Nothing Old About How The Big 3 Just Win


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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Six years ago those boring old San Antonio Spurs were winning another title and then Tony Parker was jetting to Paris to wed Eva Longoria and Tim Duncan, we think, was happily married and that barren pasture on top of Manu Ginobili‘s dome, well, the recessive gene hadn’t quite kicked in.

“Mmm, you could see it a little,” Ginobili said.

The point is a lot has changed over six years. And then something like Saturday night happens, a 103-94 Spurs overtime win that might as well have dialed back the calendar to 2007 or heck even ’05. Even as San Antonio has retooled, added snipers to transform the old plodders into a high-powered offensive juggernaut and significantly reduced the median age all around the Big Three, it was the Big Three on this night that carried them to the brink of a fourth Finals appearance together and the fifth in the Duncan-Gregg Popovich era that now bridges three consecutive decades.

This vintage performance ripped the heart and likely the soul right out of the Memphis Grizzlies, who hoped to ride a first-ever Western Conference finals home game in front of a 16th consecutive playoff sellout crowd back into this series.

They were this close, a missed Mike Conley floater that would have won it at the buzzer in regulation. The irony had it gone down would have been that Ginobili, stuffing the stat sheet in every way, opened the door with a missed 3-pointer with 20.9 seconds to play. Memphis called timeout and Ginobili, on the bench, was so upset with himself that if he had hair longer than an eighth-of-an-inch he’d have yanked it straight out.

“Yes, of course I was upset because I made a very similar one a few minutes before and I thought I had a good opportunity to almost close the game and I missed it,” Ginobili said. “They had 20 seconds to win it and it could have been painful to lose like that.”

The start of Game 3 was painful for the Spurs, who couldn’t quite believe what was happening after all the talk of “Remember Last Year,” two wins away from their first Finals berth since ’07 and then wiped out four in a row by Oklahoma City.

Eight turnovers in the first quarter with four by Parker in the first two minutes as he called it maybe “the worst start of my career.” Down 18 points before the first 12 minutes were up. The Grindhouse in full throaty howl. With 4:53 left in the opening quarter and Memphis up 16-5, Popovich called a 20-second timeout and sat all five starters, pinning the first eight minutes as “one of the worst starts I have ever seen.”

“The first half I was grandfatherly and in the second half, what word can I say?” Popovich said. “I was ugly because I wasn’t going to watch it again.”

By the end of the night, with Duncan scoring the first five points of a breeze of an overtime considering the grinding hell of the first 48 minutes, the victory was being hailed as momentous by those who have seen it all on a team that has seemingly done it all. But as Parker said with a believing smile: “This is one of the best wins since I’ve been here with Timmy and Pop.”

Ginobili: “One of the best wins I’ve witnessed being a Spur.”

These are proud players wearing the uniform of a proud franchise and they all know that this kind of thing can’t last forever. It probably shouldn’t have lasted this long with Duncan now 37 and breaking down at 35, and Ginobili 35 and warding off injury with every maniacal drive and Parker a high-mileage 31 with enough nagging injuries from head to toe to suffice for a lifetime.

Just two years ago, right here, the up-and-coming Grizzlies again read the Spurs their last rites, an eighth-seed toppling a tired, creaking No. 1 in the first round. But then this happens and the fairy tale keeps going. The Big Three in Game 3: 69 points, 21 rebounds, 15 assists. Nothing coming easy. Everything earned. Tiago Splitter‘s 11 points amounted to the only other double-figure scoring the Spurs got outside The Big Three.

The Spurs can pull off a most unexpected sweep on Monday night in Game 4 back at Memphis’ FedExForum. They’ve now taken out the Grizz with a blowout in Game 1, avoided a late collapse to win in overtime in Game 2 and then clawed back from the horrific start when the Grizzlies were making steals and fastbreaking and fueling their fans with belief.

Parker, who simply terrorizes these defensive-minded Grizzlies, finished with a game-high 26 points and five assists. After his turnover frenzy in the first two minutes, he had three more the rest of the game, logging 44 minutes. Duncan was phenomenal setting screens, battling inside for 10 boards to go with 24 points and five assists in 44 minutes, leaving Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph out of answers.

