Lionel Hollins tanking at the end of the season so the Grizzlies can drop down to the 8th seed and play a 61-win team now looks borderline genius. Memphis beat San Antonio to take a 3-1 series lead. Only person I know that called the Memphis upset was Zach Lowe on The Basketball Jones’ Overdose and he probably can’t believe how things have transpired either. Last night’s game saw the 4-time champion Spurs team get out-classed by Darrell Arthur and Tony Allen. The best part about this series is watching Marc Gasol adding zeros to his inevitable off-season payday. Marc has the confidence of a 2-time world champion as if his name was Pau. Swag him the f*** out.
Andrew McNeill of 48 Minutes Of Hell tweeted during the game, “Just got a text from a friend. The Spurs window as contenders might run lockout-to-lockout, and that’s it. ” It’s remarkable that this is how things could end. Then again, would anyone be shocked if the Spurs came back and won this series? Game 5 is on Wednesday in San Antonio.
At this point I don’t know what to think of Brandon Roy. He went just 2 for 7 in nearly 30 minutes of action last night but I can’t just throw him under the bus, none of the Blazers decided to show up last night. LaMarcus went for 12 and 9 and Wes Matthews had 8 points in 36 minutes. If it weren’t for Wallace and Miller, this game would have turned uglier, sooner. No one really checked Dirk all night and no one could keep Tyson Chandler off the glass, specifically the offensive rebounds. Tyson grabbed 20 boards including 13 offensive rebounds, a team record. Those second chance points killed Portland, who had held Dallas to just 41% shooting for the night. Dallas now has a 3-2 series advantage and I think they close it out in Portland on Thursday.
I didn’t see this game but I got home just in time to see the post-game interviews and read all the tweets. Russell Westbrook was a trending topic in my timeline. The tweets were hilarious but the context wasn’t and that was deserved. I check the box score and I see that the Thunder point guard put up 30 shots and missed 18 of them including a few crucial baskets at the end of the game. Yesterday I said that this game would be indicative of exactly what the Thunder are capable of. If they close out this game strong and sweep the Nuggets, we should all be very scared. I’m scared, but not for other teams, I’m scared for Oklahoma. What transpired is what I’ve always been afraid of for this team, selfish, inefficient play. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come and Westbrook will soon realize that Durant is the closer, not him. Oklahoma has a chance to close the series out at home on Wednesday.
Atlanta Hawks @ Orlando Magic – 7:30 PM EST on NBAtv: Atlanta leads this series 3-1. This means the Hawks have three chances to win one game, starting with tonight. Which most likely means that Atlanta won’t win tonight because they are Atlanta. Orlando wins this one if their 3-point shooters actually make some 3-point shots. The strange part of this series is that Atlanta’s shooters haven’t been shooting well, either. Orlando might get unlucky and find their stroke on the same night Atlanta does.
Indiana Pacers @ Chicago Bulls – 8:00 PM EST on TNT: The Pacers did some good things in games 3 & 4. They went to a trap defense and saw some results. Good enough results that they limited Derrick Rose — even before he sprained his ankle — and forced a Game 5. Although Chicago leads this series 3-1 and many thought this would be a sweep or at worst 5-games, Indiana has been right there. This could easily be a 2-2 series or even a 3-1 series in favor of Indy. That last bit might be a stretch but don’t forget the Pacer held a significant 4th quarter lead in every single game. If this team figures out how to actually close a game out — they almost blew a double digit lead in game 4 as well — they might steal at least one more game in these playoffs. Still, even with Rose’s bum ankle, I see Chicago closing it out tonight.
New Orleans Hornets @ Los Angeles Lakers – 10:30 PM EST on TNT: I’m not sure what to expect anymore. I never thought one man could beat the 2-time defending world champs, let alone do it twice in four games. The thing that gets me is that Chris Paul has been stellar, but it hasn’t been inconceivable. It’s not like he had to score 60 points for the hornets to win. He simply had to have a great Chris-Paulian type game of 20+/15+/5+. That might sound out of this world, but Chris nearly averaged that a few seasons ago, so asking for him to do it two more times in the three games left in this series is not that far fetched. Especially with Kobe playing on a sprained ankle which he refuses to get an MRI on, there might be no one on this Lakers roster than can defend Chris Paul. Lakers are going to have to simply outsize New Orleans, something which they are inexplicably having trouble doing.
Links Of The Day:
The No-Look Pass: Check out Rey-Rey’s daily recaps of playoff action!
The Basketball Jones: Holly MacKenzie with two pieces just as good as the performances that inspired them: Chris Paul & Brandon Roy
Negative Dunkalectics: The joys of gambling on the NBA.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com: Chris Paul is red-hot, via StatsCube.
Join me on twitter tonight for a ridiculously good time.
Shane is a contributor to Stacheketball.com, LarryBrownSports.com & NBAoffseason.com. You can find him babbling about basketball all over the net or tune in as he tweets nonsense on twitter @Suga_Shane.