When I heard Spur’s Coach Popovich’s technique was to inundate them with videos of their offense from games past, I knew there was one particular player on that team that would respond:
And come Game 3 last Tuesday, respond he did, making no excuses for previous no – shows and burning the Lakers for 30 points off the bench. Frankly, if there is one player in the league that I would even make a separate blog for, it has to be Manu Ginobili. The man is awesome. From FIBA to the NBA to the Olympics, he’s shown it too.
Yesterday however, was a failure by the Spurs again. My man Manu ended up with just 7 points, and the Lakers outrebounded the Spurs by an unforgivable 46 to 37, ending up with a 26-4 advantage in second chance points. Kobe Bryant didn’t even have to shoot a single free throw, but provided two monster dunks fit for a dunk contest on two all – alone slams for the Spurs fans to remember him by.
The key play in the game remains to be the non – call in the dying seconds where Derek Fisher clearly fouled Brent Barry before he got off a three that would have won them the game. LA was in penalty and it would have at least given Barry, a career 0.821 free throw shooter, a chance to take it to overtime.
But all complaints were for naught, and even Barry admitted, in the post game interview, that ‘they (referees) wouldn’t call that’, admitting what everyone knows – that NBA officiating changes throughout a game, and some may agree, even throughout a season.
Wherever that situation may lead to, the result remains the same. The Lakers lead their series against the Spurs 3-1, and looks to reach the NBA Finals on Friday for the first time since 2002, to win their 15th Championship.
My Prediction? Lakers will do just that. That’s right, it’s gonna be Lakers – Celtics 2007-08.
Boston Doesn’t Look Good, Win Anyway
On the other side of the States, Boston takes a 3-2 lead over the Detroit Pistons, 106 – 102. Both key players on either side were nowhere near who we expect them, with Kendrick Perkins playing the game of his life, providing 18 points, and an astonishing 16 rebounds.
Rodney Stuckey, on the other hand, provided the miracle plays for Detroit with 13 points including a Joe Dumars – like 3 in the final 1:23 that made it Detroit 99, Boston 100. He missed a freethrow that would have tied the game however, and Boston went on to win, albeit unremarkably, to lead their series 3-2.
My Prediction? Rip Hamilton looks like he got injured late while his dream matchup Ray Allen, with an Iverson – like sock on his whole left arm, finally erupted with 29 points on 5-6 3pt. shooting. Meanwhile, Kendrick Perkins is playing like Dennis Rodman while his counterpart Antonio McDyess isn’t playing like – well, Antonio McDyess. With Rasheed Wallace too busy handling Kevin Garnett, the Celtics look like they’re on the road back to the Finals which they haven’t won since 1986.
But is the path as smooth as we thought it’d be in the regular season? Hardly. Rajon Rondo has 13 assists but not much else production, and leaves you asking whether it’s all too much to ask a rookie. Detroit, for all intents and purposes, is playing sub par, with only Rip Hamilton providing consistent numbers. Boston shouldn’t be having such a hard time as it is, but it’s played the most games (two game sevens) to get where it is, and even predicting a win in Detroit on Saturday is difficult, given their propensity to lose on the road in the Playoffs. An irony considering the team’s best regular season’s best out of town record.
Regardless, judging purely from who has the most healthy players Boston looks to win this one.