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Life, death and the NBA FinalsBy Ralph WileyPage 2 columnist

Found myself speaking in tongues throughout Game 1 that the Finals.

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First, ns was Ricardo Montalban, together Khan, in "Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan," asking incredulously, rhetorically, "Ad-mirrrahl?! Ad-mirrrahl?!" in disbelief, together David Robinson put up nine points, six rebounds and a couple blocks in the an initial half. Admiral (Ret.) will fade in second halves, must obtain off early. Or so i rationalized.

The Admiral showed he isn"t in dried dock yet.
I rationalized, because I picked the Nets, and also now we were in the Finals, not just talking about them. It is like playing jazz, the end on the Serengeti plain, without benefit of a sturdy Hummer or Jeep.

I had picked the Nets. I choose the Nets. But you have the right to like Thompson"s gazelles ~ above the Serengeti -- the doesn"t mean they"ll do it.

You know just how it is. You choose a team or player, rationalize how they should win. Friend look for holes in the others, denigrate them and their character. Her pick might be based upon pure analysis, however just the fact that it"s her pick way your emotions gain involved.

So that describes why i then ended up being Mumbles, of prick Tracy fame, together it became noticeable that Jason Kidd, in his own words, couldn"t litter it into the s in game 1. Translating my mumbling, what i was said to myself (while frightening my guests) was, "The point to remember is not that Jason is absent these shots, yet the ease at which he is getting them. The won"t keep missing those shots."

Yet he did. "Berpsklkxnsaopgnw!" i mumbled.

Finally I ended up being a mix of Al Sharpton, Johnnie Cochran, Elmer Gantry, and a snake-handling, soft-shoeing, Zydeco band-backed fundamentalist preacher through a hotfoot, attempting to actors out demons native the body of Richard Jefferson, or attempting to cast out the demon Richard Jefferson, whichever works.

If RJ wasn"t together a klutz, such a walking turnover, I"d feel choose Jim Kelly in "Enter the Dragon" ideal now, exhibiting inconsiderable acting skills while "stoically" wait to get an ext odds, as my partner-in-crime john Saxon was tanking the an initial two minutes of his martial arts exhibition. I will not only be surprised if the spur beat the Nets 4 games out the 7, I"ll it is in stunned. However then the Cape Buffalo will certainly rout the lionesses, if they are not operation as one.

Don"t be deceived by Tim B Dunkin"s big game. Duncan is going come have large numbers in plenty of of these games beacuse Biscotty doesn"t like to double -- prefer his folded-armed model, beat Riley.

All well and good. Allow Duncan store tattoing you with 32, 20, 6, 7 and 3. Watch where it gets you. Down 0-1, is where, probably 0-2, and not on a couch with any kind of of the phalanx of late-night yakkers.

So, case closed in this NBA Finals?

I don"t think so.

Even if the spur go increase 2-0 Friday night, it won"t be case closed.

Don"t think Kidd & Co. Have actually kissed the title goodbye.
In fact, the Nets will have actually the Spurs best where they want them.

Am i insane, you ask, or on some frappe the lead repaint chips, Ecstasy, peyote mushroom extract, malt liquor and also crack?

No, however if I have to watch RJ play choose this, i may shot it.

There is miscellaneous uncertain, hesitant and plain wrong around the applications of Jefferson"s game. He moves like a zebra going opposite of his herd, was standing out, placing everyone in ~ risk, and not favor the lion he shows up to be. He has civilizations of skill, we knew that ever because we an initial saw him at Arizona and we said, in the path usually reserved for beautiful co-eds, "Wow, that is THAT?!"

But then, if you discover out he"s an on-court air-head ... This has actually nothing to carry out with yes, really intelligence. In interviews, RJ sounds like a clever young man. I"m certain he is. But he doesn"t play clever world-class hoop. The Nets to be so superior to their Eastern opposition earlier in the playoffs, that didn"t matter. Now it does. He plays favor he"s ~ above roller blades. As lengthy as his favored angle is unobstructed, he"s fine; also spectacular. Yet if the is made to adjust, cover her eyes.

In one sequence Wednesday night, Jefferson, playing as if in a fog, threw a happen in the half-court set, telegraphed it, climate made it cross-court in slo-mo, choose he remained in a high college scrimmage. Malik Rose, a shrewd man, a Hulk-like figure and a clever player, knew where the pass was going. Rose, having actually studiously watched movie of the Nets" activity offense, shoot the gap, do the steal and also ran down to sink the lay-in. Jefferson didn"t gyeongju after him and also contest a layup off his turnover, as most world-class hoopers and also all true predators would certainly do. That sorta jogged after ~ the play dully, together if this was the CYO league and he a herd animal.

