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April 30, 2014



By William M. Larsha, Jr., Columnist/Sports Reporter

The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway

MEMPHIS, TN- On the last day of the NBA regular season, the Memphis Grizzlies were not sure of what seed they would be going into the 2014 NBA playoffs. If they lost against last day opponent Dallas, the would be the 8 seed meaning they would face a first round match up with San Antonio. A win meant a 7 seed versus the Oklahoma City Thunder. Grizz nation preferred the Thunder as San Antonio has been a historical problem for the Grizzlies. Dallas missed a last second shot to win and the Grizzlies' victory put them in the desired 7 seed with a date against the Thunder.


What has followed so far is one the classic first round match ups in NBA history. In game one in Oklahoma City, the Thunder led by as much as 25 points in the game. Not deterred, the Grizzlies eventually cut the lead to only 2 points. The comeback fell short as the Thunder prevailed 100-86, but the Grizzlies sent the message that they were not going down easily. 


In game two, the scene was a lot closer. After leading throughout most of the game, the Grizzlies lost a fourth quarter lead when the Thunder tied the game at 99 to force overtime. Again not deterred, the Grizzlies outscored the Thunder 12-6 in overtime to win the game 111-105. This was the first road win in the series and the first of 4 consecutive overtime games, an NBA playoff record.


The next two games were played in Memphis. In game 3, the Grizzlies once again lost a 4th quarter lead, this time of 17 points with 7 minutes left. The Thunder forced overtime. The Grizzlies, though disappointed with losing the lead, showed the resolve they have all series by outscoring the Thunder in overtime to preserve the win 98-95.  Game 4 was another overtime thriller this time in the Thunder's favor 92-89.


Game 5 was back on Oklahoma City with the series tied 2-2. As one can imagine, it was another nail biter. The Grizzlies lead 90-88 with 12 seconds remaining and the ball. Thunder guard Russell Westbrook stole the ball from Grizzlies guard Mike Conley and made a dunk to tie the game at 90. You guessed it, another overtime was imminent. And another example of the Grizzlies not letting adversity at the end of regulation affect their overtime performance was also forthcoming. They outscored the Thunder 10-9 in overtime for a close 100-99 victory. The Thunder hit a shot at the buzzer to take what seemed to be a victory, but replay showed it was after the horn and did not count.


Game 6 is May 1 back in Memphis with a chance for the Grizzlies to win the series at home. My guess is that another thriller is in store.