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Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 at 8:58 am  |  87 responses

Post Up: On to the Next One

The Spurs sweep the Grizzlies to advance to the NBA Finals.

Spurs 93, Grizzlies 86 (Spurs win series 4-0)

The Spurs were a little better than the Grizzlies in the Conference Finals. San Antonio handled Game 1 easily, but Games 2-4 came down to the wire. Each time, the Spurs were the better closers. Game 2 saw a furious Grizzlies comeback fall short in overtime. Game 3 came down to poor free throw shooting late by Memphis, and another squandered chance in OT. In Game 4, with the season on the line, the Grizzlies’ offense completely disappeared.

Last night, a pair of Quincy Pondexter free throws cut an eight-point Grizz deficit to six with nearly four minutes left. From there, Memphis held San Antonio without any points for over three and a half minutes, but couldn’t muster up a bucket of their own for nearly as long. With 48 seconds left, a Marc Gasol jumper cut the Spurs’ lead to three, but Memphis never scored again. Tony Parker iced the game with four late free throws.

Parker was unbelievable all night, and finished with 37 points (15/21), 6 assists and 4 rebounds. He didn’t miss from beyond the arc (1/1) or the free throw line (6/6) and played a team-high 40 minutes. Tim Duncan added 15 and 8 with 4 rejections, and Kawhi Leonard scored 11. Memphis was able to limit the Spurs’ other key guys like Manu Ginobili (6), Danny Green (5) and Tiago Splitter (9), but Parker couldn’t have played much better.

Pondexter had a huge third quarter and finished with 22 for Memphis. He shot 7-for-11 overall, including 3-of-6 from deep. But Marc Gasol (14 and 5) and Zach Randolph (13 points off 4-13) were pedestrian once again. After a dominant series against the Thunder, they were unable to make any noise against San Antonio. Mike Conley had one of his worst games of the postseason, and finished with 9 points on 4-of-13 shooting.

Memphis’ offense looked lost in crunch time. The Rudy Gay trade is a tough one to analyze because the Grizz developed into a better team after the deal. But after watching Game 4, and, really, Games 1-3, too, it’s fair to wonder whether a team can get over the hump without a guy like Gay. I think he’s typically overrated, but there’s something to be said for having a player who isn’t afraid to take (and make) big shots. Somebody needed to step up and get a bucket for the team late in massive games and nobody did it. I thought Gasol, whose offensive game had been so impressive in the first two rounds, could have been that guy, but it just didn’t happen.

Still, Memphis looks like a team that has at least one more trip to the Conference Finals in their future. Conley and Gasol are in their primes, and Z-Bo is still producing at a high level. If they can bring back to-be free agent Tony Allen, their roster will be solid once again. Another year under the belts of some of their younger guys (Ed Davis, Tony Wroten, Austin Daye) as well as an offseason to work with the newish, post-Gay team should help them improve.

Meanwhile, the Spurs get to wait out the winner of the Eastern Finals, which won’t end until Thursday at the earliest. A few weeks ago, it seemed like the Heat were a lock for the title, but now I’m not so sure. Here are three things I’m using to talk myself into thinking that we might see a competitive Finals (assuming Miami gets there), and maybe even an upset:

1. It’s easy to forget how good Memphis looked until they ran into San Antonio. They were legitimately scary. 2. Miami only has a B-version of Dwyane Wade, who’s averaging 14 points on 48 percent shooting in the Playoffs. 3. Throughout the Conference Finals, Duncan was clearly better than Gasol, a superior player to Chris Bosh (especially defensively and on the glass). Duncan would have a massive Finals against whatever tandem of Bosh/Birdman/Battier/Joel Anthony Miami threw his way.

The bad news: It’s possible—and dare I say likely—that the only thing that really matters is what team LeBron James plays for.—Leo Sepkowitz

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  • Mike MIhalow

    Spurs gonna stick it to Stern

  • The Mighty FV

    Ruined the entire article with the end sentence. The Heat are looking sub-par this playoffs – the Spurs will dominate them if they meet in the final.

