Click and Roll has returned to duty every weekday for the playoffs. Stick with us throughout the postseason as Click and Roll will cover the NBA Playoffs 2003 as only we can.
NBA Playoffs 2003 | TV: Spurs-Lakers (8 ET, ABC); Mavs-Kings (10:30 ET, ESPN)
An End of An Era?
And for three years, the Los Angeles Lakers have been the kings (sorry, Kings fans) of the NBA hill, winning three NBA championships in a row.
Did someone say written? This L.A. columnist isn't ready to write off the Lakers. (L.A. Times)
For the Lakers to avoid an early vacation, and Phil Jackson's first playoffs series loss in the last 26 tries, Shaq will need to snap out of his funk. Then again, Shaq may be angry enough to lift the Lakers tonight. And believe me, you wouldn't like him when he's angry.(L.A. Daily News)
Some Spurs fans loath the thought of the series going to seven games, where anything can happen. (San Antonio Express-News)
Again, the Kings need more from Vlade Divac. (Sacramento Bee)
Mavs assistant coach Rolando Blackman says ending the series as quickly as possible is the most important thing. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
And with the help the Mavs have been getting from their bench, that may happen. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
Now, let's goaltend to last night's business.
Whoops. Did I say goaltend? I meant tend to business, the business being an exciting finish to another Game 5 that once again left me yelling at the television. (NBA.com)
And what a finish it was. There was Eric Snow, not known for his outside shooting, draining a three-pointer with 9.4 seconds to play to give the Sixers a 77-76 lead. Then there was Chucky Atkins, starting in the place of the injured Chauncey Billups, throwing a floater to the rim that bounced, once, twice and halfway through and then out. (Detroit Free Press)
Unlike Robert Horry's in-and-out three-pointer on Tuesday, which was the results of physics and some would say karma, Atkins' layup had help escaping the hoop. The refs caught the Sixers' Derrick Coleman with his hand in the cookie jar and rightfully called goaltending. Still, without Coleman, the Sixers may not have been that close. (Detroit Free Press)
While the Pistons were being hailed in their local press for winning when all looked grim, Philadelphia scribes claim that the Sixers aren't ready to make tee times just yet. (Detroit News, Philadelphia Inquirer)
Speaking of tee times, when I saw this item on Wednesday, I became extremely excited. In his spare time, Jason Kidd says he hits the links. I thought, great, he surfs the web and reads Click and Roll. Alas, the story is about golf. Oh well, maybe next time. (SI.com)
Finally, NBA great Dave DeBusschere died Wednesday at the age of 62. DeBusschere was a member of the Knicks' two NBA title teams, an eight-time All-Star, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history. Many younger fans remember DeBusschere, then the Knicks' GM leaping out of his skin and pumping his fist after the Knicks won the first ever NBA Draft Lottery in 1985.
Rob Peterson, NBA.com
Sakes Alive, We Love Game 5, Part II
Forget Phil Jackson. I was about to have a coronary.
Tuesday's Game 5 between the Lakers and the Spurs may not go down as one of the greatest games in playoff history, but the final 14.7 seconds provided one more the more memorable "almosts" ever. (NBA.com)
When Kobe Bryant, stuck in the left corner, found Robert "Big-Game Rob" Horry alone and behind the three-point line with the Lakers down two and 5.7 seconds remaining, time -- and hearts -- seemed to stop. (L.A. Times)
Horry had his feet set and his shoulders square. Like Democrats in the Texas legislature, no Spur could be found close by. In this frozen moment, you could see the looks of recognition and resignation on the Spurs' faces. David Robinson admitted he flashed back to Game 4 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals when Horry drained his cold-blooded three against the Kings. (L.A. Times)
After being down 25 points, the Lakers believed they were getting a reprieve. (Los Angeles Daily News)
As Tony Parker flailed and flew by, Horry's shot was already on a perfect arc toward the hoop. No one in the SBC Center could move. The ball hit the back rim, the front, seemed ready to drop through and then ...
It popped out. Damn if that shot wasn't down. The Lakers seemed to think so. They didn't even move for the rebound. In the replay, you can see Brian Shaw bite on his knuckle like a frightened actress in a B-grade horror flick. Horry threw his hands to his head. The Spurs, after nearly blowing that huge lead, could take their hands off their own throats. (San Antonio Express-News)
Now, with the Lakers down 3-2, some are writing the champs' epitaph again. (L.A. Times) And if that's not enough, the Lakers' soap opera continues as Shaquille O'Neal and Jackson don't sound like they'll be going out to dinner any time soon. (San Antonio Express-News)
Speaking of meals, the Kings had their collective lunch handed to them by the Mavs in Game 5 on Tuesday and there is much hand-wringing in the California capital today over the Kings' predicament. (NBA.com, Sacramento Bee)
Injuries have finally caught up with the Kings, rendering the offense, one that scored a less-than-perfect 10 points in the third quarter, ineffective. (Sacramento Bee)
A 19-point defeat was no way to spend a birthday. (Sacramento Bee)
And if Kings fans need a fall guy for all of this? (Do Kings fans want a fall guy?) One columnist says it's time to point fingers at the guy on the bench with the beard. (Sacramento Bee)
Speaking of offense ... well, we really can't speak of offense in the Pistons-Sixers series now, can we? (NBA.com)
As for defense in tonight's game, we can talk about that. And when you yap about defense, you talk about Ben Wallace. Ben, Pistons' nation turns its lonely eyes to you to get them a win in Game 5 (8 ET, TNT). (Detroit News)
As for the Sixers, they miss the injured Tyrone Hill. (Philadelphia Daily News)
Still, the Sixers are OK if the have Allen Iverson and the gritty Eric Snow, who doesn't know how to give in. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Finally, Jerry Sloan, a no-quit kind of guy, will be coach of the Jazz through the 2006 season. (Salt Lake Tribune)
Rob Peterson, NBA.com
Sakes Alive, We Love Game 5
In five of those series, the team that won Game 5 eventually won the series (including the Kings, who closed out their series with the Jazz in five games). Our little non-scientific survey shows that to be a .625 series-winning percentage. Not bad, but not necessarily guaranteed.
