Trans. May 16 2:16 ET (May 16 2:16 ET ) OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The way Kevin Martin describes it, the Oklahoma City Thunder lost the ''vision'' of a potential championship run the morning they learned All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook would be out for the rest of the postseason.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The way Kevin Martin describes it, the Oklahoma City Thunder lost the ''vision'' of a potential championship run the morning they learned All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook would be out for the rest of the postseason.
A look around the league and the web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out.
C : The Classical . David Roth delves into the enervating and tacky start of the Brooklyn Nets, the five-year malaise following Jason Kidd’s trade demand season of 2007-08 , and the team’s tough first year after moving across the river.
PF : Indianapolis Star . Bob Kravitz details why, despite New York’s fantastic run to pull away in Game 2 , the Indiana Pacers should be the favorites in this conference semifinal.
SF : SB Nation . After an embarrassing DJ turn during Game 1, Jon Bois previews the upcoming San Antonio Spurs in-house arena music we’re expected to take in for Game 2.
SG : Eye on Basketball . Royce Young is completely correct when he points to Kevin Martin as a needed bulwark to fortify Oklahoma City’s comeback in a five-game series that they do not own the home court advantage in.
PG : SB Nation . The Chicago Bulls have cleared Derrick Rose to play basketball. They’ve also cleared quite a few players that weren’t fit to play basketball. This is Tom Ziller’s damning and accurate indictment.
Heading into Tuesday's Game 2 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Memphis Grizzlies knew that despite letting a series-opening win slip through their fingers on Sunday, they still had an excellent chance of leaving Oklahoma with a split, if they could just tie up a couple of loose ends and get bounce-back games from the starting backcourt of Mike Conley (5 for 15 from the floor with only three assists in Game 1) and Tony Allen (three points on 1 for 5 shooting, no steals and some bad off-ball defense that helped Kevin Martin get loose).
The Grizzlies stuck to the script on Tuesday, playing what head coach Lionel Hollins called "kind of our game" — getting the foul line more often (32 attempts, up from 24 Sunday) and making freebies at a higher clip (71.9 percent, up from 58.3), forcing more turnovers (21, up from 10) and scoring off them (29 points, up from 14) — in a 99-93 win that evened their best-of-seven series at one game apiece heading back to the friendly confines of FedEx Forum for Saturday's Game 3.
In a series where the primary storylines have focused on the all-around brilliance of Kevin Durant (another monster game, with 36 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, a ridiculous chasedown block and a withering crossover-and-flush through the Grizzlies defense) and the continued dominance of Memphis bruisers Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph (39 combined points on 25 shots, 13 rebounds, eight assists, three steals and two blocks), it was Conley who proved to be the real difference-maker down the stretch.
Hey, remember when Houston Rockets center Omer Asik got called for what appeared to be a pretty dubious offensive foul during the second quarter of Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder? Of course you do! (Remember how I tried to change the name "Thabo Sefolosha" to "Kevin Martin" in the post after being informed that I had 100 percent misidentified the second OKC flopper, only to find that the change didn't take in our publishing system, so it seems like it's going to stay wrong and haunt me forever? Of course you don't!)
In the event you've somehow forgotten the play since the Thunder dispatched the Rockets and moved on to a second-round matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies, refresh your memory:
Well, it seems the NBA didn't forget about it, announcing Monday evening that it has fined Thunder guard Derek Fisher $5,000 for violating the league's anti-flopping policy. I'm not entirely sure why it took that long for Stu Jackson and company to mete out their hot brand of discipline, but the delivery of justice, even when delayed, enhances and emboldens us all.