Thursday, May 8, 2014
Behind The Scoreboard
Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone!
The titillating first round of the NBA playoffs finally concluded on late Sunday afternoon when the last two remaining best-of-seven games were played. It was a roller coaster of a first round with high enjoyment content and some history making. I couldn’t find a single soul who had any doubt about the Miami Heat advancing first. This writer doesn’t feel that the “terrific trio” brought all of their prowess to bear in the first three games. The sentiment was generally that the games’ venue had no bearing on the outcome.
It was intriguing to witness the building suspense in the most highly-regarded series. I know that the stock of the Memphis Grizzlies, like the Grinich’s larcenous heart, grew three sizes during their contests with the OKC Thunder. My support didn’t wane or wilt until the sixth game.
The Memphis faithful just might have grounds for suit against Kevin Durant’s home front newspaper (The Oklahoman). The paper called the star of the Thunder “Mr. Unreliable.” Now, K.D. (May I call you K.D.? Sure, I can. Everyone else does!), strongly asserted in a lengthy press conference that the tag didn’t bother him (and that he didn’t read newspapers). Don’t know if K.D. was entirely forthcoming, but I have never seen him play with such dedication. He and Russell Westbrook fairly destroyed Memphis in that first half. The game made history because it was the first time a first-round series had four overtimes in consecutive games. They made history again by being one of four game sevens played on the same day.
There was a lot of fallout surrounding game seven when Zack Randolph was denied floor time. He was penalized for unsportsmanlike actions in the last quarter of game six. He was immediately penalized; the opposing player was awarded the customary free shots and no flagrant one or two was called. There was no ejection. Instead, Randolph was suspended for game seven. This caused a bad smell, not only in Grizz land, but across the nation. Since ZBo was a consistent 18 points performer in the playoffs and the Thunder won the deciding game 120-109, his suspension leaves room for “what if” statements.
The semi-final field has been set and the eight teams from the conferences have been identified. Indiana will test its skills against the Washington Wizards and the Brooklyn Nets will get to entertain the King and company.
The drama in the Western Conference is abating somewhat but some of the intense rivalries endured to the final whistle. The Houston Rockets and the Portland Trail Blazers were still having words after their contests ended. The Trail Blazers prevailed to face the San Antonio Spurs in the next round. Portland hasn’t won an NBA title since 1977.
The other Western trial will be the Clippers and the Thunder. The Clips seemed a bit more at ease in their deciding game. I think they have a good chance of making it to the finals. I am going to stop my prediction there.
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