Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday Night Light

In case you missed it ...

* Denver is George Karl's fifth NBA coaching stop. And this stop is about ready to stop. Except for Seattle, which rebounded from some earlier monumental postseason failures to reach the NBA Finals in 1996 (Karl's fifth season there), Karl's trend is this: Infuse a team with energy and allowable freedom within the game early in his tenure, tear it down later with pettiness and lack of accountability. The Nuggets are a wreck. Anyone else want to see Allen Iverson paired with Larry Brown?

* It's hardly possible for Orlando to have paid more for Rashard Lewis, whose $15.6 million this season seems like a bargain by comparison (Lewis is on the books for nearly $24 million in 2013!) to what it will owe in future years. Lewis at least gave the Magic some return on investment in the team's biggest game in nearly a decade. In Game 4 against the Raptors, Lewis tallied 27 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. He made the back-breaking 3-pointer as well to seal things for Orlando, which is now up 3-1 in the series and on the verge of getting out of the first round for the first time since 1996 (six first-round exits in the past 11 years).

* The Celtics certainly aren't in trouble against the Hawks, but Atlanta's victory in Game 3 exposed some of Boston's weaknesses: lack of overall athleticism, Ray Allen's diminished game as strictly a jump shooter, inconsistent bench production. These soft spots could be better exposed in the Western Conference (one series would be a coin flip, but I'm not sure the Celtics could navigate three series against the West). Style-wise, most of the teams in the East don't have the personnel to hurt Boston.