Tag Archives: Grizzlies

Daily Rain 5-10-12

New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals Proves That NHL Is  More Exciting Than The NBA (in the postseason anyway).

As a fan of the Capitals I’m glad that they were able to force a game seven of this second round series. More importantly, I’d like to take this time to say that the NHL playoffs are better than the NBA playoffs.

The NHL is less predictable. In the NBA there are about four contenders for the title and we’ve known who they were about halfway through the season. Barring injuries, we know who will win in the NBA playoffs. In the NHL the eighth seeded Los Angeles Kings were able to beat the first seeded Vancouver Canucks and the second seed in the St. Louis Blues. The NBA may give us some great games but we know who is in and who is out most of the time. The first round of the NBA playoffs have been awful.

There are too many teams in the mix that have no chance of winning a title. Lebron can praise the strengths of the Pacers until he’s blue in the face. He knows the Heat are winning that series, I know it, and the Pacers are going to know it too soon enough.

In Hockey it really feels like anything can happen.

What’s Next For The Knicks?

The New York Knicks were run over by the Miami Heat. With the exception of game 4 in this series where Carmelo scored 41 points, the Knicks looked like anything but a playoff team. They were outclassed, pounded, and they seem to have very few options offensively outside of Carmelo. Coach Mike Woodson did a good job with what he had but, what he had wasn’t much.

The Knicks should consider moving Amar’e to add pieces around Melo. Stoudemire has a lot of mileage on him and he doesn’t seem to ever be healthy enough to be a viable number two option for that offense. Tyson Chandler doesn’t score consistently and J.R. Smith plays well but he is not dominant.

I know I’m piling on and it’s been said before but, Carmelo Anthony needs to show up next season in shape. He needs to add strength and stamina. Mostly stamina since, the thing that suffers the most when he’s tired is his defense and he wasn’t really great at that already.

The Clippers Are In Trouble. Big Trouble.

Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph started game 5 of the series like men on a mission. The two men had been successfully tamed for the greater part of this series however, they started last night’s game rebounding and attacking the bucket early. This lead to a big first quarter lead that proved to be the difference maker in the game. When Gasol and Randolph play their best basketball they’re a hard to team to beat and the Clippers are too soft inside to actually stop them.

Adding to the Clippers woes, Blake Griffin hyperextended his knee and Chris Paul re-agitated a groin injury. While Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro assured everyone that his two stars would be okay it seems that injuries, especially those two injuries would have some kind of effect. If Griffin can still jump the Clippers can still use him but Chris Paul cannot afford to be hampered. Especially since the speed of Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley has proven troublesome for the Clippers defense.

I think this series goes seven games.

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2011 NBA Draft: The Good, The Bad, and the Just Plain Weird

I should have done this a while back, but I was out of town and had some business to attend to. The draft was intriguing(well, the first part anyway) there were surprises and twists. That being said none of this is going to change the fact that this draft class is one of weakest in recent years. As a result teams tried to do the best they could with what they had, but let’s face it, they didn’t exactly have a lot to work with. This however is sports. Someone’s got to win and someone’s got to lose. Let’s start off with . . .

The Winners . . .

Like the Utah Jazz for instance. The Jazz selected Enes Kanter from Kentucky (though he didn’t actually play any games for Kentucky) with the third pick. Kanter is a skilled big man with strength and solid moves in the post. Listed at 6’11” Kanter also adds length to a Jazz team that could stand to use it. Utah also selected Colorado’s Alec Burks with the twelfth pick. Burks is a skilled ball handler with good court awareness. He’s most dangerous when running the floor and is a good rebounder for a guard. While Burks is good at attacking the basket, a skill needed by the Jazz, he won’t be mistaken for a solid shooter anytime soon.

I’m proud to say that the Washington Wizards definitely put on a good show at the draft by making smart decisions. As a Wizards fan I couldn’t be happier, but I’m not ready to say that the incompetence of the past is behind us just yet. With the sixth pick in the draft, the Wizards took Jan Vesely from Partizan Belgrade (Serbia). Vesely is 6’11” and has a motor like you wouldn’t believe. He’s athletic and extremely active. He can also dunk with the best of them and may prove to be a fantastic running mate for John Wall. The Wizards also adressed some defensive needs by drafting Florida State’s Chris Singleton.  Singleton is an extremely active defender who doesn’t let opponents off easy. He runs the floor well and gets back on defense. His offensive capabilities are limited however and leave much to be desired. In the second round Washington adressed the issue of a backup point guard when they opted to draft Butler’s Shelvin Mack. Shelvin has a big body for a point guard. He’s not quick or explosive, but can shoot the ball well and is an above average passer and decision maker.

