Memphis and Atlanta: Pretenders or Contenders?

Posted by By at 6 May, at 02 : 49 AM Print

They both had tremendous, shocking 1st round upsets of favored teams to make their Conferences’ finals and contend for the NBA Championship. The teams then won the first game of the semifinal rounds which set the analysts and fans of the NBA on their ear. Could they really do it? Shhhh. Can they shock the world again? Don’t jinx it though, but I’m here to talk about whether Memphis and Atlanta can actually contend in their second round matchups.

Atlanta made their mark with defense, bench play and the performance of Joe Johnson–their superstar, during the series vs. Orlando. As you may remember, Johnson had a terrible series the year before vs. the Magic and many had begun to look at Johnson as a quiet, passive star unlike other stars such as Wade, Lebron, Garnett, Bryant, Paul.

Memphis staked their claim in the Spurs’ series through dominating play in the paint with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. They beat up the front line of Duncan, Jefferson and McDyess the majority of the series and with their youth plus the backing of the Memphis fans got off the blocks well and never looked back winning 4 games to 2.
Now they advance to face tougher competition in the Thunder and the Bulls.

As of today, they won their opening games but dropped the second in each series. Gasol and Randolph are going to face a much tougher front line anchored by Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka. The Thunder are also very young and have energy and athletic ability oozing out of them. The Thunder also have the league’s top scorer (Kevin Durant) plus a one-two punch with speedy Russell Westbrook.¬† As Orlando fell with their shooting, Chicago has players who can penetrate as well as shoot. Josh Smith and Horford are going to have to continue their strong play contributing on the glass and defend the lanes vs. MVP Derrick Rose. They can also contribute points when needed but the key is going to be if Joe Johnson can continue turning out strong outings with Jamal Crawford, 2010 Sixth man award winner coming off the bench.

Have you noticed also that in each series’, each coach does not carry any “pedigree”? Larry Drew, Lionel Hollins, Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks. Drew was an assistant on many staffs with this being his very first Head Coaching gig. Thibodeau also spent many years as a top assistant but there is no Karl, no Popovich, no D’Antoni here which are usual¬†names fielding teams deep into the tournament. I think it will be very, very fun to watch these coaches and how they coach their teams in this second round. Its time to compete and like Johnny Unitas used to say, “TALK IS CHEAP.” I think both Atlanta and Memphis are ready to play. The other teams’ certainly know the stakes and will be ready to make them go home.

The Bowse's Word

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  1. JimboTheClown, 9 years ago Reply

    PRETENDERS !!!!!!!

    Atlanta is going NOWHERE!! They are playing good ball but won’t go past the conference finals if they make it that far.

    Love the Griz but how long can Randolph carry this team???

    • Eric Labrador, 9 years ago Reply

      Yea it already looks like Chicago is asserting themselves in the series. I think Memphis is going to ride Randolph’s hot post play–Ibaka & Perkins might be the wall.

  2. Josh, 9 years ago Reply

    Hawks are not contenders. They are really fun to watch, but dont have the killer instict.

    Memphis on the other hand is going crazy. Z-Bo and team are nuts right now. I wouldnt want to see Rudy Gay out there. He would ruin the dynamic of this roster.

  3. MarkNooro, 9 years ago Reply

    hawks arent done with Drose yet. Ive followed this team since Nique and im telling you, joe johnson, horford, smith, crawford are an offensive juggernaut. They just need to kick it up a notch. Losing hinrich was a blow, but Teague is playing big man games.

  4. Darcy Meerks, 9 years ago Reply

    Clearly we saw that the Hawks are pretenders. The BUlls ate them for dinner.

    The Grizz have some fight in them, but i think theyll lose tonight!

    • Eric Labrador, 9 years ago Reply

      Memphis is opening a lot of eyes with this playoff run. Tough D, Randolph owning the painted area, speedy athletic guard play. Stay Tuned.

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