Saturday, April 28, 2012

NBA 2011-2012 Playoffs predictions

Here are my predictions for the first round of the NBA playoffs.


1)  San Antonio Spurs vs  (8) Utah Jazz

Spurs won't collapse in the first round this year, you'd think they'll  avoid another humiliation like last season. 

Spurs in 5. 

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder vs (7)  Dallas Mavericks 

Call me nuts, crazy or insane, that's fine. But i just can't see Dirk Nowtizki going out in the first round of the playoffs. KD and Westbrook will have to wait another time for a chance at the ring.

Dallas in 6. 

(3) Los Angeles Lakers vs (6) Denver Nuggets

I see the Lakers winning this, Denver will put a hell of a fight, however, they won't advance. The Black Mamba got his rest and Andrew Bynum is anxious to prove himself  in the postseason. 

Lakers in 6. 

(4)  Los Angeles Clippers vs  (5) Memphis Grizzlies

This will be the closest series out of the west. The Clippers had homecourt and they threw it away, they'd still are going to find a way to prevail in this series.  

Clippers in 7. 


(1)  Chicago Bulls vs (8) Philadelphia Sixers

Evan Turner can dream all he wants about beating the Bulls, that's just not how reality works.  Bulls could lose 1 game, but anything other than that... Sixers have NO CHANCE on beating the Bulls 4 times. 

Bulls in 6. 

(2) Miami Heat vs (7)  New York Knicks

Lebron, Wade and Bosh are going to be too much for the  New York Knicks. Melo is having a really good stretch lately, but the Knicks need more than that to win 4 games against the Heat.

Heat in 5 

(3) Indiana Pacers vs (6) Orlando Magic

Is there anything worse than watching the Bobcats? This will feel  like that. There's no point on watching this series.  It's going to be that depressing.  It will be a failure if Indiana manages to lose 1 game. 

Pacers in 4

(4)  Boston Celtics vs (5) Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta has homecourt? No big deal. Celtics are playing way too good defense, they are on a mission and they won't let the Hawks beat them. The Big 3 knows their window is slowly closing, it will take someone stronger to close it for them. 

Celtics in 5.

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2012 Playoffs Schedule

San Antonio vs. Utah
Game 1 - Sun. April 29, Utah at San Antonio, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 2 - Wed. May 2, Utah at San Antonio, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 3 - Sat. May 5, San Antonio at Utah, 10 p.m., TNT
Game 4 - Mon. May 7, San Antonio at Utah, TBD
Game 5 * Wed. May 9, Utah at San Antonio, TBD
Game 6 * Fri. May 11, San Antonio at Utah, TBD
Game 7 * Sun. May 13, Utah at San Antonio, TBD
Oklahoma City vs. Dallas
Game 1 - Sat. April 28, Dallas at Oklahoma City, 9:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 2 - Mon. April 30, Dallas at Oklahoma City, 9:30 p.m., TNT
Game 3 - Thu. May 3, Oklahoma City at Dallas, 9:30 p.m., TNT
Game 4 - Sat. May 5, Oklahoma City at Dallas, 7:30 p.m., TNT/R
Game 5 * Mon. May 7, Dallas at Oklahoma City, TBD
Game 6 * Thu. May 10, Oklahoma City at Dallas, TBD
Game 7 * Sat. May 12, Dallas at Oklahoma City ,TBD, TNT
L.A. Lakers vs. Denver
Game 1 - Sun. April 29, Denver at L.A. Lakers, 3:30 p.m., ABC/R
Game 2 - Tue. May 1, Denver at L.A. Lakers, 10:30 p.m., TNT
Game 3 - Fri May 4, L.A. Lakers at Denver, 10:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 4 - Sun. May 6, L.A. Lakers at Denver, 9:30 p.m., TNT
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Denver at L.A. Lakers, TBD
Game 6 * Thu. May 10, L.A. Lakers at Denver, TBD
Game 7 * Sat. May 12, Denver at L.A. Lakers, TBD, TNT
Memphis vs. L.A. Clippers
Game 1 - Sun. April 29, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, 9:30 p.m., TNT
Game 2 - Wed. May 2, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, 9:30 p.m., TNT
Game 3 - Sat. May 5, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, 4:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 4 - Mon. May 7, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, TBD
Game 5 * Wed. May 9, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, TBD
Game 6 * Fri. May 11, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, TBD
Game 7 * Sun. May 13, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, TBD
Chicago vs. Philadelphia
Game 1 - Sat. April 28, Philadelphia at Chicago, 1 p.m., TNT
Game 2 - Tue. May 1, Philadelphia at Chicago, 8 p.m., TNT
Game 3 - Fri. May 4, Chicago at Philadelphia, 8 p.m., ESPN
Game 4 - Sun. May 6, Chicago at Philadelphia, 1 p.m., ABC
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Philadelphia at Chicago, TBD
Game 6 * Thu. May 10, Chicago at Philadelphia, TBD
Game 7 * Sat. May 12, Philadelphia at Chicago, TBD, TNT
Miami vs. New York

