So I said in my chat with Jason Horowitz Thursday that Paul Pierce was the key to the Celtics reasserting themselves in their series with the Bulls, and Dirk Nowitzki was the key to Dallas doing the same against the Spurs. I'm a genius!
Even Celtics coach Doc Rivers had admitted that Pierce seemed tentative in Games 1 and 2. On one hand, you'd think it was possible that the Bulls were closing off Pierce's lanes to the basket in the games in Boston. But the Truth can usually find the promised land when he really wants to. So what was up? Doesn't matter anymore. What matters is that the Celtics -- without Kevin Garnett and Leon Powe, and with Rajon Rondo being carried off the floor with his ankle injury -- are back in the series. It's going to be a strange one, with many more twists and turns. After my success with predictions on Thursday, you can take that one to the bank. Just be careful which bank.
The Mavs? Didn't see that coming. Neither did Gregg Popovich. But at least Pop knew what to do once it hit him. Instead of foolishly having his team of senior citizens blow a gasket trying to come back from a 26-point third-quarter deficit, Pop pulled his starters barely four minutes into the third and saved everyone's wobbly wheels for Game 4. This would explain why the Spurs managed a franchise playoff low 67 points. Don't think for a minute that Pop isn't going to find a way to parlay this embarrassment into something positive. Let the Mavs get overconfident, and then crack them in the mouth on Saturday. I guess that's another prediction, so I'll stand by it. Spurs win Saturday. I'll be back to own up to my ignorance or take credit for my brilliance either way. You know where to find me.
I love when coaches do unorthodox things, which is why Popovich is one of my favorite coaches. Rick Carlisle, too. Starting Jason Kidd and J.J. Barea in the backcourt? Outstanding!
It's also why Kobe Bryant is one of my favorite players. The Lakers are down only 4 at halftime, and Kobe Bryant is 1-for-10 from the field. Kenny Smith just explained on TNT, "He doesn't have the same mentality as most humans." I would agree with that.
For the record, I also predicted with Horowitz that Andrei Kirilenko was the guy who could revive the Jazz in their seemingly fruitless series against the Lakers. Notice how Jerry Sloan inserted AK47 into the starting lineup, and how he was a key to Utah leading at halftime. I'm not saying the Jazz are going to win. All I'm saying is that sometimes I'm right.