The Memphis Grizzlies head into Game 5 of their NBA first-round round confrontation with the Oklahoma City Thunder determined to look ahead. That is what you have to do in these series, which can ebb and flow in dramatic fashion.
Tied 2-2, Memphis came so tantalizingly close on Saturday night to writing a 3-1 script for the game Tuesday night at Chesapeake Arena in OKC. With the FedExForum filled to the rafters – including new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who had his hands full fielding questions about the racist remarks linked to Los Angeles Clipper owner Donald Sterling – the Grizz and Thunder battled into their third straight overtime, with the Thunder squeaking out the win, 92-89
With Memphis braced for a two-star surge from OKC's Durant and Russell Westbrook, reserve guard Reggie Jackson turned out to be the most pressing problem. Jackson, who had not asserted himself before Game 4, scored 32 points, racked 9 rebounds to propel the Thunder.
Editor's note: Arianna Huffington has spent years building a media empire that includes the popular website Huffington Post, and she is, by any measure, a success. But in 2007 she collapsed at her desk from stress and exhaustion, breaking a bone in her face and injuring an eye. That trauma was the beginning of a period of re-evaluation for Huffington about her priorities. She shares what she has learned and her transformative vision for a more rewarding life in her new book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder.
The fundamental flaw at the heart of our misguided definition of success is the belief that overworking is the route to high performance and exceptional results. One easy way to see the folly of this belief is to look at the world of sports, where performance is objectively quantified and measurable.
The sports world, the source of many metaphors in the business world – " home run," "slam dunk," "dropping the ball," "heavy hitters," "step up to the plate," and so forth – is, in fact, way ahead of the business world in its thinking about productivity and burnout.
Say whew! Breathe! Don't forget to exhale!
That could be part of the instruction manual for being a Memphis Grizzlies fan, especially after Thursday night's emotion-stretching victory over Oklahoma City at the FedExForum.
In Game 3 of the first-round playoff series, the Grizzlies escaped with a 98-95 win over super-All Star Kevin Durant and now have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
When the Memphis Grizzlies take the floor of the FedExForum on Thursday night, the buzz from the Game 2 victory in Oklahoma City will have given way to the delirium of hosting Game 3 knotted at a game apiece.
The Game 2 overtime win was a battle that few could argue was not an instant classic. And the bulk of those who would proffer such a position most likely live in Oklahoma and live and die with Kevin Durant and the OKC Thunder.
In the Bluff City, however, there is no doubt. The 111-105 victory was monstrously rewarding and oh, so unforgettable, at least for Grizz fans. The Memphis players, however, don't have the luxury of dwelling on a memory. You can't beat super-All Star Durant with a memory.
The recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision granting Northwestern University football players the right to unionize, if upheld, will shatter the NCAA's business model.
It is safe to say that we are at the dawn of a new era in college sports when we add these elements to the mix:
• The frontal attack launched a few days before by noted antitrust lawyer Jeffrey Kessler, accusing the NCAA of colluding to deprive athletes of the ability to earn more than the value of their scholarships.
• The pending lawsuit challenging the NCAA rule that bars players from earning money from the use of their images.
On Wednesday night in FedExForum, Memphis' Grizzlies clawed and clawed until the clock ran out in overtime. It took every ounce of that regular season-ending effort to beat the Dallas Mavericks and snatch the seventh seed in the NBA's Western Conference Playoffs.
With the clock frozen at 1.1 seconds left to play, starting point guard Mike Conley sank two free throws. The second gave the Grizzlies a one-point lead (101-105) that survived a Dallas last-second heave that came uncomfortably close to making Memphis an eighth seed.
What's the big deal about finishing seventh rather than eighth? Well, it means not having to play the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs that look and play like world-beaters as the grind to the NBA Finals is set to get underway later this week.
It's still the offseason for retired NFL cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.
The 32-year-old former All-Pro announced his retirement in December after 11 seasons in the NFL, but he doesn't miss the game yet.
He's been focusing his energies on his foundation and providing new experiences and college visits for at-risk high school students from low-income communities.