(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
As the series begin to startle, shock and awe, it’s time for the big boys to step up. Who will take charge and move on to the next fight? Here’s some recaps from last night?
#1 Cleveland Cavaliers (79)
vs. # 8 Detroit Pistons (68)
Detroit actually showed signs of life and looked as if they were determined to climb back into this series. As I watched I felt like the lead never really got big enough. Detroit wasn’t able to deliver a knock out punch and ended up losing by double digits.
Is this era of Detroit basketball over? Who should go and who should stay? How much blame should Joe Dumars assume for this team going from perennial Eastern Conference contender to also ran?
#3 Orlando Magic (94)
vs. # 6 Philadelphia 76ers (96)
Philly went up big in this one only to fall victim to a huge game by Dwight Howard and some timely shooting by Orlando’s long range bombers. In the end though TSF favorite Thaddeus Young converted a left handed lay up after a scramble in the lane and sealed this victory.
Critics have been attacking Orlando for not feeding Dwight Howard enough and depending on the long ball too much. They fed him all he could handle last night and they still lost. I really think this is a match up nightmare personnel wise for Orlando, they just don’t deal well with Philly’s strengths. Much like Atlanta/Boston last year this series will most likely come down to the last game and be full of intrigue.
How can Orlando re-establish control of this series? How will they counter the big games by Andre Miller and Andre Igoudala? Does Philly have to control Dwight Howard to win this series or can they take the “let him get his and stop everybody else” approach.
#4 Portland Trail Blazers (83)
vs. #5 Houston Rockets (86)
As Brandon Roy goes, so the Portland Trailblazers go. The only elite team in the league that can depend so heavily on one player is the Lakers. If Portland doesn’t find a way to get Roy some help this series will be over fast. He’s not going to score 40 against the Rockets 4 times.
I could be nit-picking but I’m very uneasy with the Rockets point guard situation. Aaron Brooks and Kyle Lowery take way too much liberty with the offense and certainly don’t facilitate enough. I can understand not wanting to crush the young guy’s confidence by placing all kinds of restrictions on them but they have to run the offense. They have to get Yao touches late in the game and they have to ensure the ball and player movement that makes Houston harder to guard.
How can Portland find the peripheral scoring they’ll need to win some games? Can the Rockets finally get all of their scoring options on track at the same time? Do they need Yao to dominate to win this series?