NBA 2014 Playoffs: 100 Thoughts on Grizzlies vs Thunder Game 5

Ronald Martinez

Marc the Marxist, nightmares, and the Fetal Position feature prominently.

1). Basketball is a game, and games are supposed to be fun. Game 5 was not fun. Far from it.

2). Chinese water torture is more enjoyable than this series.

3). If you want to make the basketball gods laugh, tell them your plans of getting a good night sleep after a Grizzlies playoff game.

4). We've witnessed history. Four straight heart attacks posing as overtime basketball games. Never happened before.

5). The Memphis Grizzlies have a close out game in Memphis. I'd call it a must-win, but it actually feels a million times more urgent than that.

Random Stuff That May or May Not Bear Significance

6). Years later, I will wake up in a cold sweat, unsure of my surroundings. Vaguely, my nightmare has left an impression of itself in this world.

7). That impression is: EVERYBODY CLAP YOUR HANDS!!!

8). When Russell Westbrook flies into the paint, hangs, keeps hanging, and then his legs and arms flail as if he has touched an electrical socket > everything.

9). Joey Crawford. The Memphis Grizzlies owe you a blood debt. Name your foes. We shall search them out, and they shall be smoten. It is known.

10). Afterwards, Scotty Brooks is nothing but class. When asked about Crawford taking the ball from Durant, he doesn't take the bait. "I coach the game," he says.

11). Hypothetical follow-up question: "Do you though?"

12). Reminiscent of Game 3, the Thunder came out of halftime completely unengaged, going through the motions.

13). It's weird to watch not one - but two - forces of nature go through the motions.

14). Kevin Durant has played this series curiously detached, as if he keeps expecting Memphis to bend to his will, and grows wroth as they continue to defy him. Such is the existence of a frustrated force of nature.

15). Was Mike Miller the best Grizzlies player on the basketball court last night?

16). Actual conversation about Mike Miller. Me: "Miller shot that ball from whatever is outside of Oklahoma City." Kevin Lipe: "Grass? Cows? " Me: "Yes, cows. Mike Miller shot it from the cows."

17). Tayshaun Prince was, I daresay, downright frisky in the 1st quarter. Good to see because {insert one of the million Tayshaun Prince jokes I've made this year}.

18). You can't teach an old dog new tricks. Want proof? Mike Fratello STILL pronounces "Conley" with three syllables.

Vital Signs

18). My wife, the newly minted medical professional that she is, alternately cheers for the Grizzlies and checks me for signs of dementia.

20). I heard a lot about the Thunder's bad body language. But here's the thing. They've got nothing on my bad body language. KING KONG AINT GOT NOTHIN' ON MY BAD BODY LANGUAGE!

21). But really, my wife's concerned. My dog, ears percolating, is concerned. I'm concerned too. We're all on the same page that my heart should be inside my body. But there it is, beating beside me on the floor.

22). But no time to think about that now.

23). After the game, Westbrook says, "You've gotta stay in attack mode....If they give me a 15 footer, I mean, I'll make that nine times out of ten." Related: no you won't. That unquenchable belief is both what makes Westbrook great and irrevocably flawed. That, and his purely alien DNA.

24). Memphis gave up another four point play. Years later, I'll be at my future daughter's volleyball game, and a whistle will sound. A chill will leak down my spine, and I will look for a four point play that didn't happen.

25). I realize I'm making a lot of jokes about nightmares. But do I have any choice?

Two Buzzer Beaters That Weren't

26). I thought Memphis had lost. Not just the game, but the series.

27). Ibaka's shot went in. By an eyelash, by the depth of a butterfly's wing it stayed in his hand too long.

28). Generally, I don't believe in luck. Still, the Grizzlies seem to perform best when I watch these games curled in the fetal position. If you're looking for a reason why Ibaka didn't release the ball .000001 seconds earlier, it's that.

29). -47). I stayed like this for a piece afterwards.

48). Gradually, I unfurled from the fetal-est of positions to consider the fact that the margin of victory was a single layer of Serge Ibaka's epidermis.

49). This series will unavoidably be the Clockwork Orange tape for an entire city. Remains to be seen which one.

50). I'd like to stress, again, just how little fun this is for me.

51). But back to Zach Randolph's buzzer beater that wasn't. I love Marc Gasol. I love him. But Marc passed the ball to Randolph in what I can only describe as a completely boneheaded basketball decision.

52). But this has been happening the entire series. Passing when he should be shooting. Turning his back to the basket while in the high post. I thought Gasol was a democratic basketball player at heart - that he viewed offense as equal opportunity for all, that he recognized the unique properties that every individual brings to the table, and seeks to maximize them for the good of all. But I'm starting to change my opinion.

53). Gasol seems to view himself and his teammates as gears in the collective machine that is the Memphis Grizzlies offense. These gears grind for a time, the ball clicks and rattles between lever and pulley until a shot has been generated. In this way, Gasol may be fundamentally Marxist.

54). How else can you explain waiting for Tony Allen to come and take a handoff from in the corner with 1:46 left and only ten seconds left on the shot clock? Everyone in the world knows what happens next. Except for the guy who chooses to look past the basketball roulette wheel that is Tony Allen and make the right basketball play.

55). In this way, Westbrook and Gasol may both be irrevocably flawed in exact opposite ways. One trusts his individual will will prevail; the other, the collective.

56). In Gasol's defense, he has been right far more often than not.

More Random Thoughts

57). The best move Joerger made all night was going into "Settings" and turning Tayshaun's sliders all the way up.

58). Memphis doesn't win if they don't draw three fouls early in the fourth quarter.

59). From memory, Memphis made three FG's in the fourth quarter.

60). I watched most of the game waiting for the inevitable OKC run. This team has too much talent, pride and experience to roll over in a must win game.

61). Waiting for a team to go on a run is a terrible way to watch a basketball game. The fear is that every shot that goes up is the beginning of the end. Not a happy place.

62). And when the run finally came, my god, it happened fast.

63). - 82). OKC scored, from memory, eleventy billion points in the time it took you to read this sentence.

83). Kendrick Perkins seems like he would be the worst Jenga player of all time.

84). NBA TV made a big deal out of Perkins and Randolph going up the officials for clarification on what is and is not a foul. The not-so-subtle undertone being "We are going to beat the crap out of each other."

85). One early positive: Conley and Randolph both got eight minutes of rest as the 1st quarter bled into the 2nd. In years past Conley has worn down to a nub in some of these series, but Joerger has done a fantastic job of riding bench units and finding (where possible) rest for his best players.

86). Does anyone have Caron Butler's home address? I need to send him a thank you note for forgetting he was, in fact, Caron Butler in the 4th quarter. He did more than his share in freezing out Kevin Durant down the stretch.

Close Out Game

87). I cannot stress enough just how much the Grizzlies of Memphis need to win that game.

88). I repeat: I cannot stress enough just how much the Grizzlies of Memphis need to win that game.

89). Oklahoma City will not change.

90) Westbrook and Durant will shoot two-thirds of their team's shots.

91). Memphis will not change.

92). They will try like hell to keep those shots from going in.

93). - 99). {breathes sigh of relief}

100). I'll spend tomorrow stretching my fetal position muscles. Need them fresh for Thursday.

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