This was an important day for the playoffs. Based on the first two games between the Magic and Raptors, Cavs and Wiz, and Rockets and Jazz, a 3-0 result was looking likely across all three series. But instead the Raptors pulled out a balanced effort to spank the Magic (they lead by 23 at one stage), the Wizards thumped the Cavs by 36 points, and Houston pulled out an unlikely win against the Jazz in Utah.

The Toronto and Washington wins were not all that surprising, but the Rocket’s upset warrants some more discussion. Utah only lost four games at home all season. One of those games was against the Lakers (best team in the West), one was against the Celtics (best team in the East), one was against the Blazers (during their 13-game winning streak) and the other was against the Rockets (T-Mac scored 47). Over the last six months the Jazz have only lost five times at home (which is ridiculous when you think about it), and the Rockets own two of those victories. That is a big psychological edge for a team to have in a playoff series, when most other teams would be shit scared about playing in Utah. As a Pistons fan I can tell you that first hand – we’ve lost six straight to them, I hate playing in Utah, I’d be happier to just chalk up the “L” and avoid the trip altogether.

Deron Williams continued his stellar playoff campaign with a 28 points, 13 assist performance, but had his potential game-winning shot blocked by Carl Landry. Rafer Alston was so overjoyed by this play he planted a big kiss on Carl’s cheeks, who’s reaction was priceless (check the highlights). Someone else no doubt overjoyed by the Rockets win was T-Mac, who seemed to be taking the Rockets 0-2 result really hard. While some of that stuff was obviously said tongue-in-cheek, I couldn’t help but be a little alarmed by the following T-Mac comment:

“I’m in a tough position. If I go out and try to be passive and we’re not making shots, then we’re in a hole. If I am aggressive and I have to stay that way, then fourth quarter, I’m worn out, don’t have the lift I do in the first three quarters. It’s a tough situation to be in.”

My God, someone please call a freaken wahmbulance. Seriously T-Mac, HTFU. It’s called carrying a team. Maybe you should go talk to Kobe or T-Mac about it, because they seem to handle it through four quarters quite easily. But then again, that is Kobe and Lebron, and this is T-Mac who’s never been out of the first round. I’ve always thought T-Mac was one of the premier players in this league, and still do, but I’ve never been convinced he had the tenacity and drive to be a true great. Maybe that’s because he looks like he’s half-asleep all the time, hard to tell. But a quote like that is certainly an eye-opening insight into the demons that haunt McGrady’s mind. Still, I’ve done enough hating on T-Mac the last few days. He was great today and made big shots down the stretch, and that’s why he gets votes.
Today’s Playoff MVP Votes
3 votes – Tracy McGrady
2 votes – Jose Calderon (18 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists in 25 minutes will get you votes)
1 vote – DeShawn Stevenson, for the following passage of play:

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I’m not exactly sure what DeShawn Stevenson is doing here. Trying to get in Lebron’s head again? Or just havin fun? Either way, its guys like him that make for an entertaining series.

Playoff MVP Leaderboard
Chris Paul – 6 votes
Dwight Howard – 4 votes
Pau Gasol – 3
Deron Williams – 3
Lebron James – 3
Kobe Bryant – 3
Tracy McGrady – 3

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