Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Spurs back in NBA Finals after sweep of Memphis Grizzlies

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Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

Call the sweep of the Memphis Grizzlies by the San Antonio Spurs what you will. Revengeful. Redemptive. Victorious. Even lucky. But whatever you call the sweep, just don’t call the Spurs too old.

The Silver and Black completed the sweep of the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, May 27, by beating the Grizzlies 93 – 86, and now the Spurs are headed back to the NBA Finals – the first time since 2007.

“We’re thrilled to be able to win the series, but Memphis was a hell of a competitor all year long,” said San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich. “I thought that the organization did a great job putting things together. It was difficult at times, I know, and I thought Lionel (Hollins) and his staff were superior in keeping that ship upright and moving in the right direction.”

Spurs guard Tony Parker led the charge with a team and game high 37 points. Game 4 was arguably Parker’s best game of the Western Conference Finals. He made 15-of-21 shots and knocked down all six free throws.

“He’s been amazing,” San Antonio forward Tim Duncan said of Parker. “Every year he gets better and better and better. He’s been carrying us. You can see tonight he carried us the entire game.”

Duncan finished the game with 15 points and 8 rebounds, and Kawhi Leonard contributed 11 points of his own.

“We want to get back there,” Duncan said of making the finals. “We’ve had some really close years where we fell right on the verge of getting back. It feels like forever since we’ve been there.”

The first two quarters of the game, the Grizzlies had no defensive answer for the Spurs offensive attack with the Spurs ahead at half time, 44 – 38. The majority of San Antonio’s points came from inside the paint. And while the Spurs couldn’t miss in the low post, Grizzlies’ power forward, Zach Randolph, could not make a shot. Randolph made only 16 shots – the whole series.

“We just never could gain control of the paint,” Grizzlies Head Coach Lionel Hollins said. “They controlled the paint.”

In the third quarter Parker would explode with 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting, but Memphis kept the score close – matching the Spurs 28 point production with 28 points of their own. Grizzlies’ forward Quincy Pondexter, who hurt the Spurs from the outside all series, contributed 12 points in the third while shooting a perfect 4-for4 from the field, three of which were from beyond the 3-point range.

In the fourth, Duncan and Parker traded baskets up until Parker got hit in the eye, inadvertently, by Grizzlies’ center Mark Gasol and had to go back to the locker room momentarily. With the Spurs up by six points, Parker returned with 4:43 left in regulation and scored the last six points for the Spurs including four free throws to extend the Spurs’ lead by seven with only 29 seconds left on the clock.

Despite the loss, the Memphis Grizzlies experienced their best season in franchise history, making it to the Western Conference Finals for the first time.

“We will be back,” Grizzlies guard Mike Conley said. Gasol added, “We’re going to be better because we played against, to me, one of the greatest teams there’s been in the past 15 years.”

As for the Spurs, the “Drive for Five” continues against either the Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat, who are currently tied at two games apiece in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Parker was named the Western Conference Finals MVP and after receiving the Western Conference Trophy, Tony Parker had this to say:

“Since last year, I promised to him (Duncan) that we will go back, go back to the Finals and get an opportunity to win the whole thing and I’m trying to do my best, try to be aggressive every night. I think everybody on the team, we really want to do it for him. We win the West and now it’s one more step. This is the hardest one.”

The NBA Finals are scheduled to begin on Thursday, June 6, on ABC with a tentative 8 p.m. tip-off.

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