Saturday, April 30, 2011

For Memphis, Anything is Possible

Last night the Memphis Grizzlies toppled the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 to become just the 2nd team since the 2007 "We Believe" Warriors team to beat the #1 seed since the playoff format had move to a 7 game series for the first round.

But this feels so much better than the Warriors win for its unpredictability.  Yes the Warriors were a #8 seed as well, but that team had Don Nelson as coach (who if you'll remember knew the ins and outs of that Dallas team, having coached them for so long) and had also taken the season series against Dallas in convincing fashion.

But almost NOBODY thought the Grizzlies could do what they did to the Spurs.  The Grizzlies were missing one of their best players in Rudy Gay and had never even won a playoff game before this series.  The same Grizzlies who were derided (and still are) a few years ago for trading their best player to the Lakers seemingly for scraps. The guys who decided to take a chance on the much-maligned Zach Randolph.

These same Grizzlies are now advancing to the 2nd round.  They won by playing with toughness and heart, utilizing their size down low, and playing tough defense.  Many people will say that the Spurs were simply too old or too small to hang with the Grizzlies.  But the Spurs won 61 games in the regular season this year, with a core that had won 3 championships together.  They were trying to win, and the Grizzlies were simply better.

Will that be the case in the next series?  Who knows.  But don't be surprised if come a month from now we're still watching the Grizzlies play.  For Memphis, anything is possible.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Big Balls Prokhorov FTW

"Yo Mikhail, how big are your balls?"
In a press conference today, Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the New Jersey Nets, came out and told the media that any proposed trade for Carmelo Anthony was officially dead.  He stated that the talks had gone on too long and that the toll had been too much on the team, and that the Nets were officially walking away.

That takes some serious cojones, and I applaud Prokhorov for doing it.  All along, New Jersey has had the best offer for Carmelo on the table, but they kept getting dragged around by Denver's Front Office, who simply wanted to see how much they could get.  Their thinking was obviously that New Jersey wanted Melo more than anything, so they were going to try to squeeze as much out of them as possible.

But now with Prokhorov putting his foot down (and wisely not mortgaging his team's future in the process), the Nuggets will have to settle for a lesser offer.  They'll still get something for Anthony, maybe even a lot of something, but it won't be nearly the same value that New Jersey could have offered.

Greed isn't always good.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pacers' Youth Gone Wild

Remember when the Pacers looked like honest-to-God, above .500, growing-to-a-brighter-future contenders for a decent seed in the East? If not, then that's probably because it was fairly early in the season. Since then, the Pacers have suffered from an overall Roy Hibbert regression alongside bad shooting and shot selection from Danny Granger. When your two key players struggle your team is bound to follow, obviously. And the Pacers are 4 games below .500 and hanging on to the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference, a game ahead of the surging Charlotte Bobcats.

However, hope springs eternal, friends. The Pacers have recently enjoyed the benefits of improved play from some of their younger players. Tonight in particular the Pacers needed a little extra help to take down the short-handed Mavericks(Dirkless, yet again). The lines:

Darren Collison - 6/9 from the field, 5/6 from the foul line for 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turnovers,  3 steals and a tied-for-team-high +/- of +12.        

Paul George - 6/9 from the field, 4/6 from 3-point range for 16 points, 4 boards, 2 steals and no turnovers.

Alongside these obviously fantastic performances (and the reason the Pacers were able to pull away in the fourth quarter, eventually winning 102-89), Tyler Hansbrough started at PF and played 17 minutes. He finished with 6 points and 3 rebounds on 2/6 shooting (and 2-2 shooting at the foul line), which doesn't sound good at all, obviously. However, I'm willing to argue that he's making strides in confidence (coming off a great game against the 76ers before this one) and making a lot of positive plays that don't show up on the stat sheet (classic white guy hustle talk, I know). His +/- of +4 was better than that of both Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert, though that could have been indicative of some different lineups thrown out by Jim O'Brien.

Either way, JOB's newfound trust in his young players appears to be paying dividends already, and I certainly agree with the move. When your traditional veteran-heavy lineups are struggling and your team's performance is trending downward, there's no reason to not give younger guys a shot. Stay on the lookout for a newly inspired Pacers team, led in part by some new faces.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Recap Haiku: January 7th, 2011

Recap Haiku is the Pick and Scroll's daily recap featuring yesterday's NBA games.

