A Pair of 7s

NBA fans will get a double dosage of game 7 action as the Spurs travel to New Orleans to play the Hornets, and the Celtics host the Cavaliers.

Something’s gotta give between the Spurs and the Hornets. Either the World Champion Spurs will exit early or the Hornets will surrender at home – something that has only happened twice in the NBA’s second round.

The Spurs will hope to catch a little magic from the Lakers who benefitted from the Jazz showing a little too little a little too late.

After trailing by 16 at the end of the third, the Jazz made a spirited comeback and had a chance for the tie on the last possession of the game.

The Jazz came away with nothing despite two looks from behind the arc.

Kobe, who hadn’t taken a shot during the fourth quarter of game five, waited seven-plus minutes into the fourth quarter of last night’s game before sinking a couple of unconscious shots.

Of course it also helped that Andrei Kirilenko was responsible for stopping Bryant. I didn’t know Kirilenko’s homeland took pride in bullfighting because obviously Andrei has done some training to be a matador. There’s no other way to explain his defense other than ole.

It’s also noteworthy to mention that Kirilenko, who gets the highest salary on the Jazz roster and who hit 38% from behind the arc during the season, waited until the last minute of game 6 to hit his first three of the series. Of course he nailed another seconds later thanks to some faulty Laker defense.

With Los Angeles leading by six the Jazz got the ball out-of-bounds in Laker territory. What is the rule of thumb on the sideline-out-of-bounds? Keep track of the inbounder. What did the Lakers do? Two defenders went to Deron Williams who easily returned the pass to Kirilenko (the inbounder) for the wide open shot.

It was all for not as the Jazz failed to convert on the final possession.

Derek Fisher proved once again why he is so valuable. Fisher is the kind of player who takes very few shots. When he takes ‘em, he makes them count. Fisher finished the game with 16 points on 4 for 5 shooting inside the arc and one for one from behind. He also hit seven of eight from the charity stripe.
Last night’s game was one of the rare times this post-season that the visiting team took more free throws than the home squad.

San Antonio will hope for the same treatment from the zebras.

They will also need to slow down David West who has seemed like a man possessed of late. West and Chris Paul have created all sorts of matchup problems for the Spurs. Look for the Spurs to make it a half-court game in the fourth quarter.

The Celtics have to hope their game 7 against the Cavs will resemble their game 7 against the Hawks.
Now that we know a LeBron James team does not play a desperate game, the Celts will not want a close one tomorrow afternoon.

I’m trying to give ‘Bron the benefit of the doubt. I realize he is only 23, and this celebrity status might be a little too much for him, but when he makes statements like this, I just scratch my head.

LeBron, this is year number five of your career, and all you have to show for your efforts is a finals appearance. Maybe you need to show some desperation. Since you are the anointed one, we would hope you are not content with what you have done so far. Yes, we know you don’t have too much talent around you. Please consider this when making such proclamations.

A little confusing why the NBA would wait until Monday night for the Spurs-Hornets to play when they’ve been going with a one day travel schedule up ‘til now. Wouldn’t you want that game on Saturday instead of Monday night?

The silver lining to this situation would be that TNT has the coverage. Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Ernie Johnson are great entertainment. I’m not gonna lie- I look forward to the halftime show because I know I’m gonna get a laugh. All gambling jokes aside, Barkley is great. Actually, considering the amount of gambling he has supposedly done, wouldn’t a casino kinda want Barkley to keep coming back instead of alienating him from their establishment?

It’s great listening to Sleepy Van Gundy and Mark Jackson on ABC and Hubie Brown on ESPN. None of the play-by-play guys do anything for me. Maybe my dream NBA crew would consist of ‘Sleepy’ with Jackson and Brown. They could divvy up the play-by-play responsibilities and at half time Barkley, Smith, and Johnson would take over.

We can get rid of the sideline reporters; that would make the Zen Master, Phil Jackson, happy. Some good comedy when Lisa Salters volunteered to stand on an equipment trunk, so that Jackson wouldn’t have to inconvenience himself by leaning over to talk into the mike.

Looking forward to the games.

4 Responses to "A Pair of 7s"

  1. Reynell   May 18, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    Cleveland 92 Celtics 97

    LeBron (45) and Pierce (41) each eclipsed 40 points in a classic duel. The East is alive and well. No more JV league! This game was pleasing for so many reasons. First off – the mutual respect between James and Pierce. They defended each other most of the game (Posey had James in the 4th). Neither could stop the other. Both had various hustle plays (Pierce diving on the floor after the jump ball late in the 4th; James flying back on D to contest a shot) and they continually bumped (the good kind) each other after every such play.

    What did this game come down to? Coaching. WHAT? Yes – Doc Rivers out-coached LeBron James and his assistant, Mike Brown. Knowing Gibson was out, Rivers had his defenders leaving everyone not named James and West open on the perimeter. The result? Pavlovic, Szczerbiak, Jones, and Ilgauskus (include the big man b/c he shoots from 15-18 feet all game) a combined 6-22 from the floor (27%). And they had WIDE OPEN looks! Delonte West was aggressive and got to the hoop, often drawing a foul. But – he is not a good open floor passer and had some costly TO’s (6).

    Rivers made a great decision in the second half. Ray Allen was still building a new home out of brick (1-4 for 4 pts), so Rivers sat him. He went with House and Rondo for a good 4 minute strech. House played good defense on West and stayed under control offensively. Rivers did not give in, and sat Allen until late in the 4th. He started offensive and defensive substitutions and Allen went in when the Cavs had to foul. They foolishly fouled him and Allen of course knocked down both (currently shooting 98% FT’s, missing only one in the postseason).

    PJ Brown made a huge impact. He rebounded well (6) and hit his outside shots (4-4 for 10 pts). This was especially important since Rondo continued to struggle (4-11 for 8 pts). On top of not sitting Garnett too long (I think he re-entered the game about one minutes into the 4th), Rivers seemed, at least for a game, to know what he is doing. But don’t get too comfortable Doc – Detroit will come for a visit on Tuesday. The Celtics are going to have to figure out their problems on the road because I think the Pistons will steal one in Boston.

  2. Casey   May 18, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    Brother Reynell –

    Your response to this article will be better than most blog posts I will read about this game. Great stuff.

    Helmet sticker for the Mike Brown assistant coach comment.

    Pierce earned quite a bit of respect today. He did a decent job of slowing down Lebron in the 1st quarter. After that he made him work for everything he got.

    Good to see House getting some minutes.

  3. JD   May 18, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    Reynell, Agree with everything you said. Pistons-Celts may turn out to be a very good series. I hope Garnett guards Wallace. Them guys banging for a whole series is sure to cause some fireworks. I can’t see the Celts beating the Pistons unless Allen starts hitting at least a couple of outside shots. How about Mark Jackson saying that Pierce’s number will be retired to the rafters in Bostom, hmmm, not sure about that just yet.

  4. Casey   May 18, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    I was surprised to see that Pierce is #6 of the all-time Celtic scoring leaders.

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