- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 29, 2006

“I am the youth spirit, I am y’all with the flow

Troubled man, dare I say, I am Mar with the flow

I come up hard, but I evolve with the flow

Crossover, slam dunk, Rucker Park with the flow”

— Jay-Z, “What They Gonna Do”

Indiana Pacers 2, Roc-a-fella Nets 1

Pacers point guard Anthony Johnson is forcing the Nets to re-think their decision not to re-sign him three summers ago.

Johnson had 25 points, including 10 straight in the fourth quarter, and eight assists in Indiana’s Game 3 win over the Nets. He’s averaging 18.0 points, 6.0 assists and 5.0 assists in the series and outplaying the point guard he used to play behind — Jason Kidd (8.3 points, 9.0 assists and 7.0 rebounds).

The Nets could use a guy like Johnson.

Detroit Pistons 2, Milwaukee Bucks 0

The Beatles had Billy Preston. The Fab Five had Ray Jackson. The Pistons’ unheralded, no-time All-Star is Tayshaun Prince.

But the 6-foot-9 forward has been Detroit’s best player so far in the playoffs, averaging 18.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5. Prince also is holding Bobby Simmons to 8.0 points a game on 37 percent shooting.

Last summer, Prince signed a five-year, $47 million contract extension with the Pistons. Simmons signed an identical contract with the Bucks.

Dallas Mavericks 2, Memphis Grizzlies 0

Time is running out for the first playoff win in Grizzlies history. Memphis is 0-10 in its postseason history, four more losses than any team has had before its first playoff victory.

One 7-foot reason why is Dirk Nowitzki, who is averaging 31 points in the series. Another reason is the Grizzlies are guarding the league’s toughest matchup problem with big men like Pau Gasol and Jake Tsakalidis.

Nowitzki, who plays like a guard, has to be guarded like one. Memphis coach Mike Fratello should guard Nowitzki with Shane Battier, who should get underneath and force him to dribble.

Los Angeles Clippers 2, Denver Nuggets 1

The Clippers did everything wrong — 24 turnovers; Elton Brand fouled out and shot 6-for-15; Chris Kaman had one basket, four turnovers and five fouls — and still lost Game 3 by just seven points.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets were victorious but unimpressive. Carmelo Anthony shot just 6-for-17 from the field and just 12-for-19 from the line, but he didn’t snitch, either. Andre Miller twice fouled Clippers guards who were shooting 3-pointers.

The Nuggets tried over and over to give the game to the Clippers, who just wouldn’t take it.

The Nuggets aren’t any closer to being in this series than they were before Game 3.

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