Celtics get even in Cleveland; Suns get one-up on San Antonio

05.04.10 8 years ago 48 Comments

Rajon Rondo (photo. Christian Kozowyck)

Right when the critics are hitting their hardest, right when his team is about to face a daunting 0-2 playoff series hole, right when he’s about to lose his job to a certified Top-5 Lottery bust, Rasheed Wallace steps up and creates another chance for himself. He’s like clockwork on the world’s most unreliable clock. ‘Sheed went into last night’s Game 2 of Cavs/Celtics under fire from all angles, and responded with probably his biggest game of the season … You can’t really blame Cleveland for leaving ‘Sheed open, as he’s been a self-check for months, but he made them pay this time. Knocking down baseline jumpers and unmolested threes, ‘Sheed led all scorers with 13 points in the first half and finished with 17, which even included a dunk. The Celts were up four at halftime, then blew up in the third quarter behind Ray Allen (22 pts) and KG (18 pts, 10 rebs) to lead by 23 going into the fourth. Sparked by a couple of J.J. Hickson dunks, Cleveland went on a 15-0 run during the fourth and almost got to within single digits, but KG’s and-one with about two minutes left took what last little bit of momentum the home team had left … Rajon Rondo (13 pts, 19 asts) looked like he had the play of the night when he got Anthony Parker and Anderson Varejao looking silly with his Sidney Deane move in the lane, but it became an afterthought 10 seconds later when LeBron smacked a Tony Allen layup off the glass and caused a simultaneous orgasm at the announce table … LeBron (24 pts, 3 stls) may have been having issues with that right elbow, but he said already that he refuses to make it an excuse, so we won’t either. Simply, he just wasn’t on top of his game. The Cavs’ shooters didn’t help him out at all, as the team went 4-for-21 beyond the arc, and Shaq (9 pts, 4 rebs) wasn’t doing much more than taking up space … You know how Steve Nash will spend three and a half quarters making sure everybody else on his team is eating, then in crunch time he turns into a scorer when the Suns need somebody to take over? Yeah, not this time. Facing his longtime nemesis Spurs, Nash was in killer mode from the jump, scoring 17 in the first quarter on his way to 33 points for the game (with 10 assists) as Phoenix took care of business at home for a 1-0 series lead. Mixing up threes, off-balance pull-ups and crazy scoop shots and layups, Nash wasn’t so much going at George Hill and Tony Parker — more like he wasn’t even paying attention to them as he got to his spots for buckets …

Amar'e Stoudemire (photo. King Lawrence)

Phoenix led by 10 at halftime, then Parker and Manu Ginobili (27 pts, 5 rebs, 5 asts, 4 stls) led the San Antonio charge in the third quarter as they grabbed a brief lead. But Nash responded with a run where he scored or assisted on 16 straight Suns points, and it was back to a double-digit Suns lead going into the fourth. Then Tim Duncan (20 pts, 11 rebs, 3 blks) decided to own that quarter, bringing the Spurs within one point with less than five minutes to go, but ultimately San Antonio couldn’t get the stops they needed after that, and Phoenix didn’t let them get back in it by missing free throws … If the rest of this series goes like Game 1, it’s basically Nash, Amar’e (23 pts, 13 rebs) and J-Rich (27 pts) versus Parker (26 pts), Duncan (20 pts, 11 rebs, 3 blks) and Manu, with everybody else just filling the lanes and setting screens. So which trio is better this year, right now? … By now you’ve probably heard of the newest controversy brewing over Kentucky and John Calipari. Short version: Over the weekend All-American senior Terrence Jones announced he was picking Washington over Kentucky; a phone conversation with Calipari ensued; and now by all accounts, Jones is second-guessing his decision and hasn’t signed the all-important binding letter of intent for Washington following Calipari’s last-ditch pitch. UK and UW fans are going for the jugular over issues of whether Coach Cal made the call to Jones or vice versa, what was said during that call, and whether it’s ethical to keep recruiting a kid after he’s given a verbal commitment … But here’s the question nobody is asking: Forget who called who, how did Calipari know that Jones hadn’t signed his letter of intent? He most likely asked him. You really think Jones called and said, “I’m really sorry Coach, I just wanted to let you know that I picked UW. Oh, but I haven’t signed my letter yet.” No way. Calipari had to have asked if Jones signed his letter, and when Jones said no, Calipari went in with his best guilt trip. And so no matter who dialed, Calipari most likely opened the door for re-recruiting to take place. And if anything, that’s the shady part … We’re out like Vinny Del Negro

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