April 8, 2007

Islanders 3, Devils 2 (SO)

So, there it is. The Islanders are in, the Maple Leafs are out, the Devils don't change their position, and Brodeur doesn't pick up any more wins. But that's primarly because he didn't play.

Brodeur was rested on the final game of the year in favor of Scott Clemmensen. Clemmy actually played pretty well, but going into the shootout, you didn't feel very good with such an unproven guy out there, and sure enough, he didn't come through. Some guy named Doublewide, who is the 3rd-string goale for the Islanders, won the game and sent them into the playoffs. Yeah, that's right. Dublewizthtchshjz won the game. Why in the world, if this game meant so much to the Islanders, would they start him? Apparently America's Goalie was still hurt and Dunham inspired no confidence. Whatever. It worked. The Islanders were up 2-0 late, but the Devils got 2 very late goals to send it to overtime. Nothing worked there, so it was a shootout. And you know what happens from there.

The Devils didn't need to win, so they didn't. Not a big deal. It would have been nice to end the season with a win, especially at home where the Devils have struggled recently. It's just very annoying because I want to keep the Atlantic Division rivals out of the playoffs as much as possible, and 4 of the 5 teams are in the playoffs. That's a lot. The Flyers had no chance, being the worst team in the league. But the Penguins, Rangers, and Islanders are in. The weird thing is that no team is playing each other. They are #2, #4, #6, and #8. Very, very odd. Oh well. I hope everyone loses but the Devils, that's for sure.

Which brings me up to my next point. Will the Devils win? They play the Tampa Bay Lightning for sure now. It's settled. The Devils haven't been good at home and haven't been good vs. the Lightning. Anything can change come playoff time, and I would expect to see different results against the team. But they are a threat to score at any time. They are a good team. This may very well be the hardest test the Devils may face. If they play the winner of Ottawa/Pittsburgh, they could beat either team. Then they could beat Buffalo, assuming they come out of things. Tampa Bay might be the hardest individual matchup, and that's scary. We'll see how things go. It's playoff time now!


Mavericks 86, Blazers 74

Another low scoring affair, this time with the positive result. It was good to be home, albeit without Josh Howard. Maybe Josh Howard should be MVP of the league, the Mavericks look worse without him than without Dirk. That's mostly a joke, but still a weird phenomenon. Anyway.

This game was never really in doubt and the better team won. Not sure what else you want other than that. Howard and Stackhouse didn't play, and didn't need to. Nowitzki played less minutes than ever before, but he was cold anyway. He ended up with a measly 11 points. It was the guard duo of Jason Terry and Devin Harris that took over this night. Terry had 22 at halftime and was simply taking over the game. He was great. He ended up with 29, which was sad because I thought he might just explode, but he tempered things down in the second half. Devin Harris had a lawnmower type game. Scored a little bit here, a little more here, a little bit more here, and then ended on a very solid note with 18 points. They controlled the flow of the game, allowing the reserves to do their thing.

Portland can be beaten even when they have their stars. They didn't have any of their big stars, with Zach Randolph and LaMarcus Aldridge already out, and the rookie of the year Brandon Roy declared inactive for the game. That pretty much seals the deal right there. If you can beat that team with those guys in there, then it shouldn't be a contest when they are out of it. And that's pretty much what happened. Jarrett Jack was really the only guy worth watching for them, he played a smart game and ended up with 18 points.

Kevin Willis made his Mavericks debut and second NBA debut after a few years away from the game. He did nothing but get 2 fouls in less than a minute and then sat back down. Ha. Sad. Moe Ager, the Mavs rookie draft pick, got significant minutes (24), scoring 8 points and getting 3 rebounds. Nothing to write home about.

Portland jacked up a ton of shots, 77 in all, and made only 29 for 38%. The Mavs shot 51%. Finally, the Mavs were able to dominate in free throw shots, 28 to 19 attempts. Problem is, they only made 16 of their 28, which is very bad for the best free-throw shooting team in the league, but it happens every now and then. Still not good. Rebounds were clearly in the Mavs favor, thanks in large part to 10 rebounds snagged by Diop and Croshere.

That's about it, folks. Next game vs. the Clippers tomorrow night. Could be a first-round matchup. More importantly, if the Mavs win, they get #1 in the West. It's practically inevitable, but it would be nice to get out of the way.

Pirates 6, Reds 3

What do you expect with Eric Milton on the mound? I honestly thought about Milton as a human being today, being Easter and all. I thought I could sit alongside him and offer him support. Seriously, though. It must suck to be him right now. Nobody believes in him and everyone wants him gone. For good reasons, no doubt. And he wasn't awful today, just not very good. Gave up 4 earned runs on 10 hits in his almost 6 innings. The Reds put up a 3-run rally in the 7th, but that was all. The invincible bullpen wasn't to be, as Todd Coffey and Jon Coutlangus gave up homers in their innings. Victor Santos once again was dang good. It just wasn't enough. Jared Burton was placed on the 15-day DL. Maybe that means the Reds will try to deal or get rid of Milton in 15 days. Maybe it doesn't mean that.