The Detroit Pistons are another team that took advantage in this draft. Brandon Knight fell into their laps at the eight spot in the draft. Brandon is one of many “shoot first” point guards in this draft. Knight can certainly score the ball. He uses his shot to create space and then is quick enough to convert that space into a lane that gets him to the bucket. He’s just 19 years old, and while a capable point guard doesn’t always make the best decisions. He didn’t always pay attention on defense, but he improved overall coming up to the end of the season. I thought the Pistons dominated when it came to “value” picks. Which is to say that when they had to pick lower picks or in the second round they got the best value for their trouble. Enter Duke’s Kyle Singler. Singler was grossly underrated in this draft in my opinion. He’s a good shooter that can put the ball on the floor and make plays. He’s a pretty good defender and is a very smart ballplayer. He picks up systems quickly and should have no problem fitting into whatever a coach demands of him. Their last pick netted the Florida’s Vernon Macklin. Vernon’s a big man with serious hops. His size and strength give him certain advantages, but at 6’10” he’s a bit small for a center. Macklin is still a great fit for Detroit.

The Charlotte Bobcats looked like they had some sense when the drafted UConn’s Kemba Walker. Another “shoot first” point guard who is a bit undersized, Kemba is if nothing, a winner. We all know what Kemba is capable of. He just knows how to win. He is a potent scorer who can score in droves. He’s got great ball-handling ability and court vision. He’s also a great leader, and Charlotte was smart to pick him up. The Bobcats also received Bismack Biyombo from the Sacramento Kings in a trade. Biyombo, just like his fellow countryman from the Congo Serge Ibaka, is a tenacious defender of the basket. Anything coming to the bucket when he’s on guard is liable to be sent three rows deep into the bleachers. He’s got a long frame, great instincts, and great anticipation. His downside is that he has no offense at his disposal. None. Biyombo has great potential though, after all, even Ibaka has a mid range jumper these days.

Lastly the Portland Trailblazers made a number of moves, that flew under the radar. With the twenty first pick and their first pick in the draft Portland selected Nolan Smith from Duke. Nolan Smith was originally a shooting guard, but when Kyrie Irving got injured Nolan was called upon to take over the point guard duties. He did and he did so very well. In fact he did the job so well that when Duke got Kyrie back in the NCAA tournament there was a debate as to wether or not Kyrie should even get his job back. Nolan can shoot and is incredibly intelligent. He was one of my favorite players coming into the draft. Portland is hoping that his coachability will allow them to use him to take over for Andre Miller(who was traded to the Nuggets) and be a reliable guard going into the future. The Trailblazers also got Texas’ Jordan Hamilton in a trade with the Dallas Mavericks. Hamilton has the ability to score at will from any point on the floor. His decision making is not very good however. Often times Jordan can be passive and indirect. He sometimes settles for shots when he ought to put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket. His defense is also suspect. Late in the second round the Trailblazers picked up Jon Diebler of Ohio State. Diebler reminds me a lot of Kyle Korver in terms of his mobility and defense. A three point specialist, Diebler is predictable. He will shoot. A lot. His release is extremely quick so he only needs seconds to get his shot off.

There were quite a few teams that did well for themselves, however there were some teams that wasted their picks. These guys are . . .

The Losers . . .

This should go by more quickly than the winners because most of these teams had a single pick in the draft and then failed to adress their needs with the single pick that they had.

For instance the Toronto Raptors went ahead and wasted everyone’s time by taking Jonas Valanciunas from Lithuania.I like Jonas and won’t spend much time bashing him, but one would think a team with many needs wouldn’t take a chance on Andrea Bargnani 2.0, yeah I said it. Toronto had a chance to adress their distinct lack of reliable point guard and maybe make a splash in this draft. Instead they opted to draft a guy who probably won’t be in the league for another two years, because of his prior contractual obligations and is a carbon copy of a guy they already have on their team.

