L.O.N. – What Y’all Know About the Dirty South?
The South going hard in the paint
by Shannon Booher
Andre 3 Stacks told us back in 1995 that “the South got something to say.” That sure rang true as the second round began. The Dirty Dirty South was definitely in the building with Memphis and Atlanta pulling off their surprising Game 1 upsets over Oklahoma City and Chicago, respectively. Dallas and Miami are more South by geography than culture, but they held up their end of the bargain. We’ll see if the South keeps talking.
Line Of The Night:
Joe Johnson — 34 points, 4 boards, 3 assists, 3 steals
Jamal Crawford — 22 points, 3 assists, 1 board, 1 steal, 1 block
Last night Chuck said he wished he could put Jamal Crawford’s brain in Joe Johnson’s body. While we appreciate Barkley’s ruminations on brain-swapping — one of our favorite pastimes — if they play like they did last night, they are the perfect fire and ice combo. In fact, they meet one of Barkley’s other favorite scenarios. To win a championship, he claims, you must have “That Dude” (Johnson) and a “Crazy Guy” (J-Creezy).
No doubt, Johnson was at the top of his game last night, with the perfect combination of efficiency and assertiveness. While Creezy’s crazy is there every night, this type of game is not always what the Hawks get from Johnson. OutKast went on to be one of the greatest hip-hop groups of all time after Andre’s statement. Only last night’s version of Joe Johnson can lead the Hawks to a similar post statement impact.
Worst Of The Night:
The Los Angeles Lakers blowing a 16-point third quarter lead.
How did that happen? Other than Dallas’ end of half mental gaffes, the Lakers seemed to be dominating on their own accord. They seemed to be maximizing every offensive advantage their unique lineup provided. They made Dallas look like Dirk and a bunch of mismatched one-way players. Dallas lived on the perimeter, which is usually assured post-season death. Then just like that, whether it be lost mental focus, or the genie going back in the bottle, the Lakers looked like a mess. They were powerless to prevent the Mavs from slowly creeping back in. With about 2:30 left, they had the ball, still up three. Their game, still, right? But from then on, it was a string of bad possessions (other than Kobe’s final shot), largely due to some tremendous Dallas defense. Mix in a couple breaks that went Dallas’ way, as well as some crazy shots from Dirk, and the Lakers found themselves in a familiar 0-1 deficit.
And is it a coincidence that Kobe’s two highest shot games this postseason have been the two Lakers Game 1 losses? He looked outstanding in the first quarter, as he looked to but his imprint on the game and series, but as game clock wound, he maybe should have followed that first quarter output up with at least 1 assist. Might have been the difference in this nailbiter.
Big Dirk Like Whut Of The Night:
Dirk Nowitzki — 28 points, 14 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
He played damn near flawless. We could have done without that “fake tough guy” chicken wing he threw towards Artest, and there was one play in which he tried to finish at the rim in a hopelessly soft manner, but we cannot hate on his output. Redirkulous.
Coach Of The Year Of The Night:
Tom Thibodeau received his Coach Of The Year award before the game last night. After falling behind to the Hawks 0-1, he has to prove his worthiness all over again. Larry Drew was like Hakeem Olajuwon after David Robinson won the 1995 MVP. Drew was Dream Shakin’ on the chalkboard and dropping 50 in the huddle. Now who’s coach of the year, Tom!
The Bulls did show one strategy change late in the game — trapping the ball as crossed halfcourt — that did prove at least bothersome to the Hawks. All the coaching in the world won’t make Korver quicker than Teague, anyone capable of stopping some of those Johnson and Creezy shots, or heal Derrick Rose’s re-sprained ankle, but the Bulls have to come up with something better on offense.
Al Horford on the Hawks, Joakim Noah on the Bulls, Corey Brewer on the Mavs, and Taurean Green on the ??? Seems like some team out there fishing right now missed an auto-pass to the 2nd Round by not handing out a minimum contract to the fourth Gator… The Kings are back in Sacramento for at least one more year…