Memphis Grizzlies Have San Antonio Spurs on the Ropes

by April 26, 2011

by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

Heading into this postseason, perhaps no number 1 seed in NBA history had ever been discounted as much as the San Antonio Spurs were.

But, still, to see them on the verge of elimination against the Memphis Grizzlies (who have never won a Playoff series before), is a jarring sight to behold for a team that won 61 regular season games.

Up 3-1 in the first round series, and having thoroughly dominated San Antonio in Game 4 last night, the Grizz are one victory away from sending Tim Duncan and company home for the summer, and burning down what had been a shockingly successful season up to this point.

The Commercial Appeal and Express-News have the quotes from both sides:

The Grizzlies didn’t just defeat the Spurs — the final was 104-86 — they overpowered them with a breathtaking second-half run that made surrender seem like the only logical option. “The second half was just incredible to watch,” said Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins. “It was an incredible performance.” He could have thrown in a couple more “incredibles” and it wouldn’t have been excessive. A No. 8 seed has beaten a No. 1 seed in the NBA playoffs before. But has a No. 8 seed run a No. 1 seed right out of the building? “The third quarter was weird,” said Spurs guard Tony Parker, which is one way to describe it.

On his way out of FedEx Forum, veteran center Antonio McDyess had one idea. “We’re playing like a bunch of wussies,” McDyess said. That analysis didn’t meet with much disagreement, not after the Grizzlies pummeled the Spurs 56-36 in the second half to assume a 3-1 series lead. In the third quarter, during which the Spurs committed seven turnovers and managed just 15 points, the Grizzlies — energized by Tony Allen and Mike Conley — did everything but mug them in a Memphis back alley. “They put their foot on our throat and never let up,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

As Tony Parker astutely pointed out last September, this season represents this current Spurs group’s “last real chance to win a title.”

Starting Wednesday night, back home in San Antonio, they’ll have a chance to stave off elimination in Game 5, and continue in their pursuit of this increasingly elusive championship goal.