L.O.N. — Z-Bo FTW
The Grizz are “Zbound” for the second round.
Line Of The Night:
Zach Randolph — 31 points, 11 zbounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
That is how you close out a series! Despite being blanketed by Antonio McDyess in the forth quarter, Z-Bo hit difficult shot, after difficult shot, after impossible shot to finish off the Spurs, completing only the fourth 8th seed first round victory in NBA history. They outplayed the Spurs the entire series, but you have to wonder — or even obsess, if your name is Manu Ginobili — what might have happened if the Spurs best player had not missed Game 1. That is no discredit to the Grizz though, as they earned every single win.
Worst Of The Night:
Richard Jefferson — 6.5 points, 4.2 boards, 0.8 assists, 0.5 blocks, 0.5 steals
So much for this year’s “revitalized” Jefferson. After playing well in the first two games, RJ completely fell off the map, thoroughly out-played by Memphis’ Sam Young. Jefferson is due about $30 million over the next three years… any takers? He is perhaps the biggest question mark on the existing roster of a Spurs that is sure to be active this offseason. They will still be poised to make regular-season noise next year, but they need some young height in that frontcourt to be a post-season factor going forward.
MEM vs OKC Of The Night:
By the time you read this, it will be less than 24 hours until Memphis has to get right back at it. No time for celebration on Beale street for the giant slayers. They will face a very different challenge in the second round. Can Tony Allen have the same defense impact against Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook that he had against Manu Ginobili? If Allen is charged with Durant, will Westbrook eviscerate Mike Conley like Tony Parker started to do towards the end of their series? Will Z-Bo have the same offensive impact matched against the Kendrick Perkins/Serge Ibaka frontcourt? If he does not, we are not sure the Grizz have a plan B. We see the Thunder taking this one in as little as 5, as they vie to complete the changing of the guard in the West.
DAL vs LAL Of The Night:
It is somewhat shocking that Dirk’s Mavs have never met Kobe’s Lakers in the Playoffs. Chalk that up to Lakers’ lull several years ago and Dallas’ choke jobs the past few years. Dallas looked better than people expected in the first round, while the Lakers looked a little worse. This is a “prove it” series for the Mavs, and a “ya’ll better have won that one” for the Lakers. The Mavs have the size to at least battle the Lakers bigs, so this one might come down to the strictly star power — Dirk vs. Kobe. The Lakers have Lamar Odom to at least give Dirk trouble, but do the Mavs have any one to do the same against Kobe? Looks like (hopefully) a seven-gamer. Until we see actual evidence to the contrary, we have to begrudgingly pick the Lake Show. AARP watch: Jason Kidd vs Derek Fisher.
ATL vs CHI Of The Night:
People are saying the Bulls’ D will give the Hawks fits, but the Hawks LOVE terrible shots… so does defense matter? They definitely have more offensive firepower than the Pacers and we saw how much of a battle that series was. The Hawks have been literally hamstrung by starting point guard Kirk Hinrich’s injury, who will miss the series. Big blow. Since they drafted Marvin Williams ahead of Chris Paul, do they reserve the right to make that trade for the next round? On the other side, it looks like Carlos Boozer will be suiting up in Game 1 despite an injured toe. We think the Hawks will surprise people by pushing this one 7, but that Derrick Rose and the Bulls eventually pull it out. Gator stomp watch: Al Horford vs Joakim Noah.
BOS vs MIA Of The Night:
Awwwwww, sookie socky. We have been waiting all season for this one. De facto Eastern Conference Finals? We think so. Not much to be said about this one that will not be covered ad nauseam, other than WATCH. AND ENJOY. Heat in 7. Guard changed. Get Boshty with it. Castoffs watch: Jermaine O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal (maybe) and Carlos Arroyo vs. Eddie House…
Argh, Shane Battier takes down Danny Green, and with Denver going out, the Carolina influence has been hamstrung. They are left with Marvin Williams, Brendan Haywood and Mitch Kupchak if you want to dig deep, vs. Battier and Boozer… Antonio McDyess had a very long and solid career in which he had to remake himself following athleticism-robbing knee and leg injuries. No doubt the Spurs would love to have his consistent jumper and expert post D back, but if that was your last game Antonio, we wish you well… Unless there is behind-the-scenes stuff we don’t know, it only makes sense to us for the Pacers to bring back both Larry Bird and Frank Vogel…