Charlotte Bobcats at Orlando Magic- 7 ET
In Game 1 Jameer Nelson got it going and never looked back going off for a scorching 32 points on Raymond Felton and the Charlotte Bobcats. The Felton/Nelson battle was one of my key matchups in my Game 1 preview and again I’ll stress the matchup heading into Game 2. The Bobcats must get a better performance out of Stephen Jackson, a 6-18 shooting night while going scoreless behind the three-point arc is a recipe for disaster. Jackson’s stroke from downtown is very important to the Bobcats success, especially when going up against a three point shooting team like the Magic. You’re only going to get a select amount of close looks with Howard patrolling the paint and that three pointer can help stretch the defense. Charlotte shot 3-12 from long range in Game 1, while on the flipside the Magic went 13-30. Obviously that’s got to immediately change. Another scary note was that both Dwight Howard and Vince Carter had off nights, Howard ending with only 4 points and Carter adding 12. You can best believe both Howard and Carter will score more than a Game 1 combined 16 points, in fact I see both of them tallying at least 16 points in Game 2.
On a final note, I want to raise a question to Bobcats Head Coach Larry Brown, What’s Better?: Play Boris Diaw 43 mins for 6 pts, 4 rebs, 2 asts, 2 blk production or Play Tyrus Thomas only 8 mins for 4 pts & 1 reb? While I agree upon placing Diaw in the Bobcats starting rotation, why stay with Diaw for 43 minutes with a lackluster performance than to give Tyrus Thomas a prime opportunity out there on the floor? When the Bobcats made the trade for Ty Thomas I thought for sure he’d become a significant piece to the Bobcats playoff chances, I’m shocked to have watched him in very limited minutes in Game 1. Tonight the Bobcats will see improved play from Stephen Jackson and an improved defensive effort on Jameer Nelson, but Magic stars Vince Carter and Dwight Howard will both return to the usual scoring outputs.
Magic- 103 Bobcats- 94
San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks- 9:30 ET
Dirk Nowitzki was nearly perfect (literally) in Game 1: 12-14 FG, 12-12 FT for 36 points to go along with 7 boards while only committing one turnover. While it may be unlikely for Nowitzki to improve upon Game 1’s performance, you can expect another impressive outing by the Mavericks leader. For the Spurs the concern once again is Richard Jefferson who played 32 minutes adding just 4 points. A huge disappointment for most of the year, it seemed as though Jefferson found his game late into the season but Game 1 seemed as though he was back to where it all began for him in San Antonio. Jefferson’s been so bad that at this rate, the retired Bruce Bowen seems to be a better option on the floor. I mean heck, Bowen can easily get you more than 5 points, all he’s got to do is knock down to of his signature corner pocket three point attempts.
The Spurs should be worried because they’re not going to get much better performances out of their main guys in Parker, Ginobili, and Duncan. Now you can also argue that Dirk Nowitzki can’t nearly play as good as he did in Game 1 but don’t forget about Jason Terry. The Mavs sixth man struggled in Game 1 and being that competitor that “The JET” is, NBA fans will be back to normal seeing the Jason Terry we’ve been watching play big in the playoffs for years. I got the Mavericks defending their home court yet again in Game 2, but the Spurs will put up a valiant fight.
Mavericks- 103 Spurs- 99
P.S. Just for Laughs & Giggles: DeShawn Stevenson may not get Mavs fans going with his play, but he sure can with this video…