Blogtable: Best Non-Finals Series

We’ve asked our stable of scribes to take one last look back at the 2011 NBA playoffs.

What’s your favorite non-Finals series of the 2011 playoffs?

Steve Aschburner: Memphis-OKC. It was a hoot to see the Grizzlies pushing the Thunder to seven games and generally showing themselves to be Oklahoma City’s equals. With a triple-overtime Game 4 on the heels of a single-OT Game 3, the first four games especially were exhilarating.

Fran Blinebury: OKC vs. Memphis.  In the Grizzlies, we had only the second No. 8 seed to knock off a No. 1 in a best-of-seven series, going up against a Thunder team that everyone believed was still a year or two away.  What we got was seven games of gripping theater matching the relentlessness of Zach Randolph at the Grindhouse vs. the rising talent of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook at Loud City.  It was intensely-played, gripping basketball that had two overtime games, one that went triple-overtime, and a Game 7.  It was delicious and, best of all, could be a preview of more to come from both teams.

Shaun Powell: Oklahoma City-Memphis had everything you’d want: A pair of overtime games and a series that went the seven-game limit. You never had a sense that either team was safe from the other. Also, because these weren’t your traditional playoff teams, we were introduced to fresh faces, exactly what the NBA needed.

John Schuhmann: Thunder-Grizzlies. One of my favorite things about these playoffs was the contender turnover and fresh faces in games of importance. Just knowing that either Memphis or Oklahoma City was going to be in the conference finals was cool, and then they gave us a great, seven-game series.

Sekou Smith: This is an easy one. The Memphis/Hang Time Grizzlies knocking off the Western Conference top seed Spurs in six games in the first round should be everyone’s favorite non-Finals series of this postseason. It happens so rarely, an eighth seed upending a top dog. For it to be our Grizzlies, though … sorry, we get a little emotional just talking about ’em. Seriously, the Grizzlies and the run they made to the conference semifinals captured the theme of these playoffs perfectly. They forced us to expect the unexpected and then delivered.


  1. nicgom says:

    okc vs grizzlies, realy an amaziin series, mostly because it was unexpected and a lot was new, they played intense basketball, it was emotional, any of the teams could have won it.

    i think okc can be a great contender next year, or in one more year, they need a little bit more experience, that they made it to the conference finals will help them a lot, a lot of people are saying that westbrook is not good enough, but i disagree, he´s the player, he only needs a little bit more time and experience, he´s athletic, he´s a scorer and can defend, he´s a mixture between wade and someone like iverson, can play a lot of minutes, just need good guiedance, but he will deliver sooner or later, i think sooner, with durant and him u have a duet that will give you 55 points a night, which iss amazing, they need a third guy and they might already have one, james harden showed some very well developed skills in the postseason, he can play as a small forward and also be a big point guard, he can score and rule an ofensive, they have also serje ivaka, also a jung talent, the blocker, they might need someone that´s older to help them in the dificult moments, but that´s it.

    • carmelo006 says:

      as soon as the lakers,mavs,spurs step out of the spotlight then itd be OKC turn but the lakers still got 2-3 year left in em and so does dallas, the spurs not so sure this is their last year for sure.

  2. Forget that........ says:

    Another inmature player !!!? The Heat need a better bench but they also need to play more seriously to win it all, i mean you can see the difference between the teams the way the talk, practice and everything. The Mavs play with heart and all the players in their have win it all and that’s why the play so focus and commited, the Heat were joking around with Dirk having the FLU………………………………….

  3. Heat Fan says:

    J.R Smith is coming to Miami next season and we will win it all, CANT WAIT!!!!!!1

  4. All greats get locked up every once in a while like kobe vesus Shaine Battier back in the day.

  5. Viper139 says:

    Rose is a great player but he cannot do it on his own, if the defence really commits to him
    Lebron is a great player but he cannot do it against a great defender like Marion with help behind him
    Wade is a great player but he cannot do it agains the ageless Kidd with help behind him
    Durant is a great player but he cannot do it on his own, being defended by Marion/Stevenson….
    Dirk right now is probably the greatest of them all – but without help he did not win in the past.

