There was a trio of game 2’s yesterday. Two of them on TNT and the other on NBA TV. For the first time since the NBA playoffs started two games were almost completely overlapped. Which is to say that they were more or less on at the same time.
Celtics stave off the Knicks one more time 96-93. Boston leads series 2-0.
In this game Chauncey Billups didn’t play and Amar’e Stoudemire got hurt early on. This left Carmelo Anthony alone on the floor without another ‘alpha-dog.’ Carmelo then proceeded to shoot the lights out. Carmelo had a stunning and might I also add, absolutely entertaining, performance. He scored 42 points and shot 47 percent from the field and he single-handedly kept the Knicks in this game the entire time. And as great as that was just like Dwight Howard’s 46 points on Saturday against he Hawks, it was all for nought. The Knicks had an opportunity to win and Jared Jeffries screwed up at the end and cost them that chance. However it is unfair to blame one entire game on a single player. Jeffries didn’t allow Rajon Rondo to score 30 points by himself nor did he allow the Celtics to get 16 fast break points by himself. The fact is the Knicks just didn’t play enough defense to win that game. They didn’t move well in transition and they weren’t the better team that night. There was a point in the first quarter that Rondo ran so many fast breaks that Doc Rivers had to take him out of the game because he was getting tired.
The Knicks had Carmelo to score so they had a chance but a lack of intensity on the defense end for the full 48 minutes of the game cost them a victory that they could have had.
Magic counter the Hawks 88-82. Series is tied 1-1.
Orlando was very fortunate to win the game. This is weird because in a number of ways they completely dominated. They out rebounded the Hawks 52-39. They outscored the Hawks 14-7 in fast break points. However that wasn’t why the Magic won. The Magic still have their disproportionate scoring problem. The problem in which Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson score all the points and nobody else provides point production at all (Hedo did actually help out this time). Atlanta did their thing. They moved the ball well but, they just didn’t make shots. Which is why I say that Orlando was fortunate to win the game. They don’t have a consistent scorer outside of Dwight and while it’s their greatest strength it is their most obvious weakness. Howard had to play the entire game. Yup, he played all 48 minutes. Other Magic players need to step up because this is a difficult pace for anybody to keep up, even Superman.
On a side note. The Magic actually go through huge stretches of games where they just pull up and shoot three pointers. Sometimes I’ll notice Howard on the low block in a one-on-one matchup and instead of going to the big fella, Orlando jacks up a bad shot or a three that they don’t need. Orlando was 5 of 23 from three. It makes no sense to me.
Mavericks pull away from Portland in the fourth to win it 101-89. Dallas leads series 2-0.
Jason Kidd was the difference maker in this game. He was 3 of 6 from beyond the arc. Jason Kidd’s newfound three point shooting prowess has opened up so much for Dallas. Jason Kidd and Peja Stojakovic had three point shooting that stretched the Portland defense out. Stojakovic shot 5 of 10 from three. So instead of double teaming Dirk, Portland stretched its defense to cover the shooters and Dirk pretty much traipsed unencumbered to the basket. I like Nate McMillan but he should have doubled Dirk. Portland was able to contest the shots of three point shooters and they weren’t going to shoot like that all night. Dirk on the other hand was going to shoot like that all night. He was hot and needed to be stopped. Portland stayed tough, even trading points for a while but, in the fourth quarter Dirk was too much. Dirk had 33 points and 7 rebounds.
I like the defensive intensity that Tyson Chandler brought to the Mavericks. He’s aggressive and makes sure that the paint is a difficult place for opposing players to be.