Thursday, May 17, 2012
Behind The Scoreboard
There was a TV commercial making the rounds sometime ago, showing a ventriloquist and his lap mate in an exchange that usually ended in a veiled disagreement. At the end of one such conversation, an on-scene straight man (announcer) remarks to the ventriloquist, “It must be hard working with a dummy.” To which the wooden component immediately replied, “Oh, he’s alright.”
It is hard watching the Memphis Grizzlies in these playoffs. Sometime it is not easy to say that they are going to be alright. That was all too true in games one, three and four. Memphis lost one and three by one point. Number four was an overtime loss by four points. A shipload of fans jumped when the Griz blew 27 points in eight minutes and the home court advantage in game one. But many came back and began to believe again when Memphis took game two with a clock-buster (105-98). The Griz didn’t grind for the next two and put the yoke squarely on their shoulders when they inherited the historical omen: Only eight teams had returned to win a series after going under 3-1. Would the Griz have the grit to be the ninth team to achieve the feat?
It was not in their favor when they had to go to L.A. and face the Clippers on their home court for two consecutive games. They lost both. They came back to FedEx Forum and took care of the Clippers 92-80. The 12-point margin bolstered the team and its followers even though they faced a possible elimination game six in L.A. at the Staples Center. With Gasol, Randolph, Gay and Conley showing up big, the Griz escaped with a two-point victory and sent the series back to Memphis for the tell-tale game on Sunday.
One cannot say that the support wasn’t there. There was hardly a space which was not covered by a body cloaked in white. The game was a suspense builder from the third quarter on. The play was intense and the Griz had their chances, however, the ball control and free-throw shooting was suspect. In the closing minutes, Memphis just seemingly could not avoid turnovers. The chance to go and face a second round opponent slipped away. It is easy to believe, but sometimes it is hard to watch the Grizzlies.
All the first rounds were decided with Sunday’s slate and a couple of teams were already doing battle in the semi finals. The San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma Thunder were the only two teams to record sweeps in round one but that just might not be a lot of insurance in round two.
Miami is not a favorite of mine but one cannot discount that Lebron James is on a mission. He has picked up his third league MVP in four seasons which places him in a very select group. And his team is already one up in their new series. And regardless of what assessment is made of the Lakers, one must realize that they have the desire and experience, new coach notwithstanding.
But there are a lot of games left.
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