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TIME FOR A WIN
Posted by Jeff Dengate on April 29, 2005 12:00 p.m. ET

SUN SETTING ON MEMPHIS

Time is running out for the Grizzlies. Their best shot at getting the franchise's first-ever playoff victory looks to be tonight when the team hosts the Suns in Game 3 of their opening-round series.
-- [Memphis Commercial Appeal]

But, before Memphis fans get too excited about the possibility of a Game 3 win, the Suns' Steve Nash would like to give a high school history lesson.
-- [The Arizona Republic]

Speaking of history, the Grizzlies might want to put a hand in this guy's face, lest they relive Game 1.
-- [The Arizona Republic]

In that series opener, the Grizzlies focued on stopping Amare Stoudemire.
-- [NBA.com]

But forgot about all those shooters hanging out beyond the arc.
-- [Memphis Commercial Appeal]

So in Game 2, Pau Gasol answered the call of teammates and coach Mike Fratello ...
-- [Memphis Commercial Appeal]

... as the Grizzlies forced the contest into a physical affair and nearly stole a win in the desert.
-- [NBA.com]

Did the Suns victory make a statement to critics that this team can beat you even if you stop their all-out style of play?
-- [The Arizona Republic]

Or does the close series give future opponents confidence after seeing the Suns unable to trounce the No. 8 seed?

TIP-INS

E=MC2 ... Er, not that formula, but the Pistons are using a familiar one nonetheless.
-- [Detroit News]

Lost and Found: How one Kings' fan is searching for a win.
-- [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

AND FINALLY...

"Reggie." This one simple word still strikes fear in the hearts of NBA fans everywhere at this time of year. See why.
-- [NBA.com]

GETTING EVEN
Posted by Jeff Dengate on April 28, 2005 1:00 p.m. ET

HAPPY LEARNED HOW TO PUTT, UH-OH

Are the Spurs really 30 points better than the Nuggets? That was the talk this morning around the NBA.com watercooler.

After a Game 1 disappointment for the San Antonio faithful and a colorful TNT analyst ...
-- [San Antonio Express-News]

... Coach Popovich shuffled Manu Ginobili to the bench in favor of Brent Barry to avoid falling behind 0-2.
-- [Austin American-Statesman, Reg. req'd]

How would Ginobili react to the move? Ask Pop.
-- [San Antonio Express-News]

Sure, Barry, Ginobili and Tony Parker turned in solid performances, but Devin, that "uh-oh" you heard wasn't coming from your bench.
-- [San Antonio Express-News]

With the series knotted after two in Texas, Spurs fans are telling San Antonio resident Doug Moe to get lost.
-- [Rocky Mountain News]

So, Moe and the Nuggets head home to the Mile High City and must find the best way to deal with their worst postseason loss since 1987.
-- [San Antonio Express-News]

TIP-INS

Nets fans get good news: The Heat have lost nine straight playoff road games. And, bad news: This Heat team won an East-best 24 games on the road this season.
-- [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

A recurring theme for Indiana, another Pacer expects to play through pain.
-- [Boston Herald]

AND FINALLY...

If you feel compelled to yell at the TV between now and the middle of June, just make sure you know your playoff lingo.
-- [ESPN.com]

TWO-OH
Posted by Jeff Dengate on April 27, 2005 12:30 p.m. ET

JAMES: UNLIKELY HERO

Yes, Jerome James still holds a grudge.
-- [The Sacramento Bee, Reg. req'd]

Wouldn't you if you were told your career was over and you should look into a different line of work?
-- [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

But, how would you respond if given the chance to prove every detractor, including your former employer, wrong?
-- [The Seattle Times]

In Game 1 of Seattle's opening round series with Sacramento, James exacted a measure of revenge with an unexpected 17 points and 15 rebounds -- eight on the offensive glass.
-- [The Sacramento Bee, Reg. req'd]

Equally impressive were his five blocks and only two fouls, after a regular season plagued with foul trouble -- James averaged 3.5 personals in only 16.6 minutes of action this season.
-- [NBA.com]

In Game 2, no King could match up with James in the middle and prevent the repeat performance he claimed he had in him.
-- [The Oregonian]

James again exploited the Kings' lack of interior defense, tallying 19 points and nine boards as the Sonics took a 2-0 series lead.
-- [The Seattle Times]

The Sonics know they can't let up now, despite being in the driver's seat in the series. "You get a team down like that," James said, "you got to put your foot on their neck. Can't let them breathe."
-- [The Seattle Times]

How ironic then that it's James meting out the poetic justice to the team which told him he wasn't good enough for a career in the NBA.

LOOKING FOR TWO, TOO

To join the cool kids with a two-game lead, the Nuggets believe they need to pick up the pace against the Spurs.
-- [Denver Post]

Memphis is hoping to avoid the 2-0 hole, but the Suns are confident they can overcome any adjustments the Grizzlies make.
-- [The Arizona Republic]

Can the Bulls' Nocioni follow up on his brilliant Game 1 performance? The Wizards just say no.
-- [Washington Post, Reg. req'd]

LONE-STAR
Posted by Jeff Dengate on April 26, 2005 1 p.m. ET

BETWEEN A ROCK(ETS) AND A HARD PLACE

Remember all the way back to October when preseason predictions were being cast? T-Mac and Yao were hailed as the next Kobe-Shaq duo to rule the Western Conference.

