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"Lou is not talking about mechanics when he goes out to the mound,"
~Chicago Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

NBA Playoffs Round Two

Well, Kobe's pretty damn good, but he's a quitter when his back's on the wall (e.g. taking two shots for one point in the second half of Game 7 vs. the Suns). Maybe the Lakers Brass will get him some help next year, although with their salary cap situation the way it is, I wouldn't hold my breath or anything.

Let's talk instead about those who made it. The Nuggets prove they're overrated as well, being the only top four seed in either league not to advance to the Second Round. The Clippers sure are happy about it, though. I'm sure Elton Brand has sent a thank you card to Carmelo by now. It's the first time the Clippers have ever been to the Second Round. Congrats, but don't expect to make it to the next round.

The Phoenix Suns did what no one thought they'd do. First they went down 3-1 to the Lakers, which was surprise #1. But did they hang their heads and sit on the bench and pout? No. They just went out and played hard and took the next three from the #7 rated Purple and Gold. Nice. Watch out Clips, this team is ready to play.

Then there's the San Antonio Spurs. Not only did they have to play the best #8 seed in recent memory, perhaps ever, in the Sacramento Kings, but now they have to play the second best team in the West in the Second Round. Unreal. But, did they cry about it? Well, yes, actually, but the still came out and played the game (the early game, since the NBA evidently loves LeBron more then the defending champs) and took it to the Maverics in Game 1. Will Dallas come back in Game 2? Not if Tim Duncan has another 31 point, 13 rebound, 2 block, 4 assist performance. But Tony Parker has a bit of a thigh bruise (allegedly from playing, not from Eva), and the Mavs are a great team, so don't expect anything but another outstanding game.

That, however, shouldn't be expected out of many of the Cavs/Pistons games. Game 1 was a laugher, with Detroit making a mockery out of the Cleveland team. Ouch. Well, NBA, you got James into the second round, but the buck stops here. The Pistons are going to roll right into the Semifinals to take on the winner of the Nets/Heat. Defense wins championships and the Pistons are showing the league that they're after one thing: The Trophy.

Speaking of the East, it was impressive to see the Heat come back from getting their asses beat to make it respectable, but if Riley can't stop Jason Kidd from going off (22 points after averaging just 8.0 in the first round) then it could be a long plane ride home to Miami. But, I just can't count out Riley, the Big Diesel and Dwayne Wade just yet, so don't be surprised to see this thing get back to even real soon.

Alright, that's about all I've got for today. Once again, expect Detroit to once again trounce on the Cavs tonight, and for the Spurs/Mavs game to go to the wire. The Mavs don't want to go back to Dallas down two, so there's going to some hard fouling going on in the paint. Watch Duncan complain like no one else since Magic and Ginobli to flop like no one else since Divac. If I had to wager on it, I'd say Dirk Nowitski finds a way to get it done tonight and the series gets back to even.

But I've been wrong before.


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