The Western Conference Finals + Other NBA things

Picking the 2nd round matchups were actually better for me. Better as in, I got all of them right which is shocking because I don’t really know basketball (sarcasm font). To me, and maybe it’s just me, three of the four semifinal matchups were just okay and I was expecting more. The only one that lived up to the hype that I created (I’m lowkey a hype machine?f) was Golden State and San Antonio. Having picked San Antonio in 5, I rooted for the Warriors like crazy. Why? I wanted Stephen Curry to entertain us for another couple of weeks.  Most people say that Lebane James is their favorite player, and understandable, the dude is a monster and he’s the best player in the game. I get that.  But, having my dude in the playoffs for the first time, it was dope to watch him ball out. Steph, I salute you. Keep grinding,  and working hard on your game since you’re gonna be the 2014 NBA MVP (I now jinxed Stephen Curry to have one of his worst seasons ever because I’m that type of fan to pick a dude to win the MVP while having two bad ankles, and going off a ridiculous postseason where he showed the world where he’s a top 5 point guard, and the best shooter in the world. If you struggle Steph,  #BlameShonn. No wait, #BlameShyle).

Before we go into the Western Conference Finals, I haven’t gotten a chance to ever address the whole Seattle/Sacramento NBA thing because I just wanted everything to play out. The NBA finally addressed the whole situation with the Sacramento Kings and Seattle this week and the Kings are gonna stay in Sacramento as the Maloof brothers were told to sell the Kings to a Sacramento-based ownership (Which they did btw). Living in the Seattle-area my whole life, it was a sad day when the Sonics left because of Howard Schultz selling the team to Clay Bennett who knew damn well he was gonna move a team to Oklahoma City. It sucked when Greg Nickels didn’t have heart to fight to keep the team. It sucked when the city of Seattle laughed at the notion that the Sonics needed a new arena. It was funny how Clay Bennett said he wanted to put a team in Renton instead of having it in Seattle, and how he was gonna attempt to put it in one of busiest places in the Seattle-area.

That was my reaction back in 2008, lol

Still, it’s almost surreal that it’s been about five years have gone by from the Sonics franchise leaving to go to Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma City Thunder are the most hated team out here, which is understandable. Even though with the most basic name of all-time, have the 2nd best player in the game, and the 2nd best point guard in the league, plus they are the defending Western Conference Champions for another couple of weeks. Does it suck that Seattle might not ever get a team? Hell yes, it sucks. It sucks completely that Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton might not have their jersey retired. I am a Laker fan, yes, but when I was growing up, Kemp was my favorite player (I have his jersey from like 94, and the old old school logo) and I would kill to see that day where the people in Seattle to see his number in the rafters.

However, I can’t get mad at Kevin Johnson and the city of Sacramento for fighting to keep what is theirs. The Kings might have been bounced around from city to city, but man, that’s their home now. People in Seattle always said that they would never want to steal another team, but the opportunity comes, folks want to. I understand the desire to have a NBA team here. I get it. But I guess I’m just different on thinking about it. Lesson learned here? Fans can only do so much fighting to save their team. The city has to show some action. So Seattle Sonics, I guess its RIP. I don’t know what’s gonna happen, but maybe a team will comeback to the hometown. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. If it does, it does.

On to the Western Conference Finals, which should be entertaining. I think. I hope at least. I think I gotta pray.

Western Conference Finals:

5) Memphis Grizzlies vs 2) San Antonio Spurs

At the beginning of the season, we thought we’d see the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder in this position to get to the finals. Injuries occurred for both teams (The Lakers were banged up all season long; OKC lost Russell Westbrook but I don’t think it would have mattered against Memphis), and instead, we see Memphis and San Antonio in the western conference finals battling to get to the finals. The last time we saw this matchup in the playoffs, The Grizzlies beat the favored Spurs in 6 games in 2011, as Zach Randolph carried the Grizzlies to win the series. Now that it’s 2013, both teams are completely different, but the same cast of characters are around.

Memphis eliminated the Oklahoma City Durants Thunder in a 5 game sweep. Yes,  it was a 5 game sweep (Memphis controlled every single game, and in reality, this series should have been an actual sweep. Can you imagine if the Thunder got swept, though? The fallout is bad enough that Kevin Durant shot 5-22 with his team on the ropes, and missed a game-tying jumper. It was bad enough to see Scott Brooks press conference and then seeing how sad he looked. Dude looked like his dog died. Which is respectable. Maybe he’ll learn how to actually create an offense instead of thinking it’s a pickup game.) and it was pretty dominant too. Marc Gasol is turning into the best center in the league (My dude Micah calls him #FatPau and well……. he’s not lying) with his ability to control the game by playing defense, rebound, shoot well from 15 feet, being a great passer from the high post, and scoring on the block. Gasol’s development has been key to Memphis’ success to this “bullyball” that they play. Outside of Lebron and Paul George, Tony Allen is the best wing defender in the playoffs.

