Don't you just love late-March NBA basketball? Playoff-bound teams are gearing up for the tournament and fighting for seeding while trimming down and setting their rotations. And a Western Conference heavyweight matchup between the 2-seed and 5-seed is usually an appetizing prospect, but this season isn't usual.
The Spurs have sewn up the second seed with a 10-game lead on the Thunder, which is a pretty absurd number of games if you think about it. Last season on March 28 the Spurs sat sixth in the West with a record of 46-26 and just five games seperated the seven and two seeds.
On top of the Spurs not having anything to play for, other than the formality of clinching home-court -- which they did tonight -- in a potential Finals meeting with the Cavaliers, Memphis is as banged up as any team in recent memory. The Grizzlies are down a silly number of players right now but most relevant, they were without their three best players in Marc Gasol (out for season with a broken foot), Mike Conley (rehabbing a sprained achilles), and Zach Randolph (day-to-day with an ankle sprain). They've tied an NBA record for most players on a roster in a season with 27 and while they are solidly in the fifth seed, they don't realistically have of a chance of getting out of the first round.
So instead of a high-intensity game with meaningful implications between the Spurs and Grizzlies we got, well, we didn't get anything like that. A 76ers-Suns game has more star power than this one did, and has about as much at stake, as this one, which was missing seven of the eight-best players for the teams.
The Spurs got out to a huge lead in the first quarter, outscoring the Grizz 32-18 by the end of the period, and Kyle Anderson played his best quarter of the season, tallying four steals, four assists and five points in 10 minutes. The Bruin impressed with his smart and confident play in his third-straight start.
The Spurs shot the ball well above average and held the Grizz to well below their average percentages which made for a pretty tame game after the early minutes when Memphis had a 4-0 lead. The Grizzlies played a better second quarter and outscored SA 27-21, but a solid third quarter from the Spurs pretty much put the game out of reach and the fourth quarter wasn't filled with much inspiring basketball.
LaMarcus Aldridge was again impressive in this one, continuing his fantastic second-half of the season, and finished with 31 points, 13 rebounds, a couple of assists and a block in 31 minutes. He's looking great at the right time.
The Spurs were dominant, winning every basic box score statistic, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, free-throw percentage and attempts, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.
Memphis was just too thin to compete with Spurs Lite tonight and San Antonio improves to 62-12 on the season, moving them just one win away from tying the all-time franchise record that the 2005-06 Spurs set.
Tweet of the Night:
Kyle Anderson was a blast at the beginning of the game and was good overall, finishing with a well-balanced 13-7-3-4-1 line.
The Spurs get a day off and head home to the comfy confines of the AT&T Center where they'll host the New Orleans Pelicans and put their home win-streak on the line. The Pelicans have had some measure of success against the Spurs lately but Anthony Davis is out for the rest of the season and the Pelicans have no incentive to win, so I expect the Spurs to pick up win number 63.