Only one moment has left me jumping up and down in front of my tele so far these playoffs, and that was Iggy’s shot to beat the Magic today. That’s when I realized I was rooting for the Sixers in this series. I’m a big Iguodala fan as anyone reading this blog knows. I put him in my All Defensive Team and I also think behind Kobe, Lebron and Wade he might be the most complete swingman in the league – he gets the nod over Roy, Durant, Granger and Joe because he’s far superior defensively to all of them (Ginobili would get a mention if he was healthy). Now you can see why the low-seeded East teams were queuing up to face the Magic in the first round – put pressure on them in a close game and they just look so vulnerable. I’m still tipping Orlando to win the series, but this is assuming they grow a set and man the f**k up. As a Detroit fan, for two straight years I watched the Magic melt like butter in in the postseason – I’m fully aware of the ghosts of playoff past that haunt them. The difference is the past two postseason failures were somewhat expected, or at least a little easier to swallow for Magic fans. This year that ain’t the case. This year it would be gut-wrenching.
The Lakers v Jazz game today felt a lot like the Cleveland v Detroit game yesterday - the Jazz hovered within a respectable margin and threatened to make a run at several stages, but the Lakers never relinquished control and in retrospect, cruised the whole time. The other stand out from this game – Ariza and Shannon Brown combined for 30 points and 6/7 threes. Why is this interesting? Because these are two guys that were missing from last year’s Lakers playoff run. Shannon Brown has now pretty much stolen all of Jordan Farmar’s minutes, and honestly, he’s doing a better job. The deepest bench in the NBA somehow got deeper in the last few weeks.
Chauncey Billups never hit 8 threes in a game when he was a Piston. What the hell is going on here? Chauncey leaves, Detroit get worse, but he gets better?! This is unfair. But I was happy to see Chauncey have this game, not only for the Nuggets cause to end their first-round woes, but also for Chauncey’s legacy. The series is far from over, but this postseason run could go a long way to restoring Chauncey’s Mr Big Shot image. A lot of people criticised him after the Pistons last few playoff exits, me included, but leading the Nuggets to a series win over the Hornets – against the best point guard in the game no less – would emphatically put Chauncey back amongst the league’s elite. And let’s be honest, he hasn’t been there since 2005.
PLAYOFF MVP VOTES
3 votes – Chauncey Billups. 36 points, 8 assists and ZERO turnovers. Playing against Chris Paul.
2 votes – Andre Iguodala. 20-8-8 to go with the game winner.
1 vote – Josh Smith. I only saw about 10 minutes of this game, but it was the 10 minutes when Josh Smith’s flying antics sent the crowd nuts after which the Heat never recovered. 23 points and 10 boards, on a very efficient 9-14. You don’t normally associate the words “Josh Smith” and “efficient”, but it’s an indication of his maturity as a player. Honorable mention goes to Trevor Ariza today.