  • LLC#12

    Spurs have comprehensively swept 2 teams, and put away a strong upcoming team 4-2, whilst the Heat swept one round (against the worst team in the playoffs), dropped a game to an injury ravaged team and has dropped another game whilst battling to put away another team…

    As great as the Heat are, don’t start engraving that trophy just yet.

  • Judah1012

    The NBA should give Pop and the Spurs their money back from that fine early in the season. The man knows what he’s doing with this team.

  • Judah1012

    Not sure any team with LeBron James will get dominated. If they meet, I’d say it goes 6 or 7 games.

  • i_ball

    Let’s see how Pop’s genius stands compared to LeBron’s one (If the Heat make it past the Pacers). The way he and the team took the life out of ZBo is simply astonishing.

  • Leo Sepkowitz

    Last year, Miami trailed Indiana 2-1 in the second round and Boston 3-2 in the Conference Finals before switching into another gear for the Finals. I think it’s a mistake to take what the Heat do pre-Finals too seriously.

  • Leo Sepkowitz

    Last year, Miami trailed Indiana 2-1 in the second round and Boston 3-2 in the Conference Finals before switching into another gear for the Finals. I think it’s a mistake to take what the Heat do pre-Finals too seriously.

  • Max

    Congrats to the Spurs.
    Memphis had a very nice season.

  • Max

    Congrats to the Spurs.
    Memphis had a very nice season.

  • Max

    Tony Parker’s backdoor cuts along with great passing from their bigs is very dangerous.

  • Max

    Tony Parker’s backdoor cuts along with great passing from their bigs is very dangerous.

  • Guest

    Respect to the these three legends and the entire Spurs organization.

  • Guest

    Respect to the these three legends and the entire Spurs organization.

  • ChosenOne

    <3

  • ChosenOne

    <3

  • Guest

    <3

  • Guest

    <3

  • ChosenOne

    Respect

  • ChosenOne

    Respect to these three legends and the entire Spurs organization!

  • ChosenOne

    Respect to these three legends and the entire Spurs organization!

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    GEEZ Lionel Hollins you taking enough credit here?

    “I have been able to take a group of young guys and build them into a team, teaching work ethic individually,” Hollins told Yahoo! Sports. “I’ve held them accountable. Taught them how to work hard, what it means, and how to win. They were not a winning team. I showed them what it took to win.”
    -
    “It’s not just me. They wanted to win and they didn’t know how. And they took to the instruction. Hopefully, as we go forward or whatever happens, if I’m in another situation, I’d be blessed to have a team that can do the same thing because that’s half the battle. Finding a group that has a will to play hard and will to want to win and just need to be taught how to do it.”

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    GEEZ Lionel Hollins you taking enough credit here?

    “I have been able to take a group of young guys and build them into a team, teaching work ethic individually,” Hollins told Yahoo! Sports. “I’ve held them accountable. Taught them how to work hard, what it means, and how to win. They were not a winning team. I showed them what it took to win.”
    -
    “It’s not just me. They wanted to win and they didn’t know how. And they took to the instruction. Hopefully, as we go forward or whatever happens, if I’m in another situation, I’d be blessed to have a team that can do the same thing because that’s half the battle. Finding a group that has a will to play hard and will to want to win and just need to be taught how to do it.”

  • i_ball

    He did a great job with the team and is looking for a new contract. Maybe he’s trying to get his stock up?

  • Max

    Manu’s hair shows the way these 3 led.
    It almost went away 2 years ago, but it kinda coming back from it right now, just like the Spurs did with reaching the finals again.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    His stock up? He’s being pursued by multiple teams. And the job he’s done has been good, but whoa. I don’t want a coach who thinks he’s the main reason my guys succeed. This is a player’s league, not a coach’s league.

  • playa

    Yeah, spurs are like those old man’s squads you laugh at in a streetball tournament,then they whip your&your boys asses without breaking the sweat.

  • Conor

    The Spurs are phenomenal. I can’t say that I anticipated Randolph becoming a p***y, but it was San Antonio’s execution & collective talent which provided the Grizzlies’ death knells.

