Tag Archives: Memphis Grizzlies

Five Game Sevens

NBA history was made last Saturday when three Game Seven NBA playoff games were played on the same day. After today’s Game Sevens, the NBA postseason can move on to the second round: the conference semifinals. One of the biggest stories was the Washington Wizards advancing to the next round over the Chicago Bulls, winning their first playoff series since 2005 where they also beat the Chicago Bulls. This year, the Wizards defeated the Bulls’ squad 4-1 and were led by a young back court featuring John Wall and Bradley Beal. Wall has been great for this young and talented squad, he is 5th in both assists and steals per game this postseason. As for Bradley Beal, he averaged almost 20 points per game against the Bulls, including a game where he scored 26 points and pulled down 7 rebounds to help put the Wizards up 2-0 in the series. Speaking as a guy that was born in D.C., I can say that I am excited for their match-up with the 1-seed Indiana Pacers Monday night at 7 p.m.

John Wall averaged 18.8 points, 6.8 assists and 2.2 steals in the series win over the Chicago Bulls. Credit: www.rantsports.com
John Wall averaged 18.8 points, 6.8 assists and 2.2 steals in the series win over the Chicago Bulls.
Credit: http://www.rantsports.com

As for the Oklahoma City Thunder, they finished out in fashion with a 120-109 rout over the Memphis Grizzlies in their Game 7 finale. ┬áKevin Durant may not have had the field goal percentage that he was looking for, but he is still putting up points this postseason with 29.9 per game so far. Then there is Russell Westbrook. Some people have judged him and saying that he was the problem with the Thunder’s struggles to close out. I was one of those people. Now, my confidence is regained in Westbrook after putting up a triple-double in the last game against Memphis. The young point guard finished the bout with 27 points, a career-high 16 assists and 10 rebounds. Westbrook also became just the second player in NBA history to record a triple-double in a Game 7 (Rajon Rondo did it first). Sure the Thunder were able to win without the Grizzlies’ top player Zach Randolph, but hey, a win is a win. Durant and Westbrook combined for 60 points and Oklahoma City shot 60.9 percent from the field as a team. Now they will have to put up those kind of numbers when they play the L.A. Clippers Monday night at 9:30 p.m. That should be an exciting series as well.

Kevin Durant took over the series against Memphis by averaging 29.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. Credit: www.usatoday.com
Kevin Durant took over the series against Memphis by averaging 29.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 blocks per game.
Credit: http://www.usatoday.com

I was disappointed in the Houston Rockets this year. They had a lot of talent in James Harden and Dwight Howard, but they just couldn’t make it work against the Portland Trail Blazers. LaMarcus Aldridge and company closed out the series 4-2 when Damian Lillard knocked down a three-pointer at the buzzer (thanks to some horrible defense by Houston’s Chandler Parsons) to win the game 99-98. Lillard became the first player since John Stockton in 1997 to knock down the game-winning shot to win a series. You have to give a lot of props to last year’s Rookie-of-the-Year for being the big play-maker at point guard. As for Aldridge, he put up monster numbers in this series against Houston. He had back-to-back 40 point games in the first two games of the series (46 and 43 respectively). Then in the next two games, he recorded consecutive double-doubles and then in Game 6, he scored 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. He is third in the postseason in points per game with 29.8. LeBron James leads the postseason with 30 per game.

Lastly, there was San Antonio knocking off the Dallas Mavericks 119-96 and the Brooklyn Nets defeating the Toronto Raptors 104-103 in an overall thrilling series. Brooklyn will face the Miami Heat Tuesday at 7 p.m. while the Spurs will battle the Trail Blazers the same night at 9:30 p.m. The first round of the NBA playoffs was something to behold. A lot of Game Sevens and a whole lot of fun. This second round will prove to be more exciting with teams starting to lock on to that championship.

