Rookies are supposed to be intimidated by their first encounter with the harsh spotlight of the postseason, aren't they? At the very least, they aren't supposed to go for 36, tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's scoring record for a rookie in his playoff debut. But then, Derrick Rose isn't any ordinary rookie. If opening on the road against the defending champs isn't going to faze him, you've got to figure nothing the Celtics can throw at him today will bother him. Right?
Who will win the not-at-all-ballyhooed Parker-Barea battle?
With Tony Parker entering his prime and Jason Kidd very much past his, the Spurs figured to have the advantage at the point guard position. Enter J.J. Barea. The Mavs' backup not only matched Parker's quickness and limited the Spurs star to 2-of-6 shooting in the fourth quarter, he scored seven of his 13 points during the game's final 12 minutes. If Barea can play Parker to a standstill in crunch time again, that'll put an awful lot of pressure on Duncan to keep the Spurs from falling down 2-0.
Will Josh Howard be well enough to be the difference maker again?
Since Howard returned from an ankle injury on March 31, the Mavs have gone 8-2. His 25 points -- including eight of Dallas' first 12 points after halftime -- were as good a reason as any why Dallas didn't look anything like the team that went just 18-23 on the road during the regular season. Including Game 1, the Mavs are 3-1 against the Spurs with Howard and 0-1 without him. And if he's healthy enough to play at the same high level -- Howard did complain about some soreness after the 105-97 win -- Dallas could very easily improve to 4-1.
Should Kevin Garnett just stay in the locker room?
Much ado was made over Garnett's decision to abandon the bench after the Celtics fell behind by eight heading into halftime. And Boston head coach Doc Rivers got a wee bit testy when questioned about it after the game. It's bad enough that the Celtics don't have KG in uniform as they mount their title defense. They can't afford for their superstar in street clothes to become a distraction on the sidelines.
Will the real Ray Allen please show up?
Part of the reason the Celtics were able to survive without Kevin Garnett for a decent chunk of the regular season? Ray Allen upped his offensive game at an age where you normally don't see that sort of improvement. Now, part of the reason the Celtics lost their home-court advantage just one game into the postseason? Allen was a woeful 1-for-12 in the Game 1 loss to Chicago. If the regular-season version doesn't show in Game 2, Boston's title defense may not last past the opening round.