What's On Tap
Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat (ESPN, 8 p.m.)
Minnesota Timberwolves at Sacramento Kings (ESPN, 10:30 p.m.)
What to Watch
The eye naturally follows the ball when watching a basketball game. Look elsewhere and you might glimpse the smaller plays that often make great players great. That's probably why NBA stars are usually the best scorers, and why there isn't an award for guys who set the best screens, snatch the most loose balls and get back on defense the quickest.
If there was, Indiana Pacers guard Jamaal Tinsley would be a front-runner for the honor. He scored 17 points in the first game of the Pacers' second-round playoff series with the Heat, but only posted one point in game 2. Each performance, however, was instrumental in helping the Pacers win. Indiana leads the series, 2-1.
Tinsley can weave victories out of whatever scraps opposing defenses leave him. The Heat left him alone near the three-point arch in game 1, so he shot six three-pointers and hit five. The Heat covered him tightly in game 2, so he found open teammates and logged nine assists. He also finished with three steals and zero turnovers.
Perhaps his biggest contribution was the way he regulated the pace of the game precisely the way Pacers Coach Rick Carlisle wanted him to. Miami's young players prefer a fast-paced game, which Tinsley deprived them of by getting back on defense, pestering the Heat's rookie sensation Dwyane Wade (which helped limit Miami to eight fast-break points) and methodically working Indiana's half-court offense.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound guard had his left ankle X-rayed after the Pacers lost game 3, but he is expected to play tonight. Should the injury slow Tinsley, the best action in tonight's game may be hard to find. Most likely, Tinsley will be off on the fringes of the television screen, the place he usually makes his living, looking for whatever way he can help his team win.
Last Night's Big Winner (Team)
Los Angeles Lakers. They got 42 points from Kobe Bryant to rally back from 53-43 halftime deficit and defeat San Antonio, 98-90.
Last Night's Big Loser (Team)
Detroit Pistons. Defense that set a record this season by holding five straight teams to below 70 points is having its own offense stifled. Last night, the Pistons shot 37 percent from the field and were 2-0f-11 from three-point territory (18 percent).
Last Night's Big Winner (Player)
Jason Kidd. For the first three games of the series, everyone wondered when the real Jason Kidd would show up. They wanted the Nets' leader, the All-Star, the player who led the Nets to two straight NBA finals. Well that Jason Kidd -- not the one who scored a combined 22 points in the first three games -- made a dazzling entrance last night. He erupted for a triple-double -- 22 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds -- to lead the Nets to a 94-79 victory over the Detroit Pistons. The series is tied, 2-2.
Last Night's Big Loser (Player)
Rasheed Wallace. The Pistons' enforcer appeared lethargic against the Nets Tuesday. He scored six points and grabbed six rebounds in 25 minutes.
Did You Know?
Bryant averages 30.7 points in games that he plays on the same day he must appear in court.