The Memphis Grizzlies are a remarkably dangerous team. They possess quick guards, tough skilled big men and an offense that compliments both skill sets. They have a predominantly young squad who has, for the most part felt absolutely no Playoff heartbreak. Tomorrow they face the monumental task of beating the San Antonio Spurs again in Texas. Tough gig once, near impossible twice. The beauty of this Memphis squad is that they have no fear of Playoff failure, as they’re yet to experience it.
When you conjure up images of first round upsets you picture the 2007 Warriors or the 1994 Nuggets. Both of those teams were 8th seeded teams who had to beat the top team of the Western Conference predominantly on the road. While the 1994 Nuggets hold a special place in my heart thanks to being a HUGE Robert Pack fan, the Warriors get a little more respect from me considering they did it in a seven game series.
The burning question is, can the Memphis Grizzlies take an unlikely 2-0 lead? Here’s how I think they can do it and why I want them do it.
We all saw the Benjamin Button act that Tim Duncan put together in Game one and while questioning a champion can be dangerous, I doubt he’ll do it again in Game two. The Spurs will rely very heavily on Tony Parker and a recently (somewhat) recovered Manu Ginobili for their hustle and scoring touch. The key for Memphis in my opinion is to nullify one of those two by any means necessary. If Parker’s lane occupation can be limited, the Grizzlies will have won half the battle and will be halfway to that seemingly impossible 2-0 lead.
Another thing to consider is the play of OJ Mayo, a player who did not exactly set the world on fire in Game one but holds a key to Memphis’s success in this series. While successfully converting 3 of 4 from downtown, Mayo converted only 2 of 9 from inside the arc. With a more focused attack on the basket, Mayo could find himself filling up on easy points and putting Spurs’ guards in foul trouble.
There’s nothing better in my opinion that seeing an underdog rise above all the doubt to win. One thing that could make it even more special is if it results in the San Antonio Spurs being eliminated in the first round. I have crazy amounts of respect for Gregg Popovich and the historically successful Spurs but quite frankly I find them boring to watch. The most animation or emotion we see from the face of their franchise Tim Duncan is the ridiculously childish and quite frankly pathetic face of disbelief he displays on every single foul call. Seriously Tim, you cannot possibly have been robbed on every single foul call of your career. It is not physically possible to have never committed a foul in the amount of minutes you have played.
Other notable San Antonio annoyances over the years include Manu Ginobili diving more than Greg Louganis and Ronaldo combined, Matt Bonner raising “white ballin'” to a whole new level, Tony Parker driving Eva Longoria from court-side, Bruce Bowen’s disgraceful and unsportsmanlike attempts at close out defense, Sean Elliott’s commentary, 42 games of Dwayne Schintzius and last but not least David Robinson cock punching his MVP legacy against the “Dream” in the ’95 Western Conference Finals. At the end of the day, a long history of dislike for the Spurs is hopefully culminating with an inglorious first round exit at the hands of my new favorite Playoff team, the Memphis Grizzlies.