Rondo and Nash carry the day, plus the unlikeliest sweep

05.10.10 9 years ago 115 Comments

For different reasons, Sunday saw two of the best point guard performances you’ll ever see in the playoffs. In Boston, Rajon Rondo completely and utterly dominated the Cavs in every facet of basketball, while in San Antonio, Steve Nash forever linked himself to Rocky Balboa while knocking off the Suns’ version of Ivan Drago … Rondo put up numbers only Oscar Robertson can identify with, dropping 29 points, 18 boards and 13 assists while the Celtics pulled even with the Cavs at 2-2. Everything that went wrong for Boston in the Game 3 blowout the other night was turned around in this one: LeBron couldn’t hit from outside, and the C’s were able to maintain after Cleveland got out to a hot start and not mentally check out. It was still up for grabs going into the fourth when Boston went on a 10-0 run to start the quarter. The Cavs got within a single possession a couple of times, but Rondo’s offensive rebound and putback in traffic with 1:30 to go was the dagger, putting Boston up seven … While KG, Pierce and Ray were in and out with foul trouble, Rondo consistently dominated. He was carving up Cleveland’s D to get into the lane and finding impossible passing lanes, and that’s when he wasn’t delivering pinpoint long-range dimes and scoring himself in transition. Tony Allen was big with 15 points off the bench, finishing some of Rondo’s passes with acrobatic finishes … That Antawn Jamison dunk on Kendrick Perkins was crazy. We haven’t seen him get up like that since UNC … Whether intentional or not, LeBron (22 pts, 9 rebs, 8 asts) has pulled off quite a trick: Every average/bad game he has will get blamed on his sore elbow, while every good game is considered that much more impressive because of the elbow. Yesterday was one of the bad-elbow games. ‘Bron wasn’t in attack mode like in Game 3, however he did have one block on Ray Allen where he slapped the ball into the Cleveland bench like it had been shot out of a t-shirt gun. But one time LBJ was measuring Rondo for a chase-down block when Rondo faked him in mid-air and dumped it behind his back to Tony Allen for the bucket … Catching a Tim Duncan elbow in the third quarter of last night’s Suns/Spurs Game 4, Steve Nash left the court bleeding above his right eye and came back with the wound sutured and taped up. The eye only got worse, though, and by the time Nash (20 pts, 9 asts) was putting the finishing touches on the NBA’s most unlikely sweep of the last 5-6 years at least, the eye was completely shut. Nash’s left eye was open normally, but with the other one closed and the eyebrow covered with a flesh-colored bandage, he looked like an extra from The Crazies … The Suns were up 11 in the third quarter before San Antonio went on an 11-0 run to tie it sparked by Tony Parker (22 pts, 5 rebs, 5 asts). With nine minutes left in the fourth, Nash hit a walk-up three to break a tie, and Phoenix led the rest of the way. Down the stretch Nash was beating TP at his own game, getting into the paint for pull-ups, and-ones and one-hand floaters. Amar’e Stoudemire (29 pts) added three jumpers off pick-and-pops to help stretch the lead, and Jason Richardson‘s triple to beat the shot clock and put Phoenix up 10 with two minutes left was the dagger … Well, almost. Parker, Manu Ginobili and George Hill didn’t let it end that easy, scoring some quick buckets to keep the Spurs within range. Hill then hit a three with 26 seconds left to cut the Suns’ lead to three, and Amar’e fouled him in the process. The free throw made it a two-point game, but Grant Hill made his FT’s on the other end, and Manu missed a three that sealed it … Just like it was the entire series, the Spurs just couldn’t get the bounces to go their way. When they needed that one crucial rebound, Duncan (17 pts, 8 rebs, 3 blks) would get a hand on it but couldn’t secure it. When they needed that one big corner three, they bricked it. When they needed a score, they’d commit a turnover. It just wasn’t gonna happen for them this year … Question of the night for Manu during the post-game press conference: “Were you able to, um, play your complete game, um, post-nose?” Unless this was a Michael Jackson interview, that one came out wrong … Dime reader sh!tfaced probably put it best: “Nash is the best one-eyed PG in the league. No question.” … We’re out like San Antone …

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