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WIN OR STAY HOME
Posted by Jeff Dengate on May 20, 2005 2:00 p.m. ET

BIG TROUBLES IN BIG D

The stage is nearly set. Three teams have punched their tickets, with only Phoenix or Dallas yet to R.S.V.P. But, before we turn our focus to the Conference Finals, there's still a shootout taking place in the wild, wild West.

In this series dominated by the home team, can Dallas continue the trend and pick up Game 6 on their hardwood to extend the series to the anything-can-happen finale?

Or will Phoenix finally silence the naysayers who claimed all season they can't succeed in the playoffs with their style of play?
-- [ESPN.com]

Some predicted the Suns would tire from all that running. They're not.
-- [Arizona Republic]

The Suns starting five shouldered the load for the most part, but providing valuable relief of late has been this guy.
-- [Dallas Morning News, Reg. req'd.]

And him too.
-- [East Valley Tribune]

Their performances -- not to mention a little plastic -- helps to ease any discomfort.
-- [Arizona Republic]

To claim the lead in this highly entertaining series, the Suns have scratched and clawed ...
-- [Dallas Morning News, Reg. req'd.]

... and triple-doubled ...
-- [East Valley Tribune]

.. and even used a little "Magic" of their own.
-- [Arizona Republic]

But all hope is not lost for Dallas, based on history.
-- [Dallas Morning News, Reg. req'd.]

By what means can the Mavericks recover, you ask?

Desperation is one way.
-- [Dallas Morning News, Reg. req'd.]

Or did he mean hungry?
-- [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Reg. req'd.]

Putting a hand in somebody's face helps.
-- [New York Times, Reg. req'd.]

Think the Mavericks are getting the point?
-- [Dallas Morning News, Reg. req'd.]

Regardless, they have to find a way to stop these two.
-- [East Valley Tribune]

So, while the Mavs are down, but not out -- less optimistic types are calling in the undertaker --
-- [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Reg. req'd.]

It's win or stay home tonight in Dallas.
-- [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Reg. req'd.]

WRAP IT UP
Posted by Jeff Dengate on May 19, 2005 1:00 p.m. ET

MILLER TIME OVER?

Reggie: Perhaps no other single word strikes more fear in the hearts of NBA fans at this time of year. But tonight's game in Indianapolis could spell the end of his decorated 18-year NBA career, as No. 31 goes down as one of the best postseason spoilers of all time.

Like us, you probably have fond memories (or nightmares) of Miller coming off a screen for the catch-and-shoot trey. If your memory's a little hazy, relive the making of the legend. You can thank us in a minute. We'll be right here.
-- [NBA.com]

All those clutch shots have left a nearly indelible mark in the NBA record books, as Miller ranks at the top for most career three-point field goals made (316) and attempted (812) in the NBA Playoffs.

Despite all the accolades, Reggie has never hoisted the Larry O'Brien trophy. Tonight's game will mark Miller's 144th career playoff game without ever having played on an NBA Championship team, tying Charles Oakley for fourth-most in NBA history.

As we read through the newspaper stories this morning, we find we're not the only people asking if Miller time is really over.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

Here's another asking the same question.
-- [Indianapolis Star]

The Pistons are ready to issue a final farewell.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

But not so fast.
-- [New York Times, Reg. req'd.]

Closing out this resilient team is no easy task.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

The Pacers -- especially this year's crew -- are no strangers to adversity.
-- [Toronto Star]

But the little-team-that-could may finally have run out of steam.
-- [Indianapolis Star]

So, let "Reggie!" sound from the Conseco Fieldhouse faithful one final time.

That is, unless the Pacers again defy the odds and find a way to get two victories.

TIPS INS

This guy's good.
-- [San Antonio Express-News, Reg. req'd.]

Diesel parked for Game 1?
-- [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Damon Jones will be ready.
-- [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Triple-double = Triple-trouble.
-- [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Reg. req'd.]

Mmmm ... Strawberry milkshakes and Peking duck.
-- [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Reg. req'd.]

IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT
Posted by Jeff Dengate on May 18, 2005 1:30 p.m. ET

PISTONS, SPURS MAKE STATEMENT

The Pistons and Spurs know a thing or two about Game 5 heroics.

Pistons' President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars was a player on the 1990 team when "the Microwave", Vinnie Johnson, nailed a 15-footer with :00.7 on the clock, earning the moniker "007" and clinching the team's second straight NBA Championship.
-- [NBA.com History]

The Spurs were on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum in last year's playoffs against the Lakers. Tim Duncan nailed a near-impossible fadeaway from the top of the key over Shaquille O'Neal with only .4 seconds left on the clock, likely sending the Spurs to a 3-2 series advantage. But, Derek Fisher connected on an unlikely catch and shoot, falling away at the buzzer to give the Lakers the edge and the momentum to close out San Antonio in six games.
-- [NBA.com]

Those instances are merely two of the 103 previous times the Game 5 winner has captured a best-of-seven series in the 123 times a series was tied at 2-2.

This year's Pistons and Spurs weren't taking the chance they'd need any last-second heroics, putting last night's contests out of reach after halftime.

Detroit understood, you win this game, you're only one victory removed from advancing.
-- [Detroit News]

Now, the series is theirs to win.
-- [Detroit News]

Or lose.
-- [Indianapolis Star]

If you say so.

But the decisive second-half run by the Pistons -- like the Spurs -- delivered a statement and dashed the hopes of the opposition for Game 6.
-- [NBA.com]

During the run, Pacers' coach Rick Carlisle knew he had to stop the bleeding. Maybe somebody should have counted how many timeouts the team had left.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

So, down 3-2, desperation now sets in.
-- [Indianapolis Star]

In Seattle, they're calling it regrouping.
-- [Seattle Times]

MUST SEE TV

So, what to expect for tonight's Game 5 between Phoenix and Dallas?

