When The Rubber Hits The Road It’s Time To Step Up ……

When The Rubber Hits The Road It’s Time To Step Up ……

When the rubber meets the road it’s time to step up and it appears that the San Antonio Spurs have hit the road with a flat tire. The Memphis Grizzlies have given the Spurs all they can handle a great deal more. A 91-88 victory by the Grizzlies with Zach Randolph leading the charge in his team’s victory . When it’s all said and done a question needs to be asked ….. have Gregg Popovich’s  —- players become complacent or are the Grizzlies simply too good ? ===========================================================================

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Slide show for your perusal .

A 2-1 series lead and it appears with their next victory this series could be the Grizzlies for the taking . At this point Popovich has to get these players playing with a great deal more zeal as the Memphis Grizzlies simply have the Spurs on their heels. It’s seems strange to see the number one seed within the Western Conference simply being outplayed not only on their home court but also in large throughout much of this series as it has unfolded . Throughout much of the season this Spurs’ team played at a high caliber  with players such as Manu Ginobli , Gary Neal , Dejuan Blair , Tony Parker and Matt Bonner stepping up to the plate. However the zeal with which we saw during the regular season has been missing as this series has taken on a life of its own as it seems to be now slipping away from the grasp of the San Antonio Spurs. . If the Spurs are to be in with a chance of reasserting themselves and regaining some sort of momentum in this series then we’re going to have to see more from the likes of Ginobli , Parker and their seasoned veteran Tim Duncan . Granted , Duncan has seen limited time throughout much of the regular season .

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Clearly at this point of the playoffs the contenders ………….. ‘ the real contenders’ step up and separate themselves the pretenders’ . As an ardent Spurs’ fan I get the feeling that the Spurs rather than looking like a contender they’re now beginning to look and play like a pretender ! The four time  NBA champions are no nearer to adding a fifth title than there’s a chance of Donald Trump winning the 2012 Presidential elections based on their play in this series and in particular game three which saw them being completely outplayed by their Western Conference opponents . The credit where it’s due belongs to the Memphis Grizzlies and their belief that they’d nothing to fear in taking the game to the Spurs and forcing them to change their whole way of playing and the fact it has been this Grizzlies’ team in the driver’s seat. At some point we have to acknowledge that the league is now changing and that the so called  teams we believe to be dominant are no longer really that.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers  , Miami Heat and Boston Celtics will have their work cut out for them during these playoffs . Albeit that the Heat and Celtics have series leads as the playoffs progress these teams will face a much sterner test in the second round (conference semi finals) of the NBA Playoffs . As the playoffs unfold we’ll get to see what these teams are actually made of and how each faces adversity when stares at them from across the court . The Spurs are now in a position where they can ill afford to go down 3-1 in this series knowing full well that even on their home court they will be hard pressed to put the Memphis Grizzlies back on their heels. If anything it has been the Grizzles who have placed the Spurs back on their heels looking to stave off a series defeat and if anything what would be the shock of this season’s playoffs series so far. Zach Randolph has put this team on his back and played like a man possessed with something to prove to the doubters and naysayers who felt he’d nothing to offer . And as troubled as his career is said to have been Randolph now seems to have found a home where his talents have flourished and where the Grizzlies’ fans have no doubt shown their appreciation for all that they have witnessed from the player’s contributions on the court and within the local community . If it’s a given that the Spurs bow out of this series then I am willing to admit that I underestimated the Grizzlies but even more so I know that the the Spurs this while while their regular season was impressive if anything it created an illusion and an air of complacency that the lulled and lured their fans into thinking that this team was once again ready to contend and perhaps actually playing with a sense of purpose in marching towards the goal of winning another title .

A series loss would raise a great many questions as to this team and the direction that it is heading in. The triumvirate of Ginobli , Parker and Duncan is an aging one but the thought was that with a young nucleus of players looking to make their mark , instead it looks as if they have regressed lost in situation that in some respect is one of their own making. I certainly do believe that Gregg Popovich and GM R C Buford will have to reassess the qualities they seek in terms of the Spurs’ roster and how best to address the deficiencies that we now know that the San Antonio Spurs have. Now as the postseason plays itself out it will be very interesting to see what happens with each of the series in question . In the case of the Spurs and where a number one seed has previously faced a situation where they could be down 3-1 in the first round of a playoff series, that seed has gone on to win that fourth series game and to win that series four out of the six occasions since the playoff format came into being and where it changed from a best of five series to a best of seven game series . That if anything should be an added incentive to the team . But in reality the Spurs simply don’t need that as an incentive , what they actually need to do is to come out and play a meaningful game and series as if their very lives depended on it .

The 2011 NBA Playoffs have brought us a great deal of thrills and spills , and I must say that while I’d expected some controversy in terms of the officiating it has to be said the surprises if any, have come from the fact that certain teams we’re thought to have favored haven’t played anywhere near their true potential . And that has either been due to them either playing inconsistently or more to the fact that the lesser seeded teams in these playoffs have played well above their potential . It now remains to be seen how things will actually pan out for the teams and their loyal fans who have become engrossed in the NBA’s showcase event _ the playoffs as a precursor to the NBA Finals itself .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What series if anything in the first round of the playoffs has been of interest to you ? And how do you see the series between Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs ultimately ending ? Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on this piece and the NBA postseason as you now see it.

* NB Is there an NBA team in the state of Texas that actually has a backbone ? The Spurs are in turmoil in their series . The Dallas Mavericks in allowing the Portland Trailblazers to erase a twenty three  point deficit in game four of their series shows us why this Mavericks’ team is simply softer than a roll of Charmin tissue paper ! Mark Cuban you’ve been Punk’d bitch !

