while eating a Bastardly Certified lunch by Bowser1
Before the series began, I thought Memphis had a real shot of beating the Spurs or at the very least making this series go the distance. San Antonio had other plans. This group of veterans wasn’t going to have a repeat of last year’s western conference finals. The Spurs grinded out a 93-86 win to sweep the Grizzlies and clinch a spot in the NBA Finals. It’s very impressive that it’s been six years since this same core (Duncan, Parker, Ginobilii) have reached this point with the best coach in the league leading the way. If I could describe the series in one way a short sentence: the Spurs wore down the Grizzlies with effective team ball. Whether it was effective passing around the perimeter, knocking down open shots or tough play around the rim, the Spurs did it all. I thought Memphis had a real advantage up front, the Gasol-Randolph combo would be scary for any team but the Spurs defended it really well, only letting either one of those guys dominate for flashes at a time. While Tim Duncan looked ageless for so much of the series and Ginobili made clutch shots, it was Tony Parker’s play that really led the Spurs to this point and will do so heading forward. Parker’s performance in the clinching game (34 pts, 6 ast, 4 reb) was indicative of how well he was able to control the game against the Grizzlies, never letting a hard foul or slight injury get in his way. This is certainly a rest > rust team so i’m sure they wouldn’t mind their opponent from the east being pushed to a 7th game before they face them. For now, the Spurs celebrate and join the rest of us as we watch how the east shakes out.
So, how WILL the east shake out? Well, before Miami’s solid game 3 performance, I would’ve said that Indiana is the superior team. But the Heat’s performance in game 3 really changed my opinion about how this series is going to play out. I’m not saying that Miami has the clear advantage now but what I believe is that it’s going to be impossible to predict this series at all. The Pacers are a match up nightmare for Miami and only LeBron has a clear advantage but then again, he has an advantage over every player in the league. The difference in game 3 was the starting five players for Miami not named LeBron scoring at least 14 points and shooting effectively from the rim. It’s type of ball movement that makes Miami so dangerous and it’s what made them the team with the best record during the regular season. Indiana has to do a better job with their help defense, something that helped them be so effective against Miami up to this point. And of course, there’s no way that Indiana can let Miami score 70 points in the first half and hope to have any chance of winning tonight’s game. A win for the Pacers means it’s an entirely new series but a loss means a commanding lead for the Heat. That’s a position no team wants to be in.
Last night’s game had all the makings of a Grizzlies rally to even the series. The Spurs looked tired by the end of the 4th quarter, missing easy shots and playing mediocre defense but Memphis simply couldn’t take advantage of the opportunities. Tony Parker led the way for the Spurs, who managed to hold off the Grizzlies in OT and take a big 2-0 lead in the western conference finals. Parker looked pretty beat by the end of the game and when a point guard managed to net 18 assists in any game, you know he’s going to be out of gas by the end of the game. Although he didn’t put up massive numbers like Parker, Tim Duncan had a really solid game on offense that included some really big shot in overtime. One the other side of things, it felt like this was the best opportunity that Memphis was going to have to get a win on the road. Z-Bo had a good bounce-back performance but despite that, he couldn’t get buckets to take the lead in overtime. No one on Memphis could for that matter. I expect a much better performance from the Grizzlies as the series goes back to their house but at the same time it’s hard for me to see the Spurs easing up at all. Now i’m not trying to say that the Spurs aren’t capable of close out a series after leading 2-0 but as it’s been pointed out, this game ended very similar to the second game of last year’s west finals. Stay tuned. Oh yeah, nice job selling (pictured abve) that flagrant foul last night Tony Allen.
Sports as a whole are probably my favorite things in the world (right there with pretty brunettes) but when disaster strikes, professional athletes and fans know that they take a back seat. It’s also an opportunity for these larger-than-life athletes to do even greater good by their off the court/field contributions. I’m giving a MASSIVE shout out to Kevin Durant who pledged $1 million to help the people of Moore, OK and surrounding areas. It’s just another reason to like KD, on top of all the other things that he does. Durant is biggest athlete in Oklahoma since Adrian Peterson’s days at OU so for him to step up in this situation shows the type of person that he is. Also, people need to calm down about Matt Kemp’s $1,000 per home-run pledge. Some athletes have pledged nothing and since then, Kemp has said that he’s also going to give an additional $250k.
I’m a big fan of the NBA’s YouTube channel (duh) but i’m also a big fan of the “floater” shot. I use it as part of the my personal game but i’m not anywhere near NBA-level. Anyways, here are the top 10 from the regular season.
