It's just another manic Monday, but never fear, Basketbawful is here...to once again tell you the only things you need to know about tonight's NBA playoff games. I'm not just doing this for you, though. I'm doing it for my country.
Orlando versus Detroit: Game 2
En Guard! Orlando's backcourt combo of Jameer Nelson and Maurice Evans got cooked in a big pot of boiling water and eaten alive by their Piston counterparts in Game 1. But paraphernalia aside, those guys really do need to play better in Game 2 — and the rest of the series — or the Magic won't be able to even keep things competitive.
"Super"man. Dwight Howard had a Dazzler-like performance in Game 1 (12 points, 8 rebounds), and he injured his left thumb going for a rebound in the third quarter. I'm not saying he has to have another 20-20 game, but he needs to turn the paint into his own exclusive province or the Magic won't be able to even keep things competitive.
Three-point shooting. The Magic live by the three and get horribly mutilated by the three. Game 1 was one of the horrible mutilations, as Orlando shot 2-for-15. Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu need to find their range from distance or the Magic won't be able...you see where I'm going with this?
Rasheed Wallace. All the fun stuff aside, 'Sheed has to guard Howard. It's a big job, but he can definitely be the Bizarro to Dwight's Superman.
Detroit Pistons: Can they stay awake for an entire series? The world may never know.
Trash talk. Oooo, sweet! Now that the Wizards-Cavaliers series is over, Magic-Pistons is the new hot spot for verbal diarrhea. In Game 1, Rashard Lewis dropped Theo Ratliff with a hard foul. Jason Maxiell tried to defend Ratliff, but Theo didn't want any of that. "There's no sense in guys coming to my rescue. I mean, that was Rashard Lewis. He's a 3 man." When he heard about that, Lewis fired back. "You can have a lot of energy in five minutes a game. What's he played? 15 games? Tell him to come out and guard me."
It didn't end there. Maxiell also gave a Cobra Kai speech about how the Pistons had put the clamps on Howard. "He has a very strong upper body. But if you get down low and take his legs out, he's not that powerful." If a man can't stand, he can't fight, right? Dwight respectfully disagrees. "That's not true. Trust me."
Ratliff then launched another volley. "They're a finesse team. They're a 3-point shooting team." This freaked Jameer Nelson out. "Who? Who?" Nelson asked mockingly when Ratliff's comments got back to him. "I'm getting sick and tired of people calling us soft."
I'm thinking there are going to be fireworks in Game 2...
San Antonio versus New Orleans: Game 2
Tim Duncan. Smell that? No, it's not dookie. It's Timmy's performance in Game 1: 5 points, 1-for-9 shooting, and 3 rebounds. It was about as bad as Tim Duncan has ever performed in the playoffs. It kind of reminded me of Game 1 of the 1985 NBA Finals, when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar got destroyed by Robert Parish and the Lakers got massacred by the Celtics, 148-114. But in Game 2, Cap came back with 30 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocked shots and 8 assists in a 109-102 Lakers victory. Never underestimate the heart of a champion, my friends. Timmy's gonna come back gangbusters.
Tyson Chandler. He played great (10 points, 15 rebounds, 3 blocks) and really put Timmy in a corner. The Hornets are going to need more of the same and then some.
Bruce Bowen. Some people say that a playoff series doesn't really start until a home team loses a game. When the Spurs are involved, a series doesn't start until Bowen cheap-shots somebody. So, yeah, this series has officially started. I'm calling an eye gouge in this game.
David West. He was A Man in Game 1: 30 points, 13-for-23, 9 rebounds. I'm guessing Gregg Popovich will have devised a few West-stopping schemes over the last couple days. Will we see Duncan on West? Hmmm. Speaking of which Scar Face...
Gregg Popovich versus Byron Scott. Pop makes fantastic game-to-game adjustments. Scott's the Coach of the Year. Who will outcoach whom? (Here's my answer: The Hornets better hope it doesn't come down to coaching.)
Father Time. TP looks good, Many looks good, and Timmy's going to come back strong. But the rest of the Spurs, well, damn they look old. Ancient. Superannuated, even. Michael Finley, Kurt Thomas, Robert Horry...those guys looked like they were playing Game 1 with a foot or two in the grave.
The New Orleans bench. They scored 14 of the Hornets' 101 points in the first game. That puts a lot of pressure on the starts to produce, doesn't it? And did I mention their "bench" is Jannero Pargo and Bonzi Wells, period?