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RUNNING OV-ER THE BULLS
Posted by Jeff Dengate on May 5, 2005 1 p.m. ET

ARENAS, WIZARDS DELIVER DEVASTATING BLOW

Did you catch the exciting finish to the Wizards-Bulls game last night? Or did you, assuming the game was a rout, flip over to watch the end of CSI:NY?

If so, then you probably already know what you missed.
-- [NBA.com video]

The Bulls made an incredible comeback, with Jannero Pargo nearly playing role of hero, tying the ballgame at 110 with five ticks on the clock.
-- [Daily Herald]

It was a gutty performance by the Bulls, who clawed their way back in the second half despite playing through pain.
-- [Chicago Tribune, Reg. req'd]

But you kind of got the sense from the beginning that this game belonged to the Wizards. Despite the fact Gilbert Arenas couldn't throw the ball in Lake Michigan in the early going, he had no troubles as a playmaker.
-- [Washington Post, Reg. req'd]

On one particularly smooth play in the first quarter, Arenas collared a Bulls' turnover with one hand, wheeled and fired a perfect strike to a streaking Larry Hughes, a seemingly effortless move the likes of which you'll not witness at any other level of hoops. Arenas could easily have been Derek Jeter, turning a bare-handed grab at shortstop to throw out a baserunner at first.

But on the hardwood Arenas saved his best for last, a shot Bulls' fans had seen before, only from a slightly different perspective.
-- [Chicago Tribune, Reg. req'd]

The buzzer-beater delivered the Bulls a third straight defeat and you now must wonder about the team's chances to recover and win the series. If you're like this writer, you're pretty sure their chances are slim and narrow.
-- [Chicago Sun-Times]

The Bulls know it won't be easy to win at the MCI Center.
-- [Daily Herald]

Which could spell their first opening-round playoff series loss since 1987.
-- [Washington Times, Reg. req'd]

After Gilbert's heroics, Antawn Jamison was heard saying, "It's over." He quickly corrected himself and said he meant the game, not the series. So, while the players aren't saying it, that doesn't mean the ink slingers aren't.
-- [Washington Post, Reg. req'd]

WIN OR GO HOME

Win or go home: It doesn't get any more simple than that for the Rockets and Celtics. Both teams find themselves down 3-2 in their first round series, facing elimination tonight.

While the Celtics are in a do-or-die situation, Paul Pierce says it's no time to panic.
-- [Boston Herald]

But really, the Celtics know this is no position to find yourself.
-- [Boston Globe]

It's anybody's guess what will happen in Game 6.
-- [Boston Globe]

Those in Indy are calling for an end to this series so the Pacers can advance for a rematch of last year's Eastern Conference Finals matchup.
-- [Indianapolis Star]

Meanwhile out west, the Rockets are hoping to catch a break on their home court and extend their first-round series with Dallas to seven games.

Houston is focusing on the task at hand, but in truth, the team is looking forward to playing Saturday in Dallas.
-- [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Reg. req'd]

Forcing a Game 7 will not be easy, however, as the Mavericks are playing with a must-win mentality.
-- [Houston Chronicle]

The Mavericks seem to have found trust in each other just in time, looking to stave off a first-round disappointment and become only the third team in NBA history to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first two games at home.
-- [Dallas Morning News, Reg. req'd]

BULL-IED IN WASHINGTON
Posted by Jeff Dengate on May 4, 2005 1 p.m. ET

SERIES SHIFTS TO CHICAGO, CAN BULLS RECOVER?

After taking two straight beatings on the road at the hands of the Wizards, the Bulls are hoping a return to the United Center brings back a little of the magic the team displayed in the first two games of the series.

Chicago averaged 108 points per game in those first two contests, both victories, as the Wizards looked overmatched.
-- [The Washington Times]

But when the series shifted to Washington, the Bulls looked, well, not so lively.
-- [Chicago Sun-Times]

If you're a Bulls' fan, there's no need to panic yet.
-- [Chicago Sun-Times]

Take solace in the fact that the home team has claimed victory in every game of the series.
-- [Daily Southtown]

But, as coach Skiles knows: To succeed in the playoffs, you must be able to win on the road.
-- [Daily Herald]

So, how can the Bulls make sure Washington isn't the first team to win a road game in this series?

Maybe by hoping Ben Gordon's shot is as sharp as his suit and smile was Tuesday when he was presented with the NBA's Sixth Man award.
-- [Chicago Tribune, Reg. req'd]

While Gordon isn't beating himself up over the 1-for-13 performance he turned in on Monday, the same can't be said for his teammate.
-- [Chicago Tribune, Reg. req'd]

Bad games aside, one Chicago scribe believes the Bulls will lose the series anyway because the truth is the Wizards are "much better" than the Bulls.
-- [Chicago Tribune, Reg. req'd]

Meanwhile, another Chicago writer dropped even more brutal truth on the Bulls about the uninspired effort put forth in the nation's captial.
-- [Chicago Sun-Times]

If the Bulls want to make a date with the Miami Heat in the second round, tonight's game is the time to stop the wave of momentum the Wizards are riding.
-- [Washington Post, Reg. req'd]

DENVER DONE?

