Thursday, May 12, 2011

Shaw Kemp is Loyal (?), Overweight

In a move that totally should not make you giggle, not even a little bit, Shawn Kemp is standing up for fidelity! Yes, the noted basketball player with noted potency refused courtside seats to see the Thunder play in OKC, out of loyalty to the Sonics. Good for you Shawn! When you decide to apologize for drinking, smoking, eating, impregnating, eating, impregnating, sleeping, and eating your way out of relevancy, please let me know.

Shawn's ethical concerns aside, the Oklahoma City Thunder are the best story remaining in the NBA Playoffs. Dirk finally figured out how to be the man. The Bulls could spare us all the misery of a Miami Heat Final. But, OKC is out there proving a smart, well run small market team can compete and win. Their series with the Memphis Grizzlies emphasized that point through seven superb games. Both teams are Pacific Northwest ex-patriates, but Memphis undeniably had the tougher road. Who would have assumed a trade for Pau's younger brother and Kwame Brown would pay off? But it did. Marc Gasol played like he wanted it, Pau Gasol looked like he wanted his vacation.

But the biggest surprise on the Grizzlies has to be Zach Randolph. Z-Bo has spent his career as a 20-10 "so what" player. Someone who can get great numbers but never fits in a winning system. Zach made that label a thing of the past. He stared down the Spurs, calmly closing out games when people expected him to choke. He got the Grizzlies to Game 7 against the Thunder, despite OKC's powerful defensive frontcourt. If there's one hope to hold in your heart, besides Miami losing, it's that this season wasn't a fluke for Memphis. Team basketball matters. Seeing five guys on the court who know how to play together makes games fun to watch. Forty-eight minutes of one on ones and contested shots is miserable to watch. The Grizzlies have earned a spot in the NBA's elite, and here's hoping they fight for that chair next year.

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