    At this point, I just want Miami to lose so that the James Hyperbole doesn’t approach a new stratosphere.

  • spit hot fiyah

    just trying to sell himself on the market, give him a break

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    give him a break? i have no bearing on anything, my opinion is irrelevant. and if i were looking for a coach, this wouldn’t improve his stock. This would hurt it. Infact, this would take him out of the running. I don’t want a coach who thinks he’s the reason our teams win. I want one who credits the player’s when we win, and blames himself when we lose.

  • Caboose

    Are you sure you’d take Paul Westphal over Lionel Hollins? I mean sure, if their skill levels are equal, of course you want the more humble coach who boosts up his players. But, how much of a talent cut are you willing to take?

  • LakeShow

    Called that one…
    Wait, the Spurs won?
    Oops…
    Zombie bastards

  • Caboose

    Spurs win in 6 over Miami or 5 over Indiana.

  • Sergio

    Amazing coaching job by Pop. But the Grizzlies seriously need a scorer in the wing. Someone like OJ Mayo or Rudy Gay… Wait, what?

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    Am I the only one that sees this NBA universe possibly coming full circle? Mind you just 6 years ago Duncan told LeBron after his Final victory this league would be his one day. He might have cursed himself. We shall see…

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    you are going to have to explain to me how you got the conclusion that i am saying i’d rather have Paul Westphal…..
    .
    i’ve said multiple times i find Lionel Hollins to be a good coach. Just not that good. And things like this, along with all the other nonsense he’s said this season, would scare me, personally, away from him.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    NO. if they had Rudy Gay they would have lost to the Clippers.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Duncan said, “this league will be yours soon …… i appreciate you giving us this year”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGY6UamVRSU

  • Max

    Someone like the Trevor Ariza when he was with the Lakers. Or Ron Artest with the Rockets would be ideal.

  • spit hot fiyah

    a time machine would also be great

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    This is the clip I was referring to. Man that’s strange.

  • 1982

    So many things to root for here. Does getting swept in 07 motivate Bron the way he manned up vs the Celtics? Both teams have completely different strengths – this one’s a coaching series. Does T-Mac get a ring? That last one has me on the edge of my seat.

  • Sergio

    Yeah, a defender who could shoot the ball. Someone like Leonard.

  • Sergio

    Yeah, they would, he he kept shooting the ball a lot. But if their game continued to be based in the post, and he took less shots, I think he would help.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yeah, “if” – but we KNOW that Lionel Hollins thought Rudy was the best offensive player on the team.
    .
    They pretty clearly improved when Gay was traded.

  • Mars

    Tracy finally got there. Still.

  • Mars

    Well, more like the champs who are used to always winning, and you forget, so they remind you with a broomstick.

  • Mars

    Somehow, still, Tony Parker will fall off into obscurity, Timmy will be remembered as “utilitarian”, and Manu as the ultimate Swiss Army Knife. Isn’t he from Argentina?

  • Judah1012

    What will help LeBron more than just how much better he is and his motivation will be the fact that he’s no longer passing to guys named Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes like he was in 07.

  • Max

    lol

  • sauldreyes

    don’t ever sleep on the spurs, the best coached team in the L; also don’t forget Tim Duncan is undefeated in the finals thus far….. something neither Shaq or Kobe can claim

  • Max

    He shall than be known as ‘the Argentinian army knife’.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Sooner or later you gotta explain why you think San Antonio beats Miami? Not to argue it, but just to see the reasoning.
    .
    And I have my own reasons why I give them like a 33% shot at winning but I want to see why they look like favorites to you

  • Melanie Eric

    my c○-w○rKеr’s m○m mаKеs  $86/h○υr ○ո thе іոtеrոеt. Shе hаs  bееո fіrеd fr○m w○rK f○r sіx  m○ոths bυt lаst m○ոth hеr раymеոt wаs  $15775 jυst w○rKіոg ○ո thе іոtеrոеt f○r  а fеw h○υrs. Rеаd m○rе  hеrе, ..Fox83.com

  • Junior Taylor

    nbk, I still disagree with your “Hollins is overrated” assertion but I am willing to say that Hollins doesn’t deserve the “great” label I showered on him before the series. In my opinion, the Grizz lost in part due to their inability to knock down outside shots. Outside of Quincy Pondexter, all the Grizz perimeter players struggled with their shots (Conley shot 28% from 3, TA 25% and Bayless 30%). That made it easier for the Spurs to send multiple defenders at Gasol/ZBo.