I frankly cannot count the times he go out end-break lay-ins due to the fact that Ginobili or Jackson or Bowen had hustled ago and make the angle tougher, or threw a soft entrance pass that was picked off, or didn"t swing the ball quickly to overtax the defensive rotation. Stank.

Surely Jefferson has to be aware enough to make the pass crisply, check out the defender laying earlier waiting to shoot the gap, and then improvise off the fact. The crucial will be to clock what wake up now. If he makes that exact same turnover in one more game in this series, you"ll recognize Biscotty has actually to reduced his minutes drastically, or lose.

John Havlicek, one of my first-five all-time Boston Celtics, currently that i stop and think around it, said in an alphabet promo throughout Game 1, "You have to learn from her mistakes, and also the team that makes the fewest mistakes win championships." Now, man Havlicek"s no danger to success a MacArthur, or also to pack a computer, or create a play. The is no great intellect. He learned the hard way. By playing. The played tough all the time. RJ more than likely never saw him. Too bad. If RJ played as hard as Hondo, he"d quit thinking so much, reasoning I"m therefore Jim Kelly in "Enter the Dragon," raking in all that 3-to-1 money.

With Scott running the Nets, look because that Duncan come have an ext monster numbers.
The Spurs room good. Really freaking good. Cape Buffalo. Giraffes. Rhino. A few crocs (how else carry out you describe Steve Jackson?). Castle won"t just be carried down. They have to be lugged down in a certain way. Bill Walton, in among his much more lucid moments, claimed at the end of the video game 1, "You can"t play also with the Spurs. You have to put the hammer under on them," The Nets played also on the road with the Celtics and the Pistons, coming from off the speed in the 4th quarters by extending and then turning up their defense, obtaining out for basic ones, then placing it in Jason"s hands at the finish of the game, for this reason closing the show.

But the Spurs can extend and turn up their D, too. They need to be discouraged, i m sorry they very well have the right to be; Duncan and the Admiral (?!) are just waiting to go into their slump- shouldered shambling gait, it is natural for them, they room magnificent giraffes, yet still giraffes; one lion is no hazard to them, not also two lions; yet a den the lions, or, an ext correctly, lionesses, can carry them down; but they have to be outplayed from the get-go, an especially in their building. And the Nets have to acquire one video game in the Spurs" building.

Judging native RJ"s finding out curve, it"ll have to be the last one.

Jefferson"s the one who has actually the sheet in this series, he, and then Rodney Rogers, Lucious Harris and Kittles indigenous deep, after RJ drives and also scores, climate drives and kicks it ago out come them for open threes. Once he does take care of it. That"s where we are. The marquee is not around these duty players. Yet the championship chin is not about Tim Duncan, K-Mart, Jason Kidd or Parker. Take away in tandem, they have to actually publication each various other out.

Bruce Bowen have to not have the ability to cancel the end Richard Jefferson.

RJ for now seems thoroughly incapable, no of understanding this but of implementing it; and also so someone -- Biscotty, Jase, K-Mart or someone -- better get to him, and quick. Otherwise, it falls to Kittles, Harris, Rogers, who room good, very good, however have a less qualified skill set than RJ"s. Which doesn"t matter if he freezes.

When RJ it s okay the absent on the wing, extended, or write-ups up top top the weakside box, on this level, he appears to pause, wait for it to involved him, just what to do. The is an excellent enough come still acquire his run shot off, also under this circumstances; however are the Nets ready to live and die with RJ"s jumper? His drives and also finishes would certainly seem to it is in the answer, but they room not decisive unless practically unopposed. In short, that is no James Worthy.

The reality that Jason Kidd runs the Nets and also their rest so adroitly may have actually this drawback: v those old Piston champion teams, Isiah might run the break; but Joe Dumars could as well. None of the other Nets in their win line-up has much the a handle; and also that, along with RJ, who personifies this flaw, might be your undoing.

If I check out this, I"m certain Byron Scott does.

Yes, Jason Kidd shooting 4 because that 17, yet I wouldn"t hold my breath wait for that to happen again. Kidd had 10 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and a couple of steals, and also the commentators said just how Tony Parker outplayed him. Tony Parker got into the pick-and-roll with Tim Duncan, is what happened, and also converted six of 14, mostly out of that set. A couple of times Jason sank down, and also Parker fight the three and also you could virtually see Jason saying, "Well, can"t execute that together a constant diet." That"s why it"s dubbed Game 1.

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10 days off and also 10 right win didn"t aid the Nets in game 1.
Parker had three rebounds and also five assists. The won"t outplay Jason Kidd over 7 games. Parker and also Duncan can"t play any kind of better. Kidd and also Jefferson can"t play any type of worse. We won"t even discuss Kenyon Martin. Kenyon boy name is therefore %#&