The last time Duncan logged as many as 44 minutes in a single game? Dec. 27, 2008.

And Ginobili, the warrior who ripped away rebounds to give him seven for the game, fed teammates for five assists and twice in the final 90 seconds of regulation came out of a timeout to backdoor on Quincy Pondexter, the second time fouling out Memphis’ best perimeter option who had hit three of the team’s seven 3-pointers.

“Those were huge,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said of those four of Ginobili’s 19 points. “They hurt us.”

The Spurs will look to apply the final hurt on Monday night and if they do put away the Grizz, they’ll await the surviving combatant from an Eastern  Conference series that could go on for a while.

That’ll suit those old boring Spurs just fine.

“We’ve been old for probably eight years now,” Ginobili said. “I remember in 2007, our last championship, they were saying that we were old, and it’s all right. I guess we are. But we play well, we play together and every year we are out there contending. That’s a great thing.”

And that never gets old.

91 Comments

  1. Heatr#1 says:

    It’s obvious the spurs are going to the finals but if heat win what are the chances spurs winning?
    GO HEAT:)

  2. Gabe Burns says:

    Male pattern baldness is a dominant gene, not recessive.

  3. Rogier says:

    Back in the days where the Spurs hosted the “Twin Towers” their style of play already took me out of my seat. And now over a decade later, I find myself still jumping up and down at almost every play they make. Pop 4 president!

  4. Rolly del Mundo says:

    Here’s a big “IF” question:

    What If the Spurs close out Memphis, meet’s LeChoke’s team Miami in the Finals and still continue to play “boring” team basketball?

    The answer is: San Antonio Spurs, NBA 2013 World Champions!!! Go Spurs Go!

  5. Kimmy says:

    34yrfan-you can be very negative, but you make good points. Most of the time.

  6. ron says:

    Wade elbowed in the finals by Spurs…….that would be all but boring

  7. yeaaaah says:

    I wish the refs would start calling ginobli for flops, dude falls down like a sack of potatoes as soon as a finger touches him

    • Kalbo!! says:

      Ginobili’s flops are somewhat tolerable and normal around NBA because it’s intelligent basketball.. I think you’re a bitter Tony Allen fool.. Don’t you dare call his flop the legal one… You’ll rage war upon me and the whole of Houston…

  8. KP3 says:

    wow!! T-Mac is close for his NBA Finals Appearance.. I hope Spurs wiLL give you something youre missing! Goodluck men!

  9. Winston says:

    If the Heat do not solve the Hibbert problem (a heart beat from coing up 2-0 on home court) the Spurs are going to get stuck with it instead of the James problem.

  10. busa-boss says:

    boring???
    teams that can’t even make it to the conference finals with all the talks before the season begins are boring
    nobody appreciate spurs because they don’t play above the rim,,,but they hammered teams play with so much excitement…
    now whose boring???

  11. MambaIsTheMan says:

    Wow, excellent writing!

  12. Franz says:

    San Antonio Spurs – teaching fundamentals since 1997

  13. foxenon says:

    The Spurs know exactly what they’re doing to win this series.Pop leads the team with a silver hand in a soft glove.No disrespect towards the opponent,no trash talking,no garbage game…simply basketball fundamentals.Memphis missed the opportunity to win game 1…things would have been a bit more different.Besides,injuries impended on the Spurs but stand away from them so far.Bring on the Heat now!!!

    • Marco29 says:

      Memphis was never close to wiining game 1. They had their chances in games 2 and 3 but Spurs just played too well in OT both times relying on their Big3, especially Duncan, and the coaching of Pop. Game 3 was fundamental for the Spurs in order to earse the bad memories of last year’s WCF where they lead 2-0 and got eliminated. They may or may not sweep the Grizzlies but they have taken a great advantage in this series and I hope they will make it toThe Finals.
      Grizz did bounce back after Game 1 and showed their true value in games 2 and 3 but also their offensive limits.

  14. Youmelous says:

    The spurs look great…like they play in different levels against any oppenent!!
    The grizz are not lucky, if they were in the east they can reach the finals!!
    Morocco all the way!!

