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I'll temper my expectations for the San Antonio Spurs for now. I've seen what happens when folks (like myself) get too excited about this team.
That caution aside, it's tough not to be impressed by the Spurs right now. They dominated the mighty Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, 105-83, and took Game 2 in overtime with a 93-89 victory behind Tony Parker's career-high 18 assists.
Mind you, that was with Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan combining for just 14 points on 5-of-15 shooting in the first one. Clearly, the Spurs are much more than a three-trick pony.
If anything, they may be the most complete team left in the field.
They can play big, with Tiago Splitter next to Timmy up front. They can downsize, with Kawhi Leonard sliding up a spot. They can push the pace with Tony Parker or slow things down and grind out beautiful buckets in the half court while making do with all manner of pick-and-rolls and quick cuts to the rim.
Oh, and the Spurs play elite-level defense, the likes of which this organization hasn't seen since its last great run between 2003 and 2007...so there's that.
But memories of recent flameouts still linger, especially when considering last year's collapse in the Western Conference Finals against another up-and-coming club. Despite what Game 1 would suggest, the Spurs figure to have their hands full for however long they remain in the playoffs.
But with the core the Spurs have on hand and a coach in Gregg Popovich who's nothing short of a hoops genius, I wouldn't put anything past them.
Current Grade: A+
Previous Grade: A-