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Spurs complete sweep of Grizzlies to return to NBA Finals

May 28, 2013, 12:52 AM EDT

San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker celebrates after the Spurs eliminated the Memphis Grizzlies to win the NBA Western Conference final playoff basketball series in Memphis

Before the Grizzlies were eliminated from the playoffs in a four-game sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs, Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins summed up his team’s talent disadvantage while praising the effort his team has displayed at the same time.

“We have no room for making half efforts,” Hollins said. “We have to make all‑out effort all game. That’s how we’re in the game. We’re not one of the most talented teams in the league or in the Playoffs. We just go out and we scratch and claw. That’s why fans call us grit and grind, because that’s the way we have to play.”

In Game 4, “grit and grind” became “quit, and that’s fine.”

The Grizzlies knew there was no way they would beat this Spurs team four times in a row to come back in this series, and the team opened with a lackluster effort that was nowhere near what it needed to be to stave off elimination.

Memphis trailed by 10 points after one, but more importantly, the Grizzlies as a team allowed the Spurs to shoot better than 52 percent from the field in that opening period, while managing just 28.6 percent shooting themselves. Add in the fact that the Grizzlies had no answer defensively for Tony Parker, and you get the game’s final result, which was nothing more than the foregone conclusion expected by both teams.

Parker was phenomenal offensively in Game 4, after spending much of the series distributing rather than scoring. He finished with 37 points on 15-of-21 shooting, to go along with four rebounds and six assists.

The Grizzlies were never completely out of it, and cut the Spurs’ lead to three late in the third quarter, and a couple of times early in the fourth. But San Antonio was never in jeopardy of losing the lead or the game, and the Spurs were able to respond each time that the Grizzlies were able to make a push to close the gap.

The run that Memphis made to get to the Conference finals is to be commended, but upon more detailed examination, the Grizzlies beat an extremely flawed Clippers team in the first round, before dispatching with a Thunder team that was playing without the injured Russell Westbrook in the semi-finals.

Once Memphis faced a formidable test against the Spurs, the lack of talent the Grizzlies possess became painfully evident, and Memphis was unable to win even a single game against a truly solid opponent like these Spurs.

Now that San Antonio has moved on to the NBA Finals, fans of the game should do nothing but rejoice. Because while the Heat would appear to be the favorites to repeat as champions, the veteran core of the Spurs, along with the system style of basketball that San Antonio chooses to play should pose plenty of challenges for Miami in the championship round. And with Parker playing at the level he’s been at for the majority of the postseason, Miami’s fate — unlike that of the Spurs against the Grizzlies — is anything but a foregone conclusion.

  1. scmems07 - May 28, 2013 at 1:05 AM

    Oh man,I don’t remember the last time I saw the basketball analysts so upset. The basketball world hates that the spurs are in the finals for two reasons, 1. Most analysts and sports shows can’t stand the spurs and B. They know that the spurs can actually beat the NBA Heat. Bill Simmons looked like he was about to cry after the game, but got to give him credit, still driving that James bandwagon.spurs Can’t beat LeBron without hitting the 3, yea, because the team you picked, Memphis, just got demolished by being dominated in the paint. Sad, just sad

    • Kurt Helin - May 29, 2013 at 3:33 PM

      I could swear I picked the Spurs in 7 and Brett, in our official preview, had the Spurs in 6. We both praised their play. But sure, we all hate them.

  2. dohoangquan35 - May 28, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    uh, so this means Stern gonna come up with some ideas just to piss off Pop once and for all before he leaves, right? i hope spurs gonna destroy heat/pacers and when Pop celebrate the victory, he will throw the coffee at that little weasel in the cheers of San Antonio people and pure b-ball fans

  3. money2long - May 28, 2013 at 1:44 AM

    spurs. are. good.

  4. lemfax - May 28, 2013 at 1:53 AM

    My dream match since 2011 is boiling… Spurs vs Heat!

  5. Foul Dwimmerlaik - May 28, 2013 at 2:01 AM

    Laker fan here. I know that there are many LAker haters among the Spurs fans.

    But that doesn’t matter to me.

    I have my utmost respect for this franchise and this team. Hopefully before he calls it quits Duncan gets to REPEAT as Champ for him to even solidify all the more his legacy to the Spurs team. This is one non-Laker guy that I would wish to repeat as champ. No fanfare. Always in “business mode.”

    Wish you guys well. Bring home the bacon!

    • loungefly74 - May 28, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      PoP is the best coach in the league. hands down.

      congrats to the Spurs: an extremely well-run franchise. they got max effort/results from their stars the past 15 years or so and are reaping the rewards…now they may get another title (to match the Lakers for the most in the same time frame).

      Yes…Foul…i hate the Spurs…but dammit, I respect the heck outta them. gonna channel Anchorman’s Wes Mantooth here: “At the bottom of my gut, with every inch of me, I plain, straight hate you. But dammit, do I respect you!”

  6. funktron2x - May 28, 2013 at 2:03 AM

    Foul, you are a smart cookie. You completely understand what Duncan and the Spurs are about.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - May 28, 2013 at 2:33 AM

      Thanks, dude. Unfortunately, Stern doesn’t know what Spurs Basketball is all about. You guys are lucky to have Pops on your bench.

      Oh, one more thing: Father Time got another beating. Funny how some people jab about the Spurs being old. Freakn whippersnappers…

  7. pistolpete0903 - May 28, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    Not a fan of Miami, but hoping that they make it to the Finals.
    From a basketball POV, the thought of a Heat-Spurs match up has me drooling.
    Not to mention the shenanigans of the coaches not having the starters play in their regular season match ups and you have some sizzle to the steak as well.

    • money2long - May 28, 2013 at 9:58 AM

      ohhhhhhhhhhhhh yeahh!! how could i forget about that sitting players drama !!

      aint nobody gonna sit for the finals ! that should be interesting .. both teams going all out for all the marbles. i luv it ! miami just has to do their part now and make it to the dance . let’s goo ! can’t wait.

  8. njborja - May 28, 2013 at 2:43 AM

    The Spurs are the real deal.

  9. rickyspanish - May 28, 2013 at 3:55 AM

    Tony Parker and Tim Duncan are so fun to watch. If Miami makes it to the finals, it will be a juicy series. Between the Spurs incredible ball movement and Miami’s athleticism this will be two polar opposite philosophies duking it out. I love me some playoffs.

  10. cantonbound13 - May 28, 2013 at 6:01 AM

    Tony Parker is the real MVP

  11. bucrightoff - May 28, 2013 at 7:11 AM

    I remember watching the 03 Finals and the question about Tony Parker being can he become a good jump shooter? Well I’d say he’s become the best shooting point guard and one of the best shooters period. He has the perfect all around game for a point guard.

    • pistolpete0903 - May 28, 2013 at 7:42 AM

      On the offense….absolutely yes. In fact, I would rate him a notch higher than Chris Paul as the best point guard to run your offense.
      On defense though, he could use a bit more toughness.

  12. logisticalvoices - May 28, 2013 at 8:07 AM

    I called Spurs in 7. Whoops. Much respect for Pop and the Spurs for pulling back the hands of the clock. Memphis fans may be disappointed, but have a lot to look forward to in the future.

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