  15. VicRod says:

    Hmmm. Watching teams that only count on one person for points, oooorrr move all over the court with no clue on offense is really boring i.e. miami…..okc….lakers…..Spurs have talent, and direction, they know what they’re doing and why they are here.

  16. fourputter says:

    Whats boring about the game? Not the Spurs: Its the guy that sits on the far right next to Galen Rose…they need to move him off the set.

  17. Duke says:

    What’s great about this win is that it reinforced the facts. The Spurs have been the best basketball franchise in the last 15 years. Their record prove that. It also shuts the mouths of the big market media and proves most of them wrong,… AGAIN! People who have played the game and those fans who have watched this team knows how special this group has been over the years. They aren’t boring. Boring is watching some high, narcissistic, selfish superstar thump his chest after he jumps a foot high to dunk a basketball. Big deal, who gives a rats… I enjoy watching a team that knows how to win, year in and year out.

    • 34yrfan says:

      love it…….LOL !!! Great post !

    • spurs4life says:

      Exactly right as far as boring goes. Apparently, people like to see selfish, egotistical basketball players focused on themselves (Kobe), instead of watching a team play together as one to win. The Spurs are the most complete team, and are humble about it; for that, they get termed “boring”. Their gameplay certainly isn’t boring. It doesn’t get more exciting than watching one of the teams with the fastest pace, that can drive, spread the ball, is great from the perimeter, and play the low post game as well. Certainly more exciting than some of these defense-only-minded teams like Indiana and Memphis, who just seem to slowly slug it out until the agony is finally over. I also LOVE how time and again people pick against the Spurs just because they’re the Spurs, regardless of who they’re playing. So many picked Lakers, until that was obviously a joke. Memphis is hardly any better, without any offense to speak of. Golden State was the only one that stood a legit chance, with their stellar defense and excellent capability to shoot. In the Finals, Indiana or Miami will be picked to win over San Antonio as well, but us Spurs fans know better. We remember the fact that the Spurs had the best record in the NBA this year with Miami halfway through its impressive win streak, until injuries set in. The Spurs are no joke; with the big 3 healthy, they’re the best in the league.

  18. DriveFerFive says:

    it’s 5 till 5 on the Drive Fer Five!!!!!

  19. Thaddeus says:

    These playoffs only make you wonder if the OKC and Memphis trades were worth it. Would Memphis would have won last series if they faced a lineup of Jackson-Sefolosha-Durant-Jeff Green-Ibaka with Harden as the sixth man? Would San Antonio be up now having to guard Rudy Gay than the similar foe they faced two years ago? Because there is no appropriate superstar to guard Prince’s value is getting upstaged in the series while the Spurs balance is cutting them up. Memphis is more appropriate to guard a Miami team than a San Antonio one and it shows in this series

    • 34yrfan says:

      IFs…..you wanna talk about IFs ? OK……. how is this Thadddeus…..The Grizz would NOT be here OR even in the last round IF their opponents had NOT been shorthanded……..just like 2 years ago when they got lucky that Manu was hurt at the end of the year…… IF a frog had wings…………………………..

    • Nponz says:

      San Antonio is a well managed organization. Teams like Memphis, Dallas, OKC are making roster changes because theyre bigger penalties coming up for teams that go over the luxury tax. You think Dallas gave up their championship roster for nothing? They have about 9 one year contracts this year and theyre practically going to have an entirely new roster if they choose to not resign these players. They want to get rid of big long term contracts, … and, of course, prep for the big names in the free agencies. But Memphis had to get rid of Rudy Gay who is getting paid 18 a year for the next 3 years. And keep in mind that San Antonio is also a small market team.
      So don’t come on this board talking about what ifs. They are infinite possibilities you can create with “what if” statements

    • Kalbo!! says:

      Just another bitter frog… that’s all…

  20. Jensen says:

    Spurs in the years of bruce bowen or david robinson was boring..
    this spurs is very entertaining to watch with the ball movement, the 3s, the fast pace and high offence… They are no boring nowadays!

