2-San Antonio Spurs vs 5-Memphis Grizzlies
Robd: This is a tough one to predict. Do you go with the bigger, tougher defensive-minded team who plays to its strengths inside, knows its limits, and is devoid of the traditional superstar? Or do you go with the battle-tested veteran team who has been running the same system for 15 years, anchored by the greatest PF of all time and arguably the best backcourt of the last decade? The Spurs are more complete and can adapt depend on who is hitting their shots on the day. The Grizzlies are a bit more 1-dimensional – if Z-Bo and Gasol aren’t dominating inside I’m not sure they can find enough points.
My gut is telling me Memphis, but that’s because I always root for the underdog. The Spurs are the classier unit. I pick them only if Tony Parker is the best player in the series. He has to be if they’re in with a shot, because Mike Conley has grown leaps and bounds this postseason. If he can’t fire the Grizz will bully their way to victory. Either way it’s going to be seriously fun to watch. Spurs in 7.
DJ Leon Smith: My original submission for the Spurs-Grizzlies Western Conference Finals matchup was unfortunately rejected by the NBAMate Editors as it simply said: “Flipped a coin. Spurs in 7”. This series really is that close though. This will be the most unsexiest sexy matchup (i.e. casual fans will hate it, die-hards will salivate) we’ll see in this season’s playoffs. The great thing about both San Antonio and Memphis is they don’t beat themselves – expect no Warriors-style meltdowns here.
After six bruising games against Andrew Bogut, matching up against DPOY Marc Gasol won’t be as tough as it could have been for Tim Duncan, and while the Conley/Allen backcourt has improved significantly (mainly Conley), it’s still no match for the Parker/Ginobili (and rising star Kawhi Leonard) perimeter onslaught the Spurs can throw at their opposition. Just hope whoever wins doesn’t end up spending everything in their tank getting to the Finals and is running on fumes against the Heat or Pacers. Spurs in 7.