Thursday, April 28, 2011
Behind The Scoreboard
First, let me say that I hope that each and everyone of you had a very Happy Easter. We thank you for your continued readership and support. There is something about this season which leaves us with a rare sense of renewal.
Perhaps there were some teams in the NBA which were hoping for a successful sense of renewal and production. Going into the weekend no team making the playoffs had moved on to the second round (or semi-final) of its conference. Some were definitely on the brink, especially in the East. Boston, Miami and Chicago had all developed 3-0 leads.
Then on Saturday, the Pacers had turned the tables on the Bulls and stopped them in a five-point (89-84) shootout. Since the game was played in Indianapolis, this writer fails to see the doom day factor for Chicago. Although the former University of Memphis star (Derrick Rose), had to leave the game in the first quarter, he returned in time to almost snatch the victory from the Pacers. Chicago just wanted to win in Chicago. I expect them to close on Tuesday.
If one recalls all the speculations about how the super core of the Miami Heat would perform during the regular season, any negative predictions were probably wiped away in their games against the 76ers.
No matter how it is sliced, all of these teams would like to see the end of their series fruited on their home court. Philadelphia is in trouble on Wednesday in Miami.
The Shamrock boys made no bones about their intentions on Sunday even though they were playing in New York. They had allowed the Knicks two close games (87-85, 96-93) in Boston, but they brought out all the four leaf clovers on Friday, turning the Knicks back 113-96. New York, even with the acquisition of “Mello Antonio” (Carmelo Anthony) and fighting back from a 23-point third quarter deficit, still became the first team to fall out in the first round. Boston now has a week off to prepare for its next challenge.
In the West, things were a bit closer. Going into Monday, Oklahoma City was the only entry with a 3-0 lead. Los Angeles and Dallas had their series tied.
And what about those Memphis Grizzlies? Maybe that should be an exclamation instead of a question mark. The Griz did themselves proud by breaking another record – first home court playoff win in franchise history. And who really made it happen? How about the man who was just given that multi-mil contract extension? ZeeBo (Zach Randolph) found himself with the ball, two dozen feet from the basket (it looked like a hundred yards!) and five seconds on the shot clock. So what does one do? One shoots a two-handed jump shot and one makes it to send the Forum into bedlam.
The Griz is a steadily improving team and probably will not go all the way this year, but you certainly have to say they are making it interesting.
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