    • MasTER says:

      Spurs, is the best team in the last 10 years, boring?? noo is the wa that every team must play basketball, is not about have a LBJ, or about a S. Curry,, or Kobe, is about be a TEAM!!! THAT IS REAL BASKETBALL!!
      Go Spurs

  21. W/E says:

    The Spurs OWN, i really think the time for their 5th championship has come, they have a really good healthy roster, am glad they are gunna make it to the finals, they are exciting to watch, the most complete team in the league,their leader and coach(Popovich) will push his team for that 5th championship.

  22. jo says:

    for all the people talking about the Grizz needing rudy gay i hope you can go sit don, think for a minute and realize that they would have lost to the clippers with rudy gay on the team. he cannibalized touches for randolph and gasol, and prince is a much better defender. it’s well in line with what the team does well. gay was not efficient either. unlike kobe or iverson or melo he can’t give you an ugly, dirty inefficient 40-50 points or more. he’d get 20-28 inefficiently leaving his bigs with 9 points each and loss after loss.

  23. kiwisepp says:

    looks like, we all agree that the bear missed Gay badly

  24. SPuRSUP! says:

    Aussie…LOLOL
    I wouldn’t buy tickets to game four if i were you ;)

  25. Sunny says:

    Grizzlies really messed this up. If they can draft a good wing player with a team first mentality they will be here again next year. Hollins is due for a payday or he might just bolt to the Clippers.

  26. Helen Stendt says:

    Come’on Jeff. You are better than starting your colums like that.

    Ginobili was huge for the Spurs; as was the sixth foul of pointdexter. The Grizzlies’ offensive limitations demand Pointdexter in the fourth quarter.

  27. Ron says:

    What do you mean boring?
    I get bored with self entitled ego maniacs that call themselves superstars or King or something like that.
    Spurs always have played true team ball…..Go Spurs.
    Indiana- Spurs would be an awesome final.
    Heat …..would be boring.

    • Bespoken says:

      No, heat would be nice as well. Time to teach the heat some fundamental basketball.

      • ron says:

        That would be the only nice thing of seeing spurs- heat. and……someone elbowing Wade, since that is now only a flagrant foul according to NBA ruling

  28. cvqqqq says:

    Sours – “too old” since 2007. Haters gonna hate while winners win.

  29. Spurs don’t care if they are called old, as long as they keep winning games and keep defeating playoff contenders, they are very humbled and that’s all that really matters. Go Spurs Go!

  30. They can call the Spurs old for all they want, they don’t care. They are humbled and as long as they keep winning games and defeating playoff contenders, that’s all what really matters. Go Spurs Go!

  31. realist2013 says:

    In a previous blog I said the Spurs are too well balanced and too much of an arsenal for Memphis to match up. Giving up Rudy Gay they lost their driver/leading scorer/3pt threat.

    Against most other teams primarily teams woth weak bigs Memphis would be dominating, but against a Spurs team with bigs that rival your own coupled with perimeter threats and drive the lane attackers they dont fair well. Monday will conclude a great series. Good game memphis.

  32. No 1. Aussie says:

    Spurs will still lose this series. Memphis are the better team, the Spurs just got lucky in game 3. Z-Bo will lift his game and it’s Grizzles in 7!

    • 34yrfan says:

      Yeah…..the Spurs got lucky alright…..they got to play an overrated team……a one dimensional team….. and and inexperienced team in the Conference Finals…………..And as far as …ZEEEBOOOO raising his game??? He can’t…… because he is playing a real defense taking away his game…….

    • Kalbo!! says:

      You’re such a disgrace for the Australian people… For lacking the brain… Go home and sniff all the sugar you want… I bet it still won’t ease your bitterness…

    • Kalbo!! says:

      Uhmm… Sweep… You were saying something,, @No 1. Aussie? You think you’re so smart? I bet you’re not a real Aussie.. You should be a shamed of yourself…

  33. Nicolas says:

    I reckon some of this guys and ESPN might be still saying “Grizzlies in 6″, “Spurs are too old”, “Memphis won’t lose in the Grindhouse”…

    Please, can anybody of this clowns say “I was wrong” and show some respect?

