May 27, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; San Antonio Spurs former player George Gervin stands with current Spurs players and the Western Conference championship trophy after game four of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum. The Spurs won 93-86. Mandatory Credit: Rogelio V. Solis/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
Still celebrating? I for one am still on a high for knowing that the San Antonio Spurs are headed back to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007. How the time has flown by. You gotta feel nothing but great gratitude for Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan for being the only trio to make it back to the finals for the fifth time.
As we have done with the past previous series, we are going to continue on with this one. With the the Spurs dismantling and sweeping of the Memphis Grizzlies, we put a final end to this series with the final grades.
May 27, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley (11) defends against San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) in the first half of game four of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at FedEx Forum. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Point Guard Tony Parker 24.5 PPG | 9.5 APG | 3.5 RPG | 2.0 SPG
He showed this series why he is in fact the best point guard in the league and also how he can control the aspect and outcome of a game. Parker completely made life miserable for the Memphis Grizzlies. His ability to continue to get into the lane even when teams try to force him out still makes one just shake their head.
Parker has been handed the team and Popovich knows that when he is playing at the top of his game, he can’t be stopped and he makes others around him better. One game that stuck out to me in this series was game two when Parker came out and completely destroyed the Grizzlies, not by scoring, but penetrating and his ball distribution. He finished the game with 18 assists. Though he managed to score in double-digits, it was the way he controlled the game with his ball movement that really opened my eyes.
If that was not enough. Game four, the final game of this series, Parker was simply put, AMAZING. His jumper was falling, he looking like he was ready for the kill and to lead his team into the NBA Finals. He matched a season and career playoff high with 37 points. In this series he averaged 24.5 points and nearly 10 assists per game.
Parker is the leader, he made a promise to Tim Duncan to get him back to the Finals, he has done that. Lets see if he can get him that ring. Final Grade: A+++
May 21, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (4) drives to the basket as Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) defends in game two of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT
Shooting Guard Danny Green 8.8 PPG | 2.3 APG | 4.3 RPG | 1.0 BPG
With Danny Green the talks about him on the offensive end does seem to get on the nerves of fans because well, we expect more out of him on that side of the ball. Green though has proven that he can contribute more than just scoring. As he did in game one back in the Golden State series, he had himself a breakout game scoring 22 points. In their past series with the Memphis Grizzlies, he had his best game scoring 16, after, he dropped off as he did in the other series.
Again, it is what Green does in other areas of the game that makes him as valuable as the next guy. He has hit some big threes for San Antonio but many would want to see more of a consistent Green not one that starts off hot but then cools down, way down.
Final Grade: B-
May 27, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies small forward Tayshaun Prince (21) drives against San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) in the first half of game four of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at FedEx Forum. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Small Forward Kawhi Leonard 11.3 PPG | 7.0 RPG | 2.0 SPG
You can only rave and imagine what this kid is going to grow into. Flashes of his ability is there but know one really knows. There are coaches and players that are already raving about Leonard and what he can become and right now as a kid, we know he is learning something from three of the best players in the league, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan.
Leonard is as humble of a person as they come. Game four, he drove baseline and slammed it home. Any reaction? None from him. He just came off the rim and continued on down the floor ready for that next play. This is what I truly love about him. He is grounded. You don’t see that kind of attitude much in the NBA.
As he did in the Golden State series, Leonard was pitted up against the Grizzlies best players at times. He continues to be a great rebounder for the team and defensively, he has a knack for the basketball. Leonard I can see in the off-season working hard and coming back with a jump shot that could be deadly. He is not a great shooter, but with his slashing ability to the rim, that he showed through-out the playoffs thus far, would make any defender play off of him and dare him to shoot a jumper. As we have seen, he can get hot at times too. Game one he came out hitting 3 of 4 from three point range on his way to 18 points. He is the future of the Spurs. Final Grade: A
May 19, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan (21) brings the ball up the court during the first quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies in game one of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT
Power Forward Tim Duncan 15.5 PPG | 3.3 APG | 9.3 RPG | 3.0 BPG
Hall of Famer. Enough said. You know that I am not going to just leave it as that. Where should I start. Well Tim Duncan is credited for two of the four wins that the San Antonio Spurs had during their series sweep against the Memphis Grizzlies. The two games that went into overtime, Duncan took over. Game two, Duncan had 17 points and though he did not have his best shooting night, 6 of 14 from the floor, he managed to come alive and be more assertive in the overtime period.
Game three, another overtime, another Duncan performance. He scored 24 points and there was no way that he was going to let this game get away. He was 11 of 19 from the floor. Though the Spurs started the game in ugly fashion, they managed to come together to pull out the victory. Coming from 18 points down, every fan knew if it were to go into an extra quarter, Duncan was going to find a way to win it for the team.
Duncan helped make the lives miserable for the Memphis big men, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Randolph had himself one of the ugliest playoff performances that I have ever seen him in. Duncans three blocks per game and his presence in the paint made it difficult for either to put up a shot in the paint. Final Grade: A+++
May 27, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter (22) posts up against Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph in the first half of game four of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at FedEx Forum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Center Tiago Splitter 8.8 PPG | 2.0 APG | 3.0 RPG | 1.8 BPG
Game two marked Splitter’s best all-around game in this series. In that game he scored 14 points, grabbed 4 rebounds and had two assists. Not taking anything away from the next two outings for Splitter, he was just as productive.
What stuck out to me the most with Splitter in this series is how he played defense against Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Granted there were times that he was blown for fouls that, well, should not of been blown but hey it is the NBA we know this happens to everyone.
He knows he can’t out jump a player so he does what anyone his size would do, or should do more of, stand firm with your arms up and don’t give any reason for the referees to call a foul. He has done this well these playoffs. With averaging just under two blocks a game, he too made it difficult for the Grizzlies to get anything in the post going. Many felt the Spurs could not compete with the physicality of the Grizzlies. Well what say you now? Final Grade: B
May 27, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies shooting guard Tony Allen (middle) battles for a rebound between San Antonio Spurs power forward Matt Bonner (15) and point guard Cory Joseph (5) in the second half of game four of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at FedEx Forum. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
What has been a staple for the San Antonio Spurs all season long would have to be the play of their bench. The same goes for the postseason. I am not going to talk about Manu Ginobili, because well that will just get me fired up and I can go on forever with some of the boneheaded plays he came up with, especially in game four. What I do want to talk about though is the emergence and play of Cory Joseph as well as Boris Diaw and one Matthew Bonner.
Lets start with the “Red Rocket” aka “Red Mamba”. Bonner gave Popovich some great minutes off of the bench and came in to be as ‘physical’ as he could with Randolph and company and it paid off. Randolph at times, well most of the time, was frustrated that he was being bumped by Bonner but this is what Pop wanted from him. It is just a perk when Bonner drains shots from beyond the arc as well as a tear drop, swooping hook here or there.
Cory Joseph has also come in games and have filled the role as good as he could for Tony Parker. Not in for his scoring, Josephs’ defense has really turned heads of all fans including his teammates and Coach. Joseph of course credits his time spent in the developmental league.
Boris Diaw, this guy still knows how to be a great team player and knows his role on the team. There are times that Diaw comes out looking for his shot, but what he does on the floor with his passing and defense is what makes him a valuable player for San Antonio. His passing ability and ball handling for a big man is just superb.
Every player that comes off of the bench for San Antonio knows what their jobs are and that their play contributes to the outcomes of games. Final Grade: B+