Who would have thought the Grizzlies would handle the Spurs with relative ease in the first round of the playoffs? They ended the series in game six on Friday night in Memphis, but they really should have closed it out in game five earlier in the week. Zach Randolph was unstoppable down the stretch for the Grizz' and they played like the more talented team. It ended an era of playoff futility for the franchise and seemed to mark the end of the San Antonio Spurs dynasty. Still, most people probably thought the celebration would end Sunday afternoon when Memphis would have to travel to Oklahoma City to take on Kevin Durant and the Thunder. Coming off the emotion of the big win Friday night and having to face a young, talented, physical team in an early start Sunday afternoon seemed like a bad spot for the Grizzlies. I guess everyone forgot to tell the Grizzlies that. They led throughout against OKC and were carried by strong post play from Randolph and Marc Gasol and have jumped out to an early series lead again. It'll be interesting to see how far they can ride this momentum. And one other thing - if I'm coaching an NBA team, I want Shane Battier. He's not going to blow you away, but he changes the culture of a locker room and his teams ALWAYS have success.
Worst: Atlanta Braves Bullpen
I don't care that they pulled out the win today, the Braves bullpen has been terrible this weekend. In the three games against the Cardinals, they have given up the lead in the 8th inning or later all three times. Are you kidding me? With all the negativity and controversy that has surrounded this pitching staff over the past week, I was hoping they would rally together and have a strong weekend on the field. The starting pitching has been very good, but the late inning guys have not done their jobs. Allowing the leadoff man to reach base has been a problem and there have been too many bad pitches to good hitters. The Cardinals are not an easy lineup to retire and Matt Holliday might be hitting the ball better than anyone in the game right now, but you have to be able to get tough outs in the 8th & 9th innings. It was thought that Jonny Venters & Craig Kimbrel would be able to shut the door in most games (and I still think they will) but this weekend will not go in their highlight tapes.