In case you've missed the first four games, skip American Idol and tune in to "Great TV".
-- [Sports Illustrated Cover, May 23, 2005]

Dare we say must-see TV?
-- [Washington Post, Reg. req'd.]

There's plenty of plot twists and action in this reality program.
-- [Dallas Morning News, Reg. req'd.]

Which is quite possibly the most entertaining series of the playoffs thus far.
-- [Boston Globe]

One team makes a move. The other counters. Who will declare check mate?
-- [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Reg. req'd.]

Which team will step up and take control of the wide-open West?
-- [Dallas Morning News, Reg. req'd.]

History says, lose Game 5 and you're toast.
-- [Arizona Republic]

WHO'S MIAMI'S MVP?
Posted by Rob Peterson on May 16, 2005 2:30 p.m. ET

IS THERE EVEN A DEBATE?

Ah, Dwyane Wade. How we venerate thee!

We at Click and Roll would love to tell you that Mr. Wade has been in our sights as one of the league's best since the beginning of the season, but we're reluctant to pat ourselves on the back. Why? For one, this particular author is old and it hurts and two, it's harder to type with one hand behind your back.

That being said, let's review. We noted Mr. Wade's brilliance all the way back in November. You can also check out the quote in that old article. Shaq knew too. (Oh, and ignore the Kirilenko for MVP part. Whoops!)
-- [NBA.com's Click and Roll, Nov. 9]

And then we asked: Who's better? LeBron or Wade?
-- [NBA.com's Click and Roll, Nov. 30]

By our less than scientific count, LBJ edged Dwyane.
-- [NBA.com's Click and Roll, Dec. 7]

If we asked you that same question now, what would you say?

Well, after Wade's stellar performance in the Heat's sweep of the Wizards, including Games 3 and 4 without Shaq, we feel it's even safer to say now: Wade has been and is Miami's most valuable player. (As we said, Shaq said as much in his introductory press conference.)

Don't act shocked. When you score 42 in a clincher with the Big Fella in natty threads on the bench and when you put up Jordan-Bird-Big O-type numbers (31.0 ppg, 8.0 apg, 7.0 rpg) in a conference semifinals series sweep, then many questions have been answered.

Browsing the newspaper links, it appears if we have someone who agrees with us.
-- [Palm Beach Post]

Even Mr. Wade's peers, whom he had just helped to sweep from the postseason, were left slackjawed and awed.
-- [Miami Herald, Reg. req'd.]

And then, there's the New York Times to put it plainly.
-- [New York Times, Reg. req'd.]

So, if Wade is the Heat's MVP, then it makes this discussion and this discussion about this award rather silly because, if you think about, the writers overall made the wrong choice for No. 2, not No. 1
-- [Miami Herald, Reg. req'd., ESPN.com, NBA.com]

Then again, discussing such issues is, ahem, "riveting."
-- [Miami Herald, Reg. req'd.]

If you say so.

That being said, Shaq has not been pleased an injury has excluded him from the festivities.
-- [New York Daily News]

Regardless, Shaq will have plenty of time to rest his bruised thigh for the Eastern Conference Finals.
-- [Miami Herald, Reg. req'd.]

Why will he have time? See the next entry.

AT 2-2, WE HAVE OURSELVES SOME SERIES

Remember last year when Detroit's Rasheed Wallace guaranteed a win in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pacers? Remember when Tayshaun Prince's block of Reggie Miller's breakaway layup made the prediction come true?
-- [NBA.com/finishes]

'Sheed made another prediction, this time about Game 4 of the East semis in Indiana.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

Well, darned if the Pistons didn't have 'Sheed's back once again.
-- [Detroit News]

That, and 'Sheed had a hand in it (and in Jermaine O'Neal's face).
-- [Detroit News]

Now, the Pacers return to Detroit on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, TNT) and the defending champs have taken back home-court advantage.
-- [Indy Star]

Meanwhile, in the great American Southwest, we have the league MVP in Game 4 with 48 points going where few players have gone before and all the Suns get was this lousy series tie.
-- [Arizona Republic]

Of course, letting Nash go nuts was Dallas' plan all along.
-- [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Reg. req'd.]

And then, according to this scribe, Dirk finally showed up.
-- [Dallas Morning News, Reg. req'd.]

Should be interesting in Phoenix when the series continues on Wednesday (9 p.m. ET, TNT).

Then, there's the Sonics' smackdown of the Spurs in Seattle even with Rashard Lewis in civvies.
-- [Seattle P-I, Tacoma News-Tribune]

How'd the Sonics topple the big, bad Spurs without Lewis? Three guards did it.
-- [Seattle P-I]

And this scribe says the Sonics don't need Lewis to win. Double ouch! (Both the injury and insult.)
-- [Seattle P-I]

While Seattle writers are feeling their playoff oats, the Spurs still have home-court advantage in the series, which returns to San Antonio on Tuesday (9:30 p.m. ET, TNT).
-- [San Antonio Express-News, Reg. req'd.]

And if you're interested, see what this writer said could happen before it did.
-- [San Antonio Express-News, Reg. req'd.]

TIP-INS

Heh. Get off this guy's back.
-- [New Orleans Times-Picayune]

Amare and the Suns can slam the door on Dallas tonight.
(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Reggie Miller, on Jeff Foster's 20-rebound performance in Game 2:

"He's paid to do all the little, dirty things. He was at his nastiest, dirtiest."
-- [Indianapolis Star]

2004-05 ARCHIVE
May 16 -- Conf. Semifinals
May 5 -- Round 1
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