DAY EIGHTEEN - Steve Nash's bloody nose kept him out of the closing moments of game one against San Antonio. Stitched up and ready go, Nash and the Suns take another shot at Parker and the Spurs.
Nets at Cavaliers, 8:00 PM, TNT
Thoughts: Here's one I actually thought I'd have right. I predicted the Cavs would go down in game one to the Nets on account of having a near mind numbingly easy series in round one and being unprepared for an increased challenge. The Nets, however, apparently didn't get the memo about how they're supposed to play better than the Wizards. Cleveland didn't have a great game by any stretch (16 turnovers & only 40% shooting), but they managed a decent second half and came away with the win, thanks in part to strangling the Nets on the boards, pulling down 20 offensive rebounds and totaling 51 overall, compared to the Nets 37. I expect the Nets, particularly Kidd and Carter, to have better games tonight, but I also expect to see the Cavs improve their sub-par shooting and continuing a solid defensive effort. Cavs win.
Spurs at Suns, 10:30 PM, TNT
Thoughts: Game one seemed to follow every prediction I had made for the series and yet late it still looked like the Suns may pull out a game one win. That is until Tony Parker and Steve Nash collided in the fourth quarter, sending Parker to the hardwood and busting open Nash's nose. If you still haven't seen footage of it, let me break it down this way: Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya didn't look half as much like they were in a fight as Steve Nash did. I can't take anything away from the Spurs, but you'd be a fool to say Nash couldn't have a made a huge difference if he was able to stay in the game.
Phoenix has not won a game in San Antonio all season, so going down 0-2 only to have to face the Spurs in San Antonio for the next two is not an option. This is as close to a must win as you can get only one game into a series. The key for Phoenix will be throwing more defenders at Tim Duncan. The Suns can find ways to rotate a myriad of defenders at Parker (Barbosa, Bell, Nash, Marion), Amare and a little of Kurt Thomas is all they can find to stick on Duncan. Assigning Stoudemire as the primary defender on Duncan and asking him to also carry a significant load on offense may be a bit much. More of Kurt Thomas and a few extra defenders on Duncan could go a long way. The Suns need this win tonight, and knowing the caliber team they are, I say they get it. Suns win.
* all times Eastern
Jordan's Playoff Picks so far:
31/46 - 67%
Warriors at Jazz