NBA Playoff Nightcap: May 4th Edition

Two big takeaways from last night (for me):

(1) If you don't know what you're talking about, please don't yell it loudly at games.  Yes I'm talking to you, guy that yelled that Goran Dragic was "the worst player in the league" during his rough stretch in the fourth quarter.  If you're reading this -- and I hope you are -- you're a dope. 

(2) One of my favorite moments of the late part of last night's Suns/Spurs contest was during Manu Ginobili's fourth quarter flop on Steve Nash -- and it was caused by a football player.  New Cardinals linebacker Joey Porter was sitting courtside with Larry Fitzgerald for the game when, after Manu's flop, Porter got out of his seat and was basically two steps onto the floor complaining about the call.  Joey, I think I speak for all Suns/Cardinals fans when I say: this looks to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. 

Monday May 3rd Playoff Results:

Boston Celtics 104 Cleveland Cavaliers 86 (Recap)On the night LeBron James was awarded his second MVP, the Celtics were the story and evened their Eastern Conference Semifinal series.  Boston led by 4 at the half but it was a dominant third quarter (31-12) that allowed them to take control of the contest.  Each of the Celtics' 5 starters scored in double figures -- led by Ray Allen with 22 -- but Rajon Rondo was the star of the day, dishing out 19 assists (tying a Celtics playoff record).  For what seems like the first time all season, the Celts got a good performance from Rasheed Wallace, as he put in 17 points on 7/8 shooting.  Wallace had posted just 21 points in the first 6 playoff games.  LeBron scored 24 to lead Cleveland but the Cavs shot just 40% as a team. The loss is only the seventh of the season for Cleveland at Quicken Loans Arena.  

Phoenix Suns 111 San Antonio Spurs 102 (Recap): This was a feel good win for the Suns.  Although the Suns led by 10 at the half, San Antonio quickly rallied to take a third quarter lead -- one which easily could have caused the Suns to pack it in.  Yet Phoenix withstood the rally, kept scoring and eventually took control of the game.  San Antonio offered another late fourth quarter rally, but Jason Richardson turned the game into a free throw shooting contest with a three at the 1:23 mark of the fourth.  Steve Nash led the Suns with 33/10, while the other two studs for Phoenix scored 27 (Richardson) and 23 (Stoudemire).  Not be be outdone, the Spurs core three pumped in 27 (Ginobili), 26 (Parker), and 20 (Duncan).  Clearly the stars are going to get theirs -- this one might be decided by the OGs.  Settle in for a long series.  

Conference Semifinals Series Standings:

(1) Lakers v. (5) Jazz: 1-0 Lakers

(3) Suns v. (7) Spurs:  1-0 Suns

(1) Cavaliers v. (4) Celtics:  1-1 tie

(2) Magic v. (3) Hawks

Tuesday May 4th Playoff Games:

Game 1 - Hawks @ Magic: Whoo boy.  If you're one of those folks (like me) that can't get motivated for Celtics-Cavs ... prepare to take a two hour nap.  No offense to Atlanta, but the way they struggled with Milwaukee indicates to me that they are just a speed bump on the Magic's road back to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Game 2 - Jazz @ Lakers: Supposedly Andrei Kirilenko is a 50/50 shot for this game and admittedly his full health would be helpful to the Lakers in guarding Kobe Bryant.  However, since he's obviously not 100% how much will he actually be able to help?  LAL's true advantage is located in the post play and length of Gasol, Bynum, and Odom.

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