In what has been an up and down season for many of the former Kentucky Wildcats earning their living in the NBA, several have seen postseason action with their respective teams. Gone, but never forgotten is Jodie Meeks (Lakers), Eric Bledsoe (LA Clippers), Keith Bogans (Brooklyn Nets), and Terrence Jones (Houston Rockets). There are two games slated for tonight in the East and West Semis featuring Marquis Teague and Nazr Mohammed (Chicago) as they tangle with Miami; along with Tayshaun Prince (Memphis) and DeAndre Liggins (Thunder).
Marquis primarily plays in unfavorable foul situations for both Robinson and Hinrich, or when either is injured but Nazr has played his way into more minutes simply because he is busting his ass doing all the little things such as playing tough, hardnosed defense, being an enforcer of sorts like you see in hockey, and scoring here and there. DeAndre is playing primarily in cleanup duty, when the game is out of hand either way. Which brings us to Tayshaun Prince.
Tayshaun was a stalwart of the Detroit Pistons defense prior to his trade midway through this season, and as asinine as it looked on paper to give up the scoring of Rudy Gay, the proof is in the pudding with Tayshaun. With the Grizzlies in this postseason, he’s averaging the second lowest PPG average of his career (7.3) and, as a result, has returned to his once ballyhooed defense.
In game 1 of the series against OKC, Head Coach Lionel Hollins had him guarding Kevin Durant. In that game no one could guard Durant so he lit Prince up to the tune of 35. What killed the Grizz wasn’t Kevin Durant, rather it was Kevin Martin who is filling in as Robin while Russell Westbrook is out. Martin lit the Grizz up for 25 on 8/14 shooting in the Victory. Coach Hollins isn’t an idiot and for games 2 and 3, Tayshaun’s defensive assignment was Kevin Martin. Game Two (2) had Kevin Martin going for 6 points on 2/11 shooting while Game Three (3) had Martin going for 13 but on 6/17. Memphis won both those games despite Durant going for 25 in each.
So, tonight the Heat and Bulls are playing the fourth game of the series as Chicago looks to even it up at two (2) apiece. As tough as the Bulls are and as soft as Miami is, unfortunately it isn’t going to matter much. The fact of the matter is that Chicago doesn’t have LeBron on their team and despite the physicality of the series, the Heat are still in control. I don’t see Chicago winning another game.
Following this Bulls-Heat game is the OKC-Memphis game. This series turned, literally, when Russell Westbrook went down with a torn meniscus in the second game of the First Round series against the Houston Rockets. As great as Kevin Durant is, he needs help on the offensive end and since Tayshaun has, for all intents and purposes, shut down Kevin Martin, Durant can’t carry the full scoring load. And as long as Tayshaun is shutting Kevin Martin down, his value to the Grizz cannot be underestimated regardless of the offensive stat line he does or doesn’t have. Expect the Grizzlies to win again, though it will be close.
Former Kentucky Wildcats 2013 Post Season Stats
Player Team Series GP MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG
Marquis Teague Chicago Bulls Down 2-1 7 8 1.4 0.3 1.3 0.3 0.1
Nazr Mohammed Chicago Bulls Down 2-1 10 10.5 4.2 2.7 0.4 0.2 0.5
DeAndre Liggins OKC Thunder Down 2-1 8 8.5 1 1.8 0.5 0.1 0.1
Tayshaun Prince Memphis Grizzlies Up 2-1 9 33.8 7.3 4.3 2.2 0.7 0.4
Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls @ 7:00 PM EST on TNT
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies @ 9:30 PM EST on TNT
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