Thursday, May 4, 2005

Behind The Scoreboard
By Claude Vinson

Grizzlies’ playoff woes

Well, I am sure that all of you know that the Grizz could not fix their playoff problems late last night.

It was probably inevitable that my past would catch up to me. Three persons told me last week that I “was beating up” the big Grizz. O.K. Maybe. A little. It seems all too obvious that the team has developed a pattern (no, of not winning!). Just a pattern of dropping out of sight during the games which really matter.

The Grizz got a burst of energy somewhere near the waning day of the season, went on a tangent and beat just about everybody. Then the tongue fell out of the wagon. They had one glorious last chance to redeem their season. It is just the way the cookie crumbled.

How many teams of the NBA would have climbed the beanstalk to end up as one of the eight? The Phoenix Suns, admittedly the best team this season, let it be known early that they had no intention of taking it easy on any team trying to prove itself.

One would have to think like the Suns. Since Kobe and Shaq got divorced after last season, the clear advantage was there. Take the opportunity to erase the Lakers’ dynasty from immediate memory and show their fans that they are worthy to be among the elite eight. Let’s face it, the Suns don’t have a ton of playoff experience either. They are just together.

As of Sunday night, just two of the teams had wrapped their first rounds – the Heat of Miami and the Suns. Houston was among six other teams who had run into a few snags – a couple of knots and a few 2-1s.

No matter how much we try to downplay the fact, whoever enters from the West is going to have to deal with O’Neal and the Heat. I decided to break away from my traditional Sunday TV fare and catch part of the Heat-Nets games.

The way I had it figured, if the Heat was as good as its reputation had purported, I wouldn’t have to watch that long.

I was right, even with Shaq on the bench for half of the game, Duwane Wade, a player no one had heard of prior to last season, could have sent his teammates back to the bench.

There have been vows from the Motor City that “they ain’t giving up no championship” during this season. So, it is safe to suppose that there are going to be at least three chompers at the top of the food chain.

It probably makes you wonder what you are still doing in L.A., huh Kobe?


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