In Win or Go Home games, the NBA playoffs have continued to provide us with quite a show. The two games played last night were both opportunities for teams to take the first round – the Memphis Grizzlies and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 2011 NBA Playoffs have been incredibly exciting thus far, many games coming down to the last few minutes – with teams hanging on to play another game when nobody else thought they had the chance; teams pulling out the W despite injuries – this is what the Playoffs are all about, basketball at its finest.
The Thunder were able to take the first round from the Nuggets in 5 games. Kevin Durant continues to shine, a young stunner that has an incredibly bright future in the NBA. In the win over the Nuggets, Durant put the game on his shoulders and pulled out the win with a whopping 41 points – tying his playoff high point total in game 1. Despite subpar play from their other star Westbrook, the Thunder were able to triumph over the Nuggets and prevail to the next round. Taking the series 4-1, the Oklahoma City Thunder look hard to stop – healthy, and ready to play their next opponent.
But the game of the night had to be the Spurs vs. the Grizzlies. The talking heads all thought the Grizzlies would pull out the win and upset the Number 1 seed in the West with ease. The veteran star power of the Spurs was just not ready to go home. Leading most of the basketball game, they fell down to the Grizzlies, making it seem as though the predictions of the End of the Spurs Era were inevitable. But in pure star form we saw basketball at its finest – a 2 point shot by Ginobili and a last second 3 point shot by Neal that took the game to overtime. Both were improbable shots, but both went through the net. In the overtime victory that shocked many, the Spurs showed their desire to continue their playoff journey, and let the world know that they aren’t quite done yet.
The Spurs have a tough road ahead, and winning the series over the big, young, and incredibly talented Grizzlies seems a pretty long shot, but last night showed that in playoff basketball, anything is possible. With the Grizzlies leading the series 3-2 the Spurs are against the proverbial wall, needing to win the next game in Memphis, lest their playoff journey come to an end. While the Spurs have become the surprising underdog, their hopes are still alive. Can the veteran squad outlast the young talent of Memphis? Game 6 will tell the tale.
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With two more Win or Go Home games tonight, playoff basketball continues to enthrall us. Many are wondering how much of an impact Kobe can have in the Lakers/Hornets game tonight, and others wonder if CP3 will come out and steal the show as he did in games 1 and 4. If Kobe can play at his finest, Gasol can have the impact he had in game 4, and Odom can continue to crash the boards, the young talent of New Orleans may have their work cut out for them. And in the Mavs and Blazers game, many are expecting the Mavs to finish the job, but is it too late to count out the Blazers given their 23 point comeback not long ago? Only tonight will tell, and I myself can’t wait!