Old Man Game
Jason Kidd, Kevin Garnett, Kenyon Martin, Chauncey Billups, Tim Duncan, Andre Miller, Steve Nash, Manu Ginobili, Ray Allen, and countless others are all in their late 30s and all playing pivotal roles on their respective playoff teams, but none came up bigger than Andre Miller in Game 1 against the upstart Warriors, scoring 28 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter, and hitting the game-winning shot by doing what he always does – somehow maneuvering his aged body through the lane for a difficult layup against a much larger defender.
Just how bad was the Lakers vs. Spurs game?
• San Antonio shot just 37% from the field and still blew out the Lakers, partially because they were able to capitalize on the Lakers’ ridiculous 18 turnovers.
• A team coached by Mike D’Antoni and helmed by Steve Nash scored only two (repeat two) fast break points the entire game.
• Pau Gasol, like his brother, is an excellent passer, but he had twice as many assists (a whopping total of six) as Steve Nash. That’s probably not a formula for success. Also not a formula for success? Shooting up Nash with epidurals just so he could play through the pain of his nagging injuries.
• The Spurs decided to employ the hack-a-Howard routine in the midst of, get this, a 10-point first-half lead, which reinforces my theory that Greg Popovich just likes to fuck with people’s heads.
Boston vs. New York was equally atrocious.
• After a solid first half, the Celtics committed 21 turnovers in the second half against the Knicks, partially because of Kidd’s defense and partially because they don’t have a point guard. It’s times like these that they sorely miss Rajon Rondo. Without a bonafide ball handler and playmaker, they struggle to find their shots in the half-court set and in transition.
• KG (4-for-12 for 8 points) and Jet Terry (a big fat goose egg on the night) shot abysmally, but the Knicks weren’t that much better. ‘Melo scored 36 points but took 29 shots to do it, Chris Copeland went 0-for-3, and Pudge Felton was his usual mediocre self.
Grinding it down to a nub rather than a point.
• I love the Grizzlies, but they were borderline unwatchable in Game 1 against the Clippers.
• According to the new flopping rules, Chris Paul should’ve racked up approximately $25,000 in fines.
• Lamar Odom, in just 18 minutes, single-handedly outrebounded Gasol and Randolph for the entire game. You remember Lamar Odom, right? The guy who doesn’t want to play basketball anymore? Maybe the Grizzlies should think about boxing someone out in Game 2.
• The Grizzlies looked lost at times on defense, but they also went through incredible scoring droughts. The Rudy Gay trade yielded some success during the regular season, but in the playoffs, when everything grinds to halt, the Grizz lack a perimeter scorer and playmaker (perhaps a solid sixth man) that can provide some instant offense. Gay wasn’t necessarily the right man for the job, but they’ll have to think seriously about filling that gaping hole during the offseason, which could come sooner than they thought.
• It was almost exactly a year ago that the Grizzlies blew a 27-point lead in Game 1 against the Clippers. After three consecutive playoff appearances, you’d think they’d have shaken the butterflies by now, but then again, the Clippers have had their number ever since, winning last year’s seven-game series and winning this year’s regular season series 3-1.
• After guaranteeing (with a smirk) a 4-2 series win over the Miami Heat, Brandon Jennings played with a surprising sense of purpose in Game 1, scoring 26 points but dishing out just two measly assists.
• The Brooklyn Nets dominated the Chicago Bulls, with Brook Lopez absolutely abusing Joakim Noah, who is one of the league’s best defenders. Deron Williams looked like his old self, sparking the question: is he officially back?
• David Lee sustained the first major injury of the post-season, effectively murdering any hope the Warriors had of a first-round upset against the Nuggets, especially now that Kenneth Faried is back from his ankle injury.
• Birdman spread his wings (then shitted on everybody): 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting (three dunks) and 7 rebounds in just 16 minutes. Cacaw!
• Paul George messed around and got a triple double.
Following the Script
Few things are certain in life: death, taxes, and the Miami Heat steamrolling their way through the Eastern Conference. Here are a few other non-surprises from the weekend.
• The Thunder blew out the Rockets, despite a semi-dramatic subplot involving James Harden facing his former team.
• J.R. Smith won the Sixth Man of the Year Award, despite another banner year from Jamal Crawford.
• Paul George won Most Improved Player.
• Kobe’s Vicodin tweets during Game 1 sparked this incensed response from Mr. Pringles:
…which, in turn, sparked this hysterical tirade from Steven A. Smith:
Lebron wore this to the post-game press conference:
Russell Westbrook saw his summer sweater and raised him a sleeveless black turtleneck:
(All stats per NBA.com)