Links: Playoffs Diary Day Four

by April 23, 2008

by Lang Whitaker

Some selected highlights from my 2008 All-Star Game live blog

• Brandon Roy checks in and scores four straight points. Joe Johnson is in, finally. Chris Paul drives right around Jason Kidd and scores. Mark Cuban probably didn’t like seeing that.

• Chris Paul drains a three over Kidd, then Kidd fires up an airball. Mark Cuban is busy deleting Rod Thorn’s number from his Blackberry.

• AI replaces CP3, who has has 7 points and 6 assists in 9 minutes. Jason Kidd’s gonna have nightmares about CP3 tonight.

• CP takes the ball from Chris Bosh and gets it to B-Roy for a lay-in. Jason Kidd returns to get burned over and over by CP3.

• What did we learn tonight? Jason Kidd is barely a speed bump to Chris Paul.

Mark Cuban? I warned you. Months ago.

We’ll get back to Chris Paul in a second. But first…

We’re only four days in? Already feels like we’re about two weeks down. I was sitting here on the couch tonight watching Suns/Spurs and caught a cramp in my neck, and I realized I better at least make a cursory effort to move around and stuff. So I got up and went to the kitchen, grabbed a beer and came back and sat down on the couch.

Three games tonight, and the game that was the least competitive ended up being my favorite of the three. I’m not going to write a lot tonight about any of the games, because I need to save some energy for tomorrow night’s Hawks/Celts game two — where Mike Bibby has either lost his mind or felt confident enough to put a huge target on his back — but let’s just quickly run through all three of the games tonight.

• Orlando 104, Toronto 103
I was a little disappointed that this game was on NBA TV, until I turned it on and Bill Raftery was announcing! Onions! As for the game, I was flipping back and forth between this and New Orleans/Dallas, and I caught the fourth quarter, but I didn’t think the game was as close as the score indicates. Toronto did grab the lead at the end, but Orlando’s go-to offensive player, Hedo Turkoglu(!), scored 4 straight to give the game to Orlando. Toronto seemed like they had more pace tonight, but Orlando played it pretty cool and showed some poise. I don’t think they’ll get further than this round, but they’re getting out of this round.

And I don’t know what Patrick Ewing has been teaching Dwight Howard, but Dwight has apparently mastered the art of sweating profusely.

• San Antonio 102, Phoenix 96
Bonjour, Tony! In San Antonio’s Game One win, Tony Parker was quietly effective (51 minutes, 26 points, 5 assists). Tonight he was balling, with 32 points, 7 assists and one huge collision with Shaq…

Ultimately, it was Phoenix’s collapse (11 points) in the third quarter that doomed them. That and their inability to get a stop throughout the fourth quarter. I was a little worried about San Antonio after they stumbled through April, but they’re so solid and steady that even when they fall behind, you never feel like you can count them out.

• New Orleans 127, Dallas 103
Our intrepid reporters Aggrey Sam and DJ Toney Blare were at the game and will have notes tomorrow, so I’ll leave the game notes up to them. And I’m sticking to what I’ve been saying for the last month: New Orleans is going to do something special this postseason.

Two other things…

1. I really think Chris Paul is going to save the NBA. Forget the basketball stuff, and that he’s playing at a ridiculous, perfect level right now. What I’m speaking of is that he’s a handsome face, a family guy, doesn’t get in trouble, is a normal-sized person, and as the Hornets keep winning and more and more of mainstream America discovers Chris, he’s going to be a super-superstar.

2. Actually, let’s don’t totally forget the basketball, because one thing I noticed tonight was how Chris almost never looks at the basketball when he’s dribbling. Watch him, and whether he’s on the break, in the halfcourt, whatever, he always keeps those eyes pointed up and ahead. It’s a little creepy, actually.

Is Phoenix dunzo? Can San Antonio repeat? How far can the Hornets buzz along?