At the end of it all, it was a feeling the New York basketball fans were all too familiar with.
In a season that promised much, the Knicks once again fell short of expectations and were eliminated from the Playoffs by the Indiana Pacers. Saturday's 106-99 loss meant a 4-2 series defeat and another season of underachievement. Despite winning their first playoff series since 2000, this year has left us with more questions than answers when it comes to the Knickerbockers ability to win a title.
This was a team built to 'Win now', filled with savvy veterans to compliment their All-NBA forward Carmelo Anthony. A title challenge was expected after a strong regular season, where they finished atop the Atlantic Division with a record of 54-28 and the number two seed in the Eastern Conference. This Knicks team had a different look about it than teams of the past. They had all bought into Mike Woodson's 'Team first' philosophy and most agreed that if anybody was going to dethrone the Miami Heat, it would be the Knicks.
Memphis Grizzlies 56 – 26 vs. San Antonio Spurs 58-24
Regular Season Series: Series tied with two wins apiece.
The Memphis Grizzlies will square off against the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 Western Conference Finals that begins Sunday in San Antonio. Both teams have been impressive in the post season, with the Spurs sweeping an ailing Los Angeles Lakers squad in the first round and then fending off a tough up and coming Golden State Warrior team in their second round series. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies post season run began with them soundly beating a strong Los Angeles Clippers team in the first round and then followed that up by defeating the shorthanded Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round.
This will be a competitive series and there is not an obvious favorite, as both teams match up well against each other. Each team possess’ quality big men, athletic perimeter players and point guards that can create opportunities for themselves and their teammates. While neither team has an obvious advantage, here are five observations that could decide who wins the Western Conference Championship.
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In the end, it was an absolute demolition job.
The Memphis Grizzlies continued their fairytale post-season by destroying the Western Conference favourites, the Oklahoma City Thunder, 4-1 to advance into the Conference finals. The 88-84 victory to ensure their advancement was typical of the gritty determination they have shown throughout the season. Now, the team who had recorded just one Playoff series win in their history until this season, has a real chance of winning the West and quite possibly an NBA Championship.
They have never claimed to be the most popular or fashionable team that's ever graced a court. They are tough, workmanlike and work very well as a unit. These traits might not get you the Nationally televised games or the endorsement deals, but it does bring you success. It may have taken some time, but Memphis are now reaping the rewards for sticking to their principles and are finally getting the praise their performances have deserved for some time.
Since the conclusion of the Boston Celtics’ season the hype from veteran reporters and bloggers alike has been to blow up the Celtics by trading Kevin Garnett and either waiving, trading or using the amnesty clause to remove Paul Pierce from the team. The thought process being that by trading Garnett and Pierce the Celtics would receive younger players who in return would fill the rebounding and scoring void needed to pave the way to the Celtics 18th NBA title.
There has been speculation, none of which has been corroborated by the Celtics organization, that in February the Celtics rejected offers for both players. The Los Angeles Clippers supposedly offered center DeAndre Jordan and point guard Eric Bledsoe for Kevin Garnett and the Brooklyn Nets presented the Celtics with an offer of forward Kris Humphries, guard MarShon Brooks and a first round pick for Pierce. More recently, it was reported that the Clippers would like to give the Celtics Matt Barnes and Carron Butler for Pierce.
The Golden State Warriors have tied their NBA playoff series 2-2 with the veteran San Antonio Spurs winning game four in overtime 97-87. Both teams have won games on the opponents’ home court. There is no question this playoff series is in the mode of ready, set, go! How did this unlikely Warriors team get on the Mark?
When the Golden State Warriors organization’s top brass made the decision to interview Mark Jackson for their head coaching vacancy they stepped out of the preverbal box. They interviewed a very good and knowledgeable ABC-NBA prime time analyst who was one of the best assist men in NBA history, but he had no resume as a coach at the high school, college or NBA level. Mark Jackson had no major coaching experience.
Mark Jackson is an ordained minister who along with his wife is a pastor of a congregation. Not your normal prerequisite qualification for a head coach in the NBA.