Spurs Show Mercy; Beat Grizz 116-96

The only thing that delayed the inevitable was , it turns out, a power surge. The Spurs handled a feisty Memphis Grizzlies squad for the fourth straight time in these playoffs this afternoon, putting the finishing touches on the mercy killing of their horrible season.

The basketball gods were much more kind to the Spurs this season, after a very tough first round matchup last year the Spurs got the worst 7th seed in the history of the league. Memphis was all all heart and injury. They played a record 28 guys this season and never once looked as checked-out as the uninjured, very talented Rockets do. 

Its funny that the conference with the best 1-2 seed combo (a combined 140 wins) might not be as strong as last year’s West lineup. Houston doesn’t play defense anymore and is imploding even while the best player in the league is out and the Grizzlies are injured. Meanwhile, the Clippers are still getting Blake Griffin back into form. 

Barring a ridiculous change in the Dallas Mavericks’ fortunes, next up will be the OKC Thunder who still possess the most athletic 1-2 punch in the league.  They are scary, but maybe not enough for us to worry about. As Mike Erler puts it

> Popovich has been resistant to use Duncan much against small-ball lineups all year, but not everyone is the Warriors. A lot of teams just don’t shoot very well from outside, especially this time of year when everyone’s dog tired and the pressure is so ratcheted up. The Thunder, for example, don’t have many shooters. There’s a legitimate concern that having Duncan play clogs up the offense too much and that he can’t chase around smalls on the other end, but as we saw against Memphis, there are plenty of non-shooters to hide him on, even on switches. I’d rather have him play, because his rebounding and rim-protection is much needed. The Spurs have two very good centers in Duncan and Boban Marjanovic and I wish they’d play to their strengths more often rather than trying to match their opponent’s smaller lineups.

Thats good blogging. The only way to counter the perfect realization of something is not to compete with it but to be its counter. Be the paper to its rock. Be the scissors to its paper. The only time the Warriors looked any kind of beatable was when the Spurs outsized them with Boris and Aldridge. Against the Rockets, Houston looked competitive with an engaged Dwight Howard. Against less than perfect realizations of small-ball, this is even easier and more effective. Look at Charlotte successfully posting Frank Kaminsky this weekend

I’m not advocating for always favoring the Charlotte Hornets basketball strategies over the 67-win Gregg Popovich ones, but I do like Timmy out there a bit more, especially with all this playoff rest.