If you blinked, you may have missed the NBA’s Western Conference Finals. The San Antonio Spurs wrapped up a sweep over the Memphis Grizzlies with their fourth consecutive victory on Monday night and will again head to the NBA Finals.
San Antonio sweeps Memphis with 93-86 road win
The Western Conference Finals concluded on Monday night as the San Antonio Spurs won their series 4-0 over the Memphis Grizzlies behind a 93-86 win. The sweep now sends the Spurs onto the NBA Finals.
It was Tony Parker who led the way for the Spurs. The guard had a game-high 37 points, six assists, and four rebounds. Parker also had four turnovers, but shooting as well as he did (15-21 from the field) more than made up for it. Tim Duncan added 15 points, eight rebounds, and four blocks. San Antonio didn’t get much else offensively as Kawhi Leonard was the only other player in double figures with 11. But it was enough to beat the frustrated Grizzlies who endured another pathetic shooting night.
Memphis shot only 37% from the field … and that was helped by their bench’s performance. The starters were below 33% on the night and simply didn’t play well. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol combined for 27 points, but only 13 rebounds. The two also had six turnovers and were part of the shooting woes, making less than 40% of their shots. Even Mike Conley, who had a solid all-around game with nine points, seven assists, and six rebounds, was crippled by a 4-13 shooting performance. Backcourt mate Tony Allen was only 2-9.
The Grizzlies’ best performance came from reserve Quincy Pondexter, who was 7-11 from the field for 22 points. Without looking too far ahead, it will be interesting to see what the team does with him next year. Tayshaun Prince was the starter at small forward, but didn’t get the job done in the playoffs as his production dipped. Pondexter, though, has flourished. Not only did his scoring go up, but Pondexter also had some big games, reaching double figures seven times in the postseason. He could quite easily overtake the veteran Prince next year for playing time.
The benefit for San Antonio is that the sweep will give the team some much-needed rest. The Spurs’ trio of stars aren’t as young as they used to be and while playing without long breaks in action may benefit younger teams, there’s no doubt that San Antonio would rather have the rest. Coach Gregg Popovich often gave his stars days off during the season and having a long break until the NBA Finals is ideal for the aging players.
The Spurs’ veterans are still finding ways to dominate. Duncan is 37 and looked to be slowing down the past two seasons. But his 17.8 points and 9.9 rebounds per game are his best totals since 2009-10. Parker isn’t as old, but at 31, he was also considered past his prime entering this year. But his 20.3 points per game and 7.6 assists are both the second most of any point in his career. Same for his 52% field goal accuracy. And while the 35-year old Manu Ginobili isn’t posting huge numbers, he remains San Antonio’s key guard off the bench, doing a little bit of everything.
San Antonio is definitely older, but they’ve proved they shouldn’t be counted out to win another title. The Spurs will now await the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals.
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