    Even the great players need to play on a great team to win it all. The Mavs showed that this year. 3 of the best 4 players in this finals series played on the Miami side – still they lost, because they did not play as a team. The Mavs took their team defense to another level whenever they needed to and gave the ball to Dirk. The rest is history.

    I have no idea whether the Bulls or the Heat or ….. will learn from this years Mavs run. You need the players and the chemistry, the effort and the commitment – without it is just a bunch of great players – but not a team.


    Congratulations for your combined effort 🙂

  6. xb0xlive01 says:

    mavs will do it again until nowitzki will retired..but play xbox live by downloading free xbox live code generator []

  7. Jake says:

    I care about the Thunder and Grizzlies that was easily the best non-Finals series.

  8. Airwind says:

    Whether we like it or not, Bulls are a dynasty in the making. Rose is just 3 years in the league and he has made a mark already. The world saw that he can do it all but he doesn’t have to. One superstar can’t bring his team the gold alone. He has to be surrounded with great talents with outstanding character. Add a plate of chemistry on them and you have, “BANG!” a dangerous recipe to the finals.

  9. You're Daydreaming says:

    So many false prophets here haha.

  10. LAforever. says:

    Seriously? LA will get really better. and begin their championship hunt again. with dwight, kobe and gasol on our side. Lets go LA BABY!

  11. Warriora! says:

    Bulls are a bit overrated. actually VERY overrated. they were lucky to face young teams in the playoffs like the pacers and hawks. don’t see the hype about them next year. they are still not a playoff caliber team.

    • Jake says:

      Not a playoff caliber team!? Is there anything inside that lump of dough you call your head!? I’m not a Bulls fan, but they’re obviously at least a “playoff caliber team.” They had the best record in the NBA for crying out loud. Plus, they made it to the Conference Finals. Heck, the Pacers were an NBA caliber team (since they made the playoffs) so I don’t know how the Bulls aren’t a “playoff caliber team.”

  12. Symokoto says:

    looking for Portland and OKC to make big splashes next year.

    • Desmodeus says:

      I’d love to see the Blazers make a splash but unfortunately I just don’t se it. Oden is looking more and more likely to be an injury bust and while B-Roy will no doubt pull out the odd monster performance like he did against the Mavs I just don’t think his knees are going to let him do it night in night out anymore. They’ll still be a tough side, particularly with Nate coaching them but I don’t see them getting past the conference semis at best.

  13. js says:

    the NBA is in great shape for the forseeable future you have alot of loaded teams in both conferences, and a alot of good youth as well. which makes it even more of a shame if theres any kind of impact from a lockout. lets hope they get their act together and make sure next season is a full go because next season will be the NBAs highest viewership of all time ill gurantee

  14. mike says:

    I personally loved the Mavs-Lakers series. It was quite symbolic, the way the new champs (though not very young) dismantled the defending champions. You could tell from the very beginning of that series that something serious was brewing. Yes, the Lakers threw the towel in that Game 4, but still the Mavs performance and their relentlessness to keep on pounding were out of this world.

  15. Wredd says:

    Seriously? Can you say Homer???? OKC is much easier on the Eyes than the Bulls,

    • Armughan says:

      Really dawg? what are you basing that on? I call myself a huge homer, but people like you make me take pride in being one. The bulls destroyed everyone in the league during the season and in the off season, they definitely had troubles but got to the east semis. OKC has KD (who I’m a huge fan of) and Perkins. But their weakness is Westbrook. He’s so atheletic, but is dumb as a doorknob when it comes to making decisions in crucial games. The Bulls are better than the Thunder. They were better than them when they don’t even have someone who can create his own shot except D Rose. The Bulls crushed every team with their defense, OKC doesn’t have that defense. They need someone better than Westbrook to compliment KD.

  16. Silver says:

    Bulls are so overrated it’s not even funny. They will get a high seed, but they can’t compete with the top teams very well. They are lucky to be in the East.

    Anyways, Portland will be great if Wallace, Aldridge, and Roy stay healthy. They were one of the best teams in the playoffs this year. Even the Mavs said it. Portland and Denver are looking dangerous.

