Thursday, May 25, 2006

NBA ... CONFERENCE-SHMONFERENCE, THIS IS GREAT BALL!

When Steve Nash looked up at the scoreboard and discovered that the Suns, his team, was down by 9 and the seconds of Game 1 were melting away... the reiging MVP put pedal to metal or sneaker to hardwood in this case, and made the win happen. His 16 Assists, 1 shy of his career post-season high and the most by anyone over this '06 post-C', were good... but his 27 points were critical. Why? Because as Nash goes so too do the Suns. Darting and diving through the lane as effortlessly as a sewing machine's needle through cloth, Nash elevated everyone's game.
Boris Diaw: The Hawks are kicking themselves for letting this kid get away; 34 remarkable points, 6 boards, a block, a steal, and 8-10 from the charity stripe. Indeed, this game was a springboard and Diaw took another step towards stardom last night.

Shawn Marion: "The Matrix" came on strong towards the end of the Laker series and hasn't let up since. Last night, Marion hung 24, pulled down 13, swiped 3 and blocked the same number. **Noticeably limping at the end of the game, if Marion's ankle is badly sprained... Phoenix has a big problem; a virtually un-guardable Dirk Nowitzki.

Tim Thomas: In essence a journeyman, Thomas has found a home in Phoenix and his size and jumper make him an outstanding 3rd scoring option; 17 points (including 2 of 3 from downtown), 7 Rebounds, and 2 Steals.

The Giant German's 25/19 game was VERY impressive and it's almost unfair. The Suns just got done with the beast that is Elton Brand, now they're forced to contend with Dirk. But Nowitzki's dynamic game wasn't the story for Dallas last night. Uh-uh, that honor is reserved for 2nd year Point Guard Devin Harris, who dropped 30 points and recorded a fistful of Steals. Harris did what top-dog Jason Terry couldn't; he went for the jugular and forced Phoenix to hemorrhage points. Fortunately for the Suns, a savvy decision by Steve Nash saved the game... a pivotal game, for Phoenix.
Boris Diaw took yet another step forward in his development last night, and we were all there to see it. Did you catch it? With 4.5 seconds remaining, the league's "Most Improved Player" snared the inbounds pass with his back to the hoop, turned, and sunk a delicate touch shot.

Game, set, 3 more to go!

As for the Heat and Pistons... where'd Tayshaun Prince (5-13, 16/6) go? Where'd Rip' Hamilton 22/4/3, but 9-22?) go? 'Sheed Wallace (7/3 and 3 of 10 from the field)? Chauncey Billups (c'mon, 19 points, 7 dimes', and... 6 of 19), where fore art' thou? At least you know not to expect points from Big Ben, who was actually 3 of 3 for 6 points. The 'Fro' with Feet pulled down 14 'boards and notched 3 steals, but blocked nary a shot. When you shoot not even 38% from the field as a team, you have no business winning and... well, D-troit didn't.
The Heat were hot, 5 players scored in double-diggys', and even though Shaq' found himself in foul trouble Miami received quality minutes from Alonzo Mourning. 'Zo, who looks every inch the physical specimen, didn't post gaudy numbers but he did the little things. The little things that, for instance, Charles Oakley used to do for the Knicks. Gritty, ugly, not flashy... but downright neccessary.
Likewise, Dwyane Wade's 25 points 3 Assists, 3 Rebounds, 2 Steals and 1 no-no may look like a nice line, but foul trouble stalked him as well. Actually, 'Twan Walker and Gary "The Glove" Payton made this win possible. Walker, who took a great deal of flak from the press because "he was taking valuable minutes away from do-everything PF Udonis Haslem (who went 0-6, incidentally)" was integral to Miami beating the Nets... the team might be home if not for Walker's sure-shooting and clutch Rebounding.

The Pistons are't ready to lay down and roll over just yet, and it will require another team effort to salt away tonight's game. This will, in all likliehood, turn into a 7 game series.

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