Last Tuesday I bemoaned the lack of excitement in the second round of the NBA playoffs. Since then, the playoffs has been everything I could have asked for. The second game of the Suns-Mavs series went down to the wire, and the third was one of the fastest paced games I’ve seen since Paul Westhead roamed the sidelines in Denver. A blink might have made you miss a possession, a sneeze could have cost you a 6 point swing. Phoenix has become the new Dallas, complete with the Mavs’ old point guard. Their offense is so efficient, they just run the ball up the court trying to make the game as many possessions as possible because they know they can outscore anybody. Meanwhile the Mavs have tried to distance themselves from the run & gun club they were just a few years ago. They’ve gone so far with that mentality that they chose Dampier over Nash, convinced that they couldn’t go any further without balancing the scale a little.
The philosophy clash. Nash vs. Dirk. Joe Johnson crashing face first to the floor. Uptempo scoring in a defensive league. What else could you want in a series?
Indiana made it a series when Jeff Foster had a not-really-a-triple-double in game 2 with 14 points, 10 offensive rebounds, and 10 defensive rebounds. Not only did the Pacers win game 2, but they took #3 as well. Although Sunday night Detroit fans could sleep better knowing the contest was tied at 2 games apiece, the volatile nature of the first 4 games has shown this series could go in any direction.
In the Pacific north, the Sonics have lost Radmanovic for the series, Ray Allen for half a game, and Rashard Lewis for game 4, but they’ve managed to tie the series at 2-2. In Game 4, Seattle gave 150 minutes to 4 guards: Allen, Ridnour, Daniels and Wilkins. In turn they received 86 points on a very efficient 66% eFG. Any coach that is without two key players, who decides to go small against the strangling defense of the Spurs and wins a pivotal game 4 should have won coach of the year. No disrespect to Mike D’Antoni, but Nate McMillan has had much tougher choices to make this year than when to play Bo Outlaw, Paul Shirley, and Jake Voskuhl. (The answer to that question is when the crowd starts making its way to the parking lot).
As bad as the first few days were, the last few days has been as good. Except for the Heat which swept the Wizards without Shaq, every series has had something to offer for every fan.