Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

Memphis-OKC: Small markets, big game

OKLAHOMA CITY — They know how the outside world will view them, as the annoying little brother, the other guys.

The Lakers vs. Mavs will have Kobe vs. Dirk, a pair of individual virtuosos and offensive machines who can melt scoreboards with their point production, not to mention Phil Jackson vs. Mark Cuban, who’ve both been known to intentionally start fires.

The Bulls vs. Hawks will have the continued ascension – and possibly the official coronation – of Derrick Rose into the realm of the elite as the youngest MVP in history and youngest player ever to make the entire horde of TV analysts run out of adjectives.

The Heat vs. Celtics will, of course, have enough breathless conversation to suck the air right out of the room.

Then there’s Grizzlies vs. Thunder. Oh yeah, them. No. 4 vs. No. 8 in the Western Conference, a matchup between two of the smallest markets in the NBA who’ll be lucky if anyone even notices they’re playing.

That is, until the ball goes up. Don’t make the mistake of grabbing the remote and changing the channel.

“I hope that people appreciate teams that play hard and play well together,” said the Grizzlies’ Shane Battier. “We may not have a whole lot of marquee names. But both Oklahoma and our team play very well together, play hard, play the right way. If you’re a basketball fan you should enjoy this series.”


Last tango with Adelman?

HOUSTON — Team owner Leslie Alexander wasn’t in his familiar mid-court front row seat for the final home game of the Rockets’ season.

To hear the scuttlebutt, Alexander has already seen enough of coach Rick Adelman and after four seasons is ready to move on.

It will go down as one of the most curious divorce cases in history, where the party that files the papers has irreconcilable differences that are equally inexplicable.

For the second straight season, the Rockets have missed the playoffs. But for the second straight season the Rockets have been without their All-Star center Yao Ming, who broke a bone in his left foot and played in only five games after sitting out the entire 2009-10 schedule. Midway through last season the Rockets traded away an injured and unhappy Tracy McGrady.

“What team loses two people of that stature in basically a two-year type of period?” Adelman asked. “You just can’t lose those types of people. You can’t do it. It’s impossible. It’s like the Lakers losing Kobe and Gasol. I don’t think you’re gonna replace those guys real quick.

“It’s been a real struggle. It’s been a real disappointment for everybody including those two guys who got injured. We tried to just take it for what it is and go with the guys we have in here. There’s nothing you can do about it. Sometimes you get fortunate and sometimes you don’t. The job is still the same.”