â†µ â†µBig: You always hear about Kobe owning the fourth quarter. Well, Chris Paul owns the third; as in Games One and Two, he took control after the break and put the Hornets over the top. Before that, it was all David West. And then West didn't let up. He bowed out with 38, which means Glen Rice gets to keep his franchise record for points in a playoff contest. â†µâ†µ
â†µ â†µSmall: I know Tim Duncan grabbed a zillion rebounds, but he only made five shots and was supposed to guard West. That's more shameful than the Magic getting eliminated, on the road, when they're still a young team on the rise. Unless New Orleans has thrown that excuse out the window for everyone. â†µ
â†µ â†µTrue: In the first half, when only West was keeping the Hornets in it, I realized there hadn't been a Paul/Chandler alley-oop in forever, and wondered if that was a problem. Then, one happened, and I found out that, indeed, this was the first since their last home game—their last win. The Hornets need alley-oops to prosper. Don't even try and tell me they're an incidental feature of overall strong play. That play is bread and butter. â†µâ†µ
â†µ â†µFalse: Forget this "young teams feel more comfortable at home, and thus get fired up and win" business. The Spurs, Pistons, and Celtics are old pros who should be able to adjust to that. They should relish the hostile crowd and use it as motivation. Yes, the kids are stronger, but the adults are slipping when they should know better. â†µâ†µ
â†µ â†µWide: I probably said this before the last Pistons/Magic game, and ended up being wrong. Now it's come true. Rodney Stuckey will be darn good—judging by tonight, he is already—and will have many more playoff performances like this before his days are through. Plus his emergence is eerily similar to that of Tayshaun in the championship year. â†µâ†µ
â†µ â†µNarrow: That Tayshaun block was living proof that Detroit's on track. Though hey still might've won without it, and we still might be calling them newly focused, that rise to occasion stuff is the sign of serious contender. Hear that Boston? â†µâ†µ
â†µ â†µObama/Hillary: Detroit returns to the conference finals for the sixth straight time, though how many times have we thought they'd go all the way? Hillary wins another state, yet she's not picking up any momentum. Go Obama! â†µâ†µ
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