    • js says:

      I dont know if their overrated yet, but Boozer is going to have to to step it up next season. Sure he can give you excuses as far as not having the practice time with a new team, but he wasnt the same player I saw in Utah. The Bulls gave him a huge contract, hes going to have to produce for them to be able to make noise in the playoffs next year. I think he can do it, but hes going to have to go out there and prove it. Until he does I dont think you say they are favorites to come out of the east. Its still between boston and the heat. we will see how the knicks look and who they sign, and what dwight does will obviously decide how orlando looks for next season. Portland is the same Portland as every year, probably even more so for this season. IF IF IF they stay healthy, wow. I just hope they do

      • Jake says:

        Trust me Boozer wasn’t as good as he looked in Utah. He has a knack for letting his team down when it needs him most.

    • Jeremy says:

      I Don’t think J.R. smith is going to return to the nuggets. I think if the bulls are smart they will throw all they have at picking up a scoerer and J.R. will fit perfect as a secondary scorer with rose.

    • MA says:

      JS-You don’t know if “they are”..or you know, maybe “they’re” overrated”? Well they are. They’re overrated. I don’t see how anybody would call Derrick Rose the Most Valuable Player in basketball, let alone THE MAJORITY OF THE VOTERS! What is going on these days?? There are such obvious choices, soooo much better than Rose, and somehow most of everybody didn’t even place one of them ahead of Rose. Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade, still Kobe Bryant in deterioration, Nowitzki, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Lebron James, and maybe even Amare Stoudemire were on that long list of players unquestionably better than Derrick Rose, and more valuable to their teams. (Deron Williams did have two different teams, but left the Jazz and they obviously crumbled without him)….What is wrong with so many people’s judgment!? The Bulls are not going to win one championship in this era, no matter what they’re able to do in free agency, as So many analysts somehow believe. They will likely never even get past the best in the east to even Make it to the finals. They’re SOOO overrated!

  17. Tony says:

    Man the Timberwolves are going to go all the way next season and I can wait to see it happen too

  18. Dhawal says:

    sorry man…

    but OKC is better than Bulls.

  19. Be bear says:

    Of course it was great … I enjoyed every minute, even when losing the overtime thriller

    Great Job Hollins, let’s hope they keep the same team next year

  20. robbay2 says:

    Grizzlies, Thunder will be at the top next season with Rudy Gay coming back and OKC will probably sign another scorer to come in and help.

    Look for the Warriors, and Clippers to improve greatly.

    • Zar The Knicks Fan says:

      and east will be pack with heavy hitter too. Chicago will get definitely better and they will have revenge on their mind. celtics are always dangerous with rondo at point and doc will make them better. orlando will do a lot of improvements to make Dwight happier and my knicks can probably get good role playes to surround the stars or get another stars. With all the east team aiming at miami, i think this season will be a piece of cake for miami compare to what’s waiting for them next season.

      for the topic – OKC Vs Grizz series is best non – final for me.

      • js says:

        I hope orlando does just b/c id like to see dwight stay and not leave ala Shaq, but I just dont know what they can do. they dont have a lot of wiggle room. if agent zero can get it going they could be dangerous its just hard to tell what hes got left in the tank. he certainly doesnt have the mileage that other guys do at his age between the injuries and suspensions

      • MA says:

        JS- Aren’t the injuries to Agent O what should be a concern in the future, rather than a positive that he doesn’t have the mileage of other players his age? That means he’s torn up. His body’s broken down much more than others his age. You don’t recover the same or stronger from serious injuries. A player might have surgery on One serious injury and be reconstructed to work Equally as well as it did previously. But you don’t recover from multiple injuries serious enough to hold you out of entire seasons and ever return to form. Look at his history. He’s played 10 years. In 10 years, he played 5 nearly full seasons. 3 that were right around half. And missed an entire year, beside the other year he missed by suspension. In 10 years he played 6.5 years of games! AND he was already ridiculously overrated! He’s only even hit 40% of his shots in ONE season since FIVE years ago, and just 30% of his threes ONCE in that time! His FG percentage over the last FOUR years total is 38.6%. That’s not good lol Gilbert Arenas sucks! You should be praying for the day they get rid of him, and for all those games,every other night, he’ll continue to miss due to falling apart, instead of being excited for him to continue hitting 34%, as he has so far for Orlando to go along with his 2+ turnovers a game to score those 8 points on all those shots. I don’t understand why people still don’t see this. He’s not going to get it going.