By Paul Gotham
Brief notes on the second round of the playoffs.
Celtics vs. Cavs
Cleveland grabbed the one-game advantage. Is it a case of too little, too late for the Cs? Doc Rivers waited until now to call out Rasheed Wallace’s defense. It’s not like we didn’t see this coming. On the offensive end Rajon Rondo is going to need some help if the Celtics stand a chance. Does Boston have a scheme for LeBron? Was the elbow injury a case of gamesmanship by the Akron Hammer?
Hawks vs. Magic
The Hawks offer plenty of foul opportunities for Dwight Howard. Rashard Lewis will need to step up his game for the Magic. Vince Coleman will have to think about putting in some effort when closing out on Atlanta’s shooters. We will find out how good Jameer Nelson actually is. The Hawks struggled to contain Brandon Jennings in round one. Can Nelson take advantage. Al Horford vs. Howard in the paint? That should be a great match-up to watch.
Spurs vs. Suns
A little trivia for you. Who is arguably the best power forward in the history of the league? And on which team does he play? This same team has one of the top five point guards in the league, and this guy is coming off the bench. This team also has maybe the best triple threat guy in the league. Confused?
If Tim Duncan is not the best forward to ever play in the NBA, then who trumps him? How many point guards are there currently in the league better than Tony Parker? Can anyone question Manu Ginobili’s heart? Add to the mix George Hill, and the Spurs look dangerous.
Three years ago a David Stern interpretation of players leaving the bench area slowed the Suns. Since then Steve Nash and company have lost their way.
It will be interesting to watch how both teams try to dictate tempo.
Utah vs. Los Angeles
Jerry Sloan and crew will seek to avoid a third consecutive elimination from the playoffs at the hands of Phil Jackson and his followers. Many are suggesting Kobe has lost a step. He may be playing possum. Pau Gasol looked occasionally dominant as the Lakers took game one. Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer can shoulder the bulk of the load, but Utah will need more performances like the one they got from Paul Milsap.
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