San Antonio 90 at Indiana 87:
Timmy and Tyler 
Lead their teams but only
Tim tastes victory

New Jersey 77 at Washington 97
Are you Kidding me?
I Watched very briefly but
Twas nothing to see

Chicago 99 at Philadelphia 105
Surprise, Chicago
A big third for the Sixers
Ended things so soon

Toronto 102 at Boston 122
Harangody, Raps
He's nothing at which to sneeze
As you discovered

Portland 108 at Minnesota 98 
Wes Matthews made sure
To bury the Timberwolves
With huge second Q

Houston 95 at Orlando 110
Run but you can't hide, 
Rockets, As J-Rich destroys
hopes for victory

Utah 99 at Memphis 110
Both teams played hard
But only one turned the
ball over too much

Miami 95 at Milwaukee 101
So close but so far
Milwaukee rode Boykins and
Bouges to no avail

New Orleans 97 at Los Angeles (Lakers) 101
David West and Pau
Face off and how they shined
A good fight, Hornets

Cleveland 98 at Golden State 116
Monta powers Dubs
A win over Cleveland I
didn't really watch

New York 121 at Phoenix 96
I expected this
Please, Phoenix front office, blow
this whole thing sky high

Friday, January 7, 2011

Recap Haiku: January 6th, 2011

(Credit to Sactown Royalty user Chen Prince. Follow him on Twitter.)
Recap Haiku is the Pick and Scroll's daily recap featuring yesterday's NBA games.

Thunder 99, Mavericks 95
Tale of Two Half Mavs.
They came out scorching early,
But fizzled out late.

Kings 122, Nuggets 102
All Kings, All the time.
Tyreke looks like his old self,
And Nuggets just sucked

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Recap Haiku: January 5th, 2011

Recap Haiku is the Pick and Scroll's daily recap featuring yesterday's NBA games.

Magic 97, Bucks 87
Battle of the bigs:
Superman versus Bogut.
Wasn't even close.

Sixers 109, Wizards 97
John Wall can pass.
14 assists on the night,
Only 1 turnover.

Nets 96, Bulls 94
Machine won the game,
After nearly losing it
With a silly foul.

Raptors 120, Cavaliers 105
Cavs were up fifteen.
And they ended up losing,
Also by fifteen.

Celtics 105, Spurs 103
An exciting game,
Rondo had triple-double,
22(!) assists.

Bobcats 108, Timberwolves 105 OT
DJ Augustin
Scored 8 in last two minutes,
To force OT win.

Warriors 110, Hornets 103
24 for Paul,
But only two in the fourth.
Not MVP like.

Trailblazers 103, Rockets 100
Great game for Speed,
45 on 18 shots,
But had little help.

Hawks 110, Jazz 87
Johnson and Crawford,
Had 54 combined points.
That's firepower.

Clippers 106, Nuggets 93
Bill Simmons was right.
Blake is an unreal talent,
A true joy to watch.

Lakers 99, Suns 95
Suns went big tonight,
Hoping to match Lakers size.
It didn't work well.

Recap Haiku: January 4th, 2011

Recap Haiku is the Pick and Scroll's daily recap featuring yesterday's NBA games.

Knicks 128, Spurs 115
Did Pop just give up?
Or did Knicks just beat the Spurs?
Little bit of both.

Heat 101, Bucks 89
Heat are "Cerberus".
Mythical Three-Headed Dog,
That guarded Hell's gates.

Bulls 111, Raptors 91
Might not win title.
But if I was contender,
Don't give me the Bulls.

Grizzlies 110, Thunder 105
Tony Allen scored!
He beat you with 19 points!

Mavericks 84, Trailblazers 81
Caron out for year,
But Aldridge had little help,
Couldn't win alone.

Hawks 108, Kings 102
Kings comeback fell short.
Mainly 'cause their defense sucked.
Hawks backcourt killed them.

Lakers 108, Pistons 83
Pistons unlucky.
I wouldn't want to play Champs,
Coming out of slump.