Let's be real for a second. This feature shouldn' t be called the Expert Pick anymore. After choosing the right guy on the wrong night one too many times this postseason, I'm officially demoting the title to the "Six Guys Who Know Hoops Pretty Darn Well But Are As Unlucky As Upside Down Horseshoes Pick" after we whiffed yet again by picking Lamar Odom on Sunday.
We just had to pick him on a night when he registered seven points, 11 rebounds and six assists - 4.4 points behind his PRA average of 28.4 during the Playoffs in the same way a contestant on Deal or No Deal just has to open up another case instead of taking the banker's offer of $346,000, retiring and moving to Cabo.
No matter, we must forge ahead. (Even though it cuts like a knife everytime we watch TNT and see that Charles, Kenny and Ernie all have more DTF points from their individual selections than the six of us "experts" have as a collaboration.)
There is one game on Tuesday, the Lakers at the Spurs. L.A. holds a 2-1 series lead, but San Antonio is coming off a dominant Game 3 and after Game 4, the series could very well be 2-2 headed back to Hollywood.
We have recently dried up the Lakers' Big Three (Bryant, Gasol, Odom) from our reserves and the Spurs' Big Three (Duncan, Ginobili, Parker) were implemented in the second round.
So, who do we go with? The player available with the highest remaning PRA is Derek Fisher and his 15.4 mark. The problem is, Fisher is coming off a horrid Game 3 when he racked up just two points, three rebounds and one assist. We can't afford to just get a six out of him in Game 4. Plus, he's playing on the road.
Who do we have left on the home team?
Let's see ...
Ime Udoka - 9.9 PRA average but just a total of five in Game 3
There are two lines of thinking ... You could say that Finley, Oberto and Barry should have some momentum and confidence going into Game 4, so one of those three should be the pick; or you could say that their performances were abberations, just like Udoka's, Bowen's and Thomas' poor Game 3s were atypical and you'd think that they are due to turn it around.
But once you start diving that deep into it, you hit your head at the concrete bottom of the pool and realize, "Hey, I just spent 10 minutes of my life guessing how the No. 4-9 guys on the Spurs will perform in a non-clinching, non-Finals playoff game. I need help."
Just like they tell you when you take the SATs, I'm going to trust my first instinct. Fisher's average PRA is 1.5 times bigger than anybody on the Spurs' and our strategy has been top-to-bottom all postseason long.
Time to Go Fish.
(And then curse myself when Brent Barry scores something like 14 points in Game 4.)