But, along came a bumpy start to the season. Then, the aging Rockets made trades and got OLDER?!

Sure, Bob Sura, Jon Barry, David Wesley and a supporting cast of veterans helped get Houston back on track and into the playoffs.
-- [Houston Chronicle]

But, with all due respect to those role players, in Houston, it's a two-man game. As McGrady dropped the final shot to seal Game 2, T-Mac and Yao were the only two on the court who knew what was going on, literally.
-- [Houston Chronicle]

With McGrady and Yao playing their best basketball at the right time, the Rockets hold a near insurmountable lead. In NBA history, only the 1969 Lakers and 1994 Rockets have dropped Games 1 and 2 at home before winning a best-of-seven series.
-- [NBA.com]

Clutch City. Those two words may make Rockets fans slightly uneasy. After all, it was 10 years ago, during the Rockets second championship run, when they lost the first two games at Phoenix before going on to claim the series -- a feat the team must now deny the Mavericks.
-- [Dallas Morning News, Reg. req'd]

Even though it's been done before, Mavericks' fans know you don't just drop the first two games of a best-of-seven series at home if you plan to continue on in the playoffs.
-- [Star-Telegram, Reg. req'd]

If Dallas hopes to recover, it will need to display some of the much talked about defense. So far it's nowhere to be found.
-- [Dallas Morning News, Reg. req'd]

With a 2-0 lead and the scene shifting back to Houston, is this the first year T-Mac makes it out of the first round of the playoffs?
-- [Los Angeles Times, Reg. req'd]

ONE DOWN, 15 TO GO
Posted by Jeff Dengate on April 25, 2005 1 p.m. ET

UPSET SPECIAL

When the Western Conference Playoffs pairings were set last week, there had to be concern under the usually calm surface of coach Popovich and the ever-inanimate Tim Duncan. San Antonio was about to face Denver, one of the hottest teams in basketball looking like anything but a No. 7 seed.

After Game 1 of their first-round matchup, it's clear to see the cause of concern. The Nuggets drew first blood, walking out of the SBC Center with a 1-0 series lead and control of home-court advantage.
-- [San Antonio Express-News]

How did they defeat the Spurs, a team many have picked to win the Larry O'Brien trophy this season? Having some confidence helps. The Nuggets traveled to Texas with the intention of claiming two victories. After all, they'd won in San Antonio already this season.
-- [Denver Post]

The scouting report the media held listed the Nuggets as a running team, while the Spurs win with defense. So how is it that the Nuggets beat the Spurs at their own game?
-- [Rocky Mountain News]

Don't ask Kenyon Martin if he think a certain somebody's ankle had anything to do with the Nuggets' win. He doesn't care.
-- [Denver Post]

But go ahead, ask Carmelo Anthony about his tough first half.
-- [Rocky Mountain News]

And while you're posing questions, ask Marcus Camby just how important it is for a lower seed to grab control of the series.
-- [Rocky Mountain News]

Having given away Game 1, the Spurs need to regroup to make sure they tie the series up at one game apiece. Only eight teams in NBA history have overcome a 2-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven series, and only twice has a team lost the first two at home before eventually winning the series.

So, while the Spurs will have the home-court edge in Game 2, Denver coaches George Karl and Doug Moe feel right at home in this southwest city they once called home many years ago.
-- [The Daily Camera]

And now, I wonder if Bucks fans miss Karl. Like I said, just wondering.
-- [Denver Post]

TIP-INS

Bulls rookies show grit in first postseason win in seven years, highlighted by Andres Nocioni's 18 rebounds -- most ever by a rookie in the NBA Playoffs.
-- [Chicago Tribune, Reg. req'd]

Indiana fans might want to skip this note: The Pacers have lost all 13 NBA Playoffs series when dropping Game 1.
-- [Boston Globe]

AND FINALLY...

T-Mac, Yao turn to bench.
-- [Houston Chronicle]

Gasol was all-world in Game 2, but the Grizzlies still fell short.
(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Denver assistant coach Doug Moe on George Karl's preparation for big games:

"Only as a head coach do you hit that level where it drives you to insanity. Of course, George didn't have far to go."
-- [Denver Post]

2004-05 ARCHIVE
Apr. 19 -- Giving It All Away
Apr. 12 -- Playoff Bound
Apr. 5 -- Draw the Curtain
Mar. 29 -- Battling for Position
Mar. 22 -- Gone a Long Time?
Mar. 15 -- Deja View
Mar. 8 -- Top to Bottom
Mar. 1 -- Dynamic Duos
Feb. 25 -- Much Adieu About
Feb. 16-20 -- All-Star Blog
Feb. 15 -- Random House
Feb. 9 -- Reserves, Deserves
Feb. 1 -- All-Starters
Jan. 25 -- South by Southwest
Jan. 19 -- My Kind of Town
Jan. 11 -- 'S Wonderful
Jan. 4 -- Points Well Taken
Dec. 29 -- New Year's Wishes
Dec. 21 -- A Wonderful Life
Dec. 14 -- How Good is Good?
Dec. 7 -- Getting Medieval
Nov. 30 -- LeBron vs. Dwyane
Nov. 23 -- Playing Good Ball
Nov. 16 -- SuperbSonics
Nov. 9 -- Hitting the Blue Note
Nov. 3 -- Bling, Bang, Boom
2003-04 -- Archive