So much for bold declarations. The Grizzlies cared little for momentum Friday, bouncing back from a devastating Gary Neal buzzer beater to dispatch of the Spurs with the casual deft of a mama bear batting away her cub.
Legacy? Whatever. Move, bitch. Get out the way.
San Antonio, once the titan of the West, was little more than a plaything for Zach Randolph and Co. in Game 6 as Z-Bo lit up the Spurs like a Drake track featuring Jay-Z on his way to a Playoff career high 31 points – 17 of which came in the fourth quarter – and 11 rebounds.
Marc Gasol joined Randolph on the double-double train with 12 points and 13 points. Greivis Vasquez added 11 points off the bench.
For the Spurs, it was business as usual, and business wasn’t good.
San Antonio, the best three-point shooting team in the League during the regular season, missed 17 of 22 threes and got to the line just 14 times. They turned the ball over 11 times and played suspect defense, rotating poorly against the likes of Darrell Arthur and Tony Allen, who really have no business getting easy looks in the lane.
Unlike the great teams of the past, these Spurs were awful down the stretch. They executed poorly and turned the ball over unnecessarily, failing to capitalize on what little opportunity they had.
As in previous losses, San Antonio failed to support to their go-to guy (in this case Tony Parker, who had 23 points on 17 shots). Manu Ginobili and Gary Neal combined to shoot two of 13 from beyond the arc, Richard Jefferson had his third crappy game in a row (0 points in 10 minutes), and Tim Duncan was again a specter of his former self – so much for the fountain of youth.
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies featured their usual balanced attack on offense (Randolph and Gasol dominated the inside, and Sam Young and Player X (in this case, Vasquez) hit their shots in the midrange) and their trademark ferociousness on defense.
Mike Conley struggled for the first time in the series, scoring just 9 points in 25 minutes, but Vasquez and others (namely, Arthur and OJ Mayo) picked up the slack for him. The Grizzlies shot 52.1 percent from the field as a team.
In the end, seeding meant nothing. The Grizzlies out-executed and, let’s face it, outplayed their veteran opponents. They move on to play the Thunder in the second round in what figures to be another fight to the death series.
I can’t wait. — Patrick Crawley / @BasketballFiend