By: Norman Yallen
Can anyone remember a good weekend of NBA playoff basketball? Is there even such a thing? Aren’t these games just three hour slugfests decided by referees who tend to favour star players? The answers before this weekend were I can’t remember, I doubt it, and I think so. After this weekend, I can now say yes to the first two, and also, unfortunately, to the third. With that and the always spectacular NHL playoffs in mind, I think it’s time to hand out some weekend awards.
Most Productive Drug Dealer and Spanish Guy Award-Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol
I’m going to have to hand this award to Zach Randolph because he was alleged a year ago to have been a “major supplier” of drugs in his hometown of Indianapolis, and as you know, Marc Gasol is Spanish. With those two things being said, the two big men for the Memphis Grizzlies were very productive against the first seeded San Antonio Spurs, going to work against Tim Duncan. Randolph put up 25 points and 14 rebounds while Gasol put up 24 points and 9 rebounds. The duo have combined to form one of the most potent inside forces in basketball. The Spurs have Tim Duncan and….Matt Bonner? Dejuan Blair? They can’t match up against these two big men, which will make this a closer series than many thought it would be. While the Grizzlies are getting layups, the Spurs without Ginobli will be shooting plenty of jumpers. In a season where people can’t decide on an MVP, I think we should consider a man who has led his team to the playoffs despite injuries, with 20 points and 12 rebounds a game. I’m saying that Zach Randolph should be in the discussion for MVP, and after this series I think many people will agree.
Useless Tangent: The Grizzlies used to play in a stadium called Pyramid Arena, but left in 2004. I personally am of the mindset that we should get as many things shaped as a pyramid as possible. That and Zach Randolph’s escapades have made this Grizzlies team very interesting.
Ratings Death Award-Nashville Predators
Led by Head Coach Barry Trotz (one of the best names in hockey) the Predators have become a perennial playoff team, not that anyone would notice. This is a team that I have never seen on television, and I live in Canada. The Predators have over the past few years had to sell off their best players, had their owner sell the team to by the Wild, had their new owner turn out to be a con artist, and are still contending to win the Stanley Cup. Shea Weber had a stellar Olympics for Canada, before disappearing into Nashville obscurity. Don’t count this team out, and I’ll be eagerly checking the box scores to find out. This team is like a predator preying on the NHL’s television ratings. If they can manage to play into June, I suspect they will eat them away until there is nothing left.
Peyton Manning Award-Chris Paul
Everyone knows that Chris Paul had a phenomenal season a few years ago, then he got hurt. There were rumblings he would leave New Orleans, and that he was not the same player. Well, this year he has changes his game becoming every bit as effective, if not more so. To compensate for his bad knee he picks his spots and for the first three quarters sets up his teammates. Then the fourth comes and he puts in basket after basket. Yesterday, he defeated the Los Angeles Lakers almost by himself. Since David West’s injury, can you even name the Hornets’ second best player? Paul looked like a Quarterback yesterday, picking apart the defending champion’s defense.
Hold Your Horses Award-Montreal Canadiens
The reviews are in, the Canadiens are playing, “some of the best defensive hockey of all time.” “No other team has this much determination.” “Carey Price is the second coming of Plant, Dryden and Roy.” “This year’s going to be special.” “The Cup will be returning to its rightful home.” It’s all fun and games for these Habs fans until the riots begin.
Zombie Award-Jermaine O’Neal
Who knew that Jermaine O’Neal was still alive, let alone that he could still play? Did any Raptors fan see his barrage of jumpers and blocked shots coming. It was Zombie like in that he seemed on the surface to be the same player, but could only go through short spurts. That and preying on humans with his dirty play. God, I hate the Celtics.
Part 2 to come later