At the end of any Memphis Grizzlies win at the FedExForum, this familiar song can be heard blaring loudly across the sound system: "Whoomp! (There it is)."
The song, made popular by rap artist Tag Team, relates precisely to what the Grizzlies did in their 87-81 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday to take a 2-1 series lead in this Western Conference Semifinal.
The Grizzlies used every form of "tag teaming" possible in the win.
Consider these examples:
Grit ... grind ... thou name is the Memphis Grizzlies!
After a heart-breaking loss in Game 1 that easily could (and probably should) have the Thunder down 2-0, the Grizzlies responded with an impressive 99-93 victory to even the best of seven series at 1-1.
Led by the steady hand of Mike Conley, who was one assist away from a triple-double with an impressive stat line of 26 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists, the Grizz were determined not to let another late lead disappear. Marc Gasol added 24 points and provided a major presence in the paint that Oklahoma City just could not match.
The pool of retired and revered coaches recently made room for one more – Coach Jerry M. Johnson Sr.
Former students, players, family and friends gathered at the Marriott East Hotel on April 27 for a retirement dinner and gala in Coach Johnson's honor. The celebration noted his 42 years of service in education and coaching in Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools.
Coach Johnson started his coaching career at Wooddale Junior High, coaching football and track. His teams won championships in both sports.
Grizz Nation was in full effect Sunday evening in Oklahoma City and although an unlikely victory in the home of last year's Western Conference champs was well within reach, a few critical errors and some home court luck, gave the Thunder the win. Kevin Durant made a critical jumper with 11.1 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter Sunday to give the Thunder the lead, which unfortunately for Grizz Nation, they never relinquished. It was Durant's 4th game-tying or go-ahead shot in the final 24 seconds of a playoff game in the last five postseasons, tied for the most in the league.
Game 2 is Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.
Game 6 of the Memphis Grizzlies vs Los Angeles Clippers NBA Playoffs first round series is a sellout.
The FedExForum will be raucous place as the Grizz go for the knockout up three games to two against the Clippers. It's not an absolute must-win game, with the series shifting back to L.A. should Memphis coming up short in its bid to snare its second playoff series win in franchise history.
Ashundria McNeal, a senior volleyball player at Melrose High School, was a Best of the Preps selection this year. On Wednesday, she signed with Alabama A & M University.
McNeal is the first volleyball player from Melrose to receive a full volleyball scholarship to a Division 1 school.
Nominated to the district all-star team for the past three seasons, McNeal was ranked in the top 20 in the state in hitting percentage during the regular season.
My dad was an avid sports fan and a great athlete in his day. We used to watch basketball and football games together, and I know some of his proudest moments as a father were when I wore my sports uniforms in high school and college.
He was a man's man – a hard drinking, foul-mouthed veteran of the Korean War who came on to every voluptuous nurse who crossed his path. He passed away about this time last year.
I think about him often, and more during March Madness. I thought about him as I read about Jason Collins coming out as the first openly gay player in NBA history. I wondered, "If my dad were reading this, what would he say?"