PLAYOFF DIARY: DAY 12
Today the Celtics continued their two-face behavior against the Hawks by belting them in Boston… again. You figure the Celtics are so dominant at home that a Hawks win in game 6 would only delay the inevitable. Still, it’s imperative for the Celtics to finish this one ASAP. If this series goes to 7 there’s every chance the next one (most likely vs Cleveland) could also go to 6 or 7. You throw in the possibility of a 7-game series vs Detroit and you have a very playoff-weary team limping into the Finals. The East is supposed to be the easy conference folks, and the two winningest teams in the league (Detroit and Boston) were supposed to cruise through it. No one would have picked the Sixers and Hawks to push this to six. The NBA: Where “crappy East teams surprising people” Happens.
Ray Allen continues to smooth it up nailing another five threes against the Hawks today – that’s 16 threes for the series on a very neat 50% shooting. They secret to Ray’s shooting? His routine:
“The routine is paramount. People don’t understand that. They see Ray Allen, his head meticulously shaved, his jersey tucked carefully into his shorts, his socks pulled up to precisely the same length, and they are drawn to his silky jumper. Can you blame them? It is so smooth, so fluid, so seemingly effortless.”
It seems I’m not the only one to discover the connection between Ray’s smoothness and his shaving habits. It’s good to know that more and more people are slowly being reconnected with the essence of smooth.
Tough Juice was a hero today… and I NEVER thought I’d say that. He went toe-to-toe with Lebron, hit the game winning shot, and then got in LBJ’s ear in the final seconds before Lebron’s buzzer beater clanged off rim. It seems the Wizard’s haven’t tired of their trash talking or their physical play. But there’s a fine line between “physical play” and “lame cheap shots”, and this move by Darius Songaila falls at the very far end of the lame cheap shot scale.
Seriously, I don’t know what he was trying to achieve with that. It was so far after the initial contact that it’s no different to walking up and smacking a guy in the face off the ball. The thing is, Lebron didn’t get pissed about it. He just back-pedaled, made a funny face, and tried to be diplomatic about it. David Stern would be happy with that, but damn it I wanted Lebron to explode with an outpour of basketball fury for 40 minutes, exacting revenge on Songaila and everyone in the city of Washington. Can you imagine what Kobe would do if he was whacked like that? He would get that look where you know he’s thinking he wants to knife somebody, then go out and drop 45. If Lebron’s looking for reasons why he doesn’t have the killer instinct of Kobe, he should look no further than his retaliation (or lack of) in this game.
Today I realised something that excited me. If you go check out the top two players in our Playoff MVP Leader board, you will realise they are both A) point guards and B) facing each other in round 2. This could be one of the best match ups we’ll see this playoffs. The reigning Finals MVP playing in stellar form versus the MVP-candidate staking his claim as the best point guard in the league. I cannot wait to see this match up. I’ve always believed that Tony Parker tends to look a little better than he really is because of the opposition point guard’s lack of quickness and defensive ability. Did you ever notice that when Tony Parker is playing it seems like he’s not being defended? His points in the paint are contested by the big guys (not his direct opponent), and he never shoots jump shots with a hand in his face. This is partly due to the Spurs excellent offensive execution – Duncan is the master of the high pick’n roll and Ginobili forces the defense to collapse on him when he reaches the lane. But Chris Paul is quick enough and good enough at playing the passing lanes to make TP’s life a little more difficult. Plus he’ll make Tony work at the other end – will Parker be able to sustain his offensive outbursts for the full 48 playing against Chris Paul? I wouldn’t think so. But I can’t wait to find out.
Day 12’s Playoff MVP Votes
3 votes – Tough Juice
2 votes – Paul Pierce
1 vote – Kevin Garnett
Playoff MVP Leader Board
Chris Paul – 8 votes
Tony Parker – 7 votes
Lebron James – 6 votes
Kobe Bryant – 6 votes
Dwight Howard – 5 votes