With every series already playing three games.....and two series already done with four....it's time to do a quick little recap of what's going on...and what could go on.
NETS-PACERS TIED 2-2: The only series currently at a deadlock, this Nets-Pacers series could go the distance. Both have won on the other's court. The last three games haven't really been close. And there have been two "stars" of this series that no one expected. Former Net and current Pacer Anthony Johnson has been a nightmare for his former team. And current Net Nenad Krstic has scored at least 20 pts in three of the four games. I picked the Nets in 7....and I am sticking with it.
PISTONS CAN LOSE TO THE BUCKS: The only thing people were wondering in this series was if Milwaukee could win a game. Well, they have....by 20. The Pistons defense was horrible....allowing 124 points total and Michael Redd to get off for 40 [the team shot 60% from the field]. Now if the Bucks can pull off a surprise Monday night, we may actually have a series here. Doubt it. I picked the Pistons in 4 and, well, that ain't gonna happen. So, the Pistons in 5.
CAN MIAMI STAY ALERT?: The Heat snuck out of Miami with two hard fought wins over the Bulls. But, they go to Chicago and implode. There were techs, ejections and Shaq's horrid game [8 pts, 7 TOs, 0-6 from the line]. James Posey will be gone for Game 4...marking the 2nd Miami player to be suspended during this series [Udonis Haslem was suspended for Game 2]. I picked the Heat in 5 games...and while that still may happen, I just don't see that now. Miami's having trouble shutting down Chicago's backcourt...and if Shaq's burnt out already, they are in a bit of trouble.
ALL ABOUT LEBRON: If there is one thing for certain in the Wiz-Cavs series [Cleveland leads 2-1], is that LeBron James is the focal point of everything. In the two games the Cavs won, LeBron couldn't be stopped....even hitting the game winner in Game 3. In the one game they lost, the story was how LeBron was "physicalled" all night. I picked the Cavs in 7 games.....and it looks as if that will be the case.
THE WAY THE BALL BOUNCES: In the Spurs-Kings series [San Antonio leads 2-1] we have seen the last two games decided by a ball bouncing around the rim. In Game 2, the Spurs made a late comeback to send the game into overtime. The shot that put them there was a Brent Barry three-pointer that bounced around the rim before dropping. In Game 3, the Spurs turned the ball over...Sacto's Kevin Martin raced down the court and tossed up a layup over Tim Duncan as time expired. That shot bounced around the rim before dropping to give the Kings a one point win. That was the first time a shot took a team trailing to a playoff win at the buzzer since Derek Fisher's dramatic and controvercial shot in San Antonio in the 2003 playoffs. So, Kings fans can say "ahhh...we could be up 2-1" and Spurs fans can say "ahhhh...we could be up 3-0". I picked the Spurs in 5....and after Game 1 it looked like I overrated the Kings. Now, Sacto has a chance to tie this thing up. I still think the Spurs come out on top.
LAKERS ONLY ROAD TEAM WITH SERIES LEAD: Right now, the Lakers are the only road team to have a lead in their series [they lead 2-1]. Games 2 and 3 were near identical games [the scores even were 99-92 and 99-93] with the Lakers stepping up big late and the Suns folding at times. And both games were pretty physical. We've had Vujacic-Nash. Kwame-Diaw. Walton-Thomas. And two rounds of Kobe-Nash. The story of this series has been Kobe Bryant. Not that he's been going off....but that he isn't. He has looked more like a Magic Johnson-type player....running the offense and distributing the ball. In fact, in Game 3, Kobe Bryant didn't lead the team in scoring for the first time since February 7 [Smush Parker led the team]. I picked the Suns in 7....and despite my Laker buddies ribbing....and I am sticking with it. I know, I know. The Suns are shook. The Lakers are all playing well. But I had this series figured at one team would win Games 1 and 4....the other would win 2 and 3. The rest of the way, the home team prevails. If the Suns can get their crap together they can get this series back. But I sure hope I am wrong on this one.
MEMPHIS STILL CAN'T WIN A GAME: Right now, the Grizzlies are 0-11 lifetime in the playoffs. Ouch! Dallas owns a 3-0 lead in this series with the help of a lose ball finding Dirk Nowitzki's hands and his shot finding the bottom of the basket. I picked the Mavs in 7....and, well, this series will be over much shorter than I expected.
CLIPPERS MAY ADVANCE: For the first time ever, the Clippers may win a playoff series. The last time they did so, they were the Buffalo Braves. Well, the Clips own a 3-1 advantage, and the series would be over by now if they didn't turn the ball over constantly in Game 3. The story of this series has obviously been Kenyon Martin being suspended indefinitely. I said the Nuggets in 6.....and Denver hasn't shown up at all for this series. Maybe a Clips-Lakers 2nd round????