The San Antonio Spurs were truly impressive yesterday. Most fans/analysts around the league had the Grizzlies with a real shot at taking down the top-seeded Spurs. Sure, it’s only one game and certainly too early to draw definitive conclusions but the way San Antonio played yesterday certainly had many thinking twice about their predictions for this series. I was most impressed with the way San Anotnio was able to defend Zach Randolph, throwing multiple defenders at him and nearly taking him out of the game completely. On the offensive side of the ball it was Tony Parker leading the individual performances (20 pts, 9 ast) but the Spurs’ three point shooting was their biggest weapon of the night. Memphis just couldn’t figure out how to defend the supporting cast for San Antonio, a very different change of pace from the series against the Thunder. The finals scor favored the Spurs 105-83 and it felt every bit like a 23 point loss for the Grizzlies. Tony Allen was surprisingly ineffective, one of the best perimeter defenders in the league but he was unable to stay with the Spurs players. What’s scary for the Grizzlies is that Tim Duncan didn’t even have a great game on offense, finishing with only 6 points. While it’s an impressive win for the Spurs, I don’t think anyone needs to remind them that they were up 2-0 and ended up losing last year’s west finals. So i’m willing to bet that they’re going to try and finish this series as quickly as possible.
It feels like the Heat haven’t played in over a week. It’s actually going to be exactly one week when the eastern conference finals get going in Miami on Wednesday. Just so people didn’t forget about the series, Indiana coach Frank Vogel was apparently quoted as saying that Miami was “just another team” or something of that context. His statement has changed since then, claiming that the media misquoted him and that has has “great respect for LBJ and the champs. Looking forward to a great series.” Vogel probabltydidn’t expect that much backlash for such a little comment but that’s how the media is these days. Anything and everything that can stir up some conversation. LeBron responded to the first comments, saying “I don’t understand what he’s saying. But we’re not just another team. That’s not true. He said we’re just another team in their way. We’re a great team. If we’re just another team, you really don’t prepare for just another team. You have to prepare for us.” All true statements. Miami is a great team, best in the league as shown by their record in the regular season and performance so far in the postseason. If they continue their strong performances, this team will have the resume that can include them with the best teams of all time. Stay tuned, this will be a good series between Indiana and Miami.
Just reminding Moe of how bad Melo was stuffed at the rim by Roy Hibbert
Halfway to the ultimate prize. That’s what the Heat and Grizzlies are thinking this morning after they took care of business and eliminated their opponents in 5 games. For Miami it’s just a step in the process, repeating as the champions was the clear goal from the beginning. Last night the Heat used a big 4th quarter to come from behind and eliminate the Bulls from the playoffs 4 games to 1. LeBron James, as usual, was the best player on the court last night (23pts, 7 reb, 8 ast) but it was Dwyane Wade’s spark in the 4th quarter that really fueled the Heat’s comeback. The Bulls actually played very well, leading for the entire 3rd quarter and at one point they had a double digit lead. For a a few minutes there, the Boozer and Robinson-led Bulls actually looked like they were going to send the series back to Chicago. But as the rest of the series showed, it was too big of a mountain for Chicago to climb. The effort wasn’t a problem. This Bulls team was too depleted but hats off to Chicago for making this such a great series to watch. For Miami it’s on to the eastern conference finals where they’ll be awaiting their next opponent. I have a feeling that Indiana takes care of business tonight and sets up a nice series against the Heat.
It’s been a hard past for this Grizzlies franchise. I remember when the Mavs used to always eliminate them in the first round back in the mid-2000s No more because for the first time in franchise history, the Grizzlies are in the western conference finals. The Grizzlies withstood a late rally by the Thunder to win on the road and takes the series 4-1 to move on to the west finals. Things got a bit shaky for Memphis there at the end of the game but the Thunder didn’t make the shots at the end (thought Durant’s last shot was in) to make the comeback complete. Kevin Durant did not play well, especially in the 4th quarter and when the chance to come up big for his team came around it was evident he didn’t have it. It’s really hard to carry your team for several games and the pressure increases exponentially during the postseason; Durant feeling the effects as the series went on. Z-Bo led the way for the Grizzlies with his “old man” basketball (24 pts, 14 reb) and despite some missed free throws late, he was the power behind the Memphis offense. Marc Gasol played great defense as always and what do you know, another big clutch shot by the best big man in the league. That’s what makes this team so scary for whoever their opponent in the west finals is.
