Thursday, May 18, 2006
NBA playoffs ‘heating up’
The Heat, the Heat, the Heat. And we are not talking about the weather.
Miami, trying to reprise their role of a year ago when they dashed the hopes of the New Jersey Nets in these same playoffs, is now one game away from moving a series closer to their collision course with the Detroit Pistons.
The Nets, who had whacked the Heat in the opening game of the Eastern Conference semifinals by 12 points, did not get the shock carryover which they had perhaps hoped for. Shaq and the Heat came back and walloped the Nets in the two successive games by hefty margins of 22 and 11, respectively.
It was paramount that the Nets should come away winners in the fourth game in the Nets arena on Sunday afternoon. But it didn’t happen. If the Nets and its franchise players don’t grab the one on Tuesday, their season is done. And the likelihood of defeat is all too prevalent since that game is in Miami.
The Heat arrived in Manhattan on Saturday afternoon and caused a traffic jam when their bus unloaded them at the practice facility which was a private school gymnasium.
O’Neal, obviously perturbed by standing motorists constantly blowing their horns, shouted a few admonishments at them. Think the big man was upset because he felt the drivers didn’t recognize him?
When considering the games on Sunday afternoon and evening, the oddsmakers had the Heat losing by odds of four and the Clippers were four and a half over the Suns.
The Clippers, gaining respect by the game, met their expectations with a few to spare at 114-107. That evened their series at two each.
San Antonio was led by Duncan, although he had to sit for the final part of the game, to make their series 2-1 over Marc Cuban’s Mavericks. And the Cavaliers caught the Pistons on an “off day” and won one. Forget the Mavericks and Cavaliers down the stretch, no matter which teams end up as the final two, that matchup will be anticlimactic to the game between the Pistons and Miami.
Yeah, yeah, I know that I have placed one of these two in the championship game. And why not? Both are motivated by revenge.
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