New Jersey @ Toronto
The Vince Carter Revenge Series rolls on tonight.
The numbers for game 1 were pretty similar for both teams, just like they were for the regular season. A 4th quarter surge by the Raptors wasn't quite good enough to over come the deficit built up in the middle 2 quarters. You could certainly argue a need to control Richard Jefferson a little better, but let's be honest - with apologies to CB4, Chris Bosh - Jason Kidd proved he was the best player on the floor. He shot a miserable 3 for 11 from the field, but still managed to torment the Raptors for 10 boards and 15 dimes.
Bosh and the boys were 32-9 this year as favorites, whereas Kidd and co. were 11-27 as underdogs. Look for another close game, most likely inside the number. But there's no way we're headed back to Sopranos' country with the Nets up 2.
Miami @ Chicago
Analyzing stats for the Heat is like sitting in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but you never get anywhere. Between all the old people, injuries, and guys needing time off you can't take any number seriously.
The biggest matchup here is Luol Deng (or as Chuck and Kenny said last night, Leon Doing). Conventional wisdom says that Riley will have an adjustment to handle the versatile guard/forward, but I'm just not seeing it. James Posey should be the guy, but he's still not 100% after that arm/shoulder injury. Eddie Jones is CLEARLY not the guy. Did you see his stat line from Saturday? He pulled Chris Dudleys across the board. He had more fouls than points, field goals, assists, rebounds, steals, AND blocks. Considering he played 24 minutes, that's borderline impossible.
Not suprising, the Heat were 12-4 this year on 2 days rest. And Shaq appears to have used the refs to manufacture some motivation. Honestly, I'd be very nervous to go against the Heat in this game.
Lakers @ Suns
Going into the playoffs, I thought this series was the only lock to be a sweep. And nothing has changed. Kobe didn't waste ANY time going to his one-man-army routine. So it's probably safe to say that Kwame, Smush, and co. are ready to start making vacation plans.
Phoenix is 10-1 at home against the Lake-show the past 3 years. Although the Lakers managed to cover the number in 6 of those 11 games. But the Lakers are 2-13 against teams with a winning record in the second half of the season. This team is headed no where.
I can't guess what version of Kobe we'll get tonight. But I can guarantee it won't matter.