skill level. But they are just totally outgunned by LA. And they would have been outgunned in the first round had Denver not lost their coach and replaced him with a clueless zombie, with the team responding by playing like a bunch of ninnies. It makes LA look great, but it's really a testament to Utah's limitations without Memo, and Kirilenko (or just overall). It's also a testament to players coming back from an injury in the playoffs before they are ready. It can sometimes give you a little boost, but over all will be a drag. Yes, I'm looking at you, 2009 Jameer Nelson.

5) So who will win Suns-Lakers? Well, with the size you have to favor the Lakers. And even Crazy Pills is playing within the system, and only hoisting bad shots when he's hot. The only advantage I see for Phoenix is that their bench is much better. LA is playing a short rotation, and their bench just doesn't have what it takes. That said, I think that, as with every other matchup over the last two years, Gasol will make the difference. Why do I think that once again he will be what makes the Lakers a champion, but Kobe and his poor shot selection will get the Finals MVP this year? Sigh. Oh, and wilL Lopez come back for the Suns? Can he contribute? They need his size, and are too short without him. Amr''''e just doesn't have the defensive chops.

6) Timmy: I don't know if anybody else has mentioned this, but isn't this the first playoffs run the Spurs have made with Timmy at Center instead of PF? In the pat they've always have some 7 footer who can block shots and body up with big guys, and this frees Timmy up both defensively and offensively. I don't think they match up with teams as well with Timmy at Center. That's not his position: he's one of the best PF's ever, not Centers.

Blogger geremy said...
"rubbish bin", it's actually called a "rubbish bin"???

Anonymous laddder said...
Blogger geremy said...

"rubbish bin", it's actually called a "rubbish bin"???

Harry Potter style!


And I think Rondo has matrix like reflexes with faking lebron out and the varejao nut-shot.

He probably was gonna toss that ball on sideshow andy's foot when he saw Varejao was gonna flop and instead went for the low-blow.

Anonymous Mladen said...
Agreeing with Patrick over there. People just love going to extremes. I've said it before - everything about LeBron is exaggerated. Every little thing he does.

I bet if he had hit, let's say, Big Baby in the nuts with the basketball, everybody here would be all like: "He's such an asshole! You don't shoot a guy in the nuts!"

All of that aside, Rondo is turning into an elite player. Let's just hope it's not one of those passing things, where 3 years later, he's eating Vaseline in China, or something.

Blogger Jesse said...
For the rest of the playoffs, the Suns are renaming the team to "Cyclops and the X-men".

Blogger Will said...
Basketbawful- I was hoping you would use the video whose link I posted in last night's BAD post for the Suns' sweep. You kinda quoted it in today's write-up. Here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2wvNMPnmPM

Blogger starang said...
GO SUNS! We had to do a little cleaning in PHX: www.ryancastillo.com/sweeper

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I'm so happy for the Phoenix Suns, finally vanquishing their nemesis, the San Antonio Spurs, but not because I think they deserved to win or because I really like Steve Nash or something. No, I'm a Laker fan, and as such I'm happy for the Suns helping to clear the way by giving my team such an easy opponent in the next round.

The vastly undersized Suns were able to beat the Spurs because San Antonio couldn't make them pay for playing small ball, but that won't be the case against LA. The size of the Lakers will force Alvin Gentry to throw out his game plan and re-shuffle his lineups, and in the end the Lakers should cruise to victory on the strength of rebounds and a plethora of point blank shots at the rim. The Suns might get exceptionally hot from the outside for a game or two, but it should be a pretty one-sided series for LA, allowing them to rest up for whomever survives the Battle Royale in the East.  

Speaking of the East, it's awesome to see Boston pushing the Crabs so hard in that series, while the Magic coast through Atlanta. When the Crabs finally do put Boston away, they'll be faced with a fully refrehed Orlando team who could very well give them the knockout punch that Boston most likely won't. 

Even if the Crabs really do make it past Boston and Orlando, the Lakers should be well rested after feasting on the two tiniest teams that made the playoffs in the West this year. Of course, if Cleveland can't make it past either Boston or Orlando, all the better for my beloved Lakers who match up so much better against those two squads. 

You know, when the playoffs started I was quite worried, not just about LA having to fight and claw through Denver and San Antonio in the West, but about Boston and Orlando not being able to adequately soften up the Crabs in the East. The championship is still a long way off, but things are definitely looking a lot better for the Lakers right now, and ironically it's thanks to Phoenix and Boston. Cheers! 

Anonymous Barry said...
I could watch that Rondo pass all-day. He just does everything he is supposed to do to make it more special.

Smooth mofo.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
The Lakerssmug detector is reading off the charts!

Why should the Suns have to adjust to the double 7 footers? If anything, the Suns should play Frye more to pull one out of the paint and disrupt the help defense.

Also I'm rooting so hard for an 0-3 comeback now.

Blogger Chris said...
Exactly. What do Laker fans think the Suns are going to do? Play Amundson at the 2, Frye at the 3, STAT at the 4 and Collins at the 5 for 25 minutes just to measure up to that dreaded size? Please. They'll extend the floor with Frye and take one of those guys out of the paint.

They may have problems matching up defensively with Los Angeles, but their offense will remain unchanged.

Blogger Shiv said...
That's some Devin Harris talk right there, Wild Yams. It sounds an awful lot like "We knew we were going to win the Championship." I'm just sayin'...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
These Suns/Spurs are very different than what they were during the heat of their true rivalry.

Great series win for the Suns, but even Nash admits it wasn't a true continuation. This doesn't mean what it would have a few years ago when these series would often be a "Finals" on to themselves because that's what the winner would have gone on to do.

