We've got some kind of Sunday ahead, don't we?
|Lakers need to see more of Odom.|
Well, that was some night, no? Figured the Orlando game would go the Magic way but I sure didn’t see the Rockets doing that to the Lakers.
It’s going to make for a rather eventful and fun Sunday, right? Of course, family considerations in the middle of a long weekend may dampen some of it but I’ve been in the doghouse before because of work and will be again so what the heck.
For all you TV viewers, just got word a minute ago that the Sunday night game’s on TSN; the afternoon one is on ABC.
So, if you’ll be around, I will be; why don’t we try for the first ever Victoria Day Weekend Live-Blog Doubleheader? It might be too much but what the heck, it’s worth giving it a shot.
So, who wins?
Normally, you’d think the home team in a Game 7 situation would have a huge advantage, wouldn’t you? On their own court, with the energy and adrenaline boost they get from the fans, sleeping in their own homes, going through their familiar routines. It all usually adds up to a significant edge.
Why, then, do I have a suspicion that both Orlando and Houston can pull off shockers on Sunday afternoon?
It is because there seems to be no way the Celtics can guard Rashard Lewis and that a fire seems to have been lit under Dwight Howard? Is it because Rafer Alston has no conscience and won’t care about the hostile environment? Is it because Ray Allen seems to be aging rapidly right in front of our eyes? Maybe it’s because Kendrick Perkins and
Glenn Glen Davis can’t seem to stay out of foul trouble?
I know Orlando’s penchant for blowing leads is, ahem, rather troubling; I know Doc Rivers seems to have a way of making the right move at the same time Stan Van Gundy makes the wrong one.
But because of those first few items, and the relative youth of the Magic, I can see an Orlando upset.
Out west, is there reason to think Houston can steal one – and it would be by far the biggest single-game playoff upset of this year and probably the last few?
Is it because they seem oblivious to pressure? Is it because they respect but they certainly don’t fear the Lakers? Is it because Lamar Odom has been far too invisible into many games? Is it because Andrew Bynum is an entire non-factor? Or that Aaron Brooks is killing the Laker point guard so much it’s bordering on abuse.
Now, Kobe Bryant may have something to say about the final outcome, he has the ability to single-handedly win a game but a wise man once picked the Rockets in seven and even though he asked for a Mulligan, he’s not going to take it.
Okay, ripping Dwight Howard is no longer the cool thing to do.
Not after last night, that’s for sure.
I don’t know that there are that many “plays” called for – I don’t know that the Magic have a lot of specific stuff in their system for him outside of high screen and roll and a direct post-up – but he was active, he went and sought out the ball and was a beast on the glass.
All in all, he was an all-star, after being a spectator, of his own or his coach’s doing, too often in the series.
According to Brian’s piece here, they’re a little incredulous, too.
It was a weird one, no?
Orlando goes on an 11-2 run at the end of the game? When they were supposed to be crumbling like they always do?
Rafer Alston’s drilling huge threes and Hedo Turkoglu sheds the goat horns to make his biggest shot of the night?
The Celtics commit 22 turnovers? This is the defending NBA championship team?
But it really call comes back to Howard.
As I’ve been known to do (it’s a quirk, I know), I sent myself a note in the second quarter of the Rockets-Lakers game, when Los Angeles was making a run and that 21-3 Houston start looked like it happened eons ago.
How far does emotion carry a team?
Well, far enough, it seems.
I’m one of those many people who seem to like the Rockets more every day because they might be the most mentally tough team in the league and I knew they’d come out humming at home.
However, after 21-3, you knew there had to be a letdown and for a minute it looked like the Lakers were truly gaining control of the game.
Then the funny thing happened. The Rockets didn’t go away.
I’m not sure what was more impressive: Luis Scola schooling whoever was guarding him in the first quarter or the fact the Rockets simply did not wilt at any time. They bent a bit but never went away.
Now, I know NBA types have loved Scola all along but perhaps even more than
Glenn Glen Davis, that guy has become the revelation of all revelations to the casual fan.
Is Kobe Bryant turning into Rasheed Wallace?
No, not a three-point shooting big man who seems to be near the end of his career. A whiny, overly-emotional technical-foul machine.
And a guy who better be careful.
The technical Bryant got last night, a cheap one for what looked like a shot to Ron Artest’s face, was his fifth of the playoffs and if he gets two more, he’ll have to sit out a one-game suspension.
The refereeing the post-season has been, to say the least, shoddy. Technical fouls come out of nowhere and what it takes to get a technical seems to change game-to-game and quarter to quarter. And don’t get anyone started on what constitutes a flagrant foul because no one seems to know exactly for sure what that might be.
Still, doesn’t that mean, as frustrated as he understandably would get, that Bryant has to be extra-careful in his dealings with the officials at emotional moments?
With five, Bryant’s the runaway leader – no one has more than three – of players still playing and it’s not like he’s been in two contentious series; yes, there were moments in this one when he could have lost his cool but they really routed Utah, didn’t they?
Imagine the hue and cry if, for instance, the Denver Nuggets goaded him into a couple and he was suspended for something like Game 5, 6 or 7?
That’d diminish the reputation a wee bit, wouldn’t it?
Speaking of refs, yes, that was Mark Wunderlich working the Rockets-Lakers game last night. Guess there was no real fallout from that Dallas-Denver blunder.
Oh, right, Raptor news.
There is none. Sorry.
I do know there are people in the organization who think they’re will be a resolution to any coaching staff moves before the end of next week. The next “trigger point” would be the Chicago pre-draft combine, which goes May 27-31. Teams will want their full staffs at that one so look for any hirings in Toronto – or throughout the league, probably – to be done before that May 27 start.
Now, we’re trying to get a mailbag together for tomorrow or Sunday (depending entirely on my day and my mood) but we could use a few questions. Feel free to goof off from work for a bit and send me an e-mail; you know how to reach me.