Speaking of redundant draft picks, the Oklahoma City Thunder had one of the head scratchers of the day when they opted to draft Reggie Jackson, a point guard from Boston College. First off, head coach Scott Brooks keeps telling the media that Russell Westbrook is going to be the point guard moving forward. Secondly the Thunder have Eric Maynor who is a point guard who like Westbrook also like to shoot. So how much sense does it make then to draft another shooting point guard? None. It doesn’t make any sense. The Thunder could have used a true big man who will work in the post and grab boards(neither Perkins nor Ibaka truly do this). The Thunder could also have drafted for depth and in that regard Jordan Hamilton, and Jimmy Butler were still available and would have given more to the team than Jackson will.

This of course leaves me with the bad taste in my mouth, that is the Memphis Grizzlies picking Josh Selby. Selby should never have been in the draft. He’s not NBA ready at all. He was highly recruited coming out of high school and grossly under performed in his time at the University of Kansas. I don’t care who you draft, just not this guy. He’s simply not going to get better between college and the pros. He needed to stay in school and develop. Isaiah Thomas would have been a good pick, or Ben Hansbrough(who by the way went undrafted).

This was a bit lengthy of course, but before you check out the  . . .

WTF???!!!! Pick of the Draft.

The Los Angeles Lakerspicked Daruis Moore from Michigan. This was a decent pick considering where they picked from, but from that point onward proceded to pick a parade of international players whose names I will not begin to type here they’re so long. Okay, fine I’ll copy and paste. Who the hell was scouting Chukwudiebere Maduabum? These players will likely not make the team and were seriously just wasted picks.



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NBA Playoff Recap: 5-15-11; One Series Ends As Another Begins

The Oklahoma City Thunder Rout the Grizzlies In Game 7 105-90. The Thunder Advance to the Western Conference Finals.

After his poor shooting performance in game six Kevin Durant put on a performance in game seven that is the stuff of legends. Durant was aggressive and Russell Westbrook helped. Westbrook looked for the pass and was able to set Durant up with a back door passes that led to layups and dunks. Durant scored 39 points on 13 of 25 shooting. Russell Westbrook also had a tremendous game. He had a triple-double, the first one in a game seven since Sottie Pipen back in 1992, including several possession saving offensive rebounds. The Grizzlies, who rely on their bigs for points, played a good game. Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, and Mike Conley played really well but, Memphis is a team that needs everyone to pitch in and they got absolutely nothing from their bench. The Memphis bench scored 22 points. The OKC bench scored 32 points, 17 points of which came from James Harden.

Oklahoma City had the kind of game that made it look like they should have had this series wrapped up a long time ago. This was a close series obviously but the Thunder made it look bad. The Grizzlies seemed powerless to stop Durant or anybody else on the floor. Defensively OKC locked up and Memphis couldn’t get things going in the paint, especially in the second half of the game. If the Grizzlies had a player who could get his own shot from just about anywhere on the floor they might have stood a chance, however Rudy Gay was wearing street clothes. This is one of the greatest series in recent playoff history. All of these games were good games and the Grizzlies played their hearts out. Zach Randolph had 17 points on 6 of 15 shooting but it looked like he could have gotten a little bit more help from Gasol. Gasol had 12 points on 4 of 10 shooting. O.J. Mayo was consistently beaten by James Harden who beat him off the dribble and was sticking jumpers in his face.

The Thunder are going be tough out for Dallas. If you read my poorly and hastily written western conference preview you would have seen that I picked Oklahoma City to win it. Their combination of youth, speed, and range when shooting I think gives the the edge. The Thunder are a better match up for Dallas than the Lakers were.

The Bulls Stampede the Heat 103-82. Chicago leads series 1-0.

The Bulls and Heat seemed to match up evenly. Derrick Rose started the game with some bad turnovers but after he settled down the Bulls were able to get some thing going offensively. Offense for Chicago is almost entirely directed to the defense they played. The match up of Taj Gibson and Lebron James was an amazing one. Taj kept Lebron from getting any steam and charging into the lane and even blocked him a couple of times. The advantage of the Bulls is their bigs played really well. Noah, Boozer, and Asik dominated the inside on both ends of the floor.

