1. Baron Davis delivered the knockout blow for his Warriors by getting himself ejected late in the third quarter, because you immediately knew they weren't coming back from double-digits without him. Any way you slice it, it was irresponsible. Yes, Davis was frustrated by what he felt was one-sided officiating, but he did commit that fifth foul with less than a second remaining. He knew that by smirking and clapping in an official's face, he was showing him up. Warnings from Bennett Salvatore and Don Nelson to cool it and grab a seat fell on deaf ears, and Davis has to check himself for his actions. Every postseason moment counts. By acting like a spoiled child, he cheated his team. They went on to get routed, eliminating any psychological edge they could've held on to against Dallas the rest of the way.
|Baron Davis does not listen to warnings from coach Don Nelson or the refs and pays the price. (Getty Images)|
3. The Cavs are up 2-0, likely to be done with the first round quickly, should benefit from a lengthy Nets-Raptors series. No wonder team owner Dan Gilbert has said he expects to make the Eastern Conference finals this season, though LeBron James has publicly deflected those expectations. "He has his own opinion," James told the News-Herald the other day. "I play for my teammates. We go out there and work hard and put us in the best position to win ballgames. You can't concentrate on what other people say."
4. A little bragging is in order. Mejia's Selections was right on the money with the Mavericks-Warriors score, pegging the final right at 112-99. That runs the current streak of correct picks in this postseason to eight, dating back to Golden State's Game 1 upset. Predictions are updated daily.
5. If Stephen Jackson could ever get past his massive legal trouble and settles down in Golden State, he can help repair his image entering the prime of his career. It's all set up for him. In Nelson, he has a coach that respects his game, going as far as to say that he was the best player involved in the January eight-man swap that brought him to the Bay Area. He's playing in a system that shows off his versatility, and will be a part of a team on the rise, one that's fun to watch and will be on TV a lot. As a veteran, having just turned 29, he has an opportunity to have people think about Jackson as a leader and ballplayer first, rather than a trouble-making thug.
Too bad he can't get a hold of his emotions. Instead of talking about his effect on the series coming off a 30-point night in Game 2, we'll have to wonder whether he'll even be available Friday night after failing to leave the court in a timely manner following his meaningless fourth-quarter ejection. His mistakes routinely offset his contributions, no matter how well he plays.
6. Nene's play has pulled the Nuggets closer to San Antonio than anyone thought they would be. In Sunday's Top 10 thoughts, I pointed out that he's been playing well for months, but at the same time, it's been his indifference of being out there matched against Tim Duncan that has been most impressive. Although San Antonio went to its main man every time it possibly could, Nene never got out of sorts, stayed out of heavy foul trouble and made himself a factor. It's early, but he's got to be considered the front-runner as breakthrough performer of the postseason.
7. Brendan Haywood peeked his head out of Eddie Jordan's dog house, which is proof that the Wizards coach is willing to try anything to give the Wizards a chance. Haywood had fallen out of favor with Jordan late in the season, racking up as many DNPs in the final month than he had in the previous three seasons. He played five minutes in Game 1, but has had a good history against Zydrunas Ilgauskas and received plenty of opportunities on Wednesday, providing strong energy and probably earning extended looks the rest of the series. Ilgauskas still got off though, and is bouncing back nicely from last year's nightmare postseason.
8. Couldn't help but notice that the energy at American Airlines Center in Game 2 looked strangely similar to how I've seen the building during last year's NBA Finals, past series with arch rival San Antonio and those always festive reunions with Steve Nash. How have the Warriors ascended to respected rival status so fast? Fans recognize Nelson holds the formula to beat them. Even the most biased Mavericks-backer understands their team is in a threatening situation, and that apprehension resulted in a buzz you wouldn't normally see surrounding a reigning conference champ and a No. 8 seed. For Dallas fans, the emotional roller-coaster is starting early.
9. Have you ever seen a team get more wide-open looks than San Antonio has been getting? Because Duncan is so effective inside, and the ball movement once he passes out of a double team is so crisp, Spurs shooters were often standing by themselves outside the arc in Game 2. Chalk that up as equal parts brilliant offensive execution and poor perimeter defense out of Denver, living up to its reputation as lacking in that department.
10. Cleveland can take another positive step towards maturity on Saturday night if it acts like a legitimate No. 2 seed and snuffs out Washington on its home court. It would be a graduation of sorts. You know, good teams don't give weakened teams hope and all that song and dance. It might sound lame, but there is some credence to it in the Cavs' case. Though led by an elite player, no one considers them an elite team. Toying with a Wizards squad missing two All-Stars hasn't really impressed anyone. They need to make a statement, whether or not LeBron cares what people think about his team.