NBA Playoffs: A Friday Night Viewer's Guide

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Cleveland versus Boston: Game 6

The inevitable (?) explosion. Everybody is waiting for it: The LeBron James Eruption. I mean, he's too good not to have at least one freaktastically amazing game in this series ... right? A lot of people thought it would be Game 5. They were wrong. So why not Game 6? Seems as good a time as any.

The inevitable (?) implosion. If KG has a bad game because he starts bailing out and shooting fadeaways from 17 feet, we'll be treated to a few more days of "This is why KG can't win in the playoffs" stories...I can't wait!!

The missing Boobie: Daniel Gibson won't be available for Game 6 because he separated his left shoulder diving for a loose ball in the fourth quarter of Game 5 and needs at least a week to recover. Bummer for him and the Cavs, but it's not like he was getting a lot of PT.

Oh, the drama. Despite the fact that Boobie has only had one good game in this series — and no great ones — LeBron is wigging out a little bit about his absence. "It's something we didn't want to happen. It's kind of the tale of our season — a guy goes down in the heat of a playoff series. He's very key to our team. It's not good seeing a guy who is that key to your team in a suit." The story of their season is a guy going down in the heat of a playoff series? Did I totally miss something or is LeBron a little crazy from the playoff heat?

Oh, the damn, dirty lies. More from the King: "We're not looking for a spectacular game from anybody. We just want to continue to do what we've been doing in the two wins we've had at home — guys stepped up. We're not looking for a guy to go out and score 30 points or anything like that." I'm sure that's exactly what Mike Brown is thinking. (coughBULLSHITcough!!)


The implant procedure. Speaking of the non-Coach of the Year, Brown hasn't decided whether to use Damon Jones, Devin Brown, or Sasha Pavlovic in place of the Boobmeister. Decisions, decisions. In the immortal words of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, it's like choosing which puddle of vomit to lick. But wouldn't you just assume he'd go ahead and use the guy they paid good money to re-sign in the offseason? Or does that make too much sense?

Regrets. So many regrets. Zydrunas Ilgauskas has an interesting take on how and why the Cavaliers dropped Game 5. "We had them on their heels. (In the second half) It just seemed like we really weren't into it. We came out a half-step slow." Okay, so let me get this straight: The Cleveland players "weren't really into" a crucial playoff game? Is he serious, or is this one of those language barrier things? I hope for his sake it's the latter.


Doc Rivers wants...what, exactly? Rajon Rondo busted Cleveland in the chops in Game 5 by going off for 20 points and 13 assists, and he even nailed a couple triples. And Doc wants him to do, well, this: "If they're going to leave him open, I want him to shoot it. But I don't want him to look for it." Sound advice. Say, how did this guy not win Coach of the Year? (P.S. I want Indiana Jones to find the Crystal Skull if it's just sitting out in the open in front of him, but I don't want him to look for it.)

The long and winding road. I hope you're wearing ankle suspenders, because this is going to knock your socks the hell off: The Celtics haven't won a road game in the playoffs yet. Did you know that?! But don't worry, Celtics. Doc has the solution. "We're just going to show up and play basketball." Yup. That should totally work.


Utah versus L.A.: Game 6

Home cookin'. The home team in this series always seems to end up with 40+ free throws. Will the trend continue tonight? (My guess: Oh hell yes.)


Captain Obvious. Carlos Boozer, the current four-star General Obvious promoted Matt Harpring after he made the following statement: "If we lose, we go home. We certainly don't want to lose on our home court the last game of the year. No way." And that is something I never would have guessed, Matt.

Kobe's back. Nobody quite knows how badly Mamba's back is still hurting. But everybody knows this: It's a good thing the Lakers aren't playing the Spurs, or else Cheap Shot Rob would be painting a big red target on Mamba's hindquarters.


The Wisdom of Zen. Phil Jackson has deep thoughts on how the Lakers can win Game 6: "The message is being under control. It's about execution at this point. It's about winning the game." And that, my friends, is how you get into the Hall of Fame. Write that down.

Slurp, slurp, slurp. Lamar Odom on Kobe's Game 5 performance: "Incredible, as always. Kobe made plays for us when he needed to." But you know, despite the kind words, don't you get the feeling that Lamar really doesn't like Mamba?


The Jazz must empty their craw. Jerry Sloan doesn't want his team thinking about the no-call in Game 5 when Pau Gasol climbed Mehmet Okur's back like it was a stripper pole. "You can't worry about that. If you keep that in your craw, then you're going to be affected by it in the next game." Good call, coach. I hate it when my craw gets all full.

You can't press the Reset button, Carlos. Carlos Boozer on Utah's missed opportunities in Game 5: "You watch the tape of the game, you wish you could jump in the screen and play it all over again. I thought we had the opportunity to take the lead a few times, and looking back on it, it's definitely frustrating." Then, General Obvious totally came through: "You put the pressure on the home team if you get the lead." YES!


More General Obvious. Oh, Carlos was just warming up with that last comment. "We've got two left with them. We've got to win tomorrow night to have the second one."

History is on, uh, who's side exactly? According to the history books, the Jazz are 1-1 when hosting a Game 6 and trailing 3-2 in the last 10 years. NO, seriously. The victory came in the first round last year when the Jazz beat the Rockets in Utah. As for the loss, well, you know, I've just put the 1998 NBA Finals out of my mind, okay?


Jerry Sloan, master debater. Coach Sloan on the Jazz's, er, chances. "If you like to play, what better position could you be in? They have to come and beat us, and we hope we don't beat ourselves." Uhm, yeah. I'm out.