Thursday, May 19, 2011
Behind The Scoreboard
Praise to Grizzlies
The Chicago Bulls earned what they wanted – a berth in the Eastern Finals in the NBA. Whether it is safe to say that they got all they wanted is a matter of conjecture. You probably won’t hear them complaining too loudly, but they perhaps would have been much happier with the Shamrock boys as opponents in this Eastern Championship best of seven. The Bulls haven’t looked past any team in these playoffs and their first game loss to the Atlanta Hawks (103-95) was a game in stride. They quickly bounced back and took the next two not by “blowouts” but still respectable margins. After spotting the Hawks another win in game four they closed out the tired Hawks in six by 20 points.
They didn’t have the rest break which their new opponents were privy to. They were scheduled to meet the “Terrible Three” on Sunday evening. I am sure the fact that the Miami Heat explained their dining plans at the start of these playoffs has not been lost on the Bulls. King James stated that their first series was “breakfast” and the Celtics were “lunch.” Is it safe to assume that Chicago will be dinner? Well, more on that a little later.
The “Big Three” only gave the Shamrock boys one game. That win was by the largest margin (97-81) in the series. If you took time to study the countenance of Doc Rivers, you had to notice that he was not a happy camper. He did an excellent job of keeping his emotions in check. Obviously it didn’t hurt his stock any because it was announced during the fifth and final game that his contract with the Celtics had been extended for five more years.
And since we took a sneak peek into the coaching carousel, there are four teams without leaders. First and foremost of these is the L.A. Lakers. The Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors and the Indiana Pacers are also in that pile.
There are some heavy hearts along the Bluff City this night. The Grizzlies went out to OKC and had a major flame-out. Their jets had been firing on all cylinders throughout the playoffs. They proved that they could scrap, recuperate and retaliate. I had a foreboding of doom when they lost the home court advantage.
That last game should have been played at the Forum in front of friendly fans. It is a hard loss but Memphis is due much praise. They gave Memphis a great morale boost during the entire season and undoubtedly will be back next season.
The Bulls were leading the Heat by nine points after three quarters in game one of the East Finals. Here’s hoping that they can avoid putting “crow” on their menu.
P.S. To David Beckley (Rust College president), thanks for the memento from the Final Four (You just can’t resist rubbing it in, can you?).
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