Game 1 - Sat. April 28, New York at Miami, 3:30 p.m., ABC/R
Game 2 - Mon. April 30, New York at Miami, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 3 - Thu. May 3, Miami at New York, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 4 - Sun. May 6, Miami at New York, 3:30 p.m., ABC/R
Game 5 * Wed. May 9, New York at Miami, TBD
Game 6 * Fri. May 11, Miami at New York, TBD
Game 7 * Sun. May 13, New York at Miami, TBD
Indiana vs. Orlando
Game 1 - Sat. April 28, Orlando at Indiana, 7 p.m., ESPN
Game 2 - Mon. April 30, Orlando at Indiana, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 3 - Wed. May 2, Indiana at Orlando, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 4 - Sat. May 5, Indiana at Orlando, 2 p.m., ESPN
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Orlando at Indiana, TBD
Game 6 * Fri. May 11, Indiana at Orlando, TBD
Game 7 * Sun. May 13, Orlando at Indiana, TBD
Boston vs. Atlanta
Game 1 - Sun. April 29, Boston at Atlanta, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 2 - Tue. May 1, Boston at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 3 - Fri. May 4, Atlanta at Boston, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2
Game 4 - Sun May 6, Atlanta at Boston, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Boston at Atlanta, TBD
Game 6 * Thu. May 10, Atlanta at Boston, TBD
Game 7 * Sat. May 12, Boston at Atlanta, TBD, TNT


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Friday, April 27, 2012

Celtic season in review + playoff talk Kim Sherayko

Kim Sherayko is a college student, she loves watching the Celtics play and listening to country music. Oh, she also cheered for 12 years.  Don't talk to bad about Rajon while she's around.

 Do you follow the league in general or just Celtics
Follow the league with a main focus on the Celtics.  Also keep taps on the Wolves, but not so much after Ricky went down.

How did you started liking basketball and specially Celtics?
Grew up in Philly so I was a huge Allen Iverson and Sixers fan.  My brother has always been a Celtics fan so after Iverson left the 76ers, started to follow the Celtics. 

Why does Celtic fans hate The Lakers so much? 
Probably because of all the history and those are the 2 most storied franchises in the NBA.

How dedicated are you to the Celtics? Do you collect celtics stuff? 
I stream every game online and contribute to Celtics 24/7. 

Who’s your favorite Celtic of all time?  why?
 Since I have followed the Celtics my whole life, I really don't know much about the history.  But now, my favorite Celtic gotta be Rondo because of his uniqueness. 

What is one of your favorite Celtic memories of all time?
The big 3 coming together and winning a championship in their first year together.  And the 2010 playoff run when people counted them out.

How would you grade Doc Rivers and his staff?   
I think  Doc should be right up there with Coach of the Year nominations.  From all the injuries and season ending injuries to the marvelous record following the All-Star break when everyone said they were too old.  He knows how to get the most out of his players.

