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Blogcat's Thumbs Up/Sideways/Down

Thumbs Up: The Western Conference Playoffs Second Round
Last night’s Jazz-Warriors game featured four double-doubles, six 20-point scorers, and a largest lead of just ten points. The Suns and Spurs, meanwhile, had a largest lead of just 8 points, field goal percentages of 50 and 46, three 30-point performances, 16 rebounds from Duncan, 18 rebounds for the supposedly beaten Stoudemire, and the added bonus of Steve Nash looking like Jake LaMotta. Unless Nash starts Game 2 wearing leopard-print boxing trunks, it’s going to be hard to top what’s transpired so far.

We also might have a new hero (or antihero, depending on whether you’re an irrational Cleveland fan) in Carlos Boozer. Everyone’s been talking about how Yao couldn’t guard Booze in Houston’s opening round loss to Utah, but I think the more significant fact is that Boozer could guard Yao. Ming had 16 30+ point games during the regular season (even with two months lost to injury) and not a single one during the 7-game series. Yao also turned the ball over 4 or more times in 6 of the 7 playoff games (well over his career average of 3.42), and averaged a rebound less per game than he did during the regular season. This was mostly due to Boozer, with some help from Paul Millsap, despite the fact that both of them looked like Rocky trying to fight Thunderlips.

Thumbs Sideways: The Bobcats Coaching Search
Well, if we can’t get quality, we might as well go for quantity. Now Sam Vincent’s been thrown into the candidate pool. In the Observer, Rick Bonnell writes that although Vincent hasn’t even been a lead assistant yet, “he has a wide range of coaching experience, domestic and international, men and women.” So at least we know he’s probably not going to sexually harass any of the players, but I’m not sure if this makes him qualified. Michael Jordan has talked about searching for “the next Avery Johnson,” but we might want to re-think that strategy now. All I know is, at this rate I want to re-sign Okafor, Wallace, and Carroll, then go get Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, and Chauncey Billups, because it doesn’t seem like we’re going to be throwing money at any coaches.

Thumbs Down: The Eastern Conference Playoffs Second Round
The Bulls look completely overmatched against the Pistons. Did you see Michael Sweetney lumbering in last night right out of the buffet line? That wins this week’s Phil Hughes Call-Up Desperation Award. Kirk Hinrich says the team needs to get their “swagger back,” but I’m sure Chicago fans would happily settle for him just getting a made field goal back (0-7, 2 points). Andres Nocioni suddenly can’t dribble, and Ben Gordon can’t due much of anything competently except foul opponents, and I love how Chicago is suddenly hoping and praying for more out of PJ Brown after they had him on the trading block to last-place Memphis practically all season.

While the Nets don’t look completely overmatched against the Cavs, both teams look equally crappy. Plus the Continental Airlines Arena is so quiet the PA announcer doesn’t even need a loudspeaker. I couldn’t believe how subdued it was there for Game 6 against Toronto, even though the game went down to the wire. Heck, the Bobcats Arena was more pumped up for our season finale against the Knicks.