Will veteran Spurs make it past the young Grizzlies?

April 29, 2011

Grizzlies are toast

Shandel Richardson

Sun Sentinel

One of the teams in this series is finished, and it's not the Spurs.

The Grizzlies had their chance to close out one of the league's top franchises in recent history and failed.

The Spurs will win the next two games and probably cruise in the following round because of this second chance. Big shots such as Gary Neal's 3-pointer at the end of the regulation have changed playoff series before.

Just ask the 2002 Kings. Ahead 2-1 in the Western Conference finals, they were on the verge of putting all the pressure on the two-time defending champion Lakers until Robert Horry hit a dramatic 3-pointer that gave the Lakers new life. The Lakers, not the Kings, were celebrating an NBA title a few weeks later.

Expect the Spurs to be in a similar position.

srichardson@tribune.com

Memphis won't gag again

K.C. Johnson

Chicago Tribune

Hard to believe I am typing this, but the Grizzlies will close out the Western Conference top-seeded Spurs at home in Game 6 on Friday.

And, yes, I recognize what kind of momentum-builder that Gary Neal 3-pointer to force overtime in Game 5 can be. But just look at the statistics. Tim Duncan is averaging 12.8 points per game. Zach Randolph is averaging 19.6. The Grizzlies' surprisingly stout defense is forcing 15 turnovers per game —uncharacteristic for the Spurs — and limiting them to 43.7 percent shooting.

Granted, it's a big moment for a young Grizzlies team, especially because a victory could end the Spurs' era as Duncan is nearing his end. But they know they had Game 5 in the bag and lost it. They won't miss another opportunity.

kcjohnson@tribune.com

Spurs are old news

Baxter Holmes

Los Angeles Times

There will be a funeral Friday at the FedExForum.

The decrepit Spurs will finally be laid to rest. A few lucky heaves delayed their burial Wednesday, but the Grizzlies, winners of 10 of 11 at home, will end it for their geriatric foes in Game 6 before a packed house of howling fans in Memphis.

Sure, the Grizzlies are too young, but they still romped to a 3-1 lead in this series.

The Grizzlies are more athletic, talented, dominant inside and hot overall. The Spurs are more experienced ... and that's it.

Only eight NBA teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit; the Spurs, who are 1-9 in series in which they've trailed 3-2, lack the legs for such a run.

The Grizzlies may be too young, but the Spurs are way too old. It's over.

bholmes@tribune.com

Spurs met their match

Zach McCann

Orlando Sentinel

The Grizzlies have outplayed the Spurs for five games, with both of the Spurs' wins coming in dramatic fashion. The Grizzlies are plus-11 for the series aggregately and are a home win from winning the series in six games.

Is there cause to show faith in the Spurs for any reason other than the jersey they're wearing?

We've seen the Spurs overcome any and all obstacles for more than a decade, so it's difficult to imagine them succumbing to a young Grizzlies team led by Zach Randolph and Mike Conley.

But the Grizzlies are a well-rounded team that matches up well with the Spurs, and that's why they'll take down the No. 1 seed.

zmccann@tribune.com

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