With the excitement of Boston's electrifying 97-92 victory against Cleveland in Game 7 on Sunday still fresh in people's minds, it's easy to forget that there is another deciding game still left to be played in the second round.
And it should be a good one.
Here are four simple keys for Game 7 (followed by my prediction):
Despite having one of the NBA's best defensive centers in
Looking for a simple stat? The better third-quarter team has won every game of this series. San Antonio had the look of a champion in the third quarter in Game 6, outscoring the Hornets 20-12 to increase its seven-point halftime advantage to 15. But just two night earlier, the Spurs were on the wrong side of a 28-11 third-quarter score in the Bayou on their way to dropping Game 5. In three home games, the Hornets have outscored San Antonio 93-46 in the third, making it a crucial 12 minutes for both teams.
The Hornets' All-Star power forward has been practicing and saying the right things about how his back is 100 percent with "just about all of the soreness out of there," but is three days of rest enough to recover after that hard
If West is limited, New Orleans' frontcourt options are rookie
"We feel pretty good that he would be ready, barring any crazy things or any setbacks," Scott said of West over the weekend.
I don't know what it is between Crawford and the Spurs. Late last season, Crawford was suspended indefinitely and banned from officiating in the postseason after a run-in with Duncan, who accused the veteran referee of challenging him to a fight during a game in Dallas. In Game 5 of this series, Popovich argued with Crawford over a delay-of-game call. During a heated discussion, Crawford put his finger in Popovich chest, which the Spurs' coach swiped away. I'm not much for conspiracy theories, but the sight of Crawford in New Orleans probably isn't a good sign for San Antonio.
San Antonio makes enough perimeter shots and becomes the first team to win a road game in the series. But it won't be easy, as the teams play a tight game for the first time in the second round.