Road tripped

Steve Kerr
Yahoo! Sports

Yahoo! Sports' NBA analyst Steve Kerr makes his points on the postseason in his playoff notebook.

Series schedules and results:
Nets-Heat | 76ers-Pistons | Pacers-Celtics | Wizards-Bulls
Grizzlies-Suns | Spurs-Nuggets | Kings-Sonics | Mavericks-Rockets

Detroit 99, Philadelphia 84
The Detroit Pistons are up to their old tricks again, and for Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers, that's bad news.

The Pistons won the NBA championship last season by playing defense, rebounding and sharing the ball, and that's exactly how they beat the Sixers in Game 2. Detroit's starting guards combined for 43 points and limited Iverson to 7-for-24 shooting, and the Pistons held a 46-35 rebounding edge. When they defend and get good guard scoring, they're almost unbeatable.

The Pistons have done an excellent job of forcing Iverson into tough shots in the first two games, and they haven't had to cheat off of him too much, enabling them to stay with shooters like Kyle Korver and Chris Webber. And because Webber is no longer a low-post threat, the Sixers have become a jump-shooting team. The Pistons eat teams like that alive.

So now the series returns to Philly, and it appears that it will take a miraculous effort from Iverson for the Sixers to win even one game in this series. And even that might not work. Detroit is rolling.

Miami 104, New Jersey 87
If Game 1 was Damon Jones' opportunity to shine, then Game 2 was Alonzo Mourning's chance. The former All-Star center, who joined the Miami Heat for the stretch run after being bought out of his contract in Toronto, was thought of as little more than an insurance policy for Shaquille O'Neal. But Mourning gave Stan Van Gundy much more than that Tuesday as he scored 21 points in just 16 minutes. Zo was a force in the lane, grabbing nine boards, blocking a shot and altering several more as the Heat held New Jersey to 35.9-percent shooting.

The scary thing for the Nets is that in two games Shaq has averaged just 15.5 points. It has been the support players of Miami who have beaten them, along with the brilliant play of Dwyane Wade, of course. The Heat have shown superior depth and defense, and they are wearing the Nets out. Miami has loaded up on Vince Carter, sending help from everywhere on the floor, and Carter's teammates haven't been able to knock down perimeter shots to keep Miami honest.

For New Jersey to win, Carter and Jason Kidd have to be special. That's how the Nets made the playoffs down the stretch – with both men coming up huge. But in Game 2, they combined for just 31 points on 10-for-28 shooting. That's not going to get it done.

Seattle 105, Sacramento 93
When the Seattle SuperSonics lost eight of 10 games to end the regular season, they weren't able to do what made them Northwest Division champions: Ride Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen, spread the floor and create driving lanes by spotting shooters all over the floor. But as fast as you can say "Jerome James," the Sonics have jumped to a 2-0 lead over the Sacramento Kings.

Seattle hasn't reverted to form with great three-point shooting, but they have found a new weapon in the 7-foot James. Normally a shot blocker and rebounder, James has been dominant in the paint against the smaller Kings, a team that once cut him. Revenge has been sweet for James, as he has averaged 18 points and 12 boards in the first two games of the series.

James' play on the low block has frustrated the Kings because they weren't counting on him to be so dominant. But with James scoring and Allen lighting it up from the outside, the Sonics are rolling and in control of the series. With that said, all they have done is "hold serve." Sacramento can win two games at Arco Arena and make things interesting. But it'll have to stop James to do it.

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