Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while finally getting to play Pac-Man in Marshfield, Mass….
Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs. It all started with the Spurs defense. Gregg Popovich adapted his offense over the years to let Tony Parker lead it (he borrowed a lot from Mike D’Antoni) and part of that is to let Parker push the ball up and attack the defense early in the clock before it gets set. Let him improvise. Parker did that on Sunday and from the start and just carved up the Mavericks defense. He was getting to the rim at the start of the game, broke Dallas down and they never recovered. Of course, he was getting to the rim when the Mavs were set, too. Parker finished with 32 and the Spurs looked like contenders again.
Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets. It’s unfortunate that Joe Johnson’s middle name seems to be “worst contract in the NBA” — it’s mentioned every time he is, it seems — because lost in that is the fact the guy can flat out play. Paul Pierce gets the highlights and headlines with the block, Kevin Garnett did his thing, but Johnson was the best Net player Sunday. He had 11 points straight points in the fourth quarter holding off the Raptors run for a while. Simply, the Nets are home for the summer without him.
Toronto Raptors fans. The fans in Toronto were absolutely amazing… gathering by the thousands outside the arena (something American arenas can’t do anymore because there are always fights/problems). I wanted the Raptors to win for them… and those came so close to getting to see one of the best comebacks in years. Still, the good news is this felt like a year you can build on.