Three teams were eliminated last night, but there are still more questions then there are answers. Is Atlanta a fluke? Can Dirk out-shoot the Lakers? How’s Kobe’s ankle? Does Dwight Howard stay in Orlando? That’s actually a good place to start.
It’s kind of pathetic that the Orlando Magic couldn’t muster up a way to defeat the Atlanta Hawks, even when the Hawks did everything in their power to try and lose the game. Hawks advance to the 2nd round to face the overall #1 seeded Chicago Bulls while the Magic will go home and try to figure out what’s going to happen with Dwight Howard. If you thought #MeloDrama was annoying, welcome to #PlightHoward.
And it’s not just Dwight Howard that Orlando has to think about. There are questions surrounding the future of head coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith. It’s going to be one long summer in Orlando.
The Hornets hit a wall. Not in this game, it actually happened in the second half of Game 5. That crucial run by the Lakers sent a message that was heard loud and clear by the Hornets. The Lakers were a better team and for the first time in this series, New Orleans believed that. Momentum might not carry over from game to game but mental anguish does. New Orleans was crushed by LA’s size for the final 6 quarters of this series and they no longer believed they could defeat the 2-time defending Champs. With that said, the LA-Dallas series should be an incredible match-up. In the words of soon-to-be-unemployed Saints running back, Reggie Bush, “It’s been fun New Orleans.”
Too little, too late. Despite Gerald Wallace’s best game in a Blazers uniform, the Mavs were able to cling on to a lead on the road in a hostile Rose Garden. I really didn’t think the Mavs had that in them. Not after the collapse in game 4 and not when they nearly gave this one away, too. But they stayed resilient and closed this one out in style. Dirk Nowitzki was brilliant in this game, going off for 33 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists on 10 of 17 shooting. I’m excited to see if Pau can limit Nowitzki or are the Lakers going to have to sit either Pau or Bynum in order to have Lamar Odom match-up with Dirk. The series will LA should be fun considering these are two of the largest teams in the NBA with a combined 11 players over 6’10″ on their rosters.
San Antonio Spurs @ Memphis Grizzlies – 9:00 PM EST on ESPN: Is this the last hurrah? It’s the only game of the night and the last game until Sunday’s second round match-ups tip off. It might also be the final game of the 61-win Spurs season. It’s still April, people. Who saw this coming? i can’t believe I’m going to say this but the Spurs might get crushed by double-digits tonight.
Enjoy the game and the weekend, folks!
Shane is a contributor to Stacheketball.com, LarryBrownSports.com & NBAoffseason.com. You can find him babbling about basketball all over the net or tune in as he tweets nonsense on twitter @Suga_Shane.