March 24, 2008
We've gone over this before: one of Stephen Jackson's most redeeming qualities is the fact that the Warrior wing is a flat-footed jump shooter.
So this means that, as tired as his legs might be toward the end of a game, his shot is going to be as accurate in a contest's final minutes as it was in the first quarter, because he doesn't rely on a spring in his step in his pull-up.
Of course, Jack (37 percent on the year) isn't really providing Jason Kapono-like accuracy, but he is good enough, and he is streaky enough to make things happen.
Against the Lakers on Sunday night, Jackson made things happen with 6-11 shooting from long range, keeping Los Angeles at bay while the other Warriors struggled to put points on the board. Relatively speaking.
Kobe Bryant was brilliant with 36 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists; and the Lakers did well to dominate Golden State on the glass (60-43), but sometimes these games are just going to happen.
The Mavericks got a pretty good look at a not-so-pretty future when Dirk Nowitzki went down with a left leg injury during the third quarter of this one. The Spurs, who were at one time down 12 points in that quarter, rallied to pull out the seven-point win despite making just a third of its shots from the floor.
To paraphrase Nowitzki, well, obviously the bigger issue is the 2007 MVP's leg. Dallas owner Mark Cuban surreptitiously flashed a signal indicating "two weeks" following the game, but this was done pre-MRI, and it's hard to see this injury as just an ankle sprain. Then again, high ankle sprains aren't usually as - for lack of a better word - twisty as this one, so we might come out OK on this.
That said, this is the Western Conference and it is the spring of 2008, so the Mavs might be in the doo-doo even if Josh Howard and Jason Kidd really step up the production. Over the next two weeks alone the Mavs play the Warriors twice (Golden State is just a half-game in back of the Mavericks, in the eighth spot), the Lakers, the Clippers twice, and the Nuggets.
Between San Antonio's early-season injury plague, Kobe's pinkie, Bynum's knee, Shaq's everything, Yao's foot, and now Dirk's knee, it's been a pretty frightening time for those of dying for a Western Conference playoffs for the ages.
Fans tend to think of the Toronto Raptors as a run-and-gun team, and the Raps do gun, but they do it in a slow-down set. There were only 86 possessions in this one, and the Nuggets gave up 116.3 pro-rated points per 100 possessions. Pretty lousy.
Denver's offense was superb, the Nugs only turned the ball over seven times, and Allen Iverson scored 36 points on 16 shots.
Detroit never really put the hammer down in Washington on Sunday night, the Wizards didn't really ease into the 12-point win, but it's safe to say the Pistons lost this one just as much as the Wizards (who, again, played hard and played well) won it.
Washington shot ridiculously well from the floor (52.8 percent), and Detroit was telling reporters after the game that they were trying out new and different offensive schemes. Great.