As for the heroics of Brandon Roy , it was truly exemplary ! The Houston Rockets having chosen not to seek the return of Rick Adelman  next season are now without an NBA coach . As to who Adelman’s successor will be it remains to be seen but team GM Daryl Morey will be seeking a quality oriented coach who knows how to get the best out of a young team and its players .

Alan aka tophatal ………………….. Picture and slide show details below . ——————————————————————————————————

(1) MEMPHIS, TN – APRIL 23: Zach Randolph (50) of the Memphis Grizzlies celebrates with a little dance after defeating the San Antonio Spurs in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2011 at FedExForum  in Memphis, Tennessee. Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE /Getty Images …..

(2) Darrell Arthur of the Memphis Grizzlies against the San Antonio Spurs in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 25, 2011 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. The Grizzlies defeated the Spurs 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the best of seven series . Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images………

(3) Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) drives against San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9), of France, during the second half of Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball series on Monday, April 25, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. Conley led the Grizzlies with 15 points and Parker led the Spurs with 23 points. The Grizzlies won 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. AP Photo/Lance Murphey  …………

(4) Memphis Grizzlies forward Leon Powe  (7) grabs a rebound in front of San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blair (45) and Daniel Green (4) during the second half of Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball series on Monday, April 25, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies won 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. Behind Powe are San Antonio Spurs forward Steve Novak (23) and Memphis Grizzlies center Hamed Haddadi (15), of Iran. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …..

(5) Trying to instill confidence ? Maybe . San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan, center, talks with his teammates during the second half of Game 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies in a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Monday, April 25, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies won 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …….

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NBA News

Sunday’s playoff schedule

Monday’s playoff schedule

San Antonio Spurs news

Memphis Grizzlies news

NBA Playoffs 2011 .

All the series latest news and results NBA Postseason Stats at a glance NBA Stats Year 2010-11

(a) NBA Standings (Conference) (b) NBA Standings ( Division) NBA Statistics

Offense —— Defense

Player stats …… Regular season Scoring

Double doubles

Assists

Rebounds

Free Throws

One Against Four, Four Against One , Someone’s Got To Win ……..

 
 
 
 

One  Against  Four  , Four  Against One, Someone’s  Got  To Win  ?

 

 

 

 

 

Well   tonight  the  number  one  ranked  University of Connecticut  take  on the number  four ranked Pitt  Panthers  in  a   game  that’s  meant  to   be  one  of  those  that’ll  either  make  or  break    the Huskies’  season.    The  men’s  college  basketball  season   has  generated  a   great  deal  of  interest.   And   when  you’ve  got a  number  of  teams   playing  a  highly competitive  brand  of  basketball. It’s   games  such  as  these  that   we   all   look  to ,   to  see    what  progress  is  being   made  by  the  teams. Whose   names are  being  bandied   about  as   serious   contenders   for   national   honors.   Never  mind  the   fact  that   conference and  in some   cases   divisional  titles   will  be  up  for  grabs  by  way of  tournaments.   

 

 

Hasheem  Thabeet  of  Connecticut  and  one of  the nine blocked  shots  recorded  in the  game  against   Seton  Hall.  picture appears courtesy  of ap/photo/ Bill  Kostroun ..........
Hasheem Thabeet of Connecticut and one the nine blocked shots he recorded in the game against Seton Hall. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Bill Kostroun ............

 

 

 Hasheem  Thabeet of Connecticut   and  one  of  the  nine  blocked  shots  that he  recorded  in the  game  played against  Seton Hall.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/Bill  Kostroun ……….

 

 

 

 

 

 

But  the  daddy  of  them  all   offcourse   is  the  national  championship   known  to   us  as  all as  the  NCAA  Tournament.    March   Madness   and   all  that  it  brings   may  well   be  just  about the  most exciting   time  of the year   in  sports  ,  other  than  the  Superbowl  itself.   To  my   mind  it  is  by  far  the  best   sporting  event   in the  country.  It  may  well  not   garner  the  viewership  overall  of that  of  the Superbowl  itself.  But   in sheer   terms  of intensity  and  excitement    the  event  itself   cannot  be    beaten.

 

 

 

 

Craig  Austrie (24)  and  Thabeet  celebrate   after their  62-54  victory  over  Seton Hall in Newark , NJ.  picture  appears courtesy of  ap/photo/Bill Kostroun......
Craig Austrie(24) and Thabeet celebrate their 62-54 victory over Seton Hall played in Newark , NJ. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Bill Kostroun ..............

 

 

 

Craig Austrie (24)  and   Thabeet  celebrate  after their  62-54  victory  over  Seton Hall  in Newark  , NJ.  picture appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/Bill Kostroun …..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The   game  itself  tonight  will  see  a  matchup  of  two  of    the  most  heralded   players  in  men’s  college  basketball.   For  the  Huskies   we’ll  see   Hasheem  Thabeet    whose   defensive   play  asides   apart   from   demonstratively   ferocious.  It  can  be  said   that   he  also  possesses  a   brevitas   on  the  offensive   side  of  the  ball   as  well.    For  the  Panthers   we  will   get  to   see  DeJuan  Blair   who’s   making  a  real   name  for   himself  with     the  program.    This   not  only   bodes  well   for  the  aspirations  of the  team  in   the  regular  season  . But   also    to  the     postseason  as  well. Where  it’s  expected    that  they’ll  make  their   presence  felt.

 

 

 

 

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