NBA Playoff Recap: Round 2, 5-1-11

I want to record this. It’s easier and I can get some practice for my (soon to be here) podcast but my house is full of kids right now and its just not an option. I do have time though so it’s not a big deal. A couple of things were a bit surprising. Not shocking, just a bit surprising.

The Grizzlies Maul the Thunder in game 1 to the score of 114-101

The truth of the matter is that I never gave the Grizzlies any credit. Nobody did. After all who wastes time talking about the #8 seed? We all talk about how Dallas lost that opening 2007 series to the Golden State Warriors but, what did Golden State do after that? Answer; the Warriors lost that series in 5 games. The lost all of their road games and a home game. I don’t know if the Grizzlies can win this series but I’ll tell you something right now. The Grizzlies will make this series go as long as it needs to. Just like the Spurs Oklahoma City had no answer for Zach Randolph. Zach lead all scorers on the floor with 34 points, he also had 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals. Zach Randolph has a complete game. He can shoot, he can work in both the high and low post, and he makes his free throws so fouling him doesn’t bother him at all.

Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol combined to score 54 points. This point total helped to offset the scoring of Kevin Durant who scored 33 points and Russell Westbrook who scored 29 points, together they scored 62 points. The far less well rounded Oklahoma City Thunder couldn’t get enough production from their role players and bench to get close enough to win. Kendrick Perkins was held down this game. He would only score 2 points. The Thunder were outplayed in the paint. The Grizzlies outscored them in paint points 52-38. This led to a lot of second chance points for Memphis despite initial good defense by the Thunder.

This is going to be a long series or a short one. If the series is long it may favor the Thunder but unless they can figure out a way to slow down Randolph the Grizzlies may make quick work of OKC.

The Heat burn the Celtics 99-90.

A lot of people were predicting the Celtics to beat Miami in 4 or 5 games which baffled me somewhat. Miami’s defense is stingy and opportunistic. What I saw when the Celtics were playing the Knicks were some sloppy passes and mental mistakes that New York didn’t take advantage of because they don’t play any defense. Miami defends well and they turn their defense directly into points. In this game Boston turned the ball over 13 times. Miami was able get 10 points off of turnovers. Miami won the game by 9 points. The Celtics didn’t take very good care of the basketball. Also Paul Pierce who hadn’t played well for most of the game started getting in a rhythm in the fourth quarter but got ejected on his second technical of the game. Pierce and Wade got to talking after the illegal screen the Wade had set that the officials didn’t call. I don’t know what Pierce said but, it was enough for the referee to eject him.

It’s playoff basketball and these guys have to be allowed to play. This is a fact. However I have to agree with Doc Rivers. Paul should have kept his pie hole shut. In light of what happened with Kobe Bryant recently how do you not know as an athlete that the league isn’t going to get caught doing nothing about that sort of thing twice? If you are an athlete you are a brand and an icon. If you make a racial or homophobic slur you may very well be offending the very person who sits at home and wears your jersey. Athletes need to wise up. Not just Pierce but everyone. We all know that David Stern can go overboard, so why is this a shock.

But I digress. I thought that the Celtics did a poor job defending the perimeter so even though they eliminated Chris Bosh as a scoring option they allowed themselves to be torched for 25 points by 3 point shooting champ James Jones. James Jones only attempted 3 pointers this game and he made 5 of 7 of them. Go back to the All Star festivities and watch James shoot and that is all the film you’ll ever need on that guy. He rarely puts the ball on the floor or shoots mid range jumpers. James is a spot up shooter so their is literally no reason that he should even by allowed to get off 7 three point shots. None. If you look at how the Grizzlies played the Spurs in round 1 there is a perfect example. The Grizzlies treated Matt Bonner, San Antonio’s three point shooter, like he was Kobe. Anytime Bonner touched the ball he was immediately guarded and sometimes double teamed. This should have happened to James Jones.

By no means am I saying this series is over. I have Miami winning it in 7 games. I see Boston making just enough mistakes to beat themselves. However the Celtics will not go quietly.

Tonight’s Games:

Hawks @ Bulls 8:00PM ET

Mavericks @ Lakers 10:30PM ET 

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