The improvement of Mike Conley Jr. has been the key to the Memphis Grizzlies. I laughed like everyone else when the Grizzlies extended Conley a couple of years ago, but he’s become a very good player in the league. In crunch time, the Grizzlies look to him to run the offense, and make plays for others whether it’s Gasol, Z-Bo, or even Jerryd Bayless. It’s weird to say that out of the guys on the 2007 Ohio State Buckeye national runner-up team that had Greg broken glass Oden, and Daequan Cook that Conley would be the best one. (Conley’s father is his dad, who’s an agent and was a Olympic Triple Jumper. Good gene pool, Mike.)

The San Antonio Spurs find themselves in another conference finals. I’m about to be 21, and I can tell you that ever since they’ve gotten Tim Duncan in the 1997 NBA Draft, they always end up playing in late May. This year, it’s like the Spurs were cruel to me. They first took out my Los Angeles D-Leaguers Lakers with an embarrassing sweep that had folks telling jokes, and then the Playoff MVP (so far, you LeBane stans) in Stephen Curry.  If the Spurs get through this, this will be impressive. Contrary to popular belief, the Spurs aren’t boring (I might have lied here). Just because they have guys who aren’t flashy doesn’t mean they are boring. If you watch their offense, it’s poetry in motion. No seriously. Watch the passing, and cutting (God, that sounds like something like a rich white dude would say while listening to Classical Music. Wait. People say the Spurs are boring. Classical Music can be boring. See what I did there? I see what I did, and it’s brilliant.) of the Spurs. Tim Duncan has been shooting jumpshots off the glass since 2000. Tony Parker went from Eva Longoria’s husband, to NBA Finals MVP, to being her ex-husband because he was sexting Brent Berry’s wife, to an All-Star. I remember when Manu Ginobili had hair.

We know how Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker have won three titles together, and that all three of them are hall of famers (I’m convinced that Parker will get in, but people will argue that and that’s okay. If he doesn’t make it in 15-20 years, come back to this blog, and laugh at me), but Danny Green has stepped his game up, especially in the last series. Green has been known for about two things:

1. 

2. 

Danny Green, when hitting the three ball is a very productive player in the NBA, and he’s been productive in the playoffs since Manu Ginobili hasn’t been Manu Ginobili (And to be real with you, I think Ginobili has a case of Fathertime coming his way which is very sad). Green averaged 12 pts a game, 44 percent from three, and most importantly, locked down one of the leagues blooming stars in Curry. If Green produces in the series, the Spurs will make the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007.

Series Prediction:

On Facebook, I said this on Wednesday night:

Memphis

Here are 4 reasons I want Memphis to win this series:

  1. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph play bullyball, and it’s fun as hell to watch. When I was younger, I used to tell my dude Jared that  watching slow, defensive grindout games were boring. For some reason, I enjoy the hell outta watching Memphis play old school basketball, and it starts with those guys.
  2. I want Memphis to win game 6 at home, so they can celebrate with “Whoop That Trick” in the background. That’s all Shaun wants. It’d be hilarious to hear Jeff Van Gundy attempt to breakdown the song in the background. HILARIOUS.
  3. I hate the San Antonio Spurs. I mean, come on. I’m a Laker fan. Those battles all these years, I don’t want them dudes winning anything. Plus, I’m not trying to watch Tim Duncan win another ring with his struggle hair. Nope. I’m not here for this.
  4. That gif below explains why I can’t see San Antonio prosper.
……………………….

Here are 3 reasons WHY Memphis will win this series:

  1. Tony Allen is gonna lock down either Manu Ginobili or Tony Parker when the game is tight in the 4th quarter. Or maybe Conley will. I don’t even know at this point, but one of those two are getting shut down. Allen is the best wing defender in the league, and he’ll make things tough for one of them.
  2. Speaking of Tony Parker, I think he’s more hurt than we believe. Everyone is talking about his calf, but other than a couple of shots in game 6 against Golden State, Parker had no lift on his jumpshots. When healthy, Parker is one of the most dangerous pick and roll players because his 15-18 foot midrange jumpshot is deadly, and if you attempt to contest it, he’ll go by you for a layup. If he has no lift on his jumpshot, then well………….
  3. Memphis is the better team. Period. San Antonio is a solid ballclub, but Memphis is better. As of right now, I’d take Gasol/Z-Bo/Arthur over Duncan/Splitter/Diaw. I think Memphis will be able to control the game with their defense, their rebounding, and their toughness. Memphis has problems scoring at times, but in the playoffs, they’ve been able to grind and grit.

At the end of the day, I’m taking Memphis, and they’ll move on to the NBA Finals. Memphis. 6 games. NBA Finals. Imagine that when they moved from Vancouver in the early 2000s. Remember that? Vancouver BC had a basketball team. Boy I tell ya. I just got off track here for fun reasons.

Eastern Conference Finals blog coming soon as that series ended on Saturday night, and it’s needed to let the Pacers victory over the New York Knicks soak up for a bit.

Comments? Leave them.

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