If you go out and get a Taj Gibson poster Dwayne Wade will be in it. Gibson made big time plays and even though he only scored 9 points the difference in hustle between him and Lebron was obvious. Hell, the difference in hustle between the entire Bulls team and the entire Heat team was not only a glaring mismatch but might possibly be the biggest indicator of how this series is going to go.

Derrick Rose had a good game after his slow start, he scored 28 points on 10 of 22 shooting and he had 6 assists. Rose had a little bit of trouble with the double team early on. It’s similar to the one used on him by the Pacers and the Hawks but because the Heat are so much more athletic any mistakes he made turned into points for Miami. Derrick allowed his teammates to beat the double team for him. Luol Deng took advantage of Miami defensive break downs and scored himself 21 points. Boozer and Noah had 14 points and 9 points respectively.

Miami came out and laid an egg offensively. After those first points off of turnovers they had from Derrick Rose’s earlier mistakes they didn’t really do anything. Lebron and Dwayne had trouble finding a rhythm. Lebron had just 15 points and Dwayne Wade had just 18 points. The real reason Miami ever had a chance in this game was none other than the third wheel himself, Chris Bosh, who scored 30 points whilst shooting 12 of 18 from the field and grabbing 9 rebounds. Bosh was aggressive early and was the only Heatle who played like he had any heart.

If the Heat allow themselves to be bullied by Chicago’s defense this series isn’t going to last very long.

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NBA Playoff Recap: 5-12-11, The End of the Green Gang

The Heat Close Out the Celtics 97-87. Miami wins the series 4-1.

The Celtics, one of the great teams of the last decade, go out with a whimper. For most of the game it looked like they would be able to beat the Heat and hold on to force a game 6 back in Boston. They had the lead for most of the game. Miami looked a bit sluggish in the first half and ended the half down by two, being buoyed by the 23 first half points of Dwayne Wade. However in the long run Coach Spoelstra’ s plan payed off. He didn’t bother to put a man on Rondo. Because of Rondo’s elbow he couldn’t shoot the ball from distance. This allowed Miami to double-team Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O’ Neal.

Dwayne Wade and Lebron James both had 30 point games. Wade ended with 34 points on 13 of 19 shooting, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals. Wade played with a ton of energy led his team in hustle plays. On one play he blocked Garnett on one end of the floor and had a one man run out in which he was able to score on the other end.  His defensive and offensive effort helped keep the team in the game after the fail to start very well in the first quarter. Lebron James had 33 points shooting 11 of 20 (5 of 7 from three), 7 rebounds and 4 assists. I thought Lebron was relatively passive in this game. At least until the fourth quarter anyway. He settled for quite a few threes and I still like guys with Lebron’s abilities to cut to the basket. It forces a defense to pack in and then other players can have open shots but Lebron was content to shoot jumpers. In fairness to him though, he was making them.

Bosh also contributed. It’s not going to show up on the stat sheet as Bosh scored well below the rest of the big three. He was 4  of 9 from the field and scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Bosh was a presence inside the paint. He actually stood his ground and defended the bucket. In games 1, 2, and 3 he didn’t do this. Garnett would move at him aggressively and it was clear he wanted no part of the contact and ferocity of Garnett. Last night Bosh stood his ground and changed shots.

The Celtics never really had a chance in this game once Paul Pierce got into early foul trouble. He picked up 2 early fouls in the first quarter and then another two in the second. Pierce could not play his style after that. Pierce had 12 points on 5 of 12 shooting.

With no Rondo and no Pierce the Heat should have been dominating this game. I give credit to Boston for putting up a fight and not laying down but this wasn’t their game to win. Garnett and Allen, who shot 6 of 12 for 18 points, were not going to win this game by themselves. Miami still has weaknesses and holes. If Chicago wins their series that could be a very interesting matchup. If Atlanta wins that could be good too but only if they limit their mistakes. Both of those teams I think will test the depth of Miami.

I just don’t want to see any more of this:

Boom! Thunder Crush the Grizzlies 99-72. Oklahoma City leads the series 3-2.

This game was a head scratcher to me. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook both score under 20 points each and the Thunder win by 27 points? If you had told me that before this game started. Especially being one game removed from the recent overtime thriller. I might have tried to back hand some sense into you. I would have been wrong but, I would have done it.

