Monday, April 28, 2008
(I know Pop. How could I possibly have picked the Mavs to beat the Hornets?)
Instead of just focusing on the Spurs, I figured I'd give some general reflections on the playoff games I watched this weekend (although obviously I will have plenty to say about SA). I just want to point out that I had the Wizards beating the Cavs in 6, Mavs beating the Hornets in 6, the Celtics beating the Hawks in 4, and once they went up 3-0, I said the Spurs were gonna close it out on Sunday. So I don't actually know anything about basketball.
Celtics-Hawks: OK, obviously the Celtics are gonna win this series. And Al Horford mocking Pierce while he was laying on the ground only locked an already closed window. But I did love watching this game. Some combination of Josh Smith's thunderous dunks and Al Horford's juvenile vigor is pretty exciting to watch. But if Pierce puts up 40 tonight, you know exactly who to blame.
NO-Dallas: So I was wrong about this series. Like really wrong. And they should suspend Kidd for a game. Absolutely. If Horry got suspended two games for hip-checking Nash, Kidd should absolutely get suspended for attempted murder. And if that happens, no one, I mean NO ONE, is allowed to claims Kidd's suspension is the reason the Mavs are gonna lose this series.
UPDATE: The ruling on Kidd is ridiculous. You are telling me this is more flagrant than this. Kidd puts Pargo in way more physical danger than Nash ever was. This just goes to show how the NBA has no backbone and makes decisions based on public opinion, not on what is just in terms of the reality of the game.
Wizards-Cavs: Ok, so lucky for me the Wizards probably aren't gonna win this series and I can continue to use the Stevenson-Icarus metaphor, despite the fact that it is banal and gives no insight into the guys game whatsoever. But I do wanna talk about one thing real fast. I only watched the last couple of minutes of Game 4, but I will say unequivocally that neither of the last two Wizards possessions were well drawn plays, and in fact neither were well executed. An isolation situation were Arenas has to hit a circus shot to tie it up is not actually a well executed play, despite the points scored. And just giving it to him one-one-one beyond the arch and saying "let it fly" is not a good call either. He can't create space because his man isn't gonna sell out on the fake drive because they need a three. And you have so many guys on that team who can nail a 3, I can't believe they didn't run a high screen or something. Even if you go back to Arenas for the shot, you need to get the ball out of his hands so he can possibly lose his man for a second. Just a poorly written, and very poorly executed final shot attempt.
Spurs-Suns game 4: There are two wrong reactions to this game: 1) The Spurs let'em have it. And 2) The Suns are back in this one. Yes, the Spurs sat the big 3 near the end of the 4th and they never saw the floor again, but that was merely Popovich accepting defeat and insuring that his guys are fresh tomorrow night. But from the get go the Suns came out on a mission (and rightfully so). No one wants to get swept. And certainly not by your arch-nemesis. That being said- The Spurs are still gonna take this series. They are just too cold-blooded and too disciplined to a) let this loss affect them mentally, and b) give up 4 in a row, including 2 at home. Not gonna happen. If anything a big loss could be cathartic for them, get them back on track.
I'll be back later with some more specific Spurs-Suns notes, which I think I'll just combine with a Game 5 preview. Although obviously for a lot of reasons the game is not going to be indicative of the rest of the series, I think it sheds some light on some interesting adjustments D'Antoni has made, and what adjustments Popovich may make in response.