Chicago had no business to be still playing in May this season. Without their top three players and a myriad of injuries to the rest of the squad, they put up a fight for the ages and defied every expectation of them. For them to hang with the Heat last night, even in what wound being a 94-91 loss, was a task in itself and their relentless toughness earned my respect.
But on the other side of the court, Miami squeaked out a win to deliver the final blow to one of their most bitter rivals, post Big 3 era. Without Derrick Rose, it wasn’t the greatest series but the bad blood between these two teams made it somewhat interesting still. The only question remaining to ask now is who’s left to challenge the Heat for the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Meanwhile, I think we can all agree that the 2013 playoffs have deaded any debate on whether or not the Thunder need Russell Westbrook. Especially with James Harden long gone, the void left by Westbrooks absence wasn’t replaceable and nobody within a 100-mile radius of OKC stepped up to help out Kevin Durant when he needed it most. Throughout the series, the Thunder matched up with Memphis like steak matches up with a knife. And after the their last minute rally sputtered, OKC just looked they wanted the beating to finally be over with.
Remember when the Grizzlies were the laughingstock of the league? It looks like those days are long gone now (even it still doesn’t feel quite right to me yet).In some ways they almost remind of an NFL team instead of a finesse-driven, fast-breaking NBA team. They out-toughed OKC almost every game to finally win 88-84 and make it to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.
And since the chips are stacking against Golden State, it’s looking like Zach Randolph and co. will the best bet to dethrone Miami. Lord knows anything is better than the Heat winning another chip. Go Grizz!