Was Jermaine O'Neal's injury a blessing in disguise? 
Yes because it allowed KG to move into the 5 position and Bass into the starting line-up to add more offense

Last season Celtic fans were calling Avery Bradley "The worse PG they had ever seen" and some of those fans even wanted him cut. How surprised have you been with his performance this year? I personally think his  potencial is unlimited and his defense is already one of the best for guards. 
Well I think his move out of the PG position has helped.  He can focus on his game and not about everyone else on the court, kinda like simplifying it on the floor for him and it has worked.  Props to Doc for Bradley's emergence.

Who'd you think is the most overrated and underrated Celtic? 
I don't know if you would say anyone is overrated.  Underrated has gotta be Stiemsma who know one has expected anything from and has developed into a key play-off contributor.  Another gem find from Danny A.

Has this season felt like a crazy roller coaster?  Celtic started the season 15-17 (looking old)  before the ASG and now they are 10 games over .500
 Yes it has.  2nd half is way better than the 1st half

Which was the best moment of the season?
 Taking 3 out of 4 from the Heat.  Beating them with offense one game and then defense.

The back to back losses to the Detroit Pistons 

What do you say to those people that call Rajon overrated due to his lack of jumpshot and free throws? 

I ignore them.  They don't deserve my attention because people complain about how Westbrook isn't a pointgaurd because he shoots to much, yet Rondo "sucks" because he can't shoot.  Point of a pointgaurd is to get others involved.  Rondo takes over when he needs to.

Can the Celtic beat  Hawks  in the first round?  Predict the outcome 
Yes Celtics can beat the Hawks. 

If Boston  doesn't win the title, who do you think will win it all?
The western conference team that makes it or the Bulls

Why are you so obsessed with the tv shows One Tree Hill and Pretty Little Liars? 

They are good and relateable.  And the guys are easy on the eyes

Kim writes for @ChanticleerNews, @Celtics_247, and @AerysSports , follow her on twitter @KimSherayko

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Knicks season in review + playoff talk with Marlana

I've known Marlana from twitter. She loves The New York Knicks, New York Giants and UFC.  If you have twitter, don't tweet a lot of follow Friday mentions.. She won't be a happy camper. 

Do you follow the league in general or just Knicks?
I follow the whole league. I'm a huge sports fan in general. NBA and NFL are top 2.

How dedicated are you to the Knicks? Do you collect knick stuff? Done any crazy things for the Knicks?  
I don't really collect stuff. But I have "Amare", Anthony and Shumpert jerseys. And I'm not the "doing crazy things" type lol

How did you start liking basketball and especially knicks?
When I was younger growing up in NJ, I was actually raised a Nets fan. But as soon as I got old enough to decide what team to like on my own it was the Knicks, and has been ever since.

Pick a player from another  team you’d love having them in new york uniform
All last season I was a huge Deandre Jordan fan. I recruited him to the Knicks and it went well. But we signed Chandler so that dream ended. Currently if I had to pick a player, give me Kevin Love or Dwill.

Who’s your favorite Knick of all time? And why?
John Starks. He was a huge part of those 90s teams, a great scoring option behind Ewing. He left everything out on the court. He could go 1 for 16 or 10 for 12 and it never effected his play or confidence. 

What is one of your favorite Knicks memories of all time?
John Starks huge dunk over basically the entire Bulls team lol

What do you think about the reports that said Melo wanted Mike fired?
I wouldn't be surprised if that was true. At the same time there was also reports that Dantoni wanted to trade Melo for Dwill. But one thing you learn about NY media, they will always make up stories or do anything to cause drama. They also reported Melo didn't want JR here, meanwhile we all know that's not true either.