Still, Game 5 often seems to be the psychological lynchpin in a seven-game series, especially if said series is tied 2-2. (NBA.com)
Winning Game 5 places a team one win from a series victory. For a team with the home-court advantage, a win gives it wiggle room. A team can have a lousy Game 6 and know it is coming home for Game 7. (NBA.com)
But for a road team to win Game 5? Well, that's the best thing that could happen to the triumphant. Not only is that squad one win away from taking the series, but it gets their chance to do so in front a friendly, yet frenzied home mob.
Tonight, we have two Game 5s and the victors will have a much brighter immediate future.
In Dallas, the Mavs and Kings will drag their tired carcasses up and down the American Airlines Center floor (7 ET TNT). (NBA.com)
The Mavs are looking forward to some home cooking to rejuvenate them after their exhausting weekend in Sacramento. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
Mavs assistant coach Rolando Blackman said Dallas must maintain its energy throughout Game 5. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
Lakers coach Phil Jackson will be on the sidelines tonight after undergoing an angioplasty and missing Game 4 on Sunday. (L.A. Daily News)
Still, one L.A. columnist paints a less-than-rosy portrait of Jackson's predicament. Could this be the end of an era? (L.A. Times)
The Spurs would like to hasten that end. Even after losing two in L.A. over the weekend, Tim Duncan and the Spurs are confident heading into Game 5. (San Antonio Express-News)
In Game 5, we'll also see if Spurs coach Gregg Popovich can add to his reputation as a coach capable of making adjustments. (San Antonio Express-News)
Yet, if the Spurs do lose the series, one San Antonio columnist says you can blame him for firing up the Lakers. (San Antonio Express-News)
I don't know who fired up the Nets, but they absolutely smoked the Celtics with a four-game sweep in their Eastern Conference semifinals series. (NBA.com)
Sure, the Nets needed two overtimes on Monday to take the Celtics in Game 4, but you could tell the Nets were primed when Kenyon Martin converted a three-point play off the opening tip of the first overtime. (Boston Globe)
Now, the Nets get to rest and wait for the winner of the Sixers-Pistons series. (NBA.com)
Finally, TNT is running out of analysts. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Rob Peterson, NBA.com
While You Were Away
Sacramento forward Chris Webber was diagnosed with torn cartilage in his left knee on Friday night and is expected miss the rest of the playoffs. Or will he? (Sacramento Bee)
The Kings and the Mavs then went on to play one of the greatest playoff games in history, with the Mavs winning 141-137 in double OT on Saturday. (NBA.com)
It was a defeat so bitter that the Kings could never, ever recover. (Sacramento Bee)
Until Sunday night that is, when the Kings tromped the Mavs 99-83 in Game 4 to tie the series at 2-2. For some, it's a series that defies categorization. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Remember when the Lakers were down 2-0 coming back to Los Angeles and every sportswriter banged out a eulogy? Writers across the country have taken the lilies off the Lakers' coffin and have begun to toss verbal bouquets. (Chicago Sun-Times)
I guess it's the Spurs' turn to be worried. (L.A. Times)
Detroit, which had won five straight playoff games, lost two in a row this weekend in Philadelphia. (NBA.com)
Chauncey Billups, the Pistons' offensive engine, returned in Game 4 on Sunday after missing Games 2 and 3 with a sprained ankle. His return was less than productive, which left some behind the keyboard wondering if Billups came back a bit too soon. (Detroit Free Press, Philadelphia Inquirer)
Speaking of pain, the Celtics are down 3-0 to the Nets in their Eastern Conference semifinals series, which continues tonight in Boston (8 ET, TNT). (NBA.com)
Paul Pierce is staying positive and taking the tack that no one has won four games in their series yet. Because of this, Pierce still has hope. (Bergen County Record)
More than hope, Pierce needs help. (Boston Herald)
Meanwhile, the Nets want to get the series over with as quickly as possible. (New York Times)
One Boston columnist claims the Nets should get more respect for their fastbreak and for their killer instinct. (Boston Globe)
Finally, Detroit's Joe Dumars was named the NBA Executive of the Year by The Sporting News. (The Sporting News)
So, how was your weekend?
Rob Peterson, NBA.com