Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Playoffs 08: Round 1, Game 5s

  • Steve Nash gets this one. I hate it more than anything, because he brought the joy of the game back to me when I had just about given it up. But it's on him. This loss. Not the season, but this one.
  • Like I said, Boris Diaw should not have the ball with under a minute remaining. I'm not saying he didn't have a great game. He did. But if Amare Stoudemire had scored 28 and thrown away that pass, he would be getting hammered, even though he's had a much better season than Diaw. Diaw doesn't get pass from me just because he was the Little Engine That Could for two games. Also, like I said, Barbosa should have been trade bait a year ago, he should be trade bait now.
  • Tim Duncan deserves to be in any argument for best basketball player since Michael Jordan. And he deserves strong support. There have never been any questions about whether he shoots too much, whether he benefits too much from a supporting cast, whether he plays in a tough enough conference, whether he can win the big one. And while I still maintain that the Spurs get calls which boggle the mind (Duncan tripping over his own feet, anyone?), Tim Duncan will hit any shot that he needs to, whenever he needs to. He will fight for rebounds over stronger, younger players with fewer injuries, and will outwork anyone on the floor. It's only after he's eliminated one of my absolute favorite teams for the second year in a row that I am reminded of how truly great he is.
  • Dear Rockets: I apologize for underestimating you. Again. Thanks for battling back, and giving the Lakers an extra day of rest. Just kidding. Good luck in Game 6. Don't Stop. Believin'.
  • Well, howdy, there, Deeeetroit! Fancy seeing you here! Where ya been? Nappin'? This ain't no time for nappin'! Get to work, ye young whippersnappers!
  • Hey, Andre Iguodala finally showed up for a game! With 6 turnovers! Good to see you, Andre.
  • Things I'm hoping for: Kerr to fire D'Antoni and for everyone to realize in a year that it was Kerr that crashed this beautiful hang-glider we called the Suns and not D'Antoni, for D'Antoni to go take the Bulls job with Hinrich, Noah, Thomas, Gordon, and Deng, for the Suns to do the right thing and trade Steve Nash to the Blazers, for the Rockets to win Game 6 to force a Game 7, for Amare to work on his free throw shooting and his fadeaway, for Shaquille O'Neal to agree to a buyout, for Avery Johnson not to get fired, for Joe Johnson to silence the fake Garden tomorrow if only to bring back some unexpected joy, for the Wizards to make this the series it deserves to be.
  • Corn asked me this question after Game 4 of Suns-Spurs. "Do you honestly believe that Greg Popovich is the best coach in the NBA?" and I answered, without hesitation, "Yes."
  • There are a number of terrible coaches in the NBA. One of them is currently coaching the #1 seed who's locked up with an 8 seed. There are mediocre coaches, like Rick Adelman, who can do some good things but can never be good overall. Then there are great coaches. And it seems that the only fanbases that really want to fire their coaches are the teams with great coaches. In the next several weeks, we're going to see Sam Mitchell, Avery Johnson, and Mike D'Antoni fired. And they're all great coaches. They are good tacticians, great motivators, excellent managers of talent and ego, and have produced that most precious of commodities. Wins. And they're all going to get canned. And yet it took years to get rid of Isiah Thomas. Wow. I think more and more that good coaches are underappreciated and bad coaches are overappreciated.
  • I'm not entirely sure of this, but I think the Utah Jazz might want to, I don't know, hit their freaking free throws.
  • Detroit has finally regained momentum but faces a dangerous and confident Sixers team on the road next. The Celtics are at home and reeling from a disastrous loss. The Spurs have endured a short but grueling series. The Jazz are having a hard time dispatching the 5 seed without their best player, again. And somewhere... the Lakers are resting.
  • I won't lie. The Spurs win was painful for me. This season has been a tremendous learning experience for me, since being closer to the Spurs organization and just learning so much more about the game has made me so much more aware of how terrific they are as a team, and organization, and a basketball entity. But I loved these Suns, and if you ask me one player I most identify with, it's Nash. He's goofy, he's intellectual, and he's committed to making opportunities for his teammates. So to watch him fail so miserably is hard. But I will legitimately try not to mourn these Suns any longer, not with so much fantastic basketball yet to be played.
  • I'm not even kidding when I say that when Jerry Stackhouse got up in CP3's face, I think David West honestly was thinking about cutting his throat right there. West's quiet intensity is terrifying. Terrifyingly awesome. Go Hornets.

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