When Oklahoma City’s bench players step up it turns OKC into a well rounded team. The Thunder had four players in double figures. Durant was 7 of 14 with 19 points and Westbrook was just 4 of 10 with 11 points. What really helped OKC out was the number from the whole team. Daequan Cook scored 18 and Nazr Mohammed scored 10. Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison, and James Harden had 9 points each. These are small number from an entire team. It’s hard to beat a team when they play like this. I’m interested in seeing as we move forward wether or not this was an anomaly or the true potential of this Thunder team.

Memphis just looked . . . bad. The Grizzlies looked like they were clearly still fatigued from the triple overtime game. Marc Gasol was really the only effective Grizzly. Tony Allen and Mike Conley were missing layups all night long. Zach Randolph was ineffective. He would score just 9 points. Everyone contributed but no one stepped up. The Thunder tightened up the defense in this game and none of the Memphis Grizzlies adapted.

After getting out to a quick start Memphis fizzled out. It was a terrible game and a tremendous beat down. If Memphis can pull themselves together when they go back to Fedex Forum they’ve got a punchers chance of winning a game 7.

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NBA Playoff Recap: Round 2, 5-10-11(The Overtime Edition!)

The Heat Top the Celtics in overtime 98-90. Miami leads series 3-1.

I feel sorry for the Celtics. They’re a good team that plays a solid game but, with every year that passes their age begins to show more and more. On top of their age the fact that they can never stay healthy at crucial points in playoff runs. Last year Kendrick Perkins sustained an injury before game seven of their series against the Lakers in the NBA finals last year. This year Rajon Rondo’s elbow did that thing where it went the wrong way (blech!) and that was that. Rondo showed his toughness and grit and was actually effective in the early parts of the game but, once the Heat realized that he could only dribble with one hand and that his movement was greatly limited they took advantage. Boston turned the ball over 16 times which is actually one less time than Miami did but the Heat scored more points off of turnovers. Anytime Lebron James or Dwayne Wade can get the ball in the open court it is almost always automatic points.

Anytime the Heat can production out of their big three. They can give themselves a chance in any game. Even the ones where they don’t execute very well. Bosh, Wade, and Lebron combined for 83 points. Chris Bosh played really well. He scored at key moments in the game. He would end with 20 points on 8 of 17 shooting and 12 rebounds. The Heat outscored the Celtics in the paint 48-32.

Paul Pierce led the way for Boston with 27 points on 10 of 20 shooting, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. Kevin Garnett however had an awful night. He scored just 7 points on 1 of 10 shooting. When Boston’s big four can play better than Miami’s big three then they will always win the series. This is a big reason I couldn’t pick Boston to win. They played too inconsistently and I didn’t think that all four players could keep up the intensity for four games against the Heat.

Miami has a chance to finish off the Celtics which of course doesn’t guarantee a thing.

The Thunder Survive Triple Overtime Against the Grizzlies. Series is tied 2-2.

Kevin Durant had 35 points, 6 of which he scored in the third overtime. This game was bizarre, it was strong at some points and poorly executed at others. The Grizzlies led by as much a 18 points in the second quarter. They allowed Oklahoma City to piece together a few runs that gave them life as the crawled back into the ball game after starting slowly.

The Thunder have a problem. They have a shooting guard in a point guards body. I’m referring of course to Russell Westbrook. I don’t know what to think about the guy. On the one hand he is very talented and makes tremendous plays but, on the other hand he’s a shoot-first point guard on a team full of shooters, whom he often ignores. The Thunder as a team attempted 95 shots and Westbrook who scored 40 points attempted 33 of them. That’s 35% of his teams shots. Durant scored 35 points attempting 13 less shots than Westbrook did. It was weird to watch because there were whole stretches of game where Durant didn’t get any looks. He was in the game and the ball would pass through the offense and he wouldn’t touch it. Durant who only shot one free throw in game one was able to get to the line and shoot 16 of 18 from the line.

