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NBA Playoffs: A Tuesday Night Viewer's Guide

Basketbawful is here to ease you into a nice, warm, Tuesday night bubble bath of NBA action. Forget Calgon. Let me take you away and guide your viewership of tonight's playoff action.

Dallas versus New Orleans: Game 5

Avery Johnson: This might be the Little General's last game as the coach of the Mavericks, so try to treasure every last, squeaky-voiced moment of it.


Chris Paul: After a couple of average to below-average games in Dallas, don't you get the feeling that the miniature point guard is ready to blow things up? I sure do.

Dirk Nowitzki: He's been on fire for most of this series and it probably won't matter. Again. Will he lay waste to a stationary bike? Will he strum a guitar and sing a soulful ballad? Or will he just go out and get wasted? My guess: All of the above.

Jason Kidd versus Jannero Pargo: Kidd almost killed him in Game 4, and then Pargo almost killed my funny bone when he described the incident afterward: "He has that old-man strength that kind of threw me down." Awesome. Honestly, though, I expect Kidd to be on his best behavior, and Pargo seems to classy to retaliate. But maybe David West will take a shot at Kidd in Pargo's defense...

David West: See above.

Mark Cuban: I called it. And tonight might be the night.


New Orleans fans: These folks deserve to celebrate. And my Magic Eight Ball says: "Conditions Look Good."

Philadelphia versus Detroit: Game 5

The whole 76ers team: They blew a huge opportunity in Game 4. They could have gone up 3-1 ... instead they're tied 2-2. And the Pistons suddenly look serious again. Will these young men respond, or will they be overwhelmed and get their butts kicked?


The whole Pistons team: I don't care how successful they've been the last four years, and I don't care how good they looked in Game 4. The Pistons have lost my trust. I never know when they're going to show up and take a game seriously anymore. They're completely unpredictable. Like Taco Bell and beer. Actually, no, that's completely predictable.

Andre Iguodala: Where, oh where has Iggy gone? Where, oh where has he gone?

Tayshaun Prince: He may very well be the answer to the previous question.

Rasheed Wallace: Look, I'm always going to include him in any preview. You should never stop watching Rasheed Wallace. Never.


Chauncey Billups: Man, he's been playing like crap in this series. Mr. Big Shot? Seriously? At this point, Flip Saunders would be happy to see just one big shot from his captain. Speaking of which...

Flip Saunders: See those bullets under the Detroit bench? Yeah, Flip's been sweating those out. His resume already reads "Couldn't win with Kevin Garnett." He really doesn't want to add "Couldn't win with an incredibly talented and championship-proven Detroit team."


Phoenix versus San Antonio: Game 5

Officiating: Not to take anything away from the Suns' big Game 4 win, but the referees turned a blind eye to a lot of contact from the Phoenix defenders. I doubt that's going to happen at the AT&T Center, no matter how fired up Boris Diaw is.


Boris Diaw: The Furious Frenchman took center stage in Game 4. And the collective cry of "FINALLY!" from the Phoenix fans will be affecting weather patters for the next 50 years or so. Can he do it again? Especially now the Gregg Popovich knows he's alive? Mike D'Antoni sure hopes so.

Gregg Popovich: He is crushing the Suns with his mind.

Mike D'Antoni: He is also crushing the Suns with his mind. If he doesn't perform some sort of coaching miracle — not likely — the Age of Fun and Gun might be over in The Valley.


Tony Parker: Parker has been slicing the Suns with his drives and dicing them with his jumpers (who knew?). TP was off-target from the outside in Game 4. Chances are he'll be hitting again in Game 5. He could end up being the Spurs first round MVP, even though that award should really go to...

Tim Duncan: That three ... that damned three. Steve Nash will be seeing that shot in his nightmares for the rest of his life.


Shaq: So much for the whole "Shaq can stop Tim Duncan" theory. But The Big Cactus was on hand when the Lakers downed the Spurs in another Game 5 back in 2004. If he can play half as good as he thinks he still is, Phoenix just might win this one.

Manu Ginobili: He's close to setting a new personal best for flops in a first round series. And his personal best also happens to be the league's all-time record. But only because the first round only lasted five games during Vlade Divac's prime.


Steve Nash: I hope Captain Canada is ready for a new round of "Steve Nash shouldn't have won those two MVP" debates.

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