The Celtics and Heat can wrap up their series today, up 3-0 on the Knicks and 76ers, while the Hawks and Lakers can take charge of their series with wins, each up 2-1. There isn't much suspense here, save for the Hawks/Magic series. Jason Richardson and Zaza Pachulia are suspended for game 4 after their altercation Friday night, so Orlando will need someone else from among Dwight Howard's supporting cast to deliver as their season is in danger of becoming a huge disappointment.
Carmelo Anthony will try to carry the load for the Knicks, as Amare Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups are doubtful for today's game. Had the Suns signed Amare to the max guaranteed deal the Knicks did, we'd all be troubled that Stoudemire's back can now be added to his knee and eye on the list of causes for health concern. Letting him walk was a calculated risk, just as signing him was for the Knicks. It's still too soon to say who got the best of the deal. Update: ABC's Mike Tirico reported that Amare will play today.
Jason Collins has started all three games for the Hawks so far, played around 18 minutes in each, and produced a grand total of 4 points and 4 rebounds while his team has won 2 of 3 games. Remind you of any former Sun also named J. Collins?
The Hornets need Chris Paul to be their savior on this Easter Sunday. He's averaging 25 points, 10 assists and 5 rebounds per game so far in the series, and the Hornets will need all of that and more to ward off the evil Lakers. This series has an air of inevitability about it, no?
Miami at Philadelphia, 10AM PDT, ABC. Heat lead series 3-0
Boston at New York, 12:30PM PDT, ABC. Celtics lead series 3-0
Orlando at Atlanta, 4PM PDT, TNT. Hawks lead series 2-1
Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans, 6:30PM PDT, TNT. Lakers lead series 2-1.
"So go look all around... you can try your luck, brother... see what you found, but I guarantee you that it ain't your day" - Jones/Strummer
Channing Frye, has it really been only two years that you've worn the purp? For all the radical topsy-turvyness you've produced (he's soft... no wait, he's clutch!! He's improving... dammit he disappeared again!!), these two years have felt much longer.
So Channing, people are wondering if you made it. You snuck in as a starting PF when all the other candidates proved incompetent, and surprisingly, you didn't do half bad. We even saw some mettle from you, some stones, some minerals. Quite a show put on at times, and a lot of people had to eat their words.
You converted me into a fan of yours, old boy. However, I'm about to explain why you should not be starting for the Suns next season.
Did you really improve? I remember seeing a couple midrange moves from you this year that I didn't see before, and you looked almost aggressive in the post a couple times when you had a PG switched off on you, which was an improvement from last year. As for your defense, which has been often stated to be improved... well, maybe it did a little. I can't say I really noticed to be honest.
Nextly, I'll have to resort to the stats. Per 36 minutes, your production fell off almost across the entire board. The only significant uptick was defensive boards, which went from 5.9 to 6.3. Other than that, the only number that increased was minutes.
So basically, what looks like improvement was really just more exposure.
As for your new found tough guy rep, we'll have to take an objective look at this as well. You started out punking on little dudes, and then the little dudes seemed to form a united front and were determined to punk you back. This is getting kind of weird.
Then came Lord Asshat of the Celtics, Kevin Garnett. You were praised for getting up in his grill after this one, but let me tell you a cold, hard fact of life: When a man takes a potshot at your jingledy-jangledy, you only have one option and that is to get in that ass (kiddies be careful with that link). What you did there wasn't special, although it was great for viewing, if for no other reason it forced Mark Jackson to reveal what a moron he is on national television.
Sure, if you like picking 13th in the draft. Truth told Channing, I like you. You netted your biggest payday ever this season, raking in $5.2 mil, and instead of letting your derrière expand, you were one of the few good stories of a forgettable six months. Sad thing is, if you're in the starting lineup next time the Suns play ball, I have to assume that you'll be on a fringe playoff team again. On the other hand, if you can be a 6th or 7th man next season that fills in at the 4 or the 5, kind of like the good ole' days in 2009/10, then I think you'll be in the playoffs again.
Think about Uncle Steve
If Uncle Steve comes back next year, he's gonna need a true frontcourt scorer that doesn't wait for Steve to do 90% of the work. Between you, who can do very little besides a pick-and-pop or just a spot-up at the angle, and the Hammer, whose moves in the post look like a drunken ballet, someone else is going to have to start up front if there's still going to be life in these Suns.
That's about all I got for you, Channing. I'll be rooting hard for you, but I'll be rooting a little bit harder if you're coming off the bench with 5 minutes left in the first. If there's any fight to be had next year, I'm pretty sure you can be counted on to step up when needed. It's not your fault that the team just needs something... better.
Also, thank you very, very much for the gleefully horrible Fry's commercials. If I'm suffering through a Suns blowout, those commercials always remind me that life, and certainly basketball, isn't meant to be taken too seriously.
There's a strong chance we'll have our first team eliminated from the playoffs today, as the Bulls play for the sweep in Indiana. Will the Pacers go down swinging, or whimpering? Later, the Blazers try to even up their series with the Mavs at 2 in what will be a loud, raucous Rose Garden in Portland, the Grizzlies and Spurs square off in a pivotal game 3 tied at 1, and the Nuggets try to get up off the mat at home against the Thunder, down 2-0.
Manu Ginobili doesn't enjoy the brace on his right elbow, but he's fortunate it was his non-shooting arm that was injured since he almost certainly wouldn't be able to play had it been his left elbow.
Chicago at Indiana, 11:30AM PDT, TNT. Bulls lead series 3-0
Dallas at Portland, 2:00PM PDT, TNT. Mavericks lead series 2-1
San Antonio at Memphis, 4:30PM, ESPN. Series tied 1-1
Oklahoma City at Denver, 7:00PM, ESPN. Thunder lead series 2-0