    Besides the 0-3, Memphis is a hell of a team, they are just one good scorer away from the Finals and a NBA title… Best luck next year!!!

    • 34yrfan says:

      ….YES ..
      This one is for that loudmouth STEVEN a. SMITH…….heard him on the radio say that he is sticking to his spurs hating bent….still saying the Grizz in 6 because…….not the way they play…..not the players ……NOT the coach or anything basketball……but because they will have the energy from playing at home……….what a joke of a writer!! Well……as is, and should have been obvious……. the home court fans can’t make the other team miss shots or play bad defense….especially if that team is the Spurs….playoff tested. They will never say they are wrong and give the Spurs their just props…..they will just make some excuse and continue to disrespect the Spurs……….. now it will be the Spurs could be the first team to lose after being up 3-0……I wonder which one will actually say it .

  34. Charles Mencer says:

    All I can say is “WOW”

  35. Simon says:

    Great job Spurs! We are getting better and better!

  36. Petko says:

    Spurs, that’s not a team, that’s a family!
    Go Spurs Go!
    Ring number 5, here ve come!

  37. Bstarr says:

    Damn! Boring Spurs are going to the finals :(

    Memphis gave this one away big time!

    This one is over…..

    • CT says:

      Boring Spurs?!?!? Which part is boring, is it the way they move the basketball, or is it the way they attack the basket, oh, maybe it’s their ability to rain three pointers and spread out a defense, no, I know, its their dominating defense that block shots and forces turn overs, or maybe it’s their fast pace, watching old guys move almost flawlessly at a faster tempo than most of the younger superstar teams is pretty boring. What part of the game do you find entertaining, it seems like you don’t know much about basketball.

    • 34yrfan says:

      …..Gave it away??? Whaaaaat?? No……..This is what happens when the Grizz have to play a great team that is healthy…..not anything like 2 yrs ago……..OR…….. the last 2 rounds this year..!!

    • Bespoken says:

      Boring spurs? Have you watch any spurs game recently? Do you understand setting picks, cuts, boxed out or anything other than a dunk?
      If that’s boring in your opinion so be it. I’ll let my son watch and look up to the spurs rather than worship superstars team like the lakers.

      • Kalbo!! says:

        HAHAHA! LOL… I’m so happy that there not only a few players who are intelligent enough like us to not overlook the deserving… I’m not sure if my other comment above will be posted.. Here’s a copy in case:

        People with shallow non-rational happiness would only look for teams and players with high-flying, eye-poping dunks, alley-oops, and turn around, twisting lay ups because these are literally fun to watch… Because most of these people are not so intelligent, they are blinded to appreciate non-showoff teams who play great team basketball which is how it’s really meant to be played like ever… And they claim to have basketball IQ… And when you try to explain this to them, they’d make an excuse saying “we all have different preferences…” Pathetic…So sad…

  38. they’re veterans and european champions…what do you expect?

  39. It’s just a joy to watch the spurs play like they do in this series. And I don’t know about you guys but I’m going to cry like a baby when Duncan retires (whenever that may happen).

    • Marco29 says:

      I also wish this days never comes but it will at some point and it will be even worse as Pop said he would walk away with TD. If Spurs win it this year, they may both retire right after.
      Whenever the day comes it will be well deserved but it is hard to imagine the Spurs without those 2 anchors.

  40. Kalbo!! says:

    Yes, I do believe the Grizz can compete with the Spurs… I feel for the fans of Memphis and the heart of that team… My only point now is, where’s the wanna-get-the-credit-if-i-got-it-right fools? Those who think they are so smart to say that Spurs WILL lose this, Duncan & Splitter WILL have foul troubles, Parker will be outplayed by Conley, etc etc… Like I said… Watch and learn… w/o arrogantly predicting anything like what I do… I know my place and I’m not the Pro here.. If you wanna share your opinions, at least be humble enough to include saying “i think” or “i believe” and the likes.. And for goodness sake please be smart enough to dwell on what could have and would have happened or been done… These are only for bitter people…

    • Barbelo says:

      And the sad thing is these so called experts never admit they were wrong. They just go on making their predictions like if they’ve never been wrong.

