The Phone Booth Shot

Sweetest jump shot. Purest of 'em all. That's what you would call Ray Allen's jumpshot. The mechanic of his jumpshot requires him to land where he took off, for balance (hence phone booth). However, a bone spur in his ankle has caused him to pull up without balance and often on a tilted body. This is reflected in less than 40% shooting these playoffs, and prevented DTTF drivers to pick him.

Until now.

With 9 made out of 19 field goal attempts the past two games, and after a full day stay in Boston, he is now ripe for the picking. If he just raise his touches and trips to the line, we should be getting around 20 PRA. The injury is not going anywhere, that we just need to time his selection. I feel now is the time.

And Then It Happened

Just two blog entries before, I wrote:

Look at it this way.. all of OKC's Big Three got 40+ PRA in Game 2. And still they lost. What more can the three do??? I know! Wish the Spurs have a bad game :) The Spurs have won 20 straight, and they'll eventually have a bad game; but no one is betting they'll bump into it real soon. 

So it happened. The winning streak ended. It got so ugly for the Spurs that Coach Pop sat his starters early in the fourth quarter. It was three quarters of basketball where the Thunder played unselfish basketball and the Spurs played like they ran out of water from the fountain of youth.

So are we picking Spurs now for DTTF? Absolutely not. It will have to take the Thunder to win three straight games to be up 3-2 for us to change our pick plans. Look for the Spurs to turn this around in the next game. You just had to look at the Spurs' eyes at the bench in the fourth quarter to know they're already focused on Game 4.

Up next is Serge Ibaka, for no particular reason than being the 4th guy in line.

Now, that's a potential 15 to 20 PRA only and by far the lowest expectation from a pick I have these playoffs. There are other bigger alternatives (like Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili), but I am saving the Spurs for the Finals as I don't have anyone relevant left from the East bracket. Have to stay in the game.

Changing Minds

I must say, that was an unbelievable performance from Rajon Rondo. 44 points. 8 rebounds. 10 assists. 62 PRA! I imagine that the 10% who picked him are drooling over that record-breaking line of statistics (no one has ever done that many points, rebounds and assists in NBA playoff history!). That's worth about 2- or 3-game swing in their favor.

What a waste though for the Celtics, who are now down 0-2. I have a strong feeling that they will win Game 3. Boston fans will be cheering their hearts off for their squad. Their game plan versus the Heat are working, and they just have to keep at it. Expect another good game from Rondo (but maybe just 20+ points). I expect a bounce back effort from Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, as Heat will adjust to Rondo, opening up the middle and the wing. Ray Allen has finally had one whole good game and is now safe to be picked for around 20 PRA.

I have long picked Dwyane Wade for Game 3. Then hours before this time of writing, I worried about Wade's stats against the Celtics which are seemingly down. Though he still gets 30+ PRA, I feel the Celtics are defending him well by denying him the ball. And so I looked at his stats this season and last year's (2 seasons he has with LeBron). He's had mediocre games against the Celtics in general -- that thought gave me the notion that we may never see a 40 PRA from him in this series. The Celtics certainly know how to limit him (at least limit to 30+ PRA). Then I looked at his stats last year against the Spurs and they are better, and due to his injuries this shortened season, the Spurs have not yet seen Wade play up close. I thought about saving him for the Finals.

So I hit the X button on Wade in the DTTF interface, and then started pondering between Brandon Bass and Ray Allen. Allen as I mentioned already had one whole good game and is not showing effects of his ankle injury anymore. However, I thought the flight back to Boston would add to his fatigue, and that he will be better in Game 4 after one full day of rest at home. That leaves me with Bass, who I thought despite of his inconsistency had good games at home this postseason. So I was taking the risk and clicked on Bass for my pick of that game.

Then after a 3-hour nap, I was woken up in at midnight saying to myself, "What was I thinking!?!?" Because of a few new factors, I was willing to replace a very good pick with an inconsistent one. And to add it all up, I completely ignored the original reasons I picked Wade for Game 3, the majority of which are his away stats and the absence of Chris Bosh (somebody still needs to take up the slack). Weighing the benefits of picking him now greatly trumps the benefits of picking him later. So I re-changed my mind and in effect sticking with the plan. Wade it is.