Thursday, May 16, 2013
Behind The Scoreboard
Six of the eight teams in the semis in both conferences had Sunday off.
The Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs had to interrupt their Mother’s Day with an early afternoon game at the Warriors’ teepee. The Spurs had been making this a real chariot race from the very start. Both teams put up some big numbers in the first shootout which ended in an overtime victory for San Antonio at 129-127.
Both of these teams seem to like the big numbers on the scoreboard. A hundred was broken (or reached) in the second game which was a split in favor of the Warriors. San Antone was back on top with a late game on Friday. Sunday, the Warriors tied it again at two apiece with yet another overtime game, 97-87.
The Golden State-San Antonio series is a typical reason why fans who normally talk up the playoffs are reluctant to make any solid predictions. The pat answer is too “up and down.” Parity is probably playing a role but some are more prone to offer suggestions that injuries and personalities have great impacts.
It is true that some of the eight have stars with sidelining disabilities. Naturally, Russell Westbrook (Thunder) and Derek Rose (Chicago) readily come to mind. Moods and temperaments of players and coaches can influence on-court play. Tom Thibodeau was fined $35,000 for lambasting the officials after Game 3 with the Heat. Tyge Gibson was fined $25,000 for vicious play, while Nazr Mohammad received no fine for crashing LeBron James to the floor.
However, the New York Knicks’ story is quite different. They are playing in the Eastern Conference semis for the first time in 13 seasons. They have fallen behind the Indy Pacers 2-1. Even their coach, Mike Woodson, has admitted he has seen flaws in his team’s “toughness” on the court. The Pacers just fairly embarrassed the Knicks in Game 3, outplaying them from every angle. Even Knicks star Carmelo Anthony had no answers.
While the basketball world is still trying to determine if LeBron James is a “flopper,” although the guy (Nazr Mohammad) who caused the “flop” was ejected from the game, and the Bulls are still floating the rumor that Rose might yet enter the playoffs, the Thunder and Grizz were getting ready for their fourth game in Memphis. OKC is beginning to see the handwriting on the scoreboard with game-time looming large on Monday (of this week). Memphis leads the series 2-1 and has to be hoping that the Thunder sees doom clouds forming.
Will the Grizz have the grit and grind to go where they have never gone before? That Monday night contest would be a giant step for the Grizz.
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