Dallas Mavericks vs. Golden State Warriors
Series tied 1-1
No Joshin' prediction: Mavericks in 5
Perhaps Pam Oliver was wrong. Maybe Don Nelson isn't God.
Then again, maybe God is doing to Baron Davis what he did to the Pharoh in Egypt: hardening his heart. Davis received two technical fouls after jawing with the refs during Game 2 in the Mavs-Warriors series. He only had 13 points as the Mavs evened the series, 1-1. There were questionable calls going both ways, but this game came down to Dallas playing their style of basketball.
Erick Dampier started for Dallas, and the big men of Big D saw significantly more court time than in the disastrous Game 1.
The Warriors match up great with Dallas - at least they match up a lot better than any other middle-of-the-road team. But the Mavs look like they've regained their composure, and Golden State is losing theirs. The number of technicals don't lie. At times during Game 2, these teams seemed as if they were on the edge of going Miami-FIU.
The bad blood may boil over, but that's only because Dallas is getting hot. (And that's not just a homer pick). However it will be very interesting to see how Dallas handles the atmosphere at Oracle Arena this weekend. Oakland hasn't seen playoff basketball in almost a decade and a half. Think Black Hole but for basketball. Oakland sports fans scare me, but as long as they don't get in the head of the Mavs, the top seed will continue their winning ways.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Denver Nuggets
Series tied 1-1
No Joshin' prediction: Spurs in 6
Uh oh. The sleeping giant of the post season woke up. San Antonio reluctantly let go of their walkers. They stiff-leggedly hobbled onto the court. They weazed and ached. Pants up to their armpits. Their grandkids sat courtside. But once the ref tossed the ball up in the air, the Spurs dropped 50 years ... and the Nuggets.
Denver had an eight-man rotation that included just seven points off the bench. But Denver didn't have any man that could match up with Manu. Ginobili came off the bench for 17 points (30 points off the bench for San Antone).
Duncan's team-high 22 points weren't nearly as impressive as his game-high five blocks. That's where the momentum came into play. Duncan's D reasserted the Spurs as the wiley playoff veterans they are. A.I and Melo can still take another game, but don't count on more than that.
Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls
Bulls lead series 2-0
No Joshin' prediction: Heat in 7
I know, I know. The Heat are beating outplayed by a younger, faster Chicago team. The Bulls are up 2-0, and Miami has no chance. By the way, I've heard this story before. I heard it *ugh* last June in the NBA Finals.
If the Heat do in fact drop Game 3, it's over. And Tuesday's Game 2 turned into a Chicago route reminiscent of the season-opener in Miami.
Still, it's Shaq and Dwyane Wade in the playoffs. Riley is the coach. This is like picking against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Until I see them beaten, I have to go with them.
Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Laker (no "s" necessary)
Suns lead series 2-0
No Joshin' prediction: Suns in 5
Phoenix proved too tough for Kobe Bryant, but when the league's leading scorer nets only 15 points, LA doesn't have a shot. Nor do they have a viable second option. That's why the Suns blew out the Lakers in Game 2.
It occurred to me that if one guy on the Lakers is going to take all the shots, the least the other four could do is box out and grab a rebound. Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom combined for 22 boards, but apparently it wasn't enough.
I liked what I saw from Kobe in Game 1, but I didn't see any of that git up in the Lakers on Tuesday. Bryant may still steal a game for them, but for the hopeful fans of the Southland, Game 2 should answer all your questions about just how good this Lakers team is: not very.