воскресенье, 6 ноября 2016 г.

Memphis knows that the higher they are the harder they fall

Since 2007 when the Golden State Warriors knocked out the Dallas Mavericks no other eight seeded team has defeated a top seeded team in the league, something that the Grizzlies are just one game from emulating. When the San Antonio Spurs clinch the No. 1 seeded in the West after a great 61-21 season, just one game behind the Chicago Bulls for the best record overall, the expectations about the future of the team where set up high. Facing the last seeded Memphis Grizzlies didn't seem as much of an obstacle for them in order to advance into the conference semifinals. Not only those conditions placed them as the favorite squad to win the series, but history also backed them up, since only one eight seeded team had been able to eliminate a top seeded in a first round seven game series: the Golden State Warriors in 2007 when they stunned the Dallas Mavericks. If the 2011 NBA Playoffs were played on assumptions, the Spurs would have been the winner, but they are not disputed that way. Just in case one had any doubts, Memphis made that very clear by upsetting them on the road by 101-98 on game one. That loss was the first wake-up call for the Spurs that tried to turn off the buzzer on game 2 with a 93-87 victory over the Grizzlies to square the series to one game apiece, prior to traveling to Memphis for the next two games. But it looks like the flight got them sleepy again, and the price to pay was going to be high: losing game three by 91-88, in what was their second wake-up call of a series that the Grizzlies were now leading 2-1. On game four the Spurs got their third wake-up call, it was Tim Duncan's birthday and they not only wanted to celebrate it with a victory, but also needed it to avoid compromising themselves with a 3-1 scenario. That game disputed on Monday night at the FedEx Forum represented a turning point for the Grizzlies, because with a victory they could leave behind their underdog role and pass it over to the Spurs. All of their players were focused in making this happen, from the starters to the bench, and they wanted to do it big. With five players with double digits –Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, Mike Conley, Darrell Arthur and O.J. Mayo- plus the non despicable sum of 49 points from the bench, the Grizzlies outplayed the Spurs with a resounding 86-104 victory. Winning by an 18 point margin against the number No. 1 seeded and placing themselves on the lead 3-1 means that the surprise would now be that the Spurs manage to come from behind and win the series, and not the Grizzlies being eliminated. It is a big challenge what the Spurs will have to face now, for only eight teams in history have been able to overcome a 3-1 situation successfully. Not to forget the boost that these three wins has given to the Memphis, which will make of them an even tougher rival to defeat.

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