Thursday, May 8, 2008

On the perimeter -- news and notes

* I wrote earlier about the power of desperation, and that's clearly what we saw tonight from San Antonio. The Spurs not only are the defending champions and a very proud bunch, they're also talented enough to get a win against a very good New Orleans team that played superbly for two consecutive games.

Much like a baseball manager going to his closer in the eighth inning of an elimination game, Popovich started Ginobili in Game 3. Despite the tender ankle, Manu delivered with 31 points. Parker added 31 and 11 assists, and Duncan chipped in with 16 to give with Big Three 78 much-needed points.

The game was evenly played except in one area: 3-point shooting. In part thanks to Bowen's defense that limited Stojakovic to eight points, the Hornets were 2-for-11 from beyond the arc. The Spurs, meanwhile, were 11-for-25.

San Antonio now catches a big break as Game 4 isn't until Sunday night, almost three full days of rest.

* Give the Celtics' effort and schemes credit, but LeBron has obviously been off his game as well. He followed the 2-for-18, 10-turnover line in Game 1 with 6-for-24 and seven turnovers tonight. Naturally, the Cavs have no chance if LeBron plays this poorly. Everything, of course, has been off.

Keep and eye on ... On his hard drives to the basket that he can't finish with dunks, if LeBron's angle to the glass is taken away, he seems to have much more difficult time than others with his layup attempts. Too many of his tries hit the back rim. A finger roll would work wonders here, but that shot isn't in many bags of tricks anymore. Calling George Gervin ...

* The way the Lakers are playing, especially on offense with huge matchup advantages for Kobe and Odom and Gasol, it's hard to imagine them not getting at least one (and maybe both) against the Jazz in Utah. At 6-0, LA has a lot of confidence and has yet to be dealt a reason to doubt itself. A huge step for their title moxie would be a win in Game 3.

* A lot of not very bright people out there have commented recently that Rashard Lewis, with his 33-point performance in Orlando's Game 3 win vs. Detroit, has either:

a.) earned his money; or b.) diffused the anger over his large contract.

Have these people not seen the contract?

2008: $15.6M
2009: $17.2M
2010: $18.9M
2011: $20.5M
2012: $22.1M
2013: $23.7M

Let's get one thing straight ... In order to earn that money, Lewis would have to finish top-three in MVP voting and lead Orlando to a title or two. Actually, that still might not be enough.