Weren’t we promised 40 nights of drama or something like that? Unless you placed bets on the Jazz and Hawks to beat a 20-point spread in their respective Game 4′s against the Lakers and Magic, there was nothing dramatic about last night’s NBA playoffs … To be fair, Atlanta did get within single digits of Orlando late in the third quarter, but Rashard Lewis (17 pts, 6 rebs, 5 asts) and Vince Carter (22 pts) promptly shot them back out of it to open the fourth. It wasn’t long before it was time to call Sandman from “Showtime at The Apollo” to yank the Hawks off the stage … Nothing new here. The highlight reel consisted of Dwight Howard (13 pts, 8 rebs, 4 blks) trying to inflict thousands of dollars of damage on the poor baskets at Philips Arena (“Dwight refuses to miss from the field,” said one announcer), Vince casually tossing in J’s two steps behind the three-point line, Mickael Pietrus canning treys and going back on D with swagger on loan from J.R. Smith, and Orlando generally getting whatever shot they wanted … But even in a blowout, there’s a line you can cross of being too confident. Like Matt Barnes going baseline thinking he can chest-to-chest dunk on Josh Smith; that’s just foolishness. Barnes had his attempt stamped “Return to Sender” … J-Smoove had a rough day. He got inadvertently poked in the eye in the first half, and it bothered him all night. Either that or the drubbing had Smith looking like he was about to cry as the inevitable began to set in. When Smith yelled at himself for missing a free throw in the fourth, then got a little extra physical under the boards a couple possessions later, it seemed a double technical and ejection was imminent, but he kept his head and took the L … It was well into the second half when TNT showed a stat claiming Dwight had blocked or altered 20 of Atlanta’s 30 shots in the paint. When we say The Centaur tries to swat every shot that crosses his face, it’s not an exaggeration … You have to feel bad for Jamal Crawford. He finally gets on a playoff team after a decade of Lottery seasons, and his first postseason ends like this; at the wrong end of the most complete four-game beating any of us have seen … Seeing as the Jazz came within one Derek Fisher dagger of beating L.A. in Game 3, you figured Game 4 would at least go down to the wire. Not so much. When Pau Gasol hit Kyrylo Fesenko with a Dream Shake and hook shoot to put the Lakers up 19 in the first half, Reggie Miller said Utah was being made to look like the Washington Generals … Deron Williams (21 pts, 9 asts) and C.J. Miles led a brief run that had the Jazz within five late in the third quarter, but L.A. extended the lead back out; D-Fish’s three-pointer, followed by his three free throws after D-Will fouled him during a shot put it back into 20-piecing territory before Gasol (33 pts, 14 rebs) ended it with a personal 9-0 run later in the fourth quarter … This one wasn’t so much L.A. pounding the ball inside and getting all the frontcourt guys off. It was more like Kobe (32 pts) and Gasol simply proving they were the two best players on the court. Gasol simply could not be stopped, scoring with both hands and hitting shots from all kinds of angles … Going into Game 4, a front-page sports story in the Salt Lake Tribune had a headline like, “All hope is lost.” Carlos Boozer was asked about it before the game, and when the clearly ticked-off Booz glared at the reporters in front of him and snapped, “Who’s the guy that wrote that story?” somebody answered a little too quickly, “It’s not the guy who wrote the story, it’s the guy who wrote the headline.” We couldn’t see the reporters, but whoever spit that answer out had to be the story’s author. And he sounded very afraid of Boozer … Is DJ Mbenga wearing shades or goggles over there on the bench? Since he never gets on the court to use them, they might as well be reading glasses … So what now for the Hawks and Jazz? Joe Johnson said “the door’s not closed” to him returning to ATL even though the fans were booing him pretty bad last night. Booz has always been up-and-down with Utah fans, and this series isn’t gonna make anyone start a petition to re-sign him. What does your gut say? Are J.J. and Booz wearing different uniforms next season? … We’re out like the ATLiens …
Smack / May 11, 2010 / 7:09 am
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