I'm ripping off "The Closer," Will's daily recap of some of the major developments of the previous night's baseball games... except, this focuses on the NBA playoffs, it'll be restricted to weekends, and the name of the feature probably bothers you immensely. Sorry. Basketball doesn't have a "closer" position, and I didn't want to use a lame basketball term like "And One!" So you get visions of Rob Thomas. Enjoy...
• Lest we forget... Yesterday was a statement game for the Spurs, and that statement was, "Yes, Detroit is good, and yes, the Mavericks are a cute pick. But we can still do this."
I bet there were a lot of people who predicted a Mavericks Western Conference title who watched the first half of this game yesterday and thought, "Uh oh." Basketball just can't be played a whole lot better than that. The Spurs scored 73 points in the first half, and held Sacramento to 39, including 15 in the 2nd quarter.
• Hey, he doesn't know where Udonis Haslem's mouth has been... Unless you're at a Raiders game, you can't take something out of your mouth and throw it at someone. You just can't. It's not OK. Yet, that is what Udonis Haslem did last night. There was a loose ball under the bucket, he scrambled for it and ended up on the floor. He wanted a foul called, he didn't get it. Udonis reached into his mouth, took out his black mouthpiece and chucked it at the feet of referee Joey Crawford.
Crawford then ejected Haslem as if he'd been practicing it at home. He turned to Haslem, made a quick and violent motion for him to exit and yelled, "GET OUTTA HERE! GET!" The ESPN guys seemed to think that a suspension was likely, but word hasn't come down yet, so we'll see.
The good news for the Heat is that if the Bulls didn't win this game, when Haslem was thrown out, when Mourning didn't play, when Shaq wasn't getting a call, when Ben Gordon was on fire... then they're probably not going to win one.
• Sam's got a great personality, though... The Clippers thoroughly outplayed the Nuggets for about 40 minutes last night, until a certain point in the 4th quarter when it dawned on them that, holy fuck, they're the Clippers and they're in the playoffs.
The Nuggets came back and made it a tight game at the end, but the Clippers did escape with the win, and hopefully, learned that it's okay to win a playoff game. The most disturbing thing about it was the prolonged Jim Gray interview with Sam Cassell after the game, when the camera never left the close-up view of Sam for a solid 120 seconds. It's as if ESPN was trying to punish the viewer. Monday might be a busy day for our nation's therapists.