I don’t know what it was about last night but there were a ton of dunks. Big shout out to Tayshuan Prince for this dunk. Dunking on three Thunder players at once. I know i’m not the only one who hit rewind on their remote just to watch it again.
while thinking about eating a Bastardly Certified lunch by Bowser2
Both Miami and Memphis won deciding games last night but they both won their respective games in different manners. Miami completely dominated the Bulls while the Grizzlies mounted a comeback to edge out the Thunder in overtime. Am I the only one who has the slight feeling that these two teams will be meeting in the Finals? I’m getting ahead of myself. The Miami Heat have officially rounded back into their championship form. The Heat dominated pretty much every facet of the game against a depleted Bulls team that could no longer compete. Miami ended up winning the game 88-65 but the deciding quarter was clearly the 3rd as Chicago could only manage to score 9 points, a franchise playoff low. It’s simply too big of a task for this Bulls team to compete with the favorites to win it all, no matter how much effort is put into it. Nate Robinson was terrible (0-12 from the field) after starting the series with plenty of swagger and confidence. LeBron James on the other hand (27 pts, 8 reb, 7 ast) was great as he continued to play at MVP-level and looks like he’s completely in the zone. This series looks to be all but over as it heads back down to Miami for Wednesday night’s game.
It was surprising to see how well the Thunder started out in last night’s game, dominating the offensive side of the ball but it was coming from the supporting cast around Kevin Durant. The Thunder looked solid, leading the Grizzlies by as many as 17 points during the 2nd quarter. It was Memphis who played the better second half and overtime, frustrating Durant late in the game and forcing the Thunder into some costly turnovers to help the Grizzlies take a commanding lead in the series. The Thunder can certainly extend this series. They showed it last night during the first half how they can do so. Durant had a nice stat line (27 pts, 7 ast, 7 reb) with a clutch basket but it’s not that great considering what he’s done in other games since the Westbrook injury and the Grizzlies will certainly live with that. The Grizzlies will definitely live with Marc Gasol playing the way he did last night (23 pts, 11 reb, 6 blk) as he might have been angry with the fact that despite winning DPOY, Gasol wasn’t named part of the NBA’s All-Defensive first team. It’ll be interesting to see how the Thunder respond at home tomorrow night as their season is on the line while the Grizzlies look to strike the final blow and secure a spot in the conference finals.
If there’s a show worth staying up for, Inside the NBA is definitely one of them. It’s a shame that this show can’t be the main one covering the Finals. Anyways, here’s a video of them making fun of Wade’s choice of clothes:
Nice to see that we’re going to have two series in each conference go at least 5 or 6 games. Or at least that’s what I think we’ll see with both series that evened up last night. The Knicks bounced back nicely, dominating the 4th quarter to win big over the Pacers and square the series at 1 as it heads back to Indiana. What in the world happened to the Pacers last night? The Knicks were the better team for most of the night but in the 3rd quarter, the Pacers climbed back into the game and eventually took the lead for the first time all game. It only lasted a few minutes as New York went on a 34-6 run to put the game out of reach late in the 4th quarter. It looked like the Knicks just turned it on and the Pacers had no idea how to respond. Melo was great in the second half, scoring 22 of his game-leading 32 points for New York. It was clear that the Knicks were the more desperate team, going down 0-2 in a series spells doom for a team but I was just a little surprised at how easily they handled the Pacers. It’ll be interesting to see how Indiana responds when the series heads back to their place because they plyed so much better in Indiana during the last series. There’s going to be so many Knicks fans in the crowd, I just know it. By the way, shout out to Iman Shumpert for this nasty putback dunk during the 2nd quarter.
How about those Memphis Grizzlies? Better yet, where did this Conley play come from? Mike Conley’s big game (near triple-double) was the difference last night as the Grizzlies took down the Thunder 99-93 to even the series at 1 a piece. Conley always had that “potential breakout game” stamp on him and last night (26 pts, 10 reb, 9 ast) he was in a pretty even fight with Durant for the best player on the court. Durant had the better stat line overall (36 pts, 11 reb, 9 ast) but unfortunately for KD, the Thunder rely on him too much down the stretch. I liked the way Memphis played defense on him during crunch time, double teaming him at all times and basically saying “Durant is not beating us tonight” while daring anyone else on OKC to step up. Memphis just looks like a better team most of the time, finding different players to step up at various times throughout the game. Once again the Gasol-Randolph combination down low was very difficult for OKC to defend. Unless Durant has some over-the-top game in Memphis, I could see the Grizzlies winning the next 3 in a row to move on to the conference finals.
