It's chippy with a side of chirpy
|Bodies flying everywhere and it's great playoff basketball.|
The Western Conference final, already a rather chippy and chirpy affair, is fully on now.
Best-of-three, teams starting to truly dislike each other, a whole bunch of guys battling a variety of injuries and illnesses, the rest of this one has a chance to be more a matter of survival more than anything else.
Great playoff basketball, in other words.
About last night
Watch out, Nuggets
Dahntay Jones doesn’t strike me as a dumb fellow, just a guy who does dumb things every now and then.
Like the two-hand shove in the back he gave Kobe Bryant in Game 3 of the Nuggets-Laker series, a foul that was upgraded to a Flagrant 1 by the league, by the way; earning him a small fine.
Last night? Intentionally sticking out his foot to trip Bryant – and it sure looked intentional to me upon further review – was a tad silly.
It didn’t hurt his team too much last night but I guarantee you Kobe will remember it when he looks over at Jones before the tip to start Game 5 and I smell a 40-plus night coming. And I also smell Bryant telling Jones precisely what he’s going to do before he does it.
Remember Kobe screaming “he can’t guard me” at times about Shane Battier in the Houston series? Same thing coming, I bet. Only worse. And in a much, much more important game.
Better, I think, to let sleeping superstars lie.
Okay, we’ll give Carmelo a pass for another so-so game because it’s obvious he ankle’s bothering him but the return of Chauncey Billups to form was one of the big deciding factors in that relatively easy Denver win last night.
Derrick Fisher, Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar – whoever it was – didn’t stand a chance against the undisputed leader of the Nuggets and if they let Chauncey keep getting away from them like that, the wise old men who picked Denver in six might be proved correct.
Wouldn’t that be wild?
Ha ha. Fooled you.
There is none.
Technically, it’s a mess
I know referees want to “control” the game but how come when they do it, they often ruin it for stretches.
Yes, there were some contentious minutes in Denver’s win over the Lakers but the incessant parade to the free throw line to shoot technicals really put a damper on the evening. A couple were probably deserved, a couple were probably not and it strikes me that the officials have thinner skin in the post-season than the probably should.
Emotions run high, players chirp a bit more because calls are more significant, I think the refs should take a bit more than they do in the regular season. I’m all for calming the night if it’s getting out of line physically but players need the chance to vent a bit more vociferously in the playoffs than they get in the regular season.
A (bad) percentage increase
Okay, lots has been made about players accumulating technical fouls and facing suspension when they get to seven in the post-season. Kobe and Dwight Howard are both at five (although it would surprise me if the league rescinds the fifth that Howard got the other night in Game 3) and could be forced to sit out a game of the Finals, which would be a true travesty.
Look at it this way:
It takes seven to draw a suspension in the post-season, when the absolute greatest number of games a player will appear in is 28.
It takes 16 to draw a suspension in the regular season, when a player will – barring any strange trade – appear in no more than 82 games.
I’m no mathematician, but they it strikes me that the ratio is a bit skewed the wrong way. Shouldn’t there be more leeway in the playoffs, when those emotions are running higher and the stakes are greater?
I don’t’ know who came up with seven – maybe it’s Stu Jackson’s lucky number or something – but I would expect the governors to increase that to, oh, nine sounds arbitrary enough, before the 2010 playoffs begin.
I know all of you were breathlessly waiting to know this for sure, what with in-game blog plans to solidify, but the Denver win means the NBA Finals begin for sure on June 4 and follow a Thursday-Sunday-Tuesday format until they end.
You’re welcome. Now set those nights aside.
From the mail, a question of taste:
Q: Hi Doug, please help settle a friendly sibling argument. We've been subjected to the Score/TSN ads throughout the playoffs (over and over and over) and have a question about the Juicy Fruit ad featuring Bosh, the vending machine and the three supporting ballers. We agree it's completely BRUTAL, but our question is whether it's brutal on purpose to appeal to Bosh's sense of humour (my brother's opinion) or whether it's just plain BAD (mine).
Ellie W, Toronto
A: Oh, I’m with you all the way. I give them no marks for subtlety; the commercials just stink.
Seriously, I think if you asked 100 fans who’ve watched the entire series, a shocking majority would say Orlando’s a heavy favourite in Game 4.
They’ve confused the Cavs all series with good enough defence on everyone not named LeBron and their offence has come alive whenever they’ve needed it.
In fact, I think a case can be made that Orlando really hasn’t played a great offensive game for 48 minutes (Hedo’s struggles early are Exhibit No. 1) and if they do, there’s a chance the game won’t be close.
It’s a strange thing to say, but the team that won 66 regular season games is, to many, now the decided underdog.
Which, of course, means Cleveland could win by 15.
But I don’t’ think so.
All right, I have be on the tee about 8:30 up in Streetsville to start this marathon of double-bogeys so I’ve got to jet.
Wish me nothing but gentle fades, power draws and downhill sliders that cut right to the heart of the hole.
But it does mean I could be a tad tardy in getting to comments today; I’ll get to ‘em when I can.
And it also means I’m going to need to take tonight off from the in-game blog stuff to recuperate so we’ll see you all back here tomorrow morning.