Well folks, it's been a crazy two weeks, but after a brief hiatus, we're back! For those of you who missed it, we didn't post a ‘grindings' last week, but we're here now, and there's a lot to touch on. Our beloved Grizzlies have secured the best record in franchise history, and, with six games remaining on their schedule, they'll be doing everything in their power to not only add to that record, but also secure home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. In addition to the winning, Memphis signed veteran guard Keyon Dooling to bolster its guard rotation for the rest of the season and possible into the post season. Dooling, who came straight of the sofa, has looked pretty rough so far. He's shot two Peggy-Olson-ugly air balls, but you have to hand it to him, he is hustling and trying really hard. Here's a look back at what you might have missed while you were grinding.
*At the moment none of the GIFs are working, not sure why. I'll repost them when I can. For the moment, I've settled for just posting them in video form. I'm sorry...
Trending Up: Carmelo's points, Kobe's minutes, Dirk's vacation budget
Trending Down: San Antonio's health, David Stern's credibility
GIF of the Week:
The West leading Spurs will definitely be put to the test over the last week and a half of the regular season. The diagnosis on Manu is that he might be out until the middle of the playoffs, and now word comes out that Tony Parker may be in worse condition than we had previously be led to believe. Regardless of who they put on the floor, Pop is going to make sure they are as well coached as possible, but if I'm a Spurs fan, and I'm pretty nervous about heading into the playoffs. Even super-fan Skip Bayless doesn't think they'll make it to the finals, and if there's one thing we've learned throughout the years, it's that Skip Bayless would never say anything that he didn't truly believe. Right? Houston is just half a game behind Golden State for the sixth playoff spot. They're just 6-4 in their last 10 games however, and blew a great opportunity to gain ground by allowing Denver to drop 132 on them. 132, in regulation. Dallas is still mathematically alive for a post-season birth, but it looks like it may be too little too late for Cuban and company. All isn't lost though, because with any luck, they'll have the myth, the legend, Brittany Griner suiting up at small forward for them next year. NOLA didn't continue to be the spoilers we all wanted them to be, but they did find time to pee in Denver's Cheerios, and for that we thank them. The biggest news they made this week was that Eric Gordon is potentially going to be traded this offseason. The explosive Eric Gordon, the one who they wouldn't allow to sign with Phoenix last offseason, is probably going to be shipped out. Bad news comes in threes, (Gordon trade, we're changing the name to the Pelicans) so if I'm a Hornets fan, I'm extremely nervous that Robin Lopez is about to get his own science-fiction web show. Ugh...
The Rest of the West
Let's get hypothetical for a minute. Let's say, hypothetically speaking, I told you there were a professional sports league, and let's say this league had a commissioner that, hypothetically, said his ideal championship matchup was Lakers vs. Lakers, hypothetically. And let's say that, from a hypothetical standpoint, these same Lakers were on the verge of missing the playoffs. And let's throw in to the mix that these Lakers had a 5 game stretch, hypothetically of course, where the officials called some of the most atrocious fouls you've ever seen and heard in your life. Would you be suspicious? For any of you that have yet to see the video, featuring Kobe Bryant slap Damien Lillard on the head Three Stooges style without having a foul called, you can see it below. Look, we all know that the NBA caters to it's superstars. LeBron James and Kevin Durant get treated differently than Raja Bell and Nate Robinson. It's another thing entirely to say that it's "rigged." This is some pretty tough evidence to argue against though, and it can't help but remind you of the time the Lakers stole a playoff series from Sacramento, with the assist again going to the officials and David Stern. All I'll say is, officiating is porous in all sports. Don't believe me? Wait for those wildcards. While the Lakers are struggling for every victory they can muster, Kobe Bryant is playing hefty minutes in all of them. He's averaged 46 minutes over the last 3 games. This is a ridiculous number of minutes for a young, spry guard to be playing, but for a guy his age, with the amount of wear and tear he already has on his body, its outrageous. I understand the Lakers want to make the playoffs, but it's my understanding that being a Laker is about winning championships. What good is just getting in if Kobe's legs fall off in the first round?