First of all, was there any doubt that LeBron James was awarded the MVP trophy for this season? I was more surprised that someone actually gave Carmelo Anthony a first place vote. Was that you Moe? LeBron was one first-place vote shy of being the unanimous decision. Congrats to LeBron as he joins an elite cast (Russell, Wilt, Kareem and Jordan) as they only players who have been awarded most valuable player in the regular season at least four times in their careers. Now that it’s out of the way, the Heat can focus on the next round as they take on a depleted but very tough Bulls team. On to Sunday’s action:
Things got going in Oklahoma City, where the Thunder were trying to maintain their momentum, after taking care of Houston in 6 last Friday. I really thought Houston would push the series to 7 but Durant and the rest of the Thunder team had other plans. The Grizzlies were coming into town so everyone, including OKC, knew it was going to be a tough test. Memphis came out playing well, keeping the game within reach and actually looking like the better team after 3 quarters. It was simply too much Kevin Durant (35 pts, 15 reb, 6 ast) for Memphis to handle, especially down the stretch. The Grizzlies weren’t able to hold on to their double-digit lead in the fourth quarter and during the final minutes made a few mistakes when they could have closed the Thunder out. Durant hit a clutch shot (stemming from a Fisher steal) with 11.1 seconds left in the game and the lead stayed with OKC until the final buzzer went off. Usually I think the underdog has to steal game 1 in order to win the series but with Westbrook’s injury, these teams are much more evenly matched and I think Memphis has a shot to push it to the limit. Cut down on the little mistakes and leads won’t melt away like they did for the Grizzlies.
Things shifted out east for the second game, as the Knicks were playing their first second-round playoff game since 2000. Back when Moe actually had hair. The crowd was rockin’ from the start, there to fully support the home team but it was the Pacers who were the tougher team that afternoon. Indiana simply out-muscled and out-worked New York, winning the game 102-95 and stealing home court in the process. The Knicks were within a point late in the 2nd quarter but after that, it was all Pacers for the entire second half. Melo had a nice stat line (27 pts, 11 reb) but needed 28 shots to get those points, clearly frustrated because of foul trouble during the 3rd quarter. Roy Hibbert’s game didn’t reflect in his stat line (maybe the 5 blk) because he looked good inside, his presence was felt and outplayed Tyson Chandler for pretty much the entire game. I’m reluctant to say Indiana has a big upper hand in the series because of their inconsistencies against Atlanta last round but it seems like they’ve found a formula that gives the Knicks real trouble. The Knicks just need to play more efficiently because unless your team is on fire, jacking up shots isn’t the way to beat the Pacers.
while eating a Bastardly Certified lunch by Bowser1
Both the Nuggets and Grizzlies played good basketball last night, winning game 5 of the series but for different reasons. The Grizzlies were trying to break a tie along with “home team will win” trend that their series against the Clippers had become. The Nuggets were trying recover home court advantage with their backs against the wall, facing elimination against the Warriors. The Nuggets never trailed during the game, defending the Warriors well by limiting their shooters and taking the victory 107-100 to stay alive and extend the series. The first half was completely Denver’s game, going up by as many as 22 points and limiting Stephen Curry along with the rest of the Warriors shooters. There was a bit of controversy in regards to the plays Denver defenders were making, particularly on certain screens made on Curry. Warriors coach Mark Jackson wasn’t happy about it at all, accusing the Nuggets of playing dirty during his post game comments. The Nuggets did play the Warriors with a physical style, never letting Andrew Bogut or any other Golden State player be effective in the paint. Was it dirty play? I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. I think it’s a little silly when analysts say “that’s just playoff basketball!” but it’s true that when the postseason comes around, things get a little more testy.
Speaking of physical play, the Grizzlies looked really good last night. Zach Randolph led the way for Memphis, taking down the Clippers 103-93, as they took home court in the series by winning a huge game 5. I can’t remember the exact percentage but when a series is tied 2-2, the game 5 winner will most likely win the series. The percentage is somewhere in the 80s if I remember correctly. The Clippers were definitely hobbled, especially Blake Griffin, who injured his ankle during a Clippers’ practice the day before. Griffin never looked right during the entire first half before eventually leaving the game during the 3rd quarter, never returning. The result was that Clippers had to rotate their big men, never finding a good rotation to counter the Grizzlies’ tough play. Even with Marc Gasol in foul trouble, it was too much Z-Bo for any defender to handle. Chris Paul played great in terms of scoring (35 points) but with only 6 assists, it was obvious that Paul didn’t have the help support that he needed. The Clippers did have a couple small-ball line ups that seemed to work but it was simply too little, too late. Now the series heads back to an elimination game in Memphis.