With plenty of help from second-year power forward Tim Duncan, that title validated Robinson’s career. But more importantly, it spawned a run of sustained success that is incredibly unique in the NBA, especially for a small-market franchise like the Spurs.
Two things to watch for tonight in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals: A little more (maybe a lot) of Tony Allen defending Tony Parker, and a lot more production from Zach Randolph, who goes to his right about as often as Rachel Maddow.
The Spurs did an exceptional job of keeping Randolph from hurting them in their decisive Game 1 victory, but the Grizzlies and coach Lionel Hollins have shown themselves masters of making the correct adjustments as the playoffs have gone along.
Don’t forget: Memphis lost Game 1 against the Los Angeles Clippers and Game 1 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
And we all know what those teams are doing now — enjoying their summer vacations.
For more of a lookahead to tonight’s Game 2, give a listen to this podcast I did with Jason Anderson on AM-680 in Louisville.
His lips are moving.
NBA business is booming, folks. And not just for the so-called big markets. Take a quick look at the conference finals, which feature four teams from middle to small markets collecting millions for every home playoff game.
Take a look at the Sacramento Kings, who were just sold for a record $525 million even though they haven’t been in the playoffs in seven years and play in an outdated arena in a small market.
The meeting did not go well. At a hotel restaurant in Memphis in February 2008, Chris Wallace, the general manager of the Grizzlies, was trying to explain to Agusti and Marisa Gasol, the parents of Pau Gasol, why he had just traded their son to the Lakers.
Despite the obvious professional upgrade for their son, the parents weren’t all that keen on the move. They lived in Memphis. They had had one son in high school, a roly-poly, 3-point shooting leviathan named Marc. They had another one in high school at the time, another big boy, Adria, who would eventually make the UCLA team as a walk-on.
The evolution of the Memphis Grizzlies franchise since its infant days in Vancouver is really something to marvel at when you consider where they are as of today.
They are currently on their 7th head coach in their franchise’s history with Lionel Hollins and are out of the first round for just the second time in their 18-year history. If you parlay that with the fact that Memphis traded their top scorer, Rudy Gay, at the end of January for Ed Davis, who has played 3 total minutes in the past six games, Austin Daye, who has played 11 total minutes in the entire playoffs and an aging 33-year old Tayshaun Prince, who is the best current piece of the deal, you have to be impressed with their run.