Above The Rim: Go West, Young Man

New Orleans must be kryptonite to any Spurs players right now. When Manu Ginobili is leading the team with only 20 points and Tim Duncan is being held to 10 points by very stingy defense, we are seeing evenly matched teams trading blows against one another. Chris Paul scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half, but it was David West who really got to shine, nailing playoff highs of 38 points and 14 rebounds in the game. I fully expect this to come down to a game seven, and unlike Celtics-Cavs, this is not a case of a better team being unable to dominate on the road. Both Hornets-Spurs and Lakers-Jazz feature teams that trade blows against each other quite well.

Meanwhile, the Pistons just get to sit back and watch. They shot in the low 40s in terms of FG percentage and had Rodney Stuckey leading the attack instead of Chauncey Billups, still nursing a hamstring injury, for the second straight game. But that doesn’t matter. The Pistons took care of their business at home, and now they get to wait to see whether a beaten up Cavs or Celtics team is the one to emerge for the Eastern final. Rip Hamilton led with 31, but the Pistons achieved a remarkable feat: only turning the ball over 3 times throughout the entire game. Three turnovers is one heck of a stat, and it gets the Pistons back to where they expect to be. Now, whether they can go further again or not seems to be determined only by how much they care to impose their will and style of ball on the upcoming opponent.

Photo: Getty Images/Chris Graythen

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