Posted: Saturday May 20, 2006 1:22AM; Updated: Saturday May 20, 2006 1:22AM
SI.com's Kelly Dwyer looks at the best and worst of the NBA Playoffs each night
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Manu Ginobili, Spurs
He wasn't exactly dominant; he didn't nail any game-winning shots, or come through with a singular play that defined San Antonio's gritty Game 6 win. All Manu Ginobili did on Friday night was ensure that his team's season would last another few days, doing whatever it took to keep the Spurs competitive and in a position to pull out a win. With Tim Duncan hampered by foul trouble against an improved Dallas interior defense, Ginobili spun all over the court on his way to 30 points (on stellar 8 of 14 shooting) and 10 rebounds. Recognizing the presence of Bennett Salvatore's quick whistle, Manu got to the line 13 times (making 12), while adding three steals in 38 minutes.
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Devin Harris, Mavericks
Though the Mavericks had a day to prepare themselves for the absence of the suspended Jason Terry in Game 6, they couldn't quite handle Harris' unexpected disappearing act in the five-point loss. Terry's perimeter presence no doubt aided Devin's stellar play over the last four games (19.3 points on 54 percent shooting), but this doesn't excuse Harris' 3 of 14 performance at home against the Spurs tonight. Devin scored seven points, had more turnovers (four) than assists (three), and couldn't even outplay Tony Parker on a night where his San Antonio counterpart missed 12 of 15 shots.
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LBJ Goes Down Dunking
It's hard for us Earthlings to get a read on just exactly what LeBron James could have been thinking as he sized up the Piston defense with 7:45 to play in the third quarter Friday night. Dribbling some 25 feet from the basket, LeBron had Rasheed Wallace trying to check him after a switched screen-and-roll play, with Tayshaun Prince ready to help from the wing, and Ben Wallace (your four-time Defensive Player of the Year) manning the paint. Mortal men usually offer the equivalent of punting the ball out of bounds (a feeble jump shot, a desperate pass, a drive that ends with a blocked shot) in that situation, but LeBron sees things better than most, and has the ability to act upon his unmatched instinct. When Tayshaun turned his head for a half second to watch Eric Snow, James blew past Rasheed Wallace, glided past a recovering Prince, and threw down a monster slam over Big Ben. This is why Hall of Famer Hubie Brown contends that James, and not two-time MVP Steve Nash, sees the floor better than anyone in the NBA.
After a week's worth of nail-biters, the NBA will pause to catch its collective breath on Saturday, before returning on Sunday afternoon with the deciding Game 7 between Cleveland and Detroit. Though Rasheed Wallace (right) whiffed on one earlier prediction, he still has the opportunity to follow-through on a promise that his Pistons will take the series and move onto the Eastern Conference Finals for the fourth straight year. Tip off will be around 3:30 p.m. EST, on ABC