Question of the Day: Will the San Antonio Spurs make it to the next round of the NBA playoffs?
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Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss whether the Spurs will still be playing in the Western Conference semifinals. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to weigh in with a comment of your own.
Baxter Holmes, Los Angeles Times
There will be a funeral Friday at the FedExForum.
The decrepit San Antonio Spurs will finally be laid to rest. A few lucky heaves delayed their burial Wednesday, but the Grizzlies, winners of 10 of their last 11 at home, will end it for their geriatric foes in Game 6 before a packed house of howling fans in Memphis.
Memphis is too young? Sure. And the Grizzlies 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 railed 3-2, lack the legs for such a run.
Memphis may be too young, but San Antonio is way too old. It’s over.
K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune
Hard to believe I’m typing this, but the Memphis Grizzlies will close out the Western Conference top-seeded San Antonio Spurs at home in Game 6 on Friday. And, yes, I recognize what kind of momentum-builder that Gary Neal three-pointer to force overtime in Game 5 could 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 San Antonio to 43.7% shooting.
Tony Allen has injected an element of toughness previously missing from a Grizzlies team that too often waited for the now-injured Rudy Gay to display his athleticism. Randolph and Marc Gasol are sealing off the lane.
Granted, it’s a big moment for a young Grizzlies team, especially because a victory would 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.
Shandel Richardson, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
One of the teams in this series is finished, and it’s not the San Antonio Spurs.
It’s the Memphis Grizzlies. They had their chance to close out one of the league’s top franchises in recent history and failed. When the opportunity is there against such an opponent, you have to take advantage of it.
The Spurs will win the next two games of the series and probably cruise in the following round because of this second chance. Big shots such as Gary Neal’s three-pointer at the end of the regulation have changed playoff series before.
Just ask the Sacramento Kings in 2002. Ahead 2-1 in the Western Conference Finals, they were on the verge of putting all the pressure on the two-time defending Los Angeles Lakers until Robert Horry hit a dramatic three-pointer that kept the series alive. The Lakers, not the Kings, were celebrating an NBA title a few weeks later.
Expect the Spurs to be in a similar position.