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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Three random observations ...

... about the NBA:

1. Utah got the definitive performance from Carlos Boozer they've been waiting for all season last night. He had 20 points and 17 rebounds as the Jazz earned a critical 101-94 win against Houston. The victory pulled the Jazz to within a half game out of fourth place, and the home court advantage in the first round that comes with it, and a full game out of third. If Boozer and Deron Williams, who had 26 points and 14 assists, can play like they did Wednesday, and the Jazz wind up with a high seed, all their injury struggles early this season will be forgotten. And Jerry Sloan, in his 24th season, will deserve consideration for his first Coach of the Year honor.

2. It was a comeback of monumental significance Wednesday in Portland. The Blazers, locked in a struggle for position in the West, were down by 14 in the second half in a game against a second division opponent that they couldn't afford lose. And they didn't. Brandon Roy scored 10 out of the last 12 points, including the two game-winning free throws that broke a tie with 1.7 seconds left, in a performance that was befitting of the best player on a top-flight team. LaMarcus Aldridge had 21 points and seven rebounds, Travis Outlaw 21 points and six rebounds off the bench, and Steve Blake nailed back-to-back three pointers that gave Portland the lead and capped off a 14-0 run in the fourth quarter. But in the end it was all about Roy, who led the team with 28 points.

3. Bench shortening in preparation for the postseason continues amongst likely playoff teams. San Antonio essentially went with seven players last night in Dallas, experimenting with Roger Mason at point guard when Tony Parker was on the bench. The Mavs, tightening up their bench minutes as well, came away with the 107-102 win, but San Antonio's eyes were looking forward. Manu Ginobili, out with an ankle injury, will be back by the playoffs, and if the Spurs can come close to winning in Dallas without him, they look primed to make quick work of whomever they meet in the first round. Gregg Popovich wants to get his players as comfortable with the rotation as possible, but can't be too dismissive of regular season concerns. They hold a slim game and a half lead over Denver for second place in the West.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

what is bench shortening, sweetheart?