This Won't Be Reggie's Farewell
Pacers-Celtics Game 7 .. I think Indiana has the edge. They are a much better road team and with their experience and depth, I think they will prevail in this series. There is going to be a lot of pressure on Boston because they have to defend their home court. Indiana is under-manned. They are without one of their All-Stars in Ron Artest and Jamaal Tinsley has not been 100 percent in this series. Even though he is working himself back into the rhythm of things and getting minutes, he is not the same player. But Indiana has more big-game experience. They have Reggie Miller, Anthony Johnson, Dale Davis, Jermaine O'Neal, Stephen Jackson, you could just run down the list. I know Boston has experienced players, but when it comes down to going to your bench in Game 7, that is where the mistakes are going to be magnified. I cannot see Doc Rivers having a lot of confidence in playing those young players in the final 48 minutes of the series.
I would rank Reggie as one of my top five all-time great competitors. He could even be No.1. We were both members of the NBA Draft in '87 and I watched him for three or four years before. I knew he would challenge me as a player. He comes to play every night. You want him on your side in a Game 7. I have played with him in the Olympics and All-Star Games and he is the ultimate competitor. If he is going to go out, I expect him to put up some big numbers. I do not see him going down, though. Reggie has made such a name for himself playing big on the road and Saturday won't be any different. He lives for these moments. All of the great ones do. He has thrived in big pressure games whether it's at Madison Square Garden, Chicago Stadium, Conseco Fieldhouse or at Staples during the 2000 Finals. This Game 7 in Boston is a chance to add to his legacy. The FleetCenter may not be the Garden, but you still feel that old Boston tradition so I am sure Reggie will make this a very enjoyable game.
I think the Pacers will win this series and the big series everyone is waiting for, Detroit against Indiana, will finally come alive.
Game 7 ---Rockets-Mavericks ... I like Dallas. They have not really shown that they are playing their best basketball in the playoffs. That is really why I like them. Dirk Nowitzki can go off for 40-50 points and I expect him to have a breakout game on Saturday. McGrady has done a great job of defending him, while still bringing his offensive game. But I just do not think Houston can continue to keep his scoring down and I do not see the Rockets bringing it on the road again. I know they won two games on the road this series, but I think they are kind of content and satisfied with what they have done thus far. They have not shown a killer instinct in this series. They jumped up 2-0 and since then, Dallas has come back and won three out of the last four. All the momentum is on Dallas' side. Also, in a Game 7, you have to lean towards the home team. That is really what it is all about. You work all season to try to get home-court advantage, at least in the first round. For Dallas, this is their meat and potatoes. This is what they worked all season for. Hopefully, they can make this home-court advantage fruitful for them.
Yao Ming is always the X-factor for Houston in order for them to consistently succeed. Tracy McGrady is always going to bring it, but Yao has to play well for Houston to win on Saturday. He just has not shown any consistency yet, and I do not see him coming up big. If he can have a big game, it will be a deciding factor in the series. But he just has not been able to dominate this series the way we anticipated he would. Erick Dampier has done a decent job on him, for the most part. Yao had a great Game 2, but since then, he just has not dominated. You would think he should be as dominant in the West as Shaq is in the East, but he is still a young player and he is still learning and developing. Overall, he is very limited in playoff experience and he is learning so you really cannot expect him to dominate or do something that he hasn't been able to do all season long.
Posted by Scottie Pippen - May 6 2005 4:08PM