Portland needs "less isolation, no switching on Dirk Nowitzki" in Game 3 (Sebastian Pruiti, SBN). The Blazers are looking more like a team depending on "a wounded superstar, an offense that can't score, a defense that can't force turnovers and various bewildering lineup combinations that mask (or perhaps highlight) how thin this roster suddenly looks against a seasoned opponent," Zach notes, than the hot, deep, scary squad of the last month (Point Forward).
A surprising highlight has been Dirk's D (tcat75, Mavs Moneyball). That said, LaMarcus Aldridge isn't moving much off the ball. That'll probably be the best shot expend Dirk's energy and open up more mistakes to exploit on both ends.
As for LMA's D, he's doing a great job, but "it hasn't meant a damn thing," Rob Mahoney noted (The Two Man Game). And this isn't just LMA on Dirk, but a Mavs-better-than-Blazers thing.
Dave wrote (Blazers Edge): "But when one team knows how to close and control while the other doesn't, series tend to mirror the individual games with which they started. The losing team makes a mid-series run just like they made mid-game runs in their losses. But when the series gets down to crunch time the dominant team reasserts itself and takes it home. If I were forced to bet, that's exactly what I'd put my money on happening in this series. The Blazers may be able to defend the homecourt. They may even be able to get a game on the road should they fail to defend the homecourt fully. But when push comes to shove, home or road, Dallas has shown every indication of being able to succeed in the critical moments while Portland has not."
Kevin Love will reportedly be announced as Most Improved Player on Thursday (Ziller). Bullshit, I say. No hate on Love, but Derrick Rose becoming such a dominant force in this league at 22 from being a mid-level go-to guy is an improvement unmatched this season.
Rick Adelman was fired, basically (NBA.com). I can only assume that a stud is available for the Rockets because, otherwise, this makes no sense. I'm not saying Adelman makes Houston a contender, but I'm not sure you dump such a guy who overachieves with ouchy, mediocre rosters without a good list of replacements.
I'm completely unsure how Collins beats Miami's zone with his personnel, so I'll direct you to Derek Bodner (Liberty Ballers). All year the 76ers have struggled to score on strong Ds (Lowe). Seems I completely overrated the trouble this team would cause their first round opponent, as all of the top four in the East were four of the NBA's top five Ds this season.
Maybe the Kings won't be moving to Anaheim after all (Sam Amick, SI).