  • i_ball

    I really, really want the Spurs to win but the only argument I have for them is Pop.
    Miami (if they make it healthy to the Finals) are a would be the favorite to win. I say 60/40.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    well i said i think Hollins is a good coach. I just don’t feel like he’s in that top tier. Maybe in that second group. He’s great at motivating his guys, he seems like he really understands his player’s strengths and weaknesses. But he makes really poor in game/series adjustments. And his rotations are often very questionable.
    - Like has anyone asked what in the world Tony Allen was doing in the starting lineup after game 1? Why play him if he’s going to be guarding Danny Green? And what in the entire world of f*cks is he still doing in the game in game 3, and shooting 11 shots? WHAT?
    - Why is your plan to get Z-Bo going after that game 1 disaster to get him the ball 17 feet from the hoop (or in his words, “get Zach the ball further from the hoop”)? Uhm, you want to beat the Spurs bigs by making Z-Bo shoot jumpers and face up? Why is he not catching the ball on the move in the post? Why are you not using Gasol to either get Z-Bo the ball when the Spurs bigs are off balanced, or to actually get them off balance with a down/pinch screen on the baseline?
    - Those two things really bothered me about this series aside from some late game habits the Grizzlies kept falling back into.
    .
    Other than those things, Hollins is hardly the reason the Grizzlies lost that series. They were losing it no matter what happened. No perimeter scorer, only one way big man whose effective on both sides of the ball. He just didn’t help extend the series with what he did/didn’t do.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk
  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk
  • 1982

    Oh I totally agree. But I hope he uses the same motivation he had vs Boston that first year they banded together. They all understood that individually they couldn’t take down the Celtics (same with the spurs) so they went through them with real focus. Closing out Boston, when you saw his mean mug the entire series is what I’m hoping for. The Heat tend to play uninspired ball when they first start a series for some reason.

  • LakeShow

    If the Spurs win the chip and Duncan is dominant…
    I’ll re-think my Kobe over Duncan thoughts.

  • Caboose

    1. Popovich will run circles around Spoelstra. This is pretty much a given.
    2. The Spurs now have an extra week or so of rest.
    3. The Spurs have waves of wing defenders to throw at LeBron.
    4. San Antonio has won both when the entire opposing team plays well together (Memphis, Game 2) AND when another team’s star goes off (Golden State). Therefore, it would appear that for Miami to win, Bron would have to go off AND his supporting cast play very well too. Given Wade’s health, this seems unlikely.
    5. Tim Duncan vs any Heat big.
    6. Tony Parker vs Mario Chalmers.
    7. The Spurs are a very dominant inside scoring team. The Heat have distinctly average paint defense.
    8. The Spurs are typically worn down by opponent’s offensive rebounds. Not a big problem given the Heat’s matchups vs San Antonio.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    oh dear. this is going to be fun. i think a lot of what Miami is good at by design, allows those other things to be true. Kind of like how San Antonio has taken away their formerly strong focus on defensive rebounding. So we’ll see if those weaknesses are actually weaknesses, and not just drawbacks to strengths.
    .
    And i really think everyone needs to stop comparing the Heat to teams previously played in the Western conference. The Grizzlies were not as good as they looked when beating the Clippers and half the Thunder. Not even kind of. I thought this was obvious. Same goes for Golden State, who never really threatened the Spurs with more than an unsustainable shooting stretch.
    .
    And this goes the same way for the Spurs and the Eastern conference teams. Even Indiana is not the same level of monster as that beast out in San Antonio.
    .
    I’m so excited.

