This edition of Weekly Ramblings is late to the presses because of this weekend's UCLA Spring Game. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see any of the game due to the fact that I was working at the Rose Bowl during the event, but I did hear some good things. It was a great weekend, the weather was wonderful, and it reminded everyone that football is right around the corner.
Everyone except for me that is. Are you crazy!?! The NBA Playoffs just started. I'm not thinking about anything else but who is getting out of the first round, though as Monday night came to a close here in Los Angeles, most of the first round has been thoroughly forecasted for us.
More rambling after the break.
Though the Clippers took a strong 3-1 lead Monday with an overtime win, I'm not ready to pencil them into the second round just yet. Heading home, the Grizzlies will have a lot of motivation to prove to people that they weren't just a late-season fluke. This is a strong team with a significant inside presence and strong go-to wing player in Rudy Gay. I still think they can wear the Clippers down and take this series back.
On the other hand, as I said in my first-round preview—if Chris Paul gets hot, the Clippers are going to be hard for the Grizzlies to beat. I said that if the games remained close, Paul would be the deciding factor, and up until now his teammates have done a great job of not letting him down. I said before that I was afraid to go against CP3, and up until now he's showed everyone why. He's heating up at the perfect time, and that could be a very interesting second-round matchup with San Antonio.
The Spurs have won 14 games in a row and 25 out of their last 27. In the last two months, they have only lost four games. To say that the Spurs are firing on all cylinders would be a fair assessment. Every other team in the league should be scared of them.
I'm really interested to see their second-round matchup. Chris Paul has flipped his switch, so he is going to be a real handful for Tony Parker. If the Grizzlies can come back, I'm not as interested. I think they are a strong team, but don't maintain the same advantages they did over San Antonio last season. The Spurs are healthy and playing great basketball, and they would be too much for the Grizzlies to handle.
Steve Blake and the Lakers
Who would have thought.
Seriously, though, its about time Steve Blake delivered on his ability to shoot three-point shots when it really mattered. This is a huge part of why the Lakers brought him in last season, and if he can continue to knock down the open threes, it will help the Lakers' title hopes.
Without decent three-point shooting, it's too easy for opposing defenses to collapse inside on Andrew Bynum and shade towards Kobe. Good outside shooting keeps the defense honest, and other role players will need to fall in line behind Blake if Los Angeles wants to win in the next round against Oklahoma City.
See if you can find me in the upper decks of Staples Center tomorrow. I'll be there. Section 304.
The Car'Mare Project
With their Game 4 victory, the Knicks may have extended their lifeline. I don't know if the front office is seriously debating whether or not it should break up the Carmelo Anthony-Amare Stoudemire duo, but if it isn't, it should be. Before the win, my view was that the front office should sit the team down next year and say, "Look, we're giving you until the All-Star break, show us something promising or one of you is gone."
The win doesn't change a whole lot in my eyes, but it makes the possibility of Anthony and Stoudemire working together more plausible. It doesn't change the fact that right now, as it stands, the two are very similar players. They need to figure out how to work together, and one win doesn't change that.
I would love to see them host a Game 6 in this series; that could actually change something. Can you imagine Madison Square Garden in that situation? Here's to hoping we get to see it.
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Robert C. Binyon is a fourth-year student at the University of California-Los Angeles and is graduating in June with a degree in sociology. You can follow him on twitter - @rcbinyon.
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