Does the media puts too much blame on Melo?
Yes. The media has used Carmelo Anthony as a scapegoat all season. Granted he had a shooting slump to start the year and injuries, but most of his struggles were due to being in the Mike D'Antoni system and having to change his game and play off the ball. You look back at those games we lost and a lot of times Melo wasn't even getting 20 shots per game which is something that a rhythm scorer needs. When a team is losing, especially in NY you gotta blame someone. The media chose Melo.

Biggest difference between Woodson and Mike?  How would you grade them?  
The biggest difference is the team's effort. Mike's offense didn't work with this team. We had no real pg and he never adapted, which I think was his biggest downfall. So Woodson has the team's attention and support and they are playing great. Offense is clicking, playing great defense, and winning at home. All these things are accomplished under Woodson and failed under Dantoni. Grades I dont know but Dantoni had to go, and Woodson is doing a good job now. 

Have this been one of the crazy Knick seasons of all time? It seems like the team has divided at least 4 times.  First when Douglas was the starter, then with Lin being in charge, again when Lin was out and they had Amare and Melo & later on with amare out it was just Melo’s team.  Thoughts?
This team did go through many transformations this season. I feel the Douglas era wasn't fair to him. He proved hes not a true PG last season, and he was coming off major shoulder surgery. Throwing him out there expecting greatness at starting PG was doomed. I feel Linsanity was out of context because those were subpar teams we beat.  All that matters is Melo is playing great right now. Him and Stat are learning to play together so we can make a playoff push. And let's not forget Tyson he better win defensive player of the year because he has been the one constant bright spot all yr.

Linsanity! Thoughts? 
See above answer. The teams he beat were not that great. We needed a leader with Amare and Melo out so he stepped up. But he was still a PG that shot the ball too much for my liking, and hopefully he can learn to co-exist with Melo and get him the ball more next season.

Aside from Lin, which was the biggest moment from the season?
Prob the "resignation" of Mike Dantoni. Dantoni just wasn't getting the job done, his "system" didn't fit this team.  Meanwhile, Woodson has the ability to motivate the players in a way Mike Dantoni couldn't. This led to the real Melo coming back, and taking over this team. He's playing the best basketball we've seen out of him in a long time.

Which was the lowest?
There were a lot of low points this season, but I'd have to say the days before Lin and Baron Davis when we had no real point guard. The team seemed lost, that was tough to watch.

Knicks - Heat 1st round. 

Can the Knicks beat  The Heat in the first round?  Predict the outcome
I think the way Melo is playing, Amare is back, Shumpert's defense, Mobb Deep, and a list of other factors we have a puncher's chance to beat anyone. Bring on the Heat or Chicago. I say we win.

How many games does this series go?
6 or 7! No less than that

Biggest Key to beating them in a 7 game series?
Melo being Melo, Defense, and bench scoring!

Series prediction. ? 
Knicks in 6! Winning it at home at the world's most famous arena

If Knicks don’t win, who do you think will win it all?
I've said all year I think the team to beat is OKC. Durant, Westbrook, (pending Harden's injury) if he returns they are tough to beat. Great guards, Durant and 2 big men are tough for any team to matchup with.

I’m a huge fan of Tv shows and music, do you like any of those things?
Sure I like TV and music. The only show I truly follow and watch religiously every week is Once Upon a Time. I know you were a LOST fan, so shame on you if you don't want this show too!

You have clearly shown your hate over my follow Friday mentions on twitter? Care to explain what’s so annoying about them?
If I explain will you stop doing them? They are annoying because it's TOO MUCH. It's like going to a website and getting hit with 50 popups and you can never get to your original site. You are those annoying popups, it's like spam I have to weed through your zillion FFs to see my normal TL.

Follow Marlana on Twitter @Marlana814 and her Sports betting site

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Bulls season in review + playoff talk with Stephanie Gabriel

Stephanie is a Bulls fan, I met her via Twitter. When she isn’t watching the Bulls, she’s watching The Big Bang Theory, playing guitar and going to the gym . I picked her to be my Bulls representative because she’s always very active on twitter and her knowledge is really impressive. I talked to her during the past few days about  who she thinks will make a comeback to the Windy city, discussed some Carlos Boozer and she even mentioned Norman Van Lier!

