Remember the Alam-oh-no! Again.

SAN ANTONIO – The last time it was Mario Chalmers. This time it was Gary Neal.

What is it about the Alamo City that leaves basketball teams from Memphis feeling like they’ve just been visited by Santa Anna’s army?

It was the 2008 NCAA championship game just up the road when Chalmers hit a high, arcing jumper for Kansas that forced overtime and eventually sent the Memphis Tigers to defeat.

This time it was Neal, the undrafted, 26-year-old rookie who buried the shot that sent Game 5 into overtime and saved the Spurs from an early grave.

In 2008, Derrick Rose made the mistake of missing free throws that held the door open for Kansas.

On Wednesday night, Zach Randolph made the mistake of putting a finger to his lips to tell the San Antonio crowd it was over when it wasn’t after he hit a step-back jumper with 13.8 seconds left to play.

Oh, there were lessons to be learned by the young Grizzlies.

When the Spurs inbounded the ball with 1.7 seconds remaining on the fourth quarter clock, the Grizzlies ignored coach Lionel Hollins’ instructions and none of them came out to guard the 3-point line.

When Neal’s shot went in and the game went to overtime, none of the Grizzlies had the fire within to keep competing.

“I think that we were down after the loss of the lead when they tied it up at the end,” Hollins said. “We had too many guys that were hurt and not mature enough at this stage to just let it go.”

Sometimes, this is how a series can turn. This is how history gets made. One play, one shot, one moment that slips through your grasp.

Now the Grizzlies have to let it go. They have to shake off the uppercut that floored them in time for Game 6. They can’t simply rely on the crowd that will be packed inside FedEx Forum to lift their spirits. They’ve got to go back to being the aggressive, hungry, attacking bunch that keeps on playing all the way to the end.

Or else it’s back to San Antonio, where the ghosts of Memphis basketball will be waiting.

21 Comments

  1. SA-Town's Best says:

    GO SPURS GO!!! Luck shots? …Maybe. Everyone has good and bad days. They aren’t professionals because they miss shots. They aren’t professionals because they don’t practice. Admittedly, Manu stated that he couldn’t even see the rim. With all that practice and ability, some things are like falling off a log. It is like muscle memory. Gary Neal’s shot was wide open and “nothing-but-net.” That was SKILL. Not Luck. When you have your opponent by the balls, you squeeze until they give up. Memphis couldn’t do what needed to be done. I agree, the Spurs are getting older. They are not their 2007 selves that would sprint back-and-forth up and down court with the Phoenix Suns that had an excellent team at the time. They are not the team that swept ‘King’ James as if to tell them to grow up before they challenge some true champions. No. But they do have a little juice left in them. As any Spurs fan knows, it isn’t over until it is truly over. The San Antonio Spurs are a great team. The one thing that you don’t do, is give a great team an opportunity, a ray of hope. Because now, the momentum has shifted. This is a do or die situation for both teams. Memphis needs to strike fierce, hard, and relentlessly. If Memphis loses this game, there is NO WAY that San Antonio will lose at home. No way! This is the playoffs. This is where the real playing begins. It is situations like these that birth champions, or succumb to them because of lack of experience. More often then not, it is the team that can use their experience that will take it. The Spurs will win game 6 and then game 7. Go Spurs Go!

  2. ERIC says:

    The grizz must suck if they can’t close out the game, if SPURS have old players.

  3. Srujan says:

    ******************************GO SRPURS GO**********************************

  4. Devo says:

    Grizz nation baby !!!! Spurs suck !!! theyre nothing but an old bunch of washed up players that perform well in the regular season and disappear in the playoffs. Everybody knows Neal’s and Manu’s shots was completely lucky and happens only once out of a million. Its time for the Spurs to hang it up !!! Grizz are taking game 6 !!! we are undefeated at home against the Spurs !!!! welcome to the GRINDHOUSE !!! Lets Go Memphis !!!!

  5. Cha says:

    Spurs are losing simply ’cause of the matchups. Even if they get out this one, the winner of LAL-DAL is so much more experienced than the Grizzlies and also as talented as they are. So I don’t see the Spurs advancing any further than 2nd round. LAL-DAL matchup will be great. too bad DAL didn’t get Big Al to sign, that would have been a real scare for them Lakers just ’cause of the length.

