For me — someone without loyalty to any particular NBA team — there are three teams worth really rooting for in these here NBA playoffs: the Suns, the high-tempo two-seed who play with grace and athleticism unseen since Magic ran the show in L.A.; the Nuggets, whose transcendent pair of stars, Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson, are a joy to watch; and the long playoff-absent Warriors, who play like the Suns if the Suns were smaller and drank a lot of coffee. That the Nuggs and Warriors are doing battle with the two teams that pose the biggest threats to the Suns — the unrepentantly evil Spurs and the coolly efficient Mavericks — only makes the troika of stylish wins yesterday more enjoyable. To recap:
- Leandro Barbosa fueled a second-half comeback as the Suns took Game 1 from Kobe and the Lakers. Barbosa scored 15 consecutive points (of his team-high 26) during a third-quarter blur where he operated on some high plane of consciousness. Amazing to watch.
- The Nuggets got 31 from A.I. and 30 from Carmelo as the Nuggets stole the first game in San Antonio (mmmm… caramel nougat). Bruce Bowen's elbows and eye-pokes couldn't stop the stars, and the frontcourt of Nene and Marcus Camby contained Tim Duncan.
- "Shooting at the walls of heartache, bang, bang! I am the warrior! Well I am the warrior! And heart to heart you'll win, if you surviiiiive… THE WARRIOR." Another reason to cheer for the Warriors: Baron Davis has the exact same beard as King Leonidas in 300.