The setting is February 2008. The Memphis Grizzlies have reached their peak with Pau Gasol. At their best, they are a middle of the pack team in a dominant Western Conference. At their norm, they are a surefire lottery mainstay.
The four-time NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs made a statement in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals with a 104-93 victory in Memphis.
That statement might as well have been one of those old clichés like “never underestimate the heart of a champion.”
Spurs—new and old—expressed their enthusiasm on Twitter after the game.
This is the “I Have a Dream” column – or the I had a dream column, to be more specific.
Six hours of sleep are in the books as I awake this Saturday morning with a feeling of hope bordering on euphoria. I watched the Miami Heat lose a game last night, and tomorrow night I may watch them lose again. The old rule says there is no cheering in the press box, with the exception of cheering silently for your predictions (I have Heat in 7 and Spurs in 7), but there is a part of me that cannot resist siding with the underdogs in this year’s NBA conference finals.
My dream Finals is David Stern’s nightmare Finals.
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.