The Spurs expect the Nuggets to come out fighting in their elimination game tonight in San Antonio.
-- [Denver Post]

But one complete player stands in Denver's way of a monumental coomeback.
-- [San Antonio Express-News]

As do all-world backcourt mates.
-- [San Antonio Express-News]

CLOSE-OUTS
Posted by Jeff Dengate on May 3, 2005 12 p.m. ET

PISTONS, SONICS CAN ADVANCE

Down 3-1. That's no place to be if you have designs on advancing further in the NBA Playoffs. Yet, it's the reality the Sixers and Kings awoke to this morning, each down 3-1 in their opening series against the Pistons and Sonics, respectively.

The Sixers have the unfortunate disadvantage of playing the defending champs who are unwilling to make a return trip to Philly.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

The Sonics, too, aren't planning on extending their series any further than five games, but they're not getting ahead of themselves.
-- [The Seattle Times, Reg. req'd]

With a win tonight in Detroit, the Pistons can give some much needed rest to the Prince's ailing ankle.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

Ever-durable, Tayshaun has not missed a game due to injury in the NBA or in four years at Kentucky, and Detroit is counting on his contributions during its Championship defense.
-- [Detroit News]

And while we're talking about defense, Big Ben strikes three.
-- [Detroit News]

Is the clock running out on the Sixers? After all, only seven teams have ever recovered to win a best-of-seven series after trailing 3-1.
-- [Philadelphia Daily News, Reg. req'd]

This Sixers team is unlikely to become the eighth because, as one outspoken Philly resident is beginning to see, it seems the Pistons are on track to repeat.
-- [Philadelphia Inquirer, Reg. req'd]

The Sonics, meanwhile, don't need a repeat of Ray Allen's 45-point outburst to close out the Kings tonight ...
-- [NBA.com]

... but it would help if rookie Nick Collison kept hitting the deck.
-- [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

Or Jerome James puts up at least 17-and-8 like he has in every game of the series thus far.
-- [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

Take all of the above and mix in a little physical play down low from old friends.
-- [Sacramento Bee, Reg. req'd]

And the Sonics are slated to move on to the second round for the first time since 1998.
-- [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

ABOUT LAST NIGHT

Eddie Jordan keeps faith; Juan Dixon delivers.
-- [Washington Post, Reg. req'd]

Remember Tim Duncan, the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player and 2003 NBA Finals MVP? Looks like he's back.
-- [Rocky Mountain News]

Finally, somebody sends the home fans away happy.
-- [Dallas Morning News, Reg. req'd]

WEEK ONE DOWN
Posted by Jeff Dengate on May 2, 2005 1 p.m. ET

HOME WOES

Will somebody please give the home fans something to cheer about? With their opening-round series shifting back north to Dallas, the Mavericks are hoping homecourt really does provide an advantage. But does such a thing exist in the state of Texas?

In the 1995 Western Conference Finals, San Antonio held homecourt advantage over Houston. Or so they thought. The road team went on to tie an NBA-record, winning the first five games of the series before the Rockets finally wrapped up the series at home in Game 6.

Dallas is vowing not to form a Texas tie-angle in the record book, as Mavericks players predict a victory tonight at American Airlines Center.
-- [Dallas Morning News, Reg. req'd]

Avery Johnson believes the home fans will rise to the occasion.
-- [The Charlotte Observer, Reg. req'd]

And should Dallas win tonight to back the Rockets into a corner, Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy will look especially prophetic. After all, it was Van Gundy who warned his team of the Clutch City moniker after the Rockets took the first two games on the road and started thinking about a sweep.
-- [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Reg. req'd]

That 1994 team was one of only two in history to lose the first two games at home and go on to win the series.

To avoid a third straight loss at home, the Mavericks must hope their small-ball lineup comes up big again.
-- [Dallas Morning News, Reg. req'd]

And their defense focuses on putting a stop to the aging marksmen.
-- [Houston Chronicle]

Win or lose tonight, the two victories in Houston have many now eating their words.
-- [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Reg. req'd]

WEEKEND WRAP

Note to Heat: Tougher opponents await in the East and you'll need the Big Fella if you're to make a trip west in June.
-- [New York Post]

Like the East's top team, the West's best gets a little well deserved R & R before the next round.
-- [Memphis Commerical Appeal]

Ray shot the lights out Sunday ... and dimmed the hopes of the Kings in the process
-- [Sacramento Bee, Reg. req'd]

How to celebrate a Game 4 victory in Indy? White Castle, of course.
-- [Boston Globe]

Gilbert gives Washington a long-awaited win, a fan a jersey.
-- [New York Times, Reg. req'd]

It's understandable how witnessing Manu come off the bench for 32 in 31 minutes is difficult to watch.
-- [San Antonio Express-News, Reg. req'd]

AND FINALLY...

Manu's not the only Ginobili in the playoffs.
-- [San Antonio Express-News, Reg. req'd]

Arenas on nailing the game-winning shot: "When you get the chance, you don't want to blow it."
(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire on the extra rest the Suns receive after sweeping Memphis:

"I'll be getting massages, sitting by the pool and drinking lemonade until Round 2."
-- [The Arizona Republic]

2004-05 ARCHIVE
Apr. 29 -- Playoffs 2005 Begin
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