First of all I’d like to know,  how did you get involved with twitter? 

·         I noticed a few of my favorite writers, broadcasters, and sports teams involved with Twitter and I thought I’d give it a shot… Chicago sports fans, BullsFam, and 400-plus followers later and I am hooked!

Do you follow the league in general or just Bulls?

·         I keep up with the league, but mostly Chicago Bulls. I also keep up with the L.A. Lakers and Atlanta Hawks.

How did you start liking basketball and specially the Bulls? 

·         My parents always said the crying would stop when a Bulls game was on! My sister and I grew up on it and I’ve never given up on them once!

How dedicated are you to the Bulls ? Do you collect Bull stuff?  Done any crazy things for the Bulls?   

·         I consider myself to be very dedicated to my Bulls. When I was younger, I collected whatever I could but a lot of my posters, game tapes, etc. were lost in a flood or my mom secretly gave away some of it without my knowing. I have started a new collection and whenever I can meet a player, I will get in line and wait if I have to. I still have jerseys and shirts to show off in though. However, if the Bulls do win a championship this June, expect me to be involved in some crazy things!

Any past Bulls  player you’d like to see again with the team?

·         Mark my words; I think that Kirk Hinrich will be dusting off that #12 Bulls uniform again. I thought he played a vital role on the Bulls roster and I’d be very happy to see him back in Chicago.

Pick a player from another other team you’d love having them in a Bulls uniform

·         To be honest, I am content with our current roster, I couldn’t think of anyone that might mesh well. Maybe Ray Allen?

Who’s your favorite bull of all time? Why?

·         Ok, when it comes to choosing between player favorites, I can’t give you a straight answer. So, if we are talking 80s and 90s Bulls, I would pick the obvious, Michael Jordan, but it has to be a two-for-one deal. Michael (Jordan) and Scottie (Pippen). These two always complimented each other’s game very well. You can’t have one without the other; a match made in basketball heaven. If we are talking 70s Bulls. The Dick Motta-Era, I would pick the late Norm “Stormin’ Norman” Van Lier. The gritty two-guard. I have been told stories about how he and Jerry Sloan gave their bodies to the game, how they were the definition to hustle and heart. It’s a shame that core did not win a championship. I wish I could’ve witnessed him play.

Favorite Bull memory of all time?

·         My favorite Bulls memory has to be the ‘Flu Game’. Game five in the 1997 Finals. The series tied at two, Jordan not expected to play, shows up weak and plays his heart out. Not only did he tie the game with less than a minute, he hit the game-winning three to give the Bulls the momentum. That moment at the end of the game where MJ nearly collapses on Scottie gave me goose bumps. I will not lie, my eyes watered up.

Seriously. . What..The..hell is going on with Derrick Rose,  he recently mentioned how he wasn’t happy with the Bulls medical staff.  What's the deal? 

·         I’ve read that rumor about Rose and the medical staff. That’s all it is, a rumor. A false story the media made up. Rose stating his unhappiness to the media about something like that is out of his character. The only time he complained about something to the media was about officiating. He paid his dues for that one.

I hear people say all the time that  Chicago can't beat Miami (I do agree with this)  because Bulls only have 1 superstar and they have three.  Comment on that?

·         Miami does have three superstars. But basketball is not a three-on-one game. We have a solid starting core and we have THE Bench Mob. Last season even when we had our lone superstar to Miami’s three, we took the regular season 4-0, we did bite the dust in the playoffs, but it’s possible to beat Miami and the three. This season was a split, maybe they will meet again for a repeat of the Eastern Finals.

Who'd you think is the most under underappreciated bulls player? 

·         I think JLuk (James Lucas III) is the most under-appreciated Bulls player. Coach Thibs has asked him to shoot the ball on many occasions, establishing a trust. He will shoot, if he missed, that is what the rebounders are for. He has come through when Rose and CJ Watson were out with injuries. I personally enjoy watching him play. For a man in his stature in the third unit, he can sure play a big game. Lucasanity anyone?

