Spurs vs. Grizzlies: Memphis Too Resilient to Get Swept by San Antonio

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IMay 26, 2013

Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

This wasn't the way the Memphis Grizzlies envisioned things going against the San Antonio Spurs.

After Saturday's 104-93 overtime loss at home, they now trail in the series, 3-0. In NBA playoff history, 107 teams have faced 3-0 deficits in best-of-seven series—all 107 teams have ultimately fallen.

But don't think the Grizzlies are going to lie down and allow the Spurs to sweep them in Memphis.

The series stats are frankly ugly for the Grizzlies. They are shooting 38 percent through three games, including 66 percent from the free-throw line. On the flip side, the Spurs are shooting 49 percent from the the field and 40 percent from beyond the arc.

As ESPN put it:

But, then again, this isn't a team that shrinks from a challenge.

The Grizzlies' franchise has changed throughout the years. This is a franchise that lost its first 12 playoff games—an NBA record—yet hasn't been swept in a playoff series since 2006.

This season, the Grizzlies came back from an 0-2 series deficit in the Western Conference quarterfinals to win the next four games against the Los Angeles Clippers. They proceeded to beat up the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games.

This is also the same team that knocked the Spurs out of the playoffs two seasons ago.

Point guard Mike Conley said after going 8-of-21 in Game 3, according to the Associated Press, via ESPN.com:

We have a lot of pride in this team, in this city. It's more than just basketball here, and we owe it to ourselves, owe it to the fans to not get swept and get embarrassed on our home court.

It's also worth noting that the last two games have gone into overtime. It's not like the Spurs have been manhandling the Grizzlies. You would think it's only a matter of time before the Grizzlies win one of those close games, especially in Memphis, where they went 32-9 in the regular season.

The reality is, if the Grizzlies simply made their free throws in those last two games, they would have been leading in the series, 2-1. They've curiously been horrendous at the free-throw line after shooting 77 percent from the charity stripe against the Spurs in the regular season.

So, yes, San Antonio holds a commanding lead and will probably advance to the NBA Finals. But it would be shocking if a Grizzlies team that has built an identity as a tough squad simply lets the Spurs walk all over them.

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