  • Sergio

    Man, Duncan’s face in this gif is priceless!

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i just don’t see it. Spoelstra has grown by leaps and bounds as a coach. He’s truly one of the better leads in the league at this point. And aside from Rivers, Popovich, and Carlisle I think he’s the best with in-game adjustments in the league.

    .

    LeBron is not something San Antonio has seen. Ever. And if what Kevin Durant did to them from games 3-6 last year are any indication, LeBron is going to have a hell of a series.

    - http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/d/duranke01/gamelog/2012/#35-38-sum:pgl_basic_playoffs

    .
    I also don’t like Tony Parker’s chances of dominating this series like he has so far. Miami can switch on the perimeter. Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole is the best defensive combination at the PG spot that Parker has had to go up against. And Norris Cole is going to do exactly what Conley and Allen should have been doing in the Memphis series. Pressing Parker up and down the court trying to wear him out.

  • Sergio

    Lake, while I was watching the WCF, I couldnt stop thinking that, if Kobe were healthy, the Lakers has a real possibility of getting to the Finals. The West was wide open. I mean, Westbrook got hurt, Golden State were good, but too inexperienced, Memphis had no perimeter scoring and the Spurs, while heavenly coached and with good players, has not looked unbeatable during any point of the Playoffs. Actually, they looked pretty mortal against GS.

    What do you think?

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    I was thinking the same exact thing. For years I’ve been on the Kobe side of that debate but if Duncan gets #5 I think I might also have to shift my stance.

  • RayJr

    Blasphemy

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    I agree. They do tend to start each series a bit sluggish minus Game 1 of last years Finals despite the loss. In that game I felt they came out with great energy they just didn’t finish well in the second half.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    lmao

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    This is classic

  • LakeShow

    It’s hard for us to be objective so i’m proud of both of us lol.

  • Caboose

    Can’t wait.

  • LakeShow

    About what exactly?

    I think the Lakers could have gotten to the west finals, but I think they would have lost to San An if they met there. The Spurs have been really impressive to me.

    They are on a Dallas-esque circa 2011 type roll right now.

  • Slick ric

    Congrats to the spurs. I was rooting for memphis all season but this was a fluke; I still feel it was a mistake trading Rudy Gay and it definitely showed against the spurs. with all that being said, Lebron is going to kill the spurs if they face them. I dont see anyone on the spurs who can even dream about stopping him.

  • Sergio

    No man, I think LA coul ve upset the Spurs in the fist round. Remember, they finished the season 28 – 12, seemed to finally have learned how to mix Gasol and Howard, and Kobe was balacing when to attack and when to pass to perfection. The Spurs looked pretty good against Memphis, but not so much against GS and even against LAs fully depleted team.

  • Caboose

    Lol no.

  • Mars

    Nando De Colo is on deck. Tony P. KNOWS the deal

  • pposse

    they lost only 2 games so far these playoffs!

  • pposse

    tmac is on the playoff roster for the spurs so if they win the championship he gets a ring

  • pposse

    damn, i got two things from that quote. 1. Lionell Hollins is an upfront type of guy – which on a sidenote i think is a respectable quality. 2. He is probably not a good negotiator

  • 1982

    Haha, I meant does he finally get a ring… if they win of course. It would just be funny to me that out of his class, he’s the one that wins a ring this year.

  • pposse

    IF the Heat make it to the finals it would be nice to see T Mac matched up on Lebron for a couple minutes/ spurts, maybe TMac will take Lebron back to his Christmas matchup against him way back in the days when he dropped like 40 some odd points

  • Judah1012

    Agree.

  • LakeShow

    Points…

    It’s so hard to say.

    The Spurs would have been more vulnerable in the first round before they started rolling. LA could have won, but Kobe died… So I don’t even know what’s the point in talking what if’s.

  • Sergio

    Yeah, I know. I was just daydreaming a bit…

  • LakeShow

    Sorry to be a parade rainer man… Little bitter these days haha

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