Congrats to the Suns, they played well, it makes for a nice story, but with the Spurs well past their prime, this rivalry just isn't the same.

Even 70% of the Suns is very different from the mid 2000's D'Antoni led team.

Blogger chris said...
Even 70% of the Suns is very different from the mid 2000's D'Antoni led team.

Exactly - which is a reason why this team FINALLY broke on through, even considering the advanced, almost Oden-esque age of Duncan and Ginobili amongst others.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Look, anything can happen and all that (which is why I think the Suns could win a game or two), but barring some kind of major injury to a key Laker, let's just be realistic. You really think outside shooting by Channing Frye will make Phil Jackson change anything?  Please. LA was one of the best teams all year at defending the three point line and they've got phenomenal perimeter defenders in Kobe and Artest. The Lakers will be fine overall against the Suns' three point shooting. If someone like Frye does heat up, LA can just use Odom without giving up their inside edge. 

A team that lives by the three usually dies by it as well, but a team that relies on points in the paint, layups and dunks can usually count on those shots going in, especially when the other team has no chance of defending against it. Tell you what, why don't you Suns fans tell me which Phoenix players are best suited to defend Kobe, Gasol, Bynum and Odom, cause looking at the Suns roster I don't see anyone who matches up well defensively against any of those guys. 

I am being pretty over the top in my braggadocio here, but come on, the Suns are pretty much a dream matchup for the Lakers. My biggest concern is that the Lakers will be aware of this and will be as over-confident as I'm being. But ultimately the difference between me making these bold statements and someone like Devin Harris doing it is that as a fan I can afford to make statements like these. 

Thanks again to the Phoenix Suns for rolling out the red carpet for LA. It's very much appreciated!

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Two more things: I'm already on the hook since I said way back in December that the Suns should expect to get blown out by LA every time (after they got blown out twice by them), and Mr. Bawful never forgets shit like that. 

Also, even if the Lakers don't wrap it up tonight like they should, unless an extra game leads to an injury it shouldn't really matter much since the next round won't start for another week anyway. What is up with the NBA schedule makers to automatically build in a week off between rounds like that?  It's only a matter of time before The Finals stretch into July. 

Blogger Clifton said...
@Yams: I wish I didn't suspect that you're probably right. "Look, anything can happen and all that (which is why I think the Suns could win a game or two), but barring some kind of major injury to a key Laker, let's just be realistic."

I keep saying I wish Lopez were healthy, but then again, the Suns have done OK without him this far. But yeah. We were told Duncan would feast on us without an inside presence, too, but Duncan is not Gasol and Bynum.

And DeJuan Blair is fat.

re: the Rondo sweet assist to Tony Allen... am I the only one that saw Allen swinging on the rim and held my breath, totally hoping he wouldn't destroy his knee on the landing?

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
I enjoyed seeing Bynum repeatedly bite on shorter guys' pump fakes tonight. I also can't wait for Derek Fisher to try and defend...anyone on the Suns. I'm gonna stay away from Yams, as I don't want to get any of that bullshit that he's swimming in to get on my clothes.

Blogger Sid said...
In celebration of Rondos dominance:

The king was slacking around, taking a stroll through the garden.
when he was surprised by boos and hisses.
A lackey hanging around nearby, duty bound, begged for his pardon
and showed him a scroll on the wall, it read "TD garden". (The King softly whistled)


For this was the prominent garden of Boston.
Home to Ray Allen and the grouch Kevin Garnett,
One's a big man dominant yet doesn't weigh a ton,
other, whose shots touch nothing, bar the net.


(The Truth has been conspicious by his absence,
20-68 vs Cavs. Grr. Bah. I look at him askance)


A win is a collective effort, pant and huff, timing, to avoid being on a poster.
I'm too lazy to make an effort to find stuff rhyming with the entire Celtics roster.


Coming right to the point
and looking at the man who mans the point
I'd like to make one small point.
This dude's the smallest one in the joint.


I won't go into details very gory.
Fact is the numbers don't tell the full story.
They dont tell of one man whose name can't be rhymed or spelt.
Towards him a rebound, going out of bounds was pelt.
Made contact with a weird sound. Boing! Right below his belt.


Numbers don't tell of the chasedown block attempted.
Where the King saw a cheesey layup, and was sorely tempted
to swat the ball with force into the stands,
followed by striking a kingly pose, a royal stance.


Rondo counted on that instinct
And as the King pounced on him by dint
of his atheletic pace, he saw with a squint,
a knowing look and a smile on the face of the half-pint.


The king bit on the fake.
Not to put his reputation on a stake.
but I haven't seen anyone so fast and slow on the uptake.
Rondo being slippery like a snake,
whipped the ball behind his back to Tony for the make.


Back to the numbers:
29 points


A shimmying walker, goes the story, was once asked
"Why do you shoot so many 3s?"
In his dimming glory, the dunce basked,
and replied, "Bcoz there are no 4s'
Such SWAC mentality makes me sneeze.
Sneeze and puke my lunch with full force.


In contrast to this Rondo only attempted one 3 all game long.
Which he missed, in a game in which he couldn't do any wrong.
Haters can nitpick if they wish.
No big deal that half his shots didn't go swish.


No big deal, as he had 18 boards and 13 assists.
Great numbers on all courts where bball persists.


So concludes the great ballad.
But before I go to eat my salad,
I express a hope, a small plea,
That by now for everyone its clear to see
Why on that night the crowd chanted MVP

(Not for number 23, for Rajon Rondo)

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