One of the most hated Bulls player is Carlos Boozer, do you think he deserves all the criticism? 

·         Boozer has taken a lot of criticism ever since he put on a Bulls uniform. All I can say or ask of Mister CBooze himself is to play hard. I would like to see him go harder to the rim, just dunk instead of settling for the hook. Other than that, we knew before-hand that he was brought here for offense.

Who's your favorite player on the bulls right now?

·         My favorite player in a Bulls uniform right now (aside from Rose) has got to be between Joakim “JoNo” Noah and Taj Gibson.

Are you satisfied with the new players the Bulls got this season?

·         I am more than satisfied with our current Roster…If we can just get Kirk Hinrich back, I will be an even happier camper.

How would you grade Coach Thibs  and his coaching staff?

·         Coach Thibs and his coaching staff deserve an A+++! Back-to-back number one seasons. This year, Rose missed more than 20 games and the Bulls learned how to hold their own until he was healthy again. That says a lot about of core.

Which was the best moment of the Bull season?

·         Best Moment: Beating the Lakers on Christmas Day/Opening Night. We were down 11 with three and a half minutes remaining and Rose’s driving hook with less than five seconds gave us the 88-87 lead and Luol Deng blocked Kobe Bryant’s driving shot.

What about the worse?

·         Worst Moment: Derrick Rose missing so many games, and the game he came back in New York on 4/08, he shot 8-26. I know he was rusty and it was his first full game back but it hurt to watch him struggle.

Was there any part of the year when you thought “Screw this, we aren't winning it this year"

·         I never thought that about the Bulls this season.

What makes the Bulls bench so special?

·         The Bench Mob is so special because everyone comes to play. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t played in five or six games, when one of them is called in, that person will turn heads. You never know who is going to have the hot hand or the hot sauce. From Korver to Brewer to Gibson to Lucas. They all play like they are the first unit.

How is this version of the Bulls better than last years? 

·         Last season, I wasn’t sure if the Bulls depth would tire out if any injuries happened to our starters. This year, I think they proved me, and everyone who thought twice, wrong. They proved that they can play with anyone anytime. This team molded together even more. The chemistry is uncanny.

  Round One: Philly 76ers

How many games will this go?
-          I have the Chicago Bulls in FIVE games. You hear me Evan Turner, FIVE.
Biggest key to winning the series:
-          I will give you about three or four keys for the Bulls to get past this first round.
  1. Defense. You have to contest everything and anything. Be ready for Evan Turner, he’s from Chicago and his matchup with Rose goes deep, I am talking high school rivalry deep. Iguodala is always consistent, another Illinois boy. The Bulls cannot underestimate them.
  2. Free Throws. The Bulls missed free throws in the time of need has cost them wins. I hope Coach Thibs is making them run suicides for every missed attempt.
  3. Depth. Spiritually and physically, the Bulls are more ready than last year. If you remember last year, we had the best record, the MVP but lost in the Eastern Finals because Rose’s unspoken injury. Well, this season, he’s missed 20-plus games and the Bulls have learned to play and win until he came back healthy. Their mistake last year was always relying on Rose; there was no back-up plan if he went down. Now, we have at least 12 back-up plans. Bulls are the only team that put in an honest effort. Every win was fought for. This group is very determined and wiser this year. Our depth this year is a big key.
  4. Sleeper. My sleeper for the playoffs is none other than Carlos Boozer. (Expect James Lucas III and the Bench to play a vital role). He is the only Bull to play ALL 66 games. His shooting is more consistent. He is especially proud of his healthy season and I think he prove it on the court despite all the criticism he has taken the last two seasons.
Who do the Bulls need to stop on the 76ers?
-          I think Evan Turner has made himself clear. He is averaging 9.4 ppg and 5.8 rpg off the bench, but like I said before, he wanted to play Chicago in the playoffs. He still doesn’t BULLieve that it’s a challenge. His words when asked about facing Chicago in the playoffs:
“It means we’re dodging the tougher team”. The Bulls are a wiser team, because words like that do not bother them. Their game will speak for itself.

