L.O.N. — NIEN NOWITZKI NEIN!
On Saturday, we rest.
by Shannon Booher
The madness is officially over. It’s all double-headers, single games, or [gasp] nights off from here on out. After the trailing teams went 0-3 in for Game 7′s last night, the Spurs are the last hope for one in the first round. Second round is when we start to realize the realism of life and actuality, though. Word to AZ. So fasten your seat belts. Word to Ralph Lawler.
Line Of The Night:
Dirk Nowitzki — 33 points, 11 boards, 4 assists, 1 block
Big. Dirk. Like. Whut. Chris Johnson hit him with a shot to the head and lit a fire under Dirk. He was the Dirk we’d like to see more often in the Mavs closeout game. Fiery. On fire. Virtually unstoppable. But is it going to have to take a bump to the head to get him going like this against the Lakers? At least he’ll have Ron Artest around to potentially provide such a blow. It was a true team effort to close this one out though, as Dirk, Jet, Kidd, Shawn Marion and J.J. Barea all had key baskets in the clutch. Oh, and Tyson Chandler on D against LaMarcus Aldridge.
Worst Of The Night AKA Near Triple-Double Of The Night:
Chris Paul — 11 assists, 10 points, 8 boards, 2 steals
Wow, did we just write that? Probably a first in L.O.N. history to have these two categories coincide. Paul would tell you himself it was not his best effort. Hard to say exactly what happened, but it seemed like he — and his teammates — did not show the expected desperation until way late. The Lakers even game them a little opening to start the game, as they came out lethargic as well. Tough pill to swallow for CP3, but you cannot fault him much, given his amazing effort throughout the rest of the series.
Strategery Of The Night:
Kobe Bryant — 24 points, 3 steals, 2 assists, 1 rebound
The stats are whatever, but what we noticed was how good a job he did bringing up the ball quickly and getting it to the big men early before the Hornets’ D was setup. And credit to Bynum and Gasol for getting down the floor and establishing position at an equal pace. That strategy killed the Hornets all night long.
Don’t Blame Him Of The Night:
Dwight Howard — 25 points, 15 boards, 3 blocks, 2 assists, 1 steal
Beastly all series. Perhaps his greatest playoff series off his career, individually. But like Chuck says, you don’t live by the 3, you die by the 3. Save for Game 5, the Magic could not hit the shot they launch in bushels, and it was their downfall. The Magic face a tough situation heading into this offseason. With expensive guys like Jameer and Gilbert Areneas duplicating roles, will management blow it up again? And do they even have movable pieces to do something like that? Big, big offseason for this squad.
Blame Him Of The Night:
LaMarcus Aldridge — 24 points, 10 boards
Your best player has to be your best player. Aldridge’s production stayed roughly the same — even went down a little — in the postseason. It’s gotta go up. Much was made during the regular season, especially regarding All-Star selections, of Aldridge raising his game following Brandon Roy’s injuries. He wasn’t ready to take that next step this year, at least not with Tyson Chandler hounding him.
Whew, Tyson Chandler saw the waitress coming with his breakfast, but got out of his booth just in time… Maybe in person it was a good look, but from afar, on tv, it looked like Monty purely put on the wrong suitcoat. He sorta looked like the beach — ocean on the bottom, sand up top. God was willing, but the creek didn’t rise… Josh Smith is a debacle, albeit an entertaining debacle… Individually, this series goes to Ariza over Artest, right? It still seems like the Lakers should have picked him… Larry Drew and Stan Van Gundy thought there was one more competition in the series — who could talk more in the post-game presser… Chalk one up for Carolina over Duke. Marvin Williams > J.J. Redick… WE DID IT CREEZY!!!!!