Shootaround: Second chances

 Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets
Game 2 (1-0 DEN) — 10:30 p.m./TNT

It was kind of weird to watch. Andre Miller with the ball in his hands. In 2013. With a chance to win a Playoff game.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images/ZimbioThis was not Utah and Michael Doleac and Keith Van Horn were not walking through the locker room door for support. Who thought Doleac and Van Horn would get any mention in 2013?!

The truth is, Andre Miller has had a long and successful career. He has been extremely consistent throughout his career and have found a way to extend his career again and again. And yet he has never been out of the first round. The last time his team won anything of import, he was with Van Horn and Doleac at Utah taking the Utes to the NCAA Tournament in 1999.

That was a long time ago. So when Miller had the game on his shoulders, he got to the basket and scored to give the Nuggets a win and avoid a loss at home in an unthinkable way. The 38-3 homestanding Nuggets are still tough to beat at home.

Adjustments have to be made though. The Warriors will need Stephen Curry to step up and a superstar, playing with more efficiency. He is not likely to shoot that poorly again. The Nuggets need to defend better and work harder to secure the glass, particularly with the Warriors playing without David Lee for the rest of the postseason.

But in that Game One, Golden State proved that as a lower seed it can hang with Denver and can possibly make a series of this. Of course, the Warriors do not have homecourt advantage and need to win one game in Denver at least. Golden State may have let that opportunity slip Saturday. Now with some of the nerves perhaps gone, the time to strike must be now.

Other Storylines to Watch

-With David Lee out for the rest of the Playoffs with a torn hip flexor, Golden State has to move on and find a way to replace his production. Lee is a strong rebounder and a great offensive player and gave a lot of players ont he team freedom to roam a bit. He was an All Star this year for a reason. So how will Mark Jackson replace him? One way to go might be to go small. Golden State's most effective lineup was a three-guard lineup that featured Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Jarrett Jack. That might be the ticket for Golden State moving forward.

David Lee though still has a sense of humor: "Can you imagine that?” Lee said with a laugh. “Nah. I’ve got too many holes in my game to be on Twitter breaking down other people’s games."

Tonight's Other Games

  Score Time Off. Rtg. eFG% O.Reb.% TO% FTR
Milwaukee 86 Final 93.0 52.8 11.4 17.6 23.6
Miami 98 Pace: 91.4 107.2 48.7 29.3 13.5 33.3

Ersan Ilyasova (MIL) — 21 pts, 9/14 FGs
Dwyane Wade (MIA) — 21 pts, 7 rebs

http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZurhAtnvBWk

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat
Game 2 (MIA leads 1-0) — 7:30 p.m./NBATV

Larry Sanders finished third in Most Improved Player voting (won by Paul George, see below). However it is Sanders who could still prove to make the biggest impact in this series. If Miami has one weakness it is a lack of a center. And a rim-protecting center like Sanders is the kind of player that can give the Heat problems. He is not likely to because he is so young and the Heat are so good. But if Milwaukee wants to win a game in this series, watch Larry Sanders.

  Score Time Off. Rtg. eFG% O.Reb.% TO% FTR
Boston 71 Final 81.7 40.7 7.9 13.3 25.7
New York 87 Pace: 89.7 97.0 46.7 17.1 11.4 29.0

Paul Pierce (BOS) — 18 pts, 6 rebs, 6 assts
Carmelo Anthony (NYK) — 34 pts, 11/24 FGs

Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks
Game 2 (NY leads 1-0) — 8 p.m./TNT

J.R. Smith is feeling pretty good now that he is officially the Sixth Man of the Year. However, Smith is still a lightning rod for opinions across the NBA. He comes up in big spots and makes tough shots, helping keep the ship steady if Carmelo Anthony is struggling. Smith though still takes a lot of questionable shots. He was certainly happy to win the award. But playoff success is what matters for him.

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Charlotte Bobcats fire Mike Dunlap
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After one season in which he led the Bobcats to a 21-61 record, the Bobcats have decided to move in a different direction firing coach Mike Dunlap. The perenially struggling franchise fired their rookie head coach after a season that started with some promise and then flamed out as the youthful roster struggled to string together wins. However Charlotte did finish on a hot streak, passing the Orlando Magic and finishing with just the second worst record in the league.

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Deng: Rose's jersey is waiting for him
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Everyone has been waiting for Derrick Rose to make his return. Everyone thought it would happen before this game and would happen sooner rather than later. With Joakim Noah playing though a plantar fascitis, the questions are being raised for Rose. Frustration is going. Even with the Bulls evening their series with the Nets last night, Luol Deng said: "If Derrick comes in this locker room and says he wants to play tomorrow, his uniform is ready. If he doesn't, we're with him 100 percent." He said Rose is frustrated by the waiting, but his teammates are ready to welcome him back when he is ready.

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Cavs bringing back Mike Brown?
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It appears the Cavaliers have moved quickly to replace Byron Scott. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Cavaliers are working on a 5-year deal to bring former coach Mike Brown back to the Cavaliers. Brown was fired after five games in Los Angeles earlier this year with the Lakers. He helped lead the Cavaliers with LeBron James to the NBA Finals in 2007 and to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009.

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Paul George wins Most Improved
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Indiana Pacers forward Paul George won the league's Most Improved Player of the Year, capping off a stellar season that saw the young guard become an All Star for the first time. Indiana is the third seed in the East and a big part of that was George's ability to step in for an injured Danny Granger and provide much of the same scoring ability that the team was missing from Granger.

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Durant tired of being second
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If you sense that Kevin Durant is a little hungrier this season. You will not be the only person to notice. Durant told the Oklahoman that he is simply tired of being second. In high school he was the second best player in the country. He was the second pick in the NBA Draft. He is second in MVP voting to LeBron James. Last year he finished second in the NBA, falling short in the Finals. The man is hungry to win. I guess his NCAA Player of the Year Award was not enough.

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Lindsey Hunter candidate for Suns job
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The Suns fired general manager Lance Blanks on Monday and it was widely believed that he was the major reason the Suns went with Lindsey Hunter as the replacement for Alvin Gentry during the season rather than player favorite Dan Majerle. It is widely believed now that Hunter's job is not so safe as Phoenix looks to fill the vacant head coaching position. However, the Arizona Republic reports that Hunter remains a viable candidate for the Suns job.

Washington Wizards (24-43) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (36-33)
10:30 p.m.

The Lakers appear set to shuffle their lineup once again. Antawn Jamison's hot run and Earl Clark's struggles has Mike D'Antoni pondering a move for Jamison to play more power forward and Clark to play more small forward. Really the impetus for this change is Pau Gasol's return. He is expected back from his torn plantar fascia very soon. And Kobe Bryant might be back on the floor tonight too. The Lakers are playing well but now comes the integration part again.

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Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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