May 3, 2012
A Spurs-Grizzlies rematch in Round 2 could be a classicJazz on the ropes ... Bosh there for his son's birth -- and his team ... Smith and Allen up in the air
By MIKE GANTER, QMI AGENCY
Don’t look now but the San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies may be in for a playoff repeat.
The favoured Spurs were shocked in the first round last season by the Grizzlies and if they can finish off the Jazz, a team they lead 2-0, and the Grizzlies can withstand the L.A. Clippers, NBA fans should be treated to another entertaining duel between these two clubs.
Right now the Clippers are getting a taste of what the Spurs saw a year ago with the twin towers of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol beating them up in the paint and the likes of O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay and Tony Allen killing them from and on the perimeter.
The Clippers however are far from done having earned a split in Memphis with a huge 27-point comeback in Game 1 for a one-point win.
The talk in the aftermath of the Memphis win in Game 2 was how the officials let the Grizzlies manhandle the Clippers all game long.
The other side to that argument, and having seen plenty of video on this we’ll side with the Grizzlies for now, was the Clippers were trying to buy calls with flops that wouldn’t fool a high school ref, let alone the NBA’s elite officials.
Chris Paul collapsing to the court like he had just been shot when replays showed there wasn’t even the slightest bit of contact.
Say this about the Grizz. They owned the boards in Game 2 pulling down 16 offensive boards to the four the Clippers managed.
They owned the paint and the fast break game. Even with Paul going off for 29 points and trying his best to take over the game, the Grizzlies powered through.
The Clips were without Caron Butler who broke a bone in his hand in Game 1 when he got caught up in Gay’s shirt. Bobby Simmons filled in, but that’s a substantial loss for the Clips.
The Spurs meanwhile look like they’ve just about killed any spirit Utah built up in that final push to secure the last and final playoff spot in the west.
A demoralizing 114-83 loss to the Spurs has left the Jazz unsure of its next step.
“I can’t explain it. I couldn’t explain it the other night,” Jazz forward Paul Millsap said after the game. “They came out and just whipped us.”
A whipping might have been preferred. This was a mugging. The Spurs went on a 20-0 run in the first half, held the Jazz to just 11 points the entire second quarter and didn’t let anyone on the team score more than 10.
It was so bad even Spurs players, a group that is extra careful never to provide any motivation to an opponent admitted after the game they were begging head coach Gregg Popovich to stay in the game to keep up their conditioning.
We’re obviously getting ahead of ourselves here looking ahead to the next round when this first one isn’t even half over, but even the possibility of the rebuilt Spurs getting a crack at the team that took them out a year ago is at the very least worth hoping for.
BOSH DOES IT RIGHT
With a full understanding of how unpopular Chris Bosh is and probably will be (see Damon Stoudemire, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter) for his entire career in these parts, it was nonetheless impressive to see his juggling of the birth of his first child (a boy, Jackson) and his responsibilities to the team and fans of the Miami Heat whose playoff run is just getting started.
Bosh flew with the team to New York on Wednesday in advance of Thursday’s Game 3. He wasn’t in Gotham for very long before his Daddy beeper went off alerting him to the impending birth of his son. Bosh chartered a flight out of New York and was back in Miami by 2:30 a.m.
Bosh turned right back around later Thursday to be in New York for the start of Game 3. Not sure how alert he’ll be but napping on the plane or napping in the hotel room really shouldn’t be that much different assuming he didn’t skimp on the charter. And Bosh has been known to be very close to his money.
WAITING ON YOU GUYS
Josh Smith did not work out with the Atlanta Hawks Thursday, but did address his injury with the media. Smith is dealing with a sprained left knee and while he was walking without a noticeable limp Thursday, he told reporters he was going to hold off on running on it until shootaround on Friday in Boston.
“It’s OK,” he said Thursday. “If it feels good, I’m going to go. I’m not one to harness injuries. I have a high threshold for pain. If I feel like I can go a little bit I’m going to step out on floor.”
In Boston, the Celtics may or may not get Ray Allen back. The veteran owner of the best stroke in the NBA has missed the first two playoff games and the past 11 with the Celtics because of a sore right ankle that will require surgery eventually.
Allen though took part in the full practice on Thursday and sounded at least optimistic that he can get back on the court for Friday’s Game 3.