Avery Johnson: His Mavs got treated like a pair of large, dangling testicles at a nutshot convention by Chris Paul in Game 1. Since the Little General likes his nuts the way they are, he opted to double-down on Paul at every possible opportunity. And it sounded like a good idea at the time...until CP3 disregarded the double-teams and rained fire on all those who dared oppose him. Paul finished with 32 points (10-for-16), 5 rebounds, 17 assists and 3 steals, thus becoming (I think) the first person in NBA history to record at least 30 points and 10 assists in his first two career playoff games. More importantly though, the Hornets delivered a 127-103 colon-blasting to the Mavericks.
The Dallas defense: I doubt it was all Avery's fault that his team couldn't have stopped a corpse (or even Greg Ostertag) from scoring the basketball. New Orleans shot 60 percent from the field, almost 56 from beyond the arc, and they had 30 assists while committing only 6 turnovers.
Jason Kidd: He was supposed to be The Difference, the final piece of Mark Cuban's championship jigsaw puzzle. Now he's being spit-roasted and eaten alive by Chris Paul. Unless something radically changes, this is going to be a series-long ego-ectomy for J-Kidd.
Dirk Nowitzki: What's wrong with this guy? Remember his tempter tantrum after Game 5 of the NBA Finals, when he couldn't even bully a helpless stationary bicycle? Well, last night we got more of the same, with Dirk grumping all over the court and screaming into thin air a couple times. Look, if my team consistently let me down and failed to live up to expectations, I'd be pissed too. But MVPs do not -- cannot -- act like that. That sort of behavior does not evoke confidence from your teammates. Which sort of explains why Jason Terry never seems to totally trust Nowitzki down the stretch...
Random Dallas players: The suck bong was being passed around liberally by the Mavericks last night, wasn't it? Kidd shot 3-for-10. Ditto for Josh Howard. Jerry Stackhouse was 4-for-10. Malik Allen played 11 minutes and contributed 4 fouls and 1 missed shot. Eddie Jones played 10 minutes, scored 3 points on 1-for-3 shooting and committed a couple fouls. Antoine Wright got 7 minutes of PT and had 1 rebound and 2 turnovers. Then there was Juwan Howard, who got into the game for 3 minutes to miss 1 shot, bone 3 freethrows, commit one foul, and finish with 1 point.
Mike James: Two seasons ago, he was scoring 20 PPG for the Toronto Raptors. Now he can't even get off the Hornets' bench in an obvious blowout. Oh how the "mighty" have fallen.
Toronto's starters (except Chris Bosh): No wonder Bosh doesn't trust his teammates. Anthony Parker scored zero points (0-for-4) in 38 minutes. T.J. Ford shot 1-for-8 and had 4 turnovers in 24 minutes. Rasho Nesterovic -- who's been on fire lately -- played only 5 minutes. (I guess the alien overlords returned the real Rasho.) Andrea Bargnani scored 9 points (4-for-9), grabbed 1 rebound and committed 4 fouls.
Jamario Moon: He finally looks like a rookie again: 3 points (1-for-7), 5 rebounds.
Sam Mitchell and/or Chris Bosh: The Raptors actually had a chance to steal this game, which ended with a 19-foot desperation jumper by Chris Bosh. That's the best play Sam could draw up? Seriously? Of course, it might have been Bosh going rogue. Bosh had been pretty clearly fouled on his previous drive to the basket but got no whistle, and after the game he indicated that was why he chose to fire it up from outside. "The time before I drove the basket and I didn't get a call. I didn't want to put it in the referee's hands. I wanted to get a clean look -- I felt like I did a decent job. I got a decent look and just missed the shot." Good choice. [/dripping sarcasm]
Hedo Turkoglu: Now, now, Hedo. Don't give us the Duncan face. We all saw that little push you gave Bosh after the foul. You're not fooling anybody. [From Odenized.]
Grant Hill: Well, we all knew it was too good to be true. Hill made it through the season only to fall victim to a nagging groin injury. And so the story goes. Hill played last night, but you could hardly tell it: 19 minutes, zero points (0-for-1), 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 foul. This man was absolutely critical to the Suns' playoff hopes...and he's clearly moving at half speed. That's bad news for Phoenix.
Leandro Barbosa: He's supposed to be the X-factor, right? The Brazillian Blur...speed and scoring off the bench...running the offense when Steve Nash needs a rest. Epic fail. Last night's line: zero points, 0-for-7 from the field, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists in 23 minutes.
Mike D'Antoni: I have lost all faith in him. I honestly don't know what else to say.
Tony Parker: Man, I hate Tony Parker. I can't even pretend to be objective about the tiny Frenchman. He is such a huge, flapping vagina. I'm sorry; that's an insult to huge, flapping vaginas everywhere. Remember in last year's playoffs how Parker's head destroyed Steve Nash's nose? Yet Nash barely flinched while Tony flopped to the court and writhed around like he'd just been shot in the head.
Now watch him do the exact same thing after running into Shaq last night. Same fetal position, same agonized clutching of his head. For God's sake, Tony, grow a pair, okay? Your wife already told us about your fake flopping tactics. And speaking of Mrs. Longoria, Tony had a special but impossible for anybody else to understand message for his wife last night. It's official: He has become Doug Christie.
Epilogue: Despite the fact that he crumpled like a wet paper bag the split second he hit Shaq, Parker turned all tough guy after the game. "He was trying to play physical. But that's not going to stop me." Oooooo...scary.
NBA.com: First off, congratulations to Kevin Garnett for being named Defensive Player of the Year. It was well-deserved. But would you like to know the real secret to Boston's defensive magic? According to NBA.com's official DPoY announcement, Shane Battier is a secret Celtic. I was as shocked as you are. (Thanks to Basketbawful readers Charles and Arjun, who were all over this.)
Don C. Kalant Senior: [Frivolous Lawsuit Alert!!] This "prominent" dentist from Naperville, Illinois is suing the Chicago Bulls mascot, Benny the Bull. Apparently, Benny gave Kalant a crippling high-five during a February 12th Bulls game that hyperextended Kalants drilling arm. As a result, Kalant has been unable to work since the incident. And he apparently won't be able to spot-check for cavities again until sometime in May. Not to belittle a man's brave fight against the injustice of fate, but if you're so incredibly fragile that a high-five from a man dressed in a furry bull costume can take you out for five months, then you have no one to blame but yourself. What are you doing at a Bulls game? Or even leaving the house, for that matter? I suggest that you cover yourself in a few thousand layers of bubble wrap, fill your home with packing peanuts and lost of nice, soft pillows, and never go outside again.