Posted: Monday April 24, 2006 12:36AM; Updated: Monday April 24, 2006 12:39AM
SI.com's Marty Burns looks at the best and worst of the NBA Playoffs each night
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Tim Thomas, Suns
Signed by the Suns in early March after being waived by the Bulls, he came up with the best playoff game of his career. The 6-foot-10 veteran had 22 points and a career-high 15 boards as the host Suns held off the Lakers to claim Game 1. Thomas made his first eight shots, including a 3-pointer with 9:29 left that gave Phoenix the lead for good at 82-80. For the game he finished 8-of-10 from the floor, including four-of-five from downtown. Steve Nash (20 points, 10 assists, huge 3-pointer late) led the way, but Thomas helped ignite the spark.
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Michael Redd, Bucks
Milwaukee's best was more like flat beer in this one. Redd finished with just 11 points (on 4-of-15 shooting) and one assist in 36 minutes as the Bucks got steamrolled at Detroit. Hounded by Richard Hamilton and the smothering Pistons D, the sweet-shooting lefty just never got it going. Redd missed six of his first seven shots, and was barely a factor in the Bucks' late rally that got them back in the game for a while before the Pistons stopped messing around. It will be a short series if Redd keeps getting outscored by Charlie Bell (13 points).
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Fair or foul?
With the score tied 88-all in the final minute, Pacers forward Austin Croshere got his own rebound on a missed 3-point attempt. He quickly fed the ball to point guard Anthony Johnson, who crossed over Jason Kidd and drew a very questionable touch foul on Nenad Krstic with 0.9 seconds left on the clock. After a timeout (and howls of protests from the Nets and the Meadowlands crowd), Johnson sank both foul shots to give the Pacers a 90-88 lead. When Richard Jefferson's desperation 3-point attempt missed at the horn, Indiana had pulled off the first upset of these NBA playoffs.
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Led by Ben Gordon's playoff career-high 35 points, the Bulls threw a scare into Shaquille O'Neal and the Heat in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference playoff series. Now Gordon (right) and his scrappy Chicago mates take another shot at Shaq in Monday night's Game 2 at Miami (8 p.m. EDT/TNT). Speaking of tough losses, the Nuggets rallied to nearly stun the Clippers in Game 1 of their Western series but Carmelo Anthony's potential game-tying jumper missed at the horn. Anthony surely would love to get another shot at a game-winner when the two teams meet up in Game 2 at L.A. (10:30 p.m. TNT).