While chatting up the Denver/San Antonio game with my colleague, Shoals, he asked, "Why am I surprised that Denver knows how to manage the clock?" I felt the same way--The Nuggets should be stupider than that. George Karl, for all his postseason experience and motivational tact, is a playoff moron. When the Nugs were going on their run toward the end of the season many times they had brain lapses and almost blew leads late in games. A.I. is really the only guy on the team with half a brain, and even he is guilty of, say, not feeding Melo in the post when dude is being guarded by Jacque Vaughn. I guess this what the 2007 playoffs are really all about broad-scale Savant Syndrome. Or maybe, moreover, this playoffs is proof that smarts matter, and the winners and losers can be divided into the stupid, and the would-be stupid but apparently genius.
--At the end of the half in the Cavs/Wiz game, down by 4 and with 11 seconds left, the Wiz had a chance to cut the lead to 2 or 1. They put up a shot and left too much time on the clock, Larry Hughes came down the other way and hit a 3 to put the Cavs up 7.
--During Kobe's dry spell in the 4th against the Suns, the one thing that broke the Lakers' scoring drought was when he attracted two defenders, decided NOT to shoot, and caught Bynum on a cut to the basket. He spent the rest of the 4th jacking up shots while being double-teamed.
--Avery Johnson couldn't recognize--during a 48 minute span--that his best player, a 7-footer was being guarded, single-teamed even, by 6'6" guys like Mickael Pietrus and Jason Richardson. Also, you might want to throw some different looks at Baron Davis (THE BARON RULES). Devean George bumping on the baseline isn't getting it done. Let the quicker Terry match up with him, or how about the longer Josh Howard.
Yes, I'm stating that Avery Johnson, the god-ized Avery Johnson, demonstrated the lowest basketball IQ of the weekend.
Let's take it one step further. You start Devean George over Erick Dampier. This does two things:
1) You take a guy out of the game who is known for knocking guards on their asses. Maybe Diddy doesn't get to the hoop so much if he has something to fear down there.
2) You are basically admitting that you're scared. You're gonna let the Warriors gameplan dictate how YOU play the game? [I started writing this before Hollinger's column came out today, by the way]. According to a direct quote from Nellie, he LITERALLY laughed when he heard you were going to start a big man at center. You need to stand pat and man up. He is not scared of you. He is a huge man dressed in all black wearing no tie. Like Brando, Johnny Cash, and Frank Layden all wrapped into one.
At Free Darko, stupidity is many times favored to calculated thought and basketball IQ. However, it is a special brand of stupidity that can be considered Savantism, as we now turn to praise a shortlist of those who displayed gamesmanship so crazy that it was actually genius.
--Darko motherfucker. That same confounded "where am I" look is still plastered across his face, but the guy has game. On Saturday, Darko was all at once directionless, yet consistently right-place/right-time. It's almost like he hasn't learned how to translate BOOOOO into Serbian yet. Gangster.
--Matt Barnes' THE WARRIORS ARE WHO YOU THOUGHT THEY WERE three-pointer after J-Rich's "We just want it more than you do" block on Devin Harris. Sir Charles called it a terrible shot, and fine, we agree. But that shot was really the difference between these playoffs' ruling vs. sucking.
--Scott Skiles' willingness to play his rookies. The normally conservadox Skiles showed some extreme trust in his young dudes, Tyrus Thomas and Thabo Sefolosha (can Andriuskevicius can at least get some hack-a-Shaq facetime in?). Much has already been made of Thabo's defensive prowess in Game 1, so I'll spare you any additional glorying. I will, however, point you to this, as definitive proof as to why you should care about TYRUS THOMAS IN THE PLAYOFFS: