Sunday, April 20, 2008

Game One Thoughts

Some thoughts after an absolutely blistering weekend of basketball.

  • I want to take a second and praise the announcing crews from this weekend. I was ready to pounce. After all, bad announcing in the NBA is a delicacy. It's like puffer fish. But starting with the noon game with Rick Carlisle and Dave Pasche, I was blown away by the quality of the announce teams Saturday. Carlisle made a serious run for JVG in my heart, today. The insight was relevant, the jokes were fresh if predictable, and Pash made some great calls, including Arenas' first step off the bench, "Here comes trouble." I was all ready for Breen and Mark Jackson to ruin my day, and was pleasantly surprised to find, surprise, they were in rare form as well. Breen did great job of calling the action evenly, Jackson was unobtrusive, and JVG was his usual brilliant self. I did not see that coming, but it was a nice surprise. And hell, even Tirico and Hubie were in rare form. Hubie decided to get technical and really broke down the small defensive adjustments and rotations in a way where I felt like I was actually learning something from him. There's a moment in the Hornets/Mavs game where Tirico notes how fast the truck pulls up a graphic. Saturday was one of those days where everyone seems genuinely amazed at how well everything's gone. The games were terrific, the production was good, the announcers provided a compliment to the game instead of getting in the way. It was an absolutely perfect day from top to bottom.
  • The Suns vs. Spurs game stays in my mind, as it does in other people's, as a reminder of several things. One, the Spurs will battle back, regardless of the situation. There is literally no scenario in which they surrender in the playoffs. Second, the Suns rely entirely too much on unreliable players. Leandro Barbosa and Boris Diaw were given game- winning-attempts (which of course the FAILed at). Not Amare Stoudemire. Not Steve Nash. Not even Raja Bell. No, the wimpy speedster and the Euro-Disappointment All-Star. D'Antoni got outcoached by about a mile. The Suns gave him a 16 point lead, and he couldn't close the deal, didn't make adjustments, and repeatedly gave the wrong person the ball. But the WORST, the worst thing about yesterday was the final drive by Ginobili. Let's forget for a second that Bell has barely done anything this season worth mentioning. Let's forget that Barkley has said on national television, "Ginobili can't go right. Just make him go right." You brought Grant Hill exactly for moments like this. After a season that saw Hill effectively shut down Ginobili on select possessions, you have him guarding... Bruce Bowen. I don't care how banged up Hill is. You give him Ginobili, and you tell him to stop him. I had told everyone that Game 1 was going to be key. It sets a tone. And the tone right now is, the Suns still can't beat the Spurs.
  • I really like how the Hornets adjusted against the Mavs. Paul pretty much said, "Fine. You're going to trap the strong side? I'm driving past you and shooting. Stop me." And they couldn't. Dirk against West is turning into everything I hoped it would be. Great home crowd for the Hornets, too. But really, we beg you, Hornets, cut the "Whoos." Forget that it was started by Baron Davis. It's just annoying. And kind of dumb. It's almost like a vocal form of "The Wave."
  • Where in the holy hell did Jason Kapono come from?
  • Two things. One, if Gasol gets a touch pass, it's two points. Every time. And two, I don't know who told George Karl to put Kenyon Martin on Kobe and Eduardo Najera on Gasol, but that plan did not work. At all. They should have gone with Martin on Gasol and Kleiza on Kobe. Kobe will get his. Contain the rest.
  • Every time I think the NBA Blogosphere has done all it can, it ups the anty. The Playoff coverage has been phenomenal so far. Here are a few I really wanted to step out and mention.
  • Upside and Motor, name thieves that they are, have put out a fantastic series on why teams won't win. By pointing out their biggest weaknesses, he's helped to make these teams more human, and that's been a great read.
  • Of course, Basketbawful and Free Darko have been killing it, but you kind of knew that would happen.
  • If you want to see joy? Go check out At The Hive and Hornets 24-7. Reading those guys makes me simultaneously deliriously happy for them and unbelievably jealous I'm not a Hornets (or any other team, really) fan.
  • Interesting reactions from ProjectSpurs and Bright Side Of The Sun.
  • That first Cleveland-Washington game says a lot about the series. The Wizards can beat the Cavs, as long as LeBron doesn't go nova. Unfortunately, they've pissed him off, so he's going to go nova.
  • The only game I've missed thus far is Rockets-Jazz, and that's on call for tonight on DVR. From what I've heard, I didnt' miss much.

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