That was fun, wasn’t it?
The Grizzlies have been in Memphis for 12 years this year and I’m not sure that there’s ever been a regular season win that’s resonated with the city like that Heat game on Sunday.
That’s not hyperbole, just an opinion. I’m not going to pretend to act like I was reading Geoff Calkins back in 2003 with baited breath after a close game against the Spurs.
I’m talking about today’s 24/7 media-frenzied world where every game gets dissected eight different ways almost immediately. In that world, the Grizzlies’ beat down against the defending World Champions was something to behold.
But we already knew that the Grizzlies could beat the Heat. After all, they’re 3-1 against the Heat since Miami launched the “Big Three” era in the vaunted summer of 2010.
The team blocking the Grizzlies’ path to the Finals is none other than the Oklahoma City Thunder.
You probably remember the 7 game playoff series in 2011, but do you remember how close the Grizzlies were to breaking through and making the Western Conference Finals? The Grizzlies led the series 2-1 and took a huge lead to halftime in game 4. They rallied back to win game 6 at home after dropping two straight.
Of course, the Thunder did win the series and that’s what most people remember. Then the Thunder won the Western Conference last year and despite the trade of super Sixth Man James Harden to the Houston Rockets, still have designs on making a return trip to The Finals and winning it all this time.
The Thunder are led by Kevin Durant as always and as long as he’s there, the Thunder will simply always be good for 50 wins and usually a division title. The scariest thing about the Thunder is that they have another All-Star in Russell Westbrook on their team. When those two are going, there may be no better duo in the NBA. In case you missed it, there have been some pretty prolific duos formed the past five years in this league.
Of course, the Harden trade hangs over everything since it was finalized. It was one of those rare things that everyone had an opinion no matter if they followed the NBA closely or not.
In my opinion, the Thunder got a good haul for Harden. The problem is that the Thunder were arguably the best offensive team in the league when Durant, Westbrook and Harden all played together last year. Harden on his own is an awesome player. Harden with Durant and Westbrook was unstoppable at times. That’s a situation where you can’t really put a value on Harden without considering all of the other factors at play as well.
Despite all of that, this game tonight should be so much fun. It’s on ESPN at 7:00 central standard time. If you’re reading this, you’d better not miss it.
Hope I’m wrong and if I am, I’m just the latest person to underestimate the Memphis Grizzlies. Enjoy the game everyone.