Only one series remains open in the conference semi-finals as the Thunder take their 3-2 lead back to Memphis tonight to try to close out the Grizzlies. It's been an impressive playoff run for the Grizzlies, but let's be honest: they're probably done. It was essential they win that 3OT game 4 to take command, and when they didn't that likely sealed their fate. I expect the Thunder to close it tonight, or they'll definitely take a game 7 if it comes to that.
Once upon a time, this series would have featured the Vancouver Grizzlies vs. the Seattle SuperSonics in a clash of Pacific Northwest opponents. Seattle and Vancouver, BC are only about a 3 hour drive apart, but the way they remember their lost NBA teams is quite different.
The Sonics were Seattle's only major professional sports team to bring the city a title. They won the NBA Championship in 1979, defeating the Phoenix Suns in the WCF along the way (ask any old-time Suns fan about this). Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times explains the pain Seattle hoops fans feel upon the success of the Thunder.
Meanwhile, LZ Granderson of ESPN wrote a long but worthwhile and interesting piece on the city of Memphis and their relationship with the Grizzlies.
Seattle, Vancouver, Memphis, Oklahoma City. OK, so maybe it's more like a tale of four cities, but given the contributions of British writers here the last couple of days with the excellent works of Toon Army Sun and keiththejourno, a Dickens reference seemed appropriate.
Tonight's game: Thunder at Grizzlies, 6PM PDT, ESPN. Thunder lead series 3-2.