Denver is doing everything they can to maintain their grip on the third seed in the Western Conference, despite losing starting small forward Danillo Gallinari to a torn ACL. When this happened, I immediately sent out a text that this was a potential game changer, although it still didn't make me want to face the Nuggets any less. For a team as deep and as balanced as Denver is, I'm not sure just how much it's going to affect them. Oklahoma City got showed up by the Knicks at home on Sunday, meaning they no longer control their own destiny. If they want the one seed, they'll have to not only win out, but hope the Spurs lose another game as well, something that's not entirely out of the realm of possibility with all the injuries they have. The Clippers got a big win over the Lakers Sunday, but have been trading wins and losses as of late, 5-5 over their last 10 games. Golden State is maintaining a slight edge over Houston in the battle for the six and seven spots in a race that looks destined to come down to the wire. They've got a back to back with the Thunder and Lakers this week, and Houston gets a back to back with Sacramento and Phoenix. If you want to make a cool five dollars, I'd go ahead and put some money on those two teams flip-flopping this week. The Jazz remain ahead of the Lakers by tiebreaker only for the final playoff spot out West. They have four games left, home to OKC and Minnesota, and at Minnesota and Memphis. The Lakers final games? Home to NOLA, at Portland, then home to Golden State, San Antonio, and Houston. The Lakers will also be getting back Metta World Peace for the final playoff push, just 12 days after arthroscopic knee surgery. This just adds further proof to the theory that crazy people don't feel pain. Remember when Batman is giving The Joker the business in The Dark Knight rises? Nothing. He just laughs. Metta World Peace may not be as psychotic as The Joker, but hey, that can just give him something to shoot for when his playing career is over.
The Eastern Conference
Look, I know Carmelo is on fire, and the Heat are possibly faking injuries to rest players, and Derrick Rose was caught dunking, but, if I may, I'd like to start here with my friend, your mentor, Brandon Knight. Last week, in a close game against the Boston Celtics, Brandon Knight missed a WIDE OPEN layup. On a scale from 0 to massive diarrhea, this blows the charts, in a manner of speaking. To make matters worse, there was 2:00 minutes left to play with the Pistons down by three. They would go on to lose this game. Is any one having a worse year than Brandon Knight? Kim Jong-Un? He's a bit of a laughing stock. Lindsay Lohan? She's a perennial candidate for "worst year ever." But I'm talking about people who legitimately don't deserve to be having terrible years. All Brandon Knight has ever done was work hard and try harder, and what does he get for it? This video.
Have we gone too far? This is how super villains are created...It's not like these were all scrubs. I mean this is Kobe, Kyrie, and some guy from Ole Miss. Still, Brandon Knight continues to give it his all. You are a trooper.
Back to Carmelo Anthony. Melo has averaged 41 points over his last four games, and hasn't scored under 21 points since March 13, 12 straight games, not surprisingly, all Knicks wins. Somewhat surprisingly, is that he's not only getting help from JR Smith, but he's getting efficient help from him. The knock on JR, aside from the character issues, his attitude, and overall demeanor, is that he's always been a bit of a chucker. Lately, JR has been taking quality shots, attacking the rim, and making smart basketball moves, and the Knicks are all the better for it. For a guy who is fixing to hit the open market, this couldn't be happening at a better time. On the other side of town, the Nets got some pretty great news off the basketball court when they found out their merchandise sales had skyrocketed since last year. Good news for a team who ranked 31in merchandise revenue last year. This appareantly lit a fire under Jerry Stackhouse, as he turned heads, as well as the hands of time, and threw down this monster dunk.
Great job, Stack. You didn't look a day over 50 right there.
