I cannot wait for the Western Conference playoffs.
We got a taste of what that is going to be like on Wednesday night when in a rockin’ AT&T Center the Memphis Grizzlies would make plays, then the San Antonio Spurs would answer. And so it went for three overtimes of drama and big shots. I mean, look at what it took to just get to overtime — Danny Green looked like he won it for the Spurs, only to have Marc Gasol hit a leaning, banked in three to answer and force the first overtime.
And so it went. In the second overtime it looked like Courtney Lee had won it for Memphis, only to have Tim Duncan answer — and I’m sure he called glass before he shot.
In the third overtime there was finally a miss — the game ended on a particularly ugly Manu Ginobili leaner that was well right of the target — and Memphis beat San Antonio 117-116.
That means the Grizzlies have beaten West leading Golden State and defending champion San Antonio on back-to-back nights. Any more questions about their ability to compete come the playoffs?
Memphis was in charge early — they started on an 8-1 run and dominated a San Antonio team that clearly missed Tony Parker. The Grizzlies led by as many as 23 in the second quarter.
But these are the Spurs, they don’t just roll over. Led by Manu Ginobli the Spurs went on a 14-0 run in the third quarter. In the end the Spurs got 25 points from Danny Green — he was 7-of-13 from three — plus Duncan had 23 points and 16 boards.
Memphis got another big game inside and were led by Gasol who had 26 points, while Zach Randolph had 21 points and 21 rebounds. Those were the guys the Grizzlies went to with everything on the line — Gasol had 13 of his points and Randolph 11 of his in the final five minutes of regulation plus the overtimes.
Bottom line is the Spurs were the Spurs — they executed, they moved the ball, they hit big shots. And Memphis matched them every step of the way. Stride for stride.
And then the Grizzlies pulled away just enough.
I can’t wait until the Western Conference playoffs.