NBA General

Around the Rim: Another rough night for the young King

A 2-0 hole would make anyone a
little nervous.

1. Second half meltdown
Cleveland had a commanding halftime lead (50-38) in Game 2 but somehow managed to bumble it away and slip into a 2-0 hole by scoring a pathetic 26 points in the final 24 minutes and losing 79-76. The Cavs had an opportunity to win the game in the final seconds but LeBron James missed a contested spinning shot in the lane that he will undoubtedly be criticized for because he didn’t dish the rock off. But this would be Rasheed Wallace‘s night as he came on strong in the fourth when he put in 10 of his 16 points, including the go-ahead bucket with 24 ticks left on the clock. If this feels familiar, it should; last year the Pistons took a 2-0 lead over Cleveland in a second round series that eventually saw a Game 7. We can only hope that the James Gang has enough heart to force another game of ultimate elimination. The Cavs will find out on Sunday night if Dorothy was right.

2. The Magic make their coach disappear

The coaching carousel continues to turn in the NBA and the latest hard, plastic pony to become available is in Orlando where the Magic decided to part ways with Brian Hill after he spent two seasons with the team. Apparently a 40-42 record along with a first round sweep out of the playoffs just wasn’t gonna cut it in the Magic Kingdom. Where Hill goes from here is unpredictable, but he will have several options available to him over the off-season. However, the Magic are now forced to find a veteran coach who can take this talented team to a level that Hill wasn’t able to. While Stan Van Gundy isn’t exactly a grizzled vet, he does have head coaching experience with a winning club filled with marquee superstars, which is a lot better resume than most cheap, available assistant’s can offer. And with Rick Adelman out of the picture there aren’t a whole lot of proven winners available out there. Whoever the Magic decide to bring in is going to have to work fast because the Orlando bigwigs are certainly unwilling to wait for results; with a budding Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson on the squad, the Magic are ready to start blossoming right now.

3. Former baller behind bars
The NBA family took a punch to the gut this week as former player Henry Charles James was sentenced to five years in the pokey for dealing drugs. James spent the 90’s bouncing from team to team but now he’s simply going to be bouncing from cell to cell in the prison system. Last summer, James was busted by an undercover police officer after making two separate deals with the officer for a total of $750 worth of crack cocaine. Police arrested him on September 7th after James brought several children along with him to the spot where the deal was to go down.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: Rasheed Wallace vs. Cleveland 33 min, 16 pts (FG: 7-10, 3FG: 1-3, FT: 1-2), 11 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl, 2 blk

Buzzer Beater: Historically San Antonio has struggled in Salt Lake City during the post season and this year the Jazz are undefeated at home in the playoffs, so it would seem that Game 3 would be the perfect opportunity for Utah to grab their first W in the Western Conference finals. But looks can be deceiving because, to this point, the Jazz have given very little reason to believe that they can turn this series around. Sure, they’ve had some fourth quarter surges behind the great play of Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams but San Antonio has simply imposed their will on the Jazz for two games now; in fact, Utah never led once during Game 2. The Jazz are going to have to get someone to step up as a third option if they are going to start chipping away at San Antonio’s 2-0 lead. However, the time for Utah is now and if they can’t win Game 3 then the Spurs will be playing for their fourth title since 1999.