Monday, March 9, 2009

Three random observations ...

... about the NBA:

1. I'm afraid there's not much anybody can draw from Orlando's win over Boston on Sunday. The Celtics were without both Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo from the start, and then lost Glen Davis to a sprained right ankle in the third quarter. The Magic took advantage of those absences in a 86-79 victory. The significance is that Orlando is just two games behind Boston for second place now, and it appears the Celtics may be forced to win two series on the road just to get back to the Finals (where they may have to win on the road again). Doc Rivers and his team say they can win on the road, but after they failed to win a single road game against inferior opponents in the first two rounds last year, I won't believe it until I see it.

2. Nice performance Sunday by Devin Harris, who scored 35 points to bring New Jersey within a game of the final playoff spot in the East. He scored eight points in the last 5:05 to give the Nets the cushion they needed, and helped keep the tempo just slow enough to knock the Knicks, who didn't have anyone score more than David Lee's 19, off their game. Harris added 10 assists, and Vince Carter checked in with 25 points and nine rebounds. Also critical was the play of Bobby Simmons off the bench. The reserve small forward was a perfect 3-for-3 from the floor, all of which were 3-point attempts, including one to break a 91-91 tie that gave the Nets the lead for good with 5:39 to play.

3. I know the Sixers were playing on the second night of a back-to-back, but jeez! Sunday's 89-74 clunker at Oklahoma City is not the kind of performance you need if you're trying to lock down a playoff berth. Kevin Durant and Jeff Green didn't even play, but the Thunder was the turtle that beat the lazy hare. Nenad Krstic ate Samuel Dalembert for lunch in the middle, going for 20 points and eight rebounds while holding Dalembert scoreless with three rebounds. Sixers Andre Miller and Thaddeus Young were the team's only double-figure scorers, going for 20 points each, but Miller had just as many turnovers as assists and Young, playing power forward, grabbed only five rebounds. The Oklahoma City bench, in 69 minutes of play, outscored Philadelphia's, which was on the floor for 82 minutes, 27-23. It was indeed an all-around pummelling.

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