Three overtimes is a lot for anybody to take and the Grizzlies looked gassed. They also had foul trouble that took point guard Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo from them. Mike Conley who I like made a boneheaded play on offense late in the game, attempting a three with the Grizzlies down by  one point and possessing a timeout, that was crucial play in the game. Conley then had to use his last foul. The reason this game was so exciting was the fact that everybody on both sides made big shots when they needed to. Memphis did need a few more big shots though, just to even be in the game. Zach Randolph who was 9 of 25 scoring 34 points and grabbing 16 rebounds and Marc Gasol who was 11 of 20 for 26 points, became non factors in the offense once the overtimes were on the way. It’s clear they were tired. They battled all game long but the end of regulation became a guards game. The quick were able to beat the big bodies up and down the floor.

Other guys who need to be mentioned would be rookie point guard Greivis Vasquez who came off the bench for Conley and scored 14 points including a clutch three pointer to send the game into overtime number two. Nick Collison provided OKC with hustle plays that resulted in points and shot opportunities taken away from Memphis.

I feel like this series has what it takes to go seven games. These teams are close and hungry. It’s by far my favorite series of the playoffs so far.

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NBA Playoff Recap: Round 2, 5-3-11

Heat down the Celtics 102-91. Miami leads series 2-0.

Has anybody seen Paul Pierce? I could’ve sworn he forgot to show up for the game today. He and his team are old and banged up and this series is over. While I hate to pour dirt on a team’s coffin while they’re playing a series that is far from over if Miami takes a game in Boston, that’s the ball game. I feel this way for a number of reasons. I felt like the defense and subsequent transition offense of Miami was grossly underrated. People felt like Boston was going to dominate because of their half court style but as I mentioned before in earlier posts, the Celtics have not been taking care of the basketball. Any mistake made with basketball almost always results in Miami points. I would say its a Heat fast break but really its just Lebron and Wade running out with their devastating size, speed, and strength any defender unlucky enough to be in the wake of that train is just going to end up in a poster.

Miami’s big three played better than Boston’s big four. That’s what this game boiled down to in my mind. Neither team was really brilliant off of the bench, though Jeff Green and Delonte West did play well. Rondo had a great game but he was the only Celtic that was effective in any way. Rondo had 20 points on 7 of 16 shooting and had 12 assists. Kevin Garnett was far less efficient, he scored 16 points but was 8 of 20 shooting to get them. Pierce was in a funk most of the game, he only got the free throw line once and ended the game with 13 points.

Miami got next to no production from their bench. It didn’t matter however as Chris Bosh, Lebron James, and Dwayne Wade combined for 80 of their team’s 102 points. The Heat are on a roll right now against a team that they match up very well against. This series is not indicative of some of the weaknesses that the Heat have or any of Boston’s strengths. Miami doesn’t play well from behind and they haven’t had to. Boston likes to play from the low post but for some reason they aren’t or they can’t. As a result Miami has been dominating this series.

The Thunder Slap the Grizzlies Back 111-102. Series tied 1-1.

I was listening to my local sports station and the guys mentioned that Memphis had a penchant for slapping bullies. When you slap a bully you often find out that he’s not as tough as he says he is but, sometimes the bully slaps you back. Last night that’s exactly what Oklahoma City did. In game 1 the Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph combined for 54 points and outscored the Thunder in the paint 52-38. Last night however the Thunder won the paint battle 38-34 and Gasol and Randolph combined for 25 points. OKC beefed up their interior defense and didn’t allow themselves to be pushed around. Their big men Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collison, and Serge Ibaka all together had 12 defensive rebounds. This took away second chance points from the Grizzlies, something they got a lot of in game 1.

Because the Thunder would not let him get in a rhythm Randolph scored 15 points on 2 of 13 shooting. He did make 11 of his 12 free throw attempts. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook scored a lot of points, as per usual, but they got some help last night from their bench led by James Harden and his 21 points, 5 assists, and 3 steals. Eric Maynor added fuel to the fire as the game got out of reach from Memphis with his 15 points. Maynor shot 3 of 4 from long range.

Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins said, “The thing that stood out to me is how badly their bench outscored our bench.” As it turns out that was the key to this game. The Thunder bench outscored the Grizzlies bench 48-32. When Oklahoma City’s bench plays like that, they’re are one of the hardest teams in the league to beat.

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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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NBA Playoffs 4-25-11 (NOW IN AUDIO!)

