Wrapping It Up
-Manu Ginobili forcing a pass through a double team under his own basket with under two minutes left in the game despite having 3 timeouts remaining (this resulted in an easy layup for Marion).
The Sickness was definitely off his game Wednesday night (rendering my prediction of 30+ points comical by halftime). I believe it's just fatigue; it will be interesting to see how he bounces back after having a whole week of rest. He also was having his leg massaged while on the bench during the 2nd or 3rd quarter. I think he got kneed in the thigh by Q sometime in the first half (the same collision that affected Q and assisted his 0 point night).
Speaking of Quentin Richardson, I've got to give the man two head pounds for his spectacular WCF performance: 10.4 PPG on 19-45 shooting, 3 RPG, 0.8 APG and 1.2 TOPG. I don't usually mind a little demonstration after scoring. I find all the hub bub over Terrell Owens and his vast repertoire of celebrations to be ridiculous and pathetic. But, of course, Terrell Owens is one of the best receivers in the NFL who repeatedly burns defenses. Q stands at the 3P line and waits. If you're going to draw attention to yourself you should first make sure you aren't playing LIKE ABSOLUTE ASS.
Beno Udrih totally needs to come up with a celebration. Like licking his fingers and flattening his eyebrows with them. Or pulling back his jersey to reveal his Slovenian heart and that star-shaped nipple piercing that Janet Jackson made famous.
Back to Manu and his less than usual performance. He seemed to be a step slow and trying too hard to draw fouls instead of making shots. This resulted in 19 points on 15 FGA, 8 REB, 6 AST, 3 STL and 4 TO. That is still pretty damn good. Tony Parker, on the other hand, was real bad. Spurs fans may only remember his 2 3P in the third quarter (which were huge), but he still finished with 18 PTS on 21 FGA, 1 REB, 2 AST and 2 TOs. That's not good folks.
Which leads me to some quick thoughts on the finals. I would much rather play the Heat for the following reasons:
-Either team will play well off TP, encouraging him to shoot. It could very well get to the point where Beno/Barry are forced to play significant minutes; I would much rather have them guarding Damon Jones than Chancey Billups.
-Shaq is no longer Shaq. In fact, from now on se llame El Chack. The Chack's sizeable leg is obviously hurting and he's more of a defensive liability than ever.
-Tony Parker will have an easier time against Miami. Shaq and Mourning are a formidable presence inside, but they're a couple notches below the Wallaces. Also, Billups would give The Wee Frenchman much more trouble than Damon Jones.
-DET has three guys they can throw at Timmeh: Wallace, Wallace and McDyess. The Heat have three only if they are willing to risk Shaq getting into foul trouble. Rasheed is probably the best TD defender in the NBA.
-I don't know if Tayshaun can slow Manu, but I'm pretty damn sure Eddie Jones cannot. Wade is a viable matchup, but he's 2 inches shorter than Manu (and I would love to see Wade chasing around Manu on defense).
-I think Bowen can do a decent job on Dwyane. Bowen has more trouble with guys like Ray Allen and Rip Hamilton who continuously run you off screens and have a quick release. Wade is more of a one on one player like Kobe. Also, Wade does a lot of his scoring on the break. Ask DEN and PHX how easy it is to run on the Spurs. I still expect Dwyane to average about 28-32 points a game, but it will take him 22-26 FGA to do it. Because:
-MIA relies more on the 3 than DET, though not to the level that SEA or PHX does. SA will shut that down and force Wade to hit difficult shots over Bowen/Tim/Nazr/Rasho. They likely won't double team The Chack either.
So I'm rooting for MIA in seven games, but no matter who wins the finals will be the most difficult matchup for the Spurs.
One last thing. PHX deserves a lot of credit for the way they handled themselves against the Spurs. When DEN and SEA realized they couldn't guard Manu they resorted to repeatedly flagrantly fouling him and pretending that it was "part of the game." I never understood the rationale behind that line of thinking; "Well, we cannot beat them playing basketball, so let's turn the game into something else." So, kudos to PHX for not being a bunch of no talent ass clown chumps.