Good morning Spurs fans! We are going to have a busy day today here at Air Alamo and I wanted to bring you an exclusive interview which we had with KSAT 12 Sports Anchor Larry Ramirez, on Sunday. Larry Ramirez joined the KSAT 12 sports team in October 2004. He came to San Antonio via Jacksonville, Fla., where he was a sports anchor and reporter at WJXT-TV for two years.
Larry began his broadcast career in 2000 as the weekend sports anchor for WBKP-TV in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He was soon promoted to weeknights and became sports director at the station, where he remained until September 2001.
We don’t want to keep you waiting any longer, so we will jump right into the interview:
Air Alamo (AA): The Grizzlies came out the way many of us expected, full of energy, hitting every shot they put up. Were you surprised by the way they came out in game three, and can we see the same intensity in game 4?
Larry Ramirez (LR): No, I was not surprised by the way Memphis opened the game. Like all NBA teams they feel more comfortable at home and feed off the crowds enthusiasm. Memphis is a proud squad and their season is on the line, so yes, you can expect them to be very fired up for game four as they try to avoid a sweep.
AA: With that opening the Grizzlies have, Popovich did what we have seen him do before, a hockey change, pulling all five starters. Surprised by this move?
LR: No, I was not surprised by Pop sitting all five starters after that horrible start. He really had no other choice with the game slipping away. During post-game Tony Parker told us Pop was just trying something different and that he understood why he made the move.
May 25, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies small forward Quincy Pondexter (20) celebrates after making a shot in game three of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs at FedEx Forum. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
AA: Quincy Pondexter has proven to be a thorn in the Spurs side this series. Do you think that the outcome would of been differently if he did not foul out of game three?
LR: Well, I’m not sure about that, but losing Pondexter to fouls certainly hurt Memphis because it gave Lionel Hollins one less option. Pondexter had just 3 points on 1-4 shooting in the 4th quarter only before fouling out, so It’s not like he was tearing the Spurs up at that point of the game.
AA: Matt Bonner is doing one heck of a job on Zach Randolph making his life miserable with the bumping and physical play. Are you surprised by the way Bonner and company have got into the head of Randolph?
LR: Matt Bonner is doing a great job on Randolph. The entire Spurs’ frontline has basically rendered him useless on offense turning Z-Bo into an average power forward at best. Randolph is a fantastic player, but once you can get him off his game he will struggle. It’s no surprise the Spurs are in his head right now.
AA: Tim Duncan was phenomenal in game 3 as well as again in overtime. Like many, they are at a loss of words by this 37 year old still playing with a high sense of urgency. What are your thoughts on this future Hall of Famer?
LR: Simply put: Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward in NBA history. He’s arguably the greatest player to don the Silver and Black. He takes care of his body and puts the team first. It’s no wonder he’s been called The Franchise.
May 25, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili (20) prepares to shoot the ball in game three of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
AA: Manu Ginobili had his best game of this series. Outside of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, could he be the key for a Spurs sweep come Monday night?
LR: Manu seems to be the key more often than not, because he’s so unpredictable. You know Tim will block, rebound, and go bank shot. You know Tony will drive the paint to break down a defense. But with Manu you just don’t know what magic he’s going to perform at any given moment. His go-for-broke attitude makes him a wild card. That’s why he’s such a unique player and huge reason why the Spurs are one game shy of the NBA Finals.
AA: The trio of Joseph, Green and Leonard has been referred to as “The Medium Three”, but is there anything in their progress or playoff performances so far that makes you think they could eventually form their own “Big Three”?
LR: I like that, “The Medium Three.” I’m sure Green, Leonard, and Joseph will all have fine NBA careers, but I don’t think they will ever have Big Three status. Certainly not compared to Tim, Tony, or Manu. Those three could all end up in the Hall of Fame led by TD. Green, Leonard, and Joseph are key members of the Spurs, and have progressed nicely, but it’s a stretch to think they will form the next superior trio.
AA: Even with the Spurs on the verge of sweeping the Grizzlies, what areas (if any) do you think the Spurs can continue to improve on?
LR: Turnovers. I’d say that’s the biggest concern for them right now. 17 turnovers is the main reason they struggled in game three. Cut that total in half and the Spurs don’t fall behind by 18 points.
AA: Nobody predicted San Antonio in four over Memphis. What have the Spurs done so well that has taken everyone by surprise?
LR: I guess the biggest surprise is the fact the Spurs are keeping Randolph under control. In my opinion the Grizzlies don’t have many scoring options, so taking their top threat away is a major reason the Spurs lead 3-0.
We at Air Alamo would like to give a big thank you to Larry Ramirez for taking the time in his busy schedule to talk with us. You can follow him on twitter @LRam2, and catch him on KSAT 12 News in San Antonio.