-So the Heat smacked the Sixers around for a while last night, and when all was said and done they led the series 2-0. Philly shot 34% for the game, despite a decent night from Evan Turner. If the Heat win it all this season, it's going to be on their defense, and their defense looked good here.
-Also last night, the Bulls toyed around with Indiana some more and ripped their hearts out for the second time in two games. Derrick Rose continued his ways of shooting poorly from the field and earning a ton of trips to the free throw line. Boozer showed up, scoring 17 points and pulling down 16 boards. Granger led an amazingly balanced effort in scoring from the Pacers, as nine players scored at least 6 points, and one more scored 5. If nothing else, this series might give Indiana fans some hope for next season.
The Rose thing is interesting. Normally I hate it when a player scores 25+ on 40% shooting, because hey, if the entire team shot that poorly, they'd definitely lose, right? Scoring a lot in an inefficient manner isn't that impressive. But with Rose, his free throw attempts and conversion rate are so high it almost offsets it. Would I like to see him hit more of his shots? Yeah. But if he keeps forcing people to foul him, and then keeps making 12-13 from the stripe like he did on Monday, I'm willing to overlook the field goal percentage mark a little.
-The NBA said "Oh yeah, that was totally offensive interference on Kendrick Perkins that one time."
Had the officials whistled Perkins for an illegal touch, the Nuggets would have gotten possession with a one-point lead and just over a minute remaining in regulation; instead, the Thunder took a one-point advantage and held on for a 107-103 win to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven first-round series.
Ouch. That said, this was one bad call, one moment in the game that didn't go Denver's way. The night was made up of thousands of moments, and if any of them had gone differently, maybe that offensive interference call wouldn't have even mattered. If there were three, four, five egregiously bad calls, then you can complain, Nuggets. But one call? Play better for the first three quarters and make the score late so lopsided in your favor that bad calls don't even matter. Good luck in Game 2.
-Dwight Howard won his third Defensive Player of the Year award in a row. As Ball Don't Lie wrote,
...you should probably be up for putting Dwight Howard's grinning mug up on Mt. Rushmore for leading this group of sieves to the third-best defense in the NBA in 2010-11.
Spot on. That the Magic were that effective on defense with Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redick, Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson covering the perimeter, then Dwight was simply transcendent this season.
Here's hoping he gets some help in Game 2 against the Hawks tonight.