  6. kyle says:

    spurs will still win the series

  7. Jake says:

    It ain’t over till it’s over! GO SPURS GO!!!

  8. Spark says:

    If the Spurs did not win game 5, this comment wouldn’t have been possible. But thanks to Gary Neal’s miracle shot, the Spurs are still alive. I don’t really care anymore if they win the series or not against Memphis. I’ll be very grateful that they put up a good fight not to go down with just a single win. Of course, nobody expects a top seed getting knocked off by the 8th seed. But to begin with, the Spurs have been written off since the beginning of the season as aging and slow. That they are in the playoffs is something to be happy about already. Nobody expected San Antonio to be down in the series. But, fact is, nobody expected San Antonio to BE IN the series when the season started.
    I’d love to see a game seven of course. But if that wish won’t be coming true, I guess we’ll just have to accept the bitter pill that the Spurs dynasty is over.
    Even with this, I’m hoping I will jinx game 6.

  9. watcher says:

    The Spurs were extremely lucky to escape with a win – relying on not one but two miraculous shots to save them. They were also up by 16 points on their home floor in this game before it came down to this. Memphis have simply played better ball in this series and I’d be very surprised if the Grizz suffer for the lost opportunity in the next two games and allow the deflating emotions of this loss to weigh them down at Fed Ex. Reminds me of the Mavs v GSW in 07, who couldnt ride the emotional wave for game 6 in Oakland.

    • Yohan says:

      You sound like Vlade Divac hahah. Honestly if Gary Neal’s game tying shot was luck, then so were Battier’s and Randolph’s 3′s in game 1/3 that sealed the game for them. (remember that Gary Neal tying the game didn’t neccesarily mean the game was theirs, they still had to win in overtime)

      • cooper says:

        yohan’s right

        battier’s shot just roled in and randolph was 19% from 3-point during the regular season so the grizzlies have had just as many if not more lucky breaks than the spurs

        it also helps to have 3 referees who are allowing zach randolph to do whatever he wants in the paint while the spurs bigmen can’t even play them aggresively on defense without getting a foul called

  10. Miguel says:

    That young punk Zack Randolph, first dancing after a game three win then sushing the crowd. He’s got a lot of growing up to do.

    Show some modesty and respect for the 4 time champs!

    • steve says:

      lol @ u.

    • Wait a Minute says:

      omg dude. Almost every player in the NBA taunts the opposition and their crouds lol. stop being so sensitive hahaha

    • Ken says:

      The Spurs whine after after call, their flopping is notorious (and notoriously bad), and they are too old to go all the way. The SPURS are the overachievers this year, not the Grizzlies, Pacers, 76ers. The Grizzlies deserve to win the series because they are the better team, forget the #8 seed. They became a better defensive team when Rudy went down and Allen and Battier joined. Since then they are one of the very best in the league, and they continue to grow. While the Spurs continue to grow older and rely on flopping and shaky officiating at home. The Grizz need to handle their business tonight and “show…respect for the 4 time champs” by sending them off on an early summer vacation.

      • cooper says:

        oh sure cuz the spurs are the only team in the entire NBA who whine after a call

        kobe bryant, lebron james, dwayne wade, and more do their fair share of crying all on their own so before you go ranting on about one team whining for calls look at all of the league’s “suerstars” why don’t even try to play defense when they think they get fouled or a call doesn’t go their way

  11. Amused says:

    No matter which team wins this series, their run is over in the next round. OKC will be unstoppable until at least the Western Conference Finals, and could even win it all. Long live Durant!!

    • Ann says:

      at this time you mean tha LAL….

    • Ken says:

      Maybe, but I’d love to see a Grizzlies/Thunder matchup. Would be great fun to watch the athletic, young, up and coming teams go at it to earn a spot as an Elite team in the league (a spot that was formerly held by the Spurs)

  12. DBBJ-MIA says:

    I was so dissappointed last night, I really wanted Memphis to close out this series last night when they had the chance to do it, Memphis made a HUGE mistake by not defending the 3 point or not fouling, I hope that mistake cause them that game only and not the whole series. If they play the way they did in this game they’ll win, I hope they do. This is not coming from a Memphis fan, but they deserve it

  13. Doris says:

    All I can say is that the SPuRs are blessed that they were given another chance, new life I must say, like what Manu said. Good luck TEAM San Antonio! It showed that you have that heart of the Champion that you didn’t quit.