  41. Luis says:

    Nice to see the spurs in form and staying healthy

  42. Guyschillout says:

    Well done Spurs, but I believe that it will take two more games to finish Grizzlies.
    Nevertheless either Miami or Indiana will have a tough series to play in the Finals.

  43. allen iv3rson says:

    So good, close games between memphis and spurs. Memphis just seems to lack a closer.. hmm… rudy gay??

  44. J says:

    i just have to put this somewhere:

    why do people leave an nba game if its one sided with like 3 mins left?
    u pay good money 4 those seats all nba games in my opinion are great and i know if i was lucky enogh to go to a game i would stay till the end wheather my team is up by 2 or down by 20
    people can be stupid

    • theholyspecatator says:

      its called traffic buddy, ever been to a game? theirs a few thousand people that show up, thats a lot of cars trying to leave at once

  45. MackDaddy says:

    Meh… the “boring” label is getting old. Spurs have consistantly been one of the best teams for years. They play good fundamental basketball and Pop runs a tight ship that makes for respectable men playing mature basketball. No cry babies, no hot tempers, just sound role models that you know your kids can look up to without fear. I hope they get 1 more ring… they deserve it more than anybody for being this good that long. Heat will be winning for years because they’ve paid cold hard cash. Spurs have done it the old school way… hard work and mutual respect. Without the hype.

    • Damien says:

      Wow !
      I couldn’t have put it any better. My sons’ favorite team was Miami until they realized how much flopping they were doing and how much help they were getting from the refs.

    • MATT THE GREAT1 says:

      COULDN’T OF PUT IT BETTER MYSELF

    • Kalbo!! says:

      People with shallow non-rational happiness would only look for teams and players with high-flying, eye-poping dunks, alley-oops, and turn around, twisting lay ups because these are literally fun to watch… Because most of these people are not so intelligent, they are blinded to appreciate non-showoff teams who play great team basketball which is how it’s really meant to be played like ever… And they claim to have basketball IQ… And when you try to explain this to them, they’d make an excuse saying “we all have different preferences…” Pathetic…So sad…

  46. LoveThisGame says:

    Honestly, I dun really think the Spurs are that boring to watch…they have great ball movement, probably the best ball movement among the final four, besides they have fancy high-low corporation and can rain threes with several young guns, so I think their games can capture a lot of eyeballs though they might not be the final champion as they want to be so badly.

  47. steppx says:

    I wonder if the advanced stats people who so embraced (and via hollinger engineered) the rudy gay trade think its such a good trade this morning? Memphis needed a Gay last night….the Spurs fear nobody offensively on this Griz team. Memphis managed to grind out wins without an offensive player who could break down defenses… against lesser opponents because Gasol, in particular was playing so well. But while still a very good team, Memphis lacks that disrutive offensive player….Gay…. who yes was erratic, and often shot low percentages, but who still struck fear in defenses. Tayshaun Prince does not.

    • Kalbo!! says:

      Totally agree with you… But you can stop the sentiments because Memphis had no choice… It was the smartest way to save them from luxury taxes… Apparently not the smartest way to save them a title run… I don’t think they could care less for that..

  48. latigo rapper says:

    THE ORIGINAL BIG 3 CONQUERS GAME 3. Yeah! :-)

  49. J says:

    SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!!

  50. PdaDunker says:

    Memphis needs offense…André iguodala perhaps? Great guy on D like Memphis as a team, great offensive player as well….

    • Kalbo!! says:

      I like Iggy… But no, he’s not a great offensive player… They’ll just be saturated of defense w/ lesser offense like what happened when they acquired Prince…

  51. Hello, Im Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green says:

    And it makes me a very happy little man. :) Thank you Alama Triad!

  52. Kilroy says:

    Spurs are just too good. I smell a sweep.

    Bring on the Heat,.

  53. hehe says:

    lol barren pasture. Sad that memphis will be done soon.. i love underdogs. they really seem to be missing rudy gay’s output.

  54. Willy says:

    Fundamental basketball with too much talent coming off the bench for the Grizz. TD goes big in OT again! Legend. Nice to see Pop angry again. Win one more and take another break would be nice.