Posted: Tuesday May 3, 2005 11:27AM; Updated: Tuesday May 3, 2005 5:38PM
Ray Allen has hit 15 3-pointers in the first four games of the best-of-seven series with Seattle.
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Remember the ads with the two crash-test dummies who taught us a lesson in each 30-second spot, which always ended with the line: You can learn a lot from a dummy?
Well, there's one exception to that statement. You can't learn much from this dummy. Last week, I wrote the Nets are one of the teams with a chance to pull off a first-round upset. Boy, was I wrong.
But that wasn't the only lesson I've learned in the playoffs. The following are the five biggest lessons we've been taught in the first week, which included clutch shots (Tracy McGrady, Chauncey Billups, Jason Terry), upsets (Denver over San Antonio) and bickering coaches.
Ray Allen's a gamer
It's been four years since RayAllen was in the playoffs -- he led Milwaukee to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2001 -- but you wouldn't know it by his clutch play in the opening series.
Through four games, Allen leads all players with a 33-point average and was nearly unstoppable in silencing the league's loudest building in Sunday night's 115-102 win over Sacramento. In sparking Seattle to a 3-1 series lead, Allen's silky-smooth jumper (finest in the league, I might add) was displayed, as he knocked down six 3-pointers on his way to a career playoff-high 45 points.
"Some of the shots [Allen] made were incredible," Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said. "When he's got it rolling like that, he's the quickest shooter in the league. He was just draining it."
If Allen can continue his hot shooting, the Sonics -- assuming they close out this series -- will be a tough second-round matchup for the San Antonio-Denver winner.
Manu Ginobili's not bad, either
Not many All-Stars would handle coming off the bench quite like Manu Ginobili has. After starting Game 1 -- a surprising 93-87 loss at home -- Gregg Popovich moved Ginobili to the bench, hoping he'd provide a spark to the Spurs' lineup.
The move worked. Ginobili has been an up-tempo, hard-charging menace to the Nuggets, and they're getting sick of his antics. At the end of Game 3, Carmelo Anthony was ejected after shoving Ginobili hard in the back out of frustration. On a night when Tim Duncan was struggling, Ginobili torched the Nuggets for 32 points and continually got into the lane with his hair-flying, elbows-flailing drives.
"Personally, watching it kind of makes the game ugly even though if you're a San Antonio Spurs fan you love him," Denver coach George Karl said after Game 3. "You want him on your side. I want him on my side."
It might be ugly to some, but it's working for the Spurs, and the nation's learning Ginobili's all heart.