I’ve said my piece time and again about preferring team basketball to superstar shenanigans. That’s why I’ll use my fun pass now to say DAMN! DID YOU GUYS SEE TONY PARKER?!?!
His performance throughout the series proved how and why San Antonio is his team. However, his play last night stood tall as an all-time great playoff showing. Basketball nerds swooned at his 37 points from 15-21 shooting along with six assists. Yet the way he decimated Memphis left no doubt about his elite status.
Parker killed Michael Conley Jr. off the dribble, in the lane and via screens throughout. Tony’s exhibition couldn’t have come at a better time as he didn’t have clear running mates who shared the offensive load. Timmay was Parker’s closest contributor with 15 points, eight boards and four blocks.
The Spurs, to be fair, put on some great passing clinics via plays drawn up by Pop or impromptu, surgical ball movement toward easy buckets. Memphis still stayed in it largely via early trips to the line and gradually better defense. Game 4 became one of those defeats where the winning team simply counter-punched every desperate strike.
The coaching disparity, defensive breakdowns, unfortunate bounces or Tony plain old f*cking them up kept The Grizz at bay. Greg Poppovich and his staff came up with a brilliant plan to pretty much negate Zach Randolph’s impact in the sweep. You knew Pop had Hollins’ number when Red Mamba successfully fronted Zach with help ready at all angles.
Zach still rebounded well enough but the Spurs did a fantastic job getting him out of his spots, exercised great ball denial and made his point-blank attempts quite difficult. His terrible free throw shooting provided an added bonus as well. Maybe Pop told him he looked like Eddie Winslow? Either way Randolph deserves proper criticism for Memphis’ fall but the blame shouldn’t squarely fall on him.
Memphis looked straight up lost at times ever since their shocking Game 3 OT loss. Sharply dressed Lionel may be in upper management’s iron sights given this series’ result. However they’d be short-sighted to let him walk. There aren’t many better options going forward and Hollins’ staff did a good job grooming Jerryd Bayless and Quincy Pondexter into productive support players.
Consecutive overtime results and a close elimination game still leave this series on an underwhelming note. The 2013 Western Conference Finals brought about condensed drama aside from the Game 1 shellacking. Then again Memphis’ ill-preparedness shorted a potentially methodical affair. They never established their front court and squandered plenty of opportunities to make the WCF a proper series.
Congrats are in order to the Spurs for reaching this year’s NBA Finals. Basketball dweebs ought to feel first-world indignant about being had, though.
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