-          Turner can turn it up on the scoreboard when given the green light. But once the 76ers confidence is broken, the Bulls can take it from there, because that is all they have right now, confidence.

Let’s say  Bulls fails  to win it all, who’d you like to see  holding the  trophy by the end of June?  

·         If the Bulls don’t win it all this season, I would like to see the L.A. Lakers do it, maybe even Oklahoma City.

That was Stephanie Gabriel, her interview was a real pleasure, you can follow her on twitter @Sgabe12 and facebook .

Follow me on Twitter @JohnnyNBA and Like us on Facebook.

Grizzlies season in review + playoff talk with Katee Cook

Katee Cook is a die hard Grizzlies fan.  We talked about her favorite Memphis player, who'd she liked before Memphis and her Love/Hate relationship with Rudy. 

How did you started liking this thing anyway? 
I'm 27 and I grew up in the Michael Jordan era. The Bulls were every kids favorite team back then. My older brother, Trip was a big basketball fan and being the big brother, he was always the one with the remote. So I guess I have him to thank for my love of basketball. If you can't beat em' join em'!

Are you a casual or devoted fan? 
Basketball has always been my favorite sport. My devotion for basketball in general probably started on my first Girl's Club team. I think I was about 6 or 7. In the last several years devotion has turned into obsession. Don't judge me.

How did you started being a Memphis fan?
I was 16 in 2001 when the Grizzlies moved to Memphis. Aside from Jordan, the first player I "followed" seriously was Shane Battier when he was at Duke. (Yes, I am a Duke fan. Don't kill me.) So you can imagine my fan girl excitement when I found out Shane Battier was coming to Memphis. I couldn't have asked for a better scenario. I would have been a fan because I take pride in my city, but Battier was the icing on the cake.

Did you like the Vancouver Grizzlies?
The who? ;o)

I'm a Laker fan, but more of an NBA fan in general. I collect a bunch of books, magazines & Newspapers. Do you collect any Grizzlies stuff?
 I didn't know you were a Laker fan. I will still finish the interview since I gave you my word but I won't respect you. :o)  Most of my collecting didn't start until the last few years when I could afford to buy things myself. I have a signed Rudy Gay coach's binder, a signed Tony Allen coach's binder, my growl towels from last season's playoff run, and I just got a signed OJ Mayo jersey for my birthday!

On many forums, I've read people complaining about Rudy Gay, they say Memphis is better by trading him and getting the ball down low to Zack and Marc. How do you feel about that? 
Rudy Gay is a sore subject and one that Memphis fans seem to disagree the most about. I was disappointed in Rudy's return this season for several games. There was the infamous 1 point game. I was at the forum for that. All of the Grizzlies got booed that night but people were especially furious with Rudy. While I don't believe he always play to the VERY high salary the Grizzlies pay him, I think he has grown up over this season. At least I hope. He also is the only Grizzlies player to score over 30 this season. I want to see how he does in the playoffs before I give you my final verdict on Rudy.

When Memphis signed Conley to a $45 million extension over five years, one famous NBA writer was in a rage, do you think Memphis fan appreciate Conley's play more than ever? 
Until recently I think most Memphis fans didn't trust Mike Conley. Memphis fans have been burned so many times that we tend to always be watching our backs. This season the fans have embraced Conley as a part of Grizz Nation. I still wouldn't call him the leader of the team, but I think we feel like he has proven himself to be a player that has come a long way. Memphis respects that.

Thoughts on Arenas?
I ordered a custom Arenas shirt within the week he came to Memphis. It's safe to say I am in love with the addition. A lot of people remember his less than perfect past and forget how incredible he was pre-gun problems. Memphis has become the place an NBA player can get a second chance and I am proud of that. The fans here will support you for working hard. We just want a guy that plays well and gives heart, grit and grind every game. Arenas definitely meets those requirements.

