The NBA Playoffs: A Thursday Night Viewer's Guide

Basketbawful once again brings you the nightly NBA previews. And the Spurs' championship formula. Basically, they...well, keep reading.

Cleveland versus Boston: Game 2

LeBron James. I'm not a betting man, but I'd be willing to bet my life's savings - all $27.93 of it - that LeBron isn't going to have the worst game of his career for the second straight game. In fact, I kind of expect a triple double.

Grammar. Said LeBron: "I can't play no worse than I did (in Game 1)." But...doesn't that mean...he actually can play worse? I'm just sayin'.

Contradictions. Although he presumably thinks he can't possibly play any worse than he did in Game 1, the King won't admit it was his worst-ever game. "No, nah, nah. It's not the worst. At the end of the day we still had a chance to win the ball game. I wasn't satisfied with the way I played but saying it's my worst game, nah." Memo to LeBron: Make up your mind. Either you can't play no worse or you didn't have your worst game. Pick one and go with it.

Defense. It rocked in Game 1. Both teams got after it. It was gritty. It was a 48-minute scrum. It was...the late 90s all over again. If you liked that sort of thing.

Offense. It sucked in Game 1. Look, kids, I know that both teams were going balls-out on defense, but come on. Dudes were just flat-out missing shots, too. Especially LeBron, who looked like he downed some dizzy pills before the game. According to Pierce: "Offensively, we were a terrible-looking group. We turned the ball over 23 times, shot 40 percent from the field. We did just about everything wrong you could do offensively." Pretty much, yeah.

Doc Rivers versus Mike Brown. The chess game continues. Between two guys who probably should be playing Candyland. (See above.)

Commander Obvious. According to Paul Pierce: "(The Cavaliers) are going to try to do things to make it easier on LeBron." Thanks, Paul. Carlos Boozer approves.

Kevin Garnett. He-who-should-be-MVP was The Man in Game 1. He even hit the go-ahead basket with 22 seconds left. But he knows the Celtics have to win the title or the questions will follow him forever. The mission continues tonight.

David Stern. You just know it's killing him to have KG and the Celtics versus LeBron and the LeBrons in the second round. If he was human, he would probably be weeping right now instead of eating live babies. (I'm just kind of assuming on that last part.)

Zydrunas Ilgauskas. I expect another solid game from the Z-Man. Mostly because Kendrick Perkins has the footspeed and reaction time of molasses. Sorry. Frozen molasses.

Inner peace. LeBron isn't gonna sweat a bad game. Or even two bad games. "If I have a bad game or I have a bad two games, it's not like I'm soul-searching or anything like that." Well, that's a relief. I'd hate to think that the King was stressed out or anything.

San Antonio versus New Orleans: Game 3

Chris Paul. The kid turned 23 on Tuesday. Man...23, up 2-0 on the defending champs, and he probably should have been the MVP. Kind of puts your "accomplishments" in perspective, doesn't it? Sucks, huh?

Colonol Obvious, Part I. Tony Parker knows just what the Spurs have to do to get back into this series. "It sounds, like, easy, but we just have to play better. They just outplayed us the first two games and now we're playing at home and we have to make more shots and play better defense. We're going to change stuff but at the end of the day it's just basketball." Again, Carlos Boozer approves.

Colonol Obvious, Part II. Parker must have been in a giving mood this week, because - like any good Frenchman - he freely surrendered the secret of San Antonio's championship success: "Every year we won the championship, we got a lot of guys making shots." Okay. Now Carlos Boozer is just amazed.

The respect card. Ooo, ooo, ooo! There it is! Byron Scott finally threw it down! "We're not only playing the champions, we're playing for respect, because we felt all season long like we really haven't gotten it." Hm, let's see: Two All-Stars, a Coach of the Year award for you, and Chris Paul was the MVP runner-up. Yeah, Byron. You guys have been totally disrespected. Now go use it.

Tim Duncan versus Tyson Chandler. Who knew that the tall, lanky guy that got run out of Chicago by a mob of angry villagers would be playing Mr. Greatest Power Forward of All-Time to a standstill. In fact, Tyson might be a little be ahead. (That sound you just heard was the joint primal scream of John Paxson and Steve Kerr.)

Bruce Bowen. Rumor has it he'll be guarding Peja Stojakovic after the way Peja lit the Spurs up in Game 2. So what's he gonna use? Groin shot? Foot under foot? So many dirty tricks, so little time.

David West. Unstoppable in Game 1, stopped in Game 2. If Bowen does shut down/cripple Peja, West is going to have to step up because the Hornets don't have a bench.

Manu Ginobili. He came in 10th in MVP voting this year, but not because of anything he's done in this series. I'm calling it now: Tonight Manu goes off for 30 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, and 17 flops.