Kenny "the jet" Smith is on record that the Toronto Raptors will finish with home court advantage in the playoffs next year. On the off chance he's reading this, and the even more off chance someone can let him know, I'd like to make a friendly wager with him. I'll bet him dinner at the Memphis restaurant of his choosing that the Washington Wizards will finish with a better record than the Raptors. Since John Wall returned to action, the Wizards have one of the five best records in the east. This is going to be a fun team to watch next year, but not a fun team to play. The ball is in your court, Kenny. The ball is in your court.
WildCards for the Week
If you enjoy being entertained, than boy, was this the weekend for you. Sunday in particular was a great day to have a rear and a place to park it. You had WrestleMania 29, the ACM awards, Mad Men's season six premiere, and the first Sunday night baseball of the season, there was a little bit of everything for a little bit of everyone. I missed every last bit of it though. While John Cena was beating The Rock (thank you, Twitter) and Stevie Wonder was dazzling everybody with Signed, Sealed, Delievered (thank you, God) and Josh Hamilton was swinging at balls in the dirt (thank you, Karma) I was enjoying some freshly made pizza in Jackson, Tennessee. Perspective, man.
For those of you planning on making a pilgrimage to your favorite baseball park this summer let your ole buddy Keith give you a bit of advice, do everything in your power not to get destroyed on parking. A group of my best friends and I went to Atlanta for Opening Day, a trip that's become a bit of a tradition. I've been to Atlanta more than a dozen times in the last few years, and I've never had as sore of a behind from parking as I did this trip. We dropped $60 on parking, and I got a $100 parking ticket where we ended up settling, a parking ticket that I can't fight or protest. For those of you who aren't math aficionados, that's a solid $160 to park for a baseball game. Sure I'm pissed, but I'm mainly just happy baseball is back.
Speaking of baseball, remember how earlier I said officiating was really bad in all sports. I wasn't lying. Here's a GIF from a game featuring the Rangers and Rays, two teams I don't feel strongly about either way. I'll let the call speak for itself.
Catcher makes the play on a ball outside and in the dirt, and it's called a strike. Yikes.
The Masters kick off this weekend, and all eyes are going to be on Tiger Woods. He's displayed all of his old skills and marvel over the past few tournaments, but he hasn't done anything yet at a major. If he continues to golf, and specifically putt, the way he has over the last few tournaments, he could be in line to pick up his first major win in a long, long time. I know he's won 14 in his career, but you've got to wonder, with his last one coming in 2008, if winning the Masters this weekend won't feel a little like strange.
Finally, NBC officially announced this week that Jimmy Fallon will be taking over The Tonight Show next fall, and Jay Leno will be leaving the network. I'm not sure that this is going to work. If only we had some way of knowing. Maybe if some scenario, almost identical to this one and involving a lot of the same people, had happened within the last few years to lead us to believe that this isn't going to end well...I'm not sure this move from NBC should really surprise us. This is the same network that royally messed this up two years ago, the same network that keeps jerking Community around, then created the exact same ensemble type show in Go On and hoped we wouldn't notice, the same network that gave Whitney Cummings her own show! I like Jimmy Fallon, and I sincerely hope he succeeds, but I'm almost positive his style won't go over well with the older audience. I just can't see my grandparents saying "Shut up! They're about to do moustache wrestling again!"
Got a couple of tweets and texts (and not just from Ryan) asking about While You Were Grinding and when I'd be getting it up and finished. Just wanted to say a quick thank you to all of you guys for the support and the love. You're all aces in my book.
 Mad Men is back! I'll do my best not to make this reference city, but I'll be honest, I'm watching last nights episode, so it's a safe bet that this isn't the only one.
 I did not forget how many teams there are in the league. The Seattle SuperSonics outsold them last year.
 I'm also really, really pissed. When they receive my check in the mail, they'll also be getting a strongly and hilariously worded letter about how awful they are. Should be fun.
 This is not a typo. Think about it.