Memphis Grizzlies Crush San Antonio Spurs: Can They Do It in the Playoffs Too?

Stephen PattersonCorrespondent IMarch 2, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 02:  Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies reacts after making a shot against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at Staples Center on January 2, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Grizzlies defeated the Lakers 104-85. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

With the San Antonio Spurs playing without Tony Parker, who was injured in Sunday's victory over the Grizzlies, Memphis managed to soundly defeat San Antonio 109-93 in the rematch at the FedEx Forum without Rudy Gay and without Marc Gasol after he was ejected six minutes and 48 seconds into the second quarter.

That qualifies as a decisive victory for the Grizzlies, the type that would be worth two wins if it were possible just because it was that important for their team morale.

Memphis has had well chronicled struggles against the Spurs, as the Grizzlies have only beaten them four times in their previous 22 attempts leading into tonight.

Zach Randolph and Darrell Arthur led the way offensively for the Grizzlies with 21 points apiece, while Tony Allen and Mike Conley contributed 20 and 18 points, respectively.

One of the biggest surprises of the night was the fact that the Grizzlies completely dominated the Spurs defensively, forcing them into 22 turnovers and not allowing any of their starters to reach double figures in scoring.

Gary Neal was the only player for the Spurs to score in double figures, as he finished the game with 14 points.

Although the Spurs were without Tony Parker, who some of the Spurs openly admitted to missing in postgame interviews, the win proved to the Grizzlies that they are more than capable of beating San Antonio, who they would face in the opening round of the playoffs if the postseason were to start today.

The Spurs (49-11) are still the top team in the Western Conference despite the loss, while the Grizzlies are currently in eighth place with a 34-28 record.

The only time the two teams have met in the postseason, the Spurs won the series in a four-game sweep. Sadly, as a Grizzlies fan, they have been victims of the broom in all three of the franchise's playoff appearances.

However, that trend of sweeps will likely end this season if the Grizzlies can hold on and secure a playoff seed.

While I'm not convinced Memphis is good enough to upset the Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers or Dallas Mavericks in the opening round, I think they are more than talented enough to push a series to six or seven games against any of them.

Considering Memphis held a lead of over 20 points during the fourth quarter of Tuesday's win without Rudy Gay, who is still out with a shoulder injury, and less than half a game from Gasol, I think the Grizzlies are learning this season that they are capable of beating anyone in the NBA, especially on their home floor.

They have home victories over the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers and now the Spurs so far this season.

Memphis has also toppled the Lakers, Dallas and Oklahoma City on the their home floors.

As long as everyone is healthy heading into the playoffs, I'm more than confident this group can steal at least one win against any team they get matched up with in the opening round.

While I would still be shocked to see it happen, I wouldn't be caught entirely by surprise if Memphis somehow managed to sneak into the second round if they end up catching a favorable matchup.

If they can steal just one win on the road in the first round, I think Memphis might be capable of winning all three of their home games as they are 21-8 at home this season, tied for fourth in the Western Conference.

One of the keys to the Grizzlies' success in the playoffs will be whether or not they can add another big man to their front court, as they only have four players combined at power forward or center.

Leon Powe is considering the Grizzlies, among several other teams and his experience from Boston would be a welcomed addition to the front court.

The additions of Tony Allen and Shane Battier in the offseason and at the trade deadline, respectively, are two of the biggest reasons I think the Grizzlies will be able to win a couple of games in the playoffs.

Their defensive prowess and veteran leadership, along with playoff experience, will be a major plus for the Grizzlies' young squad in the postseason.

While Memphis is already in position to reach the playoffs and proved with last night's victory that they are capable of beating the Spurs, the Grizzlies are intent on moving up further in the standings.

The Grizzlies are in the midst of a key stretch of their schedule, as they have several key games coming up.

They face the New Orleans Hornets, Mavericks, Thunder, New York Knicks, Heat, Los Angeles Clippers and Knicks again over their next seven games.

Considering six of those games are against teams that are currently in position to make it to the postseason, Memphis will definitely have a tough task on their hands over the next two weeks.

However, the Grizzlies have proven over and over again they are capable of hanging with the big boys this season, so I expect them to pull out three or four victories during that span, especially with four of the games at home.

If they can stay hot and continue beating these top-tier teams, the Grizzlies' confidence will be through the roof heading into the playoffs, making them a threat to any team in the West.