The Spurs are resting while the Clippers and the Grizzlies are battling it out for the privilege of playing the good guys in the conference semifinals. The other LA team is leading 3-1 and looks like it might eliminate the team that shocked the Spurs last post season. I really hope the Grizzlies rally, beat the Clips and face the Spurs in the semis.
I want revenge. There, I said it. I don't care that this is a new season, that some of the pillars of the team that beat the Spurs are either gone or hobbled. I. Want. Revenge. I want to see a rejuvenated Tim destroy Marc Gasol in the post after being pushed around last season. I want Tony to run circles around All-Star snub Mike Conley. I want Z-Bo to look confused as the ball swings from side to side before getting to Bonner for a three. Most of all I want a healthy Manu showing what a difference he would have made if he didn't get injured before the series, Tony Allen or no.
There was a lot of talk about the Spurs' inability to handle big teams. "Duncan is old, Blair is short, Bonner is...Bonner. There's no way they can beat teams like the Jazz, Grizzlies or Lakers". That was the go-to talking point to discount the Spurs as championship contenders. We already beat the Jazz. We are going to beat the Grizzlies and if they get there, we are going to beat the Lakers, too. How's that for redemption?
Like I said, this Grizzlies team is not last year's. Battier is gone, Arthur is out and Randolph came back to Earth. Greivis Vazques, their Scrub That Killed the Spurs, is in New Orleans and they have Rudy Gay back. The Spurs have handled this version of Memphis as well as any team could, sweeping their season series 4-0. Gay is a better player than Battier but he needs touches on offense; touches that Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph don't get. Rudy can go off at any time, but Kawhi Leonard did a good job on him during the season and the Spurs now have Stephen Jackson to throw at him, too.
And then, of course, is the question of depth. The Grizzlies bring two real NBA players off the bench: O.J. Mayo and Marreese Speights. Then it's Gilbert Arenas, Quincy Pondexter and Dante Cunningham. No offense to those guys, but I'll take Neal, Jackson, Bonner and Splitter, thankouverymuch.
I could mention that Randoph and Speights have no chance of stopping the Spurs' pick and roll attack, that if the Spurs limit turnovers, their offense is going to be way too much for the Grizzlies to handle; the fact that the Grizz pulling the upset woud give the Spurs more time to rest and a million other factors that seem to benefit our guys but, at least to me, this is ultimately about getting even.
I still haven't forgotten about you, Tony Allen, and your "It's for the birds" comment about Manu's injury. I still remember that ridiculous buzzer beating three, Zach Randolph. I seem to recall the sheer glee with which most of the media embraced the Cinderella story of the Grizzlies instead of lamenting the lost of the Spurs-Thunder semifinals. I definitely remember you dropping a game on purpose to get the Spurs in the first round. How confident you seemed then, Memphis Grizzlies.
Do you want to face us now?
If the Spurs win the Larry O'Brien this year I really don't care who they beat to get there. But wouldn't it be sweet to drub the team that supposedly ended the Spurs' days as contenders? Come on Grizz, beat those Clippers and meet us on the semis. I can't wait.