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2014 NBA Playoff Match-Ups

The NBA playoffs are finally here! This is where the games really matter. The 1-seeds are the Indiana Pacers for the East and San Antonio Spurs for the West. Miami just dropped down to a 2-seed after losing three games in a row to end the regular season. Oklahoma City fell three games behind San Antonio, but they did end the season with a 112-111 win over the Detroit Pistons last night where Kevin Durant went off for 42 points. Speaking of 42, that’s how many consecutive games Durant scored 25 points or more. That streak is longer than what Michael Jordan did in that magical 1986-87 season. The small forward’s streak ended at Sacramento on April 8th where he scored only 23 points in the 107-92 win. Durant also wins the NBA scoring title for the 4th time, averaging 32 points per game. He also finished with 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game, leading the Thunder to a 59-23 record with Russell Westbrook gone most of the season. Look for Durant to finally win that coveted NBA MVP award that has eluded him so many times. The Thunder will play the Memphis Grizzlies this Saturday in the first round of the playoffs at 9:30 P.M.

This year, the Memphis Grizzlies did pretty well under first-year head coach David Joerger. His Grizzlie’s squad ended up 3rd in points allowed, making them one of the most underrated defenses in the league. The team finished 50-32 and ended the regular season on a 5-game winning streak (tied with Portland Trail Blazers). Their last game was a 106-105 overtime victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Zach Randolph finished the game with 27 points and 14 rebounds, his 47th double-double of the season. The big power forward averaged a double-double in the regular season with 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Look for him to step up big in the upcoming game against the Thunder.

Randolph leads his team in both points and rebounds. Credit: forums.celticsblog.com
Randolph leads his team in both points and rebounds.
Credit: forums.celticsblog.com

Staying in the West, San Antonio finished the season with the best record in the NBA at 62-20. Gregg Popovich’s squad led the league in assists with 25.2 per game and ranked 6th in both points scored and points allowed. With Tim Duncan dominating inside and Tony Parker running the offense, there is no telling how far they could go this year. Their first test will be Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks on Easter Sunday at 1:00 P.M.

The other 1-seed, Indiana, finished the season on a high note, winning their last two games of the season and landed a 56-26 record. Their defense has been the talk of the NBA. They are 2nd in points allowed per game and are 8th in rebounds per game. The addition of injury-prone Andrew Bynum actually worked out pretty well in their favor. They were able to put big-man Roy Hibbert on the bench and still produce great numbers with Bynum snagging 9.5 rebounds a game. Speaking of Hibbert, he only missed one game this entire season and was very productive with 10.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. The Pacers will play the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday at 9 P.M. They are expected to easily win this series, seeing that the Hawks are the only team in the playoffs with a losing record of 38-44.

Hibbert finished 4th in the NBA in blocks per game. Credit: archive.indystar.com
Hibbert finished 4th in the NBA in blocks per game.
Credit: archive.indystar.com

I thought that the biggest surprises this year were the Washington Wizards and the Charlotte Bobcats. Both of these teams were horrible last year (none of these two teams had more than 30 wins in 2012-13). Led by point guard John Wall, the Wizards have a 5-seed and a 44-38 record. They will play against the Chicago Bulls, who have won 8 of their last 10 games. As for the Bobcats, Al Jefferson has been a great addition to this club. He has led the team in points (21.8) and rebounds (10.8) and has provided veteran leadership for this team. After putting up solid numbers in Boston, Minnesota and Utah, the 6’10 center might have finally found a home in North Carolina. His Bobcats squad will play the Miami Heat on Easter Sunday at 3:30 P.M. The last time Jefferson played against the Heat, he put up monster numbers with 38 points and 19 rebounds in the 124-107 loss back on March 3rd. He will have to elevate the play of his team around him if they want to defeat the NBA Final-favorites.

Jefferson finished this season with 21.8 points per game which is the second highest average in his career. Credit: usatoday.com
Jefferson finished this season with 21.8 points per game which is the second highest average in his career.
Credit: usatoday.com

As for the other playoff match-ups, the Los Angeles Clippers will play the Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets will square off against the Portland Trail Blazers and the surging Toronto Raptors will take on the Brooklyn Nets, a team that has struggled to beat opponents within its own conference. In the NBA, there’s always at least one upset. This year, I can’t truly predict who will rise and who will fall, but I will promise you this: it will be a fantastic playoff run this year.