NBA Notes and stuff. San Antonio collapses in the fourth quarter. Portland doesn’t get to shoot free throws. Denver finally overcomes the Thunder to win a game.

Click the link to listen! Right click to download.

NBA Playoffs 4-25-11

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NBA Playoffs 4-20-2011: Game 2, Day 3

Another day, another trio of game two’s. Actually the last three game two’s left to be played.

The Thunder pound the Nuggets 106-89. Oklahoma City leads series 2-0.

I was somewhat disappointed in this game. My expectations were based on the first game which was hard fought scrap that was entertaining all the way to the finish. This game however was a woodshed beating that was essentially over in the first quarter. OKC outscored Denver 31-15 in the first and then the two teams had pretty much ever scoring after that. Which of course didn’t do the Nuggets any good. Denver never led in this game. While Denver went with their balanced attack, moving the ball around to find the open man and not settling for stupid jumpers, J.R. Smith started the game in a funk. There were a few possessions early before the game got out of hand where J.R. pulled up for long two point shots early in the shot clock. Wilson Chandler for Denver was also ice cold. He made no shots out of the six that he took and scored four points shooting free throws.

The Thunder who won in game one because Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook went for a combined 72 points had a little surprise for Denver. They have a balanced attack as well. Durant and Westbrook once again scored more points than everyone else on their team. This time though the Thunder got help from their bench and role players. James Harden was especially going to need to step up to at least give the Thunder a third scorer that they could rely on. Harden had 18 points on 5 of 9 shooting and was a perfect 6 of 6 from the free throw line. Durant and Westbrook combined for 45 points. I still think this series can go seven games, unless the Thunder are able to split in Denver, in which case it’s going six.

The Spurs pull the Grizzlies back down to earth with a 93-87 victory. Series is tied 1-1.

After losing to Memphis last game San Antonio needed to make some adjustments. There was no bigger adjustment that they could have made than the return of all star guard  Manu Ginobili’s return from his elbow injury. Ginobili still had to wear his elbow brace but that didn’t appear to be a factor at all. Manu played fast and furious from beginning to end. It didn’t seem that Memphis knew what to do with him exactly. He made a number of plays that  wowed the crowd and kept the Spurs afloat. It is also important to notice that when the Spurs got the lead late in the game they could rely on Manu not to blow the lead. Manu lead all Spurs with 17 points on 5 of 13 shooting, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals. The leading Grizzly was small forward Sam Young who ended with 17 points on 7 of 13 shooting. An unlikely source to be sure but, we all knew Marc Gasol wasn’t going to go for 25 two games in a row. He hasn’t developed his game there yet.

This series is turning out to be pretty intriguing.

The Lakers hush their doubters and the Hornets winning 87-78. Series is tied 1-1.

The  Los Angeles Lakers may finally be in playoff mode. Better late than never I suppose. Chris Paul who torched them for 33 points in game one still scored. Paul had 20 points shooting 5 of 11 and 9 assists on a night where his team shot just 39 percent from the field. But he worked for everything he had. Steve Blake made things tough on him as did Kobe and occasionally Ron Artest who guarded him a few times. I won’t say Chris was a non-factor but wasn’t able to do anywhere near the damage he did to L.A in game one. Kobe had a bad shooting night with just 11 points shooting 3 of 10 from the field. The refs were letting both sides play last night and as such Kobe wasn’t getting any foul calls. Not really.

Another key factor in game was that Lamar Odom who was the sixth man of the year proved he deserved his award by coming off of the bench and pouring in 16 points shooting 8 of 12, 7 rebounds, and a block into the winning effort. The Lakers also used their size and took the main advantage that they should have had back from New Orleans, points in the paint. After being outscored in the paint by the Hornets 52-34 in game one, the main game two adjustment they made  was aggression in the paint. They outscored the Hornets 50-32 in the paint. Andrew Bynum protected that area with an intensity he hasn’t played with all season and he has been pretty intense all season so that’s saying a lot.


The Lakers and the Spurs got back on track. The Thunder gave themselves an advantage in what is sure to be a tough series.

Tonight’s Games:

  • Pacers v. Bulls 7PM ET
  • 76ers v. Heat  8PM ET
  • Trailblazers v. Mavericks 10PM ET
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