Forces of Nature! Playoff Pondering: May 12, 2011

They DID beat Boston :(
(image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The Heat and the Thunder thump their rivals. Miami finally gets over the Boston hump, and it seems OKC has solved the Zach Randolph puzzle.

MIA over BOS, 97-87 (MIA wins, 4-1)

I still hope someone beats the Heat.

Doc Rivers and the Cs
are heading home
(image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
It just won’t be the Boston Celtics. They had a chance, and about a week ago they looked strong. They swept New York and had plenty of time to rest and get prepped for their much-anticipated tussle with Miami.

But all that didn’t do much good for the Big Green. Their experience transformed into age, their talent was hampered by injuries, their confidence turned to desperation, and their 3 regular season wins against the Heat became a distant memory.

They were just out-starred by a team led by 2 of the top 5 players in the world.

All the Celts could do was have the game tied with about 5 minutes to go, and then their war-weary bodies just gave way while Miami’s King of Pain came down hard on them.

They were kicked out of championship contention by a team they’ve eliminated many times before, by a man they’ve humbled many times as well.

But it seems these playoff games have welcomed a changing of the guard. Now that Boston’s out, we’re left with a generally youthful bunch. None of the remaining teams played in the NBA Finals of the past 4 years, and, save for Dallas, these teams are led by young cores raring to prove themselves. Out with the old, and in with the new.

Out with Boston’s Big 3, and in with the Heat’s own version.

Still, I hope someone can just beat the Heat.

Chris Bosh made some big plays to help the Heat advance
(image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
LeBron finally gets by Pierce
(image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The Truth tried and tried, but just couldn't
prevent the inevitable
(image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Coach Spo has a few days to prep for his first
trip to the East Finals
(image by the AP)
OKC over MEM, 99-72 (OKC up 3-2)

Kevin Durant & Serge Ibaka are hoping to
close it out in Tennessee
(image by the AP)
When Darrel Arthur becomes the second leading scorer on a team led in points by Marc Gasol’s 15, that’s not good. So not good.

When a team’s lead big man who’s averaging about 26 points a game only finishes with 9 on 3-of-9 FG shooting, that just makes things worse.

When a team shoots just 36% from the field, is out-rebounded and out-assisted, then that ensures defeat.

Such a horrific, deflating, momentum-changing defeat.

And so what’s left for the Memphis Grizzlies? Rest up, go back home, and hope they still have enough gas and magic to force a Game 7.

But don’t count on it. The Thunder are feeling it. After withstanding 3 overtimes in Tennessee and dumping Memphis at home, OKC has enough momentum and confidence to punch through to the Western Conference Finals.
Daequan Cook stepped up
for the Thunder
(image by the AP)

By normal standards, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook had pedestrian Game 5 performances, but Memphis played so badly that the duo didn’t have to clean up in the payoff period. Daequan Cook stepped up with 18 points, Nazr Mohammed had 10 markers, Nick Collison almost had a double-double, and the team shot 45% from beyond the long line. That was more than enough to dispose of a Grizzlies team tired from their marathon match-up in Game 4.

Game 6 is ripe for the taking for Scott Brooks and the Oklahoma Thunder.

After the game, Russell Westbrook had this to say, “We know that it’s going to be loud in there and going to be tough in a hostile environment. We’ve just got to go in there and play our game defensively. If we go in with a positive mindset, I think we’ll be all right.”

You’ll be more than alright Jet, you’ll be victorious.

Scott Brooks has to have something up his sleave
to finally get rid of Memphis
(image by the AP)
Jet Zero slams a tomahawk down
(image by the AP)
Zebo had his worst game of the postseason in Game 5
(image by the AP)
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