Links: Playoffs Diary Day Two

by April 21, 2008

by Lang Whitaker

There’s not many things that are less fun than waking up in the morning and having to spend your first 10 conscious minutes of the day trying to fix your cable modem, which has decided to stop working. That was how I got to begin my day today, and after 10 minutes of checking connections and unplugging and re-plugging various things, I plopped down on the couch and the phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and it said Time Warner Cable. Did they know I was having a problem with my internet?

No, they were calling to see if I wanted phone service. I don’t think I’ve hung up a phone on a person that fast in a while. So that was fun.

After a Starbucks run, I settled in and watched hoops all day (except for an epic nap). Some thoughts…

• You know what the Playoffs mean — the return of Stephanie Ready! Thanks, TNT!

• Toronto couldn’t have started much worse against Orlando, going down 15 points just 8 minutes into the game. Orlando was really defending well and confusing Toronto. I wondered, Why don’t they try Calderon? Then Calderon came in and fired up an airball.

• You’d think Toronto could out-big Orlando, because they seem to have more size out there. But Orlando was running circles around those dudes, over and over. I kept waiting for Toronto to go small — or even play Calderon and TJ Ford together, but they didn’t until go small until the end of the game when it was already out of reach.

• You’d think Bargnani would’ve learned defensive rotations by now. You’d be wrong.

• Honestly, there wasn’t much Toronto could do against Orlando, because the Magic were magic, nailing jumpers all over the place. The magic took 29 three pointers and made 13 of them. That’s just bad luck for Toronto.

• I must be getting old, because instead of using one of those new-fangled body wash products, I use this crazy stuff called soap.

• DWIGHT HOWARD! 25 and 22! I’m not sure Toronto can stop him, other than trying to get him in foul trouble. But then he’ll probably just get about 15 blocks.

• Maybe we should all chip in and get Stan Van Gundy a treadmill.

• I switched over to ABC HD for Lakers/Nuggets, but it was preempted for the Pope’s mass at Yankee Stadium. I went on the local ABC website and discovered it had been moved to ESPN 2. So I went to ESPN 2 HD and found a cheerleading competition. I switched to the non-HD ESPN 2 and found the game. So I watched it in non-HD.

• Denver is funny to watch, at least today, because once one guy gets beat, they all just give up. The Nuggets don’t get stops so much as the Lakers just miss open jumpers.

• Nice to hear the Laker fans chanting “DUI! DUI!” at Carmelo. Jeff Van Gundy rightfully calls it “low rent.” I bet Denver fans could be equally rude toward Kobe if they choose to play that game. I hope one of the Lakers says something about how classless that was in the next day or two.

• The Lakers looked awesome from start to finish, sharing the ball and attacking over and over. The only time Denver looked like they had a shot was when they were able to create havoc with the tempo.

• Linas Kleiza is amazingly single-minded on the court. He is going to score. He’s not looking to pass, defend, nothing. His gift is also his curse.

• Twenty years ago at NBA games, there were no sound effects or recorded music played, maybe only in the pregame. Now it’s completely different, with crazy sounds and drum beats and all kinds of stuff. So what about 20 years in the future? How will games sound then? Today is 4/20, by the way. Just saying.

• Slept for a minute, then woke up and caught a lot of Pistons/Sixers. Detroit looked great but they just lost their intensity. They looked like they were waiting to turn it on, and even down two late I thought they were going to win it. Great win for Philly, but I don’t think they’ve got much chance at the series. Detroit’s going to be pissed for Game Two.

• And Philly gave them so many chances to win it. Twice down the stretch Dalembert switched on picks and left Detroit with mismatches they couldn’t capitalize on. And then up one, Philly ran an Iguodala/Dalembert pick-and-roll that ended with Dalembert running over Maxiell for an offensive foul. Detroit couldn’t flip that switch.

• Somewhere, Billy King is probably taking credit for that win. Whatever. I think the world realizes that the Sixers improvement came almost exactly when King got canned. At least I hope they do.

• I’ve never seen the show on TBS, but it looks to me like it should be called “House of Pain” instead of “House of Payne.”

• I’ve been nauseous for about 5 hours each of the last two days, and I finally figured out why today: I was so nervous about the Hawks/Celts. Seriously. I know Atlanta didn’t have much of a chance, but I was clinging to hope. And my lunch.

• When it was finally time for the Hawks to make their first Playoff appearance in nine years, the Philly win ran long and instead of switching right to the Hawks/Celts, which was in progress, TNT went to a long commercial break. I was throwing things at my TV. When they returned, the Hawks were down 8-2. Thanks, TNT! I’m blaming Reggie Miller.

• I think Dick Stockton was on a five-second delay. But I agree with him: Sam Posey is definitely one of the best bench players in the League. Whoever that is.

• The Celts were red hot and getting every call early. I knew Atlanta was in trouble when I saw Steve Javie, Luis Grillo and Jim Clark all working the game. Talk about a murderer’s row. Calls that went against Atlanta before I gave up writing them down: Bibby shoved into front row w/ no call; Posey sliding in for a charge call against Smoove; Bibby crushed on a lay-up attempt; Powe slapping Smoove’s arm without a call; Powe grabbing Marv on a baseline drive; KG shoves Salim into Cassell for a foul on Salim; Kendrick Perkins tackling Josh Smith; KG diving atop Childress as he fought for a loose ball. Jim Clark might as well have been wearing a Celtics jersey.

• Mario West must lead the NBA at checking into the game with under 5 seconds left in a quarter.

• Bibby and Josh Smith posted some stinkers tonight. And I think you could see why I voted for Al Horford for rookie of the year. And why I gave Josh Childress a third-place vote as Sixth Man of the Year.

• Hawk talk aside, the Celts were awesome tonight. KG was terrific, Ray Allen looked like he was in the All-Star Game, and Pierce finished with 16. Boston had six dudes in double figures and they dictated the tempo the entire night.

• Sam Cassell still flops like he’s a rookie. If Boston ends up playing San Antonio in the Finals, we might need to import Pierluigi Collina to ref the Ginobili/Cassell matchup.

• I was thinking about buying a Dodge SUV, but now that I saw the Dodge ad starring the US Women’s Soccer Team, I’m totally buying one.

• Clifford Ray looks like Hagrid sitting behind the Boston bench.

• Finally, does KG make his teammates better or do KG’s teammates make him better?

Aiight…got Under Siege starting on TNT, plus gotta write a quick game one roundup for and call in to the Celts’ postgame show on ESPN radio in Boston. See ya tomorrow.

Now talk it out…