Which was the biggest moment of the season?  
The biggest moment thus far was just a few hours ago. Memphis beating the Orlando Magic and clinching the 4th seed and home court for the first time in franchise history! The energy in the forum was electric. It ended with fans chanting "Beat LA! Beat LA!"

Every true Grizz fan will answer this the same way. Zach Randolph's knee injury on January 1, 2012 was by far our lowest point of the season. With Rudy Gay being out last season, the fans had so much hope coming into this one with most of our players healthy. (With the exception of Darrell Arthur who sadly was injured right before the shortened season began.) A hush fell over Memphis that day knowing we might have just lost our entire season. But the Grizzlies are not a quit and run team. They fought hard all season to get us back to the playoffs. No one could have dreamed it would be as a 4th seed with home court advantage. It's a testament to the grit and grind of this team and this city.

Last year Memphis almost traded OJ Mayo for Josh Mcroberts, this season Mayo was almost traded to Boston. Why do you think Memphis is always trying to get rid of him?  
My thoughts exactly! ha ha! In all seriousness though, O.J. Mayo has always been a fan favorite. However he was not always a favorite of everyone inside the Grizzlies organization. This is his contract year and I think the Grizzlies wanted to try and get something for him before he was a free man. He has been playing excellent coming off the bench the last few months and I think he will be clutch in the playoffs. I hope he's still in Memphis next season but salary disagreements may keep that from happening.

Most overrated Memphis player?
People call me a Rudy Gay hater but I cannot tell a lie - (in my opinion) it's Rudy Gay. I am NOT saying he isn't incredibly talented or that he hasn't been one of the best Memphis has ever seen. I'm simply saying his game doesn't always live up to his hype. He didn't step up in the same way Zach did as a leader this season. You will have a hard time convincing me he leaves everything out on the court every game. As a side note, he doesn't seem to connect with the fans the same way the rest of the team does. Maybe he's shy, I don't really know. But again, he's got a lot of talent but he doesn't always play at a superstar level. I believe he can be a superstar so that's why I am slightly underwhelmed with him. Let the stoning from Memphis fans begin.

The most underrated player this season has to be Dante Cunningham. In Memphis we love him but he deserves more national recognition. He has been clutch for the Grizzlies in more than one game. He never gives up on a play. He dives for the ball. He plays smart basketball. Dante plays his role well and he stays humble. In Memphis that kind of guy is a dream player. Watch for him in the playoffs. If you don't know who Dante Cunningham is now, you will soon.

How do you feel about Memphis' chances against the Clippers in the first round? 
After last years playoff run, Memphis will be the Clippers worst nightmare. We don't flop in Memphis and we don't respect teams that do. It just means you can't play defense. Blake Griffin is hated here and won't find many friends. His intimidation tactics won't work against any of our players. Warning: Kia's in Memphis should not be left unattended during round 1. 

Who do you think will be the most important player against the Clippers? 
It's hard to pick just one because the Grizzlies play a team game, especially this season. They have all had to rely on each other though injuries and tough stretches. If pressed, I guess I'd say OJ Mayo. He always plays so hard. But then again, Tony Allen is my favorite player and I have never seen a player hustle harder than him. See, I told you it's hard to pick one! Like we say in Memphis "1 team! 1 goal!"

Any predictions? 
My round 1 prediction is that the Grizzlies will win in 6 games.

If Grizzlies don't win it all, who'd you feel is going to hold the trophy?
I think you picked me for this interview because I am a Memphis Grizzlies super fan. A good super man never gives a "what if" prediction against their team. Losing isn't a possibility in my mind.

Katee Cook also has a Grizzlies podcast called "Grizzcast" follow her on twitter at @KateeForbis .  I could interview Katee forever and i hope to have her again soon. 

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