5/23/2005 10:55:00 AM|||Kurt|||Just a few random thoughts on a Monday. • Phoenix may have run into the one team they can’t just outscore. Knickerblogger pointed this out already, but the game was played at Phoenix’s tempo (98 possessions, right at their playoff and season average) and they shot 52.7% (eFG%). The problem is Phoenix let the Spurs shoot 57.5%. Steve Nash is going to have to play some defense because Parker can score more than just 29, Phoenix has to limit open three-point looks for Barry and Horry and others, and Stoudemire is going to have to do more than come from the weak side looking for a block. The problem is that is contrary to what they have done the majority of the season. Phoenix needs Joe Johnson back and Shawn Marion can shoot better than that, but at some point this series will be decided by their defense. Or lack thereof. • It should be interesting to see what defensive style the Pistons use on the Heat tonight. Does Larry Brown return to the one-on-one with Shaq, stop Wade/Kobe system he used against the Lakers last year? If that happens, can the Heat role and bench players respond in a way the Laker players could not last year? • Several interesting breakdowns of this series over at the very good Crazy From the Heat, including a statistical breakdown that gives the series to the Heat in seven. • I get all the love for Dwyane Wade, but now people are saying "he's the teammate Shaq's ever had, the best number two guy." Wade's been great in the playoffs, but so far he's looked good against Nets and the Wizards. Let's have a little perspective here. Let's see how Wade holds up against the Pistons and, if they can advance, the Spurs. Kobe has already won big series such as those -- several times. • I am hooked on the History Channel’s Breaking Vegas series. These are one-hour shows about people who come up with inventive ways to cheat and beat Las Vegas casinos — like the MIT teams that were popularized in Bringing Down the House. The best part is these people always follow the Scarface story arc, hitting it big then self-destructing spectacularly. • The draft lottery is tomorrow night with Jeannie Buss rolling the dice for the Lakers — come on baby, Daddy needs a new pair of shoes.|||111687095382854739|||Fast Break