So it turns out I’m not the basketball guru that I thought I was, although in my defense, the Nuggets could have easily forced a Game 6 if it wasn’t for Kevin Durant’s pull up jump shot and Nene blowing the easy dunk (give credit to Ibaka for his defense).
It’s sad to see the Spurs get knocked out after such a great season. I don’t know what was going through Manu Ginobili’s head when he was inbounding the ball to the rookie Gary Neal. The whole season was in Gary Neal’s hands. Big ups to Neal for having the balls to take that shot. Less experienced players like to shy away from big moments like these (see Philadelphia 76ers) and I think for most other rookies, they would have immediately passed it back to Ginobili, who wouldn’t have enough time to get off a good shot.
I have to head out for breakfast so I will just throw out some quick predictions here.
Grizzlies over Thunder in 7
Lakers over Mavericks in 5
Bulls over Hawks in 5
Heat over Celtics in 7
I honestly believe that the Grizzlies could beat the Thunder. Randolph and Gasol are the second best two-way big man tandem after the Lakers big men, and the Grizzlies have two strong perimeter defenders in Tony Allen and Shane Battier to throw at Westbrook and Durant. I hate the term “X-Factor” but for a lack of better words, Shane Batter is the X-Factor of this series.
Shane Battier’s teams are 9-3 against Kevin Durant’s teams. Battier’s effectiveness is well documented to be not documented on the box score. He disrupts the flow of the offense and is an all around pest to deal with. The Grizzlies offense revolves around a dominant low post scorer and is well balanced in a way that anyone else on the floor can make a shot when needed. Throw in the intangibles from guys like Tony Allen and Shane Battier and I believe that is enough to push them over the Thunder.